Sunday, January 15, 2012

Economic stimulus.

I've been to gun shows right after the Assault Weapons Ban was enacted, and right after it sunset. I've been to gun shows on the eve of "Y2K" and right after the ascension of The Won, when panic-buying was in full swing. The latter show, in January of '09, set a benchmark for "crowded" in my experience.


Yesterday's show was even more crowded than that. The crowd was so dense that bucking the generally anti-clockwise flow of the mob through the show floor made one feel like a salmon trying to swim the wrong way up the rapids in a nature documentary. You'd shuffle a foot or two forward, stand stock-still waiting for an opening in the Cletii, get jostled a half-step backwards, shuffle forwards again... It took a good five or ten minutes to make it across the width of the exhibit hall.

And they weren't just kicking tires. There was more than one handtruck or two-wheeled shopping basket getting wormed through the crowd, stacked with ammunition by the case lot. One dealer had a transit case of Mosins for $99 open on his table and every time I shuffled past to go meet Shootin' Buddy at the ISRPA table, the level inside was noticeably lower.


We left, unusually, not because we had seen all there is to see or spent ourselves broke, but because we'd had about as much crowd as we could take for the day. At 1:30PM, the line still snaked all the way around the building and people were still streaming from all points of the parking lot compass to go stand at the end of it. Whole sectors of the economy may be in tatters, but obviously this isn't one of them.

I acquired a 1910-vintage Savage .32 because I want to complete my set of early 20th Century American pocket autos (I've now got the Colt, Savage, Remington, and H&R, with only the S&W left to go) and also because I want to be cool like Bobbi who has two of the little raygun-looking things. Another box of Ranger-T to feed my M&P and another magazine in which to stuff it, because you can never have enough magazines, were also acquired, as well as a thousand-round pack of that Winchester M-22 rimfire stuff supposedly optimized for shooting through .22 ARs, apparently by putting it in a black box with the word "Tactical" printed somewhere on it.

Lastly, I grabbed a copy of the latest edition of Ball's Mauser Military Rifles of the World, so my old Fourth Edition will be free to a good home at the blogmeet today.

24 comments:

Peter said...

Tam, check the label/tag for this post - you've been Bloggered!

maddmedic said...

Sounds like the Minnesota Weapon's Collectors Shows at the State Fairgrounds Coliseum.
Tables packed closely together, people trying to go every which way.
Is a good thing gunny types are generally polite, for the most part, some of you, maybe me.
But am not a big "crowd" person myself...

Matt G said...

No, you fools! It's the gun lobbiests representing the fat cats at the gun industry that have our polititicans cowed to the will of some esoteric .1% of our nation. America is sick and tired of guns!!!1!eleven!!


Strangely, though, we're not. We just don't talk about them openly at cocktail parties, enough.*

It's like the old hack comedy line, "Yeah sure, a 5 billion dollar industry, and I'm the only one...!"




___________________________
*Well, okay, we do at MY cocktail parties. But that's different.

blindshooter said...

Experienced the same level of jammed humanity yesterday at a large show in NC. Wanted to go another round but my friend and I both had had enough of the crush. Oh and the line was just as long at 12:30 as it was at 09:00. Folks are scared the dark lord will get another 4 and decree all things we love verboten.

Carteach0 said...

I hit up a much smaller show near here a week ago. Crowd was NOTHING like you saw, but it was still busy. I did note a lot more iron being carried out than I usually see. Defensive shotguns were selling fast, by the fistful. I saw families walking out with three shotguns amongst four people. Momma, Papa, and baby bear... all with shorty twelve gauges.

Picked up a 1961 US Army manual on small arms ammunition, a can of M2 Greek ball, and a Garand SLED.

As for the Ball book.... I gave away my copy some years ago. Maybe I'll replace it one day. Maybe.

Anonymous said...

It does seem like a repeat of the frenzy after the last 'lection, but earlier in the cycle because it's pretty obvious to gunnies I think, that neither of the presumed candidates are to be trusted with their 2A rights or with the affairs of the nation...so they're taking the Boy Scout motto to heart and getting prepared.

Two things, though: did you get any kind of feel for what percentage of gunsellers were FFL's as opposed to private? It strikes me that those NICS stats, already through the roof, would stun those who keep track of such things if "loophole" sales were included...it may seem ironic coming from a 30-year former dealer, but private sales are about the only way I buy any more, and I know that I'm not alone.

And, related to the above and good news for us all..."waiting for an opening in the Cletii," while funny, is no longer an accurate descriptor of the general nature of the crowd, is it?

the pawnbroker said...

Hit the wrong button again; 9:06 was me. :O}

MSgt B said...

Damn right, "the Cletii" was funny.

I'm saving that one.

joewarrant said...

I am TDY away from home station...and stopped in at the local stores here in southern Alabama to see if there were any oddities or deals worth paying a transfer fee. The owner at one store and a clerk at the other both commented without prompting about how busy they had been over the past 45 days with sales....and both brought up the record numbers of NICS checks and record sales. This was not even in the context of "our prices are high because we are so busy" or any other preemptive bargaining.
Side note:
Where do you encounter anyone wanting to sell privately? The vast majority of those I encounter that own firearms all seem to be seeking to buy more, not sell, nor do I see any estate sale listings anymore.

Robin said...

Now, I'm jealous Tam.

Joe in PNG said...

It's a good place to turn increasingly valueless dollars into valuabe guns and ammo.

Anonymous said...

Jammed with people some of whom typically display poor gun handling skills, (what it's unloaded?)makes these shows a less than relaxing event for me.

Gerry

Karl said...

Was there for last two hours of show on Saturday. Great turnout - someone said 700 in line at start. Wow!

the pawnbroker said...

@joewarrant:

"Where do you encounter anyone wanting to sell privately?"

Gun shows. At least back in the day, the idea was that guys gathered to sell what they didn't want/need and maybe pick up what they did, both from other vendors and attendees.

Not sure about now; that's why I asked Tam the question. It's my impression that most shows now, especially the large super-organized ones, are primarily an off-site vending outlet for licensed retailers and tradeshow exposure for manufacturers. That's not a bad thing though; the competition usually means decent prices as opposed to full retail.

In my case, though I sold my business several years ago, I work several days a week with my son in his jewelry/coin shop and get recognized by former customers. When they ask about selling guns, I feel out what they have and what they want, and either arrange to look at their stuff at their home, or refer them to a dealer friend who I know won't rip them off.

Your point is well-taken that less folks are likely to want to part with guns these days. But we're in a retirement area and a lot of what I get offered are estate items, so I do see some nice pieces and pick up a few here and there. Which is good because as I said above I prefer my acquisitions to be off the grid, so to speak.

Bubblehead Les. said...

Yep, looks like a lot of people are stocking up while they can. New Gun sales through the roof, Gun Shows across the country SRO, price of Ammo starting to climb again, makes you think people are finally starting to get it.

Wonder if the MSM, the Anti-Gunners and the current Administration are paying attention?

Roger said...

I attended the show in Ft. Lauderdale today. A lot of shotguns, a lot of plastic pistols, a lot of cheap cheap optics, many knives of various design, most looking pretty cheap but not priced that way. A lot of ARs, mostly short barrel with TACTICAL written all over them. I did not see one .223 AR with a barrel longer than 18". The prices on ARs were staggering. the prices on ammmo were staggering. Oh Lord, I am happy I reload.
Wound up buying an armorers tool for ARs. They are back ordered at most of the usual suspects websites.

Michael in CT said...

The 250 table show I went to yesterday here in CT was crowded, but it sucked, about half the tables didn't have a gun on them. A lot of cheap knives, cheap holsters and cheap optics, all of mediocre quality at best. Wandered out with some beef jerky and a 1000 round case of Federal 9mm to feed my semi- auto Suomi M31

Gewehr98 said...

Bummer. I'd love a Fourth Edition Mauser Military Rifles of the World, but not enough to drive to Indianapolis.

Tam said...

G98,

We've GOT to get you down here for a 1500!

russell1200 said...

I was at the same show as blindshooter. It was busy.

I am wondering if what is being seen is the second wave of purchases by new people that came into (or returned)to the fold with the Obama election.

They made their initial purchases, and are filling in the holes in their collection.

Spud said...

This past year I picked up two model 250 Sigs in 45 & 9mm, both for 300 apiece. Decided that I'll stay with my all steel Sigs...
Went to the local gun show in Melbourne, with two blue cases in hand. Dealers all wanted to give me about what I'd paid for each.
Table models of the same were going for 500. Sooo I just walked around till some wanna be asked what I had in the boxes. Sold both for $450 each.
I did not buy anything, why pay more than retail ?
People are definitely sheep.
Nuff said...

Tam said...

Why anybody would go to a gun show to buy a new, current production gun is beyond me.

Pakkinpoppa said...

Gun shows are for buying what somebody else decided they no longer want/need at less than retail, or getting ammo by the case.

I picked up a single barrel scattergun for 90 clams and it looks brand new. Or close.

Wish the prohibition of interstate handblaster sales had gone the way of the AWB in 2004, or the trip to Indy would be tempting.

docjim505 said...

I suppose that we ought to take heart: if so many people are buying, that's so many people who will vote against anti-2A politicians.

On the other hand, said politicians may not realize that until it's too late.

Or, like Barry, they may not care...