Gun show, decline in quality?


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exbrit49
December 29, 2011, 08:58 PM
Hi all, is it just me or are the gun shows getting rougher and rougher? :cuss:
I live in the Fort Wayne, IN. area and the CPI Gun shows at the coliseum have become just that! SHOWS. Stupid prices are killing sales.
There are 2 gun show hosts in this area. One promoter is CPI and they hold their shows at the Coliseum. Parking is $4 and then there is a $6 entry fee. I wouldn’t mind that but the last 6 shows I have attended have been very poor. Prices on new firearms are as high as retail prices with used prices being ridiculous!
Luckily I don’t need too much in the way of new hardware and usually go to buy Primers, Powder, Bullets and anything else that takes my fancy.
The last show in December was a joke. Several sellers had primers and powder priced above retail. One guy did finally lower prices but it was the same with all the sellers, they wanted Sky High Prices. Well I observed for a while and saw that there were very, very few actual purchases.
The other Gun Show in the area is put on by the Mid West Gun Traders and is held at the Allen County Fairgrounds, parking is FREE and admission is only $3, Quite a difference. I attended their last Show In December and purchased a lot of supplies. I got primers, Pyrodex, Cast and swaged Bullets, Powder and am set for a few months again. Most of the sellers at this Show were willing to haggle and had prices marked at much more realistic prices to start with.
I will not attend another CPI show as there doesn’t seem to be much point, High parking costs, entry fee and high priced items. No way for me!
I will stick with the Mid West gun traders shows for my loading needs. Maybe another 30/30 this year too
Sorry to sound so negative about the CPI shows but after years of attendance I have had enough!
Happy New Year to All and keep the powder dry :)
Roger

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P5 Guy
December 29, 2011, 09:14 PM
I've been going to gun shows for 20 years or so. And I have to agree with most of your post.
Price of admittance and parking have gone up. The quality of the vendors has varied thru the years.
Around here there are three types of shows. A very large collector's club, a chain gun store, and a varying group of little guys. It has always been this way.
My opinion is that as I have grown more experienced I am more jaded, so to speak. The shows are basically the same I just look at them with a jaundiced eye.
But that's just me.

whalerman
December 30, 2011, 12:36 AM
Around here, NY State, the authorities have put so many restrictions on the shows they are very expensive to operate. There are as many law enforcement officials as there are attendees. When leaving a show with a purchase, you get checked more often and more carefully than when boarding an aircraft. It's just not fun, certainly not friendly. The smaller shows are better. Better deals too. Security is there, but not draconian. I used to love to go talk with people, learn, and take something home. Hard to do now.

GreySmoke2
December 30, 2011, 01:25 AM
I live in the Northern End of the Peoples Republic of Illinois and the shows here are of similar quality...LOW.... There should be a sign - Caution - No Bargains Here...LOL and if you're a builder forget it no one ever has parts at any price. Ammo tends to be higher than mail order (including any shipping or tax)..... Maybe this is all normal (I tend to be a critical and resourceful shopper, IE Cheap Bas.....rd) but I think I'm done with Illinois Gun Shows....:banghead:

redneck2
December 30, 2011, 11:22 AM
I suspect gun shows are pretty much a thing of the past. I worked for a dealer that used to have a booth at all the local shows. It's a LOT of work and time to get all the guns loaded into the trucks, unload them at the show, get them priced, man the show, handle the 4473's, tend to all the customers, watch the inventory so it doesn't get ripped off, etc.

Then you have to load the unsold stuff (typically over 90%) back into the truck and get it unloaded.

It's too easy to pull out your smart phone and compare prices with a dealer a thousand miles away working out of a warehouse with three people. Of course his cost is lower. It costs the dealer a lot of money to lay out inventory so you can fondle it, then buy from somebody without the overhead.

exbrit49
December 30, 2011, 10:18 PM
Hi Redneck2, Yes I agree with most of what you say, I realize the cost of inventory etc as I have had my own retail business. However, the prices I have seen recently have been absurd! As I noted in my original posting, above local retail prices!
I try and buy locally to keep the local economy going but when I go to a "show" Most of the sellers are small time and operate out of their homes.
The problem is with the CPI shows is a simple one, OVERPRICING. No wonder they have to pack up 90% of their merchandise and take it home again.
Some examples: Small pistol primers $35 per thousand, My local gun store has then for $33. Number 11 BP Primers $6 vs $5 at local gun store. Bullets, Powder, all the same story. As I said I wont pay over retail price at any cost! I like to feel that both buyer and seller can find a decent price equitable to both parties.
An example, I saw a Marlin M99 .22 the guy wanted $150 for it, I can buy a new Marlin for $119. A Ruger P90 $400, I bought mine new for $329! Same with the Ruger P89.
I did talk to one guy that made me a good deal on Ammo boxes and he said something that I hadnt thought about, He said "People our age(Over 50) are used to shopping hard and dealing on price, he stated that the younger generation doesnt haggle and the sellers know that the person "Has to have it!" so they dont drop the prices. He went on to say that since the recent round of scare talk when President Obama took office that prices went sky high and stayed there. The fear factor being that guns will be banned. Well I have been hearing that for the last 40 plus years and we still haggled on prices. Maybe he was right@!
I will continue to attend the shows put on by the Mid West Gun Traders as they only charge $3 admission and the sellers are realistic in the pricing and agreeable to finding a price equitable to both parties.

R

Zundfolge
December 31, 2011, 12:02 AM
I've never thought much of gun shows. Like flea markets, swap meets, garage sales and pawn shops, you have to dig through a TON of over-priced crap to find the occasional bargain. I guess I've never had the patience for all that.

Also I always hear about these awesome deals that you used to be able to find regularly but like most nostalgia, is relegated to "the good ole days" (which is an imaginary time that never really existed).

I suspect that 20 years ago this exact conversation took place somewhere.

redneck2
December 31, 2011, 06:33 AM
I suspect that 20 years ago this exact conversation took place somewhereThere was a gun show I used to go to every year. Always, the very first booth inside the door was a guy that had the EXACT same guns displayed every year. The tags had been handled so much the prices were impossible to read. This was 35 years ago.
Small pistol primers $35 per thousand, My local gun store has then for $33.
We're going to the shows to get screaming deals. The dealers are trying to unload stuff. This dealer may have bought these back when primers were sky high.

Best thing I can say is, if you don't like the prices, don't buy. Everything will even out.

Girodin
December 31, 2011, 06:39 AM
I don't even bother to go to gun shows. The last one I went to a couple years ago had nothing but guns that were literally hundreds of dollars more than I could buy them for elsewhere. I had just bought a rifle the week before from classicarms.us and couldn't find one at that show for within $100 (including the shipping and transfer I paid on the classic. The only good part of it was that I got a free hat at the marine booth for doing 20 pull ups and I bought a video game from one table for a good price. The gun selection was generic and overpriced.

jackpinesavages
December 31, 2011, 08:47 AM
I agree with the Ft Wayne guy. Funny, I live where A LOT of your GM people came from, which is good reason for the "show" prices to be higher near you. AND, here is the flip side of the same coin: I have not been invited back as a VENDOR here in S. WI because the organizers felt my prices were too LOW, and I had sold out before the end of day 2!? I made money, the organizer made money, and the customers were really happy. What's the beef?

I believe too many gun show vendors depend on this to make 100% of their living and NEED to charge new retail prices for used firearms. Try to bargain with them and they don't move on price. So, if their not moving guns it's their own fault. The Fun Show used to be an exciting thing to do that had great possibilities. Now, it's more of a social thing catching up with old friends. That's cool too.

btg3
December 31, 2011, 01:16 PM
Try to bargain with them and they don't move on price. So, if their not moving guns it's their own fault.
^^^ Truth! I hear a lot of vendors complain that nobody brings their money to the gun show...blah, blah.... But the media has reported that gun sales have surged since 2009 and spiked noticeably late this year. So perhaps the demand is there, keeping it a seller's market with no need to discount prices. Who to believe? For sure, prices are up and firm for the most part.

If you want to find a deal at the gun show, look up from the tables and talk to the folks walking around with a gun for sale. They came intending to sell a gun, whereas vendors are waiting for someone who came intent on buying a gun.

...usually go to buy Primers, Powder, Bullets
All well and good for metallics, but shotshell components are not offered at guns shows here.

DammitBoy
December 31, 2011, 01:21 PM
I find great deals at every gun show I attend, no matter how big or small, no matter which city or state I go to see a show.

It takes patience and a system, but I find it fun and rewarding.

Brass Fetcher
December 31, 2011, 01:29 PM
"Let's make a deal" as a concept is a boxer clinging to the ropes to remain standing.

That's the flip side of the 'rock bottom prices' society - cutthroat competition for shrinking margins (at least for us who are not Mega Corporations).

I still go to the gunshows that have rare/exotic ammunition. One thing that has killed this market is the change in FL state ammunition laws - the dealers can no longer possess much less sell the exotic shotgun rounds like flechettes, bolo or dragons breath.

sgtstryker
January 1, 2012, 12:20 AM
Lo, we that were priveleged to attend real gun shows, are missing them the most. The days of wheeling and dealing for ammo, guns and all manner of needed items, are over. It is a shame. Gun shows as we knew them, are history.....At least in Georgia.

Evil Monkey
January 1, 2012, 02:12 AM
Here in MI.....

I walk into a gun show, see a 50rd box of 45acp FMJ for $30, turn around and go home. :cuss:

AlexanderA
January 1, 2012, 03:05 AM
Zundfolge wrote:

Like flea markets, swap meets, garage sales and pawn shops, you have to dig through a TON of over-priced crap to find the occasional bargain.

If you're serious about finding guns and gun-related stuff at bargain prices, venues like this may be more fruitful than actual gun shows. That's because of "arbitrage," which means taking advantage of differing prices in differing markets. Another legendary place to look for gun stuff (unfortunately, it may be drying up now) is estate sales in rural Pennsylvania. There were a lot of WWI and WWII veterans out there in those farms and small towns, they were dying off, and they had lots of war bring-backs and hunting guns that their relatives didn't know the true value of.

ExTank
January 8, 2012, 06:21 PM
Went to a Gun Show here in St. Louis yesterday, and was kind of disappointed.

The place they held it was normally a banquet center, and it was reflected in the lighting: great for a nice evening at a wedding reception or organizational "dining out," but for a gun show? Not too good.

Then, there was the crowding. Tables were so close together that two people could not stand back-to-back inspecting wares on either side of an aisle without some intimate butt-cheek rubbing.

Factor in prices, and the increasingly mercenary attitude of gun dealers. Actual conversations I've had with gun delers at gun shows:

Example 1: "You're just looking? Not buying? <deleted> off, then."

Example 2: "I don't know a gosh-darned thing about this gun, except that I'm selling it for $700. I don't give a flying footbal if the MSRP is only $500, I'm selling it for $700. Don't like it? <deleted> off."

Example 3: "No, you cannot cock it, rack it, open it, or otherwise check the trigger action." It's like a car dealer telling me that I not only can't even test drive a car on the dealership's parking lot, but that I can't even open the door and check the interior, or look under the hood. Heaven forbid that I should check the tires.

There used to a bit of a sense of community at gun shows. You could chat with dealers (if they weren't too busy with other customers). But now, if you aren't buying (wheeling/dealing), they don't even want to talk to you.

They want the scared suckers. The guys who have never owned/handled/fired a gun, and have never supported gun rights activism, but who are now afraid of the Obama administration and want to buy a gun, any gun, like, right freaking NOW!

Now a days, I'd rather go shopping at Cabela's or Bass Pro. At least there, the employees have some sort of incentive for treating a customer politely.

mgregg85
January 8, 2012, 10:25 PM
I remember going with my dad for the first time. This must have been about 17 years ago, Midland had the biggest gunshow in the state. The past few years its become tiny and only about 2/3rds of the tables are occupied. Prices have also gone crazy. The last time there was a guy selling "pre-ban" Pmags for only $35 a piece. Window Pmags were just $5 more. Glock 18 mags are probably the worst, prices run from $50 to $85 for one. One guy wanted $40 for the scherer version.

Oh yeah, I had a almost new LCR with a tritium front sight. I tried offering it in a trade to a dealer selling a chrome .40 S&W SUB-2000. He offered me all of $150 in trade value for it.

JVaughn
January 8, 2012, 10:37 PM
I don't know about you guys; but I have a personal rule that I refuse to purchase a gun at a show from an FFL. Shows are supposed to be about free citizens buying, selling, and trading personal stock - not dealers looking to expand their tire-kicker customer base. I don't pay tax or gun check at shows, cash only, person to person only. Just a pet peeve of mine I suppose.

gun addict
January 8, 2012, 11:15 PM
you've really gotta look and bargin for deals at gunshows nowadays. Just came back from the one in town and picked up a set of M4 KAC RAS rail, panels, grip, and a surefight weaponlight in an ARMS mount, all together for $150.

It's not just the dealers putting up absurd prices at gunshows, alot of people walking around with their guns are demanding dumb prices "i'll give you this used in pretty bad shape S&W66 for $700, that's a good deal there fella......"

PapaG
January 9, 2012, 11:08 AM
And to top it all off, the different show promoters are warring with each other...last weekend, here in central IL, a show was scheduled for Sat/Sun. People came from miles around and were shocked to see a sign that it had been cancelled. The local Gun Collectors Assn had a show scheduled about 28 days later and had inserted in their contract with the event center that no similar events could be held within 30 days of theirs. Many had commented that the shows held by the first group were generally better than the second and are now PO-d and probably won't go to the show in Feb. I think that there would have been plenty of people at both.

Strykervet
January 9, 2012, 02:53 PM
^^^ Truth! I hear a lot of vendors complain that nobody brings their money to the gun show...blah, blah.... But the media has reported that gun sales have surged since 2009 and spiked noticeably late this year. So perhaps the demand is there, keeping it a seller's market with no need to discount prices. Who to believe? For sure, prices are up and firm for the most part.

If you want to find a deal at the gun show, look up from the tables and talk to the folks walking around with a gun for sale. They came intending to sell a gun, whereas vendors are waiting for someone who came intent on buying a gun.


All well and good for metallics, but shotshell components are not offered at guns shows here.
That's good advice. Also look for the single table with the guy trying to get rid of a few items --not the regular tables.

I completely agree. Shows are DEFINTELY not what they used to be 20 years ago, and the local ones in WA have gone downhill in the last ten too. I went much of the decade not getting much at gunshows, BUT I did run across two great deals back to back in Nov. and Dec. Still, two deals in a decade is hardly worth going, I could have gotten better deals buying them at retail ten years ago and foregoing the show.

They've really become a hassle for me. Funny thing is I'm not just hearing this on here where folks come to gripe. I heard it JUST THE OTHER DAY at the counter at a gun shop --from a guy buying his first. It is pretty bad when you've succeeded in running off the new guys that have money and not much of an idea about how much to spend on what. I guess the guy went to a few stores first, then saved up for the gunshow, then left disappointed and went back to the store.

However, had this guy REALLY done his homework, he would have known that this dealer is the same dealer that sets up a table at the show and sells store items for HUGE markups and WILL NOT COME DOWN. He defends his prices instead with a story, expecting you to say, "well, since you put it that way..."

I'm fed up with them too. I think they'll be getting the point this year, a LOT of folks are getting upset with how bad they've become --almost all the old timers, the ones that made it a "show" are gone. But I could be wrong it being an election. This will be the last time I renew at least. I like the show and supported the show but I can go spend extra at the gun shop and at least have a place to return it if I need to. I can also go to flea markets for free, no membership or background check required, and most of the same dealers are there. As for the "show", most of the old timers are on here now with their pictures.

I actually remember getting up at the crack of dawn to drive 100 miles to a gunshow, excited. Maybe I was young, maybe times were different. Or maybe it wasn't such a crowded overpriced hassle full of stuffed animals. It was during the ban, and they were still more fun!

Strykervet
January 9, 2012, 03:00 PM
Lo, we that were priveleged to attend real gun shows, are missing them the most. The days of wheeling and dealing for ammo, guns and all manner of needed items, are over. It is a shame. Gun shows as we knew them, are history.....At least in Georgia.
And the best ones used to be in the South. That I went to anyway. In Huntsville AL, units from Redstone Arsenal used to bring out gear they had in inventory or were testing. It was pretty cool. Here in WA, where we have Ft. Lewis and real infantry units, they don't even bother. Not even to recruit, and that should tell you something. The recruiter ALWAYS had a table when I was younger, and they always had something to sucker you in to stopping too, whether you wanted to join or not.

chez323
January 9, 2012, 03:51 PM
I guess I'm lucky to live near a great show location (Oaks, PA). Their last show was really nice, with lots of vendors (guns not socks) selling a wide variety of items. The aisle's are well spaced so as not to jam everybody trying to check out displays. On the flip side, having room to look at the displays has caused my wallet to decline in its contents. :)

Mike Sr.
January 9, 2012, 05:49 PM
I've been going to GS's for nearly 40yrs and what I see from the vendor side looking out: out nothing has changed about the buyer...nothing...absolutely nothing:

---Too many consumers want something for nothing!

---Too many use check's instead of cash...TO STOOPID FOR WORDS TO EXPLAIN.

---Too many have NO clue in the art of DICKERING

---Too many consumers have no clue on REAL cost's

---Too many consumers think their item is gold and the vendor has lead...and the reverse is also true. With one BIG difference!!! The vendor know's where the niche is to sell ''your junk....:) " you don't! So when you decide to be a tunnel vision about values the chances of the Vender steering you to that niche is ZERO.... On the other hand with a spoonfull of honey not a bucket full arragonce you just might find the path you needed to be on!



A Seller has hundreds if not thousands of dollars on the table for a buyer to study and give respectful consideration to, not some jerk who just wants to pick it up and look at it with absolutely no intention of buying. a Vendor has hundreds upon hundreds of hours finding his items...his time has value just as your time does. A Vender, In 5 minutes or less, sometimes before the end of the first sentence, after dealing with hundreds of personality's can tell the difference between a bottom-feeder, tire-kicker, skin-flint, cheap-skate, time-waster and the astute buyer. Then there is the aisle-bumb with his moronic kids coming to the table and his off spring pick up everything on the table thinking it is candy.

Then there is the buyer who can not READ: PLEASE DO NO HANDLE WITH OUT PERMISSION OR PLEASE DO NOT HANDLE.....numbskull moron's, the products of omama education. And these critters outnumber readers: those who ask: 7 to 1....

So YOU sit behind the table for 48 hrs, or show after show after show and watch the dirt, grime, scratches and put-downs, happen to YOUR BLOOD SWEAT AND TEARS EFFORT... ! Let's see if you have the courage to walk away unencumbered with frustration of dealing with dolt's!

Me, I'm a Duck, water just rolls off my feathers. I've heard it all, I've seen it all, I've delt with it all....and now I am too old to care about not selling.


I know one thing: that stainless, NewHaven model 70, CRF, 30-06 that you've been looking for during the last the 3 yrs...and you would not buy it for $750 off my table...KEEP LOOKING ANOTHER 3 YRS...tell me your time is worth ZERO! Next year the value can be near $1,000 ....cause you forgot: there ain't no more NewHaven Model 70's... ...

Oh and the astute buyer I mentioned, when you walked away grumbling cause I would not accept your out of town check, well he laid 7 c-notes on the table and walked away with that NewHaven M70, Stnlss, CRF 30-06....

nonamehavei
January 9, 2012, 05:53 PM
Wow, Mike, you should really think about getting out of the customer service industry. Really.

Mike Sr.
January 9, 2012, 06:01 PM
"Wow, Mike, you should really think about getting out of the customer service industry. Really. "

I'll tell you one thing the customer is only right when he is right ! And you might ""really think"" about the thousands of hr's spent dealing with thousands of different personality's... Spend 5-10 grand a yr to put nice items on your table then some low life tell's you have junk but he can not affort the $150 Buckmaster he wants to buy on your table...you'd be a bit jaundiced too!

By the way there is no customer service any more: Call Sears, call Verizon...you'll get someone in India, the Philippines or Mexico....

OH and by the way that astute buyer who laid 7 c-notes and walked away w/that NewHaven Winchester...this year is laid down more C-cnotes and bought a Customized 338Ruger...

ExTank
January 9, 2012, 06:51 PM
I'll tell you one thing the customer is only right when he is right ! And you might ""really think"" about the thousands of hr's spent dealing with thousands of different personality's... Spend 5-10 grand a yr to put nice items on your table then some low life tell's you have junk but he can not affort the $150 Buckmaster he wants to buy on your table...you'd be a bit jaundiced too!

By the way there is no customer service any more: Call Sears, call Verizon...you'll get someone in India, the Philippines or Mexico....


Alright, already! I'll slow down, turn down my stereo, and get off of your lawn! :neener:

chrt396
January 9, 2012, 07:04 PM
A little defense of Mike is needed. If you have ever sat in a public warehouse type sale and dealt with retail customers...you'll understand what he is saying. You have a millon questions with little return. It gets old...FAST! The young 25-40 year old male that wants to beat up the business with little to no knowledge of what he is talking about is tiring. You wanna explode. I understand his frustration.

With that said...the publics perception of a gun show is to be able to get a firearm or accessory for a reduced price. Why not? There is no store front to support...no advertising....no huge personel costs. Just table fees and insurance if required and a small warehouse or storage unit. Depending on the product you sell, these costs can vary considerably. Many of these vendors do NOT have stores. They just travel the show circuit. Most of us older consumers are well aware of what the "Warehouse" type sales used to be. You could get fairly sizeable discounts attending these sales. It is maddening to go out to a show..pay $8 for parking, $8 to get in..to find prices that are higher than you can get in a retail store. The gun shows typically have the same generic stuff each and every time! AR parts...stupid t-shirts....ammo cans...cheap scopes...surplus clothing...cheap holsters and miracle knife sharpening devices...Glock parts guy and maybe a reloading manufacturer or component reseller. Lest I forget about the cheap stun guns as well. That's all you hear around a show is that 'zzaaapppp - zzaaapp!" The handguns that are sold are at full retail..or more are typically Glocks...and some of the cheapest crap guns that are known to man. No real quality guns..just mass produced..easy to get stuff..and displayed at a price that is waayy above what ANY gun store in the county would sell them for.
It's kind of like going to a Harley bike event. Once you've seen every doo rag, sterling silver jewelery, faux leather chaps and skull candles...you've pretty much seen every bike event in the nation. With the exception of Daytona and Sturgiss...they are all for beginners. Gun shows are the same. Junk!

So it's easy and understandable why Mike gets offended and grows tired of his customers. Mike should also realize that no one customer really cares how much time he invests in looking for his inventory. They want a good value..and if they can't get it..they will continue looking. No one really comes to a show just to waste time. They are looking for something they cannot live without. They spend too much money for parking, too much money to enter show..and too much for drinks and snacks. If the vendor doesn't have the money to invest in to inventory that is quality stuff...and the ability to sell at close margins..then get out of the business, cuz' with the advent of the internet..you as a business owner are going no where.

I too am tired of gun show vendors. I love guns..I love reloading...I love talking about guns....I hate gun shows. I want to love them..but there is nothing to look forward to when the show comes to town. THAT my friends is the VENDORS fault.

Bozwell
January 9, 2012, 07:15 PM
Once nice thing about the shows is you often have a nice selection of guns to choose from that you can handle in person. If you're looking to examine the condition of a user gun, the grain of the wood on a new gun or something else that varies from gun to gun, this can be a nice thing. On the other hand, I see very little reason to purchase something like a NIB glock (where there's very little variation from the factory) at the oft-inflated prices that you'll find at gun shows. Online vendors such as Bud's or even gunbroker are simply too convenient for me to pay gun show prices on new firearms.

If you can find a deal then it's great, but more often I just find gun shows to be an opportunity to examine a lot of different firearms in person and rarely go into such shows expecting to make an actual purchase. Sounds like I may be the type of person who drives Mike a bit insane, haha, but at least I never call it junk and I'm careful not to scratch anything ;)

JohnBT
January 9, 2012, 08:10 PM
"the publics perception of a gun show is to be able to get a firearm or accessory for a reduced price. Why not?"

Because they're called gun SHOWS and not gun SALES? :neener:

Seriously though, I went to the local show yesterday afternoon and was quite impressed with the variety and quality of guns still there. Usually it's the same old stuff and I've been going to shows since the '70s. Some of the vendors said they were slammed Saturday, but there were guns to sell and the prices weren't too bad. I don't need any more guns and didn't see any new Colt SAAs, P210s or Blaser sporting clays guns anyway. But Georgia Arms still had 3 500-round cans of .45 ACP left, so I bought two for $340. I figure the 2 ammo cans more than covered the sales tax.

All things considered it was much more fun than a trip to Wal-Mart. I bought some 130-grain FMJ .38 Special too, just for the heck of it.

And I met two of the folks from the new indoor range opening 3 miles from my house in early March. They had a booth, but they already have my deposit on a membership. I got a free pen. Is this a great country or what.

http://colonialshooting.com

They're converting a former furniture store into a public range and police training facility.

[The following image is over 2 MB, converted to link.]
http://www.colonialshooting.com/upload/images/DSC_0029_GREYROOF.jpg

justice06rr
January 9, 2012, 10:00 PM
I can totally agree. i've only been to 2 shows so far both in the same location and the crowds and quality of items are the same if not worse. if you can brave the chaos, overcrowdedness, unimpressive prices, then its not too bad.

you can get lucky and run into a private seller who wants to sell his long gun or 22lr rifle. In my case I was fortunate to sit down next to a guy selling a 22lr rifle for an excellent price. Other than that, everything else about the show sucked..s

kimbershot
January 9, 2012, 11:03 PM
just moved from ct to sc last month. shows in the north were mostly in springfield ma.. the shows seemed to be a repeat of the same ole same ole--same shows, vendors, crap and high prices. had to pay to park, admission and if you wanted to eat something--a second mortgage would be appropriate.

i will be attending my first southern show next month--savannah, ga. according to the producer--they don't allow crap, knicknacks, tag sale junk etc. so--it will be a first--and i hope not a last visit--maybe i will find something neat?:rolleyes:

Nuclear
January 9, 2012, 11:28 PM
Gun shows are like a lot of things - 95% crap. But it is the 5% you are looking for. The rest is just the visual equivalent of background noise. Last gunshow I went to was small, crowded (yeah, figure that one out) and didn't have much. I almost picked up a Colt Delta Elite, but it was missing any magazine and the guy wouldn't come down enough. I also saw a Savage 99 in just the configuration I wanted, but the seller and I were too far apart. So it goes.

cdwoods
January 9, 2012, 11:50 PM
I've always enjoyed Gun Shows here in San Antonio and Austin Texas. Over the last few years I've seen some changes, both good and bad. But, I have always viewed a Gun Show as being like a Flea Market. Sure, you'll see some of the same old crap time after time, but you will always find something new, or interesting. If you go often enough, you'll know who to deal with and who not to, it's all part of the game. I do enjoy the private sellers the most, but for parts and accessories you cannot beat a Gun Show.

exbrit49
January 10, 2012, 12:31 AM
When I opened this thread I hadn’t realized it was people like Mike that I don’t like to deal with, He seems to have categorized all buyers as ignorant, bad mannered and not smart enough to haggle.
Well Like I said in the original post the CCI gun show is populated by vendors like Mike Sr. The other show put on by the gun traders, is where I spend quite a bit of money. The sellers are more realistic in their expectations, and I can purchase most of my supplies and the occasional gun. Both vendor and customer conclude a mutually beneficial deal. That’s the way it should be.
In over 35 years of attending gun shows have I have never made an insulting offer to a vendor, the price offered is usually a fair price and in most cases we find that magic number.
I am sorry to see Mike’s bitter attitude, maybe he really did run in to some nasty potential buyers. If that’s case Mike, I extend my sympathies. We aren’t all like that.
Any way I have ruled out the one promoter’s shows and have found the one I will continue to attend. At the last one I did get some nice deals, and had some nice conversations and enjoyed myself. I will be attending another Show put on by the gun traders on January 22nd, Will post how it goes.
Not picking on Mike here, but the tone of his post is what I guess I was originally talking about
Roger

gyvel
January 10, 2012, 08:32 AM
BATF could never have done as much damage to gun shows with their laws and regulations than the damage they did when they let the FFl dealers sell at shows.

Bovice
January 10, 2012, 09:22 AM
The largest show in my area (about 20 minutes away) only charges $5.00 admission and the list prices are good. The smaller shows I have been to are not as competitive.

wojownik
January 10, 2012, 01:23 PM
This is not a complaint ... just wistful for how things were some years ago /

It seems like - at least in my area - gun prices are up (and staying up), ammo prices still way up, admission prices are up, but the range of products seems down. A lot of the same-old, same-old from table to table, not a whole lot of diversity. One of the attractions of gun shows for me was the opportunity to see things that are usually not available at your LGS, and definitely not at your local sporting goods chain... Nowadays, it seems like the product range has gotten a bit "vanilla". The same Glocks and Springfields from table to table, for instance.

And the environment at the shows seems, well, a lot less fun. Sellers seem a lot less friendly. Also very crowded, not a lot of buying (that I could see, which could have something to do with the vendor's demeanor). Lots of pushing and shoving - like being on a NYC subway car at rush hour in from of some tables.

A few months ago, I went to a local show, and picked out a nice Sig I had been considering for a while. The vendor was less than collegial, to say the least. Here I am, credit card in hand, picked out the product I wanted, no fussing or silly questions. I didn't even flinch when he said he had to tack on another 3% for the credit card. But he lost me when he literally tossed a clipboard at me with the state and ATF forms (like a frisbee), rolled his eyes when I asked for a pen. Dude probably was having a pretty bad day or something, but I quietly put the pen down on the table and walked away. Maybe he had his fill of aisle bums and time wasters, as someone had not so gently put it earlier, but he took it out on a genuine (maybe not astute) but genuine buyer... And lost a sale, and any possibility of future business.

I miss the "golden age" of C&R pickings at gun shows from a few years back. Lots more to see and learn about, more friendly vendors, more polite customers. It feels like a century ago, not a decade...

AirForceShooter
January 10, 2012, 01:54 PM
Buy a gun at the show??? Nope
Cruise the parking lot. A lot of good stuff there.

Supplies?
Know your prices before you buy but sometimes it's fine.

Ammo?
That can be hit or miss.

But the people watching can be fun

AFS

JohnBT
January 10, 2012, 02:14 PM
I bought a package of Hawaiian-flavor beef jerky too. Not too bad, but it needs more pineapple.

About that 1000 rounds of Georgia Arms .45 I bought. Do you think I should count them? :uhoh:

ExTank
January 10, 2012, 05:51 PM
Here I am, credit card in hand,...

That was your first problem. Cash is King (Queen, and Jack!) at a Gun Show nowadays, and they don't want to see anyone with CC in hand.

Cosmoline
January 10, 2012, 06:05 PM
Same up here in Alaska. I first went to one in the late 90's and it filled a stadium floorspace completely with dealer tables. It was huge and there were many private tables and dealers. Last summer's big one was maybe 1/3rd the size with half the floorspace of the same stadium and only about half of those selling firearms. Most of it was static militaria displays. Nobody had much in the way of bargains on firearms. I found some ammo deals, but that's about it.

It's becoming more of a gun-themed flea market. Not that I oppose flea markets, but the shows used to be a lot better. And when I came out of 2010's show with a wool blanket and some kitchen items I knew the great age of the gun show had come and gone.

On the plus side, you don't really need gun shows anymore. There are on-line swap sites where you can get what you want real fast without the headaches of a show.

Deltaboy
January 10, 2012, 08:58 PM
I have not gone back to the one in Fort Worth TX since I saw 6 Marlin 60's that have been ran over or left in a creek for a year for sell and the cheapest one was 125 and the nice on with a Weaver scope was 250. So I waited and my local shop got a rarely used one in and I paid $60 bucks!

JohnBT
January 10, 2012, 10:43 PM
" Cash is King (Queen, and Jack!) at a Gun Show "

I don't disagree, but I'll tell you a secret. If they like you they'll take a personal check. I've been writing checks at guns shows for 20 years or more.

Georgia Arms takes all kinds of credit cards at their tables if you're hanging on to your cash.

wojownik
January 11, 2012, 12:53 AM
"Cash is King ..."

Yeah maybe, but I wish I was royal enough to wander around with $850 in my wallet. Especially when there is no working ATM at or near the show. Just post a damn sign "Cash Only" then.

Crex39
January 11, 2012, 04:59 AM
I like to go to the gun shows, at least to plunk down some cash for ammo. You can pretty much get a decent deal on that if you look around. Its kind of nice seeing a lot of the same people ( sometimes) and just sensing the anarchy in the air. Where else could you be this entertained people watching outside of Vegas. You have the Fudds dressed up like they are ready to go turkey hunting with the Mossy Oak Camo outfits, The 20 year old urban commandos with their urban camo pants and black wife beaters with prison tats, the disgruntled veterans with their P.O.W. caps and M-65 field jackets, The mountain men hanging around the reloading supplies, the hip-hop thugs picking up but never buying the chrome plated Desert Eagles, and the yuppie survivalist flagging everyone with the most expensive M-forgeries you can find (usually buying the cheapest mags to put in them). Couple all this with some overpriced beef jerky and it makes for an entertaining Sunday morning. I usually find a way to drop at least a hundred bucks there, it beats watching the slugs do laps in their cripple scooters at the local Costco waiting for the free samples to be done cooking.

Elkins45
January 11, 2012, 04:09 PM
Do you think some of it is just that we're jaded? I remember the first gun show I ever attended: I still recall being totally blown away by the quantity of stuff that was offered and the almost endless variety. I slowly scrutinized every table and carefully looked at every gun.

Looking back I now realize that first show was actually a fairly small show with a somewhat limited selection. It's just that it was all new to me, and also that I didn't own very many guns either. Almost every gun was a potential item of interest, so I had to look at them all. Now if I see a table full of Glocks I just walk right by it because I already know I don't need another Glock.

I'm even more selective with rifles now because I can scan a rack full of bolt guns in seconds looking for just the ones where the bolt is facing the 'wrong' way. Back in the day I was more open to buying almost any gun I hadn't owned before. Now I'm much more limited (perhaps refined?) in my interests.

I don't know that the shows are worse--maybe I'm just better?

Tygarys
January 11, 2012, 04:43 PM
"Cash is King ..."

Yeah maybe, but I wish I was royal enough to wander around with $850 in my wallet. Especially when there is no working ATM at or near the show. Just post a damn sign "Cash Only" then.
Or the bank/ATM limits you to a ridiculously low daily withdrawal amount...

This is likely why the "cash only" tables at our gun shows never seem to have the activity/sales of the ones that also take cards. Its very rare I find anything other than some ammo or a few magazines at a show, so withdrawing 600+ every time a show comes around is not worth it when I will most likely spend $50-$75.

Hoppes Love Potion
January 11, 2012, 08:34 PM
I guess I'm lucky. The local gun shows have all those same problems and the same exact cast of characters, but we also have a large local gun shop that usually has among the best prices in the country. At the local shows, they pack up a lot of their inventory and price it maybe 10% lower and also entertain offers. So the same gun they had in the shop for $610 on Thursday you might be able to get for $525 at the show on Saturday.

sedona
January 12, 2012, 12:42 AM
I only go to the wannemecher gun shows that come to Tulsa twice a year.Its advertised as 11 acres of guns which I would say is accurate.I buy glock parts from an armourer and a calendar from the Tac girls.Look them up,very nice.If i want to buy new i can drive 5 miles and get the gun for the same price or less most of the time.I have found some deals with regular people walking the isles.I bought 2 really nice over and unders after watching the guys get lowballed by the dealers and hearing what was offered to them.Right place at the right time.

AlabamaDan
January 12, 2012, 01:28 AM
I went to my first gun show this weekend and was really disappointed. People didn't want to negotiate prices, prices were too high, it was all professional dealers and the crown was thin and rough. I wont go back.

buzzard80
January 12, 2012, 02:39 PM
I'll echo what JohnBT said about the Richmond VA show. My son (6 yr. old) and I went for a few hours and had a good time - I think the show has actually improved over the last couple of years. There was a good variety of guns, ammo, components, knives, etc. I don't necessarily go for a deal on the guns, I'm mostly looking for things I want that local stores don't carry, and I save the shipping cost and usually more. Many times I easily save the entrance fee/gas buying ammo and reloading stuff, and my son buys a few collector coins or something.

With all the dealers there, I'd be surprised if there is much to be made (per gun) on the sales of guns. The place was packed, and I'd bet there were at least a dozen dealers selling many of the same pistols. Want a Glock? Check all the tables and go with the cheapest. I was next to one guy who wanted a discount on (4) pistols - dealer told him the price was already rock bottom, so no volume discounts. Seeing the prices, I totally believe it.

Sheepdog1968
January 12, 2012, 03:51 PM
I've been going to gun shows for 20+ years. I preceive there being much more stuff back then. What has really made things change is the Internet and online sales. It used to be 20+ years ago you were much more limited in what you knew (magzines) and what you could buy (typically just what your local gun store carried or by magazine ads). The gun show back then exposed you to many more options of what was available for sale. Now, you can do a search and find a near endless array of options. By the time a shown rolls around, you have seen it all before online and also now have a better idea of prices.

Bozwell
January 12, 2012, 04:49 PM
That's probably part of it Elkin. I don't have a long history of going to gun shows but it's tough to be "blown away" by the selection at gun shows when you compare it to the selection we have from large online retailers (e.g., Bud's) and auction sites (e.g., Gunbroker). It'd still be fine in my mind if the prices were competitive, since then you get to handle the guns in person and take them home that day but often times the prices are grossly inflated. As such, it's tough to really be blown away when heading to a gun show these days.

JohnBT
January 12, 2012, 07:15 PM
"I preceive there being much more stuff back then."

People used to own one or two guns and trade one to get one. What's the internet philosophy we've all heard constantly for more than ten years now?

"NEVER SELL A GUN"

No wonder there aren't many guns for sale. We have met the enemy and it's us. :)

JustinL
January 12, 2012, 09:57 PM
I always enjoy going. They are a great way to spend an hour or so and just browse. Besides, you never know what you are going to find.

Steve Raacke
January 13, 2012, 09:32 AM
Gun shows can be hit or miss. I've been going to show for a couple of decades and, like others here have pointed out, have seen the good and bad.
Let me throw out an idea based off the ole live with it or change it concept. What I'm saying is, we have lots of us scattered over various internet discussions forums who find ourselves seeing threads like this on a pretty regular basis. Every few months we see someone start a thread saying how boring or bad gun shows have become. But few if any ideas are give to change things. I want to offer some ideas and draw from other hobbies I've been involved in.
First, some have mentioned the same vendors over and over, working the gun show circuit. The beef jerky and candle vendors. The people selling arts and crafts. Some here even mention shows which have several empty, unsold tables.
Let's keep in mind that the larger shows are being run as a business and if the people who are paying 70, 80 or more dollars PER TABLE are the jerky and candle vendors, well that's who is going to be there. The show managers can't make money on an empty table. Now, think about it, they could make some sort of vender rule saying "At least 75% of table space must be devoted to firearms or firearms related products or services".
I am a ham radio operator. We have "Hamfests", which are similar to gunshows, where we sell ham radio and related items. One local Hamfest has such a vendor rule which stated that 75% of each table must be devoted to Ham radio or computer gear.
Will the owners/managers of the big gun shows do something similar? Not if they are making money on tables being bought by the candle and jerky guys.
So the answer is to get other people to purchase those tables. We need to get people and organizations who are not selling guns but are associated with the firearms hobby to buy those tables. Think local and national gun rights groups. The NRA should have at least one table and be activly recruiting. Same for other groups like GOA, SAF, etc. State level groups like VCDL, LOCAL, La Shooting Association, etc. These groups need to have table with banners up promoting themselves to the masses who go to the gun shows.
Let's face it, many of us gun veterans have given up on gun shows but many people still flock to them. These are great venues for recruiting and spreading the word about progun organizations and messages.
How about some of the sport shooting groups? Have tables manned by reps from groups which host IDPA, USPSA, CASS and other sport shooting.
We have to get those groups interested in attending these gun shows and convince them that they can market themselves to a large demographic that they may be missing now.
We have to make gun shows not only where people think about looking at guns or even buying guns. You have to think, "If I go to a gun show, what else can I see or learn while I'm there? What do I get for my $8 I spend on admission?"
So diversify the tables. If you can have a guy there who is representing the local 3 gun matches instead of a guy selling candles then you are winning the battle.
Second, Diversify the event. Look at hosting not only vendors but confrences or seminars. Make the gun show a draw or destination. It's a perfect venue for the area NRA rep to hold an hour long Q&A session with members. I see this all the time at Hamfest where the ham radio equivilant to the NRA, the ARRL, has blocks of time set aside for board members or reps to talk about the latest issues they are lobbying or working on. If you are going to drive to a hamfest, spend nearly 10 bucks to get in, then just walk around, why not plan on sitting in on some Q&As or seminars like this? How about a block of time for a Reloading for Beginners session? Have a vendor spend an hour explaining how to use his products. Have a CHP instructor give a brief class and Q&A to those wondering about how to get a CHP. Have NRA or other gun groups hold elections or district type meetings at the gun shows.
There are plenty of things you can do at a gunshow besides just line up a bunch of tables and have crap thrown out to look at.
You have to change the idea of what a gun show is. Maybe start with smaller gun shows. Get the owners/managers on board. Get the area gun rights groups on board with the idea.
Or we can just be content with showing up at an arena seeing the same old, same old.

Paris
January 13, 2012, 01:50 PM
The local gun show here is dominated by two vendors who combined take up probably 75% of the floor space. Their table area is so large the sales guy drive around on Segway scooters (no joke).

It's basically like visiting their stores, except their prices are usually higher at the show. I priced a Glock 20 with a vendor at the show once for $650. The very same day I went to that vendor's B&M store and the same gun was in the glass for $550.

It's been a while since I've been to a gun show. The best part is being able to face to face sales with other gun owners.

P5 Guy
January 13, 2012, 05:58 PM
The big collector's show next weekend. I'm going to wander around, see some friends and have a good day's entertainment. For $11.00 and the price of gas for a 70 mile round trip.
Maybe I'll see something I can't live a fulfilling life without and have some jerky.
I find it all depends on ones outlook.

LiquidTension
January 13, 2012, 06:12 PM
I worked every weekend but three last year so I haven't been to a gun show since 2010. I'm taking tomorrow off specifically to go to one and hopefully sell an Ithaca 37 I have no use for. Even if I don't buy or sell anything I can easily spend more than an hour perusing tables and talking to people. Looking at the cost per hour there really aren't many things you can do for less money. If I want to go to the movies the girlfriend will also want to go, there's at least $22 gone just in tickets for a movie that won't even last two hours, not to mention drinks and snacks.

One of the local shows charges for parking, the other doesn't. Guess which one I go to?

Honestly the biggest thing keeping me from shows other than my schedule is the fact that Palmetto State Armory is only 20 minutes from me and two other law enforcement dealers are within 5 minutes. I can get 99% of stuff I need without leaving town. There's also a Sportsmans Warehouse a mile from my house if I ever just feel like staring at a bunch of guns I'm not going to buy. Selling guns or passing the time are the only reasons for me to go to gun shows anymore.

Isaac-1
January 13, 2012, 07:09 PM
I too am depressed about the quality of guns shows lately, I have been going to gun shows for nearly 30 years (with one exception, being a first ever show put on last year by a state gun owners message board, it had lots of good stuff, most sellers were individuals clearing out collections, etc, it was packed shoulder to shoulder with people buying and selling). A more typical show is operated by a promoter which often also operates a local gun store, the sellers are 90% the same selection FFL dealers within about a 100 mile radius, the last one I attended at an entry cost of $10 (3 times the price this same show was 5-10 years ago) and I went in with a budget of $500 for some type of interesting gun and could find NOTHING to buy, instead I found dealers who had marked up their regular stock by 25-30% , why buy that hmm interesting used pistol at the show for $325 when I had seen that exact same gun on sale at their store 3 days earllier for $269, thinking that was insane for a gun that the big box stores often put on sale for $299 new.

ExTank
January 13, 2012, 09:33 PM
I don't mind the "other stuff" tables; I've always kind of admired anyone who will hustle some to make an extra buck, so the folks with candles, leatherwork, etc. don't bother me one bit at all.

Plus, they do seem to draw in a more diverse crowd. Good Family Fun For Everyone!

Having said that, they do seem to be not more than 10% (by space/volume) of the local gun shows here in St. Louis, so they're not overwhelming, or seeming to displace gun dealers. If that percentage is higher (even egregiously so) in other locations, I can see where it might be a bit annoying to go to a "Gun Show," as opposed to a Gun Show.

perrytrails
January 13, 2012, 09:35 PM
Same here in Ohio. High prices, and nobody wants to deal, unless your giving your gun away.

I always enjoyed going, but I haven't purchased anything at the last four or five I have attended.

I'm sure I'll have nothing better to do and go again, but those days are numbered for me.

Delford
January 14, 2012, 04:54 PM
There's one in town today that charges $8 plus parking. Another show comes to town with free parking for a $7 ticket. I can wait. The second show has more vendors and will actually deal for a cash sale. If I'm going to take my tired feet onto concrete for another 3 hours, it will be a place that has genuine bargains and interesting people.

The Lone Haranguer
January 14, 2012, 11:36 PM
I usually don't get into "gun shows suck" threads (except to poke fun), but the one I went to today at Meadowview in Kingsport did, in fact, suck. Only about half of the tables even had guns, and there were more than a few that the sellers were excessively "proud of." :rolleyes: I could have shrugged off the $10 admittance and the packed crowd (anything worth going to is going to have a crowd) if there had at least been something to look at.

Ignition Override
January 15, 2012, 05:19 AM
Most sellers near Memphis don't shows in order to sell, but to socialize and advertise their names.
The few sellers with ammo always have lots of attention, but the prices equal what gun shops charge. A guy today had a small crate
with 1,000 rds. of Norinco 7.62x51, listed at $279, before sales tax. He thinks that it is non-corrosive.

Those with very overpriced WASRs or CETMEs hope that nobody has heard of Century Arms, or knows how to spot an imitation (#4) "Jungle Carbine", which was also there today ($475:D).

They often seem to sell little at these shows. We have had three shows in four weeks, starting December 23rd, and have a fourth next weekend, in Jackson, TN.

The Lone H.: True-about half or a third of the tables in this area have no guns or ammo, though some decent mags, bayonets etc are always seen.

DRYHUMOR
January 15, 2012, 08:11 AM
They are hit and miss.

I've been to the last 3 locally; I found 2 rifles I was looking for, and sold one I wanted to sell. At a slight profit. The ones I bought were from people walking the aisles, the one I sold was to a vendor.

And, since I was there yesterday... is there really any reason to go back today? Probably not.

Though this is a good time of year to find hunting rifles. No dealer wants to hold a rifle until nearly the next season, too much cash being tied up.

Isaac-1
January 16, 2012, 06:38 PM
Hey don't badmouth WASR's , not all of them are junk, mainly because Century will stamp the WASR name on any Romanian AK they get there hands on, the common junk ones are made from mil reject parts, but they also sell WASR's made out of recycled (sometimes unissued) Guarda guns, the key to spotting them is the stamped not electro penciled serial number starting with a 4 digit year, and matching serial numbers on the parts.

Ike

snakeman
January 16, 2012, 06:42 PM
gun shows are always overpriced. Finding a good deal at a gun show is almost impossible these days.

thefamcnaj
January 16, 2012, 06:59 PM
I was quite shocked at the last gun show I attended. It was in late December.
I walked around for hours and only saw one good deal(that was on a cpo sig p229).
Other than that the prices were way over retail. Used Glocks were being sold for 515$:eek:
Ammo was also extremely high. About 3 dollars a box higher than walmart. SD ammo was out of this world. Speer gold dot were 34 dollars for a 20 round box. Even worse than that was one vendor was selling black talons for 80$ a box.
WSAR ak's were going in the mid to high 6 hundreds.
I may not be going back. Even the holster vendor I like (wild bills consealmeant) was up 10$ per holster over just two months ago.:fire:

JustinJ
January 16, 2012, 07:21 PM
I think most of the savy gun people have moved to the internet while people who are newer to the hobby tend to frequent the shows more and get had on silly prices. Occasionally i still find a good deal but its generally more effort than its worth.

pjp74
January 16, 2012, 10:51 PM
The only strategy that I have ever found that halfway works is not go until about 2pm on Sunday afternoon. By then, most dealers are getting ready to start loading up and seem a little more energized to make a deal, guess better to sell it, than have to haul it back.

Powerglide
January 16, 2012, 11:05 PM
I just won't pay to park then pay to get in.Nope.Also, I am too old to hear some heavy man telling me why a 17 hmr is way better than 22 mag. Lots of bad info in these gunshows lately.For a newby, they can really get burned, and worse, never see gun owners in the same light again.

john wall
January 16, 2012, 11:48 PM
The local gun show in my town is a good place to buy drug paraphernalia and Supremacist materials.

orionengnr
January 17, 2012, 12:19 AM
Saturday the wife and I went to the Dallas Market Hall show, as I have been doing every chance I get for the last half dozen years. They only hold four shows per year, but IMHO it is the best show in the DFW area...and that's saying something (there are at least two gun shows per month in the area, and sometimes one every weekend).

Market Hall--two thousand tables. Ten bucks to get in, but if you care to donate a pint of blood at the mobile blood care bus, you get in free. I do that once in a while, as they are the same folks I donate blood with at work.

I picked up a few reloading components and 1000 Winchester LP primers for $28. Got to say "hi" to a number of the "regulars"...yeah, it's somewhat of a social event for me too.

I looked at some very nice 1911 wooden grips hand-made by a very talented gentleman who has just started making grips. A set of those is in my future.

I saw a very nice mid-70s 4" S&W M-57 that was worth every bit of the asking price, but I didn't have that kind of money on me. Good thing. :)

I saw a very nice blued 4" Ruger MkII Target with nice custom target grips. Looks as if it had been very minimally fired. Also easily worth the asking price, and I would have loved to add that one to my collection. Again, funds are the limiting factor. That and the fact I already have one. :)

I have no complaint about the quality of the gun shows around here. Wish I had the time and funds to attend more of them.

gun addict
January 17, 2012, 12:22 AM
buddy of mine just picked up a mismatched 1917 Luger with an original holster and 2 magazines at KC expo gunshow, i say THAT's a great deal!

crazy-mp
January 17, 2012, 12:27 AM
I would say for the most part yes, as far as being able to go in and buy something new for a fair price, I do not expect dealer to sell at or below cost, but just because you knocked 30 bucks off MSRP does not make it a good deal. I am also tired of trying to take friends who are not gun enthusiast to shows to have a dealer try and tell them why a 129.99 Hi Point is a better home protection gun than a Smith & Wesson M&P.

I have tried to buy guns from people walking around with firearms shouldered, but they usually have just shot some black spray paint over their solid 24k gold gun. I didn't know that 91/30's were worth 250, I thought they made over 15 million of them and they could be bought for less than 100 dollars from several distributors.

Ammo is a joke for the most part, but only because we have done that to ourselves, we spend hours on the internet calculator in hand trying to figure out what ammo is cheapest with who's shipping. The guy selling ammo can't compete with Wal-Mart or who ever has the cheapest ammo online. The guy at the gun show buys 4-5 cases of one kind of ammo a year and hope the guy across the aisle is not selling it for .50 a box cheaper. Its also hard to compete with the big companies that buy ammo by the semi or train car load when all you buy is a few cases a year. Then people get pissed off when you only have 4 different kinds of .22 ammo and 3 different bullet weights for .38, .357, 9, 40, 44, and .45. Forget you have 4 grand tied up in ammo.

Then there is the guy is only going to try and get rid of the cheap gun he bought at the local pawn shop because it will not cycle or it jams, key holes etc... Its now somebody else's problem, but remember "It shoots great, never had any problems, had it for years..."

vtbluegrass
January 17, 2012, 03:14 AM
Gunshows in Roanoke and Salem VA have been getting bigger and better I think. There are usually 3 or 4 shows a year and they will be one of two that not as many vendors show up to. I went to the Roanoke gun show on new years; the line was in the parking lot and the place was packed. Just about every other person walking out the door was carry an armload of loot and the prices were on par with the current market and some good "show prices" were to be had for those who looked and had real green cash.

Crex39
January 17, 2012, 09:33 AM
Went to the gun show in Medina, Ohio last Sunday. There are guns hows just about every week with the same promoter rotating the dealers in about a 250 square mile area, and there is the one in Medina from a different promoter, yet even this one has a lot of the same tables. That being said Medina is probably the best one in my opinion, it seems to have a lot more private dealers. My wife picked up a High Standard Field King for $350 it was a little fuzzy from dust and not being fired for probably 4 decades, but on the way home with a field strip and some CLP, we took it to the range and man does this thing shoot like butter compared to my Ruger Mk III. This is maybe the third time out of 50 trips that I found a great deal, but its fun to look.

Mike OTDP
January 17, 2012, 10:08 AM
Here in Maryland, the big problem is that there's NO variety. If you want to buy a 1911, Sig, Glock, or M&P, you're in good shape. If you are interested in the exotics, forget it.

And I moved beyond the normal run of firearms decades ago.

The one great exception is the Baltimore Antique Arms Show. That one is worth it. If I had the money, I could easily spend $50K at that show.

Tygarys
January 17, 2012, 07:09 PM
The local gun show in my town is a good place to buy drug paraphernalia and Supremacist materials.
This is one thing that has improved at guns shows in my area. When I started going to shows 10 years ago, the neo-nazis always had a table there. In the last few years the only nazi stuff you see is historic relics/C&R guns.

DammitBoy
January 17, 2012, 10:06 PM
The one great exception is the Baltimore Antique Arms Show. That one is worth it. If I had the money, I could easily spend $50K at that show.

How many tables at that show?

If I remember correctly, the large historic arms show in Birmingham, Alabama is about 750 tables?

22-rimfire
January 18, 2012, 01:25 AM
There are only a few shows that I am willing to pay to park.

Gun shows aren't what they used to be. Online sales are encouraging people to go to the auction sites. Forum listings also work and reduce the available guns that might show up at shows.

I have not been attending as many shows as I used to. I attended a couple a month on average at my peak. That has not reduced the number of firearms I have purchased by and large. But I almost always find something at a show that I am interested in at a price that is generally fair. I am trying to reduce the number of guns I buy to ones that I am going to shoot, not make the pile grow.

exbrit49
January 22, 2012, 07:46 PM
It’s been great to read all the responses to the initial posting. I do see a common theme throughout the replies, that is, that the older guys have good memories of gun shows and the wheeling and dealing that you could do, not that many years ago.
I have been to several more shows since the original post and today went to the Midwest Gun Traders show in Fort Wayne.
As usual I was able to get some really good deals on all the reloading supplies I wanted, and the atmosphere was very friendly and I spent a very enjoyable afternoon chatting to many of the Sellers.
Among some of the finds, 3 one pound cans of Winchester WST for $30, (Yep that was $10 A POUND!) Also got some .357 158 SWC, 250 for $20. Large Pistol Primers for $22/1000.
I saw a Lee Enfield MK 4 in very rough condition and the guy had it marked at $375. He admitted that he had had it in his inventory for a long while and asked me for an offer. I said that I knew what it was worth but I didn’t want to insult him with an offer that low. I own several Mk 4s in great condition and have never paid more than $125. We talked about it and he admitted that he had probably paid way too much for it and that it was a lot more than the figure I was talking about. He actually asked if I knew much about the Enfield’s and I said mmm so so! I started shooting them in the army cadets in the UK a million years ago. He asked why I would say the gun was in poor condition and I went over the rifle with him and we had a very pleasant conversation. No hard feelings on either side, I felt sorry that he had that much invested in it. Had the price been good I would have taken it.
So all in all I will continue to attend only the Midwest Gun Traders show here in Fort Wayne. $3 admission and no parking fee, but will NOT attend another CCI show, to expensive to get in and park ( $4 parking and $6 admission and no one deals.
In conclusion, Yes the deals are still out there and there is still some good camaraderie out there too. Go to the smaller shows where the sellers aren’t paying a fortune to sell at a Very Expensive venue, such as the Memorial Coliseum
Happy loading and shooting to all and thanks for all the responses and viewpoints offered
Roger
:D

chas3stix
January 23, 2012, 10:07 AM
The quality of gun shows has been slipping as of late. The last one I went to had half of the tables selling jewelry and garage sale collectibles. Ten years ago the black rifle to conventional rifle ratio was about 50/50. Now you have to look really hard to find a conventional rifle...everything is tactical/para military stuff. Admission fees have gone up to $14.00 with $4.00 parking fees. My two cents worth.

DesertVet
January 23, 2012, 01:08 PM
Was at a gun show on Saturday.
No good deals.
Went with $1000.00 left with my $$$
Lot of overpriced low quality stuff and overpriced stuff that can be had elsewhere for same or better prices....

You are ABSOLUTELY CORRECT...gun show quality HAS gone down.

Silent Bob
January 23, 2012, 06:24 PM
The gun shows in my neck of the woods have de-evolved into table after table of old curmedgeon kitchen table ffls crouching behind tables of beat-up old rusty lever action rifles and the occasional S&W revolver (and not a single intact sideplate, thumbpiece, or grip screw in the house!). Oh and you always have the table where some jacka-- keeps zapping a stun gun. I'd rather stay home and scrub the toilets.

rugerman07
January 23, 2012, 06:34 PM
I haven't bought much of anything at recent gun shows everything is way over priced. There's also quite a bit of non-firearm related sellers hawking silver ware, china ware, coins and a lot of other junk you normally see at flea markets.

JohnBT
January 24, 2012, 12:44 PM
I know how to improve all the rotten gun shows...

One of the big gun show promoters in Virginia is advertising for additional shows to buy.

www.cegunshows.com/Home/tabid/36/Default.aspx

"We are expanding our operations and interested in acquiring more shows, finders fees paid for usable buildings willing to purchase existing shows, please Contact us ! gunshows@usit.net "

ExTank
January 29, 2012, 05:28 PM
Went to the St. Louis Weapons Collector show this weekend, and again it was too small a venue for the amount of tables and people. And way too hot and stuffy; no air at all. And again, poorly lit. I just love trying to read the fine print on the side of a firearm in the half-lit halls of most gun shows. I need to start carrying a small flashlight with me to some of them.

I spied an H&K P30, but at first thought it was a Walther P99/PPQ. Made a comment to that effect to the knuclehead (not the dealer, a table flunky) at the table, and he thought I was nuts to think I could possibly mistake it for a Walther.

Walther P99 (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/File:Walther_P99_9x19mm.png)

Walther PPQ (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/File:Walther_PPQ.jpg)

H&K P30 (http://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/2/2c/Koalorka_H%26K_P30L.jpg)

:scrutiny: Yeah, buddy, those guns look absolutely nothing alike. :rolleyes:

The-Reaver
January 30, 2012, 05:23 PM
Was strolling past a vendor in Orlando last year. Guy was talking to him about his 440 tin of 7.62x54 & it went a little something like this.

Customer; Excuse me sir, how much are you asking for your 440 tin?
Vendor; $120
Customer; $120! I can get that online for $80...
Vendor; Then get it online.

Granted I know it's their product and it is a " Free Market " but why be a D bag about it?
I didn't even bother looking at that table after that. What a waste.

I walked past that table

JohnBT
January 31, 2012, 10:00 AM
"I can get that online for $80..."

With free shipping or is that going to run another $20 a case? The man had the ammo right there. He'd ordered it, paid for it, waited for it to arrive, hauled it to the show and sat there waiting all day only to hear one person after another complain "I can get it for $80". Well why hadn't they gotten it for $80? Too lazy or too cheap I suppose. No wonder he snapped back at one more dumb comment.

The guy worked and paid to get the ammo on his table. He's not working for nothing. And he paid a fee for the table, too.

John

gfanikf
January 31, 2012, 10:32 AM
I guess I'm lucky to live near a great show location (Oaks, PA). Their last show was really nice, with lots of vendors (guns not socks) selling a wide variety of items. The aisle's are well spaced so as not to jam everybody trying to check out displays. On the flip side, having room to look at the displays has caused my wallet to decline in its contents. :)

This was the same case for me. The Oaks show was great with a ton of variety.

Sent from my DROIDX using Tapatalk

AirForceShooter
January 31, 2012, 10:58 AM
"I can get that online for $80..."

With free shipping or is that going to run another $20 a case? The man had the ammo right there. He'd ordered it, paid for it, waited for it to arrive, hauled it to the show and sat there waiting all day only to hear one person after another complain "I can get it for $80". Well why hadn't they gotten it for $80? Too lazy or too cheap I suppose. No wonder he snapped back at one more dumb comment.

The guy worked and paid to get the ammo on his table. He's not working for nothing. And he paid a fee for the table, too.

John


Then he has to consider if selling at shows is worth his time.
His business may not be viable.

AFS

gym
January 31, 2012, 07:45 PM
Gun shows here in Ft Pierce FL are great. I bought several guns and ammo amoung other supplies in the last 3 years of living on the Treasure Coast.
i had given up on them after 15 years of crap in Broward and Palm Beach, getting progressivelly worse. But here they are a breath of fresh air. "Shoot straight" has incredible prices, selling the new sig 290 with laser for $550.00, msrp of 750+. Ammo for 223, at 8 bucks a 20 round box of 55 grain PMC and 13 dollars for 62 grain Rem. And 357 taurus revolvers new stainless at $259.00. Also a lcp for $259.00. Prices less that used guns on gun trader. I picked up a mil spec, AR, TWSC, for $800.00. a Florida company, Couldn't be happier with the shows of late. Serpa holsters sold out at 35 a pop. Not the norm, the show in my town "Vero" sucked by comparison. MY pal picked up a laser rangefider and a good quality scope at both shows.One at each. So it all depends on where you shop and what you can do in terms of negotiate.
i seldom fall in love with something, that's the tick. If there are 3 or 4 models that you would carry or are acceptable to you like a Glock, M&P, XD, Ruger, you will be able to easily find something at a good price. You can't always find exactlly what you had your heart set on, at a deep discount. But if you are willing to bend a little, you can make out pretty well.
There are times when I want a specific gun and it may take 6 months until I get it at the right price, but like cars, there is always a new model coming out that you haven't seen yet. And picking up a great discounted weapon, can get you closer to what you want if you are a good horse trader. i have turned a $400 dollar Glock into a 1200 dollar 45, on more than one occasion, it may take 2 or 3 trades to do it buy if you aren't in a big hurry you can get it done.
Guns are like women, you may not get her that night, but there are going to be other nights when she's not so popular. Guys buy guns on impulse, "new shooters" then they get home and find out they don't like it or can't break it down, and get embarrased so they sell it, and buy a simple gun. Cars are similar, many an old geeser went out and bought a 911, and after a week, sold it at a 15 thousand dollar loss. They can't drive it, can't bend down to get in,and their wife won't get in the darn thing because she can't talk and put on her makeup at the same time. It's a wonderful world. take advantage of the wealthy mans fantasy, of being James Bond, when he's more like Gomer Pile.

Coal Dragger
January 31, 2012, 07:52 PM
Gun shows have virtually gotten to the point of being pointless, unless you need a reminder of why certain members of society shouldn't be allowed to: breed, operate Dremel tools, operate belt sanders, or own any vintage firearms.

Ignition Override
January 31, 2012, 09:33 PM
Coal Dragger:

What is really amusing is how people bubbafied classic guns and then lose interest (or need cash) hoping that a stranger will want to buy it. Most of our gun show Enfields have suffered such a fate. Another guy at Southaven MS super-heated either an Enfield or Mauser bolt, in order to bend it down even further, to better assist using a scope. We wanted to break out laughing at that bozo.:D It was both funny and sad.

With wood, it might be replaced, but with permanent alterations to metal, they've already reduced the value a major fraction, if not by half or more.
There were situations where some guns had really torn up wood, beyond salvage, and needed help-but not with so many others....

Never mind the lack of a appeal for a gun which has lost most of its military character. Less than two years ago at Whittaker's Guns in nw KY, near Evansville, the store had a vintage M-1 Carbine which some classic nit wit had painted green.

DammitBoy
January 31, 2012, 10:32 PM
the worst gunshow I ever went to just wasn't all that bad.

ExTank
February 1, 2012, 06:50 PM
Less than two years ago at Whittaker's Guns in nw KY, near Evansville, the store had a vintage M-1 Carbine which some classic nit wit had painted green.

:what:









:eek:













:barf:

gyvel
February 4, 2012, 12:08 PM
So the same gun they had in the shop for $610 on Thursday you might be able to get for $525 at the show on Saturday.

Usually it's the other way around at a gun show.

Jim NE
February 4, 2012, 12:55 PM
The gun show pricing dilema is real. I bought a cool old late '40's snub nose .38 Smith and Wesson k frame the other day at a show in Eastern Nebraska, and it was a fair price - a bit below the "going rate", but not a screamin' deal. It SEEMED like a screaming deal, though, when compared to everything else at the show.

After we transacted the deal, the dealer who sold me the gun asked, in a hushed tone, "Have you seen the PRICES at this show? Unbelievable!"

One of the things I HATE is NO PRICE TAGS!!! If I ran a show, there'd be a rule against no price tags. It's like the seller is coming up with a different price for every different customer. I asked some numbskull who had a USED good condition Charter Arms stainless Bulldog in .44 spl. what he wanted and he scratched his whiskered chin and said "Oh, I don't know...I guess SEVEN HUNDRED DOLLARS would buy it."

I can only imagine that he thought I looked as stupid as he was, and it was kind of insulting.

Jim NE
February 4, 2012, 01:22 PM
"I preceive there being much more stuff back then."

People used to own one or two guns and trade one to get one. What's the internet philosophy we've all heard constantly for more than ten years now?

"NEVER SELL A GUN"

No wonder there aren't many guns for sale. We have met the enemy and it's us.

Interesting observation. Probably accurate, too. I know it probably describes me. I would ALWAYS sell a gun to buy another. Not anymore.

Part of it, however (IMHO), may be that people feel less certain about our country's future, and are more inclined to hang on to guns.

marksman13
February 4, 2012, 01:26 PM
I don't know about a decline in quality, but there has certainly been an increase in price at gun shows.

LTR shooter
February 4, 2012, 02:15 PM
Hi all, is it just me or are the gun shows getting rougher and rougher?
I live in the Fort Wayne, IN. area

Yeah , even the Indy 1500 is not what it once was. Some of the vendors I regularly dealt in years past with are no longer there.

Although I drove over last month and was able to sell my 1948 High Standard so it was worth the trip. Add to that the attendent taking up parking money simply waved me on! So no parking fee.

But I probably won't go to another show this year unless I have something to sell.

Ian Sean
February 4, 2012, 03:27 PM
I feel pretty lucky here in Pennsylvania, our shows have always been pretty good. The Oaks show, Harrisburg, and Lebanon are some of the bigger ones. Even the little 100-200 table ones aren't that bad. Travelling to other states, I don't think VA is to bad either, TN I went to a small one which was OK, Florida shows used to be very good, but I haven't been to any in a long while.

I have probably made most of my purchases at shows, I wheel and deal and make offers. I try to research what I want or need beforehand, know the going prices, and make offers. Either the "big bad mean gun dealer" will accept my offer or decline.... and I move on. Most often though I wind up making deals.

Customer; Excuse me sir, how much are you asking for your 440 tin?
Vendor; $120
Customer; $120! I can get that online for $80...
Vendor; Then get it online.


How I approach that situation is to quietly say to the dealer, "oh..$120? Is that the best you can do on the price? How about $90 cash?" Nice and quiet and polite.

You would be suprised how often that works and some of the deals I get.:) Every price is negotiable, most dealers know what they can take on an offer and still make money.

Zach S
February 4, 2012, 03:34 PM
I haven't been to a gun show in years. Always looked more like a flea market to me. One where you had to pay to park, and then pay to get in.

Now that I'm in East TN, instead of Western NC, I may check one out next time there's one close.

kenken
February 4, 2012, 07:12 PM
Went to one today and it was OK. Alot of stuff to look at and it was priced so-so. What amazes me is all the 'gunsmith/gun experts' that are at a gun show. I don't know everything but I love to just keep quiet and listen to some of these people 'pop those gums' about this or that. Really worth going to one just to see that.

kenken

Ingsoc75
February 5, 2012, 11:40 AM
I've always found gun shows as a great place to see stuff in person that I rarely see at the local gun shop or only online (Pre-ban AK rifles, NFA items, WW2 stuff).

leadcounsel
February 5, 2012, 04:11 PM
I, too, have complained about over-priced gun show junk. But nearly every time I go, I do manage to find a great deal on a gun that I want. Recently I've picked up 2 Security Sixes and also a P229, all in very good condition and for very favorable prices.

But consider this: WHAT ARE YOU GOING TO A GUN SHOW FOR? If it's for people to bring their wares in to give them away to you, then you're going to be mistaken. These folks invest a lot of time and energy and make a very thin profit margin. I realize that some over-charge, and it bugs me too. But I move on and buy from either those private sellers who want to make a sale. I don't expect people to be giving away their wares, and I will pay a fair price to folks so they keep coming to the shows and bringing their wares.

With thousands of people gathering in one place, I often see a wide variety of guns and supplies.

Patriotme
February 6, 2012, 02:01 AM
I've saved a lot of money at my local gunshows. I realize that there's a lot of cheap leather, beef jerkey and Chinese crap but there's also a lot of decent dealers and I picked up an XDM this weekend for at least $70 under any of the local gunstore's prices. I saved $60 on the last Kahr that I bought.
Now I know that some will say that you should support your local gun stores and I agree to some extent. The problem is there's only one local gun store that is decent and the rest are unfortunately staffed by angry old men, punk kids and generally rude staff that would rather look at a newspaper than ask if you need any help.
Sorry....there's only one local store that gets my business and they don't get it all.

GD
February 6, 2012, 11:08 PM
I enjoy going to shows in Kansas (and of course the big show in Tulsa, OK). I went to the Abilene show last weekend and bought Lake City .223 for 20 cents per round. Entry to the show was $3. I have found deals at just about every show. Keep an eye on the walkins and be patient. I agree that prices on firearms tend to be ridiculous but a deal will show up every once in a while.

sherman123
February 6, 2012, 11:50 PM
I agree with the general consensus here. I went to a gun show yesterday and the deals were awful. I could've saved money by just buying bulk ammo online.

OcelotZ3
February 7, 2012, 01:11 AM
Our local gun shows have been not too bad, but the great deals of decades past just aren't happening.

Having said that, there was a small show this last weekend and the prices were AWFUL. I mean, really bad.

As an example, a guy was selling a used 6-round speedloader for 38 special. He was asking $20 for it. In town, they were selling new for $12 and used for $6.

Many new rifles were advertised for more than the local gun stores were selling them for. Quite a bit more.

I guess that the sellers think gun buyers are pretty stupid... The whole time I was at the show, I didn't see any gun sales at all.

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