View Full Version : Reduced load 30-06 with IMR 4064 OK?

September 30, 2008, 12:22 AM
I just started loading for a sporterized Remington 1917 in 30-06. I'm getting my brass from surplus ammo that I shoot through it. It is setup with a peep sight, and I'll be using it highpower competitions, so I'm loading for accuracy, not speed. As such, if I can get a reduced load that is accurate, that would be preferable to reduce wear and tear on the gun and make my brass last longer.

I've got good preliminary results with 43.0 grains of IMR 4064 behind either a Hornady or SMK 168 gr HPBT. I'm using Winchester LR primers. This load is ~2400 fps, and right around the minimum values in most loading manuals. Is there any downside to downloading IMR 4064? I ask because I had a squib with a downloaded 357 magnum H110 load before I knew not to do that with H110.

September 30, 2008, 12:58 AM
In Handloader 230 they loaded 35.0gr under a 192gr cast bullet. They used a Dacron filler. I think you could probably work down to the same charge. I would use wadding as well.

September 30, 2008, 08:19 AM
If there’s a downside to reduced charges of IMR 4064 I don’t know of it. I used a reduced load of IMR 4064 for a silhouette load for years with various weights of bullets in a 30-06, and it always delivered great accuracy and absolute reliability. It’s actually a favorite ‘go to’ powder for me in the 30-06.

September 30, 2008, 09:51 AM
"...43.0 grains of IMR 4064 behind either a Hornady or SMK 168 gr HPBT. I'm using Winchester LR primers. This load is ~2400 fps, and right around the minimum values...:

Your loads are fine. Just don't go below the minimum values with "normal" powders. At those speeds I would use bullets for the .30-30 to obtain good expansion.

Cast bullet loads can go very low but they do it with small qualities of fast powders. Those loads aren't wise when using jacketed bullets.

September 30, 2008, 10:03 AM
H110 is unique in that it's very sensitive to downloading. It doesn't take much to get squibs with it.

I haven't tried 4064 before, but I've tried some reduced loads in my '03A3 with IMR-4895 with good results. 3031 should be good also.


September 30, 2008, 01:20 PM
IMR 4064 will work just fine with the load that you're using. It is a very versatile and predictable powder. It has ether in it and ignites readily with standard primers. It is my go-to powder for 180 grain bullets in the '06. IMR 3031 and 4895 will also work well in reduced loads. SR 4759 was designed for reduced velocity loads also.

September 30, 2008, 02:03 PM
Lee book has reduced loads for lead.

Lyman as well.

SR 4759 is common.

I used IMR 4064 to take a 7mm mag 120gr load down to 3000fps. I shoot these weight bullets with RL 22 for 3500fps.

September 30, 2008, 02:37 PM

I ran your load in QuickLOAD. It predicts a peak pressure of 36,280 and muzzle velocity of 2,409 fps in a 24" barrel using a COL of 3.250”. As the COL goes out toward the SAAMI magazine maximum of 3.340”, the pressure peak drops about 500 PSI and the velocity drops to 2,398 fps. I used 3.25” initially because many bullets not seated out near the lands, will then shoot best when their bearing surface is about 1 caliber into the case neck. 3.25” COL creates that condition for the 168 grain Sierra MatchKing (SMK).

The main problem with that load will be the fact the space in the case is only 78% filled by the powder. If you tip the cartridge forward before firing, the muzzle velocity will be lower than if the powder is back over the primer. Even Lake City’s M72 match ammunition would show muzzle velocity variation of 80 fps depending whether the muzzle was tipped up or down just before coming horizontal to fire. It used a 172 grain (actual weight spec. 174 grains +0, -3 grains) FMJ bullet over 46.5 grains of IMR 4895, which filled the empty case space 83%, and was fired by a military primer (magnum equivalent), While I would not put polyester fiber in a load as high as the one you are you are using, you might consider a single disc of newspaper or packaging tissue cut just fractionally over the case’s diameter at the powder column height, and pressed into place with a wood dowel to help keep the powder positioned over the primer. Transport all such ammo nose-up and keep it that way until you are given the command to load.

The other downside of 4064 in this application is the powder can't burn as completely at that low chamber pressure as it would in a full load. It will burn about 96% in the bore and have not quite 27% ballistic efficiency (BE). Making the switch to 41 grains of IMR 3031 increases the % burned in the barrel to 100% and the BE to 29.4% to produce the same barrel time (assuming you've found a good accuracy sweet spot whose barrel time should be maintained). It increases bullet velocity by 52 fps, but does not increase the recoil impulse. That remains a calculated 11.94 ft-lbs for both loads in the 9 lb, 3 oz 1917. You would expect more recoil because you are pushing the bullet faster, but that recoil neutrality occurs partly because there is less powder mass accelerated with the 3031 load. It is also because the muzzle pressure is slightly lower and then has less propellant gas mass to blow out. So, the IMR 3031 load produces less rocket effect after the bullet clears the muzzle. Case filling for the IMR 3031 load is 75%, so the paper disc suggestion still applies.

All that said, you will find that most rifles achieve peak accuracy at closer to maximum loads. You don't need that much precision or wind immunity for the 200 yard offhand or sitting rapid phases of a match. Indeed, for reduced recoil, I would recommend you develop a load using the 150 grain SMK at that shorter range. My records show 40.4 grains of 3031 to be a good reduced recoil load with the 150 grain SMK seated to 3.145” COL. This is in Lake City or Remington brass. Where 41.0 grains of 3031 under the 168 grain bullet produces 11.94 ft-lbs of total recoil impulse in the 1917, the 40.4 grain load under the 150 grain SMK drops that to 10.26 ft-bs, a 14 % reduction. That is enough so you will be able to feel the difference (as a rule of thumb, you only clearly feel 10% or more difference). The predicted velocity is 2498. These loads assume a mild primer. If you like what you're using now, stay with it. I used the Federal 210M for the 40.4 grain load.

When you go out to 300 yards, the wind will start knocking the bullet around more. Try again with the 150 grain bullet, but up the charge to 44.1 grains of 3031. The total recoil impulse goes up to 12.01 ft-lbs, barely different from your current load, and in the prone position with the sling tightly in place, will not move you around much. I actually use 47.5 grains of IMR 4064 in the Garand at that range, but your recoil impulse would be up to 15.55 ft-lbs with that load, and you might not like it as much. Velocity is predicted to be 2678 fps, and chamber pressure to be 39,592 psi with 44.1 grains of IMR 3031. Only your experience will tell you whether the 150 or 168 grain bullets work best for you at this range?

600 yards is another animal. The 168 grain SMK does well, but that 1959 design is overshadowed by the 175 grain SMK designed in cooperation with the military. I don’t recall seeing the 175’s at Camp Perry until the late 1990’s, but I don’t know what their military design cycle history was? I believe it started in the late 80’s. The point is, they have higher ballistic coefficients and don’t become unstable in the transonic region, so they may shoot better for you, especially if you use reduced loads. I don’t do that at 600 yards. My records show I last IMR 4064 load I used with the 175 grain SMK’s for the Garand was 48.8 grains with a COL of 3.230. That produces a predicted 2682 fps, though in my gun it ran more like 2650 fps. The pressure is predicted to be 53,000, PSI, which is below maximum, but that is with a fired case water capacity of 69.2 grains. It is a high enough pressure load that prudence suggests reducing it to 44 grains and working up in 0.3 grain increments in your gun until you see an accuracy peak. If you see pressure signs at any time during the work-up or after, then, obviously, you need to back the load down. I don’t expect you will. 48.7 grains of Varget produces similar results, and seems to be slightly more temperature immune. Recoil impulses with these loads are 15.71 and 15.63 ft-lbs, respectively.

By the way, I would recommend you buy and use a sliding-sleeve type competition bullet seating die for these loads. I use the Redding, but have heard good things about the Forster, too. I just haven’t personally measured the latter’s effectiveness, while the Redding works essentially perfectly for me. In the early 60’s the NRA published results from firing about 830 rounds of M72 in match rifles after first measuring bullet runout. They found that 0.004” of runout opened groups about 1 moa. Greater runout than that had no additional effect because the bullet could line itself up to correct greater runout. It just could not correct the first four thousandths.

I hope this is helpful?


October 21, 2008, 03:20 PM
If H-4895 is listed for your cal and bullet weight you can reduce the charge to 60 percent of maximum listed without fillers or unburned powder.

in example 165 gr Sierra SPBT max load is 47.5 gr you can reduce this to 28.5 gr for a very mild load
The same load can be used with the 168 gr Hdy HPBT

source =Hodgdon's 2004 Annual Manual

Another reduced load powder is XMP 5744 as an example the 30-06 load with150 gr bullets shows a min of 26.0 and a max of 28.0 gr of this powder with velocities of mid 1900 to 2050 fps

October 21, 2008, 07:44 PM
I've got good preliminary results with 43.0 grains of IMR 4064 behind either a Hornady or SMK 168 gr HPBT.

For years I shot NRA Highpower with a 200 yard load of a 168 Match and 42.0 grains IMR 4895. This was in a 30-06 bolt rifle. I shot it standing and sitting rapid fire. This load would clean the 200 yard target. It was mild, about 2400 fps.

I have no doubt that 43.0 grs of IMR 4064 is an equivalent. Most of my 308 and 30-06 IMR 4895 loads can be duplicated with a load of IMR 4064 that had one grain more of powder.

A reduced load like this won't shoot worth a hoot in a Garand, but I had no problems what so ever in a bolt rifle.

December 30, 2012, 12:26 AM
I just tried a load of rounds with a medium load of SR4759 with dacron fillers and some with 60% loads of 4895 with speer's 110 gr. spire point bullet. They both worked GREAT! It felt close to a .22 rifle. Both my son and I had a great time shooting these. I had put a recoil pad on my rifle but I don't think it is needed at all for these loads. This thread is old, but newcomers like myself can get a lot from it.

December 30, 2012, 12:42 AM
TargetTerror, you may or may not find this useful.

"The Load" is 13 Grains of Red Dot"

By C.E. Harris, Revised 2-16-94

My success in economizing by using up leftover shotshell powder has changed my
approach to handloading. I had a caddy of Red Dot, and no longer reloaded
shotshells, so asked myself, "what can I do with it?" My shooting is now
mostly high-power rifle. I needed several hundred rounds a week to practice
offhand, reloading, and working the bolt in sitting and prone rapid, but didn't
want to burn out my barrel or my wallet. Powder used to be cheap, but today is
$20/lb. (or more), so cost is a factor in component choice.

I used to ignore pistol or shotgun powders in reduced rifle loads for the usual
reasons: the risk of accidental double-charges, fears of erratic ignition, and
concerns with maintaining accuracy, and reduced utility with a low-power load.
Still, the caddy of Red Dot kept "looking at me" from the corner. Would it
work? Looking at data in the RCBS Cast Bullet Manual No. 1 and the Lyman Cast
Bullet Handbook suggested it would, so I tried it, much to my delight! Red Dot
is bulky, compared to the usual rifle powders used in .30-'06-size cases. It
occupies more powder space in typical charges than common "reduced load" rifle
powders, such as #2400, IMR4227, IMR4198 or RL-7. The lower bulk density of Red
Dot adequately addresses my safety concerns because it makes an accidental
double charge far less likely.

After considerable experimentation, my friends and I found "The Load" IS 13
grains of Hercules Red Dot, in any FULL SIZED rifle case of .30 cal. or larger.
"The Load" has distinct advantages over more expensive alternatives, within
certain limitations, which are:

1. The case must be LARGER than the .300 Savage or .35 Remington.

2. The rifle must be of MODERN (post 1898) design, suitable for smokeless
powder, with a bore size of .30 cal. or larger.

3. The bullet weight must be within the NORMAL range for the given cartridge.

4. Inert fillers such as Dacron, kapok or are NOT RECOMMENDED! (Nor are they

Within these restrictions I have now engraved in stone, "The Load" works! The
bullet may be either jacketed or cast. Gaschecked cast bullets required in the
.30 cals., otherwise you will get leading, but plainbased ones work fine in the
8mm Mauser or larger.

"The Load" has shown complete success in the .30-40 Krag, .303 British, 7.65
Argentine, .308 Win., 7.62x54R Russian, .30-'06, 8x57 and .45-70
(strong-actioned rifles such as the 1886 Winchester or 1895 Marlin -- 12 grs.
is maximum for 400 gr. bullets in the Trapdoor Springfield -- Ed.) Though I
have not tried it, I have no doubt that "The Load" would work well in other
cartridges fitting these parameters, such as the .35 Whelen, .358 Winchester,
.375 H&H or .444 Marlin, based on RCBS and Lyman published data.

"The Load" fills 50% or more of a .308 Win or .30-'06 case. The risk of an
accidental double charge is greatly reduced, because the blunder is immediately
obvious if you visually check, powder fill on EVERY CASE, as you should
whenever handloading! A bulky powder measures more uniformly, because normal
variation in the measured volume represents a smaller percentage of the charge

Red Dot's granulation is somewhat less coarse than other flake powders of
similar burning rate, such as 700-X, which aids metering. Its porous, uncoated
flakes are easily ignited with standard primers. So-called "magnum" primers do
no harm in cases larger than the .30-'06, but are neither necessary nor
recommended in smaller ones. I DO NOT recommend pistol primers in reduced rifle
loads, because weak primers may cause erratic ignition, and their thinner cups
can perforate more easily, causing gas leakage and risk of personal injury!

The velocities obtained with 13 grs. of Red Dot appear mild, but "The Load" is
no pipsqueak! In a case like the .308 or .30-'06, you get (from a 24" sporter
barrel) about 1450 f.p.s. with a 200- gr. cast bullet, 1500 with a 170-gr., or
1600 with a 150-gr. cast load. "The Load" is fully comparable to "yesterday's
deer rifle", the .32-40, and provides good expansion of cheap, soft alloys
(10-13 BHN) at woods ranges. Jacketed bullet velocities with "The Load" are
about 120-150 f.p.s. less than a lubricated lead bullet of the same weight.

Longer-barreled military rifles pick up a few feet per second, but "The Load"
starts to slow down in barrels over 28", such as the M91 Moisin-Nagant and long
Krags or 98a Mausers.

My preferred alloy in the .30 cals. is a mixture of 3-5 lbs. of .22 backstop
scrap to 1 lb. of salvaged linotype. Wheelweights also work well, as do soft
"Scheutzen" alloys such as 1:25 tin/lead. in bores of 8 mm or larger. "The
Load" drives soft- cast .30-cal. to 8 mm bullets fast enough to get expansion,
but without fragmenting. These out-penetrate factory .30-30 softpoints, and
kill medium game up to 150 lbs. well at short ranges up to 100 yards, when
placed accurately. In medium and large bores like the .375 H&H or .45-70, "The
Load" gives typical black powder ballistics for the bore. A 255-265 gr. cast
bullet in the .375 H&H approximates the .38-55 at 1330 f.p.s. Soft 300- 405-gr.
cast bullets are pushed at 1300-1350 f.p.s. from a 22" barrel .45-70, sporter
are very effective on deer at woods ranges. Cast bullets over .35 cal. do not
have to expand appreciably to work well on game if blunt and heavy for their

The Load" works well with jacketed bullets, giving somewhat lower velocities
than with cast lead, due to less effective obturation and greater friction in
the bore. The 85-gr. or 100-gr. Hornady or 90-gr. Sierra JHP for the .32 H&R
Mag. revolver, or the Remington 100-gr. .32-20 softpoint bullet become mild,
but destructive varmint loads at 1600 f.p.s. from a .308 or '06.

If you substitute a stiffly jacketed 110-gr. .30 Carbine softpoint bullet,
designed for higher velocities than imparted by "The Load", you have a
non-destructive "coup de gras", small game or wild turkey load which shoots
close to your deer rifle's normal zero, but at 25 yards! A more accurate and
effective small game or varmint load uses a flat-nosed 150-gr. pr 170-gr.
.30-30 bullet instead. These don't expand at the 1400-1450 f.p.s. obtained
with "The Load", but their larger frontal area improves killing power compared
to roundnoses or spitzers.

I have use pulled GI .30 caliber Ball, and Match bullets with "The Load" for
cheap 200-yd. NMC boltgun practice. Accuracy is equal to arsenal loads, but I
use my 600-yard sight dope at 200 yards. I expect 5-6" ten-shot, iron-sight
groups at 200 yards using M2 or M80 pulled bullets and about 3-4" for the M72
or M118 Match bullets. I use these mostly in bolt-action rifles, but they can
be single-loaded for offhand or slow-fire practice ion the Garand as well.
These .30 cal. pulls shoot fine in the .303 British or 7.62x54 Russian, despite
their being a bit small, because the fast-burning Red Dot upsets them into the
deeper grooves. The 173-gr. Match .30 cal. boattail bullets may not shoot as
well at these low velocities as lighter flat bases in the 12" twist .308 Win.
barrels, but they do quite well in ten- inch twist barrels such as in the '06,
7.62 Russian, .303 British and 7.65 Argentine.

The longer bore time of these 1400 f.p.s. (typical 170-180-gr. jacketed load
velocity) practice loads makes errors in follow- through apparent, a great
practice and training aid. The light recoil and lower report of these loads
helps transition Junior tyro shooters from the .22 rimfire to the service rifle
without being intimidated by the noise and recoil.

Zeroing is no problem in the M1 or M14, because "The Load" shoots into the
ten-ring of the reduced SR target at 200 yards from your M1 or M14 rifle at
using your normal 600 yard sight dope! The somewhat greater wind deflection
blows you into the "8" ring at 200 yards with the same conditions you would
expect to do so at 600 yards with M118 Match ammunition. This provides your
Junior shooters some useful wind-doping practice.

The economy of a lighter charge is obvious. A full power .30-'06 load using 50
grs. of an IMR powder like 4064 costs 10 cents a pop, just for powder, at 140
rounds per pound (if you are lucky enough to find new powder for $14/lb.).
Substituting 13 grs. of Red Dot gets 538 rounds per pound at a cost of 2.6
cents which is a savings of over $7 per hundred rounds in powder alone! Greater
savings are possible if you get the best price and buy powder by the caddy.

Velocity and point of impact of "The Load" is not noticeably affected by
varying powder position in the case. I shoot them either slow fire, or clip-fed
and flipped through rapid-fire in the boltgun with equal accuracy. Red Dot is
very clean burning and is economical both on the basis of its lower charge
weight, and its lower basic cost per pound compared to other "rifle" powders.

Best of all, using a shotshell powder I already have reduces the kinds of
powder I keep and eliminates the need for a special "reduced load" powder. This
approach is ideal for rifle shooters who are also shotgunners, since almost
everybody who reloads for 12-ga. probably has a keg of Red Dot already!

I now realize it is foolish to use heavier charges of more expensive powder for
routine practice, varmint or small game loads in my center-fire rifles. I
seldom shoot at over 200 yards, and don't enjoy wearing out expensive target
barrels unnecessarily. Since I already have good sight dope and need to work
more on technique and save my remaining barrel accuracy life for matches.

I am glad I found the way to get alot more shooting for the dollar. Economical
powder choice IS possible, and my reloading has become less complicated and
more enjoyable simple since I realized I could do most of my rifle shooting
with 13 grains of Red Dot!

December 30, 2012, 12:59 AM
When my son started hunting, I reloaded 30-06 125gr with 34gr IMR 3031. Good accurate load with mild report. He killed a 140 class Whitetail buck at 50 yds with this. Shooting this was similar to a 223.

Bart B.
December 30, 2012, 10:32 AM
I've always cautioned folks to never load center fire rifle ammo more than 10% below typical max charges of powder normally used for a given bullet. As the firing pin impact drives a .30-06 or .308 Win. case hard into the chamber setting the shoulder back a bit and there's not enough peak pressure to expand the case all the way back so its head stops against the bolt face. Subsequent loads on that case makes its case headspace shorter and shorter. Incipient head separation starts and often stops when the case cracks wide open at the weakened pressure ring blowing hot gasses propelling bits of brass back into ones face. If one uses max loads in a case that's been using very reduced loads too often, head separation starts.

Be very careful with reduced loads. Don't use one that doensn't have enough pressure to keep fired case headspace the same. You'll need a case headspace gauge to measure them.

December 30, 2012, 10:41 AM