Thursday, March 3, 2011

Gun Trading: A Cautionary Tale...


Greg over at Shotgun Chronicle had a nice post yesterday about Miroku shotguns, specifically the Charles Daly-branded Mirokus that were imported back in the sixties and seventies. Miroku still makes shotguns for Browning, but Charles Daly is, alas, no more, except for a few of those horrid Turkish autoloaders you sometimes still see floating around, but I don't consider those plastic-and-pig iron travesties shotguns...

I do, however, have a superior-grade Charles Daly Miroku 12 gauge almost exactly like the one Greg linked to in his post, except mine has much nicer wood and lacks the gold-filled engraving. It's a great gun, but my acquisition of it is a cautionary tale to anyone who thinks newer is automatically better...

...Fade to gun store. A man (perhaps not me, maybe a fictional composite...) walks in with a Springfield 1911 he recently traded for. He got into it really cheap, super cheap, and is looking to turn that liquidity into shotgun steel. He walks over to the rack and spies a new O/U leaning there amongst the mass-market junk.

"Hmmm, what's this?" the man says to himself, and as he picks it up he realizes it's a very, very nice superior grade Charles Daly Miroku. Twelve gauge, 28-inch tubes, mid-rib bead, nice wood with a fair bit of figure to it. Blueing is 100 percent. Finish is 100 percent. Bores? Like chromed glass. The gun is so stiff he has trouble breaking it open. He takes off the fore-end, breaks down the gun, looks it over, wipes away the ancient, crusty grease and becomes convinced that this gun, made sometime back in the mid-seventies, has never been fired outside the factory.

"So what's the story on this one?" I - I mean the man -  asks the shop owner.
"Guy brought it in yesterday," he replies. "He said his dad bought it new but he doesn't think his dad ever used it."
"Really? Why'd he get rid of it?"
"He wanted to trade it for one of the new Charles Daly over-unders."
The man - who by this time is in full-on scheming, horse-trading mode - knows he can't exhibit the slightest emotion or the shop owner will be on to him. But upon hearing this stunning revelation, he can't help himself.
"You're shittin' me? Really?"

Now at this point I must explain that this scene may have taken place a number of years ago at a time when the Charles Daly name was still a going concern and was being put on a series of uber-cheap Turkish-made over-under shotguns that are best left undescribed. The fact that someone would be stupid enough to actually want one of them in the first place, and then would be so colossally, monumentally stupid as to trade a pristine, unused (unused!) high-quality Japanese Miroku for said Turkish piece of shit simply buggers the noggin'...

"Nope," the shop owner continues, "he said he wanted a newer shotgun with (wait for it, wait for it...) choke tubes."
"Hmm," the man replies. "So did he trade it straight across for one?"
"Nope, made him give me a hundred dollars boot."

At this point I must explain that my local shop owner is a ruthless and cunning bastard who would screw the eyeballs out of a tethered goat if it meant coming out on top in a gun trade. And what he had just done to this poor, clueless schmuck bordered on the criminal. It was brilliant.

"Hmmm," the man says. "What you gonna put on it?" A dangerous question. I - I mean he -  had to feign casual disinterest. One whiff of desire, one subtle indication that I wanted this gun and the shark would smell blood in the water.

"Oh, I don't know," says the shop owner. "We don't really move too many used over-unders." This was true. "I was thinking maybe four, five hundred bucks."

Now it was my - I mean the man's - turn to smell blood. That was a stupid cheap price. Just the week before he had seen a nice but well-used Miroku superior grade in a shop in Oklahoma City with a $900 price tag on it. The shop owner had just tipped his hand that he didn't know its true value and would probably be interested in a trade. Time to make the move.

"I've got this Springfield here I might trade you straight across, out the door."

Silence, as the shop owner's scheming lizard brain ponders the offer, calculates his profit.

"OK, I can do that," he replies. And so I - I mean the man - walks out the door with the Miroku, the latest link in that long daisy-chain of screwings known as a gun trade. He thinks "boy, I really got to him." Meanwhile, the shop owner, who despite having the man get to him will still make money on both ends of the deal, sits at his counter and thinks "boy, I really got to them."

And the poor, ignorant dude who started the whole sordid process sits on an upturned bucket out in a dove field somewhere, watching others shoot as he looks at the useless hunk of metal and wood in his hands, screaming "WHAT THE HELL IS WRONG WITH MY GUN? WHY WON'T THIS FRIGGIN' THING WORK RIGHT?"

But hey, at least it's got choke tubes...


  1. Sometimes you make it look so easy. That was CLASSIC MoD.


  2. Glad a stumbled across this. It was a delightful read. Thank you!

  3. Day before yesterday I stumbled on a well used, but great shape, Charles Daly Superior 12 gauge in a pawn shop in Northwest Ohio, and after a bit of negotiating got it for $350. I really didn't need another shotgun, especially another 12 gauge, but it is almost criminal to pass on such a good deal.

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