Any firearm enthusiast knows the benefits of firearms that are twice their age. For those who are new to the world of firearms, know that C&R firearms are well worth the research.
C&R means “curios and relics,” and this designation is given to any firearm that is over 50 years old. These pieces are often in interest of C&R collectors, who apply for a C&R license to have these certain firearms delivered to their doorstep. If you were to browse your local gun shops or pawn shops, chances are you will find at least one firearm that is considered a C&R firearm.
So, what kind of firearms fall under this category? Well, almost all military surplus rifles such as Mosin Nagants, British Enfields, M1 Garands and Carbines, Springfield 1903’s, etc. The world of C&R also has numerous handguns such as 1911’s, Makarovs, and Hi-Powers and Tokarevs. This is only a taste of what this category of firearms offers, and plenty of research will also lead you to not only their capabilities, but their historic significance as well.
What are the benefits of these firearms, and why do they belong in your arsenal or collection? One advantage that most of these firearms provide is durability. Military surplus firearms, especially, were built for the battlefield and often outlast their users. Although most of these firearms fall subpar to their modern counterparts in terms of accuracy, most are constructed with parkerized ordnance steel and encased with hard wood stocks and grips. Their heavy construction allows for mitigated recoil and are more tolerant of external abuse. In result, if you were to find one in a local shop or gun show, you’ll most likely find dents and scratches, or even “trench art” carved on some wooden stocks. Often you’ll find that despite these blemishes the performance of most of these rifles are unafflicted.
Granted, that will not always be the case with some of these rifles. You may find parts missing or damaged. It may even have been a hot minute since they were cleaned. Often with Mosins you may find that the last time the rifle was cleaned was at Berlin in 1945, but the rifle will still function. Speaking of Mosins, there was a time not too long ago where you could pick up a crate of 10 and enough surplus ammo to fill a bedroom with your tax return. Sadly, those days are over but, compared to most bolt rifles on the market, you can still find Mosins at a relatively affordable price. Another advantage that some of these firearms offers is affordability, especially with those of Russian design. Mosins, SKS’s and Makarovs are all popular in the survivalist community and are friendlier on your wallet. Same fact goes for the ammunition they spit out. This is particularly why these firearms are popular with new gun owners and collectors. My first rifle I ever bought was in fact a Chinese SKS with a spike bayonet.
Other than durability, many collectors acquire these firearms simply for the historic significance. Many survivalists love C&R firearms for their durability and affordability; you can beat an SKS like it owes you money and it will still likely operate more reliably than your car will. However, many collectors only do so for owning a piece of history. You'll find that once you start buying C&R firearms you'll start looking for serial numbers, manufacturer and importer marks, etc.. and soon enough, you'll know the meaning of those marks and can trace that rifle or pistol throughout the world in the past few decades. If you're a history buff like me, that is a beautiful thing.
New firearms are great, I love newly manufactured AR's and AK's as much as the next Renegade, but C&R firearms will always have a place in my collection. If they worked for our grandfathers and great grandfathers, then they'll work for you as well. The Renegade's Journal may cover more firearms in the future related to this topic, but if you happen to have some in your possession or you just simply know more about the topic, please feel free to comment below. We always love a good discussion.