Shot again today after some bad weather passed.
I found a lot of my problem is focusing on the front sight. I... couldn't... do it! At what age do eyes start going downhill?
Anyway, I painted the post with white automotive touch up paint. The difference was night and day: I can see the sight very clearly.
Before, I had to concentrate to get good groups. I did these without much effort at all.
The flyers were my fault here. I'm having trouble mastering the trigger, which is too heavy. I may try a "toothpaste trigger job" on it tonight.
Again, a flyer. I shot this while sighting in better. The four rounds could have been together if I hadn't done that.
There was an older gent at the gunstore dropping off his M44 to be 'scoped. He had a genuine Mosin-Nagant 'scope mount and WWII sniper 'scope. It was a "sight to behold." If I wanted to permanently alter this into a 'scoped rifle I'd invest in one - especially since it had my beloved, but rarely seen, preference of a post reticle.
As it stands, I'm still planning the scout setup. I'd like to see what this will do with match ammo (or 7n1 Soviet sniper ammuntion) and a 2.5 or 4 power handgun 'scope. I'm betting with a few inexpensive tweaks I could get this bad boy to shoot very, very well.