Mosin Nagant Upgrades: the Mosin Modernization Project

Mosin Nagant Upgrades: the Mosin Modernization Project Updated November, 2017 What is the Mosin Modernization Project? Simply put, a quest to make an old MilSurp Mosin Nagant rifle more accurate, […]
Jeremy S YouTube Ultimate Mosin

Screen capture of Jeremy S’s “Ultimate Mosin” from YouTube

Mosin Nagant Upgrades: the Mosin Modernization Project

Updated November, 2017

What is the Mosin Modernization Project?

Simply put, a quest to make an old MilSurp Mosin Nagant rifle more accurate, ergonomic, and usable.


I stumbled on a cool, modern looking sniper rifle in a social media post, but didn’t know what it was. A bit of research revealed that the ultra cool looking modern rifle was in fact an over 60 years OLD military surplus Mosin Nagant rifle receiver, bolt and barrel installed in a new stock, with a scope mount, scope, new trigger, muzzle brake and magazine and shooting the 7.62x54r round. Please understand that I use the term “sniper rifle” rather loosely in this case to mean that the rifle had a variety of aesthetic characteristics that resemble those on a modern competition or sniper rifle. I didn’t know anything about mosins. So, I hit the internet intent on figuring out exactly what is involved in such a project. A bit of research turned up a whole sub-industry of brands that make really cool parts marketed to improve a Mosin Nagant rifle.

Tacticool_weight_over_formWill it really improve the Mosin, or just make it look cool?

Hey. I like cool looking stuff as much as the next guy, but I don’t have the time nor the inclination to do a project like this just for looks. The biggest prerequisite for the Mosin Modernization Project is that whatever we do MUST be aimed solidly at boosting performance and/or usability of the Mosin Nagant rifle.

My philosophy on accessorizing firearms is pretty simple:

  • Less is more. Every tacticool new accessory you add is another potential failure point when you need the firearm the most.
  • Guns are tools, not toys. If someone can mistake your gun for a toy, then you have done something wrong. Save the bright colors for Toys R Us.
  • Define the gun’s purpose and K.I.S.S. For example, you don’t need a flashlight, laser, bipod, vertical foregrip or drum magazine on a deer rifle.

With these guiding principles in mind I set out to build my version of the Ultimate Modern Mosin.

Hunting rifles Mosin Nagant Russian and Finnish rifle profilesMosin Upgrade Goals

The Mosin Nagant 91/30 rifle is very long, heavy and lacking in ergonomics and recoil mitigation. Mosins are fed via 5 round stripper clips while the bolt is open and are not known to be incredibly accurate. Simply put, we want to bring this late 1800s design into the 21st century.

Here is the plan:

  • Start with a donor Mosin Nagant rifle, likely a rather bland 91/30 or beat up M44 Carbine
  • Ergonomics:
    • Swap in an aftermarket stock with:
      • improved ergonomics
      • ability to free float the barrel
      • detachable magazine
      • recoil pad
    • Install bent bolt handles for better leverage and clearance for scope mount
  • Accuracy:
    • Free float the barrel
    • Install bedding pillars
    • Upgraded trigger for lighter, more consistent pull and clean break
    • Target crown barrel
    • Install scope mount
    • Install scope
  • Usability:
    • Install muzzle brake to lessen felt recoil
    • Shorten barrel to make lighter and more handy
    • Install bipod for stability
    • Thread barrel so a silencer can be attached for hearing protection

We were overwhelmed with support from brands that wanted in on this project, so we decided to expand to two Mosin Modernization Project rifles (and may end up doing THREE). The only thing we couldn’t find a brand to send us was the donor Mosin Nagant rifle. Although, gave us a good deal on the last one they had.

Classic 1898 Tula Mosin Nagant M91 with Finnish upgrades

Classic 1898 Tula Mosin Nagant M91 with Finnish upgrades

Hold up, chump! You aren’t going to defile a piece of history!

Yeah. I know. Some folks are pretty passionate about NOT cutting up ANY old Mosin Nagant rifles. Period. EVER!
Well, I’m not one of those people.
I did, however, make sure that the donor mosins for this build were “nothing special” from a Mosin collector standpoint. More on the specifics of each build below. So, yes. We we will defile this Mosin Nagant rifle, but I promise it will be done in the most loving way possible.
And for the record, the Gear Report stash includes no less than 3 classic M91 Mosin (all sporting Finnish upgrades), 2 Finnish M39s and 3 Russian M44s. So, we have drawn the line and won’t cut up any of those, which are more interesting and have some modicum of collector value.

The builds:

Each build is detailed on it’s own page. Click the title links below for the full details.

1) The Mosin Modernization Project – Modern Mosin Nagant Hunting Rifle

This build be set up in a deer & feral hog hunting configuration for use in Central NC… so most shots 200 yards or less and from a tree stand. We will shorten the barrel to about 20″ to make it easier to maneuver in the brush. Although, if pursuing feral hogs on foot I’ll likely use the WMD Guns WMD-10, AR-10. 🙂

The donor Mosin Nagant is just a run of the mill, arsenal refinished 1943 Izhevsk Mosin Nagant 91/30 picked up at the local big box store for $185 out the door. My research indicates that of the 37 MILLION+ Mosins made, this is one of the most bland and uninteresting models available… if not THE least desirable Mosin in the eyes of collectors. The second Mosin is a very slight bit nicer, from a collector standpoint, but was already obscenely defiled by Molot Oruzhie when they laser etched a variety of model number and import marks all over the receiver, ruining much of the pure collector value of the 1932 Hex receiver.


2) The Mosin Modernization Project – Modern Mosin Nagant Sniper Rifle

The Mosin Sniper Rifle build will be set up for casual bench rest shooting and hunting, mostly from tree stand with a solid shooting rail or shooting bench. If it performs well enough this rifle may get the nod for deer and feral hog hunting sites that have up to 500 yard shooting lanes (the longest shots of our hunting options).

This donor Mosin 91/30 is a bit nicer, from my standpoint as a new collector, but was already obscenely defiled by Molot Oruzhie LTD of  Vyatskie Polyany, Russia when they laser etched a variety of model number and import marks all over the 1932 Hex receiver. I understand that some collectors aren’t as turned off by this as I am, but it is an absurd travesty, IMHO.

3) The Mosin Modernization Project – Modern Mosin Bullpup
The Mosin Bullpup build came about when I stumbled across and saw the range of obscenely cool bullpup kits that they offer. Bernie at Center Balance Systems was kind enough to send his MNAR bullpup kit, which will live on the barreled action from the worst looking, nastiest, missing parts, most beat up and dragged behind a truck looking mosin I could find, a 1944 M44 Mosin Nagant from Izhevsk. The functional goal is to improve the handling of the Mosin by shortening the whole package and moving the mass closer to the body.

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Please leave a comment if you have suggestions on other products we should consider reviewing, please let us know in the comments.

If you like this, you might like our Slide Fire stock review

Where to buy Silencers?

You can legally purchase silencers online and have them shipped to your local SOT FFL, who will help you with the ATF Form 4 transfer process. Here are some links to trusted retailers who sell suppressors.

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The Project Humvee Battlewagon

Gear Report acquired a real HMMWV (High Mobility Multipurpose Wheeled Vehicle) from the US Army for use as our official field and shooting range vehicle. We have already posted about some of our upgrade projects (Project Humvee Battlewagon article links) and have a lot of really cool projects on the way. Consider subscribing so you don’t miss any of the cool reviews as we post them.

Here is our Project Intro (link) and our list of HMMWV upgrade projects.

The Deuce Utility Vehicle (D.U.V.) Project M35A2

The D.U.V. project started with a fairly standard 1968 M35a2 two and a half ton 6×6 cargo truck. Commonly known as the “Deuce-and-a-half” or “The Deuce.” We aren’t yet sure where it will stop.

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About Jeff

Jeff is the Editor in Chief of Gear Report and a National Shooting Sports Foundation Media member. He reports on the outdoor industry, reviews gear for camping, hiking, shooting, hunting, paddling, backpacking and other active pursuits.

A USAF veteran, Jeff earned a MBA in Marketing and Health Services. He specializes in consultative selling and internet marketing. As the VP of BD & Marketing, Jeff provides sales and marketing leadership to MGECOM, Inc. and helps acquire new clients in need of solutions for online merchants in need of Affiliate Marketing program management.

Jeff founded and manages Cress Sales & Marketing LLC, offering online sales and marketing consulting and services to online merchants and service providers.