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Old 01-13-2020, 08:00 PM
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So the thread on "Econo gun .22s" those cheap yet high quality .22cal revolvers of decades past made by companies like High Standard and Iver Johnson got me to thinking of more recent examples of low cost yet high quality firearms which may not be as finely fit/finished as those older firearms, (but then again, what is these days?) still fulfill the same basic role as a working man's firearm.

Over the years, I have grown increasingly fond of the lower-priced firearms which are cheap yet reliable, the sort of firearm you can buy without much money, yet still have a firearm that you can trust your life with right out of the box. Plus, if they get worn out, it doesn't bother you because the finish typically isn't pretty to begin with, and actually does look better with wear.

I own a few firearms like this.

The first was my Taurus Judge Magnum, which despite being the most expensive firearm on my list, was still on the lower end of the firearms pricing spectrum at $475 OTD. I got one for Home Defense after having handled my brother's Judge and just being very impressed with it. You can argue all day about the ineffectiveness of .410 shotshells out of a pistol, but it's plenty effective with 000 Buckshot, and I doubt anyone will argue that .45 Long Colt isn't an adequate manstopper. (Or at least not anyone with a valid opinion who isn't just trolling.)

Next up comes the Mossberg 590 Shockwave. The reliability and low cost of Pump Action Shotguns requires no introduction nor explanation, but the Shockwave isn't a Shotgun, at least not as far as the ATF is concerned, and they tend to be even cheaper than standard Shotguns. Plus, for those who live in more cramped living quarters, the shorter OAL makes it much easier to maneuver around with, not to mention store.

The Ruger LCP is also a cheap yet reliable lightweight .380 pocket pistol, which can be easily concealed, even in minimal attire. Some folks claim that they aren't very durable and won't hold up well to regular range use, but if a part should fail, Ruger will replace it, and they're cheap enough that you could always buy two then make one your range LCP, the other your carry LCP.

Last but not least comes the cheapest of the cheap, the Smith & Wesson SIGMA SW40VE which I found like new in box at my LGS for $199. It's light weight for a full-size, high capacity .40cal pistol, yet feels really good in the hand. It's got a heavy trigger, but I'm used to heavy DA triggers, so it doesn't bother me.

What are some of the cheap yet reliable high quality firearms do you appreciate?
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Old 01-13-2020, 08:33 PM
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Although prices have escalated in the last few years, my Russian commercial Makarov was under a hundred bucks and is absolutely reliable.

SKS rifles have also shot up from the halcyon days of $99.99, but I recently bought a Tula 1951 and 1200 rounds of ammunition for $350. Always goes bang.

I have a Kel Tec P3AT, a PF9, and a Sub 2000 that were all under $300 and have been reliable.
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Old 01-13-2020, 08:44 PM
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I bought a used but near-new SCCY 9mm pistol recently for $150 (they retail in the $200-$250 range). I am impressed by it. I have written about it earlier here. One of my best recent cheap guns was a Maverick (Mossberg) .30-'06 bolt action rifle I got new at Academy five years ago for less than $200 on sale. Plenty good enough for anyone's hunting needs. I didn't keep it too long, as I bought it mainly because it was cheap, not because I needed it. I played with it enough to get it out of my system and then sold it for more than I paid.

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Old 01-13-2020, 09:28 PM
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Quote:
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Although prices have escalated in the last few years, my Russian commercial Makarov was under a hundred bucks and is absolutely reliable.

SKS rifles have also shot up from the halcyon days of $99.99, but I recently bought a Tula 1951 and 1200 rounds of ammunition for $350. Always goes bang.

I have a Kel Tec P3AT, a PF9, and a Sub 2000 that were all under $300 and have been reliable.
That Tula had better of been absolute junk in the looks/function department or you should be prosecuted on criminal charges! No one gets away with a Russian sks and that much ammo for that little money these days. Well done! Budget-priced firearms Appreciation Thread.

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Old 01-13-2020, 09:31 PM
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The American Pride series of S&W 3rd generation, specifically the 915, 457 and 908 are outstanding examples of low(er) cost firearms.

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Old 01-13-2020, 09:34 PM
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Bought a heritage on sale a few years ago. It had awful ugly grips. $86 bucks out the door. New. It still shoots today.
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Old 01-13-2020, 11:56 PM
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My entry, the Star BM, they do not get much less expensive.
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Old 01-14-2020, 12:00 AM
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I have a few:

- CZ 513 Farmer.

The trigger is heavy but it has a CZ 452 action and a barrel that is as good as any of the other CZ's I own. I paid $235 for it:




- Zastava CZ 99 Precision

The metal and finish on these are excellent, but the stocks are a bit rough. However, Remington also imported them as the Model 5 for several years and new old stock Model 5 stocks can still be found. I paid $199 for the rifle and $70 for the stock. It's not as accurate as the 513, but it's close:





- Taurus 905

QA is always a gamble with Taurus, but if you get a good one it'll shoot just fine, and you can get a new one for $350-$400.



- FEG P9 and 1st Gen P9M

The P9 is a very faithful copy of a pre-Mk II Browning Hi Power with 100% parts commonality with the Hi Power. The first gen P9M uses a 1911 style slide release, an extended safety, and three dot sights. They sell for $400 in excellent condition.





- FEG AP9S, APK9S, AP7S and APK7S

These are all steel framed semi-clones of the Walther PP and PPK/S in 9mm Kurz (.380 ACP) and 7.65 Browning (.32 ACP). They varied a bit by importer, but the finish on the Interarms imported pistols was superb. They are a lot less common than they were, and if you can find one, expect to pay $350-$400 in very good to excellent condition.



- Zastava M85 Mini Mauser

These have been sold over the years by Interarms as the Mini Mk X, by Remington as the Rem 799, by Charles Daly as the Charles Daly Mini Mauser, and by CAI and Zastava USA as the Zastava M85. Again the CAI and Zastava stocks leave a bit to be desired but Rem 799 and Interarms Mini Mk X stocks can be found. (This one has an Interarms stock.) They used to be $350-$400 rifles but the prices have started to come up in the last year or so.



- Star BM

The Star BM can currently be had for around $250 to $300 and they are very reliable 9mm semi-clones of a 1911. The bobbed grip frame is a plus.

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Old 01-14-2020, 12:03 AM
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How about the CZ82 which can still be found for under 300 bucks. One of the finest shooters in the safe.
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Old 01-14-2020, 04:23 AM
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Not a pretty firearm by any means but not long ago I bought a NIB Steven 320 20 gauge for $125 OTD in an after season sale. It's an odd configuration with 22" barrel and a stock with full pistol grip like an AR "tactical?" but I've found it a handy configuration for pest control.

I bought more Mosins than I should have when you could get them for $69 just about everywhere. Once the prices started climbing above $200 I thinned the herd down to just a couple that I really liked.

Though not exactly in this category I think the LEO trade-in S&W M&Ps you could get for around $225 until fairly recently were a great bargain. I like the 40s and 45s I picked up, didn't bother with the 9mm versions.
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Old 01-14-2020, 05:19 AM
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In the 1911's the Rock Island Arms are a good solid value gun.
Just got a SCCY NIB for $149 from PSA, good gun for the $$
Most any Charter Arms are good to great revolvers for the price.
For a single action .22, hard to beat the Heritage Rough Rider at $100 or slightly more.
My son has a Ruger American .45 that he really likes. One online retailer is currently selling them for $329.
Still seem to be plenty of .40 cal LE trade ins available.
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Old 01-14-2020, 07:10 AM
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Beretta 92S would be another great surplus but low cost entry into a fine pistol. Much like the Star BM 9, hard to match the material and qualities for the price.

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Old 01-14-2020, 07:13 AM
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Kel Tec Sub 2000.
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Old 01-14-2020, 08:33 AM
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I like to rescue S&W Gen3s in 9mm or .40S&W that I can get into my safe for less than $350 after shipping and fees. Here are some examples including price before shipping and fees...

6904 - $260; CS40 (blk) - $280; 4046 - $289; 3953 - $275; 3904 - $280; 915 - $275; and 908 - $265

I couldn't afford to go after the 45s.
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Old 01-14-2020, 09:12 AM
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Back about 30 years ago, I bought a Remington 788 in .223 with a 3-9 Tasco scope for $125, new, Hardwood stock, rear locking lugs, questionable trigger. After bedding it shot 3/4" starting a long affair with me and the 788. Not so cheap today if you can find one, but cheap back then. Got a .308 and a .222 now.
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Old 01-14-2020, 09:15 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Dirty Harry Callahan View Post
So the thread on "Econo gun .22s" those cheap yet high quality .22cal revolvers of decades past made by companies like High Standard and Iver Johnson got me to thinking of more recent examples of low cost yet high quality firearms which may not be as finely fit/finished as those older firearms, (but then again, what is these days?) still fulfill the same basic role as a working man's firearm.

Over the years, I have grown increasingly fond of the lower-priced firearms which are cheap yet reliable, the sort of firearm you can buy without much money, yet still have a firearm that you can trust your life with right out of the box. Plus, if they get worn out, it doesn't bother you because the finish typically isn't pretty to begin with, and actually does look better with wear.

I own a few firearms like this.

The first was my Taurus Judge Magnum,
And that is where I stopped reading.
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Old 01-14-2020, 09:37 AM
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Ah, the Star BM, Hollywood's 1911. Fantasic firearms at a fantastic price.

FEG's clones are top notch as well, I still kick myself for hesitating to buy an excellent condition FEG PA-63 that was on sale for $150 at my LGS a few years back. You know that a clone is of excellent quality when the manufacturer of the original hires the manufacturer of the clone to produce their firearm under license, which is precisely what Walther did with the PPK/E.

Military/Police Surplus weapons are almost always going to be the absolute best value that you're going to find.
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Old 01-14-2020, 03:58 PM
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At one time, many milsurp rifles fit that category, but not so much today. The last really good deal I had on one was about 10 years ago. I bought a Spanish M1916 Mauser (7mm) short rifle in excellent condition for $15 at a gun show. It needed only a magazine follower to make it shootable (I made one from a M1903 follower I had). And it shoots amazingly well at 100 yards. The perfect compact pickup truck rifle. I successfully resisted the temptation to sporterize it. It wasn't too long ago that those Turkish 98 Mausers were selling everywhere for around $40, but not today. Around that time I managed to buy a nearly perfect Swiss K31 rifle for $110. Talk about craftsmanship in gun making. The Swiss wrote the book.

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Old 01-14-2020, 05:02 PM
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I know I'm scraping the bottom of the barrel with this one, but this Rohm 22 and I were inseparable when I was a kid, back in the days that I ran a trap line. Many a fury beast met their maker with this one. Its been dropped in the mud, dropped in ponds, used as a hammer, rolled around on the floor of my truck...and still went off when I pulled the trigger. I use it now with shot shells to nail mice in the basement. Its worth more in memories than if it was made of gold.
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Old 01-14-2020, 05:37 PM
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I know I'm scraping the bottom of the barrel with this one, but this Rohm 22 and I were inseparable when I was a kid, back in the days that I ran a trap line. Many a fury beast met their maker with this one. Its been dropped in the mud, dropped in ponds, used as a hammer, rolled around on the floor of my truck...and still went off when I pulled the trigger. I use it now with shot shells to nail mice in the basement. Its worth more in memories than if it was made of gold.
Hey, if it works, it works. I'm no gun snob, and this isn't a thread for gun snobs either, so I'm not going to turn my nose up at anything. Only impressionable fools knock firearms they've never owned nor shot, and seeing as I've never owned/shot any firearms by Rohm-Gesellschaft, I'm not about to go making ignorant comments about them. In fact, I would be more inclined to believe that they're decent nowadays, considering that they've been a subsidiary of Umarex (the parent company of Walther) for the past decade.
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Old 01-14-2020, 07:54 PM
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I don't remember for sure, but didn't Rohm make those single action revolvers that Herter's sold back in the day? I know for sure they were made in Germany. Sure don't see those today. I always wanted one of those Herter .401 Powermags. I think that .401 cartridge was proprietary to Herter's. That was an economy gun at the time, as were all the guns that Herter's sold.
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Old 01-14-2020, 09:38 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by pmosley View Post
The American Pride series of S&W 3rd generation, specifically the 915, 457 and 908 are outstanding examples of low(er) cost firearms.

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I have said it before, the 457, 910 and 915 was the economy line back then, but, the 915 in particular, is now in the "They don't make them like that anymore" category.
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Old 01-14-2020, 09:47 PM
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Have a few myself...

Charter Arms Bulldog I bought NIB in 2009 and while I don’t put warm reloads thru it, it’s digested a few hundred rounds of .44 Spl without a hiccup. Savage Mark II .22 which I think is the best .22 on the market today for the money. And lastly my .410 H&R Topper- nothing beautiful or high-brow, just simple, and reliable. I prob spent under $600 for all three put together.
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Old 01-14-2020, 09:51 PM
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Quote:
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I don't remember for sure, but didn't Rohm make those single action revolvers that Herter's sold back in the day? I know for sure they were made in Germany. Sure don't see those today. I always wanted one of those Herter .401 Powermags. I think that .401 cartridge was proprietary to Herter's. That was an economy gun at the time, as were all the guns that Herter's sold.
I believe the Herter's guns were made by J.P Sauer....
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Old 01-14-2020, 10:19 PM
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When I first started out I bought a bunch of junk guns, mostly Llamas. I owned a .25, a .32, a .380, a 9mm and a .45ACP. I have to admit that of the five the .32 and the .380 weren't bad little guns.

I owned one Taurus (PT92) and one was enough. The words "Taurus" and "Quality" don't belong in the same sentence. The only good thing about that gun was we bought it for 90 bucks and sold it for around 300. I don't know of a single reputable trainer who recommends a Taurus Junk for anything. I've seen them fired in reviews and at 20 yards the spread is only about 2 inches.

Even quality manufacturers such as CZ occasionally turn out a lemon. I owned a CZ RAMI in .40 S&W that would not reliably feed JHPs to save its life. I sent it back to the factory 3 times and they couldn't get it right either. I ended up selling it to a pawnshop and never looked back.

In general I've had good luck with CZ products. My wife bought a CZ82 for $189.00 that would have fed a rock if I could have got it in the magazine.

I owned an RIA 1911 that I paid $400.00 for that never fumbled once. The only problem I ever had with it was a tendency to rust.

I think first generation M&Ps are a great deal.
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Old 01-15-2020, 10:36 AM
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A S&W Shield for $199 is about the best bargain I can think of and they are so superior to cheaper guns there would be no temptation for me to go that route in a small defensive auto pistol. Rock Island 1911s are great I paid $345 brand new for mine and I would rate it very close to my Springfield, Colt, and Kimber 1911s. I had an H&R 5 shot 4" .32 magnum that was solid and worked but the crude sights and stiff trigger just made me want to save up for a used S&W.
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Old 01-15-2020, 10:54 AM
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When I first started out I bought a bunch of junk guns, mostly Llamas. I owned a .25, a .32, a .380, a 9mm and a .45ACP. I have to admit that of the five the .32 and the .380 weren't bad little guns.

I owned one Taurus (PT92) and one was enough. The words "Taurus" and "Quality" don't belong in the same sentence. The only good thing about that gun was we bought it for 90 bucks and sold it for around 300. I don't know of a single reputable trainer who recommends a Taurus Junk for anything. I've seen them fired in reviews and at 20 yards the spread is only about 2 inches.

Even quality manufacturers such as CZ occasionally turn out a lemon. I owned a CZ RAMI in .40 S&W that would not reliably feed JHPs to save its life. I sent it back to the factory 3 times and they couldn't get it right either. I ended up selling it to a pawnshop and never looked back.

In general I've had good luck with CZ products. My wife bought a CZ82 for $189.00 that would have fed a rock if I could have got it in the magazine.

I owned an RIA 1911 that I paid $400.00 for that never fumbled once. The only problem I ever had with it was a tendency to rust.

I think first generation M&Ps are a great deal.

I'm trying to align the statement "I owned one Taurus (PT92) and one was enough." with "Even quality manufacturers such as CZ occasionally turn out a lemon."

Is it because you owned other CZ's before the lemon CZ? It seems to me that many times if a shooter has a bad experience their first time out with a brand it's dead to them for life. On the other hand if they get a lemon after already having experience with a brand it seems to be far less of a problem.
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Old 01-15-2020, 11:15 AM
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I'm trying to align the statement "I owned one Taurus (PT92) and one was enough." with "Even quality manufacturers such as CZ occasionally turn out a lemon."

Is it because you owned other CZ's before the lemon CZ? It seems to me that many times if a shooter has a bad experience their first time out with a brand it's dead to them for life. On the other hand if they get a lemon after already having experience with a brand it seems to be far less of a problem.
The first CZ I owned was a 75B. I don't remember if I got the 82 next or the RAMI.

BUT CZ has a long established track record of producing quality firearms. The .40 S&W RAMI had known issues that CZ never could get right and they eventually quit making them.

Taurus OTOH has a long established track record of NOT producing quality firearms. They earned their reputation for producing junk long before I ever heard of the company.

Since I Know Someone Is Going To Ask My wife bought the Taurus on her own while picking up another gun (The RAMI) that we had on lay-away for me. Had I been there when she bought it I would have done everything in my power to talk her out of it. That said it did work out for the best because I took 200 of the money I got selling the Taurus and bought a 4006
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Old 01-15-2020, 11:28 AM
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Don't know if I have any guns in this category.

The closest would have to be my 642-1, which I bought online. After shipping and fees, it came out around $400.

Then there's the 3" S&W 65 I picked up at a gunshow in the mid-2000s, I think. Excellent shape, $375 OTD, IIRC. Don't think I'll be seeing a deal like that anytime soon.

I have been thinking about getting a pocket .380, probably either a Ruger LCP or a Beretta Pico, and I've seen both of those for around $200.
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Old 01-15-2020, 11:46 AM
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I have been thinking about getting a pocket .380, probably either a Ruger LCP or a Beretta Pico, and I've seen both of those for around $200.
They're both great firearms with their own pros and cons.

Basically, the Pico is more durable than the LCP because it has a steel subframe/rails, but as a result it's a few ounces heavier than the LCP.

That being said, neither is a range gun, so you most likely won't be shooting either of them once you've done so enough to confirm reliability and learn where your carry ammo hits.
Personally, I chose the LCP because I liked it more, and the supposedly lesser durability made little difference to me because I didn't plan on putting thousands of rounds through it.
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Old 01-15-2020, 02:44 PM
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Marlin Model 60
Ruger LC380 (new)
Ruger 95 (used)
M&P 9 with a 5" barrel. Seriously, I got mine at an online estate auction that had two and they could barely give them away.
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Old 01-15-2020, 03:17 PM
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Had a couple of the FEG Hi-Power clones in the 80s to early 90s until I got my first MkIII Browning with bigger safety and sights.........

Wish I'd kept them ...... great $250-300 utility guns......

Got several CZ rifles .22lr .22mag .17hmr and .223/5.56...mini-Mauser action.... best bang for the buck going IMHO.....and if you win the "wood lottery" WOW just WOW!!!!! $300 to $500 for rimfires. $500 is for a full mannlicher stock model ........ $700 for a FS/mannlicher in .223


Not another brand but you can still get a really nice 6904 or even a 915 in a LGS around here for under $300. If you can find them!!!!!!!

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Old 01-15-2020, 04:21 PM
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Marlin Model 60
Ruger LC380 (new)
Ruger 95 (used)
M&P 9 with a 5" barrel. Seriously, I got mine at an online estate auction that had two and they could barely give them away.
For some reason which alludes me, Smith & Wesson pistols from the late 3rd Gen Chief's Specials to the M&P series can be had for extremely low prices on the used market.

Back in 2015 my LGS used to get used CS40s in on a weekly basis for around $250, but I foolishly didn't buy any of them, (although I was tempted) because I got swept up by all the anti-40 rhetoric being spouted in the wake of the FBI dropping .40 S&W.
In 2017 there were a ton of unissued police trade-in M&P40s with 3 magazines and night sights on the market for as low as $300, but once again, I stupidly let them pass.
Then in 2019 a bunch of like new SIGMA SW#VE models hit the market for about $200, and by then I had finally learned my lesson, so I bought one. SIGMAs may not be popular, but by all accounts they work and all the issues had been ironed out by the VE series, so for the price of a new Hi-Point, I don't see how I could go wrong.

I have no idea where all the SIGMAs came from all of a sudden. Apparently some of them were Niagara Falls PD trade-ins, (yeah, apparently they issued SIGMAs at some point) but mine has no markings on it to indicate that it was ever issued to any policemen, came with a reduced capacity 10 round magazine, and according to S&W left the factory on 04/14/2004, so I can only presume that it was civilian owned.
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Old 01-15-2020, 04:43 PM
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I picked up an M&P 9 1st Gen anib for $300 2 mags when new 2.0 were just coming out and selling in LGS for $525.
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