Monday, August 6, 2007

0300 hours and Thoughts on Cleaning My Soviet Mosin Nagant M-44

As I told you all quite some time back, weeks maybe even months ago, I found one of these in a box in my basement, and it needed cleaning. I stripped the bolt and cleaned it up ever so nicely back then, leaving the rest of it to be cleaned at a future date. Well yesterday was the day, and I can say while there maybe better ways to spend a Sunday afternoon, cleaning this thing certainly was still one of the best things I have done on a Sunday in awhile. Not only did I clean it, but I sanded down the stock to remove most of whatever finish material was on it. Not having any paint remover, I just sanded it down, and this left a lot of the old finish color but none of the outer varnish or whatever else they used that was really a mess. Then I added a coat of cherry stain, and I put a coat of boiled linseed oil over that. Then I rubbed, and rubbed, and rubbed, and rubbed, and rubbed (you get the idea, but that is how to work linseed oil). The stock is not looking great, too much old stain left in splotches, but the wood will certainly have more protection once I am done with it. If I get really eager next weekend, I may use some paint remover, take it all down to bare wood and start again; but then again this stock is not nice like the one on my Hungarian Mosin Nagant, and may never look all that good unless I paint it.

As it is now, the stock is in the garage, and the rest of it is where it belongs in a box on the table on my patio. I guess I had better get off of my butt and bring it in before it rains and ruins it now that I have virtually all of the cosmoline off of it. That of course was another job of rubbing, but one seemingly made easier today with my use of gasoline on smaller parts to clean them. Gasoline sure works better than mineral spirits, but I have to wonder how much more dangerous it is to use it. I think I'll stick with mineral spirits in the future because while working with the gasoline all I could think of was a ball of flame. Yeah, I know that mineral spirits burns too, but I think gasoline is much more volatile; and it sure smells worse. Regardless, the cosmoline on this rifle was thin, even missing in places (yes there was rust where it was lacking) and it came off easier than ever, even when I reverted to mineral spirits on some parts.

As for the condition of the Soviet rifle, it sucks compared to my 1955 Hungarian Mosin Nagant m-44. The Hungarian one was purchased by me as arsenal refinished, like new condition. That is pretty much how it came to me, but of course it was covered thickly with cosmoline or whatever is the stuff the eastern bloc countries used back then. I cleaned up that one, refinished the stock, and it looks great. The new one will still look very used, and my guess would be that it is in NRA condition good to very good, though for the life of me I cannot figure out how rifles in this shape would rate even good by any one's standards; then again I am a picky guy. There is no almost bluing on the section of barrel that was exposed near the muzzle, and almost all the bluing left where the metal was under the forestock and handguard. Of course that is where the rust sneaked in, because they did not get enough cosmo under the wood. The action area also lacks a lot of bluing, and had some rust as did the magazine. The part numbers are not matched by serial number, so this is a thrown together rifle from mismatched parts. The bore does look pretty good, with lots of strong rifling, and it is even pretty shiny. When I held it up to the sky today to take a look (after cleaning it) it took on the blue color of the afternoon sky.

There is some more work to be done on that stock in the future; but for now I may just put it back together, and bring it to the range next weekend, and let Brendan shoot it to see how it shoots. I mean why have it at all if we are not going to shoot it! I may get around to really making that stock look nice, but of course, since the metal is not all that nice, I will be wondering if it is worth it. A few more coats of boiled linseed oil, and lots and lots of rubbing it in, for protection from the elements, and it may be good to go. I guess it might be a good first large caliber rifle for me to give to my son as a gift.

Out to the patio for me to retrieve the metal parts, and later for you, because I have got to get back to bed.

All the best,
Glenn B