View Full Version : Help Please...New Mosin 91/30 bolt close issue

December 11, 2009, 01:59 PM
Hey all,
I recently picked up a Mosin Nagant M91/30 at a gunshow. I was extremely please as I have wanted one of these for ages and this one appears to be in very good shape.

Everything seemed to function fine as well, but I just got some A-Zoom snap caps for it because I wanted them for dry fire (I have no live ammo for it yet) and the bolt is very difficult to close with a round in the chamber.

Without a round everything is smooth sailing, but after it gets in the chamber and I try to close it down it gets to 45 degrees before I really have to put my weight behind it. It closes eventually but not without a great effort.

I looked around the net and everyone said to make sure there is no cosmoline in the chamber/locking lug recess which I have done.

I also noticed that the extractor is really grabbing the rim tight, so much that it is ripping off the anodized finish of the snap caps.

I really am hoping its not a headspace issue because the cheapness and durability is part of the appeal with Mosins.

So C&R masters please grace me with your wisdom! Will this loosen up after a session or two of firing, or have I bought a lemon that needs work by a gunsmith?

December 11, 2009, 02:07 PM
Are you feeding the snap caps from the magazine? Sounds like the extractor is having trouble with the rim. Check the following link and look at the bolt take down pictures too.



December 11, 2009, 02:10 PM

Yes I am loading them into the magazine first then chambering them. I know that most guns have an issue with the extractor getting over the rim when a round is hand chambered but that shouldnt be the issue here.

December 11, 2009, 03:47 PM
I would try giving the chamber a good cleaning first. Here is my reply on another tread about a stuck bolt.You would not believe how much gunk is in that chamber, shot over the years with lacquered cases and dirty ammunition. It might look clean but it still might have a thin layer of cosmoline.

I also cleaned the bore with foaming bore cleaner. Spray it, let it sit and run out then swab and brush the bore. Did this around 8 times. The towel it was sitting on was blue after I was done from all the old copper fowling.

My M44 did this. I had to beat opened the bolt with a block of wood set on the bolt and hitting it with a hammer. I could not believe how stuck it was. It made me appreciate the Mosin even more, that extractor dug into the case and pulled it out.

I tried to alleviate the problem, what I did was I took a 20 gauge brush. Put it on the end of a section of cleaning rod. Stuck that in a drill. Wrapped a patch round it soaked in Hoppes and ran it in the chamber moving back and forth. Then I Let is soak for a few minutes then put a clean patch in. Did that about 6 time to get all the crude out. Then I took a patch and put some J-B Bore Cleaning Compound on and polished the chamber with it. Then went back to Hoppes until the patches came out clean. Then a little oil. I have not shot it yet to see if it was still sticking but the chamber looks a lot better.

December 12, 2009, 02:48 PM
Make sure the chamber is clean as referenced above. Always good advice with these rifles. If the rifle has tight head space, the rims on the snap caps may be slightly too big. Purchase a box of Wolf Gold 7.62x54R and see if you have a problem. Make sure not to force the bolt closed on a live round!

Good Luck


February 12, 2010, 06:43 PM
I see this is an older thread, but I am hoping someone can help with my dilemma. I recently purchased a 91/30 and I am having bolt closing problems. The magazine seems to load correctly and all rounds strip from the magazine appropriately. However, the extractor does not engage the rounds as they are chambering. This results in the bolt refusing to close. If I reopen the bolt at this time, the cartridge does not extract (it will easily drop out if the muzzle is raised). This is where my situation differs from the previous posts... If I manually snap a round into the extractor/bolt face, the action cycles normally (the bolt closes easily and ejection is positive). This would seem to rule out inadequate headspace and/or a dirty chamber. I would greatly appreciate any thoughts or ideas.

February 13, 2010, 01:57 PM
sounds like the extractor has a problem like you suspect the only thing I would know to try is maybe taking it apart and cleaning well, it may need the extractor replaced, you can find instructions on bolt dissasembly on the web if you do a search under mosin bolt dissasembly there is atleast a couple sites maybe more that will show you how to dissassemble the bolt and reassemble it correctly and parts shouldnt be to hard to find either.

the rifleer
February 13, 2010, 04:50 PM
yep, clean the chamber really really well.

google sticky bolt syndrome. its caused by the use of lacquered ammo and causes the bolt to be hard to open and close.

February 13, 2010, 05:27 PM
this really helped me

also, run some boiling water through your barrel towards the action. It'll help melt any left over cosmo out of it.

February 13, 2010, 06:10 PM
I used a 45 cal brass brush inserted from the chamber end run it with a hand drill and really gave it a cleaning after that my bolt worked just fine.

February 13, 2010, 11:15 PM
Thanks for all the responses. The fact that I can get a round to chamber very smoothly if I first manually place the round under the extractor and seat it in the bolt face tells me the extractor is simply not sliding over and catching the cartridge rim. The distance required for the extractor to catch the rim is just enough to keep the bolt from closing. It will close occasionally, but not very often. On the rare occasion that it does, I can feel it snap over the rim just before the bolt closes. This does not feel right to me. I still suspect the extractor, but I will try the chamber cleaning. If my theory has any holes, please let me know.

February 14, 2010, 02:51 PM
yeah, with mine, you still have to drive it home once the extractor starts to push over the rim. It's not unbearable, but it takes a bit of downward force to lock the bolt in. I think that's just the way they are. They're not going to cycle smooth like a Mauser or K-31. They're Mosins, they're some of the roughest guns ever mades.

February 14, 2010, 03:10 PM
Thomme, you state that "it takes a bit of downward force to lock the bolt in". Since I am new to this weapon, that is the kind of feedback that I am really interested in. For clarification, I would have difficulty closing the bolt with the weapon at my hip. I seriously doubt I could do it at all with it shouldered. Are we even in the same ballpark? If not, I will continue to search for answers.

February 14, 2010, 03:16 PM
Oh, I can operate my weapon just fine at the shoulder. When I first got mine, though, I could barely work the bolt in any position. A bit of sanding, oiling and an extremely thorough cleaning later, it works a lot better. You gotta remember 2 things when dealing with Mosins: they were built in extremely high quantities in very little time and are very crude and most of them have spent the last 50-60 years in storage covered with cosmoline, which has worked it way into everything single bit and piece of the weapon.

They take some work to make easily functional.

February 14, 2010, 03:34 PM
I understand the cosmoline problem, and knowing my luck I will have extraction problems the first time I fire it. However, I need to cross this bridge before I attempt to fire it. The the fact that it easily cycles with a round locked to the bolt face tells me I have a mechanical problem. I may be (and usually am) wrong, but for the life of me I can't see how cosmoline buildup wouldn't stop the bolt closing in both scenarios.

February 14, 2010, 03:44 PM
Ok, here's the deal. The extractor doesn't go over the rim of the rifle until the bolt gets about halfway down. At that point, the bolt is forced forward it's last few MM and the extractor is forced over the rim. In no way can the bolt lock forward without the extractor locking onto the round.

I'm not sure why that would cause your bolt to become so difficult when closing it. But, I know with my own Mosin, when I first got it I had ALOT of trouble closing the bolt on a round, like you. And I cleaned it up, now it's perfectly fine.

February 15, 2010, 08:52 AM
I had a K98k with the exact same symptoms (so it's not a Mosin-only issue). I disassembled, cleaned, and re-assembled the bolt and it's fine now.

February 15, 2010, 06:02 PM
Well, I tried it the cleaning suggestion today. Imagine my surprise when the bolt still refused to close. I said a few choice words, smashed my cordless drill against the wall and sat in the corner to cry it off. Then I ate a bag of cookies to console myself. So, today's grand total: 4 hours of my time, a cordless drill, half of my sanity and 4 bucks for a bag of cookies. All that and still no joy. Wait, I can already imagine the next post... "You obviously didn't clean it the RIGHT way. Did you chant COS-MO-LINE, COS-MO-LINE while you were cleaning?" Seriously, if anybody has any suggestions that don't include cleaning, I would love to hear them. Otherwise, I think I'm gonna just order a new extractor.

February 15, 2010, 07:28 PM
Well, that leaves me thinking head space issue, actually. Though I still can't imagine why it would close easily with a round on the bolt face if that's the issue... odd. In anycase. The rate you're going at, when you work through this issue your Mosin will probably be one of the best working Mosins in the country.

I just took a close look at mine and what yours good be doing wrong. And I got no real suggestion. Best I can figure is headspacing... maybe. The extractor going bad doesn't seem like a super common issue with mosins. It's about a $15 piece from "Buy Milsurp" if you want to buy a new extractor.

February 15, 2010, 08:04 PM
Tennesse Gun Parts has them for $15 + $2 shipping. I will check the price at BuyMilSurp to compare.

February 15, 2010, 10:11 PM
15 + S&H, 18 if you buy a new bolt head. have you tried chambering a live round, though? Not just a snap cap? Cause, it could just be an issue with the snap caps. I've taken my Mosin COMPLETELY apart tonight trying to figure out what would cause your issue. Did find some nasty-nasty under the buttplate, realized it's counter-bored, got my bolt to work a bit smoother and optimized my firing pin depth. So, I thank you for getting me to work on that.

I never did find a way to replicate the issue you're having. Aside from the fact that my bolt gets tough at the same spot as yours, but mine's still workable. If I would you, I'd give it a try with some actual 7.62x54r casings or live rounds to make sure it's not just the snap-cap.

Also, if you want some info on little improvements to these things. I've got more than a few youtube videos, online guides and tutorials about Mosin improvements. I'm sure, just like me, you want to really bring out your Mosin's potential.

I'd definitely get the headspace checked on that one, if I were you, as well.

A few more questions (cause I'm'a bit of a mosin-phile) for you.
What year is yours? Which receiver and which factory?
How's the bore look in yours?
Matching numbers on all your parts?

Once you figure out how it shoots, make sure to let us know! That's my favorite part. I can do a 1.5" group with mine with a good bench, little wind and a lot of patience. The hardest part is really figuring out the trigger break.

Good luck, and welcome to the wonderful world of the most interesting $100 you'll ever spend.

February 15, 2010, 11:05 PM
Everything I've tried has been with live rounds. I've used 2 types in case some had sloppy tolerances on rim thickness - copper washed steel and brass. But as I've said, they all fit perfectly if I manually place them under the extractor, so I don't think that is an issue. All I can come up with is the extractor is bent inward just a bit causing it to just drive into the cartridge base instead of sliding over the rim. Like I said before, it will slide over a round occasionally but not often. I can't eyeball it and tell if it is bent, but that would answer my problem.

You said you had a counterbore. Mine was sold as "no counterbore". How did you check?

Mine is a 1944 Ishezsk round receiver (not laminated). It has all matching stamped #s. The bore looks really good after a thorough cleaning, and the wood is in great shape (obviously been refinished but just a couple of tiny dings).

What do you have?

February 16, 2010, 03:01 AM
42 Izzy, almost identical to yours. Just a counter bored crown. If you google it, you'll see exactly what it means. I'm willing to bet that a lot of Mosins that weren't counterbored have their crowns worn to hell. A few lucky ones get away with a pretty decent looking crown.

February 16, 2010, 08:33 AM
I'm willing to bet that a lot of Mosins that weren't counterbored have their crowns worn to hell.

Weren't those the ones they counterbored?

February 16, 2010, 02:10 PM
I ordered a new extractor from Buymilsurp today along with a set of Mauser lock screws (you can't just buy ONE thing). I hope that fixes it. I also took a closer look at my muzzle today and mine is definitely not counterbored. I guess only time will tell if that is good or bad. Just a few more feet of snow to melt and I should be able to get to the range and test it. Winter is especially long when you get the itch to bang off a few rounds.

February 16, 2010, 02:32 PM
Weren't those the ones they counterbored?You'd think. But I've personally seen only Mosins with a terrible crown or counterbored. I'm not sure how many exist with clean crowns that aren't counterbored.
I ordered a new extractor from Buymilsurp today along with a set of Mauser lock screws (you can't just buy ONE thing). I hope that fixes it. I also took a closer look at my muzzle today and mine is definitely not counterbored. I guess only time will tell if that is good or bad. Just a few more feet of snow to melt and I should be able to get to the range and test it. Winter is especially long when you get the itch to bang off a few rounds.
I hear that. I haven't shot my Mosin since... probably October. My groups will probably be the size of a UPS truck by the time I get back out to shoot.

February 26, 2010, 07:27 PM
Well, I finally got some parts to troubleshoot the bolt close problem. I tried 2 different extractors with no luck. Mmmmmmm. Wow, this crow IS yummy! :D Anyway... I also picked up an M44 since the last post, so I tried the M44 bolt in the 91/30 - worked as advertised. I then tried the 91/30 bolt in the M44 - also worked as advertised. So I tried just moving the M44 bolt head to the 91/30 - no joy. Then I tried swapping the guide rods and bolt heads on both bolts (with bolt bodies in original rifles) - both worked as advertised. Hmmm. :confused: Now, with everything back in its original place the 91/30 bolt still fails to close. The only thing I can think of is to get a set of headspace gauges and swap parts until I can hopefully get 2 functioning weapons. Any ideas?

TX Hunter
March 2, 2010, 12:04 PM
I would take it to a GunSmith and have the Chamber Cast, and the headspace checked. Your Chamber may be too short, the barrel may have been changed at some point in your rifles life.
Good luck.

March 6, 2010, 10:50 PM
Final update… I checked many posts in several forums before I asked for help on this subject. Unfortunately, none of the posts I found ended with a solution. They all just sort of left me hanging. I had hoped that I could isolate a bad part so that I could share my solution with others, but it seems that I too must leave everybody hanging. So for what it’s worth, here is how I “solved” my problem… I picked up a set of Okie headspace gauges (great product at a great price) and checked the headspace on both my M44 and 91/30. They both checked good with go & no-go gauges (never needed to get to the field gauge). I then swapped the bolt head and guide rod assembly between bolts. I again checked headspace and again both checked good with go & no-go gauges. At this point, both rifles will now cycle flawlessly (even without truly “changing” any parts). I am happy albeit still a little mystified.

March 11, 2010, 01:58 PM
I'm having the exact same problem. I put a couple days of work in cleaning, stripping, sanding, refinishing, oiling,, etc. I disassembled my bolt and used steam on all the metal. I detailed this thing like a show-room car. I tried snap caps first. I loaded two. The first one loaded fine, 2nd one got stuck as you describe. I figured it was the snap cap.

I finally had a chance to go to the range to try out live ammo. My first clip of 5 cycled through just fine. 2nd clip hung up on the last round a bit, but then went through. 3rd clip the last round would not go. I had to open up the magazine and reload. Then again, the last round would not go through.

I'm suspecting at this point its the mag follower. I'm looking at buying a new complete mag set for $20. I'll let you know if it makes a difference.

Here's my first two shots. I'm no James Cameron, but it'll do.


March 11, 2010, 06:30 PM
My rounds always stripped from the mag, but the extractor would not slide over the rim of the cartridge - which was just enough distance to keep the bolt from fully closing. Are your rounds getting stuck leaving the mag, or does the problem occur after they have stripped?

March 11, 2010, 06:57 PM
I'm still going to say: headspace! If your extractor won't go over the rim of the case, the only reason I can think of is headspace, as this time. If your bolt isn't headspaced correctly, there might not be enough space for the extractor to make it over the round. I'd try to find a smith with a set of 7.62x54r headspace gauges to check for you. Everything you say about the gun sounds like it's spot on. But, I can't picture why it wouldn't work. Kind of messed up.

I'm out of advice for the "DIY" crowd and now suggest a quick smith check.

March 11, 2010, 07:44 PM
I did a headspace check. It checked fine. Read my previous post.

Dschild seems to be describing the rounds hanging up in the mag well (at least as I read it). I am just looking for clarification.

March 11, 2010, 08:00 PM
missed that. Sorry. It's been a long time since we talked about this specific issue. Taking to a smith is about all you can do, now.

March 12, 2010, 04:37 PM
Ok, so... Headspace is ok, the extractor has been replaced and it still has the same problem? I've been doing a lot of looking into this. And I think I may have figured it out. Inside the recievers, the end of the barrels have a small cutaway that the extractor moves within. There may be cosmoline or other junk in that cutaway, preventing your extractor from moving to where it can move over the rim of the shell. Since the rifle was stored with the bolt closed, the cosmoline never hardened where the relaxed extractor sits in the cutaway. You might want to specifically check that little spot. It's a long shot, but... it might be your best bet at this point.


You can see the cutaway there. If that cutaway is blocked, the extractor cannot work properly.

March 14, 2010, 09:46 PM
I've finished a serious cleaning of my bolt and chamber. I removed everything, soaked, steamed, oiled, and put back together. I used gunk remover and mineral spirits. The chamber was pretty dirty still. So I'm glad I did this. I got in there with q tips to make sure everything was polish.

When I reassembled the bolt it seemed to go back together "easier". Maybe it's because I've done it a few times now.

So now I still have the same original problem. But I also have a new problem of the bullet flipping up when trying to chamber a round. The backside kicks up if I load slow.

Here are two videos demonstrating the issues. The first is the round not entering the chamber. It's always the bottom round. When I go to the range I now load a dummy round first just to get around this issue.

The second video is demonstrating the round kicking up.

TX Hunter
March 21, 2010, 09:36 AM
MR DSChild

I watched your videos, and from what I can tell it looks like your magazine spring may be weak or bent.
The bottom cartridge is definately binding up.
However, its impressive to have an action thats precise eneough to load spent cases.
If possible I would try and replace, the magazine spring and follower.

March 21, 2010, 12:45 PM
Thanks, TX. I have gone ahead and ordered a new mag assembly. Just to be safe I also ordered an extractor.

Could you explain a bit about what you meant by "However, its impressive to have an action thats precise eneough to load spent cases."
Should it not be able to load spent cases normally? I thought I could use them for practice, like snap caps.

March 21, 2010, 02:41 PM
Yeah, DSChild, it's definitely an issue with the magazine spring or follower. Your magazine interrupter seems fine, given that it feeds correctly. It looks like something's jamming up the follower in the magazine housing or the spring isn't strong enough to push that last round all the way past the interrupter. Beautiful stock, by the way!

Also, yeah, they usually feed spent rounds just fine: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=FT6ObRXRNeM#t=0m34s the last round hangs up on the feed ramp, because the top of that particular empty is a bit rough. I've been using the same four empties for about 6 months, now, so they're getting beaten up.

TX Hunter
March 21, 2010, 03:41 PM
MR Dschlid,

What I meant about Impressive, is that most bolt action rifles I have dealt with relied on ramps, where the nose of the bulet hit the ramp, and was driven into the chamber, watching your nagant the bolt face grabs the rim, and the guide rails are so perfectly aligned that it loads the round without a hickup. From a mechanical standpoint thats a very impressive feat.
Try to cycle spent cartridges, in a Remington 700, Savage 110, Ruger M77,
basicly anything you can think of and you will have a Jam.
It is uncommon to be able to cycle empty cartridges.
When I saw that it really made me admire the craftsmanship, that was put into these Rifles.

March 21, 2010, 04:58 PM
TX hunter, I think the ability to load spent rounds has to do with the shallow slope of the ramp, more than the bolt face itself. There are, as far as I know two feed ramps in the Mosin: the first feed ramp is in the magazine housing, then a second in the receiver, both fairly shallow.

It might have been a design feature to allow the rifle to chamber poorly produced rounds, might also be the fact that it was designed prior to the use of spitzer bullets or it could have been easier to produce. Who knows?! In anycase, it's one less possible feed problem for soldiers to run into.

Edit: DS Child, I missed the "kicking up" video. To me, it looks like the round gets stuck in the interrupter by the weak magspring, then when it's pushed forwards enough, it's popped up by the front of the magazine follower.

July 6, 2010, 09:58 PM
I forgot to update you guys. The new mag follower did the trick. My Mosin works great now. Although the snap caps still get stuck. Proper rounds feed through nicely though. Funny thing is, I just get it fixed and then I move. The range by my house only allows one round loaded at a time. Oh well...