Starting to reload 7.62x54R and 7.62x39- suggestions?


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xsquidgator
August 2, 2007, 06:44 PM
I've been reloading pistol (9mm, 38/357, 45ACP) for a few months and am comfortable with that process (Lee Classic Turret stuff). I've bought dies to get into reloading rifle, for now 7.62x39 and also 7.62x54R. Think I have a handle on the 7.62x39, will probably buy a pound of AA1680 and some large rifle primers, and 200 unprimed brass are on the way to me. From what I've read here, AA1680 is one of the popular "AK powders" and I have loads for it in my Speer #13 and Lee #2 manuals.

I also just ordered 100 7.62x54R brass-boxer-reloadable rounds to shoot and get into reloading that, also. But, I'm a little less sure of what would be a good powder to start out with. Any suggestions?

I'm thinking perhaps v-N135 or H335, since my Lee guide has loads for it in 7.62x54R (as well as 8mm Mauser, which I hope to also start reloading one of these days- I'd like a powder that'll work in both, if possible). Does anyone here have anything you really like, or can tell me what I don't even know I don't know about powder selection (or about rifle reloading while you're at it-I have case length gauges and case trimmer/chamfer tool which I don't bother with for pistol)?

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trueblue1776
August 2, 2007, 06:48 PM
I reload 7,62x54r with 180gr and 200gr projectiles, H4350 works like a champ with those weights.

Clark
August 2, 2007, 08:32 PM
6 years ago, I got some S&B reloadable Boxer primed 7.62x54R ammo.
The primer pockets had too large a radius in the corner, and would not take large primers.
I had to use a Lyman pocket uniformer to change the shape.

The ammo was hot and accurate, but my reloads were not.

I am now using Lapua 7.62x53R brass and Sierra .311" 180 gr 2310 pro hunter soft point bullets at 2875 fps with a 91/30.

Watch out for tight chambers in the M39s.
The .311" bullets may be too big.

xsquidgator
August 2, 2007, 09:47 PM
Thanks for the info and tips.

Watch out for tight chambers in the M39s.
The .311" bullets may be too big.

Is there an easy way to tell? I have calipers and have tried measuring the inner diameter of the bore at the muzzle, but I'm not sure if I'm doing it properly, or if a good measurement is possible that way. I've heard the "true" way of getting bore dia is to push a slug of soft lead through and through, and to then measure the outer diameter of the slug once it's been pushed through. I don't have the materials for that though. If it makes any difference, my Mosin M44 shoots the cheap surplus Bulgarian ball ammo fine, I could measure the OD of one of those bullets but I don't know that would be meaningful.

Been having the same questions about my Mauser K98, how is it again that 7.92mm (or even 8mm=0.315") comes out to a .323" bullet?

xsquidgator
August 3, 2007, 09:31 AM
6 years ago, I got some S&B reloadable Boxer primed 7.62x54R ammo.
The primer pockets had too large a radius in the corner, and would not take large primers.
I had to use a Lyman pocket uniformer to change the shape.

The ammo was hot and accurate, but my reloads were not.

I am now using Lapua 7.62x53R brass and Sierra .311" 180 gr 2310 pro hunter soft point bullets at 2875 fps with a 91/30.

Watch out for tight chambers in the M39s.
The .311" bullets may be too big.


Anyone have any experience with the Prvi-Partizan (Serbian) ammo? I bought 100 of these from AIM http://www.aimsurplus.com/acatalog/copy_of_7_62x54R.html and sure hope they work ok. I guess I'll be happy enough if the once-shot brass takes regular LR primers and simply shoots, at this point I'm simply trying to set myself up to be able to shoot my Mosin if I run out of the cheap eastbloc surplus ammo. If I can make it more accurate than that so much the better but that's not my main motivation, at least not yet.

I'd looked at Lapua brass in one or two places, and some places wanted over $1 each just for the unprimed brass! :what:

Clark
August 3, 2007, 09:36 AM
M44s are not the problem with tight.

The Finns had captured old 91/30's and put heavier barrels on them with different bores and chambers.

There are lots of places on the internet to read about 91/30s.

http://7.62x54r.net/
http://www.russian-mosin-nagant.com/
http://www.mosinnagant.net/about.asp
http://www.geocities.com/Pentagon/Bunker/4064/PersCollection/M9130page.html

GunTech
August 3, 2007, 09:39 AM
I don't know about 7.62x54R, but I've been loading 7.62x39mm for a while. I use Winchester brass, which seems to be the best so far. Bullet are available in 308, 310 and 311 size. Some rifles will shoot 308 bullets with decent accuracy, but usually with a loss in velocity. I've been using 310 speers with great success. For bullets around 123gn, Reloader 7 works well, and meters well too.

trueblue1776
August 3, 2007, 05:11 PM
I'm pretty sure you can't shoot .311's out of a Sako barrel, unless you didn't know that, then I think they would work fine.;)

nobody_special
August 3, 2007, 05:15 PM
But isn't 7.62x54R normally .311 inch? In which case, wouldn't it be a problem to shoot factory ammo through an M39?

armoredman
August 3, 2007, 06:02 PM
150gr Hornady SP, .312 dia, Graf brass, 39gr. of H-4895, 2.850 OAL, Lee FCD used, gives pretty good results in my 91/30. Use at own risk, academic purposes only, etc.

trueblue1776
August 4, 2007, 12:00 AM
When you get down to thousandths you really aren't hurting much, some may have a different take on it.

I strongly recommend slugging the barrel to ALL new Mosin owners, because you never really know what your old warhorse is going to be. Sako rifles is good shape generally run .309-.310, 91/30's can run .311-.314, Mod 44 usually .310-.311ish (Those numbers don't mean nothin till you slug your own barrel).

These are old rifles who have mostly been beat to $#!#, but they weren't built to be picky. Don't worry about factory ammo, but if you load, load for accuracy with the right size bullet for your gun.

xsquidgator
August 4, 2007, 06:13 PM
Today was "great success!" as Borat would say. I had 20 Winchester white box 7.62x39 rounds that I shot last week, yesterday I went and bought IMR4198 (it's what the Gander Mountain here had, I wanted AA1680 as several have recommended). Today I loaded up the 1x fired brass with 125 grain jacketed soft points and took them out to the range. All fired properly in my SKS and WASR-10, and my rifle actions and my face are still intact!

I have 200 unprimed 7.62x39 brass on the way, can't wait to do some more now. Also greatly looking forward to shooting the boxer primed brass 7.62x54R I have and reloading that for my Mosin M44. Reloading is cool!

And, as one of the old timers at the range told me a year ago before I started, I'm not saving $ (not even close, I'm spending more) but I'm shooting a LOT more!

Snapping Twig
August 5, 2007, 01:16 PM
Got me to thinking back to the days I had a Mini-30.

I worked up a load or two for a 150g Ballistic Tip.

Check this data out. :)

H4895 27g ~ 28g for est. 2080 ~ 2154 fps.

H322 27g ~ 28.5g for est. 2084 ~ 2192 fps.

BLC2 27g ~ 29.5g for est. 1900 ~ 2090 fps.

My thought was to make the Mini 30 more of a hunting gun or a modern 30-30.

I hope you can research this data and perhaps use it to you benefit.

Clark
August 5, 2007, 03:17 PM
I put H110 and a 180 gr .311" bullet jammed into the lands in an SKS and blew the firing pin out of the bolt.

SKSs are not good guns for overloads.

xsquidgator
August 5, 2007, 08:42 PM
Clark,
I put H110 and a 180 gr .311" bullet jammed into the lands in an SKS and blew the firing pin out of the bolt.

SKSs are not good guns for overloads.

Are you talking about simply having the reloaded cartridge too long, or something else like an overcharge of powder? I don't think I have any OAL issues but I know there's a lot I don't know yet.

xsquidgator
August 5, 2007, 08:44 PM
ANother question- do any of you use the .311" bullets for 7.62x39 AND 7.62x54R? I have maybe 200 125gr jacketed soft points (spitzers) on hand and am wondering about putting them in my Mosin-Nagant also once I get the brass.

trueblue1776
August 5, 2007, 08:51 PM
ANother question- do any of you use the .311" bullets for 7.62x39 AND 7.62x54R? I have maybe 200 125gr jacketed soft points (spitzers) on hand and am wondering about putting them in my Mosin-Nagant also once I get the brass.

The biggest bullet I would use for x39 is .310", slug your bore, it's easy and cheap.

silverlance
August 5, 2007, 09:11 PM
I reload x54R for a sako m39 using .311 150gr bullets.

haven't had a problem yet.

i suppose i should slug mjy barrel, though.
ive been told that all you need to do is CLP up the barrel and then simply shove a 00 buck pellet down the bore. is that true?

kev

trueblue1776
August 5, 2007, 09:57 PM
ive been told that all you need to do is CLP up the barrel and then simply shove a 00 buck pellet down the bore. is that true?


Yup, unscientific, yet it works perfectly.

xsquidgator
August 6, 2007, 02:33 PM
Quote:
ive been told that all you need to do is CLP up the barrel and then simply shove a 00 buck pellet down the bore. is that true?

Yup, unscientific, yet it works perfectly.

Forgive the ignorant question, but does it matter what you use to push it down the bore? Will a cleaning rod work ok?

trueblue1776
August 6, 2007, 05:31 PM
Go out to a hardware store and buy a 1/4" hardwood dowel. Cleaning rod will gouge your bore.

xsquidgator
August 6, 2007, 10:36 PM
OK, I slugged the barrels of a couple of my rifles tonight (using the BreakFree and some OO buckshot method described above), but now I'm more confused than before. Can anyone tell me if this makes sense? (and, does it matter if the slug went from breech to muzzle or the other way?)

On my M44 which is 7.62x54R, the piece of buckshot came through with a min 0.305" and a max diameter of 0.315". This is using a pair of dial calipers to measure, and are consistent with a 1" micrometer I also used.

On my WASR-10 which is 7.62x39, the slug came through with the diameter (depending on where across the slug I took the reading) from 0.302" to 0.313".

My Question: Are 0.310" bullets ok to use in my WASR-10 and my M44? It wouldn't appear unsafe to me after reading a tutorial but I'd like to hear some feedback too. http://7.62x54r.net/MosinID/MosinSlug.htm

I checked and it turns out the AK/SKS bullets I reloaded and shot this weekend were 0.310" after all. I have maybe 180 or so of these 125gr spitzer soft points that I was going to load up with my 7.62x39 brass, that seems to work just fine in both my SKS and WASR-10.

On 2nd thought, I guess another question is "how do these numbers look to you"? My M44 measurements might indicate a bit of wear? I got my M44 on sale for $59 and don't have any idea of how worn or not worn it is, I thought it superficially looked to be in pretty good shape (and I did pay a 'smith to check it out and verify ok headspace before I shot it).

trueblue1776
August 6, 2007, 11:40 PM
Are 0.310" bullets ok to use in my WASR-10 and my M44? It wouldn't appear unsafe to me after reading a tutorial but I'd like to hear some feedback too.

absolutely, you slug to see if you can go above the standard diameter.

.310's will be fine in both your rifles, for better accuracy you may try a .312 Hornady Interlock (174gr) in your M44, I'd stick with .308-.310 in the WASR (whatever is cheap).

xsquidgator
August 7, 2007, 09:03 AM
trueblue,
Thanks for the info! Makes sense but I feel better hearing it from someone who's been there. I didn't quite realize that was the point of slugging but it makes sense when you put it that way.

A related question: I also slugged my K98 in 8mm Mauser and got a max diameter of 0.326" (standard 8mm Mauser is .323" I think). Is the extra 0.003" enough wear that you'd think about moving up to a slightly larger bullet? I haven't looked yet to see if there's a bullet available in the larger size.

trueblue1776
August 7, 2007, 05:34 PM
Is the extra 0.003" enough wear that you'd think about moving up to a slightly larger bullet?

No, especially since the next common size up from .323 is .330 or .333, which is a pretty big jump. There is nothing wrong with .003" difference, with a well developed load you should be plenty accurate with a .323

Misfire99
August 9, 2007, 11:44 PM
Bore size on the Russian guns is all over the place. And the Russians knew this. If you pull some of the 147 gr. bullets you will likely see that they are hollow base fmj design. This allows the base of the bullet to expand to take up any extra space the barrel might have. There are some Russian fmj boat tail bullets but they are usually heavy ball. I find this very ingenious. The Russians knew they had crappy quality control of the bore size so they came up with a bullet design to compensate.

The Finns on the other hand are spot on 308. They have been reworked by VTK or Sako. I have a number of the M39 rifles and a couple of 91/30s, they are tack drivers.

And if you are interested J&G sales has Bulgarian 7.62x54r ammo 300 rounds for $47, $44 if you buy 900 rounds. I bought some and pulled one apart to see what I had. It's light ball, 147gr, with the hollow base design bullet in brass cases with corrosive berdan primers. This looks to be the best deal on this ammo right now. And from what I heard, take with grain of salt, this is the last of the surplus ammo.

xsquidgator
August 11, 2007, 10:13 PM
Now for a powder question...

does anyone know of a 7.62x54R load that uses IMR4198?
I bought a pound of it to try and I've been using it for my 7.62x39 rounds.

Here's the thing: I can't find any load info with IMR4198 in 7.62x54R in Speer#13, Lee#2, or on Hodgon's website. Ordinarily I'd give up and use a powder that is listed in these data sources.

However, it seems to me that on first principles, 8mm Mauser ought to be pretty similar, since the diameters are close, the range of bullet weights is similar, and the 7.62x54R case volume is 3.59cc compared to 3.69cc for the 8mm Mauser (per the Lee#2 guide). Lee#2 does show one single load for 8mm Mauser using 25.1/28.5gr max under a 150 grain jacketed bullet that ought to be 2225 fps at max.

If the two cartidges are so similar, is it even close to reasonable to think about trying a 7.62x54R load using perhaps 24 or 25 grains IMR4198 under a 125gr or 150gr jacketed bullet?

Don't get me wrong, I'm not about to try this, and even if people here tell me it's ok I'll have to think it over. Just seems to me that this might have a chance of working, and if I can I'd like to use one powder for all my rifle reloading. My rifle reloading right now consists of 7.62x39. I have the dies and will in the next week or two buy some components to do 7.62x54R, and 8mm Mauser reloading is just around the corner for me. I also see 5.56/.223 reloading in my future at some point (I see at least one Lee#2 load for 223 using this same IMR4198). Can a reloader make one powder such as IMR4198 work for all these rifle loads? Should one even try?

trueblue1776
August 11, 2007, 11:01 PM
If the two cartidges are so similar, is it even close to reasonable to think about trying a 7.62x54R load using perhaps 24 or 25 grains IMR4198 under a 125gr or 150gr jacketed bullet?

Yes, it is reasonable, some of my favorite loads started as theoretical little experiments. But, you are entering into untested territory and you must be able to understand all the components of a kaboom.

I don't use IMR4198, but I know I haven't seen many x54r loads that use less than 42gr of powder. You really have to be careful to reasonable fill big cases, to avoid uneven pressure spikes. I think 4198 is a pretty fast powder, uneven burn would be one of my biggest concerns.

With a load as small as 25gr I would not feel good about reducing the charge to work up a safe load, as 25gr already seems too small for the case to me. Then again, I have never worked with 4198, it may be a "fluffy" powder, that can take up more space than I am picturing.

Check to see how much case you fill with 25 gr first, if it looks kosher, back it off and try a few lighter ones.
A no-go test for me would be if you can turn the case on it's side with your thumb on the top, then take your thumb off, if powder spills out it's a go.
If powder does not spill out, look in the case, if you can see anything resembling the pocket area it is BIG a no go!

If you think not, then go with your gut.

xsquidgator
August 11, 2007, 11:03 PM
And now a bullet question, too:
what bullets do those of you who reload 7.62x54R use? While I get started I am leaning towards just using the same 0.310" bullets in both my SKS, AK, and my M44. I slugged the bores on all 3 rifles and got 0.312" groove diameters on my AK and SKS, and got 0.312" to 0.315" in my M44.

How about 0.310" 125 grain jacketed spire/soft points for all these rifles? I don't hunt; these rifles are just for paper punching and the occasional jug full of water, and possibly I suppose for self defense in some sort of extreme situation (pistols/shotgun pretty much for HD, but might as well keep the rifles as backup).

trueblue1776
August 11, 2007, 11:10 PM
Your .310 bullets will be fine in your Mosin. I use a decent variety of bullets for my mosins, my favorite is the .311 Speer HotCor soft points, they are decently cheap and they work on any game I can find.

125gr will be a little harder to seat than the longer 150-200gr bullets, not much though, you'll be fine.

xsquidgator
August 11, 2007, 11:12 PM
true-
thanks much, I didn't see your reply when I added the bullet quesiton a minute ago.

IMR4198 isn't all that fluffy I don't think. As it turns out 24.0 grains of it seems to be the recommended load for 7.62x39 pushing a 125gr spire bullet. I've tried it and it seemed ok in my AK and my SKS. 24.0 grains of IMR4198 just about fills up all the space in a 7.62x39 casing, there's only a tiny bit of space at the mouth, if any in those and those cases are 2.0cc per the Lee guide. If I put that in a 7.62x54R case and turn it on its side some might come out but it will be close to your 'no-go' situation.

I'm guessing that IMR4198 burns faster than most other normal rifle powders. The Lee#2 guide that mentions using 24gr of IMR4198 does recommend in the 45+ grain range for most other powders. I don't think that's a misprint, since my Speer#13 shows a "reduced load" for IMR4198 in 8mm Mauser of 24 to 28 grains; the other powder loads for the same bullets are in the 40-50grain range. Unfortunately Speer doesn't mention the rationale of giving a reduced load only for IMR4198 and not for the other powders. The reduced load of IMR4918 is several hundred fps less than the conventional loads of other powders.

I'm starting to lean towards buying one powder for both 7.62x54R and 8mm Mauser, and just use another powder like IMR4198 for my 7.62x39 rounds.

Guess I'll need yet another powder if I ever buy that AR and get into .223. At least I can keep my pistol powder needs down to one (switching over to W231 after using Unique for a while).

The_Antibubba
August 14, 2007, 12:09 AM
Anyone have any experience with the Prvi-Partizan (Serbian) ammo?

I've always found it to be good ammo.

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