Loading the Tokarev

For many cheap ammo is the sole attraction of the Tokarev cartridge, whether fired from CZ52, TT, or 1911.  Unfortunately, the supply of truly cheap surplus seems to be gone.  Even my Tok’11 is firing more 9mm than 7.62mm these days.  So I have started working up high performance hand loads with quality projectiles.

There are few readily available bullets which are directly compatible with the Tokarev, a true 30 caliber handgun cartridge. The bullets that are available are expensive and of basic designs; FMJ, Soft Points, and half jacketed. Nothing the modern pistolero would brag about shooting. So where are my quality projectiles coming from?

There are a number of popular .32 caliber pistol and revolver cartridges, one of which is the .327 Federal cartridge.  The .327 Fed produces velocities similar to the Tokarev.  This means that bullets like Speer’s 100gr Gold Dot, introduced for the .327, will be a perfect fit ballistically with the 7.62x25mm.  If you are going to be paying close to twenty dollars per hundred bullets, you might as well be getting the best technology you can.

Luckily .32 caliber pistol bullets are not .320″ in diameter, they come in at .312″.  This is four thousandths of an inch oversize for the .308″ groove of the 7.62x25mm.  It is a simple process to size these bullets down to .308″ diameter with a Lee Lube Size Die.

I have worked up loads with Rainier 100 grain Plated, Speer 60 and 100 grain Gold Dots, as well as Hornady 85 and 100 grain XTPs, all of which were size down to .308″ from their nominal .312″ diameter.  I have loaded all of these to 1.250″ or less over all length.  This OAL makes the Tok’ 100% compatible with the 1911 platform.  Loading magazines is no longer an issue.  The location of the cannelure, on the three bullets with them, coincides perfectly with this OAL.  Which is good, because on a bottle necked pistol cartridge with a short neck you need a good crimp.

The most numerically exciting bullet to date has been the 60gr Gold Dot designed for the .32ACP.  I have pushed these little pills well past 1900fps from my 1911.  Unfortunately, the bullet seems overwhelmed at that velocity and accuracy with them has been lack luster.

On the other hand, the 85gr XTP, 100gr XTP, and 100gr Gold Dot have shown real promise.  Offering both great accuracy and velocity potential.

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One Response to Loading the Tokarev

  1. Wayne Smith says:

    I am glad you found the 32 cal, in the early 1990’s not a lot was available, so I used the Hornady in 32 cal for all my reloads. My CZ52 loved then on .309 inch, at 1500 fps. I used mostly Red Dot then.

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