Tubby, I've been shooting a 30-30 for years the 336 I have now was my first big game rifle and varmint rifle and I had no trouble knocking off woodchucks at 100 yds.I've only recently moved into shooting cast bullets,[since I got my 1895 ths year]but from my favorable experience there and with the aquirement of my 1893 also this year i'm gonna start using them for 30-30 also.I would reccomend Beartooth bullets as a start . Eventually I'd like to cast my own as I already cast for my muzzleloaders.good luck and let me know how it goes!Shootrj2003
They work great, tubby, although I have yet to hunt with them, I think they are the greatest plinkers there are. I sized them at .311, and the accuracy difference is very noticeable between this and the .309. They need a gas check for sure at that speed.
Gas checked, and sized to .311" for the microgroove barrels, I've found the cast bullets to be stellar performers in the .30/30.
I use two different bullets, but of the two, the Lee 150gr FNGC is the best performer. I also have a Lee 170gr FNGC. The prior mould casts at 157.5gr and the latter at 176gr.
The 157.5 gr bullet is the second mould of this design I have had and the first is now in the possession of my older brother who lives in another state. It was the first mould I ever purchased, back in 1975. It is still casting FINE bullets, and he shoots them through his two '06's (a NM M-1, and a Rem700), and of course his Winnie m94. The only difference in the two moulds is that his has shallower and narrower lube grooves, and as such casts to 160-161gr lubed and gaschecked.
I prefer my new one as it seems to take to higher velocities better than the first one.
He and I have shot a LOT of these bullets through the years, and the 150FNGC appears to have been MADE for the .30/30.
The base of the bullet is even with the edge of the neck to shoulder junction of the case, and when seated to, and crimped into the crimp groove OAL is perfect. The long nose section fits properly into the .30/30 throat, and the foward driving band is apparantly just the right distance from the edge of the throat for optimum accuracy without touching and possibly causing the bullet to be pulled from the case if ejected without being fired.
We (my brother and I) have loaded these in the .30/30 with from 5.0gr of Bullseye, to a compressed charge of H4831. The top velocity I have recorded is just over 2,400fps. However, two distinct trends have been obvious:
For light loads, Unique is well, UNIQUE. My brother has shot a LOT of them over 7.0-7.5gr, un-gaschecked, un-sized, lubed with Lee liquid alox. He taught my nephew to shoot centerfires with this load when he was 9yrs old. No flinch, and eager to shoot up the rest of the 2lb coffee can full of loads! Recoil and blast are roughly equivalent to a .32/20, and is almost comfortable without hearing protection, but note I said "almost". Always use hearing protection!
I prefer to load mine to FACTORY load level! I have found 2,250fps to be the practical upper level for accuracy, which is OK as a box of Winchester 150gr HP factory loads I bought for testing last year chrono'd exactly that out of my Glenfield m30 w/20"bbl.
My two stand-out loads are these:
157-160gr FNGC: sized to .311 (now use these for all .30-.31cal cart's.); lubed w/50-50 alox and Hornady gascheck, seated to and lightly crimped into crimp groove.
Sized, trimmed, and neck flared cases; all same headstamp
Primers: usually Winchester or Federal- no preference, just price and availability
IMR3031; 28.0gr for accuracy, ~2,000fps. - hunting; 30.0gr for 2,100fps, 31.0gr MAX, over this, accuracy stinks.
Reloader 15; Ross Seyfried and my favorite: 32.0gr for accuracy and hunting- 2,250fps! You can use 35.0gr with jacketed 150gr bullets for 2,375fps from 20" bbl. Accuracy is rifles and bullets potential!!! I get 3-shot 1" groups @ 100yds, from both cast and jacketed bullets, with respective loads/bullets. (just be sure to clean well with Cu remover solvent before switching from jacketed to cast bullets)
This past year I killed a whitetail doe at 110yds with a high lung shot with 31.0g of IMR-3031 load. This deer dropped at the shot, even though bullet did not hit the spine- it missed about 1" low and severed the dorsal aorta. I could have understood the deer running 50-75yds, but DRT? Bullet exited busting a rib going in and out, leaving a 3/4" dia. exit wound. Another doe I shot last season with Win 150gr HP, shot from rear through ribcage, and bullet lodging in forward opposite shoulder ran 75yds. So, there is your effectiveness of the FNGC bullets in .30cal ! Exellent killing power and near unsurpassed penetration.
Back in late '80s my brother was stationed at Loring AFB, in N. Maine. He had loaded up a couple of 2lb coffee cans full of the 7gr of Unique loads mentioned above. A fellow co-worker was typical AirForce enlistee- a family and broke! My brother gave him a 1lb coffee can full of the loads to him to practice with before hunting season, with the admonition that they weren't "deer" loads! The "buddy" found out that like my brothers rifle, at ~25yds, the "plinkers" shot to POI/POA, and were wonderful shooters.
Come hunting season the buddy got to go home to upstate NY for the Holidays and got to go hunting with some family members. After hunting several days and seeing nothing but hares, the buddy decided to load up with what my brother calls "something for rabbits" (a phrase from the movie "Valdez is coming"!). After bagging a couple of rabbits for the pot, he proceeds to walk back to camp. And guess what?, he jumps a whitetail doe that goes bounding off and stops and turns and looks back at about 75yds. Without thinking, he sights and fires....... POP!,,,, "THUNK"! At the shot, the deer flinches and takes off running like it was spanked. He walks over to where the deer was standing, and to his suprise, there was a large splash of blood. Well, he starts following it and it just keeps getting heavier. Approx. 75yds later, he finds the deer lyingin the snow in a pool of blood. The ole cast slug had entered the left paunch, traversed the chest cavity, and exited the chest in front of the opposite shoulder, leaving a 1/2" slash where it exited. Everyone at the camp was astonished except one old timer. He remarked how "another" generation had "accidentally" discovered the old".32/40" !!!! -ie: a .30-32cal bullet of blount configuration, heavy for bore dia., and running 1,300-1,600fps.
As I mentioned, I have the 175gr bullet as well, but it isn't as happy in the .30/30. It is MUCH better in the .30/06. In the .30/30, I have to seat it to the same OAL as the 157gr bullet, and then crimp into the forward nose shank ahead of the crimp groove. If seated to the crimp groove, the extra length of the foward section of the bullet makes the OAL too long to feed through the .30/30. As such, the accuracy is compromised. Also, this bullet dosen't shoot as well with reduced loads as the 1-12" twist is just a bit slow for this longer bullet at 1,100-1,400fps. Best load with the 176gr bullet has been 28.0gr of Reloader-15. This gives 1,950-2,000fps. IMR-3031 worked well at 26.5gr too.
Can I ask you 30-30 reloaders a ? about your dies? Do you all use a larger dia. expander ball in your sizing die when you load cast bullets? I just measured mine (.306) from an older set of RCBS. Fine I suppose for .308 jacketed, but what is your opinion for cast bullets in the .309-.310 range? Too tight? I thought about making a .3085 one and see how that goes but I would like to hear what you all think and your experiences. I think I can get better accuracy from my cast loads and I think this is a good place to start. What do you guys think???
Lyman makes the "M" die and RCBS makes adie set that does the same thing. You can buy one die body and then just exchange the expamder button to do the cartridge you plan on doing.
Another bullet that I have found to be good for hunting deer, and possibly larger game like elk,IF you can get close enough, is the RCBS #3-180-FN. Cast a 190 gr. bullet in wheel weight metal and with 28.0 gr. of W-748, will duplicate the old .303 Savage which shot a 190 gr. jacketed bullet at a nominal 1950 FPS.
My old deer load for the 30-30 was 30.0 gr. of IMR-3031 and the Lymam #311291, and of the 17 deer I have taken with cast bullets, 15 were dropped to that bullet. I have tried off and on to get decent groups with Lyman's #31141( now numbered #311041) and so far have had no luck at all with it. I gave some to a friend of mine to try and he got 1.5" groups at 100 yards right from the start. My 30-30s all hate that bullet. Go figure. As a matter of fact, my .308 and 30-06 rifles all hate that bullet as well. :roll: :roll: :roll:
The outside diameter of the expander ball isn't too critical, so long as it isn't too large or too small. The .30/30 neck thickness isn't very thick, so- as long as you expand the mouth sufficiently, the neck will expand with the seating of the bullet. Too large and there is no neck tension to hold the bullet in the neck. I have reloaded "plinker" rounds with unsized cases and allowed the lube to hold the bullets in place while the rounds were crimped to hold the bullets. Cartridges were then fired by single feeding directly into chamber.
However, if you have a far too small of a neck diameter, any off-center imperfection in the adjustment of the seating die and nose punch of the seater can cause the bullet/neck to be seated crooked or "cocked" off-centered which will negatively affect accuracy. If extreame, it can cause chambering difficulty.
Most late production dies for the .30/30 will not have this problem as the dimensions of the dies have been well worked out. Be cautious of any dies made before mid-70's though. The later production "Cow-boy dies should be well suited to cast bullet loading.
I use a Lee sizer die and seating die. I expand with a Lyman M, and bullets are .311", and crimp with a Lee "factory-crimp" collet type die. You can see the slight "coke" bottle effect under the bullet on the neck just above the shoulder. This keeps bullets from being set back in the tubular magazine and reduces the need for a crimp, so I crimp, but lightly.
In my opinion, the larger diameter of the bullets is what is critical for good accuracy with the Micro-Groove barrels. The "standard" grooves shoot the larger bullets very well too.