Civilian 7.62x51


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Slugless
October 6, 2007, 11:27 AM
To follow up on Soybomb's post on using .308 in a 7.62 Nato rifle:

What types of "civilian" 7.62x51 are out there? My stash is almost completely mil-surp but we're all just swimming in cheap Austrian ammo these days aren't we?

I bought a couple examples of civilian stuff, Barnual & Winchester. I don't see a link to the Barnual handy, but here's the other:

http://www.cheaperthandirt.com/67801-6808-124.html

Note that it's out of stock. I bought about 60 rnds of each but took it to the country & never got a chance to unlimber the M1A so I don't know how it performs.

My questions:
1. What civilian manufactured ammo is available that is labeled 7.62x51?
2. Any problems with the steel cased type a la Barnual
3. Best shooting? Best value?

Thanks!

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Onmilo
October 6, 2007, 11:58 AM
Personally, I stick with brass case ammunition in my M1A rifles.

Privi Partisan has some 175 grain ammo out and there is supposed to be some 150 grain soft point stuff to from this company but I haven't seen any yet.

Try this guy for online ammo:

http://www.ammoman.com

and these guys are pretty good at having something on hand:
http://aimsurplus.com

Slugless
October 6, 2007, 12:43 PM
That's a pretty good price on the Winchester. CTD originally had a price close to that - actually, take a close look at the CTD pricing. A number in parenthesis is often negative. What CTD is saying is that you lose up to $2.50 in value per box! They have good prices on certain things but sheesh....

Okay, anyone know anything about this Lithuanian ammo?

Anyone have any idea why the Lithuanians would have surplus NATO ammo? Seems pretty weird to me. How long have they actually been in Nato? 3 years or something?

If it's good I'll grab some of those battlepacks.

TexasRifleman
October 6, 2007, 12:47 PM
Another cut and past from the Fulton Armory website. This is an endless discussion for M14 owners of course so there are lots of opinions. Walk Kuleck posted the following on their website.

This is a perennial topic, kinda like ".45 vs. 9mm" or "Best Guns & Loads for Deer."

They are not the same.

They are the same.

They are not the same, 'cause the .308 Win was released by Winchester several years before the Army standarized the T64E3 as the 7.62MM. You'll get an endless discussion of pressure specs, endless because SAAMI and the Ordnance Dep't measured pressure in different, unrelateable ways. However, the chamber drawings are different.

They are the same, 'cause nobody (and Clint's been looking for many years!) makes 7.62MM ammo that isn't to the .308 "headspace" dimension spec. So 7.62MM ammo fits nicely into .308 chambers, as a rule.

More confusion, how fun! :)

Slugless
October 6, 2007, 01:01 PM
Fellow Texan,

The discussion you mention is exactly the one I'm trying to avoid! I'm not looking for civilian .308 to run through my Thunder Lizard, I'm looking for 7.62x51 that is made by Winchester & other "civilian" manufacturers. The milsurp is drying up but I'm pretty chuffed at finding the Lithuanian battle packs out there. Just don't know how good they are.

So far-
Winchester. Pricey, assume it's decent shooting
Barnual. Steel case. I won't run more than what I have through the Thunder Lizard.
Privi Partisan - brass case. I didn't see the 7.62x51 labeling on the pic at Midway's site.

I'm looking for something with the NATO designation on the box.

TexasRifleman
October 6, 2007, 01:08 PM
I'm not looking for civilian .308 to run through my Thunder Lizard, I'm looking for 7.62x51 that is made by Winchester & other "civilian" manufacturers.

Well that's the problem. Civilian makers may call it 7.62x51 but it not be NATO. Any civilian maker is going to have to use SAAMI pressure specs to keep out of lawsuit heaven so the question will then be, is it REALLY NATO spec if it's NOT surplus, even if they put "NATO" or "7.62x51"on the box?

I am not convinced that it will be. Is the Winchester White Box brass NATO stamped? If not, then the 7.62x51 marking is meaningless.

The only way to know for sure is if the brass has the NATO stamp on it, and as far as I know there are no civilian makers using that kind of brass.

Slugless
October 6, 2007, 01:22 PM
I bow to superior wisdom.

Yech. I thought this might be an easy fix, since only a handful of manufacturers are co-labeling (and Winchester is only co-labeling one of many .308 ammos) I figured I wouldn't need to headspace the rifle. I can have my gunsmith headspace the one in Houston, but the one cached in the mountains is a little less convenient. I suppose I can buy a headspace gauge and hopefully not worry about this anymore.

For $25 a pop (2 boxes of ammo) I can buy one go, no go, or field gauge from Brownell's.

Do I need both go & no go? Just go? All 3? What does field mean?

Thanks,

TexasRifleman
October 6, 2007, 01:26 PM
I bow to superior wisdom

Eh, I dunno about that but I've been through the same search and that's what I've learned.

It's very misleading of the ammo makers to mark it as both 7.62x51 AND .308. But then it's NOT misleading since they all use brass that is to the .308 headspace dimension. That does not mean however that the brass is thick enough to withstand firing in a chamber that is over the .308 headspace limit.

Save up the loose change, I'm afraid there's no bargain way out of this one.

Again, quoting the guys at Fulton Armory, clearly MUCH more in tune with this than anyone else I have read:
M14 related, not sure what rifle you are looking at.

Jerry Kuhnhausen, in his classic Shop Manual (available from Fulton Armory; see the M1 Rifle Parts & Accessories or M14 Rifle Parts and Accessories Pages under Books) has published a somewhat controversial recommendation concerning .308 Winchester and 7.62x51mm NATO ammo, headspace & chambers. I broached the subject with him some months ago. He had his plate full, so we decided to chat on this in the future. When we do I'll report the results of our conversation.

I completely agree with Jerry that if you have a chamber with headspace much in excess of 1.636 (say, 1.638, SAAMI field reject), you must use only U.S. or NATO Mil Spec Ammo (always marked 7.62mm & with a cross enclosed by a circle) since the NATO mil spec calls for a far more "robust" brass case than often found in commercial (read .308 Winchester) cartridges. It is precisely why Lake City brass is so highly sought. Lake City brass is Nato spec and reloadable (most NATO is not reloadable, rather it is Berdan primed). Indeed, cheaper commercial ammo can fail at the 1.638 headspace (e.g., UMC) in an M14/M1 Garand. Many military gas guns (e.g., M14 Rifles & M60 Machine guns) run wildly long headspace by commercial (SAAMI) standards (U.S. Military field reject limit for the M60 & M14 is 1.6455, nearly 16 thousandths beyond commercial (SAAMI) GO, & nearly 8 thousandths beyond commercial (SAAMI) field reject limit!).

I also agree that 1.631-1.632 is a near perfect headspace for an M14/M1A or M1 Garand chambered in .308 Winchester. But I think that it also near perfect for 7.62mm NATO!

W.E.G.
October 6, 2007, 01:32 PM
SAAMI spec for .308 "go" measurement is 1.630"
I'm unsure of whether SAAMI has a "no-go" spec for .308.

Chamber specs and headspace gages x51 guns seem to vary, depending on who you ask. But only by about .002" - which simply does not matter. Typically this range is 1.630 - to 1.632 for the "go" spec. The "no-go" and "field" specs for x51 seems to have even greater range of variation - again depending on the idiosyncracies of your information source.

I use an RCBS Precision Mic tool to compare ammunition to headspace gages.

http://i227.photobucket.com/albums/dd7/rkba2da/precisionmic.jpg

Almost universally, every milsurp and commercial x51 or .308 round I have measured with this tool comes in a good 0.003" shorter than even the 1.630" spec. Remember too, NONE of the ammunition (milsurp or commercial) is designed with the specific intent that the cases can be reloaded and re-fired. Of course we know such reload/refire is possible with some excersise of care and knowledge.

The only ammo I ever measured that came in over the 1.630 spec was a small lot of de-linked Malaysian. The measurements of various rounds were inconsistent one versus the other by about 0.004". A few rounds mic'd at 1.633. Of course this ammo was intended for use in machine guns (or at least I assume that's why it was linked). We know from examination of various x51 machine guns, these guns usually have more "generous" chambers than your favorite Krieger-barrelled match rifle. So, the longer dimension on that Malasian ammo would have been a total non-issue when used in the guns for which it was produced and originally distributed.

Slugless
October 6, 2007, 02:56 PM
I have a Springfield M1A, loaded & my buddy has a M1A NM.

Okay, if I headspace the rifle and get more than 1.636, go with only NATO ammo if I want to be very conservative. Which I have been so far, only NATO to date.

Sigh. And now, of course, the question - if I go with commercial ammo, what to do about the primers?

I've done homework on this in the past & I recall a bunch of guys saying they had good luck w/this or that ammo, but don't recall anyone saying what manufacturers had hard primers or inspecting the firing pin marks. Except for maybe PMC?

I'd just re-look at those old threads but there's not-so knowledgeable people posting amidst the wiser ones....

TexasRifleman
October 6, 2007, 06:10 PM
I have a Springfield M1A, loaded & my buddy has a M1A NM.

Don't mean to be rude or anything, please don't take it that way but......

Feeding questionable ammo to a $1000+ rifle to save a few cents per round seems like a bad idea on the surface.

I know it's getting hard to find, and it's expensive, but NATO ammo is what these rifles were made to eat. Feeding them anything else could end in a bad way. (if the headspace is unknown)

Slugless
October 6, 2007, 06:42 PM
TR,

Hey, I agree. No offense taken because I'm trying not to run potentially bad stuff. The rifle is made to NATO spec so I'd rather run the Nato spec - when I can get it. I've never run ammo labeled .308 through the rifle.

The only surplus I've seen lately was Indian. There's Lake City, $$$ when you can get it. There's commercial ammo and lots of people shoot it. There's commercial ammo labeled 7.62 x 51.

I was assuming the civi labeled 7.62 was acceptable, hence the questions. Which led to looking into headspace & primers.

But if my basic assumption is wrong, that the civilian 7.62x51 meets NATO spec, then you've been very helpful.

-Douglas

W.E.G.
October 6, 2007, 06:53 PM
The rifle is made to NATO spec

Please explain what that statement means.

Slugless
October 6, 2007, 06:59 PM
I'm referring to the chamber, not the whole rifle.

If a Springfield M1A chamber is not NATO spec, please let me know.

ROMAK IV
October 6, 2007, 11:20 PM
I am sorry, but the ammunition is basically the same. Military 7.62 x 51, has a thicker case and will tolerate the added headspace of the military rifle. For example, MagTech makes a 308 labelled amunition, but The cartridge has a thicker case and the neck is annealed, so I wouldn't be afriad to fire it in a 7.62 x 51 rifle. What you do is check the headspace of your rifle, and use the apporpriate ammunition accordingly, or simply make sure your rifle is within 308 specs, important not only for safety, but essential as much of the 7.62 x 51 goes away.

Slugless
October 6, 2007, 11:56 PM
Romak,

I know, I know. :confused:

Problem is, the manufacturer recommends against it. When researching .308 vs. 7.62x51 I see comments like:

Actually there are pretty significant differences between the rounds, but they really only matter if you shoot military style auto-loading target rifles like the M1A SM.

To whinge, one of the rifles has a NM chamber, it's an hour away from any town that might have a gunsmith, I don't have headspace gauges, for any given .308 I don't know if the primers are soft or hard, I don't know how good the brass is, I've not measured the case length or looked to see if primers are high... :scrutiny:

I'm not trying to start the .308 vs. 7.62 NATO thing again, although the MagTech info is interesting, thank you. I was hoping the civilian 7.62x51 would be mil-spec stuff, or close enough for government work. I will be doing the headspacing and, like you say, the surplus goes away....

TexasRifleman
October 7, 2007, 12:00 AM
What you do is check the headspace of your rifle, and use the apporpriate ammunition accordingly, or simply make sure your rifle is within 308 specs

Certainly, but a good many if not most M1A/M14 style rifles are going to be at the edge of acceptable for .308, with many over the limit. The Navy Garands with 7.62 barrels are notorious for this.

It's not a rare happening. Should you WANT it to be within the SAAMI specs? Sure. But what if you are not?

There are plenty of documented cases of commercial ammo failing at 1.638 headspace, which is the SAAMI field reject length.

UMC was well known for having case failures in that scenario.

Field Reject for an M14 chamber is 1.6455, that's a loooong way past the SAAMI spec and if you own one of these rifles, you sure as hell better not go along with the ".308 and 7.62 NATO are the same" crowd.

W.E.G.
October 7, 2007, 12:12 AM
If a Springfield M1A chamber is not NATO spec, please let me know.


OK. You are notified.

Springfield usually headspaces the M1A at 1.630 to 1.631.

Slugless
October 7, 2007, 01:14 AM
WEG,

Terse.

But ultimately helpful.

http://carnival.saysuncle.com/002453.html

sniper69
October 7, 2007, 01:29 AM
That's a pretty good price on the Winchester. CTD originally had a price close to that - actually, take a close look at the CTD pricing. A number in parenthesis is often negative. What CTD is saying is that you lose up to $2.50 in value per box! They have good prices on certain things but sheesh....

Okay, anyone know anything about this Lithuanian ammo?

Anyone have any idea why the Lithuanians would have surplus NATO ammo? Seems pretty weird to me. How long have they actually been in Nato? 3 years or something?

If it's good I'll grab some of those battlepacks.

From what I've heard the Lithuanians were given some M14's by our government back when they joined Nato. Our government "bought" the M14's back from Lithuania. So maybe they don't see/don't have the need for the ammo and that is why it is being surplused...
Just a thought.

Slugless
October 7, 2007, 01:45 AM
Okay gents, I'm pretty satisfied here.

The Thunder Lizard's throat will be checked by the doctor and she will be on a diet of mil-surp ammo for the immediate future.

If her throat's okay she may get some expensive treats.

Thanks to all!

TexasRifleman
October 7, 2007, 11:21 AM
If a Springfield M1A chamber is not NATO spec, please let me know.

The SAAMI specs are 1.630 GO, 1.634 NO GO, 1.638 FIELD REJECT

The NATO specs are 1.6350 GO, 1.6405 NO GO, 1.6455 FIELD REJECT

Now all that said, nearly ever M14 type expert on the planet recommends a headspace of .631-.632 so that's why Springfield is "out of spec" for NATO.

My Fulton M14s are both at .632

The reason no one uses the NATO spec is because in reality the .308 WIN was out before the NATO round and although the chamber sizes differ, no one actually ever made any ammo that was NOT to the .308 WIN headspace dimension. (one exception below) Pressure specs are different, chamber shape is different, but in this one measurement they are all about the same. I suspect there might be some product liability concerns too if Springfield were to sell a rifle that might have problems with commercial ammo.

That is all a good thing, meaning that it's NORMALLY safe to shoot commercial .308 in just about any M14, but until the headspace is known it's not worth the gamble. If you happen to own a "real deal" M14 then all bets are off, but for all practical purposes them puppies are made of unobtanium :)

There were actually a couple of manufacturers making 7.62 NATO that was outside the .308 WIN spec but they were making ammo for a British machine gun and no one here in the US has ever had any of that ammo that I have heard of.

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