Mosin 91/30 PU: Soviet Standard WW2 Sniper’s Rifle

The Mosin M91/30 PU is the most recognized Soviet sniper rifle of World War Two, but it was not their first. It was preceded by the Model 1931 PE, the Model 1936 PEM, and also the scoped version of the SVT-40 semiautomatic rifle. The SVT was intended to become a universal infantry rifle as well as a sniper’s rifle, and the short 3.5x PU scope was designed specifically for it (earlier PE and PEM scopes we long, and interfered with the ejection port of the SVT). Mosin sniper production was shut down in the summer of 1940 as the SVT started to be manufactured.

However, field use showed that the SVT was inadequate as a sniper rifle. It had problems with first shots going to a different point of aim than subsequent ones, a barrel that heated rapidly and would string out shots, and generally insufficient accuracy overall. In August 1942 it was declared ineffective – something new was needed to replace it. The solution was to design a mount to fit that new short PU scope (which was fast and cheap to make) to the standby M91/30 Mosin Nagant, and put that into production as quickly as possible. An Izhevsk engineer named Kochetov designed a good mounting system, which was adopted in August 1942 just as the SVT was being retired. Both Tula and Izhevsk began new production of M91/30 PU snipers, with the first rifles ready in October and December of 1942 respectively.

By the end of 1944 close to 400,000 of the Mosin PU snipers had been built, enough to fully equip the Red Army. Production was shut down, but the rifle remained the Soviet standard sniper rifle until replaced by the SVD Dragunov in the 1960s. The example we are looking at today was made at Ishevsk in 1943 and given to Poland as military assistance after the war, where it was refurbished and put into storage.


    • There’s lots of stuff on the internet about Soviet sniper doctrine. Basically, the Soviets viewed snipers as fulfilling both the “designated marksman” role as part of an infantry platoon, and the traditional sniper roles of going after high value targets and performing reconnaissance. If you have one or two snipers per platoon, you end up with a lot of snipers.

      • In thinking about what the Soviets did, even though it was not the situation back then, having a couple of true snipers per platoon would make sense in the age of intermediate cartridges. Depending upon intermediate cartridges means that you can’t engage the enemy unless you are up close and personal. Having a wealth of snipers lets you engage, if even to a limited extent, the enemy at a distance. This would seem like a useful thing to be able to control the flow of the battle.

      • “(…)If you have one or two snipers per platoon(…)”
        Both mid-war and late-war штат called for 2 snipers in each platoon, there were 3 platoons in each Rifle Company. Note that this described desired number, de facto numbers might be both lower and greater. For example numerous soldiers of adjective(Leningrad) Front were training themselves in accurate shooting, according to
        Возникшее на Ленинградском фронте снайперское движение ширится. 28 января Военный совет фронта доложил Центральному Комитету партии, что 4200 бойцов, командиров и политработников овладели мастерством сверхметкой стрельбы. Снайперами истреблены тысячи оккупантов
        that is: Sniper movement is spreading. 28 January (of 1942 year): War Soviet of Front informed Central committee that 4200 fighters, commanders and commissar master superaccurate fire. Snipers managed to hunt thousands of occupiers.

  1. “(…)rifle remained the Soviet standard sniper rifle until replaced by the SVD Dragunov in the 1960s(…)”
    1944 pool among Soviet sniper revealed that whilst sniper SVT was assessed negatively many snipers desired self-loading sniper rifle. This lead to testing of some ТКБ-386, КБ-П-380 and unnamed rifle by Simonov in 1944…1946 years
    none was found satisfactory, so PU Mosin was kept

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