Range Report – Refighting World War II

I finally got the Mosin-Nagant out to the range this afternoon. I decided to take the Mauser K98 along with, to compare the two. The indoor range maxes out at 25 yards, which is fine, because to be honest, I’ve never been able to shoot well with notch sights. I much prefer the AR-15s peep sights for some reason. My overall impression, which is probably not a surprise, is that the Mauser is the better weapon.

The Mosin-Nagant bolt, just dry cycling, operates smoothly. As soon as you add ammunition, it takes a fairly heavy wallop to lock the bolt down, which I found to be rather annoying. The Mauser’s bolt action is very smooth, and can be cycled while still maintaining a reasonable shooting position. To cycle the Mosin-Nagant’s bolt, I had to completely break my shooting position in order to get enough leverage to slap the bolt down to lock the breech closed.

The trigger on the Mosin-Nagant I found to be sloppy and unpredictable compared to the Mauser. The Nagant’s trigger has slack before you start to hit the breaking point, same as the Mauser, but there’s a definite bit of resistance on the Mauser trigger before it breaks. The Mosin-Nagant has no crisp break. It just kind of goes at some point when you pull it back, so it’s hard to take up the slack, refine your bead, and then give that little bit extra to fire the shot.

The safety on the Mosin-Nagant hardly qualifies at all, since you basically just lock the firing ping against the receiver. It’s difficult to undo in a hurry, and probably impossible in a panic. The Mauser has the edge here in going from safe to ready to shoot, even though the K98’s safety is also less then ideal. If I were carrying a Mosin-Nagant as a soldier, I think I’d rather leave the chamber empty than fuss with the safety. Even the Kalashnikov safety is an improvement over this.

Accuracy between both weapons is probably comparable in the hands of an expert shooter, which I am not. The best group I managed to do with the Mauser at 25 yards was a group of five about the size of a quarter. With the Mosin-Nagant, the best group of five was the size of a silver dollar. Of course, those were the only group of 5 where I didn’t end up pulling one or two shots outside the group :)

All in total I fired 80 rounds out of the rifles, which is more than enough for me. My shoulder feels like someone beat it a few times with a hammer. I have new respect for my grandfather’s generation, who were shooting these massive high power cartridges all day, and, as fit soldiers, had a bit less padding to dampen the recoil than I do. Plus, the damned rifles are heavy. I can’t imagine slogging one of these around Europe for four years!

As for me, I enjoy the collecting and occasional shooting aspects of these historic rifles, but for fun shooting, I’ll stick with rifles that fire intermediate cartridges. My shoulder will thank me.

2 thoughts on “Range Report – Refighting World War II”

  1. Sebastian, I just found your article and was interested because….I have both a Mauser M48 Yugo (which is my ‘baby’) and a MN M38. I have had a chance to fire the M48 and love it. I have a LER scope and mount coming next week. I got the MN just at the beginning of the FL rainy season and haven’t had a chance to go to the range as yet. I have completely torn it down, smoothed and reoiled the stock and cleaned everything. I love what I see but will reserve my opinion till range day. So, I’ll do the same as you did and shoot both the M48 and the M38 the same day. But…one difference, I’ll use a sholder pad on the M38!! Nice hearing your experience. Thanks, D

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