Back in 1973 or thereabouts, I paid $79.95 for an NRA Excellent Venezuelan 7mm M49.
It had a very light colored stock...maybe not walnut, which I darkened a bit with BLO.
The metal was finished in black enamel, except for the sights and magazine which were blued. It had a compensator/flash hider.
The gun was an accuracy monster, and shot wonderfully (bore was pristine.)
I was reloading back then with the little Lee kit in a box...hard to do with a semi-auto
action. Many's the round I had to yank on the bolt to get out of the chamber. Once my hand slipped. I got a nice long gash on my thumb knuckle. Scar is still there. The 49 has LOTS of sharp corners!
I had it one day at a gravel pit, shooting targets, when a Maine Game Warden came barrelling into the pit, and wanted me to show him my 'machine gun'....lol. He'd obviously been lurking and spying with binoculars on me, shooting on a Sunday. (Legal.)
I had the gas piston turned off, using the gun as a single shooter, because I didn't feature chasing cases all over the place. Frustrated the poor minion of the law..he was sure he had a real bad machine-gunner case to bring to court. His face fell when I demonstrated the semi-auto function of the piece. He also asked me if I'd shot at '...those geese'. There weren't any geese around. Poor guy. Couldn't make a Sunday hunting charge stick either.
Sometime in 1979, I traded the rifle for a new-in-the-box Colt Cobra.
Join me in singing that old refrain: "If only I'da kept it...."
There are many similar sad stories I could tell, of guns that came...and went....