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Old 01-25-2011, 11:01 AM
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Default Just some ramblings on cheap guns vs elite guns



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Ok, so as I've mentioned before, I'm a college student, very little income, most of that goes to bills, books, tuition, etc. I love guns and understand that relative to the buying power of the dollar, they're pretty darn cheap historically, all the same, a $1000 1911 or $1500 arsenal would actually equal close to half of my total $ spent on firearms to date. I am not questioning the value and quality of expensive firearms, I have no doubts you get what you pay for, all the same, for those of us on a very limited income, you can find some pretty good deals out there for a lot less.

Stoeger Cougar

When I got back from my time abroad in S. America, the first Guns and Ammo magazine I picked up had a great article on the Stoeger Cougar, "A new life for an old cat" I believe. This was 2006, it had the retail at $360 or so and mentioned being able to pick up the gun for under $300 possibly. Now for those of you who don't know, the Stoeger Cougar is a new production run of Beretta Cougars, made on Beretta tooling under Beretta QC but manufactured in Turkey. A very nice pistol. A year later, working full time during a break in school, I picked one up at Sportsman's warehouse, $360 out the door with a box of 9mm. Though prices have gone up as people have come to realize what an excellent pistol this is, locally they go for $399 now, oftentimes that store has a 10% off sale, bringing the price down to $360.
Gun snobs seem to ignore cheap but quality pieces like the Stoeger Cougar for some reason. It's an excellent piece that has NEVER failed in over 4000 rounds. The only time its 'failed' was when my small statured 11 yr. old brother limp-wristed it. My wife, a very small statured woman, has never had problems with this. It's very accurate and does not seem to have the muzzle-flip/twist I've noticed on other handguns due to the rotating barrel design.

Mosin Nagant M44

Ok, not so unappreciated now that the price has slowly started to climb on these beauties and more people own and know them. All the same, they still get more than their fair share of crap online and in gun stores. I mean come on.
In 2008 I picked up the M44 from Big 5, pristine, pristine, must have been unissued, for $106 out the door with tax. It's a natural pointer, very acceptable accuracy, cheap, powerful round, whats not to like? I may have been dumb and did 'sporterize' it, but nothing irreversible or permanent. Its actually spot on with the scope I put on it, I just need to find a longer eye relief scope if I want to keep it in scout scope configuration

Savage 64f

When I bought this it was $96 at walmart, so cheap, of course bricks of .22 lr were $8 bucks too, but no matter. Its been very reliable, very accurate, taken its fair share of rabbits, etc. While it doesn't have the name, reputation or accessories of a ruger 10/22, its also half the price and very very functional.

Mossberg 500

You can pick these up on sale all the time at box stores. Its a great shotgun with a fine reputation, and yet the 870 crowd still likes to tear into them for some reason. 870's are great, a little heavy but great, they are also twice the price of an equally great 500. I got this with 2 barrels, 28" and 18.5" at big 5 for $286 or so out the door, tax incl. I've seen the same deal go even cheaper.

Yugo Sks

Ok, the SKS platform is no longer sneered at and is in fact sought after, but that only seems to have happened after they doubled and tripled in value. When SKS rifles were >$100 many people deemed them to be junk. The Yugo still seems to be regarded as a bottom tier SKS. Mine is great, price was $150, needed some work on the extractor, another $39 and she's perfect. Yes it's on the heavy side for a carbine, but what do you expect for something with that much metal? Its accurate, semi-auto, shoots a reasonable/cheap cartridge, what more do you want? The bore isn't chrome lined, no biggy, wolf and modern ammo is not corrosive, surplus yugo is, make sure to clean it well after shooting the corrosive stuff, big whoopity doo.

Taurus 608

I did a summer field expedition for 6 weeks last year. Most of the areas we were in were bear country, we saw plenty. In preparation, I set out looking for a .357 magnum. While I orignally wanted a Taurus 66, when I walked into a local shopped and asked what .357's they had, the owner showed me this 608, 8 shot 6 1/2 inch barrel, stainless steel. I thought "that's a handsome gun!! too bad its outta my budget!" I was wrong, I looked at the tag, $369! It was used, but only lightly, no scratches or signs of wear. Well I paid cash and got it for about $380 out the door with a box of .38 special (this was toward the end of obamamania and the store was out of .357). 608's go for well over $500 NIB, I consider this baby to be practically NIB when I bought her, I was very, very happy. I carried it every day for 6 weeks in my pack with 8 rounds of buffalo bore 180 gr. Never had to use it, but found it very comforting at times. I've shot it a bit and with the porting and weight the recoil is comparable to my 9mm, even with the heavy, high velocity (1400 fps) bullets. the guns is far more accurate than my handgunner skills are worthy of, Single action is crisp and a joy, double action is very manageable and also enjoyable. Is it a colt python?? No, its not, and one day I'd love to own one, but it does what I need it too and does it well, plus, taurus's lifetime warranty is passed on to me even though I am not the orignal buyer.

Vz2008/58

I understand century has earned a bad rep on QC, there's too much evidence to question that, but with all the positive reviews coming in on the latest Vz2008's, I knew I wanted one, and when the price at Jgsales dropped to $359, I popped. Its a great, great carbine, very light-weight, fit and finish is very acceptable, magazines are no longer expensive are hard to find online, milled receiver, better safety than an AK, I could go on. Would a d-tecnik or CZ-usa have been better? Honestly I don't know how, but maybe, maybe. Would it have been worth twice what I paid? Once again I just don't see how.

Well there you go, in my experience, being on a limited income does not prevent one from purchasing quality firearms without breaking your budget. Gun snobs can sneer all they want at some of them, but the fact is, they work and while they in all honest most likely have a better weapon for much more money, thats fine, they can afford it, by shopping around, you too can be well armed with a reliable, quality weapon.

I don't want to rag on people who buy name brand or very expensive guns, believe me, one day I plan on owning some of those too!! I just want people to know that just because its cheaper doesn't mean its trash or even a step down in practical applications.
Old 01-25-2011, 11:49 AM
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There's an old business expression that holds that the cheapest price is not always the best price.
I'm an hourly warehouse worker, and my single paycheck suports the wife (she's the farmer), dogs, chickens, horses, etc.
This does not leave me much cash to support my hobby of collecting and shooting firearms. Very rarely have I bought new - I could never afford a new Smith & Wesson revolver, but that K-38 Combat Masterpiece was $250 at the pawn shop. Likewise, an AR is above my paygrade, but that Mini 14 was $375. Marlin 336? $100!
Remington 870 Super Magnum Express? $185.
One can afford quality firearms if bought used.
And as you pointed out, there are deals to be had in new weapons as well. My Rock Island Armory 1911A1 GI Model cost $319 new a couple of years ago. Is it as pretty as a Kimber? No, but it has never failed me.
Krieghoff single shot rifle for several thousand dollars, or a New England Firearms Handi rifle for several hundred? I know what I'd buy (in fact have two Handi's - a 22 Hornet and a 45-70).
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Old 01-25-2011, 11:52 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by rice paddy daddy View Post
There's an old business expression that holds that the cheapest price is not always the best price.
I'm an hourly warehouse worker, and my single paycheck suports the wife (she's the farmer), dogs, chickens, horses, etc.
This does not leave me much cash to support my hobby of collecting and shooting firearms. Very rarely have I bought new - I could never afford a new Smith & Wesson revolver, but that K-38 Combat Masterpiece was $250 at the pawn shop. Likewise, an AR is above my paygrade, but that Mini 14 was $375. Marlin 336? $100!
Remington 870 Super Magnum Express? $185.
One can afford quality firearms if bought used.
And as you pointed out, there are deals to be had in new weapons as well. My Rock Island Armory 1911A1 GI Model cost $319 new a couple of years ago. Is it as pretty as a Kimber? No, but it has never failed me.
Krieghoff single shot rifle for several thousand dollars, or a New England Firearms Handi rifle for several hundred? I know what I'd buy (in fact have two Handi's - a 22 Hornet and a 45-70).
Great point, like my Taurus, if you are patient and wait for the good deal, you can buy a gun that would be above your pay grade if new. Thanks!
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Old 01-25-2011, 12:08 PM
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At the same shop I got the Remington 870 a few years ago I got a Taurus Model 65 357 magnum w/4" barrel for $225. The trigger is as smooth as either one of my S&W's, the blue is rich and deep. What's not to like?
Some people rag on Taurus quality but the only prblem I've ever had was with the ambi safety on my PT1911, and I didn't feel so bad when a guy told me he had the same problem with a Kimber.
I prefer to buy from a shop rather than a private person because with a shop you know the gun's not stolen.
Can you stand just one more pawn shop special? Small town shop, in the case was a Ruger Flat Top Blackhawk 357 magnum in pristine condition, price tag said $300. I managed to get it at that price, tax and call in, out the door! Man I love small town America!!
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Old 01-25-2011, 12:22 PM
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thanks for the reminder about cheap doesn't mean bad
Old 01-25-2011, 12:25 PM
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+1 on the Taurus Model 65 SS 357 magnum w/4" barrel I got mine with Hogue grips for $200,the DA trigger is smooth as silk.

A good any of my pistols,rifles and shotguns we bought in my younger years when I had more money that responsibilities. Now days with the wife and kids and the economy and all it's uncertainties I'm much more reserved.

Some of my better purchases over the past few year have been Mosin M44 $75,Yugo SKS $149 both factory refurbished to mint condition,Chinese /26\ SKS NIB and never fired $200 and my Hungarian PA-63 in 9 x 18 Mak. from KBI Imports factory refurbed to NIB condition,I gave $200 for it,100 rds. ammo new ComPact off duty holster and two mags.

So over the past five years I bought three rifles and two handguns for just a little over $800 and have been well pleases and enjoy shooting everyone of them. I also reload and cast my own bullets for them all so there even cheaper to shoot.
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Old 01-25-2011, 01:02 PM
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Quote:
afford a new Smith & Wesson revolver, but that K-38 Combat Masterpiece was $250 at the pawn shop. Likewise, an AR is above my paygrade, but that Mini 14 was $375. Marlin 336? $100!
Remington 870 Super Magnum Express? $185.
Gee, I wish I could find fantasy prices like that.
I admittedly have never tried a pawn shop ,
but any gun shop I've been to wants maybe $50-$100 less for a used gun than a new one. For that little difference I'll take a new one.
Any gun show vendor wants more for their beat up used crap than I can buy a new one for.
And the private citizens selling guns on Swapgiant.com or Armslist.com, want higher than new prices for their used guns.

Just some similar examples of used guns for sale around here.

S&W model 19-3 - $425
Remington Police magnum 12g 80% cond. -$300
Mini 14 -$500+
Marlin 336 - $300+
Used XD 9 - $400-450 - I can buy new for $435

Those great deals you're getting ,seem to elude me. Congrats
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Old 01-25-2011, 01:16 PM
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Stoeger -- got one of their 20-gauge double barrle coach guns. No complaints.

Mosin -- No arguement there. Best "bang for the buck" out there, bar none.
However, for not too much of a price increase, a Mauser is a very nice
upgrade in quality. Might take a look there if you find yourself in the market
for another mil-surp bolt action. I've got a Yugo 24/47, and definitely got
my eye on a VZ-24 from AIM for $230.

Savage -- Don't have one, but I've read lots of positive reviews.

Mossberg -- Got a 500 20 gauge. Good gun aside from the fact that it
kicks the safety on after every shot. Haven't gotten around to tearing into
it and fixing that little bugger. But that's not stopping me from considering
the youth-size 410 for my wife.

-- edit -- I understand the "Maverick" line that shadows the Mossbergs is
pretty darn close to a Mossberg in most of its internal parts, and comes in
at an even lower price point. Probably the "win" over the Mossberg if you're
taking about bargain guns. But I don't own one, so I can't say for certain.


Yugo SKS -- I like mine. Looked pretty much new-in-box when I got it.
After some more research, I should have opted for a different model that
doesn't have the gas cut-off valve for the grenade launcher. Uniquely
problematic to the Yugos. But aside from that, a great shooter. Buy a
replacement gas valve to put on the shelf and call it good.

Taurus (anything Taurus) -- Not real thrilled. The model 85 I got doesn't
shoot point of aim real well. (Yeah, it's a snub-nose, not a target gun, but
still, off a little more than I like.) I lean more towards the Rugers for higher
quality wheel guns, and pay the extra $$. Heard too much Q/C issues on
assorted Taurus models to trust them.

VZ2008/58 -- Don't those have a unique magazine that doesn't interchange
with the standard AK mags? Deal-breaker for me when there's plenty of
other standardized AK variants available in the same price range that
take mil-surp mags.

No "perfect" gun out there, but you've zeroed in on some of the excellent
bargains out there, even with their occasional quirks and shortcomings
considered. (And higher priced guns aren't immune to their own Q/C issues
and design quirks either.)

I'd add the Marlin 795 or Ruger 10/22 to your list of bargain guns that give
a lot of service for the money. If you want to talk about shooting on a
budget, you can't overlook the benefits bulk-pack .22LR at $18 for 500.
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Old 01-25-2011, 01:31 PM
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Yeah the Vz58 uses proprietary mags, kind of a downer, however, there are some pluses:

Aluminum, very light weight
Czechpoint-usa has them for$13 and pretty cheap shipping, $8 on orders less than $100. Midway has them for 14.99 a piece, there are no 'cheap' knock off mags so you buy whats available and know its quality.
But yeah, I do wish I could buy the mags locally.

As for the yugo gas system, its a pain, but a replacement gas valve from cncwarrior aint to expensive.
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Old 01-25-2011, 02:28 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Apocalypse Now View Post
Gee, I wish I could find fantasy prices like that.


Just some similar examples of used guns for sale around here.

S&W model 19-3 - $425
Remington Police magnum 12g 80% cond. -$300
Mini 14 -$500+
Marlin 336 - $300+
Used XD 9 - $400-450 - I can buy new for $435

Those great deals you're getting ,seem to elude me. Congrats
The Ace Hardware in the next town down the line - $319 + tax + call in for a brand new Romanian WASR 10 (AK47) with two mags, sling, cleaning kit, mag pouch. I also bought a Mosin Nagant 91/30 there for $99. They also have the usual hunting weapons.
What? Your local Ace Hardware doesn't sell guns and ammo?
Heck, just across the state line from me in Georgia is a grocery store that sells guns and ammo.
$425 for a Model 19 is about right, however for about $399 or so you should be able to get a brand new Marlin 336 w/scope.
I did pay close to $300 for a 1971 Ithaca Featherweight DS Police Special 12 ga., but I really, really wanted it. And that's not a bad price for an Ithaca.
Small southern towns are the best place to live.
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Old 01-25-2011, 03:53 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Varmit View Post
Mossberg -- Got a 500 20 gauge. Good gun aside from the fact that it
kicks the safety on after every shot. Haven't gotten around to tearing into
it and fixing that little bugger. But that's not stopping me from considering
the youth-size 410 for my wife.

-- edit -- I understand the "Maverick" line that shadows the Mossbergs is
pretty darn close to a Mossberg in most of its internal parts, and comes in
at an even lower price point. Probably the "win" over the Mossberg if you're
taking about bargain guns. But I don't own one, so I can't say for certain.
The only real difference between a Maverick and a Mossberg is the safety. Maverick has the cross-block safety in front of the trigger vs. the mossberg's top mounted safety.
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Old 01-25-2011, 04:11 PM
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I had to count, but I think I have 6 guns made in Brazil - Taurus, Rossi/EMF - all of them have been reliable, accurate, and good builds. I tuned up 2 Rossi rifles with spring kits, and a little polish. I gave my son a Taurus 66 and 94 as his bug out handguns, as well as a Rossi 92 in 357 for his long gun. Have another 92, a 606 (6x357 stainless ported snubbie), and a PT1911 (that is my go to gun). I also have a fair number of S&W, Ruger quality pieces, but I've yet to be disappointed with Taurus. If I could find one of their break down gallery pump 22 rifles, I'd be happy - everybody seems to love theirs. When it comes to Brazillian made, I've gotten way more than I paid for out of them.

I'd also add a Norinco 372, clone of the Ithaca 37. $150 at Big 5: 3.5" 12ga 18.5" tactical barrel, heat shield, synthetic furniture, ghost ring sights, sling, parkerized ... and its a bottom feed/eject which is great as my family has a couple left eye dominant types. I've handled their 870 and 500 clones too, all good.

I hear good things about the RIA 1911s, Hi-Point, Kel-Tec, and Kahr. All budget priced, but well made products.
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Old 01-25-2011, 04:29 PM
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With a 59/66A1 Yugo SKS with lyman 66 peep sight and handloads, I am taking on M1A's at the local military shoot. It's 200 yard or less, but it shoots right up there with the fancy ones.

I am very happy with my 870 remington. Wait around hunting season, the big sotres have then on sale for less than $300.

MArlin 336 is another winner, however, I would of passed on buying one If I bought a SKS before it. None the less, .30/30 is still going to be a staple in my collection.

Anything marlin is good for the money. We'll see how remington treats the marlin name in illion, NY or wherever they deciede to make em.
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Old 03-14-2011, 10:49 PM
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im going threw the same things man. The most expencive gun i have is a glock 34 got it used for $400. but i really wanted it. Also got a norinco paratrooper sks free from my dad, a ruger mark 2 for $180, a pardoner pump protector for $100 and a cz 425 scout in .22lr for free (b day present when i was 13. after seeing enemy at the gates bolt guns were the coolest things to me) its had being into guns at 23 living on your own with bills. luckly my favorite kinds of guns are .22lr. so those are usually cheap to begin with lol. just remember you dont need a $2000+ gun, you just need to know how to use the gun you have.
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Old 03-14-2011, 11:01 PM
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The line of Bersa pistols is worth looking into as well. Bought my daughter the Thunder 380 for like $269 new. People say good things about their 9's and such as well.
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Old 03-15-2011, 01:16 AM
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All good points guys, but here is a site if you don't already know about that has great prices. You just have to have your local FFL have them shipped to them and they will do the paperwork for you for a small few.Usually about $25

http://www.cdnninvestments.com/dowournewcat.html

Also cheaper than dirt now sells guns to. A good thing to remember is to try and keep most of your rifles, pistols etc. the same caliber. It will save you tons on money. The Sks's are all good if well cleaned and taken care of. The 7.62x39 caliber is a great round. The AK47 uses the same round as does the Ruger mini-30. I also would have rifles in the .223 caliber. If you can't afford an AR-15 you can get a Kel-tech su-16 for one third the price. Same caliber and even uses the standard Ar-15 mag.The min-14's have gone up in price as well ,but CDNN has some used that are under $500. I have at least four of every caliber LOL. Never can have to many.

Pistols wow 9mm not the best knock down power unless your are really good shot. Even the cheaper little 9x18's are ok. Another cheaper pistol with some decent power is the Tokarov 7.62x25 and the ammo is cheap.They also come in 9mm now as well. And I agree the Taurus is a good gun as well. Taurus took over the Berretta company in Brazil. I have a PT-99 I picked up for $250 that shoots as well as my Berretta 92.

The .45 is good so is any .357. I also love my Dan Wesson .44 mag.All 3 have good take down power. I have a Dan Wesson in .44 mag and .357 why because I have four size barrels for each one. It takes me about two minutes to swap them out.

Remember ammo is going to be at a premium very shortly. That's why it's best to stock up on common calibers. They'll come a point in the very near future when ammo will buy you food. Wait and see.

And yeah before anyone gets all bent out of shape LOL I'm a retired Fed. But believe me things are not what they once were.

Remember it's not always the gun that's at fault it's more often the shooter. PRACTICE PRACTICE PRACTICE and always keep the gun's and mags clean every time you use them. Then they won't fail you.

Good luck to us all.:
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Old 03-15-2011, 09:10 AM
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Anything marlin is good for the money. We'll see how remington treats the marlin name in illion, NY or wherever they deciede to make em.
I agree. I bought the xl-7 in 30.06 after looking at a lot of more expensive Savage hunting rifles. I saw some very favorable reviews on the Marlin and have been very happy with it. The trigger is fully adjustable like the Savage and it groups well.

There are a lot of good alternatives for the price. Apparently there is a Rem 870 knock-off made in China by Hawk that is supposed to be pretty decent but the jury is still out. One local dealer was offering them for $200. I am not sure I would bite on this one but it would be interesting to see if it is as good or better than the 870.
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Old 03-15-2011, 09:25 AM
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I just want people to know that just because its cheaper doesn't mean its trash or even a step down in practical applications.
It's not just about price it's about country of origin and manufacturer. For every cheap Turk, Russian or Brazilian gun there are better alternatives available for maybe a bit more cash.

The thing I notice about newbie gun buyers is it's all about on-line buying and pricing, it seems like nobody wants to do the leg work or make connections to find good deals that are out there, if you’re patient and an opportunist.
Old 03-15-2011, 10:09 AM
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I'm with you

I am covered up in 9mm but am definitely considering a cougar in 40sw. The rotating bolt softening snappy recoil sounds good.

Had a 91/30 but went the mauser route.

Just got a mossberg 500 in trade. You got a steal on your deal.

taurus, only one I have is a PT145 and I like it a lot.

VZ2008. YEAH BABY!!! I bought two. If I had more cash I would be freaking stockpiling the gems. The the magazines aren't AK argument is LAME. The mags are only 13 a piece. Do you guys not buy a FAL or AR because the mags don't share with your AK?

Used is sometimes the way to go. I just got 2 nice stainless steel 3rd gen S&W 5906s for 300 each. I don't see a 300 new gun I would deem more desirable. YMMV.

Guys are guys and are always playing one upmanship or massaging their egos mostly with money. I have come to realize that no matter what I have or what I do there will be someone if not with bigger better boasting they have bigger better. Whatever. You may keep carrying on so just don't **** on my parade.
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Great comments guys!
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