Anyone reloading 7.62x54R


March 6, 2013, 09:02 AM
I'll start off by saying am NOT planning on or trying to load steel cased berdan shells.

Have a bunch of boxer primed brass shells that I'd like to start loading for, some are new some are new loaded ammo. Just looking for what you guys are using or can recommend for powder and what bullets you use.

I have yet to slug the barrel so I don't know exactly what my barrel measures out at. Thanks for any help...Eric

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March 6, 2013, 09:08 AM
I'm not, but people do reload for it. Components aren't that hard to find.
Here are some Hodgon loads, it should give you some good starting points.

Varget and H4985 comes up a lot.

For comedy see what you can do with Trail Boss! Could make some nice reduced recoil loads!

March 6, 2013, 09:12 AM
just signing in to subscribe to this thread hoping it provides a lot of good info for when I do start making my own loads...

March 6, 2013, 09:17 AM
A quick search of "7.62x54r" got me these - there are more:

March 7, 2013, 03:10 PM
I load for my Mosin M38 using Hornady's 150gr .312 Soft point interlock bullets. I followed Hornadys load data and worked up from 47.0gr all the way to 49.5gr MAX. Velocity out of the M38's short and counter bored barrel ran from 2471 - 2652 fps. In my rifle the loads were safe and accurate hitting my POA at 50 yards.
Factory new Prvi Partizan 150gr SP ammo ran 2613 fps.
1975 Russian 148gr surplus measured 2629
1942 Russian 150gr surplus ran 2705 fps

I settled on 49.0gr @ 2600 fps for hunting and 48gr @2538 fps for plinking.

I have also tried some .308" bullets. I had good accuracy with Speer Hot Core SP Flat base bullets but horrible accuracy with 308 150gr FMJBT bullets. I blame the BT design and the undersized bullet.
The 308" bullets ran about 50-80 fps slower when I tested them.

March 7, 2013, 03:14 PM
New S&B brass I fire formed at start loads. The new brass was sized much smaller than my chamber.

March 7, 2013, 07:51 PM
I tell people this, and either I am not articulating very well, or it just doesn't make sense.

The 54r headspaces on the rim. The chamber dimensions from the bolt face to the shoulder is "long" in most rifles, as this is not a critical dimension in this design. By this I mean that the new or FL resized case will have a lot of space between the shoulder of the case and the shoulder of the chamber.

When you fire the cartridge the shoulder blows forward under pressure. If you FL size your fired cases, the shoulders will be pushed back to the starting point, which will drastically reduce case life with these cartridges.

Now, with some dies you can adjust the shoulder setback on rimless cases (like 308 or 30-06) by adjusting how far in the press the die goes. We're talking a couple thousandths of an inch usually. This doesn't work with the x54r.

If you look at the x54r case, it has a lot of body taper in it. If you try to just set the shoulders back a skosh using an off the shelf FL resizing die, you will end up with cases not adequately sized in the body dimension, and likely they won't chamber. It is just not a suitable method of sizing these types of cases.

Some guys recommend neck sizing only, which might work, but you may also experience hard bolt closing, and may need to FL resize.

IMO, if you are going to reload for this cartridge, go to C&H Tool and Die and have them cut you a custom FL die. You will be so happy you did this. If you do, then when you resize cases, you will only size them like hand and glove for that chamber. The cost is high when compared to off the shelf dies, but this method really works good and allows you to reload that expensive brass many many times.

It seems silly to spend that kind of money on such a thing when surplus ammo is so plentiful and inexpensive, but many people have been put off on handloading as neophytes who begin with the 54r, only to have case separations at 2 reloadings or something. Same holds true for folks who cut their teeth in this practice using 303 Brit cases.

I hope this made sense.

March 7, 2013, 09:19 PM
My experience with Lee full length sizing dies, is that if I set to die to just touch the shell holder, and then only one eighth of a turn further, it minimally resizes the shoulder dimension. In my experience, this does chamber properly, and gives me much longer case life. Like others, I had a partial head separation when I resized too much. I actually made a cast of one rifles chamber, and made complicated measurements, that demonstrated I was sizing the shoulder back way more than necessary.

Working with two mosin nagants currently, one has a slightly bigger chamber than the other. Both are within spec for headspace. Next sizing, using a Lee loader, for example, is another alternative. Occasional full length minimal resizing may be necessary.

March 7, 2013, 09:38 PM
I use Lapua and PPU cases loaded with either 150gr Sierra GameKings, 150gr Hornady Interlocks, 176gr Hornady Interlock RN, or 200gr Lapua D166 on top of IMR4895.

I also load 115gr and 200gr cast lead on Unique.

7.62x54r is great to reload for.

March 7, 2013, 09:39 PM
So far, no problems kissing the shoulder back .002" using my Lee FL resizer, but I've only reloaded the same batch of cases 5 times. I'll keep an eye out for any problems.

One note, the Lee reloading dies come with a .308 expander. I suggest buying a Lee 303 British Expander/decapping rod to properly open the brass up for .312" bullets.

Good luck and careful reloading.

March 7, 2013, 09:49 PM
I reload two ways. For full power loads, I use a pulled .308 bullet (150grains or so) that I got from and H4895.

For general plinking, I use a cast .311 150 grain bullet and IPP at 7-10 grains (still working up a load). I recently worked up a hotter load than 10 grains and had some leading, so I think I'll stick with 10 grains.

March 7, 2013, 09:50 PM
No clue about the loads but I love yer handle, I have '70 also, big block, 4 speed.....

Tolkachi Robotnik
March 7, 2013, 09:56 PM
I make shells for two different rifles. A lot of above are good points. I do not think you need to push back the shoulders, it does as Stubbicatt says above, reduces case life. You fire form your brass to your specific rifle, and it gets more accurate. You push it back only slightly so it doesn't cam down hard.

I prefer to make a lot of the cartridges from 125 grain bullets actually designed for the SKS or AK family 7.62X39. These are usually around .3105 in diameter, but really are three line and fit the 7.62X54R very well. These bullets are of low expense. These make low recoil rounds that are low powder users and fun enough to shoot. I use IMR 3031 mostly. If you use .308 bullets there is more muzzle blast as burning stuff out runs the bullet down the bore and causes less accuracy. Depending on your rifle, your results will differ. The guilding metal on some of the Russian 125 grain bullets is light, and gouges down to the grooves, this gives accuracy. There are hunting bullets for SKS and AK, made by Hornaday, which will work in the 7.62X54R. They work on deer. The highest accuracy I've gotten is with match bullets by Remington, also 123 grain or 125 grain, but they are FMJ and do not work for hunting.

I do not go for speed. I make even these lighter bullets only go about as fast as some of the factory rounds with 180 grain bullets, and they hit about same on target since they are same speed. I am pretty close to starting points in a lot of the manuals. I have went up a grain or so and they did not shoot better groups, so I came back down.

One of the biggest troubles with the Mosin rifles is the surplus and Bear ammo that is inexpensive is also high recoil stuff. You just get tired of getting beat up after awhile with 204 grain bullets. If you reload you can get away from that.

One of the rifles is a carbine made in Hungary, and it has a much larger chamber than the Russian longer rifle. You can see it with the naked eye, maybe 1/8 inch longer to shoulder. It has to have a lot different pressure dynamic because of this difference. The way things are set on my dies little more than neck sizing is accomplished. I get good accuracy and many reloads out of brass. I segregate the brass specific to the rifles. I have RCBS dies and really like them.

PM me if you need more than this...

March 8, 2013, 05:04 AM
24 point somethin grains of Varget under a Sierra 180gr. .311 fmjsp. Slug your bore for correct bullet diameter.

March 8, 2013, 11:40 AM
24 point somethin grains of Varget under a Sierra 180gr. .311 fmjsp. Slug your bore for correct bullet diameter.

That is no where near correct. Loads with varget in 7.62x54R are in the 40-50grn range with 180 grain pills. 24 grains would not be a good idea. My guess is that you meant to type in 42 instead.

I use 45 grains of varget behind a 174 grain Hornady 0.312" HPBT. I don't remember the velocity off the top of my head. It's a nice accurate load in both my carbine's and 91/30s.


March 8, 2013, 04:04 PM
I use 44 grains of Varget under 150 grain Sierra SP,
and 42 gains of Varget under 174 or 180 grain.

The .308 sized neck sizer seems to do OK even with .311 bullets (I've done well over 100)

S&B brass has a SHALLOW primer will want a uniformer! Had a primer go off once on those.....

PPU brass and Winchester brass (are they the same?) is much nicer. I get NORMA brass (when available).

I once took one piece of brass that had already been (minimally) full length sized at least 4 times, and then neck sized it (Lee class loader) and shot it another 5 or 6 times -- absolutely no sign of a head separation when feeling with a sharpened paperclip. And I know how to feel for them....I did have a head separate back when I was excessively crunching the cases with a full length sizer.

I anneal my cases' necks anywhere from every shot to every 4th shot.

March 12, 2013, 01:31 PM
Guys, thanks for the info. Seems to be Varget is a popular powder. Thanks...Eric

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