Tuesday, March 21, 2006

Gun Show Thoughts

This weekend's show was actually the second I've been to, but at the first one I manned a booth for a candidate and really didn't get much time to look around. I suppose they really shouldn't call it a gun show anymore as only about a third of the vendors there were selling guns. It wasn't really a beef jerky show either, only two vendors for that. There were people selling accessories and spare parts, knives, massages, toys, safes, chairs, targets, ammo, clothing, and militaria.

It was a gun-grabbers nightmare! People walking around openly carrying firearms - some of them were even minorities! Full auto rifles on display and even for sale! Evil black assault rifles lined up as if they had tickets to meet and terrorize Diane Feinstein. Massive .50 caliber rifles were available to the free citizens of Parts Unknown. And at the back, a desk for NICS checks manned by the helpful staff of a local business, all willingly spending time helping people buy guns.

Many different makes and models were available. Of course the urban types were all after glocks while they ignored everything else. One thing that surprised me was the number of ARs available. One seller had three tables of them in many different incarnations. Many people say that's the rifle to get, but they leave me strangely cold.

I warmed up as I spied a very large display of vintage GI rifles. Now there's something to get the blood going! Rifles galore! So well restored, in fact, beautifully so. They almost looked new. Garands of all manufactures, 1903s, 1917s, and Carbines. One small problem. Yards of yellow Do Not Touch tape blocking access to these works of art. I could peer closely, but my hands couldn't hold them. After a few minutes, someone came over to see what I was doing. I asked her the price of these and she said the cheapest ones were $1700! The Garands started at $2000! Now I know it probably took quite a bit of work to make these rifles look like new, but those prices were way out of my league. Thank goodness for the CMP.

Sadly, I had to leave heaven and return to earth. It was getting late and I had some ammo to buy. My Swiss K31 hasn't had anything to eat since I brought it home. It appears that no one in my area carries the 7.5mm Swiss ammo. I could buy it online, but I decided to check out the show prices first. The price was similar to what's online, but I avoid shipping. I bought a brick of Swiss surplus and will give it a try soon. I also purchased a set of Hogue grips for the Smith. After I returned home I noticed that the package contained no hardware for attaching it to the frame. Fortunately, a call to Hogue solved that problem. They're sending the stuff to me at no charge. The rep said this happens quite often. Does it mean people are taking out the hardware before selling the grips?

One more trip around the floor and then to a little Bulgarian I handled earlier in the day. The dealer wanted over $200, but I noticed some scratches and quite a bit of wear at the muzzle. Still, it had a replacement grip and the original red star grip, the cleaning rod and two magazines. Apparently all Bulgarian Maks come with them. I had declined earlier and looked around for others at various tables. I did find one at another vendor and he wanted $250. There was a similar gun next to it, but it turned out to be a CZ50. Nice looking gun, but I wasn't sure I wanted a .32 caliber gun. The price was $180.

Near the end of the day I wandered back to the Bulgarian as the seller was just starting to pack up. I took a second look at it. There was a scratch where the safety rubs on the slide and I wondered it that meant there was a possibility that the safety could move too far and cause a accidental discharge. I had read that bad safeties had allow such events to happen. As time was running out I had to decide, get it or let it go. Once 5pm comes the place shuts its doors and all background checks stop.

All in all a good experience. I think I'll have to visit a few more, but probably only to buy ammo. I did find the entrance fee a bit steep at $12 plus $3 parking, but I found things I needed and things I wanted and the prices were comparable to shops and online vendors. Don't go expecting to buy anything, but if the deal's good, why not?

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