There's a match I'd like to shoot this weekend, and it's got an 'Antique Rifle' theme to it. Now, the folks who shoot these matches at my club are not persnickedy nor mean, and I could show up carrying an AR by the handle and there would be a place at the line for me, albeit with a bit of ribbing. Still, I like to stay with the theme when I can. Its all in good fun and they are a great bunch of people to spend the day with.
My choice of weapon this time is an elderly Turkish Mauser in 8x57mm. Not exactly the suggested '100 years old' of the match, but close enough that nary a word will be said. Hey.... it's got a straight bolt and a looooong barrel wrapped in wooden hand guards!
The problem is the ammo. I have a LOT of 8x57mm, but it's 1950's Yugo stuff. Accuracy is 'Meh' by match standards, and while my Yugoslavian Mauser is sure fire with it, this old Turk is only about 95% on ignition with this mil-surp fodder. For practice, it would be fine, For the match.... well...... even with the Grand Old Turk I'll still be aiming for 400/500 or better in score. At that level even a few fliers can sink me.
I need good ammo, and at least 58 rounds of it all the same, to shoot this match. The problem is all the 8x57mm I have hand loaded are dribs and drabs of load development stuff, and not enough of anything really good.
I also don't have the bullets to run off a batch of match ammo for the Turk. Or..... at least..... I DIDN'T have the bullets. Now I do, and that 1950's Yugo surplus was the donor that provided it!
Using an RCBS Bullet Puller , I broke down enough of the ancient Mil-surp to load all the 8x57mm match ammo I wish. This puller, with a collet matched to the .323 bullets used in 8x57 Mauser, is such a gee-whiz doohicky that I just had to share it's workings.
The RCBS unit is a press mounted widget that will squeeze a collet around the bullet in the cartridge, holding it still while the power of the press is used to yank the case off the bullet. Rather a backwards proposition, where one might thing of holding the case still and 'pulling the bullet', this works the opposite way.
Here are a few images to illustrate the idea:
|Tool mounted in the press, and loaded round in shell holder on ram.|
|The bullet inserted in the collet, and gently but snugly held.|
|A light 'jerk' upwards on the press handle, and the bullet is pulled.|
There is another way to pull bullets, using an 'inertia' style puller, which is far cheaper. The Inertia Bullet Puller works by holding the cartridge by it's rim, with case and bullet inside a container. Giving the whole works a few solid raps on the bench pulls the bullet with it's own inertia, as the case stops dead but the bullet is left to it's own accord.
The Inertia puller is cheaper than the RCBS collet rig, by quite a bit, and it works on any round (Pistol or rifle) that can be held in the tool. On the other paw, it's slow and somewhat noisy. Every round must be fitted in place, and then after the bullet is pulled the whole tool dissasembled to recover case, bullet, and powder.
Again, a few images to convey the idea....
|An inertia bullet puller, with victim at ready....|
|Loaded cartridge in place, and bullet puller ready to use.|
|A few good 'smacks' later, and there is the bullet and powder captured in the tool.|
Once all this ripping and tearing is done.... or more realistically 'Gently deconstructing of the ammunition'.... what happens next?
In this case, the brass could either go into the metals recover bin next to the bench, or be bagged up and used later for building some plinking loads where the occasional misfire wouldn't be an issue.
The powder gets saved in an air tight container, which is marked to show exactly what it is and where it comes from. Taking a few moments to weigh some of the charges removed from the old Yugo Mil-Surp, the weight of charge is also labeled on the container.
There is nothing wrong with this elderly 'Plate' style powder, and it can certainly be loaded and used again. It gets stored in the cabinet, where its out of the light and kept cool. I have in the past, and will no doubt do so again in the future, loaded some pretty decent ammo using pulled powder such as this. The important thing is to record the load data of the ammo its recovered from, as there simply are no book recipes involving 1950's Yugoslavian military plate powder.
The bullets, which were the reason behind all these shenanigans.... get a little special treatment. Surely they could be used exactly as pulled, since the RCBS collet pullet leaves no marks to speak of, and no damage, but Carteach likes a shiny bullet. So..... it's off to the vibratory polisher for a few hours, using a media of crushed corn cob with a dash of automotive cleaner wax for good measure.
That little exercise takes the pulled bullets from this:
|As pulled 8mm bullets from 1950's Yugo surplus.|
|8mm Mil-Surp pulls, after polishing.|
I'm sure they can duplicate the load, mostly..... but I suspect the bullet will be a mystery that may take them some time to decipher (g).