Gun Shows


March 24, 2012, 08:50 PM
I'm sure this topic has been discussed before, but do all of you out there (dealers excluded) think the Gun Shows of today are a joke? I've been going to shows for over 20yrs, and I've never been more disgusted with the inflated prices and "care less if I sell it or not"attitudes of alot of the dealers. What ever happened to the "deals" one could make at a show?? Has the internet ruined the shows market that much? It's really getting to a point where it's just not worth going anymore. How do you all feel?

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March 24, 2012, 09:24 PM
Gun shows are worthwhile because you may (or may not) find hard-to-find stuff all in one place. I've boiled it down to just a handful of shows that I still go to regularly. Prices aren't the main consideration for me.

March 24, 2012, 09:34 PM
I'm the same way. I have only a few shows that I go to also. You can still find deals at the shows but you really have to look and know your prices and the guns.

Where can you find all that variety under one roof? It's worth the cost of admission.

March 24, 2012, 10:12 PM
I've been going to regional shows for 50+ years and have noted a definite downward trend. Trading is a thing of the past. I do however find an occasional cash deal that is too good to pass up. Guess that's what keeps me going to them.

Ignition Override
March 24, 2012, 10:24 PM
Buyers sometimes expect to see a steep discount.
Many sellers expect a large profit.

Many people don't plan on a compromise, and expectations are too unrealistic.

March 24, 2012, 10:30 PM
Gun show success is mostly a matter of timing. If you are selling, show up the first day near the opening of the show and make a private sale. If no luck, then consider a dealer. He will be more willing to give a better price because he has the rest of the show to make a sale. If buying, wait until the last day near the end of the show. The dealer will be more willing to lower the price instead if lugging it to the next show or back to the shop. Lower profit is better than no profit.

In the mean time eat some beef jerkey and look at the crazies at the show. I always try to keep a little money on me as well. If you see a private seller walking around you can make an insanely low offfer. Sometimes you get lucky.

March 24, 2012, 10:32 PM
Kinda like mining for diamonds , you got to move a lot of dirt to find a good one.

justin 561
March 24, 2012, 11:05 PM
Really good deals can still be had if you look at every booth and know what the current prices are. Where I live the ammo sellers were the only better than online prices I could find, that has since changed and it is $50 higher than online after shipping. It also seems the "rumor" is China is buying all russian commercial .223 (Brown bear .223) :banghead:, so this is their justification on jacking up the price.. If it wasn't for the jerky and knick-nacks I buy my daughter I wouldn't even waste the $8..

March 24, 2012, 11:11 PM
I stopped going due to the 7$ per person and 2$ for parking, usually I spend 16$ just to get in. Keep in mind you have to pay tax (7% for me) and it is a 30min drive for me, gas prices being what they are. The prices they have are usually equal to online, BEFORE the aforementioned are factored. I'll pass, and have my main man mr UPS haul that heavy box to me.


March 25, 2012, 01:04 AM
It probably depends on several things as to the quality of the show. The state you live in will make a big difference. In Texas, you will find a lot more gun shows per year than you will in say Wisconsin. The size of the show will lead to a lot more competition so you may see better selection and prices. The organization behind the show will also affect the quality of e show as will the community in which it is served. In the Dallas/Ft. Worth area, there are gun shows every month and due to the volume and variety, they attach a lot of patrons. So I think it comes down to your location and the size of the show.

March 25, 2012, 01:09 AM
went to one today, lots of over priced used and new guns, no used parts no reloading equipment very little brass or bullets what was their I could buy cheaper at my retail store. saw a rifle that I bought 2 years ago used for $200.00 going for $700.00 way out of line. anybody know what a weatherby vanguard blued plastic stocked sells for new?? their was 3 in my group and no one bought any thing:neener::neener::neener:

March 25, 2012, 01:17 AM
More and more it's like paying to enter a retail store. Many tables charge tax now, and many that do don't disclose this on tags. Prices are nothing special for the most part and lots of "vintage" (nice way of saying old and over-priced IMO) stuff abounds. I can get most new stuff for cheaper at local shops or delivered online. However, now and then real deals can still be found making it worthwhile yet. And, it's still fun to look around. It helps one show is 5 minutes from my house, but I've stopped going to the show that's an hour drive.

March 25, 2012, 01:56 AM
Is it fashionable to gripe about gun shows or is it just people that dislike them that are the only ones who post about them?? I go to gun shows because: 1. I usually see a gun or gun item I have not seen before or do not see very often (Today I saw an original Winchester 73 in .22 short caliber. How many of those have you seen?) 2. I always learn something new about a gun or guns that is useful. 3. I do not expect inexpensive prices just because it is a show. Who said gun shows are supposed to have guns priced less than shops. Gun show dealers need to make a profit if they are going to stay in business. Besides, let your feet make a statement if the price is too high for you. Walk away. We live in a supposedly free and capitalistic economy 4. I usually find a very good buy on something. A week ago I went to a gun show and scored on some ammunition. This weekend I found a man selling tons of gun parts, and he had a load, and I got bunches of parts for projects really, I mean really, cheap.

Here in Iowa it seems that $6 is the going admission price. I always get $6 worth of entertainment and schmoozing when I go to a gun show...not to mention the gun items I purchase. I know this sounds rude but, frankly, I am getting tired of hearing people gripe about gun shows.

March 25, 2012, 02:11 AM
I understand the common theme here that prices have risen and attitudes have tightened up a bit over recent years. But as a NYer, and someone who has witnessed our recent changes in Washington, and a as a taxpayer who is growing tired of being in the 50% who is expected to pay for the other half, I go to gun shows for other reasons altogether. I go to be around people who have their head on straight. When you go to a gun show, you are usually around people who work, respect the law, love their country, take care of their family, and are good neighbors. I go just to be around the folks.

March 25, 2012, 02:26 AM
Went to a gun show today. Cost $5 to get in. Bought a Remington Model 12-c for $75, six boxes of 7.5 French for $25, some small parts for my AR, ($5), a 5-round mag for my Mini-14 ($15), and a Collins camp hatchet ($15). Also got to walk around and talk to a lot of like-minded people and handle a lot of interesting stuff.
Money and time well spent.

March 25, 2012, 02:28 AM
I enjoy going to gun shows. It's cheaper than going to the movies, I can stay all day and I can chat with all sorts of people who are experts on everything. Where else can you get all the entertainment for a $5/$7 admission? Sometimes I even find something I can use at a decent price.

March 25, 2012, 06:44 AM
Way back when (way back when there wasn't an internet) gun shows had a lot more going for them than they do today. Imagine trying to sell your cool Glock fast so you can buy a cooler AR if the only two ways you could do that were newspaper want ads or finding a willing dealer. It was tough. I did a lot of business through Shotgun News (how many of you even know what that is?) and it was a major league PIA. The kind of PIA where you had to write out your ad, write out your check, mail it it and hope it got there in time for this week's issue.

Guns shows were great! Lots of SERIOUS buyers and sellers. it was a huge opportunity for the dealers because they got to show their stuff to lots and lots of lookers, who didn't have a "web" to go to for their needs. It was like the county fair when I was a was the most fun you could have on the planet until about a million other fun things to do came along and it wasn't the only game in town anymore.

Last week I moved 3 handguns, a rifle, a bunch of ammo, and a scope on one local gun sale website. It cost me a small membership fee (yearly) and a little bit of time taking pictures. Wow. The ONLY way I could have done that 30 years ago was at a gun show.

Take em as they are. I still go to one or two a year if I don't have anything better to do...but only for the entertainment value because there are a lot better ways to source and buy a firearm.

March 25, 2012, 09:27 AM
I see lots more guns when I go to the gun show than I would if I didn't. That's usually all the incentive I need. I will admit to being annoyed by having to walk past all the flea market stuff (especially the ladies selling those stinky scented candles) but I can still see more guns at even a small show than I can at any 2-3 shops combined. The only exception is some of the tiny shows in very small buildings--but even then I see more guns than I would by doing anything other than making the four hour drive to Whitaker's.

March 25, 2012, 09:45 AM
Buyers sometimes expect to see a steep discount.
Many sellers expect a large profit.

Many people don't plan on a compromise, and expectations are too unrealistic.

That's probably a big part of it. And I will put some of it on the buyers. I think negotiation is a lost art in our "instant gratification" culture today. How many of you have seen someone practically shove other patrons out of the way to get to one particular gun, oogle it, drool all over it with eyes wide and hands trembling? You know the one I'm talking about? I know, because I've seen me do it :p ! They (I, sometimes) bought the gun even before they/I opened their/my mouth!!! What kind of deal do you think they are going to be able to get? Asking price I bet. Dealers aren't stupid, though I suspect by some prices I see that some may be smoking something.

Go in with a pocket full of twenties. Locate a gun you like, but treat it like a game of poker. Be polite, but try to control the slobbering and excitement (I know, it can be hard) :o. Without offering a verbal price, count out the twenties one at a time and put them on the table (you may want to move away from the table to count out the right number before returning). Don't offer an obnoxious price either ($200 for a 2.5" S&W 66 priced at $550 probably won't go over well). Something where you get a good deal and they still make $$$. Keep in mind that the markup on used guns is often quite a bit higher than new ones. Lastly, be willing to scoop up the cash and walk away, no matter how much you want it (not easy, I know).

If you do that, deals can be had. Particularly if you come upon a dealer who is more desperate to move some old inventory than others. The body language works both ways. They're easy to spot, if you know what to look for.

Big thing is this requires a ton of patience, something I frequently lack, especially if you are looking for a used gun (like an older pre-lock, pre-MIM pinned and recessed S&W revolver). I admit, often times I find the perfect specimen and decide to buy even if the deal isn't fantastic (maybe just fair).

March 25, 2012, 12:26 PM
Here the shows are 3 day shows, 5$ for all three days, no parking fee. Last weekend I had some collector ammunition I wanted to liquidate. Carried it in, got my asking price at the second table, I figure I made about 550% on my money. Granted, I'd had some of it for some years but I never had to feed it or refrigerate it so I did OK. Looked around, saw a few things I was interested in but I was short of time so I couldn't dicker, had to leave. Another show the end of April, I'll take a couple of rifles in and find me another Colt. I like gun shows, good cheap entertainment and coffee with friends.

March 25, 2012, 12:45 PM
The dealer will be more willing to lower the price instead if lugging it to the next show or back to the shop.

I've seen the same overpriced handguns and longguns on the same dealer's tables for the last ten years at the DFW shows.

I set up at the local big show last summer and sold a dozen wheelguns and semis over the weekend. The real deals are in the aisles, not on the tables.

March 25, 2012, 03:14 PM
When I had fewer guns I went to more shows, and bought and sold more guns. Now I am pretty happy with my collection and buy less. Have hard time finding ann gun parts but for ak-47 and ar-15. Usually have to order off internet anyway.

March 25, 2012, 03:34 PM
I love most gun shows. Some, where they sell more "precious moments" figurines than guns, are an embarrassment to gun shows every where. So, pick the shows with some caution and you'll be happy. It sure beats sitting at home watching another damn football or basketball game (shudder).. Like a couple others have said, it is cheaper than a movie and can last all day (Tulsa) AND if you possess a modest amount of genuine curiosity, you will learn a lot at every show. I think that is almost the best part for me and only costs the of price admission. Of course I love a bargain as much as the next guy, but I do not EXPECT it as if it is owed to me. See ya in Tulsa next weekend:)

March 25, 2012, 04:23 PM
We have a decent size show here in town this weekend, biggest crowd I've seen at this annual show in years. :)

March 25, 2012, 04:44 PM
I just got home from a gun show, and it was dissappointing as usual. The most horrible price I saw was on a used Sig sauer p229 for 990 and tax. It was the base model at that. Glocks were up in the high 600s. I actually found what I went for, which was another Benchmade Griptillian. Yea that didn't happen, seeing that they wanted 125 for it.
I think I'm going to leave the dissappointing gun shows in the rear view mirror.

March 25, 2012, 05:25 PM
It's true, the quality of gun shows has seriously gone down. I grew up on gun shows with my dad. As a kid with my dad we got my Remington 870 12 gauge, and my Winchester model 70 featherweight in .308 there. both were trades with guys sitting behind the tables. My dad recently let me take his Remington 700 30-06 from his closet to mine. that rifle is older than i am (i'm 31) and it's in way better shape than any of the used guns I see at the Gun shows. I now go to an occasional gun show, but i do it to see the ancillary stuff that comes with the gun show. not the guns. That, and to see what everyone is carrying around. that's where the gun deals are.

March 28, 2012, 11:57 AM
One thing I noticed reading through the post was the gun shows must stink nation wide and not just in my area. I remember in the early 80's my granpa saying, "well we are going to go in here an haggle a little bit and come out with something for a good price".
He always did. There is no dickering any more. What you see is what you get, take it or leave it.
People use to go on Sundays because the dealers would give good deals to keep from lugging everything back to where they came from. Now they don't care wheather they sell anything or not.
It's really not that good of an atmosphere anymore.

March 28, 2012, 03:02 PM
I still see some good deals at gunshows. All depends on where ya go I guess.

March 28, 2012, 05:51 PM
I only got to 2 gun shows a year.The wanenmacher will be here this weekend and it has 11 acres of guns.I usually stay 4 or 5 hours but mostly buy parts and knives.They have some really old browning and winchester collections that i enjoy learning about.Usually i can beat the new gun prices by going to the LGS.

March 29, 2012, 01:39 AM
I mark my stuff up a little bit when I go to gun shows because the first thing somebody asks is "Whats your bottom dollar" so I come down 25-40 dollars, they feel good and I still get what I want out of it.

My gunbroker auctions, the starting bid IS my low dollar the buy it now price is what I would like to get out of it and I throw in free shipping.

I am one of the few that will also do some horse trading with you at gun shows, only time people leave my table mad is when I get my 4473's out and want them to do paperwork, I guess the gun show loophole means as soon as you walk in the door no paperwork in their minds?

The prices, I cant explain what goes on in some peoples heads, used Ruger 10/22 sell for more than new ones at gun shows, but some of that is also the people at the gun shows remembering what they gave for a 10/22 17 years ago and thinking they should still be that price.

I include sales tax on all my prices and the tags say "Tax included"

I have only had my FFL a short time compared to some, but I remember what it was like when I was on the other side of the table.

March 29, 2012, 08:03 AM
Going to the Gun Shows around where I live is great.All the Dealers or vendors know each other"since we had to wait for years to get a spot,no one gives them up".Plus you get to BS about our favorite subject,look for deals."A lot goes on inside before the doors open to the public".It gets me away from the old lady nagging.I just really look forward to them.

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