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Uh Oh... Got an idea about a 'new' rifle.
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Old 01-13-2006, 03:54 PM
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Lightbulb Uh Oh... Got an idea about a 'new' rifle.

I've always considered the Russian Mosin Nagant action too ugly to warrant making a custom gun out of. I don't particularly care for actions that have magazines that extend below the wood. In my opinion they lack elegance, both esthetically and from design perspective. In addition, the workmanship of MNs is generally poor compared to almost any other action. The Finns have dressed up the MN action considerably with their M-39. Still, cosmetically speaking, I consider their improvements hardly more than lipstick on a pig. Crowkiller, a new member from Finland, has just posted some pictures of a custom MN with a thumbhole stock on it. As a result, my opinion regarding the MN requires some "adjustment". Don't get me wrong, I still consider the MN action a mere shadow of something like a Mauser, but I can see some potential. My wife's eye's start rolling whenever she hears me say, "I can see some potential." So here's the story...

I was in my tree fort (AKA 'gun room'), licking my wounds over the struggles I'm having getting the .22/.30-30-chambered Martini Enfield converted to something I like more. Also, my mind was in a bit of a rut, as I have been trying to figure out how to put a handfull of k-98 take-off bbls to good use. (Discounting LLANOJOHN's suggestion of "tomato stakes". ) I've got several mauser actions, and these take-offs just laying around doing nothing. Just putting them back together as 8x57s was far too boring an idea. Also, the bores of the take-offs weren't exactly what you'd call 'pristine'. Boring them out to the .330" of the 8x56R Steyr or .338" and using the Steyr case was appealing, but then the mauser actions would have to be modified severely - way more severely than I cared for. Dang!

I was fresh from reading Crowkiller's posts, but I wasn't really interested in a rifle chambered in 7.62x54R. Too much like an '06, especially in light of the fact that it is often referred to as the "Russian '06". That simply wouldn't 'do' as a chambering for me. I was just gazing into space as it were, when my eye wandered over several 91/30 MNs I had left over from a group purchase of "U-Fix-Ums" from CIA. They were in very poor condition, (they only cost $10 apiece), both in metal and wood. Two however, had hex receivers, with salvageable metal. As I looked at them, it occurred to me that the MN actions would take the 8x56R case without the need for ANY modification. I perked up considerably.

I took one of the hex receivers out of the rack and gave it a look. The barrel, as best I could tell, was in good condition, so I removed the barreled action from the stock. One of the things I liked about the 91/30, as opposed say to the M-38 MN, was that it had a 28.375" bbl. If I was going to have a custom rifle made, I wanted all the bbl length I could get to start with.

My idea now was to have the existing bbl rebored to .338, (so I could have access to the wider selection of .338 bullets), and just neck the 8x56R cases up. I got out my calipers to measure the bbl to see if it had enough 'meat' on it to allow the rebore to .338. Sho'nuff, it did. By now, I'm beginning to get a grin on my face. Things are definitely looking up. I think this might actually be a "go".

Costs would go something like this:

Rebore and rechamber - $265
New reamer (.338x56R) - $150-ish
New Stock - more than $50 less than $100 (only rough inlet for action - from Great American Gunstocks)
Shipping charges not included.

In total, assuming $75 for the stock, $490. Various and sundry "add ons" will bring the total up in the vicinity of $600, and that's not considering 'glass'.

So, what do I get for $600? A reasonable way to salvage some nasty 91/30 MNs. A custom rifle in .338 caliber. And... an overall good time working up load data for it. Based on the success we've seen with John's .338 MAI, I think this might just be "a live one".

In a phoncon with HB, he suggested that considering how difficult it is to get 8x56R brass, I might instead consider the 7.62x54R case as the parent. The concept is good, but the 7.62x54R case has considerably less capacity than the 8x56R or the .338x56R. Even if I chamber the rifle for a 8x56R-based cartridge, 7.62x54R cases can always be used in a pinch, just the same way they are now used for the 8x56R.

Whatchyalthink?

Paul

Last edited by gitano; 01-13-2006 at 07:50 PM..
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.338 caliber, 91/30, mosin nagant


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