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.308 vs 7.62x51

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Honkytonk View Drop Down
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    Posted: July 30 2019 at 7:14pm
I have a question for those members that have a Lee Enfields DCRA in 7.62x51. Do you reload? Are there different dies for both rounds? I understand that the NATO round is less powerful than the regular .308. I'm working on a potential deal for a Savage DCRA and would probably want to reload. Would a head space gages for a .308 work to check a DCRA? Sorry for these questions. Again, for me, advise from the wise men is important. Thanks!
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Goosic View Drop Down
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Goosic Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: July 30 2019 at 8:45pm
This is what I know and is also of my own experience and opinion. 
My No4Mk2 with the 2A1 7.62x51 barrel chambers and fires my reloads with no issues.  I use RCBS .308 reloading dies. I full length resize. I use the minimum 40.0grn charge of Norma 202 powder, primed with WLRM primers, and topped with either Sierra 168grn TMK or Hornady 168grn A-MAX projectiles seated to an OAL of 2.800".
The only difference between the .308 and NATO 7.62x51mm is avery small variation in tolerances owing to the military chamber being a tad more generous then that of a commercial sporting rifle,therefore, some commercial rifles will not handle military ammunition. I own two commercial rifles in .308 and my No4Mk2 in 7.62x51mm NATO.  I full length resize so I can use one cartridge for all three rifles. Again,no clambering or firing,and extraction issues at all with the Enfield. I used a .308 field gauge for my preliminary checks and will continue to do so.That rifle should handle reloads without worry.. A perfect duplication of a NATO round is with 37.0grns of IMR 3031,primed with Rem 9 1/2,using a 168grn jacketed BT. It gives you a velocity of 2336 with only 35,000 psi...Hug...
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote A square 10 Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: July 30 2019 at 8:52pm
there are differences , my understanding is that 762 cartridges are thicker and thus load differently than the commercial 308 , but im not loading these and im not one to speak to this technically , there are others here that do and can , 

i shoot both in my M1A it works fine with either , some rifles do not - the no4 conversion i once owned hated commercial ammo , my 2A and 2A1 did not care much , but i never shot any heavy loads in any of them , 
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Goosic View Drop Down
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Goosic Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: July 30 2019 at 10:11pm
Yes,the military cases are thicker walled then commercial cases. I use both Lapua and Lake City military brass. By loading each of the cases to the minimum charge weight of 40.0grns of Norma 202 which in fact,was specifically designed for the. 308,I am staying well under commercial factory ammunition load pressures while keeping to the base minimum of military NATO ammunition pressures. The two cartridges pictured where full length resized with .308 dies and chamber consistently in both my commercial rifles and my converted No4 in 7.62. Again,no loading,firing,or extraction issues with my Enfield.
The baseline answer to you would be that,you have the potential of owning a rifle that was proofed to 19 tons,if not a little more and will handle commercial ammunition or, reloads if one is to stay within reason of charge weights. 
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Honkytonk Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: July 30 2019 at 10:42pm
Good info Goosic, as always. Cleared things up. I haven't completed the deal yet, but would borrow a buddy's .308 headspace gage prior to shooting. He also has some .308 dies so I would load a few light loads as you mention as a starting point. I need another Lee Enfield, especially a non .303 which I don't load for, like a freakin' hole in the head. Well, my wife always says I'm not the sharpest tool in the box! We'll see if the deal goes thru and I'll keep the site posted. Will know this Friday.
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Goosic Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: July 31 2019 at 9:25am
If the deal goes through for you remember this.
The 7.62x51 NATO chamber has a more pronounced area similar to that of our trusted Enfield to allow for dirt and debris while in the field. The commercial rifles have a tighter tolerance. Now,ignore that last statement. 
If you have factory .308 ammunition,use it. It will fireform to that rifles chamber,you can then necksize if you so choose and those cases will be for that rifle only. If you full length resize with the .308 dies, you will never worry if that cartridge is going to fit into the NATO rifles chamber. 
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Goosic Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: July 31 2019 at 7:02pm
Honkytonk. 
This is how minuscule the differences are between a 7.62x51 NATO  and a commercial .308 round. The cartridge on the left was fired out of the 7.62mm Enfield, the cartridge on the right was fired out of my Remington M700 .308. Notice the shoulders on both? The NATO round has a more pronounced and elongated shoulder whereas the .308 round has a shallower shoulder. The fired NATO round is a smidge longer as well,because of the aforementioned chamber area.Both rounds where originally full length resized. Full length resize and use a minimum charge weight and drop those rounds into that 7.62x51 and go to work...
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Honkytonk Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: July 31 2019 at 7:09pm
Check. Full length resize, trim to spec, and use a minimum powder charge. Thanks a bunch, Goosic! I'll know by Friday evening if we make the deal. Being in Canada, the transfer of my restricted handgun may take up to a month to be approved. Meaning, I probably won't have the rifle until September. Gotta love living in a progressive country!
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote britrifles Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: July 31 2019 at 7:21pm
Here is what I know regarding the two CA 7.62 barreled No. 4 rifles and the Canadian issue 7.62 mm ball ammunition (1959, 60 and 62) I own.  

1.  A fired case drops into my .308 Wilson case gage and the case head protrudes just slightly past the end of the gage.

2.  The Canadian DA 7.62 ball ammo drops into the .308 case gage and the case head sits between the min and max “step” on the gage, indicating correct case headspace for a .308. 

3.  Using a case headspace comparator, the difference between an unfired service cartridge case and fired case is 0.004 inches.  The fired case measuring 1.628.

4.  Sample round of disassembled DA 7.62 1962 ball ammo has a 147 gr boat tail hard point bullet, 43.5 gr stick powder resembling IMR 4895.  Primed empty case weighed 188.6 gr.  This is what Canada was shooting in DCRA matches as “issued” ammunition.

5.  Nothing wrong with neck sizing .308/7.62 for a bolt rifle, it will prolong brass life, less time in brass prep.  

I’ve not checked the headspace on either rifle, I don’t have a .308 headspace gage.  But I do know the history of these rifles, who built them and who owned them.  Bolt SN matches the receiver and I’m not worried about the headspace.  Based on the case headspace increase after firing, I’m not concerned.  Would I check the headspace on a rifle I bought with unknown history?  Yes absolutely.  

I believe there are slight differences in .308 SAAMI and 7.62 NATO headspace dimensions, the SAAMI Field being a bit tighter than NATO. 

I do not plan to shoot any commercial .308 ammunition in these rifles.  Like Goosic does, I load to the low end of the .308 load data getting .303 velocities with equivalent weight bullets.  I get excellent accuracy.  I believe that all the complaints of poor accuracy from the No. 4 7.62 conversions had everything to do with the ammunition and nothing to do with the cartridge, mostly to do with bullet quality.  Did higher 7.62 pressures contribute to the problem?  Yes, possibly.  

If someone plans to shoot a 7.62/.308 barreled No. 4, I recommend loading your own ammunition to equivalent .303 velocities.  I happen to use 40.0 gr of Varget in both the .303 and 7.62 using a 174 gr SMK in the .303 and 168 gr SMK in the 7.62.  

 




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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Goosic Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: July 31 2019 at 7:37pm
I am truly dumbfounded by that Honkytonk. My Colt Navy is considered a non-firearm, and it showed up in my mailbox two days later after I paid for it online without filling out any federal documentation. I open carry my 1911A1 all the time and pretty much no one here bats an eyelash. Rifles  pistols and shotguns here in Arizona are bought sold and traded between private parties without any paperwork.  Maybe a bill of sale,sometimes. I hope everything works out to your advantage expeditiously...
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Goosic Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: July 31 2019 at 8:00pm
I actually do not shoot any commercial store bought. 308 ammunition britrifles.  I bought 1000 Lapua cases and 1000 once fired Lake City military brass and have been full length resizing everyone of them with my RCBS .308 die set. I use Sierra 168 grn TMK projectiles for my LC brass and I use Hornady 168grn A-MAX for my Lapua cases. Both cases are primed with WLRM primers and both cases are charged with the minimum 40.0 grn charge weight of NORMA 202 powder. 
The targets that I post on here with all those tight groups are not done with store bought ammo,it is done with my handloads and I pride myself in the knowledge that I am keeping all the chamber pressures to a minimum along with using the minimum required starting charge weight without sacrificing accuracy. I am by far,not the most intelligent person on this planet but,I definitely know what I am doing when it comes to reloading for my equipment. If I am to give you any information regarding  a particular load,rest assured that I will never give you any falsehoods...Thumbs Up...
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Bear43 Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: July 31 2019 at 8:04pm
Wait, wait, wait...... A cap and ball revolver is a restricted handgun? Wow. Just.... wow. Like Goosic said, they are seen as non-firearms here in the US. That is quite something. Last cap and ball I bought was a reproduction 1851 Colt Navy .36 and it was delivered to my mailbox with the only requirement of providing ID to prove I was over 18 years old.
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Goosic Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: July 31 2019 at 8:19pm
Bear. The top non-firearm was purchased at a yard sale in pieces and in a small burlap poke sack. Total cost $1.05.
The bottom non-firearm is the one I got on the mail.
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote britrifles Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: July 31 2019 at 8:29pm
Goosic, I think we both came up with similar approaches independently.  I began reloading for my No. 4 7.62 about 10 years ago.  I did start out shooting with the DA ‘62 ball ammo, but only to get a source of cases to reload.  I’ve also got Lapua cases which I have reloaded.  I have confirmed that the military cases are heavier than the commercial brass, which is reason to reduce the powder charge by at least one  grain.  Magnum primers would be another grain less if the load tables being used are for standard primers.

Interestingly, fired cases from both my 7.62 barreled rifles measure 1.628 inch headspace using the comparator.   One was built at Long Branch, and the other by DCRA Armourer and member of the Canada shooting team Dave Reynolds.   I’ve got a copy of a DCRA news letter he wrote giving instructions on how to rechamber a .303 barrel to 7.62, he used a .308 Win chamber reamer.  Some of his rifles are probably still around. 

I’ve not seen 7.62x51 dies.  I’m using Lee .308 Win dies, the collet neck sizer and keep the brass separated for the two rifles.  I like the collet die as it eliminates the need to lube the case necks.

Accuracy with the Canada service ammunition was not exciting to say the least, 3 to 4 inch 10 shot groups at 100 yds.  Handloads with a 168 match bullet dropped this to 1.5 to 2 inches, sometimes less.

Ive come to realize that with the amount of shooting I do, reduced loads will help reduce wear on the rifle and on me.  As long as accuracy is acceptable to me, the lower the chamber pressure, the better.  

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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote britrifles Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: July 31 2019 at 8:34pm
Wow, I just checked my reloading notes.  The first 7.62 loads for my No. 4 were in August 2002.  17 years ago, not 10 years ago.  Age has a funny way of speeding up the passage of time.
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Goosic Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: July 31 2019 at 8:58pm
 I did exhaustive research when I started shooting the 7.62/.308 round back in 1986. I found that the minimum charge weight for both .303 and .308 using Norma 202 powder was and still is,40.0grns.  Both rounds primed with WLRM primers as well. The fps for the .308 is 2468,the .303 fps is 2454. As an added bonus it was observed that with this particular combination the chamber pressures in the 7.62/.308 were shown to be 44,300C whereas the chamber pressures for the .303 never exceeded 44,800C. This test was done at a now defunct armory we had here in Phoenix that still used the copper crusher testing method. 
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