The short answer to my subtitle question is “a lot.” Once you’ve handled the little M1891 you’ll understand why it’s such a neat piece of history. While it’s not practical, and not powerful (by today’s standards) all that fades away once you start sending BBs down range.
Getting it ready to shoot
Before you can shoot the Nagant M1891 you need to load the CO2 and the BBs into the drop out magazine. This is released by a small latch on the bottom of the magazine. Here you’ll find the CO2 piercing wrench neatly stored in the magazine. I love that more manufacturers are doing this, as I can’t tell you how many allen wrenches I’ve lost over the years. Anyway, it’s a good practice to put a drop of silicone lube on the top of each new CO2 cartridge. This will help keep the seals in good working order. I use RWS chamber lube or Crosman’s Pellgunoil, depending on what I have close at hand.
Loading the BBs can take a little time, but its not as cumbersome as some other BB repeaters that I’ve shot in the past. You’ll need to pull down the spring loaded tensioner and lock it into place. From there simply drop one BB at a time until you’ve filled the magazine. The rifle is designed to shoot up to 16 BBs – trying to load more may cause it to jam- so resist the urge to try and squeeze more than 16 into the magazine.
When it comes to BBs, it’s critical to only use quality ammo: I use Daisy Zinc coated BBs or the Umarex precision ground steel BBs. I generally steer clear of the copper coated BBS as they tend to rust very quickly and the copper flakes off, causing jams and general fouling of the airgun.
With the BBs and CO2 loaded, it’s time to start sending some rounds down range.
Almost ready to go!
Always remember to keep your muzzle pointed in a safe direction when operating the bolt and the safety. To shoot the M1891 you simply need to work the bolt by pulling up, then back, then forward and back down. The action is smooth as glass and extremely reliable. There is a safety mechanism that’s engaged by pulling back slightly on the rear of the bolt and rotating it counter clockwise about 45 degrees until it covers up the red dot on the receiver. To release the safety and fire, just pull back slightly, rotate it back to 12 o’clock, and squeeze the trigger.
Because the rifle/pistol, I’m not really sure what to call it, is awkward to hold, aiming down the sights becomes a bit of a challenge. I would imagine the revolutionaries that actually used this for close quarters fighting probably never aimed it, but rather just used the point and shoot method. But with that said, when you can get the sights to line up and you’re able to hold it steady, it shoots pretty straight.
BBs on target
After a little trigger time, it gets to be quite easy to put BBs on target. I’ve shot from 10 and 15 feet out to 10 yards. Up close I can put all the shots in a nice tight pattern. At 10 yards, things become a bit trickier, but I can still keep all my shots on the paper. Certainly “combat accurate” at that range. Velocity is around 400 to 430 FPS, depending on temperature and how quickly you pull the trigger. Shot count is about 4 or 5 magazines, again depending on temperature and how aggressive you are with your shooting.
This was my first look at a Gletcher product. If the rest of their offerings are as well-made as this Nagant M1891, then I can’t wait to try all of them. When I first saw this rifle in print, I was convinced that it was not going to be something that interested me. Well, Im not ashamed to admit that I was completely wrong about that. This is a great little airgun. If you are into vintage firearms, and want to own a very cool replica bolt action piece of history, then get your hands on the Nagant M1891.