Monday, 18 July 2016

Mosin Nagant M44 - First Impressions From The Table Top

Ever since I was a child, I have always been fascinated by Russian military hardware. On rainy days I'd sit and look at pictures of Mil-24 Hind helicopter gunships and the T72 battle tanks in my fathers military encyclopedias. This was at the height of the cold war when tensions were on a knife edge.

30 years on, the cold war is a distant memory and technology has advanced at a rate that no-one ever thought possible. A quick online search presents all kinds of former Eastern Bloc goodies for sale.  I haven't seen any Hind's or T72's for sale locally at a price that I can afford, but you never know your luck so I'll keep searching!  There are however many things that I can afford and a Mosin Nagant rifle is one of them.

Most military rifle buyers in Australia stick with the tried and trusted .303 SMLE or various Mausers in .308 or 30-06. They are great rifles and no doubt I will buy a few more of each in the future. I'm the type of person who likes to go against the grain and be different to the rest of the "in-crowd", so when a Mosin Nagant M44 Carbine in excellent condition came up for sale, I just had to have it.

In Australia, the Mosin is nowhere near as popular as it is in other parts of the world. Perhaps a lot of this is due to a perception that anything made in the former USSR is inferior, a hangover from the cold war days. Another factor is the absence of affordable ammunition. Military surplus 7.62x54R ammo has virtually dried up in Australia and it doesn't look like the usual importers are going to be getting more anytime soon.  This means that more Mosin owners are looking to get out of them and into other rifles.  Bargains are there to be had. For a M44 carbine, the asking price is generally around $500 for an example in very good condition.

This one came up at a very good price and I couldn't whip the cash out fast enough.

1945 Mosin Nagant M44 manufactured at the Izhevsk Arsenal, Russia

Some cosmoline still remained on this rifle in a few places, but not a great deal. My particular rifle was refurbished in the Ukraine and the date of refurbishment is unknown. It is stamped with a crested hammer & sickle, the year of manufacture, arsenal stamp and serial number.  The blueing and stock are still in excellent condition and the bore is absolutely shiny and beautiful.

The Mosin is a cock on opening bolt design similar to most modern bolt action rifles. The action is quite smooth to open and close. The integral 5 round magazine is charged via stripper clips. Brand new stripper clips can be found on ebay for around $3 for a pack of 5 shipped out of China.

 Cock on opening and the integral 5 round magazine is loaded via stripper clip from the top of the rifle.

Right hand side showing the integral 5 round magazine 

The sights are a simple but effective rear leaf, elevation adjustable to a thousand metres and a dovetail mounted post and globe front sight that is adjustable for windage. Windage adjustments are made with a knock-o-meter (hammer) or a purpose built front sight adjustment tool.

Elevation Adjustable Rear Leaf

Globe & Post Front Sight

 Sight Picture

There is one feature of the M44 that is totally cool, and that is the folding bayonet. Why have a removable one that troops could lose out in the field!  The Russians decided to permanently attach it to the rifle so that it would never be lost. The rifle already looks intimidating, but unfold the bayonet and its the meanest looking surplus rifle around. 

Unfold this bad boy and add another 12" of fear & intimidation!

Local gun shops in my district are charging $35 for 20 rounds of S&B soft points or $30 for the PPU equivalent.  Anyone ever heard of the term daylight robbery?  The only plus to purchasing these brands is that it's brass case and boxer primed, suitable for reloading. All other brands are non re-loadable in a steel case which wouldn't be a problem if it was available at the right price.

PPU @ $30 per 20 rounds. Is it gold plated for that price!?!?  Stripper clips sourced on ebay.

All in all, the rifle feels very well balanced and it certainly looks like its going to be a long term keeper. I will not modify the rifle at all as it will decrease not only its value, but also its appeal.

I am yet to take this gorgeous Russian on a range date and a full range report is to come in the next few weeks.

There are plenty of online resources for information on the Mosin Nagant family of rifles and one of the best can be found here  

Everyone's favourite Tennessean, Hickok45 has a superb video on the M44 that you can watch by clicking here

These rifles are extremely popular with the prepping community in the USA. Surplus ammo is still available at very affordable prices when purchased in bulk which makes them attractive.  

Never in a million years did I think I'd ever end up with a good looking Russian that I found on a website!

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