"With Lenin in the head
and with a revolver in hand."
("Good" V. Mayakovsky)
Weapons and firms. This material was promised for a long time, but somehow the hands did not reach it. And not because there was little information. Just the most acute question arose not of searching for it, but of selection. Because well, this weapon and this company turned out to be very popular, and in all respects. However, it is better to read late than never read. In any case, the beginning will be traditional: but it was so that two brothers - Emile (1830-1902) and Leon (1833-1900) Nagant, in 1859 founded a company in the Belgian city of Liege: Fabrique d'Armes Emile et Léon Nagant, Quai de l'Ourthe ("Emil and Leon Naganov's Armory Factory, Urta Embankment").
A meeting with the Remington brothers in 1867 allowed them to obtain a license to manufacture 5,000 Remington rifles intended for the Vatican's papal guard. Improving the locking system, they created the rifles known as the Remington-Nagant, the bolt of which opened and closed a little differently than in the classic Remington.
The brothers then contributed to the development of the Dutch Mle 1873 revolver, which was produced by Hembrug's Arsenal and the Beaumont firm in Maastricht. Then, in 1876, a rifle of 11 mm caliber of the Eustachios Mylonas system was produced for Greece, and in 1877 a double-barreled pistol of 9.4 mm was created (a cartridge produced by the Belgian company Bachmann, known as 9, 4 Nagant or 9, 4 Belgian) with a Remington bolt … The Belgian gendarmerie used them until 1901, and it turned out to be the first Belgian regulatory weapon chambered for metal.
Finally, it came to revolvers. In 1878, Nagans created a revolver model, available in both single and double action versions, which spawned a whole stream of revolvers adopted by various European countries:
in Belgium - revolver models of 1878, 1883 and 1878/86. caliber 9.4 mm;
in Norway - model 1883, double-acting;
in Sweden - model 1887, caliber 7.5 mm;
model 1893 caliber 7, 5 mm went into service with the armies of Norway, Serbia and Sweden;
caliber.44 (11 mm) - in Brazil and Argentina.
And, finally, the model of 1895 ("without gas loss", as its creators called it) caliber 7, 62 was put into service in Russia.
In 1887, the Nagans worked on a 7, 65 and 8 mm rifle, which turned out to be too complex.
This was followed by the famous rivalry with Captain Mosin in Russia, the result of which was the "nameless" rifle of 1891, adopted by the Russian imperial army instead of the Berdan rifle.
In 1896, the brothers divided their enterprise. Emile Nagant, suffering from blindness, left the company, and Leon immediately created "Fabrique d'Armes Leon Nagant" and, together with his two sons Charles (1863) and Maurice (1866), went on a car tour in 1899. After Leon's death in 1900, the company was renamed Fabrique d'Armes et d'Automobiles Nagant Fres.
Well, what was the "revolver" of 1878 and what is its popularity? This is a self-cocking revolver, intended for the Belgian army and produced by the Naganov firm in Liege, and then there, but already at the state enterprise "Arms Manufactory" on the rue Saint-Leonard.
All the main parts of the revolver were made of Bessemer steel. English cast steel was used for all springs, screws, rods, hammer, trigger and safety pivots. German hardened steel was also used. The degree of interchangeability of parts is high.The barrel is octahedral, except for its rear. The drum of the 1878 model has six chambers. Charges through the right side door ("Abadi's Door"), which folds vertically along the trigger guard.
Russian revolver model 1895 had the official name "Revolver three-line (7, 62 mm) model 1895" and was produced by the Tula Arms Plant since 1900. It differed from all others by the presence of a drum for seven rounds, which was pushed onto the barrel, which excluded the breakthrough of gases in the area of contact between the barrel and the drum. There were single and double action revolvers (officer model).
Nagant delivered 20,000 revolvers to Russia before production began in Tula in 1899, many of which survived until the end of World War II.
The story with the adoption of this revolver into service is even more confusing than the story with the rifle. There was a competition, all the conditions of which seemed to be specially tailored to the performance characteristics of the Naganov revolver. And it would be strange if he did not win in these conditions!
By 1895, the Russian military began to express dissatisfaction with the Smith and Wesson revolvers. Yes, they hunted bison and bears with them, they withstood 10,000 shots without problems and reloaded quickly, but … they were too "heavy to wear." The belt with the holster slid to its side, and for some reason they did not think of the shoulder belts. As a result, it was decided that the revolver is rarely used, and therefore it makes no sense to carry 1.5 kg of alloy steel on its side. That we need a lighter and more convenient revolver, capable of solving the case with seven shots, against six from the enemy!
It was then that the "revolver" just came in handy. In addition, he was psychologically not so … "frightening", since he did not give a powerful flash of flame behind the drum, right behind the trigger guard. The blunt-nosed bullet had a good stopping effect, and the fact that the revolver was charged for a long time and with difficulty, now for some reason no one bothered. Although, in essence, this turned the new revolver into a disposable weapon. But … it turned out that everything came together on this revolver: weight, price, ease of maintenance, accuracy and destructive power, and on top of that, the accumulated experience of using such a weapon, which, in fact, turned from a combat weapon into a status one.
The production of the "Russian" revolver, which dates back to 1898, began in Belgium at the Leon Nagant Armory. Civil production of the new revolver began even before the registration of the Russian order.
The Russian contract weapon produced in Liege was double acting, but the manual supplied with each revolver explained which parts needed to be replaced in order to convert a double action to a single action! In the same 1898, the revolver was patented.
The revolver was successfully sold in the civilian market. But in 1910 it was improved. Now the revolver received a drum that swings out to the right, also for seven rounds. The Russian imperial army did not acquire this improved model.
The most amazing thing is that then the company began to produce cars. And not our own, but under the license of the French company Roche-Schneider. Nagant cars were produced from 1900 to 1928. Then in 1931 the company was bought by the Imperia firm. This was the end of the history of the company that created the revolver, but the history of the revolvers themselves was by no means over …