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Old March 30, 2006, 09:04 PM   #1
drdirk
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Unable to resize for antique mauser??

I have an antique 1891 argentinian mauser that was converted at some point to 308 caliber. The gun is in great shape and it looks like whoever did the conversion did a nice job.

It shoots well with factory ammo and I have had no problem loading 3 different kinds of factory ammo so far.

Given that the action is so old and that 308 may be too much pressure, I started reloading some ammo with 37 gr of 4895 and whatever bullet I had lying around. To my surprise non of my reloads would fit the chamber. Thats when I started to check empty brass in the gun and noticed that NONE would fit ?!?!

No big deal I thought, since I had shot the brass in my other guns and they were resized to my other 308 rifle, I figured that I just need to turn down my Lee resizing die. Guess what, after trying 4 different kinds of brass in my Lee resizing die, I was still unable to close the bolt! Even with the die turned down as far as it would go!

My reloads are certainly within specs and I have always used my Lee die to load my 308 hunting loads.

So, what is the problem here? Is factory loaded ammo really so much "smaller" than SAAMI spec???

This is what I could come up with as my options:

1. I can try to shoot some brass thu the gun and then reload it. This probably would work but not for long since I am unable to full lenght resize them afterwards with my current Lee die. Besides, it defeates my original goal of NOT shooting much factory thru it!

2. Find a die that can resize to a smaller size... any suggestions?? Are the lee dies somehow on the large size?? I guess once the shellholder hits the die, that is it and I can't push the shoulder down more.

I am loading on a single stage RCBS with Lee dies.

Thanks for any suggestions!
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Old March 30, 2006, 09:59 PM   #2
Don H
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The top of the shellholder can be ground down a few thousands, allowing the die to push the shoulder back a tad more.
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Old March 30, 2006, 11:06 PM   #3
Leftoverdj
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Why do you think the gun has been converted? Is it so stamped? Has the barrel been set back? Does it have a sporter barrel on it?
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Old March 30, 2006, 11:48 PM   #4
DAVID NANCARROW
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Leftoverdj, I'd say the chances of his rifle being rebarreled or rechambered is pretty good, seeing as how the rifle in question is an 1891 Mauser, and the 308 did not come to life until the 1950's. Winchester and Rem made both rifles and ammo for this chambering until the mid 30's.

Critical dimensions are close in both rounds.
7.65 Mauser 308 Winchester
Case Length 2.10 / 2.810
Case heads are the same at .473
Shoulder dia. .429 / .454
Case head to sh. 1.76 / 1.56

Never tried it, but I don't think you could get a 308 to chamber in a 7.65x53. If you could, the accuracy is not going to be all that good as the 7.65 is a bit larger in diameter, .313, although .311 or .312 diameter bullets are said to be satisfactory



Drdirk, you might try a small base die-I know RCBS makes them. They squeeze the brass down a bit farther. Would be interesting to know exactly where your full length resized brass is hitting the obstruction and what it might be. Do you have any fired cases from this rifle which have not been resized? If so, check the dimensions of the fired case vs one you have resized. That should give you an indication of what is wrong.

The other option is to shoot some factory brass thru it and neck size only. If you are worried about pressures, and I would be too, I'd be tempted to pull the bullets on the factory cases and put in your lighter powder charge.
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Old March 31, 2006, 09:11 AM   #5
drdirk
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RCBS small base dies?

David:

Pulling the bullet and using the brass of factory is not a bad idea! Also I searched this forum for the RCBS small base dies and it looks like that may work. Hope they are not too expensive.

As far as the other comments on the caliber, yes it is 308 and yes it must have been done in the 50's since the rifle action is from 1891! The new barrel is shorter and not "stepped" like the original military barrels. These rifels are quite commen and a lot of them were converted in the 50's to make them more sporting.

Will look into the small base die. The problem I have with measuring the cases is that I only have a caliber and beyond overall lenght, thinkness it is hard to measure the case that precisise. Especially measuring the neck is tough with out a more elaborate setup I think.
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Old March 31, 2006, 09:27 AM   #6
Leftoverdj
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You can chamber a .308 in a 7.65, which is why I asked. I suspect he is using the wrong ammo and blowing the shoulder too far forward to be resized. If the original barrel has been set back and rechambered, he would need to use the larger bullets as you note. That may be what has saved him so far if he has been using the wrong ammo. The undersized bullet would reduce pressure. If it has been rebarreled, it may indeed be chambered for .308 Win and have a .308 groove diameter.

The whole idea scares me. The '91 action is not strong enough, nor does it have the capacity to handle escaped gas to be shooting .308 Win in one. Further confusing matters is the Spanish 7.62 CETME round which is dimensionally identical to 7.62 NATO, but loaded to much lower pressures.
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Old March 31, 2006, 12:09 PM   #7
DAVID NANCARROW
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Wasn't completely sure whether you can chamber a 308 into a 7.65 as the diameter at the shoulder is larger. Drdirk, what kind of accuracy are you getting out of the factory loads you have been shooting so far?

Leftoverdj, you bring up a good point.
If somebody was sporterizing the rifle for cheap, he could have had the barrel rechambered and machined the steps off the issue barrel.

Sure must be a sloppy military chamber if you can have a 2.8 inch case with a 2/10ths larger diameter at the shoulder?

So far as factory ammo goes, you could either go that route or try some fresh 308 brass on it. Still kind of puzzled about the die situation. Sportsman's Warehouse was selling RCBS small base dies for under $30 here in the DFW area just a few weeks ago. Hope it works for you.

Its really a shame they don't load the 7.65 here anymore. When I was looking up the cartridge specs, its really a pretty good setup. Pretty much the same power as a 30-06, and thats not a bad place to be.
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Old March 31, 2006, 12:40 PM   #8
Leftoverdj
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David, that's .02" difference at the shoulder, and that's nominal. Cartridges typically run smaller than spec and chambers larger.
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Old March 31, 2006, 12:54 PM   #9
DAVID NANCARROW
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Leftover-The dimension I was speaking of is the distance between the case head and the top of the shoulder. As I don't have an actual case to measure, I am looking in Accurate Arms reloading manual #2 for a reference.
According to them, this distance is 1.76 inches.
Same book in 308, this distance is 1.56 inches.

IIRC, the first digit to the right of the decimal point is tenths, no?

I see my mistake-should have said length instead of diameter. Sorry-been running a bad fever for a few days!
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Old March 31, 2006, 01:14 PM   #10
DAVID NANCARROW
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Okay-let me see if I can hold it together for one more post

drdirk, can you take one of your empty resized shells and paint it up with a black magic marker, remove the bolt and install the shell on the bolt face, then run it into the chamber to see what part of the case is rubbing? Should be bright and shiny at the point of contact. Would hate for you to go down and spend good money on small base dies when it may not solve your problem
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Old March 31, 2006, 01:59 PM   #11
drdirk
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thanks for all the good suggestions. I am at work now but will try to do the magic marker thing over the weekend.

As far as accuracy is concerned it is pretty good but to be honest I have not benchrested it. Certainly within 2 to 3 inches at 50 yards or so. Only shot it for fun and did not really focus on finding the real accuracy.

The gun has a 308 caliber stamp on it. So I assume it is 308. My feeling is that the RCBS small base die "MAY" do the job. With the Lee die cranked down as much as possible, I can get an empty shell to fit and close the bolt with LOTS of force! Opening is even harder, hat to hit the bolt with a rubber hammer to get it out again. So the RCBS may do it, maybe not.

Will post on what I find on the balackened cartridge.

Thanks guys!
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