Handloading 7.5 Swiss and 7.62x54R


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Live Free Or Die
January 19, 2006, 01:25 AM
I just bought rifles in these cartridges, and before I go buy some ammo I'd like to decide whether or not I'll be handloading. I'm new to handloading, so forgive me if I use the wrong nomenclature. I'd be using a friend's Dillon 550B until I get my own reloading equipment.

Is it as simple as choosing a type of ammo with reloadable brass/primers? If so, can someone recommend specific brands in these calibers that I can use to reload? Or is it possible (even preferred?) to just go buy the appropriate brass/bullets/powder/primer and forgo buying reloadable ammo?

Finally, does it even make sense to handload for these calibers? I'm not anticipating doing any fancy target shooting; my primary interest is practicing with a lot of rounds and keeping a nice supply of ammo on hand. i.e., I'll only handload if doing so is appreciably cheaper than buying ammo.

Thanks for your help.

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rust collector
January 19, 2006, 01:47 AM
Handloading for the 7.5 Swiss makes since because boxer primed ammo isn't on every shelf. You can reform 284 win brass or buy loaded rounds from Wolf, maybe others. K-31s are accurate and will get the most out of the effort you put into finding what works best.

7.62x54R, however, is dirt cheap, most empties are not readily reloadable, and it uses a slightly larger than 30 cal bullet which restricts your selection quite a bit. Unless you need softpoint or special features, buy Yugo or other light ball in mass quantities and remember to use water because it's corrosive (it's all most M44s and the like have ever fired).

Jim K
January 19, 2006, 02:01 AM
This outfit is selling reloadable 7.5 Swiss at a fairly reasonable price. Once you get some cases, the 7.5 is easy to reload using .308 Winchester loading data (for the K-31; use .30-40 data for the 1889 or 1911 rifles). As always, start low and work up.

http://makarov.com/cart/ammo75Swiss.htm

Jim

Cosmoline
January 19, 2006, 03:01 AM
I've been handloading for the 54R for several years. If you're just going to be shooting an old Soviet for fun, then you really don't need to handload. If you want to maximize accuracy or work up hunting loads, then handloading is very useful. Most 54R surplus is of low to middle quality and does not compare with GP-11. To get maximum accuracy out of a Mosin, you need to handload.

swingset
January 19, 2006, 03:37 AM
No experience reloading for 762x54 (ammo is too cheap to bother), but the 7.5 swiss is an easy gun to reload for.

Here's some helpful hints. As was mentioned, you can use .308 data - and the bullets are .308, so your choices of bullets is plentiful. Mine likes 168gr. match pills. The brass you can either make with .284 (run it through the full length die and trim, whala), or you can buy new brass from Grafs or just shoot some of the new Wolf Gold or PRVI stuff and use that brass. Primers are std. large rifle primers.

Also, the 7.5 swiss dies come in two flavors - the older traditional dies work, but they are for the longer 1911 action which has a more generous chamber. If you use this die, it will not give you many loadings as it will stretch the brass. Several companies now make a K-31 chamber sized die, including CH and Redding. If you do use the older die, you can overcam it into the press to make up for the extended shoulder.

Good luck!

antarti
January 19, 2006, 01:11 PM
For the K31, start here:

http://www.websitetoolbox.com/tool/post/surplusrifle/vpost?id=73906

The swiss rifle forum is excellent (and linked to from the thread above).

Essex County
January 19, 2006, 02:19 PM
I reload for both. My groups do shrink a bit, but on 7.62X54r sights are a limiting factor....Essex

Cosmoline
January 19, 2006, 03:00 PM
That depends on the rifle. The M-28 / M-39 sights are among the best irons of any military surplus rifle. Some US shooters have a difficult time with any iron sights that aren't aperture style, but once you learn how to use them the Finnish system works extremely well.

goon
January 19, 2006, 04:02 PM
Reloading the x54 is worth the effort. I had pretty good groups from a 91/30 with Hornady 174 grain interlocks. I haven't had a chance to try a whole lot of them from my M-39 though but with the way it shoots Wolf 148 grain, I doubt that it will disappoint me.
Handloading also allows me to stick a 123 grain .311 bullet in a case with some IMR 4350 under it for a fairly light recoiling plinking load.
IMO, handloading is worth it with just about any round because of the versatility it offers. YMMV.

rockstar.esq
January 19, 2006, 06:30 PM
Although nobody seems to recommend them I've used Lee dies for years and I've found them to be an exceptional value. I have a set for the 54R , .308Win, .44Mag and .45ACP thus far they've all delivered on Lee's accuracy guarantee. The reloading data for the 54R claims that bore dia can range from .308 to .311 but that loading a .308 in any of them will not only be safe it'll often be more accurate than it has any reason to be. Winchester , Lapua, and Sellior Bellot all load the 54R in boxer primed brass. Winchester is the cheapest and I've heard mutterings that S&B do the loading for Winchester's 54R offering. Lapua makes the original bullet for the 54R and it doesn't cost any more than the match bullets that others are recommending. One interesting point about that bullet is that it's boattail base looks almost "heeled". I plan to try it out soon. For me it seems like buying a caliber that won't always be availible requires serious consideration for handloading. I have no idea how long these rifles or their military ammo will be availible but I wanted a backup plan. Also I wasn't able to find more than one suitable hunting load in this caliber given that nearly all of them are loaded with full metal jacket bullets. Another great reason not to worry about the cost factor so much is that the majority of the steel cased berdan primed ammo out there is coated in an obnoxious laquer that will coat the chamber with each shot making cleanup more annoying than it needs to be. Two of my friends can only get about five shots fired before the bolt gets gummed shut! If I could finalize with a little reloading philosophy, don't seek volume so much as solace. The real rewards of reloading are more evident when I start out to complete only 40 rounds or so. More than that and I start to get tired and want to hurry. When I limit how much I do in a sitting, my ammo is vastly superior to anything I could buy on the open market. Especially when it comes to the rifle cartridges.

Cosmoline
January 19, 2006, 06:43 PM
I also use Lee dies for 54R. They don't get enough respect among handloaders IMHO. They are simple, very tough and inexpensive. The only drawback, and this is common of all dies, is that you may find the expander only takes it to .308. However I have ordered a .311 expander decapper pin from Lee for a nominal charge. They'll custom make it for you. It's also possible to seat a .311 or .312 in a .308 neck, at least if you're using a hand press where you can "feel" the cartridge and ease it in.

The bore size on Mosins is variable, with Soviet and Russian examples having wider bores (.311" to .314") than Finns (.308 to .310) I have the best luck overall with .311" bullets. The only Mosins you SHOULD NOT shoot .311" and larger bullets in is a Finnish M-28 or M-28/30. These early civil guard rifles have a .308" bore and if not stamped "D" haven't even been necked out to take a high ogive bullet. But those are rare and $$ rifles.

Live Free Or Die
January 19, 2006, 09:10 PM
Wow, thanks for all the great info guys. Some of it I understand, some of it I will understand after doing more research. Great stuff -- very much appreciated.

longhorngunman
January 19, 2006, 11:30 PM
Having a K31 is a reason onto itself to start handloading.

Dave R
January 20, 2006, 12:03 AM
FWIW, my K-31 has known nothing but handloads using reformed .284Win brass. Works great. Easy round to reload, and very rewarding.

Check out the reloading forum. Every week or two someone asks "what do I need to get started in reloading?" So, do a search and you'll get all the info you need.

Hint: the first thing you need is a couple of reloading manuals. That will make the equipment needs real clear. Another hint, several companies make kits that cover all the essentials. The Lee Anniversary kit is under $100, and the RCBS kit is like $250 or so.

rangerruck
January 20, 2006, 02:19 AM
wolf, barnaul, olympic, all make 76254 ammo for about 5 bucks a box, there are a few other makers as well. the wolf gold brass is about 8 or 9 a box, is 185 and 200 grns, and is very accurate. i zero with the wolf in 147 or 150 grn , it is plenty good accurate as well.

Dr.Doug
January 20, 2006, 06:30 PM
My M39 has a .314" barrel and won't shoot .308" bullets worth a darn. I have Lee dies, too, and simply swiped the expander from a set of used 303 British dies ($8 at a gun show), started using .311" bullets, and all is well!

Main thing is, I enjoy reloading almost as much as shooting, so why not?

Doug

The_Antibubba
January 21, 2006, 01:09 AM
Cosmoline,

I have a Russian and a Finn. Does that mean that if I were to reload the 54R I might have to use different-sized bullets for each?:scrutiny:

Cosmoline
January 21, 2006, 01:43 AM
Cosmoline,

I have a Russian and a Finn. Does that mean that if I were to reload the 54R I might have to use different-sized bullets for each?:scrutiny:

Only if you have a Finnish M-28 or M-28/30 from the Civil Guard pre-war issue or an M-27 without the "D" stamp. These are all pretty rare rifles and getting $$. The much more common M-39's, Finnish M-91's and 91/30's almost all have about a .310" bore and a D chamber so they can shoot the same ammo as a Soviet or Russian Mosin-Nagant. The slightly tighter bores may cause a shift in POI, but in my experience it isn't too significant. You only start to notice a difference with the really sloppy late-war production Soviet rifles that sometimes have.313" or larger bores.

Sunray
January 21, 2006, 02:07 AM
Midway sells Norma 7.5 x 55 Schmidt Rubin brass for $81.99 per 100. $18.29 per 20. Loaded ammo, if you can find it, will also be Norma and expensive.
You will get better accuracy with handloads no matter what calibre. Makes the endless search for the best price(there is no surplus 7.5) for ammo go away too. A set of dies and a shellholder and you're ready to load. You'd best contact Dillon about a shell holder for the 7.5 though.

Car Knocker
January 21, 2006, 02:46 AM
(there is no surplus 7.5)

Lots of surplus 7.5 Swiss out there:

http://www.aimsurplus.com/acatalog/copy_of_7_5swiss.html

http://www.southernohiogun.com/ammo.html

http://www.dansammo.com/ammo.asp

Sunray
January 21, 2006, 03:23 AM
Car Knocker, I stand corrected. However, AIM requires an FFL for ammo. So does SOG or their waiver. Dans requires the UPS 'adults only' signature or a DL on file. CYA for them to be sure, but it's not a case of just buying it. And USP Ground isn't cheap. Reloading is still the best idea.

Car Knocker
January 21, 2006, 03:21 PM
Car Knocker, I stand corrected. However, AIM requires an FFL for ammo. So does SOG or their waiver. Dans requires the UPS 'adults only' signature or a DL on file. CYA for them to be sure, but it's not a case of just buying it. And USP Ground isn't cheap. Reloading is still the best idea.

And if you live near a Cabela's, you can get it there. I believe I saw some at Sportsman"s Warehouse, also. UPS Ground rates can be inexpensive or non-existant if one watches sales and incentives. For example, I have 1280 rounds of 7.62 x 39 (2 Spam cans) coming to me from Sportsman's Guide with free shipping - and the ammo only cost $98.94.

Certainly reloading is the way to go - if the shooter wants to make that commitment in time and equipment. But not everyone wants to.

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