Even after being decommissioned from service by the Soviet Army decades ago, the Mosin Nagant M91/30 is still a very popular hunting and sporting rifle ‘round the globe. From firearm enthusiasts to old-school shooters, a lot of people use them even today. This calls for a need of good ammo for the Mosin Nagant.
Here we’ll be talking about what ammo the M91/30 uses and points you must consider before choosing appropriate ammunition for your rifle. We have also outlined and reviewed the best Mosin Nagant ammunition available on the market, to help you reach a decision.
What Type of Bullets does the Mosin Nagant Shoot?
The Mosin Nagant M91/30 shoots 7.62x54R bullets.
Some of the earliest Finnish models did shoot a slightly different round that was comparable to a .308, but these models are rare. Later Finnish models used 7.62x53R but it’s considered interchangeable with the 54R.
In the US, this translates simply to a .311 round. Simply, 7.62x54R M91/30 can shoot .310, .311 and .312 calibers. These numbers help when you are handloading your ammunition or are trying to buy the cheapest ammunition for your Mosin Nagant. Handloading ammunition is also a very inexpensive option when it comes to shooting an M91/30 rifle.
Apart from that, the cheapest and easiest type of ammunition to procure for a Mosin Nagant is military surplus. There’s a lot of milsurp ammo available on the market for M91/30’s. From stored and leftover ammunition to spam boxes, you can find boxes of milsurp ammo for as low as 0.25 per round.
A lot of people like to use military surplus ammunition because of its cheap price and frequently easy availability. Using these rounds won’t really matter especially if you are just plinking.
The Problem with Military Surplus Ammo
Every coin has two sides, and so does the milsurp ammunition. Although it is often readily available and miraculously cheap, it also has some drawbacks.
First of all, milsurp ammo is very ‘dirty’. It uses mercury-based primers which are highly corrosive and result in a lot of fouling for your barrel. This means that you have to diligently clean your Mosin Nagant after every shooting session.
If you really love your Mosin Nagant (especially if it is a prized possession) and are cautious about it becoming worn out, milsurp will not be your primary shooting ammo.
Another very realistic concern with milsurp ammo is its accuracy. Milsurp ammo has been decommissioned by the military for a reason - it’s either no longer needed or not effective. Ammunition has its shelf life and after several years it becomes substandard. Milsurp ammo is old and hence is not as effective as new match-grade ammunition. This would discourage you from using it for competitions and precision shooting.
Last but not least, milsurp ammo is generally FMJ (full metal jacket). This means that it is intended for wounding and not really killing. This somewhat limits its use for big game hunting, especially over a long distance.
Quick Comparison Chart of the Best Ammo for the Mosin Nagant
Winchester USA White Box Ammo 7.62x54R 180 gr SP
Wolf Military Classic Ammo 7.62x54R 148 gr FMJ
Wolf Polyformance Ammo 7.62x54R 174 gr FMJ
Winchester USA White Box 7.62x54R 180 gr FMJ
Reviews of the Best Mosin Nagant Ammo
Knowing the pros and cons of milsurp ammo, you know it’s not always going to help except for plinking. For all other uses with your legendary Mosin Nagant rifle, you need to choose good-quality ammunition.
We’ve reviewed a versatile range of the best M91/30-compatible ammo on the market to help you make your choice.
Manufactured by renowned manufacturer Winchester, this 7.62x54R ammo is a 180-grain soft-point bullet. This makes this round precisely accurate and perfect for hunting. It features a weight-rearward design and is intended to fragment upon impact, causing a great deal of damage to the game. Additionally, the 180gr bullet is heavy enough to pack that extra punch.
The ammo is clean and you can shoot it for days without really needing to clean the rifle. This also helps prevent any corrosive damage to the rifle. The ammo comes in a standard white box packing. The case is quite resistant to cracks and you might find some good ones for handloading.
- Soft-point Bullet Head - Good for Hunting
- No Barrel Leading
- Good Accuracy
- Expands Upon Impact
- Reloadable (due to Brass Box Primer)
- Price might concern some people
- Subsonic Velocity
These bullets are Russian-made 148 grains steel-cased rounds for high-volume target shooters. This is an FMJ round from wolf Military and features a polymer coating over the base rim for proper cycling. The FMJ design makes it good for self-defense and target practice.
The rounds are not milsurp so you won’t face any real issues with accuracy. Fouling may be a problem, but the low price overrides this con. The round uses non-corrosive powder but is berdan-primed which prevents handloading.
- Good Accuracy
- Polymer Rim for Better Cycling
- FMJ - Good for target practice and self-defense
- Low Price
- Prone to Leading
The Wolf Polyformance 7.62x54R is a mil-spec 174 grain steel-cased round manufactured in Russia. The lower rim features a polymer coating to ensure proper extraction and feeding of the bullet in the M91/30. The bullet uses non-corrosive powder and berdan primer.
This FMJ ammo is reasonably priced and will be the first choice for high volume shooters. These are good quality rounds with decent accuracy. Perfect for target practice and plinking.
- Steel Cased Round
- Polymer Coated Rim for Better Cycling
- Low Price
- Good Accuracy
- Prone to Fouling
- Non-reloadable due to Berdan Primer
This bullet is similar to the one mentioned on the top of the list. The only difference is that these are FMJ (Full Metal Jacket) rounds. This makes them perfect for target shooting and self-defense.
This 189 gr FMJ ammo uses non-corrosive powder and results in negligible fouling. This makes it way better than milsurp ammunition. The 180 gr round can travel at subsonic speeds and offers better resistance to wind deflection. Perfect for shooting your M91/30 on a breezy day.
- Reloadable(Brass Box Primer)
- FMJ - Good for Target Practice
- No Barrel Leading
- Heavy Grain
Mosin Nagant rifles are still being used by shooters all over the world for hunting and target practice. An M91/30 uses 7.62x54R ammunition, although some Finnish M39 models use 7.62x53R ammunition. Milsurp ammo is a widely chosen type of ammunition for these rifles as it is cheap.
But on the contrary, it is ‘dirty’, somewhat inaccurate and non-reloadable, leaving it good enough only for plinking. Newly-manufactured ammunition, on the other hand, is good with accuracy and quality and is quite versatile.