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By Matt Martin

Translating, Editing: Alexander Neverov
Additional Photos: Joe Leiper
Publisher: Vic Thomas, mosinnagant.net


Following the performance of the Mosin Nagant Model of 1891 (M91) through troop feedback from the Boxer Rebellion in 1900 and Russo-Japanese War 1904-05, the research and development branch of Russia's Main Artillery Administration (GAU) solicited input for the rehabilitation of the shortcomings of the rifle. Some of the main debilitating factors which were sought to be overcome were excessive weight, awkward handling, inefficient charging of the magazine, sighting system, inconsistent trigger and sear release, weaknesses of the bayonet, uncomfortable setting of the safety/cocking knob, and ergonomics of cycling the bolt.

When compared to weapons development of other Western military powers, Russia lagged seriously behind in utilizing its native innovative research and design. Historically, they had relied heavily on foreign engineers to produce small arms system designs, blueprints and prototype testing. So at the beginning of the Twentieth Century, military planners shifted focus to look internally for creative design talent.

In early 1912, the GAU directed the Artillery Committee (ARTCOM) to oversee projects of innovative design, and to work in conjunction with management at the Tula Arsenal. Management at the plant consisted of 15 officers, ten military institution graduates of the Mikhailovskaya Artillery Academy and five factory technicians. Tula was to work with inventor and Head of Artillery of the Odessa Military District, Lieutenant-General Nikolai Kholodovskii, in the development of a prototype rifle which would aid in the modernization of the M91. The specific goal of this project was to provide the Russian Army with the most technologically advanced infantry and cavalry rifles of its time. A similar venture, implemented several years earlier at the Izhevsk Arsenal, had already produced results from the design of the M1907 Carbine, with full scale production underway since 1910.

The Tula Arsenal was chosen for the M91 project because of its previously noted excellence in engineering practices, and workshops with adequate tooling already existed at the plant. Therefore, it was deemed that standard production of infantry rifles could continue without interference from the prototype project.

Lieutenant-General Kholodovskii's previous field experience, his ballistic tabulation contributions to the original M91 rifle research and development during 1890, and his strong connections with both the GAU and the Romanov Royal Family indicated that he should be well suited for the modernization of Russia's main infantry rifle. Thus, an extremely ambitious overhaul of the Mosin Nagant M91 was begun.

Head of Artillery Odessa Military District, Lieutenant-General Nikolai Kholodovskii


However, the progress for completion of the Kholodovskii Prototype did not culminate as smoothly as that from the Izhevsk Arsenal's 1907 Carbine counterpart. There was much infighting at Tula between ARTCOM and Kholodovskii, each blaming the other for delays in such things as inadequate design specifications and poor machining practices. Tula Arsenal chief designer VG Fedorov defended plant operations and blamed inventors, comparing the painstakingly slow integration of Kolodovskii's upgrades to that of his experience at the Sestrotyetsk Arsenal start-up, when only ten complete rifles were produced in the first year. But despite additional objections from the Tula Arsenal Director, Lieutenant-General AV Kuhn, there was enough promise in the proposed design changes for the GAU chief Lieutenant-General DD Kuzmin-Karavaev to place an initial order of 200 Kholodovskii Prototype units, 150 Infantry Rifles and 50 Carbines, for the cost of 2,000 rubles, in late March 1912.

Proposals were also made to upgrade 4 million existing M91 Rifles with some of Kholodovskii improvements, such as the sight and bayonet systems, at further objection from ARTCOM, citing that the design systems had yet to be tested. Additionally, these existing rifles were already undergoing the the Konovalov rear sight upgrade, as designed for the ballistics of the 1908 spitzer bullet. Here, the entire prototype project seemed to stall until the GAU chief Lieutenant-General DD Kuzmin-Karavaev, and undoubtedly at the persistence of Kholodovskii himself, restructured the production orders to 288 Infantry Rifles for the additional cost of 3,000 rubles in May of 1912.

Some of the design changes were of a radical departure from the standard M91 Infantry rifle. Among them, the barrel was shortened to a mid length between the Dragoon and Infantry rifles, and twelve flutes were machined along the length to provide for a lighter weight and faster cooling. Breech facing and throat reaming for the cartridge were moved forward in the receiver and barrel housing. The receiver was inletted to allow thumb clearance during stripper clip reloading. The trigger was advanced to a two-stage application, similar to that found in quality hunting and target rifles. The bolt was given a longer charging handle, a longer bolt head to accommodate the repositioned breech face, and the cocking knob was changed to allow more efficient safety application. The magazine follower arm was altered to deliver an exhausted cartridge warning. The sighting system improved battlefield zero setting for moving tarqet acquisition, and aiming in low light conditions. The stock was lightened overall with a bracket added for belt attachment, pillars introduced to bed the action, the buttstock drop angle was lowered by 3 degrees, and it utilized stacked discs under the buttplate for adjusting to a soldier's reach. And duralumin (known today as aircraft quality aluminum) was introduced for a hinged-clamped bayonet and many of the small stock parts, with the goal of weight reduction.

Tula Arms Director, A.V. Kuhn

Tula Arsenal

However, production did not proceed in a timely manner at the Tula Arsenal. Kuhn noted extensive delays of design drafts and incomplete drawings from Kholodovskii. The necessary duralumin orders had not been placed. And initial pressure testing of the barrels resulted in ruptures due to poor elastic limits in metallurgy and cross-sectional weaknesses caused by the longitudinal flutes along the outer barrel. In turn, Kholovovskii blamed the barrel failures on inconsistent machining of the flute depths, and noted that standard production M91 barrels were also failing under identical limits imposed during pressure and lodged bullet tests. Yet, with Kholodovskii's insistence that the delays were the fault of the Tula Arsenal, he did not even submit his final design drafts to the War Minister until early April, 1913.

Evidence of Kholodovskii's willingness to ply his political influence over Tula Arsenal management's objections was displayed when he proposed to arrange a specific demonstration for the Romanovs, despite the potential dangers of barrel rupture. The animosity between the inventor and the factory chief was never more evident than when A.V. Kuhn threatened to impose Article 170 of the Military Code of Punishment upon Kholodovskii for placing the Royal Family in peril. Neither the demonstration nor the Article 170 charges were carried out.

But despite the late blueprint completions and adversarial relationship between Kholodovskii and Kuhn, and likewise with the inventor and ARTCOM, production finally began. Kholodovskii had successfully played his favorable connections with the General Inspector of the Artillery (and Royal Family member), Grand Duke Sergei Mikhailovich Romanov, as well as with military dignitaries, to push his project ahead. Progress was hampered some through June, with additional design changes implemented on the fly to overcome poor elastic limits of the barrels, and through the rejection of around 100 completed rifles. The result finally culminated in the completion and delivery of the 288 units on July 31, 1913. Of those completed units, it is unclear as to whether any of them were of the carbine length, as was proposed in the initial order..


Preliminary testing at the Tula Arsenal of ten Prototypes did not show any significant improvements over the standard M91 Rifle. Additionally, failures to chamber a round were noted when the bolt was cycled at slow speeds, and the barrels did not provide the expected accuracy improvements. Further tests of 120 guns were conducted by the 1st Infantry Regiment, under General-Lieutenant Pavel Timofeevich Nikolaev, and was likely overseen by grand Duke Sergei Michailovich Romanov. It was found that 43 units did not sustain consistent bore measurements along the entire length of the barrel, and 5 units did not match the newly designed bolt head measurement requirements. However, the factory and field test results were not accepted by the GAU, on the premise that the Kholodovskii Prototypes were constructed with some worn parts from several different arsenals, specifically old barreled receivers, and causing tolerances to be out of specifications.

Even with the lack of positive testing results being confirmed by ARTCOM, and then to further highlight Kholodovskii's power of influence, in November 1913 the Tula Arsenal was still given the order to begin manufacturing of machine tooling for the production of 5,000 additional units. This order was almost immediately modified to 4,000 rifles, 3,550 infantry and 450 carbine units. Simultaneously, the imminent concern of large scale war was looming over Europe, and the Minister of War had previously placed extensive pressure on the Tula Arsenal in November 1912 to maximize efficiency for the increased production of Standard M91 Rifles and Nagant Revolvers, and to expand into light machine gun production.

The Tula arsenal did not have the sustainable resources for both the increase in standard production and for the development for the Kholodovskii Prototype tooling. Thus, at the request of AV Kuhn to the GAU in late 1913, factory orders for both the prototypes and light machine guns were officially put on hold in June 1914, and to be revisited following the war. So it is unclear whether any of the newly ordered 4,000 units were ever produced. Seemingly if the order had even been partially filled, there would be more specimens observed today. But there are also references to the Kholodovskii Prototypes having been converted to sporting type rifles, or perhaps merely the utilization of his design features, for civilian sales of hunting rifles at the Izhevsk Arsenal in the 1920's.

The decision to table production orders was a blow to the pride of Kholodovskii, and he once even threatened to resign.

Although notable defects were identified in the 288 units and subsequent full scale production orders for the Kholodovskii Prototype were officially postponed, the independent testing results conducted by the 1st Infantry Regiment, which were likely overseen by grand Duke Sergei Michailovich Romanov, had recommended favorably to the GAU that the overall rifle was "indisputably good". Thus, Kholodoskii's ideas remained under consideration for future implementation, and specifically post-war.

- Weight Reduction.

As one of the main goals of the Kholodovskii Prototype project was to ease the burden on the soldier, and thus allow him to increase his ammunition carrying capacity beyond the standard 120 rounds. Two sources cite differing amounts of weight reduction. But even with the conflicting data, it may be concluded that the load reduction for the soldier was significant.

1. Range of reduction from 596 to 678 grams, with break down of individual parts as follows:

a.) Bayonet – by 145 grams,

b.) Cleaning rod – by 85 grams,

c.) Stock - by 106-192 grams (depending on the density of the wood)

d.) Barreled Receiver – by 256 grams.

2. Overall reduction of 550 grams, without breakdown of parts.
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Kholodovskii Features

Notes: The specimen which is available for observation in this article may exhibit subtle differences from other specimens, as it is previously noted that some design changes were implemented during the production run.

The particular prototype was built utilizing an 1895 dated Tula receiver, 1894 dated Tula barrel, Tula bolt body, bolt head (new), and striker. The magazine housing, bolt connector and interrupter/ejector are Sestroryetsk marked. The only outwardly visible number (besides old Tula magazine floor plate) is found on the rear sight leaf, and marked 158. Cupped cocking knob is Tula stamped and not numbered. Barrel bands are Tula stamped. Trigger is Tula stamped with number 171. Sear arm is Tula stamped with number 167. Sear spring is Tula marked and not numbered. Stock buttplate is number 3, and the three spacers with number 5. Stock appears to be signed inside the barrel channel.

The barreled receiver is of a high polish rust-blued finish. The stock is birch construction with a linseed oil finish. Condition is 97%.

- Stock

Perhaps the most elaborate changes were made to the stock, with the goals of lighter weight and better handling characteristics. Overall dimensions exhibited a shorter length in accordance with the shortened barrel, and a thinner width. The fore stock design was based on that of the Dragoon. But it utilized three solid barrel bands of a much thinner gauge thickness than that of the two band system of the Dragoon. The bands were secured with retaining springs which were attached with small screws into the stock, and finger relief cuts were made behind the rear band to facilitate removal. A fourth and forward-most band was retained with a partial split ring at the nosecap, with the split portion applying tension against the cap. This front band was proposed to be eliminated in the production run following the prototypes. A Dragoon-style handguard wrapped around the rear sight base, with arshini increments of 2 to 12 (hundred) stamped onto the left side below the rear sight base. But unlike the Dragoon handguard which was prone to breakage from the rear, the new handguard was supported against lateral damage at the rear inside a stamped steel ring which was fitted around the barrel at the junction of the receiver. The nosecap is stamped steel and secured on the front face with a wood screw. Holes are drilled through the cap for the passage of the cleaning rod and barrel band spring retaining button. The stock barrel channel is signed, 'Gorb'.

For weight reduction, aluminum was used for the band retaining springs, sling slot escutcheons and crossbolt. The crossbolt was also internally supported in an aluminum boxed encasement. An aluminum bracket was also installed on the underside of the stock, just forward of the magazine, for the purpose of attachment of the gun to a soldier's belt. To ensure consistent action mating and tightening of the magazine housing to the receiver, aluminum pillar posts were fitted inside the stock for the passage of the action bolts. The cleaning rod was also made from aluminum with a knurled steel head, and was held in place by the friction tension of a leaf spring instead of the standard threaded nut. The handguard was reinforced with five aluminum bracket with copper rivets.

The buttstock drop angle was lowered by 3 degrees, and the comb shape was altered to a higher forward profile for better cheek weld and sighting acquisition. Each stock had a dovetailed toe-splice, and had up to five removable discs under the buttplate to adjust for up to 25 mm shortened overall length, or a 17mm extended length (42mm total variance). A three disc stack as shown would allow for a standard 350mm length of pull.

- Barreled Receiver

The barrel itself was shortened by 37 mm, from 800 mm to a 763 mm length (33 mm longer than dragoon), and twelve semi-circular longitudinal grooves at a width and depth of 2 mm were milled along its mid section. The purposes for the grooving were to reduce weight and allow for faster cooling during sustained firing, thus improving accuracy. For harmonics stabilization, the breech face was moved forward by 6.3 mm with the corresponding forward reaming of the chamber and throat into the barrel shank housing. A recess for thumb relief was milled into the left side receiver wall, just forward of the stripper clip guides. The top of the receiver tang was ground and beveled rearward, for lightening purposes and to follow the lowered angle of the buttstock. The slot in the bolt channel was lengthened to allow for the newly designed sear. The top forward outer section of the barrel chamber housing was ground to allow relief for the back edge of the extended length of the rear sight leaf.

- Trigger System

The trigger was entirely changed to adopt a two stage pull. The traditional trigger system had two moving parts, a trigger lever with integral bolt stop, and a single leaf spring with an integral sear. The new system introduced a third moving part called the sear lever. To achieve this two stage function, the bolt stop was removed from the top of the traditional trigger lever, and a stirrup style slot was machined into the trigger above the pin. The single leaf sear spring was eliminated. Both the sear and bolt stop were combined and transferred to the upper arm of a new and separate 7-shaped lever (sear lever) of which the short horizontally positioned arm was supported upward by spring pressure and rested inside both the bolt channel slot and through the top arms of the trigger stirrup.

On the 7-shaped sear lever, the short horizontal sear arm would pivot at the junction angle of the longer vertical arm, and on a ledge which was milled directly behind and under the sear slot opening of the bolt channel. A tuning fork shaped spring with dual leaves replaced the traditional single leaf sear spring. The front of the short horizontal arm of the sear lever rested on top of the first stage spring. In the static position, the long vertical arm of the sear lever passed downward and with approximately 1.5 mm clearance behind the trigger lever. Initial rearward trigger travel slightly rocked the sear lever at its pivot and began to depress the upper first stage spring.

When the rear of the trigger lever contacted the lower arm of the sear lever, a tangible point of resistance was evident at the engagement of the lower second stage spring. This contact was at a consistent point of first stage trigger travel, and could easily be felt by the trigger operator. Further trigger travel experienced increased second stage spring resistance while simultaneously dropping the short arm of sear lever downward and through bolt channel slot of the receiver to release the cocking knob and firing pin of the bolt. The two stage system allowed for a known travel distance and repeatable feel for the sear release by the shooter. With this consistent release point, a shooter could attain better accuracy for repeat firing.

- Magazine exhausted cartridge warning

The purpose of this adoption was to alert the shooter that the magazine contents were exhausted. It operated on a very simple premise. When no more rounds were available to feed, the magazine follower would rise high enough to stop the forward movement of the bolt inside the receiver channel. This interference between the bolt and the follower would mimic operation to that of the follower on the US Model 1903 rifle. To achieve the higher upward position of the follower, an angular travel stop was ground back on the lower hinge area of the follower arm, thus allowing a greater upward angle of movement.

The follower spring itself was of a lighter gauge and spring rate, but no explanation for this was given. Here, it may be theorized that the reduced spring rate would have reduced upward compression force of the cartridges between the follower and interrupter, and possibly minimizing the chances for rim lock among the stacked cartridges.

- Sight System

As the barrels of existing M91 rifles were shortened, the original and integral front sight base had been cut off. A new base would need to be created. A semicircular convex arched dovetail key was soldered into a slot which was cut perpendicularly across the top of the barrel. The bottom of the sight base was a mating semicircular concave arched dovetail slot, which was then pressed along the upper arch of the key, and soldered in place. The sight itself was a block which was pressed into a straight dovetail slot in the top of the base, and could be positioned for windage adjustment. The front sight was shaped with a center blade which had a circular dot at the peak with a silver insert which increased visibility in low light conditions. Small ears, at roughly half the height of the blade were placed on each side of the center sight.

The rear sight base had the elevations steps ground to a parallel plane with the barrel, the graduations from 4 to 12 (hundred) arshini on the original base were not visible with the handguard in place. A hinged flat leaf with a slider was utilized, vs. the standard Konovalov curved leaf. In the horizontal position, the slider could be adjusted along the flat leaf to the distance graduations which were stamped from 2 to 12 (hundred) arshini on the left side of the handguard. The slider was retained by set screws on the rear sides of the leaf. In the upright perpendicular position the leaf was graduated from 13 to 33 (hundred) arshini.

The rear sight itself consisted of two v-notched blades, one stationary blade with a large v-notch as an integral part of the flat leaf, and the rear most and taller spring loaded hinged blade with a small v-notch resting against the stationary rear blade. This taller hinged rear blade would fold flat (horizontal) at battle sight zero settings when the slide was pulled fully rearward, simultaneously raising the entire rear leaf above the 200 arshini setting by passing the slider over the top of the notch in the barrel. When this leaf was folded flat, it would reveal the larger v-notch of the fixed blade. Sighting through this larger v-notch would allow the ears of the front sight to be visible in the sight picture, which would aid in framing the view of a moving target. With the slide adjusted for any distance other than the fully rearward position of battle sight zero, the smaller v-notch of the taller hinged blade was in the upright (vertical) position, and only the center blade of the front sight was visible in the sight picture.

- Bolt

The bolt charging handle length was increased by 16mm. The rib of the bolt body was lightened by removing a 25mm X 7mm section just forward of the handle attaching point. The bolt head length was increased by 6.3mm to correspond with the new forward breech face and chamber location. The firing pin and extractor lengths were increased accordingly. The bolt connector and firing pin spring were unchanged. The rear cocking knob was altered from a disc to a cupped shape, with a knurled outer gripping surface increased from a 1.5mm to 10mm width. This would allow a more comfortable setting action of the safety.

- Bayonet (Photos by Joe Leiper)

The bayonet was also targeted for weight reduction. This was achieved by two distinct methods. First, the longitudinal flutes were machined to a greater depth. Extra material was also removed from the offset leg and sleeve. Secondly, the bulky locking collar was eliminated in favor of a hinged clamp which utilized a spring steel band and tandem arms. The hinged arms of the clamp operated on a cam system which would draw tension on the band to clamp the sleeve tightly to the barrel. It locked with a hook and latch system which could be released by a spring operated cylindrical push button which was located in a housing at the outer end of the hinged arms.

The clamping system offered two methods of mounting. The first employed a full swing of the hinged arms to the maximum travel around the circumference of the sleeve. The band was positioned behind the rear sight with this application. Secondly, the hinged arms could be latched at a partial point of travel around the circumference of the sleeve. This application would allow for the hinged arms to form a hood over the front sight.

The bayonet which is pictured for this article is of steel construction. Other accounts refer to the bayonet as duralumin construction. Note the pointed vs. blade tip.

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While it was quite evident that the modernized features of the Kholodovskii Prototype were of a significant departure from the standard M91, its time and place in history were suspended in the chaos of continental war and looming internal revolution. Russia simply could not afford the costs or labor intensive effort which would have been required to reap its advanced benefits. But through its internal innovative development, production and field testing, some key points were identified for post-war consideration.

- Initial advantages of the Kholodovskii Prototype were noted as:

1. The rifle's weight was decreased by 550 grams.
2. Improved balance to shoulder and aim
3. The sight was better calibrated for the ballistics of the spitzer bullet
4. The elongated bolt handle facilitated better control when cycling
5. The recess in the receiver allowed more safety for the thumb when charging from stripper clips.
6. Contour of the buttstock comb aided in accuracy.
7. Buttstock had removable discs to fit individual soldiers for length of pull.
8. Thinner forestock allowed for easier grasping.
9. Stock was overall lighter in weight.
10. Bayonet was lighter in weight without shortening the length of the blade.
11. Sight picture was better for moving target acquisition.

- Some disadvantages were noted as follows:

1. Barrel was still too long, by 10-12 cm, and it was difficult to keep rust from developing in the outward grooves.
2. Complex bayonet mounting system
3. Difficult concept for zeroing of the sights
4. Forward most barrel band unnecessary.
5. Aluminum cleaning rod was weak and easily deformed.
6. Head of the cleaning rod would not pass through the bore.
7. Cleaning rod retention spring was complex and not strong enough
8. Belt mounting bracket was not necessary
9. Bolt had previous deficiencies.
10. Stripper clip notch in the left side of the receiver still too small
11. The stock neck was too thin (easily broken)

Grand Duke Sergei Michailovich Romanov

With the great complexity of construction and sheer number of design changes deemed as costly, and some seen as entirely unnecessary, General Inspector of the Artillery Grand Duke Sergei Mikhailovich Romanov charged ARTCOM on October 28, 1914 to narrow down the features of the Kholodovskii Prototype which could be efficiently integrated into the retrofitting of existing rifles and/or introduced into new production. Five points were recommended as follows:

1. Cocking piece – for improvements of safety operation;
2. Spring loaded cleaning rod holder
3. A longer handle for the bolt body.
4. Feed mechanism with an exhausted cartridge warning.
5. Receiver with finger cutout in the left wall with the changed inclination of the stripper clips grooves.

All other changes proposed by Kholodovskii were no longer considered, following the ARTCOM decision. Then in early November 1914, ARTCOM also came to the conclusion that the implementation of even this reduced number of the accepted proposals should be done at a more favorable time when the pressures of war were not so great.


Though the rifles were no longer being built in the arsenal workshops and all production line orders halted, Kholodovskii's reduced proposals were still alive, at least in spirit, until in November of 1915 when Tula Arsenal Director AV Kuhn wrote to the GAU, stating that the drawings for the five recommended changes were still undelivered. And on August 13, 1916, the Tula Arsenal was ordered to scrap the Kholodovskii Prototype project altogether.

In conclusion, the entire project was a typical example of the procedural operations which took place in early 20th century Imperial Russia. Often times, the approval and execution of projects did not depend so much on the merit of the inventions or designs as it did on the reputation of the inventor and/or favorable status among military contemporaries and Royal Family connections. The final result of the Kholodovskii Prototype project was a major distraction of both material resources and manpower at a time when Russia could afford neither. And as ambitious and innovative as the final product proved to be, the fate the most modern Infantry Rifle of its time fell victim to the excruciatingly slow development by the inventor himself, and to the political circumstances of timing in tumultuous Europe. With none of its features appearing in later models, the Kholodovskii Prototype project is best summarized as that of an inauspicious detour in the evolutionary path of the Mosin Nagant rifle.

Imperial Russia's effort to cultivate home grown innovation in small arms design met with great adversity in the particular project to transform the M91 rifle. And within the Kholodovskii Prototype experience there are lessons of achievement and futility alike. Nevertheless, the costly effort did yield a physical product and the few complete rifles which remain intact today are distinctly desired specimens for collectors, or have become highlighted features of an era in military museum displays.


1. Who and How to Develop Russian Small Arms on the Eve of the Great War, by E.E. Drozdova, published April 10, 2015

Link: http://armflot.ru/index.php/vooruzhenie/312-kto-i-kak-razrabatyval-russkoe-strelkovoe-oruzhie-nakanune-velikoj-vojny

2. Mosin Kholodovskii - 1913, by V.E. Markevich

Link: http://commi.narod.ru/txt/markev/431.htm

3. Rifle System Mosin-Kholodovskii, by L. Budaeva

Link: http://ww1.milua.org/Rholodovskij.htm

4. Drei Linien: die Gewehre Mosin-Nagant, Volume II, by Karl-Heinz Wrobel

5. Russian Bayonet. Bayonets for S.I. Mosin Rifles and Carbines 1891-1945, by Andrei Danko, Konstantin Lykov, Published May 2015.

6. Imperial Russian Weapons of WWI, Volume I, Rifles and Carbines, by Vladimir Glazkov

External Links:

1. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Grand_Duke_Sergei_Mikhailovich_of_Russia

2. https://ru.wikipedia.org/wiki/Кун,_Александр_Владимирович

Additional photos with comparison pictures to a Standard M91, 1918 Tula.

- Buttstock comb shape and drop angle, receiver inletting, barrel band thickness (compared to Dragoon)

- Barreled receiver length, front sight, rear sight base, rear tang thickness and drop angle, thumb recess for stripper clip guide.

- Bolt handle, body, cocking knob, head

- Trigger, spring, sear, receiver inletting.

- Magazine follower arm height, Lighter gauge follower spring, follower arm angular travel-stop grinding (1918 Tula last picture)

-Cleaning rod diameter



NES Life Member
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WOW! Some very interesting reading thanks for posting it,and if you own one congrats very cool find.
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To my knowledge, this is the only one in the US. It's a deal that was six months in the making, which is why I had so much time to research.

As there are so few specimens, and the 288 unit total production on the eve of WWI is barely a footnote among the 30-plus million Mosin Nagants, the above article is also the most comprehensive information available. And to my knowledge, it is the only article which offers a detailed pictorial breakdown.

You guys and gals here at NES are getting a sneak preview, as there are still a few editing points to clean up before final publishing.


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The interesting part, I was reading the memoirs of the former Izhmash director about WWII production. It's interesting that they tried to figure out a way to improve the rifle by making changes to the existing design, i.e. there would be a plan to re-arsenal existing stocks. Soviet production completely dwarfed production of Tsar times, like orders of magnitude. That means that they could just make new stocks instead of refurb old ones. So if the new design was so much better, they would actually make the new stock, but I bet that the angle would require more wood, a no go for optimizing cost.

Izhmash during WWII had also had a lot of effort to improve and streamline production and rifle. It's interesting that none of these improvements actually made it [laugh] Some reasons would be that Izhmash was actually making their own steel, but not aluminum. The other part is that the original rifle was actually pretty well thought through to be made cheap and fast. Comfort and weight be damned.

The other thing, that's interesting about possibly why some of these designs did not make through, the corruption of the private military contractors was rampant. I think that Maxim in Russia cost 4 times what it would be to import it. So I can see a huge pressure from domestic contractors playing politics and plain dumbassery of knowing the right people, which ultimately led/prepped to the commie revolution.


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Great article and excellent photography as usual, Martin!

A friend just sold a Remington M91 for ~ $400 last week. The original 'R' marked screwdriver went for another $30.
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