If you own one of the seven rifles chronicled in this article, you hold a piece of history in your hands, a weapon that has stood the test of time, found dependable in the most treacherous of survival conditions.
Guns that were used in WWI, WWII, Korea, Vietnam and in other conflicts around the world can be repaired and used as dependable survival weapons today. Knowing how to identify and repair old, common survival weapons and locate their parts is an important skill set for preppers, collectors, and gun enthusiasts alike. Military surplus stores are a great place to start looking for old guns and their surplus ammo. Many old guns can be reworked for less than the cost of a newer model.
One: The first rifle on our list is the very affordable Mosin-Nagant. Used by Russian soldiers during WWI and WWII, this hard kicking bolt action rifle was dependable in the trenches and still is powerful, chambered in the 7.62x54mm round cartridge – a fun gun to shoot.
Two: The U.S. had a major advantage during World War II and in Korea; the MI Garand was ahead of its time, with its 8 round en bloc semi-automatic clip. Efficient for engaging multiple enemy combatants, this rifle also included great sights and could shoot accurately between 100 and 1000 yards. These are harder to come by today, but the Civilian Marksmanship Program still sells the M1 Garand to U.S. citizens who meet CMP requirements.
Three: Another popular rifle during World War II was the MI Carbine. With the lesser powered .30 caliber cartridge, this gun still has some advantages. It’s easier to shoot; it’s lightweight and has less recoil. Not suited for killing large game, this gun is still perfect for taking down coyotes, wild hogs, and small varmints.
Four: Before the Ak-47 was made popular, the SKS was depended upon. This semi-automatic rifle was mass produced by Russian allied forces and is chambered in the 7.62x39mm cartridge. More accurate than an Ak-47, the SKS can still be a dependable self defense weapon, but the price and condition of the gun varies, contingent on where it was made and what type of receiver it uses.
Five: A true classic, the Mauser 1898 is the standard bearer for all bolt action rifles. The earliest Mauser rifles were chambered in 7x57mm. Even though surplus ammo can be corrosive today, it can still hit 3 inch to 4 inch groups at 100 yards. The newer 98k model utilizes the more powerful 8x57mm ammo, suitable for medium sized game. Newer versions have been reworked to accommodate 30-06 or .416 Rigby ammunition to take down larger game.
Six: Before the Mauser became the standard bearer for bolt action rifles, the .303 Lee-Enfield was used with great accuracy from 1895 to 1957. This rifle was used successfully by the British in conflicts around the world, and today it is an affordable gun to pickup, great for hunting deer, moose, and bear.
Seven: An accurate, advantageous sniper rifle during World War II, Korea, and the Vietnam conflict was the 1903 Springfield rifle. Chambered in 30-06, this bolt action rifle could do damage at long ranges. Still accurate today, this rifle is in high demand. So closely modeled after the Mauser 1898, the U.S. government actually had to pay royalties to Mauser for patent infringement.
Standing the test of time, these seven rifles are worthy considerations for preppers, hunters, and survivalists who take pride in the history of these beautiful guns and who value their own life and liberty. (Related: Best guns to have when SHTF.)