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Gun Shows

Discussion in 'General Gun Discussions' started by Isaman2000, Jan 5, 2006.

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  1. Isaman2000

    Isaman2000 Member

    Jan 5, 2006
    Buffalo, NY
    I am about to go to my first gun show as a gun owner. What can I look foward to at a gun show that a normal gun shop can't offer?
  2. hayseed

    hayseed Member

    Sep 10, 2004
    Tornado Alley North (Iowa)
    Beanie babies, jerky, wizard figurines, nazi paraphenelia, goofy Klingon style knives, and ak's with 'da switch.:D
  3. saberstitch

    saberstitch Member

    May 11, 2005
    Around these parts you can look forward to higher prices, rude dealers, jewelry and jerky. Oh, and if you go back next year, most of the guns will still be there. :scrutiny:

    I hit about 3 gun shows a year to stock up on ammunition and that's about it.
  4. TheEgg

    TheEgg Member

    Dec 30, 2002
    Yes, lots of the above stuff. Also:

    1. Some dealers with good ammo prices, usually for surplus or Wolf. I stay away from the dealers that have loaded their own.:uhoh:
    2. I often find lots of knife dealers, and like the opportunity to get my hands on knives that I can't find in the regular shops.
    3. Oddball stuff -- parts that you might have a hard time finding otherwise, usually for mil-surps -- things like Mauser capture screws, or cleaning rods, slings, etc.
    4. Sometimes good prices on guns, but don't count on it.
  5. lucky_fool

    lucky_fool Member

    Jul 14, 2005
    Richmond, VA
    A heavy police presence :D

    Seriously, the best deals I see at gun shows are usually on things other than guns. Like TheEgg said, bulk ammo and odds and ends. The prices usually aren't any better than you can get online, but you don't have to pay shipping or wait for the goods.
  6. Smokey Joe

    Smokey Joe Member

    Jan 2, 2003
    Isaman200--All of the above. IMX, some of the best deals are to be had with individuals walking the aisles with a firearm they want to sell. This practice is welcomed @ every gun show I know about.

    Go with a pocket full of cash, but don't plan on necessarily spending it. (Cash is welcome everywhere! Dealers usually do checks and plastic, too, but deals with individuals are almost always cash.) Have a list of what reloading-and other-supplies you need, but don't just shop for the list. Keep an open mind.

    Dealers have SOME deals. They also have overhead to cover. They also have to pack and unpack 3 tons of inventory (guns and ammo are both heavy!) and drive 200 miles in the sleet to and from the show. You can't begrudge their trying to make a profit. If it weren't profitable, there wouldn't be gun shows.

    I look on going to a gun show as a form of entertainment. There are lots of guns to look at that I'd never see otherwise, there are dealers I've seen often enough that we greet each other at a show, there are OCCASIONAL deals to be had, and there are gun parts/gun books/cleaning supplies/reloading supplies/surplus stuff/knives/etc, etc, etc. to be looked at. If I can go with one of my fellow shooters, so much the better.

    I pass by the Indian crafts tables and the sellers of nazi gear, swords, and Klingon knives. For those that like that stuff, they're fine. They help the organizer of the gun show make a profit, and again, if organizing gun shows weren't profitable, there would be no gun shows.

    Even the worst gun show beats an evening of lousy TV, to say nothing of a lousy movie. At $5/head admission, it's good entertainment.
  7. davera

    davera Member

    Dec 27, 2002
    Auburn, Alabama
    I attend one of the Eastman gun shows in Atlanta 2 or 3 times a year. Think of it as a "gun store mall". Most of the tables are for licensed vendors but you have quite a few under one roof and you can see a very large inventory in an afternoon. Of course there are the "non gun" sellers, browse or ignore as you wish.
    My strategy is to go in with however much cash I might want to spend and first seek out the private sellers, those with a few guns to sell or an estate to liquidate. I usually have an idea of what I want or at least a list of things that might be interesting. It seems the best time to be looking for private sellers is a show in December, near Christmas. People often want to unload (no pun intended) a few things for some extra Christmas cash ... and you can help them.
    Be aware of the "normal/averagel" prices for what you are interested it and you can find pretty good deals. But, be prepared to walk away.
    In the last three years I've bought a Marlin 1894 in .357, a Marlin 336 in 30-30, and this last year a fine M1 Garand. All at a December show, all from private sellers.
  8. LJWebster1

    LJWebster1 Member

    Dec 30, 2005
    Republic of Texas
    I bought my first pistol, a Walther P22, at a gun show. I never would have seen it otherwise, and I love it. I had no idea if the price I was getting was good, but I found out it was about the same as anywhere else, maybe a little cheaper. I like gun shows because I can see and hold a bunch of guns, so I know what to look for and price online, etc. No sense price shopping for a gun that is too big for my small hands. I am fortunate that we have a pretty large gun show once a month here in Austin.
  9. Mot45acp

    Mot45acp Member

    Oct 28, 2005

    2-4 hours of laughing at various dealers offering "deals" at 10%-20% higher than normal prices.
    1 hour laughing at uinteligent "gangstas" trying to do straw purchases.(before someone flames me this is no way shape or form race related so dont bring it up)
    1 hour of some damn fine jerky 1/2 hour of I cant believe I just ate that.
    6 hours of me being laughed at:scrutiny:
    15 min of good conversation with someone you just met
  10. M.E.Eldridge

    M.E.Eldridge Member

    Dec 11, 2005
    Around here there are pretty good deals on used guns and mil-surps. You might pay a little more money for an ak, but if you buy one online for $20.00 less and then have to pay for shipping and a dealer transfer and you've negated your savings. I usually stock up on mil-surps(none of my dealers carry mil-surps at have decent prices),ammo, and odds and ends. I've also bought from guys in the aisles for good prices(a Springfield .45 G.I., in great condition for $180.00).
  11. wrench

    wrench Member

    Jan 23, 2004
    I avoid the jerky, enjoy chatting with some really nice folk, (both dealers and those just walking around), have a cup of bad coffee.
    It's nice to be able to handle lots of guns if you're looking for something that fits your hands, and you might find that special something.
    Great entertainment for a couple hours, and I've found some nice deals.
  12. mnrivrat

    mnrivrat Member

    Dec 24, 2002
    I have yet to be disappointed with spending the time to go to a gun show. (or the entry fee)

    I have often came out with nothing purchased, but I always enjoy looking and talking, and most always find a little something to buy. It's cheap intertainment if nothing else and better for you than sitting on the couch watching Opra .
  13. nolefan

    nolefan Member

    Jan 1, 2006

    This was my same exact experience! Love my P22! And, love the Nations Gun Show in Chantilly, VA! :)
  14. poppy

    poppy Member

    Nov 18, 2005
    SW Ohio
    Your bio says "Buffalo"; if that means New York, then I assume you can't buy a gun at the show and carry it out that day. My brother who lives in the Corning area tells me that, if memory serves, you have to have a gun registered before you can take possession. If all that is true, then I don't know how you get deals at a show, at least on guns.

    You are a gun owner so you already know the hoops necessary to jump through. Hopefully someone from NY will fill you in on any gun show requirements.

    I like going to shows to easily comparison shop, fondle something that I have just read about, or find accessaries and ammo. If private sales are not permitted, then it limits your potential for good deals.

    Talk to the show organizers to find out what kind of vendors will be there and how many tables will be filled. I always try to see the whole show before I commit to buy anything, unless from experience I know for sure that something is a real deal. Have fun. poppy
  15. BucksDC

    BucksDC Member

    Jan 9, 2003
    I love gun shows! I am excited the whole week leading up to the show. Sometimes I see one or two great gun deals and have the money to buy. Some shows have terrible prices and I still buy. Either way, being surrounded by guns and gun people is always worth the trip and admission/parking.
    Have a great time at your first show. Hopefully you will have many more to come.
  16. BothellBob

    BothellBob Member

    Oct 26, 2005
    I don't know if there's such a thing as a bad gun show. How big will it be? A large one can almost become tiring. Here in western Washington we have the advantage of Puyallup (home of the WW State Fair) and its Washington Arms Collectors show: every month 2-3 indoor acres of guns (with the occasional zombie knife, jerky, clothing, bags, jewelry, gold panning, overpriced hot dogs, bad coffee, and almost decent lattes and cappuccino (I did say western Washington)). Here, with patience, you can get really good deals several times a year.
  17. f4t9r

    f4t9r Member

    May 27, 2005
    Go with a open mind
    and if not looking for any one thing just check out the deals that people walk around with , just never know what you may find
  18. MechAg94

    MechAg94 Member

    Apr 17, 2005
    I go for the ammo at least to the smaller ones. Always a couple tables. The shows in Pasadena always have 2 or 3 tables selling new pistols at descent prices. I have bought most of my guns at the shows here. There are also quite a few tables with lots of milsurps of various kinds. Sometimes they are good prices, many times not. You have to know what you are looking at on that stuff.

    It is always a nice diversion and fun to walk around and see stuff. I don't like jerky though. I would also second the notion to avoid the guys selling ammo reloads. Might work in some guns, but not others.

    I know some guys who go to one or two shows a year and pretty much spend all their time trolling the ticket line as it opens asking about guns people are selling. Sometimes you can find deals, sometimes you can't. Can't hurt to ask though. Some don't know what a gun is worth.
  19. rem870

    rem870 Member

    Dec 27, 2005
    I have went to gun shows around my area for the better part of 6 years now. Like some of you mentioned, any gun show is better than watching tv all day. Alot of my purchases at gun shows are from people roaming the aisles. Its just so much fun because you really never know what you are going to find. Alot of times I try to go with no real expectation of what I want, and if I find a good deal on a gun or something I always wanted, then I'll buy it. But I think a gun show is the most fun because it a day spent with some friends or family member looking at some really cool and different items that you may never get to see again.
  20. ARperson

    ARperson Member

    Sep 23, 2003
    Indy, Indiana
    Lately we've been going for AR items as we're building some kick-arse ARs.

    But I always like to go to hear the complete lies that come from people's mouths--dealers and visitors alike.

    I like looking at the military stuff, the class 3 that I'll probably never have, Sunset's way overpriced stock, and the really really old firearms and wonder what history they have to share.

    Usually don't find great prices there, at least not on the long guns. A few of the dealers that offer handguns have some decent prices.

    And always ammo. But you have to go early for ammo. There isn't much left by Saturday afternoon and forget it if you do on Sunday. For the common stuff anyway.
  21. Mizzle187

    Mizzle187 Member

    Dec 7, 2005
    Ive only been going to gun shows as a potential buyer for about 5 years as Im 26 but alot of older guys like my Dads age tell me that gun shows are nothing like they used to be and not in the sense of background checks. Now its basiclly a gun store show. Its hard to find deals these days at gun shows. Gotta love CDNN though!:)
  22. 22-rimfire

    22-rimfire Member

    Jun 11, 2005
    First gun show. I remember my first.... used to see all these people walking around in camo and wonder what the heck was going on. That was before I became enlightened. Attend a small show first so you can appreciate a larger show.

    In my neck of the woods, the largest show is in Louisville KY (National Gun Day; believe the next one is in Feb). That is a couple 1000-table show with dealers from all over the country. Local shows are in the 200-300 table range. They are fun , but I don't spend the entire day there usually.

    Big shows or little shows tend to be the same except the big shows just have more of everything. If you are into collector stuff, the bigger shows are the way to go. What's big? 500-1000+ tables. Little shows are generally in the 200-300 table size and are by far the most common. I wouldn't travel more than an hour or two to a small show.

    You will see lots of flea market junk, ammunition dealers, dealers selling gun parts, knife dealers, custom knife makers, new gun dealers, collector gun dealers, and folks that just buy a table and sell their stuff. They are both a lot of fun and educational.

    If the show is out of state, I would hook up with a FFL dealer prior to the show and hopefully get a signed copy of his license for gun shipping purposes. Always good to be able to complete the deal while you're there.

    Take cash. Take a wish list and a price range for whatever you are looking for. Prices can be about the same as local gun shops or really good. You run into all kinds of pricing. Best things that you find at gun shows are used guns and collector stuff that may not be commonly available around where you live. It is American free enterprise at its best! Enjoy!
  23. adaman04

    adaman04 Member

    Jun 15, 2004
    Haha! The worst part is he's right. You will also find...

    1. Rediculously priced firearms.
    2. Idiots in BDU's and stocking caps smoking Liggets.
    3. A lot of people fingering things they have no intent to buy or want.
    4. Swords with blades shaped like lightning bolts.
    5. Indian jewelery.
    6. Vendors too busy talking to eachother to help you.
    7. Lots of gun "experts" who jump in and tell you why you don't want that.
    8. Knives won in the quarter machines at your local carnival.
    9. Fine smoked meats.

    In reality, a lot of gun shows are disappointments, but then again some of them are great. You may not find what you are looking for, but you may get some great deals on holsters, ammo, etc. Adam's tip for gun shows is to look for the guys walking in the door with guns to sell. Ask them what they are looking to get for it, offer them a little less and they will more than likely take it. Vendors don't give them crap for their guns.

    I was at a gun show once and a guy walked in with a MINT .223 M77 with a big scope, bipod, and a nice sling. I heard him tell his buddy he wanted to get 500 out of it. Seemed about right for what it was. I didn't have that kind of money to spend that day, so I just let it go. A while later I heard someone over my shoulder say "I'll give you 3 for it." I turned around just as that guy was handing the vendor that rifle in return for 300 bucks. I woulda gave him 350 for it! Live and learn.
  24. USSR

    USSR Member

    Jul 7, 2005
    Finger Lakes Region of NY
    Gun Shows in NY

    Not so. You fill out the Federal form that states you are prohibited from owning a firearm, the dealer calls in the Instant Background Check info on you, you pay the dealer and walk out with the gun. Handgun purchases are a little more involved as you have to have pistol permit purchase stub, but are doable as well. If you buy from someone else attending the show (non-dealer) who has a personal gun for sale, you must pay a dealer at the show to run the Instant Background Check on you. That's about it.

  25. Manedwolf

    Manedwolf member

    Nov 10, 2005
    New Hampshire
    A good place to pick up and handle various guns to see if they fit your hand, but...

    ...also a lot of dealers who won't come down at all on prices that're $100-$300 more than what you can find the same gun for online, even if you show them the LIVE competitive price via a pocketPC...which I do. Won't budge. So they take a lot home, I guess.

    Samuel Colt equalized human beings, perhaps, in the famous line, but online auctions equalized the gun market and laid a good smackdown on regionally inflated prices. Some dealers just haven't realized it yet.
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