Mosin Nagant KABOOM

This is something I never thought I would see …

MrDryCry wrote at Arfcom

Well…it finally happened today. I’ve been in the C&R game about 5 years and own about 10 C&R weapons…even went down the road to get my 003 FFL. I have purchased 4 mosins and never had any issues…I do a thorough breakdown, inspection, head space, firing pin, and cleaning prior to shooting…obviously I missed something on my fourth mosin. I went to a public range today and was shooting (or shot) Romanian light ball. First time to shoot this 1932 beauty today and (SEE PICS BELOW) I wasn’t hurt at all and actually didn’t even realize what happened until I chambered the second round. I saw the round impact the berm. No hot gas or anything in the face. I feel very lucky…lots of people at the range were snapping photos of the ruptured receiver. I picked up the steel and there was a split neck, but nothing crazy. I was pretty shook up. As you’ll see in the pics, the receiver split in two right behind the chamber. Note the different color where the receiver failed…the discoloration indicates there was an existing failure. I really don’t think there was anything visible on the surface, but maybe I missed it. I went and bought a lotto ticket tonight.

[ Many thanks to Advocate for emailing me the link. ]

Steve Johnson

Founder and Dictator-In-Chief of TFB. A passionate gun owner, a shooting enthusiast and totally tacti-uncool. Favorite first date location: any gun range. Steve can be contacted here.


  • Mechman

    I can honestly say that’s the first one I’ve ever seen blow, and I’ve seen some crazy rechambers before.

  • rike

    That rifle has certainly been cracked for some time before this accident !!

  • Martin (M)

    What a shame for the gun, but of course, I’m glad the shooter is OK.

  • VicksofDenmark

    I’ve always been told only to buy pre-war or Nagants from the later years of the war. The reason being that the quality of the metal on the early war models were really bad.

  • Lance

    Must have been crappy Chi com ammo always be careful of what ammo you use in vintage gun.

  • Damn, I don’t think I have ever seen something like this before. I have three Mosin-Nagant’s and they all shoot perfectly, but I guess it can happen to any rifle. Still this is the first time I have ever heard of a receiver failure with a Mosin. Looks like part of the crack is old. It speaks to the strength of the design that it didnt do any worse, I suppose. Well regardless very good that you were not hurt. Hopefully this is one of those once in a lifetime things, and with a Mosin I can imagine it probably is… (knock on wood).

  • Duane

    Looking at the pics you had a about 220 degree circumferential defect prior to its rupturing. The lighter color metal is the new break with the darker being oxidized and indicating that it was cracked for awhile.

  • Target

    Well that must of been an existing crack that finally let go when the gun was fired.

    I find it hard to believe this missed the importer.

    The Russians only took aesthetic short cuts, they didn’t sacrifice the safety of the weapon like the Japanese, they knew that a rifle made right was better than a rifle that would explode first shot. They put the attention to detail where it was needed. This rifle must of gotten damaged a long time ago.

    Pretty interesting. This is the first mosin I’ve seen that’s had a huge failure like this. 1932 Tula… too bad it got turned into a tomato stake.

    Good that no one was hurt

  • Vaarok

    Old crack, possibly a flaw in the steel, possibly an overtorque or related. Not pre-war-versus-wartime, not crappy ammo. Just a testament that everything can and will fail in some way sooner or later. And as has been mentioned, it had held together for quite a while with serious but invisible damage.

  • jdun1911

    I shot a lot of 7.62x54R in the days. I can tell you without a doubt that surplus 54R ammo are very hot. I have primers blown out from their casing or broken apart. Good stuff tho.

    All of my 54 came from Eastern Europe. I have never had a chance to use Chinese 54R. I don’t think they export 54R to the USA. If they did it was not at the time when I was active in shooting guns.

  • TalbotFarwell

    I hereby dub this the “Murphy’s Law” Mosin.

  • Lance


    Most modernish 54 ammo is made for SVDs and PKM semi autos and are loaded very hot for them DO NOT USE STEEL CASE AMMO for a Mosin. Try to fin either Copperwased steel with ”light ball” loads or but Bulgarian brass case surplus ammo. I buy the latter and it was made in the early 50s so its made to be used in WW2 Mosins. Century Arms still sells some.

  • w00d

    Nothing a little JB Weld can’t fix.

  • Jim

    Any chance the maufacturer will stand behind the warranty?


    Sunk New Dawn
    Galveston, TX

  • txpete

    Most modernish 54 ammo is made for SVDs and PKM semi autos and are loaded very hot for them DO NOT USE STEEL CASE AMMO for a Mosin. Try to fin either Copperwased steel with ”light ball” loads or but Bulgarian brass case surplus ammo. I buy the latter and it was made in the early 50s so its made to be used in WW2 Mosins. Century Arms still sells some.


  • Ironnewt

    Holy Mother of the Soviets non existent God!! Glad you are okay and thanks for sharing

  • eli

    That’s amazing, thank goodness no one was injured! This is the first time I’ve heard of such a break in a M/N. and hope to never again. My 1934 Tula is a beautiful rifle and I am sorry to see yours destroyed.

  • bart

    You can see that not only did the receiver have an old crack, so did the stock…probably was hairline. It might have been found on a full disassembly.

  • W.

    Magnaflux old parts, cheap insurance

  • tom

    The crack was there from the day gun was made. The blueing in the original crack is testament to that.

  • HowardBeale


    It wasn’t the ammunition that did this.
    In the final pic the crack on the left is old and finished over, the crack on the right is fresh and new.
    Likely a person from the arsenal in charge of inspection missed the crack and dipped it in the blue, the blue filled in the crack and obscured it.

  • Hay Bob

    Yellow tip 180 grain Mg Ammo my have been fired in it before it came to you and was already over stressed.

  • smartass

    that will buff right out!

  • William

    Hay Bob, that whole “MG Ammo” thing is a myth. Orginally it started because there was special ammo for the ShKAS aircraft machine gun. This ammo had a much thicker rim than standard 7.62x54r ball, because the ShKAS fired at very high rates of fire, (1800 rpm and above, even one designed at 3000 rpm!!). The ShKAS would tear off the rims of standard ammo, as it had such a violent extraction hence the thicker rim. Now, the “MG Ammo” myth started because this special ammo was not to be used in rifles, or any other non ShkAS weapons for that matter, because the thick rim could cause serious extraction problems, even potentially breaking an extractor, however the ammo was not signifigantly higher loaded than standard ammo, anyway, they did pressure tests on the reciever of the Mosin and it survived all the way up to 100,000 psi (beyond as well I THINK). Not to mention the fact that the ammo was specially marked, not a yellow tip might I add. Also, this ShKAS ammo is tremendously rare anyhow. Yellow tip simply means heavy ball, heavy ball ammo is perfectly safe to fire in any good condition 7.62x54r rifle. This rifle obviously had a preexisting crack, for whatever reason that may be. Well just felt like I had to correct that “MG Ammo” myth I see so often. Oh and btw, it is not a myth that heavy ball ammo of ANY type is bad for PSLs and probably most semi-auto 7.62x54r, just as heavier than 150 grain 30.06 loads are bad for M1s…

  • bop-1

    Wow. You are one lucky dude man. I hope that lottery ticket paid good enough to buy another M/N. First one I’ve ever seen cracked like that. I think I’ll strip down mine tonight and give it a fine going over. Glade there were no injures. Sorry about the rifle.

  • crewface

    as a toolmaker i would say the way it is cracked radially relates to stress from barrel fitting where it may have been tight so they torched it up a bit too much effectively heat treating the receiver without stress relieving it-
    for more info,,,try to scratch the metal of the crack with a stainless knife point or something that should be just a little bit harder than 40 rc- I have seen cracks like this all my die making life. they also tell their own story-
    4140 is very strong, barring inclusions, would not crack like that in its ordinance heat treated state- so, someone had tight threads and changed the state, maybe got it near dull red in color, really torqued that barrel and then cooled it off, left a harder, more brittle zone torqued by barrel thread stress, and hammered by explosive harmonics, the crack ran-

  • The WW-I Remington Mod. 1917s had some issues with the heat treating of the receivers – particularly the ones made at Eddystone Arsenal. When re barreled they frequently cracked. Back in the days before magnafluxing, they would dunk a receiver (or whatever they wanted to check for micro fractures) in a tub of gasoline to soak for a bit, then pull it back out and wipe it off as dry as possible. The gas, having penetrated even microscopic fissures, would start coming back out to the surface and reveal where the crack, normally invisible to the naked eye (or even a good magnifying glass) was – if there were any.

    If you can’t afford a magnaflux system, but do have some nasty old lawn mower gas around the garage, you might give it a shot on some of those old battle weary milsurps… in a well ventilated area, of course….

  • Steve

    This just goes to show, Mosin Nagants were built so strongly that they can survive 70 years with only 40% of the chamber intact!

    What a gun!!

  • Bobby

    The person firing it wasn’t German by any chance were they? Maybe some nazi lineage?

  • Qobsession

    DO you want to sell the Broken Receiver?? Or just donate it to my project?

  • Qobsession

    How much do you want for the broken receiver???

    • AL

      The break looks like it had been there a long time.

  • Talasum

    Hex recievers are bit cooler looking but I’d rather use round one since there less tension on the surface

  • Jamie

    A little JB weld and some duck tape and its good as new and back on the firing range.

  • iraiam

    The split was due to a long time crack, if it was a new crack the metal should be bright and shiny, the dull color indicates that it had been cracked for some time allowing the metal to oxidize.