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· Registered
29 Posts
Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Hello all, let me introduce myself.

I'm a poor college student (so I have a very tight budget) and I've decided I'd like to buy a rifle of my own, for plinking, target shooting, and perhaps some limited hunting.

I discovered the Mosin-Nagant, searching around on the Internet, and it seems like it's exactly what I'm looking for. From what I've read, they're available very affordably, they're fairly accurate, and they're reliable. Plus, I'm a history buff, and the fact that they're Soviet WWII surplus is a cincher. I'd a lot rather shoot something with "character," if you will, than something made of plastic, from China, that I bought at Wal-Mart.

So now my question is, how best to go about buying one? I don't have any gun stores locally that carry military surplus weapons, so online is probably what it's going to have to be. I've seen a couple of sites offering $69.99 Moisin-Nagants, and this seems exactly like what I'm looking for .....except that I can't afford to get a POS, and I'm nervous about buying "sight unseen." What do you all suggest? Should I spring for a $70 gun, or pay $10 more for one with a hex receiver? (Somewhere, I read those were made better.) Are the "hand picked" fees for the cosmetics or the bore worth it? Any ideas, suggestions, tips, or general advice about these guns and getting started with them would be greatly appreciated!



P.S.: from what I've seen, I think I prefer the M91/30 better than the shorter M44 carbine. But, I'm open to correction, if it's needed :)

· Registered
387 Posts
Welcome to the Boards, Eric.
I myself have only recently started collecting Mosins. As a fellow college student, I can certainly appreciate your limited budget. They are addictive, though, and once you buy one and shoot it, you will probably want to buy another. My wife bought our first Mosin, an M44, during the summer and since then I bought one M44 for myself and two M91/30s, one with a hex receiver. I was able to buy them most of them locally and it was the salesman at the local gun shop that told me about this board. I'm sure some of the more expirenced guys around here will tell you which online websites are better and I can tell you that you will need to find a local gun dealer who will handle the transaction because the guns cannot be sent to you directly. Don't be afraid to post questions because these guys are great and they know just about everything concerning Mosins.

· Registered
5,692 Posts
Your on the right track.

A plain ol 91/30 is cheap, accurate and a Mosin!

I use them for hunting all year around.

You can get a hex or a round reciver, both are safe, though the hex is easier on the eyes than a mid war round reciver 91 or 44 varient. They cared little about looks then.

I ues an M-39, a Finnish rebuild into an extreamly accurate version of the Mosin, though I have 91's that will shoot as well.
I think a 91/30 is all around your best rifle, save aside theaccessories and nicely balanced. The 44 had a side mounted bayonett that is cool, but little else.
Heck, both are so cheap in price, you might just get 2 or 3, or at least a start....they are highly collectable, and are very interesting.

You must use a licensed gun dealer to make the buy......and he might need a few $$ to get 'er done.

· Registered
156 Posts
Your absolutely right, the Mosin-Nagant is an interesting and historic type of rifle. The M91/30 was the standard issue rifle through WWII, though the M44 was introduced as its replacement. Furthermore, the M91/30 has a longer barrel and consequently a longer sight radius, which improves it's long range accuracy over the M44. So if you're really looking for a shooter, a M91/30 might be a better choice... of course, I'm not saying a M44 wouldn't shoot great as well. You could always try both, it's not like they cost so much you can't afford both! =-) So, how do you go about getting ahold of one when they aren't any available at the local dealers? My suggestion, if purchasing one sight unseen makes you nervous, is to try and locate a local gun show in your area, even if you might need to drive a little out of the way. You can inspect the arm, purchase some ammunition, and hopefully come away with a rifle you are happy with. Furthermore, you won't have to pay shipping and transfer fees for the rifle. However, the Mosin-Nagant rifles currently available from the major dealers have been rebuilt/refurbished during the Cold War, so they're in at least very good to excellent condition. So, the only true advantage to a gun show is picking the rifle in person. Most of the dealers offer handpick options, meaning they'll pick through several rifles and give you the best of the bunch. Also, they tend to offer different variations for extra money, such as Tula or Izhevsk make (the Tula rifles tend to sell for more money), hexagonal or round reciever (hexagonal tends to go for more), rare years of production, ex-sniper (decomissioned "sniper" rifles with the scope and mounts removed and the holes in the reciever plugged), etc. So you can likely get the specific rifle you are wanting from online dealers in very nice, perfectly shootable condition. The downsides to this approach is that you will be buying the rifle sight unseen, you'll have to pay the shipping charge, and you'll need to have the rifle shipped to an FFL holder who will charge you a transer fee (unless you have an FFL yourself).

As far as hexagonal rifles being better than round recievers, understand that this is mainly only pertinent in the cosmetics department. All of them shoot equally well, but during the years between 1942 and 1944, the machining on less important areas of the reciever and barrel was of much lower quality than earlier round reciever and hexagonal reciever rifles. So if much nicer exterior machining is important, look for an earlier rifle. If you are only looking for a good shooter, don't worry so much about it.

· Diamond+ Bullet Member
1,650 Posts
Doomed you say? NEVAH!

Doomed...... NEVER! Touched by the Milsurp Fairy is more like it!

Soon the addiction will crawl into his psyche....... I started out 9 years ago with a Hakim and an M1 carbine....... 6 Years ago I got my C&R FFL, 125 rifles later.... MUAHAHAHHA.....

I am even more intruiged by them!

And now my sons, 22 & 23 are both Avid shooters and collectors! I think they own about 20 Milsurps between them. And Mosins were thier first purchases.

Mosins really started me into serious collection for variation in the Mosin... About Half of my collection are Mosin Variants.

Welcome Grasshopper you have done well.....

· Registered
379 Posts
An M91/30 will do you nicely. An M44 could also be a good shooter, and it's boom and flash are quite unforgetable, but the side-folding baoynet may not be your style. Both can be had for around $100 OTD. Personally i like the carbines, but i respect the longrifle just as much.

To that end, my favorite mosin (out of the 4 I own) is the Finnish M39. Its not carbine length but it feels less lankey than a 91/30. It is by far the most well made, well put-together mosin I have, and the expert craftsmanship can be seen in every part of the rifle. (Trust me, photos dont cut it, you gotta see them upclose) It'll shoot a hair off a fly's ass and IMO it's also the best looking mosin ever made.

I dont know exactly why or what makes it special, but it just feels amazing. I dont get the same feeling with my other mosins. Its actually hard to explain, you just gotta take a look at em all to really see the difference in the finnish ones.

An M39 will, however, cost you a bit more. Probably around $250-300 OTD if you shop around. But if you want one, dont wait too long, as these puppies will run out long before the 91/30's and M44's will. In fact I read out of the ~17million mosins produced, only ~100,000 of them were M39's. Now take into effect attrition, and that number gets even smaller.

Also if you want to avoid the FFL transfer process, you can get an antique M39. These are regular M39's which were produced on recievers that were made before the turn of the century. They are classified antiques, which is a completely different class than all other firearms. Basically what it means is you dont have to have a background check, and in fact you can order it online and have it shipped directly to your door, granted someone 21 or over signs for it :) Its just a way to save a bit of money and hassle. My M39 was made in 1942 on an 1896 reciever, and i was able to have it shipped right to my door!

There i go rambling about the M39 again! Anyway, my first Mosin was an M44, bought from a Big5. (i saw an add for it in the paper!) It was also my first rifle. But honestly, if this will be your first rifle, you will probably want to go with the easier-shooting 91/30, as the M44 will beat the crap out of you. Its a beast!

Make sure you stop by and tell us about your purchase... and post pics!!

· Registered
78 Posts

First off, welcome to the forums! You have hit the right place if you want information and a nice crowd all around.

Be sure to check out these two very useful resources: and

Between them you will learn a great deal.

You've made the best first choice by looking at the 91/30. A lot of first-time buyers go for the M-44, which is admittedly pretty slick looking with that bayonet hanging off the side. Personally, I always feel like a dork at the range with the bayonet extended, which is the only way to get an M-44 to group consistently.

91/30s are perfectly balanced, hold well for offhand shooting, and they are less painfully loud (get hearing protection no matter what).

Most of the refurbs I have seen (the affordable type) have somewhat dark bores which are at least reasonably strong. I got one from Big 5 (1926 Tula hex) which has a very good bore...after a few years of shooting and cleaning. It did not start out looking so great. A little "work" on your part, by which I mean shooting and cleaning (repeat both) can give you a surprisingly good bore. Oh, yeah, it shoots great and came with a bayonet, sling, oiler, and other tools for all of around $80.

You've been given very good advice in this thread (gunshows, general decency of refurbs). If those don't work for you, I would not hesitate to try AIM Surplus, a forum sponsor. They have been hit hard by panic buying, so this may not (will not) be an over-night purchase. That said, they are an honorable company who will work to make you happy.

Pay the hand-pick.

AIM will ship it to a firearms dealer near you (you will have to see if AIM has their ffl license on file and if not, you will have to ask the dealer to mail one in to AIM). AIM will charge you about $20 or so for shipping and your local dealer will also have a fee (check on this, as they seem to range from $25 to ?). You won't have to pay tax.

So, add another $40 or $50 to that $69. It may sound like a lot now, but after you have broken your finances with other crazy milsurp purchases, it will seem quite cheap.

I would also recommend that you buy ammunition online, at a place like AIM. You will have to scan/photocopy your driver's license to prove you are 18, but after that you can order ammo online for a lot less than you will ever find it locally, if you find it locally at all.

Don't be afraid of corrosive ammunition. All you need to do is run water or a water-based solvent down the bore and then clean as normal.

Welcome to the hobby. As my wife likes to note, "it sure seems to be satisfying."

· Registered
496 Posts
If you can't find a shop or a show locally that sells, then paying the extra $ for a hand-picked rifle is the way to go. That way you can tell the seller exactly what grade of weapon you're looking for and get it. If you do the Big5/Joes/Dunhams/Cabellas/pawn shop thing you may have a limited selection.

For a first MN I'd suggest the long rifle. I love my M44 to death, but the 91/30 has a bit less kick and that makes up for the bit of extra weight. Later down the line I'd say you should save your pennies and get a good Finn MN. They're miles above the stock slavic weapons.

· Gold Bullet member
4,425 Posts
Give us a location and chances are somebody's local enough to guide you down the winding road of addiction. I concur that a 91/30's a good bet for a bargain that's still a good shooter.

Also, as a college student, you're part of Keep Your Laws Off My Guns on facebook, right?

· Copper Bullet member
2,518 Posts

From what you describe, you're looking for a solid, reliable, economical, yet historically interesting, "user" of a rifle.

That being the case, I'd second the recommendations that you go with a 91/30. Specificlaly, one of the generally sound, rather plentiful, and reasonably priced refurbished rifles currently available from any number of sources. The 91/30 is reasonably handy and well balanced for a full sized infantry rifle, has a good set of sights, is accurate, and about as reliable as a rifle can get. It's also, for most people, a good deal more pleasant to shoot than a carbine.

My advise to anyone just starting out is to buy the best example you can find. Even if you can't really afford it. A rifle with problems you can get for a few dollars less will always have problems, and you'll never really be happy with it. The nice piece you get for a little bit more will stay nice, if you take care of it properly, and you'll never miss the few extra dollars you paid for it.

From the ones I've seen, there little to choose between the current crop of refurbished rifles as far as external condition is concerned. That being the case, go for the one with the best bore. You'll never regret it.

Hex receivers tend to have better quality machining, and you can come across some interesting variations in dates and markings. Round receiver rifles tend to run a bit rougher, WW2 production in particular, but they shoot just as well and some people prefer the "war baby" look and WW2 dates. Personally, I like the hex receiver jobs, but there's no right or wrong choice.

Good luck, and have fun!

· Gold Bullet Member
3,320 Posts
Welcome to the boards.

The previous posts have given you such good advice that there is little I can add to it.

Our sponsors list includes several companies that sell Mosin Nagants. The M91-30 is an excellent start. I prefer the hex receiver, but that is a matter of personal taste.

If there is a Big 5, Dunhams, Fleet Farm, or similar store in your area, check them out.

If there is a local rifle range, go visit and ask the shooters there where the milsurp shops are.

Since the 7.62x54r cartridge usually has corrosive primers, remember to clean the bore soon as possible after shooting.

· Registered
1,008 Posts
Welcome to the Forum!! :D :D Can't really ad to what's been said but to say "Just get one" :D

My first Mosin was a Bubba'd 1926 hex reveiver and I was hooked from the first time it went bang! The barrel was pitted and dark but it hit what I pointed it at.

This first one won't be your last so just do it! and remember to post ics here when you do! :D

· Registered
853 Posts
Welcome to the forums bud!

Like you, I too am a poor, poor college student who has bitten by the Mosin bug! I own three now - two M44's and a 91/30. To go along with those is an SKS which I intend to keep around for some time once I start shooting it. :p

I would recommend a solid 91/30 for you - perhaps a hex receiver since those babies look great. Ammo is cheap and plentiful, and you'll always have the biggest gun on the range no matter what!

Have fun, and good luck with your choices. :)

· Registered
7,918 Posts
check to see if their are any local gun shows coming up, there will probably be some there.
that would be my strong advice as well. Buy something that you can personally examine and see, before spending your money on. When it comes to mil-surplus rifles, you are buying a pig in a poke if you go the way of internet sales, you don't know what kind of condition the rifle will be in. Then when you add in shipping, FFLs fee for a transfer, that rifles doesn't become such a good deal, especially when you get one that isn't as nice as you expect it.

Go to a gun show, buy one there that you can personally examine, bore, stock, etc.... and handpick the one that you want that is the best condition you can find

· Silver Bullet member
1,134 Posts
Also keep an eye on the WTS (Want To Sell) Forum here.

Fellow members typically describe their rifles as honestly as possible and pics will assist you in making a decision. You will have to have the rifle transferred thru a 01FFL as described in other posts regarding online firearms purchases, unless it is an antique. With a purchase here, you'll at least have seen pics of what you're buying so you'll have feel for what condition the rifle is in.

Welcome to Gunboards!
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