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Image courtesy Classic Firearms

If you’re the unit armorer for a platoon of Soviet Army WWII re-enactors, you’ll need a boatload of Mosin-Nagant 91/30 rifles, along with a couple of Nagant revolvers to shoot the deserters. You’ll also need a pile of Mosins if you’re trying to lay in a stockpile of rugged, powerful rifles for your worst TEOTWAWKI nightmare. If this is you, or if you simply want to put in a group purchase of extra-cheap Mosins with other members of your rifle club, Classic Firearms has a deal for you . . .

Classic Firearms used to specialize in selling Saiga and Izhmash rifles and shotguns by the truckload, at prices so low I almost convinced myself I needed a third AK-74 last year. (Boy do I regret talking myself out of that purchase…) With the supply of $300 AKs totally gone now, Classic is pricing other guns to move, and the current deal is for an entire case of 20 arsenal-refinished Mosin-Nagants with matching bayonets for $2500.

These crates don’t include any hex receivers or laminated stocks, but they’ll usually throw in a Tula or three, and $125 per rifle is a pretty decent bargain these days. Sadly, the $100 Big 5 Mosin is a thing of the past, and I’m glad I got one when I did.

If you do put in for a group purchase, Classic can also set you up with mountains of 7.62x54R for about $.25 per round. It’s noisy and powerful (and corrosive) but 7.62x54R is still the cheapest centerfire ammo on the planet.

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  1. It’s noisy and powerful (and corrosive) but 7.62x54R is still the cheapest centerfire ammo on the planet.

    I’m paying about $0.18/round for 5.45×39 these days. Comes out to $0.194/round with shipping.

    And even then I get taunted by people who got into 5.45 “back in the day” when they were getting milsurp ammo for $0.12/round. Shipped.

    • I am assuming that stuff is corrosive.

      What is your cleaning process for the AK 74 after shooting corrosive ammo?

      • It’s an AR upper from Spikes, actually.

        Hot water with a bit of vinegar to dissolve the salts — pop off the upper, put it muzzle-down in a bucket, and pour the hot water down the barrel and gas tube using small-diameter lab funnel. (I’ve yet to notice any corrosion on the trigger group but I give the moving bits in the lower receiver the same treatment anyway.)

        Then, compressed air blast to clear the surface moisture, followed by WD40 to prevent any possible flash rusting.

        Following that, clean and lubricate as usual. Since I can get hot water from the dispenser in the kitchen, the whole process adds maybe 5-6 minutes to normal post-range cleaning.

        • Vinegar doesn’t really do anything helpful for you there. Also, WD-40 isn’t a good idea for use with firearms. Rinse with clean(est) water 1st, then clean and lube as normal. Hot water helps in that it’ll evaporate quickly, so less moisture to worry about. Hitting it with compressed air is a good idea too before you clean and lube.

        • Not WD-40, man. It’s flammable. Just use your regular gun oil.

          Vinegar doesn’t do much chemically, but any liquid that flushes the barrel can be helpful. I use diluted ammonia right at the range.

        • You want ammonia, not vinegar. The corrosive ammo is acidic, and vinegar is just another acid. Ammonia is basic, and will combine with the acidic ammo residue to form salts and nullify the corrosive effects, at least for a while. Windex is a common method, although some just mix their own ammonia/water solution. Just pour some straight down the barrel at the range, and it’ll keep you good ’til you can get home and clean, even if it’s not ’til the next day.

          WD-40 is effective at driving out the moisture, but as others have noted, it’s flammable, so not the best choice.

        • Agreed. Definitely ammonia and warm water.
          I follow with HOT soapy water, then hoppes #9.
          Then a normal cleaning/ lube.
          Yes, my fr-8 is a cheapo bolt gun, but I really like it.
          One of my go fast guns is a priceless fleming. But I run everything through it.
          I think I spend as much time running water and brushes down the barrel as I do trigger time.
          Rub vix on your upper lip to combat the smell…

        • Sorry, gang. I had a brainfart when I was writing a quick reply between meetings.

          Yes. Ammonia. That stuff. Which is what I actually use. Not a complete idiot, I swear. {sigh}

          Regarding the WD40: I’m using it for exactly what it was designed to do, namely Water Displacement from metal surfaces. The WD40 itself gets thoroughly removed by Break-Free CLP during the proper cleaning that follows the rinse.

          I’m familiar with the properties of WD40 because I use it quite a bit when cutting or machining aluminum. While some people clean firearms indoors (by choice or necessity) mine get cleaned in a well-ventilated workshop with provisions for safely disposing of excess WD40.

        • Ammonia doesn’t do anything for the corrosive salts. Plenty of water will dissolve and flush the salts away.

          If you want to remove copper, concentrated ammonia can help, but you have to be careful. Please view the following for home-brew cleaning recipes and what each ingredient does and why you want it – or not:

        • Be aware that in an AR you need to keep the ammonia out of the receiver area. Ammonia and aluminum do “interesting” things.

        • jesus christ you people complicate things.

          for corrosive ammo, a wet rag and cleaning patches soaked in hot water will do fine. Follow with the standard thin motor oil protective layer and grease on the mechanical components.

          if you store your rifle in a wet gun case, then yes, the corrosive salts will attract the moisture and your gun will rust. if you keep it in your gun safe, where some of you undoubtedly have a super duper wunder de-humidifier 2000 (i do i admit), then it will be just fine.

          people treat corrosive ammo like it is some kind of hazmat. ridiculous. just shoot it, relish in its low price, and clean your gun (which you should be doing anyways). My, my what did Soviet motor rifle troops do without bottles of windex and hoppes #9? (rolls eyes)

      • Glad to, Chris. I’m carefully watching inventory levels and hoping I can hold off on buying another 2-tin crate until the 15th. In any case I doubt sharing the link here will cause a sudden sell-out since everyone knows about anyway…×39-ammo-can

        Shipping on 2-tin crates is VERY reasonable, around $40 delivered to CA.

      • Related: thought it might be of interest to mention that MidwayUSA has 500-packs of “blemished” 5.45 60gr polymer-tip bullets for $75. I’m all but certain that these are Hornady surplus, and I can’t find any blemishes on them anywhere.

        Why is this of interest? Because some ranges do not permit ferrous projectiles (including the main 3-gun range here in the Bay Area) I’m getting together a setup to pull the steel-jacketed 7N6 pills and replace them with the copper/lead bullets. Easy enough to scale up to full reloading later, when primers and powder are easier to come by.

  2. The crate makes an attractive coffee table and you’ll also have enough cosmo left over to preserve a woolly mammoth.

  3. I went to Classic’s website and the first thing that hits me is this christian motif. I don’t give a flying feck if you’re christian or muslim or b’hai or whatever; keep that crap to yourself and conduct *business*. I refuse to shop at local stores that promote their religion, and I sure won’t visit one again online.

    • The christian motif? You mean the phrase “This is the day that the Lord has made. Let us rejoice and be glad in it” at the top of the page, and “Verse of the Week” all the way at the bottom of the right hand column?


      • I concur. I can think of a lot of things that turn me off to the “FOAD” level, but this isn’t one of them. Not even close.

      • The 1A is as much a right as the 2A. Don’t like it, shop elsewhere. Simple as that. There are plenty of Mosins sold by people who won’t step on your over-sensitive toes.

      • I understand Rebecca’s point.

        While Classic Arms’ bible quotes don’t turn me off to the point of not doing business with them, I sure as hell won’t be buying any Triple K mags.

        • Still, 1st A rights. You can take your business elsewhere, rather than try to make all of us more sensitive.

      • You guys got me interested enough to check, and the thing appears blown way out of proportion. I had to search the site to find the offending item, for crying out loud. IMHO it’s worse that they have a pop-in that I have to dismiss.

      • What’s wrong with God? I’m not a religious guy – but I have no problem with it. It only further makes me feel they are honest people.

      • Same here, on both counts. It’s their business, and as long as they do it fairly, I don’t need to know anything else. If I refused to deal with people with whom I disagreed, I would live by myself in a cave somewhere.

    • I consider myself an atheist, but I’m glad there are still some people who aren’t so cowed, intimidated, and persecuted they keep their personal belief in Christianity in the closet out of fear.

    • And I enjoy shopping at ones that share the same values I do. I won’t eat Ben & Jerry’s. If you truly don’t care what religion they are, then why would you care if they share their values and their faith?

    • I agree, but I extend it to all products and all extraneous advertising, and the most common unnecessary element is babes. I may look at the ad a few seconds longer, but all else being equal, I’ll go with the ads that tell me something about the product itself. If a company thinks their religion or car or babe or any other unrelated factor is more important than product facts, I figure they are subconsciously telling me their product is deficient in those facts and I don’t want it.

    • Then don’t buy a gun from them. Their site. Their store. Their guns. Don’t like it, don’t buy from them. Otherwise, STFU.

      • To each his own when it comes to religion, but in my case, I’ve been screwed over by more people who profess to be a “Christian” than any other group. Pagans and UUs have been the most reliable because they believe you’ll be punished HERE not in some mystical hereafter.

    • I’m an atheist as well, and I tend to silently roll my eyes at those types of display (to myself; I’m not in the business of annoying people about their religion), but not shopping there seems like a bit of a disproportionate response.

    • Ah you guys are missing out if you never saw the OLD Classic Firearms web page. Bible verses, jokes of the day, endless animated GIFs that looked like they came straight out of Compuserve or Prodigy, a celebrity birthday or two, and a piece of daily baseball trivia.

      Oh and it was made in Frontpage Express, right up until about last year.

    • Oh yes the horror…. I think I saw one time at Classic the following verse…..

      “Proclaim liberty throughout all the land and to all the inhabitants of it.
      Leviticus 25:10

      You know…the one that’s inscribed on the Liberty Bell.

    • Ah, Becky. May I call you Becky! You are so open-minded and generous in spirit. You must provide lots of joy to those around you. But, just one little thing, Becky: while it is true that the Christians expropriated The Old Testament as their own, the truth is that this passage was written by a Jew (Damn those Jews anyway. They are into everything, are they not, even beautiful poetry?) I know this will be difficult for you, but try to have a nice day.

  4. Anyone know of a few good sites to buy ammo, even if a little expensive? I am looking for a couple of more random calibers that hopefully hasn’t been totally snatched up.

    • Gunbroker – sort of like ebay for bullets.

      Luckygunner – real-time inventory updates

      Sportsman’s Guide – used to be the cheapest with periodic coupons before the ammo shortage- I see that some hunting calibers are in stock, but up 50% or more from a year ago.

      • Yeah, LuckyGunner was great until they ended up on the crap end of the supply chain in recent months. Judging from their prices they’ve been reduced to buying from online wholesalers and reselling at a markup.

        For example, LuckyGunner selling BVAC reman 40SW 180gr for $33/box ($0.66/round) is just silly. I see the same product show up on for under $0.40/round (my personal max) a couple times per week minimum, available in case quantities.

        I’d be glad to give them my business if I were desperate for ammo (e.g. for a class or competition) but for now they’re on my list of resellers I’ll go back to when prices drop.

  5. How is this a good value? $125 per rifle, plus the freight cost, plus the FFL transfer cost for each one (unless you have a C&R license). In most stores I see these rifles for $125 or less, and that’s when you buy only one.

    • These are CRATES, direct from Mother Russia, opening up the box that has been untouched for decades, with the ready to make coffee table. That is the point of this post. The most basic of Google-Fu shows you can save a few bucks on one or two Mosins somewhere else.

      • Seems to me the point of the article is to highlight a supposedly less costly option by buying Mosin-Nagants in bulk.

        The title and the article both say this… “Cheaper By The Score”…”if you simply want to put in a group purchase of extra-cheap Mosins”

  6. I took an SKS and a mosin to the range saturday. Good times. Amongst the milsurps that i saw were a number of mosins, an M1, one of those swiss straight pulls that TTAG just reviewed,K31? and 1 of those yugo sks with the bird cage on the muzzle. A very diverse crowd and I did not ask any of them about their religion.

    I just ordered a spam can of ammo for the mosins off ammo to go. It’s a little more than 6 bucks per 20 with shipping. It’s corrosive. I just pour a little windex down the barrel at the range and then clean it normal when I get home.

    The kid next to me had a mosin and an M1. He asked how I was getting tighter groups with mine than he was with his and I clued him to corking the barrel and action. I let him pop a few out of the SKS as he’d never shot one and he let me have a go at that M1 in return.

    People of the Gun are just so much better people to be around than those others.

    • ^^^ this^^^
      Especially the last sentence!
      Geez, I LMAO when I remember letting 3 youngish guys shoot my 50bmg.
      The ones sitting off to the side of the muzzle brake! Oh geez!

    • I’d love to try a Mosin before convincing the wife that I’d better grab one while the prices are low… {hint hint}

      Glad to trade time on the 5.45×39 AR if that sounds fun, once the trigger group comes back from getting tuned up at the gunsmith… πŸ™‚

      • It’s too early in the week to know for certain and my wife’s at work now. But I will aim for Saturday morning at Chabot gun range with my mosin and my Mak. I will be more than happy to let you try my guns. You’re probably a better shot than me and I always like more input on the way my toys are shooting.

        I should know for sure by this evening or tomorrow. I’ll let you know a time then.

      • AG, Saturday the 18th, I’ll be at Chabot gun club somewhere between 10 and 11 am. 50 yard line with a mosin. look for the OFWG with a mostly white beard. Don’t forget the secret handshake.

        I have a spam can of 54r coming in this week and even if it’s delayed I still have enough surplas Russian ball to have a good trip. I’ll bring my Mak too.

        • Cool. Might be I could make it there, will email and let you know. Sounds like more fun than this “work” thing that keeps takimg up all of my time.

    • $119.95 at Aim. I bought an M44 from Aim a couple of months ago and I’m extremely happy with it. It looks good and shoots very accurately.

      Get yourself a C&R license if you don’t already have one.

  7. I bought mine in 1996 for $54; it came with a 440 round spam can of Yugo milsurp.

    We are definitely living in sad times comrades!

  8. I bought a crate from them. Had 7 hex receivers in it. And a bunch if 1920s guns,
    So you could get lucky.

  9. While I am partial to Mausers, the very first rounds all my friends put down range were through my 91/30 at their request. They’re simple, rugged, and an excellent platform to learn on for less recoil minded novices. They’re also a great gun to mess up on for DIY gunsmithing and refinishing projects.

  10. just opened my crate today.
    six hex barrels,some with pre 1928 tula markings,star with dots.
    some with tula markings arrow in a star, one looks like it has peter the great eagle on the reciever.
    most all so far have matching bolt numbers.
    not much cosmoline at all on them but the oil is strill dripping.
    some of the barrel bandsand hardwar is a bit rough.
    some weigh more or less than others due to some stock variations.
    over all KICKEN A.

    so far all bayonets match and it came with cleaning jags and handles and the multi-function tool and oil cans all wrapped in cosmo-paper.

    overall, very pleased with classic firearms.

  11. These are what got me into the gun world.

    I’m still a collector, and I personally do prefer Russian firearms. I would buy some, but I think I have enough 91/30s. If anyone here hasn’t tried one of these, buy it. Ammo is still plentiful, and they’re a blast.

    I’m on the prowl now for Imperial M91s/Nagant Revolvers.

  12. the quality doesnt match my Carl Gustaf 6.5mm from 1901 nor the venezuela 24/30 7×57.
    however the cool factor of opening a crate of any rifles is woth a lot.
    now I gotta fing slings and sling hardware.

    I have been studying arsenal marks and such so much my eyes are crossing :).

    told the wife Ill keep 2 and sell the rest, well maybe 3 or 4 :).

  13. A crate of those is a beautiful thing, but why would you need one for a platoon on re-enactors? You just need one to give to the guy in front and tell everyone else to line up behind for the march across the mine field.

  14. The Mosin is the first firearm that ever called out to me, said ” Hey there! Got a little time? Good; I’ll tell you a story…” and gave me the bug.

    I cannot say enough good things about those beasts.

  15. Cleaning bores that have been shot with corrosive ammo:

    In Ye Olde Days, black powder all by itself was corrosive. The residue was hygroscopic and would retain water moisture in the bore. Poorly mixed BP had the additional issue of a powerful oxidant, potassium nitrate, now in contact with the bore with moisture.

    Smokeless powder got rid of the BP problem of the nitrates, but substituted even more powerful corrosion-inducing potassium chlorate as primer compound.

    OK, how to clean: Hot water. Boiling hot helps rapidly dissolve the salts and then causes the bore to dry rapidly. Pull the barrel/action out of the stock. Boil some water, drop it into a bucket or pail, put a patch on the rod, wet it down, put the muzzle into the bucket (drop a block of aluminum into the bucket to keep the muzzle crown from being damaged if it’s a steel bucket, but one of those plastic “Homer Buckets” from Home Despot would work well), then push the patch down the bore and rapidly pull back up. This pulls water by vacuum up into the bore. Then push it down. Repeat a couple dozen times.

    Ammonia helps, but isn’t totally necessary. The Soviet conscripts of 70+ years ago didn’t have ammonia on the front lines. No one did.

    BTW – in the black powder days, some guys successfully used urine to wash out bores, then some fresh water on top of that.

    If you have copper fouling, use Sweets or other copper solvent per instructions. Then take a last pass with a brush and Hoppes’ #9, then run clean patches down the bore to finish, and the final patches should be wetted with good gun oil. It’s a shame we can’t get sperm whale[*] oil any more, but there’s plenty of new-fangled oils out there.

    [*] Col. Townsend Whalen (USA) was one of the early guys to experiment with homemade cleaning and lubing compounds in the days of the .30-40 Krag and Springfield 1903. Sperm whale oil was a staple in gun oils and cleaners back then… and it worked well. Worked well for lubing electric motors, as lamp oil, etc. And hey, it was produced with Wholesome Natural Processes! Totally Organic! And no profits to those nasty, multinational oil companies! So let’s bring back whaling… so we shooters can be wholesome and organic…

    • Dyspeptic, you need to start writing some guest articles for this blog. Your smooth writing style and expertise are a wonder to read.

      • Hey, get to the end of the line of people asking DG to write his own stuff. He never seems to answer…

        • He’s already answered, when I asked him a few months ago. He took the very reasonable position that he didn’t want the pressure of having to contribute full articles on the regular, and that he was much happier dropping knowledge via his epic comments on a time-available basis. Makes sense to me.

          DG: thanks, that nicely validates the method I researched and documented for cleaning my 5.45 AR after shooting corrosive milsurp. Much appreciated.

  16. dunno if its a peter the great emblem or a crest over eagle.
    its stamped into the reciever on some.
    eyes dont focus that well anymore.
    gotta find a lupe or a decent nagnifying glass.
    two are marked with a star and 5 dots and have CCCP stamped in the barrel shank and the hammer symbol on the reciever.
    the oldest one so far is 1921 and the newest is 1944.
    some are low wall and some high wall.
    this is gonna get fun πŸ™‚ :).

  17. I’ve had a 91/30 since pretty much forever. Paid $55 for it. (I still have the reciept from Jim’s Gun and Pawn in Fayetteville NC back in 1989. I also got a Chineese SKS for free from Jim’s when I bought a case of surplus 7.62×39 for about a hundred bucks.) It wasn’t the best bolt action military rifle of it’s day…not even close…but like everything else the Russians did it was peasant proof.

  18. I started to write a very long reply. I have thoughts about corrosive ammo (the British soldiers and Russian peasants had a simple solution, at the end of the day, pour a cup of the water you’re making your tea with through the gun and follow with a dry patch) and about cosmoline, and a bunch of other thoughts, but I eventually said to myself, this is getting to long for a comment, and through it into a blog post.

    Still, these are my favorite center-fire rifles in the world. Good stuff. Get some now, they’re only going to get more expensive.


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