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Obsession with Milsurps

Gene LGene L Senior MemberPosts: 11,629 Senior Member
During this time of lockdown, I've become obsessed of milsurp rifles.  Specifically, un-butchered ones.  I've got a couple of 98k that are post-war reworks and a .303 that has been rebuilt by a gunsmith.  I've posted pics of it before.  Love it.


I've massacred one milsurp before, a long time ago. a Swede 6.5 x 55.  They were cheap back then and plentiful.  I wouldn't do that today, but I did back then.  And I remember in the 60s when SMLEs were available for $15 each.  Most of the guys who bought them sporterized them by cutting off the wood half-way down to the muzzle,


Now unaltered SMLEs and No 4s has skyrocketed.  And even the bubbaed ones are bringing good bucks from people who either want an affordable hunting rifle or who want to restore them to original.  New wood, etc. The only original milsurp I own is a Venezuela 7mm target rifle Mauser, made for the Pan American games back in the 1950s. Only 200 or so were made.

Back to my obsession: it's with .303 British rifles. I've watched a lot of Bloke on the Range videos as well as others.  Lots of shooting of these, too, in military matches.  I wish I had a No 4 original.  They're accurate, fast to operate, and strong.  Hours of videos are on YouTube and I've watched a lot of them.


Interesting to read that where ever these are used to compete, the gunsmithed SMLEs (No 1, Mark 3 *) with the skinny barrels are as accurate as the heavier barreled No 4 rifles for service matches.  When setup by a competent and experienced gunsmith.  



Concealed carry is for protection, open carry is for attention.
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Replies

  • earlyagainearlyagain Posts: 6,748 Senior Member
    I want one of those Cadet 22's that Bloke on the Range was trying to get the CMP to save from distruction. The others take up too much space, kick too hard, and cost too much. Not that them 22s would be cheap.
  • zorbazorba Senior Member Posts: 23,403 Senior Member
    edited May 3 #3
    As some here know, I have a #5, it was my father's. Can't hit anything with its iron sights and my weak eyes, but its mighty fun to shoot. You might even say its a "kick"!
    BTW, you want some brass? I have a small amount that's yours if you want it.
    -Zorba, "The Veiled Male"

    "If you get it and didn't work for it, someone else worked for it and didn't get it..."
  • Gene LGene L Senior Member Posts: 11,629 Senior Member
    I had a genuine No 5, too, back when you could find them. Lots of them now have been modified from Mark 1 *** or No 4s.  The No 5s have a reputation for a "wandering zero."  Luckily, I've got good eyesight still, but couldn't hit with it.
    Concealed carry is for protection, open carry is for attention.
  • ZeeZee Senior Member Posts: 23,549 Senior Member
    My love for Milsurps was always suppressed. I liked them, but never enough to really take the plunge.
    Over the last couple years, I’ve rectified that. And acquired 5. 

    "To Hell with efficiency, it's performance we want!" - Elmer Keith
  • AntonioAntonio Senior Member Posts: 2,647 Senior Member
    Gravely ill from that sickness too. If living in the US I'd have died long ago from an avalanche of surplus guns a-la Collyer brothers.

    No Enfields here. Few that arrived as boarding party small arms in ships we got from the Brits after WWII were allegedly dumped overboard due to their odd calibers. Only a few Webley revolvers were spared (I got one) and even fewer Enfield rifles that were mostly demilled or sporterized. 

    Would LOVE to have one of those Ishapores in 
    .308!
  • bullsi1911bullsi1911 Moderator Posts: 11,010 Senior Member
    Antonio said:
    Gravely ill from that sickness too. If living in the US I'd have died long ago from an avalanche of surplus guns a-la Collyer brothers.

    No Enfields here. Few that arrived as boarding party small arms in ships we got from the Brits after WWII were allegedly dumped overboard due to their odd calibers. Only a few Webley revolvers were spared (I got one) and even fewer Enfield rifles that were mostly demilled or sporterized. 

    Would LOVE to have one of those Ishapores in 
    .308!
    If you ever get to Central Texas, I’ll bring the gun and ammo


    To make something simple is a thousand times more difficult than to make something complex.
    -Mikhail Kalashnikov
  • Gene LGene L Senior Member Posts: 11,629 Senior Member
    I had an Ishapore back when they first came available.  A good gun I guess, but I didn't shoot it a lot.  I got it a gunshow.  I wasn't a fan of the No 1*** rifles so I got rid of it.  The India made rifles had superior steel in them, I've read.
    Concealed carry is for protection, open carry is for attention.
  • mitdr774mitdr774 Member Posts: 1,426 Senior Member
    I have a few that will remain as they are and I have a few that will be torn apart for the action.  If I ever get around to getting a barrel vise and action wrench I will start pulling some apart.
  • Gene LGene L Senior Member Posts: 11,629 Senior Member
    Saw a LONG video of making a 91-30 into a sporter.  Everything except the action and barrel was replaced.  Seemed like it cost a lot of money and definitely a lot of time, barrel was shortened and sights removed and it was bedded in a  laminated stock.  The video was in 11 parts.  Scope added and he got an ugly 1.5 MOA rifle.
    Concealed carry is for protection, open carry is for attention.
  • Some_MookSome_Mook Posts: 304 Member
    Gene, if you have not seen it, you might want to take a look at The Russian Mosin Nagant forum.  They are a preservation forum, so bubbas are discouraged.  They have a section on collectable military firearms you might find interesting
    "If there must be trouble, let it be in my day, that my child may have peace." - Thomas Paine
    "I know my place in the world and it ain’t standing next to Jerry Miculek" - Zee
  • Gene LGene L Senior Member Posts: 11,629 Senior Member
    Thanks, Mook.  I'm on Gunboards forum, where the have two topics on M-Ns and they are collectors and know just about everything about them.  I've had a couple in the past, good rifles, but I've never had any collector interest in them.  I watched the video I mentioned above because I wanted to see a professional sporterized M-N.  I believe you can't make them pretty and after watching all that money and time put in to this, I still believe it.  A LOT of work and $$$$ spent and they still had an ugly somewhat accurate rifle. They wound up with a lot of money/time.


    I wouldn't bubba a milsurp now, but did a long time ago.  Lots of $30  SMLEs were bubbaed back in the 60-70s for hunting, and I understand that.  But now with Originals skyrocketing, I just don't see it.
    Concealed carry is for protection, open carry is for attention.
  • VarmintmistVarmintmist Senior Member Posts: 7,288 Senior Member
    Milsurps??
    Who would ever want one of those when you can get a Remmy ADL for tree hunnert bucks?
    No idea...

    :)
    It's boring, and your lack of creativity knows no bounds.
  • snake284snake284 Senior Member Posts: 22,387 Senior Member
    I'm definitely into milsurps. I've got a few. I have a couple of Garands An 03-A3, and a 1917 Eddystone. I also have two unmolested Yugo 24/47 Yugo Mausers one of which will soon get molested. I plan on keeping one in original Military trim. But that could change if I ever get me an original K-98 or other original WWII or pre WWII Mauser. I also have one M-N Octagon Barreled 91-30 that will remain unmolested. However, I'd probably give my left Testicle for a nice SMLE or No.4 Mark 1.
    Daddy, what's an enabler?
    Son that's somebody with nothing to do with his time but keep me in trouble with mom.
  • zorbazorba Senior Member Posts: 23,403 Senior Member
    Milsurps??
    Who would ever want one of those when you can get a Remmy ADL for tree hunnert bucks?
    No idea...

    :)

    Well how about dem apples? Garands et all actually using their stacking swivels! This makes me think I need to get a couple more so I can stack mine too! :D
    -Zorba, "The Veiled Male"

    "If you get it and didn't work for it, someone else worked for it and didn't get it..."
  • VarmintmistVarmintmist Senior Member Posts: 7,288 Senior Member
    My 1917 is missing her stacking swivel. I need to make a Numrich order so I can do a WW1 stack.
    Some Garands and 03's went out to the urchins since they have their own nests so I need to go by period now.


    It's boring, and your lack of creativity knows no bounds.
  • GunNutGunNut Posts: 5,286 Senior Member
    I keep thinking I want bolt milsurps,  then I get them and when the first happy joy-joy feelings of new gun go away I look again and go, now what?...

    The recent Carl Gustaf I got had me sweating for a few days, and then JUST when I was pushing the enter button on ammo I realized “here you go again”.  

    So it went on Gunbroker that day, unfired by me, and it’s now in the hands of a very appreciative guy that has a nice collection going.
    Old West Saying: God created men, but Col. Sam Colt made them equal.

    General George Patton:  “Watch what people are cynical about, and one can often discover what they lack.”

  • ZeeZee Senior Member Posts: 23,549 Senior Member
    I am the exact opposite. I have no draw to semi-auto Milsurps. Just bolt guns. 
    My meager collection. 
    6.5x55 Swede

    8x57 Mauser

    7x57 Mauser

    And my two favorite......
    .303 British

    .30-06 Springfield 

    "To Hell with efficiency, it's performance we want!" - Elmer Keith
  • shotgunshooter3shotgunshooter3 Senior Member Posts: 5,703 Senior Member
    edited May 6 #19
    I've got a soft spot for US mil-surps in particular, and have been fortunate enough to acquire a few, mainly through the CMP. I've also had good luck perusing Armslist and pawn shops. I can't nail my favorite, and each one has a unique story about how I got them, so it's even harder to nail it down. 

    Firing the M1941 Johnson that made a star appearance at Jerry's a few years ago was a great treat. That is a grail gun for me, that at current and ever increasing prices I likely won't acquire. 

    My ultimate goal is to have one example of each cartridge firing model the US has issued (so 1 Garand, as opposed to a pre war, mid war, and post war, etc). 

    My Smith Corona 03A3, and "Special Grade" SA M1. Both acquired from the CMP Anniston store. The CMP Special Grade is probably the best deal out there on a shooter Garand.


    - I am a rifleman with a poorly chosen screen name. -
    "Slow is smooth, smooth is fast, and speed is the economy of motion" - Scott Jedlinski
  • pjames777pjames777 Senior Member Posts: 1,317 Senior Member
    edited May 6 #20
    I have an 1898 Hungarian Steyer 8mm that is a hoot to shoot.  1917 Winchester 30.06 sporterized, and I traded two Mosins for an M1 carbine. Lastly, an early Chinese SKS bayoneted ser # <500,000
  • Gene LGene L Senior Member Posts: 11,629 Senior Member
    edited May 6 #21
    I've not owned too many American Milsurps.  I had a low number 03 in excellent shape probably because it hadn't been shot much.  Traded it off to a guy who knew it was low number but still wanted it.  And earlier this week, I saw a video of a low number that actually blew up while they were shooting it!  Much to the surprise of the shooter.  So I guess the stories of them blowing up isn't a myth.

    Had a chance to buy a Krag pretty cheap, but thought it might have been bubbaed. But now pretty sure it was a carbine.  My bad.

    And since I've never wanted a Garand or a M1 Carbine, my choices of US milsurps are pretty limited to the 03 high numbered  or the 03A3.  So maybe I'm not as obsessed as I think I am.  I watch Forgotten Weapons about obscure guns and enjoy it very much.
    Concealed carry is for protection, open carry is for attention.
  • AntonioAntonio Senior Member Posts: 2,647 Senior Member
    Antonio said:
    Gravely ill from that sickness too. If living in the US I'd have died long ago from an avalanche of surplus guns a-la Collyer brothers.

    No Enfields here. Few that arrived as boarding party small arms in ships we got from the Brits after WWII were allegedly dumped overboard due to their odd calibers. Only a few Webley revolvers were spared (I got one) and even fewer Enfield rifles that were mostly demilled or sporterized. 

    Would LOVE to have one of those Ishapores in 
    .308!
    If you ever get to Central Texas, I’ll bring the gun and ammo


    That's the one! so cool.

    Would love to visit Texas someday; wife was there in '91 and loved it so someday.....
  • Gene LGene L Senior Member Posts: 11,629 Senior Member
    Antonio said:
    Gravely ill from that sickness too. If living in the US I'd have died long ago from an avalanche of surplus guns a-la Collyer brothers.

    No Enfields here. Few that arrived as boarding party small arms in ships we got from the Brits after WWII were allegedly dumped overboard due to their odd calibers. Only a few Webley revolvers were spared (I got one) and even fewer Enfield rifles that were mostly demilled or sporterized. 

    Would LOVE to have one of those Ishapores in 
    .308!
    If you ever get to Central Texas, I’ll bring the gun and ammo


    A SMLE.  Very nice, wonder when it was made.  Is it an Ishapore?  Mag looks like a .308.
    Concealed carry is for protection, open carry is for attention.
  • JayhawkerJayhawker Moderator Posts: 16,763 Senior Member
    edited May 8 #24
    Lots of Krag infantry rifles mysteriously turned into cavalry carbines...finding a bona fide Krag carbine can be daunting...
    Sharps Model 1874 - "The rifle that made the west safe for Winchester"
  • Gene LGene L Senior Member Posts: 11,629 Senior Member
    Yes, I know. I don't know enough about them to venture a guess.  As I remember the front sight didn't look right.  The price was great but I don't need a 30-40 shooter.
    Concealed carry is for protection, open carry is for attention.
  • GunNutGunNut Posts: 5,286 Senior Member
    I kind'a lump anything associated with Military use in the same category and I can safely say I'm a semi-auto guy.  As I said before all bolt actions that have landed in my hands have moved on in short order.  The only guns I really see myself keeping are my M-1 Carbine, my FAL and the couple of ARs that are still floating around here.  They all can serve a purpose if called upon and that makes them useful and appealing to me.

    On the other hand, my M1 Garands and my REALLY NICE M1A all went bye bye.  I could NEVER see me doing anything but range time with them and that got old quick.

    I will at one point or another make a fake '03 Sniper rifle out of some bubba'd gun I will find.  That would be fun to play with and I can actually see myself taking it out for a hunt some day.  I would also like to put together a Vietnam era M40 with the corset Redfield scope, so that's in the bucket list too.
    Old West Saying: God created men, but Col. Sam Colt made them equal.

    General George Patton:  “Watch what people are cynical about, and one can often discover what they lack.”

  • Gene LGene L Senior Member Posts: 11,629 Senior Member
    Not a fan of semi milsurps, myself.  I've owned some, but they fly away.  Got an M1A now, which I'm too deep into to be able to sell.  All my guns are range toys, I guess.  Liked the ARs for accuracy, for which they excel.  But I quit chasing that fox a little while ago.
    Concealed carry is for protection, open carry is for attention.
  • shotgunshooter3shotgunshooter3 Senior Member Posts: 5,703 Senior Member
    I've passed a few times on opportunities to acquire original configuration or near-original configuration (could be returned to mil-spec) Krag rifles. They were always slightly more than I was willing to pay. 

    In retrospect I should have. 
    - I am a rifleman with a poorly chosen screen name. -
    "Slow is smooth, smooth is fast, and speed is the economy of motion" - Scott Jedlinski
  • Gene LGene L Senior Member Posts: 11,629 Senior Member
    Yeah, they're not seen much anymore.  I could have got the one I mentioned for $500.

    Got to know the value of things when you buy or sell or you can get in too deep, quick.  There's a retired doctor who used to come in my LGS.  He was a plastic surgeon and had enough money to pay off the national debt, and at some point developed a love for guns.  In particular, old west guns, replicas mostly, bought one of those Henry leverguns that doesn't have a forearm from the LGS.  It was in .45 Colt, which wouldn't have been my choice, but was his money.


    He is a nice grandfatherly age guy.  He bought some old guns, too, it was said but don't remember but one.  Doc loved to take old guns apart but unfortunately was mechanically even more unskilled than I.  I believe that was one reason he came to the LGS; he'd take them apart and bring them to the LG Smith to be put back together.  At least that's what I heard.


    One day, I came into the shop where he had a Spencer rifle, in parts, on the table.  I assume and pretty well know he'd taken it apart.  He asked me if I wanted to buy it, and I said sure, and in a joking way said I'd give him $350.  He said the price was fine, but he wasn't sure he hadn't lost a part or two.  I was stunned, thought the bore must be a sewer pipe...but it wasn't.  It was great.  The entire gun was great, in what I'd call antique excellent condition. The other parts were fine, too, IIRC. I realized then I was talking to either a guy with dementia or a very foolish old man.  I told him the gun was probably a $3000 gun, not a $350 gun.  HE was stunned and thanked me for telling him.  I don't know what the gun is worth but it was very nice, in 56-50 rimfire.


    Haven't seen him in a few years; hope he's OK 
    Concealed carry is for protection, open carry is for attention.
  • earlyagainearlyagain Posts: 6,748 Senior Member
  • bullsi1911bullsi1911 Moderator Posts: 11,010 Senior Member
    Gene L said:
    Antonio said:
    Gravely ill from that sickness too. If living in the US I'd have died long ago from an avalanche of surplus guns a-la Collyer brothers.

    No Enfields here. Few that arrived as boarding party small arms in ships we got from the Brits after WWII were allegedly dumped overboard due to their odd calibers. Only a few Webley revolvers were spared (I got one) and even fewer Enfield rifles that were mostly demilled or sporterized. 

    Would LOVE to have one of those Ishapores in 
    .308!
    If you ever get to Central Texas, I’ll bring the gun and ammo


    A SMLE.  Very nice, wonder when it was made.  Is it an Ishapore?  Mag looks like a .308.
    It is an ishapore. In 308. I think it was made in the mid 60s. 
    To make something simple is a thousand times more difficult than to make something complex.
    -Mikhail Kalashnikov
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