— The Mosin Nagant Project – [Part Three]

Part 1          Part 2          [Part 3]

Mosin PaintedAlright, 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 20130821-020500.jpgArchangel 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 20130823-205903.jpgcoats. 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.

Trigger Adjustment

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 timney-trigger whtcontrollable.  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, 3-shot groupsteel 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 John's Mosinfriend 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!



Scope Replacement

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, UTG Scopethe 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.


Kali Pinckney


21 Comments Add yours

  1. Ben Mallow says:

    I love this article. Is there any way you can shed some more light on the rock solid scope mount install? This is probably the ONLY part of this build that I need some more info on. The rest I am 100% certain I can ascertain.

    1. Kali says:

      Sorry about not getting back to you sooner. Somehow I dropped the ball.. I can tell you that mounting the scope mount was surprisingly simple. I did it with a drill in my garage. I did have to go to Home Depot to buy the “tap” kit for the bolt size. Took me about 40 minutes (and some cajones). Instead of writing how I did it, I’m going to refer you to the article that I referred to at a site called: “Major Pandemic”.


      Thanks and I Hope that helps.

  2. Maurice Huynh says:

    Really cool project! Have you ever weighed the whole rifle, scope included?

    1. Kali says:

      Good Question. I did not think about it until you asked the question. It is 9lbs, 15.2 ounces (So 10 Pounds) with the scope and bi-pod legs.

      More than an AR-15, Less than an M-14. About a pound and a half more than an Remington 700 (Tactical in .308), prior to scope and the inevitable stock upgrade you would make.

  3. Steve says:

    I love this article! I just purchased my MN today for $180. Russian made 1942 with matching numbers (even the bayonet). I’m not sure I’ll cut down the barrel…that makes me a little nervous…but the trigger upgrade I’m planning on doing. I’m looking for the stock now. Any options on scope mounts that don’t require drilling? I wish archangel would make a stock that accommodates a scope mount somehow. Anyway, great, great article!

    1. Kali says:

      Thanks and Congrats on the MN. 1942 specifically was a great year for them. Definitely get the Timney Trigger going (but remember, you’ll have to dremmel out a channel for the thumb safety switch on the stock – which is no big deal well worth it).

      Unfortunately, I’m not aware of any options for scope mounts that do not require drilling (except the ones that use the Rear Sight base such as:


      I think Promag/Archangel did contemplate a non-drill scope mount, however, it would have been independent of the action and therefore, would have had inherent accuracy problems.

      keep in touch and send pics when you’re done.

      1. Steve says:

        Thanks for the info….I really appreciate it!

      2. pat says:

        Jmeck does a scoreless scope mount for the mosin, mine is in transit so personally I don’t know how good it is. But the reviews are good.


      3. Anonymous says:

        use a Brass Stacker mount, you dont need to drill, and it also leaves the iron sights on the rifle too.

  4. Coach says:

    Just read through your MN project and it was very informative. I bought a M91/30 1943 made in the Izhevsk arsenal in Russia. (Did a little research) I gave $100 at a local pawn shop in McKinney, Tx. Since this build is a year old I was wanting ot know if you are still shooting the MN, are you happy with it, and would you of done anything different besides the pentax scope? I am thinking of getting the AA Desert Tan, but may reconsider, how is your paint job holding up on the stock?

    1. Kali says:

      Thanks. You got a great deal on the Mosin you bought. Yes I was still shooting my Mosin… until it sold. I was made an offer I couldn’t refuse. I bought mine when Mosins were cheap and someone offered me big bucks for it. Now I’m looking for another. I shot it the day before it was sold and it was still an amazing piece and I miss it.

      The paint job was holding up well everywhere except under the bipod legs.

      Overall, I don’t think I would’ve done anything differently. It is just a great rifle project. Have fun with yours… (and send a picture)

      1. Coach says:


        I have started the journey on the nagant project. I have installed the archangel (desert tan) stock and installed the timney trigger. The next buy and install will be mount and then I plan on cutting the barrel and installing a muzzel break. I am still not sure what I want for either one.


  5. Kali says:

    Hey there. No regrets at all on the build. But I do have one regret! Someone offered to buy it from me and gave me an offer I couldn’t refuse (but not in the Scarface/gangster way). I made money off of it. But remember I got that Mosin before everyone started buying them. Let’s see, I shot it the day before I sold, where I contemplated backing out of the deal. It was still exciting to fire and is still the best rifle I’ve EVER owned. Other than the military, I fired more rounds though it than, even my 10/22. It was that unique, fun, cheap to shoot, powerful, and garnered that much attention at the range. The paint job was fine other than the areas that had direct pressure and contact such as where the padding of the Harris Bipod contacted the stock. It peeled the paint off over time. If you want it to stay pretty looking, you may have to find a different means of painting. Yea that Desert tan would look good for sure. Hope I answered all of your questions.

  6. John Wayne says:

    Nice read, great looking long ranger. I just came across this stock a couple days ago, guess I was in a coma when it came out 2 years ago, and decided to do this for my mid to long range rifle instead of a remington 700, at least that’s the plan. I had the Mosin carbine a few years back when you could pick them up for $100, so am in the market for a 91/30 now. I was planning on cutting off some of the barrel, just enough to remove the front sight block and then thread it for a nice flash suppressor or maybe even sound suppressor. I am wondering if a simple pipe cutting tool would be sufficient for barrel removal instead of a hack saw as I know they use them to remove barrel shroud on AK’s to add threading. Enough oil and a sharp blade should do the job ya think? Any regrets cutting so much of the barrel off? Curious how much distance/accuracy is lost on the 7.5 inches ya removed. Gonna try to keep mine around 24 to 26 inches plus flash supp.

    Great build, gonna start mine after I convert my Ak74 this weekend. Once that’s done it’s on to this if I can find a good deal on a Mosin, running $225 around here at the moment.

    1. Kali says:

      Hey there. Sorry it too so long to get back to you. Lets see; Where to start… Thanks for your notes. — Regarding using a pipe cutting tool to cut a barrel, I’d say if you’re talking about one of those with the steel discs that pinch together. I’d say that barrel density would make that unlikely, you’ll need a saw. The best way to threat the barrel would be a with a threading tool. Look up on youtube and you’ll find several examples. Just make sure you thread the correct direction for the flash suppressor you buy.

      I’m not sure how much accuracy was lost because I also did the Timney trigger, scope, and other work simultaneously. Accuracy was overall improved as a net effect. Besides. Mosin’s were designed in an era where powders kinda sucked. As powders improved (even in Russia) the need for extra long barrels dissipated.

      Send a pic of your project when your done. Would love to see it.

  7. Anonymous says:

    I am looking for someone that can do some customized camo work on 3 Mosin Nagants for my Sons. Does anyone know of any customizers I can talk with about this project?

  8. Scott says:

    I am wondering what brand ammo everyone is using. I usually buy in bulk for this rifle since it’s at most $100 for 400+ rounds. Is anyone else having FTF with Mil Surp ammo in this stock? Canned ammo? I’ve had more FTF than actual fired shots since I installed this stock, and I love the stock and how it upgrades the rifle to a more modern era, but mine isn’t shooting the Surp ammo very well. Any thoughts on how to improve that?

    1. Kali says:

      That’s a bummer Scott. The stock should really not affect the “Firing” of the rifle since it does not alter any of the mechanicals of the action. If your “FTF” is Failure to Feed; the stock and magazines had some issues when they first hit the market but those days are long gone. I would try new ammo. Maybe you just got some bad stuff (but it really is unlikely). Then I’d ensure its all in spec. Ensure the back of the bolt and firing pin are lined up (the part of the bolt is indexed to the firing pin and is stamped with a line that covers both parts. That determines how far the firing pin protrudes into the round. Just one thing to check. Let us know.

    2. Kali says:

      Oh yea. The Ammo everyone shoots is… anything. As a bolt action rifle, Mosin’s will pretty much shoot anything that fits in the barrel. Surplus ammo should be fine.

  9. I’m getting ready to start my deconstruction of my m91/30. My brothers think I’m crazy for putting money into this but anyways, why didn’t you gut get a desert tan stock instead of painting yours. And I’m not really sure of my self when it comes to crowning the barrel, anyway you could explain that part a bit more. As far as optics what is your thoughts on a Leopold scope would it hold up to the recoil. And what are your thoughts on threading the barrel so I could install a muzzle break. Thank you

    1. Jk says:

      I am in the middle of a M44 conversion myself. I cut it down to about 17.75″ but have the muzzle threaded with a 3″ brake on the end.
      I used a kit that viperspeed sells on amazon it has the die, die tool, and the thread guide to ensure the bore is centered while threading the muzzle.

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