Sunday, August 30, 2009

Talk About Evil...

by Ben Small

I'm always looking for new stuff writers can use to liven up their work... in this case, murder. Today, I looked no further than my safe.

Enter the Mosin Nagant 91-30, a piece of history still being written.

The Mosin Nagant action is one of the best ever designed, on a par with the Mauser and the Mauser-derived Winchester Model 70, the Rifleman's Rifle. And the term "91-30" means just what it says. It's an 1891 Russian design upgraded in 1930. Its pappy fought in the Russian Revolution and World War I. This version was the standard Russian infantry rifle during World War II, and it enforced the entire Soviet Bloc thereafter.

So there... You've got a rifle with history. An intriguing fact, or maybe something more. Sprinkle in a bit of ethnicity, old family grudges, maybe a previous crime... and these rifles can be your ms missile-launchers.

Or maybe that's just me...

Anyway, the rifle with bayo attached, as you see in this photo I took yesterday, stands about five feet long. The bayo is about a foot-and-a-half. Imposing. And the design and weighting are such that the rifle shoots best with bayo fixed.

Take a closer look at the bayonet...

Yes, it would make a good flat-head screwdriver. But the rifle's length might pose a problem if you use it that way. You'd get torque, all right, but lining everything up would be an issue, and for goodness sake, do not put your finger inside the trigger-guard if the thing is loaded. You'd find you don't need a screwdriver anymore. A carpenter or plumber, maybe...

(Psst. These things make great ice picks. Just don't try this in low-ceiling rooms, and don't be the one holding the bucket.)

Mosin Nagant 91/30s are both beautiful and functional. Deadly so. They're accurate as hell and pack a punch -- at both ends. They fire a 7.62 x 54R cartridge.

Spooky looking, huh?

The 7.62 x 54R cartridge -- the "R" stands for "Russian" -- is larger and more powerful than the standard NATO thirty-caliber cartridge, the round our soldiers prefer over what they fire in their arguably underpowered little M-16s and M-4s. The Russian round will not just power through body armor; it'll make Swiss cheese out of cement houses. It's the round our soldiers often face in Afghanistan, and it's the round we're giving the Iraqi Army.

Recoil? Yes, but the weight of the rifle dampens that, even with the steel butt-plate -- usually a reliable predictor of an approaching ouch. And there's a good side to recoil: If your perp gets the bayo stuck in a victim, all he has to do is pull the trigger. Problem solved.

But there are some other reasons this rifle makes a good perp-weapon, other than the fearsome size of the bayo and the blockbuster round. These things are cheap; millions were made and are out in the marketplace. You can often find a serviceable, complete rifle for under a hundred bucks. And you get cool stuff with it -- ammo bag, oil can, maybe even a sling, although a real Russian period-sling will set you back more than the rifle. And there are parts available galore. Shoot the victim, replace the barrel. You can get replacement barrels at any gun show, and most of these rifles don't have matched barrels anyway. See, the round's primer is usually corrosive. Fail to clean the chamber after firing... let it sit -- the primer's chems munch metal -- and, well... you'll be wantin' to replace the barrel.

Take that, Ballistics.

One cautionary note. The Mosin Nagant 91/30 makes a very big bang. People are gonna hear it. Best fire it when folks are asleep or on New Year's Eve or the Fourth of July. Ignore this warning at perp's peril: The cops will come before he can replace the barrel or throw El Cheapo away.

For some excellent Mosin Nagant humor, check out this site:


Jean Henry Mead said...

Thank you, Ben. I'm printing your article for future reference.

Helen Ginger said...

Sounds like one a bag guy in a book would want to use, since you can get rid of the evidence and buy replacement parts easily. But I don't think it's one I'd want around my house!

Straight From Hel

Ben Small said...

No, Helen, and they're really heavy. If the rifle falls over, it might squash the cat.

Jean, if you Google Mosin Nagant, you'll find some interesting facts about them, like how to disassemble and re-assemble, the latter always a problem for a dork like me. Extra parts, you know... :<)

I've got the M44 carbine, too. That one cost me $70, but it's accurate and in good shape for a fifty year old rifle. It shoots the same powerful round out of a shorter barrel, so one should consider using shoulder pads before shooting one.