Mosin Surprise Chapter 2, M39


May 23, 2010, 09:03 PM
The last Mosin I did some thorough field testing on was a 1928 Izhevsk 91/30. As I posted here:

the results were a good case in point of why you should always try an array of ammo choices in any new Mosin. You never can tell. In that case, Wolf Light Ball was the standout.

I just got back from testing a different Mosin, this time a 1970 M39. Initial tests had been inconclusive, with no real standouts. I was getting between 3" and 4" at fifty yards, which is not really acceptable for a Finn. The sweet spot load was still eluding me. Even the D166 loads using actual Lapua match bullets were not doing all that great. This was a surprise, since most M39's love them.

So I worked up a batch of handloads and tested the rifle a second time. One thing I love about Mosins is no matter how many hundreds you've shot and how many years you've messed around with them, they will always surprise you. This is another case in point. The rifle likes, strangely enough, Barnes TSX .308's and Woodleigh 215 grain 312's for the .303 British! The .308" doesn't totally surprise me, as I was beginning to think this rifle was just tuned to the narrower bullets. But I'm glad I tried the big Woodleigh crossbow bolts, because this is how they did at fifty:

Keep in mind, this load of Woodleighs, one I've been working up for years and years, is not an easy load for most Mosins. It's not even a bullet for Mosins, but for the .303. Yet here's a batch nearly touching out of a barrel that is quite tight. With some additional tweaking this can be a truly devastating bear load out to 150 yards. You just never know with these old rifles! So if you have one you've tossed aside as hopelessly inaccurate, tighten the receiver screws up and give it another whirl.

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the rifleer
May 24, 2010, 01:12 AM
Thats some outstanding shooting. Better than my m44 with Bulgarian surplus anyhow :)

May 24, 2010, 02:50 PM
How many rounds of Woodleighs will exceed the cost of the rifle:p. That's good shooting and you've got a good hunting rifle shooting a helluva bullet now. Wish I could find a round that shoots out of mine.

May 24, 2010, 03:13 PM
Well this one was $300, so at least three boxes ;-)

Seriously, they're not quite that expensive. And I don't mind supporting one of the last remaining firearm related businesses in Australia.

Now I just have to figure out where I'm going to get the time off to go for a bear hunt with these between now and 2013.

May 25, 2010, 06:13 AM
Make mine an M-39:D

If only accurate rifles are interesting, this is it.:)

May 25, 2010, 12:55 PM
Caribou--you should try out some of these Woodleighs!

May 26, 2010, 08:32 AM
Cheers on your success!, that's good shooting, and you have a real smasher in those 215 grain woodleighs. I was just reading some old gun notes from Elmer Keith, and he mentioned the 215 grain .303 bullet, said it always worked well on large game in the North West when kept to reasonable ranges, which I assume would be 200 yards and under. It can take a long time for the owner of a surplus rifle to find his load, and you have found yours. Good job.

May 26, 2010, 12:22 PM
I did some measuring last night, and the big Woodleighs are actually under .308" for most of the shank's length. They only reach .312" at the base, which may explain why they're not getting too messed up in the M39's .310" bore. I'm also keeping overall length back to 2.8", which keeps the high ogive from jamming into the bore.

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