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Old June 5, 2013, 03:46 PM   #26
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Location: Oceanside, CA and Yuma,AZ
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My first gun show

I was picking up an ACOG for my new LaRue OBR 5.56 16', my first AR and I noticed there was a gun show a few miles away in Costa Mesa, CA. So, without having much of an agenda, I went and made a point of walking by every single table. What impressed me was the ammo to be honest. Sure, people had to stand in line but Miwall had a small tent city both indoors and outdoors. The outdoor one even had a line for reloading supplies. I intend to reload someday as I have done for my pistol hobby in the past. The prices for bulk ammo of .223/5.56 and .308 was as good as I see on and I would have purchased thousands of rounds but for the fact I did not have a wheelbarrow. I have since, just yesterday, purchased a range bag with wheels so I am ready for the next Crossroads gun show in Del Mar, CA on the 13th of July. Oh, I even noticed they had .300 AAC Blackout ammo and not just one type. The 9mm and .40 ammo looked good as well. Just today my office received a heavy box with the ORM-D sticker.....that was a 1,000 rounds of 5.56 that I got mail order and I could have done a tad better at the show.
Oceanside & Blythe, CA & Yuma, AZ
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Old June 5, 2013, 04:18 PM   #27
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I use to feel the same way. I wasn't going to the last gun show because they are all the same, until my brother called and wanted to go.

I am glad I went, I found a new AR , .223 ammo , 7.62 ammo , 7.62 brass , and pmags, all at good prices. My brother also bought a AR .

Glad I went, even though the wallet is a lot lighter.
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Old June 5, 2013, 05:51 PM   #28
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That's funny because I have just the opposite experience with the Florida shows. I always find what I'm looking for at the small shows, rarely at the big ones.
I've had similar experiences. Small florida shows are great. The big shows- I can find a deal once in a while.
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Old June 5, 2013, 06:25 PM   #29
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I, like others, quit going to gun shows several years back. Too many hucksters and carnival barkers trying to hawk their overpriced junk. I'm sure a deal or two can be found here and there, although I've never seen one for anything I was interested in (and if I want beef jerky, I'll go to 7-11 thanks).

Waste of time and money.
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Old June 6, 2013, 12:05 PM   #30
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I purchased some of my favorite guns at gun shows. I also use them to check out new designs that just came out - like the Kel-Tec KSG, SCAR-17 (when it came out), KRISS (when it came out), etc. Heck, I've paid hundreds of dollars to travel to Moline Ill (Rock Island Auction) just to fondle a bunch of antique guns and watch old guys with too much money bid ridiculous prices on them. Compared to that, the $9 entrance fee to gun shows is dirt cheap entertainment!
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Old June 6, 2013, 01:56 PM   #31
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We get 10 or 15 gun shows a year at $12.00 to $18.00 each to get in and mingle with the largest group of armchair experts and clueless wannabes in the area. Every show falsely advertises "the best prices in town on guns, ammo, and accessories". One recently advertised that the ammo shortage was over, prices were back to normal, and there would be plenty there. I can't imagine anyone buying that line, but I guess there are enough out there who don't know any better to keep them in business.
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Old June 6, 2013, 03:41 PM   #32
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I've only been to one gun show, post-panic and didn't have fun at all. The scam artists were out in force and I was almost offended at the prices (even the beef jerky was overpriced). I spent most of the time there compliling a list of all the better uses for the $12 entrance fee.

Usually, that's not been my experience. Normally when I go, I run around like a kid in a candy store and see what I can find. I think the panic buying is about done, but once the ammo shortage is over, then I'll start going again.
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Old June 6, 2013, 09:02 PM   #33
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I went to my first and last gun show about 3 weeks ago. Total waste of time and $10 entry fee. I was looking for a new pistol and some ammo. The pistol I was interested in was about $20 cheaper at my LGS and ammo was alot cheaper when I found it. No more shows for me.
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Old June 6, 2013, 09:15 PM   #34
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gun shows are about show and tell, I have never been able to find anyone who is actually selling anything. If they do its at 10x retail price
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Old June 6, 2013, 09:19 PM   #35
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I enjoy gun shows.
I always go with the attitude that I am not going to buy anything unless it is a fantastic deal.
I also enjoy talking to the sellers there and looking at their stuff.
That's me as well. I also go to our local one on Friday night, as it's free then. I've become a real cheapskate, but hey, that's what happens when you retire.
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Old June 7, 2013, 07:51 AM   #36
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Here's how you have to look at it:

1. Gun shows have far more inventory than any local gun shop; and the inventory includes lots and lots of used, vintage and even antique guns - stuff you can't typically find at local gun shops.

2. IGNORE THE PRICE TAGS! If your LGS has a (modern) gun you've been oogling over for $450 and you can find it on gunbroker for $375, then offer the gun show vendor $390+NICS. All they can say is "No." Then just go 3 tables down and do the same thing on the same gun. If you have no takers, then you know the deal on gunbroker is the best deal you will possibly find.

3. Vendors at gun shows will typically have some of the "latest and greatest" cool stuff that the local gun store just doesn't stock. This stuff is fun to look at, for me it is anyway and is worth the price of admission.

4. Know what you are looking for - I mean really know it, backwards and forwards. This lets you move through the 5 or so vendors that have what you are looking for with lightning speed. Out of those, you can always come back to the one you thought was most reasonable.

5. Don't just put the blinders on and look for the one or two things you have targeted for your next purchase. I used to do this, and I can tell you I missed a lot of fun and some good stuff. I have broadened my gun-loving horizons and its like "cool stuff" just pops out at me at gun shows.

6. If you are into AR or AK accessories, how can you not love gun shows - there's more doo-dads you can bolt onto your AR or AK than you can shake your wallet at. Where are you going to find 20 different rail systems, good and cheap battle sights, etc. for an AR in your LGS?

7. Gun shows have ammo....lots of it. Buy what you need for your next couple of shooting outings. The prices are what they are. At least they don't have a limit on what you can purchase.

8. Make sure you walk around outside and see what folks are selling. That's where the really good deals can be made....if you happen to run into something you really want. I find that a number of these folks don't even pay to go into the show - they need the money and don't want to leave with what they brought with them.

9. If you go to a two or three gun shows a year, every now and then you will find a real Gem. No, not necessarily a steal. What I mean by "Gem" is something you simply will not find anywhere else, where the seller will let it go for a fair or maybe even a good price. These are the purchases you look back on several years later that keep you coming back to gun shows.
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Old June 8, 2013, 12:31 AM   #37
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^^^ all good points. I went to a show last weekend and bought a bag full of nice like-new AR 30 round mags for $6 each, a couple of Colt but most Adventure Line and Brownells. Not bad. I also found some MecGar mags for a Walther PP .380 for under $15 each which I considered a good buy.

Deals are where you find them.
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Old June 8, 2013, 02:58 AM   #38
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Re: I don't know why I bother with gun shows

I'm pretty much spoiled with gun shows. Here in Houston we have the George R. Brown convention center, and then there is also the Pasadena convention center that has some decent shows. That's not to say that there aren't some people similar to what the OP dealt with, because there are, but the shows are plenty big that it is easy enough to move on past and find some better people to deal with.
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Old June 9, 2013, 10:35 AM   #39
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I stopped going to gun shows about the time gun show attendees stopped using deoderant, brought infants in side-by-side strollers, felt compelled to stand in small aisles talking in groups of three or four...
Those people are all now at my local Cabela's.

I see essentially two kinds of demographics at gun shows today.

1) Old men dealers who all know each other. "Hi Vern, how's that grandson?". They may or may not sell something but I think it's social gathering for them.

2) Young couples who feel they need to "arm up" in case of the whatever. They bring 4-5 thousand dollars cash and figure they will just "bite the bullet" and buy what they need all at once. They buy a Glock and an AR and as much bulk ammo as they can with what's left over. I typically see that same couple at the range a week later shooting at 5yard sillhouettes.

It's a "show" alright. The guns aren't always the primary players in the show.

Sgt Lumpy
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Old June 9, 2013, 06:45 PM   #40
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Location: Iowa
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Here's what I think !

Maybe I need to go ?
Shooting carp with whatever it takes !
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