Mosin Nagant bolt problem


October 25, 2004, 05:25 PM
I was at the range today, and when i got around to shooting my Mosin Nagant M44, the bolt would not open to eject the spent shell casing. It was probably the eighth or nineth round i fired through it. Typically the bolt is pretty hard to open, but i tried everything possible to open it this time. Seeing as I am only 120 pounds, I asked a few larger folks at the range to see if they could possibly open it as well, but no avail. I have probably only put around one hundred and fifty rounds through it, but it has never done this before. I was shooting a different kind of ammo (203 grain SP, Barnul i think) than normal - could this be why?
Any ideas?

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Jim K
October 25, 2004, 05:42 PM
Did you finally get the rifle open? I have had some cases where I had to put a piece of copper drain pipe on the bolt handle to get enough leverage to open a rifle. (I keep the 1" pipe just for that purpose.) The M-N is a particular problem because the bolt handle is so short and has so little leverage compared to a Springfield or Mauser.

The easy answer is to stop using that ammo. Then clean the chamber well, using a good solvent. Make sure that any foreign substances, like varnish from steel case ammo, is gone. Examine the chamber as well as you can, looking for scratches, rusting, or other possible problems.

Hard extraction can have many causes. One is high pressure loads, but that is uncommon with factory ammunition of any kind. Another is soft brass, not too common, but there is some out there.

If you are reloading, failure to clean cases or properly resize can cause problems. And of course, use of the wrong ammunition can cause all sorts of problems. Another extraction problem I once saw was caused by the shooter improperly annealing cases, making the whole case soft. He was on the way to having serious problems when I stopped him from using any more of the ammo he had loaded.

I think we need a bit more information to make even a good guess as to what the cause might be.


October 25, 2004, 05:44 PM
Try cleaning the chamber with a 12-gauge shotgun bronze brush. Scrub out the chamber. Some guys chuck it into a cordless drill to make it easier.

Sometimes the chambers of milsurps get rough with layers of old cosmoline that doesn't come out with liquid cleaning like with brake cleaner or mineral spirits.

Also, some ammo tends to make bolts sticky in certain rifles. I have a couple M38s and one of them is really hard to open after shooting steel cased Hungarian surplus ammo.

October 25, 2004, 06:39 PM
Thank you for the replies. No I haven't got the action open yet. I was not using reloads, just commerical Russian ammo, Barnaul i believe.

October 25, 2004, 06:43 PM
The M/N cocks upon opening the bolt, so you are trying to overcome friction and the force exerted by the firing pin spring.
After you fire a round, reach back to the cocking piece and pull back until it cocks. You should be able to open the bolt with much less effort.
good luck with your new rifle.

Sleeping Dog
October 25, 2004, 08:33 PM
A mallet usually works good. Rubber or wood, so it won't mar the bolt. It worked for mine.

I wonder if that's why the Russians lost so many infantry during ww2.


Navy joe
October 25, 2004, 08:54 PM
Clean the chamber is good. As for ammo, the best I've found for not sticking is Wolf bi-metallic cased(no laquer) FMJ. Bolt sticks, lay or throw rifle on ground, stand on stock with one foot, kick bolt handle with other foot. It's peasant proof, it will handle it. :D

George S.
October 25, 2004, 09:12 PM
Mosins spent their useful lives firing hundreds and hundreds of military ammo that was steel cased and coated with a lacquer to keep the steel from rusting and coating the mouth of the case to keep the powder from getting wet. As the rifle got hot from firing a lot, the lacquer would tend to transfer from the case to the wall of the chamber. As long as the soldier kept the rifle clean, the lacquer would not build up.

Over the years, there would be some buildup and eventually, the lacquer would harden to the point where common cleaning methods would not remove it.

Now after 70+ years, we get to shoot the Mosins and use mostly old milsurp ammo and the same thing starts to happen. As you shoot round after round of old milsurp, the chamber gets warm and transfers the lacquer from the casing to what is already there. Then the bolt begins to stick. On my 1931 Izzy 91/30, I can easily chamber a round, close the bolt and fire and then raise the bolt handle and that's where it stops! I sometimes have to use a rubber mallet to get the bolt to slide back.

So I use an old 12 Gauge shotgun brass brush attached to an old pistol cleaning rod and put it my battery powered drill. I dip the brush in lacquer thinner (remover the stock so you don't get the stuff on the wood!!) and using a fairly slow speed, run the brush in the chamber. Takes about 10-15 minutes to get most of it with re-dipping the brush every minute or so. Then clean from the muzzle end (use the rod guide you got with the rifle toolkit) using your favorite cleaner.

It may take a few tries of doing this to get the years and years of lacquer out but with a bit of perseverance, it should begin to work properly.

October 26, 2004, 09:28 AM
If all else fails, I have a weird solution. Loosen the screw that holds the action to the stock. I've come across 2 91/30's that would jam shut and the only way to open them was to back that screw off abit. Not sure why that worked.

October 27, 2004, 01:19 AM
I don't know anything about Mosin's, but I have a batch of 174gr Vickers MG .303 that is a bit too hot and does that in one of my Enfields. Requires a hefty slap to dislodge it after a few shots.

Got some new production Highland AX and it works fine.

October 27, 2004, 01:20 AM
Carbuerator cleaner works wonders, and it's CHEAP. Just don't use it indoors. :p

October 27, 2004, 04:25 PM
Thanks for all the help. I smacked it open with a rubber mallet. Cleaned out the bolt, and am going to try to clean out all the lacquer from the chamber. Thanks again.

October 27, 2004, 04:44 PM
I think most of the MN's out there have this problem at some time or another. Welcome to the family!! Use the methods listed previously. Remember, it's Russian sometimes ya have to bang on it a little!

October 27, 2004, 04:56 PM
I just carry a 3/4 or 7/8 inch combination wrench in my bag and use the closed in as a "cheater" to get a little extra leverage on the bolt.

I use it the same way when I have a reluctant bolt or nut on one of my cars.

You can get a lot of leverage that way.

October 27, 2004, 11:45 PM
An interesting solution that isn't for the faint or weak stomached is to disassemble the rifle (just field strip is fine) and take the metal parts to a machine shop and have them hot tanked. You would probably remove most of (probably all of) the original finish, but it would clean everything like it was brand new.

Re-blue it and enjoy your non-sticky rifle.

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