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Old May 11, 2011, 06:15 PM   #1
keith day
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Just acquired a stevens mod. 54 in 28-30-120. all info on loads for this rifle appreciated.
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Old May 11, 2011, 06:26 PM   #2
Doc Hoy
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Welcome to the group.

You will find that you came to the right place.

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Old May 11, 2011, 07:13 PM   #3
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Do you have brass? I can't help with loads or bullets but how about some pics?
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Old May 11, 2011, 10:55 PM   #4
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"Cartridges of the World" lists a 135 gr. lead bullet over 17 grs. of IMR4198 for a muzzle velocity of 1,500 fps.
Under the same bullet, 28 grs. of FG black powder will give it 1,410 fps.
The proper bullet is Lyman 285222 or 285228. You may be able to find an old mould on an internet auction site.
Do not use jacketed bullets in the old rifles, as they will wear the bore.

The February 1954 issue of the American Rifleman (p. 60) notes that all samples of this cartridge are loaded with lead bullets.
"I can find no record of jacketed bullets being used in this caliber by the old Union Metallic Cartridge Co. . . . The cartridge was originally loaded with with a .28-caliber lead bullet, weighing 120 grs., and 30 grs. of black powder. It has not been manufactured for 45 or more years."

This would put the last factory ammo in 1909 or thereabouts. Some sources say this cartridge was discontinued around the time that World War I broke out, in 1914.

Handloader 188 (August-September 1997) has an extensive article on these small cartridges that are still used in Australia. Bertram Brass of Australia makes the brass. The .28-30 listed in this article is clearly not suitable for your old rifle, with loads that push a 120 gr. jacketed bullet at nearly 2,600 fps.
So please, disregard the loads listed in this article.
However, it does give you a source of brass.

Rifle magazine No. 27 (May-June 1973) has a big article on the single-shot target rifles that were chambered for these exotic cartridges, including the .28-30-120.
One exceptional target, fired at 100 yards, shows a five-shot group fired at 100 yards that measures 1/2 inch.
The load was 11 grains of SR-4759 under a 136 gr. lead bullet cast with an alloy of 1 part tin to 32 parts lead. The rifle was a .28-30 Neidner-Ballard. Whether this rifle is stronger than yours, I do not know.
I'd reduce the load to 8 grains for starters, to be on the safe side, and work up carefully.
This article notes that the Stevens had a twist of 1 turn in 14 inches, much slower than the typical 7mm rifle bore.
"The original design used a 120 gr. bullet, but it was later changed to 130," the author Henry Beverage wrote.

You use all of the above information at your own risk. I cannot vouch for the accuracy (misprints occasionally happen) or safety of these loads. I'm just citing sources.

I would not use ANY jacketed 7mm bullet in that old rifle. Not only will it accelerate wear on the bore, but pressures will be raised considerably over the use of a lead bullet.

Check out the website for Gad Custom Cartridges. It may have cast 7mm bullets of the proper weight and diameter for your rifle.
I believe that Bertram cases are available from Midway.
This should get you started.
Good luck!
"And lo, did I see an ugly cat. Smoke. Brimstone. Holes in parchment. And this ugly cat was much amused." --- The Prophesies of Gatodamus (1503 - 1566)
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