The reason behind this article is that I keep encountering folks who buy the Mosin-Nagant for the price. They believe that the rifle is inexpensive, so it must be cheaply made and inaccurate. These beliefs are reinforced when they bang away at a target with surplus ammunition and hit nothing.
I really hate to see this. While maybe not so refined as a Mauser or 1903, the Mosin-Nagant is certainly capable of keeping up with these rifles. All should shoot about 2.5MOA or better.
However, this might not be true in stock form, meaning, exactly how it came from the factory. I’ve identified the three largest detriments to accurate shooting with regards to the rifles themselves:
1. The sights are battle sights. You will need to improve them. You can buy mine, or you can take your sight off, knock out the pin, and replace it with a slightly taller nail. This will give you a precise aiming point.
2. The stocks provide uneven pressure points. As you fire the rifle, the barrel heats, pushes against the stock, and your point-of-impact shifts. This gives the impression of an inaccurate barrel when in reality, the barrel is only moving! I have the fix to this covered elsewhere on this website. Suffice to say that the fix doesn’t have to be fancy, but rather involves maybe an hour and some cork gasket material.
3. Ammunition. Use good ammo for targets and surplus for plinking. I once pulled a sample of 20 Soviet surplus bullets and weighed them and the powder charges. Not one round duplicated the next. Reloading would be the first and best choice as the cases are fireformed to the rifle’s chamber. If you do not reload, the next best alternative would be a good, consistently loaded domestic brand of ammunition, or Prvi Partisan.
Here are four of my targets:
These first two are surplus. I cannot explain the vertical stringing on the bottom target. This usually indicates a problem with the shooter, and I’ll be the first to admit I’m not infallible! However, you start seeing stringing in the top as well.
These second two are handloads. The bottom one had two aiming points, so there are three from the first aiming point and seven from the second aiming point. The loads were Winchester cases loaded with Varget (check your manuals) under surplus bullets weighing 148.5grns, and fired by CCI Large Rifle Primers. Please be sure to check your load data before trying this recipe.
You’ll notice these were fired at 80 yards. This is a concession to my eyesight. I refuse to wear corrective lenses when I’m shooting because... well, I’m just stubborn like that, I suppose.
We could go from here and enter into the merits of push-feed vs controlled feed, but I think we’ll leave that for another time.
I will leave you with one final thought: Your Mosin-Nagant was built in a time when accuracy expectations ran around three to four minutes-of-angle for repeating rifles. Your rifle, as designed, would do about half that, and is still more than capable of this today when brought into original specifications.
If your Mosin needs a bit of help, I sell accurizing kits, located here. The hard work is done for you!
Classic Target Adjustable Sight
$ 43.00 USD
• Designed with input from a CMP competition shooter
• Features a flat-topped post that covers only 6" to 8" at 100 yards. I can make these needle-sharp upon request, too!
Trigger Slack Spring, Finnish Style
$ 7.99 USD
Fits all Mosins!
I was asked to make this available, so I have!
Patterned after the Finnish M28's trigger spring, this is the very same spring I use on the two-stage trigger I offer on a limited basis.
This spring will take up any slack and generally improves trigger feel.
I now use carbon steel instead of stainless. It's better for springs!
Mosin Accuracy Kit
$ 15.00 USD
Based on the Finnish method, this shim kit will vastly improve the accuracy of most Mosin rifles and carbines.
• 1 front and 1 rear shim. These are thick to eliminate random pressure points in the stock bedding.
• 1 recoil lug face shim. This keeps your Mosin's action tight against the recoil lug. This provides a tight action bed for accuracy and helps prevent loose screws and stock cracks.
• One barrel pressure pad. Taming barrel harmonics is essential to precision and accuracy.
• Instructions are included.