Guns for $444 or less (+ price of SKS)


June 8, 2012, 12:22 AM
So I'm in the market for a new firearm and I'd like recommendations. My budget is about $444. Thanks to the information I learned about my SKS (and I really appreciate you guys telling me that, thank you), I'm going to sell that and add the money to my budget. I'd like to know what a fair asking price would be on it. I'll post pictures in the next post.

I start looking at prices tomorrow, on my wish list is:

A Mauser in 7 or 8mm, I don't remember which, but I remember seeing it in the store and being a decent price, in the 3 or $400 range.

A .357 magnum lever action.

A revolver in .357, preferably a medium or large frame. I saw a 972 Rossi for $409, but that seems a tad overpriced, and I'm sure I could afford better.

I also saw a Saiga 12 gauge that looked pretty cool.

I'll also take any other gun suggestions of any type you can give me. My main criteria is that it will hold or increase it's value over the years. Thanks!

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June 8, 2012, 12:31 AM
Just my 1/50th of a dollar, but you will be hard pressed to find something that has a track record of increasing in value like a sks in your price range.

June 8, 2012, 12:32 AM
My SKS, it's in decent shape I suppose. It has an aftermarket mag. Would I get more money by converting it to the standard mag? Is there a way I can polish the wear and tear and make it look more presentable?





June 8, 2012, 12:34 AM
Just my 1/50th of a dollar, but you will be hard pressed to find something that has a track record of increasing in value like a sks in your price range.

I'm not looking for an SKS, I'm looking for something better, like something I listed, that's what I'm interested in. The SKS is a dime a dozen. I'd just like to know how much you think I could sell it for, so I can add that to my price range.

June 8, 2012, 12:50 AM
I believe you can get from 3 to 4 hundred dollars if you post it for sale in the right places, where I would start, would be at survivers SKS boards. I do know that your SKS will bring more because it has a milled trigger guard and a screw in half collet barrel. ( not pinned ) I have one just like yours but in better shape, they are the older chinese norinco's. But I wouldnt sell mine for four hundred.

PS I would put the 10rd. stock mag. back on It If you still have It. Also check If all the numbers match That will bring more $$$.

June 8, 2012, 01:13 AM
Seriously? :eek: At one point I was going to give it to a relative for $80! I thought it was junk because the aftermarket mag doesn't feed right, and it's the only one I have.

Are you sure though? Even in the condition it's in? It has some rust as you can see, and some scratching on the stock. It's not mint by any means.

June 8, 2012, 01:23 AM
Yup Chinese sks=good, Russian sks=awesome. Those are the most desirable of the common ones. If you are still feeling $80 though I, among most members here, would be happy to pay you that.

June 8, 2012, 01:24 AM
Alternate views



June 8, 2012, 01:26 AM
Actually, you may THINK SKS's are a dime a dozen, but mine has at least tripled in value since I bought it in the early 90's....for $100 bucks, new in the cosmoline. You aren't going to find many...if any guns...that increase in value so quickly, and most "using-grade" guns do well to hold their value, and few actually increase in value. You might be able to buy a lever action .357 for example, but after shoooting it a bit, you'd be lucky to get your money back out of it, let alone make anything on it, IMO. I'd hang on to the SKS, as its not going to depreciate, and will be worth more as a trade....if you're set on doing a few years. They have done nothing but go up in price since the 90's

June 8, 2012, 01:29 AM
I regret trading my paratrooper sks... big time...

June 8, 2012, 01:30 AM
Interesting. If that's true, then maybe I'll hang on to mine. I got it about 3 years ago, paid $375. All these years I thought I got burned. I guess it just needs to be reverted to a standard mag? Is there a way I can make it look nicer without hurting the value?

I'm leaning towards the Mauser. It's not like those are going to be around forever. I read an article a few years ago about how there's getting to be fewer and fewer of them. Do they hold value? I'd like a gun that will last my whole life, and then some.

June 8, 2012, 01:50 AM
You did get burned then IMO... Now though, it is still high, but not unreasonable at 375. That is about all I could get out of my Paratrooper and those are pretty rare... Just keep it lightly oiled when not in use so you don't get any rust developing. I would recommend just leaving it as it is cosmetically, but put it back to original configuration and clean it.

Why a mauser?

June 8, 2012, 01:52 AM
It already has some rust.

Because they're reliable, they have some history behind them, and I thought they were getting rarer.

What would you recommend?

June 8, 2012, 02:06 AM
take some rem oil, put it on the rusty spots and then take some 0000 steel wool and rub the rust out, it wont take much to get it out. Once it is gone, just keep it lightly oiled.

I hear yuh on the mauser, they are pretty cool and have had one heck of a history. My opinion though, if you are wanting a something you feel like you can regularly shoot, find something a little bit newer. A remington 700 will fit your bill of holding its value with time, plus it is like a lego set, aftermarket parts and replacement parts are overly abundant. It is just a LITTLE bit higher than your current budget, but it would be worth it.

If you are wanting a "keep sake" of sorts, then a mauser would be great. The only thing you will want to consider is the ammo situation with those. Mosin Nagant m44s are going up in value as we speak. They are in the 250 range now, but they have gone up probably 30% in the last year or so...

June 8, 2012, 02:09 AM
You mean a Mosin carbine? I already have a full size mosin. There's a store by me that has an M44.

Does anyone think that I should sell my trash hi-cap magazine for whatever it's worth, $5 maybe, and buy a proper SKS mag?

June 8, 2012, 02:11 AM
Correct. If it looks like it is good shape and the price is right, it wouldn't be a bad pick. Plus ammo for it is crazy cheap.

June 8, 2012, 02:14 AM
Yes most of the high cap sks mags were trash to begin with. The standard fixed 10 round is dead reliable, and it just looks right.

June 8, 2012, 02:16 AM
Is $5 a fair price for it then?

For some reason, I'm still leaning towards the Mauser though. It's quite the quandary. Unless there's another gun anyone would like to recommend.

June 8, 2012, 02:26 AM
If I were you I would take it to the next gun show. Find someone with a table full of parts and see if you cant trade straight across for a fixed mag.

June 8, 2012, 02:44 PM
Today I went to the store and found two Yugoslavian M48 8mm Mausers. Priced at $250, and $275. Both seemed to be in very good condition.

I also found an M44 Mosin for $250, that the owner told me was unissued. It looked like it still had cosmoline on it. I already have a regular Mosin though.

I also looked at ammo. the 8mm was a little pricey, the 7.62x54r was either about $5 for a brick of surplus ammo, or $11 for a box of soft point hunting ammo.

I didn't find any SKS magazines.

Which is the better deal?

June 8, 2012, 02:49 PM
Of course, what the best gun is for you depends on how you intend to use it.

My Russian SKS is a safe queen. It only gets shot when one of my grandsons wants to try it out. When I bought it, cheap ammo was $.08 per round so it was essentially an adult 10-22. That's no longer the case. With 3-4 MOA accuracy it's not a good target rifle and with 123 grain bullets it's not a great hunting rifle. That doesn't mean it's useless. But I have better alternatives for the possible applications. I really doubt that they will continue to appreciate as they have in the past. For a time, the market was flooded with them, and that depressed prices.

My lever action 357 gets a lot more use. It's basically a 2 MOA machine, it's a lot of fun to use, and it's probably capable for deer at 125 yards. I shoot cast lead bullets that I buy locally for $.05. For the kids, I load 38 Special. It is more than capable of overpenetrating a .005" thick piece of paper, which is mainly what I use it for. The downside is that one day at the range I got referred to as "that old guy with the John Wayne rifle." Old?? Harrrummph! They are fun and they are super cheap to shoot if you reload.

Certainly the most popular rifles these days is the AR-15 platform. 5.56/223 is a mild cartridge, fun to shoot, and not overly expensive. I can reload them for around $17/100. If you're shooting for fun, they are a very good choice.

Mausers are wonderful old machines. You can get a Yugo in very nice condition for around $200. With Mojo sights ($70), they are a good hunting machine, and they have a real sense of history. If you load to the cartridge's full potential, it's right along in the neighborhood of the 30-06. The good news is that it's a good cartridge for moose, bear, and anything smaller, and that they tend to be around 2 MOA machines. The bad news is that after you shoot 15-20 rounds at the range, it won't be fun anymore.

If I had to pick one rifle to do everything, from target shooting to hunting elk, I'd look seriously at a good used bolt action in 7mm-08. You can shoot all day at the range without punishing your shoulder, and they are very suitable for big game. When all is said and done, you have something that will serve many purposes and that will gain value over time.

June 8, 2012, 02:53 PM
The Mausers are better rifles than the Mosins. The M44 is about a 4 MOA machine. However, it does make a real good bang around truck gun. No matter what you do to it, it won't look any more ugly.

I recently paid $200 for a Yugo 24/47. That's a better than average deal. More recently, I paid $130 for another one. That's an unusually good deal. $250 is not out of reach. $275 sounds a little high. The Yugos cannot be converted to 30-06 or 270, which is what a lot of people want to do with Mausers. If you're not doing a conversion, that is to your benefit.

June 8, 2012, 02:55 PM
My hang up is the cost of 8mm. I'm not a reloader. The M44 I can exchange some parts with my full size Mosin, but I hear that they kick hard, and that they're very loud.

June 8, 2012, 02:57 PM
My SKS seems to be the same setup you have. The mag I have feeds OK but I bought a couple of Tapco mags and have never had a problem with them. I got the 20 round ones. IIRC they were about $20 each.

If you are still wanting a revolver you can get a Ruger GP100 blued (stainless is more) from Bud's for probably just over $100 bucks more than your $444 delivered after transfer fee. Save up $100 more, it'll be worth it.

June 8, 2012, 03:00 PM
Tapco, are those polymer?

I'm not interested in a revolver anymore, those guns I saw today were just too nice.

June 8, 2012, 04:08 PM
Tapco, are those polymer?

I'm not interested in a revolver anymore, those guns I saw today were just too nice.
Don't give up on the revolver.... you can find a used S&W model 19 with 4 inch barrel inside your budget. I come across them fairly often for less than 400 bucks and they will do about anything you want. Load it with the full house mags for SD or hunting and cheap .38spl for plinking. Your SKS is one of the more sought after ones for sure and where I live those sell for $350 all day long. I used to have one but sold it for a measly $175 but at the time I thought it was great because I had bought it for a whole $75 bucks. If you are in the market for a rifle grab Savage 110/10 in your favorite round. they are still affordable but have been creeping up in price the last several years and I suspect they will continue to do so.

June 8, 2012, 04:21 PM
Those are all decent deals. I would go with the mosin purely because of the ammo price. The m44 is a whole new beast compared to the full size.

June 8, 2012, 04:22 PM
Used Ruger GP100 or Security Six

June 8, 2012, 04:47 PM
The m44 is a whole new beast compared to the full size.

How so?

June 8, 2012, 05:08 PM
Four foot long muzzle flash.

June 8, 2012, 05:20 PM
Four foot long muzzle flash.

In the daylight... :)

June 8, 2012, 05:23 PM
How accurate are they?

Also, how rare are they compared to the Mausers?

June 8, 2012, 05:39 PM
How accurate are they?

Also, how rare are they compared to the Mausers?

I can consistently hit a 10 inch plate at 100 yards with mine. Just with the open sights. I've never grouped it though. I would guess based on the look of the plate, it is probably a 3-4 inch group. I'm not a great shot with open sighted rifles. I would say the m44 is more rare than the average mauser. This is based on what I see at gun shows... Someone please correct me if I am wrong.

Ignition Override
June 8, 2012, 05:45 PM

If the next owner installs the fully-adjustable Tech Sight (about $70) on your SKS, it will be a much more accurate rifle.
With the general US bias against "cheap Commie guns", the idea of adding an aperture sight, which has a much better sight distance, is usually ignored. The original sight can be re-installed.

June 8, 2012, 05:52 PM
If the next owner installs the fully-adjustable Tech Sight (about $70) on your SKS, it will be a much more accurate rifle.

I'm not selling it anymore, now that I know how much It's actually worth, and now that I know how easily fixed my problem is. It shoots where I aim it, so far as I know, but I haven't used it extensively, because of the feeding issues, I've only fired it 2 or 3 times in my life.

June 8, 2012, 05:58 PM
Tapco, are those polymer?

Yes they are. Here's a link.

June 8, 2012, 06:03 PM
Does the revolver have to be new? What about a police trade-in?

Southern Ohio Guns (SOG) is offering several models, such as a Smith & Wesson model 66-5 (stainless, adjustable rear sight, Uncle Mike rubber grips, 4" barrel .357mag) in very-good to excellent condition for $379. After shipping and FFL fees, it should still come in well within your listed budget.

They also offer Ruger Police Service Six for $279 and Security Six for $289.

Not to be a brand snob, but I'd much rather have a used/VG-Exc condition S&W than a new Rossi.

Here's a picture of the 66-5 in that configuration pulled off the Armslist in case you're not familiar with the model:

June 8, 2012, 06:06 PM
Yes they are. Here's a link.

I'm kind of feeling that the 10 round mag that it was designed for would be best. Like someone said earlier, they just look right.

June 8, 2012, 11:45 PM
So, I guess right now, my question is narrowing it down to either an M48 Mauser, in very good condition, or an M44 Mosin, in unissued, excellent condition, both priced the same. Keeping in mind that I already own a 91/30, and that I don't have much to spend on ammo. I'm 18, and currently have no income. I could let the gun sit around for a while, like almost all of my guns do, except for my .22 though.

June 9, 2012, 12:30 AM
The mauser is a much better rifle.

I'd recommend a savage 110 rifle.. saw one the other day used for 300. That rifle will grow in capabilites as you upgrade it with you. Can be upgraded into a sub .5 moa rifle if you throw enough cash at it. It's cheap, relatively, to upgrade. AND, as long as you treat it nice.. it will retain it's value.

June 9, 2012, 12:48 AM
Mosins are easier to clean though aren't they?

I'd recommend a savage 110 rifle.. saw one the other day used for 300. That rifle will grow in capabilites as you upgrade it with you. Can be upgraded into a sub .5 moa rifle if you throw enough cash at it. It's cheap, relatively, to upgrade. AND, as long as you treat it nice.. it will retain it's value.

What chamberings does it come in?

June 9, 2012, 03:03 PM
Mosins are ugly, durable, 4" at 100 yards accurate, difficult to scope well, and pretty much incapable of being modified into a different cartridge. Loaded to full potential, they are in the 308 to 30-06 class.

Mausers are the most imitated bolt action design in the world. Workmanship tends to be very good. Loaded to full potential, they are in the 30-06 class. With Mojo Sights, they tend to be around 2" accurate at 100 yards.

Neither is rare. Both are fun to shoot for the first few rounds. After 20 or so, you'll be thinking about other things you want to do.

Neither one is what you're probably going to enjoy a whole lot. I totally agree with the suggestion to get something in an inexpensive Savage. It will serve you much, much better in the long run.

I was just checking the rifle ads at (which serves my home state) and noticed a Savage 243 with scope for $275. That would be a much better choice for a general purpose sporting and casual target shooting rifle.

If your heart is set on a milsurp, look at the Lee Enfield.

hang fire
June 9, 2012, 03:22 PM
June 7, 2012, 09:31 PM #2

Posts: 534 Just my 1/50th of a dollar, but you will be hard pressed to find something that has a track record of increasing in value like a sks in your price range.

20 year ago the French Mas 1936 rifle was selling for $50.00, today they are going for 5-6 times that amount, and higher.

June 9, 2012, 07:53 PM
Go with the Mosin...

June 9, 2012, 08:22 PM
Doesn't Southern Ohio Guns sell only wholesale to dealers?

June 9, 2012, 09:39 PM
If your heart is set on a milsurp, look at the Lee Enfield.

I actually asked the local store if they had one of those. I don't think they did but said that there was still some stuff they had to price.

Is it common for Mosin carbines to be unissued?

June 9, 2012, 09:52 PM

Here's the link for Savage's low cost model. I would expect something like 1.5" or smaller groups at 100 yards from it. You can have some fun cruising their other models.

This one probably retails for around $300. Figure another $150 for an entry level scope and rings, and you're in business. I'd sure go that route, or look for a good deal on a gently used one, before I'd think about a Mosin or a Mauser.

If you're just interested in making holes in targets, the 223 is a great chambering. It really shines on coyote and smaller game. 243 will certainly do coyotes, and with the right bullet is good for deer size game. 7mm-08 is satisfactory for moose and elk and everything smaller, and won't beat you up. If you enjoy recoil, you can either get short piece of 2x6 and a 3 pound hammer, put the wood against your shoulder, and have your friend whack it with the hammer, or you can go with the 30-06. The other chamberings shown have their followings, and their good traits as well, but are more specialty items.... oh.... except the 270 and 308 which are really good all-around cartridges.

June 9, 2012, 10:08 PM
That does sound kind of appealing. But whether or not to go with a scoped, or iron sight rifle, that's the question.

June 9, 2012, 10:58 PM
I'm glad you're keeping the SKS. I would, unless I just hated it.

Mine is stock and has been a neat little gun. Cheap to feed, too.


I picked up one of those Axis guns in .223 just to get in the game with that caliber. $353 OTD with the scope/rings included. Haven't shot it yet, but I expect good things as my other Savage is a shooter.

If I like what I see with the Axis, I'll probably get something nicer - and I'll appreciate every upgrade! :D

There are a couple of other entry-level rifles that would be close in price, you might find you like one of those even better.

[EDIT: I like open sights (receiver peeps, specifically), and if it's 200 yards or less I use those. If I'm going past that, I would get a scope personally.]

June 9, 2012, 11:44 PM
When you're young, you really do have a choice between iron sights and scopes. The farther past 45 you get, the less choice you have. The rear sight eventually turns into a blur.

Young eyes with iron sights can generally do 2" groups at 100 yards with a decent rifle. That's good enough for most practical hunting situations, since most hunting shots are under 100 yards.

For me, having a scope greatly improves my enjoyment and extends the range where I can take a big game shot. With the Axis and a scope, I wouldn't hesitate on shots out to 400 yards or so. Off a bench rest, I have a few rifles that will do 1/2" to 3/4" five shot groups. That's about 3" groups at 400 yards on a calm day, and abundantly good enough to hit the soccer ball size vital organ area of a deer. (Most Mosins aren't good enough to do that.)

Personally, the scope is almost always my choice.

June 9, 2012, 11:49 PM
What chamberings? Depends on which action you have. the 110 action can handle anything but belted mags, so with a simple barrel swap and bolt face swap.. you are in a new caliber. The shipped in .308, 270, 30-06, 243, and the list keeps going.

Cleaning any bolt action is pretty much the same, pull out the bolt, run patches through... the bolt removal on a savage is push one button, pull bolt to rear and out of rifle.

June 9, 2012, 11:51 PM
I've never hunted. I mostly just plink. I also see guns as investments in a way, something that I can use for the rest of my life. A good computer is the same price as a gun, but eventually that computer will be outclassed. Good firearms are never outclassed, and never go out of style.

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