Hunting with the Mosin Nagant Rifle

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An antique Mosin Nagant contains a lot of history in itself. Since its inception in 1891 by the Soviet Army, it has been used in more than 30 wars worldwide and counting. It is the second- most-produced rifle after the renowned AK-47. Mosins are used for hunting throughout Russia and other countries till date. But many hunters still question whether it’s a good weapon for hunting. Let’s look at the issues.

Is the Mosin Nagant Good for Hunting?

The answer is, Why Not? During the siege of Stalingrad during WWII, the famous sniper Vasily Zaytsev killed more than 500 nazi soldiers, including 11 Wehrmacht snipers with his Mosin Nagant.  A deer surely isn’t as cunning as an SS sniper.

The effective range of the Mosin is 500 meters while the rear sight is calibrated for 2000 meters. You’re surely not going to shoot your game from farther than 300 yards.

A good hunting rifle must be accurate and powerful - accurate enough to spot your game from a large distance and powerful enough to kill it. A Mosin Nagant fits both the categories perfectly. It uses a 7.62 x54R round, which is comparable to a 30-06 round in U.S standards. Soft-point ammo of a heavier grain can even kill a bear humanely.

You can use the Mosin to take down your game from as far as 500 yards. The rifle is quite accurate at such distances. Remember, it was the standard sniper rifle for the Soviet Army, so its accuracy shouldn’t be doubted.

tighten up your shot with a bolt upgrade

Mosins generally use milsurp ammo which is quite inexpensive. It’s also not the best kind of ammo for hunting. Honestly, it is the least desirable ammo for hunting because it’s not very accurate. But apart from that, there are different types of ammo available in the market to use with your Mosin Nagant. The Mosin is itself a cheap rifle, so your hunting campaigns are not going to burn a hole in your pocket.

A Mosin Nagant is good for shooting deer and sometimes even bear while using heavy grain ammo like 174 gr or 180gr soft point.On the other hand, it’s not what you want to use for fowl or any small game. It won’t leave meat on the bone after impact. The power of the round simply doesn’t match the size of the target.

The objections to using a Mosin usually involve its age and lack of technological development. No, it wasn’t built as a hunting rifle. Yes, it’s dated. But it can definitely serve the purpose with a few adjustments.

Also, the Mosin Nagant is a bolt action rifle which uses a powerful 7.62 x 54R  round. The shot is very noisy and may scare away the target. So be sure not to fire a round before you have a proper shot. Safety is an important issue while you handle a rifle.

Pros and Cons of Using a Mosin Nagant for Hunting?

Let’s look a little more at the strengths and weaknesses of this gun for a hunter.

The Plus Side

Price

Mosin Nagant is still an inexpensive rifle. You can find a nicely-made Mosin well below $200 at your local gun store. And probably less if you buy online. The carbines cost a bit more, in the range of $300. A lot of people like to spend more to have a fine rifle, but this one can definitely serve your purposes.

Inexpensive Ammunition

Mosin Nagant uses military surplus ammunition which is ridiculously cheap. It won’t cost you much if you don’t buy the military surplus and purchase similar ammunition from your local store. It’s probably within a price range of 15-20 cents/ round. As we mentioned, it’s not the BEST choice, but it will serve if you want.

Accuracy

As you already know, this has been a standard rifle for many armies in the world. It also has a record of being one of the most-feared sniper rifles of all time. The Mosin Nagant is very accurate and can do wonders in capable hands.

Sturdy Build

An original Mosin Nagant has a sturdy build with smooth action and a hardened stock. The rifle was used with bayonets for hand-to-hand combat where the butt-stroke was a standard move. Not that you’ll need that when hunting, but it shows that it was built to withstand some impact.

The Negatives

Safety

The safety of the Mosin, however silent, is very difficult to operate. Even for its era, it was considered difficult. You’ll either have to keep it off - which we definitely don’t recommend - or learn to operate it properly with your hands before taking it to hunting.

Scope Mounts and Customization

A Mosin Nagant needs to be customised to put an optic scope on it. It’s easest to use a scout scope placed ahead of the bolt. But you’ll  probably have to customize or at least make some adjustments to use accessories like optics, bipods and tac lights. Some kind of scope mount will be necessary.

Weight

The Mosin Nagant weighs 8.7 lbs. (about 4.1 kg). This is a heavy rifle to be carried through woods or hills. If you plan to add any accessories, they’ll only add to the weight of the rifle.

Changing the Stock

The classic wooden stocks of the Mosin Nagant rifles are heavy, so you might want to replace them before you go hunting. But changing the stock of a Mosin is quite a pain.

What Modifications Should You Make?

There are quite a few modifications you’d probably want to make to your Mosin before taking it to your next hunting trip. Here are some of the most important.

Scope

Iron sights are not a very good option for hunting. You need to take precise shots to make a kill. Mosin Nagants use scout scopes and you can find quite a few good ones in the market. With a little more adjustment to the gun, you can install a scope mount to use other types of scopes.

Bushnell is always a great brand, offering superior optics and great reliability. The Bushnell Banner 3-9x40mm is a great option for your Mosin Nagant. 

bushnell rifle scope

Stock

If you have an antique Mosin Nagant, you might want to preserve the original stock while you crawl through the woods. However, the stock of an original Mosin is heavy, which is not great for hunting trips. Another aspect is the beauty of your rifle. Older stocks don’t look so pretty. There are a few stock upgrade options for the Mosin Nagant. For hunting, you might want to try the Archangel stock from Pro Mag.

archangel stock for mosin nagant

Sling

A tight and sturdy sling is an important accessory to be taken over to hunting. You need to carry your rifle safely through the terrain so it doesn’t get damaged, or in the worst case, lost. There are many great options in this category. You might want to try this one from Tactical Solutions with its classic appearance.

tactical solutions rifle sling

Bipod

Mosins were not designed to use a bipod, but they can use one these days. A bipod helps you in sighting and aiming distant target. You might want to grab a nice bipod to help you out in the forest. Just remember it adds a little bit of weight to your rifle. 

One of your top options in this area is from Harris, because of its weight and maneuverability.

harris bipod

Hunting Safely with a Mosin Nagant

One of the most important aspects of gun safety is, well, the safety. The safety of the Mosin Nagant is a bit difficult to operate. You need to pull back the cocking piece behind the bolt and rotate it clockwise to turn the safety on. To turn it off, you need to reverse the process. Shooting off a Mosin accidentally is not a common sight, but you must take precautions to handle the firearm safely.

A safety tip is to turn the bolt handle up and to rotate it down when you are ready to shoot. This is usually noiseless and prevents your game from scattering. It’s also a safer way to handle a bolt action firearm.

This should go without saying, but always keep your finger off the trigger unless you are ready to shoot. Accidentally pulling the trigger will scatter your game, and in the worst case may cause an unexpected injury.

Another important thing is to use a good sling with your rifle. You can use the sling slot or attach a swivel stud to the Mosin, which offers a more reliable sling arrangement. The Mosin Nagant is a heavy rifle so you need to be sure that your sling is durable.

Before you taken your Mosin to hunting, clean it thoroughly. Make sure there are no obstructions like dirt and grime in your barrel and receiver.

Conclusion

The Mosin Nagant is still used worldwide during hunting seasons. The rifle has a sturdy build and a good effective range which makes it great for hunting. It’s served armies at different fronts, from deserts to snowcaps, from grasslands to tropical forest. the Mosin Nagant is a trusted and reliable weapon. It’s perfectly fine rifle for hunting without all the frills of a more modern gun.

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