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Hunting For Nerf Guns

by SporkboyofJustice

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#1 sporkboyofjustice

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Posted 25 February 2004 - 03:21 PM

Anyone can go to Toys R Us (TRU) and pick up the latest guns but you will have a little harder time trying to find guns that are no longer on store shelves. Finding discontinued guns is not easy but itís not that hard either. This article shares techniques that I have used to acquire my ever-growing arsenal of nerf weaponry on the cheap. These techniques really work; the most Iíve paid for a gun at a thrift store was $4 (a powerclip with ammo) and the best deal Iíve gotten was a Firestorm for $2. For those that say that Iím lucky, well there is no such thing as luck. What appears to be luck is really preparation for as it has been said, luck favors the prepared mind.

All of the time in the world at thrift stores will not help you if you donít know what you are looking at. Spend some time at http://www.nerfcenter.com/reviews-of/ getting to know most of the guns that you are likely to run into. Youíll see a little bit of everything over time so you should know as much information as possible. Iíve seen everything from Blast-a-Balls to Airtech 3000s so youíve really got to know your stuff. I would focus on guns that you hear the most talk about on the boards and on mod sites. These would include the crossbow (xbow), big bad bow (bbb), Lock N Load (LNL), Arrow Storm, Expand-a-Blast (EAB), SuperMaxx (SM) 1500 and 750. Even if you donít plan on modding these right away they will all make excellent trading stock or nice items to place on eBay.

You probably wonít see any of these guns right away but you never know, on my first trip out I saw a SM 750 but I passed it up because I didnít know what it was. I had it in my hands but I put it down simply because I didnít know any better. In short you shouldnít expect to find a particular gun on a given day but you should be prepared to fine anything that might be there. So now you know what you are looking for, now what should you pay?

I have been lucky so far and I havenít found any single gun at a thrift store that was so expensive that I wouldnít buy it. Most stores will price guns under $3 ($1 for pistols, $2 for larger pistols and rifles and $3 for something really special looking is a common price structure in my area) so this usually isnít a big deal.


What to pay:
I have been lucky so far and I havenít found any single gun at a thrift store that was so expensive that I wouldnít buy it. Most stores will price guns under $3 ($1 for pistols, $2 for larger pistols and rifles and $3 for something really special looking is a common price structure in my area) so this usually isnít a big deal.

I suggest having a price list of the most you are willing to pay for all guns that you are likely to run into. These prices would assume the gun was clean, in good working order, unmodified and no ammo. You might pay a little more if itís new with ammo and 1/3 or less of the price if it was broken but fixable. What you are willing to pay should depend on what the gun goes for on the boards or eBay, exact numbers are up to you, think about it. Foam Fortress http://www31.brinkst...m/foamfortress/ has a price list that may be consulted for a starting point.


Garage Sales:
Iíll leave this topic for someone who has been to a yard sale lately. While I have been to many yard sales in my life, I havenít had the desire to wake up at 4 in the morning to do things right lately so Iíll stick to what I knowÖ

Thrift Stores:
This is my favorite source of a lot of different things such as board games, pottery and Nerf guns.

As a general note any given thrift store can have any item at any time, stock changes daily and nothing stays there for very long. This means that you have to hit the same stores over and over again to happen to be there the day a LNL hits the floor. I visit about 6 thrift stores each week; sometimes I find stuff, sometimes I donít, thatís just the way it is. Donít give up though because consistency is the key with thrift stores. Sometimes youíll see someone leaving a store with something that you would love, donít worry because youíll be that ďluckyĒ guy soon.

For those of you who turn your nose down at thrift stores please remember that many of them are non-profit businesses that are raising money for a good cause. Additionally they are providing a service by keeping usable items out of the landfills. The result is that you get guns that you canít find in stores for a fraction of their eBay price tags. Sure things arenít new or clean but I certainly think itís worth the effort.

To find thrift stores open up the phone book and look under ďthrift storesĒ. You should find all the thrift stores in your area using this method. Also discount stores like Big Lots and Toy Liquidators may have discount Nerf guns so they are worth a stop every now and then.

Some thrift stores have better toy departments toy departments than others, visit some and find these stores. It is also noteworthy that some thrift stores wonít carry toy guns based on non-violent beliefs, just something that you should be aware of. If you can only visit one thrift store a week then you should make sure you have a decent chance to pick up something you want. Ideally you have a car or a mom that loves thrift stores, failing that you are left with your bike. Biking is good for you so hop on it each Saturday morning instead of watching cartoons; youíll feel good about yourself for not being a lazy ass, obese American doughboy. Youíll definitely want to wear a backpack to carry your haul along with a piece of fruit and some water for the trip there.



Now thrift stores arenít like normal stores that have multiples of a given item, usually they have one of a particular item at a time. Keeping this in mind Nerf guns have a nasty habit of moving about the store as little kids pick them up, take them to where their mother is and get shot down when they ask if they can have it. These guns usually end up in departments other than the toy department. Heck I even carry guns around and drop them off in the house wares department if I decide I donít need it. The point is that you should focus on the toy department but you should also take a walk around the rest of the store. A quick glance behind the cash register may reveal guns that were abandoned at the last second; it never hurts to ask about those.

You can on occasion haggle with the checkers at a thrift store. You can point out flaws in a gun like no darts and missing sites but pointing out that itís dirty is a waste of time, itís a thrift store, not Tiffanyís. While consistency is important it is also worth mentioning that being unpredictable also has its perks. If you consistently go to a certain store on Saturdays at noon then there may also be someone who is consistently there at 10 am each Saturday picking up the guns that you want. If possible itís a good idea to stop by randomly in addition to a weekly visit. I recently found two guns in one night at a store that I had never found any guns at previously and attribute this to the fact that I went on a Wednesday as opposed to my normal Friday or Saturday visit.

When at a thrift store it is also important to be a nice person, get to know the people that work there and be helpful. Iím sure that I have a better chance of getting discounts because Iím a pleasant person and help people out. This would be opposed to the guy that trips old ladies in order to get to something first. There is no reason to be a jerk so be nice, the thrift stores just might treat you better for it.

Buying from people:
Networking is a great way to find Nerf guns; some people find this easier than others. Kids at school have been discussed on the boards but Iíll go beyond this. Ideally youíll want people looking for guns for you, it will take some work but if all works well you can have more guns than you can use but I digress. Get some custom business cards that have your name, e-mail address and some info like: cash paid for Nerf guns, Working or Broken, No ammo-No problem. Be creative and be able to have cash to buy guns. You can get 250 cards for $5.50 at www.vistaprint.com.

That may be beyond some of you but weíll see if I canít solve that problem. Carry these cards with you wherever you go, pass them out to people that might be interested. This includes people that you meet at the thrift stores. If you see someone a couple times going through the toy section introduce yourself, tell them about what you do and give them a card. Once you get a couple ďpickersĒ working for you, you wonít have to do as much work. You may make a printout (with pictures) of guns that you will not buy and give that to your regular pickers.
Be prepared to teach people a little about seeing if a gun is in working order but donít give them too much information like that a cross bow is worth mad money on eBay.

You might find out what other people are interested in as you pass out your cards and see if you can't do some mutual trading. If you are going to thrift stores anyway you might as well swing by another section and see if you can't help out a fellow thrifty shopper. Something may have little value to you but to a collector could be worth serious money (does that sound familiar?) to someone else. If you can trade a little ceramic figurine for a BBB it will all be worth it. Ideally youíll find someone interested in Super Soakers and since youíll see them anyway looking for Nerf Guns you can easily pick them up. Additionally Super Soakers have their names on them so all you have to do is match the numbers and see that they work.

Extra guns:
So now you have a pile of guns and more coming in but no cash; unless you have a job youíll have to turn some of your guns into cash. eBay is the obvious choice but if you have local wars going on you may be able to sell modded and unmodded guns to participants, Iíd sell guns at a profit but less than eBay prices. This is to promote the sport locally and to save yourself the trouble of eBay. This should give you enough income to keep your addiction going, and of course you should always keep the best guns for yourself. You should also consider selling guns on the boards as they will go directly to nerfers who will use them.

Speaking of getting money if you can get a part time or volunteer position at a thrift store you may be able to get first dibs on all Nerf guns that come through the door and might make a little cash. Unfortunately most of us either go to school or have jobs already. If you can talk your way into volunteering a couple hours every weekend that would be perfect and it looks good on college applications.

©2004 Sporkboyofjustice
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#2 Oroku Saki

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Posted 25 February 2004 - 04:30 PM

Very good ideas, spark. A few other ideas that I have been thinking about would be to put out flyers or place an ad in the local newspapers.
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#3 sporkboyofjustice

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Posted 25 February 2004 - 05:51 PM

An ad in the newspaper would be a good one though I think flyers might me better accepted as a way to find more nerfers. The potential for an ad in the paper is definitely huge; if anyone tries it please let me know. I do know that people looking for records and such will place brief ads so this must work or they would stop doing it.
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#4 Oroku Saki

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Posted 25 February 2004 - 06:00 PM

When I get the money, I plan to try placing an ad. Today, I plan to go to my local Office Max to have some business cards made, and I might print out some flyers once I get my printer working. (I recently had to re-wipe my computer hard drive) Do you have any recomendations for a decent, professional-looking layout for the business cards? Also, with the flyers, I think it might be a good idea to add tear-off numbers to the bottom of the page. People may be too lazy to write down a phone number or email address, so giving tear-off tabs with your number and email address will definitely help them out.
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#5 Half Newb Half Nerfer

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Posted 25 February 2004 - 06:37 PM

I actually just recently started going to thrift stores for nerf guns. I've got 3 i think. ^_^ ;)
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#6 IronRhino

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Posted 25 February 2004 - 08:39 PM

IS put an add in the paper. All he got was a double crossbow.
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#7 ItalionStallion

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Posted 25 February 2004 - 09:18 PM

Yeah, that sucked. The lady called a week after it ended and said "Ive got this Nerf crossbow that i would be willing to sell". I was really excited, but when that POS double crossbow came out i was really pissed off.

Ive got an article on my website which explains what places to go and what to do. Believe me ive owned over 200 guns total.

http://tman89544.tripod.com/

Go to articles, how to find Nerf guns.


Enjoy.
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#8 sporkboyofjustice

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Posted 25 February 2004 - 09:41 PM

When I get the money, I plan to try placing an ad. Today, I plan to go to my local Office Max to have some business cards made, and I might print out some flyers once I get my printer working. (I recently had to re-wipe my computer hard drive) Do you have any recomendations for a decent, professional-looking layout for the business cards? Also, with the flyers, I think it might be a good idea to add tear-off numbers to the bottom of the page. People may be too lazy to write down a phone number or email address, so giving tear-off tabs with your number and email address will definitely help them out.

A business card layout eh? That’s a really personal thing and it should reflect your own style. Even if you don’t use them please visit www.vistaprint.com and start the process of making cards. You can change the fields and fiddle with content, once you like it then you can print the page out and take that to your card maker of choice. They may have some templates there so giving them a call might be in order.

Little tabs that you can tear off are definitely the way to go for flyers. You can never count on someone having a pen handy when they need it so it’s best to figure those things out for them.

IS: I have read your article before, I was wondering what time you head out for garage sales or if you could go into more detail about how to find sales. I usually use the Friday newspaper, organize them by time they say they will open and map it all out on Friday. This is the way I was raised to do it anyway as my parents are antique dealers. If you have a more relaxed way to do things that works I'd be willing to give that a go.

I am hoping to become a respected trader around here and my first deal is in the works. Do you have any tips on trading on these boards and how to establish oneself as a fair trader?

Edited by sporkboyofjustice, 25 February 2004 - 09:52 PM.

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#9 IronRhino

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Posted 25 February 2004 - 10:34 PM

Be friendly and don't rip people off. People are pretty trusting here.
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#10 Oroku Saki

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Posted 26 February 2004 - 02:24 AM

Thanks for the insight, Spork. Creating a business card layout is really a matter of personal choice. As in all newspaper advertising, actual results will vary depending on several factors, such as circulation of the paper, as well as the availability of nerf guns in your area, which is almost impossible to measure.

I know that a lot of people on these forums do not like trading on eBay, because of the bidding competition, but I like it because I am familiar with it. I have been working with eBay for a few years now, and have sold quite a few things there. Once I get a few extra guns to trade around, I intend to try trading on the forums for once in my life. I have a good reputation on eBay for trading (except for a recent neutral, and one negative that was left about two years ago), and I hope to also establish a good trading reputation around here as well. Spork, I wish you the best in becoming an established trader, and appreciate the help you have given us.
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#11 sporkboyofjustice

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Posted 26 February 2004 - 10:31 AM

I obviously don't intend to rip people off but I have sold items on e-bay and have a flawless reputation there both buying and selling. I hope that things go as smoothly here at NH. My pile of things to sell and trade is slowly getting bigger as I decide what I really need and what I can do without. Hopefully things will pick up in thrift stores in the summer as they do for you IS.

On the newspaper issue a free paper might be a good choice if you have one in your area. Younger people that have little money are more likely to read these papers, my local ads run as little as $8 and the paper is printed once a week.
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#12 Oroku Saki

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Posted 27 February 2004 - 04:18 PM

Yeah, I believe those are the ad rates in my area as well. BTW, I decided to use my computer to print my own business cards instead, as Office Max did not have the layout I wanted unless I wanted to fork over lots of money. Also, I had to wait several business days before I can receive them. Creating the card on your own computer gives you more freedom in design. I was trying to work on flyers, but my computer always creashes for some reason when I tried to load the software. If I get a chance, I'll swing down to my parent's house to make the flyer, and go out and have copies of it made. My business cards look really kickass, and I hope to start the bulk of my business this coming week, after I get paid and take care of some of my bills. (Power, Phone, Cable, and all that other fun stuff)
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#13 Jappo

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Posted 27 February 2004 - 04:56 PM

I've gotten:
2 SM 1500 (1 new and 1 old type)
2 SM 3000
1 SM 2500

Not paid over 25 bucks CAN for all of it. Thrift stores kick ass.
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#14 sporkboyofjustice

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Posted 27 February 2004 - 06:05 PM

Deals are certainly there to be had at thrift stores. It can be time consuming but I beleive them to be very rewarding to those who take the time to explore them. I could compile a list of guns that were under a total of $18 that no one would believe me about. Sometimes you'll go a week or two without finding anything but then you find something really nice that keeps you going.
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#15 Foam King

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Posted 06 May 2004 - 05:34 PM

About 1 week ago I found out on this website that you caould get nerf guns at thrift stores and garage sales. I went that next day and in the one day I got 2 blastfires .50 each, 1 big bad bow 2.92, 1 ball blaster .50, 1 secrete shot .50, 1 eagle eye .90, 1 laser fang 1.50, 1 supermaxx 1500 1.50, 1 wildfire 2.50. this is a list of my guns.

2 blastfires
1 wildfire
1 rapid fire 20
1 airtech 2000
1 reacter
1 ballblaster
1 big bad bow
1 secret shot
2 sling shots
2 night finders
1 eagle eye
1 laser fang
1 supermaxx 1500
im new and I've only been colleting for a few weeks anybody whos got any tips send them to me
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#16 Hunter

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Posted 06 May 2004 - 05:43 PM

What website?

EDIT: Oh... I didn't realize "this website" was THIS website... not some other you were talking about.

Edited by Hunter, 08 May 2004 - 05:42 PM.

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#17 Foam King

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Posted 07 May 2004 - 08:31 AM

this one, nerf haven
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#18 Foam King

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Posted 10 May 2004 - 08:59 AM

ooooooo, how many guns do you have?
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#19 sporkboyofjustice

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Posted 10 May 2004 - 12:48 PM

Who is this question dirrected to? At last count I had somewhere near 50 but it's not really the numbers that are important, it's what you do with what you have. Also the quality of those guns that you do have is important. I could easily up my count by purchasing SM250s and crappy ball blasters but I tend to stick with the good stuff and avoid the crap.
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#20 Foam King

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Posted 10 May 2004 - 08:53 PM

yes but i dont buy them unless there under a few dollars each soo for the price there good incase more want to play.
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#21 Foam King

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Posted 11 May 2004 - 08:42 PM

hunter, how many guns do you have?

sparkyboyofjustice, I made a homeade gun and it doesn't shoot far, ive tried everything?
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#22 Vintage

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Posted 11 May 2004 - 08:50 PM

Tell me what kind of homemade it is.

What valve? What type of barrel? What type of dart? How do you pump/prime it?

When I made my first homemade, I tried to use plain stefan darts. They didn't fly far. I wrapped felt around the neck of the darts (like zero darts), and they are awesome.

~Vintage

Edited by Vintage, 11 May 2004 - 08:50 PM.

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#23 Foam King

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Posted 11 May 2004 - 10:11 PM

Well not that much air is coming out of it and it just comes out like a sqwirt gun slowly, I first made it all out of 1/2 in. pvc and got a tire valve to pump it and used a ball valve to shoot, it shot about ten feet and then I left it the same but put a tank on the back to see if it needed more air room and it still did the same thing
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#24 Foam King

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Posted 12 May 2004 - 07:58 PM

if anybody reading this could anwser the question in the last few articles above pleese do!!!!!! ^_^ :) :) :) :)
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