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Text: Tuco Photos: Tuco-Fred S

The nation of Poland began manufacturing their clone of the Soviet Model 1944 Carbine ( M44 ) in 1950, and according to Terence Lapin, author of The Mosin Nagant Rifle, production of this carbine ran until at least 1962.  It is assumed the Poles manufactured these carbines on Soviet machinery that was relocated into Poland.  One reason for this assumption is that Soviet M44 production ceased in 1948 and the machines used to manufacture these carbines was no longer needed.   The theory is that the Soviets took a year, 1949, to relocate the tooling and the Poles to undertake production.

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A striking blonde stock Polish M44

While the Polish M44 Carbines look much like their Soviet and Eastern European cousins, they are easy to identify by their proofs.    On the barrel shank of the Polish M44's there will be an 11 in an oval and   in many cases a OW with a 3 under it that appears in a diamond.  The 11 is either the Eastern European country code of Poland ( all the nations in the Eastern Bloc were given a number ) or is for the factory Radom (known as Factory 11).   The OW 3 is thought to be a factory code of some sort.   The OW in a diamond is also a common proof marking that is seen on the stocks of these carbines.

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The OW in a diamond from a Polish stock.   These are not seen on all stocks but they do seem to appear on most.

As is the case with many Polish manufactured small arms,  the M44 Carbines are very well manufactured rifles.   The metal and the wood found on the Polish M44's are of the highest quality.   The overall quality of the Polish M44 is second to none and in many regards rivals the Finnish made Mosin Nagants in overall quality.  In the opinion of many shooters and collectors these carbines are possibly the standard of all the Mosin Nagants, and are without a doubt the finest M44 carbine ever manufactured.

These fine carbines employ the post war or later production features of the Soviet M44 Carbine.  They have the double "guards" on the bayonet lug and the front sight's base also show the later Soviet improvements.  The rear sights are the same configuration as the Soviet model.   The stocks are a hard wood of some type and there has never been a reported case of a Polish M44 in a laminate stock.  The wood color can range from a blonde to a dirty dark brown, with the wood grain of these stocks in most cases quite striking.   Most of the initial imports all seemed to have the blonde tinted wood while later imports seem to be more dark in color.  Date does not seem to have any bearing on the stock finish as the author has one 1954 example that has blonde wood and another 1954 that is much darker in color. 

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Barrel shank marking from a 1953 dated Polish carbine.

There are known examples that have a large diamond painted on the butt stock.  In many cases there is a letter in this large diamond but the meaning is unknown.  It has been suggested these were a trainer or a Police carbine.  Both are guesses and there is no proof either way.

These carbines were issued with a green canvas sling that looks much like the later Soviet model.  These will have Polish markings on them and in some cases have the 11 in an oval stamping.  The oilier that was issued with the carbines are a double topped square model that are marked Pt ( cleaning solvent ) and Sm ( lube). 

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Polish M44 Oilier

The issue and use of these carbines is not 100% clear. As is the case with many Mosin Nagants from the Eastern European nations, there seems to be a bit of mystery and rumor associated with these carbines.  One such rumor that appears to be totally incorrect is the notion the M44's were manufactured in Poland for export to North Korea.  It is unclear where this rumor was born but it does seem to have no factual evidence to back it up.  It does seem clear that these carbines did see use in the Polish Army.  It is unknown if they were ever an "issue" weapon but they were used in training at least until the 1980's.   This is backed up by known photos of Polish troops using these carbine in training maneuvers.    

It is feasible that the various police units in Poland also issued these carbines in some capacity.  The author was in contact with a Pole that claimed these were widely used by Polish police units; however, the Polish national that made these claims died in a car crash before any proof could be furnished.  Due to this tragic death, there is no way of knowing if this was based in fact.  Others have reported these were a reserve weapon placed in storage to be issued to emergency troops in case of a invasion from the West.  This theory also holds water as this was a common occurrence in the thinking of the Soviet Bloc nations.  

However these carbines were issued it is certain that many saw little to no use in actual duty in Poland.  This is clear as the condition of these carbines is excellent in most cases.   In fact most of the M44's from Poland will have 90% ( or better ) blue, near perfect wood, and have fine bores as well.

The Polish clone of the Soviet Model 1944 Carbine has become one of the more popular Mosin Nagants in the United States.  In many cases these carbines are in "unisued" new mint condition.  Overall they are very accurate shooters and again the condition is a real selling point, as one would be hard pressed to find a carbine that is better in overall quality.    While most of their history is still unclear, they are a nice addition to the Mosin collection.  They also fit very well into the "Cold War" collections that seem to be gaining in popularity.   The Polish Mosin Nagant Model 1944 Carbine is a nice example of a post WW2 carbine that holds a special place in the hearts of many of its owners.   These Polish carbine may well be the finest Mosin Nagant ever produced.

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