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Old January 26, 2011, 03:05 AM   #1
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Mosin Nagant rifle

I want to purchase a MN for my modest collection. I know very little about the rifle except that it was accurate, rugged and different. Not a Mauser. Also I have picked up that the hex barrel was made better than the round. After a certain date they were junky. Most have dark bores. The Finn made MG was the very best and is expensive. The longer barrel 91/30(?) is better than the shorter version number(?).

I would be happy if any could contradict anything that may be wrong with what I said. But here is what I want to know..... what should I be looking for? Hex? Built when? Bright bore even possible? Wood?

I have seen these for as little as $69...currently. Other prices have been as high as $200. What is a good current source for one.

As a CR can it be shipped to my home?

Any other advice would be appreciated.


John [email protected]
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Old January 26, 2011, 06:41 AM   #2
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There is no difference in accuracy or sturdiness between the hex and round receivers. Most collectors seem to like the hex's and the Tula's best for no particular practical reason. The Soviet mosin can vary from very accurate to horrible accuracy. The Finnish mosins tend to be consistently accurate and are worth quite a bit more than the Soviets.
Generally the longer M91/30 is more accurate than the shorter carbines like the M38 and M44. I have not found the M91's to be any more accurate than the M91/30's.
In terms of quality: You will find shiney bores and dark bores. You will also find some counterbores. I have found that counterboring works - the rifles usually are decently accurate after a counterbore. I have had some dark bores turn out to be good shooters. A common occurance is to have the rifle shoot about 4-6 inches high at 100 yards. So some build up the front sight to correct this.
For a refurbished mosin, I wouldn't pay over $125 for a M91/30 nor more than $150 for a carbine.
And yes, they are rugged, simple firearms. Everyone should have at least one for the fun factor.
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Old January 26, 2011, 06:55 AM   #3
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First, yes, as a C&R it can be shipped directly to your home IF you are C&R FFL (03) holder, and your state law permits it.

Second, there is no real difference in quality insofar as a hex receiver (NOT barrel) vs. a round receiver is concerned. After about 1930 or so, manufacture under Stalin was simplified and the hex receivers were done away with. While I wouldn't consider any of them "junk" per se. you have to remember that the wartime guns were subject to many stressful factors and, to be honest. can appear downright crude insofar as quality of machining is concerned.

As a rule, the older a gun is, the more questionable the metallurgy. Hex receivers are from older guns and quite a few capture pieces were used to rebuild guns for the Finnish Army. I personally have never had any problems from either type of receiver and I have not heard of anyone else, either. The main attraction of hex receivers for some is the fact that many were made before 1899 and therefore don't require any kind of license to ship.

$69.00 is a very tempting price for a starter gun and there are plenty of them available out there since they were produced by the millions. Bear in mind that the $69.00 guns are all Russian refurbs, so they are going to be reblued and most likely the stocks refinished with some really crappy varnish.

Nothing was done about rebarreling them, so the ideal situation is to try to go to a local store that sells them (Big 5, etc.) and find one that has a decent bore.

When selecting, just use your common sense and select the rifle with the best bore possible and examine the wood for cracks and splits. Regarding serial numbers, most, if not all of the refurbs were "force matched" during rebuild, i.e. a bolt that headspaced properly was renumbered to match the barrel (the receivers were generally not serial numbered), as well as other components on the rifle. (I have to make a minor amendment about serials: BATF requires that each gun have a "unique" serial number on the receiver, so any number you see on a Russian Mosin receiver is going to one that the importer put on.)

Regarding the Finn guns, yes, they are generally considered the best of the bunch, especially insofar as accuracy is concerned. They are expensive, but if you like precision shooting, they are the best bet.

There are some American made Mosin Nagants, but you don't encounter them often any more. New England Westinghouse made thousands as did Remington Arms for the Czarist govt. Most were not delivered because of the 1917 Bolshevik revolution and were sold to the U.S. govt. to be used as training rifles, although some were issued to American troops involved in the invasion of Russia after WW I.

So..... When you embark on your search, don't worry too much about hex vs. round or the date of manufacture. Select for bore condition and wood condition.

Also, and this is just a personal preference of mine, the short carbines, i.e. the 1938 and 1944 models have a deafening muzzle blast, so I really don't enjoy shooting them as much as the old 1891 or 91/30 long rifles.

Last edited by gyvel; January 26, 2011 at 06:50 PM.
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Old January 26, 2011, 02:09 PM   #4
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Thank you both very much.

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Old January 26, 2011, 06:51 PM   #5
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Good luck and let us know what you end up with.
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Old January 26, 2011, 08:33 PM   #6
Don P
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This web site is stop 1 for info on the Mosin -Nagants.
Here ya go
You need to read the info on the difference between the Izhevsk Arsenal (round receivers) and the Tula Arsenal (hex receivers). You will be surprised as to the very small difference between the two arsenals.
I have 2, 1 from each arsenal and other than the shape of the receivers I cannot tell any difference.
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Old January 26, 2011, 10:16 PM   #7
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Another good site for all milsurps:

Like all milsurps, the MN can be a crap shoot. I have been lucky with all of mine. I even have a Hungarian M44 that has a bore like looking down a gravel road! But it shoots perfectly well. Accurate enough for my recreational shooting.
My son has a 91-30 ex-sniper The holes for the scope mount have been filled. The Russians took guns out of use for sniper rifles for two reasons. 1. They needed more battle rifles 2. The individual rifle proved to be to inaccurate for sniper use. Unfortunately, his is one of the latter examples.
Cheapshooter's rules of gun ownership #1: NEVER SELL OR TRADE ANYTHING!
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Old January 28, 2011, 11:40 PM   #8
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If you are hell bent on a MN buy what you want. what I mean is if you want a shooter/sporter get a cheapo 69 dollar rifle and forget about it, if you want a shooter/collectable do some research and pay the extra cash. You can find some odd rifles that have cool history. Watch out though you can become addicted.
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Old January 30, 2011, 11:12 AM   #9
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I am a great fan of the Hungarian MN. These are well built rifles and quite nice to shoot.

The Finns versions are very desirable also.
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Old January 30, 2011, 11:16 AM   #10
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I like the Finns, and I have two of them.

Over on on the Collectors Forum they are a bunch of Finn Mosin nut cases, those guys just love their Finn Mosins.

The guy at is named Ted, he is a prominent member of that forum; in fact, I sold him my other Finn, a M28.
At that point, 7 years ago, Ted had 14 Finn Mosins, I think he has a lot more now.

Anyway, if you want to get enthused and informed about Finn Mosins head over there and you will get an earful.

Also you will learn who Simo Haya was.
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