M38 Russian WWII Mosin nagant bolt 7.62x54R? pros/cons?


February 19, 2003, 09:44 PM
Just opened up the paper and a local sporting good store is selling a M38 Russian WWII Mosin nagant bolt action rifle 7.62x54R for $108.00 in real good condition.
Now i know that the SSG-97 Dragunov shoots 7.62x54 rounds also but is probably 20times more accurate.
Can anyone give me the heads up on the M38? Does anyone own one? Is it a $108.00 piece of junk that if i put a scope on and 500' out cant hit a elephant or is it a pretty accurate rifle that could probably compete with the Dragunov?

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February 19, 2003, 09:53 PM
All I know is that the cartridge is virtually a ballistic clone of our much loved American 30/06. I have a Russian Dragunov and love it. Sorry can't help on MN but it's a fine cartridge. Most of the folks on TFL/THR speak highly of the MN, though.

February 19, 2003, 10:08 PM
I own a MN 38. It is far from a piece of junk. This rifle is basically the same rifle as a MN 44 without the bayonet. It is the same rifle as a MN 91/30 only shorter. I have never fired mine but I have fired my 91/30 and my 44. Both exhibit pretty decent accuracy. Note that we are not talking about decent accuracy compared to benchrest match results, we are not talking about accuracy compared to a fine scoped varmint rifle, we are talking like 4" at 100 yards with iron sights. I shoot in Vintage Military Bolt Action Rifle matches and have seen some guys hold their own with MN 44 rifles out to 400 meters on steel targets.

Sir Galahad
February 19, 2003, 10:55 PM
A GOOD 91/30 with GOOD ammo is more accurate in most cases than a Dragunov. By "good", I mean the bore is in great condition and the rifle itself is in great condition. The Dragunov itself was not meant to be pinpoint precise. Soviet doctrine in the "over the Berlin Wall" push that never came was to use snipers with front line units to take out machine gun crews, artllery spotters, officers, crew-served weapons crews, etc. That would help pave the advance of their infantry. For that, they wanted semi-auto fire and, so, sacrificed a bit of accuracy they could have had with a bolt action. Most of the "Dragunovs" on the market these days are not real Dragunovs. They're actually Romanian sniper rifles cobbled together on an RPK reciever. Dragunovs have their own receiver. The Romanians, I understand, have some problems with heavier grain weight ammo. Some, so I've read, beat themselves to death with heavy grain weights from Wolf (like 200 grain soft point) and some heavy match loads. A Mosin will fire any rifle-grade 7.62x54 ammo, though some tend to avoid the stuff called "heavy ball" (marked with yellow or silver-over-yellow tips.) Also avoid red tips like the plague (exploding ammo and very unstable) and belted machine gun ammo (loaded VERY hot.) Anyway, a good Mosin 91/30 will outshoot most Dragunovs. I can't speak for a M38 because it's a carbine and loses a bit of power that the longer barrel of the 91/30 would make use of. But the M38, from what I've read, is still an accurate rifle out to a few hundred meters.

Scoping it isn't easy. In fact, the only real option is a "scout mount" which clamps to the rear sight and uses a long eye relief (pistol) scope. If you're looking for a weapon to scope easy, this isn't it. I shoot my 91/30 with iron sights and it's dead on. I love iron sights, though. More fun. I keep my 91/30 original and that's the way I like it.

But look at it this way. A REAL Dragunov would run you a few thousand at least. The Romanian sniper rifle runs around $750 to $900. The Mosin is what, $100? The ammo is cheap and plentiful. And it's fun. But most, if not all of it, is corrosive, so be prepared to clean up after corrosive ammo. If not, your bore will be pitted in no time flat.

February 20, 2003, 07:19 AM
If you're at all recoil sensitive you won't like the M38. It's got a sharp kick and the fireball due to the short barrel is impressive to say the least. Having said that, I just bought a mint condition M38 in a laminated stock for $160. It's more accurate than I am with the iron sights and it will make a great brush gun as it's so short. If you really want a good shooting MN, look for a Finnish M39.

February 20, 2003, 07:31 AM
you really do follow the AK path!:D

Oleg Volk
February 20, 2003, 03:54 PM
I keep hearing about the mean kick of the M44 but just can't feel it when firing runt's. Granted, I tend to use hasty sling and so distribute the recoil, but I've shot 100 rounds in a row without any discomfort. Fireball is impressive, esp. with some ammo brands. Triggers tend to be more spongy than in Finnish rifles.

February 20, 2003, 04:54 PM
1938s are cool, but all the ones I've seen pretty much seem to indicate they are the most worn and used of all the Mosin carbines. They are great pices of history, but IMO the good condition M44s are nicer(Polish M-44s are way sweet) and the 91/59s are much nicer. They are certainly not junk in the least, but I don't think the average 1938 available today will keep up with a Drag for accuracy anymore.

I bought an M38 and a 91/59 from AIM just before Christmas. I like both, but the 91/59 is much more accurate. As a mattter of fact, I liked my 91/59 so much, I just bought another.

BTW: Check the muzzle on the ones in the store. Most have been counterbored.

February 20, 2003, 05:06 PM
there are no cons when it comes to Mosin Nagants.
Good rifles and cheap ammo.
What else could a guy want?

February 20, 2003, 09:50 PM
Another thing to keep in mind about scoping a Nagant is you'll need a turned down bolt which will probably cost about half as much as the rifle did. Unless someone knows of a good source for them...

Figure $100 for the rifle, $50 for the bolt, $100 for an appropriate scope. Still, pretty effective weapon for $250.

Sir Galahad
February 20, 2003, 09:55 PM
There is a guy who does turned-down Mosin and also Mauser bolts. His work is excellent and he also does a turned and swept sporter bolt for the Mosin that's a work of art. I have his web address. If anyone wants one,email me and I'll be happy to pass it along.

February 20, 2003, 10:49 PM
Of course you can always go with a scout type mount and scope and leave the bolt as-is.

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