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Accurizing the Mosin Nagant Rifle: A How-To Guide to Bringing Out The Accuracy of You

Discussion in 'Rifle Country' started by LJ-MosinFreak-Buck, May 20, 2012.

  1. LJ-MosinFreak-Buck

    LJ-MosinFreak-Buck Well-Known Member

    Okay guys, I've been seeing some Mosin-Bashing lately, though it is considerably less than on other forums. The Mosin Nagant rifle is probably the best mil-surp bang for your inexpensive buck. You get to own a piece of history that is entirely capable of hunting, plinking, or whatever else you could think of doing with this old war-horse.

    Firstly, we have to realize that the Mosin Nagant has some problems. They aren't the greatest rifle in the world, and has its limitations. It is a crude, "clunky" firearm, as some call it, but a lot of use do see the beauty in these rifles. But what most don't take into account, is that these rifles were given to uneducated conscripts, who were told to defend their country at all costs. So naturally, they're going to be a little rough around the edges, but they will go bang. But most cases of them going bang, it leaves a little something to be desired.

    These rifles, the biggest complaint that I see about them, is accuracy. Yeah, yeah. Yada yada. Some are accurate, little are really accurate, but most leave a lot to be desired in that department. But one of the nicest things about these rifles is that they are just so easily customizable, that why wouldn't you do something with it?

    I'm more of a purist at heart, and don't do much to the mil-surps, but this article that I am writing won't involve any extreme sporterizing. Actually, it's quite the opposite. Your rifle can stay in the original stock with all of these modifications, and most would be none-the-wiser to your modifications. Hell, most of these you wouldn't really be able to notice without a closer look! So in my eyes, this is a plus.

    I've been doing a lot of reading about this area lately, and have found a lot of useful links, plus some of my own experience in modifying these rifles, and decided to compile them all into one thread. This post will be long, so bear with me.

    First thing we're going to talk about is the stock. This is where a lot of the accuracy problems are going to spring up, and in a lot of cases that I have read, is the only thing that needs tweaked to tighten up the groups.

    There's a few things you can do the the original stock to accurize this rifle, without making it look like a bubba'd hack-job:

    1.) Glass-bed the stock
    2.) Pillar-bed the stock
    3.) Free-float the stock.

    Of these three things, I have no personal experience doing this myself. Though, I do have plans for doing so someday soon. The processes are actually pretty simple, and I will provide links and a general description of the steps required.

    1.) Glass-Bed the Stock:

    I have quoted and paraphrased this post from the forum "Gun and Game" and will provide a link as well. This member has gotten good results from glass-bedding his stock. (The same link will cover pillar-bedding as well.)

    The author of this post suggests clamping down until you have epoxy coming out around the action. The link will provide pictures of his project. This method of bedding seems pretty solid, which follows the principle of consistency. It makes the receiver return to the same spot it was before firing, and after firing. It makes the rifle repeat what it did on the shot before, basically.

    Glass-Bedding and Pillar-Bedding

    2.) Piller-Bed the Stock:

    Since the author of the post I quoted and edited (for some removal of needless wording) above included information on Glass-bedding and Pillar-bedding in the same post, I'll only be providing one link.

    Here, the author did both a Glass-Bed and a Pillar-Bed to his stock, and this quoted and cited how-to from him reflects that. Like he also stated, you could either make them, or order them in from Rock Solid. Maybe they still make them, but maybe they don't. I haven't looked, mainly because these tubes are easy to make yourself. The author tells you how to do this in the above quote.

    3.) Free-Floating the Stock.

    Free-floating the stock is a pretty good way to make the rifle act the same way upon firing, every time. It allows the barrel to flex without the stock getting in the way, which could throw off your shot. (Keep in mind, I'm not going to get too technical in the dynamics of this, all this information is out there on the web, and I don't have the time to explain even the slightest detail on something that can be a problem with every rifle in the world. A free-floated barrel has the ability to be more accurate, like a lot of other on-line sources will be able to tell you.)

    I've read a little about this to know that it is simple enough to do by yourself without any special tools. So here, I won't be quoting any body, but I will include a YouTube link for demonstration. (Also note, the YouTube video is not mine.)

    What you're going to do is find some medium-grit sand-paper, not too coarse, but not too fine, either, otherwise you could either take too much, or spend the next two days doing this. The next thing you're going to want to do is either find a wood dowel, or even a socket from the tool-box that, when the sand-paper is wrapped around the dowel or socket, that it fills the barrel-channel nicely, but isn't too tight.

    With your rifle apart, you can either use some gunsmithing black to find out where it's touching on your barrel, or you can just do the whole project by your hands and eyes. We're going to discuss the simple way.

    Wrap the piece of sand-paper around the dowel or socket, and proceed to rub along the barrel-channel to begin taking away wood. You don't want to take away too much, so go slow. You can test if your barrel is floated enough by using a dollar-bill, running it from end to end of the barrel. If it snags, there's one place you can keep sanding. Do this until you have free movement with the dollar-bill. You can do the same to the top-cover piece, as well.

    You should probably test this movement with the stock properly installed on the rifle, to make sure that when it's tensioned on the rifle, you won't have any snags or points of contact when the reciever is torqued down.

    Here's the video on this:

    Accurizing the Mosin Nagant Rifle

    Another modification you can do to the stock is shimming it with cork, or another material. I'm not exactly sure on this subject, and I've only read a little bit about it. Can't find much through searching, but I can give you a description of what it's basicaly doing.

    When shimming the stock, it's usually happening at the business end of the rifle, though sometimes it can be done behind the recoil lug as well, like stated in the quoted post from "Gun and Game" above.

    What the individual will do is, after the shim-material is chosen, will place it at the very end of the stock, applying upward pressure to the barrel, or in the top-guard, applying down-ward pressure. It really depends on your rifle, every where I've heard. So I guess no two rifles are the same when it comes to this modification. So you can do this, or not, it's up to you. It might help.

    This is pretty much all you can really do to the original stock to gain some accuracy. There are, I'm sure, other methods out there, but this is just a generalized guide, basically giving the reader an idea of what he or she could do to squeeze a little more accuracy out of their Mosin Nagant.
  2. LJ-MosinFreak-Buck

    LJ-MosinFreak-Buck Well-Known Member

    Now we're going to move on to the action. I honestly haven't heard much, if anything about modifying the bolt. You could probably clean it up, and polish all the contact points for each individual bolt piece, but that'd just serve to ease cycling. Again, I've only heard of people doing this, never done this myself.

    Part of the action that everyone loves to chide on so much is the trigger. It's too heavy. Too spongy. Whatever. Like stated at the beginning of this post, the rifle was built for conscripts, and the Russians weren't terribly concerned about trigger pull, just as long as it wasn't fifty-some-odd pounds.

    Some people will lightly polish the sear and the firing-pin lug to ease trigger-pull. Yes, this usually brings some of the pressure required for break down. Some people also sometimes shim the sear-spring, placing a piece of metal between sear-spring and the receiver. I have done this to great effect, with my trigger-pull pressure dropping from somewhere northward of seven pounds down to about four-an-a-half. But what I also did was make myself a nice two-stage trigger in the process.

    Here's how I made the two-stage trigger:

    I rummaged through some tool-boxes and office supply stuff to find a large paper-clip and a piece of metal that had a loop and two ears (looks kind of like Mickey Mouse ears). I straightened out the paper-clip and wrapped it around my trigger-pin about three times. This is what the parts look like:


    What you're going to want to do is leave about an inch of paper-clip on each end of the coils so you can adjust the length to your rifle.

    After you determine the length you're going to need, cut with some wire cutters. Install the pin into the trigger, pushing the pin through the make-shift spring coil you had just made from the paper-clip, and to the other side. Install your shim between the sear-spring and receiver, and tighten down the sear screw. Then, you're going to want to file, however much it takes, of the shim that protrudes into the magazine cut out. If you don't, it could cause feeding errors.

    This is what this two-stage trigger set-up looks like in my Mosin M44:


    I will add more photos of this when I am able to, I just have the one of the finished product.

    With this modification alone, I have cut down the size of my groups considerably. It went from about 6 MOA to around 3 MOA if I do my part. I plan on doing more to the original stock eventually.

    Thanks for reading. Also, if you have anything to add, feel free. Maybe the Moderators can make this a sticky.
  3. Tempest 455

    Tempest 455 Well-Known Member

    I did the pillar bedding and stock bedding, both helped but a Timney trigger was probably the biggest change I made.
  4. mgregg85

    mgregg85 Well-Known Member

    I'm very against sporterizing but I like modifications like this that are completely reversible.

    Box'O'Truth did an article about corking the mosin stock to add a little upwards or downwards push on the barrel, kinda like a low impact bedding job. In their test it produced a pretty significant accuracy boost.

  5. T Bran

    T Bran Well-Known Member

    Thanks LJ I havent found a nice enough example to suit me yet but when I do this will be very helpful.
    I hope the mods see fit to sticky it but I saved it for myself as a refrence tool.
  6. Joshua M. Smith

    Joshua M. Smith Well-Known Member


    Excellent writeup thus far.

    Try these links:



    As well, try putting a slight bend in the sear, like this:

    From my discontinued roller trigger, the bend precedes it by many years.

    Bending the sear like that changes where the trigger contacts it, and the pull becomes MUCH sharper.

    Additionally, many people are selling Finnish M39 triggers and sears on eBay and Gunbroker. I've also seen some M24 triggers and sears... if you don't feel comfortable doing your own stuff, by all means, get one of these Finnish setups!


  7. Steel Horse Rider

    Steel Horse Rider Well-Known Member

    One of the local gunshops here had a new shipment of Mosins with the laminated stocks in this weekend. They sure do look sharp. I believe that is a reason for me to purchase another one for my collection. I will probably try the trigger mod you described on my favorite 91/30 and see if I notice a difference as they are sure fun to shoot.
  8. LJ-MosinFreak-Buck

    LJ-MosinFreak-Buck Well-Known Member

    It's always worth a try. I plan on adding more to this thread as I come along other helpful ideas. I will branch out into sporterizing options as well, but I'm going to stick mainly to the mil-surp configuration for those, like me, who prefer the Mosin in the military stock. Don't get me wrong, in my little stock business I am making stocks that are fashioned to look more like modern rifles, but in that stock business I've got going, the ability to return your rifle to mil-surp configuration is my main goal. Just drop in installation.

    I'm glad you guys are finding this useful, I just wanted to gather all this information into one spot, even have other members help, as well, so that way everyone has the ability to get their best out of the rifle, and have a place to get all the information.
  9. TurtlePhish

    TurtlePhish Well-Known Member

    Very nice guide! Seeing as these are arguably the most popular milsurp in the country (maybe the world?), something like this can be very handy to a lot of people.

    On these guns, pressure on the barrel generally has better results than floating them because of how thin they are.
  10. LJ-MosinFreak-Buck

    LJ-MosinFreak-Buck Well-Known Member

    Here's a post I found on "Gun and Game" written by Joshua M. Smith. I think it will be good to add to this post as well, with the link as citation, or further reading (Please note that some of this has been discussed in my OP, but he uses some different techniques you could also try out and see if it's a fit for your rifle):

    Now see, I like his idea here, and I think I'm going to follow his techniques here when I can get a 91/30 added to the collection. Here's the link to his "Gun and Game" post: Josh's G&G Post
  11. LJ-MosinFreak-Buck

    LJ-MosinFreak-Buck Well-Known Member

    And thank you Turtle!
  12. adelbridge

    adelbridge Well-Known Member

    Lee Enfields used to be a dime a dozen like Nagants and before that it was Springfield 1903's. I am the proud owner of a 1903 that was modded for accuracy when they were growing on trees in the 60's and worth 1/3 what it should be.
    Try all you want to make a 100 year old $100 rifle shoot well. After all the time and work you put into it you could have bought a new ruger or marlin that will shoot 1 moa or better.
    Some one needs to explain to me how to free float a rifle with a banded hand guard.
  13. LJ-MosinFreak-Buck

    LJ-MosinFreak-Buck Well-Known Member

    I think someone missed the point of this post. It's a how-to guide. Please, let's refrain from arguing which rifle is "better."

    The hand-guard can be floated, just as the actual stock can be. The outer edge of the the guard will still hold the shape around the barrel, and give some space.

    Sent from my MP3/Hands-Free/Web-Browsing Device
    Last edited: May 21, 2012
  14. headoftheholler

    headoftheholler Well-Known Member

    "Lee Enfields used to be a dime a dozen like Nagants and before that it was Springfield 1903's. I am the proud owner of a 1903 that was modded for accuracy when they were growing on trees in the 60's and worth 1/3 what it should be.
    Try all you want to make a 100 year old $100 rifle shoot well. After all the time and work you put into it you could have bought a new ruger or marlin that will shoot 1 moa or better."

    Consider for a second that not everyone wants to own the same synthetic stocked Marlin/Savage/Ruger. Accurizing and actually using a 100 year old rifle to hunt with or punch holes is much more satisfying to some.

    HGUNHNTR Well-Known Member

    How many $$$ will it take in parts, tools and man hours are into this?
  16. SleazyRider

    SleazyRider Well-Known Member

    Thank you! My goal next season is to land a whitetail with my unmodified Mosin, and I'm glad there are some who can appreciate the allure. I will, however, forego the bayonet!
  17. Franco2shoot

    Franco2shoot Well-Known Member

    I read an account where WWII snipers "Corked" the barrels and I decided to give it a try.
    Prior to any changes, at 100 yards, MY mosin kept shots within a teacup saucer plate so about 6" radius at 100 yards. There's the start point.

    The "How to" is pretty simple, you take a wine bottle cork and slice it lengthwise trying to keep the slice thinner than a slice of salami. You need 3 pieces. Start by cutting the cork in half lengthwise then cut three or four slices. I picked the 3 that seemed closest in thickness. About 8"s back from the muzzle at the first band, cork goes in at the bottom sides and 1 over the top spaced about every 120 degrees. When you re-assemble the band will be tight and squeeze the barrel.

    I also spent a lot of time cleaning the barrel with JB red rouge, and JB grey rouge (one is harder compound). After about 2 weeks of cleaning the length of the barrel and with the barrel corked I revisited the range. To my surprise, all shots (from a bench rest) were within an inch of each other. I quit trying to further accurize mine. Whether it was just luck or the shooting gods, mine is truely a 1 moa weapon. I wouldn't mind upgrading the trigger, but you know the saying, "if it aint broke don't f.... with it."

    I think corking is easy and worth a try given my results.

  18. LJ-MosinFreak-Buck

    LJ-MosinFreak-Buck Well-Known Member

    Headoftheholler- it really is more satisfying hunting with 100 year old rifles than it is with modern rifles. I'm not sure how to explain it, but there's just something of an appeal to hunt with something that's stood the test of time.

    HGUN- actually, most of these mods can be done for less than $10, though with glass-bedding being a little more expensive just by cost of materials. I can't tell you exactly how much money people have put into their rifles, but with a trigger job alone, taking all of maybe 15 minutes, just to take the action out of the stock, put in the parts I just found around the house, snapped a photo, and put the rifle back together. To me, the trigger was free because I already had the stuff laying around.

    If you have a pop-can laying around, you can make the sear-shims out of that for nothing. It makes it easier if you have some materials around that can be re-purposed to do the same effect, but like I said, most of these mods can be done for less than $10, and that's a wide-margin, as I've seen some of these materials for less.

    Franco- that's a sweet rifle you got there. Don't let that go. As far as modding the trigger, it really can't hurt much, other than getting used to the different feel. Might be able to squeeze more accuracy out of that rifle with a trigger job.

    Sent from my MP3/Hands-Free/Web-Browsing Device
  19. LoonWulf

    LoonWulf Well-Known Member

    Very nice information collection and write up LJ :D

    I have bedded my rifles action with Marine Tex Gray (small size is 'bout $15 bucks for enough to do 3 or so rifles) available at Ace or any number of sources. It helped quite a bit, and if i hadnt done other stuff to my stock youd have never known it was modified.

    A note on the sear shimming, be very carefull as the cocking piece has quite a bit of play. Check that it wont wiggle free of the seer before calling it good.
  20. LJ-MosinFreak-Buck

    LJ-MosinFreak-Buck Well-Known Member

    I'm not even done, I've got an e-mailed article that I'm going to post up too, just waiting until I get to work.

    Yes, when shimming, it's only safe it you stay within .04" or so of shim-work. But be careful anyway.

    Sent from my MP3/Hands-Free/Web-Browsing Device

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