2005 - How It All Began
   
  I live in a suburb of New Orleans, and aside from a couple .22s never had a hankering for firearms. 2005 changed all that. Hurricane Katrina destroyed much of my city, and the absence of any government led some bad societal elements to go crazy. When four weeks later we got out of the refugee camp and made our way home, we returned to a shattered city with armed gangs and better armed soldiers pointing rifles at us every time we ventured out for food or water.
   
  Well I realized that the two .22s weren't going to be much help in that situation, and if I was going to stay in my home town I'd better get better protection than they could provide. I got an SKS, and began scanning the internet looking for information about cleaning and repairing it if needed. After a couple days I stumbled across lots of AK "parts kits" - "for repairing your AK". Given the AK's robust reputation I wondered why people needed all these spare parts.
   
   
  Then I discovered 555th's posts about making a jig to press flats into receivers, and my life changed.
   
   
  8mm ammo was $50 a crate, as was 7.62x54. I bought as many kits as I could, borrowing money to buy them, since I knew they'd disappear one day. My Century sales representative (I have a Curio & Relics license.) noticed, and offered me all their rejected AK kits that the vendors didn't want. These were 1960s AKs mostly, but with the occasional G kit thrown in. I bought about 750 of them, and parted them out. I sold all but about 20 of them. He offered me the reject Romanian RPK kits as well, and I bought up about 250 of those. For every ten or so kits I bought he gave me a free one. Most of the kits I resold immediately, but the really good ones and the really bad ones I kept.
   
  Meanwhile I was buying up Mausers, M1 carbines, Steyr M95 carbines, Mosin-Nagants, Makarovs, SMLEs, Lugers, etc. Then a friend introduced me to the Nepal hoard, and I was lost. I bought up British Martini-Henry's, Nepalese Brunswick muskets and P-1853 muskets, Gahendras and Francottes as well as a fair accumulation of bayonets. The final nail in the coffin was when my rep called me up to tell me 5.45x39mm was selling at $118 per 1020 rounds. I knew that wouldn't last, so I had him send me 33 tins.
   
  That was IT! No More!
   
 
  Persian and Swedish Mausers disappeared from the market.
  Cheap 8mm ammo disappeared from the market.
  Makarovs disappeared from the market.
  Cheap AK parts kits disappeared from the market.
  SKSs disappeared from the market.
  K98 Mausers disappeared from the market.
  Yugoslavian M48s disappeared from the market.
  Czech CZ52 pistols disappeared from the market.
  Steyr M95s disappeared from the market.
  Yugoslavian 24/47s disappeared from the market.
  The cheap Bulgarian 7.62x54 ammo disappeared from the market.
  Romanian M44s disappeared from the market.
  The rest of the M44s disappeared from the market.
  SMLEs disappeared from the market.
  Steyr M95 ammo disappeared from the market.
  The 7.62x25mm ammo disappeared from the market.
   
   
  Fast-forward to 2011.
   
  It appears there's not much left to buy these days, so I'm glad I got what I did when I could. The loan is paid off with the profits from the sale of the kits, and the ammo stockpile can't possibly run out in my lifetime. I was right. It couldn't go on forever, but I'll look back on those three years with fond memories - the smell of cosmoline as I unwrapped a Yugoslvian AK kit, the wonder at the perfect condition of a Romanian kit as it came out of that plastic bag, the look on the face of my UPS guy as he humped all those ammo crates back to my gate, the joy of discovering that seven of those twenty-two Mosin-Nagants in the boxes were ex-dragoons, the feeling I got the first time I cycled the bolt-carrier on a build, and most of all the happy emails I got back from guys who bought my kits. Those were good years, and if the good times never come back (though they always seem to) I'll be able to build AK kits and shoot to my heart's content for the rest of my life. I will NEVER have to buy ammo again though I'm sure I'll find a gun in a caliber I didn't buy up when it was plentiful. 9mm and .308 spring to mind.
   
  For those people just getting into the sport I'd recommend buying as many Mosin-Nagants as you can, and stocking at least 15,000 rounds of ammo while it's still relatively cheap. This too shall run out one day. Don't get caught regretting not buying it while it was cheap.
   
 
  * This is My Rifle *