Gratuitous Gun Pic: Mosin-Nagant Rifles

Thinking idly about guns, as I occasionally do [eyecross], I was pondering the current issue of gun / ammo shortages, and while everyone has ideas about handguns, there is always the thought that at some point, one may be asked to shoot something (animal, anarchist, zombie, take your pick) at a distance exceeding comfortable pistol range — say, more than 25 yards.  (Your standard pistol choice of a 1911 .45 ACP or plastic-fantastic Europellet delivery vehicle should be quite adequate at less than 25 yards distance to target, but further out from that, you’re not going to have, shall we say, consistent accuracy grouping to make you confident of taking such a shot.)

And I know:  everyone has their Mattel ARs and what have you, but if you don’t already have one and a sufficient supply of ammo, you’re going to be SOL at your local Merchant Of Death establishment.  And that goes for a lot of guns, yea even unto unfashionable choices like the AK-47.

What I’m saying is that you need a cheap long gun — any gun, really — that can live in your car’s trunk that can be relied upon to work satisfactorily, and for which there is currently ammo available.  And that, for anyone who’s looked at the issue recently, is no longer a given.

Unless, of course, one considers the venerable Russian Mosin-Nagant family of bolt-action rifles, all chambered for the very unfashionable 7.62x54mmR.  Mosins are the Rolls-Royce of bolt-action rifles, in that everything you’ve ever heard about them is true:  you need a hammer to work the bolt, their accuracy is not universally admired, for instance;  but they also work regardless of condition or ill-treatment, and if you do eventually run out of ammo, they make an excellent club or, if you have a bayonet, a wonderful spear, as seen in this old pic of Your Humble Narrator:

As for the Mosin’s boolet, the 7.62x54mmR (rimmed):

…there are millions of German Wehrmacht- and SS soldiers who might attest to its efficacy, but sadly they didn’t survive the Ostfront, so ’nuff said on that score.

Now I see that Century Arms are selling 91/30 rifles for under $400 at the moment — Century Arms guns are very often assembled from surplus parts bins, but that doesn’t matter when it comes to Mosins because there’s almost no such thing as a “collector grade” 91/30 (although the one I’m holding in the picture actually was), so not having matching serial numbers is no big deal.

The one knock on the 91/30 is its length, which can make it quite unwieldy.  Here’s a pic of the so-called “ex-Dragoon” (carbine-length) compared to a “standard” 91/30 (more on that topic here):

But what makes the Mosins so versatile is that because they were Commie rifles, all the Eastern Bloc countries made variants thereof behind the Iron Curtain, most were carbine-length, and many cannot hold a bayonet, if that’s of interest to you.  The M44 carbine does, an integral side-folder (which I also once owned, prior to the Brazos River Canoeing Tragedy):

…and those of Hungarian, Polish and Romanian origin, to name but the more popular ones, are freely available.

Now, as for the ammo:  the 7.62 Russki ammo is not as cheap as it once was, running between 50 cents and a dollar a pop (I know, pick up your jaws), but from what I was able to gather from just a cursory glance, almost all the ammo suppliers have some of the stuff in stock (e.g. here), which is not the case for most of the popular cartridges like 7.62 NATO, 7.62×39 Soviet and 5.56 NATO.  Just remember that the mil-surp Russki ammo is highly corrosive, and you need to clean your guns assiduously very soon after firing — before leaving the range, even.  The modern commercial ammo is much better in that regard, albeit more expensive.  Me, I hate the old corrosive shit like poison and pay the “premium” on non-corrosive ammo cheerfully;  but that’s all a matter of choice.  Note too that many ranges do not allow steel-cased (as opposed to brass) ammo, so make your choices carefully.  From a personal perspective, I’ve always had great results from Wolf, Tula, Prvi Partizan and Brown Bear brands, so be my guest.

As I’ve said many times before in my writings on the topic, I think the M44 is the ultimate “trunk / truck gun”, as it can lie neglected in the back for years, and still be guaranteed to work as promised if needed.  Mine certainly did, whether bouncing around in my F-150 or the Suburban.  In that role, if it’s stolen or (ahem) confiscated, it’s no great loss — and as an added bonus, the Gestapo in places like New York or California will not treat it the same as they would for example, an AK or AR-15.

So there you have it:  relatively cheap, reliable guns which can do the necessary at non-pistol distances, shooting inexpensive, effective (and available!) ammunition.

Every home should have one.


  1. Ah Kim … you may have inspired me … to take my M44, aka The Russian Blunderbuss … for a spin the next time I venture north to Wisconsin to my sporting club.
    Here’s a tale … when I lived in Massachusetts, I was out at the range with the M44 and fresh batch of 40-year old surplus ammo. You know, the stinky dirty corrosive stuff that goes BOOOOOM every time the trigger is pulled. Anyway, a fellow a couple lanes away was shooting a short-barreled AR of some stripe. I settle in .. load up a stripper clip and start dropping rounds at the 75 yard bunker … BOOOOM, cycle the bolt … BOOOOM … cycle the bolt … etc. Fellow with the shorty-AR stops, walks over and, having never been near a “real” rifle, asks … “What the Christ was that !!!???” Between the 19″ barrel and the fireballs I was generating … well … you get the idea.

    Re shooting corrosive ammo – It’s really no big deal. I use a 3-step cleaning process on the same day I shoot .. (1) I cut and run several patches made of ‘Windex Wipes’ (2) Hoppe’s #9 (3) finish with a sloppy wet coat of oil. For the bolt, I do spray some break-free down inside, shake it around, and then spray in some Rem Oil. This has served me well over the years, and the bore is bright and shiny, and the four rifling groves are nice and strong. And even in the current ammo shortage, I have recently seen old east-bloc commie surplus ammo at no more than $225 for a can of 440 rounds. That’s still around 45 cents a trigger pull.

    Should I ever get an uninvited evening visit from a group of ANTIFA/BLM/Soros drones, a couple shots from the M44 *should* give those louts the idea to not mess with me. And like you said, If the bullets don’t get ’em, and I don’t set ’em ablaze with the muzzle blast, I can skewer ’em with the stabby or club ’em into submission. Sometimes there’s no school like Olde Skoole …

    Mosin Nagant M44 .. as Karl Malden used to say .. don’t leave home without it.

  2. Eh, Mosins were maybe a deal at $89, not at $400. I got my K31 for all of $85 when they first came to US shores, plus I laid in several battlepacks of GP11. I’m GTG, thanks.

  3. Gotta put in my vote for a Mosin variant. I be lovin my Finn m39. Short history for the uninitiated…The Finns were part of the Czars Russia. Had large stockpiles of Mosin Nagants. Then they revolted and gained independence. But Finns being Finns they took the Ruskie guns and improved them. Thru several generations of models…new stocks, sights, barrels. My m39 has a Tula hex receiver from 1896. Everything else pure Finn. Great accurate guns which accounted for many dead commies ! Plus they are a steal pretty much today. Not too different in price from Soviet era stuff but much better quality.

  4. I have a Tula Mosin with matching serial numbers and bright bore, my son went through a whole rack of those things ten years ago at the Fort Worth Cabellas and then had the sales clerk find the matching serial number bayonet along with other goodies for the rifle in a box in the back. Son had purchased one a month earlier and told me I had to pick one of the $120 specials up ten years ago. Once the cosmoline was cleared out by taking everything apart and soaking the stuff in gasoline, outside in the backyard, it went back together as a nice clean barely used rifle.

    I think I have had it out to shoot perhaps three times because of the dirty ammo we have, son and I split one of those pressured cans of commie shit ammo and it is nasty stuff. I never got around to polishing the chamber which I understand helps work the bolt which sticks after three or four rounds until the rifle cools off once more, I just keep the thing oiled and resting at the back of the gun safe just in case we have a mutant mongoose attack some time and maybe I will remember to do a polish job on the chamber before too long, but probably not.

    I never installed the bayonet on the rifle because I read once it is in place it is designed to stay there and does not want to come off without some heavy equipment being used to get it loose. I really liked reading that the Mosin was designed in the late 1800’s by peasants, to be manufactured by peasants and used in combat by peasants so it is simple and works.

  5. I actually bought my Rooskie M44 years ago after reading one of your posts, and I must say I love that gun. It cost me the low sum of $80 at one of our local gunshows. It came with the original sling, tool kit and oil can. The thing I didn’t like is that it had a ton of cheap shellac applied to the stock, so I broke it down and refinished it. The only problem I have ever had was a failure to feed the next round from the internal mag. All it took was a decent cleaning and some oil, and it was cycling fine. Turns out to be a good investment if they are now selling for 5X what I paid for it.

    Regarding the 7.62x54R, those Russians that carried these things have earned a whole new respect from me, because that round packs a pretty good punch especially with nothing but a steel buttplate to thump your shoulder with. Can’t imagine firing that thing in an extended firefight.

  6. Ditto everything Kim said.

    I’ll just add:

    They add the 1 1/4″ of pull most ‘Muricans need (the ONLY reason I bought them for my $79 dollar 91/30 and M44s. ;^)’ ) As for the 40% reduction in recoil: Even San Fran Nan Pelosi would blush at that claim.

    BTW – An industrial, hand-held steam gun will cut through the Commieline like buttah. No need for boiling gasoline, kitty litter in the car, baking in the oven (The Princess would NOT approve), gallons of Hoppes, or any other foolishness. I could perfectly clean a Mosin crudded up with 5 decades of the foul stuff in ’bout 20 minutes. Steel and wood, both.

  7. The probability of a long distance shot , over 100 yds, at anything other than Dahl sheep on a mountain side or a caribou on the tundra is pretty low. Good luck seeing a skinny assed soyboi in those places, there’s no internet or Starsucks. Lots of trees & brush here in the Frozen North and a moose will vanish 5 yards into the treeline (something that has amazed me for the quarter century I’ve seen it happen). Having said that, I pair my bush sidearm, a S&W .45 Colt wheelgun, with a Marlin levergun chambered the same. 2 guns, 1 round, less hassle. The levergun is solid out to 100 yds and adequate at 150, much beyond that and you’re just makin’ noise. Cost per shot is about 5 cents and ammo is available; I just gotta make it.

  8. People’s rifle is best rifle, Comrade!

    Love my M44. Almost dislocated my shoulder running 100 rounds through it a couple weeks ago 🙂

  9. Every time I go look at the Classic Arms site I remember my friend pushing me to buy a case or two of ten Mosins from them for $69.00 each. Case included all the accoutrements… ARRRRRRGGGHH!!!!
    And as a side – note just to be weird – my gunsmith is in the process of turning one of my .303 P-14 Enfield’s into a 7.62X54R P-14 Enfield.

  10. Check out CDNN … they have T/C compass in 308 and other calibers for 289. USA manufacturers are churning out sub 400 dollar bolt guns for last couple of yrs.

  11. If someone has waited until the current crisis to buy a defensive/offensive firearm, well, that strikes me the same as rushing to the hardware store to buy a fire extinguisher, because your home is on fire.

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