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Airgun fairs – finding a second hand bargain

Jonathan Young searches the wares of airgun fairs and traders, hoping to find himself a diamond in the rough on his travels

Browsing the tables at a collector fair can turn up some old rarities that will really put a smile on the face of any airgun enthusiast

In this country we are very fortunate to have fairs where we can search for old weapons and other shooting-related collectibles. These airgun fairs attract exhibitors who sell everything from deactivated rifles to antique muskets. Most traders will be dealers, but some collectors also hire tables when they’re looking to thin out their collections. Many fairs cover general vintage shooting and weaponry, with airguns being one of many areas of interest, so it’s not feasible to expect to see thousands of airguns on display. However, some fairs do have airguns and airgun-related items on offer.

The foremost fair in the land after many decades is still the International Birmingham Antique Arms & Militaria Fair. The fair is held within the National Motorcycle Museum. Yes, you read it right the first time, airguns and classic motorbikes under one roof – what could be better?! This Birmingham venue is pretty central for many visitors lying beside Junction 6 of the M42. Take a look at the website ( for more information.

Traditionally there have always been a number of tables here displaying airguns both from dealers and also private collectors, and it’s not uncommon for a group of friends to hire one small table between them. Many visitors also bring along unwanted items to offer in exchanges. On busy days this venue can fill very quickly indeed. With three huge inter-connected rooms, just trying to see a table can sometimes be difficult!

There is an upstairs restaurant for refreshments and a break from the scrum down below. The temptation to stand back and wait for things to quieten down can work to your advantage when it’s busy. However, be aware that finish time is usually 3pm, with many exhibitors clearing their tables far too quickly. You will not believe just how fast a day will pass here. That said, my last visit was much quieter due to the heat of high summer, with a more relaxed atmosphere as a result.

Airgun fairs

Fairs are also a good place to snare some much-needed spare parts for your rifle or pistol, which may be new or pre-owned


What’s on?

The other weapon collectors’ fair known as a reliable venue to find airguns is the Kempton Vintage & Classic Arms Fair. This is held near London at Kempton Park Racecourse in Sunbury-on-Thames. The website ( gives a flavour of just what to expect and the facilities on hand. This fair was a relative newcomer to the scene, but after only a few years has established itself firmly on the events calendar, drawing people from all over the country.

Other smaller collectors’ fairs do exist, running in circuits around the country in various regions. Finding one nearer to home is very possible. However finding airguns for sale on each and every occasion is not always guaranteed, so ringing the organiser beforehand can help narrow things down.

In the traditional sense, true airgun fairs as in the days of old are different. In the past, many airgun clubs would hold a bring-and-buy sale or swap meet at their club or a suitable venue nearby, such as a village hall. 

Airgun fairs

Collector fairs can also cater for CO2 pistol enthusiasts, with decent examples often turning up – so be ready to jump on a deal when you find it

Recently such small airgun fairs have begun to find popularity again. These are run by and for airgun enthusiasts to buy, sell or swap their surplus airguns and related items. They are fantastic for anything airgun, and are eagerly awaited even by those who may have to drive many miles to visit them. 

Although held irregularly, there are two such club fairs that are regarded as excellent venues for all keen airgun enthusiasts. These are the Rivington Riflemen Fair and the Melbourne Marksmen Fair.

The Rivington fair may be small, but is such a famous event that to miss it would really mean missing out. Organised by the well-known Rivington club, on-site refreshments and ample free parking mean that this fair is eagerly anticipated by many when looking for their next purchase or seeking to lose a few items from their collection. To date, it has been held inside the Fairview Community Hall in Chorley, Lancashire. The club have their own website too (, so check in with them to verify details of when any forthcoming fair will be arranged.


Rules of engagement

The Melbourne Marksmen fair is usually been held in the Royal British Legion Hall in Melbourne, Derbyshire, and this has proved to be a busy event. At one fair the tables were stacked with everything from a vintage Britannia to a CO2 Drozd BB repeater. And when it was clear, the bar opened!

With both these club events, tables are available for hire at very modest prices for enthusiasts to lay out their unwanted items. As they are irregular events, checking beforehand will clarify if, where and when any future fairs are to be held.

Some tips for fair hunters may prove useful. Arrive early to get a parking space, then relax and enjoy that flask of coffee in the car. 

Airgun fairs

Here’s a ready-made collection for sale for enthusiasts of World War II-themed military-style CO2 replicas

Try to park as near to the venue’s entrance as possible, as this can let you take a quick tea break back at the car later in the day. 

Bring some flattened boxes in the boot ready to store smaller purchases such as scopes and accessories. Have a few black bin bags in your coat pocket, as these will prove very useful for the immediate wrapping of any kit that you buy from the tables. This also allows a more discreet transfer of items back to the car. You never want to walk back to your car carrying an air rifle over your shoulder just because you’re at a gun fair held on private property. 

Although these are dedicated fairs for weapons and guns in general, remember that they are held at venues where members of the general public also have access. 

Preventing damage to your new purchases is important, and I usually throw a few padded gun slips into the car. Securing everything well out of view of the public is essential. With so many negatives being thrown at our hobby, which also affects how easy it is for us to find things, all fairs, but especially these smaller lower-key events, may well prove essential for our airgunning needs in the future.

Covid had a big impact on them, so let’s hope and pray that they manage to flourish again. Let’s also hope that many more clubs and similar facilities up and down the country decide to hold their own micro-airgun fairs to help re-energise our fantastic hobby.