Friday, July 17, 2009

Accurizing the Mosin Nagant

Accurizing the Mosin Nagant

This short paper’s purpose is to inform the reader on some basic ways to get the most accuracy out of their surplus Mosin Nagant rifle without taking away from its appearance. Below is a picture of my Mosin Nagant after that I wiped all the cosmoline off and soaked it in mineral spirits.

Step One:

After receiving your rifle completely take it apart and clean all the metal parts with mineral spirits or lacquer thinner, wear thick rubber gloves, after soaking it and scrubbing it down with the coarse side of a sponge add a nice layer of your favorite gun oil to EVERY metal surface, it will begin to rust very soon after the mineral spirit bath.
Check the barrel of your gun for bends and check the condition of the rifling and crown of the barrel, the crown (business end) of the barrel should be evenly curved outward.

Step Two:

Determine whether your Mosin was originally sighted in with or without the bayonet and if it was, whether or not the bayonet was extended or folded. The only way to do this would be to take it out to the range with a chisel, hammer, and your favorite wrench. These bayonets were meant not to come off easily.

Once you know how your Mosin was sighted in you may either just leave it set up like that or take the bayonet completely off and drift the front sight up or down or to the left and right. There should be a scratch on the barrel and on the sight that line up where the original Russian guy sighted it in; in case you mess up and have to start over.
Step Three:

Free float your barrel. All modern rifles have free floated barrels, this means that the metal barrel doesn’t touch the wooden hand guard in any place and therefore the stock doesn’t put any pressure on the barrel. Mosin Nagant rifles aren’t free floated so the barrel is being squeezed between the top hand guard and the bottom portion of the stock. When you fire the gun the barrel heats up and if there is pressure on the barrel from the stock it will bend and warp the barrel causing your accuracy to fall more and more with every shot. What you need to do is sand down the inside of the stock enough so that you can slide a piece of paper under the barrel freely all the way back behind the rear sight and all the way to the end until the metal stopper on the end of the stock. First remove the metal barrel bands and take off the hand guard.

WARNING:If you own a pre-1942 Mosin the barrel bands will have screws instead of just being springs, they turn the opposite direction regular screws do, if you over tighten them they’ll break and be hard to replace.

Next perform the “dollar bill” test; I didn’t use a dollar bill because I feel like its way to thin, so I just used a regular piece of paper. Lift up the front of the barrel to slip the paper in, the paper shouldn’t be able to slide over that metal cap if it does when your barrel heats up it tends to move around in a circle lowering accuracy.

On my gun the paper was able to slide from just behind the cap to about three inches in front of the rear sight. So I broke out the 100 grit sandpaper and sanded down the high spots, checking my progress periodically with the paper test.

Be extra careful not to scratch the top or sides of the stock because that would look bad. Also it would prevent the hand guard from sitting correctly on top of the stock.

After doing the paper test several more times I got it so that the paper slid from the front cap all the way back behind the rear sight.

Step Four:

Lighten the trigger pull. The trigger pull and
the pull length of the Mosin Nagant has been known
throughout the land to cause unneeded jerking and
movement, thus lowering accuracy. A very easy way
to remedy this situation is to place a thin metal
washer under the trigger spring; this is an easy fix
and doesn’t alter your rifle in any way that can’t
simply be undone in a second. The only danger in
this is the fact that the bolt is removed by compressing
the trigger, so if you use to thick a washer the trigger is
compressed way to much and the bolt will either fall
out of the gun every time you tilt it backwards (not
good) or it will fire at random (not good). The thinnest
washers I had in the garage were a little too thick and
compressed the trigger enough that it flopped out of the
gun, so in a matter of minutes I used a file to shave some
of the thickness off and now my Mosin’s trigger isn’t
near as long or heavy, but is still safe.

Step Five:

Make your rifle pretty. This is a very important step and does in no way ever involve any sanding, trimming, staining, painting, or excessive touching of the outside portions of the stock. If you want ever so badly to mangle your Mosin Nagant’s stock go ahead and order one off the internet and destroy that one, keep your original just the way is was when you bought it. One thing you can do is fix large dents by applying a boiling towel to them that should raise them up, I can’t show you a picture of this because I was a smart shopper and didn’t purchase a gun with a dented stock. Also you may notice several etchings and markings on the metal receiver and the rear sight, the receiver has the date yours was made, the serial number, the armory, and (on Russian models) a soviet sickle and hammer symbol. The rear sight will numbers on which represent meters, when you shoot past 100 meters (marked “1”) you slide the little metal buttons up however far you need to. All these markings can be hard to make out, all you need to fix this is a red or white crayon and some stiff cloth, I used a leather gardening glove with a stiff cotton sleeve. Rub your desired color over the markings be sure to completely fill them in and then wipe the crayon off the surface. You may have to do this several times before they are totally filled in.

The date on mine is 1943 the little “r” after the date is the Russian symbol for god and year. The armory your gun was in can be determined by either a triangle with an arrow or a star with an arrow. A triangle is from the Tula arsenal, and a star is from the Izhevsk arsenal. Or if your Mosin was one of the many manufactured by countries other than Russia, it will probably just say “Remington Arsenal” or “Manchester” or “Finland” or something.

Step Six:

This last step is for people who don’t really mind altering the look of the Mosin just a little and can’t justify buying an authentic period Russian PU or PE scope for three times what they bought the gun for. Several companies make affordable scope mounts for the Mosin Nagant that replace the rear sight or fit over the receiver, if you get one for the rear sight, make sure it is a long eye relief scope (a “scout” scope) because your eye will be around nine inches super away from the end of the scope and a regular one won’t work that far away. If you get one that fits over the receiver your bolt will be in the way unless you get it bent down or you buy a bent bolt, which is what the original Russian snipers did back in the day. Many times the rear sight replacing mounts make the sight way to high for comfortable, and accurate, shooting that is why choosing a post 1942 Mosin is so much better. Its rear sight is held on with a dovetail mount and pins, all you have to do is tap out the pins and clamp on your long eye relief scope without any mount.
Here is the scope mount I have, I don’t use it because I like the iron sights, just Google “Mosin Nagant Scope Mount”.

It uses the hole punched through the rear sight casing; you have to remove the pin, sight and the little spring under the sight to attach it. Once you remove the sight its kind of tricky to reattach because you have to compress the spring and tap the pin in at the same time.


Your Mosin Nagant is now slightly more accurate than all the other ones in your neighborhood. Have fun while 7.62x54r is cheap, get some Sellier & Bellot Soft Point 180 grain ammo and hunt some deer…or bear…or moose for that matter!

P.S. I’m pretty sure its Mah-sin Na-gun, that’s how the Russians pronounce the words and its their language, so I’d go with it.

Cody Wheless


  1. Amazing!!! I bought a Mosin Nagant and this information is very helpful. Thanks a lot!

  2. im pretty sure the star was for the tula plant and the triangle was Izhevsk and the tula rifles are harder to come by i think they only made a 3rd the number of rifles and are usually in better shape and tooling marks are nice and clean unlike most of the Izhevsk rifles

  3. What sort of accuracy are you getting out of your rifle? Also do you suggest bedding the stock with some cork like others have online?

  4. Couple quick things. Most of your info seems really pretty good but since I was a Russian linguist in the Navy, I have a couple of minor corrections. The small R is actually a lowercase Russian 'geh' and stands only for the word 'goda' (goh-duh) which means 'year' and doesn't have anything to do with God (Russian: Bog [rhymes with 'vogue']. Also, the correct Russian pronunciation of Mosin-Nagant would be 'Moh-seen Nah-gahnt' (emphasize the Moh and gahnt syllables). I just got mine and am looking forward to shooting it.

  5. Guns collection and shooting is all time my favorite hobby.

  6. you got your armory symbols backwards tula is the star and izhevsk is the triangle its not a big deal and im not trying to bust your nuts it just bothers me wen i was something wrung

  7. I think the "Mosin Nagant' is one of the most beautiful bolt action rifles in the world. It is graceful and looks like it could be very accurate; a real rifleman's rifle. I owned one once and a carbine too. The rifle I owned had the "blond" wood, which was in almost perfect condition. The carbine was in pretty poor condition and it spit out bullets sideways. The sideways bullet profile would print in targets only 20 meters away. I ended up selling both of them when I got strapped for cash. I sure would like to get another of the rifles someday. When I do I will follow your accuracy improvement advice.