The French development of smokeless rifle powder coupled with their developing an 8mm cartridge for it, and a new rifle, the 1886 Lebel set off an arms race with the major powers each attempting to field a bolt action rifle chambered for a smokeless powder cartridge as soon as possible.
In 1891 Czarist Russia adopted the Model 1891 Mosin-Nagant as their standard infantry rifle. The cartridge they adopted with it was a 7.62x54mm rimmed cartridge that is still in service with Russian forces today. (For those unfamiliar with European cartridge designation, the 7.62 is the diameter of the bullet in millimeters and the 54 is the cartridge case length in millimeters).
Ballistics are very similar to 30-06. Ammunition is plentiful, both surplus Com Bloc and current made in Full Metal Jacket and soft nosed hunting loads.
The Mosin-Nagant has a complicated but rugged bolt design and is loaded with a 5 round stripper clip from the top, or individual rounds may be loaded by hand.There are a tremendous number of these on the American market, primarily in three versions: The1891 long rifle in various versions, the 1944 carbine with folding bayonet, and one a bit more rare, the 1938 carbine (pictured) which doesn’t take a bayonet.
The Mosin is a good solid bolt action rifle for anyone wanting a survival/defense rifle that is on a budget both for the weapon itself and ammunition. You can always upgrade when you can afford it.The military issue Mosin, if in good condition, is an adequate rifle unmodified. Before buying one though, you need to check it out. If the bore is in good condition, they can be very accurate. However, many of these rifles have been through a number of owners and wars and been dragged through the mud, blood and beer. Ask the dealer to let you check the bore. If he doesn’t know how to remove the bolt, it is very simple. Keep the muzzle in a safe direction, open the bolt insuring there is no ammunition in the magazine or chamber. Pull the trigger back and hold it back and simply pull the bolt directly out. Then you can check the bore from the chamber end pointing the muzel towards a light source. It is OK if the bore is a little dark, but you do not want a large number of pits.
The military cleaning kit pictured is a good investment. Dirt cheap, and combined with the cleaning rod on the rifle makes a good field cleaning system.There are a large number of websites where you can learn anything you need to know about the Mosin-Nagant.There are a tremendous number of aftermarket parts and accessories available for the Mosin. Sporter stocks, scope mounts ect. A good source for them is Brownells .