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Monday, February 17, 2014

Monday Gunday: Riflemods' Mosin-Nagant Magazine Extension (Palette's Product Reviews)

Back on February 8, blog-buddy Awelowynt posted this video to my Facebook wall:

I was immediately thrilled by this, because not only is my love for the Mosin-Nagant well-known, but also because various people have been promising magazine extensions for my beloved "nugget" for quite some time now, and yet none of them have followed through on it. (Datamancer, I'm looking at you.)

And then comes along Bryan Cathey of Riflemods, who in the span of less than a year has gone from idea to prototype to purchasable product.

It Must Be Mine
Naturally,  I had to have one of these.

I sent Mr. Cathey an email asking if I could get one for review, and not only did he send me one, but he talked to me on the phone for over an hour, telling me the history of how he developed the Mosin Magazine Extension, and what it's made from.

Let me tell you, friends, this is a seriously well-built piece of kit. Per the inventor, this magazine extension has:
  • all steel construction
  • every piece precision laser cut
  • all TIG welded construction
  • a heat-treated spring clip
  • high quality hardware
  • black oxide coated finish
  • the adjustability to fit tightly to variations in the Mosin mag/trigger guard
Best of all, it's 100% made in the USA !

Unboxing & Assembly

A few days later, I received a package from Riflemods.  Top to bottom, left to right:  magazine latch and hex key; magazine extension in shipping configuration with spring held down with a rubber band; a spare spring.

It must be noted that a regular purchase does not include the second spring. It was included with mine so that I could test its durability without damaging the extension itself.

My initial impression is that, just like the Mosin-Nagant, this is a durable piece of equipment. Everything is coated, even the spring, and while I am not a believer in "testing to destruction" I feel it's safe to say that this extension will handle just about anything you can throw at it, with one possible exception:

If you dropped a fully-loaded magazine from waist-height or higher, and it landed such that there was lateral (shearing) force on the connection points, it could possibly bend or break. However, looking at how this beast is installed -- hinge in front, latch in back, and the flanges on either side to prevent wobble -- it might just survive even that.

(One square = 1 inch)

Here is the magazine extension  in its natural configuration. You will note that the spring extends upwards into the receiver, which means that it cannot hold ammunition while detached. This is why I have been very careful to refer to this as a magazine extension and not a magazine in its own right.

The good side of this, however, is that you can still perform an ammo dump with the extension like you could with the stock magazine; you just need to rotate the body of it out so that the spring clears the magazine, and the rounds fall right out.

It was very easy to install the extension to my Mosin. Given the differences in tolerances between models, years of production, and countries of origin, any "one size fits all" product will require room for adjustment. Mine was ready to go in under 15 minutes.

When you buy this extension, you also receive an email with a link to a private video which shows you how to install it. As it is private I will not be posting the link to it here. However, I have received permission to share it with anyone who is seriously considering this purchase. If you are so interested, let me know and I will send you the link.

How It Performs

I took it to the range yesterday, and fired 65 rounds through it. (I had intended to shoot 100 rounds, but my shoulder pulled a Will Smith and went Aw HELL naw! after I tried to load the next 10.)

Between my first volley of only five rounds (I wanted to make sure the spring would feed properly) to my final volley of 55-65, I did not experience a single jam, malfunction, or failure to feed. 

I didn't have any problem charging it with two stripper clips full of cartridges. I didn't  have any problem dumping the unfired rounds when the range went cold, nor did I have a problem when I put it back in place after going hot.

I can't think of anything better I can say about this magazine extension. It makes a promise, and it delivers on that promise with 100% effectiveness. It does what it says it does. It just works.

This is bad. Never do this.
There is, however, one thing a user needs to know:  when inserting the bolt, the spring has a tendency to catch on the lip of the bolt face. If the operator were to slam the bolt forward without first checking, this could result in damage to the spring. However, this problem is easily alleviated by simply waiting to insert the magazine extension until the bolt is already in place.

This is proper position. 

It is worth noting, though,  that simply cycling the action will not cause this problem. It only occurs when removing the entire bolt from the rifle's action, and not when cycled back to the loading position.

Is It Worth Buying?

This is always a loaded question, as there is a certain amount of disdain for Mosin modifications by the purists.  "Why would you want to bastardize a perfectly good piece of history?" is a frequent critique, as is "Why would you spend X amount of money on a cheap rifle that's only worth a hundred bucks?"

Generally, these boil down to either "You're polishing a turd" or "Stop doing this thing I don't like."  With this made plain, I usually ignore and/or mock the people asking the questions. However, as this is a review (and I've been lectured told that I have a responsibility to my readers to tell you if it's worth buying, and so I must address these concerns.

Really, the only strike this product has against it is its price tag of  $140. Yes, that's quite expensive, but in return you get a 7.62x54R rifle with double the ammo capacity, and given that Mosin-Nagants are cheap, you could look at the situation like "Well, I could spend $600+ on a 10-round .30-06 rifle, or I could spend $100 for the rifle and $140 for the magazine extension and still have $360 to spend on ammunition and other fun things."

If you like having increased ammo capacity for your Mosin, it's worth it.

If you enjoy modding your Russian beast, it's worth it (and a quick and easy mod to make, as opposed to bedding the action).

If you like the idea of other people looking at your rifle in awe, going "Is that a Mosin with a ten-round magazine?", it's worth it just for the expression on their faces.

But if you're a purist, or you can't abide spending that much on a $100 rifle, then it's not for you.

My Rating: A+.  I wish the price was lower, but given the quality of design and the fact that's a specialized item without a lot of demand driving the price down, I can't argue with Mr. Cathey's decision. I sincerely hope that he achieves great commercial success with his products  (he makes muzzles brakes as well), and perhaps that increased demand will reduce cost somewhat.

If you wish to order either a magazine extension or a muzzle brake for your Mosin, you may reach Mr. Cathey at

Obligatory FTC disclaimer:  While I received this product for free, when I contacted the manufacturer I inquired as to the price and offered to buy one. The manufacturer chose to send me one for free and in no way required me to give a good review in exchange for product. If you've ever read my reviews, you'd notice that if I have a problem with a product I will say as much. Now go away. 


  1. Am I a bad person for wanting you to break out the same paint/pen you used for the killing curse and somehow apply an artistic hand providing everyone the middle finger on the magazine?

  2. Thanks for the review, Erin, this is on my shopping list. :)

    I picked up one of these scope mounts a few years ago:

    and fitted an ATI stock. The only drawback to having this design of scope mount is I can't use stripper clips, but that's a minor drawback.

    Have a great week. :)

  3. Hahahaha! Not at all. Had I any artistic talent, I would do that.

    However, I am awfully tempted to put the picture of Pinkie Pie using Twilight Sparkle as a hoof-cranked gatling gun on said magazine:

  4. Those are sweet, no doubt about it!

    I'm still on the fence about using stripper clips. I like them, but I keep asking myself "Do I like them so much that I won't put a better optic on my Mosin?"

    So far, the answer is "yes", but with a larger magazine I can feel my resolve slipping...

    Thanks for commenting. :D

  5. Oooh, a blued version would be sharp.

    Good review, Erin. Now I how was the clearance with the magazine extension when shooting the rifle? Can it be done without a bipod or is a bipod recommended for prone shooting?

  6. It's a definite for me. Taller people might disagree, or simply choose not to shoot prone. I expect it's much the same as shooting prone with a 30-round AK mag.

    It might be okay for display. I asked Mr. Cathey this morning and asked for details on how much pressure it can take. He replied with "I will do some testing tonight on side loading the extension and get back to you with some figures." As soon as he replies, I'll post the data.

    Personally, while I wouldn't do push-ups on it, I figure it will handle pretty much any rough handling likely to be encountered while hunting. Battlefield wear and tear is a different story, though.

  7. $140 isn't bad really!

  8. I just sent him an E-mail about the viability of this working on the Chinese T-53 variant. If it does work with a T-53, I might be inclined to get one for my rifle. The only other mod I would like for my T-53 is a sniper style bent bolt. I've seen various kits for it, but I want to retain the original style bolt for my rifle to switch it back if necessary.

  9. Oh cool! Let me know how that goes!

  10. I wonder how expensive it'd be to ship some to Germany - there's definitely a market...

  11. I would caution that this device, on account of being a magazine, could run afoul of America's ITAR laws, meaning exporting it could be expensive as hell, if it is possible at all.

  12. Is it really, though? After all, it cannot hold ammunition when detached, meaning it is a magazine *extension* and not a magazine proper.

    I suppose it depends upon how the lawyers in government choose to define it.

  13. Lemme put it this way - the feds recently determined that a data file is subject to ITAR regulation. Granted, that data file comprised the instructions to print out an almost-functional firearm, but they still regulated the file, not the product.

    Similarly, some red-dot sights mention being subject to ITAR.

    IANAL, I am not a gun dealer, and I did not sleep at a Holiday Inn Express last night, but my general take-away is that anything firearm-related should probably go through a designated exporter if it is leaving the States.

  14. I've gone through the procedures with customs a few times already - over here magazines are not regarded as crucial parts of firearms, so they're basically unrestricted, red dot sights are no problem, sights that illuminate the target (lights and/or lasers) are forbidden items, as in even possession is a crime.

    Overall the practical definitions of what is a crucial parts of a firearm (and what isn't) is quite sensible - the crucial parts like barrels and parts of the actual action as well as powder require permits, everything else is either unrestricted or can't be sold to minors, like primers.

  15. This seems appropriate:

  16. Unfortunately, the problem is not entering Germany, but rather leaving the US. Sure, we could box it up and send it to you without anyone knowing, but if someone did find out, and if the FedGov decided this doohickie was EVIL INCARNATE, someone would be going away for a very long time.


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