CARTRIDGE DEVELOPMENT AND FORMING
BY DOUG BOWSER
When I was a partner in the Great Southern Arms Gunshop, we were able to purchase several 7.62x25mm Soviet Block Pistols. Ammunition was readily available for these pistols in the form of surplus ammo from several different countries. We bought Chinese Tokarev and Czech CZ-52 Pistols. Chinese pistol ammo was loaded to 1490 fps. It functioned well in the Tokarev and CZ-52 Pistols. We were able to buy a case of Czech sub-machinegun ammunition. This ammo is loaded to higher velocity and pressure than normal 7.62x25mm ammo. The CZ-52 pistol was designed to be used with the sub-machinegun ammo. The chronograph told us the Czech ammo had a velocity of 1680 fps. Even though the bullet weighed a scant 100 grains this ammo gave the impression of firing a .45 ACP. This round has great penetrating power. It would penetrate a 10” creosote pole with power to spare. We also scrounged up an old bullet proof vest and strapped it to a bag of redi-mix concrete. It penetrated the vest and the bag of concrete. It stopped before penetrating the back of the vest.
At the same time we bought 10 Mauser semi-auto pistols from Cheng’s of Atlanta. Five of them were 1896 models and 5 were bolo style. Six of these pistols had horrible bores. We shipped them to Michael’s Gunsmiths in Oregon and had them relined. When these pistols returned, the job was so good you could not see the liner in the bore’s muzzle. We had a few rounds of 7.63mm Mauser ammo and the pistols functioned perfectly and were very accurate. At that time 7.63mm Mauser ammo was hard to find and very expensive. You should never use 7.62x25mm Tokarev ammo in a Mauser 96 or bolo pistol. The use of this ammo will destroy the Mauser pistols. I decided to try and form some 7.63mm reloadable brass. The only case that is close is the .223 Remington. I trimmed 100 of the .223 cases and ran them into a 7.62/7.63 full length sizing die. I neck expanded and loaded Unique powder with a 100 gr Hornady half jacketed bullet. I tried 2 different bullet seating depths and the both functioned well and were accurate. The velocity was kept down to 1300 feet per second.
This goes to show that shooters will usually find a way to shoot firearms that are chambered for obsolete rounds. Today, it is far easier and cheaper to buy 7.63 Mauser ammo than it was in 1993. Fiocchi is manufacturing calibers such as 7.63mm Mauser, 7.62x34r Nagant, .455 Webley, 8mm Roth, 9mm Steyr, 10.3 Italian revolver and many other rounds that were nearly impossible to buy in shooting quantities.