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Text: Tuco Photos: Tuco, A. Rokka, and Phil S

The Romanian Model 1944 Carbine Clone

Romanian production of the M44 Carbine began in the mid 1950's with most examples having the date of 1955 and it would appear that they were produced on relocated Soviet machinery ( as was the case in Poland, Hungary, and China).  It is unclear how long the production run lasted but it does seem that the manufacture ran only a short time ( maybe a year or two ).  It is also unknown how many of these carbines were produced but with the minor production time period it is assumed the number is much lower than the other  M44 clones.   These low production numbers make the Romanian M44 an interesting "Cold War" collectable.

The reason for the low production numbers has remained a bit of a mystery, and there have been many theories put forth.   One such theory does seem to have some hard factual evidence behind it,  and I feel it would be improper if I did not at least mention it.   It is known that many of the Polish, Hungarian, and Soviet M44's that have been imported in the US came from Romania.  This fact means that at some point the M44's of other nations were sent to Romania.   This could be due to the fact that the SKS began to make its appearance in the other Eastern Bloc nations a bit before its appearance in Romania.     Romania has long been one of the poorer of the Soviet Bloc nations and this lack of wealth was often reflected in the armaments they could employ.  This could well be the case here as it is possible that Romania was forced to make do with what they could scrap up.  This argument is furthered a bit by the appearance of the Romanian SKS.  These appear to have later dates than the more commonly encountered models and they also appear to be made from Chinese parts.   All of this at least seems to point to a later appearance of the SKS in Romania , and the possibility the other Eastern European nations furnished Romania with what was quickly becoming an obsolete carbine. ( The M44 was indeed being quickly phased out as an issue weapon in this time frame )

Romanian M44 Carbine Clone

The Romo M44's are commonly mistaken for the Soviet version as the proof markings are quite similar to the Soviet proof of Izhevsk.  While the Izhevsk proof is a complete arrow in a triangle the Romanian proof is a arrowhead in a triangle, and if one pays attention the difference is obvious.  The upper barrel shank proof of the Romanian M44 is a wreath with the letters RPR ( Romanian People's Republic ). 

Russianmark44iz.jpg (45965 bytes)romanianmarks2.jpg (12236 bytes)

Soviet proof on left and Romanian proof on right.

The stocks of the Romo M44 Carbines will have a C in a diamond proof marking.  It is thought these are an inspectors or a general factory proof.   The stocks appear to be made of some local wood and there is little to no grain to them in most cases.  They are a rather plain and common looking stock.  Couple that with the heavy coat of shellac ( or varnish ) used to finish these stocks and one has a stock that is not all the pleasant to the eye.   Of course these carbines were manufactured for function and not for their stunning good looks.   The C also appears in a diamond on these carbines but this proof appears only on the metal of the carbine.  The rear tang of these carbines often have the arrowhead in a triangle marking and the date of manufacture.

The Romanian M44's , like all the M44 clones, show the later upgrades the Soviet put in place in 1945.  These upgrades dealt with the front sight and the bayonet.  The most commonly seen sling on the Romo M44 is a leather type that is much like a "leather" SKS sling.  Since it is unknown when these slings were fitted, they may well be SKS slings.  They do look much like the slings found on the Romanian SKS's that have recently been imported into the country.  The oilier that is associated with these carbines is also what appears to have been used with the Romanian SKS, which is a double top square model with a S and a U.   As the SKS's and M44's seemed to have been mixed together at one time or another, it is very difficult to tell which accessories are really correct for which rifle ( carbine ) in this case.  To further cloud this is the fact that Polish, Hungarian,   and Soviet M44's  ( with their accessories ) were also stored/mixed with the Romo carbines.

 


The Romanian M91/30

In recent Mosin Nagant imports from Romania a strange M91/30 has shown up.  These M91/30's outwardly look a bit like the old Soviet model, but there are major differences in these new imports.  It seems that Romania did indeed manufacture the M91/30 in its own right.   The major differences are the stock, the trigger,  an added sling swivel, the proofs, and the sights. 

Romo9130both.jpg (17310 bytes)

The Romanian M91/30 Rifle: Photos from Phil Souza

The stocks on many of these seem to have a cutout channel much like the M44 Carbine employs to hold the bayonet when folded.   It is a mystery as to why some of these rifles seem to be outfitted with these cutouts as there is not a folding bayonet in place.   It is unclear why there would be a cutout and nothing to fit in it.  One can see this cutout in the photo above.  These stocks also seem to be a bit thicker than the standard Soviet rifle.   There is also an added sling swivel that is directly under the rear sight, and this swivel does not appear on the Soviet model M91/30.

romo9130rearsightjpg.jpg (28024 bytes)

Rear sights, date, and proof markings

The rear sights of many have been altered, scrubbed, and are rather crude.   They almost appear to have the traits of a trainer rifle's sights.   Not all seem to be as crude as the photo above but this roughness does not seem to be out of the ordinary.  The front sights are also unlike any other Mosin Nagant.   They seem to be more in line with Mauser sites than a Mosin.  The sights even have grooves on the sides to accept a Mauser site protector.

romom9130frontsight.jpg (19315 bytes)

Front sight

One collector noted,  "The whole trigger is completely different from any other Mosin that I have encountered and not interchangeable. The rear of the receiver has different ears, open to the rear than the standard Mosin receiver. The trigger appears to be adjustable with the screw through the underside but I haven't messed with mine. It's a fine trigger the way it is and we all know about fixing something that isn't broke."*

Rom91301BM2.jpg (49663 bytes)

Close up of rear receiver and trigger

In short there are a number of unanswered questions about the Romanian M91/30.  It is clear these were manufactured in Romania and they have several alterations that set them apart from the Soviet models.   It is unclear why these alterations were done and if these rifles were ever issued.    There are features that seem to point to a trainer and there are also details that seem to discount the trainer theory.  I guess these will remain a mystery until someone is able to access Romanian archives.

Both the Romanian M44 Carbines and M91/30's are well made firearms.  Their overall quality is in the same league as their contemporaries and the rarity of the M91-30 makes these quite a collectable.

* Big Mike: Tuco's Collector's Forum

 


 
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