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How To Pick A Mosin Nagant For Sporterizing


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#1 rivitir

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Posted 06 July 2009 - 08:50 PM

8uck5nort has been telling me for a while that I need to get a Mosin Nagant for my first sporterizing job. Before today I never seen one accept for online. I found that the actions as well as the barrels were in excellent condition, needless to say they really impressed me. And you can't beat the price tag.

This leads me to a couple questions for you experts.
Are you restricted to the 7.62x54R or can you change it to .30-06/.308/7.92x57/.270/etc like you can a Mauser action? And should I even think about this?
What model/type of Nagant should I look at getting?
When picking one out what defects should I be watchful of, and how to check for it?
Any other thoughts you have about Nagants?

Mainly what I looking to get out of this is an excellent learning gun that is a fun shooter and accurate when I'm done.

As a side question, what is the real difference between the Russian 7.62x54R and the 7.62x51 nato that is used in current US sniper rifles?

Thanks for your help. I'm already looking forward to getting it done and posting pictures. :-)

#2 roscoedoh

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Posted 06 July 2009 - 10:54 PM

Here's a few of the answers you're looking for in no particlar order:

1. Mosin-Nagants use a rimmed cartridge that's got roughly the same rim size as a 45 Colt and use a .311" diameter bullet. Ballistically, its probably somewhere in between a 30-06 and a .308 Win (7.62x51 Nato) - both of which use a .308" bullet.

2. The Mosin action uses a split rear bridge to allow the bolt handle to come back through it, like an old Mannlicher. That makes these somewhat interesting to mount a scope on because it limits you to three options:
A. Most popular - long eye relief scope mounted "scout style" on the rear sight base. These work, but look clunky.
B. Second - side mount scope mount. You've seen these on SMLE's and Winchester 94's. Even clunkier and ungainly.
C. Get real creative and move the bolt handle behind rear bridge, close up the rear bridge, and scope like a Mauser.
Some fellow did a series of articles on sporterizing Mosin Nagants for Shotgun News last year and did a write up on
this. It wasn't easy to do although he made it look it.

3. The cocking piece is a multi-purpose cocking piece/safety/gas deflector. There's not much that can be done with one. Steve Wagner did a write up on his website about mounting a piece of wire. There's not much else you can do with this part and there are no aftermarket two or three position cocking piece safeties currently (nor were there ever any) in production for the Mosin Nagant.

4. The trigger mechanism also doubles as the bolt stop. And, there are no aftermarket triggers available for this rifle. Back about 2004 I saw a guy who'd converted a Bold Optima Mauser 98 trigger for use on a Mosin, but he never shared how he did it or how he retained the bolt stop function. You can tune the issue Mosin trigger, but only sightly.

5. There are several aftermarket stocks available for this action in everything from mild to wild. I'd recommend you start there because unless you've got really short arms, the short length of pull and powerful cartridge of this rifle will likely pound the snot out of you.

6. As surplus military rifles go, issue Mosin sights are actually pretty good although you may need to fab up a taller front post to lower the POA to a 100 yard level.

7. Try to pick out a rifle instead of ordering one through the mail. You'll want a Russian production M91/30 (that's the long version) that was hopefully made prior to 1940. Russian wartime production allowed quality control to slip and bore diameters suffered greatly. You want a bore in roughly the .310-.312 range and no larger. Period. Unless you have access to a lathe and mill and could therefore rebarrel your Mosin to whatever you wanted.

8. Fit and finish wise, most of Mosins on the market right now still clean up decently and can usually be had for less than $100 out the door. Just look for a bright, shiny bore and no rust, same as any other mil-surp. For sporterizing, I'd recommend a round receiver - there are two models: round receiver and hex receiver - simply because there's a ton more of them on the market and therefore you're more likely to find a scope mount that works.

9. Rebarreling/changing calibers: rebarrel if you must, but stay with the 7.62x54r cartridge. This is a rimmed cartridge the Russians adopted slightly before they adopted the rifle so these rifles are built specifically for this cartridge. While these actions look deceivingly simple, there's a million minute details that makes them so ruggedly reliable and feed as well as they do. I fear switching cartridges would only open a big can of worms and likely ruin an otherwise good action.

Conclusions: Mosins make good hunting and plinking rifles, but compared to big Enfields, SMLEs, and Mausers, you're quite limited with what you can do. While they are probably the most rugged rifle you'll ever own, the split rear bridge and rimmed cartridge really cuts down on what you can and can't do with it. Granted, if you've got the time, tools, and talent, a Mosin Nagant might be a helluva project to undertake. My general suggestion though would be buy a good shooter, mount a long ear relief scope on it, restock it, and go hunting. Rebarrel it if you have to, but stick with a quality .311 diameter barrel and the 7.62x54r cartridge. The actions actually make pretty good rifles and with the right barrel can be scarey accurate. On a good day with the right load, my M91/30 is the most accurate milsurp I own. Also, the 7.62x54r is one of the more under-rated cartridges on the market right now. Its powerful, fast, packs a helluva whallop, and its still pretty cheap to shoot. The Russians have used this cartridge continuously since the 1890's. I can't think of a military offhand that's had a cartridge in service that long. That ought to tell you something. And...these will indeed bring down the biggest deer and hogs - from a distance. Anything a 30-06 or .308 will do, a 7.62x54r will as well.

So...if you want one, by all means, get two. I own several and enjoy them all. But, I wouldn't plan on turning out a finely crafted hunting rifle like some of the Mauser's you've seen around the Internet. Not saying it can't be done though; just would take too much effort in this case to turn "a sow's ear into a silk purse".

Good shooting!

Jason


#3 Vladymere

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Posted 07 July 2009 - 08:03 AM

That is good information Jason.

I have a PDF file copy of a two part article written by Alvin Linden for the NRA in December 1927 on Sporterizing the Mosin-Nagant. It was basicly modifying the existing stock or making a new stock, bending the bolt and adding a peep site.

Al Linden is a noted stock maker.

I would be happy to forward this article to anyone that requests it. Send me an e-mail at my address below.

Vlad
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#4 alemonkey

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Posted 07 July 2009 - 05:10 PM

In regards to mounting a scope, check out the Rock Solid scope mounts:

http://www.rocksolid...m/products.html

They solve the split bridge problem and they're seriously sturdy.

#5 rivitir

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Posted 08 July 2009 - 08:22 AM

Thanks for all the great info. I appreciate it.

I'm a big guy so the stock on the Nagant is to small for me, that is actually the first thing I noticed when I picked it up and would want to change. I figured I could probably fit a cushioned plate on the butt at first, then later put a better stock on it.

roscoedoh you said; "Mosins make good hunting and plinking rifles, but compared to big Enfields, SMLEs, and Mausers, you're quite limited with what you can do." Would you still suggest I start with a Nagant as my first project rifle, or should I get a Mauser/Enfield/SMLE? (don't know exactly what a SMLE is)

Basically what I'm wanting to do with my first project is learn, and hopefully have a nice and very accurate rifle when I'm done. I'm planing on working on the stock and/or replacing it, add scope, pillar/glass bed it (attempt at making it as accurate as possible), mess with trigger pull, add a bipod, and anything else I can do to it that I come up with later down the road. I'm also new to reloading so I want something I can easily reload, learn, and experiment with.



#6 Clemson

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Posted 08 July 2009 - 09:40 AM

Accessories, add-ons, barrels, stocks, mounts, etc., are much more readily available for Mausers than anything else. I think you might be frustrated by the lack of available parts if you start with a Mosin. I would suggest a Mauser instead.

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#7 724wd

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Posted 08 July 2009 - 10:41 PM

QUOTE (rivitir @ Jul 8 2009, 07:22 AM) <{POST_SNAPBACK}>
Thanks for all the great info. I appreciate it.
(don't know exactly what a SMLE is)


Short Magazine Lee Enfield. I would start with a mauser just for the wealth of knowledge and parts available. there isn't anything you can think of that hasn't already been done to a mauser, and that will help you greatly. there are still good quantities of M24/47 rifles and standard length 98's.

good luck, and keep us informed!

heath

#8 rivitir

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Posted 09 July 2009 - 07:22 AM

The guy at the gun shop did have a Swedish Mauser 6.5x55 for $375. It's in really good shape, perhaps I should grab it instead. Hopefully he will still have it when I have the $$$.

#9 Spiris

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Posted 09 July 2009 - 09:24 AM

rivitir, the Swedish Mauser is a beautiful rifle, but it is a small ring Mauser and suffers the small ring short comings. They need to be used according to their design requirements.

If you want a Mauser to build on using higher pressure loads, then a M98 or one of the Yugo versions would make more sense and chances are, would cost less than the Swede for the basic rifle.

Just be aware that there are different types of Mausers, and some are more desirable than others, based on your needs.


Spiris

#10 Vladymere

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Posted 09 July 2009 - 01:28 PM


Rivitir,

I also echo Clemson's and Spiris' suggestions to start with a Mauser. I would suggest though looking for one that has a cracked stock or worn bore but an intact and sound large ring action. You won't need the stock and, most likely, the barrel. By looking for a "parts gun" rather than a fully functional Mauser you will be saving a piece of history. There are plenty of actions and damaged rifles out there that can be rehabilitated. You might also find a previoulsy sporterized rifle that was not done well that would be a source of doner parts. Many times these "parts guns" and previously sporterized rifles can be had for less than a functional military Mauser. Some of these previously sporterized rifles where done so in an earlier age and may be sporting a nice Lyman or Redfield peep sight and a ramp front sight that can be reused.

Vlad

#11 tinkerfive

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Posted 09 July 2009 - 08:53 PM

Southern Ohio Gun
VZ 24 $169
2 or more $159

Go crazy
Tinker laugh.gif

#12 rivitir

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Posted 10 July 2009 - 06:10 PM

I ordered my C&R FFL papers from BATF... still waiting to get them. Once I do I can order stuff online. Until that happens, I'll check some of the stores around. So far the only place in town I have found to carry C&R stuff is the place I mentioned earlier that I found the Nagants and Mauser.

One last question, can you recommend any good home hobby gun smith books?

Thanks for all the tips guys. I really appreciate the help.

#13 724wd

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Posted 11 July 2009 - 07:37 AM

QUOTE (rivitir @ Jul 10 2009, 05:10 PM) <{POST_SNAPBACK}>
I ordered my C&R FFL papers from BATF... still waiting to get them. Once I do I can order stuff online. Until that happens, I'll check some of the stores around. So far the only place in town I have found to carry C&R stuff is the place I mentioned earlier that I found the Nagants and Mauser.

One last question, can you recommend any good home hobby gun smith books?

Thanks for all the tips guys. I really appreciate the help.


some good books listed here... http://www.sporteriz...hp?showforum=18


#14 JimM44

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Posted 15 July 2009 - 04:13 PM

I like the M44 as you can tell by my handle and I do have a few of the M91 and 91/30 M38 and so forth.

Yes you are limited but the M44 makes a nice starter project and a great truck/Hog rifle, here's what I have done to several of them.

First I cut off the bayonet lug and then take a grinder and round out that part, some folks remove it but that's a lot more work.

Then I take the bolt appart, cut the little stub off, weld on a grade 8 bolt, heat and bend it down and weld the ball back on without the threads to the end of it. By taking the bolt appart you don't have to worry about the heat treated bolt head when you weld on the bolt body. Paint and bake on 1200 degree bbq paint and put in a synthetic stock.

I have down several different types of scopes, the long eye relief pistol scope where the rear site goes and also drilled and tapped for a regular rifle scope that the bent bolt handle goes under. You can't do the regular rifle scope without the bolt handle extension and bending to clear the scope.

Of course the 91/30 gives you a much longer barrel and no bayonet mods needed but I like the carbine length.

I have done a couple like this and donated to fund raisers they look like a modern rifle done this way and I include a couple boxes of soft point ammo, I also stay with the 147-148 grain weight bullets because the old ones weren't made for those 180-200 grain bullets.

#15 Igorrock

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Posted 16 July 2009 - 10:03 PM

Here is my customized Mosin. Sidemount for scope is handmade (with TIKKA rings) and trigger is TIMNEY made for SAKO with safety. Sling mounts are quick release model la SAUER 202.









#16 724wd

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Posted 16 July 2009 - 10:24 PM

that's a handsome rifle! probably one of the best mosins i've seen. who's stock is that?

#17 Rojelio

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Posted 17 July 2009 - 06:26 AM

Nice!!

Roger

#18 Igorrock

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Posted 17 July 2009 - 09:24 AM

This Mosin "lives" in Finland and stock maker is Jukka Immonen from Kuhmo.

#19 tinkerfive

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Posted 17 July 2009 - 07:18 PM

Can you tell us more about the trigger?
Possibly could you take it out of the stock and photo the trigger set up?

The factory trigger and safety are the most pesky items about the Mosin.
If you've found a good solution PLEASE share.

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#20 Igorrock

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Posted 18 July 2009 - 02:53 PM

Read this early topic carefully and you will find what you want to.

http://www.sporteriz...?showtopic=5799




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