Mosin-Nagant refinishing project


August 2, 2004, 10:18 PM
So I have this old Mosin-Nagant 91/30, it's a blast to shoot, yadda, yadda, yadda. However, the stock is pretty beat up, and the finish on the metal is all mottly.

So what I want to do is refinish it. I have a couple questions, though.

1. Does the 91/30 have bluing or parkerizing? If it's parkerizing, how do you remove it? I want to have a deep blue finish on most parts.

2. How can you tell if the stock is laminated or not?

3. What is a good steel-polishing compound (for the bolt and firing group)?

4. Will B-C Super Blue give a really dark, deep blue (with several applications), or will it end up being "toilet water blue?" If it is toilet-water blue, what is a good bluing compound that will give the desired bluing?

5. For a really nice finish on the stock, would I be looking more for a hand-rubbed oil finish, or a varnish? I know it's usually oil.

6. As it's a russian rifle, would a reddish stain look inauthentic?

Thanks in advance for the help. I'll be posting pics of this project if I can get 'em.

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August 3, 2004, 02:29 AM

Read the FAQ. Answers a few of your questions.

August 3, 2004, 11:10 AM

Is it a good idea to have the barrel crowned, or would this be a waste of time and money?

August 3, 2004, 11:44 AM
I'd shoot it first before I'd do any work on the barrel.

If I had to recrown, counterbore, etc the barrel myself to get a Mosin to shoot decently, I'd probably just buy another Mosin.

August 3, 2004, 11:51 AM
MagKnight, let me answer a few of your questions, if I may.

From all I've ever researched the Mosins were blued and not parkerized although many of the Mosins, particularly the M44, had the bluing worn to the point the metal resembled a gray parkerized finish.

But there is truly a difference in finsh types and methods to obtain them.

The original bluing used was obtained by the 'hot blue' method.

I don't know of any cold blue (bluing used by most home gunsmiths) made that gives the same durability and looks of a true gunsmithing hot blue system However, if you do choose to go with a 'do-it-yerself' home cold blue I would recommend Brownell's Oxpho Blue creme. It can be orderd from

Also, Brownell's sells a rust remover which is also a bluing remover to remove any existing blue and to get down to bare metal.

Of course, you will want to remove all of the wood before you do anything.

Once you get down to bare metal do not touch the gun metal with bare hands (wear rubber gloves.....I like the latex examination avoid putting body oils from you hands back on to the metal)....until the process is complete in it's entirety.

Once down to bare metal you need to get every bit of oil out of the metal....use mineral spirits liberally followed but rinsing with clear water.

Repeat this process until you are positive all the metal oils are gone.

Next, take 00 or 000 steel wool and polish the metal. Don't use any polishing compounds since they will, most likely, put chemicals back into the metal you don't want there.

But an important key to a successful blued finish is a thorough polishing of the gun metal.

The next process is the use of the cold bluing.

I always heat the metal up (quite warm-to-hot to the touch) with either a hair dryer, heat gun or placing the parts in an oven at about 200 degrees.

I don't recommend the use of a torch like some do. But if you feel it's not too dangerous be careful not to apply too much heat to an area of the metal.

While still quite warm I apply the bluing creme or paste with cotton cleaning patches and in a circular motion making sure to get as near overall uniform coverage as possible.

I allow the creme to dry and then buff it off with a clean cloth (one that has NOT been touched by fabric softener). Take the steel wool and lightly buff it more.

Repeat the application of blue and buffing until you get the darkness you are looking for.

Be informed.....different qualities of steel take cold bluing better/differently than others and stainless steel won't take it at all.

Only use of the gun will let you know the durabilty but, as a general rule, cold blue never has the same durability as a profession hot blue job does.

As far as crowning the muzzle goes it depends on how much were there is a the muzzle. But a worn muzzle will effect the accuracy of the gun. Generally speaking if the gun is accurate as it shoots now re-crowning might not be called for.

Take a 7.62 X54R cartridge and insert the bullet in the muzzle. If the bullet
disappears all the way into the muzzle the muzzle may be worn to the point crowning is needed (but, on the other hand it could also mean the entire bore, itself, is worn out so you might want to check that possibility).

At any rate I would do all of this before doing a refurb job since if the barrel is worn out why bother? But, from what you've written it sure doesn't sound like the barrel is worn. LOL

Considering yours is a 91-30 I doubt very much if it's laminated stock unless it was one put on by another owner.

You can tell a laminated stock since the joints where the layers of wood have been glued show up very prominently when the stock is shaped whereas, although a solid wood stock will show some grain, solid wood tree growth rings will not show us as clearly as the joints in laminated stocks.

Once you get your stock down to where you are ready to refinish that I suggest a 50-50 mix of boiled linseed oil and Tung oil for a durable finish.

It will put needed oils back into the wood while it will dry to a tough finish and when applied correctly, and enough coats, it will resemble, somewhat, a varnish finish.

Hand rub the finish and give each coat 24 hours to dry. Repeat the coats until you get the desired finish.

But, the entire process of stock preparation is another chapter altogether.

It's too lengthy to repeat here but if you're interested in my techniques give me a PM or e-mail and I'll do my best to fill you in.

Sorry this reply is so long but I wanted to mention many things to help you out.

Good luck.

August 3, 2004, 01:51 PM
You can save yourself a great deal of time and money by simply buying a Finnish Mosin, even a reconditioned Finnish 91/30 captured from the Russians. The Finns were experts at getting maximum possible accuracy out of the archaic Mosin-Nagant design. So for about $100 more than a Russian Mosin you can get one with a hand-crafted stock, free floating barrel, fresh crown, brass spacers used to minimize receiver/wood contact, and even minute slips of birchwood placed in strategic areas near the end of the fore-arm. Simply amazing work they did, and it pays off. Your average Finn Mosin will almost always outshoot your average Russian Mosin. Think of the SA (Finnish Army) as the history's largest custom shop :D

August 3, 2004, 07:31 PM
That's what I have, a 1938 vintage 91/30, captured by the Finns, all serial numbers matching, last I checked, but no accessories.

August 3, 2004, 07:36 PM
Some of the SA stamped 91/30's just got the stamp. Others got new stocks (check to see a joint at the beginning of the fore-arm), and others got more treatment. If your 91/30 has spacers between the stock and the receiver and has a two-piece stock of birch, then it's been accurized by the Finns as much as they could.

August 3, 2004, 07:47 PM
Although I agree that a lot of time, money and hassle can be saved by buying a rearsenaled Mosin I mentioned what I did because some people simply like to recondition guns themselves.

I used too. LOL

Now, I try not to. I'd rather spend my time and money shooting.

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