by Tom Gaylord, a.k.a. B.B. Pelletier
Every airgun show has one or more themes. Some shows have piles of new-old-stock airguns that have been recently found. I remember at one show seeing stacks of S&W 78G and 79G target pistols that had never been sold. They were over 30 years old and still new in the box. At another show, there was a pile of Johnson Indoor Target Guns in the same condition, only the boxes were disintegrating after 60 years in storage. And, once, at Little Rock, a guy pulled up to the door and unloaded about thirty LNIB airguns that he’d purchased 20 years earlier. They were all high-grade guns, and he wanted exactly what he’d paid for them. Imagine being able to buy a Beeman R1 at a 1985 price!
There I was, at the Roanoke airgun show, and this year was REALLY different! For starters, it wasn’t in Roanoke. It was up a small mountain road several miles south of the big city, and I thought that would keep the attendance down. But at the Friday opening, there were hundreds of attendees who came through the doors. And those who struggled to find the place were rewarded with what I have to categorize as the very best airgun show I’ve been to. Allow me to explain.
About midway through the first day, and the show was doing a brisk business.
It seems that hard financial times have hit the airgun market, and as a result there were too many great buys to count. Also, something else happened that I guess is like the changing of the guard. It seems that many of the old graybeards were cleaning out their closets and selling most everything they had. Some strange metal surfaced to bait the faithful, as well as the tried and true guns we all love.
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.
by B.B. Pelletier
This report is specifically for blog reader Robert from Arcade, who mentioned last week that he always wanted to own a Sterling air rifle, but didn’t have the money when they were available. Well, I can relate to that! My Sterling just jumped into my lap at the Roanoke airgun show last year. It was at the very end of the show when Jim Grossman came over to my table and offered me the Sterling for a BAM B-40 I had on the table. I took the trade because I was intrigued by the rifle, but also because I’d be able to test the Sterling for you. It’s not a common air rifle by anyone’s definition, and I think it’s always nice to be able to look at something a little different.
by B.B. Pelletier
I wanted to follow up with this second part right away to keep the lesson together and fresh. Yesterday, when I closed, I mentioned some huge pitfall to be avoided, so let’s begin there.
Avoid modified airguns if you want to get your money back! There are a few exceptions that prove the rule, but let’s explore this first. Any modification will sit well with the one who did it or for whom it was done and a percentage of the general public, but the rest of the folks won’t like it. For example, barrels cut short to boost velocity in spring guns. It doesn’t pay to do this and it often ruins accuracy, but the flat truth of it is, it makes the gun no longer standard. Do you want a Beeman R1 with an 11-inch barrel? Most people don’t, and if you buy one you’ll soon find that out.