Are the days of cheap SKS’s gone for good?
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Thread: Are the days of cheap SKS’s gone for good?

  1. #1
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    Default Are the days of cheap SKS’s gone for good?

    Hey everybody, I’m new to the milsurp game and am just getting started even looking into old pieces to pick up. My interests lie with old combloc firearms, so naturally I thought I would pick up an SKS. It’s real painful seeing prices like $75 and $100 not that many years ago when it seems like the going rate is $300 and up nowadays. My question is, can I ever expect prices to get lower over time or should I just go ahead and start collecting now?

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    I'm not any kind of authority on these but I believe a lot of the Chinese SKS's coming in sat in Albania or something for a long time and that's what made them legal to import. So when those dry up, and I have no idea how many are left, prices always rise when stuff stops getting imported. That being said, there are millions out there someone would probably export to us but it's just not legal right now. So, if some laws/sanctions change and they import millions of them the price will generally go down at least a little vs market value except for more rare versions. So my thinking is, if you're not willing to gamble on laws changing then yes I would collect now but be aware they could drop some day, even though unlikely. I think the chances of any of that red tap changing are very unlikely in the near future given the geopolitical situation in places that have a lot of SKS's like China, Russia, Ukraine etc. Also, the left isn't looking to ease gun importation anytime soon. I don't think the prices are going to shoot up dramatically soon but I also don't see them getting any cheaper other than a quick sale on an online retailer. Just my thoughts, and I'm basing this on knowing very little about the SKS and more of what I see as a general trend in military surplus. So yes, might as well start now.

    Sent from my SM-N950U using Tapatalk

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    Yeah your reasoning makes sense to me. Shame that there’s so much good stuff out there that’s inaccessible to us. Guess I’ll start shopping around for a nice piece.

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    Truth be told - you are late for the party. Like a decade late at least. You missed the boat. Buy now. The prices will never come down appreciably.

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    Since China and Russia have been prohibited from exporting the US...
    And most European and African countries get paid to destroy them...
    Live, learn and be happy.
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    Woodchucker:

    Welcome to the forum!

    You ask good and interesting questions and the quick and short answer that there is no time better than right now to start buying the guns you want. Other than generational turnover there is little reason to think that any sizable number of guns are going to be introduced to the collector’s marketplace. Sadly all signs, from restrictive legislation, fewer and fewer remaining supplies of surplus (importable) firearms, inflation, and a host of other negatives, indicate that there is no good or realistic reason to believe that we will experience another golden age of C&R guns.

    If you hesitate now because you missed out on the good old days I can almost guarantee that in time you will look back at the wonderful deals you didn’t grab in 2020 and kick yourself.

    There’s much to be said about allowing predictions of the future to control your life today but it’s unproductive and masochistic to let the past dictate your present and future.

    Good luck and once again, welcome to Gun Boards!
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    Quote Originally Posted by Richard in NY* View Post
    Woodchucker:

    Welcome to the forum!

    You ask good and interesting questions and the quick and short answer that there is no time better than right now to start buying the guns you want. Other than generational turnover there is little reason to think that any sizable number of guns are going to be introduced to the collector’s marketplace. Sadly all signs, from restrictive legislation, fewer and fewer remaining supplies of surplus (importable) firearms, inflation, and a host of other negatives, indicate that there is no good or realistic reason to believe that we will experience another golden age of C&R guns.

    If you hesitate now because you missed out on the good old days I can almost guarantee that in time you will look back at the wonderful deals you didn’t grab in 2020 and kick yourself.

    There’s much to be said about allowing predictions of the future to control your life today but it’s unproductive and masochistic to let the past dictate your present and future.

    Good luck and once again, welcome to Gun Boards!
    Richard is 100% correct. With surplus now is always better than later. At this point in time, there is about a 0% chance that any military surplus rifles will be imported in numbers that will drive down prices. In fact, the most recent large batch of stuff coming out of Ethiopia arguably drove prices up for a lot of common milsurps. Sellers saw what customers were willing to pay and several types of rifles jumped in value by 10-20%. SKS rifles in particular have jumped a ton in the last 2 years. New in Box Yugo M59/66s were $429 all day back then and everyone thought that was high. Look at Gunbroker and the same rifles are selling for +$600. It's gotten to the point that the premium most folks used to pay for a Russian one has shrank a bit with most of them leveling out between $700-$800 when back in the day the price difference between a Yugo and Russian could easily be $200-$300. I think things will level out a bit for now, but things will definitely not get cheaper.

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    75 or 100 bucks? you're talking what those were back 20+ years ago, when the market was flooded with them, as in dealers had boxes and boxes stack up on several of their tables, and there was fierce competition to entice buyers to buy from them, in other words it was a "buyers market"

    now, it's "seller's market" if you want one you are going to have to pay the sellers price, that simple

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    As stated deals can still be found but the long game shows that prices will continue to go up over time. Imports of mil surp pistols and police trade in pistols have been really good in the past couple of years and there are still many primary sellers getting them in so that might be a good place to start as well. From Romanian Tok's to star BM's to the recent Berreta series of pistols. Grab some of those now and you will be thankful in a few years. Sounds like you have a group of milsurps you are interested in ... Combloc countries have produced some really great rifles and pistols. Have fun... enjoy and learn about history as well as getting to shoot these great old guns.

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    $300-350 feels expensive compared to $79.99, but even 15 years ago an SKS was generally at least $250-300. Back in the 90s they were cheaper, but that’s getting close to 30 years ago. Buy one now and enjoy it. You’ll always be able to sell it for what you paid, because the odds that they’ll suddenly be stupid cheap again are pretty much zero.

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    Quote Originally Posted by BlackPowder View Post
    $300-350 feels expensive compared to $79.99, .
    79 bucks? you "got took"

    I paid 69 bucks for my "cowboy companion" . the scope for it I found much later
    Attached Thumbnails Attached Thumbnails sks .jpg  


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    Best place to find deals on all milsurp guns are at small town local gun dealers. You never know what the son of there father or grandfather is selling or tradering for something new.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Shoots High View Post
    Truth be told - you are late for the party. Like a decade late at least. You missed the boat. Buy now. The prices will never come down appreciably.

    I agree with you. The prices will never come down.

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    Cheap surplus died away about 3-4 years ago. Now it's hugely popular and collectible with the prices seemingly growing every day.

    The owners of this stuff overseas see that and use that to raise their price on the importer.
    The importer see you spending $400 for a beater Chinese SKS and says "why sell for $100 when we can sell to the dealers for $300!"

    In short, no.. Those days are never coming back. Growing up, I remember all the older collectors saying "back in my day you could get an enfield for $30, I could get a k98k for $25. Century did this sale that when you bought 3 carcanos for $10 a piece, you got the 4th free." And was always in awe of this without thinking about the $300 RC k98K rifles, $450 P38 pistols, $125 Yugo SKS rifles, $2000 Tiger Dragunovs, $69 91/30s, M44s and M38s... $150 ex sniper 91/30s. $125 M91s.. French Lebels for $500.

    Not sure if it applies, but I couldn't see the forest for the trees. So now as I approach middle age and younger people get into collecting, I can take my place as an older collector with stories of the amazing pricing.


    How stupid were we.. $500 for PU sniper rifles. I remember being at a local distributor, sorting through hundreds of them to find the "rare" ones.. How many hundreds of 43 and 44 izhevsk and tula PUs did I just put to the side as "eh these are common".

    The last post sums it up. The prices will never come down. Really the only time prices permanently come down is when the ammo is not available. That's why Arisakas and Carcanos are so inexpensive.
    Jack of all milsurps, master of none.

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    Even if the ban on importing military style rifles from China was rescinded and the flood gates were opened, SKSs still wouldn't drop down to the prices they sold for in the late 80s/early 90s.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Elrider View Post
    I agree with you. The prices will never come down.
    they'll only go up and up.

    Woodchucker, if you are hankering for a SKS my advice get one now, while the prices aren't too crazy

    wasn't too long ago, 15 or so years, that you could pick up a Romanian SAR AK for under 200 bucks...………….now, dig in deep for one

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    Like Merle Haggard said, the good times really are over for good.

    A couple of years ago I would occasionally find a clean Norinco SKS with pinned barrel for $240 or so, usually at some small gun shop owned by gun snobs - the kind of gun snobs that turn their nose up at anything combloc, and don't know how to use the internet.

    Not anymore.

    AIM Surplus and Classic (and for a time Palmetto State Armory) has (or had) Arsenal /26\ Chinese SKS in cosmoline, for $350-ish. I don't know if we'll ever see unissued Yugos again.

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    I picked up two from Palmetto, ROUGH. They function and fire and repeat, took me a about four hours each to clean em up. They got shipped just loose in the box and the cosmoline was literately oozing out of them. Gallon of simple green in the ultra sonic and then trip into the mineral spirit wash. I got the pair for $787.20 shipped. I mean get em while you can and I would rather give my money to Palmetto then that crook of a company Classic.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Aero Denezol View Post
    Like Merle Haggard said, the good times really are over for good.

    A couple of years ago I would occasionally find a clean Norinco SKS with pinned barrel for $240 or so, usually at some small gun shop owned by gun snobs - the kind of gun snobs that turn their nose up at anything combloc, and don't know how to use the internet.

    Not anymore.

    AIM Surplus and Classic (and for a time Palmetto State Armory) has (or had) Arsenal /26\ Chinese SKS in cosmoline, for $350-ish. I don't know if we'll ever see unissued Yugos again.
    Palmetto still have those for $350 from their newsletter. $75-$100 SKS was long long time ago. At least 15 years ago while I was still in CA, my friend got a Chinese SKS for $150.

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    I've heard this conversation several times over the short time of maybe 10 years i've been into surplus rifles. The thing is with inflation adjusted over the years as pointed out, it's only getting slightly higher, not proportionate to the current availability IMO.
    I promise if you dig you will find a thread from 10 years ago almost identical to this one, asking the same question as the OP.
    PS: I also guarantee you will find people in that older thread replying that yes, it's over, not nearly as good as it was so and so years ago, etc.
    PPS: Also think there will be a time when we all here say, 'Man I should have bought every one of those chinese SKS's from classic for 329$ even though they were beat'
    Just my .02

    -STR

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    Yes plus 10 years been dry -- The sks alby's they couldn't hardly give em away for 1 bill in the day -- ahhhhh I miss it . let the 03 go years ago

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    the gun dealers use to post signs on the table "No Chinese Junk" we have original Russian sks for sale

    when they were cheap people think they are junk / worthless , a gun shop saleman accused me of being a communist for wanting to buy an sks over 25 years ago

    he told me he was with the 101st AB div in the Vietnam War, and they captured so many sks rifles in Cambodia, they use to use them for rebar for roads and construction.

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    I took the two out today with all my others just to make sure they acted the same as the others and yes they did, they look like total hell and the stocks even after a bath in Mineral spirits, simple green and a treatment of oven cleaner...the goop was still coming out them. The only other time I remember anything being as bad as these was when the first batch of Yugo M48's came in, I was still in high school (2000-2003) when I picked up two of them and they was just as bad.

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    Quote Originally Posted by gmc35fst View Post
    I took the two out today with all my others just to make sure they acted the same as the others and yes they did, they look like total hell and the stocks even after a bath in Mineral spirits, simple green and a treatment of oven cleaner...the goop was still coming out them. The only other time I remember anything being as bad as these was when the first batch of Yugo M48's came in, I was still in high school (2000-2003) when I picked up two of them and they was just as bad.
    Kicking myself, remember when a local place was running a deal, buy one Yugo at $99, get the second at $89
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    Quote Originally Posted by Mosinitis View Post
    Kicking myself, remember when a local place was running a deal, buy one Yugo at $99, get the second at $89
    ah yes, the old; could have, should have, would have

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    Quote Originally Posted by Shoot The Refurbs View Post
    I've heard this conversation several times over the short time of maybe 10 years i've been into surplus rifles. The thing is with inflation adjusted over the years as pointed out, it's only getting slightly higher, not proportionate to the current availability IMO.
    Not quite "slightly higher"..... In 1995 you could buy a crate of 10 Chinese SKS's for $500 ($50 a piece). Adjusted for inflation, that's $841, or $84.00 a piece. For now anyway, SKS's seem to have out-paced inflation and the Stock Market by quite a bit.
    TOM

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    Quote Originally Posted by gmc35fst View Post
    I took the two out today with all my others just to make sure they acted the same as the others and yes they did, they look like total hell and the stocks even after a bath in Mineral spirits, simple green and a treatment of oven cleaner...the goop was still coming out them. The only other time I remember anything being as bad as these was when the first batch of Yugo M48's came in, I was still in high school (2000-2003) when I picked up two of them and they was just as bad.
    Using oven cleaner (i.e., sodium hydroxide or lye) to “clean” a wood stock is perhaps the worst nugget of wisdom to ever bounce its way across the Internet. Beloved in the old gun chat rooms and “mailing lists” over twenty years ago it’s still widely promoted on various forums and in videos to this day. I’m not going to take the time to explain how or why it’s a bad idea to slather caustic lye on a stock. It simply annoys me too much. Suffice it to say that it’s a horrible practice.

    What’s done is done and we can’t undo any damage to your SKS stocks so I post my opinion not to slap you on the wrist or make you feel bad but rather to hopefully prompt someone who might see your comment to pause before pulling out the can of Easy-Off from under the sink. Pause and perform a simple search. Please.
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    I remember the case price as stated and VG Russians were $99 luck of the draw circa 95 or so.....

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    It's all about figuring out what's cheap now that won't be tomorrow.
    There are certain things out there that I'm keeping an eye on/buying up what I can when I can afford it. Bulgy Makarovs are one of those.. There's others.

    Bottom line is, what seems pricey today, may be dirt cheap tomorrow.
    Jack of all milsurps, master of none.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Richard in NY* View Post
    Using oven cleaner (i.e., sodium hydroxide or lye) to “clean” a wood stock is perhaps the worst nugget of wisdom to ever bounce its way across the Internet. Beloved in the old gun chat rooms and “mailing lists” over twenty years ago it’s still widely promoted on various forums and in videos to this day. I’m not going to take the time to explain how or why it’s a bad idea to slather caustic lye on a stock. It simply annoys me too much. Suffice it to say that it’s a horrible practice.

    What’s done is done and we can’t undo any damage to your SKS stocks so I post my opinion not to slap you on the wrist or make you feel bad but rather to hopefully prompt someone who might see your comment to pause before pulling out the can of Easy-Off from under the sink. Pause and perform a simple search. Please.
    It was Zep cleaner, not like I left it on there overnight and didn't clean it off after I got done. The stocks are trashed anyways so I didn't feel bad about using it. I don't use it on any of my other firearms and its only in a worst case scenario...which I would say these to very much so meet that criteria. Would or do I use it on anything else? Nope, but I also wont be able to save these stocks anyways and I knew that when I bought them and when I used it. I also left them sit out in the 85+degree sun we had yesterday and I was still getting stuff coming out of them so I said to hell with em and I'll leave them as they are.

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    CZ-52's still seem to be floating around with fair prices, so I have been buying them up as well. I'm up to five now and close to 30 mags.

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    Quote Originally Posted by BOLO View Post
    the gun dealers use to post signs on the table "No Chinese Junk" we have original Russian sks for sale

    when they were cheap people think they are junk / worthless , a gun shop saleman accused me of being a communist for wanting to buy an sks over 25 years ago

    he told me he was with the 101st AB div in the Vietnam War, and they captured so many sks rifles in Cambodia, they use to use them for rebar for roads and construction.
    I still occasionally get side eye from old guys at the range. The AK/SKS are "bad guy" guns and not universally loved by all gun people.

    I do know Carlos Hathcock brought a Chinese SKS back home from Vietnam. But it was not like in WWII, where all the GI's all wanted to find Lugers and "samurai swords".

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    The surplus "market", if it can even be called that at this point, has been dead\dying for the past 5 years with no sight of recovery. That's alright though, there are a few ways to mitigate that. Search your local area and see where the prices average, you may actually be able to do better locally than on a site like gunbroker or a retail online store. Prices are too high to just collect without any sort of plan or guidance. You said you like combloc era, so specialize in that and focus on combloc weapons. I tried doing world war 2 bolt guns, but its just not financially feasible for me as I really like AK parts kits and combloc C&R just a little bit more. In some cases, you might be able to snag a cheap, light bubba rifle and put it back to proper configuration. There are deals out there, but it will take some effort to find them.

    Other than that, cut out some of your vices and save up?
    Purveyor of Curios and Relics, Budget Firearms, and People's Left Over Projects.

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    I feel for this guy ( I was kinda late to the game in earnest as I really dove in in 2007) now all these years later I have covered a lot of my desires ( Unissued blonde Yugo and 66 Arsenal 26 Para SKS cover the SKS world ) ( Numerous Romanians and a Type 56 “ Spiker” cover the AK world ) then I went off the deep end in retro AR15/M16 world 23 Rifles & carbines later ( 604/603/XM16A1/ XM177E1 ...1997 ArmaLite AR10A2 , various A2 and A4 builds ... I became burnt the f*%k out on the AR15/M16 platform . Luckily I went to the last big Reno Gun Show and discovered a “Very Good “ complete British L1A1 SLR kit ( I know I know a time machine back to 2010 or earlier ) for 700.00$ and found new happiness in the Milsurp world .

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    I like to collect Vietnam era / cold war era surplus , the rifles & pistols used by the other side

    as we all know , just about any firearm from previous wars were often found to be in use during the Viet Minh / Vietnam War era

    surplus rifles like the Mosin Nagant, SKS, Mausers, French M36 , M44 , Type 53, M1 carbines, M1 Garands , Arisakas and many more.

  37. #36

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    OLD GUY. Yes, it seems everything becomes collectible eventually. My only advice is to research what you are buying. ZERO in on what you really want, and go after it. I bought 6 YUGO 98's to invest in, and bought 6 M 91-30s
    for the same purpose. The Moisins appreciated better than Mausers. Go
    figure? Buy what you like, and don't be looking to make a lot of money in the future.

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    The answer to your questions is yes. And if you can find one for $300 let me know.

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    Hi Woodchucker, I just recently purchased an SKS through Classic Firearms and was lucky enough to get an all numbers matching Chinese model for mid $300, if I were you I would not delay in starting. I would also recommend getting your C & R license for about $30 and save paying for the guns being delivered to an FFL as long as the item you are buying is over fifty years old they should be eligible as an C & R (Curios & Relics).

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    From our standpoint today, YES. Cheap SKS rifles are as dead as Julius Caesar.

    However, ten to fifteen years from now you will definitely consider the current prices as the 'good old days', when you will likely need to part with something upward of four figures to get one.

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    Quote Originally Posted by BOLO View Post
    I like to collect Vietnam era / cold war era surplus , the rifles & pistols used by the other side

    as we all know , just about any firearm from previous wars were often found to be in use during the Viet Minh / Vietnam War era

    surplus rifles like the Mosin Nagant, SKS, Mausers, French M36 , M44 , Type 53, M1 carbines, M1 Garands , Arisakas and many more.
    Now here is where you can get some good buys. People pay a hefty premium for SKS bring back guns with capture paper.
    But many SKS are around which are bring backs and do not have capture paper. They do not have any import marks. These are from only arsenal triangle 26 and upto serial number of 13 or14 million. Some say no proof so they can be had for the price of an import. Just one way to get good prices on collectible SKS.

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    Quote Originally Posted by SfcRet View Post
    Quote Originally Posted by BlackPowder View Post
    $300-350 feels expensive compared to $79.99, .
    79 bucks? you "got took" <img src="https://forums.gunboards.com/images/smilies/laughter.gif" border="0" alt="" title="laugh" class="inlineimg" />

    I paid 69 bucks for my "cowboy companion" <img src="https://forums.gunboards.com/images/smilies/wink.jpg" border="0" alt="" title="wink" class="inlineimg" />. the scope for it I found much later <img src="https://forums.gunboards.com/images/smilies/happy_small.gif" border="0" alt="" title="happy" class="inlineimg" />
    It looks like you did get a very fine weapon, congratulations! - - - Dan

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    thanks MauserManic

    the only thing about it that kinda sad, is it's one of the older SKS; threaded barrel, milled trigger housing, and has a soviet ladders sight. still, this rifle is very accurate as my Soviet SKS

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    So the answer is yes..
    When your smiling the whole world smiles with you

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    Quote Originally Posted by sksguide View Post
    Now here is where you can get some good buys. People pay a hefty premium for SKS bring back guns with capture paper.
    But many SKS are around which are bring backs and do not have capture paper. They do not have any import marks. These are from only arsenal triangle 26 and upto serial number of 13 or14 million. Some say no proof so they can be had for the price of an import. Just one way to get good prices on collectible SKS.
    Now there is truth in this statement last fall I bought a chinese SKS from an older gentleman walking it at a gun show said he needed cash to fix his motorcycle, $300 got it home and although not a pristine piece it has that been there look. The more I look at it no import mark matching numbers and lo and behold tiny bits of grenade shrapnel embedded in the stock. Along with what appears to be a heat splatter pattern. So a bring back yes paperwork no. You just never know. Here are some pics the small white colored dots in the photo's are actually metal fragments
    Attached Thumbnails Attached Thumbnails DSCN6335.jpg  

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    Last edited by buckshot11; 06-29-2020 at 08:19 PM.

  46. #45
    Join Date
    Sep 2008
    Posts
    10,082

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    Quote Originally Posted by buckshot11 View Post
    Now there is truth in this statement last fall I bought a chinese SKS from an older gentleman walking it at a gun show said he needed cash to fix his motorcycle, $300 got it home and although not a pristine piece it has that been there look. The more I look at it no import mark matching numbers and lo and behold tiny bits of grenade shrapnel embedded in the stock. Along with what appears to be a heat splatter pattern. So a bring back yes paperwork no. You just never know
    Could well be. You should post photos.
    Purists of the world, unite!

    “If ye love wealth better than liberty, the tranquility of servitude better than the animating contest of freedom, go home from us in peace. We ask not your counsels or arms. Crouch down and lick the hands which feed you. May your chains set lightly upon you, and may posterity forget that ye were our countrymen.”
    Samuel Adams

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