Stuff that interests me includes military firearms. I’m not an expert or even what I’d call a major collector but I do have a few.
One of the few is a Mosin Nagant. The Nagant is famous as the standard long arm of the Czar’s Army as well as the later Red Army. The sniper version of the Nagant was featured in the movie Enemy at the Gates where a German and Russian sniper hunt each other in the rubble of Stalingrad.
My Nagant however is not Russian, it’s Finnish.
My dad purchased it and it was probably because the Finnish version of the Nagant is uncommon. The Russians made quite a few and Russian versions can be had relatively cheaply but a Finnish Nagant is a bit more rare and therefore, more collectible.
When I inherited my dad’s small collection I had assumed that the Nagant had been captured by the Finns in the Winter War of 1939-40. The Finns lost but not before they extracted a heavy toll on the invading Soviet troops. In the process the Finns did capture much Soviet equipment. They captured even more when they threw in with the Germans during Barbarossa.
My assumption then was not unreasonable. It was however flawed.
As it turns out the Finns purchased quite a few Nagants and modified them for their own purposes and as a result, in general, Finnish Nagants are more accurate than the Russian versions which were manufactured for mass production and issue. The Finns were a bit more picky.
What is remarkable about my Finnish Nagant is the great shape it is in which is why I’m sure it caught my dad’s eye. As it turns out the frugal Finns reconditioned all of their Nagants after the war and kept them in stockpile well into the 1990’s. I suppose they did so being unsure when the Soviets might return for another go at them!
The Russian version of the Nagant was manufactured up until 1965 and is still found on modern battlefields including in the hands of Iraqi and Chechen insurgents. It was first manufactured in 1891 so that it was one long life for a bolt-action rifle.