• M24 Mosin Nagant Civil Guard Rifle

    M24 Mosin Nagant Civil Guard Rifle
    (Mfg. by Schweizerische Industrie-Gesellschaft of Neuhausen am Rheinfalls and assembled by Suojeluskuntain Ase-ja Konepaja Osakeyhtiö - the predecessor to SAKO)

    (Click PIC to Enlarge)

    Barrel Length............. 31.5 in. (800mm)
    Rifling........................ 4 groove, right hand twist, 1:9.5"
    Overall Length............ 51.5 in. (1308mm)
    Weight....................... 9.5 lbs (4.3Kg)
    Magazine capacity...... 5 rounds.
    Qty mfg..................... Approximately 27,000 total M24 production, only 5000 made by SIG (In production from 1924 - 1928)

    Canadian Collector Market Value Estimate: $

    Source: The Mosin-Nagant Rifle by Terrence Lapin, ISBN: 1882391217

    M24 Mosin Nagant Civil Guard Rifle

    (34 picture virtual tour)
    Observations: (by "Claven2")
    Note: Pics of rifle provided courtesy of Milsurps.com moderator Claven2.

    By the 1920's Finland had already standardized on the M1891 Three Line Rifle of Russian origin for their armed services. The majority of their stocks had either been captured at the time of independence in 1918, or obtained on the open market in the aftermath of the First World War and the resultant glut of surplus arms on the world market. It was becomming evident though that many of the Model 1891 rifles then in service were reaching the end of their serviceable life, due mostly to deteriorating barrels. Many of these rifles had been in continuous use for upwards of 30 years and could no longer be considered fit for issue. The rifle model 1924 grew out of a desire by the Finnish Suojeluskunta (Civil Guard) to make serviceable again their increasing stocks of worn out M1891 rifles.

    Interestingly, upwards of 10,000 of the M24 rifles were paid for with funds raised by the Finnish women's auxiliary organization know as the Lotta Savard. This earned the weapon the name Lotta's rifle from the troops that would later carry it into battle in at least three wars.

    The Civil Guard (and for that matter the Finnish Government) of the early 1920's had no capacity to manufacture complex rifle parts in quantity - especially barrels. As a result, bids were obtained from several Swiss and German companies to provide the barrels necessary to rebuild the rifles on hand. Contracts were awarded in 1923 to the Swiss firm of Schweizerische Industrie-Gesellschaft of Neuhausen am Rheinfalls and in 1924 to a German arms consortium made up of Venus Waffenfabrik and Romrwerke AG.

    The initial order of ~2500-3000 barrels were dimensionally identical to the M1891 Russian barrel it was meant to replace. Subsequent production was changed to increase the barrel's diameter by approximately 1mm to improve accuracy. Additionally, a step was added at the muzzle so the standard M1891 bayonet could be affixed. These design changes were instituted in mid 1925. Additional deviations from the M1891 rifle included a deepened barrel channel in the forestock, a deeper handguard inlet, and an improved trigger with a coil spring added to take up trigger slack and improve trigger pull. Many rifles were also fitted with a cross bolt through the forestock just behind the nosecap to retain the front barrel band. This was done so the barrel band could be left untightened, eliminating a pressure point on the barrel and increasing accuracy. Later Finn made M1891's did away with this modification in favor of using small wood screws to secure the loosened barrel bands.

    Assembly of the new rifles was done at Suojeluskuntain Ase-ja Konepaja Osakeyhtiö, the Finnish civil Guard workshop that eventually evolved into the world renowned SAKO. It is important to note that while Finnish Mosin Nagant rifles are considered to be Finnish Produced arms, Finnland never manufactured Mosin Nagant receivers, instead opting to use their vast supplies of surplus Russian, American, and French made receivers and small parts. Typically, a rifle is considered to be of Finnish manufacture if it is equipped with a Finnish made barrel as in Finland (and most of Europe), the barrel is considered to be the firearm - not the receiver. Also, on a Finnish M24 (or M1891), the rifle is considered to have matching serial numbers if the bolt matches the barrel. The finns generally did not make any effort to match other serial numbers on their M91 and M24 rifles when they were manufactured or rebuilt, though the receiver assembly number will often match an assembly number, both located below the woodline.

    Production eventually ceased when the Civil Guard adopted the M28 service rifle in 1928, but the M24 remained in Civil Guard service until the guard was disbanded in October of 1944. These arms were then turned over to the regular army and served in the Lapland War which ended in April of 1945.

    Given high loss and attrition rates during training, the Winter War, the Continuation War and the Lapland War, the M1924 rifle is a highly sought after piece in any Finnish rifle collection today.

    Collector's Comments and Feedback:

    1. The depicted rifle was built on a receiver originally made at the Russian Izhevsk arsenal in 1904. It is of the stepped barrel pattern and SIG manufactured, pointing to a likely production year of 1925. M24's are not marked for year of production, so only an educated guess can be made. SIG made rifles are clearly marked on the side of the barrle over the chamber, while German made barrels are marked Böhler-Stahl below the woodline. All M24's bear the crest of the Civil Guard consisting of an "S" inside a shield with fir sprigs projecting atop the "S". Also note that this rifle retains a stock Russian Konovalov rear sight and has not had a Finnish sight plate added and has not been converted to provide for a 150m sight setting. Additionally, it retains an unstepped front sight blade. All these features point to this rifle having not been through any upgrades since manufacture, only repairs. the range markings on the side of the rear sight that is not graduated in meters is a remnant of Soviet manufacturing specs. The graduations are in Arshini and were not used by the Finns.

    The barrel bears the "christmas tree" marking - a triangle with a stem - indicating that at some point the barrel threads were worked on and the chamber recut. On this rifle, the chamber area of the barrel is not appreciably longer than on a standard M1891, so its plausible that the work was done to index the original blank - though this is impossible to confirm. At some point though, it seems this marking testifies that the chamber was cut slightly deeper.

    The stock shows considerable evidence of repeated repair efforts. At some point the toe of the buttstock sheared off and was glued back in place by the Finnish armorers. A vertical plywood reinforcing shim was added to the butt to stabilize and strengthen this repair. a splice has been added to the heel of the butt next to the buttplate tang. At some point after the toe was repaired, one side of the buttstock was milled off due to damage and a walnut patch was carefully fitted. Fianlly, the buttplate screw hole must have become worn as a birch dowel was glued in and the hole redrilled. All the repairs are very solid and speak to the lengths the cash-strapped Finns went to recycle viable parts onto their service rifles.

    This rifle saw service in at least two Civil Guard districts. One district number is stamped into the buttstock (S90522) and another is stamped into the receiver (S85715). According to sources published at Mosinnagant.net, these districts are Vaasa and Pohjois Karjala respectively.

    The HV marking on the magazine indicates that the Russian manufactured magazine has undergone the Finnish "jamb free" modification to eliminate the rare feeding problems experienced on original Russian made magazine housings.

    The rifle is also wearing a proper oval-buckle M24 sling. Both the sling and barrel are SA marked. SA stands for Suomen Armeija - the Finnish Army property mark. These markings would have been applied after October of 1944 when the Civil Guard was disbanded and their arms integrated into the regular army.

    The depicted muzzle cover was issued with the M24 while in Civil Guard service. It acts as both a muzzle protector and a cleaning rod guide with a knurled removable threaded cap. It is milled out of aluminum with a spring steel locking hasp. A rubber gasket is fitted inside the cap. There is a small maker's marking on the face of the cap (meaning unknown) as well as the early Civil Guard acceptance Proof (=S=).

    The sling and muzzle cap are rare accessories for the M24 rifle and few examples survive today. the inclusion of such items can dramatically affect the sale price of an M24 and the savy collector should know how to recognize these items.

    (Feedback by "Claven2")
    This article was originally published in forum thread: M24 Mosin Nagant Civil Guard Rifle started by Badger View original post
The SMLE 1903-1989