Saturday, February 2, 2013

Atlanta area gun show report

Don Dickinson, who co-hosts the radio show with me, was at a gun show today.

Don's a regular at Atlanta area shows. He knows the people and culture. He provides a detailed report:

This morning I went to the gun show at the Georgia Farmer’s Market just south of Atlanta. This is an old show location but it has been in decline for years. Still, during the initial phase of the present panic in Nov 2012 it would be packed with dealers and the full panoply of guns and ammo at typical prices.

This was the strangest gun show I have ever attended. The first hint was when I got in the usual line stretching around the building, none of the people in line near me had ever been to that show before and in some cases any gun show ever. With over 150 people in line, there were only 2 people carrying long weapons they wanted to sell. One had a sorry looking AK variant and the other had a sorrier looking SKS. I did not see anyone in line with a handgun or shotgun for sale.

Inside, the space was less filled than I have ever seen it. Only two of the usual big gun dealers were present. One had a dismal small assortment of long guns with the only new and useful ones being various .30-30, .357, and .44 lever actions. The other had a pretty good assortment of semi-auto pistols and ARs. The semi-autos were generally priced about $200 more than was the norm last year and the ARs were priced at $2,800 to $3,500.

The rest of the space was filled with gun accessory and swap meet junk dealers filling about 40% and private sales tables filling another 40%. I have never before seen so many private sales tables and so many such sellers with multiple tables. The private sales types seem roughly divided into four categories with one fourth offering an assortment of Commie ammo calibers at 2-3 times the price before the unpleasantness. Another fourth had magazines at prices like $30 for a 20 round AR15 mag to $300 for a 100 round AR15 mag. Another fellow had good Wilson 1911 .45 mags at an asking price of $60 each. One fourth had small assortments of ARs at prices from $1,800 to $5,450. And the final fourth were the people who had cleaned out the shop or basement. This was the most interesting class of sellers and I picked up a new condition Buck 124 in a new condition sheath for $40. Later, I will tell about the one guy in this category who had M1 rifle parts.

I saw only one M1 Rifle at the show and it had a CMP stock and was clearly from the cohort priced by CMP at $625 and currently out of stock. It was priced at $1,800. I did not see a single M1 Carbine, good scoped hunting rifle, or long range target/sniper rifle. No reloading components of any kind were on sale by anyone.

I did not see a single round of .22LR for sale. This is interesting because the most common caliber rifles and pistol that the dealers had were .22LR. One guy had ten 20 round boxes of HXP 69 for $40 per box. The only other .30-06 was a guy with the M1 Rifle parts who had five stripper clips with ammo head stamped 28! There were at least three sellers with 100 to 200 rounds of commercial .308 priced at $2 to $ 3 per round. Quite a few people had .223 priced at $.75 to $1.25 a round. One guy was selling boxes of cheapo .45 ACP and 9mm at $.75 and $.65 respectively and moving some ammo. If you wanted any other calibers, you were out of luck.

Once guy had a WWII M1 rifle stock for $15 until I got it. He also had M1 rifle barrels for $25. They were rough but I came back twice to make sure I did not want them. He told me that I was the only one in the show who even knew what they were. And that leads me to the strangest aspect of the show.

I did not see anyone I knew and that is unheard of for me at an Atlanta area gun show. Just listening to the crowd, it was apparent that most were very new to the whole idea of guns. They were bewildered. They wanted something, but they did not know what to do. I did not see many sales of anything.

- The usual dealers are out of inventory.
- The usual buyers have given up on this show.
- If you do not already have what you think you need, the only remaining source for good old time prices is CMP and they only have .30 Carbine ammo, .308 ammo and rifles and .30-06 ammo and rifles.
- Due to the supply chains being drained all the way back to the basic component manufactures, this problem in supply is going to get much worse before it can possibly get better.
- It is going to take another bump up in the panic levels to cause prices to go any higher. Experienced gun culture types are on the sidelines and novices are not yet scared enough to buy much of what little is left at current prices.

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