Market Trends: No Middle Ground for Hunting Rifles

Savage Arms Axis Stainless XP hunting rifleEdward WilksThe Tradesman, Rifle, Colo.

Price points on hunting rifles run the gambit, from dirt cheap to top dollar.

Customers of one gun retailer in the heart of Colorado’s big-game country have wanted one or the other over the past few months.

The Tradesman does a huge business in centerfire hunting rifles, but has seen little demand for mid-priced firearms.

There have really only been three firearms that customers have been snapping up, owner Edward Wilks said: Quality used rifles, entry-level center fires and top-end rifles by custom manufacturers.

The used rifles and the entry-level models ring up in the $320 to $350 range. The new rifles – such as Savage AXIS, Remington 770 and Mossberg 4X4 – in many cases come outfitted with a scope at that price point.

The “hot rod” rifles, built by custom shops such as Burlington, Wyoming’s Gunwerks are a whole different animal. The specially tuned firearms ring up in the $4,000 to $6,000 range.

Outside of the top and bottom ends, Wilks is having to beat the bush to find any buyers.

“I’m not moving anything in the middle price ranges,” Wilks said. “It’s really weird.”

Meanwhile, shotgun sales have dropped off the map.

Wilks was selling decent numbers of tactical Mossberg 590’s and Remington 870’s earlier in the year, plus some upland game models.

Now?

“I can’t give one away!” he said.

Editor’s note, this brief originally appeared in the Dec. 30, 2013 edition of Gun Digest the Magazine.


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