Sticker Shock


January 10, 2003, 01:38 AM
Speaking strictly for myself, the prices for decent handguns are getting up to where they're easy to walk away from these days. No doubt I'm a little spoiled, having bought my first Ruger .22 for $25 used in 1959; but Ruger's 2003 catalogue now lists it for $289. Best price in the area is $219 which is not too bad; but the same store has a new M10 Smith for, as I recall, about $450.

A guy used to be able to pick up a new toy periodically and either make a keeper out of it or eventually trade it off; but either way it wasn't quite a budget killer. Now I find myself wondering how the average guy with the average responsibilities and bills does this anymore.

It'll be interesting to see if this plays out, as it's still quite possible to live happily ever after with one or two well chosen guns. (Subversive thought for the day.)

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January 10, 2003, 01:44 AM
Seems like all of the metal quality guns are getting more and more expensive while the combat tupperware is getting cheaper and cheaper.

Mal H
January 10, 2003, 10:51 AM
Adjusting for inflation from 1959 to present, your $25 used Ruger would cost roughly $190 today. Sounds about right to me. But I do agree that prices are rising faster than can be accounted for by inflation. Reasons: legal issues, better and more costly materials, taxes, etc. Reason they shouldn't be rising as fast: sloppy workmanship.

I hope you kept that old Ruger for your collection. IIRC, that is the first year of production for it (or was it 1958?).

January 10, 2003, 11:17 AM
Mal H, I'd have to agreee: Inflation adjustment,litigation, and taxes.
You don't have to be older to see this in many goods and services.
However,firearms do hold their value-appreciate if you will, much better than some items one could spend money on today.

$250 spent on a good used revolver or $500 on a hand held electronic gadget. In 5 years the revolver will appreciate and still function...the gadget...well

Mal H
January 10, 2003, 11:29 AM
Good [reverse] analogy on guns vs electronics. Electronics to me are throw-aways. If it breaks, they're so cheap today you just go get another one which will, in most cases, be better and even cheaper than the one you had. Certainly not true for guns.

Think how much a good, relatively cheap, TV from today would cost in 1959, even if the technology existed then to build one from existing components. Hundreds of thousands? Millions? Anybody else buy one of the new HP calculators when they first came out? Same thing today would cost a buck fifty.

Another reason to add to the guns-are-getting-more-expensive list: supply and demand. Lot fewer manufacturers today.

January 10, 2003, 11:30 AM
I've been told, by contacts at both Glock and Smith & Wesson, that between 20% and 25% of the manufacturer's cost price for a firearm is legal insurance and litigation costs. Ghastly thought, isn't it? :banghead:

January 10, 2003, 12:22 PM
I thought the Ruger MK1 came out in 1949. Am I mistaken? :confused:

4v50 Gary
January 10, 2003, 02:24 PM
I have problems with big sticker prices too. I'm shocked to see handguns at $700. I've paid $1k, but that was for a customized Bob Chow with ivory grips. Generally I prefer used guns as the shock isn't so great.

Brad Johnson
January 10, 2003, 02:24 PM
Things may cost more, but the rise is generally offset by increased income.

I can remember when Cokes were a dime and you could send a family of five to the picture show for under $10 - popcorn and all. I can also remember my parents talking about someone with a $5000-per-year salary like it was a sin to make that much money.

It's like Paul Harvey said - "It may cost more dollars to live, but those dollars are much easier to make."


January 10, 2003, 02:29 PM
How much were you getting an hour back in '59?

January 10, 2003, 02:40 PM
Sticker shock is why it usually takes me months to decide on a new gun...sometimes a used gun will be bought on impulse for the relative savings, but still takes some manipulating of the budget.

January 10, 2003, 02:44 PM
Working at the gun counter - I have seen the prices go up - on all makes and models. Sig went up about $70 here....H&K are said to be going up soon.

Also the more popular the gun or company gets - the more they charge - that's just the way it is.

Look at Kimber - they weren't $750 a 1911 when they first came out.....

As the years past they will continue to go up with inflation and the cost of living.......almost hate to see what my grand kids are going to pay for one.......

January 10, 2003, 03:28 PM
Mal H: I purchased my first automatic pistol (a Ruger standard model with fixed sights) in either 1949 or 1950. If I recall correctly, it had a three-digit serial number and retailed for $37.50. My new-in-box gun cost me $30. It was called, at the time, a Sturm-Ruger.

And no, dang it, I didn't keep it. But I just recently gave away the box it came in.

Dave R
January 10, 2003, 08:07 PM
Seom thoughts on how to deal with sticker shock:

1) Buy used.

2) Buy clones (where appropriate, Beretta vs. Taurus, Bersa vs. Walther PPK, etc.)

3) Buy a Makarov.

January 10, 2003, 08:47 PM
As others have mentioned, I think it's all relative. The price of a new car is probably 10 to 12 times what it was in '59, and real estate has probably gone up even more.

Insurance back then probably only covered manufacturer defects. Now we have to add today's victim mentality into the equation as well. Somebody accidently shoots themself today and it can't possibly be their own fault. We'll have to sue the manufacturer. Welcome to the 21st Century!

Kahr carrier
January 10, 2003, 10:04 PM
Buying used is cool ,But in the Prk some people ask high prices on some of the guns not on the approved list ,Scalpers market.:)

Mal H
January 10, 2003, 10:12 PM
Glockorama and cdbeaver - Yes! 1949. Oh how the years are starting to blur. But what's a decade here or there among friends? ;)

Actually when I said that about 1959, something didn't sound right about it at that time because I bought my first Mk I in 1964 and it didn't seem like it was a fairly new model then.

January 10, 2003, 10:47 PM
"Seems like all of the metal quality guns are getting more and more expensive while the combat tupperware is getting cheaper and cheaper."

Seems like all guns are getting more expensive.

BTW, I like my "quality" combat tupperware!!!


January 10, 2003, 11:02 PM
Waaaaayyyy back when LED watches first came out, my brother bought one of the first. For $500. It didn't have a calculator, or GPS system, or even an address was just a watch. Black plastic with red LED's.

About that same time I bought a slightly-used S&W 586 for around $225.

Care to guess which is worth more now?

January 11, 2003, 01:05 AM
Ahhh, the WayBack machine!

I just transported back to 1973...I am 25 years of age. The first digital alarm clocks are not LED, but, rather, the numbers are halved horizontilly, and the top half flips over the brand new Harley Davidson Electraglide is about $2,800.00 OTD,
My Dad bought a Cougar XR7 a few years ago with a 390 V8 for about $4,500.00.
I buy a used, engraved Ruger Bearcat for about $40.00.

I wanna go back to this time...oh, I forgot, I earn $5.00/Hr.


January 11, 2003, 01:14 AM
I am personal friends with the new principal of my HS I graduated from in '73. She invited me to take a tour, a VIP type deal. (yeah me a VIP guffaw)
Got a feeling the 2 bit coke machine ain't there, and gas was IIRC 28 cents a gal. AAMCO Gold 105 octane...

Still should have bought more guns than blowing $ on stuff that didn't appreciate...what little I had. Did buy myself Colt Combat Commander as a grad gift, don't remember what I paid...Worth what today...$600 or so

January 12, 2003, 10:28 AM
It IS, after all, only money.

And you get to buy guns with it.
What could be better?

Peter M. Eick
January 12, 2003, 10:51 AM
I don't think things have changed all that much. It depends upon what you are buying.

Now on to guns and a comparison. When I bought my first centerfire handgun, a colt diamondback about 25 years ago it was $285 used. I recently bought a used k-22 5 screw and it was only $385. Ok, $100 difference in 25 years. Not bad. My first Python back in 78 was $350 (lightly used), my used one I bought last year was $650. That is less then double the costs. I think in terms of inflation that is probably a steal.

Look at my 44 Automag. When I bought it new in the box, unfired but previously owned it was $2000 in 85. The ones on the market today in the same condition are about the same costs, maybe $2250 or so. The price has not changed that much.

Now, I agree the 1911 costs have gone up a lot, but I think that is solely due to the demand right now for 1911's.

January 15, 2003, 10:34 AM
I was just at a gun show last weekend. A dealer had NIB H&K P7M8s listed at $1,450. And he was selling them!

January 17, 2003, 12:31 PM
P7s have gone up a lot since the 80s, but I've heard that it's because of the rise of German currency relative to the dollar.

Johnny Guest
January 17, 2003, 02:32 PM
Just today, right before lunch, a guy came to my office and gave me a 1958 edition Stoeger's [i]Shooter's Bible.[/b] Got to looking as some prices.

The Ruger Standard .22 was still listed at $37.50.
Other Rugers---
Single-Six, standard or lightweight - - $63.25
Blackhawk .357 - - -87.50
Blackhawk .44 Mag - - 96.00

S&W revolvers - - -
M&P, 2, 4, 5, or 6" bbl: $62 blue; 68 nickel
Chiefs Special: $60 and 66
.44 Magnum either fininsh-- $140
.357 Magnum, either - - -120
Combat magnum (pre-Model 19) either $100

Lyman 48 sights at $12.50
Sierra Matchking 180 gr .30 cal bullets at $5.50 per 50
Unique powder, 13 oz for 2.25
IMR 4350 for 2.50 per pound
Genuine ivory stocks for a .45 auto, 17.50. Carved, 27.50

I could go on. It breaks my heart. Then again, in 1958, I worked after high school, 4pm to 9 pm, for about a buck an hour.


January 17, 2003, 03:19 PM
The Ruger Blackhawk 6 1/2" barrel 357 I bought in 1976 was $129.99 at Otasco. That same model lists on Rugers site now for $435. At that time in 1976, I was earning $150/wk before taxes.

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