5 Military Surplus Rifles For Survival and Self Reliance

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Military surplus guns for survivalContrary to popular belief from some so called “Survival Gurus”, you don’t need an armory for survival or self reliance. Sure, I’d like to have about a dozen M1A1′s, maybe a couple cases of AR16/A2′s and a few FNFAL 7.62 Battle Rifles for good measure. But I don’t have that kind of dough laying around and I’m betting that many of you don’t either. And if I did, I’m sure I could find something better to spend it on than a half dozen or so of top of the line assault rifles! There are better picks for the label of best survival rifles in my opinion than $1000 plus guns!

But if you think you need some kind of military style rifle for your home, here are 5 military surplus rifles I would recommend. I compiled this list by looking at what the guns would be used for. In reality, I don’t think you have to worry about repelling hordes of starving Zombies or UN Troops. So you’ll not find assault rifles such as the M14 on this list. Mainly due to their price. For the same reason, you won’t see the M1 Garand or the 1903 Springfield on my list although I think they would be great for the job of keeping the homestead safe,, but they’re way too pricey these days. Also, if you’re into hunting, here’s a list I found of 5 military surplus rifles for deer hunting. I believe most of you will be using it for the same reasons as I do. Keeping varmints at bay and the peace of mind of having something a little more powerful than a 12 gauge for home protection.

#1. The legendary SKS. Yeah, you read it right, the SKS. I’m not a big fan of the SKS or the 7.62×39 round but there is no argument that a quality SKS is reliable and the ammo for it is reasonable. Sometimes downright cheap if you don’t mind full metal jackkets and steel cased ammo (which means you can’t reload the steel cases after they’ve been fired). Accuracy under 100 yards isn’t that bad either. I have several friends and a couple Cousins who have the SKS and a few of them have surprised me with their ability to connect on targets out to 100 yards. One of my Cousins takes 3 to 5 deer a year with his. Of course, he uses modern expanding ammo to do this, not the cheap surplus FMJ ammo.

Prices of SKS’s (like a lot of other things) have skyrocketed in recent times, but you can still find the odd deal on SKS’s at some pawn shops and guns stores if you shop around.

#2. Mosin-Nagant 1891/30. This is a bolt action rifle that fires the 7.62x54mm Russian round. This round is in the ballpark with the 308 in terms of recoil and ballistics. And before you anal types get you panties in a wad, notice I said “in the ballpark”, meaning ‘not exactly’ :)

Many of these surplus rifles are very accurate and reliable. So much so that a lot of them were turned into Sniper rifles for the Ruskies as well as North Vietnam troops during the Vietnam War. Prices have been headed higher over the years and it can be tricky to find good surplus ammo. For hunting and self defense, there are modern expandable bullets made for this gun.

#3. Japanese Type 38. These rifles, along with just about all surplus rifles, are getting more rare by the minute. But you can still find them hiding away in pawn shops and some gun stores. I prefer the 6.5x50mm Arisaka round over the Type 99′s larger 7.7mm because the recoil is lighter and I haven’t seen any advantage in accuracy with the Type 99 over the Type 38′s smaller round. This is a fun gun to shoot and will meet just about any demands you have from it.

#4. Swiss K31 Carbine. It’s often called the best combat rifle that never saw combat. Whatever you call it, one thing is for sure, like the Type 38 above, it’s a blast to shoot and the recoil is reasonable. The 7.5x55mm round is more than any Coyote or Groundhog wants to mess with. It’s arguably one of the most accurate military surplus rifles you’ll ever come across and many modern gun makers could take a lesson on workmanship on most of the rifles I’ve seen. You just don’t see this level of workmanship on most of today’s guns as you do these old Swiss K31′s.

#5. Britsh Lee-Enfield Mk1 #5 Jungle Carbine. I hesitated to put this gun in this list. Why? Simply because in the carbine form, this gun is an ass kicker! It’s not that the 303 British round is a heavy recoiling round, because it’s really not. It’s that this gun weighs around 7 pounds so the felt recoil is going to be greater. If you live up North where you have to worry about marauding bears or putting a Moose in the freezer, the Lee-Enfield Jungle Carbine with modern expanding 303 British ammo will serve you well! It’s nearly impossible to find truly ‘surplus’ jungle carbines these days, although you can find previously owned rifles in pawn shops and gun shops around the country.

I hope you’ve found this list helpful. If you’re on a budget and you need a cheap rifle around the homestead, then any of these should perform well for you. You can expect to pay anywhere from $100 on up to around 3 or 4 hundred for some of these rifles. Before buying any of these military surplus rifles for survival, make sure you can locate a source of good quality ammo!

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