The Steyr SSG 69 P1

OK, so this is not a Danish Rifle however it is European so well worth a mention.

A Steyr SSG 69 P1 complete with a ZFM 6x42Z Scope and Q/R rings numbered to the rifle arrived today and I have to admit I have always been a bit of a fan of these rifles.

Originally designed back in 1969 for the Austrian Army the Scharfschützengewehr 69 (Sniper Rifle 69) was a bit unusual. For starters it had a 6 lug rear locking bolt 18,9mm bolt and a synthetic stock. The hammer forged 1:12 650mm barrel chambered in 7,62×51 NATO was a push fit into the receiver. It featured a rotary type magazine and came as standard with open sights as well as a Kahles 6×42 ‘scope fitted with quick release rings and it was a sensible weight. Possibly most impressive was the accuracy with a claimed 0.5MOA or better with factory ammunition. A claim that has been proven on many occasions.

RHS

This particular SSG 69 P1 dates from February 2002 and is fitted with the factory Swarovski ZFM ‘scope. These days Swarovski own Kahles so it is pretty close to the original. SSG P1Graduated out to 800m the elevation drum is divided into 0,25 Mils clicks with the windage 0,1Mils or 2.5cms/click and 1cms/click at 100m. The reticle is a three post affair with limited range finding capability.

The horizontal centre line is 0,15 Mils thick and 14 Mils wide and the vertical post is 1,5 Mils wide so something to work with. Quite what the elevation cam is calibrated to remains to be seen, my guess is something around 150 grains at 2800fps.  The turrets are quite ‘manly’ to operate with clearly defined clicks.

The bolt stroke is short at around 89,0mm and the 6 lugs give a lift of around 60 degrees. I have read reports of the bolt lugs letting go and the bolt coming back when fired out of battery. All I can say is YEAH RIGHT! My opinion is this is yet another internet myth, I have spent a few minutes testing and I just cannot see how the rifle could be fired out of battery. As for snapping lugs off, well cram enough super fast powder into a case and it will probably lock up, however as to shearing lugs…

The trigger is a good old military type two stage trigger that is adjustable for length of first stage and break from 1 ,1 – 1,8kg / 2,47 – 4,04lb. This rifle is at the upper limit and I see no reason to change this significantly.

Cosmetically this rifle truly is superb and unmarked with the original parkerised finish as it came from the factory and the green synthetic stock, butt spacers and trigger guard in equally perfect condition. All in all a very nice rifle and one I am looking forward to getting down to the range.

Google translate function

Just a minor thing, I have added the Google translate function to Dansk Gevaer so all you need do is choose your preferred language by clicking the drop down menu top right hand side of any page and it is instantly translated to your chosen language.

Hopefully people who need the page translated will spot the button ===========>>>>>

A new barrel for the RPLT42

The RPLT42 that we have is in need of a new barrel, this is not just a matter of the barrel being slightly dark, the barrel although cosmetically perfect externally is beyond hope bore wise, sleeving it is not really an option so all that is left is to source and fit a new barrel. I do know of an original profile RPLT42 barrel in Denmark however it will be fun to profile, chamber and fit one myself so that is what I am going to do.

First job is take some accurate measurements of the existing barrel so it can be duplicated precisely. Then drop the barrel off (I have a feeling this is going to be one of the interesting parts) Source a barrel blank, roughing and finish reamers and some gauges and get to work.

This will be a work in progress so I will update the post as I go along,

Catching up on things

The Dansk Gevær Journal has been quiet for a while, this is not to say we have not been doing things, the reloading consumables side of things is ticking along nicely however there is still the ongoing issue of availability in the UK with some specific items being either non existent or thin on the ground. No matter, I am sure things will get better for UK shooters in 2014.

Anyway, enough of this reloading stuff, this is a Danish Rifle Journal and I have a project that needs looking at 🙂

Reloading for the 8X58RD Part 3

Read back for the previous two articles on my reloading experiments with the 8x58RD.

Last post I was looking at the implications of using 7,62x54R case as an alternative to the 8x58RD. Lunch time I slugged the bore of the rifle (S&L Model 42) and checked the dimension, the bore comes up at 8,15mm/.321″ however the rifling definition is not particularly crisp. One of the issues with military 8x58RD ammunition is it often uses potassium chloride in the construction of the primer. This leaves a minute deposit of the hygroscopic potassium chloride salt in the bore after a cartridge is fired. Being hygroscopic the salts attract and hold moisture which leads to corrosion/rusting unless one pays particular attention to the cleaning of the bore after use. This is why you will sometimes come across a lovely looking Krag or S&L with a bore that has been all but destroyed due to the owner putting a few rounds of milsurp through the rifle and then returning it to the cabinet uncleaned.

It is always sad to see such a rifle.

Back to the reloading experiments. The 54R brass is easily expanded to suit the new bullet and chambers perfectly after a full length size, in fact it chambers unsized and you could probably  load a 54R round in the 58RD, fire it and end up with a perfectly formed 58RD case – not that I would ever advocate such an action! (Wear your safety glasses if you really must try this)

One interesting feature of the sizing die I use is it not only opens the neck to suit the 8mm bullet it also allows you to flare the mouth of the neck slightly if you wish. This gives two benefits, one is it gives an easier lead when seating the bullet which is especially handy with cast bullets as there is less chance of shaving the lead, it also means you can flare the case neck mouth to a size where it aligns itself with the chamber neck which is something reloaders looking for accuracy with cast bullets will require.

Next step is to source some bullets, fire form the cases and shoot the thing in anger.

 

 

 

Reloading for the 8X58RD Part 2

In my last post I looked at the idea of using 54R brass as an alternative to 8x58RD so lets have a closer look at the two cases and consider if this really is a viable option. Below are the drawings for the two cases with the 7,62x54R at the top and the 8x58RD at the bottom, I have red ringed the key dimensions.two

Starting from the head and moving towards the neck lets compare the two.

Dimension (mm)
7.62x54R 8x58RD A-B
Rim diameter 14.48 14.65 0.17
Head to shoulder 39.76 40.90  1.14
Case length 53.72 57.75 4.03
Neck outer diameter 8.53 8.98 0.45
Case base diameter 12.37 12.75 0.38
Case shoulder diameter 11.61 11.95 0.34
Bullet diameter 7.90 8.20 0.30

A closer look at the table shows the rim diameter is smaller on the 54R however not enough to be significant. The head to shoulder is shorter on the 54R so it will fit however the Alpha shoulder angle is very different however again this should not cause issues as only the front of the shoulder will be set back and then only marginally. Luckily the case is rimmed so no worries about building over length to hold the case in the chamber for first firing.

The 54R case finished length is 4,03mm shorter which is a bit of a problem and the cartridge overall length of the 58RD is 4,77mm longer than the 54R – this is an important detail and does mean we will be jumping the bullet quite a bit regardless of if it is cast or jacketed.

What I cannot predict although it can be calculated is the developed length of case after the first firing, it is at times like this it is worth considering fire forming without a bullet, to do this you use a low charge of faster powder, add a filler and then plug the end of the case with something – soap works well for this and it means the associated pressures with firing are drastically reduced, wear your safety/shooting glasses regardless of predicted chamber pressures.

So that is my musings on the use of 7,62x54R brass in the 8x58RD. Looking at the dimensions the case is going to fit quite nicely and should blow out to conform to the chamber without issues. I would suggest using a reasonable make of brass, Lapua springs to mind. Having written this I am tempted to open the 54R brass out to 8,0mm with a mandrel stage followed by passing the case through a full length sizing die and then fireform with a plugged case.

Pictures to follow..

 

 

Reloading for the 8X58RD

Well at long last we have some 8x58RD Dies, they are new, robust and of unknown maker however they are dies and that is a good start as far as I am concerned so the next thing is get some rounds built.

I had planned on taking standard Berdan primed brass and either converting it to boxer or just reloading them as Berdan. The only downside with Berdan primed brass is removing the primers and that is no real hardship as they are easily removed hydraulically or you can always mess around with other techniques if so desired. Hydraulic removal of primers is a wonderful process, find a lump of wood and drill a shallow hole to match the diameter of the cartridge head or rim, now drill a smaller hole to allow the primer to drop through. Now fill the case 3/4 full with water place it in the hole in the wood, find a suitable piston which in this case is a length of brass that fits fairly snugly through the top of the case, insert the piston, hold it firmly (Gloves are good if it is a bit on the short side) now give it a smart rap with something and voila, the primer is pushed out with the hydraulic action, you get a bit wet and the case is ready to be cleaned and sized before priming. You will need the correctly sized primers however that is not a real problem. I much prefer to do this outside on a sunny afternoon and find it quite therapeutic…

The problem is I do not have any fired 8x58RD brass right now so what are the alternatives? Well there is some new Bertram brass available however it has a reputation for splitting even when annealed and it is very expensive. Certainly other cases such as the 45/90 can be necked down however this involves trimming and annealing and again the brass is not cheap. There is a third option and that is to use 7,62x54R brass which is something we have a fair few of here having shot various Russian rifles in the past. Now one of the issues with 54R brass is it is going to come up short once it has been opened up to suit the 8,0mm however it does have a reputation for working fairly successfully and also means as I am reloading I can keep the MV’s down to something sensible.

Now to the choice of bullet, standard jacketed bullets of around 200 grains would be a good start however given that the two rifles have less than perfect bores I am inclined to use cast bullets which means I need to slug the bore first to confirm the best choice of bullet. Slugging is the process of taking an oversize to the bore lead slug or ball and forcing it down the bore, this does sound rather harsh however it is surprisingly easy. Lubricate the bore with some oil, take the slug and tap it down into the bore from the muzzle end and once it is in the bore it will tap down with very little effort, I prefer to use lengths of oak dowel however others will use a single length of suitable round bar, I found this method less easy as the rod will bow during the process if you are not careful plus if you are working with a 30″ barrel you end up having to stand on a chair to start the process. The lengths of oak dowel have worked perfectly many times in the past and I will continue to use them.

Once the slug drops out of the other end it can be measured and used as an indication of the diameter bullet to be used. Of course at this stage it is worth taking a cast of the chamber as well so you have a better idea of what you are working with but I am not going to pursue that avenue in this post as accurising cartridges for cast bullets is a whole subject on it’s own and way beyond this article.

I guess the next job is to decide on what sort of powder load to go for. A serious consideration is the maximum safe pressure for the rifles in question is going to be around 3200 Bar/46,500 PSI – CAUTION!! This applies to the later 8x58RD such as the S&L M.38/M.42 and not to the earlier rolling block One thing I do not want to do is overly stress the rifle so I suspect I will be looking at  a fairly modest load of N140 or similar. Time to do some more research in this area meanwhile I will machine a mandrel, open up some 54R brass and see how it looks.

An update on the shop side of things…

I suppose this is Spam of a fashion so I will keep things brief. Our new Reloading Consumables side of things  is Open. It lists the most asked for Lapua, Berger, Sierra and Forster reloading products plus many other items. We think our consumables prices are very keen.

There is certainly a lot more to add to the site however it is a reasonable start and I would like to think the prices are very keen.

http://danskgevaer.com/oscom/index.php

A foreigner! The M1896/11 Schmidt Rubin

Hmm… should I even be posting this. It is certainly not a Dansk Gevær, not even Scandinavian, so why is it here? Well Christel did a deal on this rifle many months ago however for a variety of reasons it never actually got shipped to us until just a few days ago.

Made in Switzerland, this particular M1896/11 was manufactured in 1910 as part of a run of 6,300 rifles of that year and was upgraded to /11 specification sometime between 1913-20 with improvements including a barrel chambered in 7,5×55 to take advantage of the new GP11 ammunition. In total 127,000 M1896/11’s were built.

So what we have here is a service rifle for the Swiss Army which means there is a very good chance it was never used in anger, in fact given Switzerland’s neutrality it should have had an easy life, the thing is had it?

SR1896_11

 

Only one way to find out, pull it apart!

The woodwork was in suspiciously good condition and closer examination showed a number top rear of the butt that did not match up with the iron work, new wood maybe? I dropped the stock bands off, removed the upper hand guard and interestingly the number stamped on the underside matched the receiver, bolt and barrel which was encouraging. The magazine displays the same number as well so all matching metal so far. Removing the trigger guard/bottom metal revealed a trigger and guard that matched and of even more interest the stock also has the same number as the rest of the rifle stamped inside so it is an all matching rifle in that respect. I have no idea what the different number on the upper side of the stock is for.

General condition, well the bore was already shiny however I set to work with a wipe through with a cleaning product I am testing and whilst that was doing it’s work I had a chance to check the rest of the metal work over. Some minor surface rust was visible on the receiver however this wiped off, the bluing has lightened with time but is still quite fine and the inside although oily soon cleaned up.

The bolt on the M1896/11 is an odd affair as the rifle is a straight pull however it strips very easily without tools and again is in good condition. I stripped and assembled the bolt a few times and found myself getting quite slick at the process however I am not really at the blindfolded stage for this. I will time myself on the process some day 🙂 I do find the operation of the bolt quite clunky and this seems to be down to the bolt release catch which acts as a stop as well, it uses quite a powerful spring so the bolt needs a good yank to open, hardly into Swiss wristwatch territory.

The barrel twist is 1:10.63″ so quite capable of coping with a heavy bullet and GP11 uses a 174 grain bullet. It is well documented that the GP11 bullet design was well studied by the US Army Ordinance during the development of the 30-06 round. On the subject of the barrel I had steadily scrubbed the barrel with ‘Product X’ and the amount of blue showing on the last few patches was steadily diminishing so I passed a couple of water damped patches through and had a chance to marvel at the amount of carbon fouling that came out before it eventually patched clean. I finished with an oiled patch and reassembled the rifle. About the only thing left to do now is shoot it and check the bedding screws, the accuracy can be skewed if the tang screw is incorrectly tightened, the best place to check this is on the range which will be some time in the new year.

So is the Viking pleased with it? She tells me she thinks it is a cracking looking rifle, personally it seems to fall into the SOWR category which she has fallen head over heels in love with. I will stick to my Accuracy International..

UPDATE –  A quick post to the Gunboards forum regarding the second number on the stock received this reply:

…that other serial is the cantonal arsenal inventory number dating from the days it was still a 1896

Wikipedia tells me:

The 26 cantons of Switzerland are the member states of the federal state of Switzerland. Each canton was a fully sovereign state with its own border controls, army and currency from the Treaty of Westphalia (1648) until the establishment of the Swiss federal state in 1848. The most recently created canton is the Canton of Jura, which separated from the Canton of Bern in 1979.

The name is derived from the French language word canton meaning corner or district (from which the term Cantonment is also derived).

 

UPDATE – After some more research (OK I mostly asked questions on the SRDC forum) I can update this post.

This particular M1896/11 was built in 1910 almost certainly at the Canton of Bern Arsenal and updated sometime between 1913 and 1920 with new rear sights and a barrel built by SIG. The rifle remained in service until 1948 when the soldier the rifle had been issued to elected to keep his firearm upon his retirement. In 2006 the rifle was proof tested by the Beschussamt Ulm (Ulm Proof House in Germany) So it is fairly safe to assume it had left Switzerland and was in Germany, sometime later it ended up in the UK and was purchased from the owner in August 2012 and eventually arrived home end of December 2012.

Fascinating stuff!

Now some details.

Sadly the stock has been scrubbed at some point so there is not a lot to be see, however you can still see the original Bern Arsenal inventory number and on the end is what looks like a bear which denotes it was built at Bern

P1010377

The tang shows AG which is the German year code for 2006 and the antler to the right is from the Ulf Proof House.

Tang

The P.48 shows a soldier chose to take this rifle with him when he left the Army in 1948, I am not sure what the N behind the sight means and there is also a heart on it’s side on the barrel I cannot find any reference to.

Receiver upper

Bottom view shows the barrel came from the SIG factory however I am not sure what the B.38 refers to, something SIG again maybe? I assume the serial is that of the barrel prior to fit.

Receiver lower

I find this make of rifle quite fascinating and I am looking forward to finding out a bit more about the marque, I have already suggested Christel could do with another one!

 

The Krag-Jørgensen in 1957

This young man is Jørgen Christensen, founder of www.Schultz-LarsenRifleClub.dk shooting at Fåvang in Norway in 1957. This particular Krag-Jørgensen was borrowed and is a hunting rifle chambered in 9.3 x62 which is not so far off a 30-06 case wise but with a somewhat heavier bullet.

1957 på skydebanen

Jørgen tells me the majority of hunters used the Krag-Jørgensen rifles, usually in 6,5x55SE converted to single shot. The reason for the single shot modification is they were hunting Reindeer which tend to herd together so the single shot meant reloading took longer and gave the Reindeer a more sporting chance.

All of the people in this picture are Reindeer hunters and they would have to attend a compulsory shooting test once a year to make sure they could use the rifles accurately and safely. The tests took place at 100/200/300m.

Jørgen tells me the same rifles were used for Moose/Elk however they would be hunted with a full magazine.