Friday, November 7, 2008

Russian 1895 Nagant revolver

This post officially places me on the blogging horse again. After months of apathy, I'm back to posting about my "vast" collection.


This post focuses around my Russian (Soviet) 1895 Nagant revolver. Developed by those "evil" Belgians, the Nagant brothers, the revolver was designed with a unique "gas seal" technology. Found in no other firearm that I can think of, the "gas seal" promised about 50 fps extra velocity (which it may or may not actually do...depends on who you ask). The Nagant brothers had an "in" with the Russian court, and thus, had their handgun adopted by the Russian Empire. The Russians chose a 7.62mm caliber version, as it simplified manufacturing (they already had a 7.62mm rifle as general issue, the Mosin-Nagant 1891). The revolver also came in two variants, single-action and double-action.


After the fall of the Czar, the new Soviet government continued to manufacture and issue the Nagant revolver in only its double-action variant. It was offically replaced in general issue in 1933 with the adoption of the Tokarev TT-33 semi-automatic handgun. However, it continued to be manufactured and issued until 1950 (anything that could be used against the Germans was built and used, even if it was obsolete).


Now, on to my Nagant revolver. It was made at the Izeveck (sorry, I can't spell it) arsenal in 1944. I do believe that it was not issued, and not a rebuilt or refurbished one. I believe this because rebuilds usually had their wooden grips replaced with bakelite (plastic) grips, and my revolver has wooden grips. Lock-up is tight once the hammer is fully cocked. Otherwise, the revolver freely spins, progressing through stopping points created by the loading gate in the "up" position. The bore is in great shape, and not chrome-lined (I have a thing for chrome-lined barrels). The last time I acutally fired it was in 2006 (about 2 years ago) and it fired just fine. Accuracy was so-so, but that could have been the Russian target ammo that I was using (lead wadcutter at low velocity...came in yellow boxes with a target on the box). I did fire some Fiocchi ammo in it, that duplicates original specs, and that fired pretty much on center of the target. I did note that recoil was non-existant with either type of ammo (if the smoke didn't give it away, I'd say the Russian target ammo was magically moving the bullet without recoil). I plan on getting some of the Hotshot brand 7.62 Nagant ammo, but the higher cost compared to my 9mm Makarov ammo has put me off. I'll get some ammo soon, and take her out for another spin.

As these revolvers are only about $80-100, they're a good buy for a revolver if you just want one for the novelty, or for having the proper tool for "Russian roulette."

Tuesday, June 12, 2007


Pictured above is my CZ-52. The former Czechoslovakia created some fine weapons, both handguns and rifles. The finest weapon, in my opinion, is the CZ-52, also known as the "Czech Hand Cannon."
Chambered for 7.62mm Tokarev (7.62X25mm), the Czechs had a special high velocity loading specifically designed for this handgun. Unfortunately, I have been unable to find any of the high velocity Czech 7.62mm Tokarev ammunition. I have instead used, to date Winchester White Box 7.62 Tokarev 85 grain FMJ (yes, they sell's made by Sellier and Bellot in the Czech Republic and reboxed) and Sellier and Bellot (S&B) 7.62mm Tokarev 85 grain FMJ. Been happy with all the ammunition I've fired in it so far, but haven't had the opportunity to fire any hollowpoints. It's very difficult to find any hollowpoints. I was lucky enough to get one box of hollowpoints from They were made in Portugal by FNM. I haven't fired any of them, but the hollowpoint cavity appears a little small to guarantee expansion. I wish I had some ballistic gelatin to use to test them out. But, I guess I'll never know (unless they are used for home defense in an actual situation). Reed Ammunition and Research has several hollowpoint loadings that I'll be trying out soon, once I get the money to experiment. Especially promising are the 85 grain and 100 grain XTP hollowpoints.
Shooting the CZ-52 at the range was interesting. I heard before that there would be "a foot of flame" coming out the front and that everyone on the range would stop shooting and stare at me, due to the "boom." Ok, none of that happened. No "foot of flame" and no onlookers staring intently. Also, the CZ-52 shot low, about 3-4 inches low. This is distressing...maybe it's due to the lower velocity of the non-Czech ammuntion. I mentally just put the front sight higher in the rear sight picture, and I manage to get reasonably close to Center of Mass. Not the perfect solution, but it works.
The handgun itself feels relatively confortable in the hand. The angle of the grip seems a bit off, but is easy to compenstate for. The safety is easy to operate with the right thumb. I have heard that the decock function of the safety is unsafe to use, due to the firing pin not always being blocked. As such, I have not decocked the handgun with the decock function of the safety with a round in the chamber. I have used it when the chamber was empty, with no ill effects.
The single-stack magazine holds 8 rounds. The magazine release is what is known as a "heel release." The magazine release is located behind the magazine floorplate when the magazine is inserted in the handgun. It is not in the location we are used to in the US, which is just below and behind the trigger guard. I don't see this as much of a problem, as long as you remember where it is.
The handgun is parkerized. I believe this is an original finish, and is not a rearsenaled finish. I've heard the rearsenaled finish is a dark blue/black color. I much prefer the parkerizing.
Disassembly is actually pretty simple. Remove the magazine. Pulling down on the two knobs in front of the trigger guard, one on each side, allows the slide to be removed. Remove the slide, which will contain the barrel, recoil spring, firing pin, sear, etc. The frame itself only contains the magazine and safety. I have yet to have removed anything from the slide, as cleaning was possible without removing anything. The CZ-52 uses a roller-block operating system, a modified version of that found in the German MG-42 GPMG of World War 2 fame (and still found in the modern German MG-3, same machine gun as the MG-42, slower rate of fire).
I've heard that the firing pin is cast, and is very weak. I've also heard that you're not to dry fire this weapon ever, unless you replace the firing pin with a forged firing pin. I have not yet replaced the firing pin, so I do not dry fire the CZ-52. I plan on one day replacing the firing pin, but not anytime in the near future.
It's possible to convert the CZ-52 to fire 9mm Luger ammunition. You switch out the barrel and extractor, and you've created a 9mm handgun. I might try this someday, but once again, not anytime in the near future.
I hope this helps anyone with their own CZ-52 or anyone considering purchasing a CZ-52. They're a bargain, a Czech diamond in the rough.

Saturday, June 2, 2007

Project: SKS

When originally purchasing my first SKS, a Yugo M59 (no grenade launcher), I thought I would just leave it as is. But, like most intrepid firearms enthusiasts, I couldn't leave well enough alone. I have ensured to have fewer than the maximum number of imported parts, as required by 922(r). Over the last 8 months or so, I have converted the M59 from an antiquated rifle into a modernized SHTF (sh*t hits the fan) rifle. I will list the modifications I have made to this fine piece of former Yugoslavian goodness.

The first modification I made was to dump the "too-short for anyone but a Communist Chinese" stock. I honestly don't know how anyone could shoot this rifle comfortably with the originally stock. But I digress... The stock is an ATI Ultralight stock. This stock is claimed to fit all the SKS variants...well, that's true, if you count dremel modifications. The rifle did not want to sit far enough back to be solidly locked into the front of the stock. Much dremel work later, I had that problem solved.

The stock also came with a replacement handguard for the gas tube. Ok, so I just change it out. Wrong. The pin holding the handguard on would not budge. I pounded, and pounded, and pounded on the pin with a hammer and punch for over half an hour. It would not budge. So, I did what anyone would do in my situation...threw the hammer through the TV. Ok, I actually didn't do that, but I almost did. I think that pin was the designer's joke on us all. This problem required a simple a new gas tube and hanguard assembly from TAPCO. Replaced original gas tube with a TAPCO gas tube. Problem solved.

When I ordered the gas tube assembly from TAPCO, I decided to go ahead and purchase the 922(r) compliant US-made parts that TAPCO had to offer. Parts purchased were: operating rod, gas piston, gas tube assembly with handguard, and 20 round detachable magazine (separate line on this wonderful thing below). All parts fit great, with the exception of the gas tube assembly; this required filing on top of the gas port at the rear, and figuring out that I should sand down the base of the assembly to make it fit the ATI stock.

Another modification that I made was to switch out the blade bayonet with a spike bayonet. The blade bayonet wouldn't fit the ATI ultralight stock, so switcheroo, and now I have a monopod

TAPCO 20 round detachable magazine...all I can say...awesome. No misfeeds, all 20 rounds fit, and it looks way cool. I'm going to buy at least 2 more. Finally, an SKS magazine that works as advertised. Can't say enough good things about it.

Also, ordered a surplus Chinese SKS sling and slapped it on. It's a place holder until I get a tactical sling...thinking a Galco Battle Sling.

Took this fine weapon to the range...extremely accurate for an SKS. Should be...the bore was near pristine. No misfeeds or single shot operations, i.e. gas system worked with the new TAPCO gas tube assembly. Had two misfires...both due to bad primers on two rounds of 7.62X39mm Brown Bear. Avoid this ammo. Buy the Monarch brand, if you can find it. Same factory, way better quality control. I found plenty at Academy Sports.

Next, I plan on rebluing the receiver cover, as it finish is nearly totally worn off of it.

So, new tactical sling, 2 more magazines (maybe 4), and some rebluing, and I should have a pretty good SHTF rifle.

Please feel free to email me or leave comments...or both.

Phase I...The Beginning...

This blog is about everything firearms...especially the firearms that I own. Posts will include discussions on rifles, shotguns, and handguns. Ammuntion types and their uses will also be discussed. Feedback is more than welcome. Just remember, we're all friends here...keep it friendly.