How I Fell In Love With My Mosin-Nagant Rifle

Mosin-Nagant rifle

Sara Tipton for TTAG

I have to come clean: I was exclusively a “new gun” girl until looking at photos of some of the more historical guns out there. But the one that caught my eye was the Mosin-Nagant 91/30. It just seemed to call to me. It wasn’t like I intended to fall in love with this old, kinda-beat-up rifle. But I did. My dad and I messed around with it, removing and replacing the bayonet.


Sara Tipton for TTAG

I fell in love with its look and that smell…Cosmoline. I couldn’t bring myself to wipe it all off. Now my Mosin is almost like a decorative piece in my home. It now rests in a corner in my bedroom so that I can see it every day.

Mosin-Nagant rifle

Sara Tipton for TTAG

That may seem odd, but this gun truly made me realize how older guns can change a person’s mentality. Once I got over how beautifully ugly the old Russian rifle is, I thought I should probably shoot it. I’d heard plenty of horror stories about women shooting Mosins. But I honestly don’t put a lot of stock in others’ opinions of things like recoil because it’s so subjective.

I can take recoil better than a woman weighing 100 lbs. more than me. It’s all in how you hold your gun.

So when I say this gun “kicks like a mule,” I mean it. It is intense. Yet it’s still a gun I look forward to shooting and while I haven’t put 1000 rounds through mine yet, I definitely can say that it will go with me to the range every time I do.

Mosin-Nagant 91/30

Sara Tipton for TTAG

After firing the rifle, I needed to learn to disassemble and reassemble that bolt. Not because I thought it needed work, but to properly clean it and just to say I did it. After watching several Youtube videos, the breakdown is pretty easy. The hard part was getting it all back together. At least at first.

Now I laugh at myself still thinking about my struggles and the frustration of attempting to reassemble that thing, but once I did, my satisfaction (and infatuation) was complete. I had officially fallen in love with my Mosin-Nagant.

Rest assured that my Mosin will never have an Archangel stock on it. It will remain in its beautiful, original condition, the way Sergei Mosin, Leon Nagant and God intended.

I’ve actually been changed by this gun, having developed a new-found respect for historical firearms. No matter how hard they may kick.


  1. avatar Gordon Wagner says:

    It’s satisfying to get your Mosin cleaned and polished to the point where the action is as smooth as butter.

    1. avatar B says:

      My T53 the bolt slides like its on ball bearings. My 1923 all matching (but counterbored) Hex doesn’t shoot as well, plus the bolt is sticky on extraction. I’ve taken it apart tons of times and mineral spirited the crap out of it, but no go. Its pretty much a safe queen now while my pepper Boyd’ed up free floated FDE duracoated T53 gets most of the shooting. Its actually my favorite rifle. The crunchy oily sounds of a Mosin bolt feeding, extracting, and cycling are magic.

      1. avatar JWM says:

        Put a shotgun brass bore brush in a power drill. Put cleaner in the chamber of your sticky bolt mosin. Run brush on low speed setting on drill. Bet it’ll clean up your sticky bolt.

        1. avatar Dry Sider says:

          The brush, a cordless drill, and a little **FINE** valve lapping compound. Worked like a dream for me.

        2. avatar The Trouble with Timbo says:

          This^^ and lube with graphite.

    2. avatar Mighty Mo says:

      My 1936 edition came smooth as butter right out of the crate. I’ve had the bolt on my 700 fluted, polished, and have cycled it about 1,000 times but, I can’t imagine it ever getting as smooth as my Mosin.

      1. avatar Jeff says:

        ’33 Tula hex here. It’s my only Mosin, at some point I figured I needed to have one and found a nice bore example in a pawn shop for $100.

        Always heard about how tough Mosins are, but this one has a bolt that slides and locks up smooth as glass, and the trigger is almost as nice as my K31.

        I’m glad I lucked out. if they were all like this, the rifle would have a totally different reputation.

        1. avatar Stinkeye says:

          If they were all like that, they wouldn’t cost just $100… 😉

  2. avatar Tom W. says:

    Congratulations! You have the ol’ war horse in the stable. Be careful, Moisin’s can be like rabbits and multiply. I know first hand. That Hex is nice, or that Carbine is nice, or that Finnish one is sweet, etc,..

    Than it was German K98’s, and a K31, than Argentine Mausers, than the ultimate,,,,

    A CMP Garand.

    Based on the increased prices for all the old war horse rifles and carbines, I’d say you’ve jumped in with both feet!
    Enjoy it!

  3. avatar SteveInCO says:

    A number of years ago I chased a Tsarist vintage Mosin Nagant (i.e., it wouldn’t have been a 91/30) and never did find one at a price I could justify paying under my (then) circumstances.

    1. avatar MIkeP says:

      Cabela’s around here had a 1916 that was not converted to 91/30 for a fair price. Was on the rack for about two weeks, and still kick myself for not getting it. Price wasn’t too bad, even with the big box markup. Screw-on bands, old Arshin sights and everything…

  4. avatar Farmer Tyler says:

    The post war carbines of the Warsaw Pact are fun to hunt down.
    Got them all except a damn Bulgarian.

  5. avatar PeterC says:

    It’s the Anthony Quinn of rifles.

    1. avatar Mk10108 says:

      Well said

  6. avatar Mosin says:

    Soooo HOT! I

    I see the one you’re holding has a bent bolt- ATI? Sniper bolt?

    I hope your significant other appreciates what a rarity you are!

  7. avatar Ralph says:

    ‘Cause nothing lasts forever like old Fords and a natural stone — and a Mosin rifle.

    1. avatar Geoff PR says:

      Add old airplanes to that list.

      (Inhaling…) Ahhhhhhh… 🙂

  8. avatar JWM says:

    Mosins. Everybody should own one. Or three. The recoil is real on any of these old war horses. They can bring down an elephant even though they’re not ideal for the job. I put a recoil pad on mine that served to help the kick and give a better LOP. I’m 6’1 and that short stock needs help.

    I corked the barrel and the action on mine and opened the rear sight with a file and put white nail polish on the front. It’s a 38 izzie and doesn’t do half bad.

  9. avatar actionphysicalman says:

    I am envious. All of my guns (all 2) are soulless things – the preprogrammed electronic disco of guns. I have a sword that I love though, and it will have to do until I am done buying the guns that are just the tools that I think I may possibly need and get on to guns that I can have affection for.

    1. avatar neiowa says:

      Get an Enfield.

  10. avatar stykusfykus says:

    As far a pure looks go, I think the Mosin is one of the more elegant of the world war rifles. Its not till you take it apart that you notice how crude it is, but it works!

  11. avatar Anaxis says:

    Now that Mosinitis has set in, a good way to keep the symptoms under control is to hang out with fellow sufferers at If you love Mosins, it’s the best place to learn *everything* there is to know about them. Don’t mind the purists, but you’ll probably fit right in since you love the smell of cosmoline.
    Welcome to the sickness, Sarah. It won’t be long before a Finnish M39 finds it’s way into your collection. 😉

  12. avatar Matt in SC says:

    Picked up my 1st Mosin Friday. 1934 hex Izzy. Can’t wait to get it cleaned up and out to the range. I’ve always been interested in old battle rifles but just recently started acquiring some.

    1. avatar Sara T. says:

      My mosin is a 1944. 🙂

      1. avatar Tile floor says:

        Mines a 1927 and its firmly on my “will never sell” list

  13. avatar brian p says:

    I dont think mosins kick hard at all theyre actually rather gentle i havent shot a carbine but the rifle length is very comfortable for me. But also like 6’3 235 pounds so…

    1. avatar B says:

      They don’t kick hard at all compared to a 12 gauge or a 450 Bushmaster AR. Still a nice “real” kick to them though.

      1. avatar Cloudbuster says:

        That was my frame of reference — less kick than a 12 gauge. But in any case I added a slide-on shotgun rubber recoil pad, because that steel butt strap is a bit harsh. That also serves to increase the length of pull a bit which I like. With that, it’s extremely comfortable to shoot.

    2. avatar Sara T. says:

      Recoil is subjective. It’s all in your perception of “force” against the body. Mine kicks harder than my 12 ga Benelli Supernova.

      1. avatar JWM says:

        When I fire a shotgun I’m usually in a standing position. When I fire my mosin it’s usually from a seated position and normally, this is CA, I’m wearing light and thin clothes. With anything other than slugs my shotgun “seems” to kick less than my mosin.

        Neither gun kicks hard enough to be a problem for any but novices.

  14. avatar Indiana Tom says:

    My wife actually likes this rifle. I do have to say that the Mosin is actually a very good looking rifle.

  15. avatar tom w a glock says:

    Mine’s a 1928 hex Izzy. I like it a lot. Makes me want to fix bayonet and run the bayonet course. Funny how just right the rifle feels. Yes, other old battle rifles are calling to me… mosin! The tv show “life below zero” has a female native american who brings down caribou with a mosin.

  16. avatar Gov. William J. Le Petomane says:

    I haven’t jumped on the Mosin bandwagon yet, but a couple decades ago I picked up a Long Branch Lee-Enfield when they were going for $100 (including several boxes of 50 year old ammo). I’d like to get into collecting, but every time I have some money burning a hole in my pocket I find another modern firearm I think I need to have. Anyway, the real appeal to me is holding a relic in your hand and then reading up on the history of the weapon and the men who used them.

    1. avatar Milsurp Collector says:

      Dings, scratches, and worn finish are appealing to me, especially on pistols and their holsters. I’ll buy the occasional safe queen, but all my shooter warhorses must have some character. Once read a post on a gun forum; guy bought an RC K98k that had five or so crude marks in the right side of the stock. His face went pale when he realized that his Mosin bayonet fit into those dents perfectly. Crazy stories like that are why I love guns with a battle hardened look. Bonus points for verified bring-backs.

      1. avatar Gov. William J. Le Petomane says:

        Dings and scratches are fine, but if it looks like it did when it was first issued that’s fine too.

        The history is fascinating with all of these arms. For instance, in the (all volunteer) British Army, soldiers were expected to be able to hit a 12″ target at 300 yards 15 times in a minute. With open sights. I read about a sergeant who in 1914 set a record by hitting the target 38 times in one minute. The Lee-Enfields had a 10 round detachable magazine, but back then were fed by 8 round stripper clips. That’s 4 reloads in one minute. Needless to say, the Kaiser’s troops were quite impressed (and irritated).

        I’m also interested in collecting early 20th century DA revolvers since back in the prohibition days this was a revolver country. That whole era, the 2 world wars and the period between, is the most fascinating era in history IMHO.

        1. avatar 16V says:

          ‘The Mad Minute’ indeed…

        2. avatar Gov. William J. Le Petomane says:

          Ah yes, the name escaped me. Thanks.

  17. avatar Milsurp Collector says:

    The 1938 Tula I had for two years failed chamber a round right out of the box because the bolt face was improperly cut; way to go Ivan. One new bolt head, corked action, and trigger job later the thing still shot minute of torso groups. I was fed up and unless I stumble upon a Finnish M39 for a steal of a price, I’ll probably never buy another. I recommend Mosins to people who want something cheap to shoot for cheap and highlight the fact that it really is a no frills deal and some DIY gunsmithing may be required.

    1. avatar 16V says:

      I have a dozen Mosins, they all hit beer cans at 100M with open sights. No mods done to any. YMMV.

    2. avatar Kevin says:

      Have you thought about trying a shim kit? That is how the Finns accurized their mosins.

      iraqveteran8888 also has a video on glass bedding mosins on youtube.

      Both options are inexpensive to do and might be worth the effort.

  18. avatar fteter says:

    Have two Mosin Nagants myself: an M44 and a 91/30 sniper repro. Other than a forced match on the M44 magazine, all matching numbers, in original stocks. Would not have ’em any other way.

    Simple, elegantly designed, historically-rich rifles. And, as you pointed out, pretty decent shooters. Welcome to the Mosin fan club. And keep in mind that Mosins are like Lay’s potato chips: nobody can have just one 😉

  19. avatar Phil LA says:

    I love my mosin. But my new range doesn’t approve of FMJ, so it now gathers dust. But it’s a sleeping giant and will one day return to its place as #1 on range days.

    1. avatar Geoff PR says:

      Are hardcast lead bullets an option on a Mosin?

      1. avatar Anaxis says:

        It’s nice to see so many fans of the Mosin here. But I wonder how long before someone suggests fitting a monte carlo stock & mounting a scout-scope on one.
        I once traded a pair of marine-binos for a M38 that was molested by a previous owner, after stripping off the deck varnish and getting rid of the cheap bent-bolt, it was a very handy truck-rifle.
        The Mosin Nagant carbine; if you want to deafen & blind a target, blast a bowling-ball-sized hole in it, and then set it on fire…. accept no substitutes.

  20. avatar Tom W. says:

    Always remember, get spam cans now. They are just fine in sealed green cans with Eastern Bloc markings. A sealed spam can, is a happy spam can. Kinda like keeping your powder dry type thingy.

    And always, always!!!, remember Obi Won Kenobi timeless words:
    “A more elegant weapon from a bygone age.”

    They will always work. Heck, you can bayonet zombies from across the street with that big pointy flat head. Point is get ammo. The rifle will shoot it. Get some Flitz, slick it up, Jewelers Rouge, whatever, and some hunting rds, anything that walks or crawls in N. America is capable with a Moisin. Shooting 40+ year old Eastern Bloc ammo without a hitch?

  21. avatar Grindstone says:

    I still can’t get my wife to shoot ours.

    1. avatar Tom W. says:

      If it puts meat in the freezer or on the table. It only takes one rd.

      Most shoot six o’clock low at 100yds. On an NRA standard rifle target.
      They were, depending on pre-war, post-war, bedded for 200yd zero with bayonet attached. (Think Enemy At The Gate). First man got rifle, second man got ammo. Hard times, but solid rifles with a thumping round.

  22. avatar Evan says:

    I love my mosin and all my milsurps. Not sure why but there is a certain badassitutde to a mosin that the other milsurps just don’t have. I shoot it for that big kick it has. I honestly love big kicking guns way more than those 5.56 rifles. It makes it feel like a real mans gun. I honestly want to get a mosin carbine or a M95 styer just for that big mule kick when they fire. Just love it!

    1. avatar Stinkeye says:

      I agree that the Mosin-Nagant feels more badass than other bolt-action military rifles of its era, but the Garand has to be the baddest ass of them all. Yanking around on a bolt and playing with stripper clips is fine, but nothing beats BANG-BANG-BANG-BANG-BANG-BANG-BANG-BANG-PING!

  23. avatar S.CROCK says:

    I am late to the Mosin game. I haven’t had Mosin fever for very long but it is a bad case of it. A Mosin Nagant has been on my long list for a while but it is now on my must have buy on site list. Only three weeks or so ago did I start seriously start looking and I have called my 5 LGS’s to no avail. Checked my online shops, all out of stock as well. The only thing I have found is a bunch of poor condition over priced ones on that with shipping and ffl would be over $300.

    If anyone has any advice on getting one for under $250 (in so cal) it would be much appreciated.

      1. avatar S.CROCK says:

        Awesome, thanks for the link! Have you personally or known anyone who has ordered from SOG before?

        1. avatar Stinkeye says:

          I have a C&R license, and I’ve ordered from them 3-4 times in the past couple years. My last order was a couple of Chinese T53’s (the Chinese version of the Mosin M44 carbine). Everything I’ve ordered from them has more or less matched the description on the website. If it says it’s in Good/Very Good/Excellent/whatever condition, that’s pretty much what I’ve received. I’ve never paid the extra fee for handpick from them, so I can’t say if that’s worth it, but from most vendors that usually does get you a little bit nicer-looking specimen.

    1. avatar Dave says:

      If you’ve got a Gander Mountain or Dunham’s near you, they frequently have Mosins in stock. Not sure if you can order one online & have it transferred to a store near you.

    2. avatar vv ind says:


    3. avatar Sea Jae says:

      Tried Big 5? They usually go for $180 there, n seen em at Turners for $129.99, w/o accessories though… Good luck!

      1. avatar S.CROCK says:

        Oh yea tried big5 and Turners Outdoorsman. Both kinda chuckled at me and said they haven’t gotten a Mosin in months.

  24. avatar Jim says:

    Got a 1934 hex receiver model myself, my uncle gave it to me when I graduated high school. I love the damn thing, the way it just feels ‘right’ when I shoulder it. The bolt being cycled sounds so brutal compared to a 700 or anything comparable.

  25. avatar Mark N. says:

    As I recall, these all sold for around a hundred dollars just ten years ago, but those prices seem to have vanished despite supply remaining adequate. My only experience with one to date was someone shooting it at my local indoor 25 yd shooting range. Fortunately (it was LOUD), they did not shoot too many rounds before they’d had enough recoil for one day.
    What is “corking”?

    1. avatar Stinkeye says:

      Corking is putting a thin piece of cork between the barrel and the very front of the stock. It sometimes improves accuracy.

      And don’t forget inflation when comparing prices today to prices yesterday. A hundred bucks ten years ago had the same buying power that $130 or so buys today. So the recent price hikes aren’t quite as extreme as they seem at first glance.

  26. avatar Rusty Chains says:

    My Finnish Nagant is one of my favorites. People fuss about how heavy the Mosin tighter is, but mine has the lightest trigger of any gun I ever purchased at 1 lb 14 Oz per my trigger scale. I guess some patient Finn took the time and effort to get it that smooth and light. Just a really fun gun to shoot!

    1. avatar 16V says:

      Finnish or Finnish Capture?

      1. avatar JWM says:

        The Finns never manufactered a MN reciever. They did barrels and stocks but virtually all their various models were based on Russian recievers either taken from the russians at independence or “aquired” afterwards. Some of their barrels were made under contract by other countries.

        1. avatar 16V says:

          Very good to see someone else knows the history. It’s just common parlance in the MN world (that I know) to segregate them as Finn or Capture when talking about a Finnish Mosins.

          Most of the Finn arsenal guns were built on receivers/guns they purchased on the open market post WWI. They are almost always more accurate than a Russian gun. Shocking, I know.

  27. avatar Gatha58 says:

    I had an American Enfield 30-06 when I was younger. Ordered it and had it mailed to my home when that was still possible and normal. It was a military type rifle with a full wood stock. Cut down the stock for hunting and found out why the wood went so far up the barrel when I burned the heck out of my hand after shooting quite a few rounds and grabbing the barrel, like an idiot. Not sure what ever happened to that rifle. Think my older brother sold it or traded it when my back was turned. Was a nice gun though and I have fond memories of it.

  28. avatar marvin2584 says:

    These are on my short list. I love the idea of having a piece of history in my collection. I will be adding one soon.

  29. avatar Mike says:

    I don’t have a Mosin, but I do have an SKS and recently picked up an M48 Mauser that I’m working on at the moment (cracked wrist).

    Funny thing is my ex is fairly new to guns (yea, I guess I got her into them 🙂 – initially didn’t want an AR, now wants her own after shooting mine, etc. The first couple times she shot the SKS she complained about the recoil a bit, but quickly warmed up to it that now she wants an SKS of her own.

    Don’t think she’ll want a Mauser or Mosin, though – she doesn’t like hard recoil (she shot my 12 gauge with Aguila mini shells once and that was enough. Was practically going crazy after I had her put her hand on my shoulder and I let off a 3″ Winchester Super-X 00-buck to get an idea of the difference in recoil).

  30. avatar Fuque says:

    LOVE my mosin, fun, and cheap to shoot… Brian Williams was tooled up with one and shooting back when his chopper took that hit.

  31. avatar arsh says:

    Can’t say I agree with them kicking like a mule. There’s enough bang but I’ve never had much of an issue until around 40 rounds through it. Even then about 10 min later my shoulder feels normal.

  32. avatar JJ48 says:

    Your bayonet fits on yours?! Lucky!!

  33. avatar Timmy! says:

    Hi, I’m Timmy and I’m a bullpup-a-holic.

    When I saw the “Center Balanced Systems” website ( ), I knew I had to build a bullpup Mosin Nagant. I found one with beat up furniture and went for it. I now have a very unique “reach out and touch someone” rifle which actually fits in my gun case… it takes up three spots, but it fits!

    1. avatar Stinkeye says:

      Interesting idea, but it seems to me like a bullpup boltie would be awkward as hell to cycle with the rifle shouldered. Is it?

      1. avatar Timmy! says:

        Well, I saw a thing about a “left handed” bolt… here on TTAG I believe. It was basically a REALLY bent handle which essentially pointed to the left over the top of the bolt. To cycle, one pushes it down then back. I thought, “I can make something like that!” I took the straight handle, cut it off at a 45 degree angle and welded it back pointing straight up. Now I just grab that, pull it to the left, cycle the bolt, and shove it back to the right. Works a treat.

  34. avatar PeterK says:

    I miss mine. Shouldn’t have sold it, sigh…

  35. avatar Old Ben turning in grave says:

    I remember reading a bit of dialogue in a book (just can’t remember which one) about shooting a 12 gauge shotgun: It’s like sex. If it hurts you’re not doing it right.

  36. avatar IdahoPete says:

    Now think about moving on to a higher and more profound level … the M-1 Garand. With a bayonet, of course.

  37. avatar Yellow Devil says:

    I find firing my Mosin off the bench has less perceived recoil than firing it supported. It’s weird and it only the case with that rifle.

    1. avatar Bartholomew says:

      Confirmed! My 78 years old MN91/30 kicks much stronger when firing supported.
      I was completely amazed when 15 shots in 1min10 seconds (standing stance, no support) at 100m target did not stamp my shoulder with purple marks 🙂

      I call my rifle “grandfather Bolshevik”.

      Best regards to all Mosin owners.
      Stay safe!

      Excuse my poor english 🙂

  38. avatar Johnny B Goode says:

    I do not understand why people complain about the recoil of a 91/30. The 7.62x54r cartridge creates about the same amount of recoil as a 12ga 1oz field load you would shoot skeet with. On top of the light recoiling cartridge you are shooting 10 lb gun. I do not know if people who have recoil issues failed to install a recoil pad on the 91/30’s short stock. I can say this much if the gun doesn’t fit your body it is going to hurt.

  39. avatar John says:

    I enjoy shooting mine – I put a simple slip-on recoil pad on it and it’s good to go. ’43, same age as my dad, matched serials, and actually a pretty good trigger.

    The only thing I might do to it is get one of the scout scope rails so I can mount an optic, since my aging eyes have a tough time with iron sights at range.

  40. avatar Pete Zaitcev says:

    I think I got the worst of them all – the mysterious 91/59 cut-down. Being short, it’s pretty unpleasant to shoot, but it is a Mosin everyone must have. What I’d really love to find though is an original Bannerman conversion.

  41. avatar ProdigalSon says:

    I don’t miss my Mosin. It got replaced with a Swedish Mauser. Now THAT’s a beautiful gun. In many ways, though, it’s similar to a Mosin. Long barrel (29″), slim profile, low, square sights… I did like the look of the Mosin, I just didn’t like the trigger or the bolt. The Swede has a good trigger and a ridiculously smooth bolt, and looks even better.

  42. avatar Wabatuckian says:

    You all need to check out the Smith-Sights products at .

  43. avatar Joseph says:

    Purchased a Mosin from Cabelas two weeks ago. Izzy round receiver-no date mark, probably 1941or 1942. Took it apart and put it back together. Heard about the recoil. First shot at the range shocked me. It kicked like an old Russian Mule.

    Shot 30 rounds and shoulder took notice, but I was fine 10 minutes later. Fun shooter with a very smooth bolt. Just used CLP and the bolt cycles very well. Better running bolt than I have seen in several UTube channel videos.

    The thing is, my wife digs how excited I am about learning about the gun that she offered to buy me a hex receiver rifle. Could not believe it. I used to look at old battle rifles and think, “Good luck” suckers, but now I know that I missed a lot of years shooting these old but majestic type guns. And the recoil, that is just the price of admission.

  44. avatar Joejoe says:

    I purchased 2 Mosin Nagants from a big box store in 2010. One for me and one for my dad. Got them all cleaned up and bought some original Russian slings on eBay and we went shooting and had a blast! The recoil is pretty stiff but not unmanageable. Sighting them in was kind of a challenge. Windage was easy, elevation not so much. For some reason they were both shooting very very low. By making the front sight post longer (found that out on YouTube) we were able to get pretty small 3 shot groups at 100 yds. I own a lot of firearms but honestly I have more fun at the range with with the old Mosins than any of the others. Something about a rifle that’s made entirely of wood and steel and no scrap of plastic anywhere on it is timelessly classic to me. And it’s truly getting rarer everyday. They are not finely detailed like other firearms but they are just a well built solid reliable rifle that seem almost indestructible. Love mine!

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