I Wish it Could Talk

Some people collect really cool guns…but I collect Communist Trash. I kid! Still Mosin Nagants are crude rifles. They’re more accurate than most shooters are capable of, their ammo is still cheap and plentiful, and its amusingly powerful. They also have crude ergonomics, a safety that is best left alone, and a trigger like dragging a piano down a dirt road with your finger. Still they’re inexpensive guns and its an easy way to get into collecting, and people shouldn’t feel ashamed to shoot their little chunk of history. Because of this I got bit by the bug early and now I keep finding more of them in my vault.

My crown Jewel of my collection is a Westinghouse M1891 , let’s have a look at it:

So this rifle was made here in Massachusetts in the early 1900s under a contract for Imperial Russia. The Barrel is stamped 1915, but all Westinghouse rifles are stamped with that year no matter when they were made.

OK so two things should stick out to those who are familiar with M1891s. One the top handguard is missing from the forearm. Pretty common as its a LONG thin piece of wood and for a rifle that was around in time for the Oktober Revolution, WWI, WWII the Winter War, and who knows what else, it isn’t unreasonable that it may have been broken along the way. The second is this:

What the hell is that? That’s a damn blade bayonet lug! So there were a ton of Mosins that did get bayonets that weren’t the standard “Tomato Stake” spike bayonet most are familiar with. The Finns fitted their Mosins with blades, The Germans captured a bunch of 1891s around the time of the first World War and set them up to accept Mauser Bayonets, also I’ve read about the Russian Army experimenting with blade bayonets. I’ve found pictures of all of the above, and the Germans stuck their lugs on the side, not under the muzzle like this, the Russian and Finn lugs look considerably different than this from this one.

Some people wondered if this rifle ever left the United States, I guess a bunch of Westinghouse and Remington M1891s never made it to Russia. Well there’s this on the butt:

According to this the circular stamp is Ruskie for “English Contract”
, also there is a Wxx (X being illegible symbols) on both sides of the butt near the recoil pad. I assumed the Cyrillic stamp meant it made it to Russia, but I guess it just means the stock is original.
Then one day I was cruising youtube and found a video of a US Springfield Krag Jorgenson, and THERE WAS MY LUG!

(here’s the underside if that helps anybody)

Looking at Krags it appears the bayonet lugs differed by contract and the American Lugs look the closest to what I have. So how would an American Lug find it’s way onto a Russian infantry rifle? It certainly doesn’t seem to be a “bubba” job, as hunters and sporters often hacked lugs OFF guns, not add them. Some of you may have read Tam’s recent post to get a hint on my theory:

Russian military contract Winchester M1895:
A box-magazine-fed, Browning-designed, fully-stocked, 7.62x54R Winchester levergun with a bayonet lug that may have been used to shoot Bolsheviks in Russia and Fascists in Spain. What’s not to like?

Yep the Ruskies got a contract of Winchester M1895 rifles that were chambered in 7.62x54R and were set up to accept the US Krag Bayonet with the Springfield Krag Lug.

The best I can think is some Ruskie decided a blade would be better than a tomato stake on the end of his Yankee-contract rifle…or some Yankee decided to mod a rifle that never made it to the land of the Czar.

I have no idea, all I know is it made it back to Massachusetts where a bearded collector found it among mundane 91/30s and annexed it to his collection.

BTW the rifle is covered with proof-marks and cartouches, but I’m not going to spend all night photographing them because I don’t know what are significant and what aren’t.

So what do you make of this neat piece?

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0 Responses to I Wish it Could Talk

  1. It’s obviously a forgery. You should send it to me for proper storage and disposal. I’ll give you $50 for it….

  2. DaddyBear says:

    And now I must have a lever gun in God’s Own Caliber (Eastern Orthodox)

  3. Kristopher says:

    It wasn’t ordered with that blade lug by the Czar.

    The War Department contracted a bunch with US bayonet lugs and US style slings to use by the US expeditionary force that invaded Siberia during the Russian revolution.

    They all ended up being sold to Bannerman’s.

  4. Nancy R. says:

    “and a trigger like dragging a piano down a dirt road with your finger.”

    OMG. That’s it exactly.

  5. tommy says:

    Here’s a story you might get a kick out of. I work for one of the companies that bought part of Westinghouse when it split off some of its bits several years ago. I’m in tech support for some of the automation and motor control equipment for it. One of my coworkers got a call from a homeowner asking for a replacement bolt from this very gun. I have the call writeup posted on my wall.

    Unfortunately, we did not take over any of this, as it most likely the tooling did not survive, but still, how cool would that have been!


  6. Wally says:

    Man that is gorgeous. I love those guns that have been there, done that, and been modified to suit whatever task needed to be done. If this thing could tell some stories… Man oh man!

    I keep meaning to get started doing some type of old iron postings, between the collection and what walks through the door would be amazing.

  7. Greg Camp says:

    A Mosin Nagant was my first rifle. (I know–I got into the gun nut forest backward, sideways, every way but forward. . .) As with every other Commie Bloc gun I own, the damned thing works. It might require a monkey wrench and a swift kick from time to time, but it works.

    I see here (http://7.62x54r.net/MosinID/MosinMarks01.htm) that a double 0 is an accuracy proof mark. I wonder if that plus the W in front of it doesn’t mean Westinghouse 00.

    • Weerd Beard says:

      Well according to that the “00” proof is on the chamber hood, and was done by the ruskies, not on buttstock and done by Massholes.

      There is a nice picture of a much cleaner “English Contract” butt stamp than the one I have.

  8. Mr_Rich says:

    I found a scan of a Finnish document online that has helped me to improve my Mosin trigger to feeling like you’re dragging a piano down a paved road with your finger. Obviously you wouldn’t do this to your Westinghouse but is an appropriate modification to a $79.99 J&G special.


    • Weerd Beard says:

      Eh, I don’t modify C&R guns in any way I can’t reverse in an hour. If I want a buttery-smooth trigger I’ll buy a modern rifle.

      If I want an old hunk of cosmoline-soaked history, I buy Mosin!

  9. Minya Arato says:

    What a stroke of luck finding this discussion. I’ve got the exact same gun. Or as near as I can remember. I’ve had them all sent to foster homes for the time being. But the cool thing is that around 1988 a local gunsmith acquired a case load of these and brought them into work to sell. I think the price was $50 or $60 and who could pass up a gun made by Westinghouse when you are an employee of Westinghouse?! Westinghouse has moved on by I’ve still got very nice memory from there. As for the piano analogy, I don’t remember it being that bad. The first shot was definitely stressing and not much less for the second. I remember my nephew put a 2″ x 8″ board under a car hood in my brother’s wrecking yard for a target. The 3 foot long board disintegrated and the hood came down with a crash. We circled every car in that yard and found the entry and exit points of that one full metal jacket and lost the trail at the tenth car! When you were carrying that you didnā€™t fear much. Iā€™d hazard a guess that even close would count with that gun. Loved hearing some history about it. Thanks guys.

  10. phil griff says:

    you just helped me identify my bayonet lug on my Chatellerault 1893 mosin it still has the extra finger guard as well.

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