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Thread: 30-40 Krag CB load experts ... Help?

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    Boolit Bub Nick Adams's Avatar
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    30-40 Krag CB load experts ... Help?

    Okay, so some years back, I inherited my Grandfather's 'custom' 30-40 Krag rifle.

    It came to me through a late uncle on my Dad's side. All in that family were hunters and competitive shooters, and this Krag is in excellent shape for it's probable age.

    I want to shoot 200gn or 220gn coated CBs through it (whether RN or FN, maybe .309 dia). I want load to modest velocities (i.e., 1900fps-2100fps).

    I'd prefer coated boolits in the above weights to eliminate or reduce leading. Can anyone recommend a source for such boolits?

    Also helpful would be your powder & load recommendations for these 200gn/220gn boolits.

    I see Unique is a popular go-to for CB loads in the old Krags.

    Thanks in advance!
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    I've little or no knowledge of commercial 'coated' boolits but the Lee 309-200, powder-coated and sized .311, loaded over H4198 is my 'go-to' for a '98 Krag carbine. Can easily be worked up close to factory velocity with excellent accuracy...like 2 MOA (or better) at 100 yds.

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    Boolit Master Dan Cash's Avatar
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    Accurate 215 gr bullet sized to .303-4 and paper patched to .312 over 42 grain Reloader 19. Accurate in my 1895 Win. .30-40 to 300 yards + and is a real killer on game.
    To paraphrase Ronald Reagan, the trouble with many shooting experts is not that they're ignorant; its just that they know so much that isn't so.

  4. #4
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    Krag's are wonderful old rifles but not the most robust of actions. My advice would be check or have the action carefully checked out. If you get a clean bill if health enjoy. I'd stay away from a steady diet of 220 grainers at 2100 fps. I shoot the Lyman 311284 with a moderate charge of 4198. Unique is has too fast of burn rate for the speeds you've mentioned. Slower powders will have a much safer pressure curve. Many have had good success with powders as slow as WC 860 in the Krag.

  5. #5
    Boolit Buddy
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    First slug your bore, bore sizes on Krags can be all over the place,I shoot no heavery than 180 gr. in my 3 Krags , stay away from fast pistol powders slower powders just work better. tried heavy bullets in my krags and they did not work worth a darn. have fun with the old cannon I have been shooting one since I was 11 years old. just love them.

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    Boolit Bub Nick Adams's Avatar
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    Thanks for the comments, guy! Appreciate your input.

    I will have the barrel slugged to determine bore size ...

    I failed to mention before that I have a goodly supply of Varget on hand.

    Has anyone used Varget for making their Krag loads? If so, with what boolit weights?

    I've seen where some reloading manuals mention 4064 for 30-40 loads, and that powder has a burn rate close to Varget. So would like to use what I have stocked, if possible.

    Thanks!
    Last edited by Nick Adams; 10-11-2018 at 05:06 PM.
    Underneath our starry, starry flag,
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  7. #7
    Boolit Buddy
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    Take a jaunt over to the KCA. Plenty of guys who can answer your questions.

    http://www.kragcollectorsassociation.../yabb2/YaBB.pl
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  8. #8
    Boolit Buddy
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    I use IMR 4350 and IMR4064 for j-words and IMR4198 for cast have not tried varget.

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    i use a 165gr ranch dog and some h4198 and rel7 and varget and 2400 in mine. the 165gr(173gr) rd is for putting deer down like now.
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    Boolit Master Mark Daiute's Avatar
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    I have no knowledge of powder coating. I have shot thousands of rounds through my krags with no leading. You specified loads with powder coated bullets. If you are interested in gas checked loads let us know. I use powders ranging from 2400 to WC870 with success with 200 grain and 220 grain boolits.

  11. #11
    Boolit Master
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    keep it simple I use 311299 with a gas check sized .308 20 gr 2400. shot through a 8 point end to end. he went down with one shot. I have used that load in all my krags.

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    Boolit Master
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    Lyman #49 has Varget loads. Perhaps #50 does as well.

  13. #13
    Boolit Grand Master Char-Gar's Avatar
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    I know nothing about coated bullet, but I do know something about Krag rifles. During it's short production life (1895 - 1903), Krag barrel groove specs were all over the map. They ran from .308 to .313 and perhaps even larger.

    Now here is the important thing to know. Regardless of the barrel groove specs, the chamber throat was long and large. Fitting the bullet to the chamber throat is the key to accuracy, and not fitting the bullet to the barrel groove diameter.

    I size bullet for all Krag rifles .312. The rounds will chamber easy and still give a smidge of room for the case neck to expand and release the bullet. If the case neck can't expand to release the bullet, then the pressure does up.

    As stated above the chamber throats are also long. Unless you single load the rounds into the chamber, it is not likely you can seat the bullets out to touch the rifle barrel lands. I seat the bullets as far out as I can and still have smooth functioning through the magazine.

    There are many powders that will work well for cast bullets in the Krag rifle. However as others have said, the Krag is a weak action with just one locking lug on the bolt and the receivers are quite brittle. When one does let go, it does not turn into a grenade like the low numbered 03s do, as the Krag action does not trap the gas.
    Disclaimer: The above is not holy writ. It is just my opinion based on my experience and knowledge. Your mileage may vary.

  14. #14
    Boolit Grand Master Outpost75's Avatar
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    I would treat a Krag exactly the same as I would a .303 Long Lee Enfield of the same period. As Char-Gar says, freebore ahead of the chamber is both long and large in diameter. Barrel bore and groove dimensions are all over the map. Of the dozen or so Krags I have measured for people the average freebore is .313" diameter and the average groove diameter .311+.

    Most Krag rifles will shoot well with the NOE clone of #314299 cast of wheelweights with a pinch of tin added to improve fill out, and with bullets sized .313-.314" and loading either 28 grains of IMR4198, 30 grains of either RL7 or IMR3031 or 34 grains of IMR4895, IMR4064, RL15 or Varget. I use a 1 grain Dacron filler tucked loosely into the case neck, NOT poked down on the powder!

    These same charges and bullets work very well in the .303 British and also in the 7.62x54R. K.I.S.S. principle.

    The Accurate 31-215B can be used with these same charges and is a better hunting bullet due to its flat nose.

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    Boolit Bub Nick Adams's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by lotech View Post
    Lyman #49 has Varget loads. Perhaps #50 does as well.
    Yes, I just picked up Lyman #50 from a LGS. Thanks.
    Underneath our starry, starry flag,
    We civilized 'em with a Krag.

  16. #16
    Boolit Master
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    Take heed to what Char-Gar and Outpost said. My hard won experience mirrors their recommendations.

    Throats matter, not grooves.

    Powder coat if you wish, but proper alloy and good lube are all you need for lead free barrels.

    Also, 2000-2100fps with 220's isn't a light load. It's all a sane person would want to squeeze out of a U.S. Krag. There's a reason the gov't switched back to 2000 fps loads from the higher velocity loads they tried late in the Krag's issue life- cracked bolt lugs.
    Last edited by gnoahhh; 10-15-2018 at 09:27 PM.

  17. #17
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    I shoot a 1898 Krag and use lead bullets lubed with Carnuba Red and don't have any leading issues. At the end of most shooting I just run a dry patch through the bore and it's is left nice and shiny and once and a while I give it a through cleaning. I guess I'm just old fashioned.

  18. #18
    Boolit Bub Nick Adams's Avatar
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    On the recommendations for 'throat sizing' rather than just slugging the barrel, would my local 'smith be able to do that?

    Also, I'm not set up for casting .312 .30-cal boolits for this Krag. Is there a commercial source for those?

    Regarding Outpost75 's powder recommendations, yes, I do have most of those mentioned, with a good over-stock of the Varget from service rifle shooting.

    Would like to get this Krag up and shooting. I see where Beartooth sells 220gn GC .30-cal boolits, but their largest is sized at .310.

    From Char-Gar and Outpost's comments, it sounds like that won't yield satisfactory results. Thanks!
    Underneath our starry, starry flag,
    We civilized 'em with a Krag.

  19. #19
    Boolit Master
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    I am shooting lymanís 311644 with 2400 at I believe about 1800 FPS in my 1901 Krag rifle. Deadly accurate at 200 yards. I am away from home to look up excact data. Most likely unsized, water dropped and gas check. I am on the fence for shooting that in the CMP vintage match coming up or my match winner P17 with duplicate M2 ball ammo. Oh and with Lee liquid alox for lube.

  20. #20
    Boolit Buddy
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    I use the Lyman 311284 and 311291, cast of tin enriched WW, in both my U.S. Krags, with 18 gr 4759. I personally like the 311291 better. I believe the 284 was designed for the Krag. Try getting a Lee .303 British collet neck sizer. Works perfect for .311 bullets, which I use. Your hard to get brass will last a long time using the collet sizer.

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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