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Old December 16, 2012, 10:06 AM   #1
wyobohunter
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Small Game Loads for Big Game Rifle

Col. Townsend Whelen was an early pioneer in developing small game loads for the big game rifle specifically for wilderness hunts. Here is a stab at it.

-Rifle is a Tikka T3 Lite Stainless in 30-06 with 18” barrel and Leupold VX-II 3-9x33mm Ultra light in Talley rings. This rifle shoots 1 MOA consistently.
-Chronograph is a Shooting Crony Alpha Master and was placed 10’ from muzzle.

-All loads are using:
Fed brass, Fed 210 Primers, Alliant Red Dot powder.
Bullet is Sierra 170 gr. Flat nose (for 30-30), C.O.A.L = 3.084”.
Cases are neck sized only to help gas seal; may not be necessary but I'm doing it anyway.

-3 shot groups

Load #1 Date-12/14 Time- ≈ 8:15 Temp- 28° Wind- none
13.5 gr. Alliant Red Dot
Low Velocity =1488
High Velocity =1528
Avg. Velocity =1506
Extreme Spread =40.4
Standard Deviation =20.3
Group Size =1/2” @ 25 yds

Load #2 Date-12/14 Time- ≈ 8:30 Temp- 28° Wind- none
12.5 gr. Alliant Red Dot
Low Velocity =1419
High Velocity =1426
Avg. Velocity =1423
Extreme Spread =6.7
Standard Deviation =3.5
Group Size =1/8” @ 25 yds


Load #3 Date-12/14 Time- ≈ 8:45 Temp- 30° Wind- ≈5 mph
11.5 gr. Alliant Red Dot
Low Velocity =1300
High Velocity =1326
Avg. Velocity =1311
Extreme Spread =25.2
Standard Deviation =13.5
Group Size =1/4” @ 25 yds

Load #4 Date-12/14 Time- ≈ 9:00 Temp- 30° Wind- ≈5 mph
10.5 gr. Alliant Red Dot
Low Velocity =1192
High Velocity =1240
Avg. Velocity =1224
Extreme Spread =48.7
Standard Deviation =27.7
Group Size =1/2” @ 25 yds

Loads #2 and #3 are so close in accuracy the difference was likely me as I had the scope set on 3 power for all shots. I was going to load up several of loads #2 and #3 for more testing but the extremely low deviation and great accuracy of #2 has changed my mind. I'll load up a bunch of #2 and see how loud they are in the open air as I was shooting form inside an enclosure during testing so it was louder than it will be in field conditions. Point of impact was ≈ 1” and low and centered at 25 yds. on 3 power. I will play with variable scope setting to get POA=POI and try this loads out to 50 or 100 yds. Muzzle blast and recoil was negligible enough to see and hear the bullet strike the target for every shot. Bore fouling was about the same as any other load.

I liked how velocity dropped off predictably. I would love to work on down to subsonic but fear sticking a bullet. Plus, you can't argure with a Standard Deviation of 3.5 fps. If load #2 continues to perform today, isn't too loud, and I can get it to hit to POA I'll probably stick with it.

Also noteworthy, no filler material was used and I didn’t worry about powder position in case before firing.
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Old December 19, 2012, 09:40 PM   #2
Nevmavrick
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I've done the same thing with all my hunting rifles, and for the same reason: I've read a lot of the "Old Colonel's" writing.
In .30, I've used military pulled-FMJs, loaded to 1300-1800fps. I've used a lot of pistol powders in varying amounts, with and without fillers, mostly polyester.
I've mostly used cast bullets, especially in calibers other than .30, though I've more .30 cal molds than an any one caliber.
The idea, of course, is to get them to shoot to POA without adjusting from full-power hunting sight adjustments.
You would shoot them at shorter ranges for small game, and only have a few, 3-5, in your pocket.
Some may deride me for the concept, shooting in the hunting area...may scare game, but I would only use them if I were going to be in the area for a while, not for a weekend hunt.
I live in the West, so may be out for a week, or so. Actually, game is some used to shots being fired within hearing distance.
Have fun,
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Old December 19, 2012, 11:33 PM   #3
reloader28
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I was thinking cast bullets too.
I wouldn't waste the money of a jacketed bullet with light loads like that. Get a cheap mold and cast some up. You can run them lower than that with as good of accuracy and wont cost squat to make.

Plus its more fun.
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Old December 20, 2012, 08:15 AM   #4
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You know, I've been thinking about something like this for my 7mm RM.
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Old December 20, 2012, 10:41 AM   #5
kraigwy
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In years past, the military was big in light loads for the service rifles. Many of the old books have loadings for the 30-40 Krag, '06, 308, etc.

The main reasons were because of National Guard Units not having access to outdoor ranges and had to do their practice and some qualifications in in door ranges.

Actually things haven't changed a lot, the Army had sub cal devices shooting 22s out of ARs.

I've always, since I started re-loading nearly 50 years ago, have use cast bullets in rifles. I've done a lot of small game and varmint shooting with a 7 MM Mag, using cast bullet and unique.

There are several powders that work, but lately I've discovered that Trailboss seems to be the cat's meow.

Especially with heavy large capacity cases like the 375 H&H, 416 Rigby, 458 Win, etc etc.

5744 is another good powder designed for reduced and cast bullet loads.

With something along the lines of the 30-40 Krag, 5744 pushes lead bullets about the same speed as the Government Load.

The problem with pistol powders (Unique, Red dot, and such) is they don't take up much room in the case, meaning inconsistent velocities, depending on how the powder lies in the case with the rifle is fired. That problem is eliminated with such powders as Trailboss and 5744.

If one take a bit of care in preparing the cast bullets they can be quite accurate.

Back in my NG rifle shooting days, I did quite a bit of practice using cast bullet loads in my M1 & M1A, shooting at 50 ft. NRA small bore targets indoors. Kept me in shape for the High Power Season which was pretty much dead in the winter months in Alaska.

Some rifles don't necessarily mean reduced velocities, two I can think of right off hand is, as mentioned the 30-40 Krag, and the 30 Cal Carbine.

One can certainly reduce their shooting cost by using cast bullets and there is no reason to give up accuracy.

Col Whelen isn't the only (Military) gun writer to talks of reduced and/or Cast bullet loads in military rifles, Capt Edward Lewis, Sharpe, Hatcher, just to name a few. North Cape productions (who produces Collector's books for Military Surplus rifles) mentions several, including shot gun loads for the 30-40 Krag.
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Old December 20, 2012, 10:53 AM   #6
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I would say the powder to use for a reduced load would be H4895. It can be reduced in a lot of rounds, plus no filler is needed.

When I was looking for reduced loads for my daughter to use in her rifle, I did a lot of research, and two powders kept coming up every time...H4895 and Trailboss. I know Hodgdon has in their site a place where you can get reduced loads for quite a few calibers. I don't know much about Trailboss. As far as fillers go, every thing a I researched, it was a majority in favor of not using a filler, do to possibility of compressing the load or causing an over pressure situation. When I did my daughters reduced loads, I opted against using fillers. I'm sure it can be done safely, but I didn't want to experiment too much with my daughter begin the trigger.
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Old December 20, 2012, 11:04 AM   #7
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Speer manual has reduced loads for lot of calibers can take 223 down 1900/2100fps and 300mag down to 1900fps
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Old December 20, 2012, 07:23 PM   #8
res45
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I shoot the Lee 32 cal. 90 gr. .314 tumble lube SWC cast from pure lead or 3 to 1 Lead/WW alloy in several caliber including 7.62 x 39 & 54r,30-30 and 300 Sav. however these loads will work just as well in larger capacity case including the .308 and 30-06.

In the X39 and 54r of which both mine have .312 dia. groove bores,the bullet is lightly tumble lubed once then run through my Lee .314 sizer and TL'ed once more before loading.

In the x39 cartridge I use 2.7 to 3.0 grs. Bullseye (no filler needed with Bullseye) In the other calibers I mentioned I use 3.0 to 3.5 grs. any LR primer will do.

For the standard .308 groove bore rifles I size the TL'ed .314 bullet down to .311" and TL once more before loading. I use a Med. roll crimp on all cartridges on the top lube groove.

MV runs between 900 to 1K fps. in all barrel lengths between 20 and 24"
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Old December 21, 2012, 01:34 AM   #9
wyobohunter
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Quote:
The problem with pistol powders (Unique, Red dot, and such) is they don't take up much room in the case, meaning inconsistent velocities, depending on how the powder lies in the case with the rifle is fired.
None of the above statement is consistent with my (limited) experience using red dot for this load.

1- Loads used up around 50% of case capacity in 30-06. Red dot is not as "fluffy" as Trail Boss. But it's not bad and I have a bunch of it.

2-Although my testing only consisted of 3 shots for each load, velocity was pretty consistent with all. And extremely consistent with one of them (12.5 gr ~ 3 fps SD).

3-I didn't worry about powder position in the case when testing. May make a difference if I were shooting at an extreme up/down angle. Haven't tried that.

And yes- I need to start casting my own. Some day. For now I have more expendable income than time. Not that I have gobs of cash laying around, but the occasional box of jacketed bullets for experimental purposes doesn't break the bank.
Thanks
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Old December 21, 2012, 01:43 AM   #10
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Quote:
Col Whelen isn't the only (Military) gun writer to talks of reduced and/or Cast bullet loads in military rifles
There's this guy:



http://guns.connect.fi/gow/arcane1.html

Gallery loads intrigue me.....
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Old December 21, 2012, 06:45 AM   #11
res45
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Quote:
Col Whelen isn't the only (Military) gun writer to talks of reduced and/or Cast bullet loads in military rifles
And don't forget Ed Harris who wrote the NRA Cast bullet manual and many other related articles.

http://castboolits.gunloads.com/show...Rifles-Article

http://members.shaw.ca/cronhelm/TheLoad.html

http://castboolits.gunloads.com/show...on-the-7-62X39

Quote:
Gallery loads intrigue me.....

Last edited by res45; December 21, 2012 at 06:53 AM.
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