Wildcatting the 7.62x54R: A quest for 4000+ FPS


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jkpq45
September 8, 2011, 01:58 PM
Good Morning All,

I've been doing some searching on the 'net for those who have been crazy enough to wildcat the 7.62x54R round. I've seen plenty of info about taking the cartridge up to 9.3+mm bore diameter, but want to know if anyone has any info about rebarreling and chambering for .22 (5.56x54R) or maybe even .17 (4.3x54R).

It seems that with the abundance of match-grade .22 barrels available, a proper improvement on the crap x54R neck angle and a serious .22 bullet would produce some screaming velocities.

Perhaps the brass can be formed over a mandrel on the lathe to get it to neck down that far? Some throat diameters on the original 7.62x54R are .314 or above! I've got a long way to go to get a .22 to seat.

Discussion is officially open....
jkpq45

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Jim Watson
September 8, 2011, 03:08 PM
I have no information or experience on the 5.6x54R jkpq but see no reason it would not work as well as any other radical neckdown. It would probably take a multi-die forming process - I don't know what you could do with a lathe - a custom reloading die set, and probably fire forming to the final shape. The usual approach would be to turn or ream the neck down to a conventional brass thickness. CotW says the 5.7x57 RWS with its thick neck has "problems for the handloader."

The barrel installation would be straightforward.

Are you set up to turn, thread and chamber the barrel?
Can you grind reamers for the chamber and the custom form and loading dies?

If not, it is going to be an expensive project to pay a gunsmith for.

jkpq45
September 8, 2011, 03:16 PM
I've done some work on D reamers--basically turning a steel copy of a cartridge, milling it in half lengthwise and slowly end-drilling into the chamber area to lay out a proper chamber. Slow going, but cheap and easy.

Cutting a crown and threading/headspacing should be a cinch on the 9x20 lathe.

Custom forming dies are something I hadn't considered machining myself. Seeing as how I need to come down .090 (from .314 to .224) how many dies should I make? Could I do it in as much as .030 increments, or would it pinch really easily?

billyjoe
September 9, 2011, 12:16 AM
I have heard there is a 6.5mm version that is very popular in finland for deer size game. I can say that taken .30 caliber to .22 would be a real pain. 6.5mm shouldn't be bad though

gamestalker
September 9, 2011, 01:22 AM
Honestly, if I were trying to do something like that I would probably be thinking about 6mm or maybe 6.5mm. That bullet would be easier to stablize in my opinion, better B.C. also. I would try to develope something along the line of a 6mm UM with an extremely slow burning powder. If you consider a fatter cartridge with a tighter angled shoulder, it would most likely be easier to get worked up to those kind of velocities without having to go super extreme with pressures. There are some wildcat 6.5's I've seen that are pushing 4000 fps without a whole lot of effort. I talked to a guy at my shooting range a couple of months ago that was kicking 4200 fps from a wildcat 6.5mm. He was for real and I saw with my own eyes through my chronograph. It wasn't extremely accurate, but I honestly thought the issue was the glass he was using, and not cartridge, action, or barrel related. He was pushing some serious pressures though, but nothing his action was struggling with. He punched a few primers in the work up process and split a few necks too. But come on, 4200 fps, that's smoking hot and something gotta give during a work up like that. Especially since he didn't have any data to really work off of. After he reduced the load a bit it stopped busting primers and splitting necks, and his velcoity was still around the 4000 fps mark.
But I've seen factory 6mm actions make the 4000 fps mark. A light bullet and the right powder will get you there.

Cosmoline
September 9, 2011, 01:41 AM
There's a 6.5x54R and 7x54R wildcats out there now. I see no reason it couldn't be made smaller.

These guys list a 6x54R reamer:

http://www.z-hat.com/ReamerList.htm

And there's reference to a 5.7x53R which is so patently insane it must be Finnish:

http://www.gunandgame.com/forums/powder-keg/89205-7-62x54r-wildcats.html

The pic makes me LOL! The 5.7x53R looks like a great big guy with a wee tiny head.

DWFan
September 10, 2011, 03:47 PM
You might get the .22 BR Remington dies to work. Couldn't full-length resize obviously, but for the neck and shoulder once your cases are fireformed.

armarsh
September 11, 2011, 12:57 AM
Considering that the 22-243 is nearly a 4000 fps cartridge, you should have no problem achieving your goal with another 17 grains of powder to play with, more or less.

22-243? Sure - any day. Buy a 22-250 and rechamber it. Done.
22-284? Why not - it fits in a short action.
22-06? Well - lots of good donor actions - can always make a 25-06 out of it later.
A 5.56 - 7.62x54R? Hmm. Let me know how this works for you. I'm a little skeptical.

Brass wise, you will need some intermediate step like 6.5MM to size the necks down, then anneal and take them down to 22 cal. That is what I have I have done for 22-243 from 308 mil brass.

Clark
September 11, 2011, 01:58 AM
I get 4200 fps with my 223.

evan price
September 11, 2011, 04:36 AM
IMHO, look into the .22 Cheetah wildcat and see what that gets you.

4200+ fps velocity, and barrel life approaching a fruit fly. And that's a 308BR parent case. What you get with your x54R- agains, IMHO- is something that's going to be hard to stabilize at that velocity, and that will burn out barrels fast enough to buy your gunsmith a new boat quite quickly.

Gunnerboy
September 12, 2011, 04:37 PM
I was just thinking about that today when looking at my m44 and wishing i could use it to hunt coons and cats in the snow without blowing the hides to bits, so i have been working on either a 5.56x54r or a 6x54r not sure which yet but i am going to actually go through with this project so if anyone is interested in helping or has any input just send a private message.

heydawg
September 13, 2011, 08:05 PM
People in reloading and precision circles criticize the 7.62x54 case for having a crummy neck and shoulder. But what are they talking about? The 16 degree angle or what? I looked over a whole bunch of case schematics today and it seems that the most common in 6mm and 7mm cases is an angle of either 20 or 30 degrees. The older the case, the more likely it is to have a very shallow angle.

LeonCarr
September 13, 2011, 09:06 PM
With some of the lightweight bullets (maybe the 71 grain FMJ .32 ACP bullets or the lighter bullets made for the .30 Luger/.30 Mauser) handloaded in the 7.62x54R, I think 4000 fps is doable without rebarreling, especially if you have the long barreled (31 inch) rifle. Dunno how accurate the rounds will be, but they will be screaming. Sabot type loads are another option.

All of the above is cheaper than putting a 300 dollar barrel on a 100 dollar rifle.

Just my .02,
LeonCarr

jkpq45
October 2, 2012, 05:08 PM
Updates:

I have turned one reamer and messed up the body taper, then my lathe broke, so I'll start over.

The goal is to minimize body taper, blow the shoulder forward, shift to 40 degrees plus shoulder angle, and have about two to three diameters of neck length. It may look a bit funny when done, but it'll be a screamer.

55gr Nosler Varmageddon ballistic tips (0.243") are ready and waiting....

Steve2md
October 20, 2012, 02:51 AM
of course, if you really went for it and did it in .17...the bullets would probably time travel...lol
Super interesting thread, I love to see people playing with the Underrated Nagant platform. Sure they cost more to build than to buy a "new" one, but we play with them more for the challenge than anything.

ljnowell
October 20, 2012, 03:38 AM
I think if you want to throw a 22 bullet that fast you should buy a .22-250. It would be a lot cheaper.

cfullgraf
October 20, 2012, 10:29 AM
Updates:

I have turned one reamer and messed up the body taper, then my lathe broke, so I'll start over.

The goal is to minimize body taper, blow the shoulder forward, shift to 40 degrees plus shoulder angle, and have about two to three diameters of neck length. It may look a bit funny when done, but it'll be a screamer.

55gr Nosler Varmageddon ballistic tips (0.243") are ready and waiting....

You do realize that if you make a drawing of the cartridge, the reamer makers will make you a custom reamer?

It is not very expensive, in the order of magnitude of twice a standard reamer or so. It would be less than screwing up a surrogate reamer and starting over.

Check with Clymer or the other manufacturers.

Unless of course part of the exercise is to make your own tooling as well.

smaj100
October 20, 2012, 12:40 PM
Why not use an accelerator jacket for a 22 cal bullet. I use them all the time for 30 carbine and 308. Talk about making a bullet ziinngg on out there, load a 69gr fmj accelerated rnd out of 308 barrel. :)

blarby
October 20, 2012, 01:06 PM
40 degrees.......

Ok, so, I wont even bother to ask what you need a 4000fps 7.62*54r wildcat for.

from your description at 40 degrees, you are going to be floating the "X" of the power vortex right in front of or on your bullet, which is going to eat barrels faster than I'm eating this oatmeal right now.

Good luck......

jkpq45
October 20, 2012, 01:30 PM
the goal is to keep the vortex behind the neck of the cartridge. we will see how I do after the first 50 rounds or so :)

regarding the accelerator jackets, those are slick technology, but it will eat barrels just as fast with 3 to 4 times the ammunition cost. I'd prefer to spend my dough creating something unique and replacing barrels versus buying ammunition.

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