Google+ Badge

Wednesday, 26 April 2017

Nagant 1895 Revolver Showed Hammer Safety To S&W and Ruger:

Some 'Got-a-gun and opinions' have been known to scoff at Nagant gas-seal revolvers as being under-powered, clunky and impossible to shoot well .. claiming that these are typical heavy crude "commie trash" that shouldn't be owned by any god-fearing Christian. (Seven shot Nagants actually weigh less than a seven shot Colt 1911)( - They do seem to have worked fine - as more than 2.6 Million Nagants are recorded as being made / issued.)

Well - sad to say (for them) - those locals are just showing their ignorance - while maybe taking a break from playing on their grannies banjo.

The Nagant Model 1895 was designed (and initially built) in Belgium. It's manufacturing rights were sold to the Imperial Russia of Tsar Peter The Great (not the Soviets) to replace their Smith & Wesson Model 3s - some twenty years before the Bolshevik October Revolution of 1917.
This Nicely Engraved (1898 Built) Example Shows What Can Be Done.

The original military loads for this sturdy revolver used approximately 100gr bullets at about 1100fps. and were expected to be able to knock-down a cavalry-mans horse. - Some surplus loads go up to 109gr with a muzzle velocity of nearly 1300fps,
How To Shoot Your Nagant From Horseback

 - And this gun was good enough for different cartridge versions of it (7.5mm, 9.4mm, and 11.2mm(.44") calibers) to be built under licence and to serve with more than 17 other nations.. Indeed it was good-enough for the Spanish arms industry to want to make & sell copies.

When, 78 years later, in 1973, Sturm Ruger introduced their 'two pin' New Model' Single-Action Revolver - using their 'innovative' transfer-bar to make it safe to load & carry six rounds in six chambers - they were actually being "dwarfs standing on the shoulders of giants" (- a 12th century metaphor for building on earlier knowledge).

 - S&W  had introduced their current type of positive action  hammer-block earlier - around 1945 - reputedly following a US Navy on-board accidental shooting when a sailor dropped his issue double-action revolver onto the ships deck, - but they had used a spring activated system previously.

 . . The innovative Model 1895 Nagant revolvers used their 19th century 'safety bar' to block the hammer & firing pin until the trigger was pulled fully back - and also to move the 'forcing block' forward driving the cylinder to engage with the barrel / cartridge gas seal..

Nagant Hammer Bar Is Visible When Hammer Is Cocked.
 - Only When Trigger Is Fully Back Does The Bar Move Up & Permit Firing-Pin Strike.

This trigger action might be called a 'Triple Action' as the trigger is being used 1/- to cock the hammer, - 2/- to move the cylinder forward sealing the cylinder/barrel gap and to disengage the drop-safety bar, - and then 3/- fire the gun.

- All this explains why shooters have to exercise their digits at the trigger if not first cocking the hammer 'single-action' .. plus the Russian made guns were built with more regard to function than form. Their rough machined finish and assembly wasted little time on the action's smoothness or nicety of appearance.

The Nagant's trigger action and weight of pull can be smoothed and reduced by action-tuning - just like any other revolver's - while their rough looks can be polished and re-finished if desired.

 - There is one clever trick of inserting a nut (or a short 8mm dia. inert bullet) to reduce the mainspring pressure - that can reduce trigger pull by around two pounds without permanently altering anything. (- I'm thinking that one might better drill and tap the front of the grip frame and fit an adjustable 'strain screw' as used by S&W to set the hammer strike.)

- My earlier piece about the two different systems of Transfer-Bar or Hammer -Block Safeties explains the difference and might be worth reading: Link:


Very prudently Leon & Emile Nagant designed their service revolver to save costs and use rejected Mosin-Nagant rifle barrel tubes.

- And their 7.62x38mmR gas seal revolver cartridges supposedly were designed by cutting-down the  Moisin-Nagant 7.62x54mmR rifle cartridge.

Please note that my reading shows that the bullet diameter of both the Mosin-Nagant Rifle AND the M1895 Nagant Revolver is .312 of an inch - exactly the same as the .32" S&W revolver rounds ("short",- Long, - .32" H&R Magnum and the 327 Federal Magnum plus the semi-rimmed .32" ACP auto-pistol rounds).

This link is to a 'Real Guns' story that is somewhat short of reality but entertaining:

There's lots of on-line chatter about 'alternative ammunition' that can be used in Nagants - some folk report using various rimmed "thirty-twos" in their revolvers without mishap - other than bulged and split brass cases.. I've also seen advice that this blowing-out of undersized cartridges can be avoided by building-up the smaller casings to fit by wrapping them around with adhesive tape (sellotape)!

- A much preferred method would be to get one of the after-market cylinders adapted for use with the .32" rounds.
Nagant Revolver Fitted with a 
Korean? Made Conversion Cylinder in .32" ACP.

I have seen it stated that the 1895 Nagant 7.62 x 38mmR cartridges used bullets measuring .308" - and that it is dangerous and inviting disaster to use .312" diameter slugs - but I can't agree.

Certainly it would be sensible to "slug" or gauge the barrel of any old firearm to determine just how it shapes-up - before loading for it or shooting it.

Marty K.

P.S.  There are also some rare .22" caliber Nagant training revolvers and target guns - real collectors items. Here is a link to an excellent PDF about the 1895 and some of its variations - it includes take-down information for 1895 Nagant students:

Marty K.