Mosins have a reputation for being one of most famous, reliable, and durable rifles of the 20th (and 19th) century. Made from simple and inexpensive parts, the Mosin-Nagant has seen two World Wars and are still commonly found worldwide–though they are now more likely to be found in a collector’s safe than on the battlefield.
What some may not know is that the Mosin met criticism and scandal in its early incarnations. Following a devastating number of casualties during the Russo-Ottoman War of 1877, the Russian Imperial Army found itself in need of a modern magazine-fed rifle. The resulting search produced three rifles, including one from Captain Sergei Ivanovich Mosin of the Imperial Army and another by Belgian designer Leon Nagant. The Nagant rifle was initially selected over Mosin’s design, but a later decision instead preferred the Mosin rifle.
Eventually features were combined from both of the designs into a single firearm, leading to the first models of the rifle we now know as a Mosin-Nagant. Problems arose when Nagant filed a patent suit against the Imperial Army, which had ownership of the Mosin design. Eventually Nagant was paid 200,000 Russian rubles, the original amount that Mosin received for winning the design competition. Although not frequently called a Mosin-Nagant in its native Russia (it is instead more commonly referred to as vintovka Mosina–Mosin’s rifle), the name became widely used in the West.
The final rifle combined the advantages of both designs into a single robust and reliable firearm. Now watch Eric and Barry from Iraqveteran8888 try to destroy the thing in a two-part series.