Ok, I know,a lot of people hate the looks, (I think it's interesting), and the ammo is a pain to find, but I both reload and cast. J&G Sales has these things in excellent arsenal refinished for $99 each, 14 rounds for $5, (OUCH!), but I was wondering if anyone here had personal experience with the Nagant AND trying to reload for it?
I have a Nagant and have shot it, but I may be prejudiced because mine did not work properly - the hand did not thrust the cylinder forward far enough when firing, so the mouth of the cartridge case belled out, making it very hard to extract brass.
Here's what I know, in no particular order:
1) The sights are exactly what you would expect from 1895 - tiny.
2) The single action trigger pull on mine was heavy, although not dreadful. The double action trigger pull, as you no doubt know, is dreadful.
3) Apparently the gun needs the strange over-length brass to protect the forcing cone. To put it another way, because of the gas-seal mechanism and over-length brass, the gun was designed on the assumption that it would not need a conventional forcing cone. Apparently, people who bought 32 ACP conversion cylinders for their Nagants have had trouble with this.
4) The grips are not good. The grip shape is pretty much cylindrical and much too small for good control.
5) Unless you're a big fan of SAA's, loading and unloading is slow and tedious.
I guess the above are all bad things. The main plusses is that it is the only gas-seal revolver ever really mass produced, which makes it sort of unique, and that it saw quite a lot of service, in two World Wars. So as a collector's item it makes sense, as a shooter...not so much.
All this is just my $.02 of course, and I hope those who know better or think differently will chime in.
PS- If there are Nagant conversion cylinders in 32 S&W Long, that could be loaded with soft lead bullets and might make point 3 less of an issue. It would raise the cost of the whole project, of course.
I enjoyed shooting mine but I did not shoot it a lot because of the ammo cost. I never even considered reloading for it, I don't think that there is any data out there for the thing! I did shoot some .32 ACP ammo though it. The gun didn't seem all that accurate but I guess it was good for 1895!! I finally ended up selling mine for what I paid for it - $69.95.
NRA Endowment Member
Retired US Army
Retired Postal Worker
LOAD BULLET VELOCITY COMMENT
4 X Herco 2-47 grain balls 1058 Nagant case very consistent
4 X Herco 86 grain wad cutter 962 32-20 case very accurate
4 X Unique 77 grain round nose 1012 32-20 case accurate
3 X 231 48 grain round ball 709 32-20 case very mild
4 X Unique 90 grain swc 1052 32-20 case accurate
4 X Herco 77 grain round nose 1142 32-20 case good load
4 X Herco 86 grain wad cutter 1051 consistent
4 X Unique 90 grain Hornady hbwc 1003 backwards ok
4 X Unique 90 grain Hornady hbwc 988 forwards accurate
3 X Herco 115 grain round nose 785 fair
3 X Unique 118 grain flat point 948 low es
Russian Load 90 grain 1038 high es
Fiocchi 98 grain full metal jacket 669 mild
Bullet Type Bullet Weight (grains) Powder Type Charge (grains) Velocity (fps) COL Notes and Comments Group Size (7 rds @ 15 yds)
Moly Coated SWC 100 AA #5 3.8 667.8 1.324 Good starting load, very mild recoil 2.775, 6 rds in 1.644
Plated DEWC 83 AA #5 3.8 660.2 1.285 Very Mild Load 2.216
Plated HBWC 83 AA #5 3.8 648.9 1.285 Very Mild
Plated WCHP 83 AA #5 3.8 651.0 1.285 slighty worse spread than when loaded as HBWC 2.116
I hope to start reloading for mine, but the thing i want is the gas seal. I been playing around with drawing up a set of dies to get the same factory taper crimp as the true russan ammo. Once i get it drawn up i will take and make a set at work. Dont know how soon that will be as i have worked on this for a few years now.