American heritage hunt
Josh Wayner for TTAG
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In my last article I went on a 1,000 word rant about how and why a large segment of the CMP sports are in a nationwide decline. I voiced my opinion quite pointedly and blamed the outgoing generation for the problems we have when it comes to the availability of rifles that are of historical significance to American culture.

Today I am outlining a proposal that I hope you can help me spread. I am calling this the American Heritage Hunt and it’s intended to preserve our traditions and culture.

The basic premise of what I am proposing here is to use the widespread and diverse hunting community to ensure the preservation of our historical rifles by allowing their use in either special hunts or across a season provided that the rifles are in original condition and chambering.

Why Do We Need A Heritage Hunt?

This idea would encourage owners of sporterized rifles to restore them to their original military configuration. Existing unaltered rifle owners would be incentivized to leave their guns in their original condition.

The restorations alone would foster a cottage industry centered around making stocks, barrel bands, and many other small parts necessary to bring mutilated guns back to their former glory. This cottage industry would see a younger generation of gunsmiths become familiar with the M1 Garand, 1903 Springfield, Krag, and other rifles like Mausers and Enfields.

Saving guns would become an occupation and not just a hobby for many gunsmiths out there. It would also allow the special skills and knowledge of the old smiths to be passed down to our current generation, thus ensuring that it is not lost.

American heritage hunt
Josh Wayner for TTAG

Why not sporterized rifles in this proposal? Firstly, if you “sporterize” an original 1903, you should probably go to jail or be subjected to some other suitable punishment. Why? Because when you sporterize/butcher an classic American military rifle, you’re defacing a monument to freedom and are no better than the bedwetting communists that are currently screeching about this week’s imagined outrage.

Simply put, what we are trying to do here is preserve our history and heritage. If special hunts are opened to the public who use these rifles, more people will want them. If more people want the guns, the hoarders will be enticed to sell, which will mean more historical rifles in circulation and hopefully a dip in prices.

More circulation of these rifles will mean more economic activity and thus a boost to the gun business nationwide. We would see more replica barrels being made, new stocks produced, and proper ammunition being sold in more places.

Hunters are easy to motivate and many would find it rewarding and challenging to hunt with an original historical rifle.

American heritage hunt
Josh Wayner for TTAG

So, this is part of my call to the collectors and hoarders out there: sell your guns. They’re collecting dust and you’re contributing nothing when you take one or two out to look at it once a year.

Sell that M1. Sell that Springfield. Don’t sell it to another collector. Sell it to a kid who’s interested in history. Sell it to someone who will use it. By holding onto these historical guns, you are literally robbing the next generation of their heritage.

History In Action Creates Lifelong Learners

If the old guns are more widely available, younger generations would be exposed to their history. You can’t talk about a .30-40 Krag without talking about Teddy Roosevelt and his battles in Cuba. You can’t talk about the M1 without talking about Patton.

Likewise you can’t talk about a K98k without talking about Hitler or a Mosin without talking about Stalin. Knowledge brings understanding and context, which will undoubtably lead to a real understanding of the world and an understanding of why exactly it is so important to keep and bear arms.

Think I’m wrong? I guarantee you that the coolest gun you can ever show a beginner is one with history to it. Plastic is fantastic, but today’s best-looking AR rifles are ugly compared to Garand masterpiece.

What the next generation needs is understanding and context and this proposal will, in a small way, help connect them to that. You can’t know where you’re going unless you know where you’ve been and the powers against us know that, which is why they want people blinded and devoid of their heritage.

It is extremely important to connect American youth with their American culture. The gun is the most important symbol of American individuality, exceptionalism, and independence.

“Dad, what gun is that we’re hunting with?”

“Son, this is an M1. This rifle was used in World War II. Your great grandpa carried one when he went to fight the Japanese in the Pacific. I’ll show you his pictures when we get home. This could even be his. You never know. I’ll pass it to you when you are ready.”

That small exchange puts that young person into the context of their family and country. There is history and tradition right in that little vignette. I want my children to have access to the same things I did and this is a way to help that goal along.

The Rules of the Hunt

Here are my proposed rules. You may disagree with them, but this is more of a draft than anything. The rifles used must be the following:

1.) A United States service rifle or foreign equivalent designed prior to 1945. Examples of this would include the M1 Garand and variants, 1903 Springfield and variants, .30-40 Krag, Mauser 98, 96, and variants, Mosin Nagant and variants, Swiss K-series rifles and variants, Lee Enfield and variants, etc.
2.) All rifles must be in original as-issued military configuration. No replacement stocks except faithful replicas of originals may be used. Laminated wood stocks are acceptable for this purpose provided they are identical in contour to original examples. Rifles may make use of modern surface finishes provided they are faithful to original examples.
3.) All rifles must have original sighting system. Match-grade sights are allowable provided they are otherwise identical to as-issued sights. No rifle may make use of optical sights with the exception of replica optics on models that were originally issued with optical sights. Ex. M1D, 1903A4, Mosin M91/30 with PU/PE. Aftermarket replacement peep sights may not be used. Modern scopes may not be used unless they are a faithful replica of the original military scopes.
4.) Rifles must be chambered for the cartridge that the model was originally issued in. Rifle barrels may be replaced, but must be identical in contour and chambering as as-issued military barrels.
5.) Replica rifles are allowable provided they are identical in form and function and chambering as as-issued rifles.

There may be a little more that I’m missing, but I think that you get the idea. I think that people would be good about following these rules. It would obviously be up to each state to decide how this would be implemented.

As far as concerns about the guns being too powerful for certain areas, I think that we could pretty easily debunk that.

American heritage hunt
Josh Wayner for TTAG

In Michigan we are allowed to hunt 24/7 state-wide with any centerfire rifle .264/6.5mm and below for coyote. That’s day and night with a 6.5-.284, 6.5 PRC, 6.5 Creedmoor, and 6.5x55mm Swedish. It is pretty obvious that the 6.5-.284 is much more powerful and has greater range than a .308 Win, but the .308 is only legal in daylight.

To make it more frustrating, I can’t hunt deer in the lower part of Michigan with any bottlenecked case. I can hunt the same field around the clock for coyote with any 6.5mm, but can’t shoot deer with the same rifle. People who say it’s to reduce the chance of hitting houses are clearly misguided.

Most of these military rifles with iron sights are good on deer at 100-200 yards as that is about as far as most people can aim with no scope in field conditions. That’s the same range as a .450 Bushmaster is good for.

A case can be made that the effective range of many of the old guns is relatively short and they pose no greater threat to the area than coyote and deer rifles already in common use year-round.

What Can You Do To Help Preserve American Tradition?

In all, I think this proposal would be able to gain traction with hunters, hobbyists, and just about all rifle shooters. Remember that there are generally no more or fewer old guns in circulation than there were ten years ago. But lots of them are languishing in collections or being bought up by collectors and hoarders. The sum total of M1 rifles isn’t decreasing in general, just the number of quality rifles still on the market.

Here’s what you can do to help. Start by talking to your state DNR or congressman/woman and give me feedback to develop a more detailed outline of what you want to see. I want to make M1, Springfield, Enfield, and other rifles accessible to everyone in a useful context.

It serves nobody to have these treasures rot in gun safes. These rifles belong on the competition line, in the hunting fields, and in the hands of the next generation. This is not an end-all answer to preserving our culture and traditions, but it is a start.

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  1. Given how cheap entry level hunting rifles, on-par with mil-sup guns, are these days, there is very little incentive to “sporterize”.

  2. We’ve had the likes of” The Frozen Mosin” and other milsurp rifle competitions like The Rifleman Run..this is an idea with merit

  3. “A Proposal That Saves Guns and Protects Our Culture”

    -put netflix-americans into concentration camps
    -make louis farrakhan leader of basketball-americans, enforce segregation and miscegenation
    -deport reggaeton-americans
    -promote/subsidize natalism amongst legacy-americans
    -bring prayer back to public schools
    -make domestic violence legal again, establish pater familias like ancient rome
    -put kate ainsworth in jail for advocating murder and being overweight

    • this guy might be a racist bigot-

      but not going to lie, i straight up spit up the water i was drinking

      you keep on bringing joy to us truth man!

      • On the surface he might seem that way.

        However there have been REAL studies, not some Nazi/KKK sponsored studies, that show forcing mixing of races, living in the same communities etc, basically has never worked through out history. These studies were fact based and not one race is better than the other just different enough that forced mixing does not work for many reasons. Even today there are countries that basically do this now and it works for them. China, Japan, India etc for the most part are a single race and have been forever and it works for them.

        So is he a racist bigot or a realist looking at the facts?

        I had to lookup “pater familias” and that is basically make an elder male (sexist for sure) be in charge of a family…as in everyone that is related. This male has a lot of power to control the family. Of course you would need to be able to enforce that control…hence the domestic violence comment but that male would be responsible for their actions in the community as well. So if done correctly it forces ownership of ones..or the family’s actions and the outcome (if done right) would be positive for society/community. Of course if done wrong it would a tragic nightmare. However I assume that is where the pray and religion come in, do the right thing golden rule….etc…etc…etc.

        So his comments taken on today’s quick to react society he would seem like he is messed up big time. Looking at it piece by piece in a positive way it could work. That said it will never happen in our current society. It would take some massive negative change, great depression #2, civil war #2, massive WW, pandemic etc to force those kinds of changes.

        • “”””””””””””””””””””””” China, Japan, India etc for the most part are a single race and have been forever and it works for them.”””””””””””””””””””””””

          If you made that ignorant statement in any of the countries you mentioned you would be laughed right out of room or country. You just proved you flunked history classes. China has 265 separate nationalities and 225 languages as well as foreign workers some of which are American and they are permanently living there and India is not far behind with all its ethnic minorities. Japan has ethnic minorities as well including many S.E. Asian minorities living there as well as Philippine people and as of late many, many Whites from Europe coming in under the new Japanese plan to import as many foreign workers as it can and give them citizenship.. Taiwan does also and has indigenous mountain tribesman, ethnic Japanese that have been there for decades and decades, and multitudes of Chinese ethnic minorities, and minorities from India there as well. Its much the same in S.E. Asia as well.

          I might add that many Asian Americans of the older generation are aghast at their children and grand children who are leaving the U.S. and going back to their various countries of origin as job opportunities are becoming more numerous there than in the U.S. And ditto for white people who are well educated and cannot find jobs in the U.S. One music teacher went to China and started out being appointed as head of the entire music department in a brand new Chinese University and if she had stayed in the U.S. she would have had to wait decades to get the same job equivalent. She made so much money the first year in China she paid off the loan on her brand new Apartment there. Try and pay an apartment off in the U.S. in one year on a teachers salary, it just is not going to happen Jethro. Crime is so low there she sold her car and hitch hikes to work everyday something that would get her raped and killed the first week in the U.S. which is now the most dangerous country in the industrialized world.

        • Quick search says this…

          Largest Ethnic Groups In China
          Rank Ethnic Group Population % of Overall Population
          1 Han 1,220,844,520 91.60
          2 Zhuang 16,926,381 1.27
          3 Hui 10,586,087 0.79
          4 Manchu 10,387,958 0.78
          5 Uyghurs 10,069,346 0.76
          6 Miao 9,426,007 0.71
          7 Yi 8,714,393 0.65
          8 Tujia 8,353,912 0.63
          9 Tibetans 6,282,187 0.47
          10 Mongols 5,981,840 0.45
          11 Dong 2,879,974 0.22
          12 Buyei 2,870,034 0.22
          13 Yao 2,796,003 0.21
          14 Bai 1,933,510 0.15
          15 Korean 1,830,929 0.14
          16 Hani 1,660,932 0.12
          17 Li 1,463,064 0.11
          18 Kazakh 1,462,588 0.11
          19 Dai 1,261,311 0.09
          20 She 708,651 0.05
          21 Lisu 702,839 0.05

      • ok Boomer- go back to listening to MARK LEVIN and his NEVERTRUMP freemarket bullshit and then put on a tricorne hat unironically then listen to BEN SHAPIRO talk to you about how tariffs are bad or something

        We live in tyranny! I work as a software developer in Silicon Valley. If I tell people I hunt, own guns, am a Christian, think homosexuality is wrong, etc… I would be ostracized and would probably lose my job. I love guns, but at this point… how will awesome collection of guns stop me from losing my job if I question the merits of Drag Queen story hour. We live in tyranny.

        We live in tyranny.

  4. Back in the 1980 I was offered two Swedish Mausers in 6.5 by 55 with slings, bayonets and full cleaning kits for $130 by the importer. My post army university budget of $40 a week couldn’t afford it.

    As Pwserge said now I can buy new rifle cheaper than the old military ones. I would still like more military rifles for the collection but I’m taking Thompson Centre rifle for hill hunt next week. Lightweight and guaranteed sub moa.

  5. If you organize a coyote hunt somewhere in SE Michigan to test the concept, me and my M96 Swede will be there.
    Maybe also contact the Project Appleseed guys to help spread the word. I imagine a good number of their participants would be interested in vintage hunting.

  6. I do wish you luck, hope your idea succeeds. However . . . . . .

    I have a 1903 made by Remington in 1938, it was sporterized decades before I bought it. Original barrel in .30-06. Shoots good, no plans to do anything to it. Certainly not going to spend my limited boomstick budget restoring it to 1938 configuration.

  7. @Josh ref first picture

    A bit of a tangent but I have a 03 that is a Greek return, disassembled right now awaiting on a decision.

    Should markings on the stock be preserved or should I just have it refinished?

    Ones in picture are beautiful !

    • If you care about value, you should never refinish a gun. The markings are part of its history and don’t detract from the value. If you don’t care about value, make it look and pretty as you want.

  8. Love your passion but concept is a dud. Hunting is not everyone’s thrill. Special hunts mandating special guns to partake in the effort will ony increase demand and prices. Collectors are not hoarders. Are there hundreds of thousands of shooter waiting to get the special rifle to shoot that special Camp Perry Match? By far, the vast majority of sporterized military arms was done back when the hardware store had barrels of them for under $20 and you could also mail order the from the advertisements in magazines. Be serious, “Sell it to a kid and not another Collector”: how much money does the kid have?

    I’ll just stop here. I appreciate the effort but I don’t think it will get off the ground.

    • Hunting is not everyone’s thing, but I have previously hunted with a stock No4 Lee-Enfield with iron sights. Good enough to 200m.

      How about competitive target shooting with ye olde service rifles? Not as competitive as CMP. Standing at 100m, sitting or kneeling at 200m, prone at 300m. Each week will be a different distance and course. Courses of fire will typically have 2-4 stages plus 2 sighter rounds not to count.

    • Past presidents have destroyed more of you ‘classic’ mil-rifles than any amount of ‘sporterzation’ from back in the Barrel-o-gunz days. H.W.Bush had over a million M-1 Carbines scraped rather than turned over to the CMP in the early 90’s. Obama kept a million M-1 Garands&Carbines from being repatriated from S-Korea FFS!

      It’s a fact that shooting modern off the shelf 30.-06 will slowly wreck your 75+ year old metallurgy. So tell me again how the CMP who’s mission is to acquaint draft age civilians with military rounds and rifles, is Charley Miking with most of it’s shooters the same age and the antiques they are shooting?

  9. Would a Trapdoor Springfield be ok? Or Spencer and Henry rifles? Or any rifled muskets above a certain caliber? This could be really fun!

    • To Frank who hid behind the door when the brains were past out.

      Great idea spend a thousand dollars to destroy a historical rifle that will never be made again and end up with a piece of junk not worth much more than scrap weight. Just go to a gun show some time and see what butchered military rifles bring as opposed to the originals. If someone handed you 1,000 would you light in on fire instead of spending it or putting it in the bank. What you are doing makes eve less sense.

  10. What is really “original as-issued military configuration”? The only time I have fired a 1903 Springfield it was a smoothbore with no sights, a cut down forend and a chamber insert to use 7.62mm ammo. AND, it was still on active military service in the early 1990’s as a line throwing gun in the Coast Guard. They were still in active service on inventory as of 10 years ago when I retired.

    FYI, they used a steel rod inserted in the muzzle with a plastic bulb on the front, range was a lot better that M16s for line throwing purposes. Some didn’t have chamber inserts but still used 7.62 ammo since 30-06 grenade cartridges were pretty much out of service.

    Not trying to start a fight or anything but the definition as given is fuzzier than “Assault Rifle”.

  11. I don’t want to sound to picky, but what is a new better barrel, or part to replace a broken one any different than a replica?
    some older guns had inferior parts, that is why you looked for ones made in a certain country. To replace these inferior
    parts with better quality ones using modern technology, is in essence buying a new gun, not a piece of history. I owned
    a British 303, but today I can get one chambered in 308, which is more available. So is it a historical piece, an upgraded

  12. Wonderful idea! I already restore Mausers of all types for the preservation reasons you mention. I have done some real sportirized basket cases to preserve their history and pass it on to the next generation.

  13. Josh, your idea is a noble one. I’ve never hunted with one of my vintage military rifles, but I’d certainly fight with one. (Turned down a name brand AR new in box at $450 today.) Sorry guys, just can’t bet my life on one. I have however, let young people shoot them. I had a cousin visit a couple of years ago with his teenage sons. They were enthusiastic players of some WWII video game. Bill asked if I would take them out with an M-1 rifle and a 1911. After demonstrating I handed Jack a M-1. Bill said, “Son, this is the real deal.” He and Spencer ate it with a spoon. Josh, one last suggestion. Don’t involve the government. They’ll just fuck it up. Let small individual programs organize it. My goal: take a whitetail with my ’03A3 next season. Good article!

  14. Note to the author: Go to Lakeland, Florida on Nov 9 – 10, 2019 at the airport to the Gun Show and location called Sun & Fun.
    Look it up. I’ve been a couple of times and what I noticed is that there are many US WWII military guns and other military surplus, guns, gear and trophys shown; I expect many acquired through the CMP.
    Why Lakeland? Big time retirement area and I suppose many retires that no longer shoot or their estates being sold off.
    I attend many gun shows and there are always these types of firearms available. You can also contact Mr Mel Bernstein, the most armed man in America. Gun store in Colorado, heck, you can get a Sherman fully outfitted with a BMG and outfit a platoon of riflemen armed with M1 Garands to walk behind. Good luck, however, there are many many of these US surplus guns available without messing with someone’s sporterized piece.

  15. There will be little restoration as original spare parts are becoming not only very scarce but very expensive as well. And a restored gun is seldom worth what an original is worth so restoring it may often cost more than the gun is worth especially if you are forced to use modern reproduction parts because the original parts are no longer available. Its only been within the last couple of years that prices have gone through the roof on mil surp guns as prior to that the Morons were sportsitizing every gun they get their hands on to butcher. Considering the fact that there were tons of guns already annihilated and large numbers of new low budget sporting rifles available the insanity of butchering mil surps made one wonder if these idiots were born with any brains in their heads at all. They were throwing hundreds of dollars right down the shit hole of sportsitizing as their frankenmonster projects reduced the value of their guns to little more than scrap weight.

  16. Some of us have been at this long enough to inherit a sporterized rifle or 2, or 4… I think it’s a GREAT idea to get someone to bring them back to original. Nobody is doing that kind of restoration work around here – so for now they remain heirlooms.

  17. Add this to the list of boomer laments. Why isn’t anyone buying our houses, boats, cars, lake houses, enter various “collectibles” here for the prices we want them to?
    I spent so much time making fun of neckbeards my own age I never noticed the neckbearding seniors were doing. I suppose when my peers are in their 70’s they’ll want to know why nobody is buying their 50 year old video game consoles and dolls. I’d rather have a lake house than a doll but the nonsense is the same.

    Now to lug my 20lb Garand through the woods for a deer because I guess that’s a good idea.

  18. How far back in history do you want to go? Flintlocks? Already used by many hunters. Ditto cap and ball, and so on.

  19. As a millenial gun enthusiast with a ton of millenial gun enthusiast friends:

    – Hunting is boring
    – Shooting rifles at a range is too time consuming, with all the walking back and forth and waiting for the Fudds to reset their long range targets
    – Action pistol shooting (IDPA, USPSA, Steel Challenge, ICORE) is fun and time efficient, which is what we do overwhelmingly.
    – ICORE is the coolest.

  20. This seems counter to the previous article encouraging oldsters to give up their collections. Now the horded guns have a real world purpose. If the season had preference over a normal rifle season, the value of the guns that could be used would increase, making them less affordable to beginners. I’d also predict a lot of Garands with bent or broken up rods from using modern .30-06.


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