I got this former PU sniper form the mosin pile at a local gun show. Mosin Nagants can typically be found for about a hundred bucks. The sniper versions fetch a lot more. However old sniper variants can be found on occasion mixed in with all the cheap ones. If you examine the left hand side of the receiver interior, former snipers can be spotted by finding the 2 filled scope mount plugs visible from within the receiver and a scope mount inlet on the left hand side of the stock. Reproduction scopes and mounts can be found and the bolts modified to bring an old sniper back to it’s former state. if you have seen the movie ‘Enemy aAt the gates’ you saw Jude Law fielding one of these rifles as Vasily Zaytsev against counter-sniper Erwin König.
The one I found had the typical heavy layers of Russian Laquer finish slathered all over the wood, cosmoline all over it and the give-away scope mount holes. I took the furniture off of the rifle and set to stripping the red laquer off with Citristrip. I highly recommend this method of finish removal as it takes the finish off but doesn’t take any wood like sanding does.
This also preserves any cartouches on the rifle. Once this is done, I took increasing fineness of foam sanding blocks and sheets to get the fuzz off of the wood. I then used a layer of Minwax Sedona Red for the stain. The red almost perfectly matched the old laquered red of the old finish. I added several layers of Tung oil until it had the finish I wanted. I had the scope mount plugs removed by a gunsmith and a reproduction mount added for the scope.
I actually shoot my rifles, I don’t own any safe queens. Once this was all finished and taken to the range, It initially hit 2.5″ groups at 100M with surplus ammo and inside of 2″ with modern commercial ammo.