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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Ok these questions are for all you hard core owners of more then 2 surplus army rifles (MNs) your opinion and answers will be greatly apreciated and I know you all are very well informed on these rifles because I read most of your posts for the passed week and 1/2, but would still like to have your personal input.

I have just purchased 2 Mosin nagants, an M44 and an M38 from my local BIG5 stores, I must say I kind of regret purchasing these rifles before doing more research and the research I have done after the purchase makes me a little leary of shooting either rifle.
Questions are:
Does BIG5 check their rifles for safety before selling them to the public?
Are these rifles safe to shoot?
Do I need to check headspace with GO-NO GO-Field gauges?
Do I need to check bore size and match ammo as close as possible?
If the rifle does not pass headspace check is it just a collectors piece or can it be repaired?

I am very afraid of blowing my head off with a malfunction, I do own sevral firearms and hand guns but these are my first "old guns"

Thank you in advance for your comments. Sorry if I offend anyone with my comments or ignorance.
 

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With any surplus gun you should inspect it thoroughly or have it inspected by a qualified gunsmith. Definately headspace it. This should be common routine with an "old" gun.
 

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That's good advice from mpikeat2002.

I've never done it, though, success with 8 mosin rifles so far. I usually give 'em a good cleaning to get out the cosmoline and look for any obvious signs of damage, and try to take the first couple of shots with the gun away from my face. (Some guys bungee them down on an old spare tire and use a string to pull the trigger from a distance.) Still, there is some risk involved, so the gunsmith advice might be the best thing for you.
If the cost of the gunsmith bothers you, just think of the money you'll save using surplus ammo, which is in good supply at the moment. (stock up) :)
 

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H e double L no they ain't safe!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Do you know ANYTING that is addictive that is safe????

He he he he.

Seriously..I don't think Big 5 has the on-site ability to smith the guns they sell...not around here anyways.

Taking the gun to a qualified smith to check the headspace is always a good idea.

Unless it has been rechambered there is no reason to check the bore diameter/bullet size.

You can always buy a used bolt to replace the one in the gun if it becomes a headspace issue.

I haven't heard from anyone that they have a headspace issue but it's always possible.

You can buy Go-No Go head space guages if you plan to buy more than one gun and you have to determine if it is cost affective to do so.
 

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I'm surprised at you guys answers. These Mosins are coming right out of European Arsenals and they have been ready to go to War for Years, So a Cosmolined Gun needs only to be cleaned completely and can be fired safely from then on. These Guns are Rearsenaled or Unissued New Guns that are being sold by the dealers so Headspace is set already, so,I say Clean it, Shoot it, Enjoy it.
Now that said, if you pick up a used one say out of a pawn shop or from some Biker dude down the street then you may want to have it inspected but the Mosin is a strong action and very safe and if it locks up tight on a live round( you get the feel of it after a while!) it should be fired and the case inspected, and that will tell a lot !
Rich
 

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I can assure you the vast majority of competent gunsmiths will strongly suggest that ANY mil surp type of weapon should be considered used (rearsenaled or not) and head space inspection would be wise.

And, I think advising against it, or insinuating such, is not wise.

Why trust your life or the possibility of serious injury on some half-arsed trained tech in some foreign country or some distribution warehouse here in the US, when, for a few dollars a smith can do a once over for you?
 

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I had the impression that somewhere along the importing and distributing they were checked for headspace, and that no-gos were disassembled and parted out.
 

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Discussion Starter · #8 ·
Thank you everyone for your answers, unfortunately I do not have a good gunsmith close by, the only one that is available works on tuesday and thrusdays from 10 to 2 with a 3 hour lunch break.
I have clean the crap out of both guns with SWEET'S 7.62 BORE CLEANER and solvent, I inspected the chamber with a flash light and got (i think ) all of the cosmoline out of there. Took the bolt apart and solked it in solvent for about 10 minutes and then scrubbed it down, I also checked the firing pin protrusion with the original oblong tool.

I will purchase a go-no go gauges and do the testing myself. I guess if it does not pass the NO GO then I will find a way to get the gun the gunsmith.

I am looking to purchase the brownells gauges, any other maker you guys suggest?

Thanks for the tip on the first few shots, we will rig the rifles to a tire or fixture with a string and hide behind a bolder before firing it.
 

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I didn't check anything on my two before shooting them, but I did put a sand bag over the action and look the other way the first time I shot them.

:)

No, really...
 

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I have owened 10+ nagants over the last 10 years, along with Enfeilds, Mausers, Garands, SKAs and others, and never had a safety problem with any of them. I just cleaned'em of the cosmoline and went to the range.

However, if it makes you feel safer, buy the gagues and check'em.

Nick
 

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Has anyone ever actually seen a Mosin with a headspace problem?

I mean, one that was bad enough to be a safety issue?

I never have. But then again, the only ones I can talk knowledgably about are the ones in my safe....
 

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Here is the plain truth that I have learned the hard way. Always have the rifled looked at!!!!!
With that said most rifles I have ever gotten have been good, I have had them checked before my eyes before I ever hit the range. The reason I learned very well from the first time I took a rifle from the range. It was aTurkish mauser with surplus turkish ammo. I have only put one round through the rifle. That round blew the rifle up in my friends face. (funny thing now is the metal detectors at airports with him get him scanned and the fore head gets wired looks) The bolt was blown out and back in to his face. If it wasn't for his glasses then he would be called one eyed jack. So the lessoned I have learned is that most rifles are great rifles but it is wise to have it looked over first, just for a little piece of mind.
 

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Or look at them yourself

Isimanica said:
Here is the plain truth that I have learned the hard way. Always have the rifled looked at!!!!!
With that said most rifles I have ever gotten have been good, I have had them checked before my eyes before I ever hit the range. The reason I learned very well from the first time I took a rifle from the range. It was aTurkish mauser with surplus turkish ammo. I have only put one round through the rifle. That round blew the rifle up in my friends face. (funny thing now is the metal detectors at airports with him get him scanned and the fore head gets wired looks) The bolt was blown out and back in to his face. If it wasn't for his glasses then he would be called one eyed jack. So the lessoned I have learned is that most rifles are great rifles but it is wise to have it looked over first, just for a little piece of mind.
While I understand what you're saying, I get tired of living in a society where everyone is expected to go pay an "expert" for every decision, instead of using a little common sense and taking some personal responsibility.

Have you seen some of the weenies who call themselves gunsmiths? I wouldn't dream of substituting their judgement for my own. If you don't know what to look for in a rifle, go find out. This is the information age, where you can find out anything you'd ever need to know.
 

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troy2000 said:
While I understand what you're saying, I get tired of living in a society where everyone is expected to go pay an "expert" for every decision, instead of using a little common sense and taking some personal responsibility.
Have you seen some of the weenies who call themselves gunsmiths? I wouldn't dream of substituting their judgement for my own. If you don't know what to look for in a rifle, go find out. This is the information age, where you can find out anything you'd ever need to know.
Amen Troy! As far as getting the rifle inspected, if it makes ya sleep better at night go ahead and get it inspected. Of all the Mosins I own and have owned in the past I have never had any issues with headspace in any of them. My initial test has always been to stand behind a tree and shoot the thing off in the distance with one hand ( yes it can be done! ). A little bit more risky than using the string and tire, but I don't have tires just lying around my house that I can use for such things. But anyway, I hope ya have fun with your new Mosin!
 

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By the way, no offense intended

troy2000 said:
While I understand what you're saying, I get tired of living in a society where everyone is expected to go pay an "expert" for every decision, instead of using a little common sense and taking some personal responsibility.
Have you seen some of the weenies who call themselves gunsmiths? I wouldn't dream of substituting their judgement for my own. If you don't know what to look for in a rifle, go find out. This is the information age, where you can find out anything you'd ever need to know.
....to Dennis, or any other competent gunsmith. And I know there are a lot of them out there. But I've seen a couple of prime examples lately of gunsmiths who were paid to fix simple problems and created new ones that would have cost more to fix than the guns were worth, and I'm a little grouchy on the subject.

fortunately, neither gun belonged to me.
 

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I am fortunate to have a top notched smith that is a personal friend of mine.

He doesn't get into exotic gun repair but he knows the basics and beyond that I want to know.

I repect him and he looks my guns over when I buy them.

I will continue to do so.

For some in here who do not have a qualified person look over your used...not new out of the box...God only knows how it shot for the other person...danged if you know how the gun was treated and cared for... there might be a problem about to surface...rifle before operating it is tantamount to them buying a used car without having the knowledge the vehicle is safe to operate.

I have read some ideas that suggest some sticky bolt issues are sometimes due to head space issues.

But, I respect other philosophies on it and I wish everyone safe shooting.
 

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Proper Headspace or no Head

Disaster recipe : Hot Load, +Reloaded fatigued Brass, +Excessive Headspace.

Because they are made for the Battlefield, military rifles have a little extra headspace starting out. The military brass gets stretched but never was intended for reloading. Since the military cartridge was new brass, usually no big deal. Generic reloads especially toward the hotter end, are asking for trouble. If the reloads are used in the same gun and only neck resizing is done, even with a little extra headspace, case fatigue is minimal, because the brass is "sized" to that chamber. Mismatched serial numbers between bolt and receiver ABSOLUTELY REQUiRES headspace check, unless you are going to carry a stack of tires and a rope with you, everytime you go to the range.
 

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Hand loads are ok if people use good sense.

I personally don't do "Hot" reloads. I always check the brass after firing for signs of pressure and after cleaning for signs of fatigue. I have discarded brass some folks would have reloaded. Safety is always the first concern with my reloads.

I have some Lapua and Norma brass I have loaded many times.

Nick
 

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Discussion Starter · #20 ·
Thank you everyone for you comments and suggestion, I am happy to report that both my 2 rifles and my friend's rifle have passed the GO- NO GO gauges from brownells. I have throughly cleanned both my rifles and with the helpfull hints from you all I will fire the first few rounds away from the rifle and inspect the shell after each round.
Again thank you for your comments and suggestions I am sure glad I found this forum!
One more thing what signs of trouble (if any) should I be looking for in the spent rounds? Cracks? warppage? Thanks again.
 
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