An Army sniper and his observer clearing an area on Luzon, in the Philippines in 1945. U.S. Army Photo.

An Army sniper and his observer clearing an area on Luzon, in the Philippines in 1945. U.S. Army Photo.

There is a lot of crossover between gun enthusiasts and history fans. Sure, we all like to know the thread pitch of every screw in our firearms, but what we really enjoy learning in most cases are the stories behind our firearms. And, when it comes to history, it is hard to beat a military surplus firearm.

Sure, every gun has a history to it, like your grandfather’s single-shot shotgun that was handed down to you. But aren’t we all truly fascinated by the story behind the M1 Garand that is at the back of the safe, or that Nagant M1895 revolver picked up at a gun show for under a $100 bucks?

We could not agree more. And that is why we have created the MilSurp series of articles for your reading (and viewing) enjoyment right here on With pieces ranging from in-depth historical articles on how to collect M1903A4 sniper rifles to the story behind that Yugoslav post-war Mauser rifle you picked up for a steal (and how it shoots), MilSurp should be your go-to source for the fascinating world of military surplus firearms.

So, stick with us and keep an eye out for new articles on these fascinating historical firearms that you can add to your own collection. We have no doubt you will enjoy your time here.

  • Shooting My Enfields — There are a few guns that we think everyone should own at least once. Of them, the British Enfield, or more proper, the “Lee-Enfield,” is one of the most distinctive. We thought that maybe this week dragging out some Enfields would be a great way to start a new regular series on military surplus firearms.
  • Collecting the Model 1903A4 Sniper Rifle — The Model 1903A4 is a very desirable collectible U.S. military rifle, but beware of fakes. Read on to find out more about this intriguing rifle and how a true sample can be told from a fake.
  • Yugoslav Post-War Mausers — With surplus guns on the market dwindling, finds like these Zastava M48 Mauser-pattern rifles can be a great option for the collector and shooter looking for an affordable addition to their collection.
  • The SKS—What You Need To Know — The SKS Carbine has been called the Soviet Union’s M1 Carbine. Like the M1 Carbine, it was designed as a lightweight, semi-automatic rifle that was handier than the standard infantry rifle. Read on to find out the ins and outs of this classic collectible.
  • U.S. Military Remington 870 Shotguns — The Remington Arms Company has been a supplier of shotguns to the United States military since before the First World War. The Model 10 and Model 31 slide-action shotguns and Model 11 autoloader were part of America’s military small arms during both World Wars. The Model 870 so familiar to shooters today has also played an important role with the United States military. Here is its story.
  • The Finest Mauser Rifle Ever Made … In Sweden — To maintain and ensure their neutrality, Sweden in the 19th and 20th centuries developed a well-trained military force based on conscription in which all young men would be trained, and subject to call-up in emergencies. It also developed some amazing military rifles. Read on to find out more about them.
  • Tips for Cleaning & Using Your Mosin-Nagant Rifle — For all that talk that Mosin-Nagants are ‘no-frills’ rifles of almost agricultural construction and simplicity, they have remarkably sophisticated cleaning kits. Read on to learn more about that cleaning kit that came with your rifle, as well as getting the most out of your Mosin-Nagant.
  • A Full-Auto Garand?—The Secret WWII-Era T20 — During World War II, the Ordnance Department granted a number of developmental contracts for various types of weapons. These weapons were given a “T” (Test) prefix and were intended either to modify the existing M1 rifle to increase its utility or were an entirely different type of weapon that might prove to be an improvement over the Garand. Read on to learn more.
  • Trapdoor Springfield – The Gun That Really Won the West — Hollywood legend has it that the gun that “Won the West” was the Winchester Model 1873 Jimmy Stewart struggled to keep in the movie Winchester ’73. In fact, it was the U.S. Model 1873 .45-70 Springfield, better known to modern day collectors and shooters as the “.45-70 Trapdoor” for its top-opening breech block, that truly “Won the West.”
  • An American Enfield – The History of the .30-06 Model 1917 — It is sometimes said that “timing is everything” and, in this instance, that proved to be true for the United States military. As events transpired, there was a source for manufacturing modern military service rifles that could go into production in a relatively short period of time. Three American plants were completing production of the “Pattern 1914” rifle under contract for the government of Great Britain. That would lead to what we now know as the Model 1917 rifle.

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