Letter Re: Knob Creek After Action Report, Fall 2013

The weather at Knob Creek was great, the dust was minimal and the travel was above average.  The car ran fine, I didn’t die a fiery death and the CV joints only started making noise and going bad after I got home. Yeah!

Best price I saw on .308 ammo was Military Shooters Supply, Inc. with PMC and Lake City (the 2 loose packed boxes I examined all had 2005 head stamps, (de-linked I imagine) for $340 per 500rd. They had PMC 55gr .223 $389/1000 and 68gr 5.56 $429/1000. Brown Bear 7.62×39  $119/500. Pat’s Reloading prices were not as good as a show or two ago and was a little higher than usual with most of their Israeli .223 tracers coming in the $$00-450/1000 range (last time I bought some it was cheaper than all the ball ammo).  5.45 commie ammo was still exorbitant compared to a year ago at $220/1280 tin, $440 case of two tins (this was relatively strange as either J&G Sales or Century has it on their web site currently for $179 a spam can).  7.62x54R is still hanging in there at $90/440tin, 2 tins for $160. Pat’s Reloading had some Israeli 9mm SMG ball and tracer but all I remember is thinking it was a little high and I would wait for the next show.  Either Pat’s or Military shooters had some .30 Cal Carbine Lake City for $199/500 and the 20 rd boxes looked old and worn so they couldn’t have just come from sealed spam cans.

No .22 rimfire to be seen except for one forlorn guy selling American Eagle .22 for $50 a brick by the entrance gate. In my home area I have found some here and there for $25- $35 plus tax.  Haven’t seen much for a while but there was some pallets of .303 British and 8mm Romanian Mauser that must have come out of some dark corner of a warehouse. I think the spam can of 8mm was $240/$420 for a case from Century and a few others. That’s enough to give you a nervous twitch in your eye, but where else are you going to get it? A lot of places, soon, I hope.
 
I heard one dealer tell another (neither of whom were selling ammo) that the prices of ammo were dropping like a rock and all the dealers were afraid of losing their u know what. That should be somewhat encouraging for the readership.  I saw a bunch of small dealers with a couple of cases holding out hope that someone would pay $475-$600 for a case of .223 good/better stuff.   On my return trip I passed through a Scheel’s superstore that had Federal .223/55 gr for $430/1,000. A Gander Mountain store had the same stuff as far as I could see, for $599/1000. The Scheel’s also had federal .308 $360/500, so there is some price differences to be taken advantage of depending on your locale. Apex Gun Parts (or someone next to them?) was selling USGI M118 sniper ammo for $660/600 and had a pallet load of it.

Someone must have unloaded a warehouse full of Sten gun stuff out of the Middle East,  Mk II kits that were selling for $400 are now $120 from APEX.  Centerfire systems also have a ton of converted 20 round Sten mags for $5 that are not all that bad for having sat in crates for 40 years.  These mags are exactly the same length as the standard 32 rd mags and have 4 brass pins driven through them. The two at the top are through the magazine housing and I don’t know what their function was other than if the mag body and the feed lips and mag stop may have been two separated pieces and locked into place by two brass pins that are ground off flush with the outside and inside of the mag body. Two other pins were driven through the mag body about an inch to an inch and a half from the bottom of the magazine. The protruding parts of the pins are then bent flush with the mag in a rounded fashion.  I believe that these two bottom pins can simply be removed and the magazine easily restored to their full capacity glory. The only thing that would make this impractical is if some Middle East armory worker snipped the mag spring as well and used the two pins as a base to rest the mag spring on. That seems like a disaster waiting to happen but how often do you find a finely designed and operating piece of equipment that comes from the Middle East? The answer: Outside of Israel, never.

Another fine piece of sage wisdom was proffered by someone’s mother or grandmother working the Centerfire table as I looked through the boxes of Sten gun mags. She interjected several times to tell me “their all the same” as if I had requested her advice. Ah, I beg to differ, blue haired fount of SMG wisdom, all mags are not created equal, as you can plainly see, all those rusty ones there look like hell. And when they stop making feed lips that get bent out of shape I will lend some credence to your overbearing, annoying and unsolicited advice and hovering.

A word to the wise here, I don’t know how they got this stuff in the country (other than the barrels are obviously missing), but I wouldn’t wait for the prices to go up again.  Less desirable Sten Mk III kits are still hanging around at the $79-89 and full 32rd mags seem to be close to $20. This large lot may put some pressure on the prices, which would be welcome, but who knows?

Magazines 
Bad news for all FAL owners, DSA has run out of used Austrian metric FAL mags. They claim to have no more left in the warehouse and sold the last two 1000 mag crates to a dealer at the show who consciously sold them for $5 (where they should be).  To that dealer in the back to whom I gave $200, you’re my hero.  Here I spent the last couple of updates complaining about DSA’s $10 used mag prices and you made my dreams come true: 2006 pricing on FAL mags. Unfortunately, they are probably all gone by now. DSA had a few used things here and there, but is seems to be all new production for FALs for the foreseeable future. DSA marked 20 rounders were $20 and 30rounders were $25.  I am sure that there are some minor stashes of used FAL mags out there but they are going to much smaller and harder to find.  I did buy some trigger US compliance parts from DSA last show. When I got home, all of them were plainly marked USA/DSA markings except for one package. I have no idea whether they were imported parts or USA ones and I forgot to bring it back this show to exchange. The parts looked new but who wants to take a chance with the current crazed imitations of law enforcement on the prowl out there.

Copes Distributing had noticeably less AR mag product available versus last time and no Checkmate (“CMI”) M14 mags. However, they did have a blow out on Gen 2 Magpul mags for $10 (everyone else had them for $13-14) Their Gen 3’s with the nifty little attached dust cover were $14 ($20 from the manufacturer).  I made a tactical shopping error in only getting ½ dozen of the Gen 2 ones in favor of the D&H Tactical aluminum mags with the Magpul no-tilt followers also for $10 bucks. When I went by a couple hours later, the couple of cases Magpuls were all gone. I like the Magpuls, troops returning from the sandbox swear by them, but, I can’t get the disappointment of Thermolds and other synthetic Canadian and Israeli mags out of my mind (I still have a dozen or so of them with various cracked body parts that I was going to cannibalize), therefore, the D&H fixation, I can pound a dent back out of those magazines. I did see several dealers with small bags of the Magpul no-tilt followers for retrofitting those crappy black, orange and sickly green USGI followers of the last few years. They came in a 3-pack for $7 which seems kind of steep and daunting when you’re looking at retrofitting 100 to 200 mags.  I am sure that somewhere out there they can probably be purchased by the 100 or a gross for a lot less money. Long live the no-tilt follower, anyone without them will just have to suffer from inopportune jams. (Seriously, I wouldn’t even think of not using these when my life was on the line or in snowy or sandy areas.)  Centerfire Systems had some Korean AK mags new for $9 and someone else had some used Polish mags for $20.  Last show some mathematically challenged individual refused to be convinced that 3 AK mags for $30 on sale was a totally different final price when you purchased 6. The guy exhausted me and made my brain hurt and I finally gave up and took the 6 mags back home for a buddy for $30.

Parts
More bad news for FAL owners, Dan the FAL guy sold off all his stock to some undetermined derelict somewhere (who will undoubtedly quadruple the prices) and has almost nothing left. They told me the Steyr barrel on the table was the last one they had.  So I guess he no longer has any nomenclature to identify him, other than Dan the Zombie t-shirt seller or Dan the purveyor of Dominican cigars. Until we can get some FAL’s past the anti-freedom coalition in Austria and Australia and not have them cut into pieces, the heyday of FAL building is a thing of the past. You could build one from scratch using DSA and other manufacturers, but there is a whole lot of difference between $600 and $1600. The only real kits out there seem to be the Argentinean ones for $500-600 (some do not come with barrels) so you’re looking at $800 to start for an ordinary retail individual to build one.

CMMG out of Fayette, Missouri had the best prices on lower parts kits for AR’s at $50. Most others were $60-69 and I have to believe that in its basic form, all the pins and springs come from the same place.  So I’m looking at AR parts at the J&T table and I run into a show dealer friend of mine and inquired why he used J&T.  “I like their quality and they treat me right, and they should, I bought almost a million dollars’ worth of stuff through them (I assume since he has been in business?). Ok, then as he is leaving with several armfuls of upper assemblies, he tells the guy there to treat me right, that he (meaning me) is with him. So I asked for a 6 position stock and all the rear end of the gun with an ambidextrous sling washer thingy.   The guy brings it all over and puts it together and is hemming and hawing between $60 and $70 something. I have a $50 in my hand and hold it out to him and he said “alright, $50 bucks”.  So I probably saved $50 bucks by that guy vouching for me. Of course I could have saved $50 in gas by staying home and paying full retail online, but whatever, that wouldn’t have been much fun.

One table had some CETME kits (minus the barrel) for $125, which one dealer nearby said was about a hundred dollars too much since he thought G3s/CETMEs were a horrible mechanical mess. That kind of deflated my interest and I reaffirmed to myself that a I was a FAL and M1A guy and to not get distracted. I don’t know for sure, but this would lead me to believe that one could possibly purchase a receiver in the $300 range and do a CETME build for under $500? Someone else may have more direct knowledge of this than I do.

Miscellaneous

I saw lots of cases of USGI spec MREs for $50 to $69 each.

I found some 7.62 (147 gr) API projectiles from a dealer that were listed for $1.25 apiece. Most of the bags were 250 or 500 packs. But in digging around I found 3 baggies that had odd numbers of projectiles. One of them only had eight in it (don’t ask me why) and together they added up to 72. I talked the guy down to $50.

I moseyed up to a private sale going down as I spotted a fine FAL specimen begging for attention. This guy had a nicely put together Argentinean FAL on a Coonan receiver and was asking $850 by the sign hanging off the barrel. What piqued my interest was when the owner said to a potential purchaser “you’re gonna queer this deal over $25?” Not me, I was all ears, he had me at sight of a FAL and “$25”. I lustfully caressed the weapon with my eyeballs as I waited for these two schmucks to head off into the sunset. Alas, it was not to be as the other guy finally talked his friend into it as I was nearing exasperation.

I did have a first at this show. As I am talking to this ex-Green Beret sniper, he reaches out past me to tap this geezer with a WWII veteran hat on, and making his way with his walker, to thank him for his service. To both of our surprise he said he didn’t serve in the US military. When he said he was from Canada, I just had this feeling he was going to say he served in the Wehrmacht. But he didn’t, he served in a Canadian Regiment and was in one of the first waves at Juno Beach on D-Day. I resisted the urge to ask if Sean Connery played him in The Longest Day and we found out that he was there to shoot some Lewis and Bren machineguns before he died. A pleasant experience to have met him and his wife, to say the least.   

This Green Beret was telling me that when President Bush came to his base for Thanksgiving, he sent all the FBI and Secret Service guys over for a good time at the range not too far from the mess hall where the President was serving dinner. Fast forward to 2010 when the great imposter shows up at the base he was stationed at. The bolts were taken out of every gun on the base and put under lock and key. Even the guards out front at the gates didn’t have a functioning weapon. You have got to give this Marxist his due he knows his audience, and the history of tin pot dictators who were disposed of by prompt military action by a group of motivated Colonels.

So this Green Beret is discussing some guerrilla warfare with me and he offers up his opinion that The Powers That Be won’t give a fig about what happens out in the countryside, they know that whomever controls the cities controls the country (as you can obviously see the Marxist cities of America are currently in control of the political class.)  He also said that they would probably send the starving hordes of urban slum dwellers out into the countryside to fight the decent people in order to get food rations issued to them. Left unanswered due to customer interruptions, was how The Powers That Be would feed this assortment of human debris that would be used to suppress freedom without controlling substantial portions of food producing areas or incentives for farmers to sell (beyond food raids and coercion, of course.).

Shotgun News’s drawing for free weapons took place in the afternoon before I got around to registering. Too bad, I would have liked to have a .50 cal BMG rifle. Lance, the purveyor of exotic books and videos was a no show on Friday but there was an empty spot so I don’t know if he came later. I was talking with some fellows about Century and J&G Sales. They used to bring a ton of products and really move it. Century used to have a large area and racks upon racks of Mosins, Mausers, Nagant pistols, etc. You would see tons of people with them slung over their shoulders 3-8 in a bunch. I haven’t seen that for six years and I hear their overseas sources of product are drying up. J&G doesn’t seem to bring nearly the quantity of products they used to and neither them nor Century seems to set the bottom price like they used to. Oh well times change. Speaking of that the elevated observation deck with stands on top of the building is no more and another level has been added and the stands are now off to the side. The huge machine shed is gradually being encased in concrete pads and block. The place is beginning to lose its free for all flea market look. In a certain way it’s starting to resemble a regular large gun show except for some of the product for sale and the occasional blowout or bargain bin at prices you just have to buy some for.  For me it’s still a one stop shopping experience and I am bound to find things I won’t locally.  The number of visible Kentucky militia and re-enactors has noticeably dropped. I especially noticed the absence of the WWII American camp outside the gates complete with vehicles, machineguns and howitzers. There is usually only one Huey giving helicopter rides anymore. It’s still a good time and one you should try if you ever get the chance. – E.T.

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