Military Surplus Guns or MilSurps can be an extra great deal. I was first turned onto milsurps about a year ago. Since then I have become Cruffler or Curio and Relic Firearms Licensed. It basically allows me to purchase curio and relic, C&R firearms, both longarms and short, via the internet or local dealer without a waiting period and have them shipped directly to my house. Now before all you anti-gun nuts out there get in an uproar, C&R firearms are over 50 years old and / or listed as a relic by the BATF, so it's cool. Now onto the topic. I collect and enjoy shooting anytype of gun, new or old. I prefer Milsuprs though and here's why.
First of all they're cheap. My first Milsurp, a Russian Mosin Nagan chambered in the potent 7.62x54r was bought at Big 5 sporting goods for $ 79.99. In a matter of 20 minutes I was able to purchase the rifle and a box of ammo. This is a bolt action rifle and was at least 4 feet long but still cool.
Second the history. I'm not necessarily a history buff, but I do enjoy learning about the wars that the rifles may have served in. Seeing the pantina and grime on the old warhorses really sparks me imagining the soldier sitting in a foxhole somewhere hugging that rifle for dear life. There is lots of debate out there about restoring a milsurp, by extensive cleaning, and stock resurfacing. I see both sides of that fence. It could be so beautiful if resanded and stained, but yet the character that age gives it also makes it beautiful.
Third, it's addictive. They're like potato chips, you can't just get one. Currently I own 6 Milsurps and can't wait for my next purchase.
Fourth the Ammo. For the most part, it's cheap and abundant in many of the calibers, both surplus and commercial. My SKS shoots 7.62×39 and I can buy a 500 round tin of this caliber for about $ 40- $ 50 delivered.
CONS to milsurps.
They're cheap. Sometimes you get what you pay for. I've been fortunate and not received anything I was unable to live with. I read stories of some real sewer pipes out there (horrible barrels). These are mostly limited to the pawnshops and gunshows. Some folks try to unload their junk on others. Most of the big online dealers like Centuryarms, AIM, and SOG have pretty good grading criteria and will allow you to return things if you get one that slipped through grading process. Civilian Markmanship Program is an excellent and probably the only way to buy true American milsurps that have not been re-imported from loaned governments, sorry guys no select fire's ever, this includes M-14's and M-16's. I bought my M-1 Garand from them, it's balls on accurate, new barrel I tink and only set me back $ 395.
Some are ugly. This one is questionable, beauty is really in the eye of the beholder, some like wood and metal, others like plastic and composites. It's a personal choice. I know for a fact if I ever run out of ammo for my Garand in a firefight, I can always beat them to death with a few blows.
I own both, milsurps and NIB, new in box, modern weapons. They both have distinct advantages and disadvantages. But when I'm at the range and someone asks me what I'm shooting it's because it's not another 10/22 or remington, etc ..