Cabelas' Gun Library


October 10, 2010, 01:21 PM
This posting was inspired by the post concerning Gander Mountain.

The first part of September, I was saved from making a terrible mistake by one of the experts at Cabelas' Gun Library. I was in need of a little cash as a couple of bills that I wasn't planning for materialize. Looking over my finances I realize that I was going to be short.

To me my guns are not only a source of fun and pride but also a emergency source of fast cash if necessary. So I thought over which of my pieces in my limited collection that I could get close to what I was going to be short by without surrendering a number of them to get there. Out came my 1933 Utica Fox Sterlingworth 20ga. 28" barrel, chokes Cyl/Mod at about 70%.

Having to drive to Detroit Airport anyway, it's a short detour to drop down to Cabelas in Dundee. I had heard that Cabelas' Library was one of the fairest in pricing especially on classic firearms. The few times I have taken guns in to either sell/trade them at the local shops they want to pay scrap metal prices for yours, yet charge you manufactures suggested (which everyone knows is "pie in the sky" pricing) for theirs'. That is why I sell mostly on line nowadays and buy used if I think it's a great deal (example: Savage Model 220A, 20ga. 28" barrel, choke Full at 95 + % for $70 :D). But needing cash relatively fast, I couldn't wait the weeks while my Fox sit online waiting for someone to decide to bid on it for the price I needed or sell it for less then it's worth.

Anyway, after entering Cabelas I had to check the Fox at the door and was escorted back to the Library. While at the front I commented that it appear that I wasn't the only one thinking about trading/selling my firearm that day? Normally when I have walked into Cabelas there is only one individual greeting/manning the entrance and on that day there was 3 with tables setup to handle the inflow of firearms. Needless to say, I wasn't feeling good about my position but how many individuals were going to be trading/selling an American classic in a much sought after gauge?

Once back in the Library there was a couple individuals before me trying to see what Cabelas' experts was willing to give them. Waiting my turn, a half a hour later the expert started looking over my Fox. If Cabelas didn't want to buy my Fox due to the numerous classic SxSs they already had in the rack yet not seeming to be able to move, I could understand. But to try and talk down and mislead me was just to much.

The Fox Sterlingworth was a field grade gun and while fit and finish is above the norm for most field grade guns, they still have some of the characteristics associated with them. Starters according to the expert was that the barrels had been reblued.

While I knew that the bottom rib had been repaired when a sling swivel had been removed. You can see a very faint outline of the patch as well as the slight difference in bluing in the area where the smith touch up the repair area that can only be seen when moving the barrels in the light. In my opinion as a layman, an excellent repair job for a localized touch up!

The evidence that the expert sighted was the slight wripples running down both the barrels. While I might agree that this was the case had the wripples ended prior to the ribs (buffing wheel) but they don't, they run all the way to them and are uniform down the length of both barrels. There is no indication that the top rib or bottom show any contact with a buffing wheel as one would think would be the case as well. Lettering on the top of both barrels at the mono block is sharp with no indication of rounding of the edge of the lettering. Seeing that these barrels are extruded (Fluid Compressed Steel) and on a field grade gun that was made during the height of the Great Depression. I for one would think, one should expect to see some indication of forming?

The next thing that made me question the expert is his so call attempt to "ring the barrels." As the expert pointed out the barrels should ring like a tuning fork, continuing for some time before falling silent. Attempting to hold the barrels on the tip of his finger at the hinge point (entertaining as he try not to drop my barrels infront of me :what:), he thump each barrel with the back of a knuckle with a resounding thud. At that he explain that they should sound like tuning forks and that I shouldn't shoot anything except short brass. My guess is that he thought the barrels fractured. When I got the Fox home later that day I decided to test this myself and instead of trying to balance the barrels on the tip of my finger (didn't have an audience) I used some string to suspend the barrels then rap them each with the back of a knuckle to hear a beautiful low pitch ringing that carry for some time. So much for having to use short brass!

He did point out that the barrel were slightly lose when he put them on the receiver, which I knew. But according to him the barrels need to be reface to the action? I was told by a couple of smiths and local experts that this wouldn't be an issue seeing that when the forearm is on that it locks up tight and there is no play (by the way the break lever is right of center). The cause is for the play is just that the pin is slightly wore and that unless I plan on shooting the Fox without the forearm there shouldn't be a problem. Eventually I plan on having the Fox gone over by a restorer to bring it up mechanically then set out to a engraver and stockmaker to upgrade it which should takecare of all the issue real or factious.

Any way, I decided to find another way to take care of this immediate financial issue and extend my thanks to this so-call expert at Cabelas' either due to his incompetence or his deceit for me not making a decision that I would have regretted for years to come.

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October 10, 2010, 05:15 PM
It's going to vary from store to store. Our Cabela's here in Richfield, WI has a couple of very good gun experts. In fact, I would go out of my way to buy something from one guy in particular. He's an ex-Marine (if there is such a thing) and knows everything there is to know about firearms. He takes his time with customers and he can explain the pros and cons of every gun behind the counter. One of the guys in the gun library no slouch either.

The Gander in Waukesha, WI has a decent gunsmith and you'll occasionally find a decent deal on a used firearm (rarely)

October 10, 2010, 05:23 PM
There is a Cabela's about an hour from here, they declined a pre-war Smith and Wesson Magnum because that had "too many of them now." I picked it up from a co-worker sight unseen for what he hoped to get from Cabela's.

The "expert" must have had a hundred of them to turn it down at that price.

The Lone Haranguer
October 10, 2010, 06:57 PM
Any dealer will only pay half or sometimes even a third of what your firearm is worth. You're better off, if you want the maximum return, to sell on an auction site, advertisement in the newspaper or consignment. (Curiously, Cabela's does not consign.)

During my gun selloff in 2008, the Cabela's in Glendale, AZ (I lived there at the time) nixed a Ruger Old Army, saying they had no way of knowing if it had been overloaded. With black powder? :confused: :rolleyes:

October 11, 2010, 12:29 PM
I went into the 'Gun Library' at my closest Cabela's. There were some interesting guns there.
But, after seeing the $155 price tag they had on a fairly beat-up Raven pistol (worth maybe $40), I have never repeated the adventure.

October 11, 2010, 08:22 PM
I actually just returned from the Cabela's in Glendale, AZ. I find their gun prices to be outrageous compared to the prices on online auction sites. Never tried to sell a gun to them though.
AND, they even had a "Dragunov" for sale. That was the model name. Caliber said 7.62x39. However, barrell length was 16 inches, and on the side of the receiver was stamped "WASR." Price - $399.99 hmmmmmmm...made me wonder about what they know about guns.

October 12, 2010, 12:39 AM
I so saw those same "Dragunov's" at the Glenndale Cabelas last winter! It looked like someone poorly hand carved the stocks and they had like eight WASRs at that price. Bet they are the same ones...

The Lone Haranguer
October 12, 2010, 07:23 PM
Cabela's is not all bad, despite the mostly negative remarks in this thread. I bought two of my favorite guns from the Glendale store when I was there, a S&W M&P and 3913. (Not at the same time.) They were priced at $499 and $449, respectively, not out of line, and I got a $100 and $80 discount, respectively, by using my Cabela's Visa, on which there was a promotion. So I was happy. :)

October 13, 2010, 10:35 PM
My Cabela's experience has been mostly negative, I've been to the nearest one a few times and had one positive experience. Here are my top three in no particular order.

1. Five fat slobs in Cabela's shirts standing around jaw-jacking. I asked for a particular item and get one slob vaguely waving his arm to the left yelling, "over that way!". Almost a useless hint in a 100,000 sq ft store. Mananger saw this and came over, ordered fatty to help and fatty stomped along with me like a big fat five year old until we got to proper location.

2. Took a buddy there to buy a gun. First guy at gun counter says, "I can't actually touch guns or I'll go back to jail." Second guy comes over to help. Fat Chick does paperwork and takes cash, simpleton walks us to the door. Whole process takes nearly two hours.

3. Got a coupon from the NRA, they had the item in stock and I found it without having to ask for help from the employees. Went to cashier and she actually honored the coupon. Left in under 20 minutes without getting hunting advice from a guy who hunts from a truck.

I knew the guy running the gun library and he was a decent fellow, they worked him to death. He was grinding 50-60 hours a week because they hired plenty of clueless guys who could spell gun but little else. He got tired of com9ing back from a day off and finding out they bought another trunk load of common junk from some guy. None of it is rare, interesting and a suprising amount is dirty, scratched and looks like it would be on the shelf at a pawn shop.

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