Friday, November 2, 2012

agp-surplus v. modern part 2

Not too long ago, less than a decade, the debate for the most affordable firearm was over which World War Two surplus bolt action rifle performed the best.  Price was almost never an issue, neither the guns themselves or the ammunition.  The guns were $75-$150 and the ammo was still being sold at firesale prices ( usually under a quarter apiece and with a little effort you could change the Berden priming over to Boxer and then reload ).  So the question was, which was better?  The Lee-Enfield, the Queens infantry rifle, was designed to fire en masse and stand up to extremely filthy field conditions ( the sloppy bore ).  The Kaisers Mauser rifles were well engineered and designed for slow aim and better marksmenship ( both influenced by Germany’s lack of resources ) but was prone to easy jamming in the field.  At the time, Russia’s rifle was just a hunk of crap no sane fool would buy ( at least if he had any familiarity with the total lack of quality with that countries manufactured goods ) except for the ten cent or so ammo price and the $50-$75 rifle price.  That lured in buyers just as China’s $99 SKS’s had ( I was suckered in also, but I never grieved after losing the carbines since they were of such poor quality ).  Alas, the times they are changing and the war surplus arms market has pretty much dried up.  Enough that it is no longer a viable strategy to make one of those guns your survival weapon.
Okay, the Russian bolt is still around $100 and the ammo three or four to the buck.  I’ve never recommended the Russian because there is no gas safety bleed.  If the primer ruptures, the gases bleed off near the users face.  If the case itself ruptures, the gases pretty much blow back into your face.  Granted, this is rare.  Those that love the rifle are not worried, and that is after shooting tens of thousands of reloads.  So, it just seems to be a thing I alone am worried about.  The one reason to recommend this rifle to you is if that is all you can afford.  If you are so broke ( or more likely, if your spouse takes all your money ) that your entire post apocalypse gun battery consists of a hundred dollar rifle and 800 rounds of ammo for another $200, it is far better than being unarmed.  When the starving Yankees spill down from the several hundred mile long Megopolis and devour your yard full of weeds and then start eyeballing the tender flesh hanging from your bones, the last thing you are going to worry about is the long odds of the rifle ammunition failing and frying your face off ( if you are a Yankee, I forgive you IF you renounce your citizenship AND play nice with the other folks from the South and West.  Canadian and other foreign readers, we are not all Yankees.  Yankeeland is basically north of the Mason-Dixie and east of the Mississippi, more or less.  The rest of us don’t know those people, and we ain’t related ).
I love war surplus bolts.  They can handle sustained fire better than civilian bolts, the are much heavier built and the best thing of all is they have a bayonet attached ( more on that in coming sections ).  The civilian bolt action rifles are damn fine shooters, but they are fragile.  Alas, most surplus bolts are now the same price as modern bolts ( except the Russians ).  The modern bolt uses cheaper ammunition.  And it is brand new from the factory.  The war guns are all used, from gently to “shot-out”.  Why would you want to spend the same money on a used rifle using double the cost ammunition?  I sure as heck wouldn’t.  Granted, I acted prior to Y2K and I have a nice collection of Lee-Enfields.  I love those bastards, but I’ll be one of the first to admit they have their share of problems.  If I was just starting now to collect collapse rifles, I would go with a modern bolt costing $300 which uses ammunition, new ammunition at that, not 40 year old stuff, that costs half that of the 303 British. 
Another benefit of surplus weapons is that when it is election time and a Democrat is sniffing around the FedGov bribe trough, everybody panics and buys up all the ammunition.  But they are buying up for their poodle shooters, the 223 and 9mm and a few are buying up the 308 which isn’t for shooting ankle biters but is on par with buying super unleaded for your show off Cadillac.  Gun range bragging rights, those 308 battle rifles.  They probably don’t even need to buy more ammo, but that also is bragging rights.  “Why, I just bought 300 rounds of 223” a bid overall wearing hayseed brings up.  “Crap, that ain’t nothing!  I just bought three cases of 308!  A real man’s gun, son” intones a Yuppie.  Hell, it is just peacock feather displays.  You might not be able to afford a trophy wife like his, and your honey is a bit on the extra large super size, but she shades you in summer and keeps you warm in the winter.  That’s going to be very important pretty soon, whereas his wife will barely make enough eating for one dinner.  Anyway, very few are buying 303 or 8mm.  So even if there are never many boxes on the shelves to start with, you might still be in luck when the stores sells out most ammo ( not to mention the government competition buying up common military ammo by the hundreds of millions of rounds ).  You can go either way with your modern bolt, either going with common calibers or sticking with stocked but still obscure rounds no one else will be fighting for.   That way you can use captured wartime calibers ( 223 from our guys, 7.62 from Chinese supported troops ) or not as you desire. 
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1 comment:

  1. OR you could find a couple or three ishapore IIAs. .308 and since they were home guard weapons BRIGHT CLEAN BORES. yeah you gotta get new magazines but three hundred is well spent and you get the rugged enfield frame and it shoots new ammo! peace bro. delr