More years ago than I care to remember I had worked on a rifle for my Uncle Gale, he took me on my first Canada fishing trip then again my first Northern Quebec Caribou hunt those are great memories and awesome northern lights too. The rifle was a Mosin Nagant that was to be sportorized Nagants are not the sleekest looking rifles I thought to myself back then along with the chambering in 7.62x54R which is not to popular. He mentioned that he wanted something unique, not something everyone has so I did the work he requested and delivered a sporter Nagant to him. Funny that ever since then I have kept an eye on those particular rifles watching prices go up and down along with surplus availability, I don’t know why it just seems recently I thought that it would be unique to build a Tactical Mosin Nagant (yes I said unique). I found a web site (www.socamo) was running a TV channel on ROKU TV (the mosin nagant channel) I watched several shows and thought Wow these rifles are really accurate.
I found myself picking up a Century Arms International Russian 91/30 rebuild with a 28” barrel and a very nice looking bore! Most available 7.62x54R ammo will have bullets measuring .311” and this barrel slugged at .312” so reloads looked to be in order. Inspecting the rifle parts revealed components to be in excellent shape and I started removing the sights from the barrel. Rock Solid Industries (www.rocksolidind.com) and Blue Grass Gun Works (www.bg-gunstocks.com) have some very nice custom parts for building Tactical Nagants and after talking with them I ordered the needed items. A threaded Tactical handle along with a knurled bolt knob finished off the bolt body and the holes needed to be drilled and tapped on the receiver for the Weaver scope base (beefy 10-24 bolts are a nice touch). I polished and blued the receiver to a nice high gloss finish along with polishing up all related bolt components, this allows for a smooth working bolt.
There are several little tricks to smoothing out a Mosin Nagant action and bolt for super smooth operation and bolt preparation is at the top of the list! Fit, polish, and lubrication along with slightly lightening the firing pin spring will reveal tremendous benefits with feel and function. With not removing the original barrel I chose not to do any bolt lug work as not wanting to alter headspace with the 7.62x54R round. The stock I ordered was a Special Force Tactical in Maple it’s loaded with nice features including swivel studs, aluminum pillars, and adjustable cheek piece all this along with a soft rubber recoil pad round out a super nice looking stock.
Once the stock arrived glass bedding was in order, I always add an extra recoil lug bedded into the stock just behind the front receiver lug recess. I think this added support helps keep the receiver from any rearward movement from recoil and along with pillars and full stock bedding things just don’t move! Timney supplied the trigger (www.timneytriggers.com) and is the only aftermarket adjustable trigger that has great reviews so yep I put one in. Adjusting down to 1.5 pounds of pull was easy and no slam fires happened during testing, adding an aluminum trigger shoe helps dress up the looks along with providing a wider pressure point for your finger tip.
With the receiver and bolt work done I focused my attention to the barrel, I didn’t like the small diameter and pencil looking barrel however I didn’t want to invest in a new barrel either. Looking back in my American Gunsmith Association publications I found an article by “Norman Johnson” Barrel Sleeving A New Way, October, 2012 . I like to experiment with different things when working with guns and the concept of sleeving a barrel to improve accuracy and dull vibration harmonics really interested me. I researched other theories on the barrel sleeves along with types of compounds to fill the void between the barrel and outer sleeve, nodes of vibration and barrel whip are all very interesting subjects. One interesting fact was the need to displace heat generated during firing the bullet thru the barrel along with the ability of the compound to withstand the shock of recoil. While digging thru data I found a company the does exactly what I was planning to do, The Straight Jacket is the name of the product and with the price being more than I wanted to expend I ordered up some material from a local supplier and headed out to the shop for some machining time. I have an old Atlas Laith that I use, no cnc programming no electric beds just good ole fashion 1930’s dials and pulleys. There’s something nostalgic about building parts off these old machines that I really enjoy.
The Mosin Nagant project really took a turn at this stage of the build, I had ordered a 1-1/4” stainless steel tube and cut it down to 28” long, that will cover the entire military barrel that now sports a newly cut 11 degree target crown I had just cut. Turning to a depth of 3” the inside diameter of the sleeve to .003” under the barrel outside breech measurement will provide a nice tight press fit. Along with the sleeve I made a muzzle cap to fit around the barrel muzzle and inside the sleeve to finish off the muzzle end. An important note here is metal coating to prevent corrosion from the heat displacing compound, the barrel must be properly coated to protect it from any form of weakening. After an epoxy coating process and mixing up a batch of special formulated adhesive the sleeve was pressed on, bore plugged and then filling of the empty cavity. Once cured the sleeve is solidly attached to the barrel and ready to assemble to a complete rifle. A finished Tactical Mosin Nagant wearing a blonde maple stock looked very nice with the 28” long stainless barrel, now to see if the labors will pay off at the range.
Once out to the range with a newly built rifle and some factory ammo I am thinking if this rig will print 1” groups at 100 yards I’ll be fine with that. I can always load up some rounds to try and tighten up the groups, the sun was gleaming thru the leaves with temps in the upper 50’s a 25+ mph wind was blowing across the bench keeping things interesting. A quick check at 50 yards easily zeroed the Leatherwood Uni-Dial 4-16×50 scope then out to 100 yards to set the initial zero, 148 grain bi-metal jacket Wolf “white box ammo” started the range day and 100 yard results had groups printing around 1-1/4”. Not to impressed with the accuracy would be an understatement although I did note that the barrel was not very hot after several rounds cooked thru the bore. Switching to the same type of ammo in Wolf’s “Black/Red” box really turned the day around! The first three rounds made a nice crescent ½” group, this is a freak thing I thought judging from previous rounds fired. Timing the shots again I touched off three more rounds and watched as they made one ragged hole at the bull’s eye, that’s more like it the blonde Russian Mosin Nagant started to really settle in and drive some impressive groups with Wolf ammo. Steel case, bi-metal jacket bullets and all at economical prices that shoot darn good. What’s not to like about that! When someone mentions what are you going to do with that old beat up gun, just smile and start putting on the Long Sleeves!
I have some really great news about the Remington 783 chambered in 30.06 along with the Leatherwood ART 2.5-10×44 scope I mounted on it. I’ll fill you in after deer camp. Until then get out there and enjoy the outdoors with your favorite rifle.
Right On Dead On all The Time