Q. I have recently begun collecting Mosin-Nagant rifles as they are both affordable and historically interesting. I had picked up what I thought to be the “basics”—a Model 91/30, a Model 38 and a Model 44. While at a gun show recently, I saw what was described as a “Model 91/59,” but it looked like a Model 38 carbine to me. What is this rifle?
A. The Model 91/59 is an odd little footnote in Mosin-Nagant history. While there is some disagreement within collector and historian circles regarding these rifles, the consensus opinion is that they were standard Model 91/30 rifles that were shortened to carbine length in 1959 by the Russians. Although at first glance it appears to be similar to a Model 38 carbine, it is in fact different.
The most unique and interesting feature of the Model 91/59 is its rear sight. Unlike an M38 that has a true carbine rear sight, these rifles have standard Model 91/30 rear sights with the upper range markings milled off. The ranges left are from 100 to 1,000 meters, with 1,100 to 2,000 having been removed. Another is the “1891/59” marking added on the top of the receiver, in addition to the original markings such as manufacturer and year of production.
These rifles would make a great addition to a Mosin-Nagant collection as they are unique and generally not very expensive.
—Michael O. Humphries
This “Questions & Answers” was featured in the March 2005 issue of American Rifleman. At time of publication, "Questions & Answers" was compiled by Staff, Ballistics Editor William C. Davis, Jr., and Contributing Editors: David Andrews, Hugh C. Birnbaum, Bruce N. Canfield, O. Reid Coffield, Charles Q. Cutshaw, Charles M. Fagg, Angus Laidlaw, Evan P. Marshall, Charles E. Petty, Robert B. Pomeranz, O.D., Jon R. Sundra, Jim Supica, A.W.F. Taylerson, John M. Taylor and John Treakle.
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