Skip to main content

Soviet M1891/30 Mosin-Nagant PU Sniper

Soviet M1891/30 Mosin-Nagant PU Sniper
The Soviet 3.5x22mm PU scope racked up the highest body count of any sniper scope ever fielded. While very basic, it performed well in actual combat.

In the hands of Soviet snipers, both male and female, all the various models of M1891/30 sniper rifles racked up enormous kill tallies. As an example, at the end of the war the Soviets claimed their ten highest scoring snipers had a total of 4,200 confirmed kills. Compared to all the other participants of World War II the Soviet Union made use of snipers on a scale never seen before or since. This required the production of sniper rifles on a huge scale. The most prolific of the Soviet designs was the M1891/30 with 3.5x PU scope.

Chambered for the 7.62x54mmR cartridge this model was based upon the simple yet rugged Mosin-Nagant action. As such it was a five-shot manual repeater with Nagant’s single-column magazine. Barrel length was a fairly long 28.7 inches with a 1-9.4 inch twist and a bore diameter of .310 inch. At 48.5 inches long and weighing 8.7 pounds it resembled a child of the 19th Century rather than 1930. Rifles were selected for conversion to sniper rifles from regular production lots during their initial test firing. For a M1891/30 to be selected it had to put all four rounds into a maximum group size of 30mm (1.18 inches) at 100 meters. Rifles that met this standard were then set aside and modified with the addition of bent bolt handles and optics.

Soviet M1891/30 Mosin-Nagant PU Sniper
Female Soviet snipers show off their PU topped Mosin-Nagant sniper rifles. The Soviet’s fielded large numbers of female snipers during the desperate hours of World War II.

The 3.5x22mm PU (Universal Scope) was a very compact fixed power optic developed with mass production in mind. It featured a heavy post reticle and an elevation turret with Bullet Drop Compensation marks out to 1,300 meters. A dedicated military scope, windage adjustments were delineated in Mils. Very utilitarian in profile, it resembled a simple short tube with turrets. Field of view was on the narrow side at 4 degrees 30 minutes. Simple and rugged it was mounted to the rifle by a very robust side mount. Unfortunately the mount placed the optic fairly high to allow use of the standard iron sights. This combined with the relatively short eye relief (2.7 inches) made for a fairly uncomfortable package.

Despite the lack of a cheekweld many Mosin-Nagant snipers shot surprisingly well. The action may look archaic but it’s capable of excellent accuracy. One difficulty facing Soviet snipers though was the lack of dedicated sniper grade ammunition. Even so German wartime reports are filled with references to the effectiveness of Soviet sniping. Over 220,000 PU scopes were produced during its service life and over 100,000 snipers fielded during WWII. While the PU topped M1891/30 may not have been the best sniper rifle of the war, it certainly had the greatest effect. As an example, Ludmila Mihaylovna Pavlichenko became the top scoring female sniper of all time using a M1891/30 with a tally of 309. The PU topped M1891/30 sniper rifle soldiered on long after Berlin fell. It saw service in Korea, Vietnam, Afghanistan and Chechnya. Even today it continues to turn up in back water places around the world.


Mosin-Nagant M1891/30 PU Sniper Specifications

Action Type: Manual rotating bolt with dual opposed lugs and controlled round feeding
Caliber: 7.62x54mmR
Capacity: 5 round single-column box magazine
Barrel: 28.7 inches 1-9.4 inch twist
Overall Length: 48.5 inches
Weight: 8.7 pounds without optic
Stock: Laminated or hardwood
Finish: blued
Trigger: standard military two-stage
Iron Sights: Hooded post front, tangent rear graduated to 2000 meters
Optical Sight: 3.5x22mm PU

GET THE NEWSLETTER Join the List and Never Miss a Thing.

Recommended Articles

See More Recommendations

Popular Videos

SCCY CPX-4 in .380 ACP

SCCY CPX-4 in .380 ACP

New for 2019 is the SCCY CPX-4, a .380 ACP semi-automatic pistol that extends beyond the existing SCCY CPX-3 line of pistols.

Shooting the 20mm Lahti

Shooting the 20mm Lahti

David Fortier had the chance to fire the Lahti L-39 while filming the 2018 season of Guns&AmmoTV while on location at DriveTanks.com.

Gemtech Suppressors: Testing the Patrolman, the One and the Tracker

Gemtech Suppressors: Testing the Patrolman, the One and the Tracker

Patrick Sweeney tests and reviews a trio of Gemtech suppressors.

See More Popular Videos

Trending Articles

The Fifth U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals has unanimously ruled that New Jersey Attorney General Gurbir Grewal is “subject to the jurisdiction of Texas courts” in a First Amendment case brought by Defense Distributed, a Texas-based firm, and the Second Amendment Foundation.SAF, Defense Distributed Win Court Victory in 3D Gun Case 2nd Amendment

SAF, Defense Distributed Win Court Victory in 3D Gun Case

Second Amendment Foundation - August 22, 2020

The Fifth U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals has unanimously ruled that New Jersey Attorney General...

Virginia Republican Rep. Glenn Davis introduced two pro-2A measures in a special session that are designed to partially roll back some restrictive laws.Fighting Back in Virginia 2nd Amendment

Fighting Back in Virginia

Mark Chesnut - August 24, 2020

Virginia Republican Rep. Glenn Davis introduced two pro-2A measures in a special session that...

This article will walk you through the process of building a Glock pistol from an 80 percent frame.How To Build a Glock From an 80 Percent Frame Gunsmithing

How To Build a Glock From an 80 Percent Frame

Gus Norcross - August 13, 2020

This article will walk you through the process of building a Glock pistol from an 80 percent...

While Germany is the Edenic home of modern sniping, they were always one step behind the Soviets during World War II, despite fielding some excellent sniper rifles.German Sniper Rifles of World War I and II Rifles

German Sniper Rifles of World War I and II

David M. Fortier - August 13, 2020

While Germany is the Edenic home of modern sniping, they were always one step behind the...

See More Trending Articles

More Rifles

Rikk Rambo took the NEMO (New Evolution Military Ordnance) Arms Omen Match 3.0 rifle on a nine-month Alaskan adventure.Firearms News Presents: NEMO Arms Omen 3.0 Match Rifle (VIDEO) Rifles

Firearms News Presents: NEMO Arms Omen 3.0 Match Rifle (VIDEO)

Firearms News Staff - October 21, 2020

Rikk Rambo took the NEMO (New Evolution Military Ordnance) Arms Omen Match 3.0 rifle on a...

The ultralight S101 Highland XTC carbon-fiber rifle is the newest addition to SAUER's S101 rifle series.SAUER Introduces Ultralight S101 Highland XTC Carbon-Fiber Rifle Industry

SAUER Introduces Ultralight S101 Highland XTC Carbon-Fiber Rifle

Firearms News Staff - November 10, 2020

The ultralight S101 Highland XTC carbon-fiber rifle is the newest addition to SAUER's S101...

The Ruger Mini 30 is a great “Woods Carbine” ready for deer or hogs! Plus, a review of the Pulsar XM50 Thermal Optic!Ruger Mini 30 Review Rifles

Ruger Mini 30 Review

Patrick Sweeney - October 07, 2020

The Ruger Mini 30 is a great “Woods Carbine” ready for deer or hogs! Plus, a review of the...

Wilson Combat's .300 HAM'R could be the .30 caliber cartridge you've been waiting for. David Fortier put the cartridge to the test in the Tactical Hunter rifle.Wilson Combat .300 HAM'R Tactical Hunter Rifle Review Rifles

Wilson Combat .300 HAM'R Tactical Hunter Rifle Review

David M. Fortier - October 15, 2020

Wilson Combat's .300 HAM'R could be the .30 caliber cartridge you've been waiting for. David...

See More Rifles

Magazine Cover

GET THE MAGAZINE Subscribe & Save

Digital Now Included!

SUBSCRIBE NOW

Give a Gift   |   Subscriber Services

PREVIEW OUR CURRENT ISSUE Arrow

Buy Digital Single Issues

Don't miss an issue.
Buy single digital issue for your phone or tablet.

Buy Single Digital Issue on the Firearms News App

Other Magazines

Special Interest Magazines

See All Special Interest Magazines

GET THE NEWSLETTER Join the List and Never Miss a Thing.

Phone Icon

Get Digital Access.

All Firearms News subscribers now have digital access to their magazine content. This means you have the option to read your magazine on most popular phones and tablets.

To get started, click the link below to visit mymagnow.com and learn how to access your digital magazine.

Get Digital Access

Not a Subscriber?
Subscribe Now