Need gun show tutorial...


May 16, 2003, 12:13 AM
Please forgive me for being such a newbie.

A few weeks back I inherited a few rifles & a shotgun. One of the rifles is a Winchester model 94 30-30 with a Redfield sight which turned out to be pre-64 (1957, to be specific). Although I really like the rifle, I'm more utilitarian when it comes to arms and as the model 94 doesn't serve a practical purpose for me I'd prefer to have a good turkey shotgun right now. I'm sorry if that sounds like blasphemy.

As it turns out, there is a gun show (collector's show, according to the notice in American Rifleman), in early June in the St. Louis area. I'd like to take the rifle and see if I can make a good deal.

Having never been to a gun show, I'm not sure what to expect and don't know if there are any general protocols I should be aware of when it comes to carrying in my rifle with intent to sell or trade. Also, since I'm not an experienced gun trader - unlike the gun show "regulars" - I am somewhat concerned about being "fleeced".

For the curious, the rifle is about 80%, with normal wear on the stock and good bluing with some slight scratches on the barrel and one rivet-sized spot of bare metal on the receiver. I'll include a picture below.

Any tips you can provide are appreciated.

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May 16, 2003, 12:36 AM
First off, no apologies necessary for being a newbie - everyone here was once, I still am. If the shows are anything like here in texas, they will have a table set up where they inspect your weapon and such as you enter. For selling it, I have seen some interesting techniques. Attaching a note to your back with a price, or just a sign that says for sale. You may also try some of the dealers, but in my limited experiences I don't know how well this will work. Your first time at a show can be a little uncomfortable since you don't know what to expect, but once you get there you realize it's a lot of fun to walk around and look, especially if you are like me and like to touch, look, handle without a salesman standing there glaring at you the whole time. Get other's opinions on this one, but maybe

Good luck with your sale

May 16, 2003, 12:53 AM
Hello. First off, I'd recommend just keeping it. You may wish later that you had. If you are intent on selling it though, I'd suggest that you do your homework on what the item is worth. Once you have assessed the value of your item, then set the price where you want it...perhaps a little higher for wiggle room. However, whatever price you definitely want out of it, keep firm to that.

An alternate idea to selling at a gunshow is to sell it via GunsAmerica, Gunbroker, AuctionArms, etc. Personally, I've had good success w/ more than one of these resources. A plus to doing it this way is that the item is transfered to the buyer thru an FFL. It will be legally registered to them.

As far as the gunshow is concerned, naturally, you will need to take it in unloaded(you'd be surprised). Some shows will inspect the item at the entrance and then put a cable tie around the hammer/trigger to keep it empty, visually verify, etc. After you're in, a lot of the vendors w/ tables will want to handle the item and look it over. They will generally offer you a lowball amount well below what you want out of it. Usually, your market will be the individual buyers walking around looking for deals. Folks will come up to you and ask you what you want for it, etc. When you both agree on the price, your deal is made.

I'm not familiar w/ the laws in your state concerning buying and selling but when you strike a deal, you may want to have the buyer sign a bill of sale, especially if it's registered to you.

Hope some of that helps. Keep in mind, you won't be "fleeced" if you stick to your price. Talk is talk but money is money!


Sylvilagus Aquaticus
May 16, 2003, 01:42 AM
If it were mine, I'd be inclined to hang onto that 94 since it was inherited, for sentimental reasons if nothing else. It's nice to see something that good with a vintage peep sight that is original to the rifle...unless of course, you're in dire financial stratis, then it's certainly your call.

What kind of shotgun did you acquire? Is it in a caliber suitable for turkey hunting? Is it a pump or semi, and can it be fitted with interchangeable choke tubes? That's the way I'd think about going if I wanted a shotgun for turkey, but then again, I've seen plenty of turkey taken with a well-placed head shot with a 'thutty-thutty' by a hunter who spent the time to call Ol' Tom in close and personal.

Of course, it's better to hunt with what you have than to not hunt at all.

IF you're set on selling it, by all means, get it appraised by some dealer you trust, then get it appraised again by another dealer. If you like the price, sell. If he's not willing to meet that appraisal, as a buyer in an arms-length transaction, do like synoptic and Slabside reccomend; make a sign and put it on a piece of dowel stock, insert it into the muzzle and take it to a gun show. Hold firm to your asking price as your conscience and intuition say to you. Consider a partial trade, even. I've come away with what I consider fair trades in the past, and everyone was happy at the end of the day.

By the way, that's a very nice Winchester.


"If we could just get everyone to close their eyes and visualize world
peace for an hour, imagine how serene and quiet it would be until
the looting started..."

May 16, 2003, 03:16 AM
Having certainly 'been there, done that' my only advice is that is the sort of rifle I'd personally hold on to... it's not going down in value and never will. If you decide your abode will just be over-filled with this one present, figure out the price you're willing to sell/trade it for and stick to it. One suggestion is to go to and click on 'Search' then 'Completed Auctions'. This should be indicative of what some rifles are actually selling for. Gunbroker doesn't charge the seller until and items sells so they can ask whatever they want. One seller over there, Kidbillions, lists guns at outrageous prices! :rolleyes:

Actually, here's a link to a search for 'pre-64 94'... looks like somewhere over $300 and under $500 plus adjustment for the peep sight is about in line.

May 16, 2003, 07:22 AM
I'd also suggest that if the gun show is held over two or more days, don't take your gun there the first day - go without the gun, and spend a couple of hours walking around and "getting the feel" of a gun show. Talk to dealers (without letting them know you'll be selling something), observe their behavior, listen to them wheeling and dealing, get an idea of what kind of prices they're offering on trade-ins and on their sale guns. Then come back the next day with your gun, and go to those dealers who struck you as most honest and helpful. Of course, you'll probably get more for it in a private sale, but this approach will help you to come into the gun show with a bit more understanding of the environment.

Another suggestion - why not offer the rifle for sale here, on the "For Sale" forum? You can look up prices (even get a local dealer or two to give you an idea of what it would fetch at retail, if you know some honest guys), and you will probably get a fairly good deal that way too. If you search through the posts, you'll probably find some weapons similar to yours, and you can see what they sold for.

May 16, 2003, 07:25 AM
Bear in mind that if you sell the gun to a vendor, he has to make a profit on it, as opposed to selling to an end user strolling the aisles.

OTOH, I'll frequently trade with vendors, if they express an interest in what I'm lugging around and they have something on their table that I want more.

May 16, 2003, 07:41 AM
I agree with the others, do your homework and find out what it's worth, set a price and stick to it. If it doesn’t sell at the show, check to see if any of the dealers in the area sell guns on consignment.

Having never been to a gun show, I'm not sure what to expect
Let me take to opportunity to post this one more time for the benefit of those who have not seen it already :D

Gun shows are run by and for dreamers. Every dealer who sets up a table seems to think that the people who attend are half-wits who will happily pay 25% more than manufacturer's suggested retail price for their goods; and all the attendees hold it as an article of faith that the exhibitors are desperate men who have come in the hopes of finally disposing of their stock at 30% less than wholesale cost. In this environment it helps to have some idea what to expect; so for the benefit of those who are so unfortunate as never to have experienced this distinctively American form of mass entertainment, I offer this guide.

The following terms apply to items offered for sale:

MINT CONDITION: In original condition as manufactured, unfired, and preferably in the original box with all manufacturer's tags, labels, and paperwork.

NEAR-MINT CONDITION: Has had no more than 5,000 rounds fired through it and it still retains at least 60% of the original finish. Surface pitting is no more than 1/8" deep, and both grip panels are in place. If it is a .22, some of the rifling is still visible.

VERY GOOD: Non-functional when you buy it, but you can probably get it to work if you replace 100% of the parts.

FAIR: Rusted into a solid mass with a shape vaguely reminscent of a firearm.

TIGHT: In revolvers, the cylinder swings out, but you need two hands to close it again. For autoloaders, you must bang the front of the slide on a table to push it back.

REALLY TIGHT: In revolvers you cannot open the cylinder without a lever. Once it's open the extractor rod gets stuck halfway through its travel. On autoloaders, you need a hammer to close the slide.

A LITTLE LOOSE: In revolvers, the cylinder falls out and the chambers are 1/4" out of line when locked up. There is no more than 1/2" of end play. For autoloaders, the barrel falls out when the slide is retracted. If the barrel stays in place, the slide falls off.

GOOD BORE: You can tell it was once rifled and even approximately how many grooves there were.

FAIR BORE: Would be similar to GOOD BORE, if you could see light through it.

NEEDS A LITTLE WORK: May function sometimes if you have a gunsmith replace minor parts, such as the bolt, cylinder, or barrel.

ARSENAL RECONDITIONED: I cleaned it up with a wire wheel and some stuff I bought at K-Mart.

ANTIQUE: I found it in a barn, and I think it dates from before 1960. Note that ANTIQUE guns are usually found in FAIR condition.

RARE VARIANT: No more than 500,000 of this model were ever made, not counting the ones produced before serial numbers were required. RARE VARIANTS command a premium price of 150% of BOOK VALUE.

BOOK VALUE: An irrational number which dealers consider insultingly low and buyers ridiculously high. Since no one pays any attention to it, it doesn't matter.

IT BELONGED TO MY GRANDFATHER: I bought it at a flea market two weeks ago.

CIVIL WAR RELIC: The vendor's great-grandfather knew a man whose friend had been in the Civil War.

SHOOTS REAL GOOD: For rifles, this means at 100 yards it will put every shot into a 14" circle if there isn't any wind and you're using a machine rest. For handguns, three out of six rounds will impact a silhouette target at seven yards. In shotguns, it means that the full choke tube throws 60% patterns with holes no bigger than 8" in them.

ON CONSIGNMENT: The vendor at the show does not own the gun. It belongs to a friend, customer, or business associate, and he has been instructed to sell it, for which he will be paid a commission. He has no authority to discuss price. The price marked is 150% above BOOK VALUE. All used guns offered for sale at gun shows, without exception, are ON CONSIGNMENT, and the dealer is required by his Code of Ethics to tell you this as soon as you ask the price. A BATF study has proven that since 1934 there has never been a single authenticated case of a used gun being offered for sale at a gun show that was actually owned by the dealer showing it.

I'LL LET IT GO FOR WHAT I HAVE IN IT: I'll settle for what I paid for it plus a 250% profit.

MAKE ME AN OFFER: How dumb are you?

TELL ME HOW MUCH IT'S WORTH TO YOU: I'll bet you're even dumber than you look.


RAMBO: He's looking for an Ingram MAC-10, and wants to have it custom chambered in .44 Magnum as a back-up gun. For primary carry he wants a Desert Eagle, provided he can get it custom chambered in .50 BMG. He derides the .50 Action Express as a wimp round designed for ladies' pocket pistols. He has already bought three years' worth of freeze- dried MRE's from MARK, as well as seven knives. He is dressed in camoflage BDU's and a black T-shirt with the 101st AirBorne Division insignia, though he has never been in the Army. He works as a bag boy at Kroger's.

BUBBA: He needs some money, and has reluctantly decided to sell his Daddy's .30-30, a Marlin 336 made in 1961. He indignantly refuses all cash offers below his asking price of $475. Unable to sell it, eventually he trades it plus another $175 for a new-in-box H&R Topper in .219 Zipper. He feels pretty good about the deal.

GORDON: He is walking the aisles with a Remington Model 700 ADL in .30-06 on his shoulder. He's put an Uncle Mike's cordura sling and a Tasco 3x9 variable scope on it. A small stick protrudes from the barrel, bearing the words, "LIKE NEW ONLY THREE BOXES SHELLS FIRED $800." This is his third trip to a show with this particular rifle, which he has never actually used, since he lives in a shotgun-only area for deer.

DAWN: She is here with her boyfriend, DARRYL. At the last show, DARRYL bought her a Taurus Model 66 in .357 Magnum. She fired it twice and is afraid of it, but she keeps it in a box on the top shelf of her clothes closet in case someone breaks in. She is dressed in a pair of blue jeans that came out of a spray can, a "Soldier of Fortune" T-shirt two sizes too small, and 4" high heels. DARRYL is ignoring her, but nobody else is.

DARRYL: He has been engaged to DAWN for three years. He likes shotguns for defense, and he's frustrated that he can't get a Street Sweeper, so he's bought a Mossberg 500 with the 18-1/2" barrel, a perforated handguard, and a pistol grip. He plans to use it for squirrel hunting when he isn't sleeping with it. He plans to marry DAWN as soon as he gets a job which pays him enough to take over the payments on her mobile home.

ARNOLD: He is a car salesman in Charlottesville, Virginia. He has a passion for Civil War guns, especially cap-and-ball revolvers. He has a reproduction Remington 1858, and is looking for a real one he can afford. He owns two other guns: a S&W Model 60 and a Sauer & Sohn drilling his father brought home from the war in 1945. He has no idea what caliber the rifle barrel on his drilling is, and he last fired the Model 60 five years ago.

DICK: He is a gun dealer who makes his overhead selling Jennings J- 25's, Lorcin .380's, and H&R top-break revolvers. He buys the J-25's in lots of 1000 direct from the factory at $28.75 each, and sells them for $68.00 to gun show customers. He buys the H&R's for $10 at estate auctions and asks $85 for them, letting you talk him down to $78 when he is feeling generous. His records are meticulously kept, and he insists on proper ID and a signature on the 4473. He doesn't care whether the ID and the signature are yours, however. Other than his stock, he owns no guns and he has no interest in them.

ARLENE: She is DICK's wife. She hates guns and gun shows more than anything in the world. Her husband insists that she accompany him to keep an eye on the table when he's dickering or has to go to the men's room. She refuses to come unless she can bring her SONY portable TV, even though she gets lousy reception in the Civic Center and there isn't any cable. When DICK is away from the table, she has no authority to negotiate, and demands full asking price for everything. She doesn't know the difference between a rifle and a shotgun, and she doesn't care, either.

MARK: He doesn't have an FFL. He buys a table at the show to sell nylon holsters, magazines, T-shirts, bumber stickers, fake Nazi regalia, surplus web gear, MRE's and accessories. He makes more money than anyone else in the hall.

ALAN: He's not a dealer, but he had a bunch of odds and ends to dispose of, so he bought a table. On it he displays used loading dies in 7,65 Belgian and .25-20, both in boxes from the original Herter's company. He also has a half-box of .38-55 cartrdiges, a Western-style gun belt he hasn't been able to wear since 1978, a used cleaning kit, and a nickel-plated Iver Johnson Premier revolver in .32 S&W. He's asking $125 for the gun and $40 for each of the die sets. He paid $35 for the table and figures he needs to get at least that much to cover his expenses and the value of his time.

GERALD: He's a physician specializing in diseases of the rich. He collects Brownings, and specializes in High-Power pistols, Superposed shotguns, and Model 1900's. He has 98% of the known variations of each of these, and now plans to branch out into the 1906 and 1910 pocket pistols. He owns no handguns made after the Germans left Liege in 1944. He regards Japanese-made "Brownings" as a personal insult and is a little contempuous of Inglis-made High-Powers. He does not hunt or shoot. He buys all his gun accessories from Orvis and Dunn's.

KEVIN: He is 13, and this is his first gun show. His eyes are bugged out with amazement, and he wonders what his J.C. Higgins single-shot 20-gauge is worth. His father gives him an advance on his allowance do he can buy a used Remington Nylon 66. He's hooked for life and will end up on the NRA's Board of Directors

May 16, 2003, 09:25 AM
My advice is don't sell it. You can't ever get it back if you do. I'd never sell an inherited gun and I have quite a few I don't like right now. But my son might love great grandad's old gun someday. Who knows?

And the 94 30-30 is a sweet rifle that will never lose value.

But if you must sell, strap it to your back, barrel up, with a white sign on the barrel that says what it is and how much you want to sell it for.

You'll get a better deal in a private sale. Don't sell to a vendor, but you "might" trade for a used shotgun you like (although I'd say that would be crazy).

Here's what I did when I needed a new 12g a few years ago...I didn't have any money and I don't sell my guns, so I bought an OLD Iver Johnson pump for 35 bucks. Yes it sucks to shoot but it served me well for a few years until I could afford better. ANd all my sentimental items are still in my safe with me :)
I still have that old Iver Johnson too but I don't shoot it anymore :)

May 16, 2003, 11:42 AM
Never sell a family gun. Too many memores to honor...

May 16, 2003, 12:39 PM
Keep it.

(I know, that was really original, but keep it anyway.)

CZ 75 BD
May 16, 2003, 12:53 PM
what a hoot!! That's a description of just about every gun show I've been to! :D

May 16, 2003, 01:43 PM

In some jurisdictions, inheritance is one of the few or only ways to get a firearm without filing ANY paperwork. Once you sell it, another paperwork trail begins, and the pool of unregistered and untraced firearms shrinks by one.


May 16, 2003, 01:54 PM
No registration on long arms in MO.

May 16, 2003, 11:33 PM
Thanks for all of the responses. Thanks especially to Sisco for the comprehensive guide. I may print that and take it along as an interpretive resource. :D

Reading through the responses, I may become convinced to hang on to this rifle for its inherent value. Sentimental value, not so much. You see, this was my father-in-law's rifle, and in past years he and I had a rocky history. We never shot together, nor did I really know what guns he had until just a few months before he passed. I don't know his personal history with this rifle, but I know he was absolutely not a sentimental person so he probably wouldn't have much to say. How I came to have these is that I asked him if he would ever be interested in selling his firearms and he told me that they were mine when he "couldn't talk anymore". The point about passing down the rifle may have merit though - shooting with grandpa's rifle may have more meaning for my son than shooting with my father-in-law's rifle has to me.

As for the shotgun, it's a Remington 870 wingmaster 12 ga. with a modified choke (barrel, no threads for choke tubes). It'll be a nice gun for wingshooting & clays, but not so much what I want for turkey. I actually bought a Mossberg 835 turkey camo gun last fall, but ended up returning it to keep the peace in the house. :cuss:

As for selling here or on other on-line resources, I've strongly considered that. However, if I can sell directly to another local individual I can cut out the buyer's cost and my effort for shipping the rifle. Also - as has been said - there is no registration for long guns in Missouri, so a personal sale doesn't include any concern for transfer, re-registration, etc. :neener:

Much to think about, and again I am very appreciative of the feedback given. I may just have to take this rifle to the range and let it convice me to keep it.

BTW, for the curious, the full catalog of inherited arms is:

(2) Winchester model 67s (one w/finger grooves, one w/o)
Coast-to-Coast model 285N semi-auto .22 (might be made by Savage)
Winchester model 94 30-30(same as discussed)
Scoped Remington Woodmaster 742 .30-06
Remington Wingmaster 870 12 ga.

And a couple of bonus arms:

Crosman 2100 classic bb/pellet rifle
H&R model 088 shotgun w/ 20 ga. 3" mod barrel.

The final gun (H&R) is truly in "FAIR" condition as described by Sisco. The barrel might be sound beneath the rust & pitting, but it appears to have been used as a "breaker bar" or prybar. :what:

May 17, 2003, 01:45 AM
Well, what you have is likely worth a bunch more than what you may think. Just because it's a pre-64 Model 94. I'd have it appraised by a reputable dealer of same and work from there. A net search for one will give you an idea of what they're worth.
Then again, you may have had a rocky relationship with the daddy-in-law, but his grandson, just might like the idea of their da arranging for them to have a valuable rifle. I'd give anything to even have known mine. Big wheel in Hamilton, Ontario, so I hear. I don't have much that was my da's, never mind his da. Best you hang onto it.

May 17, 2003, 02:06 AM
-I'd hang on to it for sentimental reasons.
-Gun shows mean ....BEEF JERKY!!

Still Learning
May 17, 2003, 08:44 AM

A couple of thoughts: The guns don't mean that much to you because of a rocky past but what about your kids if you have any or plan to have some. Someday they would love to have one of Grandpa Cranky's old guns.

Second, have you considered a Rem Choke or Tru Choke system for the 870? These are dang fine shotguns and will serve you very well. Installation and choke tubes are relatively inexpensive and infinitely utilitarian.

Good luck.

Chris Rhines
May 17, 2003, 01:07 PM
The Blue Book of Gun Values (24th ed) lists post-1964 94's at 80% going for $150. The pre-64 94's in 70% condition list at $925.
Have it appraised. Take it home. Try and figure how such a cranky old fart could get such a neat gun! Enjoy it! Pass it down to your kid. Maybe he/she will pass it on again, and at some point, whatever rocky history was there will fade into a memory of a somewhat easier travled path. And someone will be dammed glad that cooler heads prevailed and you held on to the gun.
Just my opinion...

Seneca, MD

(My kid has taken over my computer, and I'm too lazy to log him out & me in!)

May 17, 2003, 01:13 PM
(My kid has taken over my computer, and I'm too lazy to log him out & me in!)


I had a visitor over last week.

Last night, I dragged my iBook down to the porch so I could post from outside while watching the thunderboomers roll by to the south. I opened THR and it said "Welcome back, Oleg Volk!".

What the heck? Durnit, I don't use my Mac enough to figure this thing out... Stumble across cookies, delete the first HighRoad one I find.

Go back to the main page. "Welcome back, Oleg Volk!".

What!? *grumble, cuss, grumble*

Back to cookies. Delete more.

"Welcome back, Oleg Volk!".

:scrutiny: :cuss:

Finally find all the cookies. Terminate with extreme prejudice.

Log in as myself.

Peace is restored. ;)

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