The Mosin Nagant — A Must Own Rifle

My first centerfire rifle was a Mosin Nagant. I think quite a few of you may be able to say the same. The rifle cost $65, and it was a poor example of the type having suffered the indignity of having the original military stock cut short and an odd-looking pistol grip nailed to the stock. However, in 1970 money, the Nagant cost more than a nice example costs today. The rifle was made by Westinghouse. This was a rifle the Russians contracted to the American maker to produce because the Czar was short on rifles during World War One. Remington also made quite a few.

If a refrigerator company can make a rifle, a typewriter company can make a pistol—and Remington Rand did so later. The Remington Nagants were made by Remington Firearms Company. The American Nagants were sent to Russia, supplied the White Russians and the Czech Legion after the two Russian revolutions, armed U.S. National Guard units after the Russians defaulted on payment to Westinghouse and Remington, and generally saw action around the world including China. When you heft a Nagant rifle, you are holding a piece of history; a rifle that has been in the thick of battle and politics worldwide since before 1900.

Today, good quality Mosin Nagant rifles are available for less than $200. That is a pittance for Old World quality. Ammunition is also readily available. There was one maker in 1970 and the ammunition was hideously high—for a 12-year-old. It was over $15 a box, and I glad to find it! It was all very exciting at the time.

The Mosin Nagant rifle has been produced in more quantities, over a longer period, than any other bolt-action rifle. The rifle deserves a book-length study. There are a number of tidbits of information that are helpful to the beginning shooter. As an example, the Russian ball load for machineguns was a 200-grain bullet at approximately 2,300 fps from the 27-inch Mosin Nagant barrel. This bullet is heavier and slower than our own .30-06 but undoubtedly hit hard.

The receiver will often be stamped with a “D” indicating the rifle is calibrated for this round. The rifles are often found with mismatched serial numbers, but don’t let this concern you. They were often hand-fitted and delivered good performance. The method of bedding the stock, as an example, was ahead of its time and gave good accuracy.

The 7.62×54 cartridge features a rim for headspace, much like the .303 British and our own .30-40 Krag. The cartridge is in the .30-06 class and responds well to a handloader. The sights are quite interesting, originally intended for firing on troop concentrations at 1,000 yards. The rifle is sighted for 300 yards and will impact high at shorter ranges. This is the reason you will see rifles that have been retrofitted with a tall front sight for sport shooting and hunting.

It is helpful to use 150-grain bullets for practice as they are likely to allow a 100 yard zero. How do the rifles handle and shoot? The bolt-action is smooth and while the straight bolt handle isn’t as handy as the more modern Mauser, it works just fine.

To engage the safety, the rifle is loaded and the knurled knob on the end of the bolt pulled and the bolt twisted out of line. To take the safety off, the knob is pulled over and back into line—simple, but not handy. It is when the rifle is fired from a solid rest that the advantages of the type come to light. I had the opportunity to use a rifle from the collection of a young military intelligence officer who appreciates Russian history. Stripper clips are nice to have, but I single loaded the rounds into the magazine without any problem. Accuracy results are interesting and are as follows:

Accuracy Results

Average of two, three-shot groups from a solid bench rest at 100 yards.


Load fps Group Size
Hornady 150-grain JSP, 47.0 grs. Varget 2788 fps 3.0 inches
Hungarian 150-grain 2788 2.8 inches
Wolf FMJ 2550 4.0 inches

The rifle weights nine pounds, so recoil is not a problem. The barrel is 27 inches long, the rifle is 46.5 inches overall and holds five rounds. This is a piece of history that will not always be available and cheap.

Do you have a Mosin Nagant? Tell us about it in the comment section.


About the Author:

Bob Campbell

Bob Campbell’s primary qualification is a lifelong love of firearms, writing, and scholarship. He holds a degree in Criminal Justice but is an autodidact in matters important to his readers. Campbell considers unarmed skills the first line of defense and the handgun the last resort. (He gets it honest- his uncle Jerry Campbell is in the Boxer’s Hall of Fame.)

Campbell has authored well over 6,000 articles columns and reviews and fourteen books for major publishers including Gun Digest, Skyhorse and Paladin Press. Campbell served as a peace officer and security professional and has made hundreds of arrests and been injured on the job more than once.

He has written curriculum on the university level, served as a lead missionary, and is desperately in love with Joyce. He is training his grandchildren not to be snowflakes. At an age when many are thinking of retirement, Bob is working a 60-hour week and awaits being taken up in a whirlwind many years in the future.

Published in
Black Belt Magazine
Combat Handguns
Rifle Magazine
Gun Digest
Gun World
Tactical World
SWAT Magazine
American Gunsmith
Gun Tests Magazine
Women and Guns
The Journal Voice of American Law Enforcement
Police Magazine
Law Enforcement Technology
The Firearms Instructor
Tactical World
Concealed Carry Magazine
Concealed Carry Handguns

Books published

Holsters for Combat and Concealed Carry
The 1911 Automatic Pistol
The Handgun in Personal Defense
The Illustrated Guide to Handgun Skills
The Hunter and the Hunted
The Gun Digest Book of Personal Defense
The Gun Digest Book of the 1911
The Gun Digest Book of the 1911 second edition
Dealing with the Great Ammunition Shortage
Commando Gunsmithing
The Ultimate Book of Gunfighting
Preppers Guide to Rifles
Preppers Guide to Shotguns
The Accurate Handgun
The Mission of Cheaper Than Dirt!'s blog, The Shooter's Log, is to provide information—not opinions—to our customers and the shooting community. We want you, our readers, to be able to make informed decisions. The information provided here does not represent the views of Cheaper Than Dirt!

Comments (64)

  1. I’ve made two customs out of mil-surp rifles that still had good bores. Both are highly modified, sporterized, and have optics installed onto the billet scope bases I made for them. I can hold 1″ groups at 100yds all day long with just about any ammo…including mil-surp. At long range, I can hit the 1k gong about 80% as often as with my modern .308 target rifle.

  2. One of the most unique Mosins was recently at a gun show in Burch Run, MI. A hex head Remington with completely sportorized cut down barrel, modern sites, re-blued, nice walnut stock. And priced reasonable. The customization is endless.

  3. I have owned up to 10 of these rifles and all were great. I still have the first one I bought and would never sell it. It is a real tack drives and it’s easy to get 2 to 3 inch groups at 100 yards.

  4. The Mosins are not to compete or compare with modern Russian rifles nor can they. They were high tech and made for peasant soldiers at the time. The thing about them is they are very trustworthy, simple and cheap to shoot. They are also great fun to restore and customize. It is incorrect to say they aren’t good for anything. They are great for large game hunting not to mention target shooting. The Mosin was designed and manufactured at a time before select fire or semi auto was widely available or easy for the military to operate or maintain. After the Mosin, the Russians designed the SVT-38/40 which was of the same caliber as the Mosin but was capable of semi automatic fire. The AVT-versions were capable of full auto fire. After the SVT/AVTs the next generation of Russian battle rifle was the SKS you are fond of (as am I). Now, the infantry soldiers are equipped with AK-47/74s which can be had in semi or full auto, There are many newer rifles deployed but the Russian ones by generation are those listed here. I appreciate the 91/30s and 44s (Chinese 53’s) are great for what they are. A magnificent piece of history and as much fun as you can have if you enjoy guns. The development of battle rifles in the U.S. followed similarly to the Russian ones e.g. 1903s, M1 Garand (and variants), M14/M1A and now the AR platform. There are other light machine guns separate from the standard infantry rifle such as the BAR, M60s and many others. But I digress. Some people appreciate the Mosins and some don’t, but what people like and for what reasons are of individual preference.

  5. I had a nice 91/30 Tula 1928 hex bolt for awhile and enjoyed shooting it as long as my shoulder would hold out. Without a Limbsaver or extra padding on the butt stock, you’re in for some pain. One issue I had is the clamps on the foreend kept shifting after several rounds and I had to move them back into the right grooves after awhile. A PITA. The “safety” on the Mosin is a joke; you need to be King Kong to engage it.

    I had fun at the range with the Mosin but other than a curiosity piece it has no real function. I suppose you can hunt with it but it’s terribly unwieldy and there are so many modern rifles that are superior for that purpose. 7.62×54 Russian ammo is cheap and plentiful, which is a plus, but the steel-cased stuff can corrode your barrel, labels notwithstanding.

    I like military rifles, including the Mosin, but will take the more practical and efficient SKS any day. It’s much easier to scope and it’s much more accurate and functional.

  6. My first Mosin was an M39 Finnish version with a hex receiver. I bought it for $20 from someone I worked with who didn’t know what he had. It’s exceedingly accurate and in fine shape. My second Mosin is a 91/30 1932 hex receiver which is what I shoot most, only because I don’t want to wear out the M39. I recently acquired an M44 with the fixed bayonet. It shoots fine and has a clean bore and good wood. It’s fun as heck to shoot and really wakes people up at the range because of the VERY loud report and huge flame it throws out the front.

    Since ammo’s so cheap, they spend more time at the range than my K98s or Swedish Mausers.

  7. Ive had two true 91’s an a type53 chinese all were great shooters not bum in the bunch.The type 53 was nicknamed the arm cannon by the wife and kids for the fire ball and ground shaking report the 7.62x54r would share.Not alot to say different than whats been said here I have a long time love affair with all old military weapons and for me this one is in the top 5 maybe top three…Thanks RobfromTn

    1. @RobfromTn: Do what I did to my M-44, put a muzzle brake on it. The brake fits around the front sight and really tames the recoil, as well as eliminating the giant fireball. I found my AK Style brake on eBay for $14. Although, after shooting with it a few times it was coming off because the set screws were too small. I drilled and tapped larger ones, remounted it, and it hasn’t moved since. There are now many different styles to choose from for a little more money on Amazon

      With the AK Style, just don’t have anyone standing to either side or they WILL feel the blast. The concussion under the shooting pavilion at a range hits you in the chest like a fist. FUN!!

  8. I have a numbers matching original sniper. I have bedded the rifle as described in an article and the results are amazing. With my loads and if I do my part and press the trigger properly, sub MOA groups are easy. I have used the rifle in old mil surp sniper shoots and always attract a crowd. I suppose one can get a lemon, but the rifles must have something going for them to have lasted this long.

  9. I own 2. Both matching #’s. I shoot the newer Izzy. The Tula is more of a collecter. They are fun to shoot but recoil is not pleasant. Russian surplus ammo must be designed to punish American shoulders. They are truly well designed and quite a piece of history.

  10. I own a Mosin-Nagant and it is in very good condition. But as you said at first, it’s a piece of history and that’s all it is to me. First off it’s a bear to shoot and it’s not all that accurate. Way to long, terrible to load and not to nice to clean. The kick on it is not to pleasant either, and I am wondering how the Russians could ever have won the eastern front with such a piece of garbage. Compared to the German Mauser or the British Enfield it’s amazing that they were not all crushed after WWII. And of course The U.S. Garand or M1 carbine which probably won the land war in japan and Europe. After firing All the rifles listed you know what you can do with the Mosin——Put it in a museum keep it there for history –forever.

  11. I have a 1940 Izhevsk 91/30 matching numbers. I went to a gun show with the intent of buying one and was lucky enough to perched it at the show the only one there I might add and it made me have happy feet! That was two years ago now and I have keeping it original ! You can see all the stamps plaine I had it look over by a gunsmith and the barrel is in fantastic shape no rust or decay!! And love this rifle !! I shoot it a lot as the ammo is still vary inaspensive!! I also have a Vepr with a 23″ barrel in the same caliber and that rifle is just as cool!!! Now I want another Mosin they are not so EZ to get here

  12. I have two one 9130 and a carbine. They are both good solid shooters and fun to shoot. the 9130 I modified with a Timiney trigger and polished the bolt locking ramp and mating surface, makes the action a little smoother. The Carbine has a trigger mod to adjust slop with the sear surfaces polished as well as the blot lockup surfaces. They are a little more coarse than an Enfield MK4 but still are a good inexpensive pair of fun guns to plink with. I reload for both and for a relaxed shooting outing lighten the loads a little

  13. I have three in my safe. A 1945 M-44 Carbine, a 1934 Tula Armory hex-receiver 91/30, and this:

    A 1939 Izhevsk Armory 91/30 converted to a modern tactical sniper rifle.

    Parts List:
    Rock Solid Industries scope mount, pillar mounts, and turn-down bolt handle $190.00
    Brownell’s Steel Bedding Compound $64.94
    Blackhawk! Tactical Scope Rings (Cabela’s) $63.80
    Millet 4-16 x 50 Scope (Natchez) $319.95
    Harris Bipod (Cabela’s) $85.07
    Timney Trigger Group $107.45
    Gunsmith Services [John Alpi] (cut and crown barrel to 24”) $53.18
    Boyd’s Gunstocks “Tacticool” Mosin-Nagant Hardwood Stock $129.45
    Karsten Kydex Adjustable Cheek Piece ( $60.00
    Witt Machine MB1 custom fit muzzle brake $104.00

    Total Investment $1284.18

    Description: 7.62 x 54r caliber in a 5 round magazine. 24” free floated military barrel with 9.5:1 twist. Boyd’s Gunstocks “Tacticool” laminated hardwood stock with black pebble finish. Harris Bi-Pod adjustable from 6”-9”. Timney Trigger factory set to 2.5 pounds. Millet 4-16×50 Mil-Dot lighted reticule scope with flip up caps. TIG-Welded turn down bolt handle for scope clearance. MB1 muzzle brake. Weight is 12.2 pounds unloaded. Scope zeroed at 200 yards.

    With 147 grain ammo and my load, 3-shot groups that fit under a quarter at 100 yards. Sure, I put decent money and labor into a 76 year old rifle project, and could have bought one off the shelf, but I have had a lot of fun working on it. I hope to have those group sizes out further, maybe 300 yards. Most of my not so tight groups are my doing, not the rifle or ammo. Gotta practice!

    1. I have four of them — well, one is a Chinese Type 53 carbine.

      They’re interesting to shoot — kind of a combination flame thrower, rocket launcher, and field artillery piece. And they DO kick, especially the Chinese carbine, but that’s to be expected with any large-bore, large load rifle. Since the only ammo I have right now is the Eastern European mil surplus in the SPAMmo cans, it’s a little hard to find a range where I can shoot, since the steel core makes the ammo technically an armor-piercing round.

      Their ruggedness and durability rivals the AK-47, and they’re cheap enough that I wouldn’t cry if I dropped one — unless, of course, it landed on my foot. That steel butt-plate must have been the Czar’s idea of a sick practical joke.

      If you watch a lot of reality TV, you’ll see Mosin Nagants all over the place. Agnes Hailstone on National Geographic’s “Life Below Zero” has one. Eustace Conway on History’s “Mountain Men” has one. And of course, they show up in WW2 newsreel clips from the Eastern front all the time.

      For around $200, a Mosin Nagant is a great value. But when you factor in the weight of the weapon and the weight of its ammo, it’s a no-brainer to see why modern armies the world over switched to lighter weapons using ammo that weighs less per round.

  14. My best advice is buy a front sight adjusting tool from ELBY custom services if you plan on using the original sights. There are tools available for the 91/30, M38, M44 and the Chinese Type 53. Better prices and customer service than the copycats on ebay

  15. Add a scope and a slip on butt pad and these things make very good hunting/target rifles…tack driver accurate.

  16. I have the M44 Negant Carbine 20″ barrel used by mostly Calvary I have read .
    Made in the Ural mountains 1944 at the same plant used to make the AK 47.

  17. as one other on here my grandfather gave his rifle to me which he snuck out of Russia. it was one of the mid made models as he told me he went through 7 of them before he found the right one. He recorded kills up to 1000 meters and several beyond but were unconfirmed. He loaded his own ammo and from him I got the caption keep your weapon clean and your powder dry.
    I had a m40 in Vietnam and it proved to be a very good sniper rifle. but my pride is the Weatherby 300 mag given to me by my company commander.
    When I used to go out with my sons who are both accomplished long shooters we always planned to take the Mosin for it still has the ability to provide pin point accuracy at 800 meters (3″ moa) but now I feel like a traitor because I fell in love with the 338 edge with tank brake so the mosin now just adorns the wall in my study. I wonder if Grandfather watches?.
    Isnt it funny how we human males progress up the trail in distructive capabilities to fill our egos.

  18. Melvin, I posted earlier about upgrades I did to one of my Mosins but will add to or complement your suggestions here. (all parts bought on the Internet) My upgrades were way cheap compared to others. My muzzle break, which is fantastic for recoil, but is noisy, is the AK-74 type for about $35. I had to thread the barrel (15mm X 1 Metric Right Hand, no shortening). I don’t think a muzzle break at any cost could work any better for reducing recoil. The bolt mod was my original Mosin bolt sent off to Max Shepard for polishing, extending, and bending for $50. An aluminum cope mount by JMECK for $92. It is a see through mount that does not require any machining, looks really nice and allows all bolt and loading operation with no interference by the mount). Monte Carlo synthetic stock for $50. I put on a Norstar 4X30 scope for about $40. I did a trigger job using a ladies’ hair clip and a flat washer that didn’t cost anything. So, for $267 in modifications, I have a really sweet high power sporting/hunting rifle. Including my rifle at $90 the cost was about $350 in all. Just this much for all the fun I had putting it together and fun to shoot.

  19. The one I own was manufactured in 1939 and very well may have been used to defend Stalingrad. Having Russian Ancestors makes this gun extra special.

  20. While I have modernized two as stated before in a reply to a 71 yr old gentleman, I do plan to acquire the classic 91/30 and make it a wall hanger as I do love the graceful yet simplistic lines of the myosin next to my 303 and Swedish 6.5×55 circa 1913 carbine and soon an ‘ 03 Springfield I shall have an amazing display of ww1 /2 battle rifles. I’d love to acquire the semi auto versions developed in ww/2 such as the garland and the m1-30 carbine among others they are few and far between and demand a premium price. I have two SKS early semi auto milled receivers not norincos although I’ve had nori cost and never had a failure as I’ve heard the stories. The only time I had a mishap was when I was firing corrosive rounds and the gas tube got clogged and it went full auto on me for three rounds, which in my particular case was humorous as there was no danger down range , Lmbo, it was a very pronounced separation in the shots it was a slow @.25 seconds between rounds ;3) by the final round ( there were only three left in the mag I was nearly vertical as it caught me by surprise. Learnt mah redneck lesson thet day, it was one malfunction that can be laughed about as no one could’ve gotten hurt. An ah never let thet gas sistum git dirtee again lol. Loved reading all the posts here I can see I have not experienced nearly enough of the variants that are out there. Have a super night guys and shoot straight.

    1. I apologize for my misspellings above my spell check is really getting off base except those intentional ones at the end .

  21. My Mosin has a hexagonal Receiver. It was a select model, good bore and stock better than I expected. Shoot far better than my eyes can see. I thought about getting a scope mount for it but not sure if a scope can be mounted on Hex Receiver. Since the guns are so plentiful this one will probably never fall into a collectors item. Wish to know how much different are the sniper models commanding hundreds of dollars, to a good standard model.

    1. There are a few different options when dealing with the concept of a MN Sniper. The snipers have a distinct 90 degree bent bolt and offset scope mount. The actual scope is pretty retro and near to look at. The bolt is bent to allow for clearance from the scope. Lastly the sniper shouldn’t be offered with a bayonet. The differences between the cost in snipers vdries for the fI’ll owing reasons. 1) most expensive variety: an origional hand chosen excellent shooting MN. This weapon was given matching numbers on the bent bolt, offset scope mount and scope. 2) less expensive so-called sniper: a regular MN that at some point was built into a “sniper”. The numbers won’t match. However the cost alone for these individual parts plus the required gunsmithing to install the scope should place the cost of a so-called sniper around $600.

  22. so much fun to shoot kicks like a mule but fun have bolt redone and scope no much more to due muzzle brake sounds good

  23. I have a clean one and it shoots great! You can customize this as easy as a 1955 Chevy! The one thing I call mine is a land cannon!

  24. I have a 1929 Tula hex with all matching #s. it’s not a good deer rifle cause I’ve never seen a deer while hunting with it,they must know about the accuracy of the gun, however at the shooting range it’s a different story you can see and hear all the comments people make untill you pull the trigger then it’s What is that?? And that’s when I tell them and let them shoot it, never had a bad response yet and all positive feedback and probably going to get one!! Piece of history and a accurate rifle for under $300 I love it!!!

  25. I bought my first rifle in 1962, when I was a senior in High School. The Army & Navy store sold loose rounds for about 5 for $1.00. Never did much with it, but did plink tin cans and a few glass bottles. I have no idea what became of that rifle. But it was fun and inexpensive. Today I have the carbine model with the folding bayonet. When I saw it for $125.00 I could not pass it by. A fellow at Church refinished it for me. I have 20 rounds in stripper clips and bought a sealed military ammo can (880 rounds?) for about $190.00. Looks real nice and will surely last me a lifetime (71 years old) and future generations.

  26. I have fallen in love with my Mosin. The feeling of the stock in my shoulder when it discharges makes me feel whatever I am shooting at center mass will not get back up to hurt me. Wish the ammunition would not be so dirty to fire though. Will try using the glass cleaner someone recommended. I have had pretty good luck finding my Mosin’s at garage/yard sales. The most I ever paid was $150 and that was because it had a nice scope. Ammo has always been easy to find and it doesn’t cost a lot to go to the range with it often. Wish it would all come apart and work like an AR7 Henry.

  27. The Mosin, such a piece of kit! It’s so rugged, you could probably use it as a baseball bat for a few seasons. It shoots well for a rifle, it’s shoots awesome fora rifle under $200. Bear in mind though that supplies are drying up from what one heard, so if you want to get one for a low price, today is the day to get one. Don’t forget, you can go to a website called Mitchell’s Mauser’s if you want a premium one sniper built one, but the price commands a premium. Almost super premium. Do yourself a favor, but one now, throw it in a closet and forget about it. Someday down the road you will find it again and be glad you made the purchase when you did. Fun, powerful, well built, historical firearm. Love shooting it and never had one problem with the 350 rounds fire through it…

    1. I have two of these and I have stored the original stocks and upgraded to the detachable clip fed 5 and ten round clips, from archangel systems you need to buy a tinmey trigger and it’s a drop in fit. Now for the other mods I have found a company that will sell you a modified bent bolt body named ” big Gorilla gun works” they specialize in mosin nagants and do awesome work there are many styling so to choose from and reasonable pricing, second and more directly for your recoil issue I found a company called ” Witt machine” the make muzzle breaks for mosins and many other rifles but their muzzle break cuts recoil and muzzle rise by 60-70% it’s like shooting a 5.56 premium price but well worth it. It brought this mule kicker don’t to a kitty cat. I haven’t fitted my scopes yet but the mounts are available in CTD kits simple straight forward directions I have the equipment to do my own but big gorilla will do it if you like. I have an m38 and an m44 carbines . The archangel stocks have adjustable cheek rests and length of pull adjustments to fit. Just a hint for you and other folks out there wanting to modernize and make a nail driver. Big gorilla has a video of a feller shooting at 1400 yds and it’s awesome.

  28. I have a Finnish Model 39 with a Tikka barrel. I absolutely love it. I use it at the 1,000 yard range in Boulder City, NV, and it rings the gong often enough to spark interest from others at the range. I load my own ammo, and use the cheap surplus to “plink” when playing around at shorter distances. I use open sights, and the gong looks like a pin head at that distance, but it is entertaining. My Wife just started shooting, and can hit the 800 yd gong with regularity. I would scope it, but only 5,000 were made in this configuration, so I don’t want to change anything about it.

  29. I found one in pristine condition, matching serial numbers for $100. Enjoyed shooting it. Then found an Archangel composite stock for the Mosin Nagant, which allowed the barrel to float free, and allowed the installation of a Timney trigger, giving it a trigger safety and a much better trigger action. Consistency improved with the free floating barrel, and of course the trigger. Put a rail on the rear sight block, and other than the block installed (welded) slightly cocked, a scope makes for easier sight acquisition for those of us with deteriorating eye sight.

  30. I have taken an embarrassingly long time with my 91/30 Mosin Nagant hobby rifle. I’m sure things would have moved along much quicker if I had no other projects going on at the time. I started with a 1943 Tula (by chance alone and not purposefully). Mosins used to sell for $65 each in 2008, if you bought half-a-dozen of them. I would have bought a few if I had known what they were capable of.
    A Mosin plugged full of caramelized cosmoline just screams “unmolested by a previous owner,” and therefore beg for attention. Those are very difficult to find nowadays during the current presidential ban on importation of Russian goods by executive order. Canadians can still buy them for seventy bucks.
    I wanted to check accuracy before I started cutting it up. After wasting over 60 rounds of various types ammo, and installing and removing three different rear-sight mounted rail attachments, I found a scope mount that actually worked. Yeah, forget those 15-30 dollar mounts and buy one that actually works for more than twelve shots.. I chose a Brass Stacker and love it. You get a steel scope mount that allows use of original iron sights and will last. The scout scope set-up works for me.
    After trying over a dozen different factory brand/weight combinations, I found a couple of them grouped under 1.75” @ 100 yd. regularly. And that is before I made ANY changes at all beyond the scope and mount alone! With accuracy like that I decided not to butcher the rifle and instead search for options to enhance its inherent capability.
    I purchased an ATI stock and some reloading dies. The ATI stock has a very comfy-feeling butt-pad and a free-float barrel channel. 7.62x54R has a moderately stiff recoil and a decent butt-pad won’t go amiss after 20 rounds down range. There is a “Mosin challenge” series of videos on youtube, if you are interested in observing the potential recoil of a Mosin.
    I have successfully shrunk group sizes in half for every cartridge I have reloaded so far and I imagine my Mosin groups will not be much different. It ain’t that difficult – ask any long-range enthusiast. Keep in mind the various manufacturers of the Mosin and the variety found regarding actual bore diameter. Carefully take apart and measure a round from the factory load that shoots most accurately for you and you’ll be a step ahead in the reloading process.
    Sub M.O.A. groups would make me smile.
    It has been seven years in the making (I told you – embarrassingly long) and I have studied Mosin rifle history and capabilities a little bit since then, and I am glad to say that no modifications made to this rifle have been permanent. “Stock original condition” is only 20 minutes and a screwdriver away. I have yet to bed the Mosin action to the ATI stock or work up a perfect bench load to try for sub M.O.A., but I expect decent results.
    I have bought another Mosin, since 2008, with no further intention than building a pet load for it.. and possibly some form of butt-pad. Sure, it would have been much less work to build, more accurate out-of-the-box, cheaper in the long run and absolutely no research necessary to buy a Savage .270, but where is the fun in that?
    Mosin rifles might not be for everyone but I sure get a kick out of them.

  31. I own a Chinese Type 53 Carbine which was a VietNam “bring back” rifle. It is a close copy of the model M44. After I outfitted the firearm with a composite stock, it is amazing. Kicks like a friggin’ mule! Also own a 91/30 Model in full size. A real crowd pleaure at the range. Sounds like heavy artillery under the range awning…KABOOM! Economical, fun and easy to locate ammunition. I paid $79.00 for the 91/30 and the Carbine was GIVEN to me by a friend who was about to throw it in the trash barrle along with a Glenfield Marlin Model 60 which I also salvaged and still fire today. One man’s trash is another man’s treasure (x 2).

  32. I have three of these things and they are all a hoot to shoot.. You can get
    nagants and the ammo without breaking the bank too. They also make a great truck or boat gun. Oh yeah, mine are VERY accurate too. Anyone else enjoy these as much as I do?

    1. The Mosin’s are great. They are built like tanks. You can dig a hole with the stock, pound nails with the barrel and then shoot tight groups at the range all in the same. day. The pre – war (earlier than 42) are the nicest looking. The laminate stocks are nice and they are original. The M44 is the “Russian Boomer” as I call them. At the range the M44 sounds very unique and typically everyone stops shooting and comes over to see what is making all the noise. The older 91/30 in the 1920s with hex heads are beautiful – they have the really nice bluing. they are hard hitting with the 7.62 x 74R cartridges. I was lucky and grabbed some of these before the slamming of the door on imports. The spam can ammo are cheap and you can get it for a about $.25 a bang. That is a better deal then most anything else out there. Did I mention that they are built like tanks. 🙂

  33. Just to share, I have 4 Mosins including a M44. My first one I purchased in 2009 for $90.00 from an online retailer. It was an Izhevsk 1940 91 30 with round receiver. I put a Monte Carlo stock on it, a Norstar sniper type scope with a JMECK custom scope mount that wraps around the receiver so that no modifications are made to the metal or wood. I threaded the barrel and put on an AK-74 muzzle brake. I sent the bolt off to be cleaned, polished and a bent bolt job by Max Shepard. I found a way to take the slack out of the trigger with a hair clip spring and a flat washer. That even made the pull a little lighter. I still have this rifle and it shoots beautifully. The others are: a Tula with hex receiver and laminated stock all matching numbers, a Tula hex with hard wood stock all matching numbers, the M44 is an Izhevsk with round receiver and all matching serial numbers. Except for the first rifle I modified, the others I cleaned and sealed the wood stocks and had the bolts polished by Max Shepherd. I also have a predecessor to the Mosins and that would be a nice Tula SVT 40 but that is for another topic.

  34. Have had a M91/34 for several years and is a great shoot. Mine came with a bayonnet and cleaning tools. The most necessary tool is the muli-purpose tool that was issued with the rifle. This tool allows removal of the bayonnet if it gets stuck, it is also a screwdriver for adjusting the firing pin to the proper striking depth, it has a depth gauge to check the firing pin (if the pin strikes to far, it can pierce the primer and blow out the cartridge). I purchased a headspace gauge to check headspace myself from time to time. My view and opinion “best rifle ever.”

  35. Rugged, simple, cheap …and the ammo is still reasonably priced…for how long remains to be seen.
    Still around $170 ? But becoming more difficult to find.. Should have acquired several more when they were in the low $100 range

  36. Mosins are not junk surplus. Think your rifle is ruined due to counterbore and barrel pitting? No worries!

    I put a Zeiss scope on a custom drilled and tapped mount. Free floated the barrel under the handguards in the original stock, installed a Timney trigger, and just shot a 1/2 MOA 10 shot group with a 1937 counter bored, pitted, izhveck and S&B 180gr factory ammo.

  37. My son gave me a copy of the Mosin Nagant. It came with a tent stake bayonet installed. I wouldn’t fit into my gun safe with the bayonet in place. Figuring ojut how to get it off was challenging and then how to put it back on likewise. I found a site by googling Mosin Nagant bayonet. There were several explanations on how to make the bayonet easier to install and remove. The easiest was to use a tapered punch to slightly expand the fit. You want to do this alittle at a time until the bayonet goes on and comes off easily.

  38. Mosin Nagant rifles are fun to shoot easy to afford with a large variation of the rifle that spanned a service life more than 60 years and looks like shooting for generations to come. I have a M38 its cheap to shoot since few 7.62 semi autos are not eating up all the surplus ammo like the AK47 and 7.62×39 . I have never seen a shortage of 7.62 Russian .
    Now many companies are making stocks , triggers, rebarreling , caliber conversions like 45/70 . The rifle has a future as a shooter or collector.

  39. I`ve got 1 round receiver dated 1936, 1 hex receiver dated 1934, and a type 53 which believe it or not is in better shape than any M44 I`ve ever seen. I bought that one on
    As far as a rifle is concerned, each one of them is a SHOOTER! I just love these guns. I love everything about them. They break down for total cleaning in no time at all, and are very easy to clean. Refinishing them was a blast also. Heck, half the fun of gun ownership is making them your own. They`re accurate as all get up, and I just love the concussion. Of course let`s not forget the price, which can`t be beat either. I`m surprised these things haven`t gone up in price more than they have. The ammo is also awesomely priced whether your using corrosive or non corrosive. These things are like a beautiful woman…they get better as they age.

  40. Since I already have one untouched Mosin-Nagant in its classic stock, I decided to try a complete modernization make-over with another.

    I ordered the ProMag Archangel OPFOR Precision Rifle Stock Conversion Kit (AA9130), along with the additional 10 round magazine.

    I’ve sawed off seven unnecessary inches of the barrel and completely removed the iron sites.

    I then added a custom Witt Machine muzzle break to the end of the barrel. Aside from decreased muzzle rise, it also gives the rifle a hot-look with that flat rectangle sniper-style.

    I installed a custom mounted bolt handle which allows the new scope mount to be installed over the receiver for a more normal scope location without the bolt handle getting in the way.

    The new stock kit allowed me to add the optional ProMag front picatinny rail, to which I mount a modern bipod.

    I threw in a Timney Trigger.

    The rifle has been finished off with a custom camouflage paint-job using a base coat of dark earth and overlaid with streaks of olive drab sprayed through a cargo net stencil. I left the butt-stock and rubber pad as well as the cheek rest all black; so along with the all black 10-round magazine, this makes for an awesome two-tone look.

    What I am left with is a very attractive and highly customized sniper rifle that fires very inexpensive ammo.

    How does it fire? I don’t know because I just got it done and have yet to make it to the range. In the meantime it is sure fun to look at and was a blast to build.

  41. +1 for the love of the Mosin Nagant. For a collector, this is usually the gateway rifle to an ever expanding collection. I just wanted a cheap rifle that could take down deer. for 160.00 I got some rifle with weird markings in an ATI stock. Upon further examination, I found out it was a sporterized M44.

    After seeing the 91/30 I just had to have one of those too. Keep in mind that the first Mosin was bought almost exactly one year ago! From that humble M44 I now have that, 2 PU sniper rifles, 2 more 91/30’s, and a Type 53 (and yes there will be more!

    Also added 15 other rifles from the era to my collection as well as several handguns (who doesn’t want a Tokarev and a Nagant revolver after they hold the 91/30?!)

    The Mosin Nagant is inexpensive to buy, the surplus ammo is cheap and plentiful (buy up spam cans!) and the rifle has stood the test of time. Some people think it’s ugly, I think these Russian mistresses are beautiful and worth the attention!

  42. I love these guns,but I’ve become such a high-cap magazine fan, that I plan on buying a Degtyaryov-28 before I get a bolt rifle for the same caliber. It is too bad all the semi-auto PKMs have dried up, but maybe I can convert the DP-28 or 7 to take the old WW2 30rd magazines for the ZB-39 LMG; or maybe convert a regular semi-auto BREN. No doubt 7.62x54R ammo RULES, so I’m going all the way with it eventually! I like to shoot, not hang them on a wall! I wasn’t surprised the Russians went that way, because shooting the Bren LMG is one of the best experiences you can ever have! Converting between .303 British and Russian rimmed isn’t so much of a stretch! WW2 records showed the Russian troops loved the Zb-39 for its light weight and controllable firing rate. Even the Dp-28 was clunky, with its ham-handed drum magazine.

  43. I bought my first Mosin-Nagant when I was 14 out of a barrel full of them in a Coast-to-Coast hardware store in 1962. They cost $15.00 for your choice. Ammo was $2.00 for 20. Have a different Mosin now. As an aside, I traded a single shot Sears .22 rifle and a worn out H&R .22 revolver when I was a freshman to my high school principal for a 6.5mm Italian Manlicher-Carcano rifle about a month before Kennedy was killed with one. Still have it. Think about doing that in today’s world with schools all political correct, etc., etc.. That #@!%+* Oswald screwed it up for everybody!

    1. That brings back memories: in junior high (late 60’s) a bunch of us would bring our hunting rifles to school and would leave them in the principal’s office so we could go hunting right after school. The ammo we kept in our lockers.

  44. I purchased my 1943 Nagant about a year ago. Cleaned it up and went to the range and have loved every round I’ve sent down range. Wasn’t getting a tight grouping so I mounted a 3-9×40 scope and went out to the hills.Now I’m hitting the steel target at 300 yards and I’m enjoying it even more! Working on my third can of ammo!

  45. I have 6 Mosins, including an M44 and a Type 53. There is not a bad one in the bunch. Ammo is cheap and readily available. These rifles are awesome to shoot, I intend to keep adding to my collection and enjoying every one I acquire. You can’t beat them for the “fun per shot” factor.

  46. Good article, but I’m a little tired of this rifle being (mis)characterized as a “cheap beginner rifle”
    Yes, it’s inexpensive. And the ammo is cheap. Yet, some of us with years of shooting experience, and real life financial concerns, appreciate an affordable shooter.
    It’s no slouch either. After a bit of work, my ’39 Izzy is consistently grouping less than 2″ @ 100yrds (with an occasional flier). The ’54R hits hard as well.
    Just do your research prior to purchase. Currently, price and quality vary A LOT. IMHO, forget cosmetics. You can always refinish a stock or re-blue a barrel. Get a MN with a bright bore and a tight, crisp bolt. And have fun.

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