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The Mosin Nagant is a well-known military rifle that has made its ways into the hands of many hunters, collectors, and sport shooters. This late 1800’s rifle is an affordable addition to any gun owner’s collection, including the first time buyer. Let’s review the history of the Mosin Nagant, then take a look at some upgrades that can improve the functionality of your Mosin but stays true to the gun’s history.
The Mosin Nagant is a Russian bolt action rifle that was first produced in 1891. It has made its way to the United States in mass numbers through international arms dealers after the fall of the Soviet Union in 1991. The creators of the firearm, Sergei Mosin & Leon Nagant, constructed the firearm to allow for ease of reloading and storage of multiple rounds during combat. Taking on the name M91, the original model was mass produced during WWI under contracts issued to New England Westinghouse and Remington.
Many revisions have been made to the Mosin Nagant in the years and wars to follow. In 1930, the M91 adopted changes to speed up production time and improve accuracy. Also known as the M91/30, similar to other cavalry rifles produced after the M91, the new rifle featured a shorter barrel and the gun was sighted with the bayonet attached.
The original M91 model featured a hexagon shaped receiver. The M91/30 was changed to a smooth receiver to reduce machining and thus, reduced the overall production time during the heart of WWII. The war was plagued with shortages of firearms. At many times, there were two men for every gun. One would hold the gun while the other would follow with ammo. If a soldier went down, the other would grab the others ammo and gun and carry on.
One of the most popular Mosin Nagant models is the Russian M91. This model is 51 1/2” long and was made from 1893-1925. The Russian Mosin Nagant has a hexed receiver, curved rear sight and blade front sight. They were manufactured by three Russian (Tula, Izhevsk, and Sestroryetsk) and three “foreign” (Chatellerault, New England Westinghouse, and Remington Armory) arsenals. Another popular model of the Mosin Nagant is the Soviet M91/30. These rifles are 48 ½” long and dated from 1930-1944. They have a flat rear sight, globe front sight, and can have a round or hex receiver. The M91/30’s were manufactured at Tula and Izhevsk.
Other common models of the Mosin Nagant include the Soviet M38, Soviet M44, and the T53. The Soviet M38’s have 40” carbines and were made from 1939-1945. Manufactured in Tula and Izhevsk, the M38’s have a short rear sight leaf and a narrow front sight base. The Soviet M44 models have 40 ½” long carbines and are dated from 1943-1948. Also manufactured in Tula and Izhevsk, the M44’s have a side folding bayonet. Similar to the M44, the T53 model also has 40 ½” carbines and a side folding bayonet. However, the T53 model was made from 1951-1960 in China.
As a military surplus rifle, there are a lot of Mosin Nagants on the market today. There’s a couple easy enhancements you can make to your Mosin that will improve its functionality and accuracy while allowing you to maintain its historic integrity. Shortening the barrel to 22” will give you a much handier rifle without sacrificing any of the firearm’s accuracy.
Mosin Nagants were originally designed to be fired with a thick layer of winter coats and to withstand harsh conditions and handling. As a result, the original stocks have a slightly shorter length of pull compared to common American firearms. To better equip your Mosin Nagant for modern hunting and shooting, another quick and easy improvement can be made by replacing the stock with a Boyds Hardwood.
The Boyds Prairie Hunter model can be a great replacement stock for any Mosin Nagant. The Monte Carlo comb of the Prairie Hunter design is slightly raised to provide a natural line of sight with a scope. The cheek piece offers additional support, preventing shooters from naturally climbing up the scope. It also properly aligns the stock with your shoulder for the best recoil absorption.
The Mosin Nagant is a nice gun that maintains a certain level of historic nostalgia. Several of you may already have one of these military surplus guns or may acquire one at some point. If you’re looking for a quick and easy approach to bring new life into your Mosin Nagant, shortening the barrel and adding a Boyds Hardwood Gunstock can be the way to go.