Lighter bullets in .30-30
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    Lighter bullets in .30-30

    I'd like to discuss light weight bullets for .30-30s.

    Appropriately, most discussion of ammo for 336 (and relatives) focuses on 150, 160 and 170 gr rnds. I occasionally run across references to 180.

    But I'm also curious about light weight .30-30 bullets: 125, 110, 100, 85 and even 55 gr rnds (!)
    mentioned in this article, "The .30-30: A Historic Overview" by 30 WCF.

    Here are some things I'd like to read, plus what ever else you want to throw in about lighter .30-30 bullets:

    • your experiences with light .30-30 rnds, including target shooting, plinking, hunting, etc;
      for example, what have you used or how would you use light rnds in your .30-30 especially other than just paper punching;
    • links to pages with discussions and data about lighter .30-30 bullets, including history of their development and use
    • ballistics, accuracy, behavior, quirks, pros and cons of lighter rnds relative to more contemporary heavy rnds
    • reloading potentials
    • other stuff about lighter .30-30 rnds


    I thought about starting this thread in reloading/handloading, but this seems broader than just handloading alone.
    _______________________

    Some background about my motivations for this thread other than just intellectual curiosity.

    As you'll find from other threads, my goal is a gun kit with only a few rifles (I have my reasons and will discuss them if asked, but I've explained them elsehwere and it's not really relevant here), most to all levers, that cover a LOT of ground in terms of game and protection. (Don't listen to PapaJohn, who will try to convince you - incorrectly - that I'm seeking one gun for all that, which I'm not. )

    My "bottom end" rifle - in the sense of small game - squirrel, rabbit, bird - is my 39. Nuff 'said.

    My my "middle ground" is currently covered by two guns: 1894C in .357 mag/.38 spl and 336 in .30-30.

    I recently came close to selling my 336. I had convinced myself that with the 39 and 1894C, I was covered from bird up to whitetail at close ranges, and was thinking of replacing the .30-30 with something larger that would cover white tail to, say moose and even big bear. I'm still considering .45-70 and .338 ME for that "top niche".

    But then, in a fit of rationality and self-slapping, I realized that getting rid of my beloved 336 was just plain stoopid. If anything, the 1894C will go. (Raises shields to maximum power to guard against photon torpedoes being fired by PJ from coastal MO. )

    I amplanning to cut the 336 barrel down (discussed over here) to somewhere between 16.5 and 18" for use as general camp carbine suitable for faster, short-range (sub 150 m) shooting in thicker woodlands and woods (dense thickets, like here in the temperate "rain forests" of the Pac NW, now in a decade-long drought) and for SD (the shorter the barrel, the fast I can deploy it).

    And it's the latteruses that motivates my question: there are times around camp when I'm not looking to take a deer when I'd rather notuse up those (increasingly) valuable 150 - 180 gr rnds best kept for medium to large game, but would rather have some loads in the tube (and nearby, maybe on a butt stock or pack pocket) suitable for smaller game, maybe even a rabbit AND good enough as a "tactical" carbine for two-legged camp intruders with malicious intentions.


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    Re: Lighter bullets in .30-30

    For the cast bullet shooter, look no farther than the Lee C113F, also known as the "Soup Can."

    It's an "all body" type bearing length bullet, sort of in the Louverin style, and quite accurate. Somehow it seems more appropriate to use a lighter bullet on smaller game, and it is suitable for the hunting of all animals smaller than deer.

    Usually six to eight grains of one of the fast pistol/shotgun powders will net you the right results insofar as velocity and accuracy. W231, Unique, Red Dot, Herco, 700X, et. al. will serve. Most of my use of this bullet has been in the 30-06, but the bullet will do the same thing driven at the same velocity in .30-30, with a few grains less powder needed to get the same speeds. Six to eight grains is right for the 30-30 case.

    A bullet such as this kills small game and pests very well (far better than a .22) and meat loss is minimal if the bullet is cast hard or quenched. Noise is also very substantially less than a full power .30-30 load, and this lower noise helps when hunting small game. If fast powders are used, no fillers are needed, as the fast powder is reasonably position insensitive.

    This lighter bullets hit lower than full power loads, but duplex crosshairs can be used as a lower aiming point, or the rear sight raised a notch to put them at point of aim, so options are available to use them in the field with no rezeroing of the rifle being necessary.

    If you prefer jacketed bullets, several options are available in the 110 - 125 grain range that will be suitable in hollowpoint, softpoint and full metal jacket roundnose variants, this last being suitable only for two shot use in a levergun.

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    Re: Lighter bullets in .30-30

    OK, so I'm having trouble getting into work mode. (Hey, it's Sunday, but small business owners don't get days off in this economy.)

    For the cast bullet shooter, look no farther than the Lee C113F, also known as the "Soup Can."
    So, of course, I immediately "googled" that, and found this page, from which I excerpted these two posts in a 2006 MoF thread. Note the authors.

    Title: 30-30 for small game?
    Post by: 35remington on November 03, 2006, 07:11:16 PM
    Yep. For small game, using jacketed or lead bullets at reduced velocities so as not to blow the animal to smithereens.

    What kind of small game? Anything. Even rabbits and squirrels.

    Example: The Lee C113F (see Lee Precison online catalog) with fast shotgun or pistol powders, or slow handgun/fast rifle powders like IMR 4227 or Alliant 2400. Lead bullets can be gaschecked for higher velocities, or plainbase for more moderate speeds.

    The .30-30 is one of the best choices for small game and reduced load shooting because its relatively small case capacity makes reduced loads efficient. It may be one of the best lead bullet shooting cartridges ever made. A great many lead bullet mould designs are intended for the .30-30.

    The .30-30 is also a good deer cartridge using lead bullets and can drive them to jacketed bullet velocities with very good accuracy.

    Title: 30-30 for small game?
    Post by: swany on November 03, 2006, 08:54:38 PM
    You also got some light weight 110gn jacketed and 100 gn half jacket bullets, being able to drive them in the area of 2700fps is a plus for most 30-30 owners. Using the 110gn round nose intended for the .30 carbine they do really fly flat out to 200 when driven with a healthy dose of BLC#2.
    Here's another page about C113F on Cast Boolits , but I haven't read it yet.

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    Re: Lighter bullets in .30-30

    Ah, OK, thanks for that.

    Clearly, I'm out of my league amongst you handloaders. I've got lots to learn.

    So, for comparison, how much pistol powder would provide push equal to the normal powder in a factory-loaded .30-30 150 gr?

    Nem da' grasshoppa

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    Re: Lighter bullets in .30-30

    That would be about 6-8 gr from what I've seen around here, and 20-35 gr when using a slower buning rifle powder. It pretty much depends on the charateristics of the powder itself.

    p.s. I'm a newb at reloading myself, but have been studing load data for the 30-30 and their definitely is a large learning curve involved.
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    Re: Lighter bullets in .30-30

    35 Rem
    You got it -Lee 113 gr Cast is the "light" round I'm loading in my 336. Used it plenty in my '06. Great bullet and I've tagged Wissle Pigs( Ground Squirrels) out to 200 yards with it. With 9.5 gr of Unique I get 1526 fps in my Savage 110. Now loading it as well in my 336 9 gr Unique for 1617 fps! In the 336 I don't size them as it seems to like the bullets around .312 dia.
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    Re: Lighter bullets in .30-30

    So, for comparison, how much pistol powder would provide push equal to the normal powder in a factory-loaded .30-30 150 gr?
    In a .30-30? I can't answer that because you really can't do that safely. Grain for grain, faster burning pistol powders have more energy per unit weight than slower burning rifle powders. However, that faster burning rate means that the pressure peaks quickly -- the powder burns quickly hence releases all of its energy in 1 quick burst. You need that in pistols which have much shorter barrels. Rifle powders burn slower which is desirable in the longer barrels. The pressure doesn't peak as fast, and burns over a longer period of time. Thus, you can use larger charges without overpressuring. If you were to use an equivalent amount (in terms of energy) of a typical fast burning pistol powder in a rifle application the pressure would spike dangerously high and you'd most likely have a catastrophic failure. Kaboom!

    There are also "middle ground" powders, that are listed sometimes as slow burning pistol powders (usually used in heavy magnum applications) or fast burning rifle applications. In my opinion, these have the bester characteristics for use with light bullets at moderate velocities in cases such as .30-30. The downside of them as compared to the faster pistol powders is that it takes larger charges to get similar performance therefore there the cost per charge is higher. On the other hand, the faster powders are, well, touchier. You get into issues such as the position of the charge within the case and other similar problems with consistency of the burn.
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    Re: Lighter bullets in .30-30

    My light load consists of a 150 grain Berry plated bullet ahead of 23 grains of Varget. I probably should experiment with lighter bullets (I used to use 100 grain Speer Plinkers a while back), but I like the way the Berrys shoot in my .30-30s.
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    Re: Lighter bullets in .30-30

    I am just starting to work with the Barnes 100 grain for the 30 carbine, using Reloader 7. A nice copper solid that has the dimensions of 125-130 grain bullets. I'll post when I get a chance to shoot and get chrony and groupings.
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    Re: Lighter bullets in .30-30

    110gn RN, HP and pointed I've used all of these with success.

    36 - 37gns of BLC#2 top end load will take a deer at 200 and get there fast.

    18gns of W296 nice moderate load for those with this powder using it for your mag pistols is a plus. 18gns pushes a 110gn bullet fairly fast and could be used from varmit to deer at 100

    7.5gns of Unique about the same uses as the 296 load but a little less push.



    125 gn Sierra HP and Speer 130gn HP

    The speer does not have a crimp groove so proper neck tension is important. I have loaded these without expanding the necks giving them a "Yooper Crimp" for a better word you can see the bulge of the bullet in the neck. The the loading in a tube mag, of these should be your informed choice, I done it before I knew I should not with no adverse effects.

    Loads for both. 35gns of BLC#2 is usually a good high end load.

    28gns of Reloader 7 also works with either.




    Round ball

    I have found the .31 cal buck shot (#0 is .32 usually but works) to be pretty effective for small game at short range, most round ball are not that accurate at high velocities being soft lead. To start with I don't resize my cases just deprime as the buck shot is a press fit anyway. Belling the case mouth helps on seating that can be done easily with most any tool with a little hand pressure. You will using these as single shot anyway, least in my expierience they don't cycle well. Seated a little over half it's diameter does it well. No crimp just enough to straighten the neck back out for chambering.

    Expierment with various low end light powder charges. I used 4 gns of W231 with fair accuracy on squirrel and rabbit. If you can not find #0 buckshot order some .32 cal muzzle loader ball they are .310 and .315 dia the larger should work well.








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