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Old January 9, 2006, 05:27 PM   #1
Cosmoline
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7.62x54R big game load

It took six long months of experimenting, but I finally found a really good load to launch the 215 Grain Woodleigh .312" thwappers out of a Mosin-Nagant. The extreme length of the round and its very high ogive presented problems and made the bullet more sensitive than usual to variations in load types. Most of my test handloads went far afield--by as much as a foot off center and in a pieplate group. But this one has given me a high 1" group dead on center axis out of my Tikka 91/30 and also a good group out of my M-91 PTG. I use 50 grains of IMR 4350 and set the bullet into the powder by hand press with as low an ogive as possible.

I have not chronographed the round yet, but the charts indicate I should be getting about 2,350 to 2,400 fps out of a long Mosin, which calculates to over 2700 ft. lbs. of impact energy at the muzzle.

These big RN woodleighs have racked up an awesome kill record on big game worldwide out of the .303 British, but are not well known stateside. They have an exceptionally high sectional density and are specially designed to mushroom at moderate velocities out old military rifles.

I plan on using these as a moose and bear load, but they would work well for any North American big game inside 200 yards.
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Old January 9, 2006, 06:01 PM   #2
Crosshair
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Where did you get these bullets? I have never heard of them. Looks like I may have a use for all those 7.62x54R cases I bought.
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Old January 9, 2006, 06:11 PM   #3
Mike Weber
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Howdy Cosmoline:
I remember you from our debates with the Anti's over on the Michael Moore Bowling for Colombine forums. The 7.62X54 cartridge has definately got potential as a big game round. I've got two Russian M91/30'S One of em is an Old WW2 production IZZY that I picked up years ago at a gun show for $35.00. Some Bubba gunsmith had sawed the stock forarm off just ahead of the rear site. Back before you started to see these rifles coming into this country in large numbers as imports. At the time there were only two sources of commercial ammo available, The expensive Norma ammo and the ammo from Hanson Cartridge, Who unfortunately had their source located in Yugoslavia. That supply dried up when civil war broke out in that country. Living in a remote Area I took it upon myself to stock up on plenty of the Hanson ammo and still have a good supply of their 180 gr Spitzer softpoint ammo. Anyway in the years that I've had the rifle I've used that old $35.00 rifle to put close to 1000 lbs of meat in the freezer. In fact I put a big whitetail doe in the freezer this fall with it. Just happened to be handy when the opportunity presented itself. I've got fancier rifles but I dion't have to worry about scratching up the stock on the old Izzy when hunting in thick brush. My other Mosin is a Tula made M91/30 thats in pretty good original condition. Due to the inherent weaknesses of the Mosin Nagant action I've been keeping pressures on reloads down to slightly below the levels of .308 Winchester factory ammo. Loading to about 150 fps lower velocity levels than factory .308 ammo. I've been considering using some hard cast bullets for the 7.62X54 maybe moving up to a 200 gr gas checked RN. In terms of effectivness of this cartridge i have to say that every animal I've shot with the Mosin has dropped in its tracks and no followup shots were required this includes Deer, coastal blacktail, whitetail and mule deer, Elk, and Black bear. Yep the 7.62X54 works on big game allright.
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Old January 9, 2006, 11:37 PM   #4
Cosmoline
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Howdy Mike--glad to see another veteran of the great Michael Moore message board wars We all know he closed his boards because we were winning. I'm usually over on THR these days but want to make a good on-line record of this load since it took so long to come up with.

Quote:
Due to the inherent weaknesses of the Mosin Nagant action I've been keeping pressures on reloads down to slightly below the levels of .308 Winchester factory ammo. Loading to about 150 fps lower velocity levels than factory .308 ammo.
Where did you get the idea the action was weak? It's as tough as a Mauser '98, or tougher. The design includes a truly massive steel receiver that can tolerate anything the 54R can crank out. A fellow over on the Collectors Forum did a test a few years back with plugged bores and excess pressure loads on Mosins to see how much it took to blow them up. The receivers held, though the barrels didn't. No bolts were blown back. They have two main lugs plus a massive steel bolt handle that acts as a backup lug--making them three lug safe just like a Mauser '98. Gas gets ejected down into the magazine via the claw groove.

I have fired thousands upon thousands of rounds through Mosins of all types and as long as their headspace is good they can digest loads as far up as the reloading manuals go--and probably a lot more. There are also a lot of antique receivers from the 1890's floating around in Finnish Mosins, and nary a one has blown up.
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Old January 9, 2006, 11:40 PM   #5
Cosmoline
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Quote:
Where did you get these bullets? I have never heard of them. Looks like I may have a use for all those 7.62x54R cases I bought.
Thanks for the reminder. They are available on Midway from time to time, though I recently snatched up the last of them Midway is going to get more in soon, according to the email they sent me.

Huntington has some in stock, though they're about ten bucks more than Midway's.

http://www.huntingtons.com/bullets_woodleigh.html

These aren't cheap bullets, but they're worth it if you want to really thwap down something big without a lot of FPS. Think of it as a way of delivering magnum-level damage with a standard rifle.
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Old January 10, 2006, 12:53 AM   #6
Mike Weber
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Quote:
Howdy Mike--glad to see another veteran of the great Michael Moore message board wars.We all know he closed his boards because we were winning.
Yep I happened to be on that site when MM pulled the plug. Thought that I had been banned but as it turned out they closed it down rather than be publicly shown for the fools that they are.
My safety precautions on the Mosins comes from years of warnings and suggested loads in the manuals. Shortly after the Russian revolution quite a few of the WW1 vintage Mosins still in this country mostly Remington made guns were converted to 30-06 Springfield I've seen a few of these and had always been told that they were unsafe to shoot Due to weaknesses in the Mosin action. I'd always been cautioned about reloading for the Mosins for these same reasons and not to exceed factory load specs on the Mosin.
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Old January 10, 2006, 12:57 AM   #7
Crosshair
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I heard that the 30-06 Mosins where unsafe because of shody workmanship when they converting them.

+1 on the massive bolt handle acting as a safety lug.
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Old January 10, 2006, 05:05 AM   #8
Cosmoline
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Crosshair is right. The Bannerman Mosins were generally OK, but some .30'06 conversions were not done correctly and created a weakness. An intact Mosin action is an absolute tank. They've survived in continuous military service since 1891. The Finns still use them as reserve snipers, and when Rumsfeld visited Afghanistan after our victory there, he was greeted by local soldiers carrying Mosin-Nagants.

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