For some time now, I’ve been needing a takedown shotgun for a project that I have in mind for The Holster Site. It’s not going to be much of a marketable product so much as a bragging rights kind of deal. The big two obvious solutions to a takedown shotgun have been Winchesters: an 1897 or a 1912. Although I am completely enamored with the ’97, being the arguable granddaddy of all pump action shotguns, the living examples I’ve found have been a little long in the tooth, shot rattly, and often old enough that smokeless powder is questionable. The exposed parts on these guns are absolutely beautiful, IMHO. But, I wanted something quite serviceable, and I wanted to stick to U.S. manufacture, so that kind of rules out any of the CAS clones I’ve seen. After thinking about the functionality of a pump action, I decided that the internal hammer offspring of the ’97, the M12, was probably the way to go.
A year or so ago, I could not touch one of these guns in my area for less than $1,000.00. But it was just about that long ago that I started seeing the prices on these dwindling quickly. Recently, I’ve seen 1912s selling for less than $500.00 in local stores. On one of my recent trips to the fabric store, I stopped at every pawn shop on the street between the highway and the store to see what they had in stock. Admittedly, I was looking for a CD player (which constitutes a blog entry of its own), but I kept an eye out for Winchester shotguns as well. At one store, they had one in decent condition marked with a ‘SALE!!!‘ sign at $352.95. The price seemed decent to say the least. I’m not making a lot of money yet, but it had been a good couple of weeks, and I’d just put down a good deposit at the bank. Since it was a pawn shop, I knew that it couldn’t possibly be the bottom-line price.
Jennifer and I got up on Saturday morning, after discussing the possibility of taking on a new gun, and we headed out to the above mentioned pawn shop. When we arrived, they were fairly busy, but highly understaffed for the amount of customer flow. There was a cute little girl behind the counter who looked part Latina. She asked if she could help me and I asked if I could put my greasy paws all over a couple of their guns. I man-handled a late production ‘Defender’ which had a mere 5-shot magazine (I didn’t know they made those), and the 1912. It was a pretty sweet gun. I asked if she could do anything on the price and she said that the prices on guns and gold were pretty firm. She did comment that I could make an offer and she could take it to the owner. I told her that I had $250.00 cash that I would part with for the old Winchester. She wandered off with the gun in hand to middle-man my offer.
She returned shortly and said, “He says you’re about $100.00 plus tax short.” I was offended. Arithmetic tells us that his response was that he would not come down on the price. The delivery was snide, and sent through the cute little girl instead of face-to-face. I simply cannot fathom running a business with that kind of attitude. It defies all reason. If he had come to me himself and told me that he really couldn’t come down on the price or he would lose money on the gun, I would have understood. But, he sent a snide remark through his cute little girl. No. I will never step foot in that shop again. I thanked the little girl and we left the shop.
Jennifer suggested that maybe we should go and check Mustang Pawn and Gun which is on the extreme far end of town, but have provided us nothing but awesome service ever. They also have a great selection of good old guns. You want a Colt 1903 Pocket Hammerless? They have three. You want a S&W M&P .38? Engraved or non? You want a Browning Auto 5? They have several Brownings and several Remington 11s. They are an excellent resource for the old and odd, and when you are looking for a good one. Jennifer also commented that she didn’t feel that $350 was too much money to pay for the right gun. (I love that girl.)
To Be Continued…