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Discussion Starter · #1 · (Edited)
Gentlemen,

Portholio and I have been increasingly curious about the many posts from the internet making such claims as “all my Mosins shoot sub-MOA” and the like. Our experience did not support such claims. Therefore, we decided to shoot all of our Mosins under the same conditions in order to see what a typical Mosin is capable of.

The hypothesis:
I. A typical Mosin will not shoot sub-MOA with mil-surp ammo
II. A typical Mosin will shoot ~6” high vs point of aim The Test: Five shots through clean bore, then five more shots on target 50 yds away.

Conditions: 80 def F, clear The rifles:Many of these have had trigger jobs. Some have had some barrel wrap and/or barrel floating. Most are recent imports. The ammo:A mix of “60” and “188” Russian surplus

The shooters:
Portholio – some competition shooting, some formal training, extensive centerfire experience.
Duncan Wood – mostly rimfire, recent centerfire

Target size: 3” sticky

Targeting: 6 o’clock hold on a 3” target Shooting position: Bench, using a Caldwell shooting bag under the forstock (not under the barrel)

Test results:
1. Portholio1943 Izhevsk PU sniper (Rguns)
Notes: Zero was off, obviously. This rifle was very recently uncrated and needs some tuning.


2. Portholio1931 Izhevsk (Rguns)


3. Portholio1942 Izhevsk Bent Bolt (Rguns)
Notes: This was imported with a bent bolt. With a small windage adjustment this one should shoot POA=POI.

4. Duncan Wood1943 Izhevsk Bent Bolt (Rguns)
Notes: This was imported with a bent bolt. Barrel shows extensive wear around the crown.


5. Duncan Wood1939 Tula (RGuns)
Notes: The (as-imported) trigger on this one is scary light. This is the only test where more than 5 shots were fired. According to my spotter I was working on a really good group until I started throwing them again.


6. Duncan Wood1943 Izhevsk (Century)
Notes: This “blonde” stock rifle is in the best mechanical condition of the lot.


The range got too busy and we did not get two rifles (my ’44 PU or my ’27) tested.

EDIT: Adding the last two rifles. Same range, same ammo as last time. Temperature was 92 F with a breeze.

7. Duncan Wood 1927 Izhevsk
Notes: This rifle was shot as-is from the importer. Actions screws were tightened to 30 in-lb. This one has a loose bore but my favorite trigger other than my PU. I've had very good results from this rifle -- I'm surprised it grouped so poorly on paper.


8. Duncan Wood 1944 Izhevsk PU: Through the iron sights
Notes: Early 2000's Cole's import. No mods other than a Teflon tape barrel wrap under the front band. Actions screws were tightened to 30 in-lb


8. Duncan Wood 1944 Izhevsk PU: Through the scope
Notes: Optics make a big difference.



Conclusions:

Hypothesis I. Confirmed. Portholio flirted with 3 MOA, but most rifles were 4-6 MOA.
Hypothesis II. Partially confirmed. Only two rifles showed the oft-reported high-shooting characteristic. The ones that didn’t were as-imported, with no adjustments by Western shooters. Curious.
 

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Interesting, but why did you shoot at 50 yards? It is my understanding that MOA is to be done at 100 yards. i.e., a 1" group at 100 yards equals 1 MOA. 2" at 200 yards is also 1 MOA.
 

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Perhaps on a good day with match grade reloads one could shoot moa groups; it likely will not be me. I do not believe that any world war production rifle (sniper rifles excluded) would be able to consistently shoot at what would be match grade levels.

The sights and ammo just are not the quality needed for an average shooter and rifle to shoot that well; my opinion only.
 

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Hehe...I can't even see the target well enough @100yds. to get results like yours :) Mine always look more like your last two.
 

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The whole Mosin accuracy thing gets blown way out of proportion to reality sometimes. Some of the snipers will shoot 1 MOA with handloads, but most won't do it consistently with Milsurp, and for the vast majority of non-sniper M91/30's 1 MOA is out of the question with Milsurp, though some of the Finn M39's can do quite well, especially with a finely tuned handload. In my experience, bore condition plays a crucial role, and sadly, the bore on many Mosin's is not all that great, but there are some tweaks that can be done if you're determmined to extract every bit of accuracy out of a particular rifle. One guy claimed he could hit clay pigeons consistently @ 300 yds. with an iron sighted Mosin and milsurp ammo. I suggested he start his own reality TV show....

:laugh:
 

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Correct me if I am wrong. I believe the proper way for truly determining MOA is by firing 3 groups of shots at 100 yards, 10 shots per group. Then take the average extreme spread out of the 3 groupings and voila, that is the rifles true MOA. Bone stock Garands, M1a's, and AR15s are around 4 MOA out of the box with ball ammo. Just because a certain rifle was able to shoot a single 3 shot group that was sub moa does not make it a sub moa rifle.
 

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There can be a real problem in firing rifles for group at 50 yards.

When the bullet leaves the muzzle (even one with the absolute best of rifling and crowns), the muzzle blast causes it to yaw. The forces of moving through the air on the base of the bullet will eventually stabilize it.

Typically, this yawing of the bullet stops somewhere in the 30-70 yard range, and groups are known to tighten up a bit beyond that range (a 2" group at 50 yards could be a 3" at 100 yards, instead of a 4"). To eliminate this problem, all shooting for group should be done at 100 yards or more.
 

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mad_mardigan is on the way to what should really be done to test a rifles abilities. This whole idea that rifles shoot .XX MOA with 3 rounds at 100yds is grossly far away from where one should begin to consider what is accurate. Take a look at statistical analysis and you will see that 3 of anything does not accurately reflect a true sampling of reality.

The minimum sample size to be 95% confident about the results, from 100 shots, would need to be at minimum 80 shots.
 

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I would never say that "all" 91/30s will shoot MOA or better with surplus, nor even suggest that "most" of them will. Especially if you're limiting it to Russian light ball, which is what I would call "average to good" in performance, but not statistically as "great" as some others (Cz ST and Hungarian LB come to mind), even though I have shot some sub- MOA groups with the stuff out of snipers.

I will counter, however, by saying that the "4-6MOA, at best" that is often suggested on a lot of forums, is pure rubbish. When I shoot anything over 3 MOA with ANY Mosin (providing the bore isn't a sewer pipe), I start looking at what's wrong, because something obviously is. When it shoots 3 MOA or better, that's a good start and I'll start looking at ways to improve upon it, which, more often than not, I can. And, at this point, we're not even talking about handloads, yet.

Aside from trying various flavors of ammo, one of the biggest problems that I see, especially with Soviet refurb 91/30s, is that they were not assembled (or, should I say "re-assembled") with any real regard to stock fit, trigger/sear finish and fit, or barrel tension. I would assume that when they were originally built, there was a little more attention paid to some of these areas and, at a minimum, they were in brand new stocks that had not yet suffered from compression and the ravages of time and weather. That, in itself, is a HUGE factor in their performance.

My .02

John

ETA: I can tell you that the '39 Tula needs the action tightened and likely some attention to the tension on the barrel. :)

I would also add that Duncan is a good dude and I'm in no way trying to argue with his results, or his intentions. Actually, I wish more people here would post threads like this and I applaud him for getting out there and doing it, which is much more productive than sitting behind our keyboards, speculating.;)
 

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Great discourse here, keep it up.
One small observation I've had on this topic is that I once fired a m91/30 with and without the bayonet. Grouped much tighter with bayonet. That was a limited experiment with just one rifle.
 

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I have one M/N a Md39 Finn that will shoot under a MOA at 100 yards using Bulgarian 1950's or Czech surplus ammo. It won't do it with other types of ammo. Non of my other Mosins will shoot under MOA at 100 yards.
 

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Great discourse here, keep it up.
One small observation I've had on this topic is that I once fired a m91/30 with and without the bayonet. Grouped much tighter with bayonet. That was a limited experiment with just one rifle.
This is a great topic, too. I think a lot of people are under the misconception that fixing the bayonet will automatically improve accuracy (ie: group size). From what I've seen, it usually effects POI, but may or may not improve how tight the gun shoots. It's a barrel harmonics issue and is more directly related to how the barreled action fits in the stock. It could coincidentally improve things, depending on the stock fit, but it's not a given, by any stretch.
 

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So far, I have shot about 7 or 8 of my 13 Mosins (all within the last year)...100 yards, milsurp ammo, iron sights only, from the bench, bag under forestock only...and, in that time I have shot about 300 rounds through my various Mosins...

...only 2 of my Mosins were capable of 3-4" groupings at 100 yards (haven't tried the m39 yet, though)...

...one of them was my 1942 VKT m91...the other was my 1944 Tikka m91/30...ALL of my other Mosins I have shot so far put out WAY larger groupings (one may need to be slugged and have special handloads done for it, others might just need some front sight or barrel band adjustments, etc., whereas one or two seem to be just "shot out", or were cleaned improperly at some point in their history)...

...but, then again, some of it may be to shooter error as well!!... ;)


GREAT THREAD!!!!!...this is a fantastic attempt at doing SCIENCE with firearms at a range!!...Kudos to you fellas for doing this, and then sharing it with the rest of us!!!...
 

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This is a great topic, too. I think a lot of people are under the misconception that fixing the bayonet will automatically improve accuracy (ie: group size). From what I've seen, it usually effects POI, but may or may not improve how tight the gun shoots. It's a barrel harmonics issue and is more directly related to how the barreled action fits in the stock. It could coincidentally improve things, depending on the stock fit, but it's not a given, by any stretch.
I agree, one rifle doesn't make a good sample. It's rifle specific and other results WILL vary.
The point of impact also did change for the better, which was the point of my experiment. I was stunned when the group shrunk by one half.
 

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Great post, i would like to make some points on it, it is in no way to argue with Mr. Wood.
I think to test true accuracy of a rifle, one need one piece rifle rest( best would tight the rifle down to a heavy one piece rest), a bag in the front then shoulder in the rear is not the best way to get the most accuracy out of a rifle.
second. i had owned 4 M39s, one 91/30, one M27 over these years, not a lot by the #s, but i shot them all, about 800-1,000 rounds of 7.62x54r a year through them( have only one M39 left), mostly using surplus ammo. My sort limited experience with Russian 80's surplus ammo is that( used up 2 cans of it, just this past year), on the most accurate MN i have, it shoots about 1.5moa 3 shoot groups with two piece rest on a good day( not too hot or cold, and i had a good night sleep and not a lots coffee, lol, etc). 2-3 moa with 5 shoot group. All at 100 yards. So to me, the Russian 80's LB is at best 2 MOA ammo.
 

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It is more often the ammo that is the poor performer than the rifle. About the only Milsurp ammo I know of that will fairly consistently produce sub-one inch five shot groups at 100 yds is US Miltary Match Ammo(M72 and M118), and that is in a match quality rifle or an exceptionally good rifle by luck of the draw.

John/joop and lots of others here have shown that these Mosins, especially the snipers and M-39's, can shoot sub-one inch five shot groups occasionally with good milsurp 54r ammo when that praticular rifle likes a given ammo. When these rifles are maximized/tuned, and match quality hand loads are used, many of these rifles can do it pretty often.

In my opinion, for a PU or M-39 to be shooting groups which average about 1.5-2 inch five shot groups at 100 yds with milsurp ammo is pretty darn good and not real unusal. In my experience, to get 3 or 4 of the five shots inside an inch with milsurp is pretty common but eliminating that 1-2 flyers per group is no easy task and in many cases is ammo inconsistency more often than not(assuming the rifle is tuned as John mentioned).

In my US rifles, when I use m72 Match in a good rifle, I can fairly often get 1.5 inch or better five shot groups. When I put M-2 ball through the same rifle the groups are more like 2-3 inches. Again, clearly the quality of the ammo.

Good topic.
 

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Discussion Starter · #17 ·
Interesting, but why did you shoot at 50 yards? It is my understanding that MOA is to be done at 100 yards. i.e., a 1" group at 100 yards equals 1 MOA. 2" at 200 yards is also 1 MOA.
Easy answers:
1. We had eight rifles to test. Shooting at 50 yards made for less walking and more shooting. Even then, the range got busy and we STILL didn't get them all tested.
2. I wasn't sure if they would all be on paper at 100 yds.
 

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MOA is MOA at any distance, just larger or smaller depending on range, so 50 yards should give a start to testing - I sight in all kinds of rifles at 50 yards to start things off and find fine accuracy at that range with everything from Mosins to Remingtons to Mannlichers, so the test is valid as a start. Of course, for 1 MOA at 50 yards the rifle should shoot to 1/2 inch. I haven't seen bullet flight disruption from muzzle blast or turbulence do anything bad to 50 yard accuracy at these kinds of military tolerances, but never say never. It might affect light bullets, but seems unlikely to do much from my experience.

As said above by Mike, a top shooter in anybody's book, ammo is critical. All gun magazine tests show this to be true on modern firearms tested with lots of different loads, which is why the writers do it. Different guns like different ammo. My M39 likes heavy ball, my Mosins like all kinds of different stuff with little predictability. Most don't seem to do much better with expensive modern ammo than they do with 1970s Russian light ball (which I have many tins of), but I haven't tried all that many brands or designs of bullets, so I just rely on surplus. Wish I handloaded to try more.


Lastly, any really scientific test needs to be done with a heavy lead sled to eliminate all human elements if possible. The best would be 100 yards, lead sled, calm day, clean cold barrel and different ammo, old and new.

Congrats to Duncan Wood for starting the thread on accuracy.

(My several rescoped Tula ex-snipers will generally shoot to about 2 MOA at 100 yards with surplus Russian light ball on a good day and some of my iron sighted regular rifles will do 1" at 50 yards -I can't see well enough to get too fancy at 100 yards without a scope.
Only two (both refurbs) out of 35 Mosins I own shot 6" high, and one of those shot even higher than that, but mine are often non-refurbs or battlefield condition. My M39 shot high until I got a taller front sight from Finland. Also, the uglier and more beat up rifles with what you would think are worse bores often shoot better than the pretty ones, so a somewhat grungy bore doesn't always mean bad shooting.)
 

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Easy answers:
1. We had eight rifles to test. Shooting at 50 yards made for less walking and more shooting. Even then, the range got busy and we STILL didn't get them all tested.
2. I wasn't sure if they would all be on paper at 100 yds.
As I originally stated, I found your work very interesting. I understand why you shot at 50 yards but I still believe it would have been more telling if you had shot at 100 yards. I think you may have been surprised with your results as all look like they would be on the paper but I suspect the shots would have hit higher then they did at 50 yards. The only rifle in this test that needs additional work is the 1936 Tula. Again, your efforts are appreciated. Thanks, Steve
 
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