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Thread: Opinion Request: Best Milsurp candidate(s) for casting?

  1. #1
    Boolit Master
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    Opinion Request: Best Milsurp candidate(s) for casting?

    Long story short: I might be looking to buy a milsurp next spring. For shooting rather than collecting.

    I've been watching the market a bit. The .303 brit guns seem to be coming down in price as the cheap ammo becomes scarcer. The Nagants have gone up but seem to have stabilized. Both of these take the .311 caliber bullets which are more expensive so (in my mind) good casting candidates. Brass is expensive but both of these calibers are being commercially loaded and have some brass availability. The .303 stuff is a bit cheaper. I've heard that brass lasts a long time for 7.62x54 I don't know if the same can be said for .303. From reading here I've seen that the 6.5x55 is a well loved and versatile caliber but controversial as far as cast goes. And that's about the extent of my knowledge.

    I know some of calibers are really hard to source brass for, and that the golden age of cheap milsurp is over. Since I've got a casting setup, it makes sense to choose a milsurp that lends itself to casting and so I thought I'd get some opinions and resources before I'm seriously shopping. Any resources and opinions are welcome.
    "There are no solutions there are only tradeoffs" ~ Thomas Sowell

  2. #2
    Boolit Master



    curator's Avatar
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    Give some consideration to picking up a Yugoslavian M48 Mauser. The 8X57 cartridge is easy to get/make brass and the .323-.325" bore size is cast-friendly. Most of these rifles never saw service and are nearly new. The rifles are quite accurate as well. I am a big fan of the Lee Enfield in all its varieties and own and shoot several of them. However, my M48 Yugo out shoots them all with cast boolits.

  3. #3
    Boolit Master

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    I have been casting for my 1942 Tula Mosin Nagant with some decent results. I use the Lee .312 -185-1R mold with a gas check over IMR 4227 per the Lyman Cast manual.
    I also would like to find an Enfield,but prices are more than I want to pay at this moment.

  4. #4
    Boolit Master Maven's Avatar
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    PS, In spite of its reputation, the Swedish Mausers do shoot CB's very accurately, but you have to limit velocity and CB weight. Lee Precision, for ex., used to offer a dandy 6 cav. mold which cast a ~135gr. CB that my Swede shot very well. Two other rifle suggestions: (1) a Finnish Nagant, particularly a Sako, Tikka, or Valmet Mod. 28/30 or Mod. 39. (2) a Swiss K-31. Both are excellent CB shooters, but may be somewhat difficult to find.

  5. #5
    My vote is for the 03-A3, because of the usually v-g bores, excellent sights and cheap brass. But they come at about twice the price of Nagants and misc Mausers.

  6. #6
    Boolit Master


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    Tough question to answer. ALL my modest collection of milsurps are pretty 'boolit friendly' but if I were starting over again, I'd probably go looking for an M98 variant in some sort of reasonable condition. Brass for any of the military Mauser calibers is fairly easy to obtain...either purchased commercial or formed from .30-06...and, one with a decent bore, with a bit of load development, will shoot cast every bit as accurately as milsurp ball.

    Bill
    "I'm not often right but I've never been wrong."

    Jimmy Buffett
    "Scarlet Begonias"

  7. #7
    Boolit Master
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    I like Enfields and have shot them a lot . They can be a bit fussy to bed properly and are generally not as accurate as a Mauser. The bore size can be all over the place. I have one with a 2 groove barrel that only does fair with cast, the 5 groove seems to be better. With neck sizing and cast bullet loads the brass holds up fairly well even though chambers can on the large side.

    As stated by the curator the Yugo Mauser is a fine rifle and does very well with cast. The 8X 57 is one fine round for jacketed and cast.

    The Nagants can be a bit rough, sometimes it can be hard to find one with a good bore. All I have tried need the bedding worked on as the barrel was in a bad bind. Although strong enough they are not very refined and have a crude safety.

    On the other hand the Finnish M39 is one of the least fussy cast shooters I have. They have a heavy stable stock and good sights with elevation and windage adjustments. It still has that safety but mine is a range gun so it doesn't lay around loaded.

    Whatever you decide take your time and find a good one, they are out there it just takes some digging. I take a cleaning rod with me and ask to wipe the bore out if there is a question about it. If the dealer refuses walk on, it's your money and you decide where to spend it. I like a good bore and a little higher price for a nice rifle with a good bore is money well spent.

    Dave

  8. #8
    Boolit Master

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    To decide what firearm to get.. You need to decide what you want to do with it. Are you punching paper? Taking deer? Brush gun for hog? Benchrest shooting?

    Different milsurps will be better at some things than others.

    I'd use a Swede for benchrest.

    Any of them will recreationally punch paper.

    Deer? A 8mm mauser variant will give you lots of wiggle room.

    Brush/hog gun? A m38 mosin carbine moves easily in the brush, and the powerful 7.62x54r will take any north American hog if you do your part.

  9. #9
    Boolit Master
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    Fair question soundguy.

    I definitely want to take deer with it. It'll be my first full size rifle. My shotgun can take care of close range, I need something to shoot longer range. With more authority than an intermediate cartridge. We're making the jump to home ownership so my budget got shrunk. Realistically it'll mainly punch paper and fill deer tags.

    I hadn't thought about the 8mm. That does seem to be worth consideration.
    "There are no solutions there are only tradeoffs" ~ Thomas Sowell

  10. #10
    Boolit Master

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    I hate to say this, but if on a budget, you can get a new savage axis in 270 or 30-06, with scope, for what a like new M48a will go for.

  11. #11
    Boolit Master
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    To All,

    About a decade ago, I bought six M48 Mauser rifles "for peanuts" (about 118.oo each), using my C&R license. = Despite the varied conditions externally, that graded from VG to MINT, they all shot VERY WELL with surplus FMJ, factory JSP/JHP & my homebrew GCCB.

    The Yugo Mausers are hard to beat, imo.

    yours, tex

  12. #12
    Boolit Master

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    Yes they are.. I have a few in near mint conditions with perfect bores that shoot like a loser hunting bolt action. However.. They have steadily gone up in $$.. Even Turk mausers are almost never seen under 250$.

  13. #13
    Boolit Master

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    A 1911 Schmidt-Rubin or K31


    We accumulate our opinions at an age when our understanding is at its weakest. Georg C. Lichtenberg

    At what point, then, is the approach of danger to be expected? I answer, If it ever reach us it must spring up amongst us; it cannot come from abroad. If destruction be our lot we must ourselves be its author and finisher. As a nation of freemen we must live through all time, or die by suicide. A. Lincoln

  14. #14
    Boolit Master Texas by God's Avatar
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    You did say milsurp so I'll go with the 8x57 Yugo. I saw a M48 for $300 dollars locally and it hasn't sold in 3 weeks so far. 8x57 will kill any thing big enough to die.

  15. #15
    Boolit Master
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    For hunting and paper I would go with a 8mm something or other with good bore. If your looking for cheep and ultarian I would not rule out a old sporterised mouser. My first mil surp was a gew 98 that was cut down and in a cheesy fajin stock that cracked at the wrist after a summer of cheep surplus turk ammo. Then was a plastic cheep stock. Now it is Franken mouser in military dress carbine with a mix of parts. It's still a tack driver and it's all my personality, it's not worth much buts I'll never part with it

  16. #16
    Boolit Master

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    BEST milsurp for cast?

    .30/40 Krag with its proprietary 311284, of course.

    Well, maybe a Sharps in .45/70?

    Honestly? IMO, none of them are to be excluded from consideration unless an individual rifles bore is trashed beyond all hope.

    Personally, it's the K98k in 7,92x57, but that's just because it was the first rifle I carried deer hunting as a kid.

    As has been said, consider your goals and budget and remember this thread later when your casting for your third or fourth milsurp,,,,,,
    More "This is what happened when I,,,,," and less "What would happen if I,,,,"

    "Control the things you can control, maggot. Let everything else take a flying (leap) at you, and if you must go down, go down with your guns blazing."- The Dark Tower, Steven King


  17. #17
    Boolit Master
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    I am a real fan of the 303 British Enfield. And the ability to cast to the bore can make a huge difference in accuracy. That said the 8x57 mauser with a bore rider bullet profile is a fun to shoot accurate rifle.

    303 brass if neck sized and kept with same rifle can have good case life and it does offer a variety of load possibilities from 160 grain to 200+ grain cast lead. The 8mm brass can be made from 30-06 which can save some money. But neither one is going to burn through brass and both have commercial brass available. A couple hundred cases should last a long time.

    I would personally lean toward a good bore, good condition rifle in military stock and configuration in whichever one you can find a good one for at a good price. I wouldn't turn my nose up at a sport version model either if it wasn't too bubba. You can still find those around for sub $200 prices and pick up a poly stock for between $70 and $175 with scope mount and no name scope. You can also just buy the stock, scope mount, and scope for the Enfield but that gives you a ballpark. What would you pay for a poly stock 30 caliber bolt gun? My guess is at least as much.

    My own preference is for still in military configuration but the poly stock sporter is certainly an option.
    Je suis Charlie
    Scrap.... because all the really pithy and emphatic four letter words were taken and we had to describe this way of getting casting material somehow.
    Feedback page http://castboolits.gunloads.com/show...light=RogerDat I do trade a bit from time to time.

  18. #18
    Boolit Master


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    Quote Originally Posted by Soundguy View Post
    I hate to say this, but if on a budget, you can get a new savage axis in 270 or 30-06, with scope, for what a like new M48a will go for.
    My thoughts as well. A new gun that can easily be scoped. In something like .308. Cheap brass. Great accuracy. A mil-surp neds to be in the $200 range to make sense.
    Don Verna

    NRA Endowment Member

  19. #19
    Boolit Master
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    I squinted, peered and looked down the bores of just about every mil surp rifle you could think of since WWI. Would rather have a truly nice bore without pitting or corrosion. Which most if not all my mil surps have. Strangely enough I usually found the ones with the nicest bore usually are in pretty nice shape on the outside. The one I like the most is a Finn model 27 moisin nagant made in 1935. Got that one in a one for one swap over 30 years ago. Since I have had it, it has never seen a jacketed bullet. I use Lyman's 314299 with 20 grs IMR 4759 in Hansen Cartridge cases which at the time were the only boxer primed cases outside of Norma. Next up is a 1898 Krag that was cut down from a rifle. Nice bore and have yet to slug the barrel for cast boolits. I've probably ticked off a bunch of gun show dealers asking they remove the tie wraps so's I can check the condition of the bore. I carry a few extra tie wraps to replace theirs. Only had a couple refuse so say thanks and move on. Frank

  20. #20
    Boolit Master

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    I was wondering if anyone would mention .45-70. It is a milsurp and easy to cast for. That would get my vote... except for a Trapdoor Springfield. That one never did anything for me.

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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