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Back during my gunshop days I discovered through careful review of catalogs and mailers and sales listings and monthly mailings and promotional materials / product listings than a number of the companies I considered large and reputable as distributors (who saw us as a dealer who buys wholesale or as a stocking dealer or account holding regular retail seller with an FFL) would have a list of and offer for sale some rather odd groups or lists of used guns...

Police trade ins or security / corrections / guards / armed contractors trade and...

When selling them new equipment they would also buy out as much of the old or replaced equipment as possible in any condition...

In many states especially down south the LEO and first responder orgs would sell the distributor all guns confiscated during arrests and investigative incidents instead of melting them down - a true mixed bag of age and type and condition and brand and COO...

Courts and prison systems and arena security (pro sports and concerts etc...) as well...

Oh and from one peace on the streets power 99 FM rap and church group doing gun buy back programs in the ghetto...

I purchased as much of this stuff as I could lay my hands on - picking out saleable or repairable gold when allowed and buying box lots or job lots of required...

It was also the best way to practice and learn shade tree gun Smith style skills and to be able to work on internals - lots of parts swapping and tinkering and cleaning but some minor hardcore Smith work as well.

IMHO it's still a valid route to try to take advantage of or get in on for hobby fun and retail profit and skill acquisitions.

Used u fix em or non ops or repairables or needs some work stuff.

Mike
 

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Back in the halcyon CR days Century Arms had a “Ufixem” page in their catalogue...I bought maybe a dozen Russian M44s for $9.95 each and a couple of Polish M44s fir $19.95 each. I wish I had bought more!

Out of the dozen Russians I managed to piece together about 6 “shooters” that I test fired and sold for between $55 and $100 each over time, now each would easily fetch 2-3x that.

One of the Russians became a “project” Scout Rifle that didn’t turn out as well as planned, I still have it and will work on it some more some day, but one of the Polish turned out nicely, ATI stock ($49.99 at the time) that I free floated and bedded, I drilled and tapped it for the cantilever scope mount, ($39.95, but I sold the screw on bent bolt handle for $10😉) sent off the bolt to “The Boltman” and for $56 (15 years ago!) got back a nice polished bent bolt. It shoots Winchester (actually S&B) into 1 1/2” at 100 with the inexpensive Bushnell Banner 3x9 ($95 on eBay)I put on it and would make a sweet deer rifle. I won’t sell it, I might need a loaner some day.

Guys did those same mods to “cheap” M44s at the time, that they paid $100+ for...while I ended up with a nice “back up” rifle that I’m proud to have made, if I sold it I would be lucky to get more than my money out of it having paid only $19.95 for the “project” rifle, nobody would pay you your cost if you used a $100+ base rifle and paid for someone to do the same work. Remember a decent new Ruger American wouldn’t cost much more...

But it was fun and I learned a lot about drilling and tapping and bedding and doing trigger jobs on Mosins and I’m strangely proud of it and probably will never sell it...😉

And I still have 3-4 barreled M44 actions for future projects!😎
 

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I agree with 45Auto. First place to check would be your local gun shops.
During the "normal" times you could find decent deals at the various online auction sites on "gunsmith specials" Sometimes single guns often times sold as a lot.
The big thing to remember is to research whatever type of gun(s) you're planning to fix up BEFORE buying them!!! Some guns have nothing in the way of replacement parts available or key parts are unobtainium. Others aren't worth the scrap metal value even after being fixed.
 

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I second the police trade-in idea. Both of my .38's (a Colt and a Smith) were trade-ins and didn't cost a lot. Well, 20 yrs ago they didn't.
 

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I second the police trade-in idea. Both of my .38's (a Colt and a Smith) were trade-ins and didn't cost a lot. Well, 20 yrs ago they didn't.
My son bought a really nice police trade in SIG 9mm for a decent price not long ago at a show...the trick is to find the “ I’ve been a cop for twenty years and never had to draw my gun” guns😎
 

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It's getting to the point that if you wish to arm yourself and you're not wealthy, it's probably "zip gun" time.
How much are potato guns going for these days?
 
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