Discussion in 'NFA Firearms and Accessories' started by KY DAN, Sep 12, 2021.
What do you do for a living that allows these purchases to occur?
I’m not into NFA stuff but I am into making money in many different ways. I work a regular boring job as a heavy equipment mechanic and have a side business landscaping and am about to have another side business in metal fabrication. My wife has a regular full time job and a side business also. I also live way below my means. Paid 90,000 for my house in 2011. It was just appraised at 210,000. Only buy used cars and keep them running until the wheels fall off. I learn to do things myself so I don’t have to hire things out.
I was in the military and while I was in I spent very little money unlike most young military folks. I had a large chunk of cash and nicely padded investment portfolio to start college with that was also paid for by the GIBill. No college debt helps a lot.
I own a few rental properties (how did I afford those) that I also take care of mostly by myself (the wife helps, haha). I sold one of those recently since the housing market was so strong and made a hefty gain on it that my accountant and I are working on to minimize the tax burden on.
My side business and the real estate and my hunting property (agricultural land) allows for some tax advantages that I am not going to get into because it gets really complicated. Talk to an accountant. I have one and would recommend having one if you have a business and rental properties or other real estate.
So in a nutshell, work 60+ hours a week. Minimize living expenses. Also have a business. Save enough to put money down on real estate. Collect rental income and sell if the market gets hot. Get an accountant so you get to keep most of your money.
I guess you could say I buy real estate instead of NFA items. But really we are talking about so called “machine guns”. They are the big ticket items. Suppressors, SBSs, SBRs, destructive devices, AOWs, etc are pretty small potatoes in general compared to the value of every single machine gun out there.
Machine guns are like real estate. They just gain value. They should. There are a finite number out there that can be bought and sold on the open market. I haven’t talked to an accountant about this but machine guns may make less sense as an investment than real estate because there may not be the same tax advantages associated with them as there is with real estate or at least it may be more difficult to get those advantages. I always thought that is where NFA items as an investment broke down since they are fully documented items of value.
Either way, NFA items are a neat thing for a firearms enthusiast to invest in.
I am a firearms enthusiast but I don’t have a lot of them like some folks here do. I fluctuate between 12-15 and buy and sell a lot so I can try out new things without it being an accumulated financial burden. I don’t carry any extra insurance on them either. In short, guns do not make me financially precarious like I suspect they do for some folks.
Unfortunately, if you are between the ages of 25 and 40, things are going to be financially difficult for you. I’m 38 so they can be overcome. People from that age group are the first generation since the Great Depression to have a lower standard of living than the generation before. It’s hard for us to afford cool things like motorcycles, muscle cars, or machine guns like our parents did.
Timing (and luck) is everything. I got all my MG's prior to 1986. I don't think it's wise to buy them at today's inflated prices. Eventually, the bubble will burst, or at least prices will level off.
Consider getting a semiautomatic clone (after all, that's what an AR-15 is).
I'm retired, comfortably. I could afford to buy an MG now, but I won't do it. (This is called zero "marginal propensity to consume" in economics. How much you would pay for the nth widget.)
The bubble hasn't burst since 1986, nor have prices leveled off. Thats thirty five years of increasing value.
Why do you think this will happen?
There is a finite number of fully transferrable machine guns. The number of people who want them increases every day. The only way for the bubble to burst is for the Hughes Amendment or National Firearms Act to be repealed or ruled unconstitutional. The likely hood of either happening is virtually zero.
Much the same way that people own expensive houses, too.
The cost of a thing is merely a target to be reached, and not some barrier to prohibit.
Also the same way professional "afford" expensive collections of tools and/or references and/or service inventory.
Now, to put a more fine point on it, is about the drive a hobbyist applies to their avocation. Becoming a stamp or coin collector can face similar financial challenges. Ask a model railroader (actually don't , they might get in trouble with their Significant Other) what that hobby can cost. Skydiving, scuba, skiing--water or snow--all of these wind up wanting some serious wads of cash.
It's in the joy of the thing that drives, the price just determines the method. Mind, opportunity helps. It's harder to scratch a saltwater itch if one lives in Kansas. Owning a Mountain Howitzer is a ton of fun--but it helps to either live on, or near, suitable land. SMG are similar--it helps, significantly, if one is near a range that runs sub-gun competitions, or just has some wide empty places to wring out full auto fire.
And, like boats, planes, and the like, the real costs pile up in the accessory items. belt loading machines, tripods, and the like are as spendy.
For one thing, MG owners tend to skew older. And these older owners rarely sell. When they inevitably begin to die off, there will be a lot of hitherto locked-up inventory to hit the market in a relatively short time
Since 1986, prices have increased by fits and starts. It has not been a steady increase. There have been years when prices leveled off or actually went down.
Nothing keeps going up and up forever.
That's one possibility. Another possibility is that full automatics get outlawed altogether. Either of these things would make the bottom drop out of the market. The third possibility is that the status quo remains for the next, say, 50 years. This is actually the least likely of the three things to happen.
The difference is that the market for these alternative items that you mention is liquid. That is, if you have the money and desire to buy, the formalities of the transaction will take a few days at most. The market for NFA items is illiquid because of the months-long bureaucratic process. A buyer has to be really determined under these circumstances. That alone is a factor holding down price appreciation.
True enough. But there are a number of bureaucratic "things" in the way of many hobby purchases. Bought a 1978 Lido 14 once. Buyer did not have the title for the trailer having not bothered to renew the tags for four years. So, I had to wait through the whole process of getting a Salvage Title on the trailer. That's not uniform across all hobbies, naturally.
And, OP was more addressing the "how" to afford things, than the "why" or "what for" aspect.
Of course they are older. Few 25 yr olds are going to have the coin to buy a MG.
FYI, people have been dying off pretty much every day since the 1934 NFA was passed....and tell us how many of their MG's have hit the streets at even 10% over what they paid for it pre1986?
Huh? Who cares whether its "fits and starts", fact is........the price of a MG has increased every year. Cherry picking an MG here and there over the last 35 years doesn't prove anything.
Tell us more Nostradamus.
Seriously, would you sell your MG right now? For the price you paid in 1986? What the price was in 1996, 2006, 2016?
No, you would expect more because its value has increased.
And a comet might hit earth tomorrow, wiping out everything. All guns could be outlawed, banned prohibited in the future.
Since you foresee such doom and gloom....sell your now while you can still make a buck. I'll give you $87 and a used Glock 22 (one mag).
Yet the Hughes Amendment is going strong after 35 years and the NFA after 87 years...........the status quo is pretty darn the most likely thing not to change.
No, I wouldn't, even if I lost interest in the items as guns. The reason is the capital gains tax.
Yes, I know most MG owners don't consider this, but they should. All it takes is a cooperative IRS-ATF audit (after a MG sale) to nail the seller for thousands in tax. Because of the NFA registry, the whole history of the gun is documented. This would be one of the easiest audits ever for an IRS agent.
But, there's a "stepped-up basis" upon the owner's death. The heirs get a new basis of the FMV at death, and therefore can sell with no gain being recognized.
Yet the reason the capital gains tax is based on...............is an increase in value.
You only answered "Seriously, would you sell your MG right now?"
How about an answer on "For the price you paid in 1986? What the price was in 1996, 2006, 2016?"
You could sell that MG for the price you paid in 1986 and owe zero capital gains tax.
I actually bought the MG's before 1986. They had already appreciated by that time. Of course the appreciation accelerated thereafter.
You were asking a rhetorical question. Selling for the original price is silly.
The real issue is not what happened, price-wise, in the past, but what is likely to happen in the future. It would be a great mistake to make a straight-line projection. As I mentioned, there's going to be a glut of transferable MG's when older owners (who have large holdings) die off.
No, I wasn't.
A straight line projection that's steadily increased the value of machine guns for thirty five years?
Any "glut" will be insignificant compared to the potential market:
US population in 1986, 240 million
US population in 2020, 330 million people
My hobby is firearms. So, that is what I buy.
I have an average of $420 per suppressor, so I don’t think they are that extravagant. A commercial welded centerfire is around a thousand, both with the stamps included.
Truth told, I spend more on copper wrapped and plastic coated lead.
(But I am saving for an M11, to live out my ‘80s action hero dreams…)
(correction: They we’re only about $220 each across four of them, plus stamp.)
I only ever had 3 guns until I was 50, now at 60 I have close to 30, I wish I was able to start my collection sooner but it is what it is, love my life, wife, kids and collection...
I would recommend something else for a first MG. I had a MAC 11 once (suppressed, no less), and got rid of it. Way overrated.
I would recommend just about anything but an MG at today's prices.
We have post samples. They collect dust except for testing cans and occasionally entertaining others. Expensive to feed, most of your rounds will miss the target, novelty of the "brrrrp!" wears off very quickly.
Find a local range that renys them to get your fix, spend your hard earned dollars on guns and accessories that are much more useful and enjoyable.
If I had the choice between keeping the post samples or my suppressed vintage Marlins, I'd choose the old manual action wood & blued steel guns with cans every day and twice on Sunday.
IMO, Suppressors and SBRs are where it's at for NFA toys. Short shotguns are about as much a novelty as MGs, most AOWs are pretty worthless, DDs are cool if you can afford them but have pretty limited usefulness. I can make and register tax free any of these things at any time, but I have just one SBS, no AOWs or DDs, 4 post sample MGs. Quite a few SBRs, though, and nearly 100 cans.
Separate names with a comma.