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Old January 16, 2016, 11:13 PM   #1
tobnpr
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Am I the only one that thinks milsurp prices are in a "bubble"?

The more I look at some prices being asked (and often, paid) for common rifles that are double- or more- than what they were just a year ago, the more I scratch my head and believe this is becoming nothing but another investment "bubble"...Driven not by a collector's desire to add a particular rifle to a collection, but rather by fear that "if I don't buy it now, it'll only get more expensive", and just as likely by those believing this crazy jump in prices still has legs and are looking to make a quick buck by reselling.

I just don't "buy" the rationale that "they don't make any more of them" yada yada...
Nothing has fundamentally changed in that regard from just a few years ago when rusted out, bashed up pieces of crizap that were sold as U-Fix-Em's by Century as parts guns for $50, are suddenly worth four times that much? They weren't "making any more" of these three or four years ago, either.

C'mon.

Sorry....I don't buy it. Does anyone really think, that a re-worked Yugo Mauser will be worth $500? Or that an SKS that was less than "only" $200 a couple of years ago (and a lot less than that, not much earlier), now selling for over $400- will really be worth a grand someday in the near future?

Or that the lowly Turks- like the Spanish- still can't be given away, will suddenly be "in vogue" with collectors? I mean, they ain't making any more of them- so why not?

I've felt Bill Gross has been right for years with regard to stocks...nothing but a herd mentality driving prices up because they can, with no basis whatsoever in fundamentals- and I'm convinced the same thing is happening here. Of course, just as the markets may reverse short term- eventually, reality sets in. May not be this year, or next- but this has to change, it is simply unsustainable; any rational person can plainly see this.

When I see a Mosin-Nagant M38 carbine, FAIR condition, being priced at $695.00, and a Chinese T-53- not even numbers matching- for $295.00 at Simpson, I know this "hobby" has gone nutz.

But hey, as the saying goes, "I was wrong once before"...and to those of you paying top dollar, at the top of this market (at least, I think it is)- good luck.

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Old January 16, 2016, 11:25 PM   #2
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Sounds like panic-buying, from Obama's legislative "scorched earth" policy on Gun Control. He's the best "market stimulus" the firearms and ammo manufacturers have ever enjoyed (so far). Expect it to get worse if the Dems win the whitehouse.
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Old January 17, 2016, 11:03 AM   #3
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Twenty Years Ago

Norinco/China Sport versions of the SKS $79.99 or buy two for $149.99 at a local gun store.
What are they going for now? If my memory serves me when the federal government stopped the importation the prices jumped.
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Old January 17, 2016, 12:07 PM   #4
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It's only a "bubble" if it bursts. Otherwise, its a "plateau" or a "new level", etc.

And, it IS true, they aren't making any more of them. Here's what they are making more of, people who want them, and (now, especially) MONEY.

Part of the situation is the fact that our money isn't worth what it used to be.

Profiteering also plays a big part, but that is how capitalism works. Don't call it gouging, it's not. Gouging only applies to unreasonably high prices on things you HAVE to buy.

There is still a huge interest today, that started expanding during the 50th anniversary of the end of WWII, and has kept going ever since. Popular movies boost it, every time Saving Private Ryan, Band of Brothers, Enemy at he Gates, etc., runs on TV some more people think they want one of the old guns.

And, if you only have a few crates of them left, not the warehouse full you had 30 years ago, you are going to sell them as dearly as the market will accept.

Most of the really good condition guns have been sold, many, ages ago. Dealers are, literally scraping the bottom of the barrel, and since demand is still high, prices are insane.

When I see $695 for a "fair" condition rifle, and have a pristine one at home that I paid $75 for, or one I paid $125 for going for $1100 (fair) and $1400 (good, but not quite as nice as the one I have, ), I am very tempted to put mine on the market. What stops me is, I'm not desperate for the money, and (more importantly) I could only replace them at current high prices, and I'm not willing to do that.

It might be a bubble, but remember that you can get more money, easier than you can find a good price on what is becoming an ever scarcer commodity. Look at the prices on Lugers, for one example.
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Old January 17, 2016, 02:11 PM   #5
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The bubble may not break, but asking price and getting price are two different things. Get on Gunbroker and watch some of the same guns pop up over and over.
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Old January 17, 2016, 02:55 PM   #6
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I might believe this was a bubble that would break somewhere in the future, if there were stockpile of milsurp guns someplace, but if you look around is seems the stocks on everything have disappeared. Just a couple of years ago it seemed that every dealer had something to sell, and you could't even turn around without tripping over a crate of Mosin 91/30s.

I can't believe that everyone is sitting on their stock at this point when prices are a sellers dream. Plus we are seeing some big dealers like Samco and Widners folding or abandoning milsurp sales. The few dealers that have guns to sell are primarily filling their stocks out of private collections.

I think higher prices may be here to stay. You had better cough up that $300 for that Chinese T53. You will be kicking yourself 5 years from now when they are selling for $600 for not buying 2.
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Old January 17, 2016, 03:32 PM   #7
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You also have newer shooters in the market who are not aware of what these old guns cost just a few years ago, they simply don't know any better and pay the asking price. Simply without realizing it is inflated for the sake of profit, rather than reasonable value for that particular firearm.
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Old January 17, 2016, 03:41 PM   #8
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"...unreasonably high prices on things you HAVE to buy..." Like gasoline. Everything else is primarily supply and demand. Even with the assorted anti-firearm ownership politicians involved.
Your Yugo Mauser, for example, hasn't been made since 1965(Zastava's are commercial) and all governments are slowly ending the international milsurp trade. Some milsurps are just gone or only the crap nobody wants being left. Once those are gone, there ain't no more.
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Old January 17, 2016, 05:41 PM   #9
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They may not have been making more, but they were "finding" more.
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Old January 17, 2016, 05:54 PM   #10
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most are collectors or folks looking to buy a decent gun at a low price. as service and parts become more scarce, people will that the one well priced CZ mod 70 .32acp that was once a good deal at $159 just isn't such a good (practical) deal at $275 considering what is currently manufactured here.

the Yugo SKS is a good example for a low cost good gun that has now crept up in price to the point of adding only $100 to current asking prices can get you an AK-47 or AR-15.
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Old January 17, 2016, 11:14 PM   #11
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Finite supply of surplus guns;
Increase in population;
More interest.
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Old January 17, 2016, 11:27 PM   #12
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Yes, prices have been rising on MilSurp. weapons of all types for the past few years, but I don't see that changing anytime soon. Cheap surplus weapons have always been a good source for the "customization" or "bubba" market and one reason that, in many cases, remaining great examples of some demand premium prices. That doesn't justify some of the prices seen at some gunshows recently.

That being said, I personally remember the days when cherry o3A3's went for $25, Johnson Automatic Rifles for $65 and Enfield .303 British Mk's sold for $15 each by the crate. Then the prices rose to $75. and everyone said "The glory days are over"

Choose wisely and enjoy them while they're still are around. I don't see much of a surplus market for M4's around the corner, do you?
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Old January 17, 2016, 11:59 PM   #13
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There is a bubble at the low end, surplus in poor to fair condition that most collectors will not purchase. Instead, newbies are buying it up, and a newbie is born every minute, you know. That bubble will burst one by one as the newbies go to sell or trade, and learn the hard way.

Original milsurps in very good condition have no bubble. You will recoup your investment on them, provided you weren't reckless.

If you can only afford one nice piece in a year, you're better off than buying two or three poorer specimens for the same money. In 50 years, that's 50 nice firearms, not bad at all.
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Old January 18, 2016, 01:03 AM   #14
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Quote:
There is a bubble at the low end, surplus in poor to fair condition that most collectors will not purchase. Instead, newbies are buying it up, and a newbie is born every minute, you know. That bubble will burst one by one as the newbies go to sell or trade, and learn the hard way.
Don't bet on it: Years ago, Walter Craig of Selma, AZ used to sell crates of eight Berthier rifles for $40.00, and they were pure junk. Try to find even a crappy Berthier today for under $200.00.

Century Arms U-fixem Lee-Enfields were about $16.00 in the 90s, and now, having had a few parts added, are seldom under $250.00.

Ditto for Carcanos, Jap rifles, and a whole bunch of others.

What the newbies will find out is, if they clean up their "junkers," they will make money as things disappear completely, and more "newbies" are born who want the stuff.

I paid $15.00 for my first Luger 52 years ago. It was hanging on a post in a country grocery store whose owner took guns in trade for groceries. It was certainly no prize, but it was a Luger. Today, that gun is probably worth 800-900 dollars, being a 1913 and all matching.

Finally, if the gun is rare enough, a collector will purchase a poor to fair gun until he can find something better.
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Old January 18, 2016, 01:30 AM   #15
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I'm 18 and from my point of view it's very easy to see how one could have the "buy it now, before they're gone" mentality. I'm kinda on that side of the fence as well. I never got to see the $50 Mosin's, $75 SKS's, $200 Norinco AK's, massive .303 Brit surpluses, etc... that most of y'all did. Now even 7.62x54R is hard to find. I would like to start a milsurp collection, but when these once cheap rifles are now going for $200, $400, $1200, it's very discouraging to even start. I mean, I see Enfields in bottom of the barrel condition selling for $350 all day long. How long until the CMP runs out of Garands? When will the last of the Mosin-Nagants in Combloc storage be sold or sporterized?
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Old January 18, 2016, 10:56 AM   #16
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Looking over the 475 page auction list for Samco's bankruptcy gives me hope that there will soon be many new surplus rifles on the market.

Should be a fun time to buy. Ready your credit cards!

TK

In case anyone is actually reading this, I post the link to Samco's auction. It's not a public auction, but the rumor is that one of the big distributers will buy everything. If what is listed is really there then there will be some new surplus to hit the market.

http://static.auctionservices.com/do...4/3550-INV.pdf

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Old January 18, 2016, 11:49 AM   #17
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I think part of the issue is that there are not going to be many semi-auto replacements for the guns that have typically been available. Most of the upcoming eligible military rifles are going to be select fire or full-auto variants. These will not be available for us to purchase.

I could be wrong, but this would seem like a logical supply issue which would cause prices to rise on the remaining semi-auto variants.
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Old January 18, 2016, 12:45 PM   #18
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from my point of view it's very easy to see how one could have the "buy it now, before they're gone" mentality.
The guns themselves won't be gone, thought they will get scarce. What gets "gone" is the gun at a reasonable price. Like any other commodity, the smaller the supply, the higher the price.

The common as, and cheap as dirt GI issue Krag/Springfield/etc. that was $15 or $20 when they were everywhere are now $800+ collectibles, and seldom seen. BUT you can still get one, if you can PAY for it.

And its not just milsurps, you know. There are a lot of discontinued sporting arms that are still in demand by shooters, despite the factories dropping them.

And also the mentality that everything no longer made is collectible, and VALUABLE. As soon as something goes out of production, (because they weren't selling enough), it becomes a seller's market. And a lot of the sellers are entirely profit motivated.

When the Winchester plant announced it was closing, EVERYTHING with the name Winchester got bumped up in price by the very next week at every gun show I went to. $100-200 bump in the asking price of guns (including all the NIB guns, because "they ain't makin these any more"...
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Old January 18, 2016, 03:39 PM   #19
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I never got to see the $50 Mosin's, $75 SKS's, $200 Norinco AK's, massive .303 Brit surpluses, etc...
LOL!! If you really want to be grossed out, find some American Rifleman mags from the mid 60s and look at the ads from Hunter's Lodge (Sam Cummings Interamco). Lee-Enfields, $14.95, Mosin Nagants, $14.95, Webley & Scott revolvers $14.95, Lugers $39.95, Garands, $59.95, etc., etc.

As an 18 year old kid making $1.25 an hour, all I could do was dream.
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Old January 18, 2016, 10:51 PM   #20
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No kidding, I just missed out on a $29.95 Luger when the 1968 GCA came in, mowed lawns for a while and had over $20 in the kitty when mail order shut down forever.

Didn't get one for 20 years, certainly cost more than $29.95 by then. I think even the sales tax was a couple dollars more than the 1968 purchase price.

Certainly was a better pistol than the surplus sales, though, a 1937 byf with a 3 digit serial number, still with grease in the barrel. The previous owner had liberated it from a presentation case in the home of a Third Reich official on the day of his arrest by the Army during the 'cleanup' in late 1945.
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Old January 19, 2016, 12:32 AM   #21
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Just my observation: military surplus firearms rocketed up in 1994 for the 50th anniversary of the Normandy landing and the end of WW2 in 1995, and have been kept there by people demanding higher and higher prices for junkier and junkier rifles. In 1985, we were buying WW2 Mauser 98s for $50 each and stripping them for the actions, which we drilled and tapped for scope bases, cut off the bolt handles, welded on new bolt handles, polished and blued, and then sold for $120 to people who wanted a Mauser sporter (because a commercial 98 cost $180). In 1994, those same K98k rifles jumped up to $300. Nowadays you can't hardly give away a fine sporter Mauser (and get accused of "ruining a valuable piece of history" when you do), and beater 98s that spent their whole life in South America sell for $600. Is it a bubble? I think so, because the generation of men that fought that war are pretty much dead, and their kids are retiring now and they want a rifle "just like the one Dad brought home from the war" (never mind that Dad probably got it from the local surplus vendor). In a decade or so their grandkids will dump them so they can buy an AR and then there will be WW2 Mausers on the market again. But I will not be here to see it. I saw it the first time.
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Old January 19, 2016, 02:18 AM   #22
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LOL!! If you really want to be grossed out, find some American Rifleman mags from the mid 60s and look at the ads from Hunter's Lodge (Sam Cummings Interamco). Lee-Enfields, $14.95, Mosin Nagants, $14.95, Webley & Scott revolvers $14.95, Lugers $39.95, Garands, $59.95, etc., etc.
Seriously? In the 70's I was buying German Mausers out of a 55 gallon drum at Gibson's dept. stores for 15.00, 03 Springfields weren't much more. K-Mart had SKS's for 49.00 and AK's for 79.00 in the early 80's. Mosin's were going for nine bucks at gun shows with not many if any takers.
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Old January 19, 2016, 08:34 AM   #23
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Interesting discussion.

My real "wonderment" is not so much whether it's a "bubble"- as 44 AMP mentioned, we'll find out...
But rather, when it will top- or if it already has.

I think many values today arereasonable- but like most that invest in the markets, it needs to be for long-term.

I just cannot see the current "trend line" continuing for much longer, and it will be interesting to see what happens with time and geopolitical changes.

Just wait until CMP starts selling off all the surplus (100,000 or so ) M1911 and 1911A1's. It's going to be a freaking nightmare!

Probably no one was more surprised than I, that none other then our President signed off on this...
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Old January 19, 2016, 08:39 PM   #24
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It is really no more than economics 101. If the supply is finite and the demand rises, the price will go up. My first military surplus rifle was bought in 1968. I paid a bit too much for it ($25 for a pristine No4Mk1) but it was from the local gun shop. Today that same rifle will no doubt cost you $450 or so.

I always marvel at those that live in a fantasy world where they think that prices on guns will go down "if I just wait awhile". Actually prices have been rather steady for the most part with what seems like no more than an increase reflecting the constant devaluing of the dollar as Barkey's Fed keeps printing more money.

I collect guns that I like, sometimes I get a deal and sometimes I pay at least the going rate if I want something bad enough. What I don't do is agonize over a few dollars either way. Life is too short to sweat the small stuff.
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Old January 19, 2016, 11:06 PM   #25
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If the supply is finite and the demand rises, the price will go up.
Very true, but the other factor is the advent of the internet. The advent of web based gun sale sites has increased the range of the audience probably 1000 fold (if not more). Couple this with the "more money than brains" factor and you have added a nice inflationary angle which, in all probability is not going to burst any time soon.
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