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Two versions of the m/38 carbine. The 1943 dated version on the top was the first year that laminated stocks appeared on the 91-30 rifle and the m/38 and m/44 carbines. The example on the bottom is a 1940 dated version in the standard hardwood stock. The laminated gun sports the non-adjustable carbine sling while the bottom 1940 dated gun is fit with the standard short m/38 carbine sling that was adjustable for length.

The model of 1907 carbine was the forerunner to the m/38 carbine. The m/1907 was antiquated by 1938 and a replacement had to found. The answer was a carbine length weapon based on the currently adopted standard infantry rifle of the day, the m/91-30. The new carbine of 1938 would serve in the same capacity as it's m/1907 predecessor-as a support personnel weapon. The carbines primary function was to serve with crew served weapons like the a machine gun crew or artillery personnel. They also saw service with communications and support troops. The m/38 was a bit larger than the m/1907 but it shared it's ferocious recoil and muzzle blast

The short handguard and rearward set back of the first production 1939 m/38 carbine. This style stock is scarce and is not encountered with any frequency today.

A comparison of the early and later style stocks and handguards. The top gun is a 1939 dated first year production version and the bottom a 1941 vintage production that clearly illustrates the differences in the handguard and stock between the first year variation and the later production model. It clear here to see that the length of the rear section of the later production handguard and the corresponding step in the stock is 3.53cm farther forward than the initial production variant.

Tula markings from a 1940 and 1944 dated m/38 carbine. 1944 is the only known year of full production of the m/1938 carbine by Tula. These guns are extremely rare and highly sought after by collectors of the Mosin Nagant and it's carbines. There was a small trial production done at Tula in 1940 but 1944 is the only year of full mass production of the m/38 carbine by theTula arsenal.  The 1940 Tula is truly a very rare find today .

 

The stock forend and handguard of the first pattern m/38 carbine. This stock configuration and handguard were only used on the initial first year production of m/38 carbines-1939. Note the stocks rear barrel band set back is about a inch and half farther back than the later version. Also the rear handguard step is farther back as well resulting in a short handguard step up in the rear like a m/91-30 rifles. Later carbines had a longer handguard step up and corresponding stock set back was moved forward 1.5 inches.

Later stock and handguard of the m/38 carbines produced from 1940 to 1945

Cartouche found on the stocks of the m/38 carbine. The large Soviet roundel on the right and the final acceptance stamping of the proof commission on the left. The Soviet Ishvesk arsenal roundel consists of two concentric circles. The inner circle consists of a hammer and sickle surrounded by a laurel wreath. The outside ring forms another circle where the letters CCCP are stamped around it. This cartouche was used on the Ishvesk produced m/91-30, m/38 and m/44 carbines as well as the Tokarev rifle. Tula used a five pointed star and a fletched arrow inside it just as their primary arsenal marking found on the barrel top.

The rear portion of the laminated stock version m/1938 carbine. Notice the rear reinforcing crossbolt to strengthen the wrist area to prevent splitting. The ferocious recoil of the m/38 carbine caused many a hardwood stock to crack at the rear of the receiver tang were it met the stock. This resulted in the common "V" shaped crack that starts at the rear of the action and then moved forward toward the forestock following the grain of the wood. The laminated stocks rear crossbolt prevented this problem. This crossbolt was not limited to us on the new laminated stocks alone. Many hardwood stocks have been observed with this strengthening crossbolt placed at the wrist to solidify the area from cracking under recoil.

The unprotected rear slot of the later m/38 carbines. These are found on the 1942 and later m/91-30's and m/38's. The pressed in slot escuteons became standard for the later production carbines and m/44's.

The difference in the m/38 and m/44 carbine stocks can be found in the relief for the bayonet being found on the top edge of the m/44 carbine stock on the right side as the arrow indicates.

A side view of the short rear sight of a true m/38 carbine. The sight was graduated from 100 to 1000m. Notice the finger relief cut in the stock just behind the rear band. This was an aid in removing the rear barrel band.

 

This carbine is a Finnish repaired version using a shortened m/30 stock. All of the band spring relief and the rear barrel band set back are original. It appears that this stock was specifically made for replacements for the carbines captured. Note that the gun uses the Finnish swivels and the early handguard of the  first year 1939 version. 

A close up of the forend of the Finnish stocked m/38 carbine

 

The four variants of the m/1938 carbine. From top to bottom. A 1941 dated example captured by Finland and restocked in a Finnish stock modified for the m/38 carbine. 2nd from top is the laminated stocked version dated 1943. #rd from the top is a 1940 dated example of the second stock pattern and on the bottom is a first year production model of 1939.

Finnish capture of a 1str year carbine. The Finn's captured less than 1700 of these carbines making them highly collectable to the Finnish weapons collector and enthusiast

 

The authors reference collection of the first two years production variants of the m/38 carbine. These include markings, stock construction and later modifications like a MO marked variant.

 

 

The M91/38 carbines were initially m/1891 long rifles that have shortened to carbine length. They are not a true m/38 carbine. They are so named by the description of the gun-a m/1891 rifle modified to m/1938 size hence the combination of the two types-m/91-38.

This is the front sight of the m/38 carbine. It is much thinner than the later sight base used on the m/91-38 which is in actuality a m/44 carbine second pattern sight base. This thin sight base was also used on the m/91-59 carbine.

The heavy wide base front sight as used on the m/91-38 carbine. Notice the width of the m/44 carbine front sight base as opposed to the thinner sight base of the m/38 carbine

 
 

Typical markings of the m/91-38 carbine. Easily identified by the date ranges used on these guns. An authentic m/38 carbine was produced and dated from 1939 to 1945. These cut down long rifles will have the hexagonal receivers and be dated pre 1925 for the most part. You can clearly see the Czech refurbishment marking of the "T" in a  circle on the top of the receivers as well as the firing proof underneath.

The stock of the m/91-38 carbine is relieved as for a bayonet of the m/44 carbine. This relief is clear on the right side of the stock as shown here.  No known m/91-38 carbines were originally fit into standard m/38 carbine stocks, which lack this relief cut.

This is the m/91-59 carbine. So named for the markings found on the barrels of these guns. The guns are standard m/91-30 rifles shortened to m/38 carbine configuration. The barrels are marked with the initial production date of the barrel and the added markings of 1891/59 stamped below that. The stocks are also modified to duplicate the m/38 carbine stock. It is nearly impossible to differentiate the stocks unless the barreled action is removed from the stock. Notice the long rear sight of the 91-30 rifle. The sights were modified to be adjustable to only 1000m as opposed to the 2000m of the 91-30 long rifle. The front sight was also changed to be like that of the m/38 carbine in that it is a pressed fit sleeve that is pinned in place.

The long rear sight of the m/91-30 rifle used on the m/91-59 carbine. You can see the two milled "windows" of the farthest 1000m that were milled off to give the carbine a maximum sighting range of 1000m.

 

 

A comparative view of the m/38 carbine rear sight on the left and the 91-59 rear sight on the right. The length of the modified m/91-30 rear sight is very clear in this picture with the sight graduations from 1100 to 2000 meters milled out.

The stock slot for the sling found on the m/91-30 and m/38 and 44 carbines produced after 1943. The rear was an unprotected slot and the front had the small metal reinforcements added to protect the thinner forstock from cracking at the sling slot.

The three primary slings of the m/38 carbine are shown above. The most common in issue was the bottom sling which could be considered "standard issue". A web sling of light kahki color it is easily identified by the leather reinforcements on each sling end that come to a point. Also the solid brass buckle is an indicator with its short length. The middle sling is a leather version of the m/38 sling that while issued in large numbers is not very common today being secondary to the web sling on the bottom. It also has the solid brass buckle and is of carbine length. The top sling is bar far the most uncommon of the carbine slings and is a non adjustable type of simple web construction and of carbine length. It is assumed this sling was a wartime shortcut version to save on the brass buckles cost and need elsewhere for war material production.

 

The standard tool kit in its closed position as it would have been carried in the soldiers pocket or rucksack with its two compartment oiler. The closure strap is wrapped around the kit and through the center of the oiler to attach it on the kit and close the pouch.

The tool kit for the m/38 carbine in the open position. The kit contained a combination tool that was used for assembly and disassembly of the weapon with its screw driver type tip. The serration notches were used for firing pin protrusion gauge when  the bolt was disassembled completely for cleaning. The large notch at the rear for for tightening the cleaning tool onto the rod securely as each one has a corresponding notch in it for this tool. The muzzle cover rod guide was a small cap that fit over the muzzle to prevent wear on the crown when cleaning. it is the practice of the Red Army to clean the weapons from the muzzle end thus necessitating the cap. The rod collar is the cylinder in the upper left that acted as a reinforcement for the rod to make a stiff connection when using the rod handle as a T when inserted in the collar. The bore brush and cleaning rod jag round out the kit. Cloth strips or "oakum" which is a fibrous hemp like material would be wrapped around the jag to hold the solvent or oil. The oil bottle was split into two compartments-one for oil in lubricating and preventing rust and the other for solvent. This solvent was usually an alkaline based substance to neutralize the corrosive effects of the rifles primer and powder in the bore. Often times petrol or kerosene was used when an alkaline solvent was not in supply. The compartments are labled with the cyrillic letters of a W shape which is the cyrillic letter N standing for "neft" which is oil. On the right the cyrillic letter H is marked standing for the word "shchalok" or alkaline solution.

The rod collar being slid up the rod into position. The holes were lined up and the cross handle inserted locking all the parts together to form a stiff "T" handle for ease in grasping the rod assembly in your hand and using it effectively in the bore.

The cleaning kit in use. Notice the muzzle cover rod guide in place and the assembled rod with its collar and handle inserted.

 

The combination tool showing how the two notches fit over the rim of the bolt head and the center notch being used to check for the proper height or protrusion. This was adjusted by screwing the firing pin deeper into the bolt from the rear on the cocking knob. The slotted end of the firing pin was tightened until the pin filled the notch as shown.

 

 

The m/38's carbine was issued with two ammunition pouches consisting of two compartments each. The pouch was designed to hold 6 stripper or "charger"clips of ammuntion-3 in each compartment, This gave each soldier a 60 rd ammunition supply for his weapon. These pouches shown are pre war issue from 1940 and are of all leather construction. Post war versions used what the author has termed "pleather" material. This is a vinyl covered canvas construction of a two tone color scheme-un tanned leather for the lid and straps and dark brown for the body of the pouch which was the constructed with the "pleather' material.


 
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