Tried a search, and either the answers aren't quite there, or my brain is broken. Could easily be the latter considering how much info is on this site. :p
I'm new to reloading, and am still trying to get all the tools and such together, if that helps.
At any rate:
1. I'll be loading for a Mosin M44 that will end up scouterized. Shoots pretty good as is, but I figure with handloads and trigger work it'll be better. I slugged the bore a few times and I'm sittin at .310. What sort of bullets can I get, size wise? Main use will be punching targets/melons/etc but I'd like to use the same load for hunting as well, should I get to hunt in a rifle zone. I'm not looking for minute-of-ant-genitals either, but I'd like to get as accurate as the platform can be. I'm thinking hard cast lead bullets first. These need to actually be larger diameter, right? So I'm looking at .311 or so? Anyone know who makes them in decent weights/styles, without breaking the bank?
How about jacketed bullets? I read somewhere I could go down to .308 with those, but I have no idea if that source was reputable.
Oh, and casting my own is not an option at this time, sadly.
2. What set of dies is good? The Lee dies seem nice and cheap, but isn't there a few issues with them in this caliber? Press is a hand me down RCBS Jr if it matters.
3. How's the Winchester/Prvi brass? I'm sure the Lapua and Norma stuff is better, but it's certainly out of my price range. Just want to know what I can expect from the Prvi stuff.
4. Where to go for good load data? I have some in my Modern Reloading book, but want some other sources as well. Most of what I find lists .308 bullets though.
5. Anything else you think I should know? :)
Thanks for reading!
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January 2, 2008, 11:31 AM
I've been loading for my Mosins for a few months now,so I'll help you as much as I can.
First, you can use any .310-.311 rifle bullets you can find, as there isn't much that is chambered in these. For lighter weights, use ones listed for 7.62x39. I've shot the Remington soft-point 125gr in a .310 with decent results. For heavier bullets, use 303 bullets. I'm currently shooting a Hornaday 303 caliber .3105" 174gr from my 91/30 Mosin. At 200yds with a front-rest and iron sights, I can put them in the chest of an IDPA target, and my shooting sucks.
You can use 308's but your accuracy will suffer and you won't get the max-velocity you could beacause the bullet can't expand far enough to seal.
There are a number of good powders for this. I picked up a can of Varget because it was on sale, but Reloader 15 is supposed to be good too, according to Lyman 48th. Nice thing about Varget is that it doesn't seem to give a hoot about what the temperature is outside. It also meters consistantly through a Perfect Powder Measure.
Lee dies are okay. I had an issue with my Sizing Die shaving brass off at the base. After I got case failures from three loads, I e-mailed Lee and then sent in my die to have the missed final-polish job re-done. It came back and it's working just fine now.
If I had to choose again, I'd look for, and spend the extra money on, a neck-sizing only die. With bolt-guns, you don't need to full-length resize the cases unless they've been fired in a different gun. For the savings on the life of the brass, keeping brass associated with only one gun is worth it.
The Winchester brass is kinda cheap. That's what I've been using, but only because it's all I can find locally and already primed. I've never tested the Lapua, but I've been told good things.
Load data is everywhere, but you have to look, as it's a few loads here, a few there. Lyman 48th has a page and a half of loads, based off of .311-.312 bullets. Also try the web-sites for the different powder companies. Their load data is the latest and you can sometimes find info there that you can't find elsewhere.
One trick I've found... When I started loading for my 39 and 54R cartidges, the 310 bullets wouldn't hold a seating depth when the bullet's cannelure hit the mouth. It would just drop free to the top of the cannelure and that screwed everything up. Well, obviously the next was sized too large with the 311 expander. My 7.62x39 came with both the 308 and 311 expander pins. So I size with the 308, and add in an extra step of just starting to expand the neck with the 311 expander. This keeps the lower part of the neck tight against the bullet to prevent drops and the top is wide enough to start the 310.
Of course, this might not work with any other brand of dies.:D
Hope this info helps. Let me know if you have any other questions.
January 2, 2008, 12:53 PM
Hi Matt I have been loading for my M44 for about a year. I use the RCBS die set that comes with two expander balls one for .308 bullets and the other for .310 my rifle shoots .311 and .312 bullets the best The thing about the Lee dies it that the expander ball with them is for .308 bullets. If you try and push the .311 or larger bullet into the case your probably going to crush the shoulder. That being said I do like the Lee FCD I have one for all my different Rds. I load for me using a Med. crimp gives me better accuracy,you will get allot of different opinions on crimp vs. no crimp but thats what works for me. You can crimp bullets with no cannalure with the Lee crimp die.
As far as Load data I get all of mine for the 54r from the Lyman #48 manual,the most accurate load for me has been the Lyman accuracy load 43.5 Gr. of Reloader #15 with the Hornady .312 flat base soft point crimped on the crimp groove. I use a LR bench rest primer with this load also. My local range is closed down for repairs right now so out in my backyard range I can shoot a 1" 3 shot group all day long with this load the MAX load using RL#15 is 48.5 gr. so you have room to work with this load. I also use the Hornady 174 Gr flat base RN with the same powder with equal results bullet drops about 4 inches lower though so you have to adjust accordingly which on my rifle I put the rear sight on the 200 Meter mark at 100 yds and I,m back around dead center again.
I use Graf brass its about $40 for 100 unprimed cases and I trim mine with the Lee case length guage and cutter. My M44 also shoots better with the bayo folded.
Brass shipping is only $4.50 with $30 orders.
Bullets I like.
January 2, 2008, 04:39 PM
Thanks for the info folks!:) I'll pick up a Lyman's book soon.
Also, found some 190gr .311 round nose lead bullets from Gardners Cache, anybody know anything about those folks?
Or about heavier round nosers in general, for targets and esp. hunting?
January 2, 2008, 05:22 PM
I used the PRVI brass and Sierra 150 grain .311 spitzers with pretty good results. But with the Lee dies I had to get an slightly oversize expander ball for any bullets sized .311-.312". It was a couple dollars more. Also the Lee Universal Shellholder set does not have the shellholder for use in the auto-prime. had to order that separate, also. I use H4895 for powder.
January 2, 2008, 09:43 PM
I have lots of 7.62x54R dies.
A) I have some expensive Forster sliding sleeve seaters and factory honed neck sizer dies.
B) I have some dirt cheap RCBS dies.
The groups may improve from .5" to .4" with better dies in some heavy varmint rifle, but in a military 7.62x54R, the game is to get the 3" groups down to 1" groups.
Fancy dies will not help.
What will help is:
a) Good commercial bullets. Do not waste your time with military bullets.
b) mount a scope and weld the bolt
c) glass bed the action and first 1" of barrel.
d) relieve the stock around the barrel
e) only use rifles with good barrels, no corrosive primer damage allowed
f) only shoot on windless days
g) do a trigger job by putting a few layers of tape under the sear
h) seat the bullets long and jam the bullet into the lands