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Old July 29, 2001, 16:37   #1
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Bolt gun:finicky about surplus ammo?

I have a Savage 10FP in .308 and am having a real bitch of a time finding surplus ammo it will cooperate with. It's great with factory ammo, but at $8-15/box I sure can't shoot very often. And I don't reload yet. So I turn to surplus.

About a year ago I bought some Hirtenberger *79* in 200rd packs that was decent, shot about 2MOA not counting the flyers but it never stuck in the chamber.. anyway, I used it up, and haven't seen any of it around lately or I'd buy more.

Then I read alot of positive comments about Charter Industries Singaporean on the various shooting discussion boards, bought a couple boxes, and got flattened primers and a jammed bolt almost every time. Out of curiousity, I pulled a couple bullets to weigh the powder, etc. - and in 2 cartridges from the same box, one had a stick powder and the next had ball. Great. Friend's SAIGA-308 ate it fine, but it eats anything.

OK, next try, bought a can of Radway Green 84.. about 1.5MOA, but dirty and low powered.. and if I shot more than about 1 shot / 2 minutes, the bolt would stick as the gun heated up. Decided I could do better than this stuff..

So next, I read alot of good stuff about South African, "my 700PSS shoots 1MOA with it" "great clean ammo" bla bla bla.. so I buy a case of it. First pack was 83 production, and stuck so badly that the extractor ripped the rim off and I had to push out the case with a cleaning rod. Primers weren't flat, but the neck now looked slightly like a D and not an O. The range master said that meant there were necksizing problems. Opened the next pack, this stuff is headstamped 85, can't be as bad as the 83 stuff anyway, so I shoot some of it, flattened primers, sticky bolt, rip another rim off.. decide it's a good time to head home.

So what's going on?

Is all surplus really this bad in commercial chambers and the people posting their successes are the exception?

Do I have a too-tight chamber that's screwing me?

Am I just unlucky and ending up with the crappiest ammo out there?

Any wisdom appreciated ...

[ August 10, 2001: Message edited by: EMDII ]
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Old July 29, 2001, 18:11   #2
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It may be because .308 and 7.62 military surplus do have subtle differences and your rifle was probably made to fire factory ammo and not military surplus which has different specs.

There have been a lot of discussions in this forum about the differences between Surplus 7.62 and Factory .308 and I suggest searching for these and reading them as I am sure they will shed some light on the problem.

Personally I never shoot anything but factory .308 from my Remington 700 Bolt Gun (Federal Gold Match 175gr to be exact). Expensive but it works wonderfully and is highly accurate. You might check as he sometimes has great specials on 500 round cases of the .308 Federal Match ammo and others.
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Old July 29, 2001, 19:32   #3
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I would have to say that the chamber is probably a little tighter in tolerance as far as diameter goes,I would bet that you could polish it with very fine wet dry paper and open up the diameter just a bit and it would help quite a bit,although this is just mt opinion.
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Old July 29, 2001, 21:15   #4
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If the round chambers easily and then sticks after it's been fired you have pressure problems my friend.

You "could" have a "tight" barrel, meaning the bore is smaller than the military rifles the ammo you're trying to use was developed for. I can't say for sure. I do know that some barrels develop more pressure than others. I have a Rem. 700 in .270 that I had to back off 4 grains on my powder charge when I took the factory barrel off and installed a Shilen barrel on it. I guess the Shilen "sealed" better and/or had a tighter bore.

At this point I'd back off using surplus and get into reloading. It's a chunk of change to get started but it'll pay for itself over time and it'll really let you wring out the accuracy potential of that rifle.

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Old July 29, 2001, 22:14   #5
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I think what Jen said is probably most of the case. I have the same problem in my older long action 110FP. I talked to Savage and they told me they barrel to 308 not 7.62 specs. Also the way savage sets headspace is unique in that they screw the barrel down on a go gage before locking the collar down giving you pretty much minimum headspace. Most Savages that I have fired have been very accurate with factory or careful handloads and I think this has a lot to do with it. Surplus is actually a crush fit in my chamber. Measuring the shoulder to base dimension before and after chambering shows a couple thou difference.
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Old July 29, 2001, 22:41   #6
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The way Grouchy described it headspace didn't sound like the gremlin. He didn't mention that the cartridges chambered hard, just extracted hard. I personally wouldn't shoot any more surplus ammo in that gun. They're too good for that.

I think it's high time he became a FALoholic

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Old July 30, 2001, 11:59   #7
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I have a Savage 110-FP (long action) in 308, and I have put close to 400 rds of Radway Green surplus with no hangups. I normally would shoot 40 rounds at a time in about 1 - 1.5 hours. As with other civilian gun, accuracy degrades rapidly as the gun heats up. For starter, I would get 1.5-2 MOA, but it would degrade to about 3 MOA after it gets hot. But bolt still works smooth.

Last year I tried some factory hunting load (soft-tip), oh my God !! All 5 rounds touched !! It was sub MOA !! But cannot afford factory load all the time, though.

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Old July 30, 2001, 17:27   #8
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Hey Grouchy,
I also have a Savage 10 fp, and have shot Santa Barbara, and FN with no problems at all.
You might want to have the chamber checked out.
Usally a .308 chamber has no problems with 7.62 since it is built for the higher pressure of the .308.
A 7.62 chamber will have problems with the higher pressure of a .308 and the defference in the specs.
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Old July 30, 2001, 22:47   #9
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Good info, Shoot Factory loads if thats what works best.
I drive a Suburban and cheap unleaded pings like heck. So I buy the good Gas, buy the good stuff...
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Old August 10, 2001, 14:51   #10
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I've had no luck whatsoever shooting various surplus loads through my A-bolt or M700. Both required the use of physical violence to extract the case.
Th' FAL is wifout a doubt th' finess rifle available fo' defendin' yer mobile home or huntin' camp fum them uppity Federales. Yo' kin use it equally fine while jack-lightin' deer or keepin' th' possum sheriff at a comfy distance.
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Old August 10, 2001, 21:41   #11
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I also have a Savage Model 10 FP. I have only used Hirtenberger milsurp in it, no problems. I picked up 2 cases last fall and have also been using it in the M14/S for Service Rifle matches without any problems.

I believe that AIM Surplus still has the Hirtenberger ammo advertised in the Gun List.

I have also used a case of the new production South African, PMP headstamp ammo without any problems and various handloads using military brass 150 grain Winchester and FN FMJ bullets as well as Hornady 168 grain match bullets.


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Old August 19, 2001, 06:41   #12
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I have a Savage 110 as well. THe chamber is very tight and I have trouble with some reloads. Have not tried surplus stuff in it. I stick with reloads and factory ammo in mine.
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Old August 20, 2001, 01:56   #13
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that sounds like putting that damned Czech BXN ammo in my M44 and M39... after shooting it.... i would have to almost hammer the bolt open......
waste 'em
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Old August 25, 2001, 15:43   #14
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I have had the same problem with my remington model 600 trying to shoot Nato ammo through it.I believe it was malaysian stuff. the chamber was extreamly tight and when ejecting a spent case, you had to really pull hard on the bolt and it kinda wanted to tear at the brass.. Factory 308 works fine..I am thinking I will try some Radway and some hirtenburger and see if they behave the same way
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Old August 26, 2001, 17:15   #15
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The Radway Green has worked fine in 2 Remington bolt guns I have shot it in, one a Model 700 BDL Varmint and the other my Model 7 Scout stainless/composite. People seem to report here that it is "milder" than other milsurp but I don't know about that; it seems to produce the same velocity ranges as other NATO-spec stuff, just needs a different gas setting than most.

I can't find the gas setting on the Model 7.
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Old August 26, 2001, 20:07   #16
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I've run Radway Green, Hirtenberger and Canadian surplus 7.62mm Nato through my Remington 700 without any problems at all. It'll shoot just over 1" groups with the Hirt.
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