View Full Version : New guy with questions about M91/30

June 17, 2009, 09:24 PM
Hey, I am totally new to this forum and to gun owning in general. My dad is not opposed to guns but just really isn't into them. The majority of my experience has been with Boy Scouts. Lately I have been wanting to do some shooting and deer hunting and have been looking for a good first gun. I stumbled across some info on the M91/30. It seems to fit what I had in mind. Correct me if I'm wrong, inexpensive to buy, inexpensive to shoot, strong enough to take down a deer, built tough etc.

Like I said I don't have a ton of experience with guns so I have a couple questions.

What should I look for when I buy one of these guns?
I see things like "matching numbers", laminate stock, hex reciever etc.

Is this a good gun for someone just getting started?

Where is the best place to look for this gun?
Gun show? Online? Store?

Thank you very much for all your help in advance!


June 17, 2009, 10:09 PM
Hey Mike! Welcome to the forum, to start off.

I too started off with a Mosin-Nagant. First off... In looking to buy one, browse around any Big 5 sporting goods stores (if you have any in your area), they usually have sales on them for ~90.00. can't really beat that, unless you do a lot of browsing on gunbroker.com. I picked up a Mosin-Nagant 91/30, Tula star, hex reciever, laminate stock gun (kind of rare) for 75.00. Also, gun shops generally aren't too stingy on prices for these, since they're so common. If you buy one, try to keep the price around 75-175 dollars.

This is a good site that'll tell you everything you could want to know about them. http://7.62X54r.net.

In looking at rareness/quality, there are two prominent Soviet factories that made them. Izhevsk (sometimes called "izzies") and Tula (which are a little more rare, but generally identical). A hex receiver gun is different than the real common rifles, since its receiver has a octagonal shape to it, and it's generally more desireable (some people say its stronger, but I've never heard of a round receiver breaking) but they function just the same (and all the parts are still interchangeable)

Laminate stocks look different than normal stocks, usually by the "wrist bolt" in them, to keep the laminate from splitting apart from enormous volumes of ammunition. (never seen one break, though.) Plus, laminate stocks look different, since they are a bunch of thin wood pieces sandwiched together in a resin. They might have a little bit of a price bump, but purely for aesthetic value, really. I'll post a pic of mine.

Matching numbers mean all of the pieces, like the receiver, bolt, magazine, floorplate, all have the same number stamped on them. Millions of these rifles were made, and companies like Century import them and rearsenal them and gobbledy-gook them together from all sorts of different Mosin-Nagants. It really doesn't matter unless you plan on collecting it, it'll shoot just the same :) and I don't think it really commands a price difference either.

inexpensive to buy, inexpensive to shoot, strong enough to take down a deer, built tough etc.

+1 as well. They can take a real beating, and they'll give you one too if you don't hold 'em right ;) I would know....

Is this a good gun for someone just getting started?

I think so- it's what I started with. If you pick up surplus ammo, you can get a LOT of it for pretty cheap. Plus, the recoil makes you appreciate its power as a firearm, unlike, say a .22. (Just my opinion)

The only trouble with mosin-nagants is when you get it- clean the S*** out of it, to get out all the cosmoline, or the bolt'll be sticky after you fire a round. No big deal though.

another problem is- it's a "gateway" firearm... it generally leads to other, more serious/expensive firearms... ;) :D (see pic)


The bottom 91/30 is the hex receiver (which you can't really see) and has the laminate stock with the wrist bolt behind the trigger guard. The middle one started out as a run of the mill 91/30, and I put the scope and stuff on it. The top one is an M44 that i got bored with, and put a bipod on it and sanded down and clearcoated. It's my least favorite, but the one i most shoot :confused:

When checking one out at the store, look down the barrel with the bolt out, and see if the rifling is good- it should be pretty shiny; if its real dull and smoky, look for another one. They're so common, you can be kind of picky with them. Also, check to see if it's been counterbored. This isn't necessarily a bad thing, it just means the gun's had a zillion rounds through it. Type in "counterboring a rifle" into google and you'll see what I mean.

And you should have no problem taking a deer with it. I've heard of them being used on elk with excellent results, as well. They're generally the same chamber pressure as a .30-06 Springfield, and same bullet weight.

I'm a huge fan of these guns, and if you're looking into getting one, i'm all for it. just when you first fire it- don't use a death grip on it- it'll kick ya a lot harder than holding it a little slack.

Hopefully this is helpful. Sorry about the 30-page post, i'm in a Mosin-Nagant kind of mood tonight.

*EDIT* Oh, and I forgot to add- If you wanna get a real fancy one, look at the Finnish ones- they're highly regarded.

June 17, 2009, 10:19 PM
Hey thanks a lot! No problem about the long post, that is a lot of good info. It seems like a winner to me. Thanks again!!

the rifleer
June 17, 2009, 10:55 PM
My first high power rifle was an m44. i love it. Seems like all you are interested in is a shooter, so the bore is the most important thing. Ask to inspect the bore, then remove the bolt (open the bolt, pull the trigger, then pull it out). check for pitting/rust. If it looks like it was fired and not cleaned, dont buy it. It may be full of a thick grease. That is both good and bad. Its good because it means that it hasnt been fired since it left Russia, but its bad because you cant inspect it. If it is filled with cosmoline, i would buy it.

I bought my m44 knowing hardly anything about it, but found out it was unrefurbished in mint condition and shoots about 2.5 MOA with surplus ammo, so you never know. I didnt think to check the bore and i got lucky. I later realized that this could have been a big mistake, but again, i got lucky.

PS- i got mine at big 5 for $75, but my local big 5 ran out and hasnt had any for a few months.

June 17, 2009, 11:08 PM
Don't forget about most of the surplus ammo has "corrosive" primers, and must be cleaned differently to get rid of the primer salts out of the bore (hot soapy water works well, as does WW2 G.I. bore cleaner made for corrosive.

Hoppe's #9 will not do it.

June 17, 2009, 11:49 PM
I just got my M44 a few weeks ago. I've already put a few hundred rounds through it. It is definitely $79 well spent. I've also fired the 91/30 on numerous occasions. So I guess I'd also add my +1 on recommending the Mosin as a great rifle to start with. It definitely fits all of your criteria. Cheap to buy, cheap to shoot, tough, reliable, and yes, it is indeed more than adequate for deer. It's the preferred hunting rifle in Russia in the present day.

June 25, 2009, 09:29 PM
May want to get the not so cheap ammo SP for deer hunting. FMJ is not a good choice for deer obviously unless you are a perfect shot.

June 26, 2009, 07:29 AM
FMJ is not a good choice for deer obviously unless you are a perfect shot.

And FMJ is illegal to hunt with in some places.