Gletcher M1944 BB Rifle Review.
2 December 2016
Supplied by SMG Inc.
Beautiful military replica.
Good shot count.
BB loading slow and tedious.
No windage adjustment on sights.
VALUE FOR MONEY
The Gletcher M1944 BB rifle is a very unusual airgun. As a long gun that fires BBs only – with no option of pellets – it’s almost unique in the market at the time of writing this review. Almost all other long airguns firing BBs also have the option to shoot pellets. Only the ASG TAC 4.5 is a BB-firing long gun. That makes it difficult for us to rate against the other air rifles tested by HAM.
HAM is calling the M1944 BB gun a rifle as it’s a long gun and most people call long guns rifles. But of course, this is completely incorrect as BB guns all have smoothbore – not rifles – barrels and are thus, by definition not rifles. Anyhow, we’ll call the M1944 a BB rifle…
Unlike the TAC 4.5, the Gletcher M1944 BB rifle is an extremely accurate replica of a cartridge firearm. In this case, the original is the Russian WW2 battle rifle – carbine actually – the Mosin Nagant M1944.
The Mosin Nagant M1944 was the final development of that long-running battle rifle and was manufactured for years after the War in Poland and other Soviet-bloc countries. Original M1944s are easy to find – most gun shops have a few. But the vast majority of these are in somewhere between “rough” and “really rough” condition. Yes, they’re cheap but they look it. They also kick like a mule!
So, the Gletcher M1944 BB rifle offers the collector and historic firearms enthusiast the chance to obtain a BB-firing replica of the Nagant M1944. Of course, many BB pistols are copies of firearm originals, but this Gletcher M1944 BB rifle is pretty-well unique in being a copy of a battle rifle.
So, is it worth the money? This is a very tough call. For most airgun shooters, the answer is ‘heck no!”. But for the person who wants a beautiful, accurate reproduction of the Nagant M1944, that can be shot indoors, doesn’t destroy your shoulder when fired, and matches a collection of replica BB pistols, this is a very attractive piece.
And where else can you buy a BB gun that’s fitted with a permanently-attached, side-mounted metal bayonet?
As HAM tester Doug Wall wrote in his testing notes: “At $300.00 you aren’t paying for performance. You’re paying for the detailed replica that this is”.
BUY FROM PYRAMYD AIR
Mosin Nagant M1944 CO2 BB Rifle
BUY FROM AIRGUN DEPOT
Mosin Nagant M1944
SPEED AND ACCURACY
As a CO2-powered BB gun, the Gletcher M1944 BB rifle is never going to give high muzzle velocities. Muzzle velocity is low, peaking at an average of 385 FPS in HAM testing.
With such a low muzzle velocity, the Gletcher M1944 BB rifle should never be used for hunting any type of critter or bird – however small – as the chances of achieving a humane, one-shot kill will be about zero.
But note that the muzzle velocity recorded by HAM would have been influenced by the relatively low temperature in our test range – 64 degrees F. Like all CO2-powered airguns, the M1944 will shoot faster in higher ambient temperatures, so you can expect to pick up some additional fps just by shooting it on a hot day.
The low muzzle velocity is not all downside, however. Close range plinking does not require high muzzle velocity. As the gun has a bolt action, there’s no CO2 used in operating a blowback mechanism, either.
This low CO2 use gives a very high shot count for the Gletcher M1944 BB rifle. It also means that vertical stringing during rapid fire is very much reduced as the gun cools less in firing than would one with higher power.
As a BB gun, the Gletcher M1944 BB rifle is not intended to be accurate in the sense that pellet-firing air rifles are. Compared to other BB guns, the accuracy is pretty good, with best accuracy being achieved with Hornady Black Diamond BBs.
HAM tester Doug Wall shot a 1-inch CTC (Center To Center) group of 10 Hornady Black Diamond BBs at 10 yards, as you can see from the target below. But that C-T-C figure includes one flyer. Without that, 9 shots went into a 5/8-inch x 5/8-inch CTC group. That’s very good for a BB rifle at 10 yards.
Overall, accuracy of the Hornady Black Diamond BBs tested by HAM was definitely “minute of soda can” good at 10 yards. This is good accuracy for a BB gun and is fine for its intended use as a close range plinker.
|BBs||Average Muzzle Velocity||Average Muzzle Energy||Accuracy|
|Crosman Copperhead 5.13 Grain||345 FPS||1.36 Ft/Lbs||Poor.|
|Umarex Steel 5.29 Grain||351 FPS||1.45 Ft/Lbs||Poor.|
|AEG Blaster 5.32 Grain||379 FPS||1.70 Ft/Lbs||Poor.|
|Hornady Black Diamond 5.36 Grain||385 FPS||1.76 Ft/Lbs||Poor. Best Tested.|
|Daisy Avanti 5.44 Grain||382 FPS||1.76 Ft/Lbs||Poor.|
BUY FROM PYRAMYD AIR
Hornady Black Diamond Steel BBs, .177 Cal, 5.1 Grains, Anodized Finish, 1500ct
BUY FROM AIRGUN DEPOT
Hornady Black Diamond Steel BBs 1500 Count
TRIGGER AND COCKING EFFORT
The bolt cycles with exactly the correct, clunky feel of the M1891 action. It even has the same “clack clack” noise as the action is cycled. If you own a Mosin Nagant firearm, you’ll know what I mean!
Like the firearm version, it’s a two-piece bolt with a separate cocking piece that flies forward with a satisfying thunk when the gun is fired. It can be rotated to safe, just like the firearm cocking piece. Note that pulling back the cocking piece cocks the bolt and – if the trigger is then pulled – the gun will fire. But, like the firearm, no projectile will have been loaded into the breech and so the resulting shot will not fire a BB.
The single stage trigger feels good, too, although the pull weight on the sample reviewed by HAM was around 3 lb 0 oz – somewhat less than that of most Mosin Nagant firearms.
The bolt and trigger action of the Gletcher M1944 BB rifle tested by HAM were far smoother and easier to operate than any Mosin Nagant action that I have ever used. In that sense, the trigger and bolt action are actually a little too good for a real replica.
HAM tester Doug Wall also made these notes when testing. “An interesting feature is that to cock the gun, the bolt handle only has to go up and down. Full bolt throw is not necessary. Of course, if you like the realism, do the full bolt throw.” Now that is different to the Nagant original.
COMPARISON TO MAKERS CLAIMS
The major claim for the Gletcher M1944 BB rifle is that it is an accurate representation of the M1944 firearm. In that, it is spectacularly successful! Overall realism is very close to 100%. The only giveaways are the red safety spot on the breech and the small, discrete white lettering. Oh, and the fact that the woodgrain stock pattern looks far better than any Nagant firearm stock than I’ve ever seen!
Long ago, I owned a beautiful Soviet 1891/30 Mosin Nagant sniper rifle (firearm). So I’m very familiar with the action and operation of this type of gun. My reaction to this Gletcher M1891 CO2 pistol is that it’s an incredibly realistic copy of the Mosin Nagant action.
The Gletcher M1891 bolt disassembles in almost exactly the same way as that of the original firearm, too.
BBs and CO2 are loaded into the substantial metal magazine assembly that snaps up into place in the single-stack magazine of the firearm. The magazine is released by a catch positioned just in front of the trigger guard, replicating the latch for the magazine floor plate on the firearm.
There’s an extremely realistic look, together with a very realistic weight and heft to the gun. The sample tested by HAM weighed 8 lb 8 oz, which is pretty close to that of the firearm original.
For our Gletcher M1944 air rifle review, HAM loaded it with Umarex steel BBs. In the cool 64 degree F temperature of our range, the pistol showed a maximum individual velocity of 408 FPS. This is close to the 427 FPS claimed by the manufacturer. Of course, like all CO2-powered airguns, the M1891 CO2 pistol will shoot faster in warmer ambient temperatures. This means that the manufacturer’s muzzle velocity claim will almost certainly be achieved by the M1944 at higher temperatures.
Consistency of the Gletcher M1944 BB rifle tested by HAM was very good. The trigger pull was very consistent at right around 3 Lbs and the Standard Deviation (the indication of shot-to-shot variability in muzzle velocity), was well controlled for a BB gun at less than 20 FPS.
Of course, like any CO2-powered airgun – the muzzle velocity of the Gletcher M1944 BB rifle drops with anything like rapid fire. Most of the Chrony printouts on our test targets below demonstrate the fall during a string.
But muzzle velocity recovered during breaks in shooting – as when re-loading the BB magazine.
HAM Tester Doug Wall found that the Gletcher M1944 BB rifle we tested gave 152 shots before the muzzle velocity fell to below 200 FPS. This is an excellent performance and means that the shooter can expect a very large number of consistent-enough shots from one 12-Gram CO2 cartridge.
Of course, the Gletcher M1944 BB rifle has no silencer. But the low muzzle velocity and efficient gas usage mean that noise levels are low. In addition, the long barrel extension probably acts as something of a shroud. At any event, noise levels of the M1944 are low, as you would expect.
SIGHTS AND SCOPE
The Gletcher M1944 BB rifle is fitted with iron sights.
The rear sight is an almost exact copy of that fitted to the M1944 Mosin Nagant. It’s a simple, open battle sight with basic elevation adjustment only. There’s no windage adjustment with this sight as that was provided by drifting across the front post sight on the original M1944 fiream.
Unfortunately the Gletcher M1944 BB rifle has a fixed front sight. This means that the gun has no windage adjustment capability. The only way for the user to correct the test gun’s tendency to shoot to the left is, thus, to aim off. It’s a shame that windage adjustment was omitted from the BB gun.
As with the firearm original, the Gletcher M1944 BB rifle has no facility for attaching optical sights. These were certainly not wanted for the rough and tumble use these Nagants received in the Red Army. This is an open sights only plinker!
The Gletcher M1944 BB rifle is enormous fun to shoot!
The realistic bolt action and trigger are a delight to use. The stock is synthetic, but feels very solid. It avoids the common “hollowness” of many synthetic stocks and ensures that the balance and weight of the M1944 BB gun are a good match for the firearm original.
The only downside is that the HAM team found loading BBs to be slow and somewhat tedious, especially when compared to some of the more recent BB pistols. The BB follower does lock down (open) very easily, but BBs need to be fed into the top of the magazine through the same aperture that they exit through.
Shootability is also aided by the replica web sling supplied with the M1944. This is probably an aftermarket sling for M1944 firearms. It fits as expected, allowing the gun to be carried over the shoulder, if required. The sling can also be wound around the shooter’s front arm to achieve a more stable hols when aiming. Again just like the firearms original.
It has to be said that the heavy, permanently-mounted bayonet does make the Gletcher M1944 BB rifle muzzle heavy and, indeed, left-heavy. But again, this is exactly as it should be, replicating the handling of the original Mosin Nagant.
Pull length is short at just 13 1/2-inches. This is because the originals were designed to be used by Soviet infantry wearing thick, heavy and padded winter uniforms. It’s not too short for most adults, however.
APPEARANCE AND FINISH
Yes, the Gletcher M1944 BB rifle has a synthetic stock. But the”camo dipped” wood finish stock looks extremely realistic. In fact, it’s a just about perfect imitation wood finish, with a color similar to that of the post war, Polish-manufactured Nagants that were often considered the best-finished of the breed.
Metal parts are also well finished. The bolt, bolt handle and safety are “in the white” as per the original. Other metal parts are black powder coated.
Overall finish is superior to the firearms original!
The permanently-attached bayonet swings into place and back just as you would expect. Exactly like the original.
Another attraction of the Gletcher M1944 BB rifle is the fact that it can be field-stripped just like the firearms original. The bolt assembly pulls straight back out of the breech if the trigger is pulled back at the same time. The bolt itself also disassembles in basically the same way as the firearm. But I suggest that you don’t try this unless you know what you’re doing as it will certainly invalidate the warranty!
BUYING AND OWNING
The Gletcher M1944 air rifle comes in beautiful packaging, complete with an exploded parts diagram on the inside cover of the box. It has a nicely-printed, well-intentioned owner’s manual in English, German and Russian.
The magazine drops out from the gun just like the original. It’s a surprisingly hefty casting that holds the CO2 cartridge and BBs. CO2 cartridges are pierced by turning a hex key that lives in a cleverly-designed recess in the magazine. The valve is also incorporated into this magazine. As the valve is one of the most common failure points on CO2 guns, this is good as a replacement magazine will take care of any problems that may happen to the valve over time.
Gletcher is well-known for providing outstanding warranty periods for their BB guns. The M1944 BB rifle continues this by being provided with an 18-month warranty.
The Gletcher M1944 BB rifle is not widely available at physical stores. However the usual onlive vendors – Pyramyd Air and Airgun Depot – carry this gun and it’s readily available from them.
SAFETY FIRST. As with all BB-firing airguns, it’s necessary to wear shooting glasses when firing this airgun. Also do not shoot at hard surfaces or water. BBs tend to bounce off these surfaces and may hit you, or something other than what you intended. If in doubt, don’t pull the trigger! Due to the realistic appearance of this product, handle it as you would a firearm. Do not display it in public or in any place where it could be mistaken for a cartridge firearm.
Also, the bayonet of the Gletcher M1944 BB rifle is REAL! It could do serious injury to a person if used inappropriately. Take extra care if the bayonet is extended!
BUY FROM PYRAMYD AIR
Mosin Nagant M1944 CO2 BB Rifle
BUY FROM AIRGUN DEPOT
Mosin Nagant M1944
This entire article including scoring, test targets etc is Copyright Hard Air Magazine and may NOT in part or in whole be reproduced in any electronic or printed medium without prior permission from the publisher.