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How-to: Reloading factory ammo for the Nagant Revolver

Discussion in 'Handloading and Reloading' started by Twmaster, Jun 21, 2013.

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  1. Twmaster

    Twmaster Member

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    I've seen some discussion both here and on other forums about reloading factory like ammo for the Russian M1895 Nagant revolver in 7.62x38R cartridge. Lots of info for reloading with Lee dies and 32-20 brass is out there. This time I thought I'd try this with S&B brass and my Lee dies.

    What you need:

    • Lee Nagant die set
    • OEM type brass
    • Lee #21 shell holder (or other brand equivalent)
    • Used .22LR case
    • .223 resizing die body
    • Bullet, primer and powder of choice

    The #21 shell holder fits the OEM type brass. The #6 shell holder that comes with the Lee dies will not work.

    NL1.jpg

    Ok, let's get started. Resize your brass. Be sure to use case lube. Set the resize die normally. Prime your brass. Chamfer the inside of the case mouth. especially if using lead bullets.

    NL2.jpg

    Next, place the case in the press and run the ram all the way up with no die installed.

    NL3.jpg

    Screw your expander/powder die in until it touches the case. Then turn it in a little at a time until you get the expansion you need for a bullet to just fit the case mouth and seat.

    NL4.jpg

    Charge your case with the powder load of your choice. I went with 98 grain Magtech cast lead round nose bullets and 3.6 grains of W231.

    Remove the expander die and replace with the crimp & seating die. You'll need to do the same thing as before and place the case on the ram and run it all the way up with no die in the press.

    Screw the seater die in until it touches the case. Then screw in 1/2 a turn to 1 turn more. Unscrew and remove the seater adjustment at the top on the die. Set a used .22LR case on top of the seater stem. Screw the adjuster cap back on and turn it to the bottom.

    The reason for the 22 case on top of the stem is to allow the stock seating stem to push the bullet all the way into the case so it is down below the opening of the mouth of the case. It was just pure luck that the .22LR was the perfect length.

    NL6.jpg

    I also cheated and made a seating stem that did not require the 22 case.

    NL8.jpg

    Carefully now place the bullet into the mouth of the case and seat the pill. If all went well it should look something like this:

    NL5.jpg

    Next, swap out the seater die and replace with a .223 resizer die with the decapper/expander pin removed. Install the die just like you would to size a .223 case.

    Run the round into the .223 die. It will just barely roll over the mouth of the case. You do not need to reduce the diameter by much. Nor does the reduced length need to be long. (only about .020" to .030")

    Should now look like this:

    NL7.jpg

    That's it! I did a batch of 10 of these. All fit my revolver and allow the cylinder to come forward to close the seal.
     
  2. funklord12

    funklord12 Member

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    That is really cool. I might have to pick up a Nagant revolver now. The one thing stopping me was the ability to get a gas seal using reloaded cartridges.
     
    Last edited: Jun 21, 2013
  3. Jesse Heywood

    Jesse Heywood Member

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    Interesting post. I don't have the gun, but you have my attention. Do you have to trim the cases?
     
  4. Twmaster

    Twmaster Member

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    No trimming. Although you could just for completeness sake.

    However with all the working of the case mouth open/close I can see the brass cracking at the mouth before too many reloads. The good thing is once it cracks you can trim it waaaaay back and make 'conventional' looking ammo.

    The point of the brass sticking out like that is the gas seal feature of this gun.

    I first started loading ammo for this gun based on the .32-20 case. The .32-20 derived cases do not gas seal.
     
  5. stubbicatt

    stubbicatt Member

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    Very ingenious.

    Or you could buy the C&H Tool and Die die set...
     
  6. BHP FAN

    BHP FAN Member

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    if you anneal the case mouths before reloading you extend the case life indefinately.....
     
  7. Twmaster

    Twmaster Member

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    Indefinitely? No.

    But yes, annealing would extend the life of the case mouth.
     
    Last edited: Aug 9, 2013
  8. Tolkachi Robotnik

    Tolkachi Robotnik Member

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    Thanks for posting this.

    I tried some with PPU true 7.62X38R brass. I could not get the first one in the cylinder after I seated the bullet, as the brass is thick and my .311 bullets are too fat. I do not have .223 dies, which I wonder if I really need, there would be no other use for me. I also do not have correct shellholder, which I believe you pointed out to me earlier, I used one for 9X19 and that might be part of problem. I tried one as a shotshell, it fits in cylinder, will have to fire that to see what happens.

    So far the only reloads that have worked for me are with 32-20 brass and those are too thick on the rims to clear the pawl claw or whatever is on the back of the cylinder, for only one or two holes. I will not stone it down, but I can shoot as many reloads as I want on five cylinder holes.

    I guess I could order the shellholder from Midway. That might help the effort and would not cost as much as .223 dies, which might be hard to get now anyway.
     
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