Thursday, September 10, 2009

Range Report: M44 Mosin Nagant and M48 BO Yugoslav Mauser

7 miserable, anticipation-filled days after buying 2 new rifles, I made it to the range to shoot them.

I suppose I could have gone last weekend, but after spending 6 hours on Saturday in 3 different gun stores -- if I'd scuttled off to the range on Sunday, my wife would have gutted me like a fish.

First up was the M44, which I shot at the NE Bloggershoot back in August. Mine was made at the Izhevsk armory in 1946, and has matching serial numbers on bolt, receiver and stock, but it looks like the stock was reused, as it has another crossed out serial number on it.

For those of you who haven't seen one, its a Mosin Nagant carbine with a fold-out bayonet, chambered in the rimmed 7.62x54r round.

The rim is not something you see very much on modern cartridges, but as the M44 headspaces from the rim of the cartridge and not the shoulder, the bolt and chamber don't have to be machined to such exacting tolerances.

That's a good thing for a battle rifle that was designed for use by illiterate peasants, as it gives the crud somewhere to go. And if you need to build millions in a hurry during a Nazi invasion, its nice if the design is somewhat forgiving.

In any case shooting it is, literally, a blast. The 7.62x54r round has a really wide base and sharply angled shoulders, which means that the powder combusts very quickly and efficiently. Practically this means that when you pull the trigger you get a hellacious loud BOOM and a 2-foot fireball from the muzzle.

My buddy Fred thought the rifle had exploded. In any case, the designation "rifle" is far too tepid for the Nagant. I consider it an area-effect weapon of some sort. For something so crude, its astonishingly accurate.

I've spent the last 5 years shooting pistols mostly, and am not a great shot with a rifle. Nevertheless, I was able to pick out a piece of wood on the 50 yard berm and send it spinning up into the air 4 times out of five. The sights are very easy to acquire, and the trigger breaks crisply with very little creep.

Next up was the M48. In truth, I was after the German Mauser Karabiner 98 Kurz, ideally one made between 1936 and 1941 or 42. I saw a couple that had been cut down, sporterized, modified, or just beat to hell, and passed. The M48 I picked up was in great condition, and it balanced beautifully. I checked the bore, and it was pristine. My particular one is called the M48 BO. The "BO" stands for Bez Oznak, which is Yugoslavian for "without markings." These rifles were intended to be sent abroad as deniable military aid, untraceable back to Yugoslav arsenals, but it doesn't look like mine saw active service anywhere but here.

When I got it to the range, I found loading and firing was a dream. The cartridges slot precisely into the magazine, with a precise Teutonic click, and the bolt action is so beautifully designed, you barely have to think about how to cycle the action.

The sights are not as easy for me to pick up as the Nagant, and because of that or maybe some other error of mine, I found the rifle shot a little high. At 25 yards, just shooting to familiarize myself, I found myself grouping high in the 6 and 5 rings. Maybe I need to fiddle with the sights a bit.

The M48 doesn't go off with the astonishing blast and fireball of the M44, and therefore shooting it doesn't require you to giggle as much, but recoil sluts will not be disappointed.

I put another hundred rounds through my CMP Garand as well:


I love that rifle more than I can say, but after the M48 and the Nagant, I was tired and about as accurate as a pitched baseball.

All in all -- a great Saturday afternoon. Anyone with thoughts on sighting in the M48, please post in the comments.


Anonymous said...

It is rifle. It shoot far away. No shoot close. :)

Seriously though, make sure the rear sight is set all the way back. That's still zeroing for 100 meters, which is what? 110yrds? At 25yrds you are gonna be shooting a bit high, not much you can do if you want to zero closer except modify the front sighr.

MeatAxe said...

Not to split hairs but Garand and Nagant is also rifle :)

And they favor the middle of the target, more or less, subtracting for user error.

As we know, I'm a noob, but I thought the rifle should shoot to point of aim at 25 yards, and that elevation for the sight would be necessary when shooting at distances like 200 meters or more....

Anonymous said...

Ahh, but Mauser is wunderbar rifle! :)

MeatAxe said...

I did a little google searching, and it turns out that an M48 shooting high is fairly normal. They were zeroed at 200 meters and so at 25, 50 or 100 yards they shoot high. The solution is to get a taller front sight and file it down (if necessary) so it shoots to point of aim at one's chosen distance with one's chosen ammo.

Anonymous said...

Gee, isnt that what I (tried) to say? :)

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