Of course, there's an ulterior motive for my trip, too. In addition to touching base with the crew at CCA and visiting some of my old haunts, I dragged my trusty laptop along. I've got three or four longer pieces for this blog rattling around, one for the Arms Room, and a small handful of blurbs for the folks at LEM, and maybe this will jar them loose.
The thing I want to talk about at the Arms Room is the nature of collecting military small arms and how time and demographics are changing the hobby. We're at a period of turnover, here; the generation that is now going into retirement is really only the second generation to collect breechloading military arms to any serious degree (before WWII, the idea of collecting 20th Century military arms was somewhat odd; collectors generally collected muzzleloaders) a lot of stuff that is considered rare and valuable on the market is rare and valuable because it disappeared into gun safes 40 and more years ago. Central and South American Mausers, for example, which have been overheated for almost a decade now, were snatched up in the 50s and 60s because they were the Mosin Nagants of their day; cheap, plentiful, and affordable on student's wages. Now we're seeing formerly rare Argentine and Venezuelan carbines coming out of hiding and on to dealer's tables. It will be interesting to see what this does to the market.