Anybody loaded 7.62x54R for PSL-54C?

Discussion in 'Reloading' started by knc1105, Mar 17, 2010.

  1. knc1105

    knc1105 Well-Known Member

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    I have a PSL-54C that I have done about everything to, and on the first batch of Wolf 150 gr FMJ it would shoot sub-MOA everytime I put it in the Lead Sled, but on the second batch 2-3 MOA is normal. In the first box of ammo I pulled ,to reset fire-lappind bullets, the powder charge varied from 46.3-48.3 grs YES TWO FULL GRAINS, no wonder I'm having trouble. I know the PSL is not supposed to shoot heavier than a 150 gr bullet and you need the .310-.311 bullets but what do I do for brass? I had heard that the service rifle ejects really hard and brass will not hold up, but where would you buy steel / coated cases if that is true. Any help would be appreciated I hate to give up on this rifle and dump it. I have shot 400 yards several times at a buddies range that I built him and it would shoot 2 1/2 - 3 inch off the bench at 400 with a 6.5-20 Mildot, it was good cheap fun and comparable to 308 and a rifle that I was not attached to if I had a rough hunt.
     
  2. RT2506

    RT2506 Well-Known Member

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    First thing to do is to slug the bore to see exactly what diameter bullet you really need. Take a soft lead .315 diameter lead muzzle loader ball and drive it through the bore using short pieces of wooden dowel rod. Measure from high spot to high spot. If it measures between .3085 .3095 use .310 bullets. If it measures .310 to .3105 use .311 bullets. You can use any brass case to reload. You will not be able to find steel cases to reload. I have had good case life with my bolt 54R's with Prvi Partizan cases. The Wolf Gold ammo is also made by Prvi. Lapua makes very good cases but they are expensive and will be called 7.62X53R. They are 7.62X54R only trimmed 1mm shorter because of political problems in their country, not being able to have military calibers or something like that. I don't have a rifle like yours all mine are bolt rifle and the prefer 174 gr and heaver bullets. You should be able to get good accuracy out of medium burning powders like MIR 4064 and Varget with 150 gr bullets. My bolt rifles really shoot with 50 grs AA4350 and 174/180 gr bullets. If your rifle is shooting like you say with Wolf ammo, which is NOT ACCURATE ammo by most standards, you really have a shooter if you properly hand load for it.
     

  3. knc1105

    knc1105 Well-Known Member

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    I pulled two boxes of the Wolf 148 gr FMJ, the first box was 45.5-48.3 grs with extreme spread of 2.8 grs with an average charge weight of 46.8 grs. The second box was 45.5-51.6 grs with an EXTREME SPREAD of 6.1 grs with an average charge weight of 50.7 grs how could anything shoot with this crap? I guess the first batch was better than this batch. Sierra has some 150 gr .311 SP's if I can find them. When I pulled the bullets I tried to be consistant with my hits on the bullet puller and some came out with 3-4 blows and some took 25-30 hits and thought I was going to bust the puller. So while I'm waiting for the Sierras I am going to re-weigh, re-seat and factory crimp a few of what I've got to see what happens. I am going to re-load 5 with Varget to try. Thanks for the posts so far, LRH is a great resource.
     
  4. knc1105

    knc1105 Well-Known Member

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    Several buddies that saw it really shoot asked what had been done to it, so here goes, my gunsmith Tig welded the rail to receiver so with the big scope the rail rivets would not let it flex. He put a great Tapco trigger in it along with the Tapco Stainless Steel gas piston.I got a EGW Space Comp because this was a threaded barrel version PSL with the 14mm left hand thread barrel ( some fitting required). The scope mount is a Kalinka BP-02 Low Profile that just barely clears the cover and the rings are Burris Extreme Tactical that have been fully lapped, top and bottom. The scope is a 6.5-20 Illuminated Mildot. I found a Bi-Pod adapter that cleanly mounted in the forend. I put a AK-47 Grenade Launcher kick pad on it to add length of pull. When it shoots it's a heck of a rifle that is on par with .308 and 30-06 and was $569 from Aims.
     
  5. Kevin Thomas

    Kevin Thomas Well-Known Member

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    KNC,

    For starters, just like RT said, forget about the steel cases. They use steel because it's cheaper and more readily available than brass, not because it's stronger. It probably can be reloaded, but it seriously wouldn't be worth the effort it'd require. The US used lacquered steel for several cases during WWII, and I've shot a fair amount of 45 ACP steel cased rounds. Worth mentioning that those cases used an intermediate sized primer, one that I'd never seen before or since. Not a small and not a large, but something in between, so it rendered the whole idea of reloading those cases at all completely moot. I don't know if this extends to other calibers of steel cases.

    The 7.62 is an inherently accurate round, and the Russians used it as a standard Match round in Olympic and International 300 meter competitions just about forever. They still use it as their standard sniper cartridge, and ironically, it was used to set the highest number of confirmed kills in history against them when a Finnish sniper racked up an incredible 505 confirmed kills during the Russian invasion of 1939. Not too bad for a war that lasted all of a 105 days.

    I'm biased, of course, but I'd recommend the Lapua cases, and yes, we do designate them as 7.62x53R. This was also a standard Finnish service cartridge for quite some time (Finland was a Russian territory prior to 1917, hence armed with Russian equipment), and is still a very popular hunting cartridge for moose there. Take some time with load development, treat it like any other cartridge and you'll be rewarded with an accurate shooter, no doubt in my mind. The fact that you've already seen sub-MOA performance out of it already set the bar. Now all you have to do, is clear it again!

    Kevin Thomas
    Lapua USA
     
  6. knc1105

    knc1105 Well-Known Member

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    I have 2-cases of Lapua in 7.62x39 that I use to see what a new AK will do, guess I'll get some of their brass to try. One of the best tricks I ever played on a Shooting Buddy was I put some Lapua 7.62x39 in a CHEAP ammo box and out shot his bolt gun at a hundred, the brass catcher hid the new brass where he never saw them.
     
  7. knc1105

    knc1105 Well-Known Member

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    I pulled, weighed charges and reloaded the Wolf crap, after I fire-lapped the barrel it shot 5-shot groups with the re-weighed Wolf ( case, primer,powder and bullet all Wolf ) and it shot 1-1/8 inch at a 100 yds. I got some Sierra 150 gr .311 dia. bullets to load and try tomorrow. Load data is not easy to find for the powders I have, Varget is my only powder I can find data for, I have alot of IMR 3031,H322, 2520,H4831, IMR 4831,H1000, Retumbo, and some Varget, if anybody knows about data for 150 gr bullets it would be appreciated. I am trying to save the Varget for my 308.
     
  8. Kevin Thomas

    Kevin Thomas Well-Known Member

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    KNC,

    For starters, you've got some powders listed here that aren't really suitable for this particular combination. The Varget is about right, but if you want to reserve it for the 308 Win, that's fine. Still, it is an option.

    Most of the other IMR and Hodgdon powders you've listed here are going to be too slow for this combination, particularly with the lighter (150 grain) bullets. IMR 3031 would probably be a decent choice for the 150s, but I haven't found data for this with the .311" bullets. Sierra lists this powder with a starting charge of 38.9 grains, and goes to a max of 44.4 grains, for about 2,700 fps. This data, however, was done with .308" bullets. It'd be useable for a starting point, but I'd suggest being cautious about working up to the maximum. COTW, 11th Edition also lists 3031 with the 150, with a maximum of 49.0 grains, but doesn't specify which bullet diameter was used for that data. Just watch your pressure signs and work in small increments. AAs 2520 should be about the right burning speed for this combo, but I don't have any data for this one. I'll keep poking around and see what else I can find. You didn't mention Vihtavuori powders, but I do have plenty of data for these, with a complete range of bullet weights.

    Hope this helps,

    Kevin Thomas
    Lapua USA
     
  9. knc1105

    knc1105 Well-Known Member

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    Mr. Thomas and RT thanks for the help. I have not slugged the barrel, I thought I had some 32 cal Muzzleloader balls but I can't find them. Taking off the muzzle brake and measuring with a micrometer ( not the right proceedure ) but it's all I could do at the time. The bore appears to be between .3105-.311. The Wolf bullets it used to shoot with are .311. A funny thing happened when I was pulling bullets and reweighing the powder, there were 2-different bullets in one box ( 19 of one kind and one of another ) WOW WHAT QUALITY CONTROL. I have some Lapua brass coming try, at least that way I can eliminate the cases and I'll have real primers. I robbed some Varget from the stash and loaded the Sierra 150 gr Game Kings I loaded 47, 47.5, 48, 48.5, 49.5, and 50.5 and shot 7-shot groups for each and bore-snaked between groups. The 48.5 load was the only thing that even tried to group. I have tried another scope on the BP-02 Low Profile mount, and nothing changed, so I put the Mil-Dot back on it. I am going to try the original POSP scope and mount to eliminate the mount as a problem. It shot sub-moa with that combo out of a lead sled at our local 100 yard indoor range. I have shot alot of open sights so I'll probably even try that. Then the only thing left to try is to screw off muzzle brake and shoot to see if it's off centered. If you can think of anything else to try, please let me know. If I get rid of this rig I am going to take a blood bath on it with all the extra stuff and cases of ammo. Oh, I'm saving the Varget because it is so hard to get and I'm in the Texas Mid-Range Rifle Championships April 10th & 11th and I have enough Varget left for that and practice.
     
  10. knc1105

    knc1105 Well-Known Member

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    Asking a silly question, if the bullet is properly sized to the barrel, should I worry about data from .308 or .311 bullets of the same weight ?
     
  11. Kevin Thomas

    Kevin Thomas Well-Known Member

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    No, you should be fine there. My concern would be using a .311" bullet in a .308" bore with data that was worked up the other way around, that sort of thing. Just start at the minimum, workd slowly and watch your pressure signs. You'll do just fine.

    Kevin Thomas
    Lapua USA
     
  12. knc1105

    knc1105 Well-Known Member

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    I did not thank Mr. Thomas enough and all the folks that helped me with that post. I got real busy working out of town and ordered some Privi Partisen 150 gr FMJ and some 150 gr soft points to try in the interum. The point of impact was different between the 2 loads but they both shot sub MOA out of a lead sled with the front support pulled back to the front of the receiver since the barrel is not free floating. The 5-shot FMJ shot 5/8" and the soft points shot 13/16". Since the rifle is hard on brass, when I can find some more of this I'll stock up enough to get by. Here is a pic of a Long Range Pig Hunt. When I sent the pic to my brother, I told him "If you get far enough away, you don't have to worry about camo." [​IMG]
     
  13. knc1105

    knc1105 Well-Known Member

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    Here's a few pics of the rifle. Fitted a Dragonov stock, fitted EGW Space Comp muzzle brake, Tapco trigger, Kalinka BT02 low profile (centered) mount, we had to add machined pins and Red Loctite everything when we put the mount back together, the two way recoil with the brake was shaking the mount with the heavy glass. The Russian POSP scopes weigh a few ounces, the 6.5-20x44 Illuminated Milldot weighs over a pound and a half. The enercia on the mounting was taking a toll. We Tig Welded the factory side scope rail to the receiver and used Burris Extreme Tactical rings that were fully lapped top and bottom. And after all that, it came together and really started shooting. If I build another one, I'll do it all at once and be done with it. It is kinda nasty looking and people at the range usually can't keep away from it. It drops pigs like a brick. [​IMG] [​IMG] [​IMG]