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Thread: Loading 30-30 Win for a Lever-Friend for the first time. Tips?

  1. #1
    Boolit Master VariableRecall's Avatar
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    Loading 30-30 Win for a Lever-Friend for the first time. Tips?

    I've got a friend that has a Winchester lever action chambered in 30-30, and I'd like to reload some ammo for him. I don't know how modern my friend's Winchester is, but I'd assume it was made sometime in the 1960's or a bit earlier.

    I don't have any LRP's, projectiles, or any of his brass just yet, but I'd like to get a lay of the land on the cartridge and find out what works best for everyone else.

    Looking at the load data I've discovered, Even the heaviest 170gn cast bullets in the load data are supersonic. Do you Gas-Check your projectiles for 30-30? or, is that being overly cautious?
    I do have a lube-sizer, and hardball lead at about 18bhn that I could alloy softer if necessary. What would be your preferred flat point cast bullet for this application?

    If I'm a little less ambitious and would want to pick up complete projectiles to load later, which ones have you found to be economical out of the bunch?

    I have IMR 4198 as a rifle powder, and there appears to be no issue with using it for almost any load with 30-30, but do you have any other powder preferences?

    I'd love to start a conversation here so I can start loading for him on the right foot.

  2. #2
    Boolit Grand Master FergusonTO35's Avatar
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    My two 94's do great with the Lee C309-170-RF with an aluminum gas check sized to .310. I would start around 18 grains with the 4198 and work my way up until I find the best accuracy. My current load for them is 15 grains of the late great IMR 4759 for 1600 fps; basically .32-40 power level. Don't overthink this, the .30 WCF is a very boolit friendly cartridge.
    Currently casting and loading: .32 Auto, .380 Auto, .38 Special, 9X19, .357 Magnum, .257 Roberts, 6.5 Creedmoor, .30 WCF, .308 WCF.

  3. #3
    Boolit Master VariableRecall's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by FergusonTO35 View Post
    My two 94's do great with the Lee C309-170-RF with an aluminum gas check sized to .310. I would start around 18 grains with the 4198 and work my way up until I find the best accuracy. My current load for them is 15 grains of the late great IMR 4759 for 1600 fps; basically .32-40 power level. Don't overthink this, the .30 WCF is a very boolit friendly cartridge.
    Why size to .310? does your rifle have less rifling than it used to? I plan on sizing to .308, as I want to reflect the diameter of factory ammo, but I'd like to know.
    Do you think I could get away with not gas-checking my projectiles? what do you use to cut out the aluminum? I've yet to use gas checks as all of my cast loads so far have been subsonic.

  4. #4
    Boolit Master


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    Sizing 308 will probably result in leading. Cast bullets should always be sized .001 to .002 over bore size for best results. Better yet is if you size to the largest diameter the throat will accept. If you have or can find any 15 to 16 grains of IMR4227 is my favorite and is a good substitute for the now discontinued SR4759.

    Good Luck,
    Rick

  5. #5
    Boolit Grand Master

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    I have good luck with a gas checked 170RN sized to .309, and use about 80-90% of the max. charge of recommended powders.
    Either 3031 or 4198 has always done a good job in my old Winchester.

    For rifles, being super sonic is sort of the nature of the beast due to the longer ranges they are built for.
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  6. #6
    Boolit Master



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    before you start producing multiple rounds check that the first several you load function in the action and seat properly in the chamber. On some tight throats the boolit might bulge the case just enough to keep the round from seating.
    the 30-30 is a pretty forgiving case/caliber to reload for. I suspect you will have no prolems.
    best
    atr
    Death to every foe and traitor and hurrah, my boys, for freedom !

  7. #7
    Boolit Master VariableRecall's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Winger Ed. View Post
    I have good luck with a gas checked 170RN sized to .309, and use about 80-90% of the max. charge of recommended powders.
    Either 3031 or 4198 has always done a good job in my old Winchester.

    For rifles, being super sonic is sort of the nature of the beast due to the longer ranges they are built for.
    I'll pick up a Lube sizing die in .309 to split the difference, then.

    Come to think of it, I already use .452 sizers for .45 ACP, so it makes sense to go a teeny bit higher in diameter for lead projectiles.

    What BHN do you use with your 30-30 projectiles?
    Last edited by VariableRecall; 06-23-2022 at 03:02 PM.

  8. #8
    Boolit Grand Master popper's Avatar
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    you can't get subsonic in 30/30 with light bullets and rifle powder! Heavies and pistol powder. You can use 170gr PB and 2400 or unique to get 14-1700 fps to work. Above that GCs make it easier. Definitely you can get faster but not easily.
    Whatever!

  9. #9
    Boolit Master VariableRecall's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by popper View Post
    you can't get subsonic in 30/30 with light bullets and rifle powder! Heavies and pistol powder. You can use 170gr PB and 2400 or unique to get 14-1700 fps to work. Above that GCs make it easier. Definitely you can get faster but not easily.
    I'm planning on picking up a 2 cavity Lee .309 170gn Flat point mold simply for the value and the fact that most likely he will not be needing a very large quantity of 30-30, just enough for plinking and fun. I certainly have the ability to seat gas checks, but I don't have any at the moment. We aren't looking for high velocity or hunting with it, just having a good time at the range without having to pay outrageous prices for such a classic caliber.

    I think i may just pick up some .30 cal gas checks and leave it at that, since I'd rather not nastily lead up my friend's rifle. The good thing is that I've experienced a lot less leading with my lubrisized projectiles so far, so that's a great sign of improvement going forward.

  10. #10
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    Sizing the cast boolits at .309 might still be a little under size for best results .

  11. #11
    Boolit Master VariableRecall's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by toallmy View Post
    Sizing the cast boolits at .309 might still be a little under size for best results .
    Looking through the Lyman catalogue, there are Lubrisizer options for .308, 309, and 311. Since the mold is sized to 309, it would also make sense to lube size the projectiles to the same diameter, to eliminate any variance in the casting process.

  12. #12
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    If you are reloading for a rifle you do not have, use jacketed bullets. There is too great a risk of leading and poor accuracy with cast bullets unless you play around a bit...sometime a good bit. And primers are too expensive to waste right now looking for a cast hunting load. With 100 bullets he will have his gun sighted in with 20 rounds and have 80 rounds of hunting ammunition for a cost of $35 for bullets. That is enough ammo to check the sights (6-7 rounds/yr) and hunt (2-3 rounds/yr) for 8+ years.

    I would buy 100 quality 170 gr bullets, and use a charge about 5% below maximum for whatever powder you can get a hold of. 3031 is a good one but lots will work. 4198 is a poor choice as the pressure peaks too quickly to get best performance from a .30/30 with jacketed.

    If you want plinking ammunition, and want to use cast bullets; or insist on cast for hunting, others will chime in.
    Don Verna


  13. #13
    Boolit Master VariableRecall's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by dverna View Post
    If you are reloading for a rifle you do not have, use jacketed bullets. There is too great a risk of leading and poor accuracy with cast bullets unless you play around a bit...sometime a good bit. And primers are too expensive to waste right now looking for a cast hunting load. With 100 bullets he will have his gun sighted in with 20 rounds and have 80 rounds of hunting ammunition for a cost of $35 for bullets. That is enough ammo to check the sights (6-7 rounds/yr) and hunt (2-3 rounds/yr) for 8+ years.

    I would buy 100 quality 170 gr bullets, and use a charge about 5% below maximum for whatever powder you can get a hold of. 3031 is a good one but lots will work. 4198 is a poor choice as the pressure peaks too quickly to get best performance from a .30/30 with jacketed.

    If you want plinking ammunition, and want to use cast bullets; or insist on cast for hunting, others will chime in.
    He's not hunting with the lever action, he hunts with a 243 Win and a 30-06 rifle. When I get the chance I'm going to find FMJ projectiles in the grain weight that he wants to use. I've got dies for both, but he's yet to expend any .243 Win, 30-30, or 30-06 to give to me.

    The lever action 30-30 is going to be for fun, and for the chance for me to try out his lever action as well. I just hope that I can economically allow for both of us to enjoy his stuff.

  14. #14
    Boolit Master VariableRecall's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by dverna View Post
    With 100 bullets he will have his gun sighted in with 20 rounds and have 80 rounds of hunting ammunition for a cost of $35 for bullets. .
    I've yet to see that good of a price for .308 hunting projectiles. I saw pack of Hornady 100ct 170gn hunting projectiles for about $65. Considering that they were also spitzer projectiles, they would not exactly be safe to use in a lever action as well. They could work nicely for 30-06, on the other hand.

  15. #15
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    I hate to say it but I agree with post # 12 if loading for someone else's rifle with the way reloading supplies are currently , without having the time , components , and rifle to work out everything . I'd suggest going to midway and ordering a 100 ct box of 150 or 170 gr flat points 30-30 bullets .

  16. #16
    Boolit Master VariableRecall's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by toallmy View Post
    I hate to say it but I agree with post # 12 if loading for someone else's rifle with the way reloading supplies are currently , without having the time , components , and rifle to work out everything . I'd suggest going to midway and ordering a 100 ct box of 150 or 170 gr flat points 30-30 bullets .
    Funny enough, looking at Midway USA, it's going to be less expensive for me to purchase a mold that can make as many projectiles I want, than it would be to pay 40 cents a projectile and get hosed in that manner.
    I'm OK with casting and gas checking projectiles since I'd rather save the FMJ quality for the hunting rounds.

  17. #17
    Boolit Grand Master

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    Quote Originally Posted by VariableRecall View Post
    What BHN do you use with your 30-30 projectiles?
    I don't know.
    I try not to get all scientific and over think this stuff.

    For non-magnum handguns-- since store bought loaded ammo has a lot of pure Lead swaged bullets for them,
    I add just enough Tin & goodies to get a good fill out in the molds.

    For rifles using a gas check-- I blend it up fairly hard with mostly wheel weights and a bump of 95/5 solder.

    I don't have a thermometer either. I turn the pot up high to start off.
    Then back off the temp until the frosty-ness stops.

    I've been doing this since the 80s, and it has worked well for me.
    In school: We learn lessons, and are given tests.
    In life: We are given tests, and learn lessons.


    OK People. Enough of this idle chit-chat.
    This ain't your Grandma's sewing circle.
    EVERYONE!
    Back to your oars. The Captain wants to waterski.

  18. #18
    Boolit Grand Master

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    Quote Originally Posted by VariableRecall View Post
    We aren't looking for high velocity or hunting with it, just having a good time at the range without having to pay outrageous prices for such a classic caliber.

    That's where most of us are.
    If I didn't cast for my .45-70, and .45ACP, I couldn't afford to feed them.

    However; you will probably want decent accuracy too.
    Plan on that accuracy going up along with the speed to stabilize the boolit properly.
    Just a wild guess--- but for cast, you'll probably end up a little under the max recommended published loads.
    In school: We learn lessons, and are given tests.
    In life: We are given tests, and learn lessons.


    OK People. Enough of this idle chit-chat.
    This ain't your Grandma's sewing circle.
    EVERYONE!
    Back to your oars. The Captain wants to waterski.

  19. #19
    Boolit Master VariableRecall's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Winger Ed. View Post
    I don't know.
    I try not to get all scientific and over think this stuff.

    For non-magnum handguns-- since store bought loaded ammo has a lot of pure Lead swaged bullets for them,
    I add just enough Tin & goodies to get a good fill out in the molds.

    For rifles using a gas check-- I blend it up fairly hard with mostly wheel weights and a bump of 95/5 solder.

    I don't have a thermometer either. I turn the pot up high to start off.
    Then back off the temp until the frosty-ness stops.

    I've been doing this since the 80s, and it has worked well for me.
    My approximate BHN that I cast for is about 12-14, as I cut Missouri Bullet's Magic Alloy with about 2/3 of the alloy's weight in pure lead. I've had good results with it so far. My BHN estimations are just using the pencil method, so it's not very exact either!

  20. #20
    Boolit Master


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    I'd rather save the FMJ quality for the hunting rounds

    Full Metal Jacket bullets are not for hunting. Also any FMJ you might find in 30 caliber will most likely be spitzer bullets. I have to concur with a post above that your best bet would be to buy a box of appropriate flat or round nosed jacketed bullets. Powder Valley has good prices on bullets if they have them. IMR 4198 is an excellent powder for the 30-30, it just won[t deliver top velocities like some other powders. It would be good for a higher velocity plinking load.
    Rick

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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