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Curio & Relic/Black Powder Curio & Relics and Black Powder Firearms, Old School shooting fun!

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  #1  
Old 02-23-2011, 7:52 AM
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Default Bayonets and Surplus Military Rifles, what to look for?

Recently, I bought an M95. I've yet to shoot it, but I can't wait.

When I bought it, there was not an included bayonet. So, I bought one through J&G.
After it arrived, I got to thinking...(cat ladies have a brain too)
collecting military surplus rifles also means you would possibly be collecting bayonets!

With that said, what would one look for?
Condition; rust, gouges and etc... are obvious.
But is there anything else that would be overlooked?

My collection is going to be focusing on WW1-WWII rifles, which obviously have bayonets.
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Old 02-23-2011, 11:19 AM
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I FEEL YOUR PAIN!

(or pleasure)

I make a point to get the right bayonet (and if there are more than one model, the biggest scariest one that was issued) for the rifle at hand.

once you figure out what rifle you like, look at the various sites about that rifle, and then start viewing gunbroker ebay etc and see what you can drum up. a good thing to do with ebay especially: "tag" stuff you like for a month or two and see what the mean sale price is, then you can probably find that same thing on gunbroker for slightly under that, since GB has a smaller market.

i'm with you, i think the pre assault rifle, post musket era is in some ways defined by the bayonets, even though they were verifiably ineffective on the battlefield; they look. so. cool.

a gew98 with a "quillback"
a swiss 1911 with a 1914 pioneer sawback
a french berthier long rifle with the long type 2
etc etc

its cool, its part of it, i think you should get 'em!
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Old 02-23-2011, 12:12 PM
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Interesting question, OHOD. I don't have many bayonets but I have been looking closer at finding them and I too realized I don't know enough about them to know if I am getting a good deal or getting ripped off.
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Old 02-23-2011, 1:58 PM
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Originally Posted by Flyin Brian View Post
Interesting question, OHOD. I don't have many bayonets but I have been looking closer at finding them and I too realized I don't know enough about them to know if I am getting a good deal or getting ripped off.
Some bayonets have just as many variations as the rifles do. Take Arisaka bayonets, I can tell if it's for an Arisaka, but when it comes to where, and when it was made, I'm hopeless.

At least Imperial Russian and Soviet mosin bayonets are easy
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Old 02-25-2011, 10:11 PM
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As a collector, books are your best friend. My first bayonet book was Bayonets From Janzen's Notebook. I have more than 50 bayonet books and still recommend Janzen's as a first book (or the book to own if you only have one). There are also lots of bayonet sites with good info. There is no substitute for study.

With book in hand, eBay is a great learning tool, even if you never buy bayonets there. There are thousands of bayonets you can look at and practice identification. You'll have fun doing it and the exercise will help you figure out what to look for. I make most of my good finds at antique malls, gun shows, or on eBay.

Bayonet collectors desire many of the same attributes that rifle collectors look for: condition and originality. Lots of bayonets have been altered and this usually (but not always) drastically reduces their market value. You need to spot alterations and know their significance.

Some bayonet-specific things to consider: The blade should be unsharpened. Any sharpening reduces market value by roughly one third. Learn to spot the telltale marks from bubba's grinder in photos and pass on these. It almost always costs more to buy a naked blade, then add a scabbard later. Solo scabbards are hard to find and pricey. The scabbard is typically 40 percent of a bayonet's value, so pay accordingly for a naked blade. If you find a solo scabbard cheap, buy it. You can always find an inexpensive naked blade or sell it at a profit. Don't buy bayonets with damaged or missing parts. Bayonet parts are not easily available, like rifle parts. Restoration projects are a waste of time and money.

Your timing is pretty good. Prices have softened in the sour economy and lots of good stuff is turning up for sale. The key is to know what you're looking at, so you can identify the gold nuggets that sellers failed to recognize and other buyers have passed by.

Lastly, be forewarned. Bayonets can be addicting
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Old 02-26-2011, 12:07 AM
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I have spent the last few days poking over the Ebay listings, and it is amazing how many different variations of Mauser bayonets there are.

I wanted a Bayonet to fit my Russian Capture K98, For some odd reason it bugs me to have a rifle with a bayonet lug without having a bayonet to put on it. I am not overly concerned with having an original matching bayonet, while it would be nice, Nazi bayonets seem to start at about $80, and I don't really want to spend that much on it. I ended up with a nice Czech VZ24 for about $50 shipped.

Only need one more, unfortunately it is a fairly rare one, an Enfield #5. I will probably end up with a repro, real ones make Nazi marked Mauser bayonets look cheap.

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Originally Posted by marysdad View Post
Some bayonet-specific things to consider: The blade should be unsharpened. Any sharpening reduces market value by roughly one third. Learn to spot the telltale marks from bubba's grinder in photos and pass on these.
Why? Didn't the troops these things were issued to use them?

It is also interesting to notice some bayonets were designed to have the edge facing up when mounted on the rifle, and some are made to face down. I wonder what the reasoning was.
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Old 02-26-2011, 2:03 AM
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emcon,
An unsharpened bayonet does more damage, don't forget when it goes in, it's got the weight of the rifle and all the power a fit young soldier can muster. The difference in sharpened/unsharpened bayonets gets interesting with some types/models, for example an Australian 1907 with the top part of the point clearly field sharpened, adds considerably to the value around here as it normally indicates New Guinea service 1942-45. The Czech mauser bayonet has the blade uppermost, the barrel ring (silly Germans removed them) makes a better handguard if being used as a trench knife, also very effective when used the way the Czechs were taught, stick the bayonet in, then "drop" the butt of the rifle a couple of inches, using the hand holding the forend of the rifle as the fulcrum of a lever. It does a hell of a lot of damage and you normally don't have the pull the trigger to get the SOB off the end of your rifle.
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Old 02-26-2011, 8:19 AM
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A nice VZ-24 bayonet should dress up your RC 98k just fine.

Patience and persistence are important collecting strategies. About a year and a half back, I picked up a really nice No. 5 bayonet, in a wartime scabbard, on eBay for $79 shipped. I'm not very well financed, so almost never pay full price for anything. I keep a mental list of bayonets I'm looking for and snag them as they come along, whenever I find them going cheap. You have to wait, but your patience is rewarded.

As to why bayonets aren't sharpened: The bayonet is a thrusting weapon, not a slashing weapon. It works just as well, regardless of whether or not it has a sharp edge. Sharpened bayonets result in too many accidental injuries. Since sharpening doesn't offer any advantage when it comes to dealing with the enemy, most armies ordered they not be sharpened. There are a few exceptions, but that's the general rule.
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Old 02-26-2011, 9:59 AM
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Sharpened would be easier cutting, easier cutting is easier repair. I think that's a reason why they changed the bayonet shape on some as well. A knife will make a relatively easy repair for a doctor. A star shape leaves lots of different areas damaged, so much less easy to repair, and much faster blood loss.
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Old 02-26-2011, 10:46 AM
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Bayonet collecting can get REAL expensive! Some cost more than the rifle.
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Old 02-26-2011, 11:03 AM
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If your like me, the problem continues after you find the bayonet for your rifle. Now you will need to buy the scabbard, then the ammo pouches, then a helmet...
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Old 02-26-2011, 12:28 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by blackfalcon View Post
Bayonet collecting can get REAL expensive! Some cost more than the rifle.
seems to be very nearly the case for the Gew98 bayonets. a good sawback or a unit marked Quillback can be as much as a crappy g98.

i'd say the best looking, baddest assiest looking bayos for the money are the Swiss Pioneer Sawbacks, which fit the G and K11s and the K31s. they can be absolutely perfectly shiny mint condition and are under 200 last i checked.

french yataghan bayos for the chassepot are also great and relatively affordable. indeed, most french bayonets are great and they seem to all be relatively cheap.
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Old 02-26-2011, 2:47 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by marysdad View Post
As to why bayonets aren't sharpened: The bayonet is a thrusting weapon, not a slashing weapon. It works just as well, regardless of whether or not it has a sharp edge. Sharpened bayonets result in too many accidental injuries. Since sharpening doesn't offer any advantage when it comes to dealing with the enemy, most armies ordered they not be sharpened. There are a few exceptions, but that's the general rule.
Interesting. I have 3 knife-type bayonets, and the Czech is the first that did not have an edge. The other 2, a U.S. M5 and a Swede Mauser both came from distributors, and I doubt they sharpened them.

A soldier living in the field would have a fair amount of use for a knife, I would think it would get more general use as a knife than as a fixed bayonet.

I kind of want to get a Persian one, with a ~16" blade, those things are more like a gladius than a bayonet.
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