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Old 04-10-2011, 02:28 PM   #1
Josh Smith's Avatar
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Reloading the 7.62x54R?


I'm about to embark on my first rifle reloading endeavor. I have been reloading and casting for pistols for years now.

The round is 7.62x54r. I chose it simply because the most accurate rifle I currently own (besides rimfire) is my accurized Mosin-Nagant 91/30. It will hold 0.8MOA with open sights at 80 yards with good surplus, and with bad surplus, I can keep it at 1.5MOA out to 100 yards.

It hits point-of-aim as I have one of my modified sights on it.

So, here's what I have:

45 pieces of Winchester brass

100 .308" Hornady BTSP 150grn (I know, and I have .310" on the way, but this is what was on hand and what the data sheet calls for, besides)

100 Federal large rifle primers

a pound of Varget (chosen because it's listed by Hodgdon for all bullet weights)

a Hodgdon loading chart

Now, here's where things get tricky. I guess I'm supposed to lube the cases. I do sometimes on pistol cases if they seem sticky; I use Fluid Film, which is lanolin-based. I can't even tell they are entering the die after applying just a bit. Can I assume this stuff will work with a tapered rifle case, as well?

How do I use these dies? Is it possible to just neck-size them after firing them in my rifle?

On the Hodgdon loading sheet, the max loads have a "c" after them. What does this mean? I don't believe I'll go much beyond the minimum charge; there's only a 3.5grn difference and I have almost too much spin for a 150grn bullet, so I want to keep things fairly slow, but still flat.

None of the cases need trimmed; they're all in spec. I think that when they do need trimmed, I'll use one of my files. I'm better with them than I am with most automated stuff and I don't mind the work.

What all do I need to know? I'm used to dealing with 20kPSI or less; now I'm looking at around double that. The Mosin-Nagant is a tough rifle and could probably take an over-charge, but not a double, so I am going to load one round at a time after priming them, and I plan to weigh each charge individually anyway, just so I know it's 100% on with the others.

Any and all advice will be appreciated. I'm not fond of the thought of a bolt through my left eye!



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Old 04-11-2011, 08:35 PM   #2
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First batch of reloads:

Not bad, I don't think. I'm approaching my limit with iron sights. The three I marked as POA I is how I started off, then switched to COM.

Load is Hornady 150grn BTSP backed by 45grns of Varget. Bullets are .308". Minimum load is 47grns, so I'm below minimum.

It's shooting in circles; that is being rectified right now.


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Old 04-12-2011, 07:09 AM   #3
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I think you will do better with the correct diameter bullet.
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Old 04-12-2011, 09:01 AM   #4
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Probably. They're ordered.

My bore does slug out to .229" x .309" though.

At 80 yards I could barely see any green (the middle oval) and none of the outside, as it's just light khaki.

I was guessing where the center was.


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Old 04-12-2011, 07:02 PM   #5
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Very interesting. Thanks for posting. I'm still not reloading. Yet. At some point I'll have to.

Glad to read your experiences.

Unusual that your bore did not slug .310" or .311" or even .312"...

The Finnish M39 is supposed to be .310" and the M91 and 91/30 .3095".

I'd think .310 to .312" bullets would do best. You don't own a Finn Mosin, but you just might want to pick up a copy of Doug Bowser's _Rifles of the White Death_ (McComb, MS: Camellia City Military Publications, 1998) because it has a chapter on reloading. He uses powders such as:
IMR 3031
IMR 4064
H 335
WW 748
Finnish Vihtavuori N135
Norma 204
IMR 4895
AA 2460
AA 2520
Vihtavuori N-140

Also bullet weights from 100gr. out to 250gr. It might be useful additions to your reloading manual you've got. Good luck, and good shooting to ya!
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Old 04-13-2011, 03:24 AM   #6
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Years ago I settled on 4064 as my all around rifle powder and use it for the .22-250 right on up to .30-06 and everything in between. It performs very well in all claibers in that range. I was not satisfied with it in the tiny .223 case and use BLC-2 for that. I use 2400 in my 300gr cast .45-70 loads and .45 Colt loads. Blue Dot in .357mag and Unique in .38spl. That is all the powders I have.
Joe B.
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