When I went out late this morning I was greeted by cool crisp air that was invigorating to say the least. I guessed it was either in the high forties or low fifties and the thermometer in my car confirmed my guess, it was right at 50. Nice day to do something instead of staying cooped up in the apartment and I was off to enjoy it. I did not have to go far, just about 2 miles and I arrived at my destination - the Arizona State Fairgrounds in Phoenix. When I got there I drove up to the parking lot attendants' booths and saw why so many people were parking outside on the street and walking in. The parking fee was $10.00! No wonder the couple just outside the entrance who were operating a parking had a lot that was almost full for $5.00 a car! I decided I could use the walk and parked a long block away from the entrance. I guess I had to walk about 1/4 of a mile to get in to the show, but the exercise I got on such a fine morning and the money I saved were well worth the minimal effort.
Once in the fairgrounds are I the admission fee - a whopping $14.00. I had thought the gun show at Middletown, NY had gotten expensive last time I was there, it was around $9.00 to get in; it seems I had no idea what expensive really was back then. Oh well, I coughed it up anyway because I did want to see what was for sale despite the fact that I would not be able to buy a gun since I am a NY resident. After getting over the shock of the admission fee, I made my way into the show. It was being held in three large buildings that probably also do lots of other duties at other fairground events like rodeos, stock shows, antique shows, country fairs and so on. Luckily I walked into the largest of the buildings first. I say that was lucky because it was the one with the most displays of guns as opposed to displays of items that have nothing to do with guns and that I believe don't belong at guns shows. As seems to be the case with every gun show I have visited in various states, gun shows nowadays also draw a good number of vendors who sell things like: knives, books, military surplus items other than firearms, candy, tee shirts, beef jerky, hand lotions, toys, Nazi memorabilia and other things. Some of those things go hand in had with guns such as the knives (well if only because most guns shows are listed as gun & knife shows), books about guns and maybe some of the Tee-shirts (at least those with gun themes or logos on them). Stuff like candy, beef jerky, hand lotion and Nazi memorabilia have no place therein in my opinion.
The Nazi memorabilia and reproductions of medals, and Nazi armbands that one dealer had on display were enough to get my blood boiling. This especially in light of the fact that the Crossroads of the West Gun Show rules plainly state that prohibited items include items glorifying Nazism or items offensive to the general public. I would have to say that a table full of Nazi armbands, medals, flags, books and other propaganda was pretty offensive. I know, I know - freedom of speech. Truth is freedom of speech applies to a right/freedom that the government cannot deny you, however a private concern such as Crossroads of the West is fully within its own rights to prohibit such items at its shows. Too bad they do not enforce their own rules. If it was up to me I would have thrown the guy out post haste. I wasn't going to let one jerk ruin my day though and moved on quickly from in front of that guys table.
As I walked around the show, going from one aisle to the next, I have to admit I was pretty impressed. In this, the larger of the three buildings used for the gun show, there were lots of tables from which the vendors were selling pretty much nothing other than guns, guns parts, gun gear and accessories, and ammunition. Yeah there were some vendors like the guy with the Nazi crap, and some selling things like tee-shirts, or beef jerky, but this gun show was definitely geared toward selling guns and lots of them. That was like a breath of fresh air compared to some shows I have been to in recent years. I don't know how many tables were set up but there were definitely hundreds of them, maybe even a thousand (between all three exhibit buildings).
Since I could not buy a gun, I only gave most some glancing looks. Well actually I could have bought one from an FFL dealer if he would have been willing to ship it to an FFL in NY for me - but the expense of that would not have been worthwhile unless I would have found an earth shattering deal. No deals like that were to be had, at least none that I saw. There were some good prices on guns though but you really had to do some hard looking. The reason you had to look so hard was because of many of the guns had very high to ridiculously high prices. For example there were Russian SKSs going for over $600 each. They were in crappy condition too. This seems to be the norm at every gun show I have been to in the past two years. I saw A Mosin Nagant M44 selling for almost $400. It was at best in good condition and also at best a $125 gun.
There was a difference here though - from those other overinflated shows - not all of the dealers were selling at overinflated prices, some actually had decent to good prices - and a select few had some great deals. I suppose most of the good deals though were to be found among the non-dealers who came to the show and brought along a gun of three to sell. There were quite a few people looking to make private sales, and some of them had some good deals up for offer, I figure to have seen at least 30 people walking around with firearms offered for private sales.
As I made my way around the tables, my eye was caught once or twice (maybe even four or five times) by something extra nice. For example there was a nice Stevens Pump action .22 rifle. It was going for $250 and was in truly excellent condition. I If I would have held it and looked at it long enough to have gotten the model number I probably would have gone into withdrawal what with my not being able to buy it. There was also a Beretta Model 70 Jaguar (I think it was actually a Model 72, but again did not handle it due to fear of going into withdrawal). It was pretty nice, at least the side I could see. Fine to near excellent finish. It had the long barrel on it, and came with the original box from the look of it. he woman selling it was asking $350. That was no bargain but it was a nice gun and if she would have come down in price then someone probably would have bought it. If I saw it back in NY I would have haggled my best. As it was, I just passed it buy with a twinkle in my eye.
Of course, if you know me at all, then you know it is nigh impossible for me to go to a gun show and not buy something. I stopped at several tables exhibiting knives being that I have had it in mind to buy a boot knife. I saw one that was a piece of junk and passed on it. Now this being a gun show meant I would almost certainly have to buy something gun related. As it wound up I did buy a few things. My first purchase came when I was making my second go round of each of the buildings and was at a conglomeration of one ammo dealer's tables. I picked up a couple of boxes of Sellier & Bellot .40 S&W 180 grain FMJ. I also grabbed a single box of Winchester 9MM Luger 115 gr. FMJ ammo. This was a 'value pack' with 100 round s in the box. I haven't bought much 9mm ammo over the years, i get most of mine for free from work so I don't know if it was a good price for the value pack at $24.95 but other dealers had the same thing for up to $28.00 and none were less expensive than the guy from whom I made the purchase. The .40S&W went for $$14.95 a box. I have never bought .40S&W as far as I can remember also getting all of it from work. I want to shoot some while out here in Phoenix and I was already told the office out here probably does not have a lot of spare ammo for those of us here on detail - so I broke down and bought my own. Combined with what I brought with me, maybe a box each of .40S&W and 9MM, I now have enough for a short range day. I forgot to pick up ammo for my shotgun - shame on me.
As I was making my way around he ammo table, I was pretty surprised when a young lass of about 12 asked me if I had everything I needed. When I said I did, she took the ammo, scanned it (yes they had a register, a scanner, and a pretty professional set-up), and then I suppose it was her dad who took the cash. She then bagged it up for me, and asked the gentleman if it needed 2 bags, he said yeas and she added the other bag. I am happy she thought of it, I would have hated for the bag to break and then need to be scrambling for rounds everywhere. Very polite people, they said "thank you" a few times after making the sale, a courtesy that is often missing in today's world. They were with the Miwall Corp..
They had a fairly good selection of ammo at that set of tables but they were out of CCI Standard Velocity .22LR rounds. While making my way around the show, I found another pretty big set of ammo tables in one of the other buildings. They had what I wanted and I got a 100 rounds of the CCI .22LR ammo. When I get the chance, I'll see how it shoots in my Henry Survival Rifle. I guess that Miwall Corp has sort of a monopoly on ammo sales at this show, at least they sell most of the ammo, because this other set of tables was also run by the same company. The lady who helped me there could have learned some manners from the girl and gentleman at their other set of tables a 'thank you' did not come out of her pie hole. Well, I had my ammo and that was good enough for me even if she did not display the same courtesy during the sale as did the others.
My last purchase was made for Brendan. I picked up a couple of magazines for his AK. They are 30 round magazines, and according to the guy who sold them to me they are 1970 or 80 era military surplus magazines. I made sure to ask him about this because they have to be pre-ban mags to be legal in NY. NY instituted an 'assault weapons ban' that included high capacity magazines the same time the federal bad was initiated back in the 90s under Clinton. The federal ban has fallen by the wayside but not the ban in NY because there was no sunset provision in it. Now I have to depend upon the honesty and integrity of those from who I buy any high cap magazines because the mags are not marked in any way to indicate anything about time of manufacture or anything else for that matter. I am pretty certain though that they are military surplus because of no markings and I figure the dealer was being honest as to date of manufacture as I don't see why he would not be. If I remember right, we bought some magazines from the same guy when I was in Tucson last spring; Brendan came to visit and we got a chance to go to a gun show in Tucson then. Anyway, this dealer looked very familiar to me. I also am pretty sure it was the same guy because of how he held the bag open for me to put the mags inside, he would not touch them when I went to hand them to him for him to put into the bag; I recall that happening at the earlier gun show in Tucson too - just an eccentricity that wound up being a memory jogger. Don't get me wrong, nice dealer - no complaints from me - especially not about his prices at 2 for $30 and I am pretty sure he had manners enough to say thank you for the sale.
By the time I was done, it was already about 3PM. I got there just before noon, so I spent a bit over three hours there. With the cost of the show added onto the cost of the items I bought, I wound up paying a pretty big premium for them. Of course, the price of admission also allowed me to see all those guns for sale and I suppose it was almost worth it. Again, I have to point out that $14 for a gun show admission fee is extravagant to say the least but I have to admit I enjoyed myself immensely anyhow it was a Gun Show geared toward selling guns after all.
All the best,