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Old September 30, 2013, 12:03 PM   #1
AID_Admin
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Russian Nagant revolver - the real deal

Of course everyone on this forum is familiar with a Nagant. Some call it "ugliest thing on the face of earth" some others call it "a piece of great history". Whatever your opinion is, the fact remains that it's one of longest produced guns in the world and pretty reliable (although fairly uncomfortable) shooter. I have one from 1944 and even though double action is pretty bad, single action is passable and I often take it to the range for some fun.

Last week I was on the phone with an out of state dealer talking about some guns and at some point he mentioned he received a shipment of Nagants. I said I have one already and out of curiosity asked what production years he received. As I expected they were from 1944 and 1945. These are most common years that arrive in US. But then he paused for a second and said that one of them is actually from 1917. Same price, since they all are from the same box. I bought it immediately. Not only 1917 means the gun was made before Soviets took over, it's the actual year of October revolution this very gun is so much associated with.

I picked the gun up from my FFL yesterday and took it apart for cleaning, oiling and some polishing. At the same time I took off the side plate of my 1944 Nagant just for comparison. Overall two guns look about the same. 1917 has better finish job on inside of the plates. Overall it looks a little more "neat" inside. But not enough to make a real difference. Internal parts were a bit more polished too. I though this should give 1917's gun an advantage when it come to ease of action. But in reality I did not find much difference between two guns when I pulled the trigger. Perhaps 1917's single action is just a little crispier. Not by much though.

The big difference came when I saw the bore. My 1944's bore is all black and slightly pitted. It came that way from the arsenal. I was concerned when I first saw it, but on the range I realized it still shoots well and dropped the issue. After all what should you expect from the gun that costs under $200 with shipping and FFL fees included?! On 1917 bore is bright and smooth. No pitting at all. A kind of bore you'd expect from S&W or Colt of the same vintage.

I plan to take both of them to the range for side by side shooting and comparison. But for now, here is a picture of my new find

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Old September 30, 2013, 12:20 PM   #2
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Who says nagant are ugly? I think they look pretty good.
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Old September 30, 2013, 12:34 PM   #3
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gav1230, I think they look pretty good too. Very retro. But there was a tread recently about naming the prettiest and the ugliest revolver and more then one person named Nagant as the ugliest. Go figure...
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Old September 30, 2013, 12:38 PM   #4
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I don't personally think Nagants are ugly, but then I rather like the archaic look of Victorian European military revolvers anyway
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Old September 30, 2013, 01:21 PM   #5
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Now... their ammunition-- that stuff is pretty ugly!

Looking forward to a range report. I've never had the chance to even handle one of these, let alone shoot one.
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Old September 30, 2013, 02:01 PM   #6
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Sevens, ammunition is strange to say the least :-) There is a reason for that, though. It's made that was to close the forcing cone gap. How effective was that approach is another story... If you ever near by Chicago for more then one day, look me up for a range test
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Old September 30, 2013, 02:07 PM   #7
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Haha, sorry, never gonna happen, bro! Chicago is absolutely enemy territory for me and I wouldn't go there on a bet. Last time I was through Illinois, I altered my route by quite a distance to sweep far & wide around Chicago.

But I hereby officially invite you to my haunts where we can burn massive amounts of powder across a large array of handguns.

It's not an uppity "mine vs yours" or any such thing, it's quite simply about being treated & respected like a free man when it comes to firearms.
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Old September 30, 2013, 02:48 PM   #8
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Another item I saw at the Memphis Gun Show last Saturday.

Nagant revovlers, packed in a hinged rough wooden case, probably pine, packed with a cleaning kit and twenty-five (I think) rounds of ammunition and a manual, price $250 "Out the door."

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Old September 30, 2013, 03:39 PM   #9
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Very Nice Gun.



Quote:
Now... their ammunition-- that stuff is pretty ugly!
I just think of it as "Un-circumcised".
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Old September 30, 2013, 05:16 PM   #10
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I don't think the Russian Nagant is any "uglier" than similar designs by Nagant and others used by most nations in the same time frame. Only the Russian model has the b-c gap seal, but that is not immediately apparent to the casual observer.

Similar guns are the Swiss and Swedish revolvers, as well as the Rast-Gasser Model 1898 (which would have to be a candidate for ugly), the Japanese Type 26, and a whole lot more. They were all part of a trend in that period toward "small" caliber rifles and handguns and away from the big bore revolvers of the previous decades. In the U.S., the change was exemplified by the change from the .45 caliber single action to the .38 caliber revolver.

This went along with the same trend in rifles which, in the U.S. meant the transition from the .45-70 to the .30 Krag.

Jim
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Old September 30, 2013, 05:34 PM   #11
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I'd like to get a few of the non-russian nagants.
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Old October 5, 2013, 09:57 PM   #12
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Ok, so 1917 Nagant got some range time today side by side with 1944 Nagant. Here are some observations and targets picture.

To my surprise I did not find '17 being more accurate than '44. I expected a better accuracy, since it visually has much better bore: brighter and with zero pitting. But that did not happen... In fact today's best target was the one from '44. I have to say that '17 is new to me, so it took a bit to get use to sights. But even after that accuracy did not suppress '44. The bottom line is that even though '17 has better bore it did not effect the accuracy.

There was a difference in handling. Both guns were shot in single action mode only (since I don't have hands of a bodybuilder to shoot double action accurately with these guns). The action of '17 is crispier and slightly easier. While not as easy as on a good SW revolver, it is noticeably easier than '44. This may be due to a better finishing of internal parts I mentioned before.

Another important difference was in the way of extracting spent shells. In my '44 after firing 15-20 rounds shells are getting stock in the cylinder. Sometimes I have to literally knock them out by using a pen from the opposite side of the cylinder. Not every shell gets stock, of course, but at least one out of seven does, every time. With '17 shell were flying out! Even after I was almost done with a box of ammo they were still flying out of the cylinder as easy as with the first seven rounds. I guess the steel used for cylinders at that time was better quality and does not change it's properties as much when getting hot.

So, as a conclusion 1917 Tzar's time Nagant definitely has and edge over it's 1944 Soviet counterpart. However the difference is more in the quality of the materials used than in accuracy of shooting. If I had to keep only one, it would be 1917. But since these are cheap revolvers I may just keep both for a while, just for fun...

Shooting was done in SA at about 30FT. Left column is 1917 and right one is 1944. The nickel on one of the targets is used to show the actual sizes.

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Old October 5, 2013, 10:51 PM   #13
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As I have yet still never managed to handle one of these things, I always think the worst, but your targets look pretty darn good to me for 10 yards.

Great range recap. Who doesn't enjoy even a minor showdown? If I had those two, I'd be pitting them against each other constantly , and I'd be rooting for the 'OLD' one (just like you are!) until I started to feel like the '44 was the "under dog" and then I'd be pulling for it, as well!

Fun stuff. Two old relics, still making noise. And somewhere, Comrade Nagant (?!) smiles in his peaceful rest.
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Old October 8, 2013, 06:14 AM   #14
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I think they are very cool looking handguns. Kind of like SK/AK esk. Or anything else Russian for that matter.
Something I never noticed before the above pic is that HUGE cylinder gap. Im used to seeing +-.005. The Nagent looks like +-.250"
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Old October 8, 2013, 06:24 AM   #15
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The cylinder is cammed forward during the cycling IIRC which is part of why the trigger pull is so tough... so the gap is sealed up by the case that sticks out past the bullet on the ammo

I do think they are ugly... like a bull dog, a face only their owners could love...

that said, I still like to add one to my old revolver collection...
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Old October 8, 2013, 11:12 AM   #16
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As Magnum Wheel Man said: cylinder gets shifted and actually touches the forcing cone when revolver is cocked. Not a very good design for a double action shooting... But in self defense short range situation while under a stress it hardly matters. For anything further down the range, like target shooting, single action is a way to go. And single action is fairly crisp and easy, ones you polish up the internals. Here is a picture of a cocked Nagant I shamelessly stole from the Internet. It show a forwarded cylinder...

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Old October 8, 2013, 08:25 PM   #17
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now that I know about the moving cylinder I might have to go out and get another permit (nj thing)or two. It seems like I SHOULD have a Nagant, maybe a webley also. After all I have to keep things balanced.
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Old October 9, 2013, 11:29 AM   #18
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Dang you jimbob86,,,

Quote:
I just think of it as "Un-circumcised".
I spit coffee out my nose!

Aarond

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Old October 9, 2013, 06:14 PM   #19
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Quote:
Quote:
I just think of it as "Un-circumcised".
I spit coffee out my nose!
Yes, that was a good one!

I just came back from the range where I spent another box of ammo through my 1917 Nagant. I can definitely stay within 2 inches with a group of seven rounds (full cylinder) from about 30FT. I think it's a great accuracy for a 100 years old gun. My only complaint are sights. They are kind of hard to aim and aim - too high. If at least they were too low, I could file down the front sight. With them being too high I am not sure what to do other then to aim lower. Which is what I did...

I'm expecting too much from that gun, don't I?!
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Old October 9, 2013, 06:53 PM   #20
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Russian Nagant revolver - the real deal

It's the only revolver I've seen that works effectively with a silencer. They're diffidently a unique piece of history.
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Old October 15, 2013, 10:46 AM   #21
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Here are a few videos of suppressed Nagants.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vvF4yurWSc0
Shows very effective suppression. Can still hear the echoing of the muzzle report even though it is greatly reduced.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BGoPE7VQ9GY
Has some detail on the action and attaching the silencer. This is one the owner has let me shoot. The video does not do justice to how well it lowers noise.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=n97Yrb-OuVY
This can is huge.

Can find much more by searching for silencer and nagant on Youtube.
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Old October 15, 2013, 04:04 PM   #22
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Hello webleymkv,,,

Quote:
I don't personally think Nagants are ugly, but then I rather like the archaic look of Victorian European military revolvers anyway.
I'm with you there my friend,,,
I would love to have a Russian Nagant, a British Webley, and a French 1892 Lebel all cased up for display.

They make me think of steam locomotives.

Aarond

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Old October 20, 2013, 06:31 AM   #23
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We used to have a resident expert on the Nagants, Ken from Wild West Alaska. The Nagant is the gun he collects most. You can see some of his collection hanging on his office wall in the show. He has a few of the rare versions. He was disappeared from the forum a while ago, so his input is no longer available. You can search "wildalaska nagant" on this forum and dig up the old posts.

Like many others I still have his e-mail and occasionally correspond with him about the pistols.
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Old October 20, 2013, 06:10 PM   #24
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I shot one in a Cowboy Action match earlier this year - if I could find another one locally or face to face for a hundred bucks or so, I'd buy another one.
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Old October 21, 2013, 01:41 PM   #25
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Has anyone here managed to get their hands on the single action version?
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