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Old November 24, 2012, 06:49 PM   #1
Join Date: October 31, 2012
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First Gun Show

Went to my first gun show today. I thought that I would maybe see and get to compare some aftermarket sight options for my PPQ. I saw almost no aftermarket sights. The ones that I did see were for Glocks. The prices seemed higher than what you'd pay on the internet while shopping on your couch in comfort.

I looked at almost all the handgun tables. The prices seemed high, for the most part.

The people watching was not all that good - and there is a guntlet to be run at the entrance if you do not want to second hand smoke two packs on your way in the door.

Overall - it seemed like a collossal waste of time. I am a relatively new - 1st time gun owner. Not sure what I was expecting - but gun shows will likely not be something that I frequent.
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Old November 24, 2012, 06:59 PM   #2
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Before the election they were very fun. Seems like the obama gun scare has prices high and people paranoid. RR
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Old November 24, 2012, 08:40 PM   #3
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No doubt the election brought in more people, and raised prices.
But I went to one just before the election, and it was basically the same. An entire mad house.
Good stuff gone in the first couple hours.
Prices are not as low as internet, but depending on where you are, you can take your gun home with you.
And not pay shipping, etc., like on the internet.
Ammo can be slightly cheaper, but still not as cheap as some of the special store sales.
They do have a lot of miscellaneous and used stuff. That you may not think of, or find on the internet, unless you specifically searched for it.
So you might get some new gear ideas, etc.
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Old November 24, 2012, 11:03 PM   #4
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Pre Obama . . . still too pricey!


I think the last time I went to a gun show was pre-Obama. Even then the prices were too much. Who pays $250 for a Hi-Point 9mm? Only someone who doesn't know any better.

Best bet on prices is shop your LGS and always ask if they can do better on the price. I've not had one say no yet.

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Old November 25, 2012, 06:49 AM   #5
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Gun shows have there place

I think the more guns you get the more you will come to appreciate the gun show . I'm in southern California and there are few gun stores here . Don't get me wrong there around and you are able to get the basics no problem . The gun shows tend to have ten times more products to look at and parts galore for guns your LGS is not going to have . Like you said about the sights . They had some there but not the ones for your gun . At least you got to see them up close and see if there what your looking for . I do this alot when it comes to products I'm looking to by online . There has been many time I thought I wanted something I found online. When I got a chance to get a closer look at it at the gun show I found it to be poor quality and not worth any amount of money . The oppisite has happened as well .I would check something out that I always thought would be garbage and it turned out to be good quality . Optics , rails , cases , grips etc these are all things that are nice to feel and check out the quality up close and the gun show is where you can do it .

I do agree If your going there to only save money you will likely be disappointed. The other thing I noticed was how little most merchants are willing to haggle . I can't tell you how many times I was ready to drop some real coin but they would not budge on anything . The private sellers tend to be a little more giving .
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Old November 25, 2012, 08:48 AM   #6
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Gun shows were fun 20 years ago. Now it seems like everybody is trying to get top dollar for junk they bought at a yard sale. All are now posted banning concealed carry, so if they don't want my gun then they don't want me.
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Old November 25, 2012, 09:04 AM   #7
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Guns shows in my neck of the woods aren't worth the cost of admission, and I stopped going years ago.
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Old November 25, 2012, 11:04 AM   #8
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Sundog, I had the exact same situation happen a month ago. And by the time I factor in parking and entrance fee it is no longer cheaper to buy ammo there.

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Old November 25, 2012, 12:08 PM   #9
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Depends on the state. In TX - you find better prices on standard new guns. Ammo is usually not well priced but you can find some exotics some times.

Used guns - depends - I've done better at the LGS. Accessories - Internet is better.

Went to a gun show in FL - too expensive.
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Old November 25, 2012, 12:12 PM   #10
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I can look at sights for guns that are not my model at any LGS - and it does not cost $10 to do so.

I doubt that I would have ever considered buying a gun at a gun show anyway. I am just not that hard up to save whatever money that could be saved by haggling with a guy at a card table. Ditto on gun show ammo. Some of that stuff looked ancient. I know nothing of ammo shelf life - but I have got to think that newer is more than likely better (could be wrong on that one).

I am not a collector. I only buy things that I am going to use. That goes for all my hobbies. If I don't use a particular guitar on stage in a 6 month period (and it has any value at all) - it is gone. New to guns - but I will likely hold true to a similar plan for them. I research the purchase - and eliminate the junk from consideration. Willing to pay fair prices to folks who assist me in my endeavor to find the right thing.

I quit going to boat shows about 4 or 5 years ago too.
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Old November 25, 2012, 12:38 PM   #11
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double post..sorry..
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Old November 25, 2012, 12:39 PM   #12
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depends on what you are looking for..

mags, maybe..
ammo cans, probabally..
reloading components, yes
bulk commercial reloads, probabally depending on caliber
optics..not seen one yet..
classic revolvers.. sometimes..
classic autoloaders, and bolt guns..sometimes..

new stuff..I haven't found it to be a decent deal.. my LGS does better on new and most of the time used stuff..except for things he does not carry, mags, bulk ammo, reloading components, I probabally would not go..
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Old November 25, 2012, 01:01 PM   #13
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yes, gun show can be a crap shoot. for the most part, especially on new guns, you'll find overpriced stuff. i go just for the experience any more, not really hoping to get super deals, i just have fun looking at guns and gun stuff. but yo have to keep your eyes open. the last two gun show i did ok. the first one i found a J. Stevens Arms "Springfield" model 87A .22 rifle for $85, he went down to $75. and that turned out to be a super fun little gun. the next show, i got a 1000 rd case of wolf 7.62 x 39 for $209, they had been $189 previously, but still ok. i also got 5000 winchester small pistol primers for $119 and 100 pieces of virgin starline 45 colt brass for $22. those prices are pretty much in line with the internet and no shipping fees.
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Old November 25, 2012, 10:04 PM   #14
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It just depends on what you are looking for. New guns, forget it. You have maybe 20 dealers at a given show to compare. On the internet you have thousands of dealers, some with no brick & mortar stores, and no expenses of established dealers, so no one will be able to beat their prices. In the past we called these "vest-pocket dealers."

Now if you're looking for older guns or collectible guns, that's a different story. I wouldn't hesitate to go to a big show to find an early Smith or Colt, but I'd be very careful buying one on the internet. Nothing lke picking up and handling a gun to see if it's genuine or doctored up.

As far as parts, definitely favor the show. Too many faked parts for too many different guns, or too many simply miscategorized or misidentified. At a show you can look at the part you want and determine if it's good or not.

And don't forget the jerky, an integral part of every gun show.
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Old November 25, 2012, 10:09 PM   #15
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I hardly ever buy anything at a gun show. Stuff seems overpriced, especially the ammo. I've picked us a few accessories such as a speed loader or targets but sometimes just go and browse for a bit. I see a lot of yard sale types junk which is usually too expensive.
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Old November 25, 2012, 10:53 PM   #16
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They're good for getting cases, cleaning stuff, oddball ammo, buying the occasional used gun, and actually handling new ones. But if you're in the market for a new gun, your money will likely go further elsewhere.
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Old November 28, 2012, 11:21 AM   #17
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Gun shows are fun. They are entertaining. And, sometimes I find a nice gun to buy. Junk being sold at gunshows goes back to the late '80's when I first started going to them. Back then chinese SKS's and AK's were cheap junk. I remember when dealers were getting large shipments of Chinese M1A's in and they were considered "cheap junk". And wooden rubberband guns were all the rage.

Today's cheap junk will be tomorrow's treasures.......and cheap junk. Heck, I remember dealers couldn't give away HK SL8's.

My most recent gunshow acquisition is a pristine condition Colt Mustang - 44th one ever produced with genuine ivory grips. (no, I didn't steal it - had to pay a fair price).

I can have a good time even at small gun shows. I'll go to gunshows about 4 times a year - been doing this since the late '80's and I still think they're fun.
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Old November 28, 2012, 04:00 PM   #18
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I find the best way to "deal" at gun shows is to do all your homework before you go. Know what you are looking for and know what it costs. I find of late that I get better gun deals on line or even at some of the local gun shops.

Went to a gun show this past weekend with the specific intention of buying some .45ACP ammo. The guy I usually buy from was out of stock so I was reduced to going from ammo dealer to ammo dealer to see where I could cut my best deal. Ended up buying 2000 rounds (2 cases) at what I would consider a deal ($315 per case).

The point being is that I knew what ammo was going for and I knew a deal when I saw it. My buddies that were with me just bought several thousand rounds of the exact same ammo on line but paid $15 more per case plus another $23 in shipping expense. Only advantage they had was they didn't have to lug it to the car as theirs was delivered to their front door.
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Old November 29, 2012, 07:23 AM   #19
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I looked at almost all the handgun tables. The prices seemed high, for the most part.
Yeah, prices are generally higher than most every where else. Not that you can't occasionally find a deal, but for the most part you need to do your homework before ever walking into the show.
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Old November 29, 2012, 10:41 AM   #20
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I go to gun shows for the ammo. Where at my LGS, a box of 50 9mm goes for, at the lowest (non-sale, of course), $12.95 before tax. At the show, I can buy a case of 1000 rounds for about $200 after tax, which works out to about $10 a box. Covers the cost of the entry fee, and some. Plus I get to walk around and look at all the guns and stuff. If their prices ever get much closer to my LGS prices, I'll probably stop going, but for now it's saving me money.
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Old November 29, 2012, 04:03 PM   #21
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I get some really good beef jerky at the gun shows around here.

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Old November 29, 2012, 04:13 PM   #22
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Gun shows are not about the guns,,,

Gun shows are not about the guns,,,
At least for me they are not.

They are about the accessories I can never find in a store.

I just attended one of the largest gun shows anywhere,,,
And the prices of guns and ammo were insane,,,
It was just a few days after the election.

I did see a few nice used revolvers that weren't too outrageous,,,
But I also saw a lot of price gouging of the uninformed.

Attend, have fun, walk around and smell the gun oil,,,
But know the prices of things before you enter.

Just like any trade show,,,
The words are "Caveat Emptor".


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Old November 29, 2012, 10:21 PM   #23
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At least for me they are not. They are about the accessories I can never find in a store.
We do the bulk of our business selling suppressors and NFA items, which have been huge in our State since recent legal changes the past few years have made suppressor use legal. So the shows have been great for us to set up a table and get cans out where guys and see them, compare them, and get a lot of info. We use the opportunity to educate and invite guys to suppressor shoots that we run on weekends, and in that sense they have been great for us as a business. So I second the idea that one of the great draws of shows are those accessories you are likely not able to pick up at your LGS.

Another thing I like about shows are the opportunities for private party sales if your State so allows. I've gotten some good deals on private party purchases but also been able to get some good prices on pirates sales I've made to others at shows through the years. So the shows still have their value, though I'd agree that a lot of the prices you'll see at the tables are ridiculously high if you're looking to purchase stuff you can already get at your LGS.
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Old November 30, 2012, 02:12 AM   #24
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I think most people buying at gun shows don't buy online. THere are a lot of people around who don't buy online.
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