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 Low-noise, low-recoil loads?

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Zeiss Ikon



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PostSubject: Low-noise, low-recoil loads?   Sat Mar 10, 2012 11:00 pm

I've read a number of articles about low-noise, low-recoil loads for military and hunting rifles, but the only two that were specific for the 7.62x54r either were barely below factory ballistics (2200-2400 fps instead of 2700 with heavy ball equivalent) or talked about a bunch of powders that were available in Finland in the 1930s to 1950s. Does anyone have a proven load that would be suitable for a sized 0 buckshot (nominal .320 before sizing) or .311 round ball, or for a sub-100 grain cast pistol bullet, for subsonic velocity and using a fast burning pistol or shotgun powder to minimize noise? I'm likely to load these in used steel surplus cases, neck sized (once only after firing the original surplus load; these very light loads reportedly don't require resizing but every fifth loading or so, and shouldn't stress steel cases enough to cause cracking within that time) and drilled out to accept 209 shotgun primers.

FWIW, I have a full length 91/30, don't intend to shorten it, and haven't yet slugged the bore (but will before I start loading for it); I'm assuming, for now, that it's probably .312 to .314 like most wartime production Mosins.
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SilverTip
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PostSubject: Re: Low-noise, low-recoil loads?   Sat Mar 10, 2012 11:59 pm

Is your mosin round or hex? What year?

I have heard of people loading 'cat sneeze' loads as follows:

Unload a live Nagant pistol round.
Pour half the Nagant powder into your 54r case, and seat the Nagant projectile into the 54r case.


Ive never tried this. Only heard it from a friend who does it. I shot a couple of them.
As far as sound, it kinda sounds like a .22 going off indoors.

Hope that helps. As always, be careful UNDER loading rounds as well.
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Zeiss Ikon



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PostSubject: Re: Low-noise, low-recoil loads?   Sun Mar 11, 2012 12:14 am

SilverTip wrote:
Is your mosin round or hex? What year?

I have heard of people loading 'cat sneeze' loads as follows:

Unload a live Nagant pistol round.
Pour half the Nagant powder into your 54r case, and seat the Nagant projectile into the 54r case.


Ive never tried this. Only heard it from a friend who does it. I shot a couple of them.
As far as sound, it kinda sounds like a .22 going off indoors.

Hope that helps. As always, be careful UNDER loading rounds as well.

Mine is a 1943 Izhevsk, round receiver with lots of "rush job" tool marks -- but the bore looks very good, a nice indication that the arsenal had their priorities straight, making rifles that would shoot and not worrying how they looked.

Yep, I'm well aware of the dangers of hang fires and anomalous overpressure from underloading rifle rounds with rifle powder. That's why I specify fast burning pistol or shotgun powder. Can't just use pistol data, though, because of all that empty space inside the cartridge.

Half a Nagant revolver load under the same bullet, in the 54r case -- that's going to be close to what I was thinking for a starting load, around 5 grains of Bullseye under a 90-100 grain lead bullet (or possibly as little as 4 grains under a round ball in the 45 grain range). I've loaded as little as 3 grains under a 90 grain in my .357, but those were marginally under powered; I had one stick in the bore at a couple tenths less, and that's a bigger risk in the long 91/30 barrel (plus the smaller piston area of .311 vs. .358 bullet). Squibs are a serious risk when developing this kind of load...

It's hard to think about buying Nagant ammunition just to disassemble (and I don't own a Nagant revolver). A simple casting setup -- hot plate and iron or stainless pot from Goodwill, ladle and mold from Lee -- can cost as little as $25, and I can probably find a local tire shop that will welcome not paying to haul away some of their "toxic waste" wheel weights. Pan lubing is cheap, too. Then I need to make up a piloted cutter that will profile a pocket for a 209 primer in a Berdan/steel case. Smile
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PostSubject: Re: Low-noise, low-recoil loads?   Sun Mar 11, 2012 12:20 am

"anomalous overpressure from underloading rifle rounds" Exactly! Weird stuff. I dont understand it. lol

I'll bet you a ladle from goodwill your Izzy is .314.
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Zeiss Ikon



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PostSubject: Re: Low-noise, low-recoil loads?   Mon Mar 26, 2012 8:21 pm

SilverTip wrote:
"anomalous overpressure from underloading rifle rounds" Exactly! Weird stuff. I dont understand it. lol

I'll bet you a ladle from goodwill your Izzy is .314.

My own hypothesis is that the "anomalous overpressure" is due to powder that's gathered at the mouth of the case, structurally blocking the neck (similar to the way particulates can lodge in a vertical pipe, strongly enough to require unstopping form below because no available force can do it from above) until the pressure has gone far above its normal level. Less common with stick powder because the sticks won't bridge as effectively as balls or flakes.

As for my 91/30's bore, I'll have to get some 0 buck shot or a cast bullet that runs .316" to check, or else make up a slug with improvised tools (drill an 8 mm or 5/16" hole in a piece of wood, melt a wheel weight in a spoon with my propane torch). I can't say it'd surprise me to find a .314" groove, but I've heard some pre-War Mosins run as big as .316". I don't recall reading of any Russian built rifles going smaller than .312, though the Finnish ones labeled for "7.62x53r" supposedly use this designation to distinguish .308" groove (which would be hazardous to fire with the .312" bullets normally loaded in factory and surplus 7.62x54r ammo).
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Zeiss Ikon



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PostSubject: Re: Low-noise, low-recoil loads?   Sat Jun 02, 2012 9:36 pm

Well, I've got some fired steel/Berdan cases built up now (seventy-four; I discarded one I found with a split at the neck-shoulder join -- I've read an occasional split like this isn't uncommon with steel case surplus rounds). I just tried drilling the primer on one with a 15/64" twist drill in my lathe; the bit won't stay centered once it cuts through the primer cup because it's trying to drill into the point of the anvil. Drilling from inside, the dimple on the back of the anvil acts like a center drill spot, so I can probably drill these from inside with my hand held drill motor and get the holes centered up nicely (ram travel on my lathe is much less than twice the length of the case, so it's annoying to drill these in my lathe because I have to move the tailstock every time I change cases -- and the lathe chuck doesn't hold the tapered case well anyway).

Unfortunately, I find that 15/64" (nominally .234") is smaller than the bodies of the Remington 209 primers I have (which mic at .243" just ahead of the flange, and .242" just behind the front end radius). On YouTube, the technique for correcting this (which I've seen demonstrated only when drilling brass/Boxer cases from the rear -- converting all-brass shotshells from large rifle to 209) is to wiggle the drill around to wallow out the hole a bit, but I don't like this because it can make the hole out of round, which could lead to loose primers and gas leakage (I'll probably be loading these cases to between 15,000 and 25,000 psi, under half the factory pressure but still more than I want leaking into the bolt face) -- plus, it's not very consistent or controllable, which would lead to an unacceptable reject rate. One option would be to get a size C drill, which is nominally .242", but that's a little too close (most twist drills cut a hair oversize), while a B, at .238", is still enough under primer size to risk popping the primer trying to seat it.

Another option is to get (or make) a shotgun version of a primer pocket uniforming tool. I bought a length of drill rod a couple weeks ago, originally planning on this method; the idea is to turn a piece to the dimensions of a primer, grind off half of it to make a "D bit", and run that into the drill hole. I found today, however, that the original Berdan primers in the Russian cases are significantly over the 209 cup size; the 15/64" drill left a nice ring of primer cup brass in the original pocket, which I was able to pop out with a small tool -- I think I recall measuring these Russian Berdan primers when I first got these rounds and finding them to be something like .257" (that's pretty approximate, since I was measuring from the case head with the primer seated). This wouldn't be a problem for seating, since the primer body would still press fit into the hole cut in the case head, even if it's a little loose in the original primer pocket. The other complication with a homemade pocket uniforming tool, however, is that it's very touchy to cut a recess for the 209 primer's flange, and I'm concerned about slam fires if I don't recess the flange (that flange would put the 209 primer's inner cup into contact with the Mosin's bolt face).

To quote Daffy Duck, "What a revoltin' development!" I know people have done this and gotten the primers to seat -- but I want these rounds to wind up accurate and dependable enough for rabbit hunting, not just for blowing wax bullets at targets indoors.

At this point, I'll most likely make a punch I can use to open out the drill hole in the case head by a few thousandths (.241" to .242" would give about the right amount of interference), and use a 5/16" drill bit (a few thousandths larger than the flange) to just "touch" the case to form a recess for the 209 primer flange. The punch is a simple lathe job, should take a half hour or so starting from half inch drill rod.

Then I need to get a can of Bullseye and some Hornady .315" round balls (should be just about right for my .313" groove size); longer term, I'll probably get a Lee .312" round ball mold and polish it out until it throws a .314" to .315 ball, but I want to prove the concept before I spend money on a mold. The alternate (more expensive) route I've considered for the bullet is to get some sabots (there's a company selling them, apparently they work well in .303 British and 7.62x39 as well as various .308" groove rifles, so ought to work in 7.62x54r) and shoot F buckshot (.220") or (very inexpensive) North American Arms .22 muzzle loading bullets in the sabots, but the sabots cost eight cents each even in 500 lots -- and I'm not sure my bore is smooth enough to work well with sabots anyway.

Of course, I could make sabots from acetal rod with a #2 drill, if I had a good way to split them without taking out a kerf. The old dowel splitter trick -- blade in a hole, and drive the piece through -- might work. Hmmm... Suspect
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PostSubject: Re: Low-noise, low-recoil loads?   Sat Jun 02, 2012 10:11 pm

Holy cow thats a lot of work. But maybe you might pioneer something useful from it all. Smile Hope it works out.

If you want to extract the berdan primer from some milsurp cases heres what I do.
Take some unfired rounds, pull the proj and powder. Put them on a work bench, cover them with some heavy leather gloves, or something to hold them still. Aim the rear of the case in a safe direction, and put a propane torch on the rear of the case. The primer shoots right outta the case and sounds bout like a .22.
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PostSubject: Re: Low-noise, low-recoil loads?   Sat Jun 02, 2012 11:32 pm

SilverTip wrote:
Holy cow thats a lot of work.

Actually, it won't be once I have the development finished -- once the punch is made, it'll be three operations per case (drill out from inside, drill flange recess from outside, punch drill hole up to primer size), fewer than it would take to reload a Boxer primed case that needs resizing (and never mind all the uniforming folks go through to make match grade ammunition). I can probably convert close to a hundred cases per hour. Don't forget, a large part of the point here is to make low power rounds without paying 4x more for "reloadable" cases than for surplus rounds.

Quote :
If you want to extract the berdan primer from some milsurp cases heres what I do.
Take some unfired rounds, pull the proj and powder. Put them on a work bench, cover them with some heavy leather gloves, or something to hold them still. Aim the rear of the case in a safe direction, and put a propane torch on the rear of the case. The primer shoots right outta the case and sounds bout like a .22.

Yipe! Removing the primers really isn't necessary (and besides, I'm using once-fired cases for this, why pay 16-22 cents a round for surplus and then not shoot it?); the ring left from the original Berdan primer will come out on the punch when I size up the pockets, or I could add an additional 1-2 second per case operation to pop out the rings between drilling the main hole and cutting the flange recess.
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PostSubject: Re: Low-noise, low-recoil loads?   Mon Jun 04, 2012 9:37 pm

I made a tool to hold the cases for drilling with my drill press this evening -- just a piece of scrap pallet wood drilled with a 31/64" hole (a few thousandths under the .486" head diameter of the 7.62x54R case spec), another piece with a matching hole to clamp the rim and give clearance for the primer to push out. Push the case into the hole, slide up over the 15/64" twist drill (my small drill press doesn't have quite enough quill travel to pass through the whole case), put the clamping piece underneath and line up the holes, hold firmly (or clamp with a suitable tool, if you're paranoid about spinning the work), and drill.

Worked perfectly the first couple times, then the case started to slip too easily as the hole got polished and worn oversize. A dusting of rosin would probably help, if I had any (I'm neither a violinist nor a pitcher), but it probably wouldn't help for long. I also started having trouble with the drill not centering in the anvil dimple, possibly because I was concentrating too much on trying to clamp the casing to get the drill to center up properly.

Most likely my next attempt will be to saw a slot into the hole and use a quick-closing clamp (or a pair of Vise Grip pliers, with the holding board sawed to a suitable profile) to close the hole onto the case. Still won't remove the need for the second wood piece (my drill press quill still travels only a nominal 2", and the 7.62x54R case is a little over 2.1"), but the alignment won't be critical.
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Zeiss Ikon



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PostSubject: Re: Low-noise, low-recoil loads?   Tue Jun 05, 2012 9:33 pm

Okay, before I got around to sawing a contour around a hole, then slotting into it, in order to make a (nearly) non-marring clamp to hold the cases, I tried holding them directly with my Vise Grips. That worked pretty well and, with carefully set jaw tension, didn't mark the cases unless they grabbed on the bit and spun briefly before my drill press drive belt slipped; with a backing piece beneath (with clearance hole), I was able to go through drilling the 15/64" hole in the 70+ fired cases I had on hand in under an hour. I found the twist drill did a fine job of unseating the primers, but I also found that sometimes the drill would center in one of the Berdan flash holes instead of the anvil dimple; in the end, out of 74 cases including the few I experimented with last night, I have 49 with good holes. I also found that the Silver Bear cases have a heavier primer crimp than the Bulgarian surplus light ball, and were more prone to drilling off center; of the five of those, I only got one good one.

Tomorrow I'll set up either lathe or drill press (not sure which yet) to chamfer the case heads to accommodate the flange on the 209 primers and look at methods to enlarge the holes to let the primers seat without excessive pressure. I've got a choice of 120º twist drills, a 90º countersink, or a 60º center drill for the chamfer, too...
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PostSubject: Re: Low-noise, low-recoil loads?   Fri Jun 15, 2012 10:17 pm

Well. I forgot to come back with a follow up. For initial testing, I put the cases in the 3-jaw chuck in my lathe and used a 21/64" bit to drill the chamfers, drilling deep enough to cut the full diameter by 1/64" or so (the flange on the 209 primers is about that thick). I don't have a C twist drill or a sizing reamer made up yet, so I filed the 15/64" holes a little with a found file -- a half dozen to a dozen firm strokes was generally enough. I did ten cases this way (and filed one too large, primer would fall out, so had to discard that one). I seated the primers by holding the case in my Vise Grips against the rim, placing the case on top of a primer on a flat, hard surface (the compound slide of my lathe, though I wouldn't use that for longer term -- a piece of scrap steel on the low carport wall would be less prone to damaging the adjustments on my lathe), and using a soft hammer on the Vise Grip jaws. If the primer was on the tight side, this left some burrs in the rim, which I'll have to file out, but it worked well, and the primers seated nice and flush (they could be a few thousandths proud and still chamber, but not more than about .004").

Next thing, for testing purposes, I'm thinking I'll buy a small bag of spiral cut joining dowels -- these are made for woodworking, precut to length and fairly precise diameter, with a helical groove (for glue distribution) that will let them take up the rifling without excessive force. I can buy these in 5/16" x 1 1/2" -- the diameter is a few thousandths over groove size, and the length will stick down into the case a good bit. Sharpen one end with a pencil sharpener, and they should feed from the magazine. I'll try them (one at a time, initially) with just a primer, more or less simulating those 209 converted case sold for .224 bore rifles that let one shoot air gun pellets very quietly. Hopefully I won't have to drive the first one back out of the bore...
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PostSubject: Re: Low-noise, low-recoil loads?   Thu Oct 04, 2012 9:49 pm

Well, another step along the road to making my own low-noise, low-recoil Mosin ammunition -- I've got well over a hundred pounds of wheel weights (mostly the lead variety) and just got a little one-burner camp stove working that I can use to smelt those wheel weights into ingots, that can then be cast into bullets. I'll probably get a couple Lee molds and a casting ladle in the next few weeks; most likely either a lightweight .32 pistol bullet mold, or a round ball mold (I think Lee sells them in either .311, which I can buff out to make a .314 to .314 ball, or in .321, which I can size down with a simple homemade sizing die and punch), plus one for a 170 or 180 grain that will be used with paper patch for hunting season in 2013 (too late to cast for hunting this year, but I should be able to get some reloadable Prvi Partizan soft nose rounds in time).
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PostSubject: Re: Low-noise, low-recoil loads?   Sat Oct 06, 2012 3:34 pm

Okay, I found what looks like a very good choice of bullet for the "cat sneeze" loads -- Lee makes a .314 size, 90 grain semi-wadcutter tumble lube (multiple small grooves) bullet mold, and for $16 and change online including handles, I just ordered one, along with (for the same price) a .309, 180 grain round nose rifle mold (those bullets will be sized down to .301 or .302 and paper patched to .315 to eventually allow loads close to surplus or factory jacketed levels). I also ordered a Lee .314 sizing kit that will fit my reloading press (though I don't yet have dies or a Lee Classic loader, those will come before spring). Couldn't find any PP hunting ammunition, though, either locally or online, and after ordering the molds, couldn't afford S&B, so had to settle for Brown Bear 203 grain soft points in lacquered or polymer coated steel/Berdan cases. They'll work well enough for hunting, I'll just have to try to get some brass cases for full power reloads later on.
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PostSubject: Re: Low-noise, low-recoil loads?   Mon Jan 14, 2013 7:11 pm

Zeis Ikon,
I'm amazed at the clever work you're doing and not for just one or two cases, but a bunch. If I understand this right, you completely remove the bottom of the primer cup of the 7.62x54 case and then chamfer the primer cup at the head and then press in the 209 cup. isn't the flash hole of the 209 cup way too big? Like three times the size. Does it swage down?
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PostSubject: Re: Low-noise, low-recoil loads?   Tue Jan 15, 2013 8:28 am

Almost correct; I drill the center of the primer pocket to fit the .242" diameter of the battery cup so the shotgun primer will press in. This leaves a ring of the original primer pocket (the original primer in the cases I altered was .254"). There's no alteration of the 209 primer; when the hole is correctly dimensioned the primer seats just as it would in a shotshell. Since I didn't have a letter C drill, these are a little snug, but I'm in the thought process to find a way to hold these cases in my lathe chuck so I can use a center drill to start the process from the outside of the case. That should reduce both the time needed and the reject rate. Just need a way to hold the casing...
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PostSubject: Re: Low-noise, low-recoil loads?   Tue Jan 15, 2013 1:23 pm

ZI,
Does this mean that you use a new shotgun primer each time, or do you fit in the 209 cup and prime with rifle primers?
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PostSubject: Re: Low-noise, low-recoil loads?   Tue Jan 15, 2013 9:28 pm

olgandalf wrote:
ZI,
Does this mean that you use a new shotgun primer each time, or do you fit in the 209 cup and prime with rifle primers?

New 209 each firing, just like reloading a shotshell. The Berdan-like primer cup in a 209 is a different size from a rifle primer, and there's no practical way to remove that part from the battery cup (the flanged outer part of the 209).
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