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There was an old-style shop here that was the best I've ever seen. It was in a newer building but the owner had bought old wood and glass display cases that were beautiful wood. Lots of old wood paneling and mounted heads on the walls, just like the pictures in old magazines.

The owner traveled the country buying up collections so you never knew what might be in the used racks. Probably 100 long guns, I got an '80s M77V in .220 and a '90s M77V/T in .223, both close to mint and for decent prices. Tons of handguns too, many old pieces I'd read of but never seen.

They sold reloading supplies and had probably 50 sets of used dies for cheap but what I grabbed up were partial boxes of bullets for pennies on the dollar.

There was a barrel of used leather holsters and straps and belts, $5 for anything in the barrel.

What a great store!
But alas, forced to close during covid shutdown and didn't reopen. Owner was in his '80s so decided to retire.
Air gun Trigger Wood Shotgun Gun barrel
 

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Local stores are still around. Life is too short to buy from some know-nothing at the big box, if you have a choice. I have three good locally owned gun dealers near, a fine local lumber yard, and a few great local hardware stores. I build scale models and we have a great local model shop not far away.

I hit a big box when I need something in bulk or really well made in a store brand (Behr penetrating stain from Home Depot comes to mind). I sometimes pay a bit more to shop local but it is worth it in terms of service and just being remembered as a return customer.

You folks complaining about modern life constantly might try it. You will no longer seem invisible or insulted as a customer.

Even my car dealer can be cool. I talked to a couple of techs the other day in the “customers not allowed” service bays after the salesman recognized me as a returning customer and wanted to get me precise advice on a new drivetrain in a favored convertible I have been eyeing. Service manager knows me, too.

My range has a fine selection of guns, and I picked up my CZ 75 from them, new, at a sale price. Also scored a Colt M1917 two years ago. The staff tend to work there a long time, with one or two know-it-alls who did not last long. My Henry came from a shop about 90 minutes away; they have a large, dedicated staff and one called me back to check on how I liked the rifle!

If you do not just chase the lowest price, these can be the good old days.

When I was a punk kid, I would go to the local sporting goods store and stare at the guns; old dudes gave me the hairy eyeball and shooed me to the fishing supplies. But it was a place of adult-hobby magic, to a kid in a home where firearms were forbidden, save for a BB gun.

That experience can still be had, though you won’t be shooed off…
 

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An old shop experience that have fond memories for me within bicycle distance from my country home.
A retired farmer turned his cow barn into a gun shop. The main floor milking area was the gun room with racks and shelves of guns, long guns and hand guns plus supplies. The upstairs was a game room with pingpong and pool tables, no charge. He also was a trapper and there were pelts on stretcher boards drying hanging from the walls and rafters in the pool room.
 

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We had a great LGS for decades, when I started going there in college, (more than half a century ago) the owner and his wife pretty much ran it themselves. He enlarged a couple of times and added more help but it stayed in character. Eventually he retired and sold it to a couple of the employees who still did a great job with it but after one of them died of a heart attack the other decided to retire and enjoy life for a few years and it was 'sold' to his son and a friend. It didn't take very long for most of the experienced clerks to retire after that. Wood and steel began to be a rare find, no one working there was over thirty or could begin to tell a customer about muzzle loaders or reloading beyond ringing up the sale, if you could find what you wanted on a shelf on your own because 'they' did not appear to know or care. If it wasn't black and plastic they didn't much want to even talk about it. During the early phase of the plandemic when any firearm or ammo could be easily sold due to the shortages and gun shops seemed to be gold mines, they closed and it is now a used car lot. The original store easily (at least it appeared so but probably took a lot of work) stood up to the competition of Bass Pro moving into town and another independent but almost 'big-box' gun shop opening up nearby because they were personable, knowledgeable and managed to stay (more or less) competitive, many of us would gladly pay a little more to keep 'our' store in business! The new generation succeeded in driving most of us away.
I still have one pretty small one-man gun shop within driving distance, I know that I don't get there often enough and he doesn't have much reloading stuff (most of what I buy these days) but unless my 'one more gun each year' is a used, person to person sale it comes from his shop.

Bruce
 

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If you ever in central Ohio, stop in to "The Bullet Ranch" in Pataskala Ohio.
*Very good owners with a great staff and the indoor/outdoor ranges are kept up quite well.
*Dogs, family and good people always welcomed.
 

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Discussion Starter · #29 ·
We had a great LGS for decades, when I started going there in college, (more than half a century ago) the owner and his wife pretty much ran it themselves. He enlarged a couple of times and added more help but it stayed in character. Eventually he retired and sold it to a couple of the employees who still did a great job with it but after one of them died of a heart attack the other decided to retire and enjoy life for a few years and it was 'sold' to his son and a friend. It didn't take very long for most of the experienced clerks to retire after that. Wood and steel began to be a rare find, no one working there was over thirty or could begin to tell a customer about muzzle loaders or reloading beyond ringing up the sale, if you could find what you wanted on a shelf on your own because 'they' did not appear to know or care. If it wasn't black and plastic they didn't much want to even talk about it. During the early phase of the plandemic when any firearm or ammo could be easily sold due to the shortages and gun shops seemed to be gold mines, they closed and it is now a used car lot. The original store easily (at least it appeared so but probably took a lot of work) stood up to the competition of Bass Pro moving into town and another independent but almost 'big-box' gun shop opening up nearby because they were personable, knowledgeable and managed to stay (more or less) competitive, many of us would gladly pay a little more to keep 'our' store in business! The new generation succeeded in driving most of us away.
I still have one pretty small one-man gun shop within driving distance, I know that I don't get there often enough and he doesn't have much reloading stuff (most of what I buy these days) but unless my 'one more gun each year' is a used, person to person sale it comes from his shop.

Bruce
Would have loved to buy a revolver from that shop Bruce and have a knowledgeable Man tell me everything he knew in detail about it guess the gun forums and the members are now the old time guys behind the counter
 

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My small town has two........lots of hunters here.
Shop #1 is literally maybe 100 sqft.......not kidding. He sells only new guns, ammo, reloading and security stuff. Prices are high. I support him best I can with monthly ammo purchases here and there, and I did buy my 642 from him.....paid $50 more than online, but I got to check it out, etc and support him a bit.
#2 is maybe 200sqft, and he sells mainly used guns and caters to hunters. 3 old dogs scuffling about, shop is usually a bit dirty, and he has a 4 month waiting period for gunsmith work, which is how he makes most of his money I’m guessing. Might have him tune my 642 a bit in winter when his backlog hopefully gets down to a month or so.

We also have a pawn shop that does a brisk business in new and used guns. They will order whatever you want, and only add $30 to the price. They also have a huge selection of used holsters since they bought out much of the inventory of a gun shop 100 or so miles away. I did fumble the ball a few years back on a nice SP101 that I waffled on, and walked out of the store without buying it.......it was gone of course when I went back a a few days later to buy it.
 

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My barber shop has wood floors, red leather chairs, several old leverguns on the wall, and free cokes in glass bottles. Not really a gun store, but a very comfortable place.
If I still had hair I'd go there! I guess they could trim the beard!

My gunsmith's shop is a throwback. A little building behind his house. He does all sorts of wonderful work and will share a story if he's not slammed...as he often is.
 

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We had a great LGS for decades........... it was 'sold' to his son and a friend. It didn't take very long for most of the experienced clerks to retire after that. Wood and steel began to be a rare find, no one working there was over thirty or could begin to tell a customer about muzzle loaders or reloading beyond ringing up the sale, if you could find what you wanted on a shelf on your own because 'they' did not appear to know or care. If it wasn't black and plastic they didn't much want to even talk about it. ..........

Bruce
We have a LGS not far that is like that. The owner is not too bad, kind of a Billy-Bob, but he's rarely there. Everyone else is in their twenties, and the store caters mostly to the "tacticool" type. They don't know a revolver from a pistol. They don't stock any leather or reloading stuff. I haven't been in it for years, but hear it hasn't changed.
 
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My favorite LGS started an outdoor expo event about six years ago, one of the rare times I see gun enthusiasts, hunters and non-hunters alike, congregate outside of BassPro in this part of California. Not sure how long they’ve been in business. I hope they get enough foot traffic to keep them around.
 
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I remember back in the day when you went to buy a new revolver at the LGS I'd ask if he could bring out 4 or 5 of the chosen gun. Out he came with 4 boxes of new guns, Id look em all over and pick the one I wanted. I did used to go to the big chain store to get ammo, powder, sometimes dies cause it was closer. That was the local Longs drug store.
 

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A local gunstore: When we were in business we sent work to a skill fun local honest to god gunsmith. Later we had a young guy in residence who did nice work. We would mount scopes doing drilling and tapping. Also starting rebluing firearms. How many people are looking for this kind of work today?

Also, we got no telling how many people started reloading. We had a display set up where new people could actually put hand on reloading gear making cartridges. How about this service from the Big Box. Over in the fishing department those explained a spinning reel did not go on a casting rod. Rigs would come from the Big Box.
 
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