Information and Education => Reloading and Handloading => Topic started by: cpaspr on July 05, 2019, 08:59:14 pm

Title: Low power cast bullet loads in a .30-30 Winchester
Post by: cpaspr on July 05, 2019, 08:59:14 pm
I have an old mold my father gave me, an Ideal/Lyman 3118, which drops a nice 110ish grain plain-based bullet with a flattened nose.  Which said flattened nose is a problem.

I've read of other people loading that bullet and shooting it in .30-30s as a plinking/varmint load.  And over 6.5gr of Unique, I was just barely missing clay pigeons laying on the 100 yard berm this last weekend, from a standing unsupported position with my .30-30.

The problem is that I had to manually load each round into the chamber.  Neither my 1951 Model 94 nor my .30 M1 Carbine will feed rounds with this bullet.  The flat nose (.200" diameter) is simply too large, and the rounds feed straight in to the breachface in both rifles.

A few years ago I acquired a similar weight .30 caliber round nose bullet mold that works well for the .30 M1, but it requires gas checks.  I'd like to get a plain base bullet mold, or preferably, find a way to use the 3118 bullets.

Does anyone know of a way to sorta, kinda scrunch that nose a little, with a minimum of fuss?

Thanks in advance.
Title: Re: Low power cast bullet loads in a .30-30 Winchester
Post by: coelacanth on July 05, 2019, 11:22:42 pm
I think that bullet shape was originally designed for use in old .32-20 handgun rounds so the nose shape wasn't critical.   :hmm

How deep are you loading them in the case?  If you make up a few dummy rounds and try different settings it might affect the feeding of the rounds depending on how deep the bullets are loaded in the cases.  If all else fails try loading them backwards into the cases and seating them flush with the case mouth.  You won't want to put much of a crimp on them if they're loaded deep but check the cartridge overall length of the dummies both before and after chambering to make sure you aren't getting bullet setback when cycling the rounds. 

If you can find a setting that will feed OK I'd back off the charge on a loaded round a bit before test firing it.  Something on the order of 4 grains to start with and check for pressure signs and function after each round.  That much of a charge should clear those bullets out of the barrel but single fire them to check function and make sure the bore is clear before proceeding with the next round.  Fast burning powders like Unique can spike pressure in a rifle case from even a fraction of a grain increase over their "happy place" - especially with deeper seated bullets so proceed carefully and watch for pressure signs from every round.  Very small, documented, incremental changes are the key to working safely in this kind of project.

I have heard of old timers taking a piece of round wooden dowel rod, sharpening it in a cheap, hand held pencil sharpener, cutting it off at the base of the taper and gluing it in place on the flat point of a bullet to get them to feed in a lever gun.   :shrug   Short of something like that I'm not sure how to alter the shape of the cast bullet without throwing the weight and balance of it off completely.  I have not ever used the bullet you are using nor have I tried the wooden dowel trick so I cannot personally vouch for any of this out of your rifle.

Back in the day I have used 110 grain round nosed, half jacketed bullets out of the .30-30 and even the .30/06 but those were a pretty short range affair - usually 50 yards or less.  Crimped at the top of the half jacket those fed OK.  We also used to use old No. 1 buckshot ( .311 round lead ball - roughly about 45 grains ) as a press fit into fired cases but that was single shot only proposition.  As I recall they were loaded over very small amounts of shotgun powder - Blue Dot or Green Dot but I don't recall the weights we were using as we loaded them with a couple of tiny little dipper measures. 

Maybe somebody else can weigh in that has some experience with these bullets or some better ideas on how to solve your problem.   :hmm

Title: Re: Low power cast bullet loads in a .30-30 Winchester
Post by: cpaspr on July 09, 2019, 05:20:28 pm
Agree that it was probably originally a .32-20 bullet.  Though the .32-20 Winchester was a rifle round first chambered in around 1882.  Colt came out with their revolver six or seven years later, if wikipedia can be believed.

I have my dad's notes from 50 years ago, and those show that he shot the bullet in both his M-1 carbine and his 1955 Model 94.  Whether they actually fed or if he had to singly load them I don't know.
Title: Re: Low power cast bullet loads in a .30-30 Winchester
Post by: coelacanth on July 10, 2019, 12:22:10 am
Have you tried breaking the shoulder of that flat point a little?  Maybe some kind of rounded burnishing tool like a teaspoon or barring that maybe even a small, fine toothed file like the old ignition points files we used to get down at Western Auto.  Sometimes a little Flitz polish on a feed ramp helps too.   :hmm
Title: Re: Low power cast bullet loads in a .30-30 Winchester
Post by: cpaspr on July 10, 2019, 02:52:37 pm
Well, I shot all ten I had loaded up, just to see how they'd shoot.  Other than the fact that they wouldn't feed, 6.5gr of Unique behind that bullet was a good load.  Was just barely missing clay pigeons laying on the back berm at a hundred yards, offhand and standing. 

I'll take a close look at the feed ramp and play with various seating depths.
Title: Re: Low power cast bullet loads in a .30-30 Winchester
Post by: coelacanth on July 10, 2019, 04:21:13 pm
  Let us know how it works out.   :thumbup1
Title: Re: Low power cast bullet loads in a .30-30 Winchester
Post by: cpaspr on July 11, 2019, 01:11:14 am
Making progress.

I loaded three dummy rounds up tonight.  Max length is allegedly 2.550".

One seated out to 2.500" (same as a factory Remington Core-Lokt 150 round nose).  Just barely covered the bottom lube groove, most of the middle driving band showing.

One seated out to 2.490".  Smidge more in the case.

Last one seated to 2.400".  This one had all of the second drive band in the case, with the case mouth right at the top lube groove.

The first ten I loaded up and shot previously were all loaded such that the case mouth was just over the top driving band.  Just guessing, but maybe 2.3" OAL.

All three of the ones I made tonight fed properly.  However, closing the bolt on the 2.500" and 2.490" rounds jammed the bullet into the lands leaving rifling marks all the way back to the front driving band.  This is a bullet that is full diameter for most of its length.

The final test round seemed to feed well and did not jam into the rifling.  I ran it through the process several times.

I'll load some real rounds up and set a light crimp into that top lube groove and see how they shoot.  I may be able to use the couple of hundred bullets my dad gave me after all.
Title: Re: Low power cast bullet loads in a .30-30 Winchester
Post by: coelacanth on July 11, 2019, 01:21:02 am