Finnish Mosin Nagant Overview (M91/24, M27, M28, M28/30, M39)

Finland found itself with nearly 200,000 Mosin Nagant rifles in its possession after breaking away from Russian rule in 1917, and those rifles would for the basis of Finnish infantry arms until the adopted of a semiautomatic rifle many decades later.

At first, Russian rifles were simply refurbished and rebarreled, but the Army and Civil Guard quickly found the Russian Model 1891 pattern wanting, and began to develop improvements. The two organizations managed their arm production independently, and the Army was the first to develop a new model of Mosin, in the M27. Produced from 1927 until 1940, this was a shortened (27”/68.5cm barrel) with improved furniture and sights. The Civil Guard followed shortly afterwards with their M28 short rifle. The M28 would only be produced until 1933, however, when it was replaced with the Civil Guard M28/30, which further improved the sights.

Ultimately, the Army and Civil Guard would come together to design the apogee of Mosin Nagant evolution, the M39. Over 100,000 of these rifles would be made, all starting from captured or purchased receivers – the Finns never manufactured receivers themselves. If anything can be considered a transformation of a sow’s ear into a silk purse, it would be the creation of an M39 from a Russian M1891!

In this video, we will look at the features of each of these models…

The rifles featured in this video are in these three lots:


  1. Some notes:

    1. Finland never adopted a semi-auto rifle. The Rk 62, which as most here know is a modified copy of the AK-47, was adopted in 1962 in 7.62×39mm cartridge, and of course it is select-fire, that is an assault rifle.

    2.In the 1920 the Army really would have wanted a Mauser. Many of the Finnish officers had received their training in Germany during WW1 and had experienced the superiority of a Mauser action rifle first-hand. However, like Ian said, the defence budgets did not allow for a completely new rifle when large numbers of Mosin-Nagants were already available.

    3. There are stll people in Finland who think that the M28/30 was the best version of the rifle. It probably was the most accurate one, but from a military point of view the M39 was better in my opinion.

    4. The M39 remained in war time reserves in practice until early 1990. The reason was that the assault rifle production by Sako and Tikkakoski was done using obsolescent 1950s manufacturing techniques. Yearly production was only about 10,000 units. Neither the army nor the government was very keen to upgrade the production lines, because that would have left the country without domestic assault rifle production capability, so the upgrade was tied to major foreign orders, which never materialized. Only the purchase of Chinese and ex-East German AKM clones in early 1990s finally allowed to retire the M39s from reserves. By that time the Army had finally concluded that they probably shouldn’t wait until 2010 to replace the remaining bolt-action rifles and Suomi SMGs still in inventory, and of course the foreign guns were also much cheaper than Finnish production assault rifles would have been.

    5. The Mosin-Nagant remains in Finnish Army service in the form of the M85 sniper rifle. There re currently no plans to replace them, so they will probably used at least until 2025. More than 130 years in official national military service is a pretty impressive career for a design which was originally mediocre at best.

    • “Finland never adopted a semi-auto rifle.”
      So far I know, Finland used captured SVT (Tokarev) rifles during WWII, however I don’t know whatever it was (or not) officially adopted?

      • Adopted as a wartime emergency weapon because thousands were captured and it would have been stupid not to use functional rifles chambered in the standard (more or less) cartridge. Some were also refurbished in the 1950s and used for training, but I don’t think either case counts for an official adoption as standard infantry personal weapon, which is implied when a replacement for the Mosin-Nagant is discussed.

    • “More than 130 years in official national military service is a pretty impressive career for a design which was originally mediocre at best.”
      In fact Russian Empire want to replace Mosin rifle with self-loading rifle before WW1, Fyodorov design was considered the best, but outbreak of First World War prevent fully replacement.

    • Valmet actually made a stamped design of the RK 62, called the RK 62 76 (commercially Valmet M76). It was produced in somewhat large numbers from 1976 to 1983 (while Sako continued to produce the milled RK 62), but cost and serviceability issues caused Valmet to shut down the stamped receiver production lines, and the stamping machines were stored in FDF arsenals for possible wartime emergency where fast production would be needed.

      The issues with the RK 62 76 were mostly caused by FDF’s overly high quality and accuracy demands. FDF wanted them to be fully compatible with the milled RK 62, and have the same accuracy. On the contrary, Soviet stamped AK’s differ from the milled models a bit and the internal parts aren’t fully interchangeable due to productivity reasons.

      The FDF demands caused Valmet to resort to very careful and accurate stamping methods which upped the price, and the barrel had to be both torqued and pinned to the front trunnion (which in turn was pinned with 3 rivets instead of the Soviet 2 and also spot welded to the stamped receiver), and very high quality steels had to be used. This way the 62 76 managed to achieve a similar level of accuracy and full interchangeability with the 62. However it made the production costs higher than that of the milled receiver. It wasn’t the deciding factor, as the 62 76 was also1/2 pounds lighter thus being better in that aspect – but the stamped receiver lost accuracy faster than the milled (as the rivets and the receiver body started to flex more than the milled) and was also more difficult to service (epecially barrel change was more difficult, as the barrel pinhad to be first pushed out, then the fron trunnion had to be heated and the barrel detorqued out of the receiver – this could cause the receiver to deform or the front trunnion to slightly separate from the receiver body).

  2. If you click on the YouTube link at the very top right of the page that will take you to the page for InRange and the video is there.

    • Adopting one was considered seriously in mid-1950s with an improved SVT based design being the most likely candidate. However, at the same time the Finnish Army managed to buy a small batch of AK-47s for testing. Extensive testing against refurbished SVTs, Suomi SMGs and their combination at squad level showed that the assault rifle was clearly superior in most respects, and in 1958 semi-auto rifle plans were abandoned.

  3. Finland’s army certainly received just enough good weapons to give the USSR a big headache for two whole wars. Given the past few days, maybe I can craft a new activity…

    Weapon of choice scenario:

    I hate sabotage missions. I’m stuck in a nearly wrecked apartment complex somewhere in this abandoned city. We’re supposed to sabotage or destroy the enemy heavy tanks parked right outside city hall. Because of some dumb mistakes, I was deployed with a Finnish Pelo rifle in 7.62×54 R and a crate of anti-tank mines. A canister full of more modern equipment was airdropped according to plan last night, but it landed on the roof of a nearby hospital. I’ve also got a roomful of salvaged stuff you could use to make those patrolling enemy soldiers disappear (along with what appears to be the 6’1″ rats mentioned during the discussion about the Welrod some time ago). Now that there is a nasty rain storm, the job can be finished.

    If you’re stuck in the apartment complex and near the collection of old toys, get something from the first list:

    1. Star Model A Carbine
    2. Reihenfeuer 08 (fully automatic Luger with stock and 32-round drum magazine)
    3. Mauser Schnellfeuer
    4. Nagant 1895 revolver with Bramit suppressor
    5. 4 crates of Type 24 stick grenades
    6. M1903 Springfield with Maxim Silencer
    7. Finnish M39 with scope
    8. Reising M65 with suppressor and scope (intended to kill rats)
    9. 12 gauge over-under double barrel shotgun

    If you’ve already gotten to the weapons canister, get something from this list:

    1. M4 Carbine
    2. Mossberg 500
    3. HK MP5K
    4. Heckler & Koch MK 23 SOCOM
    5. Carl Gustav Recoilless Rifle
    6. FN MAG
    7. Blocks of C4
    8. Or per the usual, screw the budget and add your favorite toys to this list.

    This activity is completely voluntary. You are not required to respond if you do not wish to do so. Please keep any and all criticism humane and free of foul language.

    Thank you.


    • “(…)enemy heavy tanks(…)7. Blocks of C4
      8. Or per the usual, screw the budget and add your favorite toys to this list.(…)”
      Loads of explosive might be useful but note that shaped charge will be more effective (penetrate more armor for same mass of explosives), so I would Hafthohlladung if there is possibility to use them or PIAT, which also utilize shaped charge and can be used from range, additionally unlike mentioned Carl Gustav Recoilless Rifle it does not generate huge blast when firing, so it is harder to spot and can be used from inside of buildings. M7 grenade launcher might be also useful if said tanks can be hit from above, into (relatively) thin roof.

    • 8. I think, a De Lisle-style supressed carbine with biathlon-style toggle bolt in 9×19 mm Luger, 7×33 mm SAKO, or 9×39 mm, with holographic sight is quite handy and useful.
      Yes, I still need something to deal gently with those tanks…

        • Those tanks are WW2 or contemporary ones? I don’t know exactly, but I think, Panzerfausts and RPG-2s (sic!) are practically ineffective against T-72s, Leopard 2s, and M1 Abrams.

          • Well, they appear to be WW2 styled tanks. The phrase “heavy tank” faded from usage afterwards, so unless I’m totally wrong, the tanks I spy near city hall in the scenario are likely IS-2’s. Maybe I should have searched for a 8.8 cm Pak 43/41…

          • Post-WW2 heavy tanks:

            USSR: T-10 (+ variants), T-10M (the latter was practically a new design)
            USA: M103
            UK: Conqueror (FV 214)

            The French also had the AMX 50, which remained a prototype only, but became fairly close of being ordered.

    • From the first crate I would probably take the Schnellfeuer, assuming shoulder stock is provided. Springfield with a suppressor could also be an option, but you did not specify how many enemies I might encounter. Long bolt action rifles in urban environment can be difficult to use effectively.

      From the second crate I would take the Carl Gustav and fire at tanks from a rooftop. I assume tanks are guarded by at least their crews with assault rifles or SMGs, so trying to sneak C4 close to them would be quite difficult. Building improvised satchel charges from hand grenades and C4 and dropping them from the top of the city hallcould be an option, except I don’t know if TNT filled grenades would detonate the C4 properly. Also you didn’t specify how strongly the city hall is guarded; if it’s full of enemies the GC would be the only option to do any real damage on the tanks.

      • To answer the question about C4, it requires electricity in order to detonate. Given some electrical primers and electro-mechanical timers, I think some satchel charges can be built. The city hall is crawling with soldiers but half of them seem to be sick from drinking contaminated water. And those tanks are definitely low on fuel and in need of repairs, judging by the stressed tank crewmen pacing around with tools. Maybe you could snipe the fuel truck when it arrives…

  4. Seems the best way to handle that would be in and out without anybody knowing you are even there. C4 and Pistol, maybe the M4 stashed somewhere if you need it. Last thing you want to do is get in a shootout with tanks. Quietly at 3am seems best.

    Then again, you are in a wrecked city. Call in an airstrike, who’s gonna notice some burned out tanks in the rubble?

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