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View Poll Results: Best Inexpensive Military Surplus Rifle
Turkish Mauser 8mm 6 3.92%
Swiss K31 7.5x55 14 9.15%
Czech VZ-24 Mauser 8mm 13 8.50%
Yugo SKS M59/66 7.62x39 27 17.65%
Mosin-Nagant 7.62x54 31 20.26%
Yugoslavian M48A 8mm 20 13.07%
Swedish M96 6.5x55 18 11.76%
Enfield .303 33 21.57%
Other 9 5.88%
Multiple Choice Poll. Voters: 153. You may not vote on this poll

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Old November 3, 2002, 01:47 PM   #1
ReadyOnTheRight
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Best Inexpensive Military Surplus Rifle

What do you consider the best inexpensive (sub-$200) military surplus rifle out there right now? Please take into consideration accuracy, availability/price of ammo, historical value and usefulness (you decide and tell us what "usefulness" means to you).

I'm talking shooters here, not necessarilty investments to hold on to and not shoot.
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Old November 3, 2002, 02:52 PM   #2
DMK
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It all depends

Most of the rifles on the list and very stout, reliable rifles.

I like my Finnish M/39 Mosin-Nagants a lot. It's built like a tank, very accurate and ammo is dirt cheap. In that list, only the K31 would likely shoot as good on average, but with more expensive ammo.

The SKS is also reliable and cheap to shoot. Not nearly as accurate as a Mosin, Mauser or Swiss K31 though.

With my C&R licence, I've found that if you buy the $39-$100 specials, you're going to get a pretty worn out rifle. Usually they are mechanically fine, sometimes they are pretty good shooters, once in a while pretty darn accurate. It depends on how lucky you are.

Get unissued condition and you'll usually get an arsenal refurbished rifle with an excellent finish, great wood, and usually shoots much better than lower grades.

YMMV of course
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Old November 3, 2002, 03:09 PM   #3
Andrew Wyatt
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I favor the number4mk1, since I find the sights and the trigger to be somewhat better than the others on the list.
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Old November 3, 2002, 04:42 PM   #4
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I voted for the M48 because of their condition,but there are lots of satisfied Turkish mauser owners out there including me.
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Old November 3, 2002, 07:12 PM   #5
ReadyOnTheRight
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So far the Mosin-Nagant is winning. Personally, I want to get something I can use for hunting as well as target shooting, so can anyone tell me about the availability and cost of 7.62x54 soft point ammo?
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Old November 3, 2002, 07:28 PM   #6
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Winchester, Dynamit Nobel, Wolf and S&B all have soft point ammo in 7.62x54R.

The Wolf 200gr. is pretty darn accurate in my rifles. It looks like it's about $4.50/box of 20 at www.ammunitionstore.com

Surplus FMJ should run about .10 a round. Be aware that all surplus 7.62x54 is considered corrosive. It's not a big deal if you spend a minute cleaning the rifle properly right after shooting.
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Old November 3, 2002, 08:35 PM   #7
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Swdish 96's are hard to beat for quality and accuracy. The swedish military used these for nearly 3/4 of a century.
Persian 98/29's that are in great shape can be had for right around $200 from Samcoglobal.com. The one I have is a fine piece of craftsmanship and will easily shoot 1.5" 5 shot groups at 100 meters with handloads for me.
The same company has Czech rebuilt K98's which are in really nice condition for about the same price. I haven't shot mine yet, but I would be suprised if it disappointed me- the barrel looks brand new.
Czech 98/22's can be had for under $100, they tend to be good shooters and are of good quality, though the sights are regulated for 400 meters so mine shoots over a foot high. The only other downside is that they have a thin handguard that is easy to crack.
M48's are of pretty spotty quality at best but can be decent shooters with the right ammo, I'm taking mine hunting this year as most of my other military rifles are just too long to hunt in the woods with.
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Old November 3, 2002, 08:36 PM   #8
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I'll have to second Andrew Wyatt. The Enfield No4 MkI or MkII rifles really are better shooters than the others. At least in my opinion...
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Old November 3, 2002, 09:25 PM   #9
444
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DMK has it.
I own all the bolt rifles on the list and have owned an SKS. The rifle that fits your description the best is the Finn M39. I also agree that the K31 is right there with it, but the ammo is much harder to find and is more expensive. The top three for me would be Finn M39, Schmit-Rubin K31, Sweede Mauser.
There is also Russian soft point ammo available from Bernal. This is all of course in addition to reloading.
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Old November 3, 2002, 09:32 PM   #10
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inexpensive military rifle

A fellow who "collects" these surplus military rifles was up at the shooting range where I work last week with one of those Swiss K31 rifles. He'd picked it up at Big 5. He proudly showed me his target (100 yds) and it was impressive - the center of the target was missing. He did mention the ammo was expensive, but it sure did shoot good.
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Old November 3, 2002, 10:18 PM   #11
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milsurp

I bought 5 Romanian m44s in unissued condition($49.95 each). These are from '54&'55 and probably went straight in to storage.

I took one and went "bubba" nuts on it, ATI monte carlo synthetic stock, full length bedded, cut 3 coils from firing pin spring, trigger job, removed bayo lug, recrowned and a 2x ler scope in the "scout" position.

Saturday my son-in-law and I were shooting avg. 3/4" groups at 100 yds. from a rest on a picnic table.

This was with Wolfe 204 grn. s.p. ammo, around $6.20 per box.

BTW, the other 4 will shoot 4"-6" at 100, with the open sights and '80s Yugo brass cased surplus ammo.
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Old November 4, 2002, 01:20 AM   #12
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Nice Thread!

I vote for the Mosin Nagant. I have the Finn M39 Mosin Nagant and this baby has unbelievible accuracy.
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Old November 4, 2002, 09:53 AM   #13
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I'd love to get a MN, but I can't seem to get past that damnable saftey! The worst safety ever designed by mortal man.
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Old November 4, 2002, 10:10 AM   #14
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I voted for the Enfield. A No.4 has superior sights to most other milsurp guns, the quickest action of any bolt gun, a detachable 10-round magazine offering twice the capacity of other bolt guns, and .303 milsurp is cheap and widely available.
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Old November 4, 2002, 11:56 AM   #15
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I voted for the K-31. Ammo is not cheap, but man is that thing accurate. My second choice would be the Mosin Nagant since they are so cheap and their ammo is so cheap.
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Old November 4, 2002, 01:21 PM   #16
Brian Busch
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Finnish Mosins are extreamly accurate, and shoot a powerful and readily availible round.
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Old November 4, 2002, 02:07 PM   #17
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When I first started out in the milsurp rifle game, I considered the Enfield to be the ultimate. I still think it provides the best features and IMO was the premier battle rifle of it's day. However the four I have just don't make the cut. Their accuracy is so-so. And none of mine have the correct front sight to achieve a battle sight zero per the manual. I don't know where to get specific sights, so for me, they don't fulfill my needs.
In the poll, I answered "other" since my choice was the Finn M39, however as has been pointed out, it is technically a Mosin Nagant so I should have checked that box. I do own two MN 91/30 rifles. One has a grossly oversized bore; I think I could get it to shoot with some experimentation but haven't done so. The other one has a good bore but the rear sight needs work; it slides around during recoil. THis could easily be fixed, I just haven't done it.
I have a cherry Sweede 96 rifle that would be the perfect rifle except for the fact that the rear sight starts at 300 meters. It is very accurate, loads very easily from stripper clips and is possibly the best made of the bunch.
The coolest rifles in my opinion are the Swiss K31s. "The Swiss watch of a rifle". Extremly well made, and very accurate. I just wish the ammo was easier to obtain, and cheaper. I hope this caliber enters the mainstream soon. There are plenty of rifles out there. When I bought my first K31, I was buying Norma factory ammo at something like $38 for a box of 20 !!!!!. Now there is surplus ammo available, but it is still not cheap and does not provide reloadable brass. However this surplus ammo is mucho accurate.
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Old November 4, 2002, 02:26 PM   #18
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It seem the Mosin-Nagant is the only one listed that has inexpensive ammo available in bulk and will continue to have in the future.

My SMLE No4 Mk2 is the best-looking surplus rifle I own, but decent ammo is a bit expensive, assuming I can find it.
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Old December 2, 2002, 07:38 PM   #19
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Old December 2, 2002, 09:03 PM   #20
JIH
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I voted for the Enfield, though the M96 would appeal to me, as well (I like 6.5X55).
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Old December 2, 2002, 09:05 PM   #21
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Quote:
I'd love to get a MN, but I can't seem to get past that damnable saftey! The worst safety ever designed by mortal man.
Ah, you are quite correct, but the M39 has a nifty gadget that partially makes up for it in some situations--a magazine interrupter. It makes it much easier to set the thing up with a full magazine and empty chamber than some other bolt-action rifles, as follows. Load only 4 rounds into the magazine, not 5, and push the 4th down as far as it will go. It will snap under the magazine interrupter and STAY down (make sure it does). Then very carefully close the bolt while watching the top round like a hawk to make sure it stays down and does not feed into the chamber. (Obviously, do this in a safe area, keep the muzzle pointed in a safe direction, etc.) You can still open the bolt to ensure the chamber is empty, just don't pull it all the way back or you will chamber the top round when you close the bolt again. Disclaimer--The important thing is to be SURE the bolt is closed on an empty chamber. Don't try this if you can't ensure the chamber is empty!

In this state (empty chamber, full magazine), the rifle is as safe to handle as any rifle with a round chambered and the safety on. To load a round, simply work the bolt (the interrupter releases the top cartridge as the bolt retracts). I can do this in about 1/2 second using the doctrinaire (for M-N's) cupped-hand bolt technique. Drawback--working the bolt fast on an M39 is NOT quiet (sounds like racking a pump shotgun), so this method may not be the hot ticket for sitting in your treestand, but if you want to have a loaded but safed rifle in your hands that you can get into action quickly, this is faster and surer for some people (i.e., me) than working the M39's toilet plunger safety.

BTW--Can I just say, M39s are, as they say, "way cool"!

bE
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Old December 3, 2002, 03:54 AM   #22
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I had to vote for the Yugo M48A. Most I've seen are in great condition and ammo will be cheap until those turk bandoliers dry up. I would go with the MN's which are my personal favorite, if the hunting stipulation wasn't there. That safety is just too much for me to overcome.
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Old December 3, 2002, 08:21 AM   #23
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I have all the guns listed with the exception of the VZ and Turkish 8mm.

I have to vote for Finn M39 as well.

$ 4 $, its the best deal out there, especially the ammo.

Rumor mill has it that there will be 12000 Finn M39 coming into the states soon, but the condition won't be as nice as the one currently in the market.
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Old December 3, 2002, 04:26 PM   #24
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I voted "other" because you didn't include the Ishapore Enfield .308...

I rebedded the stock on mine and it is a tack driver...

Mike
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Old December 3, 2002, 04:31 PM   #25
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I voted for the Enfield. I have 2 No.4 Mk2s They have excellent sights and a nice trigger. Of course, once you buy one milsurp, you can't stop, so it doesn't matter which you purchase because you'll get them all because they're such great values for the money.
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