Maybe I’m being unfair. After all, SOG is going to charge shipping. Let’s call it 30 bucks. And probably an extra 3% for a credit card payment. So let’s say you’re out the door for around $135. Maybe I’m not being unfair. That’s still around 1/3 the cost of the BBSG Store.
Here’s the good part. You haven’t just saved $365, you’ve given yourself an excuse to spend $365 more. What to do? Well, as long as you’re in the candy store, click on over and look at the M48 Mausers.
Now look at the same model at the BBSG store:
Beginning to see a pattern? I’m willing to give the fancy store a markup – they have to pay for their buildings somehow. But come on. $750 for an M48 Mauser?
Whatever you decide to buy, any online milsurp merchant will have Big Brown deliver it right to your door.
That’s right. No transfer paperwork. No trip to the gun store. And no transfer fee.
Of course, that’s only if you have a C&R Federal Firearms License.
What? You don’t have a C&R?
We need to talk.
The C&R (Curio and Relic) Federal Firearms License allows you to buy a wide variety of guns (mostly older) without the bother of transfer paperwork or fees. The guns must meet several criteria, which I have copied directly from the BATFE web site:
To be recognized as curios or relics, firearms must fall within one of the following categories:
Have been manufactured at least 50 years prior to the current date, but not including replicas thereof; or
Be certified by the curator of a municipal, State, or Federal museum which exhibits firearms to be curios or relics of museum interest; or
Derive a substantial part of their monetary value from the fact that they are novel, rare, bizarre, or from the fact of their association with some historical figure, period, or event.
These criteria encompass a fair number of interesting firearms. And it’s not just heavy old bolt rifles. As you might expect, there are plenty of rules regarding what is permissible under the license. For example, while you can make occasional sales or trades, you can’t be “engaged in the business” of buying and selling firearms. You also can’t cut the barrel, put the rifle in a different stock or radically change it. Take a look at the C&R FAQ on the BATFE website to get an idea of what’s OK.
You’re not required to send your records in to the BATFE, but you must keep a “bound book” of all your transactions. Theoretically this could be as simple as a spiral notebook, but it’s in your interest to maintain professional-looking records that are neat and complete. I use a looseleaf binder with letter-size plastic sleeves. I found a template online and printed it onto heavy-stock paper. Each sheet gets its own sleeve. When I enter transactions I also put the sales slip inside the plastic sleeve.
When you have a C&R, BATFE has the right to inspect your records whenever they’re in the mood. Once considered a blue-moon occurrence, it has become less so in the age of the War on Terror. I understand this and I’m OK with it. If you’re not, don’t get a C&R.
From application to receiving the license is usually three or four weeks. At $30 for three years, the C&R pays for itself with your first two or three purchases. I felt like I got my money’s worth the first time the UPS guy showed up at the house with a long, skinny box.
So next time you’re in the Big Box Sporting Goods Store, look over the milsurp rifles and know that there is another way. Just keep that number in mind so you’ll know how much you can justify spending on ammo – or another gun.