Tuesday, July 31, 2012

Mossberg Model 44US

Because someone keeps asking me to blog about the rifle that I let her shoot a while back...

This rifle is a Mossberg Model 44US. It's a cut-rate version of their commercial 44B, made specifically as a trainer for US military soldiers during World War Two.
It's a magazine-fed bolt-action .22 rifle with a trigger that breaks crisp and clean if you just give it a sharp look.
Weighing in at 8.5 lbs, it sports a heavy 26" long barrel that is 13/16 in diameter. It has a crowned muzzle. It's chambered for .22 long rifle but the detachable 7-round magazine will handle .22 short, .22 long, and .22 long rifle.
This is one of the earlier-production rifles (SN 100,001-114,500) that came with the Lyman 57MS peep sight.
And just so there's no mistaking it's provenance, these were all nicely marked with the Mossberg logo and a "US Property" stamp. (click picture to make larger)
After the war, thousands of these were made available through the Department of Civilian Marksmanship (DCM) to local shooting clubs run out of various schools and National Guard armories. Pretty much anyone over twelve years of age could just show up and learn to shoot with these, often under the instruction of military coaches. But that was back when the government considered it to be in our national interest to have a solid core of Americans who knew the basics of marksmanship. Many high schools had rifle ranges back then for just such instruction. My, how the times have changed.

I bought this particular rifle back when the CMP (Civilian Marksmanship Program, successor to the DCM) was selling them for $75.00. I almost didn't, but a friend and I did the old "I'll buy one if you'll buy one" deal. When it came, the only wear on it was a log scratch in the wood stock where someone at CMP had carelessly sliced it out of the shrink-wrap that it was in, marring the stock with his blade. This, sadly, was quite common but it in no way detracted from the rifle's shooting ability. I had to hunt up a magazine for it because they came without, but I found two in short order. (Always get spares. If you have to replace a part once, you'll likely have to replace it again sometime.) The rear sight was gummed up with preservative, but once I got it freed up and working, I was amazed at how well it shot.

Unfortunately, by the time I got around to cleaning it up and shooting it and realized what a peach it is, the CMP had run out of them and the scumbag re-sellers that are the bane of the CMP's programs were demanding quite a bit more than $75.00. (I've seen them going for ten times that these days.) I'm glad that I got this one when I did, but, like the $59.00 SKS rifles and $129.00 M-1 carbines that used to be so abundant, I sure wish I'd bought more than one at that price!


  1. That look's like a 1917 Enfield or Remington Model 30 bolt handle on that target gun.

  2. Looks plenty sturdy.

  3. 1950's - 1970's, home town had a strong NRA Junior Rifleman program and dedicated indoor 50' range. The range had about ten of these Mossbergs. A box of shells was 50 cents and I spent a dollar every week. Great shooters!

  4. I shot one of them at the Boy's Club back in the day too!

  5. What is with the cutting of the bags that cover the rifles?
    My CMP Kimber has the slice in the stock too and it is much newer.
    One would think that they would learn not to do this slicing.

  6. It shoots nice - I wish it was still the $75 days or I'd be looking for one.

  7. @ Jon: Apparently all of these .22 rifles were sealed in plastic for long-term storage. When sold, someone at CMP had to remove each one from the plastic enough to verify it's serial number. They used a box-cutter or similar blade and damaged more rifles than they did not, according to discussions that I've had with CMP staff. It was a case of the people doing the work just not caring, something that is truly uncharacteristic with CMP in my experience.

  8. I have 2 of these......I never get to shoot them. My wife and kids have claimed them.

  9. Nice Rifle! I won't tell you what I paid for my Garand with CMP last year.