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Action: Bolt-Action Carbine
Caliber: 7.62 x 54R (comparable to .308 Winchester or 30-06 Springfield)
Sights: Standard military dovetail sights, ranges varied
Weight: Approximately 4 Kgs loaded with sling attached
Accessories: Side-mounted bayonet, sling, misc. tools with ammo pouch.
Purchase Price: $50 to $200 for non-sniper variantsThe most cost effective, full power military rifle available to the survivor is the Mosin-Nagant series of rifle. These rifles are often available for under $100 and the caliber it shoots (7.62x54R) is nearly as powerful as 30-06 Springfield and at ranges beyond 300 yards it is actually more potent because of a better inherent ballistic coefficient for the bullet. These rifles are highly accurate, powerful, durable and inexpensive. They are lacking only in the rate-of-fire department, which can be made up for with precision shooting and practice.
of the rifle, up to $1000 for collector's pieces
of the rifle, up to $1000 for collector's pieces
There is a plethora of aftermarket accessories out there for those interested in upgrading, though these rifles are excellent without add-ons. I initially opened my own Wetpaint page (Saint Louis Minuteman) to document the process but because of lack of funds I have decided to cancel my project until further notice, basically when I'm making a bit more money and have some to allocate to my firearm hobby. I have also maybe had 20 different people look at my page, hence my posting here as well. Please check out my page as it'll *hopefully* soon document my own experience building up a Mosin-Nagant rifle.
There are three common variations of the Soviet made Mosin-Nagant; the 91/30, the M38 and the M44. Each of these rifles are visually different and offer different things to the owner. The 91/30 is the longest and probably the most accurate of the three variations. It has a bayonet that can be mounted to it, making the rifle nearly the length of a short spear at 5 feet long. The M38 is a carbine and has no bayonet. The M44 is a carbine the same length as the M38 with a permanently affixed side folding bayonet and is usually found in the best condition as they were produced until the Soviet Union adopted the SKS and AK47. Because it has excellent accuracy potential and a bayonet affixed to the rifle, it is probably the best choice for a survival rifle. An excellent resource can be found HERE for more information regarding the differing models of this wonderful rifle.
To the left is an excellent image concerning the different variations of the Mosin Nagant. The top rifle is the original variant, the M91. Below that is a model 91/30, spoken about above. Below it is a Finnish model M39 (which is extremely collectible and very high quality and shouldn't be altered) and the bottom is a model M44; Note the bayonet folded along the side.
The M44 is an excellent rifle when left unaltered but to realize its potential it requires that some work be put into it to improve upon it. Because the majority of them were constructed during World War 2, the rifles were produced as quickly as possible and being military rifles the tolerances built into them were very loose (which improves reliability in harsh environments but hinders performance in perfect conditions). These rifles are extremely rugged but not for the timid; they are loud, kick hard and are not very lightweight. However, with the sling attached these rifles are very portable and you'll get used to carrying it quickly! The rifle is built for battle; the bayonet is downright nasty (and better than a knife for CQ fighting) and the buttplate is steel, making this rifle very dangerous as a close combat weapon. The 7.62x54R cartridge is often considered too powerful for deer and can be used for deer up to small grizzly bears effectively. Unfortunately, on many examples of these rifles the sights are dramatically off at 100 yards; they tend to shoot about 6 inches high. This is because the Soviets trained their soldiers to shoot directly at the center of a person (somewhere in their belly area) which would cause the bullet to strike in the center of the enemy's chest at this range. I suggest that if your local firing range permits shooting silhouettes on the rifle range to use these and aim at the target's "center mass" and you'll feel a lot better about the accuracy of these rifles.
Ammunition is available in bulk online but the majority of it is corrosive; This requires special cleaning techniques. I have actually already written a guide to cleaning after using corrosive ammunition on my own Wetpaint site. Please visit my page for a guide to clean the corrosive salts out of your Mosin-Nagant! There are many ways to do it but I've found mine to be effective enough. One can also use water to flush the salts out of the barrel but I would IMMEDIATELY clean the rifle as normal after doing so to prevent rust from forming. I have also heard that blackpowder bore solvent can be used to clean the corrosive salts but again, this is something I personally have not tested and give any credence to.
When you first purchase your new/old rifle, it will likely be covered in a absolutely nasty wax-like substance called cosmoline. Before you use the rifle all of this preservative must be removed.
The surplus military ammo should not be used for hunting (as its not really designed for killing animals humanely) but there is a lot of companies that make suitable ammunition for this purpose. I highly recommend Wolf Gold (HP or SP) as its accurate and reliable, and its also boxer primed; which means that it can easily be reloaded if one is so inclined. If you purchase Wolf Gold please save your brass, even if you don't reload as many of us will buy it from you if you've got enough of it. Reloads for these rifles can bring accuracy into the <1 MOA category, especially with the Finn rifles and some of the better 91/30 variants.
If you're interested in more information please check out www.surplusrifle.com as its got an immense database of knowledge regarding the Mosin-Nagant and many other surplus firearms. It show several different builds step-by-step and contains a wealth of information regarding different products you can use to customize your own. I also suggest checking out my page (link above) as it also contains a lot of information as well.
Like all articles crated by LittleJon126, please be courteous and please do not alter his work unless it is for the sake of spelling and grammar, as it infuriates Littlejon126 when his work is altered in any way. If you have a suggestion for something that should be added, please leave a PM or thread on the page and Littlejon126 will get back to you ASAP and we can discuss any changes to be made.
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, Feb 17 2009, 12:58 PM EST
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