Gun History: Obrez Cut-Down Bolt Actions

These guns were homemade from rifles when concealable or short firearms were needed but no pistols were available.

An obrez gun made from a Mosin Nagant rifle.
An obrez gun made from a Mosin Nagant rifle.photo from reddit

Have you ever heard of an Obrez? It’s one of those firearm customization trends that was quite brief, but has begun gaining notoriety on the inter webs of late.

You might see a cut-down bolt action Mosin Nagant rifle with a captions saying it was sawed off for trench warfare during WWI, like this reddit post. While it’s possible bolt-action rifles were modified in this way to make them easier to use in the close-quarters of a trench. But the truth is, similar modifications were made to bolt guns in various places for various purposes.

As Forgotten Weapons reports, the ogres is a Mosin-Nagant rifle with the barrel cut down to 4-8 inches and the buttstock lopped off. This made it concealable at times and in places where pistols weren’t readily available but Mosins were plentiful.

They were used by criminals, partisans, and revolutionaries.

From Forgotten Weapons:

“Recoil is pretty hefty, and accuracy is non-existent, but they work well enough in close quarters."

Here’s a video of a guy firing one of the contraptions:

The site says these types of guns were made outside of Russia as well and out of rifles other than Mosin Nagants. This photo of two Mauser rifles and a Mosin that have been cut down is from the Belgian War Museum in Brussels.

Obrez guns in the Belgian War Museum.
Obrez guns in the Belgian War Museum.photo from forgottenweapons.com

Here’s a shot of two obrez guns made from Type 38 Arisaka rifles—one has had its stock carved into a crude pistol grip.

Two obrez guns made fromType 38 Arisaka rifles.
Two obrez guns made fromType 38 Arisaka rifles.photo from forgottenweapons.com

Just another little niche of the world’s deep gun history.