|Nagant M1895 revolver|
|Place of origin||Belgium, Russian Empire, Soviet Union|
|Used by||See Users|
|Wars||Boxer Rebellion, Russo-Japanese War, World War I, Russian Revolution of 1917, Russian Civil War, Winter War, World War II, Chinese Civil War , Korean War, Vietnam War|
|Designer||Emile & Léon Nagant|
|Manufacturer||Nagant, Soviet Arsenals (Tula & Izhevsk)|
|Produced||1895-1945 (1895-1898 Nagant, 1899-1945 Tula, 1943-1945 Izhevsk)|
|Number built||Approx. 2,000,000|
|Variants||Single-action NCO version, .22 caliber sporting model|
|Weight||1.8 lb (0.8 kg), unloaded|
|Length||10.5 in (235 mm)|
|Barrel length||4.5 in (114 mm)|
|Cartridge||7.62×38mmR (7.62 mm Nagant)|
|Action||Double action, Single-action|
|Rate of fire||14-21 rounds/min|
|Muzzle velocity||750 ft/s (272 m/s)|
|Effective range||25 yds (22 m)|
|Feed system||7-round cylinder|
|Sights||Fixed front post and rear notch|
The Nagant M1895 Revolver is a seven-shot, gas-seal revolver designed and produced by Belgian industrialist Léon Nagant for the Russian Empire. The Nagant M1895 was chambered for a proprietary cartridge, 7.62x38R, and featured an unusual "gas-seal" system, in which the cylinder moved forward when the gun was cocked, to close the gap between the cylinder and the barrel, providing a boost to the muzzle velocity of the fired projectile and allowing the weapon to be suppressed (an unusual ability for a revolver). Other Nagant revolver designs were also adopted by police and military services of Sweden (7.5 mm M1887), Norway (M1893), Poland, and Greece (M1895). These revolvers were largely similar to the Russian Nagant M1895, but lacked the gas seal mechanism.
Russian M1895 Edit
Léon Nagant and his brother Émile were well known in the Russian Tsar's court and military administration because of the important part they had played in the design of the Russian service rifle Mosin-Nagant Model 1891. The Nagant M1895 became the standard issue side arm for Russian army and police officers, later for Red Army and Soviet law enforcements.
Production began in Liège, Belgium, but was soon moved to Russia. The M1895 started to be replaced by the more modern Tokarev semi-automatic pistol in 1933, but was still produced and used in great numbers during World War II. Despite being supplemented after 1930 by the Tokarev, it was never fully replaced until the arrival of the Makarov pistol in 1952. The distinctive shape and name helped it achieve cult status in Russia and in the early 1930s the presentation of a Nagant M1895 revolver with an embossed Red Star was one of the greatest honors that could be bestowed on a Party Member. The common Russian name for the revolver, наган (nagan) became synonymous with the concept of the revolver in general and was applied to such weapons regardless of actual make or model. It remains in use with the Russian Railways and remote police forces.
Technical characteristics Edit
Non-gas seal revolvers have a small gap between the cylinder and the barrel; the small gap between the cylinder and barrel is necessary to allow the revolver's cylinder to revolve, presenting a new, loaded chamber for firing. This necessitates that the bullet jump the gap when fired, which may have an adverse effect on accuracy, especially if the barrel and chamber are misaligned, and also presents a path for the escape of high-pressure and high-temperature gases from behind the bullet. The M1895 has a mechanism which, as the hammer is cocked, first turns the cylinder and then moves it forward, closing the gap between the cylinder and the barrel. The cartridge, also unique, plays an important part in sealing the gun to the escape of propellant gases. The bullet is deeply seated, entirely within the cartridge case, and the case is slightly reduced in diameter at its mouth. The barrel features a short conical section at its rear; this accepts the mouth of the cartridge, completing the gas seal. By sealing the gap, the velocity of the bullet is increased by 50 to 150 ft/s (15 to 45 m/s).
However, success had its price. Nagant revolvers had to be reloaded one cartridge at a time through a loading gate, with the need to manually eject each of the used cartridges, making reloading laborious and time-consuming.
The Nagant M1895 was made in both single-action and double-action models before and during World War I; they are known colloquially as the “Private's model” and the “Officer’s model”, respectively. Production of the single-action model seems to have stopped after 1918, with some exceptions, including examples made for target competition. Most single-action revolvers were later converted to double-action, making original single-action revolvers rather rare.
History and usage Edit
The M1895 revolver was used extensively by the Russian Imperial Army and later by the Soviet Union after the Russian Revolution. In Russian service, it was known for its extreme sturdiness and ability to withstand abuse. As one former Imperial Russian officer stated, "if anything went wrong with the M1895, you could fix it with a hammer".
It was widely employed by the Bolshevik secret police, the Cheka, as well as its Soviet successor agencies, the OGPU and NKVD. In the police role, it was frequently seen with a cut-down barrel to aid in concealment by plainclothes agents. Despite the advent of the more modern Soviet TT pistol, the M1895 remained in production and use throughout World War II.
The Nagant's sealed firing system meant that the Nagant revolver, unlike most other revolvers, could make effective use of a sound suppressor, and suppressors were sometimes fitted to it. During World War II, a small number of Nagant revolvers used by Russian reconnaissance and scout troops were outfitted with a variety of sound suppressor known as the "Bramit device". Like many other suppressed foreign weapons (including the Sten Mk VIS), captured Nagants were used in limited numbers by Nazi Germany. Silenced M1895 Nagant revolvers, modified in clandestine workshops, also turned up in the hands of Viet Cong guerrillas during the Vietnam War as assassination weapons. There is an example of a silenced Nagant M1895 in the CIA Museum in Langley, Virginia, USA.
Cartridge Edit7.62 mm Nagant is also known as 7.62x38mmR (Rimmed) or "Cartridge, Type R". The projectile is seated below the mouth of the cartridge, with the cartridge crimp sitting just above the bullet. When fired, the crimp expands into the forcing cone, completing the gas seal and ostensibly increasing muzzle velocity by approximately 75 ft/s.
The 7.62mm caliber was chosen, in part, to simplify the tooling used in barrel-making and manufacture of projectiles because the Russian service rifle of the time, the Mosin Nagant M91, featured an identical bore diameter, being chambered for the 7.62x54R rifle cartridge.
The revolver can be fired using the .32 S&W, .32 Smith & Wesson Long and .32 H&R Magnum cartridges, but this practice is not generally advised. .327 Federal Magnums should never be fired in this revolver. The Nagant revolver was not designed to fire these rounds, which have different dimensions, so the shooter should be aware of the risks before attempting to use them in the revolver. Aftermarket cylinders for .32 can be installed, allowing them to safely fire .32 H&R or .32 ACP.
Proper fitting ammunition can be reloaded from 32-20 brass by using the Lee Nagant die set. This allows the reloaders to work up a load that fits their needs and is specific for the Nagant. While this eliminates the bulged/split/stuck cases experienced when using .32 S&W and .32 H&R, the gas seal that made the Nagant famous will still not fully function, due to the 32-20 not being long enough to protrude past the cylinder like the original Nagant ammo.
- Wilson, Royce: "The Nagant M1895 Revolver". Australian & New Zealand Handgun, Issue 4 (January 2006).