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Thread: I need help with 30-30 reloading

  1. #1
    Boolit Mold
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    I need help with 30-30 reloading

    I bought my son a Marlin 30-30 for Christmas along with a Lee bullet mold and reloading dies. I plan on powder coating the 160 gr bullets. What powder should I start off with? Do I need gas checks? Do I need to crimp the case neck? Thanks!

  2. #2
    Boolit Master
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    How fast do you want to push the bullets and how much recoil do you want?

    Herco shotgun powder is what I use for my go to load. 10 grains of herco under a 180 grain cast with gas check is great. I used a plain base with 9.6 grains. Win 231 and red dot work well also, but with a bit less powder. Trail boss makes some very light loads, but it isn't economical. If you keep the speed low, you can run without a gas check, especially powder coated. Is your mold a GC design or plain base? I didn't like running the GC designs with no gas check.

    For the light loads, use a light crimp. It could help make combustion a bit more even and keep bullets from going any deeper. On hotter loads, I would use a good crimp.

    There are many options for the 30 cal rifles with cast boolits. I use my lever gun for plinking and silhouette matches, so I don't bother with anything but the load described above. It kicks like a mule with my grandfather's hunting loads.

  3. #3
    Boolit Buddy
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    Quote Originally Posted by Tavor2017 View Post
    I bought my son a Marlin 30-30 for Christmas along with a Lee bullet mold and reloading dies. I plan on powder coating the 160 gr bullets. What powder should I start off with? Do I need gas checks? Do I need to crimp the case neck? Thanks!
    There is a hole lot you could do I would run gas checks if the bullet is maid for them I've had bud luck powder coating gas check bullets and shooting them without the gas check on there but I will look up my load for that mold lynman has a lot of cast data in there book to go from but I also use a standard copper jacked round nose for hunting loads they are no more accurate but they can be pushed a little hotter without leading


    Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk

  4. #4
    Boolit Master
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    Quote Originally Posted by Tavor2017 View Post
    I bought my son a Marlin 30-30 for Christmas along with a Lee bullet mold and reloading dies. I plan on powder coating the 160 gr bullets. What powder should I start off with? Do I need gas checks? Do I need to crimp the case neck? Thanks!
    Go buy Lyman's cast bullet book. it sugests reloader 7,5744, and IMR-4198 tho they don't list your 160gr

  5. #5
    Boolit Master


    Larry Gibson's Avatar
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    Tavor2017

    Obviously you are new to casting bullets and loading them, perhaps new to reloading also(?). I also suggest you get a Lyman Cast Bullet handbook. Go to a couple used book stores and see if you can find the #3 edition. If not the #4 edition is still in print and readily available. Read and study the articles on casting bullets. Even a standard Lyman #49 Reloading manual will give you the basics of bullet casting.

    Also be aware that powder coating increases the diameter of the bullet, especially the nose and many have chambering problems with PC'd bullets. Regardless that this is the age of social media and we're supposed to get all our information instantly on computers and smart phones casting bullets and properly loading them is not something you'll learn very well watching a 3 - 5 minute youtube video or from a brief explanation on a forum. Get the books, study the basics and learn them. You'll save yourself a lot of frustration. Casting and loading cast bullets is not difficult but there are some do's and don'ts. No sense learning them the hard way when good information is available.

    As mentioned, I also am unaware of a commercial 160 gr Lee mould for the 30-30. Lee makes a 160 gr .30 caliber mould but being a spritzer/round nose shaped bullet it isn't considered by many as suitable for the 30-30 in a tubular magazine such as the Marlin has. What is the description of the mould listed on the box such as C309-160-R? The Lee moulds considered suitable for the 30-30 are the C309-150-F and the C309-170-F with the C309-170-F being the most oft recommended. The Lyman Manuals will also give you load data for such cast bullets.

    Yes, you will need GCs and probably a sizer and bullet lube.

    Lastly, welcome to the forum.
    Larry Gibson

    “Deficient observation is merely a form of ignorance and responsible for the many morbid notions and foolish ideas prevailing.”
    ― Nikola Tesla

  6. #6
    Boolit Master
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    Taylor2017

    Welcome aboard. I'd say more but Larry already has. Read, read, & read some more. Mold selection is particular to the gun the bullet is to be fired in. Some designs are not appropriate for some guns: ie - pointed bullets loaded in a tube magazine. Oft citied issues with the pointed bullets resting on the primers of the bullet ahead of it in a tube magazine, comes to mind. Expect casting frustrations along the way but know that, as an acquired skill, things improve. Ask questions here. Lots of folks are willing to help out. We were all new to it at some point. Take advantage of the vast accumulation of experience here on the board.

  7. #7
    Boolit Master Thumbcocker's Avatar
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    You can take what Mr. Gibson says to the bank. If you want simple and cheap to get the process down you can always shoot your boolits sans gascheck over 3-5 grains of fast powder. I like red dot but many other fast powders will work. Think 2000 shots per pound of powder here. If your boolit drops around .311 you can just roll them in liquid lube and shoot them as cast. You will absolutely need a neck expander die whatever type of boolit you use.
    You'll go far providin' you ain't burnt alive or scalped."

    Will Geer as Bear Claw in "Jeramiah Johnson"

  8. #8
    Boolit Master
    FredBuddy's Avatar
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    Tavor:

    Where are you located?

    Perhaps there's a mentor in your neighborhood.

  9. #9
    Boolit Master popper's Avatar
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    Depends on your son's ability (age?). Unique, 2400, HP38, etc. Lots of light loads listed under 'the load' for 30/30. If he can handle it, full power loads 3031, LeverE, 4895, 335, etc. I had the same question when I first started reloading for the 30/30, got 335 which worked well, probably not the best but worked fine.
    Whatever!

  10. #10
    Boolit Mold
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    Thank you for the reply! The Lee bullet mold I bought leaves a groove for a gas check. What is the problem with not using one with lighter loads? Accuracy? I plan on taking my son to the range to target shoot with lighter loads and cast bullets to practice economically (with less recoil also). When we go hunting I will have him switch to either factory ammo or load commercial bullets with higher loads. The die set I bought does not have a crimper so I will order one based on your recommendation.

  11. #11
    Boolit Mold
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    My son is 13. He shot 40 rounds of factory ammo when we went to the range right after he got it. He did well but by the end his shoulder started to hurt. I think he would prefer lighter loads when we go to the range. Thanks for the reply.

  12. #12
    Boolit Mold
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    Thank you!

  13. #13
    Boolit Mold
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    Thank you for the thoughtful response Larry!
    Indeed I am new to casting bullets. I have been reloading rifle and pistol ammo for years but not with cast bullets. I will get the Lyman cast bullet book.The Lee mold I bought is a C309-160-R. I ordered it from Amazon and several people had commented they use it for reloading 30-30 ammo. I eventually plan on using it for reloading 30-06 ammunition for my Ruger bolt action and my Garand. I purchased a bullet sizer already understanding the diameter of the bullet will increase when covered with the powder coating. Again, I will get the book you recommended to improve my knowledge before reloading the cast bullets.

    Regards,
    Gary

  14. #14
    Boolit Mold
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    Thank you!

  15. #15
    Boolit Mold
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    The neck expander makes sense. I reloaded my 223s with PC lead bullets for the first time and I was stripping off a little bit of the PC when I pressed in the bullets. I am going to put reloading on hold with cast bullets until I read through the Lyman book.

  16. #16
    Bullet sizing is really important to get decent accuracy. For my Marlin 30-30, I shoot 168gn cast boolits sized to 0.311, with gas check and powder coated. Marlin bores tend to be larger than 0.308 (I read it quite often on the forum, and it certainly held true for mine). I started with a Lee mold, 309-150f, with really disappointing results. The boolits were dropping at 0.309 as advertised, but my bore is 0.3095. They had about a 18" spread and keyholes at 50 yards. I ended up getting a NOE mold (311-165 RD) that cast boolits at 0.311. I added a gas check then powder coated, then ran through the 0.311 sizing die. I use a 50/50 blend of wheel weight and pure lead, with a dash of tin. Tremendous difference with my results at the range, very accurate and far more satisfying than the shotgun pattern I started with. The extra 0.002 boolit diameter was important.
    You'll definitely want an expanding die for the neck, standard dies don't open up the neck enough to seat a fat cast boolit. NOE has plugs to replace the ones in the expansion die Lee sells, which works for me.
    Right now I'm loading my boolits over 17gn of Alliant 2400. If you have some, try starting down at around 15gn for a lighter load. Both seem really mild to me, but nothing seems all that bad after I bought the Marlin 45-70.
    Good luck, and have fun shooting with your son.

    Sent from my HTC6535LVW using Tapatalk

  17. #17
    Boolit Master

    gwpercle's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by zymguy View Post
    Go buy Lyman's cast bullet book. it sugests reloader 7,5744, and IMR-4198 tho they don't list your 160gr
    Reason being is the Lee 160 grain RN bullet isn't "ideal" for the 30-30. Flat point boolits have always been recommended for lever guns for safety reasons...they stack boolit nose to primer in the magazine. a RN might set off the primer resting on it.
    The proper boolit is the 170 grain or 150 grain Flat Point Lee sells, you will find data for those.
    I prefer the 170 grain FP in my model 94 . Marlins with MG rifling are another matter when it comes to sizing, take the advice of the members who have worked this out...saves you a lot of grief .
    You can use the 160 RN ( or even pointed boolits) safely by loading one in the chamber and one in the magazine for a two shooter.
    Load safe,
    Gary
    Certified Cajun
    Proud Member of The Basket of Deplorables

  18. #18
    Boolit Master


    HangFireW8's Avatar
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    Tavor,

    I can't find what die set you have, but all standard modern 2-die rifle sets including a crimp in the seating die. You may have to screw it down further for it to engage the case mouth. Check that out before spending money on a dedicated crimping die. You can always seat in one stage and crimp later, if you've already loaded some.

    You mentioned recoil. I've replaced all my Marlin Levers buttpads with Pachmayr Decelerators. I generally use the Decelerator SC100 Sporting Clay pad, as it makes for a quick mount without hanging up on clothing, but I've also used the well rounded D752B Old English pad as well. My shooting enjoyment has greatly improved since I did this. I avoid factory and the Pachmayr "rifle" pads as they have an annoying protruding point at the bottom that contributes to bruising, especially if you have pecks. (Perhaps these pads were made for men who have a cavity at that point in their chests?)

    Also, when mounting the aftermarket pads, I cut the heel of the buttstock slightly with a 2.5 degree cut inward at the toe, again to match the positioning of the pad to the profile of my shoulder to chest area. With a decent pad so mounted, I can shoot full-house 30/30 loads all afternoon with no pain.

    I have shot the Lee C150-309 to good effect from a standard .308" groove 30/30, if you choose to do this with the 160 and your Marlin, you can always single feed them, or load one in the chamber and just one in the magazine.

    I am not a fan of powder coating for rifle boolits, or for boolits made for standard lubes. You may find finding a Lee mold that drops .311, I wouldn't even bother trying to find a modern Lyman mold that drops at .311, even if the part number starts with .311! They have standardized on a .308" drop with Lyman #2 alloy, which doesn't leave much room for getting to .311. I suggest you try a more useful mold maker like NOE to get a .311"+ mold, or check out MiHec.

  19. #19
    Boolit Master popper's Avatar
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    My shoulder can't take 2 boxes of factory even with a recoil pad. Maybe try the 100 gr. Lee for starters with some pistol powder. PC rifle works fine.
    Whatever!

  20. #20
    Boolit Mold
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    Hello HangFireW8,
    Thank you for your response. I plan on getting a bullet sizer to bring the bullets to the proper diameter after powder coating. I want to use powder coating with no gas check since the less I have to spend on reloading ammo the more frequently I can go to the range. Depending on how accurate the Lee cast bullets are I may look into getting an NOE mold.

    Regards,
    Gary

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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