Here at TTAG, we love the lowly Mosin-Nagant. I waxed historical about it last September, and Ralph just taught you all you need to know about its care, grooming and feeding. From buttplate to bayonet, the cheap and ugly Russian utters a sturdy Proletariat challenge: Mock me at your peril, capitalist pig! Today’s object of desire is built on a Mosin-Nagant action, but it is neither cheap, ugly, nor Russian.
The Finnish M28/76 is a training and competition rifle built from the handpicked barrels and actions of older standard-pattern Finnish Mosin-Nagants, the M28/30 and M39. Those older Finnish Mosins were already the finest and most accurate Mosins ever built, and the handbuilt M28/76 took their best parts and combined them with a biathlon-style target stock, a bent bolt, and diopter sights.
The result was a sub-M.O.A. target rifle, and the Finns liked it so much they used it as the starting point for another sniper rifle, the ultra-rare TAK-85 shown here. Notice the family resemblance?
TAK-85s were handbuilt in 1984 and 1985 on remanufactured M28/30 receivers (some of them dating back to the 1890s) and new-production Valmet barrels, and were topped with glass from either Schmidt & Bender or Zeiss. Despite being built on receivers nearly 100 years old, TAK-85s were far from obsolete: the UK’s standard sniper rifle was the L42A1, a heavily modified Lee-Enfield in 7.62×51.
So I confess that the OOD headline was a bit of a teaser: the M28/76 is pretty cool (and unlike the TAK-85, you can actually buy one) but the TAK-85 is probably the ‘Ultimate’ Mosin-Nagant: both the best and the last of the line.