Gun Shopping

This week kicks off this season’s Trap Shooting Season!  #3 of 5 wanted to partake again this year (which I suspected) – so this year I wanted to increase on his success from last year and upgrade him from shooting 20 gauge to 12 gauge.  

Like his father, #3 of 5 is a lefty.  Unlike his father I wanted #3 of 5 to have access to a left handed gun, so we started our search several weeks ago.  Due to “budgetary concerns” our choices were pretty limited.  It was going to be a Browning BPS (bottom eject) or Remington 870 (left eject). 

We went to a couple of different stores, and had him shoulder each gun.  I had him slide the action, sight down the barrel, swing the muzzle, work the safety, etc.  I have always shot a Mossberg which has a tang safety.  The Browning BPS uses the same style which I thought #3 of 5 would like best  but in the end (all things considered) he liked the Remington 870 best.  He said he liked the feel of the grip and forearm better, the lower vent rib sight picture, and felt as if the 870 was a little lighter. 

Since we were fitting #3 of 5 with a right handed gun, I began my search for a left handed 870.  I called and stopped in to an number of places.  My experiences varied greatly. 

The first serious inquiry I made was with Gander Mountain (where we were trying out the fits of the various guns).  When I asked about the availability of a Left Handed 870, the staff member told me he “thought” Remington stopped making them years ago.  He did not bother to look in his inventory, his order catalogue, a Remington brochure, or check with any of their other local stores.  In fact, this sales representative made NO effort to help me out what-so-ever.  It was not even busy at the time.  He seemed generally disinterested in the fact that I was there wanting to spend some of my hard earned money thus causing me to be generally disinterested in spending my hard earned money patronizing his laziness.  (Gander Mountain used to be my “go to” place for hunting / fishing / outdoor needs.  My experiences with Gander Mountain have gone so far down hill – that this may have been the nail in the coffin lid for my shopping at Gander Mountain.)

Next stop was across the highway at Mills Fleet Farm (think Walmart for all your farm and fleet needs).  They have a decent sporting goods department.  I was helped by a very friendly fella who knew they did not have what I was looking for in stock, but thought they may be able to order one for me.  He pulled out an order book confirming that info and gave me the name and number of the Department Head for me to call the next day.  (He offered to have the Department Head contact me the following day, but I was still early into my search, so I thanked him, but only kept it as an option).  Who would have guessed that the customer service at Fleet Farm would have FAR SURPASSED that of Gander Mountain?? 

My third attempt was with Cabela’s.  We have two in Minnesota.  I telephoned both, neither had any in stock, but I also got the same offer that Fleet Farm made (to have someone check and call me back).  I have had luck shopping at Cabela’s in the past, so I decided to let them do some looking into it for me, and if they could find one, I would purchase it.  I left my name and number and was told to expect a call early next week to let me know either way.  Early next week passed, and another week passed with no calls from Cabela’s staff.  Another strike out for the big Sporting goods chains… 

In the mean time I had checked with some smaller local shops, but no one seemed to have or could even obtain a left handed Remington 870.

With my time running out, I called Fleet Farm back, and spoke to the department head I was referred to.  He confirmed the story the salesman told me about two weeks ago (that they do not have any in stock but would be willing to look into ordering one from a nearby store or Distributor).  He took my name and number, and promised to call me back.  (Since Gander Mountain and Cabela’s customer service failed me, I was not expecting much from Fleet Farm but I took the chance.)  The following day the Department head called me back.  He told me that the soonest he could get his hands on one would be mid-late May (the trap shooting season would be almost over by then).  I thanked him for his effort and just before we disconnected he suggested another store for me to try (something that none of the other stores did).

He gave me the name and number for Allman’s in Morristown, Minnesota.

The next day I telephoned Allman’s.  The staff at Allman’s were very friendly, and told me that not only did they have one in stock, that they had TWO of them!  I was ecstatic!  I told the salesman that I would likely be down sometime during the weekend to take a look at what they had to offer. 

Unfortunately, I was unable to make it down that weekend, but the Mother of Five and I made a little afternoon “road trip” (lunch and gun shopping) on a day that we both did not have to work (but the kids had school).  When we arrived we were greeted by the staff, and when I told them what I was looking for, another salesman from further down the counter said (in a jovial manor) “Couldn’t make it on on Saturday huh?”. 

This guy remembered helping me on the phone from almost a week previously!  That’s when I knew I was in the right place.  I did spent a little more at Allman’s (not to mention the road trip and lunch out with the Mother of Five) – but in the end it was all worth it.  While it was true that they were the only place I could find one in stock, it was also Allman’s OUTSTANDING customer service that got them the sale!   

Left Handed Remington 870

I would be remiss for not passing along a little kudos to Fleet Farm too.  Their willingness to refer me on to their own completion (and calling me back in a timely fashion) has guaranteed them my continued support!  What’s even better about this??  Fleet Farm is opening a new store just a few miles from my place! 

The story of the new gun continues… Stay tuned!

1 comment:

  1. Congrats Dave and 3 of 5!

    I still remember the day I got my first shotgun! You will treasure it forever!


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