M38 carbine: how accurate *should* it be?
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Thread: M38 carbine: how accurate *should* it be?

  1. #1
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    Question M38 carbine: how accurate *should* it be?

    Range outing today, 1943-date M38 carbine. All ammo was Prvi Partizan FMJ.

    Match ammo did better than ordinary Prvi blue box 54R, I got pretty consistent 4 1/2 to 5 1/2" groups at 60 yards with it. Blue box Prvi did much worse: 9 1/2" groups.

    When the barrel was cold I could hit a 2-foot gong at 200 yards with Match Prvi; after the barrel warmed up I couldn't seem to hit it, anymore.

    Would you say this accuracy is above, below, or roughly on-par with the ordinary M38 carbine?
    "Between two groups of people who want to make inconsistent kinds of worlds, I see no remedy but force."

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    I don't know about all of them but the ones I owned (and the reason I stopped buying them) is that they were terrible shooters, with or without shiny bores and with or without counterbore, which many of the ones I used to see for sale, had.
    That would bother me much less these days as ammo and range time have grown more scarce...but I already have too many milsurp toys to lust after more/different versions.

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    That is not acceptable accuracy and you can do a few things to improve upon it. I am assuming you are an average shooter and do the basics of marksmanship correctly. That said, your rifle is shooting 12 MOA at 200 yds..awful. Your 60 yd accuracy is equally awful.

    I'd do the following :

    a. Get a set of Eye Pal so you can clearly see sights boldly : link is
    http://eyepalusa.com/
    I use a set the last 10 yrs: they work. This will bring in your groups.
    Costs is about $25...its worth it.

    b. Snip one coil off your firing pin spring...that lightens trigger pull and will
    contribute to accuracy.

    I suspect you can bring in your groups to 2 to 2.5 inches at 100 yds and 5 inches at 200 yds.

    With the short sight radius of the M38, its tough to shoot tight shot groups but 2.5 inches at
    100 yds is achievable. Your Prvi ammo will do that .

    I did all these things when accuracy testing M44 and M38 carbines and results were fine but you
    may have to shim the M38 if you want to chase out the final dregs of accuracy. I did this using 3x5 card, oiled and cut. Granted a temporary fix but lasted 10 yrs so I am good with it. I had to shim
    under the barrel right at the end of the fore end wood for a bit of upward pressure. Also make sure your action screws are tight...that can screw up any test...and yes, I have forgot to check and flog myself for not doing pre shooting check of screws.

    That you ask the accuracy question means you want accuracy and I think you can bring better accuracy in with your M38.

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    Minute of Nazi helmet at 100 meters should suffice.

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    So you made one trip to the range and want instant accuracy. Yeah that sounds about normal these days. Take about 4 or 5 more trips to the range and then make changes after you are tuned to the rifle. Till then all you are doing is chasing a shadow of what you and the rifle might be able to do after you know each other. Oh you might get lucky and find some things out but till about the 5 trip up there with the same ammo and you getting to know the rifle it will just be hit or miss and pure luck. Been there a million times and know what I am telling you trust me! Bill
    zeebill live from the hills of West Virginia!

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    I always thought of the carbines as a noise maker and range toy. The two I have are better than 4 or 5" at 60 yards though. If I want to shoot "half" decent groups I get the PU out or one of my M91's.

    I would slug the bore and see what it is. You might be surprised that Privi might be rattling down the bore when you shoot it.

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    I agree that unless there is an issue with the bore, you should be able to get better groupings. These were fired with my M91/38 from a rest. The large group is with "blue box" PPU. The tight group is with hand loads utilizing .312 diameter bullets.


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    Thumbs up

    Was not expecting "instant accuracy," just wondering how near, or far, this one is from standard/acceptable performance.

    Per Bill's suggestion, I'll head back out with it and continue. Will read up on slugging, too, and bookmark this page to save the other recommended steps.

    My sincere thanks to all of you Gentlemen who took time to post your views and recommendations, I very much appreciate it.

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    Quote Originally Posted by str8liner View Post

    I would slug the bore and see what it is. You might be surprised that Privi might be rattling down the bore when you shoot it.
    Excellent idea. The rifling does look a bit worn, though muzzle crown is snug.

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    Thumbs up

    Quote Originally Posted by milprileb View Post

    I'd do the following :

    a. Get a set of Eye Pal so you can clearly see sights boldly : link is
    http://eyepalusa.com/
    I use a set the last 10 yrs: they work. This will bring in your groups.
    Costs is about $25...its worth it.
    Took your advice, just bought a set.


    b. Snip one coil off your firing pin spring...that lightens trigger pull and will
    contribute to accuracy.
    Need a spare spring to cut but will obtain one, and do so.


    Also make sure your action screws are tight...that can screw up any test...and yes, I have forgot to check and flog myself for not doing pre shooting check of screws.
    I did check before shooting but observed that the one going through the magazine slowly loosens with shooting. I had to keep tightening it up...

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    Sort of OT but the Eye Pals look very simple. Can I get a measurement of the aperture hole for the rifle set please?
    Last edited by chuter; 03-15-2017 at 01:57 PM.
    "You'd know what it is if you needed one!"

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    Quote Originally Posted by bao tze 包子 View Post
    Range outing today, 1943-date M38 carbine. All ammo was Prvi Partizan FMJ.

    Match ammo did better than ordinary Prvi blue box 54R, I got pretty consistent 4 1/2 to 5 1/2" groups at 60 yards with it. Blue box Prvi did much worse: 9 1/2" groups.

    When the barrel was cold I could hit a 2-foot gong at 200 yards with Match Prvi; after the barrel warmed up I couldn't seem to hit it, anymore.

    Would you say this accuracy is above, below, or roughly on-par with the ordinary M38 carbine?
    My brother didn't have very good accuracy with PPU, don't remember what weight bullet. Maybe just a trial and error with different ammo?

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    At 100yards I can nail a clay pigeon then pick off the pieces from there till they are pretty much gone.
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    Quote Originally Posted by bao tze 包子 View Post
    Range outing today, 1943-date M38 carbine. All ammo was Prvi Partizan FMJ.

    Match ammo did better than ordinary Prvi blue box 54R, I got pretty consistent 4 1/2 to 5 1/2" groups at 60 yards with it. Blue box Prvi did much worse: 9 1/2" groups.

    When the barrel was cold I could hit a 2-foot gong at 200 yards with Match Prvi; after the barrel warmed up I couldn't seem to hit it, anymore.

    Would you say this accuracy is above, below, or roughly on-par with the ordinary M38 carbine?
    Wow, those are big groups. My "truck Gun" a beat up Model 94 Winchester shoots like that. Here, read this thread, might give you some positive ideas. http://forums.gunboards.com/showthre...g-and-shimming

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    Quote Originally Posted by chevelle View Post
    My brother didn't have very good accuracy with PPU, don't remember what weight bullet. Maybe just a trial and error with different ammo?

    +1
    Different ammo. Possibly work up a handload. Sometimes even a bad shooter can be brought around to good or better.
    "You'd know what it is if you needed one!"

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    My best M38s and M44s will do about 4-5 inches off sandbags at 100 yards using very good ammo like new LVE or good old 188 Novosibirsk. They can easily do 2-3 inches at 50 yards. The more ragged examples can't come close to that. Ammo makes a big difference. They might do even better off a lead sled, but I haven't tried. This accuracy is directly comparable to a brand new Izhevsk Kalashnikov, so the Soviets seem to think it plenty for unscoped carbines.

    Tighten your action screws before and during shooting, use good sandbags and practice a whole lot with stiff triggers. Put a small sandbag or rolled up jacket against your shoulder if you have any chance of flinching.

    A lead sled is better to measure true accuracy without shooter error except eyesight.

    The question is: "How well can you shoot with iron sights at 100 yards on a modern rifle?"

    If you can't shoot true MOA with a Remington 700 using iron sights (and I can't anymore, sadly), it sure ain't happening with an old Mosin.

    Another thing that really, really helps accurate shooting is to use as small a target as you can see. With scoped Mosin rifles I use a 1 inch black dot or stick-on black square to shoot at 100 yards and with iron sights I use a 2 1/2 inch black circle. That is about as small as I can see decently. A big target just wobbles all over and makes you sloppy.

    As Mike Radford taught me, "Aim small, miss small."

    (As to barrels heating up, the barrel wrap treatment helps stabilize things, but they all change accuracy with heat. Many of those combat troops originally issued M38 carbines had a spiffy Katyusha rocket launcher mounted on a Studebaker truck or a nice scary field howitzer as their main weapon, so "minute of Nazi" accuracy was plenty as the rifles rarely left their backs.)
    Last edited by Stalin's Ghost; 03-14-2017 at 01:57 PM.

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    I like to use the man size pistol targets at 100 yrds..can't see squat but I can pick the center of the blur over and over, works pretty well..
    Of all the things I miss that come with age is/was the ability to shoot open sight Mauser bullseyes sitting next to bench after bench of deer hunters trying to get on paper with their fancy new scoped rigs..when they got really frustrated and realized that the 20 rnd box of ammo they brought was going to run out without them finding center, we (my gone to glory friend Larry Milam and I) used to drag out our M44's with heavy ball ammo and show them some fireballs..good times my friends, good times.

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    Not to belabor a point, but milprileb's mention of Eyepals (or a similar aperture) should not be overlooked. It's a game changer for shooters with older eyes.







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    Quote Originally Posted by Ol' Relic View Post
    Not to belabor a point, but milprileb's mention of Eyepals (or a similar aperture) should not be overlooked. It's a game changer for shooters with older eyes.
    I am really sold on the Merit Optical company device that suction cup attaches to glasses. It has an adjustable iris type aperture. Makes a huge difference for my old eyes.

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    [QUOTE
    I did check before shooting but observed that the one going through the magazine slowly loosens with shooting. I had to keep tightening it up...[/QUOTE]

    Cut yourself a shim of thin cardboard so you can keep that front screw tight. There is a board member who sells a Mosin shim kit if you are reluctant to make your own shims .

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    Quote Originally Posted by Stalin's Ghost View Post
    My best M38s and M44s will do about 4-5 inches off sandbags at 100 yards using very good ammo like new LVE or good old 188 Novosibirsk. They can easily do 2-3 inches at 50 yards.
    Hey Ghost, pull up you socks. You've always shot right well and now I see this...get an Eye Pal set and go back and re shoot those M38s and M44s, you'll shrink those shot groups.

    Got to admit , I ve not done 1 MOA with my pristine M44. I have done 1.2 inches at 100 off a lead sled and nearly went blind doing it. I am betting younger eyes could drop to 1 MOA with the M44 but it won't happen with my eyes. It does not take much error with the short sight radius to move the shot and spoil a group. However...1.5 inches would be about I'd expect out of this M44 with match grade ammo and my eyes.

    I can do 1 MOA with my 91/59 routinely but I am without an explanation why that carbine shoots so well for me and its got a worn bore too !!

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    I am happy if they don't keyhole at 20 yards.
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    I enjoy plinking with my M44's and M38s, don't sit down for a range session - I get around 3 to 5 inches at a hundred paces or so.

    Pahtu.

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    Quote Originally Posted by milprileb View Post
    [QUOTE
    I did check before shooting but observed that the one going through the magazine slowly loosens with shooting. I had to keep tightening it up...
    Cut yourself a shim of thin cardboard so you can keep that front screw tight. There is a board member who sells a Mosin shim kit if you are reluctant to make your own shims .[/QUOTE]Not uncommon with MN's. The action screws sometimes don't have enough thread to tighten up properly. When the short threaded screw bottoms, it appears to be tight but has not actually gone into the threaded hole deep enough. Hunt around for some other action screws.

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    Handloads @ only 30 yards but not too bad. The flyer really was my fault. I knew it was going to be off before I looked at the target.
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    Bao, it sure ain't your shootin, I remember when I handed you one of my M41b Swedes and your first 3 shots at 100 yds were less than 3/4in!!! All my M38s shoot minute of elephant or worse.
    Last edited by capnduane; 03-14-2017 at 09:33 PM.

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    My first Mosin-Nagant; a laminated stocked 1944 Izhevsk M44 would do 4 inches at 100yds with surplus ammo. It shot about 4 inches to the left with the bayonet folded. With the bayonet extended it was dead on. I have a couple of carbines with really nice bores that I hope to get out this summer and see what they will do. This video has inspired me to get out and shoot my carbines. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=56H1601J9sE
    Looking for PU scope number 10062. See post http://forums.gunboards.com/showthre...light=pashutr3

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    Seems to me I read on a post here a while back about tightening screws that also stated the correct order to tighten in. Can anyone restate that for us? Thanks

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    Quote Originally Posted by capnduane View Post
    Bao, it sure ain't your shootin, I remember when I handed you one of my M41b Swedes and your first 3 shots at 100 yds were less than 3/4in!!! All my M38s shoot minute of elephant or worse.
    are we ever gonna' you out to the range again, or what?

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    Quote Originally Posted by PAshutr3 View Post
    This video has inspired me to get out and shoot my carbines. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=56H1601J9sE
    man do I ever wish I could shoot that well!

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    The Eyepal seems like an idea worth trying unless you are in Canada.

    With "Amazon Prime" it you have a choice of floating across lake Michigan in a hollowed out coconut or carried by one of Marco Polo's faster camels.

    Attachment 2047490

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    I just do what the Finns did. Anyone have the diagram of the Finnish trigger & sear? (areas to polish, angle of sear, etc...)?
    Better to have it & not need it, than to need it & not have it...

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    As far as accurate carbines go, I have shot my M94 Swedes and some are minute of angle rifles. Swiss K31s are fantastic with their fine triggers. I remember when I tried to shoot a Russian M44 with the bayo out and the rangemaster said, "Not on my range, sir" As I remember some of my M38's shot about 3-4ins or so. Still one of my favorite carbines, considering their history and the battles they were in. And, a 1943 Russian M38 carbine started my collection of milsurps. It was so cool to own a weapon from the evil empire, from which, as a kid, I had been ducking under my desk at school, afraid that they were gonna drop a A bomb on us!

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    You are completely right about the Eye Pal. I used to have one that got lost somewhere- I used it for handgun qualifications and such very successfully.

    Now I am motivated to get another.

    I regularly shoot handguns for accuracy wearing low magnification reading glasses, letting the target blur a bit and focusing on the front sight - just finished my biannual 3 gun CCW qualification that way getting some really tight 40 round offhand groups with my Walther PPKS and my Glock 27 (the little .32 NAA Guardian didn't look so wonderful beyond 7 yards!). I didn't tell my trick, though, letting the rest of the shooters try to figure it out - shooting first at the closest range of varying required ranges, up close I shot a perfect 10 shot 1 inch hole in the target to aim at for the longer range shooting, just like a bullseye on the man sized plain FBI target. That gave me something small to shoot at instead of just blazing away at "center mass" and hoping for the best as most did. "Aim small, miss small."

    I will try the Eye Pal on the really nice 43 Tula M44 I just got -bet it can do better than 3-4 inches and is non-refurb. I will write about it when I test it with targets!

    My problem is that I can't see a target circle smaller than about 2 inches with iron sights at 100 yards no matter how I squint! Give me a scope and I am all over it!

    ( I didn't mention my 91/59 or my Polish M44 that shoot better than the M38s and regular Russkie M44s.)

    Also, worn and enlarged action screw holes are useless for accuracy - if the screw can wobble in the hole, put in some plumber's hard epoxy and redrill it to get a very tight hole with no slop or the action will wobble around no matter how tight you make it.

    Quote Originally Posted by milprileb View Post
    Hey Ghost, pull up you socks. You've always shot right well and now I see this...get an Eye Pal set and go back and re shoot those M38s and M44s, you'll shrink those shot groups.

    Got to admit , I ve not done 1 MOA with my pristine M44. I have done 1.2 inches at 100 off a lead sled and nearly went blind doing it. I am betting younger eyes could drop to 1 MOA with the M44 but it won't happen with my eyes. It does not take much error with the short sight radius to move the shot and spoil a group. However...1.5 inches would be about I'd expect out of this M44 with match grade ammo and my eyes.

    I can do 1 MOA with my 91/59 routinely but I am without an explanation why that carbine shoots so well for me and its got a worn bore too !!
    Last edited by Stalin's Ghost; 03-15-2017 at 01:49 PM.

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    Quote Originally Posted by milprileb View Post
    [QUOTE
    I did check before shooting but observed that the one going through the magazine slowly loosens with shooting. I had to keep tightening it up...
    There is a board member who sells a Mosin shim kit if you are reluctant to make your own shims .[/QUOTE] Here you go:http://forums.gunboards.com/showthre...21-Shipped!!!&

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    I am too cheap to buy an Eye pal. I have been using black electrical tape with a hole punch in it with a hot needle.

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    There's probably some good historical info about how M38's grouped back when they were new. Generalizations based on performance of surviving rifles today may be misleading given issues such as highly variable bore condition, quality of stocking up during refurbishment, type and age of ammo, etc, etc. I notice in his SVT book Chumak, discussing how the SVT 40 compared with other Soviet rifles presents a table listing X-Y group dimensions at 100-800 meters. At 100m the M44 carbine shows 8 by 8cm (3.1 by 3.1 inch), the 91/30 shows 7 by 5cm (2.75 by 2.0 inch). At 400m the M44 shows 29 by 26cm (11.4 by 10.2 inch), the 91/30 26 by 24cm (10.2 by 9.4 inch). This table is on page 254. As i said, there's probably similar figures for period tests of the M38 out there.

    Ruprecht

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    Eyepal hasn't arrived yet but I'm going back out with it, tomorrow. Made a couple of shims from card stock, taking some Yugo milsurp ammo along to contrast with the Prvi already mentioned.

    Will let you know how it goes...

  40. #39
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    My M38 and M44's are all capable of 3-4 inch groups at 100 Yd.
    1) Keep stock screws tight
    2) anticipate the creep in the bolt before the sear releases, and don't let it throw your concentration.
    3) enjoy your long-distance hole punching
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    After seeing this thread earlier this week, I went and got some of the Eyepals. Took them to the range today and I have to admit, I'm pretty impressed what a small hole in vinyl will do for you! I've had some issues with my near vision since my lasik a few years ago and seeing the rear sight has been a problem. With the Eyepal, it completely fixed it an made it clearer than I've probably ever seen. No more fuzziness! I was also seeing my circles down at 100 yards significantly better than I have in ages as well. I wish I had found out about them earlier!
    Lotema

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    Quote Originally Posted by Lotema View Post
    After seeing this thread earlier this week, I went and got some of the Eyepals. Took them to the range today and I have to admit, I'm pretty impressed what a small hole in vinyl will do for you! I've had some issues with my near vision since my lasik a few years ago and seeing the rear sight has been a problem. With the Eyepal, it completely fixed it an made it clearer than I've probably ever seen. No more fuzziness! I was also seeing my circles down at 100 yards significantly better than I have in ages as well. I wish I had found out about them earlier!
    I've got to say thanks Milprileb on the Eyepal suggestion! I tried one of Lotema's today at the range & for the first time in years I was able to see the target, front, and rear sight all in focus! Lotema also shot the best group he ever has from his Yugo SKS. I've got my set of Eyepals on order & I can't wait to hit the range next weekend with a few of my Mosins to see how much tighter the groups will be.

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