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Old January 29, 2014, 08:08 PM   #1
grande3202
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Where to begin???

So, I am just getting into the world of antique or C&R firearms. Where do I begin? What books do I need to pick up and get into? What websites or blogs? I have a hunger and need to feed it!!!! lol
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Old January 29, 2014, 08:22 PM   #2
DennisCA
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Depends on what you want to get, however may I suggest:

A good site (for Mosins) is 7.62X54r.net

For Swiss Rifles: Swissrifles.com

Also I think there is a Surplus rifle forum.

That's my two cents
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Old January 29, 2014, 08:26 PM   #3
cjwils
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For antiques, and some C&Rs, get Flayderman's Guide to Antique American Firearms. It is available from Amazon and probably other sources.
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Old January 29, 2014, 08:43 PM   #4
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Have you gotten your C&R FFL yet? Well worth the $30. What's the interest? Lots of eligible firearms covered under the C&R umbrella. And they don't have to be 50 years old (although being 50 automatically makes it eligible). One fun gun to look at is a CZ 82, 9mm Makarov semi auto. Made in the 80s and into the 90's yet C&R eligible. WWII stuff, German P38s are fun..although quite addicting:).
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Old January 29, 2014, 09:18 PM   #5
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Here.

http://www.odcmp.com/Sales/m1garand.htm
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Old January 29, 2014, 09:25 PM   #6
James K
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A bit more info would help. Any firearm made before 1899 is an antique; that includes cartridge guns (e.g., Colt SAA), percussion, flintlock, and earlier, including repros of non-cartridge guns. That is a pretty broad field and you might not find everything in the group to be of equal interest. The same is true of the Curio & Relic category, already mentioned. The same situation applies, though the field covers decades, not centuries.

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Old January 29, 2014, 09:50 PM   #7
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milsurps.com is a good site but they are a forum just like this one but without the very large community here it may be difficult to get a lot of information from them. they are more specialized which can really come in handy if you know what questions to ask but if you just ask them "what english rifle is a good one?" then you are going to get sensory overload. I'll give you a very broad but basic rundown of most 20th century C&Rs.

US arms by model.
Springfield 1903. good rifles, chambered in 30-06. there were a number of variants made.
1903 was the first, it was made by springfield and rock island armory. they used a very primitive production process which rendered some of them very brittle and prone to explode, a general rule of thumb is any springfield with a serial number lower than 800,000 and any rock island with a serial lower than 285,000 are unsafe to fire. they have the maker stamped right on them like a billboard.
1903 MK1 was designed to accommodate a device that turned the springfield into a semi automatic rifle that fired small 30 caliber pistol sized rounds. the device was top secret and was scrapped after WWI to keep it from falling into the wrong hands. they have a small oblong hole cut in the left side of the receiver. they aren't exactly rare or more desirable, they are just there.

1903A1, this was made by springfield and remington they were the same as the 1903 except they had a pistol grip style stock instead of the straight stock that most came with.
1903A3, this was made by remington and smith corona, they updated the springfield to be easier, and faster to produce. they used a lot of stamped parts rather than milled. they are easiest to spot because they do not have a hinged floor plate like the A1 and earlier and they have a peep sight on the receiver rather than leaf sight forward of the receiver. they are generally the easiest to find and considered by some to be better shooters.

1903A4, this was a sniper variant. even though they were stamped 1903A3 on the reciever the writing was offset rather than centered over the top of the receiver so that you could read the serial number with a scope mounted to it. they were only made by remington and in very small numbers they are very expensive and very hard to find in original condition.

model 1917. 30-06. this was the most common rifle of WWI. it was based on the 1914 enfield made by remington for great Britain prior to WWI. it has a dog leg bolt and long "ears" on the rear of the receiver which the rear peep mounted to. is was a cock on close design meaning that where most bolt actions of the era and most modern bolts today cock when you lift the bolt handle but these were cocked by pushing the bolt closed giving it a bit of a spring loaded resistance the last inch or so. the brits favored this style because they felt it increased their rate of fire, whether this is true or not I don't know but I personally like cock on close rifles. it is the only US service arm that is cock on close. it is commonly debated whether war hero Alvin York used a M1917 or a M1903. by wars end it was made by eddystone, remington and winchester.

M1 garand. 30-06. lots of info on this one. too much to give you without making your head explode. the main points are that they are cheapest if you buy from the civilian marksmanship program(CMP) they are a non profit gorup that get their guns straight from US storage so they are able to sell for less than everyone else. the main wartime production makers are springfield and winchester with a few very rare and expensive international harvester and H&Rs made post war. they require ammo specifically loaded for the M1, most modern 30-06 has been rumored to damage the M1's gas system.

M1 carbine. I won't even touch this one. there have been dozens of makers over the years and I'm not sure which are real and which are repros. they are chambered in 30 carbine which is similar to a pistol load(ruger even made a revolver in 30 carbine for a while).

british rifles.
enfield number 1. chambered in 303 brit. this is generally the most common I see around. they have a stock that runs the entire length of the rifle with a large muzzle cap at the end. they have a 10 round detachable mag which makes the enfield the highest capacity bolt action rifle of it's era. they have a leaf sight mounted just forward of the reciever. the enfield no 1 is cock on close.

pattern 1914 enfield. it's almost identical to the US model 1917 except it is chambered in the standard 303 brit cartridge. it was a short lived design. the brits were caught up in an arms race with the rest of europe and with most nations switching to mausers, british brass felt that this may be a way to go so they commissioned remington to make them a rifle resembling a mauser and the result was the 1914. however with WWI in full swing the brits decided that it would be best to just stick with what they had on hand so very few P14s were built and used. like the enfield number 1 and US 1917, it is a cock on close design.

enfield number 4. this is the updated WWII era version of the enfield NO1. the stock does not run the entire length ofthe rifle but instead ends about 4 inches shy of the muzzle and is held by a large band rather than an end cap. the bolt is slightly modified as well as the magazine though it remained detachable 10 rounds. also a cock on close rifle. many were actually made by savage arms in the US to aid the brits while america was still pretending to be neutral. they were technically "loaned" to the brits and were stamped US PROPERTY. my very first milsurp was a savage no4 and is still one of my favorites.

Japanese rifles.
there are a number and I don't know the whole story behind all of them. they were all cock on close rifles but unlike the brits and americans they all had a straight bolt handle which some people don't like but which I have no problem with. I love jap guns and are the only rifles which I've bought more than one of in the same caliber just because I wanted more than one particular model. they all came with a sheet of metal that ran over the top of the receiver to keep dirt out of the rifle. many were lost or discarded during combat. they were stamped with a chrysanthemum which meant that they belonged to the emperor of japan. at the end of WWII the mums were ground off of all surrendered arms. finding one with the mum still intact means that it was taken from a battlefield before wars end.

type 30, was fairly short lived and was only used for 9 years. it was chambered in 6.5x50mm. a number were sold to england in the early 1900s but nobody seems to know what became of them.

type 38, 6.5x50mm, served all the way until the end of WWII. it was a long rifle compared to springfields and most mausers but it served well.
type 38 carbine. not sure how long these were made and in what numbers but they were essentially just a shortened 38.

type 44. 6.5x50mm. designed for cavalry. they are short, stocky, and have a flip up bayonet. I love my type 44 and it is currently the most accurate milsurp I own. I killed my first black bear with it. the sights are reminiscent of mausers which I was not a fan of at first but they actually help accuracy a lot for such a short gun.

type 99. 7.7x57mm these were made during WWII, they were very much like the type 38 with a longer hand guard and a few more doodads. they had flip down anti aircraft sights and a monopod which were usually discarded by the japanese that used them because they really served no practical purpose. finding a type 99 with the AA sights, monopod, mum, and dust cover is quite uncommon but not unheard of, I got mine with everything but the dust cover.

type I. 6.5x50mm. these were made in italy for the japanese navy. they are much longer than other jap rifles and use the italian carcano rifle action and bolt but still use the japanese style stock and magazine. it is the only japanese arm that was not cock on close.

man I haven't even touched italian, french, german, russian and swedish rifles... well I may come back and post on them later.
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Old January 30, 2014, 11:29 AM   #8
grande3202
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Thanks for that, I scanned it briefly with plans of going over it more thoroughly later.
I will check out the couple of links as well.
Sorry for the antiques/C&R lumping together. Thought they were the same.
I do not have a C&R FFL, I didn't know such a thing existed. I will be looking into it. Thanks for that.
Not really sure what avenue to go first. I purchased a sporterized GEW 98, so I will probably start with looking at Mauser on a whole. It seems they have many vines off of their family gun tree.
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Old January 30, 2014, 11:52 AM   #9
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The first thing you should do is figure out what you are interested in.

WW2 Rifles? WW1 Rifles? Military handguns? Cowboy guns? Pre-WW2 sporting arms? Cold war era guns?

This forum is OK for general C&R info, but there are others that are more specialized for specific types.

The Gunboards forums are good, with specific boards for most types of rifles:
http://forums.gunboards.com/index.php

Same goes for Surplus Rifle Forum:
http://www.surplusrifleforum.com/

My opinions, the best Mosin Nagant forum is Gunboards, the best Enfield forum is Surplus Rifle Forum, the best Japanese rifle forum is also Gunboards.

The Best Mauser forum for general topics is Gunboards, the best German Mauser specific board is k98kforum.com

I haven't looked much for US rifles, but I expect the best would be the CMP forums. http://forums.thecmp.org/

Depending on where you live, there may also be regional forums of interest. Calguns is the prime example, they have an excellent general C&R forum. Regional forums can also be a good place to find guns for sale locally.

Remember, Google is your friend.
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Old January 30, 2014, 11:54 AM   #10
mapsjanhere
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Let's look at it from a money point:
You're too late for cheap 1903, P14, P17 and M1s, British Enfields, Mauser 98s and Finnish Mosins. Check CMP for US rifles to get an idea on prices.
You can still get (so all rising rapidly) Mosins, Turkish Mausers, and some of the French and Italian rifles, at $200 or less.
If you're serious about collecting (in the US market), stay away from anything sporterized (the time were you could pick up a cheap stock and restore are gone, and there are many reproductions), anything obviously refinished (too shiny for age, soft markings, pitting under blueing, polishing marks) and, as beginner, anything described as "high value because of special stamps" (you can buy a full set of stamping dies on Ebay for less than the enhanced value of a single gun with the right markings).
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Old January 30, 2014, 12:25 PM   #11
Mike Irwin
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It's a two part process...

Go to a gunshow.

Begin.
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Old January 30, 2014, 01:09 PM   #12
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You should also decide what sort of collection you want.

Do you want a pristine, all matching example, or do you want a decent condition shooter?

If you want a Nazi era K98, you can probably finds a decent condition Soviet Capture shooter for $3-400, if you are patient. None of the numbers will match, but it will be a serviceable rifle, and will probably have most of the markings intact. If you want an all matching, the price will generally be 3 times that.

And make sure you google "Mitchell's Mausers" before you get tempted by any of their pimp-shined re-stamped crap.
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Old January 30, 2014, 02:53 PM   #13
tahunua001
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+1 to everything emcon just said.

mitchels is a pretty shady company when you look at their claims and I've read a few articles in magazines about guys who got "100% original and authentic K98 mausers" from mitchels... they are good shooters but they have no historical value left, new stocks, new finish, and usually forged proof marks and stamps.
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Old January 30, 2014, 06:43 PM   #14
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tahunua001

You missed the Krag, the black sheep of the US military rifles.

Doug
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Old January 30, 2014, 08:49 PM   #15
tahunua001
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I don't really know enough about the krag to really give an overview of it. most of it's service was prior to the 20th century and they are rare enough that odds of finding one that isn't a total bubba job is pretty slim.
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ignore my complete lack of capitalization. I still have no problem correcting your grammar.
I never said half the crap people said I did-Albert Einstein
You can't believe everything you read on the internet-Benjamin Franklin
Bean counters told me I couldn't fire a man for being in a wheelchair, did it anyway. Ramps are expensive.-Cave Johnson.
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Old January 30, 2014, 11:46 PM   #16
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Mike Irwin has it right. Almost every area of the country has gun shows, sometimes several a year. Go to one but don't take money, checkbook or credit card. Just look at guns that interest you. Talk to exhibitors. (Some will brush you off unless you have $100 bills sticking out of your ears, but others will be happy to talk with you about what they have.)

Then buy books. I recommend buying a good book every time you buy a gun. (Good books are not cheap - research requires time and money.) Not necessarily a book about that gun, but a good gun book.

Most collectible Colts and Winchesters are out of the price range of the beginner collector, but other interesting guns can be bought at reasonable prices. Some collectors say to buy only perfect examples, which, like "Don't pay air fare, buy a 757" is good advice if you are Donald Trump. But don't buy rusty junk either. As an example, I recently bought two old-timey revolvers, a Maltby-Henley and an Iver Johnson Bicycle model. The IJ is like new; the M-H is not as nice but is an interesting gun. The cost for both was $210.

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Old January 31, 2014, 03:48 PM   #17
DennisCA
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mapsjanhere: You're too late for cheap 1903....

Oh really?

I picked up this sporterized M1903a3 last July (2013)


$400

Shoots like a dream!

Not cheap but not that bad either....

Good deals are STILL out there but they are getting harder and harder to find!

Last edited by DennisCA; January 31, 2014 at 03:50 PM. Reason: Added txt & pic's
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Old January 31, 2014, 07:17 PM   #18
mapsjanhere
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That's still more than you have to pay for a brand new 30-06 hunting rifle and has little collector value, so I only think it makes my point .
Doesn't mean it's not a great gun, it's just no longer a cheap gun.
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Old January 31, 2014, 08:55 PM   #19
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Quote:
That's still more than you have to pay for a brand new 30-06 hunting rifle and has little collector value, so I only think it makes my point
Nonsense. Doesn't look like permanent done, easy to turn it back into a ~$700 rifle.
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Old January 31, 2014, 09:44 PM   #20
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I picked up a matching 1917 Remington with a sporter stock last year for $150 at a pawn shop.
Nothing on the gun had been touched just the stock. I got $75 out of the stock on ebay. Deals are out there you just have to look for them.

Doug
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Old February 1, 2014, 04:53 AM   #21
gyvel
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Quote:
pattern 1914 enfield. it's almost identical to the US model 1917 except it is chambered in the standard 303 brit cartridge. it was a short lived design. the brits were caught up in an arms race with the rest of europe and with most nations switching to mausers, british brass felt that this may be a way to go so they commissioned remington to make them a rifle resembling a mauser and the result was the 1914. however with WWI in full swing the brits decided that it would be best to just stick with what they had on hand so very few P14s were built and used. like the enfield number 1 and US 1917, it is a cock on close design.
Not quite...

The Pattern 14 was the evolution of the Pattern 13, a rifle that the British had developed in a very hot, high velocity. 276 calibre cartridge, and was based largely on the Mauser action. When WWI broke out in 1914, the Brits stopped work on the cartridge, and, finding themselves woefully short of service rifles, contracted with Remington and Winchester to re-engineer and produce the Pattern 13 rifle in .303 British. Remington produced rifles at the Ilion factory and the Eddystone plant, while Winchester produced them at their facility. When the British orders were terminated, production began on a slightly modified version, in .30-06 calibre, and became known as the U.S. Model 1917.

All totaled, at least 750,000 Pattern 14 rifles were made in the U.S. before the order was terminated.
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Old February 1, 2014, 11:33 AM   #22
tahunua001
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Dennis, first of all that is a horrible price for a springfield in that condition. $300 is usually the going price. second, in order to return it to military configuration you are looking at close to $300 for a stock and handguard and another $80 or more on the small metal parts like bayonet lug/front stock band. when it's all said and done that still will not be a $700 rifle unless you really luck out and find a good condition GI stock with matching handguard and all parts match the manufacturer of the rifle.

Gyvel,
my little writeup of the P14 was a very brief overview of the introduction and use. although yours offered a little more indepth information there is really no conflicting information in those two. also from what I've read, the last 200,000 rifles were never paid for and never shipped to britain. leaving the actual numbers that they received much lower than total numbers produced.
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Old February 1, 2014, 11:52 PM   #23
gyvel
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Quote:
also from what I've read, the last 200,000 rifles were never paid for and never shipped to britain.
That's the first I've heard of that. As of ca. 1924, England still had around 724,000 P14 rifles in inventory.

Now, I know that quite a few Mosin Nagants were never paid for after the fall of the czar, and ended up being used as drill rifles in the U.S. Army, with some going to arm the U.S. forces that invaded Russia right after WWI.
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