Why would anyone want a 70 year old rifle designed 111 years ago? Answer: because they work and shoot well. Bolt action rifles are not the first choice in battle rifles these days, but not long ago they were the main battle rifles of most nations.
For a first time militia person, you may not have or want to spend very much money starting out. For about $50.00, you can purchase a Mosin-Nagant rifle, plus another $50.00 for a 440 round tin of 7.62x54mm R ammo. The bolt action of the rifle is easy to learn, and the 5 round stripper clip of ammo is easy to load. The 7.62x54mm R is a .30-06' class cartridge, powerful and able to travel quite a distance to release that power. You might expect the rifle to have a powerful kick, but surpassingly it is very mild. The size of the rifle, almost 4 feet, with a 28.7" barrel and the very balanced weight distribution may account for the lack of kick, but it also makes the rifle easy to carry and bring up to your shoulder to fire.
The rifle comes with adjustable iron sights and ring. The calibration is set out to 1200 meters. I cannot swear to the ability to hit something at 1200 meters, but shooting at bowling pins from 100 yards was no problem. As a close in weapon, under 50 yards, it is almost point and shoot. Anything less than 25 yards and you have a great war club.
The Mosin-Nagant Model 1891/30 is simple to maintain. There are not very many parts as you can see, and the parts that are there, are quite durable. The ammo for this rifle is corrosive, so each day after shooting, immediately clean your rifle bore with soapy water to get the corrosive salts out, then swab, clean and oil it right away. It's been around for 70 years with this practice, you should have no problem keeping it around for another 70 years.
LINKS TO MOSIN NAGANT WEB SITES:
SURPLUSRIFLE.COM (Info on the Mosin-Nagant, and many other excellent rifles)