Mosin Nagant Bolt Handle Modification

The Mosin Nagant rifle is a staple in the surplus rifle market. With nearly 17-million produced worldwide, the Mosin has developed a strong following in the United States.

The rudimentary bolt handle is mounted perpendicular to the bore. When the handle is cycled, it moves to the 12-o’clock position due to the rifle’s 90-degree bolt throw. This make the addition of aftermarket optics difficult. To work around this issue, some shooters will cut-off the factory handle and weld a new handle in place. In this post, we will take a look at how that is done.

Before we get to work, let’s take a look at the following disclaimer…

The contents of are produced for informational purposes only and should be performed by competent gunsmiths only. and its authors, do not assume any responsibility, directly or indirectly for the safety of the readers attempting to follow any instructions or perform any of the tasks shown, or the use or misuse of any information contained herein, on this website.

Any modifications made to a firearm should be made by a licensed gunsmith. Failure to do so may void warranties and result in an unsafe firearm and may cause injury or death.

Modifications to a firearm may result in personal injury or death, cause the firearm to not function properly, or malfunction, and cause the firearm to become unsafe.

For this project, I ordered the following products from Brownells:

Here is the new weld-on bolt handle shown next to the factory bolt. My plan is to cut off the factory handle, then weld on and blend the new one.

In this image you can see the bolt handle aligned vertically to the axis of the bore when the bolt is open. This prevents optics from being mounted. By welding the new handle to the side of the bolt, this will no longer be an issue.

To begin the modification process, I tore down the bolt and labeled the top of the bolt handle to preserve orientation. The last thing I want to do is to weld a handle on upside down!

I begin at the metal cutting bandsaw (one of my favorite tools) and cut off the bolt handle.

I used a belt grinder and a file to flatten the area where the bolt handle was removed and the new one will be welded.

Aligning a flat bolt handle on the round bolt body for welding can be difficult with standard clamps. In this case, I used the Brownells ramp soldering fixture. The fixture has a spring loaded clamp and a v-block that worked well securing everything in place.

I began by tack welding the bolt handle in place. This allowed me to check the fit on the rifle. In our shop, we have a few different welders available. I decided to MIG weld this handle since I wanted to add a lot of material to the area. The final product did contain a slight superficial void in one area, on the next one I do, I’ll TIG weld it instead.

Once I had the handle welded in place, I used a series of small stones in a rotary tool and hand files to blend my welds.

For final fitting of the bolt handle, I had to cut away some of the aftermarket plastic stock.

For a final touch, I went ahead and sprayed the bolt body with some aluminum oxide blast media.

I’m pretty happy with how this handle turned out!