Frequently, I’m approached by people who ask what the best bargain in rifles is, and my response is always the same:

“Get away from me or I’ll hit you with this stick! [I carry a stick for just such occasions.]”

Once we have the correct social order established, I explain that the best bargain is not a particular brand of rifle, but a used rifle, and particularly at this point in history. As we continue our descent from the First World to the Third, people are having to part with some very good guns.

Periodically, I scout the Internet for high-grade left-hand rifles, and last week I hit paydirt. Kittery Trading Post, in Kittery, ME, listed a used Anschutz Model 1416 .22 left-hand bolt-action which they described as 95 percent, and which was selling for a very good price, with scope.

“Holy Fried Clam,” I said, and drove up to Kittery. The rifle turned out to be mint except for a shallow, 1-inch scratch on the comb. That was the missing 5 percent. The scope was silly and worthless, so I asked if they could take it off and deduct what it cost. Sure, said the Kittery folks.

I bought it, and the thing shoots sensational, even for an Anschutz. I got what is essentially a new gun at a whopping saving, and my heart goes out to whoever had to sell it.

Remember: The true bargains are not the cheap guns that are selling cheaper because they’re used, but the really good ones that no longer cost big money.

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