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  • 7,5mm Nagant

    The 7,5mm Nagant ammunition was used with the Swedish m/1887 revolver, a handsome, and for its time, modern double-action revolver. The revolver was adopted after an extended development period with the Swedish design commission working with Nagant to assure that all proposed suggestions and improvements met Swedish requirements. The revolver was originally manufactured by Nagant in Belgium (3,000+) and was intended for use by officers only. It was later manufactured in Sweden by Husqvarna (14,000+) for issue to all ranks. It was in regular service in both the army and the navy from 1887 until 1907 when it was replaced by the newly adopted m/1907 Browning automatic pistol. The m/1887 revolver, however, remained in limited service by reserve forces (Landstormen and others) until after WW2. It then continued in use by para-military security organizations (Verkskyddet) through the early Cold War period.

    When the revolver was adopted in1887 it was initially regarded by military personnel, who were accustomed to the heavier 11mm caliber, as using a weak cartridge. The transition from the large, heavy revolvers with 11mm 13,2 gram bullets and with velocities of 120-160 meters per second to a much smaller revolver with a 7,5 mm 6,7 gram bullet performing at 220 meters per second was significant. The advantages, as listed below, of the new, smaller and handier revolver with its 7,5mm cartridge were considerable and were soon appreciated by the users.
    - The effective range was extended from a maximum of about 110 meters with the older 11mm cartridge out to 170 meters with the new 7,5mm.

    - The 7,5mm featured a much better trajectory within the intended range of 30-50 meters.

    - Target penetration of the higher velocity 7,5mm was impressive, particularly in wood.

    - The comparative recoil was much milder being not much more than that of a modern .22LR revolver.

    - The 7,5mm provided much better overall accuracy.

    The revolver was not only proving to be accurate, it was also proving to be much easier to clean. The m/1887 was not suffering as much as the earlier revolvers from firing residue in the mechanism and lead fouling in the bore, which degraded both reliability and accuracy. The 1st Cavalry Regiment (K.1 livgardet till häst) reported in the earlier trials of 1884 that they had fired up to 75 rounds without cleaning the revolver and still received good accuracy and functionality.

    The original ammunition used in the 1884 trials was made by Switzerland but with the adoption of the new revolver in 1887 production was begun in Sweden at the Marieberg factory. The 7,5mm ammunition evolved through three major variations during its service life:

    - The first type was the m/1887 cartridge which used a paper-patched lead projectile and was loaded with black powder. The paper-patch was used to lessen the lead fouling in the barrel.

    - The second variation was the m/1898 cartridge with smokeless powder and a cupro-nickel jacketed projectile that was used for only a short period. A problem with shelf life developed with this cartridge and it was discontinued. The paper-patched m/1887 resumed as standard issue.

    - The third variation of the 7,5mm cartridge that evolved once again used modern smokeless powder but with a newly designed lead projectile with gas check grooves filled with wax to reduce the lead fouling.

    As the revolver continued in limited military use during WW2, as late as in 1941 there was a contract with Suhl in Germany for an additional 1,000,000 rounds valued at 120,000 SEK.

    There were two types of standard 7,5mm blank ammunition:

    - The regular blank that was fitted with purple dyed wooden projectile. (Care had to be given in training as no short-range blank firing safety devices were available).

    - The special star-crimped blank that was intended for specialized dog training.

    There is also a blank cartridge that thus far remains unidentified. It can be found loaded in unaltered cases without a projectile but rather a seal of what appears to be a hard black or white varnish type material. The background and history of these blanks remain to be learned.


    Kongl. Krigsvetenskaps-akademiens tidskrift femtiondesjette årgången, N:o 11, 12 juni 1888

    7,5 m/m Revolver m/87, Arme'museum 1987

    The Revolver M/1887 by Arne Thell, published in Vapen tidningen 1996.