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Discussion Starter #1
A French built (St. Denis) 6.5x54R rifle built on a German 1871 receiver for Uruguay recently fell into my hands. It has 90%+ bluing on the barrel with the receiver left in the white, and a pristine bore.
Does anyone know a value range for such a rifle? Is there any known history to these rifles? I can't find any information in any of my gun books about it.
Donnelly's Cartridge Conversions has information on reloading by using 7.62x54R brass. Can this be done without buying specific dies for this caliber? I don't want to give Midway $150 for a set of reloading dies. Also does anyone have any successful reloading data for this cartridge suitable to the strength of the 71 receiver?
I am unable to post any photos at this time. Any help would be appreciated.

Stray
 

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St. Denis

As far as values, I picked up a pretty good one a couple of months ago at what I think is a pretty good price($449)--the rifle looks quite a bit better in person than it does in the auction photos, and the bore is spotless. All of the others I've seen on the auction sites are either quite a bit more expensive, or in a lot poorer shape.
http://www.auctionarms.com/search/displayitem.cfm?itemnum=8040994

You may have already seen it, but I've also found this website good for ballpark pricing for milsurps (use the pull-down menu for bolt rifles, and look under Dautedau M1871 Uruguay rifle 6.5mm).
http://www.fo.com/cr-buds/prices.asp

I don't know much about the history, and don't reload, yet, but someone should be able to help out.
 

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Ammo & brass

It looks like Buffalo Arms has the brass and ammo listed on their website for the Mauser conversion rifles. Kinda pricey, but they mention that it's made out of .45-70 cases.
 

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Here are few pictures of some of my Mauser 71 modified for Dovitis By the manufacture de St Denis in 6.5m/m Daudeteau.





Two rifles and one carbine.
I must admit that I paid a lot less than the prices mentioned above.
Let me add the translation of an article published by Mr. Regenstreif


" The DOVITIS :

In 1894, the Uruguayan staff is concerned with startup in his army of modern weapons of small gauge, vis-à-vis with the re-equipment in this direction of his powerful neighbors. The small local army uses a disparate sampling of MAUSER M.1871 bought in Germany and REMINGTON "ROLLING BLOCK" in 11 mm Rem, obtained in the USA.

Finances are poor, the merchants of weapons and greedy intermediaries... intervenes then an unexpected patron in the person of a Greek military tailor of the name of DOVITIS, which having made fortune in the clothes industry of uniforms intended for the forces armed with its new fatherland, decides to offer on its own sums of money, a new armament with its new fatherland! In fact of new armament, it will be necessary to be satisfied with the transformation of that one has, in fact to modify the MAUSER 1871 in a more modern gauge.

One is unaware of unfortunately by which methods our man passed to lead to the S.F.A.P. of St Denis...! Always it is that 10 000 of these “Weapons” find on a boat destination the old continent.

For which reason to have chosen this strange gauge of 6,5 mm n°12? One can see there probable "a chicanery" between initiates and "specialists", by remembering that it was undoubtedly necessary to honor the orders with cartridges placed to the S.F.M., inter alias, for the unhappy tests of the two other "product-headlights" of the house, models "A" and "B".

The DOVITIS return to the fold, accompanied by a substantial quantity of ammunition, and will be distributed to the troop, but the business appears a memorable fiasco quickly: indeed, the cartridges manufactured by the S.F.M. have a starter whose brass, too thick, causes a very irregular percussion, the spring of striker of the 71 not having been reinforced. Moreover, at the time, the process of annealing partial of the cases is still unknown and on this small caliber, the phenomena of tension of metal cause with the collets of the disastrous longitudinal cracks. On the two single delivered batches, with marking of Uruguayan base, almost totality will finish shamefully, balanced in water of Rio of Plata...

And it will be the end of this hybrid weapon, except, well on, for the collectors. DOVITIS, not discouraging itself for if little, repeats while proposing to make new barrel French rifles GRAS of surplus in 7x57 MAUSER! Fortunately, the best stories being shortest, Uruguay will adopt at this time the MAUSER of this caliber... and it will be the end of the history.

Philippe Regenstreif, April 2005."



best regards
 

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Discussion Starter #5
The top rifle in Vivelacolo's display is what I have acquired, brass trigger guard and all. My specimen has a darker walnut looking stock. The rifle was preserved in a coating of dust, dried oil and cigarette smoke residue. It must have hung on the wall of a bar somewhere. The serial numbers on the bolt,receiver,and barrel match.
I bought it from a gent who had acquired it at a previous gun show for $125. I offered him $250, which he said scared him. He would have let it go for $150 as he had no clue as to what it was. I ended up with it for $300. Sure wished I would have low balled him.
Thanks for the information gentlemen.

Stray
 

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Brass

Serviceable brass can be made from 7.62X54R Russian. All you need to do is run the case into the 6.5 Daudeteau sizer and trim to length. The shoulder is a little further back on the Russian case but it will fireform nicely on the first firing (I never lost a case). Originally I fireformed the cases with light loads of Unique and C.O.W. but found that it was just as easy to make up a light bulleted load and form them that way.

Also although the original ammunition was semi rimmed with a slightly smaller rim, I found there was no need to make those modifications to the Russian cases used in this rifle. The rims chamber fine and work OK with the extractor as is in my rifle. The base diameter on the Russian case is a mite smaller than the 6.5 Daudeteau and you may see some expansion there. Once formed though it doesn't change.
 

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When you get around to purchasing dies I would suggest you acquire a set from CH4D: They're cheaper than RCBS and CH is much more accomadating should the dies require any alteration. The shoulders on some of these chambers can be a teensy bit different. This is of course really only a consideration if you FLS a fair bit and aren't careful when partial neck sizing.
 

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I fell into my Daudeteau back in mid 70s for 55.00. Did not get to shoot it until about 79 or 80s when I called Huntington and was told one of the employees there had obtained one in a gun show and they cast the chamber and made a reamer and wallah!!!! they had dies. My friend also had one and we both ordered a set of dies. I called Huntington about 91 and they said at that time they had only made three sets including one for their employee.

Insofar as making brass, 7.62X54 IS THE WAY TO GO with one advisory. I used Norma once fired cases and formed them up and about half OF THESE broke IN HALF about one inch from from rim on FIRST firing. I then stress relieved them half way down the case and have never had a failure since.

The best way I have found to stress relieve is to turn a case holder that will hold it from rod stock about 5/8" diameter. Turn one end down to 3/8" about one inch long. This is the end that will go in drill.
Bore the other end about one inch deep and big enough the 7.62 X 54 case will fall in and stop.

Set up propane torch to where the bright blue flame is about one inch long. JUST BARELY ON and will take some fine adjustments. As the case is turning in the drill (about 100 RPM) put the case BODY in the flame to where the bright blue flame is just touching the case. This will take some trial to see what works best but start with flame about 1/4" below the shoulder and start to count in seconds. (Note: to achieve stress relief further down the case you may need to start 3/8" below the neck or 1/2". Experience is the best teacher here. On a case this size at about 6 seconds you will just just he slightest color change of the brass in one small band, when you see this immediately move the case so the flame follows the case to the neck in one motion lasting not over a second. DO NOT WAIT TILL THE WHOLE THING TURNS BLUE ! ! ! ! If you do you have probably burned the brass.

Again as soon as you see it change pull the drill body away running the flame towards the neck (somewhat quickly and keep it moving) and then point drill down and drop it on towel. DO NOT DROP IN WATER ! ! ! ! I found best way is to hold drill against your stomach with it turned on and variable speed set to low rpm. Hold drill with both hands and it takes alot of strain off the hands. My drills are 3/8" Craftsman as they not only are variable they can be set to run slow. My big 1/2" Milwaukee is variable but won't hold the slow RPM with out a lot of strain.

What you are looking for is a bright blue finish which you will see happen as the case is dropped onto the towel. Applying the heat to the body AND NOT THE NECK for the 6 or so seconds will keep the neck from getting overheated as obviously it is thin at that point. This should give you a BRIGHT BLUE tinge about 1/2" below the shoulder.

You don't need to wear gloves in this operation as you never touch a hot case. Just be careful not to touch the holder as it will get hot. When finished I lay my drill on a concrete floor so it will not touch anything until the holder cools.

Oh yes on Craftsmans drills the front is supported by a bushing. You need to lube these with Mobil 1 synthetic oil occasionally and they will last for many years. If you have a drill that is loose and you have a lathe you can make a mandrell, push out the old bushing and press in another bushing you have made and you are good to go again. I got replacement bushing from Sears parts house. They are pennies.

Look at a Lake City 308 case to see what the color you are trying to achieve.

It will take you a few cases to get the technique down but once you do you will turn out cases with a blue tinge that would make the girls at Lake City envious.

ALWAYS BEAR IN MIND PROPANE TORCHES HAVE RUINED MORE CASES THAN THEY HELPED SO GO EVER SO GENTLY BECAUSE ONCE BRASS IS "BURNED" IT IS RUINED.
 

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Daudeteau loads

I have a few of these rifles and have successfully used the loading data for the 6.5x53 Dutch Mannlicher cartridge. They case capacity of the Daudeteau is a bit greater than that of the Ducth cartridge. This effectively reduces the pressure of the load. I have loaded and fired a few hundred rounds and haven't detected any problem what so ever. I have CH dies and use the Buffalo Arms cases, which have been made up from 45-70 cases.
The 7.62x54 Russian should work well also, but I haven't used any myself.
Hope this helps out. They are a fun and accurate rifle/carbine to shoot.
 

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Just wondering does anyone have any data on the accuracy potential of the Daudeteau's? I have dies for mine and loaded for it years ago but now I think I have a source of excellent 7.62X54 Russian brass (PRVI Partizan is excellent in 7.5 Swiss so I am figuring it will be excellent in this caliber as well - Graf & Sons has some due in Jan 09) and thought I would start shooting it again.

Just wondered what kind of accuracy others have had shooting these?

I noted someone used 6.5x53 Dutch load data but I cannot locate load data for this either.

Does anyone know what the chamber pressures were on the factory ammo?

I looked mine over closely with a bore scope and it appears to have about 500 rounds downbore since new and some jerk has managed to damage the crown in the process. Before I go to the trouble to recrown it I would like to know what kind accuracy it should be capable of. Shooting it before my recollection is it shot about six inches at 100 yards but I wasn't using bullets in the 140-150 range either.

Any load data would be appreciated. thanks guys. Merry Christmas
 

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I have one too and am getting ready to start loading for it.

Someone had cut-off the firing pin tip (probably to deactivate it...) once replaced will give it a try.

The Prvi-Partisan brass in 7.62x54 is very good - Have been using it for my Moisin Nagants - Many reloads.

What type of bullets have you all been using?

I am considering using 6.5mm lead bullets that I've been using in the 6.5 Italian Vetterli conversion.

You guys will all kill me but I picked up mine for $ 100.00 last year. Will post images later.

Tiledude
 

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I have a rifle and a carbine. Does anybody know what the correct bayonet for these looks like?
 

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Tried out a new load for my Daudeteau today at 200 yards.
35 Grains Varget under Sierra 140 Gr. Matchkind bullet, Win LR Primer, Norma Cases (half neck sized) (till I get some PRVI).

5 shot group at 200 yards (after barrel warmed up) was 7 1/8" high and 4" wide. I loaded them just off the lands.

Rifle printed 15" high and 13" left of Point of Aim (POA). First time I have shot it since 1996 I think. Did not chronograph it.

If this had been a 10 shot group it would have easily met acceptance for M16 family on military contracts which is 4.5" at 100 yards.

I am going to change my bench technique next time I try this load. Today I had non shooting hand on rear sand bag. Next time I am going to firm hold forearm and see if POA and POI ( point of impact) and closer. With that long barrel I suspect there is movement before the bullet clears the muzzle.
 

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Interesting development on load I just shot. Seems I may have been lucky as the load density was too low. Normally the load density is recommended to be 80% of case volume. Check the max loads in the reloading books and multiply max listed load by .80 and you will see the min suggested load is right there.

I decided to check case volume (water weight) and found that the 7.62X54 Russian case fired in my Daudeteau chamber held 63 grains of water.

Did some research on 6.5 ammo in the excellent Quick Load Program for a case that held close to the same amount of water and amazingly I found a 6.5 case that held 63 grains of water as well.

I have a number of 80% loads calculated out and will try some of these.

Once I confirm they are safe in my rifle I will post the load and chrono readings . Supposedly these things shot 150s and delivered 2300 fps so I figure 140s should make 2450-2500 fps range and still be in safe area.
 

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Bayonets

I have a rifle and a carbine. Does anybody know what the correct bayonet for these looks like?
I have seen one once, it was made out of regular early type Lebel Mle 1886. They re-contoured the round protrusion on the back to fit the Dauteteau band, and cut a groove to clear the rod, like the 1902 Model Colonial Rifle (Berthier). I have to make my own sometime, when I have nothing else to do......

Dale
 

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Just came in from testing another load. I have had PMs about loads from different folks and last one calculated on a loading program was 46 gr. WC852 (slow lot), 140 Sierra Matchking, Win LR primer. I just loaded up 12 rounds and I let time slip up on me and there wasn't enough light to set up chronograph so I just sand bagged the action and fired one in backstop. Took a look at the case, no problem and commenced to fire five more on the target.

This was at 200 yards so I took the hike after the five and was pleasantly surprised. Five shot group measured 4.801" extreme spread with four shots going 3.788". The bore had ER in it when I test fired first shot and then went for the target so the chances are the bore was still wet.

I stopped at six rounds and have six more to chronograph. This lot of WC852 and has almost the same velocity characteristics as MR3100.

Next time I will increase load one grain and see what velocity is and report back.

Ammo loaded with same weight of each gave only 15 fps different velocity difference in 30.06 with 168s.

The load gave the impression of being much lower pressure than the Varget load I tried which is exactly where I want to be with this old fella.

I will also try some 4350 and MR3100 as time permits.

I got the WC 852 from GIbrass.com and can give someone the lot number if they are interested. Then again he may not have any more.
 

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