1895 Nagant Revolver Trigger Work

Over a century old and a marvel of “Old World” design and manufacture, the 1895 Nagant suffers heavy triggers. Here’s how to work on these classic revolves and improve their triggers.

by Brian R Smith

“Is there any way you can reduce the trigger pull on this thing?” asked the customer, holding an 1895 Nagant revolver. “I can barely squeeze it in single action, almost cannot in double action, and I can’t hit anything with any action because my hand is shaking so much from the strain.”

“There’s a lot going on inside a ’95 Nagant,” I replied. “It’s not so much a revolver as a handheld machine that locates cartridges rotationally and translationally. Not only does the trigger rotate the cylinder and cock the hammer, but it also moves the cylinder forward to insert the rear end of the forcing cone into the chamber opening in the cylinder. All that takes some force.”

The 1895 Nagant revolver is 126 years old and pure “Old World”. It was advanced for its time in that it featured a unique gas seal to reduce gas leakage at the forcing cone and cylinder. On the other hand, it has a reputation for a horribly heavy trigger pull. Designed by the Belgian Nagant brothers, Emile and Leon, it has its roots in earlier Nagant cartridge revolvers, notably the 1887 Swedish 7.5mm revolver.

The Nagant firm was heavily involved with the development of the 1891 Mosin-Nagant rifle, and the Russian Czar’s government wanted to replace the aging S&W No. 3 revolver in 44 Russian with a more up-to-date handgun. Knowing the Nagants, they tailored the request for quotation on existing Nagant revolvers, with one major exception: They wanted the revolver to have a tight seal between the forcing cone and the chamber openings to reduce or eliminate gas leakage and improve bullet velocity. The Nagant brothers delivered, designing the prototype in 1892 and delivering the first of approximately 20,000 Belgian-made Model 1895 revolvers in that year or early 1896; sources are conflicting. It was chambered in a .30 caliber rimmed cartridge with a recessed bullet and a crimped case mouth that reminds one of a short, wide-mouth funnel.

In operation, as the 1895 Nagant is cocked the cylinder is …

Read more in the August 2021 issue.

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