Reloading unfired steel cartridges with new bullets?


PDA






1KPerDay
March 6, 2013, 01:43 PM
Hi,
My local club has banned bi-metal bullets (anything magnetic is out)... so 5.45 and 7.62x39 rifles are off-limits (unless you pay a buck a round plus for Hornady v-max 5.45 or have a secret stash of the old x39 brass/copper ammo). Has anyone tried pulling the original bullets from 7.62x39, replacing the powder, and seating a copper jacketed bullet instead? would neck tension be a problem if there's no resizing?

Just something rolling around my head...

EDIT FOR CLARITY: Outdoor club, steel cases allowed, worried about damage to steel targets.

If you enjoyed reading about "Reloading unfired steel cartridges with new bullets?" here in TheHighRoad.org archive, you'll LOVE our community. Come join TheHighRoad.org today for the full version!
poor man
March 6, 2013, 01:55 PM
im going to throw my 2 cents in here.... i pulled some rifle bullets a few years ago and then reseated them the problem i had was the neck tension was tight and without the bell at the top i was shaving the jacket on the bullets, witch of course made them loose in the case, i would think if you belled the cases then seated and re crimped you might be ok...

Centurian22
March 6, 2013, 02:36 PM
I've started (only pulled so far not reseated) doing this with 7.62x54r surplus to load some soft point hunting rounds. It was a suggested to me by a very experienced reloaded who said he had great results with it. I would think boat tail bullets would help the seating? Maybe a very slight inside chamfer with an appropriate sized drill bit like 1/4" for .223 or 3/8 for .30 cal? Just throwing out ideas.

quaid
March 6, 2013, 03:08 PM
I have done it with 5.56. I was worried about neck tension too, but didnt have any problems with the three rounds I did it with in an AR. Used 0x fired steel cases. Removed bullet, added my own powder, reseat same bullet. In the future I'd stick with brass just because.

Join a new club? Time to buy a new gun 22lr/9mm conversion?

jstein650
March 6, 2013, 03:26 PM
This may be a dumb question, but why would they ban ferrous bullets?

Havok7416
March 6, 2013, 03:49 PM
Supposedly magnetic rounds have more penetrating ability which causes damage to the backstop at certain ranges.

jstein650
March 6, 2013, 03:54 PM
I was assuming it was an outdoor range with earthen backstops. At indoor ranges I can see that could be an issue.

Havok7416
March 6, 2013, 03:55 PM
I agree, no reason to restrict rounds at an outdoor range.

chris in va
March 6, 2013, 04:54 PM
This may be a dumb question, but why would they ban ferrous bullets?

Damages backstops, and causes sparks, possibly starting a fire.

Now one thing to consider, not only do some ranges prohibit steel jacketed bullets, they also forbid steel cases as well.

Havok7416
March 6, 2013, 04:55 PM
I would think that's more of a profit issue for the range. Most ranges resell or scrap out the brass they acquire, so steel would throw a wrench in the works.

1KPerDay
March 6, 2013, 04:59 PM
The club I'm talking about runs "practical" type outdoor matches with lots of steel targets, etc. They were getting complaints from the owners of the steel targets; apparently some idiots were shooting penetrators/steel core ammo (which have always been against the rules). So now they walk around with a magnet and check all ammo. Since bimetal lead-core ammo is magnetic, they don't allow it, because they can't be sure it's not steel core. Kinda lame but once again, the lowest common denominator gets to ruin it for the rest of us. I've asked if they'll allow bimetal on any stages where there is no steel (only paper targets) but haven't heard an official response yet. I imagine they'll not allow it just to make it easier on match officials.

BTW they have no problem with people running steel CASES. The club strongly encourages people to pick up brass/trash/everything. They're only worried about the steel plates. And they were getting paranoid about fires last summer (we had some major fires) so they banned anything with steel then also. So did the state, in popular shooting areas.

Hacker15E
March 7, 2013, 08:28 AM
I don't see any reason why neck tension would be a problem if the bullets were pulled.

RustHunter87
March 7, 2013, 11:07 AM
Wolf Will throw sparks when shot threw some metals, look really cool around dusk.

as for the OP's problem, that seems like a lot of work.
You cant just find another place to shoot that ammo?

HJ857
March 7, 2013, 12:17 PM
I used an SKS in tactical competition for a number of years. Part of my overall strategy was to create a target round, since all I needed was to punch holes in paper at distances no more than 150 yards, and since AR shooters commonly create use specific rounds, why wouldn't I?

Anyway, I've pulled literally thousands of steel cased rounds, mostly Golden Tiger. For quite a while I weight sorted the bullets because they are wildly inconsistent, but ultimately that weight difference didn't matter at short range.

I used a Lee die set, one was a neck sizing die with the decapping pin removed, of course a seater die and the factory crimp die. When you start pulling bullets you'll find that neck tension is incredibly variable, except for Wolf black box which is pretty darn good. I used the neck die and FCD to get a somewhat more consistent neck tension and to smooth out the case. Never had a problem with feeding using these dies.

I ended up going with IMR 4895 at around 24.6 grains I think. Very soft load. Most of the time I used the original bullets but also messed with Hornady bulk bullets (sold by Midway in the bulk blue boxes) and the Sierra Pro Hunters. Both bullets gave slightly better accuracy. Always .311 bullets.

This load would cycle any SKS, though I did end up getting a spare recoil spring and cutting it by a couple coils just for insurance.

I also experimented with reducing the Russian powder charge but that didn't seem to make a lot of difference in the recoil impulse and the main goal was to reduce the x39 impulse to make it more competitive against the AR's non existent recoil impulse.

There's practically zero case prep, so if you currently handload, you'll find that modifying steel case rounds to be FAR less work than fully handloading other rounds.

1KPerDay
March 7, 2013, 12:54 PM
Wolf Will throw sparks when shot threw some metals, look really cool around dusk.

as for the OP's problem, that seems like a lot of work.
You cant just find another place to shoot that ammo?
It's not a question of finding another place. It's a question of wanting to use the AK platform for gun games, and there is NO factory ammo available that isn't bimetal jacketed and/or steel core.

1KPerDay
March 7, 2013, 12:56 PM
I used an SKS in tactical competition for a number of years. Part of my overall strategy was to create a target round, since all I needed was to punch holes in paper at distances no more than 150 yards, and since AR shooters commonly create use specific rounds, why wouldn't I?

Anyway, I've pulled literally thousands of steel cased rounds, mostly Golden Tiger. For quite a while I weight sorted the bullets because they are wildly inconsistent, but ultimately that weight difference didn't matter at short range.

I used a Lee die set, one was a neck sizing die with the decapping pin removed, of course a seater die and the factory crimp die. When you start pulling bullets you'll find that neck tension is incredibly variable, except for Wolf black box which is pretty darn good. I used the neck die and FCD to get a somewhat more consistent neck tension and to smooth out the case. Never had a problem with feeding using these dies.

I ended up going with IMR 4895 at around 24.6 grains I think. Very soft load. Most of the time I used the original bullets but also messed with Hornady bulk bullets (sold by Midway in the bulk blue boxes) and the Sierra Pro Hunters. Both bullets gave slightly better accuracy. Always .311 bullets.

This load would cycle any SKS, though I did end up getting a spare recoil spring and cutting it by a couple coils just for insurance.

I also experimented with reducing the Russian powder charge but that didn't seem to make a lot of difference in the recoil impulse and the main goal was to reduce the x39 impulse to make it more competitive against the AR's non existent recoil impulse.

There's practically zero case prep, so if you currently handload, you'll find that modifying steel case rounds to be FAR less work than fully handloading other rounds.
Thanks. So your goal was basically to improve accuracy? You'd pull/dump the factory powder, measure a fresh charge of 4895, and reseat the factory bullet?

rodregier
March 7, 2013, 01:01 PM
Google "Mexican match ammunition".

(It's the technique you are discussing where you remove an unsuitable projectile
and install a more suitable projectile in cartridge casings).

First developed by rifle match competitors looking for a lower-cost way to make ammunition closer to match-grade by upgrading projectiles.

Good luck finding the replacement projectiles in the current marketplace.

HJ857
March 7, 2013, 06:30 PM
Thanks. So your goal was basically to improve accuracy? You'd pull/dump the factory powder, measure a fresh charge of 4895, and reseat the factory bullet?

Accuracy with the Russian bullets did get a little bit better, but that was an unintended bonus. The real goal was to reduce the recoil (actually muzzle jump) to a level that was similar to an AR (without a brake, in 2005 brakes were a lot less common than they are now).

The Mexican Match practice is exactly the model I used to develop this loading. Though rather than replacing the bullet, I replaced the powder.

I did experiment with other bullets and weight sorting the Russian bullets, but I never saw enough improvement to warrant continuing either option.

1KPerDay
March 7, 2013, 06:47 PM
Good luck finding the replacement projectiles in the current marketplace.
I heard that... the point may well be moot.

FROGO207
March 7, 2013, 07:35 PM
Moot for the immediate future perhaps but when components reappear the savings over what you would have to purchase ready to go will be significant I am willing to bet.:D I have also done this with 7.62X39/54 to use as premium hunting bullets. Using some of my X54 ammo I purchased for $12.00 per tin of 330 rounds way back when was really making me smile.

aliveisalive
March 7, 2013, 07:38 PM
Why not just buy once fired brass and roll your own? Besides the fact that components are short now, I feel like it would be the same price except then you have brass to load again.. and again.. and again.

edit - I could perhaps see for the x54r like someone just said, since brass is exspensive and not frequent. And if you bought it cheap and deep back in the day, then yes.

stubbicatt
March 7, 2013, 08:23 PM
I have done this with 5.45x39 and 7.62x543 bullets. Just use your chamfer debur tool to cut the mouth, and every once in awhile you will shave a bullet, use that one for the fouling shot.

With the x54r, I would choose to substitute a weighed charge of IMR 4350, as most of those cartridges are pretty old, and if the powder even has a whiff of an acrid smell, the powder has probably gone "off" like milk after its "best if sold by" date.

If you can find some of the Lapua rebated boat tail bullets I would think those would be really cool. I've always had good luck with Lapua components.

1KPerDay
March 8, 2013, 12:56 PM
Why not just buy once fired brass and roll your own? What reloadable once fired brass do you recommend for 7.62x39 or 5.45x39? Have you seen any around in the past couple of years? I don't think there IS any in existence for the 5.45. And reloadable 7.62x39 is rare as hen's teeth.

Also, since these are "run-n-gun" type matches, the steel cases are a plus, because I don't whimper every time I lose one (like I do with my .308 or .30-06 cases).

Havok7416
March 8, 2013, 01:18 PM
If you are going to be competing (and losing your brass), steel makes way more sense than brass, especially in 7.62x39. I have about 500 reloaded x39 rounds and I would be very upset to lose the brass.

1KPerDay
March 8, 2013, 02:53 PM
Exactly.

1KPerDay
March 15, 2013, 07:00 PM
well, I tried it... pulled a Herter's/Tula 7.62x51. Bullet was a bimetal (magnetic) jacketed FMJBT, weighed 148.7 grains, powder charge was 38.7 grains of some very small grained shiny black ball powder. Dumped it back, seated a Berry's FMJ to the same OAL and checked for setback after pushing the tip hard against a board. No setback... but the neck shaved the jacket.

I don't want to ruin my chamfer tool on steel necks... so I guess I'll shoot my GGG and PPU tomorrow, and cringe at the dollar signs flying everywhere whenever I pull the trigger. :D:rolleyes:

ncmitch
March 16, 2013, 12:02 AM
Ive pulled several hundred steel case 7.62x39. First sorted bullets by weight and then charged them with the same powder they came with.... I took 10 loads and weighed the powder, found the average charge and used that as my load... the powder charge can vary quite a bit in the russian stuff..

The trick I found to ensure i had good neck tension was using a LEE factory crimp die, I knew i had consistent neck tension then.

Centurian22
March 16, 2013, 01:56 AM
Couldn't you use a standard 3/8" (0.375) drill bit to at least knock the edge off the inside of the case mouth? Most drill bits can handle mild steel and there is a slight taper to the tip (generally for starting the hole), granted a much steeper angle than a usual chamfer would give. I would first try twisting by hand, probably holding the bit with a leather glove to be safe. Just an idea to try and prevent the bullet shaving.

Jesse Heywood
March 16, 2013, 02:04 AM
A 1/2" countersink would work better than a drill. 4 flutes vs. 2 lets you align it easier. No need for a glove, but it helps to have a mandrel to hold the bit. Or the chuck of a slow-turning drill motor.

FROGO207
March 16, 2013, 11:22 PM
A 1/2 inch contersink was what I started with when reaming necks and primer pockets. You can just mount it in the drill for stability and twist the casing by hand. Always worked for my use.The steel casings are much softer than the tool steel used to make reamers, countersinks and other such tools.

If you enjoyed reading about "Reloading unfired steel cartridges with new bullets?" here in TheHighRoad.org archive, you'll LOVE our community. Come join TheHighRoad.org today for the full version!