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Why didn't more folks by full auto when they were readily available?

Discussion in 'NFA Firearms and Accessories' started by leadcounsel, Nov 14, 2010.

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  1. leadcounsel

    leadcounsel member

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    So, did more people not buy them because they didn't have the foresight to see the decline in availability? No 'need' for them?

    Hindsight being 20/20 and all, it just blows me away that someone COULD just walk into a gun store and plop down some cash, no paperwork, and walk out with such outstanding full auto weapons... but didn't!!! :banghead::what:

    Seriously, think of the amazing weapons you could have owned with little effort.

    Now, to get something it takes an act of Congress and a vault of money.
     
  2. One-Time

    One-Time Member

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    Id venture a guess that is because most at that time were raised in bolt guns or single shot muskets, though as I understand Thompsons were pretty popular but were just very expensive, some $200 dollars IIRC which was a LOT of money in those days-

    From Wiki-
    After they passed the NFA in 1934 it added an additional $200 to any of those type weapons which made the cost of the gun and stamp unaffordable
     
  3. Mahnmut

    Mahnmut Member

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    Keep in mind what was happening in 1934 when the NFA was enacted. Full on economic depression. People had money for food and housing, not too much discretionary spending going on then. I'm sure there were many other reasons as well. One being that fullly automatic weapons deployable by one person wasn't even "that" common in the military, much less by the common citizen.
     
  4. browningguy

    browningguy Member

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    They were always expensive for the working man. $200 in the south back in the 30's was out of reach for the great majority of people.
     
  5. Shear_stress

    Shear_stress Member

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    Absolutely. Adjusting for inflation, two hundred dollars in 1934 (year of the National Firearms Act) is equal to $3171.13 in 2009 dollars. Even $200 in 1968 (year of the Gun Control Act banning the import of full autos) is equal to $1219.75 in 2009 dough.
     
  6. Mp7

    Mp7 Member

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    For a gun that is ( very) expensive to buy and feed and only good for fun
    and full-on SD .... it would be just unjustifyable for anyone
    but rich gun nuts ... and gangsters.

    Shotguns fed families and protected homes. Still are good at it today :)
     
  7. rcmodel

    rcmodel Member in memoriam

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    There was never a time when machineguns were cheap.

    In 1934 a brand new Ford sedan cost $555.
    At the same time, after the NFA was passed, a fully equipped Thompson, some ammo, & a tax stamp cost about the same.

    At about the same time, a Colt .45 revolver sold for $25, and a set of four car tires cost $6.35!

    A farm hand made $216, and a steel worker made $423, a year!
    Or an average wage of $26.62 a month.

    SO, in 1934 it would take you almost two years pay to buy a Thompson.
    And that would not leave you any money to get to work, feed the kids, and feed the Thompson.

    rc
     
  8. CraigC
    • Contributing Member

    CraigC Member

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    Yes we must remember that the NFA was passed in the days of the great depression. Those guns were very, very expensive to produce back in the days when everything was machined from forgings. To put it in perspective, my online inflation calculator puts $225 in 1928 money at $2792.19 in 2009 money. Add the $200 NFA tax stamp and you're at double that. There aren't many folks buying $3000-$6000 guns nowadays either and despite what many believe, we are in FAR better economic condition now than then.
     
  9. medalguy

    medalguy Member

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    Back in 1934 my father was working in a CCC camp because there simply wasn't any work to be had in rural South Carolina, even with an engineering degree from The Citadel. To consider purchasing a full auto Thompson at that point in time would not have been anything one would even think about. As said, average wages at that time were about a dollar a day. And WHY would anyone want a Thompson back then? Certainly, no one had disposable income at that time. A farmer would buy a single box of .22 ammo and expect to kill 50 rabbits with that box. They sure didn't haved the time nor money to buy boxes of .45 ACP ammo to shoot just for fun.

    We forget we live in a wonderful period of time. We have waaaay too much disposable income in a time when some people on this planet scrape by on a few dollars a year and have no time for anything but subsistence living. I think our kids and my generation as well forget just how great we have it today, despite our bitching about current events. I hope it continues.

    I for one enjoy taking my firearms out for a day of shooting and just blasting away several hundred dollars worth of ammo just to punch paper, not to bring home tonight's dinner. What a wonderful place we live in.
     
  10. Justin

    Justin Moderator Staff Member

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    Allow us to play a game of "Let's Pretend We're Living In The Past."



    If you're basically living a subsistence lifestyle during the worst economic downturn the modern world has ever seen, it's not really all that likely that you would be interested in collecting overly expensive guns of dubious utility on the off chance that politicians might get around to capping the supply of them around fifty years in the future.
     
  11. shiftyer1

    shiftyer1 Member

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    I would think at that time guns were tools, not toys to play with on saturday. It's hard to come up with a specific use other than just for the fun of it or fighting a war.
     
  12. X-Rap

    X-Rap Member

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    Why did we not all buy gold when it was $200 an ounce? How come our dads didn't park that 57 Chevy or corvette in the garage and leave it under a tarp?
    Why didn't I marry that girl that went on to make millions?
    We all have 20/20 hindsight and are missing those same opportunities as we speak if we just knew what they were.
     
  13. wideym

    wideym Member

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    I've talked to a couple of gunshop owners who sold NFA weapons in the 70's and early 80's about this subject. Both commented that the "cheap" machineguns were the MACs and that no one seemed interested in a "bullet hose" that cost about $600 with the tax stamp.

    They said that there was an interest in the Ruger ACC, M-16s, and M-14s, but many people who had "war trophy" MGs never registered them because local LEOs never really cared at the time or were waiting for another amensty which never came. There are a lot of WWII MGs lying at the bottom of the river now since they closed the registry.

    Plus, the anti-gun politicans always claimed their "new" gun law was the last and nobody ever expected them to close the NFA registry.
     
  14. InkEd

    InkEd Member

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    The closing of the NFA Registry is IMHO one of the most unconstitutional gun laws ever passed. It is just a wrongful act on several levels.

    It criminalizes something that people were granted the right to own by the Bill of Rights. The law hurts the economy too. The money made from all aspects of new
    gun production is a tragic loss of millions of dollars. It would create production, distribution, sales and other jobs for people. There would be capital gains for manufacturers and dealers. Contracts for different arms would not be loss to other countries or at least to a lesser degree. Lastly, don't dare forget that every
    link in the chain will be taxed by the government on various levels. The mere greed of the government for tax money should be reason enough to reverse the laws.

    Also, the main reason for inflation is because our money isn't backed by anything other than promises (read: lies) from politicians that everything will be okay (as long as they're in charge) and that we have nothing of which to worry. Pretty soon, when we need cash we'll just go take it from the monopoly game in the closet instead of the bank. It'll be worth about the same AND it comes in fancy colors. IMHO the US needs to work on becoming a more self-sufficient nation (or at least rely on our allies instead of enemies) for almost all aspects. We are living pretty comfortable lives compared to other generations. However, we can and should strive to do better than ever.
     
  15. CapnMac

    CapnMac Member

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    So, just what do you know about 2060 that we don't? <sad, wry, broke, smile>
     
  16. AR27

    AR27 Member

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    IDK, You tell me? :neener:
     

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  17. Trebor

    Trebor Member

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    I briefly looked into buying a MG before the registry closed. I was only 19 at the time though and just couldn't come up with the money due to the sudden rise in prices.

    It turns out it probably wouldn't have mattered anyway as the only MG's we could buy in Michigan back then were C&R eligible MG's and I didn't have a C&R. (I didn't find out about this until years later. The price of the MG's in 1986 stopped me at "Step 1" before I looked any further into it).
     
  18. rondog

    rondog Member

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    To be honest, after renting several f/a's at a machinegun shoot and seeing how fast they eat through the ammo, not to mention just where are you going to shoot one, that pretty much quenched my desire to ever own one. Not to mention the cost. If I just gotta shoot one, I'll rent another to get my fix.

    Kinda have the same attitude about wives.....
     
  19. Zoogster

    Zoogster Member

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    Also keep in mind that especially a few decades ago before the closing of the registry the average type of individual into guns enough to spend that kind of money was not entirely fond of the idea of registration.


    Registration of guns was very rare, and being registered and tracked as an NFA firearm owner was not desirable to many.

    Not only registration but legally requiring permission to cross state lines.
    Checking in with government when there is a change of address.
    The sense and expectation of freedom was higher in previous generations. They didn't have all the security screening today for example that reduces the average person's expectations of privacy and liberty.
    Today people post personal info online, give tons of information on lots of forms, get virtual strip searches in airports, go through screening just to go to sports games or other public events..etc
    The type of thing considered common today make what was once seen as a serious infringement seem a lot more minor than back then.


    There was no also internet so even though they were easily purchased before 1986 (and imported prior to 1968) it was not known as a legal option to a significant portion of the population.
    You had to already know it was even legal to research it at a library to learn the specifics, or know someone personally who had experience in dealing with them.
    So you had to learn it was even an option almost by accident to then research how to do it.

    CLEO sign off in most of the nation could be very difficult.
    When your average cop was carrying a revolver, asking them permission to have things they didn't even have access to would not always work in your favor.
    Once again there was not tons of people on the internet telling you that you could just make a trust, or software to make it easier.
    Information freely available today once required hours looking people and resources up the old fashioned way or hiring a lawyer specializing in that portion of law just to discover.
    You wouldn't stumble upon it in blogs where thousands of people give detailed descriptions and expectations of the exact process and their experiences.
    Today even the youngest most naive individual can spend a short time online and know generally what to expect, what to do, and what the outcome will be.
    Back then it took someone quite a bit more dedicated to learn the process and feel confident they had cross their "t"s and dotted their "i"s to begin the process.
    Or to know someone personally who had already gone through the process, and obtain information from them.
     
    Last edited: Nov 14, 2010
  20. kimbershot

    kimbershot Member

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    life was different back in the 60-70's. i could have purchased an m16 cheap by todays standards--600??. i could have purchased a new corvette for 4kish. i could have supported a family on the 175/week that i earned when i graduated high school in 69. i bought gas for 25cents per gallon. gold/silver same thing. so, by the time you add it all up, things were cheap by today's standards, but today is today. no regrets.:rolleyes:
     
  21. PT1911

    PT1911 Member

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    I had the problem of not being born yet... whats your excuse?:D

    In all seriousness, IMO, it is pretty simple.... In that time, and even now many gun owners are more interested in a hunting weapon or a handgun.. The full autos dont fill either niche. They are a niche of their own.. an expensive one!! They are also, for the most part, impractical for much other than fun. I dont know many people that would opt for a full auto for any purpose other than for range use or as an investment. The only benefit they offer is putting rounds down range and suppressing enemy fire... not many situations that would require that in my neck of the woods. Of course, that doesnt mean I wouldnt love to have a short barreled full auto rifle.
     
  22. jmorris

    jmorris Member

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    Why didn't more people buy primers before they dried up.

    Why didn't more people sell stock before prices fell.

    Why don't people go to the ER right before they have a heart attack.

    Lack of information, knowlege or just being optimistic. It goes the other way too. There are a bunch of people that still have tons of stuff they stock piled for the doom that Y2K was going to bring.
     
  23. jmorris

    jmorris Member

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    FWIW they are still readily available, they just cost more.
     
  24. medalguy

    medalguy Member

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    You're right about those years being very different. Back in the 1960's I collected machine guns just for the fun of it. I shot them and traded them. No one really cared about MGs back then. We would openly buy and sell them at gun shows without anyone raising an eyebrow. There were no terrorists or radicals back then with the exception of a few radicals out in San Francisco. Some of my best customers and sellers were police officers in fact. But that all changed in the late 60's when the amnesty came about. Lots of people I know didn't register all or even most of the machine guns they had, fearing ATF would swoop down and arrest them for possession of the guns they did admit to owning and registering. And who could have forseen a cutoff on manufacturing or registering new guns twenty years in the future? No one really cared about machine guns one way or the other back then.

    Really, back then WWII wasn't that far off and most guys who were war veterans didn't have much interest in the war weapons of their war and the younger guys didn't have the money to buy them, let alone shoot them. I can recall buying .50 BMG ammo at gun shows for 5 cents a round, sometimes even less. Ammo was cheap then. .30-06 surplus ammo could be bought for 3-4 cents a round, but then minimum wage was a dollar an hour if I remember correctly. Who had the money to buy tons of ammo?

    So, things were indeed different years ago. Who knows-- the prices we pay today may seem very cheap in another twenty years. Better buy that gun today before the price goes sky-high next year.:eek:
     
  25. GoingQuiet

    GoingQuiet Member

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    I have customers that told me stories. Here's the best one.

    In 1986 - $200 was a lot of money. It still is a lot of money. The going phrase was "I'm not spending $200 on a damn HK sear and another $200 to register the damn thing with ATF"

    Remember - back then, $400 got you more than a tank of gas.

    Just like anything else - demand caught up.
     
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