As one of my pre­vi­ous arti­cles shared, I love the Mosin ‑Nagant sur­plus rifles. The Mosin is not my only sur­plus rifle. I also have a good col­lec­tion of Carl Gus­tavs Swedish Mausers in 6.5x55SE.

I must con­fess the­ses are my favorite rifles. The 6.5x55SE is a fair­ly easy load that I or my wife and kids can shoot all day long and not need a shoul­der replace­ment. It is effec­tive at tak­ing game up to the size of a Moose. More Moose have been tak­en in Swe­den with this cal­iber than any oth­er. Back to the rifle. The one I hunt with when I am hunt­ing in Cana­da was made in 1898 and it still func­tions per­fect­ly. I have one with a fan­cy maple stock from the fac­to­ry that was clev­er­ly hid­den by the fac­to­ry fin­ish. Now I digress, so let me get back on the top­ic.

There are many sur­plus rifles avail­able for the prep­per and for the most part they are a good weapon capa­ble of home defense or hunt­ing. There are Egypt­ian, Argen­tine, Swedish Mausers, Mosin-Nagants, Chi­nese, Czech, Yugosla­vian AKs and SKS or some vari­ant there­of. Of course in the last few years the price has gone up due to a sup­ply and demand inver­sion. As I have said most of these are a good deal. If you do not know any­thing about sur­plus rifles please do your­self a favour and vis­it one of the sites ded­i­cat­ed to the rifle you are inter­est­ed in or bring along a knowl­edge­able friend or gun­smith.

One of the prob­lems with using a sur­plus rifle as your pri­ma­ry or even sec­ondary defense weapon is the avail­abil­i­ty and the price of ammu­ni­tion.

  • 7.62x54R sur­plus FMJ can be had 880rds for $137.00 and Wolf Gold hunt­ing ammo can be had for around $20.00 per box.
  • 6.5x55SE can be had for around $20.00 for a box of 20
  • 7.62 Argen­tine is up around $40.00 for that same 20 rounds
  • 7.62x39 runs around $30.00 for 100 rounds
  • 8mm Mauser is run­ning around $30.00 for 20 rounds.

These prices are just an exam­ple to show that even if you get a great deal on the rifle the price of the ammo may be too high to stock enough ammo to make you hap­py.

So now that you have a decent sur­plus rifle you wake up one day and real­ize it is ugly. Either the fin­ish is hor­ri­ble or the stock is dam­aged. Of course I am mak­ing the assump­tion that you checked the bore and action before you bought it, at least you should have.

So lets address the ugly fin­ish syn­drome.

I have found a lot of very nice wood under those ugly brown fin­ish­es. Now there are a lot of com­mer­cial strip­ping agents out there that will do the job but lets face it I am cheap. So what I do is dis­as­sem­ble the rifle com­plete­ly and break out a sharp edge and just scrape the fin­ish off. I use a Dremel type tool to clean out the lit­tle nooks and cran­nies I could not get with the scraper. I then pro­ceed to hand sand the stock until I am hap­py. I then apply some stain that will com­pli­ment the wood and fin­ish with a paste fur­ni­ture wax. Why wax you say? Wax will water­proof the stock and it is easy to reap­ply as opposed to var­nish. I know some­body will say that the wax will melt off or stick to your cheek but I have been using this method for 20 years and nev­er had any prob­lems. I just refin­ished a Mosin Nagant stock and start to fin­ish was less than four hours.


The bro­ken stock

I have anoth­er Mosin Nagant that I put onto an ATI Monte Car­lo stock and that took around two hours. I know I should be able to just drop it in but for the eight of these I have done, not all mine, not a sin­gle one dropped in per­fect­ly. So out comes the Dremel again and I grind a lit­tle bit off the sides of the stock so it just fits in. As soon as I can get it to slide in I put a drop or two of nail pol­ish on the bot­tom of the rifle and check to see if it seats cor­rect­ly. If not grind a lit­tle more.  I did a Dra­gunov stock on an SKS once and it did drop right in. There are numer­ous stock options avail­able right now and every one of them can be gor­geous, rel­a­tive­ly, if installed prop­er­ly.

The sights on just about every sur­plus rifle are iron which are just fine by me. I was taught to shoot on iron sights to 500yards and that is how I trained my fam­i­ly. As far as I am con­cerned peo­ple have got­ten lazy and rely far too much on that scope to do the work for them. Besides, adding a scope will dri­ve up the cost of that low priced rifle. Fig­ure you can get a decent Mosin Nagant 91/30 for $150 and 880 rounds for anoth­er $150. $300 and you are good to go if you can shoot with iron sights. Now add a scope mount. I recent­ly used the Brass Stack­er scope mount on a rifle and got it on sale for $50, now add a long eye relief scope with rings for$100, and that is a low val­ue scope a real­ly good one will run you at least $200 and anoth­er $50–100 for rings. So for $450 you can get that Mosin set up with a scope. Oops for­got to add the syn­thet­ic stock, add anoth­er $100 so now that is $550 for that Mosin. Oh you do not want a LER scope, bet­ter add anoth­er $100–200 to the price because you are going to need a gun­smith to add the scope mounts. So now your $150 rifle is a $750+ rifle but you do have 880 rounds of FMJ to shoot. You can see how easy it is to go from a great deal to OMG I spent what?? Of course you can get some awe­some deals on stocks, scopes, mounts etc if you have the time to shop the inter­net and can do the work your­self.

A word of cau­tion here regard­ing the sur­plus rifle with the already mount­ed scope. If you did not buy the Sniper ver­sion with the fac­to­ry mount be care­ful. I test fired a rifle once that had a mount and when I took out the car­tridge there was a hole in the side. Stu­pid gun­smith had drilled right through and cre­at­ed a poten­tial­ly dead­ly sit­u­a­tion and did not want to tell any­one.


Where to get the sur­plus rifle.

Go buy a copy of Shot­gun News and or Guns & Ammo Sur­plus Firearms mag­a­zine, yes there is such a thing, and see who adver­tis­es. There is also Arm­slist which I have used with min­i­mal suc­cess. The best deals I have found late­ly have been on Face­book, yeah thats right the thing your teenag­er spends all day updat­ing. Search for some­thing like your town guns and more, or your­town sport­ing goods.

I am sure by now some­body has noticed that I did not men­tion any US made sur­plus rifles. What can I say, they are just to few and far between which makes them expen­sive. They are out there you just need to keep your eyes open. I had a chance to buy a beau­ti­ful M1 about four years ago for a real­ly good price but I just did not have the spare cash in the time frame the own­er need­ed it.

There are coun­tries oth­er than what I have men­tioned that have sur­plus rifles avail­able in the US. Again it comes down to rifle + ammo + acces­sories = how much do you want to spend?

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