Monday, April 25, 2011

Monday Gunday: Accesorize your Mosin

In last week's Monday Gunday, faithful reader and friend of this blog Nathan Tamayo asked:
This is great, is there way you could do a subsection for the individual accessory review? Good accessories can make all the difference.
When it comes to accessories for your Mosin-Nagant, they inevitably fall into two categories: things which help you shoot better and things which make the gun more comfortable. Be warned, however, that there are quite a few rabid Mosin purists out there who, given the opportunity, will jump all over you for "desecrating a historic weapon." I, however, am of the school which says "Screw you, there are 17.5 million of these things, so they aren't rare. I paid my money and I can paint it pink if I damn well like."

Come to think of it, a bubblegum pink Mosin would be hilarious. Someone should get right on that.

The first accessory any Mosin owner should buy is that of a recoil pad. Put simply, this is a large rubber sleeve which slips over the buttstock and acts as a shock absorber between the rifle's metal buttplate (which was designed to crack skulls) and your shoulder. This item is essential, because not only does it make holding and firing your rifle far more comfortable, it also improves your aim. You won't wince as much as you pull the trigger, and reduced recoil allows you to get back on target at a faster rate.

These are also the cheapest accessories you can buy. I got mine at the local Wal-Mart for around thirty bucks (get the large size) but if you plan on keeping your original stock you can replace the buttplate with this nifty pad for half that price.

After that, whatever accessories you choose should be based upon what you want your rifle to do. Some people just like having a tough, heavy rifle around, in which case the recoil pad is all you need. If however you intend to sporterize it -- turn it into a precision shooter for competition or hunting -- you've got all sorts of options. So ask yourself these questions:
  • Do I want to reduce its ruggedness to make it lighter/more comfortable to handle?
  • Do I want to use to a scope?
If the answer to either question is "Yes," then you want to sporterize your Mosin.

The first thing I did was replace the stock, because I am small and my tiny fingers couldn't comfortably reach the trigger. An aftermarket stock produced by ATI not only reduces the thickness of the handgrip, it also lowers the shooting hand to a more natural position, allowing me to keep my wrist mostly straight when I shoot.

In addition, it has lots of other nice features, such as a molded cheek swell for better aim; checkered patterns on both forestock and grip for better hold and control; integral swivel-mounts for a sling; and a built-in recoil pad. Yes, the limbsaver will slip over the mounted pad, giving you twice the recoil protection.

Shop around when looking to purchase this stock; it retails for around $70 but if you can find the right combination of discount and shipping you can get it for a lot less. It comes in both black and camouflage (camo costs about $10 more) and despite being made of glass-filled nylon it feels quite solid and comes with a lifetime guarantee.

Scopes are tricky business because of the bolt. You have two options here. The first is to pay lots of money to mount the scope in the traditional spot using a specialized scope mount, which will require drilling and tapping from a gunsmith. Then you have to replace your Mosin's straight bolt with a bent one so that it doesn't whack the scope; you have a variety of options for that, all expensive. And then, after all that expenditure, you can't use stripper clips and have to load the magazine one cartridge at a time.

Your second option, and by far my favorite, is to purchase what is known as a "scout scope". This is essentially a large pistol scope (to accommodate the very large eye relief required) with variable magnification, and you mount it by removing the rear leaf sight and screwing a Weaver rail in its place. This takes no gunsmithing at all and can be accomplished in 30 minutes. Best of all, it leaves no lasting changes to your Mosin, so you can easily return it to its natural state if necessary. I purchased mine on Amazon and got a bunch of nifty stuff along with it: weaver rail, scope rings, lens covers and cleaning kit.

Everything after this is pure preference. Here are the other things I have tricked Izzy out with:

A buttstock shell holder and pouch. In addition to holding a full magazine's worth of bullets, the pouch is roomy enough to hold 2 additional stripper clips worth of ammo, a broken shell extractor and the funky combo tool that comes with most Mosins. It also provides some comfy padding for your cheek and will fit nicely over the ATI stock. Approximately $11 and worth every penny.

 A Universal Barrel Quad Weaver Base Mount. Not only can I put a bipod on my Mosin, but if I wanted I could mount other things, like a laser or a flashlight, to it as well. A steal at under $10.

Speaking of bipods, this is what I use. It's cheap, it's tough, and it works. The only drawback is that it might not elevate your rifle enough for your tastes.

Finally, you'll want some stripper clips, because loading bullets one at a time is slow and annoying. Just be careful not to cut your hand on what is essentially sheet metal. 

While not strictly an accessory, be sure to get a user's manual for your Mosin so that you know how to properly field-strip and reassemble it. This is the one I use, but you won't suffer from a lack of options on Amazon. You can even download free PDFs here and here.

For the sake of completeness, I'll include a link to my favorite mail-order ammunition store, Ammunition To Go, where you can buy 100 rounds of military surplus ammo for $19.95 + S&H.

That about covers it. Thank you for the interesting question, Nathan, and if anyone else has any gun questions -- either about the Mosin-Nagant or anything else -- feel free to ask and I'll address them each Monday!

EDIT for those of you coming here from Oleg's blog:  I am no longer using the aforementioned scope mount because it failed. I am using a much sturdier mount that has served me well for over a year now. You can find out more about it here.


  1. TheRedneckEngineerJuly 26, 2012 at 10:32 PM

    If you have the ability, I suggest adding a muzzle brake. It will reduce your recoil by at least 1/3.
    The trigger can be lightened up fairly easily.
    There are some people online that offer these services if you lack the tools or ability to do them.

  2. Aftermarket muzzle brakes for the 91/30 are known to break off and fly downrange after a few rounds. I've thought about having a brake professionally brazed onto the barrel, but that would be a permanent modification and would prevent me from using the bayonet. 

  3. TheRedneckEngineerJuly 26, 2012 at 10:44 PM

     Perhaps I should have clarified.
    I don't recommend using the "clamp-on" style brakes (they will put a big hole in your target after they inevitably fly off), but a pinned-in-place or threaded brake, which will stay on until you want to take it off.

    I think that if you used a decent brake and either adjust the sights or scope (if equipped), you'd find that you really don't need the dampening effect of the bayonet. My opinion, of course.  =)

    The brake on my M44 has proven to be exceptionally good at reducing recoil and making me a bit more accurate, but I have the tools to not only thread the barrel, but to make the brake in the first place, so I guess I'm lucky.

  4. You should find a short section of P-rail to mount to your stock for the bipod instead of the clamped to the barrel thing.  You want to minimize external forces on the barrel.

  5. Great review and comment.  Good work.

  6. so, when i pimp out my mosin should i got hunting rifle or full mall ninja/tactard?

  7. Ultimately it's up to you as it's your rifle, but I don't see the point in going tactard with a bolt-action. I say go sniper.


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