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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Had my '41 Sako m39 out at the 200 yard range to shoot some mil-surp silver tip ammo. I shot 7-8 rounds at a NRA SR target and was some what impressed with the grouping.

Coming off the line I checked the receiver screws and nose cap screw.

All were real loose. I had the gun apart a couple of weeks ago and apparently not torqued the screws (I use a torque wrench set to 55" lbs).

I torqued the received screws to 55" lbs and the nose cap to 25" lbs and shot another 6-7 rounds. The group seemed to open up.

I reduced the receiver screw torque to 35" lbs and the nose cap to snug by feel.

The next group of shots didnt seem to shrink back to the 1st group size.

I quit at that point, cleaned the bore with water and then solvent and switched to my standard MN hand loads as I was also zeroing the rifle in for an upcoming CMP Vintage Rifle match.

What I'ld like know is if anyone is "tuning" their m39s to get the most accuracy out of the gun by using the receiver and nose cap screws.

If so how are you doing it?
 

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I have two m-39s,one shimmed,one not shimmed.I found a big difference when I loosened up the nose cap screws a bit. The rifle did not like it torqued down. My guess is that when the rifle left the arsenal,these screws were tuned to get the accepted accuracy. The first time a soldier disassembles the rifle for cleaning or has bayonet practice.......I'm not an expert,just a guy who found out tighter on the front band was not better for my rifles. Then agian,every rifle is differnt...Larry
 

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Did you check for barrel to stock contact in the barrel channel?
 

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Here we go again! I have written this out countless number of times now but if it helps I will state it again. Years ago before a nameless only source of M39's existed I got my M39's from many sources that did not take them apart and I found the following. The nose cap screws were all kept loose when I got them after I took them apart and I knew no better than to tighten them reasonably. This didn't always work for accuracy very well so here is what I started doing and do with all Mosins I own and shoot. I take and snug the front action screw and back if off about 1/4 turn. Then I snug the rear action screw note I don't use a torque wrench even though I own one in inch pound designations. I them take and re-snug the front screw keeping in mind you are setting an a steel action in an older wooden stock. I set the hand guard and both bands barely enough to keep the screws from falling out while I am shooting the rifle. I believe even though this may not be what the modern accuracy techniques may be today that is what the Finn's were attempting to do which will work just fine with these older rifles they shot. You will find that most well shot M39's will have a wear spot on the barrel where the barrel passes through the front band, I believe this is because they left those front barrel bands loose. If you will remember the Finn's also used those little screws to hold the barrel bands in place on their M91's and the reason for those screws was because they left the barrel bands so loose they needed some way to hold the hand guard in place. Again this approach is just an idea that I use taking info from my observations of rifles condition when I got them before anybody messed with the settings the Finn's were using at the time. There is nothing as far as I know written anywhere to support this idea but I have found it works for me. Keep in mind they were fighting many times in sub-zero temperatures so rifles cooled rapidly and when a barrel heats up in our temperate climate it will take quite awhile longer than on their battlefields and that will greatly effect accuracy.

I have even noticed on the 91/30's the Finns made the barrel clamps seem to be much lighter and the holding clamps seem to set much higher to hold them in place and thusly hold the hand guard in place too. In tightening the action like I do it is attempt to raise the barrel in the channel and crudely, but effectively float the barrel in the stock. I also will bring forward the amount of tangs (along with markings) that are machined down too on Finnish rifles. This is another way to raise the front of the action and further float the barrel in the channel. I have found that for me a good shooting M39 will actually have the front end of the barrel moving in the stock. I also take a great amount of time between shots to try and duplicate the climate the rifles were used in too.

This is just what I do and think and nothing more and many people will not find it works for them and they may clamp the daylights out of the rifle and say it works for them More power to them but I just don't like the idea of taking an almost 70 year old steel rifle and clamping a likely just as old wooden stock tightly around it and expecting it to last and work long. Another thing to make sure you have in a good shooting rifle is a wear mark on the recoil lug to assure you that it is working and the recoil is not being taken by the wood of the stock. another words there must indeed be a slight amount of tang clearance between the steel and the wood. The lack of this is why we see so many tang cracks on M39's where the wood has been taking the recoil and not the lug or bolt.

Well that is what I have used for years and it works for me so if you want give it a try. Good Luck and Happy Shooting! Bill
 

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tang clearance between the steel and the wood. The lack of this is why we see so many tang cracks on M39's where the wood has been taking the recoil and not the lug or bolt.

ZeeBill: although my M39 rifles shoot accurately, your comments above will have me taking them down and making sure I am not setting stocks up for cracks. Thanks.
 

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Discussion Starter · #6 ·
Zeebill: Great thanks. This ought to be a sticky. As a aircraft mechanic the use of torque wrenches come naturally to me so using them on the Finn and Russain m91 family of rifles was second nature.

I'll give your detailed instructions a go and see what happens.
 

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I had a heck of a time getting my M39 to shoot well. I think I was actually getting too much forearm pressure on the barrel. I ended up having to actually add a couple of shims under the recoil lug to bring the barrel up, and adding a slice of cork under the handguard at the muzzle to snug it. It definitely wouldn't shoot well if any of the bedding or barrel band screws were loose at all. They all have to be snug. The groups improved dramatically. They went from a strung out 3-5" at 100 yd. down to 1-2" immediately.
 

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In addition to what the others have said, and assuming that the nose of the stock and handguard are both applying pressure to front of the barrel, start with the front band tight. Shoot a group. Then, loosen it by an eighth/quarter turn and shoot another group. Rinse and repeat until you find the sweet spot. The last one I did was a '41 VKT and I found that it likes to be exactly 1/4 turn from tight. At this position, it will shoot cloverleafs at 100 yards. Any tighter or looser and it opens up. Also, the rear band is only tight enough to keep it from slipping the band spring. When I tighten it until the HG touches the barrel, it opens up.

Best of luck!

John
 

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Some good suggestions by many.

Number one, never shoot with loose action screws. You can damage your stock. When you tighten them, on any Mosin, get the slack out of the screws but then hold the rifle muzzle up and give it a tap, muzzle up, to the buttplate(hit the butt on a carpet) to settle the action to the rear. Keep it muzzle up and then thighten the action. I tighten the front/forward screw first, then the tang/rear. Then recheck. After an adjustment to the action screws, or any other change, the rifle should be shot several times before any changes to anything or shoot a group to see if your change was good. It must resettle in the stock. Shooting a group right after a change is not conclusive. You are wasting your time and ammo. You can shoot cheap ammo to resettle the action. If you use a torque wrench, looks like 35-50 inch/lbs is the neighborhood, about 40 IMO. The wood will compress and frequent checks are essential. That is why shims exist and were widely used by the Soviets and Finns.

On an m39, the barrel should be floated from the receiver to the front band, period. Any contact, it must be fixed. Action shims as needed. No contact at the tang. Follow all the usual rules with stock fit. Adjust the front band as Joop says.
 

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like the others have said I have my barrel as floated as I can get it and with loose nose cap. I just wish I could get it to shoot better cold bore. After the barrel warms up, about 10 shots it shoots 1 inch groups. Cold bore is 3" inch and works it way down to the 1" inch group.
 

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One more thing -ammo is very important. Different rifles like different ammo.

My Russians generally like silvertip light ball best, while many of my Finns like heavy ball. I have one M39 that shoots quite poorly with silvertip, but settles right down with heavier bullets.

To do it really right, you need to slug your barrels to see what you are dealing with and then start experimenting with different ammo, keeping track of what works and what doesn't.

I haven't tried the Russian barrel wrap on an M39 but maybe that would help with your rifle. My best Tula PU improved consistency with the wrap.

It sounds like either your barrel is changing a lot with heating up or the action is seating itself from recoil as you shoot (more likely in my opinion) as most sniper and competition rifles shoot best "clean cold barrel" with perhaps a single "fouling shot" before shooting for score. Yours is the opposite, shooting better hot, so something is changing soimewhere.
My rifles tend to string and shoot less accurately, not more accurately, as they get hot, so yours is the exception.
 

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It sounds like either your barrel is changing a lot with heating up or the action is seating itself from recoil as you shoot (more likely in my opinion) as most sniper and competition rifles shoot best "clean cold barrel" with perhaps a single "fouling shot" before shooting for score. Yours is the opposite, shooting better hot, so something is changing soimewhere.
My rifles tend to string and shoot less accurately, not more accurately, as they get hot, so yours is the exception.
That has been my experience also. The hotter mine gets the wilder it shoots, or maybe I am just getting tired too. Many of us discount greatly the fact that we are not sniper quality shooters and will refuse to admit that may be the problem. I learned a long time ago my name is not Carlos Hathcock nor will I ever come close to being half as good as he was. Some people just have a knack for shooting well and I am not one of them. Bill
 

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Many of us discount greatly the fact that we are not sniper quality shooters and will refuse to admit that may be the problem. I learned a long time ago my name is not Carlos Hathcock nor will I ever come close to being half as good as he was. Some people just have a knack for shooting well and I am not one of them. Bill
Amen, talent plays a big part....
 

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What I'ld like know is if anyone is "tuning" their m39s to get the most accuracy out of the gun by using the receiver and nose cap screws.

If so how are you doing it?
As for tuning the kiv/39 fore end there is a needless "step" on the handguard inside right where the rear barrel band is. As the "step" usually touches the barrel some wood must be removed. Also, the barrel band and nose cap must be tightened only enough to keep them steady. To prevent the nose cap screw from loosening up a lock washer is put right below the screw head.

One thing regarding the receiver that is really necessary to check is that the recoil lug and and recoil bolt have firm and even contact. I've had some accuracy issues with a brand new B barrel beceuse only the lug right corner touched the bolt. Yesterday I finally rectified this by flattening the lug rear with a file constantly checking the contact with soot from a candle. After this I've only fired two five round test groups with 124 gr .310 Lapua S405 at 150 meters and the groups were 58mm and 79mm. Looking forward to see how the D-166 will perform.

BTW if one decides to grind the recoil lug rear it is REALLY important to make sure not the receiver tang rear or the tang screws touch the stock after the procedure. It is only the lug that that takes the recoil and nothing else!

This is how the Finnish Army varsity shooters did it and there's also a book about it published in 1971.



 

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Discussion Starter · #17 ·
Tuning

As for tuning the kiv/39 fore end there is a needless "step" on the handguard inside right where the rear barrel band is. As the "step" usually touches the barrel some wood must be removed. Also, the barrel band and nose cap must be tightened only enough to keep them steady. To prevent the nose cap screw from loosening up a lock washer is put right below the screw head.

One thing regarding the receiver that is really necessary to check is that the recoil lug and and recoil bolt have firm and even contact. I've had some accuracy issues with a brand new B barrel beceuse only the lug right corner touched the bolt. Yesterday I finally rectified this by flattening the lug rear with a file constantly checking the contact with soot from a candle. After this I've only fired two five round test groups with 124 gr .310 Lapua S405 at 150 meters and the groups were 58mm and 79mm. Looking forward to see how the D-166 will perform.

BTW if one decides to grind the recoil lug rear it is REALLY important to make sure not the receiver tang rear or the tang screws touch the stock after the procedure. It is only the lug that that takes the recoil and nothing else!

This is how the Finnish Army varsity shooters did it and there's also a book about it published in 1971.



CH: I noticed that the shooter shown in your book was "slung up". I've shot my Russian m91/30 with the sling positioned likewise although I used a USGI web sling instead of the Russian "carry strap".

Also.... I recently purchased a 1938 Izhevsk m91/30. When I disassemble the rifle I found that the recoil lug area (in the stock inletting/crossbolt area as well as on the recoil lug) ) had a reddish oily material (red lead?) by it and that the recoil lug had been filed on but only on part of the face of the lug as the blueing had been filed away. I've yet to shoot the the gun.
 

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To check if the handguard is touching, I remove it (make sure the action screws are tight, so that the barrel is positioned as it would be when everything is together), then run a very thin bead of Elmer's white glue at the very top of the barrel, for it's entire length, to where the handguard would clamp it at the nose cap. Go back and "knock down" the bead of glue with a swipe of your finger, so it's not raised too high. Then, put the handguard in place, but don't put the bands on. Remove it and see if any glue has transferred to the handguard. You can keep doing this with the bands installed and screwing them down to check for contact points at varying tension. Works great and the glue wipes right off, afterwards.

John
 

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To check if the handguard is touching, I remove it (make sure the action screws are tight, so that the barrel is positioned as it would be when everything is together), then run a very thin bead of Elmer's white glue at the very top of the barrel, for it's entire length, to where the handguard would clamp it at the nose cap. Go back and "knock down" the bead of glue with a swipe of your finger, so it's not raised too high. Then, put the handguard in place, but don't put the bands on. Remove it and see if any glue has transferred to the handguard. You can keep doing this with the bands installed and screwing them down to check for contact points at varying tension. Works great and the glue wipes right off, afterwards.

John

Thats an an awesome trick John! I'm going to have to try it.
 
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