The Model 1895 Nagant Revolver

by Mark Hubbs
(Huntsville, AL)

Model 1895 Nagant and Accessories

Model 1895 Nagant and Accessories

History and Shootability on a Budget
The Model 1895 Nagant Revolver

I've been a shooter for forty six of my fifty two years. I've had good guns and bad guns, expensive guns and cheap guns. But I've had very few cheap good guns. Sometimes one comes across a firearm that pleases for a variety of reasons, seems to "stick", and continues to make trips to the range. One such firearm for me has been the Model 1895 Nagant Revolver. It is indeed a cheap, good gun.

First of all, the Nagant would not be the first weapon I would choose for self defense. It is not a "carry" gun. It is what it is. A military surplus weapon that is inexpensive, well made, rugged, underpowered and a hoot to shoot.

How inexpensive is it? First of all the import Nagants I have seen are in new, refinished condition. Bores range from pristine to dark, but shootable. These went through a Soviet rebuild program after WWII and have been in storage since. They come with a holster, lanyard, cleaning rod, and screwdriver. They wholesale for as low as $69.95. They have Curio - Relic status, so if you have a Curio Relic FFL* they can be ordered from the distributor and delivered directly to your residence. They can be found at gun shows in the $100 - $150 range.

I'll not go in depth about the history of the Nagant. An internet search will reveal more information about this pistol than you can digest. Suffice it to say that it was adopted by Russia as their primary side arm in 1895. It was produced until 1933 when it was replaced by the venerable TT-33 Tokarev pistol. When WWII began in 1939 the Soviets could not produce the TT-33 in sufficient numbers to arm their expanding military, so the Nagant was put back into production and was made until 1945. Because it was the only revolver that most Russians had any experience with for the first half of the 20th Century, its name became a household word for "revolver", similar to the fame the Colt products enjoyed in America.

The Nagant is seven shot and is chambered for the unusual 7.62X38 cartridge. It is remarkable in that it is a "gas seal" design. The cartridge extends forward of the cylinder. When the cylinder turns it simultaneously moves forward, thus inserting the cartridge mouth into the forcing cone. This significantly reduces the amount of gas that escapes between the cylinder and barrel. How much does this actually improve projectile velocities? Probably not enough to justify the complexity of the mechanism. The extra movement of the cylinder also contributes to a horrendous double action trigger pull! The double action pull is long and will easily top 20 lbs. That is why most Nagant shooters treat the gun as a single action. The single action pull is short and crisp.

The Nagant is loaded through a simple loading gate on the right side, similar to Colt single action revolvers. It is unloaded by an ejector rod that stores inside the cylinder pin. It pulls out, then pivots to the side to press through each chamber as the cylinder is manually turned and aligned with the rod. Most empties fall free of the chamber without aid of the rod.

The revolver points well and all the Nagants that I have owned shot consistently to point of aim at about 25 yards. Recoil is very light. The grips are rather small and my wife also found it very easy to hold and shoot. The 7.62X38 round is similar to the .32 Magnum round in velocity and pressure. In fact many Nagant shooters routinely shoot .32 S&W Longs and .32 Magnum in their revolvers. 7.62X38 ammunition is being imported from several sources. You will probably not find it at your local gun store, but it can be ordered from Midway and other mail order sources. The best price is on "Hot Shot" brand 7.62 that is new made commercial ammunition imported from Serbia. It averages about $24 a box of fifty. As I mentioned earlier, many shooters have turned to .32 S&W and .32 Magnum. These shoot accurately, but they do not take advantage of the gas seal feature of the revolver. There is also the chance of bulged cases with the domestic .32. So, they may not be an option if you plan on reloading.

The cost of ammunition for the Nagant is tempered with the slow speed of the reload. You get to savor the next seven rounds as you eject each empty and single load each new cartridge into the cylinder!

Caliber..........7.62x38mm.
Capacity........7 rounds
Length...........9 1/4"
Weight...........1 lb 12 oz
Barrel.............4 1/2"

* If you are interested in surplus firearms I would recommend applying for a Curio & Relic FFL. Application fees are only $30 for three years. The C&R license does not allow you to sell firearms, only acquire certain collectible firearms for your own collection. These will include most surplus guns from the WWII era and earlier. The best thing is you can order directly from distributors at wholesale prices.

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May 26, 2014
wow NEW
by: arkwor

having a heck of a time finding one to buy.My dad brought one home from ww2 he had taken it from a Nazi French. Im looking to purchaea shootable one. arkwork@verizon.net

Feb 28, 2014
32.acp cylinder NEW
by: Anonymous

Ron, those were very common about 10 or 15 years ago, and were produced when there was little or no ammo available for the Nagant. They have not been produced in some time. They really have no utility now since proper ammo and reloading supplies are available for the Nagant.

Feb 28, 2014
32 acp cylinder for the Nagant1895 NEW
by: Ron

I was at a gun show in Ontario Ca. and there was a vendor selling a .32 ACP cylinder for the NaganT 1895 anybody out there familiar with this?

Dec 15, 2013
Nagant for home defense NEW
by: Mark Hubbs

In response to "wondering" by Anonymous. The Nagant in its original loading has about the same ballsitics as the modern .32 H&R Magnum. Still not a powerhouse, however it could be used as a home defense weapon if that is all the that fits in your budget. Be aware that some of the new made ammo being imported from eastern Europe by Privi-Partisan and others are low powered target rounds. In the last years some true military surpus ammunition has become availible at Southern Ohio Guns and other sources. It has a 95 grain fmj slug at about 1,000 feet per second. Until someone makes an hollow point or other expanding bullet round for the Nagant, the mil surplus ammo would be your best choice for home defense.

Dec 15, 2013
woundering NEW
by: Anonymous

ive come across a norgant 7,62x38 a 1941 date on it I am thinking about it for home defense I was originally looking for a conceal carry. but being on disability has just about shot that ideal down because of the price tags ime seeing same with rifles seems ive forgot most or what I thought I knew about guns.

Jun 16, 2013
Em ulate me at your own risk NEW
by: Anonymous

Me again...

It may be my imagination or this may be
valid. I've slacked-off the leaf spring that
rides the cam surfaces on the loading gate
and this seemed to ease double-action pull.
Unfortunately my experiments are all being
done on an empty cylinder. I don't even have
spent brass yet. I'm interested in hearing
from anyone with spent brass as to whether slacking off the loading-gate spring seemed
to lower trigger pull or smooth things up any for you with/without brass in the cylinder. My
cylinder pins have fine lathe-tool marks which
are perpendicular to the motion of the cylinder
( front to back ). I'm going to experiment
with smoothing those up and I'll let you know.

Jun 12, 2013
emulate me at your own risk! NEW
by: Rockytop

I bought two recently ( one for each paw ). I've lightly stoned some of the sliding parts on one and it seems easier to pull the trigger in double-action though I've made no measurements... I stuck to flat sliding surfaces on the abutment piece and whatever that rising cam block is really called. I also stoned a very rough surface on top of the top leaf of the main spring where it contacts the hammer. I didn't mess with any of the pins because the roughness on those was scores or tool marks in the same direction as the movement of the two parts against one-another plus those parts have some leverage over any friction at those points so I didn't deem these to be a high priority for smoothing. From the other comments it seems as if trying to modify the weight of the main spring leaves may not be advisable but I may make some experiments using subbed-in springs, then a technique I have in mind if that proves to be profitable. Just the aforementioned smoothing seemed to make a positive difference, though that's a subjective opinion. When I was done the result looked more like "holster wear" ( though of course the holster would never contact those parts! ) than anything else. If anyone else has experimented in this way I'd be interested to read your experiences.

Nov 05, 2010
Heavy trigger pull.
by: Anonymous


Nagant's main spring was intentionaly made
powerfull because its one of main mission was
to pull back the cylinder with fired case from
the back cone of barrel around which tne front
of case mouth been sticked. This is especially
useful on rather corroded barrels and a step on
top front of trigger as pushing against to the
front face of rear ring of cylinder carrying the
stop notches, carries out this task with some
five times multipied power of main spring.

Sep 07, 2010
Nagant
by: Dangerous Dan

I've five of them. None were over $89 and all were bought from SOG or AIM up in Ohio during the 12 years or so I had my '03 license. We use the .32 S&W Long ammo in them and have experienced few problems extracting the cases. The grandkids enjoy shooting them (supervised, of course) as they feel they're shooting a "real" firearm but without much kick. Of course, cocking them can be a challenge for small hands.

I enjoyed your review of the Nagant '95.

Jun 12, 2010
Nagant
by: Dan

I think you are right while not a first choice. It is a former military gun,and as such is well made. Also more important it is RELIABLE it will go bang each,and every time 99.9% of the time in all extreme conditions. Two world wars a revolution,and numerous proxy wars have proven this. While not my first choice to carry I would not feel underarmed taking it anywhere needed if it was all that was on hand. In short more bang for the buck no pun intended.

Apr 16, 2010
Good and on the money
by: Don

Hey! You nailed it. Nagants cost so little that you can stick one away for that "just in-case day". They are small enough and light enough to make great trail guns. Maybe they are underpowered but they are enough gun for most things that might pop up. Now I wouldn't choose it for a duty gun or first line defense. But one would be nice to have along anyway. Two legged varmints would be more likely to understand the threat than a wolf. But I always found two legged varmints to be a bigger threat than anything I've run into while in the bush.

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