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Discussion Starter #1
I'm constantly hearing about how one can shoot .32 S&W, .32S&W long or .32 H&R magnum from a Nagant revolver. My usual response is "Yes it will go bang and if that's all you want that is all you'll get". I don't dignify these ammo choices as "alternative ammo", I just call them what they are, the "wrong ammo". Still, people have heard the stories, think that to be an acceptable practice and spread the word to all their buddies, encouraging them to do likewise. The Nagant revolver and its ammo are a system, designed together to work together. Substituting any shorter cartridge for the 38mm Nagant case not only eliminates the gas seal, which was the whole point of the Nagant design, but makes accuracy hopeless. The Nagant cartridge case enters the recess of the Nagant barrel to guide the bullet straight and centered into the bore. Substitute a shorter case and the bullet upon exit from the short case will have to wobble through the chamber some .020"-.030" larger than bullet diameter and will no doubt be tipped when it slams into the Nagant bore which has no forcing cone like conventional revolvers.
I had demonstrated that fact to my own satisfaction years ago by firing some .32 S&W Long factory loads and some .32 H&R handloads but I took no photos nor chronographed the results. So, yesterday, before heading out to do some shooting, I dug out the .32 S&W Long fired brass and decided to reload some for test firing. Since I no longer own a .32 revolver I just loaded up five rounds to fire in the Nagant. My Lyman manual shows an 85 grain cast bullet with a starting load of 3.0 grains of Unique doing 740 fps and a max load of 3.5 grains at 910 fps. I chose an in between load of 3.2 grains which I guessed should do about 800 fps, which would be on the low end of my 7.62 Nagant handloads. The chronograph showed only 669 fps, indicating serious velocity loss due to blow-by around the bullet during its transit of the greatly oversize Nagant chamber. The group on target measured a spread of 5 1/4" for the five shots at 25 yards, which actually was better than I'd seen when I had fired the factory loads from the Nagant. For control I fired seven of the Russian military rounds and got a group of 3 1/4", exactly like the last time I tried that ammo and clearly demonstrating what the revolver can do using proper ammo.
The real story appeared when I extracted the fired cases. Those which did not split were expanded at their base to a diameter of .354", a full .020" over factory spec for the .32 long. Two of the five could not take it and split out, which did not happen when I first fired the factory loads.

 

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Discussion Starter #3
Nope, only people who know guns "already knew that". Those hundred dollar Nagant revolvers are going out to Bubbas who think if you can dfrop a cartridge in and it doesn't fall though it's fine to fire. The Nov/Dec 2011 issue of the Backwoodsman Magazine carried an article on the Nagant and the writer was all about firing .32 S&W long. Lots of people read that magazine and I just submitted an article on handloading the Nagant which should serve to set the record straight I hope.
 

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I have shot some .32 Long thru this critter and got a lot of leading, but it worked. I reload the 32-20 which also negates the gas seal - and in truth they work 'good enuff' for my needs. When surplus is hard to find and you want to shoot this obsolete 'novelty' bit of firearm's history for me ''good enuff' IS good enough to meet my needs. I do NOT ever expect this beastie to be a fine target handgun, or even a gun I would trust with my self defense. But it IS a hoot to shoot, a hunk of living history and a way at dirt cheap investment cost to collect a working milsurp firearm.

For me it's a win-win-win.
 

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and all you need to do s wrap the case with scotchtape to prevent the splits.
 

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I had no problems with 32 ACP.
 

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I too see no particular 'need' for the gas sealing, which no other revolver in history, including many Nagants of other nations, ever had. I handload using the .32-20 case reformed, and find it an easy cartridge to load for. Trying to deal with making the proper crimp makes for a more difficult project than it needs to be. Having settled on my 'pet load', I find it fulfills it's purpose, and 'barks' with authority while not showing any pressure signs, heavy recoil or other wierdness. I am basically using a 'lighter' version of the basic H&R Magnum load, using 93, 98 and 100 grain bullets. Some of my brass is on it's third loading now. My latest load using the Hornady 100 grain XTP jacketed soft point, while not a 'magnum' load by any means, would no doubt put quite a sting on a goblin, if needed. I have plenty more powerful guns to use instead of the old (1939 dated) war relic, but I am confident if called upon, it could do the job. The Nagant is not the under-powered toy many believe it to be, if one gets past the under-powered Fiocchi target ammo.
Accuracy is plenty good enough for a war relic too - under two inches at 15 yards (besting my Ruger using .38 Special at times). I really cannot justify shooting someone in a self defense situation at 50 feet or more....
 

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the 7.62x38R ammo is not that hard to find, cost about the same as .32 longs or .32-20. reloading information for the 7.62 Nagant is all over the net.
as for me I will be shooting the 7.62x38R ammo..
 

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Discussion Starter #10 (Edited)
I had no problems with 32 ACP.
You obviously have an aftermarket cylinder chambered for .32 ACP. It isn't possible to fire .32 ACP from an original Nagant Cylinder because the rear of the Nagant chamber is larger than the rim of a .32 ACP cartridge, that is why they have made those aftermarket cylinders. I have one myself and have fired it a bit but accuracy is still pretty crappy, maybe not much worse than most small .32 ACP pistols but embarrassing to a Nagant revolver which is capable of very good accuracy if people would just give it a chance by using the ammo for which it was designed.
 

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Discussion Starter #11
the 7.62x38R ammo is not that hard to find, cost about the same as .32 longs or .32-20. reloading information for the 7.62 Nagant is all over the net.
as for me I will be shooting the 7.62x38R ammo..
Exactly right, except I think Nagant ammo is probably even a bit cheaper than 32/20. I've been involved in an ongoing experiment in reloading the Nagant using the original 38mm long cases. Yes, it is a bit more bother than reloading .38 special but it certainly can be done and if one expects accuracy from the Nagant revolver the 38mm case is absolutely necessary. It is not just about the "gas seal", it is about the fact that Nagant chambers are cut to accept the cartridge case, as is the rear of the barrel. Conventional revolver chambers have a "throat" ahead of the case mouth which is reduced to slightly over bullet diameter. It is that chamber throat which guides the bullet straight, without tipping, into the barrel, the rear of which is cut with a tapered "forcing cone" to help center the bullet into the bore. Revolver shooters know that the chamber throat is critical to accuracy and should be no more than .001" over bullet diameter. The forcing cone is also critical to accuracy. The Nagant employs an entirely different system, it has no chamber throat nor forcing cone. It relies on the cartridge case to guide the bullet straight and centered into the bore. When a bullet exits any shorter case it emerges into a chamber .020-.030" larger than the bullet, there is nothing to keep it from tipping and slamming off center and cockeyed into the bore which has no forcing cone and gas blow-by around the bullet greatly reduces velocity.
The Nagant revolver is capable of very good accuracy at 25 yards with proper ammo. I've gotten 1 1/2" groups from the Russian match ammo, which admittedly is not very powerful, with velocities under 600 fps. All of the handloads I have so far tried have used 90 & 95 grain SWC's or 90 grain HBWC's at actual chronographed velocities of 800-1100 fps. Several loads have given me seven shot groups of 2" and very few have gone larger than 3" and that is at 25 yards, not feet.
If one enjoys shooting the wrong ammo I will mention that you can fire 30/30 rifle ammo out of a .410 shotgun. Yes, you can do that perfectly safely. I just don't know why you would want to.
 

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Discussion Starter #13
Or, and I realize this is a radical concept, but you could fire your .32 S&W ammo in a .32 S&W revolver and fire 7.62x38 Nagant ammo in a Nagant revolver. Just a thought.
 

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Exactly right, except I think Nagant ammo is probably even a bit cheaper than 32/20. I've been involved in an ongoing experiment in reloading the Nagant using the original 38mm long cases. Yes, it is a bit more bother than reloading .38 special but it certainly can be done and if one expects accuracy from the Nagant revolver the 38mm case is absolutely necessary. It is not just about the "gas seal", it is about the fact that Nagant chambers are cut to accept the cartridge case, as is the rear of the barrel. Conventional revolver chambers have a "throat" ahead of the case mouth which is reduced to slightly over bullet diameter. It is that chamber throat which guides the bullet straight, without tipping, into the barrel, the rear of which is cut with a tapered "forcing cone" to help center the bullet into the bore. Revolver shooters know that the chamber throat is critical to accuracy and should be no more than .001" over bullet diameter. The forcing cone is also critical to accuracy. The Nagant employs an entirely different system, it has no chamber throat nor forcing cone. It relies on the cartridge case to guide the bullet straight and centered into the bore. When a bullet exits any shorter case it emerges into a chamber .020-.030" larger than the bullet, there is nothing to keep it from tipping and slamming off center and cockeyed into the bore which has no forcing cone and gas blow-by around the bullet greatly reduces velocity.
The Nagant revolver is capable of very good accuracy at 25 yards with proper ammo. I've gotten 1 1/2" groups from the Russian match ammo, which admittedly is not very powerful, with velocities under 600 fps. All of the handloads I have so far tried have used 90 & 95 grain SWC's or 90 grain HBWC's at actual chronographed velocities of 800-1100 fps. Several loads have given me seven shot groups of 2" and very few have gone larger than 3" and that is at 25 yards, not feet.
If one enjoys shooting the wrong ammo I will mention that you can fire 30/30 rifle ammo out of a .410 shotgun. Yes, you can do that perfectly safely. I just don't know why you would want to.
+1!
Joe
 

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+2 coyote! It is a Nagant, it works like a Nagant, comes apart like a Nagant so i feed it Nagant ammo and it is more accurate than i am, lol.

paul
 

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Conventional revolver chambers have a "throat" ahead of the case mouth which is reduced to slightly over bullet diameter. It is that chamber throat which guides the bullet straight, without tipping, into the barrel, the rear of which is cut with a tapered "forcing cone" to help center the bullet into the bore. Revolver shooters know that the chamber throat is critical to accuracy and should be no more than .001" over bullet diameter. The forcing cone is also critical to accuracy.

BTW This is interesting and well known, what is generally not know is that this is a Russian invention! The first implementation of this design was the .44 Russian cartridge in the Smith & Wesson Contract No. 3s. Before that ALL cartridge revolvers had constant diameter bored through cylinders.
DSC00841A.jpg DSCN0760a.jpg
A first contract Smith - you can see the step on the cylinder bore on the right.
Joe
 

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Discussion Starter #17
I never thought about it but yes, I guess you could call it a Russian development. Earlier American cartridges employed "heeled" bullets like .22 rimfires still do and thus there was no need for the stepped down chamber throat since the bullet diameter was the same as the cartridge case diameter. It was at request of the Russian government that S&W created the new .44 Russian cartridge with the bullet diameter reduced to fit inside the cartridge case in about 1870. So the .44 Russian round probably was the first in the U.S. to employ that design. Was it the first in the world?
 

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You didn't anneal the cases before reloading them. Properly annealed the soft brass expands and wont crack. Some production ammo has cases that are softer than others, like Aguila, and work fine. Some are harder, like Remington, and will split.

I've found that Aguila 32 S&W long is more accurate than the Fiocchi Nagant ammo I tried, and at least half the Fiocchi couldn't be reloaded because it split at the crimp.

32 ACP accuracy is pretty bad in the Nagant because the bullet diameter is usually a little small for the bore, and bullets are usually jacketed and wont upset into the rifling.
 

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Discussion Starter #19
You didn't anneal the cases before reloading them. Properly annealed the soft brass expands and wont crack. Some production ammo has cases that are softer than others, like Aguila, and work fine. Some are harder, like Remington, and will split.

I've found that Aguila 32 S&W long is more accurate than the Fiocchi Nagant ammo I tried, and at least half the Fiocchi couldn't be reloaded because it split at the crimp.

32 ACP accuracy is pretty bad in the Nagant because the bullet diameter is usually a little small for the bore, and bullets are usually jacketed and wont upset into the rifling.
The point is "no cases should split because nobody should be firing cartridges .025" smaller than the chamber". The reason they don't all split is because the .32 S&W long factory loads are held to very mild pressures and that pressure is even very much less when fired in a greatly oversize chamber where the powder gas just blows around the bullet so the pressure isn't even enough to fully expand the case.
.32 ACP is usually loaded with bullets of .312" diameter, a perfect firt to the Nagant bore. Problem is those aftermarket cylinders, at least mine had chamber thoats of .315", not as bad as firing .32 long in a Nagant cylinder but still a poor deal and the bore still has no forcing cone.
When you say you found Aquila .32's to be more accurate than Fiocchi Nagant ammo I have to ask "how accurate?" What was your exact 25 yard group size?
Fiocchi 7.62 Nagant ammo averaged 2.6" at 25 yards from my Nagant and chronographed 672fps.
 

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You obviously have an aftermarket cylinder chambered for .32 ACP.
##################

Sure, I using aftermarket cylinder chambered for .32 ACP.
 
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