Five Military Surplus Rifles Everyone Should Own

One of the gun store guys give his opinion:

  1. Mosin Nagant M91/30 (7.62x54r)
  2. Mauser 98 (8mm)
  3. Enfield No. 4 Mk1 and variants (.303 British)
  4. M1 Garand (.30-06)
  5. Swiss K-31 (7.5x55mm)

Do you agree with his list?  Any you’d like to omit/add?

I really appreciate old rifles and the history surrounding them, but I don’t have any desire to start a collection.


34 responses to “Five Military Surplus Rifles Everyone Should Own”

  1. James M&P Avatar
    James M&P

    I really like the affordability of the Mosin just hate looking for ammo. M1 Garand is the only one on the list that I think it worth every penny. Last time I checked the ammo was available anywhere ammo is sold.

    1. JWhite Avatar


      The mosin is the only other rifle worth owning. The others are whatever unless you reload… I dunno..

    2. Mitch in O-HI-O Avatar
      Mitch in O-HI-O

      Not true. The Garand was not designed for most modern 30-06 loadings. Powder burn rates can increase gas system pressure to the point that the receiver can be damaged. M2 ball is the safest ammo for these old guns, but other surplus loads can also be used. Be careful with new stuff.

      1. Quint Young Avatar
        Quint Young

        I say the mosin, garand, and enfeild, definitely. However, I think that there should be an SKS in there.

    3. Blake M. Avatar
      Blake M.

      You have trouble finding Mosin ammo? You can find it nearly any place where I live.

  2. Ted N Avatar

    Got a bag full of Mosin ammo from a buddy during his move. Now I just gotta pick up a Mosin.

    Civilize em with a Krag!

  3. I look at it from what can you carry away, in ammo, from a disaster area, and what is common.

    I like my 1911 for stopping power, but the 9MM is more portable as CCW.

    Having 250 rounds of ammo for a 12Ga., 5.56/223 and both 9MM and .45 is going to weigh a crap load.

  4. Vhyrus Avatar

    SKS? Affordable, Reliable, easily fed, AND actually useful for more than range time, as well as collectable.

    1. bima86 Avatar

      maybe they should refine the title to WWII rifles you should own

  5. If you are going to have the Schmidt-Rubin K-31, you should also have the Swedish Mausers M96, M38, and M96/38. The 6.5×55 is an incredibly accurate cartridge and is powerful enough to kill a moose.

  6. It is a good list for a collector, but for a shooter I would go with the following clones…


  7. Dom P. Avatar

    Uh….SKS duh. It should be at the top of the list.

  8. Al T. Avatar

    Another vote for the SKS.

    1. Quint Young Avatar
      Quint Young

      SKS, definitely. Preferably a yugo.

      They can be modified to use AK mags, they can be loaded with clips too(which is very quick, if your good), they are accurate, they use a plentiful ammo, and with the yugo ones you can put a suppressor on there and turn off the gas system.

  9. +1 for the SKS… reliable, pleasant to shoot and gets more enjoyable the more I shoot it – very accurate, too.

    Any love for the M1 Carbine?

  10. Peter Farr Avatar
    Peter Farr

    Forget the Rifle No 4, the Rifle No III* is much better.

  11. Constantmotion Avatar

    The list isn’t in any particular order and the title of the video is “5 Military Surplus rifles everyone should own.”

  12. Needs more M44.

  13. Other things I’d consider:
    L1a1 SLR/FAL
    M1903 Springfield
    HK G3
    Finnish Mosin

  14. My K31 is hands down the finest rifle I own.

    The ammo is more common than people think and generally costs about as much as a box of any other quality rifle ammo.

    1. Down&OutInCA Avatar

      ^^ This. I love my 1941 K31. It’s more accurate than me and looks great too; always get comments and questions at the range.

  15. Sendarius Avatar

    I have made a start on collecting the battlefield rifles of WWII, so that list has PLENTY of additions.

    Unfortunately the semi-automatic ones on my list will have to wait until I escape Oz, since private possession is banned (sort of – there are ways around it, they are just too onerous for me).

  16. Jayson Avatar

    mike, you gotsta get into milsurp collecting. It will happen in time regardless, you’ll have your C&R logging in new rifles from the fedex truck in due time. muahhaha. you can’t fight it. I’ll be waiting to point and say ‘i told ya so’ ;)

  17. Ryan C Avatar

    The k31 is cheap and one of the best surplus rifles money can buy. The precision of the swiss straight-pull bolt action is timeless. I’m not a big collector, but I have a k31 shooter that I absolutely love.

  18. redbaron Avatar

    I’ve got all of those except the Garand (have an M1 Carbine instead). I agree with the K31 love, they are really nice and crazy accurate for a gun that’s less than $200. You could swap out the Mk. 4 Enfield with an Indian Ishapore 2A–same exact design but in 7.62 NATO. Really awesome for turning into a scout rifle.

    +1 on getting a C&R too. There’s nothing quite like having guns shipped directly to your house.

  19. VoodooJak Avatar

    others to consider:
    -Mk 5 Jungle carbine

    and a personal favorite…Dillon Aero 7.62 GAU

  20. Cousin Kletus is missing the obvious for us folks in north america who dont want to hunt got weird swedish calibers or 8mm mauser … 1903 bolt action 30-06 . simple bolt action and a real caliber easy to find . 4 out of the 5 guns are in my opinion just walk hangers

  21. boris Avatar

    L1a1 SLR for me. And probably a Delisle commando but i think theyre probably very expensive because so few were made. If only either of these was legal in Great Britain.

  22. Critter Avatar

    Carcano 6.5mm cavalry carbine. because they’re cute.

  23. Depends on a lot of factors and what you are going for. If you want historical value, not much can beat an old Lebel or Krag or even a Contract 88. For the most rock solid reliability and general indestructibility, one of the Japanese 38 or 99. Best value are the Nagants and SKS, and maybe the Steyr 95 or MAS 36 if you do not plan to shoot often because of the expensive/unavailable ammo. Best general use, considering ammo price, reliability, accuracy, cost of the rifle, has got to be the 98. The Mannlicher-Schönauer may be the best sporting milsurp rifle right out of the box without modification. Best short range would be a M1 carbine (or, if you can afford it, the full auto version or a real full auto Thompson). Best medium range is the M14/M1a or the FAL, best long range maybe the 1903A3 sniper model or one of the sniper K31s, unless you consider a Barrett 50/338 military surplus (given that it has seen some- albeit not much- military use). IMO the AR-15 is not worth talking about unless you are going to grab a real , modern M16 with burst fire- to do that, of course, you need to get a pre 86 M16 and update it. These all, of course, are portable infantry rifles- if you want to get into machine guns or handguns you can keep going on and on and on… IMO the rifle I really want is the BAR and that is the ONE mil surp rifle that everyone should want lol.

  24. Atuerner Avatar

    Springfield 1903A3
    M1 Garand
    M1 Carbine
    Mauser Kar98k
    Mosin Nagant 91/30
    Mosin Nagant M44
    Mosin Nagant 91/30 PU Sniper
    Walther Gew43
    Tokarev Svt-40

    That’s a basic WWII collection minus the Japanese long arms.

    The last three or four if that list can be dropped as they represent variations or uncommon representatives.

  25. I like the sks because it fires a powerful round, it’s accurate, and loads quickly with stripper clips. One awesome thing is you can get 30 round mags for it and can load the mag still attached from the top with the stripper clip. It’s very dependable as well.

  26. Robert Bowser Avatar
    Robert Bowser

    In shtf sinario I say no to the K31, K98, and enfield no.4. And offer up the Spanish mauser.308, ishapore, and sks or ak47, and I argue the garand while awesome thethe ammo will become difficult to find instead I would specially pick a garande navy model or m14/m1a because of the ammo.