Sunday, September 29, 2019

Ghost of a Gun Show Past

Here  I sat, on my big rump, while clearing out the documents folder on my thumb drive, trying to get rid of junk I no longer needed and freeing up some space since the drive has only about 13% free space remaining. While I was looking through which folders and or files to delete or save, I came across one titled: Syracuse Gun Show Report.

I was about to delete the file and then the thought struck me like a thunderbolt - how could it have slipped my mind that I just had searched for that report maybe two weeks ago just before attending the Mesquite Rodeo Gun Show in Mesquite, TX! Back then, I searched y blog, my hard drive and my thumb drive but I could not find it anywhere. The reason I had been looking for it right before the Mesquite Rodeo Gun Show was because I had wanted to see what I had paid for a Century Arms WASR 10 at that Syracuse show in 2011. I was going to offer it for sale at that TX show (in fact I did sell it) and at least wanted my money back. Since, I could not find it I figured I never wrote it and that I was lucky to find a receipt for the WASR 10 to find out how much I had shelled out on it. 

If you read my blog, you know I usually do at least a brief and oft times a detailed report of each gun show I attend but somehow, it seemed , I never did it with this one. Truth is I did do one, the proof was staring me in the face. It made me think that somehow I had in effect killed it and dumped its body down the family well. Finding it now had an eerily ethereal feeling about it. I wondered where did that come from - I looked there for it before and never saw it how could it be there now! Was it there all the time and I just had missed it or had it materialized like a spirit from the ether of hereafter! It certainly still seems to me that it appeared where it had not been, much like an ancient ghost that had been banished to spend eternity down the well had finally decided to make an appearance in an attempt to vindicate itself (yes, I am an Abbott & Costello fan). Whatever - there it was and I decided to keep it and read it and thus the ghost of a gun show past was vindicated and freed and allowed to take its proper place here on my blog where it appears below.

So, without further ado, I present that article below:


Syracuse Gun Show Report & 
Our 'Buy A Gun Day' Purchases 

My son and I attended the gun show in Syracuse, NY yesterday. Allow me to start off by saying it was great. I did not even realize it while at the show, my son pointed it out to me later, there were no tables selling beef jerky (at least none we saw). There was a lady at one table selling lousy jewelry and the regular collection of t-shirt sellers, book sellers, knife sellers, and military memorabilia sellers but the great majority of the 1,000 tables seemed dedicated to firearms, ammunition, firearms accessories like parts and holsters and mags, targets and other firearms related doo-dads of one sort or another. This was about the best gun show I have attended since going to a big show, I think 1,500 tables, out in Arizona and I could buy guns at this one so it was the best.

The variety of guns was great, there were a good assortment of [I]black[/I] rifles, AKs, bolt action hunting rifle, target rifles, semi-autos for all shooting applications, black powder antiques, new black powder firearms, old classic firearms, newly manufactured firearms. Lots of rifles, lots of shotguns lots of pistols. The prices ranged from way too high to truly excellent deals, For example, I saw run of the mill Russian Mosin Nagant 91/30s going for $135.00 and another dealer had the same rifles going for $89.00 (remember - no shipping or FFL as would have been the case if bought from an online dealer - so this was a great price).

My son and I had a few different things on our shopping lists. He was looking for a Stag Arms AR, a shotgun and whatever else caught his eye. I was hankering for a Remington Model 8 in .35 Remington, a Remington 700 VTR in .308, an AK-47 and whatever else caught my eye and was within reason price wise.

Somewhere, about an hour and a half into the show, I saw my son at a table looking at AR’s. He called me over and I could see he was hooked. He told me he was eying two different Stag Arms AR-15s. They were either Model 1 or 2, those he was eying were the non-piston versions since he already has a piston model. He was debating between one listed at $975 or so with few if any add-ons and another with added on quad fore rail, pistol fore-grip, red dot sight and some other things for $1250. He took the one with the add-ons for $1,200.

As the dealer was casing it all up, Brendan asked me if I had seen anything good and I said not yet. Whereas he had been round the whole show already, I had progressed only about 3 aisles with many more before me. I was taking my time actually looking hard not merely scanning. He asked “what are you looking for” and I mentioned the Rem. Model 8 at which the dealer perked up and said “I have one on the opposite of side of my display”. I took a look; he was asking about $500 but it was chambered for 32 Remington. I decided to wait to see if ammo dealers had any 32 Remington and found out it is basically a defunct cartridge, so I am quite happy I waited. Excellent Model, original finish probably over 95 percent, excellent wood, all parts attached decent price too but not for me without ready ammo availability. Back to the search for a model 8 in 35 Rem or one of the other rifles I wanted. 

Later on, when I was in the next to last row of tables in the big room, I again met Brendan and asked him if he had been in the back room of the show. He said yeah but that there was nothing worth it back there. We split up again and I went to take a look in the backroom regardless of him telling me there was nothing worth it there; I wound up happy I did so (or at least out some cash because I did so). At the last table I visited back there, there was a Romanian WASR AK-47 going for $450 and I went to again find Brendan. Once found, I brought him back to check it out for me; he was much more familiar with AK type weapons than was I in that he already has a Bulgarian AK. He took it down part way, checked it out, and said it looked like a good deal. I haggled a little, and got another $25 off the price. With tax it was $459 out the door. It came with 2 pre-ban 30 round mags (NY still has a ban on hi-cap mags).

Not a bad deal considering that at this show it was the lowest priced WASR. Others were going from $470.00 up to $509.00. Now $459 (out the door) is not as good as online prices but a typical online price is $410, plus shipping of about $25, plus FFL fee of $25 up my way, and guess what, that $459 equals the price I would have paid online at a place like Classic Arms, for a NY legal AK, and I did not have to wait for the gun.

The gas money we spent and the admission fee to the show of only $6.00 each (that is a great gun show admission price, I paid at least $9.00 in AZ for the big show out there) and what I spent on food was a weekend trip  expense that I chalk up to family fun and do not include in the price of the gun because I would have spent it anyway. So it was a good deal at least in NY. As for the other guns I was looking for, I only saw one Remington 700 VTR but it was in the wrong caliber and I did not see another Rem. Model 8 than that one in the wrong caliber (the search continues and I hope I find one as nice as the one I saw at this show).

By the way, when I went to look for Brendan, to help me look over the AK, I found him carrying yet another gun. He bought a Mossberg pump gun with pistol grip. I don’t know where he expects to shoot it as almost every range near our home will not allow them but there may be one range where he can try it out, so maybe there. He plans to get a regular stock for it sooner or later and I advised him to do so because as I see it, a shotgun with only a pistol grip at the butt end is just about useless unless you are shooting zombies (and then only in the movies) or in very close quarters in a self-defense situation.Even then, I prefer the shoulder stock to that pistol grip. He also had two bags of accessories and had purchased snap on covers for the quad rail on his new AR.

It was about 1215 when I had finished up with my AK purchase. The only other things we got after that were two mortar cans that Brendan wanted at $20.00 apiece. He was antsy and we certainly could not carry much more and we got to talking about leaving. We had gotten to the show at about 9, give or take a few minutes, and probably got inside by somewhere between 9:15 and 9:30, after standing on a long line in the damp and chilled upstate NY April air. There had been hundreds of people on line ahead of us and hundreds more behind us and the place had a steady flow of folks coming and going in the time we were there. There were 2 lines and luckily we got dropped off, by the parking lot tram, on the shorter line. 

While waiting on line, I saw two other guys I know from Long Island. I saw them a few times inside too. They had each picked up one gun apiece before Brendan and I took off and I am sure they will have bought more before leaving; they were staying for day 2 on Sunday. As for us, Brendan was antsy, and wanted to take off at 1230. I reminded him that we would not be welcome at home too early since my wife was going to be having some of the girls over for a wine party. Yet, I was sort of ready to go but only because my memory is not as good as it once was. I did not remember to go back to at least a couple of tables to buy raffle tickets, one from Friends of the NRA and another from a gun club that was giving away a rifle a day for the month of May. At $25 a ticket that was a good raffle on which to take a chance but I forgot to get back to them. I also had been wanting to pick up a Marlin Papoose, being sold as new in red soft case, wood stock, blued steel, for $150. I forgot that too. In addition I wanted to pick up some zombie targets, a case for my AK, and some other stuff. Then there was the used but looking like new Browning BLR Model 81 in .308. It was pretty but I thought the price was high at $625.00 (no optics and missing the screws that fill the scope rail mounting holes, otherwise except for a tiny scratch at the muzzle end of the barrel it looked perfect). I confirmed that when I saw another, in a different caliber, at about $550 in as good a condition. Well, I forgot about that too. Shame on me but being older than half a century, having a muddled middle aged memory, having trudged around through that show with all those other gun nuts and having a son who was eager to go and who kept telling me so, was a combination that led to our premature departure.

Yes, we left right at 1230. Luckily there were trams to take us back to the car which was a ways off in the compound. We loaded up our newly acquired gear into the car and headed out. On the way home we made 3 stops, one a McDonald's (lousy but acceptable food and it was fast), one for gas, and one at Gander Mountain in Middletown, NY so I could buy night crawlers and trout worms for my aquarium critters (fish, turtle,  and newts) and for my land critters (salamanders and tortoises). We got home right after my wife’s party started and I was relegated to the basement where I happily accepted my banishment.

All in all, we had a great trip. Good company, fun time, great purchases, fulfilling my self-imposed obligation to buy a gun for BAG day (which technically is tomorrow but the BAG day thing usually runs at least a few days either side of tax day). Don’t know about BAG day - go here:

Remember, BAG Day is usually April 15th the traditional tax day but this year tax day is tomorrow, April18th, so you still have time to Buy A Gun and send the government a message while stimulating the U.S. economy!

All the best,
Glenn B


Well, that was what should have been published on April 17, 2011, the day after that show in Syracuse. Some things in it struck my eye that convinced me I should publish it today - those things being some of the gun prices being offered back then as compared to now for essentially the same or very similar guns. I think you might find it interesting, amusing or saddening to see how those prices have changed in just 8 years.

Mosin Nagant 91/30 then lowest priced @ $89.99, highest priced at that show $139.99. Recently, at that Mesquite Rodeo gun show I attended, up to $399 but most going for around $300! Wow and they were in better condition back in 2011.I wish I had bought all I could find at the lower price then.

Remington Model 8 (similar in price to Model 81's): Then around $500 for the Model 8; now, now for the Model 81's one was about $800 the other $900 at the same dealer, both were 32 REM caliber; the only guy who had them had two of them. Remarkably a Remington Model 8 in 30 REM went for $575, an excellent price, at the most recent Hessney Gun Auction earlier this month but I must admit the way it was described to me it was not nearly as nice condition-wise as the ones at the Mesquite show. Even though in 30 REM (avalble cartridge today but pretty limited and expensive) I bid on it. I missed the high bid on that one by $25! Oh well...

WASR 10: Then $459 out the door (NY modified version, probably less expensive in freer states then), now up to $800 for used ones and as low as $625 for brand new ones (go figure but maybe different makers or versions). I sold mine for more than I had paid for it back in 2011 and with only one ten round magazine at that.

Stag Arms AR15 Model 2: The lowest I saw now was just under $800 plus shipping and FFL fee. Even with the add-ons that Brendan got with his, I think he got hosed but then again, it was in NY and had to comply with whatever ridiculous gun control was in effect then, such as the - still in effect (in NY) at the time - assault weapons ban. Today, my guess is he'd pay maybe a bit more than he pad then but that is just my guess.

Marlin Papoose used model sold as new in soft red case, wood stock and blued metal: $150 then; saw one that recently sold on at $279.00 in excellent condition, wood stock, blued metal and soft red case.
Remington 700 VTR in 308: No comparison, I don't recall the price in 2011 but now they are going for just under $700 online plus shipping and FFL fee on the buyer's end.

Let's face it folks most prices are not going down.

All the best,
Glenn B