Author’s note: I posted this on a
local reloading forum. I am reproducing it here in the hopes that someone trying to do what I did can learn from my experience.
I recently bought a Model 1887 Swedish Nagant and I of course wanted to shoot it. This revolver shoots 7.5mm 1882 Ordnance. It
was used by the Swiss and Swedish, so you will see the country names used interchangeably when searching for information online. You can buy smokeless powder rounds from a few specialty places, but I wanted to shoot a round as close to the original as I could,
which means its time for the holy black. I also get weirded out shooting smokeless powder in guns designed for black powder. To that end, here is how I went about loading 7.5. As always, you take your life into your own hands following my instructions. I could not find any load data in my books so my process is an amalgamation of everything I found online.
First I bought a bunch of 32-20 brass. This is going to be our parent case. I have a Lyman universal trimmer with an adapter for a power drill which I used to trim the cases down. Go slow and trim each case to a length of 0.89 inches. You especially need to be careful as you trim past the shoulder on the case. If I went too fast the cutter would push the last end of the shoulder into the case and mess up the case. After all the cutting was done I used a case prep tool to clean up the mouths.
Once you have the cases prepped, you are going to need some bullets. I went with 310 Cadet bullets from Matt’s Bullets. These are heeled bullets like the original cartridge uses. Ideally I would have bought the mold, but the molds were going for $70 or so and you can get 500 bullets for a little less than that (lubed too). Diameter wise it is between the original Swiss (.315) and Swedish (.327) bullet diameter.
Now you are ready to reload. For my load I used CCI small pistol primers and 11 gains of 2F black powder (GOEX) topped off with a .32″ diameter, .025″ thick card from Track of the Wolf. Ideally I would have liked to put a lube disc on top of the charge and before the card, but there was not enough space left in the case. I did not use a drop tube, but you could probably ring some more space out that way if
you had one.
Now, you could spring for the correct 7.5 dies, but they were pretty
expensive and hard to find, so I jury rigged a solution using some cheaper dies. I seated the bullet using a 32 short (32 S&W) seating die. Do not press too hard or you can crush the case given this is a heeled bullet. Once the bullet is seated I put a riser on the press like the ones you find in a bullet resizing kit. Then I screwed a 30-30 WIN crimp die all the way down. If you put a bullet on the riser you can get it high enough into the crimp die to crimp the bullet in place. You need a crimp or otherwise I found you could easily pull the bullet out with your hands. Running the crimp die all the way down probably gives you more crimp then you need, so your may want to experiment with a little less crimp than I used.
Shooting wise, it seemed a little anemic, but it went bang. I am not a great shot with revolvers, but it was hitting the target at 10 yards so I was happy.