copyright 2009 - Stephen Redgwell
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ISBN - 978-0-9683002-6-8
Perfect Bound - 82 pgs - 6x9
Is it safe to reload military surplus 7.62x51 cases?
If so, how do I do it? Get your answer to this and other questions in the book!
Using once fired military brass is one way for reloaders to
reduce costs. While some people will debate the merits of reloading these cases, it is one aspect of the
hobby that remains popular. In the US, there are several businesses that sell military small arms ammunition
or recycled components like bullets and cases. The once fired brass is picked up at the range and sold
You can buy the brass as is or get it completely re-worked. Processed cases are
cleaned, polished, resized, trimmed and the primer pockets are swaged to remove the crimp. In 2009, the
full treatment was about $150 per thousand. If you plan to use military cases, this is the best way to
buy them. You still need to inspect them for damage, but the rejection rate will be lower.
buy unfired, Boxer primed military surplus ammunition, fire it and re-work the brass at home. The big advantage
here is that the cases are fired in your rifle’s chamber and not from a military gun. You get fire
formed cases without the stretching. If you decide to do this, you will need to find someone that has a
primer pocket swager or buy one yourself. For smaller amounts, the RCBS Primer Pocket Swager Combo costs
about $25. It attaches to your reloading press and handles both large and small primer pockets.
There’s no need to buy a more expensive set up unless you intend to process military cases on a regular basis.
For high volume users, the Dillon Super Swage 600 is a better option. It too, will swage small and large primer pockets.
|Some of the bullets used in the tests.
|Surplus military cases CAN produces groups like this!!
Once you have the cases, perform some load work ups to determine what shoots the best from your rifle.
It’s important to remember that military brass has less internal volume. As a result, the
load data from traditional reloading manuals should be used with care. One thing is for certain, NEVER
use any maximum loads from these books using military surplus brass!
7.62x51mm ammunition has been made since the
1950s. While shooting military surplus is an inexpensive way to feed your rifle, it is not accurate and the FMJ bullets are
no good for hunting.
There are several factors that can affect the accuracy
of surplus ammunition. The care with which individual components are made - propellant and bullets especially
- affect performance in a big way. Mass produced military cartridges rarely group well. Variations in propellants
or primers can affect chamber pressures and trajectories. Fluctuations in bullet weight or diameter will
change downrange performance.
|My grandson Shawn helps prepare cases. He's five years old.
I have finished the book about reloading and firing surplus 7.62x51mm brass. In it, you can learn how to properly
prepare brass, how to determine the internal case capacities as well as tips and facts about using military surplus cases.
and fired 147 grain FMJBT loads using pulled bullets. Can you safely duplicate military surplus loads that are more
accurate than what is bought at a gun show?
In addition to the 147 grain bullets, I tried 135 gr, 155 gr., 168 gr. and
175/178 gr. target bullets made by three manufacturers - Berger, Hornady and Sierra. I included my own workups and the
range results, pictures and drawings. Ten powders were tested. All bullets were rated for accuracy and velocity. See
actual target pictures of what worked best.
It's been a busy
Table of Contents
Preparing Military Cases
Understanding Military Surplus Ammunition
Preparing Fired Military Surplus Cases
Swaging the Primer Pockets
Chamfering the Case Mouth
Flash Hole Uniformers
Differences between Commercial and Military Brass
Important Notes about Military Surplus Rifles - Action Strength
Preface to the Load Data Section
Load Data: Target -
Includes Range Notes for all weights
147 grain FMJ
Notes about the 147 Grain Load
Results with the 147 Grain Load
135 grain Berger Match (308135)
grain Hornady A-Max
155 grain Sierra Palma (2155)
168 grain Hornady A-Max
168 grain Sierra Match King HPBT
178 grain Hornady A-Max
175 grain Sierra Match King HPBT
Powder Burn Rates
Tikka, 308 Winchester, 7.62x51, reloading, shooting, Varmint, HB, heavy barrel