There is a cartridge that is taking the shooting world by storm: the 7.62×54R. This rimmed rifle round first saw service in 1891 in the Russian Mosin–Nagant rifle and is still in service through the present making it the longest round still in service and perhaps the only rimmed rifle cartridge still in military use.
Mosin-Nagant rifles may not be seen in the arsenals of many professional military organizations in the 21st century, but the round is still used in the Dragunov Sniper Rifle and the PKM machinegun.
Commonly referred to as “7.62 Russian” the letter “R” in its nomenclature actually refers to the rim at the cartridge base.
It is often compared to the 30-06 Springfield round in the United States for use against game such as deer, bear or wild pig,
The round is still produced as military ammunition and as commercial grade target and hunting ammo. The majority of ammunition found on the surplus market is steel cased, followed by copper washed cases and in very few instances: brass cases. Most of these surplus rounds, if not all of them use the double flash-hole Berdan priming system. Coupled with the non-brass cases, this makes them useless for reloading. Some of this ammunition may be corrosive.
Corrosive ammunition has to do with the types of primers used when manufacturing the ammunition. Typically these were made with hydroscopic compounds similar to salt. When the primer is ignited, these salts cover the inside of the barrel and chamber and will eventually cause rust to appear within the bore, which can lead to pitting and if untreated will harm the accuracy of the rifle.
Chrome lined bores will alleviate much of this problem as will cleaning the rifle’s bore with hot soapy water and carefully oiling it afterwards. As the overwhelming majority of Mosin-Nagant rifles were not manufactured with chrome lined bores; soap and water is the order of the day for corrosive ammunition.
Some shooters may experience problems with steel-cased ammunition in Finnish-made M39 Mosin Nagants with regard to extraction of fired cases. It may be an anomaly to certain rifles, but it has been observed.
Fortunately, the popularity of the 7.62x54R round means that fully reloadable Boxer primed ammunition is available as well. These rounds are often loaded with a soft-point bullet for hunting purposes. Most modern ammunition is loaded with non-corrosive primers, but it is recommended to always check with the manufacturer or importer of the ammunition in question.
Top Five 7.62x54R Rounds for Sale
The following five types of ammunition represent some of the best rounds for value and performance in the majority of rifles chambered in 7.62 x 54R.
Perhaps the best bargain for a modern made 7.62x54R loading is the ammunition produced by Wolf of Russia. They make steel cased non reloadable ammunition as well for a variety of firearms, but their fully reloadable boxer primed, brass cases truly give the shooter more bang for his buck.
Their 150 grain full metal jacket offering has a muzzle velocity of 2,838 feet per second. This seems to be the standard in modern made Mosin Nagant ammunition with a slightly heavier bullet moving several hundred feet per second faster than the original loading.
This next type of ammunition is made in Serbia by Prvi Partizan, one of that country’s major ammunition manufacturers. While only available through a handful of importers and distributors, this brand is making strong headway in the US shooting sports.
This quality ammunition is boxer-primed, non-corrosive and loaded in a brass case. The bullet is a 150 grain soft point boat tail configuration to get the most accuracy and range from the rifle and is loaded for a muzzle velocity of 2,838 feet per second.
Made in the Czech Republic, Sellier & Bellot (S&B) ammunition is known worldwide as a premium choice for hunting and target shooting ammunition.
The firm specializes in manufacturing many European type cartridges and their 7.62 x 54R is some of the best factory ammunition to be found anywhere. It is boxer- primed, non-corrosive and loaded in a brass case that is perfect for reloading.
This particular round uses a heavier 180 grain bullet that leaves the muzzle at an impressive 2,887 feet per second in a jacketed soft point configuration which is suitable for all big game in North America.
This next offering is steel cased ammunition that is not reloadable because it is Berdan primed. The cases are not lacquer coated, but rather plated in Zinc to enable better feeding and extraction. The Zinc plating is where this Russian manufacturer takes the “Silver” from in their brand name.
Ideally this ammunition is meant for hunting with its heavy soft point bullet tipping the scales at 203 grains and leaving the muzzle at 2,330 feet per second. If you are one that likes to buy in bulk then you can get this ammo in both a 120 round package as well as a 240 round package.
Lastly, we look at the traditional military surplus ammunition that is well known to most Mosin-Nagant shooters. This is often the least expensive type of ammunition to find and comes wrapped in paper packets of 20 rounds, in a “Spam can” that requires a can opener to get to the ammunition.
The cases are made of steel and washed in copper. The priming is Berdan and therefore it cannot be reloaded. As most Mosin-Nagant shooters know, this ammunition is corrosive so the rifle must be properly cleaned after a shooting session.
This ammunition is loaded with a 147 grain steel core bullet enveloped in a full metal jacket and has a muzzle velocity of 2,785 feet per second. It is perhaps the closest representative of the rounds for which the Mosin-Nagant was designed to fire.
Whether the shooter needs target ammunition, hunting ammunition or even low-cost plinking ammo; the popularity of the Mosin-Nagant rifle has manufacturers and importers providing quality ammunition for every shooter.