M39 bolt will not close on hand loads only
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Thread: M39 bolt will not close on hand loads only

  1. #1
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    Default M39 bolt will not close on hand loads only

    Hi Everyone,

    I have several standard Mosin 91/30's, & my reloaded 7.62x54R PPU brass with a .311 303 cal 180 gr Speer Hot-Cor bullet will feed, chamber, cycle, & shoot perfectly fine in all of my standard Russian 91/30's, but these hand loads will not chamber in my Finnish M39. When I try to close the bolt on my M39 with my hand loads, the bolt will almost go all the way down, but it just won't go all the way...I've tried to slap it and all that, but it just won't close.

    My M39 WILL feed, chamber, cycle, & shoot Herter's 180 gr SP, PPU 7.62x54R, & the corrosive Russian milsurp ammo perfectly fine, and the bolt operates smooth as silk as it should, so there's nothing wrong with my M39 bolt, extractor, or barrel..I have no issues with "sticky bolt" or any chewed up brass when I shoot any commercial or milsurp ammo in the M39.

    So ALL commercial & milsurp ammo AND my reloads work perfectly in all of my standard 91/30s, and ALL commercial ammo will work in my M39..The M39 just won't take my reloaded ammo.

    It must be the brass of my reloads..I use the Lee hand press (believe it or not) and I do a full length sizing, and then I resize the neck with that Lyman resizer that shaves the neck down a bit only when needed.

    Is this common with the M39s since they are different than the standard 91/30s?

    Thanks for any advice!!

    Danny

  2. #2
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    You're not squeezing down the main body of the brass enough after shooting it in another rifle. Your sizing is too short


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    You need a real press or always keep the brass for this rifle segregated.

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    Thanks LMyer! Do I even need to resize my brass for reloading the M39? What If I shoot a box of commercial PPU, then just remove the primer without resizing the brass, then resize my neck with the Lyman thing if needed, then just reload as normal..Would that particular brass then fit perfectly into the M39? So I'm asking if I should reload like this specifically for the M39?

    Thanks!

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    It will for some unknown number of reloads and then it will eventually need sized full length. But if it's close what you have already might work. Used rcbs presses are quite inexpensive on eBay unless you think you need a rock crusher. I went from one of them to a Forster press and still use both.

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    Thanks for the info! I don't want to get too far off of Mosin related topics, but I was planning on buying the Lee Classic Cast Breech Lock Single Stage Press. I don't reload that much, & I prefer to stick with one brand if possible..With that being said, I do prefer great quality & money isn't an issue. So what will a Foster or RCBS press give me that a Lee will not?

    Thanks again for the advise!

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    I have a Lee Classic Cast that reloads 6 different rifle calibers with ease. You can pay more, but mine does everything I need and does it well.

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    Thanks Oldvetteman! So, based on my original post, does it sound pretty much 100% like my reloaded brass isn't sized appropriately for the M39? And if that's the case, is the M39 a bit smaller than the standard 91/30? I have various standard Russian Mosins and a Chinese Mosin Type 53 and all of my reloads will work in these rifles...Are the measurements simply "tighter" specifically in the M39?

    As I mentioned, I use the Lee Breech Lock Hand press for reloading my 7.62x54R, and it is really really tough to resize the brass with that thing..It is great for reloading my .45 Colt brass..I have the carbide dies for my .45 and it's really nice..

    BTW, I can't even resize size the Herter's 7.62x54R brass in the hand loader..It's just impossible, but the PPU 7.62x54R brass is easier..anyone experience this?

    Thanks

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    I haven't used one of the hand presses, but I wouldn't like to try sizing full-size rifle cases with one. A good, strong bench press makes the job pretty easy. Of course case lubing is essential to reduce effort and avoid a stuck case. It sounds like your M39 has the tightest chamber of your Mosins, so you need to make sure the ram is pushing the case all the way into the sizing die, so there is no gap between the bottom of the sizing die and the top of the shell holder. If that still doesn't do the trick you may have to try a shell holder with a lower profile so it can push the case a few thousandths further into the die. If you still can't chamber the re-sized cases you may have to try a different sizing die. There are other options if none of the above works, but lets not get ahead of ourselves. Good luck and let us know what happens!

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    Isn't a D-chambered M39 (as they all are) chambered the exact same as a 91/30?

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    Quote Originally Posted by Oldvetteman View Post
    I have a Lee Classic Cast that reloads 6 different rifle calibers with ease. You can pay more, but mine does everything I need and does it well.
    A Lee Classic cast iron press is the way to go. You can pay more for a press but won't get anything more. The next real step up is a Forster CoAx.

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    Most 91/30 refurbs are worn more or less both in the chamber dimensions and particularly in the throat.

    They also probably started out a bit sloppier if chambered at the factory with worn routers, a distinct possibility after your hundred thousandth rifle of the weekend shift. They are made looser to function reliably if dirty or uncleaned in combat and millions were made for this reliability, not super precision. They shoot well with all kinds of ammo, hot, cold, in snow and mud and rain. That reliability kept Red Army troopers alive but may not lead to super-accuracy after over 70 years.

    M39s are a bit fancier in the tolerances department and hence are generally very accurate, often MOA or even sub-MOA rifles. They may well be the best and most accurate bolt action military rifle ever mass-produced, though in numbers vastly less than 91/30s. A really worn M39 seems fairly uncommon.

    M39s were always very accurate because they have tighter tolerances all around, good for accuracy but bad if ammo dimensions are off. They have a tighter headspace dimension for accuracy, but that restricts off-sized cartridges.

    I resize every case, every time, using a turret loader and proper cartridge lube.

    You also need to carefully measure all your cases as they may be stretched both from firing and from your loading technique, meaning the case is a bit too long after a few firings or the neck may even be a bit crumpled from loading without proper sizing of the neck. Use a micrometer to measure a brand new case that is unfired to compare with your reload cases. Sizing makes a difference but cases fired several times often need trimming, another operation.

    Also, be sure to carefully measure your reloads overall length next to a factory load or reload dimensions in your reloading manual. My set micrometer sits by the bench to check every single one I reload. Also, double check for high primers, an easy way to make cartridges that don't chamber.

    I addition, give the M39 (or any sticky-bolt rifle) a "super cleaning" by sticking a brush that is tight in the chamber in a drill at low speed and really giving it a spin until the chamber shines like a new dime. Then shine a bright light down the chamber looking carefully for any dried gunk to the sides, particularly the right, as this can make seating a cartridge difficult or impossible.

    Same trick works for any Mosin.

    Some really bad chambers even need a round wooden dowel covered with fine emery cloth to be spun by hand to remove burrs or corrosion.



    E=Pointyears;6599618]Isn't a D-chambered M39 (as they all are) chambered the exact same as a 91/30?[/QUOTE]

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    Thank you Oldvetteman, Leon & Stalin's Ghost! I felt pretty confident that the reason the reloads weren't chambering in the M39 was mainly due to the brass not being worked to perfection as it should be, and that the M39s were "fancier' as you mentioned Stalin's Ghost. I'm good at following the recommended sizings for my brass based on my Lee Reloading Book, and I do use a micrometer..I get things pretty close as recommended, but I don't sweat it if it's not exact..I'll be more careful in the future. The clear issue at hand is my current sizing "program." I definitely need to get a bench press..The hand press simply doesn't work well at all for rifle brass.

    Thanks again everyone!

    Danny

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    two cents..

    normailly a tight chamber on reloads indicates either bullet (col) is too long, which can be determined by throat making marks on extracted non-forming round, or case length is too long. Also, the lee hand loader probably is inadequate to really fully resize brass. we used to used them back in the early 80's for 38's and they worked o.k.. , but really you need to get a good bench press.

    I did not see anything about trimming your brass. your 91/30's may have worn throats and your m39 is tight. I came to believe in short trimmed brass when learning to reload for my Garand.

    P.S.
    thought of something else. You did not say if you are resizing your bullets to .311 or just your bullet mold is suppose to be for .311. I have found that most of my molds throw a little larger. so if you are not resizing to actual .311 this may give a larger diameter bullet to seat and hence if a tight chamber to hard to close.

    Worn chamber will accept a larger diameter bullet.
    Last edited by eddeck; 04-04-2017 at 10:45 PM. Reason: p.s.

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    Thanks eddeck! I do trim the brass with a Lyman hand crank system..you plug the base of the brass into a shell holder, then line it up with the pilot on the other end and it trims the brass...So maybe I should try trimming the brass just a bit shorter than recommended?

    Concerning my bullets, I buy the .311 size 303 cal 180 gr Speer Hot-Cor bullets..I do have some brass that I've loaded some old pulled .308 diameter armor piercing bullets recently, & I tried to load these rounds in the M39 today, but they behaved just like the rest of my .311 reloads in the M39. The bullets feed fine, but the bolt won't close.

    Thanks!

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    Quote Originally Posted by DanBlue View Post
    Thanks LMyer! Do I even need to resize my brass for reloading the M39? What If I shoot a box of commercial PPU, then just remove the primer without resizing the brass, then resize my neck with the Lyman thing if needed, then just reload as normal..Would that particular brass then fit perfectly into the M39? So I'm asking if I should reload like this specifically for the M39?

    Thanks!
    ^^^ This. Neck size only, make sure to trim! You will put less stress on the brass.

    Why not work up some loads specifically for her anyways? Bet you'd like the results.
    Better to have it & not need it, than to need it & not have it...

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    Thanks DisasterDog..so to size the neck only, that means to just trim the neck correct? In other words, don't run the brass through the Lee resizing die, just trim the brass a tiny bit shorter than recommended, then add primer, powder & projectile then I'm good to go?

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    Quote Originally Posted by Oldvetteman View Post
    I have a Lee Classic Cast that reloads 6 different rifle calibers with ease. You can pay more, but mine does everything I need and does it well.

    Ditto on that. I have the Lee cast iron ss press too and it doesn't take a back seat to any of the other SS iron presses.

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    Quote Originally Posted by DanBlue View Post
    Thank you Oldvetteman, Leon & Stalin's Ghost! I felt pretty confident that the reason the reloads weren't chambering in the M39 was mainly due to the brass not being worked to perfection as it should be, and that the M39s were "fancier' as you mentioned Stalin's Ghost. I'm good at following the recommended sizings for my brass based on my Lee Reloading Book, and I do use a micrometer..I get things pretty close as recommended, but I don't sweat it if it's not exact..I'll be more careful in the future. The clear issue at hand is my current sizing "program." I definitely need to get a bench press..The hand press simply doesn't work well at all for rifle brass.

    Thanks again everyone!

    Danny
    Not intended to question your knowledge, but from your writing I take it you are relatively new to reloading. I assume you have a good reloading manual. If so, may I suggest you read it, then reread again.

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    Quote Originally Posted by TANSTAAFL View Post
    Not intended to question your knowledge, but from your writing I take it you are relatively new to reloading. I assume you have a good reloading manual. If so, may I suggest you read it, then reread again.


    I started reloading about one year ago with .45 Colt, then moved up to reloading 7.62x54R after careful study & practice with the .45 Colt loads.

    I've always got my nose in the Lee Modern Reloading book.

    Thanks for the help everyone!

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    do this. resize one of your cases and trim as you normally do.. do nothing different.

    now.. take a black magic marker and color the entire case from rim up, including the face of the neck.

    now carefully chamber it .. will it chamber with no projectile, or does it still get tight. if it gets tight, work the bolt up and down a bit, now extract. you should now have witness marks left in the marker on the brass.

    Case simply might not be resized enough at the base, or rarely, the shoulder.

    If the face of the neck/mouth has damage, check the case length vs one of your milsurp rounds that chambers fine. pull the bullet on that case. then compair the major diameters and COL.

    it's either too long with a projectile, or too long at the mouth or shoulder, or too fat. On some other rifles some people use small base dies on brass that is hard to chamber in picky guns. ( no one makes a SB die in 54r that I know of.. but both lee and CH4D WILL custom make dies for you ).

    Also, be sure to check that your decap pin / rod is not set too low and artificially stopping your brass from resizing all the way.

    you can also do the marker trick on the case neck, and projectile of one of your already loaded cases if you think projectile is engaging the rifeling, or could be a neck interference issue.. etc. marks will show in the brass/marker.

    Lastly.. it's not uncommon to see nice tight chambers on m39, and super loose chambers on regular mosins.. making the brass not interchangeable.
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    Quote Originally Posted by soundguy View Post
    do this. resize one of your cases and trim as you normally do.. do nothing different.

    now.. take a black magic marker and color the entire case from rim up, including the face of the neck.

    now carefully chamber it .. will it chamber with no projectile, or does it still get tight. if it gets tight, work the bolt up and down a bit, now extract. you should now have witness marks left in the marker on the brass.

    Case simply might not be resized enough at the base, or rarely, the shoulder.

    If the face of the neck/mouth has damage, check the case length vs one of your milsurp rounds that chambers fine. pull the bullet on that case. then compair the major diameters and COL.

    it's either too long with a projectile, or too long at the mouth or shoulder, or too fat. On some other rifles some people use small base dies on brass that is hard to chamber in picky guns. ( no one makes a SB die in 54r that I know of.. but both lee and CH4D WILL custom make dies for you ).

    Also, be sure to check that your decap pin / rod is not set too low and artificially stopping your brass from resizing all the way.

    you can also do the marker trick on the case neck, and projectile of one of your already loaded cases if you think projectile is engaging the rifeling, or could be a neck interference issue.. etc. marks will show in the brass/marker.

    Lastly.. it's not uncommon to see nice tight chambers on m39, and super loose chambers on regular mosins.. making the brass not interchangeable.
    Thank you kindly soundly for these details...I'll try your recommendation. As well, it's good to know that my M39 has a nice tight chamber which is what I suspected in the first place.

    Thanks!

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    Quote Originally Posted by DanBlue View Post
    Thanks DisasterDog..so to size the neck only, that means to just trim the neck correct? In other words, don't run the brass through the Lee resizing die, just trim the brass a tiny bit shorter than recommended, then add primer, powder & projectile then I'm good to go?
    This isn't going to work for you.

    Firing the cartridge will usually increase the inside diameter of the case neck (and the case body) sufficiently that a new bullet of the same diameter of the one that was fired will usually just drop through the neck to the inside of the case.

    In fact, if another bullet does NOT drop right through the neck of the fired case, that could indicate one of a number of potentially serious problems with the case or with the chamber.

    As a minimum, you will need to 'neck size' the case to bring the inside diameter of the case neck back to a dimension that will hold the bullet in a friction fit.

    The Lee Loader will neck-size for you, but that is ALL it does. If those neck-sized cartridges (cases) were previously fired in a rifle that has a chamber that is even the smallest bit larger than the chamber in your rifle in any of the critical dimensions, the case will usually NOT chamber easily in your rifle.

    Bench presses provide enough of a force multiplier with their built-in leverage systems to make full-length resizing of your cases a pretty simple proposition. If you aren't planning to reload extensively, there are a number of single-stage bench presses out there from any of the major manufacturers that you can buy, and not break the bank doing so.

    To full length resize your cases you need to adjust the die to where the shellholder makes contact with the bottom of the sizing die when the ram is all the way up.

    You can neck size only with your full length resizing dies in your press simply by adjusting the sizing die in the press so there is a small gap (1/16" to 1/8" works well) between the bottom of the die and the top of the shellholder when the ram is in its topmost position. If this is done, the case shoulder and case body will not come in contact with the inside of the die.

    Usually, I will routinely full-length resize any brass that was known to be fired in a rifle different from the one I intend to fire it in.

    After I then fire it in a given rifle, I will identify that 'lot' of brass with the serial number of the rifle it was fired in. If it is a bolt-action rifle, I will only neck size that brass thereafter. That lot of brass is then ALWAYS going to be used in that rifle, and it WILL fit.

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    Quote Originally Posted by DanBlue View Post
    Thanks DisasterDog..so to size the neck only, that means to just trim the neck correct? In other words, don't run the brass through the Lee resizing die, just trim the brass a tiny bit shorter than recommended, then add primer, powder & projectile then I'm good to go?

    No, neck sizing is not just trimming the brass. You must run the brass through a die of some sort. There are sizing dies that size the neck only, without sizing the case body or setting the shoulder back. They are called, interestingly enough, "neck sizing dies". I have not seen a neck sizing die for 7.62x54r, but they may exist.

    A "poor man's" method of neck sizing is to back off (unscrew) your full length sizing die a few thousandths so that there is a measurable gap (with feeler gauges) between the bottom of the die and the raised shell holder, with no case in the shell holder. This set up will size the neck except for the last few thousandths above the shoulder without fully sizing the rest of the case or setting the shoulder back.

    Once you size a case using this "poor man's" method you can see how far down the neck it has been sized by observing the die marks on the neck. This is easier to see if the case has not been otherwise sized since firing in your M39. If you don't size the neck (full-length or neck only), the projectile will not have sufficient neck tension to hold it in place and may actually drop down into the case when you seat it.

    Regardless of how you size a case, check to see if it will chamber before reloading it. If it chambers before reloading but not after, you have a problem with the projectile, either because the projectile is contacting the rifling or because the bullet has a diameter too large for your chamber.

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    Ronbo6 and I have said a lot of the same things, but he types faster! He is quite correct about the Lee Loader neck sizer; I actually have one. However when I think about neck sizers I think in terms of collet neck sizers because they size both the outside and inside of the neck. The Lee Loader neck sizer sizes only the outside dimension of the neck.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Oldvetteman View Post
    No, neck sizing is not just trimming the brass. You must run the brass through a die of some sort. There are sizing dies that size the neck only, without sizing the case body or setting the shoulder back. They are called, interestingly enough, "neck sizing dies". I have not seen a neck sizing die for 7.62x54r, but they may exist.
    I have a Lee custom-made collet neck sizing die. I have one mandrel for the Lapua D166 bullet and another for standard .308 bullets, the later for my M28/76.

    A technique used by some reloaders is to use a shoulder bump die, which resizes the case below the shoulder but not the case neck, and then neck size. This is particularly useful for .303 since normal full length resizing will render the brass unusable after only a few reloads.

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    Quote Originally Posted by DanBlue View Post
    I started reloading about one year ago with .45 Colt, then moved up to reloading 7.62x54R after careful study & practice with the .45 Colt loads.

    I've always got my nose in the Lee Modern Reloading book.

    Thanks for the help everyone!
    I think that people can get pretty passionate about reloading. It turns into its own hobby, as it has for me.

    I think that your hand held sizing stuff will work as long as you start with commercial ammo and then segregate for your M39. You can short size the case necks with what you have and probably loosen the cases back up by hand if that becomes necessary after multiple reloads. Trimming necks is a different process that I don't worry about in Mosins until my case length has grown 0.015 or so.

    The good reloading equipment out there concentrates on sizing the necks perfectly straight and to a specific size for proper tension on the bullet - in a reproducible manner - all while minimizing the amount that the brass is worked. That's one of the primary goals of reloading for accuracy in a nutshell. Lots of ways to approach it and different types of equipment used, but that's the end game.



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    I check the neck and bullet run-out on every reload that I do. You would be surprised what you would find. Bullets pointing to the side don't go straight.

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    I would also suggest measuring the ogive length on factory loads and your reloads. If your reloads have a longer measurement to the ogive of the bullet,it could hit the rifling on a rifle with a short leade, preventing that final closure of the bolt. Its possible the leade of this one rifle is just a hair shorter than others. You can buy tools to measure ogive and lead lengths

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    Quote Originally Posted by LMyer View Post
    I check the neck and bullet run-out on every reload that I do. You would be surprised what you would find. Bullets pointing to the side don't go straight.

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    Do you have the Forster Coax? Like it/Love it/MEH??? Looks like a pretty slick tool. Denny

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    Yes I have one and the Forster dies as well. It's a really nice press but not so nice to switch between 7.62x54r and other ammo since it uses a plate setup instead of a simple shell holder! Still use the old rcbs press with an o-ring under the nut for 7.5x55 Swiss and handgun ammo.

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    7.62x54r vs D166



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    If you are going to buy a reloading press, buy the most heavy duty press you can afford. The RCBS Rock Chucker is good. Hornady makes a good looking press. I have used a small RCBS Jr press and a big O press forever. The Jr handles all my pistol calibers and 223. All other rifle calibers get sized in the O press. That O press will resize anything that will fit in the press. I am not picky on dies. I use RCBS, Lee, and Hornady. I like the Hornady pistol carbide dies as they burnish the cases which results in a nice finish. I use a Lee factory crimp die on all rifle calibers. Just follow the directions on installing the dies. I use single stage presses because I am too lazy to make all the changes to the turrent and such presses. I do have a Dillon, set up for 40 S&W, and a RCBS A4 set up for 9MM. Everything else, all the calibers for the rifles I have, get done on the single stage presses. This is because I am old school. Been reloading over 50 years. Some of the new progressive presses may be easier to use than in the past. Look at the reloading equipment in Midway and Cabela's. Both carry a lot of equipment. Go for it and enjoy....chris

    One thing I forgot. I use Lee hand priming tools, one large primer and one small primer. They are completely trouble free and work great. I only prime with these tools and have been doing so since they first came out. There are others out there and presses have a priming device. I just have not got them to work reliably. chris
    Last edited by coppertales; 04-05-2017 at 02:15 PM. Reason: Add info

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    Quote Originally Posted by Hillbilly Jim View Post
    I would also suggest measuring the ogive length on factory loads and your reloads. If your reloads have a longer measurement to the ogive of the bullet,it could hit the rifling on a rifle with a short leade, preventing that final closure of the bolt. Its possible the leade of this one rifle is just a hair shorter than others. You can buy tools to measure ogive and lead lengths
    On something super short chambered like a Swiss K31, this is always a concern

    But since all M39s were chambered for the extremely long to ogive D166 bullet, this is very unlikely for the OP to have happen. In fact, a lot of bullets will fall right out of the brass before they ever hit the lands in a M39 and most other common Mosins. The biggest exception is a M28/30 with an "uncut chamber". I finally managed to get one. These were chambered/ barreled for the 0.308" D46 Lapua bullet and are quite short chambered. These are the Mosins that won't chamber milsurp ammo. A good share of these M28/30s were reworked later for use with the longer D166 and then stamped with a D. Note that the D stamp (or lack of it) does not mean anything on a M39 - all were made for D166.

    Stepping off soapbox.....

    Sent from my Moto G (4) using Tapatalk
    Last edited by LMyer; 04-05-2017 at 04:22 PM.
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  36. #35
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    Quote Originally Posted by LMyer View Post
    Yes I have one and the Forster dies as well. It's a really nice press but not so nice to switch between 7.62x54r and other ammo since it uses a plate setup instead of a simple shell holder! Still use the old rcbs press with an o-ring under the nut for 7.5x55 Swiss and handgun ammo.

    Sent from my Moto G (4) using Tapatalk
    I appreciate your input as I am getting closer to taking the plunge. I have wanted to for some time and have always leaned towards RCBS based on the testimonials from the Machinists
    that I used to work with. I also take to heart Leon's statement of "all you need is a Lee Classic" as I have valued his knowledge and contributions to the site for years. Chevy vs Ford?
    Lots to consider and learn before the plunge.

    To the OP....sorry to kind of derail your thread. Denny

  37. #36
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    Quote Originally Posted by Denny View Post
    I appreciate your input as I am getting closer to taking the plunge. I have wanted to for some time and have always leaned towards RCBS based on the testimonials from the Machinists
    that I used to work with. I also take to heart Leon's statement of "all you need is a Lee Classic" as I have valued his knowledge and contributions to the site for years. Chevy vs Ford?
    Lots to consider and learn before the plunge.

    To the OP....sorry to kind of derail your thread. Denny
    The Lee Classic cast iron press has efficient decapped primer disposal. They drop down through the hollow ram into a flexible tube. If you like picking old primers up from the floor, then by all means get the RCBS. The Lee Classic also cannot cam over; flanges on the linkage prevent it. I'm talking about the cast iron, screw-in-the die Lee Classic. Save your money with the Lee so you can buy a good powder scale. BTW the flimsy-looking and inexpensive plastic Lee "Perfect" powder measure throws amazingly consistent charges.

  38. #37
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    Wow everyone! Thank you all for the awesome detailed info! I will certainly start to work on this.

    Take care, & will circle back soon! BTW, took my M39 to the range today..my 3 shot groups were ending up on top of each other consistently at 50 yards..I love this rifle! I was using the Herter's of the shelf ammo.

  39. #38
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    I run lee, rcbs and Lyman press's. Turret, indexing and non indexing, and single stage.

    They all have their uses, even the most economical lee C press have uses. A 2 or 3 poise balance Ben scale is nice.
    Sent from my Nokia 1020 win 8.1 phone

  40. #39
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    Quote Originally Posted by Denny View Post
    I appreciate your input as I am getting closer to taking the plunge. I have wanted to for some time and have always leaned towards RCBS based on the testimonials from the Machinists
    that I used to work with. I also take to heart Leon's statement of "all you need is a Lee Classic" as I have valued his knowledge and contributions to the site for years. Chevy vs Ford?
    Lots to consider and learn before the plunge.

    To the OP....sorry to kind of derail your thread. Denny
    Forster press is a Cadillac, but Chevy and Ford will get you there too! Only advantage to the Forster press is not having to pull very hard to get the job done, the way they let the dies float on their adjustment nuts (which by the way are clamp to lock, not set screw) allows for self-alignment of the dies with the case, and dies simply slide into the press from the side. Other manufacturers have their own versions to do this as well. Plus you can always use an old-fashioned set screw lock nut with a rubber o-ring underneath, if you have an old fashioned press. Does pretty much the same thing, but maybe not so precisely each time.

    Now, Forster dies are clearly superior IMHO. The 7.62x54r Full length sizing die works the necks of the brass the least I have seen. Just take out your sizing button from the die and short size a fired case with whatever die you have, after measuring the OD of the neck - then measure how much undersize your die squeezes it down. - Also measure the length. Then do the same case again with the sizing button (it is really tough on brass to push the sizing button through the other way so plan on throwing it away if it ends up shorter than before). I think you will find that many dies overwork the brass. My Forster 7.62x54r die barely works the thinner necks on my PPU brass down enough for 0.002 neck tension on a 0.308 bullet and the sizing button ends up doing very little. For this reason I exclusively use the thicker Lapua brass for the 0.308 bullets and the added thickness allows the 0.307 sizing button to work just right after 0.001 springback. For 0.311 and 0.312 bullets, I use a 0.310 sizing button in the same die to get 0.002 to 0.003 neck tension. Forster will sell you any size button that you need, as well as the assembly that holds the button. If you really want to get fancy, I called them up once and they will custom machine (modify) an existing die to neck size to a specific neck O.D. without a sizing buttton. Talk about not working the brass! But your brass and bullets have to be very uniform to do this properly. It all gets crazy expensive and I stopped short of that. The seating die I have is nothing special other than being micrometer adjustable, and with the adjustment nut locked - I record what adjustment = what COL and go directly to it. Saves a lot of time when changing bullet type.

    Denny, if you're considering just getting into reloading - I suggest just buying an old used RCBS JR2 / JR3 press off Ebay for $30 or find someone who is retiring from loading. They work just fine for full length sizing unless you happen to be a real weenie! I have found that if you nicely ask RCBS for pricing on small missing parts for a JR2 press, they will give them to you gratis (within reason). I would however recommend new sizing dies as 7.62x54r are not carbide and can get pretty scratched up if the brass is not cleaned well before sizing. RCBS make a 7.62x54r neck die if you are interested in segregating brass - and it doesn't work the brass nearly as much as their full length die. I used to get about 20 reloads on PPU brass with the RCBS neck die if I kept the brass segregated. Just remember that any of the conventional dies should work fine, and brass life / convenience / availability of sizing buttons is the only real difference. Then you can test drive reloading and see if it is for you. Of if you want to splurge for the Forster dies right away they can be used with any press. Just don't expect reloading for a rifle to be a money saver (there is so much to buy), and it's definitely not a time saver. You have to enjoy doing it to make it worthwhile.

    Best wishes
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  41. #40
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    Quote Originally Posted by Leon View Post
    The Lee Classic cast iron press has efficient decapped primer disposal. They drop down through the hollow ram into a flexible tube. If you like picking old primers up from the floor, then by all means get the RCBS. The Lee Classic also cannot cam over; flanges on the linkage prevent it. I'm talking about the cast iron, screw-in-the die Lee Classic. Save your money with the Lee so you can buy a good powder scale. BTW the flimsy-looking and inexpensive plastic Lee "Perfect" powder measure throws amazingly consistent charges.
    I also found the cheapo Lee plastic powder measure to be amazing. Lever should operate smoothly (no crunches of powder or start that one again), rotate arm at same speed, keep hopper above at least 1/2 full, tap the spout or somewhere on the measure the same number of times with same force afterwards, etc. Amazing results. Then trickle to within 0.1 gr of target.
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  42. #41
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    My dad taught me to reload when I was around 12 years old - He reloaded using a RCBS press....and old one that was around in the 1970s. All the dies and press, brass and bullets, powder, etc I inherited years ago & all RCBS equipment - I like the brand and have never been unhappy with the results.

    Pahtu.

  43. #42
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    Partial sizing with the FL die backed off a few thousands in a tapered case like 54R may not work....when the die sizes the taper of the case body it may push the shoulder FORWARD a bit. Now as you are backed off, the shoulder is not pushed into proper position and cases will not chamber. Fix by backing off the die a good bit more if it will still do enough of the neck to hold a bullet, or full length size.
    "Saigon Tea, 60 P, you no buy you di di DI!"

  44. #43

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    Just a thought on presses. I use a lee clasic and am perfectly happy with it, but consider before you buy that the Breech Lock press, while faster for die changes IF you get some extra adaptors, cannot accept the oversized dies for larger calibres. I upgraded from the lee cast aluminium press to the cast iron Clasic when I picked up dies for 577-450 Martini and 577 snider (1&1/4" x 12 thread). If there is a chance you may one day want to reload a 50 BMG or some other oversize round the Breech Lock feature will have you chasing another press.

    I hate myself and buy odd stuff that ammo is not made for, so can be a bit abusive on gear (243 winchester will NOT squeeze down to 6.5 Carcano without distorting badly, regardless of the press. Just when ppu makes a case for my oddities I find a new one to punish myself with, latest an 1889 Swiss (close to size Cases on back order).

    As for the not chambering issue, aggree that the full length size should fix the problem. Having the same issue at the moment with 38-40 for a 92 Winchester with a suprisingly tight chamber, where my previous 73 winchester was so loose I used 45 Colt cases to get an acceptable (still loose) fit.

  45. #44

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    If you're into reloading, you should consider owning a micrometer--digital is best, less error prone for occasional users. I would mike the cartridge that plays well with that rifle and then thoroughly mike the cartridge that doesn't. From your description, it sounds like you may have a bulge at the primer end of the cartridge (very common after being fired--they do expand to the dimensions of your chamber). The other end, the pointy end, could be the issue as well so measure the overall length of these two cartridges.

    Reloading is is pretty basic. Not much can go wrong provided you do he basics. I've been reloading since the early 1980s and use an RCBS Rock Chucker, but manually set primers with a Lee hand primer. I think you indicated that you are using a hand sized--not a bench mounted case sizer. I don't know how you have gotten this far without something like a rock chucker. Of course, as mentioned by another, use the correct amount of case lube (too much is as bad as too little).

    Dan

  46. #45
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    Quote Originally Posted by Edgy01 View Post
    If you're into reloading, you should consider owning a micrometer--digital is best, less error prone for occasional users. I would mike the cartridge that plays well with that rifle and then thoroughly mike the cartridge that doesn't. From your description, it sounds like you may have a bulge at the primer end of the cartridge (very common after being fired--they do expand to the dimensions of your chamber). The other end, the pointy end, could be the issue as well so measure the overall length of these two cartridges.

    Reloading is is pretty basic. Not much can go wrong provided you do he basics. I've been reloading since the early 1980s and use an RCBS Rock Chucker, but manually set primers with a Lee hand primer. I think you indicated that you are using a hand sized--not a bench mounted case sizer. I don't know how you have gotten this far without something like a rock chucker. Of course, as mentioned by another, use the correct amount of case lube (too much is as bad as too little).

    Dan

    A micrometer? maybee .. a caliper.. YES!
    Sent from my Nokia 1020 win 8.1 phone

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