What load to use in Spanish M1916 small ring Mauser in 308 Win/7.62x51mm NATO


December 25, 2011, 01:49 AM
I just got a Spanish Mauser, small ring, in 7.62x51mm/308 Win. I have heard and read a lot about the problems some feel with using commercial 308 pressure rounds in the small ring action. Does anyone own one of these rifles and if so what hand-load do you shoot in them? Going by my reloading manuals I am looking at starting with between 38 AND 40 gns of IMR 4064 with a 147 gn projectile. Does anyone have a good hand-load for this rifle they would recommend?

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35 Whelen
December 25, 2011, 01:59 AM
I think you'll find your rifle, if it's like mine, has a VERY long throat. I use the Remington 150 gr. bullet seated quite a ways past the cannelure. Doing this ads to case capacity which in turn lowers velocity, but also allows for the use of more powder.

I use H4895 in both my 308's but I'll not reveal the load here lest the hand-wringing, fatalistic, Chicken Little types start wailing and gnashing their teeth.

Any powder such as Varget, IMR 4064, IMR or H4895, and Re15 are all good powders in the .308. Just start low and work your way up, watching for pressure signs. A chronograph is an indespensible tool for load development.


December 25, 2011, 02:12 AM
I do really need to get a chronograph that is one of the pieces of equipment i have not quite gotten to yet.

December 25, 2011, 01:54 PM
I have run commercial .308Win in my Spanish FR8 (large ring action), but I handload 7.62X51 for it as well as for my M1916. The M1916 gets a specific lighter load, because it IS a hundred year old action, and I don't care for recoil in a light rifle. These loads are to an approximate ".30-40 KRAG" level.
Be careful which powder you use - some don't take to reduced loads safely.

Having done a lot of googling and reading on various sources, I have found NO credible instances of an M1916 blow-up due to commercial factory .308Win ammo. I believe this "soft Spanish steel" rumor concerning the rifles to be unfounded. The 'cottage industry' cheapo pistols are a different matter.....

But I do prefer to be safe than sorry. I'll stick with my lighter loads. :cool:

December 25, 2011, 05:03 PM
I feed mine Hodgdon "Youth" loads. Reduced charges of H4895 with 125gr bullets. I generally do not hunt with this rifle, but would not hesitate to take an under 100 yard broadside shot with this load.

December 27, 2011, 12:42 PM
Loads for my small ring Mauser.

110 gr Sierra hp, 39.6 gr IMR 3031, Win std pr, Win br, OAL 2.603, 2596 avg fps
110 gr Sierra hp, 40.5 gr IMR 3031, Win std pr, Win br, OAL 2.603, 2703 avg fps
110 gr Sierra hp, 41.5 gr IMR 3031, Win std pr, Win br. OAL 2.603, 2779 avg fps

All a little soft but good varmit loads and the old Spanish Mauser seemed to like them. I can live with those hits with an old, old piece of armament. I have done a little work on the old gal such as 1. Turning and grinding down the od of the barrel to a nice taper. 2. removing two inches from the end of the barrel and champering. 3. Turned down the bolt. 4. Added a new safety so as to work under the scope. 5. Added a Timmney trigger. Working down a blank stock to fit and then glass bedding into the new stock. The first three shots after bedding are as follows. http://i11.photobucket.com/albums/a199/Renigeid/IMG_4988.jpg

Yeah, I know, a lot of time and money to spend on an old $87 Spanish Mauser small ring but she sure does shoot good. Showed potential when I ran the first three rounds through her after bringing home from the gun show or I would not have done it.

Pics of the old gal



Target # 1 with 39.6 grs @ 100 yds.http://i11.photobucket.com/albums/a199/Renigeid/IMG_6084.jpg

Target # 2 with 40.5 grs @ 100 yds. http://i11.photobucket.com/albums/a199/Renigeid/IMG_6086.jpg

Target # 3 with 41.5 grs @ 100 yds. http://i11.photobucket.com/albums/a199/Renigeid/IMG_6085.jpg

I have also worked up and run some 150 gr Sierra spitzer BT's through her at 2609 fps using AA # 2230 and 150 gr Sierra spitzer BT's at 2716 fps using IMR 3031.

By the way, I don't claim to be the best rifle shot in the house. The old eyes are going dim and the old hands are growing shakey at the ripe old age of 76 years. Guess I am lucky to just still be reloading and shooting. I think the rifle can do much better, perhaps MOA, with some good steady hands ahold of her.

Happy shooting and a great new year ahead folks. Jim

December 28, 2011, 03:12 PM

December 28, 2011, 03:22 PM
What is the goal here?

Hunting or just wanting to make the rifle go bang and hit the target.

If its the latter check out imr TRAIL BOSS loads on hodgdons online reloading data centre.

Using 13grs of the stuff with a 147g pulled fmj and the rear sight set to 500m I can't miss clay pigeons on the 100yd berm with my Spanish actioned American eagle Mauser

Pressures will be under 30k psi and velocity will be appx 1400 fps w no recoil to speak of.

posted via tapatalk using android.

December 28, 2011, 07:35 PM
RWDale - I have no intention of hunting with this gun I have several other options fr a dear gun. I just want to target shoot this gun safely and hopefully accurately. Thanks for the info n trail boss loads.

35 Whelen
December 28, 2011, 08:27 PM
Your best source for handloads for the .308 or most any cartridge for that matter, is a Lyman manual. I have the latest, the 49th Edition and it has gobs of loads for the .308. There are even some speedy loads with pressures down in the SAAMI range for the 7x57mm for which this action was supposedly "designed".

Here are a few loads that give decent velocities yet yield pressures at or BELOW the 46,000 CUP established for the 7x57:

50.0 grs. (Compressed) WW748, 150 gr. Hornady, Vel. 2996 fps; Pressure: 43,200 CUP

52.0 grs. (Compressed) WW760, 150 gr. Hornady, Vel. 2787 fps; Pressure: 45,200 CUP

50.5 grs. (Compressed) H-380, 165 gr. Nosler Partition, Vel. 2641 fps; PRessure: 45,900 CUP

51.5 grs. (Compressed) WW760, 165 gr. Nosler PArtition, Vel. 2646 fps; Pressure: 43,500 CUP

These loads are maximum, but as low as the pressures are, I'm certain they're listed as maximum because there's no more case capacity. But nevertheless, work up slowly. And as I said in a previous post, my 1916 and my FR-8 have LONG throats, so if you seat the bullet out of the case, your pressures will be even lower than if they were seated to the established o.a.l., but of course your velocities will likely be somewhat lower because of this and the fact that Lyman used a 24" in barrel in their rifle.


December 28, 2011, 09:55 PM
I would stick close to the original military load as these guns were made as 7 mm Mauser's and a lot of 7.62x51mm loads are hot as a Spanish flamenco dancer, I know a lot of people have warned me of the 45,000 psi working pressure of the 7 mm mauser,and the 7.62x51 mm pressure a full 10,000 psi higher,on the same action is marginaly safe......and should be downloaded if possible,on the other hand i shot my 1916 308. using win silvertips,which always yeilded 1 in groups at 100 yrds off hand,dang it, i never shoulda sold that rifle:banghead:

February 7, 2012, 04:51 PM
All I ended up loading some lake city 308 win brass with 39 grains of IMR 4064, 147 grain FMJ-BT M80 bullet, and a Winchester large rifle primer. The rifle shot about 12 inches low and 6 inches to the left. This load should be at about 41,000 pressure rating. I did not see any sign of metal fatigue or streatching of the receiver.

February 7, 2012, 05:55 PM
Many if not most of these Mausers had an insert placed in the chamber because of the longer legth of the 7X57 that they were originally made in. If the work was done poorly (spotty QC issues), you can have an interesting problem. That said, a Spanish 1916 conversion in good condition will safely fire 7.62x51. I wouldn't go hot rodding the ammo for it but low to med. range loads shouldbe fine. Your mileage may vary, no warranties given expressed or implied, etc.

Read up on Low Pressure Spanish 308 / 7.62x51. Also read up on the 1916 conversions.

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