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  #1  
Old 05-07-2018, 10:56 AM
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Default Finnish M39 Overhyped?

Hey guys,

A while back I picked up a Sako M39 after hearing about all of its mythical wonder powers. And I have to say... I've been quite disappointed the few times I've taken it out. I wasn't expecting it to be nearly as nice as my K31 or Mausers but it's actually way worse and more unreliable than my Tula M44 and I'm hoping you guys have some insight as to what I can do to make it better.

1st shoot) Took it out to test fire it. Didn't clean it before hand. Shot crappy Red Army Standard ammo through it. After the first shot, bolt seized and had to hammer it open with a wood block. Then, every other shot it would seize again. And it was shooting all over the place - even benched, one shot would go 6 inches or so high, another would go 5 feet to the left, another 10 inches to the right. It was bad.

2nd shoot) Cleaned the hell out of it, got all the cosmoline out. Disassembled the bolt, checked the extractor, etc. Bore looked nice with good rifling. Took it out again, this time with S&B ammo. Shot high and to the right for the first 10 or so shots and then after it got warmer it just started shooting all over the place inconsistently again. Bolt got stuck on extracting a couple of times, but not as much.

3rd shoot) Did another deep clean of it. Took it back out and shot PPU ammo through it. Same results as day 2.

I'm at a loss here. The inconsistency between shots made me think it's key holing but the bore looks fine. So I'm not even sure where to start. My M44, even with Red Army Standard ammo shoots pretty consistently and I've only had the sticky bolt problem maybe five times out of a couple years of regularly shooting it. And never nearly as sticky as the M39 bolt.
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Old 05-07-2018, 11:03 AM
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Surplus 146grn light ball. Problems solved.
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Old 05-07-2018, 11:07 AM
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They seem to like steel case ammo, I've had good luck with some bronze colored mildly coorrosive ammo from Romania and Winchester Brass cased ammo.
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Old 05-07-2018, 11:34 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by quadmx301 View Post
Surplus 146grn light ball. Problems solved.
I'll give that a go - were the Finnish mosins meant for the lighter weight projectiles? The PPU I'm shooting is 182 gr and the S&B is 180.

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Originally Posted by colt11 View Post
They seem to like steel case ammo, I've had good luck with some bronze colored mildly coorrosive ammo from Romania and Winchester Brass cased ammo.
The steel cased RAS was causing it to jam but I'll try to find other steel-cased, non-magnetic ammos.

Funny, unrelated story - I have a Tula SKS as well and it's... an SKS. Nothing great, but fun and reliable. However, nonmagnetic 7.62x39 is getting pretty hard to find unless you get the brass case PPU stuff. First time I shot it, it was really weird to load brass in it. And waddya know - the only two times I've ever had failures to eject were with that brass ammo!
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Old 05-07-2018, 11:48 AM
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If I saw that much variation in shot grouping then I would "slug the barrel". It's not a difficult process and I just use lead egg sinkers from the fishing tackle isle, and an oak dowel. I can't recall the weight of sinker for 22 cal vs 30 cal.
You get more than the bore diameter. I had one Mosin were the sinker got tight then loose then tight then loose going down the barrel. That's not a good sign of bore quality. Should be consistent resistance all the down the barrel.
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Old 05-07-2018, 11:55 AM
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Definitely overhyped. Nothing but a dime a dozen glorified Big 5 Mosin Nagant with a prettier stock. The fact that it failed to perform well with premium match ammunition like Red Army Standard is just further proof of an inferior weapons platform.

The stories of Finnish snipers terrorizing Russian infantrymen and inflicting hugely disproportionate casualties during the winter war were mostly just boogie man stories bellowed over megaphones to Russian conscripts on their way to the front.
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Old 05-07-2018, 12:19 PM
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one way of fixing the stuck casings after firing, or stuck bolt?

I wipe a very light coat of Ballistol or WD40 on the ammo before use, this keeps it from sticking and the bolt opens easier.
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Old 05-07-2018, 1:02 PM
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Problem isn't the ammo, it's the chamber and the crap that's in it. Even if you can't see it, it's there. Remove the stock, and hose the chamber with carb cleaner to soften up the cosmolene and lacquer from the surplus ammo cases. Then burnish the chamber. If you haven't done that before, just ask how.
When you remove the stock, look for shims under the action, they may or may not be there. Look in the barrel channel near the muzzle for any evidence of a piece of greased felt. Both were used by the Finn arsenals to accurize the M39 when needed.
The shims were used to semi float the action/barrel. The felt was used to dampen the barrel harmonics.
Re-assemble, tightening the front action screw first, then rear, then install handguard.
M39's have a longer throat than most other Mosins for heavy ball ammo. Some shoot light ball with good groups, but the dozen or so I've owned all shot better with the heavier bullets.
Take it out and shoot it, check the front action screw every few shots to make sure it isn't working loose. If all that doesn't cure your issues, you have something else wrong, and that can be cured as well.
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Old 05-07-2018, 1:29 PM
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And for the bolt - make sure you've cleaned all the cosmoline out of it. It wasn't a good idea to take it to the range before cleaning, as it might've caked, but you can still clean it out.
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Old 05-07-2018, 1:48 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by nick View Post
And for the bolt - make sure you've cleaned all the cosmoline out of it. It wasn't a good idea to take it to the range before cleaning, as it might've caked, but you can still clean it out.
This in spades. If the bolt is still sticking after the second cleaning, I'd guess a third cleaning is in order. While "sweating" the stock and handguard is recommended for liquefying cosmoline, I've found it a useful method to get the last little bit of gunk out of the bolt and chamber as well. Wrapping the action and bolt separately in black plastic garbage bags and leaving them in the sun for a few hours does wonders.

OP, thanks for the laugh with "Didn't clean it beforehand, shot crappy ammo out of it, yet disappointed with the accuracy" comment.
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Old 05-07-2018, 1:48 PM
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I don't have one but I've shot a friends. It performed well but I couldn't really tell the difference between it, and a well maintained mosin. The trick I've found with any mosin, make sure you break them all the way down and clean every bit of cosmo out, especially the bolt, magazine, and chamber.
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Old 05-07-2018, 2:01 PM
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I think the Finn rifles deserve their accolades. My ‘42 Sako is in rough external condition, yet can shoot 1 1/4 minute groups with 146 grn 40s surplus ball.

However, I feel that the re-workmanship of the furniture and hardware done by the Finns is likely the source for their popularity. They’re very pretty looking, that’s for sure.
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Old 05-07-2018, 2:57 PM
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I have a 44 Sako, and it outshoots my Russian sniper, and also my Finnish m28/30. It has a very good bore, and is one of the last rifles I would ever part with. I have shot it with Czech, Chinese, Russian, Yugo, u name it, and it performs all the time great. Now, don't know if all of them shoot as well as mine, but this m39 is a keeper.
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Old 05-07-2018, 5:20 PM
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Clean it better and tighten your action screws. Also, just because some models of rifles have a good reputation doesn't mean individual examples will be good. Remember these are used firearms, that have been through multiple wars in many cases, passed hands through different countries, and stored for decades in possibly bad conditions. Is your bore worn out by the muzzle? Damage to the crown? Pitting in the chamber? Hard for us to tell without seeing your rifle in person
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Old 05-07-2018, 6:23 PM
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I noticed the lacquer coated casings tend to stick in the chamber more than the brass type

are you using the brass cased ammo or lacquer coated steel cases?
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Old 05-07-2018, 6:59 PM
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I think the Finns really like the 200gr projectiles. Im impressed with it (1.5 moa PPU match) iron sights.

Did you try Mojo sights, they really help.
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Old 05-07-2018, 7:02 PM
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some guns are picky with magazines and ammo for example my ww2 p38 will jam and struggle to feed steal case but feeds brass just fine. In the case of ammo the powder of load and weight of a bullet determines how fast or heavy the round will be once fired.

when I first got my Yugo m48 I could not hit a dam thing I let a stranger use it and he kept hitting dead center. My problem was I was not managing the recoil properly and jerking the gun. due to my upper body strength I could hold a heavy rifle up for a good 30 seconds and fire accurately while managing recoil, meaning I have 30 seconds only between shots before my arms wobbles.

keep in mind that gun was designed to shoot captured russian surplus ammunition which was made from crappy materials. The new ammunition is refined and have stronger tolerances. You need to factor the environment plus ammunition, your barrel may be slightly canted or the sight may be off.

to be honest ammo is ammo and once it goes bang you will have a empty shell. Unless you plan on being a top notch sniper I wouldn't worry about hitting dead center with a inch to spare while exactly missing the flaw in the target that is next to the line (see how specific that was). With the caliber of 54R anything you hit the target is going down.

if all fails and you want to ditch the rifle in a dump let me know where so I can pick it up.
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Old 05-07-2018, 9:07 PM
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Ok..... $350?
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Old 05-08-2018, 1:47 AM
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I've had great results with handloaded PPU brass and 150gr PPU projectiles in mine.
It'll do MOA or close to it if you do your part.

Not all will shoot the same though- check the screws are tight, barrel crown is good, etc.

I have an M28/30 which shot like crap (for a 28-30) with ,308 loads (which it's supposed to shoot), but is a damn tack driver with .311 PRVI projectiles. I was about to sell it too.

If you get sick of messing with the 39 though, I'm a buyer at the right price

Bring it to one of the West End C&R shoots, and you can run a couple rounds of my ammo through it if you're close.
There's a chance your chamber and barrel are tight. If you run .311 (standard surplus) through a 28/30 with a .308 bore, the first sign something isn't right is a sticky bolt handle and hard extraction (overpressure).
I'd welcome a 39 which shoots .308 projectiles since I handload. Lots of shooters would prefer the .311 to blow off surplus in.
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Old 05-08-2018, 10:02 AM
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Okay so I'll slug the bore and see if it's even. I will say the boring does look good, though, but maybe the barrel is uneven.

It's just crazy that my junky wartime M44 that I've had for years and maybe have cleaned once has been more reliable than this fine piece of Finnish excellence!

At the very least the Sako wood does look gorgeous on the wall.
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Old 05-08-2018, 4:58 PM
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Default Finnish M39 Overhyped?

Quote:
Originally Posted by Bobby Ricigliano View Post
Definitely overhyped. Nothing but a dime a dozen glorified Big 5 Mosin Nagant with a prettier stock. The fact that it failed to perform well with premium match ammunition like Red Army Standard is just further proof of an inferior weapons platform.

The stories of Finnish snipers terrorizing Russian infantrymen and inflicting hugely disproportionate casualties during the winter war were mostly just boogie man stories bellowed over megaphones to Russian conscripts on their way to the front.

While I will agree the M/39 is overhyped I have to disagree about the marksmanship ability of the Finns. They were outnumbered 100 to 1. They needed to make every shot count.

As for the ammo D166 is 200 grain that is what they like best.

Make sure the action screws and crossbolt are tight but not overtightened. Check the barrel bands too. Make sure it wasn't shimmed at some point and someone removed them. Double check the crown. They are better at 200 yards than 100. They are sighted in at low of 150. Start out at 25yds and see where you are grouping. IMO the M/28-30 is a more accurate rifle and the rifle of choice for the greatest sniper of all time.


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Old 05-08-2018, 5:57 PM
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I love my VKT m39, it shoots .308 168 grain bthps 2moa with iron sights. I have no complaints about it at all.
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Old 05-08-2018, 6:27 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by loganob831 View Post
M44 that I've had for years and maybe have cleaned once
Wait... What?!?!
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Old 05-08-2018, 10:39 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by TheSpaceNeedle View Post
Wait... What?!?!
Yeah I know I prioritize cleaning and by the time I get to the M44 I just push it back again and again... and again...

...and again...

It hasn't been the biggest issue because I don't really shoot it all that much anymore. Especially because now nonmagnetic 7.62x54r is almost as expensive as the 7.5 Swiss for my K31
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Old 05-09-2018, 5:23 AM
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Default There might be something to this

Itís my understanding that the Soviet invasion forces were so unprepared and poorly led that it was like shooting fish in a barrel for the Finns.
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Old 05-09-2018, 5:33 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Sutcliffe View Post
Itís my understanding that the Soviet invasion forces were so unprepared and poorly led that it was like shooting fish in a barrel for the Finns.
That is true too. First major battle machine gunners freaked out from how many they killed.

You can't take away marksmanship ability of most Finns. They hunted to eat. You suck at shooting you don't get meat.

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Old 05-09-2018, 5:38 AM
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Finns also had some of the best marksmanship teams in the world. They improved on target rifles multiple times. They also had the best long distance runners up until the early 80s. Learned that from Prefontaine movies

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Old 05-09-2018, 6:23 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by capt14k View Post
IMO the M/28-30 is a more accurate rifle and the rifle of choice for the greatest sniper of all time.
Actually, the greatest sniper of all time, Major Koenig, preferred a ZF-4 equipped K98. It has been well documented and is clearly seen in this rare German newsreel screen capture. I believe the image was colorized post war:

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Old 05-09-2018, 7:13 AM
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OP, you said you didn't clean it the first time you shot it, was it fresh off the boat or had it be owned and cleaned by someone else?
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Old 05-09-2018, 7:29 AM
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I have owned several M39's over the years and when I could buy them for a hundred bucks or so I thought they were an okay deal. At the current prices I will never own another.

To me they are nothing more than a heavy Mosin with a clunky action. Once I got my hands on my first M96 Swede I never looked back and sold off all three of my M39's (1 VKT and two SKY's). I recently picked up a K31 Swiss rifle and I am FAR more impressed with it than I ever was with the M39's.

So, to answer the Op's question, yes they are way, way overhyped. They are a fine $100 rifle, maybe a buck fifty if you really want one, but certainly not for the current asking prices. I guess if you collect Mosins you should have one in your collection, but otherwise I would pass.

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Old 05-09-2018, 7:54 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by omega View Post
one way of fixing the stuck casings after firing, or stuck bolt?

I wipe a very light coat of Ballistol or WD40 on the ammo before use, this keeps it from sticking and the bolt opens easier.
No no no that increases bolt thrust.
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Old 05-09-2018, 7:56 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Bobby Ricigliano View Post
Actually, the greatest sniper of all time, Major Koenig, preferred a ZF-4 equipped K98. It has been well documented and is clearly seen in this rare German newsreel screen capture. I believe the image was colorized post war:

Koenig was so awesome that even today's movie stars look like him.
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Old 05-09-2018, 8:07 AM
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I love mine!!



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Old 05-09-2018, 8:13 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Bobby Ricigliano View Post
Actually, the greatest sniper of all time, Major Koenig, preferred a ZF-4 equipped K98. It has been well documented and is clearly seen in this rare German newsreel screen capture. I believe the image was colorized post war:

And yet, even he was taken down by lowly Private Zaytsev, shooting a POS Mosin Nagant

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Old 05-09-2018, 8:16 AM
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I love mine!!





Thatís cheating. You snuck a M/24 in there lol.


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Old 05-09-2018, 8:16 AM
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I love mine!!
Me Too!

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Old 05-09-2018, 8:19 AM
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I always thought Mosins overhyped. I love my M39 but don't like its bolt which is just like any other Mosin bolt. Sights, stock, accuracy, finish are all a lot better on mine than numerous M44's, 91/30. 91/30 has a better trigger. Just talking about my rifles, I'm not a Mosin expert. I never paid more than $140 for one... and that was the mirror bored VKT M39. After that the next most expensive one is probably the 91/30 I got from a Big 5 after the prices started to get ridiculous for those things.
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Old 05-09-2018, 8:22 AM
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Me Too!

Wow! Nice collection.
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Old 05-09-2018, 8:48 AM
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Originally Posted by crufflers View Post
I always thought Mosins overhyped. I love my M39 but don't like its bolt which is just like any other Mosin bolt. Sights, stock, accuracy, finish are all a lot better on mine than numerous M44's, 91/30. 91/30 has a better trigger. Just talking about my rifles, I'm not a Mosin expert. I never paid more than $140 for one... and that was the mirror bored VKT M39. After that the next most expensive one is probably the 91/30 I got from a Big 5 after the prices started to get ridiculous for those things.
Most Mosins are junk. Exception are Finns. Especially M/28-30 and M/39. Of course the M/34, M/27-66, M/28-57, M/28-76, and M/85 are tack drivers. There aren't too many better triggers out than than that of M/85. Some M/27-66 had the same trigger added.



Sounds like you paid less for rifles than I did for a trigger. Times have changed.

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Old 05-09-2018, 10:06 AM
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crufflers crufflers is offline
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Originally Posted by capt14k View Post
Sounds like you paid less for rifles than I did for a trigger. Times have changed.

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IIRC I've paid $29 for Mosins and $40 for Mausers... $40 Mauser is my best minty bored shooter. The Mosins are OK M44's that shoot great for M44's. If you pay under $50 for a rifle with a bolt that feels like that, you probably don't hold them in super high regard, IMHO. Maybe I'd like them more if they were $350, hahah. Ultra rare!!!

Now the Mauser was probably as underpriced and undervalued as you can get.
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