June 30, 2004

The latest addition to my collection of Soviet militaria!

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OMG! I bought a gun!

Yes, it’s true! Yesterday I purchased a true piece of history – a Russian Mosin Nagant M-91/30 rifle. The M-91/30 was the standard infantry rifle of the Soviet Army in the Great Patriotic War (known to us Americans as World War II). Due to California gun laws, I have to wait 10 days before I can bring it home, therefore I will not have any pictures of it posted here until July 10. Here’s a picture of someone else’s Mosin, though:

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Kat went with me to buy it, and it turned out that the salesman was a former classmate of ours from St. Theresa School. How random is that??? Anyways…

A brief history of the M-91/30:
In the years following the Civil War the Red Army wanted a standardized weapon for their troops. This was due to the fact that dozens of different weapons were in use following the Civil War and keeping them all supplied with ammunition was very difficult. A committee began work on modernizing the M-1891 in early 1924. The first trial weapons were made in 1927. The final design was adopted in on 10 June 1930, by the head of the Red Army’s armaments department Ieronim Uborevich.

The primary focus of the new weapon was ease of production. To achieve this end the weapon was to have different front and rear sights, a rounded receiver, and metric measurements. The barrel was also shortened by 5mm and a new bayonet was added. These changes transformed the old M-1891 into a modern weapon that gave the Red Army a weapon was both easy to produce and use. The M-91/30 took only 13 hours to produce and its initial production run was 102,000 rifles in 1930.

The first uses of the M-91/30 in combat was during the Spanish Civil War where they were sent as foreign aid. They were also widely used in the repressive actions of the Stalinist regime. It also saw extensive use in the border conflicts with the Japanese in Manchuria and the Winter War.

With the outbreak of hostilities with the German Army in 1941, weapons production became the focus of Soviet industry. In this regard the M-91/30 proved to be the most widely manufactured Soviet weapon of the war. More than 12 million rifles and carbines were made in Izhevsk and Tula during the war.
By the end of the war over 17,475,000 M-91/30 rifles had been manufactured.

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Soviet troops march to the front with their Mosins, Leningrad 1941.