David B. Horvath's CMP Mossberg US 44 FAQ

This material is independent of the official LPRGC CMP site

Last Updated July 17, 2009




Mossberg US 44 .22 LR Target Rifle FAQ

A FAQ or Frequently Asked Questions page is usually in the form of questions and answers. This one is a little different in that it is in a descriptive or "plain text" form.

If you track down any information, parts sources, etc about these rifles, please let me know so I can update this document (and maybe produce a true FAQ).

This page is organized into the following sections:

You can get more information at Stuka Mossberg History page (the next several sections are extracted from that page, it is now missing) or the Lane's CSP tips page.




Latest News (as of May 23, 2002):

The CMP sent out the following in their periodic newsletter update of 5/22/02:

Mossberg M44s Sold Out.
The CMP has received orders for the remaining 3,000 serviceable M44s that we have on hand. It will still take 60-90 days to complete processing and shipping on existing orders. Orders received between now and May 31 will be placed on a backorder list in case of cancellations or NICS denials. Orders received after May 31 will not be processed. We still have approximately 500 rusty M44s, but at rate of incoming orders we will most likely discontinue taking applications by 31 July.

I know we're going to see huge price increases at gun shows now!




Some Background:

The Mossberg 44 that was sold by the CMP is the U.S. 44 .22 caliber rifle manufactured by Mossberg for the U.S. Military. It is similar to the M42 and M44 commercial rifles and many parts are interchangeable. With the proper magazine, you can use .22 short, .22 long, and .22 LR in this rifle. Without the magazine, you can use it as a single-shot rifle, the magazine holds seven (7) rounds. The rifle has a bull barrel with recessed muzzle; the trigger is not adjustable, the front sight is fixed, and the rear sight is a micro-adjustable peepsight Mossberg S100, Mossberg S133, or Lyman 57 MS (and there may be other sights out there). The barrel is "lead-lapped" which is a process (as explained to me) that fills in the micro-cracks in the metal producing a very smooth surface with very little variance or imperfections. It is also very labor intensive and, as a result, expensive. The process is only applied to the most expensive target rifles these days. The rifles from CMP were manufactured 1943-1946.

The rifles come both blued and parkerized. It is just a matter of different processes being used when finishing the metal. Blueing feels smoother and looks blacker than parkerizing (which looks more of a grey).

I bought my first one as an inexpensive plinking rifle. Then I got my hands on it! Even though they are over 50 years old, they tend to be in very good shape and are very accurate. I ended up buying several more including one that now sports a scope.

Your M44 will come in a sealed plastic bag (mine was dated 1986 giving an idea of when it was last used) covered with some sticky stuff. So far, the best way to get the sticky-stuff off is to wait a day or two for it to dry up and then use #0000 steel wool. The entire action comes off via 2 screws - one large one by the magazine well and the other that holds the front swivel (the screw itself is not removable).

I applied a very light coat of furniture polish to the "furniture". The polish did not seem to soak in at all.

I spoke with Victor Havlin at Havlin Sales and National Mossberg Collectors Association (NMCA). He wrote "Mossberg, More Gun For The Money" which includes information about the M44 and many other Mossberg firearms. It even has manufacture dates. My first one was made about 5/1/43 and was part of a batch of 10,000 and is valued at far more than I paid for it (even adding on cost of magazine, sling, trigger guard, and my time cleaning it up).

Victor is the one who got the magazine manufactured and sells it to Brownell's. As of the summer of 2000, he also had new trigger guards manufactured and is selling them. He has parts and schematics but no manuals. If you don't buy parts, the schematic is $2.00. The book is $24.95 or $39.95 (softbound or hardbound) plus $4 shipping and handling. I got two copies (one for me, one for my Dad; Victor autographed the books on my request). He has a long history with Mossberg.

Victor's company and the Mossberg association can be reached at NMCA, P.O. BOX 487, FESTUS MO 63028, or phone: +1-636-937-6401, or via email at vic@havlinsales.com or cheryl@havlinsales.com. Their web page is www.havlinsales.com.

No other manuals are available for the M44 (that I've tracked down). The schematic gives you most of the information you need. The book gives a little more and suggests the other rifles you can get parts from/for and use with this one (like the Mossberg 42, M144, M12, and M13).

The Mossberg web site (www.mossberg.com) and their 800# are no help at all -- except that they pointed me to Victor Havlin.

Your experiences may vary -- especially considering the variances of material that CMP receives or are available at gun shows).




Parts Sources:

The magazine for the Mossberg 42 is available from Havlin Sales, Brownell's (#52 Catalog page 121 PART # 861-100-042, price $35.00 plus shipping), and Gunpartscorp. It usually fits the M44, see Problems and Solutions below for more information on making them fit. There are probably hundreds of thousands of the M44 magazines (and other spare parts) in a government warehouse somewhere. I hope to see CMP selling them at some time in the future.

A new stock, buttplate, and trigger guard is available from Chestnut Ridge for $25 or $45 depending on grade (www.chestnutridge.com or 1-800-848-0901 or 724-459-8699). The price used to be $20 with no choice, I don't know if they found more supplies or if they are reacting to the demand for parts (from all the rifles being sold by CMP).

Richard Borecky rborecky@earthlink.net does a great job refurbishing stocks of all kinds (not just Mossberg). He did a great job on a beat stock that came with the "rusty" rifle I bought from the CMP. You can see an example of his work by clicking here (120 k) or here (166 k). "In the photo the stock on left is a request for a nude oil only stock. The middle one is my close to original color but naturally after a good cleaning and right one is a before photo the way they normally come from the CMP." He readily shares his cleaning and refinishing instructions. Rick lives Cleveland Ohio with his wonderful wife and kids.

The trigger guard alone should be available from Springfield Sporters 1-724-254-2626 for $5 (old). Havlin Sales now has new ones (Summer 2000) for $14.00. I bought a spare even though my original is in good shape -- contrary to the disclaimers from CMP. Sportsmansguide has carried the plastic trigger guards on occasion also.

Trigger Guard and Magazine are available from Numrich. You may be able to use this link for those parts.

Joe "Hagar" Ruzich (fraudguy@msn.com) reports that "Craig Bruce makes cast aluminum trigger guards for the M44US. They are beautifully finished and are anodized black. There are no finger grooves on them. Craig has contracted with Brownell's who will be the sole source for them. Price will be around $30.00 or less. I have several and they are excellent!" I have only used plastic guards.

I'm using a surplus Garand web sling on mine, one of the members of the local CMP group sells them for $3. Cheaperthandirt, sportsmanguide, and CMP also have them. You can put just about any sling you'd like on these rifles. If you have lots of money, you could even use a Turner leather competition sling.

Douglas P. Rome Sr (USRifleCal30M1@webtv.com) has created a modified Weaver #1 base that is a drop-in replacement for the S-100 rear sight without the need for modification. His mailing address is 4N576 Chateaugay Lane, Elburn, IL 60119. You have a choice of using Weaver #49350 (short style) or #49340 (long style) ring mounts.

You can use a .22 or .17 Dewey one-piece rod when cleaning this rifle as some jointed rods rub. The .17 rod has a non-standard mounting on the end so you cannot use your regular brushes.

The book about Mossberg rifle history, magazines, trigger guards, and diagrams can be ordered from Victor Havlin's company: NMCA, P.O. BOX 487, FESTUS MO 63028, or phone: +1-636-937-6401, or via email at vic@havlinsales.com or cheryl@havlinsales.com or via the webpage at www.havlinsales.com.

Parts are also appearing on auction web sites like ebay and gunbroker (I saw a bunch in February 2009).




Rifles Spotted for Sale:

It was recently reported on the M1-M14 Internet discussion list that these rifles were for sale for $375 (still in CMP wrap) at the June 10, 2000 Daly City (suburban Charlotte) North Carolina gun show. While certainly not in the spirit of the CMP sale, it gives you an idea of value -- especially with the June 1, 2000 CMP price reduction.

I saw a parkerized version (as opposed to blued like the first rifle I received) for sale at a gun show near Atlanta on June 3, 2001 for $300. I didn't spend much time looking it over but it did have an intact trigger guard and included one magazine.

In November 2001, www.ammoman.com listed three of these rifles: "MOSSBERG M-44 TRAINER #7: US PROPERTY MARKED 22L.R. CLIP FED TRAINER LYMAN PEEP SIGHT FREE SHIPPING DCM PAPERS AND BRAND NEW GUN $795", "MOSSBERG M44 TRAINER #1: $595", and "MOSSBERG #5: $695".

In December 2002 (and still listed in April 2003), www.ammoman.com listed one of these rifles: as "MOSSBERG M44 TRAINER #1: NOW $350" and "MOSSBERG M1 TRAINER #1, US PROPERTY MARKED 22L.R. CLIP FED TRAINER, LYMAN PEEP SIGHT" (although the recevier says "44 US ...").

The CMP was offering these rifles in "Rusty" condition in the Spring/Summer of 2001 for $20 off the price for "good" rifles. They promised that the trigger guard would be no good. I ordered one for spare parts (and a stock to modify for scope mounting) -- I couldn't find any rust when it arrived on July 11, 2001. Except for a bad extractor on the bolt and ugly wood, this rifle is great and shoots well. I had a scope put on it. Rick cleaned up the wood for me (see the listing under "Parts").

In May of 2002, the CMP reported that they had sold out of these rifles but still had about 500 "rusty" rifles for sale. Early fall 2003, the CMP reported that they were completely out.

One was sold via Auctionarms on 9/20/2003 for $275. "NO RESERVE!! Here's a beatiful Mossberg Model 44US. This was a .22 LR caliber U.S. Military training rifle that was issued to all the branches of the military for training purposes during WW2. There were approximately 53,000 of these producted during 1943-44. The heavy barrel measures 26" in length. It has the correct Mossberg "Microclick" S- 100 adjusatble receiver sight and detachable box magazine. This gun survives in excellent condition with about 95-97% of the original blue finish remaining. Also as a hooded front site, the gun appears unissued. The stock is nearly perfect, showing virtually no wear. Als inlcuded is a miltary lether sling The mechanics are excellent, and so is the bore. Both the barrel and the receiver are marked "U.S. PROPERTY". No extra holes or modifications....this is a nice example! Buyer pays $20.00 shipping. A C&R License is acceptable for this rifle. Or n FFL SORRY, BUT I CANNOT END ANY AUCTION EARLY..PLEASE DON'T ASK! Email any questions you have JIms Military Collectibles"

The rifles are showing up on gunbroker listed from $100 through $600 (some with reserve) in February 2009.




History:

The 44US was designed exclusively for the war department as a target trainer, intended solely for use by U.S. troops. It was adapted from the pre-war 44B model, and included adaptations like those made to the 42MB -- made mostly to keep costs down. The war department wanted an accurate, dependable, heavy-barreled trainer, and was willing to sacrifice cosmetic detail to make it affordable. While the 44B featured a deluxe, genuine walnut stock with long beavertail and cheek piece, the 44US stock was plain, usually birch with walnut finish. The four-position (adjustable) front swivel plate was removed, and both front and rear swivels were fixed, on the 44US. The hooded front sight was replaced by a plain post, the rear sight was the S-100, originally adjustable forward and back through four sets of screw positions (later reduced to three and then two). The first batch was shipped with Lyman 57MS receiver peep hole sights.




Some More History:

John Kepler (bigjohnohio@worldnet.att.net) writes on 6 Apr 2003 (included by permission):

"Longer ago than I like to think about, many clubs, schools, and communities in this country offered frequent shooting opportunities to their young people. In the town I lived in, all you had to do was over 12 years old and show up at the National Guard Armory on Thursday night. You signed the sheet at the door, picked up your block of 20 rds and simply waited for a firing point to open. The rifles (all provided by the DCM, as were the bullet traps) were Mossberg M44US for the "walk-ins" and a collection of Winchester 52C's and Remington 40XR's for the town's Competition Teams.

To aid "newbies" in moving up to the bigger rifles with the Redfield front globe target sights, the Mossbergs were fitted with either Lyman or Mossberg globe front sights provided by the DCM. The Mossberg sights were the same front used on the Mod. 144, and were what all of our rifles were fitted with. I suspect you have a rifle that was retrofitted with the globe front just as all of our Mossbergs were. Remember, these rifles were provided by the DCM as were the sights....they were fitted by the folks that operated the program.....in my case, that would likely have been the Ohio National Guard.

FWIW, I bought a Mossberg M44 when they first became available as an act of nostalgia.....my first serious competition shooting was done with one of those HIGHLY used DCM rifles (guys, these rifles got a couple of thousand rounds per week, had been in use for 15+ years at the Armory, and weren't new when they got'um!). When I opened the box from Anniston, I was absolutely shocked at how the rifle looked new! The rifles I shot as a kid had dirty, oil-soaked, blotchy black stocks with more divots, digs, and gouges than the Baghdad Ba'ath Party Headquarters, and not a shred of finish on the metal! But I also noticed the different front sight!"


Don (sasebo.crypto@verizon.net) writes on 6 Apr 2003 (included by permission):

"I bought a 44US surplus when I was 12 in 1946. I paid 20.00 for it with two clips. It has a hooded front sight with three folding sights. A ball, high stud and short heavy stud. Slide off the hood to change sights.

I will try to take a digital photo."





Specifications:




Military markings as follows:




More Information on the Lyman 57 MS rear sight

Herald (Sulahians@aol.com) reports:

A small percentage of the Mossberg 44 US .22 caliber training rifles procured by the U.S. government were issued with Lyman 57 MS rear sights. These sights perform the same function as the Mossberg sights issued on the majority of the rifles but there are some differences. This brief write up is addressing my observations of the Mossberg 44 US rifle with the Lyman 57 MS rear sight.

The Lyman 57 MS rear sight is mounted on the Mossberg 44 rifle via 2 screws at the left rear portion of the receiver. These screws are approximately 5/8" apart. In order to remove the bolt for cleaning or examination it is necessary to remove the rear sight. This is accomplished by pressing in a blued pin (plunger) which is spring loaded and holding said pin in one can then lift the rear sight up and out of its base allowing the bolt to be removed. This pin can be found on the rear face of the sight, it is approx. 1/4" in diameter and protrudes slightly less than 1/8".

Approximately 1/8" away from the elevation screw is a screwable stop pin which if screwed down to rest on top of the base at the desired elevation, then when the sight is reinserted after bolt reinstallation the sight will return to its original elevation.

The rear sight has an adjustable screw settable slide with predetermined 50 yard, 100 yard, 150 yard, and 200 yard prescribed elevation settings. Once the 50 yard sight setting is determined and the slide properly adjusted, then the approximate sight settings are provided. There is a zero reference line on the fixed sight base to facilitate the above. I assume these sight settings are for use with .22 long rifle ammunition, but I do not know if it was set up for high velocity or standard velocity ammunition. My first guess would be that it is for standard velocity ammunition but testing would be required to verify the assumption.

There is also a screw settable windage zero slide with markings presumably in minutes of angle on either side of the zero point. Testing would be required to determine the actual value of the markings.

He also stated that at some point the government took all the rifles and removed the bolts, sights, and magazines (that is when they lost them) and reblued what was required and then reassembled making sure each rifle had a sight. I hope they kept track of the bolts, or else we may have headspace problems. Have you heard anything like this before? Also, have you heard if anyone is experiencing headspace problems?

[I haven't heard of any .22 headspace issues. I'm sure it is less of a problem with a .22 because you don't have the high pressures working against the bolt and receiver (like you would have in a M1903 or M1 Garand). You also don't get the wear on the throat with .22 as with high power -- less power and always lead bullets. -- David]




Problems and Solutions:

ProblemSolution
AnythingConsider replacing the part :-)
Bolt slides out the rear It may be that the plastic trigger guard has shrunk enough to bind on the trigger after release. This would prevent the bolt stop from coming to the full upright position, allowing the bolt to be pulled out of the receiver. You should be able to grind or sand off the extra material. You could also try a different trigger guard.

Also check your trigger mechanism to make sure it is not gummed up with cosmoline or other gunk.
Rifle extracts but will not eject spent rounds Extract but not eject seems to be a characteristic "failure mode" for these guns as they get worn. It has been reported that the problem is a result of the ejector wearing and taking a slightly beveled form that slips past or deforms rather than ejecting the case.

There are several possible solutions:
  • Work the action fast, there seems to be a better chance of ejection than if the bolt is worked slowly. But this batters the trigger and sear.
  • Change your ammo. Different manufacturers have different formulations of brass and tolerances. Different batches from the same manufacturer will also show variation.
  • Peen the ejector. Reshape the ejector by slightly peening it back into a flatter, squarer shape. Be very careful when doing this!
  • File the ejector. Disassemble the rifle, remove the ejector, and file down the face until bevel is removed (probably about .05 to .07 inches of metal). Be very careful not to remove too much metal!
  • Tim Underwood (TimU@hightouchinc.com) reported:
    I had the same problem, and had to really "yank" the bolt back smartly to eject the brass. I had tried all of your solutions to correct the problem, including taking the left extractor out and "touching it up" with a stone and file. The cartridge ejection was slightly improved, but was not solved. The problem was not the ejector, but the left extractor. It was solved by purchasing a new left extractor from Vic Havlin. Once installed, worked perfectly!
  • Glenn R. (email address withheld on request -- too much SPAM) reported:
    On another note, while hunting with the rifle, I began to have repeated failures to eject. My solution was simpler than those shown in the FAQ--I simply disassembled the rifle and tightened the screws holding the ejector blade in place. They were only slightly lose, but it was enough to prevent any sort of ejection. Once properly tightened, ejection improved to 100%.
  • The extractor may be frozen (rusted solid) preventing any spring action. If this is the case, you can free the extractor (penetrating oil of your favorite kind), replace the mechanism (if possible), or replace the bolt.
When trying install the Mossberg Microclick sight, the mounting holes line up but the sight interferes with the stock. If you losen the receiver mounting screw, you can attach the sight. But then the mounting bracket will dig into the stock when it is reattached.
  • One solution is to remove small amounts of wood and trial fit until it works
  • Darrow Gervais (DGervais@Inst.StrykerCorp.Com) remarked:
    "Read your FAQ on the M44 and in the case of the stock interfering with the Mossberg Microclick sight. I have heard the stock for the earlier rifles with the Lyman sight will not allow you to mount the later Mossberg sight. If the Mossberg sight does not fit, your rifle is an earlier rifle that was origionally equiped with the Lyman, or your rifle was repaired or refinished at some point and an early stock was installed."
  • Darrow later reported:
    "I just received a low serial number M44 with Lyman rear sight from the CMP and can now confirm my earlier statement. There are definately two different stocks for the M44, one for the earlier rifles with the Lyman sight and one for the later Mossberg sight. I removed both stocks and compared them side by side and the contoure in the area of the rear sight is in fact different. The later stock two "steps" as opposed the earlier rifles with only one "step". The Lyman rear sight can be use with either stock but the Mossberg sight will not work with the earlier stock."
  • Any other suggestions?
Magazine will not latch in The cause is the little curved piece at the front/bottom of the magazine. It curves towards the top of the magazine and runs into the magazine well cover/main action screw piece. Mine needed to be bent towards the bottom 1/32 or 1/16 of an inch and now works fine.
Shrunken Trigger Guard A solution for shrunken trigger guards that has worked well each time I have done it:
Remove the barrel & action, use 2 wire ties and wrap them around the stock and trigger guard where the most gap appears. Slowly heat the trigger guard while tightening the wire ties. After the guard has been pulled back into its original shape allow to cool and then remove the ties. I use a heat gun as heat source but a hair dryer or electric stove will work. Take your time and don't melt the guard. I don't wear gloves and this prevents overheating as you will burn your hands before getting the guard too hot.

Hobbs (HOBBSARDS@aol.com), October 5, 2000.
You need a muzzle protector and/or a cleaning rod guide Get a used plastic 12 Gauge shotgun shell. Push out the primer (a small phillips screwdriver will do the job), and press the shell over the end of the barrel. Trim to the length of your choice. The fit will be tight.
Putting a Scope on Your Rifle Brownell's lists Weaver #12 for the M44's rear base, and #16 for the front base. I dutifully ordered them. Upon arrival, I noted the bases appeared to be identical, except the #16 was longer than the #12. I could not see where #16 had any advantage over #12, except its screws were spaced slightly farther apart.

Without comment, I took the rifle & bases to a local gunsmith. He installed them handily, but substituted a second #12 for the #16. I didn't mind at all, as I think the package looks neater with the shorter base. Everything lined up perfectly when I mounted a Leupold VariX-III 3.5-10 w/target knobs on it, using Weaver 4x4 high-extended rings (I crowd scopes, so the front extension ring served to position the scope further forward).

Shooting the rifle gave what I consider to be excellent groups. Various types of match ammo gave 5-shot groups of one ragged hole at 25 yds. Federal Gold Match did best (of the ones I had on hand), just making enlarged holes. I say "enlarged" because ragged doesn't do it justice. The rifle may very well shoot better than that--I'm not sure--but I think the Federal ammo was testing my ability to hold off a bench more than I was testing its accuracy in my M44.

The best hunting ammunition grouped about 2" at 100 yds (CCI Mini-Mags).

-- Glenn R. (email address withheld on request -- too much SPAM)
Putting a Scope on Your Rifle Redux While attending a gun show near Atlanta (I was down there for a Garand Match), I found a couple selling scopes and mounts. They were very helpful! Weaver #2 (48402) side mount base will attach to the side of the rifle in place of the peepsite (without drilling). It does require a little removal of wood though. Along with the Weaver 1" Detachable Side Mount (49350, which includes rings), the scope should mount up nicely.

Update: I took the rifle and mount to my local gun shop, it turned out that additional holes would have to be drilled on the side of of the receiver. My original idea was to not drill any additional holes. Since that wouldn't work, I went with a set of normal rings.

-- David
Putting a Scope on Your Rifle Redux II The side mount base does not fit the the rifle with the Lyman peep sight.

The Weaver #12 & #16 bases,and mid size rings do,but require drilling and tapping the receiver, and barrel, to work.The #16, being thicker than the #12, goes on the barrel.The #12, being thinner, goes on the receiver.

Brownell's has these.

Best, Artk.
Putting a Scope on Your Rifle Redux III There is someone on the web who has modified the side mount base to better fit the rifle (without drilling more holes in the receiver.

I have to find the URL again.
What's the Screw
in the Magazine do?
Some folks thought that the long screw in the magazine was used to convert the rifle from multiple to single-shot. I guess that it does do that. But the real purpose is to allow you to shoot .22 short, .22 long, and .22 long rifle cartridges in the same magazine. If the cartridge doesn't fit, remove the screw. Since I only shoot .22 LR, I removed the screw and have it stored in the same safe place as my spare trigger guard.
I want to make my rifle a match rifle You are not the only person with that desire! Bill Hawks (bhawks@ia.net) felt the same way and has done so. His web page at zeus.ia.net/~bhawks/shooting.htm covers a number of topics. He has written a PDF format file that is available on his web page or copied here with his permission. He also has a version is MS Word format.

On April 17, 2002, Bill had the following to say:
"Some may think that I am an evil butcher for altering the original rifle, but what they don't know is that I have six more that are still original. Even if the rifle in the article was the only one I had, I would not regret altering it.

It shoots so well that I will be using it for smallbore competition. From what I hear, the CMP is running out of them. I wonder what the going rate will be once the supply has dried up."
The firing pin moves and goes "clack" when the trigger is pulled but nothing else happens. Assuming that the ammo is OK, it is possible that the trigger guard is interfering with the trigger -- which is slowing down the firing pin. A quick check for this is to remove the trigger guard and try to fire again.

I found this out the hard way. I have 3 rifles (call them good rifles A and B, Rusty rifle R). The bolt in R has a bad extractor. I tried the bolts from A and B in rifle R -- neither would work. Bolt R would work in all three rifles. I tried switching parts between bolts A and R to see what would work -- no luck. I pulled the trigger guard and the original A bolt worked fine.
Can't find a Serial NumberAs I look at it there are two possibilities: either you got really lucky and received a rare case of where the serial number was not marked or, to quote Vic Havlin, President Mossberg Collectors Association:

"Mossberg did not put serial numbers on their civilian long guns until 1968. The 44US (no letters behind the US) is a military trainer, and as such should have a serial number in the 100,000 - 165,000 range located on the left side of the receiver opposite the bolt handle. The 44US will also have US PROPERTY marks on it. The 44US(a), (b), (c) and (d) are post-war civilian models and there will not be a serial number.

The 144US is the same story - it is a military marked rifle and will have a serial number in the same location as noted on the 44US. The 144LS, LS-A, and LS-B are civilian versions of the military target rifle. They have no serial numbers except the last 144LS-B models made after 1968 though 1986 when Mossberg discontinued all 22s."

[I believe that 1968 is when the major Gun Control Act took effect in the US and required serial numbers on all newly manufactured firearms.]

Long Trigger Pull Posted By: pwc phillipcollins@sprintmail.com
Date: Tuesday, 17 July 2001, at 9:39 p.m.
In Response To: M44 trigger pull (dean ferrell)

Bolt spring has little to do with the trigger pull. Dont cut the bolt spring; may cause inconsistent ignition, and increased lock time. Don't cut the trigger return spring either, because this also affects the safety.

That said, you can bring the trigger pull down to around .5 to 1lb, depending on your patience.

Remove the trigger and polish the sides and the part that engages the firing pin / striker to as shiny a surface as possible. Remove the firing pin / striker and do the same. Triangular slipstones are available at most hardware stores; get an assortment.

Carefully observe how the two engage, and you will find they do not make a vertical surface. There is a slight angle of engagement which causes the trigger and firing pin / striker to "lock" together.

At this time, decide how many times you are willing to assemble - disassemble the firing pin and bolt to lighten the trigger pull. (in my case it was around 35 times) Work carefully and not in a hurry. When you get frustrated, walk away and get a cup of coffee until the "I want it now's" pass. The metal you remove can't be replaced. If you go too far the rifle will be unsafe, and Vic Havlin will get an order for a new trigger and or firing pin.

Clean everything, get rid of the 50 odd years accumulated grease, especially the holes. Get a can of Dikem (used to layout patterns in metal) or a dry erase magic marker. Mark the trigger / firing pin engagement area, AND the bottom of the bolt on both sides of the firing pin slot. Reassemble everything.

Put a spent case in the chamber, and dry fire 3 or 4 times; don't just lift the bolt to recock. Work the bolt; you want to see if anything is rubbing. Replace the spent cartridge each time. (Rimfires don't take dry firing very well; it will peen the chamber or possibly break the firing pin)

Disassemble everything being careful to not touch the "marked" areas. You are going to look for wear marks in the Dikem or dry erase marked areas. Use a 7X magnifier to inspect the surfaces. If you are lucky, only the trigger / firing pin will show "wear". If so, decide in your mind how much to take off the firing pin and or trigger to reshape the mating surfaces. DO NOT JUST START WORKING DOWN THE FRONT OF THE FIRING PIN, OR REAR OF THE TRIGGER. Remember Mr. Havlin?

Do all work with stones, (from Grainger or McMaster-Carr) never files, keep all surfaces flat and square (marking each time you reassemble will provide good witness marks to keep you on track) After stoning, a final polish can be given by "crocus" cloth. It is like verrrry fine sandpaper, but on a cloth backing. The ONLY use for a file is to provide a rigid backing for this polishing medium.

If there are witness marks anywhere else, (on the bottom of the bolt) investigate and find out what's rubbing what. Work slowly and check often (translated: mark - reassemble - dry fire - disassemble - inspect)

The rounded front or top of the trigger may touch the bottom of the bolt, reshape or polish until there is no evidence of interference.

I know it is said "do not reshape sear engagement surfaces". But, if you are careful you can lighten the trigger pull drastically. It depends on your skill, and mainly PATIENCE.

I can make no claim as to how yours will turn out, but my trigger pull is very close to my grandson's competition .22. It will be safe if; with a spent case in the chamber, and cocked, the rifle will not "fire" if bounced on it's buttstock.

One more pointer for the safety: If it ever fires when closing the bolt; or if the safety is on, and there is any movement of the trigger when pulled, (the gun may fire when the safety is taken off) it is unsafe.

To Correct: With a machinist's vise or any small vise, place the safety lever on top, with the "detent" down into the opening between the vise jaws, and close the jaws until it is supported on top. Continue closing until the jaws almost, but not quite touch the sides of the detent. Place a suitable punch (not pointed like a prick punch) in the middle of the detent and give it a sharp rap. Not too hard, you can do this as many times as necessary, so don't try to do it in one shot.

NOTE: The safety is not hardened like the trigger and will wear more easily in use and will deform under a hammer more easily.

If you over do it, simply place the safety in the vise and crank it down to flatten the detent, until the correct "depth" of the detent is established. Never file to adjust! The depth of the detent IS the safety. When applied the trigger should not move. The strength (translated length) of the trigger return spring is critical to safety, do not shorten it. If you ever cut the trigger spring, you may also affect the M44 safety's ability to engage the trigger and block its motion.

Gun fires when switching safety on/off1) Trigger is pulled (w/safety on) and then released.
2) Safety is moved to red dot (finger off trigger during this moment).
3) Gun fires when safety is moved to red dot (trigger depresses itself).

"Bruce . Faison" figured out the problem:
FINALLY ... I have resolved this situation, David. The trigger pull adjustment screw had to be tightened quite a bit so as to make the trigger not respond to being pulled with the safety on. It was pulling back just a tad with safety on and then continuing this action the instant the safety was taken off. Bearing down with adjustment screw has stopped this and makes for a harder trigger pull, which doesn't bother me as long as it's safe to use now. I don't know how I could have made the gun safe again if this adjustment didn't do it. New safetys for the 44US aren't available as far as I know.
I couldn't tell for sure but the safety itself may have been filed a bit by someone past. It looked like it had a slight flat spot on it.... maybe from wear if not filed?
Of course, taking the whole trigger assembly apart and cleaning everything only helped with its function. I'm thankful for the good diagrams and pictures available on the net.

This gun is a pleasure to shoot once more.

Your Problemand solution here
Your Problemand solution here




Serial Number Ranges and Variations:

Serial Number ExampleDescription
103,0xxMossberg S-100 rear sight.
104,xxxParkerized
121,xxxBlued
130,xxxBlued
141,xxxParkerized. Mossberg S-100 rear sight. Drilled and tapped receiver. According to Bruce Douglas (bdoug123@msn.com):

"The rifle will require a side mount. I think a Weaver #1 (?) can be adapted. The screws are located just forward of the peep sight screw holes. I just got the rifle recently so I need to do a little more research. I know for sure that mossberg made a mount that fit their old 3/4" dia. scopes for this rifle."
144,0xxAccording to Wayne Jarvis (wjarvis@depotltd.com):

"It is blued, S-100 rear sight, and is drilled and tapped on the receiver. It came from the CMP this way. The side mount base called for, as best as I can tell, is a Weaver #2, along with a 1" side mount ring assembly that matches this base. I'll know if it works tomorrow when these parts come in. (The side mount is actually tapped at between 10 and 11:00 on the receiver)

My particular rifle is in pretty good shape. I have altered the appearance a good deal. I reshaped the forend of the stock into a more square, target rifle-appearing shape that sits on a bag or rest better. I stripped the stock, removed the barrel band, bedded the action, primered, sprayed a fleck stone type textured paint on, and finished it with a couple coats of a clear sealer. It looks good to me. I may do a few more things to the trigger, etc., but for now, I'm going to shoot it as it is for awhile. Altering these doesn't bother me at all. They are not expensive, are not famous like the Win. 52, and are extremely ugly, in my opinion." (April 2003)

[I don't agree with his ugly comments but there is nothing wrong with working the rifle over a bit to make it better and pretier!]
146,9xxBlued. Mossberg S-100 rear sight. Spotted by Vince Romano vromano@prupref.com. He's seen these rifles priced in the 120-150 to 300-350 ranges (April 2003)
146,xxxABlued. The "A" is not a mistake: an "A" is scratched into the receiver which implies a duplicate. If you have rifle in this range I'd like to hear about it.
I48XXX or
148XXX
Blued with parkarized buttplate, swivels, and floorplate. It has blued S-100 rear sight with post front sight. Papa Fred (fseliot@outdrs.net) sent me this information (January 2009); he got it from CMP/DCM. It really does look like the first character is an upper case letter I. According to Vic Havlin, it looks like someone grabbed the wrong punch (I instead of 1). If you have rifle in this range I'd like to hear about it.
165,xxxBlued
140,xxx
143,xxx
144,xxx
Blued and drilled and tapped CMP rifles as reported by admin@serious-gamers.com
129,1XXparkerized with Mossberg Microclick sight, purchased on gunbroker and had problem with trigger guard.
124,xxxparkerized




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