7/04/05 at 02:04 PM
This is the Summer of the Mosin Nagant. For me anyway. Awhile ago I took advantage of some of Century Arms deals on Albanian FMJ in 440 and 340 round span cans. It was going for really low prices... I still think it is. Not the best ammo, but I have always been able to achieve good performance from it.
In another thread I made earlier, is information about preparing and storing firearms for long term. The Mosin Nagants now are my focus, and my plan is to go through them. Clean them up, zero the sights in, and work out and basic performance issues. Then they will be bagged and placed into crates along side some Alby tins and some Czech Silvertip for someday in the future.
Currently, I am focusing on a 1937 Ishevek Mosin with a Laminated stock. Its one of the refurbished models that was imported by Interordnance a year or so ago. The magazine is a line out, and the bolt has the serial numbers electropenciled on. Not a big collection piece other than the stock. Still, its a great shooter. That is the most important thing from my perspective.
The first major problem that I have encountered was that the rifle shoots high. WAY high. At 100 yards the point of impact (POI) was about a foot higher than point of aim (POA). The groups were very good, but this was not enough. Aiming a foot low was not going to cut it for me.
So some modifications needed to be done.
When you bring up the words "Modification" and "Curio & Relic" in the same sentence, it inevitably is followed with someone posting "Bubba". This is what I want to avoid. What I wish to do with my firearms is to squeeze the best perfomance. Using original parts that does not permently destroy the firearm.
When it comes to sights, I could have gone with the MOJO systems. They are good sights, but to me it would take away the flavor of the Mosin too much. When you looked at the rifle, you cann tell the rear sight is a drastic change. What I was looking for was a way to fix my shooting high problem without spending as much as the Mosin of a sight system.
So this is what I did:
The front sight post can be removed from the sight housing by using a punch. Put the punch in the top hole of the sight and tap away. It helps if you have a vice or some type of clamp to hold the sight. Its important to have space under the sight for the sight post to tap out.
The post has three different levels on it. Shown in the hand drawing above, Sorry about that.... but just wanted to get this post done and my camera has been giving me issues. On the bottom of the post is a flared section which helps limit how far the sight can be raised in the housing. There is a second section or shoulder, which also restricts the limit in how much the post can be raised.
My solution was to take the sight post and chuck it into my drill press. Then while spinning at a relatively low RPM, I used a file to turn off the flared section. Poor mans lathe I guess. This requires a steady hand. Before you start, think about how you can brace yourself holding a file. This way you can keep steady on turning down the sight.
A hand drill could be used. But I would suggest getting a vice for it, or perhaps another person to hold it.
I also chose to put a gradual taper on the sight end of the rod. It still has a flat top, but by narrowing the blade in my sight picture, its easier for me to shoot at targets. The fuzzy picture on the side does not do it justice. Its a major improvement over the semi-square sight with mushroomed edges that came with it.
Take your time with the spinning and filing. Check your progress frequently. If you grind/file more than just the flared section, you can complicate the next step.
After the bottom is removed, the sight can be place back into the housing. You win be bvest clamping or putting the sight housing in a vice. With a drift punch, tap the sight back into its original position. It should go in fairly easily to its original position.
Then put your punch in and force the post through. The shoulder section of the sight post is a wider diameter of the hole as it come out of the housing. By forcing the sight through, it gets wedged in place. This is a one way trip. Once you push it out, it will not stay in place if you hammer it the other direction.
I have found with my 91-30's that shoot high for example, that the sight post needs to come up about 1/16 to 3/32". Shoot your Mosin before you do this. If you are only 6" high POI at 100 yards, the 1/16" should be fine. If your POI is higher, you may need to be more aggressive in pushing it through.
After the sight post is in, you can back fill the space left behind in the dovetail with JB Weld if you wish. I have not, and have fired 300 rounds through one of these Mosins with the sight mod on it. The sight has not moved one iota. I do not think it will.
I would suggest that if someone raises there sight post, they do it conservatively. I want an approximate 100 yard zero for the 100 Meter setting. Although they are conflicting measuement systems, Anything I get is better than Aiming a foot low and hoping for the best. Fortunately I nailed it pretty good when I made this adjustment. Maybe it was because a shooting friend and I have been BS'ing about how to address the problem for two months
If you go a bit too far its not the end of the world. At least you can use your rear sight to compensate for actually shooting to high. Personally, I try to get it as close as possible.
Floating the Barrel:
If you look at the Mosin M-39 series, the barrel is floated. The stock and barreled action is connected at the receiver. The barrel then moves away contained within the wood. Ideally its not touching.
Floating the barreled action ideally removes all stress points and potential stress points of where barrel touches othe parts of the firearm.
Now on an M-44 or 91-30, this may be a bit more complicated. But if your stock is in good repair with minimal distortion or bending, some improvement can be made.
The first thing to do is to remove the barrel bands and the handguard cover. Check the cover to see if its in good hape, and there is no cracks or warping in it. If there is, then its probably best just to leave it be.
Loosen up the screws that hold the magazine assembly on. The barreled action and the magazine assembly are what holds the rifle in the stock. Loosen up the action so you can wrap a new dollar bill under the barrel between it an the wood.
Tighten up the action screws and see if you can slide the bill freely back and forth in the barrel channel. If you can, well you can skip the remainder of this part, save mabye working on the handguard. The only Non-Finnish Mosin nagant I have encountered this on was my 1942 Tula 91-30 I bought from Aztec Guns. It was a rearsenalled PU sniper with the scope mount holes plugged and a patch made on the side of the stock. My 1943 Ishevek rearsenalled PU failed this test, but the stock was a regular 91-30.
So the dollar bill snagged or did not move. We go to the next step.
Remove the barreled action and magazine assembly from the stock.
From a local ACE Hardware store I was able to purchase some Brass shim stock. I would imagine that Home Depot or Lowes would have it. I bought it in different thicknesses, although you can do alot with a pair of scissors and a 1/2" wide strip. The thickness of the material was 0.016". It cost I think around $0.89 for a foot long strip.
A small piece is cut to be placed behind the front connection lug. A second one is cut out to support the tang. Notice the curvature of the the tang as it goes into the trigger mounts. When cutting your shim, you want to raise the receiver in the stock, but not push it forward. A relief cut will have to be made in the the tang shim so the bolt will pass through.
Then reassemble the magazine assembly to the barreled action in the stock. Place the dollar bill under the barrel again. Tighten the screws. Then try to slide the dollar bill back and forth along the barrel. It should start to move now, but will probably hang up in spots.
If it moves totally free, then there probably is no need to sand. If it hangs or binds, we go to the next step.
The most important thing here is to smooth out the barrel channel.
DO NOT sand the top side of the stock shown in the picture. These surfaces must remain untouched if the barrel is to have some space between the handguard and the stock. If you sand these flat areas, you drop the elevation of the handguard and it will touch the barrel.
My solution was to get some metric deepwall sockets. I used an 11mm and 12mm. Depending on the grit and thickness of the sand paper you are using, one of these sockets can allow you to sand the channel without touching the tops.
I started with 100 grit and made even strokes all the way down the barrel channel.
This part did not take long, just a few minutes. I then used a rag to wipe out the debris, and reassembled the rifle in the stock without handguard.
I tried the dollar bill test again. It moved fairly easily except some specific areas.
I then switched to 150 grit, and sanded those areas down slightly. Then I mafe a few more passes all the way down the barrel channel.
Once again I reassembled the rifle without the handguard again and did the dollar bill test.
It would slide up and down the barrel smooth.
The handguard is a touchy area, as the condition of it varies some much on all the Mosins I have seen. The inside of it will be rough. On my handguard, I just used the socket technique with 150 grit to smooth it off. No major sanding at all. The only place that need addressing on the handguard is where the metal clip exists on the muzzle end. Often the wood is splintered towards the barrel when this was installed. I took the time to remove the excess material pushed out by the metal clip.
At this time I reassebled the rifle and put the handguard on. The barrel actually now floats now within the stock. Very similar to the M-39's and K-31's I own. I am getting some minor touching at the front of the barrel depending on how I hold it, but for the most part its free and clear.
The research I did on this subject lead me to a variety of different ways to float a Mosin barrel. Some use heat resistant shims strategically placed in the barrel channel and under the handguard. I am going to try a couple variations an see what happens.
There are a bunch of aftermarket triggers which are truly fantastic. No doubt about it. The problem is that once again, I have a hard time paying for an item that costs as much as the rifle. So I would like to get the most out of my stock Mosin parts by polishing and non-permament modification.
This is a subject which should not be approached it out warnings.
Warning: If you dremel your trigger spring/sear to death, the cocking knob/firing pin assembly will be unsafe. Possibly leading to accidental or random discharge. Working on this section of any rifle has its risks, and if you are unsure or feel funny about it, do not do it.
The trigger pull on Mosins is often not that great. On the Mosins I own, there is a wide variation of trigger qualities. I am hard pressed to say they are all consistantly alike. I attribute this to where and when the parts were made, how they were used and cleaned, and what condition they are when you finally get one covered in cosmoline. The trigger is fairly simple however. The sear and trigger spring are one unit that sticks up into the reciever. When the trigger is pulled back, it forces the trigger spring down. Eventually the sear section of the trigger spring disengages from the cocking knob and BOOM.
When the trigger moves the trigger spring/sear, it actually slides along the the spring. Careful inspection of the trigger spring in often show wear in the finish where it slides.
Often this area is warped or pitted. Sometimes it has dried cosmoline on it. No matter what a good cleaning is not going to hurt it.
The first thing to do for improving trigger pull, is to polish all of the metal to meta contact areas. Specifically the pivot pin, and the holes in trigger than it moves on. For the holes I just use some cotton cord with some metal polish. Place the trigger in a vise and slide it back and forth. It does a very good job in a short time without removing excessive material. The pivot pin I just use emory paper on to get it nice and smooth.
This then leaves me to polishing and shiming the sear/trigger spring.
Once again, sorry about the crappy photo, but you can make out the specifics.
How the cocking knob and the trigger spring meet up is a major factor on how the trigger “feels.” On stock Mosins these surfaces are often rough with gouges. By using a fine file, stoning, or emory paper, you can smooth out these surfaces and help on how clean the trigger releases the cocking knob/firing pin assembly.
This is a process which should be made with fine and very fine files or emory paper. The idea is to smooth and polish, not remove excessive material. Be slow and steady to clean up on how these surfaces move against one another.
One way to modify Mosin triggers is to reduce the height of the sear section of the trigger spring. Although this can be effective, removal of too much can increase the risk of an accidental discharge.
Often this is the determining factor on why different Mosins have different trigger breaking points. The height of the sear off of the spring dictates how far the trigger spring has to be pushed down before it releases the cocking knob.
Whenever I get a New Mosin, I strip down the trigger group to clean out the cosmoline, and give the trigger parts a basic polish. I have noticed as much as a 2mm deviation between different trigger spring/sears. This is freaking huge.
So before taking material of the top of your sear, think about how much is going to be holding the cocking knob back from firing. This is why I do not like taking material off the top. Just a polish and smooth.
What I found is that the trigger can be instead improved by bonding a shim to the trigger spring. In the exact area where the trigger slides back and forth to lower the sear.
The trigger will often have a "wiggle" where it moves back and forth without engaging or touching the trigger spring. This is the area I exploit for my trigger work.
Shown in the above picture is a brass shim I have cut to fit on the trigger wear section. A 0.016” brass shim is cut and JB welded to the inside of the trigger spring. This raises the surface, making it so the trigger engages the spring quicker. The brass is also very smooth. When lubricated with a high quality grease, there is minimal friction. The ductile nature of the brass allows it to form to the contour of the spring.
You can test your trigger spring shim, without using a bonding agent. Just slide the shim under the trigger on the trigger spring/sear.
NOTE & WARNING: If your trigger spring/Sear is rather tall, this works great. If its a stubby and/or there is minimal wiggle room for the trigger, you may not get a safe amount of material to hold the cocking knob back. The sizes of shim stock err towards clearance in these issues. But if you use a huge glob of JB weld, it will make the effective hieght of the shim that much higher. This could potentially cause safety issues in some Mosins. I have used crazy glue, and the elevation created is much less than JB weld. It just does not hold as well.
I then reassemble the trigger components at test them. Fortunately I have done this enough times wherte I ahve a pretty good feel for what is safe.
The biggest difference of the trigger after this work is that the trigger will move and break alot sooner than before. This alone has helped my Mosin groups get tighter.
Hope someone out there finds this useful. Figured I should tell y'all what I have been working on for the past few weeks.
7/04/05 at 02:16 PM
Thanks for all the info.
Nice Work!! Russianblood
7/04/05 at 02:32 PM
Very well done post! Thank you for taking the time to post it.AZ_Nagant
7/04/05 at 03:07 PM
I think this post should be part of the pinned tuning thread. What do you think Thed? Would you mind?Thed
Old post 7/04/05 at 03:40 PM
If it can help others, no problem!singhcr
1/23/06 at 12:56 PM
Thanks for the informative post! I wish I would have tried this with my 91/30 before I sold it (couldn't hit anything with 4 different brands of ammo, including light/heavy ball milsurp and commercial).neolithic1
2/13/06 at 08:30 PM
Great write up. I'll be trying the brass strip on the trigger spring too. Thanks for taking the time to write it up.surpera1
2/13/06 at 09:40 PM
i found the info on the trigger work particularly interesting.inside the trigger where it rubs the spring i used a small file.but i would like to have some small hard stones to finish it off.and i didnt think about the other polish points.good read-very informative.mas360
2/23/06 at 12:18 PM
The trigger job I did employs shim but placed at a different spot.
I cut up two washers out of an old credit card. These washers are used as shim. I place them between receiver and trigger spring at the end where a single bolt attaches trigger spring to receiver. The shim thus places the trigger spring lower than its original position. This effectively reduces the mating surface area between the sear and cocking knob and thus reducing the trigger pull travel.
I found two thicknesses of the credit card is about right for my rifle and my liking. I do not have a guage to accurately quantitate the modified trigger pull. I could only compare my modified trigger against another unmodified one and found it to be significantly different. Your preference may be different.
I am pondering on clipping one coil off the firing pin spring to further reduce trigger weight. Has anyone done this ?
2/25/06 at 03:17 PM
thanks for the write up i'm sure i'll use it. i just baught a mosin nagent 1944.
2/25/06 at 11:54 PM
2/26/06 at 10:54 AM
I use RCBS decapping pins cut to the proper length to get the front post height right. It's an easy fix.