It’s time to stock up and find some bargains
Story and photos by Russell Purcell
With the holiday season just around the corner many of the local gun shops and sporting equipment retailers are gearing up for their annual pre-Christmas sales. If you are a shooting or hunting enthusiast in the Vancouver area I suspect that you have been scouring the web pages of your favourite retailers in an effort to prepare a shopping list and do your research.
Like many of you, I have made the annual pilgrimage to the city to spend long hours standing in an even longer lineup of like-minded individuals in hopes of scoring a phenomenal deal on a new firearm, optic, or accessory. Unfortunately, the hardcore shoppers near the front of the line (who spent the night pacing in circles to keep warm all-night) tend to walk out the door with whatever gem I was longing to acquire, but I usually manage to find enough bargains to justify the expenditure of both time and effort.
One of the real incentives to attend one of these sales is to stock up on consumables like ammunition and cleaning supplies. The deals on the former are often so strong, that shoppers can be seen exiting pushing hand trucks stacked with cases of ammo. Retailers are well aware of the fact that if you can’t readily feed your equipment you may lose interest in the sport, and that would be unfortunate given the current political climate with regards to the public use and ownership of firearms. As a result they tend to prepare for these sales by stockpiling said ammunition. And for this we should be very thankful.
The price of ammunition is one of the things that motivated me to investigate reloading, and with the assistance of a technically proficient and fastidious father, I have managed to cleave my costs by about 40%-percent. However, as a rather high-volume shooter I am still quick to engage, credit card in hand, when I see a great deal on ammunition. As a result I still hit the sales on a regular basis, clambering to the car with several thousand rounds of pistol ammunition, flats of 12-gauge shells, and field cans stuffed with tactical buckshot.
Other items that tend to land in my cart include components like magazines, slings, tools and grips. Deals on decoys, targets and cases are also prominent at these sales.
Optics like rifle scopes, spotting scopes, binoculars, and fast acquisition tactical optics are often offered at discounted prices, although the real bargains are usually reserved for odd-ball units, discontinued models, or door-crashers. There are still some great ones out there if you do your pre-sale research.
Many of these same retailers have an online component to their sales for those shoppers who have to work, live out of town, or choose to not brave the cold temperatures. However, it should be noted that these online offers tend to become available well after the physical sale has begun. In short, with a delayed start time.
Standing in line for one of these sale events doesn’t have to be miserable and monotonous, as they represent an excellent opportunity to get some tips, hear a few stories, and make some new friends. However, my advice to you is to wear comfortable footwear and warm clothing, and try to avoid impeding the flow of people into neighbouring businesses or making excessive noise and upsetting the neighbours.
Should you miss out on that perfect gift due to high demand and shortage of supply, remember that a range membership or gift certificate can be purchased at DVC. I treated my younger brother to a voucher for a PAL course a couple of years ago, and as a result, I guaranteed myself a convenient shooting partner, as well as a willing companion to hang out with in line in our quest for the deals.
As an added bonus, he has a strong back and one heavy-duty hand truck!