WHEE! Found an easter egg in my mil-surp


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silverlance
June 20, 2006, 12:39 AM
With my new C&R FFL (that reminds me - I better put together my bound book), I bought myself a nice little Mosin Nagant Post-war sniper scoped rifle from www.classicarms.us. I had spent the better part of $300 (not including rifle) on trying to build my own from a Big 5 91/30, so when this came around I was esctatic - especially since my homebrew sniper had turned into a dismal failure. But enough of that.

The gun came in today, and it is beautiful. Hex reciever, all matching numbers, properly curved extractor, exquisite scope with documentation, and all in an excellent condition that puts Big 5's "excellent" to shame.

And then - and then.. I found it!

Inside one of the clip pouches was a small clump of metal, a chain-looking thing of some sort, coated lightly in cosmoline. Initial inspection presumed it to be part of the MN cleaning system, and it went into the oven along with the rest of the parts. A hour or so later, I was cleaning the rabbit ears bottle - when it slowly came to me that, as far as I could remember, Mosin Nagants use rods integrated into the stock, not chains.

I set the bottle down carefully and picked up the chain for closer inspection. About 3 feet long and made of carefully interwoven links that had been smoothed down to eliminate any sharp burrs or edges, the links terminated at one end with an odd ball-and-socket joint that held a blade patch holder.

Yup, a cleaning chain...

A cleaning chain just like those on the Walther P1s...

I picked up the end of the chain, rubbed off more of the cosmo, and put it under the table light.

Lo and behold! Words had been stamped or etched into the steel:

G. APPEL 1936

Hm. I rubbed further, trying to see what else lay beneath the grime. Eventually, only a small, persistent patch remained. Abandoning the cloth, I picked it off with a fingernail.

Underneath lay a very small, yet clearly recognizable German Eagle.

Apparently, someone must have carried my rifle (or the pouch, at least) into combat many, many years ago - and then proceeded to push the Third Reich back, possibily even - who knows? - to Berlin's bitter end!

And survived to bring his little prize home.

What must that soldier have been thinking as he turned in his gun and equipment? He must have known, certainly, that he had left his little war chain in that pouch. Did he mean to one day come back for it? Did he get killed, and the chain forgotten as it lay stuck in the bottom of the pouch? Or, did he - and I like to think he did - tuck it in there just before resubmitting it into the arsenal at Izhevsk, hoping that one day another would find it and have it serve him as well as it had himself?

I sat there, thinking, for some time. Where was this soldier now, I wondered. Dead, most likely. Steel lives far longer than man's frail frame.

I picked up the chain again, felt the perfect smoothness of the links against my fingers. Then, ever so carefully, with the weight of decades heavy in my mind, I threaded a rough cotton patch into the clip and fed the chain into the chamber of my rifle. I could hear each link slide smoothly down the barrel, dripping quietly out the far end.

And with a gentle tug, a draw of time and space and distance, I pulled it through.

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John G
June 20, 2006, 12:57 AM
Very nice. Great find, great description. Thanks for posting. :)

Warren
June 20, 2006, 01:02 AM
That was beautiful. Thank you.

Crosshair
June 20, 2006, 01:51 AM
Wonderfull story. Please post pics of the chain if you can. I too often wonder about the history of my surplus guns. I wonder most about my 100% original 1907 Brazilian Mauser and my Ishapore 303 Enfield. I wonder too about many of my used guns that I own.

silverlance
June 20, 2006, 11:43 PM
Well, here are some pics, including one of the chain I found. It's hard to make out the weimar stamp, though, in the picture. Incidentally, I have no idea what the exact status of my rifle is. It's a post-war scope to be sure (1950-65 ish), but the rifle itself seems to be very old, judging by the serifs on the rear sight and the shape of the front sight post; it may be as old as the late 1890s. Stamped 1931 at Izhevsk, this rifle also bears all the sniper proofing marks for accuracy, blackpowder proofing, etc. My theory is that this was orignally a hex reciever MN that seemed to shoot well, was given an accurizing treatment at Izhevsk, proofed, then scoped out after WW2.

http://static.flickr.com/76/171723758_3f709e45c5.jpg?v=0<p>

http://static.flickr.com/73/171723752_ce52dd35ae.jpg?v=0<p>

http://static.flickr.com/78/171723756_0712a0edb7.jpg?v=0

Rosstradamus
June 20, 2006, 11:58 PM
Stories like that are why I come to The High Road. That was not just well written, it was moving. Thank you.

Who says men are not in touch with their emotions? All it takes is the right circumstances.

S_O_Laban
June 21, 2006, 12:07 AM
A big "thank you" to Silverlance. Appreciate you sharing your find and thoughts.

You have to think.... every scratch/nick/gouge/crack is a story unto itself.

To those without a C&R..... what are you waiting for???:)

RocketMan
June 21, 2006, 12:16 AM
Thank you, Silverlance, for a well written and moving story.
It really makes one think and remember.

Dr.Who
June 21, 2006, 12:29 AM
I agree, Great find, followed by an excellent story.....

Nightfall
June 21, 2006, 01:00 AM
Great stuff. Nice lookin' rifle too!

America_without_liberals
June 21, 2006, 09:48 AM
Thanks for sharing this story. I can't get my wife to understand things like this.

"To those without a C&R..... what are you waiting for???"

So when you get the C&R you can only order direct from importers inside the US right? I think this is a one in 10 million find. Am I wrong? Can you buy from other sources? When I looked into getting the license it just didn't seem to be that big of a benefit and I still had to send in registration paperwork.

Optical Serenity
June 21, 2006, 09:50 AM
Very nice story, great post and pics.

Working Man
June 21, 2006, 10:49 AM
Great story, well written.

"To those without a C&R..... what are you waiting for???"

I'm on my way.

Bruce333
June 21, 2006, 04:36 PM
Awesome find! Nicely written too!


I can only hope to find something like that in one of my purchases one day....

ebd10
June 21, 2006, 05:15 PM
There is the possibility that Mr. Appel was German. It was not unusual for Wehrmacht soldiers to use captured weapons, especially sniper rifles and the semi-auto Tokarevs.

American By Blood
June 21, 2006, 07:23 PM
It's unlikely that Herr Appel was Russian. Appel is a Germanic surname, so the man in question was likely a German soldier or an international SS volunteer.

Edb10, I think the initial post was implying not that Appel was the owner of the rifle, but a KIA or POW from whom the chain was taken.

MrBigStuff
June 21, 2006, 08:44 PM
Great write and very nice find. Congrats.

silverlance
June 21, 2006, 10:20 PM
So when you get the C&R you can only order direct from importers inside the US right? I think this is a one in 10 million find. Am I wrong? Can you buy from other sources? When I looked into getting the license it just didn't seem to be that big of a benefit and I still had to send in registration paperwork.


C&R guns can only be obtained from importers inside the US, right.
MN Snipers are not easily found guns, and before this recent release of (I estimate) 500-600 rifles they were being sold for between 500-600 USD. Incidentally, I went to a gun show a few weeks ago, and they were being sold for between 900-1100 USD. Re-scoped ex-snipers rifles were going for about 500-600 USD. You can buy from other sources, but I would recommend that you check out classic arms first www.classicarms.com
as to whether or not it's worth the trouble - i live in CA. I can ONLY purchase long guns with my C&R, and then only if they were positively made 50 years ago or earlier - and I must be able to prove that. If I lived in any other state, I would probably never buy another gun retail - all my guns would be C&R. There is precious little modern guns can offer beyond that of what C&R firearms can.


My "arsenal", if I had only C&R to choose from:

CCW / HD: East German Makarov $250 9x18mm $139
SHTF Full-Size: CZ-52 7.62x25 (penetrates LII/A) $139
Shotgun HD: Remington Model 31 12G $169
Rifle: FAL 7.62x51mm $?
Sniper: Mauser Sniper, Mosin Sniper, K31 Swiss drilled and tapped. $300-500

ps: thank you everyone for the nice words.

arthurcw
June 21, 2006, 10:37 PM
I got weepy. Just like I do when I see and old flinter that was carefully decorated and cared for by its owner. The cold winters, shots fired in anger, shots fired in hunger... I think I have to go read that again. *sniff*

entropy
June 22, 2006, 10:47 AM
Your sniper is a forgery. PU's were made on round high sided recievers. The bolt handle isn't an original. Your rifle was probably cobbled together in the Ukraine shortly after Enemy at the Gates was released. For more info on how to determine a genuine MN sniper, www.russian-mosin-nagant.com , has an excellent reference library. Classic Arms is infamous for such things as forging snipers and chrome plating M44's.:fire:

Definietely a cool find of the Mauser cleaning chain complete with an engraved name.

Gordon Fink
June 22, 2006, 11:24 AM
i live in CA. I can ONLY purchase long guns with my C&R, and then only if they were positively made 50 years ago or earlier—and I must be able to prove that.…

Well, the 50-year rule seems to be something of a legal gray area, but it certainly applies to transactions within California.

~G. Fink

silverlance
June 22, 2006, 06:03 PM
Thank you for trying to warn me about Classic Arms, entropy.

To your credit, the common understanding is that PU rifles were all made on high-wall (with a very limited number of exceptions, not quite well documented) round recievers - yes. I did not go into this blindly - I have been very much into Mosins and owned four before I ever got my C&R.

www.7.62x54r.net and www.mosinnagant.net are very good sources - as are cruffler.org and a few others.

However, if Classic Arms is forging these, they must be influential indeed - these are CAI imports, labeled Mosin-Nagant Sniper 91/30 through CAI. Most tellingly, these snipers have also been available from the following distributors:

www.aimsurplus.com
www.southerohiogun.com

- and others.

As I wrote earlier, I do not think that this was necessarily a WWII sniper rifle. Rather, this is a Izzy hex rifle circa 1890s that recieved accurizing proofing and treatment post-war (as indicated by arsenal marks N, O, and OO on the reciever/barrel assembly), and fitted with a 1950s-late 1960s PU scope. Scope is also Izzy marked.

It may also be that this was originally a PEM or PE sniper (which very possible given the aging and dating of the marks), later built into a PU. As a C&R yourself, you probably know well that the USSR didn't really put care if parts from different weapon generations were consistent, as long as they functioned together reliably. For instance, the front sight hood on my sniper is perfectly round - a trait that dates it to the very early 1890s. Yet the serifs on the rear sight leaf date <i>that</i> twenty years later. Not to mention that 1931 rearsenal mark on the receiver....

Ultimately, though, this is a very old gun that has quite a bit of history embedded into it - and has been well fitted with an authentic, russian made (not Kalinka optics) PU scope.

For the $365 that I paid for it, I'm happy.

ps: Is the hard chroming of m38s so bad? Considering the millions upon millions of them made, what does it matter if bubba wants to make <i>his</i> gun "shiney"? I'm ashamed of myself just a tad, but I kinda want one.. yes, one with that horrid monte carlo synthetic stock, el cheapo NCstar 4x32 scout scope, and front sight *gasp* milled off...

http://www.classicarms.us/P1010111.JPG

and for what it's worth, the effort put into describing guns and photographing them at classic arms makes me feel much better about sending them my hard earned dollars..

entropy
June 24, 2006, 09:37 PM
Considering the millions upon millions of them made, what does it matter if bubba wants to make <i>his</i> gun "shiney"? You could have been saying the same thing about M1903's twenty years ago. Those who do not remember the past are condemned to repeat it. It'll just make my original issue Mosins that much more valuable, I guess.

BTW, I didn't imply Classic Arms made them. But they are entirely too happy to sell such things.

silverlance
June 26, 2006, 03:40 PM
I went crazy for a while with the whole mil-surp gun thing. I spent way too much for a lot of "once they're gone they're gone forever" deals... not that I truly regret any of them, but I've come to a realization -

there will always be surplus rifles. martinis are replaced by mausers, mausers are replaced by fals, fals are replaced by augs, augs are placed by - what? g11? oicw? well.

and while I am deeply grateful for folks like you who will help populate museums of priceless artifacts of uncalculable worth a hundred years from now, there will be those like me, messing with my surplus guns, sometimes adoring them, sometimes modifying them, always enjoying them.

and we -

we will be making sure that -your- pieces become rare and immensely valuable objects of admiration.

entropy
June 26, 2006, 09:11 PM
Oh, I shoot and enjoy mine, too, quite often. And I do modify some of them. I just do it in a non-altering manner. Scout scopes, ATI stocks, heck even a Huber Concepts trigger are all non-altering modifications of the type most people want to make. I realize that some of these rifles will end up like the No4 Mk1 barrelled action I just rescued from the scrap heap, 'throw-away' cheap deer rifles, but many need not end up that way.


we will be making sure that -your- pieces become rare and immensely valuable objects of admiration.

Thanks, I think.;)


Surplus AUG's? Don't hold your breath. Not east to make non-alterable to full auto, like a FAL. But if they do start importing them, I'm in!:evil:

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