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Old October 29, 2012, 09:32 PM   #1
barnbwt
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How much am I looking at here...Steyr M95

Rebarrelling/rechambering an M95 in 8mmx56R to...anything else.

As far as I can tell, such a project would entail:
-A new barrel
-A chamber reaming, and milling of an ejector pocket
-Threading said barrel in a funky Steyr pitch (or recut the receiver ?)
-Resurfacing the bolt face
-Modifying or replacing the extractor with something better (Sako's been mentioned)
-Modifying the stripper clips or converting to a internal or box-fed mag setup (somehow)

These rifles are pretty cheap (150$) and nigh-on unusuable because ammo has disappeared. Now, buying new production ammo and reloading is the cost-effective solution to this issue, but a crazy project is funner, right? If the costs could be expected to be well below my magic 1000$ "screw it, new gun" threshold, I think it'd be fun to try finagling a M95 into...45/70, for instance (30-30 or any number of other more common cartridges would be neat as well). That way I can safely shoot up all that FMJBT milsurp 45-70 I have laying around (and not break my shoulder shooting Natzee milsurp)

TCB
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Last edited by barnbwt; October 29, 2012 at 10:04 PM.
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Old October 29, 2012, 10:31 PM   #2
emcon5
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If you really want to do it as an engineering exercise, I guess you could do it, but brass is about $60/100, and your budget would buy a lot reloading components.
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Old October 30, 2012, 02:33 AM   #3
FrankenMauser
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Around here, I could probably get that done for $450-650, including the barrel and hot-bluing any parts that require it (but not the complete rifle).

However, that doesn't include any magazine or clip modifications. That's the key here, and I don't have a suggestion for how to approach that issue. I'm not familiar enough with the M95.

If you were able to go to .45-70, it would actually save a bit of money, too. Rather than having the bolt face bushed and milled, it would just have to be opened a bit.

I wonder if 7.62x54R would be close enough to only need a rebarrel...?
(I don't have any manuals handy, or I would check.)
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Old October 30, 2012, 05:09 PM   #4
barnbwt
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Quote:
that doesn't include any magazine or clip modifications. That's the key here, and I don't have a suggestion for how to approach that issue.
I wonder if it would be best to go for the gusto and get a 8mm mag of some stripe (detachable or integral) to fit in the well --open up the bottom and internal spring/follower removed...I've heard mods involving permanently attaching the stripper clips are pretty buggy (seeing as the clips are quite flimsy), and no one seems to have gotten a rimless re-chamber to work worth a darn

I've also read up on the 444; interesting round, and would leave more metal around the edges of the bolt face than a full-on 45-70. I'd really like to do a straight-wall rimmed case for the stupid easy reloading, and a stretched-out 44mag would seem to have similar performance capabilities (ok, maybe not quite as heavy of loads, but still a bullet-punter ). I need to do some research to see if the availability is appreciably different between the two.

Buying the rifle now, BTW, pics in a bit...

TCB
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Old October 30, 2012, 05:21 PM   #5
2damnold4this
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What pressure can the action handle?
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Old October 30, 2012, 07:03 PM   #6
Brian Pfleuger
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Seems as though you'd have a better "crazy project" if you sold the M95, took that money and built the gun you want.

You can get barreled Mauser HVA 8000 actions from McGowen for $650.

If you really went crazy, a good barrel and "benchrest" quality action wouldn't set you back more than $1,200 or so and you'd be talking SERIOUS quality.
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Old October 30, 2012, 08:00 PM   #7
barnbwt
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Quote:
Seems as though you'd have a better "crazy project" if you sold the M95, took that money and built the gun you want.
I'm not really looking for a bench rest rifle (hence why I'm looking at a light carbine). My "barreled M95 action", complete with stock, only set me back 100$, so it's not like I'm going for a super-delux solution here, either. A handy straight-pull (this thing is scary fast to cycle) in 45-70 has all the functionality of a lever, but with better (IMO) ergonomics; what's not to love?

Quote:
What pressure can the action handle?
Apparently a good deal; it's been chambered in everything from 30-40 to 8mm Mauser, and the milsurp 8x56R my rifle is chambered for is among the hottest service ammo ever made. Anything short of insane 45-70 loads should be plenty safe (also looking into 444 potential; closer to existing bolt dimensions). I've heard of people doing conversions to 7.62x54R, but the taper doesn't work right with the clips, apparently (30-40krag works best).

For the time being, I can use it in 8x56R (my LGS happened to have some PRVI) and we'll see if I fall in love, or something (happened with the K31s )

TCB



*need to locate a new bolt-body (~20$) as there appears to be a tiny crack at the tail(non loaded part, btw) that will probably(inevitably) cause the safety to break loose. Doesn't appear it'd affect other operation (or strength), but I'll fix it nonetheless. Anyone happen to know if there are different sizes? I wouldn't think there should be.
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Old October 31, 2012, 02:34 AM   #8
FrankenMauser
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.444 Marlin is a pretty decent, if unloved, cartridge.

But, if you don't reload, it's very nearly a dead end (and not cheap to shoot).
There are essentially only 3 semi-affordable factory loads on the market:
Remington 240 gr SP @ 2,350 fps (underwhelming, a handgun bullet, and $40-50 / box)
Hornady LeveRevolution 265 gr FTX @ 2,325 fps (short cases, not ideal if saving brass for a reloader or to reload it yourself, disappointing bullet, $30-40 / box)
Hornady Superformance 265 gr FP Interlock @ 2,400 fps (great load, great bullet, good brass, $30-45 / box)

Cor-Bon, Buffalo Bore, and Grizzly Ammunition do offer "niche" loads for .444 Marlin, but they're even more expensive.


If you were to reload, 'standard' specs are generally in the ball park of:
200 gr bullet @ 2,300 fps to 2,600 fps (depending on bullet design and how hot it's loaded)
240 gr bullet @ 2,200 fps to 2,500 fps (depending on bullet design and how hot it's loaded)

265 gr bullet @ 2,200 fps to 2,300 fps (moderate handloads)
265 gr bullet @ 2,400 fps (hot handloads or Hornady Superformance factory ammo)

300 gr bullet @ 1,900 fps to 2,100 fps (moderate to hot handloads)



Drawbacks of .444 Marlin:
Factory ammo can be difficult to find locally.

Remington only runs their .444 Marlin load as a "seasonal run" cartridge. That means they don't make it unless they have more than 125,000 rounds ordered through distributors/dealers, and they only make it when they have machinery available. So, if the demand isn't there... you may not see that ammunition for a year, or more.

It has an extremely short throat for a rifle cartridge. If reloading - Even if your magazine length might let you 'load long' with the bullets farther out of the case, your throat isn't going to allow it. You'll have to stick to the standard overall length, or pay for some one to do some throat work to the rifle.

Most of the .429/.430/.431 bullets on the market are designed for handgun velocities and have cannelures for .44 Special and/or .44 Mag. Neither concept works well for .444 Marlin. (Though, the velocity issue doesn't matter, if you're only punching paper.)

If reloading - Brass is only run once a year (or every 2 years) by Remington. When the supply starts to dry up, it gets into the $1 / case price range ($90-105 per 100 cases). Hornady brass is better (my opinion), but it runs about $90 per 100 cases, year-round. So... brass isn't cheap.

Bullet trajectories suck. Most bullets appropriate for use in .444 Marlin have the ballistic coefficient of a brick. They shed velocity like there's no tomorrow, and drop like a rock brick.



If I were considering other cartridges, I'd be giving 7.62x54R and .30-40 Krag serious thought.
BUT... .30-40 Krag has it's own availability issues (see the "seasonal run" reference above) ... except .30-40 is run even less frequently, there are only two loads on the market, and Winchester (the other load) only runs .30-40 Krag ammunition about every 2-3 years.

I really like my .444 Marlin and I loved my .30-40 Krag, but ammunition and component availability can be serious issues. If I eliminate the component (reloading) option, and have to stick with just factory ammo.... I wouldn't be considering either of them for the project.
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Old October 31, 2012, 12:41 PM   #9
2damnold4this
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Quote:
Apparently a good deal; it's been chambered in everything from 30-40 to 8mm Mauser, and the milsurp 8x56R my rifle is chambered for is among the hottest service ammo ever made.
It seems like I read some time ago that the M95 was originally designed to shoot the low pressure 8x50R ammo and was converted to the hotter 8x56R ammo. I also read that the rifles that Greece and Yugoslavia received as war reparations that were converted to 7.92x57 are unsafe to shoot. Wiki lists the max pressure of the 8x56r as 51,500 psi. That is close to 7.62x54R but it isn't up to 8mm Mauser standards. On the bright side, it should be plenty enough for the 45-70.
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