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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
My father purchased a Russian Nagant revolver several years ago at an estate auction. The grand total he paid was about $50 dollars. The weapon has importation marks by KBI and is dated 1902. It is a standard double-action model and appeared to be in nearly new condition when purchased. He also bought several boxes of Russian Mil-Surp 7.62 Nagant Ammunition.

We shot several of the boxes of mil-surp on range trips and found the gun a delight to shoot. Fairly accurate, recoil non-existant, and the nice wadcutter holes were easy to see on the target. Well, we later discovered that 7.62 Nagant ammunition is like gold. In other words invest now prices are only going up!

I had read up on shooting .32 H&R Magnum in a Nagant. Since standard ammo is hard to get and expensive, we decided to try running it in the gun. Mainly so we could get a little range time out of it.

We shot a box of Federal Personal Defense ammo, 85-grain JHPs. We found that the cartridges fit well into the cylinder and the rifling without a problem. Upon firing no shavings were found on the forcing cone, to suggest the bullets were too large. Accuracy was not as good as the normal Nagant ammunition, but was acceptable. 2" groups at 15-yards, due in large part to my shooting skills. The fireball from firing was huge, much more eye opening than the Nagant ammo. The sound was also noticeably louder. The gun did not seem to be affected by firing the round. Although the Nagant is a heavy weapon, I doubt much would actually affect it.

The .32 H&R brass on the other hand did experience some problems. Every casing uniformally bulged about 1/10" from the base of the cartridge. The casings did not bulge out to the point they stuck in the chamber however. The bulged casings would slide in and out of the chambers with very little effort. They could not, however, be reloaded.

All in all, I would say firing a Nagant with .32 H&R Magnum was a success. The Nagant's 5" barrel probably aids the velocity and power of the already fairly hot cartridge. With some work on the mushy trigger and practice with the sights, I could see the gun being usable. I suspect taking small game, such as rabbit, racoons, skunks, or squirrels would easily be possible with a bit of practice.

-Rob
 

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Hi Random Man,

Interesting range report. Are there concerns about velocity and chamber pressure from the hot .32 H&R Magnum vs. the 7.62mm Nagant "gas-seal" round? Did you guys try any .32 S&W long ctdgs in the Nagant revolver? It sounds like y'all had fun with it, but I'd be concerned I guess about the metalurgy of a revolver that old? At shows I've seen some of those Nagant revolvers with Soviet-era markings made in the 1930s and 1940s, but I don't know if they are much different from the earlier examples like yours.

Cool experiment, certainly!

--D.
 

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Discussion Starter · #4 ·
Dave, initially, that was my concern. However, after doing some research and firing, I am no longer worried about a KB from running the hotter H&R Magnum. The Nagants were all forged and internally their lockwork is built like a Soviet Tank. Also, several years back a company began to make cylinders for the Nagant in 7.62x25mm Tokarov. They had problems with the rimless cartridges not staying in the gun and gave up, but to my knowledge they had no KBs. The Tokarov cartridge is considerably hotter than the Nagant round and hotter still than the H&R Magnum.

After firing, I have noticed no galling or scoring around the cylinder that might suggest excessive pressure and the cases don't exhibit blown out primers. The bulging of the cases can be attributed to their being slightly undersized for the cylinder.

I will pull the revolver apart when I have time, probably this afternoon or tomorrow evening and examine all of the internal parts carefully for signs of accelerated wear. Then, I will report back my findings.

-Rob
 

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Hi Random Man,

Looking forward to it. I hope my post didn't come off as a "fun until somebody gets their eye put out!" safety lecture! Glad to hear the piece is overbuilt for the ctdg it was designed for. I had no idea about the Tokarev round being tried in it. Am I mistaken that an aftermarket mfr is experimenting with a replacement cylinder in a .32 caliber of some kind, or is that the 7.62mmX25 you mentioned?

Best,
Dave.
 
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