Regardless of where your overall gun interests lie, chances are that you’ll end up picking up a milsurp piece at some point or another. Old military guns are both fun to shoot and fascinating artifacts that can serve as gateways to learning about the past. This is a list of surplus firearms that are still widely available from major retailers. Read on to see how many you can check off your list.
1. M1 Garand
It’s hard to find a gun from World War Two that’s more iconic than the M1 Garand. It was the first semiautomatic rifle to be adopted wholesale by a nation’s military, and its reputation for accuracy and reliability were well-earned. Anyone who’s shot a Garand knows how satisfying it is to blast through eight rounds of .30-06 and hear the rifle’s signature en-bloc clip go flying.
Over six million of these American rifles were made at a number of different facilities between 1936 and 1957, and many were supplied to allied nations during the Cold War.
It’s hard to go wrong with a rifle based on the venerable Mauser action. The Yugo M24/47 is an Mauser pattern bolt-action originally produced for use by the former Yugoslavian military. It’s chambered in the widely available 8x57mm Mauser cartridge which is great for recreational shooting or even hunting game as large as whitetail deer. These particular guns also accept a M24/48 pattern bayonet if you want that authentic military surplus look and feel.
3. CZ 52
The CZ 52 is a unique little pistol chambered in 7.62 x 25 Tokarev. 7.62 x 25 Tokarev is a bottlenecked .30 caliber round firing a a 90 grain jacketed round at over 1,500 fps. This makes for a loud little gun which is a blast to shoot. The pistols operate with a roller-locked short recoil mechanism and they feature a detachable box magazine–fed. If you are bored with the usual military surplus pistols then this affordable and reliable pistol would fit nicely in your collection.
The 1911 pistols is one of the most iconic firearms off all time and it has a stellar reputation for a reason. Even 100 years after it was introduced upgraded versions of the 1911 design are still in use by military and law enforcement all over the world. The A1 version of the 1911 features a shorter trigger, cutouts in the frame behind the trigger, an arched mainspring housing, a longer grip safety spur, a wider front sight, a and shortened hammer spur. These venerable pistols chambered in .45 ACP command various prices depending on their manufacturer and year of production, but it’s hard to put a price on a piece of history like this.
What would a list of must-have milsurp rifles be without a Mosin? The Mosin-Nagant series of bolt-action rifles and carbines practically defines the modern American military surplus market. Though they used to be available for less than $100 each, they’ve steadily climbed in price over the years.
More than 37,000,000 Mosins were made by Imperial and Soviet Russian facilities alone. Several million more were made on contract in the United States, France, and many other Eastern Bloc nations. You could probably fill a couple of gun safes with different variations of the Mosin and still not have an example of every single one out there.
Soviet-made M91/30s are some of the most common Mosins out there. They’re chambered in 7.62x54mmR (like almost all other Mosins), which is still plentiful and cheap. Just be aware that surplus 7.62x54mm is corrosive, and clean your rifle accordingly after shooting. The muzzle fireballs produced by Mosin carbines can bring a smile to even the most despondent shooter’s face.
6. M1 Carbine
A staple of military surplus collectors everywhere, the M1 Carbine is a must have. During WWII the M1 Carbine was produced by a number of manufactures from IBM to General Motors. These rifles make for great shooters today because of their durability and the availability of .30 Carbine ammo. Prices for these rifles range from affordable to very expensive depending on the manufacturer and condition so you might want to do some research before purchasing one for yourself.
This article is produced in cooperation with Cabela’s.