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Old February 23, 2013, 07:59 AM   #1
Mike Irwin
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Cast bullets in .30-30

A few years ago I was given an old single shot Savage .30-30.

I've not fired it yet, but finally got around to getting some factory ammo and reloading dies.

I'm not going to use it for hunting, and will probably only shoot it very irregularly, so I'm considering just making it a cast bullet fun gun.

Anyone regularly loading cast bullets in a .30-30? What weights, what powders, what kind of groups are you getting?
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Old February 23, 2013, 08:46 AM   #2
bedlamite
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It's been a while, and I don't have the exact load handy, but it was listed in the Alliant manual about 10-12 years ago. 15.something grains of 2400 under a 170gr cast, and about 1500fps from my Winchester 94. I don't recall group size, but accuracy was good enough to swing a 4" steel gong at 100 yards every time.

With the ammo situation this year, I may have to look closer at that.
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Old February 23, 2013, 09:26 AM   #3
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OK, that's similar to my old Red Dot loads in my .300 Savage. I think I used 12 grains of Red Dot.

Absolutely filthy, but accurate.

Trail Boss is always an option, and it should be a lot cleaner, but velocity probably won't be as high.

I'm hoping that someone is using some of the more modern powders that have come out since the late 1980s/early 1990s.
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Old February 23, 2013, 10:04 AM   #4
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30-30 is the perfect cast bullet gun. I dont even have any jacketed stuff loaded anymore. I pulled it all apart and loaded with cast.

I use 28.5gr IMR 4895 under a 160gr for hunting at 1850fps. 19gr for general plinking. Both shoot 1" at 100 yds in a scoped Marlin.

I got a new 170gr bullet that I'm working with now. Its showing promise with a couple different powders. The nice thing about cast bullets is you dont need the speed of a jacketed bullet to get the same performance.
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Old February 25, 2013, 08:44 PM   #5
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Mike, I have had good luck with the following, through my 1947 vintage Winchester Model 94....The gun is not drilled for a receiver sight, so all group sizes were shot with open sights. I was a lot younger then...in my 40's and still 20-20. The Lyman bullets were cast from wheel weights with just enough tin added to allow good mold fill out. Late in my experimentation, I found that Lee Liquid Alox swirl lubed helped to reduce leading and improve groups. Some of my best groups came from these Lyman bullets with only the LLA on them, ie. no regular lube in the lube grooves.

Like all lead alloy bullets, they need to be slightly over bore size, but I've yet to find a .30 caliber rifle that doesn't shoot well with bullets sized .310". For all of them I used minimal crimp, only enough to straighten out the case mouth belling necessary to seat a lead alloy bullet. Lyman's "M" die is good for expanding the case neck enough to seat a .310" dia. bullet. With that long .30-30 neck, these loads don't generate enough recoil to move the succeeding bullet in the case.

Crimping deeper opened groups, probably because it failed to open completely as the bullet started to move, and resulted in deforming the fairly soft alloy. I tried harder alloys, but WW's worked well up to 1700 fps, when double lubed with LLA, sized .310" and with a gas check seated...

The following loads worked well and were safe in my guns...as always you should check a good manual and work up slowly for your own gun.

While these are all lead alloy bullets, I've also had good luck with 152 gr military M2 bullets, spitzers, pulled from US .30-06 M2 rounds. Both steel jacket and cupro jacketed ones were tried, both shot well out to 100 yds. I don't have chrono data on them but suspect they were doing around 1500 fps. Single loaded of course...that 14.5 gr load of SR 4759 is a good one with them.

All of these need some elevation to get them on target...for me, with a 20" bbl'd M-94 carbine that shoots Remington 150's to pt of aim at 100 yds with the 2nd notch; I had to go up two notches to get the same impact...about 8-9" of elevation.

Best Regards, Rod


Lyman #311359gc weight about 120 gr's depending on alloy...Size .310", cast from wheel weights & lubed with 50/50 alox/beeswax. This is a spitzer bullet designed for the M1 Carbine. Single load or one in the chamber with one in the magzine.
Unique - 5.5 gr, Win Lg Pistol primers = 1" at 50 yds
SR 4759; 14.5 gr, Win Lg Rifle primers = 1-1/4" at 50 yds

Lyman # 311291gc...designed for the .30-30 I believe. About 175 grains when cast from wheel weights. Lube is 50/50. Size to .310". This is a round nose bullet suitable for the tubular magazine of the '94 and very accurate. It's also good in the .308, .30-06 and .30-40 Krag. IMR 4227 is also good with this bullet at the same charge weights.
SR 4759, 15.0-15.5 gr, Win Lg Rifle Primers = 1-1/4" at 50 yds

Bonus bullets (Missouri bullets makes the same bullet) 170 gr FP. Sized .310", comes lubed with blue commercial lube, but re-lubing with thinned Lee Liquid Alox improves performance and minimizes leading. The flat point on this bullet would make for a pretty good deer load at the following velocities.
SR 4759, 14.5 gr with Lg Rifle Primers gives 1.5" gps at 50 yds, velocity chrono'd at 1630 fps.
SR 4759, 15.5 gr, Lg Rifle Primers, 1.5" at 50 yds, velocity chrono'd 1700 fps
2400, 15.0 gr = 1.5" at 50 yds. Velocity chrono'd at 1630 fps
2400, 15.5 gr = 1.0" at 50 yds. Velocity chrono'd at 1700 fps
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Last edited by rodfac; February 25, 2013 at 09:00 PM.
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Old February 25, 2013, 10:57 PM   #6
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Nice information, Rod!

Thanks!
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Old February 25, 2013, 11:19 PM   #7
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An excellent source for cast lead bullet shooting is Cast Bullet Association's publication, "The Fouling Shot". It has matrices of cast lead bullet competitions that include, the mold maker, the bullet and lube used, the gun used, the powder, primer, load, and the results of all the competitors. One can therefore, see what the current most accurate combination is. I had some dedicated cast bullet guns, including a Winchester 52 in 30-30. I found that only one gun, a 38-55 Winchester did not really like Rx7. I could never beat the accuracy of Rx7 with 2400, Unique or any other fast powder in any rifle.
I would have competed with the Win. 52 in their postal matches, but the M-52 had been restocked, making it ineligible for use in the "factory sporter", class. I could have used it in the "unlimited" class, but there would be no point in that. I searched for an original stock for it to avail.
If you are looking for a target load, you should try a bullet who's nose "rides" the bore.
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Old February 25, 2013, 11:51 PM   #8
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I shooting a cast bullet out of a Lee Mould #90362 or C309-113-F if you prefer with 12 grains of Trail Boss. Makes an accurate mild shooting load. Just like an M-1 Carbine, you can shoot it all afternoon and not get sore.
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Old February 26, 2013, 08:44 AM   #9
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The 30-30 was quite popular among Cast Lead Bullet Association competitors a few years ago because of the relative small case capacity. The old 788 Remingtons were highly ranked for accuracy. The Ruger #3's in 30-30 were also sought-out by CBA'ers.

Although these targets are not from a 30-30 (Ruger 1B in 30-06 at 100 yards), they show what can be achieved using the techniques garnered from CBA competion's techniques.
http://i246.photobucket.com/albums/g...ps84fce46d.jpg
http://i246.photobucket.com/albums/g...psda3c2451.jpg
http://i246.photobucket.com/albums/g...ps05301bdd.jpg
http://i246.photobucket.com/albums/g...psea299630.jpg
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Old February 26, 2013, 12:17 PM   #10
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From my range report in May 2003:

30-30 1977 Win 94 CCI200, .2.58" [ammo too long jams feeding] Lyman mold 311291 170 gr .309" bullet round nose 3 lube bands, 21, 22, 23, 24, 25 gr IMR4895. only 4 rounds of 25 gr were available, and that was the best load with a 4 shot group at 100m 2.4"

That 2.4" group may not sound good to you, but at that time I had never come near that level of accuracy with that 30-30 using jacketed bullets.

Here is where I got the cast bullets
http://www.westernbullet.com/30caliber.html

I have done this again since then, and it is not as accurate if I seat the bullets so they will feed. It seems that the rifle likes that Schuetzen style seating the bullet in the chamber. That mean single shot and pulling hard on the lever to chamber the round.
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Old February 26, 2013, 12:37 PM   #11
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Mike, once you start shooting the Savage 219 you will find that it is a very enjoyable gun to shoot. Light powder charges under a Lyman 31141 GC bullet perform well, also the Lyman 311413 GC will do well.

Try some Trail Boss powder as you just fill the case to the bottom of the bullet. Velocities are slower but it's fun to shoot.
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Old February 26, 2013, 12:48 PM   #12
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Rocky Rabb's universal .30 cal plinking load is 10 grains of Unique under a cast bullet. From .30-30 to .30-06 it seems to produce a good plinking and youngster trainer load for a first step up from .22 rimfire. You choose the cast bullet weight. Unique seems to be fast enough to keep up with all of them.

I ran a close load with 9 grains rather than 10 in the .30-30 from my dad's Contender barrel in that chambering and found it did well. The bullet was a 170 grain cast bullet from Lee's mold, but sans gas check. I never did try Rocky's 10 grains in the smaller case.
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Old February 26, 2013, 02:54 PM   #13
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The loading range for Unique powder from Lyman is 7.0 to 10.6 grains for 170 grain cast bullets.
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Old February 26, 2013, 03:57 PM   #14
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I'm probably not going to cast my own bullets. I've dabbled with that in the past, and to be perfectly frank, I'd rather purchase my bullets.
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Old February 26, 2013, 09:40 PM   #15
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Mike...Missouri Bullet Co. has gas checked .30 cal bullets that are every bit as accurate as any I can cast on my best day. They use a blue lube that does the job up to roughly 1800 fps and are sized correctly for most .30 cal. guns, ie. .310". Their 170 gr flat point design is a personal favorite in .30-30, .308, .30-06, and .30-40 Krag. You may need a Lyman "M" die to open the case neck to seat them without shaving lead...a good investment anyway, as it has measurably improved my .30-06 target loads with both jacketed and lead alloy bullets.

In the Krag, I won a silver at Perry back in '06 in the vintage match...ten round in 70 seconds without clip loading...looked like a one-armed paper hanger according to my son who was scoring for me. Both SR4759 and IMR 4227 work well in all the above, but you might try 4198 as well.

That same Missouri bullet got me a first out at Ft. Knox a cpl seasons ago in an O3-A3.

Best Regards, Rod
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Old February 26, 2013, 09:44 PM   #16
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I cast and load a heck of a lot of cast bullets. The only 30-30 I have is a TC contender but I do use cast bullets in it.

Most of my cast 30 cal bullets I use in my Mil Surplus Rifles ('98 Krag, M1917, M103a3, Garand, and my M1 Carbine.

Plus my other 308 rifles.

I'm finding out that 5744 makes about the most accurate loads in my rifles shooting cast bullets.

I like the idea of it taking up more space in the case then pistol powders.

The Lyman Reloading Manuel (49) has cast bullet loads for most rifle cart.

Like I said, the only 30-30 I have is a pistol. Looking for a rifle for "fun" shooting, someone gave me about 500 pieces of 30-30 brass. I'll only load cast bullets when I find one.
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Old February 26, 2013, 11:18 PM   #17
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Mike, Thanks for starting this thread off. I have been giving some consideration to expanding my rifle loading beyond .223 and thinking about loading up for a Winchester Model 94 Centennial 66 that belong to my grandfather. What better way to start than cast loads. Now I have a thread to monitor and find some initial loads.

Off to contact my brass source and used die guy to get a set and hundred cases now.
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Old February 27, 2013, 02:25 PM   #18
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If you are after top accuracy, the bullet nose must ride the bore. Some .30 cal. cast bullets will be too small to ride the bore, others will be too tight. The nose portion that rides the bore ("two diameter bullets"), should enter the bore from the muzzle when pushed. If it falls right in, the bullet nose is too small. Before you by a lot of bullets, try to get samples of the designs so you can do the press into the muzzle test. Otherwise, you may end up with a 500 round box of bullets that do not work in your 30-30. My Saeco 301 196 grain as an example, fit my Ruger 1b 30-06perfectly but was way too small in the nose for my Winchester M52 in 30-30.
Also, if you do not cast your own, they will not have an "index mark" (Index mark = a very small notch filed in one side of the mold blocks that produces a slight projection by which to index the finished bullets...so small that you can scrape it off with your finger nail), from which to orient the bullets the same way for each shot. Indexing is one of the top factors in rifle cast lead bullet accuracy.
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Old February 27, 2013, 08:59 PM   #19
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I'm after fun, not top accuracy.
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Old February 27, 2013, 09:31 PM   #20
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I'll go with Mike. Casting bullets is fun and shooting a bullet you cast in a cartridge you loaded is just plain awesome. Thats why black powder is even more awesome! I got a deer this year with a Lee REAL 50 cal I cast, using lube I made, with a charge I measured and poured. I was tickled pink when I dropped him. This is the first one I got with a boom stick and the self load part added immensely to the gratification. I used to fletch my own arrows and that was always cool to see 'one of mine' hit the bull. I plan on making a bow and my own arrows some day when I have the time. Its all about the personal satisfaction of doing it yourself as much as your can. My son wants to make a spear this summer for spearing fish and I just need to check out the local laws so we don't end up on the most wanted list for carrying a deadly fish spear in Obama's Amerika.
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Old February 27, 2013, 11:35 PM   #21
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So far my best performing 30-30 bullet is the LEE C-309-150-F

NRA formula lube, gas checked, sized to .310.

These shoot excellent ahead of 16gr of 2400. Little more than 1700 fps.
8 gr of Unique seems to shoot well. about 1500 fps
9 gr of trail boss 1100 fps
9 gr of Herco. 1600 fps

Also RL-7 seems to work well with 170gr hard cast. Haven t finished my load yet though.


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Old February 28, 2013, 09:01 AM   #22
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You might find you could just apply Lee tumble lube and skip the gas check for that Trail Boss load. As long as they aren't coming out of the mold fat enough to prevent chambering, skipping sizing should then work out, too. It would be a good candidate for a suppressed load with your barrel length.
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Old February 28, 2013, 03:33 PM   #23
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I've been shooting the 100 gr LFP and the 115 LRN from Magnus in my 30-30 Handi rifle. 6 grains of Trail Boss gives about 1150 fps for the 115 LRN and 1215 fps for the 100 LFP.

I give them all a bath in liquid alox.

The 115 LRN (M1 Carbine bullet) is the most accurate for me, shooting under 2" at 100 yards with a bench rest and 4X scope. Very quiet, lot's o' fun.
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Old February 28, 2013, 05:24 PM   #24
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Don't have a clue as to mold number but my old mold drops 165 gr flat nose bullets and I shoot them in front of 36 grains of 4350. Not exactly the new load you were looking for but it's accurate for me, 3" at 100 yards with an aperture sight. I get about 1900 fps out of it at a guess. I never chronoed it, just stopped experimenting when my group got as tight as it was going to get.
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Old March 1, 2013, 08:22 AM   #25
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Quote:
I'm after fun, not top accuracy.
How much fun are you going to have with a rifle and bullet that shoots groups measured in feet instead of inches? In my early cast rifle bullet years, I had that happen with a '98 Mauser re barreled to 7MM Mauser and a circa early 70's Lyman 135 grain design that was not the modern bore riding design. You may find that you have to adopt at least one of the current target-accuracy techniques to get much fun out of your 30-30. Or, you could get lucky and hit on a reasonably accurate load right away.
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