Mossin Nagant M44: A Rugged Woods Rifle
The Mossin Nagant M44 is a Russian rifle that came into being around 1944 and stayed in production until sometime in 1948.
This rifle evolved from the longer Model 91/30. During WWII the Russian Military saw a need for a carbine that was better suited for urban combat. A few Mossin Nagant variants eventually led to the M44. Most of the changes had to deal with bayonet configurations (The Russians were big on bayonets).
The Mossin Nagant M44: Details
- Caliber: 7.62x54R
- Capacity: 5 Rounds
- Action: Bolt
- Safety: Rear Knob
- Sights: Front Post, adjustable for windage; Rear Ramp adjustable for elevation to 1,000 meters
- Barrel Length: 20.5 Inches
- Overall Length: 40.4 Inches
- Weight: 8.9 Lbs.
The 7.62x54R cartridge has been around since the 1890’s and probably the longest lived in active service. This cartridge is on par with a .30-06 for ballistics and power. Ammo is readily available. The least expensive is bulk surplus that can be shipped in paper and cardboard or 440 round green “spam” cans. This stuff wouldn’t be bad for target practice, stopping trucks, or punching cement block walls as its all full metal jacket. The surplus ammo is also known for using corrosive primers, which require extra care after a day at the range. Surplus is also steel cased Berdan Primed, which rules out reloading.
The market has also opened up with game and hunting loads for the Mossin Nagant. Rounds are inexpensive when compared to other high power calibers. These rounds are jacketed soft point bullets with Boxer Primed brass, which is excellent news for reloaders. These rounds turn the M44 into a true woods rifle for hunting large game.
The M44 is a rugged built rifle with all parts being steel, wood, canvas and leather. Plastic is not found on this weapon…anywhere. It is designed to be dropped, swung, shot and generally take abuse. The sling is a simple “Dog Collar” affair. Two leather buckle straps hold the canvas and leather sling to the rifle, attaching to milled slots in the stock (no squeaking or clanking metal).
The front sight is a protected post that is adjustable for windage (though you really have to put some force into moving it).
The rear sight is a simple square notch sight that is adjustable for elevation. The elevation / range is a slider bar mark out 1,000 meters. I’m not sure I could hit anything that far away, but it’s still a neat feature.
Of all the features and mechanical design of the M44 and all Mossin Nagant rifles that is poorly thought out, is the safety. The safety is not easy to use or quick to disengage. The rifle is put on safe by means of a knob at the rear of the bolt. You grasp the knob, pull it to the rear (against the force of the fire pin spring) and turn counter clockwise.
Safety off is the opposite procedure accomplished by turning clockwise.
Personally, when hunting I have it easier just to leave the bolt in an upright position, thus rendering the rifle incapable of firing. Then it is a simple matter of closing the bolt to be ready. There are parts available to modify the safety making it somewhat easier to use.
Total production of the M44 was somewhere around 4 million. That makes them pretty easy to find. Decent ones can still be found for around $100, making this rifle very attractive. The Mossin Nagant M44 is a solid rifle to add to your gear at a very economical price.
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June 17, 2018 at 8:28 AM
I bought a M-44 several years ago. I did put a scope on it because my old (71) eyes have a hard time using iron sights. With factory (reload able ) ammo it is a shooter. The stock was so beat up but the barrel was smooth as silk. I am retired and help when I can on two farms. The m-44 goes where I go on my ATV. Or tractor. Good farm gun, works on anything from groundhogs to bears. I will say it is a “thumper”!!! A 1 1/2″ recoil pad helps.
I like my Mosin 44!!
June 29, 2018 at 11:09 AM
The Russians don’t build high-tech guns, they don’t build Pretty guns, but they DO build extremely durable & Simple guns. They Had to be simple due to the fact that when most of them were being designed at least Half of their draftees were illiterate & couldn’t read an instruction manual.