Priced at $160 my Mosin Nagant M91/30 uses 7.62x54R ammo, another in the 30 caliber family.
Left To Right: .300 Blackout, .308 Win, 7.62x54R, all in the .30 cal cartridge family
Think of it as a .308 caliber and then some. These Soviet infantry rifles were packed in cosmoline (a waxy petroleum based rust preventative treatment) and stored for almost seventy years in some Soviet eastern bloc warehouses after the war ended. Why would I want one of them? Because they're powerful, accurate, fun, and they still shoot. Did I mention they are cheap?
As I watched customers gobble them up as soon as they arrived for the last three years the Mosin finally got my attention.
Two years ago I fired a Mosin at the farm that belonged to a friends son. I was impressed. These rifles have enough firepower to knock down any North American big game animal at 300 yards. The Mosin Nagant was featured in the film "Enemies At The Gate" where few Red Army soldiers held off countless Nazi's during the siege of Stalingrad.
Recently a rumor confirmed by our two distributors is that they are finally becoming scarce so I bit the bullet got one for addition to my vault.
Mine has been identified as being made in 1938 at the Tula Factory, one of a handful of Soviet state owned manufacturing companies that turned out millions of these. This rifle was given to the Russian infantry along with each and every peasant who could load, operate and maintain one. Each factory has a reputation for different degrees of quality and different year classes released different results.
The highest quality is identified as having a polygonal receiver, mine is cylindrical, hence the low price. They are also graded on a scale from fair to excellent condition and mine is rated as very good.
Some have solid stocks while others are laminated. Another category that demands a much higher price and are rare - the ones built for snipers. Mosins come is varying barrel lengths, some as small as carbines.
Preppers like the Mosin not for their lightweight collapsable features cause there are none. But priced at $100 and up and with mil-surp ammo spam cans selling about $99 for 500 rounds it gets the nod as a fine backup piece to stash in a SHTF arsenal.
Scoping a Mosin isn't an easy task so I will forgo adding a scope for now. But the ladder rear sight adjuster is enough to compensate for longer shots.
Removing it from it's frail soviet corrugated container it came with two cheesy stripper clip leatherette pouches, a lube container, a vintage canvas and leather strap and a multitool that allows the user to field strip and maintain this simple bolt action rifle easily. I tossed out the pouches and stinky sling but kept the tool. On to the cosmoline.
In the store we wipe down the outer surfaces of display models with mineral spirits so customers are able to handle them without getting that oily crap on their hands and apparel. But we do not strip and clean the entire rifles. Cosmo it is caked on into every nook and cranny. Getting it off is about an hour's work and it gets messy.
The stock came off easily in two pieces by sliding off the two brass stock rings. The barrel, attached magazine and trigger assembly are one piece simplicity at it's best detaching with two screws. The bolt came apart with little effort. There are many ways to clean cosmo off a Mosin, I chose the boiling water method explained in the following video.
Reassembly was much easier than was the the tear down.
If the State of Indiana allows high power rifles this deer season (word has it this is a done deal) the Mosin will be my frugal choice. Why spend the $800 or more? I initially has a desire for a TC Venture in 30-06 with Leupold VX-3 scope. But to use for only two short weeks per season this Mosin will do as a fine alternative for now. And practice will be a lot less expensive as well.
As shown in the video above I will be removing the wood stock. It is deeply imbedded with cosmo and the odor from it would negate my scent concealment tactics. The cosmoline scent is nearly impossible to remove from the wood and a whitetail could smell it at long distances..
A polymer sock with a monte carlo comb sells for $60 on Amazon and should assist my concealment, shed a few pounds of wood and make for a more comfortable cheek weld. Range report will follow soon.