Where else can you get a hunting rifle for under a $100? They have their own war history. There are a bunch of models to collect. 7,62x54r is in between a .308 and a 30-06. The carbines are awesome, and belch fire! About 99% of what you will find will be chambered for this round. There are also some 22lr trainers out there as well.
Okay, tlarkin, let's have a shot (sorry, couldn't resist) at answering your questions.
The pros? They are tough, inexpensive, hard-to-break firearms (since they exist as original length rifles [the M1891], Dragoon-model rifles, shorter-barrelled rifles [the Model 91/30], and carbines [the M38, M44 and 91/59] ) made in about a dozen countries. No matter who made them, they are reliable. There is plenty of military surplus ammunition available for them, plus modern production soft-point rounds for hunting. They are relaible under any conditions; a standing joke about them is that when you get yours covered in Cosmoline, it was probably last cleaned in Berlin in 1945. But think about it: where else can you get a rifle capable of taking any game animal in North America except - maybe - a grizzly bear for under $100?
There are aftermarket add-ons available, and most of them fit any Mosin. Most add-ons don't require a gunsmith; you can do it yourself. The only exception to this is bending the bolt if you plan to install a short eye relief scope or a sniper scope, as opposed to the more often seen long eye relief scout scope setup. Parts from one Mosin will fit any other Mosin, no matter which country or arsenal made it. This also is a big plus.
All of the milsurps are chambered in 7.62x54R. There is lots of surplus ammo out there to buy. For instance, I just paid $51 for 300 rounds of Bulgarian heavy ball (180 grain bullet), delivered. Try and match that price and quantity for, say 7.62 NATO, .30-06, .303 British or 8mm Mauser! it means you can shoot more, for less. There are Mosins that have been customized for other calibers; but they are usually one-offs and are very much the exception to the 7.62x54R rule.
What should you look for? That depends on how well you can calculate what's under the Cosmoline if it's newly imported. Look to see if the lands look sharp. Feel the bolt face and extractor, feeling for burrs. Open and close the bolt and see how stiff it is. A stiff bolt isn't necessarily a deal-breaker for a Mosin in Cosmoline, but it does mean you will need to detail-strip it and thoroughly clean it of Cosmoline. See my sticky in the Mosin forum on cleaning milsurp firearms. Look to see if it has been counterbored. Again that's not a deal-breaker, but I feel counterbored guns aren't as valuable as ones that have good, solid rifling all the way to the muzzle and the price should reflect that.
Look at the stamping on the receiver. There will be a bunch of it, but what you want to see is the year it was made. If you have a choice, try to get one that is from the period between the two world wars. In peacetime, gunmakers can take a little more care that they do in wartime, when the emphasis is on producing as many as possible as quickly as possible. It shows in the finishing. I've seen wartime Mosins that looked like they were put together out of rough castings, the machining was so coarse. It doesn't mean they won't shoot, but they sure aren't as pretty! Look also at the wood, and see if there are any repairs to it. If there are, that should lower the price though not the shootability.
Assume you are going to have to comeletely clean the rifle. I've seen very few Mosins even at gun shows that weren't still in the Cosmoline. Again, see that sticky.
What whould you be prepared to pay? Well, I just bought two from Southern Ohio Gun for $200, including shipping and the hand-pick fees. The going rate the local gun shops want for a 91/30 hereabouts is around $130 plus tax out the door. You can do better online, but remember to add shipping into the total. For example, Classic Arms is selling round-receiver 91/30s for about $80. Even if shipping is $20, you still come out ahead. Of course you can't examine the rifle first when you buy from an online dealer, but most have a 3 day return policy if you are really dissatisfied. Talk to them on the phone before you put down your money and find out what their policies and terms are.
I also note most online dealers will throw in an ammo pouch, military issue cleaning kit, sling and bayonet on the deal. Plus which, they don't charge sales tax unless you live in the state they do business in - another savings for you. Gun show dealers may or may not give you those extras and will charge sales tax.
I hope this answers your questions. If it doesn't, put in some time reading the various threads on the Mosin forum. Most any question you can ask has been dealt with on that thread before.
I look forward to welcoming you to the ranks of Mosin owners, tlarkin. They're really fun guns! And there's something special about shooting a piece of history, too. That's the attraction for me.
They are bolt action. The semi-autos you see are either SKS's or SVT-40's.
One of the easiest, cheapest and the one I suggest to every new mosin owner is the m91/30. It's the second-longest of the mosins (second to the m91) and comes with a huge pig-sticker bayo and accessories. You'll get decent accuracy out of it and it'll get you used to the blast and recoil before you move up to the carbine fire-belching, shoulder-kickers.
When looking at one, make sure there's no rust (kind of a no-brainer, but I've seen bad ones before), check for counter-boring (this is done to improve accuracy on rifles where the muzzle rifling has been damage; it improves accuracy, but decreases the collectors value and the effective length of the barrel), pull the bolt off and look down the bore to see if there's prominent lands and grooves or if the lands are rounded off, barely there, and frosty or pitted (you can remove the bolt by opening it, pulling the trigger and it will slide right out the back). Now, even if the barrel is frosty or pitted it could still be a good shooter; it just may accumulate more copper fouling that has to be cleaned out than a nice smooth barrel would.
To learn a whole lot about mosins, go check out 7.62x54r.net
Pre welcome to the MN board. You should buy one if you love to shoot high powered rifles.
Cyrano's input is a good starting point for pretty much any MilSurp rifle. Read the stickies at the beginning of this board and pick up a little history and info at the pointer posted by just_a_car. these rifles have been around in the same basic design for over 100 years
We can get a little screwy here sometimes, and we enjoy having a good time, but the advice given here on Mosin Nagant's is always first rate.
This is one of the best bolt-action, magazine fed rifles you will ever own. The cream of the crop are the Finnish versions of these rifles, but they run ~$260 (for an M39 VKT) and up, so start with a couple of basic Russians:
M91/30 long rifle
M38 or M44 Carbines or both, hell their cheap! You can buy all 3 for less than $250 shipped. You can barely buy a fricken 10/22 for that anymore.:silly:
These rifles are habit forming. That's all I will say about that.:approve:
MilSurp Bulgarian, Russian, and Czech ammo from J&G or AIM is still pretty cheap, and I would suggest buying a few 300 round cans asap. It's not like they will run out, but who knows what will happen if or when the "knee-jerks" take over the country in 09. Hopefully they will be too busy with health-care, abandoning Iraq, and taxing the crap out of us, to close the doors on imported C&R's and ammo.:bigeyes2:
I hope you have a camera, because we are very visual here (There are a few of us here who are "challenged" :sad6 so you will be required to post pictures of your new ladies... Naming them is optional.
Ah, but if I am just looking for a shooter, counterboring is not a problem. Like the first man said, where else do you get a reliable 30 cal rifle for less than a hundred bucks, and sometimes a LOT less.
Counter boring is when you are not boring. Like counter intuitive.:approve:
Actually its when the muzzle is smooth bored to a little larger diameter than the original to eliminate damaged rifling at the crown. The depth varies but usually about 1/2" or so, or until they hit good rifling. If it's too far gone they generally won't waste time counter-boring. I have 2 counter-bores and they shoot fine.
If you can fit the bullet of a loaded round into the muzzle to the neck of the shell casing it's been counterbored (un-counter bored it should stop at the shoulder/ogive of the bullet).
Pronunciation requires a few shots of vodka, so choose your favorite and use that. Start with Mo-sine Na-gan (hey it's Russian and Belgian so gimme a break) and go from there. Just point and say "that one"... "yeah, the Russian rifle"... "No the long one with the pig sticker" YMMV.:silly:
tlarkin, you aren't paying attention. Both Classic Arms and Southern Ohio Gun Distributors have round-receiver 91/30s for about $70 - $80. Shipping cost depends on where you live. Call and ask. If you have a Class 03 Curio & Relic license, they can ship the rifle right to your door. (And if you don't, spend the $30 it takes and get one. It will pay for itself in dealer pricing on ammo and C&R firearms in less than six months. The license is good for 3 years and can be renewed. You do the math.)
I looked at a US map. You live too far away to drive to either of the companies I mentioned, but check around on the internet. There might be a gun wholesaler or distributor within driving range of KC who handles Mosins.
i own an M91/30...only pro's here, can't come up with any cons! i love my rifle, can't wait to get a second. also, try Big5 sporting goods, they seem to be on sale there often for less than $100. Having their own medical condition should speak volumes about these rifles...i'm new on here, but i know for a fact that all of us have Mosinitis!
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