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Thread: .303 British to 7.62X54R Russian

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    GuncoHolic Tommo's Avatar
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    Default .303 British to 7.62X54R Russian

    Is it possible to safely rechamber a .303 British barrel to 7.62X54R Russian? Thanks very much in advance for any information.

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    Gunco Regular mrtank's Avatar
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    It has been done Both setting the barrel back and rechambering in an Enfield.
    Some Brens have been modified to 7.62x54r. Not e7.62x54r isn't as long as 303 so if you don't shorten the barrel the bullet has to jump a bit and you get some odd looking brass.

    I ran into a bren 54r thread a while ago with pictures of the brass and I can't seem to find it at this time.

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    GuncoHolic Sprat's Avatar
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    as indicated this has been done on numerous brens rebuilds bullet dia is about the same and the cartridge bases are both rimmed and they small russian fits in the mags

    my only concern has been with these conversations is that it is easier and cheaper to shoot 54r but what happens when it is no longer cheap? 303 brass is much more readily available for reloading ( yes I know Graf sells the 54r brass)

    my thoughts
    sprat
    Sprat and sprat1 are one and the same.

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    Gunco Regular mrtank's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Sprat1 View Post
    as indicated this has been done on numerous brens rebuilds bullet dia is about the same and the cartridge bases are both rimmed and they small russian fits in the mags

    my only concern has been with these conversations is that it is easier and cheaper to shoot 54r but what happens when it is no longer cheap? 303 brass is much more readily available for reloading ( yes I know Graf sells the 54r brass)

    my thoughts
    sprat
    The Bren 7.62x54r builds I have run across are usign a moddified bolt barrel and a ZB39 magazine. Some of the builds are setup with a 303 barrel and bolt and a 7.62x54r barrel and bolt. Some good information in this thread.
    trenches' Bren build - Page 5

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    Gunco Regular allesennogwat's Avatar
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    About 20 years ago there was company that was converting Enfield bolt action rifles to 7.62x54R. Then they started selling tools and instructions to do it yourself. Later somebody figured out that 7.62x54R is a higher pressure cartridge than 303 British and really pushing the safe limits of the Enfield rifle and likely exceeding them. Before CIP switched from copper crusher to transducer pressure they had 7.62x54R at a lower pressure than 8x57 Mauser, which should be correct, and slightly higher than 303 British. When CIP went to transducer pressure measurements they made 7.62x54R have an equal pressure limit to 8x57 Mauser and higher than before. European 8x57 Mauser pressure is about 96 percent of 30-06, which is a lot higher than 303 British. Hodgdon got 7.62x54R load data from ADI in Australia that used the new CIP pressure limits and ended up with some really hot loads. Hotter than they should be. In Polish military pressure testing, 7.62x65R has a slightly higher pressure limit than 7.62x39, but in testing factory military ammunition, the Polish military actually measured slightly lower pressure in 7.62x54R than 7.62x39 ammunition with 7.62x39 ammunition being close to its own pressure limits and7.62x54R measuring lower. A lot people have gotten away with using 7.62x54R in Enfield rifles but the stated pressure limits can be much higher and some old ammunition sometimes seems to have a bit higher than usual pressure.

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    Gunco Member Sharpshooter's Avatar
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    Other than using cheap commie surplus you do not benefit from converting the gun and if it is a nice one you actually devalue it. Nice Enfields are hard to find now days and 303 British is actually is easy and economical to reload. Components are everywhere.
    “Freedom. And Justice. If you have those two, it covers everything. You must stick to those principles and have the courage of your convictions.” - Ian Smith

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    TRX
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    Gunco Irregular TRX's Avatar
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    You can run the 54R reamer in and you get an odd "two-neck" chamber. Of course, given the madly hogged-out chambers some SMLEs have to start with, it's no big thing. There have been a few reports of people having SMLEs that would accept 54R without further reaming, just to show you how things go...

    Bear in mind that steel case ammo is likely to split if you use it in an absurdly mis-shapen chamber. Once you're paying brass case prices, it's more reasonable to buy .303 to start with.

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    Citizen, Patriot, Ranger bellson's Avatar
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    My $0.02:

    Having done this on both No.3 and No. 4 SMLE rifles, I have learned a few lessons.

    1. DO NOT USE A No.3 Rifle for this. They really are marginal IMHO for this purpose. Barrel weight, profile, and size of the receiver ring are not as meaty as they look at first glance. I would only use a No.4 as the donor rifle.

    2. shortening and setting back the barrel is the ONLY safe method, and when performed by a competent 'smith; you end up with a decently accurate rifle when using good ammo. This was the biggest factor....The method and the ammo. Just like any other rifle.

    3. You have to do additional work (minor) to the extractor, and the ejector screw in order to correctly extract and eject the spent cartridge.

    4. While steel case ammo works, you have to have a very smooth chamber in order to smoothly extract and chamber. Brass works a lot better.

    I personally like the conversion. Back when SMLE No.4 rifles could be had for sub $100, it was a great way to really clean up accuracy issues and eroded throat conditions. Now, I'm not sure I would do it any more.

    Regards,
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    Bellson

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    aka: SDK1968 dutigaf's Avatar
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    Talking

    i built a Bren and run it in 303 & 54R.... & 8mm mauser

    works perfectly still after THOUSANDS of rounds.

    its really easy to have this in a DUAL or TRIPLE caliber set up and then the gun is worth a good deal MORE.... not less.

    you get a spare barrel & bolt... there are plenty of these around, have it chambered in 54r. simple as that. you can do it yourself if you have a reamer or Troy at Barrlexchange will do it and the bolt for $75.

    for mine and even Trenches & JoeH's guns we have a different bolt for each caliber fitted to the same carrier and headspaced out.

    you CAN use the 303 mag on the 54R but it doesnt feed well over 10ish rounds... so you go to mg34.com and get you a mag for 8x56R ($20) and it works fine on the 54R.

    depending on your build style and method you can use several settings on the gas regulator. ive got mine tuned to 1 setting for 54R & another for 303 & yet the 3rd for 8mm mauser.

    you hear all these stories on chamber verses rifling and so on...

    the 303 is 303 and it works perfectly.

    the 54R gives you a double neck on the case & isnt good for reloading, but who reloads surplus anyway? it always extracts and runs like a top. the barrel specs are well with in the range for this round...

    the 8mm barrel is exactly that. again it was made that way and there is no issue at all.

    build your gun, take all the correct build steps & then enjoy shooting multi calibers like the rest of us do.

    the hobby is full of people who tell you "you cant". THATS WHY MOST OF US DO!!

    here it is in 303 before the finish coat...


    and here it is in 54R


    only problem i have is not remembering which i shot last, so had to stamp the bottom of the barrels and bolt heads to match.

    its easy to tell them apart after you take the bolt out... but just sitting in the vault sometimes the memory gets foggy of what got shot last.

    sdk
    say what you mean & mean what you say


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