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7.62 NATO and .308 Winchester

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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote LE Owner Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: December 05 2009 at 9:56am
Originally posted by Shamu Shamu wrote:

Some rifles are not designed for some loads, even in the (nominally) correct caliber. As an example I offer the Garand (a perfectly good rifle) being loaded with heavy bullets & slow burning powders. Yes you could mess up a Garand, but why would you, just to proove a point? The Garand was designed for a particular function, & it does that well. Can It be messed up? Heck yes, so can you think of a reason why you'd actually do this? I thought not.
 
Quote After all there is no suggestion that the Garand is incapable of digesting 30-06 ammunitioin, because bad 30-06 loads can be developed, so whyn is there this silly discussion on the 7.62mm Enfield conversions being incapable of digesting suitable ammunition as well?
The problem some loads can cause when used with the Garand is not as good an example as the problems caused by heavy loads used with the 1895 Winchester, because the garand bolt and receiver isn't overstressed by those slow powder and heavy bullet combinations, the damage comes from high gas port pressure damaging the Op Rod, though I suppose an early opening of the action might result but with the gas port so close to the muzzle I don't see how.
 
The problem, such as it is, is in determining which 7.62 or .308 loads are suitable to begin with, and how far the design safety margin has been stretched by conversion to a higher pressure cartridge.
 
The winchester 1895 lever action was proof tested by a method accepted by the British authorities and required no reproof after being imported to the UK. Yet when that rifle was subjected to more advanced loadings of the .30/06 cartridge its safety margin proved to be inadequate. The result being excessive wear and increased headspace.
In recent decades reproductions of the Winchester 1895 have been manufactured using the best available modern steels and manufacturing processes, and proofed by modern SAAMI standards, yet from everything I've found published on these rifles the likelyhood that maximum pressure loads will cause the same sort of problems remains, and only the milder factory loads or equivalent are recommended.
 
When the UK NRA Safety Warnings were printed in their journals in recent years they were only repeating safety warnings that had been given before many years earlier. For decades owners of the converted No.4 rifles had taken heed of those warnings and proper 144 gr ammo was apparently readily available, thus no problems to speak of. Unfortunately in recent years a few have made a point of trying to dismiss such warnings as "Urban Legend" or "internet myth".
Also it appears that supplies of quality 7.62 ammo aren't so easy to find at affordable prices, a problem that has affected owners of other 7.62 rifles as well, and led to safety warnings posted on the sites of manufacturers of these rifles.
 
I very seriously doubt that those who urge others to ignore safety warnings are quite so quick to ignore them when it comes to their own rifles.
Their logic, if it can be called that seems to work like this. Say a warning is posted that underinflated tires cause accidents, the vast majority of drivers will either check their tire pressure on a regular basis or before a long trip, especially professional drivers, and at the very least even the least observant will be likely to add air to a tire that looks a bit low. Then someone comes up with the idea that since no accidents involving under inflated tires have been reported lately then the whole thing about under inflated tires causing accidents must be an urban myth, so they urge others to ignore the condition of their tires. If enough people buy their claim then sooner or later a blown tire costs a life. If so then where is our tire pundit? Will he accept full responsibility for loss of life by those who took him at his word?
 
The subject of "internet myth" reminds me.
The supposed withdrawal of the NRA safety warning due to some threat of legal action.
I don't know whether the UK has any concept of "Frivolous Lawsuit", but the basis of any such suit would have to rest on proof that such a published warning had somehow caused harm. ust who would be harmed by a safety warning?
The No.4 rifle was manufactured by government facilities and to some extent by commercial gunmakers working under government contracts.
No No.4 rifle was ever manufactured from the ground up as a 7.62X51 and marketed as such. Any No.4 rifle in that chambering is either a conversion of the .303 rifle or built on a receiver manufactured to be used for a .303 rifle. Enfield can not be harmed by any supposed defamation of the no.4 rifles that might arise due to their product being used in a manner other than the one it was designed and manufactured for.
If on the otherhand a supposed authority were to go out on a limb and garantee that any and all 7.62 NATO regardless of place and time of manufacture, conditions of storage, and intended purpose, or .308 Winchester regardless of bullet weight and power level is suitable for use in any converted no.4 rifle regardless of its age and number of rounds fired, and an accident did result, they'd be up the creek.
 
Lifting the warning because a few shooters wish to try to gain an edge in long range competition , or make use of cheaper surplus ammo ,would be irresponsible.
 
BTW
If the posted warning is no longer on the bulletin board at Bisley that is not a sign that the warning has been rescinded, Posted warnings usually have a specified time limit to allow the public to see them and take heed. also bulletin boards in public places have always been subject to vandalism.
From what I hear the warning is still in place in the offices themselves.
When the next issure of the NRA journal comes out perhaps we'll hear more on the subject.
 
 
PS
Consider these similar situations.
The .38 Special S&W Model 37 Airweight, a type of pistol I once owned.
Unbeknown to myself the Model 37 I owned had the original issue lightweight alloy cylinder.
When using the same ammunition I had used for many years in my Colt officers model target the chambers of the Model 37 began to swell. The loads were not particularly hot, far below the levels of modern +P loads.
Fortunately I recognized that something wasn't right and relegated that snubbie to wad cutters only. Only apparent damage was that now half the chambers could handle the larger diameter .38 S&W cases. Had it been necessary I could probably have use the .380 British revolver cartridge in an emergency.
 
Had I known at the time I would not have parted with that little snubbie, I found out later on that the alloy cylinders had been a subject of a factory recall and most were replaced free of charge by S&W so unaltered originals have some collector value. The pistol with original cylinder weighed near 3 OZ less than the later production examples.
 
Long before +P .38 Special ammo came along, or at least that designation, there was the .38-44 revolver cartridge, dimensionally identical to the standard .38 Special cartridge and manufactured for use with the S&W Outdoorsman .38 revolver, a forerunner of the .357 Magnum.
Any .38 special cartridge would work fine in the Outdoorsman S&W, it was a heavy frame pistol with thick cylinder walls. Use of the .38-44 cartridge in some less robust revolvers chambered for the .38 Sp could damage or destroy the gun, often on the first shot. Others might hold up to a good many rounds but the frame would be compromised by the added stresses.
 
Then take the .32-20 revolvers, and some rifles chambered for that cartridge as well.
The revolvers could digest the original standard velocity lead bullet loads very nicely, but the .32-20 also came in a high velocity jacketed bullet load meant only for rifles, and not for all rifles for that matter. Use of the high velocity loads quickly stretched or broke the top strap of many fine old revolvers, while some not manufactured with its use in mind managed to handle it without problems.
 
Then theres the extra hot 9mm loads meant for use in Submachineguns during WW2.
The Finns found that supplies of 9mm browning ammo for the 1907 Brownings they had in inventory was scarce. They found to their suprise that while the standard velocity 9mm Parabellum could blow the slide off a 1907 the high velocity SMG loads did not overstress the action though muzzle blast was fierce. The trick was that due to the short barrel the slow powder used to give maximum velocity in the 8 to 10 inch barrels of sub guns did not burn completely before the bullet exited the muzzle so pressures did not exceed the limitations of the browning blowback action.
On the other hand should these SMG loads be used in the 8 inch barreled artillery Luger or similar long barreled 9mm pistols the pressures could damage even a high quality locked breech pistol.
 
A similar extra high velocity load was developed for the Berretta and Villar Perosa SMGs. These were in fact chambered for the 9mm Glisenti rather than the 9mm Parabellum, though the two cartridges are to all intents and purposes dimensionally interchangable.
The standard glisenti pistol cartridge has a power level about that of the 9mm Browning, possibly less.
I've fired these italian SMG loads in a Browning P-35, believing them to be 9mm P. The first indication that things were not as they seemed was the truncated cone bullet similar to the original pre WW1 Luger bullets. The next was that despite a good hammer fall the primers were thick and hard enough that it took three strikes to set them off, the primers being intended for the heavy open bolt operation. When these rounds went off the muzzle blast rivaled the .44 magnum and the bullet threw up a shovelful of dirt from the backstop, striking power was about that of the .357 Magnum, and recoil was in proportion.
Those same cartridges could easily be chambered in a blowback Glisenti pocket pistol, no doubt with disasterous results.
The standard 9mm Parabellum has also been known to blow the slide off a Glisenti pistol.
 
 
The point is that simply saying that the .308 and the 7.62X51 are the same cartridge is wrong on several counts, the Standard NATO Ball is not the same "Cartridge" as the M118 Long Range Ball for that matter. The chambers may be nearly or even exactly the same dimensionally, but dimensions do not define the complete cartridge, and external dimensions do not define the cartridge case beyond placing a limit on which chambers it will fit.
 
The .308 winchester "Palma Match" cartridge for example uses a special semi balloon head case to allow a heavy long range match bullet to be used while maintaing a slightly larger effective powder space to avoid excessive pressures. How well this sort of balloon head case would act if fired in an Indian 2A chamber , especially if that chamber was manufactured on the loose end of the spectrum and then subjected to many years of indifferent cleaning practices is impossible to say. Add to that chamber pressures on the high side of the SAAMI specs for the .308, already near 20% higher than the standard operating pressure of Indian 7.62 Ball.
 
At this point there are just far too many variables at work to blithly state that any and all .308 Win is suitable for any and every rifle with a 7.62X51 chamber.
 
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Tony Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: December 05 2009 at 8:45pm
I don't know whether the UK has any concept of "Frivolous Lawsuit"

 To my knowledge we do NOT have "Frivolous Lawsuit" here in the UK. (But that doesn't gtee it doesn't exist I'm NOT a lawyer) My guess is Radway Green may have had words with the NRA because Radway Green manufacture nearly all the Brit ammo and the management may have thought the comments by implication included their current 762 production. material 
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote LE Owner Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: December 06 2009 at 5:45am
Originally posted by Tony Tony wrote:

I don't know whether the UK has any concept of "Frivolous Lawsuit"

 To my knowledge we do NOT have "Frivolous Lawsuit" here in the UK. (But that doesn't gtee it doesn't exist I'm NOT a lawyer) My guess is Radway Green may have had words with the NRA because Radway Green manufacture nearly all the Brit ammo and the management may have thought the comments by implication included their current 762 production. material 
The Safety Warning is in large part based on tests run by Radway Green personel among others and with their full cooperation.
Quote
 

AN INVESTIGATION INTO THE EFFECTS OF TIGHT

THROAT AND BARREL DIMENSIONS ON MAXIMUM

CHAMBER PRESSURES FOR THE 308 WINCHESTER

CARTRIDGE

This investigation carried out by;

THE PRESSURE TRIALS CONSORTIUM

Chairman

Dr. Geoffrey Kolbe,

Border Barrels Ltd., Riccarton Farm, Newcastleton, Roxburghshire, TD9 0SN

Members

Mr. John Bloomfield,

National Rifle Association of Great Britain, Brookwood, Surrey, GU24 0PB

Mr. John Carmichael,

JHC Supplies, Silverthorne House, North Piddle, Worcs, WR7 4PR

Mr. Alan Gidman,

Royal Ordnance, Radway Green, Nr. Crewe, Cheshire, CW2 5PJ

Mr. Roger Hancox,

The Birmingham Gunbarrel Proof House, Banbury Street, Birmingham, B5 5RH

(sorry about the size)
Nothing about the warning disses Radway Green ammunition, which has a sterling reputation, what it does do is to warn that some rifles may not be suited to use some specific types of Radway Green and other ammunition which uses bullets that are in fact the most common size in use today by almost every manufacturer of .308 and 7.62 NATO ammunition.
Personally I figure the supposed threat of legal action is one of those internet rumours we hear so much about, based on hotair, emotional reaction, and a disturbing tendency by a few to over estimate the strength of the LE type actions.
I've noted a similar lack of diligence in choosing suitable ammunition for other types of milsurp rifles, in large part based on misunderstandings about the intention of using rifle caliber cartridges for the various LMGs. The LMG can use the standard Infantry cartridge, and most more modern main battle rifles have a wide enough margin of safety to allow limited use of powerful specialized cartridges intended for the LMG and GPMG, but use of some such ammo can put great stress on a Infantry rifle.
A case in point would be the German Heavy Ball AP rounds used with the MG34. The Germans allowed its use in the 98K but only on a very limited basis, one five round clip of the AP ammo was issued to each soldier and only to be used in an emergency situation, if pinned down by fire from an allied armored car. Use of more than a few such rounds would damage the rifle.
That particular load was removed from inventory around 1943, due to shortages of the Tungsten used to make its core.
I accidentally fired a few rounds of that ammo which can in a mixed box of 7.92 surplus ammo, I thought the rifle had exploded the blast was so intense.
I threw the rest of that box of ammo into a pond, had I known how rare it is I'd have kept it, but never used it in a rifle.
Many believe that no military would load ammo for the rifle caliber machineguns that could damage a rifle, sometimes that has been a consideration but not always, its not a hard and fast rule.
I have run across quotes from British authorities which spoke of some lots of Mk8Z ammunition that was loaded extra hot, by accident more likely that by design, which gave such flattened primers that they looked "painted on", the velocity over 2900 fps and pressure estimated to be 60,000 CUP, far higher than would be prudent for a cartridge to be used in a rifle.
There have been recent warnings of European .303 MG loads that can wreck No.4 rifles, at least those which show any wear, and the warning stated that these could spring the receiver of a no.1 rifle.
I recently was given 60 rounds of FN manufacture .303 ammo, which I had thought to be MkVII or equivalent. I pulled the bullet from one and found it to actually be a long range MG cartridge, with a bullet type I hadn't seen before.
Its a boat tail bullet, but far different from the drawings of the MkVIIIz bullet. The tapered base is very long and the open base looks tiny in comparasion. The taper is far more radical than that of any military or match boat tail bullet I've seen. These had come in small 32 round boxes which probably means they were intended for use with the BREN Gun or other .303 LMG. 
After my experiance with those Mauser MG loads I figure I'll just break these down for components.
 
If sectioning a bullet reveals a lead core I may work up a safe load using these just to see how well they shoot in my no.4, but I won't try these with the no.1.
 
PS
The subject of use of oversized bullets comes up often when discussing handloading for milsurps.
In some cases use of an oversize bullet can restore accuracy if a barrel is worn or as in the case of 7.65 Mausers rechambered to .30/06 the bore is good but was oversized to begin with, .311 bullets have been used to load .30 ammo for these conversions.
The main problem of an oversized bullet in the often generous throat of a common variety milsurp is less due to bullet to bore fit, but rather the fit of the neck of the loaded cartridge in the neck of the chamber.
Also there have been a few experiments using grossly oversized bullets, the results which are usually poorly researched if at all and often misquoted, leading some to believe that oversize bullets don't raise chamber pressure.
 
 
Last but not least, to return to the question of whether or not the .308 Winchester can be considered to be the same as the 7.62 NATO, implying full interchangability, take a look at the following loads which are considered safe for a rifle proofed by SAAMI standards for the .308.
Loads were found at the Hodgdon site.
 
155 GR. SIE HPBT  IMR  IMR 4895  .308"  2.775"  43.5  2664  45,100 PSI  47.5C  2897  58,200 PSI 
  
 
155 GR. SIE HPBT  IMR  IMR 3031  .308"  2.775"  39.5  2594  43,400 PSI  43.2C  2832  58,500 PSI 
 
168 GR. SIE HPBT  IMR  IMR 8208 XBR  .308"  2.800"  39.0  2493  49,000 PSI  43.3  2707  61,500 PSI 
 
 
 
 
175 GR. SIE HPBT  IMR  IMR 3031  .308"  2.800"  38.0  2427  42,000 PSI  41.3  2653  59,100 PSI 
 
 
190 GR. HDY BTSP  IMR  IMR 4064  .308"  2.740"  39.4  2365  47,800 PSI  43.7C  2569  59,100 PSI 
190 GR. HDY BTSP  IMR  IMR 8208 XBR  .308"  2.740"  36.0  2303  51,700 PSI  40.0  2459  59,800 PSI 
 
 
{I do not recommend any of those maximum pressure loads for any converted WW era rifle, and would hesitate to use them in any but the best quality .308 rifle in excellent condition.}
Loads of the maximum pressure range of the above are commonly used for long range match competition
The lowest pressure starting load of the last one on this short list exceeds the operating pressure of NATO Ball only slightly and is within that rounds max deviation limit, but the maximum pressure load using same powder and projectile exceeds the maximum deviation pressure of M80 Ball by close to 7,000 PSI.
 
Earlier NRA Warnings on use of converted No.4 rifles required that these rifles be reproofed to a standard of 20 Long tons by the base pressure method, this being one long ton higher than its original standard of 19 LT and 1.5 LT higher than the earlier standard for .303 chambered Enfields.
That warning does not seem to have taken into account the greatly increased pressure ranges of long range match and heavy bullet hunting loads of the commercial .308 Winchester cartridge.
 
Pressure figures for both US Military Ball and most Winchester brand .308 are often much lower than those posted above, this is mainly due to the use of heavily moderated Double Base propellants that has the quality of acheiving good velocity with the lighter bullets at a significantly lower pressure than some other commonly used propellants. Unfortunately when bullet weights go above 150 grains those same double base propellants begin to lose that low pressure edge.
Australia , Pakistan, and some other users of the NATO cartridge have switched to Single base powders only for rifle caliber ammunition. Literature on British 7.62 production is unclear as to whether double base powders are used for the 7.62 in recent years, but state that a "Neonite" single base propellant was used during earlier production.
 
I've found nothing which indicates that bullets of heavier than 175 grains have ever been used for 7.62 NATO ammunition intended for use in combat or sniper rifles.
The tendency in recent years is to use only 150-125 gr bullets for 7.62 combat rifles, other than the occasional use of matchgrade ammunition with the modified M-14 rifles used by designated marksmen.
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Shamu Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: December 07 2009 at 12:52am
"The problem, such as it is, is in determining which 7.62 or .308 loads are suitable to begin with, and how far the design safety margin has been stretched by conversion to a higher pressure cartridge."
I assume you're thinking of the conversion from .303 British to 7.62mm here?
As we both know there is not a significant pressure difference between the 7.62mm NATO spec round & the .308 Winchester commercial round!
There IS a difference in how different regulatory bodies measure the pressure, but not the pressure itself.
 
However, I think you're missing the point of my post entirely.
 
It's not a question of HOW you could, in detail make a deliberately unsuitable load to intentionally belabor a point, it's the fact that it is possible, if you extend the parameters far enough, to damage a firearm even if using what is nominally the "right" cartridge for that firearm.
 
Let me clarify a couple of other points you bring up, again, adding to what I said to show the remark in a distorted & poor light.
 
I do not & will not suggest ignoring well researched & valid safey rules. To imply that I might is foolish at best, dishonest at worst.
 
To specifically associate British, .303 chambered rifles with Indian 7.62mm rifles is a somewhat unfair comparison.
The Indian rifles had far more than a barrel swap doe to them when they were being converted (upgraded?) to 7.62mm ammunition. The ammunition they were being upgraded to was 7.62mm, but NOT 7.62mm NATO! Lets not forget that minor hole in the apples to apples argument you present.
 
I repeat, with added emphasis, where it will help clarify.
 
There is no functional difference between 7.62mm NATO ammunition & .308 Winchester commercial ammunition. This specifically exempts certain "variations" on both 7.62mm & .308 Winchester ammunition, such as specialty loads developed after the 7.62mm design was finalized. (I'm thinking specifically of "Managed Recoil" & Light Magnum" type loads here).  It further assumes the firearm in which the ammunition is to be fired is in good mechanical condition & designed to fire that ammunition as issued.
 
I do NOT suggest using non NATO spec 7.62mm ammunition in anything, because it's not made to spec & some of the loads created in the 3rd world are unsafe in anything, regardless of chambering & condition. I'm specifically thinking of some lots of Israieli made TZ headstamped ammo, some years of Venezualian ammo, & lots of Indian & Pakistani ammo made after the late 70's when quality control was abandoned.
This is bad ammo, not ammo of a technically differing caliber & to use such examples as typical of all ammo is biasing results in the extream.
 
Likewise quoting home converted rifles that have not gone thru the entire conversion process. The Indian made 7.62mm Enfields were re worked in many ways in addition to swapping the barrel & bolt head/extractor. Even then the quality of those rifles is suspect as they were built under the same quality standards as the ammo previously discussed which no-one in thier right mind will touch.
 
In short I still believe that using one specific example of a match that doersn't match, & jumping off from that into the broad stament that the calibers are not interchangable is in error.
 
 
Would I use full house 7.62 loads in a #1 Enfield converted to 7.62 from .303? Heck no! (But I wouldnt use the same rifle in .308 Winchester either.)Star
 
 
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote LE Owner Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: December 07 2009 at 4:13am
Originally posted by Shamu Shamu wrote:

"The problem, such as it is, is in determining which 7.62 or .308 loads are suitable to begin with, and how far the design safety margin has been stretched by conversion to a higher pressure cartridge."
I assume you're thinking of the conversion from .303 British to 7.62mm here?
Those are the rifles subject to the UK NRA Safety Warning, which is the main thrust of my posts.
I mentioned the 2A more or less in passing.
Quote
As we both know there is not a significant pressure difference between the 7.62mm NATO spec round & the .308 Winchester commercial round!
There IS a difference in how different regulatory bodies measure the pressure, but not the pressure itself.
Theres a very significant difference between pressures at each end of the bullet weight and velocity spectrum for both cartridges.
The difference comes in when you get into pressure ranges of the long range match and special ball cartridges compared to the standardized NATO Infantry Ball Cartridges. This is where the NRA Warning became necessary.
A rifle action considered suitable for extended use of cartridges generating 50,000 PSI may not hold up nearly as well if subjected to the sort of Long Range Match loads that are commonly used by other more robust action types.
 
Quote
 
However, I think you're missing the point of my post entirely.
 
It's not a question of HOW you could, in detail make a deliberately unsuitable load to intentionally belabor a point, it's the fact that it is possible, if you extend the parameters far enough, to damage a firearm even if using what is nominally the "right" cartridge for that firearm.
 
Actually we are on the same page here, if you'd noticed I earlier said that as long as you take care in chosing suitable ammo theres no problem.
 
Quote
 
Let me clarify a couple of other points you bring up, again, adding to what I said to show the remark in a distorted & poor light.
 
I do not & will not suggest ignoring well researched & valid safey rules. To imply that I might is foolish at best, dishonest at worst.
Actually I have a tendency to not limit a post only to a direct reply to someone I quoted earlier in the post.
I'm not sure where my words might appear directed at yourself since for the most part we seem to be in agreement.
 
Quote
 
To specifically associate British, .303 chambered rifles with Indian 7.62mm rifles is a somewhat unfair comparison.
The Indian rifles had far more than a barrel swap doe to them when they were being converted (upgraded?) to 7.62mm ammunition. The ammunition they were being upgraded to was 7.62mm, but NOT 7.62mm NATO! Lets not forget that minor hole in the apples to apples argument you present.
I think I already pointed out that India was not a member of NATO, and that while their 7.62 Ball is loaded to the same standard as other standardized infantry ball its not because of any agreement that might bind other NATO users.
The Japanese also manufactured 7.62 rifles and the 7.61X51 ammo they manufactured for those rifles is in an entirely different bullet weight and velocity class. Their ammo used a 125 gr bullet at a reduced velocity and pressure. The idea being to allow the fairly heavy main battle rifle in use at the time to be used in the manner of a reduced recoil squad auto if need be, smaller statured troops and women soldiers could then control the rifle better in burst fire from a bipod or in walking fire like the BAR they'd learned to respect.
 
Quote
 
I repeat, with added emphasis, where it will help clarify.
 
There is no functional difference between 7.62mm NATO ammunition & .308 Winchester commercial ammunition. This specifically exempts certain "variations" on both 7.62mm & .308 Winchester ammunition, such as specialty loads developed after the 7.62mm design was finalized. (I'm thinking specifically of "Managed Recoil" & Light Magnum" type loads here).  It further assumes the firearm in which the ammunition is to be fired is in good mechanical condition & designed to fire that ammunition as issued.
 
I do NOT suggest using non NATO spec 7.62mm ammunition in anything, because it's not made to spec & some of the loads created in the 3rd world are unsafe in anything, regardless of chambering & condition. I'm specifically thinking of some lots of Israieli made TZ headstamped ammo, some years of Venezualian ammo, & lots of Indian & Pakistani ammo made after the late 70's when quality control was abandoned.
This is bad ammo, not ammo of a technically differing caliber & to use such examples as typical of all ammo is biasing results in the extream.
 
I've been addressing the NRA Warning and objections to it, most of my posts have had nothing at all to do with your own earlier comments on the subject.
Perhaps I should have made that more clear.
The controversy over the converted No.4 rifles arose due to the dwindling supplies of British surplus 7.62 ammo of the type Radway Green had developed during the time frame when the L42 and similar converted No.4 rifles first appeared.
The 155 gr Radway Green ammo had proven problematic when used with converted No.4 rifles when first used, accuracy was not up to standards due to harmonics of the LE receiver and attendent bedding problems.
The ammunition used at NRA UK sanctioned matches is often restricted to the ammo they obtain and sell to the shooters.
From information gleaned from UK shooters comments some of this ammo differs in some respects from the ammo they'd used before.
The NRA felt it was necessary to warn against use of those ammunition types if they did not suit the chambering a bore sizes of those rifles which they say were optimized for the earlier slightly smaller dia bullets.
 
Quote
Likewise quoting home converted rifles that have not gone thru the entire conversion process. The Indian made 7.62mm Enfields were re worked in many ways in addition to swapping the barrel & bolt head/extractor. Even then the quality of those rifles is suspect as they were built under the same quality standards as the ammo previously discussed which no-one in thier right mind will touch.
I don't remember mentioning home converted rifles
 The majority of the conversions were done either by government facilities or by qualified gunsmiths and reproofed either in Britian or Australia.
 
Quote
 
In short I still believe that using one specific example of a match that doersn't match, & jumping off from that into the broad stament that the calibers are not interchangable is in error.
 
 
Would I use full house 7.62 loads in a #1 Enfield converted to 7.62 from .303? Heck no! (But I wouldnt use the same rifle in .308 Winchester either.)Star
 
 
Depends on what you consider "interchangable". NATO for example has a specific set of requirements for the NATO Ball cartridge with codes in the headstamp to designate which lots of ammunition are in fact "interchangable" by NATO standards, few if any commercial .308 cartridges can meet those specific requirements.
A major reason for the standardized ball specification was the conversion of WW2 era and earlier bolt action rifles to use the 7.62X51 cartridge.
While most such rifles had been originally chambered for cartridges that met or exceeded the chamber pressures of the 7.62 NATO some had used ammunition of significantly lower pressures, so chamber pressures of the standard ball were limited to the 48,000 CUP-50,000 PSI range.
As near as I can tell the only limitation on commercial .308 chamber pressures is the SAAMI Maximum pressure of 62,000 PSI.
Passing a proof test does not garantee how well a rifle will hold up to extended use of maximum pressure rounds. All the low number Springfield 1903 rifles were either proofed or reproofed at 75,000 CUP but those which had suffered from overheated forging continued to fail as the years went by and repeated shock of thousands of rounds fired took their toll.
All the converted Spanish Mausers including those with 1893-95 actions were reproofed, the action itself has sufficient strength for the standardized ball but there have been incidents when ammunition generating over 60,000 PSI got mixed in with imported Spanish ammo. The 93-95 actions did not have sufficient margin of safety to handle those occasional excessive pressures, they might have when new but some had suffered metal fatigue.
 
I think we both agree that so long as one takes the time to look into the measured chamber pressure of a particular load, determine whether or not the throat has sufficient clearance for the bullet type, and recommendations of regulatory bodies are not ignored, then the majority of .308 loads using bulets of 150 gr or less could be used safely in converted rifles.
But I think we also agree that one must not assume that the dimensional similarity of the .308 to the 7.62X51 would automatically mean that WW2 era bolt action rifles converted for use with the NATO standard ball would be suited to those heavy bullet maximum pressure loads deemed safe for modern sporting or target rifles.
Just as the Gew88 is not suited to the maximum pressure loads of the 7.92X57S cartridges, and the Win 1895 is not suited to post WW1 172 gr loads or the most modern high intensity .30/06 cartridges.
The malfunctions of autoloading rifles when using some .308 or .30/06 commercial loads are a matter of powder burning time rather than maximum pressures. There are US Military Olin Ball powder .30/06 loads intended for use in recoil operated Browning machineguns which will also cause malfunctions with the Garand, not due to pressure but because the Garand gas system was optimized for use with single base propelants which gave a lower gas port pressure. A similar situation to the switch from IMR to Olin ball which caused excessive rate of fire and occasional early unlocking and case separation with the early M16 rifles. The Olin ball actually having a lower pressure at the same velocity.
 
 
Well in short , Is the 308 fully interchangable with the 7.62X51? Answer would have to be no.
Is there a limited range of interchangabilty between the 308 and 7.62? the answer would be yes.
Are all 7.62X51 NATO cartridges interchangable and suited to every rifle chambered for that round? Well since NATO themselves never thought so the answer is a very definite NO.
 
As for the NRA Safety Warning, its exactly that a "Warning" and those who ignore warnings or encourage others to do so based on misreading or failure to understand the published data and extensive scientific testing by those closely associated with the manufacture of the ammunition and rifles don't get my vote.
 
 
PS
I have not been directing my posts at you or any particular individual on this thread. Fact is I haven't paid a whole lot of attention to anything which any particular individual may have said other than such things as the rumoured "legal action" and the difference between malfunction due to gas port pressure compared to over stressing the lock up with excessive pressures.
 
There are a great many action types which operate perfectly for centuries so long as the ammunition used does not inpinge too far on the actions safety margin.
I'd not recommend using 9mm NATO STANAG ball in a WW1 era Luger either, or the hottest available 7X57 loads in the 1902 Reminton Rolling Block rifles chambered for that cartridge.
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after all the above it would seem to me the best choice for those of us with converted 303 to 7.62 x 51 "actions" eg my No4 mk1* with the L42A1 barrel is to buy some good quality 308 brass and reload within the tolerance of the original 303 action.
 
Or am I totally wrong ????
 
Rhodders
 
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Shamu Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: December 07 2009 at 5:12am
Originally posted by rhodders rhodders wrote:

after all the above it would seem to me the best choice for those of us with converted 303 to 7.62 x 51 "actions" eg my No4 mk1* with the L42A1 barrel is to buy some good quality 308 brass and reload within the tolerance of the original 303 action.
 
Or am I totally wrong ????
 
Rhodders
 
I'd say that way you had the best of both worlds.Wink
There's no rule that you HAVE to create "Elmer Keith Commememerative Ubermagnum" loads.
Don't shoot till you see the whites of their thighs. (Unofficial motto of the Royal Air Force)
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Originally posted by rhodders rhodders wrote:

after all the above it would seem to me the best choice for those of us with converted 303 to 7.62 x 51 "actions" eg my No4 mk1* with the L42A1 barrel is to buy some good quality 308 brass and reload within the tolerance of the original 303 action.
 
Or am I totally wrong ????
 
Rhodders
 
 Probably so at least for optimum life of the rifle, though a properly converted and reproofed No.4 should be safe enough if care is taken to use only ammo that meets the original NATO specifications.
I had not heard of the extra tightbores being a part of these conversions till the NRA issued their warning. I had heard of the early production FN FAL rifles having this sort of extra tight bore coupled with Enfield patern rifling to ensure extended useful bore life, a figure of from 30,000 to 50,000 rounds was given for those barrels.
 
I found this on a site that produces barrels for NRA Match use.
Quote
Now that the much-reviled military spec bullets are largely no longer in use, there is only a very limited need for the tighter bore and groove diameters of past years.     The excellent 154 to 155 grain match bullets by Sierra, Lapua, Hornady, Nosler and  BJD work just fine with standard .30 calibre barrel dimensions. Of course these    bullets work very well in tight barrels too but pressures may be higher and bore fouling may increase. Simply put...if you are using match bullets, don't use the tighter barrels. The only application for the tighter spec barrels may be with UK shooters who feel that the Radway Green military issue ammunition groups better out of tighter barrels.
Apparently the earlier 144 grain bullets were only competitively accurate if used with this sort of tight bore. Bullets that gave no pressure problems when used in .308-.3085 bores seem to react less well to those tighter bores, Accuracy may be slightly better but at the cost of increased chamber pressures.
 
I'd given alot of thought to having a .308 barrel turned for a No.4 action with the idea of having a handy No.5 clone that could digest NATO ammo or commercial .308. At the time quality .303 ammo was scarce, with most locally available milsurp .303 badly degraded.
There were a lot of otherwise very nice No.4 rifles around with totally trashed bores, Replacement barrels were limited to the loose two groove take off barrels (often pretty doggy as well) and no one was making .311 barrel blanks.
 
Complete 7.62 conversion kits came on the market, with new barrel and boltheads, some with the proper magazine as well. Looking into these I found that despite the apparent advantages of such a conversion programs to convert large stocks of these rifles had been curtailed. Also despite the successful use of Mausers converted to 7.62 by Israel in combat, not a single third world user of the No.4 rifle had made such a conversion, even if their own Infantry rifles were now in 7.62. Rather than take advantage of cheap or even free NATO ammo for converted No.4 rifles they continued production of the .303 SAA, and used the no.4 for training or issued it and its ammo as a substitute standard, which would complicate logistics.
The Indian 2A rifles seem to have worked out very well but then again there police and other government agencies continue to issue the .303 rifles and the 7.62 rifles aren't seen nearly as often if at all in photos of recent troubles there.
The .303 rifles besides their use by government agencies have also been given on a limited basis to civilians living in areas of high bandit activity.
One would have thought that if the 2A rifle was considered to be as good or better than the .303 rifles they'd have kept the 2A for use by police and government agencies and sold off the .303 rifles rather than the other way around.
 
 
Anyway if in the unlikely event I ever do decide to build a No.4 converted to use .308 or 7.62 NATO I'd  use a new turned .308 dia barrel and be very careful of the ammunition I put through it, and to avoid the possibility of an heir using the rifle with unsuitable ammo I'd have to stamp a plainly worded warning in big letters filled in with bright red paint on the lefthand recever wall and on any visible portion of the barrel. "NOT FOR USE WITH CARTRIDGES GENERATING OVER 50,000 PSI".
 
 
Actually with the variable condition of milsurp ammunitions of all types these days I use only my own handloads in all my rifles. I learned that early on when that German MG load nearly caused a change of underwear. I was using an Persian Mauser Carbine so the blast from the short barrel left after images and ringing in the ears despite my sionics ear plugs.
Loads like those are probably what gave the 8mm conversions of the Carcano a bad rep.
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Originally posted by Shamu Shamu wrote:

Originally posted by rhodders rhodders wrote:

after all the above it would seem to me the best choice for those of us with converted 303 to 7.62 x 51 "actions" eg my No4 mk1* with the L42A1 barrel is to buy some good quality 308 brass and reload within the tolerance of the original 303 action.
 
Or am I totally wrong ????
 
Rhodders
 
I'd say that way you had the best of both worlds.Wink
There's no rule that you HAVE to create "Elmer Keith Commememerative Ubermagnum" loads.
I belive we agree on that. My point being that when a shooter new to the sport looks at the claims of the .308 being exactly the same as the 7.62 NATO and having no further information to go by they could easily believe that any load listed as safe for a .308 rifle would be perfectly safe for a converted WW2 Bolt action.
The No.4 actions weren't the only such conversions, and some of the other conversion which held up fine earlier on have shown themselves to be not so good in the long run.
There are Chilean conversions of 7mm 1895 rifles that used the original barrels with a chamber insert and then rebored and rechambered to 7.62. I recently ran across a site showing one of these barrels sectioned. The solder or brazing, cant tell which, operation to hold the chamber insert in place had succumbed to gas cutting, leaving a visible gap that in effect left the barrel cut halfway through just in front of the throat.
Other conversions of these rifles from 7.65 appear to have used new purpose made .308 dia barrels, these should be adequate for the Standard Ball, since the 7.65 has about the same operating pressures,  but I'd be very leery of using Special Ball or equivalent .308 heavy bullet loads.
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With the disappearance of .303 military ammo the 7.62mm conversions of the #4 rifles are the best of both worlds for the handloader. The existence of plentiful brass would permit the conservative handloader to shoot without a lot of concern for lost brass. The .303 version with the larger chambers using retail commercial brass are expensive to feed due to the short case life.
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Shamu Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: December 13 2009 at 5:31am
"would permit the conservative handloader to shoot without a lot of concern for lost brass"
 
Someday I'll have to show you "Dumb Enfield trick #2"Star
Thats the one where every fired case drops neatly into the palm of the right hand, ready to be slipped in a convenient pocket for "next time".Shocked
Don't shoot till you see the whites of their thighs. (Unofficial motto of the Royal Air Force)
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote bullseye0317 Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: July 15 2010 at 11:33am
Ok what i want too know is what rounds can i shoot in both 7.62 and 308? I am going to get a 2A made in 308... Can i shoot nato? But mainly what rounds and grain limits in both rounds do i have?
    
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NATO should be no problem at all.
I try to keep bullet weights between 125 & 168 grains with commercial or hand loads. Not because of some fictional percieved "weakness", but because the rifling twist won't stabilize 110 or 220 grain bullets.

The thing to remember with this ( & all similar debates) is to think it through instead of just reacting. The factory making the ammunition ensures that at any bullet weight the charge weight & velocity is within a standard.

The only difference I've actually found in any practical terms is the different internal case volume means you need to work up loads for each type separately, usually a 1~ 1 1/2 grain difference for the same velocity & pressure, and a slight difference in the setting up of the dies for re-loading to match the chambers (usually less than 1/4 turn of the die body).
Don't shoot till you see the whites of their thighs. (Unofficial motto of the Royal Air Force)
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Do not shoot .308 Winchester in a rifle chambered for 7.62 NATO. it is NOT the same There is many posts on here showing the dangers. The reciever on the Nato rifle is NOT designed to handle the greater pressures of the Winchester round
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Originally posted by bullseye0317 bullseye0317 wrote:

Ok what i want too know is what rounds can i shoot in both 7.62 and 308? I am going to get a 2A made in 308... Can i shoot nato? But mainly what rounds and grain limits in both rounds do i have?
    
     Thanks
The Indian Ordnance Factory site gives the specifications for their M80 Ball as nearly identical to the US military specs for M80 ball. The average working pressure is 50,000 PSI.
Max Deviation pressure of US M80 ball is 53,000 psi. These pressures are only a few thousand psi higher than SAAMI specs for the .303 British.
 
Pressure levels for specialized rounds like the 7.62 long range ball and long range target .308 ammunition can approach the SAAMI maximum allowable pressures for .308 sporting ammunition, which is 62,000 psi.
 
Before doing any shooting you should have the headspace checked, if the headspace exceeds SAAMI limitations for the .308 cartridge then you'd be going against a basic safety reccomendation by using any .308 ammunition. The headspace limitations are there for good reasons, and commercial sporting ammunition is not required to be constructed to allow for the often oversized military chambers.
Military headspace specifications can run several thousandths looser than commercial SAAMI specs, but military spec cases are constructed with that in mind.
 
US sniper rifles built on commercial Remington bolt actions are built to handle the maximum SAAMI pressures of .308 , and to all intents and purposes these rifles are .308 rifles rather than 7.62 rifles. The actions are among the strongest ever made and the rifles are assembled with great care at considerable expense. The ammunition for use in these rifles is a cut above any infantry ball ammunition, and manufactured to strict tolerances.
 
2A rifles sold off as surplus run the gamit in wormanship and condition, some in nearly new condition and manufactured without any wartime pressure, while others were manufactured as quickly as possible to act as a stop gap weapon, then used and abused and sold off with little in the way of inspection.
 
I have read an email sent out by an arms dealer telling a customer why he would no longer sell 2A rifles. Every 2A his company had testfired developed excessive headspace after firing only a few rounds of a common comercial .308 ammo, and he personally knew of a 2A owner nearly being castrated when his 2A after firing several rounds of commercial .308 ammo blew out at the breech sending the magazine into his crotch at high velocity.
Another importer wrote that he had found that all the 2A rifles he had received had excessive headspace, and that he had luckily obtained a carton of new boltheads which he had fitted to these rifles to correct headspace before he sold any of them.
 
A member of another forum has told of finding that the only .308 ammunition his rifle would digest without deforming cases too badly for economical reloading was the "reduced recoil" Remington .308 cartridges. Those reduced recoil cartridges are loaded to a lower pressure and ballistics are about the same as the .30-30 Winchester.
 
Taking all that into account I would not recommend use of any cartridge that exceeds the 50,000 psi average pressure of M80 ball in a 2A rifle in good condition.
Unless you can find a reliable source of information on the exact pressure level of the ammunition available you can not be sure whether any particular ammunition, either commercial or milsurp, is suited to the milsurp 2A rifle.
 
I've been told by a New Zealand shooter that some modern long range ammunition has been prohibited for use in L42 rifles and other converted No.4 rifles, the Lapua .308 was one such cartridge mentioned.
The British NRA has prohibited use of converted No.4 rifles with their standard long range competition cartridge, which the NRA buys in bulk under contract and sells to competitors, unless the rifles are re-proofed to newer standards. Enfield manufacture rifles such as the Enforcer were built as .308/7.62 rifles using carefully selected actions and proofed to a higher standard, these are considered safe so long as the rifle is in good condition and has not been altered since originally proofed (such as being rebarreled or otherwise altered from its original form).
 
I would expect that the 2A rifle , like the .303 rifles, will obtain its best accuracy and performance by use of handloads taylored to the individual rifle.
If you are a careful handloader you should be able to monitor the pressure range of your ammunition with far more precision than mass produced sporting ammunition, and be more certain of its quality than milsurp 7.62 ammunition.
Dangerously degraded milsurp 7.62 NATO ammunition has become more and more common these days, with a far too high number of rifles of all types being damaged or destroyed.
Best to spend a few more cents per round than to risk damaging a fine rifle trying to save a few bucks.
 
Theres an old saying "only accurate rifles are interesting" . In my opinion using old bargin bin milsurp ammo reduces serious target practice to expensive plinking.  
 
I handload for every centerfire rifle I've owned for any length of time, and gotten far more enjoyment out of shooting than I could have if limited to over the counter milsurp or sporting ammunition.
 
By not pushing the limits you'll extend the accuracy life of your rifle.
By using only ammunition in the pressure range the rifle was intended for while in service that rifle should remain servicable for generations to come.
 
PS
The NRA UK safety warning from their Spring 2010 journal
Quote

SAFETY NOTICE

ENFIELD NO 4 RIFLE CONVERSIONS TO 7.62MM

A safety warning concerning the use of Enfield No 4 Rifle actions converted to 7.62mm

was published in the Summer Journal.

After further consideration of all factors influencing safety of these conversions and

consultation with the Birmingham Proof Master, the following advice must be adhered

to in respect of the use of Enfield No 4 conversions:

• Owners of Enfield No 4 actioned rifles converted to 7.62mm currently

proofed to 19 tons per square inch are strongly advised to have them reproofed

to the current CIP standard (requiring a minimum mean proof

pressure of 5190 bar) which allows the use of CIP approved ammunition

with a Maximum Average Working Pressure (MAWP) of 4150 Bar.

• Conversions retaining their original Enfield barrel or a replacement barrel

as manufactured by RSAF Enfield are safe to use with commercial CIP

approved ammunition, which complies with a MAWP of 4150 bar, loaded

with any weight of bullet, providing they carry a valid proof mark, and

are still in the same condition as when submitted for proof.

• Conversions fitted with any other make of barrel (such as Ferlach, Maddco,

Krieger etc) should be checked by a competent gunsmith to determine the

throat diameter of the chamber/barrel fi tted before further use.

• Conversions where the throat diameter is less than the CIP specification

of 0.311” but not smaller than 0.3085” must not be used with ammunition

which exceeds 3650 Bar MAWP when fired in a SAAMI/CIP pressure

barrel.

• Conversions which have been checked and found to comply with Rule 150

may safely be used with any ammunition supplied by the NRA including

the 155 grain Radway Green Cartridge, 155 grain RUAG Cartridge or other

commercial CIP Approved cartridges loaded with bullets of any weight

provided that the ammunition pressure does not exceed 3650 Bar when

measured in a CIP standard pressure barrel.

• Owners of Enfield No 4 actioned rifles converted to 7.62mm who are

uncertain as to the proof status of the rifle should have it checked by a

competent gunsmith.

• Owners of Enfield No 4 actioned rifles in any calibre are strongly advised

not to use them in wet weather or without removing all traces of oil from

action and chamber prior to shooting.

• Enfield No 4 rifles converted to 7.62mm calibre or any other 7.62mm calibre

rifl es which are fitted with a barrel which has a throat diameter less than

0.3085” must not be used on Bisley Ranges.

• Ammunition loaded with bullets of any weight which are of greater diameter

than the throat diameter of the barrel must not under any circumstances

be used on Bisley Ranges in any rifle or barrel of any manufacture.

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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote DRC Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: July 17 2010 at 7:33pm
I got caught by this NRA warning, but luckily the gun dealer panicked and had the rifle re-proofed to 20T.  I then contacted the NRA and asked if I was welcome with my L42A1(?) and they said yes just bring the proof certificate with you.
 
As for the Lapua .308 ammunition, I was given a few boxes of it when I bought the rifle (Don't get too excited, it was VERY OLD).  Every round I shot (I didn't shoot many), the cases were difficult to extract and everyone showed signs of splitting.  All had the same shaped slit on the side near the base, like a small anchor shape about 3mm long.  I pulled the rest and found the powder to be a solid block and the inside of the case and bullet base to be very corroded.  Anyone want some cheap brass? Big smile
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