A Nurse with a Gun

Saturday, February 10, 2007

Gun Show: Martinis & Valentines

I got to the gun show early this morning, and I met Lester and Howard in the parking lot. Lester, a retired Deputy Sheriff, had purchased the find of the show last time. It was a weathered three and a half inch Model 27-2 for $265. Lester was still on cloud nine over that find. He and Howard were hoping for a repeat performance.

The show was not well advertised this time around. The promoter was hoping for traffic from the Mardi Gras parade. Unfortunately, parade spectators were already camped out along the streets, marking territory with police tape.

At the gun show, I found quite a few attractive Smith & Wesson revolvers. One that grabbed my attention was a three inch Model 37 Airweight for $325. Across the board, the j frames seem to be rising in price. There was a snubnosed pre-Model 10, in immaculate condition. That was on my gottagetit list. Unfortunately it wore a $495 price tag. That was too high for me (but it did sell later in the day). Several pre-war Smith & Wesson M&Ps were available for $225. A .38 DA Smith & Wesson topbreak was tagged at $140. It had a good deal of blood pitting, so I offered $100 even. The seller countered $120, pointing out the unbroken grips and stating it could still be used. I walked away.

I am always open to another 1911, and there was a good variety at this show. Kimbers were everywhere, as were Springfield Armory guns, all new in the box. One dealer had some very good prices on NIB Colt 1911s, with blued NRM Government Models priced at $675, and stainless Commanders for $689. Prices on other models of Colt 1911s were equally attractive. I kind of feel as though I should buy one as a hedge against future price hikes, but I am more interested in the unusual 1911. I have enough of them that I have 'smithed.

I ran into Wesley and Cussin' Bob, both members of the Flat Creek Debate Society at the show. Then as I was chatting with another old friend, I noticed something unusual behind a table. I asked the dealer, Joel, if I could examine the bizarre handgun. It appeared to be a Martini-Henry rifle that was converted to a handgun. It had an octagon barrel, and it was decorated with stamped triangles all over the metal surfaces. These were weapons of the British Empire throughout it's colonies. It is difficult to speculate whether this gun was fabricated in Nepal, the Congo, or Afghanistan. The triangular stamps were a tantalizing clue. The action still worked, even though it was horribly grungy.

I asked the seller how much he wanted for it, and he said $200. I told him I could give him $100 cash, right now. He countered $150, and we discussed how these things were hard to evaluate. This was extreme Curio & Relic. We settled on $125 for the gun. My wife collects C&R guns, as well as African and tribal art. Valentine's Day is coming up fast. I can hardly wait to see her face!

I put the pistol in a paper sack, and left the show with a satisfied feeling, ready to try again tomorrow.



Anonymous Anonymous said...


When you are at the gun shows have you ever looked at one of the Rock Island 1911, The ones made by Armscor. I just wan't to see how you felt about them. Because that is the only thing in my price range.

9:47 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Nice valentine's present!

What is the caliber?

11:51 PM  
Blogger Mulliga said...

You're a stronger man than me, Xavier. I don't know if I could turn down a NIB Colt Commander for under $700. But, then again, your significant other comes first.

12:02 AM  
Blogger Xavier said...

I do look at the Rock Island 1911s and I saw High standard 1911s at the last couple of gun shows as well. These are sub-$400 guns. They appear to be OK guns, safe, reliable and decently accurate.

I think where the difference will lie is in long term durability. The slides and frames of these 1911s are cast rather than forged. The 1911 shoots a big bullet, and the mechanical parts smack each other pretty hard. I did see a Springfield GI45 at this gun show for $489. That is the one I would purchase, if I was planning on keeping the gun for a lifetime and shooting a lot of ammo through it.

7:38 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Do you find many new offerings on the second day of a gun show, or are you mostly just looking for sellers with a little more flexibility on price?

11:20 AM  
Blogger Rorschach said...

Xavier, aren't you afraid the wife will read the blog entry and screw the pooch on the surprise?

10:33 AM  
Blogger Firehand said...

Damn, that's a Martini variation I never saw before!

Those actions are kind of amazing. The Martini .22 I got a few years ago had oil/grease/fouling/God knows what inside that was damn near a solid, and yet the action still functioned. Not real smoothly, but everything worked while caked in that crud.

5:44 PM  

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