||Q. How do you pronounce "Mosin Nagant"?
A. MO-seen Nah-GON
||Q. Are there any records of the use of my
Mosin Nagant rifle or carbine?
A. No, if records were kept they are lost at this time. Anyone who
claims to have access to any service records of Mosin Nagant rifles by
serial number is a fraud.
||Q. How can I tell if my rifle was used in
A. If it was built prior to the end of WWII then the odds are close to
100% that it was issued. This applies to Russian, Soviet, and Finnish
Mosins. Whether or not it was actually used in combat is impossible to
know, but again, the odds are pretty good that it was. If it was built
near or after the end of WWII the odds are very low that it ever saw
combat unless it is a documented war trophy from Korea or VietNam. Even
then it might have been captured from a weapons cache and never actually
used in combat.
||Q. I've seen Mosin Nagants with the barrel
markings highlighted in white.Was this done at the arsenal when the
rifle was built?
No, that was done by a collector to make the markings stand out,
especially for photographing. However, some rifles have been imported
with markings and rear sight graduations highlighted, usually in a red
or orange color. This was probably done when the rifle was rearsenaled,
but the exact reason for it is not known.
||Q. What is used to highlight the markings?
A. There are products sold specifically for this purpose, but a
white crayon works well.
||Q. There are letters stamped above the serial
number on the barrel of my rifle, what do they mean?
A. These are translations of the Cyrillic characters in the
serial number put there by the importer. The BATF does not allow
Cyrillic characters in the serial number and requires this. Recently
many importers have begun to use a new unique serial number so that the
translation is not necessary.
||Q. There is an "r" after the date on my Mosin.
What does it mean?
A. That is the Cyrillic letter abbreviation for the Russian word "god"
which means year. It has nothing to do with God.
||Q. Where can I find non-corrosive surplus
A. You can't, it doesn't exist in spite of they way it is often
||Q. Will corrosive ammo ruin my rifle?
A. Not if you clean it properly every time you shoot it.
||Q. How do you clean after shooting corrosive
A. There are several methods, but the simplest is to use Hoppe's #9
which is formulated for corrosive ammo. Regardless of the type of
cleaner it is important to clean as soon after shooting as practical. A
light film of oil in the bore and on the exposed metal will help prevent
rust. For detailed information see the
Rifle Cleaning and Maintenance page.
||Q. How do you adjust the sights on a Mosin
A. Elevation is adjusted using the rear sight.If the point of impact
(POI) is too low, raise the rear sight. If it is too high, lower the
rear sight. If the rear sight is at the lowest setting, you will need a
taller front sight. Windage is adjusted by drifting the front sight with
a brass punch. Later Finnish models (M28/30 and M39) have adjustment
screws on the front sight.
screw on the side which you want to move the sight towards and then
tighten the screw on the opposite side the same amount. Move the
front sight to the left to move the POI to the right and move it to the
right to move the POI to the left.
||Q. Where can I find a taller front sight?
A. It depends on the model. I'm not aware of a source for taller early
blade type sights. The post on some of the later globe type sights can
be replaced from the bottom, after removing them from the barrel, with a
finishing nail and then filed to length. Otherwise a quick non-permanent
fix is to slip a small piece of tubing (wire insulation, coffee stir
stick, roll pin, etc.) over the post and trim it to length. Taller
blades for the later Finnish models (M27, M28, M28/30, and M39) are
available from time to time. Placing a "wanted to buy" on the
collector's trader boards is a good way to find them.
||Q. What is the small number on the barrel of
my M28/30 or M39 behind the front sight?
A. That is the height of the front sight blade. The same number should
also be stamped on top of the blade. This was done so that the armorers
could quickly check to make sure that the soldier had not made field
adjustments to the sight blade which was not allowed.
||Q. What is the small number "2" behind the
rear sight on my M28/30 or M39?
A. It's thought to indicate that rifle bore was "second grade". This
does not necessarily mean it is inaccurate and Finnish standards were so
high that the difference is negligible.
||Q. Why does my M44 (of M91/30) shoot so far to
the left (or right) of the point of aim?
A. M44s were sighted in with the bayonet extended. Shooting with the
bayonet stowed affects the barrel harmonics and can change the point of
impact by as much as 1 foot per 100 yards. Not all M44s are effected
this much or even at all. Either shoot with the bayonet extended or
drift the front sight to compensate for the difference. Similarly
M91/30s were sighted with the bayonet fixed.
||Q. Which model of Mosin Nagant is most
A. While there are accurate and inaccurate examples in every model of
firearm, as a general rule Finnish Mosins are more accurate than those
produced in other countries. The M28/30 is probably the most accurate
with the M39 following close behind.
||Q. Which maker or variation of M39 is most
A. All the variations of M39 were built with the same care and testing
for accuracy and none is inherently more accurate than another.
||Q. What is the tear drop shaped tool that came
with my Mosin?
A. It is a combination screwdriver, firing pin protrusion gauge and
firing pin wrench. It is commonly known as a "bolt tool" and it's use as
a firing pin gauge is illustrated on the
Rifle Exploded Views and Disassembly page.
||Q. What is headspace and should I get it
A. Headspace is the distance from the bolt face to the bearing point of
the ammunition case in the chamber. 7.62x54r cases bear on the rim. If
this space is too small then the bolt won't close. If the space is too
large then there could be dangerous gas leakage when the rifle is fired.
It is a good idea to check this on any surplus rifle, especially if the
bolt is "mis-matched".
||Q. How do you check headspace?
A. There are three types of gauges for checking headspace, "Go",
"No-Go", and "Field". They are inserted in the chamber or placed on the
bolt face and then the bolt is closed. The Go gauge is the smallest and
the bolt should close on it. The No-Go is the next largest and it is
used by the arsenal when installing the barrel and the bolt should not
close on it. The Field is the largest and is used to check firearms that
have seen some service and the bolt should not close on it. Even if a
firearm fails the No-Go gauge, it might pass the Field gauge and is safe
to fire from a headspace standpoint. Most gunsmiths will have gauges in
various calibers and some will check headspace for a fee. If you plan on
collecting several models in the same caliber it will probably be more
cost effective to buy your own gauge or gauges. Generally a Field gauge
is sufficient for checking military surplus firearms. Check the
page for sources.
||Q. What is the actual bore diameter of Mosin
A. See the
Mosin Nagant Rifle Specifications and
Mosin Nagant Rifle
Bore Slugging Tutorial pages.
||Q. Why is the muzzle of my rifle a larger
diameter than the rest of the barrel?
A. It has been "counterbored". This is done when the muzzle has become
worn and accuracy has degraded. The bore is drilled out to provide a
fresh crown at undamaged rifling. Here is a picture comparing a
(left) and one that is not counterbored (right). More illustrations can
be found on the
Mosin Nagant Rifle Barrel Contours page.
||Q. Why is the receiver/barrel so rough on my
A. There are two possibilities. It could be a World War II era Soviet
rifle that was made under tremendous pressure from the Germans when time
was a factor, not aesthetics. It could also be an older receiver that
was salvaged by Finland, possibly from the battlefield after months of
exposure to the elements and used to build a new rifle. For more
information on the WWII era receivers see
Rifle Receiver Variations.
||Q. Why is there a splice in the toe of my
A. This was done to allow the use of smaller stock blanks to conserve
||Q. Why did the Soviets use laminated stocks?
A. Laminated stocks are stronger, less sensitive to temperature and
humidity changes, and allow the use of material that would not be
suitable for a hardwood stock.
||Q. How can I tell if my stock is laminated?
A. Compare your stock to this picture of a
If you are still not sure, then look at the bottom of the stock where
the different layers will be more evident. Finally, remove the buttplate
and compare it to this
||Q. What is the original finish
on Russian/Soviet stocks?
A. Shellac was used from the earliest production to the latest, probably
because it is inexpensive and simple to use although it is not as
durable as some finishes. Mosin Nagant stocks that appear to have an
"oil" finish have just had the shellac worn off.
||Q. What is the original finish on stocks from
A. There is a lot of variation in the finishes used over time and
between the Army and Civil Guard.Many early Civil Guard stocks and some
Army stocks are varnished. A mixture of equal parts beeswax, turpentine,
and flaxseed oil is known to be one of the finishes used on M39s and
other 1940s production.
||Q. Why did the Finns use two piece stocks?
A. Like laminated stocks, this design withstands the extreme climate in
Finland better than a solid stock.
||Q. What is the proper way to attach a "dog
collar" sling arrangement?
A. Place the dog collars through the sling slots and through the loops
of the slings and then buckle them. The small closed loop of the sling
goes at the fore end and the large "running" loop goes at the butt. The
sling buckle faces away from the rifle. Here is a picture of an M38 with
a dog collar sling.
||Q. How can I clean my canvas sling?
A. Woolite or other gentle detergents work well in the washing machine.
A dishwasher will also do the job.
||Q. Why does my rifle have parts from different
A. Most Mosins have been reworked many times over the years and parts
were re-used without regard to manufacturer. Finnish Mosins were
originally built using many parts from captured and purchased rifles.
||Q. How can I tell where my 7.62x54r ammo came
A. The headstamp along with the type of casing, type of bullet, and in
some cases the color coding of the bullet tip provides a lot of
information. For details see the
Ammunition Identification page.
||Q. Where can I get parts, accessories and
other Mosin Nagant items?
A. 7.62x54r.net a has list of online resources at
||Q. Why are there numbers on the bottom of my
M91 rear sight blade?
A. These were used by raising the sight leaf to a vertical position and
sighting through the 2nd notch at the rear of the slide. The distances
are in 100s of arshins and were only for massed volley fire and not
||Q. What are "arshins"?
A. Arshins are a Russian unit of measure equaling a soldiers pace,
approximately 28 inches.
||Q. My M91/30 bayonet is numbered to the rifle,
but it won't fit on the muzzle, why is that?
A. Soviet military doctrine called for the bayonet to remain fixed to
the rifle at all times with the exception of traveling by motor vehicle
or when in long term storage. The bayonet will go on, but it will be a
very tight fit and will be difficult to remove. This is good for
charging infantry, but not collectors. The inside of the bayonet socket
can be opened slightly with a large drift punch to make fixing and
||Q. My rifle came without a cleaning rod. I've
bought a replacement, but it won't screw in, what is wrong?
A. There is a possibility that the retaining nut is missing, but more
likely it is full of dirt. Check the
Rifle Exploded Views and Disassembly page for instructions on
removal for cleaning. Sometimes they are difficult to remove from the
stock. Another option is to tape a drill bit smaller than the diameter
of the cleaning rod threads to the end of a .22 caliber rod. This can
then be turned by hand to drill out the dirt. The Mosin rod can then be
used as a tap to remove the remaining dirt in the threads. A lever in
the form of a punch through the hole in the cleaning rod head might be
needed. Patience and minimal force is best while doing this to avoid
damaging the threads of the nut or the rod.
||Q. There are several parts in the cleaning kit
for my Mosin that I don't understand. How are they used?
A. The use of the tear drop shaped tool is explained on the
Rifle Exploded Views and Disassembly page. The brush and jag are
self explanatory. Here is a picture of the use of the remaining tools in
the cleaning kit.
||Q. What numbers should match on a Mosin Nagant
A. There are four serial number locations on a Mosin Nagant; the barrel,
the bolt, the buttplate, and the magazine floorplate. If there is a
number on the receiver it was most likely placed there by the importer
per BATF regulations. Later Chinese T53s have the number on the stock
instead of the buttplate. Very early M91 and Remington M91 production
also had a number on the rear of the cocking knob, but it is rare to
find a matching one now. For details on serial numbering see the
Serial Numbers page.
||Q. Why do the secondary serial numbers (bolt,
buttplate, floorplate) on my rifle not have the Cyrillic prefixes like
A. They were probably stamped to match during an arsenal refurbishment
and the armorer didn't take the time to stamp the prefix. For details on
serial numbering see the
Serial Numbers page.
||Q. Can I tell what time of year my rifle was
built by the Cyrillic prefix of the serial number?
A. No, the prefixes are not in any known order and certainly not
alphabetical order. This was intentional to hide the total production
numbers for each year from anyone who might capture a rifle. Although a
rifle might be "serial #0001" it is impossible to know if it is the
first rifle of the year, the first rifle of the last prefix block of the
year, or something in between. In rare cases like first year production
of Romanian M44s (1953) the first prefix block is known, but this is not
the case with rifles from Izhevsk and Tula. For details on serial
numbering see the
Mosin Nagant Serial Numbers page.
||Q. What is meant by "force matched"?
A. Force matched refers to parts that were numbered to match during a
refurbishment and are not original to the rifle. The original numbers
are sometimes ground off or simply struck through before the new numbers
are stamped or electropenciled. Signs of grinding, lined out numbers,
lack of Cyrillic prefixes or electropenciled numbers are sure signs of
force matching. For details on serial numbering see the
Serial Numbers page.
||Q. What is "electropenciled"?
A. Electropenciling is a quick and easy way to mark metal that is
similar to an electric etching pencil rather than stamping the
individual letters and numbers. Here is a picture of two
bolts. For details on serial numbering see the
Serial Numbers page.
||Q. What is "Finn matched"?
A. Finn matched is a term used by collectors that refers to a Finnish
made or rebuilt rifle that has a matching bolt, but the buttplate and
floorplate do not match. The Finns did not typically bother to match the
buttplate and floorplate so if the bolt is matching on a Finnish rifle
then it is considered matching, or Finn matched. For details on serial
numbering see the
Mosin Nagant Serial Numbers page.
||Q. What are the numbers on the underside of
the barrel on my Finnish Mosin?
A. There should be a corresponding set of numbers on the front of the
recoil lug of the receiver. These numbers were used for tracking during
assembly, but are not related to serial number on the top of the barrel.
Here is a picture of a set of
The Soviet Union used similar numbers on later production, although the
numbers on the barrel and receiver will not necessarily match.
||Q. Does the Mosin Nagant design have a safety?
A. Yes, the cocking knob at the rear of the bolt is also the safety. It
is placed on safe by pulling it to the rear and rotating it 45 degrees
to the left until it can be hooked on the rear of the receiver. This
locks back the firing pin, disengages the trigger, and locks the bolt
closed. Here is a picture of a
Mosin on safe.
||Q. What does "VKT" stand for?
A. VKT are the initials for Valtion Kirvaaritehdas which is the Finnish
state arms factory and is now known as Valmet. For more terms and
abbreviations see the
||Q. What does "Tikka" mean?
A. Tikka is short for Tikkakoski which means "woodpecker falls (or
rapids)" and is the name of an independent company that made barrels and
rifles for Finland. For more terms and abbreviations see the
||Q. What is meant by "ex-sniper"?
A. The Soviet Union used scoped rifles to a greater extent than any
other country in WWII and had thousands of them in inventory at the end
of the war. Many of these had the scopes removed, the mounting holes and
screws welded over, and the bent bolt replaced with a standard straight
bolt. This was probably done to cut back on the expense of maintaining
the optics for rifles that simply weren't needed. It is also possible
that the accuracy had degraded to a level that was not acceptable for a
sniper rifle, but was still acceptable for a standard infantry rifle.
These rifles are known among US collectors as ex-snipers and can be
found in all the various sniper configurations.
||Q. What is meant by "ex-Dragoon" or "updated
A. A Dragoon is a version of the M91 that is the same
length as an M91/30, but has the M91 type sights and a unique handguard.
This model was phased out in the early 1930s and replaced by the M91/30.
An updated Dragoon has the sights and handguard replaced with the M91/30
types. It is basically an M91/30 in that configuration, but because it
is dated pre-1930 it is often referred to as an ex-Dragoon or updated
Dragoon by US collectors. While certainly not as rare as a Dragoon in
original configuration they are less common than post 1930 M91/30s and
sought after by many collectors.
||Q. How can I tell the age and
manufacturer of my Mosin receiver?
A. The date of manufacture and the arsenal mark are usually on the
bottom of the tang. There are examples on the
Mosin Nagant Rifle
Guide to Proofs and Markings page which show the arsenal marks and
the different formats for dates.
||Q. Why is the
tang of my rifle not marked?
A. Receivers from 1891 until 1893 or 1894 were not marked on the tang,
while Remington and New England Westinghouse did not date any receivers.
They sometimes, but not always, placed arsenal marks on the bottom,
sides or top of the tang. Some Soviet tang marks are stamped so lightly
that they are barely visible while others are not dated, or not fully
dated, for unknown reasons.
||Q. Is "Izzy" an acceptable abbreviation for
the Izhevsk arsenal?
A. No, it is childish slang and no serious collector would consider