Shopping for good deals at pawnshops is kinda like shopping at a used car lot. You MUST know what you're looking at and looking for, what the going value is, what you're willing to pay, and what you're willing to accept. Be prepared to haggle and know when to just walk away. Caveat emptor applies but I haven't been burned on a pawn shop deal yet. I usually have limited funds and refuse to pay outlandish prices. I'm generally more like "How many guns can I get for X amount of dollars?" I'm not about to pay top dollar for the used scoped Saiga when I can get a new one for a hundred bucks more.
The places I've dealt with either rely on a big book or there are a couple of online sites they go to as they aren't extremely knowledgable about the overwhelming quantity of guns out there. For example: when I tried to pawn my Polytech M14, they wouldn't do it because they couldn't find enough info on the M14. They should have researched Polytech instead. They use the same sources when pricing things for sale and make "adjustments" for their local area. They all also suffer from SDS (sh*t don't stink) disease and believe their stuff is pure gold while yours is pure garbage. Over-pricing also helps them when haggling. They all use many of the same lines (and lies) when haggling price, most of which you can ignore. "I can get that much parting it out on gunbroker" (most don't have the time or knowledge). "I can get that much at one of our other stores"( maybe, reading the tag may tell you it came from one of their other stores, walk away). Or the biggest lie "I have more than that in it!" They generally have less than a quarter to a third of their asking price invested in it. I was told this about a $350 Chinese SKS that I offered $200 for. Two months later it was priced at $200. When I pointed out that it wouldn't function properly, they accepted my $175. They made a profit and were happy to see the gun go away. I ended up with a Factory 26 with an aftermarket 30 round mag (it was jamming the bolt open). The next gun show is the end of this month, I'll find a proper magazine there.
Sometimes you can get great deals on "sporterized", "Bubba'd", or broken guns that I find too irresistable to pass up (I love challenges and projects). Again, "know your product!". In the last 6 months I've found:
A $125 Mosin 91/30, $50 when I reminded them I could buy them all day long for $89 from Big 5.
A 1903 Springfield (not an 03A3), sporterized (stock cut down but not the barrel, barrel floated, rear sight removed and replaced with a Redfield peep sight, and re-blued. $150 and will put 5rds of CMP surplus in a group you can cover with a quarter.
A 1917 Mosin M91 in a synthetic stock, bent bolt kit, and scope mounts. Also $150 and after adding a $69 Walmart scope, it will do inch and a quarter groups with Brown Bear ammo.
And a "$670 for the lot" got me:
2 Arisakas, a T38 and a T99
a Marlin Ranger .22, same as the Model 80 and 81
a Ruger Security Six
a S&W Model 10
a Bernardelli 9mm
3 small revolvers, an "Eibar", a No. Amer. mini 22, and a Rohm
and 5 "pocket pistols", .22 and .25 cal, Raven, Lorcin, Jennings, etc.
This may not be everyone's cup of tea, but it is mine. In fact, my user name, IBBG, stands for I Buy Broken Guns.
So, know your product and have fun buying from pawnshops. Good luck!