I had an m38 and with that metal butt pad I had some serious kick! Though I never went home with a bruised shoulder. Wish I wouldn't have sold that one..Glad you had a good time but I still fail to see or feel the harsh kick that everybody complains about. My wife and 11yr old son shoot all of our milsurps with full military loads and have yet to suffer from soreness or bruising. Oh and if you think the M44 is bad, then wait til you shoot an M38 or M91/59, then if you are feeling brave try a Steyr M95 Carbine in 8X56R, that one leaves any Mosin in the dust.
It turned more yellow than anything, I shot 25 rounds of 8mm and 20 rounds of 54R. The Mauser cut me a few times though... well you know how the buttplate is held on by 2 screws? Well the top one when I first got it, the head of it was bent to smooth it out and line it up with the top of the stock. Well when I took the buttplate off to clean off the cosmo that screw didn't line up again when I put it back on.How black & blue was your shoulder? That's the real badge of honor. The first time I shot my M44 (off sand bags) my old shoulder was B&B and sore for about 4 days. Now I reload and only shoot reduced loads off of a rest. If I shoot standing I can handle most of the old military stuff. Have fun they are a blast to shoot. Especially at night.