Like most mil-surplus rifles, they are a dime a dozen, so was the case in 2010-ish. You could buy a M91/30 Mosin Nagant for $99 from a crate. Fast forward to 2016, the market is starting to dry up on Mosin’s and the price is starting to drive up. But what if you don’t want a long rifle that when you add the bayonet it now becomes just as tall as you are?
Here comes the M44 with the powerful 7.62×54 cartridge with the attached bayonet. The M44 served the Russian Army during WW2 for the tank crews and troops not on the front lines. Now, it’s 1950 and you are in Poland, and they are responsible for making weapons to protect Mother Russia. At the Circle 11 plant, they started to make the M44 again. The Polish M44 is a beautiful weapon. The model I have looks almost un-issued, with the beautiful blue, perfect stock, and all matching numbers. I saw one of these M44’s at the local gun show in Raleigh, NC in January 2016. I went to fill out the paperwork (Form 4473), had it all filled out, and was about to hand the gent the money, and he comes up and says, “I’m sorry, it’s already been sold.” I was really disappointed, because it was practically a brand new rifle for the price tag of around $375. Although, I could purchase a Russian M44 for around $250 (still covered in cosmoline), I really wanted a Polish one. So after picking myself up from the agony of defeat, I went to Gunbroker to search out a Polish M44, just like the one I found at the gun show. $400 later, I found one!
It came in to my LGS, and I picked it up. I went to the gun range a few days later and was able to put a few rounds through this mint rifle. I loaded 4 rounds up, lined up the sights, and squeezed what seemed to be a forever long trigger pull, but nonetheless, it fired with a ball of flame at the end of the muzzle. Man was I impressed! If you have never shot a Mosin Nagant before, it will surprise you, it definitely kicks a like a mule. I was pleased to see that this rifle was spot on and accurate. I love the fact that this is a carbine, measuring 40”. The weight of this little rifle is on the heavy side, due to the bayonet permanently attached, it’s weighing in around 9lbs.
So is this Mosin Nagant the best budget SHTF Rifle? Let’s look at some pros and cons.
- Ammo is inexpensive
- Ammo is readily available at local retail outlets
- Cartridge rated to take down any game in North America
- Small in stature (Carbine)
- Bayonet already attached
- Weapon is accurate
- Bolt Action
- Limited Round Count
- Possible Ammo Scarcity in SHTF Scenario
- Hard Felt Recoil
- Hard to mount a scope
With entry-level AR’s coming in around $450, is buying a $249 M44 best? With the mindset of something is better than nothing, I would have to agree it is. If you do not have the money for an AR, Optics, etc, and you have about $250 set aside for a weapon, why not purchase an M44. But at the same token, you could save a little bit more money and purchase something that is going to be readily available during a SHTF Scenario, or just pick up one when it gets real tough on the streets.
Now, there are other models of the M44 out there to include the Russian and Chinese models. If you want a project, you can pick up a Chinese model for around $200. Mosin Nagant’s have been put to the test and has definitely served well and it will continue to serve well in the future! If you are looking for an accurate rifle for hunting, sport rifle, or even for home defense/bug out/SHTF situation, you won’t be disappointed with a M44 Mosin Nagant. It won’t let you down and it has enough knock down power for any game in North America.
Ya’ll be good and be safe!