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« Basic Safety Rules | Main | FUNDAMENTALS »

September 02, 2003


Shootin Cheap: Surplus Guns In General by James Rummel

I've always told my students that it was important that the first gun they buy be new. Little problems that could be fixed by an experienced shooter by adjusting the sight or filing down a rough spot could be a frustrating experience to the newbie. Another consideration is the warranty. It's an imperfect world and even new factory-fresh guns sometimes fail. The warranty that new guns have can mean the difference between a minor blip in your new hobby and having someone swear off all guns forever in frustration.

But after some experience is gained, there's no reason why someone can't explore the vast selection that is available through the surplus gun market. For the past 120 years the governments of the world have manufactured and stored enormous numbers of guns. Advancing tech has left them obsolete so they've been sold on the open market to civilians. Perfectly good guns that shoot as straight as the day they were made can be had for bargain basement prices. This is a good way to advance your hobby and improve your shooting skills without having to get a second mortgage.

I like to save money as much as the next guy. Let's crack open my gun safe and drag the surplus guns out into the light of day.

(insert pic here)

As you can see, I've been busy. I'll go over all of the guns in the pic in later posts, as well as how to get your very own, but for now I'd like you to think about the money I saved.

The three handguns at the top of the page are all chambered for the 9mm Parabellum cartridge. Three autoloaders with extra clips? If bought new they'd go for about $450.00 per, say $1,300.00 all together. I bought those three for $800.00 all told.

There are three antique bolt-action rifles and three semi-auto rifles below the handguns. Bolt action rifles usually retail for, say, $650.00 or more per, and semi auto rifles sell for about the same if not more. That would mean that you could reasonably expect to pay about $4,000.00 for a similar collection if they were all new guns. I spent about $1,600.00 for those six guns.

This isn't to say that you should drop everything and start buying from dealers that specialize in surplus guns. There's a few things to keep in mind before you start. In following posts I'll go over those details for you, sharing my hard won experience that has been collected over more than a decade of screwing up so's I could learn from my mistakes. So get out your #2 pencils and put your thinking caps on. There's gonna be a quiz at the end.

-- James Rummel

Originally Posted Friday, January 31rst, 2003 on Hell in a Handbasket

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