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,

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.

Emil Frandsen – Gunsmith

Hopefully someone will pick this up and be able to tell me more.

The RPLT42 we now have has been converted to a sporter/hunting type rifle, the work appears to consist of shortening the forend, removing the upper hand guard and fitting pads to accept ‘scope rings. The stock is stamped Emil Frandsen who we assume is the person/company that did the ‘conversion’

So what do we know about Frandsen? Well nothing really, the webynet draws a blank to our searches with the single exception to three or more generations of Gunsmiths in Vejle in Mid Jylland.

  • Gunsmith Søren Frandsen (started 1837 in Follerup, later Vejle)
  • Gunsmith Kresten Sorensen Frandsen (Vejle) took over the company in 1877
  • Gunsmith (Peter) Emil Frandsen (Vejle) took over the company the 1903, Emil died in 1951
  • The company continued for around 10 years, possibly run by his son Hardy K. Krejbjerg Frandsen (Vejle)

If anyone knows more we would be very interested to receive updates on this family of Gunsmiths.


An RPLT42 comes home

Keeping secrets in this house is never easy, for one thing Christel and I are very close, we talk about everything. More to the point Christel is the one who tends to make any purchases, be it something for the business or home so this means if I need something she invariably sorts out the payment, even if it is on-line. So bringing a new rifle into the house without her knowledge was always going to be a covert activity, explaining a large rifle shaped package arriving by courier would be a real give away unless I could pass it off as something else.

So I told her something interesting was arriving for her and it was destined to be her Xmas present and that it was going to be in a huge box so she would never guess what it was. Heh! Well that part worked out OK and end of last week the box arrived and I spirited it off to the SHED for closer inspection. I knew it was a Schultz and Larsen RPLT42 (Model42) Schultz & Larsen, chambered in 8x58RD, other than that I knew very little, it was not going to be all original but given how few and far between these things are I could live with that, I knew the bore was brown and that was about all.

This is what arrived.

42_1Currently there are under 70 known examples in the world which is not really surprising as the factory produced under 1400 of these rifles in the Second World War, hardly a significant wartime production. RPLT stands for Rigspolitiet (State Police) The number 42 is for the year, they were manufactured for an order from the State Police for the Coastguard Police (A division of the State Police) mainly to protect the North Sealand coast (Copenhagen area) from people leaving Denmark for Sweden. They were also used to guard the railway network and were referred to as the ‘Svelletaelleren’ which means sleepers/tracks counter and probably refers to the monotony of walking the tracks with one of these rifles to keep the guard company.

This particular rifle is all matching, that is the barrel, receiver, bolt, magazine, trigger and stock all have the same number. The downside is the stock has been modified to a sporter shape, so the upper woodwork has been removed along with the front band and wood forward of the band, this work appears to have been carried out by a Gunsmith, Emil Frandsen sometime after the rifle was withdrawn from service. His work is OK, he made a fine sporting rifle, probably for deer however it would have been nice to find the rifle in original condition. Someone (Emil maybe) has also added pads for ‘scope rings at some point.Model 42 receiver and bolt

This is the bolt and receiver prior to being cleaned, it is good to see it retains it’s model name and number, such information was sometimes scrubbed. Note the action is a four lug rear locker with a core diameter of 18,86mm or nearly 3/4″ – quite a significant lump of steel. The bolt cocks on close and does take some effort.

42_2Now to the ‘scope pads. As I have already mentioned, it would be nice to own an original RPLT42 however this has the makings of a lovely period hunting rifle, add a leather sling and a set of period rings with a post war 4x Zeiss or similar and maybe a slight tidying of the stock and it will be perfect, it also fills a hole in our rifle collection.

The bore is less than ideal however we have no plans to abuse this old lady so cast bullets around the 180/190 grain mark at 2000fps will be fine and more to the point I think I already have such things on the shelf, and if not I certainly know where to find some, first job is slug the bore and see what it clocks up at. As a last resort the site owner of the excellent Schultz and Larsen site http://www.schultz-larsenrifleclub.dk/ tells me he might know of a man who can supply a barrel to the original profile so that is something to pursue.

You can read more about the RPLT42 history in the Otterup section of this Journal and even more here (In Danish) from the Schultz & Larsen Club, Model 42

…and no doubt more to follow on this rifle.

The Otterup built Schultz & Larsen RPLT42 rifle

This article was originally written for the Shooting SHED Journal and was as a direct result of a conversation with an RFD I know who had just acquired a Schultz & Larsen RPLT42 and was keen to know more about it, given that we have a fascinating book on the history of the Schultz & Larsen written in Danish I volunteered Christel to do some research and this is it, hopefully it will be of interest to someone.

The Model 42 is a 4 lug rear locker based on the S&L Model 38 also known as the ‘System Schultz & Larsen’ interestingly Niels Larsen shot 600m free rifle in the 1924 Paris Olympics. One of the other competitors from a Baltic country had a locally produced rifle with him which was a rear locker, Niels was so impressed he took the idea home with him and S&L started producing actions of this type.

RPLT stands for Rigspolitiet (State Police) – Christel has no idea what the LT is for, the number 42 is for the year, they were manufactured for an order from the State Police for the Coastguard Police (A division of the State Police) mainly to protect the North Sealand coast (Copenhagen area) from people leaving Denmark for Sweden. They were also used to guard the railway network and were referred to as the ‘Svelletaelleren’ which means sleepers/tracks counter and probably refers to the monotony of walking the tracks with one of these rifles to keep the guard company. The Coastguard Police were also equipped with Mauser M98 Karabiner and they were fitted with Schultz and Larsen barrels, it is unclear which of these rifles were used first.

Originally it was suggested only 800 of these rifles were built however later records point to as many as 1220 being built, interestingly the numbers for this model of rifle start at 100 so last serial would be 1320. Danish saboteurs broke into the Schultz & Larsen factory at Otterup and stole the final deliveries of rifles and after the war some RPLT42s were rebuilt to hunting specification rifles by the Otterup Factory, the suggestion is either S&L brought them back from the State Police or the saboteurs who took them; there are no records either way. Of course it would be wrong to suggest S&L would in any way be involved in the ‘loss’ of the rifles at the time…

The rebuild as hunting rifles included being fitted with a new stock with a half cheek piece instead of the more traditional full length version used on the military rifles, they maintained the 4 shot magazine and continued to be chambered in 8x58RD which was the military calibre for the duration of the war.

Some model 42’s had the RPLT stamp scrubbed when they were converted to hunting use. The State Police insisted that the RPLT be removed however Mr Larsen decided such a request was not particularly important so only a few rifles had the RPLT removed. When the Otterup factory closed in 1994 three RPLT42s along with some prototypes, spares and foreign firearms were sold to a ‘German weapons dealer’
In Autumn 1941 a new Police Corp known as the Coastguard Police was formed by German request to ‘keep Spy’s out of the country and Jews in’. They were closed down in 1947 and at that point 200 RPLT42s were sold back to Schultz & Larsen. From 1947 onwards no RPLT42s are recorded as being held by the Police.

One thing to consider with the RPLT42s is the receivers were made from an incredibly hard steel which has led to some cracking in the area of the receiver lugs, this apparently is not a problem if you shoot with modest loads however it is something to be mindful of if you decided to use millsurp 8x58RD which has a reputation for being spiteful.

Now some history, when the Værnemagt (Wehrmacht) took over the running of Denmark they issued an order that all civilian owned firearms be handed into the Police, anything chambered in 9mm or 8x58RD was purchased for a nominal sum and used by the Danish Police, all others were taken and stored in the local prisons. Apparently the Police soon forgot where the keys were kept and the Danish resistance used to take them away in the dark of night, unfortunately they were spotted on more than one occasion and this led to reports that prisoners were being killed and their coffins taken away at night. Ultimately the Germans got wind of this and moved the remaining firearms to a church in North Germany for a period before being relocated to a salt mine. The Americans when they heard of this blew the entrance of the salt mine up and they have never been recovered to this day.

So if you fancy a few pre-war Danish rifles…..

Schultz & Larsen Otterup Gevaerfabrik – Dansk Ammunionsfabrik A/S De Danske Rifler I Verdensklasse
Politkarabin Model 1942 Peter Rasmussen
Politkarabin R.P.L.T42 Peter Rasmussen


Some thoughts:  Could RPLT stand for RigsPoLiteT So RPLT is simply ‘State Police’ I see Peter Rasmussen refers to it as the R.P.L.T42 at the start of his article and then RPLT42 from that point onwards.

Regarding the alleged receiver issue with the M42, apparently it was due to a shortage of alloy steel so the receivers were made of carbon steel which became very brittle during the hardening/heat treatment process and cracks have been seen in the left rear of the magazine well.

As a final post script Robert Chombart mailed me and comments:

Mr Larsen might have been inspired by another design, but the lugs arrangement can only be his, and it is what makes me so admirative. It is of a perfect geometry and functionality. I can tell you how difficult it is to achieve a perfect functional lugs arrangement on a full diameter bolt with only 50° rotation.

Such a design would be simple today with CAD, but in 1938, it was quite a challenge to combine camming, cocking, lugs bearing surface and total lugs bearing angle in such a small allowance. The lugs bearing angle of the design was the biggest of all systems, just bettered now by the 3 lugs design in triangular form.

The raw metal problem you mention is typical of the time . >From 1942 this was the general problem. Case hardening technology was still rudimentary (rush perioff helping)and hardening protocols difficult to master. Common problem was a too deep coat of brittlened metal.


Robert is probably best known for his design work on many rifle actions including most recently the Action Clear produced C.G INCH, the C.G range of rifle triggers and the C.G Centra target sights. Robert has made a hugely significant contribution to the development of modern rifle action design.

A fitting end to this Journal entry, thank you Robert.


Niels Larsen, the Olympics and it’s legacy to the Schultz & Larsen.

Niels Larsen and the Olympics – Niels took a Bronze in what was to be his last Olympic appearance at Paris 1924 in the 600 metre free rifle competition. Estonia, Latvia and Lithuania are the only ‘Baltic States’ that competed the ‘24 Olympics and I can find no reference to any of these countries actually competing in the 600m shooting events.

However Finland was referred to as part of the Baltic Stated in the 1920′s and Heikki Huttunen and Johannes Theslöf of Finland did compete in the 600m free rifle Theslöf 39th 79 points and Huttunen finished 44th with 77 points so maybe one of these two shooters competed with the rifle that inspired Niels Larsen to build the M38 rear locker.


What is the title image? – The RPLT42 of course!

In case you were wondering what the Journal title image is, it is the bolt from the Otterup built Schultz & Larsen RPLT 42.

RPLT stands for RigsPoLiteT So RPLT is simply ‘State Police’ and you may have noticed this is a rear locker (Rear lugged) Rifle.