By Shooter

The original Mosin-Nagant was developed by Col. S. I. Mosin of the Imperial Russian Army and Nagant, a Belgian, who designed the rifle's magazine. It went into production in 1891 and was adopted by the Russian military, hence the model designation M1891.

The rifle is chambered for the 7.62x54R cartridge. This round is still in use by Russia and former Soviet states as a light machinegun round and as the round for the SVD semiautomatic sniper rifle. It is capable of very good accuracy from a tuned weapon. The Finns used it in Olympic competition to good affect. Ballistically, it is comparable to the .30-06 and .303 British rounds.

(Mosin 7.62x54R ("R" means "Rimmed") bullets in stripper clip)

(30-06 bullet (left) beside Mosin's 7.62x54R (right).
Note the rim on the head of the 7.62x54R round)

On original pre-1930 Mosin-Nagants, the rear sights are marked in "arshins". One arshin is equivalent to 0.71 meters or 0.78 yards. The later M1891/30 rifles had the sight settings changed to meters.

Several different variations of the Mosin-Nagant are currently available as "Curio and Relics" at VERY reasonable cost (usually under 60 dollars). Don't let the words "Curio and Relic" fool you, these weapons are fully functional. These include the M1891, M1891/30, M1891/30 Sniper(fitted with a low-powered scope), and the M1944 carbine.

To load the Mosin-Nagant, rounds may be inserted via stripper clip or individually. The magazine holds 5 rounds of ammunition.

To chamber a round, retract bolt rearward as far as it will go. Load the magazine with up to 5 rounds and push bolt all the way forward, rotating handle downward. The weapon is now loaded and cocked, ready for firing. If you do not wish to fire, you may engage the safety by pulling the cocking piece to the rear and rotating it to the LEFT. To disengage the safety, pull cocking piece to the rear and rotate to the RIGHT.

(Rear Cocking piece)

Field stripping is not complicated. Anyone that has ever owned a single shot .22 rifle will feel right at home. First, MAKE SURE that the rifle is UNLOADED! This cannot be stressed enough. VISUALLY verify that the chamber AND magazine are EMPTY. Then, pull the bolt all the way to the rear as you pull the trigger. The bolt will slide completely out of the receiver.

With the bolt out, pull back on the cocking piece and turn it to the LEFT, relieving tension on the firing pin spring. Remove bolt head and guide. Place the firing pin on a solid piece of wood, or other material, and press down on the bolt body. The cocking piece can then be unscrewed and removed, along with the firing pin and spring.

The magazine follower can be removed by pressing in on the magazine floorplate release catch. This is located on the bottom of the floorplate, just forward of the trigger guard. The floorplate will swing down and reveal the magazine follower and follower spring. Pressing these parts together allows for their removal.

(Close-up of the mag release)

Reassembly is in reverse order. However, caution must be exercised in reassembling the bolt. It is very important that the firing pin is FLUSH with the cocking piece and that the marks on the rear of the firing pin are aligned with those on the cocking piece to allow for proper firing pin protrusion.

All in all, the Mosin-Nagant is a very sturdy, if somewhat homely, rifle. It is an excellent "first" rifle for a kid, an interesting addition to any collection, and if needed, a formidable foe.

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All materials at this site not otherwise credited are Copyright 1996, 1997, 1998, 1999, 2000 Trip Williams. All rights reserved. May be reproduced for personal use only. Use of any material contained herein is subject to stated terms or written permission.