On Gunbroker, near-complete auctions this AM show the following price point estimates, per cartrige, for common FMJ loads:
9X19 NATO: .55-.65
5.56 NATO: .65-.75
7.62 NATO: .95-1.05
Stripped lower recievers for AR-15s have settled back down to nearly their pre-panic price points, with few bidders, at about 150.00. My understanding is that high quality steel for barrel, bolt and bolt carrier making has been a bit of a choke point on complete ARs, however. Prices for complete rifles may therefore still be inflated.
Romanian WASR AKM-pattern rifles are still about 200.00 to 300.00 over their pre-panic prices, which were around 500.00.
AK and AR standard capacity magazines had few bidders on Gunbroker and have settled down to approximately their pre-panic prices. Apparently the market glutted as the buyers settled down on magazines.
I haven't had much time to conduct research or to shoot lately. I got a nasty head cold, then got in the middle of a long stretch of work. I've also got a long list of things to do that are a bit tough to take care of when you spend most of the day sleeping and most of the night either working or staying up so you can handle the next shift safely. Being a responsible adult sure does stink at times. But sometimes the "bad" stuff is so nutty you've just got to smile. Last week my ten year old had to get 5 stiches in his chin because he smaked it on a window sill in the heat of a pillow fight during a sleepover.
RS, in Florida, on the other hand, is hard at work on redesigning the VSG ignition system and plans to scale it up for the Colt Walker .44. I say -- more power to him!
All across America, gun ranges are reportedly eerily quiet, as panic buyers continue to suck ammunition out of the supply lines and, apparently, tuck it in closets and under beds to gather dust bunnies. It's a very poor investment for them. Except for those who are careful and persistent in watching the market for the right opportunities, they're getting absolutely soaked on prices. I think one of the most important take home lessons here is that Americans are more than willing and able to pay quasi black market prices for arms and that when they feel the legality of arms is threatened they tend to take a somewhat confrontational road of hoarding. But let me be careful to qualify that statement. I'm not saying that theyre acting in a negligent or criminal manner or that they're trying to telegraph a threat to their political opposition or elements of their governments. What I'm saying is that when they perceive their political opponants to be using the mechanisms of government to threaten them, as many of them do now (judging by open chatter), they don't back down pr even make much of an effort to drop off the data radar. They seem to universally understand the vulnerability inherent in our world of data rich banking records, internet activity records, official government records and so on -- and yet they continue to brace for some kind of vaguely conceptualized impact -- the nature of which is like some kind of shape-shifting monster when you try to create an image of what it might look like from a collective standpoint. The reaction seems to be visceral and reflexive to a large degree. And that's important to understand. It's important because it might mean that, lets say, 20 or 30 years from now, someone in government makes the mistake of raiding the home of a popular and well connected family in order to sieze weapons. My read of this segment of the population is that a significant percentage of a community hosting a raid like that might react instantaneously and without regard for their personal safety in that moment. They might respond almost reflexively -- as anyone with some backbone and common sense does to an animal attack. But afterward, they'd have to make some tough choices (provided they survive).
One of the reasons it's important to consider this little nugget of analysis I'm offering is that law enforcement, even at the federal level, is a very small contingent of men and women who are already fully employed in the work of managing our nation's baseline levels of crime and violence. They're not a force of a million and a half waiting in some firehouse-like barracks for a major conflict to erupt. As a consequence, there is undoubtedly a low threshhold tipping point at which the resources of law enforcement, even if not degraded by a conflict, will simply be overwhelmed by that confict. This is seen often in big riots, like the Rodney King riots in LA or the more recent class conflict riots in the UK. Beyond a certain point, law enforcement agencies find themselves in the business of trying to prevent their own murders in a position of retreat and are simply unable to take action in the public sphere. This, of course, is one of the reasons that Americans own guns. It's how a lot of people kept alive and kept from losing what was left of their personal property after major disasters like Hurricanes Katrina and Sandy. Disasters like that tend to make law enforcment almost as vulnerable and disempowered as the general public. But what would happen if the civil unrest was not a response to natural disaster, nor the blind rage of a bunch of poor and poorly educated people? If unrest is a violent push-back against civil rights abuses, carried out by the well prepared and better informed segments of society that generally provide the backbone of civil order when all hell breaks loose here in the US -- private gun owners, things would go very differently. Something like that could easily result in a rapid and shocking loss of life on both sides of a local flashpoint. And once committed to conflict, the survivors who would then fear prosecution would probably hope instead to broaden their conflict and deny government authority and access to their entire region. Several counties could easily be instantaneously affected. And it'd be almost guaranteed to happen because that's really the only way they'd be able to survive at that point, uness granted some believable amnesty deal from the central government (a bitter pill that would probably be the smartest move our government could make at a juncture like that).
More likely, a local rebellion of more than a few days' duration woud provoke mobilization of the National Guard. Those are federal troops. And if mobilized, that region of the nation would definitely be on the brink of civil war. I hear that old term knocked about a lot lately, out in public -- and it's scary. I don't think Americans really have much of an idea of how incredibly brutal and degradng a civil war actually is.
While it seems certain that federal troops could readily re-establish control over a rebellious region of the US, the outcome of a conflict that might start with tens or hundreds of hot flashpoints nationwide is less certain. Americans know where the military, industrial, communications and other assets are in their own localities, and they know how to cripple them. That is to say that if we're talking about a general revolt involving something like 2.5 percent of the US population, that 2.5 percent will be spread throughout all strata of society. They'd have a very broad set of skills and knowledge, as well as the ability to commandeer a lot of heavy equipment and to access a lot of critical facilities.
Just something to bear in mind. I remember an old Russian factory boss (retired) in Krasnodar lamenting his government's failure to respond to the Chechens as they armed themselves in the late 1980s and early 1990s. The Russians failed to act until the only path that seemed open to them was war. And that war cost them dearly. It even cost US servicement their lives, as hardened Chechen rebels joined Iraqi insurgents after the US invasion.
Now is not the time to fill your closet with crates of rifle ammuniton. Neither is it time to treat Second Amendment supporters as if they were members of the KKK. Now is the time to recognize each other as fellow countrymen with important common concerns, to educate each other, to listen to each other, and to forge a new power structure in the US that simultaneously makes the common militia stronger and makes the general public highly secure against the risk of criminal, incompetent, and negligent abuse of arms -- whether those arms are held by indiviual private citizens, law enforcement organizations, or branches of the military. We can do this. And we really should. But you won't find me holding my breath waiting for it to happen. I'll be working on my nursing skills and hoping that I don't wind up having to teach kids crash course basic life support twenty years from now in the midst of a great American tragedy.