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The bolt-action Mosin-Nagant M44 carbine 7.62 x 54R is a 20.5” length shorter-barreled version of the classic Russian Mosin-Nagant. It also features a fixed side-mount folding bayonet. Production started in 1943, and it entered Soviet Red Army service in 1944, hence the M44 moniker.

Mosin-Nagant was never the official name of the Russian designed and Russian-made gun. Its earliest ancestor was called 3-line Rifle, Model 1891. The Model 1891 was the M44’s direct longer-barreled ancestor and was named after the year it started production. Its main designer was Captain Sergei Ivanovich Mosin. Belgian designer Léon Nagant was tangentially involved, and thanks to legal imbroglios and good PR, his last name became part of the West’s name for the gun. In Russia, it’s still Mosin’s rifle.

The Model 1891 had a shorter barrel M38 carbine version that entered service in 1938. The M44 was an evolution of the earlier M38 carbine and was handy for those needing a backup environment or for use in confined environments. In other words, the M44 was ideal for Soviet artillery men, T-34 tankers, combat engineers, etc. But the M44 was actually used by many front-line troops and certainly benefited them as they swept through forests, cities, etc. On their way to Berlin, the Soviets fought the Germans in the worst weather conditions, so the gun is designed to not only be reliable and durable, but it was also designed with use in freezing cold snowy conditions, etc.

The M44 is accurate and durable. Its mass Russian production (and also additional production through East Bloc allies) makes the gun a compelling buy.

The gun has a front post sight circumscribed by a circular hood. In back is a tangent rear sight marked for up to 1,000 meters (about 3,300 feet). Squeeze the buttons flanking it to slide it back and forth. The permanently fixed bayonet has a crucifix cross-section that folds back to the right.

The slick Mosin-Nagant has a spherical bolt knob. It enjoys a wooden stock with a typical Russian shorter length of pull than is typical on Western guns. The wood shows the utilitarian military nature of the gun while metal surfaces are blued.

The gun’s capacity is 5 rounds and ammunition is manually top loaded singly or via a 5-round stripper clip ahead of the action into the fixed box magazine below.

The trigger guard has a tear drop shape that’s accentuated by a long front face that conceals the aforementioned fixed box magazine. There’s also an ammunition drop gate on this front face.

The safety is unusual. Pull and turn a large glove-friendly sized round knob at back to change the gun between safe and fire settings. Something else unusual is how the strap passes directly through the wood stock in both front and back instead of using sling swivels. This seems to make perfect sense given the epic shortages the Soviets faced during World War II and the urgent need for expedient production, but actually this clever design feature was on many of the first Model 1891 guns.

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