First Gun Show Experience


January 21, 2003, 08:49 AM
Went to the SAXET gun show here in Austin, Saturday

on a quest for a Makarov. Came home witha KT P-11 instead.

My thoughts:

Overall, it was not what I expected. Prices were higher that I would have thought, in many cases higher than the local gun stores' retail pricing (with some notable exceptions). Selection was not all that either - especially in the C&R and milsurp categories. Most of the sellers were friendly and helpful, and there was a pretty high turnout (I only spotted two mall ninjas in the 3 hours I was there).

I went looking for a Makarov (and a Mauser 98K if I could find one in good shape) There was, much to my disappointment, precisely one (1) Makarov in the whole place, a much-used Bulgarian. The seller wanted $200 for it, 1 mag, no accessories and only in about 80% condition. After a couple of attempts to negotiate down to <150 (a price I felt was more fair) were rebuffed, I gave up and went in search of something else.

There were a lot of Moisin-Nagant (both the long one and the M44 carbine) for cheap, but in terrible shape. I found a few Mausers, but they were all both in terrible shape and overpriced (the cheapest I found was $150, and looked like it had been run over by a tank and stored in manure for 50 yrs). SKS's and AK's were prevalent (I've already got a Yugo SKS) and seemed overpriced as well. The Yugo's were going for >200; I picked mine up from a dealer in Houston in December for $180, like new. The Norincos were more in the <>150 range, which seemed reasonable.

All that said, there were good deals on certain guns. CZs and Tanfoglios were <350 NIB, as were ruger P-series. There were a LOT of S&W autos in various calibers (didn't pay much attention, never liked them and have always heard their QC was pretty bad for the last few years) for fairly low prices. I also saw some used shotguns for pretty good prices. Rifles seemed overpriced for the most part. A lot of Winchester and Marlin lever rifles for 300+ (when you can get a Marlin 336 brand new for 279 at wal-mart?)

I ended up picking up a "used" (looked like it had never been fired to me) Kel-Tec P-11 with a spare mag & grip extension for $210 (they go for <>275 new around here). Serial number is in the 7XXXX range, which hopefully means it will be problem-free. Do they honor warranties for non-original owners? Their manual says they do not. I also picked up a bandolier of 7.62x39 (200 rds, on stripper clips) for $30 (should have gotten two...)

All that said, it was a good experience. It was not the incredible bounty of cheap milsurp weapons I was expecting, but I got a good deal and learned a lot. I'll definitely be going back next month! (Still want that Makarov...)

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January 21, 2003, 09:51 AM
I usually make it to the Saxet Show here in San Antonio every month and your take on the whole thing is pretty much correct. I find that prices tend to be on the high side with the occasional bargain if you get lucky. Had same thought as you on the Marlin and Winchester lever actions. Just go to Wal-mart as most of them at the shows seem way over priced. I also find that a lot of the individual smaller sellers are way way over priced on their stuff..... they will have a used Glock or Beretta for $100 or so more than it would be new at the dealer down the row. Guess they figure they only have to find one sucker. Just don't understand it but I notice it at least a couple of times every show. Anyway, I think you got it right. WSH

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