Airgun selling strategies

by B.B.Pelletier

I attended a gun show this past weekend; and on the first day, I noticed something that I’ve seen for many years but never appreciated. Most of the people who attend gun shows don’t know what airguns are worth. You can benefit from that.

Nobody knows what airguns are worth!
Across the aisle from me, a dealer had a Daisy model 21 double-barreled gun laid out. When I examined it, I noticed that it was really beat-up. It was a 20 percent gun, at best.

The dealer said he wanted a thousand dollars for this gun, because he’d seen one new in the box selling for $3,500 on the internet. He knew his was a junker, but he figured it must be worth that much at least.

He probably saw the asking price for the new-in-the-box gun. There are lots of outrageous prices like that online, and they usually never get a nibbler. But some people use those bogus prices as their starting point, and this dealer was one of them.

I’ll be attending the Roanoke Airgun Expo in a couple weeks, and I expect to see half a dozen to twenty model 21 Daisys, ranging from $300 for beaters, like the one I described, up to perhaps $1,400 for one like-new in the box. Yes, the price spectrum is really that broad, but it doesn’t continue on up into the stratosphere like many people hope and dream.

So, here’s an idea. Get a real cheap model 21 and bring it to a gun show! While you’re at it, there are many more airguns you can dispose of in this manner.

Airguns that firearms people like
You can’t go wrong with any of the Winchester-marked Diana breakbarrels. At the gun show, they think the name adds value. So your $200 Winchester 427 is now worth $250 or even more.

Older Benjamins and Crosmans always seem to go well. Since I am old myself, let me explain that by old I mean pre-1960. Pre-war is even better. And by pre-war, I mean before World War II.

Older and classic Daisys sell well. Older Daisys command attention wherever they are. But there are classic guns that don’t have to be old. The No. 25 is the poster child of all classic BB guns, and guns made in Rogers in the 1970s are very attractive to non-airgun buyers. You can pick them up cheap everywhere and make a nice profit when you sell them to someone who doesn’t know how common they are.

Another certain seller is an older, well-made gun like a Webley Senior or a Tell III. However, you have to buy them right, because gun show guys just don’t understand $300 pellet guns. Guns like the Weihrauch HW 45 (Beeman P1) are not so good, because you’ll usually have to pay too much to get them; or if you do get one right, it’ll be too hard to explain it to a non-airgunner.

But whatever you bring has to function, because these guys don’t want to collect them. They’ll be reliving their childhood with the treasures they buy from you. Spend the money to get them sealed and working before you lay them out, and you’ll be surprised at the response you get.

Older, vintage-looking guns
There’s a small market for wall-hangers at gun shows. I recently sold several cheap shotguns to guys who just wanted them as accent pieces for the wall. Well, what about older Daisys and Kings that reek of the 1920s? What about a real old Benjamin model D that isn’t worth fixing, but has great lines? Just be sure to pay pennies for guns like this, because you’ll sell them for pennies, as well.

Safety first
One thing you absolutely cannot do at a gun show is dry-fire an airgun. People do it at airgun shows, and I think some folks believe it’s okay. If you do it even one time at a gun show, you’ll be ejected from the show and banned from returning.

Become “the airgun guy”
Pick a gun show and attend it regularly. Soon, the dealers and veteran attendees will know you as the airgun guy. Whenever someone brings an airgun to the show, they’ll be directed to your table. Whenever someone asks about where the airguns are, they’ll be sent to you. You won’t have much competition at most of the smaller gun shows, from what I’ve seen.

The more regularly you attend a show, the more traffic you’ll build. These are people who will come to the show just because they know you’ll be there. They may have a gun that needs to be fixed or they may have just bought a collection that included airguns. Whatever the connection, if you’re the airgun guy, all the business will come to you.

40 Responses to “Airgun selling strategies”

  • RidgeRunner Says:

    So, what kind of selling stratagies should I use as a walk in seller or trader at the Roanoke show?

    • kevin Says:

      Re: Selling/trading strategies for Roanoke

      1-Arrive early on Friday
      2-Bring the gun inside with you. Bring all relevant paperwork with you, i.e., invoices and details on tuning or work performed on the gun, literature that came with the gun like hang tags, manuals, etc., recent chrony information, etc.
      3-Be able to immediately state what price you would sell the gun for outright when asked
      4-Pay attention to prices that are being asked for the same model gun at the show and modify your asking price if you really want to sell/trade

      kevin

    • B.B. Pelletier Says:

      RidgeRunner,

      People will walk up to you, if you have desirable airguns. Don’t deal with the first person you talk to.

      B.B.

      • Jim Says:

        Have a tell 3 pre war pistol in good condition. Any info would be appreciated

        • B.B. Pelletier Says:

          Jim,

          The Tell III was manufactured between 1936-1940. According to the Blue Book, only 50 were manufactured. I dispute that because there seem to be more of them around, but it’s still not a common airgun.

          In 95 percent condition, which would look like new to most people, the Blue Book lists it at $950. In 80 percent condition which most would say is excellent, the Blue Book says it’s worth $625.

          B.B.

  • mikeiniowa Says:

    Don’t try to sell an over priced air rifle to any older guys with thinning hair that have blogs at PA….thats the first one

  • David Enoch Says:

    Hi BB,
    What did you buy and sell at the show?
    We had a good shoot at Aledo, Texas, just west of Fort Worth, this past weekend. Maybe you can attend the next one if it doesn’t conflict with another gun show. A lot of the guys would like to meet you. I got to shoot one of the reduced power Crosman gas ram guns. I liked the easy cocking, the slim stock, and firing cycle of the gun.

    David Enoch

  • Fred PRoNJ Says:

    If you really want to buy and sell at these shows and get a fair price, you owe yourself the obligation to obtain the Bluebook of Airguns. I’m pretty sure PA sells it. It is the “bible” of our sport and gives wonderful guidance and information on almost all airguns made. For instance, I will be bringing my pre WW II Diana 5V to the show for sale but it’s a .22 and the Bluebook only mentions .177′s being made. Other air rifles I’ll be bringing will be a pristine Discovery in .177, a Crosman 99 (think Savage lever action) and my RWS 350 in .177.

    However, let me say that the big boys who buy multiple tables and are there to sell collections are pretty honest and will not take advantage of a fellow airgunner. You may end up buying that collector’s item or new gun at the high end of the scale but it won’t be for thousands above the acceptable range.

    Fred PRoNJ

    • kevin Says:

      Agree that the Bluebook of Airguns is a great reference guide for value. Handy to have available at gun shows. The yellow classifieds is also a great resource for researching recent sales of airgun models and it’s free.

      kevin

  • Ms Linnet Says:

    Well the girls and I had our first formal lesson and I must say they were great, Dad not so much….
    They had watched the videos in the airgun academy, were able to ask questions, understood about pellets and bb’s, fully understood the safety measures needed. We were primed and ready to start the lesson and here comes the hubby with his mini Uzi, as we ran for cover my 8 year old daughter stood up and said you are on restriction, until you can fully explain why what you did was wrong you will no longer be allowed to participate, the color drained from his face and he sulked off. I died laughing. So once again he is on restriction.

    The girls and I continued and I must say the youngest one was right on the target she only missed 3 out of 20. We are looking forward to the next session. I removed the batteries from his Uzi last night after he was asleep.

    • B.B. Pelletier Says:

      Ms Linnet,

      I don’t know whether to feel happy that your daughter is so disciplined or pity for your husband, who is clearly outnumbered. They take a long time to train and every once in awhile they do revert to the wild, but all things considered they are likable and useful. :)

      Husbands, that is.

      B.B.

    • Matt61 Says:

      This cracks me up. Will this be the family where all the women love airguns and the guy does note? :-)

      Matt61

    • Matt61 Says:

      So, what did your husband do wrong anyway?

      Matt61

    • Herb Says:

      That’s a hoot.

      Reminds me of a situation with my daughter and day care. They went on a field trip and my daughter raised a stink about a seat belt. They finally transferred her to another car. When the teacher was telling my wife, the teacher expected my wife to scold my daughter. Instead she dropped and gave my daughter a big hug. “Good girl!” Shocked the !@#$% out of the teacher.

      With guns there is no such thing as too safe.

      • J-F Says:

        You raised your kid the right way.
        Your daughter knew she was right and didn’t let the teacher even if she was in a position of authority win over what she knew was right.

        Congrats!

        J-F

  • Chuck Says:

    Ms Linnet,
    You are a source of much joy! Your daughters sound like very intelligent students. Perhaps hubby is teaching by using reverse psychology? You know, “My darling daughters, what is wrong with this picture?” Until you know for sure, please make sure everyone wears safety glasses :-) I don’t know where your hubby is right now but I feel the urge to put my glasses on just to be safe.

  • Ms Linnet Says:

    Chuck, you had me laughing out loud on that one (I don’t know where your hubby is right now but I feel the urge to put my glasses on just to be safe..) He just called to ask if I knew what was wrong with his gun, it wont shoot… and he knows he put in new batteries yesterday…oh my I told him I would check it out when I get home.

  • Matt61 Says:

    As a matter of fact in my early days, I thought that sticking with firearms brands was the way to go in buying airguns. Based on that idea, I had tentatively picked out a Winchester airgun that I have hardly ever seen mentioned.

    Chuck, thanks for the report on the Challenger. That’s enviable shooting.

    Okay, gents and ladies, I shot off my handloads this past weekend at the range, so I don’t think there can be any argument that I am not a handloader! Thanks to all for your help. I feel like I am flying through space. The good news is that I am still alive and my gun is intact, but it was an all-around interesting time, one of my most colorful range outings. Slinging Lead take note. The first problem was how to carry around my gear that included a double rifle case; a bag filled with two sandbags, brass catcher, M1 clips, assorted ammo boxes, three piece scope stand, extra cushion for a gun rest, a pistol case, eye and ear protection; as well as a shooting mat, spotting scope, archery quiver, two bows, an arrow case, and four targets mounted on cardboard. It all must have weighed 300 pounds. The answer: with extreme difficulty. And I didn’t have a vehicle to store my things, so I was like the human antheap tramping around the complex. I’m sure it looked pitiful. Also, I couldn’t very well break down all my gear to go to the bathroom so a certain amount of dehydration was in order.

    Reloads in the M1 were accurate with no pressure problems but they jammed and were ejecting at different angles. The powder load was accurate to 1/20 grain, primers seated properly, brass and bullets news, OAL within tolerances. That would seem to cut down the possible causes of the problem.

    The Anschutz was so ridiculously accurate at 50 yards rested that I stopped after 5 rounds which left one hole through the center of the target, and I devoted the remaining 250 rounds to standing. The first 100 rounds were shot off in a panic as I sprayed rounds into palm-sized groups centered a couple inches below the bulls. The panic stemmed partly from my confusion with the target reticle which is different from the crosshairs and iron sights I usually use, and a related fear that all my tens of thousands of practice airgun rounds were not transferring to my Olympic rifle. This was not the plan at all. But then I finally figured out how to place my massive earmuff behind the stock to get a better cheek weld and settled down, and I was able to hold the black. The idea that someone can clean standing as Victor said is just astounding to me. I did a certain amount of sitting and was holding the 7 ring and at the end, I was starting to drop the rounds on top of each other.

    Next, I tried the Single Six at 50 yards standing and was able to keep the rounds on a dinner plate area–quite a large dinner plate of a foot and a half diameter. Actually, as I called the shots, that some of the best shooting I’ve done with the sight picture looking exactly right. This long-distance shooting is a tough one.

    Then, it was off to the archery range to shoot off 80 arrows. Curiously, I took as much satisfaction in doing this as the shooting even though my groups of 8 were a couple feet wide at 20 yards. Then, I was scurrying back to the pistol range before my ride showed up doing the quite the Navy Seal imitation by hauling my gear through brush.

    The 1911 was the star of the show as I ran 80 rounds through it in about 15 minutes. I have found a name for my pain and it is the 230 grain load. This time I tried some 185 gr. hollowpoints, and the difference was dramatic. I was actually shooting reliably where I aimed (at 7 yards). Unbelievable. (So what do the pros shoot at Camp Perry? I can’t imagine why you would want the heavy bullet for target shooting.) Unfortunately, the semi-jacketed hollowpoints were jamming and my Smith and Wesson 1911′s reliability record is in tatters. The problem grew progressively worse, and I finally had to rip the magazine out to clear the jams. Why? It was either the hollowpoint design or the semi-jacketing. My sense is the latter. While this was going on, the subconscious which had been surfacing throughout the afternoon finally emerged. My version of the shooting mindset which has been called the “dread resolve” is the “Jaws of the Subconscious.” When everything is right (after I’ve settled into my routine), the subconscious rises up like a pair of jaws just like on the cover of the Peter Benchley novel and seizes the exact right moment to shoot. CHOMP CHOMP CHOMP. It was great. While all this was going on, my brass catcher net tipped over on the bench, brass and all, and fell right onto the cement. It was on my right and with a loaded pistol in my right hand, the instinct was to reach out with both hands for the catcher and sweep the other shooters with my gun. In fact, my head snapped around and my whole body strained forward by instinct, but my gun stayed rested on the bench and didn’t stir. I guess that makes me a high master of safety. Are you impressed?… :-) And as another distraction, I felt periodically, that someone was tickling me on the back of the head. The feeling was distinct, but when I brushed my fingers over my cap, I felt nothing. Either the talkative range officer was playing pranks on me, or it had just been a long day. Anyway, I was focused on meeting my ride, so I paid no more attention.

    I did make my deadline, and as I was settling back into the car seat, I took off my cap, and darn it if a four inch lizard fell right out into my lap and ran away under the seat. He must have crept into my hat when I took it off for archery. That was the cause of the mysterious tickling. So, how about shooting a .45 under time pressure with your poorly positioned brass catcher collapsing next to you while a lizard is sitting on your head!

    Why can’t I have a normal range session?! But at least I learned a lot.

    Matt61

    • Chuck Says:

      Matt,
      I think that was a smart lizard who knew the safest place to go while all that brass was raining down.

    • GenghisJan Says:

      Dang, Matt. Sounds like you were in the shooting zone. Almost trance-like. You sure that lizard wasn’t your spirit animal or something?

      -Jan

      • Wulfraed Says:

        Maybe it was the Geico gecko researching a new line of insurance…

      • Matt61 Says:

        To return to the whole driving business, there’s some movie called the Ballad of Bobby Ray something or other that is a send-up of the NASCAR scene. (Amy Adams does a very good job in it!) Anyway, one of the training methods to develop poise is to drive with a cougar in your backseat. I’d like to say a lizard puts me in the same category, but actually I was blissfully ignorant.

        Matt61

        • Edith Gaylord Says:

          Matt61,

          Cougar? Are we talking about a big cat or are we talking about an older woman? These days, it’s hard to tell what people mean !

          :-)

          Edith

          • Matt61 Says:

            It was the big cat in this case. The other meaning would be interesting too, but was not pursued by the movie. Actually, I think the Amy Adams love interest was quite a bit younger in the movie. Hence the general surprise when she whips off her shirt! Anyway, it’s a silly movie. The name is The Ballad of Ricky Bobby as I now recall.

            Matt61

          • Wulfraed Says:

            If there’s “Cheetahs” nearby it is likely the older woman <G>

            The former pink-painted “Kit Kat Club” in town changed to a desert sand with the name “Cheetahs Gentlemen’s Club” — leading one to ponder how many clients really are…

        • shaky Says:

          Matt61,
          I think that is Talladega Nights (The ballad of Ricky Bobby) His dad was trying to teach him to ignore distractions and concentrate to get his nerve back.

    • CowBoyStar Dad Says:

      What kinda bow are you shooting Matt…recurve, compound??
      I ask because I can’t believe how much I suck at archery.
      My oldest son (10yrs) is in his second year of archery. This past Saturday was the first session of the new fall season and I was quite pleased how he did. We had a busy summer and he didn’t get much practice in, but after some sighting shots he was getting 5″ groups (3 arrows per end) at 18m. He shoots a mid priced T-Rex recurve.
      Anyhoo, after his class was over we stuck around a bit and I gave it a try. Now I guess I really didn’t think I’d do any better than he…but after 3 shots (in which I missed the 40cm target every time) I gave up…and had to endure a couple of comments about how lousy I was…hard to take from a 10 year old…especially when it was true ;-(

      • Matt61 Says:

        CowboyStar Dad. My 30 lb. training bow is from Bear Archery. My 60 lb. longbow is called the “Sequioa” but I forget its brand name. It is roughly equivalent to the “Montana” model from Bear Archery. Bear is a very reliable name brand. I wouldn’t get discouraged about your results. I believe that people who are good in one shooting discipline are good in all, and you have a stout record of performance. And I wouldn’t be put off by three misses. It took me a hundred rounds before I settled down on target with my Anschutz. Actually, from the viewpoint of traditional Korean archery, you are right on course. They don’t even allow you to shoot an arrow until you finish a couple years of pulling the bow with the proper technique. So, you and your son’s successes and failures would be equally irrelevant from their point of view. It sounds extreme, but they may have the right idea. One of the worst things that has happened with my Dad’s shooting development was his initial lucky shots with the 1911 and the Winchester 94. Without a foundation of technique these initial successes have evaporated, and he is getting depressed. After the last outing, he even felt like he had to re-establish himself by challenging me to putting and playing HORSE with a basketball. The outcome was a neck and neck contest in which we were about equally incompetent. One of the reasons for searching for a lighter load for the .45 is to get him out of his rut.

        On the subject of archery technique, the Korean method has some interesting differences from the shooting of guns that you might consider. The whole method is very carefully detailed without a lot of room for misunderstanding.

        1. Exhale, and step forward into a shooting stance with the bow hanging relaxed.

        2. Inhale as you raise the bow over your head.

        3. Hold breath as you lower the bow into shooting position. The bow is drawn by holding the rear hand more or less steady and pushing your lead hand forward with the aid of gravity. Find some reference point with your rear hand to draw to the same point each time.

        4. The key step and point of difference. EXHALE as you release instead of holding your breath and keep your eye on the target until the arrow strikes.

        It felt weird to me to exhale during the shot, but it definitely helps. It gives a palpable sense of follow-through as if you were wire-guiding your shot. Anyway, hang in there. (I am!) I’d say your son has set himself up for a surprise if he’s making fun of his Dad.

        Matt61

        • Wulfraed Says:

          3. Hold breath as you lower the bow into shooting position. The bow is drawn by holding the rear hand more or less steady and pushing your lead hand forward with the aid of gravity. Find some reference point with your rear hand to draw to the same point each time.

          Heh… back in my gaming days I used to live in the SCA demo room at conventions… During the archery seminar someone would usually pass around a 75-80lb pull bow… I used to love watching the neo’s (remember, this is a convention for paper/pencil/dice gamers) try to draw the bow by holding it out in the left arm and pulling back with the right hand. Of course they consistently failed. In contrast, wimpy me would hold it overhead, use a small amount of muscle to pull the string down to my cheek (about 15″ separation, or maybe 3-4″ of actual draw), then lower the bow to the left with a locked arm… full draw achieved with no real effort.

        • CowBoyStar Dad Says:

          Matt, at one of my sons classes last year they had a demonstration given by a practiconer of a Japanese form of archery called Kyudo, which sounds much like the Korean example you’ve sited.
          As the fellow putting on the display said, in Japan it is not considered archery per se…but is thought of as a martial art.
          It was quite fascinating to watch…before every shot he did a short meditation…afterwhich he took his stance for the shot…it was like watching a ballet dancer practicing. The body/breathing/stance were like artwork.

    • Volvo Says:

      Matt61,

      Loved the lizard under the hat part. I am not sure what load you were using, but you may find .22 magnums out of the Single Six are best suited to long distance shooting. However, it sounds like you had enough pokers in the fire. I am the same way, if I ‘m going to make the trip to the range I have a hard time limiting myself on what to take. The only thing that slows me down a little is the though of having to clean all that gear when I get back home.

      • Volvo Says:

        Speaking of cleaning, that is one of the big pluses you seldom see mentioned about air guns. Getting all that powder residue and fouling off of a powder burner is a pain. I know some guys probably don’t do it ever time, but I was taught otherwise. I thing twice about what I shoot for that reason alone.

        On the other hand, a 10 second wipe down with an old oily t-shirt keeps an air rifle just fine.

      • Matt61 Says:

        Right you are. I’m still in the midst of cleaning and stowing the gear. The Anschutz rifle is particularly agonizing. I don’t clean it often, but when I do, I observe the highest standards that include unscrewing the brush after I push it through the bore so that I don’t reverse it. I don’t know if this makes any difference, but I’m not going to take any chances with my Olympic rifle. Anyway, 30 brush strokes is highly tedious.

        Matt61

    • J-F Says:

      Wow Matt tha was epic (and hilarious).
      You need to work on some guest blogs.

      J-F

    • KidAgain Says:

      Matt,

      Wow! That’s hilarious. It was great to hear you didn’t miss load or blow yourself up with your reloads. The feeling was eerie to say the least when I fired my first batch. I loaded about 250 rds with 6 different loads (varied amounts of powder) and marked the primers with different colored sharpies. Made it easier to recover my brass and not the range users’ from the day before. That was months ago and just last night I got to learn pullet pulling! I had about 20 rounds that I marked as questionable loads and finally got around to dealing with ‘em.

      ka

Leave a Reply


+ 3 = 5

NEW: Dan Wesson pellet revolvers!
Dan Wesson pellet revolvers

You wanted Dan Wesson revolvers that could shoot pellets, so we ordered them. Six-shot pellet shooters that so closely copy the firearm, you'll be stunned by the realism. An excellent way to hone trigger control and maintain accuracy with your firearm -- without range fees, expensive ammo or leaving your house. Pre-order yours now. Get it. Shoot it. Love it!

Ka-BOOM!
Airburst MegaBoom reactive targets

Airburst MegaBoom bases transform ordinary plastic soda & water bottles into booming targets that deliver up to 150 decibels when punctured. Get the base and charge your own plastic bottles or get the MegaBoom bottles filled with BoomDust that mists like smoke when the bottle is punctured. Low-pressure air pump and blast guard accessories also available. A real blast!

Archives