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Thread: 30-06 M2 bullets

  1. #1
    Boolit Grand Master Char-Gar's Avatar
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    30-06 M2 bullets

    I am looking to duplicate the USGI M2 round and am looking for a source of decent 150 grain FMJ bullets at a decent price. Any ideas?
    Disclaimer: The above is not holy writ. It is just my opinion based on my experience and knowledge. Your mileage may vary.

  2. #2
    Boolit Master ktw's Avatar
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    Base line for evaluating deals:
    18 cents apiece at Powder Valley Inc for Hornady 150gr FMJBT in bulk (2,100 box, HOR3037BCA).

    -ktw

  3. #3
    Boolit Master 308Jeff's Avatar
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    Lots of people shoot the 150gr Hornady. The cannelure is in the right place for 30-06, but not for us 308 loaders. LOL. You might also look at the PPU 145gr, and the General Dynamics and IMI 147 grain offerings. All of them are about the same price.

    https://www.wideners.com/reloading-s...ts/308-bullets
    Last edited by 308Jeff; 04-06-2017 at 11:43 AM. Reason: Added URL

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    Char-Gar,

    I have several hundred both M2 150 grain, and M72 173 grain match that I could part with. These were hand pulled by me from LC ammo and in excellent condition. The 150's are magnetic, the 173's are not. Shoot me a pm if interested and I'll get a count and price for you. It will be far less than the price quoted above. EDIT: All Gone!
    Last edited by ShooterAZ; 04-07-2017 at 12:45 PM.

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    Boolit Master OptimusPanda's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by OptimusPanda View Post
    Those look pretty good and at a good price.

    Technically those are the M80 style bullet for the 7.62 NATO. They perform much better at long range than the flat base M2 projectile. Believe it or not, the M2 projectile was designed to reduce the 30/06's range so that it could be used for training on National Guard ranges which had a challenged range fan in the 30s. We went through WWII and Korea using ammo that was designed for training purposes. The truth is stranger than fiction sometimes.

    At one time I had beau coup M2 projos after making Mexican Match out of M2 ammo. Sadly those were given away sometime ago. If I still had 'em, I'd send 'em to you. They were generally about a 2 1/2 MOA bullet. I would pull the bullets and then seat a 150 or 155 grain SMK or Palma bullet in its place.
    Keep your powder dry,

    Scharf

  7. #7
    Boolit Master
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    ShooterAZ
    "The 150's are magnetic"

    Weren't iron or steel jacketed M2 bullets relegated to training, Gilding metal jacketed bullets being the only ones authorized for use in combat?
    From what I read the iron jacketed bullet was developed as a substitute standard but fell short in the accuracy dept and had a tendency to rust despite coatings. These were also believed to wear barrels more quickly when used in rapid fire.


    Scarfschuetze
    " Believe it or not, the M2 projectile was designed to reduce the 30/06's range so that it could be used for training on National Guard ranges which had a challenged range fan in the 30s. We went through WWII and Korea using ammo that was designed for training purposes. The truth is stranger than fiction sometimes."

    Not exactly.
    The WW1 era .30-06 Ball cartridge was nearly identical to the WW2 M2 Ball cartridge.
    The M1 Ball was designed to increase range of .30 Machineguns and was expected to become standard issue for rifles as well. Besides the fact that the increased danger space of M2 Ball could pose a safety concern the increased recoil was also a factor.
    The M2 was not designed as a practice cartridge, it was an updated revision of the original .30-06 ball cartridge which was a proven combat performer.
    Later the M1 Ball cartridge proved unsuitable for use in the Garand , causing stress on the oprods etc, so it pretty much became extinct so far as infantry rifle use was concerned.
    The 150 gr spire point FMJ was a proven killer when coupled with the 1:10 rifling twist originally chosen for use with the 220 grain bullets of the .30 cartridge of 1903. The rapid rotation caused quick upset and tumbling in the wound making incapacitation more immediate. More stable heavier FMJ bullets did not flatten the enemy quite so quickly and wounds they made were more survivable.

  8. #8
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    Quote Originally Posted by Multigunner View Post
    ShooterAZ
    "The 150's are magnetic"

    Weren't iron or steel jacketed M2 bullets relegated to training, Gilding metal jacketed bullets being the only ones authorized for use in combat?
    From what I read the iron jacketed bullet was developed as a substitute standard but fell short in the accuracy dept and had a tendency to rust despite coatings. These were also believed to wear barrels more quickly when used in rapid fire.
    Multigunner,

    I don't know whether or not this ammo was relegated to training or not. I do know for a fact that it is magnetic, and that it was sold as de-linked machine gun ammo. Whether they rust, or wear barrels faster I couldn't say, I never had any of those problems though. The cartridges are all LC 69, and I did like Scharfschuetz did. I pulled some of them down and loaded Palma match bullets in them. I have a ton of this loaded ammo still, and it is fully functional and accurate. The Greek HXP I have is faster (closer to actual M2 spec) and more accurate and is also magnetic post 1962 or 64, can't remember which. All were purchased from the CMP while the getting was good. We used to say "Buy it cheap, and stack it deep", and that is exactly what I did.

  9. #9
    Boolit Master OptimusPanda's Avatar
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    Scharfschuetze, I seem to recall that story from Hatcher's Notebook. Something about needing to stay in the max range for training ranges.
    It's only hubris if I'm wrong.

  10. #10
    Boolit Master
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    The M2 steel jacket "alternate" 150 gr bullets were first manufactured in 1942. It not unlikely that steel jacket bullets made in that time frame were not up to snuff, later manufacture steel jacket bullets may well be much better, as good as gilding metal jacketed bullets.
    I'd read of the steel jacketed bullets being relegated to training in WW2 and Korea and well into the 60's. Later production bullets may have been more general issue.

    Last I heard many .30-06 chambered MGs are still in limited use by the USN and Coast guard. Steel jacketed bullets would likely work better against small craft than gilding metal or copper jackets.
    Some .30-06 chambered vehicle mounted MGs were still in use by UK forces in the late 80's.
    Steel jackets are cheaper to make and iron isn't so hard to source in wartime.

  11. #11
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    Well fellows, all I know is that my M1 Garand will shoot the 147 grain FMJ intended for the for the Nato round every bit as well as it will shoot the 150 grain FMJ. I just seat it to the chan. and roll crimp it. It makes a very good practice round at 100 yards but I have never tried it at longer ranges. Besides, they are pretty reasonably priced at around $80.00 and less for 500. I am not spending a whole lot of money for practice ammo. james

  12. #12
    Boolit Master
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    Ditto on the 150 FMJ/BT. That's exactly what I use in my M1 to duplicate the M2 load.
    Hick: Iron sights!

  13. #13
    Boolit Master
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    I use a very similar Combloc 147 gr boatail steel core .3125 bullet intended for the 7.62X54R in my .303 reloads for my savage two groove No.4. A very accurate bullet at least to the three hundred yards I fired these on paper using peep sights.

    Before WW1 extensive testing determined the best infantry ball load of the era should be a 150 gr bullet at circa 2600 FPS. The American 150 gr .30-06 and German WW1 era 154 gr 7.92 ball bettered that velocity by quite a margin.
    The British had intended that the new MkVII bullet would be of 160 grains but found they couldn't mass produce the two piece core bullet in weights less than 172 gr without sacrificing accuracy. it was a manufacturing problem not the fault of the bullet design. The 150 gr Velopex bullet the MkVII was based on worked fine in sporting rifles but was not easy to mass produce in military quantities.

    150 gr seems to be the best compromise for an infantry rifle that may be fired on the move with rapid followup shots, 170 gr and up are better as long range sniper and marksman rounds intended for extreme ranges.

    The 150 gr .30-06 of WW1 proved deadly on man sized targets out to 600+ yards in the hands of USMC riflemen, but their snipers preferred the 180 gr Remington match grade ammunition for longer range work. When they could get it of course.

  14. #14
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    M1 Garand Ammo Types

    Quote Originally Posted by OptimusPanda View Post
    Scharfschuetze, I seem to recall that story from Hatcher's Notebook. Something about needing to stay in the max range for training ranges.
    That's correct Optimus. Hatcher's book is a treasure trove of info on rifle and ammo development for the military in the 20s and the 30s. M2 was designed for National Guard training as the superior M1 load ranged too far. It ranged far because the German Maxim MGs outranged the US ball 30/06 load of WWI and the US Army didn't want that to happen again.

    M1906 Ball Max Rng: 3,400 yards with the 150 grain cupro-nickel flat base spitzer
    M1 Ball Max Range: 5,500 yards with the 174 grain boat tail spitzer
    M2 Ball Max Range: 3,500 yards with the 152 grain flat base spitzer
    .30 AP Max Range: 3,500 yards with the 168 grain flat base steel core bullet

    The M1 ball load was the round that the Garand was designed around given the time frame of John Garand's efforts per a man that was there: General Hatcher. Umpteen millions of M72 match rounds firing an almost duplicate bullet at the same pressure and velocity levels was done without any fear of harming the Garands during competition before and after the M14 was adopted.

    Let me quote General Hatcher from his book:

    "Armor-piercing ammunition, which is vastly more effective against vehicles and against helmets and body armor, displaced "ball" ammunition for use in combat, and the ball is now used for training only.

    "The M1 rifle was designed specifically for this long range ammunition, and all the tests leading to the adoption of the rifle were made with the M1 ammunition, which was the service ammuition when the rifle was standardized in January 1936."

    The above can be found in Hatcher's book in Chapter 6 "M1 and M2 Ammunition" page 125.

    M72 Match Ammo: The modern M1 Ball load.
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    Last edited by Scharfschuetze; 04-06-2017 at 10:10 PM.
    Keep your powder dry,

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  15. #15
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    "The M1 ball load was the round that the Garand was designed around given the time frame of John Garand's efforts per a man that was there: General Hatcher. Umpteen millions of M72 match rounds firing an almost duplicate bullet at the same pressure and velocity levels was done without any fear of harming the Garands during competition before and after the M14 was adopted."

    You realize that timed fire on a range is not much like combat and well tended and lubed match rifles aren't subject to the stresses that a grimy combat rifle are subjected to by the same ammunition.
    Also velocity and bullet weight didn't break Garand Op Rods, it was excessive gas port pressure of the powders used. It took some experimenting and improvements in powders to develop safe match grade loads using heavy bullets, and we still have the occasional snapped Op Rods. Adjustable gas plugs are marketed for very good reasons to avoid damage when using heavy bullet long range loads.

    The M1 Ball was seldom used in the Garand and almost never in combat. The 150 grain M2 loads were kinder to the Garand operating system.
    Also AP ammunition was almost never used in the Garand till late in WW2 when the shift to .50 and larger caliber aircraft guns freed up millions of rounds of .30 AP for ground use.

    Much as some would have liked for the Army to use AP ammo exclusively that was a pipe dream, the cost and manufacturing difficulties in using electric furnance alloyed steel cores put it out of the reach of the Infantryman. Steel core bullets perhaps, but common steel core bullets are no AP bullets, they break up too easily when they strike substantial plates. Common unhardened Steel cores are great for shooting through wooden structures and log barricades, but not armor plates of any kind.

    The revision of the 150 gr .30-06 cartridge was limited to dispensing with the Cupro-Nickel jacket in favor of the Gilding Metal envelope and altering the alloy of the lead core. Reducing the antimony content increased bullet weight by 2 grains, a slight increase in velocity was more the result of Improved rifle Powders than anything else.

    Hatcher was writing of pie in the sky intentions, not the actualities.
    most of the Garand's sensitivities were discovered by long use and the realities of combat, not by design.
    Some like breakage of the rear deck of the receiver when heavy bullet loads slammed the bolt into it due to high gas port pressure were discovered in testing, resulting in annealing that area in hot lead.
    Later production Garand receivers were beefed up quite a bit, adding some weight. the early Springfield version I once owned was like a ballet dancer compared to the later model receivers.

    Had thirties M1 Ball been the only ammunition available for the Garand the battlefields would have been carpeted with busted Garands.

  16. #16
    Boolit Grand Master Char-Gar's Avatar
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    FYI guys, while I have a good Garand, I will be loading for a Remington 03A3.
    Disclaimer: The above is not holy writ. It is just my opinion based on my experience and knowledge. Your mileage may vary.

  17. #17
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    Try those M80 ball bullets in the link near the top Char. They should shoot just fine and possibly better given current manufacturing tolerances. Actual M2 Ball bullets, depending on the lot, could be very bad to very good.

    You realize that timed fire on a range is not much like combat and well tended and lubed match rifles aren't subject to the stresses that a grimy combat rifle are subjected to by the same ammunition.
    Military rifles are designed and produced to operate in just those conditions, from arctic winter temps to the tropics at the equator. By all accounts, John Garand was very much against the issue of M2 Ball ammo as he felt that the M2 ammo would not provide enough reserve power for just what you claim should prohibit the M1 Ball load. In the end it did, which says a lot for Garand's work.

    To add to that, Military Report No. 1912 to the 76th Congress in 1941 states in part:

    "it is evident that the statement that the M1 ammunition is not suitable for use in the Garand rifle, the pressures being too great, thereby making it necessary for the Department to make M2 ammunition, has no foundation in fact. Each M1 rifle made is required to operate satisfactorily with both M1 and M2 ammunition before it is accepted."

    It's a convoluted story about the ammo; but by 1936 at about the time of the adoption of the M1 Garand, the WWI stocks of 1906 ball were being exhausted. The new M1 Ball load developed with the M1 Garand was in the supply line and getting shot in the Guard's rifles and it was quickly found to exceed the range fans of many Guard rifle ranges. The Guard Bureau asked for a round similar to the 1906 Ball round to stay within the range fans. The first lot of 15 million M2 rounds for training in 1937 had the nomenclature of M1906 as it was so similar to the original WWI load. The flat based and lighter bullet reduced the maximum range by 2,000 yards and was considered safe for use by the Guard on their abbreviated ranges. It gave a mean average pressure according to the Ordnance Department of 48,000 PSI which was the same as for the M1 Ball load and the later M72 load. I'm not sure how they measured it back then, but the same technique (probably lead or copper crusher) would have been used to test both the M1 and the M2 loads so the numbers for each are relevant and comparable. I believe that is still the pressure used by SAAMI for factory 30/06 ammo.

    When I shot against the US Navy rifle team on occasion in the 80s, some of their shooters were still using the M1 Garand, but in 7.62 NATO which operates at a higher average pressure than the 30/06. They had no trouble with that and shot those rifles really well. At one time, it was a popular rebarrel job for gunsmiths too.

    Also AP ammunition was almost never used in the Garand till late in WW2 when the shift to .50 and larger caliber aircraft guns freed up millions of rounds of .30 AP for ground use.
    US Military doctrine in 1940 was to standardize on the 168 grain AP load for rifle and MG use replacing ball ammo for all but training purposes. Of course with the advent of WWII in December of 1941, the doctrine became hours de combat due to the countries unpreparedness and logistical issue and we ended up shooting a lot of what the Ordnance Department considered training ammo in the war. When the AP became available to the infantry, it was used in preference to the ball.

    When I started shooting matches, it was very common to see M1 shooters using the AP rounds in NM competition as it was more accurate at long range than the M2 Ball ammo. The eventual issue of the much better M72 Match ammo by the DCM put paid to that practice; but even to this day, you can still find steel cores at many of the old military range impact areas They make great center punches.

    One advantage that M2 Ball enjoyed over the flatter shooting M1 Ball, was that it was better for plunging fire on reverse slopes using machine gun batteries. The US Army never really embraced this use of MGs, although the Germans and the British did and the Brits used it as late as the Korean War with their Vickers HMGs. When I was an M60 gunner, we had a firing table to do this with tripod mounted M60s (and now M240), but we never practiced it.
    Last edited by Scharfschuetze; 04-07-2017 at 06:05 AM.
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    Theses guys ship for FREE best price I have found https://www.nereloading.com/index.ph...liber-308.html
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  19. #19
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    Char-Gar

    There were 3 different levels (velocities) of M2 Ball with the 152 gr FMJ flat based bullet produced. The black tipped armor piercing ammunition also had the M2 nomenclature but I'll disregard it here. In the last 10 years or so I have chronographed and pressure tested various lots of M2 Ball and a couple lots of M1906 Ball ammunition. I have chronographed them in my M1903 and in my pressure test rifle all which have 24" barrels. The 3 different levels of M2 ammunition are readily apparent.

    I measure the pressure in psi" not CUPs sometimes still referred to as "psi", particularly in older literature and manuals. The SAAMI MAP for CUP measurement was 50,000 CUP and the MAP for PSI measurement (transducer/gauge) is 60,000 psi. Thus the 50,000 of the CUP measurement is equivalent to the 60,000 psi of the transducer/gauge measurement. As Scharfschuetze mentions the MAP for M2 Ball was 47,000 CUP or about 56,500 psi as measured by transducer/gauge. TM 9-1305-200 Small Arms Ammunition, US Army, dtd June 1961 specifies 45,000 to 50,000 psi (CUPs) for M2 Ball.

    The M1906 ammunition tested produced right at 2700 fps as specified out of a M1903. It produced about 50 fps more out of the minimal chamber spec test barrel and ran right at 56,100 psi.......exactly what it was supposed to do.

    Again, as Scharfschuetze mentions, in the mid '30s the supply of M1906 ammunition was running out and it was found the M1 Ball ammunition exceeded the safety fan of many training ranges, particularly National Guard training ranges. A request was made for ammunition specification comparable to M1906 ammunition be made for training use. This was the 1st level of M2 Ball ammunition performance. That specification called for 2700 fps with the 150 - 152 gr FMJ FB'd bullet. Just day before yesterday I tested a lot (DM 42) of that level of M2 Ball. It ran right at 2701 fps with 55,600 psi.

    The 2nd level of performance of M2 Ball ammunition result in 1939 - 1940 when the National Guard Bureau requested a further reduction of velocity of M2 Ball resulting from the establishment of many newer training ranges (the National Guard had been mobilized pretty much completely by 1939) which did not have the safety fans to safely contain the original M2 Ball or M1906 ammunition. The request was for the M2's velocity to be reduced to 2550 - 2600 fps. This was done and I've found most of the M2 Ball tested made after the mid '50s falls into this level of performance. The velocities of numerous such lots runs from 2490 fps to 2600 fps. It appears from my testing all 3 levels of M2 Ball were produced by various arsenals up through the mid '50s with only the 3rd level produced after the adoption of the 7.62 NATO cartridge to replace the 30-06.

    With the development of better powders (notably 4895 and ball powders) for use in the 30-06 cartridge in the early '40s we see the velocity specification for M2 Ball ammunition was upgraded to 2810 fps and sometimes reported as 2820 fps. This created the 3rd level of performance. I have tested numerous lots of this level also. Day before yesterday I also tested a lot of SL 52 which was loaded with 48.2 gr of extruded powder (probably 4895). It produce 2801 fps at 54,900 psi.

    For practical shooting with either M1903/M1903A1s or M1903A3s I like to match the level of M2 ball performance to what the sights are regulated for. Of course if one is just shooting at one range then the regulation of the sights range doesn't matter. I shoot multiple ranges with my M1903A1 which is why I load to match the sight regulation.

    The M1903/M1903A1 sights are regulated for the M1906 Ball or M2 Ball that gives 2700 fps with the 150 - 152 FMJFB bullet.

    The M1903As sight are regulated for the 3rd level of performance; a 150-152 gr FMJFB bullet at 2810 fps. This is why many were frustrated with level 1 and particularly level 2 M2 Ball performance in M1903A3s.....the sights just didn't work right.

    Quality M2 Bullets are almost impossible to get. In all my testing I found a great degradation of accuracy in US made M2 Ball after the late 50s, particularly that produced in the '60s and early '70s. The bullets are just of poor quality. Thus I use 7.62 M80 bullets which hold 2 moa +/- out of my M1903A1. The commercial made Hornady's have always given me the best accuracy, usually 1 1/2 moa +/-. I got a bunch of pull down M80s from Widner's about 10 years ago that hold 2 - 2 1/2 moa +/-.

    I use 4895 for my loads with M80 bullets and in my M1903A1 load them to 2640 - 2650 fps which regulates the trajectory to the sight quite close out to 1000 yards. For use in my M1903A3 I load the M80 bullets to 2730 fps which then regulates the trajectory to the sight ranges to 800 yards. The use of M80 bullets may be what you'll also find to be the best option.

    Larry Gibson

    As a side note; I have also tested a few lots of M1 Ball. Day before yesterday I also tested a lot of M1 Ball (FA 28) . The velocity ran 2638 fps at 57,000 psi.....again, just as it was supposed to do. A lot of M72 Match was also tested. It ran 2624 fps at 57,100 psi......just as it should have.
    Last edited by Larry Gibson; 04-07-2017 at 02:36 PM.

  20. #20
    Boolit Master
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    Larry, would some of the different levels of loading be due to use in 1919's? In the past when LC ammo was issued for club use in matches a fair amount of it was de linked from belts due to markings on the case.

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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