Once In Awhile Every Sportsman Needs A New Gun

It must be about six months ago when I first started contemplating a purchase of a new gun. Typically for me a new gun has had a specific purpose in mind…like the .243 I purchased a decade ago for antelope hunting…or the .223 with a high-powered scope that was a necessity for prairie dogs…or perhaps the 7mm Rem. Mag. I had to have for northern Minnesota deer hunting. Each of these purchases involved a desire first and foremost, followed by quickly convincing myself that the desire had turned into a definite need.

This time around, however, my gun purchase did not involve a specific hunting endeavor. Instead, I have been dreaming about owning a new handgun for no other reason than to have fun doing a little target practice with friends. Oh sure, the handgun might come in handy some day for self-defense, but that was not my primary motivation for the purchase even though I do hold a concealed carry permit here in Minnesota. Today was the monumental day as I finally purchased a new Glock 23, a semi-automatic handgun in the .40 S&W caliber.

I noticed when I brought the gun home I just admired it much like a child has that little gleam in their eye as they stare at a cache of toys received at Christmastime. No, I’m not some gun fanatic. Rather, I happen to believe that a new gun purchased should give the buyer a great deal of satisfaction or the purchase was probably not necessary.

Several years ago I asked a good friend of mine how his wife lets him get away with buying so many guns all the time. His response was one that I will always remember. He said the key is to have so many guns in your collection when you marry, that she won’t notice when another gun or two gets added. He went on to say the problem is if you only own just a few guns then when a new gun shows up it can be easily detected by an observant spouse. On the other hand, if you have at least 30 or 40 guns it just looks to most spouses like a collection of guns they will likely avoid.

Another friend of mine has a different angle on bringing a new gun home. His tactic, although slightly deceptive, involves telling his spouse that he won the gun at a conservation banquet. He might purchase the gun and store it at a buddy’s house until the night of the banquet…then he goes home with the purchase…{clearing throat} I mean, prize…that he won at the banquet. Sure, it isn’t the most honest way to bring a new gun into the home…but after all, having a new gun accepted at home for some folks can be a major hurdle.

I remember reading once of a guy who was always asked by his wife how much money he spent on that new gun. When he told her (she had no concept of gun prices) it was always several hundred dollars less than the actual price paid. The story goes on with the sportsman stating his biggest fear was that when he died he didn’t want his wife liquidating his gun collection for the price he told her he paid for each gun. Indeed, how many people have you known who has received a gun at an unbelievable price because the owner had died and the seller had no concept of what the true value was for the gun?

Several years back I attended a seminar given by an avid gun collector who spoke on the virtues of owning a fine firearm. His contention was that every sportsman should consider owning one very fine firearm of the Parker or Perazzi class of shotguns. His seminar described all the intricacies of how to find the right gun…but essentially his argument was if you buy carefully and pay $10,000 or more for a fine shotgun…it will never lose its value. In fact, quite the opposite…it will appreciate in value over time much like a vintage car. Oh sure, you wouldn’t hunt with a gun of that ilk all the time…but consider how much fun it would be to take a fine firearm out pheasant hunting just because you feel like doing it on some given day.

I happen to believe you can tell a lot about a person just be looking at their collection of guns. Mine, for instance, is rather eclectic as I have rifles, pistols and shotguns of many calibers and makes. Others I know tend to be more specific in their purchases. I have one friend who only buys Colts…another who buys Remington products almost exclusively. Much like a couple of friends arguing over who makes the best car…gun owners can have lots of fun, as well as take great pride with their collections.

Okay, I’ve waited long enough…you’re going to have to excuse me now while I go outside to play with my new Glock. You see, I just had to buy the gun because in a few short months I’m getting married and I needed this new gun to further build up my collection. After all, I’m still a few guns short of hitting the milestone mark of 30 guns recommended by my friend. Hmmm…I don’t suppose Cabela’s or Gander Mountain has a wedding gift registry…do they?

© 2004 Jim Braaten. All Rights Reserved. No Reproduction without Prior Permission.

Online Auctions Exclusively for Sportsmen

There’s no doubt about it…the Internet has really changed the way many of us enjoy our lives. From the ease of using directory portals such as Yahoo or Google, to conducting online banking or stock buying, the Internet has literally changed the way many of us live.

But the Internet has had a tremendous impact on outdoorsmen, too. You can book hunts, check on fishing reports, buy your licenses, in effect you can accomplish almost everything leading up to the hunting or fishing trip itself. You can talk with other sportsmen on message boards, follow the migration of waterfowl, view aerial land photos and maps…just about everything you could hope to do short of pulling the trigger or casting a plug.

Today, however, I’m going to focus on two web sites of particular interest to sportsmen. Both of these sites seem to be patterned after the very successful on-line auction site eBay, but these sites perhaps go a bit beyond what is typically allowed on the world’s number one auction site. Still, before we get on to these sites it should be pointed out that eBay is a tremendous resource for almost everything hunting, fishing and the outdoors…but, it has limitations as you will see.

One of the things you cannot purchase on eBay is firearms. To some extent you can buy firearms components, such as magazines, stocks, parts and accessories, but when it gets into purchasing working firearms those are strictly forbidden on eBay. But not on GunBroker.com. This web site has become one of the fastest growing online auction sites, of particular interest to sportsmen and gun aficionados.

Part of the reason that GunBroker.com works is the involvement of your local Federal Firearms License (FFL) dealer. You see, when you bid and eventually win a firearm if you are not an FFL dealer than you must make arrangements with one to receive the firearm and ultimately complete the paperwork for legal firearms transfer. Click here to enter your zip code to find a willing FFL dealer, if you do not already know one. Likewise, if you plan to sell a firearm you must send the firearm to an FFL dealer whom the buyer of the item has designated. The fee the FFL dealer will charge to make the legal transfer is usually quite reasonable ($20 – $30 additional to your purchase price).

Even if you are not currently in the market for a new gun I find GunBroker.com interesting because it will give you a good idea just how much that family heirloom is actually worth. And if nobody is selling a gun similar to what you have, there are specialized services to look up the gun’s value and even have it appraised, for a nominal fee.

Furthermore, GunBroker.com has much more than just guns. The best way to equate it is like a virtual gun show where you browse the aisles looking at knives, books, war memorabilia, etc. by simply clicking on the mouse. Imagine, you can do all of this from the comforts of your home while sitting in your underwear at the computer.

The second website does not have the proven success as the first, but I give this one an A+ for the concept. HuntMyLand.com is the brainchild of a Michigan sportsman whose dream was to use the internet to connect sportsmen with landowners. Simply stated, the web site’s goal is to give sportsmen the ability to search and make connections with landowners and then bid on those rights in the form of a property license. The land license issued by the landowner can be for a week, a month or even the entire hunting season.

The main problem I see with HuntMyLand.com is the fact it has been operating for over two years and currently (at the time of this writing, anyway) there are no properties being offered up for auction. The web site, however, boasts of over 800 registered users looking for a place to hunt. This tells me that for this concept to succeed the owner of the site, Mr. Mike Bazzle, must place greater effort toward getting landowners involved…and that appears to be what he is doing by advertising in agricultural medias.

I applaud this effort because the day will come when more and more sportsmen will need to find creative ways to open up new tracts of hunting land. On the other hand, many landowners are not opposed to hunting but they would like to be paid for granting these special privileges. This web site could nicely cover both goals. Personally, I see web sites like HuntMyLand.com as a positive step toward making connections between sportsmen and landowners when those opportunities likely would not ordinarily be available.

Finally, as with all online auction sites, I cannot emphasize enough that the buyer needs to beware. If a deal seems too good to be true then its prudent on the buyer to dig a little deeper to discover why. Before you place your bid ask yourself why hasn’t anyone else considered that item to be worthy of your contemplated bid price? Remember, your next deal might just be a steal…but make sure it’s for the buyer and NOT for the seller.

© 2004 Jim Braaten. All Rights Reserved. No Reproduction without Prior Permission.