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There's one that's close where I live and there used to be one where I bought many of my guns (or traded). It used to be easy and cheap to get military surplus guns including the Garands. Those days are gone.

I remember the local hardware store selling dynamite for $1.25/stick, no questions asked. Shoulda bought a few but I was less than 10 y.o. They probably would not have let me have it. I do remember going to the drug store with my best friend in 5th grade and buying two of the three needed ingredients needed to make black-powder. We managed not to blow ourselves up but we blew up a lot of other things (no mailboxes). Model airplane fuel was good for blowing up stuff too. You had to know what to mix it with.
 

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Hell we parked at highschool with full gun racks in our trucks while we made gun racks in shop class. Depends on where you are and what kinda store. Some of our "antique malls" here in the rust belt may be just like you remember today. Minus the powder and ammo.
I still have a gun rack, 60 years later, that I made in shop class in Junior High School in 8th grade. Yes, you are right. I remember guys leaving their trucks parked with the guns ON the racks IN the trucks and nobody even thought about bothering them back then! No SWAT teams were ever called out and I don't remember any school shootings at all! The moral decline in America is atrocious and anti-God. I also remember the morning devotionals by the teacher and saying the Pledge of Allegiance before class began. Those were the days of respect for God, family, and country!
 

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It's good to dwell on these memories when we can.
The gun counter & displays at the hardware store, where the old man had a bag of shotgun shells for me to sort while dad decided on a new 870 or m12 for pheasants. Got a dime a box just for sorting them when I was about 8, 9?

Sadly, our kids and theirs won't have these memories...

One only has to look to Australia and Canada to see what I mean. 😢😟
 

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Sadly, not in today's environment. In the early sixties, I remember my dad one time taking me to town with my Winchester Model 77 to have the gunsmith repair the firing pin. While he went into to the bank, I walked down the sidewalk, with the rifle uncased, past the police station, to the gun shop. No one gave me a second look. I was fourteen at the time. The world was different back then.
Difference in attitude: A friend of mine accompanied me to do a gun trade on the city bus. We came back with an 1889 model Trapdoor complete with rod bayonet. Nobody said anything. Do that today and we would have been swarmed by SWAT in APC's.
The Single Six in my avatar was a gift from my father, given to me in a restaurant! He asked the manager, of course, and he was a regular at that place. Can you imagine pulling out a revolver in a restaurant today?
 

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When I was a kid, 15/16 years old, I used to spend a couple months with my sisters in Dallas. I worked where one of them worked and got to make a little pocket money. I used to take the bus downtown when I wasn’t working and go to the Buckhorn Trading Post. The guy that ran it was very indulgent of a kid asking questions and touching guns. He had a bunch of old Winchesters and Colts and two tables, big tables, full of rifles and shotguns. Even drillings and voehrlings (sp). That’s a four barreled gun in case some of you don’t know. Most of the drillings were 16 gauges with some European cartridge for the rifle barrel. Seven millimeter Mauser was popular as was some kind of 6.5, but I can’t remember if it was the Swede or not. I did see one 12 gauge with a 30-06 barrel under. These were nice guns, most of them with engraving.

This was the early sixties and I had just bought my first firearm with my own money. It was a S& W Model 53 in .22 Jet. There was a leather shop almost straight across from the Buckhorn and I carried my Smith in the box on the bus to the leather shop along with a picture straight out of the Lawrence Leather Company catalog. It was a crossdraw holster with floral carving. The holster maker didn’t even bat an eye that a 16 year old kid brought in a handgun. I had to leave it with him for a couple weeks but he made a fine holster that stayed with me until a few years later when I traded it for a High Standard semiautomatic. The things we regret……
 

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I remember going to gun stores with my father late 60s early 70s and being fascinated by the environment, The smell sights sounds. Old men ( Me lol) standing around coffee in hand swapping lies bragging about there hunt, Row upon row of revolvers rifles old dogs roaming around the shop acting like they own the place. Have not seen a shop that reminds me of that in decades. Is there old shops in your area still in operation ❓
when i read your story you had that bought back memories because i remember the same thing ther would be a lot
of old men standing around talking guns i was 18 19years old i am 79 now and i can remeber those days.
 

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A local gunstore: When we were in business we sent work to a skill fun local honest to go 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.
I remember going to gun stores with my father late 60s early 70s and being fascinated by the environment, The smell sights sounds. Old men ( Me lol) standing around coffee in hand swapping lies bragging about there hunt, Row upon row of revolvers rifles old dogs roaming around the shop acting like they own the place. Have not seen a shop that reminds me of that in decades. Is there old shops in your area still in operation ❓
Like this?



Black Public space Monochrome Stool Monochrome photography
Font Monochrome Mass production Metal Machine
 

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.22 Single Six and Ten, three Wranglers, 2 44 Vaqueros, MkII, 10-22, 22 Charger, 77-357, GP100s.
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My favorite gun store was a shop in the basement of the owner's home. Owner used to work with my father at the duPont plant in the area. He was the chief pipefitter and machinist, and had master gunsmith training and reputation recommendations. My dad had no problems loaning me some cash to buy from him. Always paid dad back. Maybe 150sq ft in the front, and a bigger 500-600sq ft repair shop/machine shop in the back. Bought my first mdl 60 there, my S&W 25 there, also both my 7" and 5" Redhawks, and my first 45 - a Randall all-stainless. I don't have any of those guns now, but I miss "Brownie" more.
 

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My favorite gun store was a shop in the basement of the owner's home. Owner used to work with my father at the duPont plant in the area. He was the chief pipefitter and machinist, and had master gunsmith training and reputation recommendations. My dad had no problems loaning me some cash to buy from him. Always paid dad back. Maybe 150sq ft in the front, and a bigger 500-600sq ft repair shop/machine shop in the back. Bought my first mdl 60 there, my S&W 25 there, also both my 7" and 5" Redhawks, and my first 45 - a Randall all-stainless. I don't have any of those guns now, but I miss "Brownie" more.
Would love to find a shop like you described and with the knowledge and money i’ve acquired i’d be set great photos ‼‼‼
 

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Out here in northwest Arizona , we have no big box stores other than grocery stores , Walmart and a Home Depot . We do have a couple few mom and pop type gun shops . One is actually called “The Gun Shop” . We do also have a fairly large pawn shop that sells new as well as used stuff . I have no idea how many hundred miles I’d have to go to find a Cabellas , Academy or Bass Pro etc .
 

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There's one that's close where I live and there used to be one where I bought many of my guns (or traded). It used to be easy and cheap to get military surplus guns including the Garands. Those days are gone.

I remember the local hardware store selling dynamite for $1.25/stick, no questions asked. Shoulda bought a few but I was less than 10 y.o. They probably would not have let me have it. I do remember going to the drug store with my best friend in 5th grade and buying two of the three needed ingredients needed to make black-powder. We managed not to blow ourselves up but we blew up a lot of other things (no mailboxes). Model airplane fuel was good for blowing up stuff too. You had to know what to mix it with.
The last old time gun store in my area died with Harry Beckwith.
High Volume Shootout: The Harry Beckwith Incident
 

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Didn't know it then, but I was so blessed to have gotten my first real 'paycheck job' working as a teen in an old time LGS/Sporting Goods store. It was 1974, I was 16 y.o. and had just bought my first used car ('68 Mustang) and so the ~20 mile commute even added to the adventure.
This business had started as a Harley-Davidson dealership back in 1930's, had moved a few times and converted to sporting goods, boats and especially guns and reloading gear. By the time I came on, the boats were gone, still had some fishing stuff, but was mostly guns, hunting gear, reloading gear and components.|
It was THE 'go-to' store for the area for MANY counties around and I can recall equipping many guys for far-flung adventurous hunts out West, off the Continent, etc.
The manager, who took me under his wing like a 2nd Dad, had done everything from Bullseye shooting to precision benchrest and was essentially 'Google' for anything related to handloading for untold hundreds of people.

Lot's of regulars and 'hangers around', especially on Saturdays.
- The one thing I had a strong dislike for was the cigarette smoke hanging in the air. Hated it then, still do.

I learned an enormous amount working there, and of course got hooked on most of it, especially reloading. which I still enjoy here almost 50 years later.
 

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We have several LGS in my area. All are touchy feely as far as long guns are concerned but handguns are all under glass. Ammo is all on shelves you can access yourself. Always lots of guys coming and going all day long. Some stay and talk, but most are looking for something in particular and if it is there they buy or at least try to haggle on the price. All of these stores are gunshops only, no side merchandise, except ones that also sell archery equipment.
 

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While I do miss the old gun stores, I don't miss the cranky old man who was always sitting in a chair behind the counter throwing you the stink eye while you look at the display case, then giving you a 30 minute dissertation/lecture about how you probably don't know anything about anything but you're lucky because today he's feeling generous and is going to tell you everything you need to know. There was at least one in every small town gun store and fairly often they had a henhouse of fellow curmudgeons visiting for the day who mostly just sat nodding and agreeing with the head stink eye thrower. The younger you were the bigger the stink eye and the longer the lecture lol.
 

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While I do miss the old gun stores, I don't miss the cranky old man who was always sitting in a chair behind the counter throwing you the stink eye while you look at the display case, then giving you a 30 minute dissertation/lecture about how you probably don't know anything about anything but you're lucky because today he's feeling generous and is going to tell you everything you need to know. There was at least one in every small town gun store and fairly often they had a henhouse of fellow curmudgeons visiting for the day who mostly just sat nodding and agreeing with the head stink eye thrower. The younger you were the bigger the stink eye and the longer the lecture lol.
Did you get the big fat cigar smoking one?
 

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While I do miss the old gun stores, I don't miss the cranky old man who was always sitting in a chair behind the counter throwing you the stink eye while you look at the display case, then giving you a 30 minute dissertation/lecture about how you probably don't know anything about anything but you're lucky because today he's feeling generous and is going to tell you everything you need to know. There was at least one in every small town gun store and fairly often they had a henhouse of fellow curmudgeons visiting for the day who mostly just sat nodding and agreeing with the head stink eye thrower. The younger you were the bigger the stink eye and the longer the lecture lol.
That’s too funny . 😂
 

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I'm fortunate to have at least five of those near me and I frequent all of them. Only two of them have dogs but the rest of the description is spot on. I also live near the brick and mortar location of a couple big internet gun stores (Bud's and KyGunCo). Both of them are actually pretty decent stores. They're just bigger versions of mom and pop stores and the CS is pretty good at both of them. I'll give KyGunCo a slight nod over Bud's but Bud's is a lot closer to my house. There are also more than a few other local independent gunshops in this area and with one glaring exception they're all pretty decent places. We have the big box stores too (Cabelas, Sportsman Warehouse, etc) but I don't frequent them. They're prices are too high, the selection sucks and the staff are anywhere between okay and clueless.

Come to think of it we're pretty blessed around here when it comes to gun stores. There's a lot of them and most of them are pretty good. We even have a dedicated reloading shop. They also sell a few used guns but it's primarily a great place to buy powder, dies and components.
 

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Mater of fact, I stopped into one just today that is real close to your description. If you happen to be driving along the Columbia river on I-84 and passing through The Dalles, you should stop in and check it out. The Dalles Bargain Center has old dudes and younger guys, and the majority of the stuff in the racks is blued steel and wood. They have some black plastic but it is in the minority here. The walls are covered with wildlife mounts both old and new with plenty of dust and cobwebs hanging off them. There is a big old wood stove for when the winter rolls around. Lots of great used stuff from leather to brass to loading gear. More often than not, there is usually a dog or 2 roaming around. I find it much like a good old fashion barber shop---you can catch up on everyone's business and do all the complaining you want about the democrats. Well worth the stop if you happen to be passing through.
 
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