The Helena gun show was last weekend. My needs were small…I saw the handwriting on the bunker wall quite a while ago…but I go anyway since gun shows are a wonderful barometer of public mood.
First of all, the lowest price for a stripped lower was $185. A few were in the $275 range. Various manufacturers. AR stocks, like Magpul and Vltor stocks, were in abundance as were parts. The AR’s that were there were all in the $950 and up range with some going for over $2000 for a lousy Colt HBAR Sporter. A lot of ‘no name’ and smaller brand AR’s. I saw no Stag, a handful of Bushmasters and only two Colts.
What was interesting, though, was that magazine prices seemed to flatten and even retreat a bit. Most mags were $20 with a few in the $16-18 range. BetaMags were back up over $350. I think the market has hit a point where everyone who wants ‘em has ‘em and as a result the prices have to come down a bit to make sales. However, that can change, literally, in an instant…all it takes is an AP or Reuters headline saying ‘Obama team ponders new gun laws’ or something similar to cause another run on mags and guns. I would almost say that we’re in a lull right now and this might be a good time to find a ‘baragin’ on mags.
Ammo, however, was going out about as fast as it could be brought in. Obviously .223 and 7.62×39 were the big movers. Even the grossly overpriced and underperforming Wolf stuff was in short supply. Ditto for components…a lot of overpriced .223 55 gr. FMJ bullets. Come on, ten cents apiece for a .22 bullet that isn’t even a hollowpoint? Insane. Might as well get used to it though…I don’t see it changing for quite a while.
I did get to see one of the new ‘fourth gen’ Glock pistols with the new slide serrations and sharkskin-texture grips. Looks a little too pretty for my tastes. I like the industrial-destructionalist look of the third gen ones. It appears mags will interchange just fine, so that’s all I was worried about. Speaking of, the average Glock mag was around $20-$25. I saw none of the 33-rd Glock mags, although there were a few of the Scherer-brand versions that suck. The Taiwanese Glock mags were there as well…haven’t tried them but I haven’t heard anyting bad about them either. Still and all, I stick with OEM whenever I can.
So what did I pick up for myself? Well, I toddled over to John Trochman’s table since he always has stuff that is of interest to us LMI. John, by the way, was the voice of the Militia Of Montana back in the day when that sort of thing was newsworthy. He pegs the needle on the Tinfoil-Hat-O-Meter but as long as you don’t engage him in discussions about Trilateral Bilderberger Illuminati UN conspiracies he’s a pretty decent guy. He wants his customers to buy his books, bandages, ammo, and gear not only because it makes him a little money but because he genuinely believes that by buying that stuff he’s helping you to secure your safety. He is what we would call a True Believer.
Anyway, I picked up a couple packages of QuickClot and a handful of the Israeli combat bandages because, you know, sometimes bad things happen to good people. Good compress bandages are always a welcome addition to any first aid gear.
All in all, a decent show. Managed to not buy any guns although there was a roundbutt S&W 4″ 686 in the ‘midnight stainless’ finish. A bit spendy for my tastes though – $540.