Tuesday, January 18, 2011

Back When

Back when I first got the gunnie jones to go beyond one big revolver and a Garand and figured I'd start adding to the battery, I had thoughts of getting perfectly serviceable older items I could get cheap at the consignment counter I figured it would be easy to get good guns 70+ years old at a good price.  I figured it'd be easy to pickup a .22 revolver at way less than $200.

This was not to be.  First off it ain't easy to buy a handgun in Maryland with the 7 day wait.  And there isn't a friendly gun show in this state, really.

Plus good used pistols aren't as common as I'd hoped.  And my dreams at my desired price points were more fantasy.

I'm sure these good sub $200 revolvers are out there, they just aren't jumping out at me.  The few .22s I did see were of questionable quality.  No name German knock off from the 1950s mostly.  You loaded from a swinging gate or cylinder swung out on what seemed like a rickety thin yoke that didn't inspire me with confidence. 

Another model I wanted was something like a small .38 special in the same price range.  I'd even be happy with a top break.  Something like this may have been near perfect.

But it wasn't to be.  Note, that isn't a .38 special shown at the Arms Room.  Tam has a few top break jobs on that site.  I don't think ANY of them are .38 special.  .38 S&W yes.  .32s maybe.   And this is Tam we are talking about.  She lives in gun friendly prefectures as a habit, and she KNOWS gun sellers and FFL personally and at the time she worked the counters of same. She got first dibs on guns that came in and knew their worth.  She haunts gun shows in a way I never could.  She pays closer attention of gun ephemera than I have.  SHE could get that nigh ideal top break gun at the price I was thinking, but I certainly could not without a lot more luck.  And she'd be able to tell a lot better than I if it was even a serviceable blaster.  I was wet behind the ears and couldn't judge if there were 100 rounds left in some artifact or 2000, then.  I can't tell much better now.

So besides not being able to find the pistol I learned quickly that getting the ammo to feed it isn't that simple either.  At the time of my starting I couldn't even order ammo in a catalog to be delivered in my county, legally.  So the simple and cheap solution was becoming less doable the more I learned.

Probably for the best.  Buy a near new model and pay the premium is my lot and life.  And I don't begrudge it, really.  I like my more modern 640 and 617 and am happy with it.  Happier that I would be with a vintage lemon squeezer.

Oh, I paid for that.  Quite a bit more than $200.  I found the cheapest REAL guns I could buy and not regret were around $500.  Add $200 to that for a revolver that I'd have a good chance of not needing to get it serviced in the first year.  I learned quickly enough that I may get lucky with a Charter Arms .22, but that's not the way to bet.  And I'd not have a Hi-Point pistol for free from what I noticed in fit and feel trying other peoples and from the reputation I gathered from 2nd hand sources.  You can get those for under $500, yes, but I didn't want to risk the hassle.

Such is life.  I pay a bit more so as to have less chance of being inconvenienced on many things, not just guns..


Bubblehead Les. said...

I feel your pain. Oh, the stories I could tell about how cheap firearms were going for back in the day! But here's a strange little fact. Get hold of a Gun Digest from the mid- 90's. Look at the MSRP's for models that are still on the shelves at your local Ye Olde Weapons Shop. Figure in the rate of inflation for the last 15 years, and you'll be pleasantly surprised how much new guns have come down in price. Here's one example: According to the 95 Gun Digest, a Glock 17's MSRP was $608.95. What a Gen 4 Glock going for in your neighborhood today? When one does the math, it is actually cheaper to buy many firearms from the store now rather than look for a 30-50 year old used model. This also tends to piss off many of the weekend warriors who keep trying to sell their over-priced used stuff at the shows. Last show I went to, a guy was trying to sell a used Charco snubbie for $300. He was whinging because the guy across from him was selling new S+W J-frames for about $300-$320.

Ammunition, however is a horse of a different color.

bluesun said...

I have an aunt and uncle who live in Cumberland who keep trying to get me to move to Maryland. Thank you for giving me more ammunition to politely refuse!

Tam said...

FWIW, the topbreaks you find will be in .38 S&W, not .38 Spl.

Old NFO said...

NJT, remember the older guns those folks are trying to unload at 'outrageous' prices; they may have paid MORE than you think for them. Bubblehead Les is correct, lots of folks got absolutely soaked in the 90's gun market...

JB Miller said...

I just buy what I can, when I can.

Chris said...

I agree about the Hi-Points (bad experience before I knew better). I'm trying to sell one of my semis now (need money), a CZ RAMI 2075 sub-compact 9mm (at my range/gun shop - I'm in Maryland, too). Just tried dropping the price, still no takers, according to the staff.

Ryan said...

Most of the guns I purchase are to potentially defend my family or to help keep proficient IOT defend my family. Thus I choose new or gently used models from qell known and reliable manufacturers. I wouldn't buy the cheapest life vest or fire extinquisher on the market either.