PSL/FPK/Romak-3 and 185gr commercial ammo


January 21, 2008, 11:06 PM
Picked up and FPK at last week's gun show, only non-corrosive ammo I could get was Wolf 148gr and Brown and Silver Bear 185gr. Liked the price on the Bears a lot better!

I've read the threads about light ball and heavy ball and warnings about using heavy ball.

My question is has anyone actually damaged one of these PSL/FPK/Romak-3 guns from shooting commercial 185gr ammo? I'm sure surplus 7.62x54R loaded for machine guns with the heavy bullets could damage them. Its easy to skip the 203 gr stuff. I'll stick to light ball for surplus as its hard to know what you are really getting.

But shooting the 148gr Wolf and the 183gr Bears I felt little if any difference in recoil, the empties were all in the same general vicinity, and it seems the Bears grouped a bit better -- too windy and rainy to be really sure but I had to get out and shoot my new toy! Don't see any damage to the rims or other differences between the 148 gr and 185 grain empties to suggest any change in extraction/ejection violence. In fact found all the Bear empties and only about half the Wolf.

I generally try to avoid corrosive ammo, but for long range plinking fun I plan to order a few 440 round tins of surplus light ball. Which is better Hungarian or Bulgarian? Cost is about the same. I don't care about anything else unless you've got a link where I can actually buy some as these are the only two I've found on-line so far.

I've not heard of damage to AKs from using 154gr ammo instead of the "standard" 123gr fodder which is actually a slightly larger percentage increase in bullet weight than the 185 is over the 148gr stuff. The FPK is basically just a big AK.


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Deer Hunter
January 22, 2008, 12:17 AM
You should be fine, just stay away from hotter and heavier machien gun loads. If it really worries you, I've heard of people using a spring from an M1A in their PSL.

In any case, I envy you. I want one of those rifles very, very badly.

January 22, 2008, 12:23 AM
Use only light ball (~150gr) in a PSL/FPK. I've seen lots of nasty pictures of case head separations and the horror stories of trying to get stuck cases out of the chamber. There's a little tool that will get stuck cases out for you, but it's not something you want to be doing all the time.

Definitely stay away from surplus heavy ball.

January 22, 2008, 10:27 AM
There's a couple I've seen. Heavy ball ammo is bad, because the pressure curve is different than light ball. The bullet leaves the barrel when there's more pressure still in the barrel and venting through the gas port than there should be.

There was one good thread where some guy had a brand-new PSL that just tore itself apart on the third round ever, because he was shooting 205gr loads, but it was on the Old Gunboards, and got lost in the move to New Gunboards.

January 22, 2008, 11:52 AM
Any input on which of the currently available surplus light ball is "better" Hungarian or Bulgarian?

Remember I'm asking about current production commercial 185gr 7.62x54R ammo, not surplus heavy ball which I don't see the point of risking since its price is basically the same as the surplus light ball.


January 22, 2008, 11:57 AM
Consensus is that the Hungarian is better. But, the Bulgarian is brass-cased.


January 22, 2008, 06:31 PM
Thanks I've ordered a case of the Hungarian light ball from AIM surplus and some of the Russian 7N1 from Outdoor Marksman.

Since they are not reloadable I see little advantage for brass cased ammo, mine has already worked fine with three commercial steel cased variants.


January 22, 2008, 08:46 PM
I don't know, I have an AK buffer in mine, but I wouldn't want to take the chance. There is a little bit of Russian light ball available as well, but it's not going to last long. I got a good supply when it was still cheap. The Czech light ball is very good, as well and is usually marked with silver paint on the tip of the bullet. Not all the light ball is marked, and could be a problem in the future if things get mixed up a bit.

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