Sunday, May 13, 2012

The whole point of gun shows...

I know I harp on this constantly, but if what you're looking for is a brand-spankin' new SIGlock&K XD11A1, gun shows are generally a waste of time, unless you just want to price shop several vendors without having to drive around or use up airtime minutes on your phone.

Given the economics of setup, teardown, table fees, and the realities of either closing the storefront for the weekend or doubling staffing requirements for ditto, prices on new guns from brick & mortar FFLs usually aren't going to be any cheaper at the show on Sunday than they will be back at the store on Monday.

On the other hand, if what you're looking for is unicorns...


I've been looking for Vetterli ammunition off and on since I purchased the rifle back in... '03? '04? I've acquired a couple of rounds, one to put on the display board and one because... well, because. But usable ammo? Hen's teeth.

Now, the ammunition was loaded by Remington UMC well into the smokeless powder era. The US civilian market has always been a black hole for the world's military surplus, especially before GCA '68, and back in the first part of the last century, US shooters on a budget could pick up one of these old Swiss battle rifles via mail order from Bannerman's for a song.

10.4x38R may have been declared obsolete as a military cartridge by the Swiss, but sold commercially as the .41 Swiss Rimfire, throwing a 300gr outside-lubed lead slug at ~1400fps, it was still seen as a viable short-range deer load. Production of the commercial ammo stopped with the advent of WWII, however, and never resumed afterwards.

When I stumbled across this full box of ammo at yesterday's show, with the lube on the bullets still greasy no less, I had about as much chance of saying "no" as I did of flapping my arms and flying.

Also at the show, I discovered a nice little Bayard 1908 in .32ACP, which would make a nice companion piece for the .380 model I already had. When I read about the hoops that others have to jump through just to keep a handgun licence, it makes me thankful to live someplace where a handgun purchase requires naught but the exchange of money and a handshake. (Although it's customary to flash your INDL and LTCH as your good guy bona fides.)


.380 on the left, new .32 on the right. Also, unfinished projects: Namely, an AR lower and a Ruger MkII 22/45 receiver/barrel assembly, waiting on me to scrounge up a bolt and gripframe.

19 comments:

og said...

You paid $4.50 for the ammo? I know where I can put my hands on four Vetterlis, one hacked up sporter, two legitimate but battered carbines, and one pristine armory fresh example. Did the box of ammo come with the Iambic key?

Pity you can't buy the ammo for that price. The twin- firing pin on the Vetterli is something I wish the 22 mfrs would copy.

Tam said...

Og,

"You paid $4.50 for the ammo?"

Heh. I peeled off the price tag. The actual price was slightly more than that per round. :o

Anonymous said...

Sorry, I don't speak Hooiser. INDL? LTCH? Hunh? Wazzat? Clarke steel trigger for the 22/45? JohninMd(help?)

Tam said...

JohninMd,

Driver's license and toter's permit.

Anonymous said...

I'll concur, but only lightly. When I lived in the Gunshine State, hitting gun shows was non-productive for generic stuff (ammo, current production guns, etc.) with one exception: there is an FFL who is at every Florida show, and who has S&W's ear on Some Stuff. If I were looking for something specific in current or near-current production, especially something S&W, I'd stop by and see him (ignoring his Many Minions) to see what he had. Numerous times I was able to procure an S&W demo gun for about half price, compared to a NIB from the factory. I toted for years, and still own, a 329 demo that probably had fewer than 200 rounds through it for 40% of NIB price. I won't tell you what I paid for the demo S&W 1911 that was my constant companion for years (after MIM part replacement).

No longer in FL, and faced with much smaller shows, I attend each one for social purposes, with an eye for odd and hard-to-find stuff as I wonder the aisles; occasionally, there is a truffle for even the blind pig to find. Otherwise, it's a rather important gathering point.

GBBL said...

I am glad that you found your .41 Swiss Rimfire. I had been keeping my eyes open for some for about a year, ever since you said you wanted some. I had hoped to find some for you.

Thank you for the GBBL link. My thanks is way overdue. But I really do appreciate the link.

Enjoy!

Montie said...

Tam,

OMG! I've owned a Vetterli for just about the same length of time, not having much of an investment in it (it was thrown in to sweeten a trade on another gun). I have been loath to modify it to centerfire in order to accomodate the centerfire rounds marketed by custom loaders to duplicate the 10.4x38R rounds.

I had just thought about it the other day and pulled it out of the back of the gun safe. It sits next to my Martini-Henry Mk.II, which I had out to test fire and clean.
I had bought some original Kynock .577-.450 ammunition and wanted to fire a couple (one clean shot one slight delay between click and boom, think I'll stick to Ten-X).

Anyway...when I racked the M-H, I pulled out the Vetterli and thought once again about whether I should have the bolt modified to centerfire. you have now given me hope that perhaps there's a box of 41 Swiss out there waiting for me to find it at the next Tulsa gunshow. Oh, and let me add how jealous I am of your treasure ;)

Angus McThag said...

The gunshine state's gun shows have become just the weekend location of the brick and mortar gun shops.

Not much beyond what's on the shelves at the shop most of the time. And the THRONGS of humanity. As many people as are there, they need larger venues or more shows.

It's a bummer to see it happen, I miss the parts guy and the old revolver guy and the mauser guy.

Matt G said...

"Also at the show, I discovered a nice little Bayard 1908 in .32ACP, which would make a nice companion piece for the .380 model I already had."

An old .32 to go with your old .380? Talk about the diminishing chances of saying "No..."

Joe in PNG said...

Yeah, the Gunshine State Funshows I've been to have been a bit of a letdown. I've scoured the last one, from table to table, and seen nothing more interesting than a Bushmaster arm pistol and an over priced Ortegies .32. Everything else was Judges, SIGlock&K XD11A1s, DPMaster AR clones, and Kel-Taurmiondugr plastic pocket blasters. Meh.

Bubblehead Les. said...

Actually, up here on the NorthCoast, my local Gun Shows tend to have something most of the Brick and Mortar stores don't want to stock: Bulk Milsurp Ammo.

In fact, I think I could use another Battlepack of 6.5 Swede soon...

Ed said...

A few months the Manatee, Florida Gun Show had a vendor selling a Budischowski TP-70 in .25 Auto with three magazines, original box, manual, paper work, and a pocket holster for $275 when I asked what they would "really" take for it. They had tagged it at $400, but the clerk told me that it had been on their hands too long. They had taken it as a trade-in and would still make a decent profit at $275. I had to look it up afterwards, as I do not recall ever seeing one before.

JC said...

Awww, innit it CUTE!

Pakkinpoppa said...

I meant to sing your song saturday, I went to the fun show over the weekend.
Had been a while since I wanted to slug somebody but a maroon windmilled around his gold plated AR lower* at the checkin and about hit my little boy in the face with it.

But the good news was, I sold the spare 642 within ten minutes, and found...a 3 screw Single Six .22! With a 9 and a half inch barrel... A 6 (5!) shooter!

Don't find many used .22 revolvers, at least I don't. Plus I scored 2 mags for the Mark 1, one original style, one new model.


*gold plated as in, he wanted 450 for an assembled lower with the 6 position stock. His windmill struck the stroller and he dropped it on the ground. If he'd hit my son, there's a possibility I'd be in jail now.

Anonymous said...

From an article in an old "Gun Digest it seems easy to convert the swiss rifle a centerfire. Big thing is having the extra firing pin usually found under the butt plate. This lets you convert to center fire or back to rim Fire. Use 348 Winchester Brass by reforming it. They are accurate rifles. Just saying. Also good deal on the 32 auto.

LauraB said...

My Vetterli is quietly quaking with silent sobs. Damn it.

STxRynn said...

Me thinks that's a semi-automatic bug. Not really an iambic key. auto-dots and manual dashes. I haven't been to a fun show in several years. I think it's time to start up again.... esp if there be bugs about....

Jerry said...

Between Ms. Bobbi's little Star, and your stuff, my 'little green monster' is giving me fits. Envy times ten.

Anonymous said...

Also, how is a Ruger .22 a 22/45 _without_ a grip frame? Isn't that the f.f.l. piece, or is it the tube/reciever the bolt rides in? You gonna use a stock trigger or a custom, like a Clark steel trigger? JohninMd(help)