I just received my first ever Nagant! I ordered by phone last week from AIM Surplus and made a special request for a hand selected Tula. The customer service person told me that she would guarantee a Tula, but the pistol would not be inspected in detail for other factors like finish and bore. Fair enough. You can expect only so much of their time and expertise for ten bucks. She did, however, assure me that all of their Nagants were nice guns.
The package arrived this afternoon and included a 1944 Tula with dark red bakelite grips, unissued holster in new condition, cleaning tool and reversible blade maintenance tool. The pistol looked pretty good, but I couldn't really tell because it was dripping with cosmoline (which is fine with me). I dismantled the gun, removed all the goop and treated all metal parts with G96. After wiping away the G96, I inspected all moving parts with a magnifying glass and found no signs of wear anywhere on the gun. The bore is bright with clean rifling. Everything, inside and out, looks and feels new. If there is any shortcoming at all, it is the weak Tula stamp. It would be nice to have a crisp armory stamp, but it's not a deal-breaker.
I realize that the current batch of Nagants are all armory refinished, but could it be that I got lucky and picked up a late 1944 that went back to the armory having never been issued?