"Real World" testing, for those that gots to know!
Made it up to the range this morning before the rain hit and fired 5 rounds each through the chronograph of three different specimens of 7.62 x39 ammo, through three different barrel length Mini-30's.
I used my Chrony for the test, set 12 feet from the muzzle. I started at 15 feet, but was getting too many error readings so moved it in. 60 degrees, no wind, 5800 feet elevation, etc.
First up was the "Green" stock Mini. Dang, I need to name my Mini's, like Rosetta, Gwendolin, or the like, or at least number them, so I don't have to identify it by the stock it has.
It has a barrel cut to 16 1/4", with a Choate flash hider, and with the stock (big) .100" bushing, throws brass about 12-15 feet, like my other two do with a .060" bushing. So this shorter barrel needs more gas for sure.
First up was the:
PPU ( Privi Partisan) factory 123 grain FMJ
2321 fps. average ( low 2305---high 2338)
Reloads with 123 grain Hornady SST, A2015 powder in a PPU case
2465 fps average ( low 2449---high 2487)
Red Army Standard Russkie 123 grain HP ammo
2742 fps average (low 2727---high 2756)
Gadzooks !! This load is smoking hot, getting into low .308 Winnie range.
But not so consistent in velocity in the other two Mini's, as we shall see.
Next Mini is my wood stocked one, a 17 1/4" barrel and a Choate flash hider as well, and I use a .060" bushing in it.
2366 fps average ( low 2345---high 2388)
My "load" with SST bullet:
2120 fps average ( low 2101---high 2140)
Surprised my Favorite hand load shot so low in this Mini, but in the other two Mini's, velocities were more as expected.
Red Army Standard steel case HP bullet:
2565 fps. average ( low 2429---high 2702)
A lot more variation, but still a high velocity factory load.
And the last Mini has the original length 18.5" barrel, that I threaded and put a Ruger flash hider on. It also likes a .060" bushing, likes Italian food, action movies, and is not shy on first dates. I usually, for lack of a better name, call it the "Grey" Mini, because of the Cerakote color it has.
2375 fps. average ( low 2364---high 2388)
Nice, low spread of velocity, typical of PPU ammo. My groups with it attest to good charges.
SST Hand loads:
2350 fps. average (low 2321---high 2380)
Red Army Standard 123 grain HP:
2584 fps. average (low 2413---high 2756)
Stout load in this Mini as well.
A few loopers, how fast the Red Army stuff was. I shot 15 rounds for the test, and blasted 25 more round of it downrange at steel targets, and had one fail to fire. I have bought several boxes of Red Army before, so out of 100 rounds, one failure, from Mini with the stock firing pins in them.
(I have longer fitted ones stashed away for emergencies).
I noticed the same of the Hornady factory loads with the SST bullet. They are loaded with a steel case to cut down on price so Berdan primed, but I had 98 out of 100 fire fine with stock firing pins. But because of the premium bullet ( and accurate too I can say) it sells for much more than the Red Army Standard. The Hornady is $40 for a 50 round box, but would be excellent for home defense, sane sized deer or hogs or zombie apocalypse.
The Red Army stuff is $5.99 for 20 rounds. So there is better stuff than Tula to blast and plink with ! Much better reliability than the Tula I've shot.
If I ever need to shoot ANY Russian ammo on a regular basis I'll slip in my longer aftermarket pins I fitted, for 100% ignition reliability.
In a different format to more easily compare differences in barrel length, here they are:
----16.25" barrel------------------17.25" barrel-------------18.5" barrel----
PPU Fact. FMJ 2321 fps. PPU Fact. FMJ 2366 fps. PPU Fact FMJ 2375 fps.
- --- 16.25" barrel-----------------17.25" barrel-------------18.5" barrel-----
SST handload 2465 fps. SST handload 2120 fps. SST handload 2350 fps.
----16.25" barrel------------------17.25" barrel--------------18.5" barrel----
Red Army HP 2742 fps. Red Army HP 2565 fps. Red Army HP 2584 fps.
Weird how my Hornady SST hand loads were fastest in the shortest barrel length, and slowest in the mid length barrel.
And how the Red Army Standard Bolshevik ammo was the fastest in the short 161/4 inch Mini as well.
The Mini's tested, plus my 59 year old Marlin Mountie .22 that I wanted to burn a lot of ammo through after the velocity testing of the Mini's:
I have to sneak in another picture of the Marlin Mountie and my 1973 Colt New Frontier .22 sixgun.
I've fired about 700 rounds through them the last couple weekends of spring like weather we've had, and I'm continually impressed with how accurate both are and so well made, definitely a high point of American craftsmanship.