Surplus rifles


August 28, 2013, 11:30 PM
I've gotten a sudden urge to start hunting for all the main rifles of World War II. I don't know why, but the idea of bolt-actions has stuck in my mind. The only problem is, there used to be racks of Enfields and a decent selection of Mausers at stores I visited. Now, after the panic, they're all gone.

Have surplus firearms dried up permanently?

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August 28, 2013, 11:33 PM
Things are loosening up. It will get better for milsurps again as well.

Have patience - it will pay off.

August 28, 2013, 11:36 PM
Most are still findable - for a price. Ain't like it used to be.

August 29, 2013, 12:09 AM
I picked up a sporterized 1903 Springfield a couple of weeks ago, bore and rifling look like brand new. I am planning on putting a correct stock and hand guard back on it and may even shoot a few rounds of lower powered 30-06 through it. It has the proof testers mark on the barrel but my main concern is from what I have read about the lower numbered serial numbers is that the heat treating of the receiver on rifles with a serial number lower than 800,000 made by Springfield Armory may have not been heat treated properly. The serial number on this one is 460,5** and the date on the muzzle end of the barrel is 10-15. Also in the research I found there were zero failures on the rifles made in 1915 as far as receiver failures go.

August 29, 2013, 12:13 AM
^ Perhaps you could have a gunsmith check and see if it's safe to fire with standard or even high pressure ammo?

August 29, 2013, 12:21 AM
I may do that, it is a good thought though, but I am sure on a rifle that old and having no real history on it he will most likely give me a CYA answer to cover himself. I just picked it up and when I realized what it was I just had to save it. I think it will look great over the fireplace mantel.

August 29, 2013, 12:48 AM
I think there are two ways of going about buying Milsurps.

1. Working with a reputable dealer that specializes in these types of firearms.
You can usually get some very nice rifles, but be prepared to pay a premium for them.

2. You can strike out on your own on gun boards, local/online auctions, and gun shows etc.
You may be able to find a bargain this way, but you also have a better chance of getting burned as well.

The best advice to study, study, study, knowledge is power.

I have been slowly accumulating WWII types for the last few years. I canít tell you how much time I have spent reading various books on WWII rifles.

I remember going to a local firearms action years ago; they had few K98ís on the block. I was really getting the itch to try and win one.
But, I had no clue what they should be worth, so I didnít bid fearing I might drastically overpay.

As far as places that I would check out.

First you canít miss with the CMP to get an M1 Garand.

Looking for an Enfield, talk to Brian at BDL Ltd., an honest and very knowledgeable fellow.

Simpsons Ltd, out of Illinois has many, many rifles and very good descriptions on their web site.

I just ordered my first rifle from Wideners, (Swiss K31) so I will have to see what she looks like before I can recommend them.

Good Luck

August 29, 2013, 04:47 AM
If you haven't already, apply for your 03 FFL immediately. Mine took a month from applying to getting it in the mail. Once you have it make a bunch of copies, sign them, and send to

I've had good experiences with all 4 of them.

The above mentioned Simpsons Ltd has a nice site and there's also and I have not ordered from those 3 yet, so I can't speak to how good they are.

August 29, 2013, 06:58 AM
Maybe a little bit compared to last fall when you asked the same question! :neener:

Back then I said:

Someone asked a while back why Mosins were so universal these days, and so "loved" as a must-have-at-least-one kind of rifle. I said:

They're about the last gasp of the surplus rifle market. While you can still find a few Czech and Yugo Mausers for not too much if you know what rock to turn over, the Krags, and Springfields, 1903s/'03A3s, P.14s, Enfields, K98s, Carcanos, Arisaka, and even K-31 are all somewhere between scarce and gone. Even Garands and M1 Carbines have been coming through the CMP in fits and starts -- like an engine running on the last fumes in the tank.

Weapons technology has moved on, the armories aren't making any more of these, and eventually they will all be bought up.

And that trend happens to collide with the huge growth of gunnuttyness that has overtaken large segments of the population in the last 10-15 years. There's more of "us" now than ever, and we all want a piece of that legendary good old surplus stash -- before they're all gone!

Supply and demand. Folks used to say, "you'd better grab one of those Enfields while they're cheap. They're ugly, but someday you'll wish you could still find a cheap Enfield." Now, all that's left is Mosin-Nagants. Still cheap, because the Soviets and their satellite states made more of them than they did loaves of bread for their people. Still about as good as ever -- which isn't terrific compared to the competition, but sure is better than most people THINK. But now we all have the lesson of eventual scarcity to nag us into buying one (or a dozen) before they're all finally gone.

As others said, no country is building vast numbers of bolt-action or single-shot rifles for their military any more. The guns that are being built and issued as primary battle weapons are not the kind of guns that we're likely to ever see as lawful imports for sale to US citizens.

The good news is that the guns that were imported as surplus for decades are still out there. You'll just have to be willing to pay more than the next enthusiast if you want to own one.

It's probably just as true today!

August 29, 2013, 07:12 AM
As others have suggested get your 03, but be careful with it as it is a license to spend money :D

I started about 20 years ago doing what you are starting to do now. I only have two "main" and they are not really main rifles left to go, a G41 and Johnson. Both a little spendy for me on a guberment salary.

The real deals you can still find are naturally on the 91/30 (Soviet) and a MAS 36 (French) as well as just about any flavor of Carcano (Italy) guns from the British, American, German, Japanese are getting up there with American and german guns being the most expensive.

My suggestion would be to really try to educate yourself on each next rifle you are looking for. I would have about three on the shopping list that I would read up on and the first one of those three I would come across I would buy. I would have a general working idea on the others on the list so if I saw what I thought was a good buy I would know a little, but I would really focus on those three. It took almost 2 years for me to find that "right" Arasaka.

The market is very different now then it was back when I started. Swing over to gunboards and do a little fishing around over there that is one of the better surplus sites around....there are others.

But if you are looking for a "good" non RC 98K or springfield you are getting close to the $1000 range anymore...sometime over sometime a little less. A good SMLE will likely run you around $500 or so. Now as I understand this market is very location based, many of the old gun guys still hate HATE and are afraid of the internet and when they go to sell off their collection they will do it by word of mouth. I got my battle field pickup Arasaka that way as well as one of my Mausers including the box he sent it home in...great story and great find.

August 29, 2013, 08:11 AM
I've gotten a sudden urge to start hunting for all the main rifles of World War II. I don't know why, but the idea of bolt-actions has stuck in my mind. The only problem is, there used to be racks of Enfields and a decent selection of Mausers at stores I visited. Now, after the panic, they're all gone.

Have surplus firearms dried up permanently?
What you want is pre-WWII Oberndorf made 7x57 Mauser carabine for one of the South American armies. I'm not kidding when I say this the one I saw was better finished then pre-64 Winchester 70. I think it was Argentinian, Bolivian, or Venezuelan cavalry gun just don't remember which one. Another good one is short-barreled Czechoslovak VZ-24 usually found in 8x57JS.

August 29, 2013, 08:24 AM
Another surprisingly good handling one was Soviet SVT 7.62x54. It isn't a crowbar like American Garand. The magazine was too deep to use for hunting in most jurisdictions. These are as expensive as better brands of sporting rifles because even when first imported they cost about $500+ if I remember correctly. These were not cheap like SKS or Nagant rifles.

August 29, 2013, 09:43 AM
Go ahead and get your order in for a Garand from the GMP.

August 29, 2013, 12:08 PM
Maybe a little bit compared to last fall when you asked the same question!

Oh yeah! I forgot about that thread.

August 29, 2013, 01:48 PM
It will get better for milsurps again as well.

Um, I'm not so sure. I've been on the hunt for WW1 arms for the past six months. I expected things to ease up after the brewhaha, but it hasn't. I've lost auction after auction for rifles that would have gone for next to nothing like Berthiers. The situation for WW2 rifles is also bad, and for handguns it's outright terrifying. Auctions go nuts, and prices keep going up. There's still some semi-affordable routes to a Garand, but it may be a post-war one.

Even for Mosins, the situation is getting out of hand. I lost auctions on late model M38's, a Polish M44, and several Finns. This NEVER used to happen. The prices just keep going up. You can find workaday 91/30's of course but even those prices are heading up. Even Nagant revolvers are getting pricey. And if you're looking at WW2 era German and US arms, expect to pay handsomely for your collection. If you're serious about it a C&R will help, but it's not the ticket to buy crates of top of the line firearms like it used to be.

Personally it's forced me to give up trying to establish a WW1 collection and shift my attention over to the Cold War era where you can still find some original good condition firearms for something resembling sane prices. But heck even there I'm looking at $600 for an East German Mak.

From what I've seen the only way to get them really CHEAP like they used to be is to hunt for sporterized ones that aren't too badly hacked and retconning them into their original military condition. For example a 1903 or Eddystone with a cut stock but otherwise intact is easily converted back with a replacement stock. Or you might have to replace a cut barrel.

August 29, 2013, 02:04 PM
I've gotten a sudden urge to start hunting for all the main rifles of World War II. I don't know why, but the idea of bolt-actions has stuck in my mind. The only problem is, there used to be racks of Enfields and a decent selection of Mausers at stores I visited. Now, after the panic, they're all gone.

Have surplus firearms dried up permanently?
You better get moving. We got back doored with another exec order yesterday. While his majesty was was spewing his BS his minion "double barrel" Biden announced this. If you think milsurp prices are high now just wait.

August 29, 2013, 02:57 PM
Yup I just saw that. Expect a full on panic in the C&R market folks. And if these orders do truly shut down new imports then there's no telling where it will stop.

August 29, 2013, 03:11 PM
^ I heard about that. Awful timing, isn't it? Well, I'm definitely going to have to scramble. I'm pretty busy this weekend though, unfortunately.

If I go looking for an Enfield, which model should I get? I know that there's like, 5 different kinds.

August 29, 2013, 04:29 PM
I'd get a No.4. Look for a Savage or Long Branch. My Savage is very accurate. JMHO

Ranger Roberts
August 29, 2013, 04:51 PM
I still find milsurps at auctions locally. Try going to sites like and typing guns in the search bar. Enter the mileage you'd be willing to drive and it'll pull up all of the auctions containing guns within your designated mileage. You have to hunt each auction registry for the guns you're looking for at that point. It takes some time to do. If a lot of dealers don't show up to that particular auction you may get it for a steal! I have found that an auction that is primarily selling guns usually has much higher prices than I am willing to pay. On the other hand, an auction that has a ton of other stuff and just a few guns has some great deals. That's just my experience though, yours may be entirely the opposite. Auctions are a blessing and a curse. I've walked into an auction looking for another Mosin and walked out with another Mauser!

August 29, 2013, 04:56 PM
After seeing the news reported above, I went ahead and ordered one of the last No.5, Mk.1 "Jungle Carbines" that AIM Surplus was offering. I'm glad I was able to build a decent WW1/WW2 collection years ago. I think "Cosmo"'s right: "Cold War" era milsurps are still reasonably available. I'm seeing a lot of Walther P1s offered right now which I can see only getting scarcer and more expensive in the near future.

August 29, 2013, 04:57 PM
Another Enfield option are the Australian SMLE No.1 Mk. III*s from Lithgow. They are the older style of Enfield but served all the way through Korea.

August 29, 2013, 05:27 PM
Read the text carefully.

"One new policy will end a government practice that lets military weapons, sold or donated by the U.S. to allies, be reimported into the U.S. by private entities."

This ban would not apply to the vast majority of milsurps, the old Soviet weapons, Swiss, Czech etc., etc. would still be allowed to come in.

It just politics, trying to seem he is doing something on "gun violence".

What this is really going to do it get everyone in a panic and drive up the prices even more.

August 29, 2013, 05:33 PM
The link cites a quarter million of impacted firearms, which isn't a drop in the bucket. Plus there will be ripple effects esp. for us collectors.

August 29, 2013, 05:44 PM
Lets try and make a list of the banned firearms, ones that the U.S. gave or sold to other countries. I'm not an expert, but these are the ones I can think of.

M1 Garand
M1 carbine
U.S. made Enfields

Maybe 1903 Springfieldís?

Any others?

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