Home.jpg (2678 bytes) 7.62x54r Ammunition Evaluations
All content copyright 7.62x54r.net


Introduction During the long history of the Mosin Nagant design a number of countries have produced 7.62x54r ammunition in a wide variety of types. Many of these have been imported to the United States and are found at relatively cheap prices compared to commercial ammo. Although the types of surplus readily at hand change on a regular basis there hasn't been a time recently when 7.62x54r was completely unavailable. Several commercial firms are also currently producing 7.62x54r in a variety of loads. Shooters seldom have to worry about finding Mosin Nagant ammo as they did in the past, but the problem now is deciding which ammo to buy. There are several factors to consider when making the decision, although each rifle will have a "preference". Some shooters experience sticky extraction with lacquer coated cases and avoid them at all costs while others find some of these loads to be the most accurate. Others are limited to lead core by the rules of the ranges they use and even steel jacketed bullets are not allowed in some cases. Lighter bullets generate less recoil and can make extended range sessions with lighter rifles and carbines more pleasant. Heavier bullets often hit closer to the point of aim when using military sights regulated for longer distances.

Purpose There is no way to be certain which ammo is best for a particular rifle without shooting it, but the more information at hand, the easier it is to decide where to begin. In many cases the supplier does not advertise, or even know, the finer points of surplus ammo. When the information is provided it is often incorrect. Hopefully this not an attempt to deceive the buyer but honest mistakes or bad information from the exporter that is simply being passed on. To help the Mosin Nagant shooter sort through the information and misinformation a variety of surplus 7.62x54r has been examined and the data recorded in this section of 7.62x54r.net. All of the ammo listed was bought on the open market since January of 2000. While some of it is no longer readily available, it is occasionally found in small quantities and could be imported again in the future. As other loads are imported or become available they will be tested and added to the data here.

Quick Links Following are direct links to the individual pages for the various ammunition and firearms used in the evaluations for those that are already familiar with this introduction. However, first time visitors are encouraged to read this page through at least once for a better understanding of the methods used in obtaining the data and the relationships between the various types of ammunition and firearms used in the evaluations. For detailed historical information in the 7.62x54r Ammunition Identification section click on the link at each country listed. The 2nd, 3rd, and 4th M91/30s listed were only used for supplemental testing of Hungarian heavy ball ammo.

Ammunition 

Country steel core light ball lead core light ball steel core heavy ball lead core heavy ball miscellaneous
USSR/Russia 1986 CW
1971 CW, ST
1940s CW (note 1)     1997 "7N1" Sniper
Czechoslovakia 1963 LC, ST
1987 CW
    1953 LC, YT 1964 (note 2)
Hungary 1987 LC 1951 CW
1969 CW
1975 LC, SYT
1970 CW, SYT
1951 CW, YT Etalon
Albania 1986 BC
1987 LC
       
Poland 1972 CW, ST
1986 CW
       
Bulgaria 1987 CW 1955 BC   1955 BC, YT  
China 1966 CW 1953 BC      
Yugoslavia       1976 BC  
East Germany         1983 (note 3)
Russia (commercial)   Wolf 148 gr. FMJ   Brown Bear 185 gr. FMJ Wolf 200 gr. SP
Barnaul 203 gr. SP
Brown Bear 203 gr. SP
Serbia (commercial)   Wolf Gold/PriviPartizan 150 gr. FMJ     Wolf Gold/Privi Partizan 180 gr. SP
Bosnia-Herzegovina
(commercial)
        Igman 150 gr. SP
Finland (commercial)         1973 Lapua Match
Greece (commercial)       Olympic 172 gr. FMJ  

Abbreviations:  CW = copper washed case, LC = lacquered case, BC = brass case, ST = silver tip, YT = yellow tip, SYT = silver over yellow tip
1 Yugoslavian packaged mixed headstamps
2 White tip hollow core short range practice
3 Black bullet short range practice

Firearms

1945 Izhevsk M44 Finnish SIG
M28
1947 Izhevsk
M91/30
1944 Izhevsk
M91/30
1944 Tula
M91/30
1943 Tikka
M91/30
1943 Tikka
M91
1915 Tula
M91


Corrosive Ammunition One fact holds true for all production regardless of year or country, and that is all surplus 7.62x54r ammunition is corrosive. For the novice this sounds much worse than it is. It should be considered that these rifles were used with corrosive ammo for decades through several wars and are often none the worse for wear. When ammo is described as "corrosive" all this means is that the primer contains potassium chlorate which was used as an oxidizer. When the reaction takes place and the oxygen is removed it leaves potassium chloride. A residue of this "salt" is left in the barrel, absorbs moisture from the air and creates a corrosive film. If the barrel is not properly cleaned as soon as practical after shooting it will rust. It is the rust that damages the barrel and not the ammunition itself. The potassium chloride is water soluble so it is easily removed. There are many commercial products advertised for cleaning after shooting corrosive ammo, but the time tested Hoppe's #9 is does the job as well as any of them. Some shooters advocate a simple 50/50 solution of water/ammonia. One patch soaked in the ammonia solution pushed through the barrel and then wiped across the bolt face will do the job. There is no reason to let the barrel "soak" and this can actually do more harm than good if the solution is too strong. Follow the ammonia solution with a dry patch and then clean as you normally would with solvent. Whatever method is chosent it is advisable to do the intitial cleaning at the range, including the follow up with solvent after the ammonia. This will be sufficient until a thorough cleaning can be done at a more suitable location, preferably the same day. If the bayonet is fixed while shooting it should be cleaned as well.

Identification To match the data in this section to a particular supply of ammo it is important to be able to identify it. Online distributors will usually list the country of origin, type of case and any color codes found on the bullet. However, many firearm shops that do not specialize in military surplus will refer to all 7.62x54r as "Russian". Dealers at gun shows are usually better informed, but not always. To identify a particular lot of surplus 7.62x54r, please see the 7.62x54r Ammunition Identification page. Two of several color codes found on surplus 7.62x54r should be mentioned at this time. They are silver, which means steel core, and yellow, which means long range, which is a heavy ball (generally around 180 grains). Only Hungary combined the two colors in a silver over yellow tip and it should be kept in mind that the lack of a color code does not necessarily indicate that it's meaning does not apply to that ammo.

Definition of Terms Various terms are used when discussing physical and ballistic properties of ammunition. Shooters and collectors will be familiar with most of them, but they will be defined and explained here for those that may not be.

Berdan A type of primer used by most countries other than the United States for military ammunition. It does not have an integral anvil, therefore the anvil is built into the case which has a pair of flash holes on either side. It is not easily deprimed and generally not considered reloadable. Picture

Bore Diameter The distance across the inside of the rifle barrel at the high points, or "lands", of the rifling usually expressed in thousandths of an inch. A bullet must be larger than the bore diameter in order to be spun by the rifling as it travels down the barrel. The spin stabilizes the bullet in flight.

Boxer A type of primer used on most modern brass cased commercial ammunition which contains an integral anvil. The cases have a single flash hole in the center and can be easily deprimed. These cases are most suitable for reloading although quality and case life may vary. Picture

Groove Diameter The distance across the inside of the rifle barrel at the high points, or "grooves" of the rifling usually expressed in thousandths of an inch. A bullet must be smaller than the groove diameter to fit down the barrel safely without causing dangerous pressure levels.

Over All Length The total length of the complete cartridge including the case and the bullet. Inconsistency in over all length changes the volume of the case causing pressure differences among shots. It also changes the relationship of each bullet to the chamber throat or beginning of the rifling. While not necessarily a sign of low quality ammo, variations in over all length can be a cause of inaccuracy.

Grain, or gr A unit of weight used to measure bullets and gunpowder equal to 1/7,000th of a pound.

Gram, or g A unit of weight used to measure bullets and gunpowder in many countries outside the US equal to 15.43 grains.

Sectional Density The relationship between the cross-sectional area of a bullet and the bullet weight. As larger bullet weights are used in relation to the cross-sectional area, the sectional density increases. The ballistic coefficient also increases if the shape of the bullet remains constant. SD = mass (in grains) divided by 7000d2 where d is the diameter in inches.

Ballistic Coefficient The drag force deceleration of the standard bullet divided by the drag force deceleration of a particular bullet. The ballistic coefficient for most bullets is less than one. The smaller the ballistic coefficient, the faster the bullet slows during flight.

Chronograph A device that is used to measure the velocity of a bullet in flight.

String A series of shots of the same type of ammunition fired over a chronograph to gather a representative sample of ballistic data. A minimum of 10 shots is required to be considered statistically reliable.

Velocity The speed of a bullet, usually measured in feet per second. In practice a group, or string, of shots will be measured and the results expressed with a "high", "low", and "average" velocity.

Extreme Spread The difference between the high and low velocity of a group of shots measured with a chronograph.

Standard Deviation A universal method in statistics and measurements for dealing with and interpreting data and a measure of how close each shot's velocity is to the "average" shot. 68% of all shots fall between one standard deviation above or below average, 95.4% fall between two standard deviations above and below average, and 99.7% fall between three standard deviations above and below the average. For example, if bullets are traveling at an average muzzle velocity of 2800 feet per second, and they have a standard deviation of 30, then 68% of the shots fired will fall between 2770 and 2830 fps, and 95.4% will fall between 2740 and 2860 fps. 99.7%, or nearly all of them, will fall between 2710 and 2890 fps. The smaller the standard deviation, the more consistent, and therefore accurate, the ammunition is.

Recoil The force impulse (mass x change in velocity) acting in the opposite direction to the bullet's impulse arising from it's acceleration through the barrel, commonly referred to as the "kick" of the gun. Recoil is directly related to the mass and acceleration of the bullet and the expanding propellant gases.

Recoil Energy The value expressed in foot-pounds that represents how hard a rifle kicks. 15 foot-pounds is approaching the upper limits of comfort for most shooters although this can be mitigated with the use of a shooting pad.

Recoil Velocity The value expressed in feet per second that represents how abruptly a rifle kicks. 10 feet per second is approaching the upper limits of comfort for most shooters although this can be mitigated with the use of a shooting pad.

Physical Properties While some characteristics of ammunition such as the case material and coating are obvious, disassembly of the cartridge is necessary for gathering information that is vital to ballistic calculations. These include bullet weight and diameter, case volume, and powder weight. Verifying the core material of the bullet is also much easier when it can be examined outside of the case. Three cartridges of each type were disassembled using a kinetic bullet puller with the exception of the 44.8 grain practice ammo which is not heavy enough to use this method. It was disassembled with a vise and pliers. Once the sample rounds were disassembled the bullets were measured using dial calipers with an accuracy of 1/1000th of an inch. The bullets and powder were then weighed using a Pact digital powder scale with a 1/10th grain accuracy. The average of the three measurements were used for the purposes of the evaluation. The core was then examined to determine if it was steel or lead. While there are doubtless many different specific alloys used for the bullet cores, these two broad categories are adequate for this evaluation. Case volume was determined by weighing an empty case, weighing it filled with water and calculating the difference. Overall length of 8 to 10 cartridges were measured with the dial calipers to determine the range of length for each type.

Ballistic Properties Once the physical characteristics were determined a sample from one lot of each type of ammo was taken to the firing range. Each type was fired from each of five rifles over a Chrony Gamma Master chronograph in ten shot strings at a measured distance of 5 yards. Temperature, relative humidity, barometric pressure and elevation were noted so that they could be entered into the Chrony Ballistics Program II version 2.01 software allowing it to make adjustments to standard conditions. The velocities of each shot were recorded and used to determine high, low, average, extreme spread, and standard deviation for each rifle. A sixth 10 shot string of each ammo was also fired over the chronograph at a measured distance of 50 yards. The average velocity of this string and the average velocity of the string from the same rifle at 5 yards were entered into the ballistic software to determine the ballistic coefficient. The same software was used to generate the data on bullet drop, velocity and energy at various distances, and recoil velocity and energy.

Evaluation Firearms Five rifles representing the four commonly encountered Mosin Nagant barrel lengths and various bore conditions were chosen for the full evaluations. Three more M91/30s, the 2nd, 3rd, and 4th listed, were used for supplemental testing of the Hungarian heavy ball ammo only. The bore of each rifle was slugged and measured using the dial caliper. While bore and groove diameter are not used in the ballistic calculations, they do affect ballistic performance. This is obvious when comparing the same ammunition in two M91s with different bore diameters and condition. Sight height was measured from the top of the front post or blade to the center of the bore using the dial caliper and is needed to create the bullet trajectory graphs. Weight was determined with a digital scale accurate to 1 ounce and is used only to calculate the recoil velocity and energy. While other rifles of the same model will vary, this is a representative example and should be useful in comparing the performance of a particual ammunition in different rifles and especially in comparing different ammunition in the same rifle. The data for the eight rifles is shown in the chart below. Click on the model designation for each firearm to access charts comparing the data from the various types of ammunition in that firearm. (These are the same as the "quick links" at the top of the page.)

Model Make Year Barrel
length
Bore
diameter
Groove
diameter
Bore condition Weight Sight height
above bore
Notes
M44 Izhevsk 1945 20 1/4" .302" .313" rounded lands, some pitting 8.25 lbs. .895"  
M28 SIG NA 27" .300" .3095" slightly worn 9.75 lbs. .877" .180" counterbore
M91/30 Izhevsk 1947 28 3/4" .303" .313" new 8.56 lbs. .910" ex-sniper
M91/30 Izhevsk 1944 28 3/4" .301" .314" excellent 8.63 lbs. .900"  
M91/30 Tula 1944 28 3/4" .301" .313" excellent 8.69 lbs. .900" 1922 receiver
M91/30 Tikkakoski 1943 28 3/4" .300" .311" excellent 9.38 lbs. .970"  
M91 Tikkakoski 1943 31 1/2" .300" .312" new 9.50 lbs. .798"  
M91 Tula 1915 31 1/2" .302" .312" worn, some pitting 9.38 lbs. .630"  

All rifles have a four groove pattern with a 1 in 9 1/2" right hand twist and bore and groove diameters were determined by slugging the bore.
For more information see the Mosin Nagant Rifle Specifications, Mosin Nagant Rifle Barrel Contours, and Mosin Nagant Rifle Bore Slugging Tutorial pages.

The chart below is a quick reference of corresponding barrel lengths for models that were not used in the evaluations. Data from the tested model will be valid for other models with the same length barrel. The exception is the recoil data, especially in the case of carbines with the attached bayonet.

Evaluation Model Models with corresponding barrel lengths
M44 M38, T53, M91/38, M91/59
M28 M27, M28/30, M39
M91/30 NA
M91 M24, P-Series

Ammunition Properties Click on the data link for each type of ammo to access pictures, more physical data, ballistic data and ballistic graphs for each firearm used in the evaluations. (These are the same as the "quick links" at the top of the page.) The reference numbers are arbitrarily assigned and have no relationship to any numbers or codes used by the countries producing or using the ammo. They are used to distinguish between the different types elsewhere on this site. Click on the column headers to resort the table by the data in that column. The sort order can be reversed by clicking on the column title a second time. Please be patient while the page reloads after sorting. Return to the original order by sorting the Reference Number column. The M91/30 listed in the standard deviation section is the first one listed above. The standard deviations for the Hungarian heavy ball in the other M91/30s can be found on the pages for that ammo.

Ref.
#
Country Case Bullet Standard Deviation
Headstamp Material Coating Diameter Weight Core Tip Color M44 M28 91/30 M91F M91R
001 USSR
DATA
60 (factory)
86 (year)
steel copper wash .311" 147.8 gr. steel none 30 25 37 30 30
002 USSR
Note #1
188 (factory)
N (year, '55)
steel copper wash .310" 148.6 gr. steel silver X X X X X
003 USSR
DATA
miscellaneous
(late '40s)
steel copper wash .310" 148.2 gr. lead none 32 18 26 28 25
004 Hungary
DATA
21 (country)
87 (year)
steel lacquer .311" 148.8 gr. steel none 34 29 25 24 24
005 Hungary
DATA
miscellaneous steel copper wash .311" 148.7 gr. lead white 50 55 49 46 64
006 Hungary
DATA
21 (country)
75 (year)
steel lacquer .311" 181.7 gr. steel silver / yellow 25 27 23 34 42
007 Hungary
DATA
21 (country)
70 (year)
steel copper wash .310" 182.6 gr. steel silver / yellow 18 33 23 22 34
008 Hungary
DATA
21 (country)
51 (year)
steel copper wash .311" 182.1 gr. lead yellow 35 21 24 26 28
009 Hungary
DATA
21 (country)
69 (year)
steel copper wash .310" 149.1 gr. lead none 25 27 32 27 36
010 Yugoslavia
DATA
nny (factory)
1976 (year)
brass none .311" 182.6 gr. lead none 30 29 25 21 23
011 Czechoslovakia
DATA
bxn (factory)
63 (year)
steel lacquer .310" 148.3 gr. steel silver 16 18 18 17 21
012 Czechoslovakia
DATA
aym (factory)
53 (year)
steel lacquer .310" 181.9 gr. lead yellow 17 21 17 16 16
013 Czechoslovakia
DATA
bxn (factory)
64 (year)
steel lacquer .311" 044.8 gr. hollow white 135 115 118 131 134
014 Albania
DATA
86 (year)
3 (country)
brass none .311" 147.8 gr. steel none 26 19 24 21 38
015 Bulgaria
DATA
10 (country)
55 (year)
brass none .311" 149.6 gr. lead none 21 23 18 26 23
016 Bulgaria
DATA
10 (country)
55 (year)
brass none .311" 182.0 gr. lead yellow 16 17 17 22 20
017 Russia
DATA
WOLF
7.62x54R
steel copper wash .311" 148.4 gr. lead none 31 27 47 36 41
018 Russia
DATA
WOLF
7.62x54R
steel copper wash .311" 202.8 gr. lead soft point 18 19 23 29 31
019 Russia
DATA
Barnaul
7.62x54R
steel lacquer .311" 204.4 gr. lead soft point 20 29 23 32 30
020 Czechoslovakia
DATA
bxn (factory)
87 (year)
steel copper wash .311" 148.5 gr. steel none 19 44 20 18 21
021 Poland
DATA
21 (country)
72 (year)
steel copper wash .310" 147.8 gr. steel silver 24 22 18 40 31
022 Russia
DATA
Brown Bear
7.62x54R
steel lacquer .310" 185.8 gr. lead none 23 19 24 27 21
023 Russia
DATA
Brown Bear
7.62x54R
steel lacquer .310" 204.1 gr. lead soft point 23 32 27 24 38
024 Serbia
DATA
Wolf Gold/
Privi Partizan
brass none .311" 180.8 gr. lead soft point 22 19 28 37 21
025 USSR
DATA
188 (factory)
71 (year)
steel copper wash .311" 148.2 gr. steel silver 19 22 21 23 22
026 China
DATA
321 (factory)
539 (yr/mo)
brass none .311" 148.3 gr. lead none 19 25 23 23 28
027 Finland
DATA
LAPUA
7.62x53R
brass none .308" 185.4 gr. lead none 56 30 30 48 31
028 China
DATA
61 (factory)
66 (year)
steel copper wash .310" 148.6 gr. steel none 23 21 25 25 26
029 Serbia
DATA
Wolf Gold/
Privi Partizan
brass none .311" 151.5 gr. lead none 23 29 25 18 27
030 Russia (7N1)
DATA
188 (factory)
97 (year)
steel copper wash .311" 152.0 gr. lead/
steel
none 20 18 15 18 18
031 Bosnia-Herz.
DATA
Igman
7.62x54R
brass none .310" 149.4 gr. lead soft point 20 34 20 22 22
032 Hungary
DATA
21 (country)
51 (year)
steel copper wash .310" 148.8 gr. lead none 23 46 39 30 22
033 Poland
DATA
21 (country)
86 (year)
steel copper wash .311" 147.7 gr. steel none 31 18 26 27 29
034 East Germany
DATA
21 (country)
83 (year)
steel lacquer .311" 124.3 gr. steel none
black bullet
41 38 41 43 48
035 Greece
DATA
Olympic
E.D.P. 02
brass none .310" 172.2 gr. lead none 23 37 23 23 30
036 Bulgaria
DATA
10 (country)
87 (year)
steel copper wash .311" 148.1 gr. steel none 36 25 26 24 23
037 Albania
DATA
3 (country)
87 (year)
steel lacquer .310" 148.3 gr. steel none 25 24 28 21 22
Notes:
#1  Unreliable ignition, no data available


Home.jpg (2678 bytes) All content copyright 7.62x54r.net