Exploration of the Mosin-Nagant rifle: history, specifications and usage

The Mosin-Nagant, also known as the Mossine rifle, is a bolt-action military weapon widely used by the Imperial Russia and the Soviet Union. Designed in 1891, it was the first to use the 7.62 x 54 mm R cartridge. This rifled barrel rifle has a magazine that can hold five cartridges and was used until 1965.

Design and Development

Born out of the collaboration between Captain Sergei Mossin and Leon Nagant, the Mosin-Nagant underwent various variants over the years. It had a range of up to 800 meters in its sniper version and was widely deployed in the Eastern European armed forces. Weighing between 3.4 kg and 4.1 kg depending on the models, this rifle was appreciated for its accuracy and reliability on the battlefield.

Manufacturing and Production

Manufactured by several arms companies such as Tula, Izhmash, and Remington, the Mosin-Nagant remains an important symbol of Russian military history. Its use spanned over seven decades, leaving its mark in the conflicts of the 20th century. Even today, it is considered one of the iconic rifles that participated in the major armed struggles of the past.

Historical Evolution

Creation Context

During the Russo-Turkish conflict of 1877 to 1878, Russian troops’ single-shot Berdan rifles faced the repeating Winchester rifles of the Turks. A new magazine-fed weapon was developed in Russia in 1882 after the failure of the Berdan modification. The Mosin rifle was created in 1891 after testing against Leon Nagant’s model. Several adjustments were made until 1910, including changes in the sight and reinforced bolt.

World War I and Beyond

During World War I, production focused on cavalry and infantry models to streamline. To address the shortage of weapons, significant orders were placed in the United States. After the Russian Civil War, a modernized rifle led to the creation of the 1891/30 model, which extended its use for an additional thirty years.

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Variants of Russia and the Soviet Union

Imperial Era (1893-1917)

  • Mosin-Nagant model 1891 infantry rifle: Main weapon of Russia and the Red Army for over 30 years.
  • Cavalry rifle: Shorter and lighter than the M1891.
  • Cossack rifle: Designed to be used without a bayonet.
  • Model 1907 carbine: Short and light, suitable for cavalry, sappers, and gunners.

Communism (1917-1950 approximately)

  • Mosin-Nagant model 1891/30: Used by the Soviet army from 1930 to 1945, renowned for its accuracy.
  • Model 1938 carbine: Shortened barrel, without bayonet.
  • Model 1944 carbine: Similar to the M1938 with a permanently attached bayonet.
  • Model 1891/59x carbine: Shortened version of the M1891/30.
  • Obrez: Mosin-Nagant model 1891 with a sawed-off barrel for compactness.

Foreign Variants

Austro-Hungarian Empire

  • Captured Mosin-Nagant rifles during World War I were adapted to use Austrian ammunition in service.

Eastern Europe

  • Several countries in Eastern Europe used and modified the Mosin-Nagant in the 20th century, including Bulgaria, Czechoslovakia, Estonia, Hungary, Poland, Romania, and Serbia.

China: People’s Republic

  • China received weapons from the USSR and produced its own versions, such as the Type 53 Carbine.


  • After Finland’s independence, many Mosin rifles were purchased and modified to improve their accuracy and reliability.


  • Captured Mosin-Nagant rifles were used by German snipers during the world wars.

North Korea

  • Supplied by the Soviet Union and China, Mosin-Nagant rifles were used during the Korean War.


  • In the 1920s, Poland converted Mosin-Nagant rifles to accommodate a new cartridge and used them until local Mauser weapons were available.


  • The Ottoman Empire used Mosin-Nagant rifles obtained through German aid or recovered after the Russian Civil War.
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Modern Use and Popular Culture

Video Games

The Mosin-Nagant has appeared in various popular video games, such as Call of Duty, Metal Gear Solid 3, and Sniper Elite. This rifle is often used as a sniper weapon and is appreciated for its performance on the virtual battlefield.


The Mosin-Nagant is an iconic rifle that has left its mark on global military history. Its reliability, accuracy, and numerous variants make it a legendary weapon, still appreciated today in various contexts, including video games and historical collections.