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Diamond Bullet Member
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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I have recently become interested in these conversions.There seem to be some that were pre-billboard import stamp that were imported in worn condition,not refurbished like the Billboard import marked later Dragoon/91/30 conversions.Did the Soviet army do this during WW2 or was it done post war? My rifle has "romanian"style larger numbers/renumbered buttplate and floorplate.I have seen a couple of Romanian conversions of 91 Westinghouse to the 91/30 configuration.Could the Romanians or some other Warsaw pact country have done the conversions?I have later models that are arsenal new or have had very little use since arsenal recondition.These have Soviet/Russian traits-shellac,the square with the diagonal in the stock,black paint covering worn metal areas.I remember worn 91/30s that came in with all the "instructie" marked rifles and the Romanian 91's.Were the dragoon conversions considered 2nd class arms and given to the Warsaw pact countries? OR there could be no rhyme or reason for the conversions,who did them or where they ended up in the vast eastern scheme of things.....
 

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Good question. My guess it was done before WWII for the simple reason that USSR officially adopted SI system of weights and measurements. One of the distinguishing features of the older imperial rifles is the arshin rear sight. Since USSR now used meters, the arshin sight had to go.
 

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Copper Bullet member
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I tend to agree with Marcus. When the 91/30 was first adopted and placed into production, it would seem to me (i.e. don't ask me to prove it) that the initial emphasis would have been on new production. The newer features on the 91/30 may have rendered the Dragoon technically obsolescent, but not so much so that they didn't remain perfectly servicable or make upgrading them any great priority. Some may have acquired some 91/30 parts, such as handquards, or replacement stocks, just in the normal course of business. But I think any general upgrade programs were probably done was post-war refurbishment of the existing stock of rifles. Not, as Marcus points out, that there wouldn't have bene room for some earlier exceptions.
 

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FWIW, my 1925 Dragoon, a bring-back from Japan at the end of WW2, has the same 91/30 style handgrard with brass endcaps you mention as being common on SCW or Finn captured dragoons. My guess is that the rifle ended up in Japan via either Manchuria or China.

I have no firm opinion either way as to whether the Dragoon style guard with the wrap-around ears was used on Dragoons up into the 1930's, or, if the 91/30 style guards did begin to appear on new production Dragoons during the later part of the 20's. All I can say is that in the case of my particular rifle, the handguard is an absolute 100%, dead on match for the rest of the piece in terms of patina, condition, wear & tear, and just plain looks completely original to the rifle.

What does that prove, one way or the other? Nothing. Even if the original one was replaced a few years after it left the factory, and was replaced with the then-standard 91/30 style, there's still been a lot of water under the bridge since the 1930's, and the rifle could well have seen all its active service with the new guard. Or perhaps it has been on the piece since day one. As you say, it's possible both theories are correct.
 

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Diamond Bullet Member
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Discussion Starter · #6 ·
One thing is that none of the "91/30 Conversions" have shown up untill recently-in the last 5-10 years.None from the spanish Civil war,not very many from Finland.In addition look at the many finnish marked 91 dragoon rifles that came in during the 1960's along with 91 Russian rifles with SA.The dragoons still in use by Soviets during the Winter War.I know it takes time to phase out Arishins and go over completly to 91/30 but I think that they may have been done after WW2-Like the 91/59 and the 91/38-figuring that those models were converted by Czechs or Bulgarians,not a regular Soviet conversion?
Skywarp thats quite a nice 91/30 Dragoon conversion,first one I have seen and a hard to find receiver marking!
 
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