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Mosin-Nagant Dot Net:

Proudly Presents A Series Of Article From SA Man Doug Bowser

Line Drawings Finnish Sniper Rifles:    The following line drawings and text are used with the permission of Doug Bowser author of the new Finnish Mosin Nagant collectors handbook, Rifles Of The White Death. All drawings and text are copyrighted. They can not be used without the written permission of Doug Bowser

How Rare Are The Finnish Sniper Rifles?:  SA Man gives the numbers of some of the rarest of all military rifles.  The famed line of Finnish Sniper Rifles.

Doug's 7.62X54R Ammo Tests:  Doug answers a letter and shows the results of a day at the range.


Sniper Rifle Line Drawings

All Text And Photos Copyrighted Doug Bowser

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The model 1928 trails sniper rifle was mfg by the SAKO shop in 1928. Eleven of these rifles were assembled. The telescopes were Zeiss, Hensoldt, and Busch.

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Left side closeup of the M33 Sniper. Copyright: Doug Bowser

In 1933 the Civil Guard assembled 25 more rifles at SAKO and they were called the M33 Sniper Rifle. The M28 was not in production at that time, so the rifles were made up on the M28/30 rifle. The scope base and mount were similar in both rifles. The base consisted of an open channel, welded to the receiver that would accept a machine nut. Through the base and mount ( which slid in from the front ) a machine bolt mated up with the nut and was tightened with a wrench. The M33 Sniper used the same style telescope as the M28 Sniper.

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The M37 Sniper Rifle was mfg between 1937-1940. Only 150 were mfg. The telescope was made by Physica OY in Helsinki. Originally designed for use on machine guns and mortars, it was adapted to the rifles by welding a plate to the receiver that accepted the mount. Mounting of this telescope in the center of the bore, caused the eyepiece to be a great deal higher than the comb of the stock. Some of the M37 rifles have a wooden cheeckpiece to bring the shooter's eye up to the eyepiece.

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The Model 1939/60 Sniper Rifle is an adaptation of the US Snooperscope to the M39 rifle. There were 9 of these rifles assembled. This was the same unit the US Army used on the M3 Carbine. The rifles were used for experimental purposes and donated to museums in Finland. It has an interesting cheeckpiece, unlike any I have ever seen before.

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In 1970, the Finns decided to develop another sniper rifle. The first model was an adaptation of the AK-47 rifle to the 7.62 X 53R. This caused accuracy problems with the powerful 7.62 X 53R ctg. In the early 80's the Finn Defense Forces decided to develop a new sniper rifle, based on the MN91 action. The new rifle was adopted in 1985. It is called the M85. The rifle is equipped with a bi-pod that is detachable.

The Mosin Nagant 1891 rifle has come full circle. The M91 has been in active military service since 1892. To this date, this is a service life of 105 years. The success of the Finn M85 Sniper Rifle will assure the use of the Moisin Nagant action for many years to come. - Doug Bowser 1998



How Rare Are The Finnish Sniper Rifles?

Text: Doug Bowser


I can tell you the models and production figures, but these rifles are not generally for sale. Most of the surviving telescoped Finn rifles are in museums and private collections in Finland.

1) Civil Guard Model 28 Trials Rifle = 11 mfg.

2) Civil Guard Model 33 ( 28/30 ) Scoped Rifle W/Busch, Zeiss, or Hensolt Telescope Mounted = 25 mfg.

3) Army M37 Trials Sniper Rifle W/Physica Scope, also known as the M27/PH = 150 mfg.

4) Army M39/PH Scoped Rifle W/Physica Scope = 100 mfg.

5) M39 SOV Is The Finn M39 Rifle Adopted To Use The Soviet PE and PEM Scope = 200 mfg.

6) M39/44 Finn Scoped Rifle W/Ajax Telescope = 500 mfg.

7) M39/44 W/Vaisala Scope ( Finn Copy Of Ajax ) = 50 mfg.

8) The Finns also used captured Soviet sniper rifles such as:

M91/30 PE - PEM

M91/30 PU

AVS36 W/PEM-PE Telescope

SVT40 Scoped Rifle ( PU Scope )

As you can see, these are ( with the exception of the Soviet rifles ) among the rarest military rifles in the world. I have a friend in Finland that owns five of the Finn and Soviet rifles. I don't believe that any Finn would sell one of these rifles. One problem with the Finn sniper rifles in WW2, the Finn soldier was a dedicated souvenir hunter. Most Soviet captured rifles wound up being sent home. Somewhere in Finland , " Pavvo," is probably still hunting with his Grandfather's M91/30 PE rifle.

Hope this gives you an insight on these rifles,

SA Man 1998

Doug Bowser's 54R Ammo Tests

Recent Question To Doug:

Hi Doug,

I have a 28-30 in which I have been shooting a variety of surplus ammo. From your website articles, it seems that the standard surplus .310 ammo may be oversize for the 28-30. Is this a problem? There is the implication that accuracy is degraded, and in your tests I think that you didn't fire any .310 or .311 in the 28-30 with the .3082 bore.

While I realize pressures would be higher with the larger ammo, but how much difference does a couple thousands make to pressure and accuracy?

I have a couple of thousand rounds of 7.62 X 54 surplus ammo of several varieties, and I would hate to think I shouldn't use it in the 28-30.

Please Advise,

Doug Bowser's Answer:

The Finns rechambered their rifles to relieve the necks on the existing chambers, while using Russian "D" cartridges. The Russian bullets measure .310-.311". When the rifles were rechambered the Finns marked them on the barrel shank with a letter "D". The M28/30 is the only Finn rifle that was bored .3082". The others were .3095", except for the M39 which is .310". The Finn Government decided to make the M39 .310" to make it more compatible with the Soviet ammo. This was before the war started with Russia in October 1939. They knew the danger from the USSR and took steps accordingly.

The "S" type ( 180 gr flat based ) and the D46 type ( step boatailed) ammo the Finns produced at SAKO and Valtion Patrunnas Tehdas ( State Cartridge Factory ) was manufactured with .309" bullets. The D100 ( 200 gr step boatail) ammo was also .309". I believe the Finns were concerned with oversized bullets in the M28/30 or they would have manufactured their ammo with .310" bullets. I do not believe the practice of firing .310" surplus ammo in the M28/30 is dangerous, IF the barrel shank is marked with the "D". The real problem with oversized bullets is the possibility of the bullet being squeezed to tightly by the neck of the cartridge by the neck of the chamber. This may cause higher pressures to develop by increasing the amount of force required to push the bullet from the case when fired. I also think the steel cored bullets of some milsurp ammo may cause higher pressures in the .3082" bore. Bullets are very hot when traveling in the bore and if the core is filled with lead it becomes soft. A slightly oversized lead cored bullet will not usually cause any serious problems. I personally WOULD NOT use STEEL CORED .310" milsurp ammo in a M28/30.

In 1958, when I started firing military rifles, I decided to buy reloading tools and supplies instead of using milsurp ammo. I bought a mint condition M1941 Carcano rifle and purchased ammo for it at a W.T. Grant's store in Syracuse, NY. The ammo was mfg for a Breda machine gun and when I fired the first round, gas escaped from the breech and I could not open the bolt. Even using a hammer handle. Since then, I don't use milsurp ammo unless I know the source and what weapon it was intended for. I sell military ammo in our shop, and when in doubt we test fire a few rounds to be sure there are no problems for our customers.

The reloaded ammo usually performs better than the milsurp variety, and allows you to load soft point or match grade ammo for hunting and target shooting. I recommend that shooters of the M28/30 use handloads to bring out the potential of their rifle. I would also suggest the shooter wanting to use milsurp 7.62X54 ammo use it in a Model 39 Finn. I am enclosing the test fire that I did on reloads and milsurp ammo. I believe the M39 is potentially as accurate as the M28/30 with the proper bullet diameter.

Doug Bowser


Doug Bowser's 54R Ammo Tests

Hello All,

The test was a success. The weather was mild and not windy. I used the following rifles and ammo combinations. All groups were fired at 100 yards.

M39 rifle with mint bore .310"

military ammunition

1) Bulgarian brass cased ball marked 10-53, 149 gr bullet, 48 gr flake powder, bullet diameter = .311"

Muzzle velocity: low = 2789 fps high = 2908 fps

Group: 1.5" for 5 shots

2) Chinese brass cased ball marked 71-55, 149 gr bullet, 50 gr extruded powder, bullet diameter = .311"

Muzzle velocity: low = 2908 fps high = 2962 fps

Group: 1.75" for 5 shots

3) Russian yellow tip heavy ball marked 185 5 (55), 182 gr BT bullet, 48 gr extruded powder, bullet diameter = .310"

Muzzle velocity: low = 2634 fps high = 2685 fps

Group: 2.1" for 5 shots

4) Russian soft point marked LVE, 202 gr SP, 46 gr extruded powder, bullet diameter = .311"

Muzzle velocity: low = 2404 fps high = 2432 fps

Group: 2 5/8" for 5 shots

5) East German steel cased marked 21 78, 147 gr bullet, 47 gr extruded powder, bullet diameter = .311"

Muzzle velocity: low = 2744 fps high = 2828 fps

Group: 3.75" for 5 shots

6) Czech brass cased marked 3 0 10, 149 gr bullet, 46 gr flake powder, bullet diameter = .310"

Muzzle velocity: low = 2759 fps high = 2872 fps

Group: 4.5" for 5 shots

7) Egyptian brass cased marked factory 10 1970, 183 gr BT, 44 gr flake powder, bullet diameter = .309"

Muzzle velocity: low = 2510 fps high = 2624 fps

Groups: 12" for 4 shots

8) Finnish VPT 44 ammo all misfired no detonation.

Reloads: Lapua Cases RWS Primers ( All Firing At 100 Yards)

1) Hornaday 100 gr hp, .312" pistol bullet, 16 gr 2400 powder

Muzzle Velocity: low = 1615 fps high = 1767 fps

Group: 4.25" for 5 shots

2) Sierra 150 gr SP, .311" rifle bullet, 42 gr IMR 4895 powder

Muzzle Velocity: low = 2320 fps low = 2441 fps

Group: 4.5"

3) Lapua D46 170 gr step BT FMJ, .309" match bullet, 42 gr IMR 4895 powder

Muzzle Velocity: low = 2382 fps high = 2405 fps

Group: 2.5 for 5 shots

4) Remington 125 gr .310" SP bullet ( 7.62X39 bullet ), 43.5 gr IMR 3031 powder

Muzzle Velocity: low = 2635 fps high = 2766 fps

Group: 3" for 5 shots

5) Lapua D46 170 gr step BT FMJ, .309" match bullet, 40 gr IMR 3031 powder

Muzzle Velocity: low = 2232 fps high = 2320 fps

Group:3" for 5 shots

6) Lapua D46 170 gr step BT, .309" match bullet, 45 gr IMR 4064 powder

Muzzle Velocity: low = 2570 fps high = 2624 fps

Group:2" for 5 shots

7) Sierra 168 gr HPBT, .308" match bullet, 45 gr IMR 4064 powder

Muzzle Velocity: low = 2635 fps high = 2766 fps

Group: 3.5" for 5 shots

Model 1928/30 Finnish Rifle Bore Diameter .3082"

Reloads: Lapua Cases, RWS Primers ( Firing At 100 Yards )

1) Sierra 168 gr HPBT, .308" match bullet, 45 gr IMR 4064 powder

Muzzle Velocity: low = 2520 fps high = 2568

Group: 2" for 5 shots

2) Lapua D46 170 gr step BT FMJ, .309" match bullet, 45 gr IMR 4064 powder

Muzzle Velocity: low = 2607 fps high = 2651 fps

Group: 2.25" for 5 shots

3) Lapua D46 170 gr atep BT FMJ, .309" match bullet, 40 gr IMR 3031 powder

Muzzle Velocity: low = 2335 fps high = 2364

Group: 1.5" for 5 shots

4) Winchester 150 gr SP, .308" bullet, 43.5 gr IMR 3031 powder

Muzzle Velocity: low = 2629 fps high = 2678 fps

Group: 4" for 5 shots

5) Sierra 168 gr HPBT, .308 match bullet, 42 gr IMR 4895 powder

Muzzle Velocity: low = 2721 fps high = 2742 fps

Group: 2" for 4 shots

Smith-Corona 1903 A3 As Issued Fired As Illustration Of The 7.62 X 54 Power Level

1) LC 1969 M2 Ball , 152 gr, .308 bullet, standard USGI loading

Muzzle Velocity: low = 2525 fps high = 2641

Group: not fired for grouping

M1891/30 Tikka PU Sniper Rifle

This rifle is capable of .75" 3 shot groups at 100 yards. The trigger is so stiff that I will change the trigger parts with a set of a M27 Finn I have at the shop.

Note: I fired the velocity check on the 30-06 M2 Ball ammo to show that the 7.62 X 54 is more powerful than most military 30-06 loads.

I am well beat up from this range day, and I intend to expand on the list of fired loads in the next few weeks. I want to include some of the ball powders and available European powder.

I am going to take a nap,

Doug " The Beaten " Bowser

P.S. I had a clubmember named Doug Russell help me and without his help I would still be there.

All information is for reference only. I take no responsibility for any reloading information here. If you reload you do it your own risk. - Tuco



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