Shooting steel with 7.62x54r?


May 15, 2012, 11:26 PM
I just bought a mosin nagant today and I am looking to buy some ammo for it. I've found Russian and Bulgarian silver tip for a decent price but I am a little confused. The Russian one says "light ball steel core ammo" but the other one that is just marked "Com-Bloc Russian or Bulgarian" says nothing at all about steel core. I shoot at steel targets so I dont think I want steel core ammo. Can someone enlighten me?

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May 15, 2012, 11:49 PM
Are you now shooting the steel targets with some other high power rifle with copper/lead ammo without any problem?

DANO 308
May 16, 2012, 12:01 AM
Pretty much all of that ammo is steel core. Especially the 147gn Com Bloc stuff that comes in the 440 rd tins. I've shot hundreds of rounds at a steel dong and the sparks are pretty impressive. I never shoot steel at less than 300 yards and never have a problem.

May 16, 2012, 12:27 AM
I am not a physics major so take this for what you paid for it. I have heard the real killer of steel is velocity, and the mild steel core should not make a whole lot of difference.

May 16, 2012, 12:37 AM
Ok thanks for the replies so far. I have shot both tula 223 and wolf 7.62x39 at it so far without any problems. But as far as I know, neither of those are steel core.

Shadow 7D
May 16, 2012, 01:03 AM
Depends on what type of x39 or 5.56, some to lots is steel core
now that said, *some* types of steel would hold up better than others
lead is soft, even 'mild' steel is many orders harder than lead.
and it will wear the plates faster
I have seen a LEAD projectile go through worn 1" plate, mind you it was a Barret 82...

May 16, 2012, 02:30 PM
Take this very seriously: Do not shoot steel on hot dry days. Made that mistake ONCE. Actually, not me, but a guy who wanted to shoot my mosin (no harm, no foul), shot a steel post and the sparks started a fire. I, being a genius, wore flip flops to the DNR shooting range and my feet got VERY hot and I lost a lot of leg hair trying to stamp out the fire for the next 30 minutes. Every time we got it put out, another smouldering area would burst into flames again. Also a good idea to bring extra water to the range....

May 16, 2012, 02:51 PM
I've shot steel with my Mosin, keep the plate far away when you shoot it. One round bounced back and up, whizzed about 5 feet over my head from 100yds. I could hear it going by.

May 16, 2012, 04:30 PM
Had a kid with a Moisin shooting at some 1/2" AR500 steel armor plate targets at 100 yards last week end. The 7.62 x 54R steel core stuff didn't even scratch them.

I was shooting at some pitted up mild steel plates at 100 yards with some black-tip AP 30-06 in my Garand about 15 years ago and one of the steel cores came back, went in my wrist and stopped in my elbow. Felt like somebody hit me in the arm with a baseball bat, I thought the gun had blown up. Took a couple of hours of surgery to get it out.

May 16, 2012, 04:42 PM
I've been told (can't remember where just this minute) that the milsurp ammo will penetrate 1/4" plate at 175 yards. I've shot a few plates with it (I have access to throw offs from a fabrication shop) and it will indeed drill 1/4" at shorter distances, I shot it at 100 yards. I started this scary little round of experimentation with the plate turned at an angle to send the ricochets into a hillside in case they did not do thru. But at any less than a 45 degree angle they burned holes in it.

May 16, 2012, 04:52 PM
45 auto - that's crazy. Glad it didn't kill ya :)

May 16, 2012, 05:11 PM
Please educate me if you will. I have put thousands of rounds thru firearms in my life but the vast majority of it has been at paper targets, apples, turtles, watermelons, empty cans and bottles, etc. I dont think I have ever shot at a steel target. And If I did it wasnt with steel ammo. I am assuming the number 1 danger is fire as stated by savager. But it sounds like richochet is downright dangerous. So what precautions should you take before firing at steel targets? What are the advantages of said targets?


May 16, 2012, 05:17 PM
Use hardened steel, preferably AR500- armor plate. And hang it so it can swing when hit.

Steel "dings" when hit, sounds cool and lets you know you scored a hit at long range.

May 16, 2012, 05:57 PM
45 auto - that's crazy. Glad it didn't kill ya

Yeah, I was lucky. 4 inches higher and 4 inches to the left would have put it in my eye. Doubt if my glasses would have stopped it. I'm real careful shooting steel with a rifle, I tend to do most of my steel shooting with pistols and lead bullets now.

It was real similar to this .50 richochet except that it was only a 30-06 and hit me in the wrist where I was holding the gun. I've still got a nice scar to keep reminding me to be careful!

Same thing almost happened to this guy, you can see the bullet bounce off the ground in front of him before it hits him in the head.

Be careful shooting steel, it's fun but you have to realize what could happen. Make sure the targets are angled to deflect the bullet downwards and can swing free to dissapate as much of the impact as possible.

Shadow 7D
May 16, 2012, 06:41 PM
Lead can bounce 'ricochet'
iron probably will bounce
steel WILL bounce

When lead hits the plate, it's very ductile (compared to steel) and will deform and shatter sideways, kinda like a water balloon thrown at a concrete wall.

Steel is like a rubber ball thrown at a wall.

The steel is elastic, and when the round fails to penetrate completely, the steel core compresses, and if does not shatter, it stores energy like a spring, the plate deforms, doing the same, the elasticity will cause the steel core to bounce just like a rubber ball.

May 16, 2012, 07:42 PM
Wow. Lots of interesting stuff here. Thanks everyone for all of the info. The target is AR500 but is not set up to swing so I think I'm going to stick with paper on the mosin. Thanks again for all of the responses

May 16, 2012, 08:12 PM
1/4" mild steel at 100 yards, Russian surplus

May 16, 2012, 08:58 PM
Thanks. Interesting and good info

May 16, 2012, 09:00 PM
FYI even though they say silver tip rounds it is in reality FMJ ammo with a lead core and steel rod within to keep costs down. The tip is "silver" cause it is painted that color. I have taken apart several types of so called silver tip Russian ammo to see what it was. In my mosins the 440 round silver tip Hungarian spam cans were the most accurate and consistent but all of the surplus has corrosive primers so far as I can get info. The best ammo for the mosin were Russian 330 round brass cased rounds found in pink wrapped string tied bundles and packed in rectangular soldered tin that was dated around 1951--52. IIRC I got these from Cheaper Than Dirt about 1994 for $10.50 per can. At the time I bought 15 cans and still am shooting it.:) I used the real tin container to alloy with my lead to harden my bullets and will do so until I run out of it.:D

Shadow 7D
May 16, 2012, 10:31 PM
In pink paper?
by any chance did these hand tied bundles have some diagonal words on it started with something looks like C H?

If so, then you had sniper rounds.

May 17, 2012, 09:49 AM
If you are shooting mild plate your 7.62 x 54R will sail clean through a 1/2" of the stuff if it's not free swinging.

May 17, 2012, 11:57 AM
Softer steel is much more dangerous because it can be deformed and creates dished impact effects over many shots. Those dished sections can turn an incoming projectile around and thow it back uprange on occasion.

So using stuff like AR500 is the recommended solution. Failing that, inspect the steel targets you're be shooting for damage and defer if they have significant deformation from "flat".

BTW, steel barrels can play the "send it back uprange" trick on occasion too, don't use those at all. (Hitting an edge and the projectile can follow the contour and zip back out again).

I like steel targets but they have to be treated with respect.

May 17, 2012, 12:21 PM
My son's and I have been shooting MilSurp 440 round russian ammo for years. The stuff goes right through a Brake rotor, (both disks) 1/4 steel plate @ 100 yards same thing, Looks just like the picture a couple posts up. If you're really anxious, just put a bit of a tilt on the plate so any richochetts bounce downward. I made a small extension that screws on the normal cleaning rod. At the end of the day, I just push a patch that has windex from the breech through and out the muzzle. A thorough clean job is done on return home.


May 17, 2012, 10:54 PM
Shadow 7D I believe they did indeed. Never payed much mind but they did shoot well for me.:cool: I have 4 cans left BTW.

Shadow 7D
May 18, 2012, 12:22 AM
Frog, um, can you be my buddy?

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