Two Queens and a Hag
There have always been survivalists. There always will be. During our fathers and grandfathers times, the main mil-surp weapon choices were the Lee-Enfield and the 98K. Survivalists of those times stocked one or both of these, and ammo too.
I'm also including the Mosin-Nagant rifle in this article. They are reasonably priced and lots have been imported.
Total production of the three is in the neighborhood of 80,000,000.
Wiki states the effective firing range of all three being 500 meters.
Here we have the Lee-Enfield No.4 Mark 1. Of all the Enfields I consider this model to be the best. The best for one reason, that being the rear sight has been moved back and changed to a peep sight.
During any prolonged breakdown or crisis, you can expect to see Enfields (all models). According to Wiki they were produced for more than one hundred years and total produced to date is more than 17 million. How many were imported to the U.S. as surplus? I wasn't able to find any numbers, but would feel safe to say there are hundreds of thousands here. Let's hope there is a lot of squirreled away ammunition for them as well.
While it is called a 303, in reality it shoots a .312 diameter bullet. For those unfamiliar with this caliber, it is slightly less powerful than a 308 Winchester cartridge.
Superior in almost all ways to both the 8mm Mauser rifle and the 7.62x54r Mosin-Nagant rifle. It has a detachable magazine and the bolt functions smoothly.
Disadvantages are that cheap military surplus ammunition is unavailable, and the 303 is slightly less powerful than both the 8mm and the 7.62x54r.
What you see here is a Karabiner 98K. More than 14 million have been produced (by the Germans). It shoots the 7.92x57 cartridge, slightly more powerful than the 30-06. It has a fixed internal, five round magazine.
After WWII, the Soviet Union captured millions of them from the Germans. Over the years, they gave many of them to Soviet bloc countries as military aid.
Yugoslavia is one country that slightly modified it and produced 1.2 million.
The Mauser (8mm) is a time proven classic. It does a good job for what is designed for. Killing.
Currently you can get a Yugo Mauser 24/47 at J&G sales, in good condition for $260 +s&h etc.
There is not much milsurp ammo around. Certainly not any cheap stuff. Cheaperthandirt has some, going for about 50 cents each.
Several years ago, a bunch was dumped on the market and it could be had for about 6 cents each. I'm betting some of you guys were smart enough to load up.
Expect to see the 98K and other rifles shooting the 8mm round during any prolonged crisis.
Here you have the Mosin-Nagant 1891/30. It shoots the 7.62x54r round. It has a five round fixed magazine. More than 45 million of these have been made.
These are currently available for about $150. For a long time you could get one for under $100. Thank the Fed for QE1 to infinity, and inflation.
Ammo is currently dirt cheap at less than 20 cents a round.
Of the classic "Big Three" (Lee-Enfield, K98/mausers, and Mosin-Nagant) the Mosin-Nagant is the ugly duckling.
Anyone with some extra money to put into shooting supplies should consider a few tins of ammo for this. (And a rifle or two).
During a break down, ammo will be one of the few things that will have extremely high value.
Most of the city slicker morons with their semiautos won't have stocked enough, and what they do have will quickly be burned up.
A smart rich guy will have hundreds of Mosin-Nagants (with ammo) that he will provide to the locals (for a fee and control) at his retreat location.
Jim has stated that the Mosin-Nagant does not have a gas bleed system. I have been unable to find any info on this online. Do any readers know where this info can be found?
All three of these rifles have proven themselves where it counts. The battle field. In snow, rain, swamps and deserts.
Perhaps not the best first choice, but a definite fall back of some degree.