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Old March 26, 2009, 10:44 PM   #1
Kachad
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H-Varget?: 30-30, 30-06, 35 Rem

Howdy –

Been lurking as a visitor here for about three months. I’ve used this forum as my primary research tool and following that up by hitting the various manufacturer's sites for additional information. Purchased the “Modern Reloading” manual by Lee (along with the Turret press and other goodies), and will be taking on another book shortly.

Thanks for the wealth of information here!

So, while I’m cutting my teeth on some pistol rounds, I thought I would study up a bit on rifle loads.

Here’s my question: Looking for a good “all-around” powder for 30-30 Win, 30-06 Springfield, and 35 Rem. On top of that, I would like to use it for both jacketed and cast bullets.

Right now, I’m thinking H-Varget. According to the Lee manual, it's a powder that is recommended for these calibers and has pretty good fps ratings for all.

I realize that is alot to ask of one powder, but I’m not looking into perfection (yet), more utility. So far, I’ve only done this research with the Lee Manual – so if anyone has any insight outside of that – I would appreciate it!

Here are the variables:

30-30 Winchester

170 Grain Jacketed, 29.5 – 33 grains
170 Grain Cast, 32 grains

30-06 Springfield

180 Grain Jacketed, 44 – 47 grains
165 Grain Cast, 40 grains
180 Grain Cast, 37 grains (not listed in the manual)
200 Grain Cast, 35 grains

35 Rem

200 Grain Jacketed, 36 – 39 grains
220 Grain Cast, 34 – 38 grains

I appreciate any input!

Thanks,
Stephen

p.s. Based on the initial experience with the pistol rounds, I'm thinking this is going to be highly addicting.
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Old March 28, 2009, 11:15 AM   #2
Kachad
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Old March 28, 2009, 11:28 AM   #3
James R. Burke
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Varget is a good powder but not sure how it would be with all those calibers. I am sure some other members will have more insight for you on this. I know this is not what your looking for but I try to use the best powder for the caliber/bullet I will be using, and having the manuals for them. Keep it safe!
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Old March 28, 2009, 12:13 PM   #4
Rusty W
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I like the easy metering of a Ball powder. I've tried Varget in .308 & .223, and while it worked well in the performance, it just don't meter like a ball powder. I use BLC2 for .223, 30-30, .308. I also load for .243, .270 & 06 and use H414 for them. I have a couple other's I load for, 45/70, & 22-250. I have on hand about 15 or 16 different rifle powders. I can almost narrow it down to 4 powders for what I load. BLC2, H414, IMR 3031 or H4895 tough call, and SR4759.
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Old March 28, 2009, 08:31 PM   #5
furtaker
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I have used varget for about a year now in my 22-250 and have had very good results with it!! However it meters so poorly that i'm done with it!! Theres plenty of ball powders that will do just as good.
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Old March 28, 2009, 09:34 PM   #6
jamaica
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IMR 4064 may do it for you. You can get some loading data online.

http://www.imrpowder.com/

http://www.hodgdon.com/

Last edited by jamaica; March 28, 2009 at 09:46 PM. Reason: Add a link
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Old March 29, 2009, 12:21 PM   #7
Kachad
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Thank you very much for the feedback, both about the metering issues and the links. I'll take a look at the links and compare some of the data, then start experimenting.

Thanks again,
Stephen

Last edited by Kachad; March 29, 2009 at 06:29 PM.
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Old March 29, 2009, 12:24 PM   #8
roy reali
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Confused?

Some of you are saying that you have had good results with Varget, yet you gave up on it because it metered poorly. Would you have stuck with Varget if it had metered perfectly and you had poor results?
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Old March 29, 2009, 12:41 PM   #9
longranger
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I have never selected my powders based on how they meter, that's ridiculous you really give up a lot of performance by doing so.Most ball powders are heat sensitive and will be squirrely on warm days at or near max charges.
Accuracy is dependent on consistency, powder measure's vary from one charge to the next even with ball powders.You are not going to get consistent charges from one throw to the other.I do use a powder measure with the ball powders but I still weigh each charge of powder regardless of type.
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Old March 29, 2009, 08:13 PM   #10
furtaker
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well I guess I value my time differently, sorry thats so ridiculous, It's my opinion! Reali I think prime rib is perfect but I still eat a T-bone once in awhile!

Last edited by furtaker; March 29, 2009 at 09:41 PM.
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Old March 30, 2009, 11:32 AM   #11
alsmith
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Varget and Metering

I have been using Varget for the past 18 months and am satisfied with the results.

I have not been having trouble with metering.

I have used Varget with the following calibers:

223 Remington

30-30 Winchester

The main reason that I changed to Varget from 3031 was that although the 3031 was accurate, on hot days, shooting cowboy silhouette or a military match, I was getting a noticeable rise in elevation.

With Varget, I do not get the rise.

Al
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Old March 30, 2009, 12:10 PM   #12
dahermit
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Quote:
Here’s my question: Looking for a good “all-around” powder for 30-30 Win, 30-06 Springfield, and 35 Rem. On top of that, I would like to use it for both jacketed and cast bullets.

Right now, I’m thinking H-Varget. According to the Lee manual, it's a powder that is recommended for these calibers and has pretty good fps ratings for all.
You seem to have answered your own question. If you only want to deal with one powder for those hand loading applications, you have done the research and have found your answer. Buy Varget, develop your hand loads and stop worrying.
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Old March 30, 2009, 01:30 PM   #13
Unclenick
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Furtaker,

You are exactly correct about metering. I can get + or - 0.05 grains from my Redding 30BR measure with ball powders, and that's about six times tighter than the same measure will do with stick powders. I think what is taken issue with is your statement the ball powders are "just as good". That depends on your purposes and the gun and the accuracy requirements you have and the conditions you will be shooting under? They really are just as good for some purposes and in some guns and not others. There is no universal truth there. If there were, I think stick and flake powders would have gone the way of the dinosaur just over the metering issue.

In my experience, you usually have to do more fussing with ball powder loads to achieve match accuracy and reliable low temperature ignition. For example, when I ran 2520 in the .308 for one match season, I found I absolutely had to deburr the flashholes in all my cases before the groups snugged in tight, where the stick powders I've used don't seem to care about that. This happened because ball powders are harder to ignite because the flame front doesn't move through the tighter spaces between the grains as easily as it does between stick powder grains. Ball powders often force you to use magnum primers for consistent ignition. Magnum primers are not usually as precise for match shooting as milder primers are. But when your purposes are minute of whitetail at 100 yards, what the heck is all the fuss about? At 400 yards you might be having a different discussion? Also, I've had some very good Winchester 748 match loads in .223 that needed no case modifications. As is often the case, it just depends on the other components and the gun you have in the mix.


Kachad,

Varget is quite good in .30 caliber, for sure. For some reason its temperature compensation doesn't work as well in .223 and other small cases, but it does great in .308 and .30-06, I know from experience, and see no reason it wouldn't be the same in the two other chamberings you mention? It does have upper and lower limits to its temperature compensation. If you are going to be hunting with it in sub-zero weather you probably want to work the loads for those conditions up with magnum primers, same as you would with a ball powder. Above that temperature the Federal 210M primers have done quite well with Varget for me.

As to the metering issue, the trick with the stick powders is to find a load that has relatively low sensitivity to powder charge variation. Apropos of what I said to Furtaker, I've pulled bullets on Winchester Supreme .308 match ammo with 168 grains BTHP match bullets which appeared to be loaded with 748 or something that looks just like it and would have about the same charge weight. Using a lab scale with an order of magnitude higher resolution that the usual powder scale, I found it was all metered within 0.05 grains (+ or - 0.025 grains). I also pulled some Federal Gold Medal Match ammo with that same bullet weight that uses a stick powder resembling IMR 4895. It's loads were +/- 0.2 grains as I recall.

Despite the above, the Federal has the wining performance reputation for shooting very well in about every gun and barrel length you put it in. What that all has to do with seems to me to be what Dan Newberry calls optimum charge weight (OCW) loads. These are loads that are insensitive to powder charge variation. The most extreme example of one I ever came across was a load I worked up myself using the no-longer made Scott 3032 under the Sierra 155 grain MatchKing in .308. In my M1A, I could give the cartridge a charge of anywhere from 41.5 grains to 44 grains and the groups remained unchanged in size or POA at 100 yards. All good. Such a load is a reloader's dream because you just park your powder measure in the middle of that wide range and never worry about the precision of the measure at all. You can even mix up case brands and temperatures and not see an accuracy deterioration.

I recommend you read Dan Newberry's site for information on developing OCW loads.

For more fussy stick powder measuring, I find I can consistently meter Varget within about 0.16 grains using the JDS QuickMeasure. It is a special design that can't cut grains. I can recommend it for just this purpose. If you are fussy about stick powder charge precision just to have a higher comfort zone or because you can't establish an OCW load, the several electronic charge dispensers out there are all capable of providing higher precision stick powder charges for each round than any volumetric measure can. They are just a little slower.
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Old March 30, 2009, 06:18 PM   #14
Kachad
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I just want to say Thank You for all the information posted in this thread. For an absolute beginner, this feedback is pure gold. I'll be printing all this out and inserting it into my logbook for future reference, along with following up on the links and additional resources that have been mentioned.

My course of action will be to load up some rounds with the H-Varget and see how that works out. When developing the loads, I'll measure them individually, but also see how the powder throws in my Lee setup.

I'm probably a month out from actually applying this to the range, but I'll keep detailed records and see what path that leads me on.

'ppreciate it!!

Stephen
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