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first trip to a gun show, any advice?

Discussion in 'General Gun Discussions' started by SpeedAKL, Aug 9, 2007.

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  1. jkingrph

    jkingrph Member

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    Know what you are buying. example, A couple of years ago I ran into a nice old Charlin, a double barrel sliding breech shotgun similar to a Darne. The big difference is the locking system, the Darne being much stronger, and the Charlin having the sliding breech acutally running on hidden ball bearings so it is super smoothe and very tightly fitted, but still not worth as much as a comparable Darne. Anyway they were calling it a Darne and asking $3600, I looked a couple of times, took a card and walked away. I did a bit of research, contacted the dealer who had the gun on consignment and educated him a bit about it and got it for a little less than half the asking price.

    It paid to wait, research the gun then make an appropriate offer.
     
  2. hamourkiller

    hamourkiller Member

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    First of all, have a good time.

    Cash is King, Cash is King, Cash is King etc.

    Go with some one you like, Dad, Son , Wife etc. They can help with keeping track of things.

    Keep a note book or palm pilot as already mentioned, then keep notes!

    Be open to good buys, walked into a show in Houston a few years back, first table had a Ruger .44 carbine and Fixed 4 power Redfield Widefield scope for 225 cash. Did not hesitate even though I did not need another .44 carbine.

    Watch people with guns trying to get the dealers to buy or take on trade, if one is floating your boat hang close and listen to what is being offered. If you want it and it is in your price range, step in and offer the guy more than the dealers but not by much. Your will get some cheap quality guns this way.

    Dont be afraid to bargain, especialy if you are bringing cash money to the deal, maybe you can get the gun with out paying taxes etc. Who knows if you dont ask. Walk away and bargain later in the day.

    Bargain hard at the very end of the last day, dealers want some return for the trip and fees.

    Always remember to have a good time!

    PS: Did I mention Cash is King?
     
  3. Noxx

    Noxx Member

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    Heh, my wife walked by, saw the title of this thread and said...

    "yeah, don't bring any money."

    Then she flicked me in the back of the head. I think she might be trying to say something.
     
  4. Ohio Rifleman

    Ohio Rifleman Member

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    Oh, one more suggestion, if your gun show is more than one day, go on the last day. In my experience, vendors cut their prices on the last day and are more willing to wheel and deal on the last day. I guess to lighten their load to take back home.
     
  5. TEDDY

    TEDDY Member

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    gun show

    OHIO RIFLEMAN:you took the wind out of my sail.nobody mentioned last day.
    I found the last day was chanch to get good deal if the stock was there.
    most dealers have credit machines,most take checks.must be a wild bunch that dont.never had trouble in Mass or SC.I bought powder at $16 lb at last gun show.guns were high but a lot of reloading gear was cheap.to many jewelry and knife tables.I talk to a lot of the dealers but only when no custumers are around.some dealers act as if you dont exist I ignore them.some will dicker some are rigid.but I enjoy myself.
     
  6. vis-à-vis

    vis-à-vis Member

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    Ask before you touch is generally a good rule. I have discovered that this tends to warm the vendor's heart. Have fun and pick me up a Steyr M9 while you're there.
     
    Last edited: Aug 10, 2007
  7. MAKster

    MAKster Member

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    checks

    I've never had a problem buying a gun from a dealer with a check. They've never batted an eye. Just think about it. You give them two forms of government ID and they run a criminal background check on you. Highly unlikely someone would write a bad check. If the check bounced they'd sure know where to find you. If you plan to buy from an individual walking the aisles then cash is the only way to go.
     
  8. Waitone

    Waitone Member

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    Don't buy anything until you know what you are doing. Find a hot deal on a revolver? Do you have any clue how to evaluate a revolver? Hot deal on a 1911? Do you know how to evaluate it with a view to preventing your being screwed? I don't care how good the price is; a cracked slide is no deal. Do you know where to look for cracks on a 1911? People who make a living at gunshows may look like a bunch of bubbas, but be aware they are sharp. A newbe and his money are soon parted at a gunshow.

    Ammo? Know the price going in and carry a strong canvas sack. Plastic bags will not cut it.

    Cash only.

    You'd be well advised to go penniless for the first visit. The more you know the greater your chances of finding a great deal. First time at a gunshow makes you nothing more than fresh meat.
     
  9. Harley Quinn

    Harley Quinn Member

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    I have seen many locations that have visa etc.
    It is not a bad way to go IMHO. The cash idea is good no doubt. :)

    But the big problem I have seen and heard are the major scammers at the location they are telling you stuff you will not believe or should not for sure.:what:

    Go with your wife she is smart, I am thinking. If you use visa you can be assured you are dealing with a good reputable person IMHO...:scrutiny:

    Go around and observe the prices of as many tables as you can. Beware:eek:

    I would not buy any ammo from someone for cash.

    ;)
     
  10. offthepaper

    offthepaper Member

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    If you intend to look at/handle milsurps, I always tuck a small clean rag in my pocket to wipe the cosmo off my hands while checking the goodies. :D
     
  11. Cliff47

    Cliff47 Member

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    Just because something looks interesting or starts whispering to you is no reason to jump all over the deal. Sometimes it pays to wait until the next show, when the price has been dropped.

    I always make one pass around the show before settling in on something that has caught my eye (or started whispering to me). A couple of times I've gotten great deals from someone clearing out someone else's collection.

    Always ask "May I take a closer look?". Just about every time the owner will be all over you to show off his offering. Be cool about it, and enjoy the experience.

    If you get there early, some of the vendors may not have opened up yet, so you can catch them on a second pass. Go early for the selection, late for the deals. Cash is king, dealers will take checks, enjoy yourself.
     
  12. pharmer

    pharmer Member

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    I don't know about elsewhere, but in Florida if you pull out a checkbook, be prepared for raucous laughter. You can't write a check for squat around here unless the dealer is married to your daughter. On second thought, not even then. Joe
     
  13. PrimaryB

    PrimaryB Member

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    Buy the gun, not the story.

    I always ask, because it is their property, if I can dry fire. Be courteous.

    Don't cowboy a revolver, flip cylinder closed and free spin.

    Ask before you field strip if your comfortable with that. He may say no so ask him to do it for you. Their is a lot going on at some tables so don't get offended if you get put on hold. I saw one buyer put the high speed take down on a 1911 with out asking. Not good. I guess to show their prowess to the masses at the table.

    A story to add. Last show I was at I happened to see a gentleman their who had a cellphone and wireless mike and earpiece and was cruising the tables like a shark. All the while whispering to......who? LOL this guy never asked a question except "how much". More whispering and a ridiculous low offer was made and the seller bit. I stood their in amazement. The seller was more intimidated than most buyers. You had to have been their to appreciate it. The guy reminded me of Colonel Sanders after drinking to much green tea.
     
  14. Satch

    Satch Member

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    First trip

    If you think you might buy a used gun M1, or M1carbine,etc.,take along a bore light or ask the seller to shine a light in the bore to check it out. Most serious sellers at shows will do that for you.
     
  15. joplinsks

    joplinsks Member

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    A big +1 for asking permission from vendors to touch and hold guns. Most every time I do this I get a big "Wow!... I appreciate you asking" response which leads to friendly negotiations.

    Also be on the lookout for honest vendors that will see you looking at a gun and automatically will cut the zip tie and hand you the gun without you even asking. Those folks are usually the best to deal with.
     
  16. akodo

    akodo Member

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    however, it is permissable to PAY someone to hold a gun for you. $20 for 30 minutes is pretty standard.

    Why? As stated before, noone wants to take a check from a total stranger. Lots of people find this out the hard way and go to the ATM. ATMs at gunshows are normally empty after the first hour.
     
  17. wheelgunslinger

    wheelgunslinger Member

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    Cash is King, for sure.
    Being polite and classy in a sea of mouth breathers is a great way to get the red carpet treatment from a dealer.
    The last three shows I've been to have just been people watching exercises for me too. I love to watch people at gun shows.
     
  18. crebralfix

    crebralfix member

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    Look at EVERYTHING. You may find Great-great Granddad's old <insert firearm here> or something just like it.

    I managed to find a Krag rifle sight ($30!) for the exact year of the one I bought my dad. Now all we need are the screws....
     
  19. joplinsks

    joplinsks Member

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    I love watching gun show dealers tell buyers that their NICS checks were denied. The buyers' reactions are usually priceless... like "I got caught stealing 20 years ago when I was young... that's still on my record?" :uhoh:
     
  20. mp510

    mp510 Member

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    Biggest advice is to bring cash. There may be a couple of vendors who have credit card machines, but even then, you have more bargaining power with cash.
     
  21. gezzer

    gezzer Member

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    Cash talks, personal check? You are a newbie!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    Take cash, any gun you realy want start at 50% of asking price while showing your Roll. Still be prepared to be ripped.

    I am a dealer who gave up going to shows 8 years ago.

    Keep your hand on your roll at all times.
     
  22. Hutch

    Hutch Member

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    You've been given somewhat conflicting information. Unfortunately, it's all true!

    Saturday vs. Sunday. The accurately described "Screamin' deals" will disappear in the first hour of the show. Them what sees 'em and knows they's screamin' deals will snap them up without a blink. Go early. Gotta go Sunday (as you stated)? Don't bother getting there when the doors open, as 30-40% of the table holders haven't sobered up and dragged in yet. Similarly, don't plan to arrive 1.5 or 2 hours before the close, because many of the dealers have already pulled up stakes and struck their tents.

    If you have a specific want/need, know what it's worth, and be prepared to pay cash. One previous poster who mentioned paying with a check later posted that he is a connosuier ... con-oh-sewer, (whatever) of fine, very expensive shotguns. Someone in the market for a $3500 shotgun is more likely to be able to write a check than someone looking for a <$100 Lorcin. Private sellers who have tables are 99.999% certain to refuse your check, and they are the ones most likely to be the ones offering a Screamin' Deal. Real dealers are at shows to make money. Private sellers are there to raise cash. There's a difference.

    Also, be prepared to listen to some of the biggest loads of hooey ever offered. Make your mind up before you encounter it whether you're willing to let mis-statements go unchallenged. I had to leave my table once because of the guy next door trying to entice some rube into trading the Browning BAR (commercial, not M1918) with Leupold VariX III scope in .30-'06 STRAIGHT UP for a Remington 700 ADL in 7mm mag with el-cheapo scope because " Semi auto rifle isn't accurate enough" and "7 Mag kills deer deader'n any Ought Six".

    You will encounter the most well-informed helpful and intelligent folks at shows, as well as the all of the worst sorts.

    Report back after the show, okay? Let us know how it went.
     
  23. 35Rem

    35Rem Member

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    Update??
     
  24. WeThePeople

    WeThePeople Member

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    Don't go --HOLY COW don't go!!!! Those places are filled with gangs buying illegal guns. Good grief man, don't you watch the news?
     
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