Gear Review: RSI Mosin Nagant scope mount

RSI Scope + Archangel = Awesome (Photo by Chad Cheung)

RSI Scope + Archangel = Awesome. (Photo by Chad Cheung)

When outfitting your Mosin Nagant with modern-day features there’s one name mentioned over and over again: Ken Norberg at Rock Solid Industries. Ken and his team at RSI specialize in customizing vintage bolt action rifles like the Mosin Nagant and the Swiss K31. Whether your rifle’s receiver is hex or round, has a carbine or full-length barrel, RSI makes accessories for them all including action/bedding pillars, scope mounts and angled bolt handles. Today, we’re going to talk about the Mosin Nagant scope mount and angled bolt handle combo.

If you previously saw my review of the Archangel Mosin Nagant Detachable Magazine Conversion Stock (AA9130), you’ll be familiar with my little project, and know that I could not stop with just a stock.

 Quality materials and craftsmanship

RSI Scope Mount & angled bolt (Photo by Chad Cheung)

RSI Scope Mount and angled bolt. (Photo by Chad Cheung)

 From the moment you open the package you’ll know RSI makes quality engineered products. The scope mount is made out of 6061 aluminum, and it’s black anodized for hardness and to protect against corrosion from salt spray. It’s also for those of us that like to save a few bucks and fire military surplus ammunition.

The bolt handle is steel and angled towards the trigger for faster cycling. Permanent modification to the existing bolt body is required for installation. The original handle will be sheared off and the angled handle welded into place. Installation requires the stock be slightly inlet for the bolt to close properly, unless you’re using an ATI. Thankfully, for those of us that do not have access to a machine shop or the skills to make a properly coin stacked weld, RSI will make the modification for $50, and return your bolt body to you in a few weeks.

 Some assembly required

Installation of the scope mount is not for the faint of heart. You will be required to drill a total of three holes (two on the front top of the receiver, and one on the rear side) in the receiver.  Although this can be done with tools found in most garages, they recommend having a qualified gunsmith do it, especially if the thought of drilling into a perfectly good rifle makes you uneasy.  I am typically one of the latter. But hell, I’m a guy, I can change the oil in my car, and even my brakes, how hard can it be?  Well, I was wrong.  It ended up being A LOT harder than I thought.

The two parallel holes on the front top of the receiver went pretty painlessly, but the last rear side hole that is used to lock the mount in place is what gave me the headache.  The Mosin used was a 1942 91/30 with a round receiver (the most common on the planet).  The key word here being “round” and if you have ever tried to drill a straight hole into round surface, you pretty much know what happened, and I don’t need to say another word.  I do need to give a special thank you to some friends (Ray and Willie) for helping me out in my time of need.

If you decide to attempt to drill yourself, the best advice I can give you is, use the right tools.  You’ll need a sharp transfer punch, a brand new #21 High Speed drill bit, and plenty of drilling lube, all of which will make your life a whole lot easier.  Also, take your time, and by take your time, I mean go SLOW.  When tapping go slow and use plenty of drilling lube, do a full or half turn, back it out, oil and proceed. Do this as many times as it takes until the hole is properly tapped. If you hear a squeak, STOP!  Back it out a turn or two, lube and start again.

Installation is tricky, but worth the effort (Photo by Chad Cheung)

Installation is tricky, but worth the effort. (Photo by Chad Cheung)

The juice is worth the squeeze

The title of this section just about sums it all up, the end product is outstanding, and it’s hard to beat at $160 for the both the mount and the angled bolt handle.

The mount is true to form, and fits so tightly to the receiver, that if you didn’t know better, you’d think it came that way off the Izhmash assembly line so many years ago. Utilizing a Picatinny-type rail,  two options are available for mounting the forward scope ring, and one option for the rear, which should be good enough for the eye relief of most optics.  Although you can move the scope closer or further away by sliding it back and forth within the scope rings, if your glass varies from the standard, a stock with an adjustable length of pull like the Archangel AA9130 may be required to get your sight picture dialed in just the way you like it.