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I would go Russian 91/30. Most of the Chinese 53's I've seen are rather rough considering you can get a like new 91/30. The 91/30's are alot longer, but the myth is the carbines were designed to be shot with the bayonet extended for better accuracy. If that's true, then it would be about the same length as the 91/30. The 53 is a light handy rifle. I love my M44. Still quality wise, I would go Russian.
 

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I would also recommend the 91/30 , unless the Chinese 53 is in exceedingly good condition. I have both and do like my little Hungarian M44. Yes the 91/30 is long, but the recoil and bark isn't as bad. The 53 would be better in the forest. You can add a recoil pad for pretty cheap to either. I know what it's like to be on a budget. I was not making too much years ago and wanted an M39 from Century Arms. I could swing the $29 and the shipping but didn't have the extra $10 for the special select. My dad did the transfer on his ffl. I still have that rifle today and it is worth many times what I paid.
 

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The 91/30 is also much quieter than the shorter length variations. I am not a fan of the M44. The bayonet throws the balance off making the rifle front heavy. I won tow of them. A 1944 Izhevsk that is East German marked. I have never shot it.

I also have a Polish made one dated 1952. The original stock is not usable and it was in an ATI stock. I have removed the bayonet too. The last owner never cleaned it after shooting corrosive ammunition. This has frosted the bore a bit but is seems to be improving as I shoot it. Not a bad shooter and the quality is definitely better than the Russian made ones.
 

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Load your own or use light ball. Will cut down on the fireball and noise. Like my 91s but the 44s are so much easier to handle.
 
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