Is This the Toughest Rifle Ever Made?

mosinIt’s hard to separate firearms from prepping. If you start preparing yourself for disasters and other various survival situations, inevitably you’ll have to ask yourself if you want a firearm, and if so, what type? Now, there is already a mountain of information that is available on this topic, and at the end of the day there isn’t a single firearm that is suitable for all situations. In any case, what works for one person may not be the best for you. What I mean to say is, this is a subject that could be debated endlessly if one were so inclined.

So instead of delving into the subject of what you should or shouldn’t own, which could go on forever, I’d rather offer up a single consideration. Most preppers own multiple firearms, since ultimately, these are tools we’re talking about and none of them are one-size-fits-all. So if there’s one tool I would recommend for your tool-chest, so to speak, it is the Mosin Nagant. As you’ll see, when compared to most firearms, it fits into a very unique niche.

To me, this Russian bolt-action rifle is one of coolest guns ever made. Admittedly, it is heavy, clunky, and has some very rough recoil in addition to sub-par accuracy. However, it more than makes up for these faults with two qualities. It’s very cheap, and it is arguably one of the toughest guns ever made.

mosin nagant

The first gun I ever owned was a Mosin, and at the time they could be bought for less than a hundred dollars. Like most firearms their price has increased over the past 3 or 4 years, but you can still buy one of these rifles for around two hundred dollars. Surprisingly, military surplus ammo is still relatively cheap as well (when it’s available). It fires a 7.62x54R round that in terms of power, lies somewhere between a .308 and a 30-06.

They were first manufactured in the late 1800’s, and the Soviet Union made tens of millions of these guns (nobody seems to know the precise number), as well as countless rounds for their vast conscript army. So despite the massive surge in gun sales we’ve seen in recent years, they’re still pretty cheap and will remain so for a long time. For the price of a really cheap AR-15, you could buy the gun, and probably all the ammo you’ll ever use in your lifetime.

As far as toughness and reliability goes, the Mosin is a doozy. These are obviously very important qualities for preppers, since we want weapons that can not only survive harsh conditions, but will remain functional for long periods of time without maintenance. The Mosin knocks it out of the ballpark in these regards. Gun owners like to joke about how reliable and indestructible the AK-47 is, but that gun has nothing on the Mosin.

If you don’t believe me, take a look at this torture test that was done on the Mosin. It survived conditions that would destroy pretty much any other firearm.

Earlier I mentioned that the Mosin fits into a very unique niche in any arsenal. So what is that niche? Well, most guns provide a certain peace of mind. Having one means you can protect yourself if any nasty situation comes up. The Mosin Nagant provides a different peace of mind. Owning one means that even if the world turns into a smoldering heap of rubble for several decades, you’ll still have something that can shoot.

Also consider the fact that during a disaster, you may have friends or family showing up at your door that you weren’t expecting to take care of. Buying a Mosin is a cheap way to make sure you have something simple and powerful to hand out to these people. And unlike some really cheap guns, you can rest easy knowing that you’re giving your friends a weapon that won’t jam or fail catastrophically in their hands.

As a final word of advice, the Mosin has one glaring drawback that owners often complain about. The accuracy leaves a lot to be desired. Out of the box, you’d be lucky to have a rifle that would be reliable past 200 yards. The reason for this has more to do with how these rifles were manufactured, rather than the design itself. The vast majority of them were made under war-time conditions with little quality control. Some are inexplicably accurate, while others will struggle to hit the broad side of a barn.

So if you buy a Mosin, don’t do it online. Buy it from a brick and mortar store where you can inspect the stock, bore, chamber, etc.  The ammo they used back in the day was very corrosive, as is most of the surplus ammo that is sold today. So make sure to shine a light down the barrel and look for any rust or pitting.

But even if the gun looks good, the accuracy will still be mediocre. Fortunately, there are some cheap and easy modifications that can elevate the accuracy to a reasonable level. If you do that, then you’ll have one awesome rifle that will last a lifetime

Joshua Krause was born and raised in the Bay Area. He is a writer and researcher focused on principles of self-sufficiency and liberty at Ready Nutrition. You can follow Joshua’s work at our Facebook page or on his personal Twitter.

Joshua’s website is Strange Danger

This information has been made available by Ready Nutrition

Originally published December 17th, 2015
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  • Smith-Sights Adjustable Front


    I’d recommend reading the article “Accurizing the Mosin-Nagant, a Year Later,” also on my website, as opposed to my earlier work referenced in the article. The reason for this is simply that the newer article has another year’s worth of research and testing behind it.

    Good article, Mr. Krause!


    Josh Smith

    • The Penitent Man

      There’s an online sandbox game titled “DayZ” (stands for Day Zero and is a zombie-like apocalypse game). The game takes place in Russia and of course one of the main weapons a player might find in the deserted landscape is a Mosin. In the game the gun is very accurate, and out to distances of 800 yards. Everyone who plays the game loves the Mosin-Nagant.

  • AtomicMetroid

    Its a decent gun. But my cold, dead hands still cling to my AK or mini 30

    • Smith-Sights Adjustable Front

      My concern about the AK, Mini-30, etc, is that they have gas systems to maintain. They take just a bit more maintenance and you may not have time for this in a survival situation. As well, more parts = more parts to break.

      I’m not saying they’re not good weapons — far from it! They are! They just need more support to function as long as a bolt action. Technology is always a two-edged sword in that aspect.



      • AtomicMetroid

        I can agree with that.

  • walcon

    A collectable but for a prepper? It will scare people to see it, but it will get you killed in a fight. It’s slow, cumbersome, inaccurate and heavy. For every one you let fly, the other better (Remington) bolt action will do at least 2 and with better accuracy.
    For a better slow rifle, the 30-30 Winchester is a better choice.

  • As the price of the Mosin-Nagants climb into the 200 dollar plus range, rifles such as the Mossberg Patriot, Remington 783, Ruger American and Savage Axis, become increasingly attractive from a bang per buck perspective. These are accurate, new design rifles with MSRPs as low as 360 dollars. Something to consider.

    • Fred Bastiat

      Not much of a gun collector myself, although I am armed and I am loading up on ammo (which I consider a nice real property investment). Also, the strange scarcity of ammo bothers me, perhaps the ammo companies are gaming me? Considering a few more gun purchases, as much to pass along to my children as self defense need. I buy out of a duty to my self defense, with a splash of feeling they are good investments, not a real love of shooting. That said I very much enjoy buying my son guns that I think are interesting and when the Mosin-Nagants first hit the streets in big numbers I researched and found the most desirable year and bought him one – along with a few cases of that sealed ammo that you open with the can opener. He loves it and has sent me some fun videos of really tearing through some ad-hoc targets. Fine looking gun, accurate (despite what the article said), seems durable, and oh-so powerful. I bought him his conceal carry dream recently, but looking for that next interesting gun to buy him.

      • I’ve been a gun and shooting enthusiast all my life.

        I shot .22 target rifles in high school back in the 60s. I carried my rifle on the school bus on target practice days. The school in the DC/MD/VA area had a target range in the basement. Hard to imagine today isn’t it?

        No mass shootings back then. Must have been doing something right, eh?

      • Likewise, I drove my truck to school with a rifle or shotgun always in the gun rack. Now I realize I haven’t seen a gun rack in a truck in years. Much less a gun.

      • John C Carleton

        Last time i had one in a gun rack in a pick up, it was an Chi-com AK-47 semi. It was long ago, and i saw that people were pooping their pants. I detest sheep.

      • Fred Bastiat

        Yes, the cumulative result of individual initiative and self reliance is amazing. Most everyone is safer, healthier, and wealthier. So if you could have one new gun today under $1,000, what would it be?

      • I’m a fan of mass production and utilitarian aesthetics.
        I like the cheap rifles I mentioned above.
        The Mossberg Patriot, Remington 783, Ruger American and Savage Axis.
        They’re all under $500 if I’m not mistaken.

      • Fred Bastiat

        Any preferences on a really fine semi-auto shotgun? My son likes to….add to and modify his guns.

      • The Remington 1100 is one of the softest shooting shotguns ever made.
        If you make it your first shotgun ever, then try out someone else’s fixed breech shotgun, either break action or pump, you’ll be unpleasantly shocked at how hard they kick, and realize how spoiled you are.

      • I grew up in the South quail hunting with a Browning Sweet 16 that belonged to my dad. (Belgium made, 1951) I remember the first time I shot a gas-operated shotty. Just didn’t seem right.

      • John C Carleton

        I slid over here to maybe avoid the trolls. i know you read the book about Sandy Hook. I always believe the minions did it, see the pattern. But my brother told me that about 1.5 Mil was taken from the accused gunman’s mothers estate to distribute between the victims. If there were no victims, how they doing that, just theft? I know they do not mind murdering millions, much less a handful here and there. Just really never studied this one beyond the pattern was there, they did it.

      • The ‘victims’ seem to be crisis actors. There’s evidence the families of the supposed dead were given their homes in that area a year or two before it all went down. The ‘Lanza home’ was probably donated by the government as well. There’s lots of evidence but the fact the school had been shut down since 2008 says it all for me. (Some local glass company was using it for storage.)

      • John C Carleton

        Guess they just stole the other sons inheritance, unless they were part of the set up also. Most people(American sheep are beyond thinking. I know when i was an Imperial Warrior, the USA sheep were told we lost no aircraft the first night of bombing the hell out of a sovereign country that had not attacked The US. I however got around the theater a lot, and had people who should know tell me that then why is this and that squadron missing personal and planes. If you are not a sheep you must question everything. I am getting ready today to go to this small ticket mill city within a city and slap about four or five freedom of information acts request on them. One of their “officers” hid along a road, jumped out with a weapon and demanded tribute or they would kidnap her and hold her for ransom. They are so corrupt now that they will not even give you the oaths of office of cops, “judges and prosecutors”. They appeal to the State attorney general. This means that they have to write a letter to the attorney general saying that they do not think they have to give that information, then they have to send you a letter telling you that, then send a another letter to the attorney general stating why they think they do not have to. Then they have to send you a letter telling you the attorney generals decision. They want money, mess with me and mine and i will cost you money. I just do this to mess with them because they messed with me and mine as an citation in my state is illegal unless out is a commercial vehicle, (most sheep do not know that), as the state constitution states that an information gives the court their jurisdiction, and the code of criminal procedure plainly states that an information must be sworn before someone authorized to take the oath, and must be signed OFFICIALLY by the county attorney or district attorney. Of course you have to know this and in this case not to plead not guilty or guilty as they try to bully you into, as they in their crooked codes, perceive if you enter either plea, you are giving them jurisdiction.

      • ‘I just do this to mess with them…’
        Good luck there, my friend. I messed with them for years but now I’ve crafted my own little autonomous zone here in a ghost town in Colorado and watch the madness unfold via the internet.

      • John C Carleton

        I am trying to find the time, maybe after the new year, to go look at 31.5 acres in a county with very few in population and far as one can get from all the big towns or cities.. I would like to get out of here, but i also believe that you are not given abilities unless the plan is for you to use them. If i must stay here and do battle with minions, then i must. I will tell you now that i am much more worried about looking my ancestors in the eye when i join them, than if these minions take me out.

      • ‘…looking my ancestors in the eye when i join them…’
        Very few will understand what that means. My ancestors are Vikings and Celts. I can trace my ancestry back to the Battle of Hastings and the ‘Vernon Family.’ My great (x7) grandfather came to Virginia in 1657 as a ‘black slave.’ He was Scots-Irish.
        My family in Tennessee wanted no part of the War of Northern Aggression but they were forced to make a stand when Grant marched on Shiloh. The family farm was burned to the ground. My family has been ‘battling these minions’ for centuries and I hope to honor them as well. Whatever that takes.

      • John C Carleton

        Your Ancestors and mine were brothers. I wear “Thor’s Hammer”. I know of Four, (there is probably more), of my Great Grandfather types who came over and fought in the Battle of Hastings. I did a male DNA for a female cousin, and the Y says Viking. Some of my grandfather types came in the 1600s and some in the 1700s. On my wall hangs a copy of my GGG grandfathers discharge from the 2nt Virginia Regiment, formally the 6th, for three years of service. Wounded in the chest with a musket ball at Brandy Wine. Went through Vally Forge as did another GGG grandfather. Two more that i know of also served the cause. GG grandfather fought with Andrew Jackson at the Battle of New Orleans.My GG grandmothers first husband, my GG Grandfathers brother, my G grandfathers Brother were all murdered as they defended their homeland from an illegal invasion and rape fest. Among my G, GG, grandfather types were a Confederate Doctor, Chaplin Two Calvary, one Infantry and one Artillery. When i found out that the family was predominately viking, it explained much about my up bringing and the way i am in a fight, (Berserer). One of my red headed Uncles once beat the h##l out of a guy that was slashing him with a knife, his cloths were ribbons and not all cuts were on his cloths. Got the Celts covered two. i would imagine that we both had ancestors on both sides at Hastings. These minions do not understand the beliefs and values of those like us that they deal with, and they really do not comprehend the distain which we feel for them.

      • ‘…they really do not comprehend the distain which we feel for them.’

      • John C Carleton

        Noah Webster 1828. DISTAIN. Contempt; scorn; a passion excited in noble minds by the hatred or detestation of what is mean and dishonorable, and implying a consciousness of superiority of mind. In ignoble minds, disdain may spring from un warrantable pride or haughtiness, and be directed towards objects of worth. FUNK & WAGNALLS, 1946. Dis-Dain. 1. To consider unworthy of ones regard or notice; regard with proud indifference. 2. To recoil from with pride and scorn. a blended feeling of superiority and dislike. WEBSTERS ENCYLOPEDIC UNABRIDED DITTIONARY of THE ENGLISH LANGUAGE. 1994. dis-dain. 1. To look upon or treat with contempt; despise; scorn. 2. To think unworthy of notice, performance ect. consider beneath oneself; to disdain to reply to an insult. 3. feeling of contempt for anything regarded as unworthy; haughty, contempt, scorn. Now that is not even the 2015 definition. They have taken righteous indignation and tried to redefine it as being an ass for not liking their evil and criminal natures. now where is that troll who po-pooed my suggestion that the definitions had been changed to dumb down the sheep and try to make you ashamed for not liking their misbegotten butts.

      • From the 2013 update to the American Psychiatric Association’s (APA) classification and diagnostic tool. (DSM-5)
        OPPOSITIONAL DEFIANT DISORDER: a disruptive behavior pattern of childhood and adolescence [read childish and immature] characterized by defiant, disobedient, and hostile behavior especially toward adults in positions of authority [read wise and mature]—abbreviation ODD

      • John C Carleton

        Laid my hands on a 2014 Webster’s. Disdain, 1. to look on with scorn, contempt,despite, scorn. Most of the Psychologist i have known have been nut cases.

      • Count on totalitarian control freaks to define the demand for liberty as a psychological disorder.

      • “War of Northern Aggression”
        Hear, hear!
        Good to see you defying disingenuous PC.
        The “Civil War” may have been a war. But it sure as hell was not “Civil” in either sense of the word.

      • John C Carleton

        A ghost town in Colorado sound wonderful. I am one who will tell you, the more people i meet, the more i like and respect dogs.

      • the man

        Whereabouts might this ghost town be, if you don’t mind my asking?

      • the man

        If you’re looking for a semi auto shotgun with great potential for tactical ad ons, and a decent tactical platform fresh out of the box, it is hard to beat the AK pattern shotgun from saiga. It can be ordered with tactical 1913 rails installed, a pistol grip, and the capacity for a 20rnd drum mag. Standard 5 round box mags are included with the option of 7-10 round box mags available. Models come in 12ga, 10ga, .410 and 20ga. I have shot them myself and several of my close friends own one. I can safely say as a tactical shotgun they are hard to beat. I personally haven’t bought one due only to a current interest in other firearms, an extensive collection of shotguns already, and other more pressing expenses. Also, I love the good ol fashioned pumps. If I need a gun for tactical purposes I tend to err on the side of an AK. Proven design, relentless durability, cheap maintenance and ammo.

      • Fred Bastiat

        Sounds like him. Since he will get tactical ad-ons, you think a 20guage best/what would be your choice? He has a shotgun he uses for certain bird hunting, not sure what guage it is, but its an early gun his mother bought him..this one I know he’s thinking self defense/tactical.

      • 12 gauge is the best gauge to get!
        Ammo availability is the greatest for 12 gauge in the event the
        Even if that doesn’t happen, the shot patterns are the most even from the 12 gauge.
        If recoil is a consideration, one can always get lighter loads.
        No need to go to smaller gauges really.

      • Fred Bastiat

        Perfect, just what I needed to know. I could have asked him, but the surprise is part of the fun.

      • The most common ammo is what you want in case the SHTF.
        Avoid wildcat calibers.

        Even if you reload, they’re going to be less liquid as barter items.
        Get the common calibers that are closest to what you need to do the job.

        They may not be as custom tailored for the task at hand, but they will be close enough.

      • ‘Ammo availability…in the event the SHTF.’
        That’s exactly why I’m a big fan of 30.06.

      • Good choice!
        Also, the 7.62×51 is an excellent alternative.

      • the man

        Love me some 7.62×39 for the same reason. Ballistically, I have the same complaints as everyone, but availability and low cost won me out. (also love 9mm for the same reason)

      • FalconMoose

        1917 Enfield sporter.

      • A true classic, no doubt.

      • …and thinking about the title of this article – toughest rifle ever made – it gets my vote.

      • John C Carleton

        Grew up shooting 12s, still have several, but a picked up a sweet side by side 20 a while back, improved and modified, single trigger with a selector for the trigger.

      • the man

        12 ga or nothing in my opinion. Massive diversity of tactical rounds, better availability, low cost for surplus rounds. 20ga isn’t bad mind you, but for tactical shotguns its gotta be 12 ga. So much police ammo out there to choose from.

      • Fred Bastiat

        I was thinking surprise gift, but actually want a revolver for myself. I like that Ruger. My son has been loking at semi-auto shotguns.

      • Got it in 38/357 and I love it. It would be my bug-out piece. The .22 would be great for the wife and kids for plinking. I plink with the 38 and keep a couple of speed-loaders with 357 handy. Best of both worlds.

      • tionico

        Weaterby Vanguard, Howa made, long barrel wood stock, in .300Wby Magnum…… I bought one new on clearout with a touch of rack wear for well under $500 out the door. Long range accuracy few can match. Yes, the ammo is a bit on the dear side, but with the rest from that G note you suggested, I can buy a decent press and rerill the brass as I empty it.

        A good second was a Sako in 7mm Rem Mag, I think that one was about $600. Friend of mine has the same, and regularly reaches out to a thousand yards and touches the six inch circle he’s left out there. I’ve not invested the time and resources but I know the rifle is capable.

      • the man

        Yeah, I didn’t care for the accuracy claim either. It all depends on the rifle you get. It’s a gamble with any milsurp item. Inspect before purchase. I snagged a brilliant 1941 production mosin that was built just prior to the industrial panic in Russia that severely cut into the quality. The rifle shoots like a laser and I can dust off targets out to any range a comparable bolt action can. My only complaint is with the rimmed ammo, while rim lock can be mitigated, it is a real b*tch to get around at first. Still, I love the horrific power of that 7.62x54r round. At 300yds it’ll take a white tail clean off it’s feet.

      • Patton

        A semi-auto in .308 will fit that bill! I prefer an M1A but an AR10 has some benefits.

  • Sunboy Three

    Crazy hillbilly science.

  • boxofvapor

    I think one of the points to be made is that the Mosin-Nagant is a great rifle for cheap and if you like to work on them it’s a huge bonus. Most definitely do inspect the rifle before you buy, check the crowning, too. But don’t be absolutely discouraged if you can’t find one locally. I really live in the middle of nowhere and if I had to rely on a rifle showing up for sale here locally I would be out of luck with the Nagant. Fortunately there are on-line gun shops ( I won’t name names) that will go over them before shipping or that will let you ship it right back if it’s not up to par.

    My favorite Mosin is the carbine, less bulky and shoots just as accurate on average. Don’t turn your nose up at the Chinese ones either. From what I understand they were pumped out of the same exact machines after the factories were moved to China. The wood on them often looks like a beaver used it for a snack but that is nothing you can’t fix as long as there are no major cracks. There really isn’t anything on them that a novice can’t fix. Inspect it first, then if the bore is good and it hasn’t been re-crowned get to work. Strip it down from top to bottom and start cleaning and cleaning and cleaning. Oh and do some more cleaning. Look on-line for cleaning tips and tricks Make sure to get it with the gauge too, so you can check the headspace when it’s ready to go back together. Sticky Bolt? Get back to cleaning. Oh and speaking of bolts if you know you will want to put a scope on, get one with the sniper bolt right off the bat.

    Is this the best weapon in the world to get into a fire fight with? Well what is? That is always going to be terrain dependent and target dependent. Do the zombies even have rifles? Or are you like me and want something that I know I can feed my family with if TSHTF? One thing I can tell you about a good Mosin, stock up with a boatload of ammo, keep it clean and you will never have to worry about not being able to hunt. It’s going to work every single time and it’s as accurate as most novice shooters are in the real world anyway. With the added bonus of being cheap to practice with. A rifle isn’t worth that much really if you can’t take it to the range and practice. Want to hand it to a novice? Well it’s not going to mess up your plans to let them shoot a bunch of rounds with it so they know what they can hit and can’t hit. Ok so you won’t be hitting prairie dogs at 800 yards with it, but taking down a deer on the back 40 acres is a breeze with it, even for someone who has never hunted in their life.

    Oh and one more thing, buy a rubber but stock pad. They are dirt cheap. Ear protection? You betcha. It’s a cannon!

    For $250 and a lot of elbow grease you can have a complete setup, including all the ammo you will need to feed your family for decades if need be! That’s pretty darn cheap for a whole lot of peace of mind.

  • tionico

    Ah yes, the ever venerable Communist Peasant Rifle. I’ve know of them, not highly respected them but valued them for what they are, for some years now. About this time last year a well known retailer had somehow gotten a significant lot of these, and was offering them as a no-profit leader. I marched myself up to their gun counter and asked how they were running… everywhere from crowbars to near new. Fine, could you grabe me one to look at? Sure… comes back out ahd hands me a rather wrll worn veteran of some war… dinged, beat up, serious “glitches” in both the barrel and chamber…….. I said no thinks. ANy chance you could go pull another one or two? He said sure, but we can’t go through the enire pallet. I said alright, if I don’t like either of the next two I’ll quit then. Off he trotted for another unopened box. (smart enough to realise if a box was opened it was bacause someone like me had bounced it). Next one out he opened the carton in front of me. Neither of us could believe it. It was brand new, never fired, everything (mag, bayonet, sling, the tool kit, EVERYTHING was there and brand new. Twenty minutes later I walked out, NICS behind me, having left ONLY $100 on the counter (plus tax.. gotta buy da guv some beans, right?).

  • tionico

    Yes, the Communist Peasant Rifle is alright,,, but in a few years of prowling the used racks and gun shows, I’ve managed to find a goodly number of the German and Swedish Mausers, the former in the amazing 6.5 x 55, the latter only in 8mm (why have to stop and figure out which iteration of the same basic cartridge but in different bores? Beaised, te 8mm Mauser is pretty easy to find, even factory hunting loads are readily available, and still lots of MilSurp ammo out there.

    The Mauser actions are stil among the best, and, despite nearly all of mine dting from the early 1940’s and back every one of them is amazingly accurate. They are just a bit more “touchy” than the CPR, mainly on accounyt of their finer craftsmanship. and more sophisticated design. I’ve even run across a few which have been restocked with nice Monte Carlo style hunting stocks. They don’t even look like war veterans.

  • John C Carleton

    Used to have one, had one of the Italian repos also, both were nice.

  • FalconMoose

    Have a 1917 Enfield 30-06 sporter. My gunsmith went through two drill bits mounting a new scope on it.

  • the man

    Looks lovely.

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