Advice on Mosin-Nagant Purchase?


February 15, 2012, 04:40 PM
Hi all-

At some point or another I'd like to get a Mosin-Nagant, probably a 91-30. I'm not particularly concerned about history as much it its low cost and fun quotient.

I'm within an easy drive of AIM Surplus, so I could get one for about $80 plus tax there, which would include a tool kit, accessories and a bayonet. I'm guessing it'd also be coated heavily in cosmoline.

On the other hand, a fellow fairly close by (not quite as close, but he's willing to meet me 1/2 way which does make the difference a lot lower). His bottom line is $110, with the bayonet and without the accessories/tool kit, but with 60 rounds of ammunition (last I saw this was about $10 for 20 rounds). His has also been shot, which likely seems to mean that the vast majority of the cosmoline has been cleaned out - from what I'm reading that's not a minor consideration.

Which way would you go? "Store" bought with accessories for roughly 90 out the door or $110 without the accessories but with 60 rounds of ammo? Are the accessories worth that much for those who just want to shoot it?

Advice and opinions appreciated. Thanks.


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February 15, 2012, 04:46 PM
The tool is nice to have, the ammo pouch and oil can aren't really needed but are neat.

The sling and bayonet are pretty sweet.

If it was me, I'd get the $80 one, because you can look at a bunch and pick which one you like best. Take it home, take it apart and clean it yourself. You will have fun and learn how easy they are to break down and put back together.

Ammo is cheap in bulk.. 440 rounds for $80 or so.

February 15, 2012, 04:49 PM
When it comes to cosmoline on metal...I don't mind it at all. I don't care if the bore is plugged with it. I've learned how to to get rid of it I don't mind it at all. In fact I like knowing no one has messed with it since it got off the boat.

Cosmoline in a wood stock I can do without.

So I wouldn't let the amount of cosmoline in the rifle be a deciding factor.

Whether you clean out a ton of it, or you clean out the last of what the last guy didn't get, it's basically the same amount of work.

Accessories are cool but easily obtained for 91-30s if you decide you want them down the road. The tool to measure firing pin protrusion is one thing I do use from the tool kit.

Hope that helps.

February 15, 2012, 04:52 PM
I get one from the store.
As said already ammo is pretty cheap in bulk.

T Bran
February 15, 2012, 04:52 PM
I also have been considering a 91/30 as a plinler knockabout rifle. Lately I've seen some really nice looking ones folks bought pop up on this board. That is the reason I'd go look at a bunch as opposed to just buying or ordering one on line. You may find a really nice example if you dig around on your own. I am a bit of a treasure hunter/scrounger at heart. You may have a different outlook on things or may not have the time to invest so to each his own. Hope you wind up with a good shooter.

February 15, 2012, 05:25 PM
For the price they are a steal .

chris in va
February 15, 2012, 05:35 PM
I had the shorter M38. Put about 200 rounds through it and let it sit for a few years. I just couldn't find a purpose for it. Horrible action, hefty recoil, no way to even mount a scope and the iron sights are abysmal.

IMHO, save the money for a CMP Garand.

February 15, 2012, 05:51 PM
I'm planning to finally pick one up at the next gun show, first weekend in March. They go for 109, with tool kit, sling, bayonet and accessories.

I don't really know why, other than they are starting to become appealing to me all of the sudden.

February 15, 2012, 06:01 PM
Thanks all for the great (and rapid) advice. Given what I've heard here, I'll probably brave the cosmoline by getting the cheaper one at AIM, get the bits and pieces that come with it, and buy the ammo myself ($14 per 20 rounds at AIM, or if one wants to buy in bulk - although I've no idea when I'd shoot that much - $73 plus tax for 440 rounds at AIM).

February 15, 2012, 06:07 PM
The tool kit is very handy. You're doing the right thing getting the store one. The combo tool is handy since the oddball big opening is what you use for removing the bayonet when it gets stuck on the barrel... :D

You may as well pick up a SPAM can of ammo as well. Consider it a 5 year supply for cheap.

February 15, 2012, 06:40 PM
IMHO, save the money for a CMP Garand.

Thats kinda like saying "Dont buy that Nikon, buy a Nightforce". I think a suggestion that isnt seven times his rifles cost would be more useful. That said, I would check at gun shows. They show up all the time already cleaned. If you want the easy way of cleaning it, just dump all the metal parts in a container of Kerosene for a couple days. Cosmo just melts in the stuff.

February 15, 2012, 07:45 PM
As much as I love Mosins I generally avoid the 91/30's from wartime due to horrible metal finish on the reciever. Ive already got a couple war time but after aquiring those I prefer pre and post WWII. Just my 2c. Worth looking at.

February 15, 2012, 07:59 PM
I had a near mint 91/30 hand picked, Izzy arsenal, 1925 dated, all matching numbers. I also have a '53 Hungarian M44. I sold the 91/30 and stuck with my M44. I didn't enjoy the mile long barrel. It was awkward to shoot, considering the short LOP. I prefer my M44, it seems to be better balanced. Plus, bigger fireball. Recoil doesn't bother me too much. I replaced the metal butt plate with a rubber pad, and I can shoot it all day long.

Also, $14 for a pack of 20 rounds from AIM? I hope that isn't milsurp. I saw some 54r made by Winchester the other day picking out my CCW holster. I passed on it though, I get 54r milsurp for about $6 a pack of 20. Corrosive, but I clean my guns after shooting them anyway.

While I prefer to handle guns before purchasing them, I bought my M44 from a C&R collector after only seeing a few pics online. can't say I got a raw deal, since I got a nice shooting M44 for $150 + shipping and transfer. All told, it came out to less than $200 invested.

February 15, 2012, 08:02 PM
You have to be a C&R junkie with the appreciation of historic military firearms to appreciate what the Russians went through to make these rifles during their dark times during WW2. Otherwise go buy a Remchester.....chris3

February 15, 2012, 08:11 PM
Also, $14 for a pack of 20 rounds from AIM? I hope that isn't milsurp. I saw some 54r made by Winchester the other day picking out my CCW holster. I passed on it though, I get 54r milsurp for about $6 a pack of 20. Corrosive, but I clean my guns after shooting them anyway.

I've seen rubber stock ends on Amazon. Might make the investment once I've shot the thing a time or two.

As to the ammo, the more expensive stuff wasn't milsurp; it's non-corrosive Privi Partisan; the are currently out of the Brown Bear for $10/20 rounds. They've got the Russian milsurp for $73/440 rounds.

February 15, 2012, 08:17 PM
The rubber butt pad is a must if you're going to do any serious shooting of a M-N. For me anyway, it was more to increase LOP than reduce recoil.

Yeah, i assumed it wasn't milsurp ammo. PRVI is good stuff, but I wouldn't spend that kind of money for casual plinking, which is all my M44 really does.

February 15, 2012, 08:53 PM
My last Mosin from Aim was actually not to bad in the cosmoline department. I got it last year on sale for $69. A #s matching 41 Tula.

February 16, 2012, 12:58 PM
Chris in va "theres no way to mount a scope"?????

Actually mounting a scope is fairly simple. I have a m44 with a mounted scope in place where the rear sight used to be. Simply punch out the pin holding the rear sight in place then get a small rail with a balancing screw on one end and a pin hole in the other. Attach pin hole side into bracket where the site once attached and insert pin to keep it in. The screw on the other end adjusts to keep it level. Very simple, cheap, and effective way to mount a scope. Mine is very accurate.

chris in va
February 16, 2012, 01:11 PM
A Garand doesn't cost seven times a Mosin.

February 16, 2012, 02:38 PM
A Garand doesn't cost seven times a Mosin.

$80 + 7% tax = $85.60 out the door for a Mosin.

$525 + $25 shipping + $25 transfer = $575 out the door for a Garand

$575/$85.60 = 6.72 times the cost

You're right, total cost of a CMP Garand is slightly less than seven times a Mosin for the OP, but it easily rounds to seven.

February 16, 2012, 03:03 PM
Dave, if you get to handle and look try to get one made before lets say 1939, prewar time. Also look to see if the 91/30 is counter bored 1/2 inch or so into the crown area. Counter bore is not for me.

Best of luck cause they are fun to shoot. Not going to take you long to get the rubber butt pad. Kicks like a mule on the 100 round target days.

Not going to take you long to buy that 440 green pack of ammo either.
Just pull bolt and dump some boiling water down that old barrel to clean it up or I use car window cleaner "with ammonia" on a patch at the range after shooting to clean out any salt left in said rifle. :what:

February 16, 2012, 05:04 PM
$80 + 7% tax = $85.60 out the door for a Mosin.

$525 + $25 shipping + $25 transfer = $575 out the door for a Garand

$575/$85.60 = 6.72 times the cost

You're right, total cost of a CMP Garand is slightly less than seven times a Mosin for the OP, but it easily rounds to seven.
Where are you seeing one for $525 and what condition is it in? I'd say it's quite a bit higher than 7 times the cost, at least for the ones at CMP I've been looking. These are priced much closer to $1000. I do agree though that these aren't even in the same ballpark as the Mosin. It would be like someone asking "What AR-15 should I buy" and someone responding that you should get a class 3 M16 instead.

February 16, 2012, 05:54 PM
Where are you seeing one for $525 and what condition is it in? I'd say it's quite a bit higher than 7 times the cost, at least for the ones at CMP I've been looking.

The CMP has $525 Field Grade right now. I was just taking the cheapest I could find.

February 16, 2012, 05:59 PM
I think it's a great idea Dave to just drive down there and pick one up, plus you're not really a Mosin owner if you don't have to clean out some Cosmoline! Plus if you go to AIM you will get all your neighbory person has plus more, and the ammo is relatively cheap anyways.

I have two now (both my only ever center fire rifles) and I love them to death! You can't go wrong with picking one up IMHO!

February 16, 2012, 10:08 PM
+1 buy from store or wait till next big gunshow.
Either way bring a rag to wipe your hands.
7.62x52Rnet is a must visit, to learn.
Crown and bore inspection are very important for better accuracy.
Handle enough of them and one will grab you...maybe a date, or serial number, or a cool looking stock, with trench art.
I like the M91s. Some say the Finnish rifles are more accurate.

February 18, 2012, 11:03 PM
Hi all-

Thanks for the advice and commentary I've seen so far. First, I've got to tell a story about my wife (again). I mentioned that I'm thinking seriously about getting a Mosin, at first she was curious (oh, no, another firearm), then when I told her the price ($80 at AIM and other places) and what one can get ammo for ($73 for 440 rounds at AIM), she responded - "...and you don't have one because...?" Gee I'm lucky.

To point. Dunham's has a sale on M-N's for $79.99 (tomorrow and Monday). Anybody have experience with one from there? I've heard that they will let you pick from what they have, which is a $10 save over even AIM's great prices.

To picking, here's what I think I should look for (from what I've read)...

Good Rifling (hopefully not so much cosmoline that one can't tell much). Lands should be pretty clean, some minor pitting in the grooves is acceptable.
No counterboring.
Limited rusting and pitting on barrel, limited if any rust in the mag and spring, limited if any rust in the bolt.
No cracks in the wood.
Sights in decent shape.
Numbers that match (hopefully).

Two questions. 1-Am I missing anything? 2-Assuming I find one that follows me home, how critical is headspacing?

Thanks as always for your time and attention.

Dr. Sandman
February 18, 2012, 11:22 PM
Buy one immediately! Also, buy the wooden crate of ammo. It's corrosive and will last or years and years. I' love to be able to drive down to Aim and load up truck... maybe someday

February 20, 2012, 10:16 AM
Yet another of my unending questions. I thank all the patient souls on the forum.

I went to Dunham's today to look at Mosin-Nagants. There were four in the cabinet that looked curiously good to me so I was happy at that. There was some cosmoline on them but not bad. After looking down the barrel and seeing good rifling (even through the gunk) I cycled the bolt and it was in good shape.

I was ready to make the buy then noticed that the wood along the bolt looked laminated. I asked, then found that sadly these weren't the $79.99 on sale models but the $159.99 on sale laminated models - they were out of stock on the cheaper ones (but did issue a raincheck wherein I can get the lower priced one for $79.99 when they get one in).

Here's the question. Is a laminated 91/30 stock model worth nearly double a regular wood stock? I'm thinking no (especially since I'm just wanting a good shooter) but somebody else might have a different opinion.

Thanks much in advance.

February 20, 2012, 10:23 AM
Not a spectacular deal, IIRC they have sales on those for $99.99 from time to time.

If you saw one that looked especially nice, and maybe had some interesting marks on the receiver, then might be worth it.

February 20, 2012, 10:26 AM
Go with the new one, cosmoline isn't bad to clean up most of the time, they usually get a lot of it at the store before they sell it and there's just a moderate amount to clean off.
Like said above, corrosive ammo is 440rnds for $80-$110, just remember to clean your gun thoroughly with solvent after shooting the corrosive stuff.

February 20, 2012, 08:22 PM
Hunting for just a shooter; I wouldn't pay that much more for a laminated stock...unless I was all papered up; which I never am.

February 21, 2012, 07:29 PM
Hi all-

Never short of questions here. It seems that things may be changing in ye olde Mosin market. I got a raincheck yesterday on the $80 (solid stock) Mosin 91/30, and was informed that I was by no means the first; they indicated that they'd hopefully have a shipment on Thursday, but that there were a lot of rainchecks issued. They did have laminated ones for $159, but I wasn't that thrilled with them at double the price of the solid one.

What's got me curious is that I was just at the AIM Surplus website and they are currently OUT of the $79 dollar (solid) $89 (laminated) and $140 (Chinese) MN's. Now I'm starting to wonder what's going on.

I know that supply was always finite, but it seems to have become more so. Does anybody have a handle on the continuing availability of these? If they're starting to get scarce, maybe that guy with the $140 laminated one locally might be worth a contact.

Thanks for any and all advice.

February 21, 2012, 10:51 PM
At the last weekends Oaks, PA gunshow there were a couple venders with cases of M91/30s. And, plenty laying on other venders tables too. I wasn't looking for one but I think the prices ranged from $90 to $125 out the door.

March 1, 2012, 01:18 AM
OK. Dunham's had Mosins on sale at $80. Because they were on raincheck my options were to take the one put on my raincheck or leave it. I was looking more for a shooter than a collector, so I looked it over and the barrel, bolt and stock seemed in good shape. Numbers were etched out and some pretty sloppy engraving was done using an electric stencil pen on the various parts. One set of nicer-looking engraving created a new S/N for Centry Arms. It's a 1943 Izhevsk. Given all of the above, it's safe to say that any value this one has will be if it shoots OK. Oh, it also had lots of cosmoline.

Tonight I cleaned it up by separating the metal and wood and undoing the obvious (and easy to get out) parts. The barrel and bolt cleaned up really nicely with Hoppes (after getting the globs of cosmoline off with rags), and the slimy stuff came off the stock with a light degreaser, again after getting the globs off with rags.

I cycled the bolt and dry fired it a couple of times. It feels easy to cycle but not overly loose. When the bolt is open you can turn the muzzle to the ceiling and the bolt will slide back. It does seem to lock securely. The safety is indeed a challenge, but I did get it set (just to see if it could be). One thing I noticed when I dry-fired it is that the bolt moved a little bit forward (maybe 1/16 to 1/8 inch). I did notice a very light bit of rust & pitting inside the receiver, but the rust cleaned up with steel wool and the residual pitting doesn't look any deeper than the machining marks (1943 - wartime production, remember).

Hopefully I'll have time to shoot it tomorrow or Friday. I bought just a little ammo for the initial shooting; if it shoots well and I like it I'll buy a couple of spam cans from AIM.

Thanks everybody for all the insights.

March 1, 2012, 09:42 AM
Did it come with the little tool, and have you measured the firing pin protrusion to make sure it's within spec?

Also, watch this vid on how to decock it.

That can come in very handy.

March 1, 2012, 11:00 AM
Congrats on your purchase. I know this is a little late, but if you're tired of cleaning the cosmoline off the stock, you could always pick up an aftermarket stock and just replace it. Here's the catch though - most of the replacements only work for the round receiver, not the hex receiver. I'm not sure which one you bought, but that could be an option.

From a collectors POV, the hex receiver has more value (albeit slightly). From a shooters perspective, it makes no difference.

I bought two Mosins, one of each, for that option down the road.

March 1, 2012, 12:02 PM
Thanks for the advice and link, Lefty. I'll check that out. It did come with the tool kit (and a couple of ammo packs, oil bottle and pig-sticker-type bayonet). I'll check the protrusion prior to firing it. I've got an email in to a neighbor who has a Mosin or two to see if he's got a headspace gauge so I can check that too.

Valnar, it's a round receiver. I've actually looked at a $50 composite stock as a possibility. The one thing I've noticed is that I wipe the stock and it seems a bit slick later (apparently this tends to happen with those dipped in cosmoline and stored that way). I didn't mention earlier but the barrel really seems to be pretty clean and actually a bit shiny. If it turns out to be a good shooter at 100 yards it might be worth scoping too. Where in Ohio by the way?

March 1, 2012, 01:46 PM
The stock actually absorbs cosmoline, there is more to drying out the stock than just wiping it down.

Many people suggest putting the stock in the oven on low heat but I didn't do all that, since I live in FL, I just sat the stock out on the driveway in the hot sun for a couple hours and it took care of it.

March 1, 2012, 02:07 PM
Thanks for the input. I'd heard that too. I used a mild degreaser on the first wipe down pass and will likely do that once a week or so until the remainder of the absorbed cosmoline supply leeches out. Curious, though - I'm getting this stuff out of the stock despite what looks like some sort of slick shellac or varnish job on the stock - it's slick and shiny and even has a few runs.

March 1, 2012, 02:21 PM
I didn't even bother trying to leach to cosmo out of the stock. The two I bought were to be shooters. They were in near perfect condition, so there wasn't much character to ruin. I have both of them completely stripped as of right now. I will go back and sand them a little, and then add a stain and finish it with clear shellac. One will be absolutely gorgeous.

murdoc rose
March 1, 2012, 03:56 PM
why not get both?

March 1, 2012, 04:07 PM
Do NOT buy one. Get TWO.

March 1, 2012, 04:37 PM
One for me thanks. I appreciate greatly those who want collections and also want unique things in said collections. Hence, one could get a 91/30 Izhevsk, a 91/30 Tula, a Hex, a Round, a M44, something with a laminate stock, etc. A perfectly worthy pursuit.

For me, however, the "collecting" is more collecting shooting experiences by owning/shooting firearms with different characteristics along with getting better at hitting the target. For example, my Beretta Neos, Marlin 60, 870 12-gauge, XD 45 Tactical, Security Six .357 and LC9 are all different experiences. The Mosin will definitely be a new and different experience for me.

As an aside, I don't say this enough (probably can't). I appreciate the members of this forum, their willingness to engage and their willingness to share their experience and knowledge.

Have a great day all.

March 1, 2012, 09:09 PM
When you go to the range, take a couple rags. No matter how much cosmo you cleaned off/out the rifle; when you start shooting it and it heats up alittle, you will have cosmo running! Keep it tucked in tight and you won't get any bruises:).:)

Old Time Hunter
March 1, 2012, 10:58 PM
Easy off oven cleaner on all the wood(should bubble up all the cosmo after about 1/2hr)...seperate all the iron first, the iron gets a good dousing of brake cleaner. Barrel, inside and out, receiver, bolt (I dismantle it first as it is pretty easy). Use Sweet's to clean the bore, then Hoppe's, then J&B's bore polish...within an hour of hard scrubbing the bore should be cleaner than it was when it left the factory new in 1943. Oil all the metal with a clean, light oil,,,,like RemOil, or equivalent.

Wash off all the oven cleaner with soap and water from the bare stock and let it thoroughly dry, at least overnight. Rub about three coats of BLO into the nice dry wood (letting the stuff dry between coats and I rub the stock with a scotch pad between and after) and put a final coat of Casey's wood finish(believe it is the stock finish w/oil?) on it, when dry one coat of beeswax and put 'er back together.

Stand back and enjoy that fine Soviet era machined product and hope that you can hit the inside of that barn you are standing in.

March 25, 2012, 09:35 PM
Hi all-

First, thanks everybody for all of the advice and information. A few weeks ago I finally did get a Mosin ($80 at Dunham's). It's not particularly collectible (none of the original numbers match and there's a lot of electric engraving on various pieces. It had a clean barrel, though, and it cleaned up fairly well (still gets a little slimy when it's warm from more cosmoline leeching out so I'll just keep wiping it off). I was told by a neighbor that a 2X4 would be handy to cycle the bolt; I think he was being a bit dramatic; it could easily be done using a rubber mallet :-).

After cleaning it up and checking the firing pin protrusion (using the tool that came with it) I took it to the range a couple of weeks back. It shoots fairly well at 50 yards - one group of three shots was within 1.5", and I figure it'll get better when I get used to it and quit flinching from A) assuming that the bolt will smack me when I when I fire it and B) from recoil - OW!! (I got a slip on pad for the second trip that helped a lot).

For cleaning I took a bottle of Windex and shot a bunch down the barrel at the range, then came home and did a proper cleaning with Hoppes and then light oiled everything. Barrel still looks shiny...

Thanks again all for the advice and information.

March 26, 2012, 04:43 AM
I bought one at Bud's for $109, just for grins, and it's in amazing shape. Made in 1937, it's much nicer than a friend's wartime one was. Nice and tight everywhere, almost no marks on it. I have no plans to shoot it as my bad shoulder wouldn't like it much, but I will have a friend shoot a couple dozen rounds through it to make sure it functions as good as it looks.

March 26, 2012, 01:45 PM
I picked up a 91/30 awhile back, an all matching 1940 Izhevsk with the proper prewar stock. The slip on pad is nice because you make no permanent change to the weapon and it adds some needed length. The machining on the high wall/prewar is much higher quality. If the bolt is sticking try cleaning the locking lugs on the receiver with a small pick, sometimes a little missed cosmoline will get baked into the recesses causing it to bind up. I think that a good grease (I use Lubriplate 930) is better to use on the bolt than oil. Hope you enjoy yours as much as I do mine.

March 26, 2012, 05:07 PM
I have two. One in as purchased condition, matching numbers and so forth. One i worked on. 5" off the barrel, muzzle brake, reworked the bolt,, added a scope and new stock.

March 26, 2012, 08:22 PM
I bought a Mosin via FFL Transfer from Classic Arms. Went for a hand select for the best barrel. Its a 1943 91/30 with a very nice barrel. Cleaned up with Mineral Spirits and have taken it shooting a few times. Learned that even with a decent butt pad, it kicks way to hard for me unless I am wearing a winter coat. Thinking about getting a brake installed. Fired ~25 rounds yesterday and my shoulder is still slightly sore. I did hold it tight but it didn't seem to make a difference.

New Tula Ammo runs ~9.00/20 for new production non corrosive.

Owning one is an adventure.

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