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Thread: The Russian 7.62 Nagant Revolver

  1. #1
    Boolit Master Sasquatch-1's Avatar
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    The Russian 7.62 Nagant Revolver

    I saw a guy with a Russian 7.62 Nagant Revolver. One of the most interesting revolvers I have ever seen. The revolver's ammo had a necked down case and the bullet was totally recessed in the case. The guy who was shooting it showed me that when the hammer is cocked the intire cylinder moves forward placing the en of the bullet in the forcing cone area.

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    Boolit Master
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    I have seen (and owned, but never shot) a Russian 7.62 Nagant revolver. For a while, you could obtain a cylinder specially made to chamber the .32 ACP. If I had another Nagant revolver, I would search the world over to obtain one of these cylinders.

    If you look over the loading data for the 7.62 Nagant round, you'll discover that at it's peak loading, you'll have all the power of a low to mid-range .32 S&W Long (usually about 100 ft-lb of energy at best.) A .32 ACP cylinder for the revolver would serve you well.

    Scott

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    Boolit Man
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    Not to be argumentative, bt I thought the peak loading for the .7.62 Nagant was closer to a .32/20. I'll see if I can't find the information to back up that claim.

    There was a guy on a local forum here that had a Nagant revolver with a threaded barrel and a custom cylinder for .32 Mag. About the only revolver I've seen that could be truly suppressed.

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    Boolit Master
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    Russian Nagant ammo



    Muzzle energy for an 86 grain bullet at 962 feet per second would be about 175 foot pounds. While that can be lethal it’s hardly earth shattering. Power wise it is between a 32 Smith & Wesson long and a 32 H & R magnum. However like any firearm it should be treated with respect at all times as it can kill someone. The loaded Russian ammo was 1.522” long while the Graf brass I loaded was 1.461” long. As a comparison the 32-20 ammo with a 118 grain lead bullet was 1.559” long and barely protruded beyond the cylinder. While they could possibly fire in some guns I wouldn’t recommend it. As a thought I loaded 4 X Unique in the 32-20 case with the 77 grain 313 diameter round nose seated just deep enough at 1.521” to allow the cylinder to rotate. The idea was an attempt to produce better accuracy as the bullet was closer to the rifling then the others. Also it allowed me to use the correct diameter bullet as opposed to the 308 slugs. The idea worked quite well. Hitting small targets at 15 yards was not much of a problem except for the sights. Paper targets show smaller groups with .313 diameter bullets especially the wad cutters. I had some groups that had 3 or 4 bullets touching at 10 yards with the rest from 1 to 3” away. That was measurably better then the Nagant factory or my Nagant ammo. With target sights and a better trigger I have little doubt that I could of done even better. Of course this ammo can be safely shot in a 32-20 revolver. Is it worth the trouble to get better accuracy out of the Nagant? You bet! One of the reasons to handload your own ammo is to improve accuracy. Another advantage in using 32-20 brass is that it’s cheap and plentiful. I also obtained some Hornady round balls to produce some novelty loads. They were .310 and .314 in diameter weighing 47 and 48 grains respectively. I put 2 -.310 diameter balls in the regular Nagant cases as they easily fit and 1- 314 diameter in a 32-20 case seated out. Another novel load I used was 80 grains of 7 & ˝ shot in the full length Nagant case. Using 4 grains of 231 behind ˝ of a 38 caliber styrafoam blank wad worked out real good. Holding the shot in was a Hornady 30 caliber gas check. It would kill a mouse at 15 feet away without blowing a hole in a wall. At 10 feet it made a nice round circle and had an even pattern. Loads like these just show what a person can do with a little imagination to broaden the use of a gun such as this. If you want a blank pistol then blanks can easily be made from 32-20 cases see Shotgun News 8/15/05 on how to make blanks. I used a round ball loaded light such as a gallery load. At 10 yards I was able to hit a soda can every time as long as I did my job. I tried the Hornady 90 grain hollow base wad cutter loaded backwards an old trick in 38 specials. While not the most accurate load it expanded well in catalogs and retained all its weight. If you were going to use the Nagant for a home defense load that along with the 2 ball load would be the best. During the test for this article I fired the gun over 500 times plus some shooting by other shooters and I had no misfires or other functional problems associated with the revolver. During the tests I did not clean the gun in any way just to see how it would function. Brass loss with all cases was nil because I didn’t try to make a magnum out of it. Such reloading practices would also extend the life of the gun. While not as smooth as a good quality revolver in will none the less give good service life given proper care.






    Good bullets for Nagant 312 in diameter


    The revolver can be disassembled fairly easily. A screw up front holds in the rod that when removed can be used to knocks out the empties. Actually when I shoot it I carry something else with me to knock out the empties which is more convenient. A ten penny nail is perfect. There is a shroud that turns enabling the cylinder pin to be removed thus taking out the cylinder. The cylinder can be removed for cleaning or replacement. There is a cylinder available for the 32 auto pistol cartridge. However I have had a hard time finding one with anyone who advertises them. SOG advertises the cylinders a well as a verity of other models including a sporter model. I suppose that would make the Nagant marginally more useful as 32 ammo is easy to get. The grips are made of a hard brown plastic and deeply checkered. They are fairly comfortable and would be easy to hold on to during bad weather. Since recoil is light the checkering won’t hurt your hands during shooting. Since it weighs only1lb and 12ozs its easy to carry. A holster comes with it that revolver has a small pouch for carrying ammo.





    Bullet seated deep in case as a typical Nagant load





    There are various markings on the gun. On the left side of the frame is the date below a circle with a triangle inside with an arrow pointing up. There are stars on the hammer and trigger. Right above the trigger guard is a star and some symbols. On the right side of the frame is the letters kb1 hbg , pa Russia and M1895 7.62 Nagant. The serial number is located just above the trigger guard on the right side of the frame. The left front of the frame sports some more numbers and some sort of a symbol. To be honest I don’t know what all the markings mean though some are obvious. I imagine that they are inspector and arsenal markings. There are index marks on the barrel and frame. There is a lanyard on the grip with some sort of markings. The front of the cylinder has some markings on it. If nothing else the gun is well marked and other specimens that I examined had similar markings.
    All in all it’s not the most useful gun in the cupboard. However if a person wanted an inexpensive gun and reloaded this could be a winner for them. Would I use it for self defense? Only if I couldn’t get my hands on something else except a 25 or 32 auto. With a couple of the better loads I developed it just might do the job. If I just wanted to go out and have some fun plinking I would most certainly consider taking it along.



    Bob Shell




    A 7.62 Swedish Nagant
    Posted by Bob Shell at 3:17 PM
    2 comments:
    MauserMedic said...
    Mr. Shell;

    Interesting article here. I purchased one of these some time ago, but haven't gotten around to shooting it, partially due to a deep reluctance to use ammunition that would likely be not reloadable. I look forward to trying out some of the 32-20 loads this summer.
    May 23, 2009 8:32 PM
    Anonymous said...
    Dear Mr. Shell,

    "Gas Seal" feature of 1895 Nagant
    Revolver comes from the fact of
    bullet pass through the crimped
    mouth of shell case as enlarging
    and forcefully sticking there to
    the barrel cone resulting zero gas
    escape therethrough. Mechanicaly
    forwarding the cylinder is only
    needed for inserting the crimped
    section of case into the barrel
    cone and upper front of the trigger
    has a notch cooperating with an
    enlarged rim of cylinder to extract
    the sticked case mouth from the
    barrel cone. jacketed bullet is
    necessary to get real function and
    effect and provides approximately
    20 percent of added power compared
    to unsealed construction.

    Best regards.
    October 5, 2009 11:26 PM
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  5. #5
    Boolit Master
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    We have fired 32 S&W Long ammo in this gun. The cases buldge and sometimes split so it would be for emergency use only, but it works.

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    Boolit Master
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    Quote Originally Posted by smkummer View Post
    We have fired 32 S&W Long ammo in this gun. The cases buldge and sometimes split so it would be for emergency use only, but it works.
    DAYUM, I wouldn't want to try it! I would like to have one of the .32 ACP cylinders milled out to accept the .32 S&W Long. Not only would it be arranged to chamber a "modern" caliber, but you could push the upper-end of the "velocity envelope" .32 S&W Long (100-grains at 950-1000 fps from a 4" barrel.) This would make it a viable SD revolver.

    Scott
    Last edited by gunfan; 01-30-2012 at 11:50 AM.

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    Boolit Master
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    Check the search function here, there have been a number of threads concerning this caliber and its revolver over the years.

    My own experience with my 1916 Tula Arsenal example has been fairly positive, using the Starline brass alluded to above that is now out-of-print. I used the Lee 100 grain RN casting at .311" or .312" (can't recall, been awhile) atop 3.0 grains of WW-231. Not a Magnum load by any means, but I did manage to keep 6" iron plates at Angeles Shooting Ranges ringing and bouncing at 35 yards. I've nailed jackrabbits with the contraption as well, but I am bound to say that I was having very good days on those occasions--and the jacks were having profoundly bad ones.

    I regard the revolver as a historic curiosity more than a viable small game/varmint harvester. My bias favors hunting when it comes to mid-caliber handguns, and a good 32 Magnum or 32 S&W Long would be a far better and less frustrating platform than any Nagant revolver I've handled.
    "The best argument against democracy is a five-minute conversation with the average voter."--Winston Churchill

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    Boolit Master
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    Quote Originally Posted by 9.3X62AL View Post
    Check the search function here, there have been a number of threads concerning this caliber and its revolver over the years.

    My own experience with my 1916 Tula Arsenal example has been fairly positive, using the Starline brass alluded to above that is now out-of-print. I used the Lee 100 grain RN casting at .311" or .312" (can't recall, been awhile) atop 3.0 grains of WW-231. Not a Magnum load by any means, but I did manage to keep 6" iron plates at Angeles Shooting Ranges ringing and bouncing at 35 yards. I've nailed jackrabbits with the contraption as well, but I am bound to say that I was having very good days on those occasions--and the jacks were having profoundly bad ones.

    I regard the revolver as a historic curiosity more than a viable small game/varmint harvester. My bias favors hunting when it comes to mid-caliber handguns, and a good 32 Magnum or 32 S&W Long would be a far better and less frustrating platform than any Nagant revolver I've handled.
    I concur. This is probably as it should be. While I wouldn't want to be shot by ANY of them, of the three cartridges mentioned, the .32 Harrington & Richardson Magnum would DEFINITELY be at the bottom of the "Hit Parade."

    Scott

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    I just did a write-up on a nagant revolver called Nagant pistol economy. I really enjoyed the challenge of working with this revolver and cannot wait to harvest some squirrels and such with it. It proved very accurate with the 95 grain .315 SWC's over 3.5 grains red dot. I liked it so much, I am looking for several more. Totally cool gun. As for knockdown, well....... I did say squirrels, right?
    I came into this world kicking, screaming, and covered in someone elses blood. I plan to go out the same way.

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    Quote Originally Posted by x101airborne View Post
    I just did a write-up on a nagant revolver called Nagant pistol economy. I really enjoyed the challenge of working with this revolver and cannot wait to harvest some squirrels and such with it. It proved very accurate with the 95 grain .315 SWC's over 3.5 grains red dot. I liked it so much, I am looking for several more. Totally cool gun. As for knockdown, well....... I did say squirrels, right?
    What velocities were derived from the 4" barreled 7.62 Nagant with that particular load?

  11. #11
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    I started forming Nagant Revolver brass out of .223 rifle brass last year, but got stuck at the "turn down the belt you just made at the case web" step. Maybe I'll resurrect that project early this spring when it's still too cold and wet to go shooting, but good weather is on the horizon. It shouldn't take much of a lathe; a drill press and a flat file will probably do it. They should be a lot more durable than using .32-20 brass, and you can make them closer to the right length. (Use .30 Carbine dies to form, size, and to crimp)

    Has anyone tried shooting .32 ACP's in the original cylinder? It should work, but that's an awfully long jump for the bullet.

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    Quote Originally Posted by gunfan View Post
    What velocities were derived from the 4" barreled 7.62 Nagant with that particular load?
    I did not chrony those loads, but there was no sonic crack, so I would guess around950 - 1000. The only reason I say so, is 3.8 grains did crack. YMMV of course.
    I came into this world kicking, screaming, and covered in someone elses blood. I plan to go out the same way.

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    Boolit Master
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    Quote Originally Posted by x101airborne View Post
    I did not chrony those loads, but there was no sonic crack, so I would guess around950 - 1000. The only reason I say so, is 3.8 grains did crack. YMMV of course.
    I LIKE IT!

    Scott

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    I shoot my 2 Nagants regularly using full length Nagant ammo cases.

    Using the Lee 100g boolit, I average around 1250 fps.

    Here is my chrono run:
    Small Magnum Rifle primers 1253, 1237, 1241, 1255, 1256, 1249 (Other primers gave poor consistency)

    Cases are easy to eject and accuracy is untested. I use mine for plinking at a 100 yard clay bank and it is accurate enough for my use.

    I use the type of powder the Russians had to resort to during WWI shortages.

    Black powder, in my case Goex FFFg. Great smoke, great smell, and great fun.

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    Boolit Man
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    I have been loading for my 1895 Nagant for while now. I use starline 32-20 brass and Lee Nagant dies. I have used .314 90gr HBWC and hard cast.312 90gr SWC bullets. I crimp my cases with a 30 Carbine Lee FCD. I have heard others use a Lee 32-20 FCD. I started out using Unique powder i worked my way up to 4gr. Then i started using 3.5gr of Trail Boss. My gun shot good with Unique but it shot much better with Trail Boss.

    I also have a 32acp cylinder my little nagant shoots 32acp well.

    If you have 7.62x38R brass some guys are cutting it down to make 32-20 style brass out of it. You can use a dremel to fit #19 Lee shell holders fit Nagant brass.

    I found a how-to on using a 30 Carbine Lee loader to make gas sealing loads for the Nagant. http://parallaxscurioandrelicfirearm...Two-Part-Post#.

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    Boolit Master
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    Quote Originally Posted by Mike 56 View Post
    I have been loading for my 1895 Nagant for while now. I use starline 32-20 brass and Lee Nagant dies. I have used .314 90gr HBWC and hard cast.312 90gr SWC bullets. I crimp my cases with a 30 Carbine Lee FCD. I have heard others use a Lee 32-20 FCD. I started out using Unique powder i worked my way up to 4gr. Then i started using 3.5gr of Trail Boss. My gun shot good with Unique but it shot much better with Trail Boss.

    I also have a 32acp cylinder my little nagant shoots 32acp well.

    If you have 7.62x38R brass some guys are cutting it down to make 32-20 style brass out of it. You can use a dremel to fit #19 Lee shell holders fit Nagant brass.

    I found a how-to on using a 30 Carbine Lee loader to make gas sealing loads for the Nagant. http://parallaxscurioandrelicfirearm...Two-Part-Post#.
    Sounds like .32 caliber fun to me! Yowsuh!

    Scott

  17. #17
    Boolit Master
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    I've been using full length 'correct' 7.62x38r brass and 3.5 red dot.
    .309 LRN.
    Not hard to reload, I made my own dies from bits and pcs. of old dies.
    Very accurate and barks and kicks a good bit. No chrony, so I can't say velocity.
    Don't let anyone fool you, it's accurate and over 1000fps w/ the right load.

    I'd like more of the 7.62x38r reloadable brass. I only have 30.
    If anyone doesn't care to reload it, I'd like to buy it from you.
    PM me. thanks.

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    Rio Grande--

    Fiocchi imports loaded ammo in 7.62 x 38R with brass the proper length. Its MSRP isn't too decadent, about $27 for a box of 50. MidwayUSA and Graf's list it, and even have it in stock once in a while.

    I read somewhere that full-tilt ammo in this caliber was spec'd at 1100 FPS. I haven't tried running my loads that hot, but it appears that at least a few enthusiasts have survived such attempts!
    "The best argument against democracy is a five-minute conversation with the average voter."--Winston Churchill

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    Boolit Master
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    That could be a great deal of fun! "Full-tilt" ammo for this revolver could make it truly viable for all sorts of uses (both sporting and self-defense.)

    Scott

  20. #20
    Privi-Partisan makes runs of 7.62 Nagant ammo. .32 ACP conversion cylinders were and I believe still available. I'm not sure these days who's stocking them. Years ago I believe it was J&G and they were korean made. They also were hit and miss as to fit. Most had to be fitted to the gun. I know of one gunsmith who fitted one to a gun. He said, single action was easy but for double action he said when he thought he got it to work, he would set the gun down and come back to it and it wouldn't index the cylinder. When he finally got it 100% he said he would never take that job on again. He passed away not to long after that I heard so he probabably held true to his words.

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Abbreviations used in Reloading

BP Bronze Point IMR Improved Military Rifle PTD Pointed
BR Bench Rest M Magnum RN Round Nose
BT Boat Tail PL Power-Lokt SP Soft Point
C Compressed Charge PR Primer SPCL Soft Point "Core-Lokt"
HP Hollow Point PSPCL Pointed Soft Point "Core Lokt" C.O.L. Cartridge Overall Length
PSP Pointed Soft Point Spz Spitzer Point SBT Spitzer Boat Tail
LRN Lead Round Nose LWC Lead Wad Cutter LSWC Lead Semi Wad Cutter
GC Gas Check