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Thread: 5.45x39 reloading

  1. #1
    Boolit Master
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    5.45x39 reloading

    I just got done putting together a bulgarian ak74 kit and it turned out pretty well. Being a reloader, I hate throwing away any brass, or in this case steel casings. I've reloaded berdan steel cases before in 7.62x39 so I know I can do it if I have too. My questions are twofold: anyone used .224 bullets, and anyone have any published data and if not what powder and charge weight did you use? I know reloading dies can be had from Lee and rcbs on special order for more money. I wonder if there is enough interest here for a group buy on dies...

  2. #2
    Boolit Grand Master 303Guy's Avatar
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    The bore specs are .214/.220 so the .224 bullets may be a bit tight. Will a loaded cartridge even chamber with .224 bullets?
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  3. #3
    Boolit Master
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    I'm suspicious about the .220 groove diameter because I have measured ammo with .225" bullets. Suggest you slug your bore and also suggest .224" bullets would be fine. Some guy was reforming .222 cases on the internet a while back. You have to blow them out at the base but they worked.
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  4. #4
    Boolit Grand Master 303Guy's Avatar
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    I'm pretty sure the bullet is .220 diameter.
    Rest In Peace My Son (01/06/1986 - 14/01/2014)

    ''Assume everything that moves is a human before identifying as otherwise''

  5. #5
    Boolit Buddy Danderdude's Avatar
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    1. There are NO manufacturers of 5.45 brass. Not even Prvi, and they make all kinds of obsolete and esoteric brass. Hornady 5.45 is made with imported steel cases. You're stuck with surplus steel or fireformed.

    2. .224" J-word bullets can be reduced down easily about .002" at a time using the Lee push-through sizing dies.

  6. #6
    Boolit Master
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    I just slugged my bore and got .2219 groove dia. Also tried a .224 j word shoved in an unsized case and it will chamber. I'll try making up a few cast boolits sized to .224 and see how they shoot. Still not sure where to start with data. I bet Privi will eventually start making brass but for now I can get by with steel berdan. I just like to know that I can do it if I need to.

  7. #7
    Boolit Master
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    FYI I just got an email back from Hornady tech support and they use a .2215 dia bullet in their factory 5.45 ammo. They won't sell component bullets by the way , saying that steel cases are unreloadable.

  8. #8
    Boolit Master
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    The bullets I measured at .225 were in Russian factory ammo. I'm not saying it all measures that big but some sure does.
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  9. #9
    Boolit Master 0verkill's Avatar
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    I could be totally wrong, but I was sure I saw Midway carrying 5.45 bullets. Z-max I think.
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  10. #10
    In Remembrance

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    Quote Originally Posted by Danderdude View Post
    1. There are NO manufacturers of 5.45 brass. Not even Prvi, and they make all kinds of obsolete and esoteric brass. Hornady 5.45 is made with imported steel cases. You're stuck with surplus steel or fireformed.

    2. .224" J-word bullets can be reduced down easily about .002" at a time using the Lee push-through sizing dies.
    Yes....I realize this is an old thread but for the cases they're almost to the field trial stage. These take an ungawdly amount of time to do with a lot of rejects along the way....

    http://castboolits.gunloads.com/show...opment-9-21-14
    Click to see what I'm doing and have available, this takes you to the VS (Vendor Sponsor) section of the site. Currently..25Rem,30Rem, 32Rem, 35Rem, 257Roberts, 358Win, 338Fed, 357 Herrett, 30 Herrett, 401 Winchester, 300Sav, 221 Fireball, 260Rem, 222Rem, 250 Savage, 8mm Mauser (AKA 8x57), 25-20WCF

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  11. #11
    Boolit Master
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    IME 222rem cases will expand quite a bit at the base and Many will split upon firing.
    I was able to get Some Hornady Blems from midway.
    I have not tried the 0.224" bullets but I suspect if the rounds will chamber they will function fine.
    Bullet sizers should not really be that difficult to make with a proper reamer.
    "Don't worry what they think. In the end it is not between them and you, it is between you and God."

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  12. #12
    In Remembrance

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    Using 222Rem brass in my mind might work once, and maybe twice. The problem comes from the unique size of the 5.45x39 cases itself. The 222Rem case base diameter is .370ish while the spec for the 5.45x39 case is .3937 with a chamber diameter of .395, so there's more than a bit of wiggle room when using a converted 222Rem case.

    Bullets can be squeezed down using a LEE push through sizer die, they make those in there custom shop and they just got done making them for a group buy. If you ever looked for .221 diameter bullets there's not what I would call a lot of flavors available, but more than a lot in .224 diameter and with the sizer LEE makes your only limited by your imagination as far as possible combinations.
    Click to see what I'm doing and have available, this takes you to the VS (Vendor Sponsor) section of the site. Currently..25Rem,30Rem, 32Rem, 35Rem, 257Roberts, 358Win, 338Fed, 357 Herrett, 30 Herrett, 401 Winchester, 300Sav, 221 Fireball, 260Rem, 222Rem, 250 Savage, 8mm Mauser (AKA 8x57), 25-20WCF

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    http://castboolits.gunloads.com/foru...php?117-Grumpa






  13. #13
    Boolit Master
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    Click image for larger version. 

Name:	5.45X39.jpg 
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    Here is what about 25% of the 5.45X39 cases made from 222Rem look like after their first firing due to sidewall expansion to fit the chamber.

    If you look closely at the base you may be able to see the bulge.
    "Don't worry what they think. In the end it is not between them and you, it is between you and God."

    Je suis Charlie!


    "You won't know until you Actually try it"

    "The impossible just takes longer."

    "Don't let them beat you down with their inexperience."

    "You'll never accomplish what you don't try. " - Moldmaker

  14. #14
    Boolit Master
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    That's a little scary looking DCM, hope nobody got hurt. It's been so long since I started this thread that I had forgotten about it.
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    Now there's no chain.
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  15. #15
    Boolit Master
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    No one was hurt, I thank God for that.
    Did say a few extra thank you prayers when I picked up the brass.
    I Just re-found the cases the other day whilst cleaning up a bit.
    "Don't worry what they think. In the end it is not between them and you, it is between you and God."

    Je suis Charlie!


    "You won't know until you Actually try it"

    "The impossible just takes longer."

    "Don't let them beat you down with their inexperience."

    "You'll never accomplish what you don't try. " - Moldmaker

  16. #16
    Boolit Master RU shooter's Avatar
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    Just a thought out loud but instead of 222 brass what about .223 brass that has already been fired in a more sloppy chambered AR I would assume that those would be bigger in dia than 222 brass fired in a sporting rifle ? Sure there's more work involved in making them from .223 but the dia. would be bigger
    If you find yourself in a fair fight, your tactics suck!

  17. #17
    Boolit Master

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    People on the AK discussion boards did a group buy for 5.45x39 dies recently, made by Lee.

    Hornady has been importing steel primed cases, then loading it in the US. Their blem bullets have been getting sold at Midway.

    It is possible to reload steel cases. Some of the 5.45 Russian cases are primed with .217" Berdan primers, which are available.

  18. #18
    Boolit Mold
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    Has anybody looked at using 220 Russian brass, parent for the PPC cartridges?

  19. #19
    Boolit Man
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    Midway was selling 5.45 bullets a few months ago for a super price $8.00 a hundred I think so I bought a buttload, they were being sold as blems but they were absolutely perfect to me. There is a guy on ebay that sells primer sleeves that allow you to use small pistol primers in the standard 5.45 steel case of course you have to drill out the berdan anvil first. This guy sells the small, medium and large sleeves and the tool to drill out the anvils in all sizes of the berdan cases.
    No ebay links, ever.
    Last edited by Pressman; 04-26-2019 at 02:33 PM. Reason: eBay link

  20. #20
    Boolit Buddy pacomdiver's Avatar
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    i used the berdan drill kit he sells on some x54 brass cases i have and it works as it should. i was gonna try it on some x39 cases to see how feasable it would be as i have a fair amount of m67 cases in a brass bucket, only thing i do differently is, i drill the hole from the inside but dont remove the primer cup, i drill it from the outside with a bit smaller than the primer and then use a rcbs primer pocket swager and swage the pocket and load a regular LR boxer primer. i have test lot cases with 6 loadings on them and they are still going strong

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Abbreviations used in Reloading

BP Bronze Point IMR Improved Military Rifle PTD Pointed
BR Bench Rest M Magnum RN Round Nose
BT Boat Tail PL Power-Lokt SP Soft Point
C Compressed Charge PR Primer SPCL Soft Point "Core-Lokt"
HP Hollow Point PSPCL Pointed Soft Point "Core Lokt" C.O.L. Cartridge Overall Length
PSP Pointed Soft Point Spz Spitzer Point SBT Spitzer Boat Tail
LRN Lead Round Nose LWC Lead Wad Cutter LSWC Lead Semi Wad Cutter
GC Gas Check