Easy Mosin Nagant Stock Refinishing




About: I enjoy building things. There is something quite satisfying about making something from various parts, rather than just buying it. Also, I tend to be a bit frugal. So, many,if not all, of my projects will b...

Hey folks,

I recently decided to start a gun collection and I started with a mosin nagant 91/30. The mechanical parts of the gun were in great shape, and although the finish of the stock wasn't too bad, it was of low quality and chipped off easily. I also wanted to do something to personalize this rifle so that it didn't look like every other mosin nagant out there. This is what I ended up with, and I think it looks pretty decent, while at the same time saving me the money it would take to buy a pricey after market stock.

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Step 1: Brief History of the Mosin Nagant

In case you are wondering what a mosin nagant is, I will describe it here. I will keep it very brief, but feel free to skip over this if you are not interested.

The mosin nagant rifle was first designed by a joint Russian/Belgian team in the late 1800's. It is most well known as one of the primary battle rifles of the Soviet Union during World War II. If you saw the movie "Enemy at the Gates", the sniper version (scoped) of this rifle is what the main character was using. It is chambered in 7.62x54r, which is similar in power to a modern .308.

If you want to know more, this site is great: http://7.62x54r.net/

Step 2: Materials

For this project, you will need:

A mosin nagant rifle
80 grit sandpaper
100 grit sandpaper
A sharp knife
Painter's Tape
Rope or Wire
Flathead screwdriver

Palm Sander
Drill with wire wheel

Step 3: Disassemble Your Rifle

The mosin nagant is easily disassembled. It requires that you remove two screws, and slide off two barrel bands.

Start by removing the bolt. This can be accomplished by opening the bolt, checking that the gun is not loaded, and pulling the trigger while pulling the bolt out of the rifle. Once this is done, it exposes a screw near the back of the receiver. Unscrew this screw. The other screw is at the front of the box magazine, on the bottom of the rifle. Remove this screw as well, and then remove the two barrel bands. The two main parts of the machinery can now be removed from the stock.

The steel butt plate is held on with a further two screws. Remove this as well.

Your rifle is now disassembled.

Step 4: Sanding

I did some research on stock refinishing and most suggest that you use paint stripper, or Krud Kutter, or Easy Off Oven Cleaner, or other things to take the old finish off. I don't have a garage, and I didn't want to make a huge mess in my basement, so I just sanded the old finish off with 80 grit sandpaper, followed by 100 grit to smooth it out. You can use a palm sander to make this very easy, but be careful not to alter the shape of the stock. When you are done, it should look roughly like the photo attached. If you wish you can use a hairdryer to assist in removing the old finish. I have heard this can help, but I didn't do much for me.

When the finish has been taken off, you can use some sandpaper, or a drill and wire wheel, to remove any finish or remaining cosmoline from the holes for the sling.

At this point you need to decide how you are going to refinish your stock. If you would like to keep the traditional look, you could use linseed oil, or a varnish or stain to finish it off. I wanted something a bit different, so I used spray paint.

Step 5: Taping Off

Tape off all metal parts remaining on the stock. Use the sharp knife, in my case a hobby knife, to cut the tape around the metal parts to allow for a nice paint job without ruining the look of your metal parts. If you want to include them in your paint scheme, ignore this step.

Step 6: Painting

Use your rope/wire/string to hang your stock while you paint it. This allows for easy painting of all sides of the stock without waiting for one side to dry before starting the other.

While spray painting, keep the nozzle about 15 inches or so from the stock and make light passes. This limits runs in the paint. I did about 5 or 6 coats.

When the wood parts were dry, I removed the tape from the metal parts and applied clear nail polish to the metal parts. This both protects them from rust (because I removed the bluing in my version) and makes them shiny. I used the nail polish as a low cost alternative to a clear spray paint, and it comes with its own brush, which is good for small parts. If you did not remove the bluing/varnish from your metal parts, skip the nail polish/clear coat part.

You can now reassemble your rifle.

Step 7: You're Done

Before reassembling your rifle, you may want to oil up the mechanical parts of your rifle while they are easy to get to, as this inhibits rust.

Reassemble your rifle and you are done.

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    11 Discussions


    Question 1 year ago on Step 7

    Have to ask how did the barrel bands go back on where is there any scratching or was it just smooth?? I'm painting my stock and worry about that


    4 years ago

    I'm not sure why people will paint wood stocks rather than spend 10 or 15 bucks extra and stain and seal it properly? Also, nail polish on metal parts? Its a good thing that Nagants are a dime a dozen or this could have been a costly mistake!

    5 replies

    Reply 4 years ago

    The fact that they are easy to find is why i didn't mind making some mods. I have other guns that are in perfect factory condition. I wanted something I could make feel more like mine. The paint was used because i didn't want a wood grain look. If i did I would have stained it properly, and I still can at a later date if I wish. The same can be said regarding. Nail polish on the metal parts. They can be reblued if I want to later. In conclusion, I don't know why you are so negative on this one. It was never going to be a museum piece to begin with.


    Reply 4 years ago on Introduction

    Thanks for your post.
    Though I've never done it, I can appreciate the idea of painting a Mosin. I've refinished 7 or 8 Mosins. I always remind myself that while it is a wonderful object, it's not a precious rare object. On the other hand, I'm much more cautious reworking my Swiss rifles.

    BTW - Do I detect Flintstonian attire in your avatar?

    Rifle - Mosin Nagant Angle x4.JPGRifle - Swiss K1911 Right.jpg

    Reply 4 years ago

    His name is jwilliamsen. He just finished a Nagant sporter conversion.......I have worked in the firearms industry for quite a few years and have never seen a better Nagant conversion.


    Reply 4 years ago

    If you like your Nagants and other surplus rifles there is a guy on here that does crazy mods to these type rifles. He does beautiful work and is building many into long range target rifles.


    Reply 4 years ago

    Well, the look of a wood stock is a matter of opinion but, nail polish on metal parts? Please explain what parts you put nail polish on. Number 1, nail polish doesn't bond to metal and 2, build up of layers on mated surfaces can cause weapon groups to malfunction. So, negative or not.............thats just how I feel. My opinion is that its better to keep a light coat of oil on the parts or better yet soak them in boiled linseed oil and wipe clean then, let them dry and coat with Hoppes #9.


    4 years ago on Introduction

    Nice! My Nagant is in very good condition or I'd do this!


    5 years ago on Step 7

    It looks nice. I used acetone to strip the shellac of my Mosin. I used Formby's tung oil as the finish.