Finland found itself with nearly 200,000 Mosin Nagant rifles in its possession after breaking away from Russian rule in 1917, and those rifles would for the basis of Finnish infantry arms until the adopted of a semiautomatic rifle many decades later.
At first, Russian rifles were simply refurbished and rebarreled, but the Army and Civil Guard quickly found the Russian Model 1891 pattern wanting, and began to develop improvements. The two organizations managed their arm production independently, and the Army was the first to develop a new model of Mosin, in the M27. Produced from 1927 until 1940, this was a shortened (27”/68.5cm barrel) with improved furniture and sights. The Civil Guard followed shortly afterwards with their M28 short rifle. The M28 would only be produced until 1933, however, when it was replaced with the Civil Guard M28/30, which further improved the sights.
Ultimately, the Army and Civil Guard would come together to design the apogee of Mosin Nagant evolution, the M39. Over 100,000 of these rifles would be made, all starting from captured or purchased receivers - the Finns never manufactured receivers themselves. If anything can be considered a transformation of a sow’s ear into a silk purse, it would be the creation of an M39 from a Russian M1891!
In this video, we will look at the features of each of these models…
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