|Mosin Nagant FAQs
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|1||Q. How do you pronounce "Mosin Nagant"?
A. MO-seen Nah-GON
|2||Q. Are there any records of the use of my Mosin Nagant rifle or carbine?
A. No, if records were kept they are lost at this time. Anyone who claims to have access to any service records of Mosin Nagant rifles by serial number is a fraud.
|3||Q. How can I tell if my rifle was used in combat?
A. If it was built prior to the end of WWII then the odds are close to 100% that it was issued. This applies to Russian, Soviet, and Finnish Mosins. Whether or not it was actually used in combat is impossible to know, but again, the odds are pretty good that it was. If it was built near or after the end of WWII the odds are very low that it ever saw combat unless it is a documented war trophy from Korea or VietNam. Even then it might have been captured from a weapons cache and never actually used in combat.
|4||Q. I've seen Mosin Nagants with the barrel markings
highlighted in white.Was this done at the arsenal when the rifle was built?
A. No, that was done by a collector to make the markings stand out, especially for photographing. However, some rifles have been imported with markings and rear sight graduations highlighted, usually in a red or orange color. This was probably done when the rifle was rearsenaled, but the exact reason for it is not known.
|5||Q. What is used to highlight the markings?
A. There are products sold specifically for this purpose, but a white crayon works well.
|6||Q. There are letters stamped above the serial number on
the barrel of my rifle, what do they mean?
A. These are translations of the Cyrillic characters in the serial number put there by the importer. The BATF does not allow Cyrillic characters in the serial number and requires this. Recently many importers have begun to use a new unique serial number so that the translation is not necessary.
|7||Q. There is an "r" after the date on my Mosin.
What does it mean?
A. That is the Cyrillic letter abbreviation for the Russian word "god" which means year. It has nothing to do with God.
|8||Q. Where can I find non-corrosive surplus 7.62x54r ammo?
A. You can't, it doesn't exist in spite of they way it is often advertised.
|9||Q. Will corrosive ammo ruin my rifle?
A. Not if you clean it properly every time you shoot it.
|10||Q. How do you clean after shooting corrosive ammo?
A. There are several methods, but the simplest is to use Hoppe's #9 which is formulated for corrosive ammo. Regardless of the type of cleaner it is important to clean as soon after shooting as practical. A light film of oil in the bore and on the exposed metal will help prevent rust. For detailed information see the Mosin Nagant Rifle Cleaning and Maintenance page.
|11||Q. How do you adjust the sights on a Mosin Nagant?
A. Elevation is adjusted using the rear sight.If the point of impact (POI) is too low, raise the rear sight. If it is too high, lower the rear sight. If the rear sight is at the lowest setting, you will need a taller front sight. Windage is adjusted by drifting the front sight with a brass punch. Later Finnish models (M28/30 and M39) have adjustment screws on the front sight. Loosen the screw on the side which you want to move the sight towards and then tighten the screw on the opposite side the same amount. Move the front sight to the left to move the POI to the right and move it to the right to move the POI to the left.
|12||Q. Where can I find a taller front sight?
A. It depends on the model. I'm not aware of a source for taller early blade type sights. The post on some of the later globe type sights can be replaced from the bottom, after removing them from the barrel, with a finishing nail and then filed to length. Otherwise a quick non-permanent fix is to slip a small piece of tubing (wire insulation, coffee stir stick, roll pin, etc.) over the post and trim it to length. Taller blades for the later Finnish models (M27, M28, M28/30, and M39) are available from time to time. Placing a "wanted to buy" on the collector's trader boards is a good way to find them.
|13||Q. What is the small number on the barrel of my M28/30 or
M39 behind the front sight?
A. That is the height of the front sight blade. The same number should also be stamped on top of the blade. This was done so that the armorers could quickly check to make sure that the soldier had not made field adjustments to the sight blade which was not allowed.
|14||Q. What is the small number "2" behind the rear
sight on my M28/30 or M39?
A. It's thought to indicate that rifle bore was "second grade". This does not necessarily mean it is inaccurate and Finnish standards were so high that the difference is negligible.
|15||Q. Why does my M44 (of M91/30) shoot so far to the left (or right) of
the point of aim?
A. M44s were sighted in with the bayonet extended. Shooting with the bayonet stowed affects the barrel harmonics and can change the point of impact by as much as 1 foot per 100 yards. Not all M44s are effected this much or even at all. Either shoot with the bayonet extended or drift the front sight to compensate for the difference. Similarly M91/30s were sighted with the bayonet fixed.
|16||Q. Which model of Mosin Nagant is most accurate?
A. While there are accurate and inaccurate examples in every model of firearm, as a general rule Finnish Mosins are more accurate than those produced in other countries. The M28/30 is probably the most accurate with the M39 following close behind.
|17||Q. Which maker or variation of M39 is most accurate?
A. All the variations of M39 were built with the same care and testing for accuracy and none is inherently more accurate than another.
|18||Q. What is the tear drop shaped tool that came with my
A. It is a combination screwdriver, firing pin protrusion gauge and firing pin wrench. It is commonly known as a "bolt tool" and it's use as a firing pin gauge is illustrated on the Mosin Nagant Rifle Exploded Views and Disassembly page.
|19||Q. What is headspace and should I get it checked?
A. Headspace is the distance from the bolt face to the bearing point of the ammunition case in the chamber. 7.62x54r cases bear on the rim. If this space is too small then the bolt won't close. If the space is too large then there could be dangerous gas leakage when the rifle is fired. It is a good idea to check this on any surplus rifle, especially if the bolt is "mis-matched".
|20||Q. How do you check headspace?
A. There are three types of gauges for checking headspace, "Go", "No-Go", and "Field". They are inserted in the chamber or placed on the bolt face and then the bolt is closed. The Go gauge is the smallest and the bolt should close on it. The No-Go is the next largest and it is used by the arsenal when installing the barrel and the bolt should not close on it. The Field is the largest and is used to check firearms that have seen some service and the bolt should not close on it. Even if a firearm fails the No-Go gauge, it might pass the Field gauge and is safe to fire from a headspace standpoint. Most gunsmiths will have gauges in various calibers and some will check headspace for a fee. If you plan on collecting several models in the same caliber it will probably be more cost effective to buy your own gauge or gauges. Generally a Field gauge is sufficient for checking military surplus firearms. Check the 7.62x54r.net Links page for sources.
|21||Q. What is the actual bore diameter of Mosin Nagants?
A. See the Mosin Nagant Rifle Specifications and Mosin Nagant Rifle Bore Slugging Tutorial pages.
|22||Q. Why is the muzzle of my rifle a larger diameter than
the rest of the barrel?
A. It has been "counterbored". This is done when the muzzle has become worn and accuracy has degraded. The bore is drilled out to provide a fresh crown at undamaged rifling. Here is a picture comparing a counterbored rifle (left) and one that is not counterbored (right). More illustrations can be found on the Mosin Nagant Rifle Barrel Contours page.
|23||Q. Why is the receiver/barrel so rough on my rifle?
A. There are two possibilities. It could be a World War II era Soviet rifle that was made under tremendous pressure from the Germans when time was a factor, not aesthetics. It could also be an older receiver that was salvaged by Finland, possibly from the battlefield after months of exposure to the elements and used to build a new rifle. For more information on the WWII era receivers see Mosin Nagant Rifle Receiver Variations.
|24||Q. Why is there a splice in the toe of my stock?
A. This was done to allow the use of smaller stock blanks to conserve material.
|25||Q. Why did the Soviets use laminated stocks?
A. Laminated stocks are stronger, less sensitive to temperature and humidity changes, and allow the use of material that would not be suitable for a hardwood stock.
|26||Q. How can I tell if my stock is laminated?
A. Compare your stock to this picture of a laminated stock. If you are still not sure, then look at the bottom of the stock where the different layers will be more evident. Finally, remove the buttplate and compare it to this picture.
|27||Q. What is the original finish on
A. Shellac was used from the earliest production to the latest, probably because it is inexpensive and simple to use although it is not as durable as some finishes. Mosin Nagant stocks that appear to have an "oil" finish have just had the shellac worn off.
|28||Q. What is the original finish on stocks from Finland?
A. There is a lot of variation in the finishes used over time and between the Army and Civil Guard.Many early Civil Guard stocks and some Army stocks are varnished. A mixture of equal parts beeswax, turpentine, and flaxseed oil is known to be one of the finishes used on M39s and other 1940s production.
|29||Q. Why did the Finns use two piece stocks?
A. Like laminated stocks, this design withstands the extreme climate in Finland better than a solid stock.
|30||Q. What is the proper way to attach a "dog
collar" sling arrangement?
A. Place the dog collars through the sling slots and through the loops of the slings and then buckle them. The small closed loop of the sling goes at the fore end and the large "running" loop goes at the butt. The sling buckle faces away from the rifle. Here is a picture of an M38 with a dog collar sling.
|31||Q. How can I clean my canvas sling?
A. Woolite or other gentle detergents work well in the washing machine. A dishwasher will also do the job.
|32||Q. Why does my rifle have parts from different arsenals?
A. Most Mosins have been reworked many times over the years and parts were re-used without regard to manufacturer. Finnish Mosins were originally built using many parts from captured and purchased rifles.
|33||Q. How can I tell where my 7.62x54r ammo came from?
A. The headstamp along with the type of casing, type of bullet, and in some cases the color coding of the bullet tip provides a lot of information. For details see the 7.62x54r Ammunition Identification page.
|34||Q. Where can I get parts, accessories and other Mosin
A. 7.62x54r.net a has list of online resources at 7.62x54r.net Links
|35||Q. Why are there numbers on the bottom of my M91 rear
A. These were used by raising the sight leaf to a vertical position and sighting through the 2nd notch at the rear of the slide. The distances are in 100s of arshins and were only for massed volley fire and not accurate marksmanship.
|36||Q. What are "arshins"?
A. Arshins are a Russian unit of measure equaling a soldiers pace, approximately 28 inches.
|37||Q. My M91/30 bayonet is numbered to the rifle, but it
won't fit on the muzzle, why is that?
A. Soviet military doctrine called for the bayonet to remain fixed to the rifle at all times with the exception of traveling by motor vehicle or when in long term storage. The bayonet will go on, but it will be a very tight fit and will be difficult to remove. This is good for charging infantry, but not collectors. The inside of the bayonet socket can be opened slightly with a large drift punch to make fixing and removal easier.
|38||Q. My rifle came without a cleaning rod. I've bought a
replacement, but it won't screw in, what is wrong?
A. There is a possibility that the retaining nut is missing, but more likely it is full of dirt. Check the Mosin Nagant Rifle Exploded Views and Disassembly page for instructions on removal for cleaning. Sometimes they are difficult to remove from the stock. Another option is to tape a drill bit smaller than the diameter of the cleaning rod threads to the end of a .22 caliber rod. This can then be turned by hand to drill out the dirt. The Mosin rod can then be used as a tap to remove the remaining dirt in the threads. A lever in the form of a punch through the hole in the cleaning rod head might be needed. Patience and minimal force is best while doing this to avoid damaging the threads of the nut or the rod.
|39||Q. There are several parts in the cleaning kit for my
Mosin that I don't understand. How are they used?
A. The use of the tear drop shaped tool is explained on the Mosin Nagant Rifle Exploded Views and Disassembly page. The brush and jag are self explanatory. Here is a picture of the use of the remaining tools in the cleaning kit.
|40||Q. What numbers should match on a Mosin Nagant rifle?
A. There are four serial number locations on a Mosin Nagant; the barrel, the bolt, the buttplate, and the magazine floorplate. If there is a number on the receiver it was most likely placed there by the importer per BATF regulations. Later Chinese T53s have the number on the stock instead of the buttplate. Very early M91 and Remington M91 production also had a number on the rear of the cocking knob, but it is rare to find a matching one now. For details on serial numbering see the Mosin Nagant Serial Numbers page.
|41||Q. Why do the secondary serial numbers (bolt, buttplate,
floorplate) on my rifle not have the Cyrillic prefixes like the barrel?
A. They were probably stamped to match during an arsenal refurbishment and the armorer didn't take the time to stamp the prefix. For details on serial numbering see the Mosin Nagant Serial Numbers page.
|42||Q. Can I tell what time of year my rifle was built by the Cyrillic prefix of the
A. No, the prefixes are not in any known order and certainly not alphabetical order. This was intentional to hide the total production numbers for each year from anyone who might capture a rifle. Although a rifle might be "serial #0001" it is impossible to know if it is the first rifle of the year, the first rifle of the last prefix block of the year, or something in between. In rare cases like first year production of Romanian M44s (1953) the first prefix block is known, but this is not the case with rifles from Izhevsk and Tula. For details on serial numbering see the Mosin Nagant Serial Numbers page.
|43||Q. What is meant by "force matched"?
A. Force matched refers to parts that were numbered to match during a refurbishment and are not original to the rifle. The original numbers are sometimes ground off or simply struck through before the new numbers are stamped or electropenciled. Signs of grinding, lined out numbers, lack of Cyrillic prefixes or electropenciled numbers are sure signs of force matching. For details on serial numbering see the Mosin Nagant Serial Numbers page.
|44||Q. What is "electropenciled"?
A. Electropenciling is a quick and easy way to mark metal that is similar to an electric etching pencil rather than stamping the individual letters and numbers. Here is a picture of two electropenciled bolts. For details on serial numbering see the Mosin Nagant Serial Numbers page.
|45||Q. What is "Finn matched"?
A. Finn matched is a term used by collectors that refers to a Finnish made or rebuilt rifle that has a matching bolt, but the buttplate and floorplate do not match. The Finns did not typically bother to match the buttplate and floorplate so if the bolt is matching on a Finnish rifle then it is considered matching, or Finn matched. For details on serial numbering see the Mosin Nagant Serial Numbers page.
|46||Q. What are the numbers on the underside of the barrel on
my Finnish Mosin?
A. There should be a corresponding set of numbers on the front of the recoil lug of the receiver. These numbers were used for tracking during assembly, but are not related to serial number on the top of the barrel. Here is a picture of a set of assembly numbers. The Soviet Union used similar numbers on later production, although the numbers on the barrel and receiver will not necessarily match.
|47||Q. Does the Mosin Nagant design have a safety?
A. Yes, the cocking knob at the rear of the bolt is also the safety. It is placed on safe by pulling it to the rear and rotating it 45 degrees to the left until it can be hooked on the rear of the receiver. This locks back the firing pin, disengages the trigger, and locks the bolt closed. Here is a picture of a Mosin on safe.
|48||Q. What does "VKT" stand for?
A. VKT are the initials for Valtion Kirvaaritehdas which is the Finnish state arms factory and is now known as Valmet. For more terms and abbreviations see the Mosin Nagant Glossary.
|49||Q. What does "Tikka" mean?
A. Tikka is short for Tikkakoski which means "woodpecker falls (or rapids)" and is the name of an independent company that made barrels and rifles for Finland. For more terms and abbreviations see the Mosin Nagant Glossary.
|50||Q. What is meant by "ex-sniper"?
A. The Soviet Union used scoped rifles to a greater extent than any other country in WWII and had thousands of them in inventory at the end of the war. Many of these had the scopes removed, the mounting holes and screws welded over, and the bent bolt replaced with a standard straight bolt. This was probably done to cut back on the expense of maintaining the optics for rifles that simply weren't needed. It is also possible that the accuracy had degraded to a level that was not acceptable for a sniper rifle, but was still acceptable for a standard infantry rifle. These rifles are known among US collectors as ex-snipers and can be found in all the various sniper configurations.
|51||Q. What is meant by "ex-Dragoon" or
A. A Dragoon is a version of the M91 that is the same length as an M91/30, but has the M91 type sights and a unique handguard. This model was phased out in the early 1930s and replaced by the M91/30. An updated Dragoon has the sights and handguard replaced with the M91/30 types. It is basically an M91/30 in that configuration, but because it is dated pre-1930 it is often referred to as an ex-Dragoon or updated Dragoon by US collectors. While certainly not as rare as a Dragoon in original configuration they are less common than post 1930 M91/30s and sought after by many collectors.
|52||Q. How can I tell the age and manufacturer
of my Mosin receiver?
A. The date of manufacture and the arsenal mark are usually on the bottom of the tang. There are examples on the Mosin Nagant Rifle Guide to Proofs and Markings page which show the arsenal marks and the different formats for dates.
|53||Q. Why is the tang of my rifle not marked?
A. Receivers from 1891 until 1893 or 1894 were not marked on the tang, while Remington and New England Westinghouse did not date any receivers. They sometimes, but not always, placed arsenal marks on the bottom, sides or top of the tang. Some Soviet tang marks are stamped so lightly that they are barely visible while others are not dated, or not fully dated, for unknown reasons.
|54||Q. Is "Izzy" an acceptable abbreviation for the Izhevsk arsenal?
A. No, it is childish slang and no serious collector would consider using it.
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