Should You Hunt With a Military Surplus Rifle?

Should You Hunt With a Military Surplus Rifle?

Hunting is a very broad sport that allows all types of methods for harvesting game. Normally the question comes down to “what would you want to harvest your game with?”. Many people use a type of bow or rifle but if you choose to hunt with a rifle what type of rifle is best? Obviously, there are a million answers to that question, and everyone has their preference, but have you ever thought of hunting with a military surplus rifle? Here is why you might want to consider it.

Military Surplus vs. Modern Rifles

There is no doubt that modern-day rifles are amazing tools that you can use to accomplish any harvest you would like to, but the classic military surplus rifles will do the job just the same and sometimes cost a fraction of the price. Legally, American civilians can purchase and own any semi-automatic or bolt action rifle that the military has produced and decommissioned. This means that you can own the classic M1 Garand or other surplus rifles and use them for your own purposes.

Most of your military surplus rifles are high-caliber weapons. They are suitable to hunt any type of big game that North America has to offer, but which military surplus rifles are the best? Many hunters swear by their favorite military surplus rifle, and many of them are quite popular so we did the research so you do not have to. Here is a list of the best military surplus rifles currently available in my opinion.

4 Excellent Military Surplus Rifles for Hunting

  1. M1903 Springfield.
  2. M1 Garand.
  3. Lee-Enfield.
  4. Mosin-Nagant.

1- M1903 Springfield

The M1093 Springfield is a famous rifle that served through two World Wars, the Korean War, and the early stages of the Vietnam War. The creation of the M1903 Springfield came with the creation of the 30-06 cartridge, which has proved itself for well over 100 years. This rifle is very accurate and can reach ranges of over 2500 yards effectively. The one draw back of this rifle is that it is a bit more expensive than most surplus rifles at around $700 – $1500, but the quality is well worth it.

Cartridge.30-03 & .30-06 Springfield
Capacity5 round stripper clip
Muzzle Velocity2,800 ft./sec.
Effective Range2,500 yds.
Weight8.7 lbs
Length44.9 in
Barrel Length24 in
SightsLeaf rear sight, barleycorn-type front sight, 2.2x scope
Price Range$700 – $1500

Related Page: Hunting Whitetail Deer with a M1903 Springfield.

2- M1 Garand

The M1 Garand may be one of the most famous military rifles of all time, and for good reason. When the semi-automatic M1 Garand was issued, our enemies were still using bolt action rifles for their common battle rifles. This gave the United States a grave advantage on the battlefield. Much like the M1903 Springfield, the M1 Garand is chambered in 30-06 and with its quality iron sights it is super accurate. This hard hitting semi-automatic rifle is an all time favorite for hunters and collectors alike and can be bought for as little as $650

Cartridge.30-06 Springfield
Capacity8 round en-bloc clip
Muzzle Velocity2,800 ft./sec.
Effective Range500 yds.
Weight9.5 lbs
Length43.5 in
Barrel Length24 in
SightsRear: adjustable aperture


Front: wing protected post

ActionGas powered, semi-automatic
Price Range$600 – $1500

3- Lee-Enfield

The Enfield has a well-deserved reputation for accuracy and quality. Most of the rifles can be found around areas with heavy British influence. Being such an accurate and reliable rifle, the Canadian Rangers used them for decades as their main weapon. If you get one of these rifles, you will likely never need to buy another one in your lifetime. These rifles are chambered in .303 British which is a large round that has taken every type of big game on the planet, from moose in Canada to buffalo in Australia.

Cartridge.303 British
Capacity10 round magazine
Muzzle Velocity 2,441 ft./sec.
Effective Range550 yds.
Weight9.5 lbs
Length49.6 in
Barrel Length30.2 in
SightsSliding ramp rear sights, fixed-post front sights, “dial” long-range volley; telescopic sights on sniper models. Fixed and adjustable aperture sights incorporated onto later variants
Price Range$500 – $1000

4- Mosin-Nagant

The Mosin-Nagant is a classic military rifle that was made well over 100 years ago and is still in service. This rifle is the definition of rugged and simple. While it is not the prettiest, it gets the job done and for its low price tag of around $300, it is very difficult to beat. The Mosin-Nagant also shoot the 7.62×54 which is large enough to take down almost any big game in North America. Though most of these rifles are pretty beat up so they suffer at long ranges but staying within a reasonable 100 yards will make this gun more than useable as a hunting rifle.

Capacity5-round non-detachable magazine
Muzzle Velocity2,838 ft./sec.
Effective Range400 yds.
Weight8.8 lbs
Barrel Length29 in
SightsRear: ladder, graduated from 100 m to 2,000 m
Price Range$200-$500


There are plenty of military surplus rifles out there that are perfect for hunting all sorts of game. Most of them are cheap, reliable, and will last you forever. So if you are in the market for a hunting rifle that can be used to hunt all sorts of big game, consider a military surplus rifle.

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