Range Report: Heavily Modified Nagant 1895 Revolver

LADtM24

After a year and a half of tinkering with an old Nagant revolver that I had, I finally got around to putting it back together yesterday. I posted a picture of it (above) on Reddit last night and it was surprisingly popular. Several people asked for a range report, so here we go. This particular revolver was made at the Izhmash factory in 1943 and then refurbished after WWII. After I bought it, the nice folks at Yankee Hill Machine, added a Q.D. flash hider to the barrel and I had a gunsmith mount a 2″ rail to the top strap. I stripped off the old, worn-out bluing and parkerized it (well, it was a good first attempt anyway). A cheap NC Star red dot sight and some new grips (bakelite sucks) rounded out the rebuild . . .

For this test I swapped out the normal 7.62x38r cylinder for the easier-to-find .32 ACP cylinder. Unfortunately I didn’t realize until today that the extractor rod hits the ring on the flash hider and now you have to remove the barrel completely to swap cylinders.

 

The upside to .32 ACP is that there is essentially no recoil and it was surprisingly quiet even without a suppressor. The only problem I had was the ridiculously heavy trigger and the hammer getting stuck a few times. So it needs some work on the internals and if anyone has any suggestions on how to reduce the trigger pull please let me know. As a bonus, here’s a picture of it wearing a YHM titanium suppressor.

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Some of you might ask why anyone would do this to a perfectly good revolver. The answer is, “why not?” Half the fun of shooting is trying new and outrageous things (within the boundaries of safety of course). It’s why Kirsten Weiss shoots while hanging upside down from a tree and why I make ridiculous modifications to a perfectly good service revolver.

comments

  1. avatar Leadbelly says:

    You, sir, have too much time on your hands (and really bad taste).

    1. avatar Old Ben turning in grave says:

      Perhaps, but that Nagant is pretty damn cool.

      1. avatar Leadbelly says:

        No, it’s not. Jeez!

    2. avatar iCONOCLAST says:

      to quote my departed mother in law “more money than brains”. loved that irascible woman and miss her dearly. God rest her soul.

    3. avatar PavePusher says:

      SHUT YOUR FESTERING PIE-TUNNEL!!1!11!!

      (All in good fun, of course!)

  2. avatar dook says:

    StarWars called. They want their blaster back 😀

    1. avatar Fiun Dagner says:

      thats the first thing i thought of to. I want a functioning han solo blaster (DI44 i think)

      1. avatar SD3 says:

        Steampunk called. They want their diesel back.

      2. avatar Cheddat says:

        The DL-44 heavy blaster pistol is neither more nor less than a C96 Broomhandle Mauser with bits glued on. The hardest part is either finding one or else working up the nerve to deface it.

    2. avatar VSN says:

      I was going to say Fallout.

      Also, I kind of want one.

    3. avatar NWGlocker says:

      Winner– Han Solo’s blaster was the first thing that came to mind.

  3. avatar IdahoPete says:

    “… if anyone has any suggestions on how to reduce the trigger pull please let me know.”

    Trade it for a S&W Triple Lock 38/44?

    On the ejection issue, you might try using .32H&R Mag brass for your next set of reloads, if they will work in your Nagant cylinder.

  4. avatar joe l says:

    i picked one of those up new old stock from ’34, i so wish i could put a can on it stupid tax and wait time

    1. avatar Jeremy S says:

      Absolutely! I’ve had my eye out for an 1895 Nagant for sale locally since getting my can. Would love to thread it and shoot one of the only revolvers on earth that can be effectively suppressed!

  5. avatar JoshtheViking says:

    It’s cool, but way too steampunk for my taste.

  6. avatar JeffR says:

    That thing makes my eyes hurt. But to each, his own.

  7. avatar Roll says:

    Cool, suppressed revolver, never thought I’d see someone do it.

  8. avatar JR says:

    Curious…what’s the real point of a flash hider on a revolver? Don’t you still get a TON of flash from between the cylinder and forcing cone?

    1. avatar Dwight says:

      When Nagants are fired the cylinder moves up to close the gap in between it and the barrel so there’s no flash there. Nagants are weird.

    2. avatar Bob says:

      The nagant forces the cylinder forward so that it is sealed at the breech end of the barrel when firing. Hence why it can be suppressed where all other revolvers cannot.

    3. avatar Josh in TX says:

      That particular flash hider is also a suppressor quick disconnect mount, and regarding the gases escaping the forcing cone gap the Nagant revolver cylinder actually pushes forward against the forcing cone when cocked and the goofy looking cartridges help form a gas seal. This is why there are so many references to the Nagant as the only revolver suitable for fitting a silencer. With a 32 cylinder on it, I’m not sure if that is still the case.

    4. avatar JR says:

      Cool, guys! Thanks! Learn something new every day.

    5. avatar LongBeach says:

      Not with a Nagant revolver, it’s got a nifty way of sealing the cylinder to the barrel by pushing the cylinder forward, and the cartridges are loaded so that the bullet sits down inside the case to help with the sealing effect. There’s a pretty cool review of the revolver here on TTAG I recommend reading, it explains how it works far better than I ever could.

      1. avatar ShaunL. says:

        The simplest way I’ve found to explain the nagant round to people is that it’s “uncircumcised”.

  9. avatar Jim R says:

    I had a chance to pick up one of these about a year ago for something around 75 bucks.

    I kinda think I should’ve bought it. It would’ve been a fun range toy.

    1. avatar Swarf says:

      Yup, I wish I had picked one up back when they were that cheap, too.

      Lesson learned. Buy all the cheap milsurp you can, ’cause it’s gonna run out/get popular.

  10. avatar Detroiter says:

    Good luck fixing the trigger pull…..let us know when you do. I figured that would have been job one!

  11. avatar Jeff says:

    I get everything else, but parkerizing? Should’ve reblued it.

  12. avatar T says:

    Now I know what the steampunk version of the Nagant would look like. Pretty cool how this was done.

  13. Now there’s something you don’t see every day.

  14. avatar PT Stud says:

    What steam punk universe did you steal that revolver from. Pretty cool though.

  15. avatar David says:

    That is a serious steampunk/dieselpunk work of art you have there.

    “So it needs some work on the internals and if anyone has any suggestions on how to reduce the trigger pull please let me know.”

    The nagant revolver uses the trigger pull to move the entire cylinder forward to press right up against the barrel. As such, trigger pull is going to be very heavy no matter what you do. There are a few things you can do to make things better:

    1. Polish/Hone contact surfaces. This is the only part where you can mess things up. If you take off too much metal you could mess up the gun – but it is like 90 bucks anyway right?

    2. Apply trigger grease to the trigger and lubricate contact surfaces w/ gun oil.

    3. Break the springs in by firing the thing w/ dummy rounds in it. Do that a couple thousand times. Also, you can tie the trigger back to the handle /guard (when not in use) to wear the springs faster.

    That should make your pull weight go from like 18 lbs. to 16 lbs 🙂

    1. avatar PavePusher says:

      And he’ll end up with a grip like a pro-rock climber, and never notice a heavy trigger again….

  16. avatar troutbum5 says:

    With all due respect to Alan, this is proof that you can, in fact, polish a turd. It’s actually kind of cool.

  17. avatar lolinski says:

    Read up on this, comrade.

    http://www.russianrevolvers.com/TargetNagants.html

    There you can see the nifty “bullet under the mainspring” which unsurprisingly involves a bullet under the mainspring to reduce trigger pull.

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=g7YjV4m1VsA

    ANd this guy who calls himself TheNagantMan.

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=FPrQDzbD47A

    He likes the things and makes detailed vids about them. Hope it helps.

    1. avatar sagebrushracer says:

      +1 for The Nagant Mans vids, very detailed and solid advice.

      1. avatar lolinski says:

        If there is one thing I know it is to give good advice…sometimes.

  18. avatar Ralph says:

    You should carry that revolver to the next SXSW. Shannon would approve.

  19. avatar Matt in FL says:

    That is a pretty awesome waste of time. I like it.

  20. avatar Carl says:

    So where is the range report?

    Why the blather about .32 ACP? It would be much preferable to hear how this gun shoots the cartridges it was designed for.

    Switching cylinders?

    WTF?

    1. avatar lolinski says:

      Some prefer to shoot easy to find ammo. Here in Norway .32 is a common competition cartridge which means it is easy to find. 7.62 Nagant I would have to import or handload.

      I don’t have a Nagant yet but I would like one of the 1910 swingout models, maybe find some blueprints and make one from scratch? With some modifications of course 8 or 10 shot cylinder and integrally suppressed.

  21. avatar 505markf says:

    God, but I love gun people.

  22. avatar Miles J. says:

    I hate to ask this, but where is the rest of the range report? What loads did you end up shooting and what was the spread? Did you get improved accuracy after all of the mods? What was the total cost of the gun + build?

    That might all be in the video but I can’t currently watch that while I am on deployment on a gov’t computer. It is either blocked or the bandwidth is too low. So if it is there nevermind, I’ll check it out in a few months from my home computer. Interesting seeing it though.

  23. avatar jwm says:

    The beauty of Russian milsurp. They nearly all went thru an arsenal refurb before being stored. I bought what was essentially a new SKS for 99 bucks. Have picked up mosins for as little as 50 bucks(those days are over) and ignored tables full of maks at 99 bucks.

    Cheapest I remember nagant revolvers was 59 bucks. Sigh. Had I the brains god gave a turnip I would have a storage unit mixed full of them.

    1. avatar lolinski says:

      Don’t beat yourself up over it, hindsight is always 20/20 or like my teacher said: “It isn’t easy to predict anything, especially the future”. You also have to adjust for inflation, I know I saw an ad for Thompsons (when they were new in 1925) saying they were only 225 dollars or something. Ran that through the calculator and in was the equivalent of 3000 dollars today.

      1. avatar JR says:

        Still, though, it’s a THOMPSON! 😉

        1. avatar lolinski says:

          IT IS 3000 DOLLARS!

          Can get a Blaser R93 for that, I would rather have one of those (if they made it so that it takes G3 mags).

    2. avatar CJ says:

      I did buy one back in the $50 days.All kitted out at that price to boot. Aside from the Lou Ferrigno trigger pull it’s not a bad little shooter (for $50). A fact the Romanov’s learned the hard way.

      1. avatar jwm says:

        I’ve always heard that the murders weredone with Mauser broom handles.

  24. avatar Vendetta says:

    Destroyed history for that cluster? Ugh.

  25. avatar JohnB says:

    The stoning (de-burring) and grease on the contact does reduce the pull, somewhat.

    But Why? The thing about the Nagant is that that once you can keep it on target through that trigger pull, you can keep any DA pistol on target. You will also be able to lift a beer keg with that finger.

    If you do not use the gas seal rounds, there is no point in putting a can on it.

    The Soviet version with a can removed the extractor completely. The can seated all the way back and kept the cylinder bushing/pin in.

    1. avatar lolinski says:

      You do know that Nagant revolvers are capable of some really good accuracy? Since they don’t mangle the bullet like many conventional revolvers and their barrels are fixed unlike many semi autos.

      Get one of the target versions and you will see what I mean. The weight of the trigger isn’t the problem, you just have to make it smooth and know how to shoot.

  26. avatar Hugh Glass says:

    the uglier the gun, the better. something like this should be able to scare the bears away without firing a shot

  27. avatar G says:

    *Banned in NY*

  28. avatar Tom in Oregon says:

    Ha!
    I like this. Just might have to tinker with the old Webley out in the shop. That looks really funky.

    1. avatar ShaunL. says:

      NOOOOOOO! Please, for the sake of all things good, NOT the Webley!

  29. avatar Emmett says:

    How is the balance with the can on?

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