PPS Mosin Nagant Gas Rifle review by Booligan
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Basic Gun Information
The Mosin Nagant Model 91/30 is probably one of the most common guns that you can find at your local gun show. Made in numbers exceeding 35 million, there are plenty of them available at an inexpensive price for the real gun market. Unfortunately for the airsoft market, your only options were $350 and were generally low powered spring operated replicas which may have been excessively beautiful, but shockingly unskirmishable. PPS has manufactured a brand new replica which is the least expensive airsoft replica of this storied rifle design that actually delivers skirmishable performance. I'll discuss all of the various features of this brand new airsoft replica in this review, so keep reading for more info!
I was contacted by Airsoft Atlanta to see if I would be interesting in trying out one of the first copies of the PPS Mosin in private hands. Being a longtime fan of the Mosin Nagant design, I couldn't in good conscience say no. A few days later, it arrived on my doorstep, ready for me to give a thorough examination and testing. It is available HERE, priced at $269.99. Yes, this is much higher than the real price of a real Mosin Nagant, and that is an argument that many people are voicing on forums. Here's the thing, you're comparing apples to 7.62x54r oranges. Pretty much all Mosins were built at least 70 years ago, meaning that manufacturing costs were a fair bit cheaper than they are now. There is also an overabundance of guns clogging up every gun show and most gun stores around the world. There's no shortage of real guns, which largely allows the price to sit so low. This model is one of only 2-3 different airsoft replicas available and there aren't very many in the world, let alone in the US. This means that the prices is higher, both due to higher manufacturing costs (materials and manufacturing processes) as well as higher demand for a lower supply. The argument of real firearm price vs. airsoft price is incredibly pointless, as I can go get a Hi Point 9mm for the price of a KWA GBB, or an entry level AR for the price of a high end VFC or P*, not even counting the Systema option. Airsoft prices are relative to airsoft prices and real steel prices are relative to real steel prices, and that's the way it needs to be.
Basic Gun Information:
The PPS Mosin Nagant is a bolt action, gas powered replica that utilizes an internal magazine to hold the BBs. It has a full metal, CNC machined receiver and barrel assembly coupled with a wood pattern plastic stock which is largely the biggest flaw of an otherwise awesome gun. The good news is that my sources tell me that we may be seeing a wood stock replica from PPS soon. It's not really a sniper rifle, more of a basic bolt action rifleman's weapon, which is precisely what the real gun was designed for. In skirmish use, most people think that it will likely be limited to WW2 scenarios, but the fact that the real Mosin was used in pretty much every major and minor conflict from WW2 to the present means that it can be used much more frequently than you may have initially thought. The gun was used in Korea, Vietnam, Afghanistan, etc, so it could theoretically be used in most airsoft scenarios that you can come up with.
The Mosin Nagant arrived safe and sound via UPS ground with no damage due to the shipping process. I credit a lot of that to PPS' fantastic packaging. The box is a very plain cardboard box but it does have a high density foam inner liner with cutouts for the gun. As soon as I opened up the box and removed the top foam liner, I was very pleased to see that the wood finish actually looks quite good for being made of plastic, and the receiver looked incredibly realistic, better than my real Mosin in fact.
PPS didn't include anything other than the gun itself with this package, however the foam liner did have a cutout in place for the barrel mounted bayonet. Hopefully we'll see that in future shipments. Other than that, you don't need magazines or anything like that, so there's really not anything else to throw in. Maybe they'll start including replica dog collar slings, as that would be a very nice touch!
Weight: 7.6 lbs
Width: 3.2" (at bolt handle)
Height: About 7"
Sight Radius: 25"
As mentioned before, this gun combines a plastic stock with a CNC machined receiver/barrel assembly. This gives the gun a sturdy feeling in your hands without any creaks or wobbles. The stock feels okay, but it is largely hollow and has seam lines on the top and bottom where the two halves meet. The faux wood finish looks good, a bit darker than the real one and far less glossy, and unfortunately there are two screw holes on the handguard portion.
From this point on, click on the thumbnails to view full size photos
Overview, right side
Overview, left side
Bottom seam line
The stock is a traditional rifle design without an integrated pistol grip or other fancy accouterments For a gun designed in 1891, it's still quite comfortable to hold and shoulder. The stock has a steel butt pad as well as a brass sling mount insert that is designed to work with the dog collar type sling commonly used on this rifle.
Moving forward from the stock, you'll hit the integrated grip that is positioned in a way to easily let you access the trigger. The gun has limited controls consisting pretty much entirely of the trigger and bolt. The real 91/30 has a safety of sorts on the bolt, as you can rotate the rear of the bolt to prevent it from firing. You cannot do that on this gun, so your safety is entirely dependent on your own actions.
Grip and trigger
Above the trigger assembly you'll find the receiver and bolt assembly. The bolt functions as the gas reservoir as well as the loading mechanism for the gun. Bolt pull is very short, only about 1.5” but is somewhat stiff until you lube it up and break it in. The receiver itself is very well built with no visible defects that I can see and featuring a nice matte black finish.
Receiver and bolt
Bolt pulled back exposing the gas feed port
In front of the trigger mechanism you will find the handguard. It's the portion of the stock that is wide enough to grab on to with your off hand and has two grooves for your fingers to rest in. In front of this you will find the extended barrel cover portion of the handguard that is very thin and not comfortable to hold on to, so it's mainly there to cover up the barrel and cleaning rod. You'll find the front sling mount which is designed to use a period correct sling.
The metal barrel is very solid and houses the full length inner barrel. You will find a machine turned finish on the muzzle end of the barrel making it look pretty, however I prefer the smooth barrel on my real Mosin. An orange rubber ring is attached to the muzzle to provide the federally required orange tip. Underneath the barrel you will find the mock cleaning rod which is secured in place with hex screws on the barrel bands, so you can't easily use it for its intended function.
Don't expect match grade iron sights on this thing as it was designed for battlefield accuracy by untrained conscripts. The rear sight is similar to an AK sight, made of metal and adjustable for range/elevation. The front sight is adjustable for windage by drifting it gently with a hammer, however there is a slight amount of wobble in the standard position. The front sight is fully hooded to prevent damage to the thin post.
The gun actually has fairly realistic trademarks on the receiver including 1941 year markings, a serial number that isn't unique, and even has replicated Izhevsk manufacturing markings. It's a nice touch, adding to the realism of the gun.
Trademarks, hop-up adjuster visible
The gun doesn't use an external magazine of any form, keeping it realistic with the real gun. It instead uses an interesting internal magazine system that holds 13 rounds. Loading it is accomplished by turning the gun upside down, pulling down in the base plate, and turning the small hi-cap type winding wheel until the inner magazine spring is fully compressed. When you turn the wheel, a red string gets wrapped around it, which is attached to the feed nub. The nub is normally kept under spring pressure, pushing it and the BBs up into the gun, so turning the wheel pulls it back to let you dump the BBs in. Once it's loaded up, simply close the base plate which will release the winding wheel, pushing the BBs into the gun.
Base plate opened up
BBs go where the red arrow points. You can see the red string that pulls back the feed nub when winding the wheel. The spring is also visible in this picture.
Performance after a 100 round break-in period, using Matrix .20g Bbs and Propane, shot through a Madbull Chronograph is as follows. Please note, ambient temperatures were approximately 51 degrees Fahrenheit at the time of testing:
High FPS: 401.4 FPS
Low FPS: 389.1 FPS
Average FPS: 396.0 FPS
Advertised at shooting in the 430 range, mine came in a little low, which I believe is due to the the cold ambient temperatures during testing. I will revisit this once it's not in the low 50s. Gas efficiency and consistency were actually quite good, considering the small bolt housed gas reservoir. If I took 4-5 seconds between shots, I never saw the FPS drop below the 389 FPS figure shown above. If I slammed shots out as fast as possible, allowing a second or so for the chrono to reset, it dropped as low as 351 FPS, still a skirmishable velocity. I was able to get 3 BB loads out of a single gas charge, allowing time between shots and time for reloading.
Accuracy and range really surprised me. With the gun loaded up with Echo 1 .28g ammo and the hop-up dialed in, I put my torso sized target out to 100' to see what it could do. I hit it with no problem, so I moved the target back to 130'. Again, no problem putting them on target 100% of the time at that range. I decided to set it at 160', moving it towards the farthest point I can test with my torso sized target, and was still able to get hits on it without issues. As this warranted further testing, I picked a target outside of my normal shooting space that was approximately torso sized. It was located 192' away from my shooting position. Surprisingly, I was able to hit it about 60% of the time, which I think is well within the realm of in-game accuracy for a basic rifleman's weapon.
The shooting experience is quite pleasant with this gun, once you master wielding a gun that is over four feet long (10" longer than an M16). The weight balance is good as the front end is fairly light, making it easy to swing around. The bolt action is short and smooth, once lubed up and broken in. It's a very light bolt pull as you're not pulling back a big spring with the cocking action. Trigger pull is not exactly what I would call match grade, but it's very consistent due to the design. Aiming is quick but not exactly precise due to the simple notch and post design. The long sight radius is very beneficial for increased accuracy. The only issue I had when testing the gun is that every 4th of 5th load of BBs, I would get a double feed on my last shot. It was always the last shot whenever it happened, never in the middle of a BB load. This could be due to the design of the feed nub or some other factor.
Interestingly, disassembly of this gun is pretty damn similar to the real gun, at least when it comes to separating the receiver/barrel from the stock. Just take the barrel clamps off, which are secured by allen screws, and unscrew the front and rear screws from the receiver and trigger unit. In order to remove the rear screw you first need to remove the rear of the bolt assembly by unscrewing the flat head screw, but use caution as there is a small ball bearing that will likely fall out. Once separated, you'll be able to access the trigger mech as well as clean and lubricate the bolt assembly.
I'm still in the process of taking it down to the hop-up, but Airsoft Atlanta indicates that it uses a TM type bucking, so upgrading it should be a piece of cake.
The big question that everyone asked me was if you could fit it in a real stock. Due to the similar mounting system between the two guns, on paper, it should work. I actually pulled both my real one and the replica out of their stocks and lines them up to see what would be needed. Basically, it looks like it SHOULD work if you drill and bore out the real wood stock a little bit to fit the receiver and trigger units.
Difference between the real and airsoft stocks
Internal mech similarities
So, aside from throwing it in a real stock, you'll be happy to know that the gun can mount real accessories like the bayonet and dog collar sling.
Sling mounted up
Bayonet mounted up
Most affordable skirmishable Mosin Nagant airsoft replica
Full metal receiver and barrel assembly
Short and light bolt pull and decent trigger pull
Internal magazine system works great, however is a bit slow to reload
Able to use real gun accessories
Skirmishable performance out of the box - decent FPS and long range accuracy
Pretty solid construction considering the plastic stock
Plastic stock looks okay, but feels hollow and has seam lines
Screw holes on the stock and handguard
No safety mechanism
Gas-in-bolt isn't the most consistent system for rapid fire, but in my testing it wasn't too bad
Occasional double feed on the last round of the BB load
The Mosin Nagant is a rifle that is so ubiquitous around the globe, and has had use in so many wars, conflicts, revolutions, and civil wars that it's really amazing that it had such a limited presence in the airsoft world. Before, the main option was to custom make one off of another bolter platform, or to buy the spring powered Zeta Labs version. Unfortunately, both of those options were either very expensive, very difficult, or not particularly skirmishable. The PPS Mosin Nagant is a fairly accurate replica of the 91/30 model and gives you skirmish ready performance out of the box. The only real issue that I have with the gun is the plastic stock, but there could be a wood stock model coming out at some point. Other than that, the gun is a really good replica of the real gun, and gives you a unique option to use in a wide variety of skirmish scenarios, ranging from WW1 through the current conflict in Afghanistan.
Many thanks again to Airsoft Atlanta, and of course, Airsoft Retreat!
Real gun and replica side by side