Military Cartridges

Cartridges used in Military Surplus and Civilian Military style Rifles

Surplus Rifles
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Surplus Mil Ammo
5.45 x 39mm Russian
Used in the AK74 series of Rifles. Bullet used is 3 thousands of an inch smaller than that used in US 5.56 NATO round. Standard load is 62 grain bullet with a muzzle velocity of 2950 feet per second.
5.56 x 45 mm NATO
You would be hard pressed to find a cartridge that creates more controversy than this one. Originally derived from the 222 Remington Cartridge, it was used in the AR 15 and later in the M16. M 193 cartridge 55 grain full metal jacket bullet with a lead core with a muzzle velocity of 3200 feet per second. The current military load is the M855 , NATO designation SS109, a 62 grain full metal jacket bullet with a steel penetrator. Muzzle velocity 3100 feet per second when fired from the full length barrel of a M-16. Used in the M16- M4 rifles
236 Navy
Also known as the 6mm Lee Navy, the 236 Navy was a short lived and somewhat experimental cartridge created for the 1895 Lee Straight pull bolt action rifle. Only 15,000 rifles were made. The standard issue load was a 112 grain round nose jacketed bullet with a muzzle velocity of 2560 feet per second. The bullet diameter of the 236 Navy was 0.244 inches. Other dimensions;base diameter 0.445", Rim Diameter 0.448", case length 2.35", overall cartridge length 3.11".
6.5 x 50 mm Japanese Arisaka
This cartridge was used in the Japanese Model 38. Many Arisakas have been brought to the U.S. but it is still not a common cartridge. The standard military load was a 139 grain bullet with a muzzle velocity of 2500 feet per second. Jacketed bullet diameter is 0.263 inches
6.5 x 52 mm Italian
Adopted as standard by Italy in 1891. Also known as the 6.5 mm Carcano, it uses a semi rimmed case. The standard military load was a 162 grain round nose projectile with a muzzle velocity of 2300 feet per second. The Italians started to convert to a new rimless cartridge called the 7.35 Italian Carcano in 1938 but the demands of war forced them to standardize once again on the 6.5 Carcano.
6.5 x 54 Greek
Also known as the 6.5 mm Mannlicher Schoenauer, Rimless bottle neck case Military load 159 grain round nose bullet with a Muzzle velocity of 2250 fps.
6.5 x 55 Swedish Mauser
Adopted by the Swedish Government in 1894, it was also used by the Norweigians in their Krag Jorgenson Rifles. The Swedish Mauser cartridge was designed by the Swedish Military in concert with the Mauser Factory. The case head diameter is slightly larger than most other Mauser cases such as the 7.92 x 57mm. The standard military load was a 139 grain jacketed spire point bullet with a muzzle velocity of 2600 feet per second. It is an accurate cartridge that has a relatively mild recoil. It is somewhat popular for hunting and loaded ammunition is available but can be expensive. Components and data are common. Jacketed bullet diameter is 0.264 inches.
7 x 57mm Mauser
First used by the Spanish in their 1893 Mauser Rifles. In the Spanish American War the Spanish used them effectively enough against U.S. troops that the U.S. Military switched from their recently adopted Krag rifles in favor of a Mauser variant in 1903. Surplus 7 mm Mauser ammunition is uncommon. Factory loaded ammunition is available as well as reloading components and data for this cartridge.
7.35 mm Italian Carcano.
Adopted by Italy in 1938 because the Italian military was dissatisfied with the performance of the 6.5 carcano cartridge in Ethiopia. The cartridge was a bit of an improvement over the old round but the demands of war forced the Italians to stay with the 6.5 mm cartridge. The standard military load is a 128 grain bullet with a muzzle velocity of 2480 feet per second.
30-40 Krag
This was the first cartridge adopted by the U.S. Military that was loaded with smokeless powder. Used during the Spanish American war, it became popular after the U.S. Military sold off thousands of Krag rifles to the general public. Loaded ammunition and reloading components are readily available for this cartridge. The standard military load was a 220 grain round nose jacketed bullet with a muzzle velocity of 2000 feet per second.
7.62 x 51mm Nato
Used in the US M-14 Rifle, FN FAL, M60 Machine gun, German G3, Cetme.Standard load 147 grain Full Metal Jacket Boattail bullet with a muzzle velocity of 2800 feet per second. This became the Nato Standard Rifle cartridge in 1953. Dimensionally identical to the 308 Winchester, there is a neverending debate whether or not it is safe to use 308 Winchester in a rifled for 7.62 NATO or vice versa. This cartridge is extremely common and will be sold by any retailer selling rifle cartridges. Extensive reloading data is available. While it is true that commercial 308 Winchester ammunition may be loaded to much higher pressures than the standard NATO round it. 7.62 Nato max pressure 50,000 psi versus 308 Winchester max pressure of 62,000 psi.
30-06 or 7.62 x 63mm
Originally designed for the Springfield 1903 rifle, it's case dimensions and design are similar to the 7 mm and 8 mm Mauser cartridges except that it is more than a quarter inch longer. This was the primary rifle cartridge of the United States during WW1, WW2 and Korea. The 1906 cartridge used during World War One had 150 grain full metal jacket bullet with a muzzle velocity of about 2700 feet per second.
The M2 ball cartridge used during World War Two had a 152 grain full metal jacket projectile with a muzzle velocity of 2800 feet per second. Reloading Page for the 30-06 cartridge
7.5 x 54mm French MAS
Introduced just prior to the Great Depression, the 7.5 Mas rifle cartridge became the French standard just before World War II. The standard bullet diameter is 0.307 inches although 0.308 inches will work as well. The standard military load is the m1929C with 139 grain spire point bullet with a muzzle velocity of 2700. Head size is 0.481 inches. Boxer primed cases are available for this cartridge but loaded ammunition can be expensive and hard to find. Cartridge cases can also be formed from 6.5 Swedish Mauser.
7.5 x 55 Swiss
Surplus Berdan primed Swiss military ammunition is available but can be expensive about $0.60/ round. Bullet diameter is 0.308 inches. Boxer primed cases can be purchased or made from 284 Winchester cases. Loading dies are produced by most manufacturers

To realize the full life out of cases made from 284 Winchester or some types of 7.5 Swiss brass, the case necks must be annealed to prevent cracks in the neck and shoulder of the cartridge.

Available loading data is currently limited but that may change as more rifles come into the American market.
Reloading Page for the 7.5 Swiss cartridge

7.62 x 39mm Russian
Used in the SKS carbine and the AK 47 this cartridge is manufactured worldwide. It is a marginal cartridge for big game hunting but it is a good plinking round. In spite of the rise in ammunition prices in recent years, 7.62 x 39 is still one of the least expensive centerfire rifles rounds to shoot in the U.S. The standard military loading is a 123 grain FMJ bullet with a muzzle velocity of 2400 Feet per second as fired from an SKS. 2300 feet per second for the AK47 with a 16 inch barrel. Ammunition and reloading components are widely available.
Reloading Page for the 7.62 x 39 cartridge
7.62 x 54 mm Russian
This is a rimmed cartridge used in the Mosin Nagant Rifles. Bullet diameter is .310 inches. Standard military load is 147 grain bullet with a muzzle velocity of 2880 feet per second. Military surplus as well as new manufacture ammunition is available. Reloading data for this cartridge can be found in most loading manuals.
7.65 x 53 Mauser
Also commonly known in the U.S. as 7.65 x 53 Argentine Mauser. This cartridge was originally designed for the Belgian 1889 Rifle. It was adopted by Argentina, Bolivia, Columbia, Ecuador, Peru and Turkey. The standard military load was 174 grain bullet with a muzzle velocity of about 2450 feet per second. The standard bullet diameter is 0.313 inches although reloaders have generally found that 0.311 or 0.312 bullets will as well. Cases can be made by forming and trimming 30-06 cases. Case necks should be annealed after doing so.
7.7 x 58 mm Japanese Arisaka
Used in the Japanese model 99 rifle. The Japanese were not satisfied with the performance of the 6.5 Arisaka so they adopted by the 7.7 Arisaka in 1939. This round used a rimless case and 0.311 inch diameter bullets. Ballistically similar to the 303 British the standard military load was a 175 grain spire point bullet at 2400 per second.
303 British
Also known as the 7.7 x 53 Rimmed. Used throughout the world in Africa, India, the middle east and all former British Possessions. Developed for the British Lee Enfield rifles it head spaces on the rim. Chambers on Lee Enfields are bored larger at the shoulder to allow the gun to function even if debris is on the cartridge. Bullet diameter is 0.311 inches. This cartridge is widely available in the U.S. and large stocks of surplus ammunition still exist. Boxer primed cases are available as well as a wide selection of reloading components and data for this cartridge. To get the maximum life out of this case it is best to only neck size rather than full length resize. Reloading Page for the 303 British cartridge
7.92 x 57mm Mauser
Better known in the U.S. as the 8 mm Mauser. It was the primary rifle cartridge used by the Germans during both World Wars. The S load used during World War 1 was a 155 grain spire point at 2800 feet per second. The SS load which saw use during World War 2 was a 198 grain spire point bullet with a muzzle velocity of 2475 feet per second. Jacketed bullet diameter is 0.323 inches.
8 mm Lebel
This was the primary rifle cartridge for French Forces in World War 1. Reloadable brass and ammunition in 8mm Lebel is becoming increasingly hard to find and expensive. Some types of Lebel ammunition are not suitable for use in the older Lebel rifles such as the 1886 Lebel Jacketed bullet diameter is 0.323 inches.
8 x 50 mm Austrian
Rimmed cartridge used in the Steyr Manlicher Straight pull Rifles. The standard military load was a 244 grain round nose bullet with a muzzle velocity of 2000 feet per second.
8mm Austrian M31
Also known as the 8 x 56mm rimmed. Adopted by Hungary in 1931. Replaced the 8 x 50mm cartridge in Austria. The Standard Military Load is a 206 grain jacketed bullet with a muzzle velocity of 2400 feet per second. Bullet diameter is 0.329 inches.
8 x 50mm Rimmed Siamese Mauser
This rimmed cartridge was adopted by the Thai government in 1902. This round is not often encountered today although a considerable number of rifles chambered for this cartridge have been imported into the U.S. in the past. The standard military load is a round nose bullets weighing 237 grains with a muzzle velocity of about 2000 feet per second.
577/450 Martini Henry
Black Powder round used in British single shot breech loading Martini Henry Rifles. A derivation of the 577 Snider, the cartridge case is a rimmed bottle neck with a case length 2.25 inches which is 3 tenths of an inch longer than the Snider case. The standard British military load was a paper patched 480 grain lead bullet with a muzzle velocity of 1350 feet per second.
577 Snider
Adopted by the British in 1867. Military load is a 480 grain lead bullet with a muzzle velocity of 1250 fps It was used in converted Enfield Rifled muskets.

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