7.62x54R Big Game Load


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Cosmoline
January 8, 2006, 12:32 AM
Woodleigh 215 grain .312" .303 bullet over 50 grains IMR 4350, deep seated by hand press.

It took six long months of experimenting, but I finally found a really good load to launch the 215 Grain Woodleigh .312" thwappers out of a Mosin-Nagant. The extreme length of the round and its very high ogive presented problems and made the bullet more sensitive than usual to variations in load types. Most of my test handloads went far afield--by as much as a foot off center and in a pieplate group. But this one has given me a high 1" group dead on center axis out of my Tikka 91/30 and also a good group out of my M-91 PTG. I use 50 grains of IMR 4350 and set the bullet into the powder by hand press with as low an ogive as possible.

I have not chronographed the round yet, but the charts indicate I should be getting about 2,350 to 2,400 fps out of a long Mosin, which calculates to over 2700 ft. lbs. of impact energy at the muzzle.

These big RN woodleighs have racked up an awesome kill record on big game worldwide out of the .303 British, but are not well known stateside. They have an exceptionally high sectional density and are specially designed to mushroom at moderate velocities out old military rifles. There is no, repeat *NO* comparison between these bullets and the 200 grain SP Wolf bullets. The Woodleighs are world-class big game bullets designed to do the job and have been getting great reviews. The Wolf bullets are little more than FMJ's with their tips shaved off and there are a number of on-line reports of them exploding on impact. Fine for deer, for sure--but if you're going after bruins, elk or moose the Woodleighs are a better bet.

I plan on using these as a moose and black bear load, but they would work well for any North American big game inside 200 yards. At close range I'd trust them more than most magnums against brown bear.

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Catshooter
January 10, 2006, 12:54 AM
Thanks Cosmo, that's good info.


Cat

Clark
January 11, 2006, 11:43 PM
CAUTION: The following post includes loading data beyond currently published maximums for this cartridge. USE AT YOUR OWN RISK. Neither the writer, The High Road, nor the staff of THR assume any liability for any damage or injury resulting from use of this information.

Nagant 7.62x54R, 28.25" recrowned barrel, 8.25 pounds, 3" average
history, pillar bedded front and rear, glass bedded

49 gr. IMR4895, 180 gr. Sierra 2310, 3.002":
measured 2873 fps,
1.5" 5 shot group @50 yards
3301 foot pounds

http://www.thehighroad.org/attachment.php?s=&postid=926374

Catshooter
January 11, 2006, 11:47 PM
Thanks to you too, Clark.

As allways, your posts are helpful & informative.


Cat

Cosmoline
January 12, 2006, 12:11 AM
What kind of Mosin was that, Clark? You should be able to do better than 3" average with all that bedding. ALso--what diameter bullets were you using? If that's a USSR 91/30 as it appears to be, you may want to increase diameter.

Clark
January 12, 2006, 11:44 AM
The Sierra 2310 is a .311" bullet.
http://www.sierrabullets.com/index.cfm?section=bullets&page=bullets&caliberID=9

That rifle was getting 3" 5 shot groups at 100m before bedding with a 40X scope.
That rifle shot only one group, a 1.5" 5 shot groups at 50 yards after bedding with a 7X scope.

That is the problem with accuracy, always plenty of out of control variables.

Cosmoline
January 12, 2006, 02:11 PM
I see, that's a good improvement.

Cosmoline
April 21, 2006, 01:50 AM
I had a chance to chronograph these recently. They're consistently in the 2,400 FPS range out of my Finnish 91/30. That's 2,749 ft lbs.! Velocity is a bit excessive for the bullet at point blank, but will be ideal out to 250 yards or more. And the reports on these rounds from the field is that they hit like a freight train on big game.

BillinNH
April 21, 2006, 07:25 AM
Cosmo, how would that load do in my 20" model 38 carbine? Would you recommend a faster powder for the shorter barrel? I hear nothing but good about those Woodleighs's and I do need a moose/black bear load.

Thanks.

Bill

Cosmoline
April 21, 2006, 10:10 PM
I've fired them out of my M-44 and they seem to do fine. There's a bit of excess flash but it's not as bad as Albanian. You can cure any of that and excess recoil by backing the load off a few grains. As it is it's just about at the maximum setting for safety. You'll lose a bit of velocity out of the 20" barrel, but that's actually a good thing for close range work. 2,000 to 2,200 is about ideal for those Woodleighs. Even at reduced velocity that load will send a black bear into next week.

BillinNH
April 22, 2006, 09:31 AM
<I've fired them out of my M-44 and they seem to do fine. There's a bit of excess flash but it's not as bad as Albanian. You can cure any of that and excess recoil by backing the load off a few grains. As it is it's just about at the maximum setting for safety. You'll lose a bit of velocity out of the 20" barrel, but that's actually a good thing for close range work. 2,000 to 2,200 is about ideal for those Woodleighs. Even at reduced velocity that load will send a black bear into next week.>

That's very encouraging. Thanks much for the input. I will definitely work up a load, slowly. Any tips on a source for the Woodleighs? I'm, uh, frugal. :)

Bill

Cosmoline
April 22, 2006, 02:21 PM
Midway is the only place I know of carrying them. I've written them a few times and they seem to be doing better about keeping a supply in stock. There were some in stock the last time I checked. They're not that cheap, but they're not as expensive as some high-end hunting bullets.

Langenator
April 27, 2006, 01:52 PM
Cosmo, what's the OAL for those?

Cosmoline
April 27, 2006, 02:28 PM
I've tried several lengths, but lately I've been minimizing it at about 2.8. The problem isn't so much the OAL as the ogive, which is very high on these slugs. Put a bullet in an unprimed case and use it as a tester to see if the ogive is jaming up. You may find you have more or less room to play with. If you have more room, as may be the case with older Russians, using it is a good idea. The further out you can set the bullet the less of the tail end will intrude into the shoulder area and the better accuracy will be. But you don't want it sticking into the lands before it's even fired.

ball3006
April 27, 2006, 04:27 PM
Mosin Nagants that will do less than one inch at 50 meters with surplus ammo..........You guys need to work more on your loads......of course, that is the fun of reloading........and, I have old eyes.....With rifles and ammo that shoots this good, I don't bother to load 7.62x54r........chris3

Cosmoline
December 16, 2006, 02:32 AM
Update: I'm loading a new batch of these in some fresh Lapua brass for the spring. I'm backing off from 50 to 48 Grains of 4350. The suggested impact velocity on the Woodleighs is 1800 to 2200 fps, and at close range running 2400 fps that's a bit too fast for my liking. If they fall apart they won't do much good. Also, at 48 grains the bullet isn't compressing the powder very much.

Langenator
December 20, 2006, 06:03 PM
Next question: What kind of chamfering, if any, are you using on the various kinds of brass?

Cosmoline
December 20, 2006, 06:19 PM
I usually only chamfer when the bullets are soft lead and the fit is tight. When I use the hand press I'm able to use just enough pressure to get it to seat, and have not had problems with stripped off jacket. The Woodleigh's base seems quite durable and it's slightly rounded as well. I am using a .311" expander. If the fit is a bit too tight I will gently flare the mouth with a rn bullet, and then reseal it with the crimp die.

Langenator
December 20, 2006, 07:37 PM
Thanks.

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