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I was considering getting a 7.62x54R conversion kit to use in my transferable 1919. However, I got some feedback from a very reputable source that I might want to reconsider that decision because some people have experienced blow outs with 7.62x54R cartridge. As I understand it the 7.62x54R cartridge is very thin walled towards the based and this can result in periodic case blow outs when used in the 1919 because the very last 0.1" or so of the cartridge is not supported by the barrell like it is in other firearms using the 7.62x54R cartridge,and the cartridge wall alone is not strong enough to support the pressure. The .308, 30-06 and 8mm cartridges supposedly do not have this issue because the cartridge walls are thicker.

Not saying I don't believe the source, its just the first time I've heard this and I was wondering if anybody has any first hand stories to tell. Searching through the forum I can't seem to find any reports of issues with cases blowing out in the 7.62x54R kits. Does anybody have any experience with more than 1,000 rounds through their 7.62x54R kits? Any issues with cases exploding and sending shrapnel flying or blowing the top cover open?
 

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I really need to make a sticky on this

Couple of things first. Barrels should be chambered ammo lot specific. If you change country of origin or year of manufacture you need to have the barrel checked with the new lot of ammo. (I offer free chamber adjustments, you only pay shipping)

54R ammo is manufactured to different tolerances than we are used to. Because it headspaces on the rim typical barrels are chambered a little deep and the cases fire form. This allows the tolerance on the shoulders to be loose and not set to a specific angle.
What we are doing in the conversion is making the ammo headspace off the shoulder.

Here's a pic showing case shoulder and web thickness variations.
54R ammo sectioned.JPG

The only way you get a blow out on my 54r conversions is when the case head sticks out of the back of the barrel more than 0.130" because of case shoulder variations or you try to run with more than 1 "click" out on headspace. I will also add using a standard headspace gage. Headspace is set with the breeching method and the parts out of the gun.

I do have a fixed headspace design that works and solves the possible problem. I am making the first sets now.
I'm 3 months behind on the launch of it due to wife's ongoing health issues.

Troy
 

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> 2,000 rds, no case "blow-outs"

I love my 54R kit. I have experienced a few case separations in my first range trip (I was afraid to over-tighten headspace since I grew up headspacing with rimless cartridges), but nothing like a "blow-out". My biggest issues with "dialing in" the kit had to do with things that were not in the kit's instructions, but passed on to me by the manufacturer in a timely manner (Troy has never taken more than a day or two to get back to me via email):
1. Adjusting the front cartridge spacer to allow for more space between the front of the projectile and the spacer to allow for smoother function
2. Adjusting the barrel extension by rounding off one corner to allow for smooth feeding
3. Purchasing a new, increased tension firing pin spring from Zap to really nail those tough Combloc primers from hell

The last time I went out, I had 0 case seperations and only had 2 occassions where the belt did not properly advance the next cartridge and needed to merely re-charge the weapon. Otherwise, long bursts, short burts were just fine. I actually prefer to fire my 1919 in 54R, it is slightly slower than .308 in rate of fire, gives off big ol' fireballs from the muzzle and is a lot cheaper for just kickin' up dirt for a good time.

I bought a cheap depth gauge from amazon for $19.99 and use it to check the cartidge seating depths before loading up any spam can of 54R. I had Troy cut me 2 barrels and between the 2 of them, they take care of any silver tip, bulgarian, steel cased or brass cased ammo I have found.... you just need to stay in the "sweet spot" of the cartridge base protrusion from the barrel and run it more tightly headspaced generally than .308.

I like the 54R product so much that I just bought the X39 conversion. Hit me up via IM if you would like any pictures of the kit or mods I made, or headspacing practices that make my range days just downright awesome!
 

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I dont have nearly as many rounds through my conversion, but being the lazy ass I am I took a bag of left over light primer hit/ ejected/ laying around 54R ammo from other guns and linked it up for the Browning. Pretty much a mixed lot of Brass, steel, whatever. Ran through the gun no problem, even most of the light primer hit ammo went bang, and no booms. I know Troy says "ammo specific" but I had to try it. I have not seen any bulged cases either. I run my head space tight. I guess it really depends on how much you want to spend for ammo, and how much you plan to shoot. I only did the conversion because I was sitting on pallets of 54R, and wanted as many guns as possible to shoot it.
 

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Boy I don't know how your F/A guys do it. I have a semi 1919a4 converted by Troy. While I DO love it, even at semi-auto rates, I have gone through 3 sears, a new bolt and several other small "springs and things". with mine. I can't imagine how quickly things would wear out on FA.
 

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Boy I don't know how your F/A guys do it. I have a semi 1919a4 converted by Troy. While I DO love it, even at semi-auto rates, I have gone through 3 sears, a new bolt and several other small "springs and things". with mine. I can't imagine how quickly things would wear out on FA.
Huh. I have post sample 1919s that have never broken anything, worn out barrels, but never broke a single component in 80,000 rds. I know this because I bought 80,000 rds of that hot chilean 308 back in the old days, with a promise ( signed ) we would not sell any. Paid .03/rd for it in a semi load. It all went down range through the postie 1919A4 I built as a test bed gun for a run of post sample guns we did in the 90s. I fired off the last of the ammo last summer at OFASTS. I wore out several barrels - probably 4-5. Now I have had a few OOBs in my 8mm gun, and those barrels seem to wear out faster. I fired one to a smooth bore in about 5,000 really hard rounds in one weekend.
 

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Huh. I have post sample 1919s that have never broken anything, worn out barrels, but never broke a single component in 80,000 rds. I know this because I bought 80,000 rds of that hot chilean 308 back in the old days, with a promise ( signed ) we would not sell any. Paid .03/rd for it in a semi load. It all went down range through the postie 1919A4 I built as a test bed gun for a run of post sample guns we did in the 90s. I fired off the last of the ammo last summer at OFASTS. I wore out several barrels - probably 4-5. Now I have had a few OOBs in my 8mm gun, and those barrels seem to wear out faster. I fired one to a smooth bore in about 5,000 really hard rounds in one weekend.
Same here as far as no parts breaking, just wearing out barrels. Mostly the commercial 8mm ones seem to wear out between 5-7000 depending on how heavy you are on the trigger. I bought 175,000 Portugese 8mm for .045 delivered, still have some of it.
 

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Huh. I have post sample 1919s that have never broken anything, worn out barrels, but never broke a single component in 80,000 rds. I know this because I bought 80,000 rds of that hot chilean 308 back in the old days, with a promise ( signed ) we would not sell any. Paid .03/rd for it in a semi load. It all went down range through the postie 1919A4 I built as a test bed gun for a run of post sample guns we did in the 90s. I fired off the last of the ammo last summer at OFASTS. I wore out several barrels - probably 4-5. Now I have had a few OOBs in my 8mm gun, and those barrels seem to wear out faster. I fired one to a smooth bore in about 5,000 really hard rounds in one weekend.
Well, I don't know what I am doing wrong! Broken bolt T-slot, several broken sears (I DID fix that with a notch in the back of the barrel extension) had to fix the trigger wire part, already worn out one barrel with 8-10K on it. Also replaced the flat spring on the top cover.
 

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I have shot many thousands of rounds of 54R after I got the conversion by Troy. I run .308 links and lube them with WD40. It took some tweaking especially with the front cartridge guide [I polished mine for better feeding] . I run mine no more than 1 click out and have my timing set a little late. By far it is my favorite caliber to shoot, I love the fireballs. The only drawback I have found is that 54R prices have gone up so its not quite as economical to shoot as it used to be but its still cheaper than anything else. I posted a link earlier about shooting in 4 different calibers. I will post again. If you have any doubts check it out. https://youtu.be/9eqVMjyZZAI The 54R is the last caliber I shot, it was a 200rd belt. It got quite hot at the end and the headspacing tightened up a bit and the last few rounds didn't run as well. With 100rd belts its not an issue. As Troy mentioned it is VERY important to make sure that a particular lot# of ammo is compatible with the barrel depth. I made a gauge to make it easier for me to check how the bullet sets in the chamber with all the different lot #s I have. BTW I had it out 2wks ago and was running it in 30.06, it didn't run well in the video and I wanted to sort it out and I got it running really good and I had a case separation so anything is possible. Thank God for the extraction tool I bought. good luck with your decision. If you choose not to convert that just means there will be more 54R for the rest of us..............:)
 

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"I was wondering if anybody has any first hand stories to tell. Searching through the forum I can't seem to find any reports of issues with cases blowing out in the 7.62x54R kits. Does anybody have any experience with more than 1,000 rounds through their 7.62x54R kits? Any issues with cases exploding and sending shrapnel flying or blowing the top cover open?"

I have a "few thou" rnds thru my 54R sideplate + Izzy build gun with Troy's mods. No Kabooms at all. I occasionally got stoppages due to feed issues due to not smoothing out that corner he talks about, too tight HS, or not perfectly set depth of linked ammo (very important). I'm still learning the 1919 system and tend to be repeatedly forgetful about the required details bc the 1919 doesnt come out as often as I'd like it to and I'm always tinkering with several other MG projects.

That said...I'm pleased with the 54R kit. No doubt. And I'd kill for a fixed HS setup!

HH
 

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I've had a few "blowouts" (cartridge separations) in my 54R. early on before I got it running right. Not really attributable to the 54R particularly. You can run any caliber too lose and have that. Just carry a broken shell extractor with you (along with a cleaning rod and hammer).
 
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