Matching A rifle with all four serialed parts (barrel, bolt, floorplate, and buttplate) numbered the same. A matching rifle could be all stamped matching or force matched.
All stamped matching A rifle on which all four serialed parts have stamped (as opposed to electropenciled) numbers with alpha prefixes when applicable.
Force matched A rifle that has had one or more parts renumbered to match the barrel. Evident by the presence of a lined out number, signs that a previous number has been ground off, electropenciled numbers, or numbers without an alpha prefix when applicable.
Mis-matched A rifle with one or more of the three secondary serialed parts (bolt, floorplate, or buttplate) numbered differently than the barrel.
Finn matched A Finnish built or marked rifle that has had the bolt renumbered to match the barrel. Although buttplate and floorplate numbers may or may not match it would still be considered Finn matched. A rifle with a mis-matched number on the bolt body, but the last few digits of the barrel number on the bolt knob would still be considered Finn matched.
Electropenciled A method of etching parts with a serial number which was often used during refurbishment.
Alpha prefix The letters preceding the serial numbers on Soviet and Eastern European Mosin Nagants. They represent a block of 9,999 rifles and were apparently assigned at random.
Primary serial numbers on Mosin Nagant rifles, like most European firearms, are on the barrel, rather than the receiver as in the United States.
Secondary serial numbers are found in three other locations on the majority of Mosin Nagants.
|5||Cocking knobs were also numbered on the earliest Russian production and Remington M91s. Numbered cocking knobs are uncommon now and it is rare to find one that matches. They are most often encountered on rifles built in Finland from salvaged parts.|
Stocks are occasionally numbered.
M91s from the Balkans (seldom matching)
|7||Later Soviet production such as M38s, M44s, and M91/59s which were probably numbered during refurbishment|
|8||Soviet replacement stocks in pencil in the barrel channel|
|9||Soviet postwar M44 stocks stamped under the buttplate|
|10||Late Chinese T53s instead of the buttplate|
|11||Bayonets are also numbered at the base of the shaft|
|12||Cleaning rods are not typically numbered but here is a case where one is. It is not matched to the rifle and it is possible that it is not a serial number, but represents something else.|
|13||Chatellerault prefixed the number with an "N" which stands for "number" and is not a letter found in the Cyrillic alphabet. It is technically not a part of the serial number although it is usually included in the serial number by US importers and FFL holders for record keeping purposes. Production started at serial number 1 and ran straight through to the end of the contract.|
|14||Here is a renumbered bolt that has the "N" prefix on it. Since the "N" was not part of the serial number it is usually not found on the numbered parts other than the barrel. This was probably done in a country other than Russia where the meaning of the "N" was not recognized.|
|15||Tula used the same "N" prefix until 1928 when the barrel markings changed. Each year started over at serial number 1.|
|16||Tula began to use "No" above the serial number when the barrel markings changed in 1928. This also stands for "number" just as the "N".|
|17||Izhevsk did not use the "N" prefix or the "No" symbol. Each year started over at serial number 1.|
|18||Sestroryetsk used "No." above the serial number, which means "number" just as the "N". Each year started over at serial number 1.|
|19||New England Westinghouse used "No." above the serial number, which means "number" just as the "N". Production started at serial number 1 and ran straight through to the end of the contract.|
|20||Remington used "No." above the serial number, which means "number" just as the "N". Each year started over at serial number 1.|
Serial numbers repeated at the Russian/Soviet arsenals and at Remington each year as seen on this rifle and the one following.
1932 Tula M91/30, serial number 94015.
|22||1935 Tula M91/30, serial number 94015.|
Letter suffixes follow some serial numbers. These are typically found on M91s from the Balkans and are thought to have been added by other countries. They are not part of the original numbers.
Letters which have been observed are "G" (possibly Turkey).
|25||"F", most common of the letter suffixes|
"T", very uncommon
Picture courtesy of JMKDEVCO.
Receivers are sometimes numbered but in most cases it was done by the importer. Russia, the Soviet Union, Eastern European countries and China almost never numbered the receiver, including rifles produced in France and the United States. An exception is the earliest Tula production as seen on this 1891 M91.
Picture courtesy of Robert Jensen.
|28||Sure signs that it is an importer number is the use of a "dot matrix" type stamp, the use of Latin rather than Cyrillic letters on a Soviet rifle, or the inclusion of other import information along with the number. See the Mosin Nagant Import Marks page for more information.|
|29||Receivers used by Finland were apparently numbered in some cases. Because of the use of different sizes and fonts of stamps used by Finland and importers it is difficult to be certain if a Finnish receiver number is original or not. As with all Mosin Nagants, if it is a dot matrix type stamp it is not original.|
|30||Belgian "Blindee" 8mm conversions are an exception where the serial number is placed on the receiver rather than the barrel. In these cases the barrel was shortened from the rear for rechambering which removed the original serial number and did not leave enough barrel shank to easily renumber it there.|
|31||Another exception is this 1931 Izhevsk Dragoon. The reason for the number on the receiver rather than the barrel is not clear in this case and is not typical.|
Cyrillic "alpha prefixes" came into use at Tula in 1937. These consist of two letters followed by a number of four digits or less. The prefixes were apparently assigned at random and changed when number 9,999 was reached. No known records of the order in which they were assigned exist. Because of the random use of the Cyrillic characters it is impossible to know whether a rifle was built early or late in that years production. Also, "low" serial numbers have no significance because it is not known whether their block was first, last, or somewhere in the middle of the year. Occasionally a rifle is reported with a single Cyrillic character, but in all cases it has been found that the second character was a Cyrillic "Z" which looks like the number "3". Izhevsk began using this system in 1938.
See The Russian Alphabet page for a list of Cyrillic characters.
The same Cyrillic characters were also stamped on the other serial numbered parts.
Other letters are sometimes stamped above the alpha prefixes. These are translations of the Cyrillic characters and were placed there by the importer (Century) to comply with BATF regulations. It is now a common practice for importers to assign a new serial number to each rifle and the translations are not required in that case.
See the Mosin Nagant Import Marks page for more information.
Restamped numbers on secondary parts of refurbished rifles often don't have the alpha prefix.
Barrel with original number
Electropenciled numbering is another method of renumbering secondary parts during a refurbishment which was done freehand rather than with a stamping die.
Barrel with original number
Struck through original serial numbers are sometimes found on secondary parts with the new number added beside it.
New number stamped
|46||New number electropenciled|
Unconventional serial numbers are also found on Mosin Nagants.
Here is an uncommon case where the original serial number on the barrel is struck out and a new one added. It is a Czech M91/38 cut down from an M91. An interesting side note is the "Serbian crown" mark to the right of the Izhevsk "bow and arrow" arsenal mark. The secondary parts are matched to the new barrel number.
|51||This 1897 Finnish marked Dragoon also has it's serial number lined out and a new one added. The only other number on the rifle is on the bolt body and it does not match either the original or new numbers on the barrel. Whether the renumbering was done in Finland or not is a mystery.|
This 1940 Tula M91/30 has the original serial number with the Cyrillic prefix lined out and a new three digit number stamped above it. No other numbers on the rifle match.
Picture courtesy of spoojul.
This M91 has the barrel serial number divided in two parts by the Izhevsk arsenal mark. It also has the "N" prefix which is not usually found on Izhevsk rifles. The barrel was probably renumbered in Romania when the date was changed and the crest of King Ferdinand of Romania added. It is atypical.
Picture courtesy of Josh Norris.
This is an Izhevsk M91/30 that has the "No" symbol before the serial number. It also has an unusual "PM 86" mark whose meaning is unknown and it's possible it is one of a special series that were numbered outside of regular production. Another PM 86 M91/30 has been reported numbered 437.
Picture courtesy of rocker98.
This M1907 carbine has no serial number at all on the barrel however the other parts are numbered. The buttplate and magazine floorplate match each other and the Remington bolt retains the matching cocking knob, but is not the same number as the floorplate/buttplate.
Picture courtesy of Al.
|56||This 1939 Tula M91/30 has had the original serial number with the Cyrillic prefix scrubbed and a new 6 digit number without a prefix stamped in it's place. The remains of the original number are still partially visible below the new number.|
|57||This 1944 Tula M91/30 is MO marked and has a 4 digit serial number without the Cyrillic prefix which was typically used at that time. It is possible that they unique serial number is related to the MO mark, but that is only speculation. There is no apparent evidence that another number was scrubbed or overstamped.|
|58||This 1943 Tula M91/30 is an ex-PU sniper and similar to the one above in that it has a 4 digit serial number without the Cyrillic prefix which was typically used at that time. There is no apparent evidence that another number was scrubbed or overstamped.|
|59||Later production Soviet rifles have numbers on the underside of the barrel and receiver. These don't seem to match each other or the serial number. They are repeated though with several cases of the same number appearing on different rifles. It is assumed that these were used for inventory tracking during production and are not serial numbers.|
Poland followed the Soviet pattern by using an "alpha prefix", but with Latin letters rather than Cyrillic along with other differences. The first year of M44 production, 1951, used a single letter for the prefix and a five digit number beginning with zero for lower numbers. The numbering of secondary parts also followed the Soviet pattern and included the bolt, floorplate, and buttplate. Electropenciled or restamped numbers have not been documented on Polish parts but the sample is small.
Picture courtesy of JMKDEVCO.
|61||In 1952 two characters were used for the prefix and the five digit number, beginning with zero when required, was retained.|
In 1955 the two character prefix was retained, but the numbers were four digit with a zero at the beginning of the number if required.
Thanks to Karl-Heinz Wrobel for information on the changes in the Polish numbering system.
|63||Hungary followed the Soviet pattern of using a two character "alpha prefix", but with Latin letters rather than Cyrillic, followed by a four digit number. Numbers with less than four digits haven't been observed but the sample is small and inconclusive. The numbering of secondary parts also followed the Soviet pattern and included the bolt, floorplate, and buttplate. Electropenciling has not been documented on Hungarian parts but the sample is small.|
Restamped numbers, including the alpha prefix, are occasionally found on Hungarian rifles with the original number struck through.
|66||Romania followed the Soviet pattern of using a two character "alpha prefix", but with Latin letters rather than Cyrillic, followed by a number of four digits or less. Single digit serial numbers have been observed, but due to the random use of the prefixes these cannot be considered "low" numbers other than within their prefix block. The numbering of secondary parts also followed the Soviet pattern and included the bolt, floorplate, and buttplate. Renumbering of secondary parts by Romania is apparently uncommon with many rifles simply having mismatched parts with their original numbers left in place. These parts are often from the Soviet Union, Poland, and Hungary so the numbers may not follow the Romanian patter exactly. Electropenciling has not been documented on Romanian parts and restamped numbers are seldom seen. In the few cases documented the alpha prefixes were not included and the numbers did not match. The parts could have come from the Soviet Union and not been restamped in Romania.|
|67||China began T53 production in 1953 and the first year serial numbers have an "A" prefix and are followed by the Chinese character "shi" which means "test" or "trials".|
In at least some cases only the last digits of the full serial number were stamped in the secondary locations.
Bolt, atypical location
|70||With the second year of production (1954) China began to use a 7 digit serial number.|
The full number was also stamped in the secondary locations.
|74||During the last year of production (1960) China began to use a letter prefix and 4 digit number.|
|75||The buttplate was no longer numbered in later production but the stock was.|
|76||Albania made a limited number of M91/30s and the few that have been documented all have a four digit serial number beginning with zero. The numbering of secondary parts is typical and includes the bolt, floorplate, and buttplate.|
|77||Finnish serial numbers do not typically have letter prefixes or suffixes and can be from 2 digits to 6 digits in length, some with a zero or zeros for the first digits.|
|78||Receivers used by Finland were apparently numbered in some cases. Because of the use of different sizes and fonts of stamps used by Finland and importers it is difficult to be certain if a Finnish receiver number is original or not. As with all Mosin Nagants, if it is a dot matrix type stamp it is not original.|
Secondary serial numbers are found in the typical locations of the bolt, magazine floorplate, and buttplate. However, the manner of numbering them is different from the Russian/Soviet rifles and with the exception of the bolt they are often mismatched. This is not considered detrimental by most Finnish Mosin Nagant collectors.
Finland did not produce bolt bodies and all of theirs are from purchased or captured rifles. Old serial numbers are often lined out and new ones stamped beside them, often with only the last four digits. In some cases several old numbers are present.
|80||This bolt was scrubbed clean and the new number stamped on the body.|
|81||This bolt was scrubbed clean and the last four digits of the new number stamped on the knob. This is common on Finnish rifles.|
|82||This bolt was scrubbed clean and no new number stamped.|
|83||This bolt had several old numbers lined out and the last four digits of the new number stamped on the knob.|
|84||This bolt had a new number stamped on the knob which was later lined out and a new complete number stamped on the body.|
|85||This bolt had the complete serial number stamped on the body which was lined out and the last four digits of the same number stamped on the knob.|
|86||In this case only three digits are stamped on the knob rather than the typical four digits.|
Floorplates can be found in several configurations.
Scrubbed clean, common
|88||Old number left in place, common|
|89||Old number lined out, less common|
|90||Old number scrubbed and last four digits of the new number stamped, less common|
|91||Buttplates are often scrubbed, but occasionally have an old number lined out. The last two digits of the serial number were sometimes stamped on the rear of the plate but many of these are now mismatched.|
This is an uncommon case where a bolt head is numbered to match the rifle.
Pictures courtesy of JMK.
Another uncommon case where an M39 nose cap is numbered on the bayonet lug with the last three digits of the serial number.
Pictures courtesy of Claven2.
|94||M27 winged connector bars were numbered to match with the last 3 digits.|
|95||Numbers are also found on the underside of the barrel and receiver. These are not serial numbers but tracking numbers used during production before the final serial number was assigned.|
|96||Finnish stocks are numbered in some cases, but these are not the same as the rifle's serial number and should not be expected to match.|
|97||Finnish M28/30s and M39s have sight graduations on the side of the rear sight base that are often mistaken for serial numbers by new Mosin Nagant collectors.|
Civil Guard rifles also have District numbers which have an "S" prefix. This lead to some confusion when the Army took over all stocks of small arms during the Continuation War and it is not unusual to find a Finnish rifle with more than one serial number. The extra numbers are often struck out and sometimes the Civil Guard District number is used as the serial number.
This is an M24 with a two digit serial number of 11 which has been struck out. The Civil Guard district number of S 862 then became the rifles serial number.
|99||The bolt on the above rifle still has the 11 on the body, but has the knob restamped with 862.|
|100||An M24 with the Civil Guard District number struck out and the original serial number left intact.|
|101||An M24 with the serial number on the side of the barrel and a Civil Guard District number on the receiver which is struck out.|
|102||The opposite side of the above rifle with another Civil Guard District number on the barrel.|
|103||A lined out Civil Guard District number with a new District number stamped above it. On the opposite side of the barrel is the original serial number which is also lined out.|
|104||An M28 with the serial number lined out.|
|105||The same rifles bolt with the last two digits of the serial number obliterated on the bolt number.|
|106||The Civil Guard District number on the opposite side of the barrel of the same M28.|
|107||The Civil Guard District number complete with the S prefix stamped on the bolt body.|
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