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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
A couple of guys that I know started a (long-awaited) gun shop, and I'm so giddy about it, I just had to post.

I suppose I'm not alone when I say that I have been in enough shops to have a preconcieved notion about what gun shops "look like." You know, peeling paint, stains on the carpet from a rotting roof, and so on.

I can't tell you how nice it is when you find one of those places that isn't like that. This new place, FBMG, is one of these refreshing places. The layout is great, as well as the staff.

When you walk in, the first thing you see is a wall covered by anything and everything flecktar (digital camouflage). You could buy an entire uniform. To your left, adjacent to this room, is where the guns are. The far wall is covered with all kinds of nasty black toys, and the counter is full of handguns, lube, trauma plates, and suppressors. Covering the rest of the floor are short aisles that contain all kinds of pleasant surprises, like very nice Don Hume holsters that are police trade-ins, baskets and baskets full of mags, ammo of all kinds, and surplus gear. We're not just talking about your usual one-size-fits-most Outers cleaning kit and cheap airsoft holsters.

They're actually NFA manufacturers, so they put together their own suppressors and other wonderful things.

Then there's upstairs: A classroom where all kinds of classes are taught, and the coolest thing ever -- a shooting simulator. You know, one of those things that works with a PC and a projector? I want one so bad I could cry. I got to give it a test run... this is what ALL video games should be like.

Utahns and travelers alike -- FBMG is worth the stop. Larry and Jamie are some good guys.

Wes

PS -- Hey Eric! Have you been yet?
 

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Hi Wes,

It really sounds like a neat place! It sounds like a shooters dream!

Until now, where I live.

Recently breaking ground is a new range about 10 miles away from where I live that will be called the Carolina Shooters Emporium. It will boast 8 indoor 25 yard lanes, 4 indoor 100 yard lanes, a shooting simulator room, full service restaurant (I did the abstract for the restaurant and submitted it to the developer's 8 months ago), classrooms and retail space. It will be about 25,000 square feet under one roof.

The owners have been approached by Glock, Int'l already to run there international training school there, because of the plethora of accomodations and activities here locally in SC.

We are really excited to see the exit of shooting ranges and gun stores that typically occupy old buildings in strip malls around here.

There have been several set backs in the develope of the land including wet lands impact and the new range will have to conform to the stricter EPA regulations for shooting ranges.

But, I will be there when it opens!

Chris
 

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Clark Brothers in Warrenton, Virginia.

I knew this place was a winner when I saw the oversized fiberglass bear on the roof. :)

Inside the place is packed with everything shooting related. Handguns, rifles (Both "black" and "sporting"), shotguns, reloading, black powder, knives, crossbows, and books. You get the impression if you can't find it, they'll move a "pile o' stuff" and find it.

Along the back wall, is a fireplace with locally found Civil War relics, and authentic rifles and revolvers. Larger than life, cutaway's of several WWI & WWII full auto firearms hang from the ceiling. There's a BAR, a Lewis Gun, and a "Potato Digger" that I can recall off the top of my head.

All around the place on the walls, is lined with old Winchesters. Every kind of Winchester you can imagine, and some I never heard of. Until you get to the opposite end of the store from the fireplace. There you find Garands, Trench guns, and Enfields. There is one M1 sniper rifle with the lace on leather cheekpiece, scope, and flash hidder. Although they're not tagged, other than identification, you get the impression, "Not for sale, and you couldn't afford them if they were."

The staff is knowlegable, friendly, and willing to just chat if you're just looking, I must admit, generally the place is too crowded to expect them to do that and maybe miss a paying customer.

Outside, they have a six lane handgun range, 7 and 15 yards, and 25-50-100 yard rifle ranges, must be 8 or 10 tables, with a full time rangemaster. Their rule is if you shoot there, you have to buy their ammo, but the range time is free, stay as long as you like. Holidays and weekends it's crowded. Weekdays, there's always room. Their ammo is slightly high, but when I compare it to the other range where I can bring in my ammo, but pay for the time, it works out about the same. I tend to shoot 22 rimfire here a lot. Best "bang" for the buck. :)

There is an area set up with a trap to throw clay birds (2 tossers) and a place to shoot and test archery equipment.

If you're ever traveling Rt 29 around Warrenton, Va., watch for the bear on the roof. It's worth the stop.
 

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Hi Cajunbass,

I stop at Clark Brothers once on the way to and back from my family's farm up near Lovettsville, VA every year when we go up to visit. It is a really neat place and attracts a lot of folks from all over.

As you mentioned, it is as much of a museam as much as a gun shop and shooting range. I plan on stopping there in June on my way home and back, again.

I've bought quite a few gun accessories over the years from them. (Being an out-of-stater).

Chris
 

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Seneca Arms in Green Lane, PA. A nasty, dirty, crowded old place. Gun parts, cased ammo, stuffed animals all over the place. I love gunshops like that. It's like a treasure hunt or archeaological(sp?) dig every time I'm there. I always find something.
 

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J.C.'s Gun & Tackle, N. Alabama. Like a gunshop should be, similar to one's above. Lot's of glass top counters with all categories of handguns. No fancy decor, just like the way a man likes his own shop to be. Repair counter in back to help fix your gun if needed. Rifles on the back wall, shotguns on the other side. In the middle are rows of holsters, targets, cleaning kits, loading supplies, etc. etc. I almost forgot to mention, they special order anything and are happy to accept FFL shipments if you order something online, especially if they don't have it in stock or can't find it from a distributor. My Sig P232 came that way.
Just good friends run the place. Old J.C. is getting old and been sick some so 2 great guys run the place for him. Sell/trade/even buy from you. They get me great consignment prices for excess guns in my inventory. It's sure nice to have a gunshop you feel welcome in.
og...p.s. maybe not right to say, but Republicans welcome too!
 

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I plan on stopping there in June on my way home and back, again.

Chris
Let me know when you'll be up this way Chris. Maybe we can meet for a cup of coffee or something. I don't live too far from Clark Brothers.
 

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One that's impressed me is one I've never before visited. At the last local gun show I purchased a Model 15 S&W from a dealer, but unlike so many of the dealers who frequent the shows here, he was personable and willing to do some dealing. The man managed to make me very happy, very quickly.

Anyway, while I was filling out the 4473 a friend of mine walked by and stopped to chat with the dealer. It seems this guy's shop is sort of a hangout for people like me up in the Jackson area, and several of my friends have dealt with him before. Now I'm going to have to take a trip up that way to see what the shop looks like. Since it's only about ten minutes from Walter Birdsong's, I'll probably kill two birds with one stone.

Oh, the dealer's nickname is Grumpy, though from talking to him I can't imagine how he got the name.
 

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Clark Bros. in Warrenton!! Thanks for the memories. I used to live 'across the river' in Maryland. Went to Clark Bros. many times & bought from them also--just pay for the gun & carry home. :) That was back as long ago as the early 1950's when sanity was in fashion, the war was over, & the road in front was 2 lanes lightly traveled. Stopped there last Fall (it was way out of my way) just for the sake of nostalgia. Regards, G>M>F>
 

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Hi Cajunbass,

I will be traveling up that way on June 18, 2006 from Myrtle Beach on my way to Dulles to catch a flight to Zurich, Switzerland.

NCBubba, I traveled by there many times on my way to Leesburg, VA and I used to live across the river as well outside of DC.

Cajunbass, +1 on the memories. It used to be "real country" out that way. My kids loved the bear by the way!

Chris
 

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My favorite shop closed a year or so ago: Stewart's Gun shop in Bloomington, IN.

It moved around and closed then reopened fairly often in the 70's and early 80's, but landed just off the square in Bloomington for around 15 years. My first visit was when I was about 10 years old, and it was upstairs from a pet shop. You had to walk up a ramp to get upstairs, past a scruffy coyote (alive) in a cage. It smelled like a dog pound, and my Dad hated the place for it.

But he took me there anyway. The owner knew my grandfather (who my dad didn't see from the time he was eight until he was 43) and she talked about him, so my dad liked going. The owner was a woman, who looked to be in her mid-50's then. Thirty years later, she looked 60.

She had junk all over the place.
Guns in racks out on the floor. Guns piled in display cases. Fishing nets. Suits of armor. Nazi flags, daggers, etc. A giant Swiss Army Knife that looked ancient. A chair made from the horns of cattle.

I bought my first gun from her, at the shop's second location...the second location that I knew about. It was a used, like new, Browning BL22 that I got for $135. I got my second gun, and first handgun there, too- a S&W 19. By this time, she was operating out of the "house" on 1013 South Walnut. Her husband operated a Honda shop across the street.

That shop had most of the same junk- nets, horn chair, etc., and a lot of the same guns. Strange thing about the guns. She sold them regularly. Anytime I was there, she sold something to someone- either us or someone else. Yet, there were a lot of guns that never left.
I recall seeing an Armalite AR17 shotgun from about 1978 until the last time I was there. I got tired of looking at an early .221 Fireball Remington XP-100 and bought it. I don't know why I bought it, but I did. Still have it, too.

The gun selection was odd. There was a lot of junk, and a lot of nice stuff. A lot of the nice stuff was half-hidden. If she liked you, she dug it out. She could spot a tire kicker when they hit the door. Out on the floor, she had racks of long guns. They were in no particular order. There might be a beat to pieces Marlin Glenfield 60, then some Belgian underlever double with huge bores, then a Bronco 22/410, then an Ithaca 37 Supreme with gorgeous wood. Under the counter, there would be a half dozen H&R revolvers piled in with a High Standard Supermatic, then some RG-level stuff and a Century bronze-framed 45-70 revolver. That Century was another staple of the shop wherever it went.

Few had prices on them. The long guns, and some of the handguns, had tags, but with a bizarre code scrawled across each one. If the price was on that tag, I never could make it out. If you asked, she would look at the tag, and come up with price. Often if you asked about one of the handguns, you would get one of her "famous" 3x5 cards.

She kept these cards handy, and if you asked for a price on some gun (usually a handgun),
she would think a while, then say "For you honey (everbody was "honey")...then scrawl out a bunch of illegible characters onto a 3x5 card and present it to you real hush-hush like.
If you were lucky, or an experienced customer of hers, you could make out the price.

The shop disappeared again, then reopened in the downtown location in the early 80s I think it was. I didn't get there as much, since I was off to college, then moved away for a job. When I returned to the state in 1994, I got there a few times, and nothing had changed. The shop was twice the size as before, but since she added a lot of Western and Indian stuff, there was even less room to walk around than before.
I didn't get there in the last year before she closed (I think in early 2004), but the last time I was there, there was that same fishing net, bear trap, cow chair, and giant Swiss Army Knife, and Armalite AR17 as always.

I wonder what happened to all that stuff.

If the past is any indication, it will all reappear in another store she opens in another year or two. I wouldn't be a bit surprised.
 
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Discussion Starter · #12 ·
Cherry's in NC and Griffin & Howell in NYC, but I believe they are gone from the city now, that was in 1962 I was there.

The guy I do Armorer work for, Army/Navy Fashions in Port Charlotte, FL. Bob is probably the most HONEST merchant I have ever known. He WANTS to stay in business and KNOWS how to treat customers so they keep coming back.
 
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Discussion Starter · #13 ·
In Middle-Tennessee it's Guns & Leather in Ridgetop (has a super indoor range) just north of Nashville or Franklin Gun Shop in Franklin which is a few miles south of Nashville.
 

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Hey BarryinIN,

I know the store (Stewart's) you are talking about - I grew up in Nashville (Indiana, not Tenn), and went to IU (we've corresponded in other posts about this coincidence). I didn't really haunt gun stores until later in life, but when I was home on leave from the USAF visiting family and friends, I used to hit Bloomington to visit Nick's, Trojan Horse, the BlueBird, etc, and often wandered down the square and visited that gun (trash?) store. It really did have alot of stuff crammed into it. Last time I was there, probably in late 90's, I bought a used Remington 870 Express that didn't have a mark on it, and it still does guard duty here at home. And yes, it had one of those tags on it, and I had to ask her what the price was. I think she wanted $250 for it, but after putting it back on the rack and wandering around the store for awhile I got it for about $225. Sorry to hear it closed.

elb
 

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That used to be known as a 'pawnshop code'. I used to know one version of it years ago.

There were at least two variants of it, and have run into one (or more) that I couldn't decipher.

I'll try to fetch up my memory on it.


Regards,

Pat
 

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ELB-
Yeah, it's one of those funny things. It wasn't the nicest place, the biggest place, or anything like that. Most prices quoted to me were fair at best. Some were OK. None were steals.
And I had not been inside the place for maybe two years when it closed.

But I really miss it. I guess I have too many memories connected with it, and always expected it to be there.

I would take people there for their first time, just to see their reaction. I would be unable to describe to them what it was like beforehand. Each one would walk out with their mouths hanging open.
Heck, I was "used" to it, but would usually walk out shaking my head about something.
 
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Discussion Starter · #17 ·
When I lived in OKC, 1991-6, I shopped at Outdoor America and always admired their great selection of firearms. Help behind the counter was marginal, but no one was rude. As I recall, prices were not bad. For instance, I bought the Browning HP in .40 S&W there for about $400.

Another place in OKC was SW Shooter's Supply, near downtown. The owner, a woman, was good to do business with. I liked her professional attitude. Finally, there was Mustang Pawn, in Mustang, OK. The couple who ran it were darn decent people who took my trades with more consideration on price than I expected. I enjoyed living in OKC because of the great gun shops there. I miss it.
 

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Clark Bros. in Warrenton is a bit pricey, but the free range time when you buy ammo from them made the trip worth it.


also, Virginia Arms in Manassas is a fine shop. the owner Bernie is a top notch guy.
 
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