Richard Craver

Thoughts, Musings And The Occasional Rant

I Went To A Gun Show And Made It Out Very Alive

Written By: richardwcraver - Jan• 09•16

I haven’t been to a gun show in many years. The last time I went to one I was in Boy Scouts and the gun and knife show was in the coliseum adjacent to the fair grounds where a Scout-a-rama was taking place. I bought a leather handle Buck sheath knife that I have had for about 35 years now. I lost interest in such things a few years later in favor of cars and girls, got married, started playing golf, had a child and life got more complicated.

Growing up the two firearms in the house were a Remington .22 rifle and a 20 gauge shotgun my dad brought back from Italy when he was in the Navy; today military personnel cannot have personally owned firearms on base, much less float them across the Atlantic on a destroyer.

I’ve had a Marlin .22 rifle for many years that was bought at KMart before they buckled to the gun control lobby. As I got older, matured (still in question) and became concerned for my family and my own safety I rekindled my interests in firearms, handguns in particular. I had empty spots for a sporter rifle and a good shotgun. As the church usually has a skeet shot in the spring, it was time to fill the shotgun spot, or borrow one like last year. Presbyterians and United Methodists probably wouldn’t condone that. It needed to be 12 gauge, pump or semi-auto and it had to be American made.

I have been watching the ads and researching the merits of Maverick, Mossberg and Remington shotguns. The Maverick is a low price point variant of the venerable Mossberg 500 which has been produced since 1961 relatively unchanged. The other option was a Remington 870, itself a long standing contender in the American shotgun arena. I had trusted friends extol the virtues of the 870 and how that they were more expensive because they were better built, kind of like the which is better a Ford or a Chevrolet discussion. Answer, neither, get a Honda.

After that statement let me say that Hondas are built in Ohio and Alabama as well as Canada, Mexico, Japan and Great Britain. Speaking of Great Britain, what is so great about it? It’s across the ocean! Don’t buy a Honda made in Great Britain, the materials and build quality are horrible. You can distinguish by looking at the first character of the VIN, if it is S, just keep walking. I have digressed greatly.

I’ve heard some disturbing talk in shooting podcasts and on YouTube that new Remingtons are having quality issues, not just with the 870 shotguns, but also with their legendary 700 series rifles. That’s disheartening because anecdotally the issues have been caused by bean counting management. Profit is good, but not at the expense of quality. So if I came home with a Remington, it would be an older one.

I got to the coliseum annex where the gun show was going on about 10-15 minutes after it opened. I had to park relatively far away from the building, but the line for the ticket and the line checking in were not bad. Most of the congestion was around the table where people walking in with guns to sell or trade were having them zip tied before proceeding. No loaded guns or magazines are allowed inside, sellers with guns and ammunition for sale must have them separated and never the two shall meet inside the building. A couple open carry types had handguns holstered on their belts with zip ties through the barrel or action; that’s their right, but kinda pointless to me.

I made my way around the left side of the building stopping at every table with shotguns along the way, with my eyes open for interesting pistols, not that they were on the agenda for the day. It was very crowded and I got about half way through before fatigue began to set in, so I retreated to the concession stand for a $3 Diet Pepsi and a little time to regroup my thoughts.

Most of what I was seeing were old, nice looking Brownings and Winchesters that were out of my price range, some Benellis and other Italian imports way above my pay grade; a few Mavericks that were 18″ 12 gauge home defense guns, not beneficial for shooting skeet, or were field size but in 20 gauge. I saw a couple Mossberg 500 and 590s, but they were priced too high for used condition.

Caffeine level restored I surveyed the rest of the show floor before pausing to take note of the tables I had seen maybes at. I went to the back where I had seen the Maverick 12 gauge field gun, he had a price of $270 or best offer, I had checked Walmart’s website while drinking the Diet Pepsi and knew the Lexington NC store had one for $206, I’m not much of a haggler and $60 is about 20% off his asking price, so I left it and moved on.

My last stop was dead center of the throng where I had seen a Stevens 320 and a Norinco (China guns), when I got there I found a Mossberg 500, maybe I missed it before, maybe someone else was handling it and I missed it. The guy cut the zip ties so I could cycle the action, open it up for examination and I left with a nice Mossberg with a few cosmetic scratches.

Mossberg 500A

As I was doing the paper work and my background check was being run, he got a phone call, “Yeah it’s packed in here. Real busy, gotta go. Yeah, it’s really busy, you should see the line outside, gotta go.” That was the first time I had looked up at the entrance since I came in, there was a huge line at the entrance and once I got outside I saw that there was another huge line from the ticket booths toward the parking lot. When I started walking for the vehicle, I noted that people were circling the parking lot waiting for someone to leave so that they could park. I don’t suppose Barrack Hussein Obama’s Un-Constitutional executive orders had anything to do with it. Do you?

After I left today I was contemplating the number and kinds of people I had seen over the course of those two hours. I had seen one arrogant jerk out of the thousands in the building. He was bellowing because the table near the rest room hall was blocked by people looking at a display table. Otherwise everyone was very considerate and patient. I chatted with a few as we were at the same tables browsing. The media would have one believe that the only people at gun shows are angry white men bitterly clinging to their God and guns. I saw old gray bearded men, I saw silver haired ladies, I overheard some that I assure you weren’t clinging to their God…. . I saw young people, male and female with their children in tow and every age group in between. Racially they were all human; but if you wish for color mix, I’d guess 75% white and the balance Black and Asian. Strikingly I do not recall seeing ANY Hispanic, I’m supposing that most are not US citizens or don’t have sufficient immigration status to complete a Form 4473. Just a guess as they make a larger portion of the local population than Asians.

What I came away with was Americans in large part, regardless of their backgrounds, still embrace the right to be able to defend themselves and their families, they still embrace liberty and still enjoy the thrill of a hunt. And I came away with a Mossberg as well.


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  1. kaylanmarie says:

    And when r we gonna go cycle through some rounds?! Congrats!! ?

    • richardwcraver says:

      It’s going to work for a through cleaning and once over. I bought a ‘skeet’ choke tube, but found the installed choke stuck, a fairly common event. I figure to plug the end of the barrel and fill the choke end with penetrating oil to soak before I mess around and damage anything. Short answer, I’m not sure.

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