The Swedish Nagant revolver

7.5 mm Revolver m/1887


Improved gunpowder types that allowed higher velocities meant that towards the end of the 19th century, countries turned into smaller calibers. With undiminished or increased impact energy, advantages were gained in the form of better trajectory and greatly increased shooting range.

An arms commission 1884 was set to reduce for the first instance, the caliber reduction of rifles. The  12.17 mm Remington rifle m/1867 became 8x58mm, but the commission was also tasked with producing a new revolver with a modern caliber. The result was revolver m/1887 with the unusually small caliber 7.5 mm.

During the latter part of the 19th century, foreign armies equipped their officers with revolvers even in peacetime, something that the Swedish army also wanted to do. Swedish officers were obliged to pay for their personal weapon, the saber. The obligation would be extended to a revolver as well. The army had two turret types: m/63-79 and m/71, both large bore caliber weapons of fairly primitive construction. These were offered to the officers buying, but the interest in the old age weapons were poor. There was a need for a lighter and more modern revolver.

Revolver m/63-79. 1863 a French 11 mm Lefaucheux revolver with pin fire cartridges was accepted. 1879 it was modified to central ignition cartridges.

Weight 1.05 kg
velocity about 180 m/s

Revolver m/71. This revolver was produced by Francotte in Belgium. It used the same ammunition like m/63-79 but was even more heavy (1.17kg) and stronger with its closed frame.

Both revolvers were single action revolver. The hammer must be pulled with the thumb for each shot. The low velocity at muzzle gave a strongly curved trajectory.


The commission 1884 tried several revolvers, including the Swiss 7.5 mm revolver m/82 and the Norwegian 9 mm Nagant revolver m/83. The Commission concluded that the best would be a combination of the Norwegian weapon's simple design and the high caliber of the Swiss caliber, impact and precision. Company Em & L Nagant was therefore commissioned to construct such a revolver.

Swiss m/1882 revolver 7.5 mm

Picture by Lithgow

Picture by Lithgow

Leon Nagant who invented the Nagant revolver

Most well known is the Russian M1895 revolver with moving drum towards the barrel when the shot is fired and the gases.


Revolver m/1887

 Revolver m/1887:

The revolver was constructed by the company Nagant in Liege, Belgium. The weight was low: 0.8 kg and the output speed, 240 m/s, which gave a flat trajectory and high penetration ability. The weapon was easy to disassemble and the mechanism was double action and could also be cocked and fired single action like the older revolvers.

 Since their proposal was changed to a few points (the grip was extended by one centimeter and the sights were changed slightly), the weapon was adopted as a Swedish officer revolver m/87.

However, there remaining weakness of the revolver was that the drum could be turned when the hammer remained down. Already in 1888, Lieutenant T F Törnell patented a device that blocked the drum even in this position. But few weapons were equipped with Törnell's invention. From Nagant, 2.600 weapons were delivered to the Swedish army.


Revolver m/87 was initially intended only for officers and non-commissioned officers. Officers had to buy their weapons for a sum of 38 Swedish Krona from the Crown or through MEA (Military Equipment Ltd.). Non-commissioned officers used their service weapons at no cost.


In 1898, even m/87 was delivered to enlisted men also, which meant that large amounts of weapons had to be purchased. The production was transferred to Husqvarna, which produced a total of approximately 14.000 revolvers. The Swedish Navy purchased a lot of m/87 in 1891. The Norwegian Navy had done so already in 1889. The Norwegian arm changed from its 9 mm Nagant to the Swedish 7.5 mm in 1893. After 20 years, the m/87 was replaced by 9 mm Browningpistol (m/07). But the revolver lasted a long time in the total defense During the First World War, it was borne by the “Swedish Landstorm” army units and even in the second world war it occurred in some local defense forces. The last service was made by the military dog training school with blanks and sometime with a change of caliber to 32ACP for shooting blanks.



Original screwdriver for REv m/1887, for field use.

Delux revolver m/1887

Officer’s holster m/95 for revolver m/87 should have space for 12 cartridges under the lid but later on even 6 were accepted.
Enlisted men’s holster m/98 for pistol m/87 with space for 6 cartridges under the lid.
Navy holster for pistol m/87.


The Swiss 7.5 mm cartridge used in m/87 impressed on the 1884 commission because of its high initial speed and penetration capability, especially in wood. However, it was not a powerful cartridge even with old standards. Below is a graphical representation of the initial velocity and impact energy of some contemporary and more modern calibers. 7.65 mm cartridge at the bottom is the one was used by the Swedish police and which was replaced because it is considered too weak. Today the Swedish police use 9 mm Luger.

Gun & ammunition Energy Velocity m/s   Velocity feet/s
Revolver m/1887       20kpm                 240   787
7.5 mm, Sverige                              
Revolver m/1889                   53kpm   335   1100
kal..38 (9mm) USA                              
Revolver m/1878       24kpm               197   646
9mm, Belgien                              
Pistol m/1940                 50 kpm     360   1181
9mm, Luger, Sverige                              
Kaliber .22LR     16kpm                   350   1148
Walther PP 7.65mm       20kpm                 300   984
.32 ACP                              



Revolver m/1887

Length over all  237 mm
Length barrel     114 mm
Caliber  7.5 mm
Weight  0,8 kg
Rifle numbers 4 grooves
Twist of rifles Right


Ammunition for revolver m/1887

The first trial revolvers from Switzerland were tested with Swiss ammunition. Once the weapon has been adopted, domestic production of cartridges was started at the ammunition manufacturer Marieberg's factories.


The oldest ammunition type had paper lined lead ball and black powder charge. The paper wrap prevented leading to the barrel. Metal jacked bullets and smokeless powder were introduced in 1898.

The powder was not storage-resistant, so black powder was returned.


Norma ammunition factory made a cartridge with rimed lead bullet, filled with fat, for revolver 87 instead of paper winding.


 A similar cartridge has also been manufactured in Germany by GECO.