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Thread: Good old traditional awful British gunshop adventure.

  1. #1

    Good old traditional awful British gunshop adventure.

    This weekend, as part of my ongoing quest to acquire all the most expensive 7mm-08 factory ammunition in London, I trekked all the way across this great city through a blizzard to visit a small gunshop that I’d never been to before. I’d called the owner beforehand to ask whether he had any, which he did, and to ask for prices. He’d indicated on the phone that although they were expensive, he was open to doing a deal if I bought all his small stock. So just before lunch I walked into the gunshop covered in snow. “Hello”, I said, “I called earlier on about some 7mm-08 ammunition”. “Do you like being cold?” asked the chap who looked like Father Christmas, but lacked his friendly demeanour. “Oh yes”, I joked, thinking he was referring to my snowman-like appearance, “I love it”. “Well I don’t, so close the door”. Ah, he’s that sort of independent retailer. Admittedly, I hadn’t quite closed the door properly. Anyway, I reiterated my purpose, and he proceeded to just go off and do something else, leaving me to pace around the shop on my own for ten minutes. It was a proper old-school gunshop, with piles of notebooks, miscellaneous odds and ends and books with faded covers haphazardly stacked on mismatched shelves. After a time, the proper old-school shopkeeper returned and went to his ammunition cabinet to see what he had.
    _ How many do you need?
    _ Well at least one of each, as I’m testing different loads in my new rifle. Depending on the price, I might buy more.
    So he looked up the prices on his computer, and lo and behold, they were higher than he’d said on the phone. In fact, they were pretty much the same as the outrageous prices in the Beretta Gallery. The difference being that in St James’, the shop assistant had been embarrassed to charge that much and had given me a goodwill discount. Not here though.
    _ Who fobbed you off with a 7mm-08 anyway?
    _ No-one. I did my research and chose it myself.
    _ You should have chosen a .308.
    _ Well I intend to shoot boar with my brother-in-law in France, and you can’t use .308 there. Besides, it’s short rifle, and I wanted a round that performs efficiently with a short barrel.
    _ .270 then.
    _ No point, it would just create a load of useless muzzle-blast and waste energy.
    _ If you don’t mind me asking, where did you buy your rifle?
    _ The Sportsman’s Gun Centre.
    _ Why?
    _ Because they’re the importers of Steyr rifles.
    _ You actually bought a Steyr?!
    _ Yes, I like them.
    _ I saw some 15 years ago and the stocks were crap.
    _ Look, I’ve paid the deposit, I’m committed now, that’s what I’m buying. Now you mentioned that we could make a deal if I bought more ammunition.
    _ Nah, you only get a deal if you buy the whole lot. Besides, you’ve offended me by choosing that stupid 7mm-08, so you pay the full price.

    Now by this stage, I was determined to not spend a single penny more than I had to in this shop. So I just bought one of each of the two different loads that he had. I would have spent twice as much if the man hadn’t been so unpleasant.

    While we were sorting out payment and paperwork, a couple entered the shop, the lady wearing purple Hunter wellies. “There’s something about snow that brings out all the interesting boots” said the friendly shopkeeper by way of a greeting. “Well I want to buy some new ones” answered the lady. “You know that those aren’t proper working boots, right? What do you use them for?”. “Just walking the dog”. “You want a pair of these” said the man, offering a pair of half-calf length Muckboot-type wellies. No, she doesn’t, she’s obviously not a dairy farmer or a slurry-pit cleaner, she’s a lady who walks her Labrador on the common, you idiot! And you’ve just told he that her boots are crap, and that her taste in wellies is wrong!

    Anyway, I left him to alienate some more customers and went home. The final twist in the tale though is that when I arrived home, I happened to look at the date stamps on the boxes, and it turned out that the ammunition made in 1998. Now it’s not as if this stuff wears out, but the point is that it’s been sitting in his dismal little gunshop for fifteen years, and given a chance to finally sell it all, he turned it down in favour of slagging off a new customer!

    It’s generally a shame when independent specialist shops close, especially gunshops, but really, it’s not that surprising when they’re run by people like that.

  2. #2
    Interesting experience. Would you care to share the establishments name?/ You can do so by PM if you wish.

    Sort of reminds me of a visit to see some Pistols a small London gunshop had before they were stolen from us of course. That too was an "enlightening experience" Am trying to recall the shops name but cannot and cannot check the receipts as his ideas of condition did not match my own so I didn't buy anything at all.

  3. #3
    odd really . Its not as if there are thousands of customers beating a path to his door. You would have thought he needed every customer he could get.

  4. #4
    Sorry I lost my sympathy as soon as you said you bought the minimum anyway. I would have walked out regardless of whether I really needed the ammo or not and not given him a single penny!

    I do however sympathise with the situation you are in with certain people and shops within the guntrade. They just don't want your business, so take it elsewhere and then you can smirk when eventually they go out of business and think to yourself 'I helped that happen' although as you know many of these shops cause it all by themselves!!

    Where a gunshop really cannot get it in I often buy it over the phone and get it to send it to a local gunshop who charges me a couple of quid as a sort of commission, but getting the right price by ringing round I save that anyway!

    Good luck with your quest, and stick to your guns whatever calibre you choose, after all its the person behind the trigger that makes the difference more often than not!

  5. #5
    Quote Originally Posted by Pine Marten View Post
    _ Who fobbed you off with a 7mm-08 anyway?
    I would have walked out of the shop at this stage and never returned!
    I'm telling Captain - from the Wee'est of men.

  6. #6
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    Left you for ten minutes??? ... He knew you were the guy from the phonecall?.... and you'd "trekked all the way across this great city through a blizzard to visit" his miserable little emporium? ... and you were alone in his shop?

    The door closing matter notwithstanding, I'd"maybe" have given him 1 minute or 2 ... but probably not that long... then I too would have gone off to do something else... like buy a coffee and contemplate the educational value of a swerve well made.. and conclude that my time, though partly wasted, had at least had the benefit of identifying a prat I need never and would never seek to do business with again.

  7. #7
    Vey amusing, the gun trade does seem to acquire some prize winning knobs, I remember going to have a look for a new shotgun in a local shop. I spotted a nice sidelock on the shelf I asked if I could have a look as it had a steel wire running through the trigger guard and padlocked to the shelf. "Yes" the shopkeeper said "you can see it there on the shelf".

  8. #8
    To be honest, I wouldn't have given him a penny! Needs must, I suppose.


    I remember a similar experience, I was needing 275 ammo, unfortunately Macleods didn't have any but would order some for me .
    A "renowned" dealer, further North said he had some, so after a 2 hr drive to the far North, I was offered a bank bag with 50 or so loose rounds from at least 3 manufacturers! The price was 25% more than Macleods!!!
    I was told, it didn't matter as it was only for stags and they're all roughly the same!

    i used the 243 for a couple of weeks and then made a trip to Tain, what I should have done in the 1st place!

  9. #9
    Brings back memories. I worked in a place like that many moons ago as the 'shop boy'!

  10. #10
    Quote Originally Posted by stalker.308 View Post
    Sorry I lost my sympathy as soon as you said you bought the minimum anyway. I would have walked out regardless of whether I really needed the ammo or not and not given him a single penny!

    I do however sympathise with the situation you are in with certain people and shops within the guntrade. They just don't want your business, so take it elsewhere and then you can smirk when eventually they go out of business and think to yourself 'I helped that happen' although as you know many of these shops cause it all by themselves!!

    Where a gunshop really cannot get it in I often buy it over the phone and get it to send it to a local gunshop who charges me a couple of quid as a sort of commission, but getting the right price by ringing round I save that anyway!

    Good luck with your quest, and stick to your guns whatever calibre you choose, after all its the person behind the trigger that makes the difference more often than not!
    I'm afraid I just needed that ammunition and I'm not exactly overwhelmed by choice here. As far as I'm aware, I now have one box of every 7mm-08 load available in London, and that's not very many boxes. But I shall certainly never again undertake the 3 hour and a bit round trip there, especially given that the guy is as expensive as the Beretta Gallery. Where they're a bit supercilious but they don't slag you off and are happy to sell you stuff. Incidentally, the Beretta Gallery and William Evans are pretty much the closest thing I have to a local gunshop. There used to be one nearby but it closed when the owner retired.

    Never mind, from now on, I'll be sourcing all my ammunition from HPS.

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