Friday, August 7, 2009

Praxis: Tactical Packing the 7.62x54R -- of SPAM, Football Monkeys and Tool of the Evil Communist Conspiracy Against Imperialist Yankee Running Dogs.

The Menu

* Egg and bacon
* Egg, sausage and bacon
* Egg and spam
* Egg, bacon and spam
* Egg, bacon, sausage and spam
* Spam, bacon, sausage and spam
* Spam, egg, spam, spam, bacon and spam
* Spam, sausage, spam, spam, spam, bacon, spam, tomato and spam
* Spam, spam, spam, egg, and spam
* Spam, spam, spam, spam, spam, spam, baked beans, spam, spam, spam and spam
* Lobster thermidor aux crevettes with a Mornay sauce served in the Provençale manner with shallots and aubergines, garnished with truffle paté, brandy and with a fried egg on top and spam

As I have written before,"Packaging is everything." Now, by virtue of Hannah's newly acquired Mosin Nagant M44 Carbine, I must learn how to improve the tactical packaging of an unfamiliar caliber, 7.62x54R.

Of course most 7.62x54R surplus ammo comes packed like this, in "spam" cans.

As it happens, a very good friend yesterday gave me a can just like the one above containing Russian copper-washed steel case, 147 grain spitzer boat tail ball, twenty rounds to a paper container, headstamp 60 85. There are (or were) 440 rounds to the can.

I hate spam cans. I must have opened hundreds, maybe a thousand, in my life and I hated each and every one of them. They are heavy, bulky, have no ready handle to tote them by, are hard to open in the daylight with a special tool and impossible at night.

Tool of the Evil Communist Conspiracy to raise the blood pressure, break the knuckles and cut the flesh of Imperialist Yankee Running Dogs.

It is so awkward that we hereby award it the Sipsey Street Football Monkey Copulation Award for 2009.

Now THIS is an ammo can you can fumble around in the dirt with on a pitch black night.

Behold! The lowly, incredibly useful and ergonomic M19A1 "Thirty Cal" ammo can.

These, and the bandoleers containing stripper-clipped ammunition that go in them, are supremely easy to use. And easy and quick counts in combat.

But "spam" cans? Spam cans ain't tactical, that's for sure. Now, the wooden crate they come in, that's another thing.

I like this case arrangement better than the USGI wire-bound case below because it is lighter, handier and stacks better.

This GI wire-bound crate holds 4 M19A1 cans. Others hold two M2A1 "Fifty Cal" cans.

Once the ComBloc cases are empty of "spam" cans, the torn husks of the cans are discarded and you finish bandaging your hands, two M19A1 USGI "thirty cal" ammo cans filled with repackaged "spam" contents in bandoleers will nest in them quite nicely.

People who are content to keep their ammo in individual boxes or even cans have never had to shift large quantities of ammo from place to place. Think you'll be able to stay in your house forever? Admit it, you may have to bug out. Trust me, packing the trailer goes a lot faster if the ammo is in cans and the cans are in crates. USGI cans, having handles, are good, but having those cans packed in crates is much, much better.

The ComBloc crate containing 2 M19A1 cans is my default method of packaging. I have everything from 7.62 NATO, 7.62x39, .30 Carbine, 5.56 NATO packed in thirty cal cans, bandoleers and stripper clips. I even use the 7 pocket USGI bandoleers to pack 5 round boxes of 12 Gauge combat ammo (buckshot, slugs) which works out to 35 rounds per bandoleer, 70 rounds per can, 140 rounds per ComBloc case.

Now, for 7.62x54R that presents a problem. Stripper clips are, according to my friends who are into Mosin Nagants, hard to find and expensive. Russian clips made for their military are, I am told, the best. Current after-markets, I am also told, are unreliable. If any reader has had a different experience or can direct me to a source of reliable Mosin Nagant stripper clips, please let me know.

For now, I have two solutions to the packing dilemma. First, I used the old Federal cartridge strip trick as detailed here.

Note that these ten round inserts come with belt loops, enabling them to be worn on a standard pants belt. The loops are just a bit less than two inches internal width. Of course the colors of these inserts are hardly tactical, usually being red or white as in the illustration above.

My solution was to spray prime them with Rust-Oleum Plastic Primer and then spray paint them OD. I have some 1.75" OD thin webbing on a roll that I picked up cheap somewhere in the Clintonista era and so I cut an appropriate length of material, threaded it through four 10 round carriers (scavenged from the trash barrels at the range), and secured the two ends by threading them through some 2" plastic slides that I scavenged off packs, duffle bags and purses bought at the thrift store. (For an average of $.79 each, I get a fair number of slides, d-rings and fastex buckles off each one. Can't buy them that cheap in WalMart or a sewing shop.)

Four bandoleers will fit in an M19A1 "thirty cal" ammo can, giving a hundred and sixty rounds per can. Voila! Tactical storage that can be used in the field. The plastic carriers actually grip the rounds more tightly than the average modern Mills-type belt, no matter what it is made of.

When it is used up, it can be discarded at little expense, or reloaded from bulk boxes. This is my contribution to making deer hunters tactical.

Using these for the 7.62x54R presented a bit of a problem because of the large rim on the cartridge. I ended up loading them by skipping a hole with the first five rounds and then coming back and filling in the holes in the middle. The rims of the second run of 5 cartridges end up resting on the ends of the first 5, but the cartridges still are held in place by the tension of the plastic.

I considered stringing them together, as above, with webbing, but elected rather to use a current pattern, USGI 4 pocket bandoleer. Each pouch holds two inserts, or 80 rounds per bandoleer, 160 rounds per ammo can, 320 per case.

The 4-pocket USGI M16 bandoleer.

But for the Russian "spam can" above, I chose to use the almost universally useful British 5 pocket "snap" bandoleer. Using this arrangement, I put one of the 20 round paper packs of Russian stuff in each pockt, or 100 rounds per bandoleer.

What a Brit 5-pocket looks like packed with 20 round paper packs of 7.62x54R

Two of these will fit in an M19A1 can and thus 2 cans will fit in a ComBloc crate, for a total of 400 rounds per crate.

This is not the ideal tactical arrangement I wanted. It does however still make issuing ammo and carrying it into harm's way easier and quicker than individual paper packages in a "spam" can.

Lacking the reliable stripper clips, this is the best I can come with at the moment.


Translation: "Comrade, how do we know now is the time to attack the Imperialist Yankee Running Dogs?" "Because, they bought all that ammunition in SPAM cans. They'll NEVER get them open in time!"


Anonymous said...

I have been (occasionally) wondering how I would ever "bug out" with my M-N M44 & ammo spam cans 9heavy!).
Now I just have to hie me down to the local Army-Navy milsurp store & try to find some good old US ammo cans.

B Woodman

Crustyrusty said...

1. ROFL @ spam cans. I don't know how much damage I've done to myself trying to open those %^&#*& things....

Just so ya know, AIM has Czech light ball in one of those zinc boxes with the roll-up seam. Not great, but better than the spam cans.

2. Stripper clips: Guy on ebay has brass versions for 16.99 for 20 and free shipping. Search for "mosin stripper clips." Actually last search I did turned up a fair amount of Mosin stuff.

Next Mosin purchase will be a Mojo sight for the thing. The sights suck, but the rifle isn't worth trying to futz with trying to scope the thing.

tom said...

Mosin-Nagants make nice living room lamps.

Remove barreled action.

Make a nice wood base, remove steel butt plate and adjust stock so rifle stands at the angle desired, vertical being my preference, attach base and drill through base and stock from butt to near rear of receiver at a place of your aesthetic preference, directly behind where you remove the bolt out works well if you don't care if there's going to be a bolt in your rifle/lamp.

Modify a light bulb holder/switch assembly to fit the muzzle of your Nagger.

Reinstall barreled action.

Run wire up through base and stock, then up through barrel, either around an open bolt through mag hole or hole drilled in mag is also an option, or however you like, straight up the receiver with no bolt is easiest.

Wire lamp bulb holder and fit, install wall plug at other end of wire.

Get a standard lamp shade wire form or bend one up yourself and perhaps make an OD lampshade with a red star on it.

It's a bit of work but it'll become just as useful as a rifle, if not more useful, in that it can illuminate books and magazines you read which contain photographs and articles about much better battle rifles and you don't have to worry about finding clips for it that are reliable anymore. In a pinch, you could take the lamp bits out and it would still work as a rifle, dependent on how you run the wire up the barrel and what things you drill holes in.

I did something similar with a 6.5 Carcano (I still shoot the 7.35 on odd occasions). I called it my "JFK/Oswald Memorial Lamp", which a friend later traded me out of with some useful odds and ends.

Hope this helps.

Heck, I may use this as a post on my web-page too, minus the following.

If you've got the money and time to do all this dinking around with Nagants, why not better apply your time and use time, energies, and money to make a 7.62x54R with proper sights and stocking on a useful and accurate commercial or almost any other military action with a Shilen barrel or something? You'd spend the same or less money if you scrounged around and have an accurate rifle that shoots corrosive surplus scumbag commie steel case extractor destroyer rusting ammo instead of all the expenditures you are making in effort to end up with a lot of interesting stuff and mods for an inaccurate rifle that shoots scumbag commie steel.

Hell, if you insist on the basic design, buy a Finnish variant. They have reasonably accurate Swedish Steel barrels and are better manufactured.

Pardon me for once again questioning lipsticking a pig.

Regards and happy tinkering, whatever makes you happy. 'Tis still somewhat of a free country, and you get what you pay for when you buy old clunker rifles cheap.


The Infamous Oregon Lawhobbit said...

If the Koreans are coming to collect, then we truly are skaaaarewed... :D

ScottJ said...

Here's an alert for the IIIpers. Wideners has 8MM Mausers for under $130:

I'm not in a position to get one because I have other projects in the hopper right now.

Crustyrusty said...

Never mind... AIM HAD Czech light ball.

All gone.

Dutchman6 said...

Stupid me. I believed the source that it was Chinese. Caption now changed. MBV

pdxr13 said...

My Bulgarian 1954 brass-cased (Berdan) 54R is packed in colorful paper string-tied in 10-packs.

The spam cans came right apart with ViseGrip pliers and big tin snips. No blood was spilled.

My M-N's came with bandoliers and cleaning kit (CIA via Big5). I'd call the sights "adjustable" but doing so makes little difference when shooting ancient surplus ammo. 50 year old ammo from corroded cans shoots fine, with zero misfires in about 900 rounds, but one super-hot cartridge extracted hard and shows about 10 vertical cracks around the brass where powder vented during firing.

Both the M44 and 91-30 were worth every cent of their $79.99. They are excellent weapons to show folks how to take-down and clean a rifle with little to lose or break.


Anonymous said...

Try I have found some stripper clips and ammo there at a decent price.

Dan said...

The same... only different.

Atlas Shrug said...

On Mosin-Nagants:

1. The Mojo sights are a great addition. With a swap out of the rear blade for a Mojo, the utility is doubled.

2. The ATI replacement stock is alright, not great, but alright. That said, it's a huge improvement over the steel collar bone scraper.

For a down and dirty field gun, that's about all you need regarding improvements. If you want to get fancy, you could try the Huber trigger (I've not but would like to some day).

On carbines, I actually like the M91/59 over the 44 or 38. Better barrels (almost always), better overall condition (usually), and a bit unique. Also, on most the rear sight can be removed if you want to mount a forward scope on the barrel dovetails (same as standard M91s). (The result is a cheap Pseudo Scout effort - fine for hunting but a step back for "serious" use, IMHO.)

YMMV, but no matter what the Mosin will WORK!

Keep your powder dry,

Atlas Shrug

Anonymous said...

I've got a Huber trigger on my Mosin. It's worth as much as the rifle.;)
It also wears mojo sights, as do all my milsups, with the exception of the Garand.
For strippers I use Finnish clips manufactured by Tika.
They were 50 cents apeice when bought in bulk.
One more thing- after I put so much money into my POS Ruski Mosin, I bought a M-39. Shuld have got a first class tool to begin with.(Bangs head against the wall.)

Weaver said...

I use 30 and 50 cans but with my back I can't carry four loaded 30's at the same time. It's hard enough carrying 12 loaded mags for the 308 panther. I guess bugging out is not an option for some of us even if the end result is, well, not good.


Crustyrusty said...

Eh, the point of a Mosin for the most part is cheapness. Tricking out a Mosin to the point that it costs more than your typical M-4gery kinda defeats the purpose LOL.

I find that bedding the action and corking the barrel a la "The Box O'Truth" will give you minute of blue helmet, which is about what I want out of a $79.95 rifle.

Diogenes said...

I have the 91/59 and love it other than the Shoulder pounding that she delivers with regularity. I have a recoil pad enroute for that. I am taking your challenge to come up with a Brake/GL. Will see how it works and if I am happy with the results will send you a prototype. Stripper clips are touch and go out here. I have 20 of the aftermarket units and they work well enough though I need to use a spent round to get it to work right(documented on my blog somewhere LOL) Using the Russian ammo pouches I can carry 30 per pouch with the clips. I am also using a bando for .30-06 that holds another 60 rounds on clips. the remainder are in a .30 cal ammo can for ease of movement. In stripper clips/bando the .30 cal can will hold 180 rounds in just clips it will hold closer to 300 (haven't loaded one yet so not an accurate figure)
Despite what some would say the M-N is a fine rifle but with any milsurp you will get the gold along with the pisser side by side. At the prices they are going for in relation to 'modern' choices you can't beat them for the reliability factor(or the range) Minor modifications are readily done to increase reliability and ease of use(see my blog for my recent one.) and parts are readily available. Whats not to like(other than the pounding these can give you :P )

straightarrow said...

MN's are absolutely idiot proof, you simply cannot put one together incorrectly or with missing parts, they are tough as 3cent steak, and shoot very well.

I give you one caution, 7.62x54R surplus ammo is Berdan primed. Ergo, even if advertised as non-corrosive the primer is corrosive. When you clean it after shooting surplus ammo, make your fist passes with patches soaked in a hot water/ammonia mixture. That will neutralize the corrosive salts, then clean normally.

I have four and love every one of them. However, if you have one that shoots well, do not overclean it. Bore sizes for these weapons have a wide tolerance. My first one shot very well, but had a very dark bore. Good sharp rifling but very dark. I made an electrolytic cleaner and brightened that bore to nearly pristine condition. Now it shoots all over the place as the bore is larger than it was. I think it must be a .312 instead of .308. I haven't slugged it yet. But as I don't have any reloading components it matters not. I'll just dirty it up a little and let it tighten up.

I hate spam cans too, but a grinder works well on them, if you are very careful.

Grumpyunk said...

The MoJo Sights and Huber trigger make the Mosin a real nice rifle to shoot.

Of course you are tripling the cost of the rifle by doing this, but it's still only about $250-$300 total when done and can be done piecemeal as you get it.

Because I'm a wimp. I added a slip on recoil pad to each of mine too. It helps a lot and extends the stock out a bit more for my long arms.

tom said...

My Enfield Musket "works", I'm not fighting a modern army with that one either by choice. I'd rather have my bows over "volley fire" oriented weaponry.

Lipstick and pigs Lipstick and pigs I'm gonna get me a Lipsticked up pig.

Some "survivalists/threepers" confuse the fAck out of me with what they consider good investment choices for survivalism in a hostile environment and possible war/mad max days scenario in the US coming soon to a roadblock near you.

This may be shocking news to some of you, but there has been considerable improvement in firearms technology since the 1880s.

As to action strength, the two strongest actions out of WW II era service and some of the strongest issue actions of all time are the Arisaka and the Garand.

Why aren't people buying up old Arisakas (earlier production before their steel supply went to hell about 1943/44)? They're better/stronger rifles than Moseying Maggots and you can't hardly give one away to people.

People are weird.

tom said...

I have a question I might like to have replied to here.

The Israelis in the 1948 War used whatever they could get their hands on out of necessity. Same in many other conflicts.

As US Citizens, contrary to the emotional feeling that all the gun laws suck, which they do, it is possible to buy pretty much any firearms one might wish to own as well as ammunition of merit, reamers, dies, presses, powders, bullets and molds, optics of all kinds, irons sights of all kinds and shooting irons of all kinds, semi or full auto/select fire (real BARs are full in both selections, it's just different cyclic rates in case anyone forgot that), bolt, lever, falling or swing block, farquharsons, artillery breeched designs, black powder cartridge and breech and muzzle loading all the way back to matchlocks. We live in the most free country in the civilized western world regarding purchasing arms, armaments, ammo, and related kit. Britains feel like kids in a candy store when they move here.

On the same tangent, you can go to a walmart or your local gun shop and buy for not much more than the price of a nag, a proper modern rifle.

What is the fetish with being penny wise and pound foolish? Is it because everybody got C&R licenses and think they're getting good deals, (y'all aren't, if you saw what these things come in the US for at wholesale you might cry bloody murder)?

Unless you believe there are going to be ComBloc troops in a war in this country to get ammo off of when your's runs out, you may as well buy cricket bats and fix bayonets on them.

It all seems quite farcical to me. It's like anti logistical anti-survivalism instincts of the weirdest order.

I own a lot of rifles for historical purposes from that era and before, though not much in the way of naggers because I don't like them, worked on SKSs and AKs, don't like them either but know how they all come apart and go back together and how to fix and operate them.

In the freest free world civilized state in the world where we have on offer for cheap prices some of the finest arms the world produced and at affordable pricing in NATO chamberings, what's up with the fetishists?

Is the idea to pick a "Restoration War Fight" with intent to LOSE because of stupid logistical ideas?"

Tactics are important.
Strategy is important.
Timing is important. LOGISTICS WIN WARS.

I hope we stay a united front in pointing out the III shall not allow themselves to be pushed any further into a corner and avoid any conflict but rather start backing them up by showing strength of determination rather than bloodshed because all bloodshed is ugly, though sometimes needed.

I also hope that if people are serious about being prepared to put up a reasonable show of force if at some future date it is required, they follow the rules of Roger's Rangers not antique rifle fetishist rules and people plan on and endeavor in logistical commonalities to make chances of success higher rather than lower.

Oddly, it seems many of the people chomping at the bit for the Feds to fire the first shot or step over a line into a "Restoration War" have little to no idea how to fight such an animal except on a basic small unit tactical level. Smart NCOs in the line are important but some decisions are better left to people higher up the command chain.....

tom said...

...As to Logistics, what are the plans?

Gonna go with "run what you brung" and let each individual decide and have platoons that have no ammo commonality?

Say you narrow the list to common chamberings:

7.62 NATO
8mm and 7mm Mauser
6.5 Grendel
6.8 SPC
.30 Carbine
.50 BMG
Misc. Lapuas
.30-30 and .45-70
.300 WinnieMag
Misc. CheyTacs
5.8x42 ChiCom

Let people mix it all up!

Looks like a logistical hell to me. Throw in antique rifles that, this one shocked me, people are willing to buy with their cruffler licenses (which registers them with the ATF to get the good deals on ComBloc surplus). And then throw more money at the Antiques, that shoot minute of torso on a good day, than it would cost to buy a nice off the shelf modern bolt or semi rifle of common usage and many the spare parts available for a hundred bucks more.

It really shocked me when on my 22mm muzzle brake/launcher poll, clicking occurred on the "would be willing to spend more than 100 dollars to have such an item" button for 70 dollar rifles.

I'm going to keep beating this one like a soon to be dead horse until somebody explains the appeal of preparing to fail.

Is it that they are super cheap compared to other things so more people will have rifles? A ploy to increase numbers for people that have chosen not to budget for a proper battle rifle and want to buy one dirt cheap even if it's not a particularly nice thing to own or shoot or do battle with?

I'm really quite puzzled.
Seems defeatist.

Anybody care to 'splain it to me?

straightarrow said...

Atlas Shrug; the most accurate rifle I ever shot was an M59. It was in horrible shape when I got it. I reworked as a birthday present for my son-in-law. It is now beautiful but the barrel has to be from the latter stages of WWII. From the side it looks like all thread rod. The machining is that poor. However, one can emasculate a fly with it at 100 yards and kill coyotes at way more than that.I bought it with the idea of giving it away, but nearly cried when I did so.

My son-in-law has a plethora of firearms. But after he used the gun one time he called me and raved about how well this one shot. And about its knockdown power.

I would like to have another m59 for myself, but alas, I do not. Although I own four MN's none of them are 59's

Anonymous said...

RE: loading your ammo preparing to bugging out, or buying a large supply at your local gun show. Buy a $40 large-wheel hand truck/2-wheel dolly. Get one with the tubeless no-flat tires. You will be amazed at how quickly you can move heavy loads over fairly rough going, including up/down the steps out to your truck. The key is getting tires at least 10" in diameter - don't get one with little bitty caster wheels. If you aren't planning on using it for your business, a cheap Chinese one from Harbor Freight works well.

Anonymous said...

I bought my MN for bartering. If times get hard, any gun will be worth it's weight in gold, but sometimes you will only be offered silver, the MN is a small change gun.

straightarrow said...

My MN's are mostly because I love the history of them. None of them would be the rifle I would take into battle,as I have at least 3better MBR's to choose from.

With the exception of the M59 that I commented about earlier, they are all moderately accurate, but no contest winners. The M59 is a tack driver, that is why I so hated to get rid of it, but I had bought it as a gift for someone and reworked it. The accuracy thing was inherent in the rifle, not anything I did.

I refurbished one of my 91/30's just for appearance's sake, It cleaned up very well and is beautiful. One of the things I didn't do, was pull the blood out of the wood. Some Russian soldier most probably bled out on that rifle after defending Mother Russia with his life. While no admirer of Russia, I have respect for warriors in defense of their homes and did not want to erase the sign of that unknown man's or woman's (Russia after all) dedication to his home, family, etc. Even though under the right circumstances I could see myself being the one to shoot him/her. thankfully those circumstances never occurred.

I really like the Mausers, but will not own one. Purely an emotional and irrational response to Nazi Germany, but I cannot defeat it. As irrational as that is, I see a difference between military of WWII Germany and the illiterate farm boys of the Soviet army. Though neither government was better than the other.

I do own arms of other participants of WWII, but no Japanese either. They can shove their chrysantemums up their asses. Don't care for the guns and the ammo is practically non-existent.