Hungarian M44: accuracy affected by bayonet?

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Col. Plink

Apr 21, 2009
Or perhaps the lack of?
I have a '52 Hungarian M44 that groups poorly. It may be because of the rail and pistol scope alteration I made, but at 50yds it really should be doing much better than it is. The barrel rifling looks ok but not stunning, and it's pretty old of course at this point so maybe it's a question of wear.

But I removed the bayonet and am wondering if that may be an easy fix to improve accuracy if I put it back.

Anyone have experience with M44's with and without their pokers? Would love to hear any insight.

Thanks in advance!

-The Col.
Yes, bayonets can affect point of impact in several different ways. Surprisingly a little weight can be an issue, but also it will change barrel harmonics and throw bullets all over the place. I have always wondered why the manufacturer or military personnel didn't figure that out years ago. And it isn't just you gun either, I noticed the same issue with the M-1 garand.!
I was just watching a Hungarian shooter experiment on the effect of a fixed bayonet on rifle accuracy -- though it is a much older muzzleloading rifle than yours, his groups were slightly smaller with the bayonet in place:

BTW, the Mosin-Nagant rifle's sights were originally zeroed with bayonet fixed, since Russian doctrine assumed they would be fired in this configuration.

A milsurp rifle will generally shoot differently because of the bayonet or its absence. The bayonet is a weight hanging off the front of a rifle, and in many cases attached to the barrel itself. If you've ever seen extreme slow motion photos of a rifle during firing, even a relatively thick barrel will wobble briefly like a limp noodle. Check out the first seconds of this video:

Any weight attached near the muzzle will have some effect on barrel harmonics, as will the barrel's relationship with the stock bedding. It can affect accuracy and point of impact, both or either.

Having said this, the MN is frequently shot by civilians with the bayonet removed. I'd look first to your sighting arrangements -- did you compare groups with open sights against those fired with your optic? Perhaps you could post a few photos of your optical mounting setup for suggestions from other MN experts here.

You might also try some different ammo types to see whether it has a new favorite sans bayonet.
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If you watch archery target shooters, you will see stabilizers jutting from the front of the bow. An extended bayonet likely has a similar effect. I suspect that quality of the ammunition, size and condition of the bore, and bedding have a greater effect than the bayonet, but that is all speculation on my part.

The only accurate answer to your question will come from adding the bayonet back on and firing the same ammunition with it stowed and extended. I have an M44 that has been relieved of its bayonet, but I have not shot it in years and my old eyes would probably not make for a valid test. It wasn't uncomfortable to shoot offhand, but I would not want to subject my retinas to 30 or 40 rounds from the bench.
I have a Russian M44, and yes the bayonet vastly impacts the point of impact.
Haven't tested the spread of a pattern with and without it, but at 50 yards it's a good hand-length to the side of POA with it folded.
I have a Tula M44 and my understanding is that the sights were zeroed with the bayonet extended. So that's how I shoot it and it hits where I want it to hit. I also have a Norinco SKS and my understanding is the same for that rifle's sights, and with that rifle I've shot it both ways, and there's about 12 inches difference in the groups. If I remember right, with the bayonet stowed, the SKS hits high and right. I would guess the same sight zero would be true of any milsurp with a bayonet that's normally attached to the rifle (eg the Carcano cavalry carbine). If you want to shoot your M44 without the bayonet, you're going to have to re-zero the sights, a task I would not care to undertake, quite frankly.
OK, two different discussions going on. OP talked about poor groups, others are talking about changing point of impact. Most will agree that whether the bayonet is off, on but folded, or on and deployed will change point of impact. Sights can be adjusted, however, so compensation made. Issue I see is whether bayonet will affect group size.

I can see I will need to get the carbine into action in all three conditions at 100 yd, and see what happens. I will encourage you to do the same so we can compare notes. My M-44 is Russian. I may try some Czech practice ammo as well as Czech light ball.
If you read into it, you'll find they sighted them at the factory with the bayonet extended.

Take it off and the groups shift up and right, in my experiance, so , perhaps, you should adjust your front sight to bring the groups into center.
It worked well for me.
Sights can be adjusted, however, ...
Sight adjustment on a collectible milsurp is going to adversely affect its value. Its sights are already adjusted for the original ammo and the original zero distance and the original sight picture the shooter was trained to use. Changing anything original to make it easier for a current owner to use is their prerogative, of course, but I think they should understand and be aware of its affect on the firearm's value. For me, I'd just as soon learn to use it as it was originally intended to be used. That's all part of learning the history to which it testifies. Part of what makes it fun to shoot. If I wasn't interested in that, then there are modern rifles that shoot better and are easier to use.
if its accuracy sucks, remember European standards for accuracy at that time were lowwwwwww.w....... like 14' at 100 meter from a rest. 7.62x54 is among the lowest of all. The low standard wasn't about making bad rifles, it was about making cheap rifles with no scale of production. I'm not a fan of bore slugging, but this caliber is an exception. I know a milsurp enthusiast and he boreslugs, and loads accordingly. You can have a X54R rifle with a .317 bore (yea, seen it), and your trying to shoot steel jacket bullets measuring .309-.311 for typical ammo and your accuracy will be awful. Order some bullets that measure .317 and now it can shoot 3" at 100 meter. Now .317 was extreme, especially considering it uses bullets for the old 8Mauser, but .314 is pretty common on Mosins and Enfields, and they often shoot fine when loaded that way. Of course if your stuck with factory ammo, this is no help.
Sight adjustment on a collectible milsurp is going to adversely affect its value.
Gosh, that is the first time I have heard this. The rear slide works perfectly, and although the dovetail front sight is staked, what can be pushed one way with the proper tool can be pushed the other way as well. My 1947 izhevsk was purchased on a two-for-$80 shipped deal, and I intended to cut the bayonet mount off but never got around to it. I sold the other for $80, so this one's a freebie.

Just dug the bayonet out of the knife drawer with a snare drum key holding the collar under tension. Bolt is in mount. Likely refurbished.
If you have installed a rail and pistol scope, you might just reattach the bayonett and see what happens.

You have the scope , and the rails installation in the equasion of sighting devices and accuracy, Id zero its irons and then zero the scope.
My soviet SKS shoots about 4 inches low at 50 yards with the bayonet extended as opposed to folded back on the stock.
Gosh, that is the first time I have heard this.
That's because you're going to have to MODIFY the rifle. If the rifle is already modified, it's not an issue.

As an example, my Carl Gustav M96 has a front sight marked with a "T". The original front sight when the rifle was manufactured in 1915 was for the bottle-nosed bullet. When the rifle was re-arsenalled for conversion to Spitzer bullets (ie different ballistics), a new front sight with the "T" mark was installed (signifying "Torpedo" bullet - their term for the Spitzer), the rifle was re-zeroed to 300 meters (Spitzer trajectory), and the hold-over for POI at POA found by field test at that distance was inscribed on the stock disk ("Overslag"). Therefore if you replace or modify the front sight because your rifle is now shooting a little off point of aim then you destroy artifacts representing the history of that rifle.
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Yes the bayonet is removed so there is no "extended" or "folded". The rear sight is removed, rail attached, pistol scope mounted. I suppose I could reattach the bayonet, though I probably won't.
I have an M44 Hungarian. It was unissued. I took off the bayonet and put an M39 Fin Trigger in. It shots well, but not as accurate as my M39. It has a sweet muzzle blast especially end of day. I would check the basics. One change at a time. Basics being ammo, stock bedding, bayonet on or off, and pressure on underside of barrel. All things mentioned before me. Lastly have fun with your rarer nagant.
If you scope mount replaced your rear sight, make sure of its fit and alignment, if you havent already, and then the scope its self.

The scope and mounts replacements as sights totally nullifys the original iron sights setting with a bayonet on , off, out or folded....

Your accuracy problems with zero and point of Impact are with the scope.

Is the pistol scope itself quality enough to handle a full powered rifle cartridges recoil?
Why do you think Browning put an adjustable BOSS on the front of their hunting rifles. Because there are many factors that change barrel harmonics including ammo.
I've shot my Russian 1946 #44 both ways and can't see any difference, with surplus Bulgarian ammo. Open sights from the bench, 3-4 inches at 100 yards. hdbiker
M-44' Mosin's of russian make are notorious for being all over the place, in accuracy past 100 yards.

Some are great, some are not, most put a group more like a shot pattern between "good enough" and , "OK, I guess..."

Still adding a scope with the bayonet off has to start with a sight in, and then practice, if all works as needed.The bayonet is moot.
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