To refinish or not refinish, that is the question

  • Yes, but only on a non-numbers matching rifle
  • Yes, only on the non-marked Arsenal refurb rifle
  • No, buy an aftermarket stock and numbers mismatched rifle instead

0 voters

I have two Mosin Nagants, both 91/30 Izzy’s from 1943 and both have all matching numbers. Ones a former PU sniper (w/matching bayonet) and both are Arsenal refinished–though the former PU was just refurbed for infantry use probably as it doesn’t have an Arsenal mark like the other one does. edit Oh and I doubt the stock on the former PU rifle is the original.

Long story short, should I have one of the stocks refinished? Or buy a numbers mismatched rifle with a good bore for the sole purpose of making it look pretty?


are we talking new shellac pretty, or new method pretty?


Taking it all the way to naked wood and restain+lacquer/shellac (unsure which would be more durable, thoughts?). I know if we go this route I want a very dark stain like what the non-PU has. I can provide pictures of my Mosin Nagants if needed.

What’s this “new method” of pretty you speak of? My wife is the furniture restorer so she is likely to do it so I’m not surprised I am unfamiliar with terminology. I found a nice aftermarket stock option (below) but it’s pricey considering I’d get another rifle for it with non-matching numbers.


ThisOldGhost says stop! Please leave the wood alone unless someone already butchered it. It’s best to leave mil surps in original condition.

Have you thought about getting a barreled action off of gunbroker or another outlet?


I say build it how you want, I dont really like “collecting” firearms for any resson but to shoot though. Custom builds with your own personal touch just seem more cool.


If the rifle is all matching I would leave it alone so you can continue to appreciate it as piece of history.

What I meant by my question is that with the original stock you can refresh the original coat using the same, or close to it, method of finish, or you can finish the stock using more popular modern finishes


Usually I agree with this practice but one of them isn’t the original stock from the factory. Hence my quandary.

These I’ve noticed tend to cost the same as a whole rifle so if I went this route I’d likely buy a complete but mismatched rifle instead of just the barreled action.

That was sort of my thinking.

And I do appreciate these a bunch. My non-PU’s stock has a bunch of character so it’s staying as-is. With the PU stock not being the original stock I have less attachment to it.

Gotcha! I would like either I think. It would be a hard choice but perhaps the PU could go back to the original finish and a non-matching one I get later could get a more modern treatment.


Not the original stock- go for it.


Believe me if it was still original and in the original PU setup I’d be one happy camper. Even as it is I’m thrilled to of found a former PU in a sea of regular 91/30’s at the same price. The stock is still nice and not cracked or had repairs so it would still be a good stock to refinish. I wish I could date the stock.


I have the same thing- picked it out of a crate, paid $198 for two, found out when I got home what the plugged holes meant. Good find Sir!


Wasn’t that exiting! I felt like I scored.


I spent the rest of that afternoon researching them! I was excited.


Same here.


Why not get a stock you like and keep the original on hand. If you can find a stock that requires no gunsmithing to install, you can get the best of both worlds.


Refinish and repair as required.
Why Not? Are you running a museum?
I collect for the historical significance.
Keep it in original dress meaning replace missing and broken parts.
Mismatched parts? Who cares?
Cleanup or even refinish the stock and keep its history intact.
How many scars do you have over the decades?
I would not go drill it for a scope mount or rail system because the firearms didn’t come that way.
Keep those ol milsurps for the historical significance.
And I have noticed that taking them to the range the folks around you just love em.
(And yes I let others take a few shots if they want.)
Because they are the way the soldiers got top shoot them!
It’s just kewl to shoot an original Mauser or Enfield or Mosin.
I think it gives folks a chance to connect with the past. Nostalgia if you like.
If you want to sportzerize a rifle then do it but get another one to do that with.
I personally have a Swede 96 and also a sportzerized 96.
(Got mine cheap in the 80’s)
Both a great shooters, but the original is just kewl’r!!