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Thursday, 4 February 2016

Nagant M1895 Gas Seal Revolvers:

I did say "No more Russian revolvers already."  - but I have a politicians weak excuse - that you could claim that the seven shot Nagant is actually Belgian as it was designed by Leon Nagant in Liege Belgium and was made there for the first three years - before the Imperial Russians bought the rights and took up manufacture at the Tula Arsenal in 1898.
Most of us will likely recall that this 'oldie' has an odd mechanism that moves the seven chamber cylinder forward as it cocks the hammer to seal off the normal cylinder-barrel gap. This only works well because the distinctive extended case-neck pushes into the barrel and 'obturates' to seal off the escaping gases - this so increases the gas efficiency that some extra 50-150ft./ sec. velocity can be gained.

- This gas seal is so good that the Nagant is the only revolver truly able to be 'silenced' in the conventional way.

Mind you the cartridge loading / unloading operation is slow - one at a time through a loading gate - and the trigger pull will amuse Colt 1911 fans.. but can be smoothed by stoning.

There's a good reason why the unusual 7.62x38R Nagant round is pictured with the .32" cartridges in the above photo - and that is that some shooters use the .32"s as a 'near enough' substitute ammunition. The 32"s .312" bullet may bounce a bit in the Nagants bore after jumping the gap.. but there are alternative H&R Magnum .32" cylinders made to better use the .32"round - although these shorter rounds won't seal gases at the cylinder gap.

I also see that some less risk averse have had cylinders made that chamber the excellent .327 Federal Magnum as well as the other & shorter less powerful .32"s. - That might be pushing the Nagants strength to the limits unless done very carefully.

- When using .32"s it would also be advisable to cut a forcing-cone into the barrel end as the original design has not got one (- because the original loading has an extended brass neck that seals into the barrel when the cylinder moves forward.)

Hand-loaders might adapt .32-20" or  .30" Carbine brass or maybe, longer .223" cases cut-down and reformed using .30" Carbine - dies to make useable substitute cartridges.
It Might be Better to Buy a .32" Cylinder
 (or the correct 7.62x38mmR Ammo!)
- but it works for some.

We might think of the seven shot M1895 Nagant as being a strange & clunky old thing - but it was produced for fifty years up till 1945 - more than 2 Million of them were made and it remained in official Russian use until 2006/2009.
M1895 Nagant With Spare .32" H&R Magnum Cylinder.
- Favoured for use by the Bolshevic Cheka secret police as well as the later Soviet OGPU and NKVD - some of the issue ammunition was rather underpowered - but it served their purposes well enough. Standard ammo is quoted as a 97gn bullet at 1075ft.per sec. velocity.
The Nagant - this gun - is said to be fixable and 'tuned' by hitting it with a hammer - but it was also issued (in a different calibre) in Sweden, Norway, Poland & Greece.. You may be able to pick-up a good one cheaply.

Hickok45 has a good video review of the Nagant,
Marty K.