Gun of the week number 6: Russian Nagant M1895 Revolver

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I admit, I have a fondness for Soviet guns.  I currently own 3 Ak’s, 2 Nagant Pistols, 6 Tokerov models and 5 Makarov caliber pistols and a few Mosin Nagant rifles. But the first Soviet weapon that I bought was The Nagant Revolver. It was the first guns I bought when I got my Curio and Relic Federal Firearms License. This license enables me to buy any gun over 50 years old or guns deemed of a historical nature by the ATF. When I bought these guns, the first one was $99 and the second one was $120. I think they are a little more expensive, but they still can be purchased cheaply, although the prices seem to be rising lately due to short supply.

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This gun is over 50 years old and it is historic. I actually have two of them now in the family. One is fine and I bought one for my son a few years ago for Christmas. I just love the look of this gun. The fact that is was designed in 1895 makes it more an interesting artifact.  This gun was designed so soldiers in the field could fix most problems with a hammer and a screwdriver/chisel. One of mine is dated 1940 and the other one is dated 1938.  Loading the gun is interesting, you pull a level down and then you have access to the cylinder so you can load 7 bullets. Then you push the level back up and you are ready to go.  Once the gun is fired, you must again pull the leverl down and this is a rod in front of the gun that you push in to eject each spent casing. It is not a very fast gun to reload.

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The M1895 started to be replaced by the Tokarev semi-automatic pistol in 1933, but was still produced and used in great numbers during World War II. Despite being supplemented after 1930 by the Tokarev, it was never fully replaced until the arrival of the Makarov pistol in 1952, Even after that these guns were still sometimes still given to loyal Communist Party members as reward for their loyalty.

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Firing the Gun

This is the most inaccurate gun that I have ever fired. If you want to hit the side of a barn at 20 feet, you might get better luck throwing the gun at the barn instead of shooting it. In the War this pistol worked best when you were firing it within a few feat of your target. It works in bought single and double action. The single action is normal. This gun requires a great deal of force in Double Action mode.

The ammo was hard to fine until about a year ago. Last time, I bought some ammo it was 14 surplus soviet cartridge for about $7.  One advantage of the round, if proper brass can be found, is that it leaves the chambers totally clean, and there is no need to scrape lead and powder residue out.

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7.62x38mmR (7.62 mm Nagant) cartridge, left, shown next to a .32 S&W Long Cartridge and a .22 LR cartridge for comparison.

The projectile is seated below the mouth of the cartridge, with the cartridge crimp sitting just above the bullet. When fired in the Nagant revolver, the crimp expands into the forcing cone, completing the gas-seal and ostensibly increasing muzzle velocity by approximately 23 m/s (75 ft/s).

The 7.62 mm calibre was chosen, in part, to simplify the tooling used in barrel making and manufacture of projectiles—the Russian service rifle of the time—the Mosin Nagant M91 featured an identical bore diameter, being chambered for the 7.62×54R rifle cartridge.

Description from Wikipedia

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The Nagant M1895 Revolver is a seven-shot, gas-seal revolver designed and produced by Belgian industrialist Léon Nagant for the Russian Empire. The Nagant M1895 was chambered for a proprietary cartridge, 7.62x38R, and featured an unusual “gas-seal” system, in which the cylinder moved forward when the gun was cocked, to close the gap between the cylinder and the barrel, providing a boost to the muzzle velocity of the fired projectile and allowing the weapon to be suppressed (an unusual ability for a revolver)

Technical characteristics

The on-gas seal revolvers have a small gap (known as a flash gap) between the cylinder and the barrel; the small gap between the cylinder and barrel is necessary to allow the revolver’s cylinder to revolve, presenting a new, loaded chamber for firing. This necessitates that the bullet jump the gap when fired, which may have an adverse effect on accuracy, especially if the barrel and chamber are misaligned, and also presents a path for the escape of high-pressure and high-temperature gases from behind the bullet. Expensive revolvers such as Korth and Manurhin are hand-fitted, keeping the gap to a minimum. Mass-produced revolvers such as Smith and Wesson may have a gap as large as .25 mm. The M1895 has a mechanism which, as the hammer is cocked, first turns the cylinder and then moves it forward, closing the gap between the cylinder and the barrel. The cartridge, also unique, plays an important part in sealing the gun to the escape of propellant gases. The bullet is deeply seated, entirely within the cartridge case, and the case is slightly reduced in diameter at its mouth. The barrel features a short conical section at its rear; this accepts the mouth of the cartridge, completing the gas seal. By sealing the gap, the velocity of the bullet is increased by 50 to 150 ft/s (15 to 45 m/s). This feature also eliminates the possibility of injury through the dangerous expansion of gases from the cylinder behind the barrel, which are easily capable of severing a finger if the user holds the gun incorrectly (with a finger positioned in front of the cylinder during fire) – a noted safety-issue in conventional revolvers.[5]

History and usage

The M1895 revolver was used extensively by the Russian Imperial Army and later by the Soviet Union after the Russian Revolution. In Russian service, it was known for its extreme sturdiness and ability to withstand abuse. As one former Imperial Russian officer stated, “if anything went wrong with the M1895, you could fix it with a hammer”.[citation needed]

It was widely employed by the Bolshevik secret police, the Cheka, as well as its Soviet successor agencies, the OGPU and NKVD. In the police role, it was frequently seen with a cut-down barrel to aid in concealment by plainclothes agents. Despite the advent of the more modern Soviet TT pistol, the M1895 remained in production and use throughout World War II.

Gun of the Week #3: Rockola M1 Carbine with aftermarket folding stock

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My M1 carbine with aftermarket folding stock.

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M1 with non-folding stock. What my Rockola originally looked like.

This is not an original configuration. I want to say that right up front, before people correct me.  This is a an original WWII Rockola. Someone modified to use a aftermarket stock.  The gun is original. The stock is not. Rockola did not make a folding stock. The original M1-carbines had a sold stock. The M1A1 were the paratrooper models with the folder stock. And Yes this gun was originally made by the Rockola June Box company during World War II. Over 20 companies made the M1 carbine for the US Government including the Underwood Typewriter Company, National Postal Meters, and IBM.  After the war continuing until today, many other companies have offered M1carbines in both the original .30 carbine caliber and .22 LR.

History of the M1 Carbines

Between June 1942 and August 1945 ten primary U.S. contractors manufactured over 6 million U.S. .30 Caliber Model M1, M1A1, M2, and T3 Carbines. During World War II these carbines were issued to U.S. soldiers in every theater of war around the world. M1 Carbines were supplied to a number of Allies via the Lend/Lease Program during WWII. Carbines were smuggled into, or parachuted to, resistance groups in a number of different countries during the war.

After the end of WWII many of the carbines were returned to America, where they were inspected, refurbished, and/or rebuilt to the latest standards. Many of the carbines did not return to America. Instead, they were stockpiled in various countries in case they were needed.

With the onset of the Korean War in 1950, the .30 Caliber Carbines once again served American troops and America’s Allies. However, during this war the decision was made to offer the .30 Caliber Carbines as a main battle rifle, a role it was not designed for. It’s not surprising the carbines used in Korea received a reputation as totally inadequate. The wrong tool for the job at hand. City fighting at distances of less than 200 yards, the carbines were usually adequate, which would later make them popular with police departments around the world.

Of the over 6 million carbines built, over half were at some point provided or sold to other nations as military assistance (see below). Many of these nations sold part or all of their carbines to other countries around the world.

I know the stock is not original and I don’t mind.  I have a picture of dead father holding a M1 carbine with a folding stock taken in Korea during the War.  When I saw it in a local gun store, I had to have it. It gave me some connection to my dead father.

Gun of the Week #2: Finnish KP-31

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My KP-31

I have always wanted a Russian PPSH-41. But I never seem to have an excess amount of money when I have seen one become available.  My second choice was  the Finnish Suomi KP-31.  I bought mine a year ago (shown above) at a gun show.  I got 3 32 round 9mm mags and a 75 round drum with the purchase.  They are re-made in the US from Parts kits by TNW Firearms I have yet to try out the 75 round drum. I know this gun is semi-automatic, but when I fire an entire 32 round mag, pulling the trigger 32 times in quick succession, it feels full auto, even thought it is only a semi.  This gun be available between $395 to $485 plus shipping and FLL fees at the time that I write this. I highly recommend this gun. Here is the history of that gun:

The Suomi KP/-31 (Suomi-konepistooli or “Submachine-gun Finland”) was a submachine gun (SMG) of Finnish design that was in service during World War II. It was a descendant of the M-22 prototype and the KP/-26 production model, which was revealed to the public in 1925. The Suomi-konepistooli KP/-31 is often abbreviated to Suomi KP.

The Suomi KP/-31 is regarded by many[3] as one of the most successful submachine guns of World War II, also the soon developed 71-round drum magazine was later copied and adopted by the Soviets for their PPD-40 and PPSh-41 submachine guns.[4] The accuracy of the Suomi was superior to that of the mass-produced PPSh-41,[4] thanks in part to a noticeably longer barrel, with the same rate of fire and the equally large magazine capacity.[4] The major disadvantage of the Suomi KP/-31 was its high production costs.

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From the TNW Site

The Suomi KP/-31 also incorporated a few new design features, including an arrangement whereby the spring was mounted inside the bolt in order to make the gun shorter. Its 50-round quad-column “Casket” box magazine was more reliable than the early 40-round “bullets loaded nose down” drum magazine, and similar applications were used on the Argentinian C-4 submachine gun and present-day 60-round 5.45x39mm AK-74 compatible magazines.

The Suomi KP/-31 went into serial production in 1931 by Tikkakoski Oy and most of these weapons were bought by the Finnish Defence Forces. The Finnish Defence Forces were equipped with about 4000 Suomi KP/-31 submachine guns when the Winter War started. During the course of the war, the design was altered with the addition of a muzzle brake, which increased the submachine gun’s overall length by 55 mm. The revised version was designated KP/-31 SJR (suujarru, or “muzzle brake”). Aimo Lahti was displeased with this revision, believing that it decreased muzzle velocity and reduced the weapon’s reliability, and even sought in vain to have the muzzle brake’s designer court-martialed. Ultimately, roughly half of the KP/-31s in Finnish service were of the SJR version. Initially the KP/-31 was issued as a substitute for a light machine gun, and proved inadequate in this role. Instead, soldiers learned by trial and error how to use submachine guns to the best effect. By the time of the Continuation War, Finnish doctrine had been altered to include both a KP/-31 and a light machine gun (usually a captured Degtyaryov DP) in every infantry squad, and by 1943 this had been expanded to two KP/-31s per squad. KP/-31 production continued with the intention of adding a third submachine gun to each squad, but this plan was shelved in 1944 when the Continuation War ended.

A specialized bunker version was also produced in very small numbers (a total of 500 built) in 1941, which barrel shroudls end is thinner and flattened to allow firing through the narrow ports of defensive bunkers.[5] This version lacked a shoulder stock and was equipped with a pistol grip. An even rarer version “900 kp 31 psv” [6]was produced for use as a secondary gun in the firing ports of Vickers Alt B Type E 6-Ton tanks, but only a few dozen were built before production was canceled due to the outbreak of the Winter War. Production never resumed, as captured Degtyaryov DP machine guns proved far superior in this role. Like the bunker version, the tank version had a pistol grip and no buttstock, and it could be quickly removed from the tank and fitted with a standard barrel shroud for infantry use if needed. The tank version remained in the Finnish Army’s inventory through the 1980s, despite the tank it was designed for being retired in 1959, possibly because the Army forgot that they existed.

The Suomi KP was also manufactured under licence in Sweden, Denmark, and Switzerland, where it was known as the Hispano-Suiza MP43/44.

In 2009, a semi-automatic version of the Suomi KP was produced for civilian sale in the United States,[7] replacing the receiver and lengthening barrel to meet the standards of the National Firearms Act.