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8x58R Danish Load Data for Swedish rolling block rifles
Cartridges of the World by Barnes shows incorrect Norma factory load data and grossly excessive handload data for 8x58R Danish in the application of the m/1889 Swedish rolling block rifle.
There has recently been published some data for the 8x58R Danish for use in the 1889 Swedish rolling block rifle that far exceeds safe load levels. In most cases these mentioned load levels exceed .30-06 load data and we must ask if they exceed the listed chamber pressures as shown in Lyman 47th Edition Reloading manual. Considering the level loaded by Norma Precision AB was in the neighborhood of 28,000 psi and the recently published data suggests pressures in the range of 48,000 to 50,000 psi we must be very concerned in this matter.
The following data and information comes from the technical department of Norma Precision AB in Sweden.
In loading data of 30+ years ago the Norma reloading manual listed three bullet weights along with velocity and chamber pressure in psi and BAR. These loads were considered by Norma to be safe for the 1889 rolling block in 8x58R. All the information presented here conforms to these bullet weights and velocities. As the powder used by the Norma data 30+ years ago is now different I won’t include that particular powder.
159 gr at 2,477 fps for 28,660 psi
196 gr at 2,231 fps for 26,460 psi
198 gr at 2,296 fps for 28,080 psi
The tech department at Norma also sent me data from the Norwegian Vapenjournalens Ladeboken with data specifically developed for the 1889 Swedish rolling block. This more recent information coupled with the older Norma data shows a clear and consistent velocity range obtained with specific bullet weights. This late data has no chamber pressure readings which emphasizes the focus of bullet weight and velocity obtained with a specific burn rate powder.
This first text is the preface translated from Swedish:
The Danish military cartridge of 1889 is not a common
sight today. The Danish Krag Jörgensen rifle is rarely
used today, but the cartridge was chambered also in
Danish, Swedish and Norwegian Remington rolling block
rifles, and these are stumbled upon fairly regularly. Some
people like to shoot these old rifles, so therefore we
have included loading data for it.
Originally the cartridge was loaded with a compressed
black powder charge, awaiting the final development of
the smokeless powders. The first military cartridge had
a 14,7 g roundnose bullet, loaded to a V0 of about
485 m/s. In later smokeless loads the velocity was
increased to 620 m/s using the same bullet.
In 1908 the Danes went over to the so called "spidsskarp",
a cartridge loaded with a 12,7 g spitzer bullet where the
velocity was a claimed 750 m/s. The experience with this
cartridge was, however, that it was too powerful for the
rolling block rifles, and a reduced charge load using the
Dane bullet was developed for these rifles.
Until the 1960's, Norma made a factory load in 8x58RD
using a 12,7 g soft point and a claimed velocity of 680 m/s,
with respect due to the many rolling block rifles being used
for hunting in Sweden. Norma also made a batch of M1908
spidsskarp (spitzer) for Denmark, using these same figures.
The loads presented here are being held to the same
levels, and can be used in both Krag-Jörgensen and
rolling block rifles. Original cases uses Berdan primers,
but new boxer primed cases are available from Bertram.
Loading dies are available from RCBS.
Next is the technical data of the test weapon and comparison loads.
Pay attention to the two factory loads.
Test weapon; Carl Gustaf Remington Rolling Block 1872/93
(m/1867-89 converted in 1893. Obviously a military rifle, but no further
clues to whether sporterized or original. Barrel length suggests the
Barrel length - 85 cm / 33"
Rifling twist - 1-9 ½" / 1- 241 mm
Rifling dia. - .323" / 8,20 mm
Case - Bertram
Primer - Remington 9 ½
Maximum case length - 58,0 mm
Trim-to length - 57,8 mm
Factory ammunition chronographed in test weapon -
--Norma 12,7 g (196 gr) Alaska 2,234 fps / 681 ms -
--Norma manufactured M1908 Spidsskarp (spitzer)
(D Mantel type bullet) 12,7 g 2,283 fps / 696 ms
(Bracketed comments by the translator)
The actual load data from Vapenjournalens Ladeboken:
196 grain Sellier & Bellot soft point bullet .323" diameter:
Norma N135 43 grains 2,196 feet per second
44 grains 2,244 feet per second
Norma N140 45 grains 2,144 feet per second
46 grains 2,230 feet per second
Cartridges of the World by Barnes has long been used as a source of information and as such it’s a fine reference. But COTW is not a loading manual with a laboratory behind it nor is any of the load data referenced to anyone or anyplace to check the veracity of the data. Clearly their inclusion of Norma factory load velocities is wholly incorrect as cited by the above chronographed loads from verified sources and supplied to me by the technical department of Norma Precision AB.
As an added note-- There was recently a rolling block failure in Sweden that resulted in the death of the shooter. The receiver came apart. I don't have the details yet. It may have been a 1867 rifle in 12,7x44R but I'm not sure. Rolling block rifles are not unbreakable.
Swedish Mausers 1894 & 1896
Swedish rolling blocks 1867 & 1889
Siskiyou County, California
Reseda HS Class of W'70 SFV