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Old September 13, 2002, 10:48 AM   #1
Join Date: June 18, 2002
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30-06 jacketed vs. cast loads, why are they so dfferent

I have a Lyman 41'st Ed. book. (1957) In it the loads listed for Unique powder for a 30-06 (happen to have some laying around, not first choice of powder) are as follows:

110 jacketed: 15g.-1960fps. ; 19.8g.- 2320fps
110 cast gas check: 9g.- 1400fps. ; no max listed

125g. jacketed: 14.5g.- 1750fps. ; 19g.- 2200fps.
120g. cast gas check: none listed

150g. jacketed: 14g.- 1640fps. ; 19.5g.-2050fps.
150g. cast gas check: 10g.-1500fps ; no max listed

180g. jacketed: 13g.-1430fps. ; 18.4g.-1840fps.
180g. cast gas check: 19.3g.-1785fps. ; no max listed

no pressures listed

I am confused! I understand a gas check is so that the butt of the cast bullet doesn't melt under firing heat. What I'm not sure about is the differences between shooting cast vs. jacketed in a rifle. (30-06) I would think that since a jacketed bullet has more bearing surface and is harder than lead, it would be harder to push down the barrel, and lead is soft so it would go down the barrel more easily. I think that a jacketed bullet would have to be 'mashed' down the barrel, but a cast lead bullet is soft so it would conform to the lands and grooves easier. Is this wrong?

Some questions: Why is the 110g. cast load half of the jacketed max load? Why is there no 120g. cast load? Why is there no max listed for 150g. cast? The 180g. load seems to have the least difference between the cast and jacketed. Why do handgunners use cast bullets alot? Why, why and why?
How do the pressures differ? Why are the cast loads so much less than the jacketed loads?

I have been messing around with light plinking loads, then after reading these recipes I realized that I could make the 06 like a 30-30, which is much nicer to my shoulder for long sessions at the range. Last session I loaded up some M1-a 110g. jacketed bullets over 14g. of Unique. It was a real nice plinking load, soft and pretty accurate, three holes touching, the other two holes were close, at 50yds. Maybe 3/4 to 1 inch, didn't measure it. Fairly accurate at 100 yds as well.

Please enlighten a thouroughly cofused reloader.
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Old September 13, 2002, 11:31 AM   #2
Jim Watson
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Why are you depending on a 1957 manual?

My Lyman 44th (1968), 47th (1992 and the 48th just now in the works), Cast Bullet Handbook (1973) and RCBS Cast Bullet Manual No 1 (1986) all show more powders, more cast bullets and generally heavier loads and higher velocities.

Nobody recommends Unique for light loads with jacketed bullets anymore. I don't know what they are worried about, double charges, pressure spikes, and stuck bullets are all possible and might worry their lawyers. Or maybe they just don't figure there is any demand for the old small game load with a jacketed bullet.

Yes, cast bullets engrave into the rifling and drive down the barrel more easily. The maximum loads given for cast bullets are usually the heaviest that gave reasonably good accuracy with that style of bullet cast out of their lead alloy. So they will usually be below the maximum load with a jacketed bullet which gives the maximum pressure specified for the caliber.

I think even the starting loads in the newer manuals I have are too much; I usually go by the article in the old NRA Handloading Manual, written for the American Rifleman in the '60s.

If you want to get up to .30-30 ballistics with cast bullets in a .30-06 it will take very good bullets to give good accuracy. It can be done, but I am usually satisfied with .32-40 ballistics, 1000 to 1500 fps.
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Old September 13, 2002, 11:49 AM   #3
Join Date: June 18, 2002
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None of my other reloading manuals listed Unique for jacketed bullets in an 06. That's the only reason I used this book.

Double charges? No more likely than using other powders I would think. Pressure spikes? Why? Stuck bullets? At that speed?

I'm still confused. If cast bullets go down the barrel easier, than couldn't you use more powder for more speed without more pressure? But the book list less powder for cast loads. Why would accuracy suffer from 'hot' cast loads more so than jacketed?

Although my Dad used to make fishing weights and we have a lead pot I'm not sure I will get into casting my own, I am just looking for information at this point to feed my brain. So when I talked about turning my 06 into a 30-30 it was with jacketed bullets in mind.

Thanks for such a quick response! Hope to learn more on this subject.
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Old September 13, 2002, 12:00 PM   #4
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There is a lot of good information on the net about bullet casting the the shooting of cast bullets. I recommend you do a search or two; you will be there awhile reading all the great info on the web. In the mean time, check out: . Go to their shooters forum. There is some argument about just how fast you can push cast bullets before significant barrel leading occurs. I personally wouldn't think twice about trying to achieve .30-30 velocities. I would at least try it; if I got excessive barrel leading or I couldn't maintain a minimum degree of accurcay, I would keep working on it, keep researching it until I did. If you are not casting your own bullets, you will have some degree of difficulty with your experiments. Things like what bullet alloy you use, what lube you use, what bullet size you use are things that you have control over when you cast your own. If you are just buying the bullets from a commercial source, you take what they have and if that proves unsatisfactory; tough.
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Old September 13, 2002, 12:07 PM   #5
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I'll say it again, I'm not sure I want to get into casting, or even shooting store bought cast bullets, just researching for now. But thanks alot for your advice. Dropping down to 30-30 speeds was with jacketed bullets in mind, no to mention alot softer recoil. I would use bullets designed to function properly at those speeds as well.

Again thanks alot for your comments!
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Old September 13, 2002, 12:35 PM   #6
Jim Watson
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If you want to load your .30-06 down to .30-30 with jacketed bullets, you are in good company.

The old (1920s) 300 meter international match load was the 173 grain M1 boattail bullet and 36.5 grains of HiVel No 2 for 2250 fps. That is about what a maximum .30-30 170 grain load in a 24 inch barrel will do. HiVel No 2 has been out of production for a long time. Ed Harris says to substitute 40 to 44 grains of IMR 4064. That would be in the ballpark with a regular 170 grain .30-30 RN or any other .30 caliber bullet from 165 to 180 grains.

Norma loads what they call the .30-30-06, a .30-06 case with a 150 grain roundnose at 2411 fps, which is also equal to a maximum .30-30 load with that weight bullet. It is for sale in Europe where there is not much handloading done but shooters want a softer load for the roe and other small deer, and save the full power ammo for elk and stag. They use 38.1 grains of Norma 200. I have a little left and it works fine, but no point paying the price these days. Ken Waters says to load 40 grains H322 or 41 grains of 3031 for the same velocity.

If you particularly want to use Unique, I would work up to the maximum 1957 loads gradually. They probably did not have a pressure test gun in those days and were just using what seemed ok in their rifle.
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Old September 13, 2002, 01:39 PM   #7
Art Eatman
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A lot of the loads for cast bullets were written before we got to hard-cast and/or heat-treated lead bullets.

So, it's been common to limit "basic" cast bullets to around 1,200 or 1,300 ft/sec to limit leading of the barrel. With gas-checks, you can go on up to around 2,000 ft/sec. At some point, even a gas-check lead bulllet will start to strip out in the barrel, leaving you with a lot of work to clean it. (Hooray for having some mercury around!)

Another way of looking at it is that what's a reduced load for a jacketed bullet is a maximum load for a lead bullet. It's not the pressure, it's the too-high velocity causing the lead bullet to strip.

Any of the faster-burning pistol or shotgun powders have been used in playing around with using lead bullets. I used to take the old Lyman 169-grain with gas-checks and load 20 grains of 2400 for about 1,900 to 2,000 in the '06...

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Old September 13, 2002, 02:19 PM   #8
john kilgore
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The best source of information for what you are looking for is in the Lee Loading manual.
It has an extensive description and formula for working up reduced loads for all sorts of cartridges.
The best reduced powders for use in the .30/06 from my experience are H4895, IMR3031, and H2400.
I routinely load 20gr of 2400 with two different cast bullets for the '06. One is the Lee 152gr PtGC-.312", cast from wheel weights and heat treated, the other is the 170gr FNGC .311, Lee also from w-w and heat treated.
The spitzer is sized to .311 as I use it with IMR4227 in an SKS, and the 170gr is sized to .309 as it will not hold a gas check sized to .311. The spitzer is the most accurate oddly enough, and shoots 1.5" for 5 shots at 100yds. Velocity is about 1600fps. This load also shoots to zero at 100yds when sighted 2.5" high with a 150 jacketed spitzer @ 3000fps. If I go up to 24gr of H2400, velocity runs 1950, but shoots about 12" lower at 100yds.
I've used IMR3031 to get up to 2200 fps in a .30-30 with accuracy to equal factory velocities with the 170gr., but find that the extra velocity gains little advantage. 28gr.-29.0 works well with this bullet, however for higher velocity I recommend the 150gr FNGC with 30.0 gr of IMR3031 for 2250 fps. (From Savage 340 w/22" bbl).
I also use the same 20gr of H2400 with the 170gr FNGC and velocity is also 1600fps. This is a superlative deer load, gives modest expansion and complete penetration on deer to its useful range. For most of my hunting with an '06, this load gets the pick. 2775fps is what I get from this rifle (MkX Mauser w/24" bbl) with 60gr of RL-22 and 180gr bullets, but this load is way over powered for most use in lower States.
For a real treat though, I load 5gr of Bullseye on top of a 78gr RN which shoots real close to point of aim @25yds. and groups in clover-leafs to boot! It sounds about like a .22 CB, but hits with a real whop!
Be sure to get the Lee Manual if you are remotely interested in bullet casting or reloading in general. Better yet, get the book with the reloading press so you have a general light duty press to go with your heavier press for light stuff like sizing/loading pistol ammo or bullet sizing with Lee sizers.
Try casting, you'll like it !
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Old September 13, 2002, 02:58 PM   #9
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Redrider, I have several cast '06 loads that produce over 2400 fps accurately, which btw, is MORE than adequate for most hunting purposes. Ya gotta premember that was all grampa had to use way back before someone was smart nuff to put a jacket on'em. And that incuded big stuff like elk, bear, and moose. Cast bullets work very well. Grandson got a nice deer last year with cast in a 30-30 loaded down a bit so he could handle it. Shot plumb through it and made a nice exit wound. Speed is not everything.

Why? You ask. Because I can. It's a real challenge though. You simply do NOT stick any ole cast bullet in a case and expect good results. It takes a bit (a lot in some cases) of tinkering and a bucket full of 'magic dust'. sundog
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