(August 2018 Update: I wrote The Mosin-Nagant Rifle review more than a decade ago. Since that time, the book has been updated by the author twice. With each update, additional information has been added to assist collectors of these historic firearms. While I liked the book before, I feel even stronger that this book deserves a place in any collector’s library.)
Like many gun enthusiasts, I enjoy shooting, collecting and studying military surplus rifles. I find the Mosin-Nagant rifles to be a great value for the shooter and budget hunter.
While some enthusiasts will disagree, I find them particularly enjoyable as a collector’s piece. Each rifle tells a unique story and the stories of some of these rifles travel back to the 19th century. Yet, most of them can be obtained at a very reasonable price.
The Mosin-Nagant Rifle by Terence W. Lapin is the definitive guide to the history of the Mosin-Nagant rifle. The author clearly states what is fact and offers documentation to support these points.
When I first started collecting these rifles, I relied on several Internet sites to help me understand from where, and when, my rifles came. After reading The Mosin-Nagant Rifle, I discovered that a lot of the information I had accepted as true was either no the whole story or was outright false.
To research this book, Lapin has traveled to many eastern European countries and gone through old imperial and communist-era records to discover as much accurate information about the Mosin-Nagant as possible. Many, if not most, of these records are not online and cannot be found through a simple Google search.
Now in its fourth edition, Lapin’s research has uncovered production numbers, arsenal manufacturer information, and a lot of significant details regarding the evolution of this gun from the Tsars to post-WWII.
Most Mosin-Nagant collectors know about the rifle’s general history in Russia and Finland. Many collectors know how these rifles relate to Poland and the United States. Lapin has sections on other countries and their involvement with the Mosin-Nagant rifle such as Austria-Hungary, Bulgaria, China, Germany, North Korea, Spain, Turkey, and others.
I found The Mosin-Nagant Rifle book invaluable in deciphering the markings on my guns. Lapin has an entire appendix just on arsenal marks. This section alone is worth the price of the book.
Lapin also includes chapters on parts, bayonets, accessories and the 7.62x54R cartridge. Experimental models and rare examples are detailed in the book. Some of them are simply fascinating.
There is a lot of information about the Mosin-Nagant rifles that have been lost to time. Lapin does an excellent job in finding what information is still out there and piecing together an excellent history. Lapin is very clear regarding fact and supposition in his book. If he is surmising that somthing may be true based on the research, he indicates that information as his opinion and why he thinks that way.
If you own a Mosin-Nagant rifle and are interested in knowing more about its history, The Mosin-Nagant Rifle is the authority on these guns. I highly recommend it.
As with all of my reviews, I include a disclosure statement so you are better able to judge any biases that may have affected my evaluation of this book.
First off, I purchased this Mosin Nagant book with a gift card I had received as a birthday present. The photo below is from my order of this book (and several others) from Amazon in 2008.
Second, no one asked me to do this review. I like history and surplus rifles. Additionally, I own a Mosin or two, so I decided to buy the book to learn more about these guns. Since I had the book, I decided to share my thoughts on it with you in case you were thinking about buying it.
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