A Nurse with a Gun

Monday, August 04, 2008

Steampunk Guns and the Nagant Revolver

I was cruising the web looking at some of the fantasy steampunk ray guns while searching for ugly guns. The coolest, in my opinion was the Victorious Mongoose 1902a - concealable ray pistol. It is, of course, pure fantasy.
The Victorious Mongoose operates on the extremely sophisticated scientific principals pioneered in Dr. Grordbort's full size weapons; Aether Oscillation, Atomic Vibratulation, high pitch whining noises, all these techniques were used, and more.

But, despite its humble proportion, the pistol packs quite a whollop. Able to project a conical emission for up to seventeen yards, the Victorious Mongoose will obliterate four pounds of Budgerigars in three fascinating seconds.
While all steampunky and everything, it struck me that the real thing is frequently overlooked by the folks that enjoy these brass and steel creations. I have to admit that I was shocked by the price tag on this prop toy as well. US $535.

The Nagant 1895 revolver is one such gun. Designed by Léon Nagant, a Belgian industrialist, the Nagant M1895 is a military revolver that has a gas seal between the cylinder and forcing cone. The cylinder actually moves forward to seal off the cylinder gap prior to cartridge ignition. Because the ignition gases do not escape the cylinder gap, the Nagant is one of the few revolvers that is able to be effectively suppressed, giving an assassin a handgun that will not spew brass or make much noise. Suppressed Nagant revolvers were used by the Viet Cong, and a suppressed Nagant revolver resides in the CIA Museum in Langley, Virginia.

A couple of years ago, many of these historical weapons were imported and sold as surplus in the United States. Cursed with obscure, weak and expensive ammunition, as well as a heavy trigger pull, they were not popular sellers. Still, they sold readily in like new condition with the original holsters and lanyards for under $100. If you are interested in getting a Nagant revolver of your own, the revolver is still available with the holster and tools from Aim Surplus. They have 7.62 Nagant ammunition as well.

Surplus Nagant 1895 Parts

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Blogger Less said...

I've heard about some folks using .32 Colt in the regular cylinder...

In addition, I think they have a .32 ACP conversion cyclinder for the Nagant too...

A local place here (by Chicago) sells these things for ~$50.00 or so? (they guy is an importer and bought 'em by the TON!)


2:53 PM  
Blogger Less said...

Here's the actual link... Sorry, $79.00 for a full nagant set. I think $50.00 was for the bottom of the barrel ones without the accoutrements...

2:55 PM  
Anonymous TJH said...

Yes, but what is the Nagant's power factor, in pounds-budgerigar per second?

3:22 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Less is correct. J&G had a .32ACP conversion for sale for a while for the Nagant. It cost about as much as the pistol but ammo is probably a lot cheaper.

6:04 PM  
Blogger Glenn Bartley said...

The ray guns I had when I was a ute in Brooklyn and Queens were better than that one any day - if only because they cost around .29 cents apiece, and each pull of the trigger brought a delightful whirring/ratcheting noise and a cascade of internal sparks that were highlighted by the different colored plastics from behind which you could see them safely without losing an eye (a big worry with BB guns back then, but not with ray guns). Dems was ray guns, and dems was the days.

As for the Nagant, I still don't know why I don't own one.

All the best,
Glenn B

10:14 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

People are buying surplus Russian Nagant revolvers.

These weapons were the basic means by which litterally millions of Russians (and others) were executed under Stalin. The usual method of execution was a bullet in the back of the head.

Clearly a case of "you don't know where that gun has been"...

Read Robert Conquest...

10:26 PM  
Anonymous Seth from Massachusetts said...

The other interesting feature is the ammunition. They had the bullet completely recessed inside the case. When the cylindar moved forward the case mouth entered the barrel effecting a complete gas seal.

Quite a bit of work for a cartridge which is no different power-wise from a .32 S&W Long!

10:43 PM  
Anonymous Joseph said...

I got a 1938 Nagant revolver a couple of years ago. I don't have any real interest in shooting it, but it's in excellent shape and it is kind of an oddball. Terrible trigger, but an interesting pistol. Oh, and by the way, to reload it, you have to eject each cartridge by hand...not something I would care to worry about when defending myself against invading Nazi armies.

5:23 AM  
Blogger Dr. StrangeGun said...

I took an eye to them years ago with regards to engineering... and realized that not only does the gas seal..er.. seal gas, but the action of moving the nose of the bullet into the cone eliminates any timing problems but the most severe.

You physically cannot lead up a Nagant revolver or shave a bullet.

7:13 AM  
Anonymous Ross said...

Xavier, you forgot to mention one thing: the Nagant revolver is hands-down the UGLIEST production gun ever spawned. With a trigger that only Martha Coakley (Massachusetts Attorney General) could love.

I've shot one. Once. That was enough. No desire to own or shoot one ever again.

I'll stick with my Model 19, thanks.

9:09 PM  
Blogger Gandalin said...

Although Nagant revolvers were undoubtedly used for the commission of many foul and evil deeds, they were also used by heroes. The Yiddish Partisaner Lied (Partisan's Song) which was written by Hirsh Glik of Vilna during the struggle against the real Nazis, describes itself as "written with blood, and not with lead (i.e. graphite), no song of birds flying in the sky, it was sung by a people amidst falling walls, who sang it with Naganas (i.e Nagant revolves) in their hands..." (Dos lid geshribn iz mit blut un nit mit blay-Es iz nit keyn lidl fun a foygl af der fray
Dos hot a folk tsvishn falendike vent-Dos lid gezungen mit naganes in di hent!) --

Of course most of the Nagant revolvers on the market today probably spent their entire lifetimes in cosmoline in an arsenal somewhere.

10:00 PM  
Blogger Rabid Weasel Lawson said...

Weak cartridge? Well, in comparison with modern thinking on the subject. Remember that the 7.62 nagant cartridge generated a smidgen more muzzle energy than a .38 Special (comparable to some low-end 9mm Luger loadings). And, also recall, that the British used a .38 S&W (essentially) in the Enfield No. 2 Mark I (* and **), the Nazis regularly issued .32 ACP and 9mm Kurtz (.380 ACP) to officers, and the .38 Special was considered a good Police Pistol until the 1970's or 1980's.

Weak is a perception. It still makes holes in bodies.

And for the trigger pull... well, yeah, most suck. But sometimes (allegedly) you can find some with a lighter and smoother trigger pull, and a good gunsmith can do nice things.

8:33 PM  

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