I competed in a small internet match a while back and actually won it with my mediocre groups. This only proves the old adage: "Nothing ventured, nothing gained."
The prize was a mystery revolver which proved to be a WWII production Nagant.
Well, it wasn't like I was expecting a Pre-War Smith & Wesson Registered Magnum. The Nagant revolver is exceedingly interesting even though it wouldn't be my first choice to carry off to war. It has a gas seal system of design whereby the cylinder advances forward just before the hammer reaches full cock. This closes any barrel/cylinder gap. The cartridge it fires, as loaded by the Soviets back when, gens up marginally more oomph than the .32 S&W Long. Some internet sources are stating that current factory fodder is loaded considerably lighter.
Why it was deemed necessary to go to the trouble to obtain a revolver of this design for shooting nothing more than what amounts to a weenie cartridge I can't say. The design is said to provide for 50 to 75 feet per second increase in velocity over a non-gas seal design. Big whoo.
Many folks are shooting other various and sundry .32 cartridges in their Nagants including .32 ACP, .32 S&W and .32 S&W Long and .32 H&R Magnum. Most seem to be having good luck with these efforts. There is a .32 ACP accessory cylinder out there but apparently the cartridge may be successfully fired in the original chamber.
I saw of an instance where .327 Magnum was successfully tried in the Nagant. Though it may nominally fit, that seems too radical for a revolver which is at least 64 years old and may be as old as 104 years old. They were manufactured for many years.
I took the gun out last Saturday with a box of Aguilla .32 S&W Long ammunition, determined to at least fire it for effect. Before leaving the house I consulted Barnes' "Cartridges of the World" which claims a .295 bullet diameter for the 7.62 Nagant cartridge. The .32 S&W Long bullet dimensions are .311. While driving out to our place I considered the difference and decided to forgo fired the revolver until some proper ammunition could be secured. I don't think the .32 S&W Long generates enough pressure for the ill fit to be dangerous but do feel the lead bullet would be subject to excessive leading under the circumstances. No use in having an disappointing first test.
Anyway, it is an intriguing old world design. The Nagant has a reputation to have a heavy and crude feel, when used in both single action and double action mode. This one certainly did. It was observed that the gun was completely dry of any sort of lubrication. Dry to the point of appearing degreased. There was no debris or metal filings in the lock work. A simple lubrication with light machine oil absolutely did wonders for this revolver. It is wondered if it's reputation for heavy roughness was promoted by owners who never troubled themselves to lubricate their Nagants.
It isn't slick as my favorite Smith & Wessons but it isn't bad now.
Any Forum members who own/shoot these Nagant revolvers and who could give some pointers? Especially desired is hand loading information.