P320 Entry: Bored With Your Guns? You Need a Curio & Relics FFL

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By Clayton K.

We see a lot of the latest and greatest on this website, but even as a youngster myself, I can appreciate that, in some cases, they just don’t build them like they used to. Take, for example, this beautiful Yugoslavian Tokarev, model 1957. Based on a Russian design, it’s durable to a fault, fires an impressive and inexpensive round, and holds nine rounds in the magazine, which is even greater than a SIG Sauer P220 . . .

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Or, this great example of a Mosin Nagant M91/30, which, like the SCAR-17 and other, more modern battle rifles, fires an extremely effective round, is very easy to maintain, is built like a main battle tank, and weighs less than nine pounds.

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Perhaps you prefer a shorter, handier battle rifle, much like the M1A SOCOM? This M44 shares all of the great attributes of its bigger brother, but enhances the value by putting all of those attributes into a lighter, shorter package. Plus, you get a pronounced flamethrower-like effect every time you fire the thing!

Now, before you blow my door off its hinges with internet hate, I fully understand that firearms design has come a long, long way since these firearms were introduced. They are in no way close to modern designs so please put away your pitchforks. This article was written with tongue firmly in cheek. However, these firearms do have two huge advantages over more modern arms: extremely low price, and extreme ease of purchase.

Those are, coincidentally, the two primary advantages of obtaining a curio and relics license. There are several other articles on this site about how to obtain one, so do a search if you want to learn more. I’m more interested in the why of a C & R license: it allows me to buy these firearms online, NOT have to deal with any of the additional fees that an FFL will sometimes charge, and have them delivered right to my door, which saves both money and hassle. The upshot? All three of these guns cost me less than five hundred bucks. That’s less than the price of the most humble newly-manufactured AK!

Best of all, with the money I saved, I bought ammo. A truly biblical amount of ammo. And then some more ammo. So for the price of a decent AR with all the goodies, I not only own these pretty pieces, but I also learned their manual of arms in order to use them safely and effectively, arguably the most important facet of gun ownership. Moreover, lighting off an M44 fireball at the range is just about the most fun you can have with your pants on.

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Yes, it must be said that prices have been rising as supplies of these relics of World War II — particularly the Mosins — have dwindled. However, there are still plenty of deals to be had. Moreover, when you buy one of these so-called “relics”, you buy a genuine piece of history that is also functional and very, very affordable. What plastic-fantastic can match all of that?

All that’s left is to ask why you haven’t started applying for your Curio and Relic license yet. Go get one! Your wallet, and almost certainly your significant other, will hate you. But for just a little bit of money, you open a whole barrel of fun, value, and history.

comments

  1. avatar Sean N says:

    I’m… kinda hoping this is a parody…

    1. avatar Matt in FL says:

      A parody of… what exactly?

      1. avatar Sean N says:

        I honestly gave up before the end.. I didn’t realize it was somebody from /k/

        1. avatar Anon says:

          Why? Because they mentioned mosins?

    2. avatar James1000 says:

      Apparently you are dying to use your pitchfork, and you simply don’t appreciate the history and beauty behind firearms.

      1. avatar murray says:

        the tokarev is an extremely fine pistol as is the 7.62×25 cartridge, I picked one up in Iraq but had to throw it when i came back, IMO better than the UK issue browning

    3. avatar Andrew says:

      No Parody.

      I’ve gotten some incredible deals with the C&R. Bought a tokarev for $99 (gunsmith special, a little worn). An SKS for $150 (safety needed some tinkering, all good now).

  2. avatar rlc2 says:

    Re-read for the point:
    ” This article was written with tongue firmly in cheek. However, these firearms do have two huge advantages over more modern arms: extremely low price, and extreme ease of purchase.”

    And definitely do your homework- easy to trip up in CA, for example:
    http://wiki.calgunsfoundation.org/Curio_and_Relic/Licensed_Collectors

    ATF info:
    https://www.atf.gov/firearms/faq/curios-relics.html#definition

    1. avatar Gunr says:

      Cabela’s sells Mosin’s, sometime they have two or three dozen on hand. They told me they were not exempt from filling out all the forms, and going through a background check.
      What can you tell me about that? I live in Oregon.

      1. avatar Tom in Oregon says:

        Check this website out.
        http://www.outdoorstrader.com

        Lots of ads from people around us. Lots of face to face sales. I’ve had good success here.

        1. avatar Gunr says:

          Thanks Tom, but I still wonder about Cabela’s and the Mosin’s??

        2. avatar senior armed citizen says:

          Cabela’s has 91/30 refurbs, usually with the tool kit, for $179.95.
          J&G Sales has M44’s for $149.95.

          GunBoards.com has the wisdom, and advise, on these fine Bolt Action Rifles!

          Let me take to task anyone who says they are ‘getting rare” as, 16 nations made them, in numbers in excess of 100 MILLION, from 1891 (Remington and New England Westinghouse
          M91’s, over 4 million) to the last made in former Soviet Eastern states.

          Some Finn models are ‘rare’… Simo Hayha took out over 560 Russians in the Winter War of 100 days, with the Mosin Nagant 91/30, and another 266 with his Suomo 9mm auto rifle…

          Only the AK -47/74 series has passed those production numbers!

          Copper washed FMJ 7.62 X 54r milsurp starts at $0.23 a round, in 440 tins, two to a wooden case, with openers. You want excellent Match ammo? at about $0.85 to $2.00 a round, it is
          readily available!

          The Mosin Nagant faces off with our soldiers in in the Afghan, and every conflict in history!
          Syrian snipers and Assad’s army still use them!

          Great on all north American big game! Soft point 203 grain ammo is everywhere…
          Do beware the bullet travels up to 3000 meters… Sights work out to 2,000 meters…
          I shoot open sights (Schutzenschnur Gold at 650 meters, while active duty), but am still am quite good out to 1,000 meters, with my 67 year old eyes.

          Shooting 148 grain bullets, in milsurp cartridges, it is equal to a .308.
          With the 200-203 grain bullets, it matches the Garand 30-06.
          The FMJ heavy milsurp bullet pierces 3/4 inch plate steel, at 300 Meters.

          Our Army was issued the Mosin Nagant 3 line rifles here, in WWI, and in Project Archangel
          in Russia, in 1918, (30,000 US Army to guard the Russian supply lines).

      2. avatar Stinkeye says:

        If you have a C&R license, any FFL holder (or other C&R license holder) can transfer a C&R-eligible firearm to you as an FFL-to-FFL transfer, thus avoiding the NICS check (a more thorough background check will have already been done when you applied for the license). However, the paperwork is different than an FFL-to-consumer transfer, so I suspect Cabela’s just doesn’t want the hassle of training their employees to do C&R transfers.

        In any case, you’re already in the store, so one of the main advantages of the license (having firearms shipped directly to you) doesn’t apply, and Cabela’s doesn’t charge a transfer fee when you buy a gun, so I don’t really see what the advantage of doing the C&R transfer would be, anyway, other than maybe a couple minutes saved on paperwork and a NICS call.

        1. avatar Dyspeptic Gunsmith says:

          Last I asked, Cabela’s software-based 4473 and A/D book system did not have any provisions for FFL to FFL transfers.

          When a FFL transfers a gun to another FFL, he has to put into the A/D book the FFL number of the FFL to whom the gun was transferred. Then, on top of that, they’d better have a copy of the FFL from the destination FFL in printed form kept in their records.

          Compared to selling a firearm to an end user with the software-based 4473 system, this is a big disruption to Cabela’s retail staff. There might be someone in the gun library section of Cabela’s who knows how to handle the FFL transfer, and there might not.

  3. avatar Stu says:

    If he thinks 7.62×25 is still widely available, he must be stuck in 2010. The problem is economics and unless you get to the party early with any given C&R toy, it isn’t worth your time.

    1. avatar HJ says:

      If you think that 7.62×25 isn’t available,you must be stuck in 2012. You can buy, right now, PPU, Wolf Gold, and S&B ammo. Hollowpoints if you want them. It isn’t as cheap as it was, but it’s boxer primed and reloadable.

      1. avatar Stinkeye says:

        Sure, that stuff is available, but the article says the Tok “fires an impressive and inexpensive round”. Impressive, perhaps. But at 40-50 cents a whack, Tokarev ammo is not what I’d call inexpensive, like it was when the surplus cans were readily available for pennies per round. If I’m going to pay twice as much for ammo as 9mm or 7.62×39 I’m probably going to choose to shoot something a little more fun than a Tokarev.

  4. avatar A-Rod says:

    I want one of the old falling block Enfields but they are stupid expensive

  5. avatar Tom in Oregon says:

    Good stuff Clayton.
    I’m still looking for an M-44 orphan.

    1. avatar knightofbob says:

      J&G has them listed at $150 right now, so a new batch has probably hit the states.

      1. avatar DJ says:

        Bob, you are a bad influence! That’s great news – haven’t seen one for less than $200 in ages.

        1. avatar Clayton K. says:

          I’m even jealous. The one in that photo cost $200, even a year ago. I feel like I got screwed.

  6. avatar rlc2 says:

    There are some great older guns out there- shootable and an investment, too:

    one Curio license holder suggested looking at the 1873 Trapdoor,
    as a start to collecting…but warned its an addiction:

    http://www.ammoland.com/2013/10/a-look-back-at-the-springfield-trapdoor-rifle/

    http://www.trapdoorcollector.com/

    1. avatar Herb says:

      The Trapdoor Springfield in all models is an antique since production ceased IIRC in the 1880’s.

      Now….I have a latter day H&R Officer’s Model trapdoor, and yes, it is addictive. As for Mosin’s I still have my Vietnam bringback Chicom Type 53. The flash hider/muzzle brake does help. But I recently fired my WW1 era Lee Enfield #1 MkIII*, and that is my new addiction, defined as “I’ve got to stop firing before I run out of ammo, geez this gun is fun to shoot!”

  7. avatar Ralph says:

    Yes, fellow Crufflers, great C&R guns are out there, including Springfield 1903s, M1 Carbines, M1 Garands, Mauser K98ks, the aforementioned Russian models and many more. And yes, you order them by phone or internet and they are delivered directly to your door.

    The fee for the FFL-03 collector’s license is $30 for three years. My license expires in November and I intend to renew it.

    1. avatar rlc2 says:

      After the teenagers are out of college, is when I look at the Garands.
      Otherwise I am doomed…

      1. avatar Capybara says:

        You really need to find $625.00 NOW and buy a CMP Garand. They are running out and when they do, Garand prices are going to skyrocket. $625.00 isn’t going to pay for even one class at college but it will buy a nice Service Grade M1 Garand that will be an excellent investment as well as a great shooter.

        1. avatar Anon in CT says:

          When I finally get my citizenship I intend to celebrate with a CMP Garand. I hope there are still some around.

      2. avatar B says:

        You can just buy M1 Garand’s from CMP without going through an FFL. They ship right to your house.

        1. avatar Excedrine says:

          That’s only if you’re in a CMP-affiliated club. Your information is still submitted to the NICS, too, FYI.

        2. avatar Ralph says:

          @Excedrine, I’m a member of the Garand Collectors Association. It cost me $35 a year IIRC, qualifies me for CMP purchases and gets me a great quarterly magazine too. So the required membership doesn’t need to be expensive or a big deal.

          Also, if you have a C&R license, you can get your M1 from CMP delivered to your door even in CA and CT. Without the FFL03, a CMP rifle in those states must be sent to an FFL01.

        3. avatar rlc2 says:

          Thanks Ralph, and Capy- great tips and I will look into it.

  8. avatar knightofbob says:

    With a little patience, attending the occasional show (especially smaller local affairs), and getting to know your local FFL, you’d have to be making rather frequent purchases for a C&R to even out. I could walk into my local store TOMORROW and add the piece I’m missing from that collection and still have payed around $500 including a crate of 7.62x54R for everything. And I probably overpayed on my M-44.

    Another advantage: I don’t have to submit any books to the ATF.

    1. avatar Scott P says:

      You don’t submit ANY books to the ATF. Once you decide you no longer want the license you can destroy your bound book.

      ATF compliance checks are rare when it comes to C&R holders and even if they do you have the option to do it at their field office NOT at your home.

      1. avatar knightofbob says:

        Right, but my local field office is anything but local, and I have experience with “random” checks. Almost every time I’ve flown, random spot check. When I was in the military, drug testing at least once a month (where I worked with guys getting ready to retire who’d never been flagged once). If they can do a check, they’re going to select me out for it, and as often as they are able.

        1. avatar Ralph says:

          @knightofbob, my flying experience is exactly the opposite of yours. I have an 03 and when I fly, the TSA “upgrades” me to the TSA precheck, which is expedited. Shoes stay on, computers don’t need to come out of the carry-on and no line.

          You might have a name that’s similar to somebody that TSA doesn’t like. Who knows?

      2. avatar Bob says:

        Only if you turn in your C&R license, or let it expire, can you destroy your “bound book” – not before! And you only need to log in the C&R guns you acquire using the license. If you buy a C&R from your neighbor, you are not required to log it into your bound book (but state laws vary….).

        ATF compliance inspections are limited to one per year. If they try to do a second one within a year, call your lawyer.

        It’s a win-win.

    2. avatar BillF says:

      $30 over three years is rather insignificant. I never really worried about mine “evening out”, though I’m sure it has.

      1. avatar Stinkeye says:

        Since the cheapest FFL transfer fee around here is $20, I was already money ahead on my second C&R gun purchase.

  9. avatar Ali says:

    P.S. Photo credit: Ali Sims, http://www.helianthaphotography.com/

    (I’m his wife)

    Happy shooting!

  10. avatar former water walker says:

    Sure why not. I’m also an antique dealer so it would be a good fit. What is the cutoff date for Curio & Relic anyway?

    1. avatar Hal J. says:

      The cutoff date is 50 years ago, so at the moment it’s 1964. It would be nice if the date that determined whether or not a gun is an antique floated as well, but it’s fixed at 1898.

      1. avatar Ralph says:

        50 years is the general rule, but guns that have most of their value in their collectibility are also C&R eligible. The ATF publishes a list, and some of the guns on the list are modern.

        1. avatar Hal J. says:

          Good point. I’ve actually gotten a fairly recent C&R pistol, a Czech Model 82 in 9mm Makarov.

        2. avatar Stinkeye says:

          I love the CZ-82! It’s a fully modern gun in every way (except for the Makarov chambering), with all the bells-and-whistles (though I wish the sights were a bit more visible). Mine’s a Commie laser beam, too – that thing is accurate as hell.

  11. avatar percynjpn says:

    It may be a fine pistol, but I don’t think “beautiful” and “Tokarev” belong in the same sentence IMHO. But good information, nonetheless.

  12. avatar FormerNavy says:

    Biggest thing that kept me from getting a C&R was that I thought everything had to go in your bound book, not just firearms purchased with the C&R….

    1. avatar Matt in FL says:

      As a couple other folks have pointed out, the only thing that goes on your bound book is firearms acquired using the C&R. Modern guns do not, and even C&R eligible guns do not, if you didn’t use your C&R. Buy a Mosin at a gun show, or from your friend or neighbor? Nope, don’t write it down.

  13. avatar Alpo says:

    Though this should come as no surprise, I thought I might mention that in the Citizen Disarmament Republic of NJ, C&R FFLs don’t count.

  14. avatar disthunder says:

    C&R stuff has been the saving grace of the hobby the last few years. I just wish there was more to choose from at the moment, but I know there’s stuff in crates out there just waiting to be found.

  15. avatar PeterK says:

    I have seen a lot of cool C&R guns.

  16. avatar Jon DR8C0 says:

    >This is what poorf*gs actually believe

    Top kek.

  17. avatar Sock Monkey says:

    I hope he was joking about the Tok being beautiful.

  18. avatar borg says:

    He forgot to mention the star model b which is like a 1911 except it chambers 9mm luger and is cheaper then many other full size guns.

  19. avatar Sixpack70 says:

    I’ve been lazy and keep putting this off. Right now there are multiple C&R pistols and a few rifles I want to buy.

  20. avatar Porterhaus says:

    Clayton, why don’t you talk a little more about the process of applying for a C&R license and the requirements and commitments you must make thereof?

    1. avatar Pascal says:

      Past TTAG articles have covered this, just do a search. Those articles helped me get one.

      1. avatar Jay Williams says:

        Thanks for the link. Checking it out.

  21. avatar MrGrim says:

    outside of turners or big 5 for mosins, where can you find these guns? A local shop had a M1Garand that was excellentn condition for $2100, and the Tok M57 I have never seen. I know you can find them on gunbroker, but I’d like to see one upfront first.

    1. avatar Stinkeye says:

      Most are sold by retailers who specialize in them, like Classic Firearms, AIM Surplus, etc. That means, unless you happen to live near one of those, it’s mostly a mail-order/internet thing. That means luck of the draw, you don’t get to sort through the stacks to find the perfect gun. But that’s part of the fun, UPS drops off an old gun in a box, covered in heavy grease, and you get to clean it up and see what you actually got. It’s something of a crap shoot, but most vendors offer an upcharge to hand-pick a gun for you that’s in better shape.

  22. avatar CarlosT says:

    What if you fired an M44 while pantless? Would that be even more fun?

    1. avatar paulWTAMU says:

      I’d be scared of flash burns on delicate areas

    2. avatar Savage Dennis Lively says:

      Be careful what you ask for…bwahahahahahahahahaha.

      http://i276.photobucket.com/albums/kk28/vintagedelights01/ZZ%20Family%20Pics/001.jpg

  23. Not sure if anyone has mentioned this before, but you will easily pay for the cost of your FFL/03 by means of the discount you receive from some companies, for instance, Brownells gives a discount to FFL/03 holders and it answers nicely when placing orders.

  24. avatar Chris says:

    I just renewed my C+R. Lots of advantages such as no tax when purchasing with the C+R. Can use the C+R licence as part of the qualification for CMP membership but if you do you have to record your purchases. It does get you some discounts with vendors. You can also send from one C+R to another without the need for a regular FFL (as long as its a C+R firearm). If you are interested in one go to the CMP forum and do a search for C+R licence. I used the instructions I got from the CMP forum and had my licence in about a month.

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