Monday, December 8, 2008
Shooting the Mosin Nagant 91/30
Some of you may recall that I picked up an Izhevsk arsenal Mosin Nagant 91/30. Well, I had a chance to put some Bulgarian surplus ammo through it a couple of weekends ago, and with good effect. Quite good, in fact.
I hung up a target on that tree and fired from 50 yards. Mostly from standing, a few prone, and a few kneeling. My wife also shot it and enjoyed it. 31 rounds later, the tree gave in. Fun Fact: those Bulgarian steel core rounds will penetrate an awful lot without destabilizing (steel doesn't expand like lead will. It only changes shape if hit by something awfully hard.)
I picked up a few pointers about handling the rifle and made some useful observations.
First, it takes about twenty rounds fired quickly to heat this thing up. And it gets HOT. However, if you leave the bolt open and set it aside for about five minutes, it's cool enough to shoot again.
Second, It takes a heavy hand to manipulate the bolt. Mine was a little sticky because there was some cosmoline in the chamber, but I've since cleaned most of it out. Even when clean, it takes a distinct effort to operate the bolt. Don't be afraid to do so.
Third, this thing is really easy to use with big, bulky gloves on. It gets cold in Russia, and the designers obviously had that in mind when they made it. The controls are big and clunky. Not a good recipe for a precision rifle, but plenty for a deer-snuffer or defeating the NAZIs.
The Mosin-Nagant was built to last, period. It is not as refined as a contemporary Mauser, and can't hold a candle to modern bolt actions for accuracy and slickness of the action. However, my rifle is 64 years old and works fine. I'd guess that in 64 more years it will still work fine. It is nothing but wood, iron, and testosterone.
To tell a dirty little secret, this is the most fun gun I own. And I have a lot of cool stuff. Part of it is that this rifle cost $107 after tax. 770 rounds bought online cost me about $120 shipped to my door. It is a medium bore rifle that I can afford to shoot!