THOUGHTS AND OPINIONS ON SHOOTING SPORTS
ACTUAL STATEMENT MADE IN COMMONWEALTH ARMS,
THIS AMMO USED?"
GETTING THE MOST FOR YOUR MONEY
Despite the predictions of many "experts" 2017 was indeed a very good year for some of us in the firearms
business. Manufacturers promotions and rebates created a buying environment that was very favorable to the consumer.
Many people took advantage of this and were able to buy the guns they wanted at never before seen prices. Now here is
some even better news, the market is going to be even more favorable to the gun buyer during the first half of 2018. The time
to buy is definitely now, but that time is limited as there are clouds in the future that will soon end this era of unlimited
availability and massive discounts. Here at Commonwealth Arms we are obviously here to sell you firearms, but we want
you to get as much for your money as is possible. Here are some tips to make your dollar go as far possible.
THE TIME TO BUY IS NOW
Manufacturer promotions have seen the prices of new guns fall anywhere from
$30 to $120 below the normal everyday price of many firearms. While not everybody is offering these incentives, the
"Big Two" (Ruger & S&W) are. In fact, these two makers account for nearly 50% of the firearms sold in the USA
each year. The M&P Shield that cost $379.99 in 2016 dropped to $349.99 last year. In 2018 it sells for only
$319.99. Folks this is as low as they are going to go. When the manufacturers drop the incentives the price is
going right back to $379.99, and that is going to happen later this year. Why? Simple, the manufacturers are not
losing money, we know that. But they are not MAKING any money. They are paying their operating costs and expenses,
but that is it. They NEED to turn a profit in order to develop new products. Did everyone notice how few new products
debuted in 2018? This is why. In addition the political climate is very unstable. Here in Virginia we just
elected the most anti gun Governor in our history. In Washington the mid term elections are looming closer this November
and a balance of power shift in Congress is very possible. Either of these things will make any current incentives vanish
overnight. Folks, the deals are out there and they are not going to get any better. If you wait around for them
to "get cheaper" you are going to lose out.
2. GREAT TIME TO BUY - TERRIBLE TIME TO TRADE
all the incentives that are available to dealers right now prices are very low. That is great if you want a new Ruger
SR22 or S&W SD9VE, but not good at all if you are trading. The used market is totally stagnant right now.
As long as quality new firearms are available at discount prices there is no incentive to buy a used firearm. Unfortunately
a lot of folks didn't get the memo on this one. We still see used Ruger LCP's on the floor at gun shows with people
asking $225 when the NEW one is only $199.99. A fair price for the use one is more like $125. Folks
that is why buying what you want the first time is so important. Don't let your buddy talk you into a gun you do not
want, buy what you want. Do not listen to the 15 minute "expert" on you tube that tells you the "Super Weird Special"
is better than the Glock. Buy quality, buy form a manufacturer that you know is going to be here in five years, and
buy at the right price. Here at Commonwealth Arms we only stock quality from reputable manufacturers and always at the
best price. Trading can still be effective, but right now the used market is only strong with older, more collectable
3. THE INTERNET MYTH
At our last gun show we had a guy looking
at the new Ruger EC9S. He looked at our lowest in show price of $239.99 and asked if we could do any better. Amused,
as we had not had a problem getting that price all day, I pointed out that the gun was a brand new model, was not easy to
get, and that our price was the best in the show already and that Commonwealth Arms really didn't mark our firearms much anyway.
He then produced his smart phone and said "Well, Tricky Dicks Cheapy Guns (real name of the business not posted to protect
their guilt) has it online for $228.15 can you match that?' I looked at the ad and said no, because I would have to
raise my price to match it. He looked at me with a bewildered look so I explained to him that after he paid shipping
and our $25.00 transfer fee he would be spending more money by ordering it online. He didn't realize there was a transfer
fee. Come to find out the online vendor was going to charge him an extra 2% for using his credit card too. He
would have had way more than our $239.99 price in the gun had he ordered it online. Folks, people fall for this everyday.
We have researched numerous online retailers and have yet to find one that undersells us once you consider shipping
and transfer costs. Many are higher than us BEFORE you even do the add on charges. Lastly, when you walk into
a shop or a gun show you can PHYSICALLY LOOK at the gun and handle it. If you buy one online and it doesn't suit you
it is YOUR responsibility to return it, pay any incurred fees, etc. NOT THE TRANSFER DEALERS, YOURS. Fortunately
we don't deal with much of this nonsense, but I have encountered my fair share of people who do not understand that the online
retailers will not save you money. Online selling is best left to old and collectable firearms found on legitimate sites
such as GunBroker.com and GunAuction.com
Folks we hope this information is helpful. Again,
we want to see you get the most for your money.
WHATS IN A NAME? - EVERYTHING.
Commonwealth Arms has established itself as the leading firearms retailer in the Alleghany Highlands. We have always
made every effort to stay current and to only stock quality firearms. Many of you may wonder, how do we select the firearms
that we stock? The answer is actually very simple, our inventory is made up of the most popular and desirable firearms
on the modern market, and only made up of those of good quality.
When it comes to handguns we make
an effort to stock a greater variety than any dealer in our area, our stocking lines include Glock, Ruger, S&W, Springfield
Armory, Walther, SCCY, NAA, and a few select models from other manufacturers. The before mentioned brands are by far
the most popular. There are other great brands that we do not typically stock, notably SIG Sauer and HK. Why?
We have tried them both and we have not had success selling them in volume. When shopping for a handgun, the manufacturer
who built it is a very important consideration. Glock, S&W, Ruger, etc are long established brands that have a solid
reputation for building quality products. Some brands like SCCY, are fairly new, but have established themselves by
building quality, affordable products that have been well received by the public. In todays world the internet offers shooters
access to an incredible amount of information, some good, some bad. Not a week goes by that we don't have someone asking
about the latest super weird special from an unknown company. Sometimes these guns are so obscure that none of our distributors
even carry them. Folks, that should be a red flag, if there is a market for a firearm like this, one of the national
firearms distributors will pick up the line. We have seen so many handguns that were going to be the "next big thing"
fade into memory over the last 19 years. How many of you remember Vektor Arms, Arcus, Daewoo (yes the same one that
makes electronics), Sentenel, Firestorm, and countless others? These lines have long since faded away, leaving the unfortunate
buyers of these firearms with no warranty support, no source for spare parts, and a firearm with no trade in value.
I see names pop up now such as Sphinx, Grand Power, and Double Tap that I see suffering the same fate. When you look
at the offerings that the established manufacturers offer there is no reason to venture into the great unknown. No reason
to gamble your hard earned money on a firearm that you may or may not be able to get parts for two years from now. At
Commonwealth Arms we express no loyalty to any one manufacturer, but we do however encourage you to stick with well known,
reputable makers of quality firearms. We make every effort to cover all of the bases with our stocking inventory.
In fact, the top 20 selling handguns in the country are all in stock at our shop. In the event that you cannot find
what you need in our stocking inventory we will be more than glad to order it for you, but we encourage you to stick with
a reputable manufacturer. You will be money ahead if you do.
WHATS HOT AND WHATS NOT - THINKING OF TRADING? THEN READ THIS FIRST
As many of you know we at Commonwealth Arms LOVE to trade, it just seems we can't do it much anymore. We get a
lot of folks asking about used guns, and we wish we were getting more of them in for them to buy, but frankly folks keep bringing
in the wrong stuff, and usually at the wrong price. Lets take a moment to look at what is hot and what is not when you
are thinking about trading a firearm
1. THE BEST OF THE BEST - YOU WILL GET THE MOST MONEY
These are the guns we are REALLY hot after. ANY Smith & Wesson revolver made before
1987 in 90% or better condition, preferably with the original box.. Any Remington 700BDL in a short action caliber that
is in 90% or better condition. Any 9mm or .45ACP caliber Smith & Wesson STEEL FRAME semi automatic pistol in 90$
or better condition, again, having at least two mags and the box helps.. Any Remington 1100 shotgun in something other
than a 12 Gauge. Colt revolvers from the 1970's on back, provided that they have real world trade values. Any
20th Centruy US military firearms, M1 Garand, M1 Carbine, etc provided that they are intact and have not been hacked up.
These are the items that will get you the most money
2. GOOD TRADE IN GUNS THAT STILL GET GOOD
RETURNS FOR YOU
These are more common guns that still yield a good trade due to age and desirability.
No big money stuff here, but you can always get a fair trade on these guns. Any Glock, SIG Sauer, S&W, Walther,
HK, or Ruger handgun. Provided that they are at least 90% and have everything that came with them still present.
These guns sell for 75% to 80% of the price of a new gun so you can expect getting no less than 10% under that on a trade.
Marlin 336 rifles in .30-30 or .35 Remington. These are not big money guns, but they are desirable, so you can expect
to get a good trade here. Remington 1100 shotguns in 12 gauge. Remington and Winchester bolt action .22 rifles
made prior to 1970 (except for the Remington 514). These are again, typically not big dollar guns, but are desirable
so we will go deeper into them than the offerings from companies like Savage and Marlin. Late model S&W revolvers,
they do not bring the money the older guns will, but they will still get you a fair trade. Any surplus military Mauser
or Enfield rifle that is intact and not hacked up, these are desirable and you will likely get much more out of it on a trade
than you paid for it 20 years ago, just don't confuse a common gun with a rare one you saw bringing big money on Gun Broker.
THE MIDDLE OF THE ROAD - WE WILL TRADE IT, BUT GOT TO BE CHEAP
These are the most common offerings
on a trade, and we turn down a lot of these because of price. These are average guns with no real value other than as
a working gun. They are never going to be collectors items, but they will provide years of useful service as a working
gun. Bolt action rifles from Ruger, and Savage (except the AXIS) fall into this group. They are solid hunting
guns, but not something you bought (we hope) as an investment. Remington 870 shotguns. The Wingmaster will do
a little better here, but eh 870 Express has killed it in the face of a lot of our customers, it may be prettier, but it will
do the same thing. Great guns, but they typically have a lower resale value. Handguns from Springfield Armory,
Taurus, and Kel Tec. The Springfield's are kind of an enigma here, they are great firearms, but our experience has been
that used ones sell slowly, so they have to be priced accordingly. The other makers listed above have very low resale
value. Any rimfire rifle from Marlin, Savage, Stevens, etc. These were inexpensive guns when they were new, there
are hundreds of thousands of them out there, so they resale as very, very cheap used guns. Ruger MKIII's and MKII's,
unless you have a rare one, now that the MKIV is out, nobody cares, these guns took a 20% drop in value the minute the MKIV's
hit the shelves. Ruger LCP's, folks, they are so cheap new there is no way you can get much out of one, but we will
trade it if the price is right.
4. THE UNDESIRIBLES - WE WILL TRADE, BUT WE CAN'T PUT MUCH
These are the guns we seem like we see on the floor at gun shows a lot. Any Mossberg
shotgun, these are very well built guns, but they do not hold there value well at all. Savage AXIS rifles, they are
so cheap new they have to be ultra cheap used. AR type rifles. What? You may seem surprised to see this
here, well, with what you can buy a new one for there is no way you can get a good trade on a used one, the new ones are just
too cheap, besides, our experience has been that people don't get rid of AR's, they like them too much, unless they screwed
up and bought a junker (ie Double Star, Jimmy built it in his basement, Super Weird Noname Arms, you know that kind of stuff)
Off brand and not so well known handguns from people like Star, Astra, Iver Johnson. These folks built some good guns,
but a lot of these companies have been out of business since before a lot of our customers were born, so they have to be priced
like a no name gun in order to be sold.
5. NOT INTERESTED - WE ARE NOT TAKING THESE ON TRADE
is the stuff that you cannot give away in the modern world. If you acquire one of these understand that you are married
to it, and if you already have one keep it, some of these are good guns, they just do not sell. Any Mossberg, Charles
Daily, Stevens 200, or other no name hunting rifle. These guns simply do not resale. Bottom of the line handguns
from Hi Point, Jennings, Lorcin, Cobra, etc. It was junk when it was built, it sold for very little, and we can't do
anything with it. Sportereized military firearms. These guns may have value as working guns, but have no value
when it comes to resale. Muzzle loaders, again, they have no resale value at all.
obviously didn't mention every make and model of gun, but we hope this gives everyone an idea on what we are looking for in
a trade. You should always be looking to trade up, not sideways and never down. Understand that we want to get
you into a good gun, but if you are trading, we want to get into a good gun too, one that will turn over quickly. We
hope this helps and happy trading!
THE ABC'S OF TRADING GUNS
The art of trading guns is as old as guns themselves. Although today we are not talking about trading for whiskey
or animal furs, we are talking about trading guns for guns in a retail gun shop. Here are some pointers on how to get
the best possible deal when trading at Commonwealth Arms.
1. DESIRABLE GUNS MAKE FOR SOLID
The first thing you need to consider when you are trading a gun is this. How easy is
this gun going to be for the dealer to sell? A quality firearm in clean condition will always yield a higher trade value.
If you come into my shop with a gun you wish to trade on something that I have in stock the first thing I do as a dealer is
asses if the gun is at least as easy, or easier to sell than the gun that you are wanting to trade for. For example,
recently we took in a Smith & Wesson 1911 that was an honest 95% gun on trade towards a Glock 22 and a Taurus PT709.
The owner told me what he was looking to get out of his gun on trade, and assessing that the gun would be an easy sell for
a fair profit I agreed immediately. He priced the gun fairly, because he knew we had to make a profit. The gun he traded
only lasted a couple days before it was sold outright. We also recently were offered a Savage AXIS rifle on trade on
a Glock 23. The Savage as you know is a deer rifle, and this was January, about as far as you can get from hunting season.
We typically sell about two or three Glock 23's a month, but the Savage would likely sit down here for months. Amazingly,
we were able to work out a deal, but the trade value was far less than the owner had wanted. Inventory can be an asset
or a liability. It is an asset when it turns quickly and yields a profit. it is a liability when it sits on the
rack keeping valuable shop money tied up that could have been used for a faster selling gun. As a general rule of thumb
quality handguns are desirable year round. Most quality rimfire rifles are desirable year round. Hunting rifles
are best traded from mid summer to mid fall. Quality shotguns are most desirable from early fall to early spring.
Some guns will never yield a good trade, such as off brand guns, abused guns, and muzzle loaders. In fact, we
do not trade for muzzle loaders at all.
2. DON'T PAY TOO MUCH FOR IT TO BEGIN WITH
see this all the time. We run into folks wanting to trade clean used Glocks, Smith & Wessons, Remingtons, etc, for
MORE than we sell them for NEW. When we point that out this is what we get "You sell that new for $489.99, but I paid
$650 for it at Ole Buddy Guns!" I am truly sorry, I hate to see anyone take a beating, but Commonwealth Arms has been
here for 17 years, so we're still not real sure why this happens. The Deer Gun stores might be a great place to hang
out at the counter and shoot the breeze, pick up a box of reloading bullets, or a bottle of doe pee, but they are one lousy
place to buy a new gun. We have to price our new guns relative to our new guns, or they will never sell. Typically
if a new Ruger SR9 sells for $429.99, then a really clean use one can bring no better than $329.99. Again, we have to
make a profit, we don't have to get rich, but we can't tie up $300 to make a ten dollar bill either, not and stay in business
very long anyway. Folks, you do not have to pay too much for new guns, don't!
REALLY IS EVERYTHING
I have a customer that has over the past made it a habit of bring guns in to
trade that looked like they had been drug behind a truck. His argument was "it gives them character" Sorry, we
are not buying that, and neither are most of our customers. The fact is, people are not interested in crappy looking
guns at all, unless they are bona fid antiques. And if they are crappy looking antiques they still have to be prices
like 30% antiques. When a hunting rifle comes in with a few dings, maybe some thinning bluing, and a scratch or two,
we are fine with that, that is normal hunting wear from use. But when the same gun comes in with rust pitting, gouges
in the stock, a bore that looks like a sewer pipe, and the name "Jim Bob" carved on the floorplate with a pocket knife we
are not interested. As a general rule of thumb we try to avoid anything that is less than 80% Folks, you
pay a decent amount of money for a new gun, shouldn't you try to take care of it? When trade time comes, you will be
much happier if you did.
4. WE DON'T CARE WAHT THEY ARE ASKING FOR IT ON GUNBROKER
yes, the online auction sites. We make use of them ourselves, gunauction.com in particular. We have had an account
there for 15 years, so we can tell you all about the myths of online auction sites. The biggest myth is that all used
guns bring big money on the internet. Well, a lot of folks ASK big money on the internet, especially on the Facebook
gun trader pages, but in the end few of them get it. Desirable, collectable, and hard to find guns most definitely do
bring premium money, and we will always trade with you accordingly. But just because you saw a pre 1964 Winchester Model
94 in 95% condition bring a big price on GunBroker, do not make the false assumption that the 94 Ranger you bought at Wal
Mart 10 years ago is going to have the same yield. lets make sure we compare apples to apples, and if you really want
to see what they "bring", check out the closed auctions. At Commonwealth Arms we set our pricing based on one thing,
can we make a fair profit on this gun and turn it over in less than 90 days.
DON'T HELP YOUR TRADE, THEY KILL IT
When we are looking at a gun someone wishes to trade we are looking
at the gun. We are not really interested in what kind of holsters you have with it, what kind of sights you put on it,
what kind of springs you put in it, what kind of grips it has, what gunsmith did what to "make it better", or how many other
needless accessories you have with it. Sure we all buy this stuff, but everything I mentioned above does nothing for
the value of a trade except maybe make it a little easier to sell to someone that is in love with gizmos. Extra mags
and FULL BOXES of ammo do help, unless you have too much ammo in a weird caliber. The worst offenders are AR-15 owners
that buy $1000 worth of accessories for a $750 rifle, because at the end of the day what they still have is $600 worth of
trading material. Bring the guns in to trade, and sell the parts and pieces in a yard sale.
that we love to trade, but we have to make a profit. These guidelines may seem kind of blunt, but at Commonwealth Arms
we WANT our customers to get the most for their money. Therefore we WANT you to get the most for your trade. But
you have to trade smart folks, you have to trade smart.
IT'S TIME FOR VIRGINIA TO GET WITH THE PROGRAM - LEGALIZE THE .223 FOR DEER HUNTING
You know we have a lot of busy days here at Commonwealth Arms, and others that are not so busy. These
not so busy days often turn into BS sessions around the table in the shop. During these sessions shooters and hunters
often share knowledge, and um, well, sometimes lack of knowledge. This was the case not long ago. The conversation
went kind of like this, the names have been changed to protect the guilty.
"The thing that really blows my mind, is all these people buying these AR-15 rifles. They ain't
good for nothing, you can't deer hunt with 'em." :Blurted Bubba.
"Well you can't deer hunt with them, but they are popular as target guns, varmint guns, and predator guns.
Besides, in normal states like West Virginia and Kentucky they ARE deer legal." Said Me.
"I agree, they need to be deer legal, I mean you can hunt with a .30 Carbine for crying out loud, a .223
is a lot more powerful than that.: added Doomus
"Oh no, you need some knock down for deer, the .243 is too puny, much less a little .223, thats just a souped
up .22." :argued Bubba.
"Hardly, a .223 is effective on a man sized target out past 300 yards, surely it can kill a 100 pound animal."
"Yeah with the bullet technology that exists today the .223 is a different cartridge than it was even 10
years ago. A lot of .223's have fast twist rates and are capable of handling heavy bullets effectively." :added
"Oh that twist rate don't mean nothin' (pauses to let a fart) You need a big gun like a .30-30 to
bring a deer down right, hit it with that weenie gun and it will run and run.." :howled Bubba
"Bubba, how many deer have you killed with a .22 Magnum?" :added I.
We all had a good laugh at that point, but the sad reality is that the Virginia Department of Game and Inland
Fisheries have a mentality along the lines of Babba. A flawed and dated attitude towards small caliber centerfire rifles.
The reality is that the .222, .223, and the .22-250 have been used effectively on deer for years in many other states.
The ammunition companies have been loading purpose built game cartridges for these calibers for years, and the number of effective
hunting bullets to reloaders is tremendous. Yet here in Virginia we still have an obsolete caliber restriction for deer
What would legalizing .22 caliber centerfire rifles for deer hunting do for sportsman in Virginia?
A lot. First of all with the number of females getting into hunting it would give them a rifle with plenty of power,
and no recoil. It would also dramatically reduce the cost of hunting ammunition for those who choose the .223 for deer
hunting. The .222 and .223 when utilized properly kill cleanly, reducing the damage to the meat. Lastly, it would
open up one of the most versatle and popular rifles in the world to deer hunters, the AR-15. The AR-15 is a great all
weather rifle, it is lightweight, accurate, and readily adaptive to any kind of optics imaginable. In conclusion I thnk
it is time for sportsmen to start getting vocal. We need to push for the legalization of .22 calber centerfire rifles
for deer hunting. The current attitude that they are "not powerful enough" simply has no factual basis. You pay
a premium to hunt in Virginia, you should be able to hunt with any rifle that is suitable. I think the .223 falls into