Sniper Ammo 7N1

Many people have written to ask about ammo sources for their Mosin Nagant. Surplus ammo abounds for these rifles and can be purchased via mail order by virtually any adult through trade magazines like Shot Gun News and on the web. The only special requirement is that it is shipped marked OrmD and you usually need to show proof of age by faxing or mailing a copy of your drivers license or your C&RFFL. Always check your local and state laws regarding the purchase and storage of ammo.

When purchasing surplus ammo, inspect it closely. You will be ordering 7.62X54R. Do not confuse this with 7.62X51 or .308 Nato.   Make sure that it is clean, not dented, and not covered with any kind of film or chemical substance. Also be cautious of ammo intended for use in machine guns. Those types of rounds are dangerous when fired in a rifle due to their greater pressures. Also, if you are not familiar with the ammo you want to purchase, buy a limited quantity for test fire purposes. When test firing new ammo, take appropriate precautions to guard against potential hazards. Prior to firing any ammo, ensure that your rifle has been checked for proper headspace and that your firing pin is correctly adjusted. Safety glasses should be worn at all times when firing a rifle or hand gun anyway. If you are satisfied with the ammo, order it in bulk and gain the price savings that normally go with bulk purchases.

Bulk Ammo

Ordering ammo in bulk enables you to save a bunch of money. A package of 20 rounds of the same ammo would cost you as much as $ 40.00 (Current Cheaper-than-Dirt price for 7.62 Russian Norma Rifle Cartridge, 180-Grain Soft Point Bullet) as opposed to roughly $7.00 when bought in bulk.

Typically, bulk ammo comes in 440 round cans

This particular batch is dated 1981 and came from factory 60 as indicated on the head stamp. The first thing you are confronted with is how do you get the can open. The most expedient method is a drill with a carbide disk. You just grind the top of the rim all the way around and the top will come right off. If like me you don't have a drill, the alternate method is a hammer and chisel. Even better is the handy-dandy Ivan's State Issued heavy duty can opener.


The can opener is used just like it's puny civilian equivalent.


Once the lid and inner liner are removed you can pull the paper wrapped bundles of cartridges out by removing the first bundle with the ribbon lifter.



Open one of the packages just to perform a quick visual inspection for condition.

Loading a Stripper Clip

One of the more frustrating chores in using a Mosin stripper clip is loading the rounds so that they don't catch on each other jam up when you attempt to chamber a round. Each round needs to be placed in the stripper clip so that the rim of the preceding round is  behind the round being inserted into the clip. This prevents the round from being jammed by the rim of the round below it when it is being loaded into the chamber.

Illustration by Drew Cartwright

If you hand feed the rounds into the magazine, they should go in the same way.


Most of the ammo on the market today is coming out of the former Soviet client states in the Balkans. Many people have complained about the lacquer coated ammo causing their bolts to become hard to open. Often, this is a sign of a dirty or badly pitted chamber and is easily corrected by cleaning the chamber correctly. 

There also seems to be trend of favoring heavier bullet weights. These rifles were designed to fire the 148 gn. standard ball. The heavier weighted rounds are primarily designed for use in the SVD and light machineguns. I have tended to avoid these after a catastrophic failure that occurred while shooting East German heavy ball manufactured in Czechoslovakia. 

A note on corrosive ammo: Consider all military ammo for the Mosin Nagant as being corrosive. That being said, don't let it scare you. All you need to do is clean your rifle promptly and correctly after firing. For the cleaning process, refer to the "Cleaning" section on this site.