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Thread: Wanted 7.5 x 54 MAS and 8mm Lebel brass

  1. #1

    Wanted 7.5 x 54 MAS and 8mm Lebel brass

    Hi just joined this site so hope this is not to far off subject. I have a couple of projects on the go and am looking for the brass above, also in need of a loading clip for a three round Berthier rifle (a five round would do) so if any of you out there know what I'm talking about and can help please get in touch.
    All the best, Weimar.

  2. #2
    PPU catalogs both of this cartridges as unprimed brass. The Lebel is pricey: $75US /100. The MAS is $57US /100. If you have access to a lathe, you can make the MAS out of 7.62x54R without too much fuss.~Muir

  3. #3
    Hi Muir, Thanks for that, I can source both New but at silly money, didn't know that about 7.62R but bit of a palava holding on to a tapered case, I have found out 6.5 x 55 is supposed to convert easily and is about half the price, I can probably scrounge a couple to try. Think with the Lebel I'll just have to bite the bullet and pay through the nose unless I get really lucky.
    All the best, Weimar.

  4. #4
    SD Regular
    Join Date
    Dec 2008
    East Midlands M1/M69 Junction 21
    Krank has the MAS as for 8mm Lebel I don't know. Problem in France is that all purchases of such in a gun shop require a Permis de Tir.

  5. #5
    With respect to you Muir, this sounds like a direct lift from Donnelly & Donnelly’s Handbook of Cartridge Conversions. I’ve relied on this in the past, but found it to have a number of errors.

    The subject 7.62 Russian is a tapered rimmed case, and the object 7.5 MAS is quite a modern rimless case. Quite advanced for its’ time even.

    Every dimension particularly the diameters differ for each case, the L2 length, shoulder, and head-spacing does too. Given those minor glitches, reducing the P1 head diameter by thinning the case walls on a lathe & then further weakening the case by cutting an extraction groove directly into the expansion case wall sounds like a lunatic idea.

    You need to have both cartridges, and look at them side by side to wonder about this. If only I had a smart phone & dumb skill to post a picture of what I’m looking at this would be easier to convey.

    8mm Lebel is an even more extreme example of the military wedge shape adopted for the 7.62 Russian, and almost comical to look at. It’s quite close to the .348 Win in the base, and supplies of both 8mm Lebel and .348W form the 10.4 x 38R Swiss Vetterli. That’s what I call an easy, and above all a safe conversion as it only involves shortening the case.

    PPU unprimed brass is in stock at Kranks 67/100 (8mm Lebel) and 43.60/100 for 7.5 x 54 MAS with ammo for the MAS at 68.40. Not bad at all, and not that pricy in terms of the project in hand.

    If you’re really just after one or two cases then say so, Weimar. If no-one else volunteers some I’ll ask around the VAA crowd & PM you after the holiday.

    If I'm going to be accused of it then it's just as well I did it.

  6. #6
    I have some FNM commercial 7.5X54mm fired brass somewhere which I can look up if you're interested. FNM was a Portuguese company, probably Portugal's former state ammunition arsenal but in any event now defunct, which produced a range of budget historic military ammo with Boxer prime cases and FMJ bullet loads for collectors / Historic Arms shooters - 7.5X54 and 55mm, 303 British, 8X57 and 6.5X55 Mauser etc. I should also have a little used Lee die set too for this cartridge. With FNM's demise, Serbian Prvi Partizan (PPU), stepped into this niche.

    The 7.5 MAS saw a burst of mild popularity maybe 15 or 20 years ago when a large number of surplus MAS36 French service rifles were imported here, mostly sold by Henry Krank.

  7. #7
    FNM was certainly budget ammo. It’s still coming up at Southams, this month’s bumper batch was in 8x57.

    The only time I’ve had real trouble with commercial ammo was with a single box of FNM 6.5 x 55 139gr FMJ. This was back in 2000, so perhaps a millennium bug of some kind. I’d just bought a brand new Tikka M695, and was all in a lather to give it a whirl.

    On firing the first round the bolt was incredibly hard to lift, and it took some strength to turn it upward and then to extract the cartridge. We looked at the rest of the rounds in the box, but they were all well within overall length. Decided rashly to try another on which the bolt seized up. Had to tap the handle up with a stick gently, but the bolt wouldn’t retract. More taps rearward with the stick and it still wouldn’t budge.

    A firmer more masterful whack with the stick did the trick. The bolt shot back, sheared off the recoil stop, broke the retaining pivot pin, and bolt clattered onto the concrete floor with such force it un-cocked the action & released the whole firing pin. It was all fixed by GMK under warranty but took a couple of months off my life.

    I’ve seen FNM ammo fired without a hitch since in Gustav M96 Swedes with military spec chambers, but it was a disaster in my Tikka. This convinced me that these and their Sako counterparts must be made to minimum tolerances.
    If I'm going to be accused of it then it's just as well I did it.

  8. #8
    FNM got the 6.5X55 version badly wrong - there were more than a few stories around about pressure problems with this version. More common was a failure to obtain proper case obturation in the chamber in the 6.5, sometimes so poor that trapped gas cause large 'gas dents' in the upper case-body. I suspect that the company used the same grade of (fine-grained ball) powder in all its cartridges. Pulling the 6.5X55 showed a light charge compared to that normally used in powders suited to the cartridge with 140gn bullets and the fill-ratio was very low giving far too much airspace in the case. I can't prove the use of a single powder, just make a surmise fom pulling samples in all of the calibres and looking at / weighing charges.

    I never had any problems with or heard of any from the other cartridges in the range.

  9. #9
    It’s maybe a geeky practice but dismantling commercial ammunition is a vital part of learning if only to prove what rubbish some of it is. It looks like we were following the same learning curve with the 6.5 x 55.

    The INDEP FNM 139gr batch (an 140.2 FMJBT of .263”) batch I had only had 33.5 grains of dust-like ballpowder in it which was pin-head fine. There was no load in the books then or now anywhere near that low. Up to that point I was nonplussed but thought it was a batch of soft cases. The fired cases only showed standard expansion at the web end, so this just had to be the wrong recipe for this cartridge.

    BTW, the PPU successor in 140gr FMJ & SP only clocks a mild 2405 – 2430 fps, but is loaded to a much higher volume of 42.0 grains extruded.
    If I'm going to be accused of it then it's just as well I did it.

  10. #10
    SD Regular
    Join Date
    Dec 2008
    East Midlands M1/M69 Junction 21
    With respect to you Muir, this sounds like a direct lift from Donnelly & Donnelly’s Handbook of Cartridge Conversions.
    Yes. And that other useless trio of books by Fred Datig where everything could be, or seemed to be, made form .32-20 cases.

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