RIFLES PART 1:

Mosin-Nagants of Imperial Russia

 

7,62 mm Infantry Rifle M/91:

(Russkaja 3-linejnaja vintovka obr. 1891 g.)

War fought by Russia against the Turks in 1877 - 1878 showed the defects of Berdan rifle used by Russian Army at that time. Due to not having magazine Berdan rifles had very limited rate of fire and also old 10,67 mm black-powder ammunition used in them proved problematic. So Russian military started looking for a new better, more modern rifle design. Special committee for testing new magazine rifles was established in year 1883 for this task. Year 1889 only two of tested rifle designs still remained under consideration, one from Belgian Leon Nagant and another from Russian Captain Sergei Mosin. The rifle selected to production in 1891 was basically amalgamation of these two developments. This resulting rifle better known as 7.62-mm infantry rifle m/91 in Finland was in Russia more commonly known as infantry rifle m/1891 or three-line rifle.

PICTURE: Finnish version of M/91 infantry rifle. Note sling attachment loops - a typical Finnish feature commonly added to these rifles. (Photo taken in Sotamuseo). CLICK THUMBNAIL TO SEE LARGER PIC (43 KB).

Calibre:

7,62 mm x 54 R

Length:

1305 mm

Barrel length:

800 mm

Weight:

4,3 kg

Magazine:

5, non-removable

Official abbreviations:

"7,62 kiv/91" and "762 KIV 91"

Country of origin:

Russia / Finland / Soviet Union

Prototype:

1890

Production:

Original (Russia/USSR) production 1891 - 1924

Finnish use: Most common rifle in Finnish use from 1918 until 1950's. Due to often-poor condition of M/91 rifles primarily the intent was to issue newer rifles to frontline-infantry, but as there never were enough them also M/91 was issued to frontline infantry and naturally to various kind of other troops in very large numbers.

Infantry rifle M/91 was manufactured by three Russian arsenals: Tula, Izhevsk and Sestroryetsk (Siestarjoki to the Finns). Early on production goal was set to half-a-million rifles per year. But the manufacturing started very slowly, only about 8,000 rifles were made in year 1891, with all three factories getting production started the next year and it took until 1895 to actually reach the intended annual production rate of 500,000. To compensate this slow start Russia bought 503,539 rifles from France, where they were manufactured by Chatellerault factory. These Chatellerault-manufactured rifles were delivered between 1893 - 1895. Real mass-production was started in Russia in 1893 and increased slowly but certainly after that. However, Russian domestic production of infantry rifle M/91 did not remain in such a high level very long and started to decline. Hence by Japanese-Russian war of 1904 - 1905 only about 3.9 million Mosin-Nagant rifles had been made. This war marked again notable increase in rifle production, but once the war was over the production rate started to decline again. Some minor changes were made to the rifle design already before World War 1. Year 1908 Russians replaced old M/1891 ball-ammunition with 210-grain / 13.7-gram O-bullet with new ammunition model 1908, which had spitzer-type 147 - 149 grain / 9.6 - 9.7 gram S-bullet. This change of ammunition resulted into need of modifying sights to fit into ballistics of the new bullet. Modification was made by replacing old sight bar of rear sight with new one designed by V.P. Konovalov and was introduced to these rifles around 1908 - 1910.

July of 1914 Russia had almost 4.3 million Mosin-Nagant rifles for its military, but this soon proved to be too little. Once World War 1 started basically all major countries involved found out that they did not have enough rifles to equip the massive armies that they were now mobilising. Russia was no exception to his. During World War 1 (1914 - 1918) Mosin-Nagant rifle was produced in huge numbers, but also the quality of rifles manufactured in Russian factories deteriorated during the war. One of the methods which Imperial Russia tried to use for solving rifle shortage of its Armed Forces was buying Mosin-Nagant M/1891 infantry rifles from US companies of Remington-UMC and Westinghouse. The number of rifles needed by Russian military at that point was truly massive, hence Russia ordered no less than 1.5-million rifles from Remington-UMC and 1.8-million million rifles from Westinghouse. In 1915 - 1917 Remington-UMC delivered Russia 840,307 rifles and Westinghouse 769,520 rifles. Due to Russian revolution further 280,049 rifles belonging to this contract rifles were manufactured, but not delivered to Russia. Russian revolution and Civil War (1917 - 1922) following it decreased Russian rifle production and also caused quality of rifles manufactured in Russia to decline even more. Sestroryetsk Arsenal was apparently too close to Finnish boarder for liking of Bolshevik leadership so its machines were transported to other arsenals after year 1918. Year 1922 the Soviets decided to concentrate manufacturing of Dragoon-version of Mosin-Nagant M/1891 rifle, which lead into production of infantry rifles m/91 ending in Russia around 1923 - 1924.

PICTURE: Early production version of M/91 infantry rifle. Note original rear sight tangent and early rifle sling attachment. (Photo taken in Sotamuseo). CLICK THUMBNAIL TO SEE LARGER PIC (89 KB).

During World War 1 numerous other countries also started using Mosin-Nagant m/91 rifles. Russia was arming its ally Serbia with Mosin-Nagant M/91 rifles during the war, but also Germany and Austro-Hungary re-issued captured Mosin-Nagant rifles in massive numbers. And since Germany and Austro-Hunganry were also equipping their allies (like Turkey) with them, there were large numbers of Mosin-Nagant rifles spread in all Eastern-European countries after World War 1. The Germans did not like original Russian spike-like socket bayonet, so they modified some of the captured rifles by removing piece of wood from front part of rifle stock and by adding sleeve-like adapter for attaching a new bayonet design. That bayonet-desing was German ersatz sword bayonet, a cheap and fast built all steel bayonet originally designed for Mauser 98. The Germans also modified smaller number of Mosin-Nagant rifles to their standard 7.92 mm x 57 JS calibre. Austro-Hungarian military on the other hand considered the non-standard ammunition (compared to their own service ammo) type used to be the most serious problem and concentrated modifying much of the captured Mosin-Nagant rifles to their standard issue (8 mm x 50 R Mannlicher) rifle ammunition. The Austrians and the Germans made also some more rare modifications to captured Mosin-Nagant rifles. During Russian Civil War also troops of some Western countries that participated it were equipped with Mosin-Nagant rifles. During Spanish Civil War (1936 - 1939) Soviet Union delivered large number of infantry rifles M/91 to Republican Spain. During World War 2 German military called captured Mosin-Nagant M/91 infantry rifles Gewehr 252 (r).

Year 1918 Mosin-Nagant M/91 infantry rifle was most typical rifle in use of Russian troops, this lead it also becoming the most numerous rifle used by both sides in Finnish Civil War of 1918. Both the Russian Bolsheviks and Germany delivered these rifles to Finland during that war to support the side that they wanted to win. The Bolsheviks supplied Finnish Red Guards about 35,000 rifles delivered by rail from Petrograd (St. Petersburg) and almost 18,000 rifles shipped from Tallinn. The Germans on the other hand sold Finnish White Army at least 87,000 captured Russian Mosin-Nagant rifles. In addition to these large deliveries both sides also succeeded acquiring thousands of rifles from Russian garrisons located in Finland - the Reds from those Russian soldiers who supported them and the Whites by force, when they captured and disarmed Russian garrisons in their area. The grand majority of the rifles received by Finnish Red Guards and Finnish White Army were Mosin-Nagant infantry rifle m/1891. February of 1919 when Finnish Armed Forces made inventory, they had bit over 210,000 Mosin-Nagant rifles (all versions included).

Soon it became clear that Mosin-Nagant m/91 was the de facto standard type of Finnish Armed Forces. This happened for a very simple reason - this was clearly the most common rifle existing in Finnish use and there were no financial resources for replacing it with new rifles in substantial number. So in August of 1918 infantry rifle M/91 become the standard rifle type issued to all Finnish troops. Only exceptions to this were cavalry, bicycle-troops, artillery and mine-thrower crews, which got equipped with other type of rifles. However, much of m/91 rifles in Finnish use were from low-quality Russian World War 1 era production and/or had already deteriorated in poor use (Weapons maintenance was not exactly well-known among participants of Finnish Civil War of 1918, nor was correct warehousing methods right after it).

PICTURE: Finnish made cartridge clip for Mosin-Nagant rifles. CLICK THUMBNAIL TO SEE LARGER PIC (28 KB).

Finnish modifications of sights:

Hence by early 1920's the percentage of rifles whose condition had deteriorated beyond acceptable had reached such level, that substantial number of rifles in Finnish inventory was no longer fit for service. To battle this Finnish Armed Forces launched large-scale maintenance and repair program. The most usual problems demanding repair were corroded bores of rifle barrels and Russian rear sight, which had arschen/arshin / arsina (old Russian measurement, about 0.71 meters) while Finland used metric system. Some rifles also still had old rear sight tangents uncompatible for model 1908 ammunition - in other words they had not gone through Russian year 1910 sight modification. The old range Russian range markings had been marked in left side of the rear sight and have markings 4, 6, 8, 10 and 12 (indicating hundreds of arschen / arsin) - often these markings were tooled over to cancel them. The new metric range settings were marked to right side of the rear sight with markings 3, 4, 5, 7 and 8 (indicating hundreds of meters). Commmon Finnish modifications for Mosin-Nagant m/91 rear sight included also adding basic setting for 150 meters. New higher fore sight was often needed for this modification. Aimo Lahti, who was weapons techician of Keski-Suomi (Infantry) Regiment at that time (starting from year 1921), developed this new fore sight and some other minor improvements for the rifle. They were his first designs for weapons. Between 1919 - 1923 Finnish military modified sights of about 66,000 rifles according these methods.

PICTURE: Russian Konovalov rear sight with its arschen / arshin range markings without any Finnish modifications. This rear sight replaced earlier rear sight model in Russian Mosin-Nagant m/1891 rifles around 1908 - 1910. CLICK THUMBNAIL TO SEE LARGER PIC (83 KB).

Rifle barrel relining scandal

As noted by year 1924 the total number of corroded rifle barrels in depots of Finnish Armed Forces and Suojeluskunta (Finnish Civil Guard) had reached 200,000 while Finnish Armed Forces had no equipment for repairing damaged rifle barrels or financing for replacing them. Only possible repair methods available for rifles with damaged barrels were either replacing the barrel or relining it with Salerno method (Italian-developed method typically used for artillery pieces). As the Finns had no experience of either, Finnish Armed Forces decided to test them both. Between 1925 - 1927 Weapons Depot 1 (in Helsinki) relined over 13,000 rifle barrels, while at the same time also new rifle barrels were bought and used to replace damaged ones. The relining process with Salerno-method basically included boring the existing barrel and installing a new inner barrel inside it. In addition also cartridge chamber demanded some re-tooling when this method was used. Civil Guard on the other hand decided to replace corroded rifle barrels instead of attempting relining them - this development lead later into introduction of infantry rifle M/91-24 used by Civil Guard.

The relining program created a scandal, as experts that inspected the results considered rifle barrels fixed this way poor quality and even potentially dangerous. This lead first into stopping production of relined rifle barrels in year 1928 and in 1930 also assembling rifles with relined rifle barrels was stopped. Trials followed and reimbursements were sentenced because of this scandal. Before the production of relined barrels was stopped it had repaired some 13,450 rifle barrels for infantry rifle M/91, 1,490 rifle barrels for cavalry rifle M/91 and 595 barrels for Maxim machineguns. The Committee created to investigate the matter in year 1927 came up with conclusion of only 15 % of the rifle barrels being good, 20 - 35 % totally unfit for use and the rest (estimated 50 - 75 %) to be in need of further repairs. In second more detailed inspection made in year 1930 the Committee came to conclusion that only 14 % of the relined barrels were suitable for use, 51 % were totally unfit for use and 27 % required further repairs. After this the matter was set to rest until suitability of the rifle barrels relined with Salerno-method was re-evaluated in year 1938 - this time they got rated as "adequate". During the desperate days of Winter War Finnish military was suffering shortages of all sorts of equipment - including rifles. With more rifles being desperately needed, rifle production was speeded up and ordered to cut corners to come up with more rifles. All sorts of already existing parts - including even worst of the relined rifle barrels got used for manufacturing and repairing rifles during that war. By May of 1940 remaining relined rifle barrels had been used to repair or manufacture about 8,000 infantry rifles m/91. Back in 1930's several persons had been sentenced to pay reimbursements for their part in &quit;relining-scandal". But now that the once rejected relined rifle barrels had been put in use, there obviously was no ground for these reimbursements, so in 1940 they got the reimbursements compsensated, but the otherwise the earlier sentences remained unchanged.

Manufacturing of rifle barrels was not easy task for small Finnish metal industry. First (unsuccessful) attempt for starting a mass production of rifle barrels was made between 1922 - 1924 with Tikkakoski factory. A second (successful this time) try was made with same factory in year 1925. However production capacity of Tikkakoski was not large enough for repairing the problem alone. New rifle barrels for infantry rifle M/91 were also bought from from Swiss S.I.G. and German Venus gun factories. Between 1940 - 1944 State Rifle Factory (VKT) and Tikkakoski factories manufactured tens of thousands of new rifle barrels for m/91 rifles. In those years State Rifle Factory manufactured about 45,300 rifle barrels and Tikkakoski about 33,000 rifle barrels for infantry rifle m/91. By year 1944 over 10,000 of these new barrels for M/91 rifles had been taken in use.

Also rifle stocks in large number of M/91 rifles needed replacements. Russian-made rifles originally had rifle stocks made from birch, while French (Chatellarault) and US (Remington-UMC and Westinghouse) had rifle stocks made from walnut. Finnish-made rifle stocks were birch, but the Finns also recycled complete rifle stocks and used them as raw-material for Finnish rifle stocks. Finnish Army Gun depots and several private companies manufactured rifle stocks for m/91 rifles, during Continuation War over 77,000 rifle stocks were made for these rifles. During World War 2 over 87,000 rifle stocks were repaired to condition comparable to new.

Starting this whole repair and improvement process for M/91 can be criticised for a good reason. It might have made a lot more sense to put the money in making new rifles instead of putting so much money and effort to old, long and heavy m/91 infantry rifles, many of which were basically ready to be scrapped. However, the average cost of repairing infantry rifle m/91 rifle was only about 50 Finnish marks, while even (too cheaply made, as we will see) M/27 rifle end up costing over 290 Finnish marks per rifle, because of this m/91 was kept in service and their repairs kept going.

Finland also bought M/91 rifles from various countries in really large numbers:

YEAR

COUNTRY

AMOUNT

1926

Italy

39900

1928

Albania(1)

13000

1928

France/Transbaltic (2)

2200

1929 - 1930

Oy Transbaltic Ab (3)

4200

1932 - 1934

Oy Transbaltic Ab (4)

20800

1932 - 1934

Oy Transbaltic Ab (4)

5500

1936

Hungary (5)

4600

1936

Poland (5)

2900

1936

Czechoslovakia (5)

10900

1939

Yugoslavia (6)

56500

1940

Hungary (7)

300

1941

Bulgaria (8)

12300

TOTAL

173100

Non included to these numbers are tens of thousands of M/91 that had been either bored to use Austrian 8 mm ammunition or had no barrels (these were used in manufacture of Finnish Mosin-Nagant rifles as were also used the large amounts of parts bought with almost every deal). Most of these deals were made using Finnish firm "Oy Transbaltic Ab" as go-between. Also large amounts of parts of M/91 rifles were bought from abroad and used as spare-parts and in manufacture of Finnish Mosin-Nagant rifles.

  1. Firm "Benny Spiro" from Hamburg as go-between, traded to Japanese rifles, which Benny Spiro sold to Albania. Mosin-Nagant M/91 rifles of this deal originated mostly from Romania and Czechoslovakia.
  2. Oy Transbaltic Ab bought these rifles from French War Ministry, in exchange Transbaltic got 6.7 million rounds of 7,92 mm x 57 ammunition from Finland.
  3. Oy Transbaltic Ab got 5.07-million rounds of 7,92 mm x 57 ammunition in exchange. Also large amount of rifles parts of M/91 were included to this deal.
  4. Two deals connected to each other made around same time. In First one Oy Transbaltic Ab got about 15,000 Japanese rifles, about 500 bayonets and about 1.2 million rounds of ammunition for them. In second one Oy Transbaltic Ab got 470 "light" machineguns M/08-15 and M/08-18, few MG-08 Maxim machineguns, 8,1 million rounds of 7,92 mm x 57 ammunition and 10 German 75 mm mountain guns model 1913 (75 VK L14) with 7,500 shells.
  5. Once again done with Oy Transbaltic Oy, but this time also German firms J. Veltjens Waffen und Munions and Daugs & Cie G.m.b.H of Josef Veltjens and Willy Daugs participated by delivering rifles from Hungary, Poland and Czechoslovakia to Transbaltic. There were also plenty of rifle parts included to this deal.
  6. With Oy Transbaltic Oy, rifles arrived just before Winter War but large amount only suitable to be used as source of parts.
  7. The Hungarians had captured these rifles from the Poles. This deal was made during Winter War.
  8. From about 40,000 rifles bought only about 12,300 could be issued (after repairs), others were in too bad shape to be repaired but could be used as source of parts for rifle manufacturing.

Deliveries of M/91 infantry rifles to Finnish Army during World War 2:

Manufacturer

Year

AV3

AV1

Total

1939

0

10000

10000

1940

0

15000

15000

1941

0

3997

3997

1942

11762

6769

18531

1943

5653

10000

15653

1944

12434

11458

23892

1945

0

0

0

Total

29849

57224

87073

Source: Report of Finnish Defence Forces GHQ Ordnance department concerning weaponry belonging to its area of expertise manufactured in Finland 1935 - 1945. T20207/F16 sal, Finnish Military Archives. Notice: The table does not include rifles delivered to Homefront troops. Both Weapons Depot 1 (AV1) and Weapons Depot 3 (AV3) could also be called "assembly plants".

Mosin-Nagant m/91 infantry rifle proved to be reliable and robust rifle in Finnish use. Especially the bolt system proved to be almost indestructible. Rifle M/91 was the most numerous of rifle types used by Finnish troops during World War 2. Rifle grenade equipment for it was designed twice, first in mid-late 1930's and later in 1942 - 1944, but neither version saw real mass-production. Rifle M/91 was mainly used by Finnish ground troops during World War 2 and was most numerable for all Mosin-Nagant rifles in Finnish use at that time. It was somewhat long and heavy compared to most other rifles of that era, but it still served Finns well. Better weapons finally started replacing them in 1960's but some remained warehoused until 1980's.

 

7,62 mm Dragoon, Cossack and Cavalry Rifles M/91:

(Russkaja 3-linejnaja dragunskaja vintovka obr. 1891 g.)

(Russkaja 3-linejnaja kazacja vintovka obr. 1891 g.)

PICTURE: Mosin-Nagant M/91 Dragoon/Cossack rifle. (Photo taken in Sotamuseo). CLICK THUMBNAIL TO SEE LARGER PIC (42 KB).

Calibre:

7,62 mm x 54 R

Length:

1237 mm

Barrel length:

730 mm

Weight:

3,8 kg

Magazine:

5, non-removable

Official abbreviations:

"7,62 kiv/91 rv" and "762 KIV 91 RV"

Country of origin:

Russia / Finland / Soviet Union

Prototype:

1890

Production:

Original (Russia/USSR) production 1891 - early 1930's

Finnish use: Only few thousands in Finnish use. Rifle types used solely by Finnish cavalry between 1918 - 1919 and 1924 - 1935.

These two rifle models were shorter cavalry versions of m/91 infantry rifle. Ordinary Russian cavalry version was known as dragoon-rifle, it had 730-mm barrel and more slender rifle stock. These changes made this rifle type about 6.8-cm shorter and about 500 grams lighter than infantry rifle. Cossack-rifle was otherwise similar to dragoon-rifle, but had slightly differences in sights and it was used without bayonet. Cavalry-rifle was a classification that the Finns used about both rifle types in their own use.

Russian dragoon and Cossack rifles m/91 were mainly manufactured in Izhevsk arsenal until revolution. Dragoon rifle was produced in much larger numbers than Cossack rifle, but production of both was only very small scale if compared to huge production numbers of infantry rifle m/91. Both dragoon and Cossack rifle basically went through the same changes as infantry rifle, including replacing the old rear sight tangent with new Konovalov M1910 design. Year 1922 the Soviets decided concentrate rifle manufacturing to dragoon rifles m/91 and end manufacturing of all other Mosin-Nagant rifles. Dragoon rifle m/91 was to become the new standard issue rifle of Red Army and replace infantry rifle m/1891 in that role. With production of other Mosin-Nagant rifles ending at that time also Tula arsenal became large scale manufacturer of dragoon rifles. Production of dragoon rifle continued until early 1930's in Soviet Union. Then military rifle m/91-30 replaced it in production. Just like M/91 infantry rifle also captured dragoon and Cossack rifles were commonly reissued by German and Austro-Hungarian military, but their much smaller numbers made them pretty much disappear in vast amount of M/91 infantry rifles. During World War 2 German military knew M/91 dragoon rifle as "Gewehr 253 (r)".

Just like with infantry rifle M/91, during Finnish Civil War of 1918, also dragoon and Cossack rifles saw use in hands of both sides, but in much smaller numbers. August of 1918 cavalry rifle m/91 become rifle type issued to Finnish cavalry and bicycle troops. However, this didn't last long. Already in summer of 1919 Finland bought German Mauser M/98a carbines and used them to re-equip Finnish cavalry and some units of horse-drawn artillery. Only bicycle troops seem to have still kept using cavalry rifle m/91 even after that. The main motive behind this seems to have been small number of m/91 cavalry rifles of good condition. The number of these cavalry rifles was simply too small for equipping all cavalry and riding artillery units.

PICTURE: Closeup showing cavalry rifle m/91 with bolt open. CLICK THUMBNAIL TO SEE LARGER PIC (78 KB).

It was fairly obvious that having rifles in different calibers for cavalry and infantry was not too wise. For obvious reasons Finnish Army wanted to have all its rifles with same calibre. In 1920's and 1930's Finland was doing its best to gather as much as possible of Mosin-Nagant rifles, which World War 1 had spread to various European countries. This provided the opportunity to try gathering enough cavalry rifles m/91 for equipping all cavalry units. Small number of cavalry rifles were received in many deals, most important of which were trade from Poland in year 1924 and acquistion from Italy in year 1926. The trade made with Poland had Mauser M/98a carbines, Mauser M/98 infantry rifles and Maxim MG-08 machineguns being traded to Poland in exchange of 7.62 mm Mosin-Nagant rifles. The rifles received in return from Poland included some 2,151 cavalry rifles m/91. The purchase of rifles made from Italy in year 1926 provided Finland among other things also 2,298 complete cavalry rifles m/91 and another 506 cavalry rifles m/91 with missing bolts. After this sort of deals Finland finally had enough cavalry rifles of this type to equip its whole cavalry with them. As infantry rifles m/91 in late 1920's much of the cavalry rifles m/91 were in less than favourable condition. Hence these rifles got included to 1920's large-scale rifle maintenance and repair program, although due to their much smaller numbers in notably smaller scale than infantry rifles m/91. Some 1,490 cavalry rifles m/91 got their rifle barrels relined with Italian-developed Salerno-method between 1926 - 1927 as part of relining program, but after relining-scandal they were not introduced into service until during dire rifle shortage of Winter War.

The original sling system of Russian cavalry rifles m/91 was not as well suited for cavalry use as it had been in German carbines. While on horseback Finnish cavalry soldiers usually rifle in a rifle sling on their backs. In such situation the original rifle sling system used in cavalry rifle m/91 left the rifle hanging so low, that the rifle butt could make contact with back of the horse and interfere in controlling it. So Finnish Army equipped large number of M/91 cavalry rifles with new sling system copied from earlier German M/98a carbines. These rifles remained as basic weaponry of both Finnish Cavalry Regiments until year 1935, which is when they got replaced with new Finnish-designed and manufactured M/27 cavalry rifles. Even if officially replaced by cavalry rifle m/27, most of these rifles continued to serve as training weapons in two existing Finnish cavalry regiments until mobilisation for Winter War.

During World War 2 rifles of this type only saw use mainly in home front, where they were issued to training centres and supplies units. Year 1942 K.V. Karlsson's Machine Works Ltd (K.V. Karlsson konepaja Oy) manufactured new kind of front sight protectors for 2,000 cavalry rifles m/91. The front sight protector was made from two kind of steel plates and attached around existing front sight with rivets. Finnish Army had organised captured Soviet factory named Äänisen tehdas (Onega Factory) in city of Petrozavodsk as large weapons repair facility. This factory was the place in where the new front sight protectors were installed to cavalry rifles m/91. Even if Finnish Army captured thousands of cavalry rifles m/91 during World War 2, compared to other rifle models the percentage of m/91 cavalry rifles in Finnish inventory remained minuscule. For example February of 1943 they counted as only 1.44% of all rifles in use of Finnish military. Hence it should be no surprise that they had little importance after the war. Year 1951 Finnish Armed Forces inventory had 18,029 of these rifles, but only 11,625 of them were fit for combat. Most of remaining M/91 cavalry rifles were sold to Interarmco and exported from Finland in year 1960, the last of these rifles (the ones that had Finnish sling modifications had been saved last) remained in storage until early 1980's.

 

7,62 mm Carbine M/07:

(7.62 mm karabin obr. 1907)

PICTURE: 7,62 mm Carbine M/07 (Photo taken in Sotamuseo). CLICK THUMBNAIL TO SEE LARGER PIC (43 KB).

Calibre:

7,62 mm x 54 R

Length:

1015 mm

Barrel length:

510 mm

Weight:

3,3 kg

Magazine:

5, non-removable

Official abbreviations:

"7,62 kiv/07 karab."

Country of origin:

Russia

Prototype:

around 1894 - 1895

Production:

1907 - 1917, total amount manufactured about 370000

Finnish use: Popular weapon of leaders of both sides during 1918 war, the amount was never more than few hundred.

Early on Russian military saw no need for carbine-type rifle, cavalry and Cossack rifles seemed to be good enough to fill the need. Captain N. I. Jurlov of Russian Army did some research about carbine-version around 1894 - 1895, but only production resulting from his research at that time were 11 prototypes. Russian-Japanese war of 1904 - 1905 changed things, now it become apparent that especially machinegun-crews, signal-personnel and engineers needed smaller and handier rifle to their use. Jurlov's plans re-surfaced and new carbine went into production in Izhevsk. Soon also Russian Gendarme got interested, carbines for it were made by Sestroryetsk arsenal by modifying them from Cossack and dragoon rifles.

Carbine M/07 naturally has shorter barrel than in other versions of Mosin-Nagant rifles, in addition it also has a thinner stock and new smaller back sight, which was redesigned in 1910 (due to new bullet introduced at that time). As the name suggests production of this carbine started in 1907 and by year 1909 some 44,000 carbines M/07 had been manufactured for Russian military. They were mainly issued to machinegun-crews, artillery recon teams and to soldiers of serving in headquarters or artillery weapon crews. Production continued until 1917 and total number manufactured is estimated have been about 370,000.

During Finnish Civil War of 1918 handy M/07 carbine was popular among low-level leadership of both sides. This also lead to them ending up as war-souvenirs more often than other types of Mosin-Nagant rifle. Number of carbine M/1907 in possession of Finnish military after 1918 was too small for it to be even classed as rifle type of its own. Due to this none of them were issued to combat-troops of Finnish military during World War 2. Year 1951 only 20 of these carbines remained in Finnish inventory. These remaining few ended up to museum use in end of 1950's. Nowadays Mosin-Nagant M/1907 carbines are extremely rare and valuable collectors items.

 


SUGGESTED LINKS FOR MORE INFO:

Mosin Nagant dot Net More info about Mosin-Nagant rifles


SOURCES:

Markku Palokangas: Sotilaskäsiaseet Suomessa 1918 - 1988 osat 1 - 3 (= Military Small Arms in Finland 1918 - 1988 parts 1- 3)

Timo Hyytinen: Arma Fennica 2, sotilasaseet (Arma Fennica 2, military weapons)

Markku Palokangas and Maire Vaajakallio: Aimo Lahti, asesuunnittelun suuri suomalainen (= Aimo Lahti, the great Finn of weapons designing)

D.N. Bolotin: Soviet Small-Arms and Ammunition.

Bruno Bogdnovic and Ivan Valencak: Das Groze Buch der klassischen feuerwaffen

Jan Kronlund: Suomen Puolustuslaitos 1918 - 1939 (= Finnish Defence Department 1918 - 1939)

Article: Sotilaskiväärin malli 1891 kehitys by D.N. Bolotin, translated by Matti Ingman in Ase-lehti magazine vol. 3/91.

Military manual: Kivääri 91, rakenne, huolto ja käsittely by Puolustusministeriö (1940).

Special thanks to Sotamuseo (Finnish Military Museum), Helsinki.


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