5 Surplus Rifles You Should Buy

If you don’t already own any milsurp rifles, you should. Not only are surplus rifles awesome pieces of military history, they’re also rock solid choices for a variety of other uses such as rifle competitions, hunting, and even self-defense situations. You can choose to focus on a country, a caliber, an action type, or any number of other themes. And yes, “all of them” counts as a theme.

This could be an endless list, but here’s five to get you started:

M91/30 Mosin Nagant

When you think of surplus rifles, the Mosin Nagant is probably one of the first to pop into your head – and with good reason. The bolt-action M91/30 was the standard service rifle for all Soviet troops during World War II. This means that millions upon millions of these five-round 7.62x54mmR rifles proved themselves day in and day out in some of the harshest combat situations of the 20th century.


If you buy one and get bit by the milsurp collecting bug, this is a good rifle to start with, as there are a seemingly endless number of varieties to hunt down and bring home.

surplus rifles

M1903 Springfield

Holding five rounds of .30-06 ammo, the M1903 bolt-action rifle was the standard long rifle for the US military leading up to and during World War I. Even though it’s often called the M1903 Springfield, it was also made at Rock Island.

Despite being officially replaced by the semi-auto M1 Garand in 1936, the M1903 also saw plenty of combat in World War II because not enough Garands were available. During this time, the guns underwent some changes and officially became the M1903A3 and were also made by Remington and Smith-Corona.

If you’re looking for an extremely well-built bolt-action rifle in .30-06, this is your gun.

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surplus rifles

M1 Garand

The M1 Garand semi-automatic rifle was hailed by General George Patton as being “the greatest battle implement ever devised,” and it’s no stretch to say that hundreds of thousands of GIs would agree with him.

Designed before World War II by John Garand at the Springfield Armory in Massachusetts, the rifle was meant to replace the M1903 bolt-action rifle. Fed from an en-bloc clip that held eight rounds of .30-06 ammo, the Garand served American soldiers well in World War II and Korea before being phased out.

The Garand is one of the most popular surplus semi-auto collectible rifles on the market. It has throngs of loyal collectors and plenty of record-setting and competition-winning shooters still out there today.

surplus rifles

K98 Mauser

The K98 was officially adopted by the Germans in 1935, and it was part of a long line of Mauser rifles that had made up the German long arms stretching back into the 19th century.

Holding five rounds of 7.92x57mm ammo, the bolt-action K98 served as the official German rifle during World War II.

Even after the war, it had a long service life with a variety of different countries, which means there’s a lot of variety to collect. There’s also no shortage of them on the market, since close to 15 million were made overall.

surplus rifles


The SKS, which is an acronym for its official Russian name that I won’t even attempt to butcher, is a semi-auto rifle that holds ten rounds of 7.62x39mm ammo. Easily distinguished by its attached folding bayonet and hinged box magazine, this semi-auto rifle had a bright future with the Soviets that was cut short by the AK-47, which held more rounds and was select-fire.

Even though it was now obsolete, the design was still solid. As a result, more than 15 million were made and adopted by numerous countries the world over. They became incredibly popular in the US in the 80s because of their cheap price. The cost has certainly gone up since then, but it’s still one of the great surplus rifles.

surplus rifles

Your Choice

Whichever milsurp rifle you choose to buy first (or next), one thing’s for sure: if it’s one of the guns on this list, you can’t go wrong.

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