Yesterday I took Izzy to the range. Izzy, aka The Black Russian, aka Crazy Ivan, is a Mosin-Nagant rifle that I bought shortly after my job with the 2010 Census ended. Piles of information about the Mosin-Nagant exist, so I'll hit you up with the executive summary:
|Mine was made in the Izhevsk Arsenal in 1943. Hence the name "Izzy."|
- Originally developed in 1891 as a compromise between two competing rifle designs, submitted by Sergei Mosin and Léon Nagant.
- Churned out in large numbers for WW1. It was the standard Russian infantry rifle.
- Design was perfected in 1930. This is why most are called M91/30s.
- Rifle was re-issued with a scope in WW2 as a sniper weapon. This should give you an idea of its accuracy.
- It is the only rifle to have gone to war with itself, and won.
- Simo Häyhä, which is Finnish for "Badass motherfucker," killed over 500 Russians with it -- using only iron sights.
- It's chambered for 7.62x54R, which is the same round the Dragunov sniper rifle uses.
- Over a hundred years later, it is still being used in wars today. This is a testament to its accuracy, durability, and quality. The fact that the Russians churned out 17.5 million of them in WW2 alone didn't hurt, either, nor did the fact that you can buy one for as low as $75 today.
So you can already see why I love this rifle: cheap, tough, and accurate. But there's just one problem with it as I discovered when I first took it shooting last year: It kicks like a goddamn mule on steroids.
We're talking serious ouch here. This is a big gun, y'all -- it's around 48 inches long, which is about, oh, FOUR FEET. And it fires a powerful round. The first time I shot Izzy was back in December, and the results were not pretty:
|Hey, at least I managed to hit the target.|
See that rise? I'm not sure what the technical term is, but that's partly from barrel vibration and partly from "Fucking OW my shoulder hurts." So one of the first things I did was buy an aftermarket stock for it and mount a decelerator pad on it. The Monte Carlo grip also made it easier for me to hold the rifle, which led to better overall control. And then, because I'm an accessory freak, I put a bipod and scope on it as well. Then I bedded the stock and floated the barrel, because at this point why not? I think I've spent as much on accessories for the gun as for the gun itself (which isn't as terrible as it sounds, since it was so cheap.)
Because of the coloration of the ATI, Izzy got his second name: The Black Russian.
|Purists can relax: I still have the original stock, undamaged.|
Did I mention this was a LONG GUN? And that's not counting the bayonet it comes with (mostly because I can't get the damn thing to fit). If it did, that would be an extra foot or so of length.
So, suitably dressed up and hopefully tamed, I took the dread Black Russian out to the range. And guess what? Crazy Ivan is crazy accurate now.
|25 yards with scope & bipod.|
Why yes. Yes I am. And let me tell you, after I shot a few rounds I had attained instant credibility ("range cred," if you will) and no few spectators. I think some of them came to watch me get pushed around by the recoil, but everyone appreciated my shot grouping.
So in conclusion: It's cheap, accurate, and tough as all get-out. It's easy to customize for whatever you want it to do. The bullet will destroy pretty much anything that isn't armored, and while modern commercial rounds will run you $20 for 20, you can get surplus ammo by the truckload -- I bought a hundred of them for $30, including shipping. This is a fun gun to shoot, and when you aren't shooting it you can use it to pole-vault, spear something in the next county, or hammer nails into wood.
And let me just say that the bolt makes a delightful thunk-clack when you work it.