TFBTV: 5 Best Surplus Rifles Under $500

    Today we discuss 5 (or 6) great military surplus rifles that can be had for under $500. Sometimes you need to take a break from modernity to get a whole new great shooting experience!

    French subtitles thanks to Tempest, Russian subtitles thanks to Val.

    The full english transcript is below …

    – Hey guys, I’m Alex C.

    – And I’m Patrick R.

    – We’re back at ya with another five guns video for

    – Well, kind of a six guns video – Unfortunately yes, there is a little bit of disagreement but we’ll get to that at the very end.

    – Anyways the category today is five great C&R rifles you can get for under 500 dollars.

    We really like C&R rifles because oftentimes they are inexpensive, there’s military surplus available, or ammunition available and they’re just a lot of fun to shoot.

    – Yeah, and I mean a lot of new shooters kind of forget about ’em I know I did when I started shooting.

    – Absolutely you’ll write ’em off maybe as a, you know you see a guy with an AR-15 and you think it’s a much cooler much more fun gun but sometimes you got to look to the past to, you know, bring out a little bit more.

    – Yeah.

    – So anyways, let’s start from our left and go to the right, first up is a Lee-Enfield rifle.

    At one time in the 60s and 70s and up into the 80s you would get these for ten and twenty dollars from a gun store.

    This is a Enfield made in 1917 in England so if it could tell some stories that’d be cool.

    It’s almost a hundred years old.

    It works. The rifling’s strong and I paid I think 280 dollars for this gun which for an Enfield these days is a good deal.

    I actually got an almost unissued one recently for 500 dollars which is probably a little high but even though I paid a little bit too much this year it’s probably not going to be too much in a couple of years.

    – Well, I will say this about that gun I’ve never seen an Enfield that looked nice for some reason they don’t weather real well.

    You know this is a pretty decent example but the unissued one is just staggeringly beautiful.

    – And I didn’t choose that one to include because of the price, It’s just kind of floating towards the 500 dollars and this one realistically shoots just as well.

    But, I mean it’s in great shape for the amount I paid for it.

    They handle, well, they have an interesting cock on close action which is interesting you can fire them real quick, there’s a legendary thing called a mad minute where soldier’s would get off you know X amount of aimed shots in under a minute which some people have disproved some people have proved.

    It’s a big old…

    – Yeah, It’s kind of one of those topics that nobody can agree on kind of like our fifth gun.

    – I’m skeptical myself but anyways…

    – I want to try it.

    – I’ll try it. I’ll fail at it but.– – So will I but I’d still want to try.

    – Yeah – Shooting stuff is fun.

    – But, these are cool, they have history, the service length on them is incredible.

    Soldiers of empire carried them on every continent so, great rifle.

    under 500 dollars. – Yeah, it’s an awesome gun.

    – Next up we’ve got what in my opinion is the greatest rifle ever made.

    That’s going to be the Mauser 98 now this is a Yugoslavian Mauser 98 so not necessarily what would be regarded as a collector Mauser.

    There are Mausers out there that you can drop thousands and thousands of dollars on.

    Of course, a lot of people hear Mauser and associate it with the Third Reich when in reality they were made and introduced in the days of the German empire and Prussia of course but it’s admittedly the best bolt action system that’s ever been devised and is still copied today in every bolt, I mean elements in every single bolt action.

    – Yeah, just about.

    – I mean, they’re staggeringly accurate the action’s always smooth, slick.

    There’s just not much more positive I can say about it, they’re flawtless.

    – No, I mean it’s a great gun unfortunately I don’t really love them they’re great guns but its not something that’s for me.

    This particular example I purchased you know and it sat in my safe for about a year and Alex said that he had to have it because he wanted all the Mausers in the world.

    – I want all the Mausers in the world but they made a hundred million of them so still working on that.

    – It’s a goal – Yeah, but this is a Yugo Mauser like I said and I think, what did you get this for? – I think I paid 240 dollars for it from JG’s – From JG yeah, I bought one from JG for 219 at one time so, there was a time when also you could get these for 10 and 20 dollars including the K98ks that everyone wants.

    Everyone wants stuff affiliated with the Third Reich, some people don’t some people don’t want that in their safe.

    It’s whatever something, it’s fine.

    – I mean, I can understand the history behind it is kind of interesting just as a firearm that made a huge impact on humanity but I mean, buying something because it was Third Reich I don’t really see that.

    – To each their own some people are collectors but yeah, a Mauser in its own right is a great shooter and that’s why we chose it.

    Going by that same kind of you know shootability standpoint, the next gun is an obvious choice.

    – Yeah, it’s one of the Swiss rifles isn’t it.

    – Absolutely, this is a Swiss K31 and I believe AIM Surplus is blowing these out right now at 320 dollars or something like that.

    – Something like that.

    – So you can find these for 300ish dollars and they’re cool because they’re straight pull.

    But technically they call them bolt actions but to work the action you just pull back, push forward, new round.

    It’s got a helical bolt on it that unlocks itself on a guide.

    – Yes, I don’t know if you probably can’t see but this bolt does rotate counterclockwise.

    As you pull the action, the operating handle back and it will eject the round, feed a new one in and they’re pretty quick to shoot not quite as quick as the Enfield though.

    – I would say not quite as quick as the Enfield.

    I don’t know, they should be on paper.

    – You’re right – At least I can’t do it, I’m sure there’s a guy in Switzerland that could school us all.

    – Probably.

    – But yeah, they’re great rifles and at three hundred and some odd dollars since they never actually made corrosive ammunition for these that I’m aware of, the bores are all spectacular.

    Even though the wood is often beat up pretty bad I actually refinished this one, you know the metal quality is always great the bores are great and surplus ammunition is available which is important.

    – Yeah it’s strangely enough I think it’s all match ammunition.

    – It’s all, they say it’s all match grade ammunition I mean I don’t know what the criteria is.

    – I don’t know either but I know the ones that I have shot have been extremely accurate, the Swiss really did hit one out of the park with this gun.

    – And at 300 hundred dollars if you are looking for a gun that you want to, I don’t know, hunt with or just have in your collection, that’s a great option guys.

    Now next up is something we reviewed together a while back from our odd guns series.

    This gun was France’s military service rifle for a while.

    This, of course, is a MAS-49/56 – And honestly my favorite C&R rifle out of all of these.

    – That’s a bold statement he even one time said that he liked it better than the Garand and coming from a former serviceman who owns a Garand that’s a pretty bold statement.

    – Yes I’ve been looking for a nice one of these in.308 and haven’t found one yet but it will get added to my collection if I do come across it.

    It’s just a really great rifle.

    You’ve seen the two of us shooting in some of the videos.

    I’m a man of smaller stature and this gun really lends itself well to somebody who’s a little bit smaller.

    But it’s just an outstanding gun super reliable, we referenced it in an earlier video.

    Ian McCollum did a mud torture test and this rifle performed exceptionally well.

    – It’s also kind of cool if you are a gun nerd like we are because it’s DI in it’s purest form.

    – Right, yeah.

    – Which is gas travels up through the tube and slams right near the carrier there’s no internal little piston or anything like that.

    – Yes, and you can see the gas tube right here but unlike the Rasheed that I kind of gave a bit of a criticism because the gas tube would burn me when I was reloading the rifle, this one’s kind of set back a little bit and it doesn’t, I don’t have that issue on this particular gun.

    – It is cool also ’cause you can reload with stripper clips or you can take the 10 round detachable magazines out easily unlike the Rasheed which they’re fixed as fixed can be, nearly.

    You know the only problem is ammo availability.

    They fire a 7.5 French.

    There are some 7.62×51 conversions although I’ve heard that they’re spotty at best.

    – Yeah, I’ve heard that but that said I don’t really want to hunt for the French ammo because if I buy one of these I want to shoot it a lot.

    I really like it that much.

    – Sure, I get it and especially with this butt pad which is actually factory.

    This is a French-made accessory they put on them to soften the recoil.

    They’re just general shooters and they’re really cool guns guys I can’t sing the praises of this more.

    Just a phenomenal firearm.

    Now up next is kind of where we disagree.

    – You know I’m a gonna give you yours.

    – OK, I chose the SKS. – I’ll take mine.

    I chose the Mosin-Nagant.

    – I chose the SKS because It’s legal in a lot of places where semi-automatic rifles are harder to come by like California.

    SKS’s are a hit there because a lot of them I believe are grandfathered in because they don’t have a detachable magazine and you know some of them are featureless or what not, whatever the crazy gun laws are out there.

    Also in New York I believe they’re legal and in Canada they’re like a hundred dollars because there’s no Chinese import ban.

    So that’s, it’s just a cool feature.

    They also shoot decently they shoot 762×39 which is very inexpensive so if you want to go out with a big crate of 762×39 and just blast all day with a semi-automatic rifle.

    – Yeah, you can do it with that gun.

    – This is the way to go.

    – I mean they’re fine guns I just prefer the Mosin to the SKS personally.

    – It’s also worth noting that his choice is a lot cheaper.

    This actually my dad bought this for 50 dollars in the 90s at a gun show.

    It’s since made it into my collection by no fault of his I kind of snuck it in there but you know it is what it is, it’s kind of cool it’s been around since I was a kid in the safe so…

    – Yeah and I do want to touch a little bit on price.

    Something that is a little off-putting for me about those is for a decent one you’re looking at about 350 dollars now.

    – That’s right, that does ding it quite a bit.

    I mean if we’re talking, if these go back to Canada prices then this would unfortunately, it would shut out the…

    – Yeah it would…

    – But that’s not going to happen anytime soon I assure you guys of that unfortunately.

    So why don’t you explain your pick there Patrick.

    – Well, mine is just a Mosin-Nagant.

    It’s a Russian built M38, I refinished the stock with some boiled linseed oil and I really like this one.

    I’ve got four or five Nagants that I really like and I mean they’re reasonably accurate they’re relatively cheap for about 20 cents a trigger pull.

    – I will concede that the ammo price on that is very alluring.

    – Yeah, and the cool thing about it is it’s a full power round it’s not intermediate.

    – That’s true, if you want to hone your skills and try and get your flinch out as a new shooter that is a great tool to do that.

    – Yeah it is unfortunately sometimes the triggers on these feel like pulling a piano across a gravel road with, you know, some twine but Timney does.

    I think it’s Timney, isn’t it? Or is it, somebody offers an aftermarket trigger I don’t have one because I think it’s fine the way it is.

    I understand that it’s a crude rifle that was intended to be built quickly and cheaply – And the reason I personally disagreed with it is because prices are increasing on ’em.

    – They are – This is an M38 which is a premium one now because they’re shorter and handier.

    – Yes – Prices are getting up there you know, Enfields were one time 10 dollars these will one day be ridiculous in price I think.

    – I agree.

    – I suspect that, people might disagree with that but I think one day we’ll be looking at Enfields and reminisce about hey I remember when those were 100 dollars.

    – Yeah, yeah I mean like this one in particular I think I gave 200 dollars for and like Alex said it’s a little bit more of a premium rifle.

    They’re not as common.

    I paid 120 dollars for my Hex Receiver 9130 and I’ve bought round receiver guns for as low as 70 dollars in the last couple of years but prices have increased a little bit and they’re in the 120 to 150 dollar range at this point.

    – Yeah, so basically we just had a small disagreement there but you know people disagree on things neither of us I don’t think there’s a wrong it’s all personal preference.

    – I think you’re wrong.

    – Oh you think I’m wrong? – I do.

    – OK, well fair enough.

    Anyways guys we sincerely appreciate you guy watching the program.

    This is Alex C with TFBTV.

    – I’m Patrick R.

    – And if you hit that subscribe button we’d really appreciate it especially if you enjoyed our video, let us know.


    Alex C.

    Alex is a Senior Writer for The Firearm Blog and Director of TFBTV.