Not much luck. And I had forgotten about one aspect of these shows, at least at this location: clogged aisles. The tables are set just barely far enough apart for people to browse on either side, and allow folks to squeeze between them down the middle. Theoretically.
In actuality, you have several hundred overweight Bubbas with backpacks and their Daddy's old deer gun on their shoulder. Throw in some old men with canes and a few couples pushing baby carriages, and you spend more time dodging, waiting for people to move, and saying, "Excuse me", than you do gun-browsing.
Don't get me wrong - I think Bubbas with deer guns, old men with canes, and baby carriages are wonderful. But when I'm trying to get close enough to that Smith on the table to see if it's a Model 10 or a 13, somebody needs to make a hole.
Otherwise, it was standard fare. Lots of black rifles and black plastic guns. The ubiquitous pepper spray, stun guns, beef jerky, t-shirts, tacky stamped-steel swords and knives, bumper stickers and signs ("Beware of Dog: He Gets to Eat What I Shoot"), etc.
Some things I noticed:
- If it's old looking, and you want people to think it's worth a lot, put it in a glass case. A beat up $100 derringer in a closed box with a couple of old pocket knives and a black-and-white picture of your grandaddy automatically quadruples in price.
- Everyone ignores the signs that say, "Please ask before handling".
- This problem is compounded when an item says, "Not for Sale - Do Not Touch".
- The guy selling the Super-Duper Apocalyptic Survival Kit doesn't look like he could hump a gallon of water across the room without having a stroke.
- And just how many Mosin-Nagants did they make, anyway? Jeez.
Ultimately, I found one item that interested me enough to talk to the dealer about. A Ruger Model 44 carbine. It has the same look and lines as a 10/22, but chambers a .44 Magnum cartridge from a tube magazine. I don't know why I like this gun so much. It's just a neat, light, well-balanced carbine in a knock-you-on-your-butt pistol caliber. They are primarily considered deer guns, especially in short range brush-gun situations. I think it'd make a hell of a hog gun. Mainly, I just like it.
But not enough to pay what he was asking.
When I asked to see it, he immediately started telling me about how he had mowed lawns as a kid all summer at a dollar a yard to save up for this gun. Considering he was no spring chicken, and the Model 44 was first introduced in the early 60's, my BS meter was pegged right up there with my annoyance level.
I finally got him down to business, and we quickly reached an impasse. He would go no lower, I would go no higher, and about 50 bucks separated the two valuations.
So be it. I dropped by the fine folks at Georgia Arms, stocked up on fodder for my existing inventory, and called it a day.
Well, almost. Blue Steel over at Point Blank Range mentioned in his Moby Dick post (cool pic, by the way...) that gun shows are great places to meet family and friends. On my way out, I ran into an old best friend and shooting buddy (who I've actually mentioned before) that I hadn't seen in way, way too long. He was accompanied by his much better half, who apparently has been bitten badly by the SASS bug. We caught up with each other for a good half-hour, and made plans to get together, and maybe get back out to the range one afternoon. About then his lovelier half mentioned that we needed to say our goodbyes and go our separate ways.
Seems we were clogging the aisle.