The first gun that I ever bought was a Soviet Mosin-Nagant rifle made in 1942. It was also the first gun that I ever shot, which is probably why I had a flinch for quite some time after that (let that be a lesson—get some proper instruction and supervision if you’re a first-time shooter). For many Americans, military surplus guns or “milsurp” firearms are a gateway into the rabbit hole of the shooting sports and gun collecting in general. Many surplus rifles and handguns are cheap, simple, and collectable.

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. I’ve compiled this list of surplus firearms that are still widely or intermittently available from major retailers or other groups. Read on to see how many you can check off your list.

1. A Lee-Enfield rifle

An SMLE No.1 MKIII originally manufactured in 1917 and rebarreled in 1924. This rifle saw use by the British Home Guard throughout World War Two. Image by Jim Grant.
An SMLE No.1 MKIII originally manufactured in 1917 and rebarreled in 1924. This rifle saw use by the British Home Guard throughout World War Two. Image by Jim Grant.

The British Lee-Enfield series of bolt-action rifles was prolific throughout World Wars One and Two, and variants of the design were produced well beyond 1945. Most all are chambered for the rimmed .303 British round which, while you probably won’t find it at your local sporting goods store (unless you live in a former Commonwealth nation), is still easily found online. Enfield rifles chambered in .303 were notable for their large-for-the-time magazines with 10-round capacities.

There are endless variations of the Enfield, all of which have suitably British names. The SMLE (Short Magazine Lee-Enfield) MK III and Rifle, No. 4 Mk 1 are some of the most common variants. Shortened “Jungle Carbines” are highly sought-after, when they are proven to be legitimate pieces. Enfields rarely make it into larger retailers’ hands these days, and they typically sell for at least $400 to $500 and up.

The Indian-made series of Enfields in 7.62x51mm NATO are known as Ishapore rifles and are less valuable.

2. M1 Garand

An M1 Garand with a Harrington and Richardson receiver made in 1955 and a barrel made in 1943. Image by Jim Grant.
An M1 Garand with a Harrington and Richardson receiver made in 1955 and a barrel made in 1943. Image by Jim Grant.

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.

The Civilian Marksmanship Program (CMP) is the most reliable source for fairly-priced Garands. CMP Garands are almost always mixmasters when it comes to matching numbers, but they’ll work. Expect to pay at least $630 for an entry-level rifle, and over $1,000 for excellent-condition examples with original parts.

3. Mosin-Nagant M91/30 or M44

A 1945-dated M44 Mosin-Nagant carbine made at the Izhevsk factory. Image by Jim Grant.
A 1945-dated M44 Mosin-Nagant carbine made at the Izhevsk factory. Image by Jim Grant.

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 gun market. Though they used to be available for less than $100 each, they’ve steadily climbed in price over the years. Nowadays it’s hard to find a full-length rifle (M91/30) under $150 or a carbine (most commonly M38 and M44 models) under $250.

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 and M44s are some of the most common Mosins out there. They’re both chambered in 7.62x54mmR (like almost all other Mosins), which is still plentiful and cheap. Just be aware that surplus 7.62x54mmR 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.

Online retailers like AIMSurplus and Classic Firearms are go-to sites for Mosins. Chances are you can find them at your local sporting goods store, too.

4. Finnish Mosin-Nagant m/39 (or any other Finn Mosin)

The author's Finnish m/39 made by SAKO. Image by Matt Korovesis.
The author’s Finnish m/39 made by SAKO. Image by Matt Korovesis.

Once you get yourself a cheap Soviet Mosin, you should upgrade to a Finnish one.

Since Finland borders Russia (and used to be part of the Russian Empire), most of their small arms are based off of Russian designs. However, the Finns have never been content to just take their neighbors’ guns and use them as-is—they like to make them a whole heck of a lot better. Such was the case with most of the Mosin-Nagant rifles the Finns captured, bought, and otherwise acquired throughout the early twentieth century.

The Finns sunk a lot of effort into remanufacturing their Mosins. They never built their own receivers, but they adhered to much stricter tolerances when they reworked the rifles they acquired abroad and on the battlefield. Finnish Mosins are generally regarded as more accurate and well-made than a standard Soviet or Russian rifle. The Finns were using hand-picked Mosins as target rifles well past the end of World War Two.

The author's Finnish m/27 rifle, a slightly rarer Finnish Mosin variant. Image by Matt Korovesis.
The author’s Finnish m/27 rifle, a slightly rarer Finnish Mosin variant. Image by Matt Korovesis.

The most common Finnish Mosins are of the m/39 variety, and can be found at several online retailers. Examples in good condition will generally run at least $350. Rarer variants can reach into four-digit numbers.

One of my most prized rifles is an American-made Mosin m/91 that was reworked by the Finns at some point in its life. You can read about that gun here.

5. M1903 Springfield

A Remington M1903A3 manufactured in 1943. Image by Jim Grant.
A Remington M1903A3 manufactured in 1943. Image by Jim Grant.

The M1903 Springfield is another classic American military rifle. The bolt-action M1903 was the Garand’s predecessor, though it too was chambered for the powerful .30-06 round.

Based off of the Mauser action, the Springfield is what many people think of when they hear “bolt-action military rifle.” The gun was used in World Wars One and Two, and saw limited use in Korea and Vietnam in sniper roles. They’re capable of surprising accuracy and are fascinating pieces of history.

The only negative thing that could be said about M1903s in today’s market is that they’re rare and pricey. Expect to pay at least a grand for an original one in good condition, and a bit less than that for a “refurbished” model.

6. K31

The author's 1934-dated Swiss K31. Typically, custom Steel Reserve paperweights are not included with rifle purchases. Image by Matt Korovesis.
The author’s 1934-dated Swiss K31. Typically, custom Steel Reserve paperweights and assorted desk trash are not included with rifle purchases. Image by Matt Korovesis.

I recently included the Swiss K31 on my list of guns you should buy with your tax refund, and for good reason. The rifle features a very unique straight-pull action, a rarity among bolt-action service rifles. K31s are chambered in the potent and affordable (if you buy online) 7.5 Swiss cartridge, which is similar in performance to .30-06. I know of several sporstmen who use K31s as hunting guns.

Swiss surplus rifles are almost always in excellent condition, which can’t be said of every Mosin pulled out of a musty crate. I recently purchased a K31 made in 1934, and aside from a few knicks in the stock, I could swear it was made under a decade ago.

As with almost every other milsurp gun on the market, K31s have steadily increased in price over the years as supplies dry up. AIMSurplus seems to have the largest batch available right now, with prices ranging from $300 to $330.

7. Nagant M1895 revolver

A Nagant M1895, along with two 7.62x38mmR rounds. Image by Mascamon on the Wikimedia Commons.
A Nagant M1895, along with two 7.62x38mmR rounds. Image by Mascamon on the Wikimedia Commons.

My final choice for this list is almost more of a “why not” entry than a “must have.” They can still be found online for under $200, though they’ve started drying up as of late.

The Nagant revolver (designed by the brother of Emile Nagant, whose work was incorporated into the Mosin-Nagant rifle) is another unique design from the late nineteeth and early twentieth century. This Belgian design was manufactured en masse by Imperial Russia and later the Soviet Union, and saw wide use in both World Wars. The M1895 is chambered in 7.62x38mmR, itself an oddball cartridge (albeit one that is still available online).

The revolver’s cylinder moves forward when the gun is cocked, eliminating the gap between the cylinder and barrel—few other contemporary revolvers featured such an action, and perhaps even fewer do today.

What are some of your must-have milsurp guns?

Note added 3-23: This article’s text has been corrected regarding Enfield terminology.

What's Your Reaction?

Like
Like Love Haha Wow Sad Angry
6

210 thoughts on “7 Military Surplus Guns Every American Should Own

  1. Seems the author is biased against anything that was made by axis nations. There is a fine history of mausers especially the M98 and the iconic luger, also the FN FAL used with great success by most nato countries with the exception of USA . Also the colt 911A1 used since WW1 and still used today. I’d rather have one of them than some obscure Finnish or swiss rifle.

      1. Dom stated that I had a bias against anything that was made by Axis nations. Finland fought for the Axis from 1941 until September 1944. As such, I included something “that was made by axis nations.”

        I’m not quite sure what point you’re trying to make. Your comment is also the first time I’ve ever seen anyone call Sweden and Switzerland Axis co-belligerents.

      2. @ Matt Korovessis.

        Guess how Nazi Germany got all the examples of P-47’s, P-38’s, P-51’s, B-17’s, B-24’s, B-25’s and the Norden Bombsight. Switzerland, that who. All those American Pilot’s and Air Crew’s, that had to make emergency landings in Neutral Switzerland. Too keep the Nazi’s from invading Switzerland, Switzerland just handed them over to them, no questions asked…

      3. @ Dan.

        Sweden was supplying Iron Ore, Switzerland was supplying Coal, Spain was supplying weaponry (outsourcing), and Argentina Food Products (like Beef)…

      4. And the British supplied rubber in exchange for optics via Swiss intermediaries. Argentines sold need to both sides. Your definition of Axis-aligned is a bit unconventional.

      5. Technically Spain was neutral. The Blue Division that served with the Germans was “volunteers”.

      6. @ James Womack.

        During the was years 1939-1945, Fraco’s Spain was supplying small arms in “Penny-Packed” Lots to Nazi-Germany. Toward’s the end of the war, Nazi-Germany had amassed a large quantity of Allied Ammunition. Most of the Allied weapon’s were melted down to create German Weaponry. When Germany started conscripting the Volksstrum or People’s Army, they had a stockpile of ammunition and very few functional weaponry. So, Spain stepped in and through the Star Bonifacio Echeverria, S.A. arms manufacturer. Developed the Star Model Z-45, which was esscentually a MP-40 9x19mm/Parabellum Submachine Pistol, chambered to fire the .45ACP. They made other Allied Caliber’d weaponry as well…

      7. No. Finland was at war with the USSR, first from December 1939 until March 1940 while the USSR and Nazi Germany were technically allies due to the Molotov-Ribentropp Pact. Finland was again at war with the USSR from 1941 until September 1944, after which Finland and the USSR came to terms, and by agreement tried to expel German forces from national territory from 1944 to 1945.

        Franco’s Spain was neutral, albeit pro-Axis. Spain supplied tungsten and other critical resources to Germany. The Volkssturm was primarily armed with disposable anti-tank guns aka. “Panzerfaust” and a variety of decrepit older small arms and aircraft machine guns, the primary example of which was the Italian Mannlicher-Carcano. Spain supplied Astra 600s to the Luftwaffe and pistols for Bulgaria. Big deal. The Star Z-45 is a postwar submachinegun in 9x23mm Largo caliber. NOT .45 ACP. The ’45’ refers to the year of development.

        Sweden was neutral, albeit supplying lots of iron ore, ball bearings, and quality steel to Germany. Hitler’s desire to protect this valuable commerce was among the reasons he chose to invade Denmark and Norway, to impede British interdiction. Sweden certainly “shared in the booty.” Nonetheless, it was obvious to political leaders after Stalingrad that Germany would lose the war. Swedish diplomats began to move toward a rather more genuine neutral standpoint, and some like Raoul Wallenberg tried to thwart some Nazi objectives, such as murdering Hungarian Jews and so on.

        Argentina was a pro-Axis neutral nation throughout World War II, and a rather pro-fascist/nazi military clique ran the nation after 1943. Nonetheless, very, very late in the war, Argentina declared war on the Axis, primarily so as not to be excluded from the first UN meeting in San Francisco in 1945…

      8. @ James Womack.

        Technically from 1939 through 7 December 1941, so was the United States. But their still were the Flying Tigers in China and Lend Lease with the British…

    1. @ dom.

      The Author isn’t biased, he’s trying to educate you.
      1. Their all .30-caliber
      2. Their all based on the 8-mil. (7.92x57mm/Mauser Cartridge)

      Even the Springfield M1903 is a Mauser designed, and .30-06 (7.62×63.3mm) is based on the 8-mil. (7.92x57mm/Mauser Cartridge)

      1. @ OFBG.

        Actually YES and NO. During the Spanish American War, when “Teddy” was having his “Ass Handed Back To Him”, because the Spanish were using 7x57mm/Mausers and we were using Krag .30-40 (aka, .30-30 or .30-Government, .30-Civilian). After the war every one in the World want the Mauser Rifle. The problem was, nobody could decide on a common caliber round. Even the USA, want the Mauser Rifle. After a few Test Trials, the US. Decided on the Mauser Pattern Rifle, but in .30-30. With the introduction of New Propellants the “Conical-Pointed” .30-30 morphed to become the “Spitzer-Pointed” .30-06Springfield (7.62×63.3mm, later just 7.62×63) dropping the last 3, round was adopted. So you have a Mauser Patterned Rifle, chambering .30-06Sprngfld. (7.62x63mm) ammunition…

      2. I have NEVER heard or seen the .30-40 referred to as the .30-30 or .30-Civilian. Some people (such as Winchester) called it the .30 Army or .30 US.

        I am going to give you the benefit of the doubt and assume that your discussion of the .30-30 and the Springfield is a typo. Did you mean the .30-03?

      3. @ Rick McMullen.

        My Bad. Typo, Mixing my information.

        The .30-40Krag or .30US & .30Army (.308-caliber, 7.8×58,8mm) replaced by.30-03Sprngfld (.308-caliber, 7.8x65mm/Conical-Point), and then again, replaced & refined by .30-06Sprngfld (.308-caliber, 7.62×63.3mm/Spitzer-Point).

        And .30-30Win or 7.62x51mmR/Conical-Point) predecessor to the 7.62x51mmNATO/Spitzer-Point) and .308Win (7.62×51.18mm/Spitzer-Point).

      4. A .30-40 Krag is the only rifle I desire I don’t have. I have past up many chances in the day, but never found one not cut up or beat up. Many carried behind the seat in a pickup. Now, they are like hen’s teeth even for a rough one. I just love the action. Maybe someday in an estate auction.

      5. @ chuckles.

        Have you tried GunBrokers, the last I look they had at least 32. Ranging from Cheap to Expensive…

    2. And every nation (both of them) that used the FAL in combat ditched it immediately afterwards.

      Coincidence?

      BTW, the two nations were Israel (started replacing with M16 and Galil following the Yom Kippur war) and Britain after the Falklands.

    3. Dom, The writer is probably just providing information rather than being biased. Mauser98 models, even the actions can be rough on the piggy bank. If you have a Model 98 there will be parts available for at least a few centuries and the rifles are fairly easy to rebuild. Twenty five years ago you could still find new barrels for $25. Those days are probably gone forever. Many of us look down on firearms made behind the iron curtain, sure they may be a little rough and not as polished as other firearms but they work. Even the old Nagants are still in use today. Their ammo is close to our standard 30-06 in most respects, of course the case is different and even the bullet itself is slightly larger in diameter. Another drawback is their weight, which is almost the same as some vehicles. If you are interested in a hunting rifle, check out the Ruger American. I have several others that were far more expensive but now they reside in the gun safe.

    1. I considered including the SKS! Unfortunately I don’t have a lot of personal experience with them, and didn’t want to sing their praises or worth without a bit more knowledge.

      1. That makes sense. I’ve had an SKS for 18 years. They are pretty tough rifle. If you could find one at a good price, I would say grab it up.

      2. IMO, the SKS is the most underrated battle rifle ever made. They’re every bit as rugged as the AK, and a LOT more accurate!!

      3. I’m with you, Tom. I have a Yugo SKS that’s a tackdriver. Ammo is still fairly cheap and available, too.

      1. They were not officially called an Enfield. They were made by Remington in the US and were first chambered for the 303 round for the British. During WW1 they were chambered in 30-06 for our troops.

      2. @ Bruce Plate.

        My bad, on the Brand Distinction, but I don’t recall caliber being mention. I assumed it was .303 (7.7mm)…

      3. The ones issued by the US Army in WWI were in .30-06. The majority were made in Eddystone, PA, and were marked “Eddystone”.

      4. @ Tom.

        Baldwin Locomotive Works in Eddystone, PA., produced the Model 1917 Enfield Rifle in .30.06 (7.62×63.3mm). My assumpton as to why Eddystone is, think about it. The Heavy Machinery was already there, No wartime start-up’s…

      5. I had one in .303 made by Winchester. Remington bought a load of the machinery and used it to make the Remington 721-721 series. I still have one made in 1951 and it is quite accurate. The trigger/safety issues on the 721 and 700 series scared the hell out of me after one of the guys left one fly at our cabin. We were unable to replicate it. After pricing replacement triggers I bought more 30-06 rifles and a Ruger American in .243 and still kept the 721 and 700 Remington rifles that I have in the safe. Father Time is catching up with me and the Ruger is a nice light rifle that is amazingly accurate. It’s now the go-to rifle for this old Seabee.

      6. @ OFBG.

        The reference was to a Model 1917! A Model 1917, WHAT? My question was Model 1917 Rifle or Pistol…

      7. @ OFBG.

        Just the Reference of Model 1917, I found 55,664 different references to Model 1917, worldwide. So you can see why I asked that question…

      8. No, I can’t. As I have noted before, you really need to learn how to read and understand things in context. Bruce stated “the US Model of 1917. A bit heavier in weight than the 1903.” This forum is – with the exception of the 1895 Nagant – about milsurp rifles, and while Colt may have produced a “1903” handgun, it was not a military “Model 1903.”

  2. My first rifle was a Remington M-1917. The serial number shows it being manufactured in September 1918 and it is in near pristine condition. This rifle is hard hitting and so accurate that deer tremble at the very mention of the name!

  3. Unless I’m missing something in the reading, I see Six-Bolt Action Rifles, One-WW2-era Semi-Automatic and One-19th Century Revolver. And NO modern style Assault Rifles. Aren’t we “Drifting Off the Topic”, somewhat…

    1. As shown by your other posts, yes, you are “missing something in the reading.” The topic – albeit in a myopic view – is “7 Military Surplus Guns Every American Should Own.”

      1. @ OFBC.

        I can’t seem to understand your inability to visually conceptualize or differentiate the differences between a Bolt-Action Combat Rifle of the past and that of a AK/AR style Assault Rifle of the now. The article is about Apples, not Oranges…

      2. While I can certainly understand the difference “between a Bolt-Action Combat Rifle of the past and that of a AK/AR style Assault Rifle of the now,” you seem to be unable to grok that the topic of the article is milsurp guns, without specifying age, caliber, action type,,,need I go on?

  4. #1 & #5 are becoming really uncommon…… especially to find in unbuttered or even good condition sporter…..

  5. Don’t forget the 6.5 Carcano still available usually under $500 the ammo is available en mass online and it is an accurate platfor and fun to shoot.

    1. I bought two of those back in the late 60’s for $7.50 each and that was a lot more than they were worth. They wouldn’t shoot with smokeless powders as they had a gain twist barrel and were designed for black powder. Five shots at a number three wash tub at fifty yards would result in one hit. As likely as not the bullet would be going sideways. I removed the barrels and converted them to .410 shotguns. The magazines worked fine for the .410 shells. The rifles were made by Terni and were chambered for the 6.5 Carcano round. If Oswald shot Kennedy it was an accident. LOL

  6. Come on lads, cut him some slack. He did say “seven mil autos”. So it’s inevitable somebody’s favourite ain’t gonna make the cut. By the way , No4 and No5 Lee Enfields are not SMLE’ s.

    1. Correct about the Enfields, and how “somebody’s favourite ain’t gonna make the cut,” but I’d still go with the SKS fans. If we need to keep it at 7, I’d drop the K31 or the Finn Moisin – they are gems but not the most representative of battle rifles.

      1. Sorry, I don’t understand your reply. I thought we were discussing “7 Military Surplus Guns Every American Should Own,” not calibers.

      2. @ OFBG.

        I Was. All the weapons mentioned in the article have one thing in common. There ALL .30-caliber, .30-caliber ranges form 6.5x55mm to 10x25mm. One man’s 6.5 and another’s 8. It’s STILL .30-caliber…

      3. Okay, but what’s your point? The author stated his opinion about 7 (why not 6, 8, 9…) guns we all should own. I stated that at least two of them, while great guns ( I own a Finn Moisin) are not in the same league as the others.

      4. @ OFBG.

        No point, just fact’s..Another thing they have in common, they come from the 7.92x57mm Mauser family line…

      5. @ OFBG.

        What’s there to understand. With the exception of M1 Garand and Nagant M1895 Revolver, there all Bolt-Action Rifles. I assuming the Garand and the M1895 were thrown in as Author’s Personal Favorites…

      6. @ OFBG.

        So, what specifically didn’t make sense. I thought I was being Forthright with You. Everyone, here has there personal favorites…

      7. @ OFBG.

        I only comment on Topics of Interest, most of the Other’s I just don’t find interesting…

      8. I must apologize for having overestimated you. When I came back to this forum to check on some other threads, I re-read Chris McEvoy’s comment and the proverbial light bulb lit over my head. You apparently misinterpreted his use of “seven mil” as meaning “7mm” rather than “seven military” as he clearly intended. With that in mind, your response to my suggestion that the SKS be substituted for either the K31 or the M39 (so far as caliber is concerned) is understandable. In the context of the article and forum, however, your response still makes no sense. You really need to improve your reading comprehension.
        As for commenting on topics of interest, I would not comment if the topic interested me. On the other hand, I often don’t comment even on interesting topics because I so often get sucked into threads with people like you.

      9. And as before, your comment is at best opaque. Stop trying to be clever, you clearly don’t have the talent for it.

      10. I agree 100% about the K31 and the Finn. I’m not sure why every American should own one of these; personally, I can’t get excited about either.

  7. Just have a Nagant revolver here, a nice pistol though not practical by today’s standards. Is nice having the option to put a suppressor. But a steal for me, got it back when they were under $100 before everyone starting snatching them up.

    I need to get a Lee Enfield Mk III because I’ve owned a Pattern 1907 sword bayonet for a long time, it would be happy to have one to be mounted on.

    But first… I’ve been suffering from accute Mosinitis ever since I sold my M91/30 to a co-worker, so I need to remedy that…

    1. The price of Mosins has been going up steadily for the past 5 years. It’s hard to find a decent one for under $175 now; hex receivers are even more. Thankfully the ammo is still under $100 for a spam can.

      1. How well I know it. I still buy the 7.62 x 54R ammunition because I have a PSL. But I bought my old 91/30 when they were still $80 and came with everything. Luckily I bought my PSL back when they were cheap too, around $650.

    2. Travis, forget about IMA and Gibbs for rifles. Try Aim Surplus, Classic Firearms, JG Sales, Royal Tiger Imports, Samco Global, or Southern Ohio Gun.

    1. Totally! I agree.

      For me, German Mausers–and Latin American or Turkish or what-have-you Mausers are a bit expensive… I’d rather put the cash toward M1 Garands.
      I’ve got Mosin-Nagants from Finland, check, the USSR, check, and a couple of the MN carbines, check.
      MAS36, MAS49/56, SKS (x2), SVT40, Garand (x2), and M1 carbine… So I’m pretty well covered I’d say.

      A fairly good list of what’s out there, although some of those will really cost a lot, particularly the M1903 springfield, which in my admittedly biased view is way overpriced! I don’t know why, but the SMLE doesn’t do it for me, although I’ve come very close to grabbing a No.4 Mk. I from time to time…

      1. Dave, you can pick up a non-matching “Russian capture” K98k for under $500; Yugo and Turkish Mausers can be had for under $300. Even though surplus 8mm has about dried up, you can still find new production from Prvi for about .70 per round. I absolutely love the butter smooth Mauser action.

    2. I agree with you, but have to acknowledge that it’s a personal choice. My late father-in-law hated the M1 carbine. As a communications officer in the 8th Division, he was issued an M1 carbine, but as he told me many times, he ditched it for a Garand soon after landing in Normandy.

  8. I’ve gone through several collections of milsurp rifles in the last 50 years. Must have owned several hundred all told. About 20 years ago I began selling them off and concentrating on the most beautiful bolt action military rifle to ever grace this planet – the U.S. Krag-Jorgensen!

    1. Yeah the U.S made Krags are beautifully made, but the Norwegian 1912 carbine in 6.5 Swedish is probably better.

      1. @ Al parsons.

        Correct me if I’m wrong, but isn’t the Norwegian 6.5x55mm Model 1912 Carbine also a Krag-Jorgensen design…

      2. I’ve got two Norski m/1912s and my US Krags have much smoother actions, better sights and triggers.

  9. Rather than 3 variants of the Mosin-Nagant, why not include the 30 M1 Carbine? Or an 1893 or 98 Mauser? Or an Arisaka? Dang, Dude, there are too many darn good rifles out there to concentrate so heavily on any one.

    1. @ Dick Farnsworth.

      I’m going to yield to the side of caution, and gamble that these Arms were Author’s Favorite Pick’s…

    2. @ Dick Farnsworth.

      The Model 1893 or Spanish M93, in .285-caliber (7.24x57mm/Mauser), copied for the German 8-mil. Mauser.
      The Model 98k in 8-mil. Mauser aka the .318-caliber (8.02x57mm/Spitzer-Point Mauser). and aka, the .323-caliber (8.2x57mm/Conical-Point Mauser).
      The .303 British (.312-caliber, 7.92×56.44mm/Mauser), copied from the German 8-mil. Mauser.
      The 7,7 Arisaka (.311-caliber, 7.89x58mm/Mauser), copied from the .303 British.
      What goes around, comes around. Technically there ALL the same round and can be fired from the standard 98k Mauser…

      1. You’re not far out of the ballpark with that comment, but still out of it.The 7mm Mauser most certainly led to the 8mm Mauser, but the .303 British uses a totally different case profile (with a rim) and was in development if not before, at least at the same time as the 8mm Mauser. The 7.7 Arisaka borrowed from both the .303 (caliber) and the Mauser (case).
        More important, they are NOT “ALL the same round” and cannot “be fired from the standard 98k Mauser.” The .303 won’t even chamber in a standard 98K.
        Unless, of course, you wish to twist your comment to mean “from a 98k Mauser action,” which of course they can after rechambering or rebarreling (and in the case of the .303 modifying the bolt face).

      2. @ OFBG.

        OHHH REALLY, If fits the Parameters and Characteristics of of 8-Mil. Ohhh Excuse me Again, I meant 7.92×57. Why don’t you Try It, and see what happens, you’ll be surprised. Or better yet, Look up the Information yourself. All the rounds I mentioned ARE based on the 8-Mil. (7.92x57mm/Mauser, Actually .318-caliber, 8.02x57mm/Spitzer-Point/Mauser or .323-caliber 9.2x57mm/Conical-Point/Mauser)…

      3. First, the 7mm Mauser predates the 8mm Mauser.
        Next, I’m surprised that you did not mention the .30-06. If you “Look up the Information yourself,” you will see that it is a 7mm Mauser scaled up to 30 caliber.
        If as I mentioned above you wish to twist things to your liking, the 7mm and as I note, the .30-06, as they share the same rim diameter as the 8mm Mauser, will certainly be captured by a 98K bolt, feed, and “chamber” in ” the standard 98k Mauser.” With a well-worn or wide-spec 98K bolt and enough leverage, the 7.7 Arisaka will, too.
        As for firing, well yes they will but the cases will split, and the smaller bullets might end up in the next county, prefecture, or (in Europe) country.
        And the .303? Sure, most of it fits in a 98K chamber, but where does the rim go?

      4. @ OFBG.

        Why don’t you try reading that book, you keep Pushing more carefully. The 8-mil. or (7.92x57mm/Mauser) was introduced in 1888. the 7-mil. or 7x57mm/Spanish Mauser was introduced in 1893 and the .275Rigby is patterened after the 7×57…

      5. Only someone with no understanding of how cartridges are designed would assert that the rimless x57mm Mauser rounds and rimmed .303 British share common DNA. Particularly since the .303 and 8×57 were both introduced in 1888.

      6. .303 Bitish (.312-caliber, 7.92×56.44mm/British Mauser) was introduced in 1891. The 7.7×58 Arisaka (.311-caliber, 7.89x58mm/Japanese Mauser) copied from WW1 British Vickers Machine Guns. 8-Mil or .318-caliber, 8.02x57mm/German Mauser (Spitzer-Point) or .323-caliber, 8.2x57mm/German Mauser (Conical-Point) introduced in 1888.

      7. The .303 British was developed in 1887 and adopted in 1888. 1891 is when they converted from black powder to cordite.

      8. @ Rick McMullen.

        Service History for .303 British (actual .312-caliber, 7.92×56.44mm), introduced 1889 to Present…

        Just call the NRA Museum at the NRA Headquarters in Fairfax, VA. and ask them…

      9. It would appear that we are quoting from conflicting sources:

        “The .303 British was the official military rifle cartridge of England and the British Empire from its adoption in 1888 until the 7.62 NATO came along in the 1950s.” – Chapter 2

        “As a military cartridge, the .303 British must be considered one of the most successful of its type. Developed during 1887 and adopted in 1888, it was the official military cartridge of the British Commonwealth in World War I and II.” – Chapter 7

        -Frank Barnes, _Cartridges of the World, 9th Edition_

        That being said, every online reference I could find for the Lee-Metford Rifle, the original chambering for which was the .303 British, indicates that it was adopted in 1888, corroborating the dates above.

      10. In a general sense, but not as Secundius states, the .303 does “share common DNA” with Mauser rounds. The 7.65×53 Belgian and Argentine (and other) rifles use a rimmed cartridge with similar dimensions.

  10. I came across the Lee-Enfield SMLE re-barreled for .22 LR. What a fun gun! It is surprisingly accurate considering it’s history as a trainer!

      1. Only explanation I was given was that they were re-barreled. I have no “in-depth information. I welcome anything about these guns.

      2. @ lamarlamar

        The actual barrel conversion was done by Parker-Hale, Ltd. of Burmingham, England (now, Modular Industries – UK). It’s NOT a .22LR round, it’s a .22RF round (modern equivalent to the .22 Hornet CF). The Rifle itself is a CLMLE (Charger Loading Magazine Lee-Enfield) later know as the No. 1 Mk. 1 Lee-Enfield. There are two conversion dates August 1912 and April 1916 Oriiginal Bullet introduction was 1845. Other ammo recommendations are Morris CF Cartridge and Flobert RF Cartridge.

        I hope this helps you out, somewhat…

      3. Thank you for the information. My only source was an article in the 2014 issue of “Military
        Surplus” magazine. It offered a general history of the “trainer” .22 Short Magazine Lee-Enfield. I appreciate the information. The rifle is fun to shoot and is quite accurate. I just wish I could find more ammo!

      4. @ lamarlamar.

        You might try the two Cartridge companies mentioned, or contacting Modular Industries-UK, for recommendations. Or even a Gunsmithy to measure the Breech Dimensions to make a Cartridge Comparison. The alternative is to do another Barrel Replacement to a Known Compatible Cartridge…

      5. Again, thank you for the information. The more I find out, the more i find out that I do not know.

      6. @ lamarlamar.

        Your Welcome. It usually work’s that way. I’m still learning everyday. And pass on information when and where needed…

      7. Most of us share your situation but it sure is nifty to read the various points of view. I read a post on another site where the poster made a scope mount for an SMLE out of 1″ steel angle stock and then cut the 10 round magazine down to five rounds. I used a search engine for British Rifle parts.

      8. While some rifles, as Secundius notes below, may have been rebarreled, most Enfield .22 trainers were, as I stated above, built in that calibre.
        You might wish to consult “The Lee Enfield” by Skennerton for more information.

      9. You are welcome. If you are interested in Ehfields of any flavor, Skennerton is a “must have.”

    1. The German made Makarov is a great carry piece and smoothe as silk! I also like the Tokarev made in China both in 30 cal and 9mm. East to clean and 3/4 the size of my 1911, light too.

  11. What a terrible list. What idiot would include redundant nuggets, and an overpriced Springfield.

    Why the hell not a cheaper (and better) 98 Mauser? This was obviously put together by a Fudd with an anti-European bias.

    1. I agree with your selection of a 98 Mauser, but “an anti-European bias”? You really need to check out an atlas, or Google Earth if that’s your inclination.

    2. Al, Cmon’ we gun owners are all well mannered ladies and gentleman. I’ll bet that you must be a liberal democrat Hillary Clinton supporter.

  12. I must be a real Cruffler – I have 6 out of 7 on the list though my Enfield is an Ishapore 1A in 7.62. I’ll forego the Russian Mosin and go with a Mauser – Swedish, German, Chilean, Brazilian, or any other.

    1. John, I bought a few dozen Nagants when you could buy them for $25. I sold most of them for cost to my fellow GIs but kept several because I found them rugged and interesting although the safety is something from a Rube Goldburg cartoon. You could get in good shape humping one on a deer hunt in the hills of Pa.The Arisaka safety cut way down on the number of parts compared to the 98 and prevents a ruptured case from damaging your eyes.

  13. The SKS needs to be on here. Not the most accurate rifle, but its a well rounded and very adaptable combat weapon due to the large number of aftermarket parts and relative low cost of one of these rifles (tho the price is rising due to more and more U.S. weapon tariffs and NTTBs “Non-Tariff Trade Barriers”. Its why a Russian SKS only costs $170 in Canada, but close to $700 in the U.S.

    1. I fully agree with your site name! The Arisaka with it’s chrome bore outlasted the outside of the action. The stocks were made from wood that didn’t last too long either. I bought one from a neighbor who brought it home from WWII and after I fired it and was shocked by it’s accuracy decided to spiff it up a tad with a new one piece stock and some bolt bending, then topped it of with a scope and touched up the safety with some creative filing and a piece of it’s bayonet lug. I didn’t think of any of these items but found them in a gunsmith book printed in the 1950 era. 8X57 brass can be used by using 7.7 X 57 dies and .311 bullets. It’s resting happily in the gun cabinet because it came out too nice to use in the rock infested Pa hills. A gun store buddy knew that I had it and gave me a call. He got an identical trade in with everything already done and sold it to me for $20.

      1. First, I must agree with your opinion of LOMS’s site name!
        Your observation about the difference between the metalwork vs. woodwork on the later Arisakas is interesting. Might they have been more interested in producing a battle-worthy rifle than a collectors’ firearm? I should think so.

      2. There Weren’t? Total War Time Strength in WW2 was ~20,000. They were called “Kaigun Tokubetsu Rikusentai” (Special Naval Landing Forces). To the American’s That Fought Against, called them “Little Abner’s” because Very Few of Them were Under 6-feet Tall and Built Like An OX. Extremely Difficult to Kill. One of My Father’s Brothers fought Against them at Guadalcanal in November 1942. He Tried without Success to Send Home a Type 4 Rifle…

      3. Now you have me totally confused.
        ” ‘They Did?’ ‘There Weren’t?’ ”
        My response to Chiefbuck was about why the Japanese might have favored better QA on the barrel and receiver over the wooden furniture of “last-ditch” Arisakas, not as a general comment about WWII Japanese small arms development.
        An example of the “Type 4 aka ‘The Japanese Garand'” may be a collector’s piece today, but as I stated, I do not believe that producing one – or more – as such was their intent.

      4. The Type 4 Arisaka was a Limited Production Semi-Automatic Rifle Issued to the Japanese Special Naval Landing Forces ONLY…

      5. I have no argument with that as I am not well-versed in Japanese military rifles. I can only repeat that I believe in the late stages of WWII the Japanese were still concerned with producing battle-worthy rifles (well-finished barrels and receivers) than collectors’ firearms (which would include the stocks and other furniture). The fact that some may have become collectible is, as “they” say, history.

      6. When I had a FFL I was a full time Naval Reservist working in a reserve center. I bought war surplus firearms from several national outlets and sold the firearms to Naval and Marine reservists at cost. I found the Japanese rifles to be well made but the majority of the ones that I bought had external rust and rotting wood. The bores of the Arisaka 99 had been chromed to prevent rust, the actions were strong. The type 38 rifles used 6.5mm ammo while the Type 99 used 7.7mm ammo. I found that the rear peep sight and the triangle front sight were very accurate and “self centering”. I bought walnut stocks for one, bent the bolt so that a scope could be used and did some grinding on the back piece of the bolt safety to make it easier to use. There was a aftermarket slide safety available but I was too cheap to buy one, that was a mistake.
        The rifles made close to the end of the war were not well made and probably unsafe to use. I found a book about converting war surplus rifles into sporting rifles and it is full of post WWII advice on conversions and safety information. If you would like any info I will be more than happy to email it to you.

      7. The Japanese Weren’t Stupid! The Japanese acquired their First “Pair” of “Tanegashima” (Matchlocks) from the Portuguese in 1543. And Reverse Engineered them to Samurai Standards. Within 10-years, they (the Japanese) had Produced over 300,000 Tanegashima on their own. The 7.7×58 Arisaka is actually a Copy of the Vickers Mk.1 .303 British Machine Gun Round. But Virtually Every Gun Produced from 1937 through 1945 were Chrome Lined, including Battleship Guns of 18.1-inch caliber…

    1. @ REM1875.

      I would have to disagree with you on that. I own one M1E5 Tanker/Garand, one M1E6 Sniper/Garand, one 7.92×57 98k Mauser and one .45ACP 98k Mauser plus half-a-dozen other weapons…

      1. So would you put any of those on the list of surplus weapons no would want to own or any of these in this article on such a list- I would not.
        I am talking about the worst guns in a couple hundred years used in a military. Sorry if there was confusion.

      2. @ REM1875.

        Worst weapon category, that’s an easy one.
        1. FP-45 Liberator
        2. Fusil Mitrailleur Model 1915 CSRG 8x50R Chauchat
        3. 7.62x39R AK-47
        4. Pistole Parabellum 1908
        5. 9×19 STEN
        6. M16A1
        7. Nambu Model 94

      3. For what it was designed to do and for simplicity and function I would have to give the AK-47 a pass. If people barely out of the stone age can learn to operate it with a sufficient lethality all over the globe, whether I like it or not i have to give it a pass.

      4. @ REM1875.

        A great “Shoot and Scoot” weapon. A controlled fire PPSh-41. At 50-meters, 100% Lethal. At 200-meters, 4% Lethal. At 300-meter, 1% Lethal, and at 500-meters, 0% Lethal. At that range, all your doing is Putting Holes in the Sky and Kicking Up Dirt…

      5. The Colt single action army while a fine 5 or 6 shooter was a poor choice for a military weapon compared to the S&W schofield considering both were using the same round for much of their life.

      6. @ REM1875.

        I agree, I like the Schofield’s Break and Eject system better that the Colt’s Flip and Dump system, too. I also thought the S&W design was generally better than the Colt’s…

      7. I agree that the S&W would have been a better choice. The reason for the Army’s favoring the Colt over the S&W was the concern about “wasting” ammunition. You can clear individual empty cases from a Colt cylinder and reload; when you open the Schofield, all of the chambers – even those with live rounds – are emptied. Remember too that they were using “Trapdoor” Springfields even though the multi-shot Winchesters were available.

      8. You are a font of humor! Just to consider the “Liberator”: an obviously simple, crude, basic weapon never intended for more than a means to kill a single enemy at close range (and perhaps to acquire his “real” gun). Seems like it was a good, if expedient, weapon to fill a need. Might we have done better to have provided more “sophisticated” handguns to the French Resistance? Absolutely. Could we have provided them in the numbers necessary at that time? Not so much.

      9. @ OFBG.

        On the Stupidity Scale Sir, what’s your Number. One for just being plain Stupid or ten for being a Blithering Idiot? When you consider, just having possession of the “Liberator” could get you shot. I Marvel at what kind of bravery it took to casually walk up to a German Soldier. And press the “Liberator” into his body and then pulling the trigger. Too KILL him, is Bravery I can’t even imagine. Do you posses the Bravery to do that. I personally doubt it…

      10. Putting aside your sophomoric attempt at insulting both my intelligence and courage, not to mention your insult to the bravery of the French Resistance, you might think again about REM1875’s comment.
        The “Liberator” was definitely a POS, but it is also a POH – Piece of History – and as such would be (as it is) a valuable and coveted gun for any collector of WWII firearms.

    2. REM, you might also like to consider that the “M1E5 Tanker/Garand” and the “.45ACP 98k Mauser” mentioned are not actual milsurp rifles but modern alterations.

      1. True but my intent was to list military surplus arms no one would want, the worst disasters men were expected to fight with. Even some of these are pretty collectable and bring stout collector prices.
        I for one would not relish facing an armed individual, even from the back, with a ‘liberator’ pistol.

      2. Yes, I understand your intent, my comment was about Secundius’s post. You should have understood my opinion of the “Liberator;” I wouldn’t “relish facing an armed individual, even from the back, with a ‘liberator’ pistol” either, but your comment was about “7 surplus rifles nobody would want to own,” not guns nobody would want to use.
        To comment further on Secundius’ post – as well as your opinion of the “Liberator,” would you feel that the “7.62x39R AK-47…Pistole Parabellum 1908…9×19 STEN…or M16A1” are among “the worst disasters men were expected to fight with?”

      3. Point well taken, because some people would love to collect even tragic failures and I admit it would make an interesting collection, lets include both. Do me favor and tell me what you would add to such a list because it has turned out not to be as easy as I thought. Even the gun shield may have had a use in its time.
        I for one would noth have relished combat or fighting with pin fires or needle guns but in the 1860 ‘s and early 1870 ‘s they were considered technical wonders.
        Using our Springfield trapdoor system in the 50-70 right after the war between states was a blessing compared to what it replaced, but using the 45-70 trapdoor in the Spanish – American war was not our best choice.
        So lend a hand and list your candidates.

      4. I have tried to reply twice now but have been unsuccessful – well, one comment did appear but quickly vanished – it included a link, and when I have tried that before I had no luck.
        In any case, I have a couple of guns in mind right off, but give me a bit to think on it.
        To that end, are we talking about general-issue guns, battle rifles, or anything “men were expected to fight with?”

      5. Pretty much anything interesting that goes bang or was intended to.
        As a side note happy 50th birthday to the 223.

      6. Sorry for the long pause, things have been busy here.
        I also admit that I did ‘way too much thinking about it – there are guns that are/were poor designs, others that were good designs but executed poorly, designs that were good but not for their intended use, others that were good guns but hampered by outside factors…”Pretty much anything interesting that goes bang or was intended to” opened up (to quote a former Governor of New Mexico) “a whole box of Pandoras,” but here are some suggestions as to “worst guns in a couple hundred years used in a military.”
        Chauchat (of course)
        Colt M1895 “Potato Digger”
        Ross 1905 (and later marks)
        Early M16 (XM16E1)
        Early Beretta M9
        Reising M50
        Johnson M1941
        Krag-Jorgensen
        Lee-Metford
        SMLE MKI
        “Trapdoor” Springfield
        Colt M1873 SAA
        BAR
        M14
        There are others I might include but I didn’t have the time to check models, years, etc. So there you are.

      7. @ OFBG.

        Sticking Points:

        1. Colt M1895: Was a great 1st generation General Purpose Machine Gun.
        2. Ross 1905: Excellent Sporting Rifle. Not so great Combat Rifle with a 400-yard limited range.
        3. M9: Never liked 9×19 Parabellum.
        4. Reisling M50: To much like the Luger 08, needed constant attention and servicing.
        5. Johnson M1941″Johnny Gun”: Not a Pacific Island hopping rifle, revolver magazine a novel concept, but temperamental in hot humid climates.
        6. Krag-Jorgensen: Great rifle, extremely easy to load, especially during low light or complete darkness.
        7. Lee-Metford: “Stop Gap” rifle, designed to be use the .303 Cordite cartridge, but delays in production killed the rifles future usage.
        8. SMLE Mk. 1: Would have been better with the .303 Blackpowder cartridge, sights sucked.
        9. Springfield “Trapdoor”: Excellent rifle, couldn’t find any real fault’s. a Novice could average 8rpm’s and an expert 15rpm.
        10. Colt M1873 Single-Action Army: Judgement call, you either liked it or hated it.
        11. BAR M1918: Excellent weapon, better with 40-round magazines, M1918A2 Paratrooper model and M1921/8 Monitor, also excellent weapons.
        12. M14: No fault’s there either, I love mine when I was in the army.

        All others, in total agreement…

      8. Since you asked:
        1. The Colt M1895 was a great step forward but not as a GP machine gun. It did well for the Navy, mounted as a deck gun, and for the Army in fixed positions, but not as a mobile, squad automatic weapon (SAW) because of the bottom-mounted action.
        2. The Ross was included because, as I said, I was only considering REM1895’s “worst guns in a couple hundred years used in a military.”
        3. The M9 design (love it or hate it) is good, but the early issue guns had that annoying problem with fractured slides, which didn’t help getting them accepted.
        4. You seem to agree with my observations of the Reising, so what’s “sticking”?
        5. Ditto for the Johnson, with the addition of the serious recoil due to the action type and the lack of a bayonet option.
        6. See my reply to REM1895 (below) about the Krag.
        7. & 8. The Lee-Metford and the MK1 SMLE suffered from the same “bean-counter” mentality as did the Krag. They were intended as single-shot rifles with a reserve in the magazine. The later Enfields incorporated charger guides on the receiver to compete with the Mauser desighns.
        9. Another victim of the bean-counters and other factors. The Trapdoor rifles were fielded at a time when magazine-fed, lever-action rifles (and even bolt-actions) were commonly available. In the American West, the (early) copper and (later) soft brass cartridges were prone to corrosion in the (early) leather cartridge-belt loops. The combination of veridgris and heat led to case head separations upon extraction. Regardless of the shooter’s rate of fire, one stuck case could ruin your whole day, if not your life.
        10.The Colt M1873 SAA is a fine, well-made and accurate gun, but not the
        best choice as a military combat weapon as it is slow to load. My judgement, as I have stated before, is that the Schofield would have been a better choice for the Army, most specifically for the Cavalry.
        11. “BAR M1918: Excellent weapon, better with 40-round magazines” says it all. Great WWI-era design for “walking fire” in an infantry assault, but lacking in the SAW role it was given in WWII and later.
        12. The M14 is another gun I included only because it was intended to be something it is not. It was intended, with its full-auto mode, to replace everything from subguns to SAWs.

      9. Some I definitely agree with some I would like to ask you about? Like the krag for one. The ross 1905 hmmm but the 1910 can not be argued about earning its place on the list. They failed to grasp that later models were supposed to be an improvement. But thank you.

      10. As I said, there are several different reasons for the guns I chose, not all apply to all of them.
        The Krag is a fine rifle – I own one, and a carbine, myself – but it suffered from the “bean counter” mentality of the Army. Krags were intended as single-shot rifles with a “reserve” in the magazine. We all know about the criticisms from the soldiers who faced the Spanish with their charger-fed Mausers, which led to the search for a new battle rifle.
        The Ross is also a fine rifle, well-made and accurate, but I included it because of the oft-cited problem that allowed the
        bolt (after disassembly for cleaning) to be reassembled so that it would
        close but not lock, resulting in a catastrophic blow-back into the
        soldier’s face. I do admit that I don’t find that issue as compelling as most folks, as the gun could be cleaned without taking apart, or even removing, the bolt. Then again, in pristine conditions even the Chauchat might have been acceptable.

      11. You are correct. I have Krag myself, slickest action I have ever tried in a non straight pull. Yes when the krag was accepted it was a revolutionary deign but in less than half a decade it lost out. The army did attempt to modify it for stripper clips. Manlicher’s enblock clips lasted another 50 years or longer if you count the M-1 and the 303 round which had many of the feature of 30-40 round served another 70 plus years. The krag was not the most robust bolt action designed either.
        The original ross up until the 1910 did not have the problem self extracting firing pin. I have a 1905 and other than the U.S. govts final solution of wallow out the chamber to ease in extraction and then using them as drill rifles instead it is a very fine hunting and target rifle.
        I suspect that y’all are pretty well versed in these things and look forward to further info.

      12. @ REM1875.

        Another point worth noting, during the Spanish-American War. The Spanish Pattern Model 93 in 7x57mm/Mauser, had a ~4.1:1 edge over the American Krag in range…

      13. Spain was also armed with Remingon rolling blocks in 7×57 and .43 Spanish (11.15x58R) which while adopted a few years earlier than our trapdoor, was a black powder round on par with our 45-70. Not sure of what you mean about the 7×57 vs 30-40 but yes the 7×57 had greater range and so impressed our govt that the 30-06 was based off a Mauser roun’red, a fact verified by a patent infringement suite. The range that they proved the difference in the 2 rounds was beyond the average soldiers normal ability and the heavier wt bullet at average range may have actualy given the 30-40 an edge. Most govt went with lighter wt bullets arond this time or shortly after. Don’t forget that U.S. Marines using Krags soundly defeated chinese snipers using the 8×57 in the Boxer rebellion. But yes facing the 7×57 while armed with a trapdoor was an uneven match. Good point.

      14. @ REM1875.

        The Spanish Mauser .285-caliber (7.24x57mm) in the Pattern 93 Rifle had a Effective Range of 3,700-meters, while the American .30-40 Krag (.308-caliber, 7.8×58.8mm) had a Effective Range of 900-meters.

        Sorry, I tend to get precision when talking about ordnance’s…

      15. @ OFBG.

        It’s a “Glitch” in the Software, I’ve run across it several times myself. Scroll all the way to the bottom of the page, through both additional information bars and one you hit bottom, slowly “Scroll” back up, and you’ll find your lost information. I don’t think programmer’s intended there to be that many responses to the article…

      16. @ REM1875.

        A Shoulder-Dislocator (aka, .50-70) .515-caliber 13.1x44mm/Government, like trying to shoot a Barrett .50 (12.7x99BMG) while standing-upright…

      17. @ Rem1875.

        So did Denmark, they actually had two that were also
        interchangeable. The 12.17x42RF and the 12.17x44RF. Norway shared with the Swedes 12.7x44R…

      18. That’s the one, of course the fact that most of these replaced 58 cal 60-70 gr ff muzzle loaders which replaced 69-79 cal smooth bores at 60 to 100 gr ff left the old soldies telling the new guys how soft they were and how easy they got it.

      19. @ REM1875.

        Now that I’m a Wheelchair Driver, I’d go TURTLE if I’d try the same thing all over again…

      20. I got a 45-70 bfr just to knock the rust off my arthritis. God bless you on the wheel chair driving.

      21. The 50 cal Remington rolling block pistol used by the U.S. Navy after the war between states was like most single shot pistols a handy club if the first shot didn’t do it. I remember my dad firing one at a friends house back in the late 1950s. Wish I was older cause I would have enjoyed doing that. (I think) Dad was impressed and considering he was a WW II Marine who saw action in the Pacific I trusted his judgements.
        Considering all the cap and ball 6 shooters the govt had, price, sea board maintenance and what they considered the intelligence level of the average able bodied seaman of the time must won out the day. That and the fact that boarding axe and cutlas were considered the primary sidearm of blue jackets.

      22. @ REM1875.

        Mine’s a “Mixed Bag”. Father on General Staff with Mark Clark, an uncle Ball-Turret Gunner with 8th Air Force, and another uncle at Guadalcanal. Mother side, Grandfather forced conscript in German Army at Stalingrad and an uncle-in-law, as 2nd officer in Kriegsmarine U-Boote…

      23. Dad and twin brother served in Marines in Pacific same unit to include Okinawa, little brother was on pt boat in Philippines (frozen chosin and viet nam as a Marine), 2 other brothers kia, one Anzio, one the battle of the Bulge.Mom’s side served but years after WW II and korea. My great unles served same unit WW I, my brother and I served in same unit for awile to, and 3 out of 4 of us served in same Div during Desert Storm other brother would have been attached had the war gone on much longer.
        Your family was in some bad situations did they all survive? Odds of survival of service in u boats and turrent gunner were grim and stalingrad even worse. Guadalcanal was no picnic.

      24. @ REM1875.

        Your right about the Guad. My father, three times wounded at Anzio, once stomach wound by MG34…

      25. @ OFBG.

        Actually, they are. the M1E5(T26) Tanker-Airborne/Garand was first used by the 503rd PIR in the Philippines in 1945 and had an 18-inch barrel and folding stock (Mine doesn’t have a folding stock). The M98 .45ACP Gewr (used by the Volkssturm, 1944-1945) was produced in Occuppied Norway by Kongsberg which also produced ~8,000 Pistole 657(N) or Nazi/Colt M1911 Pistols. ~920 were produced for the SS/Waffenamt (A Very Rare Find)…

      26. Yes, an experimental – issued in miniscule numbers if more than 1 – was used by the 503rd PIR as you describe, but it was never officially named a “Tanker” Garand. If you have an original full-stocked 18″ barrel Garand, you could sell it and be set for life.
        As for a Konigsberg .45 M98, I’d love to see a reference to that.

  14. My personal choice to add to the must haves, is the M1 .30 Carbine. It’s a versatile caliber. Magazines available in all sizes. Can be zeroed in for effective accuracy to 300 yards. Can be used on everything from meat to nuisance animals and ammunition is still available and affordable. Further, for close-in or brush work, the carbine is a super choice. I have a CMP purchased M1 Carbine made by Inland, and it’s a great shooter. I even have a couple of blocked magazines so it conforms to hunting regs in various states. Semper Fi, Da Gunny

  15. My first deer rifle was a sporterized Lee Enfield 303. It was a gift from my dad who had bought it for $30. They were a good cheap beginners gun and back in the 60’s you could find the ammo just about a nywhere but in limited quantities. I do wish now that I’d picked up a non-sporterized 303 and held on to it. I did own a 303 jungle carbine but allowed myself to be talked iin to trading it off.

    I don’t hunt now due to disabilities. I still have my guns. My favorite deer riifle is a Mossberg 30-06 with a glass imbed and using Hornady boat tail spire point ammo.

  16. I believe that Secundius is wrong about the 30-30 round being the model for the 7.62×51 NATO round. When I was assigned to the Infantry Board we were given information that the 300 Savage was the round used to work out the shortened 30-06 round. If you ever had a Remington simiauto 08/88 rifle the 300 Savage so out performs the 30-30 that there is little comparison. The 30-30 was a shortened 30-40 Krag round and the 300 Savage is a relative of the 30-06 being a shortened case of that weapon.

  17. I agree with all except the Finnish models. I would also say the list should be at least up to 10 rifles. Taking away the Fin, but add in any Mauser in 8×57; a Swedish Carl Gustafson or Husqvarnain 6.5×55; an SKS (preferably Russian); and round it out with a Pattern 14 or M1917 Enfield (.303 Bitish or .30-06, respectively).

  18. Great article! When these surplus firearms were readily available and inexpensive about 20-30 years ago I was in a good position to buy and sell to the Navy and Marine reservists who I served with. I sold the firearms at my cost and cleaned and checked them prior to selling. I got an M1 through the CMP program and was very fortunate in getting one that was rebuilt in 1964. Two rifles that may interest other collectors are the WWII Japanese rifles and the assortment of Mauser rifles from Sweden. Both are Mauser variants and very accurate. The Japanese model 99 has a chrome lined barrel but ammo is hard to find, I found it online. It’s sighting system is a peep sight and a triangular front sight which I found to be very easy to use and accurate. Reloading 8×57 brass to work in the Arisaka 99 is easy. The 6.5 Swedish Mauser was like new although it was dated 1917 and because of that I have yet to fire it. I also came across the Mosin-Nagant varieties that were made in the US, one by Remington and another made by Westinghouse. Both are in mint condition. Information is available online now on almost every type of firearm and ammo. Those days were great days for beginning collectors and may never happen again considering the political atmosphere now in Washington DC. Please consider that when voting in November.

  19. The other good thing about the Nagant revolver is that you can order cylinders chambered for .32 ACP, allowing you to fire more readily-available ammo. And from some of the reports I’ve read, recoil goes down and accuracy goes up. So might be worth checking into.

    1. I have also read that .32 S&W and .32 H&R can be used in the standard Nagant cylinder. Does anyone have any experience with this?

  20. Also one of my must-haves is the first firearm I ever bought, which was a Czech CZ-50, also in .32 ACP. I got it at a pawn shop for $189 back in 1998. For those who don’t know, it’s the Czech counterpart of the Walther PP. Not a clone like the Hungarian PA-63, but more like a downsized CZ-52. Fixed barrel, blowback, with a decocker/safety. It was a great little pistol that I wish I’d never sold. The action was really smooth, and the craftsmanship was excellent. Now I think you can find them online for upwards of $300 in good condition, and between that and $200 for one in fair condition. The CZ-70 is a newer version of it, but I didn’t like it as much.

    If you’re looking for a small, vintage surplus pistol to use as a carry gun, this one is worth checking out. I’ve seen people talking about using those Polish P-64s and P-83s for carry, but the P-64 grip is really small and the P-83 just feels…wrong (hard edges on the trigger, etc). The CZ-50 is definitely worth your consideration.

    1. Absolutely.
      I have a CZ-70 which is pretty much the same. I don’t care much for the small grips on either vintage but with a small “Handall” it’s a keeper. I got it about 5 years ago; I had hoped to get a CZ-50 with my C&R but they had pretty much dried up by then. Even with shipping and an excessive FFL transfer I got it for less than $250. I occasionally see both models at SOG, but usually on the “gunsmith specials” pages.
      I also considered the P-64 when they came available, but saw too many negative reviews to go for it. Other than the grip size, how did you feel about it?

  21. AK or any of the variants. SKS. Makarov. Radom. Tokarev. The radom is out there right now and it’s firing the Makarov round think of it like a walther ppk in 9mm. There are some beautiful SKS on the market right now as well. The Makarov’s are drying up but with Trump going into office the trade bans with Russia are likely to lift again. Say hello to more surplus weapons and ammo.

  22. I just love my Radom P64 and Tokorav TTC. The P64 becomes very shootable once you add the wolf spring kit. Consider that mandatory and install the safety firing pin spring too.

    With the fixed barrel, it’s wickedly accurate but like many other mouse guns, kicks like a mule.

    Since it’s double action with a decocker and safety, it can be a sensible carry or backup weapon.

    380 ACP replacement barrels and an extended magazine release button are available. I haven’t tried those yet.

    My TTC couldn’t be more different. It had a barrel of about 5″ and points naturally like a revolver does. There are 2 safeties, one added to the receiver by import law and using the hammer to lock up the pistol by slowly pulling it back about 3/16th of an inch until the entire gun is frozen.

    The receiver safety is not regarded as 100% reliable. In my opinion, it’s best to simply not use it and use the hammer lock as the safety, which is how the gun is designed to function, especially if that’s your CCW or open carry gun. The gun is quite thin, far thinner then most single stack 9mm, which makes it easier to carry then you may think.

    Some folks remove the added safety entirely and patch up the holes.

    If, by necessity in a crisis situation, you must hand someone else a loaded TTC (always a bad idea), the receiver safety plus the hammer lock can radically reduce risk.

    The 7.62×25 round is hard to get in hollow points, but well worth it. Penetration with any round especially FMJs, even against bullet resistant vests as well as heavy clothing, is downright scary.

    Try finding a bullet resistant vest that claims in writing to be up to the challenge of the 7.62×25. Good luck!!

    Zastava does make a brand new M57 in the original caliber and the M70 in 9mm if you don’t like hunting for a less common caliber.

    They are NOT C&R guns.

    1. Try “The Sportsman’s Guide”, P/N: WX2-677566 — PPU JHP 85-Grain for $18.04 Member or $18.99 Non-Member Box of 50…

  23. M1A (M14), AR15, FN/FAL, AK47 type Kalashnikov (AKS-56 etc), 1903 Springfield, 1911…. that’s my top 7 although they are not really “surplus”

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *