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Old February 17, 2013, 08:56 PM   #1
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Mosin Nagant Safety Question

Should these 91/30s be head spaced before shooting for first time?
My neighbor has one and intends to possibly accompany me to the range next week to shoot it. He knows nothing about guns, let alone Mosins.
Can safety be determined by observation, or should it be gauged?
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Old February 17, 2013, 10:23 PM   #2
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You can only determine "safety" if something is so grossly evident that you can see it with the naked eye. Not likely, if it was purchased from a major firearms retailer.

Headspace, OTOH, cannot be checked visually. You will hear that Mosins rarely, if ever have headspace issues. That is likely true for re-arsenaled rifles. If it's unknown history, you have no way of knowing if someone has changed the bolt or bolthead at some point without verifying headspace.

And yes, I bought a Mosin that failed a no-go I check them all.

I would buy, or borrow, a no-go gauge- or for worst case, safe-to-fire, a "field gauge" which allows even more slop.

It's not entirely scientific, but if your buddy won't cop for the $30 for the gauge, tape two pieces of cellophane package tape (usually about 2.5-3 mils thick) to the back of the rim of a piece of BRASS. Then chamber it, and slowly work the bolt closed.

But first- make sure the bolt isn't sticking excessively from cosmoline left in the action, chamber, or bolt. The Mosin doesn't have a particularly impressive bolt throw to begin with, and you don't want excessive resistance.

SLOWLY work the bolt closed. You should feel a significant increase in resistance about halfway down as the lugs begin to seat and press the rim against the chamber. If you don't feel this extra resistance, I would for sure, get a real no-go gauge.
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