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Old June 22, 2011, 06:25 PM   #1
Sevens
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Loading for .30/30 in Contender

I haven't got the barrel... trying to decide if this would be an interesting venture. Obviously, .30/30 is old... low pressure... slow... with a big ugly round-nose bullet straight outta the old west.

With a proper pointed bullet, can you make a decent round out of it, something that shoots a little better than a rainbow trajectory, or does sending that slick modern bullet from a 14-inch barrel instead of a rifle-length barrel put you at the same result as the old-tech round nose bullet from a lever action?

Or, with some of the 100-120 grain .30 cal offerings, can you make a varmint round out of it? Or would the .223 and the Super 14" barrel simply out-do it with a much lighter, sleeker bullet?

.30/30 out of a Contender isn't something I need... but I'd still like to hear from anyone who dabbles in it, or has considered it. Seems like it might be fun.
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Old June 22, 2011, 11:16 PM   #2
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I have a 14" barrel in .30-30, but have to admit not having had time to work up loads for it...yet.

Many newer reloading manuals have sections for the .30-30 in the Contender in the handgun section. Check them out.

Think on this, most .30-30 rifles have 22" barrels. Carbines run 20", some less, with some models 18" and the "Trapper" guns at 16"!

You do lose some velocity with the 14", compared to the rifle and longer carbines, but the ability to use pointed bullets (and not just the Hornady Leverrevolution) makes up for a lot.

Looking in the Hornady 7th edition, they shot .30-30 Contender with a 10" barrel and got max loads up to 2000fps with a 130gr bullet and with a 150 had a load that hit 1900, and one that made 1850, although most powders peaked around 1750fps. Considering the best the same manual listed for the 20 inch rifle barrel with a 150gr was 2300fps (three loads at max pressure) thats not to bad for the 10" Contender, and the 14" ought to be better.

Also, rounds for the Contender are not restricted to a length at will feed through the action, and need not be crimped.
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Old June 23, 2011, 08:46 AM   #3
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The .30-30 shines in the Contender with a 14" barrel. I used to have one in .30-30 and another in .30-30 Ackley Improved (AI). Fine shooting pistols and nice for the long shots. Mild recoil. I was just beside myself with all the spitzer bullets available in .30 and tried many different loads and bullet weights, rarely having to worry about OAL and no crimping. Don't for a minute compare the loads with .30-30 rifles. This is one to buy and experiment with -- I think you'll be pleased with the results. There is lots of load data available for the spitzer in the Contender.
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Old June 23, 2011, 09:06 AM   #4
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Attention: Mr. Sevens

Your question regarding reloading for your .30-30 t/c contender, should have been posted in the "handloading" section of this forum. Lots of folks there who can help you with your question.

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Old June 24, 2011, 09:41 AM   #5
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I've got a couple of those. I like the 14" better than the 10" barrel. The shorter barrel has a lot of flip to it. Loading for this cartridge with a short barrel brings a few issues. Because of the short barrel you need to stay with fairly quick and bulky powders. The slower powders have a tendency to create more muzzle flash than velocity. While I've used ball powders in these pistols, they have a lot of muzzle flash with a firing line clearing favorite of 35.0 grs H335 under a 110 gr Carbine RN. It'll run fire outa the barrel about 12 feet and about 6 foot round. If you are standing next to me it's like getting hit with a 2x4 from the muzzle blast. That load shoots extreme good too. You'll find that the 30 caliber pistol bullets will work better for hunting than a rifle bullet. The rifle bullets are built too heavy for the velocities of the pistol. My favorite powder for this cartridge is SR4759. It's extremely bulky, clean burning, and quick burning. But it does not like going thru a powder measure. I use a Lee Dipper to throw the charge into a scale. Works for me. Might look around on the different websites like Fleabay for a Thompson loading manual. It has data specifically for the Contender that I've never found else where. Some of the older manuals had sections on the Contender for data as well. Like any data, start low and work up.
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Old June 30, 2011, 09:33 AM   #6
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Man, this sounds like a heap of fun. Especially that fireball and muzzle blast you've described with the H335 load. Any idea what kind of FPS you get from a 110 grain carbine slug with that load?

On one hand... I'd need another handgun scope.
On the other hand, I really need that killer 12x Burris for my .223 Super-14", so maybe I can move the Bushnell to a .30/30 barrel!

Definitely something to think about.

Oh yeah... I wanted to mention the motivating factor for me even creating this thread: I ran across a set of used .30/30 dies in the LGS. Hardly used (if at all) RCBS 2-die set and it's even got a shell holder in there. Ten bucks. Needless to say, I bought it just because I couldn't say no.

That's the reason I'm trying to figure out how to shoehorn the .30/30 in to my life!
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Old June 30, 2011, 10:20 AM   #7
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The .30-30 is a handloader's dream. You can take it from mild to wild depending on how you want to load it. I've personally never had any luck with the spitzer bullets, but Speer makes a 130 grain flat nose that's got a lot of potential.

That long neck makes bullet tension a dream, with very little run-out. That rim makes headspace issues go away. I shoot more cast bullets than anything else int he caliber and really like the 170 grain weights. I can get them up to 1850 with a 12 twist barrel and they fly well out to about 150 yards.

In this day and age of whiz-bang super magnums and long range rifle marksmanship, it's refreshing to re-visit the old calibers from time to time. The .30-30 has been with us for over 100 years and it looks like it's going to hang around for another 100.
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Old June 30, 2011, 10:41 AM   #8
Sevens
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Oh yeah... I never even thought about cast lead boolits in the .30/30!
I'd buy them (I don't cast, no immediate plans to start) but I'll bet Penn Bullets makes some great ones.

This idea is gaining speed!
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Old June 30, 2011, 11:20 AM   #9
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Quote:
Oh yeah... I never even thought about cast lead boolits in the .30/30!
I'd buy them (I don't cast, no immediate plans to start) but I'll bet Penn Bullets makes some great ones.
I just clicked over there and their 170 grain and 180 grain both look like they might have potential. I'd prefer them gas-checked, but they should be okay for reduced loads. I'd start running them at about 1500 fps, start increasing the powder until they started leading, then back off the load until the leading goes away. Fit is important to a cast bullet and you want them sized 0.001 over your groove diameter. Most .30-30 barrels use a .308 groove diameter, so get them sized to 0.309 for starters.

They claim that the 180 grain bore-riding design is "an advanced design over many previous cast rifle bullets by featuring a bore riding shank". I don't know so much about that. Folks have been experimenting with bore-riding bullets for many decades. Some are good. Still, that 180 grain Penn bullet looks like it might have merit.
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Old June 30, 2011, 01:03 PM   #10
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Quote:
Any idea what kind of FPS you get from a 110 grain carbine slug with that load?
Out of a 14" barrel they are scootin right at 2200'ps+. It's an extremely accurate load and is real easy on the recoil too. I have several 30-30 carbine rifles that this load is incredibly accurate. I also shoot 147gr FMJs, and the Sierra 30-30 bullet 125 JHP that is a flat nose. The carbine bullet will drop a coyote with about the same authority as a Peterbilt out to 100 yds. The bullet will explode once inside the coyote and you'll only find small parts of the jacket and a lot of mush at that distance. It's not ideal for game you intend to put on the supper table.

19.0 grs SR4759 under a 147 FMJ gets me 1850'ps. Accuracy is 3/4"@100 yds. So if you want a heavier bullet, here's a good place to start. Max load is 19.5grs SR4759 with a 150 gr bullet. I've not had any accuracy issues with a spitzer type bullet but you'd have to expect bullet performance while hunting to be low. Jacket construction is a little over kill for the velocities that you're gonna be shooting.

My Contender is the old model. I've put an SSK 6oz trigger in the frame, their hammer spring for quicker lock times and more hammer force. Ive put a set of Herrett grips on it and it's quite a shooter.
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Old June 30, 2011, 08:30 PM   #11
Sevens
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...and you stick with iron sights?

Last weekend, I did a bunch of shooting at 100 yards with my .30 Carbine Blackhawk. It was a lot of fun and I could hit a piece of target paper with it... but I couldn't see squat!

I'm going to have to start looking for a good, used .30/30 Contender barrel!
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Old December 17, 2018, 12:11 AM   #12
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30/30 14" contender load

I know this is an old thread however I thought it could use a little more info. And because I have worked on this load personally.

I actually own a contender with multiple barrels and have worked up loads for all of them. As far as the 30-30 Barrel goes. I settled on a load from the contender load book. When I tested I actually got the exact results that the book listed. My favorite load was the 125 Nosler ballistic tip on top 31 grains of H335.
It reached almost 2000 feet per second. The little Nosler ballistic tip expands exactly as it shows on the box at that velocity. And with almost 1100 foot-pounds of energy it does the job on coyotes and smaller deer.
Given that the water jug test I placed 4 one gallon milk jugs inline and of course it blew up the first one and the second one and split the third one and the bullet rested on the ground between the third and last one mushroomed out exactly as it was supposed to however the jacket was separated from the lead insert.

is a very accurate load and you can step it up a little without losing too much accuracy. I can't say enough about Nosler Ballistic Tips.. They are both accurate and perfectly controlled expansion. They are also however very pricey running about $22 for just 50 of them. But once you have your load worked up, from there you just hunt with them.

And I have tried the 150 grain loads in the book and while they do have more kinetic energy, the muzzle blast would be not too nice in the field with no earplugs in. The Recoil tends to go up considerably as bullet weight Rises. But none of the loads were what I consider unmanageable.

As a contender owner I Highly recommend anyone that owns one themselves to buy one of these manuals. The investment is well worth it and most every load I've loaded matched the manual exactly with my chronograph.
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