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Surplus ammo used as reloading material?

Discussion in 'Handloading and Reloading' started by 66912, Nov 24, 2010.

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  1. 66912

    66912 Member

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    About five years ago I purchased 1000K rounds of Indian .308. At the time, I was just trying to get my hands on as much surplus .308 I could find. Come to find out all the horror stories of these rounds. After picking through it, I have ended up with around 750 questionably usable rounds of ammo. It is time for me to get into reloading. My question is, would these rounds be good for raw materials to reload .308 i.e. the brass and bullet? Would it be safe to dismantle these rounds and then use the raw materials to reload my own .308? I just purchased a house with a shop and now I have the space to get set up. My knowledge is limited on the subject so that is why I have turned to my High Road peers for insight. Best regards-66912
     
  2. Hondo 60
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    Hondo 60 Member

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    W/o the benefit of knowing what the "horror stories" are there seems to be no answer to your question.

    Another problem is that we have no idea what powder was used.
    Therefore there's no way to know how much should be used in a reloaded round.
    Was it even the right powder for a 308 round?

    I wish I could be more helpful.
     
  3. 66912

    66912 Member

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    Thanks for your input. If you do a search on Indian .308 you will discover the issues associated right quick. Multiple different powders used, canted bullets, bent and pinched casings and necks. A multitude of issue's. I was just curious if would be plausible to pull out the bullets dump the powder and use the casings and primers to reload my own. Again, I have almost no knowledge of reloading principles. I just know that it is time I learned and made the investment so I can shoot more often. Especially my 4 .308 chambered rifles!
     
  4. medalguy

    medalguy Member

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    Sure, it's possible to use the components. I reload USGI brass all the time with pulldown bullets and powder. Weigh the bullets, see if a number of them are the same weight (they may not be) and if so find a powder that works with that bullet and start working up a load. IMR 4895 is an excellent powder for 7.62 x 51 and there are others that work very well too. That just happens to be my favorite powder. The powder in the ammo now is only good for lawn fertilizer. Very important point here.

    You might want to full length resize the cases but at a very minimum neck size. Personally I would FL resize. If you have not reloaded before I would recommend getting a copy of "The ABC's of Reloading" from Amazon.com and read it thoroughly. Then get a selection of reloading manuals (Speer, Hornady, Lyman, and others) and I would recommend two or three. They will have the recommended combinations of bullet and powder for you to choose from.

    Good luck and come back here if you have more questions.
     
  5. FROGO207

    FROGO207 Member

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    I would like to add to Medalguy's post that If it was me reloading for the first time I would get a small amount of known good component to load with first. This would be a twofold good thing. 1 you will be able to reload some SAFE rounds that are to be used as benchmarks to compare your surplus to. 2 the new components and the pulled down ones can be looked at and compared to make sure that the surplus stuff is able to be used safely. I would save the reloading of questionable items to you AFTER you gain experience with known good components and are better able to identify possible problem spots. We all want safe results. This is the way I started and it worked well, along with a mentor showing me the ropes years ago.
     
  6. Ian Sean

    Ian Sean Member

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    First thing what is the year of manufacture of the Indian ammo that you have. The bad Indian ammo was all "OFV" and then a 2 digit number denoting the year.

    All of the 70's production OFV was fine, I fired and have even reloaded quite a bit of it. The 70's OFV brass I have has been holding up well.

    The problem lots seem to be the 90's and 2000's headstamps. My personal experience is with lots of '97, '98 and '01. The 01's were OK, I used them for plinking and had no issues.

    The 97 and 98 were a different matter all together, mishapen/malformed brass, bad bullet seating, and several squibs. After a few frustrating range sessions I finally had enough and pulled all the bullets, they were fine and I reused them. I scrapped almost everything else. I did keep about 100 of the best looking '97 cases. I have reloaded these now about 3 times with a plinking load with no issues regarding the cases.
     
  7. qajaq59

    qajaq59 Member

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    FWIW....My advice would be to put those bullets aside until you are a more experienced loader. Get the book, learn all that you can, and start your loading with new commercial components, Then later on, when you have a good idea of what you're doing, it will be time to mess with them.
     
  8. soloban

    soloban Member

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    You could pull the bullets and reuse them in your own brass... or... you could pull the bullets, dump out the powder and recharge with a good reloading powder and reseat the bullets.
     
  9. 66912

    66912 Member

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    Thank you all for your insight. Yes this the 97 stuff with all the issue's. I am sure that with more experience, I will be grateful that I have this stuff around. I am going to start pulling them apart for S&G's. Can anyone recommend the best way to to this? Hopefully in a month or so I can post under "Show us your reloading bench."!
     
  10. W.E.G.

    W.E.G. Member

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    If you decide to disassemble the ammo, get a collet-type puller die.

    I would just shoot it in my favorite blaster rifle.

    I find handloading to be more rewarding when I'm loading my best-est ammo.
    Much less so when I'm doing it to salvage components.
     
  11. Samari Jack

    Samari Jack Member

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    corrosive primers?

    I'm kind of new to reloading as well. Have a 550B that works well. I have heard some foreign rounds use corrosive primers. Would this be a problem with these from India?
     
  12. kimbernut
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    kimbernut Member

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    I recently purchased 100- 150 gr. "pulled surplus" .30 cal I wanted to run through my Garand. I made up 24 cartridges and as my usual checked the overall cartridge length and found quite a variance. I pressure tested the tips against the edge of my desk when I felt some loose neck tension on several. 8 bullets out of 24 sunk into the case. I began checking bullet diameter and found .306-.313 diameters. Needless to say those cartridges were dismantled and the bullets are now marked defective. IMHO- lesson learned, the risk is too great. One bullet slipping into the case as it rides up the ramp into the chamber becomes an overpressure situation that at the least can destroy a favored rifle and at most could severly injure the shooter or worse. I have found the same problem with handgun bullets /cases as well. Take the time to check every aspect well.
     
  13. animator

    animator Member

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    I've used Indian surplus components and turned them into some respectable range rounds. I just finished loading a little over 300 rounds of OFV 97 headstamps, using 4895 and remington 150gr bulk SPs.


    You'll definitely want to pull the bullets and dump the powder. I've mostly seen ball powder, but the weights were not consistent. For pulling bullets, I use one of those plastic hammer-looking inertial pullers.


    You'll want to polish the cases in a tumbler or whatever. In my case, I let each batch run for around 8 hours, which admittedly is a bit excessive for tumbling, but the brass was nasty, and it made a huge difference. Using fresh media also helps.


    If you don't do anything to clean the brass, the tar sealant used on the necks will gum up your resizing die, especially on the neck expander, and you'll have to clean it out often to avoid stuck cases.


    The bullets can be reused, they'll just need to be cleaned of the tar sealant and any other crud that's built up on them. You'll want to weigh each bullet, because they tend to vary in weight by a substantial amount. Only use the same-weighted bullets for the same load.


    As far as the primers go, I've seen less accuracy with the original Indian primers, compared to loading the same brass with Winchester primers, but for range plinking, it's not a huge deal. They are boxer primed, so you can use the Indian, or swap them out for commercial primers.


    The brass is actually pretty decent brass. I'm on my 4th load of the same brass, fired through my CETME, and so far has held up pretty well.
     
  14. medalguy

    medalguy Member

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    Good advice in all of these posts.

    One additional thing I'd like to add, and it's something I saw on another forum a while back:

    "I don't shoot ammo made in places where I wouldn't drink the water."

    Excellent advice!!:neener:
     
  15. GaryL

    GaryL Member

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    This about sums it up for me:

     
  16. evan price

    evan price Member

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    The 1970's OFV was good stuff, made on Radway Green machinery under supervision of the British Radway engineers. It is really not bad.

    The problems began in the 90's when Ordnance Factory Varangaon restarted production. Quality control was nonexistant. The problems with this ammo were mostly due to crappy production practices. Bullets and cases out of round, bullets seated off center or crooked, brass out of concentricity, out of spec, etc. and there are cases where there were mixed powder types in the same case (stick & ball mixed). You have only to examine the headstamps between the 1970's era OFV (neat & precise) versus the later production (shaky, faint, off-center, etc) to see this.

    The bullets were typical M80 type; the same quality problems as the brass was found in the bullets, too.

    I don't know what sort of problems your ammo has- but the first thing to do is narrow it down.

    There were cases of bullets set so crooked it was obviously bent. Also bullets in upside down. Missing primers, stuff like that. Those obviously are going to get broken down.

    Roll the rounds across a smooth surface and look for stuff that wobbles. Sort them for wobblers. Anything that wobbles, pull it down. The powder can be examined to see if it is a single type of powder. I'd weigh some samples to see what you have. If you see different powder types, scrap it all. If you get done and find it's all "one" powder, mix it well, and then use your measured weights to determine a weight to recharge your brass. An average of the pulled rounds works- this won't be match stuff.

    The cases that wobbled can be carefully deprimed and the primers salvaged. A full length resize MIGHT save them. If you want to go that far, go ahead. If not, scrap the bad ones.

    The bullets- do the same thing. Roll them on a smooth surface like a piece of glass. Any that the tip wobble, set them aside. They are good for nothing more than blasting ammo or making noise. Once you find the ones that do not wobble, start weighing them. You want them in the 145-150 grain range (again, not match ammo). Anything outside this range, set in the box with the wobblers.

    What you will be making here I'll stress again is NOT match grade ammo. It will be good enough for fun shooting. That's it. And there's a lot of time and effort to be invested.

    Good luck with it.
     
  17. Clark

    Clark Member

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    "1000K rounds of Indian .308"?

    That would be 50k pounds of ammo.

    That is about as much as a semi can haul.

    At 10 cents per round, that would be $100k.

    That is a lot of ammo.
     
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