Mosin-Nagant Sniper Rifle Review + Installing the Timney Trigger for Mosins

Most off the shelf military import Mosins are in the 8lb range.

Most off the shelf military import Mosins are in the 8lb range.

Timney Mosin-Nagant Trigger
http://www.timneytriggers.com/

One of the best war movies ever made was “Enemy at the Gates.” It is about the WWII Battle of Stalingrad, and a Soviet sniper named Vasily Zaytsev. In the movie Vasily becomes a national war celebrity, and is then pitted against a top German sniper. The victor will, seemingly, carry the hearts and minds of the soldiers in the field, thereby swinging the war in the favor of the victor. Yes there are some stupid relationship and love triangle moments, but the movie doesn’t stray too far from the brutality of a war that was literally about survival.

Jude Law, who plays Vasily, is not the biggest star in the movie however. He is far outclassed by his rifle, a Russian Mosin-Nagant Sniper model. Since the movie’s release, America has seen thousands of these really nifty rifles make it through importation into the hands of US shooters. They generally go for $600-$900 on GunsAmerica. Most supplies at the wholesale level have now dried up though, and the prices are surely to rise. We bought two of these rifles, and installed the Timney Mosin-Nagant trigger in one of them to shoot side by side with a stock gun.

We bought two Mosin-Nagant snipers on GunsAmerica for this article. As you can see there are two versions of the excellent Russian PU scope, one black and one green.

We bought two Mosin-Nagant snipers on GunsAmerica for this article. As you can see there are two versions of the excellent Russian PU scope, one black and one green.

First of all, don’t be fooled that there is any historical correlation to the way these rifles shoot in the movie. As you will see from our accuracy tests, they shoot well, but not all that much better than a standard 91-30 Mosin with iron sights. My guess is that these are not actual issued sniper rifles, but instead an entrepreneurial exercise by some smart Russian, or even smart Americans, who converted the rifles on our shores. The Russian PU scopes and mounts you see on the rifles here have been on the market for years in seemingly unlimited quantities.

Today you can buy them on GunsAmerica and Ebay for $150. Carve away a bit of the stock, tap two holes in your 91/30 receiver, bend the bolt and whalla! You now have a “genuine” Russian Mosin-Nagant sniper. A 91/30 is going for about $200-$250 these days, and the mount is $150. The scope itself has been pirated by China, so you have to make sure you are getting a real one. They go for about $300. A gunsmith will probably charge you $100 for the work, so you can’t easily make one for less money than you can buy one. If you make one you’ll have to completely sacrifice the illusion that a Russian sniper actually used the rifle, though. I prefer to live the lie and let someone else put the scope on.

I strongly suggest that you find someone with a milling machine to do this job. A chisel was too crude.

I strongly suggest that you find someone with a milling machine to do this job. A chisel was too crude.

That is why you shouldn’t even think twice about “defacing” your “original” stock by putting a Timney trigger in it. I strongly suggest having a gunsmith with a proper milling machine make the cutout for you. I tried to do it with a chisel and it was a mess, as you can see in the picture. I find that Dremel tools tend to walk on me, unless they are clamped down and the material is clamped down, but if you forgo the milling machine a Dremel would probably be a better option than the chisel. The chisel was brand new and sharp, but tended to bang pieces out of the bottom of the stock, which looks really bad.

Do you need a Timney trigger? That depends on what you want to do with the gun. I put the Timney in the gun with the black scope that you see here, and the green scoped gun I shot with the stock trigger. It seems to me that someone had cleaned its trigger up some, and it broke just under 5 lbs., similar to the Timney as it came from the box. This was 3 lbs. under some of my stock 91/30s that I measured at about 8 lbs. Nonetheless, the Timney was crisp and had no creep, while the stock Mosin trigger has about an inch of mild resistance before breaking in a slightly spongy fashion. The Timney can be adjusted down to 1.5 lbs. as well, so if you plan to shoot service rifle matches for old folks who need optics, it is a pretty good investment. The Timney also has a trigger block safety if you plan to use the gun to hunt. If there is a way to capture that Vasily moment for me, it is going to be hunting hogs or coyotes in the Florida back country. The Timney safety does have a click to it, but I was able to shave the wood down gradually so it is a little sticky, which allows me to ease the safety off with no sound.

The Russian PU scope can be zeroed and then dialed in to up to 1300 yards and 10mpg crosswind.

The Russian PU scope can be zeroed and then dialed in to up to 1300 yards and 10mpg crosswind.

The Russian PU scope is very different from commercial scopes we see here in the U.S. It is bright and clear, and at 3.5 power, the PU is perfect for most sniper work in urban and sub-urban environments, as well as most North American hunting. The reticle is a pointed post, and the point is very fine. This allows you to aim out to beyond 1000 yards with some precision, because there is nothing to blot out the target. Though one of our scopes was black and one green, through the lens they are indistinguishable. One thing you may or may not like about these scopes is that they have no clicks on the turrets. If you zero your scopes by viewing the target then counting off MOA clicks, these scopes will frustrate you.

There is an alternate method of zeroing a scope that usually only requires 2 or 3 shots and it is preferable for the PU. First you bore sight the rifle. On both of our test rifles, the open sights pointed almost perfectly 3 inches high at 100 yards as compared to zeroing the scope at 100 yards, so it was easy to get the first shot on paper. If your first shot is rested on a very solid rest, you rest the rifle in the same manner before the 2nd shot, and aim at your previous point of aim. Then, while holding the rifle steady, adjust the turrets to bring the point of the post to where the bullet struck on the target. Take the second shot, then fine tune a bit. By the 3rd shot you should be dead on. The PU click-less scope works great with this method, and unlike many commercial scopes, you can see the reticle moving to your exact turns. Once your rifle is zeroed, you can unscrew the cap and lock it to the 0 measurements for both windage and elevation. The rifle can then be dialed in for distances to 1000 yards, and to cross winds of up to 10mph. It is set to the ballistics of the standard military ball 7.62x54r cartridge. Like many things Russian, including the Mosin-Nagant itself, the PU seems very crude, but it is elegant in its sheer simplicity.

The one with the green scope as sold to be as a 1/2 MOA rifle. It averaged about 1.5 MOA in real life.

The one with the green scope as sold to be as a 1/2 MOA rifle. It averaged about 1.5 MOA in real life.

I am slightly embarrassed to say that I purchased some very expensive “7N1” sniper ammo for this article, at inflated prices. You can get it now on LuckyGunner.com at less than half what I paid, currently at $260 per 440 round spam can (it doesn’t come with an opener btw). They are the only ones I have seen with this ammo, and it really seems to be nothing special. Head to head in the same guns with standard Silver Bear ammo, the 7N1 performed only marginally better.

Marginal performance is what I would call the order of the day with these two rifles. The green scoped one was sold to me by a guy claiming that he had shot 1/2 MOA with it. I don’t know if it was an outright lie, or if the guy just hit a batch of ammo that the rifle really liked. I lean toward the former, but you never know. Personally 1/2 MOA is about the limit of my shooting ability using the Lead Sled you see here in the photos, and neither of these rifles were even close to that. One Minute of Angle is roughly an inch of dispersal at 100 yards. These rifles averaged about 1.5-2 MOA throughout the course of 200 rounds over both rifles. I did have many 5 shot groups that showed 3 or even 4 rounds in under 1 inch, so I would have to say that with finely tuned and tested handloads in brass cases, you could probably get the gun into a solid MOA, if you wanted to shoot service rifle competition.

The one with the black scope has the Timney trigger in it and performed about the same. Without the trigger it would have been less, and it is almost definitely a fake piece together.

The one with the black scope has the Timney trigger in it and performed about the same. Without the trigger it would have been less, and it is almost definitely a fake piece together.

The accuracy of the Mosin-Nagant is maligned by a lot of people, but it is mostly off base. Besides some obvious problem rifles, or rifles with completely shot out barrels, the Mosin is not a terrible rifle. If I had to lie down behind a dirt berm and pick off opposing soldiers at 300 yards, I would much rather have one of these Mosins than a fancy 13 lb. U.S. sniper rifle. This rifle has wooden handguards top and bottom for the entire length of the barrel, and it is light and fast. You would think that even 2 MOA would be impossible with full length handguards, especially when “real” sniper rifles are glass bedded or free floated, and their barrels don’t touch the stock. The Nagant sniper has barrel bands for heavens sake! The Nagant is a crude, simple weapon that just works, no matter what. That’s is what you want in a real battle, and these things will even take a bayonet. I’d take that over an M40 or M24 any day!

For this article we bought a spam can of the double price 152 grain "7N1" sniper ammo from LuckyGunner.com. It isn't head and shoulders above Silver Bear and probably not worth double.

For this article we bought a spam can of the double price 152 grain “7N1” sniper ammo from LuckyGunner.com. It isn’t head and shoulders above Silver Bear and probably not worth double.

From a firepower standpoint, the 5 round magazine is one downfall of the Mosin. I personally don’t think an aftermarket stock and high capacity magazine are worth the effort though. It is essentially turning a Mosin into an American style rifle, and it just ads weight for no real reason. The Pro-Mag stock only comes with a 5 round magazine anyway. The ten rounders are extra. I would just go out and buy the Savage 110 variations that have detachable magazines. We have tested them and they are generally MOA guns out of the box. You can’t make a Mosin something it isn’t, but you can waste a lot of money trying.

How much of the Vasily Zeytsev story is true? If you read the Wikipedia we linked to you’ll find that very little of the movie was based on actual facts. He was a famous Russian sniper, and he did have over 400 confirmed kills, some past 1,000 yards. Once you see the movie, if you are a red blooded American gun nut, you’ll be trapped in the romance of the Mosin-Nagant sniper rifle forever. I even bought some burlap for this article then decided it was silly. My gunshop that took the gun in for me asked it they could buy it when I was done with it, and the answer was a firm NO WAY. You can’t escape the romance of the Russian Mosin-Nagant sniper rifle, and though these guns may not actually be the real McCoy, they sure look like they are, and that’s quite enough for me.

The 3.5x Russian PU has a pointed post reticle. It looks crude but works great out to long distances.

The 3.5x Russian PU has a pointed post reticle. It looks crude but works great out to long distances.

This is one of the sniper models above a standard 91/30. The stock cutout and bent bolt are really the only features that differ, besides the two mounting holes for the mount in the side of the receiver.

This is one of the sniper models above a standard 91/30. The stock cutout and bent bolt are really the only features that differ, besides the two mounting holes for the mount in the side of the receiver.

This is the Timney Trigger for all Mosin-Nagant rifles.

This is the Timney Trigger for all Mosin-Nagant rifles.

There is only one screw to remove, and the existing trigger comes right out.

There is only one screw to remove, and the existing trigger comes right out.

Save these parts! As you can see, the trigger is just a spring and a crossbar.

Save these parts! As you can see, the trigger is just a spring and a crossbar.

This part couldn't be simpler.

This part couldn’t be simpler.

Where i gets complicated is making the hole bigger for the big red block to fit in.

Where i gets complicated is making the hole bigger for the big red block to fit in.

This is a closeup on the special PU mount. Some are numbered to the gun and others are not.

This is a closeup on the special PU mount. Some are numbered to the gun and others are not.

It isn't noticeable unless you are looking for it, but the job came out really ugly.

It isn’t noticeable unless you are looking for it, but the job came out really ugly.

The Timney came in at just under 5 lbs. from the factory. It can be reduced to 1.5.

The Timney came in at just under 5 lbs. from the factory. It can be reduced to 1.5.

The green scoped rifle's stock trigger was a little lighter, but has over an inch of takeup and drag before breaking.

The green scoped rifle’s stock trigger was a little lighter, but has over an inch of takeup and drag before breaking.

Both of these guns had a busy day and a big pile of steel cases was the result. Off to clean guns now. The primers on this surplus ammo are generally corrosive.

Both of these guns had a busy day and a big pile of steel cases was the result. Off to clean guns now. The primers on this surplus ammo are generally corrosive.

{ 54 comments… add one }
  • Rolando April 18, 2016, 2:11 pm

    I agree that ‘Enemy at the Gates’ was a horrible movie, completely untrue and devoid of any thing factual. there was no duel between Vasiloff and a German colonel, never happened. I have five MN rifles, three Finn m39s, (two of which are new/never issued 1968 dated) one Hungarian M44, and a pre-bubbaed 1938 Tula with a chopped 20” barrel that is my favorite MN. At my webpage, (http://hstrial-rchambers.homestead.com/Index.html) link to scout rifles will show how I scouted it and same for a FN Mauser, I was making pseudo scout rifles before scout rifles were popular.

  • John Atkinson April 16, 2016, 10:14 am

    I have a original mosin nagant pu sniper rifle. I was wondering if there is a after market stock available for it. I see a few options for a regular mosin nagant. My stock has a Crack near the scope mount. My fault, didn’t make sure the screws were tight and took it out and shoot it. Makes me sick. Any help would be great.

  • Steve January 29, 2016, 8:00 am

    Can someone elaborate on how to unscrew the caps on the PU scope to reset it after zeroing at 100 yards. Mine has the two screws? in the cap but I’m afraid to loosen them for fear of losing parts. Love the gun, have one in an ArchAngel stock and three more in stock configuration. My sniper? I put together myself with help from my gunsmith but he strongly suggested I not mess with the caps on the scope. Sure would like to get the scope set right.

  • David Christensen December 28, 2015, 1:22 pm

    Next time, make a mark where to cut…. TAKE YOUR TIME & USE SHARP TOOLS! clean it out to within 1/8 to 1/4″ of the line, then switch to a Dremmel tool with the sanding drum attached to move to the line. Work slowly, and hold on tight so that it doesn’t jump. Test fit often. Finish with small hand files, if necessary. Quality stock work is judged by a good wood to metal fit.

  • Gary January 23, 2015, 9:45 pm

    I have one dated 1925 and Hex breach has all the commie marking CCCP so forth. It will group under 2″ a 100yds with 210gr cast bullets and 51 grs of 5010 surplus powder. mild recoil. Military surplus was as good as the ones in the article I know 5010 is too slow burning but it works. Having a PU scope put on will see if it groups any better. The rifle appears unused has 100% bluing and no bayonet scrapes on the barrel, stock has just a few light dents. paid less than $100. 7 years ago.

  • LeRoy Krsiean January 3, 2015, 12:08 am

    Nice article and comments. Pretty gnarly looking wood on that Timney trigger thing.
    I bought my first Moisin-Nagant 91/30 in 1965 in Minnesota. A local hardware store was selling them at $10 a piece. There was no sales tax in those days, no paper work, no NICS. I just laid a ten dollar bill on the counter and a person brought one out from the back room. Those days a LONG gone now. The particular 91/30 is a great shooter, and was manufactured in Izhevsk in 1938. I shot a wild boar with it in Tennessee back about 1988. Using the iron sights and Norma soft point 180 grain, the ol’ Moisin knock that pig for a loop; he dropped where he stood. Back in the 1980s when the orginal Moisin-Nagant Model-91 came on the market, I scrarfed up two of them. Both of those old Model-91s have the Finnish army stamps on the left sides of the receivers, indicating that the rifles were captured from Soviet forces during the Finnish-Soviet war in World War Two. Comparing the Model-91 rifles with the modified Model-91/30 rifles, the old Model-91 has a longer barrel and the rear sights are calibrated in Arshins. The Model-91/30’s rear sight is calibrated in meters. The old Arshin calibration of the sights was determined by the general length of a soldier’s stride which, of course, is not very exact.

    When I received the two Model-91 Moisins it was obvious that they had been in storage for many years. The wood stocks were heavily encrusted with really old grease. The grease had pretty much turned into a harden beeswax like substance. I pulled stocks off of the metal and set to working the old, petrified grease with Go-Jo hand cleaner. The Go-Jo did a pretty good job of getting the grease off. Shining a light through the bore revealed that both of the rifle bores were virtually plugged solid by old grease. I cleaned out the bores using spray brake cleaner, with the liquid grease and dirt running out into a pile of paper towels. After I brake cleaned the bores I saw that the rifling looked virtually like new. With more work using traditional bore cleaning materials, oils and patches, the bores of both rifles look very nice. What is cool about the old Moisin Model-91 rifles is that they still have the Imperial Russian crests on the receivers, and were never obliterated or over stamped with the Soviet Hammer and Sickle.

    I have added another 91/30 to the collection and it is in near mint condition. Also back in the 1990s I added a Moisin Model-44. At one time I had a Moisin M1938, but the Soviets had done such a poor job of converting it from it’s original 91/30 configuration to the M1938 configuration (shortened barrel) that I had to get rid of it. The front sights on the barrel were mounted at about the 12:30 to 1 o’clock position, and it just plain looked bad.

    The 91/30 that I originally purchased back in 1965 shoots rather well. At the 3 Points range outside of Tucson, Arizona, I could consistently hit metal pig targets at 300 meters using the open sights.

  • Richard Owl-Mirror December 2, 2014, 9:21 pm

    I enjoyed the article, even though I don’t know much about this rifle.
    I recently bought two rifles at a farm estate auction. An Enfield (sported) & a Mosin Nagant 91/30.
    Both were under $100 each and in excellent condition. The bore were clean with sharp rifling grooves.
    I took them both to a gunsmith prior to firing them, just to make sure they were safe.
    I also bought the Archangel replacement stock for the Mosin Nagant, even though the wood is in excellent condition.
    I’ll be picking them up tomorrow. The gunsmith only had to adjust the head space slightly for use with modern SAAMI ammo.
    He did suggest I install a Timney Trigger on the Mosin Nagant but, I’ll need to wait until next year.
    I did notice Timney also sells a Trigger for the Enfield too.
    Until I fire them both, I’ll not know if changing out the Triggers is worth the money & effort.
    I do know the Archangel replacement stock is specifically designed to accept the Timney Trigger,
    Not sure about the Enfield easily accepting a drop-in Timney Trigger.
    I guess by now you can tell I’m not as much interested in Historically correct Firearms. I simply want them to function well.
    With the Archangel replacement stock, the barrel is completely free-floated so, the heating up of the barrel shouldn’t be a problem as is the case with the fully wooden stocks.
    Anyways, thanks for the article !
    I’ll leave another comment once I get out to the range and give them a thorough test.

  • Dwight August 15, 2014, 7:54 am

    Great article
    Most mosin sniper folks will disagree however, including myself, that these are “not genuine snipers.” They are. Your electro-penciled rifle show that it is genuine. Arsenal refurbished yes. But genuine. Plenty of fakes but those two aren’t

  • Ron Spagnola July 11, 2014, 6:55 pm

    I have a MN 91/30 and the Chinese version of the M44. When I bought a tin of surplus ammo, it had brass casings instead of steel as sold in most stores. When I fired either of the guns with the steel casings, I had no problems. When I used the old surplus ammo with brass casings, it appeared to make my bolt work really hard to eject the shell casing and load a new one in the chamber, as if the casing expanded in the chamber after it was fired and now it is hard to work the bolt getting it out of the chamber. I have noticed this with several other MN owners at the firing range using the old surplus ammo. Can you tell me why this is happening? Is it the old ammo that is causing this or is it something with the gun barrel? What do I do to fix this? Spray oil in the chamber area more or even spray light oil on the ammo in the clip area?

    • Fred Neff July 14, 2014, 8:19 pm

      Never spray oil in the chamber prior to shooting. You can have great chamber pressures in some military rifles if you do this. Even if the rifle can take it, I consider it foolhardy. I could be that your brass ammo is actually made for PKMs or other machine-guns in the Russian army, and just like a lot of NATO ammo, it is very hot! There are several good sites online that help identify many types of ammo from many countries, and history periods. Check the weight of the bullet, as heavy ball is generally understood to be a no go for standard rifles. It might also be the lacquer coating causing this, but if you carefully examine the shell casings after shooting, you can see evidence of higher pressures.

  • Tom Hagman July 8, 2014, 4:15 am

    German Mauser, best bolt action combat rifle!? Tiny little sights, probably very difficult to shoot accurately during a fire fight. Kicks like a mule. Has the 8mm cartridge ever won a War or a rifle match? How about a Model 17 30-06? Or a Mosin Finn Model 28/30 with a Sako barrel? Really enjoyed the give and take. First time reader. Thanks.

  • Uncle Phil July 8, 2014, 1:05 am

    90 – 95% of these Nagant “sniper rifles” are fakes. I have seen one real one. It shoots MOA with Russian ball, and considerably better than MOA with Remington ammo. If you want one of these that is a legitimate sub-MOA rifle, than get a Finnish SAKO or TIKKA. They shoot REALLY well, and you don’t need an aftermarket trigger either. If you do buy one please, keep your chisel the hell away from it! Of course, for what you’ll pay for one, I imagine you will not be interested in altering the rifle.

    • Dwight September 4, 2014, 10:00 pm

      I guess my M 1 Garand is fake too. Its a Winchester; stock, bolt, and receiver. But barrel is springfield. A refurbished Garand. But since they re-ARSENALED it with everything genuine Garand, ITS NOT AUTHENTIC. Nonsense
      So when the mosin pu snipers were re arsenaled with all original wwll scopes, and mounts, etc, they are fakes? We know better. Yes I do have a real fake mosin sniper. 1943 Izzy with post war scope mount and scope, made in Ukraine. But other 3 are genuine re arsenaled, electropenciled etc. And rebuilt by official Molot arsenal as original sniper rifles. They simply dont have their original matching seriel numbered parts. Thats ok. The official arsenals selected other original scopes mounts rifles and put them back together and rematched them. Just like my garand

  • SL July 7, 2014, 10:23 pm

    Much more of this and you’ll be known as:
    “The Butcher of Guns America”

  • mike July 7, 2014, 6:55 pm

    I have a Mosin-Nagant and the rifle is in very good condition. However if I was to you use it like you said in the article, my pick would be my British Enfield. A big difference. and I would bet my life on a Enfield in a battle. With the new rounds of 303 soft point, I can hit a quarter at 100 yards. With the surplus 303 rounds not to good. I bought that Enfield in 1959, and I find it more fun than a M1. I shoot a rifle left handed and the M1 round hits me on the cheek. When I was in the service, they really hated us left handers on the firing range

  • Andrew N. July 7, 2014, 6:47 pm

    I have a Finnish Model 39 Mosin-Nagant with a Tikka barrel. It is a wonderful shooter, and hits consistently out to 1000 yards. The ammo makes a huge difference in accuracy, some of the “surplus” would be more accurate if you threw it! I would love to do a trigger change, but they only made 5,000 of this variant, and it does OK as is. Get a Finnish Model Mosin-Nagant and you will be a lot happier with the results! It still not real pretty, but it shoots better than the Russian 91/30 it’s based on.

  • Winston July 7, 2014, 6:45 pm

    To the author: If one rifle had a green painted scope, that was a refurbed original scope. You seem to have butchered a real 91/30 PU rifle from what I can tell, although you were suspiciously careful not to show factory markings. Enemy at the Gates was a terrible movie, historically a joke. You are a danger to historical firearms collecting, otherwise known as a Bubba.

    • Administrator July 7, 2014, 8:01 pm

      Why don’t you look at the pictures again.

  • Lars July 7, 2014, 6:09 pm

    Thanks for the article.

    But…

    After seeing that hack job via the chisel, I strongly recommend using one of the following tools if you don’t have a mill handy:
    a Dremel (why don’t you have one now? $80 everywhere), die grinder (air tool, $10 92144 vat Harbor Freight), Foredom flex shaft grinder ($$$260 and up), HF grinder with flex shaft ($35 43533, $50 40432 at HF, ) . They’ll help you open up the stock, deburr the parts which need deburring, and beaucoup other things. Just Do It!

  • Rod July 7, 2014, 4:19 pm

    I bought a Carbine during an auction last fall. Not knowing much about this Rifle didn’t stop me from spending whopping $90 .
    Now after owning it and doing a little research I enjoy reading about it almost as much as I enjoy firing it. And as the ball of fire who don’t like that. Nice Article Thanks.

  • Prisoner6 July 7, 2014, 4:13 pm

    This rifle is also a central part of the most recent Bob Lee Swagger book by Stephen Hunter, Sniper’s Honor, about a Russian sniper.

  • Mike Runkel July 7, 2014, 3:04 pm

    I have owned several Moisen-Nagant rifles over the years. I can tell you one thing is they are not the best military bolt-action rifle in WWII. They will shoot reliably, but that us the only good thing I can say about them. They are all crude, some more than others. If I were in a battle with my choice of standard bolt-action rifles used by the axis or the ally’s, I would choose a Mauser any day of the week.

    The Germans can really build a weapon.

    • Mark Sell July 12, 2014, 4:56 am

      The Mauser may be a better weapon, but don’t forget the Mosin is the rifle the Russians used to kick the Germans’ butts all the way back to Berlin.

  • DrThunder88 July 7, 2014, 2:21 pm

    It is always good to see surplus rifles getting some exposure on bigger blogs. Foreign stores are likely to be running low, however, so, while I like articles like this, I fear most of the gunwriting done on milsurps will be retrospective. Or at least, plagued with fuddy-duddy commenters squawking about ruining valuable historical relics. This kind of project isn’t putting a gas trap Garand in a Tapco stock or chopping the barrel on an SVT-40. There were millions of Mosin Nagants and 91/30s were the most common of them all.

    Like Schmidt-Rubins, I’d collected a few Mosin Nagants before the prices started climbing and have been absorbing surplus ammo here and there in the interim, but I hardly ever shoot them. Corrosive ammo isn’t too bad to clean, but it is quite annoying. I don’t know why I don’t shoot the Swiss guns. Too many others, I guess!

    I’m not a milsurp purist, and 91/30s are at the bottom of my “endangered species list”. Heck, I style myself as practitioner of ham-fisted gunsmithing, but even I shook my head at that trigger inletting.

    • Administrator July 7, 2014, 8:07 pm

      K31 article is in the works! Yea, in the print mags they wouldn’t have showed you the booger job but we try to show the mistakes and the good stuff both. They’d have told you it shot 1/4 MOA at 1,000 yards too of course lol.

  • Guy Valentine July 7, 2014, 1:50 pm

    Besides that, when the world supply of Moisins become highly collectable I won’t be around to kick my own butt. So, I’ll hunt these rifles as long as I can take the recoil.
    Ps. The stocks are Monte Carlo with a very nice recoil pad.

  • Guy Valentine July 7, 2014, 1:42 pm

    As far as putting new stocks, etc. on the Mosin, there is a way to alter the existing bolt by sawing it at the base and installing a chrome altered manufactured one on top of the original bolt’s sawn stub. I have 4 of these power house weapons and sporterized 2. The rifle went from a relic to a very fine looking hunting tool. Thou may say, “He ruined his fricking bolts!” but if you could see both of these Moisins, one long barrel and one carbine, you might be intrigued to say the least. Black composite stock, top mounted scope and a black sling puts this old fella in the truck for any game in NM.

  • JB July 7, 2014, 12:15 pm

    Man, you really butchered that Mosin. Too bad your wood working skills don’t match your writing.
    In any event, why not install a HUBER ball trigger. I have installed both the Timney, and, Huber.
    Satisfied with both for what they do. You could have also purchased a Swedish sear spring, which would
    have improved the original trigger quite a bit. JMO.

  • Evan July 7, 2014, 12:06 pm

    I just read the first sentence of this article. Enemy at the Gates was atrocious. It turned the fascinating historical story of the duel between Zeitzev and Koenig into saccharine Hollywood garbage. Absolutely disgraceful. Since it started out like that, I didn’t bother reading the rest of the article.

  • RedGreen July 7, 2014, 12:00 pm

    I don’t know how sharp your chisel was but the trick to using one is to take it very slow with very small sweeps. Don’t try to take out the wood in one or two passes. You can cut a rectangular hole through solid wood that will end up looking like it was milled if you take your time, AND if you have the right chisels. You’ll need a V, a gouge, an angle straight and a straight for starters.

  • Tom Hagman July 7, 2014, 11:37 am

    Russian barrel bore dimensions vary and the supply of proper size bullets is very limited. Finn Mosins have Finn barrels and are very accurate with hand loads fit to the individual rifle. Finn Mosins are scarce and quite expensive compared to the 91/30’s.

  • Michael Barros-Smith July 7, 2014, 11:13 am

    A little compassion, please. Any love triangle involving Rachel Weisz is completely understandable.

  • matt fosdick July 7, 2014, 10:53 am

    I bought on of these type rifles from Cabalas last Christmas for I think around $100.00 took it out and shot it and was fairly impressed with its performance when using good ammo. I don’t see dropping hundreds more into a rifle thats still only going to be worth a hundred bucks ? Plus the time it would take to modify one I would rather spend out in the field shooting. ATX

  • wetz July 7, 2014, 10:41 am

    a Dremel tool would work better than a chisel on the inletting and trigger fitting in the stock , come on guys every one has one that’s handy

  • Just1Spark July 7, 2014, 10:16 am

    Its interesting to hear the 7N1 was mediocre. I have some squirreled away, and have always been curious about it. I get half MOA out of my Lapua brass and bullet reloads, so have wondered how close the 7N1 might be.

  • Richard Braud July 7, 2014, 10:04 am

    I recognize that everything you read on the internet is not necessarily accurate. While doing some research on this rifle
    for a potential buy, I determined that Mosin-Nagant Sniper Rifle was an afterthought. These rifles all came off the assembly line the same. During testing, the best of the lot were converted to sniper rifles. All of the rifles converted by the manufacturer have a different bolt than a standard rifle. It is a shorter straight bolt that does not curve around the stock as those in your pictures do. All that to say, I’m not sure your Mosin-Nagant rifles were truly Soviet Niper Rifles.

  • Richard talbot July 7, 2014, 8:59 am

    We’ll done. Interest and information. A well written artical.

  • Ernest Wayne Toney Sr. July 7, 2014, 8:53 am

    Where can I buy a scope for my Mosin Nagat 7.54 rifle and how much do they run. I brought one back from Vietnam in 1969 that I took off a VC that I took out…

    • James July 7, 2014, 1:17 pm

      If you are looking for a PU scope they are all over the Internet… Amazon, GunsAmerica, Sarcoinc, etc. Do a google search. If you want a custom scope mount so you can use any scope you like, see JMECK on the web as well via a google search. He makes a custom mount that is non-invasive for your Mosin. He makes them in several configurations that use a picatinny strip on top so you can mount any scope that uses a picatinny mount. They all use a band that wraps around the receiver and does not require any drilling or modification of the stock. I have customized one of my four Mosins with a JMECK see-through mount so I can use the scope or iron sights without removing the scope (picture on my website above). I am very happy with this mount as it fits very firmly and will not move.

  • Ernest Wayne Toney Sr. July 7, 2014, 8:46 am

    Where can I find a scope for my Mossberg rifle??? and how much are they??? I brought one back from Vietnam in 1969 that I took off a VC that I took out…

  • Muhjesbude July 7, 2014, 8:28 am

    Now these are the articles i like, Paul. When it comes to politics, religion, or guns, there’s never been so much manure spread to so many, by so few. And there’s a lot of mythology about old military weapons. So when you do an evaluation and performance test based on several factors for comparison, it’s a good service you are providing. These are also very interesting from an historical perspective.

    In my experience with Mosins the ammo is definitely an important factor. And you’re right about the barrels being part of the ‘inaccuracy’ rumors. Most of these old surplus ones you used to be able to get for under a hundred bucks (or 3 for 129.95) had badly corroded or shot out barrels. I mean most of them came from WWII or Korea, so what do you expect? That’s why they were retired into surplus for parts in the first place until big houses like Sarco bought in bulk and flipped them to the public.

    Otherwise a good one does a fair job for the money. You have to remember that the Mosin Nagant sniper holds the dubious distinction of being used in Every major war since WWII. Including recent Euro skirmishes. So I’m wondering if they hold the all time overall record for ‘snipes’, numerically speaking? After WWII sniping kind of waned in favor of other methods of ‘modern’ body count production. Then we started back with sniping in Nam where the average firefight rate of shots to kill one enemy combatant amounted to something like in the thousands and where the program had to be re-evaluated and afterwards it was determined that ‘sniping’ was the definitely the most cost-effective way to die. The problem was then with the platform. Most were modified battle weapons or old stuff…again, like the Mosin Nagant, Nothing really new either in guns, optics or bullets to push the envelope.

    Enter Barrett .50 bmg for the Gulf experiment and it never was the same after that. Sniping went ‘Big Time’.

    But for other countries the Mosin hung in there, and not too long ago a guy showed me an M44 Nagent ‘carbine’ that was fitted with a PE (top mount) Russian scope and we thought it was a bubba build like the ones you show in the article but it looked and worked too good and we had an expert look at it and he said it was, indeed, a genuine Ivenshik (spelling?) factory all matching #’s conversion used by special troops in places like Afghanistan or Kosovo!

    I told them i remember some Viet Cong snipers had Chinese M44 copies with PU scopes. It made sense. A regular M91 was taller than the average VC, lol!

    So, no doubt the Mosin Nagent is a hall-of-famer when it comes to sniper rifles. Any weapon that survived all those wars and keeps on banging has a lot going for it. I seem to remember, though, that a Female Russian sniper might have the all time record using a Nagent? Something like 600 confirmed?! Wonder where THAT rifle is?

    where afterwards The interesting thing is they started

    • guy smalley July 7, 2014, 10:42 am

      I have a M-44 great rifle to shoot but for the life of me how it could be use as a sniper rifle is beyond be with the flame that comes from that barrel! I have pictures to share if interested . I am sure they used mussel arresters but still even my 50cal doesn’t flame like the m-44, I use the russian surplus 7.62r I shot shot it fourth of july at night and the pictures are amazing how long the flame is.

      • JB July 7, 2014, 12:18 pm

        Once you’re hit, the flame part is not relevant. In those days, and, even today, a good sniper fires, then, MOVES.

  • TJ MacFarlane July 7, 2014, 8:15 am

    Not too long ago, I bought a 1942 Vintage Mosin Nagant Tula 91/30 and decided to update it a bit. I’m sure that the purists out there will be horrified that I bought an Archangel stock, JMECK Scope mount, Battersby-modified Bolt and Timney trigger to go with it. I wanted to compare the Mosin with my Springfield and Garand rifles. After a bit of work, I can put a group the size of my fist into the target at 1000M. Not bad for a rifle that’s 11 years older than me. I’m looking forward to winning a few steak dinners with this baby.

  • old fat man July 7, 2014, 8:12 am

    your chisel was not sharp.. would have been better to start from bottom . next time.
    was glad to read this about these guns frist one i ever shot was a finnish mdel. 200 meter steel was easy to hit. 22 in. dia.

  • Fred Ford July 7, 2014, 7:27 am

    I would certainly get better & sharper chisels, or a sharp axe for the next trigger job.
    The movie did portray well the difficult and hard times that the Russians had during that time in history as they did for most times in the past two hundred years.
    The end was good also!
    Thank you for the information on the rifle.
    Fred

  • petru sova July 7, 2014, 6:47 am

    I have never understood the craze for sniper rifles. Most countries including Germany simply took stock rifles and test fired them with iron sights and if they met their usual accuracy requirements a scope was then installed. The optics of the time were usually not coated to speed up production and even the higher quality German scopes were very poor optically compared to even cheaply made scopes today. Accuracy by todays standards was very dismal to say the least. About the only thing you could say for the original sniper rifles is that it just barely gave the sniper a very slight advantage in aiming error over iron sights.

    One of the most famous but today largely unknown snipers was from Finland who racked up a very high kill rate but he used only iron sights. He was a former hunter and new how to estimate range and he knew how to shoot proving the telescopic sights of the time only gave one a very small advantage over the shooter who was skilled with iron sights.

    Altering any military rifle into a sniper usually devalues the gun by a good margin and the future collectability of said rifle is destroyed forever. For an investment keep the gun original or pay the price of ruining a future valuable historical rifle.

  • Brian R Gard July 7, 2014, 4:40 am

    I have one with authentic reproduction scope and one with 3 x 9 Nikon, they can be accurate, but not with military steel ammo, you must get good lead bullets with copper cases, Winchester, Privi Partizan, Sellior and Bellot. I have shot five shots into
    3/4 of an inch at 100 yards, but to do so, only take 2 shots and wait several minutes for barrel to cool (it is surrounded by wood) if in stock configuration (not in after market stock). The Soviet Snipers of WWII were cautioned to only take 2 shots than wait for barrel too cool down, severed to not reveal their location – and for long shots, the rifle was generally not accurate on the 3rd shot. These are great rifles, the safety is hardly usable, I would hunt with it with no shell in chamber or ‘uncocked’. Rifle is heavy, long, but fun to shoot no recoil to speak of, about as powerful as 308 Winchester or even 30-06 depending on ammo.

  • Brian R Gard July 7, 2014, 4:40 am

    I have one with authentic reproduction scope and one with 3 x 9 Nikon, they can be accurate, but not with military steel ammo, you must get good lead bullets with copper cases, Winchester, Privi Partizan, Sellior and Bellot. I have shot five shots into
    3/4 of an inch at 100 yards, but to do so, only take 2 shots and wait several minutes for barrel to cool (it is surrounded by wood) if in stock configuration (not in after market stock). The Soviet Snipers of WWII were cautioned to only take 2 shots than wait for barrel too cool down, severed to not reveal their location – and for long shots, the rifle was generally not accurate on the 3rd shot. These are great rifles, the safety is hardly usable, I would hunt with it with no shell in chamber or ‘uncocked’. Rifle is heavy, long, but fun to shoot no recoil to speak of, about as powerful as 308 Winchester or even 30-06 depending on ammo.

  • Brian R Gard July 7, 2014, 4:40 am

    I have one with authentic reproduction scope and one with 3 x 9 Nikon, they can be accurate, but not with military steel ammo, you must get good lead bullets with copper cases, Winchester, Privi Partizan, Sellior and Bellot. I have shot five shots into
    3/4 of an inch at 100 yards, but to do so, only take 2 shots and wait several minutes for barrel to cool (it is surrounded by wood) if in stock configuration (not in after market stock). The Soviet Snipers of WWII were cautioned to only take 2 shots than wait for barrel too cool down, severed to not reveal their location – and for long shots, the rifle was generally not accurate on the 3rd shot. These are great rifles, the safety is hardly usable, I would hunt with it with no shell in chamber or ‘uncocked’. Rifle is heavy, long, but fun to shoot no recoil to speak of, about as powerful as 308 Winchester or even 30-06 depending on ammo.

    • Hal July 7, 2014, 2:46 pm

      No recoil to speak of? I assume this is sarcasm. I love my MN, but the recoil is brutal. The stock is short, designed for a smaller structured person wearing 3 coats, and the round is powerful. A 91/30 will kick harder than a 20″ barrel 12Gauge with 00 Buck.

      • jedagi March 9, 2015, 2:24 pm

        I agree. Mine kicks like a mule.

      • Ian Lewis December 25, 2015, 12:30 pm

        I don’t know what you speak of as far as recoil. I have an m44 carabine MN and I can easily shoot it one-handed. My winchester 12-gauge kicks much harder even with bird shot.

    • kenneth berry July 8, 2014, 8:34 am

      I have a Mosin-Nagant; stamped 1943r in front of the receiver. It is a very accurate rifle at 60 yards, which is about the longest shot I would ever take with iron open sights here in the North Alabama mountains and bottom land woods. And I’m a good enough marksman; I don’t need a scope.

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