I often have folks ask me where they can buy guns “without a paper trail.” This is not a big problem for some of us: Just go to a gun show and buy only from private parties. But this is a real dilemma for folks in those Blue States with the nasty Schumeresque gun laws. (Like “Kalifornia” and “Neu Jersey.”) One great alternative is buying shootable cartridge guns that were made in or before 1898. These “pre-1899” guns are outside of Federal jurisdiction, and hence can be shipped across state lines without the usual FFL paperwork. (Consult your state and local laws before placing an order.) You can read my FAQ on Pre-1899 guns for some details.
One of our SurvivalBlog advertisers, The Pre-1899 Specialist has a great selection of hand-picked and custom re-built pre-1899 rifles. Another good source is Dennis Kroh at Empire Arms, but I’ve noticed that most of his potentially practical/tactical guns sell out very quickly. For pre-1899 revolvers, try either Jim Supica, who runs The Arm Chair Gun Show or The Pre-1899 Specialist for a smaller albeit more unusual selection.
I also occasionally notice some nice pre-1899 rifles and handguns at the Internet gun auction sites such as AuctionArms.com and GunBroker.com. For example, take a look at these current AuctionArms auctions:
A Swedish Mauser Model 1896 (6.5 x55) made in 1898 (very rare): http://www.auctionarms.com/search/displayitem.cfm?itemnum=7050839
A Mosin Nagant Finnish (re-work) 7.62 x 54R: http://www.auctionarms.com/search/displayitem.cfm?itemnum=7068842
A Model 1895 (Chilean Contract) Ludwig Loewe Mauser Model 1895 7 x57: http://www.auctionarms.com/search/displayitem.cfm?itemnum=7066061
Although the auction prices tend to run high, if you are persistent you can find some bargains that are also Federally exempt.