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With our editor’s continued blessing, I’ll be presenting reviews and profiles of exceptionally affordable yet dependable firearms. Aesthetically-challenged guns that will never command a collector’s premium. Guns that were often made by the tens of millions, in countries that either no longer exist or whose names cannot be pronounced by Western tongues. Guns that attract sneers and looking-down-the-nose condescension from the bespoke shotgun crowd at your shooting range. Guns, in other words, for Cheap Bastards. Or, in this case, paranoid cheap bastards.

If you find entertainment in marginally informed but strongly-held opinions, you’ll never be bored with sports bars, talk radio and firearms bulletin boards. After interminable discussions of “the best carry gun ever” and “is my AK clone 922(r) compliant?” you’ll be regaled ad nauseum on the subject of gun for SHTF (Shit Hits The Fan) or WROL (Without the Rule Of Law).

When SHTF and society is WROL, it is opined, you’ll want a handy and reliable rifle at your side, as you try to survive or escape the ensuing Hobbesian jungle where life is “nasty, brutish and short.” Where anarchy provides liberty only to the strong and ruthless.

Let’s add IMHO to this theoretical search for a SHTF WROL firearm that you can stash away for a very rainy day, along with several hundred rounds of ammo and a can of dessicant, for two or three Benjamins. I recommend the Mosin-Nagant rifle as your new GBFF (Gun Best Friend Forever).


The Mosin-Nagant rifle fought the enemies of the Russian and Soviet Rodina from the 1890s until the early 1960s. The weapon’s history is a 70-year lesson in what life is like when you don’t get on well with your neighbors. The Russians used their Mosin-Nagants against the Japanese, the Germans, their fellow Russians, neighboring Finns and, finally, more Germans and more Japanese.

The Mosin-Nagant earns no great distinction in having been used and abused by millions of illiterate peasant soldiers and Soviet conscripts. It wasn’t the best all-around infantry rifle of its time. Truth to tell, the Mauser 98 and the Lee-Enfield would be superior SHTF rifles in almost every category—except reliability and price. Nothing holds a candle to the Mosin-Nagant when it comes to price and reliability.

It’s not just a beer-budget blunderbuss. During World War Two, the Mosin-Nagant was the weapon of choice (and necessity) of Soviet and Finnish snipers. These grim reapers of the eastern front used the Mosin-Nagant to single-handedly kill entire companies of enemy soldiers.

Sniper Vasiliy Zaytsev, fictionalized in “Enemy At The Gates,” used scoped Mosin-Nagants to snuff 242 Wehrmacht Soldaten in four months. His sniper girlfriend, Tania Chenaya, (who may or may not have looked anything like Rachel Weisz) gave at least 80 Germans a dirt nap with her own Mosin-Nagants. Lyudmilla Pavlichenko was even more effective: she and her Mosin-Nagants had 309 confirmed kills.

Even these Russian die-hards couldn’t keep up with Finnish sniper Simo “White Death” Hayha. He killed 505 Soviet soldiers in just 100 days during the Winter War of 1939-40, using only his Finnish-made Mosin and its iron sights. Gangsta!

It may be ugly and antiquated, but a Mosin-Nagant in the right hands (and a target-rich environment) is a nine-pound weapon of mass destruction.

Today, Mosin-Nagants are the Mother of All Budget-Minded SHTF WROL WTF is that rifles. With perhaps 50 million weapons rattling around worldwide, they’re cheap as chips. Big 5 will sell you a Mosin-Nagant for $120 ($89 if you wait for their biweekly ‘sales’). Prices are even better at gun shows and gun stores. My own M44 carbine, IIRC, cost a whopping $65 in 2008. Your mileage may vary.

The Trick to Training a Dog?

Buy the right dog. Not every Mosin-Nagant is worthy of your zombie panic-room. Triggers run from good to hideous, as do their bores. It’s important to buy a [relatively] good one from a rack full of candidates, if only because you can.

If you go Mosin-Nagant shopping at a gun show, you’ll have to convince the dealer to snip the zip-tie so you can check the trigger and barrel. If it’s a busy gun show, he’ll have other, more profitable sales to chase. Don’t be surprised if you’re SHTF gun elicits a TILI (Take It or Leave It). in that case, get thee to a gun store. Preferably on a slow day.

There’s nothing magic about picking a good Mosin-Nagant. Find one with a nice bright bore that doesn’t look too beat-up and locks up tightly. Test for a decent trigger pull. Mosin-Nagants have so few moving parts—there’s not too much else that can go wrong. As a bonus, many of them have been arsenal-refinished. Don’t worry about “collector value.” Unscoped Russian Mosin-Nagants have less collector value than remaindered Stephen King paperbacks.

Now what?

As we’re asking a new (70 year-old) Mosin-Nagant to perform SHTF duty, you’ll need to function-test it and sight it in before you oil it up and put it in storage with maybe a thousand rounds of ammo. And hope you’ll never need it.

Where’s the fun in that? Once the Big Brown Truck drops off your crate of ammo, go ahead, make it pay. Blast holes in paper targets, tin cans and big game (void where prohibited by law). If you’re using steel-core ammo, have a go at any metal plate less than .5″ thick.  [NB: If you’ve loaded you Zombie Plague rifle with steel-core bullets, keep in mind steel core bullets don’t expand. Hint: aim for the head.]

7.62x54R ammo is cheap.  Russia and Eastern Europe produce hundreds of millions of rounds each year. An online bulk retailer will ship you a sealed 440 round ‘spam can’ for as little as $82.50 plus shipping. Compare that to the cost of commercial .30-06, and you’ll notice that your Communist rifle has a strong Capitalist charm.

This cheap ammo is no slouch, either. Depending on barrel length, the Mosin-Nagant typically drives a 147-grain bullet at a velocity of 2600-2900 fps. Some of the cartridges feature a mild-steel bullet core. It’s banned from some shooting ranges, it’ll punch holes in almost anything. CBs (Cheap Bastards) note: surplus 7.62x54R ammo is made with steel cases and Berdan-type corrosive primers. No reloading for you.

Another crucial tip: corrosive primers require you to give the rifle a quick cleaning with Windex or another ammonia-based cleaner promptly after shooting, followed by a regular cleaning with your favorite gun cleaner like CLP or Hoppe’s No. 9.

Cleaning a Mosin-Nagant isn’t difficult or terribly time-consuming. But failure to do it even once can ruin the bore and trash the gun. Alternatively, you can buy non-corrosive, non-reloadable ammo from Wolf and Privi Partisan starting at $8.60 per 20-round box plus shipping, which is still a hell of a deal for full-powered rifle ammo.

Ergonomics? We Don’t Need No Stinkin’ Ergonomics!

When it comes to shooting comfort and ergonomic controls, the Mosin-Nagant’s got nothing. The nicest thing you can say about the club-like stock is that you’re not likely to break it by accident. It features a straight grip, a dismally short length of pull and a contusion-inducing steel buttplate.

The short pull length was meant to allow a proper hold while wearing incredibly bulky Russian winter uniforms. What’s good for Igor the Soviet Conscript sucks for you. If you’re taller than 5’6″ or if you’re wearing normal clothing, you’ll have the bolt cocking piece nearly in your eye socket—unless you attach a thick recoil pad.

The butt end of the Mosin-Nagant resembles a steel-clad cudgel, destructible only by fire or chainsaw. If Barry Bonds tried to snap one over his knee like a misbehaving Louisville Slugger, he’d be carried off the field with a shattered and protruding femur.

Like most of its contemporaries, the Mosin-Nagant sports a clumsy bolt handle that sticks straight out from the receiver at 3 o’clock, instead of bending gracefully downward. It’s ugly and awkward; doing exactly nothing to improve the slightly balky cock-on-opening action.

The Mosin-Nagant isn’t buttery-smooth like a Lee-Enfield, or a masterpiece of clockwork German engineering like a Mauser. It is what it is: strong, ugly, cheap and functional.

I Spit on Your Safety!

TheMosin-Nagant’s  ‘safety’ mechanism isn’t just clumsy; it’s a useless failure. Engaging it requires griping a small, slippery cocking piece on the rear of the bolt and pulling it back with 20 to 30 pounds of force while twisting it counterclockwise.

Disengaging it requires the same knuckle-crushing manipulation in reverse. This is challenging for iron-fingered rock climbers, difficult for mortal men and completely impossible for those with arthritis, gloves or cold fingers. Unless you go aftermarket, a Mosin’s only ‘safety’ mechanism is an empty chamber, or removing the bolt and carrying it in your pocket.

Hindsight is 20/20

Mosin-Nagants don’t do too badly in the sighting department. Its robust open sights are optimistically calibrated out to 1.5 or 2.5 kilometers. The carbine models (M38 and M44) are more challenging to shoot well because of their shorter sight radii, but benefit from much quicker handling. Aperture sights? Nyet. Scope attachment? Nyet. But M44s do come with a permanently attached side-folding bayonet which can stab your left middle finger if you grip the stock the wrong way.


Perceived recoil depends on the type of Mosin you’re shooting. Without a recoil pad, carbine-length M38s and M44s kick like a short barreled 12-guage shooting 3″ rifled slugs. Or maybe like a featherweight .35 Whelen. Either way, the undersized stock and the steel buttplate don’t help things. You’ll want a beefy recoil pad which adds perhaps an inch of pull to the stock. Long-barreled 91/30s are heavier and the mass soaks up the recoil, but they will still fit you better if you add a thick recoil pad.


I’ve fired many hundreds of rounds through various Russian Mosin-Nagants, long and short, with iron sights and scout scopes. Not all of them were guns I would have bought; some had horrid triggers and some had rough bores.

A good Mosin can shoot 3″ groups at 100 yards with surplus ammo—if you’ve got better eyes than mine. A bad one won’t keep five shots on a Domino’s pizza box. Family size. My own M44 with a scout scope will shoot 3″-4″ groups all day long, or at least until my pounding headache starts to impair my shooting.

The Mosin-Nagant isn’t a tack-driver. Buut it handles quickly and points instinctively and hits what you aim it at (if your target’s big enough). I’d like to spend more range time with a scoped 91/30 and its longer barrel (and its reduced muzzle blast) to really see what a Mosin-Nagant can do from the bench with optics. But then . . . reliable, accurate or cheap. You’ve already chosen two.


You will not find a more rugged or reliable firearm on earth. Other than poor triggers and mistreated barrels, which you’ll discover before purchasing, the only common functional flaw is difficult extraction once the gun heats up. This is usually caused by baked-in cosmoline in the chamber. A thorough cleaning while the gun is hot and you’re G2G.

The 7.62x54R is a rimmed cartridge; that’s what the “R” stands for. While the rim provides extremely positive extraction of spent cases, it requires special attention when loading. Each inserted cartridge must be pushed fully to the rear of the magazine before another is inserted on top of it. This makes reloading slower if you’re not using stripper clips.

Your Hurt Your WHAT?

The Mosin-Nagant is a ‘blast’ to shoot, on two levels. It’s all kinds of fun to go trigger-happy with a powerful rifle knowing you’re only spending $1 each time you empty the five-round magazine. The short-barreled Mosin variants (M38 and M44) are also amongst the loudest small arms ever built.

DO NOT fire them without hearing protection, even once, unless your life depends on it. I won’t fire mine without double hearing protection: plugs and muffs. Failure to double up sentences me to a splitting headache, which lasts for hours.

Surplus 7.62x54R ammo is optimized for light machineguns and Dragunov SVD sniper rifles, not for 20″ carbine barrels. When those bullets leave the muzzle of a 20″ barrel, they’ve still got burning powder behind them which blows out of the barrel and produces a dazzling blossom of flame, anywhere from six inches to three feet in diameter. It also subjects you and your fellow shooters to a grenade-like concussion.

Accessories and Modifications

The Mosin-Nagant has frugal charms and ergonomic flaws. It’s only a matter of time before you’ll start to wonder how you might be able to improve it a little bit. Maybe you could improve the trigger pull a little, or give it a functional safety mechanism, or replace the stock,or add a scope, or . . . whatever.

Don’t go there. I know the above video (and many more like it) show enthusiasts firing modified Mosin-Nagant’s at—and occasionally hitting—targets that are eight billion yards away. [ED: I blame Zaytsev.] But the Mosin-Nagant should be first and foremost a cheap gun.

The Mosin-Nagant aftermarket is thriving; you can transform your $89 STFU gun into a modern scoped hunting rifle or a tricked-out’Tacticool’ scout-sniper. You’ll end up dropping $400-$500 on a 70-year old gun that’s only cosmetically different from the $89 beater you bought. If you want a modern scoped rifle for $400-$500, there are plenty of better choices out there.

That said, some of the Mosin’s flaws can be addressed fairly cheaply. The safety, the bolt handle and the trigger can be collectively upgraded for about $120. These three modifications will make your Mosin a more accurate, comfortable and safe gun without compromising its character or reliability.

Safety and Bolt Modifications

Various third-party vendors offer Mosin cocking pieces with a steel ring welded to the safety knob, after the style of Swiss Schmidt-Rubin rifles, for around $25 plus shipping. This photo of a friend’s rifle also shows a $60 professional bent bolt modification.  Steer clear of DIY bent bolt kits. Bolt handles are subjected to enormous stresses, which can shear the tiny machine screws that secure DIY bolt handles to the body.

Trigger Modifications

Mosin-Nagant triggers are all over the place in terms of creep, weight, overtravel and grittiness. You should have selected a good trigger when you cherry-picked your rifle. If you didn’t, you can drop in a Timney match-grade trigger group for less than $100. Or you can get a $55 ball-bearing trigger modification from Huber. [ED: Next time, pay attention in class.]


Mounting a scope on a Mosin is tricky. A gunsmith can drill and tap the receiver for specific Weaver-style bases, but you’ll need a bent bolt to clear the scope. This combination of parts and projects can easily cost $200, so . .. stop already.

To avoid the expense of a bent bolt, you can opt for a long eye relief ‘scout’ scope mount. There are many cheap ‘no-gunsmith’ mounts, costing less than $50, which attach to the rear sight base. Most are too flimsy to withstand the recoil or hold their zero. S&K makes the onlyhigh quality no-gunsmith scout mount for the Mosin-Nagant, for about $90.

My own DAIS NAID (Do As I Say, Not As I Do) M44 wears an S&K mount. It’s proven to be durable and reliable through 300+ rounds fired. Degreasing it thoroughly and applying blue Loctite to all screws during assembly was crucial to holding zero.

Muzzle Brakes

Don’t be tempted to bolt an AK-style muzzle brake on your M38 or M44, even if the recoil beats the stuffing out of you. First off, they make these guns even louder. They also attach rather weakly to the front sight post, which is only pressed onto the barrel proper. The violent recoil and muzzle gasses from these guns can either permanently damage the front sight post or physically tear the muzzle brake apart. I have a twisted paperweight that used to be an AK-style muzzle brake on my Mosin-Nagant.


The Mosin-Nagant isn’t pretty and it’s not the sweetest shooting rifle in the world. It could be pressed into hunting or defensive service, but it’s not the first choice for a hunting rifle and it would make a lousy home defense carbine. For an SHTF WROL OMG you bought THAT? gun it doesn’t get any better—that’s to say, cheaper—than this.

Two-hundred dollars and change buys you a rock-solid rifle—and 440 rounds of ammo. Every time you load it and pull the trigger, it goes BANG and blasts a big hole in whatever it’s pointed at. Works for me.


Caliber: 7.62x54R
Barrel: 20.2″ or 28.7″
Overall Length: 39.9″ or 50.7″
Weight: 7.5 lbs (M38) 8.8 lbs (M91/30) 9.0 lbs (M44)
Action: Magazine-fed bolt-action
Finish: Blue steel, wooden or laminated stock
Capacity: 5 round internal box magazine
Price: $90 to $120
RATINGS (Out of Five)
Style * *

It’s got a rugged and rustic Partisan charm, but has never won and will never win any beauty prizes.

Ergonomics * *

Nobody likes straight stocks or straight bolt handles. Stout recoil and a short length of pull give the carbine models punishing recoil. Add a ring safety and thick recoil pad for 2.5 stars.

Reliability * * * * *

Load, aim, pull trigger, and BOOM. Every time.

Customize This *

Trigger, bolt and safety can be upgraded cheaply, but proper scope mounting is costly. Buyer beware aftermarket muzzle brakes and DIY bolt modifications.

Overall Rating * *

Two stars is still a lot of gun for $89.

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  1. When the men of the American 339th Infantry deployed to Northern Russia in September 1918 they carried Mosin-Nagant 91s. The MN91s were issued to them by the British War Office, which was in charge of the operation, for logistical reasons. Allied commanders believed a large cache of 7.62x54mmR ammunition was in the vicinity of Arkhangelsk, but this turned out to be not the case. Though they were given sufficient time to familiarize themselves with the MN rifles, both the enlisted men and officers of the 339th, accustomed to M1903 Springfields or M1917 Enfields, hated the Russian rifles, calling them "worthless weapons" and remarking, "No wonder they [the Russians] lost the war." Interestingly, these rifles were American-made, either by Remington or New England Westinghouse under contract with the Imperial Russian government, and were surplus when the Bolsheviks cancelled the contract. The only weapon which more infuriated the "Polar Bears" (as they have been called ever since their Winter of 1918-1919 combat tour in Russia) was the Vickers machine gun. The British, who were actually in charge of the entire American North Russia Expeditionary Force, in their infinite wisdom equipped the 339th and the other units of the ANREF with the water-cooled Vickers, knowing full well the men would be in Russia the entire winter. They also fed them British rations, which warmed the cockles of no man's heart.

    Personally, if planning for a SHTF WROL situation (one I hope doesn't ever occur), I would be inclined to heed the experience of the Polar Bears and spend a little extra money to get a better rifle than the Mosin-Nagant, in a cartridge more readily available in post-ROL United States. You might pay more on the front end, but as the saying goes, "Garbage in, garbage out."

    • Detlef:

      I'm glad you mentioned the US-made Mosin-Nagants. A late riend of mine owned a well-worn Remington contract Mosin-Nagant, and I had the chance to shoot it on a few occasions. I wish I had bought it as a collector piece; it was an interesting historical oddity, and one of the only Mosin-Nagants with any collector value. Original scoped 91/30s and Finnish-made Mosin-Nagants are the others.

      The 'Polar Bears' were quite right to prefer their own M1903 Springfields and M1917 Enfields, which were superior weapons in almost every regard. Mausers were just as rugged and much easier to shoot, Lee-Enfields were much quicker and had twice the magazine capacity, and Springfields were far more accurate than Mosin-Nagants. Mosin-Nagants were *never* the first choice for an infantry rifle, except to the Imperial Russian ordinance officers who chose the design based largely on simplicity and ruggedness.

      • I have three hex receiver MN Finnish M39 rifles, one is a Continuation War 1942 Sako, and the other two are 1968 mfg. new and unissued no name rifles in near perfect condition.

        One of the 1968 rifle’s is a real oddity. It came packed full of the usual cosmoline, but has been completely and professionally accurized. To include steel pillars and receiver glass bedded, the forestock and hand guard have been scraped to insure barrel is no contact free floating.

        I have been researching to find more about such a rifle, only thing have found is some of the M39 no name service rifles were used for officer training and competitive target competition. But nothing along the lines of what has been done to this one rifle.

        I also have two round receiver Russian MN rifles, one a 1937 Tula and the other is a 1939 Izhevsk. The machine work on these prewar rifles is just superb. The Izhevsk I just got, and except for the stock wood which has handling marks,
        is like non-refurbed new in all respects

        The Tula is a prebubbarized carbine I got for 25 bucks, but it proved very accurate with cast bullets, so scouted it out and is now my truck gun.
        Can see the Tula and how I scouted it here:

        Just remember, there is no such thing as having just one MN rifle, they breed like rabbits, then crowd your other guns out to the side.

      • The palm can stoke a straight bolt with far more force to clear a stuck case than one can do such with a bent bolt.

        A safety was not used on Russian or French weapons since it was assumed that a chambered round meant you were in close contact with enemy

  2. Certainly not a SHTF gun for me, but I do enjoy shooint my 1938 Izzy-made 91/30 often. I use modern rounds so I don't have to deal with the corrosive primer issues. For an extra $0.15 per round, I save $3.00 on ammonia and having to deal with it. I can consistently shoot a 24"-square steel target @ 300 yards with open sights at my local range. I thought I was a ZIT (Zaytsev-in-training), but others that have shot the gun can manage the same feat (although not quite as often as me, I'm in the 6/10 hit ratio). Fun gun to shoot and a nice little piece of history.

  3. So far as I know all of Mr. Zaytsev's achievements were in Stalingrad. Id' guess 300m would be considered a VERY long shot in that environment.

  4. Nice writeup. I enjoyed it.

    I've a number of M-Ns with my favorites being the M44s. I like the noise and flash plus the strange looks I get when I extend the bayonet to shoot (it does seem to make a difference on where the bullet lands). The least I paid was for two laminated M44s from AIM about 10 yrs back for $29 each. On the high end it was $159 to SAMCO for a Finnish SAKO M39 which can shoot better than these 64 yr old eyes can ever do with it. Then there are about a half dozen 91/30s and a couple of M38s in the batch.

    You're right that they are solid, dependable long guns and the ammo is very reasonable although I rarely buy anymore as I've dozens of Spam cans of the stuff (and 8mm and .303) stashed out in the barn. So, if SHTF occurs in my neighborhood I think I'm ready.

    Again, good writeup!

  5. I purchased mine at the monthly gun show here in KC for $130 usd and I did dig thru a green rifle box of about 25 rifles in it. PIA yes. but I dug out a Hex 1925 with a fairly good trigger and a supurb bore in it! so the only other expense here was the sling and stripper clips . being a fully retired old fa–. it is fun to shoot and all of my 06 cleaning gear works just fine . but a couple of pulls with the bore snake makes it look very good . and maybe I will try the bent bolt handle later on . BUT just out of the box for the price it cant be beat ? unless we can force the Obama and Clinton to bring the approx 1 mil. yes 1mil of used garands and 30 cal carbines back int the country? got to work on that one. and yes it realy barks hard so the double ear protection is a MUST …..just know that TSHF an autoloader will probably be the ticket cause it takes a long time to jack the bolt and resight . probably for me cause I am getting slower in my oldness ??? but the weight of it and 5 rounds feels good on the range !

  6. I once owned a 1914 M1891 made into a 91/30. Solid bore, not the smoothest bolt I've worked on a mosin but it was still quite workable even if it did get stiff once the thing had a few dozen rounds through it. Reliability? Superb. The only times I ever experienced a legit jam was when one of the rimmed cartridges would wedge itself at an angle into the magazine well, usually caused by a rapid and sloppy loading with a stripper clip. Sometimes this necessitated removing the magazine, but not always. I highly recommend getting quality stripper clips. Examine each one, if it's stiff or gritty on the inside polish it up and loosen it by spreading it apart against a table etc. Practice loading with them also, obviously. From a SHTF standpoint, this weapon has: extreme reliability (huge bonus for any weapon), excellent stopping power even against big game, solid potential accuracy and range, and really nothing else. It's long (excluding the carbines) fairly heavy, has some awkward features and quirks, and obviously can't generate the kinds of firepower of any semi-auto. Don't get me wrong, I could work that bolt FAST, fast enough to feel confident defending my life with it, even against someone with a gun much more capable. Against multiple targets? Not hardly. Man on man, preferably with things like concealment and surprise at my disposal, you bet. Realize that tesshese weapons are still encountered on modern battlefields, it's a damn old design but that doesn't turn it into a usel relic. The Mujaheddin used them to good effect against the soviets in A-stan by using irregular tactics and ambushes, which is how I would see these as being effective in a SHTF scenario. As a side note, you might want a good magazine pouch for those stripper clips huh? Look no further than the standard leather dual pouch that often comes with mosins. The flap can be opened instantly but stays closed when you need it to, the leather is stiff enough to allow easy retrieval of the clip without it getting hung up in a loose cloth bag, and the downward orientation of the rounds keeps the cartridges from wanting to slip off the ends of the clip. In closing, for such little money, you have a helluva boomstick. This isn't the greatest rifle on Earth, but it is in it's price range.

  7. Norma , winchester , and seller & belloit make soft point ammo for these that work well for hunting. the norma stuff costs a fortune , but it is ammazingly accurate. That said these are great fun guns. get a slip on recoil pad
    (9 about $10) and you are good to go. I don't shoot mine form the bench, standing with a shooting stick or sitting are a good way to go, a lot less felt recoil.

  8. You guys think a 20 in barrel carbine , makes noise and has a big flash, I picked uo a 91/30 with a damaged barrel, it fell over in this guys barn and a tractor ran over it, put a good bend in the barrel about 6in back from the muzzel, I dissasembled and inspected the rifle, and when I was done cutting the barrel was 16 in long, I was useing the surplus ammo, and not only does the gun throw fire like a flame thrower, it make a noise so load it scares animals 3 miles away, and now after 15 or 20 rds, I have a tennis ball size black&blue mark on my shoulder, it hurt but it was ALMOST worth it, seeing the reaction of the guys at the range

  9. Very VERY interesting article!
    My bro-in-law gave me a “wonderful Christmas gift” last week. He gave me his old Mosin-Nagant–not sure where he got it–along with a big metal box of 800 rounds of surplus FMJ. (Knowing him, I should never have thought he was doing me a nice turn. After reading this article, I now know his real intentions!
    I never saw such an ugly-looking thing in my life! (I grew up in a house full of ’06 weapons–mine was the 1917 Enfield). He handed it to me–it looked like a mower shaft ruined by a froze-up bearing (probably due to 1943 manufacture during the Nazi occupation of Western Russian Homeland?). I assume the wooden sheathing was to cover up the tooling striations on the barrel. I looked at this Christmas gift thing and wondered what in the world I was looking at!!!
    I took it home and tore it all apart–re-worked the sear and bolt a bit–and got seriously impressed with the simplicity and ruggedness of this cumbersome clunk.
    Now, reading the article, I think I might really enjoy blasting monstrous noisy holes in the sky–and anything else in front of this carbine (I don’t even know what model it is). Just hope I got the firing pin adjusted down so that it doesn’t bore a hole in the primer and blow hot crap all over my head–everywhere not covered by googles and earpads.
    But the most interesting thing is all the WWII research this thing caused for my over-60-Baby-Boomer curiosity.
    Very, very interesting piece of history my less-than-well-intentioned bro-in-law gave me! And thanks much for the very humorous article!

  10. I purchased a 1926 91/30. $99.95 from a dealer in smyrna, ga. Floated the barrell in an ATI stock, 3-9×50 tasco scope, ATI scope mount, walmart bi-pod, $10 ak47 muzzle brake ( reamed out, set screws to center and then brazed on), my own bent bolt from a 5/16 stainless bolt ( also brazed on), drilled and set screwed trigger, and polished sear, reduced firing pin spring unsprung height ( helps ease cocking of bolt and no failure to fire yet). All of these upgrades cost $150 additional . At the range, 100 yard lane, I hit paper without even sighting in. 20 rounds of wolf ammo, I am shooting 2 inch groups. But let me qualify this. All five rounds are spaced within 2 inchs horizontally. The same 5 rounds do not vary more than 1/2 inch vertically. Hence the shot patten was rectangular 2″x 1/2″. I believe the width of the group can be drastically reduced if i were more steady . However this was the first 25 rounds through a gun i just bought. I am thrilled with it. Suprised with its performance. Every gun nut i know puts it down. I believe most people associate performance / reliabilty with name recognition. It reminds me of my brother in law who works for oxford industries. They make clothes. The most expensive pair of pants they make cost $4. They sell these pants to Polo Ralph Lauren which in turn sell them for $130 at Macys or Parasian. If your in Hiram, ga, look for mine at local ranges. I will be glad to let you shoot it. It will suprise and exceed expectations . The Mosin Nagant is the Rat rod of rifles.

  11. I’m somewhat amused by the fact that the first picture shown after the part talking about horrible ergonomics and a straight stock is . . . a pistol grip M39.

    Finns are the only Mosins worth having. I have several M39s (my pride and joy is a ’42 Sk.Y, even the original Sk.Y stock is numbered to match with is exceptionally rare), all with perfect barrels and all of which are at or near MOA capable. The standard of acceptance for the M39 was that each rifle was required to be able to put three shots in a row in a 1.3 inch circle at 100 meters. No other country in history has ever been so demanding of accuracy in their infantry rifles. Even my beat to shit Finn-rework ’39 Izhevsk 91/30 (brass shims still in place, in a Finnish two piece stock . . . ahhhh, proper length of pull, barrel that looks nasty and pitted on a good day) can do 2″ groups at 100 yards. Funny thing is, it was imported from Russian not Finland . . . but had never been rearsenalled by the Russians. Those guys at SAKO and Tikka and VKT really, REALLY knew how to make a rifle tick. Still do for that matter, making Mosin barrels better than any Mauser or Enfield ever made is how SAKO earned their name.

    Hah, though, even the Finns couldn’t do anything to reliable make that clunky if indestructible bolt any smoother. I’m surprised though that they didn’t use the Mauser-style turned down bolt from the M27rv more widely, even just that is such a huge ergonomic improvement.

    • Finns are certainly good rifles. But, They are most definitely not the only ones worth having. Elitist snob.

  12. You might want to add that the Mosin rifles were also used against the Polish, Lithuanians, Mongolians, Ukranians, Latvians, Estonians, Georgians, Austrians, Hungarians, Turkish, Bulgarians, Romanians, and even the British, Americans, Czechoslovakians, French, Greeks, and Italians.

    Most of these are a result of the Russian Civil War and only saw limited use against some of these powers, but it did happen. It’s certainly an interesting aspect that this rifle has engaged nearly every European and American country in existence.

  13. I’ve got my own 1930 Izhevsk Mosin Nagant 91/30 that I picked up from a private dealer. Very nice rifle, the bore is immaculate and the stock is in pretty good shape for an 80 year old rifle. The numbers match but I personally think that the ones on the bolt and floorplate were stamped, and the butt plate was lined out, but whatever. The bolt is smoother than some of my modern day rifles, and giving the chamber a good cleaning is a good solution if you have sticky bolt. I finally got a chance to shoot it this past weekend and it went very well. I shot about 20 surplus rounds and about 5 commercial rounds. The recoil really isn’t that bad, and I’m only 150 pounds. I wasn’t even using a rubber butt pad, just the steel one. As long as you hold it good and tight, you’ll be okay. Shooting 148 grain surplus is also good for recoil as I shot 182 grain Prvi Partizan ammo, which had more felt recoil. The surplus does not “kick like a mule”, contrary to what other people might say, even the heavier stuff doesn’t kick like a mule. You want something that kicks like a mule? Shoot a 7mm Remington Magnum in 175 grain bullet for some recoil. The Mosins really aren’t that bad. But anyway, I love the rifle, it has become my favorite. It’s a little piece of history that happens to shoot well. And like others said, you can’t beat the price.

    • Just Question, what’s your height? My friend at 5’4″ has no problem with the recoil because the length of pull is good for him. I’m 6’4″, and I had to add one of those hard rubber pads you see advertised. The short butt stock wouldn’t let me tuck the butt to my shoulder. After I added the pad,no problem. I have put them on several Mosins over the years but, I keep giving Mosins for presents. They’re so good that way.

  14. Having ownership of each of the several countries rifles of the time period they were used I would agree with all of you. Each has its own flaws and positive points. But I will stick with my 91 with a laminent stock. OOOHHH pretty amber red color. I went and spent some money on the young miss and gave her some optical improvement by installing a PU scope. Perfect set up. How many of you have set up your AR to have optics AND back-up iron sights for mucho dinero? Well the nagant was the first to be prepared. As far as caliber goes, the 30 cal will always be the preferred cartridge no matter what part of the world you are from. I guess I got lucky with a rifle that shoots 2 inch groups at 100 yards. not shabby at all for the price. Mausers ar enfields or springfields 3 was considered just fine and is usually what you will get with any of these rifles. usually.
    Ok must go now a metal target plate is talking trash about my baby.
    Gotta give it some lessons in courtesy and respect.

  15. well the scope mount you talk about shouldn’t even be on it, it should be a PU scope a regular scope just looks like crap on it while the PU is historically accurate and doesn’t require rifle modifications

  16. I own a mosin 1891/30, made at tula in 1933. The rifle is a great bargain and value at $89.95 online. I shoot 203 grain soft point commercial ammo. at $8.95 for a box of 20, also online. I find the mosin comfortable to shoot and handle. It sometimes takes a little muscle to cycle the bolt, especially after it heats up, but this rifle has never failed to operate. The cartridges will rimlock occasionally, but a sharp slap on the bolt handle is enough to easily chamber the round. More often than not, I use the palm of my hand to slap the bolt when cycling the action anyway! This is one tough, reliable and simple rifle! Smooth? nyet!, but it goes BOOM every time!

  17. I have a 1943 M 91/30 which I bought in a unfired/unissued state. Unfortuanatly here in NZ we get the sharp end of the stick price wise, mine cost $300.00 nz dollars. I am currently looking to purchase from a dealer another mosin M 91/30. He too has a stock of unfired/unissued rifles, Hex and round reciever models from the Tula and Izhevsk factorys. He has agreed to let me select from his stock so I am keeping my fingers crossed I can find a real treasure amongst them.

    • After paying $300NZ fora Mosin, I hope you’ll at least be able to buy cheap ammo! When it comes to hunting and shooting, we sometimes forget how good we have it here in the States, and how difficult and costly it can be for people like yourself in other modern democracies.

      I would love to know more about the shooting sports and self-defense in NZ. Has your government gone as far as the Australians have to demonize and restrict gun ownership?

      • Hi Chris, our gun laws are not as bad as Australia. After sitting a basic licence, theory and multi choice written test we get a A category licence. This allows me to own most shotguns and rifles except pistol grip semi autos and pistols. Semi’s on a A cat need to be pinned so the mag holds no more than 7 shots. We have rifle ranges varying from 200-1000 yards around the country and pistol clubs etc. A good forum here is

  18. I own a Mosin 91/30 and an M44, they shoot as I had expected after reaserching them before purchasing. They are among the easiest to disassemble and clean. I was a Navy Corpsman and served with the Marines and have had the pleasure of shooting some of the most exciting and exotic weapons on the planet earth. The Mosin in comparison is dependable, shoots accurately and I know no matter the elements this gun will shoot – it is a BUG(Big Ugly Gun). I have the most fun at the range with the M44 when I shoot as the people around me are going pop-pop-pop, then I come out and go B A N G -B A N G, damn get the fire extinguisher – people stop and look wondering what I am shooting. All in all the mosin is a reliable fun and affordable gun to have in any collection.

  19. I have owned two finn m39’s. a 1970, and vkt 1942. Couldnt hit the inside of a barn with either one of them. Have a 44 tikka 91/30 with the blade front sight that is deadly! Far better rifle for sure. One M/N that suprises me is the 91/59 carbine! Dead on deadly! they took time to get the sights right on these. carol

  20. Who says Mosins aren’t tack-drivers? With a Mojo ghost-ring sight and Partizan factory ammo, my 1940 Tula long rifle will always put 5 shots in a 1″ group at 100 yards if I hold it straight.

    I think Mozzies get a bad rep because of the atrocious milsurp ammo they tend to get fed on and the relatively crude ladder sights. Good modern commercial ammo or handloads plus a decent aftermarket sight (*not* the made-in-a-tractor-factory Soviet issue scope with its massive but unstable iron mounting plate) turn the Mozzie into a contender out to 300 yards.

    • Yes very much so. I own a Nagant and after a few after market pieces…I have a very accurate and efficient rifle, that I am very pleased with. Very. Its accuracy is astounding for such a big bore.

    • I’ve done some cheap work on every Mosin I’ve ever bought. Polishing triggers,springs, sears, shimming the mounting points for the receivers, and sanding out barrel channels. Every one of them has proven to be a decent shooter, even the one I picked up at a pawnshop for $30 that had a 3/4 inch counter bore, and trigger like pulling a brick across a sidewalk. That one I really intended to be a parts gun. It’s amazing what a little tinkering can do for a Mosin. If your bolt is hard to work try putting a little Flitz on the camming surfaces of the bolt, and then working it. Flitz, or even fine grade auto body polish will clean those surfaces up without changing their design faces. Just make sure you disassemble and clean well afterward.

    • Tom sooo damned right about the grade of ammo and accuracy achieved. My Finnish mid war rifle….D …SA…and Tula made markings on it…1939 vintage is a straight shooter and can be irratic
      as well. Having fired approx. 500 rounds through it using ammo from 147grain to 203 grain for dropping
      a 350 lb boar… shot and three steps…all she wrote….at about 180 yards…the secret is better grade
      ammo and a 147-174 grain max round. It tends to shoot flatter and more consistent than older mil-spec
      ammo. Results are consistent tight groups. I use a long view4 power scope on an SKS frame mount
      over the original sight base. Off the bags it hits five rounds inside 3inches at 100 yards…..THAT will
      end life in anything you dare shoot at! Off hand position hits groups about 5-7 inches consistent using
      147 Grain Wolf ammo. Using “can-packed” cheap ammo nearly doubles the grouping size

  21. My mosin is a beast,
    It’s a 91/30 and for the longest time I ve fired bulk ammo( 440 rounds for 85 dollars) . I can have a 3-4in grouping, standing up, iron sight, shooting at a foot and a half by foot and a half plate at 115 yards.
    Have you ever put the bayonet on a 91/30 ? It’s a shorter javelin. No need to get close and personal with the mosin at all.
    I will agree It’s not so good for a massive horde of zombies or a shit load of people coming at you(5 rounds…), but if you want to drop someone with heavy body armor, kill an animal 3 times your size, hit someone from a greater distance, or just want to scare any predator away in a mile radios , the rifle is perfect .
    I think $ to gun ratio you can’t find anything better.

  22. I have developed a cam type safety for the 91/30 and make scope mounts with or wihout open sights. The bolt handle must be bent and extended to provide clearance for the scope.

  23. Some more interesting things. First there are dovetails under the site. Just punch out the two pins to get to them. Then standard .22 scope rings can be used to mount a scout scope (aka Long Eye Relief / LER / hand gun scope)

    Also, for the small varmint there is a cheep bore adapter (purchased from sportsman guide) that allows you to shoot 32 S&W Long and 32autos hand gun ammo. It like shooting a .22 – Its a one shot deal, shoot then manually load the adapter again. Its as quite as a .22 too.


  24. Learned the hard way about the penetration abilities of these beasts. I had been shooting an M-44 (Which btw you want to shoot with the bayonet out, as that does somehow affect accuracy, and will also prevent hand stabbings) at a metal target that swiveled on a rebar axle. Well, after the first 5 rounds I was dismayed as I thought I hadn’t even hit my target, but then I checked it out up close to see that I had hit the target all 5 times, but the rounds simply blew through the steel without causing the target to spin. Not long after the target was rendered usless when one or two rounds cut cut through the rebar axle.

  25. One thing about purchasing a Mosin: if you can, get one with matching serial numbers (receiver, bolt, magazine floor plate, butt plate). The more original the rifle is, the better its components tend to fit together. I have an all-numbers matching M91/30 made in 1942 by Izhevsk. Everything locks up tight and functions like it should. A friend of mine has a franken-Mosin. It’s got parts and bits from several arsenals and years. It works, usually, but it doesn’t function particularly smoothly and the Izzy bolt and Tula receiver aren’t exactly friends. That being said, most Mosin’s have indeed been arsenal refurbished and had their parts forced to match. However, I paid $150 for an original rifle, my friend paid the same for his monster. I got the better deal.

  26. These M91/30’s are excellent guns for the price. Accurate, deadly, and cheap. The “hex” recievers (pre 1936) are the best looking ones and have better finish work. By now most have been arsenal refurbed with a beautiful blue and still have a decent bore. The round recievers are just as good internally, but outer apperance tends to show more tool marks. The ones pruduced during WW2 have the overall worse fit and finish since production time was cut from 20 to 15 hours to meet demands. They are ugly, but will be the best shooters since they have seen less action. As far as laminted stocks are concerned they are a post war addtion to M91/30’s and are heavier. Not to mention the extra cost. They are not rare by any means, just less comomon. The M38 and M44’s are just as deadly, but suffer a little in range and larger muzzle flash. The M38 is more desirable, but harder to find. Don’t forget the chinese T53 which is their version of the M44. The T53’s have better machine work and have the best trigger pull. They are truly excellent well built guns, but most were mistreated and you rarely see a good one anymore. Avoid mismatched serial numbers on primary parts at all costs. Counterbored guns aren’t necesseraly inaccurate, just don’t pay the same price as one with an original bore. Most counterbores are the result of imporper cleaning techniques, not from being worn out. Post war refurbed Mosins will have a square stamped on the right side of the stock and make up most of the retail market. 99% of these have mismatched parts, but are renumbered to match the reciever. These refurbs were well done except for the end in some cases they were hastily put back together. My Tula has been refurbed 4 times in the past and when I bought it many screws were loose. Always completely dissassemble and clean them before shooting. Baked on cosmoline is the #1 reason for sticky bolts and poor cycling. DO NOT FIRE without checking the headpace first. Some arsenals did check, but many did not. The screwdriver in the cleaning kit doubles as a headspace gauge and a firing pin wrench. Learn how to use it!

    I have a ’33 Tula hex and a ’42 Izvhesk. Despite my poor vision I can still achieve a 2″ group at 150 yrads. Just remember, these were sighted in with the bayonets on at 300 meters and for the most part will shoot high to the left all the time. The sights are set for mass volley fire, not precision shooting and were intended to arm large masses of illiterate conscrpits, so to achieve real accuracy you will need to spend a little time dialing it in. Not bad for a $100 battle rifle with a history behind it. Don’t forget the accessories that come with them!

    BTW: Get some now while they are still cheap! Remember the SKS?

  27. I resently bought my first mosin nagant… I been doing a lot of research on it now… I never known anything about this weapon accept it looked rather nice as far as i know about weapons… I bought it with out any Intel on it . All numbers match it was made n Tulsa I think its a 91/30 I been shooting and is kicks like a horse… first deer with it this year… It is very accurate at 100+ yards the only thing I have problem with trigger it very lose other then that i paid $90.00 at a pawn shop and haven’t found a better weapon other than a M-16 n my opinion….. But I love it…. and I have a hex recover and would love to scope it… Not sure how r where to get more Intel on putting scope on it… Don’t want to change bolt. I kindly like it the way it is… Also thinking about camo the whole weapon…. Any idea on that also?….. Best web site i found so far…. One more thing I only bought the rifle no sling no bayanet no thing accept decent weapon as far as I am concern… I hear a lot of bad Intel on it,but the one I found is great more accurate then most weapon I have shoot…its shirt heavy and reliable…

    • Michael
      I don’t know if you found a scope mount for your Mosin yet, But there is a company called Rock Solid industries that makes a real sweat scope mount and turned down bolt body, for $ 160.00 plus shipping. If you follow their instructions and have access to a drill press you can do it yourself. Look them up. I have the setup on my M38 Mosin and can shoot 2.5″and 3″ at a 100 yds till my shoulder can’t take it any more. I think it is the best mount and bolt body you can get. A friend of mine sold me the scope mount that he got from Rocksolid and never installed on his Mosin. I had to get the bent bolt body from Rocksolid, You can get the parts separately or as a kit the price is the same, $100.00 for the mount and $60.00 for the bolt body. Hope this was some help

  28. Heading over to the Big 5 today, theyve got them at 120 with bayonets and cleaning kits after christmas special. I am hoping the quality is good because its being sold in a chain store. This is my first rifle purchase (I have shot many, only owned air rifles though) and I have decided to go with this one because of the history.

    I was never much for ear plugs, but after seeing that muzzle flash, I’ll be biting the bullet no pun intended. Happy shooting!

  29. I just bought a the m91/30 at Big 5 just before Christmas. I have a 1938 Izhevsk imported by PW arms. I haven’t fired it yet though. But after doing some rather extensive research, this deal can’t be beat. The stock looks pretty good, some very minor scratches, the barrel looks perfect, and the action feels smooth. So now I am anxious to try it out. People who are calling this a crap gun is just not being reasonable at all. Where are you going to get this kind of power in any rifle for this price? Sure, get a time machine and go back 15 years and buy an SKS for $100 (that was fun rifle as well, owned two). Or you can buy a .22 for the same price. There are even some air rifles that cost more. Tons of videos on youtube on how to care for this rifle as well. I’ll try and update this after I shoot it some time next year. Happy Hunting!!

  30. I bought one for a $120 at a show in CA. It hurts my should when I fire, it’s heavy, the trigger pull is tough, while other people gingerly work their bolt on the range, I really have to rack it hard and the finish bubbles up after a while. But man I love that thing.

  31. Have a 1942 built 91/30. Installed the ATI bent bolt/scope mount kit. As I am an Engineer and decent machinist it was not difficult. Would not recommend it for someone with no machine shop experience. Kit works well and greatly improved my ability to hit a target well past 100 yards. With the addition of a “made for Mosin” rubber butt pad, it is a pleasure to shoot. Is my wife’s favorite rifle as well. I used the Mosin for my daughter’s 4H project to show accuracy of different ammo at same range, bench mounted etc. The steel cased ammo was the worst, my hand loaded rounds (150gr Spitzer) was the best. But overal within 1inch at 50yds. Not bad for a $79 rifle and a $50 kit.

  32. Had a difficult time believing this article was referring to my lovely safe queens, as I find them to be the most attractive firearms of the period besides the swiss k31. They have such smooth sexy lines, unlike my clunky looking mauser, 03′ spr, or 1917 and no blocky over complicated magazine like others of their day….just smooth simplistic beauty. Both of my 1943 m1891/30 have excellent finish of metal and wood, they each required some tlc on the ejector spring to make them feed. In the field they performed good, 200yd hits are easy on an 8″ x 10″ steel once the long heavy trigger is mastered.
    When it comes to recoil I’ve got a slip over sissy pad and personally I think it is less than my 30-30 marlin …way less than my ’06 savage. It was so mild that all my shooting buddies even the most recoil shy, who were scared off by articles like this, shot it and are pursuing their own as they found it quite mild and very fun. After a day of watching for 22lr bullet splash at 200yds there is no mistaking the authoritative impact of the 54r on a snow covered sand pile.
    If every one gets one in the US perhaps one day we may fight off socialism with the rifle that brought it to us.

  33. I had a difficult time believing this article was referring to the safe queens I love. I find them to be the most attractive rifle of the period besides the swiss k31. Not so clunky looking like my mauser, or the 03’spr and 1917, no blocky or funky magazine like others of their time, just sleek smooth sexy lines simplistic and beautiful. Both of mine came with excellent finish of metal and wood with shiny bore.
    Accuracy was good an 8 x 10 plate at 200 yd was easy fodder for those that master that long hard trigger pull. With a sissy pad recoil is very mild on the m1891/30, less than my 30/30. All my range comrades, even the most recoil sensitive that have been frightened off by articles like this, enjoyed it so much they anticipate procuring one of their own.

  34. I have two M38 Mosins and a M 91/30 and I think they are great.
    I got a turned down bolt body from Rock solid industries for $ 60.00
    and it is rock solid, love it. Put it on one of the M 38. Had to notch the stock
    but no big deal. Also put recoil pad that adds about an inch to the stock, and
    is made of leather that has velcro on it and I can easily change from one Mosin to another. I re finished the stocks without loosing any of the markings and was asked
    at the local Gun shop how much I would charge to do a couple for him. I haven’t
    come up with a price as of wet.

  35. I bought my Mosin-Nagant from Big-5. Heavily cosmolined, but good bore and action. Cleaned it up using Easy Off Oven Cleaner, hot shower, fine steel wool and boiled linseed oil. Gets lots of attention at the gun range…everyone wants to shoot it.

  36. The Mosin rifle is the most fun to shoot,Big Bad-Ass rifle a guy or gal can legally own ! It is super affordable , the ammo is in the 20 cents each range for bulk surplus and they are generally rather accurate . We enjoy busting concrete blocks at 100 yards , making geysers out of 2 liter plastic soda bottles and shooting zombie targets . I brought one to a family gathering recently out at a farm owned one of the family .
    All the men and a couple of the gals wanted to shoot it ! Everyone got a chance to pop a couple of rounds ; but I had one big complaint : YOU ONLY BROUGHT 30 ROUNDS OF AMMO ! ! ! ! BRING MORE NEXT TIME !

  37. I mounted a B-Square mount, and slapped a used leupold 4x compact, bent bolt kit, and recoil pad. Total with labor was about $275 to do, with $100 for the rifle, so I now have just under $400 in it. But shooting at 18 cents per round for 7.62R compared to surplus 308 at 50 cents per, the rifle will pay for itself soon enough! Cleaning the corrosive out of the barrel is easy with hot soapy water. On a good day I can get 2-inch groups. The Bulgarian surplus ammo shoots just as good as Brown bear with 2-3 inch groups. Easy shooting out to 400 meters

  38. The best thing about having a 91/30 is that for a hundred and twenty bucks, I got a SHTF/WROL weapon, a deer hunting weapon, a rabbit hunting weapon (after I convert a bunch of these “non-reloadable” steeel/Berdan cases to use shotgun primers and load them with tiny charges of pistol powder and round balls), a zombie slayer, a car stopper (it’ll punch half inch steel at more than a hundred yards), a fun shooter (yeah, it pounds my shoulder, that’s part of the fun), a genuinely brutal club, and a top-notch pry bar — and the whole kit only weighs about ten pounds (including the cleaning/servicing tools and bayonet). A case of ammo will cost more than the rifle did, but that’s enough to shoot fairly intensively for a year. Hunting ammo (in reloadable brass/Boxer cases) is still only about a dollar a round — and mine, at least, is accurate enough with forty year old Bulgarian surplus rounds to depend on hitting the kill zone of a whitetail out to 200 yards or more with the iron sights (it should do at least that well with Prvi Partizan or handloads).

    I’m seriously considering getting another to bury in a plastic pipe with twenty or so packets of rounds…

  39. You cannot have too many Mosins. I have “new ones” (armory refurbs), old ones, Finn ones, Finn-captured ones, a bunch. I think they are beautiful, shoot great, are indestructible and make a very big hole in anything they are shot at.

  40. I find that adding about 3/4 to 1″ pad of paper towels, I used old brown plain paper towels the military used, traced around butt plate and cut out, stuffed into a slip-on butt-plate shoulder pad reduced the recoil quite a bit! I believe the air space retained in the paper towels acts as a shock absorber, like you have on your car! May not look kosher, but sure saves your shoulder!

  41. I got this Mosin-Nagant (1942) a short while ago. Spent hours cleaning it. Baked it in the sun. Got El-Cheapo Russian ammo, 440 rds for about 85$. Spent two hours
    trying to open it. Four letter words became eight letter words. The cat hid, the wife
    was in shock.
    Tried it out first time. One boom, two booms, three booms, and the bolt jammed.
    Slapped him hard. It loosened up. Range people got bent out of shape. Apparently ammo was not brass (Openrange near Louisville, KY). So, now looking for range
    that accepts steel Russian ammo! Other than that, I may not have Bridget Bardot in my hands, but ‘Olga’ here is very rugged and has a charm of her own.

  42. Just about the most painful rifle I’ve ever touched off – kicked like an irate mule, the safety is a horror-show, it’s loud enough to tell the whole county where you’re firing from, and I was stupid enough to try my friend’s Cossack rifle at night. Couldn’t see a thing after the first shot, and I missed an old washing machine we were using as a target from maybe sixty yards away. (Couldn’t see the big white box for a follow-up shot after that fireball went off in front of my nose.) On the other hand, it’s indestructible so long as you clean up after that filthy, dirt-cheap surplus ammo and if all else fails (and it might) you can always use the butt-end as an effective bludgeon.

    My friend’s got a collection of these (granted the rifle he’s got that I covet is his Winchester M1D) and swears by his ex-Dragoon, but I’d sooner have a Mauser any day of the week. It’s not a bad rifle, per se, but I’d rather have something I can reuse the brass from and that doesn’t hate me nearly as bad as it hates whatever goblin I’m pointing it at.

  43. I had the pleasure of getting my first Mosin a couple of years ago. A fellow Deputy that I work with saw my Crimson Trace lazer on my duty Glock-23. He stated that he would like to have one for his Glock-17. Just so happened I had an extra lazer for a Glock-17 and trade him for the Mosin, bayonet, cleaning kit, and 75 rounds of ammo. The next week a buddy of mine that works for the local Bomb Squad gave me an 50 cal ammo can with 495 round of ammo for free. Later thre same Deputy I had gotten my Mosin from said he had another one with the bayonet an ask me if I wanted to do another trade. I was able to get the other one for 300 rounds of Chinese SKS ammo. I had a bent bolt and scope put on the first one, but bought a second bolt to be cut off because I did not want to cut the bolt with the original serial number on it. I have been using it for deer hunting and have gotten at least one deer for the last three years. I love the fact thats it is very cheap to shoot and been having lots of fun with it.

    • No matter the gun that you end up with, there’s few things I like more than following the trail of trades amongst a firearms community – swap you this laser for that rifle, swap you this rifle for that shotgun, swap you this shotgun’s stock for that ghost ring…

  44. I own a 1933 Tula M91/30.

    If recoil bothers you then get a Limb Saver slip on recoil pad small / medium size.
    The M91/30 is zeroed in at 300 meters with the bayonet on from the arsenal.
    If you take the bayonet off and try and shoot it at 100 yards which is only
    91.44 meters it’s going to shoot high because the front sight post was purposely made short to zero the rifle at 300 meters. Plus the bayonet helps dampen the barrel harmonic / oscillation.

    You can buy a taller sight post or just slip on piece of wire shielding ( 16 gauge ) over the post and re-sight the rifle to 100 meters. If you don’t want or can’t have the bayonet on then what you do is wrap some oiled felt, electrical tape or cork down at the end of the barrel so that it doesn’t touch the wooded stock and top wooden heat shield thus dampening the barrel increasing accuracy.

    If you’re worried about the 5 shot magazine don’t be. There are stripper clips you can use and with some practice you’d be surprised how many rounds you can fire in a minute. This rifle is very capable of putting 5 bullets in a 20′ sized target at 500 meters with or without a scope it just depends how good your eyes are and if you have practiced enough.

  45. I bought a 91/30 with kit in 2011 from a gunstore that had a rack full for $109. I went through and examined several and picked one out. No its not a Enfield. A decent one is a incredible bargain. The gun eithor speaks to you or it doesnt. I find them a much more interesting rifle then many modern rifles. Recoil is quite soft with light ball. The round front sight shroud lends itself to very quick shooting at 7-50 yards. If the target is close you put the circle on it and squeeze the trigger ignoring the post. If its a bit farther go to the post. I cant imagine a better value, investment, insurance or entertainment than $200 for one and a tin of 440. I always have cleaned mine faithfully at the range with a spray bottle of water followed by a bore snake and then spraying it down with barricade with no problems whatsoever. Mine shot a little high so i just removed a little metal from the bottom of the slider of the rear sight. Why mess with the front sight unless it shoots low?

    • I had one in one of my Mosies that let the trigger flop side to side so much it was distracting, and would just fall out when I was cleaning the gun. I got my box of old worn out drill bits out and found one that fit almost too tight. I trimmed it down with a cut off wheel in the Dremel. Perfect!

  46. After wanting a Nagant for awhile I finally grabbed 2 for $150. A 1923 Izhevsk M 91\30 and a sporterized Tula M44. Both are fun shooters, but the Tula surprised me. With surplus ammo and a POS Tasco scope I was able to get 1″ MOA groups from 100 yards. The same accuracy as my Remington 700 30-06 that I just spent 600 for. Wish I would have seen this first. I’m not saying that its better than the 700 but for my main use (hunting) spending $75 for a 1″ MOA gun is fantastic.

    • I have a 1937 tula which was sporterized/bubbarized, carbine, (barrel was cut down to 21″) and the accuracy is reather amazing with cast boolits.

      With milsurp ammo is a all in one rifle, flame thrower and concussion grenade. But very tame with the cast boolits, I can push a 175 grainer right at 2,000 fps without loss of accuracy.

      Got it off my neighbor couple years back for $25.00 and it is my go to fun gun.

  47. Thread Lazerus……The first bolt action that I ever owned was an Izhevsk M44 carbine bought at a gunshow in Colorado. Unissued and cosmoline encrusted it was one of the best memories I had of living in the U.S. I paid about 130 bucks for it including some ammo. I remember living in a little appartment and filling the bathroom sink with coleman white spirit trying to disolve the gunk and my ex wife hitting the roof when she found out what I had bought. One of the many treasures that I had to leave behind when I moved back home. They pretty much seem indestructable and make a great brush gun and if you’re charged by that elusive moster wild boar you can always stick them with the fold out bayonet….LOL

  48. I always tell those who put down the Mosin Nagant to talk to my brother-in-law who was on Hill 51 (or was it 55?) in Vietnam. The gook snipers were taking out our soldiers from 700-1000 yds with scoped 91/30’s and some at 500 yds with iron sights. I have a hex 91/30 I cut down to 22″, recrowned, modified the safety with a pull ring, pillared in a synthetic stock, free floated the barrel and mounted an ATI scope mount bedded in epoxy with a cheap 3-9X32 Simmons scope and the thing will will shoot 2″ groups at 200 yds all day with Wolf ammo. I have taken several deer with it at 150-200 yds with instant drop results. Granted, I did all the work myself w/exception of bolt and safety mods, so my total investment for purchasing the MN and improvements made was less than $350…but the sense of satisfaction and the fact that it out-shoots my Mossberg ATR 270 with a much better scope at 200 yds is priceless. You just gotta appreciate the simplicity, roughed reliability and history of accomplishment that the rifle has. Everything considered, give credit where credit is due.

      • Yes, he didn’t stutter did he? And I’m Asian-American FYI with my father fighting for the CIA in LAOS. YES, the US shouldn’t have been there. But, War is ugly and they’ll always be gooks to me too. Saying ‘Gook’ is like saying ‘Kraut’ when it comes to the Germans. Try telling an old WWII Vet not to call them Krauts and you’ll get your ass handed to you!

        In other news, the M44 is brilliant. God bless the Russians for charging Berlin with this weapon!

        • Not gonna lie, I find the idea of an 80 year old man kicking my ass pretty hilarious.

        • My gut tells me anyone who was disrespectful to any 80 yr old veteran would find plenty of MEN capable of kicking ass backing up that old veteran. My gut also tells me any 80 yr old veteran would kick any disrespectful “dude’s” ass in a battle of the wits.

        • Eagle1USAF says:

          April 17, 2013 at 00:51 “In other news, the M44 is brilliant. God bless the Russians for charging Berlin with this weapon!

          Actually the M44 was not a front line weapon, but was primarily for back in the rear protecting the gear.

      • My apologies for not being politically correct and for offending anyone who was offended by my poor choice of words by referring to the VC as “gooks”. It was years before my bro-in-law shared his experiences of 3 tours in Vietnamnd a he would tell of the horrors he experienced he always referred to the VC as “the gooks”…I guess when experiening such horrors as did, there is no love loss for those who killed your buddies and comrades, so what you refer to them as most likely isn’t PC by today’s liberal standards…It’s like Eagle1USAF said…Try telling a WWII Vet not to call the germans “Krauts” and you’ll have your ass handed to you. My Dad was a B-17 pilot and was shot down over Belguim returning from a bombing mission over Cologne in Dec of ’43…He spent 18 months in a Nazi POW camp before being liberated by the Russians in May of ’45. As children we witnessed him going into a rage one night when Hogan’s Heros TV program came on. It certainly didn’t reflect the true horrors of being a WWII POW…He always referred to the Nazi Germans as “Krauts”…Try telling my bro-in-law not to call the VC “gooks” and he’ll hand you more than your ass “dude”…Veterans of combat at the very least have earned the right to be politically incorrect (by today’s liberal standards) in my opinion. as for me, I regret I never had the opportunity to earn the honor of being a veteran…The Marines turned me down when they discovered my history of bleeding ulcers, even though I lied by omission by not disclosing the fact when I tried to enlist.

        In other news : Thank you Eagle1USAF for your comments and thank you for your service.

        • For the record, it’s nice to see a blog on the INTERNET with the majority of people getting along and acting civil.

        • “White guilt” LMAO
          Love my Mosin 91 30 – Cut barrel to 22″, front sight adapter from Brass Stacker, scope mount (band type) from Jmecks, free floated barrel, sawed and sanded stock – then camo painted and clear coated satin, shimmed action, trigger work (filed, grinded and polished, adjusted/bent sear/trigger spring (trigger pull about 2.5lbs), bent bolt, polished the bore and chamber (no sticky bolt), custom cheek rest and butt pad, 4-12×44 scope. About $375 total in rifle. Did everything but the bent bolt myself, and the rifle shoots around 1 MOA @ 100yds with good soft point ammo. Shoots just about as accurately as any Savage, T/C, Weatherby or Winchester big bore rifle I’ve owned. Plus I get the satisfaction of it being done, from start to finish by me – LOVE IT… PS, got most of the customizing ideas off of YouTube, then tweaked other’s ideas and added many of my own touches. Mosin Nagants can be very accurate rifles, and simply a BLAST to customize.

        • Your family history truly inspires me. God bless your brother and father. As you described your dear dad’s story I couldn’t help but relate him to a Mosin; that is, old, rugged, and badass with an amazing history. Thanks for sharing.

  49. Nice blog.

    I have four of the MN rifles, three Finn M39’s and one $25.00 very well bubbarized, 1937 Tula. One M39 is a 1942 Sako Continuation War veteran, the other two are 1968 No Name’s, which were unissued and like new inside and out. One of the two, has a New England Westinghouse receiver, I am still trying to determine who and where it was accurized, it . The work on it was done very professional, action has been epoxy bedded with pillars and the forestock done like no other I have ever seen. My son-in-law, who is an excellent marksman, has proved this rifle to be of match quality, at 100 yards he can do consistent one hole 3 shot groups with the iron sights using 1983 Russian milsurp ammo.

    Of the four, the 1937 Tula is my absolute favorite, it came as a 21” barreled carbine. Receiver internal machine work I would compare to any high end sporter for quality, action is slick as glass and trigger had a light mouse trap spring to eliminate slop and pull, breaks crisp clean at 2.75 pounds. The rifling is superb and bore slugs at .311”. I use mostly hard cast and gas checked boolits in all four NG rifles, but it is like this Tula and cast boolits were especially made for each other. It came with a lyman ramp front sight and is my $25.00 dedicated truck gun.

    The work I have done on the Tula consists of, removing rear sight and utilizing the existing 12MM dove tail to install a scout scope and fully adjustable aperture ghost ring back up sight, just in case scope should fail afield. I made up a leather cheek riser piece and installed a hard rubber butt stock extender. All in all, have invested a little time and very little money in a rifle that I really like a great deal.

  50. Ammonia and other solutions are not needed, nor desired, for cleaning milsurps after shooting cartridges with corrosive primers .

    As it is the best, I primarily use H2o for cleaning, but sometimes, just plain water.

  51. Seriously, this is the best Mosin review EVER. Spot on, man. Funny, informed and well written. Keep it up!

  52. Have an M44 in the Transfer-flow tool box/50 gallon fuel tank (it locks). It does not go into Mexico with us (Yucatan the last 3 years). With bayonet fixed it does group around 5 cm at 100 m (2″ at 100 m). Greatly appreciated the video on properly utilizing the chargers. Put some lithium grease on the inner lips of the chargers and they work superbly. I patrolled for 8 months as a 173rd LRRP and no on with more than a few patrols called the VC and NVA (PAVN when we deployed as 1/501 PIR to become 4/503 PIR in 1966) anything but Mr. Charles. We got to see them “at home” on movement and while observing base camps. I must admit I prefer my H&K 91 but am not about to leave in the pickup.

    • I know this is off topic, but did you happen to know a grunt named John Berry back when you were with “the herd”? He’s a friend of mine now.

  53. These weapons destroyed the best the germans had to throw at the russians,just like a ak-47 its simple,affordable,indestrutable,and all that adds up to a weapon id be proud to own just for the historical side.

  54. I own a nagant – they are a fine weapon. Or at the very least, they do what a firearm is supposed to do. It will hit your target. Doesn’t matter when it was made, how much it costs, who thinks what about it. Does it hit the intended place you were aiming at…yes. Nuff said.

  55. For all you Mosin Haters out there I have only one thing to say to you. your all a bunch of whinny little girls, I am sooo sick and tired of the BS comments from enfield and mauser owners complaining about how the mosins bolt is not as smooth and a mausers or enfields , who cares? I have seen all the torture tests done on the mosin and every one of those tests concluded that the mosin nagant is nearly indistructable . and are far more reliable than its world war two peers. and so what if its not the prettiest rifle, do you honestly think that your perty little enfield is going to make a damn bit of difference?. I could care less whether the M91/30 Mosin Nagant is the prettiest or the most accurate rifle now or then. I care that its reliability and durability far exceeds that of nearly all modern hunting and many military rifles of today and sures hell beats the crap out of the mauser and fricking enfields. mosins have earned their reputation and deserve your respect, so if you can’t do that then can it , your opinions are crap and not based on historical real world fact.

  56. Hey there James Crandall…Tell us how you really feel !…LOL…I totally agree with you. Although I do respect, admire and love my Mausers and Enfields,I would never put down a Mosin Nagant, evident by my prior post. The action on every Mosin I own is just as smooth as my Mausers and Enfields. I doesn’t take a rocket scientist to figure out how to make them operate smoothly. For all the so called drawbacks of the Mosins, there is a simple and inexpensive solution that only takes a little TLC and patience to correct. As I said once before, ya gotta give credit where credit is due. The Russians held off the Germans with the Mosin during WWII, inflicting some serious damage. It may not be as stylish as the Mausers and Enfields, but it hits what you aim for and if that be a deer, bear, coyote or human its gonna incapacitate them if not kill them. If 1″ groups is what you are after, just don’t take your Mosin to a target match. I’m just finished working on a 91/30 that Bubba had got his mitts on prior to cashing it in at the pawn shop where I found it. The barrel had been cut as well as the stock, but the bore was shiny with strong rifling and no pitting, which amazed me in itself. A little TLC, re-crowning, pillaring the action, installing an adjustable ball-bearing trigger ($15) refinishing the stock and installing a new CNC see-through LER scope mount ($45), which gives you iron sights by replacing the original Mosin rear sight as well as allows you to mount a LER scope and a CNC replacement front sight ($25, silver soldered in place), threaded and silver soldered a CNC muzzle break ($25) and adding a $65 LER scope, I have myself a good SHTF scout rifle for less than $250. I took it to the range yesterday and like my other Mosins, it shot 3″ groups at 200 yds all day with Wolf S.P. ammo. The muzzle brake definitely helped calm down the recoil and it didn’t sound any louder to me. I have another one that shoots 2″ groups at 200 yds that I gave some TLC to for a total investment of less than $250. The satisfaction I get from bringing Bubba’d old warhorses back to a meaningful life is priceless…but the fact that they both out-shoot a new Mossberg 100 ATR .270 tells me my investment in both rifles is not a case of “garbage in, garbage out”… Rugged, reliable, cheap…yes… A waste of money on a piece of junk…Definitely not ! Bottom line is : Mosin Nagants make for a good base to build a inexpensive rifle for hunting and SHTF defense.

  57. I have been wanting one of these for a while, but I just don’t know if I’m ready for one. What would be your number 1 reason for owning a Mosin-Nagant?

    • The trigger only has four parts, and that includes the screw that holds the spring/sear, and the pin that holds the trigger itself. The bolt can be taken apart, cleaned and oiled, and reassembled in moments by a Russian peasant who was just handed the first rifle he’s ever seen. Lastly, It has more potential accuracy than any rifle for it’s cost than any other on the market. Even the one with half it’s numbers struck through and an electro penciled number on the bolt has potential.

  58. My number one reason for owning a Mosin Nagant was reliability . Put simply there really isn’t a rifle that can match the Mosin in this arena. The Mosin Nagant can take anthing you throw at it and keep going. you can see proof of this on youtube, just type Mosin Nagant Torture test in the search window and watch what these men did to try and break there mosin . and they had to go to unbelievable extremes to break it. they tied the rifle to their pickup dragged it at full speed threw streams, mud , gravel. then they slammed the but on several cinder blocks crushing everyone to rubble. then they packed as much pure gun powder in a round and tried to blow up the receiver and THEY COULDN’T DO IT. at the end of the test the mosin was still functioning with only a cracked stock and a stuck bolt. beyond my number one reason, the Mosin Nagant is very accurate, and is capable of bringing down any large game on the continent and yes it can bring down a full sized kodiak bear. and the largest elks or moose. so what are you waiting for, get yourself one two or even three LOL and stock up on ammo, also make sure you use windex to flush out the bores the military surplus ammo is corrosive and can rust the barrel if you don’t clean soon after the rage. this is frankly the Mosin Nagants Kryptonite .

  59. I have a remington mosin naget with the czar stamp; soviet star and north Vietnam. It was captured by a killed VC sniper. It made its way back around the world.

  60. Hey do any of you guys have some good pics of Mosin Nagant bore pics, I would like to see if the rifling on my Mosins are in good shape or on their way to be worn out. I do the bullet test from time to time and the round doesnt show any signs of sinking deeper into the crown , its tight every time. but the lands of the rifling arent as crisp as some other I’ve seen online and the bore is also still shiny. can you guys give me some opinions?

    • If the rifling is really worn at the crown.first get the head space and throat checked. If head space is good and throat erosion isn’t a problem you could get it counter bored. Counter boring is basically drilling some of the rifling out at the muzzle. I’ve bought a Mosin with a 3/4 inch counter bore and it shot as good any other. I had an M1 Garand with a worn muzzle and had it counter bored. The counter bore cleaned the groups upon that rifle too. If the throat is eroded find you another Mosin, but don’t get rid of the old one. It’ll probably be “okay.” Heck, get another one just because they they look good in pairs. Also I suspect they may be herd animals. They seem to herd up in my house anyway. Wish I had a Finn though.

  61. I just bought a Russian made one from Cabelas for $130. I haven’t had a chance to take it out and play yet. But from what I’m reading here, I probably should clean the crap out of it. It did look rather beat to hell. Nevermore I trust its reliability. Question: what would be the best way of cleaning it through and through?

    • Any good solvent from the auto parts store or hardware will do it. I find that naptha or the cheapest paint thinner you can find does a good job. If you have friend in the auto repair business see if he’ll let you use his parts washer. Of course, take all the metal parts out of the stock for the parts washer. The wood usually cleans up pretty good if you put it out in the sun on a hot day, maybe in the trunk of your car. The heat will soak the cosmo right out of the stock. One of mine still leaks a little cosmoline from under rear sight base sometimes. Carry an old t-shirt with you for a while. That stuff makes a mess on you clothes.

  62. Everything this moron said in this artical is false,he is a fucking retard..don’t take anything you just read on this artical to heart.

  63. I now have 7 Mosins. I caught Mosinitis and likely will have it for awhile. I take another approach to the idea that MN’s will never really appreciate in value. Look at price increases lately, first. Second, look at the huge popularity of these rifles. Third, they will go up against practically anything made today of bolt action heritage. Fourth, the huge aftermarket now for the MN. Fifth, real rifles are made of wood and steel!!
    Very reliable and very well built. Sixth, ammo is readily available, and if the surplus dries up, well, there are so many companies making more that it is still cheaper then US made stuff. No, these rifles will accumulate in value. Supplies are not inexhaustable. Oh, eighth, even though i like Mausers, i love that the MN owes NOTHING to the K98 action. Stand-alone durability. So, the very many reasons, including the cheaper price of the rifle, make these desirable. And desirability drives demand. Demand drives supply. And when supplies diminish,…… and demand…

  64. I have owned a Mosin Nagant 91-30 for many years now a New England Westinghouse Hex Receiver I picked up at a gun show over 20 years ago,Is a great shooter,spot on target wise,But after reading your story on them I have to mention that the 762×54 is not a Rim Fire Cartridge,An example of a Rim Fire cartridge is the 22lr,and any other cartridge that is no center fire with a primer is Rim Fire,The R in 7.62x54R stands for Russian.

  65. No…the “R” stands for rimmed…. not “Russian”. You are correct in that it is centerfire as opposed to rimfire but it does indeed have that big rim at the bottom of it’s centerfired case….i.e. “rimmed” as oppossed to “rimless” like most modern cartridges that are designed for auto-loaders.

  66. I bought a 91/30 about a year and a half ago after getting tired of shooting my revolvers and wanting a relatively high powered rifle that was cheap to shoot. I was used to shooting old rifles my father had inherited from his father so I wanted something like them as well. My brothers had snagged them all from Dad years ago.
    Well I have fired about 800 rounds thru the thing and love its brutishness. Going thru 40 to 60 rounds does leave its mark on the shoulder but I can tell you that if I am out in the woods and there is anybody around not in the shooting party they don’t want to be near us… which works just fine with me for their safety. It takes me longer to clean though because I use the cheap corrosive ammo most of the time. The accuracy has been pretty decent at times but erratic due to my lack of knowledge which is shrinking (slowly) and I am looking to add to my collection something more modern and similar power as the mosin (308 or 30-06) but still don’t want to spend massive amounts on ammo so looking to start reloading. I like shooting a lot of rounds with the mosin but putting scope on the mosin or buying a sniper type doesn’t seem like the best route to go. I don’t see an issue using the mosin for a zombie invasion because with 2 or 3 of them with a case of surplus ammo for less than the price of one good modern rifle, the whole family can be part of it and be very effective at 100 yards. I was shooting empty coke cans at about 100 yards and didn’t realize the bullets were going thru the cans without it falling over or even seeming to move till I inspected the cans…that was a first for me.

  67. There is a good reason for the heavy butt-stock and the steel butt-plate. The Soviet troops loved nothing more than joining with the Nazis in the Fritz trenches and fighting with the bayonet, the butt-stock and the shovel. If you are breaking heads with a rifle butt, it needs to be a tough one.

    • A friend purchased one for his son few few years back for Christmas, and they brought it to my house to clean it up. When we removed the butt plate there was a bunch of red hair caught under it. Don’t know if the gobs of cosmoline dyed the hair red or not. It looked like the barrel and action were just shoved into a full barrel of the stuff then put in the stock. I got almost 3/4 of a baby food jar off it.

  68. I have owned about 20 of these over the years, and each have been great shooting rifles. I currently have 8 of them in my collection, and am in the process of gathering the parts needed to build the rifle of my dreams…a 91/30 mounted in an Archangle stock with bipod and scope. I have just the candidate, a 1942 Izhevsk that needs re-blued that I picked up recently for $40.

  69. I have owned 4 mosin’s & I own 1 now. The one I have now is a ” modified” 1942 Izzy. When I bought it, the barrel had been counter bored about six inches and I was getting a 12 inch pattern at 100 yards. I was not real happy, so I “fixed” it. I cut the barrel down to 21 inches, threaded it 14×1 LH (the same threads that are on a AK, seemed kinda appropriate, they are both from Russia.) recrowned it, fitted a 74 style .30 caliber brake to it, added a slip on recoil pad and welded a front sight to the break. It shoots great! 1 to 1 1/2 inches at a hundred yards, iron sights, surplus ball. Down side is that it is LOUD!!!! Also I get a fireball about 1 foot wide & 3 feet long, it has got me kicked out of several indoor ranges. Buy a Mosin, be prepared to do some work to it & enjoy it.

    • Well done sir! That fireball is part of the experience, sad that some folks don’t appreciate it. Don’t know when the surplus will start to dry up but get it while you can. Now have two tins of the Hungarian yellow/silver tip-heavy ball steel core. I don’t know of a more powerful rifle cartridge.

      • Your “Fireball” is also present in U.S. Military 7.62 ammo as well! I pull the military Ball Ammo slug out and replace it with soft nose civilian ammo legal for hunting. Always loose sight of my game temporarily in the fireball, a little closer to my game and it would be roasted!

  70. Looking forward to purchasing my first Mosin. I read all these posts here and am looking forward to it even more so now. I thought of buying just the one, but may have to collect a variety after what I have read here today.

    If anyone has some good leads feel free to reply.

    • Pay yourself 10-15 dollars per week. It’s reasonable. When you save it, by the second or third month you have enough for another Mosin. Something collectible and will only appreciate in value. I have 8 now, mostly refurbs, but most in beautiful condition. Now with all of the aftermarket gadgets available for MN’s, it’s even cool to buy a beater for under $100.00 and trick it out-tactical style, etc. Stocks, sights, scopes, go to youtube.,, and others sell good Mosins.
      I have two with laminated stocks that are beautiful rifles.

  71. I have owned my 91/30 hex for about 2 years and it shoots very well. I found an ATI stock cheeeeeep at a local show and invested in an angled bolt handle. Finally I added a scout scope with one of the cheaper mounts. It seems to hold zero juist fine but it is not the mount you want on a field piece. Mine sits in a case and goes to the range a few times a year….that’s it. One misconception I would like to clear up. I have read and have experienced that rounds must be loaded in proper stager to feed properly. This is a real pain and indicates that there is a “problem” with the weapon. Imagine a Russian in gloves at 20 below punching in a stripper and attempting to set the rounds in proper stagger……..daaaaa. There is a feed “interupter’ in the feed mech that holds the “next” round below the current feeding round allowing it free travel into the chamber. There are several blogs that adress this issue and many pieces do not work properly from the factory. Especially if the stock has ever been replaced. There is a clearance issue that needs to be addressed in the stock. Once you understand the concept fixing it is easy. For the money you can not beat the old Russian weapons…. MN, SKS, AK are just a few examples.

  72. I just read an older article in Shotgun News by Marc Vorobiez that the Russian government is slated to destroy some 16 million weapons. These include AK 47/74’s, SKS’s, and……Mosin Nagants. The figure on the Mosins he quotes is some 4 million. 4 million. That is a huge chunk of current Mosin population in the world, and will naturally make your Mosin(s) more valuable overnight. Must be the Russian Gov’t has not privatized these weapons like the Molot and Ishevsk factories’ huge stocks on hand that those companies have exported. I mean think of it, all they have to do with, say, the AKs and SKSs is to re-do the receivers then export them to the US as all-Russian original weapons. I would get in line. But alas, it appears not to be.

  73. If you set yourself up with a Mosin M44 that’s got a good bore and a clean crown or well-counterbored muzzle, clean up or install a new trigger, and then bed the action in a new ergonomic stock with a floating barrel channel, you get the results that the author got at twice the range. Combine this with a good hand-load and you’re talking a gun that’s realistically lethal at 500 yards with a decent optic.
    Currently grouping 7″ at 500 with my M44 ranch gun. That’s something that’d make Jeff Cooper grin.

  74. I personally have three Nagant variants (and counting) and was frustrated with the scope mounting options–especially since most options require tapping the receiver (no way!) to mount a real scope (not one of those scout scopes with long eye-relief). Since I run a design engineering machine shop, I decided to engineer my own Mosin Nagant M44 full length picatinny rail. I got crowded by people everytime I went to the range asking about my Nagant Picatinny rail mount–so long story short, I decided to start producing them… and voila! Here it is:

    Here’s a short youtube vid:

    • That is very bad-ass and looks great. Good job. I hope you sell a ton of them.
      I just picked up a Vepr Tactical Sniper 7.62x54r today and will be all over that for awhile until I get back to my Mosins.

  75. Cabela’s here in Texas (Buda location) has a sale on these for $150, I’ve been trying to figure out if that is too much. Apparently the glut is drying up a bit and the price has been climbing, but many have told me it should be closer to $100. Any thoughts on that?

    • Just picked up a Mosin Nagant 91/30 at Big 5 Sport Goods for $149 which was on sale (orig. $199). Before the big firearms stockpiling race (“glut”) they were everywhere for about $100 like you said… I really hope people wise up and stop stockpiling guns and ammunition…

    • John I don’t think $150. is a lot to pay for a nice Mosin. The real key I guess is exactly what level of Mosin you buy. I surf the websites and have gotten M91/30’s from Classic, Aim Surplus, etc. But I have three Hex receivers, which typically start at $150. But one is laminated, and I paid $200 for it. But it’s beautiful I think for example, the “grade B” M91/30s you can get at Classic arms are probably worth the asking price $100.00 because as they say, they are “as is.” They hold appeal as collector pieces and come with nicks, bangs, etc. The one I have has a really tight bore. The one I have is from the Molot factory and is not a refurb. Most mosins I have are refurbs, but again, are nice. One of the Hex’s I have arrived with a counter-bored barrel. I forgot to ask the guy I bought it from, but it’s a Tula Hex and otherwise a refurb in nice condition. But those are suppose to me more accurate. Haven’t tried it at range yet. Hope this input helps

      • Yes, Dwight, that was very helpful, thanks! By the time I went by, Cabela’s was out, but you’ve given me some places to look. I’m interested in having one both for the historic interest, and to shoot on semi-regular basis, so I’m looking for good bore/trigger, but I don’t mind cosmetic nicks. I can see I need to do more research to understand the differences and desirables!

        Thanks again!

        • You can order one from Classic. Just pay the little extra for hand select for a good bore and crown. I did that on two and was not disappointed. Everything else on a Mosin is easily tweaked for improvement. See Josh Smiths website, for hints on improvements.

        • I ended up going back to Cabelas some weeks later (2 weeks ago) and they had more in, for $170. With the FFL costs and shipping, I figured it was a wash on price, plus I got to inspect it. Got one I’m very happy with, Izhevsk 1942 and all the parts have matching serials. Nice bore, and a surprisingly good trigger. Shot it last week, sighted very well at 50 and 75 yards without touching the sights, so I am well pleased. Ordered a recoil pad for comfort, but the recoil wasn’t really that bad.

  76. I don’t think $150 is too much for a Mosin now adays. Just make sure the bore is in good shape with good clean rifling. Also, no rust or pitting anywhere on metal. If the trigger is horrible, which most stock Mosin triggers are. Much can be done for no money to greatly improve the trigger. All the info you need regarding Mosin upgrades and customizing is available on YouTube.

  77. The soviets were always good at dying at a higher rate than their enemy to insure victory.

    The idea that the mosin nagant was the key to victory on the eastern front is one that the delusional can entertain. An antique bolt action that goes bang and can hit what it points at

  78. I have over a dozen mosins and a few Finnish mod 39.Lately I’m loading 308 dia bullets over about 14gr of trail boss using prive
    Brass or just pulling the military bullets from surplus brass loading the trail boss powder and shooting .Reason very low recoil and noise I’m 65 + bad shoulder ? Have also had the end of on threaded with 8/24 for suppressor with Trail Boss load the loudest part of shooting it is the firing pin slamming the primer followed by the ding of the steel plate at 100yrds .Buy some now I still remember when mod 98 mousers were $16 and a real nice model 96 swede 6.5×55 were $26 to $30 those days are gone these day will end .just my 2 cents

    • Thanks for the input and advice Justjohn
      Let me weigh in on another opinion about ammo. I have noticed that 7.62x54r surplus is starting to dry up (“spam” cans). I am awaiting my 3rd 440 round tin of Hungarian heavy ball steel core. Not going to shoot much of that. No other heavy ball with steel core out there. So it’s collectible alone. Point is, with the recent Russian/Ukrainian conflict and the useless economic sanctions from the woman at the wite haus, it’s logical to assume we may have seen the last of it. Don’t know. Anyhow, get original ammo while it’s there. It may very well be that as has been said, it will be ammunition that becomes hard to get in coming months and years. I will get back to purchasing more Mosins after satisfying amount of surplus ammo. Just a thought.

  79. My 1927 Izhesvk 91/30 hex is fun. It’s got around 30 stamps on & around the receiver, & I’ve been able to track much of it’s specific journey through books and websites because of those markings. A great piece of history & a great hole-punch. Not every gun is for everyone, but I love it.

  80. I currently have 3 Mosins. A 1934 Tula hex receiver, a 1942 Izzy round, and a Remington/Bannerman that wasn’t converted to 30.06. The Tula has shown such potential that I’ve put a Rocksolid mount on it. I tried the scout mount thing a while back and it really didn’t work for me, I have astigmatism. I could shoot the irons better. The Izzy is okay. I need to tweak it some more, I think. The Remington/Bannerman is shot out but I just can’t let it go. It’s so cool it’ll have a place on my wall for years. In the years I’ve been messing with Mosins I haven’t found another rifle that is as much fun to tinker with. My grandfather was a blacksmith and I guess it’s genetic. Just remember, if you decide to tinker with them, safety is your first concern. Go slow, and keep spare parts on hand in case you over do something. I’m going to order one of Josh Smith’s front sights for my Izzy. That’s the ticket. Some new to make her feel pretty. Still want to find a Finn.

  81. Well, finally got to take my mosin out to play. Winter. Kansas. Maybe 15 degrees out, shooting down by the river. Lol. Fun. I’ve found that the bolt slides almost like oiled glass, ridiculously smooth. All of the serials match, but the trigger feels like a two stage trigger. No pressure halfway back, then click and boom. Despite the cold my friend and I were able to hit light bulbs, pop cans, beer bottles etc. as it was the first time out. I’m hunting for another very soon.

    Question. Given the accuracy vs. the trigger pull. Should I swap out the trigger? All serials match…

    • Andy E, Before you go buying a trigger try a doing trigger job yourself.Smith Sights has some very interesting accuracy information online at Youtube is also a great source though some of the suggestions I’ve seen there are downright dangerous, so be careful what you take from there. The Mosin has such a simple trigger mechanism,only 2 moving parts. They can be greatly improved without spending money. A little wet or dry sandpaper, some metal polish, a little light grease/oil goes along way toimprove them. That said, the Timney trigger is great for $100, and you get a real safety.

  82. As an after thought it kicks less than my 12 gauge Mossberg.very nice.

    I was reading some of the posts just before my last… 150 bucks at Cabelas… Here’s the deal, they were 130 before the holidays. Straight up 130. I got mine in early November. After the holidays, I got an ad saying they were 150….used to be 200. “On sale” which is marketing BS. Thank you WalMart. If you’re worried 150 is too much, shop around. Call gun shops in your area for their prices. But I will say for what you’re getting at 150. Its still cheap. Anything more modern will run 2 or 3 times that. If they are in fact destroying 4 million mosins….BUY THE ONE FOR 150.

  83. Sorry to change the subject:
    Do any of you fine gentlemen know if the current batch of Mosin snipers offererd by AtlanticFirearms are authentic, or faked? I could not get a response to an email I sent to Atlantic over 8 days ago asking very detailed questions. And of course no one is available to answer the phone. Their website has detailed info, but not detailed enough to answer if, for example, rifles are ALL matched to scope base and/or scope, if rifle has serial # on barrel shank, etc. I’ve done searches on this and no one has offered any evidence either way.

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  86. Mosins may not be all that precise with the cheap milsurp ammo, but they take on new levels of precision if you handload. The rifles do shoot straight, and I’ve got an M91/30 that is actually just under MOA with modern Prvi Partizan ammo. Yeah, I got lucky and found a gun that likes that load. Remember, Simo was nailin’ enemy Soviet army troops, with irons, at 400+ meters with his Mosin, out in the woods. Several of those were headshots.

    Also, like M1903A3’s, Mosins are very cast bullet-friendly. That means you can take your handy M44 (or similar) carbine, load it with Ed Harris’s “Universal Load”, and go deer huntin’ with it in the woods. A full-length M91 will do just as well with that load.

    Given their recent popularity here in the good ol’ U-S-of-A, say you’ve got a Mosin with a messed-up barrel. If you want to have a little fun with a project gun, aftermarket barrels from McGowan and such are available. They’ll even do it in 0.308″ so you can use the better bullets found over here like the Hornady A-Max.

    – T

  87. You should learn history detlef by saying Russia lose the war me by they have crapy rifles but for some reson they end up in USA and people enjoying them . If you say usa won’t the war check the date when usa joking the ww2

  88. Nice write up if a bit condescending. I enjoyed the tongue in cheek remarks. But, I want to disagree with a few points, one strongly.
    Collectibility. To many take a look a Mosin and figure it automatically =$0. No automatically so. There are many variations of these rifles. Sometimes, and as is so often the case in collecting milsurp rifles, a marking can be the difference between cheap and valuable, sometimes VERY valuable. Before tampering with any old gun (or anything for that matter) know what you have! I am a moderator collector’s forum site and have very often seen valuable guns RUINed in ignorance. There was a fellow that came and posted that he had scrubbed and cleaned the stock of his Civil War Spencer carbine and what should he do next. All I could tell him was “cry.” You the picture. Of course, I once paid $97 for a Finn M28 because a pawn shop owner thought all Mosins were cheap 91/30s. (:>D
    As for the safety, the image shown is part of your problem. Wrong technique. Get your first and second fingers over the knob, pull back and twist. It works pretty well. At least you KNEW the gun has a safety. Many will tell you it doesn’t.

  89. One more thing, re cleaning. You wrote; “Another crucial tip: corrosive primers require you to give the rifle a quick cleaning with Windex or another ammonia-based cleaner promptly after shooting…”
    That is a myth. Oh, it won’t HURT anything. But the crucial element is water. Just plain old H2O. Nothing more is needed to dissolve the corrosive salts from the primers. Ammonia is good for copper fouling but there’s nowhere near enough in blue window cleaners to do for that and ammonia has nothing to do with it. Myself, I like a formula of dawn dish soap and water. The soap removes the carbon fouling very well.

    • Question for all Mosin lovers who may know:
      Having purchased two Ishevsk Mosin snipers from Classic, I am stumped by this… Each rifle is stamped with a “C” within a circle, along with the usual markings, serials, etc. Only Ishevsk Snipers are apparently stamped with that. We all know the Tula’s are “CH”
      Why do most “experts” (including the official sites on Mosins) only ever acknowledge Tula CH sniper markings, but not Ishevsk C marks?? I only ever found one blog where a guy with an Ishevsk sniper commented that they all have that. Again, it is clear that Ishevsk DID mark their snipers with a “C” inside a half circle as ID.

  90. My Marines purchased a Mosin Nagant M44 for me as a parting gift and I guess I was blessed because my rifle can hit 1″ groups at 300 yards. I have never had a more accurate rifle as this Lil guy! Kicks like a mule, but gets the job done. SEMPER FI!

    • You didn’t say what ammo you were using. I have a Tula 1934 91/30 that will shoot 2 inch groups at 200 yds with 1971 Russian surplus. I’ve shot some Privi match that brought it down to less than 1 inch in that same 200 yds. This is with a Rock Solid Ind. mount, and 4-9 BSA scope. I sure would like to know what you were running down that barrel.

  91. And now it’s time for two cents from the peanut gallery!
    Those of you looking to get a scope mount, please be aware of the Brass Stacker scope mount. Having run around half or 2/3 of a spam can through this gun using the Brass Stacker mount and an NCStar pistol scope, I can say it’s plenty durable. It requires no drilling or tapping, and it even mounts in such a way that your stock ironsights are still usable if SHTF whilst scoping zombies from 500 yards away.

  92. Dear Sirs;
    I enjoyed the article and the comments regarding Mosin Nagant Rifles.
    I purchased one and haven’t fired it yet. Still learning the weapon .
    Can someone explain how to use the rear sight ? I’m not familiar with that type of sight.
    Also, what holds the front sight in place?

    Tom Mercure

    • Unless you’ve found a dragoon, or foreign contract Mosin, the rear sight is a simple notched blade. The numbered graduation on 91/30 Mosins is in meters. Earlier rifles were numbered in arshins, an obscure Russian measurement equal to, I believe, about 27 inches. Since most Mosins have been re-arsenaled You rear sight is probably in meters. You simply squeeze the pads on each side, and slide it to whatever yardage you’re shooting at. Anything 200 meters, and under just use the lowest setting. In fact most Mosins shoot 8-12 inches high at 100 yds. That has something to do with how the Russian army trained their soldiers to shoot.

      The front sight is simply “drifted” into a dovetail notch in the top of the barrel. It can be adjusted by drifting, or using a special front sight tool, or making a tool to do it. I use a small padded vise, and some little pieces I made to fit on the vise.

      Elevation adjustment can be done by using heat shrink, and adding height to the front sight.

      Adjustment on the front sight should be toward the point of impact. In other words, if your shot hits high you need to raise the front sight. If your shot hits to the right you need to move the sight to the right. If it’s to the left, go left. These are done in really tiny little increments. A thousandth of inch at your front sight might be a foot at 100 meters. has elevation adjustable front sights for your Mosin. Windage adjustment tools are available on line, but aren’t cheap. I did my first windage adjustments on a Mosin using a Visegrip, and little pieces of shim stock. (AKA old steel cases cut with a Dremel tool.) I’ve also used pieces of trimmed electrical wire. It’s a trial, and error/hit, or miss proposition. But, it works.

      I’ve had a few Mosins over the years. My first one I paid $60 dollars for. The price has risen sharply in the last few years. For a few years I bought Mosins, cleaned them up, did some fine tuning on them, and gave them to family members for Christmas presents. They were that inexpensive. All the Mosins I’ve had were “decent” shooters. Three have been exceptional. One I’m working right now has a Rock Solid scope mount on it, and is shooting very well out to 200 meters, using Privi Partisan HPBT Match ammo.

      I’ll keep messing with Mosins until the ammo, or money runs out. They’re fine rifles for the money.

  93. Here’s how to spot a fake Mosin PU sniper:
    1. Year of production other than 1942-1944 (a few 1945 are rare).
    2. Caliber outside the 7.62-7.64 mm range.
    3. Rough finish, receiver not machined outside. Most sniper rifles were specially produced by highly skilled workers, and following pre-war standards, not selected from mass production as some believe.
    4. Frivolous scope number on the left side of the barrel shank. The number of the original scope is usually stricken out. PU scopes were produced at 5 different factories, each with their own numbering system.
    5. Bolt handle welded on or not one piece of metal with the body.
    6. No dent on the lower surface of the bolt handle stem where it is bent.
    7. Old style factory markings on the bolt (Sestroretsk arrow, Izhevsk bow, or Tula hammer).
    8. Scope mount precision cast (not milled), with smooth surface and indistinct markings.
    9. Vertical adjustment screws of the mount are not pinned.

    • Yeah. I wonder too. For a long time you saw them from $80-$90. But, those days seem to be gone. I haven’t seen one locally for less than $160.00 in maybe 3 years. The one I paid $60.00 for was probably the worst one I ever bought, but even it shot well after some tuning.

  94. I picked up a matching serial 1940 Izhevsk 91/30, back last November at a gun shop, $325 (it was the only one I could find in the state, I almost went online). Bore’s excellent, bolt’s a little tough on close, but it’s a very sound rifle. I went to the range the next month with it, shot TulAmmo 148gr FMJ, 40 rounds with only 1 stick, and that was the 40th round. Albeit, couldn’t lift my arm above my shoulder bout an hour after I left, but it’s a great shooting rifle. Picked up some match grade USSR 182gr FMJ from 1971 ammo at a gun show, thankfully I knew someone who read Cyrillic that decoded the text, so there’s hopefully some reloading data. There may be SOME bad apples per crate, but then there can be pristine ol’ Nuggets. While hunting across the state for a Mosin, called a couple shops, missed a Finnish capture by a couple days (dammit, my luck sucks), almost mistook a Carcano for a Mosin, others simply haven’t gotten them in since the US-Russia sanction. When I called the shop that had the Mosin I’d eventually come home with, I was expecting a “No, just sold one a couple days ago”, or a “Sorry, haven’t gotten them in for awhile”, but when the guy over the phone said “We’ve got one in stock”, my pulse immediately went up 10 BPM. After a friendly conversation followed by a 45 minute drive, looked it over and bought it. Came with a sling and a clip pouch, it was a good deal. I’ll never modify it in any way, MAYBE glass bed it.

  95. One Mosin Nagant is a curiosity not a SHTF gun. A crate of Mosin Nagants on the other hand is a SHTF arm your whole neighborhood gun. You can still in 2016 buy whole crates of these at a time for very reasonable prices.

  96. Butt ugly, fires rimmed cartridges, least ergonomic rifle ever made and the weapon of America’s enemies. All you sycophant Moyzin fanboys need to quickly find the nearest Democrat buy back program and dump those POS things as fast as your little footys can get you there. Seriously?? Moyzins? ROTFLMAO!!

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  104. Very well done.
    I picked mine up for $100 years ago and 2 tuna cans of ammo. Total was $300.
    I have since upgraded the stock to an ArchAngel style to mitigate the recoil.
    I had it tapped for a scope and had the bolt turned down and swept
    Back slightly.
    I had a cheap 5-25x scope on it for awhile.
    Then I ruined the barrel while cleaning. A buddy said I had to use ammonia to get the corrosive primer residue out. But I got distracted and walked away. Now the barrel looks like an ocean scene inside.
    But with hundreds of rounds of ammo it back to doing an upgrade.
    Took it to my gunsmith for a new #4 barrel 27” threaded SS barrel with 1/10 twist. Upgrading the trigger to a timney 2# trigger and a new coating overall.
    My new Vortex Venom 5-25x56FFP scope (
    It’s not going to be my best rifle but it will be one of my more capable long range guns.
    I am in my mid 50s with 2 new knees so I am not a door kicker or runner. I am more of a stand off shooter and take out Zombies from a terrain feature away.
    Email me and I will send you pictures when I get it back.


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