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Mosin-Nagant Scout Rifle Build

Discussion in 'Rifle Discussion' started by DieselScout, May 23, 2012.

  1. DieselScout

    DieselScout S Clackamas County Well-Known Member

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    I typed up this post for the International Truck forum I am on, so some of the information in it may seem a little basic for this forum. Since this is a gun forum, I figured I'd cross post it here as well. The build isn't going to go that quickly, as funds will also be going to rebuilding my Scout as well.

    Background:

    I have always liked the idea of a Scout Rifle, as described by Jeff Cooper, a general purpose rifle, light, handy and "that will do a great many things equally well..." With the exception of light, I feel the IH Scout embodies this for a vehicle as well, so it's natural they share the same name sake.

    The general excepted definition of a Scout Rile is a rifle fitting the following.


    What brought me to building my own Scout rifle was getting married! Yes, really getting married. My wife bought me a rifle as a gift for our wedding. She bought me a Stevens model 200 in .22-250. The reason I like the Stevens is it's the same as a Savage bolt action and I can do a barrel swap in my garage. I got very excited and started planning a varmint rifle. Quickly I realized I don't have the skills yet to build what I want, and learning them with a 300 dollar wedding gift didn't seem like the best idea.

    So I started to look for candidates, something relatively inexpensive, that I could enjoy shooting and learn some gunsmihting skills. I wanted something that if I really messed up I wouldn't be ruining a beautiful rifle or throwing away a huge chunk of cash.

    With this in mind, there was really only one choice, the Mosin-Nagant. For those of you who don't know, the Mosin-Nagant was adopted by Russia in 1891 as their main battle rifle. The version I wanted was the 91/30, or the version revised in 1930. If anyone has ever read of seen Enemy at the Gates, the rifle used by famed Russian sniper Vasily Zaytsen was a Mosin-Nagant. A Mosin-Nagant was also used by the Finish sniper Simo Hayha, the most successful sniper ever with over 500 confirmed kills. So, the rifle has a very interesting history.

    Also of interest is the cartridge it shoots, the 7.62x54R. The 7.62x54R is a rimmed cartridge, and uses a .311 bullet, which is a little larger then a .308 diameter bullet used in American 30 caliber rifles. The cartridge has the distinction of being the longest used military caliber of all time. The cartridge first saw use in 1891, with the introduction of the Mosin-Nagant rifle and still being used today by both the Dragunov and PSL sniper rifles and the RPK machine gun.

    The Mosin-Nagant has many variations, and if you interested, I suggest the following.

    Wikipedia has a great write up on the rifle.

    Wiki Mosin-Nagant

    And by far the best resource for owners and enthusiasts.

    7.62x54r.net

    The last reason I choose a Mosin-Nagant was price. They can easily found and purchased for around 100 bucks!! A working, bolt action rifle for 100 dollars, I cannot pass up. Better yet, you can get surplus military ammunition for it on the cheap as well. Online you can find cans of 440 rounds for 80 dollars. The military ammunition is corrosive, so you need to clean the rifle with water to dissolve the salts left behind after shooting it. There is non-corrosive ammunition available, both Winchester and Sellier & Bellot make brass cased reusable ammunition for it and boxes of 20 can be purchased for around 20 bucks.


    If you are interested in picking up a Mosin, follow the link to 7.62x54R.net and start reading. The Russians made millions of them, so the quality varies and learning what to look for will help you pick out a nice rifle. There are many different variations, and the site will help you decided which you want and hopefully will show you what to look for.
     
  2. DieselScout

    DieselScout S Clackamas County Well-Known Member

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    My Rifle:

    I watched my local firearms board until I found a rifle I wanted to go look at. Someone local to me was selling a 1943 91/30 Mosin from the Tula factory. The rifle didn't come with all the kitsch that you sometimes fine, but that didn't bother me, as the seller listed the bore as bright and shiny with great rifling. I went with a good friend and met the seller where he works and after checking the bore, I paid the man and brought home my rifle.

    Mosin.jpg

    Now, there are a few problems with making this a Scout rifle. The first being, the rifle in it's stock form is 48 inches long and weighs almost 8.5 pounds. I plan to counter this by cutting the barrel down from 29 inches to 22 inches and I will swapping out the stock.

    I took the rifle out and shot it with friends and found it to be surprisingly accurate and a joy to shoot. With open sites at about 120 yards the rifle shot a 2-3" group. I had read horror stories and expected a pretty heavy kick from the rifle, but found it nicer to shoot them my .30-06 which has a nice Pachmayr Decelerator pad.

    After shooting there were two things I was unhappy with. First, the length of pull on the trigger was almost 2.5 inches at about 8-10 pounds. Second would be the clunky bolt action. The action of the bolt wasn't smooth, of course, this is an old military rifle and I had until this point only shot my Remington 700 and my Stevens, so maybe it was just me.

    Upon coming home from shooting I did some quick research and found Timney Triggers made an after market trigger for the Mosin's. The trigger included a lever style safety similar in placement to the Remington 700's something I am already familiar with. I purchased one, and borrowed a Dremel from a friend. The stock required quite a bit of inletting to get the trigger to fit, but that is why I bought the gun to learn how to do things like this. Sorry, I don't have any pictures of this, but will update with the finished product when I have the gun apart next. The end product was a much more user friendly safety and a trigger with a 2.5 pound trigger pull that breaks like glass.

    The bolt required some work as well. I tore it apart and found all the surfaces that interface when cocking the gun. I took the Dremel and a ton of polishing compound and worked these to a mirror shine. It's hard to capture on in a picture, but I did my best. A few thing in the picture I'd like to point out, the first being the ramp surface I polished which is int he middle of the picture. Next is the small star on the bolt. This is a manufacturer's mark put on by the Tula factory. Third is the large knob on the rear of the bolt. This can be pulled out and twisted to act as a safety, but it's large and cumbersome, so the leverl was a nice upgrate. The line on the back of the knob is to help make sure you've got the firing pin depth set right, so yes it's suppose to be there.

    Bolt%2520polish.jpg

    So, I am ready to take the gun out again, throw some lead down range.

    Short term plans for the gun are to finish sweating the the cosmolene out of the stock, then go ahead and bed it into this stock so I can learn the process. From there I'll be buying a new stock for it, inletting that and then the barrel will be cut down. I will continue to update this thread with work on the rifle. I am hoping to have it so I can hunt with it next season (September/October).

    Mosin.jpg
     
  3. DieselScout

    DieselScout S Clackamas County Well-Known Member

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    Ammunition:

    As was stated earlier, ammunition can be had for very cheap, but is corrosive. All the test firing I have done to this point has been with Winchester 7.62x54R 180gt Full Metal Jacket.

    Ammunition.jpg

    From left to right: .223 --- .22-250 --- 7.62x54R --- .30-06.

    and a better look at the R of the 7.62x54R

    Ammo%25202.jpg

    I don't own rifles I can't use, and this Scout Rifle I hope will see plenty of use. So, to that end I'd like to hunt with it, and hunting ammunition is made for it, if I've got the brass cases I might as well reload on my own.

    Reloading Dies are available for this cartridge, but you have to be careful when purchasing them. RCBS is the only manufacturer that includes the needed .311 expander button needed to use the .311 diameter bullets. Other manufacturers use the more common .308 expander button and has the .311 as an option. As far as bullets go, you can find bullets in .311 diameter made by Sierra who offers there Pro-Hunter line in 125, 150 and 180 grain options. They also offer a 175gr MatchKing. Hornady offers .310, .3105 and .312 diameter bullets in a wide range of varieties. From a 123gr SST to the 174gr round nose. And Barnes offers their lead free TSX in 150gr, so there are options out there if people want to "roll their own."

    I am looking forward to hand loading once I get the barrel cut down and the gun in it's final shape. The standard Winchester load I am shooting has over 1200 ft/lbs of energy at 500 yards, so I have no doubt I will be able to fulfill the lethality specification laid out by Lt. Colonel Cooper.
     
  4. accessbob

    accessbob Molalla, OR 2A Supporter

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    Which isn't a problem, and shouldn't scare anyone off from using it, if one understands that the corrosive quality comes from the salts that are created when the chemical reaction of the primer's ignition occurs. So, a quick flush down the barrel with water (some use Windex but water is the only thing necessary to clear out the salt) and then run a patch or two down the barrel and you can then clean it with solvent and oil it up at your convenience, either then or later when you get home.

    The one benefit you do get from using the more modern, non-corrosive, is that they usually have brass casings instead of steel and can therefore be reloaded. The cheap stuff (surplus) is steel cased and can't be reused.

    Just thought I would point those couple of things out.
     
  5. DieselScout

    DieselScout S Clackamas County Well-Known Member

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    Thanks for the additional info, but did note the extra cleaning step. I didn't mention Windex as water is what dissolves the salt. With Windex the ammonia it does give you extra cleaning punch if the salts are lodged under powder residue. I do think i will add the Windex info into my other thread, as readers may not be as informed as readers here.

    Regardless I do agree, the surplus ammunition is nothing to be afraid of. I plan on getting some just to have around to plink with on the cheap.
     
  6. ogre

    ogre Vancouver, WA Well-Known Member

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    Did you find the bolt significantly easier to operate after you conducted your polish job?
     
  7. DieselScout

    DieselScout S Clackamas County Well-Known Member

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    Yes, the bolt is much smoother to work with the polish job. Before I polished I also tore the bolt down and soaked all the parts in degreaser to remove any remaining bits of cosmoline. I had previously wiped all the parts down thinking they were clean, but degreaseing them, washing them in warm water then drying them in the oven helped get them totally clean.
     
  8. chainsaw

    chainsaw East side of Or. Active Member

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    Heres a pic of the mosin I did.Not a scout,but more of a carbinI cut the barrel to 18.5" and shortened the stock.I welded a drop bolt handle on it and need to put a scope on it still.
    Anyway,not trying to steal your thread.Just sharing my interest for modding the mosin.
    052112112523.jpg
     
  9. DieselScout

    DieselScout S Clackamas County Well-Known Member

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    No worries. I've considered going down that short, but I can't get an information on how the 7.62x54 preforms. I also can't find any solid info on what pressures the 7.62x54 can be loaded too. So I figure I will start long and go from there. It's easier to trim more off in the future then try and add some on. Any chance you've used a chronograph and know what performance you're getting?

    I love the rifle BTW, super simple and looks great too.:cool:
     
  10. chainsaw

    chainsaw East side of Or. Active Member

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    I haven't chrono'd my loads yet.Not even when the gun was original.As soon as I get a scope put on it I plan on developing a 150 gr load for deer hunting.I was shooting 174 gr Hornady rn bullets out of it when it was full length.43.5 gr of IMR 4064 seated to the interlocks crimp groove.I was getting 1.5" to 2" groups at 100 yrds.
    Thanks BTW on the kind words.
     
  11. EMP9596

    EMP9596 Two Trees West of Camas, WA. Active Member

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    Corrosive Ammo Cleaning: Here is a document from Dennis Kroh owner of Empire Arms. I use this a a guideline and have had good luck with it.

    How to properly clean after using corrosive ammo.

    This is how I do it... it's easy, it's fast, and it's effective. Best of all you can do it while still on the firing-line and thus not offend your significant other with the usually pungent stench of commercial cleaners in your home.
    Dilute regular household ammonia (sudsy is best but regular is OK too) to 2/1 or 3/1 with water (it can be as much as 10/1 if the smell really gets to you). Keep in a small bottle to take with you to the range but label it well so you don't mistake it for contact-lens solution or something (yeeeowww!)
    After you are done firing and while still at the range moisten (not dripping-wet, but sorta-soaked) a patch and run it down the bore and back once. This instantly will neutralize and dissolve the corrosive salt-compounds from the primers and start in on the copper and powder fouling with a vengeance.
    Let stand for thirty seconds or so (just enough time to take off and throw away the ammonia-patch you just used and put a new, dry patch on your rod). Run the dry patch (or several) down the bore and you are most literally done.
    DON'T OVERDO IT! More ISN'T better in this case...
    You really don't want to slop ammonia (especially if heavily concentrated) all over the blued parts of the gun (as it will likely start to remove bluing after 30 minutes or so) and you also shouldn't leave the ammonia in the bore for an extended period of time (like hours, although I do know folks who do that anyway) as that may (not WILL, but MAY) cause "crazing" (microscopic pitting) of the metal. I also have to caution against slopping ammonia on the wooden parts of your rifle, as it will usually strip the finish down to bare-wood, BUT if you follow my advise on HOW MUCH ammonia to use (only enough to dampen, but not soak, a single patch per gun) you will not EVER experience ANY problems at all...
    If you are worried about primer residue getting on the bolt-face you may want to quickly wipe it with the wet patch before throwing the thing away and quickly dry it. Same thing with the gas-tube in a semi-automatic rifle... don't go overboard, just wet it and dry it and get done with it.
    As a final precaution (since the ammonia will also kill all lubricants and leave the metal very dry) you can run a patch of gun-oil down the bore and leave it like that for protection from the elements (just be sure to run a dry patch down the bore before shooting it again).
    I've been cleaning guns this way (including *every* gun we sell) for nearly thirty years, and have never had rust form in any bore (even here in humid Florida).
    However, if you are (like some folks I have met) completely obsessed about leaving traces of ANY powder or copper residue in the bore of your weapon, you can certainly follow up your "field-cleaning" with a detailed, strenuous, traditional cleaning once you are home (or in a week or month from then). But I warn you... your bore is much more be likely to be damaged from your over-enthusiastic scrubbing to get out that "last speck of copper" (which has no affect on the actual accuracy of your firearm) than it will with all the rounds you could possibly send down it during your lifetime.

    Dennis Kroh
     
  12. DieselScout

    DieselScout S Clackamas County Well-Known Member

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    Upgrade #1:

    So, I didn't get drawn for tags this year, which means I'll be hunting general season. A friend of mine who I worked with and I joked about taking our vintage war rifles out hunting this year. Since he didn't draw tags either, that is now the plan. So in an effort to get the rifle ready for hunting I decided I needed a scope. I am NOT good with irons and there is no time to learn right now. Besides a forward mounted long eye relief scope is what I wanted. Problem is, there is no budget for it.

    So, after taking some advice from a few Mosin users on other forums and here, I purchased an NcStar 2-7x32mm pistol Scope and UTG dovetail to Weaver rail. I don't know if I mentioned earlier in the thread or not, but under the rear leaf sight is a 11mm dovetail rail, very common to .22's so there tons of stuff out there for them. I picked up a set of Burris Zee rings at my local sporting goods store on sale for 9 bucks. Add that to the 56 I paid Amazon for the scope and rail and my total came to 65 dollars! Pretty good if you ask me.

    Now some may question the use of a Chinese piece of junk pistol scope on a hard hitting hunting rifle. But, in my research I found 5 people using this scope on their Mosin with great success and very happy with it, so I took the 40 dollar plunge.

    Here is the result.

    2012-09-18_21-19-33_255.jpg

    and a closer look at the mount.

    2012-09-18_21-19-42_549.jpg

    So far I am into the rifle 265 dollars, and that includes the rifle, the Timney trigger and the scope set up. In all honesty I could have skipped the trigger, done some minor work to it and be in for 165. Still cheap and tons of fun.
     
  13. Swedish K

    Swedish K SW Washington Moderator Staff Member

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    When you get ready to cut the barrel down let me know - I should have my lathe set up in the not too distant future if you don't have access to one already.
     
  14. just dan

    just dan PDX Active Member

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    I've a Tula manufactured Mosin that i've been thinking of making into a scout as well. The first two I bought I was planning the same thing... but they were so sweet shooting I couldn't see cutting them up.

    This last one... sweet shooting as well. I'm beginning to think most of them actually are.

    Great thread, can't wait to see more...
     
  15. DieselScout

    DieselScout S Clackamas County Well-Known Member

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    I took the Mosin out on Wednesday and sighted it in at 50 yards after using the laser bore sighter I have to get it close at home. It shot well at 50 yards, just way high. So I dialed down the scope and headed over to the 100 yard range. After throwing down about 15 rounds, I decided to go check my targets. I can see my .30-06 hits through my scope, but couldn't see any from the Mosin. I should have knew then there was a problem. Check my targets and 0 hits showing, flabergasted I walked back and check the gun to find this.

    2012-09-26_12-42-41_768.jpg

    That would be the problem!! So, it was back home to fix it. (if you didn't notice, the scope mount is slid forward almost half an inch.)

    Today, I went out with a friend to try again. He had set up at around 90 yards and from a Caldwell bag off the hood of his truck we got the rifle dialed in. Final group end up being these four.

    2012-09-27_11-04-21_638.jpg

    Is it the greatest group ever? No, but my shoulder was really sore from the day before so I was flinching like mad. I am not one to usually complain about such things, but I caught a few yesterday out of the shoulder and onto the arm. My problem, not the guns, just was getting in a hurry. It should work for deer season!
     
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  16. Unka-Boo

    Unka-Boo Milwaukie Active Member

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    I was reading this and having deja-vu....then realized I read it 10 minutes ago on Pirate...:bluelaugh:
     
  17. DieselScout

    DieselScout S Clackamas County Well-Known Member

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    LOL, yeah I cross post it, exactly, no sense in typing it out twice!
     
  18. JackThompson

    JackThompson Valley of the Demons Well-Known Member

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    Quick comment on the "Not modern" corrosive ammo.

    An army airborne ranger friend of mine that was stationed for 8 years in Alaska where it was commonly -10 to -30 degrees told me corrosive ammo was designed to not freeze up your gun when firing in sub-zero temperatures.

    He mentioned that any ammo you fired "That was assembled in the lower 48" would release moisture that turned to ice immediately after you fired it once.

    Good reason to keep some corrosive ammo around. (If you think you'll be firing in cold temps)
     
  19. Sgtwoodard

    Sgtwoodard Pomeroy, Ohio New Member

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    DSCF0076.jpg
    This is my Chinese Type 53 Scout rifle build. I have wanted one of these for a long time and finally got all the parts together to build it.

    DSCF0076.jpg
     
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