I actually can't stand it when people ask me the reserve. It's just as bad as people who phone you about a car you're selling and ask 'What's the least you'll take for it?' without ever even seeing it first.
The whole point of a reserve is that it protects the seller from selling at too low a price. In other words, "I'd rather keep it than sell it".
Additionally, a reserve is meant to stimulate bidding activity. If you've ever been to a live auction, they start low and go up from there. A reserve works on the same principal. It allows a low starting point but again, protects the seller.
A reserve is not what people want for a gun - that's called the
'Buy it Now' price. A reserve is what they are willing to take for it- two different things.
It's naive to think that almost any auction doesn't have a reserve - even if it's not obvious there is one.