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Old January 11, 2011, 01:19 PM   #1
JerryHN
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Is a Wal-Mart Gun Equal to a Cabela's Gun?

I assume every gun manufacturer has a QC team that assesses the quality level of their products. Here's the question:

Do guns with certain quality levels go to certain stores? Does a rifle sold at Wal-Mart have the same quality as the identical rifle sold at Cabelas or other larger dealers?

Here are the dealers I had in mind:
  • Wal-Mart
  • Academy
  • Cabelas
  • Dicks Sporting Goods
  • Local dealers
  • etc.

If this theory is correct, which dealer do you think offer the highest quality?

I'm about to buy an expensive firearm, so I'm getting a little picky.
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Old January 11, 2011, 01:25 PM   #2
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Some say no. But I think yes. They get what they get and only pay what they want. So, I think they do get what companies need to dump.
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Old January 11, 2011, 01:28 PM   #3
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Some products have special Walmart-only models, i.e. eMachines computers. But other than that I don't think there's any difference. If the SKU is different then there may be a feature difference, but it would be pretty dumb to sell an inferior product to what is likely your largest customer, especially when Wal-Mart is VERY highly focused on that stuff.
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Old January 11, 2011, 01:54 PM   #4
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im sure its the same. quality would have to come and go by type and model.
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Old January 11, 2011, 02:00 PM   #5
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JerryHN,
You asked two questions.
As to the second question... Does a rifle sold at Wal-Mart have the same quality as the identical rifle sold at Cabelas or other larger dealers?

I would say yes it does. However, Walmart will not buy unless they get the very best price possible. They do this by rejecting a lot of itams a company sells and by offering to buy a lot of product at a low price if they will sell. Many times a company can meet it's quota for the year if they sell to Wal-Mart in quantity even though Wal-Mart low balls them. When it's time to dump it, sell it to Walmart! Sometimes a company builds it's whole sales around Walmart. This works great until Wal-Mart pulls the plug on them.
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Old January 11, 2011, 02:02 PM   #6
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I personally don't think there's a difference.

I have drooled over a Browning BLR in .30-06 several times at our local Wal-Mart. It looked every bit as high-quality as the Brownings I've seen in gun shops. No dings, nicks, etc. Of course, those are only cosmetic issues, but I personally don't think you're going to find gun manufacturers selling varying qualities of the same make/model gun, then have to honor warranties after the fact.
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Old January 11, 2011, 02:13 PM   #7
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Generally, yes, the guns are the same. However, sometimes certain stores or distributors can use their large volume to commission special runs. They might have a different stock, finish, sights, or whatever, but I do not believe that Walmart orders a bunch of guns and tells Remington to skip some quality checks to save cost.

If any problem came up as a result of a quality difference and an injury was suffered, the lawyers would have a field day. It just isn't logical to think that a Walmart Rem 700 is of any different quality than the same rifle from Cabela's, Bass Pro, or your local gun store. The service you receive from the store is likely to vary wildly, but generally, this line about "cheap lower quality Walmart guns" is spouted by those who can't match Walmart's price and won't try to make their higher price worthwhile through better service.
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Old January 11, 2011, 02:13 PM   #8
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Wal-MART almost always forces manufacturers to create a special version of their lowest end product model so they can sell it cheaper than anyone else. I once worked for an electrical equipment manufacturer and when we started supplying to Wal-Mart our engineers had to find ways to make our cheapest model for about half the current wholesale price to meet Wal-Mart's target consumer sales price. Usually we would make use of more plastic in place of metal and reduce the number of parts.

If buying a higher end model then it is likely to be exactly the same as elsewhere, for instance the Rem CDL. But the lowest end model may be a cheaper variation, maybe like the Rem ADL or whatever. I would look real carefully to see if more plastic was used, if any features are missing or simplified, and if the model number has any suffix or other difference.

Many retailers require this of manufacturers to create differentiation. Sometime to sell it cheaper, sometimes to add more value features. That is why you find model 102A at Target, model 102H at Wal-Mart and model 102J at Costco.
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Old January 11, 2011, 02:15 PM   #9
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Without knowing exactly which model and chambering you are asking about, it is impossible to answer precisely. Certain distributors and dealers get special models of certain firearms that are similar to but different enough from a similar model at another distributor. They also buy in a limited number of chamberings, which increases their buying power and allows getting that price. When they buy in volume, they get better pricing, so they can sell the product cheaper.

WalMart buys enough volume that they get special pricing and special models. Since WalMart appeals to the lower end of the spending spectrum, they distribute many bargain models you will not find anywhere else. That said, they also distribute exactly the same models as Cabela's and Dick's Sporting Goods in many instances.

Distributors may allow a certain number or type of flaw in order to get the pricing they are looking for, but the QC on the major components is exactly the same irregardless of where you buy the firearm. I used to work for a sporting goods dealer that bought blems and factory reconditioned items, and they work just like the first run items. May have a bubble in the finish or it failed QC the first time through, but it's fixed by the time the customer gets it.
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Old January 11, 2011, 02:32 PM   #10
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for a specific example, Ruger's 10/22 has a walmart only version that for some reason has a longer barrel than stock. Otherwise, they are the same. Makes no real sense. I'd buy from a gun shop just mainly for the support. Doubtful you'll ever need it, but it's nice to have a good shop to go to if there are any problems.
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Old January 11, 2011, 02:49 PM   #11
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Believe me, gun manufacturers are not shipping inferior products to Walmart as opposed to Dicks, Gander, etc. I don't think that they are in the business of trying to make products liability lawyers even richer than they already are.

Guns are not computers that come with all kinds of junk-software pre-loaded with advertisements and commercials.
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Old January 11, 2011, 03:41 PM   #12
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There is a tiny bit of truth in all the previous posts and tons of misinformation.
Just consider, with 3,000 stores, a manufacturer (of anything) would have to build separate factories just to produce 'seconds'. They ship the same items as everyone else gets.
But they may have slightly different models. And, they often have different model numbers to identify where a product was sold. e.g. Hewlett-Packard printers. Same printer will have different model numbers for Wal-Mart, Circuit City, Staples, etc. This prevents customers from trying to return a product purchased from one company to another.
And, consider, a company like Wal-Mart does not want to handle returns or deal with unhappy customers.
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Old January 11, 2011, 04:20 PM   #13
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One of the main reasons Walmart, Costco, Target, etc. have different model numbers on identical products is they don't have to price match sale prices at a competitor.

Otherwise I've never had a problem with a rifle bought at Walmart and wouldn't fear doing it again. Same with their value priced ammo, it works just fine, especially the Federal I pick up for 22LR, .223, 9mm, 45ACP and 357.
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Old January 11, 2011, 04:30 PM   #14
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I was trying to buy my son's 10/22 at a local gun store for Christmas. I ended up going to Walmart since the price was $197 vs $259. I handled both guns- they were exact as far as I could tell.
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Old January 11, 2011, 05:12 PM   #15
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I can understand mfgr doing special runs for massive retailers like wal-mart, but making different models of the same gun for wal mart and cabelas seems unlikely to me.
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Old January 11, 2011, 05:25 PM   #16
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Remington did a special run Remington 11-87 in John Walton Commemorative. It was sold at WalMart stores. It was beauitful. I Wish I had bought one.
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Old January 11, 2011, 07:54 PM   #17
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personal expirence

Again a corelation to electonics here however I used to be an electronics manager for a big box retailer. HP sales reps stated outright that many of the same products shipped to wally world, costco, bjs and so forth were factory refurbs and or seconds.

Now this is not to say that they would do the same thing with something like a firearm or a tool. Remember there is little to no margin in firearms sales. Like most things there is more margin to be had in the sale of accessories.

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Old January 11, 2011, 08:01 PM   #18
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Quote:
HP sales reps stated outright that many of the same products shipped to wally world, costco, bjs and so forth were factory refurbs and or seconds.
I don't doubt they said that. I do doubt that it's true across the board. If that's how HP does business, so be it, but if your computer monitor quits, it's an inconvenience. If you ship firearms with faulty chambers, somebody could die. There's a little bit of a difference with product liability there.

If these guns ARE factory seconds or refurbs, I imagine we'd be hearing a wide variety of anecdotes regarding high failure rates for firearms purchased at these stores. This is not the case- issues tend to be model-wide, not store-specific.
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Old January 11, 2011, 08:05 PM   #19
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In general box stores, retail or building supply, do get lower quality stuff. Runs that didn't quite make the the A cut or maybe a tad less quality control. Seen it too many times. But I don't believe that applies to guns. The gun manufactures have to much liability at stake IMO. Anyway, I have numerous Walmart guns and have never had an issue or seen any difference between them or a gun from a gun store.

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Old January 11, 2011, 08:32 PM   #20
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Certain things that Big Box stores are made for them, either as a store brand, or for them to sell at a price point. Wally world is notorious for having brand names make products to a lower spec so it can be sold for a lower price. Beretta makes a lower-priced version of their 39X series for sale through the big box stores - it does not have the finish, wood stock, etc. that the higher grades do - it is the same mechanical design, but not necessarily finished to the same degree
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Old January 11, 2011, 08:41 PM   #21
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Yes walmart sells the same guns as anyone else...
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Old January 11, 2011, 09:39 PM   #22
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Margin

You guys are still missing this walmart could care less what they pay to have a few guns in the rack. The fact is they make their money on the sale of ammo and other shooting accessories. The fact that they stock rifles simply gives them the right o have a "legitimant" firearms section.

My earlier post was meant to point out the difference between wally world selling electronics that are of poor quality and other products that are of the same poor quality.

As for the HP stuff it was usually something that had already been returned for a not product related reason IE gift reciept. Also in many cases they will sell the same products without firmware or all the same included accessories.

I could readily tell the difference in packaging and configuration between HP stuff at wallly and the stuff in our store.

Someone also pointed out the price matching issue. This is a large part of the different serial numbers and modle numbers. In the case of firearms this is a non issue due to the fact that they are non returnable.

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Old January 11, 2011, 09:54 PM   #23
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Quote:
But they may have slightly different models. And, they often have different model numbers to identify where a product was sold. e.g. Hewlett-Packard printers. Same printer will have different model numbers for Wal-Mart, Circuit City, Staples, etc. This prevents customers from trying to return a product purchased from one company to another.
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Old January 11, 2011, 10:08 PM   #24
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My neighbor works as a shift supervisor in shipping, and recieving at Wal Mart Distribution. They do not recieve guns from the factory. Also fire arms are recieved at the stores, not thier disributin centers. They get them from distributors just like the rest of the stores do. Thier guns that are the same model sold there, as elsewhere is the same gun. They do tend to carry the lower end stuff because they sell more of them.

Example the Henry Golden Boy you see on the shelf at Wally World is the same one that you see on the shelf of your local gun store.

Wal Mart can sell them for less due to the fact that they not only buy in larger quantities, they do enough buisness selling everthing else they can make a lower profit per item, and make more from selling more items.
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Old January 11, 2011, 10:08 PM   #25
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I know this is going to be long... sorry

As mentioned, the key with big box retailers vs Wal-Mart is that even though the product and packaging looks the same (same pictures and print on the box), Wal-Mart products will have a product number that is very very similar but not exactly the same. This is because WM requires the price to be so low that the manufacturer has to lower the amount of features/accessories, etc to meet that price point. It's not that the products sold to Wal-Mart (whether guns, toys, electronics, paint, batteries etc) are lower quality, they are purposefully made to include less. Consumers don't know this and may assume the product was made with inferior quality.

If the model number is exactly the same, it's the same product regardless of who it is sold to.

Quote:
HP sales reps stated outright that many of the same products shipped to wally world, costco, bjs and so forth were factory refurbs and or seconds.
I believe whole heartedly the salesman said this, but I have a serious problem believing HP sells seconds/refurbs as new. 1, because that's illegal and they are big enough that they would never get away with it. 2, having worked in a big box retailer I've heard these company sales reps say stupid things because they know the floor salesmen (in my experience most, but not all) will repeat just about anything to help them sell a product as long as the information came from an official source and 3, those company salesman want consumers to buy products specifically from whatever store they work and not from Wal-Mart. Wal-Mart typically gets salesman all to their own. So Salesman Joe that works Best Buy/Staples/etc is trying to keep customers from going to WM and making Salesman Bob's numbers look good.
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