Comrade Boris is nothing if not prolific-at least when it comes to cranking out service rifles.
At the end of the 19th century, a pair of gun designers-Russian Captain Sergei Mosin and Belgian Leon Nagant designed the Vintovka Mosina (Mosin Rifle), a bolt-action, 5-round, magazine-fed gun chambered in 7.62x54mmR produced at the Chaterellaut Arms factory in France in 1891. Thereafter, Mosin-Nagant rifles were manufactured in Russia at Izhevsk and Tula.
During World War I, Imperial Russia commissioned the United States to make this rifle, and Remington and Westinghouse teamed up to produce about a million and a half of these babies. But in February 1917, the communist revolution put a crimp in the U.S. getting paid for many of these guns.
Over 17 million British Lee-Enfield rifles have been made. 37 million Mosin-Nagants have been produced since 1891, making this weapon the most prolific rifle of all time. Few guns come close to matching the volume of Mosin-Nagants; one contender, another Soviet rifle, is the Kalashnikov-AK.
Like I said, Comrade Boris and the boys can crank out guns-good guns all day long.
And Russian guns aren't prissy showroom pieces that can't hold up under pressure-and battlefield duress. Of all the small arms made, I consider Russian-Soviet versions the most durable.
The Mosin-Nagant was first issued as an infantry rifle, at a full 68 inches long, including bayonet, later in the Dragoon and Cossack models (i.e., Russian cavalry) rifles. The Dragoon and the M1891/30, the mainstay of the Soviet infantry from 1930 to 1945, were shorter at 48.6 inches long without the bayonet, 65 1/2 inches long with a bayonet. The Cossack rifle lacked a bayonet.
But what Cossack required one? These feared Russian light cavalry brandished nasty sabers (shashka) and long spears that they masterfully wielded from horseback, cutting down their enemy.
The Mosin-Nagant is a no-frills, mass production gun with a magazine that juts below the stock, fore of the trigger housing. It can be unloaded/cleaned by opening its hinged floor plate. Pre-World War II versions came standard with a bayonet, an 18-ounce cruciform blade that doubles as a screwdriver.
Mosin-Nagant socket bayonets were 16.9 inches and represent the last socket bayonet issued worldwide. M1891 bayonets feature a locking ring; the 1891-30 rifle bayonet used a spring catch. And there was a World War II Model 1944 integral folding socket bayonet that fitted the Mosin-Nagant.
Mosin-Nagant bayonets and rifles were exported to more than 20 countries, mostly Soviet-friendly, so it shouldn't be hard finding a Mosin-Nagant rifle and bayonet. These babies were commonly used as sniper guns so they make excellent hunting rifles...just leave the bayonet at home.
And the ammunition-tons of it-is available and affordable.
Coming soon to your gunsafe: The Mosin-Nagant Rifle and Bayonet, compliments of Boris.