Nanoparticles of Fe, Co, FeCo, SmCo, and NdFeB systems with sizes smaller than 30 nm and narrow size distribution have been successfully prepared by ball milling in the presence of surfactants and organic carrier liquid. It has been observed that the nanoparticles prepared by milling Fe and FeCo powders were close to spherical in their shapes, whereas those of Co, SmCo, and Nd-Fe-B showed elongated rod shapes. The nanoparticles showed superparamagnetic behavior at room temperature, except for the SmCo nanoparticles that were ferromagnetic. Nanoparticles of all types showed ferromagnetic behavior at low temperatures. The compositions of nanoparticles prepared by milling the SmCo, NdFeB, and FeCo powders were found to be deviated from the starting powders. (C) 2006 American Institute of Physics.