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Thread: Varget in the .30-30 ?

  1. #1
    Boolit Man
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    Varget in the .30-30 ?

    Does anybody use Hodgdens varget in the .30-30 with cast bullets. I have lots of it on hand and would like to find data to use with the Lyman 311041 173gr. bullet.
    what is your favorite load with this bullet? I will be using in several marlin 336`s.

  2. #2
    Boolit Master
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    I ran a short series of tests using AR2208 (Varget) with the Lee C309-170-F in my Marlin microgroove 30-30 back in August. Alloy was 3% tin, 5% antimony, water quenched (probably about 22 BHN) with 50/50 Alox-beeswax lube. Maximum load was 30 grains before the groups opened up. Group size was 1.2" at 55 yards. Point of impact was 1.5" higher than with a maximum load of SR4759, which probably would run at close to 1800 fps, so most likely the Varget load is in the 1900s. Not a bad load, burns pretty clean. However I had lousy groups with lesser loads until I got way down to 26 grains. It seems like Varget might be a bit fussy about pressure, and getting the pressure high enough with cast bullets might be only just possible.

    If you've got the rifle, the bullets, and the Varget, you could feel around a bit in the vicinity of 30 grains and see how you go. If you can get consistency, you'll probably be happy. You might find, though, that you need a hard bullet to be able to load to a high enough pressure to get the combination to work. Alternatively it might respond to a heavier bullet, but you're getting into an area that isn't very practical for 30-30 if you do that - I didn't even consider it.

    The 30 grain Varget load is the second-best high velocity load I've found for the 30-30 so far, so I don't want to sell it short. I got better groups with W748, but couldn't get any more velocity from 748 than I could get from SR4759, which gave considerably better groups, so it seemed a bit pointless. The Varget load fills the case approximately to the shoulder, and meters pretty easily. If you can get consistency it seems like a pretty solid hunting load to me. I'd be interested to hear how you go.

    Bear in mind that one grain more of powder crushes the base of a 22 BHN bullet. This is a load for a strong 30-30 in good condition. Be careful loading it. That said, I do not consider it a high pressure load - but it's on the edge of the area where pressures rise pretty quickly.

    Geoff

  3. #3
    Boolit Master at Heavens Range

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    Varget is my go-to powder in 30-30 with cast. Look at the bottom of this page for link to the 30-30 articles: http://www.castbullet.com/shooting/shooting.htm

  4. #4
    Boolit Man
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    Thanks guys, I have been using Varget in my .308 Win. caliber bolt guns with cast bullets of 180 to 200 gr or so with very good results. I think I will start with about 25 gr, in the .30-30 and see what the velocity is. and then work up to see what groups do. It should shoot well at about1600 fps or so dont you think?
    Last edited by Chuck 100 yd; 12-17-2006 at 08:44 PM.

  5. #5
    Boolit Master
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    Junior, I see you use the same bullet I do, and you got good results with 25 grains Varget. I got a comparable result (1.2" at 55 yards) with 26 grains, then a poor group (2.1") with 28 grains and returned to 1.2" with 30 grains. 31 grains was up to 1.7" but I think that was too much pressure for the bullet metallurgy. I haven't repeated any of these loads, partly because I've run out of Varget and wasn't encouraged enough to buy more. Have you ever tested loads in the region of 28 grains?


    Geoff

  6. #6
    Boolit Master twoworms's Avatar
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    I use it with my new 350gr boolit in my 45-70. It shot some of the best groups ever from my Marlin 1895 with a scope.

    Tim

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    Boolit Master at Heavens Range

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    Quote Originally Posted by grumpy one View Post
    Have you ever tested loads in the region of 28 grains?
    Yep, sure have and with good results. Varget likes pressure. Read my article on the Heart Attack Rifle.

  8. #8
    Boolit Master
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    Thanks Junior, looks like my 30 grains is about right - I may try 30.5 some time. My bad group with 28 grains was probably caused by something other than the wrong amount of powder. I really need to clean up my act on bullet quality, and cull my cases.

    Because the Varget seemed to run out of bullet strength before it ran out of case capacity, I have it in mind to try going one powder grade slower, to AR2209 (H414). Have you tried H414 in 30-30, or do you know of the results from somebody who has?

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    Grumphy, somebody has been getting 4831 to shoot fine in the 3030 with some heavy boolit if I remember correctly. So, 414 should work at least just as good if not a whole lot better, especially with a smaller boolit. 748 at 36 grains is a mainstay for some folks I personally know with the 170-180 boolits, so that 36 grains of 414 should be fine as starters, and then go plus or minus. ... felix
    Last edited by felix; 12-18-2006 at 06:52 PM.
    felix

  10. #10
    Boolit Master
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    Thanks Felix, I haven't tried AR2213SC (H4831) in the 30-30 because it looked as if a compressed load of it wouldn't give me all that much muzzle velocity. I've also failed so far to get it to provide much joy in the 30-06 - the only decent group I've ever had with it was with only 42 grains, and I think I could have thrown the bullet about that fast. So far it groups at 2" at 55 yards using a full load (52 grains), so I need to get my loading quality up to standard before I pursue it further. Incidentally that powder lays a serious amount of hard carbon in the barrel.

    My efforts with W748 and C309-170-F in the 30-30 suggested that I can't go over about 32 grains. Every load up to that level went under an inch at 55 yards, but 34 grains gave me 3", and I interpreted that as bullet failure. To get 36 grains to work with that bullet would either require a bullet hardness of over 30 BHN, or finding out that my bad result at 34 grains was due to poor loading quality rather than bullet failure. I apparently do some poor loading, judging by the variability of my results, so I guess both possibilities are on the table. I also don't know how to get 36 grains of W748 into the case - the bullet was in contact with the powder at 34 grains. I guess it would take a long drop tube and perhaps some powder compression.

  11. #11
    Boolit Master and Generous Donator
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    grumpyone:

    In a couple of today's posts, you have referred to odd yardages for your test shooting: 55 and 110 yds. Are you just approximating 50 & 100 meters, - for those of us stuck in the old "King's nose to fingetip" era - or are you translating from surveyors' measures: 10 rods = 55 yds.; 20 rods = 110 yds (exactly). Just for reference, the standard for formal and informal shooting in the US, at least up to the Civil War, was 40 rods = 220 yds.; with the advent of Schuetzen shooting around 1850, that was cut back to 200 yds.

    floodgate
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  12. #12
    Boolit Man
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    Junior, The heart attack rifle article is a great read. I have read it a before but had forgotten about it. Thanks

  13. #13
    Boolit Master
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    Quote Originally Posted by floodgate View Post
    grumpyone:

    In a couple of today's posts, you have referred to odd yardages for your test shooting: 55 and 110 yds. Are you just approximating 50 & 100 meters, - for those of us stuck in the old "King's nose to fingetip" era - or are you translating from surveyors' measures: 10 rods = 55 yds.; 20 rods = 110 yds (exactly). Just for reference, the standard for formal and informal shooting in the US, at least up to the Civil War, was 40 rods = 220 yds.; with the advent of Schuetzen shooting around 1850, that was cut back to 200 yds.

    floodgate
    Doug, we only use metres these days and I attempt to be culturally sensitive by giving an approximate Imperial equivalent. Same happens when I report group sizes; I measure them in millimetres and convert before posting. However I do measure powder in grains, partly because I still use an old Redding beam-balance to measure them, and partly because all the load data I ever see is in grains.

    The shooters' association range I use is marked out in both yards and metres, but I just can't bring myself to use the archaic measures; they are only for translation, not for practice.

    And a cricket pitch is one chain (22 yards) long. No doubt all these lesser and derivative sports such as shooting are actually grounded in that.

    Geoff

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    Grumphy, you just might have a fast lot of 748. No matter, fill the case up with 380 or 414 and see what that does. If you can't get any grouping at all, find out what the problem is before wasting time with different powders. Stay with one until you have figured out the problems you are having. It does not sound like powder choice at all. ... felix
    felix

  15. #15
    Boolit Master w30wcf's Avatar
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    H414 is my "go to" powder for 170+ gr. cast bullets in the .30-30 in 36 gr. doses. It gives very good accuracy and velocity in my rifles.

    Regarding 748, Winchester recommends a max load of 32.0 grs. with a 170 gr. jacketed bullet (36,000 c.u.p.). Varget has a burning rate similar to 748......at least my lots do. Very similar velocities are obtained with the same charge weight.

    Have fun.
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  16. #16
    Boolit Master Marlin Junky's Avatar
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    Varget is probably OK in 32 grain doses when used with 311041 but I prefer H380 when using RCBS 30-180-FN at 195+ grains (checked). If you've got 10" twist 336's you may find the RCBS 30-180-FN boolit a better fit than the lighter Lyman boolit. The thing about H380 though, is that I've found myself adjusting the charge for the weather as much as one grain. I also like H414 in 36 to 37 grain doses and have even tried DP 85 in 37 grain doses with good results. The faster H380, while producing a little less velocity in a 24" barrel than the heavier charges of H414/W760, loads quicker from the powder measure because at 33 to 34 grains (which is a top load producing 2100 fps) doesn't need to settle in the case in order to seat a RCBS 30-180-FN to 2.575" without compression.

    MJ

    P.S. Your mileage may vary
    Last edited by Marlin Junky; 12-20-2006 at 01:50 AM.

  17. #17
    Boolit Master
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    Interesting thread on the Varget. I heard that it is great stuff in the .30-30 but just never got around to trying any.

    As for the Win. 748 30-30 load. I used 31 and then 33 gr. of that stuff with the Lyman 311041 and also the 311407 group-buy boolits with great success.

    I also got great groups with 30.5 H-335 and those same boolits. Between the 748 & the H-335, I have what I want but when I run out of H-335, will give that Varget a shot.

  18. #18
    Boolit Master
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    W30CF, I'll have to try the AR2209 (H414); by the time you and Felix both recommend it, and it looks close to what I want on the burn-rate chart, I have no excuse not to.

    The burn rate chart I use is the ADI one. ADI is the manufacturer of Varget, and most of the other Hogdon powders. The chart is here:
    http://www.adi-limited.com/handloade...quivalents.asp
    It shows Varget as equivalent to IMR4064, quite a bit slower than W748, which has the same burn rate as H335. H335 is not one of the Hogdon powders that comes from ADI, so I can't get it here. I haven't even tried AR2206H (H4895) because it's a bit faster than Varget, and Varget seems just a bit faster than would be ideal. Incidentally W760 is supposed to have the same burn rate as H414, but I've had only bad results with it in 30-30. Cases sooted all the way back until I got up to 34 grains, and at that load the group was pretty awful. I doubt the burn rate is the problem, it just seems to be difficult to set fire to that stuff at cast bullet pressures. As Felix advises, I should probably choose either H414 or Varget and persist until I solve my problems and get consistent results.

    Marlin Junky, I can't get H380, which does indeed look like the right stuff on the burn rate chart, especially for my 20" barrel. It looks as if H414 is as close as I can get without paying premium prices for Norma N203. It's interesting the way Norma has five different powders right in the burn rate range that seems ideal for 30-30, with tiny steps in between them.

  19. #19
    Boolit Master w30wcf's Avatar
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    Geoff,

    In Hodgdon's Manual No. 27, they show the following loads in the .30-30 with a 170 gr. jacketed bullet:

    H335 / 30.5 grs. / 2,086 f.p.s. / 36,300 CUP
    748 / 32.0 grs. / 2,145 f.p.s. / 36,000 CUP
    Varget / 33.0 grs. / 2,168 f.p.s. / 36,500 CUP

    For comparison, here's data from Hodgdon's Manual No. 26 for 170 gr. jacketed bullets:

    H335 / 31.0 grs. / 2,090 f.p.s. / 36,000 CUP
    748 / 33.0 grs. / 2,160 f.p.s. / 38,000 CUP
    H414 / 37.0 grs. / 2,259 f.p.s. / 37,400 CUP
    W760 / 37.0 grs. / 2,254 f.p.s. / 37,700 CUP

    Unless something has changed recently, that I am not aware of, Primex in St. Marks Florida manufactures a ball powder that the sell to both Winchester And Hodgdon. Winchester sells it under the nomenclature W760 and Hodgdon calls it H414, but it is the same powder. (Recently Hodgdon announced that it is now carrying the line of Winchester powders.)

    Over the years I have shot away 20+#'s of both of these powders in my .30-30's. If I was wringing out a new .30-30 rifle with 170-200+ gr. cast bullets, these powders would be my hands down first choice to start with to attain best accuracy at 2,000+ f.p.s. In my experience, they really shine in this application.
    I use WLR primers (Winchester Large Rifle).

    To load 37 grs. under a 170 gr. bullet, dump the powder slowly through the funnel into the case to allow it to settle.

    Perhaps if you try a higher charge of W760.................

    I would also test it using a 170 gr. jacketed bullet to set the accuracy standard for your cast bullets to meet or exceed.

    Good luck,
    w30wcf
    Last edited by w30wcf; 12-21-2006 at 01:09 AM.
    aka w44wcf
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  20. #20
    Boolit Master
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    W30WCF, sorry about my wrong assumption on the source of Hogdon's source of H414. My understanding is that Clays, International, Universal, H4227, H4198, Benchmark, BLC(2), H4895, Varget, H4831, H1000, and either H870 or H50BMG are ADI powders - but neither party says so for normal commercial branding reasons. I am not certain about the individual powders, and might have one or two others wrong as I did with H414. Essentially ADI makes a fairly full range, and Hogdon can buy and home-label any of them that they choose.

    If H414 is W760 (and I don't doubt you are correct about this) then I can't buy H414 here, but I can buy W760. Winchester has a manufacturing plant near Melbourne, and though they don't make powder here, they do sell it continuously rather than just occasionally import batches as other American powder distributers do. It may be that I could get better results with W760 if I persist - and I haven't even tried loads of more than 34 grains yet, as you point out. Incidentally I use WLR primers too, and I'm glad to have your confirmation that they are suitable.

    I'm not confident about getting good results with 0.308 jacketed bullets in my 30-30, which has 0.308 bore/0.3116 groove at the breech, and 0.3112 groove at the muzzle. I'm not too sure about the bore at the muzzle, but it's at least 0.306. The last batch of jacketed bullets I tried, with light target loads (150 Sierra flat nose, 33.8 W748), went through the target sideways at both 25 and 50 metres. Perhaps a stiffer load and a heavier bullet will overcome this. It's worth a try anyway.

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