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Shooting Industry March 2013 - Page 35

Long-Gun In Addressing Hot-Selling Trends, Don’t Overlook Traditional Firearms Comfort By Greg Staunton S ince late last year, a lot of consumer longgun focus has been on modern sporting rifles (MSRs). Dealers report a nonstop run on ARs and similar long guns, making it challenging to do “business as usual.” During this selling flurry, it’s easy to overlook other firearms that remain the backbone of the long-gun market. Traditional long guns — bolt- and lever-action rifles, shotguns and even muzzleloaders — are the tried-and-true firearms of our youth, the ones our fathers and grandfathers used to teach us how to target shoot and hunt. These perennial best-selling long guns also provide a level of comfort for consumers who are undecided about purchasing an MSR, according to Ron Buschmann, owner of Shooters Supply and Law Enforcement Equipment in Louisville, Ky. Savage’s Axis bolt-actions sell very well at Shooters Supply. New for 2013, this Axis XP Youth Camo (Realtree Xtra) model has a Bushnell 3-9x40 scope, mounted and bore sighted. “When people get this feeling, this sense of being backed into a corner, and they’ve decided to buy a firearm, they may slide into an area of comfort. We try to really look at where the new customer — who isn’t comfortable with the notion of buying a semiautomatic — is going to go,” Buschmann said. “Is that person going to be more apt to buy a Mossberg pump-action, or maybe a Savage Model 10 bolt-action, or a Henry Big Boy?” Buschmann’s advice is to watch for trends and opportunities for traditional long-gun sales that might be easily overlooked. He says dealers need to be willing to “add something else to the conversation” with customers. “We might overlook what’s in the minds of new customers who want to buy something else (besides an MSR), even if it’s on impulse,” Buschmann said. “Try to remember when you were focusing on those other long-gun categories. What were you doing then? At Shooters Supply, we’ve already started that evolution.” For instance, Buschmann says the “neat little niche” of cowboy gun enthusiasts in his area affords him a good opportunity to offer nostalgic lever guns to his traditionalist long-gun customers. “We used to do a lot of lever-gun business with Marlin, and then it became Henry. For its size, I have yet to see a rifle com- Maintain The Focus Ron Buschmann, owner of Shooters Supply and Law Enforcement Equipment, says it’s important for dealers to consider all long-gun categories, including boltand lever-actions, pump shotguns and muzzleloaders. MARCH 2013 35

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