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I can remember as a kid looking at the military surplus rifles in the Sears catalog and begging my Dad to order one. He wouldn't even consider it and yes that was a long time ago! Well with all the firearms I've owned, I've still never bought a military rifle. So what would be a good choice and where should I look for it? Want a good quality bolt action and one that has readily available ammo. Thanks
 

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Bridger said:
I can remember as a kid looking at the military surplus rifles in the Sears catalog and begging my Dad to order one. He wouldn't even consider it and yes that was a long time ago! Well with all the firearms I've owned, I've still never bought a military rifle. So what would be a good choice and where should I look for it? Want a good quality bolt action and one that has readily available ammo. Thanks
Bridger,
I have to recommend the Swedish Mausers in 6.5x55mm. You can still find the M96 reasonably priced at $189, or the Swiss K31 $149. Then there are the 8mm Mausers........
I hate to pick out the best for someone else??????

http://www.samcoglobal.com/index.html
 

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Bridger said:
I can remember as a kid looking at the military surplus rifles in the Sears catalog and begging my Dad to order one. He wouldn't even consider it and yes that was a long time ago! Well with all the firearms I've owned, I've still never bought a military rifle. So what would be a good choice and where should I look for it? Want a good quality bolt action and one that has readily available ammo. Thanks
There is the most popular military gun of all time and my first military gun too is the 8MM Mauser mine is a Yugo '98 preduzece 44 8MM mauser is was assembled buy the yugo's using left over german parts they can still be found at a reasonable price $100 to $200. Even the M48 yugo's can be had at fair price too with all accessories $149. If you want a new one checkout mitchells mausers they were around for $250 at one time. My prices are estimates you may find one cheaper there are turkish 1938 mausers for $39 to $59 depending on what condition you want. The 8MM ammo is cheap you can get 70rds turkish for $4.95(corrosive) and PMC 8MM ammo $12/20 at cheaper than dirt.com at AIM they have Igman 8MM in softpoint for hunting $7/20. its a great way to start off collecting. If your going to buy many C&R's you should look into a C&R FFL it costs $30 and you save that on your first buy and you save more $$ and cut out the middleman(dealers). And don't forget to checkout local pawn shops too in bad times like now its the first thing people sell. BigBill
 

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Are you going to hunt with it, or look at it? And if you hunt with it, what will size game will you primarily be hunting?

There are a lot of inexpensive old milsurps out there that are very functional hunting rifles. The most common ammunition I have seen on store shelves is for the .303 British, but at gun shows you can pick up pretty much any of the more common milsurp ammunition.

If you are going to hunt with it, look closely at the ballistic performance of the calibers you are considering. Make sure that the one you choose will do the job you will ask of it. For example, the 8mm mauser, while a capable close-range caliber, falls off in energy and trajectory too quickly to be an effective choice when shooting medium or large game at 150+ yards or so. The 7.62 x 39mm is a great short-range caliber on small to medium sized game, but doesn't have the needed punch for elk or moose at any range. When I did this, I settled on the 6.5x55 Swedish for its combination of low recoil, relatively flat trajectory, and excellent sustained downrange energy.

Have fun with your first milsurp--they are the best bargains out there (IMO) 8) !
 

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Mil-surps

Huntsman: Sorry old buddy but you're flat wrong about the capabilities of the military calibers and their ability to hit and do the job beyond the 150-200 yd mark. An 8mm firing a 200 grain bullet at near 2500'/sec will do for anything on the North American Continent. In factory loadings it rivals, if not superceeds the 30-06, and nobody argues with that cartridge. The same goes for the 7.62x54R Russian cartridge - most popular load is with a 200 grain bullet and at military velocities is halfway betwixt the 308 and the 30-06. Can't argue with that.

The 6.5 Swede is one of my favorites and a real honey. In europe they bam moose with it. It is capable of taking anything you would want to hunt with a 264 bore in North America.

Mil-surp ammo in both ball and hunting form is avaliable from a lot of the clearing houses at a fraction of the cost of American made American caliber ammo. Tons of folks hype the 308 but ignore better european calibers that get the job done better.

This is for Bridger now: if you find a M44 (7.62x54R) or M48A (8mm) that shoots well with open sights, it will probably shoot much better with a scope. If in mil-surp form she can group 2" or less at 100 yds with new mil-surp (not the surplus stuff), you can tighten that up considerably by sporterizing the rifle or scoping it and bedding the military stock. And anyone who tells you that an 8mm isn't good beyond 150-200 yds simply hasn't hunted with one.

Huntsman did have a good suggestion, as did SavageT - the 6.5 Swede. Excellent choice with European made factory fodder (at original loadings, not American liability loadings). I also really like the 8mm, and the 7mm isn't bad either. The 303 Brit holds a near and dear place in me old heart and if there is one out there I have managed to miss, I will try and find it. This is Mikey and more of his two cents worth.
 

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Mikey geez your confusing me which one to take hunting??(7.62X54, 8MM, 30-06, 7MM, 6.5 swede) I guess I'll just take the 444 and the 338? No just kidding they all will do the job for sure I read they even have killed elephants with the 7MM(brain shots) I ran into a guy at the range that told me his buddy has hunted with a 7MM for years and has killed everything in north america. I think the 8MM or 7.62x54 is a very good choice too. The only way i sway towards the 8MM more is the ammo 70rds for $4.95 surplus FMJ ammo and the soft point ammo from "aim" Igman ammo $6.95/20 either a Turk 1938, yugo M48, yugo '98, czech vz24, or czech 1922 so many in the pawn shops right now at reasonable prices for a first gun. BigBill :D
 

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Mikey,

I stand corrected about the 8mm mauser-you are absolutely right about its capabilities in the loadings you mention. I made the performance assumption based on the standard Federal 170 gr hi-shok load, the Rem 170 gr SP core-lokt load, and the Win 170 gr power-point load, none of which have the spank I would like for elk at 200 yards. There are other loads out there at considerably higher velocities as you mention that make the 8mm very formidable on large game out to 300+ yards.

The other caliber was 7.62x39mm, not 7.62x54mm. There is a huge difference in performance between these two calibers. The 7.62x39mm, however, can also be loaded to higher pressures with 150 or 180 grain bullets to produce plenty of thump out to 300 yards. Once again I made the performance assumption based on the standard Fed, Rem, and Win loads.

Thanks for the correction, Mikey. I'll try not to make assumptions like that in the future. I guess a better point would be that if one plans to use milsurp rifles for hunting, they need to be aware that there is a great variance in ammo cost, availability, and performance.
 

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Mil-surps

Huntsman: It was not my intention to present my arguement like that. YOU are absolutely correct in your statements on the American made ammo in European calibers and in particular the American made 8mm ammo. Until I recently became aware of the quality European brands I had sworn off European calibers.

Years ago an friend and I were hunting some very large hogs in the Okeefenokee (?) swamps. The conservation Department had bulldozed large tracks of land to get these critters to come out of hiding so we could shoot'em, because they had become dangerous foraging nuisances.

He was using a Mauser 7mm and I had an 8mm and the American ammunition we were using lacked the 'spank', as you put it, necessary to do the job right. With good quality ammo those European calibers are excellent.

Uhhh, Huntsman, the 7.62x54R is the one with the 300 yard wallop, the 7.62x39 is the AK/SKS round and although loadable with heavier bullets, she doan wallop too good out that far.

But, that's OK. I've gone an confoozed BigBill so much he's gonna need a pack mule just to go to the range to get sighted in. Ain't this great. Mikey.
 
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