Thursday, March 6, 2008

Gun shows, Cigar boxes and leather :or: It takes a tri state gun show to raise a boy

I started going to gun shows way back before I can even remember. I'm sure my first gun show was the tri-state area show held at our fair grounds which was only a short drive from our home. My dad used to take me on his weekends off and I always looked forward to it. I remember walking the rows with my dad and listening to his words of wisdom on different subject matters. Some things made sense others would take years to understand and some will take even more years to understand.

Going to a gun show is the most natural thing in my life. The treasures one can find at a show is limitless. I've purchased most of my firearms and accessories at sometimes ridiculously cheap prices. Complete RCBS reloading die sets for $10 or $20 with multiple shell holders, $5 pistol grips I've wanted to try but refused to pay the $25 retail price tag ( my friend Anthony is the grip guru, always buying grips to try). Ammo cans that we get in bulk at a great price. My top favorite past time that is not shooting related is haggling.....95% of the time I can talk a guy down on price or have them throw in something to sweeten the deal. Its just my nature. Some times its just walking around and talking to friends that make the shows worthwhile. A few of the vendors know me by now at the various gun shows we haunt. Its nice to go home on that first full weekend every month bright and early Saturday morning roll into town, wake up my friend Anthony and head on out to the show. If you're on a time crunch you can go through in about 1 hour and 15-30 minutes...but we usually do it in 4 hours+.....we take our to the vendors and the other people walking the show. This is how you just shut up and listen. I learn something new every time I go. While walking the rows however things start to catch your start seeing things you would like to have. Like a 32" leather belt rig and Holster for a single action 45 revolver.....I've been looking for one now for about 6 months...finally found it at the gun show...ticket price was $25...and the guy who's granddaughter I went to high school with let me walk away with it for $20 mostly I think because there are very few 32" waist guys who like big bore revolvers. Later on in the show I found myself picking through a Cigar box of cartridges putting one or two aside every so often. Talking to the vendor the collection was from a guy who had passed away and enjoyed collecting such things...about 80 or so pieces in all some I recognized some I flat out did not. The vendor who admitted he was only a hunter and did not care for such things seemed to be impressed with my knowledge of such things and the history behind some of the cartridges. Though I was saddened when he told me the really big ones had already been sold. Non the less I paid him $5 for a good sized handful of the cases and was off again. About 10 minutes later I came back put down $20 and asked him if that was enough for the rest of the collection. Seeing as how I was young and ambitious he took my money and gave me not only the cigar box of cartridges but several other boxes containing pistol rounds like the 44 and 45 Webley and rifle rounds like the 264 winchester magnum and 11mm Mauser. It was a great find for somebody with a interest in such things like myself. There is a small handful of shotgun shells in the collection as well but these have little interest from me. I hope to sell them and recoup the cost of the collection I purchased and maybe the cost of the holster I picked up as well.

The things that can be had at gun shows is seemingly limitless however there is always a certain etiquette that MUST be had when going to any event like this. RESPECT the vendor and those around you and ask permission to look at things. Please don't just grab things off the table like I see so many people do. Don't walk around the show like you are the only one there standing in the middle of a row, walking around with your finger in the trigger guard of a firearm is another one of those things where I just wanna whomp the person upside the head. Be friendly to those around you as this is one of the few forums where all types of shooters can converse under one roof. Some good things to take to gun shows by the way. A recent price list of reloading components, small tape measure, bore light, index cards, pens, zip tie cutters and a shoulder bag instead of a book bags get in the way and you can't get into them with out having to take them off. Shoulder bags are much better IMHO.