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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I looked at the Mosin Nagant website linked from here, but could not find any photos or descriptions listing the changes/improvements that occured during the history of the Mosin Nagant Model 1891 rifle. I have several books that simply gloss over the MN's history, if they even mention that at all. From photos in the books, I can see the M1891 was about 5" longer than the 91/30. That's about it, though.

Concentrating just on those made in Russia/USSR, what were the developments?
Also, I assume that the 91/30 was introduced in 1930; I purchased a 1925 dated hex MN
that was designated 91/30 on the box and import stamp. Arsenal converted in the 1930s? If so, what was done?

Are there any books specifically on the Mosin Nagant that have a comprehensive developmental history showing each model and variants?
 

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The Mosin Nagant Rifle by Terance W.Lapin is my reference tool,but I'm more of a shooter than a collector..it has all of the information that you are seeking..

available from many sources along with the anti gun site
 

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Highlights of the differences:
M91 infantry is longer than the 91/30
M91 dragoon/cossack is the same length
91/30 has a site hood, M91 doesn't
91 has a hex receiver, updated 91's (ex dragoons, ex cossacks, 91/38's, 91/44s, some 91/59's)have hex receivers, purpose built 91/30's have round receivers
Rear sight is different
Forward sight is a post on the 91/30, blade on the 91
Sling escutcheons are slightly different in some cases
Some 91's have a magazine mounted sling swivel (these are very **very** rare)
91's sometimes have the imperial eagle stamped on the receiver flat, 91/30's never do.

All parts are more or less interchangeable except for the sights and stocks.
 

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The handguards and and barrel bands are different as well, and therefore not interchangable between models.
 

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The Mosin Nagant underwent new changes or specifications if you will. In late 1928 they took M91's and hacksawed the barrels off about 4 inches and installed new sights front and rear, arshins to meters. Original stocks were scrapped and new ones installed on the actions. As M91s were old (some were approaching 39 years old), the barrels of the M91s were cutoff just enough to renew the lands at the crown. All new production 91/30s received new round receiver actions which made the unit lighter in weight per saved steel. The carbines failed in 1907 and 1910 as a custom load would require a new powder measure (something that was not about change in the 7.62x54r spec). The muzzle flash was bright as a flare and obviously not very wise in the field. Due to the success of the cavalry Dragoons that were cutdown M91s this became the de-facto standard M1891/1930 or M91/30 as we call them today.

:grin:
 

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"In late 1928 they took M91's and hacksawed the barrels off about 4 inches...."

Old Fred;
What source are you citing for this conversion because I have heard this before but have never seen anything "official" written about it. Isn't the outside diameter of an M91 barrel, four inches back from the crown, larger than the diameter of a dragoon or 91/30 barrel where the front sight is mounted?
 

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There is a lot of this post that doesn't match what I've read in various other places. I have always understood they didn't convert many M91s to 91/30. If they did, they would not only have to cut off some barrel, but they would have to turn down the outside of the barrel to allow the bayonet to fit. I'm not a machinist but it seems like it would be a lot of work to pull the stock off (and throw it away?? WTH?) and then turn the whole barreled receiver in a lathe. They wouldn't have to do any of this to convert a dragoon, which brings up another point, that I have always read that the dragoon to 91/30 conversions were all done after the war, not in the 1920s and 30s.
The last thing that seems confusing to me is I've never heard anyone say they switched to round receivers to save weight; I always thought it was to save time since it takes less machine work to make a round receiver. If I'm wrong on these points I'd appreciate it if someone would correct me.



The Mosin Nagant underwent new changes or specifications if you will. In late 1928 they took M91's and hacksawed the barrels off about 4 inches and installed new sights front and rear, arshins to meters. Original stocks were scrapped and new ones installed on the actions. As M91s were old (some were approaching 39 years old), the barrels of the M91s were cutoff just enough to renew the lands at the crown. All new production 91/30s received new round receiver actions which made the unit lighter in weight per saved steel. The carbines failed in 1907 and 1910 as a custom load would require a new powder measure (something that was not about change in the 7.62x54r spec). The muzzle flash was bright as a flare and obviously not very wise in the field. Due to the success of the cavalry Dragoons that were cutdown M91s this became the de-facto standard M1891/1930 or M91/30 as we call them today.

:grin:
 

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Yeah, there is some broad stuff here. Just because it has an octagonal receiver does not mean it is a converted Dragoon. ALL 91/30's were built with geometric receivers in the first years. The round receivers did not immediately appear when the design was finalized. They came several years later. Round receivers were not selected to save weight (I sure can't tell a gnat's left toe of a difference between them, even when holding stripped versions of either) but to cut down on manufacturing cost and time. Those are all I can address out of my own education, but I would think the numbers of M91's that were cut down might have been low (after all, many were still simply used in combat, along with dragoon models).

Davis
 

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Discussion Starter · #13 ·
"In late 1928 they took M91's and hacksawed the barrels off about 4 inches...."

Old Fred;
What source are you citing for this conversion because I have heard this before but have never seen anything "official" written about it. Isn't the outside diameter of an M91 barrel, four inches back from the crown, larger than the diameter of a dragoon or 91/30 barrel where the front sight is mounted?
Well, like I said, I had to really work on the bayonet for it to fit--it was so tight, it wouldn't slip onto the barrel. 120 grit sandpaper wrapped around a dowel to slowly ream the socket out until it just fit. That would back up the theory of the barrel being tapered about 4" up from the original sight location. The rifle is a 1925 hex receiver.
 

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Well, like I said, I had to really work on the bayonet for it to fit--it was so tight, it wouldn't slip onto the barrel. 120 grit sandpaper wrapped around a dowel to slowly ream the socket out until it just fit. That would back up the theory of the barrel being tapered about 4" up from the original sight location. The rifle is a 1925 hex receiver.
Every 91/30 bayonet I own is difficult to slide on the barrel, and that goes for the post 1930 ones too, so that pretty much cancels that out.
 

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Basically in a nutshell Mosin production got "stripped down" over it's years of production, the very earliest 91's from Chattellerault had black Walnut stocks and metal finger plates behind the trigger guard, I have one of these that was "rebuilt". They were truly Old World Imperial Russian battle rifles, I have never gotten to see an "untouched" very early M91 but I imagine the fit and finish was very good...The M91 was dropped from production I would say in the early 20's..... When the 91/30 was developed it was basically a Dragoon simpified, easier and cheaper to make. It got more "simplified" over it's years with the round receiver and then wartime rifles deleted the unnecessary "refinements" like the milling of the left receiver wall, the round chamber area, etc. They look rougher but function the same. I don't follow the history of the M44's as closely as the 91/30 since I love the long rifles, so 1944 seems to be the last Soviet 91/30's that were made. Someone reported a 1945 but it was either an error on their part or a later assembled and dated rifle.


I have an M91 that was converted to "91/30 specs" the end of the barrel was cut down, the last 2" turned down in diameter and a sleeve , about 2" long was added, along with the sight base, and soldered in place. You can see the solder spot and the line from the sleeve. I don't have a good pic of the muzzle, just the rifle and it's impossible to tell from the pic I have what it is. The rear 91/30 sight is also visibly crudely soldered in place.

I researched this rifle heavily because I also asked "Why?" would the Soviets bother, and all info I got pointed to a later Eastern Europe-Balkan refurb post-WWII, possibly Bulgaria. Makes sense since a lot of M91's were given to them, and I guess they wanted to give the arsenal workers something to do so they converted some M91's to 91/30's.

My other question is why have I never seen or heard of any M91's that went through the refurb process, i.e. no M91's with the dark reblue, refurb shellaced stocks and the [/] mark, and the answer I got on that is the Soviets gave the bulk of the remaining M91's away to Romania, Bulgaria, and a few other nations after WWII. That includes the beat up, shot out ones which apparently constituted "spare parts" in the shipment. It seems these countries used them until the 80's or later, as some of the ones I have are in sad shape. The Romanian "Instructie" M91's are a good example, they were used as training rifles probably up until the fall of the East Bloc.
 

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Discussion Starter · #16 ·
Every 91/30 bayonet I own is difficult to slide on the barrel, and that goes for the post 1930 ones too, so that pretty much cancels that out.
Maybe that's why those bayonets are always seen fixed--once pounded into place, there "ain't no way" to get them back off! From what I have read, bayonet scabbards were not issued or even manufactured. They were simply installed backwards on the muzzle when not in use--the ones they could get back off, I mean.
 

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"In late 1928 they took M91's and hacksawed the barrels off about 4 inches...."

Old Fred;
What source are you citing for this conversion because I have heard this before but have never seen anything "official" written about it. Isn't the outside diameter of an M91 barrel, four inches back from the crown, larger than the diameter of a dragoon or 91/30 barrel where the front sight is mounted?
Old Fred made it up. The thousands of Model 1891-1910 that Century imported and sold (I got six of them) pretty much prove that Old Fred is making things up.
 
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