Milsurp Longevity, Thinking Longterm


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.45&TKD
November 27, 2004, 07:24 PM
There's a lot of 60 year old milsurp rifles available right now and I've been buying my fair share. When I pass them on to my children/grandchildren they may be close to 100 years old!

Assuming that I maintain them and shoot them a few times a year each, how long can they last?

Will a 100 year old rifle still be safe to shoot? Do any of you have 100 year old rifles that you still shoot today?

Also, how much could these $100 rifles be worth in 40 years?

I'm really curious what you all think.

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critter
November 27, 2004, 07:31 PM
"Military Surplus" guns are and were made tough as a boot to survive the rigors of battle in all climatic conditions. If you use them with appropriate loads for their metallurgy, age and design specs, they will be here for your grandkids' grandkids!

I have some made in 1912-1914 that are still as servicable as when new!

Of course, overloads (for their design, etc) can destroy them quickly. It may take some research to determine what is appropriate. If you already know, WRITE IT DOWN and pass it on with the gun when you hand it down to your kids.

FUN hobby and a lot of history involved. Enjoy!

rust collector
November 27, 2004, 07:47 PM
My 1908 and 1906 Swedish mausers don't know they're obsolete, and neither do the deer. There isn't much to wear out--maybe the springs will fatigue to the point of failure some day, but they're easy enough to replace.

I'm not sure they'll ever be worth significant sums of money, although it's hard to find 'em for the $69 I paid awhile back. They were built to last, however, and with regular TLC they'll be functional for a good many years. Lots of smiles left in them, so they warrant a little fussing over from time to time.

Probably the limiting factors will be availability of ammunition/components and the diminishing opportunities to shoot centerfire rifles.

MrMurphy
November 27, 2004, 07:59 PM
Occasionally replace the springs, and keep the finish good, and keep the rifle clean. They'll shoot forever.

My dad's got a Gewehr 98, circa 1918, made for the Imperial German Army (when they still had one) and it still shoots just fine.

My No.4 Mk1, made around 1943, still shoots perfectly well. It will still shoot well for my grandkids assuming I ever have kids to have grandkids. :)

rbernie
November 27, 2004, 08:10 PM
I dropped this year's deer with a 1895 Mauser chambered in 7x57, using factory Remington 140gr ammo. This is arguably a 108-109 year old rifle with the original barrel, and it'll *still* shoot <1" 5-shot groups at 100 yards with the right loads.

No reason to believe that this rifle won't be a viable shooter in another 100 years, presuming that I don't shoot out the barrel between then and now.

armoredman
November 27, 2004, 08:14 PM
I've been thinking of picking up a couple of spring kits for my Mosin....then it should be good for my grandkids....you just can't kill my little Thunderboomer! :) !

cracked butt
November 27, 2004, 08:42 PM
lso, how much could these $100 rifles be worth in 40 years?

Depends on the quality and condition. If you buy the best quality and and in condition that is close to new, they will gain in value.

I know an old timer who has a lot of 1903 springfields- he said that he and his buddies bought a whole pallet of them at auction in the 1950s from an armory for a princely sum of about $0.08 per pound. Now, good ones are worth $700-800 which is almost $100/lb.

Krags in good condition weren't worth much 50 years ago, but are worth a lot now.

If these arms have survived for 60-100 years in harsher conditions and with probably less attention than you can give them at home, there is no reason why they won't last another 100 years.

.45&TKD
November 27, 2004, 09:57 PM
I know an old timer who has a lot of 1903 springfields- he said that he and his buddies bought a whole pallet of them at auction in the 1950s from an armory for a princely sum of about $0.08 per pound. Now, good ones are worth $700-800 which is almost $100/lb.

That's about a 14% annual appreciation rate. Not bad.

GD
November 28, 2004, 09:05 AM
The oldest rifle I shoot is a Mosin Nagant with an 1896 receiver. I have other Mosins and Mausers just about as old. The receivers on these rifles is very strong and can stand up to what I put into them. As with any rifle, you want to inspect them and any surplus ammo that you put into them. Your intended recipients will be very grateful for the gift!
As far as appreciation in value - who knows? Most milsurps have only increased in value at about the inflation rate. Some have actually lost value. I would not recommend buying milsurps in order to make it rich. They are just fun to collect and shoot.

Tamara
November 28, 2004, 11:27 AM
There's a lot of 60 year old milsurp rifles available right now and I've been buying my fair share. When I pass them on to my children/grandchildren they may be close to 100 years old!

60 years old? So, you're collecting modern rifles, then? ;)

Nine of mine were made in 1900 or earlier, and all are quite shootable. With the most cursory care and maintenance, these should last many lifetimes. :cool:

I hope I look this good when I'm 113 years old. :D

http://www.olegvolk.net/gallery/albums/mauser/1891mauseraction.sized.jpg

telewinz
November 28, 2004, 11:55 AM
Boy, there sure are an awlful lot of 1873 Trapdoor Springfields around and still working with all oringinal parts (as in springs). Should be an indication that military firearms are made to last forever with proper care.

.45&TKD
November 28, 2004, 06:17 PM
Most milsurps have only increased in value at about the inflation rate. Some have actually lost value. I would not recommend buying milsurps in order to make it rich. They are just fun to collect and shoot.

GD, I agree, however, if you are already intent on owning something, it is nice to have it go up in value, even if you don't have plans to sell it later.

Cosmoline
November 29, 2004, 01:27 PM
As far as longevity--as telewintz says there are Trapdoors still around and shooting. And those are black powder firearms that have had to cope with chemicals lethal to metal strength for a century and a half. The military forces that kept their bores clean from primer salts (Swiss, Persians, some South American nations) left us rifles that are still 100% functional. I don't know of an upper limit on how long case hardened receivers will last if kept clean. We haven't reached it yet, I know that much. I had a Finn M-39 with a receiver made in France in 1894.

As far as value, I would expect no great increase in value in the massively produced rifles such as the 91/30. I'd look for increases in rifles produced in small batches that saw front line combat. One reason I love Finnish Mosins :D

cracked butt
November 29, 2004, 01:39 PM
Buy quality, it will never lose value over the long term.

I just picked up a Swiss K-31 today and am absolutely giddy that I could buy such a nice rifle for $100. :D

DF357
November 29, 2004, 02:33 PM
My two 1898 Krags will shoot a tick off a squirrels head at 100 yds in the dark with a 70 mph cross wind and not even singe the squirrels fur!!! :p

Seriously, they are the two I like to shoot the most, are extremely accurate and so smooooth operating and if I have anything to say about it, will be around another 106 years.

Pricing? I'm told DCM was selling them for less than $3 in the 1920's. It's not uncommon to see them in the $1000 range now.

My 03 and Enfields are still going strong, too!

Gordon Fink
November 29, 2004, 02:56 PM
They’ll go up in value after the “C&R loophole” is closed.

~G. Fink :uhoh:

spacemanspiff
November 29, 2004, 03:19 PM
tamara you big tease.... now show us the rest of that drool-inducing-heart-fluttering rifle.
oh yeah, and tell us her name to properly introduce us all to her.

30Cal
November 29, 2004, 03:28 PM
I was talking with a guy who builds flintlocks a couple of months back. He said that most of the original rifles he'd seen had cracked at the wrist, below the lock. The wood there was almost always discolored. He says that over the long haul when a firearm is stored muzzle up, oil from the barrel and action weaken the wood below.

I make sure to oil my firearms at least once every 6 months and keep them in a dry place without a lot of temperature variation. After I patch the barrel with oil, I always pull a dry patch through before putting them back in the safe. When cleaning, I always point the rifle with the muzzle slightly down to keep the oil from making its way back into the stocks.

Ty

fb
November 29, 2004, 03:57 PM
I have a mauser 1895 model made for the army of Chile. It is in pristine condition,7x57 caliber. I reload for it and have been shooting it for years.
I must tell you it shoots better than I can shoot it. As I have said elsewhere,("am an old geezer"). If there is any doubt in your mind concerning any rifle or pistol, take it to a gunsmith.

best of luck

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