The average price for a Mosin-Nagant sold by Rock Island Auction in 2015 was $211.83, according to a recent blog on the company website. This year, the military-surplus beaters—once a pocket-change choice—are averaging $692.69.
If you’re old enough to remember dozens of them collecting dust in the darkest corner of your favorite gun shop, feel free to pause and clean your glasses—the above price isn’t a typo. You probably remember passing on more than one, in fine condition covered with exotic military markings, because that $89 price tag seemed outrageous.
Youngsters, whose only experience with a Mosin-Nagant is issuing one to their favorite (or not) virtual player on a video game, may not know the gun does have some real-world virtues. For one, the smell of Cosmoline is rumored to have appealing properties; an aromatic aura found to be excitable. There’s also the fact that working the safety is the kind of forearm workout that’s been known to trim hefty gym bills from budgets.
Prices make the rifles attractive for a different reason, though. During the above-mentioned seven-year period, Mosins have increased in value by more than 300 percent. The Dow Jones Industrial Average, on the other hand, stood at $17,823 on Jan. 1, 2015. On Thursday, Oct. 13, 2022, the market’s closed at $29,210—up about 64 percent during the same time.
The warehouses and shelves full of Mosin-Nagants are no longer, although, “On occasion, we receive Mosin-Nagant rifles from customers in trade for other firearms,” Danny Garcia, manager at Money Quick Pawn and Guns in Fayetteville, N.C., said. “There is a huge market for these rifles.”
Battered versions may carry all the cosmetic appeal of Chernobyl, but there’s no denying the design flourished and was used effectively by a variety of—primarily Communist Bloc—militaries. It was the first smokeless-powder rifle fielded by the Russian army and remained largely free of any mechanical changes after the original, Model 1891, appeared. Millions of the rugged-and-reliable rifles still exist.
“Unlike other surplus rifles, the Mosins in their various configuration are reasonably priced and full of history,” Garcia said when asked about their newfound popularity. “Many collectors' first historic rifle was a Mosin-Nagant M91/30. They were imported by the hundreds of thousands and were initially available for under $100.”