Tuesday, October 28, 2008

Mosin-Nagant 91/30: Seventy-Eight Years Of Oppression

click "Play" and listen while you read, to enhance your FGN experience

After weeks of research, and begging my soon-to-be wife for the green light, I bought a Mosin Nagant 91/30 at a surplus store. I got the rifle and field kit (sling, bayonet, ammo pouches, oil bottle, Nagant multi-tool, cleaning kit, and muzzle cap) for $99. A 440 round ammo tin (looks like a tuna can, but much larger) from Russia with love, costs about the same as the rifle. It is 48.5" long, and weighs about eight pounds. The trigger pull is awful--very long, sloppy, and on the heavy side, but it can be compensated for with practice. The rifle itself is only capable of maybe 6MOA accuracy--that is, it should shoot about a 6" group at 100 yards in ideal conditions. They can be altered to squeeze a bit more accuracy out of them, but not enough to justify premanently altering a piece of history.

The story here is not my Mosin-Nagant, but a history of this famous (and infamous) battle rifle. The very design of the rifle is virtually unchanged since 1891, when it was a 51.5" long "dragoon" rifle chambered for the ancient 7.62x54R. The 7.62x54R has comparable power to a 30-06, and thus comparable recoil--which is not for the faint of heart. Military "ball" style ammo should not be used for hunting, but modern hunting rounds for the 91/30 (and its brethren) care quite capable of killing virtually anything in North America.

The Mosin Nagant has many variants, but most only vary in length and country of origin (so minor cosmetic changes are common). Some commonly seen variants are the M28, and M44, which are simply shorter versions of the M91/30. What they all have in common is brutal reliability, brutal power, and a brutal history. It's parent model--the M1891 Dragoon was used by both the Bolsheviks and the Whites. Eventually it was "modernized" into the M91/30, then the M28, then the M44 and others. The Mosin-Nagant fought Germany twice, and has sufaced in conflicts around the world ever since. It made numerous appearances in Korea, and Vietnam, even holding on to be a thorn in the side of U.S. troops in Iraq and Afghanistan. One hundred and ten years after its invention, the Mosin Nagant rifle is just as deadly, and will likely be with us for another hundred and ten years.

Wednesday, October 15, 2008

The Fallacy of "One shot, one kill"

If you've read any gun forums, or read a gun magazine in the last 50 years, you've heard the arguments that will go on into eternity: .45ACP vs 9mm, 7.62x39mm vs. 5.56x45mm, Full Metal Jacket vs. Hollow Point, etc. While there is some validity to arguing the point of "which is more powerful" or "which delivers more energy to the target", most of the arguments are based on the "one shot, one kill" fallacy.

In a perfect world, warfighters, cops, and law abiding citizens would be able to shoot a bad guy one time and have him stop, literally dead in his tracks. In reality, unless the bad guy is shot squarely in the brain, he is not automatically out of the fight. Another problem with "one shot, one kill" is that most people, when threatened with death or grievous bodily injury, will panic to some extent and keep pulling the trigger until the target stops (which is the right thing to do, in my opinion). In fact, I have read some doctrine (with which I agree) says to fire controlled pairs until the target stops. That means pop-pop, assess situation, repeat as necessary. I haven't seen first hand, nor heard about a gunfight that was ended by a single shot.

Now this is not to ignore differences in kinetic energy delivered by different rounds. Obviously, a .22LR will not be as likely to end a fight as, say a 10mm. Nor is this to negate the differences in wound channels caused by hollow points, versus the wound channels of full metal jacket rounds. Yes, accuracy is key. However, you should not go into harm's way with the mentality that a single bullet is going to end any given fight. That doesn't mean "spray and pray", it means you should be prepared to hit a target multiple times, regardless of the caliber of your weapon. Just because you put a hole in a bad guy with your STG-58 chambered for 7.62x51mm, doesn't mean he is automatically down for the count. Just because you put a BIG hole in a bad guy with your 1911A1 chambered in .45ACP doesn't mean he is going to stop.

The point of all this rambling is that the caliber of your weapon, and the type of bullet fired is not as important as the mentality (and level of training) of the firer. Don't let someone talk you out of carrying a pistol chambered in 9mm, or buying an AR-15 in .223REM because there is some magic gun out there with a bigger bore, or more kinetic energy. Keep in mind that for a lot of years, people defended their lives quite successfully with .36 caliber black powder revolvers with roughly the same muzzle energy as a .380ACP. Even a dinky little .22LR can kill a human. It is not terribly productive to pick a firearm just because it is supposed to kill with a single round.

So, when you're on the range, don't just practice firing one single round that is carefully aimed. Instead, practice drawing, acquiring the target, putting the sights on center of mass, and firing two or three rounds in a controlled fashion. Get a good sight picture, but don't wait for a perfect one. Remember, that target can close 21 feet in a little over one second. The closer you are to the target, the faster those rounds need to get into the target. Aim, but don't treat it like a bulls-eye match.

One shot, one kill is a great idea, but ultimately an unlikely scenario. Sure, work on your accuracy. When training for self defense or tactical situations, change it up and fire odd numbers of rounds into the target. Don't get your muscle memory used to firing only one round to stop a threat. Be ready to do what you have to do to stay alive. Even if that means not being like Mark Wahlberg.

Thursday, October 9, 2008

FAR Too Much Fun At The Range

First off, I am on the camera, and my friend (The Doctor) is shooting. Don't try this at home. This was done on a closed range, and we took extra care to shoot this way. It is not at all accurate and was done for fun. Don't try this at home. We have years of military experience to protect us (not that you could tell from watching this). DON'T TRY THIS AT HOME.....EVER.

A Blast From The Past

This show is probably why I joined the Army. I love it when a plan comes together.

Hannibal Smith for President!

Monday, October 6, 2008

Too Much Fun At The Range

My friend and I found some cheap cantaloupes at Wally World the night before we went to the range. Long story short, .223 beats melon every time.

Here's the offending rifle:

Be safe!