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Rifleman Q&A: Identifying Russian Revolver Ammo

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Q: Can you help identify a small box of what I believe is Russian-made ammunition?

A: The text on your box reads “Revolver Cartridges, caliber 7.62 mm, 14 pieces.” The box should have the last two digits of the year it was manufactured and a code number identifying the factory that made these cartridges. Despite the out-of-focus photo supplied, it looks like maybe one number on the box is 18, which would indicate 1918 manufacture.

These cartridges (7.62×38 mm R) are for the Model 1895 Nagant revolver. It is a seven-shot revolver, so the box holds a multiple of seven rounds. The cartridge has an unusual design, with the bullet loaded down inside of the case. When you pull the trigger on this revolver, the cylinder moves forward a bit and the mouth of the cartridge moves into the chamber, thereby eliminating the gap and preventing the slight blowby gas of the charge from escaping at the gap, as it does on a normal revolver when the bullet passes into the barrel.


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