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Old 04-05-2018, 01:40 PM
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Went by my LGS in Macon today. He is one of the biggest buyers in the South East, if not "the" biggest. He is also very well funded and travels to shows every weekend. Today, he had about one of every post-war Smith and Colt ever made. . .more than the human eye and brain could even take in. For many years he has been buying the pre-war common guns for me. You know, stuff like the HE 38 Specials, top breaks, safety hammerless, 32 HE. The cheap stuff you could get for well under $200 unless it was a minty one. Then you had to pay in the $300 range. Told me today that they had been vanishing the past year or so, and were about gone. Also, the prices on the ones that are out there have been shooting up. He recently sold a minty Safety Hammerless online for $1K, and it sold fast! Well, for those of you (myself included) who have been buying what I like to call the "junky" guns for the past 10 years, it's time to be really happy with what you have accumulated, and be sad with the one-gun-a-week days being over. This is one I picked up a few years ago for under two bills. . .an old 32 that I stuck some target grips on. I grabbed it because the 6 inch barrel is so rare that I have never seen another. . .1914ish. Fun to shoot. Since I know that everybody likes pictures, I had to find one to include.
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Old 04-05-2018, 02:04 PM
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I don't frequent LGS as much as I used to, but I do follow the major firearms auctions. My sense is that there is not as much S&W being offered, but there sure is a lot of long guns, and a lot of very high-priced military items. It's become common to see auctions with 2000 and more lots. That is a lot of guns.

I know that the membership is growing at the S&WCA, which ought to indicate an increase in the interest of S&W's .

I also know that, over the years, we have seen periods of very few guns being offered for sale. Then, things change, and a lot of good revolvers come on the market. Much like the prices of everything else, gun prices are increasing. Its all part of inflation.

Its also hard to generalize about this, because I've always felt that LGS and auctions do not represent all the trades and transactions that take place. I've long suspected that there are private sales and transfers that never see the light of day.

Your LGS may well be experiencing a difficult period now. Presumably he can take the longer view, and, all of a sudden, you will be getting calls from him.

Regards, Mike
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Old 04-05-2018, 04:08 PM
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It is good to hear that military items are enjoying a good market. I have a WWII collection (German, American, Jap, British) that will rival any in this country. . .things you only see pictured in books. You are right about the long guns. So many stacked on top of each other, I don't usually even try to look at them.

Smiths and Colts cycle on the market as owners age out. Usually, 40 year old guns are very common. I have looked at so many Smiths from the 1970's and 1980's this past week, I can't even count them. The ones from the 1960's have been few and far between. The prices can be high on all of them if you shop at the wrong places. Georgia is a cheap place to buy if you stay out of Atlanta. Savannah is bare bones, so it's hard to find anything there.

With pre-war Smiths, you have to wait for the guns to cycle two or three times going through several generations of owners. Right now it appears that most of them have settled and found new homes. Smiths from the 1800's must have found their forever homes because I never see one out for sale any more. Back in the 1970's, I could have my pick of them.

Of course, you have to consider how many were made and how many survived from a time when the population of this Country was tiny.
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Old 04-05-2018, 04:12 PM
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Interesting. I've been in GA for a couple months now and gave up looking in gun stores. Even though I'm not a resident, I figure if I ran into something interesting I could have it sent to an FFL back home.

My theory is WA has lots of hoplophobe liberals, and when grandpa/dad dies, they end up sold to the local store or pawn shop. GA doesn't, and the guns stay in the family quite a bit more often.

I may have to pop down to Macon in the next few weeks...
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Old 04-05-2018, 05:24 PM
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It is a standard story, brick and mortar stores are suffering because of the ease of online shopping. I regularly see most every model of S&W ever made online. There are Model 1, Model 1 1/2, Model 2s, hogleg S&W models are always for sale. There has also been a glut of 320 Revolving Rifles for sale, many from a premier long-time 320 collector. Lots or early HEs as well. I think buyers and sellers are now looking to online auctions, since the LGS has always had a relatively bad reputation of buying low and selling high. I have given up on selling to gun stores and also given up on trading at gun shows. Online is easy, auction commissions are high, but you will walk away with lots more money than offered at LGS or gun shows.

Ammunition is still what many people go to gun shops for, as well as gun repair/modifications if there is a gunsmith on the premises, but I really believe that buyers and sellers are going online instead.
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Old 04-05-2018, 05:46 PM
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Originally Posted by hkcavalier View Post
Interesting. I've been in GA for a couple months now and gave up looking in gun stores. Even though I'm not a resident, I figure if I ran into something interesting I could have it sent to an FFL back home.

My theory is WA has lots of hoplophobe liberals, and when grandpa/dad dies, they end up sold to the local store or pawn shop.
Or worse yet, turned in for destruction. I have a friend who has a three really nice Colt revolvers and two Winchester shotguns (all pre-1900) that he inherited. He isnít really a gun guy and his wife and daughter adsolutely hate guns. Iíve been trying to buy them for the last 30+ years. He says he wants to keep them in the family. His wife and daughter will have those guns destroyed before he is even cold.

Sorry for the hijack but this just bugs the heck out of me...
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Old 04-05-2018, 07:03 PM
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Hey Gary, b&m are suffering down here in FL. I know a lot of them.
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Old 04-05-2018, 10:32 PM
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This will come as heresy to many here. I've been going to gun shows since the early 1970s. But recently I decided to rid myself of my K22s. No, I didn't set up at gun shows, I sent them to David Carroll. None are running right now so I assume this post will pass the hall monitors. I don't even know why some folks seem to do better on auctions than others, but it seems to happen.

So from that perspective, spend your time at home viewing. I haven't seen a good gun in a gun shop in maybe 15 years. That's a long time with no joy.
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Old 04-06-2018, 05:33 AM
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This will come as heresy to many here. I've been going to gun shows since the early 1970s. But recently I decided to rid myself of my K22s. No, I didn't set up at gun shows, I sent them to David Carroll. None are running right now so I assume this post will pass the hall monitors. I don't even know why some folks seem to do better on auctions than others, but it seems to happen.

So from that perspective, spend your time at home viewing. I haven't seen a good gun in a gun shop in maybe 15 years. That's a long time with no joy.
How true, old guns are almost impossible to find at gunshows or gunshops anymore. It's all about plastic semi auto long guns and hand guns these days. Local pawn shops will turn up and old gun every now and then, but they are usually molested in some way.
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Old 04-06-2018, 08:49 AM
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15 years!!! That is super sad. I can't even imagine a situation like that.
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Old 04-06-2018, 08:59 AM
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No, I didn't set up at gun shows, I sent them to David Carroll.
The problem with David Carroll is that he always has really nice stuff, but none is ever for sale on his site. It all goes to Gunbroker, where everything brings full retail, if not considerably more. Why I dislike Gunbroker--nearly everything is overpriced when sold, unless misidentified. I get why he does this. If you are a seller, wouldn't you want to get top dollar?

Just sayin'...

To me, ideally one attempts to sell first through a storefront and website and if no sale, then off to Gunbroker it goes. That's my opinion, and many or most wouldn't necessarily agree with it and it might not exactly make business sense either.

My total number of transactions on Gunbroker is ZERO.
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Old 04-06-2018, 11:08 AM
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I had a Gallagher repro for sale in a local shop for two years at $650. Finally took it home and put it on gunbroker a couple weeks ago. I started the bidding at 00.01 with a buy it now for $700. It sold in one day for the buy it now price. I walked an old unfinished Hopkins and Allen underhammer kit around gunshows for years at $300. Put it on gunbroker and got $660 for it. Needless to say I like gunbroker. I do some buying there to, you just have to keep your head screwed on tight or you'll pay too much. But, when you're looking for something in particular and you drive all over to gunshows and gunshops to probably never find it, how much $ do you have wrapped up in just gas alone? I don't mind paying a bit more on GB to save who knows how much in time and travel costs to find that item locally.
Big auction houses can be good spots to buy as well, but you can pay a lot there as well as having to buy several other guns in the lot# you really don't want. I usually pedal the extras hoping to make the one I want a bargain.
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Old 04-06-2018, 05:12 PM
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Just think what that Gallagher repro might have ultimately sold for without the Buy It Now!!!!
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Old 04-06-2018, 07:18 PM
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. . . It all goes to Gunbroker, where everything brings full retail, if not considerably more. Why I dislike Gunbroker--nearly everything is overpriced when sold, unless misidentified . . . Just sayin' . . .
Hold on a minute?? No seller can get more than buyers are willing to pay at an auction. Maybe you are selling too low?? Gunbroker has its advantages and disadvantages, and I feel that there may be better places to buy online, but as far as selling is concerned, it is a top tier online option in my opinion.

I have sold antique and C&R firearms on Gunbroker and have never been disappointing with any sale. Mostly, I have been pleasantly surprised by how much my guns sold for and in the end, isn't that the name of the game?
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Old 04-06-2018, 07:56 PM
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Gary

He's not saying that sellers are charging too much. Rather, his observation is that prices seem as high, or even higher, than retail stores. You are right, in that in an auction, the prices are set by the buyers, not the sellers.

The thing about Gunbroker is that, presumably, they have a very wide geographical spread in the participants. Some bidders live in very low-price parts of the country, and others live in very high-price places. The bidders from the higher-price places are used to paying more, not just for guns, but for everything else. To the bidder from the lower-price places, this can make prices higher than they are used to paying.

On balance, I think that GB is running a very good auction software package. I particularly like the 15-minute rule, which some other on-line auction companies do not have. Any bids made in the last 15 minutes automatically resets the clock to another full 15 minutes. This completely does away with the problem of using a software robot to make a last split-second bid. Its a very fair system.

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Old 04-07-2018, 09:10 AM
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My collection has been pieced together by checking local shops every chance I get, and by dozens of GB purchases. I tend to be a bargain hunter and have found them both places. I have bought a stinker or two off of GB, but that was always because I didn't look closely enough or as questions before bidding. On balance, however, I have gotten some pieces off of GB that were worth way more than I paid due to poor photos, etc.

All of the LGS that I frequent tell me that older Smith and Colts, in decent condition, don't last more than a day or two in the case.
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Old 04-07-2018, 09:26 AM
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The "poor photo" thing can be a very excellent gamble. Two years back, a widow was listing a bunch of pre-war grips on EBAY. Her husband had spent his life collecting Smith grips. The photos were so bad and blurry, you couldn't really tell much of anything about the grips. Nobody would bid or buy them. Over a month I wound up getting a bunch of them from the teens through the 1930's for around $75 each. . .all minty. Now all my K Frames that were in need look like new guns. It was a good gamble.
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Old 04-07-2018, 11:49 AM
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I'm enjoying this thread. I've bought items from every state listed by the posters so far. Almost all were purchases through GunBroker.

I've found some dandy older (mostly '50s) stuff at shows within my state. I've also found a few newer bobbles at two different local shops, but nothing old (pre-'80) ever appears there.

Online I've looked beyond blurry images, grimy fingerprints and smeary oil to, as DocB said, gamble a bit. So far so good.

The biggest asset I've found for buying online is knowing what I'm looking at. Some sellers have no clue. Several of my Chiefs were listed as Model 36s. They didn't attract much attention because there are so many. One is a 3" Baby Chiefs and another is a gorgeous nickel Model of 1953. Score and score! I've seen Terriers listed as Model 36s. The last advertised "Model 10" I picked up was an all-numbers-matching postwar S-prefix M&P for a ridiculous steal.

I can't tell you the last time I was in a casino or a mall, but when it comes to GB or the other online sites, I'm a bit of a gambler and a shopper. Kenny Rogers said it best, I've been rewarded for knowing "... when to hold 'em and when to fold 'em."
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Old 04-07-2018, 11:59 AM
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Good point on the Terrier. Last October I picked one up for $250. Granted it was from 1970, so not one of the desirable "baby" ones; but, nobody really knew what it was (including me). In retrospect, I remembered seeing a new one out in a gun store back in the 1970's. Nobody would buy it. Understandable since same money and same gun, and you could have a 38 Special. Probably why they are a bit rare today.
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Old 04-07-2018, 02:29 PM
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I have had pretty good luck at local LGS's, guns on consignment from estates where the heirs do not want them and just want them gone. a '48 K22, 1916 22/32 HFT, 1903 HE 32 Long Nickeled 6", '54 Model 70 in 257 Roberts, Ithaca English Ultra 20 gauge, Remington 541S, S&W 610-2, and a Model 53 8 3/8" with 22LR cylinder and box. I rarely look at Auction sites, as it costs me shipping, tax on the sale price and $100 to get a firearms shipped and transferred to me. It's only $30 to transfer in state from a private party.
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Old 04-07-2018, 02:52 PM
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How true, old guns are almost impossible to find at gunshows or gunshops anymore. It's all about plastic semi auto long guns and hand guns these days. Local pawn shops will turn up and old gun every now and then, but they are usually molested in some way.


The gun show phenomenon started in the 80s with the FOPA legislation that, among other things, allowed FFL dealers to conduct transfers away from their licensed premises.

This also allowed wholesalers to sell at shows, who could undercut their own dealer customers.

Gun shows were transformed from relaxed swap meets to Black Friday sales, and a lot of traditional LGS were driven of business.
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Old 04-07-2018, 05:23 PM
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I think a lot depends on your LGS proprietor and how much he knows about what you like. Mine is interested in 20th century Smiths and other stuff himself, although he makes his living selling Henrys, deer rifles (popular in my part of the woods), black pistols and especially ammo. I have cultivated his friendship by coming in often, being friendly, telling him what I like (repeatedly) and occasionally paying asking price (no offer) when I think it is reasonable. Now, he knows me and he knows of a lot of guns that I might want that are not in his shop. In the last couple of years I have picked up a 14-3, a 24-3, a 19-4, a 27-2, a 1905 4th 32 wcf (average) a 1905 4th 38 special Target (very good), and a 44 Hand Ejector 2nd (tight but no finish), not to mention a Colt Police Positive Special 32 long (new in box), and several pristine H&R top breaks from a guy getting rid of his collection. Maybe a couple more I can't think of. I dicker a bit when I think it is justified.

That is just all I could afford or maybe a little more. If I went to shop where I was not known and tried to make a real good deal they would think I was a dealer and I wouldn't be able to get a drink of water.
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Old 04-07-2018, 07:42 PM
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Here's one picked up off of GB because of lousy pictures. I could tell the grips were cokes, but the rest was uncertain. $750 for a 44 HE with cokes. And it shoots terrific.

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Old 05-12-2018, 07:02 PM
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Well I ended up heading to that shop in Macon with all the cool old S&Ws.

They certainly had quite a few, but the prices were way high retail. A 24-3 for $1500. A 28-2 for almost a grand. And for some reason they believe that a 90% prewar K-22 is worth $1800? No special features other than a factory grip adapter. I told them I'd like to bring in my first year production gun if they'd give me $1200!

Pretty disappointed by the gun shops here in GA. Guess I'll wait till I get back home.
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Old 05-12-2018, 07:45 PM
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I as well have seen a lot less of the "old" pistols in our local LGS's. They pop up every now and then, unfortunately when the owners die and the widow is selling them off. I bought this 6" 1903 in nickel after it sat for 5 months. I looked it over again asked for the best price. When I was told $400 I bought it. In another shop a couple of months ago found this Colt OMT from 1941 for $795 another estate sale. They do come up but not that often now. I live in a bad place for guns, it would cost me $100+ taxes and transfer for any auction firearm so I don't often look at auctions.
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Old 05-13-2018, 10:19 AM
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. . . it would cost me $100+ taxes and transfer for any auction firearm so I don't often look at auctions.
OK, a couple of examples, but I can show lots of online buys that LGS would never sell for those prices I paid for online purchases, including shipping and premiums. Biggest downside is that you have to buy what they have or go home empty handed. I don't buy Colts, but have a couple of 6" Model 1903s bought online within the last few years. Paid less than $300 for each of them.

I can find hundreds of S&Ws to choose from all the time online and take my pick if I am willing to pay the price. My point on brick & mortar is that they are unpredictable, more often than not, overpriced, and have limited inventory. Also, you can be guaranteed that the person who sold that gun to the shop got wholesale prices (often half-price), losing money on the deal versus selling through an online firearms auction house.

For those people turning over their collections, LGS are the worst places to sell. If you do not sell to them at low prices, consignments are the only other option and you will pay a percentage to the LGS to sell. You will also have no idea when it will sell. Gun auction companies will charge sellers, but almost everything will sell on a specific day.

Don't get me wrong, I loved LGS before the Internet, since they were THE PLACE to shop for firearms. The advent of online shopping has forever changed the market and today you will find that the best of the best are now with companies like RIA, Julia, Amoskeag, Bonhams, Morphy, Cowans, Poulin, Watson, shall I go on??

Lastly, we can also have the option of going to Gun Shows in all corners of the country. Where else can you find hundreds of sellers in one place at the same time with their entire collections for sale?

Spending a quiet evening online is a experience you would enjoy and I often learn something I did not know. Many gun shops hardly know what model they are selling, if it is original, if it is uncommon, if it functions as intended, etc. I just purchased a K22 Outdoorsman on an online auction site. It turned out to be a gun shop selling online. They got two of the 6 serial numbers wrong and Roy could not find the gun, so I had to help them identify the correct number and all it took was a phone call and a magnifying glass. Some online sellers and most auction houses give detailed descriptions, historical context, value ranges . . . and use the word rare and scarce a lot!
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Old 05-13-2018, 05:51 PM
smithrjd smithrjd is offline
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I am in California.. A lot of sellers, stores will not even bother to ship here. Any short gun has to be on the "roster" or it is not even legal to ship here. Yes a C&R eligible pistol can be shipped if you can find both way FFL's that will transfer one, a lot of them do not even want the headache. (has to come from a FFL) Why I don't know, but it is what it is till I get the heck outta here when I retire very soon.
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Old 05-13-2018, 10:17 PM
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Here in Idaho, I have never been able to find any quantity of vintage Smiths. I dont look for Colts, but they are scarce as hen’s teeth at LGS’s and the local classifieds.
The pace at which one could accumulate Smiths here would not make much of a hobby. Therefore, it is this forum or GB for the most part.
I have found a few good deals on GB, but if you are buying premium Smiths, you are going to be paying premium prices.
This ain’t a cheap hobby anymore. Even the plain Jane Smiths are going up in price and those that were once plentiful and now becoming harder to find.
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Old 05-14-2018, 12:14 AM
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Before the plastic craze finding an older colt, a s&w or ruger revolver in any magnum caliber your chances were slim to none even a older 38 special revolver were rare as hens teeth. Back then I beat feet to every local gun shop 3 to 4 Times a week. I found nothing.

Now fast forward to the height of the plastic craze the older revolvers were showing up. I did catch a few older baby boomers trading in there collections because they were headed to a old folks home. That hit me pretty hard we’re all going to get old.

Right now I’m seeing m27-2 for $1,500 to $1,700. My online guy doesn’t have much at all. I remembered buying the m27-2 for $795 and the m28 for $695 a few years back. I think these guns went through a musical char moment when they changed hands now there with there new owners and unseen again till the present generation gets old.

Every hobby I get into is affordable for a while then it skyrockets price wise. I took off a decade in the mid 80’s to the mid 90’s from buying and shooting time was a factor. I packed up my reloading stuff to sell it and the misses said don’t sell it you may go back to it. She was right. The prices weren’t bad for a while. But they went up.

I’m to the point if you see it you better buy it because if you don’t someone else will before the prices go higher.

I got lucky once with the surplus military guns. My LGS purchased a collection and sold me the surplus guns for what he paid for them. I picked out a few. He wanted nothing to do with the surplus guns till he found out he could make money on them too. A while back he was dumping the new s&w guns for $699. That sounds like his cost to me.

My point is stay browsing you never know what you will find.

Last edited by BigBill; 05-14-2018 at 12:19 AM.
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Old 05-14-2018, 03:09 AM
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I don't like to buy online. I prefer to have it in my hands first. However, I do acknowledge the mediums efficiency and convenience. I've cultivated relationships with several local shops and they know to call when certain things walk in the door. I've found it helps to actually spend money from time to time, instead of wasting their time with complaints. I don't buy everything I get a call on, but I've picked up some nice things that way. It helps that I'm not an accumulator or a compulsive buyer.

After the crash in '08 gun shows were good to me. A lot of old guns came out of the closet due to financial distress. Now, they're back to being pretty worthless, with a high goon factor on both sides of the table. My recently acquired nickel M29 was the first thing I've found at a gunshow in a long time.

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Old 05-14-2018, 07:18 AM
daddy bear daddy bear is offline
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I have more or less stopped buying because I at that certain age to be classified either "old timer" or "short timer," your choice. I will still buy a nice piece at a good price, and I have an inside track at a local pawn shop, but it is not in the high rent district. I have only bought two guns on GB. Compared to local prices, I did good on both. On both, I set my maximum price on auto bid, and went my merry way. I used up all but ten dollars on a reall nice Marlin RC .35R. On a minty hand engraved BAR Gd III, I picked it up at only about a hundred more than one would pay locally for a Gd II. I have also had fair luck at gun shows, up to a few years ago. Our local shows have become somewhat difficult to attend. Parking comes at a premium at $5 for a chance to park. No guarantee that any spaces are left. Then you have to sift through all the flea market vendors just to make sure that a prize is not hiding there. The last S&W that I made a reasonable offer on, the vendor refused because he thought it would bring a few dollars more on Gun Broker. Why come to shows if you do internet sales? My hand full of Benjamin's likely matched GB considering commission and time.

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Old 05-14-2018, 08:55 AM
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Above are two examples of gun shops who show preference to one buyer. This is a bad practice that further erodes the confidence of buyers in finding a decent gun once and awhile at their LGS. Multiply the insider issue by thousands of shops around the country and you have another reason not to bother with LGS.
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Old 05-14-2018, 09:30 AM
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What gun shop is that in Macon? My wife is from Macon and the way things are going we might make it back over there in the next year or so. Last time I was there I looked for some shops but did not have a lot of luck, same with finding a range to shoot. We live in E. Texas so it's a long haul over there.. I met the wife when I was stationed down at Robins AFB, back in 70-72
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Old 05-14-2018, 06:47 PM
rgm36 rgm36 is offline
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I have several perfect condition older 5 screw N frames in boxes that I may be selling soon, and when I do they will be offered where buyers are willing to pay what they are worth.

While I love this forum and have just paid my renewal fee, I have found it "Impossible" to sell anything at current retail prices here.

Everyone seems to be stuck in the past and wants to buy guns at 1990s prices. Well - I can't buy beautiful 5 screw N frames in gold boxes at 1990s prices anymore, so I don't get it. Just look at David Carroll - he aint exactly giving them away - yet he is selling them! Good for him. He is a smart business man.

My days of selling guns at current retail prices here were over the day this forum prohibited "dealers" from buying guns for the first 24 hours. Though many members demanded first chance - they were unwilling to pay what the dealers where paying.

That prohibition drove the dealers away from this site altogether.

When the good buyers left - so did all the good guns.

If you want something nice - you have to pay up for it.
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Old 05-14-2018, 07:46 PM
old tanker old tanker is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by mikepriwer View Post
... I particularly like the 15-minute rule, which some other on-line auction companies do not have. Any bids made in the last 15 minutes automatically resets the clock to another full 15 minutes. This completely does away with the problem of using a software robot to make a last split-second bid. Its a very fair system.

Regards, Mike
Roger on the 15 minute rule as a plus. The biggest downside to Gunbroker is that every LGS and pawn shop can check prices there. Gone are the days when guy is pricing out of an old Flayderman's catalog. There are a couple shops in the area that routinely put the nicer stuff on Gunbroker and NOT in their showcase.
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