Mosin Nagant M44 Range Report


February 14, 2008, 04:34 PM
The first time I shot a rifle I was 11, a tenderfoot in Boy Scouts and getting my rifle shooting merit badge at summer camp...also my first time away from home by myself for a week. I survived, got to wear I could cover my 5 shot groups with a nickle and I got my merit badge :-)

All I have ever shot in rifles were rimfires. The last time I had shot a rifle until today was about 3 years ago, in the snow with a .22 Mag bolt gun.

I had never shot a centerfire rifle, mostly because when I lived up in Western New York deer hunting was limited to shotguns only. So I HAD shot my 12 gauge, numerous times between deer and turkey (and even some birdshot once in a while).

Let's just say...I'm glad that I have experienced both a 12 ga. slug and a 3" Magnum turkey load before.

On to today's adventure...

Today, I was shooting Silver Bear 203gr. SP in 7.62x54R. It's pretty cheap around $0.30/shot, and is a soft point so it allowed on the range I usually go to. (No FMJ or I would just shoot a ton of corrosive FMJ and call it good).

The gun had been cleaned and de-greased, thoroughly checked over and ready to go. I set up at the 50 yard line since I had NO idea if it would actually shoot or not. I tested it both bayonet retracted and extended. It was retracted for my first shot.


Follow through? Maintain sight picture? None of that fancy "marksmenship"
activity happened. I did watch and see the berm accept my donation of lead and the puff of dirt though. I would say that kick is somewhere between a 12ga. rifled slug and a magnum turkey load.

Yes. In between those two. Yes, that is a LOT of recoil.

Yes. I had a huge smile on my face after that first shot.

I ended up putting 5 shots each into two targets, 1 bayonet retracted and one extended. The extended gave a better "group"...more like a pattern. At 50 yards I was able to get three shots within a 5" circle with 1 x-ring and in total 5 shots in a 12" circle. The retracted bayonet kept everything within 12" but no x-rings and no 3 shots even close to each other.

I then put 10 shots into the 100 yard target. About the same as the 50 yard, held everything within 12", and even had 3 shots of about a 4" group.

MOA? no.

MON? yes (Minute of Nazi)

20 shots and I called it a day and headed over to the pistol range. The recoil went from fun to painful real fast. Didn't help that I was shooting off a bench either. I think that I will be investing in a recoil pad before I go out next time.

So I am going to clean up the rifle, hopefully with each cleaning it will get a little better. The Silver Bear seemed to perform "okay" I am curious if better ammunition would result in better accuracy, however I am still on the fence if I want to reload for this caliber or not...I always say that though...and I always end up reloading for it :-)

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Cmdr. Gravez0r
February 14, 2008, 05:02 PM
I find the Mosey is better enjoyed offhand. I advise against shooting it prone.:what:

Ohio Rifleman
February 14, 2008, 05:10 PM
Yes, the Mosin isn't for precision shooters who want MOA and all that. It's for recoil junkies who like to make a big boom. :D

Think about it...with a Mosin, you get three weapons in one. You get a firearm, you get a spear, and you get a nice wood and steel club should the need arise. All for $79.95!

February 14, 2008, 05:25 PM
Yes, the Mosin isn't for precision shooters who want MOA and all that.

ORL? There's more to Mosins than bargain bin specials:

February 14, 2008, 05:51 PM
Cosmo...mine is definitely a bargin bin special. $79.99 of goodness :-)

It was fun though. Very fun. Looking back at the targets, one of my groups was actually about 2" at 100 yards. I think a lot of that was luck...out of the 10 shots fired, 3 were that far apart :-)

I wish I could shoot it offhand...bench only at this range. Kind of lame, but it is the closest to the house. Wish I was back up in NY, family has a few hundred acres with a lot of natural backstops (30' high of earth should do the trick. Nice ravine to shoot in with the dirt cliff wall as a backstop...oh those were the days...)

February 14, 2008, 07:19 PM
Take one of those silver bear rounds and pull a bullet. Slug your barrel and measure both. I bet you'll be in for a surprise. I had even WORSE groups out of my M44 . ..not even patterns. Started putting some .312 slugs downrange instead of the .308 (barely) crap in commericial ammo and it shoots really nice.

Just my .02


February 14, 2008, 09:02 PM
+1 dmftoy1. Mosins tend to be particular about their ammo insofar as accuracy is concerned. Google for "how to slug rifle barrel" if you don't know how and try to find some ammo that's close to your bore diameter.

I can pop waves of attacking (empty) Nazi shotshells at 75-100 yards all day with two of my Mosins. Third one is pretty worn out and doesn't shoot to bench-plinking standards, but is accurate enough for "serious work" and I'll be keeping it for sentimental reasons anyway.

February 14, 2008, 10:34 PM
You have to know that whenever a Mosin thread comes up, Cosmoline and I will likely both make appearances.

February 14, 2008, 10:34 PM
You'll find that it consistently shoots better with the bayonet extended, I think. I have an M38, so no bayonet for me. I also have a recoil pad...try it, you'll like it. After 40-50 rounds using the pad, recoil is still not an issue, but whanging the bolt open with a rubber mallet gets a mite tedious. ;)

February 14, 2008, 10:42 PM
The bolt was never an issue, it would open with just a moderate amount of effort.

I actually have the gear I need to slug the barrel. I'll do that before I clean it tomorrow (since I'll just have to clean it again).

The silver bear is 0.308"? I would have thought that the Russian stuff was 0.311".

I will mic one right now and find out...

YUP! SURE ENOUGH! Measured out at 0.308".

I'll slug the bore tomorrow. I was under the impression that the commercial Russian ammo was going to be 0.311". That's what I get for making an assumption.

Looks like I will be handloading after all...because I have a serious feeling that after I drive that egg sinker down the barrel my bore is going to measure about 0.311".

Thanks guys. Now I feel pretty good about my 12" "grouping" :-)

February 15, 2008, 12:32 AM
It's about as much fun for the money as you can have. I've never found it to be particularly accurate using the standard cheap milsurp sitting around at the gun show, but the entertainment factor is way up there. Plus, how cool is that bayonet?:)

February 15, 2008, 01:48 AM
I use milsurp russian stuff, its heavy ball (copper and FMJ) and its .311, use that, the barrels never really were .308 unless you were alive and able to use these rifles before the 70's. ;)

If you wanted a better tack-ish pusher a 91/30 is a better choice. I needed to replace my barrel (it was nearly .315+) so a custom barrel later (floated with a bedded action and a few other things and now it shoots MOA @ 400 yards. I spent WAY more than $79 on that one.

My M44 is just like your's its ok, I added a custom flash supressor at the end of the bayonet (only useful when the bayonet is in place). I did float the barrel as well as fixing the trigger and then adding some shims to the action (cheapie bedding). This might help tighten up some of the groups. I'd also look into some chinese ammo (light ball), this seems to be the slowest stuff as well as some of the most accurate stuff. Anyways good luck

February 15, 2008, 07:52 AM
Concur with the comment about the 91/30, mine maintains a tighter group than the Model 7 Remington. Plus it loooks awsum with the pig sticker in place.

February 15, 2008, 10:35 AM
I'd bet money that it won't even be .311 when you slug it but .312-.314! :)

FWIW I'm getting good results with .312 slugs in a slightly bigger barrel (.313) (Gas Checked lead) I really need to order a .313 die from Magma.


PS - I've been tempted to see if a .308 slug would drop clean through my M44 but I suspect the lands would catch it. :)

February 15, 2008, 11:13 PM
dfmtoy1, you were exactly right. The slugged bore measured out to be 0.313" (groove diameter). in their bore slugging tutorial seemed to think that 0.311" bullets would work well in a 0.313" bore.

The .308 bullets in the Silver Bear didn't stand much of a chance.

I also really cleaned the bore today and I think that will help in the future. Too bad that Silver Bear stuff is steel cased :-/ At least it was relatively cheap...

February 16, 2008, 07:17 AM
If you reload and don't cast then I'd try the Hornady 150 gr. Spire Points (.312) as your first attempt. I suspect it'll get you close to what your sights are regulated for and I think you'll be posting some pictures of your targets. :)

February 16, 2008, 08:07 AM
makes me feel good about mine. paid 90 for it and none of the serial #s match i have no idea what the bore size is but shooting 50 yards from a sitting position i had 3 shot groups of around 2in
however i had to aim at the right edge of the target to hit center. since i dont see anyway to adjust for windage my m44 has been sitting in the closet for the past year waiting for me to get it drilled and tapped for a scope

Jeff Timm
February 16, 2008, 08:34 AM
You might want to try this improvement:
There are some other MN articles at the site.
Who does not own a Mosin-Nagant. One of those east european Mausers in .243 has caught my eye.

Old Time Hunter
February 16, 2008, 08:41 AM
Thought I would show what mine does at 200 yards. 'Course mine are not tweaked in anyway and I reload my own using the Hornady .312's and Speer .311's. Both at least stay on the paper, both are down loaded to 37 grains of H4895. The 150's still chrono at around 2500fps and the 180's at around 2300fps.

February 16, 2008, 08:49 AM
Jeff Timm, thanks for the link to that article. It is a good idea. No real way to "free float" a MN, so "cork bedding" might be the way to go. I like it...because it fits in with the "This is an $80 gun, let's make it shoot as inexpenively as possible".

I actually think that some of the surplus ammo would work better than the commercial Silver Bear stuff, but my range doesn't allow FMJ :-( So because of that I will probably be reloading for the caliber...I mean I'll probably at least be getting a 91/30 at some point too :-)

dfmtoy1, thanks for the tip. I will have to try out the Hornady 150gr. spire points when I start reloading for 7.62x54R.

February 16, 2008, 08:52 AM
Old Time Hunter, thanks for sharing. I would say that looks pretty good. Iron sights? That is what mine looked like at 50 yards.

February 16, 2008, 09:59 AM
Keep shooting your m44, I'm used to the recoil and it doesn't even phase me anymore.

I love the reactions people get when I pop off that first shot and the ground shakes.

February 16, 2008, 11:08 AM
I finally succumbed to peer pressure and picked up a 91/30 for $89.00, selected from stock. Good bore, unknown dia, assume .312.

Bad day at the indoor pistol range at 25 yards and no lights at the 25 yard targets, and no sling or bayonet, but five shots stayed within the appx 8" black of a (I think) 50yd slow-fire pistol target. Not a big deal, but looked like it would do LOTS better with decent lighting. Sights beat the pants off SKS sights. Trigger mushy but controllable --also beat the pants off SKS trigger.

Recoil was not bad, not as bad as a full-house .30-06 Springfield, but slightly stiffer than a .30-06 Garand. Set me back a step shooting offhand.

Shot W-W White Box Metric Caliber ammo with 180 gr bullets, $22.00 a box at Big5 Sporting Goods. Bullets measure .3113 at the case mouth (dial calipers) on this ammo.

Intend to reload with 150 grain bullets, about 30 gr 3031 (only rifle powder I happen to have on hand), in Starline cases... any suggestions?

Sure wish it were convenient to shoot at longer ranges for me. I have a feeling it would "wring out" nicely.

I'm told they were sighted in "at the factory" with the bayonet attached. If they're that sensitive, would they also be sensitive to sling forces? Seems like a pretty skinny piece of wood out there at the end, not much stiffness to oppose the forces of the sling on the barrel.

February 16, 2008, 11:12 AM
Recoil was not bad, not as bad as a full-house .30-06 Springfield, but slightly stiffer than a .30-06 Garand. Set me back a step shooting ogghand.

The m91/30 is MUCH more tame than the m44...those extra 6" make a BIG difference. I have several of each :)

February 16, 2008, 11:19 AM
Yeah, I understand that. I self-vetoed getting an M38 or M44 on that account. I'm not a fan of recoil. And I corrected the "ogghand" and added some more questions to the post above...

Y'know, that darned thing almost comes up to my nostrils with the pigsticker on it?

February 16, 2008, 02:55 PM
makes me feel good about mine. paid 90 for it and none of the serial #s match i have no idea what the bore size is but shooting 50 yards from a sitting position i had 3 shot groups of around 2in
however i had to aim at the right edge of the target to hit center. since i dont see anyway to adjust for windage my m44 has been sitting in the closet for the past year waiting for me to get it drilled and tapped for a scope

I believe the front sight is drift adjustable on these for windage aren't they?

Mine was shooting 1" - 1 1/2" to the left with the bayonet extended and removing the bayonet has it hitting dead center. I just need to shim the damn trigger! :)

February 17, 2008, 09:49 AM
DDuupplliiccaattee PPoosstt

February 17, 2008, 09:51 AM
TTTrrriiipppllliiicccaaattteee PPPooosssttt


February 17, 2008, 09:51 AM
Pardon my naivete:

I just need to shim the damn trigger! :)

I noticed the smiley, so I don't know if you're just making a joke that escapes me. I previously remarked about my 91/30 trigger being mushy.

Is this "shimming" something I should know about?

(I know it's an M44 thread, but you guys seem to be experts on M-Ns, and the trigger is common to all M-Ns, so forgive me.)

February 17, 2008, 11:36 AM
You can make your own adjustable mosin nagant trigger with a drill press, tap and small allen screw. Shimming may help a little I've done this but then went to making my own adjustable triggers. My Dad, Brothers and as well as my 5 Mosins all have them and they are a huge improvement.

February 17, 2008, 12:09 PM
How about some pictures and a "how to"?

Shimming is something I'm playing with off of the site. It does drop the pull weight a bit. In shooting off bags I've noticed that I'm having to work pretty hard to release the trigger while holding the sights on the target. It'll hit a 6 inch or 10 inch gong at 100 yards if I concentrate but I think I could hit a 4-5 inch gong if I had a better trigger.

February 17, 2008, 05:15 PM
i have a real nice M38 got it for 89 dollars. bought it when i turned 18 actually bought it on 9/11. the rifling is un damaged the stock is nice and it is accurate

February 19, 2008, 03:07 AM
If your trying to get a better trigger for your Mosin, why not try one of the Huber Ball Triggers? Jamie Mangrum from dropped one in and loves it, they are not all that expensive, and if you really want, you can always put the original stuff back in.

I honestly don't think I have seen a bad review on these things, and if they work as advertised, it seems like a perfectly good, easy way to drastically improve performance.

February 19, 2008, 10:30 AM
Huber triggers are great, though my own has gone into the parts box since I shifted to Finns with their custom milled triggers.

February 19, 2008, 10:35 AM
I might eventually try a Huber . ..but there's a part of me that is resisting spending $69 for a trigger for a $89 rifle! :) That'd be like buying a Model 700 trigger for $450 . . . .

February 19, 2008, 02:26 PM
well don't look at my little 91/30. With a trigger kit, upgraded bolt, smoothed everything, NEW custom barrel, bedding, floating and matching lots of things, its now a pretty nice little shooter. Will it go up against a Fully spec'ed Model 700? Probably not, but it will suprise alot of people. Anyways good luck

February 19, 2008, 03:53 PM
Okay here's the pictures of my custom adjustable trigger below. Not hard to do but you'll need a drill press and a drill vise, cutting oil, tap and allen screw (ace hardware):

Red Tornado
February 19, 2008, 04:18 PM
I did the shim off of the surplusrifle site, but I didn't have his tools so I improvised. I vastly improved my 91/30 and dropped my M38 trigger pull about in half, with no money invested.

Instead of trying to find some random .028 aluminum piece and shimming with .004 pieces of aluminum can, as Jamie did at surplus rifle; I just used multiple aluminum can shims. A standard paper hole puncher will go right through the aluminum. The resulting hole will be juuuuust a little bit to small. You can force it (and it will work) but if you have a dremel, just lightly hit it with one of the stones and it'll be perfect. Punch several holes and then cut the shims to size with any scissors.

I used 6 shims on my 91/30, which should be .024 according to Jamie's measurements. (I don't even have any digital calipers, :( so I can neither confirm or deny any reported measurements.) I used 7 shims on my M38 and it's like a completely different trigger.

Try it, it's the best thing you can do for free in 15 minutes. (Well, gun related anyway. :))

RT, who also refuses to buy a $70 trigger for a $90 rifle.

February 19, 2008, 05:52 PM
Thanks guys! Right now I've used a piece of old citi-bank credit card as a shim and it seems to have made a difference but it's been too damn cold to get out and try it!

JPWilly, so if I understand your modification correctly the "adjustment" you've made is at the point where the trigger is riding the sear spring? Does it adjust the force required or just remove all the the slop?


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