7.62x54R is not a ridiculous round. Sitting in-between 30-06 and .308 in power, it’s kind of sensible, other than the way outdated rim. It’s use since the 1890’s means lots of countries have produced the round and ensured it as an inexpensive, readily available, full-power plinking round that pairs up well with inexpensive, surplus Mosin Nagant 91/30 rifles. One of the issues in that deal is with the rifle: the Mosin Nagant has a butt designed for durability that rifles required in the 1890’s. It is built to handle trench warfare and butt stroking enemy soldiers if the foot long bayonet cannot be found. It is not designed for fun shooting and that makes the Mosin somewhat uncomfortable to shoot at the range from a bench or prone position. You can put on one of the aftermarket buttpads or kill much of the recoil altogether with a muzzle brake. Howling Raven was kind enough to send me one of their test muzzle brakes to try on my Mosin Nagant.
A Muzzle Brake for the Mosin Nagant 91/30
Howling Raven’s muzzle brake for the Mosin Nagant turns in around the front sight post for strength and uses 3 brass set screws to stay put. Installation takes about 1 minute, 2 or 3 if you’re really being careful about indexing the center holes absolutely in line with the top. You are not going to mess this up. If you’re going to keep your muzzle brake attached, I’d recommend adding some loctite to the brass set screws to keep them in place. The brake is steel and beefy. If you want a brake that will withstand a lot of abuse, this is your brake.
Shooting the Howling Raven Muzzle Brake
Recoil changes considerably once you’ve installed this muzzle brake. The Mosin Nagant usually recoils to the rear and has some muzzle rise. After installing the brake, much of the rearward recoil is slashed. Because the Howling Raven brake only uses upward facing ports, the muzzle is driven slightly downwards upon firing. On a bench or prone, you’re not going to see much or any drop because the forend will be supported. All you’ll see is the big reduction in recoil and complete elimination of muzzle rise. Because the brake only uses upward facing ports, you’re not going to kick up dust if you’re shooting prone in a sandy or dusty environment.
I’ve had my Mosin for over a year and a half, and haven’t got close to making a dent on the surplus 880 round can of ammo that I bought. When I take the Mosin Nagant to the range with new shooters, they’re usually good after no more than 5 rounds. Hopefully, this muzzle brake will make for more enjoyable range sessions with the Mosin and let me better take advantage of the super cheap 7.62x54R round. The Mosin is a great, full power, fun gun, and it should be even more fun with a bit of the recoil edge cut off. For $60-$70, it’s a low price to pay to be able to shoot extremely inexpensive surplus ammo and not beat up shoulders.