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Thread: Suggest a Lee mold for a Winchester 94

  1. #1
    Boolit Man
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    Suggest a Lee mold for a Winchester 94

    So I have some time on my hands, and where I am I can go out to the forest and shoot. Just starting on cast loads for the M94 in 30-30. The Lee 309-120r is a DOG in this rifle, with 8" groups at 25yds with a variety of powders and charges. Ran speeds from 1400fps to 2400fps, with and without gas checks and just terrible. I also have the Lee 309-180r available, haven't made up any loads, but was hoping for a lightweight boolit load for fun, but accurate, plinking/varmint hunting. Also tried a 110gr M1 carbine j-word with varget and got MEH! groups. Its a 1975 vintage M94, and I haven't shot it much at all.
    What do you suggest for a boolit mold? I like Lee prices (when they work!). That 120r mold boolit shoots 2" groups at 50yds in an M1 carbine from a 1942 barrel, its not the boolit that won't shoot straight. For comparison I shoot my Uberti 1866 in 838spl with the same lead (1% tin and 2-3% antimony) at 1250fps, no gas check and get 1-2" at 50yds, where the M94 shot at 16" at the same distance. I have not slugged the barrel yet, but some of the 120r's were unsized at .3125, yep they just barely chamber.
    It would be nice to hear what other have done that works. would like to be around 1300fps, lite boolit; or possibly heavy boolit at 1000fps or even sub sonic.

  2. #2
    Boolit Buddy Scrounge's Avatar
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    How does your rifle shoot with factory loads? It may be something wrong with the barrel. Bad or damaged crown, bent barrel, over-tight attachments, or something else. I had, once upon a time, a 98 Mauser with a 45-70 barrel by McGowan that would not put a bullet on a paper plate at 50 yards. As you say, variey of bullets, powders, and loads. Nothing worked. Tried it with factory, and same deal. never did figure it out, and eventually dumped the rifle. Wish now I'd kept it, but I was younger then.

  3. #3
    Boolit Master
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    The Lee 150 and Lee 170 are probably the most popular Lee boolits in a 30-30.

    However, I have seen one Win 94 where the Lee 170 was too long to feed when seated to the crimp groove in full length cases.

    Try your 180s. Seat them deep enough to feed even if you can not crimp. Single feed them to see if they are accurate. If they are accurate, trimming cases as needed to crimp is not that bad of an option.

  4. #4
    Boolit Buddy Win94ae's Avatar
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    I've never had my 30-30 shoot groups like that. I could shoot a 20 shot ladder test half the size of your groups.
    The 180s work great in mine, cycles wonderfully, no problems at all.


  5. #5
    Boolit Man
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    I'll try the 180s and report back with pictures!

  6. #6
    Boolit Grand Master


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    "Ran speeds from 1400fps to 2400fps, with and without gas checks and just terrible."

    Pray tell what loads?

    What GCs?

    What lube"

    That bullet should do very nicely in the M94 at 1400 - 2000 fps and even down to 800 fps.
    Larry Gibson

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

  7. #7
    Boolit Master
    Chill Wills's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Larry Gibson View Post
    "Ran speeds from 1400fps to 2400fps, with and without gas checks and just terrible."
    I re-read everything twice. Has this quote been removed from the above thread?

    Baseline info about the ability of the rifle to shoot something accurately will be helpful.
    Factory or otherwise.
    The results of Post #5 should hopefully say a lot about the rifle.
    Chill Wills

  8. #8
    Boolit Man
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    Here is the rifle. Guess I need to start at the beginning. I got this from my father, he bought it in the late 70's. Came with a Ted Williams scope and B-Square side mount. I have not shot it with factory ammo, I don't have any. Barrel is clean, decent rifling.

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    Just slugged the barrel. The slug started fine using a 00 buck ball.
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    then it got tight, not super tight, but required more hits to make it move than I thought normal. Measured with calipers and mic, and I get .302 and .308 -largest diameter. I was being stupid and only measuring the small diameter first.
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    Definitely in the middle of the barrel its tighter than the muzzle, which may be a big part of the problem. The slug has good rifling marks, the crown is fine.
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    So is this going to work at all seeing as this barrel is pretty tight?
    Last edited by Photog; 03-30-2020 at 02:22 PM.

  9. #9
    Boolit Man
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    I don't have any real attachment to this rifle, so selling it to fund something that actually shoots is fine with me!

  10. #10
    Boolit Man
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    the boolits are here:
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    they weigh 167-170g and 116g (pretty consistent), as they are a hard mix. I use a bit of Rotometals superhard ingot, about 3 oz to every 3 lbs of soft lead. Tumble lubed with WLL 45-45-10. I have left them unsized, which make them hard to chamber as the 120s drop at .312.

  11. #11
    Boolit Man
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    The gas checked version is push through sized to .309 with a Hornady gas check.
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    Those powder flakes are Alliant Steel, the worst metering powder ever, giant flakes.

  12. #12
    Boolit Man
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    Drove a sized boolit with plenty of lube, and it came out to .302 and .308. Slugged on the left, new boolit on the right.
    Attachment 259382

  13. #13
    Boolit Man
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  14. #14
    Boolit Master
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    You mean there is something out there that meters worse than 800x??? Hahahaha!!!!!! DuPont corn flakes!! Seriously I have the same gun, scope mount and all, Lee 170 sized to . 310, AA 2460 it shoots ok. Haven’t done a lot of testing yet, but that’s part of the fun!! Good luck and definitely check that muzzle for a ding!!
    I firmly believe that you should only get treated by how you act, not by who or what you are!!

  15. #15
    Boolit Grand Master Texas by God's Avatar
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    I agree with Chill Wills- you should buy a box of factory ammo and establish a 50-yard accuracy Baseline first. Then begin to work with cast.

    Sent from my SAMSUNG-SM-G930A using Tapatalk

  16. #16
    Boolit Man
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    Quote Originally Posted by Budzilla 19 View Post
    You mean there is something out there that meters worse than 800x??? Hahahaha!!!!!! DuPont corn flakes!! Seriously I have the same gun, scope mount and all, Lee 170 sized to . 310, AA 2460 it shoots ok. Haven’t done a lot of testing yet, but that’s part of the fun!! Good luck and definitely check that muzzle for a ding!!
    I DOn't have 800x or 2460 on the wall-o-powder:
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    and the crown looks good:
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  17. #17
    Boolit Man
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    Well if these cast don't work then maybe I will see if i can find some commercial ammo. Trying to avoid going to town at the moment.
    These are ready for a trip to the forest:
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    I use the slips of paper as targets, use a paster for a aim point. Each gets its own ziplock baggies, makes it easy to keep separated. I'm using Red Dot (per "the load") and 20/28 as I don't have any Unique and 20/28 is just a little faster.
    Other options:
    Extra-lite, American select, W231, titegroup, Clay dot, Solo1000, E3, power pistol, 2400, and trail boss and steel. All could work. I've had great performance out of Power pistol for reduced rifle loads, as its slow but burns completley and evenly in 30-06 cases. I even made an M1 carbine cycle with it.

  18. #18
    Boolit Master
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    The 800x was just a joke about how hard it is to meter. AA 2460 I had it , I tried it. Good luck to you, I feel sure you’ll find your sweet spot!!
    I firmly believe that you should only get treated by how you act, not by who or what you are!!

  19. #19
    Boolit Man
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    Went to the range aka hillside in the forest. Lots of shooters out right now, so not my first choice of shooting spot. I love AZ, drive a few minutes and shoot into a hillside.

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    I'm shocked. two of the four loads produced results worth pursuing. The other were 2.5" and 4" at 20 yds.
    The 5g of red dot and the light boolit went into one hole. I only had 2 rounds of that (I wrecked teh other one while seating/crimping).
    The 6.9g of 20/28 (unique) with the heavier boolit had 2 touching and another 1/2" away at 20yds.

    What I did differently: I paid close attention to crimp and keeping the boolit off the lands. This batch I seated at least a tenth back of the rifling. Also these were all gas checked, and the last batch I only used gas checks for the warmer loads.
    I didn't chrono these, that will be the next step, just for the data. Quickload says 17000psi and 1237fps for the 168g load. It says 11500psi and 1229fps for the Reddot 116g load.

  20. #20
    Boolit Man
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    Also, winds were lighter today. Yesterdays groups were shot in 25mph winds, but again only at 25yds.
    Of the 4 loads, only 2 were good. Was working at using the same technique for all the firings. I could try not allowing the free recoil and holding the barrel down hard to the rest. My 1866 works better that way, but its still on the paper at 50yds no matter what you run through it, unlike this M94 that is only liking a particular load.

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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