Monday, July 07, 2008

Gun Show Thoughts

So I went to the local gunshow yesterday, not to do anything but look for ammo and maybe fingerprint a few guns.

It was rather empty at the center, I guess the Fourth must have had an effect on attendance. I've never seen one so sparsely attended.

I was able to look around without much obstruction anyway, so at least that part was good. Unfortunately there seemed to be only one large ammo supplier there. They had what I was looking for so I filled my ammo needs.

Another reason for going was to take a look at a few handguns to see what was about in 9mm. As seen in this thread, I was searching for a Walther P38 to see what they feel like in hand. I wasn't expecting to find any because I've never seen them before. So, of course, I find at least ten between three or four vendors, P38s and P1s. They aren't as heavy as I thought they would be. After examining them I could see that the postwar P38s do have alloy frames, guess that answers that question. They felt ok in my hand but not as comfortably as I hoped they would. Maybe the wartime grips would feel better. Unfortunately, I wasn't able to handle one of those so I can't compare them.

I also looked around for whatever 9s were for sale. I found a Browning Hi Power that I immediately picked up, and nearly as immediately put back down. Now JMB is considered a saint by many in the firearms community, and I'm not going to debate that fact, but sadly, the Hi Power just didn't feel good in my hand. What an unhappy feeling it was finally holding a classic firearm and knowing the grip was too uncomfortable to use!

There were plenty of plastiguns around but they just don't appeal to me. I kept perusing the tables and found another of Browning's creations: the venerable 1911. I actually found two specimens in the show, one was a Colt, apparently dated 1913 that had been parkerized recently, for $995, and a Remington Rand for $1200, dated 1943, which appeared to be in its original configuration. With trepidation, having been disappointed with the much lauded Hi Power, I picked one up to see how it felt. It felt good. It felt very good. The 1911 is truly God's Own Sidearm! Man! Some day I gots to get me one of these! Some day wasn't today however....

I wandered around and found the Rock Island Armory clone out of the Philippines at a couple of different vendors tables. They look so right, but feel so wrong. Durn it, but they don't feel comfortable in my hand. The grip was hurting my second finger. Not very much, but enough to be noticeable. I picked up an officers length and it wasn't much better. The magazine wasn't in it, but the grip seemed too short. Too bad, for the price it might be something worth trying.

That was about the extent of my handgun search. I still keep looking at each show for that one longarm to steal. Winchesters are still too high. The least expensive I found was an 80s vintage 94 for $499. Dirty, bad wood, worn bluing. Gah!

There was one levergun I found which, although out of my price range, looked good for its age. It was a tube fed Marlin chambered in .32. I can't for the life of me find one online anywhere to get info on it. The tag said it was manufactured in 1889. It looked good, really good and I was, sad to say, forced to put it back. I tried to console myself by looking at some milsurps and I stumbled on an Enfield No III for $245. Right next to it was a No 4 Mk I for $145. I almost pulled the trigger on the number four but just couldn't justify a new caliber.

It was nearing the end of the show and I was wandering around taking a last look about when I saw it. An unscrewed up, uncut, unchopped, unbubba'd Krag! Wow! It seemed to be in pristine condition, or it's been restored. I hesitatingly looked at the tag and saw it was for sale for only $725. The metal looked good, the wood looked good. There must have been a catch somewhere. I found it very, very hard to keep my visa in my wallet, but I had to. Even finding an apparently original condition Krag wasn't enough to get me to increase the debt load. Maybe I should get another job.....

Fairly typical gun show. Too many non gun or firearms related vendors. That gets tiring seeing jerky vendors, garlic-olive sellers, glassware, silverware, and toy sellers. Guess the days of gun sellers being the main vendors at gun shows are long over, if they ever existed.