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 Need advice on a 7.62x54 Battle Rifle
Keib  [Team Member]
6/21/2012 7:45:12 AM EDT
I have been commiserating over options in 7.62x51 for a couple years now. M1A's, Scar, FNAR, Fal, PTR, AR10, etc.

Ammo expense is killing it for me. I like to shoot the hell out of my guns and feeding a x51 would hammer me.

I own a couple wasr 10's, fist full of Mosins and a Saiga 12. While I'm not entirely fond of the "feel" of commie guns, I need to add a thumper to the battery. Sub $.20 ammo is compelling.

Long range accuracy isn't crucial in my AO. I have to go out of my way to find a shot beyond 400 yards.

This forum is replete with Vepr threads. Are there other options that fit the bill here?

The only thing I'd be inclined to add to the gun is an aimpoint or a 1x4.

Thanks in advance.
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1IV  [Team Member]
6/21/2012 8:19:42 AM EDT
You get what you pay for.

That recent vepr review on this site is amazing at 100yds.
Vepr x54r

Get the vepr if you want a precision rig.

PSL rifles are hit and miss. Furniture is horrible for big guys. After market furniture is vaporware or expensive. I have a mut that shot well cold but opened up after 5 rounds. Hot it was shooting 24 inch (groups of 10) at 300. Not acceptable.

I cut the barrel. That stopped the vertical stringing. And it now shoots 6-8 inch groups at 300. That's good enuf.
I throw the cheap stuff. Russian, Romanian, Bulgy, Etc. I've found it shoots better after the rounds are uniformly seated. Even better if you pull the projectiles, resift the left over powder, and reseat a HP 150gr Siera to its creneleture. Those shoot MOA. WPA 150gr soft points shoot that well too.

I bought the gun for $650 sold the 4x for $120. I've managed to keep my investments in it low. it is reliable.

Mags are now $45 ... And hard to find.

The fantasy is that these are Precision Rifles. I've come to believe they are just big AKs.

maxxmojo  [Member]
6/21/2012 10:01:38 AM EDT
About your only options are Vepr's or PSL's. You can keep an eye out for a Waffen Works 54R but I haven't seen one for sale on any boards for a while. Keep in mind that you're probably not going to find any magazines that'll hold more than 10 rounds, for some people that'd be a deal breaker for a MBR.
Liquidmetal  [Team Member]
6/21/2012 10:44:06 AM EDT

Originally Posted By maxxmojo:

About your only options are Vepr's or PSL's.

And one completely out-classes the other. The only potential negative about the Vepr is the single stacked mags, which some care about and others don't.
vladgris  [Member]
6/21/2012 6:35:32 PM EDT
At first, have to say SORRY FOR my English! I'm newbie on this forum - joined couple days ago.So ...
There are 2 VEPRs - 20" and 23" barrels. I got 23". Nice carbine, well made, good finish. I just had to do some trigger job (polishing). Very strong recoil that's why I'm in middle of trying to put muzzle brake on it. Equipped with Vortex 4X16 scope - nice scope, clear optic and affordable. I shoot with surplus ammo -russian/bulgarian 147 gr BT bullet. Nice and clean ammo, slightly corrosive and pretty accurate (2'' group 100y). But Yugo heavy ball 182 gr BT brass case making 1" group/100y /scoped. I can make with this ammo with my Mosin 91/30 iron sights/muzzle brake at 300y 3" grouping. I love this ammo - but it's corrosive - have to clean immediately after shooting (usually at the range).
Have to say, this rifle design to use steel cased ammo, not brass. Yugo shoots good, but other brass cased like Chinese or Bulgarian (Itried them) not a option for VEPR. More over if you got intention to do reloading for VEPR - forget it! Brass coming out very dented (I don't know how to "attach" the pictures or video, I'd like to show). So, 7.62X54R very good/reliable cartridge, cheap surplus $0.20/r, but not so many guns for that caliber in US - Mosins, Finns and Vepr!
I love to shoot and that is why I stick with cheap ammo calibers - 5.45X39, 0.22LR, 7.62X54R.

Keib  [Team Member]
6/22/2012 6:09:01 AM EDT
Gentlemen – I appreciate your thoughts. I watched the video on the atlantic arms site last week. This one. It gave a nice run-down of the features of the rifle. The guy that made the video vaguely suggested modification was possible to accept 20 round mags. Although, I’d prefer increased reliability over capacity. Decent display of accuracy in the video too.

I don’t think 10 rounds is a deal breaker, but I’m already jonny-molasses on AK mag changes.

How is the trigger out of the box? Video states 5.5#. Clean break? My wasrs are abhorrent – rather spongy.

Vlad – Welcome to the site. Don’t be shy about clumsy English. Folks in the tech forums welcome good information in whatever form. And your writing is superior to what we often see in general discussion. I’d be happy with minute-of-grapefruit to 200 yards. If you’re getting 1 moa out of a mosin, I need to get you on my range.

Part of me is tired of looking at all the spam cans for the mosins – I think its time to hunt a Vepr. Oh - if we're talking < 400 yard shooting, any reason NOT to go with the 20"?

Thanks again!


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Hilljack  [Team Member]
6/22/2012 10:05:06 AM EDT
After shooting my Vepr for a while, I think the trigger was around 4.5 pounds and reasonably smooth.
JTR  [Member]
6/22/2012 12:51:27 PM EDT
[quote– I think its time to hunt a Vepr. Oh - if we're talking < 400 yard shooting, any reason NOT to go with the 20"?

Thanks again!


No. Many 7.62mm long range / precision service rifles have 20" barrels (M110/SR-25, LTR etc...) 20" is more than enough to reach out past 800m. Granted Spam-can ammo isn't the most accurate, but you should have no trouble dropping wildlife @400m with the combo. Use the extra 3" for something better, like a PWS brake os something like that. Although carring the rifle through the brush in FL, you might just want to save the 3" altogether. BTW, you can cut the barrel back to 18" with virtually no loss of performace with 147/150 grain service ammo....

topcote  [Member]
6/22/2012 7:43:57 PM EDT
My experience has been less than desirable so far with the current production 54r vepr. First of all don't bother with the PWS brake. I dropped 100.00 bucks on the only one that will fit the 14x1 LH thread (FSC47), with no noticeable difference. Matter of fact, i believe it opened up my groups. My 54r vepr actually is a 16mm to 1, since the famous Molot factory pinned my FSB 2mm back to far on barrel. I had to custom make a washer (spacer) from a ar15 crush washer to take up the slack (space). As far as the trigger goes, my factory trigger (single hook) had a very rough and gritty creep. I did some polishing on mine and this seems to help, but still not happy. Recoil can be quite unnerving on this caliber. Not knowing exactly when it's going to brake is not pleasant. I had my rifle Cerakoted, because of the crappy finish that came on rifle. You CANNOT use any solvent on this veprs without the finish coming off (bore only). Also, I had the FCG coated as well... this helped alot, but still not comfortable with it. Most of this is just probably me due to inexperience with a two stage trigger with this large of caliber. I probably will not be happy till professional match trigger is done on it. Also, extractor failed at 481 rounds, but TGI is taking care of that for now. Vladgris ,,May i ask why you say gun is designed for steel cased ammo? Gentlemen, I am not throwing down on my vepr. I love her. i would probably give up any other gun in the house over my vepr. While my 54r was operational it ran perfect. NOT one malfunction !!! She turns heads at the range. The range officer even puts me all the way down to the last stall because he said " I don't want hear that thing all day long." So, all in all it has been more of a thousand dollar project gun for me. I waiting right now for new extractor and can't wait to some more bench time.
Liquidmetal  [Team Member]
6/23/2012 2:27:03 AM EDT

Originally Posted By topcote:
First of all don't bother with the PWS brake. I dropped 100.00 bucks on the only one that will fit the 14x1 LH thread (FSC47), with no noticeable difference. Matter of fact, i believe it opened up my groups.

My experience with a PWS PRC brake on my .308 Vepr has been the polar opposite. Recoil and muzzle jump were dramatically reduced and it had absolutely no effect on accuracy whatsoever. Very happy with it.
Keib  [Team Member]
6/23/2012 8:49:31 AM EDT
Good stuff guys - I appreciate it.
vladgris  [Member]
6/23/2012 6:23:38 PM EDT
Hi, Topcote! Let's say I meant something different a little bit. I'll guess you'll catch my mind. From my experience with Vepr and brass ammo: 1) from the point of reloading - brass coming out dented, so on my opinion it's not suitable for reloading anymore (I'd like to post some pictures I got but don't know how); 2) nobody can find any Russian made brass cased surplus ammo (although Vepr means RPK platform, so originally design in USSR) just because russians designed that gun keeping in mind steel cartridge, moreover 54R sniper cartridge designed for SVD is steel cased.; 3) other "aftermarkets" like Chinese, Bulgarian, Yugo and other ammo... was made for bolt rifles such as M91/30, M38/39, M44 etc. Rimmed brass pretty soft (rim itself) to use in semi auto guns AK platform just because of bolt/extractor design; ( from my experience with brass ammo with Vepr: the rim of Chinese 148 gr a little bit smaller then standard rim diameter, so problems with shell extracting; Bulgarian 182 gr Yellow Tip - approx-ly 20% jammed at the battery/chamber entrance (I got picture) 5% coming out without primer; Yugo 182 gr - nothing negative except very corrosive, but no FTF/FTE at all and very accurate, feeding/shooting same smooth as copper washed steel cartridges, didn't get any experience with modern Russians 7.62X54R ammo. I love my Vepr too (23" barrel) and it's part of my soul, have to say I got "fatal attraction" to 54R cartridge and it was one of the main reasons I bought it and never regret.
All respect, Topcote! Vlad." /> , ,
vladgris  [Member]
6/23/2012 6:55:08 PM EDT
Hi, Keib! Thanks for invitation to Florida. I love Gun's Law in your state and would like to move in Florida just because of it, but as I heard big shortage with the jobs there. So ... I found online very interesting research about 7.62X54r barrel length/bullet speed ratio made by your "neighbors" in FL . Send me your e-mail and you'll get it. May it'll help to make your choice. Or check this link Effect of Barrel Length on the Muzzle Velocity.
dragunov  [Moderator]
6/24/2012 8:13:17 AM EDT You can post photos on here using that link. Just drag and drop your photo file from your computer to that site, click "start Upload" and then "BB Code" for the link to paste on to this (or any Bulletin Board) forum.
vladgris  [Member]
6/24/2012 8:32:07 AM EDT
Thanks, Dragunov! Now you can see I was talking about.
Keib  [Team Member]
6/24/2012 1:55:25 PM EDT
I just re-read topcote's comment concerning solvent.

Confused here. Is solvent really a no-go? Even if its a quick scrub and oiled after?

And - Hearing the ammo comments from Vlad, I looked at my spam cans. I honestly don't know what I own. 440 count, AIM specials from a few years ago. Markings show "A 99 74 188 BT 63/74 C".

If I want to target surplus that performs well in a Vepr, what exactly do I want. Sealed cans preferred for lonnng term storage. I can live with corrosive. If there's a present deal, share it.

ETA: Is the yugo 182 readily available?
ETA 2: Looks like I have a pile of the 147 grain.
vladgris  [Member]
6/24/2012 2:35:22 PM EDT
Just one place I saw Yugo 182 gr FMJ BT is www. , I checked the but "SOLD OUT". Modern Prvi might be close to the surplus loads, with at least one difference. The new stuff is Boxer primed, non corrosive, and good brass to reload . I use for the ammo search at . And one of the choices is 174 gr FMJ BT. About solvents - depend you use. Mineral spirit, Paint thinner are OK, but Lacquer Thinner, Acetone - NO.
Found right now brass cased Bulgarian at
Another good staff i found at
topcote  [Member]
6/24/2012 5:44:04 PM EDT
Vladgris, thanks for the update on the brass ammo issue. The 54r VEPR definitely dents the middle of casing upon extraction. Reloading is is probably not practical for the vepr. I guess if you had some clean brass you could do it once. Information is slowly coming out on these 54r Veprs. Liquid Metal already stated that they do not have the track record the older .308 has. These various unique problems seem to be inherent to the 54r caliber vepr only. The other caliber veprs .223, x39, 5.45 do not seem to have feed, broken extractor and dented brass problems from what i can gather. As far as the finish coming off, I first noticed it when i put Hoppe's #9 and it turned my rag purple. I even tried some biodegradable, non-flammable Hoppes Elite (some new stuff on the market). I didn't think about paint thinner, the last time i used that was doing Cosmoline removal.

Here's my PWS FSC47 with AR15 washer used as a spacer because the factory pinned my FSB 2mm back on barrel. Minor issue although irritating.

I cannot recommend this brake for the 54r at this time, although i have not done alot of testing with it. i was shooting 5 shot groups with muzzle brake on, of russian surplus silver tip when extractor broke, prior to that, I was shooting with brake off (groups seemed tighter). It wasn't a controlled test so by all means take this with a grain of salt. It just seems that the 54r is a little too much for this fine muzzle device. I found the polish surplus to be very accurate, but none to be found, and considered collectable in some circles. I have a wrapper and a half I'm keeping just to say that i have some. One point I think is most important. No parts are readily available for these rifles. The question i have is What warranty do these rifles have? I have heard everything from 1 year to lifetime warranty.
vladgris  [Member]
6/24/2012 8:19:57 PM EDT
I use for cleaning all my gun (long and hand) KG-12 staff. Works better then others, especially copper remover - safest and very effective. To learn more visit Also I recognized amazing cleaning ability from Du Pont TEFLON MULTI-USE Dry Wax Lubricant (founded in Low's), moreover it leaves thin Teflon layer after wiping out excessive lubricant and as result - smoother action. And for better cleaning and eliminating hand job I use one of my air compressors standing by my work bench - blowing out excessive lubricant it leaves very thin evenly distributed lubricant coat.
By the way, I'm in the middle of putting muzzle brake on my Vepr, parts on the way and I hope i could try it 07.01.12 .
JTR  [Member]
6/25/2012 4:51:04 AM EDT
Bore cleaner is for the bore of a rifle only. -Most of them even say that on the bottle and will jack up any paint type and some blue type finishes. It must be used carefully and in moderation. If you do as I did and let it get on the muzzle of your Vepr, just use some Hoppes Super Blue to re blacken it. Besides, if you use a good cleaner (I use mpro7) you should hardly ever need to clean the bore anyway. -I've run bore cleaner though some of my rifles with thousands of rounds threw them since the last bore cleaner app, and hardly even dirtied a patch....

All Vepr's dent brass (and pretty much any AK, esp in a non x39 rnd) I've actually found the .223 to be worse, WAY worse than what's in the picture or my .308. So, I resize it and load it up, when you shoot it it fireforms the remaining dent out and puts a new one in. Of course when sorting the brass there are some theat get tossed. Mil-Surp brass dents way less than commercial, due to harder brass. As mentioned before, steel hardly dents at all. Also, you can get a ejection port buffer online if you're really concerned about it.

I'm not trying to push any particular muzzle brake, but PWS does sell the FSC30 Custom with a M14x1 thread. Also, the "m14" refers to 14 MM dia, not depth. There are some psudo-standard depths for things, such as 1/2-28 x .400" or 5/8-24 x .500", but the depth varies from MFG to MFG. That's why they make shim kits for timing brakes. The PWS brakes are supposed to come with them, most others you must buy them seperately, either shim kits or crush washers.

Liquidmetal  [Team Member]
6/25/2012 5:05:42 AM EDT

Originally Posted By JTR:

All Vepr's dent brass (and pretty much any AK, esp in a non x39 rnd)

Yes, they do. I get the stereotypical Vepr dent midway on the case with both of my .308s. My M76 (8mm Mauser) is far worse on brass, giving me case dents on the mouth, shoulder, and case body, often all at once. Brass looks like hammered shit coming out of my M76.

topcote  [Member]
6/26/2012 2:17:44 AM EDT
The FSC30 Custom and the PRC from PWS will not work with current production 54r VEPR period. I you have further questions about these great muzzle devices talk to Mr. Stacey Nagy @ Primary Weapons Systems. I have corresponded with him directly concerning these matters. He can be reached @ 208-344-5217 ext 206.
vladgris  [Member]
6/29/2012 6:10:09 PM EDT
If I want to target surplus that performs well in a Vepr, what exactly do I want. Sealed cans preferred for lonnng term storage. I can live with corrosive. If there's a present deal, share it.

ETA: Is the yugo 182 readily available?
ETA 2: Looks like I have a pile of the 147 grain.

Today I placed the order for crate of Russians Surplus 54R Heavy Ball Yellow Tip 182 gr. made in 1946-1953 from (like to experiment with) 880 rds+$135.00 - cheap! I got pretty consistent groups with 182 gr. bullets both my Mosins and Vepr. Will see ... check it upon delivery!
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