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Old November 13, 2017, 11:46 AM   #1
Prof Young
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Reloading 7.62 X 54r

I'm getting down to the end of my surplus ammo for the Mosin. I've bought some new ammo (very expensive at almost $1 a shot) and will use that brass. I have Lee dies and got some 123 grain bullets of the right caliber. My query is to those of you who reload the 7.62x54r . . . Any tips you wanna offer about reloading these? Things to look out for etc. (Oh and I do have some experience reloading rifle cartridges, but just the 223.) And yes I am shopping for more surplus ammo but figure it's worth learning to reload for the mosin.

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Old November 13, 2017, 01:13 PM   #2
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Did you slug the bore to determine what that "right caliber" is, and is the resizing die expander appropriate for this caliber?
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Old November 13, 2017, 01:44 PM   #3
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My RCBS dies came with both expanders. My Mosin slugged to 0.311 - most do - but you should check yours. Not sure why you'd mess with 123s. I shoot Sierra ProHunter 150 and 180. They sell those in 0.311. Medium burn rate powders are best. I haven't found it picky, but mine does well with IMR-4320. Nothing special about loading, just like any other bottleneck rifle cartridges.
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Old November 13, 2017, 03:26 PM   #4
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Every Mosin seems to be a bit different, but it is fairly common to have bores slug at 0.314"+ in the grooves.

If you're shooting jacketed bullets, it shouldn't matter much. But if you turn to lead, be sure to slug so you know what diameter to work with.

I found 150s to be the 'minimum' bullet length necessary for half-decent performance. Going to Hornady and Sierra 174 RNs improved things greatly.

PPU brass is good.
Lapua brass is good.
S&B is okay, but 'sticky' and usually has off-center and poorly punched flash holes.
"Win" brass can be PPU or S&B, depending upon the year it was made. Quality and usability traits follow the contractor's own brass.

I haven't used any other brands, that I can recall.

Keep in mind that some of the brass manufacturers are selling the brass (or ammo) as 7.62x54R, but the cases are actually trimmed short, so it can also be used as 7.62x53R without modification (for example, all Lapua is like this). If following load data exactly, you may find that book seating depth results in a cannelure not aligning with the case mouth, because of the shorter neck.
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Old November 14, 2017, 04:03 PM   #5
res45
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Quote:
I'm getting down to the end of my surplus ammo for the Mosin. I've bought some new ammo (very expensive at almost $1 a shot) and will use that brass. I have Lee dies and got some 123 grain bullets of the right caliber. My query is to those of you who reload the 7.62x54r . . . Any tips you wanna offer about reloading these? Things to look out for etc. (Oh and I do have some experience reloading rifle cartridges, but just the 223.) And yes I am shopping for more surplus ammo but figure it's worth learning to reload for the mosin.

Life is good.
Prof Young
I started reloading for the 54r around ten years ago right after I bought my first couple tin of surplus. Surplus steel and brass case ammo was cheap back then an I shoot some of my old stash on occasion but sit on most of it for a rainy day. I even have a couple hundred rds. I Mexican matched with Speer .311" Hot Cor 150 gr. soft points when they were no such hunting ammo to be found.

I don't ever see the price of surplus getting any cheaper or as available as it once was possibly never,how long has it been since you've seen those 440 rd. tins available.

Other than groove/ bullet diameter an weight and considerations you might take into account for the deep throats on some mosins it's pretty much like loading any other bottle neck rimmed cartridge. Pretty much any of the powders used in 30 cal. cartridge of similar size work fine in the mosin. As to jacketed bullets I like the Sierra 125,150 or 180 gr. .311" dia, Pro Hunter bullets they all shot great in my M44 and 91/30 the 91/30 with it's deeper throat tends to like the 180 gr. best.

I don't shoot many jacketed bullets these days I have a decent supply but I just save them for a rainy day as I like to shoot cast lead in my Mosin rifles. My favorite bullets are the Lee 160 and 185 gr. RN as well as a custom mold I had cut by Tom over at Accurate Molds,it's a 215 gr. .315 " FN bullet that I had cut to fit the throat of 91/30 it's a gas check design that I lube and size to .314" all the cast loads shoot nice tight groups.

215 gr. FN bullet.
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Old November 14, 2017, 04:07 PM   #6
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"...Did you slug the bore..." Doesn't normally apply to 7.62 x 54R.
You'll find 123 grain bullet are too light. They're more for 7.62 x 39. Hornady makes a 174 grain .311" that'll do nicely though. As will any other bullet made for the .303 Brit. Mind you, not all of those are .311". Some are .312". Talk to Montana Bullets for cast.
You also need to be sure your cases are brass and not steel. Steel cases are not reloadable. Neither are Berdan primed cases. More because new primers are almost impossible to find and reloading Berdan primed cases is more trouble than it's worth.
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Old November 15, 2017, 12:28 AM   #7
Prof Young
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Thanks and . . .

Thanks for all the info.
To answer some questions . . .

I have 123 grain bullets as that was all I could find labeled for 7.62X54r. I must be looking in the wrong place (midway)? Where should I look?

Yes my cases are brass. Can't remember the name of the factory loads. Will check that when I get home and back to the ammo closet.

I didn't slug the barrel. Not equipped to do so. Sounds like some think it is not all that critical.

I'm doing this just so I'll still be able to enjoy shooting the mosin. Won't be a hunting rifle and am not trying some long distance open sight thing. Mostly I just enjoy shooting a piece of history and letting others do so as well.

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Old November 15, 2017, 04:21 AM   #8
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The 123gr bullets are for the 7.62x39. You can shoot them out of a 7.62x54R, just like you can shoot 125gr bullets out of a .308 Win or .30-06. Performance won't be the same as a heavier bullet, and the sights won't be exactly "on" at distance.

Accuracy will be determined by the individual rifle barrel and your load.

If you aren't hunting, and just want something to shoot, and your gun shoots them well enough to satisfy your needs, then they're fine. Also the light bullet will give you a bit less felt recoil. You may or may not notice much difference if you stay below max load levels.

The nominal bore size of the 7,62x54R is the same as the .303 British and the 7.7mm Japanese. .311-.312" for jacketed bullets. You might find bullets in 150, 180 and even 215gr weights listed under these other calibers as well as 7.62x54R.

You will want a medium burn rate rifle powder, I use IMR 4895 a lot, it works pretty well in all my milsurp cartridges, but there are lots of other powders that will work just fine, too.

Get a good reloading manual (if you don't have one already). An actual book. I recommend Lyman but all of them are useful. DO remember that all the manuals, and internet data are GUIDELINES, and nobody else is shooting your rifle or ammo. Every rifle and ammo combination has the potential to be different. Most fall in the middle of the bell curve, which is why the guidelines are useful, but be aware that the gun in your hands could be at either end of the curve, so start low, and work up slowly in small steps until you either get what you want for performance, or you hit the top of the published data.

Hope this helps.
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Old December 2, 2017, 12:19 AM   #9
Prof Young
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thanks . . .

Thanks 44Amp. The info about other bullets that will work is VERY helpful. I don't have any other "big bore" rifles and so that arena of reloading is a bit new to me. I've been reloading 223 for a long time now, but that's a bit smaller and different.

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Old December 2, 2017, 02:19 AM   #10
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Some what similar situations exist in other caliber "familes", and basically you need to learn what is the "norm" and what are the exceptions.

I'll name a few, there are many

Today, the .22 centerfire standard is .224" .22 Hornet, .218 Bee, .219 Zipper, .220 Swift, .221 Fireball, .222 Rem, .222 Rem Mag, .223 Rem, .225 Win and .22-250 all use .224" bullets. Pre WWII .22 Hornets may have .223" barrels. The .22 Rem Jet uses a .222" bullet and the .22 Savage Hi Power uses a .228" bullet.

Most of the US and commercial.30 cals use a .308 bullet, some European ones use the larger .311 bullet. (.303 Brit, 7.62 Russian, both x54R and x39, and the 7.7x58mm the Japanese used in WWII.)

Some of the 6.5s use the same size bullet (.264") a couple use a different size.

There are a couple of different bore sizes that are called 9mm.

Our .38 pistol bullets come in a couple different sizes and all are close to .36 caliber, not .38. That's a result of the history of cartridge construction. Same reason our .44s are actually .43s (.429")

Our .45s are .45s, but can be .451" or .454" depending on what and when made. Pre WWII .45 Colt guns are normally .454". Post WWII they have generally become .451" to better shoot .45ACP (.451") bullets.

8mm Mauser comes in two sizes, sort of. .318" originally, then later .323".

Usually the first number in the caliber is the one you can trust, but there is an exception to even that rule, the .38-40. It uses a .401" bullet, and so ought to have been called the .40-40, but the makers didn't do that.

Many reloading manuals have a brief history of the rounds, and you can find a lot of still useful information about older rounds in outdated copies of Cartridges of the World (Barnes) which can often be found cheap in the booksellers and flea markets, gun shows, etc.

One word of warning, the older copies of COW have some good information, and some that isn't so good, and the author's opinions, which also, aren't always good.
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Old December 2, 2017, 05:15 AM   #11
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x54R

I started loading x54R after acquiring a PSL about a decade ago. I experimented with both .308 and .310 slugs, both conventional hunting slugs, as well as match bullets, mostly all from Sierra, and all 150 gr. The .308 dia bullets did suprisingly well, but groups could tend to be eratic at times. The most consistent performer for me is the Sierra 150 gr Pro-hunter in .311 dia. I drive that bullet with 46.5 grs of Varget, which is a mild load the renders .300 Savage velocities in my rifle.

At one time, I bought my x54R brass from Graf's, in bulk packs. I've also bought a few boxes of Norma factory ammo (loaded) and some W-W factory as well, but pulled the heavy slugs to get the cases. It is not recommended to shoot heavy slugs in the PSL. Privi had an affordable hunting load, but it would not group worth a hoot in my rifle. I pulled all those too, and used the brass to assemble reloads with the Sierra 150/.311.
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Old December 3, 2017, 04:00 PM   #12
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I have played with some reloading for the Mosin Nagant. I have loaded some hunting rounds with Speer Hot Core 150 grain .311 with CCI primers, and IMR 4320 the groups were better than I could hope for. I have hunted, and killed many critters with rifles and ammo that did not group as well as that.

Most of what I load is gallery loads for my wife. She loves her rifle. The thing is she has some issues with her neck and back, and the full power loads make her want to stop shooting with just a few rounds. The Gallery loads I load up shoot like a .22 LR., and are pretty quiet. I use the bulk 110 to 115 grain .308 bullets for the .30 carbine. I load with either Trail Boss, or Red Dot. With the Red Dot I get a wee bit of powder blow back from cases not sealing if I go under 13 grains. It is not a whole lot of blow back. The upped charge works great. They move the swingers on the dueling tree with no problems. I prefer the Trail Boss as it way cleaner running. Though note I prefer to run a near full case to get the necks to seal the chamber. I use the scoop that came with the Lee dies for the Trail Boss. I use a heaping scoop full.
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Old December 4, 2017, 01:45 AM   #13
Gaucho Gringo
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Quote:
Originally Posted by m&p45acp10+1 View Post
I have played with some reloading for the Mosin Nagant. I have loaded some hunting rounds with Speer Hot Core 150 grain .311 with CCI primers, and IMR 4320 the groups were better than I could hope for. I have hunted, and killed many critters with rifles and ammo that did not group as well as that.

Most of what I load is gallery loads for my wife. She loves her rifle. The thing is she has some issues with her neck and back, and the full power loads make her want to stop shooting with just a few rounds. The Gallery loads I load up shoot like a .22 LR., and are pretty quiet. I use the bulk 110 to 115 grain .308 bullets for the .30 carbine. I load with either Trail Boss, or Red Dot. With the Red Dot I get a wee bit of powder blow back from cases not sealing if I go under 13 grains. It is not a whole lot of blow back. The upped charge works great. They move the swingers on the dueling tree with no problems. I prefer the Trail Boss as it way cleaner running. Though note I prefer to run a near full case to get the necks to seal the chamber. I use the scoop that came with the Lee dies for the Trail Boss. I use a heaping scoop full.
I have a bunch of 110 grain wadcutters that I am thinking of loading like yours. What was the Lee dipper number? I have a converter to shoot .32 auto in the rifle but it is very time consuming to shoot.
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Old December 4, 2017, 04:46 PM   #14
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I think it is either a 3.1cc or 3.5cc. I use the same dipper for light .45-70 Gov't. cast lead loads. I think they went over the chrono at around 1100 fps or close to it. Accuracy is minute of 6 inch steel plate with ease. I have to move the sight adjustment to 2 or else it shoots low.
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