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Thread: Reforming .30-30 into 25-35; Reforming questions

  1. #1
    Boolit Bub
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    Reforming .30-30 into 25-35; Reforming questions

    Even though I secured new Hornady brass, this idea intrigued me, especially since .30-30 is so much easier to find. I have NEVER had to anneal or reform brass before. I found an old article by Ed Harris who stated " reform the .30-30 brass in a 2 step process. Decap & partially form the neck a shoulder in a 25-35 die, without finishing the case taper. After pre-forming , case necks are gas annealed. Then full length resize in a second pass without buckling the shoulder. Trim cases to 25-35 length. You don't need to ream the case necks as long as the brass is formed in 2 stages with an inter-draw anneal in between."
    I tried this and I cremated the first few cases, my bad. After reading up on this and watching a few videos on YouTube, I think I got this down. I tried annealing again, successfully this time, and a few minutes later put the cases through the second pass. Almost all the new shoulders were wrinkled or dented. I used less Imperial and this cleared up the wrinkling /denting to some extent, but it was still evident. I did not buckle any of the shoulders. I stopped after 15 thinking it was a lost cause. A few days later with 15 more preformed cases, I tried again. Fifteen perfect .30-30s into 25-35s. Why ? All I did that was different from the first attempt was the sizing die was re-adjusted and/or the 15 cases had thoroughly cooled down when reformed. I compared them to new 25-35 cases and they all looked the same.
    All this leads me to ask a few questions about reforming brass in general, especially since I had never done it before.
    1- How safe is annealing ? It can be overdone, right, to the point that it could fail in a subsequent firing? Some of my original tries have a "pinkish" tone to them at the neck/shoulder.
    2-What happens then ? Can the gun sustain a burst neck,shoulder, or case ?
    3- In the example of minor dents or stretch marks/wrinkles; I believe these will reform upon firing, but is that still a "weakened" case and should not be used ?
    4- Should a pronounced DENT be discarded ?
    5-Are reformed cases inherently weak/weakened ? I mean, you did take something made as something else, and turned it into something different.
    Would appreciate some guidance here.
    Thanks

  2. #2
    Boolit Master Outpost75's Avatar
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    This article appeared in the Fouling Shot a few years ago and is cross-posted with permission of the author:
    Tales from the Back Creek DiaryMaking serviceable .25-35 brass from .30-30sEd Harris, Gerrardstown, West VA
    Frank Marshall’s and my friend Bill has a long-barreled 1894 Winchester with octagon barrel chambered in .25-35 WCF. It was made in 1908 and helped feed his family when he was a kid in Montana during the Depression. That rifle killed everything from grouse to elk. These days Bill doesn’t deer hunt, but he wanted to get re-acquainted with his old friend and asked me to help work up some small game and recreational loads. We learned a few things in doing so, and I thought we should share for anyone with a .25-35 who wants to feed it economically.

    Factory .25-35 loads feature a 117-gr. soft-point bullet. Some 50-year-old Super-X rounds Bill had and current Winchester ammo chronographed just shy of 2300 f.p.s. from his 26 inch barrel. Factory loads are expensive and not sold at Wal-Mart. The Lee data table which came with Bill’s die set lists 20 grains of 4198 with the 117-gr. Hornady. This shot very well and chronographed about 2100 f.p.s. No deer around our woods here is likely to know the difference.

    Bill says that the .25-35 is the most accurate chambering in the Winchester 94 because its small bore makes for a heavier, more rigid barrel. Its 8-inch twist handles quiet, subsonic cast bullet loads very accurately, while getting great penetration because they auger on through, if not driven so fast they blow up.

    You can load as little as 4 grains of fast burning pistol or shotgun powder with 85-87-gr. lead plain-based bullets. The Meister or RCBS cowboy slugs drive inch and half groups at 50 yards with iron sights and make little more noise than a .22 LR, but are more effective. I’m don’t know whether the factories ever loaded small game rounds for the .25-35 like they did for the .30-30. But when hand-loaded with either jacketed or cast lead bullets designed for the .25-20. the .25-35 WCF makes a fine small game cartridge.

    I got Bill a set of Lee dies, an RCBS .25-20 Cowboy expander and some Meister 85-gr. flat-nosed .258 bullets for initial charge establishment. When the Ideal tang sight on his rifle was zeroed for factory 117-gr. loads at 200 yards, small game loads shot to the sights at 50 yards and gave inch and half groups. So I decided we should get an RCBS mould 25-85CM designed for the .25-20. We tried it with equal results.

    RCBS bullets were cast of wheel weights and shot un-sized in reworked .30-30 brass. A charge of 5 grs. of SR7625 or 6 grains of PB with 85-87 grain cast bullets approximate the 1300 f.p.s. velocity of the .25-20. Using 4 grains of Bullseye gave 1120 f.p.s. and 5 grains of Bullseye gave 1200 f.p.s. The fastest cast bullet load which shot acceptably was 7 grs. of #2400 for 1420 f.p.s.

    We also bought some Remington 85-gr. JSP .25-20 bullets. Firing expansion tests in water jugs confirmed my memories of factory .25-20 loads. At 1270 f.p.s. using 8 grs. of PB the soft points perforate without expansion and penetrate deeply. Bumping their velocity to 1400 f.p.s. using 10 grains of #2400 expanded them 0.32 caliber, with no appreciable weight loss.

    But drive these thinly jacketed soft-point bullets much faster than they were designed to go, and they fragment violently, making a non-ricochet varmint load. Testing at 50 yards with 14 grs. of #2400 at 1950 f.p.s. on a $0.17 per pound Food Lion meat manager’s special fryer chicken, pieces of bird were scattered all over Berkeley County. Neighborhood cats, raccoons and foxes appreciated this, as by morning even not even a trace was left!

    We had the best luck forming cases from Winchester .30-30 brass. I used Imperial Sizing Die Wax and the die spacer which comes with RCBS .38/.357 dies to back off the FL sizer for the first pass. This decaps and partially forms the neck and shoulder, without finishing the case taper..

    After pre-forming, case necks are gas annealed. Then you can full-length resize in a second die pass without buckling the shoulder. Cases then must be trimmed to length. Lee can provide a custom case length trim gage to use with their .30-30 cutter and lock stud. You won't need to ream case neck. As long as brass is formed in two stages with an inter-draw anneal between you don't lose any. If you try this with Remington or Federal brass you will wrinkle shoulders on half of the cases. Wrinkled shoulders will work once for hunting loads which you “Pop and Toss,” but will develop pin holes if you reload them repeatedly.

    .25-35 Winchester Tests
    Winchester 1894 with 26-inch octagon barrel ca. 1908

    _______________Velocity_____Remarks
    Factory loads
    Western 117ST____2283, 7 Sd__Old yellow box from 1960s
    Winchester 117PP__2259, 19Sd__Current product from Midway 2.5 in. @ 100 yds. Ideal tang sight

    Jacketed bullet handloads_Remington 85JSP
    Powder________Grains
    IMR-PB________8____1273, 33 Sd____Minimal expansion, non-destructive small game or turkey load
    Alliant #2400___9____1330, 31 Sd____POI at 50 yds. with 200-yd. factory load zero. Minimal expansion.
    _____________10____1419, 11 Sd____Moderate water jug expansion to .32 cal., good game load
    _____________12____1738, 15 Sd____Expands to .45 in water, core separates, blows fragments off nose
    _____________14____1950, 25 Sd____Violent fragmentation, blows frying chicken to smithereens
    _____________15____2200, 39 Sd____Max. do not exceed, highly destructive varmint load
    IMR4227______16____1884, 22Sd____Varmint load blows frying chicken to smithereens

    RCBS 25-85CM Cast 12 BHN from wheelweights, shot as-cast, unsized, LLA
    _____________Meister 85-gr. .258 dia. can be substituted, but less accurate
    Bullseye_______4_____1127, 5 Sd____Quiet like standard velocity .22 LR, 2 inches at 50 yds.
    ______________5____1207, 27 Sd____Report like .22 LR high velocity, 2 inches @ 50 yd.
    IMR-PB________5____1272, 14 Sd____Inch groups at 50 yds. most accurate with current powders
    ______________6____1339, 21 Sd____Approximates factory .25-20 velocity, 1.5 inches @ 50yds
    SR-7625_______5____1285, 16 Sd____Excellent, older lot of 7625 little different from PB load
    Alliant#2400____7____1420, 29 Sd____Max. for plainbased bullet, groups 1.5 inches @ 50 yds.
    The ENEMY is listening.
    HE wants to know what YOU know.
    Keep it to yourself.

  3. #3
    Boolit Master
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    Split necks, shoulders, etc. should not harm the gun unless you get 50 to 100 that release in exactly the same place. A pierced primer is more likely to cause damage. I can not speak to the damage caused by overheating during annealing, but it is easy to avoid once you know what proper annealing is.

  4. #4
    Boolit Master 15meter's Avatar
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    1- How safe is annealing ? It can be overdone, right, to the point that it could fail in a subsequent firing? Some of my original tries have a "pinkish" tone to them at the neck/shoulder.

    Yes annealing can be overdone, just heat the neck until it glows faintly in very dim light, then drop them in water. (I do it in a dark shop with an old movie on the vidiot box about 5 feet away, westerns work best--they seem to give enough light to see the cases to pick them up, film noir kind of dark lit movies aren't quite bright enough. The pinkish tone is normal, some brass shows it more than others. Look @ military .223 or .308 you will see a distinct color change below the neck. You just don't want to heat the case that hot all the way down to the base and take the hardness out of the head. This a .270 Winchester turned into 8mm mauser, then annealed. Hope it shows up clear enough with a cell phone picture.

    Click image for larger version. 

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  5. #5
    Boolit Master 15meter's Avatar
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    I forgot to mention, polish the brass to as bright a shine as you can get then wipe down with a solvent to make sure the cases are as clean as possible. I use acetone for the final wipe before annealing. I just make sure they are completely dry before sticking them in the torches. I don't need unintended results.

    By cleaning the cases thoroughly you won't get nasty burned on stains on the case. To see the difference do a dirty case then a spotless case. Lower torch temp also seems to help, heat up just a little slower, you control the peak temp better.

  6. #6
    Boolit Master
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    I found it tedious to form perfect cases with just the RCBS .25-35 FL sizing die. Even using many small increments and keeping the excess lube wiped off I got lube creases.

    Then I happened onto set of RCBS form dies for the similar but different .25 Remington.

    Sequence of forming with the .25 Rem dies The brass would be any good condition once fired 30-30 brass.
    1. Expand the necks to make them round. Remove out of round necks, crushed necks and dented necks by expanding with a tapered .30 caliber expander.
    2. FL size in .30-30 die or .30-30 trim die (optional operation I think)
    3. Form in RCBS .25 Rem form die #1
    4. Form in RCBS .25 Rem form die #2
    5. Form in RCBS .25 Rem trim die
    6. Form in RCBS .25-35 trim die if you have one
    7. FL size in RCBS FL die
    8. Anneal You could move this anneal to occur between operation 6 and 7.

    The .25 Rem dies make this process a no brainer. With more process development than what I have done you might be able to leave out several of these steps except #3, #4 and #7.

    Other dies that might help form the .25-35 if you happen to have them include the 7-30 Waters FL, the 6.5 Jap Arisaka FL and maybe the .250 Savage FL and the RCBS .250 Savage form die set if you happen to have that one.
    EDG

  7. #7
    Boolit Master
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    That is an interesting procedure. Looking at the dimensions, I can see it working, in spite of the differences. One rimmed, one rimless. The .25/35 is much more tapered but the base is almost the same. It is the shoulder where it is smaller and that gets taken care of in the last steps. Go for it if you have the dies. If you have to buy them, it gets expensive.

  8. #8
    Boolit Bub
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    Thanks for all replies. "Found it tedious" hahahhahah , exactly. And expensive ,too I bet, if having to get other dies. At that point, it might be better to just bite the bullet, no pun intended, and pay the higher price for an original piece. I notice Hornady is now making new 25-35 at a reasonable price. Screw Winchester. As I posted on a previous thread, they want nothing to do with their own invention any longer. I was told its doubtful they would even make limited runs, as they were doing in the past. I believe I read about one other fellow using .25 dies as EDG mentions.
    Just using brand new Lee dies and going VERY Slowly and in 6-7 increments I've managed to manufacture about 50 old .30-30 cases into 25-35, about 40 of the 50 with no lube creases or dents.

  9. #9
    Boolit Man
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    Just run 30-30 cases in a 32-40 size die (with neck expander plug removed) to get the correct taper 1st. You will get fewer creases.

  10. #10
    Boolit Master
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    Quote Originally Posted by Rimfire View Post
    Just run 30-30 cases in a 32-40 size die (with neck expander plug removed) to get the correct taper 1st. You will get fewer creases.

    I have not tried this yet but another member of long standing had the same advice as Rimfire does here.

    I think it's worth noting.

    Best regards

    Three 44s

  11. #11
    Boolit Master Good Cheer's Avatar
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    beefyz,
    Thanks for posting that.
    Making good 25-35's has been a real pain.

  12. #12
    Boolit Master
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    To follow up on this comment I dug into my loading stuff today.
    I happen to find an original .25-35 WCF Super Speed round. It has a domed (round top) primer and a flat point bullet.
    I also have 3 sets of .32-40 dies. One is a regular RCBS 2 die set from the 1960s, a recent RCBS Cowboy 3 die set (FL, expander and seater) and a Bonanza 2 die set like new but probably at least 25 years old.
    I dropped the factory .25 -35 round into each FL die to check the taper. The .25-35 taper was a close match to the .32-40 dies because there was no shake or taper mismatch in 2 of the dies and may .002 shake in one die.

    However the factory round had about .250" space between the front of the rim and the bottom of all 3 FL dies. This space or stand off would represent excessive sizing of your soon to be .25-35 brass in a .32-40 die.

    I would recommend that if you have a .25-35 rifle, use a fired case from it to set the .32-40 die. This will put the initial taper of the case body at the same location found on your fired cases and will minimize sizing of the case body.

    This appears to be an excellent way to begin the process of forming .25-35 brass.

    Quote Originally Posted by Rimfire View Post
    Just run 30-30 cases in a 32-40 size die (with neck expander plug removed) to get the correct taper 1st. You will get fewer creases.
    EDG

  13. #13
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    Why bother ? This is great stuff, I use it to make 22 HP.

    http://www.midwayusa.com/product/249...-wcf-box-of-50

  14. #14
    Boolit Master
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    Why bother? Norma and Sellier and Bellot both make .22 HP.
    Norma makes great brass too.

    Quote Originally Posted by richmanpoorman View Post
    Why bother ? This is great stuff, I use it to make 22 HP.

    http://www.midwayusa.com/product/249...-wcf-box-of-50
    EDG

  15. #15
    Boolit Master Texas by God's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by richmanpoorman View Post
    Why bother ? This is great stuff, I use it to make 22 HP.

    http://www.midwayusa.com/product/249...-wcf-box-of-50
    ^^^^^^^^^this^^^^^^^^^^

  16. #16
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    S&B brass splits necks, Norma HP brass ? good luck. Besides, I use 70 gr Speer 224 bullets in the HP (1 moa), better than the rare .228 bullets available. Starting with a 25-35 makes a thicker neck =s less brass working.

  17. #17
    Boolit Master Cheshire Dave's Avatar
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    I use 60 grain Hornady .224 and get 1.25 groups in my CZ 5.6x52 (22 HP).It has a .227 groove dia. and 1in9 twist. Much better then the S&B factory ammo. I use 6.5x54 and 7mm08 dies after FL sizing in 30-30 dies. Then I use the 25-35 seating die before the FL 25-35 then 22Hp. The extra steps seem to make it easier. The only problems I've had is the diameter just in front off rim needs to be .412-.414 in the 5.6x52 chamber. 25-35's are closer to this then 30-30 brass is.Wonder if 32-40 dies would form to .412? I've had to polish off a few thou to keep brass from being sticky in chamber. The CZ is a break barrel combo gun with out a strong extractor. The S&B brass is correct size as it should be since it's marked 5.6x52. Wish I had a form die to reduce body size.

  18. #18
    Boolit Master
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    Really .224 bullets instead of .228 bullets? Yeah I bet that is about as accurate as a Carcano with .264 bullets.....

    So if the thick 25-35 brass makes thicker necks and works the brass less I bet 30-30 cases are EVEN THICKER.
    Why bother with those thin 25-35 cases when you can use something really thick like a .375 case to make your .22 Savage brass?


    Quote Originally Posted by richmanpoorman View Post
    S&B brass splits necks, Norma HP brass ? good luck. Besides, I use 70 gr Speer 224 bullets in the HP (1 moa), better than the rare .228 bullets available. Starting with a 25-35 makes a thicker neck =s less brass working.
    EDG

  19. #19
    Boolit Master
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    A heavy wall letter Z drill bushing is .413 ID. It might reduce the head enough.
    Otherwise any machinist can make a straight through bored die in any diameter you need.

    Quote Originally Posted by Cheshire Dave View Post
    I use 60 grain Hornady .224 and get 1.25 groups in my CZ 5.6x52 (22 HP).It has a .227 groove dia. and 1in9 twist. Much better then the S&B factory ammo. I use 6.5x54 and 7mm08 dies after FL sizing in 30-30 dies. Then I use the 25-35 seating die before the FL 25-35 then 22Hp. The extra steps seem to make it easier. The only problems I've had is the diameter just in front off rim needs to be .412-.414 in the 5.6x52 chamber. 25-35's are closer to this then 30-30 brass is.Wonder if 32-40 dies would form to .412? I've had to polish off a few thou to keep brass from being sticky in chamber. The CZ is a break barrel combo gun with out a strong extractor. The S&B brass is correct size as it should be since it's marked 5.6x52. Wish I had a form die to reduce body size.
    EDG

  20. #20
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    Do you own a copy of Pet Loads ?

    Have you ever owned a 99 22HP ?

    You have a source for Norma 22 HP ????? (check price/availability before reply)

    Try to be civil, not a "know-it-all" as you don't.

    .224 70 gr Speer, 4198, 5 shots, 100 yds.

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    No other .224 does as well.

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    Last edited by richmanpoorman; 03-08-2017 at 12:37 PM.

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Abbreviations used in Reloading

BP Bronze Point IMR Improved Military Rifle PTD Pointed
BR Bench Rest M Magnum RN Round Nose
BT Boat Tail PL Power-Lokt SP Soft Point
C Compressed Charge PR Primer SPCL Soft Point "Core-Lokt"
HP Hollow Point PSPCL Pointed Soft Point "Core Lokt" C.O.L. Cartridge Overall Length
PSP Pointed Soft Point Spz Spitzer Point SBT Spitzer Boat Tail
LRN Lead Round Nose LWC Lead Wad Cutter LSWC Lead Semi Wad Cutter
GC Gas Check