The Mosin-Nagant is a Russian bolt-action, magazine fed rifle. It is most commonly chambered in the 7.62x54mmR cartridge, which was designed alongside the rifle.
It was developed by Russian Army Captain Sergei Mosin and Belgian firearms manufacturer, Nagant, in 1891. The rifle was originally developed from trials conducted in 1891 by the Russian military. While Nagant's rifle design was originally declared the winner, the head of the commission holding the trials requested more tests. These tests overturned the verdict in favor of Sergei Mosin's design. Further scrutiny of Mosin's design led to the commission borrowing mechanisms of each design, resulting in the Model 1891. Since the adoption of the original design, the rifle has gone through many different variations including carbines and different caliber chamberings. Easily the most ubiquitous of the Mosin-Nagant line is the Model 91/30, which is a version of the Model 1891 that was further modernized in 1930. The Model 91/30 was issued to Soviet troops before and during World War II, and found use as both a standard-issue infantry and sniper rifle.
The colliquial use of "Mosin-Nagant" as a moniker for the rifle was brought about by western writings, as the rifle itself was never named this in Russia. The rifle is formally known as the 3-Line Rifle (the word line referring to a unit of measurement close to one-tenth of an inch, 3-Line referring to the rifle's caliber) or Mosin Rifle - in Russian, "Vintovka Mosina" - "Rifle of Mosin". This perhaps to avoid confusion with Nagant's revolver a.k.a. Nagant M1895.
The Mosin-Nagant has been in service from 1892-1998 with about 37,000,000 being produced. It was made famous for its use by the USSR in World War II. It has seen action in wars such as the Russo-Japanese war all the way to the Vietnam War and has been used by nations all over the world including Russia, China, Finland, Hungary, Poland and almost every nation that received aid from the Soviet Union. Many nations have also produced their own copies of the Mosin-Nagant.
The Mosin-Nagant was even used by the United States. Remington and New England Westinghouse were commissioned to make Mosin-Nagant rifles during WWI to make up for a deficit in Russia. Many of these American-made rifles (about 300,000) were used for training purposes in the United States, who used some of the rifles in the early 1920s for National Guard and ROTC units. The Russian government defaulted on the American contract for Mosin-Nagant rifles, and some of these American made rifles were issued to U.S. troops of the 'Polar Bear Expedition' during the Allied intervention in the Russian Civil War in Siberia.
The Mosin-Nagant remains popular in both combat and collector's markets. Many are still found in use by insurgents in the current Iraq and Afghanistan wars. Due to the large number of rifles produced, the Mosin-Nagant is also a very common (and inexpensive) collector's rifle, with many still available on the surplus market. Also used by hunters and sportsmen, aftermarket products are available for their purposes. Stocks are made by Archangel and ATI along with a host of wooden stock makers. Triggers are offered by Timney Triggers, Huber Concepts, and Smith-Sights LLC. Optics are offered by a myriad of retailers, and aftermarket adjustable iron sights are offered by Mojo Sights and Smith-Sights LLC.It is also considered to be the most widely used sniper rifle. Sniper conversions were mostly made from M1930 and onward. They were rifles handpicked for accuracy during factory testing and pre-sighting; they were then modified with a down-turned bolt handle and optical sights. Much of them owed their accuracy to accidentally being produced with slightly conical barrels, the choke being 2-4% narrower than 7.62mm, keeping the round tight on the rifling.
There are many different versions of this rifle, the most famous being the M91/30.
M91/30 PEM sniper rifle
M91/30 PE sniper rifle
M91/30 PU sniper rifle
P-Series Dragoon (Finland)
VZ54 sniper rifle (Czechoslovakia)