Military Surplus Rifles and Their Well Deserved Place Among Modern Hunting Rifles
So often in today’s hunting and shooting communities, the discussion and reviews are about all of the new weapon platforms that are being introduced to the market. Whether its events like SHOT show or the Great American Outdoor Show, people tend to focus on what is new and trending in the market. The problem here is the high price that often times is associated with all of the newest technology.
While a lot of people prefer to have all the newest hunting gear, their socioeconomic status may not allow for that. So many of today’s rifles are all about the polymers, plastics, and optic mounting and often look past the foundation of hunting: being able to put a well-placed shot on your target. In addition to that, with all of the new modern amenities, come higher price tags. The rifles that are targeted towards the lower end market are often substituted with lower quality craftsmanship and lower end materials (i.e., press in vs threaded in barrels, mass produced plastic vs. walnut stocks).
A lot of shooters have turned to the military surplus market to help fill this void. Rifles from around the world that were produced and stored away for a potential conflict that never happened are readily available now that many countries are selling off their inventory of older military rifles in order to bring in modern weapon systems for their soldiers.
The military surplus or “milsurp” market is booming right now with companies that are importing these vintage war horse rifles and dozens others are the making affordable accessories to help them reach their maximum capability. One of the common constraints collectors have is that any modification they make, they must be able to return the rifle to its original military configuration for the collectability aspect.
Some things to consider when making the decision about using a milsurp as a hunting rifle are listed and explained below:
1. For a hunting rifle, what overall condition will you be happy with? (These rifles range from seeing service in several military conflicts to having never been fired.)
2. How readily available is the caliber in which it’s chambered? With budget in mind, it doesn’t make sense to buy a cheap rifle that shoots ammo that’s hard to find and more expensive than your standard factory loads.
3. What is the realistic range that I’m going to shoot this rifle and in what environment?
Among the leaders on the milsurp market are the mausers from various countries (South American and Yugoslavian mausers can be found from around $100-$250. The Russian surplus rifles also have a massive following given there were nearly a billion rifles made in several different configurations. These rifles depending on the model and condition can range from $100-$1,000.
Throughout this series I will review a few different types of common military rifles as well as a few that have been modified heavily to show the range which is available to someone wanting a high quality rifle with a little history behind it. So Stay Tuned!