Alright, so here’s the final update on this Mosin Nagant project, in what will probably the last time anyone hears about it [before it goes off-grid]. I’m glad that I actually got some messages asking questions about it because it’s always nice to hear from people who are actually interested.
The Paint Job
Brand new, this Archangel stock came in any color you wanted… So long as it was black although, I do believe Archangel currently sells Desert Tan and O.D. Green versions. Mine came in black, and it just looked a bit too menacing and evil for my tastes (not really but…). After a thorough cleaning with some warm soapy water to rid it of any leftover oils, the butt, was taped up and the cheek pad was removed by winding it all the way up and pulling it out of the stock. Some Tan Camouflage Rustoleum (from the Home Depot) covered the black with two light coats. No longer did the rifle look “Assault” Rifle-esque… But, however, in solid tan, it looked too surgical and clean for my tastes. But it was nothing a few quick passes with some Brown Rustoleum Camouflage couldn’t fix. Some vague stripes were applied to break up the monument of tan and after a few passes on each side and some drying time, you can remove the painters tape, and you have some instant character that will be unique to your rifle.. If you want, you can cover that with some satin clear-coat Rustoleum protectant (yes… also from Home Depot). So after the few minutes you spent, some blue painters tape, some clothing hangers to hang the taped up stock from a tree in your back yard, the rifle looks more appropriate [and less “assault” rifle-ly] for what it is; which is a bolt-action, military surplus rifle. After the rifle was completed and put back together, it looks better than I could have expected.
Merely adding the Timney trigger was a vast improvement over the stock trigger. And after a few hundred rounds, you begin to get a feel for how the Timney trigger works and inevitably, the urge to get a more accurate tuning sinks in. The trigger was sitting around 4 pounds when it arrived from the manufacturer. That itself is about 370% better than the stock trigger, but adjusting the pressure a bit lighter adds the sense of perfection.
Adjusting it is simple and straight forward. One Allen wrench at the front of the trigger unit noticeably relieves the trigger pressure and thus, it feels lighter and more controllable. You methodically, rotate the Allen wrench in 90 degree increments until you’re satisfied. Reinstall the unit and then, double check that the safety is still working by manhandling, and even dropping the rifle on its butt to ensure that a drop/shock won’t cause the trigger to fire the rifle. After adjustment, this trigger is sitting at approximately 1.5 – 2 pounds.
After adjusting it, the trigger feels like it’s damn-near psychic. The moment you need the rifle to fire, it can read your mind and fires.
How Does It Shoot?
Spectacularly! But the proof is in the pudding and the pudding is a target. After a not-so-frustrating 20 rounds trying to get zero’d, and despite using extremely cheap, steel case, Berdan-primed ammo, A 3-Shot group [at 50 yards] puts all 3 rounds into the same tight grouping. In spite of the shooter, this rifle is capable of shooting 3-rounds under a quarter (coin). The stock Mosin with open sights wouldn’t be doing this, even in the hands of an amazing shooter.
This was a great project and proves that you can have a seriously accurate rifle for relatively little money. It has been fun learning and building it, and I hope there is some value to be picked out for others who have the urge to attempt a similar project. Now comes the hard part of learning to be proficient/expert with its specific use out to 600 meters.
But certainly, it’s not too shabby for a 71 year old rifle!
Similar Project by John
John’s Mosin (as sent to me via email):
Here is a picture of the Archangel. I followed a conversion path similar to yours in that a Timney Trigger replaced the stock one (BIG difference), Rock Solid scope mount and bent bolt parts and selection of a barreled 91/30 Mosin action with all the appropriate sniper stampings. The only disappointment was that the barrel was counterbored about an inch in from the end.
The scope mount was installed by a friend and I. He had a cheap little Harbor Freight drill press but it worked just fine to drill the three holes. I used a transfer punch to locate drilling so but the Rock Solid holes were a little smaller than what they should have been. Some attention to sizing these holes properly had to be done before work began. I also had to file down dimpled lettering put there by the importer so it didn’t interfere with a flush fit of mount to receiver. Everything was assembled and 1″ Millett Angle-loc scope rings secure a Bushnell SS 10X40 scope. At this point I took the rifle to an indoor 100 yard range for siting in. Groups were OK but needed a bench rest to remove shooter error. Re zeroed scope turrets for next round of shooting at 100 yards.
Things planned for are:
1. Cut off counterbored section of barrel and re crown.
2. Epoxy bed the scope mount.
3. Blue Loctite and torque all bolts.
4. Polish all critical bolt and receiver parts.
5. Set Timney trigger to 2 pound pull.
6. Prepare barreled action for Duracoat finish.
7. Then practice, practice, practice!
The Pentax Scope proved itself as being NOT up to the task of handling the recoil of 7.62x54R rounds. It was sent back to Pentax on Warranty once because the Reticle rotated about 45 degrees (the aiming lines in the rifle scope no longer went up and down, left and right but diagonally). After a 3-week turnaround by Pentax, the scope was good for another 200 more rounds and broke again leaving the Ocular lens loose within the scope.
If I had to review the scope, it would NOT have been very well-rated [2 stars out of 5] because it seems flimsy and a tap of the fingernail on it produces a hollow ringing sound suggesting that there’s not much going on inside. The fact that you never know the exact power setting you’re at due to the push button rocker switch has no power indicator is frustrating. This also ensures you cannot collect repeatable setting information in order to repeat the same shooting conditions at different times. But you know what? It’s not the scope’s fault so I’m not gonna bad mouth any longer (despite the fact it cost me gangs of money). It just was not the best scope for this project.
Being gun-shy (nice) about purchasing another expensive scope, I went against my nature and purchased a UTG scope from Amazon.com. These scopes are made in China but have been getting great reviews. Upon receipt, the scope proved itself more dense/armored, made of thicker steel, and has better ergonomics. It is constructed in what Leapers, the company who owns the UTG brand, calls True Strength construction. It is proving a more effective, useful, and durable scope already. It also frees the rifle of the cord required from the Pentax scope and it is smaller in profile since it is a 1-inch tube diameter, as opposed to 30mm. It is also a 40mm objective lens instead of the Pentax’ 50mm. It is much more durable of a system all-around. Additionally, it has a turret system that is easily manipulated and does not require turret cap removal prior to making any adjustments (which is always annoying). And these scopes are inexpensive in the case it does not survive you dropping your rifle on it, you can actually buy three of these for the price I paid for the Pentax and it’s repairs. I’m a fan.