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Discussion Starter · #1 · (Edited)
I know I'm not the only one with a bad weekend. At a small show not far from me there was nothing of interest. Not one Colt in the entire place and little else. One table was full of used jeans! Bought 2 boxes of shells and got out of there. Did enjoy my chicken-fried steak and eggs a local diner though. I've noticed shows are looking more and more like thrift stores.


Memo to all those at gunshows selling clothing, jewelry, Pakistani Samari swords, jellies & jams, romance novels, rusty bits of iron found in some barn, die-cast race cars, back-issues of Life magazines, paring knives & potato peelers, etc, etc, and especially you, 'free eyeglass cleaning' guy, stay the hell out of gunshows!!!

Go and start your own weekend fun. You can call it the "Sh*t that no one cares about Show."

Now I feel better.....
 

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...Memo to all those at gunshows selling clothing, jewelry, Pakistani knives, jellies & jams, romance novels, rusty bits of iron found in some barn, die-cast race cars, back-issues of Life magazines etc, etc, and especially you, 'free eyeglass cleaning' guy, stay the hell out of gunshows!!!

Go and start your own weekend fun......
I'll buy that for a dollar! The eyeglasses, coins, indian jewelry, comic book, cammo, sellers should be banned, but the promoter is the one allowing it. You need to tell the promoter you're not going if they keep having off topic tables. But I've been saying that since before 2000, and it's just getting worse. The eyeglasses cleaner salesman and the like pretty much drove me away from shows for over 5 years. I only go once in a while, and before paying I make a big commotion at the door asking what percentage of tables are NOT gun related?
 

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We have that problem in Montana too. It is not the junk dealers fault though. The show promoter can't fill the hall so they take anyone they can get to off set the cost. The problem is one particular promoter here has annoyed so many dealers over the years that his shows are now like fleamarkets he ran off all the good dealers by hording everything that came in the door. :bang_wall:
 

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This pattern started a long time ago, when they began to have gun shows every couple of weeks, instead of every couple of months - effectively saturating a market and overloading the calendar.

In order to fill table space, they'd allow boats, macrame' made from used underwear, porn DVDs, stuff so right-wing, that it'd scare the AB guys at Pelican Bay, jerky and candy and so on and so forth.

The promoter didn't care - he just wanted to fill tables, and make rent.

That's why I travel to shows - and only to big ones of quality.

The stuff one finds at local shows is sad - beat-up hunting guns of little account and 'farm guns' that have been treated as tools, for the most part - along with a 'lot' of surplus stuff bought by guys who just 'know' they're gonna make a killing with their Moisin-Nagants - only to see their buddies with identical tables.

When I started out, decades back - even a local gun show was like Alladin's Cave.
 

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Long ago these things became mass market endeavors.
I could not imagine any half way real collector or gun enthusiast, other than a total dabbler or newcomer going to any of those shows anymore.
It's all about the numbers, and the numbers are not the serious collector. They are in every Tom Dick and Harry in town, along with the wife, the kids, the grandkids and a few stray neighborhood kids along for the ride.
dc
 

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Discussion Starter · #8 ·
I realize that the promoter has to fill the building, but I walk around and see the people with tables full of Goodwill store nick-nacks with no one stopping by or buying from them and wonder: Why? These folks look bored as hell and a part of me feels sorry for them having to sit all weekend with no customers & nothing to do but Sudoku puzzles or playing on their I-pad.

Around here if you took out the tables full of junk and the tables full of AR-15's, there wouldn't be enough guns left to fill a car trunk. Due to my situation, I can't attend the big collector shows that I'd like. Tulsa's not all that far, but would still warrant an overnight stay, which is impossible for me. Mabey someday I'll get there with about 30k in cash to play with. If it wasn't for GB or other sites on the internet, I would never find the old/unique stuff.
 

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I thought it was tough finding LNIB/NIB Snake guns at local shows the last few years. Then I switched my collecting focus to pre war. I learned real quick that the local shows are for exercise and disappointment. The national shows like Tulsa and Las Vegas are where it is at as far as I am concerned.
 

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I agree with most of what has come before in this thread. That said; I still go and pay my 5$ for a three day entry ticket. Nowhere else am I going to find and fondle prior to buying a 1920's NIB Lyman #30 1/2 tang sight, or find a mold long discontinued that I can hold in my hand and look at thru my loop. I always take something obvious that looks like I'm selling or trading; that starts serious conversation and there are things under tables that only come out when serious inquiry is made. Most often what I'm carrying is not for sale but it starts serious conversations. Gun shows may not be what they once were, but then none of us in this conversation are either.
 

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Discussion Starter · #11 · (Edited)
It's true that some of the real treasures are under the table. I've found a few of those myself. And I also enjoy rummaging through the parts piles and such, but there is getting to be fewer and fewer of those guys left. Anymore if you ask about 'old gun parts' they point to a pile of used AR handgaurds and NOS Butler Creek scope covers......
 

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I rarely go to local shows anymore. The one here in our town is okay if you just need to kill an hour or so. There's usually a few prewar Colts and a few prewar Winchesters; but they've all been rode hard and put up wet or not original and they are overpriced even if I was interested!

So, the only shows I regularly attend are the CGCA show in Denver in May, the TGCA spring and fall shows (Waco and Fort Worth), and the Lone Star Antique Arms Conventions in Waco. No beads, trinkets, or jerky; just lots of guns I like, perhaps too many for the money I have to spend!!!!!! :D
 

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......Memo to all those at gunshows selling clothing, jewelry, Pakistani Samari swords, jellies & jams, romance novels, rusty bits of iron found in some barn, die-cast race cars, back-issues of Life magazines, paring knives & potato peelers, etc, etc, and especially you, 'free eyeglass cleaning' guy, stay the hell out of gunshows!!!

Go and start your own weekend fun. You can call it the "Sh*t that no one cares about Show."

Now I feel better.....
Whew! Nice rant, Chaffee. Next month we are going to our first gun show since moving back home to Florida. It'll be put on by Suncoast Gun Shows in Ft. Myers, but I know nothing of their reputation. I hope we're not in for a nasty surprise.
 

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I attended a local show yesterday and was thinking about buying the newest tactical scope for my AR-15. You know the one, everyone is talking about it. It is currently being used by the Navy SEALs, Delta Force, FBI HRT & all of the large agency SWAT teams. It was even used by SEAL Team 6 when they killed Bin Laden. It was the first time being offered to the public and because I was the first buyer of the show I was going to get it for only $99 (tax included), so you know I was excited. I looked it over and although it was a marvel of optical engineering I was disappointed that the reticle only illuminated in 3 colors (red, blue & green)

I consider myself a savvy buyer and immediately knew that this was counterfiet because I read that the version the SEAL's used had a purple reticle, which everyone knows is best for desert environments. She offered to throw in a mil-spec black ski mask and tactical rifle sling but I suspected that those might not be authentic either. Hoping I was making the right decision I reluctantly walked away, thankful that my many hours spent on the internet had saved me from being the butt of many jokes at my next Mall Ninja Tactical Rifle Match. On the way out of the show I was lucky enough to score some original Apple iPad chargers and a Scentsy Candle air freshener (for my wife of course) I think I did well and can't wait for the next show, I think I might try some of that beef jerky.
 

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It used to irritate me to see the flea market junk taking up space at gun shows and, fortunately, the local shows in this area still have a high percentage of our lovable gun stuff and haven't caused any major rebellions among the attendees. Many of the smaller shows are struggling to stay afloat and need to sell the tables or close down, so which of those two choices would we rather have happen?
A friend of mine used to promote a small show that produced a lot of good finds for me, and I tried to not miss a single show. His biggest problem, aside from a few idiot tableholders, was insurance, even though there had never been a claim in the entire twenty years of the shows existance. When the insurance doubled for the second time, it became impossible to keep reasonable table fees, walk in tickets, and pay the rent, so he closed the doors. Keeping a gun show afloat and keeping everyone happy is not a simple task.
 

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Or maybe let that guy standing in the aisle attach his pain-relieving doo-dad to your body for a few minutes to show you how great it is. I tell them "the only thing causing me pain right now is YOU".
 
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