Wednesday, March 06, 2013

Citizens Reports from Tucson Gun Show, March 2013

Long Lines at Tucson Gun Show, by LennyJoe

LennyJoe posted this report:

Just wanted to pass on some views on what I seen this weekend at the Tucson gun show I went to on Saturday.

First off, it was a good thing that we purchased tickets online. When we got there, about 1.5 hours before the show opened, there were 2 lines. The line we were in, tickets on hand, had about 150 people ahead of us. The second line, ticket purchasers grew as time went on and when they finally started selling tickets around 0800, I would estimate about 400 people in line. ONce they purchased their ticket, they got into line 1, which by then had grown to about 350 people.

It was amazing to see how many people were waiting to get in when it opened. A rough estimate would be around 1000 people or more. The line was huge and the traffic was backed up from others waiting to get in to park.

So the doors opened at 0900 and about 95% of the people in line went direct to the ammo counter. They had 6 lanes opened and every one was full. Being #150 or so in line at the opening, we ended up around #20 in line for ammo. It took me an hour and a half to finally get to the counter to place my order.

Prices for ammo wasn't extremely outragous given the current market. I paid $139 for 500 rounds of Wolf Classic 7.62x39, $3.50 per box of Winchester 00 buckshot and $34.95 per thousand of Winchester large rifle primers. They had plenty of ammo and it was going fast. Other prices I seen were $135 for 500 rounds of reloaded 55 gr .223 bullets and there were hardly any .22 long rifle ammo left. Mostly Mexican made long rifle and they would only sell 250 per person.

Outside of the primers, I seen very little reloading gear at all. A powder guy that normally has a lot of powder at high prices wasn't even there. Rumor had it, he had nothing to sell.

The best deal I got yesterday was a DPMS stripped lower receiver for $149 and a DPMS lower parts kit for $60 to which I got 1 each. Thought about getting more but didn't need them as this finishes my 300 AAC Blackout rifle. Didn't want to horde any more. They also had RR stripped lowers for $159 and RR LPK for $75ish. The place selling the lowers were going out of business and by they way they looked, their inventory wasn't going to last that long, especially at those prices, given today's market.

Other observations....found some .223 GI mags for $20 each and they sold all 200 in about 45 minutes. Magpul were up in the $30's and any full built AR's were over $1000. I even seen 9MM Winchester White Box 100 round boxes going for $50....

So, the biggest seller was ammo. Everyone was taking what they could, wheeling it out on dolly's, travel bags and even wagons. It was a very busy morning and I'd bet the ammo is pretty much gone today. No need for me to go back today since I got pretty much what I wanted from there.

So there you go, the market is still in a panic for the most part and ammo is getting scarce. I hope things calm down soon but with the political crap going on, one only knows if it ever will.

PavePusher added these observations:

I did not buy a ticket on-line. Big mistake.

Doors were to open at 0900. I got a slightly late start due to some piss-poor-planning and a minor mechanical issue. Arrived at the fairgrounds at approx 0900, line of cars was about 1/4 mile long. Got in, parked right up front (Yeah, motorcycles!)(parking lot was over 2/3rds full, I've only ever seen it maxed at 1/4 for any other gun show here)... and got in the line for tickets, approx. 250 yards long. This was, by everyones account, the longest line they've ever seen for one of these. Took about 15-20 minutes to get inside (0930) and.... get in line for the main ammo vendor. (They generally only have one main one.) My section of the line was about 80 yards long. Waited two hours and was only 2/3rds of the way there, easily another hour to wait and I had another appointment to get to and no way to call to postpone or cancel (no cell reception, and the guy doesn't have a cell phone). So I left.


1. A few people were walking around selling ammo from carts. Don't know if they brought it in, or were first-in-line that morning. One was selling 100-rounds lots of 5.56 for... $100. That's right, $1 per round. I. Ain't. Kidding. And I think he got it, too.

2. Before I left, I went up to the head of the ammo line to check what they had. Looked like they were still fairly well stocked, had about 3 times the usual number of people working, and no-one was standing still.

3. Took a quick swing around to browse other items before I left. Magpul AR magazines for $30 and up. An "unissued" Yugo SKS for $500. Saiga AK, 7.62, $1200. S&W M&P15 .22 rifles, $500. Yowzer.

4. Most hand-gun, and bolt/lever/pump long-gun prices looked fairly normal.

5. The place was packed, nearly elbow-to-elbow. Busiest I've ever seen.

6. Sadly, I still can't afford Dawson knives... sigh.

On the way out, I bought raffle tickets for an Armscor-based 1911 and a set of 3 long-guns (7mm bolt-action, a Browning-copy O/U shottie and a Mossberg .17 HMR). The ticket line was down to 100 yards long.

Depending on what I get up to tonight, and how late it runs, I may try for an early ammo run tomorrow to see if there's anything left. (Ticket/hand stamp is good for both days, may as well get my $10-worth.) I need 5.56 and 7.62x39 for myself, looking for 9mm and .22LR for a friend in Phoenix. There's another show in Mesa next weekend, depending on how tomorrow goes, I'm considering a pre-dawn run up there with a folding chair, thermos of coffee and something to read.

My current advice for gun shows: If you want ammo, get in line an hour early (at least). If possible, buy your ticket on-line, so you won't have to wait in line to buy. If you're looking for anything other than ammo, go after 1200, the initial crowd may have a chance of tapering off by then.

Google map co-ordinates: 32.044546,-110.783118, then zoom in two clicks and center the arrow.

Ticket line started on the road, about 100 feet right of center of picture. Event building is the long one stretching north-south on the left. Entrance is where the road intersects it. Ammo vendor was on very north end of building. Ammo line started inside the door, forward two aisles, then turn north about 30 feet and wait.

I was parked south-east of the center-point, just to south of the V-shaped building.

I hope that we are able to continue to enjoy these First Amendment freedoms of association and speech with our Second Amendment rights to buy and sell guns. They are under attack as never before.

©2013 by Dean Weingarten Permission to share granted as long as this notice is included.

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