Southern Ohio Guns, more commonly known as SOG in C&R and milsurp circles, has gone out of business. For many a military surplus aficionado, SOG was the go-to place to get hard-to-find parts for those cherished bolt action rifles from yesteryear or for the best deal on surplus ammo.
I recall opening Shotgun News (known as Firearms News since 2015) and looking for every deal that could be had from SOG, longingly lusting after the milsurp rifles and pistols I couldn’t afford due to being responsible and paying my bills. Meh, who am I kidding? They had awesome prices and boy, did I did buy from them.
I started collecting firearms due to vendors like SOG. I caught the C&R bug and had piles of military bolt actions scattered in the safes. Mosin Nagants, Mausers, Enfields, etc…. Oh, the prices they used to have for SKS carbines and tin-sealed cases of 7.62x39mm. My UPS guy grew to hate me. That’s what memories are made of.
But sadly, those days are gone and what’s worse, SOG isn’t the only C&R player that’s been taken by the Grim Reaper. Samco Global was another big name in the space. They went out of business just a few years ago. What’s worse, they were right in my backyard in Miami. Sarco is also facing tough times these days. How long before they put up a message like SOG’s?
The days of cheap surplus are done and gone. WWI and II won’t happen again and the days of massive tonnage of small arms being produced for war is over. Never again will major world powers send hundreds of divisions to slog it out across broad battle fronts. It’s all video games from here on.
It will be small-scale battles in far off places, proxy conflicts, or pushing buttons on a joystick from 2,000 miles away and sending a care package to someone via drone. That will ensure far fewer enlisted men and women put in harms way…a very good thing. It also means no more warehouses of surplus leftovers. There is just no way a major nation is going to tool up factories to make as much as they can, as fast as they can, and cache it anywhere they think it might be needed.
Another thing — after WWII, the majority of the world switched to automatic rifles. The fate of the Israeli Mauser is a prime example of that. And don’t forget, Mr. BATFE has always said once a machine gun, always a machine gun. So all those pretties across the pond can’t be imported into the US anyways.
You also have the United Nations pushing foreign governments to destroy their stockpiles of arms and ammunition instead of surplusing it to the civilian markets. The actual physical supply is running out. It’s getting harder and harder for companies like SOG to import more guns.
It was nice while it lasted, but the days of sub $100 Mausers, Enfields, and Mosins have come and gone. Times are a-changing and once-great mountains are whittled down to flat plains.
Does that mean that C&R collectors are out of luck? No. But the market will be secondary now. Those vast collections built up on the cheap will be broken up and sold off as their owners get older and shuffle off to that big gun range in the sky. Prices will be higher and the supply will be fixed, if not diminishing due to the nature of things.
But that’s the way things are. The only constant in life is change. And things sure are changing.