Cast bullets in the 7.62 NATO

My Mauser is a post WWII Czech P18, one of the 4,500 rifles which BRNO sold to Israel for use in their war of independence.

Israeli Mauser

When Israel adopted the 7.62 NATO around 1958, they converted all of the 8mm Mausers remaining in their inventory to the new cartridge. Mine was rebarreled, refurbished with a new beechwood stock, and prominently stamped "7.62"

You would think that these old clunkers would be just that - but you should think again. The k98 is a suprisingly lively piece, with good ergonomics. It comes on target with alacrity, and once you get used to those open sights, you can nail anything within 100 yards.

The action is famed for it's strength and reliability, and is a joy to maintain. Yes, I'd rather have a Garand if the chips were down, but for sporting use the old Mauser is still king!

Of course I had to develop a cast bullet load for it. Why bother? Well, there is the satisfaction which comes from rolling your own, and mastery of this arcane art also allows almost unlimited barrel life.

The 7.62 X 51 has a rather short neck, so I purchased an Accurate Molds 31-170H, which proved to drop a bullet which is almost ideal in dimensions. I run these through a .309" Lyman 450 sizer (a Lyman #8 top punch fits), and use copper gas checks.

An inexpensive Lee hardness tester will allow you to adjust your alloy for a Brinell hardness value of 14 or so. The 31-170H weighs just over 165 grains at that hardness. Of course, you could just use Lyman #2 alloy.

Held in Lake City military brass with a nice crimp, and loaded over 15.0 grains of SR 4759 for about 1525 fps, this bullet will shoot better than I can hold. It's still supersonic at 100 yards.

Do look into each case with a flashlight before seating the bullet, to make sure that you haven't double charged.

Now, the k98 is a simple, bolt action rifle. If your 7.62 is a service autoloader, reloading for it will require an order of magnitude more attention to detail - please read here first.

With mild cast bullet loads in the k98, you will need to run the sights up to about 700 meters, for point of aim impact at 50 yards. Shooting them is just like using a .22 - run a couple of oiled patches through the bore after each range session, and you're good until next time.

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