The Mosin Nagant M91 was the first Russian repeating bolt-action rifle. Adopted in 1891, and it represents the most popular military surplus rifle on the market today after more than century.
For instance, this century old, M1891/30 Mosin was not designed with optics in mind. But some contemporary and knowledgeable users like to transform a $100 rifle into a long-range precision instrument.
Due to its low price and cheap military 7.62x54R surplus ammunition, the Mosin Nagant is most often bought to be turned into an efficient and accurate recreational target shooting and hunting arm. Many companies import never-used surplus MN rifles and their accessories. Other American firearms manufacturers produce modern hardware to help you upgrade and “sporterize” your classic battle rifle.
The first step in transforming a military weapon from the early 20th century into the modern sporting rifle is a stock replacement. The arms market is flooded with many stock choices for the Mosin Nagant. It could be a used original wooden stocks that have been carefully chosen. But you might also go with a classic hunting stock, a more-specialized sniper look and feel, or even bullpup configurations.
Notorious for its short length of pull, Mosin Nagant stocks are somewhat small for most American shooters. A longer butt that fits the shooters arm much better is often a key point in deciding on a stock.
The best solution by our criteria based on the relation of price-usability is the ATI Monte Carlo stock. It’s completely weather-proof and scratchproof. It will stand up to years and years of abuse and still look as good as new.
The ATI Stock has a 13.5” length of pull. It’s made from DuPont extreme-temperature, glass-strengthened polymer and comes with a rubber non-slip butt pad and a proper sling swivel mounts. This stock features the characteristic Monte Carlo-style raised cheek rest for faster target alignment with scopes.
The ATI Monte Carlo Stock Kit is literally a drop-in installation that gives your Mosin Nagant a new look, better balance, better grip and lighter weight.
After a stock replacement, you will be shocked at the difference it makes for your favorite old rifle. However, the next step would be a real upgrade of Mosin Nagant. You can probably guess - a scope and scope mounting.
To build our custom rifle with some individual note is always challenging, but converting a $90-120 surplus gun into a scoped hunting rifle or a tricked-out 'Tacticool’ scout-sniper presents a fun project. There are varieties of simple mounts one can use depending upon the needs of the shooter.
Generally, the main difference in scope mounts is whether to use a traditional mounting placement or the extended eye relief "Scout Scope" method of scope mounting. Long Eye Relief (LER) means the scope is placed 8 to 12 inches away from the eye. This seems to work better for younger folks with good eyes. Though it messes with the balance of a rifle, it is a good solution for the Mosin because it does not require a permanent alteration to the bolt or tapping the receiver. It helps preserve the rifle’s historical integrity.
On the other hand, there are kits for a standard mounting position that require drilling and tapping for installation. This makes proper scope mounting costly since the gunsmith installation is recommended. Usually, this kind of Mosin Nagant kit includes replacing the straight bolt handle with a bent one or cutting and welding the old handle to a scope-friendly position.
ATI offers one such mounting kit.
The original bolt handle on a Mosin Nagant is straight. That’s fine for the average shooter, but when you try to add a scope mount, you’re stuck. The original 90 degrees bolt design won’t work with a traditional scope configuration.
Getting a kit like ATI’s, above, gives you a bent bolt that will get your gun in working order. The complete pack works perfectly, though it requires some skill in gunsmithing or at least a rudimentary knowledge of the craft.
There is the whole spectrum of optics well-suited for each of the mount configurations. Keeping in mind the low cost of this rifle, we know you don’t want to spend too much on the upgrades. So we’ll keep our recommended optics to one of the best scopes in its price class.
The Bushnell Banner DDB is a low-light telescopic sight with 3-9x magnification and 40mm objective lens. It also has a Circle-X reticle. The Banner scopes are among the best in their niche and have been part of the Bushnell line for decades. They are built on one-piece aluminum alloy 1″ tubes for durability and come in the matte black external finish.
The Banner riflescopes feature Bushnell's Dusk & Dawn Brightness (DDB) lens coatings, giving a sharpness and clarity during those low light moments of the day when game activity is highest. The Banner scopes are available with good 3.3″ or extended 6″ of eye relief to clear the heavy recoil of rifles like Mosin Nagant. With this standard eye relief, a bent bolt and proper mount are mandatory on your MN.
The Dusk and Dawn optics are also shockproof and waterproof. It’s nitrogen-filled to prevent internal fog build-up. These all make it an excellent and very affordable option for hunting with a Mosin Nagant.
Although not a top-of-the-line scope, the Banner is ideal for brush hunting and closer shots. These optics mounted on a Mosin Nagant allows an average shooter to deliver consistent 1.25" 100-yard groups with surplus 7.62x54R ammo.
Nobody expects that a 100-years-old soldier's rifle will have a quality trigger, so a trigger group replacement has a high priority on the upgrade list. It’s old and doesn’t have modern craftsmanship. Pull weight can vary widely.
Although there are trigger brands on the market, we give an advantage to Timney match-grade drop-in trigger group. This part is housed in an anodized 6061-T6 aluminum alloy cage. Timney for Mosin Nagant is a well- known for its spectacularly crisp and adjustable trigger pull weight, ranging from 1.5 to 4lbs. As the best trigger you can have for the Mosin, the Featherweight Deluxe Timney also features a trigger-blocking side safety.
If you’ve followed this overview so far you know that with a little tuning and reasonable expenses, your standard, off-the-rack Mosin can be as precise as rifles a hundred years younger. Still, the accuracy is significantly compromised by the muzzle blast of the weapon. In some circles the gun’s even been nicknamed “The Flame-Thrower’’ for its power.
There are plenty of aftermarket muzzle brakes in .30 caliber, but the stainless steel hardware from Vais stands out with its elegant low profile and multiple venturi expansion chambers that disperse and redirect gases for efficient recoil control. In that way, the Vais muzzle brakes offer shooters excellent recoil reduction with limited muzzle rise and with no increase in muzzle blast.
With a felt recoil reduction of about 40%, the Vais muzzle brake unit makes firing the 7.62x 54R a delight to shoot despite the notorious recoil the 7.62 Mossine cartridge delivers. Besides adding a whole new look to the barrel, the Vais muzzle brake also helps improve accuracy from the decrease in muzzle jump.
Since the precision placing of the brake is essential for accuracy, we recommend installation an by experienced gunsmith.
Fastened on the outside of your rifle butt, a stock pack is designed to help cushion the impact of recoil. You don’t want to end up with a bruised or tender cheek from the stock banging into it. This might not be your first priority in an upgrade, but it’s definitely one of the easiest accessories to add on!
Tactical Operations stock packs are made of durable Cordura nylon shell, offering a soft, synthetic suede cheek rest for increased shooting comfort. There are four straps to secure it to your rifle - three around the bottom and one around the butt end.
This pouch is the perfect size for most factory-sized hunting stocks on bolt-action rifles, including the Mosin Nagant. The craftsmanship is excellent. This stock pouch also lines shooter`s eye up perfectly with the scope through its solid cheek weld.
The Tactical Operations stock pouch comes with eight reinforced elastic shell loops on the OUTSIDE of the pocket. The zippered pocket is great for convenient storage of little necessities like spare batteries, cleaning gear or other small tools.
Buttstock Cartridge Holder
If you are looking for a plain and practical way to securely store the ammo at your fingertips ready to load, a buttstock cartridge holder is a great solution. Usually designed to just slide on, it keeps things handy and secure, without being difficult to remove. The stock pack we already talked about includes this. But if you don’t need a cheek riser or a better cheek weld, the simple buttstock cartridge holder from Mossy Oak will satisfy you.
This 9-round holder is made from an elastic band so it should stretch to fit any stock size and shape and hold the 7.62x54R ammo securely. With the ammo being so cheap, you’ll always appreciate an extra ammo holder like this. What’s even nicer is that rounds preloaded into a stripper clip fit well in the shell loops, allowing you to pull 5 loaded rounds out at once.
The simplest rifle sling is often the best. After all, it has the simple function of helping you carry the gun.
The Tactical Plus modern rifle sling was created for service rifles such as Mosin Nagant. It was designed in the tradition of U.S. Military sling Model since 1907. It's still one of the greatest slings ever invented for carrying and shooting.
Tactical Plus offers new service rifle slings in a high-grade, space-age synthetic material called Biothane. Unlike leather, it is an almost indestructible material that is comfortable in any shooting position and wraps around the arm correctly. The hardware is parkerized steel with a brass rivets, and it lines up with the sling mounts on the Mosin Nagant, giving a very authentic feel to your rifle.
This comfortable carrying strap measures 54 inches and comes in black, brown, or O.D. green. It’s service-rifle legal in CMP and NRA matches.
Many shooters are convinced that the Mosin Nagant kicks like a mule and that a rubber replacement of the original steel butt plate is mandatory. Also, if you’re using the original stock, adding the buttpad can help lengthen it. This helps serve as a bit of protection for your shoulder.
The non-slip rubber buttpad from AIM Sports decreases recoil by approximately 25-40%. The one-inch thick device is compatible with all Mosin Nagant rifles, meaning it installs quickly using existing buttplate holes and screws.
AIM Sport Mosin Nagant Cleaning Kit and Field Tools
Of course, you’ll want to take good care of your Mosin Nagant, upgraded or not. That means having a complete cleaning kit and field tools. This will help protect your investment in your gun.
AIM Sports offers a great little cleaning kit that includes five stripper clips that are handy for loading an empty mag fairly quickly. This new cleaning set consists of a muzzle protector, cleaning rod handle, rod jag, and a brush with bronze and nylon bristles compatible with 7.62X54 chambers. Also, the kit comes with a multi-tool in the form of a flat screwdriver and a slotted tool for checking and adjusting the firing pin.
Transforming a Mosin Nagant into a modern-looking hunting or target rifle does not always demand space-age industry accessories. Many traditional pieces are still incredibly functional for operating your vintage gun. However, the results of using the new technology upgrades are quite helpful, providing a tremendous improvement in appearance and a much more comfortable rifle to shoot.