Saturday, February 19, 2011

As SciFiJim notes...

I owe you guys a report on my trip to the Wilkesboro, NC gun show. Apologies for not doing it sooner, but my week went into the crapper on Tuesday and I'm just now crawling over the rim. :-)

I have to tell you, this was an atypical show. Held in a former glove factory, parking was at a premium. The organizer, C&E Gun Shows, was running shuttle buses to a nearby location to provide enough parking. Since we went later on in the afternoon, we were able to park relatively nearby in the parking lot of a small church. Praise the Lord and pass the ammunition, as the song lyrics say.

On arrival, we were beset (in a very nice way) by some young boys raising money for a trip to Cooperstown to visit the Baseball Hall of Fame. They were very cool about it, only asking for a dollar. I didn't have any at the moment, but Mountain Man jumped in with a couple. (I was able to toss in a couple on the way out.) I've seen folks raising money for various veterans organizations at gun show, but never a trip to Cooperstown. Bonus points to the kids for thinking outside the box.

Inside, the show was semi-divided into two parts, because the building was semi-divided into two parts. Since time was short, we started working our way through, noting items that might be of interest later. Even for mid-afternoon, there was a good crowd, but not so many people that it was impossible to move past the tables. The buildings were uncomfortably warm inside, as in strip down to your t-shirt warm. There was a lot of complaining about that.

The Wikesboro Police Department and the Wilkes County Sheriffs Office were extraordinarily well represented. The police presence was heavier than any I've ever seen at a gun show. No discernible reason why. It's not like they were bothering anyone, but they were everywhere.

Prices at the tables were typical gun show--some vendors were obviously quite proud of their merchandise, others were there to sell guns. I had done my research on the various items I'm currently interested in, so I had a fair idea of what "good" prices should be. For the items I was able to locate, I was able to find sellers with prices that almost met the best I could find on the Intertubz. This show was something of a "treat" for me, being that I was going to spend a bit of my inheritance from my Dad "foolishly", but I wasn't about to be foolish and overpay for anything.

The first purchases were from N82 Tactical. The Nates are local fellows, and I'd seen their stuff at several shows in the last couple of years. I'm not a fan if IWB holsters, but neither is Michael Bane, and he's been bragging on his for a year now. Given the reasonable price and the fact that spring and summer are coming up, I decided to take a chance on one. I haven't worn it yet, but I can tell you that they are exceedingly well crafted, and if there is an IWB I can stand this may well be it.

I also bought something else from them, the Magna-Arm. Maybe it's the gadget geek in me coming out, but this strikes me as the solution to my long-term issue of how to carry a pistol in my car (when I don't want it physically on me). The magnet is quite strong, rubber coated to protect your gun's finish, and is mounted with two screws. A gun held by one isn't going to go flying about the cabin in the event of an accident.

I can also happily report that the Great Ammunition Shortage appears to be over. Prices have receded some, but folks, I don't think we're ever going to see cheap ammo again. Given that:
  • the price of metals is up and staying that way
  • our dollars are inflating away their worth (so it takes more of them to buy anything)
  • the manufacturers know we'll pay these prices
ammo is simply going to be more expensive going forward, perhaps permanently. However, it was definitely plentiful at this show, and I bought a 1000 round case of PMC brass .223 just to prove it. Luckily, Son was along to play the part of pack mule.

Speaking of more expensive ammo, one of the items I was looking for was a Smith and Wesson M&P15-22. You gain a lot from practice, practice, practice, and I think it is perfectly possible to have effective practice with a .22, especially one that has the same ergonomics of its larger cousin, the AR-15.

So yeah, one of those jumped up in my arms, snuggled in, and begged to go home with us. What could I do? Range report as soon as I can make time to go. Maybe a couple of weeks. *sigh*

Also noted were a largish number of guys selling guns. However, it didn't have the air of desperation I've seen at other shows, where it seemed they were being sold to raise money to live on. I think this was just the normal "I want a new gun so I have to sell this old gun" sort of thing. Even though I don't believe "Happy Days Are Here Again" economically, I was pleased not see that sort of thing going on.

One seller had very good prices on junk silver; selling Peace silver dollars for $25 each, just a slight premium above spot from the previous day. I should have bought some (Mountain Man bought a couple for Mrs. Man), but I figured I'd done enough for one day, so I passed. After what silver did this week, I can say that was a dumb move.

There were also reasonable prices on knives from Gerber, Cold Steel, Case, Buck and other major manufacturers at a number of tables. Unfortunately, despite my prodding, Son couldn't find anything he wanted. He even passed on a Buck Folding Hunter. Where did I fail?

Following the show, we all had a good meal at a fine Mexican restaurant, and, with bellies and trunk full, made our way back home.

1 comment:

ramiusu96 said...

Just an FYI, it wasn't C&E putting on that gun show, this was Dixie Gun Shows.