I have two Mosins, an M94 made in Poland in '53, and a 91/30 made in Russia in '43. Both actions slide like silk, so I'm not sure what the stiff action reputation is about. Maybe some people don't clean their guns as often as they should.. The bolt handles don't need more leverage, a longer one would only create torsional forces on the action, so I don't get that story either. The '43 was probably machined by children, while their other factory in Tula was taken over by the Nazis, so I look at the rough machining (where it doesn't matter) on that one fondly. Both bores shine like mirrors. The workmanship on the M44 is flawless. Ugly rifles? I think they're quite beautiful. Simple, clean lines, functional. You might say the wooden barrel covering is luxurious..
As for the surplus ammo, I've heard five people say it's excellent, for every one that calls it inaccurate (or inconsistent..). At eighteen cents a round delivered, I think it might be making some peoples grapes go sour.
That's my take on it. I don't have the experience with other rifles that many on here do, but when I go to the range my Mosins make me happy.
being happy with your guns is all well and good, I do not begrudge anyone the right to be happy with their toys. if you can't enjoy it then it's nothing more than a tool and what's the point in a safe full of tools?
however without anything to compare it to, it is difficult to accurately describe and gauge your experiences.
you don't understand the stiff action reputation because you have nothing else to gauge 'stiffness' off of.
you can't accurately gauge accuracy because you haven't shot anything else to compare it to.
you do have a good point with the surplus ammo however it's corrosive... leave your gun too long without cleaning and it rusts... some people don't like having to give their guns windex baths/hot baths/mineral spirits baths, that leaves them new factory ammo that brings the total to closer to 45 cents a round.
and a longer bolt handle wont do anything to the receiver, if your receiver is damaged by operation of the bolt regardless of force exerted then you have serious problems. the average bolt action rifles bolt handle is twice as long as the mosin nagants and the PU snipers have an elongated bolt handle so I think that whole topic lies on thin ice.
the 'wooden barrel covering' is called a hand guard and is present on just about every military service rifle all the way up to the late 40s.
now... with all that said. I own 2 mosin nagants, I shoot them a lot, I even shoot corrosive surplus ammo out of them, they are actually a really pretty design when in decent shape. they go boom and I don't begrudge anyone that likes theirs but for the purpose of this thread, they are just too crude of a design to be paired with this stock set and make a practical target rifle.