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Thread: Cast load for 1941 Johnson?

  1. #1
    Boolit Buddy
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    Cast load for 1941 Johnson?

    I just picked up a 1941 Johnson in 30-06 and would like to try it out using a cast load that will cycle the action. I searched this forum but did not find any information on loads. My initial gut feeling is to try my M1 Garand load which is 35 grains of H4895 and a 311-299 WW bullet (I'd start at 32 grains and work up). Does anyone have any load information or thoughts on my plan?

    Thanks, Vern

  2. #2
    Boolit Master
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    H-U-U-U-M....I sold my Johnson over thirty years ago..that's got absolutely nothing to do with the question just saying......but you are on the right track..

    First order of business would be to see what load functions the action ..

    I probably would start with a few (5) or even three at around 29 grs of 4895and work up in .5gr increments...see's not gas operated so your approach would be a bit different....

    29 grs in a bolt gun gives me the best accuracy with the combination of bullet and powder you are proposing to use..(no filler necessary)..if they don't function the gun single load the rest..you might surprise your self with the accuracy..

    Once you've got a load that functions the action reliably, try two bullet sizes ...say .310 and .311 ..one will produce a smaller group than the other...use it to test the accuracy as you work up in charge weight...

    Best accuracy in my m1 Garands always been with the lowest weight charge I can use...29 grs 4895 and the 299 in my 03's has always produced MOA groups, some even less...PS try and find a 299 with a nose that is .302 ....301 min....might have to throw in some Lino and tin in your alloy to get there...

  3. #3
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    Scharfschuetze's Avatar
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    1941 Johnson

    I owned a 1941 Johnson rifle, but I only shot M2 Ball through it. I was offered more than I could resist for it and... well, I wish I would have kept it.

    My thinking is that the recoil operated action would be best served with a 190 to 210 grain cast bullet (gas checked) and sent down the barrel between 1,800 and 1,900 fps in deference to its 1 in 10" rifling pitch. Any of the mid speed rifle powders should be the best choice for powder. 3031 and 4895 should both be up to the task at between 32 to 36 grains.

    When you take down the rifle, look at the bolt and bolt carrier closely. You'll quickly note that the system resembles the M16/M4 components closely. That's because Melvin Johnson helped with the design of the AR10 rifle which then morphed into the M16.
    Last edited by Scharfschuetze; 09-04-2017 at 03:48 PM.
    Keep your powder dry,

    Scharf

  4. #4
    Boolit Master
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    I had one for a while myself. It functioned with a Lyman 311291 gas checked bullet and 4064 powder. IIRC, I used a moderately heavy M1 cast load in it. Since they are recoil operated, light loads don't cycle.

  5. #5
    Boolit Master
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    I don't have my notes handy so can't share specifics right now, but mine functions with loads that won't function my Garands.

    One important thing to note is the number of rounds in the magazine made a difference in mine. What functioned with five in the magazine might not work with ten loaded. More pressure/drag against the bolt.

    Another thing is most original Johnson recoil springs are pretty tired. If you work up loads now and replace the spring later, I would almost bet you will have to change your load for function.
    And replacing that spring isn't as simple s it appears,btw. It has to be aligned just right.

    Congratulations on your purchase. They are an interesting and fun rifle. If you haven't already, get a copy of Bruce Canfield's "Johnson's Rifles and Machineguns". And find the Johnson Automatics forum. That's where the few real sharp Johnson people are (including M.M. Johnson's son).

  6. #6
    Boolit Buddy
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    Thanks everyone, you've given me some great information to get started with. I will join the Johnson Automatics forum and have already ordered the book. Now to figure out what to do about the threaded muzzle on mine.

    Vern

  7. #7
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    Now to figure out what to do about the threaded muzzle on mine.
    Threaded muzzle? Can you post a photo?
    Keep your powder dry,

    Scharf

  8. #8
    Boolit Buddy
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    photos of threaded muzzle

    Here are pictures of the threaded muzzle on my Johnson. I found a 2012 discussion about someone else who has a threaded muzzle and no one had any information on when or why. It looks like there was once a cap or something else on the muzzle at one time as there are remnants of solder or braze metal on the face of the sight base.

    VernClick image for larger version. 

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  9. #9
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    Interesting. I don't believe that I've ever seen a Johnson with those threads on the muzzle.
    Keep your powder dry,

    Scharf

  10. #10
    Boolit Master woodbutcher's Avatar
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    Hmmmmmmmmmmmmm.Maybe had a supressor on it at one time?
    Good luck.Have fun.Be safe.
    Leo
    People never lie so much as after a hunt,during a war,or before an election.
    Otto von Bismarck

  11. #11
    Boolit Master
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    Interesting muzzle threads. I'd have to doubt they are for a suppressor since suppressors only got popular in recent years. Johnsons were too valuable to modify by then.
    Though stranger things have happened.

    Here is an odd thought. Melvin Johnson made and sold a muzzle brake when he was rebarreling and doing custom rifles. I have never heard of or seen it done, but I suppose an M1941 could've had one of his brakes installed.

    I have two of the Johnson Automatics brakes, one on a 7x61 S&H barrel and one loose, and the length of the threads look pretty close to what you have there.

    You need to post that picture on the Johnson Automatics forum and see what happens.

  12. #12
    Boolit Master
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    Oh, and I looked up my thread over there on my cast bullet experiments in the Johnson. Skimming through it, I see I've done and learned a lot since, but the info is still fine.
    http://johnsonautomatics.com/message...-in-the-m1941/

  13. #13
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    Regarding the threaded muzzle, the Johnson rifle's recoil operation negates much weight on the barrel for reliable function so a suppressor is probably out of the question.

    The barrel weight was critical enough that the bayonet for the Johnson was sans handle in the normal sense and was a pretty light blade compared to the Springfields and the Garands.
    Keep your powder dry,

    Scharf

  14. #14
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    Dad had one S.N in 900's Kicked like a mule. Wish he kept it

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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