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I'm really itching to get myself a rifle from the first half of the 20th century. But I'm also not made of money and would like to be able to actually shoot it without breaking the bank too hard. My dream would be a No. 4 Lee-Enfield, but .303 British ain't cheap. Plus, finding a good No. 4 at a reasonable price is not easy these days. And sure, there are Ishapore 2A & 2A1 Lees that shoot 7.62 NATO. But they're based on the SMLE Mk III, which I'm less interested in.

Crossing the Atlantic, I would love, love, love an M1 carbine and they're reasonably cheap to shoot. But holy hell, M1 prices have gone nuts over the last few years! Garands even more so. (Plus I just don't enjoy shooting .30-06.)

So aside from those, if you were making the choice, which rifles and calibers would you look at?
 
I have an M1, so I guess that's my choice. Have you shot one? Recoil is similar to a 12ga. I about blew a load the first time my rifle went "PING".
 
Enfield's are going to possibly be the least expensive to get. There really a nice gun the shoot. But as you said a nice one is still up there. Ammo is harder to come by and more expensive then 30/06 or 30 carbine.
My vote would be look for a nice 1903 or 03A3. Prices if you look around can be more in line with the enfields. Much cheaper then the garand or carbine. If your looking for a project finding a sporterized one and bringing it back is a option. I've found nice ones at pawn shops cheap then picked up stocks and misc items to rework them.
Ammo much easier to come by but still not cheap.
Reloading is always a option to feed them and lower the cost. But even that is not so economical now as it was.
I have enfields, garands, carbines and 03s. I love shooting my 03's the most others are great but thats what I fall back to.
Its also a slippery slope once your on it. One leads to 5 leads to ohh what happened here!
 
You're gonna pay out the nose anyway, might as well get the one you really want rather than spend 50% and get something "close enough" that isn't really close enough
 
You're gonna pay out the nose anyway, might as well get the one you really want rather than spend 50% and get something "close enough" that isn't really close enough
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Even cheaper to shoot and buy are the Mosin's. They do have a bit of a kick but adding a recoil pad tames them down quite a bit.
Also if you stay away from the carbines, which kick like a mule, the recoil is manageable.

You can get one for around 3-400 depending on how good of shape it's in and ammo is running around the .65 a round which is actually cheaper than 30 Carb, 30-06, 303, and many others (including 308).
 
You're gonna pay out the nose anyway, might as well get the one you really want rather than spend 50% and get something "close enough" that isn't really close enough
^^^
This. I farted around and got things that were "almost" (but not quite) what I wanted for way too long, and it ended up being a waste most of the time. Buy once, cry once - you will not regret it.
 
Enfield's are going to possibly be the least expensive to get. There really a nice gun the shoot. But as you said a nice one is still up there. Ammo is harder to come by and more expensive then 30/06 or 30 carbine.
My vote would be look for a nice 1903 or 03A3. Prices if you look around can be more in line with the enfields. Much cheaper then the garand or carbine. If your looking for a project finding a sporterized one and bringing it back is a option. I've found nice ones at pawn shops cheap then picked up stocks and misc items to rework them.
Ammo much easier to come by but still not cheap.
Reloading is always a option to feed them and lower the cost. But even that is not so economical now as it was.
I have enfields, garands, carbines and 03s. I love shooting my 03's the most others are great but thats what I fall back to.
Its also a slippery slope once your on it. One leads to 5 leads to ohh what happened here!
See my message above. Mosins are even cheaper. He said he had no interest in 30-06 (and I don't blame him) so that tosses the 1903 unless they are in 308 or some more recoil-friendly caliber.
 
Something fun to consider are the various .22 trainers from the WWII and Cold War era.
Some are made from service rifles and have been sleeved and re-chambered...
Others are small scale versions of service rifles....
A few are simply commercial models that were pressed into government service...Hmmm...
Maybe these are "Draftee" rifles...:D
Andy
 
The .303 No 4 Enfields are docile accurate rifles with good sights. There is nothing else in that category really. If you don't like 30.06 you won't like 8mm Mauser or 7.62x54r either. I know you said "first half of the 20th century", so maybe consider a Russian SKS? They debuted in small numbers during the Battle of Berlin in 1945, although major production did not occur until the early 1950s. Anyway, just an idea - good luck.
 
WWII-era surplus on a budget... I think you can still find Turkish or Yugo Mausers that won't break the bank, and I know for a fact that reliable, good shooting 8mm ammo can be had for 30 cents per round. It doesn't get any cheaper than that for full power rifle ammo.
 
I'm really itching to get myself a rifle from the first half of the 20th century. But I'm also not made of money and would like to be able to actually shoot it without breaking the bank too hard. My dream would be a No. 4 Lee-Enfield, but .303 British ain't cheap. Plus, finding a good No. 4 at a reasonable price is not easy these days. And sure, there are Ishapore 2A & 2A1 Lees that shoot 7.62 NATO. But they're based on the SMLE Mk III, which I'm less interested in.

Crossing the Atlantic, I would love, love, love an M1 carbine and they're reasonably cheap to shoot. But holy hell, M1 prices have gone nuts over the last few years! Garands even more so. (Plus I just don't enjoy shooting .30-06.)

So aside from those, if you were making the choice, which rifles and calibers would you look at?
I'll be the first to admit that I'm far from anything resembling "knowledgeable" about the Enfield rifles, but what about the P14?
Getting away from that, the Canadian Ross Rifle might be another choice. Being a straight pull, it may not be as desireous as some of the classic bolt actions, but they're deadly accurate. Many ended up being used as sniper rifles.
Speaking of straight pulls, there's also the Schmidt-Rubin, the Mondragon, and the Mannlicher's, just to name a few.
The Krag's are another popular choice, and finally, while they're not as cheap as they once were, there's always the Mosin.
 
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I haven't looked at the market but back in the day 6.5 Swedes and 7mm Mausers were a dime a dozen, you might be able to one of those on a dusty back shelf somewhere. I don't know if Big 5 still sells guns but they used to have a bunch of older military rifles for sale.
 
Get a TIME MACHINE.
Because, it ain't CHEAP anymore. Not to mention, the prices on surplus ammo.

BUT, But, but.......CHEAP is a relative term.

Yup. And maybe.....buy yourself some obscure firearm, in some obscure caliber, while you're at it. Cough, cough.....

Aloha, Mark
 
I haven't looked at the market but back in the day 6.5 Swedes and 7mm Mausers were a dime a dozen, you might be able to one of those on a dusty back shelf somewhere. I don't know if Big 5 still sells guns but they used to have a bunch of older military rifles for sale.
Yup.......I can remember when, BIG 5 had.......

Cheap.
Real Marlin 1894s
Mosin Nagants
M24/47s and M48s (in a lot of the variants)
Variants of Swiss and French rifles

Well......that was only since I got to WA (in 2005).

Aloha, Mark

PS..........IDK about if I'll ever lust for a Carcano. LOL.
 
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RE : Time Machine

Right outside of the "Library" (at Cabela's) there use to be racks of surplus rifles. Some old photos from Dec. 2019.

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Yup. The inventory changes all of the time and from store to store. Also check inside of the Library.

Aloha, Mark
 
8mm for the win! I love the affordability of the ammo and the wide variety of firearms chambered in 8mm. I have a nice shooting vz24 Czech Mauser I might put up for sale soon. As for the enfield no4 mk1 Keith's has one on their used rack for $400 I believe. Not bad for a enfield in this market. Good luck out there.
 
Something fun to consider are the various .22 trainers from the WWII and Cold War era.
Some are made from service rifles and have been sleeved and re-chambered...
Others are small scale versions of service rifles....
A few are simply commercial models that were pressed into government service...Hmmm...
Maybe these are "Draftee" rifles...:D
Andy
Rimfirecentral has a pretty good section on those

 

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