SKS, AK-47, or Mosin Nagant for target shooting at 100 yards?


Heavy Metal Hero
November 15, 2006, 10:07 PM
I want so opinions on these rifles in terms of 100 yard shoots. Yes I have done research on ALL the models listed but I am just looking for some follow up information. I have never shot either of the three and I have never experienced the kick of the x39 or x54R. So my question is how would you feel about a day of shooting at 100 yards? How would you rate recoil (is the Mosin going to make me ache the next day :D )?

I am limited to these choices in terms of price (read: Poor college student).

Any input is welcome. Thank you.

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November 15, 2006, 10:16 PM
Target shooting? I would look into a Swiss K-31, actually.
However, out of those three, I would try and find a Finn M39 Mosin Nagant. They seem to be the most accurate MN's. Otherwise, if you can't find one of those, try for a really good condition 91/30, or even better, 91/59. Those should be the most accurate of the bunch if you can find a good one. Otherwise, find a very good to excellent condition SKS.

November 15, 2006, 10:17 PM
If you only get one rifle and you're on a budget, I'd vote Mosin Nagant 91/30. They can be had for the same or less than an SKS, and ammo is in the same range or less than x39 nowadays, if you buy surplus. My second choice would be SKS.

Recoil on 7.62x54R isn't bad if you get a decent recoil pad (I have a Limbsaver slipon that works great). It seems worse out of the carbines but I think it's mostly the blast. I regularly go through 100 rounds of x54R when I take my Mosin Nagants out. I shoot with the recoil pad from a bench and nothing when standing or kneeling. I used to get bruised when shooting from a bench without the pad and wearing light shirts, but it's no big deal now.

Shooting x39 is nothing if you're using one of the gas-operated rifles. It's not like shooting a rimfire, but it's not going to damage you unless you're holding the rifle incorrectly.


November 15, 2006, 10:35 PM
I'm a little biased because I shoot a Yugo M59 SKS and love it. I used to own an AR-15 as well as a Type 56 Norinco SKS. My M59 is my favorite so far. The qaulity is excellent and it was $159.00 with a pristine bore. It shoots 3-1/2" or so groups at 100 yards with an aftermarket Tech-sights aperture sight (peep). In the hands of a better shooter or with a scope it would do better. If you go for an SKs get a Yugo, they don't have chrome lined barrels because of chrome shortages there. Which IMO lends itself to better accuracy.

I've shot tha AK's and they aren't my thang. I haven't shot a Mosin yet, but i've heard they kick like a mule. The SKS is light on recoil and I can shoot all day without getting sore. Hope that helps.

Yugo M59 (C)23,7xx
Harrison and Richardson single shot 12ga. (Tiger Bluing)
Mossberg 500 20 ga.
Norinco 1911 .45 ACP
Ruger Mark I 22LR
Ruger Single Shot 22LR bolt action
Ruger 10/22
Police Positive .38 Revolver

November 15, 2006, 10:43 PM
any of them want make you hurt the next kicks about the same about like a .410 shotgun very low recoil have fun

November 15, 2006, 10:51 PM
I would also vote Mosin. I find 54R recoil to be negligable out of my M38... for what it's worth. Seems on par with .270 or 7.5x55 Swiss to me. I can shoot any of those all day with no adverse effects.

November 15, 2006, 10:54 PM
I only shoot at 100 yards with rifle, 'cause that's all the range goes out to!:neener:
My SKS will give minute of bad guy at 100 yards.
This is the Mosin 91/30 with handloads.
I know, there are lots of rifles that will do as well, but none of them cost under $100.
As for the AK, well, the WASR10 does nothing to inspire me with any confidence whatsoever at 100 yards.

cracked butt
November 15, 2006, 10:57 PM
The mosin is going to have about 3 or 4 times as much 'felt' recoil than the sks or AK, just by my subjective observation of having shooting all of them. The SKS and Aks feel like popguns to start with though.

For range shooting, I'd reccomend the 91/30- it has better sights than the other two, and almost twice the sight radius making it fairly easy to shoot. Surplus ammo for it is very very cheap, and you can find nearly new rifles for around $100.

November 15, 2006, 11:04 PM
Out of those three, my vote goes to the SKS.

Heavy Metal Hero
November 15, 2006, 11:07 PM
Thanks for all the replies so far! In case anyone is wondering why I did not put a poll is because I want actual advice and not someone christmas treeing a random choice :neener: .

November 15, 2006, 11:12 PM
Target shooting at 100 yards? Mosin.. probably the 91/30, M44 then M38 in that order of preference. Second choice is the SKS. Last is the AK. Purely for 'target' shooting and accuracy.

7.62x54 WILL kick, but the severity depends on the round as well as the rifle. My little M38 obviously has more felt recoil than my big ol 91/30. Of course, a Small Limbsaver as mentioned below, will go a long way in helping with the recoil of the Mosins. Ammo has a lot to do with it as well.. some of that surplus x54 stuff WILL kick like crazy and throw out a small mushroom cloud of explosive power, but the lighter, newer rounds aren't that bad at all.

SKS is a lot of FUN. I like my SKS. It's not terribly accurate, even from a rest it's pretty crappy, but I like it a lot. Shoot, I got a real nice yugo, all matching except for the stock for about 110 bucks. It's not a tack driver, but I like shooting it. I also like watching other people shoot it because it flings brass about 10 feet in the air.. my girl thinks it has less recoil than my AR and she weighs all of 130lbs... but she can't shoot it offhand because it's so darn heavy.

AK's... I dunno. Personal preference. Too many opinions for me to even voice mine. Accuracy at 100yards isn't necessarily what it's built for.. IMHO.

Heavy Metal Hero
November 15, 2006, 11:27 PM
Accuracy is not the do all end all. I just want to have fun.

How is the 147grn Light Ball ammo in x54R? Mostly I will be shooting the gun but say I wanted to bring someone who isn't gun saavy. I don't want to scare him/her off with intense recoil (that they CANNOT appreciate!)

November 15, 2006, 11:36 PM
How is the 147grn Light Ball ammo in x54R?

Heavy Metal Hero, you probably won't notice much difference between that and heavy ball. The biggest difference will be the point of impact between the two loads. Heavy ball tends to have a high POI.

There are some surplus "target" loads in x54R that are only good out to about 100 yards, and those will probably recoil much less if you're interested in introducing someone to shooting rifles.


November 15, 2006, 11:43 PM
well , of those 3 the mosin will be the most accurate by far, but they are a little diff to scope. You'll pay 5 times more money to properly scope it, as you will just buying the weapon. If you get an all matching numbers, unissued mosin they can be 3 moa accurate or better at 100 yds, easy. I've got one myself that is actually moa when I bear down, with open sites! Now that is sick!
As far as kick goes, the mosin will also kick twice as hard, as the others. you must get a slip on recoil pad, a butler creek , size small, will fit the bill nice, but it still is gonna rock your world, especially if you get the shorter and shorter Mosin's, such as the m38, or tanker mosin, with the very short bbl.

November 16, 2006, 09:27 AM
As above stated the Mosin (assumits got a decent bore and crown) will probably be quite a bit more accurate, especially with commercial or handloaded ammo (the only milsurp ammo in any caliber I ever got decent accuracy with was 7.62x54R Czech Silvertip).

But the recoil is WILDLY different. I can shoot x39 all day long outa my SKSs or my buddies AK...But (maybe I'm a wimp, although we also shoot Mausers and his Garand) those Mosins (especial the short ones) kick like mules. I sold my M-44 'cause I hadn't shot it in 3 years, although I did keep my 91/30 so I still had one example of a WWII Russian.

November 16, 2006, 09:39 AM
I would get the Mosin. They have the potential to be very accurate and surplus ammo is cheap. My M38 is in an ATI stock and I don't think the recoil is bad by any means. Get some ammo, stripper clips, practice a bit and then impress your friends with how quick you can put out 5 accurate shots at a 100 yards.

November 16, 2006, 09:55 AM
Here is a comparison of an AK47, an AR15 and a Mosin Nagant. ( Hope it helps.

November 16, 2006, 10:04 AM
I would take the Mosin Nagant. My 91/30 does well at 100 and 200 yards. I haven't tried it at any longer distance yet.
Recent target - 100 yard 5 shot group with 180 gn silver bear ammo

November 16, 2006, 10:18 AM
They forgot the last line that says:

The other guy drops
like a sack of potatos

He shrugs and says,
why did you shoot me?

He vanishes in a red mist

November 16, 2006, 10:46 AM
I have all three of the choices mentioned

91/30 is hands down the most accurate, kicks more and is slower to fire can be ordered on line for about $70

SKS is accurate enough for plinking or informal target and a hell of a lot more fun to shoot, barely kicks and can rapid fire ten round strings, can be ordered on line for about $100 to $150 (Yugo59 (Not 59/66) cracked stock from SOG)

AK variant. I've had it for about two years and only shot two mags out of it. Accurate enough for plinking, I guess, fun to put a lot of rounds down range and brass in the air, little to no kick cost from $300 to who knows.
I just never got in to shooting it for fun

November 16, 2006, 11:05 AM
I have all three. A Yugo SKS, M38 Mosin, and WASR AK.

I'd rather shoot the SKS any day of the week. Mine is more accurate than the AK or Mosin (of course my Mosin is a short barreled carbine, maybe a 91/30 would be better). Ammo is cheap, it is semi auto, and super easy to load with stripper clips. Parts are everywhere, you can get excellent to like new ones for under $200. The AK is not as accurate, and the ergonomics to me just aren't as good as the SKS. The Mosin kicks more, and ammo can be more expensive/harder to come by, and when you do find the cheap stuff it is going to be corrosive so more cleanup is needed after a day at the range.

I'm sure you'd like shooting any of the three, but if I could keep or have only one, it would be the SKS.

Charles W Webb
November 16, 2006, 11:20 AM
Get the Mosin Nagant. I love my 1943 m44, and it shoots pretty well for a carbine :P. One thing that I don't get is how everyone else says the Mosin kicks like a mule, I have never gotten a sore shoulder from firing my Mosin all day and it has no recoil pad.:neener:

February 8, 2007, 10:51 PM
Tactical rifles are not known for their accuracy. Ak is the one for me. Look up and accurize your ak, sks, or m4. It's not just muzzle-candy, or a simple weight. it will cut your recoil and make the AK more friendly. Normally the common x39 will make 6-8 inches at 50 yds. great if you're shooting 55 gal drums. Why shoot "between the pockets" when you can shoot "between the eyes"? I bought mine at the Reno hilton show and won't ever take it off.

February 8, 2007, 11:12 PM
If you're looking at decent groupings at 100yards, you're probably not going to get that with an AK or SKS. I have a Yugo SKS, and it is definitely fun to shoot, and when the SHTF, it'll be strapped on my back. The problem is the loose tolerances that give both rifles the reliability they have. They're designed to shoot crap ammo nearly every time, no matter what you've done to it. The Nagant is a bolt-action (inherently more accurate and longer reaching) and had sniper variants during the war. It had to shoot right because you had to work the bolt afterwards, taking up precious time in a fire-fight.

For the money you'll spend on the AK, get the Nagant and a sealed crate of ammo for it. That'll last you a while. And the recoil on it isn't as bad as some say. It's noticibly stronger than the 7.62x39, but I'd imagine the 30-06 is worse on the shoulder. It's really not your shoulder that you need to worry about so much as your ears. It's not bad from behind, but it's ear-splitting from any angle but the shooter's. (this is a property is shares with the x39, but the 54 definitely is a chest thumper) Get the best dampening pair of muffs you can find.

February 8, 2007, 11:16 PM
Also, should another assault weapons ban be handed down, the SKS and the AK variants are likely to be on it. Supposedly the SKS slam-fire issue is equivalent to full-auto in some peoples' minds. What's to stop someone from purposefully altering one to selectively slam-fire? The libbies don't feel as threatened by a bolt-action, I guess.

February 8, 2007, 11:17 PM
:D revival!!!

I wonder though, What gun did the guy end up with?

February 8, 2007, 11:23 PM
Since you said accuracy isn't the be all end all....AK is the way to go. I have a few mosins, a sks, and a saiga conversion. Out of the bunch the saiga is the most fun to shoot, a SHTF rifle, and the most likely to face future legislation banning it.

February 8, 2007, 11:29 PM
I recommend the Mosin long rifle, the Model 91/30, for any serious target shooting. IMHO the longer barrel is a real advantage, and not just for the longer sight radius. If you think you might get into SERIOUS target shooting, you may wish to spend the $10-$20 premium for a laminated stock, which is more stable than a "regular" wood stock.

The 91/30, for all it's length, isn't a particularly heavy rifle. There is a LOT more gunpowder in the 7.62x54R cartridge than in the 7.62x39. That means the 7.62x54R cartridge will deliver a healthy recoil when fired from a 91/30. I'm "recoil averse", (old fart with arthritus in right shoulder joint) so I use a recoil pad. (Cabela's has one with velcro for easy on/off - I also use it on my K31s, 7.5x55 Swede, 8mm Mausers and M1 Garand.)

The 91/30 will be the cheapest of the three rifles in initial cost and in ammunition supply. I checked ammo prices today and 7.62x39 is more than double the cost of 7.62x54R at my usual sources.

February 8, 2007, 11:33 PM
Another vote for the mosin. I love my '47' M44. pristine bore, nice bluing (by Russian standards), nice wood, Matching #'s All for $65 at a gunshow last summer. Cheap to shoot, and a real boomer (not to mention that fireball). I recently just received a lamanate stocked M91/30, that was in very good condition for about $100. Careful though, Mosin's can be habit forming. :evil:

February 8, 2007, 11:47 PM
:confused: guys, the post was made last november... by his post, it would infer he's buying a gun for christmas.

:banghead: MUST KNOW! what did he get!?

February 8, 2007, 11:52 PM
Not that x39 is expensive ammo, but the 54r is definitely cheaper. Plus, for target shooting, working the bolt and reloading after 5 rounds slows things down, which helps you take a break and relax a bit. Sometimes you get in the zone and just work the bolt and keep going, but I find myself losing my concentration in the middle of a string with a semi. Maybe the brain needs to use some bigger muscles in between rounds to stay focused.

Anyway, I put a Mojo sight on my 91/30 and love it (being able to zero precisely for whatever crate of ammo is a nice thing) I just picked up the aperture pack, so next time I hit the range I'm hoping that the smallest peep will shrink my groups some.

February 9, 2007, 02:42 AM
I've shot one of each.

Norinco SKS: Fun to shoot all day, burning through ammo as fast as I can shove stripper clips in. I could hit a 10" dinner plate at almost 200 yds. 70% of the time. I don't consider myself a shooter with even decent skill.

For kick: Have a friend hold their closed fist out straight in front of them. Touch his fist with your chest, then have them bend their arm while you walk two inches forward. With their fist still touching your chest, have them punch you.;)

Mosin-Nagant M38: short barreled carbine. Ammo can be found under 15 cents a round if you shop around. Never shot it more than 100 yds, but my experience is that folks like it better than an AK. Just a louder bang, more recoil, seeming better accuracy, more "gun experience".

For kick: Do the friends fist to your chest thing while thier arm is straight. Have them pull their fist back 3-4 inches. Let them punch you again. Notice a difference?:neener:

AK: My experience was relatively forgetable.:evil:

February 9, 2007, 08:58 AM
Get a Mosin. The 91/30 will kick least between the 3 variants (M38, 91/30, M44). IMO, it kicks about the same as my Mini 30 did. Is you sit there and tense up, it'll bruise and it'll ache after awhile. If you relax, stay loose, control your breathing, and let it "suprise" you, the recoil will be far less. It is the most accurate but you'll need to check the throat and crown and be picky if you're looking for the best accuracy. The best part is when you cycle 5-10 rounds quickly through it and watch the cosmoline bake out of the fore grips.

Thin Black Line
February 9, 2007, 09:41 AM
I am limited to these choices in terms of price (read: Poor college student).

You are probably looking at a mosin and a small pile of corrosive ammo.

If you look around enough, you will find someone wanting to dump an SKS
at a comparable price. The russian ammo is cheaper, non-corrosive and far
more pleasant to shoot. Stripper clips are nice, but you can also top load
one at a time. Don't buy one of the aftermarket SKS 30 rd'ers --many of
those have problems anyway.

It doesn't sound like an AK would be cost-effective for you at this time since
it will be at least double the price for just the rifle. Then you might want to
do something crazy like buy a chinese drum and slap a kobra on top.

February 9, 2007, 09:42 AM
I too own all three and my pick is the SKS.

My Mosins are all carbines (M44's, M38, type 56) and I use a Limbsaver slip-on recoil pad on them all. Awesome kick and fireball but can be scary for new shooters if you bring a friend or girlfriend to the range.
My AK is an Armory USA AK, made in Houston. I'd like to think it's more accurate than the average AK, especially since I paid alot more for it than the usual AK. But, let's ne honest, an AK isn't going to win any accuracy competition. It's fun for plinking but I find the stock is a little small and ergo's suck. It's a keeper but not my #1 range gun.
My SKS however are a blast. I recently bought the two that I have, a 1950 Russian and a 1980-ish Norinco (bought NIB, never fired!). Recoil is alot lighter than the AK ( and WAY lighter than the Mosin) and they seem to be more accurate than AK's. There seems to be alot of parts available for them and they're really simple to disassemble and clean.

February 9, 2007, 09:51 AM
I vote AK. The recoil of the 7.62X39 is somewhat akin to a .30-.30 except that the mechanism of the rifle absorbs most of it. I don't believe these rifles will be around long (or the SKS's either) and are worth have to shoot cheap as well.

February 9, 2007, 10:36 AM
I've owned and shot SKS's and Mosins. Their both fun, except for accuracy I'd lean toward the Mosin. However, the suggestion about the Swiss K-31 is a good one, too. The ammo is a bit higher, but they are affordable ($150), are a pleasure to shoot (very smooth, Swiss-tuned trigger), and dead-on accurate.

February 9, 2007, 02:29 PM
mosin nagant 100%, a more accurate rifle and a more potent cartridge

Heavy Metal Hero
February 9, 2007, 02:37 PM
I wonder though, What gun did the guy end up with?

If you really must know!

I have decided I am going to get a pair of Mosin Nagants (had to wait until after x-mas!). A 91/30 for main target shooting/plinking and an M38 for secondary plinking and hog hunting.

Following that an SKS or AK is on my list.

I would like to thank everyone for any and all suggestions in an attempt to persuade me. It is appreciated.

February 9, 2007, 02:37 PM
None of the above?

Most any decent .22 will suffice, and outshoot all of them for less money and with less recoil.

(Some Mosins are accurate, of course, but they're the worst-kicking and most expensive to shoot, of the three.)

Heavy Metal Hero
February 9, 2007, 02:38 PM
Sorry ArmedBear but I need something with some power behind it. I have access to a .22 rifle so that is no big deal.

February 9, 2007, 02:44 PM
Get a good rifle, then.

Shooting targets at 100 yards is no fun unless you have a rifle that shoots MOA.

Shooting at gallon jugs is fun with an so-so rifle, but not targets.

A .223 with a good barrel is a good place to start. An AR or a bolt gun.

Heavy barrel .308s are readily available, but ammo gets expensive.

If you want cheap recoil and don't care about what you hit, shoot the combloc gun. If you want to hit small things at long distances, get something else.

Or use bigger targets. That's my solution, if I want to shoot something fun but not so accurate.:)

Heavy Metal Hero
February 9, 2007, 03:01 PM
See: Poor college student.

Hey now, commies made reliable rifles. Ugly, sub-accurate, heavy....but reliable.

I am not looking for 1 MOA at 100 yards at this time. In due time I will come back to the right side. Never fear.

February 9, 2007, 03:44 PM
I have all three and I would rank them as follows:

For target/accuracy: Mosin, SKS, AK
Sight radius on my AK underfolder isn't very long.

For fun factor: AK, SKS, Mosin
Mosin is fun because of the big blast factor, but I can't shoot 200 rounds without paying for it later, as in sore shoulder.

Mosin is cheapest and AK most expensive.

February 9, 2007, 03:57 PM
I saw a test a while back on one of the Mosin Nagant websites (or was it where they compared a Mosin Nagant carbine against a Russian SKS for accuracy. It was a wash. They were pretty much equal.

The Mosin does have the advantage of shooting much cheaper ammo.

Get the 91/30 (unless you can scrape the funds together for a Finn M39 which I highly recommend). The longer rifle not only has a longer sight radius, but also will be a little heavier to absorb some of the recoil.

Buy light ball ammo (around 147 grain). It will be easier on your shoulder. Light ball often shoots to a lower point of impact also. Most milsurp rifles shoot very high at 100 yards, so this will help a little.

Get a recoil pad. I really like this one at Cabela's ( It slips on and uses a velcro strap so you can easily move it from rifle to rifle in the same shooting session.

Have fun! Mosin Nagant's are a blast! :)

Diesel man
February 9, 2007, 06:52 PM
What if you hold a Mosin M38 like a shotgun will the recoil just push your shoulder back like a push instead of hitting it like a punch?
I have a 12 gauge shotgun it has a rubber pad and I want to know how it compares to a Mosin m38 in recoil.

February 9, 2007, 06:54 PM
What do you mean "hold it like a shotgun?"

Proper shouldering is the same.

A Mosin has much faster recoil, since it has a much higher-velocity projectile. Feels different from a shotgun, one way or another.

Diesel man
February 9, 2007, 06:56 PM
Hold it firm against you shoulder have one foot out and lean in.

Heavy Metal Hero
February 9, 2007, 06:59 PM
What if you hold it sideways with one hand? The other hand being around your pelvic area, obviously.

Diesel man
February 9, 2007, 07:00 PM
It would hurt alot??

February 9, 2007, 07:10 PM
People seriously overstate the recoil from Mosin carbines. The worst is the M-38, and it's on par with a .30'06 out of 20" barrel. The M-44's, 91/30's and others have less recoil than the average .30'06.

If you want real recoil, fire heavy .45-70 out of a Ruger No. 3 or fire some surplus ball out of an M-95 Mannlicher Budapest carbine. Mosins are nothing.

February 10, 2007, 12:19 AM
David Fortier wrote a comparison article a year or two ago for Shooting Times between the Mosin-Nagant (I think it was a 91/30, but I don't remember offhand) and the K98. It was a pretty interesting article overall, but one relevant thing to this question is that he shot the guns out to 500 yards and reported that if he could see it, he could hit it. Obviously, he isn't talking about precision shooting. He was simply saying that it is more than possible to hit a man-sized target at those ranges, so keep that in mind.

By the by, I am in complete agreement with Cosmoline on the recoil factor in the MN. I have a bum shoulder and while I wouldn't go so far as to say that I could shoot a MN all day, I don't find it uncomfortable in the least to shoot a relatively high number of rounds per day from one. They are loud! Personally, I think the enormous boom is part of the charm of the rifle. There is just something deeply satisfying about standing there and hearing that BOOM and seeing that ball of fire shoot out.

February 10, 2007, 05:54 AM
hardest shot I've done is the Enfield No.5 Carbine,

I'd take a M38 w/ 200gr ammo over the enfield No.5 Carbine any day :neener:

seriously though, nagant recoil is waaay too overstated, and if you can find a decent one, is more than sufficient for target practice at 100 yards.

oh and my SKS can nail a 6lb watermelon multiple times at 200 yards (once I get over the crappy sights) fun for plinkage!

February 10, 2007, 06:23 AM
I have a 91/30 and a M44 and both shoot well out at 100 yards but of course, the 91/30 is more accurate.

I shot a box of Czech 147 gr Silvertip at a full body target set out at 200 yards with the original iron sights. I clicked the rear sight up once and went to work. I could hardly see the target with my old eyes but when I went down to check the target, to my total surprise, all 19 out of 20 rounds were in the body of the target. Don't get me wrong, you couldn't even call it a "group" but all shots hit what would have been a full grown man's body. Like I said, I was surprised until I realized, HEY, that's what it was designed to do!! LOL

I got my 91/30 for $96 and the M44 for $85. Surplus ammo at my local shop is $3.00 a box. You can get it for even less bulk online. If you want to have some fun without even putting a dent in your pocket, a 91/30 is the way to go IMO.

My 91/30 has an extremely nice stock with a deep rich color and nice finish. I rub in some Linseed Oil now and then to keep it protected.

I had to do the M44's stock over but that was no big deal. I gave the M44 to my son so when he asked me to make the stock light instead of dark like the 91/30, that's what I did for him. I think it came out alright.

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