The show was an Eastman Show at the North Atlanta Trade Center. This is one of the two biggest Atlanta area gun shows, the other being the RK Show on the south side at the Atlanta Expo Center. This show was very different from the much smaller Farmer’s Market show on the south side of Atlanta that I reported on two weeks ago.
The show opens at 0900 and when I got to the parking area at 0820 the line already extended two to three abreast for 100 yards from the door. By the time the show opened, the line was at least 400 yards long. When I left at noon, the line was still stretched out for 100 yards from the door. This was the most crowded gun show I have ever attended and people were definitely buying in significant numbers.
Most of the usual gun dealers were present and all had large inventories of guns for sale. Prices were high but slightly off the extreme highs of two to four months ago.
If you were looking for a specific AR or self-defense type pistol you were very likely to be disappointed but if you just wanted something in either of those categories, you had plenty to choose from. There was a very wide range of prices being asked. One big dealer held up a DPMS AR in .223 and shouted that he would sell it for $980 and his tables were immediately crowded with prospective buyers. Other places in dealer and private sales, similar weapons were being offered for $1,200 to $2,500. The relative pricing of the myriad types of AR weapons is an arcane pseudoscience and clearly many of the new panic buyers are getting taken because of their lack of AR knowledge.
Defensive pistols seemed to be generally offered at about $200 to $300 more than they were priced before the present phase of the gun and ammo buying panic began. One dealer was offering a new Glock 21 without night sights in .45 ACP with four 13 round magazines for $1,500 and managing to not only keep a straight face but point out that it had “special stippling” on the frame. In former times, such could have been had in great quantity for $550 or less.
I saw only one fellow with old Commie-made Mosin Nagant rifles. He had six and was asking $159 each. Two months ago the same kind of rifles were typically being offered with hundreds on hand at $100 to $120.
For the first time in at least two months, I did see some .30 caliber and above heavy barreled super accurate rifles being offered for sale. There we not more than 10 at the show, spread about as singles, and they were priced at least $1,000 higher than was the norm before the current unpleasantness. If there was a single quality high power tactical rifle scope at the show, at any price, I did not see it.
Second hand center fire revolvers, shotguns, and lever action rifles continue to be offered at formerly normal to slightly elevated prices. If someone just wants to get themselves minimally armed with such a weapon they can still do so with the expenditure of $350 to $500, including enough ammunition for test firing and one tactical engagement. It is now slightly more expensive to get a good .22 rifle or pistol and a small supply of ammunition than it is to get a more capable center fire weapon.
All the considerable amount of .22LR ammo that I saw was offered by private sellers. I witnessed one man of about 75 years ask such a seller the price of the 325 round bulk packs he was offering and then quickly use cash to buy two of the packs for $90 in cash. Many other sellers were offering .22LR at even higher prices. The 325 round packs had probably not cost the seller more than $10 each so there was significant profit to have been had by having made ammo purchases early in the present regime. Whether the seller can ever renew his stocks at a lower price is a matter of conjecture.
The Georgia Arms loaded ammo and reloading components tables were literally surrounded three deep for the entire morning of the show. They had quite a bit of loaded ammo but no small pistol primers and by the time I left at noon, they were out of half the items they brought and severely depleted in more obscure stock but people were still buying frantically. They were the only dealers offering powder and the less than 100 pounds of assorted powders they started with were gone by noon. There was one other loaded ammo dealer who had considerable stocks and who was buried in buyers.
I did not see a single small pistol primer at the show. There were large pistol and small rifle primers in very small quantities and large rifle and large magnum rifle primers in slightly larger quantities. I don't think there were more than 30,000 primers at the show and they were mostly gone by the time I left at noon.
I saw no sign of new loaded ammunition or components entering dealer supplies. Four reloading component dealers who were regulars at this show were absent. Two regular loaded ammo dealers were absent.
High capacity magazines of nearly all types were in vast supply but still at high asking prices.
- Prices for ARs are stable to slightly declining and supply is keeping up with demand at current price levels.
- Big gun dealers are still getting some high demand weapons in but the supply is spotty and they are asking and getting much higher prices than were the norm three months ago.
- The gun shows are now the being held up financially and supply wise by the private sales folks, especially in the area of bulk military caliber and .22LR ammunition. A lot of these private sellers are also hauling out their old center fire revolvers, shotguns, and lever action rifles to try to get a little profit from the current excitement. So far, they are more than meeting demand.
- Some clearly knowledgeable former hold outs from buying at today’s high prices are clearly complaining but apprehensive enough to buy.
- Many inexperienced buyers are still confused by the whole situation and holding off or making very minor purchases.
- In the very unlikely event that the federal regime backs off gun control efforts, the current prices of guns, ammo, and components will collapse.
- If the federals or some blue states like New York, Missouri, Minnesota, or California keep pushing, the current uneasy supply and demand equilibrium will be broken to the up side and prices will take another leap higher the magnitude of which will be dependent on the perceived threat to 2nd Amendment rights and liberty in general.
- It has still not occurred to the overwhelming majority of the dumb masses that the current unpleasantness may last well past, and get much worse than, whatever they were anticipating when they bought a minimalist weapon and 100 or less rounds of ammo.
- Thus far, the latest leftist gun control efforts have been as dismal a failure as all other leftist initiatives in world history. The net effect has been the exact opposite of their intentions and has only served to drive millions more weapons, millions more high capacity magazines, and perhaps billions more rounds of ammunition into the hands of the bitter clingers to guns and religion that the left so deeply despises.
Sunday, February 17, 2013
February 16 gun show report
Don Dickinson made another trek to a gun show this weekend. The following observations and opinions are his own: