Just bought a new Mosin M38!


November 5, 2006, 11:43 PM
The gun show this weekend down at the Show Place Arena in PG County went well... picked up some miscellania, and an excellent condition Mosin-Nagant M38 for $120. Beautiful birch stock, bore and crown are near-perfect. It's an Ishevsk '44, with some markings I can't decipher, even with the help I find on the net.

The show had two competing dealers who had Mosins. One had only laminate M44s imported by CAI, in generally good shape. The other had a mix of M91/30s, M38s and M44s - all birch stocks, of various import. My father already has a laminate 91/30, and I knew I wanted a carbine from the start; the prices at the dealer with the mixed selection were $20 higher across the board, but the rifles were worth it.

The bores were all mirrors, crowns were pristine and showed almost no wear whatsoever, stocks were all in great shape with interesting, attractive grain patterns, and the metal was little worn. The dealer with the laminates also had two purportedly real 91/30 Snipers, but I am ever skeptical of those (both were $375) and it seemed everyone else was, too.

Ended up with the M38 - it was a little lighter than the M44, didn't need the bayonet, had the best condition bore and crown, and had the most attractive wood of the group. The action was crisp but smooth - unlike a few of the others - and it just felt right and handled well. Here are a couple pics - one of the general rifle (how do you remove the glare on the stock?) and a closeup of the grain:


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November 6, 2006, 01:10 AM
Do the numbers match? Has it been counter-bored?

November 6, 2006, 01:28 AM
Sweet, sweet rifle.

November 6, 2006, 02:47 AM
Yes, numbers match.

No, no counter-boring.

If my house wasn't completely empty of AA batteries I need for the camera, I'd take far more pictures. As it was, I barely got those two off.

More to come, once the stores open tomorrow.

November 6, 2006, 03:16 AM
270--Are you SURE it has no counterbore? I ask because M-38's with mint bores that haven't been couterbored are almost all worn. Most VERY worn. They saw a lot more service than the M-44's. If yours really has no counterbore it's a pretty rare find. It must have been set aside in reserve. Does it have a refurb mark (a square with a slash through it) anywhere on the metal or wood?

Great shellac finish, too! If you want to reduce it for photos try a natural light photo with no flash.

November 6, 2006, 05:46 AM
Cosmoline - you're right. I checked again, more closely, and it has been counter-bored.

But it's been done much more professionally than on my father's 91/30, so it tricked me. His rifle's counter-boring is ... crude? I'm not sure how to describe it.

When I get some more AA batteries and the camera is back up and running, I'll try to take and post some more pictures!

I noticed something else unusual... when the bolt is closed, there is maybe 10-20 degrees of vertical play. It locks closed, however it takes very little effort to move it up towards the unlocked position.

Being the middle of the night, I tested the firing pin with the old pencil-down-the-barrel test, and it shot the pencil back out the barrel three or four feet, so I doubt it would have any trouble igniting a primer. I read elsewhere that this play ceases when a cartridge is in place.

Yes, does have a refurb mark - and about ten other marks I can't find pictures of anywhere on the net. One which appears twice is a quarter-circle that is bisected by a straight line. Like a bisected piece of pie.

There are at least two examples of a T inside of a box.

Numerous other strange symbols, too. I'll try and get pics of those, too.

Marion Cobretti
November 6, 2006, 09:18 AM
Sorry for the newb question, but what is counter boring??

November 6, 2006, 01:18 PM
The bolt play is no big deal. I actually find "loose" Mosins like that work better in the field than the stiff ones. As long as it locks up when fired. If you want to keep it locked down, you can either put it in fired position on an empty chamber or use the safety.

but what is counter boring??

Essentially, it's the practice of making the barrel hole wider at the end in order to create a new crown inside the barrel about an inch. It's done when the existing crown is worn down badly. I've also noticed the Soviet counterbores include re-cut rifling. This practice is what led to such oversized bores, since the new cut by its nature will widen the diameter.

Mr White
November 6, 2006, 01:35 PM
270Win, Is it a true M38 stock or an M44 stock w/ the bayo cutout? So many M38's have an M44 stock and true M38 stocks aren't all that common.

November 6, 2006, 02:13 PM
Cosmoline - you're right. I checked again, more closely, and it has been counter-bored.

PHEW, that's a relief. You almost had me reaching for my wallet to make you an ridiculous offer. :o


November 6, 2006, 05:31 PM
Holy crap, nice catch. I wish I could have found something like that when I go to gun shows...:rolleyes:

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