Mobile Marksman

Personal Firearms Instruction

       The Mosin Nagant Rifle


             The Mosin Nagant Rifle

The Mobile Marksman's favorite type of military surplus rifle is The Mosin Nagant rifle.

"That's gotta' be one of the ugliest rifles around - Why do you like it so much?" You might say upon seeing one.

To me it is beautiful!

Above: Anna handles ex-Soviet Tula 1932 Mosin Nagant M91/30 rifle.  Her first shot was right in the center of the bullseye, next shot one inch away.  Anna is originally from the Ukraine - She definitely know's how to handle this ex-Soviet rifle.

I would ask "Why do people own Bulldogs and Boston Terriers?"  They are "Cool-Ugly".  Well that's part of my reason, but not the main reason -I like the Mosin Nagant Rifle because they are are tough, accurate, interesting, collectable and historically significant.

Developed for the Tsarist Russian military, these Mosin Nagant rifles and carbines initially served in 1891 and were front-line equipment in the Russian/Soviet Army until after WW2.  They are still used as fighting rifles in some primitive parts of the world today.

Produced in the millions these rifles have fought in many conflicts, revolutions and wars around the world.  First produced in a long rifle, shorter dragoon rifle and carbines for Russia by three Russian arsenals: Tula, Izhevsk and Sestroryetsk - One French arsenal Chatellerault and two US firms: Remington and New England Westinghouse.

Above: Russ checks out the scope of his Soviet Mosin Nagant M91/30 PU sniper rifle.

After WW2 they were produced by China, Finland, Hungary, Poland and Rumania.  They were used by all Soviet client states and Warsaw Pact troops in one aspect or another until the fall of the Berlin Wall.

To me the most interesting variations were the Mosin Nagant rifles modified and used by the small country of Finland from the period from 1924 - 1945.

Finland was part of Russia until the Russian Revolution in 1917 when Finland gained it's independence.  Shortly thereafter - A civil war broke out in Finland between the Whites and Reds.  The Whites eventually won and Finland kept it's independence from Russia - Now the Soviet Union.

The new nation of Finland needed rifles for it's Army and Civil Guard.  They had retained the Russian M91 rifles from their previous Russian identity.  Many of these rifles were worn-out from rough use and lots of combat between WW1 fighting Germany as part of Russia, then during their own civil war.

The Finns decided to keep the basic M91 Russian action but make numerous improvements to the barrel, sights and stock.  Initially they purchased barrels made by SIG in Switzerland and two German firms and made the other modifications in house.

Above: Jared holds a Finn M30 rifle (M91/30) made by Tikka in 1944.  These rifles are exceptionally accurate.  MOA accuray is not unusual at all.

These barrels were precisely made and allowed for very accurate shooting.  The triggers were improved for a better, two stage pull and stocks were modified to be sturdier using locally available wood and recycled Russian stocks.

The Finns also bought surplus Russian M91 rifles from other countries that had either captured them from Russia during WW1 or recieved the as war reparations after WW1. The Finns used them as either issue rifles as they were if they were in good shape or torn-down and used as parts and actions for complete rebuilds.

The famous firm of SAKO (famous maker of fine commercial sporting rifles)was created to build rifles from these Mosin Nagant actions for the Finnish Civil Guard.  Finnish state run arsenal VKT produced Mosin Nagant barrels for the Finnish Army. 

The commercial firm of TIKKA (maker modern commercial hunting rifles)made barrels for the State too. These barrels were used to assemble complete rifles at one of three state run arsenals. These rifles were improved an modified over the years to end up at the pinnacle of Mosin Nagant development - The M39 Rifle (pictured above). 

These Finn Mosin Nagant Rifle models were the M24, M27, M28, M28/30, M91 VKT/B/Tikka, M39 and the M91/30 Tikka.

The Finns fought the Soviets in the Winter War and the Continuation War in WW2 with Mosin Nagant rifles of a number of variations - The Soviets primarily used the M91/30 version of the Mosin Nagant rifle and the M38 and M44 carbine.

This is very interesting as both sides essentially used the same rifles and ammunition against each other.  The resource-challenged Finns in particular, appreciated and used captured Soviet 7.62x54r ammo.

The image shown at the top of this page is a Finnish M39 rifle that was made in 1970 - Yes 1970! - I was nine years old in 1970 and the Finns still produced these rifles in limited numbers.  This particular rifle is capable of MOA accuracy (1" five shot groups at 100 yds.) and is beautifully made.  The action was made by the Soviet Izhevsk arsenal in 1929 and captured by the Finns in either the Winter War of 1939 or the Continuation War of 1941-1944.

These Swiss/German/Finn barreled Mosin Nagant rifles shoot very, very well.  Their improved sights and stocks make them much easier to shoot well compared to a stock M91 rifle.  They were also produced in much smaller numbers than the Russian/Soviet Mosin Nagant rifles and are quite collectable.

I will be writing more about variations of the Mosin Nagant and other rifles over time in my website/blog.  Look for them.


Above:  The Mosin Nagant rifle came in many variations - A small sampling is shown here - There are many, many more...

Above: Russ at bench working with Finnish M91 Mosin Nagant rifle made in 1941 by VKT.  This rifle is very accurate.  In the background is future US Marine Mitch Vanasupa loading a Soviet M44 carbine that his grandfather captured and brought back from the Korean War (note the extended bayonet).  These rifles have a history and have been through a lot!

Russ firing Finnish VKT Mosin Nagant 1891 rifle from 500 yard line at Vintage Long Range Match, Ione, CA 2011.  Course of fire was 300, 500, 600 and 800 yards.  The rfles are effective and accurate at these ranges.

Above: View through Soviet PU scope mounted on M91/30 Mosin Nagant rifle.  Some competitors use these scope equipped rifles in target matches.

Note: Shooter in foreground is using Soviet 91/30 Mosin Nagant sniper rifle.  They can really shoot!

Above: Brian Mathews and Russ Miller at the 2014 CMP Western Games Vintage Sniper Match in Phoenix, AZ.  This is a two-man team match with timed targets at 300 and 600 yards.  Both these guns were made in 1941 and they can still shoot! 

Above: Russ fires Soviet Mosin Nagant M91/30 Sniper Rifle at 600 yard target.  We were allowed two sandbags to rest our rifles on in the prone position.  Your partner/spotters calls your shots and suggests corrections.  This match was really fun - Can't wait 'till next year!

Scoped M1903 Springfield rifles are in the background in the hands of other competitors.

Above: Russ spotting for Brian at the CMP 2014 Garand Rifle Match.  The tags on the back of our hats are competitor badges with our names and competitor numbers.

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