LOCKED AND LOADED … Words From RSA President Rich Shepler
To All RSA Members,
RSA’s 25th Anniversary year is shaping up to be a great
one. The large special first quarter Journal was great and well
received, the limited edition commemorative knives have
nearly sold out, several people are working on RSA exhibits
5. Don’t be afraid to ask questions but be concise. Don’t
expect a seller to give you a primer on the piece or
manufacturer. Try to ask direct factual questions. “Has
this gun been refinished?” is good. “Do you think this
gun has been refinished” only requests an opinion.
Pay attention to answers. “I think” answers
for gun shows, and plans are shaping up
for a fun and informative seminar in
Ogden, Utah, September 12-14. If you
have not ordered a commemorative knife
yet, get your order to me quickly as there
are only a few left (see the 4th quarter
2006 Journal for full details). When you can confirm
useful to you but they don’t guarantee
6. Dickering is part of the fun and
most sellers have some room in their
marked prices. It is OK to observe flaws
and use them to bargain a better price.
But do not trash a piece. If you think it
is poor, just thank the seller and walk
your participation in the
seminar, send me a note letting me know.
It helps us to have a head count and I
will be able to let you know right away
when additional details are finalized so
you won’t have to wait for the next
A new collector recently asked me
about gun show etiquette. It was
interesting to try to capsulize the topic and I thought I would
repeat it here for people who may not have had the opportunity
to attend many shows.
1. Always ask permission before picking up a piece to
examine it. Be careful with everything you touch and
keep your hands/fingers off the metal as much as
possible. Set it back down carefully. Do your eating and
drinking away from the tables.
2. Safety First! Always verify that a firearm is unloaded.
There is little reason to bring ammunition into a gun
show but you may have purchased rounds there. Never
insert a cartridge or shotshell into any firearm for any
reason. Keep guns pointed in a safe direction.
3. Do not cycle an action unless you are serious about
buying the piece and do not do so without both paying
attention to #2 above and asking permission. Never spin
a revolver’s cylinder. Do not be offended if the seller is
reluctant to allow you to cycle an action unless you are a
serious buyer, especially it the piece is an antique. If
possible, ease the hammer down slowly. Never force
anything. If you break it, you just bought it.
4. Examine the piece thoroughly because once you buy it,
it is yours. If examination requires disassembly, ask the
seller to do it. If you truly are an expert on that piece and
know how to do it, with seller’s permission you can
carefully do so if you have the proper tools. I usually
still prefer that the seller does it as then if something is
broken it is clearly not my fault.
7. When a seller is negotiating with
another buyer, consider that piece sold
unless and until they fail to reach
agreement. Do not ask to examine the
gun or interrupt with your own counter
offer. While it is OK to volunteer a
positive observation about the piece,
never volunteer negative ones. If someone brought a
gun to the show to sell and a dealer is examining it, do
not make an offer until and unless they fail to reach
agreement. It is more polite to wait to do so until after
the individual leaves the dealer’s table.
8. Don’t make derogatory comments to other people about
a seller’s guns when within earshot of the table.
9. If you buy something, it is OK to ask for a receipt. The
receipt should identify the item and include its serial
number if it has one. The description should include all
significant guarantees the seller made about the item.
The receipt needs to clearly identify the seller and you.
10. It is safer to bring cash or money orders. Many sellers
will accept checks from people they know but may be
reluctant to take them from strangers. A seller may want
to keep the gun until your check clears and ship it to you
then. Don’t be offended. Their requirement is most
likely the result of their being burned in the past.
11. Have fun and don’t be afraid to go home “skunked?” If
you go to a show to have fun and learn, you will never
be truly skunked. You will find a piece to buy at another
I hope to see you in Ogden in September. You’ll be glad you
came, I assure you!