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7.62x54 Russian


Developed for the Tsar’s rife of 1888, the 7.62×54mm was introduced in 1891. The original Military loading launched a 210-grain round-nosed bullet at 2200 fps from the unusually long barrel of the Mosin-Nagant rifle. This load was replaced in 1908 with a 148-grain spitzer launched at 2800 fps.

Because it works at a slightly higher pressure and has a somewhat larger case, the 30-06 can safely generate a bit better ballistics than the 7.62×54 despite the much shorter barrel commonly found on the ’06.

Nevertheless, with modern components when loaded to full pressure, the 7.62×54 will essentially match performance of the 30-06. The one limitation is the poor bullet selection. I worked up a load for mine using H4350 and the 174-grain Sierra MK that shot to the sights and was stunningly accurate.



The Finns converted a mountain of captured Mosin Nagants to use true 30-caliber bullets and called the corresponding cartridge the 7.62×53 and another, perhaps smaller, mountain of these rifles necked-up to use bullets of 0.366-inch diameter, creating the 9.3×54mm, which is an extremely effective moose-hunting round.

The 7.62×54 and the Mosin-Nagant rifle was used by Soviet Marksmen as late as the 1970s to compete in 1000-yard target competitions and they were not hampered by using a rifle that was designed in the 1880s.

Other than having a rim, the 7.62×54 case is among the best of all Military battle-rifle designs — body taper is modest, shoulder angle is significant, the neck is long, and capacity is adequate. It is almost as if someone knew what they were doing!

Had they realized the rim was unnecessary and eliminated it, likely the 7.62×54 would be far more popular today as the basis of many wildcats and as an all-around sporting cartridge, it is that good.

The text associated with the cartridge description reflects opinions and conclusions of the author, M.L. (Mic) McPherson. Lee Precision and its employees do not necessarily either agree or disagree with any of his comments. We present these with due deference to his recognized expertise in the firearms field. His acumen extends to handloading and all aspects of ballistics - internal, external, and terminal.
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