Armory, Self Defense, And EDC > General Firearm Discussion

Are Surplus Guns Dead?

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David in MN:
Hear me out on this one. I like the surplus market. I think I paid $70 for my Mosin Nagant and after a weekend project of stripping the Soviet shellac, sanding the rough stock, and refinishing it in linseed oil I had a usable rifle. Toss in a can of spammo and I'm all in for ~$120 for a rifle that's fun to shoot, fun to goof off with, and when I miss a target I make a point to use the bayonet to "finish it off, comrade".

Sadly, those days are gone. That POS Nagant now sells for $250. A lot of surplus rifles are going at $1k. That's nuts. If I have to spend the same as I would on a decent Tikka, Remington, Savage, etc. and a budget optic why would I go surplus? Well, the sad answer is that what used to be a cheap way to get a mediocre serviceable rifle has now become a collecting fad. Not that I'm hating on gun collectors. I totally get having a rifle that has unique markings or designations or some odd history. But what we're talking about now is collecting the vast crates of crappy com-block surplus.

Perhaps the sad part is that it won't come back. For better or worse these massive caches of rifles are from the world wars and that probably won't happen again. We will never see rifles made in those numbers again. And even if we did, they might kinda suck for surplus because they're all select fire now. So what was the massive cheap surplus market now looks more like the imported AK model.

For me, it's a sad change. Dad still has my great grandfather's .45-70 Springfield trapdoor. It's not a "collector's piece". It was dirt cheap predator defense for the farm. And that old hunk of junk did just fine for a man too poor for a proper rifle. Same with my Mosin. $70 for a functioning rifle is a screaming deal for anyone and I can honestly say it's one gun I don't care about. But perhaps that era is now past.

Yeah, I feel like those days have been gone since like 2011 or so. They used to practically give away Mosins and SKS's. I regret never grabbing one for cheap back then. Definitely used to be some major fun for cheap. Or even the days of getting Yugo AK's for $500. The prices people around here are asking for some beat Chinese and Russian ones is crazy.
s steel case surplus ammo still cheap? Like some Wolf 7.62x39 or the likes. I've actually been thinking of getting more practice with my AK vs the AR since 5.56 is ridiculously over priced for the time being. Same with 9mm. I switched to carrying my .45 more just because it's what I have the most rounds of, and can train with it more for now.

Funny you should bring this up as I am considering not renewing my C&R FFL.  I haven't used it in two years.  Only real advantage now is on the selling side and exemption from "assault rifle" bans in certain locales.  But having an FFK may become important if Biden/Harris wins as their may be exemptions for holders in all the crazy laws they have on the docket

Steel case 7.62x39 is RELATIVELY cheap, being 30 cents per round versus 75 cents to a buck for ammo in other calibers.  Crazy to think that a dozen years ago for $250 you could pick up an excellent condition SKS, stripper clips, 1000 rounds of ammo, a GI sling and a two day Appleseed training course.  Now that is $800  Even crazier, it is still worth every penny as the window to do that may be closing.  Heck, within a year SKS's could be illegal and civillian rifle training banned.

Wish I would have kept some of the old Shotgun News magazines as momentos of that bygone time.

David in MN:
I feel it. I've long dreamed of buying a Swedish Mauser because they look like a ton of fun. But the prices are north of $600 and as much fun as I'd have I could get a new gun and not have to pigeon hole myself into a "one size fits all" surplus. And I should probably sell my Mosin Nagant. If I could get the $250 for it (I did give it the blondie linseed refinish so who knows) I'd happily put that money to something else. It's not a gun I really even like.

It's very strange to me. Those old K98 Mausers aren't popular because of the history. They were darn good dirt cheap deer rifles. They were passe technology in the 50s. I'm not putting down the fun or utility but let's call a spade a spade. If your surplus gun will run the same as a new Remington 700 with a stock fitted to you it's not that hard of a choice if your passion is the use of it.

I guess I don't have the  mindset of a collector. I call the Mosin "the garbage stick". But it works and it's fun so who cares?

I will go with yea, the real cheap but serviceable ones are gone.  However; the surplus police trade ins can be found but they are not CR style.
The military dropped the Beretta 92fs/M9.  So I expect that these weapons will end up on the used market as Surplus.   The prices for these firearms, esp police trade ins can knock a major chunk of cash off the pistol/rifle.  Often a lot of police departments will follow the lead of the military on choice(s) of side arms.

I never did find a good used SKS for under $199...or the swiss K31 rifle that if I remember Jack indicated was a surprisingly good shooter.

I remember seeing a few M1 Carbines that were beat up like crazy when I was a kid.  Now those real rifles sell for over 10X and would be too expensive to be used as a plinker / camp gun.

De-milled military surplus hardware can still be found; but it can be quite difficult to bring back to life some of those miss-matched parts sets.  During the de-milling process the receiver is often cut along with the barrel.


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