Ethic implications with milsurps?


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Phaethon
March 9, 2011, 11:10 PM
I recently picked up a vz.24 Mauser, Romanian contract - which I hope to be posting pictures of as soon as I can get my camera in short order. After admiring my rifle, I underwent my customary period of WWII research to learn more about it and the circumstances surrounding it.

I, at some point, began reading about the Romanian's involvement in helping Nazi Germany exterminate the Jews, and how Romania's contribution to the Holocaust was the largest, second to Germany itself. After learning that there's a possibility my rifle could have been used to kill innocent Jewish people, I'm not sure how I feel about it. I've considered selling it.

In the future I'll probably buy Polish or pre-Nazi Mausers instead. Does it trouble anyone else knowing that some of the weapons you hold were used to kill people, potentially to murder civilians?

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MrSpiffy
March 9, 2011, 11:20 PM
You know, those are very interesting thoughts. And I can understand why those thoughts may be mixed or negative.

I'd say, think of that gun more as a reminder of the past. It's not the gun that killed anyone. It was the Nazis and their allies, the people themselves, who did the killing. Yes, the gun was their instrument of choice, but I would keep it, shoot it, and reflect a bit on where it may have been to remind you of a bit of world history, even if it's a part of history we really do not enjoy hearing about. Without things like this, we forget. And it's when we forget, that history has a funny way of repeating itself.

I have my Mosin-Nagant 91/30, and I enjoy it as a neat, highly-durable firearm. But I also enjoy it as a piece of our past that ought never to be forgotten or taken lightly.

Again, shoot it. Enjoy it. And reflect on it. Remembering history is rarely, if ever, a bad thing.

Birdmang
March 9, 2011, 11:25 PM
I have some nazi guns and it doesn't bother me at all. I also have some US and Japanese guns that were in combat. They probably killed or shot at people as well. Its a tool and if the history is just forgotten, then it will repeat. I shoot the hell out of them all, you should do the same.

If you don't like Nazi stuff thats great because it costs a lot more.

XxWINxX94
March 9, 2011, 11:33 PM
Intriguing observation.

While not all history is good history, it is still history. I own several WWII era handguns and rifles which were more than likely used to kill or harm one person or another. It is sad that things like the holocaust happen, but theres nothing we can do about it. Whats done is done and whats history is history.

I find it more interesting than disturbing, but in my opinion, thats what adds character and uniqueness to my firearms.

I have a WWI trench knife that has a dried blood stain still on the blade. I feel terrible for the individual who fell victim to it, but at the same time it makes the knife alot more interesting than just brass and metal.

Tommygunn
March 9, 2011, 11:35 PM
I own a M-1 Carbine my father brought back from the Korean War. It was no doubt used in the last part of WW2 as well. I always wondered who had carried in those wars, who were they? What had they done? What stories are there ... but of course inanimate objects don't talk.
Yes it could have been used to kill.
During the "assault weapon ban" when the libs were talking about civilian semiauto ARs and WASR-10s being "weapons of war" that had to be banned, I always had to laugh at the idiocity of the politicians; apparantly none of them were too concerned about the M-1 Carbine being one of those, under the law .... yet I had a gun that truly was a "weapon of war.":rolleyes:

nathan
March 9, 2011, 11:37 PM
Its only a tool to kill and destroy. The Chicoms bought M 91 30s from USSR in 1950s to fight UN and US troops at Chosin Reservoir. Then they donate those guns to VC s and NVAs to kill US and ARVN troops. Then some of those were brought back to USA as bringbacks. It mean nothing.

Rancho Relaxo
March 9, 2011, 11:39 PM
Of course, statistically there's probably a good chance that your rifle was kept in storage and never used. I figure you are buying a rifle, not the responsibility for what it may have been used for.

Float Pilot
March 9, 2011, 11:42 PM
You might end up with a Mosin that the Russians used to murder the 10,000 Polish Army Officers. " Katyn Forest massacre"
Maybe you Romanian contract Mauser was captured by the anti-nazi freedom fighters and used in that way. Maybe both...

There are a lot of Nazi marked Mausers that helped Israel become a country when they were given a second combat life. The Star of David appearing on the same rifle near the Third Reich Eagle. Their soldiers did not snivel.

Just as the Israeli's also used BF-109 Messerschmidt's along side their Spitfires during their fight for independence. The pilots did not complain

A shovel is still just a shovel, whether it digs graves or tends a garden...

txhoghunter
March 9, 2011, 11:45 PM
It comes down to how you feel about it. The gun could have been used in that way, or it might not have been. But, getting rid of the gun does not change the history behind it.

When it comes down to it, there has not been a war in which civilians were not killed. As much as we try to keep it from happening, war is hell, and there are things that just can't be controlled.

It won't keep me from owning a rifle, it will just give that rifle a different story behind it than your others. It can be a teaching tool. Don't try to forget history, because as Birdmang said, it will repeat itself.

kayak-man
March 9, 2011, 11:45 PM
I've got this old rifle, and sometimes I think about its past. My uncle bought it before I was born from a pawn shop and gave it to my dad.

I've wondered if it ever did take a life, and I wonder if it was used for less than noble purposes. I know that I can never know the past of that rifle, but I can make sure that under my ownership, it will be used to teach marksmanship, and any lives taken by it will belong to rabbits, rats, or people who were inclined to hurt me and mine.

Like I said, I'll never know what purpose it was used for, but I intend to make sure that it used to further liberty and responsiblity.

Chris "the Kayak-Man" Johnson

Tinpig
March 9, 2011, 11:51 PM
I live on land that was the home of Wampanoag Indians until the 17th Century. I still find their white quartz points wherever I dig. I'm not proud of the wars and treaties by which the Wampanoags were dispossessed of their land. But I can't thrash myself with guilt about things over which I have no control.

Enjoy the rifle. You're not responsible for the actions of previous owners.

Tinpig

General Geoff
March 9, 2011, 11:56 PM
I recently purchased a nazi-era FN P35 Hi-Power. It's pitted in some places and generally well-used. I know that this gun may potentially have been some SS officer's sidearm, and could conceivably have been used to execute innocent civilians at some point in its past.


I consider it to be a visceral, sobering reminder of humanity's darkest hour. It's all-too easy to forget about our dark pages in history, but when I look at this pistol, with the eagle & swastika proof marks worn but plainly visible, it's an instant refresher on just how real history is, and that those who ignore it or become complacent, are doomed to repeat it.


The gun itself holds no grudges, bears no malice, feels no regret, nor remorse. It did not have a choice but to be nazi proof-marked. It could not discriminate if indeed it was ever levelled and fired upon an innocent. It is merely an object, a relic of history with no mind, volition, or agenda of its own.

nathan
March 10, 2011, 12:12 AM
Same goes with many WW 2 vets who brought along captured samurais from dead Jap officers. Those could had been used to cut the heads of prisoners of Allied troops , innocent civilians, etc in their quest to conquer Asian lands.

ReadyontheRight
March 10, 2011, 12:38 AM
What is the quote - 'those who do not understand history are doomed to repeat it' ?

"History" is not some clean, schoolbook concept. It is real and dirty.

IMHO, individual ownership of guns like yours have made history less dirty because we can now easily defend ourselves - unlike those who may have been at the wrong end of your gun.

As you describe, your rifle is a reminder of how bad we can be.

It can also be used to defend yourself, win a shooting competition or teach a kid how to shoot. You can also use the rifle as a historical link to educate that kid about WW2.

So your rifle is a reminder of how good we can be.

A gun is engineered wood, plastic and steel. At best, a gun is well-crafted and reliable. At worst, a gun is unreliable. A gun is a tool. A bad heart behind it may make it bad. Your heart makes a gun good or bad.

country boy marksman
March 10, 2011, 01:05 AM
To quote a just about beat to death saying, "guns don't kill people, people kill people!" Seriously, just because a gun took a life doesn't mean there's anything bad about that gun. The person pulling the trigger is where the the evil resides, not in the gun itself. Wether it was used to kill Jews or not, it is still a Mauser, and is not evil or wrong in any way! I REALLY want to own a Mauser, I just have other things to buy first, but when I do, the last thing on my mind will be that. My dad wants a Garand, and if he bought one that was used in WWII or Korea, He would be proud to own a weapon that was used to protect our freedom. I have had friends ask this, and I always tell them the same thing: I don't have a problem with it, and if you have a problem with owning a gun used in a murder, or was used in the holoucaust, or even to save a life, feel free to give me the gun so that you can have a free conscience, knowing that you don't own a gun that took a life!

If you don't like owning such a firearm, however, that's fine with me, no offense intended, just my $0.02!

Beetle Bailey
March 10, 2011, 01:06 AM
I used to feel somewhat similiar to you as well. Then one day I decided to buy a RC Mauser 98k. It was a 1936 model and didn't have swastikas on it, but it may well have been used to commit evil acts all the way up until 1945. At any rate, I didn't own it to honor the Nazis. I am not one of their fans. I did use the rifle to blast steel plates and I did share it with anyone who wanted to shoot it.

Thing is, good or bad, history needs to be remembered. People need to understand that being unarmed means you are at the mercy of those who are armed. And that human beings unfortunately truly are capable of extreme evil. If people are able to hold an actual WWII era Mauser in their hands, it makes the history lesson more real, more memorable to them.

Sadly, I no longer own that particular Mauser and do miss it. It's current owner's family is from Russia and so the historical significance of the rifle is still appreciated but to be honest I kinda wish I could buy it back from him.

So I say keep your Romanian Mauser. The fact that you bought it means you now know more about Romania's history and connection to the holocaust. That's not a bad thing.

Remo223
March 10, 2011, 01:16 AM
Frankly I don't understand your "ethics implications" one iota. No offense but it actually sounds like jibberish to me. Are you saying there is something evil about a rifle? A rifle is an inanimate object. Sheesh, even the person that used the rifle to shoot someone in a war in not at fault. He is a soldier following orders.

What would you say to an old german soldier that served in the nazi military? Or the japanese army. I'm almost scared to ask. They're just people, man. just like you and me. And that rifle is just a rifle, just like any other rifle.

35 Whelen
March 10, 2011, 01:25 AM
I own a used Dodge pickup. I don't know what the original owners did with it. Did they use it to deliver drugs? Did someone have pre-marital sex in the back seat? Did they use it to pull a stolen trialer?
Regarding your rifle, history is history. I'm like Remo....having a bit of a hard time understanding "ethical implications" with a 60+ year old inanimate object.
35W

CraigC
March 10, 2011, 02:32 AM
A shovel is a shovel, if it digs graves or tends a garden...
Exactly! It's an inanimate object. It has no soul and carries no guilt or blame. Aren't we in a constant battle with people who like to blame inanimate objects for the actions of individuals???

snake284
March 10, 2011, 04:08 AM
Not really, the rifle is an inantament object and didn't kill anyone. It was the slimeball nut behind the trigger that did the killing. Heck if I sold all my milsurps that could have killed innocents, I wouldn't have any left. I have two Garands, and even though they were most likely issued to U.S. troops can you guaranty that the user didn't waste a German farmer? I have an 03-A3 made in 1942. Can you guaranty me it's user didn't waste an innocent Frenchman or Dutchman by mistake? I also have a 1917 Eddystone U.S. Enfield. Can you guaranty it never killed an innocent person back in the war to end all wars? And if that ain't all, I have 4 Yugo 24/47 Mausers that were made behind the Iron Curtain. Can you guaranty me that some Soviet didn't use one of them or maybe all four to kill innocent people? No you can't. We have no idea where any of those rifles went and what they did, or who was carrying them. But even if I did, I wouldn't get wound up over it because like I already said, the rifle didn't purposly kill anyone. It was the guy carrying it and the rifle had no say in the matter. Also, it may not have killed any innocents. It may have been on the Eastern front in the hands of some poor slob trying to keep his testicals from freezing off. Take your Mauser and enjoy it. Treat it as the valuable piece of history it is. Don't let it haunt you.

USAF_Vet
March 10, 2011, 10:30 AM
When I was in the process of buying my Hungarian M-44, I had zero knowledge of the '56 Communist revolt. After I received the rifle, I found various clues to hint at it's actually use in combat, from the expected wear and tear of a non-refurbished rifle to the hash marks and soldiers name carved into the stock. I don't know on which side the rifle was used, communist or otherwise, but it is a very sobering reminder of how war is waged and that people die. As if I needed another reminder.
But, as others have said, the rifle is incapable of doing anything independant of the wielder.

CraigC
March 10, 2011, 10:36 AM
On that note you can never know for sure that the used S&W .38Spl you just picked up from the local gunshop was not used to murder a whole family 50yrs ago. It would be equally silly to worry about such a thing.

leadcounsel
March 10, 2011, 10:37 AM
Lots of Nazi or other extremist group items were/are preserved. They are historically significant. And items are neither good nor evil.

I look at these as fascinating items from the past regardless of what the owners did with them.

Sky
March 10, 2011, 10:39 AM
I do not care if the weapon is a virgin or used to work the bars and streets! I care how it works for me.

Big fire fight BGs dead. Weapons secured. Some brought back that were used to shoot you and your friends. It is a tool and if it got you or your friends then it must work pretty good. Sounds like something that might come in handy one day! Weapons are not alive and do not have memories of deeds done past. Only their users retain those memories.

Andrew Wyatt
March 10, 2011, 10:46 AM
Get a garand. That should balance you out.

BrocLuno
March 10, 2011, 11:35 AM
Well being a bit older and having more than 1/2 a century to reflect on things, I can definitely say that holding some objects can bring about feelings including remorse. I have worked for decades on and off with archeology teams in the desert southwest, and I have handled objects that I know were dropped when the Native Americans were running from the Spaniards - you can almost feel the fear and desperation. But those objects were in a setting - they had context.

The rifle you are holding is completely out of place. As far as I know(?), no Jews were ever killed in America by a Nazi ally or sympathizer with a Romanian contract Mauser? It may have happened, but how would we know? Is there any case file to accompany the rifle? Does it have anyone's initials or name, rank or serial number attached? Does it have any evidence that it was in a particular place, at a particular time?

Objects out of context are just things - like rocks or sticks. Might be a nice stick or a pretty rock, but it's not evil just by being. It's the actions of others that impart "evilness" which is a human trait and something humans must answer for - not things.

On the other hand - Do I want to own Nazi stuff - no. I had a Swiss built 22 training rifle that was known to have been used to train young German airmen on basic marksmanship. It was all marked up, but I gave it away to a fellow who liked Nazi memorabilia. Sometimes I'm sorta sorry I did that as I liked the trigger and it shot well, even though there was no rifling left (think million rounds down range?).

It trained killers, but was not a killer. Still didn't really want it around the house. So away it went to someone who really did want it. Point being I can sympathize, and if it creeps you out, just move it on to somebody else. Someone will appreciate it, and it won't make them feel bad - might even make them happy. Life is too short to have stuff around that makes you feel bad. Just the good stuff please :)

Remo223
March 10, 2011, 11:45 AM
It trained killers, but was not a killer. Still didn't really want it around the house. So away it went to someone who really did want it. Point being I can sympathize, and if it creeps you out, just move it on to somebody else. Someone will appreciate it, and it won't make them feel bad - might even make them happy. Life is too short to have stuff around that makes you feel bad. Just the good stuff please :)
No it didn't. It trained soldiers. There is nothing evil about training soldiers.

Carl N. Brown
March 10, 2011, 12:06 PM
I think of my possession as giving the gun a new history.

Afy
March 10, 2011, 12:55 PM
Hate to point out a minor issue: Vz's are Czech not Romanian.

Battle rifles have been used in war. That is what they are, instruments of war. They have been used in war so what. It isnt the weapon's fault which side used it.

General Geoff
March 10, 2011, 12:57 PM
Sheesh, even the person that used the rifle to shoot someone in a war in not at fault. He is a soldier following orders.
"Just following orders" is not always a legitimate excuse. But that's neither here nor there. Giving the gun a new chapter in its history is a good way to look at it.

BrocLuno
March 10, 2011, 01:14 PM
I was in folks, Army training is to hit the target and with small arms that means 99% of the time other people. War means kill or be killed. It is a social contest with winners and loosers. War has rules and as long as they are followed - "evil" stays out of the lexicon.

But, the Nazi's did not follow the rules and they did do "evil" and they did kill innocent unarmed non-combatants - so my little trainer may have trained an actual killer with some likelihood. If it feels bad in hand either destroy it, or move it on to someone who will appreciate it w/o the emotional feeling. What sense a person gets from holding an object is not something anyone can guess until it's in hand - and it ain't always rational :(

R.W.Dale
March 10, 2011, 01:27 PM
This discussion brings to mind the creepy not so closet Nazi sympathizers who have those booths at gunshows selling nothing but third Reich memorabilia. You know the ones who'll be first to tell you it's just "about the history" yet ironically won't have any Japanese, North Korean, Vietnamese or WWI Ottoman,German,Austro-Hungarian items for sale.

LKB3rd
March 10, 2011, 02:57 PM
My SKS has 13 hash marks on the butt stock. At first it sort of creeped me out, but I decided that it is a tool, and that is what it does. I then started to wonder exactly where it might have been used (Yugo 59/66), and the marks were a link to a piece of history all of a sudden.

savage1r
March 10, 2011, 03:03 PM
I would like to think that my mosin dusted off a few Nazis in its day.

Mr_Pale_Horse
March 10, 2011, 05:06 PM
Phaethon,

I am here to help. I specialize in de-Nazification and other forms of ritual purification of antiques, relics, and curios.

Package said arm appropriately and ship it to me, along with $1666 dollars, for my invaluable services of course.

In due time (it may take serveral range, erm, purification sessions, to wring out all of the demons and the spirits of the dearly departed) I promise to return to you your purified Vz.24 so that you may use it guilt free and in good health.

jimmyraythomason
March 10, 2011, 05:15 PM
A shovel is a shovel, if it digs graves or tends a garden... Yep,that is how I look at it too.

Joe Demko
March 10, 2011, 05:21 PM
I'm not into death fetish. The fact that a gun was used to kill somebody, rightly or wrongly, does not make me covet it more than an identical gun that sat on a shelf. Historicity is bee-ess. If I put two identical guns in front of you and tell you that one was used to kill_fill in the blank_and the other never left the arsenal, could you tell which was which just by how they "feel?"
If you didn't buy it specifically to pleasure yourself over who it was used to kill, don't worry about it. OTOH, don't listen to all the wanking over "preserving history" and "the stories they have to tell us." In the end, what matters in this particular debate was why you bought it, not what it might have been used for.

Nico Testosteros
March 10, 2011, 05:25 PM
I think a lot of the appeal of milsurps is precisely because of their history. No telling what my 1943 Long Branch was used for or where. Normandy, India? Who knows?
The receiver on my Finn M39 is a Tula 1906. Could have been used in WW1, the Russian Civil War, or any of the wars of the Finns and been rebuilt post Continuation War.

GoF150xlt
March 10, 2011, 05:38 PM
Take a printed picture of your family or loved ones. Look at it. It is just a piece of paper with colors or images. It has no sole. But chances are it may bring some emotions even though it is simply a piece of paper with markings.

Some may look at a particular firearm the same way. Not by the metal and wood that it is composed of, but what it represented or how it was used.

The key is now YOU own that firearm and if you are reminded of an inglorious history, your ownership now offers that tool redemption for its past by using it for more noble means.

I personally do not blame a firearm for how it was used in the past, but I do see your point in that it might be a symbol for some people. Thank the Lord that the bad guys lost and you now have their tools and are using it for good.

jeepguy
March 10, 2011, 05:52 PM
try this on for size, i went to a gun show last november & picked up a mauser. the kicker was that it was a mauser that sometime after the war the israeli's bought and converted it to .308. hows that for irony. but the israeli's got over this same issue in order to help defend their country. i do hope you can enjoy your new rifle. like someone else said give it a new history. good post btw.

NCsmitty
March 10, 2011, 06:30 PM
Come on guys, it's an inanimate object.

Appreciate and admire the firearm for what it is, don't denigrate it for what it may have done. That sounds too bleeding heart for me.



NCsmitty

bk42261
March 10, 2011, 06:39 PM
I have my grandfather's Springfield Armory bayonet stamped 1917. The spine of it is all marked up, I assume from firing the rifle while the bayonet was attached. I can only assume this was during combat. I feel that this adds character and possibly some more historical meaning to this bayonet than anything.

Motega
March 10, 2011, 06:52 PM
If you don't like the idea, that's all that matters. Some people think that objects or places can assume some kind of energy or fingerprint from past owners or experiences. I don't believe that, but I also don't scoff at other people's beliefs. And I DO think that there are some inanimate objects that maintain symbolic potency - which is why I wouldn't take a leak on a grave stone or "do it" in my parent's bed.

61chalk
March 10, 2011, 06:58 PM
I've asked the same question myself in the past an had to do some soul searching, an readings post here at THR. The same guns that killed the Jews, were later used by the Jews to defend Israel after WWII....I don't have a prob;em with someone not wanting to own a certain firearm...if you don't like it sell. My oldest son said it best not long after buying a WWII Nagant revolver, I shot it an it was deadly accurate...I handed it back to him an said.."You know, there could be alot of history with that pistol. It could of killed Nazi's, an later after the war, it could of been used to kill Russian Christians." My son looked at me an said..."Its not the guns fault." Can it be said any better....?

daorhgih
March 10, 2011, 07:05 PM
The air you just took into your lungs was once, maybe, in Hitler's fart, or Stalin's bad-breath; and dust is prevalent everywhere, but who knows WHOM it may have been! Why worry about it !?
Try these words from quiet and gentle lady Emily Dickinson:
This quiet Dust was
Gentleman and Ladies
And Lads and Girls
Was laughter and ability and Sighing
And Frocks and Curls.

And Shaxpeare also worried about it, "Alas, poor Yorick, I knew his dust..."
Your trepidation, and the question posed, are points to ponder, but NOT out loud.

GBExpat
March 10, 2011, 07:44 PM
... Does it trouble anyone else knowing that some of the weapons you hold were used to kill people, potentially to murder civilians? ...

No, it does not bother me at all.

redbullitt
March 10, 2011, 07:52 PM
Wood and steel is wood and steel IMHO.

Frozen North
March 10, 2011, 08:16 PM
Honestly, how many mil surp rifles were really on the right side of things?

The most common are combloc weapons nowadays.... I have a nagant with the sickle and hammer on the receiver, most gun collectors have at least a few.

That Sickle and Hammer was a symbol of death and oppression, much more so than the swastika. Who do you think killed more innocent people? Stalin or Hitler?

The fact is that that these rifles are in the hands of free men in a free country where we are free to chat about them on a free internet. When I fire a rifle that once served a brutal dictator, I smile and remember I am free.

Sunray
March 10, 2011, 08:23 PM
"...not sure how I feel about it..." You're being irrational.

PPS43
March 10, 2011, 09:17 PM
You might end up with a Mosin that the Russians used to murder the 10,000 Polish Army Officers.

Actually it was Walther Model 2 .25 ACP pistol (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Vasili_Blokhin), not Mosin. You know, for plausible deniability.

snake284
March 10, 2011, 09:47 PM
mgregg, I'm glad you feel that way. But it's very easy to sit here in the comfort of your computer room and say that. It's altogether a different matter when you're under the gun. I still don't blame soldiers because they are taught to do or die, not to reason why.

Ohio Gun Guy
March 10, 2011, 10:08 PM
I dont disagree... Although I do see both sides of it. As history owning one is not necessarily condoning what happened. It may actually serve as a way to discuss history and tell people what happened. (In my experience, a lot of people know very little of even "Modern History"). On the otherhand, I can actually say that I was at a table full of RC capture mausers, one was a BNZ and it was not marked higher.....figured I could make a few dollars on it if I wanted to......decided I didnt want it due to the HIGH probabality that it was forced laborers who made it. Just wasnt for me.

Joe Demko
March 10, 2011, 10:23 PM
We do not "own history." We own artifacts. Said artifacts have little to tell us beyond their year and place of manufacture. A Mosin-Nagant in your safe tells us nothing of Tsarist or Bolshevik oppression. It's just a gun you bought for cheap.

CowboyTim
March 10, 2011, 10:45 PM
At the risk of being drawn and quartered by the puritans, you could always have a nice sporter built on that Mauser action...cleanse the evil, so to speak...

neededausername
March 10, 2011, 11:05 PM
Yes I own an artifact that was manufactured in 1943 in the capital city of the Udmurt republic, it is the most prolific rifle ever produced and nothing special to a collector, just a gun I bought for cheap. It has almost certainly seen battle as it was manufactured by people who were so desperate to defend their homeland they couldn't produce enough rifles to arm their soldiers and sent them into battle without arms. It has probably killed people who I would agree with being killed and innocents who I would be horrified if I knew the stories. Does the rifle itself tell me anything about the Tsars or Bolsheviks? No, but after owning it and doing research about it and the markings on it, I've learned a lot about the Tsars and Bolsheviks. So maybe it is just an out of place artifact, but it has been a doorway to me.

country boy marksman
March 10, 2011, 11:08 PM
I just read the original question and a few answers to my dad, and he had a good comparison to make:

If you owned the pen that Hitler used to write Mein Kampf, or the pen Carl Marx used to write Communist Manifesto, would these pens be evil? And on the other hand, would the pen that Thomas Jefferson used to write the Declaration of Independence be more good, or one the pens Paul used to write half of the New Testament be more holy? (unfortunately, this would be done by those who place their faith in God upon supposed "holy" relics) The answer is NO. They are just inanimate objects. Evil resides in the spirit, not in the tools used by said evil people.

This is just what my dad and I had to say about it. Sorry for the religious views, moderators, I understand if you need to edit this, it was meant merely as an example.

BrocLuno
March 11, 2011, 11:08 AM
I think some are missing one point, it's not the object itself - it's how it feels in hand - to the holder. This is an emotional response to a thing. Yeah sure, it's a thing - but it is causing a reaction. If the reaction and associated thoughts are making someone sad or unsure, that someone needs to do what they need to do. The thing may be fine in another persons hand - it ain't the thing, it's the person. But things do have power - how about US Flag? Or, cross burning in the night? Would anyone here see the ovens at Auschwitz and say "Oh, nice oven - what you going to bake?" One look and you feel bad/sad or worse. That thing has power over emotion - maybe this rifle does too?

foghornl
March 11, 2011, 11:24 AM
I have a few "Mil-Surps" and I regard them as "Artifacts of History".

But I would LOVE to hear their stories...

Romanian M-44 Mosin Nagant
US Rifle Cal .30 M1
Yugo SKS

merlinfire
March 11, 2011, 12:11 PM
In the future I'll probably buy Polish or pre-Nazi Mausers instead. Does it trouble anyone else knowing that some of the weapons you hold were used to kill people, potentially to murder civilians?


I can definitely understand your thoughts. I know people who feel the same way, and one would never own anything that he knows was used by the Third Reich.

I say that if you don't feel comfortable with it, I wouldn't keep it. Life's too short to have a gun you don't like.

However, you could look at this from different perspectives. One is that by putting the gun to use in the hands of a free-man, who is a descendant of the men and women that put an end to the Nazi regime, is the greatest revenge and "redeems" the weapon you hold. Instead of being used to subjugate others, it becomes a tool in the hands of a citizen to protect liberty.

merlinfire
March 11, 2011, 12:12 PM
Would anyone here see the ovens at Auschwitz and say "Oh, nice oven - what you going to bake?"

Wow, good point.

Phaethon
March 11, 2011, 01:07 PM
Hate to point out a minor issue: Vz's are Czech not Romanian.

After the German occupation of the Sudetenland in 1938, they began to gear the Czech factories to produce VZ-24's for the Romanian's, whom were showing eagerness to cooperate with Nazi Germany. Hence, Romanian contract.

I appreciate a lot of the responses on here (not really the ones that are nicely trying to tell me that I'm an idiot) but it is true that these instruments are just pieces of metal and wood. I'm keeping the rifle, but I was just voicing a sentiment that I felt when I first spent time thinking about it. Looking at an old military surplus rifle, I always regard it as my rifle, "my tool". As a result it's almost strange to me to think that somewhere, almost a hundred years ago, this same rifle was someone else's tool. I wonder about the history and usage of them; the things that - could rifles talk - they've seen, the horrible stories they could tell. Sometimes when I lay my rifle next to my bed at night, I imagine that somewhere long ago, in some cold black winter of the Eastern Front, my rifle might have been a man's only friend.

Basically what I mean to say is that realizing the possibilities of the long history of any rifle is very sobering, as many of them have traveled thousands of miles and many decades to our living rooms now. I'm pretty new to Milsurps.

However, back to the point of topic; I understand the idea that a gun with dark history would want to be kept to serve as a 'living reminder of a dark era', but at the same time I wonder if having such weapons doesn't in a way trivialize that history at the same time. It relies entirely upon on the owner to do the history justice; otherwise to anyone else it's just a nice old rifle from long ago. Besides, it seems too likely that anyone could just pick up a Karabiner with SS runes and think it's "cool", while showing it off to all of his (presumably ignorant) friends; nevermind the aforementioned Neo-Nazi's working the merchandise. They have a right to though, I was just posing a question to see how others felt on the subject.

But anyway, my VZ is a good rifle. Would I ever buy a rifle stamped for Einsatzgruppen or Concentration Camp guards? Never.

M.C.
March 11, 2011, 06:04 PM
I hope everyone with a Mosin Nagant can sleep well at night knowing that the Soviets murdered more people than the Nazis could ever dream of killing.

Anyone ever heard of the Holomodor? 11 million Ukrainian civilians who were purposely murdered through starvation by the Soviets.

How many millions of innocents were murdered in the Soviet Gulags? many more than ever died in Nazi concentration camps. Think of all the poor people murdered and raped when the Red Army took over their country.

The Allied startegy of carpet bombing German civilian centers was pretty awful also, are you still comfortable using that old Garand?

I dont really care what a rifle was used for in the past, whether you think it was used for good or for evil, the truth is not so black vs. white.

I would love to have an old Rhodesian FAL that was used to kill Communist terrorists, the more bodies on it the better
I agree... a gun is nothing more than a tool or instrument... useless without human hands. Whether it was used to kill a million civilians or two nazi, soviets, US, Japanese, etc... is immaterial...

What's the saying? If guns kill people, pencils misspell words.

BrocLuno
March 11, 2011, 06:52 PM
Yup, they sure do - and so do keyboards. I'm still trying to beat mine into submission but it keeps arguing with me :(

Cosmoline
March 11, 2011, 06:57 PM
Of course, statistically there's probably a good chance that your rifle was kept in storage and never used.

This is really an important consideration. I always see ads saying that such-and-such Mosin was "used at Stalingrad." Most never saw that kind of action, and many were never fired in anger at all.

I'm not too troubled by the past associations with baddies, but I must admit I have a fondness for the weapons of the nations I'm sympathetic with. Finns, for example. They ended up on the wrong side, but they had little choice in the matter. Their wars were the forerunner of the Cold War more than part of WWII.

JerryM
March 11, 2011, 08:29 PM
Is it guns that are responsible for killing people?

Regards,
Jerry

KodiakBeer
March 11, 2011, 08:48 PM
Yes I own an artifact that was manufactured in 1943 in the capital city of the Udmuk republic

That would be the Udmurt republic.

As far as any of these NAZI or Soviet weapons go, just the fact that we can buy them indicates that we prevailed over the systems that produced them. We won. Their weapons are now toys for the victors.

QUICK_DRAW_McGRAW
March 11, 2011, 08:53 PM
its just a tool used, it didn't aim itself and fire the round but rather the person holding it.

suzukisam
March 11, 2011, 09:55 PM
if the potential that evil was done with any object lures a person to it, than I believe the evil is in their heart, not the object. The fact that your concerned tells me you don't have evil in your heart and the item cannot put it there! it would be wrong to relish an item for it's evil history if you even knew it had one, since you are not, you are good to go. And has been pointed out your gun may have never been used for any of that anyway

Art Eatman
March 11, 2011, 10:11 PM
A gun doesn't care who made it or who shoots it. It's an inanimate object. Morality has to do with people, not things.

At least, that's what we've been telling the gun-grabbers for many and many a decade.

A dollar doesn't care if it's used by a priest to help a poor person or by a narcotrafficante to hire a contract killer.

mljdeckard
March 11, 2011, 10:22 PM
Look at it this way. They lost. We are now able to look at pieces associated with the event in the light that they tried and failed.

country boy marksman
March 12, 2011, 01:22 AM
I think some are missing one point, it's not the object itself - it's how it feels in hand - to the holder. This is an emotional response to a thing. Yeah sure, it's a thing - but it is causing a reaction. If the reaction and associated thoughts are making someone sad or unsure, that someone needs to do what they need to do. The thing may be fine in another persons hand - it ain't the thing, it's the person. But things do have power - how about US Flag? Or, cross burning in the night? Would anyone here see the ovens at Auschwitz and say "Oh, nice oven - what you going to bake?" One look and you feel bad/sad or worse. That thing has power over emotion - maybe this rifle does too?

This is a very good point, thank you. This hadn't occurred to me. I would still buy the mauser, or whatever other gun could be in question, but yes, I will now see a gun differently, to an extent, if I know for a fact that it was used to do some sort of "evil deed".

sixgunner455
March 12, 2011, 02:44 AM
I have had three milsurp rifles, and one pistol.

My first rifle was an M44 Romanian Mosin-Nagant rifle, dated 1954 on the receiver. I never thought about how it might have been used. My second was a Yugo SKS, a 59/66. It had been fired quite a bit, but did not look to have been used in the field much. My third is a K31. The tag under the buttplate says it belonged to an artillery crewman, and the red tape bands say that it was used in marksmanship competitions. And it is the nicest of the three by a large margin of workmanship, its accuracy has to be seen to be believed. Of the three, it is the one that is least likely to have been used in a fight anywhere, even though it is the oldest by two decades. I also like to think that it and the guns like it helped keep Switzerland out of WWII.

I also have an old British service revolver I bought in Afghanistan. It dates to about 1870. I rather imagine that it was taken off a British officer and used by an Afghan warrior and his descendants until they couldn't get ammunition for it anymore. The cylinder stop bolt is worn down to the point that the cylinder spins freely. I bought an old Khyber fighting knife from the same era that had seen some rough use, too.

I like milsurps for the history. I like the Afghanistan stuff because I think about how those tough old tribesmen just defended their land to the best of their ability. Heck, maybe they slaughtered goats with that revolver! But the others? I like them for what they represent. I guess it doesn't matter a lot to me if any of them were used in a fight. They do two things for me - they represent the history of the time period they come from, including the fighting some weapons of those models may have participated in, and they are cool old guns. Especially the K31, it is cool to shoot.

I've got a 1930 police service .38 revolver, too. I don't particularly worry about what it may have been used for, either. It just doesn't matter.

General Geoff
March 12, 2011, 05:19 AM
This is an excellent thread, just wanted to say that.

Many folks bring up the point that while inanimate objects may have no will of their own, they can carry deep emotional baggage with them to whomever recognizes the tool for that which it was used in the past. The ovens at Auschwitz are one example; the Enola Gay is another. Yes, they're mindless objects. That doesn't mean their history won't affect the way people view these tools, for better or worse. So, in the end, owning or using a milsurp firearm is really a matter of personal taste and perception. I will say this; a weapon's storied past need not prevent it from leading a storied future.

Carl N. Brown
March 12, 2011, 08:20 AM
Sory I have heard about the nazi Mausers used by Israelis: the Czechs who made the guns told the Israelis that when they made Mausers for the nazis they would offset the front sights by about a meter off at 100m before they left the factory, so they advised the Israelis to check the zero before using them. It may just be scuttlebutt, but it was interesting.

Col. Plink
March 12, 2011, 07:41 PM
I have a Czech Nazi "contract" vz-24, it ain't botched. Thought about what it might have done in the hands of a Romanian; have also fired a Nazi p38 that sure looked evil...

I figure a day of can plinkin' takes off any bad juju...

Tinpig
March 12, 2011, 07:45 PM
Great story.:)
But hard to imagine that an army as thorough as the Wehrmacht's Heer never zeroed their rifles.

Tinpig

clancy12
March 12, 2011, 08:07 PM
Milsurp=cheap. Godd enough for me.

snake284
March 12, 2011, 08:42 PM
Sorry, but I must disagree here about one point mentioned. Enola Gay, in my mind, played a very large part in ending the suffering on both sides of WWII. If we had not dropped that bomb on Hiroshima from Enola Gay and the one on Nagasaki from Box Car, the war would most likely have continued for another 6 months at least, killing far more people on both sides. As it was, at the time of the atom bomb raids on Hiroshima and Nagasaki, the fire bombing raids that took place nightly over Japan were killing upwards of 100,000 Japanese civilians per night, as many as either atomic bomb raid did, and we were losing people too from Kamakazi attacks and planes being shot down over target.
Edited to Add:
The hard core Japanese military would never have surrendered if those bombs would not have been dropped. It was a wake up call for the Japanese and as I said, ultimately saved many, many lives.

General Geoff
March 12, 2011, 08:44 PM
Sorry, but I must disagree here about one point mentioned. Enola Gay, in my mind, played a very large part in ending the suffering on both sides of WWII. If we had not have dropped that bomb and the one on Nagasaki from Box Car, the war would most likely continued for another 6 months at least, killing far more people on both sides. As it was, at the time of the atom bomb raids on Hiroshima and Nagasaki, the fire bombing raids that took place nightly over Japan were killing upwards of 100,000 Japanese civilians per night, as many as either atomic bomb raid, and we were losing people too from Kamakazi attacks and planes being shot down over target. The hard core Japanese military wound never have surrendered if those bombs would not have been dropped. It was a wake up call for the Japanese and as I said, ultimately saved many, many lives.

Nowhere did I say the emotional baggage carried by the Enola Gay is negative. It is for many people, though (I'm not one of them).

edit; That's Bockscar ;)

Jeff82
March 12, 2011, 08:49 PM
Why don't you vindicate the weapon and use it to ensure no more holocausts?

country boy marksman
March 12, 2011, 11:28 PM
exactly! If I buy the gun, it can't be used to commit more crimes, therefore, I am protecting people from danger by owning said firearms, keeping them out of the hands of those who would use them for the wrong reasons!... or something like that! :evil:

If that's not a good reason to buy a gun, I don't know what is! :D

skyhorse
March 15, 2011, 03:00 PM
Almost all of my guns have a military past. I enjoy spending time researching the markings and placing the work with a timeframe. It's a history lesson that I can hold and use.

As for my rifles that came from the opposite side, it's now in the proper hands.

When I show my firearms they come with a history lesson. When someone can hold a piece of history, I think they are more open to listening and learning.

mnhntr
March 15, 2011, 03:19 PM
Really? If a hammer was used to bludgeon a person to death it still hammers nails. It is not the fault of the tool, just the operator. Shoot it and forget the past.

Afy
March 15, 2011, 05:02 PM
Well if you do want a Milsurp that has never been used in anger anywhere on any side you essentially only have two options, the K31 and the STGW 57. Both are excellent options and fun to shoot.

nathan
March 20, 2011, 02:35 PM
Just as this bringback Chicom M 44 had been used by VCs to kill US troops.

http://forums.gunboards.com/showthread.php?215106-Chinese-Mosin.-Comments-from-the-experts

SaxonPig
March 20, 2011, 03:49 PM
The Nazis are kaput. Owning a a military 98 (or any other historic item) does not make one a Nazi nor does it suggest one approves of their actions.

Buying a Honda doesn't mean you think the Bataan Death March was a good idea. Same with owning a Type 99 rifle.

toivo
March 20, 2011, 04:04 PM
I consider it to be a visceral, sobering reminder of humanity's darkest hour.

That pretty much says it all. When you take that rifle out, take a moment to meditate on what human beings are capable of doing to each other. Then promise yourself that you're always going to try to be one of the Good Guys, and shoot the heck out of it. ;)

USAF_Vet
March 20, 2011, 04:38 PM
I hope everyone with a Mosin Nagant can sleep well at night knowing that the Soviets murdered more people than the Nazis could ever dream of killing.


I sleep well at night knowing my Mosin is loaded at arms reach and able to assist me if necessary in the defense of my home and family. That rifle may have been used to kill innocents, just like my Arisaka may have been used to kill Americans. The rifle is a tool, void of motive, or cognizant ability. It's history, while meaningful, does not effect my sleeping patterns. The fact that I own it now, and put it to use for honorable purposes is only the next chapter in the history of this rifle.

"without me, my rifle is useless."

jimmyraythomason
March 21, 2011, 10:40 AM
Why limit it to firearms? What about the Japanese using living Chinese for bayonet training or the officer's swords used to behead American(and other) bound POWs?

RockyMtnTactical
March 21, 2011, 04:20 PM
Weapons are not good or bad. They do not have a personality or a way to choose who they serve. I have no problem owning a gun that was used by evil man or for evil purposes... when it's in my control, it serves good.

WardenWolf
March 21, 2011, 05:56 PM
I own a very early-production Arisaka 99 that was handed down to me by my grandfather. It is an early-production model, and was captured in 1945, late in the battle for Okinawa, one of the bloodiest battles of the entire war. There is an extremely high likelihood that this rifle was used to kill someone. We don't know the circumstances of its capture, as my grandfather bought it off another GI, but we know when it was made, and where and when it was found. That 70-year-old rifle still has a pristine bore and still shoots very accurately.

Do I have ethics problems owning and shooting that rifle? No. To me, it's a piece of family history, and an insight into the conditions and technology of the Japanese. I do sometimes think of the things that might have been done with that rifle, but I also think about actually fighting with that rifle. It's a good weapon, but American M1 Garands had it completely outclassed, both in firing rate and ammo capacity. The Japanese were completely outgunned.

john5036
March 21, 2011, 06:08 PM
Being a churchgoing man, I believe in redemption. Sure, that gun may have seen/done things contrary to my national allegiance, but the gun is mine now. It is American, and it is with that weapon of war that it now exercises with me the cause of freedom and the right to bear arms.

A marked turnaround from its original purpose. +1 to every person who said the same thing I just did in one way or another.

M.C.
March 22, 2011, 01:11 AM
So... anyone else thinking this is a little ridiculous? Just saying, people are having pissing match over stupid stuff that probably no one here had any direct firsthand experience. Yes Patton was a good soldier. Nazis were no good. Neither were the Soviets. Guess what Americans have killed civilians in war, name of the game. There are good JewS, and there are bad Jews... same goes for any group of people.

What does any of this have to do with whether it is morally ok to own a milsurp rifle?

Someone throw me a bone here please...

john5036
March 22, 2011, 02:41 AM
*throws a bone at M.C.*

The emotional premise from the OP is parallel to the one employed by Gun Control advocates. Not saying the OP is GC, but if we judge firearms by their history or their users, we play right into the GC way of thinking. We all know that guns do not kill people on their own, but if the history of a firearm has you feeling uncomfortable... put the thing on display and make it a learning experience for its viewers.

Palehorseman
March 22, 2011, 03:17 AM
I, at some point, began reading about the Romanian's involvement in helping Nazi Germany exterminate the Jews, and how Romania's contribution to the Holocaust was the largest, second to Germany itself. After learning that there's a possibility my rifle could have been used to kill innocent Jewish people, I'm not sure how I feel about it. I've considered selling it.

__________________________________________________________________________

I have a FN 98 that was rebarreled to 7.62 NATO by the Israelis back in the 1960s. Before that they used ex-Nazi Mausers in original 8x57 to confront the enemy to their front.

Me, I would not get too hung up on who had it previously or what it might have been used for, it would be just a tool like a wrench or a hammer I picked up at a yard sale.

JustinJ
March 22, 2011, 10:50 AM
I don't have an issue with it because surplus weapons have no impact on what happened already. Now if i'm buying surplus weapons from a country that is currently committing atrocities then one could arguably say my money is funding the atrocities. However, i am adamantly against predator hunting as i was raised to believe you only shoot what you eat so i do have qualms about buying from manufacturers that actively market towards that purpose.

Mal H
March 22, 2011, 02:10 PM
Since this has turned into History 310 (with several of the lectures being deleted - you can find them in the class syllabus), we'll close it now.

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