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Old December 23, 2008, 11:32 PM   #1
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Tell me about a Mosin-Nagant

So I have a Gun Show to Attend this weekend, and I'm sitting here reading an article about a Model 44 Mosin-Nagant.

If I decide to buy one, what do I need to look (or lookout) for?

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Old December 23, 2008, 11:45 PM   #2
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Look to see if all the numbers match (barrel, buttplate, floorplate, bolt)

check the barrel. it may be fully of cosmoline, so it might be hard to check the barrel. if it is full of cosmoline that's a good sign that it hasn't been shot since it left Russia.

check out its got tons of info on them.

over all check for good condition and one you like. they are fun guns to shoot. they are loud, very powerful, make big muzzle flashes, and usually will shoot fairly well.

my m44 will shoot about a 2.5'' group at 100 yards. i have heard of some that will shoot 1 MOA with the right ammo. i believe it, most people can get less than a 3'' group at 100 yards.

finish m39's are considered to be the most accurate, its not uncommon to hear of them shooting sub MOA. they are pricey though and hard to find. (i have never seen one in person). they bring it $250+.
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Old December 23, 2008, 11:49 PM   #3
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Look at the bore, they may have to clip the little doodads they tie them up with to do it, but do it anyway. You probably aren't going to find one that looks brand new, but some are better than others.

Sharp rifling, no divots = good
Sewer pipe with warts and potholes = bad

There is usually a little grease in the bore so don't worry if you can't find a shiny one, a few patches and some solvent will clean it up.

Other than that, take a look around the internet and learn some general info before you go, so you know what you are looking at. I like 91/30s better, but the M44 was my first Mosin Nagant so I can't be too hard on them. They work and are fun to shoot.
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Old December 23, 2008, 11:50 PM   #4
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One of the NRA mags. had an excellent article on these, I'll see if I can dig up the issue.
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Old December 23, 2008, 11:54 PM   #5
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What's a 91/30?
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Old December 24, 2008, 12:02 AM   #6
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What's a 91/30?

The 91 was the original version; superceded by the 91/30. The M44 was the later, carbine version of the Mosin-Nagant family. Check out the link above for a detailed history--I'm no expert.

I do plan to pick one up both a rifle and carbine after Christmas....lot of gun for the money.
In need of a new pithy quote....
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Old December 24, 2008, 12:25 AM   #7
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The Old Mosin's are a great value, and will (eventually) become quite collectible. The "thing" about them is that they're so ugly that they're beautiful, or maybe it's the other way around.....

I've got a M44 carbine and a 91/30 "Hextop" that's a really nice old rifle. I (and anyone else) wouldn't call them a tack-driver, but they are plenty accurate and lots of fun to shoot. They respond very well to handloading the ammo, so you might look for reloadable brass cases asap.

I put a "scout" mount on my 91/30 so that I could have a 4x scope and not drill any holes. It really tightens up the groups, and looks sorta neat on there. The scout mount puts the scope way up forward where the rear sight is. You simply tap out the pin that holds the rear sight on an replace it with scope mount. The rear sight can be replaced later for collector's purposes.
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Old December 24, 2008, 12:33 AM   #8
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You may also want to consider and M38 or M1891/59. They're both carbines like the M44 but don't have the integral bayonet. Unless you like the bayonet, and that's fine too.

As others have said, check the serial numbers, make sure they're matching. Rifles with stamped numbers are preferred to rifles that have been force matched with an electric engraver. Check the bore, if possible. Check the bolt face. You may even want to check the firing pin, which can be done by removing the bolt and decocking it.

Make sure it's got a cleaning rod, and preferrably the jag, guide and other accessories. The sling and dog collars are also nice to have.

Beyond that, it's aesthetics.

Some rifles have been counterbored to repair a rough muzzle, it doesn't mean the rifle has been shot out.
Some sling slots have steel inserts, some don't.
Some M44's have laminate stocks. Solid stock are usually blonde or red.
The Izhevsk arsenal rifles are identified by an arrow inside a triangle mark.
The Tula arsenal rifles are identified by and arrow inside a star mark.

Tulas are slightly rare compared to the Izhevsks, but not double the price rare.

You shouldn't pay more than $150 for an M44, at that would have to be an excellent example with all the accessories.
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Old December 24, 2008, 01:04 AM   #9
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Amazing value. 100 bucks, nice, short light enough 5 shot carbine, with a bayonet. 7.62 x 54r is just a tiny bit behind the 30-06, and, has an over 100 year proven war record, and, that with ball ammo. Ammo is so cheap right now, you almost shouldn't reload, but, matching the ammo to the gun is always worth it, if you like accurate rifles.
Action is 100 years old, bolt comes right out, trigger is a bit on the combat side, maybe 5-7 pounds, and, the bolt is a bit stiff. All make it fit for what it was designed for. I get all warm and fuzzy, and, I know that rifle will work.
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Old December 24, 2008, 01:13 AM   #10
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I second the recommendation for a 91/30 over a M44.

Longer sight radius, higher cartridge velocity. This usually translates to a more accurate package.

Mine shoots between 2 and 3 MOA with Hungarian heavy ball surplus. I was drilling a pumpkin at 300 yards with it last year at a friend's shooting event in Prescott.

M1A's have a hard time shooting less than 2 MOA with run of the mill army surplus ammo.

I have yet to load any match grade x54R ammunition, but I'm willing to bet this rifle can easily break the 1.5MOA standard and possibly even come close to 1 minute of angle. That's coming close to parity with most inexpensive modern hunting rifles on the market today.
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Old December 24, 2008, 02:11 AM   #11
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Czech silver tip ammo is good surplus and has given me good results, look for that.
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Old December 24, 2008, 03:53 AM   #12
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Make sure you have a good grip on it... They kick like a mule..for
Me anyways with mym44...overall nice milsurp rifles at affordable price.
Everyone needs one...
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Old December 24, 2008, 06:32 AM   #13
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between the 91/30 and the M44 is the M38 which has a folding bayonet attached to the right side. IIRC word has it that these are sighted in with bayonet extended so a resight is in order if you get one. Some say that shooting it will get you a jab in the hand if you are not careful which is why I have shied away.

Right now I have a 91/59 which is a refurbished 91/30 cut down to carbine length. More accurate and powerful than my SKS and with a few mods could be my scout carbine but that is still under debate.

If you want a bubba rifle get a 91/30 that has a decent bore and take a chopper to it (although it would be sad to see that happen ) shorten and recrown the barrel, drop it in a synthetic stock, glass bed and float the barrel, and add either a mojo peep or ATI scout rail and add a scout scope or a red dot/holo sight of some sort. I could see this coming to sub MOA with less than quality ammo.

If you have any more questions about markings (cartouches) go to the curio and relics forum and ask if you don't find them on

Edit: here is a "bubba'd" rifle that had a lot of effort but into it to increase accuracy potential and further annoy those around you when firing this dragon

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Old December 24, 2008, 09:01 AM   #14
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I have a 91/59 manufactured in 1943, which is my favorite and my first, the bore looked like a shiny new dime when I got it. It shoots extremely well has a pleasant feel for a military rifle. When shot near dusk or dawn there is a fireball the size of a pumpkin at the end of the barrel. I got the this one from a retail store for 99.00 and since then i applied for and got a C&R license around $35.00+ time. With this you can get them for 49-69 dollars all day from places like JG sales. I ordered a lot of 5 m44's that were in excelent condition one arrived with a totally rusted bore I called the supplier and they sent a rifle for replacement that got there the day I sent the other one back. Cheap to shoot and as another said " very fun too" It is certainly not the prettiest rifle that you can get but you can fill a gun safe with them for the cost of 1 M-1 Garand
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Old December 24, 2008, 12:23 PM   #15
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Make sure it's got a cleaning rod, and preferrably the jag, guide and other accessories. The sling and dog collars are also nice to have.
If it's your first Mosin-Nagant, you're also going to need the multi-tool. It's a flat steel teardrop-shaped doodad with a flathead screwdriver tip and 4 little slots in one side. The multi-tool and a block of hardwood (seriously) are all you need to field-strip and reassemble the rifle.

The reason you need the multi-tool is that the 4 slots are needed to check the firing pin protrusion. After installing the pin and reassembling the bolt, you line up raised edges of the bolt head with 2 of the slots and check the firing pin in the center slot. It should bottom out in the shallower center slot (minimum) but shouldn't touch the bottom of the deeper slot (maximum). One of the outer slots doubles as a firing pin wrench if it needs further adjustment. It's really quite ingenious in its simplicity.

Many of the currently marketed Mosin-Nagants come from Century International Arms (CAI), including most of the rifles sold by online retailers. The CAI guns typically come with a plastic bag containing a sling, 2 dog collars, an oil bottle, a cleaning jag, a muzzle crown protector (looks like a thimble with a hole in the middle), an ammo pouch, and the all-important multi-tool. If you buy a newly imported Mosin-Nagant, make sure you ask for the accessory bag. Some sellers charge extra for it (which makes me mad... ), so make sure you account for this in your haggling.
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Old December 24, 2008, 04:04 PM   #16
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My cost $79 dollars and a tin of ammo 440 rounds cost me $80. Been shooting it all summer.
Ruger P95, GP100, KelTec P11, Mossberg 500, Mosin Nagant 91/30, S&W M&P 45
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Old December 24, 2008, 04:45 PM   #17
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Mosin Nagants? I love those things.
I got 3 of them; two 91/30's and a M-44
I reload for them too and played with them enough to get some pretty good accuracy out of both the 91/30's.
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Old December 26, 2008, 06:30 AM   #18
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I've had 3 Mosin Nagants, 91/30, M38 and M44. Some are good shooters some are not. My M44 is pretty good although I don't care for the bayonnet. The M38 was a pretty good shooter and I had a cheap scout scope on it for a while. The scope mount could not handle the recoil and would come apart after 3 shots. The carbines really roar and belch fire, that part is fun, but keep the butplate firmly in the pocket or you will hurt.

People collect these things, but with 17 million of them out there, I doubt they could be considered investments. They are relics and fun to shoot, appreciate that.
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Old December 26, 2008, 07:30 AM   #19
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It will beat on you a bit with surplus heavy ball ammo. Reloads with 123gr bullets and Varget will get nice accuracy and much tamer recoil.
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Old December 28, 2008, 11:49 AM   #20
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Got 3 of them also. A 91/30, M44, and M38. Only shot the M44 so far. I also put a cheap scout mount on the M44 and it's worthless. Better just using open sights unless you can get a quality scout mount like a Darrel's. As some say, you can get accurate ones and iffy ones. Best to slug the bore of your Mosin to find the right diameter bullet for best accuracy. They can be from .311 to .314. Once you slug it, you can get the bullets that will make your Mosin a tack driver. I find .303 British (which is .312 diameter) is the best bullet for reloading my M44. I haven't slugged the others yet. They are all lots of fun with milsurp ammo as well.
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Last edited by noelf2; December 28, 2008 at 04:31 PM.
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Old December 29, 2008, 09:04 PM   #21
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Hey guys, I bought one! Here's what I posted in the rifle section;

Just paid $129 yesterday at a gun show in NC for a Russian M44 Carbine (1948 vintage). I was able to inspect the bore (which appears very good), good condition laminated stock, matching stamped numbers (bolt, receiver, butt plate, etc). Had a bunch of cosmo in/on it.

The $99 M44's were not as nice, electric penciled numbers, not matching, etc. I wasn't interested in the 91/30's. There were others cheaper, but the condition was worse as well.

I bought a case (440) of 7.62 x 54R "light" (148 grain?) corrosive Polish ammo in a spam can (1968?) for $85. Ammo is steel copper plated bullets, steel copper washed cases. Upon opening the spam can I found the ammo to be in excellent condition, neatly paper wrapped and string tied.

I also purchased a rubber butt pad that replaces the metal one (matching screw holes) and lengthens the stock about 1". It feels really good on the short M44 Carbine. It was only $14.95. Here's the link, you just have to scoll down to three from the bottom.

Bottom line, I feel I paid a fair price for a good condition Russian M44. I cleaned the bore last night and it looks perfect, no rust, pitting, sharp rifling, etc. I didn't gauge the muzzle cause I don't have a gauge. Guess I could have done the old bullet trick, but the rifling was strong so I expect it to be very good. Muzzle had been re-crowned.

Should be at the Range in the next day or two. Will let you know what I think. $215 for the setup ($230 with the cushioned butt plate) is pretty good in my book.

And today (12/29);

Was at the Range today. My M44 did pretty well at 100 yds. Almost all rounds were 2" left, some high, some low. Was slightly more left with the bayonnet extended.

I'll do a little drifting and go back. I'll then use a rest. Looks like it's about a 2"+ group rifle at 100 yds with the Polish ammo.

Not bad. I'm happy. I can work with this.

The muzzle blast is really comical . I'll need to shoot at twilight to get the full effect. Oh, and the recoil pad?... works wonderful.
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Old December 30, 2008, 08:35 AM   #22
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between the 91/30 and the M44 is the M38 which has a folding bayonet attached to the right side.
Contrary to normal Soviet doctrine, there was (is) no bayonet on the M38.

My M44 did pretty well at 100 yds. Almost all rounds were 2" left, some high, some low. Was slightly more left with the bayonnet extended.
FWIW, M44s were originally sighted with the bayonet extended, and most shoot better that way. Yours is the first I've heard that didn't. It might be the ammunition, though.

As I've read here, the bayonets were only folded for storage, transport, etc.
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