Sunday, February 06, 2005

A Visit to a Gun Store

State Line Gun Shop

Bill and I were busy yesterday; errands, lunch, and chores. We did one fun thing--we visited a gun store. You might remember this post from last week about another gun store visit. think there might be a common thread that runs through our weekends?

We went to our favorite gun store, one we visit often. The store is in Mason, New Hampshire and it is about a BB gun shot away from Massachusetts. The store took its name from its location, State Line Gun Shop. While the name is not terribly original, the store more than makes up for it with stock, ammunition, knowledge, and a fully equipped gunsmith shop.

The store has a website, if you want to make a virtual visit. Of course, if you are in Texas or Oregon, or someplace like that you've probably already clicked away from this post, but if you come here to examine the merchandise you might want to do other things too. Mason has a very popular pancake house/maple sugar farm named Parker's Maple Barn. On a good day, you will probably have to wait two hours for a table--on a bad day, bring a picnic. Mason is also where the man who became the real life Uncle Sam was born and raised.

If you're looking for the gun shop on a map, find Fitchburg, Massachusetts and look due north along Route 31. When you see where it intersects with Route 124 that's where it is.

The store's owner is Paul Gauffin. He lives above the store so he has a truly enviable commute. He keeps the business in the family with his son Chris working there. State Line carries a large number of handguns of every description--small ones like a Baby Browning and large ones like a Smith and Wesson .500 Magnum. One section contains older handguns and we admit we have picked up a few for our collection.

There is a wall of shotguns, some racks of hunting rifles, old military rifles, black rifles (so-called assault weapons), a large selection of ammunition in sometimes obscure calibers, and an archery section. The store also carries some used gun books, reloading equipment, accessories, and other items close to our hearts. You might be thinking that this is a huge store. Its not, it just makes good use of limited space. On a busy day, you might have to be very friendly with your fellow gun people just to walk around the store, but the selection more than makes up for it.

Paul's store started as a smithing operation and grew from there. The smith shop is very well equipped and we have seen enough of them to know. If you have a gun that needs repair, this is the place. Paul is also a Class III dealer. If you have the bucks, he can help you get into legal full auto guns or suppressors.

Given that the store is close to Massachusetts, State Line also deals with Massachusetts compliant guns. If you don't know about such a thing, the state has lists of what handguns you can buy. One list is maintained by the Firearms Licensing Board and the other is created by the Attorney General's office. A manufacturer has to give up a number of guns of each model for testing before any of that model can be sold. Even if the Firearm Board approves the gun, the Attorney General's office can decide that it is too scary or something and pull it off the shelves. Buying a Massachusetts compliant gun is no mean feat, but it can be done and Paul can help you.

Now comes the most important part, prices. The store's costs are reasonable especially for older guns and with the older guns you get the advantage of having a thoroughly qualified gunsmith inspect them before you buy them.

The availability of gun knowledge is one big reason Bill and I keep coming back. You are dealing with people who collectively have over 100 years experience in firearms repair and modification. There is also a lot of information available about guns, firearm politics, and shooting. Paul has worked as a police officer and has been a competitive shooter.

We have bought many guns here and have been satisfied with the price and service. Paul has Denise figured out as well. He knows if he just pulls out the right gun, she will be pulling out her checkbook. Paul and Denise have ended up with five, six or more guns on the counter when Paul finds one that somehow speaks to her and she gives it a good home.

Problems with the store; it could use some more space and a larger selection of reloading equipment, but we have no idea where Paul would find room.

Obviously we recommend you visit the store if you get a chance. You won't regret it. Since we live in a cynical time, neither Bill nor Denise received any consideration in terms of cash or merchandise for this post, nor do we expect or will we accept anything for the post. We enjoy our visits and scratching our gun-buying itch there.

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