Nagant hunting ammo and other questions


walking arsenal
May 9, 2006, 12:00 AM
I'm looking at buying my brother a Mosin Nagant for deer hunting but i'd like to know a few things about them.

Mostly i'd like to know were i can find good soft or hollow point hunting loads for it.

I'd also like to know what accuracy is like and anything else you mosin owners feel is important to know about them.


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May 9, 2006, 01:20 AM
Mostly i'd like to know were i can find good soft or hollow point hunting loads for it.

Well you can get soft points from "Brown Bear" as ordered from
Other than that, you're best bet is handloading.

I'd also like to know what accuracy is like and anything else you mosin owners feel is important to know about them.

I have a M44 (carbine version made in Hungary) the trigger is fine as is the bolt mechanism. This is a solid and smooth cycling rifle. Accuracy with the iron sights is fairly good. ATI makes a Monte carlo style plastic stock which requires no gunsmithing. Mine cost under $70.00. The "scout style" scope mounts are around however there are two caveats. The B Square ones are worth the extra money, the chinese cheapies are just frustrating and prone to failure. Second, the scout scope is way too high for any kind of cheek weld when shooting. That said, it's not impossible to shoot in fact I've gotten a couple of sub MOA groups out of mine on good days. Do yourself a favor and buy a IER (Intermediate Eye Relief) scope. I picked one up from for under $60.00 and have found it to be a fine value. Practice ammo for this rifle is sickeningly cheap and good for lots of shooting. Be aware that the 7.62 X 54R is somewhere between a .308 Win and a 30-06 SPG. The barrel heats up pretty quick with rapid shooting. Oh and before I forget, the stripper clips generally fail to be any faster than single loading. The cartridge has a large rim which must be placed forward of the following cartridges rim when inserted in the magazine. Failure to follow this proceedure will have you opening the floorplate to clear an otherwise impossible jam. Final point, the safety is a PITA, there are a couple of threads here addressing how to smothly put it into action however none are as easy as a modern Bolt action's safety.

May 9, 2006, 01:27 AM
'Good' is relative in this, I'm afraid.
You can get soft point ammunition made by Sellier and Bellot (which Winchester packs into its own boxes- don't waste your money), as well as Norma, Brown Bear (steel cased and HEAVY bullets), and Igman is still available from
I say good is relative, because that's pretty much all that is available for 7.62x54r. These rifles are still commonly used for hunting in eastern Europe (around the globe, really), and ballistically they are close enough to 30-06 for you to make a judgement based on that cartridge's capabilities.
You can roll your own cartridges of course, using .310 or .311 diameter bullets, which are made by Sierra and a few others, in a variety of styles.

Really, softpoint will do a number on anything you'll try killing in North America and North Europe for that matter. I wouldn't try African game with it, but you could do worse. Bambi is dead, dead, dead with any softpoint in this caliber you put on target, have no doubts.

As far as stumbling blocks... the rifle itself comes in a variety of versions. There is the M91 and M91/30, which are commonest full length rifles. Then there are the M38 and M44, the carbine-length ones, and all of these can be found with excessive ease where-ever surplus rifles are sold, for under $100 or even under $70 in many cases.
Then there are the Finnish variants, which are harder to find. The most common of these lately are Finn-capture M91/30 rearsenals, and the complete-rework M39s. All of these have excellent accuracy.
All of these versions should be checked thoroughly before purchase if possible, for worn barrels, cracks in the wood, rusting spots, the general wear and tear stuff. Look inside the muzzle crown to see if it has been drilled-out during re-arsenaling to compensate for cleaning rod wear, or if there are any gouges in the crown that will affect accuracy.

Accuracy with these rifles varies widely based on the particular piece. All could shoot a couple MOA or better when produced, and sniper or Finn versions will do better. You will have a hard time finding a nice-looking specimen that won't shoot well enough to take a deer at open-sight ranges (for me, 150 yards is the limit- need new glasses).
The sights are archaic at best, though the Finns made the best version for their M39s. Practice will be required, and it should be noted that each brand of 7.62x54r will usually have a different point of impact for various reasons.

Putting a scope on is possible, though quite a bit of work that may not be worth it to your brother. The easiest way to do so is to acquire a Scout Mount scope, which replaces the rear sight leaf, and a pistol or long-eye-relief scope in whatever power suits him. There are also kits for putting on a standard scope, but that requires a modified bolt, and drilling and tapping the receiver, which is quite a bit more work.

So, here's what you do:
Find a good looking rifle that doesn't have a lot of use wear or damage.
Get some softpoint ammo wherever, online is cheapest; I recommend Aim Surplus, because I use them. YMMV.
Practice with it, and if necessary adjust the sights.
Have fun, and enjoy a piece of world history. :)

May 9, 2006, 02:59 AM
i like the m38 or the tanker carbine, they are very short, and have quite a stiff bbl. i am lucky , my 38 has allways been moa, even with open sites. Wolf, silver bear and brown bear make a good variety of accurate, consistent ammo, with wolf having a big selection of dif weights in their rounds. their 205 grn bimetal rounds will knock an elephant over, but you will feel that recoil. whether you need it or not , put on a 5 dollar slip on recoil pad, if not for recoil, then to add some length to that very short length of the stock. get the small size recoil pad, not med or large, as they are too loose once you get them on.

May 9, 2006, 10:10 AM
I can't remember the name of it, but I found some yugo, I think, ammo (starts with a 'p,' perhaps) that comes in a white box with red and blue text. I've only seen it at gun shows, but it shoots very well in my 91/30. I think it's about 178gr, but I can't remember for sure.

The one problem I would point out with taking the Mosin-Nagant hunting is the lack of an easily disengaged safety. Pulling the cocking piece out and around isn't very quick, subtle, or quiet. If your brother is going to be hunting from a stand or blind, that's probably not much of a concern. However, it gets really annoying while still hunting, knowing that you'll have to cycle the bolt before you can shoot. That being said, it's really hard to find a better rifle for deer for anything close to the price. (A cheap mauser might make better hunting rifle, but even a yugo M48 will run you a bunch more than the mosin)

May 9, 2006, 12:15 PM
I bought a couple of boxes of Barnaul 200-Gr SP. Makes my M-44 Carbine a pretty good "thumper" on both ends...

:cuss: was my readction the first time I popped off one of those rounds.

walking arsenal
May 9, 2006, 01:49 PM
Doesnt winchester, federal, hornady, remington or any other U.S. manufacturers make loads 7.62x54?

May 9, 2006, 01:53 PM
Oh, I missed your question about accuracy: in my 91/30 that yugo (I think) stuff shot around 1.5"-2.5" at 100 yards (not too sure how well exactly, I was more concerned with zeroing it, rather than getting the best group I could) And the last test shot to make sure all would be right for the first shot out of a clean barrel shot dead on, removing the center ring from the target. The recoil on these aren't too bad out of the 91/30 (but I do confess to having a slip-on recoil pad), not half as bad as 150 grain winchester .30-06 in boltie with a the hard buttplate -- ouchie. Only gun that I've ever gotten a shoulder bruise from. Anyway... if you find some of that white with red and blue box of 7.62x54R, give it a try.

May 9, 2006, 03:07 PM
plastic stock, or cut off the military wood stock. Accuracy will suffer. Darrell makes a great scout scope mount. You can find him over on The 91/30 is the best of the cheapie Mosin Nagant rifles because of the longer sight radius. The short M44 has a folding bayonet that makes a dandy rifle holder while you open a beer...........chris3

May 9, 2006, 06:17 PM
"Doesnt winchester, federal, hornady, remington or any other U.S. manufacturers make loads 7.62x54?"

Winchester markets 7.62x54r, but don't be fooled: it's just Sellier and Bellot product, which sells for about $4-5 less under their brand, in Winchester label boxes.

The US manu's don't bother with 7.62x54r because you can get so darn much of it for so cheap (milsurp) that they can't make any money off of it, at least is my perception. You might note that some companies are marketing .303 british now that the surplus is all but exhausted.

Also, a certain snobbery is likely in effect that says, 'why would we make and sell that dirty commie ammo? We make ammo for REAL guns after all'.
I actually had some '**** at a gunstore tell me, after bringing in my 1917 Remington M91 to look for an aftermarket sight, that I should get myself a 'Real Gun' rather than bother to bring it back up to useability.

I look forward to bringing in a couple targets punched with nice little groups made by that rifle and slapping them on the table in front of the jerk, if I ever bother going back to that store.

Anyway, no, there are no big-name makers, but that's not a big deal. A cartridge is a cartridge, and if it works every time it doesn't matter where it's made, does it.

I would recommend against an M91 or M91/30 for hunting, simply because they are so long in the standard configuration. That may not be a big deal depending on where you hunt, but around here, brush is the big problem for swinging your rifle. If you decide on a carbine, get an M44, as I hear the M38s were in general use and will have significantly more wear in most cases. Removing the bayonet is trivial, but doing so will change the POI- you'll want to adjust the sights anyway though, since you won't be using the same ammo it was zeroed for.

May 10, 2006, 03:43 PM
Norma loads a 180gr pointed soft point boattail match bullet round that shot 3/4" out of my sporterized Mosin...Good enough? Sounded like an artillery piece, though. Everybody on the firing line would jump...

May 10, 2006, 03:59 PM
Norma & Lapua are the best, if you can find or afford them. The soft point Barnaul and Wolf are very primitive. Basically they've just had the jackets around the core removed. They will work for deer, however. Handloading is the best option if you want to do much hunting with the 54R. I've worked up a nice big game load using Woodleigh 215 grainers.

Cpl Punishment
May 10, 2006, 07:25 PM
There's plenty of good Soft points out there for it. Don't be fooled, the softpoints available for the 7.62x54R are all cup-and-core bullets, there's no "premium" stuff, despite some of it going for premium prices. Also, make no mistake, these bullets WILL kill anything in North America. The 150-gr softpoints will shoot to the sights, the heavier 180-gr and 200+ grain bullets will be off vertically. This isn't a problem if you mount a scope, or you can slip a roll pin over the front sight pin, and zero the weapon for that ammo by filing down the roll pin until it's on target.

The above mentioned ammo that the poster thinks is "Yugo, the name starts with a P", is most likely Privy Partisan, Serbian (part of former Yugoslavia) ammo, and is very good.

The rifle that would probably give you the least trouble making a hunting gun is an M38. It does not have a bayonet, many states won't let you hunt with a bayonet mounted, and the M44 and 91/30 are sighted in with the bayonet mounted, so you'd have to drift the front sight to get them on target with bayonet dismounted.

Although people refer to the M38/M44 as carbines, they really aren't. Both have 20" barrels -- plenty to get good ballistics out of the cartridge -- but are still pretty handy in the woods.

Also, proper stripper clips (originals with the Ishevsk arrow-in-triangle arsenal mark, or the brass ones from uglycarfan on eBay) are faster than single loading, but are not necessary for hunting. ANother thing, is that Mosin Nagants have what's called an interrupter above the magazine. If this is working properly (all of mine do) it separates the top round from the rest of the magazine. This was intended to prevent the rims from overlapping and causing jams, no matter their orientation. A very good thing to have on a rifle that feeds rimmed rounds from a box magazine.

May 20, 2010, 11:24 AM
brown bear makes a 203gr JSP and you can get them at for around $10 something a box. Prvi partisan also makes a 151gr JSP that is ok stuff, although, game depending, i'd stick with the heavier grain and don't use the Prvi JSP in a SVD type rifle. they jam in the feeding process. a friend of mine bought a box of that stuff for his romak and they just kept jamming cuz of the soft point. i filed off the tips to the jacket and fed them fine through my 91/30, makes nice watermelon salad :)

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