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Why not more gas sealed revolvers?

Discussion in 'Handguns: Revolvers' started by Jessesky, Nov 27, 2018.

  1. Jessesky

    Jessesky Member

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    Another post I made got me thinking. It was about handloads, achieving a desired velocity, and gas bleed-off in revolvers.

    Why are there not more gas-sealed revolvers like the Nagant Revolver? It should perform better in theory, less dirty, and no cylinder blast. We could even suppress the big heavies. Think of a gas sealed 44magnum
     
  2. ewlyon

    ewlyon Member

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    It adds a lot of complexity for very little payoff, especially if you don't plan to own/use suppressors.
     
  3. ATLDave

    ATLDave Member

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    A few reasons come readily to mind:

    1) A double-action revolver already has the longest and heaviest trigger among commonly-used firearms. A big part of that is that it not only has to move the hammer against the mainspring's resistance, it also has to rotate a big piece of metal into position and move the locking mechanisms* around. Adding a big fore-and-aft movement puts even more of a load on the trigger. Nagant DA pulls are often in excess of 20 pounds!
    2) Revolvers are already quite a bit more expensive to manufacture than modern semi-autos. Throwing in a bunch more lockwork is going to further raise the cost, not to mention adding size, weight, and potential reliability problems.
    3) Revolvers are a more natural home to big-bore magnum cartridges than semi-autos for a couple of reasons. One of them is that the bolt-thrust recoil of the rounds is applied directly to the frame in a revolver, whereas it gets applied to a movable object (the slide) in a semi-auto. The semi has locking mechanisms to hold that in place, but they have limits that can only be increased by getting much bigger in size. A Nagant-type revolver takes away this natural strength. Since the cylinder and breach face move fore and aft, you are pitting the recoil forces directly against a locking mechanism. Notice that Nagant's fire an anemic little cartridge.
    4) Suppression in handguns is most useful with subsonic projectiles. Magnum revolvers are special because they can throw heavy projectiles at supersonic speeds. If you are just looking to suppress a handgun that will throw heavy subsonic projectiles, semi-autos will do that very well. So even the "upside" of this concept - the ability to suppress - gets eroded.

    * Note that the locking mechanisms in conventional revolvers are only locking the rotation of the cylinder, and are not having to fight against recoil. See #3.
     
    Last edited: Nov 27, 2018
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  4. entropy

    entropy Member

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  5. Mizar

    Mizar Member

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    ATLDave sums it up perfectly. Just to add to Nr. 3 - back in the "Dark ages", i.e. the (bloody stupid) communist ruling in my country, it was somewhat popular (although quite illegal) to ream a Nagant cylinder for the 7.62x25 cartridge. As TT 33 and PPSh SMGs were officially issued at one time in the Army and in the Police forces, the 7.62 Tokarev cartridge was quite widespread in those circles. Surprisingly, the cylinders did withstand the abuse despite the greatly increased pressure combined with thinned walls, but the lifespan of such conversion was not that great - depending on the condition of the revolver, it took about 50 to 100 rounds to literally beat itself to death. The breech block design just couldn't hold up to the increased pressure (force, actually) generated by the more powerful cartridge. Now, imagine what the breech block size must be in order to shoot a .44 Magnum safely - just not possible because we will fall outside of the "handgun" definition by any practical means.
     
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  6. sparkyv

    sparkyv Member

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    Excellent write-up, ATLDave.
     
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  7. GBExpat

    GBExpat Member

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    The things that immediately come to mind:
    A solution for a non-existent problem ...
    If it ain't broke ...
    Cost vs Benefit ...
    Mmmmmm ... french fries, need some french fries ...

    Later ... :)
     
    Last edited: Nov 27, 2018
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  8. Jessesky

    Jessesky Member

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    All good points, I do not own a Nagant personally, but the write ups seem to shed light on the designs faults.
     
  9. Mizar

    Mizar Member

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    I would refrain to call it a "design fault", but rather "a design drawback" - Leon and Emile Nagant were quite talented Belgian firearms designers and their arms represent, more or less, the European small arms doctrine at those times. If you are interested bellow is a short biography of the two brothers:
    https://www.forgottenweapons.com/biography-leon-and-emile-nagant/
     
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  10. GBExpat

    GBExpat Member

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    I eschewed the opportunity to buy one back in ~2001 (~$100/ea) ... it just looked too "steam punk" for me at the time. In addition, the milsurp ammo was crazy-expensive for both the time and for what it was (we were buying 7,62x39 for, like, ~5¢/ea and new-mfr starting at ~10¢/ea while chlorate-primered ["corrosive"] milsurp 7,62x38r was commanding well over 30¢/ea).

    Several years later I realized that I should ,at least, get ONE and, after about a year came across one, LN, for ~$125. Shortly thereafter I stumbled across a deal for new-mfr ammo for ~20¢/ea, so ...

    While the DA sucks and the power is minimal, these are actually neat little pistols ... :)
     
  11. Sistema1927

    Sistema1927 Member

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    The Nagant needs two men and a boy to pull the trigger.
     
  12. Englishmn
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    Englishmn Member

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    The surplus ammo was loaded much hotter than current manufacturer ammo. Ppu is around 650fps the surplus runs around 1100fps.
    we
     
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  13. BobWright

    BobWright Member

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    That amounts to less than one range session.

    Bob Wright
     
  14. Englishmn
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    Englishmn Member

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    Those 7.62x25 conversion cylinders scare me.
     
  15. Jessesky

    Jessesky Member

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  16. Jim Watson

    Jim Watson Member

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    A well made revolver can have a cylinder gap as small as .002".
    Magnum revolver ammo and barrel length make up for that.
    Want a silencer, pick a different action.

    I don't think anybody but the Soviets and Red Chinese liked the gas seal Nagant.
    There were several conventional Nagants that did pretty well in Western Europe.
     
  17. Carl N. Brown

    Carl N. Brown Member

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    I remembered an X-files episode where the Cigarette Smoking Man had a silenced revolver. I thought, yeah, sure. But did a little reading. It was an actual gun. The studio gun was a silenced carbine built on a Ruger Redhawk as a mockup of the Knight's Armament Revolver Rifle. Episode was "Musings of a Cigarette-Smoking Man" (Season 4 Episode 7.)
    http://www.imfdb.org/wiki/Knight's_Armament_Revolver_Rifle
     
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  18. ATLDave

    ATLDave Member

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    That's hilarious. They basically built an openable case around a revolver and left the grip and trigger sticking out. What a long way to go to get 2 less shots of .45 ACP than a standard 1911 with a can threaded on the front!*

    * Don't get me wrong, I own a 625 (though not a suppressed one!) and I love it... but if I were trying to throw 45-caliber lead chunks at subsonic speeds and do so quietly, I cannot really think of a single reason to insist upon it as the launcher.
     
  19. Jim Watson

    Jim Watson Member

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    No ejected empties to leave a clue as to your nefarious activities.
     
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  20. 460Shooter

    460Shooter Member

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    LOL!

    "Hans, should we go with this or the MP5?"
    "Definitely the revolver. "
    "You sure Hans? It's kind of.........."
    "SILENCE!"
     
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  21. Jessesky

    Jessesky Member

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    Well there is a reason no one else made them. The idea was the was no “pop” from the action.
     
  22. ATLDave

    ATLDave Member

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    The "Hush Puppie" was a modified 1911 used by some US forces in Vietnam. It had a latch on the slide that kept the action from operating, eliminating that noise. Basically became a straight-pull action.
     
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  23. Speedo66

    Speedo66 Member

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    I had a new S&W revolver that would lock up when it got hot, less than 50 rounds. Probably costs quite a bit more to make a revolver to close specs but still not bind.
     
  24. Englishmn
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    Englishmn Member

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    they claimed 90db from that crazy looking revolver. With quick repeat shots no brass to police sounds like something that could see some professional use.
     
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  25. Varminterror

    Varminterror Member

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    A trued cylinder face can run a B/C gap under 1 thou. Pick a round, barrel length, and powder burn rate to get the work done in the bore, then throw a low back pressure can out front like an OSS and you might have something.

    I had a Nagant for a time, specifically with this in mind, since I’m a revolver nut. So many moving parts to fail, so much precision fitting, and so much compromise on cartridge performance for the frame size and weight. It wasn’t all it was cracked up to be. And naturally, replicating such in the modern era would be a very expensive proposition, for a very limited market. As much as I would enjoy an efficiently suppressed revolver for hunting as a revolver guy, as a product developer, I’d cast my vote against my company pursuing one on any steering committee, every time.
     
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