Firearm wholesaler Southern Ohio Guns International has closed their doors after 46 years. While the company’s sparse social media page is still online, its website is no longer active with their last notice, posted on Dec. 4, advising simply that SOG would be shutting down, a downward spiral chronicled on various online gun forums for the past two months. As such, the big surplus gun house has gone the way of Bannerman’s, Klein’s, WAC, and, more recently, Samco.
Established in Lebanon, Ohio in 1972, SOG specialized in selling military surplus and imported guns and militaria, typically through regular mailers to customers large and small and via large ads in trade publications such as The Shotgun News. Establishing a website in 2000, extensive internet archives of the company’s sales pages across the last two decades make a strong case to buy military surplus firearms and their accessories as a hedge against inflation.
A 2002 ad lists Simson & Co., WK & CIE, and Alex Coppel-made Mauser Solingen and Suhl bayonets for $19 — with the scabbard and frog. The same archive is a time machine to a world of $399 Belgian-marked Browning Hi-Powers, $229 Walther P-1s, $149 Star Model Bs, and $99 Bulgarian Makarovs with a free mag and holster (as opposed to .32ACP CZ 70s for $77 each if you bought three or more). For those looking for a .45ACP budget gun, there were sub-$200 refinished Argentine military and police Ballester Molina 1911-ish clones, shown by the crate. One page highlights S&W Victory Model .38s for $139 while another has $99 Webleys. Want a Romanian AK for $279? Get in your time machine and head to 2004.
For those into military surplus bolt-action rifles, a 2001 post shows Turkish 8mm Mausers for $39 and Soviet M44 Mosin carbines for $54 (“stock-piled high and priced super low!”) besides No.#1 MK3 Enfield .303s for $149 (numbers are limited). Italian 6.5mm Carcano rifles (“In storage for more than 30 years. Packed in original arsenal grease”) were $79 — as long as you bought more than one. Swiss K.31s in 7.5mm ranged from $109 to $99 in a 2003 listing, just 15 years ago. Then there were such rares as a cache of 80 Heym target rifles manufactured in the 1930s uncovered in some forgotten warehouse, and FN-49 rifles in .308, “recently imported from South America.”
Then there are liberal sprinklings of East German military binoculars, Polish gas masks, machine gun parts kits (hacked up from real machine guns), etcetera, etcetera, ad infinitum. For even more heartburn, go find some print ads from the early 1990s when $150 in your pocket gave a choice between a Swedish Ljungman AG-42 in 6.5x55mm, a Norinco AK sporter, or 1.5 Russian SKSs.
“The days of cheap surplus are done and gone,” Luis Valdes editorialized at The Truth About Guns on news of SOG’s passing. “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 battlefronts. It’s all video games from here on.”