General Question

coogan's avatar

In a rifle, how do you determine the condition of the rifling in the barrel?

Asked by coogan (682 points ) March 15th, 2010

I have an M91/30 in very good condition. I want to put a scope on it for some fun long range shooting. I don’t want to make the investment unless I’m fairly certain the gun will shoot straight. Aside from pitting in the barrel, what else can I look for?

Thanks.

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11 Answers

TexasDude's avatar

M91/30’s are fun.

I have an M44 myself and I love it.

Here’s what you need to do.

1) Be sure the rifle is unloaded, and open the action, just to be safe.
2) Stick a 7.62×54R round nose down into the muzzle (the business end of the gun).
3) If the bullet fits snugly, your rifling should be fine. If it kindof slips in with no friction, your rifle has either been counterbored, or the rifling is worn out.

You can also open the action and remove the bolt (and for the love of god, be sure the rifle is unloaded) and put a piece of white paper over the bolt face and shine a light on it. Then, look down the barrel. If it looks like this, you are good to go.

Also, this website has a wealth of information that should be useful to you.

Good luck and enjoy your rifle, Mosin Nagants are loads of fun, and literally, the best bang for your buck these days.

coogan's avatar

@Fiddle_Playing_Creole_Bastard Thanks, I’ve peeped that site a bit before, but thanks for the direct link to the rifling image. I didn’t know about the method with the piece of paper.

TexasDude's avatar

@coogan, no problem. The white paper will reflect the light from your flashlight or whatever so you can see the rifling better without being blinded, like if you shined a light directly down the barrel.

TexasDude's avatar

Also, check out this forum for further information on scoping and shooting the gun. Posts about M91/30s show up often.

stranger_in_a_strange_land's avatar

I have a Finnish M-28 with the M-39 scope system. In addition to @Fiddle_Playing_Creole_Bastard s advice, use a mirror or light source (flexible inspection light) to look down the barrel. The rifling should not be heavily pitted. A slight amount of vwear in the rifling is acceptable, since the bullet engages it tightly.

Also, the Russian actions do not have the same slick feel as a Mauser, Mannlicher or 03 Springfield; it’s not a defect, just the nature of the beast. You should also familiarize yourself with the odd safety “knob” that doesn’t give you a positive visual reminder such as Mauser-type rifles do. The smoothness of the trigger pull depends on when and where it was made; the Finnish and pre-Soviet Russian models are like butter, with a very clean let-off break. Remember that most of the reasonably-priced 7.62X54R ammo have corrosive primers, making good cleaning essential. The eastern-European ammo is also uses Berdan-type primers that make reloading slower and more difficult. I spend the extra money on Norma (Swedish) ammo, which is non-corrosive and Boxer-primed.

Some of the Russian-type scope mounts are made of fairly flimsy sheet metal stampings and have to be initailly adjusted with spacer wedges to bring it within the adjustment limits of the scope. Try to get a Finnish M-39 mount if you can find one. The Russian optics are decent single-post; the German, Swedish or Finnish scopes of the period are better, authentic, but much more costly.

coogan's avatar

What do you think of using an 11mm UTG (or dovetail) to weaver adapter, and use weaver rings for the scope. I’ve already removed the rear sight and solder anyways.

TexasDude's avatar

GA, and great advice, @stranger_in_a_strange_land.

I wouldn’t go the weaver route. I’d buy an authentic Soviet scope and use the appropriate attachment (I think the receiver will need to be tapped, I’m not sure).

stranger_in_a_strange_land's avatar

The Russian and Finnish scope mounts were side-mounted, so there is no need to remove the rear sight. Tapping for these mounts is done on the side of the reciever and a built-up cheekpiece installed on the stock for correct eye positioning. The Russians used a tied-on cheekpiece, the Finns would restock the rifle with a built-in extended cheekpiece.

Oddly, the greatest sniper of all time, Cpl. Simho Hayha of the Finnish army used a M-28 with iron sights to make most of his 500+ kills. He didn’t like telescopic sights because of the reflection and that they would force him to raise his head slightly out of his camouflaged position. Many of his shots were at 400+ meters. The Soviets nicknamed him “the white death” and had a price on his head. He was eventually shot in the face, but survived and lived to be 96 years old, passing away in 2002. He was considered a national hero.

coogan's avatar

@Fiddle_Playing_Creole_Bastard and @stranger_in_a_strange_land, I thought about getting tapped or the side mount method, but both required a modified bent bolt. I’ve looked at The Bolt Man’s work, very nice, but he doesn’t have any in stock. So I figured I’d just use a long eye relief scope, others have done so with this rifle and had pretty decent results. Any thoughts?

TexasDude's avatar

@coogan, I’m a bit of a purist when it comes to vintage rifles, so I would be against scoping it with a modern scope. However, it is your rifle, not mine, and you are free to do with it what you wish. I don’t know much about modern scopes, so hopefully stranger will have something more constructive to add for you.

This link may be of some use to you.

stranger_in_a_strange_land's avatar

@coogan The Soviet-style PE type sidemount does not require a bent bolt. My M28 Finnish M-N has a straight bolt, GECO (German made) bracket and a 4X Soviet PE scope (most of the PE scopes were 3.5X); similar to the M39. A good photo of this appears on www//mosinnagant.net/finland/M28-Rifle.asp “The Rifles of the Soujeluskunta (Civil Guard)”. The side mount was designed so that a bent bolt would not be needed, the rear iron sights retained and the stripper clip still be used. My rifles setup is quite rare but the Soviet PE scope and bracket are readily available. The PE is not the worlds greatest scope, but I can shoot 3” groups at 500m off a sandbag rest with it.

All you really need is the PE scope and bracket and the lace-on cheekpice. A gunsmith can easily mount this, retaining the iron sights, and you’ll have an authentic and very functional piece.

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