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Mosin 91/30 PU: Soviet Standard WW2 Sniper’s Rifle

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The Mosin M91/30 PU is the most recognized Soviet sniper rifle of World War Two, but it was not their first. It was preceded by the Model 1931 PE, the Model 1936 PEM, and also the scoped version of the SVT-40 semiautomatic rifle. The SVT was intended to become a universal infantry rifle as well as a sniper’s rifle, and the short 3.5x PU scope was designed specifically for it (earlier PE and PEM scopes we long, and interfered with the ejection port of the SVT). Mosin sniper production was shut down in the summer of 1940 as the SVT started to be manufactured.

However, field use showed that the SVT was inadequate as a sniper rifle. It had problems with first shots going to a different point of aim than subsequent ones, a barrel that heated rapidly and would string out shots, and generally insufficient accuracy overall. In August 1942 it was declared ineffective – something new was needed to replace it. The solution was to design a mount to fit that new short PU scope (which was fast and cheap to make) to the standby M91/30 Mosin Nagant, and put that into production as quickly as possible. An Izhevsk engineer named Kochetov designed a good mounting system, which was adopted in August 1942 just as the SVT was being retired. Both Tula and Izhevsk began new production of M91/30 PU snipers, with the first rifles ready in October and December of 1942 respectively.

By the end of 1944 close to 400,000 of the Mosin PU snipers had been built, enough to fully equip the Red Army. Production was shut down, but the rifle remained the Soviet standard sniper rifle until replaced by the SVD Dragunov in the 1960s. The example we are looking at today was made at Ishevsk in 1943 and given to Poland as military assistance after the war, where it was refurbished and put into storage.

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