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Old December 2, 2012, 09:25 AM   #1
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what's with gun show prices?

I would like to hear from some dealers who go to gun shows.
In recent years the prices asked by dealers at shows are impossibly high. I hear complaints all the time and what I see confirms it. At the same time the dealers complain business is slow and nobody is buying. And, to top it, for a three day show, many dealers pull out in the middle of the second day complaining no one is buying. If they are not there, how can anyone buy from them? I have owned retail stores and done shows. Just because business has been slow for a couple hours does not mean someone will not come by in five minutes and make a major purchase.
Why are prices so high when common sense tells the dealer potential customers can buy at much less elsewhere?
Why leave early after traveling great distances to attend?
Tis a puzzlement to me.
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Old December 2, 2012, 12:13 PM   #2
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I have been attending a local gun show held four times a year for about 25 years now. My oh my have things changed. It used to be that you could find the best deals at this show. Prices got lowered for the show, then raised back up at the dealer’s shop. Now it’s the other way around. Prices get raised for the show, then lowered at the shop. I happened to bring this to the attention of a new dealer in the town nearest me. I have been considering buying my son a Savage AXIS in .223 for a range rifle. Saw one at two gun shows ago at this new local dealer for $380. Went to his shop a week later, exact same rifle, $360. At the last gun show a week ago, exact same rifle back up to $380. Exact same rifle, I asked him. As far as I’m concerned, $360 is too much, let alone the $380 gun show price. Used guns are priced like new now, that never used to be. Also, it’s becoming difficult to weed threw all the cheap China made knifes, beef jerky, candy and baked goods.

One good thing about this local show, it’s a great place to buy reloading supplies. I don’t have to pay the Haz-Mat fees for items delivered to my home. In the past 15 years I’ve bought only one gun from this gun show, but hundreds maybe thousands in reloading supplies. It’s the only thing that keeps me going back.
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Old December 2, 2012, 01:18 PM   #3
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I hear you guys. I've been saying the same thing. Why?

The only thing I can think of is that the guys selling are hoping people will pay whatever price they see at the show because they still think guns shows have the best prices. It's the same thing all businesses do, build up a good reputation, then get lazy or greedy and try to cost on their name. Everyone is guilty of it, but that still doesn't make it right.

You just have to do your homework when/if you go to any shows.
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Old December 2, 2012, 01:34 PM   #4
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The funny thing about the high prices is . You would think they raise there price so when they come down a little it looks like your getting a better deal then you really are .The only thing is none of them haggle or come down in there price . . I go to the shows to check out accessories . Not so much to buy but to compare quality ,fit & finish to other makers . I did save $10 and what ever shipping would have been on a YHM Tod Jerret free floated hand gaurd a few months ago .
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Old December 2, 2012, 02:21 PM   #5
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I doubt that most vendors at a show actually have a brick and mortar shop somewhere. If that's the case, the show is their primary venue.

They stubbornly set their prices not based on the market, but upon their margin and then wonder why nobody buys.

A gun show here (Tulsa) this weekend charges $14 dollars to get in. And once you get in you've got the scenario depicted by the OP. A lot of locals are complaining.

I haven't been to a gun show in several years even though I've bought numerous weapons in that time. I research the internet prices then call the local brick and mortar shops for a reasonable deal.

IMO gun shows are dying.
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Old December 2, 2012, 03:55 PM   #6
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I think the biggest problem with guns shows lately, is that there are too many too close together. There is literally almost one every weekend in some areas. I think if they were spread out more there would be more demand. Plus, if there were fewer shows, the sellers wouldn't have to jack up their prices to cover their losses on all their table fees.

I must admit though, I really get a kick out of the sale tags at the shows that say "Gun show special, today only!" Those always make me laugh, since you can usually walk across the street and buy the same item, New, for around $50-$100 less. Even funnier when their item is used and they write "Rare" on the tag and there isn't anything "Rare" about it.

I've seen used Ruger 10/22s for $250 when every store was selling them for $200 new. The best has to be the used "Rare" WASR 10 for $600. Cuz we all know how "Rare" those are. Lol

I think a lot of the sellers just set high prices hoping that the news media and politics will bring someone along with more money than sense. They love to push the fear factor. Telling people they better buy now before its too late.

Like most will tell you, go to "look" at guns, find out what you like and don't like, then buy them somewhere else.

First everything was a deal, then everything but firearms. Now, reloading supplies is about all that's left. Everybody thinks they're sitting on bar of gold and they price it accordingly.

Now, for the people that argue that the market is setting the gun show prices, I have to ask: Who are the idiots that are setting these prices? Why are they willing to pay well above what it's really worth? Seriously, who would be dumb enough to buy a used item for more then the exact same item would cost new? Obviously it happens, why else would the sellers think they can get away with it?

So I guess the real answer to the question is: Sheer stupidity! On the part of the seller, and more so on the buyer, for perpetuating this problem and letting the sellers think its ok.

I understand to be in business, you need to turn a profit, but come on! You don't have to rip people off to stay in business. If you think you do, then maybe you're in the wrong business.
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Old December 2, 2012, 04:08 PM   #7
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I saw a used Barret M82 sell at Rock Island Auction for $18000 yesterday. There would have been a 15% buyers premium on that also. You can buy a new one for $12,000. So the guy overpaid by about $8000.

I guess people like that are what the gun show people are looking for.

It makes it easy for you if you are a dealer that sells at reasonable prices.
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Old December 2, 2012, 04:13 PM   #8
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Supply and Demand will eventually settle things out at the gun shows. I haven't been to one in 15 years and have probably spent 20-30k in that same time in gun related products over the Internet. I can compare prices of 15-20 suppliers over the Internet, find the best deal, and have it delivered right to my door. Lucky for me that a very good local gun shop with great employees has opened up relatively close. I've purchased from them 3 times this last year. Gun shows....I think not.
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Old December 2, 2012, 04:14 PM   #9
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I stay away from the gun shows nowadays. There are too many private internet trading forums lately to bother with the crowds, junk vendors, and high prices.
As long as people keep going to the gun shows and spending their money nothing will change.
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Old December 2, 2012, 04:15 PM   #10
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To be fair, that Barret did come with an extra 10 round magazine.
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Old December 2, 2012, 07:36 PM   #11
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Fear of what lies ahead is driving new and uninformed shooters into the market. Demand is driving the prices up.

I don't blame the LGS or gun show vendors. Their margins are pretty small in most cases. It's sad the industry is taking advantage of this new, emerging market.

The bubble will pop like it has every where else.
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Old December 2, 2012, 07:57 PM   #12
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I've been to two gun shows this past month. They are small shows, and I'm fairly familiar with most of the regular dealers there. Yes, there are two or three that have a pretty good selection on the tables, all tagged at above MSRP, and they won't haggle any. They evidently sell enough guns to warrant returning every year though.

There are also a couple of dealers there who also have their guns tagged high, but they will deal if you are serious, and make reasonable offers. I think that many people are afraid to try to haggle with a dealer.

Something interesting I have found. Even the reasonable dealers aren't likely to haggle too much on guns that are in very short supply.
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Old December 2, 2012, 08:06 PM   #13
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i used to go to gun shows for years, specifically the 80's and 90's. i got some very nice deals on some guns, ammo and accessories during that time. starting in the 2000's the prices started to go nuts, when you tried to bargin with a vendor they would all tell you about politics and how the world was going to hell and if you didn't like the price it would probably double by the next show. it was the economics of fear the were selling and people were in panic mode and were buying.

these days i refuse to pay $6 or more dollars for parking and $10 to $15 per person for admission just to find that the prices are higher than my local cabelas or sportsmans warehouse selling for, hell even walmart is selling "black rifles" these days. gun shows are pricing themselves out of business and they have no one to blame but themselves.
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Old December 2, 2012, 08:13 PM   #14
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TX gun shows aren't that bad. There are usually big dealers who have standard new guns for significantly less than LGS or big box stores around here.
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Old December 2, 2012, 08:36 PM   #15
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The bubble will pop like it has every where else.
And people will remember who gouged and who didn't. I'm aware of several local vendors who are indulging in some creative pricing based on whatever scare tactic is in vogue on any given week.

Now for some history. If you've ever compared MSRP to dealers' actual prices, you've seen a huge difference. It wasn't always like that.

Prior to the internet, dealers got MSRP for guns. They often got more. Margins were good, but guns were darned expensive. If you knew the lay of the land, you could possibly haggle a dealer down, but that was a real hassle.

For example, a dealer local to me at the time got $700-750 for standard Glock pistols (50-60% markup). I knew that price was high, but folks who weren't part of the gun culture didn't.

Guys at the gun shows could sell the guns for $650 and still turn a nice profit. As a result, people adopted the mentality that better deals were to be found there.

Then the internet happened, and it drove prices down. Nowadays, a brick-and-mortar shop gets markups around 10% on guns. There's a price floor, and there's no way vendors at gun shows can beat those prices.

As such, they get by with selling stuff you won't find in shops, or they rely on folks who still have the old mentality. Many are vendors selling off old stock they can't move in their shop due to unrealistic prices. Others are folks who know that peddling fear of the UNGUNBANOMG works on the uninformed.
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Old December 2, 2012, 08:52 PM   #16
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I went to a gun show today. I wasn't looking for anything, so I didn't pay much attention to the prices, but I noticed a fair number of people filling out paperwork. It didn't look like anyone was having too much trouble selling anything.
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Old December 2, 2012, 08:53 PM   #17
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I've found the "gun show deal" is now non-existent in my area. My best deals were made at gun shows, but that was in the days of Bill Goodman's shows here. They don't exist anymore in this area and I have to rely on Gibralter Trade Center's shows amongst a few others. While I was up north, I went to a show that had great prices, but alas, I had told the wife I was going expressly to look. I can get as good a deal at any LGS as I can at GTC's shows. Best thing about the shows now is simply having just about everything at your fingertips to at least handle without ordering. I also go on Friday nights when you don't have to pay.
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Old December 2, 2012, 10:31 PM   #18
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I still find the best deals at gunshows. There are lots of overpriced guns there. But if you look, there are bargains in used guns, which is about all I buy.
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Old December 2, 2012, 10:37 PM   #19
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A gun show here (Tulsa) this weekend charges $14 dollars to get in.
Wow. Does that include valet parking and a meal? The gun show near me just went up in price at the door. Was $1 and now $2.
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Old December 2, 2012, 11:38 PM   #20
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Like anything else you have deals and you have ripoffs. I see used SIG's at gun shows and in gun stores priced higher than new SIG's.

I saw a couple of VERY good deals on used SIG's today at a gun show; going to give the dealer a ring tomorrow and pick me up a like new German P220 in 9mm. LOTS of overpriced ammo and I mean LOTS. Reloads priced higher than new in the box for range FMJ pistol ammo etc.

A gun show here (Tulsa) this weekend charges $14 dollars to get in.
I thought it was bad around here! They only charge $10.00 on average...I guess Chicago area is not the most expensive for once.
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Old December 2, 2012, 11:55 PM   #21
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I used to go to our local gun show as a vendor so I could sell off some left over inventory (most of it substantially below my cost, by the way) and had the wife hold down the booth when things were slow so I could do a little shopping of my own. Once I found a dealer selling reloaded .38 special a few dollars cheaper than Wallys sold new ammo for and I picked up a few boxes.
I had been back to my table just a few minutes when the ammo guy showed up and pushed a few dollars into my hand.
He explained that he had noticed my vendors badge and would have given me a discount, but didn't want to let his regular cash customers know that they were paying a little more.
I was surprised because I was happy with the price at the time and had the guy not refunded the difference, I still would have been happy.
I haven't found anyone selling reloads cheaper than Wallys since then, but I did appreciate that vendor's business model at the time.
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Old December 3, 2012, 02:15 AM   #22
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It isn't just the new guns that are over priced, I went last month and saw many examples of over priced used guns. There were High Standard Sport Kings in average condition selling for about $475 and used Smiths for what I see for a new version. I only buy ammo, we have the WAC shows twice a month either up north or down south and Wes Knodel shows way south. Entrance fees for non members I think is 10 bucks.
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Old December 3, 2012, 07:26 AM   #23
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Used guns ...

Not sure how folks can justify paying MSRP for a gun that is used. Yet they do.

To be fair, it is very overwhelming to see the amazing variety of guns available. Weeding through the quality pieces vs the decent pieces vs the junk is quite daunting.

The learning curve is tremendous and quite steep.

I've certainly taken a bath a time or two on not understanding what the hell I was doing. But it's been a fun ride.

Not sure if my tastes are changing, becoming more discerning or a combination of both, but I have set my sights on quality over quantity and willing to pay for it.

I'm not talking match grade, pinnacle type armament, just decent, name brand reliable firearms that will last my and my kid's lifetimes.

Having said that ... I am thoroughly impressed with Smith & Wesson's commitment to warranty and repair of their products.

I have used that service three times in the last two years on weapons I purchased new and some I purchased used. Both times, the service was amazing.

So when I assess a gun's value, new or used, that is a huge factor.
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Old December 3, 2012, 09:49 PM   #24
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This past weekend at the gunshow here in wichita, i saw 2 remington r1 1911s priced at 900.00 And i see stuff like this all the time.
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Old December 4, 2012, 12:03 AM   #25
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I find that there are less dealers trying to move there product and more dealers trying to cash in on their investments.
Most of these guys seem like they want their guns more than I do.
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