What was your best military surplus buy in
I guess mine would have to be the Winchester, M1 .30 carbine I bought from a Pawn Shop above the station. I had had my eye on a H & R Snake Charmer compact .410 shotgun. Well back to the story, I had been checking this Pawn Shop every three days when I came on shift. They were in the process of closing and were marking down prices every couple of days trying to liquidate inventory. I had my eye on the shotgun but when I walked in and spotted the carbine my mouth started to water. I couldn't get to the gun counter fast enough. I walked to the counter, already knowing that if I could get the guy down to 300.00 I'd be leaving with it. I asked to see and sure enough it was a .30 carbine. I had been wanting one for a while but I was unsure of spending 450.00 to 600.00 on one at the gun show. When I checked the tag and saw the price of 195.00, I knew it was leaving with me. The guy behind the counter asked what I thought. I said "I think I'll take it, let's go ahead and do the paperwork on it" As I was getting $10.00 out to cover the background check He said, "Well let me tell you something, before you buy it I need to tell you that gun doesn't shoot." "What do you mean it doesn't shoot" I asked, I had been so greedy over my find I don't think I ever cycled the action. Come to find out they were so close to closing the doors that they were selling off their gunsmith specials. Guns that had some mechanical problems and needed to go to the shop but the place probably wouldn't be open by the time they were repaired. I remember asking what was wrong with the gun and him saying that he didn't know, that the bolt was locked up. Sure enough you could pull the bolt about 1/8" back before it "locked up" and wouldn't move any further. Here's were the bargaining began. He asked me if I still wanted it. I said, "Yeah, but I'm not gonna give $200.00 bucks for a gun that won't shoot." He asked, "What would you give for a gun that won't shoot?" I said, "I'll give you $150.00 out the door plus I'll pay the background check fee." He said something about not knowing if they could take $150.00 for it, that he'd have to check with his wife. Well, he came back and said "She said if the gun didn't shoot that you could have it for $150.00" Deal. We finished the paperwork, I was approved and paid them $160.00 and headed out the door with it and one 30rd mag. My partner looked at me and asked," Okay, What's wrong with it?" I replied it's put together wrong. The rotating bolt head was out of it's guide rails. Everytime you tried to pull the bolt handle back it would rotate the bolt head which would strike the guide rail and seize up. Nothing too serious, I hoped.
Later that day when I got off I stopped by my buddy Jim's house. Jim was a retired civilian police officer who had also retired from the Army after serving in an M.P. Company in Korea and S.E. Asia. I walked in with the rifle and Jim yelled from across the room, "I don't know what's wrong with it yet but I'll give you $300.00 for it." Not for sale Jim. I need help stripping it, if you don't help me I'll take my toy and go to Melvin's house and get his help. He just said, "Let me see it" Examining it. He replied," Gun's put together wrong" I knew that much, "help me fix it, would 'ya?" I handed him a screwdriver and within a couple of minutes he had the gun stripped and reassembled. Before I left Jim had made me strip, clean and reassemble it to make sure I had been paying attention.
I carried it to a gun show the following weekend to purchase a sling, oiler, spare magazines and some odds and ends for it. Before I got in the door I had three offers on it. Once inside I had several offers for it, including one for $700.00. That fellow became almost belligerent because I wouldn't sell it. One older gentleman, a veteran who had carried one in service, asked if he could see it. I handed it to him and he examined it. He gave me some history on it and complimented me on the condition and cleanliness of the gun. I thanked him and never told him how I came upon the gun. Thanks Jim...