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Why do guns cost so much?

Discussion in 'General Gun Discussions' started by Str8Shooter, Mar 2, 2006.

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  1. Str8Shooter

    Str8Shooter Member

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    I've been wondering why guns in general are so expensive. With all the modern computer-controlled automated manufacturing machinery available, I would think the price of decent quality mass-produced guns would have dropped, just like many types of electronic devices that we used to repair when they broke and now just throw away because it's so much cheaper to buy a new one. Are guns still very labor-intensive to manufacture?

    Also, what percentage of a gun's price do you suppose goes to defend gun manufacturers against anti-gunners' lawsuits trying to drive them out of business?
     
  2. Zundfolge

    Zundfolge Member

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    You're illustrating a basic misunderstanding of economics that is very common (I'm not chastising you, but just using your question as a jumping off point).


    Regardless of what manufactured goods you're talking about, prices are not determined by cost of materials, labor, marketing or lawyers.

    Sure prices are often effected by these things, but ultimately they don't determine prices.

    Prices are determined by the market ... in other words, manufacturers of any goods or providers of any service will charge as much as the market will bear.


    So the short answer is; because there are plenty of people who will pay the prices.
     
  3. Hook686

    Hook686 Member

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    Put another way .... when folks have too much time and money on their hands, prices increase. :p
     
  4. Str8Shooter

    Str8Shooter Member

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    Yes, but don't manufacturers have to strike a balance between charging as much as they can for a product, vs. making the product attractive to a greater number of buyers by keeping the price at an affordable level? For example, some time ago, a certain number of people were willing to pay $7,000 for a big screen HDTV set, but the same set can now be purchased for maybe $3,000-$4,000, so far more of them are being sold. Improved manufacturing techniques, competition and volume sales have driven the price down.

    In the case of guns, however, prices only go in one direction: UP.
     
  5. czc3513

    czc3513 Member

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    Why does software cost so much?
    Yep.... economics
     
  6. Euclidean

    Euclidean Member

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    Actually considering what guns used to cost relative to what people used to make, I wonder if they haven't gotten considerably cheaper.

    I got a CZ 75B for $225 and I'm not unique in that regard... that's a fine handgun and that's not an unreasonable price at all.
     
  7. Str8Shooter

    Str8Shooter Member

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    Was that CZ price for a new gun? I'm not really familiar with the CZ lineup.

    I guess I'm thinking of back when I could walk into a gun shop and buy a Colt AR-15 for about $300. The same gun now would be well over $1,000.

    It just seems to me like the price of many guns is out of proportion for the relatively simple mechanical principles on which they operate. They aren't really what you would call a "high-tech" device, and some of them have changed very little from the way they were designed 50-75 years ago when a lot more manual labor was involved in their manufacture.
     
  8. Lupinus

    Lupinus Member

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    I don't know that guns are expensive.

    They most certianly are not cheap, but with a little saving you can buy a gun at a reasonable price. Just like a car you will sometimes pay for a name, sometimes you will pay for extra quality that is nice but that you can live without, and for the most part you will get what you pay for.

    Take a basic 1911 pistol, you can pay a few hundred upwards of a few thousand depending on maker and exact model with most prices for a reasonable example falling somewhere in the middle. Sure if all you are willing to go with is the compitition grade with bells and whistles its going to be expensive, if you go for the basic model its going to be a few hundred.

    Also really depends on seller. Some gunshops I have been in I was tempted to ask where the vasoline was cause if they really expected that price I was gonna need it. Example, one place sells XD's for 539, another 499, if I look online I can find them around 450 or a bit lower.
     
  9. Euclidean

    Euclidean Member

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    Well thing is, my grandparents can think of a time when <insert pistol here> was only $200 etc... what they don't tell you is that people were lucky to make 10 cents an hour back then for whatever reason. Well actually they do tell you that, just separately. It depends on if they want to be nostalgic or lecture...
     
  10. Sunray

    Sunray Member

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    "...considering what guns used to cost relative to what people used to make, I wonder if they haven't gotten considerably cheaper..." Nope. Relative to pay scales they're about the same. Roughly a couple of week's net pay.
    Mind you, up here, pay scales, in the non-union, private sector, have not kept up with the cost of living. There are fewer new shooters as a result. The enormous amount of government interference by new stupid laws and regulations has driven the entry cost way up in recent years too. Our current laws insist on very high priced courses and licencing that has caused new shooters to think twice. It runs nearly $500Cdn just for the courses and licences, before the cost of a firearm even enters the picture.(That's part of our former government's plan to eventually have no private firearm ownership here.) Add the fact that all firearms, up here, come from outside of Canada, mostly Stateside, and our prices are high. The Free Trade Act doesn't apply to anything firearm related so we get to pay duty, to protect a non-existant industry, plus the exchange, taxes, etc, etc.
    "...charge as much as the market will bear..." And if a maker can sell every rifle of a certain model they make, they'll do it. Even if said rifle is expensive, inaccurate junk. The Mini-14 for example. Doesn't shoot worth beans, but Ruger sells every one they make, so they don't make it accurate and want nearly a grand for it.
     
  11. SomeKid

    SomeKid Member

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    Depends on what guns you are talking about.

    Why are full-autos so expensive? Government.

    Most, or all, of the high prices can be linked to government regs, fees, and other assorted BS.

    Zun and Hook have another reason as well (argueably more important, but I think the Government is the single largest reason guns cost as much as they do), there is a level people will pay, and that does determine the price.

    When a new type of gun comes on the market, and there is a large demand becuase it has (insert cool thing here), the price can be expected to be high. After demand wanes, it will likely decrease. There are exceptions, specialty guns for example won't be cheap, period. (One example, Cheneys hunting shotgun...)
     
  12. MaMa PyCb

    MaMa PyCb Member

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    Ummmmm....

    I can get a Mosin-Nagant M44 or 91/30 for 69.95. I didn't know that was expensive?

    The 7.62x54r is also cheap. I can get 880 rounds for about 60 bucks.

    I dont think my MN will every have to be repaired, so no worry about cost there. They will take a un-heard of amount of abuse before theres a problem with them.

    125 bucks for a rifle, 880 rounds of ammo, and pretty much a soviet workers guarentee that the simple little guy will NEVER break?

    Its well worth breaking the bank to me!
    [​IMG]

    :D :D :D
     
  13. SomeKid

    SomeKid Member

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    One of these days, I am getting a MN. ANd I want a sword to come with mine, just like yours.
     
  14. MaMa PyCb

    MaMa PyCb Member

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    Gotta love the MN's! you have to have the "Kommie Kabob" for the end of it. It's acctually less of a sword, and more of a SHIV.:evil:

    Not only do mosin-nagants make Great, inexpensive, and accurate rifles, but they also can be used to enter a pole-vault competition.:D
     
  15. gvass

    gvass Member

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    1. A plastic mobile phone (with 1-2 year life expectancy) for 150 USD is EXPENSIVE

    2. A steel Makarov pistol (good for the next 50-100 years) for 150 USD is brutally INexpensive.

    And I can not understand why everyone carries the first device...:banghead:
     
  16. Taurus 66

    Taurus 66 Member

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    What's considered inexpensive and affordable to you?
     
  17. U.S.SFC_RET

    U.S.SFC_RET Member

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    Supply and demand plays a large part to setting prices. For example Washington State has gun shops abound and Maryland deos not. I moved to Maryland and noticed that prices seemed to have jumped 20 to 40 percent. a lady airweight "used" $565.00. well kiss my grits:mad: .
     
  18. svtruth

    svtruth Member

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    Free gun

    if you buy ammo. I asked if anyone had spent more on ammo than the cost of the gun. Most responses were, more on ammo. Even for .22, even reloaders.
    No, I don't remember where I posted it.
     
  19. DunedinDragon

    DunedinDragon Member

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    There's a big difference between electronic devices and mechanical devices when it comes to manufacturing. Economies of scale (if you remember from economics 101) tend to apply more to electronics simply because of the materials and rate at which they can be manufactured because they tend to not have to have a lot of finish work. Some of that applies to metal and mechanical work, but there is obviously more fitting and finishing to be done on mechanical and metal pieces. Electronics tend to either work, or not work. In mechanical equipment it's not that black and white.

    Case in point, why haven't the price of cars decreased significantly? Same issue as with guns...it's mechanical to a large degree requiring fitments and finishing. That's the reason you see cars and guns with more and more plastic components...less finish work, more dependable and cheaper manufacturing so it keeps the prices down.
     
  20. Jubei

    Jubei Member

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    Also keep in mind that when purchasing a gun from a major manufacturer like Kimber, SIG, Glock, etc., you are paying for more than just the gun itself. You are also paying for their advertising, their R&D, their insurance, their quality-control and customer service, etc. I would imagine that the insurance costs for a company that manufactures firearms would be outrageous, especially in the litigous USA.

    Jubei
     
  21. Lone_Gunman

    Lone_Gunman Member

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    Then why didn't price go down when the gun manufacturer liability reform bill was passed?
     
  22. dfaugh

    dfaugh Member

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    I think relative prices have gone DOWN

    Started shooting on my teens, 35 yrs ago.

    I bought a Model 70 Winchester in .270 for (IIRC) about $250 circa 1972.
    Similar gun today is about $600??? (Haven't looked lately).

    My mother bought a "loaded" 1973 Buick LeSabre for right around $4000.
    Similar car today $40,000+.

    I know its a bit of apples vs. oranges comparison, both time wise and quality wise (cars are way more complicated today)....But still, compared to alot of manufactured goods, I think gun prices, at least for the more mainstream ones haven't risen as much as other items.

    Also, when you consider that even an inexpensive gun can and will last for decades (unlike a car, or washing machine, etc.) I think they're downright bargains.
     
  23. pcf

    pcf Member

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    Expensive compared to what?

    Inflation:
    A $1 in 1890 is equivalent to $19.10 in 2000
    A $1 in 1920 is equivalent to $8.62 in 2000
    A $1 in 1950 is equivalent to $7.17 in 2000
    A $1 in 1980 is equivalent to $2.09 in 2000

    Find the price of the appropiate era and comparison can be simplified. The increase in wages has not been taken into account, so the above just to get an idea. Historically firearms prices have not increased when inflation and wages are taken into account.

    But you're right given the effeciency of modern manufacturing, firearm's prices should be comparitively lower than in the past. Two huge factors in cost, R&D and liability. With the various FFL requirements for designing and manufacturing, we've missed out on the modern Browning, Garand, Ruger, and Wesson. A lot of innovation has been cut out of firearms design, good engineers are hard to come by.
     
  24. Thin Black Line

    Thin Black Line Member

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    Real goods desirable by people are always going to command a solid
    price. Without going into supply/demand another reason why you're
    not seeing guns decrease in price is beacuse the US$ is losing its
    value against other major currencies. The prices of many metals, not
    just gold/silver, have also increased a lot over the past year.

    When the Iranians switch their oil bourse to e's rather than $'s later
    this month this will put further pressure on the $. The US may have
    no other choice but to punish Iran for this affront to the $ and invade
    them in order to keep prices (and credit card finance charges) affordable
    for US consumers.
     
  25. TarpleyG

    TarpleyG Member

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    Str8shooter said:
    Inflation, my friend, inflation...

    From http://www.westegg.com/inflation/
    Greg
     
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