How do you shop for a rifle?


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spiroxlii
December 26, 2007, 12:21 AM
I need help buying SPECIFIC models. I've been bitten by the milsurp bug, and now that my C&R license has arrived, I know it's only going to get worse from here.

The way I normally shop is the way a lot of people probably got into milsurp collecting. I browse the common sites like SOG and AIM just to see what they're offering at any given time, then I research the ones that catch my eye and have nonstop dreams about whatever rifle I'm in love with that month until I save up enough to buy one or two or three for myself. That's the story of my current Swiss K-31 and M1895 Nagant obsession.

The other way I shop for milsurps is to attend gun shows regularly (usually the Eastman gun show that comes to Gwinnett a few times a year) and browse the tables where I spot milsurp firearms. Sometimes there are specific firearms I'm looking for and sometimes I'm just browsing for targets of opportunity. When I spot a milsurp that looks to be in decent condition or if I spot one that's just a great deal, I go home with it. That's the story of my SMLE (my very first milsurp), my SKS carbines, my Mosin-Nagant M44s, and my Ishapore 2A.

Being a "browser" just snapping up targets of opportunity has worked for me so far, but it's sometimes frustrating. Since I started collecting and doing more research, I've begun spotting rifles that I really would like to add to my collection, but relying on wandering around until I spot one isn't likely to be successful. If I have a specific model in mind that I'd like to buy, but it's not one that I see while foraging for guns online and at gun shows, where should I direct my efforts?

Right now, my list includes the following:
Romanian M69 Trainer
Some variant of the M6 Aircrew Survival Weapon
P14 Enfield (I see lots of M1917s at gun shows)
No. 5 Enfield (prefer a real one instead of a cut down No. 1, No. 4, or Ishapore)

When you have a specific gun in mind that you want to buy, do you just keep wandering around with your eyes open hoping one will cross your path? I've seen articles reviewing the M69 trainer that quoted its normal wholesale and retail prices, and the reviewer himself bought five at once to give to his kids. I'm guessing he didn't browse through page after page of gunbroker ads to do that.

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rangerruck
December 26, 2007, 04:26 AM
usually brand is totally unimportant to me; I will first fixate on a caliber, until I convince myself , that I will not be able to process oxygen, until I have some rifle in that cal. As for brands, I read up on what I am trying to do with that cart the most, then find the rifle best suited to that task. Is it weight, is it looks, is it good factory sights, what is it you are trying to do? Then I will find out what brands fit those qualities, and go from there.

redneck2
December 26, 2007, 07:26 AM
usually brand is totally unimportant to me; I will first fixate on a caliber, until I convince myself , that I will not be able to process oxygen, until I have some rifle in that cal.

LMAO...Dude, you need that for your sig line...

Hokkmike
December 26, 2007, 08:31 AM
I usually ask what niche do I need a gun to fill? I don't have any that duplicate the function of another, except that I have two .40 pistols. Also at my age quality is more important than a bargain, so I am a brand name snob. (Except for my Bersa, but it has earned the right to stay) Right now I need a better quality AK (Romanians need not apply) and a good .22 rifle.

davera
December 26, 2007, 09:23 AM
Hey! I go to the Eastman show in Gwinnett county (Georgia) a couple of times a year and also use the browse until motivated technique. When cash meets opportunity, good things can happen. The more you go and look the more you learn. You learn which vendors are there for every show, which ones have good inventory and (very important) how to recognize a private seller from afar.

My budget is somewhat limited so I can't get everything but a friend has built a nice collection of milsurps attending the gun shows.

Personally, I've strayed from the old military rifles into vintage .22's, especially Winchester.

Vaarok
December 26, 2007, 10:50 AM
For surplus, really, you are best off continuing to trawl. The beauty of surplus is that you can often get something great for cheap because it's surplus. One mans junk and anothers' treasure.

If you're hunting for something specific, though, it means the seller is advertising it, and thus knows what it's worth and is charging accordingly.

That said, a WTB ad on the Gunboards Trader and trawling the auction sites tends to work okay.

spiroxlii
December 26, 2007, 11:53 AM
davera, I plan to go to the one coming up in January. You attending?

Vaarok, I kinda figured that'd be the answer. I was just hoping there was some secret that I wasn't aware of.

To the rest of you, I totally understand what you're saying, and considering the title of this thread, I guess I kinda set myself up for that kind of answer.

The issue here is that I'm not shopping for a rifle to fill a utilitarian niche. If my goal was to find a rifle for hunting or a rifle for match shooting, then the specific model wouldn't matter so much to me. Then I'd use the method you guys suggest, which is to pick a cartridge, pick an action, and then find a rifle that fits.

I'm shopping for specific milsurps, not because I have a niche for each one to fill, but because I want them to round out a collection. After all, when somebody goes to buy a Nagant revolver, he or she usually doesn't want it because it's an ideal weapon for HD, carry, hunting, or SHTF. Usually a collector looks for a Nagant revolver because it's an unusual piece of history, and just any old .32 revolver won't satisfy the Nagant craving.

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