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Discussion Starter #1 (Edited)
I have many 54r rifles from Mosin Snipers, M39s to SVT40, PSL, Vepr, others. Many scoped period or platform correct or modern. I got into the 54r caliber 10 or so years ago b/c surplus was so cheap. I'm stocked with prob a lifetime supply of Bulgy and Russian crates/tins from the $60/tin days. I've often heard this was basically machine gun ammo. This doesn't make sense to me as it's in tins and packed 15 to a box. Pretty clumsy packaging for a machine gunner to deal with. But I digress.


A few years ago I picked up a couple 50Cal ammo cans of brass Yugo that many raved about. I don't believe I've ever really done better than 4-5 inch groups with any of my ammo leaving me missing 12" steel @ 200-300yds more than half the time. it's frustrating and I'll usually just put em down or not bring em to the range b/c of this and the fact I have to immediately clean. I'll bring other rifle/calibers out sometimes with current or milsurp ammo (8mm, x39, .223. .308) and almost always do better.



Now, I am no make believe sniper or precision shooter at all. I don't want to reload (today) nor pay 1.00/rd. I just like to sight in as best I can @ 100yds (with history in my hands) and slap steel or other reactionary targets out to 400yds. A true plinker !



Is any of the new lower cost steel cased 54r any good? I find Red Army Standard out there @ .40c/rd. Tula, Wolf, Golden Bear, Purple Bear, Green Bear, etc, similarly priced. Many of these under the cost per round of the same milsurp I have at today's prices. If I can find better new ammo at a decent price I'd think about selling off maybe 2/3 of my stash at a bit better than today's crazy prices and reinvesting in the same volume of a couple different brands of new ammo.


I realize I should probably buy 2-3 boxes of each and spend a day figuring out what may be better but maybe they all suck. Anyway, just wondering if anyone has some experience or perspective out there.
 

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If you’re just trying to hit steel any of the major brands should be fine, even surplus. My club has a standard silloute target at 300 yd that I can hit probably 70% of the time with irons on a standard m91/30 or m44 and probably 80% of the time with my Finn Guns using 70s Russian LPS surplus. There’s a “large” target (just a big square, don’t know the dimensions) out at 400 yds that I can hit with roughly the same consistency.
 

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It does not sound like you are trying to get the very last inch out of your guns, just have some fun and bang some steel. I did not get from your post that you have tried any of the modern commercial offerings, I would grab a box of each and I would bet you are going to find they are all going to ding the steel. I just went down this road now with a surplus gun but with a Savage 99 in 243. Just grabbed three boxes of different stuff to get a basic idea on bullet weights before I started to reload for this flavor. Figured if I can hit the 8" plate with any of them I would be good....bad thing is I hit it with all of them, so now I got to bust out the paper. At least from the first test I have FPS numbers so I don't have to worry about a chrono again.

Buy a few boxes and give it a go, bet you will be in the ballpark for banging away at the steel.
 

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I get excellent groups with the Finn M39 using both PPU 182 gr FMJBT and the similar (in performance) Serb M30. POI is way high, and can be controlled by installing a taller front sight blade. I have a BadAce NDT scope mount on a 44 VKT M39 that holds MOA with the PPU 182gr FMJBT at 300 yds. With a scope it is no problem in adjusting elevation POI. ba-l-14-1.jpg ba-l-14-4.jpg ba-l-14-3.jpg

The post-it note is 3"x3".
 

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I have some of the YUGO 182 grain ball. My Russian M44 made in 1944 loves the stuff. Range officer came over one day and asked what the heck was I shooting in it. Told me he noticed a large fireball every time I pulled the trigger. That carbine has a "when is this darned thing gonna go bang trigger" next chance I'll dig out the two sets of M39 trigger assemblies and put on in this carbine. Frank
 

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Discussion Starter #7
I'm mainly interested hearing about the performance of NEW sub .50c (or so) per round ammo:

https://gun-deals.com/list/ammo/7.62x54R

Tula 148gr FMJ PY/BE/NC .38/rd
Red Army Standard AM3093 148gr FMJ PY/BE/NC .40/rd
Wolf Military Classic 148gr FMJ PY/BE/NC .44/rd
Brown Bear 174gr FMJ LC/BE/NC .45/rd
Tula TA76254 148gr FMJ PY/BE/NC .49/rd
Silver Bear 174grFMJZN/BE/NC.50/rd

I'm looking at possibly doing an inventory exchange of perhaps thousands of rounds. Maybe that Silver Bear Heavy could be interesting (?) but not for semi autos? Or just not in a PSL?
 

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I'm mainly interested hearing about the performance of NEW sub .50c (or so) per round ammo:

https://gun-deals.com/list/ammo/7.62x54R

Tula 148gr FMJ PY/BE/NC .38/rd
Red Army Standard AM3093 148gr FMJ PY/BE/NC .40/rd
Wolf Military Classic 148gr FMJ PY/BE/NC .44/rd
Brown Bear 174gr FMJ LC/BE/NC .45/rd
Tula TA76254 148gr FMJ PY/BE/NC .49/rd
Silver Bear 174grFMJZN/BE/NC.50/rd

I'm looking at possibly doing an inventory exchange of perhaps thousands of rounds. Maybe that Silver Bear Heavy could be interesting (?) but not for semi autos? Or just not in a PSL?
I know this isn't the sub MOA report you may be looking for but the Brown Bear 174 gr load never fails to put a smile on my face with a 1968 M39. Hits everything I can see at 200 yards with irons. The Barnaul 174 gr also does well for me.
 

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I'm stocked with prob a lifetime supply of Bulgy and Russian crates/tins from the $60/tin days. I've often heard this was basically machine gun ammo. This doesn't make sense to me as it's in tins and packed 15 to a box. Pretty clumsy packaging for a machine gunner to deal with. But I digress.
After the Russian's shelved the Mosin their infantry were pretty much left with two weapons chambered for 54r in regular use, the PK/PKM machine gun and the Dragunov SVD.

The SVD is intended to use mainly 7n1 and 7n14 dedicated sniper rounds, which then leaves the PK/PKM.The majority of ComBloc spam can surplus is indeed primarily intended to feed machine guns.When they load the belts they use a hand-cranked machine with a hopper, the packets of rounds are emptied into the hopper and with a turn of the handle the rounds are popped into the belt.

https://images.app.goo.gl/7YXBMnwrAWGwpTV99
 

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Discussion Starter #10
After the Russian's shelved the Mosin their infantry were pretty much left with two weapons chambered for 54r in regular use, the PK/PKM machine gun and the Dragunov SVD.

The SVD is intended to use mainly 7n1 and 7n14 dedicated sniper rounds, which then leaves the PK/PKM.The majority of ComBloc spam can surplus is indeed primarily intended to feed machine guns.When they load the belts they use a hand-cranked machine with a hopper, the packets of rounds are emptied into the hopper and with a turn of the handle the rounds are popped into the belt.

https://images.app.goo.gl/7YXBMnwrAWGwpTV99
Wow. Very cool pics and videos. Still, seems very 1950s-esque. They still doing that in the 21st century?
 

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Wow. Very cool pics and videos. Still, seems very 1950s-esque. They still doing that in the 21st century?
I would imagine they still use the belt Loader, or something similar.Rather than using factory loaded belts something like this would allow the operator to tailor the make up of the belt to what's required for a particular op.

Here's a good video of the 7.62x54r PKP "Pecheneg" in action......

https://youtu.be/6KiPbFEgQKU
 

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I haven't had the need to try them in 54r but I really like Silver Bear in .308 for my CETME. Of course not a precision rifle, I'll have to try some of it in my 7.62 Mauser
 

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PPU 182 is about the most accurate. Barnual, Brown Bear, MFS 174gr close second. Don't know if they still make it but the 185 FMJBT Brown Bear was really good in my mosin PU snipers.

All above have shot better for me than any LPS loads including Czech.
 

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Discussion Starter #14
Got the following on the way:

7.62x54R 148gr Tulammo 148gr FMJ Ammo, 500rd Case. $274.95
7.62x54R 174gr Brown Bear FMJ Ammo, 500rd Case. $279.95
7.62x54r 148gr FMJ - Red Army Standard - 500 Rounds $260.00

Hope to get out in a couple weeks to see how they perform in the following:

SVT40 (scoped - not sniper)
Mosin-Nagant M91/30 (PU Sniper)
M39 (Century PU'd "Sniper")
PSL
Veper 54r
 

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Discussion Starter #15
Finally got out:

BTW are the Tula and Red Army Standard the same stuff? Aside from the external box the internal cartridge carrier, cases and markings are identical “TulaAmmo”. Here’s what I was able to test with.
  • Tula 148gr
  • RAS 148gr
  • Brown Bear 174gr
These are my 54r rifles with scopes. I have another PU Sniper and another M39 (w/o glass) but didn’t bring them out that day .
  • SVT40 wi PU Scope
  • 91/30 PU Sniper
  • M39 wi PU Scope (a Century concoction from years ago – very cool and pretty rare)
  • PSL wi "PSO 3-9x24 Tigr, 1000m Rangefinder, SVD"
  • Vepr wi Accupoint 1-4x
Excluding the PSL and Vepr the Tula and RAS produced similar results out of the SVT, 91/30 and M39. The 148gr landed higher than the 174gr by about five inches wi 4+inch groups. The 174gr produced 2-3inch groups. I forget if it’s cool to fire heavier bullets out of an SVT40 but they did seem to perform better (someone please advise). All in all this new ammo is in fact a bit better than the various Russian, Bulgarian and Yugo milsurp I’ve been using especially the heavier bullet. I’d be curious to move up in bullet weight

Here’s where it get’s weird. The PSL actually shot better groups with the 148gr in fact I was able to pull off better than 2” 5-shot groups. I couldn’t believe my eyes. Reproduced it three times after barrel cool down. Was FINALLY hitting 300yd 12”steel plates more often than missing.

Last up was the Vepr. I’m thinking it’s going to be great. It blew chunks !!! Awful !!! 5+ inch groups on the 148gr and slightly better on the 174gr. WTF !!! In fact I’d almost hazard to say it shot slightly better with the old light ball milsurp. I am indeed perplexed. I’m wondering if I should bother to sample different ammo for the Vepr or simply “off” the thing (can anyone share more Vepr experiences? Go heavier as some suggest?). Now in all fairness I did have a 9x FFP on the PSL and the AccuPoint is 4x with a post reticle but certainly FAAAAR better glass than the old PU Scopes so I don’t think different optics were too much of a factor @ 100yds shooting from a sled.

Footnote: BTW does over gassing have anything to do with accuracy? I did get a KNS piston for the PSL. It presently throws spent cases 20-25 feet back. My piston is welded to the carrier so I’m waiting on a gunsmith buddy to install and look forward to retrying with heavy bullets. The Vepr tosses rounds 5-10 feet forward or to the side.
 

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BTW are the Tula and Red Army Standard the same stuff? Aside from the external box the internal cartridge carrier, cases and markings are identical “TulaAmmo”.
If you have the white box red army standard, then you actually have tula ammo. They made it for them. If you look at the headstamps, they are tula headstamps.
I shot some of the tula in the actual black tula box, and the white box red army standard, made by tula, side by side and the groups were identical. I am am pretty sure the box is the only difference.
I can get about 1 1/4 inch groups from it at 100 yards using my heavy barrel mosin with a scope.
PPU 182gr FMJ shot maybe a 1/8 in better. I tried some of the S&B 180 gr SP and it was shooting just under a inch. I was actually quite surprised by it.
 

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Those soldiers in the video have poor trigger control. At least 3 of them had rounds in the dirt getting into position. Frank
 
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