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Thread: Getting serious with 8x56r

  1. #1
    Boolit Master Gunfreak25's Avatar
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    Getting serious with 8x56r

    I cast for and reload a variety of odd balls. 8x56r is next. With a 332 groove diameter results will be best with cast as even the FMJBT on the market are only .329.

    I've weighed options and it appears the Lee 338 rifle mould will be the best bet. These rifles have huge throats and will take a .334 so that's what I'm sizing to.

    Any Inherent issues sizing cast down nearly 5 thousandths? I will likely use my Lube sizer

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  2. #2
    Boolit Master

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    Maybe, maybe not. You may move some of the lead into the lube grooves. Just have to do it, shoot 'em, and see how they do.

    The bore measurements on these vary a lot. There are some with .329 bores, and they shoot very well. I've got 5 of them, and they range from .332 to .336. I did get one to shoot just o.k., and kind of got away from the project. Must revisit it someday.........

  3. #3
    Boolit Master
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    If you lube the grooves first before sizing you won't have as much movement. Notice I said not as much movement. It will be a lot less then if you sized them without lube.

    I have a friend that has the carbine with the 19 inch or so barrel. His has a .331 groove. The LEE 338 bullet is just one of the bullets he shoots. That rifle is a shooter! He loads the bullet as fat as the throat is large.

  4. #4
    Boolit Master
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    I cast for 2 M95s, and they both shoot very nicely with the Lee .330 bullet, which casts around 218 grains for me, with an 8 mm gas check, coated with Lee Liquid Alox. You can always beagle it if you need them bigger. I honed my Lee sizer a little so that my bullets size out to about .332, and that seems to work for my guns. Most get shot with a case full (15 grains or so) of Trail Boss, but plenty of other loads have done well, too. Even at lower velocities, these big bullets hammer the gongs at 100 meters. Also, just got a bag of Prvi FMJ bullets, and those also work well in my guns, so I guess my bores aren't huge (haven't slugged them yet.) Honestly, with iron sights at 100 meters max, I wouldn't expect to do any better. They're fun for plinking, and our range only goes to 100m, so good enough for me!

  5. #5
    Boolit Master
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    For what it's worth, here was my experience using cast in a M95 long rifle.

    I used the Lee mold specifically designed for the 8X56R. The .361 number in their drawing below is the ballistic coefficient.
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    Never got around to slugging the bore, just sized the boolits, cast from straight linotype in the Lee 0.329 sizer. Tumble lubed with Lee liquid Alox lube before and after sizing. Used 23.5 gr AA 5744. Average velocity was in the 1630 fps range. Std deviation for four different 5 shot strings was 5.4- 14.7, per 5 shots.
    Below targets are from 50 yds off a bench. The X-ring in the SR-1, 100 yd target is just over 1 1/4" in diameter. I was very pleased with the results. Accuracy was at least as good as military and factory FMJ with dramatically less recoil.
    Click image for larger version. 

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    keyhole
    Last edited by keyhole; 11-27-2017 at 09:26 PM. Reason: clarify target used

  6. #6
    Boolit Master Gunfreak25's Avatar
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    Looks like my rifle Steve, thanks for posting. I'll have to post the results but it could be awhile. Tight this winter.

    I know I'll have to open the seater die up as it only passes a 331 projectile. Lee has some custom over run 8x56r factory crimp dies in stock for crimping.

    I'll have to have buckshot make me a custom ,334 sizer die for my Lube sizer.

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    Last edited by Gunfreak25; 11-27-2017 at 09:51 PM.
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  7. #7
    Boolit Master
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    Gunfreak, NOE also makes a .332 sizer for their push through sizer die. i bought the lee .329 sizer and honed it to .330 and that shoot fine in my rifle, fwiw.

  8. #8
    Boolit Master

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    Quote Originally Posted by dogmower View Post
    Gunfreak, NOE also makes a .332 sizer for their push through sizer die. i bought the lee .329 sizer and honed it to .330 and that shoot fine in my rifle, fwiw.
    And Rick (Buckshot) is out of business. Contact NOE.
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  9. #9
    Boolit Master
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    I have taken Boolits that were WAY oversized for my rifle like 216 gr .325 8mm's and sized them down to .316 for my fat Bore Mosin Nagants.
    I had to size them in steps, and then since most of or all of the lube grooves were gone, I just Powdercoated them

  10. #10
    Boolit Master
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    If it chambers freely, I personally would shoot them as large as fit the throat. I have shot .006" over bore with no issues at all, and very good accuracy.

  11. #11
    Boolit Master Gunfreak25's Avatar
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    I'll make a chamber cast and post the measurements before I start. I agree, I'll run em as big as it will take. A rifled barrel makes one hell of a swaging die.

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  12. #12
    Boolit Master

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    I didn't have any luck with the Lee bullet and was on the verge of trying the Lee .338 bullet and sizing down to .334" with my custom sizer in my Star. At that time NOE finally came out with their copy of the 'Frankenstein" bullet cut specifically for the 8x56r. If you look it is shaped to account for the abrupt throat.

    http://noebulletmolds.com/NV/product...oducts_id=1003

    Worked well cast/checked/lubed but since I was seating them out so far in the case I decided to start coating them with HiTek coating which is easier that having exposed lube on loaded rounds.

    Here is a pic of the rifle with a clip of the loaded rounds



    Here is a close up of the loaded clip in the gun. You can see how far out I load the bullet in the case to get it to the throat.



    Here is a pic of the coated bullet with gascheck next to an as cast bullet and then loaded in the case.


  13. #13
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    ..............Getting serious with one of these things can be a real marriage wrecker The entire family of these rifles are just alike, except they all had different mom's and dad's. I've had 6 of them pass thru my hands. I still have 3 of them. Every one had different bore dimensions, but the lands varied the least. The grooves were mind numbing. I have one that looks brand new and it is all matching:




    The bolt matches also, but that doesn't keep it from having grooves of .334". One I still have that had a worthless barrel I had re-barreled and chambered to 30-40 Krag.




    I can tell you that with a good barrel of sane dimensions there are no flies on the rifle. Well, the trigger still sucks channel water but other then that it's a delightful combination and very simple to accomplish. After having a good barrel chambered and screwed on, all that is required are 2 very simple modifications done to the packet clips. This mod only requires needle nose pliers. I have another that I plan on having re-barreled to 40-65, or the 40-70 Gov't BN configuration, but that will require an (available) custom set of dies. In this instance the case rim (for either chambering) will require a bit of trimming of it's OD.

    I had an 01 FFL for just over 20 years (1982 to 2002). My first M95 Steyr came about as I'd called Century Arms about something or other. The salesman mentioned they had a shipment of the 1895 Steyrs just land and they were wonderous things of beauty. Okay. They were (at that time $39/dealer). In addition they had a container load of crated ammo, but individual packages were available for $1.47. That's 10 rounds and 2 clips. So what the heck? I ordered a rifle (carbine) and a passel of ammo. No one had dies and there was no brass for re-loading except the Berdan primed stuff.



    So I created myself a set of tools to convert them to use the 209 shotshell primer, a seater die and a neck sizer die. In addition a Lee type push through die came about.
    Last edited by Buckshot; 12-04-2017 at 04:32 AM.
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    The 30-40 conversion shown with a round ready to chamber. The pink lines show where one of the 2 mods is required. The right hand photo shows the 4 boolits I've used in the original chambering. 'A' Is a special order mould from either Saeco or RCBS (I forget) for a FNPB dropping at .336" + 205grs and intended for some old scheutzen cartridge. This slug actually shoots very well over rather slow (12-1400 fps) loads using shotgun and pistol powders. 'B' is the Lee slug intended for the .338 caliber. "C" is the RCBS 338 slug, and "D" is the original Oldfeller 'Frankenstein' design that was done by Lee as a group buy. I believe a mould was lent to Dan at Mountain Moulds to copy, and may still be available by him.

    At first I used 8 mm GC's but found them less then optimal. They were too small to fit the GC shank on the 338 slugs and not large enough in OD to do their job. I bought 338 gc's, then annealed them in a length of 1" capped black steel gas pipe in a charcoal fire (drill a small hole in one cap) They worked great. After annealing, run them up through your Lee type side die, or down your Lyman die.



    The Scheutzen slug with and without a GC. Right photo is the 8x56R cases with 209 primers in place. The 45-70 could also be converted to the 8x56 and I made a couple. I have to tell you that today it's definitely NOT worthwhile, even if you have a lathe!



    LEFT: OAL 3.045" and chambered in the M95/31. Loaded in the M95 there is no engraving evident. RIGHT: Oldfeller boolit originally seated to 3.140 OAL. In the M95 engraving marks are nil. Pictured as it appeared after being chambered in the M95/31. Obviously these rifles have throats from hell! If you happen to have one of these ( I don't have any rifle length examples) The M95/31 I have has a groove diameter of .331" and it shoots the Privi Partizan jacketed slugs (.330") fairly well. When you consider that these modern looking 203gr slugs exit the short barrels at 2400 fps the carbines definatly back off the bullet smartly



    Almost forgot. The above is one of the first groups shot with the 30-40 M95 conversion. The load was 28.0 grs of H4198 + Dacron and the Lyman 311284. Fired at 50 yards off the bench. The M95 and M95/31 in the original chambering aren't quite that good

    .................Buckshot
    Last edited by Buckshot; 12-04-2017 at 04:36 AM.
    Father Grand Caster watches over you my brother. Go now and pour yourself a hot one. May the Sacred Silver Stream be with you always

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  15. #15
    Boolit Buddy


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    I use the Lee mold and it works great in my 8X56R and 8X50R but I have not slugged my bore so I guess I got lucky. For jacketed bullets I run .338 through the Lee push through sizing die.

  16. #16
    Boolit Master
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    Quote Originally Posted by Buckshot View Post


    The 30-40 conversion shown with a round ready to chamber. The pink lines show where one of the 2 mods is required. The right hand photo shows the 4 boolits I've used in the original chambering. 'A' Is a special order mould from either Saeco or RCBS (I forget) for a FNPB dropping at .336" + 205grs and intended for some old scheutzen cartridge. This slug actually shoots very well over rather slow (12-1400 fps) loads using shotgun and pistol powders. 'B' is the Lee slug intended for the .338 caliber. "C" is the RCBS 338 slug, and "D" is the original Oldfeller 'Frankenstein' design that was done by Lee as a group buy. I believe a mould was lent to Dan at Mountain Moulds to copy, and may still be available by him.

    At first I used 8 mm GC's but found them less then optimal. They were too small to fit the GC shank on the 338 slugs and not large enough in OD to do their job. I bought 338 gc's, then annealed them in a length of 1" capped black steel gas pipe in a charcoal fire (drill a small hole in one cap) They worked great. After annealing, run them up through your Lee type side die, or down your Lyman die.



    The Scheutzen slug with and without a GC. Right photo is the 8x56R cases with 209 primers in place. The 45-70 could also be converted to the 8x56 and I made a couple. I have to tell you that today it's definitely NOT worthwhile, even if you have a lathe!



    LEFT: OAL 3.045" and chambered in the M95/31. Loaded in the M95 there is no engraving evident. RIGHT: Oldfeller boolit originally seated to 3.140 OAL. In the M95 engraving marks are nil. Pictured as it appeared after being chambered in the M95/31. Obviously these rifles have throats from hell! If you happen to have one of these ( I don't have any rifle length examples) The M95/31 I have has a groove diameter of .331" and it shoots the Privi Partizan jacketed slugs (.330") fairly well. When you consider that these modern looking 203gr slugs exit the short barrels at 2400 fps the carbines definatly back off the bullet smartly



    Almost forgot. The above is one of the first groups shot with the 30-40 M95 conversion. The load was 28.0 grs of H4198 + Dacron and the Lyman 311284. Fired at 50 yards off the bench. The M95 and M95/31 in the original chambering aren't quite that good

    .................Buckshot
    Buckshot certainly is right about it not being worth it to make brass from 45-70 even with a lathe. With the availability of 8x56R brass there is no reason to. My first brass for the cartridge before Grafs started selling it was from Bertram.

  17. #17
    Boolit Buddy
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    Take a look at "keyhole's" posting above.

    Ditto with my results but with a twist. I used the Lee mould and their sizing die. Cast the bullets of linotype, tumble lubed 'em with liquid alox, and gas-checked 'em with Hornady 8mm gas checks. My experience with mil-spec ammo and modern ammo (Hornady and Privi Partizan) has not been pleasant. They're probably accurate but the recoil and noise from that light, short-barreled carbine is something fierce. I tried different powders and settled on 21 grains of SR4759. With that load and the Lee hard-cast bullet that beautiful shootin' iron purred like a contented cat. And accurate? Got excellent results, much like "keyhole".

    The twist? With mil-spec/factory ammo it shot high at 100 yds. With the cast load it shot , HTG, a yard high at 100 yds. Shooting buddies suggested building up the front sight with epoxy and, when the epoxy hardened, to take it to the range and gradually file down the sight until it hit point of impact. Well ... with aged, astigmatic eyes using open sights is frustrating at best. I bot a scope mount from S&K, the kind where one replaces the rear sight with a scope base and mounts a long-eye-relief scope. To the purists out there -- I'm with ya -- this does not permanently alter the as-issued military configuration of the rifle. In a few moments the scope base can be removed, the rear sight reinstalled, and -- presto! -- the rifle is back to its original state. I bot one of those cheek rest/zipper pocketed devices that lace on to the stock and keep the rear sight in a ziplock bag in the pocket. Don't want to lose the rear sight and the critical pin.

    Did it work? YOU BET! Got groups at 100 yds much like "keyhole's" 50 yd groups. Emboldened, I ordered some Privi Partizan 208 FMJBT's (can't bring myself to say the dreaded "j" word). Believe I ordered them from Graf and Sons. With the same powder charge, the groups were better but not all that much better. Going to try out the shootin' iron at our club's next Vintage Military match (F class or sniper category ... or just for the fun of it if there are objections). Good thing is that both the cast and "j" word bullets essentially shoot to the same point of impact so can use the cast for practice and the "j" for the match ... and may just say to "heck" with it and shoot the cast in the match.

    Couple of side notes: (1) SR4759 has been discontinued. Years back I bot a 8lb canister of it and still have a fair amount left. When it runs out I'll go to Accurate 5744 which has given me good results. Have also had good results with light-to-medium loads of Unique. (2) I'm not a hunter but on another forum a shooter says he uses his 1895 Steyr for feral pigs in central Texas. He says the Hornady factory load flattens 300+ lb pigs without so much as a squeal on their part.

    Summation: those 1895 Steyrs are not only beautiful but have great shooting potential as well.
    Last edited by fortrenokid; 12-06-2017 at 11:00 AM.

  18. #18
    Boolit Master Gunfreak25's Avatar
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    Fortrenokid have you slugged your barrel?

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  19. #19
    Boolit Master
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    Quote Originally Posted by fortrenokid View Post
    My experience with mil-spec ammo and modern ammo (Hornady and Privi Partizan) has not been pleasant. They're probably accurate but the recoil and noise from that light, short-barreled carbine is something fierce.

    The twist? With mil-spec/factory ammo it shot high at 100 yds. With the cast load it shot , HTG, a yard high at 100 yds. Shooting buddies suggested building up the front sight with epoxy and, when the epoxy hardened, to take it to the range and gradually file down the sight until it hit point of impact. Well ... with aged, astigmatic eyes using open sights is frustrating at best. I bot a scope mount from S&K, the kind where one replaces the rear sight with a scope base and mounts a long-eye-relief scope.
    ----------------
    just to reinforce fortrenokid's comments...
    I also found the military/factory FMJ unpleasant to shoot. My M95 is the long rifle version and even that kicked very hard. The stock does not have very substantial dimensions and I believe that this heavy recoil contributed to a crack developing in the wrist.

    The S&K scout type scope mounts are a great solution to the aging eye problem. In my younger years to achieve 100 yd elevation zero, I did use epoxy to build up the front sight as fortrenokid describes on a 1896 Swedish Mauser and it worked great until my aging eyes demanded a scope. I went to the S&K scout mount on that rifle and several other military surplus rifles. The mounts are very secure and allow easy return to original configuration.

    I could see how that straight pull action, allowing fast followup shots if necessary, would make a decent pig rifle in the right circumstances.
    Last edited by keyhole; 12-06-2017 at 01:25 PM.

  20. #20
    Boolit Master

    Wayne Smith's Avatar
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    I modified the S&K Nagant mount years ago to fit my carbine - and then looked high and low for a scope that would allow loading the clip! Finally got one.
    Wayne the Shrink

    There is no 'right' that requires me to work for you or you to work 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