Is this Mosin/Nagant safe to shoot?


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civilian75
March 10, 2009, 04:43 PM
A good friend showed me his 1st deer hunting rifle his dad gave him back in the 60's. Said it shoots Russian ammo and could not hit an elephant at 10yrd :p (and that was with Norma 7.62x54R, not surplus) . To my surprise, it looked like a sporterized M/N 91, barrel cut to ~ 22", 2k yd long rear sight, bad paint job and with the ugliest sewer pipe of a bore I've ever seen! The factory markings have been sanded off and painted over. It is possibly one of the WWI rifles Westinghouse and Remington made for the Russians but never got shipped, and later got sporterized for the US market. I am not sure bores got chromed back then. This one does not seem it was ever chromed.

Out of curiosity I offered to re-condition the rifle (clean, inspect, oil and polish off rust everywhere, especially off the bore). Crown passed the quick bullet test. And I will soon do the headspace Go-No-Go test.

I first tried to "clean" the bore with Hoppes 9 and I almost could not pull the swipe thru the bore. I made the bore a bit smoother with rust remover and rubbing compound. Now you can see the light reflected off its walls, sorta. There is so much pitting! Nothing else looks off, except that he did not take care of it for years and quite a bit of rust on the bolt and bore. My eyesight is not that great anymore and I can't see the chamber condition but I assume it was as the bore was. I polished it only a bit but not too much (I know chambers should not be too smooth or bolt can get too much back pressure, and that is bad for the shooters health).

But, even if the headspace is ok, I hesitate at recommending my friend to shoot it again. Even with the mostly cosmetic reconditioning I think he'd still miss an elephant. :)

What do you think, should he ever fire this boyhood memento again?

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WardenWolf
March 10, 2009, 05:10 PM
Tell him to buy a new one. They're $75. Sounds like the one he has is shot, and was probably bad when he got it. The bore is clearly corroded beyond repair, and there's no sense trying to source a replacement part when new rifles are cheap.

TehK1w1
March 10, 2009, 06:12 PM
+1 for Mike's comment. He should hang that gun up on the wall as a keepsake-a man's first gun should be treasured, and it might not be safe to shoot if it's in that bad a condition. Then he could go out and get a "new" Mosin 91/30 for $100 or less, and it will almost certainly shoot better, and it will be safe to shoot.

civilian75
March 10, 2009, 07:43 PM
So, bottom line, what you are saying, setting aside accuracy, or lack of it thereof, a pitted barrel is too unsafe to fire? Could the bore pitting would so bad that barrel pressures will be such that it might suffer a catastrophic failure? He might want to fire a few shots before he hangs it on the wall for good.

WardenWolf
March 10, 2009, 08:14 PM
You could try a bore foam and see how that cleans it. While it's probably safe to shoot, you should have a gunsmith check it out first. Personally, I'd tell him to get a new one. A good-condition Mosin Nagant will color his memories a little bit nicer because it will shoot much better.

Chawbaccer
March 10, 2009, 10:03 PM
The pitting will not make the gun dangerous to shoot unless the pits compromise the integrity of the barrel. Mosins are one tough gun, it is common to use a 2x4 to open the bolt. You might not be able to hit an elephant at 10 yards, but the ball of flame out the muzzle makes up for it.

civilian75
March 13, 2009, 12:54 AM
Chawbaccer said:
You might not be able to hit an elephant at 10 yards, but the ball of flame out the muzzle makes up for it. That's the spirit :)

Mike the Wolf said:
You could try a bore foam and see how that cleans it. Good idea. I did not have bore foam but I made up for it with a few tricks. The bore is looking pretty good now compared to what it looked like when I started. At first, there was zero light reflection off the surface. Now I get a dull reflection. Now I can see the pitting. Before, it was a just black hole. Not too bad! As I said, I think this rifle is pre-choming.

Mike the Wolf said:
Personally, I'd tell him to get a new one. I do not think he is into Mosin/Nagants, though; just into this childhood treasure.

Mike the Wolf said:
A good-condition Mosin /Nagant will color his memories a little bit nicer because it will shoot much better. I will let him shoot mine. I have a 91/30, a M38 and a pretty fine looking and working Fin M39 I am sure he will enjoy shooting a lot more than his.

Mike the Wolf said:
you should have a gunsmith check it out first. Sage advice. But the rifle is not worth (to me at least) the money a certified gunsmith will charge me for the inspection, thus, the consultation with my peer gunsmiths wannabes (no offence) . If there is a real gunsmith checking this thread, willing to provide advice other than "have it checked by a gunsmith" or "toss it", it will be well taken.

I've always been curious. Besides inspecting for cracks, in the barrel, chamber, etc, checking the headspace, adjusting the firing pin, what else would a gunsmith do that I cannot do, or learn to do, w/o specialized tools? this is an honest question, not a smart alec one.

WardenWolf
March 13, 2009, 01:31 AM
Or you might ask a gunsmith if he could just eyeball it and tell you what he thinks. Some will do that without charging you.

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