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Gun show observations

Discussion in 'General Gun Discussions' started by illinoisburt, Mar 20, 2017 at 11:37 AM.

  1. illinoisburt

    illinoisburt Member

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    My son was home for spring break over the weekend so I got an excuse to check out a half dozen local guns stores and stop in at the Alabama Gun Collector Association gun show. Interesting is putting it mildly. It's beautiful weather and folks must be feeling spring as then stores were busy. The gun show seemed well attended Sunday morning but I the one things that stood out to me was we weren't seeing much buying. The last time we had a gun browsing weekend was back in August and it seemed like everything that wasn't nailed down was going out the door.

    So a few observations:

    Ammo and reloading supplies are abundant. Just about every caliber of ammo was in stock at all the stores including 22LR. Prices were all over the place from cheap to crazy high. One store in particular was literally so full of ammo it was hard to walk in the door as it was piled up in the middle of the room creating aisles. I was tempted to snap a pic as the boxes had a variety of prices stamped on them - $19.99 for 100 CCI hollow points for the boxes on top, boxes further down the stack marked $14.99 and $10.99. Hmm.

    Multiple stores and a bunch of vendors had 1000 sealed boxes of Tula steel ammo in 223, 762x39, and 9mm. The huge tables of "white box" ammo at the gun show was marked low but no one appeared excited by them.

    Powder, primers, and components were reasonable if not a little cheaper. I picked up some unique for $22 a pound at the gun show. One of the vendors had a bunch of 5 pound jugs of trailboss - first time I have seen the big container anywhere the past few years.

    Gun prices are an odd duck. Hunting rifles didn't seem to have changed a bit. Still have cheap plastic stocked bolt guns and expensive wood and blued steel. Very inexpensive pump shotguns up through nice higher end doubles.

    Where things were strange was milsurps, ARs, AKs and other what I will call military-styled rifles. If it was old it was high. AKs started around $650 and went up. SKS $450+. Mosin Nagant (lots with "rare" tags) $350-800. Garands $900-1200.

    The AR market was different. One store has M&P sport 2 on the shelf for $689, while literally the guy next door was at $525. At the gun show one of the larger displays had them for $469 along with Ruger AR for $519. Bunches of them available but didn't see many people buying. There were quite a few folks walking around with Colt ARs of various flavors trying to offload them. I don't think I heard any takers.

    Think I'm going to just hang back and let the dust settle until later this summer. I know people loaded the boat in anticipation of a Hillary win. Once the squeeze is on and things get to actual loss prices the true bargains will show up.

    What have you all been seeing in your area?
     
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  2. silicosys4

    silicosys4 Member

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    Went to one yesterday, a local affair, not too big.
    $9 entrance fee to see one large setup from a retailer selling 95% new handguns at ridiculous prices, probably 25% over street price and internet price,
    a dealer selling nothing but a bunch of overpriced AR's
    and one table of overpriced used guns, mostly hunting rifles.
    Grossly overpriced ammo
    and one guy selling .50 beowulf ammo who swore it was pistol ammo, not for an AR.

    The most traffic I saw in there at one time was maybe 20 people.

    Pretty much a waste of time and $9. No private sales. Nobody walking around with used guns for sale. No trades, and nothing at all that caught my eye.

    I did have a semi decent chili dog and smoothie though, and got some amusement out of the dog that kept wandering into the kitchen begging for scraps.
     
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  3. hdwhit

    hdwhit Member

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    In the Dallas-Ft. Worth area, my experience has been that the sellers at the gun shows are relying on buyer enthusiasm to justify comparatively high prices. The Big Box strores actually RAISED prices on a number of guns after the first of the year. I am guessing they think there is a certain level of demand that will always be present and so the higher prices will be paid - even if by fewer people.

    I haven't been to a gun show outside the DFW area since the election, but based on past experience, the same sellers asking big prices at the large metropolitan gun shows were much more reasonable at the smaller gun shows 100 miles or so away from DFW.

    That's pretty much what I am planning on doing. I realize that it may not work out. A gun store that is otherwise healthy and is just stuck with a surplus of ARs, may decide to dump them near cost and get out of that line of business, but a store that has seen all of their demand dry up may find it better to just sell their entire stock to a liquidator and close up rather than stay open hemmoraging cash and watch people like us come in attempting to cherry-pick the bargains.
     
  4. equin

    equin Member

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    I've only been to a few gun shows in the Dallas area, one in Mesquite, another in Irving and a few in Waxahachie, and that was before the election. But I'll echo what HDWhit said about prices being what I would consider fairly high. I've also never seen any Mosins or Garands at any of the gun shows I've been to, but like I said, I've only been to a few, and the Waxahachie ones are comparatively small. Interested in going to one now post election to see what's available and if there's any drop in prices. I may do what HDWhit said and wait til summer, though.
     
  5. Dog Soldier
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    Dog Soldier Member

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    I travel around the West shooting Matches and going to gun shows. It seems to me the Gun shows are becoming "flea Markets". The difference is Flea Markets do not charge high admission prices.
    The Oldest Gun show the Missoulia, Mt. Show started in 1950 remains a real gun show. Most of the shows are in a death spiral.
     
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  6. TonyInFla

    TonyInFla Member

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    We have one every 2 months at the Fla State fairgrounds. $6 to park and $11 admission, so $17 to get in. Gun prices are high. Go mainly to find components for reloading but getting cheaper to order online.
     
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  7. pharmer

    pharmer Member

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    I have been seeing way too many AR's of all flavors, in my safe. I'd sell a few but crying hysterically at a FTF is not manly. Joe
     
  8. Drail

    Drail Member

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    Thank you very much for that report. I am unable to go to the shows any more (wheelchair just doesn't work in a gun show) but I was kinda wondering what the current state was.
     
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  9. .308 Norma

    .308 Norma Member

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    What? Do you mean you don't like to pay admission to gun shows to shop for agate jewelry, used books, model airplanes and Rambo knives? I'm not saying I blame you. There are stores in town that sell all that stuff and more. And not a darned one of them charge admission.:)
     
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  10. Dog Soldier
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    Dog Soldier Member

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    That is a fact. I have not been to the Pocatello show in years. The one in Alcohol Falls was never that great. :)
     
  11. bikemutt
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    bikemutt Member

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    I used to go to the gun shows here, mostly to trade-in brass and buy fodder. I can't recall the last time I saw any gun at a show that made my wallet twitch. The longest line is usually to apply for an OR CHL; it was faster for me to just go to OR and apply o_O
     
  12. EIB0879

    EIB0879 Member

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    I live in the DFW area and haven't been to a gun show in years. My BIL will drive five hours to get here for the DFW show but I won't drive 30 minutes to go to the same one.
     
  13. Ironhand54

    Ironhand54 Member

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    As a gun show promoter for the last 30 years I have seen trends come and go. Right now black rifles are big. If you are looking for a current production gun at bargain prices then you will be disappointed. That is what the Internet is for these days. Shows are where you go to find the unusual and the unpopular as well as the other things big box stores won't carry. They are also where you can find that one guy who can answer the questions nobody else can. You never know what you will see or get hooked on.

    As to the flee market shows, yes that does happen. I have a competitor who will sell a table space to almost anyone. I will not and most of the other promoters I know will not either. If you run into one of those shows don't go back.

    But also consider the tremendous costs of running a large show. My shows run 200+ tables and I will spend about $10,000 before I even open the doors. Many times I have rented space to people selling things that I have no interest in but they make sales. As long as it is outdoors related I don't judge. Just because you think it's junk doesn't mean someone isn't interested.

    IronHand
     
  14. Dog Soldier
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    Dog Soldier Member

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    It is impossible to run a gun show without customers. The gun show promtors run very poor shows. The number of vendors drop off and table rent is increased the visitors are expected to pay the promoters over head. Gees! The used to be Big South Town Show in Salt Lake City is charging $15 bucks per head. I expect the way it is falling off the tickets will soon match a Rock Concerts.:thumbdown:
     
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  15. TEAM101

    TEAM101 Member

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    I went to two the other week. First time attending in 2-3 years. Same story, different day. Overpriced guns and reloading components (way overpriced) at all but 2 or 3 tables. Unscrupulous dealers pacing the entrance looking to capitalize on private sale deals before paying show patrons become aware of them. Fat guys who haven't bathed since December clogging the aisles with their electric scooters, disinterested wives and kids in tow. I'll buy online.
     
  16. HEAVY METAL 1

    HEAVY METAL 1 Member

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    ^^^^^^ ROTFLMAO! That describes every show I went to! ONCE I got a brick of primers at a very good price otherwise SSDD.
     
  17. Dog Soldier
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    Dog Soldier Member

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    I am old enough to remember the original gun shows. They started in the 1950s and ran until LBJ and 1968. They were for gun guys to meet swap ideas and knowledge. Trade guns for something you needed. Learn from the older collectors and hunters. Many of us received our degrees in Gunology at those shows.
    Then the Pawn Brokers Association who supported the Dems forced the laws on having an FFL tax stamps etc. Clinton closed the National Guard Armory to gun shows forcing us into more expensive buildings. These government created gun shows are going to H@!!.
     
  18. mag1911

    mag1911 Member

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    Went to one last weekend. The black rifles ranged from sub $500 M&P to $1500+ for literally the same thing the vendors probably bought before the election. The blue and wood stuff seemed about the same. Some of the ammo was fairly cheap for some of the foreign new made stuff. Not many people buying from vendors or selling their personal stuff seemed to me.

    Looked like some vendors were trying to unload lowers and lower kits. Some pretty good deals at around $80 if you bought both. I suspect these guys loaded up before the election and now just trying to get their money back.
     
  19. MedWheeler

    MedWheeler Member

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    I've been to two in the last month or so, one at my city's civic center, and the other, a smaller affair, at the local Polish-American Club. Funny thing is that club had hosted another one maybe two months earlier that I did not attend.

    The first was the "bigger" of the two, but impressed me a little less, though I did buy some ammo (9x18 Makarov and some .22LR) for fair prices. Not one gun interested me there. At the second, this past Sunday, I actually found a holster of a type I'd been looking for, an IWB, left-handed, J-frame type, with sweat guard. Being left-handed, holsters I can actually handle and try can be very elusive. The only gun I found that I put hands on twice was a new Remington R51; I'd never seen one "in the flesh" before, and have been kind of intrigued. Price was pretty fair, too.

    Otherwise, yeah, they're pretty much as described above.
     
  20. Tirod

    Tirod Member

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    Guns show entry fees have always paralleled movie ticket prices. And the last time I went to a movie was the latest Star Wars at an Imax, about $18 each in 3D. The local gun show was $10. Frankly, it was more fun. Go with an idea there will be entertainment but you do have to look and interact to even begin to enjoy it. It's not going to be a spoon fed experience.

    What I saw at our show - for bargains - were S&W 3Gens at less than Gunbroker prices. That is one of the major reasons we don't see gun shows filled with bargains anymore - the stores will post them on the internet for sale, and quit dragging them around as inventory. The market is 48 state at that point and internet buyers DO spend more money than cherry pickers at local shows. Why? Metro costs of living bump the expected price to buy 15 to 20% - just like house pricing and gas.

    I typically see national gasoline pricing runs about .30 higher than local, houses $30,000 over local, and that's just from one metro to another. The difference on the coasts is much larger. Gun buyers see guns listed from a Midwest vendor who is moving them online and they are dirt cheap bargains compared to the high overhead local store. So - gun shows have lost all the trade we used to haggle over. With the continued move of the population to large urban centers those who stay in small towns keep falling behind in pay and it's pushing gun sales further on line rather than to the local gun shows.

    We've lost the US surplus militaria with the changes in DRMO sales, there hasn't been any conquest of a foreign government in decades and soldiers are highly restricted in what they can bring back now. All this has choked gun show sales to the point we should be grateful there are beef jerky vendors who will buy a table and underwrite the costs of having the doors open. No, it's NOT 1967, or even 1987 with full auto flats and Mini 14 accessories in the aisles, vendors in French Foreign Legion battle jackets, or HK91's on the tables for $300. We are far from all that - only one in one hundred have served, the general public's taste in merchandise now dominates.

    Frankly, if you don't like gun shows, it's largely because we don't have the huge number of veterans who were the source of the interest in firearms. The typical 20 something young man who attends learned about them thru social media and went because his divorced mom is no longer his decision maker. He's not prior service, he plays video games, and learned tactics on line or at a paintball or laser tag studio.

    Why? No draft. We don't have mandatory service like the Swiss. And we largely disparage anyone who serves now. The older generation doesn't support the military, largely because it changed, embraced the M16, discarded the old green uniforms, kept up with progress, and even now is moving into issuing a plastic handgun. For those who hold tradition dear, the modern Army doesn't check off any of their boxes for wars won, familiar and reliable equipment, or appreciation by the nation. What we get is a lot of griping about the gun shows going downhill - all because the gun shows have been forced to by a lack of support by the older generation.

    Buy stuff there you like, more vendors will have more stuff. If there aren't any bargains, old surplus, or guys handing out salty observations about firearms - it's because there are no buyers or people willing to attend. They all walked away thinking what they used to have was the only acceptable standard.

    You aren't likely to find the same merchandise in today's Walmart that you could find in an old Katz Alpha Beta or Kresge's either. Member's Only jackets with epaulets are long gone, as are bell bottoms. You quit buying them, too, along with Woodland Camo Dayplanners and Palm PDA's.

    Gun shows have to get along without you, so don't blame them for having what sells to the people spending money.
     
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  21. PabloJ

    PabloJ Member

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    Great place to get some jewelry, hot sauce, knives, surplus clothing,.......Oh boy!
     
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  22. PapaG

    PapaG Member

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    Last one I went to was in a Legion and I paid five dollars to see eleven tables of mostly HiPoints, Kel Tecs, cheap shotguns and worn out 22s.
    Long for the old days of Aledo and Peoria.
     
  23. Berger.Fan222

    Berger.Fan222 Member

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    Gun shows seem to me more of a form of entertainment than a reliable way to purchase sporting equipment at lower prices. There's always a chance of stumbling on something interesting or a "good deal" but I view it as more an opportunity to get out and see what's happening at gun shows.

    If you aren't satisfied with the entertainment value of seeing what's going on at the gun show, odds are you may walk out unsatisfied.
     
  24. bannockburn

    bannockburn Member

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    Haven't been to one in 6 or 7 years. Use to go with a couple of buddies of mine but got tired of seeing the same old overpriced stuff on the tables. Found better prices online for most everything else in the way of ammo, reloading supplies, and accessories. I think we mainly went for the entertainment value more than anything else.
     
  25. jim in Anchorage

    jim in Anchorage Member

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    I think a lot of people look at gun shows differently then I do. In 40 years of going to them I've never bought a new gun. Or even thought of going to one to buy a new gun.
    I'm going to find the gun I never realized I couldn't live without till I saw it. My last 5 gun show buys where:
    Pre war Winchester 70 30-06.
    Rem model 25 pump in 25-20.
    1894 Winchester in 32-40.
    Another Pre war M 70 in 30-06
    A 12 Ga Ithaca37 deer slayer built 1968.

    All of these where spur of the moment. And I've enjoyed owning them immensely even though I didn't know they existed till the day I bought them.
    So, I can thank gun shows for that.
     
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