A series of 12 stereochemically defined 2,m-dimethyl- and 2,m,n-trimethyl-6-benzylamino-2-nitro-3-(diphenylphosphatoxy)hexanes have been synthesized and their cyclization reactions leading to di- and trisubstituted N-benzyl pyrrolidines examined in the presence of tributyltin hydride and azoisobutyronitrile in benzene at reflux. The cyclizations are interpreted in terms of generation of an alkyl radical by abstraction of the nitro group with a stannyl radical. The phosphate leaving group is then expelled in a heterolytic cleavage to give a contact alkene radical cation/phosphate anion pair. For the majority of the examples studied, the cyclizations are best understood in terms of nucleophilic attack by the amine on the opposite face of the alkene radical cation to the one shielded by the leaving group, within the confines of the initial contact ion pair, resulting in overall cyclization with inversion of configuration. Dependent on the relative stereochemistry of the substituents, the cyclization is envisaged as taking place through either chair-like or twist-boat-like transition states with the maximum number of substituents pseudo-equatorial. The model breaks down when cyclization on the initial contact ion pair would engender significant destabilizing steric interactions, especially (1,3)A strain in the alkene radical cation. In these cases a fully equilibrated Beckwith-Houk-type transition state provides a satisfactory model. Interesting examples of matching and mismatching in the Corey-type oxazaborolidine-mediated reduction of alkyl (methyl-1-nitroethyl) ketones by a beta-methyl group in the alkyl chain are reported, and the mismatching is attributed to a developing syn-pentane interaction in the transition state.