Can You Hunt With a Mosin Nagant?

I purchased my Mosin Nagant from a gun dealer living outside the Ghost Town of Jeffrey City, Wyoming. The gun cost just $75, came with a bayonet and 50 rounds of full metal jacket ammunition.

Most Mosin Nagant purchases include that same full metal jacket ammunition. It’s ok for target practice, but not legal or ethical for hunting purposes. 

I kept my Mosin Nagant in its original wartime condition, complete with the unique Soviet bayonet that came with it.

I’ve shot it many times on the range and found it accurate to 100 yards using just the iron sights. Some claim that shooting it without the bayonet attached alters the accuracy, but I didn’t find that on my rifle.

I bought three rifles from the man at Jeffrey City, one for me, and one each for my son, and son-in-law. They both chose to have their Mosin Nagants modernized with an attached scope.

My son’s Mosin Nagant has a scout scope attached to it. He had a mutual gunsmith friend drill the mounts for his scope. 

A scout scope sits forward of the location of a traditional scope, requiring you to acquire a target from a few inches behind the scope, rather than with your eye set against the rear eyepiece. He’s found it accurate to about 100 yards in this configuration.

My son-in-law’s rifle was fitted with a traditional scope, mounted high so he could still use the original iron sights beneath the attached scope. He can hit targets routinely to 400 yards with the scope. 

Mosin Nagant History

Can you hunt with a Mosin Nagant?

That would be a ridiculous question to the people of Siberia who use the Mosin Nagant for survival more than any other hunting rifle. 

The Mosin Nagant has the honor of being the most heavily produced bolt-action rifle ever invented.

The brainchild of Sergei Mosin, it went into production in 1891 and was still being produced at small facilities around the world well into the 21st century. 

Since its creation, there have been 37 million Mosin Nagants manufactured according to Mosin’s original blueprints, plus several million more adapted for other uses.

The Mosin Nagant was the weapon of the old Russian Empire and the main rifle of the Soviet Army against Nazi Germany in World War II.

Relatively rare when Germany invaded Russian in the summer of 1941, the Mosin Nagant went into high production at factories across the Soviet Union, well distanced from the advancing Wehrmacht and the Luftwaffe.

It remains on various battlefields across the world to this day.

It is also the weapon of choice for many hunters in Siberia, Mongolia, and the Himalayas.

It comes standard with iron sights and can be “sporterized” with a scope.

Attaching a scope isn’t as easy as with a modern bolt action rifle and often requires a gunsmith to drill and mount the brackets to hold a scope.

The Mosin Nagant is a very accurate weapon in the hands of a skilled marksman.

World War II’s greatest sniper, the Soviet marksman Vasily Grigoryevitch Zaitsev, began his deadly trade against the invading Nazi Army using only the iron sights that came with the Mosin Nagant. 

He later had a scope added to his Mosin Nagant. Zaitsev is credited with killing 225 German soldiers, at ranges up to 1100 meters with his Mosin Nagant. In another testament to the accuracy of this weapon, he killed 11 opposing Nazi snipers during the Great War.

The Mosin Nagant is a 7.62×54 mm caliber weapon in Russian format. The Finnish version is slightly different at 7.62×53 mm. 

The cartridges are odd-shaped to our western eyes. The base of each round is exaggerated, not inline as most American cartridges are. The ammunition resembles a .22 rim fire cartridge though it is much larger. It is a center fire cartridge.

Most Mosin Nagant ammunition, like the rifle itself, is Soviet or Finnish surplus. It came onto the western market first from Finland in the 1960s when they upgraded their military weapons, and then a flood came after the fall of the Soviet Union in 1989.

They are one of the most inexpensive high-powered rifles you can purchase, and a good buy for a piece of history, or as a hunting weapon. 

Can You Hunt With a Mosin Nagant?

What can you hunt with a Mosin Nagant?

A Mosin Nagant in 7.62x.54 mm caliber is roughly equivalent to a standard .308 rifle. The .308 is a workhorse for many big game hunters in North America.

The Mosin Nagant is a legal weapon for all big game animals, When loaded with a 182-grain soft-lead bullet it has more than enough stopping power for all big game species in North America. 

At nine pounds unloaded, without an attached scope it’s a heavy rifle, perhaps too heavy to pack high into the Rocky Mountains in search of Big Horn Sheep, but it does pack the power to take every big game species. 

The four-foot length of the rifle can create issues carrying it on a sling in heavy brush as well. This was originally only a military weapon, but its versatility quickly took it to the sporting world as well. 

Animals you can hunt with a Mosin Nagant

  • Elk
  • Mule Deer
  • Moose
  • Big Horn Sheep
  • Rocky Mountain Goat
  • Whitetail Deer
  • Caribou 
  • Pronghorn
  • Coyotes 
  • Black Bear
  • American Bison 

Is a Mosin Nagant good for hunting?

The Mosin Nagant is fine for hunting. As with any rifle, it’s the user, not the rifle that determines if the gun is a good choice for big game hunting.

A well-placed round from any caliber above .223 will drop the largest animal, and a misplaced shot will only maim that same animal, regardless of the size of the bullet.

The Mosin Nagant is the preferred hunting rifle for the very self-reliant people living in the vastness of the Siberian wilderness. They bring down Yakut, the giant Siberian moose with this rifle, sheep, goats, elk and use it for self-defense against Russian brown bears, (AKA Grizzlies in the USA) and marauding wolves.

There are even legends of hunters taking Siberian tigers that were stalking them. 

Hunters south of the Ural Mountains use it for saiga, bear, and many other large species of game. 

Best hunting ammo for Mosin Nagant

The best hunting ammunition for a Mosin Nagant can be found online and is usually 182-grain soft lead. You can purchase lighter grain bullets or load your own.

Many hunters reload their own Mosin Nagant ammunition, but it requires a little modification of the loading equipment to accommodate the exaggerated base rim of the cartridge.

Standard primers that work with 7.62 mm and .308 rounds should work with the 7.62×54 Mosin Nagant cases but check with the manufacturer prior to loading your own to ensure a proper, safe fit.

Conclusion

Though it is now 130 years old and can be classified as an “antique” firearm, the Mosin Nagant continues to serve as a great hunting rifle.

Its accuracy, low cost, and ease of use make it a very wise choice for people on a budget, gun collectors, or just someone who wants to hold a bit of history in their hands.

Mosin Nagant rifles have found their way to Africa, Asia, Europe, both of the Americas, and Australia. It is one of the world’s most ubiquitous firearms.

In the steady hand of a hunter taking game simply to survive, or in a military application, its performance has vastly excelled its humble reputation.

The Mosin Nagant is available at nearly every gun shop in America, and a favorite at gun shows around the nation.

An attractive feature is that Mosin Nagant 7.62×54 mm ammunition isn’t in as short a supply as more traditional North American hunting calibers.

You can still find ammunition fairly easily in both full metal jacket, and sportsman, soft lead configuration.