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Tuesday, November 22, 2011

Mosin Nagent or British Enfield?

Nick wrote and asked UrbanSurvivalSkills which would be a better rifle, the Russian Mosin-Nagent or the British Enfield: "Hey I like your web site, especially the discussions on low cost preps and some of what some people do with about nothing. I am going to pickup a second rifle. My first is a M1 Garand in .30-06 and I have been looking at either a Russian 7.62 bolt action rifle or a British Enfield each I can get for less than $250. What do you think?"

UrbanMan's comment: With the price of the British Enfield at $250, I assume that it is a British Short Magazine Lee Enfield (SMLE) in the .303 British cartridge, and the Russian rifle is a Mosin-Nagent in 7.62x54R mm. Both are good rifles. If the Enfield you are talking about is an 1917 Enfield - then the discussion stops right here - buy that gun assuming it is in shootable condition. But lets go back to my first assumption that the Enfield is a Short Magazine Lee Enfield, thoughts on deciding between the two,....

Do you have enough ammunition stocked for the M1 Garand? Do you have a 12 gauge shotgun, with a decent magazine capacity and enough shot shells stocked for this gun? Both would be considerations for me before I bought a surplus military rifle.

The relative effectiveness of each cartridge - the .303 versus the 7.62x54R mm Russian are similar given the same bullet weight. If I am not mistaken, the .303 British has a very slight edge in muzzle velocity, too little to be a concern of mine. Both are accurate on large animal or man targets, certainly at 100 yards.

The advantages of the Lee-Enfield is a detachable 10 round box magazine, which presumably you could procure several more for a basic load. The disadvantages of the SMLE is that some were made in Canada (called Long Branches if I am again not mistaken) with only two grooves and were not very accurate at distances greater than 100 yards. Well, now I have to admit that thirty years ago, when I was in my twenties and buying guns left and right, I owned a SMLE of Long Branch manufacture and it was inaccurate. Maybe another disadvantage is the ammunition availability .....probably not nearly as available and more costly than the Russian 7.62x54R mm.

You can find 76.2x54R mm at multiple surplus and commercial sources, and at reasonable prices - stick to the non-corrosive primered stuff. The ammunition availability fact would drive me to choose the Mosin-Nagant over the SMLE. However, there are some SMLE re-barreled to 7.62 x 51mm Nato and if I found one of those in good condition it would be my choice over the Mosin-Nagent. Hope this helps you out. Prepare well and stay safe.


  1. I own a Mosin-Nagant 91/30. From my research it is pretty standard with steel butt-plate, straight handled bolt, ramped rear site, and attached 5-round magazine. I truly enjoy shooting this rifle. The ammunition is cheap and easy to obtain and the price I paid for my rifle was such that I am already planning to purchase a second one as a back-up/parts rifle. I haven't had a problem with it at all, with the exception that the bolt does sometimes resist as I try to seat the next round. It doesn't jam or hang up, but can be a little hard to bring all the way forward (however, I'm not expecting German Mauser engineering in a mass-produced WWII Communist rifle)
    Shooting in the prone position at 100 yards I have almost no trouble hitting my target in a tight group as the open rear sites combined with a fairly spacious front site make for a nice target picture. I have never shot an Enfield so I can't compare the two rifles, but I have not been disappointed with my Mosin.

  2. The No1 Rifle is the SMLE, what your guy wants is the No4 rifle: heavier barrel and receiver mounted rear sight are the main reasons.

    Considering current prices, a $250 Enfield is either a great deal (someone selling it without looking up the current values) or it should tell you that the rifle is pretty well shot out.

    Both wartime Long Branch and Savage No4 MkI* rifles were made with two groove barrels. A worn barrel will sometimes not stabilize boattail bullets so you use flat base bullets instead. Using Hornady .312 bullets will also help. Please note that this is a case by case thing: some two groove barrels will shoot boattails just fine.

    As much as I love me some Enfields, if your guy doesn't reload, he should get the Mosin. Decent quality surplus .303 is pretty much gone. OTOH, current production Prvi Partizan .303 is good stuff, and Midway has both 150 and 174 grain loads for about $15/20. Still that's much more than surplus 148 grain 7.62x54R which can be had for about $90 for a 440 round tin.

  3. Both are great and proven rifle.
    My choice would be the Mosin with a Hex Receivers. A hand selected Mosin goes for around $120. Spam can of 440 corrosive rounds goes for $85. Don't be afraid of corrosive round. Just be diligent to clean carefully on each of two successive days after any shooting. For another $100, you can sporterize a Mosin into an excellent high-powered hunting gun.
    For $250, you are ready to rock and roll with a Mosin.

  4. I own and shoot both a Mosin 91/30 and an Enfield No 4 M1. The mosin is a 1942 round receiver, I bought at Cabelas on sale for 99 bucks a few months ago, it came with the 2 ammo pouches, gun cleaning tools, Sling and a bayonet,, the gun had been rearsonneled , I swear the working are new,, Not a scratch on any of the metal parts, machine marks evident and keeping the bolt from working smoothly. The gun is tight but the wood is only fair with a heavy finish over multiple stains and divits, I have had trouble with chambering and unchambering rounds,, the more I shoot it the better it works. I can shoot nice tight groupings at 100 yds consitantly, I bought a tin of 440 rds of Ammo for 100 bucks at a gun show. The 1942 lee enfield Brit has a better feel to it all the way around, the bolt is smooth and works opposite of the commie gun, Mosin firing pins are retracted when you close the bolt, therefore you have to chamber the load and set the fire pin at the same time,, The Brit sets the firing pin when you retract the bolt making it smoother. I love shooting the brit but accuracy just isnt there like the mosin, I attribute this to the fact that the gun was used on a firing range and the barrel is not a tight as it use to be, also I do not like the sights on the brit as much as the mosin,, Being close to 60 I find my eyes tiring from the rear sight being so close, I love my guns and continue to shoot both, the Brit not as much because ammo cost between 13 to 25 dollar for a 20 rd box ,, but the feel of it keeps me shelling out the dough. In conlusion,,, A colletion is not a collection if you dont have a variety.

  5. I have and love my No4 MKI! I use it to hunt every year and it never lets me down. I live in Wyoming and have experimented with it out to 325 yards. I can hit a man sized target at that range. Just remember this is a battle rifle. In combat hitting your enemy is the name of the game. If you are searching for a sniper grade weapon go purchase a decent bolt action rifle with a scope. The Ssmelly will operate in all kinds of weather. The Canadian Artic Rangers used it in the frozen lands of Canada until recently.

  6. I'm having some pretty good results with cast bullets in a 303 with peep sights. Going to put on an ATI scope is almost too easy and easy to switch back and forth. Based on the groups with the peep sights, I believe the old girl will put in 1" moa.

  7. Guys I have a unique problem. First I am colorblind but on top of that, I do see in 3D and I Have zero depth perception. In other words everything looks flat to me. So when I look at the lands and grooves inside a gun barrel. I have long been a long range shooter as it was my job in the Navy and in Law Enforcement. However I had to rely on our armorers to provide me with the best equipment and supplies. I did all my own maintenance after initial set up but Always took my finished work to the armorer for critiquing and corrections when needed. Now to my question for you men, How can I or how do I judge the quality of the inside of the barrel. I have a MK4 no1 but I am very uncertain about the quality of the rifling. I have had this weapon for 20-25 years and have shot a couple hundred rounds through it but my method of training with my guns is somewhat unorthodox so I haven't kept my logs as I should.

    I would really appreciate ANY help you men in here might have to offer in helping me to properly judge the bore quality.


  8. unfortunately, I have never fired Mosin, but I own, a No. 5 mk1, and as hunting weapon, it's superb, the last animal taken was at 150 yards, and shot the heart in half, not bad for an old gun, I would use it in a survival situation, and reloading is the only way to go, finding a ready supply of brass, and 200 grain bullets is getting harder, or I am just getting lazy. But again, its a great gun for hunting in dense woods, and of course the jungle!