First off, I'm not a Mosin Nagant aficionado but I'll do my best here...
Both of my rifles are Izhevsk laminated rifles and came loaded with cosmoline; once removed the bore and finish on the metal looked excellent.
-Price. These rifles can still be found for around $200.
-Build quality. These rifles are overbuilt--in a good way. The actions are very smooth for a surplus guns and when you fire the rifle it just feels like a quality gun.
-Ammo. The 7.62x54r round has great ballistcs performance and is relatively inexpensive. I just ordered a crate 2 weeks ago for $0.18/round in fact.
-The shorter 20'' barrel and 7.62x54 round produce a large fireball with just about every shot; who doesn't love a good fireball??
-Good accuracy for a surplus gun. With 147gr Bulgy surplus I was getting around 4'' with irons at 100m. With "AK style" irons, that's not bad for me.
-The safety is poorly designed. I can only imagine what it must have been like for a Russian soldier to come around a corner, see a German soldier, then realize his rifle was on safe... My guess is they probably left the safety off for that very reason.
-If you want to use optics, the bolt needs to be modified/replaced.
-Weight. While they cut 8'' off the old 91/30 to create the M44 the rifle still weighs 8.7lbs.
147gr Bulgarian Surplus: 2649fps, 2291 ft/lbs energy
All in all, the M44 is a great rifle considering the cost. Well built, accurate enough for a variety of uses, and fires a cartridge that can take down most about anything you'd find in North America.
Here's my video review of the M44 with some shooting, I go over the basic features/operation of the rifle, discuss the history and development of the rifle, and go over the pros & cons:
M44 HD Video Review Link