The Mosin Nagant 91/30 rifle is one of the most common and sought after budget rifles even still today. Russia's old warhorse is still circulating around the world, and if you don't already have one or two sitting in your safe, you are missing out on some of the most fun and affordable shooting there is to be had. Many DIYers choose the platform to build hunting, varminting, or tactical bolt guns because of its low cost and availability. Most Big Box Sporting Goods stores like Big 5 will carry the 91/30 is stock as well as Cabelas or Bass Pro Shop.
Many Mosin owners who do not claim to be purists may be tempted to accessorize the rifle. Some manufacturers have come up with kits to make it cheap and easy to do this. I myself in a moment of weakness gave into temptation and bought a "Deluxe Accessory Kit" from AIM Sports. After installing the scope mount, the scope and rings, and the recoil pad, I thought I had made a reasonably good investment for $75 after tax. Then I started looking at the fit and finish, and after a few more minutes was immediately flooded with regret. Upon racking the bolt and dry firing the rifle a few times, I witnessed the lens in the scope minutely tilt forward each time the firing pin dropped. Cheap Chinese made optics with poor internals, who knew? Luckily I had opened the packaging very discretely with a blade so I was able to repack everything and return it with no questions asked.
The conundrum with putting a scope on the Nagant is three fold. One, you have to use a "Scout" scope with a long eye relief in order to operate the stock bolt (Alternatively you can pay to have a bent bolt modification and use a traditional scope with conventional eye relief). Two, the mounts are often questionable unless made right, and that will be costly. Third and lastly, any scope that costs less than the rifle itself is probably rubbish.
This scope in particular is an AIM Sports 2-7 x 32mm with a 1" tube, that has an an eye relief of 8.5"-10.5" and 1/4 M.O.A.windage and elevation adjustments, a blue lens coating, a length of 10.5" and a weight of 9 oz. The clarity of the optic (before the lens issue) was moderately okay, the parallax was set within 60-100 yards and I felt like it would have been useful at shooting between 100-300 yards. The magnification ring was very gritty when rotating through the levels and had a very alarming click, almost like a bearing falling into a detent, at the 7x position. The ring also appeared to be sealed with a very sloppy O-Ring, which gave it alot of play forward and rearward. Even if the scope hadn't failed after dry firing, I have absolutely no confidence it would have held up to a single round of 7.62x54R. Pretending it would have held integrity, the scope and rings surely wouldn't have survived the first shot anyway.
The scope rings included are junk, with just two screws per ring they were too short to even bite the threading. I found myself screwing one side an eighth of a turn, then alternating back and forth so the top segment of the ring would tighten down evenly, but the opposite screw would still pop right out onto the floor. I had to use some extra screws from my drawer to replace all 4 of AIM's. After all that trouble and handling, the blued finish had looked like it had been in action for a few years. The thumb adjustment knobs were a soft metal and were no match for my screwdriver either apparently. Now, onto the scope base.
The picatinny scope base itself mounts into the rear sight block, requiring the removal of the rear sight and leaf spring. Easy enough, but it mounts using the single pin hole and thus becomes a "seesaw" or "teeter toter" that requires set three screws to be tightened down against the receiver. There was no instruction on how to use these set screws to obtain the optimum angle, and tightening one just caused the other end to dip down. When I tightened all three to a degree I felt left the mount level the the bore, I was still unsatisfied with the security and how easy it was to push a side down or up. The instructions called for the leaf spring to be removed, but I found that leaving it in at least gave some tension and improved the mounting. When the rings and scope is mounted, I found that the extra couple inches of rail in the front interfered with using the scope covers, so it would have to be cut off.
At least the rubber recoil pad had to be an improvement to the stock Rusky metal butt plate, right? Guess again, as it didn't line up with either screw hole, and a flush fit would have required sanding and reshaping the contour of the stock. Even then it didn't line up with the stock, but perhaps thats just a difficult task with all the different variations in these stocks that came from all over Europe.
The sling looked like a standard replica of the original russian slings, khaki colored even though the package specifically calls it green. I didn't even take the sling out of the package as I knew this kit was going to be returned promptly. If you have a 91/30 or M44 and wish to outfit it with optics and accessories, I would be reluctant to try this kit. I didn't get a quality equivalent to the amount I paid for, and I can't imagine it working for anybody else (unless that particular kit was an older generation). Bottom line, it's a disgrace to the Motherland.
Firearms Insider Reviews - 8 Key Points
Claim to Fame: This all-in-one kit includes everything you need and is the easiest no-drilling, no-tapping, no-gunsmith-needed option for the Mosin Nagant 91/30 and M44 rifles.
Target Market: Mosin Nagant 91/30 and M44 rifle owners.
FNBs (features & benefits of this product):
- 2-7x32 Scout Scope w/ blue multi-coated optics deliver bright, crystal clear views.
- Precise fine-crosshairs Plex reticle for dead-on targeting
- Waterproof, Shockproof, and Fogproof (no confidence in these statements based on test items)
- Scope Covers
- Scope Rings
- Picatinny Mount requires no permanent modification to gun.
- Recoil reducing rubber butt pad.
- Replica Russian Sling
What other aesthetic options or finishes are available?: Thin Blued Metal
What others are saying?:
- "The rubber but stock and strap are the only things in this kit worth a dime. the scope is almost impossible to sight in, and even if you get it there a few shots later its way off again. mount is really cheap so im not sure which is worse." Amazon Customer Review
- "The mount (not the other stuff) is cheap. The front attach screws are short, only about 2 threads holding. The other screws on the mount can not be made tight enough to hold the mount in place from recoil. Poor design, poorly executed. I sent it back. The rest of the kit maybe okay, I never got past the mount. This is not my first (or second, or third scope mount)." Amazon Customer Review
+ Collectively all the accessories in one bundle does save money.
- Everything aside from the sling I wouldn't trust to last the first or second range trip, let alone combat or hunting field use.
Score: 4.0 Bad