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Sunday, August 19, 2012

Range report .30-30 factory or reloads?

  The past couple of weeks I haven't put much of my own together here. I have been busy developing some loads and playing sighting in some new guns and some other things. I have taken some time to get some data and some photo's. I apologize for slackin'.
  I have owned a .30-30 for seems like years. The first one a Winchester that I sold in the time of need of cash. I have had the current model Marlin now for 15 years or so. Till two weeks ago I don't believe I had shot a 100 rounds out of it. To be quite honest I was not ever real happy with the ammo available off the shelve. I had killed deer with it, many with one shot. However all of the store bought ammo was just lacking something. I was talking to a friend who had hunted Elk with his successfully. he said he had the same feelings. He was buying his ammo from a man he worked with who reloaded. This always stuck in the back of my mine. So I was determined I could build it better. I have no plans on shooting anything bigger than a deer with this. So hold the remarks. I plan mostly on making some tinging noise on steel though. So never reloading this caliber I started researching and looking at load data. Then I called Dave at Montana Bullet Works. I will plug him here. His service is outstanding. You can reach him at or 406 655 8163. When you visit his website, he has a tip to shooting cast bullets and accuracy. It's called cleaning the bore. I hate cleaning guns. However I will listen to sound advise. So I cleaned the gun. Dave sent me a Cast 160 grain 22 bhn gas check bullet.  The first batch I loaded with Trailboss and I also loaded a batch with H4198. If you are looking for a low pressure low recoil load Trailboss is economical to use. It fits right in there with store bought. From the first shot with the H4198 I seen I had something to work with.

So now I have a number and back home I go and reload another batch adding and subtracting from the week earlier. Trailboss is back on the shelve for another time.  The next outing I tried them again. I am sold. I don't have a Crony but believe if the math is right these are better than 1400fps, closer to 1500fps. I won't state how much powder I am using however it is at the upper end of the Hodgons website data. Only you can make the decision what is safe for you your weapon. I now have cleaned the brass and remember I had picked up a bag of new Winchester brass at the last Gunshow. So I get it out and and decide to anneal it. This is a process if your not familiar where the neck and mouth area is heated then rapidly cooled. Normally by dropping in very cold water. I plan on discussing this in the near future. This enables to size and crimp to tighter fit. In which a better gas seal is made.

You can see on the one second from the right, that it is discolored slightly brown in color. This is one that was annealed.

 Today I headed to the range one more time. Like someone had to twist my arm. Today I took the same rifle however I added a Williams Peep Sight to it. These have an elevation and a windage correction adjustment screw on them. I set three targets out today One at 25 yards the next at 50 yards. I also taped 4 large Phone books together and suspended it from the target holder with some light rope. To be used to judge penetration. The range has a narrow gong suspended at a 100 yards also about 6 inches wide and foot long.

 I shot the first group at the 25 yard. Being very pleased with the out come and the group from off hand shooting. The shot on the left was the first shot and we will call that a fouling shot. The other 5 were shot were all shot standing off hand. No ransom or gun vice was used. I believe those outer circles are less than 4 inches. the Blue tape is from another gun I was shooting today also.

  I then moved to the 50 yard targets. I let three go from a sitting position using cross sticks. They were less than desirable. I had some issues keeping the sticks from moving on the hard ground. So then I went to just holding it off my knee. I am feeling pretty cocky now and am pleased as a pig in shit, so I let the bead fall on the phone books.  You know how sometimes when you pull the trigger, the outcome will not be what you wanted. I was having one of those moments. To my surprise the little slug made contact. Not where I was aiming but I'll call it a hit.  Entry at about 12:30 bottom right circle

The entry into the forth book.

At page 485 in the forth book the slug was removed,
a new never loaded slug on left. The slug continued to damage the book 
beyond page 700. I did say they were big phone books right?
I will weigh the shot one later. 

 So now I am real  feeling cocky. I grab a small handful of rounds and move over to another position. A shooting table pointed in front of the Gong mentioned earlier.  I fired the first 2 rounds. Making impact in the berm just left of the target then just right. Load two more. The next round make the distinctive sound of lead hitting steel. A musical note a sound I love to hear. The next one I am off left again. Hell that's good enough. That target is like aiming at a orange pencil at that distance. I was happy to hit it the first time. Humidity is up and I still have two more guns I want to shoot today.

I'll catch up with some one in the future with a Crony and give them an average. As for now I am one happy hunter with this load.  In the meantime get to the range and share your experience.

Remember a bad day at the range is better than a good day at work.

Editors note 8-27-12

Just an update. I weight the retrieved slug from the phone books. I also weigh 2 other new never loaded bullets. The new ones both weighed 168 grains. The shot one from the book weighed 110.7 grains.