Military Surplus Ammo


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sirgunsalot
January 17, 2005, 03:41 PM
Hello all, I recently bought a new .308 and have been looking at all the different ammo for it. I've heard that shooting military surplus ammo will wear the barrel out. Does anyone know anything about this? Is this fact or fiction? Thanks.

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TexasRifleman
January 17, 2005, 03:50 PM
Did you buy a rifle chambered in .308 or 7.62x51?

They are not the same thing, and there is no military surplus ".308" to be exact. The NATO round is 7.62x51.

If you have a hunting type rifle chambered in .308 then don't shoot military ammo in it. The pressures are higher than the SAMMI limits.

Your rifle should have markings on the barrel showing either .308 or 7.62.

If yours says 7.62 then knock yourself out with the cheap surplus ammo, there are some great bargains out there.

sirgunsalot
January 17, 2005, 04:12 PM
Thanks, I did buy a hunting rifle and I will stay away from the surplus.

TexasRifleman
January 17, 2005, 04:33 PM
Same goes for .223 Remington and NATO 5.56 ammo.

Big difference in pressures.

There are some bargains to be had in .308 also if you buy in quantity.

Good luck!

R.H. Lee
January 17, 2005, 04:41 PM
If you have a hunting type rifle chambered in .308 then don't shoot military ammo in it. The pressures are higher than the SAMMI limits.
I think it's the other way around. 7.62 NATO limits are around 50,000 psi, while the .308 operates somewhere between 52,000-60,000 psi.

TexasRifleman
January 17, 2005, 05:09 PM
Well if you want to go detailed, it's more about headspace than pressure anyway.

1.630 Go, 1.634 No Go, 1.638 Reject for 7.62 NATO.

Also, ammo specifications can be misleading. Military ammo is usually quoted using the CUP system whereas commercial ammo is quoted in psi. The actual pressure maximums are about the same, but the numbers are about 5,000 units apart. This can create the illusion that the military is lower pressure.

But hey, if you wanna shoot 7.62 Nato in your nice tight chambered .308 rifle knock yourself out.....

And you most certainly don't want to shoot .308 in a rifle chambered for 7.62 NATO. The thin case of .308 can lead to case rupture in the larger 7.62 chambers.

R.H. Lee
January 17, 2005, 05:12 PM
But hey, if you wanna shoot 7.62 Nato in your nice tight chambered .308 rifle knowck yourself out..... I shoot Radway Green in a Savage 10FP all the time. Haven't noticed any hard extraction, case deformation, cratered primers, etc., et yada.

TexasRifleman
January 17, 2005, 05:16 PM
I'm sure there are lots of people interchanging the 2, and I'm sure most rifles are overengineered to avoid problems.

Having said that, I wouldn't want to be the one recommending the interchangeability of the 2 calibers.

g56
January 17, 2005, 05:52 PM
The authority on the subject is SAAMI, what do they say about mixing military and civilian spec ammo?

SAAMI specifically warns against using 5.56 NATO in a .223 cal rifle, but when you check 308 Winchester caliber there is no warning about mixing 7.62 NATO at all.

223 Remington do not use:
5.56mm Military
222 Remington
30 Carbine

308 Winchester do not use:
7.62x39 (Russian)
300 Savage

SAAMI
TECHNICAL DATA SHEET
UNSAFE ARMS AND AMMUNITION COMBINATIONS (http://www.saami.org/unsafe3.htm)

TexasRifleman
January 17, 2005, 11:10 PM
Typical endless argument this one :)

SAMMI is concerned with weapons made after SAMMI came into existence. How many of us have rifles made before then?

This deal goes round and round, but whether SAMMI likes it or not there are dimensional differences between the 2 calibers, and in some cases that could cause problems. Sure, most of the time it's fine.

Clinct McKee might know a thing or 2 about it, since he lives in that world:
For his opinion on this check http://www.fulton-armory.com/308.htm

Again, if you want to recommend to everyone to use the 2 calibers interchangeably go ahead, but I don't think it's 100% prudent.
There are documented case failures of .308 in M1 Garand/M14 chambers,
that's enough reason for me to not intermix the 2. They are not that different in price anyway if you shop around.

Dave R
January 18, 2005, 01:01 AM
Speer No. 13 reloading manual treats them as interchangeable, except that NATO brass is thicker, which slightly reduces case capacity for powder. Then they say they developed their loads with NATO brass, so no need to reduce the loads they list.

Which means they expect you to use NATO ammo in your hunting rifle.

I have shot quite a bit of surplus in my .308 Rem700. No problems, no warnings. In fact, some commercial ammo you can buy is essentially re-labeled milsurp, right down to the crimped primer pockets.

I even have some favorites to recommend. South African and Portugese are good. Australian is good. Indian is very bad. Stay away. Chilean, too. Stay away.

SMLE
January 18, 2005, 02:46 AM
...ammo specifications can be misleading. Military ammo is usually quoted using the CUP system whereas commercial ammo is quoted in psi. The actual pressure maximums are about the same, but the numbers are about 5,000 units apart. This can create the illusion that the military is lower pressure.
This statment is taken directly from this essay (http://www.smellysmleshooters.net/ammopressure.htm). I have posted this link numerous time, I'm glad it is being read and used.

For the full text, the link again is: http://www.smellysmleshooters.net/ammopressure.htm

Domino
January 18, 2005, 02:50 AM
This statment is taken directly from this essay. I have posted this link numerous time, I'm glad it is being read and used.

Good eye SMLE! I probably wouldn't worry about this with newly made American or military rifles.

TexasRifleman
January 18, 2005, 10:37 AM
SMLE, I saw that on another post on another site, I guess your words are ringing aroung to a lot of people!

If I'd known the source I would have credited you....sorry :)

Excellent info there.

Dave R
January 18, 2005, 12:11 PM
Re-reading the initial post again...you said you're concerned that shooting milsurp ammo could wear out your barrel. I don't believe its possible for misurp ammo to wear your barrel out any faster than commercial ammo.

The bullets have the same basic construction, same materials, and move through the bore at the same speed.

If milsurp bullets were steel-jacketed, then it might be possible to accelerate wear. But I'm not aware of any 7.62 NATO surplus that is steel-jacketed. All copper-jacketed, just like commercial ammo.

R.H. Lee
January 18, 2005, 12:43 PM
Here's some more info. Apparently case dimension standards are measured differently, but the .308 does have higher pressures, even when both are measured in psi( 62,000 psi= 52,000 cup):

http://www.thegunzone.com/30cal.html

So, the way I'm reading it is, a .308 commercial rifle is safe for both .308 and 7.62 x 51 NATO, but a military weapon chambered for 7.62 might not safely handle .308.

Werewolf
January 18, 2005, 12:47 PM
Having perused both the SAAMI stuff and the other articles referred to in this thread I am of the opinion that it is:

OK to use 7.62X51 NATO spec'd ammo in a .308 Winchester chamber.

It is not OK to use .308 Winchester in a 7.62X51 chamber.

It's got nothing to do with pressure. It's all about headspace and that headspace for a 308 in some NATO chambers can be excessive. That has to do with the tolerances on a NATO chamber. At minimum specs the NATO chamber can fire a .308 with no headspace problem. At nominal or max spec then headspace can go out of spec for a .308. Combine that with thinner commercial brass and you can get blow outs.

That is of course just my opinion. As a matter of experience I have fired many rounds of 7.62X51 NATO out of my M1 Garand that's been chambered for .308... When I eventually get a bolt gun in .308 I will be firing surplus NATO out of it too.

YMMV...

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