Tom Claycomb: Now for the gun shows – Idaho Press-Tribune


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I love the show season. And if you’ve been reading any of my articles lately then you know I’ve been flying around the country hitting the Dallas Safari Club Convention & Expo, the Safari Club International Convention and the mother of them all, the SHOT Show.

Even though I love the big shows, I have to admit. I’ve been stretched out thin. Between giving seminars at all of them and working the shows from daylight to dark, maybe flying in late to one of them at 2: 30 a.m. and getting up some mornings at 4 to write articles covering them — I was drained by the time I flew home from the last one on a Saturday night at midnight. Only to have to get up at 3: 30 to fly out again for two and a half weeks on Wednesday morning.

But now it’s time for some more relaxing type of shows. Gun shows! I don’t think that I’ve ever been to a gun show that it didn’t have something that I couldn’t live without. Gun shows have something for everyone.

If you need a brand new rifle, shotgun or pistol have no fear, you’ll find it there. Want an old M1 Garand? Saw a collection of them today. What about cowboy pistols? Yep, you’ll see a plethora of them.

Then there’s always a few vendors with a ton of old Army gear. Then if you’re looking for knives, you’ll find a ton of them. A lot of old school leather handle knives on up to some modern ones that are good for … I just don’t think their use has been discovered as of yet.

Knives that fit into my hunting world, I usually don’t see too many of them — although today I did.

And who isn’t infatuated with old lever actions? There are always a few tables of them that I have to stop and google over. The old lever action has to be the coolest rifle ever designed, doesn’t it? They’re the gun that won the West and still win the heart of any true westerner. I shot a cinnamon bear a few years ago with a Henry’s Golden Boy 45-70. That made for a beautiful picture with the brass lever action laid on the cinnamon bear.

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If you need some décor for a mountain cabin, I don’t know how you could do better than hit a gun show and grab a box full of old-school ammo boxes to set up on a shelf. I saw a guy that had a whole box of old ammo boxes for sell today.

Usually at every gun show I can find at least one deal on a couple of boxes of ammo that I need. But one word of caution. I’d advise against buying any ammo reloaded by some individual local. Years ago I bought some at a Nampa Gun Show and it nearly blew the firing pin back through the end of the bolt. It was protruding out the back of the bolt. Little Tommie’s forehead would have been the next stop. So only buy reputable ammo.

One thing that I really like to stumble upon is a unique local dealer. One year at the La Grande gun show I met a guy that sold imported knives from Finland. They were unique. The handles were made out of reindeer horns. He had a mushroom knife that had boars’ bristles on the end of the handle to brush dirt off of your mushrooms as you gathered them.

Today I met a young man named Justin that owns Dakota Prairie Ammunition. They manufacture ammo, of course. I’m going to be testing some of his ammo. I love helping guys that are just getting their feet on the ground and many times you’ll be able to meet a new fledgling company at your local show.

Some upcoming gun shows in Idaho include: The Boundary County Gun & Horn Show on Feb. 11 — 13 in Bonners Ferry; one in Twin Falls Feb. 12, 13; The Amoureux Homedale Gun Show on Feb 19, 20; and The Boise Gun Show at the Ford Idaho Center, March 5, 6.

So don’t just set around the cabin bored this winter. Get out and hit a gun show. If nothing else I always see a few old-time books that I can’t pass on. Have fun.

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