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Discussion Starter · #1 · (Edited)
It is tough to get me excited about many rifles these days (well , the mint M39 B barrel I found a few months back excepted) , but I just got a 1944 Tula M44 that has a lot to say.

I have quite a few M38s and Izhevsk M44s and other carbines, but have searched for years for a really nice Tula. These are much less common than the Izhevsk ones and celebrate the re-opening of the Tula Arms Factories after being moved to Izhevsk until the tide of war turned to favor the Red Army. Having visited Tula, these have a special meaning to me. In addition to 1944 being the first official year for the M44s., these help mark the return to Tula after the defense of Moscow and Tula.

Thanks to a GB member, I finally filled the Tula slot with a non-refurb 44 with all matching numbers except the non-numbered bolt. It surprised me with its excellent condition and clues and actually has a lot of character.

So what does it "say?" My Russian wife, two seconds after seeing it, said "That rifle never went to the war." She touched it and said "That was a guard's rifle, maybe in the Kremlin itself or travelling with an officer's guards." As she occasionally has near-psychic insights, I gave a bit of credence to her guess as I unpacked the rifle and starting looking. It definitely has no "been there, done that" in the battlefront sense, but shows long care by someone who really knew how to take care of a rifle. I think the soldier who carried this one was very proud of it.

How it dodged the fighting of 1944 and 1945 and the postwar refurb piles is the mystery.

Bluing is perfect original, with the slight rub-out around the serial number stamps that comes from someone who didn't over-polish or rub with a harsh cleaner and is an indication of original blue.

The stock, complete with a Tula star, is not refinished (no postwar red lacquer glop on this one!) but has the smooth grip and forehand feel of being carried carefully a long time with few dents or dings and no dirt. Sometimes you can feel a bit of personality when you pick up a rifle - this one has it. Interestingly, the insert sling holes show clean smooth metal polished from the long carry of the sling dog collars while carried a long time, with slight dings only on the side facing a pistol belt or pack. No gravel marks or dropped rifle dings or grease or battle damage, just a clean original Tula stock.

The buttplate is original, with correct font matching numbers and curiously, is worn smooth and bare from resting on a soft surface, not the usual replacement buttplate of refurbs or the hard dings form rocks and concrete of my battlefront condition rifles. It as if the rifle rested for a long time on a soft floor or even carpets, perhaps on guard duty. Not a fleck of rust, just a smooth surface matching the slight wood wear where it is set. Did it really sit for weeks at parade rest outside a door? Who knows.

The next evidence that it never went to battle is, of course, the perfect original floorplate. Most refurbs have replacement floorplates, new or refurb reblued and renumbered, because soldiers in combat scratch and damage the floorplate when the lean the rifle on trench walls, rocks, hard walls or window frames to shoot. This one is original and almost unscratched. The magazine shows the bluing somewhat thin from careful cleaning, but no damage at all.

The unnumbered bolt may or may not be original. It has one Izhevsk marked piece, but I don't know if Tula was in full Mosin bolt part production by 1944 or whether they relied on outside Izhevsk bolt parts as needed, as I suspect.

The best part is the barrel markings, no refurb mark, all nice Tula as they should be, no reblue or wear beyond cleaning. A good bore shows evidence of use in the slightly dark grooves but excellent sharp rifling, meaning somebody at least practiced with this one. A little Tula star on the rear sight finishes it off. No counterbore, of course.

So, here it is. Not my most valuable or rarest rifle, but one telling the story of the victorious return to Tula. How it avoided the long march to Berlin I can't really guess, as most new rifles in 1944 went straight to the front, but I have to pretend it spent the last years of the war carefully guarding Stalin's office door. Who ever really carried it in 1944 and 1945 sure took great care of it!

 

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Interesting rifle, i don't think it would have lasted nearly as long as it did on the trader if there had been more, and more detailed pics. I was considering buying it myself, but other things kept presenting themselves.

Does it have a stamped floorplate?
 

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Interesting rifle, i don't think it would have lasted nearly as long as it did on the trader if there had been more, and more detailed pics. I was considering buying it myself, but other things kept presenting themselves.

Does it have a stamped floorplate?
Yeah, I opted for a Romanian M44 instead, if I recall. Too many guns, not enough money.
 

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That is a keeper; very nice Tula M44. I had a typical refurb hex Tula M44 a few years ago that I sold. It did have a Tula marked M44 stock, the only one I have ever seen. Kind of regretted selling that one just because of the stock.
 

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Congratulations! Rare piece!
Does bayone move a little in folded position (front/backward)?
Can you post picture of the floorplate and magazine (including front side of the magazine with hole for a screw). Interesting to see where was produced magazine blank - Izhevsk or Tula (even if it have a Tula star, it can be produced in Izhevsk)
It's also interesting to see receiver tang markings, please post them if you will decide to disassemble carbine
 

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Discussion Starter · #9 ·
Yes, I will work on the photos and take a look at various details for you.

Do you have an idea how many of these 1944 Tula M44s were produced?

(We are in the flood area of California so I was without power for a few days, but the rifle still got delivered safely by USPS through a few landslides and flooding. Oil lamps and a big fireplace are what everyone needs for backup.)

Congratulations! Rare piece!
Does bayone move a little in folded position (front/backward)?
Can you post picture of the floorplate and magazine (including front side of the magazine with hole for a screw). Interesting to see where was produced magazine blank - Izhevsk or Tula (even if it have a Tula star, it can be produced in Izhevsk)
It's also interesting to see receiver tang markings, please post them if you will decide to disassemble carbine
 

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Yes, I will work on the photos and take a look at various details for you.

Do you have an idea how many of these 1944 Tula M44s were produced?

(We are in the flood area of California so I was without power for a few days, but the rifle still got delivered safely by USPS through a few landslides and flooding. Oil lamps and a big fireplace are what everyone needs for backup.)
I don't know how many were produced, but ordered quantity - 77 000 (and 1 681 000 in Izhevsk)
 

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Discussion Starter · #11 ·
Thanks, my friend - Wow!

If that 77,000 ordered were actually produced, the number that made it through the war in decent shape and were refurbed might be one third or half of that (if lucky) and the number of non-refurb examples really low.

I am happier than ever to have found this one!

I don't know how many were produced, but ordered quantity - 77 000 (and 1 681 000 in Izhevsk)
 

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Great rifle you have there! Thanks for sharing. You peaked my interest when you mentioned that your wife has "near-physic" moments. Has she told you anything that she felt from any other rifle in your collection? Particularly the "been there done that" guns? Scenes of carnage and such? Not trying to derail your thread, just interested.
 

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Thanks, my friend - Wow!

If that 77,000 ordered were actually produced, the number that made it through the war in decent shape and were refurbed might be one third or half of that (if lucky) and the number of non-refurb examples really low.

I am happier than ever to have found this one!
I think survived percent of the late war rifles (majority of these Tula m44's were ordered in the second half of 1944 - 15000 in May-June, and 62000 in July-December 1944) was much higher. Not all of the produced weapons were sent to troops at that period, some went directly to the storage
 

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Great rifle you have there! Thanks for sharing. You peaked my interest when you mentioned that your wife has "near-physic" moments. Has she told you anything that she felt from any other rifle in your collection? Particularly the "been there done that" guns? Scenes of carnage and such? Not trying to derail your thread, just interested.
I had the same thought. Any Finn captures she has told you to stay away from!?!
 

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Discussion Starter · #15 · (Edited)
Out of perhaps 200 firearms and a lot of scary-looking edged weapons from a few deadly Moro krises to many well-used bayonets and swords, only three weapons have brought any feelings from my Russian wife besides "Another rifle? How much did that thing cost? We could have gone to the Bahamas for that much..." A medical doctor by training, she is practical to the extreme, but doesn't disregard the idea of psychic experiences entirely.

The first I mention was this M44, the second a very nice 43 Tula PU sniper with original scope that when she looked through the scope and shot it for the first time she said it brought a huge unexpected feeling of pride, a feeling of how great it felt to be able to drive back the Nazis almost as if she was the sniper at war's end, sort of like a patriotic song was played. She still tells people about that strange very positive and happy experience.

The last was my first blokadnik bayonet, made in Leningrad's horrible 900 day siege. Without knowing anything at all about it or having seen one before, she said she didn't want it near her, that it came from "a dark and terrible place", that she felt cold and fear with it. She had no idea what it was or where it came from, not having any idea that it was dug from the corpse-filled trenches of the Courland Pocket, where the last of Army Group North were killed or surrendered to the Red Army and the Leningrad Worker's Militias who hunted them down with that very bayonet. I would call that a real "psychic hit" by any terms, considering that my house is full of much scarier looking items that actually have been used in battles that draw no response at all from her.

I guess her own 1930s Colt Detective Special with Franzite grips had a similar response - she saw it on a gun store shelf and immediately said she really wanted it, so I bought it, of course, since usually she is saying "Don't buy it." She said it seemed to really be the gun for her, that it drew her to want it badly from the first sight. Former Red Army trained, she shoots very well with handguns or rifles - less than two months later she used that vintage Detective Special to drive away an intruder when she was home alone in the middle of the night, no shots fired. The sight of the gun in her hands was enough to make the intruder run for his life. I guess the little snub-nose .38 really did speak to her, saying "Kiddo, I'm your personal Roscoe - you gonna need me soon, babe, so take me home!"

Somewhere on GB is a fairly long thread on feelings from various weapons, some thinking it is ooga-booga nonsense and some claiming a few thoughts. No visions of carnage or full-body apparitions, though, so ghost hunters will have to wait.

Great rifle you have there! Thanks for sharing. You peaked my interest when you mentioned that your wife has "near-physic" moments. Has she told you anything that she felt from any other rifle in your collection? Particularly the "been there done that" guns? Scenes of carnage and such? Not trying to derail your thread, just interested.
 

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Out of perhaps 200 firearms and a lot of scary-looking edged weapons from a few deadly Moro krises to many well-used bayonets and swords, only three weapons have brought any feelings from my Russian wife besides "Another rifle? How much did that thing cost? We could have gone to the Bahamas for that much..." A medical doctor by training, she is practical to the extreme, but doesn't disregard the idea of psychic experiences entirely.

The first I mention was this M44, the second a very nice 43 Tula PU sniper with original scope that when she looked through the scope and shot it for the first time she said it brought a huge unexpected feeling of pride, a feeling of how great it felt to be able to drive back the Nazis almost as if she was the sniper at war's end, sort of like a patriotic song was played. She still tells people about that strange very positive and happy experience.

The last was my first blokadnik bayonet, made in Leningrad's horrible 900 day siege. Without knowing anything at all about it or having seen one before, she said she didn't want it near her, that it came from "a dark and terrible place", that she felt cold and fear with it. She had no idea what it was or where it came from, not having any idea that it was dug from the corpse-filled trenches of the Courland Pocket, where the last of Army Group North were killed or surrendered to the Red Army and the Leningrad Worker's Militias who hunted them down with that very bayonet. I would call that a real "psychic hit" by any terms, considering that my house is full of much scarier looking items that actually have been used in battles that draw no response at all from her.

I guess her own 1930s Colt Detective Special with Franzite grips had a similar response - she saw it on a gun store shelf and immediately said she really wanted it, so I bought it, of course, since usually she is saying "Don't buy it." She said it seemed to really be the gun for her, that it drew her to want it badly from the first sight. Former Red Army trained, she shoots very well with handguns or rifles - less than two months later she used that vintage Detective Special to drive away an intruder when she was home alone in the middle of the night, no shots fired. The sight of the gun in her hands was enough to make the intruder run for his life. I guess the little snub-nose .38 really did speak to her, saying "Kiddo, I'm your personal Roscoe - you gonna need me soon, babe, so take me home!"

Somewhere on GB is a fairly long thread on feelings from various weapons, some thinking it is ooga-booga nonsense and some claiming a few thoughts. No visions of carnage or full-body apparitions, though, so ghost hunters will have to wait.
Great M44!

I believe in gut instincts, first impressions, irrational feelings, things that cannot be explained, but indeed felt.

Great carbine, M44 Tula's don't grow on trees! :)

Pahtu.
 

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Discussion Starter · #17 ·
Thanks, my friend!

I, too, believe in gut instincts and first impressions, plus things that go bump in the night.

We finally have the power back on, the flooding down and most roads open out here in "sunny" CA so maybe I can go shooting, assuming the range isn't one big landslide.

Great M44!

I believe in gut instincts, first impressions, irrational feelings, things that cannot be explained, but indeed felt.

Great carbine, M44 Tula's don't grow on trees! :)

Pahtu.
 

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Thanks for sharing. I'm typically a "science first" kinda guy, but these "impression" stories shouldn't be counted out. Now for pics of your blokadnik bayonet! I bought one in rough condition not too long ago for around $80 shipped (likely too much), but I love the history and believe it is my favorite bayonet out of the collection.

-Travis
 

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Discussion Starter · #20 ·
I actually have two blokadniks now, both from Courland.

They are about as bleak and scary an artifact as anyone could have, forged by hand by workers whose families were starving to death and freezing in the 900 day Nazi blockade of Leningrad.

I sure wouldn't want to be an SS trooper facing those guys in the German retreat.


View attachment 1989553 View attachment 1989561 View attachment 1989569


QUOTE=travisgreyfox;6349857]Thanks for sharing. I'm typically a "science first" kinda guy, but these "impression" stories shouldn't be counted out. Now for pics of your blokadnik bayonet! I bought one in rough condition not too long ago for around $80 shipped (likely too much), but I love the history and believe it is my favorite bayonet out of the collection.

-Travis[/QUOTE]
 
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