Educational Zone #27 – Great Firearms – The Mosin Nagant

When I first saw a Mosin Nagant, I thought it was an ugly gun. But, like a lot of things, the more you see of them, the more you can learn to appreciate them. They kind of grow on you.

I guess it was when first watching “Enemy At the Gates” that I finally wanted to have one.

The Mosin Nagant is a bolt action rifle developed by the Russians and used in the First and Second World Wars. It is a fairly “roughly” made rifle, and they turned out millions of them.

Those that are C&R (Curio & Relic) Forearms Collectors can make some really good deals on these rifles nowadays.

If you look for a while, you can find factory refurbished rifles that are in excellent shape.

I recently bought a couple of these interesting rifles.

They are the Mosin Nagant 91/30, a rifle with a long barrel, and the M-44, a short carbine version with a folding spike bayonet.

Another popular version is the M-38, which is like the M-44, except without the folding bayonet.

Both these rifles fire the 7.62 X 54R cartridge.

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The 7.62 means it is .308 caliber (actually the Russians make the bullets .310 or .311), and the 54 refers to the case being 54 millimeters long, and the “R” means “rimmed”

It is a powerful round, about equal to the .30-06 cartridge. 

Here’s a round between a 7.62 X 39 and a .30-06 round.

Notice how they package this ammo, wrapped in paper and tied with little multi-colored strings.

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Tman says he can just imagine some Russian women in a factory somewhere, wearing babuchkas, tying these bundles of cartridges.

Military surplus ammo is currently available at very reasonable prices. It is corrosive, but that is not a big problem with a bolt action rifle, as long as you clean it properly, immediately after shooting. (More on this later.) Cheap ammo means that you can shoot these old rifles a lot, for very minimal cost.

I bought the rifles from Classic Arms, Inc. Both of my rifles have laminated stocks, which I tend to like. I did not have to do very much to get them looking like they do. They were excellent, right out of the box.

These old rifles usually have “dark” bores. This is a result of the mostly uneducated Soviet troops shooting corrosive ammo and not cleaning the bores properly.

Corrosive ammo leaves salts deposited in the bore and just putting oil in the bore will not stop it from rusting. You must wash the bore with water or a water-based solvent, dry it, and then clean and oil the bore.

My experience is that they usually shoot just fine, and the more I shoot them and clean the bores, the better they look and shoot.

Here I am shooting the 91/30.

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I find that these long rifles are pleasant to shoot, with more of a “push” than a “kick”.

A typical 50 yard group is in the 3 inch range or less, if I do my part.

Here I am shooting the M-44 off the bench.

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The short barrel on this rifle means that it “barks” kind of loud and kicks harder.

I’ve also seen photos of these shot at dusk, and they have a muzzle blast that looks like an atomic explosion.

It shot a fine group, but high left.

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Some folks report that the M-44 will shoot better groups with the bayonet extended, so let’s give that a try.

Intrestingly, the group was about the same size, but moved about 4 inches right and about 3 inches down, at 50 yards.

I folded the bayonet and tried another group, and sure enough, it moved back to the first location on the target.

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But, of course, these are not target rifles, they are “shooters”.

Here I am shooting the M-44 on my hind legs.

It barks loud and belches fire!

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Conclusion:
These are interesting rifles and a fascinating part of history. Cheap to buy and cheap to shoot. What’s not to like?