Gun Show Strategy
Rule #1: Go in the door knowing what you want.
My present buy it now gun is any Smith & Wesson K-22 in shooter condition for $350 or less. This is a holy grail gun for me. I will scan the tables quickly when I first walk in, but chances are, it will be brought in by a private seller if at all. The next gun is another holy grail gun, a GI 1911. Again, there will be next to no chance it will be on a table at an attractive price. If it were, another dealer would snatch it up before the doors opened. I will look for those, but not really expect to find them.
During that first quick walk through, I will also be looking for any Colt 1911 priced at or under $500, any Smith & Wesson Model 17 as long as it's pinned and recessed and under $350. I will have an eye open for any attractively priced .38 special Smiths, any Model 27's with a good price, and any interesting .22 caliber handguns. I'd probably buy an early Dick Special with the unsupported ejector rod if I found one for $250 or under. A shooter grade Luger for under $500 would be snatched up by me as well. Price makes a helluva difference. I don't tote around a Blue Book, but I keep one in the car at all times. I will consult it if necessary. These price limits are my own though, Blue Book be damned. This will all be done in the first twenty to thirty minutes of the show. That's my business time. The remainder is socializing bullshit time, while watching the private sellers coming in the door.
Rule #2: Be ready to negotiate, but not argue.
OK, I'll wear my Dr. Scholl's gel insoles. I don't need any gun in there. I have enough. More than enough actually.... I'd like to get one for a good deal. I believe I will. If I can't, I'll still have fun. I'll carry a couple of trail bars to keep my blood sugar from dropping, and keep me away from the over priced wiener wagon. This time I might take my Springer XD9 as trade fodder.
Rule #3: Arrive early, and arrive again late.
Because this show is also a "boating and outdoors show", it traditionally opens on Friday afternoon. I will be there Friday if I can. In the past, the gun dealers have not really shown up until Saturday. Guaranteed, I will be there when the doors open Saturday morning. I expect to run into Cussin' Bob at the door. When we get in, he will take the west wall, I will take the east. We will run the tables, meet in the middle, exchange information, and then follow through. The key is to find the sweet deal before the next fellow. K-22s and Colt 1911s sell quick unless they are overpriced.
Rule #4: Carry cash. Carry cash in $20 increments, in several different pockets.
Check. I have enough "rat hole" money to pay cash for what I want. I save tens and twenties and later cash them in for fifties and hundreds. Once they reach a hundred, they are designated gun money. This time I have enough to purchase a nice 1911 at the asking price if necessary.
Rule #5: Look for the private sale.
Yeah Baby! That's where I'm going to find a GI gun or a K-22. I missed on a K-22 at the last show, and the private seller let a dealer have a K-22 Outdoorsman for $100. I almost screamed. The dealer shamelessly and immediately stuck a $900 price tag on it and tabled the revolver.
Rule #6: Make friends. Make the show enjoyable.
Of course I expect to see Cussin' Bob, but for many gents in my area a gun show is a social gathering. Chances are I will see quite a few friends. On Sunday, after I have bought what I want, I might nab Lee and take him with me. Most of all though, I'm looking forward to blogging on an enjoyable weekend.
Labels: Gun Shows