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Squeezing every ounce of acc. from my 91/30

Discussion in 'Rifle Country' started by Paper_Zombie, Mar 10, 2013.

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  1. Paper_Zombie

    Paper_Zombie Member

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    (Sorry for the long post. If you stick with it, thank you)

    Some of you might know me from my constant MN posts on what is otherwise mostly a modern rifle forum...:D

    Basically, it was doing fine before, with modern ammo (Tulammo, Sellier & Bellot), but was shooting horribly with the surplus that I ordered (over 800 rounds!).

    I've read all the tips for accurizing mosins that my google-fu could bring to my fingertips, now I just need some advice from experienced "bubba-gunsmiths".

    Before anything else...please don't ask "WHY". The "why" is because I covet this gun dearly, and want it to shoot as well as it can. My only other source of Mosins right now is an LGS that I've personally boycotted for their -horrible- customer service.

    ---------------

    Anyway, I discovered an issue with the bore that I didn't notice before, and I'm hoping it wasn't caused by me. A borelight shone through the receiver while looking down the barrel showed highly reflective surfaces, a really bright bore. However, shining it -downwards- through the muzzle and viewing with the light, showed heavy rust in the grooves that was undetectable before.

    Well, I just finished up applying a treatment of naval jelly, only letting it sit for the recommended 5-10 minutes before washing it out with hot water, and I just got done spending a good 45 minutes with Shooter's Choice, patches, and a brush, and it seems I've gotten about 85-90% of the visible rust out of the bore. All's well there, though I'm worried that I didn't spot that before.

    Now...I'm all set up to bed it, except the modeling clay, which I forgot to get while I was at Wally-World earlier.

    So, since it will be a couple days before I have time again, I might as well ask:

    Because of the Mosin's stock, and the barrel bands...how should I go about this?

    Bedding alone seems simple enough...but I also have to take into account any pressure on the barrel further down. I've heard of wrapping a layer of oiled felt around the barrel, and of corking.

    Well, the only felt I know of is the craft stuff, which is pretty darn thick, and my stock is spliced at the last 7-8". I'm a little worried about the added presssure either:

    A: putting undue stress on the splice, harming it...

    or B: nullifying the effect completely, and putting a sideways pressure on the barrel / stock.

    If the whole point is to keep two solids from touching each other, could I use oiled cheesecloth instead, which is much thinner?

    If I do, should I only put it near the front of the barrel, or in two places corresponding to the barrel bands, where (I assume) the most pressure would be placed on the barrel.

    Also...can I cork the barrel -in addition- to the "wrap" or "bedding" or would that negatively affect it? If I were to cork it, would I have to have the cork in place as I bedded the receiver?

    Sorry again for the looooong post.:eek:
     
    Last edited: Mar 10, 2013
  2. stubbicatt

    stubbicatt Member

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    Yours is a pioneering task, near as I can tell. I say pioneering because while these rifles are quite old, 1891, I haven't seen a whole lot out there on accurizing them.

    There was an older gent who used to post here years ago who had some luck with glass bedding the tang of the receiver and corking the barrel. He used to get some really good accuracy, shooting through a current scope. I don't remember whether he mounted it on the rear sight base or what he did. -- I haven't seen him on here in awhile, and I wish him well.

    I think initially a little thought into what you are about to do, and perhaps purchase 3 of those stocks from AIM surplus, I know I did.

    I would start with shimming the action in the stock. Once you have figured out your shim height, such that the barrel isn't canted or cocked in the barrel channel of the fore end, then comes sanding out that barrel channel and sealing it to (perhaps) resist warpage. Same with the little wooden piece that lies atop the barrel. It seems to me that the best fitment one might get here would be that the upper handguard rests on the wood of the fore end without contacting the steel barrel which lies beneath. In this way you can limit the contact points and get a "fully floated" starting point. This may not be possible, I don't know. --Perhaps you could let us know what worked for you.

    I have thought of ways to accomplish this, but I haven't arrived at a method just yet. Sandpaper and patience, I guess, although if I had a worn out barrel from a contemporary to use as a mandrel of sorts, that might help.

    Once you have the action shimmed, the barrel "floated" in the fore end, and a way to keep the upper handguard from touching the barrel while being held in place with the stock barrel bands, would come the glass bedding.

    In a contemporary firearm such as a Remington 700 or the like, the entire receiver is glass bedded to the stock. This is because of manufacturing features which make this possible. With the M/N action, there are several little bits and pieces that need to be able to move freely in the stock, one which comes to mind is the ejector/interrupter. Too, you don't want the magazine to contact the stock anywhere.

    Seems to me to bed the recoil lug and the tang, and perhaps an inch or so of the front of the receiver is all you will be able to do without making it worse, due to the way that this action is/was manufactured.

    Once the barrel channel has been opened, and the action bedded as best one can, then comes the "corking" of the barrel. I purchased a sheet of cork several years ago, but haven't actually messed with this. I have read of two basic methods of accomplishing this. The one takes a single piece of cork sheet and wraps it around the barrel, and trims the ends to fit. It is approximately 3" long in the axis parallel to the bore. The other method employs 3, 3" long by approximately 3/4" wide "pads," and places two in the barrel channel, and one in the handguard at approximately the front barrel band.

    In theory at least, it seems that if one has accomplished these things in this order, one may notice an improvement in accuracy.
     
    Last edited: Mar 10, 2013
  3. bluekouki86

    bluekouki86 Member

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    I've been contemplating the same thing with my 91/30. I've got a Finnish M39 I've bedded the reciever (they are free float barrels) and started handloading rounds. I've had great success with that rifle so far. I can hold 3" groups at 200 yards with the stock iron sights (not on a bench rest).
     
  4. SCPigpen

    SCPigpen Member

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    You might try to pull the bullets from some of the surplus, sat maybe 10-20 rounds, and weigh and average the powder charges. Take the average and recharge the cases using that weight. Sometimes the pwder charges of that surplus is not too uniform.

    I say this because if you are getting pretty good results with the newer ammo, it just might be the old surplus.
     
  5. elwoodm

    elwoodm Member

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    now that you got the barrel clean its time to slug it. having problems with ammo might be the size of the bullet. all my MNs shoot .311 bullets. bores can slug out between .311 to .314 or bigger. most of the ammo you buy are .310 bullets. getting the MN to shoot good from what ive seen is feeding it what it likes. i have 6 of them and not one bore is the same out of all of them. take care of them were not getting any more the way it looks.
     
  6. Paper_Zombie

    Paper_Zombie Member

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    This is definitely a reasonable starting point. I almost wish I could just leave the upper handguard off completely, though it would ruin the look of the rifle. Guess I'll get some rough sandpaper and squeeze out some elbow grease though.

    I haven't seen either of the two corking methods you mentioned. All I've seen people talk about doing is placing a small pad underneath the barrel at the very front of the stock. Wrapping them, as you suggested, seems to achieve about the same thing as a wrap of felt.

    Lol, this is probably the best advice, can't believe I didn't think about it. It would probably be a good thing to practice once or twice, and I might even find a stock that's more solid than mine (with the splices).

    (Edit) Wow, just checked Aim and they're SOLD OUT of Mosin Nagant stocks. Unfreakin' believable.

    I appreciate the thoughts. I'll give it a think and try and do some more research while I'm at work for the next couple days.
     
    Last edited: Mar 10, 2013
  7. Paper_Zombie

    Paper_Zombie Member

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    I'm going to slug it, if for no other reason than to know, but I don't think it's going to help me much right now. I don't have a reload setup, all my ammo is steel-cased, and I have a suspicion that reloading for these guns pretty quickly nullifies the "cheap" aspect of shooting them.

    I'd be more tempted to buy another couple rifles and hoping one has a tighter bore. Even if it means giving money over to a jerk that shouldn't even be in business, way he treats his customers.:fire:
     
  8. ball3006

    ball3006 Member

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    I just bought a Finn 91/30. No need to modify it to shoot better. It will shoot one inch groups if I do my part. My Finn M39 is even better....chris3
     
  9. CarolinaChuck

    CarolinaChuck member

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    There is free floating and pressure bedded barrels/actions; two different schools of thought, and both work well. Bedding needs not take a form of some knid of complete encaspulation. Keep it simple and solid at the recoild lug and attaching point/points where the action attaches to the stock. I would also bed the barrel at the point where the barrel band attaches to it (pressure bedded). I would stop there and shoot the rifle and see if there was any improvement in accuracy.

    Personally, I think you are over thinking and old rifle design. I don't believe that you would find any reason to free float that barrel. As a matter of fact, I could see where free floating that barrel would make things worse. If it has a barrel band, it can not possibly be a free floating barrel; the nature of a barrel band is a pressure point.

    As a round is shot from a barrel, the barrel acts like a tunning fork and resonates. If the barrel warms up and touches the stock in a different place then when cool, it changes the point of impact of the bullet; it does so because it changes the resonance. The fix is to pressure bed the barrel out at the end of the stock, so the resonance stays consistent from a cold barrel to a hot one.

    Heavy or bull barrels are ones you would consider free floating, and not standard or sporting type barrels. Standard or sporting type barrels are best pressure bedded. They are barrels that have the most warp from cold to hot, and resonate more then heavy barrels.

    Chuck
     
  10. Paper_Zombie

    Paper_Zombie Member

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    Thank you chuck, that answered a couple questions. Good information for the future too.
     
  11. barnbwt

    barnbwt Member

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    Accurizing the Mosin Nagant

    LJ-Mosinfreak compiled a pretty good list of the various accurizing measures that have been found to be helpful in the Mosins a while back (probably a good reference for other rifles, too)

    TCB
     
  12. brian923

    brian923 Member

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    unfortunatly, accuracy comes at a cost. many people can find ammo that will shoot well in their rifles. but to squeeze out all the accuracy, reloading is the best way to go. though reloading used to be a money saver, it is quickly becoming more and more expensive. im hesitatnt to shoot my AR cause I cant find any reloading components, and I dont want to shoot up my small stockpile. :uhoh: holefully things turn around here shortly, but I aint holding my breath...
     
  13. bainter1212

    bainter1212 Member

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    I agree with brian. Reloading with the appropriate bullet size is probably going to be the single thing that will make the most difference in accuracy.

    It's funny you mention the rust/frosting in the grooves. I have read many posts of guys who say their Mosin bore is "perfect" or "unfired". I, for one, have never seen a "perfect" Mosin bore. Sometimes, on initial inspection, it will look really nice. But a true, CLOSE look will most often reveal frosting.
     
  14. BCRider

    BCRider Member

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    I've never read any reports where the surplus ammo was anything better than "poor" for grouping. It simply isn't made to the sort of standards of accuracy to be used for this.

    Your own results in going from shooting the modern ammo that gave decent size groups to the poor groups of the surplus ammo is the telling point. You can make the rifle as accurate as you can but it still won't shoot the surplus ammo as well as it does the modern copper jacketed rounds. You simply can't expect it to shoot well if you feed it the surplus garbage.
     
  15. stubbicatt

    stubbicatt Member

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    So, question: will an accurate rifle shoot surplus ammo more accurately than an inaccurate rifle shooting good ammo?

    To my way of seeing things, if the rifle isn't properly sorted out, accuracy of any combination of ammo and rifle will be disappointing. Once sorted out, and you know it is capable of great accuracy, then comes ammo choices. Handloading is certainly one way to get great accuracy from a rifle. Some factory ammo is incredible.

    I remember one day watching the son of a friend shooting his AK at 400 yards. 8" groups with iron sights. That is pretty respectable, in my book. Kid had great eyes, and his dad is a great instructor. Nonetheless, it was a Romy G build, and it shot very well indeed. I chrono'd some of that ammo, and while I no longer remember the velocities, of 5 rounds over my CED Chronograph, 3 were the exact same velocity. The ammo was "Hot Shot" brand. If I hadn't seen it, I wouldn't believe it. In all my years of handloading, I have never seen any of my ammo approach that degree of consistency. --Guess I'm doing something wrong.

    So I stand with the initial approach. Accurize your rifle, then accurize your ammo. In this way you will have a rifle that performs as good as can be had.

    Good luck!
     
  16. SCPigpen

    SCPigpen Member

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    Paper Zombie, no disrespect, but I can't fathom the reasoning behind thinking that accurizing the rifle will help with the surplus ammo after saying the new manufactured stuff seemed to shoot fine. Sure some degree of tweaking the gun will help with accuracy but it seems you are relying on the gun, which is only part of the solution to your problem. If your intent is to get all the accuracy out of the rifle you will need to hand load your ammo as well. Pulling the bullets from the surplus, weighing and sorting them and measuring each powder charge for consitancy will be the only way you can get all the accuracy you can, even after tweaking the gun.

    Good luck.
     
  17. BCRider

    BCRider Member

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    Exactly. You've SEEN what the rifle can do with good factory ammo already. And even if you accurize it you're still going to see the difference between the good stuff and the stuff that comes out of the SPAM cans.

    For example, if you were getting 3 inch groups at 100 yards with that Tulla and S&B ammo and you're getting 8 inch groups with the surplus stuff then even if you accurize the rifle down to a 1 inch "one ragged hole" ability for it when shooting that good factory stuff you're still only going to see about a 5 to 6 inch group with the surplus stuff. NOTHING you do is going to close it down any more than that because the ammo itself is variable enough that 5 to 6 inches is as good as it can do.

    And how do you measure your accurizing efforts if the ammo is only able to shoot about 5 to 6 inches? WHen you're down to where your changes will be the difference between a 2 inch and 1 inch group the gain will be lost, or at least very difficult to ascertain, simply due to the surplus ammo.
     
  18. bainter1212

    bainter1212 Member

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    +1 on the last two comments. That surplus stuff is gonna be real inconsistent, depending on where, when, and how it was loaded. How well can a factory machine measure out a powder charge??? Especially some commie Russian machine from the 70's?? Well I can tell you, my old Redding beam scale can measure out to 1/10th of a grain of powder. Better than ANY factory load. And the modern commercial stuff is real good, but in the end, not THAT good.
    Reloading is a lot of work. Working up a load for a rifle takes a lot of time and patience. But, if you want REAL accuracy, this is the way to go. I'll bet, if you slug out that bore and say, it slugs to .3105, loading with .311 bullets will improve things, just by themselves.
     
  19. Paper_Zombie

    Paper_Zombie Member

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    I guess I'm just trying to get the gun going as good as it can, because in the end...I still have 800 rounds of surplus, that either is going to be shot up, or sit around doing nothing.

    Now, as for you suggesting I pull the bullets out of it, measure the powder, etc. I was under the assumption that you could not do much with steel cases.

    If I could turn 800 rounds of crap into 600 rounds of polished crap, enlighten me. :p
     
  20. SCPigpen

    SCPigpen Member

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    It might be an investment to get the press, dies, scales, ect but if you have that much surplus and want the accuracy thats the best route to take. Plus you will be half way to being able to load the boxer brass you should haveneen savong from that newammo you have been shhoti.g.
     
  21. BCRider

    BCRider Member

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    Ah, now THAT is a whole other interesting topic.

    You'll need some form of bullet puller. The hammer style inertia pullers are the cheaper way to go so I'd start there. When the bullet pops out the powder falls into the end of the puller so work in a clean area and have a container with a strainer or collander over top of it so you can dump the bullets and powder in and the powder falls through to the container and the bullets stay in the screened strainer.

    From there I'd get a cheap digital scale that measures in grains and weigh the bullets to find out how mixed up they are. Assuming they are up around 180gns I'd want to sort them so all the rounds are within 4 to 5 grains of each other in any given batch. That represents 2 to 3% variation. For a little more control and a higher OCD coefficient :D sort them down to a lower variation.

    Once you've unloaded 20 to 50 rounds (count how many) weigh the total powder collected and divide by the amount of cartridges you've pulled to get a figure for the powder charge per cartridge. Along the way it would be interesting to measure the individual charge weights for something like 20 to 30 cartridges to see what sort of variation you get. We know that the surplus stuff is quite variable but is it a case of the bullet weights are widely different, the charge weights or both.

    You'll also use the same scale to measure the powder charges during the reloading. A home made scoop or the Lee scoop set or some other powder measuring device is a good start. Start a little light and using some sort of way to trickle the powder bring the charge up to what you're after.

    Now it's time to reload them. For myself I'd want to check the casings for consistency by lubing the outside and pushing then into the sizing die that has the de-capping pin removed. If there's a lot of variation this will quickly point it out. You'll want to use a case lube due to the finish on the casings. They SHOULD form up just fine. The steel is a very mild and ductile sort so it's darn near as soft as brass casings if not softer.

    From there flare the case mouth to prepare for the bullet seating. Then powder up the casings and double check that you didn't miss any. Then you can seat the bullets back in to match the original depth.

    I'd do all this work in batches of 50 at a time. I'd also start with one batch loaded with the original powder and bullets, one batch with a different powder but original bullets, one batch with the original powder and new bullets and finally one batch with new powder and new bullets in the original casings.

    The "why" of all this is to find out just how well you CAN polish a turd. It'll also point out where the biggest weakness in the surplus ammo really sits.

    Also by comparing these optimized steel jacket loads to the same ammo but with modern copper jacketed bullets you'll learn just how bad or good the copper washed steel jacket stuff really is.

    My own pet feeling is that even with the mild steel that there's still some significant blowby which strips the copper wash off the steel and leaves it on the bore. I spent a LOT of time cleaning the bore really well on my two Nagants only to see a great deal of copper fouling after only one range trip and about 20 rounds fired. So I'm not all that impressed with the steel jacket bullets at this point.

    I'm also in the same boat as you. I bought 880 rounds figuring that while it wasn't the best stuff going that it would be fine for plinking. Well, turns out that it's really not that great even for plinking. I'm likely going to sell off my second SPAM can that is still sealed. I'll finish off the rest of the 440 open can as shoulder thumpers on days when I'm happy to "spray and pray" or for new shooters that want to see what it was like to shoot an old Russian battle rifle or that simply enjoy having their tooth fillings rattled... :D

    I don't have my 54R reloading dies yet but I may just pull 20 rounds apart and check them as noted above to see for myself how bad this ammo is for consistency. It might be fun to compare notes if you do the same thing. Different batches and all that.

    Currently from a seated position and bag rested my "old guy eyes" are good with plain notch sights for about 4 inch groups at 100 with good shooting rifles. The Mosins with the surplus consistently print 10 to 12 inch groups when shot in this manner. If I toss out the radical flyers around the edges, which is about 1/4 of the shots, the group size shrinks to around 8 to 9 inches.

    How does this compare to your own experience with shooting the good modern ammo compared to the surplus stuff?
     
  22. Cosmoline

    Cosmoline Member

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    91/30's have long thin barrels, so floating them sometimes doesn't work well. Try it, but be prepared to add cork at the end of the barrel to provide a little bit of upward pressure from the stock. Sometimes that helps lock it down better.

    If you want a really accurate Mosin, your best bet is to just buy a Finnish M-39 unaltered. They already did the work for you.
     
  23. Paper_Zombie

    Paper_Zombie Member

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    @ BCRider

    Wow...so much info and so many ideas in one post. I greatly appreciate you taking the time to type all of that.

    At the very least, I'm going to go ahead and order the Lee Classic Reloader for the 7.62x54r, and while I'm at it, I'll look for an inexpensive bullet-puller.

    I'm ready to try that experiment you suggested, now that I know I can do it with the ammo already on hand.

    As for my groupings, I will restate what I put in my first post.

    With modern ammo, I was getting consistent 4" groups, mostly within 3.

    With surplus, it expanded out to 8-10 inches, with at least one flyer that didn't even hit paper. I'm not really including those shots where you know it was bad the second you pull the trigger.

    yeah...still working on avoiding those.

    P.S. Even with a grouping that will make paper-killers flinch in horror...In a SHTF scenario, I still wouldn't hesitate to climb onto the roof with that bad boy and a can of ammo and keep a neighborhood vigil. I sure as heck wouldn't want to be downrange of that thing, even knowing it was slightly inaccurate. :p
     
  24. John C

    John C Member

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    I was just going to suggest a Lee Classic Loader. I've never used one for rifle, but have used them for pistol and they work. You aren't priming, which is the main deficiency of the Lee loader. You also aren't doing any case prep, so that will save a bunch of time.

    I read another, similar, thread, and a poster suggested using a case deburring tool to slightly chamfer the case mouth to prevent shaving the bullet while seating. Case mouth tension should be fine after pulling the bullet.

    So the steps will be:

    1. Use a bullet puller to pull the bullet.

    2. Chamfer the case mouth. This should take 5 seconds with a deburring tool. Lee sells these for $3.99.

    3. Re-insert powder. You can do cross level or replace with new powder.

    4. Use the Lee Loader to tap the bullet back in place. Be sure the check and make sure the overall length remains the same as loaded in the factory.

    If you really wanted to get tricky, you could replace the powder with Varget or similar and use a commercial .310 or .311 bullet for "match" ammo. I think you could really dial this in.

    An inertia bullet puller will take a while to pull bullets, but they are cheap. If it ends up taking too long, consider picking up a collet puller off ebay. It will make it very fast, although you'll need a reloading press.

    If you need a powder trickler, I will send you one for free, if you cover the postage. PM me.

    Good luck!

    -John
     
  25. Paper_Zombie

    Paper_Zombie Member

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    Just did a little off-the-cuff test on a 20-ct package of the surp.

    I have a pair of Helios calipers, and with a machinists' touch, are accurate to within .0005 or less.

    out of 20:

    10 measured .3095-.310

    8 measured .309-.3085

    2 measured .308

    I'm thinking of taking the gun out tomorrow (today). Maybe I'll try separating the groups and see if it makes any discernable difference, just with diameter.

    All three pass the bullet drop test, though.
     
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