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Old October 11, 2012, 03:54 PM   #1
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Thinking of stopping gun show attendance

The gun shows around here have sure changed, I used to save my money specifically to attend and buy.

Nowdays, it seems that I find myself not buying at gun shows because prices are too high, or higher than retail. My latest example was last month I went to a gun show specifically to buy Beretta 92/M9 magazines. I found a dealer that had a supply of genuine Beretta 15 round plated magazines, he wanted $45 each. When I informed him that Beretta USA was under pricing him by $20 a magazine, he just shrugged his shoulders.

So I shrugged my shoulders, put my money back in the bank and ordered all the magazines I needed from Beretta USA. The same thing happened with a case of XM855 at the previous show I attended, of all places, Gander Mountain beat the best gun show ammo price.

Anyone else seeing things like this at the gun shows in their area? I think I could probably still save 5% on a new firearm at a gun show.
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Last edited by iraiam; October 11, 2012 at 04:01 PM.
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Old October 11, 2012, 04:35 PM   #2
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I cut back from several a month to maybe two a year.The prices have became so outlandish, that it's cheaper to order it,and have it shipped to my FFL.I also informed dealers that their prices are higher used than new,and their response was don't buy it.When i can go to wally world and buy ammo cheaper,then i'm sorry,i'm going.
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Old October 11, 2012, 04:45 PM   #3
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I have been to one gun show and one gun auction and they scared me away from both. At the gun show the prices were outrageous. One vendor was asking just over $1000 for a used base model Sig p226 and this was less than a week after I bought a new one online for $700. A few weeks later I went to the gun auction and learned why the prices were so high. I live in an area populated with morons. Used Hi-Point pistols were going for over $200 each. One actually got over $300.
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Old October 11, 2012, 04:52 PM   #4
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Yes, I have seen this too - particularly with popular factory ammo. Talked to a gun shop owner about it and he figures it is mostly down to newbies who have never comparison-shopped being willing to pay whatever the sellers ask.

Presumably the bigger shows - like Orlando and Lakeland in my part of the world, would reflect better prices because more dealers are competing and the biggest dealers statewide show up.
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Old October 11, 2012, 04:54 PM   #5
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Guns shows were great when they happened once or twice a year in an area, had lots of private collections for sale, and much less t-shirt/junk sellers.

In the last decade I have done better shopping at the local shops than I have by going to shows. There are too many of them for any deals to be had.
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Old October 11, 2012, 05:17 PM   #6
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The only thing I buy at gun shows is reloading supplies because I can get them cheaper then shipping to me, no haz-mat fees. Maybe small parts such as screws, etc. New guns at the show near me are always higher then MSR. Used guns are priced near new. Ammo is outrageously high. But I go just for a good laugh at the prices, and if I’m thinking of buying a new gun, the gun show is a good place to see touch and feel something. Then I go to a shop to buy.
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Old October 11, 2012, 05:20 PM   #7
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I had pretty well sworn off gun shows, then early this year I had time to kill and was looking for a new CCW type gun on a weekend there was a local show (a smaller show than some). I ended up with a quite good deal on a Sig Ultra 1911.

IMO, gun shows can be really hit or miss, and you're best if you go already knowing what you are hoping to find (even if just entertainment). I personally don't go to them looking for ammunition or accessories; those I can find elsewhere with less hassle and usually at lower prices with a GREATLY reduced risk of counterfeit merchandise. If I'm looking for a particular kind of gun, then I'll spend the money and time.
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Old October 11, 2012, 05:35 PM   #8
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I quit gun shows about 20 years ago for exactly the reasons stated, you can find better prices and better condition guns without putting up with the black BDU-clad hoozits and the camo vest wannabes. Give me a couple of good old fashioned gunshops to browse around in and I can find just about anything I want.
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Old October 11, 2012, 05:42 PM   #9
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I have found some pretty fair deals on things at gun shows. For the most part, I think they cater to the new shooters who really are not sure of what they are looking at or why they want it.

It has been a long time since I went to one. I always had a good time but got pretty tired of some of the beat up junk being touted as "rare."

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Old October 11, 2012, 05:42 PM   #10
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I very seldom attend the shows anymore. Prices are too high, it is very crowded, especially around the tables that actually have a selection of guns. Half the tables are selling candy, jewelry, "art", t-shirts, etc...
Just not worth the trouble anymore which is kind of sad. I really used to enjoy them.
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Old October 11, 2012, 06:36 PM   #11
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I still hit one or two a year. There are deals to be found but most guns are crazy expensive and the crowds are insane. I still find them fun though even though there is seldom any thing worth the price or worth buying.
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Old October 11, 2012, 06:36 PM   #12
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They are a waste of time around here. I'll save the fifteen or twenty dollars they charge to walk in the door and reallocate it towards the shipping cost of buying online.
So many little time....
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Old October 11, 2012, 07:46 PM   #13
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But there's some damn good jerky and roasted nuts to be found!

I bought my AR there, impulse buy, thousands of cheap Russian steel later and it's going strong.

But for the most part yeah I don't think most of these guys know about the Internet. I like Georgia arms for ammo, I'll pick up some at the show vs paying shipping.
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Old October 11, 2012, 08:02 PM   #14
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My cousin buys his reload ammo by the ammo can at gun shows. I dunno if I am willing to do that.

Last gun I bought at a gun show was when I didn't really know much, I ended up buying two. Oddly enough they are both traded/sold away. I went to the gun show to look for a .22 bolt action. I didn't see any .22 rifles at that gun show and went straight from the show to Sportsman's Warehouse to buy it.

I haven't been back to a gun show since then, that was almost two years ago.
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Old October 11, 2012, 09:47 PM   #15
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I don't go very often anymore, either, unless it's to handle and compare a lot of different guns in one place.

As far as reloading supplies, if you count the gas money and entrance fee, I'd rather just pay Grafs the $27.50 for hazmat and order in bulk. The last show I went to the guy had a limited selection, didn't take credit or checks and the prices weren't any better than online, even with shipping and fees.
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Old October 11, 2012, 09:56 PM   #16
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I too have been very disappointed with gun show prices and attitudes here in FL, and the same applies to pawn shops. If I go to buy a used gun at a show or a pawn shop, I expect a significant discount from new retail. If not, i'd rather drop my $ vat the LGS and get a gun new in box, with full warranty.

I had an experience with a gun show guy who specializes in Hi Point and Jiminez, charging more than the factory for accessories and mags, in this case a 995 2-mag holder with mags. I expected his prices to be less at a show, but it was several bucks higher than I got ordering 2 mags with the holder right from Hi Point.

Shows are good for hard to find pieces or accessories, but if what you want is a common gun, shop around and support a LGS.
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Old October 11, 2012, 10:11 PM   #17
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Gun show: waste of time.

Can find almost everything cheaper online, or on classifieds (FTF).
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Old October 12, 2012, 05:20 AM   #18
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Bad selection, high prices.

Internet is killing them off.
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Old October 12, 2012, 05:53 AM   #19
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I have also cut back on going to gun shows, mainly because of the prices being too high.
Here in NY you have to pay for a hand gun then go get it put on your permit and then drive to the person or dealer you bought it from, which could be quite aways away and pick up the hand gun. Its a pain in the neck.
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Old October 12, 2012, 07:08 AM   #20
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Before the halcyon days of the internet, dealers were able to charge MSRP. Sometimes, they were able to charge over that, depending on how knowledgeable their customers were. As such, a guy at the gun show could sell a little cheaper, and gun shows seemed like a deal.

That's no longer the case, and most dealers are selling at a fraction over wholesale to compete. The retail side of the industry has hit a price floor that can't be beaten by the vendors at gun shows anymore.

Add to that the fact that one major promoter has been playing some games with pricing the last few years, and most major dealers don't see the point of attending. What's left are a few folks hoping to catch uninformed consumers, vendors selling freeze-dried food and survivalist weirdness, and private sellers.
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Old October 12, 2012, 07:39 AM   #21
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I too have stopped attending what they call gun shows here in SE Florida, a better name would be Flea Markets. When you enter the West Palm Beach show the first table you see is pots and pans, followed by shoes, jewelry and toys. I can beat the ammo prices and the majority of the gun prices at my LGS. The one dealer that I did do most of my past business with at the shows was Florida Gun Exchange, they would work with the customer. There is a gun show this week end in West Palm, I won't be there. I'll save the round trip gas money and $8.00 admission fee and use the saved money to buy a box of Ammo at my LGS.
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Old October 12, 2012, 07:40 AM   #22
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I try and make all the shows I can. I like to fondle before I purchase. A gun show has a lot of variety allowing a psuedo test drive before purchasing.

The trend I'm seeing is that private collections are opposite ends of the spectrum.

Worn out junk or high priced "rare, collectibles". "It was my grandfather's, so it has to be highly collectible".

And vendors are hit or miss as well. There are a couple Wall-Marts, a few Macy's, and then a collection of Neiman-Marcus type dealers.

It does seem that many are hanging onto what they've got till after November 6th. Regardless of the outcome, I have a feeling that the shows around Thanksgiving will be crowded and heavily laden with cash buyers.

Deals not found.
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Old October 12, 2012, 07:41 AM   #23
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I quit attending the shows a few years ago. Simpler shopping and better pricing on the internet for some stuff and the shipping is usually less than the cover charge for a show. Other things are best bought through LGS with better pricing and service after the sale.

Then there's the ambiance of the shows. Seems to have turned from mostly good ole boys and hunting stuff to mall ninjas, militaria and salesmen on commission.

Then again, the weather report ain't too nice and the show is on this weekend...............
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Old October 12, 2012, 08:04 AM   #24
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I still like shows and try to hit at least one a month. Yeah, lots of high-priced insanity, and fantasy descriptions, but you still get to see lots of odd and interesting things. If you know your stuff, you can still beat the hucksters and get some good deals. I really enjoy finding old-stock ammo for below internet prices, and buying stuff for $20 that I can later resell for $200.
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Old October 12, 2012, 08:20 AM   #25
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Gun shows are great places to socialize and see unusual offerings by accessories dealers. And, there are the occasional old gun for sale and guns being carried around by other visitors. Shows are having problems evidenced by the increase in dealers of non-gun related items.
Yes, dealer prices are outlandish. But, they keep coming back with their overpriced stuff, they might really be selling something.
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