Top 5 Military Surplus Deer Rifles

Who says you have to go out and buy the latest soul-less stainless steel, synthetic-stocked wonder gun if you’re going to venture out in the woods in pursuit of a 12-point buck? There’s something to be said for hunting the same way your grandfather did, with a rifle he brought home with him from the war.

The good news: with the possible exception of the K-31, you can usually find a decent selection of all of these rifles just about every weekend at your nearest gun show. The bad news: prices on all five of these have gone up significantly over the past decade or so as word has spread about their value and effectiveness. But that doesn’t mean there aren’t still some bargains to be found out there.

So here’s our list of the five best military surplus rifles you should consider for your next deer hunt.

 

You can see this and hundreds more videos from God, Family and Guns at their YouTube channel here

 

comments

  1. avatar DJ says:

    I understand you need to monetize your website, but DON’T make me watch a damn video to access content. I’m never clicking that link.

    1. avatar TrueBornSonofLiberty says:

      Agreed. It actually makes me resentful. Just list the 5 rifles at the very least and then offer the link.

    2. avatar Geoff PR says:

      “I understand you need to monetize your website, but DON’T make me watch a damn video to access content. I’m never clicking that link.”

      Dittos, TTAG…

    3. avatar Just Sayin says:

      Admin: PLEASE wake up and smell the coffee on this.
      Vid only content is a PITA at work/during the day.
      Other sites post both vid and transcription of the same link.
      This is not brain surgery to pull off.
      Very oft putting AND, with the # of negative comments I have seen, this is begining to get insulting to your readership

    4. avatar ozzallos says:

      Same. At least TFB offers a video transcript.

    5. avatar Texheim says:

      Very happy to see that this is the first comment. I whole heartily agree.

    6. avatar Matt says:

      I never click the videos.

  2. avatar jwm says:

    Can’t watch the video. If I was going bone stock for a mil surp hunting rifle I would get a 6.5 Swede Carbine or a Lee Enfield no. 5.

    1. avatar Art out West says:

      I didn’t have the patience to watch the video. I really dislike these “list videos”.

      I’m not a hunter, but if I ever do go deer hunting, I’ll use my light weight “soul-less” scoped .270 rather than my M44 Mosin, or SKS. Hog hunting on the other hand, SKS,AK,AR15

      Aren’t the 1903 Springfields, 1917 30-06, and 8mm Mauser supposed to be better hunting rifles than Mosins anyway?

      1. avatar 16V says:

        “Aren’t the 1903 Springfields, 1917 30-06, and 8mm Mauser supposed to be better hunting rifles than Mosins anyway?”

        A decent quality M-N will accurately reach out and (fatally) touch at 300+M. By what metric would the others be significantly “better”?

        1. avatar jwm says:

          A model 44, sans bayonet or a model 38 or 91/59 are shorter, handier and lighter than any of those rifles. The big advantage the first 2 have is caliber. .30-06 is just more available and in a better variety as far as hunting loads go. My 91-30 is lighter than the 1917.

          At any range you would use an iron sighted milsurp for deer the mosin nagant will do the job, quite well. I would prefer the Swede or the Lee Enfield no. 5 for the job but that’s just preference.

        2. avatar Art out West says:

          I intended no disrespect for the Mosin. I own one, and like it a lot. The straight bolt handle makes scoping more complicated, and 30-06 ammo is far more available, and is offered in a wider range of loadings. I also know that a lot of Mauser’s have been sporterized over the years.

          I’m sure any of them will do just fine. 54R is available in soft points at 150/180/200 grains. Good enough.

          Again, I’m a plinker not a hunter and might be talking out my ass for all I know. 😀

        3. avatar 16V says:

          jwm, Fair enough, I wasn’t trying to argue the finer points of weight, or length (especially as Mosins come in a wide variety of same). My point was just to that to my mind (in comparing milsurps anyway) a pound or two, and a few inches of OAL doesn’t amount to a hill of beans. As you noted, if one can put muzzle energy downrange at minute-of-ungulate, to my analysis that kinda makes them all pretty equal. Don’t get me wrong, everybody prefers what they prefer, which is completely fine.

          Art, There were many M-N variants issued originally with a bent bolt. I have a few. There is also a very healthy aftermarket in them if you’re interested. Just sayin’…

        4. avatar T_Baggins says:

          Simple accuracy. All of the milsurps he mentions are far superior to a Mosin. 1903 Springfields and 1917 Enfields are 3 MOA rifles. The better Mausers are 1-2 MOA rifles. A Mosin is a 5 MOA rifle on a good day.

  3. avatar Steve says:

    You should really transcribe these videos or use a host that can provide decent closed captioning…

    Also, whatever is going on with your lighting makes you look like a cult leader giving a sermon when you can’t actually hear what you’re saying.

  4. avatar michael says:

    Looks like the guy pushing Erectile Dysfunction medication….

    transcription please!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  5. avatar Charlie says:

    Lemmee see:

    1. Mosin Nagant. 7.62X54R. 2. SMLE. 303 Brit. 3. M1 Garand. 4. SKS. 7.62X39. 5. Swiss K-31. 7.5X55 Swiss.

    This guy is ignoring a major consideration: You’re not going to walk into Podunk Hardware and get three of these five calibers. And none of these rifles are optics friendly. Furthermore, they are worth more in their original configuration than if you modify them for hunting, and at least two of them are pushing the price of “the latest soul-less stainless steel, synthetic-stocked wonder gun”!

    I have learned, to my sorrow, that there are lots of self-appointed experts in the gun community. And this clown is one of them. I strongly prefer my “soul-less stainless steel, synthetic-stocked wonder gun” with its muzzle brake, integral Picatinny rail and adjustable trigger over any of these antiques. And I have no problem getting .308 or 30-06 in Podunk.

    Charlie

    1. avatar Mark N. says:

      It is easy to get an accurate, light weight, and reliable bolt action rifle new from the manufacturer for under $400 that does not weigh nearly as much as these surplus rifles do. As a LGS owner said to me once about the 9.6 lb Garand, “you will take it hunting…once.”

      1. avatar anaxis says:

        True, but I’ll take a Garand because of that weight & complexity. It’s the same as what my kin carried, and requires the same skills/care that they used.

        But I do cheat a tad sometimes by using a 2-round clip instead of a 5rd, along with the lead equalling 3 M2 Ball .30 rounds in the stock instead of a cleaning kit.

      2. avatar Anonymous says:

        I bought several spanish mausers in 308 for dirt cheap – $150. And that was just last year. They are the short rifle/carbine and are not that heavy. I reload for them with cast bullets. So dirt cheap for ammunition, and dirt cheap for the rifle. I have a few drilled and tapped for optics while leaving the rest of the stock alone. And certainly good enough for deer.

        1. avatar Tom in Oregon says:

          Ditto. A few years back I picked up a Spanish FR8 in .308. Short, sweet, lightweight.
          Not terribly accurate, but fun to shoot.

    2. avatar 16V says:

      Any “podunk hardware” I’ve ever been in has .303 Brit, 7.62×39, and 7.62x54R. They had it in the ’70s, and they have it now.

      I guess if you’re somewhere that has thutty-thutty, thutty-ot-six, some 12 gauge, and some .22, it’s certainly possible. But that sounds more like a gas station, not a hardware store.

      YMMV…

      1. avatar Blurb says:

        Levels of NOT gun stores with ammo. Murica.

      2. avatar uncommon_sense says:

        16V,

        I live in a county with a population of almost 400,000 adjacent to a major metro area with a population of about 5 million. I have never seen .303 British nor 7.62 x 54R at any of the SPORTING GOODS stores in this area.

        In fact the first and only time that I may have ever seen .303 British or 7.62 x 54R is at a Cabelas.

  6. avatar billy-bob says:

    Why did the military have surplus deer rifles?

    1. avatar Defens says:

      They weren’t actually surplus deer RIFLES. They were surplus DEER rifles – for harvesting all the surplus deer running around Midway Island, Iwo Jima, and the forests of Normandy and Germany.

      1. avatar Geoff PR says:

        “for harvesting all the surplus deer running around Midway Island,…”

        *WHAT* deer were on that tiny spit-of-sand called Midway?

        1. avatar ironicatbest says:

          There are no deer on Midway island, those are Elk,

        2. avatar Swarf says:

          *polar bears

        3. avatar jwm says:

          Gooney birds. The feathered kind. Not the c47 kind.

  7. avatar Hank says:

    I personally love taking my Enfield hunting. Favorite bolt action.

    1. avatar Southern Cross says:

      Done that many times with my No4 target rifle, still with iron sights, M1907 sling, and original service stock.

      I’ve had farmers say “with that you definitely know what you’re doing“, as many were also service rifle competitors or knew someone who was.

      One of my friends would often take the No4 in preference to several scoped rifles and a Win94 in .30-30.

  8. avatar Gov. William J Le Petomane says:

    I’d lean toward the Lee Enfield because, ‘NOBODY NEEDS 10 BULLETS TO KILL A DEER!’

    1. avatar neiowa says:

      In Iowa you better stick to the Model 1871 or the DNR boys will be unhappy.

      This year is the 1st where Iowa is allowing rifles rather than shotgun, but has to be straight wall cartridge.

      1. avatar jwm says:

        Model 1871 what?

        1. avatar Gov. William J Le Petomane says:

          .45/70

      2. avatar Gov. William J Le Petomane says:

        Yea, well shotgun season is a joke here anyway. I’d rather just go with muzzle loader.

        Would be nice if they’d let me use my .30-30 though.

        1. avatar uncommon_sense says:

          Gov. Le Petomane,

          You are a wheel gun enthusiast, correct? Get yourself a rifle chambered in .357 Magnum or even better .44 Magnum for deer hunting. If you load them will hot loads from BuffaloBore, DoubleTap, or Underwood, you will NOT be disappointed.

          My H&R Handi-rifle in .44 Magnum has a 22 inch barrel. It launches Winchester white box 240 grain jacketed softpoint bullets at 1,900 fps. (Yes, I actually chronographed that.) And it shoots 1.5 inch groups at 50 yards, which translates to three inch groups at 100 yards, or 5 inch groups at 150 yards. Note that those bullets are still whistling along at more than 1,350 fps at 150 yards which is over 980 ft. lbs. of energy — more than adequate to drop a BIG deer in short order. And yet recoil and muzzle blast is surprisingly soft.

          I cannot picture any shotgun topping that. Heck, you would even be hard pressed to top that with the best available .45 caliber muzzle loaders.

  9. avatar Al Bondigas says:

    This is the second video in which the narrator said “fiddy” for fifty. Is he related to Curtis Jackson?

  10. avatar ironicatbest says:

    I took the 03a3 out the other day, seen one doe and a coyote. That gun used to be lighter, by the time I got to the top of the bluff, whew man , I laid down in the grass for a breather and fell asleep

  11. avatar Swarf says:

    What’s got your eyebrows in a peak, Eeyore?

  12. avatar M1Lou says:

    With the abundance of modern hunting rifles for $250-400 that hover around 1 MOA accuracy and are not questionable Bubba builds, I see no reason to create new sporter milsurps. I’ve converted two milsurps back to military configuration in the past few years that were old sporters, but had original length barrels. One was a Remington 03A3 (only issue was half of the dovetail was ground down) and the other a Swede M94 Carbine (it still has scope mount holes. They aren’t perfect, but they do shoot darn well. I was eying an Arisaka for the same purpose, but then I measured the barrel and it’s been hacked. I pass on hacked rifles as they are too expensive to resurrect to their former glory.

  13. avatar Mark Kelly's Diapered Drooling Ventriloquist's Dummy says:

    If it ain’t an Enfield preferably a No.4 Mk1* it ain’t shit.

  14. avatar strych9 says:

    I dunno where this guy lives but his prices seem to reflect the prices I saw when I lived in Ohio 7-10 years ago. Of course, maybe Colorado is overpriced. I haven’t really shopped out of state much in recent years.

    That said, if the prices in his area are what he claims he’s got decent access to milsurp rifles and I’d buy a few. I wouldn’t get them for deer but I’d love to see those sort of prices again. I’m consistently impressed with the prices of very, very badly beat up milsurp rifles around the Denver area. Yugo and Chinese SKS’s that looks like they was run over by a tank, missmatched numbers… I mean yikes it’s bad and they’re often $600+ in that condition. Half-way decent and they’re pushing $800. I paid $200 a little over a decade ago and it’s nicer than anything I’ve seen in the past few years at 3x or more the price.

  15. avatar Rusty Chains says:

    I own a Finn M43 (Mosin done better) and a Yugo SKS, but for hunting I will use a Savage Model 10 in .308 because optics and aging eyes mean a clean kill and a successful hunt.

  16. avatar Mark H says:

    Enough with the video links. Doesn’t even appear to work across all platforms. (just a spinning ball of doom on Firefox 56.

    At a minimum if you are going to post a video link:
    1) absolutely no auto-play
    2) Typed transcript below the video.

    1. avatar anaxis says:

      Fuckin’ A. Seconded

  17. avatar Ragnarredbeard says:

    Not watching the video. Give me a list that I will read faster than the video.

  18. avatar tiger says:

    The Surplus market is kinda dried up of the good stuff. Aside from Nagants, most nations have sold or emptied the warehouses of Pre 1950’s weapons. The Swede Mauser I got for Under $200 days are long gone. As for optics? S&K Makes no drill mounts for all these rifles. The SKS is likely the most practical choice, sans the bayonet. The Garand’s gas system, I thought was not set to use most hunting loads?

    1. avatar Snatchums says:

      I guess you can bend the operating rod if you use modern full power hunting loads. Someone has to make a fix for that though, right?

      1. avatar DJ Saul Teanuts says:

        Adjustable gas port. I bought one for my garand but haven’t installed it yet because I still have a bunch of old surplus ammo designed for it to shoot first. Allows you to vent the extra gas generated by modern loads. You can open it up so far that you have to cycle the bolt manually if you want to.

  19. avatar Docduracoat says:

    Another vote for a transcript of any video
    I read TTAG at work and cannot listen to a video

  20. avatar Wally1 says:

    I also did not watch the video, It would be a waste of my time. If this was in text I could have read it and moved on.

    Do the editors at TTAG care about readership. Is anyone listening. The overwhelming adds that pop up is so annoying I would never buy their products just because of the marketing tactics.

  21. avatar A Brit in TX says:

    My first ever time deer hunting (in Michigan) was with a borrowed Lee Enfield (of course in .303). Didn’t see a single deer but sitting in the woods with that piece of history on my lap was a wonderful experience none the less.

  22. avatar Docduracoat says:

    You are right about prices
    You could hunt with an sks that costs $600 used
    Or you could buy a brand new Ruger American Ranch bolt action in 7.62 x 39 for $400 and put a $200 scope on it
    Or buy a 7.62 x 39 upper for your AR 15
    I see them with bcg and charging handle for $400
    Both are lighter and more accurate and easier to mount a scope
    You like historical rifles?
    Carry a 10 pound M 14 into the woods
    It gets real heavy real fast!

  23. avatar mrbadnews says:

    …the “MASSIVE” 303 British…

  24. avatar oliver says:

    What, no Mausers?

  25. avatar cisco kid says:

    The real shame of it is that Hill Jacks are so ignorant that today they still are butchering up valuable collectible military rifles into Jehtro Bodine “project guns” that turn them into Franken Monster worthless junk guns not worth the powder it would take to blow them up. They always spend double what it would cost to buy a used commercial gun or even some of the newer plasticky trash that is for sale at Wal Mart etc. Yes the new plasticky trash does go bang and at least when it gets soaking wet and smacked against trees the world loses nothing but a modern trash junk gun not a valuable historic military rifle. Remember Nato 2 years or so ago passed a law to destroy all military guns that were no longer being used and classed as obsolete so the military stuff out there now can go no where except up, up, up in value in the years ahead something totally over the head of Jethro Bodine and the hammer and chisel crowd. Think about that next time you plan on annihilating a valuable historical rifle into useless junk.

    1. avatar Charlie says:

      +1. I recently bought a Tikka T3 CTR in .308 (a “soul-less stainless steel, synthetic-stocked wonder gun” if ever there was one!) for $780.00 +free shipping, and I’m impressed as all freaking get-out with it. It claims .34 MOA accuracy, and I get .34 MOA accuracy off a machine rest at 100 yds. Nuff said!

      Charlie

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