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Discussion Starter #1
I've been toying with the idea of sending a Handi to the factory for a 7.62x39 barrel and then sending it to a gunsmith to be rechambered to 7.62x54R.

The 7.62x54R round fires a .311 cal. bullet. The twist rate for the Mosin-Nagant rifles for which those rounds were manufactured has a 1-in-10" twist rate. I hear that the 7.62x39 H&R barrels are .310 cal. and have a 1-in 9.45" twist rate. It seems to me that the 7.62x39 barrel would make the perfect platform for a 7.62x54R rechamber.

Here are the pros of the idea:

(1) There is a mountain of inexpensive 7.62x54R ammo out there--and at least some of it appears to be of quite good quality.

(2) The 7.62x54R appears to be ballistically very similar to the .308 Win. Therefore, it would seem to be an ideal whitetail deer cartridge (IMO) when loaded w/soft-point ammo.

(3) The potential advantage of the 7.62x54R cartridge over the .308 Win. is that the 54R is a rimmed cartridge--and, therefore, MAY eject more reliably from a Handi--especially when comparing surplus ammo to surplus ammo.

(4) A 54R Handi would be something unique--but still practical.

Here are the cons:

(1) Cost. Approx $100 for 7.62x39 barrel. Est. $200 for rechamber and ejector modification. Total $300+/-.

(2) Separation anxiety. I would have to "give up" a Handi Rifle for quite some time. First to send to H&R. Then to send to a custom gunsmith.

(3) Somewhat limited supply of reloading components (bullets for .303 Brit could be used).

(4) Limited supply of factory loaded hunting ammo.

I'm thinking of 54R instead of .303 Brit because (1) there appears to be far more 54R surplus ammo available (2) I already have a Mosin-Nagant chambered for 54R but don't have a rifle chambered for .303 Brit and (3) it appears the 54R has a power advantage over the .303 Brit (but the Brit is still a fine cartridge).

What do you guys think? Does anyone already have a .303 or 54R Handi? How difficult would it be to have a gunsmith fit an ejector for 54R?
 

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Well...having a custom Handi is kinda fun...you get to break into new territory...but..as with any of the Handi's...I'm not so sure about using Mil-Surp ammo...NEF advises against using it...and from I've found for the 308...and others for other calibers...the ammo tends to stick in the chambers more often than not..but...this might be a problem with a new chamber that is well within specs and not sloppy...Having a limited supply of bullets to work with can be a pain..especially if your rifle doesn't like them...The $200 rechambering fee...seems excessive to me...you might want to give Wayne of Oregunsmithing a call and see what he can do for you...http://home.earthlink.net/~oregunsmithing/id13.html...other than that ..If your wanting one for the uniqueness..go for it..but if your just wanting to get the performance of the 308 out of it...then just get a 308...

Mac
 

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If I wanted .308 Win performance but didn't want the risk of having stuck brass, I'd order a .308 barrel with the extractor instead of an ejector. And as Mac has stated, milsurp in a Handi is not a good idea no matter what the caliber as those that tried to shoot 7.62x39 milsurp in theirs found out.

Tim
 

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Well I do know that the Russians have been reloading the 7.62x54R for years. And have heard that they made some crazy wildcat stuff off of it.
I would love to have a Handi chambered in it.
At the same time you should keep in mind that a lot of the Mil. Surplus ammo is loaded very, very hot. Some think that a lot of nations loaded their ammo beyond safe levels. Even though there are tons of this ammo floating around, you have to take into consideration too that most of it is:
1-Corrosive. You would need to do some thorough cleaning afterwards. Barrel, and action.

2-Steel Jacketed/Steel Core ammo=extreme penatration=very
dangerous. And increase your chance of shooting out your barrel faster.

3-Steel cased. In which the Handi's haven't had a good track record of spiting them out of the chamber.
 

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Discussion Starter #5
I hear what you say about Handi's having a reputation for sticking mil-surp ammo. However, might not the 54R be different since it has a rimmed case??

Mac: If you think Wayne would due the rechamber/ejector modification for substantially less than $200 then I might not be able to pass up this project.
 

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Discussion Starter #6
I just sent Wayne an e-mail describing the project and asking for a quote. If he thinks it's doable, and quotes a reasonable price, then I'll probably go ahead with this project. :grin:
 

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He does good work...so let us know what happens :D

Mac
 

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And if it doesn't work out and you find you don't shoot it as much as you thought you would, make sinkers for your catfish pole. :-D



Ian
 

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If you do this shoot sellior and bellot ammo it's cheap and brass cased. It's loaded pretty hot too but should be plenty safe in a handi.
 

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i think its a good idea. Albeit steel cased the Wolf and Barnaul ammo is accurate stuff for my M91-30 and no real difficulty chambering
 

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7.62X54R conversion

It is quite doable from all aspects but one.The people who have gotten 7.62X39 barrels have had problems with fail to fires due to the "hard" military primer.I would hate for you to have all this rechambering done and then it will not fire milsurp rounds.
You would almost be foreced to shoot nothing but reloads.Something to think about.

Stan
 

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Discussion Starter #12
Stan: Your point about hard military primers leading to missifires is a good one. I've been pondering this project this afternoon and that's my one big concern. :?
 

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Our local Big 5 sporting goods store has the MN rifles on sale for $89 ALL the time. That would be a lot easier/cheaper and better in the long run.
 

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I own a few of the M/Ns and found some 180gr. brass case ammo made by prvi partizan in a white box $10 for 20 not bad to shoot and fully reloadable brass case. I hope this helps.
 

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Most surplus is metal cases, but it is nice when you luck up on some decent brass ammo. All my Nagants love the brass a lot better than steel cases. They tend to stick too, and many suspect it comes from laqure build up. But that has been a source of debate.
I think it would be sweet to have a Handi chambered in the "Big Russian"
, though from an economical stand point, it's a lot cheaper to pick up a $50-100 M44, 91/30, or M38 in very good condition.
But I hate having to drill and tap my receivers for a scope, not to mention making up a new low bolt handle.
 

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Mounts

My armor;
Have you tried Darryl's scout scope mounts?
I have them on my K31 and M44, easy to install and work fine.
Don
 

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No I sure haven't. I have seen them, but not up close.
I'm not the biggest fan of scout scope mounts, but to be fair and honest, :oops: I have yet to actually put one to the test. I would like to try it before I dis it. I have a few M44 I play with, if I found one local I would consider it. Only problem is I have too many projects going on, with a new 44Mag in the Handi family and a 30-06 UltraComp still playing with. I hope to supply a range report with the goods in a couple of weeks.
 

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It takes a little work but I made my own scout mount out of a steel block and an old weaver mount I had around, the only bad thing is the long eye releve scope for long range. A Handy would be cool in this chamber. If you were having a smith do the chamber take him a hand full of surplus rounds to match up with.
 

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Discussion Starter #19
Well, I've done some more research on this project and here's what I've found out.

(1) It seems like the problems with the mil-surp 7.62x39 ammo in the Handi is that the primers are recessed, due to the potential of some military arms to slam fire. I've inspected some Russia 54R ammo I have and the primers are flush.

(2) It appears that the 7.62x39 barrels are being produced with an extractor, not an ejector. Although in concept I would prefer an ejector, it may be that an extractor would be better for unloading sticky mil-surp cases.

Thus, this project remains in the realm of the possible!! :grin:
 

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I also think part of the problem with surplus ammo being boxer primed if the firing pin is not long enough it don't drive the charge into the anvil and set off the charge. This is cured by setting the pin out a little farther on surplus rifles, not able to be done on a Handy.
 
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