7.62x51 brass

i have a bit of this brass that i believe was fired in an M-60.  quite a few of these have small dents in the sholder area, can these be reloaded and used in a .308 marked rifle.


  • Hawk CarseHawk Carse Member Posts: 4,289 ✭✭✭
    Smooth dents without cuts or creases will iron right out when you apply 50,000 psi.  The main hassle will be resizing them so they will chamber in a rifle, machine gun chambers are roomy for reliable function when hot and dirty, the Army doesn't reload them anyhow.  
  • navc130navc130 Member Posts: 737 ✭✭✭
    Per the Sierra Reloading Manual 5th Ed., "If military brass is used for reloading, the charges shown should be reduced by one or two grains.  The thicker construction of these cases decreases capacity, making a reduction in charge weight a necessity."  The info posted by Hawk Carse is also very pertinent.  It is possible to crack the sizing die  from military cases being a harder material and overly expanded in a larger chamber.
  • nononsensenononsense Member, Moderator Posts: 10,296 ******
    varian said:
    i have a bit of this brass that i believe was fired in an M-60.  quite a few of these have small dents in the sholder area, can these be reloaded and used in a .308 marked rifle.
    As noted, the dents will smooth out upon firing in the chamber. However, it is important to first try to resize a few pieces to see if this can be accomplished easily and safely.

    Also as noted, M-60 chambers are cut to be more generous in their overall dimensions, headspace being the most deceptive. NATO chambers in machine guns tends to have significantly longer headspace specifications than the civilian version .308 Win. The civilian version .308 Win. limits GO, NO-GO to 0.004" while the military version 7.62x51 can stretch out to as much as 0.015" (field) or nearly 4X the maximum length difference. Chamber diameters are also a little more spacious being about 0.0015" larger in diameter. All of these larger measurements allow for simplified, consistent loading under less than ideal conditions.

    The drawback to using found brass from M-60 chambers is resizing the excessive fired dimensions back to what is considered to be adequate (SAAMI) for use in the civilian .308 Win. chamber. You will find that it takes significantly more effort and some very slippery lube to even attempt such actions. I have, on very rare occasions, resorted to using carbide sizing dies because of this. I no longer care to waste my time using brass fired in military chambers. I admit though that I have never seen, heard of or experienced cracked dies from any resizing exercise, including 7.62x51 back to .308 Win. I have experienced many stuck cases trying to salvage military brass for use in civilian chambers.

    In fact, the one which cost me the most money was competing with an Accuracy International Arctic Warfare rifle with a barrel chambered in .308 Win. Combined with Federal Gold Medal Match ammunition, this rifle consistently allowed 1/4" groups when fired from a solid bench. Needless to say I wanted to shoot this rifle a lot especially in competition! But at a $1.00/shot ('90s) I found this a little limiting without reloading. Long to short, the rifle I bought was marked .308 Win. but came with a 7.62x51 NATO chamber. All of the brass was virtually unusable due to the softer Federal brass and the oversized chamber. So I called AI in Great Britain in an attempt to resolve the issue. I had to ship the entire rifle back to the factory (my dime) in order to confirm what I already knew and wait for a fix which turned into a 6 month wait, blowing one entire competition season. $1,000 in ammunition and $250 for shipping equaled the original cost of the new rifle. I sold it the minute it made it home. 

    So, use safe procedures and watch for signs of trouble. Measure often and don't accept less than the standard specifications called for. Keep a SAAMI print on your bench while resizing. Use a great lube!


  • varianvarian Member Posts: 1,138 ✭✭✭
    thanks all.  i have done a few of these and they seem to work fine.  i dont load max loads so reduced volumn in the bass is not an issue.  but i have recently read about issues with 7.62x51 vs .308 brass and chambers that i didnt fully understand.  with ya'll input on this issue i think i will continue using these with safe and reasonable reloading practices.  so far ive had real good success with hornadys unique case lube., i think its wax based.
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