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Posted: December 16 2017 at 4:44am | IP Logged Quote richhodg66

M700 wrote:
BTW - I do have a few hundred cast bullets for it, and intend to start loading with those, this winter. Should be fun for plinking, if nothing else.

Have always handloaded 170 gr jacketed bullets for the 30-30 in the past, but some buddies of mine talked me into trying cast. They do a lot of shooting at steel gongs with their cast bullet loads, to some pretty impressive distances. Sounds fun, thought I'd give it a try.


If these are commercially cast, you may want to mike them before loading. A lot of them seem to be sized .001 over groove diameter, which isn't really big enough in most instances. This seems particularly true of the micro grooved Marlins, or so I read, don't own a micro grooved one.

I sized all my bullets for .308 bores to .311. Most of them shoot better with that than with smaller. A lot of commercial cast are too hard and lubed with hard lubes that facilitate shipping. They also sized them pretty small, I assume to make sure nobody has chambering problems, but I've never had a lever gun with a problem with .311. Too small = too hard to "bump up" and obturate = gas cutting, leading and poor accuracy.

"The secret to happiness is freedom, and the secret to freedom is courage."
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Old Ranger
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Posted: December 16 2017 at 8:44am | IP Logged Quote Old Ranger

Gas check cast here for decades. An old Win94 was
unbelievable with an Ideal 31141 sized to .3095" in an
old 310 sizing chamber die. A 70's Glenfield was equally
tight sized to .311" off the 450 and H&I dies.

Guy, once you start finding the right cast load for that
levergun you're gonna have a hard time trying to set it
down. That old 1946 M94 was my daily go-to gun loaded
with cast GC rounds and a modest dose of IMR3031 for many
years. Wish now I never sold it.

"I am not politically correct. I don't apologise for being American. I stand by my country and have no use for anyone who does not."

The Old Ranger
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Ham Gunner
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Posted: December 16 2017 at 9:17am | IP Logged Quote Ham Gunner

I agree completely with Rich and Wade as well. Too hard is just as bad as too soft and just slightly over groove diameter might not be quit enough diameter to get a good tight gas seal. I always got better results with .311 diameter in all my .30 Calibers even though many suggest .309 is large enough. Certainly those Micro Groove bores need a bit larger cast bullet for a good tight early engagement in the rifling to avoid skidding in the bore and improper early seal.

My FIL's 1980's era 94 Win. 30-30 does not have extremely shallow rifling, but it loves the 170+ gr. Ideal 31141 (Lyman 311041) flat nosed bullet sized .311 at around 2,000 fps. With it's stock open sights I could produce a nice group at 50 yards. My eyes were not good enough to check it out at longer range, but I think a good aperture sight would be more than good enough for the ranges the 30-30 is capable of. I used AA-5744 powder.    

The bore diameter and rifling type certainly must be taken into consideration. My 94 Win. .44 mag does not have a Micro Groove bore, but it does have very shallow grooves and if I remember correctly, there are 10 grooves. Might as well be a Micro Groove as shallow as they are. Harder than 15 BHN bullets in it always gave me leading and inaccuracy. Around 12-15 BHN along with a gas check seemed to work just fine with no leading issues using a .431 Diameter bullet.

I have not bought any jacketed bullets for years and I am very happy with accuracy results at hunting ranges here in S. Missouri with any of my rifles or handguns. Cast certainly puts game down just fine as well. Plus, I get the enjoyment of making them myself as well as the gas checks.

From what I have been hearing, making one's own bullets in California might be an almost necessary thing soon with the taxation and registration laws they have been enacting lately. Looks like one will have to go through a local dealer and a background check to even buy ammo.

Oh, the larger diameter cast bullets might require just a bit more neck expanding in order to facilitate seating. I have an old black box Lyman AA die set and it came with two different expander studs. One for jacketed and one for cast. But if one has a compatible expander die for something else, like a Mosin-Nagant or a .303 Brit, that would likely work if needed.

Edited by Ham Gunner on December 16 2017 at 9:36am

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Paul B.
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Posted: December 16 2017 at 4:17pm | IP Logged Quote Paul B.

I sure am glad to see some here are getting good results with
#31141/311041. I have #31141 in molds by Ideal and Lyman and a
clone by NEI. I haven't been able to any of them to shoot accurately
worth spit. However, my Ideal 308291 and 311291 shoot very nicely in
the 30-30, .308 Win. and 30-06. The .308 will do 15MOA at 200 yards if
it's not too windy and the 06 will know the 300 meter pigs down fairly
After the first of the year I'm planning to play with the 311284 and
311282 bullets in a Browning B78 single shot and a Browning 1895
Winchester clone. Both rifles are in 30-06. I'll be looking for a load in
the 1600 FPS range for 100 and 200 yard shooting. The two bullets are
the same except 284 takes a gas check and 282 is plain based and
very slightly heavier. I'm thinking it might be a very interesting project.
Paul B.
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