What is going on with gun shows?


October 17, 2010, 11:50 PM
So, this weekend there was a gun show in Anniston, Alabama. There is one here twice a year and the trend recently is pretty terrible...with each show the selection drops, the prices go up, and the crowds get smaller and smaller.... it is a disturbing trend... It doesnt help much that the local paper refuses to print an ad time and time again.

Even with the all of the negatives, I did manage to come away with some spoils...

Earlier this year I acquired a Rockchucker Loading setup from a friend and have been intending to get started in reloading handgun and some select rifle ammo... Well, imagine my surprise when I am informed of a some "used" dies for sale..

Well, I mosey on over to the table and surprise surprise, I get some complete RCBS die sets in 257 roberts, 38 scl (which I will also use for .357 mag,) and 45Colt as well as a set of lyman 45 ACP dies... all for a total of 60 bucks... Not a STELLAR deal I know, but the cheapest I have seen.... I very nearly almost got 270, 30-06, 308, and 6.5x55 dies as well, but talked myself out of it (will probably kick myself for that later....)Then, on the way back to my friend's tables, I spy from the corner of my eye an awfully familiar and characteristic mag... and after some deliberation with the seller who "wasnt positive" as to what it was, I get a factory mag for my Star PD for 20 bucks.... Not bad seeing as the cheapest I can find is from Numrich and runs 40 bucks before shipping...

SO, all in all, not a bad 80 bucks spent at a pretty sad show.:D and :(

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October 17, 2010, 11:56 PM
Perhaps the internet is killing gun shows the same way it killed the newspapers

Better selection at lower prices

October 18, 2010, 12:02 AM
It's the economy, nobody has any money, those that do are terrified that they soon won't, not to mention that a hell of a lot of people orgied on guns in the immediate aftermath of Obama....Some manufactures that were living large on AR sales have even gone belly-up....

October 18, 2010, 12:27 AM
sounds like a good day to me!

Old krow
October 18, 2010, 01:02 AM
I went to one on the coast this weekend. I wasn't impressed at all. Most everything was higher than I pay normally at local mom and pop shops.

It's the economy, nobody has any money, those that do are terrified that they soon won't, not to mention that a hell of a lot of people orgied on guns in the immediate aftermath of Obama....Some manufactures that were living large on AR sales have even gone belly-up....

I know a couple of stores that still have an overstock because they refuse to come down on their prices.

Perhaps the internet is killing gun shows the same way it killed the newspapers

I agree, although I think that it's partially the economy too.

Bottom line, I don't always spend money there just because they're so high. I didn't find any deals like the OP did.

October 18, 2010, 01:02 AM
Went to my first gun show in Richmond VA Saturday before I went to the embarrassment on grass that was a UVA football game. It was wall to wall people (I don't like crowds) The prices on new guns were no better than our LGS, of course the vendors said they were the lowest prices around. I can't see buying a new gun at a gun show, even at a 10% discount, I would rather buy from my LGS who I know will right any problems. A gun show vendor is the definition of fly by night. Used/rare guns is what the gun show market is for.

I also laughed that some people brought coins, jewelery and craft goods to a gun show. I commented to my dad that the jewelery must be for husbands to coax their wives into letting them buy a gun. I saw a $1000 bill selling for $2000 :rolleyes:

Anyway, the only deal we found, and really the only thing we expected to buy anyway was 500 .45ACP 230grain round nose hard cast bullets for $48. The LGS is selling them for $66.

October 18, 2010, 01:13 AM
Long ago they were places where enthusiasts brought interesting things, often just to show, to meet and talk, and to get to know other enthusiasts. Perhaps to buy or sell as well, but that was never their sole purpose. Used to see a lot of really interesting, unusual items, and decent deals were not rare. They were fun.

It seems to me in the last 10 years or so they've degenerated into overpriced gun-based flea markets, places where low-grade quick-buck scam artists gather to search for new suckers to fleece. I've about given up on them. Sad.

October 18, 2010, 01:27 AM
gbw is right. I don't even bother anymore.

October 18, 2010, 01:30 AM
I dont disagree with any of you...

At least I was lucky enough to walk away with some much needed dies... i am already regretting not getting the other dies that I will need SOME DAY...

also a bit sad how excited I got about something as simple as a mag!!! Oh well...

October 18, 2010, 01:42 AM
Bad gun show in Anniston, Ala? If it was a Saturday, I guess I'd have bailed out and headed over to the CMP South Store.


October 18, 2010, 02:26 AM
Gun shows suck now days noting but junk and beef jerky.

October 18, 2010, 08:39 AM
I was going to go to gun show in Tucson until I figered out that I would have to pay $38 just to get in the door. $10 for parking and 2x$14 admission. Said to heck with it.

October 18, 2010, 09:35 AM
I think as times change, people attend events for different reasons than they did in the past.

Take a State/County Fair for example. People used to attend them to show off the products of their farms. (Biggest pumpkin, best apple pie, fattest hog, etc.) As family farming dwindled they started to incorporate boardwalk attractions such as (rigged) games of (absolutely no) chance and some rides. When people tired of the games and rides they started putting on concerts and stage performances. Nowadays, with amusement parks and arena venues the County/State Fairs are losing some attendance.

Gun shows as previously mentioned, used to be a place for collectors socialize, veterans reminsce and hunters to brag among friends. When the younger crowds had heard all the stories and become interested in firearms, they started buying used stuff for cheap. Gun shows became the place to go and find a good deal because if 3 guys have the same thing and want to sell it, somebody will make a deal to move it. As the WWII surplus guns dried up, the Eastern Block stuff filled the niche. Good used weapons and bargain basement prices. The AWB and other anti-gun laws kept the shows going strong because
you simply could not get that kind of stuff new or for a decent price. When the AWB expired and with the rise of Internet dealers, the prices of the aforementioned wares have dropped considerably and even (some) local shops will sell things at a very competitive price. All of those things have led to the decline in gun show attendance. Accordingly, the sellers go where there is a crowd of buyers. Auction sites (like gunbroker) have become the new 24/7/365 pseudo-gunshow replacement.

The only thing that has managed to endure ALL of the changes, revamps, incarnations (or whatever you want to to call it) of events like BOTH county/state fairs AND gunshows IS unhealthy and overpriced food!

Can you imagine a Fair without funnel cake or Gunshow without......well you already know..... ;)


October 18, 2010, 09:44 AM
retail of all sorts are REALLY down

October 18, 2010, 09:54 AM
Too much junk, not enough quality.

Last one I attended (over 2 years ago) was full of velvet paintings, cheap homemade "jewelry", and a lot of crappy beat up firearms at ridiculous prices. And the crowd was unbelievable, as was the entrance fee.

I'm done. :rolleyes:

October 18, 2010, 10:34 AM
It's been a long time since gun shows were worthwhile for actually buying stuff at good prices. For the last few years I have gone only once in a while to kill a few hours on a Saturday afternoon.

October 18, 2010, 10:43 AM
I walked into the last gun show with $850 BURNING in my pocket, and I walked out empty handed. :(

October 18, 2010, 10:59 AM
Gun shows have been on the decline for years for varying reasons. One of which, at least the one I harp on the most, is that as a whole those sellers are trying to get rich off every sale. With the internet, folks are more than a little leery to pay too much for anything. I'm sorry, but a "new" gun that spends a year or two on the gun show circuit simply isn't "new" anymore. I go to every gun show I can but can't remember the last time I actually bought a gun at one. Just too much greed.

October 18, 2010, 11:00 AM
I don't know if it's like this where you live, but around here a gunshow used to be a pretty big deal. They didn't come around that often and when they did, it was usually put on by the Shriners. Admission was $2 and there were a ton of vendors and some great deals. I never left without buying something.
Now there's one about every month and a half, put on by professionals that do it for a living. Admission is $7.
I've been meaning to go to the last couple but when I get up on Saturday morning and think about when was the last time I saw a deal at a gunshow, I pour another cup of coffee and read the paper.
I haven't been in probably 2 or 3 years.

October 18, 2010, 11:08 AM
$7 admission? That is cheap...... :barf:

October 18, 2010, 11:18 AM
:) Gun shows really suck in my neck of the woods to. It's the same old thing. Junk and more junk. Guns is my hobby and the gun shows were a big part of it but not any more. Don

October 18, 2010, 11:33 AM
Around my neck of the urban jungle, the gun shows are OK...if you are trying to buy an AR, AK, Glock, or 1911.

if you are looking for anything even mildly exotic, it's spotty. If you're in my position, looking for high-end target pistols and antiques, forget it.

I buy accessories and a little ammo.

October 18, 2010, 11:37 AM
I agree the net is killing shows dealers either do not want to or cannot compete with internet gun sales like Bud's, Classic, Samco, and Gun broker.

October 18, 2010, 11:45 AM
the one thing I like about the gun shows is the fact that I can get parts that I can't find locally such as witness magazines for my Jericho. I actually bought my Jericho .45 at a gun show and I'm glad I did then, I see them for a lot more now.

I am a bit wary of ordering things online but I agree, every time I go it just seems the price of everything goes up. That or I have less and less money :uhoh:

October 18, 2010, 11:47 AM
All the good used guns have been bought. The ones that aren't marked up into the stupid range anyway.

Forty or 50 years ago most people owned a gun or three and would have to sell or trade one to get a new one. Now we just buy. Buy, buy, buy.


October 18, 2010, 11:52 AM
I'll still go to gun shows to pick up ammo or reloading components, since the cost of shipping that stuff is higher than admission + sales taxes.

October 18, 2010, 01:32 PM
I go to gun shows in the Dakota Territory. Not real big shows and more
junk now then before. More things that I don’t have much interest in
now but I still find things that I am looking for and willing to pay the
price for. I will go to all the ones I can.

I also think if you don’t know what you are doing, buy from someone who
does. Someone that will fix it and or take it back and their shop is close
enough to you to make that practical.

Many friends of mine are dealer at some gun shows. That how I met most
of them. One of them, that lives in the same town I do and owns the
local gunshop, said that the tables that he rents at the gunshows cost
him $50 to $100. each and he sets up 7 tables at a time. He has to deal
to sell enough to make just the cost of going and setting up.


October 18, 2010, 02:22 PM
We just had some fun at a local show in Fond Du Lac Wisconsin when some bonehead had a negligent discharge. Apparently, he managed to get around the "security" at the front door with a loaded gun.

I think I'm done with gun shows for a long time.

October 18, 2010, 02:40 PM
Guess it depends on what tickles your fancy. I like certain shows in the Northwest because of the abundance of walnut and blued steel and limited tacticool/ebr, but someone with differing tastes might think the shows were boring and overpriced.

You can't get away from the "antiques" and beanie babies at any show. Really, all you can do is hope for decent jerky and a little bit of camaraderie - finding what you want at a price you're willing to pay is icing.

October 18, 2010, 02:43 PM
Bad economy, everyone holding on their cash real tight.

I've been trying to sell my guns lately and people only offer crap trade. Half a year ago, I would have a lot of people offering good cash for a fair price, now no one offer cash anymore.

Sauer Grapes
October 18, 2010, 03:33 PM
Last couple times I went to the Valley Forge gun show, one guy had decent prices on new hundguns. Everybody else was pretty far off even for local gun store prices. That one guy was selling guns hand over fist.

The gun savvy guys aren't going for it.
+1 to the economy sucks. I got lucky and just sold one of my shotguns to a guy that was looking for just the one I happen to own. I have 2 handguns I can't give away. People are being very selective instead of impulse buying.

I have never seen anyone walk out of a gun show with any of the old milsurp rifles you see at the show. They must buy them because they are there every show.

October 18, 2010, 05:07 PM
Shows here are $9 to get in, thankfully parking is still free. Also, we still allow private sales at the show. That was the only worthwhile deal I found at the last show I was at. Too many sellers are trying to make a killing on each deal and everytime I talk to them I'm reminded more and more of used car dealers.
I've had guys quote me prices off Gunbroker as if they are all selling at those prices when I can look on there and see the ads and there are no bids on these guns. I met a guy who had doubled the price of a Rossi single shot rifle in .45Colt/410 because "they don't make them anymore". And I've seen alot of guns lately that look abused, but they want a new gun price for them.
The economy isn't just tough for buyers, it's tough for sellers. There may be deals out there, but you have to work harder for them. Like at the used car lot, kick the tires, point out the problems, and make an offer. If they won't take it, walk away.

Russ Jackson
October 18, 2010, 05:18 PM
The dealers sell stuff higher than I can buy it from my local shop. Reloads are more expensive than new. Best deals are found from people walking around with guns and stuff. Stop looking at tables and look at the patrons....Russ

October 18, 2010, 05:27 PM
I lucked out and went to a gun show in Atlanta by the airport. I'm from Tampa and was just buring time. Found some good deals that I just dont see at the suncoast gun show. Picked up 500 rounds og Brown Bear for my AK. Reloading poweders and primers were reasonable. Wish they'd come by me because the local ones are rip offs.

October 18, 2010, 05:30 PM
problem with gun shows are those damn capitalists

October 18, 2010, 05:43 PM
Gun shows around where I live are hit or miss. I did get my wife a P22 last time we went, but after you add the cost of the tickets to get in and sales tax, it wasn't that great of a deal.

October 18, 2010, 05:57 PM
Online sites have had a lot to do with the down turn because prices are somewhat more reasonable. You take a chance ordering from online sites but there seem to several good site and word of mouth helps a lot. Big Metroplex shows are a rip mainly due to parking prices. I have pretty much what I need until, I leave this earth and ready for if the SHTF!! The further away from large metro areas the better, the more rural the better!

October 18, 2010, 05:59 PM
The biggest one up here is in Syracuse, but now it has more security than visitors. You get proofed going in, walking around, buying, selling, walking out. I've never seen so many unsmiling faces with dark glasses and uniforms. The smaller shows are still a bit friendly. But forget the big ones.

Average Joe
October 18, 2010, 06:09 PM
Most of the guns are overpriced, and a lot of non gun stuff for sale, I can get better prices online.

October 18, 2010, 06:16 PM
The ones in Fort Worth TX are nice so far but 3/4 of the stuff is way over priced. I have seen beater Marlin 60 22 going for $125 at the last show. I got mine in great shape for $60 at my local shop.

October 18, 2010, 06:19 PM
i try to go to gun shows whenever i get the chance. its a fairly cheep way to spend an afternoon $6 & free parking. i have been going long enough that i know which dealers to look at first, but i do look at them all. i usually don't look to see what the people walking around are selling. if i have one it seems someone every 10yds or so will ask if your selling & what you have. i do agree that i see what to me is alot of junk firearms. which to me is weird becuse if i was only going to have one handgun i would make sure it was the best i could afford being that my family's safty is at stake. i even hear dealers giving someone a bill of goods on these firearms. this bothers me as i just want to tell them what i think of the firearm in queston and point them to some more reliable choices. i don't though thinking it isn't my place, unless they ask me directly or i can give a postive response on something i own & am happy with.

October 18, 2010, 09:10 PM
Its the economy, boat shows are suffering the same way. Its hard to sell stuff these days, last time I tried to sell my FN49 I just got some lame trade offers, no one wants to part with any cash.

October 18, 2010, 10:26 PM
I went to a couple hoping to find some more unique stuff than they sell at every gun shop-- but all I ever saw was tables of the same glocks, sigs, and other common stuff along with ar/aks and their clones.

I think the most interesting thing about it was the RA RA AMERICA dudes selling SS memorabilia.

October 18, 2010, 11:15 PM
Our local show is $5 and I often find something there.

But they aren't like they used to be.

October 18, 2010, 11:20 PM
There are 2 large shows in western Washington state (Seattle-Tacoma area) that are run by the same company. You must become a member of their club at $35/year to actually purchase guns there. You can get in and buy accessories for $8 as well as sell stuff off the hip. The prices on guns are steep, but last time I came away with ammo and reloading supplies dirt cheap and talked to a couple of nice guys. I really wanted to find a Ruger Police Service/Security/Speed six (a dirt cheap, crappy condition project gun that I would get duracoated ideally) but I didn't see a single one for less than about $400.

Patrick R
October 18, 2010, 11:26 PM
I have been going to gun shows in NE Ohio for 25 years.

When I look back some deals were fantastic.

Todays shows I always find something to buy. Good deals wise.

I can't complain of todays gun shows I attend.

October 19, 2010, 09:09 AM
Many dealers hiked their prices up during the "Obama scare" after he took office. Prices are coming down every where else, but the dealers at shows seem to be behind the curve on what's going on with sale prices. Add the fact that less people are buying and more people are selling, they are really being stupid.

Last year, it was next to impossible to find a used 30-30 where I live for less than $350. Different story now. I've seen 5 in the last month listed locally for around $250. Two of them at that price with at least 2 boxes of ammo included.

Shows will continue to get smaller until the dealers wake up on the market trend.

October 20, 2010, 09:07 PM
This past weekend was the first time I went to a gun show to try and find a gun to buy. I was just looking for a cheap .22LR and all I found was a Remington 522 Viper I didn't want to take a change with and an overpriced Ruger 10/22 (very worn barrel) that the dealer wouldn't negotiate on. Like others have mentioned you can find better prices at your local gun store.

My main reason for going is for affordable practice ammo. For example 7.62x54R for $5 to $6 per box versus $14 at the local store.

The other thing bad about the shows is the $8 parking and $9 admission. Not worth going if you're not ready to spend.

October 20, 2010, 09:16 PM
Better selection at lower prices

I would have thrown a "significantly" in there.

LGSs have better prices than the GS. We have at least 10 shows annually within a short drive. These days I average less than one yearly.

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