Mosin Nagant FAQ

1) I know that my Mosin Nagant is 7.62 caliber but when I go to order ammunition, there are several 7.62 calibers. Which one is it?
A: The Mosin Nagant fires the 7.62x54R cartridge. The R stands for rimmed.

2) How many models of the Mosin Nagant are there?
A: There were approximately 30 variations of the Mosin Nagant. The models that are best known are the 91/30, M38 and M44. An older version, the M91, can also be found in smaller numbers. The Finnish M39, considered by many to be the best variant produced, is also readily available. The M91, 91/30 and M39 are full-length rifles that use detachable bayonets. The M38 is a carbine-length rifle that does not have a provision for a bayonet, while the M44 is a carbine with an attached bayonet that swings out from a mounting point on the barrel. The M44 is also known as the “Cavalry Carbine”.

3) Are there aftermarket stocks available for my Mosin?
A: Yes. Several manufacturers offer aftermarket stocks for the Mosin Nagant. These are often synthetic and come in various styles and finishes.

4) I want to mount a scope to my Mosin. What are my options?
A: There are few options when mounting a scope to a Mosin Nagant. The original mount was a side mount that required the receiver to be drilled and tapped on the left side. This also required the stock to be inletted and the bolt handle to be turned down. These original scopes and mounts can still be found, but can cost many times the price of the rifle. Another gunsmithing mount requires the front ring to be drilled and tapped and the straight bolt handle to be replaced with a turned-down handle. This kit allows the use of most standard rifle scopes. The least expensive mounting option is the scout scope mount. This mount replaces the rear sight and requires no gunsmithing. This mount does, however, require the use of a long eye relief scope like a scout or pistol scope.

5) When I fire my Mosin and try to eject the empty cartridge, the bolt handle is hard to turn. What is causing this?
A: There could be several causes. A rough or dirty chamber can contribute to this problem. Most surplus ammunition is lacquer-coated and the lacquer can build up over time. Your bolt may also not stick with a different type of ammunition. Try several types to see if the problem goes away. One other possibility is that the rifle has excessive headspace. This can be checked by a competent gunsmith and it isn’t a bad idea to have the older surplus rifles checked anyway.

6) What is headspace and how is it checked?
A: Headspace is a given measurement from the face of the rifle bolt to a certain point of the cartridge. In the case of the 7.62x54R, and all rimmed cartridges, it is the front of the rim. Headspace is checked with gauges that are typically caliber specific. The gauges are inserted into the chamber and the bolt is closed on it. There are three gauges that can be used. The Go gauge; the bolt should fully close on this gauge. The No Go gauge; the bolt can start to close on this gauge but should not close fully. The Field gauge; this gauge is typically used by armorers in the field. It is actually larger in dimension than the No Go gauge, the bolt should not close on it, and during wartime, it is acceptable for field use.

7) Why is headspace important?
A: If headspace is not correct, damage to the firearm and injury to the shooter is possible. Insufficient headspace can cause the bolt to be difficult or impossible to close. Excessive headspace can cause problems such as pierced or blown primers, sticky extraction and in extreme cases, a blown up gun.

8) How many countries built the Mosin Nagant?
A: Mosins were produced by China, Czechoslovakia, Finland, Hungary, Poland, Russia and the United States.

9) Is all 7.62x54R surplus ammunition corrosive?
A: Unfortunately yes. Be sure to clean your rifle after every use.

10) How should I clean my Mosin after shooting corrosive ammunition?
A: Mercuric primers are the culprits that make surplus ammunition corrosive. These primers were used due to their ability to last longer in storage. You must neutralize the mercuric salts to prevent corrosion and one of the easiest and least expensive agents to use is ammonia-based window cleaner (Windex). Run a couple of patches soaked in the window cleaner through the bore and follow with dry patches to remove it. Then clean the bore, as you would any other rifle, with a quality bore solvent like Hoppes No. 9. After cleaning, run a patch soaked in gun oil through the bore and follow with one dry patch to remove excess oil. This method has worked flawlessly for me for years. Be sure to wipe off the bolt face and the bayonet (if you prefer to shoot with it fixed) also.

11) Which model of Mosin Nagant is the most accurate?
A: The Finnish 28/30 and M39 are typically the most accurate.

12) When was the Mosin Nagant designed and put into service?
A: The Mosin rifle and the Nagant rifle were both designed in 1889 to compete in testing for a new rifle for the Russian Army. Trials determined that both rifles had their strengths and weaknesses. The Nagant rifle was eventually settled on, but with design improvements from the Mosin rifle added in. The resulting hybrid Mosin Nagant rifle was adopted into official service with the Russian Army in 1891.

13) I want to hand load for my Mosin. What is the diameter of the bullets that I will need?
A: Bullets with a diameter of .311 are needed to load for the Mosin Nagant. This differs from the .308 diameter bullets found in cartridges like the .308 and .30-06.

14) Does my Mosin Nagant have a safety?
A: Yes. The safety is the knob on the rear of the bolt. You pull it toward the rear and rotate it counterclockwise 45 degrees until it drops into a notch in the receiver. This will block the firing pin, lock the bolt and disconnect the trigger.

15) How many serial numbers should be on a Mosin Nagant?
A: The Mosin has 4 serial numbers from the factory. These are located on the bolt, barrel, magazine floorplate and the buttplate.

16) How do you pronounce “Mosin Nagant”?
A: Ask ten people and you will get ten answers. After doing some reading it seems that the closest pronunciation is “mo-SEEN na-GOHN”.

17) What wars were the Mosin Nagant rifles used in?
A: The Mosin Nagant rifle has been used in numerous conflicts including; Russo-Japanese War, Russian Civil War, WWI, WWII, Korea, Chinese Civil War and Vietnam.

18) Do any countries still use the Mosin Nagant?
A: Not officially. They will occasionally show up in third world counties being used by guerillas and insurgent forces.

19) What is a dog collar when referring to the Mosin Nagant?
A: This refers to a type of sling. The leather loops that attach the sling to the rifle resemble a dog collar.