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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
On Saturday, I went to my first gun show. Crossroads of the West in Mesa, AZ. I have always wanted to go and check one out, and see what it is like. I've not been able to go to the ones last year. I have to say that overall, I was not really impressed. Seemed like the prices weren't that great, or any better. Lot of ammo was VERY expensive. I saw bricks of .22lr for $80-$250. I happened to be in the market for a shotgun, and thankfully, I was doing my research a head of time, and one model was selling for $100 more than retail. Is this typical? Are there really deals to be had? Is it the luck of the draw? I can't really see spending the $12-24 ticket price (for my wife as well) if I can get the better deals at the LGS. Turns out I found the same model and the model shotgun yesterday at a LGS new for the best price I have seen even internet sales.

All that to say, are gun shows really worth it except to see all those guns in the same place?
 

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Congratulations on your first show! Unfortunately, you chose possibly the worst moment in history to go to one. ;)

Everyone I've been to or heard about since roughly last November has been crazy. Everything since December has been bizarre: poor selection, outrageous prices, and huge crowds. If you want anything at anything resembling a reasonable price, you'd better be one of the first ones in the door.

If and when things calm down, you'll be able to find some bargains again, but you had still better do your research. Just because it's at the show doesn't mean it's a great deal and you shouldn't be afraid to look around and pit dealers against each other a little.

Unfortunately, though, no matter what happens, I think the days of their being a significant presence of private sellers are long gone. It seems that everytime I go, the selection of used pieces from individuals gets smaller and the prices get higher. :(
 

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Things have changed drastically in the last few months. Gun shows used to be the place to go to find deals.
 
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There was one shotgun that I was really interested in. It was a 20 gauge shotgun. Bolt action with a 4 round magazine. The guy said it was made in the mid-50s. His son is who I was talking to. It had a fixed choke on the tube that was adjustable. Screw it in to the full line and it was on a full choke. Screw it out to other lines and it was that choke. Asked $110 for it. Just wasn't comfortable with my skill level to take a chance on a shotgun like that. They didn't seem as knowledgable as they could have to make me feel better about it... So, I passed.

After we left the show, I visited my favorite LGS, and he said that he had good business that day and was down to a handful of hand guns. Said he had 9 or 10 people come in after the gun show saying the same thing. He asked if I saw anyone buying the ammo. I said no. He said good. Maybe they'll stop selling it that high now and start coming back down to earth.
 

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For me it is worth it to go to the Miami gun shows. Deals can be found, and knowing fair prices I can usually talk a dealer down to a reasonable price. I found asking quietly off to the side gets the best response, they don't want everyone else to know they are over priced. I am always prepared to walk away if i can't get a fair price. Up until the last show in Jan I went for reloading supplies. Always got a great price. Last show everything was sold out. To me the $10 to get in is well worth the fun of people watching.
 
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Things have changed drastically in the last few months. Gun shows used to be the place to go to find deals.
Yea, but not anymore. I went to our local gun show in February and was shocked. I didn't buy a darned thing. The prices they were asking were geared towards the first time, panic gun buyer with plenty of money and no knowledge. It was pretty sorry. I even let a couple of people whom I knew and had tables there hear what I thought about their pricing strategy. They just smiled and shrugged.

 

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Even before the recent silliness I've often had trouble finding much in the way of even decent pricing at the gun shows around here. It seems everything is marked with the "sucker" price. I offer what I think it's worth if I see something I want. All they can do is say "no". Which they do. A lot. With parking and admission it's really not worth it. I don't think there's anything there I can't get for the same or better prices elsewhere except for maybe 3 or 4 used guns I may see. But is it worth going through 1,000 tables for that? I'd rather hit pawn shops or Academy.
 

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check out wally world, fair prices too. :thumb:
 

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It's only $5 to get into the local gun show but I haven't bothered going for a long time. I have heard some of the horror stories of long lines to get in and the prices. I just don't bother.
 

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I went to one last week just for the heck of it. Prices were elevated but not too bad and the crowd was large but everyone seemed to behave. I don't get all bent out of shape about the prices. When supply goes down demand goes up and prices increase accordingly. The firearms and ammunition market is a sellers market right now. Plus an increased price may mean that those who have enough will leave things alone and those that do need certain items can at least get a little bit rather then have nothing.

This particular article is regarding the aftermath of Hurricane Sandy but I think the point can still be made.
In praise of price gouging - John Stossel - [page]
 

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There was one shotgun that I was really interested in. It was a 20 gauge shotgun. Bolt action with a 4 round magazine. The guy said it was made in the mid-50s. His son is who I was talking to. It had a fixed choke on the tube that was adjustable. Screw it in to the full line and it was on a full choke. Screw it out to other lines and it was that choke. Asked $110 for it. Just wasn't comfortable with my skill level to take a chance on a shotgun like that. They didn't seem as knowledgable as they could have to make me feel better about it... So, I passed.
Hmmmm....sounds like a Mossberg, probably model 185K, with "C-Lect" adjustable choke. They were indeed made from that late 40's to early '60s, but I believe the magazine would only hold 2 shells, giving you the legal-in-most-places 3-shot maximum load. (Of course, there could have been aftermarket magazines or this could have been a rare odd-ball.) They're neat old guns and they work fine, so given my predilictions for old and weird, I'd have probably given him that for it. (I happen to know where one of its 12ga relatives lives....) But, you were probably wise to pass on it for anything other than curiosity/collection purposes as they probably aren't practical for most purposes these days. ;)
 
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Discussion Starter · #13 ·
Hmmmm....sounds like a Mossberg, probably model 185K, with "C-Lect" adjustable choke. They were indeed made from that late 40's to early '60s, but I believe the magazine would only hold 2 shells, giving you the legal-in-most-places 3-shot maximum load. (Of course, there could have been aftermarket magazines or this could have been a rare odd-ball.) They're neat old guns and they work fine, so given my predilictions for old and weird, I'd have probably given him that for it. (I happen to know where one of its 12ga relatives lives....) But, you were probably wise to pass on it for anything other than curiosity/collection purposes as they probably aren't practical for most purposes these days. ;)
Yeah, it had some blemishes that you'd expect for a gun that old, but seemed good. Can't really say about the magazine. They didn't have it in the shotgun. I didn't even know it had a magazine until he mentioned it. I thought it was just a single shot. He claimed it could handle modern rounds. The prices on his other shotguns were much higher. The H&R Pardner that he had (one of the shotguns I was looking for) was priced at $350. So, wasn't sure if it was high for the other one as well.
 

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On ocassion you will find something you are looking for or a good deal but most of the
vendors do tend to overprice things a bit. I have had better luck finding deals on
ammunition than guns at gun shows. I did buy my Model 617 at a gun show in Raleigh
a few years ago. You will find plenty of beef jerky at gun shows for whatever reason.
 

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They started charging for parking $5 and $8 to get in I said later and turned around along with many folks.
 
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Yeah, I went to one on March 2nd, and as others have said, they don't mean the same thing they used to.

Old school meaning of gun show = Find great prices on guns and ammo that can't be matched by most retailers.
New school meaning of gun show = Find guns and ammo that can't even be acquired by most retailers; and as such, you will pay a premium for their products.
 

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As long as you have educated yourself about what you are looking for, you wont be gouged except for the price of entry!
 

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Yeah I mostly go for the fun. You'll see some neat guns but the prices usually are not any deal. The vendor has to pay for the table, sometimes his hotel, meals etc so that adds a few bucks to the prices. I go to about 5 a year and I do it to show support for the fact that there even is a gun show. I pay $7 or $8 but free parking and just get a kick out of the guns available. I did pick up a Ruger SR22 last June for the same price as Gander. Thing was Gander never had it in stock but the gun show guy did, so bang! BTW that Ruger is one of my favorites, or at least was until all of my guns were melted down by me in a ceremonial backyard fire. No more guns here. Move along.
 

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Yeah I mostly go for the fun. You'll see some neat guns but the prices usually are not any deal. The vendor has to pay for the table, sometimes his hotel, meals etc so that adds a few bucks to the prices. I go to about 5 a year and I do it to show support for the fact that there even is a gun show. I pay $7 or $8 but free parking and just get a kick out of the guns available. I did pick up a Ruger SR22 last June for the same price as Gander. Thing was Gander never had it in stock but the gun show guy did, so bang! BTW that Ruger is one of my favorites, or at least was until all of my guns were melted down by me in a ceremonial backyard fire. No more guns here. Move along.
Same here; I went ahead and bought a PT740 last weekend because 1. It was the same retail price as other online retailers. 2. Available right then, and none were available online or at local stores. 3. And because it was available right there and right then, I could avoid the shipping cost, and the cost of securing a local store's FFL assistance in getting it shipped to me. If you add the $20-$30 shipping, and the $40-$60 a gun shop charges for letting the gun be shipped to them and transferring it, your $300 gun just went up to $400.

That's the only savings you get now at gun shows.
 

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Same here; I went ahead and bought a PT740 last weekend because 1. It was the same retail price as other online retailers. 2. Available right then, and none were available online or at local stores. 3. And because it was available right there and right then, I could avoid the shipping cost, and the cost of securing a local store's FFL assistance in getting it shipped to me. If you add the $20-$30 shipping, and the $40-$60 a gun shop charges for letting the gun be shipped to them and transferring it, your $300 gun just went up to $400.
Exactly
 
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