Tuesday, March 8, 2011

Scott Englund's Thoughts on his Mosin Nagant

 Today in the News:  Please welcome Scott Englund, our newest guest writer.  I don't know Scott personally, but heard about him through a mutual friend.  From reading the following email, I think we'd get along well.  I have had a long affection for old Commie guns mostly because I'm broke and they are (usually) cheap.  If you haven't owned a Mosin, you can usually find them for under $150 and you can buy a 440 round spam can of ammo for somewhere less than $100.  I will add that results may vary.  Some Mosins are great, others......well......you get what you pay for.  I've owned two and remember Snuffy (Dad) beating the bolt open with, of all things, a rock.  You see, Snuffy is a cowboy rifle kind of guy.  As he was pounding on the bolt with a rock, he looked up at me and said, "It ain't a wonder that the dang Russians lost the war!"

All of that aside, there are still some very good examples out there for very cheap prices.  I was able to pick both of mine up for $80.00 a piece two years ago from Big 5 Sporting Goods.  If you want to see one in (fictional) action, check out the movie Enemy at the Gates with Jude Law and Ed Harris.  The movie is both cool and funny.  The cool part is watching Jude Law (fictionally) handle the Mosin.  The funny part is listening to Ed Harris occasionally try to pull off a German accent. 

Bernard Ten Bears' Link of the Day:  http://www.mooseriverhandcrafts.com/ - Dave Hanson and Sally Kwan make ash baskets and homemade knives.  You have to do orders by mail-print a form and cell phone...they live off the grid. I have 4 of their baskets, they are very responsive and friendly.

Scott Englund's Thoughts on his Mosin Nagant

[The following was taken from an email conversation, posted with Scott's permission - MOH]

Speaking of .06s, I did pick up an oddball a couple months ago. It
 started out life as a Russian Mosin Nagant rifle, made by Remington
 Armory around 1915 under contract. After the Russian Revolution, the
 Bolsheviks backed out of any existing orders and the US gov't bought
 them for training and arming of some national guard type applications.
 In the 20s they sold them as surplus for $3 each. A company called
 Bannerman's bought several hundred thousand and refitted them for the
 30.06 cartridge. All forensic observations apply, the miniutae of
 which is just that. But I can spot them.

Paid $20 for it. Maybe $15 too much.

No idea how this one ended up where it did, but someone found it in a
 snowbank, barn, cellar, etc. The stock is full of worm holes, the
 barrel was completely plugged with scaly rust, and the bolt was rusted
 completely shut. It took a weeks worth of tinkering to get it unstuck,
 then another couple days of cleaning the rust out of the receiver and
 gingerly trying to chamber a round.... knowing I would have to poke it
 back out with a rod if it didn't 'chamber' all the way.

Finally got a round to chamber and lashed it into my remote test
 firing device a la Mythbusters. Tied a string to the trigger, made
 sure all available video phones were running, and touched it off.


Friggin' Boom.

A 30.06 with a 22" barrel makes a big boom.

Black sh*^ blasted out of the barrel and formed a fan pattern in the
 snow. Looked like a box of black pepper exploded.

Repeated the performance. More boom, more black sh#&. Barrel is
 marginally cleaner. Not large enough gonads to put it up to my
 shoulder. The Bannerman Nagants are claimed to be death traps because
 of rechambering to 30.06 but I have yet to find any reports of injury
 or death from using one. I considered buying a chamber insert and
 downsizing it to a .308 single shot but I may just leave it as an .06.
 The pressures are about the same, but a .308 insert would reinforce
 the receiver right where the alleged weak spot is.

If it were clean, it would be a collector's item, maybe worth a couple
 hundred. At this point it is one step above "we ran out of rebar for
 this concrete, got any scrap metal we can tie in there?". I'm working
 on taking the "tailpipe rust" off the metal and then I will hit the
 stock with sandpaper. I'm sure there will either be some reshaping or
 some epoxy/walnut dust involved. Because of the big cartridge and
 short barrel I will likely put a nice recoil pad on it.

So when it's done it will be a marginally-safe, several times
 revamped, sporterized, ugly-@ss old Russian designed - US made bolt
 action that can penetrate an engine block and take your shoulder out
 of its socket.

[Editors Note:  They DO kick like a freaking mule - MOH]

Thanks Scott for the great article!  Keep us posted.

Pax Domini Sit Semper Vobiscum,

Mike, Oscar, Hotel.....out.


  1. Fun is fun, but some things are probably best just hung on the wall.

  2. You see in the end...the best selling and most wanted guns are the ones that go off everytime you pull the trigger...no matter what! I guess the Nagant passes that test. This is what made the Single Action Army Colt revolver the most popular...not the name...no matter what anyone tells you, it was the one that went off every time. Wow.

  3. That was the beauty of commie guns. The AK-47 could be buried in a swamp for ten years, you could clean the barrel and chamber and it would still fire after all of those years in the muck. I like a rifle that will take the abuse that I would give it. It is a tool and I think tools should be used to the end of their usable life and then used some more.

    While I agree that safety concerns would likely make it a wall hanger, stuff like that drives me crazy. Every year at bass pro shops they have a Christmas tree decorated with pack baskets, snowshoes and the like. I hate that. Why? The stuff is still usable! Use it up!

  4. Good luck with the gun, Scott. I would not be brave enough to shoot that gun from the shoulder ever unless I had a professional gunsmith check it over thoroughly. Just keep in mind that something in that bad of shape can be unpredictable...


  5. wow...after seeing how outright destroyed by the elements this gun is, I'm no longer afraid of my own bannerman which is in much better condition.