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Larry Brown
PostPosted: Tue May 03, 2005 5:57 am  Reply with quote
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Chief, there's no question that there's good and bad about the outfits like Cabela's and Scheel's. As you said, you go to one of their stores and you're going to see a lot of good stuff. Bargain prices . . . rarely. But then I've found--and it seems you have as well--that they stand behind what they sell. You buy from Joe Smedley at the gun show, and you're probably on your own.

Of course the down side of the whole thing is that they are also our competition. They hit the shows too, they have deep pockets, and they're going to pick up a lot of guns to stock their numerous Gun Libraries and Premium Gun Rooms. They buy a lot more volume, and generally pay better prices, than just about all the individual, one shop dealers--even the very biggest ones.

But if you have a gun for sale at what you consider a fair price, and you can show they've got something comparable and are asking a few hundred $ more, that can sometimes work to your advantage as a seller.
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16gaugeguy
PostPosted: Tue May 03, 2005 7:18 am  Reply with quote
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Larry, perhaps you are losing some perspective due to your personal reality. I'm up in New England and no where near any of the Cabela's outlets nor are many of the folks in the South and the West coast. Its the parcel route or nothing. Pictures on the internet are much too iffie. Plus, don't forget that you are an "in" due to your notoriety in the gun press. The folks at Cabela's probably wouldn't risk any bad press by trying to run one past you. The rest of us average joes are pretty much left to our own devices. That's our reality, and it can be cold and hard if we don't exercise caution, and sometime even when we do.
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Wolfchief
PostPosted: Tue May 03, 2005 7:32 pm  Reply with quote



Joined: 15 Oct 2004
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16gaugeguy: I think you have a point. Just today, I called Scheel's in Iowa City and spoke with a Ron Meyer there. I was looking for coolectible Winchesters---Model 12's and Model 42's. They had about 4 Model 12's and one Model 42 in stock when I called. I made my preferences clear; I'm interested mostly in the Model 12's, all original, uncut, factory-straight, 97% condition up, no Cutts, Polychokes, add-ons, etc.

I wanted a 16 ga. if possible. Well, they do have one, described as a "pre-war, 28" plain barrel, mod. choke, about 95%." They had this gun, a run of the mill field gun, priced at $1,299 !! I checked on another couple of websites, and the same thing can apparently be found for anywhere from $595 (doubtful) to $950 (still a tad high for my taste). So what is the rationale for charging $1,299---well over the apparent market (remember, this gun is 95%) except for the fact that, given enough time, some unsuspecting sucker just might pay it? The Model 12 16's, for whatever reason, should typically sell for less than other gauges, but not in this case, it seems.

Also, and to get to 16gaugeguy's point, the clerk's idea of "95%" and my idea of the same, may or may not mesh, but I wouldn't really find this out for sure until I spent my money, paid my local dealer for the transfer cost, and received the gun via UPS---then, if not satisfied, I have additional grief to endure to get it made right. They'll gladly make it right----but the extra expense and hassle to do so is ALL mine. I "trust" Scheel's---they 've been honest in the past---but it IS a dilemma......I'm nobody special to them, so I've really gotta be careful....

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Larry Brown
PostPosted: Wed May 04, 2005 6:38 am  Reply with quote
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Guys, respectfully, I think you're giving my "power" in the gun world way too much emphasis, and your own way too little. When's the last time you saw an article in a magazine, by me or anyone else, bashing a gun dealer? We all have access to the Internet. IMO, that's what dealers need to be worried about, because you aren't going to see an article entitled "Joe Smedley the Gun Peddler is a Crook!" in Shooting Sportsman or Double Gun Journal. On the other hand, you will see all sorts of threads, on various websites, in which people relate personal experiences--good and bad--with dealers, gunsmiths, etc. And in most cases, there will be some of both. All I can say is that in my personal dealings with Cabela's and Scheel's--both of which I'm fortunate to have fairly close at hand--I've been satisfied. If the price is too high on something, I don't buy. If you want to do some price comparisons, go to gunsamerica. Makes it pretty easy to find out what the going price is, if you're talking something like a Model 12. And a lot of people I know--not writers, just guys with whom I hunt and shoot--deal at Cabela's and Scheel's as well. I don't think I do any better than they do. They complain about prices (so do we all!), but they buy when they can make the right deal, and if something's wrong with the gun, it goes back.

As far as those of us in the MW being advantaged in any way . . . Guy, check out the list of advertisers on gunshop.com. Tell me how many of them are in the MW, and how many on the East Coast. Mass a black pit? How far are you from Galazan's, Robin Hollow, Orvis, Cole, and a bunch of others? We're just starting to play catchup with you guys! Not so many years ago, I took a vacation out East expressly so I could see some decent guns. That was before Cabela's set up shop in Owatonna, only one Scheel's in Iowa (and very few doubles) . . . but I could come out your way and hit a whole bunch of places. Yeah, you've lost La Becasse and New England Arms, but you're not exactly without dealers in quality guns out that way. And they're not chain stores, so if you don't like those, you're actually at an advantage, because we don't have any "single store" dealers to compare to the ones on the East Coast. And gun shows in Iowa . . . I have to go to Kansas City, Tulsa or Louisville if I want to see any decent doubles.

But we do have better bird hunting than you do!
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16gaugeguy
PostPosted: Wed May 04, 2005 7:10 am  Reply with quote
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Well Steve, I guess I forgot about the mud.

Yeah, okay Larry, you just named the 5 robber barons of New England gun dealing. Those are the top shops for paying at least 20% or more than anywhere else for almost any gun you can name in comparable condition. They do specialize in fine classic doubles, and top quality restoration services. They work hard to make their prefered clientele happy, however, not many average sportsmen can afford them at the those prices. Believe me when I say that Joe Average is not prefered clientele and does not shop there. plus, they have never been known to pay any more than the smaller shops when it comes to trades and in a lot of cases, somewhat less.

On the other hand, there is Kittery Trading Post. That is a pretty fair place to buy guns. There is something for everyone there from junk to jewels. They also are very straight about what they will and won't do to make something unforseen right. All you have to do is ask. There also used to be some very good shops in Ma. but the Mass legislature and the Clinton Administration took care of that. I've also gotten some very good deals on various guns from the Want Ads Magizine by dealing eye to eye with the local folks. Most folks who sell firearms there are pretty straight and you can check the gun out before you buy.

however, my main point in all of this has been to warn about the pitfalls inherent in dealing on the net. I just thank my lucky stars that I woke up in time to buy my 16 ga. Citori before they got "overly popular." I got it locally from a small shop at a fair price without all the histrionics and nonsense we can be subjected to before we actually see the gun being sold via the "long distance line."
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Steve Smith
PostPosted: Wed May 04, 2005 8:23 am  Reply with quote



Joined: 20 Apr 2005
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Guy and anone who wants to respond,

Out of curiosity, what's the dumbest gun deal you ever made. Somebody, I think it may have been Steve Bodio, told me he could turn a Purdey into a Mossberg pump in three trades.

I'm not that bad, but about 1982 or '83, I bought -- sight unseen except for some photos -- a Webley & Scott 16-gauge from a fellow in Lockerbie, Scotland, had it reproofed at the London house because that's where the original proofing was done (London took some of Birmingham's overflow in the 1920s when the gun was made and I assume vice versa), and had it shipped to the states. And I'd already paid for the whole thing, close to $2000, which was a lot of money in those days. It's still a lot of money.

The gun came through, was exactly as represented, and I use it for grouse and woodcock because of its weight, 5/10 with 28" barrels. When I think of what could have gone wrong, beginning with "you've never been fleeced 'till you've been fleeced by an Englishman," I must have had rocks in my head. It was only pure, dumb luck that I didn't get filleted and my hide tacked to a barn wall somewhere.

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16gaugeguy
PostPosted: Wed May 04, 2005 9:57 am  Reply with quote
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Steve, I just spent lunch hour answering, punched submit, and the whole shebang disappeared into cyberspace. There are probably a whole bunch of folks in Hindustan trying to decript the unexpected post they just received on their Gotsomkarma web site. There are still things to be said for a typewriter and paper. I'll try again later.
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16gaugeguy
PostPosted: Wed May 04, 2005 1:02 pm  Reply with quote
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Here goes second attempt

The worst trade I ever made and one of the two trades I learned the most from happened in the early 80's in the Orlando area at Col. Wayne something or other's monthly gun auction. I was a bit green and had a decent paying job...in other words a prime pidgeon.

I bid on what looked like a fairly good 1873 Winchester 38-40 and won it for $350. However, when I got my "prize" home, I found the stock had a split through the wrist, was glued, filled and stained to look solid. The gun was also missing the dust cover, the bore looked like a termite tunnel, and the magazine spring and follower were also elsewhere. That was probably a good thing, because the magazine tube was rusted almost through, and the spring might have popped out into my eye. End lesson one. Summary--only trade when you know what you are doing; it saves on sucker fishing.

The other trade was at the same place a few monthes later. The Col. had another 1880's era octagon barreled lever gun on the block. He was extolling the crowd on the virtues of said piece but they weren't buying it. The bid froze at $375 and the Col. kept soliciting bids way longer than normal, even for him. He looked a little panicy so I threw out a $400 bid on a dumb luck hunch. Bingo! I owned an original Colt Burgess 44-40, one of a few thousand made before Colt and Winchester came to their famous non-competition arrangement. I later traded it at a Merrit Island gun show for a fairly new in the box Winchester 101 20 ga. O/U and a wad of cash to boot. End lesson two. Summary--sometimes it is better to be lucky than smart, but only as rarely as a Colt Burgess comes around cheap.

I have spent a gazillion hours on both sides of gun show tables, auctions, yard and estate sales, and have learned to learn from others' lessons. Its safer and cheaper.

I have never been able to shoot a side by side well, so I've therefore, never been bitten by the "classic double bug." Its like my not being able to stomach good liquer, so I don't drink either. Some flaws are in our best interest. Also, I am very fortunate to be able to shoot any Winchester 101, Miroku C. Daly, or Browning Citori basic field or lightning model very well.

I've owned and traded a scad of them. I got into them when most O/U fanciers were "Browning Superposed Snobs", and regarded my guns as Jap Junk, while their guns' ribs routinely fell off and the metal quietly rusted to dust under the stock.

I bought quite a few of my favorites very reasonably in the late 70's and early to mid 80's. When the 101 models and the C. Daly/Mirokus went out of sight, recently, I sold them off. I own most of my citori models for gratis on the profits. End of lesson three. Summary--Know when you are well off with what you have, especially if you can routinely shoot the pants off someone with a $5000 plus "quality Double." A gun is primarily for shooting. Don't ever lose sight of this simple truth. Sooner or later, the true quality and worth of a good gun will shine through all the hoy paloy!
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Steve Smith
PostPosted: Wed May 04, 2005 1:38 pm  Reply with quote



Joined: 20 Apr 2005
Posts: 29
Location: Traverse City, MI

Guy,

Your lack of affection for side x sides and good liquor should cause you great delight because it means you and I were not separated at birth.

Most side by side shooters -- maybe not most, but many -- like me grew up shooting them; they were a great kids gun in the late 1950s because they were safe and there were a scad of cheap used ones because everybody traded theirs in on repeating guns after WWII. I didn't have a gun with one barrel in my hands until I got an autoloader in my late teens, and I sold that to buy a Parker Trojan 16. I shoot over-unders for ducks and geese and when I do my TV show because the sponsor thinks it's a good idea that his guns be the ones we use. Plus a gas autoloader when we're doing a duck or dove-type show where we're shooting heavy loads or shooting a lot of light ones.

I used to think that -- like enjoying a wee dram now and then -- ahooting a side by side was an acquired skill, but anymore, I'm not so sure everyone can acquire it; there are some who just can't get past the wide barrels in their line of sight. Like most things, if you think you can't, you probably can't. My bet is if someone took away all your guns and gave you a side-by 16 for your Mass grouse hunting and told you that was your gun for the rest of your career, you'd figure it out. On the other hand, you don't have to, so that's the end of that.

Our reader surveys show that, in popularity, the side by side double is fourth among the four actions our readers shoot -- Pointing Dog Journal readers shoot, in order, O/U's, autos, pumps, and sxs guns; with The Retriever Journal, because of the waterfowling aspect of that magazine, it's autos, o/u's, pumps, and sxs's. I should stress that our readership is made up of real hunters, guys who get out and do it; the dog insists, as you know. There aren't a lot of armchair, take the gun out of the safe, swing it, polish the stock and put it away folks getting our books. I've seen our readers pull a $40,000 truck into a farmyard hauling a $9000 dog trailer, unload a pair of $3500 pointers, and load their $250 pump guns. To them, the gun is a tool, as you point out; the dog work is the art.


You'll also notice that in any highly competitive -- spell that "money's on the line " -- shooting event, O/U's seem to be the favorite guns; it's hard to argue with that. I guess I'm not a gun snob any more than I'm a breed snob about sporting dogs; I like a dog or a gun that can do what it's supposed to do.

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Larry Brown
PostPosted: Wed May 04, 2005 2:16 pm  Reply with quote
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Gun deals . . . Hard to believe, I've never really been burned. Well, there was the time I bought a 20ga from a guy in TX, via GunList (prior to lots of internet transactions), and the gun turned out to be a 16 when I got it. It was the 2nd gun I'd bought from the same individual, an elderly gentleman in failing health, and I think his health failed permanently between the time he sent the 16 and I received it. Wasn't looking for a 16 at the time, but when I found there was no way to contact the seller other than going to TX with a shovel, I kept it for awhile and eventually traded it. Worked out OK.

If you're into pumps, autos, and basic OU's, there's no shortage of places to buy them. Scheel's has an interesting policy of deeply discounting anything that's been in their inventory beyond a set period, which I think is maybe 6 months. So you see some guns that are maybe on the high end of the going price for the particular model, but if you're there at the right time, you can also make some pretty good buys.

I came to shoot a sxs in a somewhat different fashion than Steve did. My first gun was a .410 single I inherited from my older brother, and believe me, you have to be QUICK to kill very many pheasants with a gun like that. I wasn't all that sharp where guns were concerned back then, but I did realize that I needed both more firepower and more than one shot. Had my heart set on a sxs right off the bat. About the only new ones available back then were the Stevens and Savage Fox. Dad did me the favor of finding a Savage 420 OU in 20ga for even less money. That may well be the ugliest and clubbiest OU ever made, but it did get me started on doubles. Got my first sxs when working overseas. I had initially ordered a Beretta BL-4 OU in 20ga, but it showed up with a broken forend, and hunting season was rapidly approaching. My choices came down to an Ithaca SKB 150 12 or a Winchester 101 20. The 101 was about $30 more (at $190, military rod and gun club price in 1972), and the guy at the club recommended the SKB. I shot the darned thing better than I had ever shot before, which meant I was breaking at least half the skeet birds on a regular basis. Haven't turned my back on sxs since, although I have figured out how to shoot OU's--or at least some of them--in the interim. I've owned them from very basic to pretty nice, will never own a real "best" sxs (unless someone leaves one to me, a la George Evans and his Purdey), and will never own one I won't carry afield.
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16gaugeguy
PostPosted: Thu May 05, 2005 7:19 am  Reply with quote
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Steve, stranger things have happened, who knows, maybe mom was fibbing to both of us. Anyway, its not that I don't like doubles, I just can't shoot them. Perhaps if I was born into it, but I wasn't. I love the look of them. Some of them make most other guns look like clubs. However, me buying a real pretty and expensive sxs would be like marrying the prom queen and finding out she prefers girls during the honeymoon.

As far as liquer goes, I envy those who can knock one or two drinks back without any gastric payback. My stomach won't take the stuff. It is all for the best though, because my family tree could well have been a sloe berry bush.

I also tend to go whole hog for stuff I like. Fate might have been different. I might have ended up drunk and homeless, sitting under an overpass somewhere with my Purdey best gun sxs perched across my lap...quietly extolling the virtues of a truely great double to the pidgeons roosting there with me.

By the way, What exactly is ahooting a side by side? let me know unless its similar to what that prom queen is into.

Larry, I could easily picture you in Texas, shovel in hand, having a seance. Wink
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Steve Smith
PostPosted: Thu May 05, 2005 11:16 am  Reply with quote



Joined: 20 Apr 2005
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ahooting is when the "a" is next to the "s" on the keyboard and you're clumsy.

Sort of like liquer and pidgeon.

You know about galss houzes and not trhowing stonez, right?

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16gaugeguy
PostPosted: Thu May 05, 2005 12:11 pm  Reply with quote
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Oh Ya! My house doesn't have any glass left in the windows. So there. I sorta thought ahooting might be something a scot well into his scotch might be doing with an English double gun...like bag pipes only with real pipes. Rumor has it they call it music. Sometimes it sounds more to me like someone is trying to carve a live pig with a spoon while playing a kazoo.
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Steve Smith
PostPosted: Thu May 05, 2005 12:34 pm  Reply with quote



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Guy,
It's obvious your ramblings about the wilds of New England have not allowed you the opportunity nor the time to learn to enjoy the finer things, like bagpipe music and good single malt.

But if you want to finally be well and done with all things Scottish, I've got a photo of Brown in a kilt from a shoot we were on a few years ago on the Black Isle. Seeing that photo, you could be born and raised in Aberdeen and you'd apply for an exit visa.

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16gaugeguy
PostPosted: Thu May 05, 2005 12:42 pm  Reply with quote
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Did he have his shovel with him? Oh, and by the way, he's right about .410s and pheasants. I once had a fellow brag to me on a hunt that his .410 could kill any pheasant, because he was such a quick guy with a gun. I allowed him that after watching him run down a winged rooster and club it with the butt. Is Larry that quick?
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