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Old 10-12-2009, 06:43 PM   #1
Join Date: Jun 2009
Posts: 4
Which old bolt action to pursue?


I wanted to get a bit of quick advice from y'all!

I am a military member stationed in AK. My wife and I love it up here and there's a good chance we'll end up back in the frozen north at some point. We have a good collection of .22s, pistols/revolvers, and pistol caliber carbines (the trusty lever gun to pair with the revolver...). No "real" rifles yet, though.

I am thinking of getting a milsurp bolt action rifle for longer range target practice (for now) and perhaps eventual mid-size or larger game hunting. I want something sub-$200 so that I don't feel bad about eventually relegating it to "trunk gun" status if/when I get a more expensive rifle. One concern I have is that when I move every few years, I need to dump almost all my ammo -- the movers won't touch the stuff, its expensive to ship, and its hard to lug across the country in the trunk of the car, so pretty much its dump-and-re-buy. Makes it hard to stockpile a few thousand rounds of an obscure caliber.

I was looking at commercial options as was suggested earlier (viewtopic.php?f=107&t=60292) like a cheap Savage but am despairing of finding anything at a reasonable price. At our recent gun show, old beat up new rifles in .308 were going for $400 MINIMUM. I saw a milsurp Ishapore and some Lee-Enfields going for almost $500, the cheapest was a sporterized Lee-Enfield with problems for over $300!

The only thing I have been able to find locally are Mosin Nagants. Carbine-length M44s and M38s for $235. M91/30s for $135. That fits the bill for price, and they're certainly rugged enough to be a trunk gun (a trunk gun for the end of the world!). Do you think ammo availability will be an issue in the long run? 7.62 x 54R can be found now, but how about in 5, 10, or 15 years?

Should I hold out for an Enfield (being near Canada, .303 British is pretty easy to find; its also made by US manufacturers now), or pony up the extra cash for a new-manufacture .308? Or, is the Mosin Nagant good enough for the job? I don't think ordering something on Gunbroker is viable; shipping up to AK (~$50 for a rifle, usually) and the FFL transfer ($25) will add way too much to the price of a cheap rifle, so I'm pretty much limited to what is locally available.
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Old 10-14-2009, 12:00 PM   #2
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Join Date: Oct 2004
Location: N.E.Ohio
Posts: 3,218
Re: Which old bolt action to pursue?

There is nothing wrong with the 91/30. It is a good robust rifle. The only minor problems you might run into is finding a good supply of sporting ammo and a sticky bolt. Mil-surp ammo is readily available. Sticky bolts simply need a good chamber cleaning with something that will disolve the built up laquer in the chambers. Accuracy is generally good and the rifle was designed to hold up in the hands of basically untrained peasants, so I'm sure you won't have a problem with it. I've got plenty of high quality rifles, but I also have 3 Mosins. I'm just as happy with them as I am with the much more expensive rifles.
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Old 10-14-2009, 12:23 PM   #3
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Re: Which old bolt action to pursue?

In your shoes, I'd go for a No. 4 Enfield. I've seen them not all that long ago for under $250, though of course "select" or special variants go for more.
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