View Full Version : Buyer Beware

12-25-2007, 11:20 AM
I kept hearing about all these antique firearms that troops and US civilians are able to purchase and send back home from Afghanistan. I spoke with a contractor here in Iraq the other day that told me he was in Afghanistan last year and bought 60 .303 Enfields ($175) in decent condition and sent them home (for resale). Another person I talked to had bought ten .577 Enfields. I have heard from multiple sources that a variety of old rifles and pistols, both muzzleloader and cartridge seem to have continual availability (Enfields in particular are very plentiful). I found that to be very odd that such a backward stone age third world country would be the source of antique firearms in good shape. I contemplated finagling a deployment over there to get in on the gravy train, but first decided to do a Google search and came up with an interesting web site. Seems that the Afghans have been making copies of these guns as long as the original makers. A quote from www.armscollectors.com “We get a lot of questions about guns being offered for sale in Afghanistan, and most of the ones we have seen appear to be recently made items.” My concern is that many of these cheap copies are being re-sold in the US as authentic. The article in one of the links is from 1962, but I doubt the Afghan machining ability has gotten any better (perhaps worse). The steal quality is bad and “head space” isn’t in the Afghan dictionary. Unfortunately they have gotten good at duplicating proof marks and such. They know what sells concerning the “rich” Americans.



The Double D
12-25-2007, 11:25 AM
We have been warning about this on the Martini boards for some time. We even have a post about a .303 ME that failed after 150 rounds.

There are real guns over there, but most are just counterfiets. The we have some legitimate businesses here inthe U.S. who are buying container loads of these thing and selling them as real.

It's definitely caveat emptor!

12-25-2007, 12:08 PM
I recall reading an article in the early 1970s about the Pathans in eastern Afghanistan/western Pakistan making their own Enfield copies form scrap steel from sources liked pulled-up rails, using treadle-powered lathes, drills and such along with lots of hand filing. The pictures were of robed men working with very primitive equipment in the open in front of little huts of mud brick. The article said that the workmanship on these rifles could be excellent and basically indistinguishable from the originals. The author was very admiring of the industry and craftsmanship of these fiercely independent people. Talked about all the invaders and occupiers/colonizers they'd fought off over the centuries.

12-25-2007, 12:15 PM
If it looks too good to be true, it is!:castmine:

12-25-2007, 12:38 PM
I've read this as well. It was in "Rifle" . :drinks:

12-25-2007, 03:53 PM
There was a story on the NBC nightly news with Tom B. back during the Russian occupation. What Ricochet posted is right on the money. Although made from cheap materials, they are finely crafted, and made for combat. I'm sure there is a special place in hell for the true believer who sends his brother to his death with a firearm that won't go bang when the hammer falls. Just don't expect those rifles to last a hundred years. They were only built to get you through the war at hand.

12-25-2007, 05:14 PM
Charlie Wilson's War is on point about this war at hand. ... felix

12-26-2007, 03:22 PM
might pay you to root around more.historicaly they have always made guns and they are take offs of military guns.20 mm cannons and pistols and especialy the british rifle.these are not exactly conterfits but home industry weapons.and railroad rails are not poor material.I can remember stories about the work done by these craftmen in ww2 period.when they fought the british they collected spent bullets and empty cases.cut celuloid up for powder and I believe rebilt the primers using matches.so there more of a survival industry.:coffee::coffee::Fire:

12-26-2007, 08:14 PM
Lee has a stockpile of rails that they melt down to make their Classic Cast presses from. It's tough steel.

12-27-2007, 09:18 AM
Lee has a stockpile of rails that they melt down to make their Classic Cast presses from. It's tough steel.

If that is what they used. Problem is that you don't know what they used and some of it isn't suitable for modern ammunition. I have read about some of these that the bullet didn't hardly touch the rifling, because the bore was so oversize. If you want a wall hanger fine but that thing is awfully close to your face to be taking that sort of chance. As the title says buyer beware. There are sites that will tell you how to tell the difference.


12-27-2007, 09:31 AM
Some of these Gun makers made the news. They showed them using rebar to make barrels. That, in the best of times, isn't good steel.. A lot of those rebar guns were made to fire long enough for the owner to make a kill and get the other owners AK/AKM to fight with.

Please have it hardness tested nefore you shoot these.

I work with a guy from Pakistan and he tells of all sorts of guns made buy these folks, but when pressed, he admits he would not shoot them.


12-27-2007, 02:37 PM
I'm not advocating that, either.

As for rebar, it used to be pretty good stuff, like 1045. In recent years it's gone down. No telling what you get now.

12-27-2007, 10:37 PM
The Afghan and His SMLE by Jack Lott Gun Digest (1981 35th edition.
The article speaks of rebuilding primers and using shredded nitrocelulose film (old movies) for propellant. Mr. Lott said that the repos killed more Russians than Afghans. The Russians seem to have been impressed at least a little.

I seem to remember someone else using crossbows with some degree of effectiveness.

If they have switched over to the tourist trade instead of arming their own sons I would not be suprised if their quality control has deteriorated somewhat.

01-18-2008, 04:55 AM
Yeah, unfortunately there are a lot of people buying these repros thinking that they're antique. I'm currently in Afghanistan, and the different bazaars have a lot of cheaply made repros. The easiest dead giveway is that they stamp the date of manufacture in a really conspictuous place and there's no bluing/browning on them at all.

The honest haji guys tell you that they're repro, but I'd say that 99 percent of them just want to make a buck and will lie to your face every time. If you challenge them, they quickly back down and will admit that they're made in Pakistan or India. You've got to remember that a whole years income is a couple thousand dollars US, so if they can sell 10 guns, they're doing pretty well. They will always say "It's real!" and I always say "real, not original".

I still warn anyone I see buying them, but most people don't want their bubble burst, or just don't care. Most people just want a souvenier to bring back, and don't care about the originality of it. I tell them that they could buy an original wwII gun from a sporting goods store for the same price, though.

I DID find a ppk41 submachinegun for sale, but he didn't know what it was, and wanted 40 bucks for it, and I don't want to go to jail for 20 years, so I passed on bringing that back with me. It was pretty nice though, with about 80 percent bluing still on it, and matching serial numbers on the stock and reciever. Too bad about that.

They also sell man-made sapphires, rubies, and repro coins made out of aluminum, that they'll swear are the natural real thing. (somehow, when all the "silver" coins all have the exact same date on them, I don't want to believe them.)

I did find some natural star sapphires that are pretty nice though. I'm using them to make a necklace and earrings for my wife.