Hunting with the Mosin-Nagant and the 7.62x54mmR
Do you have a Mosin-Nagant?
The Mosin-Nagant rifle was Russia's standard issue battle rifle for many years, and was produced from 1891 to 1965. They have turned up in conflicts all over the world up to and including the present day. What has made this rifle such a success on the battlefield is precisely what makes it an ideal hunting rifle. It functions well in all conditions, comes in a number of configurations (variants), is chambered in the 7.62x54R (7.62x53R in Finnish variants only), and is very accurate. The 7.62x54R cartridge is very similar to the American .30-06 Springfield in case capacity, bullet diameter, velocity, and energy. This makes the Mosin-Nagant a very effective hunting rifle for any game you may encounter in North America.
Using the Mosin-Nagant for Hunting
The Mosin-Nagant's legacy is interesting, and since it was produced for so long, there are literally millions of them on the market. Some of the more common variants, like the 91/30 and the M44, can be bought for between $100-150. These rifles can be used in their factory configuration for hunting applications all over North America. The 7.62x54R cartridge is very capable of taking big game, even at extended ranges. Many companies make parts for the rifle such as new stocks, sites, and scope mounts. Many people who intend to use the Nagant for longer shots on game have the bolt bent by a gunsmith so that optics can be mounted.
Bullet Weight (grains)
Muzzle Velocity (ft/s)
Muzzle Energy (ft/lbs)
The 7.62x54R as a Hunting Cartridge
Using the Mosin-Nagant means utilizing the 7.62x54R cartridge. For readers who are not familiar with metric calibers, the "7.62" refers to the diameter (in millimeters) of the bullet. 7.62 is the metric equivalent of the .308. The "54" refers to the length of the casing (in millimeters). For cartridges that end with an "R", the "R" refers to the fact that the casing has a rim. It's important to note, though, that some metric calibers with a bullet diameter of 7.62mm are not exactly a .308" diameter. Some, like the 7.62x54R, are actually somewhere between a .310-.312" diameter. If you plan to reload ammunition in metric calibers, be sure to consult your reloading manual for specifics. You may also need to "slug" your barrel to know for sure what diameter bullet to use. For Nagants specifically, this is important as there has been variation in bore diameters. Using the correct bullet diameter when loading will help the accuracy of your ammunition.
The chart above shows muzzle velocities and energies for common hunting calibers and common bullet weights. While it is important to understand that energies and velocities vary from manufacturer to manufacturer, the chart gives you a good idea of the potential of the 7.62x54R cartridge. For those who plan to reload ammunition for their Nagant, brass is a little harder to find than with other calibers like .308 Winchester and .30-06 Springfield. However, many manufacturers make bullets in the .310-.312" diameter bullets for loading in metric calibers.
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