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Old June 1, 2010, 10:24 PM   #1
Crankylove
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8mm Lebel (8x50R) Load Data

Ladies and Gents, I could sure use your help one this one.

My brother's father-in-law has an 8mm Lebel rifle (box magazine version), that belonged to his father, but hasn't shot in a few years after he ran out of loaded ammo. The gentleman that was loading ammunition for him passed away, and the ammo he loaded, didn't come with any load data. I know there is loaded Lebel ammo for sale out there, but I don't think he wants to stray into the realm of new ammo (out of sentiment maybe?), and we (my brothers and I) would really like to load something up for him so he can shoot "dad's" gun again. He dosen't hunt with it, he has a not-very-sporterized '03 Springfield he takes along for that, so loads don't need to be full powered, just enough to go 100yds fairly flat and knock over a soda can.

I have some data from LEE that came with the dies I purchased, but EVERYTHING I have found about it says it is junk. Several guys that tried it said they ended up with billets lodged in the barrell............not really what I am trying for. I can find reloading data for other rifles chambered in 8mm Lebel (or 8x50R if you prefer) such as the Berthier, but am looking for some that would be specific to his Lebel rifle. Right now I have some .323 175 gr. spitzer's left over form my brother's M24/47, so data for that weight bullet would be nice, but I would appreciate anything data or experience offered. The brass is some factory Remminton, and cost $2.70 for 20 loaded rounds when new, but, it is boxer primed, with no cracks or other visible flaws.

I hate to give up on loading some ammo for him, and break down and buy new stuff, I have been to probably 20 different forums/websites, checked every loading manual I could get my hands on, and spent several hours researching obsolete cartridges, but just can't come up with usefull data.
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Old June 1, 2010, 10:57 PM   #2
Mike Irwin
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1886 Lebels were tubular magazine guns.

The Betherier was a later, updated version of the basic action with a Mannlicher packet clip system added.

Any loading information for a Betherier rifle or carbine will also be perfectly suitable for a Lebel rifle or carbine.
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Old June 2, 2010, 12:02 AM   #3
Crankylove
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Quote:
Any loading information for a Betherier rifle or carbine will also be perfectly suitable for a Lebel rifle or carbine
I appreciate your input. The data I am finding is so contradictory........I find some data that says its only for rifle "X", or data from one source that says for powder "Y", start is 34 grains and max is 39...........and then the next source says powder "Y" starts at 40 and max is 49. I have found quite a few people who have their favorite load........but don't want to share the data for liability........very frustrating.
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Old June 2, 2010, 12:17 AM   #4
Mike Irwin
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I need to modify my original answer. I wasn't really thinking about it.

You've got to remember that with the original Lebels you are talking about THE FIRST smokeless powder guns, and made with 18th century metallurgy.

The later Betheriers are a lot more capable of handling today's more energetic powders.

In other words, you need to treat the original Lebels with some tenderness.

As for loading data, the cartridge was for a time loaded by Remington. That stopped sometime in the 1950s. There probably was loading data in some of the manuals from that time, but none of my circa early 1960s manuals have any data for it.

I'll make a suggestion, but I will NOT, under any circumstance, accept any responsibility for it!

All of the cartridges from that era used had roughly the same ballistics and same operating pressures.

You could possibly, and with a GREAT amount of caution, use loading data for the 7.62x54R Mauser or .303 British as a starting point.

Start at the VERY bottom (or even below that) of the listed loads.
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Old June 2, 2010, 01:40 AM   #5
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The February 1995 issue (issue #173, page 60) of "Handloader" magazine has a short article on loading the 8mm lebel. They had trouble finding brass, and made theirs from .348 winchester. If you can't find the article, you could send me your mailing address by private message, and I could make a photo copy of the afticle and send it to you (if you wish). In any case, I would heed Mr. Irwin's well meant advice and use caution in reloading for those old rifles.
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Old June 2, 2010, 12:11 PM   #6
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Cartridges Of The World shows some loads for the 8mm Lebel, 170 gr and 198 gr bullets with IMR3031 or IMR 4895 powder. Keep in mind that many of those loads were calculated, so use caution.
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Old June 2, 2010, 02:30 PM   #7
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Quote:
Cartridges Of The World shows some loads for the 8mm Lebel, 170 gr and 198 gr bullets with IMR3031 or IMR 4895 powder. Keep in mind that many of those loads were calculated, so use caution.
That's the problem with the Lee data, as well.

None of it was actually tested. They "calculated from a similar size and caliber cartridge".
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Old June 3, 2010, 09:16 AM   #8
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The one beautiful thing about IMR extruded stick powders that really doesn't exist with other powders is their VERY forgiving nature and the ability to use something like a Powley charge calculator to come up with what should be a safe starting load for virtually any cartridge.

The Powley hasn't been available, as far as I know, for many years.


There are some approximations of it on the net, though, but I've not messed with any of them.
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Old June 3, 2010, 01:37 PM   #9
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Quote:
The one beautiful thing about IMR extruded stick powders that really doesn't exist with other powders is their VERY forgiving nature and the ability to use something like a Powley charge calculator to come up with what should be a safe starting load for virtually any cartridge.
That's a good point.

I've had to calculate some loads in the past, based on wildcatters' methods. My ideal powder would be H4895, with its smoother pressure curve.
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Old June 7, 2010, 01:09 PM   #10
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Anybody else?
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Old June 7, 2010, 01:45 PM   #11
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Well, this may be an application for Trail Boss' newly announced method of determining a safe powder charge for use with jacketed rifle bullets.
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Old June 8, 2010, 12:06 AM   #12
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Well, this may be an application for Trail Boss' newly announced method of determining a safe powder charge for use with jacketed rifle bullets.
The "fill the case to the bottom of the neck, and stick a bullet in it" method?

I do that with .270 Winchester, to get rid of some Winchester Power Points I picked up in '97 or '98.
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Old June 8, 2010, 12:24 AM   #13
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Good luck. I'm having simular problems with my 8X51 in my Mannlicher-Schoeneauer I'm putting together, except the barrel has to be .318 on the MS.

The only referance I found was in Sharps Reloading Manual and all he says "if you are loading for this round, Good Luck".

The method for Trailboss is to fill the case to the bottom of the bullet, then use 75% of that for your starting load.
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Old June 8, 2010, 02:37 AM   #14
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Quote:
The method for Trailboss is to fill the case to the bottom of the bullet, then use 75% of that for your starting load.
Perfectly understandable for safety reasons.

However, I haven't found a cartridge yet, that is anywhere close to even moderate pressures with a 95%+ load density with Trail Boss.


Ah, here we go:
I hadn't actually run across this as an "official" reference before.
Quote:
  1. Find where the base of the bullet to be loaded is located in the case and make a mark on the outside of the case at this location. Then fill the case to that mark with Trail Boss, pour into the scale pan and weigh. This is your maximum load. Pressures will be below the maximum allowed for this cartridge and perfectly safe to use!
  2. Take 70% of this powder charge weight (multiply the maximum load from step 1 by .7), and that is your starting load.
  3. Start with this beginning load and work up to your maximum charge, all the while searching for the most accurate reduced load. Once found, the fun begins!
What's interesting, is that they don't warn against compressed charges, or filling beyond the base of the bullet. You would think they would put that in Trail Boss-specific data, since several other documents strictly warn not to compress that powder.
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