Hit a nerve there, didn’t we?
In fact, we’re pack rats and still have all kinds of weird stuff. Bottle-green Army fatigues that we quit wearing when we got to SF and wore camouflage. A shelf full of 8-bit Atari computers. A car we’re going to finish restoring “some day.” And lots of guns that “seemed like a good idea at the time.”
So why do we hang on to them? Mostly, because of the experience of selling other guns over the years. We’re not generally down for navel-gazing introspection, especially when it’s going to hurt. And this story has some elements of The Dremel Guide to Home Dental Self-Surgery®. First, tie me Weapons Man down, sport….
We actually made money on the Walther P1, a postwar, alloy-framed P-38. It was easy to do. Our teammate Lee bought it in the Rod and Gun club on a German base for $25. There was a barrel of them, quite literally a wooden barrel, pick any one, $25; they were ex-police or ex-Bundeswehr handguns and most had tons of holster wear and nearly untouched barrels. By the time Lee decided to unload his, the rod-and-bottle-barrel price was up to $50 so we gave him $50 for it. A year later, we sold it to a guy in one of the MI Company’s support sections (commo or analysis, we forget which) for $100. So two successive troopers made 100% profit on that same gun, and if the guy sold it on, he probably did, too. They’re going in the $400 and up range now.
We regret selling that P1. It was good enough as a representative P-38. We’ve been watching The Man From UNCLE on DVD in the exercise room these days, and bedamned if we don’t want a P-38, like the villains often carry, or better yet an UNCLE Special. If you don’t know what that is, you probably weren’t around in the sixties.
Then, there was the Valmet M76FS, an interesting Finnish “assault rifle” that was imported in relatively small numbers. (All M76s, which are stamped-receiver guns, are rare; the folders are rarer than the fixed-stock guns; 7.62mm guns are rarer than 5l.56). The stock resembled the tube stock of the Finnish Army issue M62, but folded; the gun was chambered for 5.56. Galil mags fit, and so did the rare Galil M-16 mag adapter, and all that stuff went with it for $700, including a Fiskars bayonet. We don’t want to think about what it’s worth in 2013.
We regret selling that Valmet. But it was a period of civilian-side unemployment and no deployments or schools available in the soon-to-be-extinct USAR Special Forces. And we did hang on to the M62, so there is that.
Do you see a theme emerging here? We can’t exactly sing “Je ne regrette rien” along with Edith Piaf. With each sold gun sending us into Kubler-Ross’s five stages of grieving, we’ve gotten pretty, shall we say, gun-shy, at least about selling guns. Nowadays we Just Say No. If you want our guns, plan to outlive us and pick them up at the auction, assuming our heirs would rather have the money to invest in blow and hookers.
Now, not every gun rated a full memorial service and extra boxes of tissues around the house. There was the dreadful Stoeger .22 Luger. It looked a little bit like a Luger, complete with a cosmetic toggle on its blowback action, but not really like a Luger. Kind of like the difference between a female impersonator and a real female. It was about as reliable as a real female though — if the female you have in mind is Lindsay Lohan.
On the other other hand, Ms Lohan is rumored to swallow anything, and the Stoeger was a little picky about ammunition. It wouldn’t feed at all with some types, and it wouldn’t feed reliably with others. What would it feed with? At the time we disposed of it, we hadn’t found out, but had a pretty good list of experiments where the null hypothesis was sustained. (Example: “The Stoeger will not work with this crazy-expensive Eley Match, either.” It didn’t).
The Stoeger was made with a cheap, die-cast frame of aluminum or possibly Zamak or other Zinc alloy. The steel parts were almost all stampings, apart from the barrel. There was a completely different version of the Stoeger .22 Luger that more closely resembled the archetypal German service pistol. No idea if it is also unreliable, as the pot-metal-and-stamping version is.
In any event, the beastly Stoeger is not missed and does not stir pangs of regret at this address. In a strange coincidence, it went to the same fortunate fellow who scored the Walther P1, and for the same price: $50 including holster.
If he sold the Walther for what it’s worth now, he might be able to buy boxes of enough kinds of .22 to find one the Stoeger likes. Just goes to show you, good fortune has its limits.