What to check when buying milsurp rifles?

Joe Link

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For some reason, I feel like buying a gun today. I figure it's probably about time to start my milsurp collection, so I think I'll head to GI Joes & Big 5 to see what they have in stock. I know Big 5 is advertising M44's for $99, so that seems like a good bet.

The thing is, I know nothing about inspecting these old rifles for condition and/or wear. What should I look for? I'll probably end up buying whatever I can get for around $100, maybe two or three rifles though none of the same. Any suggestions as to what else I can expect to find besides the M44's?
 
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One thing to look for is the stamps on the top of the reciever, which have the date along with the "symbol" of the manufacturers country, there is a site somewhere that talks about all of the identifying marks of mosins.
 
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Big 5 is actually a decent place to get an M44. When i bought my 91/30 at Big 5, they let me look through the bore with a bore light. They also opened up as many boxes as i wanted until i found the one i wanted.

Things to look for:

1. Stock. They come in either wood or laminate. M44 is usually laminate and very nice looking. But it's a personal preference; makes no difference to the gun.

2. Bore. Get a good bore with strong rifling. Many are counter-bored. Most people don't like that, but it won't affect it's shooting capability.

3. Serial numbers. There are 4 serial numbers: bolt, receiver, butt plate, and floor plate. They should all match and they should all be stamped (not electro-penciled).

4. Make sure it has a cleaning rod.

5. Many have excellent bluing. If it is thin or gone, look further.

6. While holding the trigger back, the bolt comes right out. Make sure the bolt assembly isn't too loose or corroded. A little play in the parts is acceptable, but not much. With the bolt out, check the bore!

7. If all you're looking for is a fun plinker, get a solid, clean rifle and you'll be good to go. If you're interested in collecting, oh man, that's a whole other world...

Finally, always have the headspace checked by a gunsmith before you shoot. Price will vary. Guncrafters in Salem has never charged me for this.

Then go home a clean out cosmoline for the next few hours.

The ultimate Mosin Nagant sight is http://7.62x54r.net/ everything on the rifle is there.
 
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Joe Link

Joe Link

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After looking in four different locations, two Big 5's and two GI Joes, I finally found a decent example of an M44. Actually, I think it's in really good condition. The stock is in good shape, the bluing is perfect, numbers match, bore is bright with good rifling (though it is counterbored), and if you told me it had never been fired I'd probably believe you. I'll be sure to post pics tomorrow. I'm extremely excited, as is Jenny. Who wants to see a video of her shooting it for the first time? :D
 
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I'd like to see that!

M44 has a good solid kick, so be prepared. If you shoot at dusk, you get to enjoy a nuclear fireball for a light show.

Make sure you shoot with the bayonet extended. They were sighted in with it extended and the point of impact moves considerably.

HAVE FUN! They're addictive...
 
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I'd like to see that!

M44 has a good solid kick, so be prepared. If you shoot at dusk, you get to enjoy a nuclear fireball for a light show.

Make sure you shoot with the bayonet extended. They were sighted in with it extended and the point of impact moves considerably.

HAVE FUN! They're addictive...
Beware, Mosin's breed in the safe.

Flame On!

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Mosin Nagant M38 Designated Flamethrower
 

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