I would be leery of sending a postal money order for a large purchase. While, legally, you do have recourse, it seems minamal at best.
Yes, Paypal sucks. I use my credit card anytime I use paypal. Just last week, paypal offered to give me back $7 out of the 1500 I was scammed for. My credit card has already taken care of it.
If the person wants to sell the item, it takes very little effort to get a paypal account (or a Paypal alternative).
Also, I often hear of escrow services. You might check into that.
And lastly, if it's a bunch of money, you can just fly/drive down there and hand him the cash.
I know I'm still a youngin', but I have never and will never mail a check or money order to somebody I don't know.
Have a good day!
2003 F150 Supercrew
1996 Ford Mustang
2.3t w/ HE351VE turbo
12.10 @ 114 mph