Using The Terms -

Non Matching - Forced Matching - All Matching - Original Matching


Russian (Soviet) Mosin Nagant Only.

     Recently there have been many posts and questions asked about "all matching" or "numbers matching" Mosin Nagants. This can be a confusing topic both to those new to Mosins and more experienced collectors alike. Let's dig a little deeper and see if we can clear some of that up, and see if that numbers matching Mosin that you recently acquired is truly an original numbers matching example or not.

     First order of business is to determine what type of mosin you are dealing with. Each country that produced or used the Mosin rifle used their own method for numbering the rifle and its parts. Although their particular method may be similar to the Soviet and earlier Russian method, it is the latter that were are discussing here. Their are several outstanding online resources that will help you to determine what you have, including this forum and website. The vast majority of mosins available from retailers and on the secondary market today are known a "refurbs". They are just that, rifles and carbines refurbished by the USSR and stored away for possible future use. These rifles became very plentiful in the last decade and were imported mostly from Ukraine and Russia itself. A great explanation of the refurb process itself is available here:

     Although this thread will mostly deal with these refurb rifles, the same info can be applied to other non-refurb or issued Soviet and older Russian mosins as well.

     There are three basic serial number descriptions that are thrown about when discussing Mosin Nagants. Although they may seem self-explanatory at first, lately there has been confusion as to what the terms actually mean.

     This seems like an easy one. It is simply what you have when one or more of the numbered parts' serial numbers is different from that on the barrel. The confusion usually arises when people apply this term to Mosins that have been force-matched during refurb.

FORCE-MATCHED (matched by arsenals - ARSENAL-MATCHED):
     As explained in the above link, during the refurb process the various parts were numbered to match the barrel's serial number. Old numbers were either voided by line-outs or removed entirely in most cases. New numbers were either re-stamped or etched on using an electro-pencil tool. The numbers applied using this process are known as EP'd numbers. Although just as correct on refurbished rifles as re-stamped numbers, they can be less aesthetically appealing to many. It is these particular rifles that are most commonly and incorrectly described as non-matching. I have seen dealers separate re-stamped refurbished rifles with no visible older numbers from EP'd rifles and/or those having line-outs and sell them as "all-matching" for a premium. It is also common to encounter sellers on the secondary market selling re-stamped "all matching" refurbs at a hefty premium believing that they are "original matching" which is incorrect.


     It needs to be broken down even further. It can be used to describe both the force-matched rifles described above, or true, factory-original matching examples. Due to the huge difference in value between the two, care must be taken in clarifying which term actually applies.

     This term applies to rifles that have their original numbered parts that were present during their manufacture and assembly. Examples of these are very uncommon and usually bring a hefty premium on the market. Most are either rifles that never went through the refurbishment process after being issued, only received a light refurb, or in some cases are post-WW2 examples that saw little use.

     There are a couple of ways to determine if the rifle is a true-matching example or not. Sometimes on parts re-stamped during refurb, the original number that was present was ground off. The tell-tale grind marks may still be visible. In some cases, the parts were polished after grinding so the marks have disappeared. In those cases a good indicator of force-matching could be the presence of markings older than the rifle itself or originating from a different arsenal altogether. A Remington marked bolt body on a wartime Tula is an example of this. Although it is possible that older small parts were re-used during the building of new rifles as was the case with some receivers, I don't recall having ever seen a truly matching Mosin using older numbered parts. As with everything mosin though, there may be an exception floating around out there.

     Another indicator may be the lack of an alpha-numeric prefix on serial numbers on a post-1937 rifle's parts. These serial number prefixes were used, again with a few exceptions, on rifles beginning in '38 and were applied to all of the numbered parts during the original manufacture. If a bolt, magazine or butt plate are lacking these prefixes when they are present on the barrel, it is a very good bet that the part was renumbered at some point.

     Lastly, the most accepted and decisive way of determining the serial numbers' originality is the font of the numbers themselves. On Soviet and Russian Mosins, the numbers on all of the parts matched each other EXACTLY at production. This included the font of the numbers and letters themselves. Every line, curve, and whirl on the numerals on the butt plate, bolt and magazine would be a precise match for those on the barrel. Sometimes this is not an obvious difference. Examine each number individually with its counterpart on the barrel. If there are any differences, then the part has most likely been force-matched.

Written by racerguy00

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