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8mm 1950s Bulgarian Surp – Save For Reloading or Sell?

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Several years ago I picked up a 2,400 rds of 8mm Bulgy milsurp.  Unfortunately, as warned, it’s pretty much all click-bang, hang-fire due to poor primers.  The insides of the cases is pretty much clean and for the most part all fire.

I spoke to a buddy that reloads and as a cost analysis for 2,400 rounds:  New Siera Matchking FMJ bullets @ .52/ea will run $1,248 and if he figures 1lb of powder will fill 150rds @ $52/lb = $832.  So bullets and powder for 2,400rd will approximate $2,080.  Sounds spendy.  Does that sound right?


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No and No

Those FMJ Ball projectiles are worth pulling but they don't compare to anything Sierra sells. The powder is a crap shoot as well. You might get an extra power firing pin spring and have better luck firing it

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5 hours ago, Sunfish said:

No and No

Those FMJ Ball projectiles are worth pulling but they don't compare to anything Sierra sells. The powder is a crap shoot as well. You might get an extra power firing pin spring and have better luck firing it

It's still click-bang through an M48 that already has a 24lb Wolfe spring.

Probably a bit more background indicated ......

I don't reload now but have a brand new 550 (still in box) and a bunch that goes with it including a crap-ton of accessories, tools, primers, powder, NATO and some other bullets.

I know the primers are spent, which is why I bring this up.  I've been saving my calibers of reloadable brass, including 8mm, for years. 

I figure, maybe when I retire, I might start reloading as a new hobby and maybe get more into precision shooting, etc.  

Obviously, there are no specs on the powder, so best transferring over into other 8mm brass, I'd think.   With all that in mind, assuming that powder still burns, I guess I'm wondering if it's all worth keeping in the Ammo Fort as a couple $grand$ in reusable components?

Or,  for example, are Bulgy bullets known to be crap and saving/reusing that old powder a moronic idea?  Back in the day I used to read how some reloaders would break down the 1950s 8mm Yugo for bullets & powder and reload into other boxer brass.  I have a lot of that stuff, too, and happen to think it's some of the most accurate 8mm milsurp I have.  Typically, only one hang-fire in 40 or 50 rds wi HiPower Wolfe bolt spring.

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A fellow on a forum is saying it's absolutely bad powder and not primers. If pulling bullets and reseating with fresh powder is all that needs to happen, then perhaps, an exercise worth doing. That is, after I burn through my lifetime supply of other 8 mm, LOL

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The 8mm 178 SMK style bullets to me are preferred over the heavy Ball 196 sS. They shoot more to the point of aim. Pull a few and weigh them. Finding components that you can use is always good but usually more work than people want   

Edited by Sunfish
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There was no pulling the bullet with pliers and a vice. So unable to fire the primer . Cut the head off. Dry stick powder. The inside of the case and the bottom of the boat tail bullet is immaculate

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  • 2 weeks later...

I broke down some '55 Yugo 8x57mm and reloaded the bullet and a slightly reduced and consistent powder charge into commercial cases with commercial primers because I had one of the '55 Yugo cases split from primer pocket to about half way up the case.  I read about it happening to others and it finally happened to me.  I got noncorrosive primers as well in my "reloads".

The only bad primers I have personal experience with were in Pakistani .303 Brit. (POF headstamp) and some other wartime .303 loaded in the UK.  I took the bullet and cordite from some of the hangfire ammo and loaded it into commercial cases with commercial primers and it fired normally.  When I fired the primers some of them made a fizzing sound instead of a pop.  It's easy enough to determine whether it's primers or powder causing problems. 

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Posted (edited)

Well this was interesting. I know little to nothing about reloading. My buddy was able to conjure up 10 rounds for me that we fired at the range today. He noted that the powder contents per round was very inconsistent. Averaged about 42 grains with up to a 2-grain difference between all.

Against 1950s Yugo the elevation was about the same but groups moved 4-6 inches to the right. It always perplexed me how different ammo could group left to right . I would typically think it understandable to see elevation and groups size variations but windage differences ? I’m sure someone smarter than me can explain but perhaps, I think, related to barrel harmonics reacting differently to bullet weight and charge strength causing barrels to whip in any number of directions depending upon pressure points and the like.

Anyway, here’s something interesting to have observed. He reloaded pulled bullets and powder into once-fired commercial PPU brass. We had one complete neck separation and several cracks along the base of the necks. The Bulgy bullets are magnetic as were the copper washed casings from which they were pulled. Might there have been something improper in his loads. Steel core bullets in brass a no-no?

BTW we did fire several of the original primed cases and they just sort of puffed some smoke with a sizzle. No actual pop/bangs. So, if there was some debate about whether the primers were bad vs. the powder it’s safe to say powder was fine and the primers are rotten/too week to ignite powder.


Edited by GS455
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Any of you guys willing to sell me. a couple  hundred boxer primed (no primers) 8mm brass cases?  I finally got around to buying the upper turret mounts and period correct scope for my ‘43 Mauser sniper rifle.  Thanks.

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