Wowed by 91/30, now facing decision...


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maasenstodt
March 12, 2006, 01:26 AM
So I decided that I wanted to invest in a milsurp rifle and went down to my friendly local gun shop. My interest in the weapon is as a shooter - I want something pretty accurate (2 MOA or better) and fairly tough - but good looks are a very nice bonus. I had my head set on a K31, until I started handling some of the other rifles in stock. The dealer had some Russian 91/30's, and from the moment I shouldered one, I was in love. It felt more balanced in my arms than just about anything else I've tried - it just felt right!

The problem was that I knew that the Russian Mosins aren't generally as accurate as I'm looking for. With that in mind, I decided that I needed to research the Finn models. I've done so, but I could still use some advise. I'm looking at AIM's rifles, and trying to figure out what to do. I'm stuck between a Tikka built 91/30 (hand picked?) and a select grade M39.

I presume that the Finn 91/30 is going to feel pretty similar to the Russian model (correct me if I'm wrong), but I'm worried that the condition won't be as crisp as I'd like. I haven't handled a M39, but if it's pretty similar to the 91/30, might that be a better pick?

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Cosmoline
March 12, 2006, 03:15 AM
I also love the balance of the 91/30 design. If you're after the same thing, by all means go for the Tikka 91/30. Mine is one of the most accurate rifles I've ever owned. The M-39 is NOT similar to the 91/30. It represents a totally different direction in Mosin-Nagant design. The stock is massive and heavy and the balance is quite different from the 91/30. The barrel is also heavier. I've owned many M-39's but could never warm up to the design. The late-model Tikka 91/30's represent the best of both worlds. The only problem is the iron sights, which remain primitive. The M-39's irons are far more advanced than the 91/30's--Finnish or Soviet.

But on balance, go for the Tikka. On top of everything else they're not as common as the M-39's and have a great array of minor variations that have only been partially recorded. They will in time become more valuable than the M-39's.

rangerruck
March 12, 2006, 05:04 AM
ditto , plus the love of the straight pull, magic, especially if you find yourself wearing gloves.

Dave Markowitz
March 12, 2006, 10:20 AM
The M1891/30 is one of the best balanced military rifles, in my opinion. They can be quite accurate, if you get one with a good bore. I would not be surprised to see a 91/30 shoot 2 MOA or better with good ammo, especially if it's been reworked by the Finns.

The Finn m/39 is quite a bit more massive in the barrel and stock, and therefore a couple pounds heavier than the 91/30. However, the weight and stock design make it more comfortable to shoot than the 91/30.

Ad Astra
March 12, 2006, 11:30 AM
AIM isn't the only place for M39's, the queen of the M-N's.

Wholesale Guns & A. in NY has a bunch of beauties; the ones they're selling now have antique recievers so no FFL needed.

Like ice cream or anything, it's about what you like, and I am a total M39 fan. I have three. Haven't shot them at 100 yds, but 2 MOA wouldn't surprise me.

I do have a beautiful hex-rec. laminate M-N 91/30, but it's almost Kentucky-rifle-ish in feel, to me. I don't mind the M39's extra 2 lbs; it helps soak up recoil.

All M-N's are amazing. Once I though they were ugly and crude; now I have six. :D Masterpieces of simplicity, cheap and fun to shoot, and oh-so collectable (inexpensive).

Niner
March 12, 2006, 11:43 AM
The 91/30's can be accurate rifles. The Russians used them as sniper rifles in WWII. Take a look at the movie Enemy at the Gates. And... the 91/30's can be had for about half the price of what shooter grade M39's are going for now.

As has been pointed out, the Finn M39's are often rebarreled and have better sights than the 91/30. They also have a refined trigger pull. However, who says you can only have one? This should only be a case of ; which one first? The 91/30 would be a good choice.

maasenstodt
March 12, 2006, 01:22 PM
I appreciate everyone's input. After consideration, I'm going to go with my initial instincts and purchase the Tikka 91/30. I do have one more question:

Given that I'm looking for the highest quality shooter that I can manage, I plan to ask for a hand pick when I call in my order. When I do that, what might I want to ask for to net me the best accuracy?

Cosmoline
March 12, 2006, 01:50 PM
Most of the late-war Tikkas have mint bores, but there are a few out there with worn groves. Ask for a mint bore. They come with both post & globe front sights and finnish stacked front sights. You can ask to have your preference picked. Also, some are in refurbished USSR stocks while most are in the "pot belly" stocks. I actually prefer the Russian stocks, but it's a matter of preference.

As far as accuracy, most have already been accurized at Tikka. You'll often find shims at the receiver contact points. In general the big advantage of the 91/30 is the front of the stock is very thin and light. This minimizes barrel interference.

AH-1
March 12, 2006, 02:18 PM
don't think those russian 91/30's can't shoot:) .condition is eveything.get a good one with mint bore good crown and they can be tack drivers.
remember the finn's did capture alot of russian 91/30's and did nothing more than stamp a big SA on it and send it out to the front.
as a handloader I can tune the rounds for my rifles.it does make a big difference in grouping once you find the sweet spot.some of the surplus ammo does shoot well but if think you shooting match ammo don't because it isn't.
the last batch of polish 7.62X54R(1989 stamped) from aim does shoot well.
my last 91/30 from aim and it is a excellent shooter:)
http://img.photobucket.com/albums/v238/txpete/189591-30011.jpg

maasenstodt
March 12, 2006, 04:43 PM
That's a fine looking rifle, AH-1. :)

Cosmoline, I'll clearly ask for the mint bore. I don't have a preference on front sights, so unless there's an argument that either the Russian or Finnish version is superior, I'll probably just take what I get.

The one area I'm concerned about is the stock. I really like the Russian 91/30 stock I handled last week, but I'm curious if there's a trade-off in asking for it versus getting the pot bellied Finn version. Are the Russian stocks less durable? Does either make for a better shooting platform?

Thanks for everyone's help!

Cpl Punishment
March 12, 2006, 04:59 PM
One thing to keep in mind is that Mosin Nagants tend to be a bit individualistic when it comes to ammo. What one rifle loves, the next might hate. Some love the Czech silvertip ammo, some will barely be on paper with it.

Point being, don't get discouraged if the rifle (Russian or Finn, or any other country) doesn't shoot well at first, as long as the bore is good, it's likely that that particular rifle just doesn't like the ammo you've chosen.

I've found with handloading, even the much maligned Russian ones can stay within 2" at 100 meters all day once you find a load it likes.

Cosmoline
March 12, 2006, 06:52 PM
The one area I'm concerned about is the stock. I really like the Russian 91/30 stock I handled last week, but I'm curious if there's a trade-off in asking for it versus getting the pot bellied Finn version. Are the Russian stocks less durable? Does either make for a better shooting platform?

The pot belly tends to have a little more wood around the receiver and in the wrist. Like all Finnish stocks it's a two-piecer with the second half starting at the "belly". The handguard and front end are if anything thinner than the Russian varieties. Both are quite durable and ironically hold up BETTER than the heavy M-39 stocks because they flex more without cracking. Either way yours should have that lovely pine tar oil that gives the stock a sort of WWII era tactical black. Don't make the mistake of thinking that's dirt. Here's a good example of it:

http://i17.photobucket.com/albums/b52/Gussick/Aquilonia5.jpg

GD
March 12, 2006, 08:17 PM
The 91/30 Tikkas were probably assembled post war (or at least very late in the war when hostilities with the Soviets ended). I have 3 M91/30 Tikkas and all of them have excellent bores and have accuracy under 2 MOA. They are a great rifle to own. The M39s are also very accurate but they do not have a feel like a M91/30. They are beefier, heavier, and have very good, easy to adjust sights. Personally, there isn't a Finnish Mosin I don't like - I have never had an inaccurate one (I have over 2 dozen).

mordechaianiliewicz
March 12, 2006, 08:35 PM
Go for the Finnish M-39

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