7.62x54r reloading questions

Discussion in 'The Ammo & Reloading Forum' started by DoesItMatter, Aug 21, 2008.

  1. DoesItMatter

    DoesItMatter New Member

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    Just picked up a Mosin Nagant 91/30 recently.

    Will be picking up some surplus ammo to test it out and then plan on reloading the brass.

    I plan on getting the Lee die set for reloading these.

    1) Has anyone reloaded this round and have any preferred load?

    2) Barrel bore looks good/great, but not excellent. What diameter bullet
    should I be using for the reloads?

    3) I'm only using this for target shooting, not planning on hunting with it, so
    am thinking I'll be loading minimum to medium loads, never maximum. Would lead bullets be decent shooting thru this? Or would it require too much cleanup?

    4) Any other tips/suggestions I should be aware of?

    I have a related post in the Curio and Relics forum as well.
  2. LDBennett

    LDBennett Well-Known Member

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    DoesItMatter:

    1) Has anyone reloaded this round and have any preferred load?

    I'm still developing loads for mine...a work in progress! The Hodgdon manual (the last two book set) and the Lyman #48 manual have lots of loads. I have been using Remington Bulk Bullets packaged in 100 bullets baggies with good results.

    2) Barrel bore looks good/great, but not excellent. What diameter bullet
    should I be using for the reloads?

    You really should slug the barrel but most M91/30's have barrels that can use 0.312 inch bullets. Mine slugged at 0.314 inches and the closest available bullet is the 0.312 inch Brit 303 bullets. That is really too small but there is nothing else available. Mine shoots the 0.312 bullets very well and much better than I thought it might but my gun is scoped with a period correct clone sniper scope and mount. The bullet I chose was the 180 gr Remington 303 British bulk bullet. I did try .308 bullets and they were a total failure for accuracy.

    3) I'm only using this for target shooting, not planning on hunting with it, so
    am thinking I'll be loading minimum to medium loads, never maximum. Would lead bullets be decent shooting thru this? Or would it require too much cleanup?

    In general I don't like to shoot cast lead bullets in any rifle, but that's just me because I hate the low velocities and the potential for lead cleanup. The Lyman manual shows one cast bullet set of loads and the bullet is one of their molds at 200 grains.

    4) Any other tips/suggestions I should be aware of?

    While going to a scope did help accuracy it was not easy. I elected to do it myself and I ran into drilling and taping hardened metal, and the fact that when the mount was put hard down on the reciever's top, the scope pointed in such a way as to outside the adjustment range of the scope. A good gunsmith would have taken that into account and changed the location of the mounting holes to compensate for the unlevel receiver top. A side clone mount would have eliminated the problem. I shimmed the scope in the mount and got it right on.

    Just because the barrel looks like it is not perfect or excellent does not mean it won't shoot well or vice versa as I found out on an Enfield. The Enfield barrel looked fine but the throat was shot out and the bullets keyholed with every shot. The Enfield is now back at Century Arms for some kind of resolution to the problem (I hope!).


    LDBennett
  3. AngelDeville

    AngelDeville New Member

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    if you are shooting surplus ammo most likely it will be Berdan Primed and not re-loadable.

    generally .311 diameter bullets will work well, Sierra makes a 174gr Match King that I have heard works very well.

    Weidners sells 147gr, .311 bullets pulled from surplus ammo, and they work very well too, I put 46 grains of IMR 3031 behind those...

    I even shoot cast bullets, at full velocities, no leading.
    Last edited: Aug 21, 2008
  4. JLA

    JLA Well-Known Member

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    i use the hornady 174 RN, and the sierra 180 prohunter, both bullets shoot quite well, hodgdon varget, and Rx15 are my favorite powders for this cartridge.
  5. Popgunner

    Popgunner New Member

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    I've loaded & played with this caliber since 1974 & found out a few things.

    The finn rifles are tighter bores-I have an M-39 than slugs at .3085".

    The original Mosins were right at .308" till 1930 when they were re-barreled to .310" or as close to that that they could with their machinery being a little sloppy. Surplus ammo bullets run .309"-.310" . I also have some ammo from 1930 that has .308" bullets with hollow bases that open up under pressure to try to get a seal.

    Lyman suggests using bullets no larger than .310" in this caliber. Even though bores are larger (.316+ sometimes) the limiting factor in keeping pressures safe is not the bore but the chamber which must release the bullet. If the bullet is too large for the chamber pressures will go high quick. The rule I've used to stay safe here is no matter what the bore size is I use a case fired in that rifle where the case has opened up on firing & then relaxed down a little after firing to try to fit whatever bullet I want to use in to the case mouth. If the bullet enters a fired case mouth then I figure there will be a little room on firing for bullet release.

    Bullets made for the 7.62x54R often have hard jackets & even steel cores but are made with pure lead filling to help obturate & sometimes even have hollow bases. Commercial bullets are often harder lead & don't obturate as much.


    Lead bullets in a Mosin can work great or poorly. If you have an oversize, but smooth bore lead bullets obturate well & give good accuracy but if your bore is pitted lead bullets can be a leading nightmare.

    I've used Norma cases for a long time & lately I've bought 200 Lapua cases that are doing very well.
  6. LDBennett

    LDBennett Well-Known Member

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    popgunner;

    Very good information and I didn't realize all the nuances of the bore on Mosin-Nagants (I did know the Finn barrels were 308). Also I had not considered the chamber issue you pointed out. I guess its a good thing I selected 303 Brit bullets (.311 or .312), from a safety standpoint. I tried 308 bullets initially with poor results. The 303 Brit bullets work fine with reasonable accuracy and no pressure issues at load levels just below the max pressures loads listed in the Hornady manual. I did notice that commercial ammo used .310 bullets.

    Thanks again.

    LDBennett
  7. Popgunner

    Popgunner New Member

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    LD
    Most people get along fine using .311-.312" bullets. It was Lyman's cast bullet handbook that spoke of the chamber situation.

    Regards
    popgunner
  8. DoesItMatter

    DoesItMatter New Member

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    OK...

    So I completely stripped it apart to give it a good cleaning.

    Shot a bunch of WD-40 down the barrel and let it sit for a bit.

    Got the lead weight and lubed it proper, preparing for insertion.

    Slowly worked the tip of it in, not to hard, not too fast.
    Gently eased it in, deeper and deeper.

    Got a little tighter then, so I needed to use a little more force on my thrusts.

    Deeper, more thrusting, deeper...

    Wait a minute... we're still talking about slugging the barrel right? :D

    Anyway, after all the thrusting and pushing, finally came out in the end.

    The lead weight had anywhere from .310 to .314 measurements.

    Now, I also have a 30-30 and had some .308 bullets laying around.

    Tried dropping one in thru the throat and also thru the tip of the bore.

    Tapping wouldn't push it thru.

    Also, after a LOT of cleaning, I think slugging the bore helped remove a bunch of gunk out, the bore grooves actually look quite good, nice and deep.

    Also looks like it has been counter-bored a couple of inches.

    I should be safe using .310 bullets in this?

    I don't think I'll be trying lead out - after seeing the grooving once it was clean, I don't want to do a lot of lead cleanup.
    Last edited: Aug 24, 2008
  9. LDBennett

    LDBennett Well-Known Member

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    DoesItMatter:

    You should of had more definitive results than 310 to 314, I would think. The biggest dimension I think represents what your bore measured (314) and that corresponds to everyone elses slugging results. I say go with the 303 British bullets from any manufacturer you choose. They should be 311 to 312 (I haven't found any 310 bullets except in loaded ammo???). Your gun is obviously NOT one of the ones rebarreled to 308! Just start at the starting load again for load development. When I shot 308 bullets in mine the accuracy was dismal compared to that achieved with the Remington 303 British bulk bullets and mine slugged close to yours.

    LDBennett
  10. DoesItMatter

    DoesItMatter New Member

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    http://www.polygunbag.com/

    I had seen that sight for a while.

    Looks like they have a limited supply of pulled bullets.

    I just ordered 300 of the .310 7.62x54r 180gr tips.

    I'm just wondering where to get the brass now.

    I may just buy 10 boxes of Wolf Gold or Prvi Partizan, shoot those,
    and then reload those cartridges.

    I MAY also try some SABOT's in this... it'd be VERY interesting to see.
    From what I'm seeing, and the load I can put, may be getting close
    to 4000fps using a sabot with 55 gr soft points.

    The sabot's measure .312 so should shoot fairly nicely thru the barrel.
    After I try some standard rounds and get some empty brass, I will post results.
  11. AngelDeville

    AngelDeville New Member

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  12. JLA

    JLA Well-Known Member

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    www.reedsammo.com has winchester brass for about 50 bucks per 100 pcs. and if you must have .310, look up prvi partisan on the net. i have my best results with sierra .311 180 grainers at max OAL. that sabot idea is pretty good, recreate the "accelerator" concept in a metric caliber, brilliant...
    Last edited: Aug 26, 2008
  13. polishshooter

    polishshooter Active Member

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    I have loaded Prvi Partisan, Igman, and Winchester Western (which is actually Sellior and Bellot, made in the Czech Republic.) I like them in that order.

    The best of the three is Prvi Partisan in my book, and incidentally in all the M44s I have shot it in, the Prvi 150 gr SP factory ammo gives the best group size, so I scarf it up whenever I see it available, for the cases, and to keep some back for hunting if I ever use one of them for deer or black bear...the next best seems to be the Igman, then the Winchester...the S&B cases don't seem to last as long as the others, they seem to have annealing issues, and I have heard this from other shooters well.

    Prvi ammo is the same factory that loads the Wolf Gold premium ammo, in fact it's supposed to be identical, but a lot cheaper. Last show I saw it for like $12.50/20, for both the 150 SPs and 182 FMJs, while the Wolf Gold was like $17/20, and nobody had any Winchester. Igman was around too, for like $14/20. That is the best way to get your cases, buy factory and shoot it.

    Prvi also sells components, and their 150 SP boattail bullets are .310, I bought a couple hundred at a show, but for some reason no matter what loads and powder I use, I can never seem to get as good groups with my reloads, but close.

    With a scoped Polish M44 I have gotten 1 1/2" groups at 100 from a rest with the Prvi factory, but the closest I have gotten with this bullet in any of the cases woith any of my loads is about 2".

    I have heard that the Remington .311 bullets intended for the Enfield work well, as well as the .311 Siera match Kings, but I have yet to try them.

    I also picked up some nice looking .312 gas checked RNL at a recent show, but haven't tried them yet.
  14. AngelDeville

    AngelDeville New Member

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    I like the privi brass too, and I have winchester, an norma too... privi seems to be of equal or better quality.

    I use .30 cal gas checks on my Lyman mould. check the mould mfg. to see what the mould is made for.
  15. Popgunner

    Popgunner New Member

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    The Russian barrels were .308" till 1930 when they were re-barrled to .310"(or whatever their well-worn machines ended up putting out). Plus these rifles as they are today often have wear from being shot & errosion from corrossive ammo that opens up the bores even more. Just make sure your chamber will let the case open up & release whatever bullet you choose.

    The ammo made for the 91-30 has .309"-.310" dia. you should be ok with at least .310" bullets. Remember to get the right expander plug diameter for whatever bulet diameter you're working with. You can request a .308" or .311" expander from Lee.
  16. h2oking

    h2oking Former Guest

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    I didn't know anything about this cartridge or the gun until reading these threads which has been very informative. However, the one thing that stands out having nothing to do with this cartridge is continuing the myth that oversize bullets will cause high chamber pressure which is simply not true. P.O. Ackley in Volume II of his Handbook for Shooters and Reloaders at page 31 talks about him, Ackley experimenting by taking a 30-06 barreled action and at first re-chambering it to 8mm (.323) and then firing it with the same powder charge used in the 06 with no sign of increased pressure. He then re-chambered that same barrel to accept .358 bullets then fired a 180 grain .358 bullet through the .308 barrel and again it showed NO signs of increased pressures. For years I have been hearing and even on this forum by learned experienced reloaders that too tight a crimp(LDBennett very savvy guy) or an over sized diameter bullet will cause high pressure is simply not true. I had always been suspect that these facts were correct and not the myth, but never tested it, and then I found this piece by Ackley that confirmed the suspicions I have had for years that pressure peaks do not occur while the bullet is still in the case or near the chamber, but rather when the bullet is long gone from the case somewhere between 1/3 to 1/2 way down the barrel. Several loading manuals to this day incorrectly talk about when peak pressures occur and while it is true with black powder it is simply not true with modern progressive burning smokeless powders, "progressive burning" being the key words here and these test results by Ackley bares this out.

    Ron
    Last edited: Aug 28, 2008
  17. DoesItMatter

    DoesItMatter New Member

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    Well, I went ahead and purchased 10 boxes, 200 rounds, of the
    7.62x54r Prvi Partizan 150gr ammo they had @ Aim Surplus.

    I'll probably fire off 100 and save 100 for reference.

    Am planning to reload the .310 pulled bullets I ordered, for 50 of them,
    and for the other 50, will be putting in some Sabots.

    I got the sabot's for the 30-30 originally, but I think they'll be much more
    fun in this gun. 7.62x54r usually firing 180-200 gr bullets, will be firing
    a 55 gr .223 bullet - I will definitely post some pics of the reloaded rounds
    and then some shots of the targets/grouping info.

    Planning on getting the Lee Pacesetter dies and the factory crimp die.
    Are these the best options out there? I have an all lee setup currently.

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

    h20king - very interesting information!

    A little above me as I've only been in reloading for a couple years now.

    However... I won't be trying to fire a larger bullet out of the Mosin...
    I'll save that for other people that don't mind taking the risk of losing body parts ;-)
    Last edited: Aug 29, 2008
  18. h2oking

    h2oking Former Guest

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    DoesITMatter, I have been reloading for over 50 years and I haven't blown myself or a gun up YET. I will give you one more bit of advice and that is don't ever try to make a light load in any gun by using a highly reduced load of any slow burning powder. A 50% REDUCED load of 4350, 4831 or like powder will blow a gun up far worse than any overload will. Almost all overloads in rifles that blow up when the correct powder is being used results in the action staying intact and the barrel splitting about half way down (hmm imagine that) A light load will absolutely destroy the action blowing the bolt most likely through the shooters head. I tell you this because you sound like an adventurer playing with these accelerators which is fun. I have driven a 200 grain piece of tungsten in a sabot over the limits of my chronograph through my 50BMG and it will shoot clear through a 3 inch piece of mild steel.
    Last edited: Aug 31, 2008
  19. JLA

    JLA Well-Known Member

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    hey DIM, if you are gonna pay extra for the factory crimp die, just get the 3 die set, it comes in the red cylinder and will save you about 6 bucks, or if you really want to try your hand at making accurate ammo, get the deluxe die set that comes with the collet neck sizer, you will still have to buy the crimp die with the deluxe set but the collet die will allow you to reload fire formed cases without disturbing the stretched brass below the shoulder, cases will last longer and your loads will be more uniform. the only drawback to this is that those rounds will only work in that gun...

    check out www.leeprecision.com its actually cheaper to order from the factory...
    Last edited: Aug 30, 2008
  20. DoesItMatter

    DoesItMatter New Member

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    Lee might have changed their stuff around.

    They don't have the 3-die set for 7.62x54r listed on website.
    I'll give them a call and double-check though.

    Looks like the only set I can buy is these

    Lee limited production Pacesetter die set for 7.62x54r
    Lee factory crimp die for 7.62x54r.

    Can't find anything on the web as a combo.
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