How To Modernize Your Milsurp

Ah, another lovely night with a Dremel, some JB Weld, and Pabst Blue Ribbon. Today we are going to look at some of the best Milsurp weapons on the market. Milsurp rifles are neat, but we can make them better right? Let’s bust out the Amazon quality scopes, the Archangel stocks, and the cheapest scope mounts I can find. Who says we need to leave a historic gun historic? Let’s rip into them! Here are my top five favorite Milsurp weapons and how you can upgrade them. 

The Mosin Nagant – The Ultimate Milsurp Masterpiece 

The Mosin is the classic cheap gun that’s fun to shoot and totally capable of hunting North American game. How do we upgrade the Mosin Nagant? Easy….we don’t. Instead, get a Ruger American in .308 or .30-06. These budget-friendly rifles can be had for around 300 to 400 bucks. They are simple, accurate, easy to toss an optic on, and plenty accurate for deer season. In the big boy .30 caliber rounds, you are getting similar power, range, and capability as the are 7.62x54R. 

Unlike most 7.62x54R, these rounds are a lot less likely to be corrosive. Mosin Nagants are great, but a Ruger American is about the same cost, a lot lighter, and much easier to equip with an optic. Not a bad way to get a full-powered rifle on a tight budget. 

The M1 Carbine – Rock and Roll 

The M1 Carbine is such a cool rifle. It’s small, lightweight, easy handling and accurate. They still make modern reproductions, but they are nowhere near as great as a Milsurp M1 Carbine. A WW2 M1 Carbine is pretty old school with its wood stock and lack of Picatinny rails. What are we going to do? 

Royal Tiger Imports

We are going to put it back into the gun safe and purchase an Aero Precision EPC. The EPC doesn’t come in .30 Carbine but does come in 9mm and 40 S&W. Those calibers are cheaper and much easier to find. The gun takes Glock magazines, and those are a lot less finicky than M1 Carbine mags. 

Swiss K11 Carbine 7.5×55 

Holy crap, is the Swiss K11 awesome. It’s probably my favorite milsurp rifle. The K11 is a very finely made bolt action rifle with a twist. It’s a straight pull bolt action rifle. Meaning you pull the bolt back and shove it forwards, and that’s it. It’s much faster and more effective than a standard bolt gun. These rifles are absolutely beautiful and fantastically fun to shoot. How can we make it modern? 

Edelweiss Arms

That’s easy! We buy a Savage Impulse and eliminate the impulse in your brain to add a scout scope to your K11. The Impulse offers you a straight pull bolt action rifle that comes in nearly every major caliber. These beefy, powerful rifles are very capable and a ton of fun to shoot. They offer you the same straight pull bolt design without having to find 7.5x55mm ammunition. 

The SKS – The AK-Lite Alternative 

The old SKS is a neat rifle, and while it was basically Russia’s M14, it was still a solid rifle. The days of 99-dollar Milsurp SKS rifles are long gone. You can still find SKS rifles from various countries, and they don’t break the bank. The wood stock and fixed magazine are lame, so let’s get a Dremel or visit Tapco! Or wait, how about we just buy an AK? All we are doing by modernizing an SKS is making it more like an AK. 

There are tons of AKs out there at varying quality levels and price ranges. There is one out there for you! Plus, the aftermarket is bigger and better with stuff from Magpul, US Palm, and more. Leave that old SKS alone and just get you the AK you want. 

Makarov and Cheese 

Oh yeah, the old milsurp Makarov pistol. The 9x19mm Makarov isn’t a powerhouse, but it is .380-like in capability. The Makarov is a lot like the AK and has been imported from tons of former Soviet Block countries. Makarovs aren’t exactly modern. No rails, no optic cuts, no compensators…boy, that would be… Awesome. 

Irongate Armory

Honestly, I’d say just goof around with a Glock. The more I think about a tacaticalized Makarov, the better I think it will be. It seems goofy, but I’m here for it. Let’s toss a Holosun, a comp, and some kind of light on a Makarov and call it a day. 

Keep Up With the Milsurp

There we have it. A list of the best milsurp guns and how to make them modern. Now we know how to take a crappy old, history-filled, milsurp rifle and turn it into something totally better. Something like that. You know what… don’t touch milsurp rifles with ill intent. Leave them the way they are and enjoy them. 

Travis Pike is a former Marine Machine gunner who served with 2nd Bn 2nd Marines for 5 years. He deployed in 2009 to Afghanistan and again in 2011 with the 22nd MEU(SOC) during a record setting 11 months at sea. He’s trained with the Romanian Army, the Spanish Marines, the Emirate Marines and the Afghan National Army. He serves as an NRA certified pistol instructor and teaches concealed carry classes.