July 28th, 2009 01:52 PM
Nagant Revolver Won as a Prize
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.
July 28th, 2009 07:18 PM
I have one, the price of the ammo is a bit on the high side, about $25+ a box of 50 for the Hotshot. I shot 4 rounds of 32 S&W long to try it out. I didn't check accuracy (shot into ground) I bought it mostly as a piece for my C&R collection. Hand loading can be done using the spent brass from the fired cases and Starline I think sells brass. Some people have used .30 carbine brass resized and trimmed. I didn't want to mess with reloading it, since the bullet sits inside the brass case to help with the seal.
Collecting and Shooting the Russian Nagant Revolver m1895 - AMMUNITION
Collecting and Shooting the Military Surplus Rifle (2005) - Surplusrifle.com
Last edited by gumaro; July 28th, 2009 at 07:38 PM.
Reason: added link
July 28th, 2009 07:35 PM
A rather intriguing design, I got to shoot one with factory ammo once a few years back, kinda cool. Really the best revolver for equipping a suppressor, if one was to be inclined to do so, because of the gas seal feature as designed. As for other rounds that can be fired out of it, I honestly have no idea
Fortes Fortuna Juvat
Former, USMC 0311, OIF/OEF vet
NRA Pistol/Rifle/Shotgun/Reloading Instructor, RSO, Ohio CHL Instructor
July 30th, 2009 10:39 AM
I bought two of these. A 1943 and a 1944. Eventually gave them to my two closest friends for Christmas. One each a box of ammo. The ones I got were armory reconditioned and new like. The double action trigger is simply horrid. Perhaps 20 pounds. All this is because the whole cylinder must rotate forward while the hammer is cocking to create the seal. Interesting idea and interesting design. Other rounds can be fired but at a loss of bullet speed and therefore accuracy. That said, they have a rightful place in a collection of your Russian war stuff. And they are cheap enough.
July 30th, 2009 02:17 PM
Originally Posted by bmcgilvray
You asked so here's my bit relative to handloading the things..........by way of background, I picked up a '41 Tula MFG'd piece about six plus years ago and being a glutton for punishment just HAD to reload for it.......actually the results weren't bad at all........Try Lee's dies as they do work well......what you've gotta do tho is arrange for the seating stem to push that bullet into the case......just reduce the diameter of the leading end to case ID........put some sort of space behind it and adjust to your seating depth preference.....not at all difficult (I used a chunk of old plastic rod for the spacer)......loading is fairly straightforward other than for that...My cases are mostly Graf's (believe 'em to be Starline) and are about 50m too short to be effective as gas seals........Graf's knew about it when I bought 'em & I assume has corrected the matter since....The others are Australian Bertram.......be careful with these.......they're both expensive and brittle.....if you full length size 'em they WILL split (don't ask).....should you use these size only to the depth required to hold your projectile....
Anyway, all that said, try 3.5 grains of Alliant Bullseye...seat the bullet (I use one of Lee's .311's sized to .308---a 100 grain round nose cast from straight wheelweights & lubed with alox) about 3/8" into the case...........adjust your crimp die so it gives you a reasonable facsimile of that you see on the Russian stuff and you are good to go......I do dribble some liquid Lee alox atop the bullet but really'd be hard pressed to tell you it makes any real diff.....
My gun will hold one ragged hole strings at ten to fifteen yards with the above........leading is there, but my bore is somewhat rough, I'm sure that'd be a non issue if the inside was bright tho.
DA is, being kind about it, unlike any other DA you've likely ever used.....still at close range......say five to seven yards.........you'll surprise yourself with its potential.....SA on mine is actually quite good...breaks at about five pounds and is the practical method of use....yeah, you can fire just about anything that'l fit......still, using the right brass makes a clean up diff. and adds to the banality of the project.............Have fun, I did........(by the way, that load will knock a cottontail end over end).
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