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Issue 3/2000 18.09.2000:
Silenced 7.62 mm Nagant Revolver
Text: David Harber
Photo: Reprinted with permission from " The Ultimate Spy Book", by Keith Melton, Copyright 1996, Dorling Kinderling Limited, London.
I've been acquainted with Keith Melton for several years. As you may know, Keith has one of best collections of espionage equipment outside of the CIA. In his book, "The Ultimate Spy Book", he featured this photo of a partially disassembled silenced Nagant. He was kind enough to give me permission to reprint it on the site. He was unable to provide much background on the weapon, other than that he had obtained it from a former British Intelligence officer about 20 years ago. It had formerly been in a display of "Opposition" weapons. It is now on display at the CIA museum in Langley, Virginia. On close examination of the photo, I've come up with some conclusions I'd like to share.
The Nagant seems to have a normal length barrel, although it has been turned down to remove the front sight and to provide a shoulder for the rear tube support to mount. This, of course, has necessitated the removal of the ejector assembly. I cannot tell from the photo if there is any substitute means to keep the cylinder arbor from falling out.
The tube is approximately 5.5" long and 1.25" in diameter. It appears to be made of thin wall tubing, about .050" thick, judging from the differences in diameter of the tube and the rear support. The two crimps in the tube further support this theory. They would not be possible in a thick walled tube. The crimps, incidentally, appear to be for the front tube support. The support is probably ventilated with several holes.
The cut out section, on close examination, appears to show two baffles of a felt like material. It is not very clear, so I can't be positive on this. They could absorb the gases from the ventilated front support. Though they cannot be seen, the forward end of the tube probably contains one or two thick rubber baffles, in keeping with Soviet design practices of this period.
Note that the arsenal markings appear to have been removed by defacing them with a punch. This would make sense on what is obviously an assassination weapon. Disguising the weapons origins is a standard practice. There also appears to be no front sight. It could be that this is a "one-off", a weapon made for one use and then discarded. The small size of the tube along with the lack of sights would indicate a weapon intended for concealment and rapid close range use. I would guess that it was made in a fairly well equipped workshop, judging from the roll crimp on the tube. If it were a "standard" Soviet weapon, there would likely be sights provided. Anybody else's guesses are welcome.
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