7.62x54R reloading questions


March 25, 2007, 05:45 PM

1 Finn M39 Sako
100 JMS once fired brass cases fired from my Finn M39
100 Winchester LR primers
100 Hornaday 150gr .303 British / .308 VMAX http://www.cheaperthandirt.com/86685-4365-1656.html
100 Remington Core-Loct 150gr .308
1 Jug Winchester 748
Lee Classic 7.62x54R handloading kit
1 Loadbook One Book / One Caliber 7.62x54R


Everyone tells me that I sould be using .311 (apparently aka 303 enfield) bullets. Yet Hornaday, Lyman, and Sierra all recommend .308 bullets. I bought .308 110GR Hornady bullets. But when I tried to make an unprimed uncharged test cartridge using one of the Remington .308s, the bullet fell straight down the die and into the bottom of the cartridge!!! Is this because .308 is too small for cases from my M39? I have not tried this with the Hornday .303 / .308s.

Hornady's Loadbook pages for 150-155 grain bullets has no entry for Winchester 748, only Winchester 760 at 45.4 grains. However, in the reduced load loadcard that I got with my Lee kit, it lists 150 grain jacketed at 38.1 grains of Win 748 (38.1 is the size of the powder measure I got with my kit). Will I likely be able to safely use this reduced charge Lee recipie for 150gr bullets with my 150gr Hornady or Remington bullets?

If you enjoyed reading about "7.62x54R reloading questions" here in TheHighRoad.org archive, you'll LOVE our community. Come join TheHighRoad.org today for the full version!
March 25, 2007, 05:50 PM
If the bullets fall through, it's probably because you used the .311" resizer instead of the .308". Lee will sell you both or either.

That reduced load should be good for any standard 150 grain jacketed bullets. You'll have more bullet drop though. IIRC 748 is similar to 3031. I know I use them both a lot for .30-30 level loads. I would picture it more as a powder for the 123 grainers.

March 25, 2007, 06:54 PM
You will need a .308 diameter expander button for your dies. You may be able to get one at a local shop or you might have to order it from Lee.

I used Win 760 for all my x54 handloads and I didn't have any problems with it (I did have problems but not because of the powder. The brass I was using needed a lot of work). I have used 748 in a lot of .308 loads and it is my favorite for that cartridge so it will probably be OK to try. If it is in the manual then it will at least be a safe place to start.
One other odd thing I noticed was that my loaded rounds OAL was shorter than the factory loads.

Good luck.

March 25, 2007, 07:14 PM
7.62 X 54R is still to cheap to reload.

March 25, 2007, 07:14 PM
My 91/30 is quite fond of the Hornady 303 .312 diameter 150gr SP Interlock, best over 39gr H-4895, OAL of 2.850, using a light crimp from a Lee FCD.
Data is for academic purposes, and may be used only at own risk.
What you need to do is slug your bore to see what your actual diameter is. Then you can use the right sizer, and slug.

March 25, 2007, 09:39 PM
I have PILES of surplus and I love it. But I've always wanted to reload ammo.

Unfortunately, I'm not very good at it. I keep getting things wrong.
Now I have 200 rounds of .308 and my die is apparently .311. :(

Nothing is sadder than trying to seat a .308 bullet and finding that the bullet falls all the way down to the bottom of the casing. I wish Lee stated on the box exactly the diameter of the die. Then I wouldn't have bought so much .308.

Time to get a .308 classic kit I guess.


Matt Dillon
March 25, 2007, 10:08 PM
Have you measured your bore? Take a lead fishing sinker or a piece of lead buckshot, coat it will with grease, and drive it down your bore. Then measure it from at the longest points, and then you will know what size bullets you need. Sell all of those .308 bullets on eBay ( or to a fellow THRer), the purchase bullets and dies of the appropriate diameter for YOUR rifle.:)

March 25, 2007, 10:38 PM
I have a FAL, so I guess I just might be ok =)

But yeah, I'm totally heartbroken about my M39. I had been lookign forward all week to reloading this weekend.

Oh well, setbacks are part of life.

I've ordered a caliper, and when I get it I'll bubba-slug my barrel with an old lead fishing sinker and a hammer. heh, i bet that will be fun!

Sam Adams
March 26, 2007, 01:50 PM
Since you have an M39, slugging the bore may not be necessary. First, the Finns very courteously put a "D" on the receiver when they rebarreled the guns, which indicates that the bore is .311 - and the Finns generally cared quite a bit for their weapons.

That being said, I'd still slug my barrel if I were you (and I did it to mine). Open up a 12 gauge 00 buck shell, and you have 9 slugs. The balls are .33 in diameter...grease them up (I used white lithium grease to make sure that it stayed on) and push through the barrel from the breach to the muzzle (bolt must be removed to do this) with a 1/4 inch diameter dowel and a hammer. Do yourself a favor and get a 3-foot long dowel, so you'll never come close to hitting the gun with the hammer. Oh, and gentle taps are all that is needed. Mine slugged at .3115 or so, so I use .311 bullets. Unfortunately, I haven't had a chance to go to the range with the reloads yet.

The M39 is a MN-91 that has been rebarreled, has a good trigger and far better sights (plus a new stock), vs. the Russian/Soviet original. Don't go by those with plain old MN-91s who say not to reload - the M39 is potentially as accurate as a Swiss K-31 or a Swede Mauser, and you'll only get that accuracy from reloading. Further, you don't want to use corrosive ammo with steel cases in a potential tackdriver like the M39 (or maybe only a few, to establish a benchmark). Remember to swab to barrel and boltface ASAP after shooting (as in AT the range) corrosive ammo, using a water-based cleaner (such as glass cleaner with ammonia), a decent CLP.

March 26, 2007, 02:31 PM
Sam, Thanks!

You folks are all great.

I was jsut about to buy a "barrel slugging" kit. Thank you for saving me some money!

Weds I will be slugging my barrel. Until then, I ordered 100 speer .311 150 gr bullets anyway. my savings on reloading are not adding up at all but I"m having a blast without even reloading a single round yet.

WRT the steel cased ammo, is there a reason why I shouldn't shoot it in the m39? will it damage the chamber?


If you enjoyed reading about "7.62x54R reloading questions" here in TheHighRoad.org archive, you'll LOVE our community. Come join TheHighRoad.org today for the full version!