I should have known I was in trouble when it took an hour to get in the gates, my wallet was light with cash and some of the parking areas were "4 wheel drive only", due to rain. Later, after 36 hours of driving fueled by Caffeine, Caffeine and oh yeah, more caffeine (otherwise known as Coffee, Coca-Cola and chocolate) I was flattened my some kind of sabotage by my heart. The doctor told me I needed to start slowing down in life. I replied that the Revolution/Economic Armageddon freight train was bearing down on me and I didn’t have time to stand around gawking like a tourist. He then told me he wished he was ready to retire to avoid Obama Care and asked how much .357 SIG was at the show. (True story, I hadn’t even known that he owned a gun!)
The only 9mm for sale by Friday (dealers and shooters can buy on Thursday) was one guy with Tula steel cased $259 for 500 rounds. I managed to buy some 9mm for a friend with Federal and Remington selling on the dust choked side market for $20-25 a box from people wandering around. One of these guys with a backpack full of ammo sold me two Olin-Mathieson (Winchester) M14 mags with the GI pouch for $50, which with the current craziness, I considered a minor victory. I believe the lowest retail price I have found original 50’s-70’s contract magazines for since the Clinton 1994 crime bill was $20each, about seven years ago.
I didn’t see any .223 for less than the range of $600-to-$800 per thousand. I passed two kids who were each carrying a half case that they said they got for $500/1000. It didn’t have the usually Russian markings on the boxes so I am not sure what it was. .308 was unaffordable at basically $1 round. I did see a case of Lake City match for $30 a box, but couldn’t find it later so I imagine it disappeared pretty quick. AK/SKS ammo was $325 -$375 with J&G ammo the lowest I believe. AK74 ammo was $450 a case of 2400 (instead of the normal $275-300) which I told one dealer was highway robbery considering how little demand and how few people used it. Mosin ammo was $160 to $180 for two tins of 440 in a case.
Copes Distributing had several types of AR mags for $15 bucks new but one of them intrigued me. It was a dull gray in color and made in Oconomowoc, the same town La Belle Industries used to produce them in Wisconsin. It was by H&K tactical with what I was told were Magpul anti-tilt followers with similar top of the follower design as the Belgium FN-FNC mags. Looked and felt slick so I bought a few. They also had new Checkmate industries M14 mags for $30 so my backpack swallowed a few of those as well. APEX Gun Parts had the best buy on HK Alloy G3 mags for $3. Saw several dealers with Original German Contract G-3 steel mags for $9-10. I don’t know why you would chose alloy at that price except to dump, lose or barter later. All the CETME ones I saw were over $20 per. DSA wants $10 for FAL mags. Guy told me that if I bought 20 he would go $8 for me. Apparently, my pathetic look still needs work and some accessories like one of those old iron-on lettered t-shirts that states some kind of wisdom like “unemployed since 92” on it. He apparently was too young to have much experience reading faces, as mine obviously had a stupid looking painful grimace and said $5 all over it.
One old codger had 30+ cases of .22LR he was selling for $50 a brick and he had CCI mini-mags for $60. I looked at the shipping label and it was from 1982 and said “pkg 1 of 32”. He assured me they tested a brick and it all fired. I bought a brick or two for a friend and went on my way. Everything else at the show was $80 a brick unless they had some of this guys 1982 score. When I went back later, a dealer had bought all he had left and put $70 on it. This new dealer told me when he got back to Ohio he could get $80 all day long for it. He told me the subsonic 22Lr was going for $90 minimum a brick. Seems like early last year I thought that $30 a brick for that was akin to rape.
My ongoing AR conversion to 5.45mm took another step back since the October show as I am getting at best 1 out of 7 primer ignition. Model 1 sales who sold me the barrel and bolt was strangely absent from this show (due to lack of product I suppose, although it could have been they had gotten wind through the grapevine that I was coming to talk to them, yet again) so I talked with the guys at Doublestar/J&T who opined that I should try to file a very small amount off of the tube where the firing pin flange hits against it. Ok, I will investigate this further. At this rate I will have this thing running like a finely tuned racing engine about 2 days after Jesus returns.
I bought a bag full of FAL parts (springs, firing pins, flash hiders, recoil and gas springs) from Dan the FAL Guy for $50. Sarco wanted $15 bucks for a firing pin itself. Cripes. I picked ups some stainless steel AP 8mm bullets for $20 a 100 and (API) 7.62x54r full rounds for .50 a piece/$50 per hundred. I would tell you were but I want to try and get some more. I got all the brass cased ones they had left. I hiked back to the swampy hill my car was tenaciously clinging too, alongside some guy who said he had an FFL and had a NIB Springfield Armory MIA he said he got for $1300. He stated that he couldn’t even get them in due to the late unpleasantness so he jumped at the chance. I absolutely would have traded one of my perfectly functioning kidneys and a bad check if I had seen it first. I also bought 2 dozen large orange floating smoke grenades? For ships and life rafts for $5 per. Someone asked me what I was going to use them for. I stated that if something was chasing me I was going to pop one or two and keep running. Everyone but this guy, has obviously read their JRR Tolkien and knows that Obama’s Ring Wraiths cannot stay in the presence of iridescent orange?
There were a number of items that I normally buy and see that shouldn’t be mentioned on a public forum that disappeared rather quickly, when normally there is plenty of it. Huummmm? Lance, the seller of eclectic books and videos, added “Saints and Sinners” to my collection, a WWII movie about some survivors at Malmedy trying to get back to American lines. Kudos to the writer for correctly (according to both sides) showing that the massacre started when a USGI jailbreak started and not pre-meditated murder. Sadly, it was more about a bunch of guys trying to mesh together in trying circumstances than combat. Good production values though. Still waiting to watch “the war of the arrows”. My big Berkey water filter is gleaming with pride and strutting around the kitchen now that it has some new black chemical reducing filters and bottom fluoride filters. It set me back about $150 dollars along with some other parts, but here’s hoping that it will delay my chances of a chemical induced neurological disorder from the municipal water supply for at least another year. - T.A.B.