Anyone interested in military surplus firearms should check out surplusrifle.com. The website has a wealth of information on the topic of surplus, showing step by step tutorials on the disassembly and maintnence of many popular surplus firearms.
I love surplus. Why? becuase its cheap. I'm not exactly cheap, i've spent real money on guns before ($600 on one gun, $550 on another), but i do enjoy shooting on a budget. Not only are some surplus guns inexpensive, but they're rugged, reliable, and built like tanks.
A prime example of the tank-like construction of surplus firearms can be seen if you take a look at the Makarov PM pistol. Made by several European countries during the Cold War Era and beyond, the gun is a fantastic design delivering a decently-powered inexpensive yet plentiful round in a rather compact and durable package. The architecture of the Makarov PM is something that other gun manufacturers should mearn from. To fully disassemble a Makarov, all that's needed is a flat screwdriver to remove the one screw holding the grip in place. The frame can be completely stripped by hand with no screws or hammering out pins. Truely a fantastic design for someone like me, who likes to thurroghly clean guns after shooting them. Makarovs are cheap as well, costing $250-350 these days. reliability is excellent and i'd like to see you wear one out. Feed it the cheapest crap ammo you can find and it'll function well. Its a truely overbuilt marvel of modern firearm design.
There are other bargains in the surplus market. Yugo Mausers as well as Turkish mausers are inexpensive and have rpoven to be well made, accurate battle rifles. They shoot the plentiful and cheap 8mm mauser round (7.92mm) which is a huge selling point of these inexpensive firearms. There is still plenty of surplus 8mm ammo floating around, including corrosively primed ammo from the former soviet state of yugoslovia as well as romania. The romanian ammo comes in a sealed "spam can" and costs a little under $100 for 340 rounds of steel cased, steel core, corrosively primed ammo. A centerifre cartridge of any kind that reliabily ignites and shows accuracy is definately worth that rock bottom price in my opinion.
Want to get started shooting but don't have a lot of cash? get yourself a surplus handgun or rifle.