Friday, March 02, 2007

Mossberg Model 40

This rifle is another gun that was stored in Grandfather's attic for over 40 years. A bolt-action rifle chambered for the .22 Short, Long and Long Rifle cartridges, this gun has a tubular magazine under the 24 inch barrel. Apparently he got this from Doctor North because Grandfather couldn't see the sights on the Winchester 1906 well enough to shoot the groundhogs on his 12 acre farm. I can't imagine Grandfather keeping something that wasn't his but Mom told me that he'd borrowed the gun from the good doctor and never returned it. Of course all the principles are deceased.

In addition to the open sights, this gun has what is an apparently factory installed Mossberg scope sight and mount. This thing is interesting in that the adjustments are all made to the mount. The scope itself has no internal adjustments. Also the scope still has the original rubber eye cup. I would have thought there would have been a lot more deterioration in the attic where temps ranged from 0-150 degrees and humidity likely varied quite a bit as well. The reticule is fine wire crosshairs which are usable in the squirrel woods.

The gun also came with a stowable peep sight which went here. I used to have, might still have it, but I can't find it. Don't know what happened but I may have put the assembly in a "safe place". It is supposed to look like the one shown in this next photo. The two slots are matched by "ribs" on the back of the sight. The bolt screws into the hole shown. It is not click adjustable but that isn't to be expected on a lower price point item. Because of the age and "darkness" of the old scope sight, a peep sight would be welcome.

This image is of the correct sight. Even if I find mine, I know it isn't complete. If you happen to know where I could get such a sight or have such a sight for sale, please contact me.

My gun has the original varnish finish. Extremely practical and probably a cost saver for Mossberg at the time, it really isn't all that good looking.

The magazine is interesting in that the follower and spring protrude so that the follower can force the cartridges through the feeding mechanisms angles to a postion under the bolt. Interesting indeed as I don't know of another rifle that does this.

The action is attached to the stock with a single bolt. This is more than sufficiently strong for this sort of firearm and permits rapid disassembly for cleaning or moisture removal in the event of a good soaking. If it is overly tight, a coin makes a handy "screwdriver" for removal.

The Western Field .410 bolt gun has the exact same attachment method.

As you might be able to tell from this photo the bolt is very similar to the Western-Field .410 bore bolt-gun. The bolt knob is properly placed for rapid manipulation, if required. Again, the similarities continue in the stock design and finish (the aforementioned varnish). Those finger-grooves on the forearm are on both guns. The safety works identically to the Western Field bolt -action shotgun. The trigger guards may actually be the same part! You have to remember that these guns were produced to fill a lower price point and that profitability came from production cost savings made easier by commonality of parts.

Here is a photo of another Mossberg Model 40, not mine, with the complete and correct aperture sight. It makes for an interesting comparison.

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...and here is the only schematic I've been able to find so far.
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- National Mossberg Collectors' Association
- Havlin Sales and Service - Mossberg Parts


Anonymous said...

I have a model 40, but the front sight is not hooded, and the peep sight is another lyman model. It is complete except for an extractor. I am about to give up trying to find one. Halvins does not have them, or even a bolt. Your Grandfathers looks funny with that scope. If you wounded a squirrel with it, you could take off the scope and finish him off without having to move from your rest. If I decide to give up on this gun, are you looking for a parts gun? Or are you interested in selling your?
Don S.
My email is

Anonymous said...

Just wanted to drop a quick note out to you, thanking you for this post. I'm currently trying to run down some parts for an old Mossberg (OK, a Western Field) .22lr. The thing is a compilation of several parts guns, I'm thinking, which is making it really interesting. Good info page - thanks again!