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Just out of curiosity...why are guns so expensive...

Discussion in 'General Gun Discussions' started by SilentStalker, Jan 1, 2009.

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  1. SilentStalker

    SilentStalker Member

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    I mean seriously...it is not like they are ridiculously scientific mechanisms or that they are that technologically advanced, nor are they really expensive to produce. So, why the hefty price tags? I mean sure the tooling is expensive and some of it could be labor intensive to a point but these $2000-$3000 prices per unit is kind of ludicrous IMO and it only seems to be getting worse? What gives?

    I looked over a Gun Guide I have laying around from 2006 and compared it to prices of today and most guns have gone up on average of $600 in 3 yrs. time. That is crazy. You cannot honestly tell me that it has gotten that much more expensive to produce them so why is there that much of an increase? In fact, most of them have remained virtually unchanged. Someone please shed some light on this and please forgive me for my ignorance. This may be common knowledge for some of you but I am relatively new to the whole gun thing, at least in purchasing for myself and I am interested do know.
     
  2. Carl Levitian

    Carl Levitian member

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    Because they can get it.

    Because they know gun owners/buyers are emotional, especially like now, and they will buy no matter what the cost.
     
  3. Jorg Nysgerrig

    Jorg Nysgerrig Member

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    Do you have specific examples? Which guns went up an average of $600? Your $500 handgun and your $900 rifle certainly haven't.
     
  4. BHP FAN

    BHP FAN Member

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    Litigation.It's the same reason a doctor's chat with you as he drops by while you're in the hospital is billed as a $300.00 consultation.He's got to cover the cost of that malpractice insurance somehow... gun manufacturers are constantly being hit with lawsuits.
     
  5. machinisttx

    machinisttx Member

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    Come work in a machine shop, stamping shop, or molding shop.

    Some manufacturers prices are ludicrous, others are pretty reasonable. IMO, the ludicrous prices exist because people drink XXX flavor koolaid.
     
  6. SilentStalker

    SilentStalker Member

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    Sorry, I guess I meant towards specific types of guns as you are correct, handguns and most hunting rifles went up but not by near the same amount. The weapons that went up the most were just about all semi-auto rifles, at least all of the ones I checked against which included RRA AR's, DSA Arms stuff of any type, DPMS's, and Springfield. I did not care to check every one of them for obvious reasons but the differences in the above manufacturers averaged out to around a $600 increase, some more and some less. That just seems rather high IMO.


    I have worked in a couple of machine shops in my time and as I said some of it can be labor intensive, but I don't believe it cost them that much to produce them, at least not anywhere near their asking prices.
     
  7. Treo

    Treo member

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    Bottom line, the gun manufacturers are charging what the market will bear
     
  8. louie19

    louie19 Member

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    Just wait until you compare the ammo prices. And you buy a lot more ammo than guns, well if you shoot them and not just collect them. :)

    I think its mostly supply and demand right now, with a lot of people expecting a new AWB sometime in the next 4 years.

    However you have to look at the improvements that have been made in things like drop safeties. Some manufacturers are including factory-installed lasers, factory-installed night sights, etc too which bump up the price but are also benefits to the customer.
     
  9. wacki

    wacki Member

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    Local gunshops are telling me its the distributors and not the factories that are the limiting factor. Distribution (or the willful lack of it) is why Saiga's have gone up so much.
     
  10. Pulse

    Pulse Member

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    firearms are a prime example of 'Diminishing returns'.

    go to the next home depo and buy your self a piece of steelpipe and steelplate, drill a hole in to the plate so you can strike the primer and your just made your self a device that can "fire" a bullet. cost: less then $10.

    now it s darn long way from there to a device that can place a bullet where you want it and when you want it in a safe to use way, but the cost increases exponentially along that way.

    as a example:
    a DSR-1, priced at 20'000 USD, does not shoot 40 times more accuracte then a $500 target rifle, but it will do so in -40C or +60C and still do it after you shot 40 rounds in less then 5 minutes and cool it off by trowing it in to a lake and drag it home through mud.

    'small' increase in performance, big increase in price, just like Cars and airplanes.
     
    Last edited: Jan 1, 2009
  11. HeavenlySword

    HeavenlySword Member

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    Pulse, although you have a point, a modernised AKM, brand new from the Izmash factory in russia, costs like $60.

    Its capable of <4 MOA and still retains the famous AK reliability, and has a better stock and ergonomics to boot.

    Meanwhile, in America, a sawed up WASR costs over 750. (Even before Obama, they were still alot more than $60)

    I see something wrong.
     
  12. yokel

    yokel Member

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    Perhaps it has something to do with the fact that the Gun Control Act of 1968 prevents the importation of all firearms that are not "particularly suitable for or readily adaptable to sporting purposes"?
     
  13. Pulse

    Pulse Member

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    there is more to that.
    i found that when you look at prices in other countrys, you also have to factor in how mutch the average income is, Taxes, and provisions for the various distributors until a rifle reaches the enduser.

    lets just make a little test:
    how many Liters or Gallons of milk could you buy for the price of a WASR?

    as silly as it may sound, once you compare the amount of Milk you can buy at the grocary store next to the Izmash factory and look how mutch you would get for the WASR in the USA, the difference probably would not be that big anymore, factor in import tax, provisions and recent price pushing and 750ä does not seem to far off anymore.

    (jokes asside that with a WASR you can get how ever mutch milk you want. :p)
     
  14. notorious

    notorious Member

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    Well... in Bakara Market, Somalia, you can get a full auto real military AK assault rifle, not the neutered semi-auto rifle we have in the States, for a billy goat and some rolls of toilet paper... but would you want to live there in Somalia and avail yourself of all the other lovely things that come with Somalian residency, including being terrorized by khat juiced militia all day and no air conditioning, ever?
     
  15. General Geoff

    General Geoff Member

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    Right now, semiauto prices are at an all-time high due to extremely high demand, generated by panic buying because of the election. That's the short and sweet of it.

    Eventually (if no bans occur), the prices will come back down, either because the market is saturated or because supply catches up to demand. My bet is that the market will become saturated within the next year or so, especially if the economy doesn't improve.
     
  16. yokel

    yokel Member

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    What are you driving at?

    I trust that you do not mean to suggest that a good cheap select-fire AK is in any way responsible for anarchic basket-case Somalia.
     
  17. icebones

    icebones Member

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    You ain't from around here, KY
    indeed, lets look at an all steel handgun, such as a 1911

    i worked in a machine shop for about 5 years, and metal is fairly expensive, and you factor in the cost of man hours, equipment and tools.

    ---i would estimate it costs about 100-180 bucks for the steel.

    ---you would need a CNC mill and a CNC lathe for the frame, slide, barrel, and all the other little parts. and most CNC's run well over $50,000

    ---factor in man hours for programming the CNC, setting up, tool bits, chamber cutting tools, tools and equipment for rifiling the barrel.

    ---most machininsts and programmers get paid about $20 and up an hour, and it would take about a hour for a good autocad or solidworks user to draw up the plans, set the toolpaths and such. maybe about 1 to 2 hours for setting up and machine time, add in about 2-3 more hours for deburring, measuring, quality control, and assembly/fitting.

    even so, i would estimate it actually costs around 300-400 dollars to make a single 1911. although mass production would make this much lower.

    the bottom line is profit. what good is it to run a buisiness and not have any money to put food on the table?

    true some firearms are way to overpriced, like HK true an HK usp is a damn fine weapon, but does it really need to retail at $900 or more?
     
  18. Bubba613

    Bubba613 member

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    You can tell they are overpriced by the flood of cheap imports and home grown companies hitting the market with their competitive products.
    Oh wait, there arent any of those.
    If guns were truly "overpriced" you would see that. But you dont. Berettas, Glocks, Smiths all compete in about the same market. SIG and H/K compete in the same market.
    It costs money to build the gun, market it, and deliver it to market. Somewhere the manufacturer, distributor and dealer all have to make money. Somewhere they have t factor in liability and law suit costs.
    It isn't a mystery. Go to Smith and Wesson's website and look at their corporate finance statements. They are a publicly traded company so thing are pretty transparent.
     
  19. DRYHUMOR

    DRYHUMOR Member

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    The prices reflect:
    demand
    labor
    equipment
    materials
    distribution
    packaging
    marketing
    energy
    resellers

    Of those, the ones that fluctuate most in cost are materials, distribution, packaging, and energy.

    Resellers, control a lot of the final price, and their cut comes in volumne sold. They move big numbers they get them cheaper and can make a bit more through volumne sales. The ones selling ones and twos and 10's, don't see as much profit per unit, and their prices are a bit higher.

    Demand can push up prices a lot, it can also nosedive prices on certain items, hence the "sale" items in every store.

    Places like Gunbroker are good indicators of "market value" of many things. The high asking prices that keep the item relisted for months and months means nothing, it's the final competitive price it sells for that means everything.

    When Tikka introduced their rifles into th US, Walmart had the opportunity to sell them. The T3's went out at 450.00, about 100.00 cheaper than the dealers could sell for. The distributors made a cut, Walmart made a cut, Tikka made a profit.

    someammo prices, on the other hand, are crazy. But then again - demand.
     
  20. BHP FAN

    BHP FAN Member

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    ''You can tell they are overpriced by the flood of cheap imports and home grown companies hitting the market with their competitive products.
    Oh wait, there arent any of those...''

    PA63 9X18 Semi Auto pistol $99.00
     
  21. moooose102

    moooose102 Member

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    you can roughly figure 1/3 of the price is for product liability insurance and lawyers/lawsuits. 1/3 for actual costs. and the other 1/3rd for r&d of new products, and profits. just my opinion, no hard core facts.
     
  22. LKB3rd

    LKB3rd Member

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    My off the cuff feeling is that the "evil black rifles" have gone up because people are panicking over a possible AWB, and have cleaned out the shelves, and those that are still selling are enjoying the seller's advantage of supply and demand.
     
  23. pmeisel

    pmeisel Member

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    Let's remember -- several gun companies have struggled on the edge of or into bankruptcy in the last 40 years... Winchester, Colt, Savage....

    A gun manufacturer makes a relatively complex product which requires significant engineering (fixed cost) and capital investment (fixed cost) and generally a significantly skilled work force (fixed cost, you can't just hire and fire trained machinists and techs, they go elsewhere).

    The demand, unless you have a government contract, tends to fluctuate, so you can go through some lean times. Your product is more of a luxury than a necessity. And, you sell through a distribution network that keeps some of the ultimate customer revenue at the retail and wholesale distribution level.

    I would agree that an Eastern bloc AK is probably much cheaper to manufacture than a typical western sporting arm -- tooling paid for, production largely funded over the years by large government and commercial contracts, cheaper labor... but it may not always be so.

    On the other hand, look at H&R.... very simple weapon, minimal complex tooling, engineering mostly done decades ago... and it is a relatively inexpensive and unquestionably useful weapon. I have 2 and am thinking of a third.

    There is some price fluctuation due to distributor and customer anticipation of future legislation, but a lot of the pricing is just what it costs to make and sell guns.
     
  24. Sam1911

    Sam1911 Moderator Emeritus

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    Icebones, I'm not contradicting you, rather adding to your point -- but I think you've WAY undervalued this cost.

    Maybe an hour to draw up some of the smaller parts, but if you're trying to do every piece you've got a lot more than an hour involved. Probably a day or so.

    I can't nail it down better because that's not exactly what I do, but my field is close enough to be able to make this generalization.

    -Sam
     
  25. MachIVshooter
    • Contributing Member

    MachIVshooter Contributing Member

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    You can't compare such surplus guns to new production stuff when trying to make a point about price. Swiss K-31's can still be had for $200. Do you know how much it would cost to manufacture that rifle today?

    I don't know what firearms you're looking at, but the average handgun, rifle or shotgun has not made a 100%+ jump in price. Over the last 5 years, the guns that most of us buy have gone up between $30 and $100. That's Glock, Sig, HK, 1911, AR, AK, Remchester turnbolt, pump shotgun, etc. $30-$100 increase in units that cost $300-$1,000 can easily be accounted for by the increase in production costs. I can think of many things that have jumped a whole lot more than 10% over the last half decade.........

    Yes, some dealers are gouging really bad right now during this post-election panic buying bubble and way overcharging for EBR's and hi capacity pistols. But that doesn't mean the price of the gun has jumped that much, it just means that a particular individual is profiteering.
     
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