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My Local Gun Shop's "Generous Offer"

1699 Views 18 Replies 17 Participants Last post by  wvexpat
On a whim, to took my M1911A1 (a Remington Rand frame with a Singer Slide) to the local gun shop to just to see what they would offer for it. The gun was obtained from the estate of a Korean War vet who's wife said that he brought it home with him. My take on it is that this was one of the M1911A1 which was rebuilt after WWII. The Singer slides which were originally blued but mine had been parkerized. When the rebuilds were done after the war, the M1911A1 were stripped and like parts put in bins. When the parts had been inspected, there were refinished (parkerized) and reassembled upon refurbished frames. There was no attempt to try to "rematch-up" the parts as they were just grabbed and used to re-assemble the guns. The rebuilt M1911A1 with the Singer slide on the Remington frame was ready to be issued again and was issued to the guy who went to Korea.

At the gun shop they took my M1911A1 in the back room to examine it more closely. While I was waiting, I looked at some of the used guns they had in the display cases. They had one very beat-up and tired C96 Mauser Military pistol. It had 0% to 1% original finish left on it and it looked like it have been used as a hammer on several occasions. Their price for it was $1200! Their Luger with about 20% finish was a WWI barrel and slide on a WWII frame was listed as a very rare gun for only $2300!

After a while, they came out and told me that since my M1911A1 was a "mismatched" gun, an Ithaca frame with a very common "Smith" made slide, they would give me $250, max. $300 for it. They sure must believe in the "buy low, sell high" principle. I thanked them for their offer and left.
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I am a big believer in "free markets", but why gun dealers essentially think it's OK to (de facto) steal from the public, always baffles me. Sure, make a big profit, but not 800%.
i usually just ask them first: "what would item X cost me if i ordered it from your shop?" (i dont show the item). then bring it out and ask them how much they will pay for it....make them get a little uncomfortable
Sounds like a pawn shop deal. LGS here had a rack of mil-surp. rifles, one jap T99 w/o dust cover. Behind their new gun rack was a"mystery piece of curved sheet metal"(their description). When I snapped it on the jap they were amazed. Owner commented that all the employees and lots of people had looked at it and they had no clue. BTW,all their mil-surp. prices are way high.
I don't blame them. They're in business to make money. Sometimes they may buy something and have it sit on the rack for 2 years, then finally sell it for $40 profit. Other times someone brings in bringback 1911 pistols for $300 and they make $1000 within a week.

I have only brought something in to the local gun shop once. ONCE. But I've got a few good deals over the years at this same shop, so I recognize the fact that in order for me to find decent deals there, the shop has to be able to make a profit, meaning they need to purchase it for about half of what I'm willing to pay.
I always peruse the local shops, but hardly ever find anything worth spending money on. The only thing I have bought is tired shotguns, refinished and sold to friends at added cost of supplies.

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The flip side is to remember that when buying a used gun, you know darn well they didnt pay anything close to asking pice.
I saw a mitchell mauser for sale for $900. Yikes!
The flip side is to remember that when buying a used gun, you know darn well they didnt pay anything close to asking pice.
True, but a lot of shops now are using Gunbroker to price their wares. They have no clue, so they refer to Gunbroker, despite the wild variations in prices and often inappropriate comparisons between what they have in the shop and what sold on Gunbroker.

"Wut you mean, it ain't worth more than hunnert 'n fiddy dollars? I seen one just like it sell for ovah four-hunnert online..." The kind of thing you hear when inquiring about a M91/30 in a shop being compared to a M28/30 that sold on Gunbroker...
Most any mixed up USGI will bring $700 or more. If it is a legit military rebuild, it can bring near twice that. Does it have any arsenal rebuild marks on either side of the frame? Could you post some pictures with an especially good close up of the Singer markings. The slide is hard to value but if someone had a frame it would be very high. If there are no loose receivers out there, the slide still should bring $1000-2000??? who knows.
You always have crap if selling and their stuff is gold.
Half of what they could sell it for is a fair price for a dealer. Maybe 2/3 if it is a hot item that will sell right away and 1/3 if it will be sitting for a long time.

Their offer sounds a bit low to me but not larcenously low for a mismatched rebuild in the $800-$1000 range.
Well BigBoy, you are the kind of customer shops hate to put up with. Your " whim " just wasted their time. When I am brought something like that, I now ask if they are trying to sell it, trade it, or just looking for a value range. Some leave happy, some don't. I love when the milsurps come in, just so i can hold them !!! But I give prices I think are fair, and if they sell & I buy, then everyone is happy, if they are just bringing them in for show & tell, that is awesome. I have many many local collectors that come in once or twice a week just to roam behind my counters and disturb my displays, I love that. Over 300 milsurps in my place, maybe 50 are priced, but everything is touchable, well, except for my coffee cup !!!!
Not all the pawn shops are scalpers, by any means.

I have a local pawn shop in a blue collar neighborhood that I like to visit occasionally. They can't keep handguns in their shop. I have seen their book, and the handguns usually are in and out of there in under a week. They don't seem to ask ridiculous prices and everybody seems happy.

Rifles and shotguns, on the other hand, and in particular milsurp long guns, tend to stay on their shelves a long time and when I show up, they are VERY willing to sell them to me for cheap. They really do not have enough space to display their long guns. They need to store them in their basement.

The last Mauser I bought there was about a year ago (a real nice looking Serbian 1924, with the 1924 crest still on the receiver). Asking price was $250. It cost me all of $170 out the door, and it came with a new-looking Czech Mauser bayonet with a strange, extended, muzzle ring on it. I sold that rifle about a week ago at a LGS for $375 (I could have got more for it, but I really wanted to move it), and I kept the bayonet.
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I wish they were more dealers like you in my neck of the wood,most of them here will try to sell you the latest sig with rosewood grips when you ask them to do a transfer on a tokarev.
I do not charge transfer fees.
Sounded like the start of a negotiation. Why didn't you counter with $1700?
I am a grad student, but I work part time in a CIII shop. The other side of this coin is the guy who goes to gun broker, comes in asks us to buy a gun, then doesn't understand why we won't give him exactly what item 'a' is going for on gun broker. I am a collector more than anything. I don't deal with smaller local shops because most of them know nothing about collectibles. I attend most of the larger shows in the eastern US. Most shops who do not cater to collectors are poor at buying and selling collectibles. In my experience, most gun folks know which way the wind blows in any given local shop. Intentionally showing them up or demonstrating their ignorance is mostly a waste of time; both theirs and yours. On the other hand, stopping somebody from getting skinned is admirable.
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