Buy Which? Moisin/Nagant M38 or M44?


November 21, 2008, 09:22 PM
Here's a question for you collectors of Russian bolt guns: I was looking at
SOG's website and am tempted to buy either an M38 or M44, but the prices are pretty close, and I have no clue which one would be the better buy. I'm not really looking for something that has to be "military perfect," since I'd be halfway tempted one day to re-stock it and put a scope on it. Is one better than the other as a shooter? Or one easier than the other to mount a scope?

This is one of those rifles that will likely wind up in my truck, so a few dings here and there isn't a problem, and I know that Russian military gear tends to be rugged (if not ugly:scrutiny:). Which one would YOU put in your arsenal/truck, and why?

And, yes, I do reload, but I don't mind getting milsurp ammo and cleaning the bore - I know Soviet ammo tends to be both dirty burning AND corrosive primed:barf:.

Thanks for any info you can pass on!

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November 21, 2008, 09:52 PM
Get the one with the cleanest bore and sharpest rifling.

November 21, 2008, 09:52 PM
Well I love Moisin's,and I have lots of them.
I'd say if your after a truck gun,go M44,next step would
be a 91/30(very long for a truck gun),then would be an M38.
Now if your looking for a great shooter,get a Fin M39.

If you want some thing different,get a 91/59(cut down 91/30)
I'm sending out my FFL for a 91/59 Saturday

November 21, 2008, 09:52 PM
IF it were me...I'd get the M38. The m44 has the bayonet to worry about, more weight, not allowed at some ranges. Plus, some of the guns were sighted in with the bayo extended and they don't shoot right with it folded. Eliminate all the guess work, get the M38. Anyway, alot of the M38's are arsenal refinished and in generally decent shape.

November 21, 2008, 09:53 PM
Other than the bayonet, they are the same. If you plan on sporterizing it, get an M44 and DON'T cut the bayo lug off. It isn't that hard to remove the mounting screw, and someday you may want to return it to stock anyway. The ATI stocks are about the only ones available, and frankly they are junk. Just get a slip on recoil pad.
Get a Darrell Harrison mount, it replaces the leaf sight with a scope mount, and again you can return it to stock if you want. You have to use a pistol scope since the mount is pretty far forward (Scout Mount), but honestly the Mosin itself will be the weak link in the accuracy department. A 4x32 or 2-7x32 NCStar is just fine.
I've got both an M38 and a bunch of M44s, the M38 has slightly more perceived recoil than the M44, due to not having the mass of the bayo to absorb some of the shock. BUT, the M38 has a better balance when brought to the shoulder.

November 21, 2008, 09:58 PM
I understand the 38 is generally more rare and saw more action than the 44 and is therefore probably not in as good of shape. If you want history, get the 38, if you want better condition (odds) get the 44.

Heck, they're the cost of a nice meal. Get both and eat in a few nights.

November 21, 2008, 11:37 PM
Get both! My M38 with the counterbore doesn't shoot much different than my mint M44.

35 Whelen
November 22, 2008, 01:20 AM
I got an M44 and removed the damned bayonet. They're cheaper than the M38's.

November 22, 2008, 01:57 AM
When in doubt, always remember the "vs." rule... :scrutiny:

Get Both! :D

November 22, 2008, 02:39 AM
A buddy of mine just picked up the M44, its a great gun, although some contend the bayonet runs the risk of off-setting the weight distribution.

November 22, 2008, 03:10 AM
If you plan on scoping it, I suggest the M44; they're much more common that M38s.

Aside from that, all it boils down to is the bayonet.

November 22, 2008, 03:14 AM
91/59 gets my vote

January 3, 2009, 06:06 PM
if you can find an m38 with a 44 date as far as year, go for that one

that was the year most of this type of rifle was discontinued so all parts should match, and it is made to shoot without a bayonet

a m44 needs its bayonet out to shoot like it is suppose to

leapod i think has a drop on scope mount that goes on any nagant rear sight!!

January 3, 2009, 07:51 PM
I have a 91/59 so im voting 91/59

January 3, 2009, 08:12 PM
The M38 is generally a better gun than the M44. Don't have to deal with the integral bayonet throwing off accuracy. It's also lighter for the same reasons.

January 3, 2009, 08:51 PM
Between the two in the OP, I vote for the M38. I don't like the Mosin bayos much, and the M38 is just a cleaner-looking, handier rifle.

January 3, 2009, 09:36 PM
I've owned quite a few Mosins and my M38 shot every bit as well as all my M44's with the exception of the one Polish M44 I owned.
Of those two choices you mentioned, I'd go with the M38.
If I could add a third choice, a 91/59 would also be a really goods option.
Most of the M38's I've seen have been arsenal refinished. There isn't a whole lot of history to the average Mosin. Do some research on some of the Mosin sites to make sure you're not cutting up a rare version/varient but chances are it's an average gun. I like the M38's because they're lighter, no bayo or mount to deal with, same with the 91/59.

January 4, 2009, 12:42 PM
I've got both and the M38 is my favorite hands down. It's a pound and a half lighter, balances better, and I just don't care for that 18" piece of sharp metal on the end of the M44. But if recoil is an issue for you, you might want to go with the heavier M44 because the M38 does bump back a bit. Just my $.02 :)

January 4, 2009, 05:58 PM
I prefer the aesthetics of the M38 - the M44's bayonet and lug are somewhat ugly, especially when retracted. However, I haven't found much of a difference between the two in terms of balance and weight (it's measurable, to be sure, but not as perceivable as some would claim). You can always remove the bayonet from the M44 if you choose. Otherwise, they're more or less the same.

If the history is of any interest to you: the M38 is a rear-guard carbine designed for use by supply crews, artillery units and tankers and the like. It's essentially a carbine version of the 91/30. The M44 was intended from the start for use as a front line rifle (developed in response to experience gained in Stalingrad). It was intended to replace the 91/30 in that role. The M44 began production in 1943 and didn't reach the front lines en masse until the middle of 1944, but you can rest assured that they saw plenty of action on the German front (certainly in Berlin, for one). They were also used extensively in Korea. Note that there is no bayonet available for the M38, and that the bayonet lug/hinge on the M44 cannot easily be removed (though the blade itself can be).

Red Tornado
January 4, 2009, 06:39 PM
I'd also go with the M38 for bayonet related reasons listed above. However I don't have a 91/59, but have considered it. I don't know how accuracy compares, but it seems like the 91/59 would have to have a sharper crown since it's been cut down.

What says the crowd?

Which is "generally" more accurate, M38 or 91/59?

January 4, 2009, 09:48 PM
Not even close. On average, a M91/59 will be a 1-2 MOA rifle. The M38 and M44 on average is a 3-4 MOA rifle. I have multiples of all the above, and you can't beat an M91/59. I do have a Polish M44 though that approaches the M91/59 in accuracy.
However, the M91/59 is quite a bit harder to find since their numbers are considerably less.

Ignition Override
January 4, 2009, 10:18 PM
jjohnson: You might consider asking a question on the MNforum at "Gunandgame". Most of those guys have a serious disease known as 'Mosinitis'.
MRIman-along with the rest-brought out some good ideas.
I don't have a truck, but it might be a shame to obtain a more unique version (no matter how good the price), which could possibly suffer a long-term beating in a vehicle. I've seen some in two gunshows which are rough around all of the edges-an ironic fate for a fairly rare version. These attracted very limited attention.

As for recoil of the 44, I could be wrong, but it seems to be ok, no worse than that of the regular Lee-Enfield which my brother has.
I'm skinny and have not used a recoil pad in many months, numerous times shooting about 30-50 rounds in about 45 minutes-using it instead to slightly lengthen the cramped feel of the SKS.

In case a gun has very nice wood etc and were to be stored inside, this question only deals with a superficial feature.
Do any 38s or 91/59s have laminated wood?
Both of my MNs (44) have it.

January 6, 2009, 02:00 AM
Well, hard to say which one ... You must like the look, the criterium of "I like this gun" is IMHO underestimated. The younger the better chance of good condition - clean bore, crown ... .
So with M44 made after WWII you have a good chance for pick the good one. The older one could be in good condition too, but the probability is lower ... .

January 17, 2009, 10:12 AM
you can find post ww2 m44s, dont get them,they would have been use in nam and korea

the m38s where put in old bunker full of oil after ww2 ended

January 17, 2009, 06:20 PM
Get the Model 38.
M44 carbines shoot best with the bayonet removed and even then the lug gets in the way.

Unless you plan on using the rifle as an emergency tent stake at times, get the Model 38.
Both rifles recoil like mules in full kick and both sound like a stick of exploding dynamite when they are fired, pure fun!

Ohio Gun Guy
January 17, 2009, 06:44 PM
I would buy on condition. Get the nicest one. If thats I tie, I personally would get the longer barrel (M38). In my experience they kick a little less, plus I like the historical aspect. I have a 1942 Izzy. The absolute most common Mosin Nagant made! But I love it!

January 18, 2009, 09:23 AM
I have the 91/30 and the M44. The 91/30 is just too long and unwieldy for a truck gun. The M44s regularly have pretty decent bores but the bayonet does throw off the POI a bit. Mine shoots about 8 inches right at 50 yards with the bayonet folded and is dead on with it out. For an $80 rifle I think its a great shooter though. I would get the m44 and either remove the bayonet or just make sure you change your POA when its folded up.

January 30, 2009, 07:59 PM
an m38 is the same as an m44 but it has no bayonet and a better stock for feel in my opinion

January 31, 2009, 02:07 AM
If you're ordering online and you want the best odds of getting a rifle with a good bore, get the M44. Many of the ones flooding the market recently were either unissued, or saw little use and were arsenal reworked, slathered in cosmoline and put into huge crates and stored in a massive warehouse along with the Ark of the Covenant.

The M38s were put in the same warehouse, but they saw a LOT more use before they got there. Think "Stalingrad". Some of them are good. Some of them are beat straight to heck. If you're ordeirng online, you're never really sure which you're gonna get.

That said, the M38 is a better handling gun. It also recoils worse than the M44. No free lunch.


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