Quote Originally Posted by dairycreek View Post
Gunshows operate under a code of caveat emptor and, knowing that you should never get taken. I love going to a gun show as it is a real challenge to try to get a good deal. My advice is to prepare, prepare, prepare

Know what you want (or might want) and do some research as to what the value of a particular firearm is in your area. I have had sellers berate me with, "well this thunderblaster is worth -insert outrageous price - in Dallas!" Of course, you aren't in Dallas and that makes no difference but what the heck - the seller will try anything.

Maker sure the firearm is in good shape. There are an awful lot of dogs out there with high price tags.

Don't be quick to act! Sellers are usually quite anxious to make a sale and if you appear reticent they might come down. I usually state a price that I am willing to pay - and if they don't like that - I move on. Come by later and see what the seller's attitude is after he has had some time to think about it.

I make my best purchases late in the day. If a seller has not had a good selling day they are usually much more amenable to hard bargaining late in the day.

I look at gun shows as a kind of sport. Sometimes I bag my quarry and sometimes I don't. But, those times when I "win one" feel pretty good to me. Yeah, the days of easy gunshow bargains are long gone but, if you do some work and preparation, some good deals can be had
I'm with ya in so far as "take it for what it is". I look at it as a chance to have some fun and maybe if I look hard and long, just maybe I'll find a bargain. The gunshows here in Orlando though sure demonstrate the truth of the saying "if you think education is expensive, try ignorance". You'll get taken to the cleaners if you go in to buy something and don't have an idea of what a fair price is. I was shocked to see people asking $450 for WASR-10 AKs at the last one when the internet price is $300 or so, outrageous even figuring it'll cost you maybe $50 to ship to your local FFL and do the transfer. Beat-up Mosin-Nagant 91/30s at one table for $150!?!

I've gotten more open-minded about the value of a gunshow, though. To me anyway there's some value in having a wide selection of different stuff all in one place. If I can find for example halfway fair prices on reloading components, and make a bulk buy, then I'll save the $20 hazmat fee plus the S&H that an internet order would cost me. Buy a couple of things and end up saving some $ despite paying $8 to get in. And if you pay cash sometimes a reasonable discount can be applied. Overall I like going to the gun shows but one has to have the proper frame of mind for it.