Tips for reloading for Relined or Re-barreled Broomhandles
Pretty well any C96 or M1930 Broomhandle Mauser you are likely to encounter is going to have some combination of three problems - which effect its use as a shooter:
1. The various springs will have become underpowered
2. The section of the upper behind the hole for the bolt stop will have become peened back, leaving a hump on the rear right end of the upper and
3. The bore and chamber will have been damaged by repeated use of corrosive ammo and ineffective cleaning (if any).
The problem with soft springs is easily corrected by purchasing a replacement spring kit made by Wolf and easily imported into Canada from Brownells.
Any significant peening damage to the upper - behind the hole for the bolt stop - has to be corrected; as this will accelerate bolt stop breakage and will mean that the bolt doesn’t close to its original, fully-closed position – creating headspace problems and impeding the full locking of the bolt. This problem is common in guns that come from China which have been shot a lot with hot ammo and weak springs - see http://forums.gunboards.com/showthread.php?390876-C96-Mauser-shooter-or-wall-hangar.
Relining will result in the pistol regaining a bore and chamber that matches factory-original specs.
Surprisingly, in many C96 survivor pistols the chamber is more damaged than the rifling. Guns get that way when people just run a wire brush or patch in from the muzzle after shooting corrosive ammo. This approach does zero to clean the chamber and may actually move some extra corrosive salts in there. Often brass shot in guns with oversized chambers will split down the neck and even get radial (sideways) splits, in the shoulder area.
Once your C96 is relined, you can pretty well throw away any of the brass you used in it before the reline – as this brass will all have oversized heads. Full length resizing of this brass from use before the reline won’t correct for these oversized heads – because full length dies hardly ever resized, or even touch, the head area of cases.
If you are committed to reusing your boxer primed cases – originally shot in the non-relined C96 – after it has been relined, you can try resizing the heads using a 38 auto/ 38 super sizing die and or running the old cases through a Lee Bulge Buster die set-up. The latter has to be bought in two parts – the Bulge Buster kit itself and a Lee 9MM Makarov Factory crimp die (not 9mm Luger or 762x25/ 763x25mm Lee Factory crimp die). see https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=uk-x9bN5Ueg. This, of course, is a one-time fix. Once your oversized brass is returned to original head size spec, you will only need to use your standard 7.63x25 dies for any later reloading.
Make sure all brass is no longer than .990. If it is shorter than that, your reliability will go up and you will also have the option of shooting loads in your Tokarev TT-33 or other 762x25 gun (which have slightly shorter chambers than the average C96). Of course, you can shoot standard 7.63x25 loads in a 7.62x25 gun - as long as the brass is a bit less than .990 in length – but shooting full house factory or surplus 7.62x25 ammo in a C96 is not a good idea (how many zillion times have you read that!).
Pulling 7.62x25 surplus ammo apart with a collet type bullet puller and reusing the projectiles and powder (in a quality less than the original load) is a crazy cheap way to source reloading components for you C96. Forget those hammer-type, kinetic bullet pullers for this operation. The power and projectiles from a 48 round box of surplus ammo costs you CAN$6-9. While a box of 100 Hornady projectiles cost around CAN$30.
Otherwise, you can buy 1000 Campro 32 cal 85 gr. plated bullets for about CAN $100 and resize these to .308 with a cheap Lee Bullet Sizing kit.
Most 7.63x25 die sets don’t include a proper expander ball set-up. You need one or your bullets will bulge the undersized neck during the seating operation. That bulge will keep your rounds from going into a relined chamber. You need to neck expand after the initial resize. I use a 38 auto/ 38 Super die with a 30-06 expander ball in it (in station two of my progressive press) to open the case neck up to .308 before powdering and bullet seating operations. An RCBS .308 Win sizing die would also do the trick.
Starline brass in either 7.63x25 or 7.62x25 is great way to go. Otherwise the recovered boxer-primed brass from 7.63x25 or 7.62x25 factory ammo will work fine for reloading for your relined C96. Trying to make 7.63x25 from .223 cases is stupid. It is time consuming and results in cases with undersized rims, undersized heads and excessive wall thickness – leading to limited internal case capacity. If you had that much free time on your hands - and access to a mini lathe - you’re better off making C96 reloadable cases from 38 Special brass or unfired star crimped surplus blanks.
Don’t assume that all factory ammo will fit a relined C96. Modern stuff (Like Fiocchi and Privi) should be fine but I have a hundred or so antique rounds - and the ones made by “WRA” and “UMC” are way off SAAMI dimensions.
Given all of the above, I’d shoot-off all my old oversized, 7.63x25 reloads – made-up for my out-of-spec C96 - before getting the relining work done.
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