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Thread: The myth of reloading the 7.62 Nagant M1895 gas seal cartridge - Try this at home!

  1. #1
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    The myth of reloading the 7.62 Nagant M1895 gas seal cartridge - Try this at home!

    So I kind of lept in to reloading some gas seal 7.62 Nagant M1895 revolver cartridges. I wasnít really planning anything out, just messing with things until I figured out how to make it work. There really is NO black art to making these, in fact I think everything can be done with the Lee 7.62 conversion dies, almost .

    Here is my reload (left, and the Fiocchi factory load, right) Name:  762reload1.jpg
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    Needed:
    Factory case: Prvi Partizan, Fiocchi, or Starline.
    Russian surplus I believe is Berdan primed so enter at your own risk. I used once fired Fiocchi brass.

    Dies: Although there is a lot of myth and rumor, the Lee 7.62 Nagant conversion dies will work fine. They have a 7.62 decapper and resizer, 32/20 thru the top expander, and a 32/20 bullet seat. You need a shell holder. I had a #16 that I ground the opening a little so the Fiocchi cases slid in. Not the best, but it works fine. (The Russian factory ammo won't fit in this die and I can't confirm any other manufacturer's brass will, but it works for Fiocchi). Thatís it, BUT, I also used a 30-06 decapper because I wanted a .308 expander before I went into the 32-20. It works, but the Fiocchi brass is robust and I could have made it work without. (hint hint).

    Primers: Small pistol. I used Federal. But I donít prefer them.

    Bullets: You need to, probably, slug the bore. I understand that you may find that the grooves are .309. I dunno, I didnít do it mostly because I felt the .311 would be fine. I went with a 110 grain hollow point gas check. Mostly because it is the only .311s I had. Everyone seems to like the 75 or 82 or 98 grain range, but I wanted something more significant. Name:  311316.jpg
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    Powder: This is easy.
    Unique: 3.0 grains of Unique seems to be a fine starting load. Mine averaged 844 FPS at 3 feet from the muzzle. Respectable, no pressure signs, brass fell out of the cylinders. I would push this because accuracy seems to improve with a bit more speed. Groups at 25 feet were about 4 inches, on a good day, with a tail wind, downhill. But Unique is a great place to start. Unique 3.0 target: Name:  Unique target.jpg
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    Bullseye: I trust Bullseye a little less than others with pressure variables, so I used the Bullseye to build 2 32/20 conversion rounds. I went with 3.0 grains because of some other 32 S&W long loads and 32/20 pistol loads. The bullet was on the heavy side for this charge, however, average velocity was 714 FPS and accuracy was just under 2 inches. I think this is a good starting point. Little recoil. Name:  reloads.jpg
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    Titegroup: I should have started with 2.8 grains of Titegroup but I went ahead and risked 3.0. Velocity was 985 average and 1031 max. Respectable, but it was a bit sharp. Accuracy was not better than Unique, which was about the same as factory at 25 feet.

    4227: Based on a mild 32/20 115 grain load, I went with 7.5 grains of 4227. I trust 4227 so I didnít feel too bad about that. Avg velocity was 882, max was 933. Accuracy was OUTSTANDING, here is the 25 foot target. Name:  4227 target.jpg
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    Reloading:
    Decap: As usual, lube the cases because the resizing die is tight. I almost didnít push the case all the way, but in the interests of science I went for it and it was fine. I used the 30-06 expander/decapper die to expand a bit more than the 7.62 did. But I donít think it was necessary.

    Recap, rinse, repeat ...

    Expanding: Through trial and error I realized just slowly expand the case down to the cannelure on the case. Go slow until you feel the correct pressure to start the expander in the case. You can collapse the case if you get in a hurry or force it, but the Nagant cases are thicker and more robust than the 32/20s so they can take some more handling. About that point the die will sufficiently bell the case. Donít over do the expansion, there is no value. Test with your preferred bullet and when you can get it started, youíre done Ė you know the drillÖ

    Charging: Put a safe but useful amount of your preferred powder in the case.

    Seating: Put the bullet seat all the way into the die. Seat the bullet until it is as far past the case mouth as you like. Probably seat the bullet down to the case cannelure, I know my bullets were big for the task, so I had to seat them all the way down. They should be somewhere between flush with the case mouth and ľ inch. Donít get them too deep, there is no need. Name:  bulletseat1.jpg
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    Gas crimp: I tried a couple of different ways to do this. I took the bullet seat out and went with the bare seating die, which works, you have to mess with it to get the crimp deep enough. Again, between 1/8th and 1/4th. You can see from the pictures. On a whim, when I was about done, I wondered what would happen if I just crimped conventionally Ė seat the bullet and keep crimping. So I seated a bullet at the correct depth, and then I backed off the bullet seat. I pushed the cartridge into the die until the resistance and then adjusted the seat back down. I then pushed the round into the die and was able to form the gas crimp. After that, I just seated the bullets in the usual manner with one cycle of the ram and the bullets were seated and the crimps formed. Name:  bulletseat2.jpg
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Size:  6.9 KB You can see that these are deeper seated. I didn't mess with that and just did 5 or 6 with the same set up to see how they would come out. These were the Titegroup, so the deeper seating may have an effect, but I don't have a Titegroup control group to compare to. But this is definitely the way to go, since it is one pass through the die.

    Conclusion: The 7.62 Nagant is really not difficult to load to close to service specifications. There is no real folklore or mythology to understand. It really comes down to the usual process: set up the dies, and then run the cycle Ė decap/resize; prime; expand; charge; seat; and, crimp. No need for extra dies or steps. I would anneal the cases before you start just to get more life out of the cases. I am on my third load with the original cases and I never annealed them, but I will from now on. Name:  762reload2.jpg
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    Good luck with yours. For the next round we are going with 119 grain plain base at cast about hardball alloy hardness. Name:  311119.jpg
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    -Mike

  2. #2
    Boolit Master Texas by God's Avatar
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    Great post. I've always "kinda" wanted one. Your results with 4227 make me "wanna" get one.

    Sent from my SAMSUNG-SM-G930A using Tapatalk

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    Quote Originally Posted by Texas by God View Post
    Great post. I've always "kinda" wanted one. Your results with 4227 make me "wanna" get one.

    Sent from my SAMSUNG-SM-G930A using Tapatalk
    Next week I'll load up the 119s with 4227 and see what the results are.
    -Mike

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    Boolit Master am44mag's Avatar
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    I never could get mine to shoot acceptably with anything but surplus ammo. I'll have to try your process of making the gas seal and see it that helps. I've been trimming the cases and reloading it like traditional ammo.

    Thanks!
    ______________________________________________
    Aaron

  5. #5
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    Quote Originally Posted by am44mag View Post
    I never could get mine to shoot acceptably with anything but surplus ammo. I'll have to try your process of making the gas seal and see it that helps. I've been trimming the cases and reloading it like traditional ammo.

    Thanks!
    The one thing I like about 4227 is it's smooth recoil. I think that helps bring the gun back on target. Anything to help recover from the 9 pound trigger pull helps. I didn't see any real accuracy from the factory loads. The real Russian service loads are pretty hot. What I don't know is the twist rate. I'm wondering if there might be a real difference between the shorter bullets than the longer, heavier bullets. Obviously the gun can shoot straight, though. I shot my Smith & Wesson right afterwards and I had a lost shot on every cylinder because I touched the trigger before it was on target. Hard getting used to a "normal" trigger after this Russian jackhammer...
    -Mike

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    I am another Lost Soul that enjoys the masochistic recreation involved with loading for these contraptions. Mine is a re-furbed 1916 Tula Arsenal, IIRC grooves are about .310".

    My bit has been to use a 30 Carbine sizer die and 32/20 expander and seater dies with the RCBS #1 shell holder. I have tried several bullets in the Starline brass, best performance was with Lyman #313492 (92 grain WC) sized @ .311", seated flush, and a contour crimp added as a separate die step after seating. I run the assembled round about .200" into a 32 SWL sizer die/minus decap rod/ to squeeze the case mouth down a few thousandths over the under-diameter nose of the bullet and contain the bullet shoulder with a small radius to prevent bullet creep-out under recoil.

    4.0 grains of Unique or 4.5 grains of Herco imparts about 975 FPS, gives 3"-4" groups at 25 yards, and has accounted for several jackrabbits at 20-35 yards so far.

    Final note--Imperial Russian NCOs and officers had to wonder WTH their ordnance people were thinking when the fine S&W #3 revolvers in 44 Russian were replaced with these inbred afterthought contraptions. Astounding.
    I don't paint bullets. I like Black Rifle Coffee. Sacred cows are always fair game. California is to the United States what Syria is to Russia and North Korea is to China/South Korea/Japan--a Hermit Kingdom detached from the real world and led by delusional maniacs, an economic and social basket case sustained by "foreign" aid so as to not lose military bases.

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    Quote Originally Posted by 9.3X62AL View Post
    I am another Lost Soul that enjoys the masochistic recreation involved with loading for these contraptions. Mine is a re-furbed 1916 Tula Arsenal, IIRC grooves are about .310".

    My bit has been to use a 30 Carbine sizer die and 32/20 expander and seater dies with the RCBS #1 shell holder. I have tried several bullets in the Starline brass, best performance was with Lyman #313492 (92 grain WC) sized @ .311", seated flush, and a contour crimp added as a separate die step after seating. I run the assembled round about .200" into a 32 SWL sizer die/minus decap rod/ to squeeze the case mouth down a few thousandths over the under-diameter nose of the bullet and contain the bullet shoulder with a small radius to prevent bullet creep-out under recoil.

    4.0 grains of Unique or 4.5 grains of Herco imparts about 975 FPS, gives 3"-4" groups at 25 yards, and has accounted for several jackrabbits at 20-35 yards so far.

    Final note--Imperial Russian NCOs and officers had to wonder WTH their ordnance people were thinking when the fine S&W #3 revolvers in 44 Russian were replaced with these inbred afterthought contraptions. Astounding.
    You should try just running the loaded cartridge into the 32-20 seater die with the seat pulled out. See if it will crimp it for you. When I did it in one step - seating slightly deeper than flush and kept going, the die crimped it fine for me. I don't know how it worked, I guess the seat is just small enough to let the brass pass by. But it worked and eliminated one step, at least in that case. I really took the approach of not caring if it failed and that was pretty liberating to try some other ideas.
    -Mike

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    Boolit Master
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    Has anyone tried a reload suppressed? My entire reason for having one is in hopes that the suppressors are removed from the nfa list. A true gas seal reload would be outstanding.

  9. #9
    Boolit Master
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    Not me. Suppressors in California are about as scarce as bar mitzvahs in Tehran, and just as welcome. The gas seal idea has merit, I'm sure--and likely helps to some degree. All revolvers are like helicopters--an idea that shouldn't work worth a darn, but still does so--and remarkably well most of the time. I am not one to look the gift horse of success in the mouth extensively.
    I don't paint bullets. I like Black Rifle Coffee. Sacred cows are always fair game. California is to the United States what Syria is to Russia and North Korea is to China/South Korea/Japan--a Hermit Kingdom detached from the real world and led by delusional maniacs, an economic and social basket case sustained by "foreign" aid so as to not lose military bases.

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    Boolit Master Artful's Avatar
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    With a 9mm suppressor it sounds about like a 22 LR pistol or just slightly louder
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  11. #11
    Boolit Master
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    I used a .30 carbine crimp die to crimp the case mouths. Worked perfectly. Didn't work the case mouth too much, but closed it up enough to enter the gas seal portion of the barrel without any resistance.

  12. #12
    Boolit Master NoAngel's Avatar
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    Jim is dead on. When I was loading for it, that's what I did. The taper crimp matches the gas seal/forcing cone pretty good.
    When dealing with islam one should always ask themselves: "What would Leonidas do?"

  13. #13
    Great post. I will try it

  14. #14
    Boolit Man kidmma's Avatar
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    I have a box of what they called surplus target ammo. it is just taper crimped like the one you did lightly there Tuc.
    I've just been using the 32/20 method. there wasn't much of that Fiocchi stuff to reload when I got started.
    I had good luck with 32 cal HBWC from Hornady, crimped just so the cylinder will rotate.
    Scott

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    Boolit Master
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    I have contemplated converting my Nagant to 32-20. Seems like seven passes with a reamer should do the trick. Has anybody tried this? I store mine cocked and this has relaxed the trigger pull a little.
    Closest recorded range Chrony kill (3 feet with witnesses)

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    Boolit Master WRideout's Avatar
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    I just loaded up a box of plinker loads using starline brass, 2.0 gr Red Dot (.22 LR case full) WWSP primer, and a .311 round ball. I too, use the 30 Carbine dies, and the taper crimp die works fine. I have successfully loaded the 100 gr Lee 30 cal boolit with 4F black powder, which is pretty fun to shoot. My usual load is the Lee 100 gr over 5.3 gr Unique. Brass seems to last a long time, even though it appears the cases are being worked to death.

    In the past I had a lot of trouble with the boolits backing out of the cases while firing. Now that I am lubing with Alox, they seem to stay put better.

    Wayne
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  17. #17
    Boolit Master
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    I DO tend to over-think and perhaps over-do some of my reloading efforts. It sounds from the consensus view like a simple taper crimp or a touch on the crimping shoulder with the 30 Carbine seater die set properly should suffice, and has for a number of folks. Next dance with this rollerpistol, I will give that a try.
    I don't paint bullets. I like Black Rifle Coffee. Sacred cows are always fair game. California is to the United States what Syria is to Russia and North Korea is to China/South Korea/Japan--a Hermit Kingdom detached from the real world and led by delusional maniacs, an economic and social basket case sustained by "foreign" aid so as to not lose military bases.

  18. #18
    Boolit Mold
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    I know you answered a post of mine a few months ago on this very topic, but as they say, a picture is worth a thousand words. It is for me, at least.

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    Boolit Man curioushooter's Avatar
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    Back when I had my Nagant I converted 223 brass to 7.62x38r. Once you do that all cartridge conversion seems simple by comparison.

    It involved cutting to length, filing the body down to thin the brass, and annealing the mouth. I made mine So that it would seal in the revolver, and it was pretty accurate with 115 grain Lee cast bullets which I paper jacketed, IF you could overcome perhaps the heaviest trigger weight on any firearm and make do with the sights (only off a table was I able to get anything measurable).

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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