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January 5, 2013 / Gregory Williams

Scope Mounts for the Mosin

I am not a purist when it comes to surplus military rifles, unless of course they are valuable for one reason or another. The Mosin-Nagant is not one of those rifles. Coming in at anywhere between $79 and $200, depending on shipping and FFL fees, the Mosin is a rifle ripe for modification.

Either “Sporterized” (modified for hunting), or “Sniperized” for the looming apocalypse, the Mosin presents many options to the gunsmith including stocks, triggers. and bolt handles. It is also a reasonable platform for glass and pillar bedding, which is a regarded method for increasing accuracy, and despite their low cost Mosin’s can be accurate rifles, and are still used in combat throughout the world.

Without a scope, which the military sniper version has–the rear leaf sights deliver excessively large groups at ranges desirable for hunting Elk or Zombies. For a civilian shooter, adding a scope mount will almost always be an essential and desirable modification.

Original military and reproduction military style scopes and mounts are available. Amazon(r) lists a reproduction for about $150, pretty close or more than the cost of the rifle, and the originals are hundreds of dollars more.

A number of manufacturers make modern scope mounts for the Mosin. The most popular versions come from Rock Solid Industries(r) and ATI(r). Jmeck is another noted maker of receiver mounts, where B-Square(r), and Brass Stacker(r)offer mounts that attach to the rear sight housing. Other manufacturers like UTG(r), AIM Sports(r), and Barska(r) all offer similar mounts of varying quality and design, as do others. Though I have not tested any of them, I am in the market and based on online reviews it seems they all work well provided they are installed correctly with a thread locking compound and in some cases glass bedding. Rock Solid recommends this for a maximum “Rock Solid” scope mount.

The Rock Solid mount requires drilling for installation.

The type of mount installed on the rifle will determine the type of scope that must be used. Traditional scopes with an eye relief between 2.5 and 4 or 5 inches will work only on receiver mounts. Mounts mounted forward of the receiver will require a scope with an eye relief of seven inches or more, such as a Handgun Scope, but some manufacturers are producing long eye relief rifle scopes that are more feature rich and offer easier adjustments.

On my rifle, there is also a 3/8 dovetail that my rear sight housing was fitted to. Removing it required punching out the two base pins and the pin at the base of the sight leaf.  Removing the upper hand guard was also required so that the sight housing could be pulled from the dovetail towards, and over the muzzle.

This dovetail can be used as a mount point with 1″  rings that have  3/8 dovetail, but it is also just under 3 inches long.

A 3/8 dovetail happens to be the same dovetail used for most air rifles, .22 caliber rifles, and some lever action rifles. Be sure to select high quality scope rings, and not rings that are designed for small caliber rifles or air rifles, these will not hold up to the powerful recoil of the 7.62×54 rimmed cartridge the Mosin uses. Also be sure to clean the surfaces of the dovetail after sight removal to remove any rust and excess oil, and some may even choose to blue, Parkerize or DuraCoat(r) the dovetail prior to use as it may have been left unfinished on some rifles and will be visible beneath the scope rings.

The dovetail under the rear sight housing of the author’s 91/30.

Another method for utilizing the dovetail would be installing a 3/8 to Weaver converter.. A good adaptor will include multiple tightening points at the bast that utilize hex headed screws, and the upper weaver rail will extend beyond the length of the dovetail forward of the receiver. Thread locking compound should be used on the screws and along the top of the dovetail where it will impact the adaptor.

Utilizing the dovetail beneath the rear sight housing is an easy and inexpensive way to mount a scope to Mosin-Nagants that have them, provided the shooter is willing and able to utilize a long eye relief scope.

The biggest advantages to using this dovetail are lowering the line of sight by removing the excess height of the rear sight, and achieving a stable mounting platform without having to drill and tap the rifle’s receiver. ATI’s mount utilizes two screws above the receiver, and Rock Solid’s uses three!

Cost aside, the greatest driver when choosing a mount should be the rifle’s intended purpose. For example, a survival rifle might be nice with a scope, but what if the scope fails in the wilderness? Brass Stacker thought of that scenario with their see through mount that does not require removal of the rear sight and still allows them to be used, albeit with limited visibility.

On the other hand the hunter might prefer the Rock Solid or ATI mount. In this case, features like the ability to load with stripper clips (lost the minute a receiver mount is installed on a Mosin), or backup iron sights are not necessary. The goal is to use a standard hunting optic and achieve one shot one kill accuracy, a task more difficult with most long eye relief scopes not designed for on the fly adjustments in the field.

In most cases it will not matter which brand or type of mount is chosen, so long as it matches the scope and suits the shooter and the application. What will matter is the quality of the installation, and of the scope and rings attached to it. A bad scope can make an expensive rifle virtually useless, but a great scope can turn a cheap rifle into a sniper.

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