Which surplus rifle for newbie??


June 19, 2007, 09:53 PM
Guys I have a friend that is new to shooting. He wants arifle for fun and for hunting.He dosn't want to spend a lot of money under 200.00. Which would you reccommend. He can get a british enfield cahmbered in .308 win for 150.00 or a mosin nagant carbine for 100.00 or a 8mm mauser for 125.00. I have tried to steer him twords the .308 enfield because the ammo is available and I also load for the .308.But this is a heavy rifle for packing in the woods and he is leanig twords the mosin carbine. My question is which rifle would be more accurate or should we look at others. I know with a suplus rifle you never know what you will get.But any advice would be appreciated and I will pass it on to him to help in his quest.

If you enjoyed reading about "Which surplus rifle for newbie??" here in TheHighRoad.org archive, you'll LOVE our community. Come join TheHighRoad.org today for the full version!
Nomad, 2nd
June 19, 2007, 10:02 PM

It is a Semi (Easier/likely more fun)
Still legal for hunting in most areas (Check)
Lighter recoiling
Quick to reload with (Cheap) stripper clips
Ammo is avalable cheap (Order online) Or at Chinamart.

June 19, 2007, 10:15 PM
Well they are all fun.

But, the one I would take first for hunting would be the 8mm Mauser. Easy to get hunting ammo, powerful, and accurate.

The enfield in .308 is designed for .308 Nato, not the common .308 commerical hunting ammo.

The Mosin carbine would be a good choice too, but many people don't like the way the saftey works compared to the Mauser. The Mosin carbines are more likely to be less accurate that the mausers also, on average.

The SKS is a little underpowered for hunting, from what I've read.

June 19, 2007, 10:19 PM
The SKS is very similar to a .30-30. The SKS premium bullets will be about $5 per box more but the plinking stuff will be at least $5 less.

June 19, 2007, 10:21 PM
K-31 Swiss is very accurate, around $125. Get a scope mount- $35. And some of the Wolf ammo and you have a fine hunting rifle. The milsurp ammo is not too expensive either.

June 19, 2007, 10:30 PM
K-31 is really accurate. The surplus ammo, while very good, is not cheap.

June 19, 2007, 11:00 PM
Mauser. I own them all, Mauser wins for parts, ammo prices and IMHO quality.

June 19, 2007, 11:02 PM
k31s don't seem to be around $125 anymore.

June 19, 2007, 11:24 PM
I think you need an Ishy 2A!


June 19, 2007, 11:54 PM
I just love THR. OP asks for Enfield, Mauser or Nagant...Hmm...I'll vote SKS! Was SKS on the list. Questions for A, B, and C will always result in a few of you voting D. Stop it!

Now to answer the question in the post with the answers listed, I'd vote Mosin Nagant, hands down. Ammo's pretty cheap and it's a pretty nifty rifle.

June 20, 2007, 12:02 AM
Mauser any flavor mauser...8mm, 7mm, 6.5mm. They are the quintessential milsurp.

Nomad, 2nd
June 20, 2007, 12:21 AM
I just love THR. OP asks for Enfield, Mauser or Nagant...Hmm...I'll vote SKS! Was SKS on the list. Questions for A, B, and C will always result in a few of you voting D. Stop it!

I wish some people would not keep trying to tell others what to do, AND I wish they would actually READ the post before they start (Edited) Whining

Guys I have a friend that is new to shooting. He wants arifle for fun and for hunting.He dosn't want to spend a lot of money under 200.00. Which would you reccommend.

There is nothing wrong with listing other options which fit the criteria that the poster may or may not be aware of.

June 20, 2007, 12:35 AM
Id recomend the Mauser, they are fairly cheap and you can easily scope one. As far as ethics, I think for hunting you should get the most accurate rifle you can afford, IMHO. As far as the SKS goes, my buddy has one and Ive shot it before, while it is a nice plinking gun: I dont think that the SKS is accurate enough, or powerful enough for hunting.

June 20, 2007, 12:36 AM
The Enfield has the advantage of being the fastest bolt to operate of the three you mention (check my other posts for the fastest bolt manipulation method) the Mauser second fastest and the Mosin Nagant third.
The safety on the Enfield and Mauser are about the same in speed to disengage the Mosin Safety can be a pain to operate unless you retrofit it with one of the cocking pieces that have been modified on the back end with a welded D ring.
Ammunition cost favors the 7.62x54 rimmed ammunition for now with surplus 7.62 NATO going up in price and becoming harder to find.
8mm Mauser can be found but is not always relilable much is 40-50 year old surplus its not always cheap you can buy current production ammunition which can add up to money real quick and most 8mm Mauser factory ammo is not loaded to full specs just check some ballistics charts.
You can take off the wood stock on the Ishapore MKIII 2A and replace it with a couple different fiberglass stocks also a Jungle carbine variant turns up from time to time such as those being sold by AIM surplus IIRC right now.
The 8mm Mauser and Ishapore SMLE MK III 2A are fast to reload one holds 5 plus one in the chamber the other holds 12 plus one in the chamber.
The Enfield has the advantage of the detachable magazine spares are available from Gun Parts Corporation/Numrich Arms that hold 10 rounds they are almost identical to the factory magazine, M-14 stripper clips seem to work as well.
The Ishapore if it has a good bore and headspace can surprise you I have a couple that go under one and a half inches at 100 yards.
Mojo makes an apeture or peep sight and for the Enfield later on down the line you can check places like e bay for an A J Parker bolt on match rear sight.
The Mauser and Mosin are a little harder to scope unless you use a scout mount replacing the rear sight its either that or driill and tap the receiver.
There are a couple no drill mounts such as S & K and B square check e bay they sometimes turn up cheap.
Check into www.surplusrifles.com for a few good articles.
I would go with either the Ishapore SMLE MK III 2A rifle or jungle carbine or check places like www.auctionarms www.gunbroker.com www.gunsamerica.com for a good surplus Israeli 7.62 Mauser they turn up from time to time and are great shooters many with new barrels and little use.
the Mauser will not have a problem with any safe round and if in 7.62 NATO it should also handle the .308 Winchester as should the Ishapore MK III 2A since it uses newer steel and is not exactly the same as the older Enfield SMLE MK III actions.
Many however do worry about the difference in pressure between the factory 7.62 NATO and .308 Winchester rounds but with handloading though for me its not a big concern.
Best of luck

June 20, 2007, 12:40 AM
K-31, it will run you right around 200, very accurate, ammo about as expensive as .308, usually have bores in great shape, and the straight pull bolt is very quick.

June 20, 2007, 12:47 AM
Personally, I would look around, you said yourself that you never know what youll get with milsurps.

I would lean towards a mauser variant, I have seen a lot of Yugoslavian M48s in BEAUTIFUL condition. They take 8mm mauser.

Whatever your friend gets, inspect it with him before he buys it. Check everything you can. Buy the rifle thats in the best condition and still in his price range.

June 20, 2007, 12:51 AM
Yugo 24/47 Mauser generally all have new barrels, ammo options for every situation from cheap surplus for plinking up to hunting elephants very smooth bolt operation with easy to use 3 position safty (off, lock bolt/sear, lock sear but allows opening bolt to clear rifle)

Ishy .308 great rifles but .308 surplus is getting very scarce, generally need ALOT of extra cleaning/paint stripping did I mention GREAT rifle however the mauser has it beat as a first time milsurp..

Mosin nagant, somehow over 300 of em have found their way into my collection, however while the 7.62x54 is a great round other than surplus ya won't find many ammo options over the counter everything will be mail order for other than surplus ammo, very clumsy to operate safty that must be disingaged in order to clear a loaded chamber, while in the same class as the 8 mm mauser for power the recoil seems to bother more new shooters, its not a matter of the cartridge but rather the stock geometry that actually tends to amplify recoil, I'm not a good judge here as I am totally non effected by recoil not even a .50 BMG bothers me after a hundred rnds but I have watched many shooters holdin their shoulders after only 20 rnds outa their Mosin while the same shooters will burn up 100 rnds of 8 MM Mauser and go open a fresh case of ammo to keep going.. Also the Mosin does have an occasional habit of bolt sticking with some ammo or if the chamber gets dirty, while it doesn't bother me it is frustrating for a new shooter.......

SKS since its been added, very reliable battle proven, however 7.62x39 is going up in price, the only ammo ya will find will be mail order as very few other than full blown gun shops dealing in milsurps carry 7.62x39 and they want a full blown price as well, or gun shows again over inflated price, American ammo can be had at some stores for $13 per 20 rnds but its softer primed than the milspec stuff which can tend to cause slam fires in the SKS if the fireing pin becomes fauled as it does not use a spring to push the fireing pin back etc...

For a beginner, start with the bolt gun, and the smoothest safest possible which would be the Mauser............ and it will deffinetly be enough to get him obsessed about buying all of the others........ in large quantities ;)

June 20, 2007, 01:03 AM
"The SKS is a little underpowered for hunting, from what I've read."

Underpowered? Oh please, give me a break. It is not underpowered. If you are a decent shot, then it is a fine hunting caliber. Hell, if you are very skilled, you can take out medium-sized game (deer) with one shot if you know what you are doing. It has been done many times. 7.62X39 is definitely not underpowered.

June 20, 2007, 01:21 AM
Finnish M39 nagant.

Even the 10% finish one that I am putting up for trade (CZ52 in southern california, anyone?) will be dead on accurate at 100 yards. And ammo is cheap and plentiful enough that you will get plenty of practice first before that fateful shot.

you dont have to spend much... excellent bore and matched bolt/receiver finn m39s are as low as 150 bucks.

June 20, 2007, 01:48 AM
If your buddy ever wants a second mag for an Indian Lee-Enfield, they're expensive. $36.60 compared to $21.95 for a .303 British No. 1 Mk III mag from Gunparts. The felt recoil isn't light either due to the butt stock design dstorm1911 speak about. The butts are narrow on all Lee-Enfields and it increases the felt recoil.
"...a mosin nagant carbine..." It has significant felt recoil and muzzle blast. Not exactly a great thing for a new shooter.
Tell him to look around for a Swedish Mauser. The rifles are usually extremely accurate and are generally in good condition. Comes in 6.5 x 55. Little or no milsurp ammo, but there's lots of commercial ammo. The cartridge is good for deer/bear/moose sized game.
Plan 'B' would be an Isreali Mauser in .308. Especially as you reload that.
"...or powerful enough for hunting..." The 7.62 x 39 is a decent deer/black bear cartridge with limited range capabilities. As long as the ammo is proper hunting ammo.

June 20, 2007, 02:00 AM
If hes only gonna shoot on occasion go for the .308 enfield. If he likes to plink go for the SKS, mosin, or mauser.
If he wants to shoot targets and get the best rifle out there for under $200, go for the k31 (he will have to mail order ammo for the most part).

June 20, 2007, 12:49 PM
some fine advice here.

Mauser. The 8mm while still available is beginning to dry up. If you do go this route make sure you check the manufacturer, subtle note, if you wouldn't drink the water in the country it was made in, don't buy the ammo. You can get your hands on a VG+ Yugoslavian M48a for under $200. I've seen them for $150 almost in un-issued condition. Safety is pretty decent and a surplus sling, while old, is VERY strudy

Enfield. I unfortunately don't have much experience with these, never caught my fancy

Mosin. The pinnacle of "If it works, produce it as fast as possible and worry about how it looks later". These rifles were pushed out fast and used very hard. It runs on a proven design and over 100,000 Germans can't be wrong. Make sure you get a good inspection of it first, accuracy can be sub MOA to minute of Barn Door. The cartridge is powerful enough to take out most things and the short length will be pretty handy in the woods... Plus if you don't kill what you shoot at with the bullet, the resulting muzzle flash will disorient them for a good follow up :p

K31. The only way I would suggest this would be if your friend was just going to use it for hunting season and a few rounds pre-season to brush up his aim. The K31 is a fabulous work of art, one of the best triggers you'll find on a Milsurp, some of the best accuracy using surplus ammo. But the Surplus is getting scarce and in my area at least, FMJ bullets aren't allowed for hunting. I don't know what the availability for the K31 is as far as hunting ammo goes.

SKS... It uses the AK-47 round which has been going up in price and running out in certain places around here. It's a reliable firearm, and depending on the model you get has some extra features that would make it an all around fun gun to have. I've heard varying reports on accuracy but nothing concrete to give it a reputation in my mind.

Overall, if I had a choice of a milsurp rifle to bring hunting I'd grab the K31 or the Mauser. If I wanted a fun plinker and a hunting rifle then the Mosin or the Mauser.

Carl N. Brown
June 20, 2007, 01:02 PM
Options available to a newbie:
- british enfield chambered in .308 win for 150.00
- a mosin nagant carbine for 100.00
- a 8mm mauser for 125.00
If these are his only options, they are not bad options.

The Enfield in .308 is probably 7.62x51 NATO but too many
folks have successfully used .308 in Enfield Ishapore rifles
for the old warning "don't shoot commercial .308 in your
7.62 (CETME, FAL, M1A, etc) it was not made for .308"
to apply. Even if cheap 7.62x51 surplus stocks dry up,
commercial .308 will be around for a long time.

June 21, 2007, 01:36 AM
In my personal order:
Mauser 8mm. Smooth action, accurate, little felt recoil, lots of surplus ammo available cheap, easy reloads, great low pitched blast through the ear protectors... heavy in the field. Yugo 24/47 and Czech VZ24 in my safe.
Mosin Nagant. 91/30 Long! Great bayonet for roasting venison liver over an open campfire! M38 great fun shooter, muzzle flash impressive near dusk, hard on the shoulder, brass reloads never cause the bolt to stick. M44. Ditto the M38 but mine not as accurate as the M38. Another great bayonet for roasting marshmallows over an open campfire.
Enfield. Smoothest action, ammo questionable, fun shooter.

But that's just my crackpot opinion.

chris in va
June 21, 2007, 01:47 AM
I have a Mosin carbine. The sucker is pretty brutal in all respects. It has no problem punching a hole in 3/8" mild steel plate. Wood is beat up. Huge fireball. Limbsaver butt pad is a MUST. Action is very clunky and certainly not ergonomic with the handle so far forward, plus it gets sticky and you have to WHACK it hard to open. Sights are way off base and crude.

Suggestion, and not part of your list...check out a Saiga for a little bit more money. Various calibers to choose from, AK action making it a soft shooter.

June 21, 2007, 01:07 PM
I own and shoot M/N's, Mauser and SKS'. My 1937 mauser and 91/30 are tack driver's. My M38 is so-so as far as accuracy. My two norinco SKS's pretty good with surplus chinese ammo. As far a quality is concerned a pre-war mauser is a thing of beauty and craftsmanship!

If I had to pick based upon $$$ the M/N would get the nod. A post war M44 that has been shot little should work fine for years!

If you enjoyed reading about "Which surplus rifle for newbie??" here in TheHighRoad.org archive, you'll LOVE our community. Come join TheHighRoad.org today for the full version!