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Last Stand on Earth
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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Another search clear as mud. I must have the wrong manual for my selection of rifle calibers. Here is what I have: 135gr RNFP lead cast Missouri Bullets, lubed .309 diameter.

I’ve read several posts about leading issues pushing these past 1400 FPS. If that’s the case I’m fine with that, it just needs to be a good load. I’ve also read many, many posts about loading these with pistol powders, particularly with Unique in the 7-10gr range. I had originally bought a couple of lbs of IMR 3031 for this rifle but it sounds like I may have to table that.

Recommendations are welcome.
 

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I have used this load and have found that it works. A fellow named Rocky Rabb came up with it some years ago.

Alan

"Here is Rocky's "Universal .30 Load" article:

The Universal .30 Load

Like many shooters, you have a .30-caliber rifle.† You use it on big game.† You may even use it on coyotes or other varmints, but not much.† It hits hard, but it hits hard on both ends.† Have you ever wished you had a really light load?† A load that is quiet, yet accurate, with almost no recoil?† A load that a child can shoot, but which you find useful?† Sit right there, my friend.† There is such a load.† And it works in almost any .30-caliber rifle.

Let me look back into the misty past and set the stage for my discovery of this magic load.† Almost four decades ago, I reloaded for only two calibers:† .45 Colt and .308 Winchester.† My only other guns were either rimfire or shotgun, for which I bought factory ammo.† But I happily crafted my own ammo for both the .45 and the .308.† I used both guns for deer and wild hog hunting, and loaded mostly full power loads for both chores.† But I also had need for some reduced loads in both guns.†

The revolver posed no problem.† There were an abundance of reduced power loads in nearly any reloading manual.† But the only loads for the .308 were at or near full power.† I wanted a quiet, low power load I could use for plinking and practice without the expense, recoil and noise of regular loads.† I also wanted a load that wouldnít obliterate small game or leave the woods echoing while deer hunting.† It also had to be a load easy to identify, even when mixed with full power loads in my pocket.

One day, while loading up a box of regular loads for the .45, I was thinking about such a reduced .308 load.† I changed the dies in my press and prepared a box of .308 brass, then started to mull over a powder charge and bullet.† I had almost decided to try a start level load of some powder or other, and was unscrewing the powder measure to empty it when the little light flashed.† The powder measure was filled and set to drop the load Iíd just used in the .45 Colt.† Would that same powder charge work in the .308?† Not sure of my footing, I looked in a few manuals.† Nothing.† But, what the heck, I thought.† That powder charge produced only moderate pressure in a revolver with a 250-grain bullet.† Surely it couldnít be dangerous in a larger case with a bullet less than half as heavy.† Right? So I charged one .308 case and seated a 100-grain Speer half-jacket Plinker bullet.

With a bit of trepidation, I stepped out behind my house where I sometimes shot a .22.† I held the rifle at armís length, just pointing the gun at the backstop.† I turned my face away and pulled the trigger.† Bang.† Not a huge BOOM, just a crisp bang.† Recoil felt like a .38 Special target load.† The bolt cycled open with ease and the case popped out in perfect condition.† Hot dang!† Back to the bench and load one more.† This time, I held the rifle normally, took aim at a dirt clod and squeezed.† Bang.† The dirt clod vaporized.† HOT DANG!!

Soon I had a full box filled and labeled.† On my next trip to the range, the new load and the .308 were first to be fired.† At 50 yards, the target showed a quarter-sized group.† A final shot with my usual full power load nestled neatly at the top of the group.† Double hot dang with grits and redeye gravy!† This was GREAT!†

For ten years, I carried a few cases with that load everywhere I hunted with the .308.† I learned that it hit at or near point of aim out to 75 yards or so.† It killed squirrels, armadillos, raccoons, rabbits and any other small game I used it on without wrecking too much meat if I stuck to head shots.† It once finished off a deer another hunter had wounded, placed right behind the ear at a range of two feet.† On close range varmints it was very deadly.† The Plinker bullet made in-the-pocket identification easy, by feel alone.† Best of all, it was fun to shoot and a loaded round could be assembled for less than the cost of just a regular hunting bullet.† As a plinking and practice round it was faultless.†

So what was this wonderful load?† The initial rounds that long-ago afternoon held 9.5 grains of Unique, later rounded up to an even ten.† What makes it magic, and why should you care?† Simple: that one load works in almost ANY .30-caliber case.† I have yet to find a .30-caliber cartridge except for the .30 Carbine where it wasnít both safe and effective.† From the venerable .30-30 to the biggest, hairiest .300 Wowsa Magnum, the load works as advertised.† For cases from the .30-30 to the .308, 10.0 grains of Unique works just fine.† For cases .30-06 and larger, use 12.0 grains to make up for the larger case volume.†††

I shot the load in my .308 for decades before I owned a chronograph.† When I started writing articles about reloading, one of Dr. Ken Oehlerís wonderful Model 35Ps was one of my first purchases.† Dozens of guns fired thousands of other rounds over the screens but for some reason I never tested the plinker load.† I knew it worked to perfection, but I had no idea how fast it went.† I recently learned.† In my rifle, it leaves the muzzle at 1600 fps and keeps five shots inside an inch at 50 yards.† Thatís neither a sage-scorching load nor a target load, but it stays on a jackrabbit out to 75 yards or so, lets me take an occasional grouse while Iím hunting bigger game and eliminates pest critters.†† As mentioned before, it has also taken small game and has pulverized bags of charcoal briquettes (the worldís best plinking targets), pinecones and other fun targets.†

Over the years, Iíve burned up as many .308 rounds in deer camp as I have all other places combined.† The use?† Having fun with the other huntersí youngsters, kids of ranchers and just plain relaxing.† Everyone who has ever shot the load, or seen it shot, wants to know about it.† As a result, Iíve passed along the recipe to owners of about every .30-caliber from .30-30 to .300 Weatherby.† No one ever tried it without producing a grin and a promise to load more.†

I tested a few rifles over my chronograph just for this report.† Hereís what I found.† From a Marlin 336 .30-30, velocity runs 1675 fps, and a Savage 99 in .300 Savage gets 1600, both with the 10.0-grain load.† A Savage 110 in .30-06 gets 1475 with the 10.0 gr load and 1625 with the 12.0 gr recipe.† Iíd predict that a .300 magnum would be right in that ballpark, although I didnít have a chance to try one.

Those numbers just about duplicate the ballistics of the wonderful old .32-20.† Using a 100-grain cast bullet, the .32-20 churned up just about 1650 fps from a rifle with moderate handloads.† It was extremely popular as a great small game gun, a fun plinker and a potent pest killer out to 100 yards or so.† Back then, a lot of shooters had a need for a round that was easy to shoot, easy on the pocketbook, took small game or varmints without destroying them, and was simple to reload.† They also tended to use one rifle for lots of jobs.† Sound familiar?

Not all guns shoot the Plinker to the same impact point as they do full-power loads, but thatís to be expected.† Nor do some guns group the load as well as others.† Thatís also to be expected.† But not many shoot worse than about two inch groups at 50 yards, some much better.† I suspect that some rifles donít handle the very short bullet well because of the long jump to the rifling.† Others take it in stride.†

By the way, donít bother trying to seat this bullet close to the rifling.† The half-jacket portion of the bullet measures only about .300Ē in length.† I generally seat them so that a narrow portion of the copper jacket extends past the mouth of the case.† That means that the stubby little thing has about a quarter-inch of free space to cross before it even gets to the rifling.† I donít even bother trying to set a precise overall length.† I just keep screwing in the seating die stem until it looks about right.† Trust me: it doesnít matter.†

At this point, a word about lever actions is in order.† Iíve always loaded lever-action guns with no more than two cartridges when using this round, one in the chamber and one in the magazine tube.† The load is so low-powered that I donít believe there is enough recoil to either risk a discharge in the tube or of having the bullets driven into the case mouth.† But I wouldnít risk it.† Others have reported no problem with loading more than one in the magazine tube.† Youíre on your own.

Another thing I donít recommend is trying any kind of filler over the powder.† Unique is very forgiving of positioning in the case, and ignites just fine no matter where it seems to lie.† Standard deviation of velocities is usually quite low with this load, ranging from as low as five to no more than about 30 in the largest cases.† That indicates pretty uniform ignition and burning, despite my having taken no precautions whatever to position the powder before firing.† In all cases, I simply inserted a round and closed the action in the normal way, then lay the gun on the rest and fired.† So skip the fillers.† While Iím on the subject of ignition, I might mention that standard force primers are all you need, but magnums wonít hurt.† Heck, itís even OK to substitute large pistol primers for large rifle.†

You do need to be very vigilant to avoid double charging.† I prefer to drop one powder charge, funnel it into a case and immediately seat the bullet.† I avoid loading blocks like the plague just because of the possibility of a double or even triple charge.† If I have any doubt whatsoever about having the right amount of powder in a case, I dump that charge back into the powder measure and start over with that case.† Looking into the case doesnít help.† Unique is a nearly black flake powder, and it simply disappears inside a rifle case, even with a good light shining into the case mouth.† If in doubt, dump it, and tap the case mouth on the bench to be sure.†

Other than that, no special loading techniques are involved.† It does help to chamfer case mouths, especially if new or just trimmed, but thatís standard procedure anyway.† Full length versus neck sizing is moot.† Uniforming primer pockets, deburring flash holes, weighing cases or powder charges, using match primers, or any other common accuracy or benchrest technique is just plain silly.† In fact, this is the perfect way to use up those inevitable threes and fours of mismatched cases and primers that every reloader has laying around.† If you donít have the Speer Plinker bullet, Hornady makes an identical model, or you could even substitute a cast bullet of 100 to 115 grains without a worry. This load just takes what comes along and loves it.

In fact, that explains why one of the ten-shot test strings I chronographed with this load became a nine-shotter.† About shot six or seven, just as I closed the bolt on my favorite .308, a rock squirrel loped out onto the range.† I was alone, the gun was loaded, and the burrowing pest had a disdainful smirk on his kisser.† Iíll never know the exact velocity of that particular round, but I know it went right where I aimed!† Considering that I was using the exact same rifle that Iíd first used to bust a dirt clod with the Plinker load three decades ago, that shot pretty much tied everything together.† The Load made me grin way back then Ė and it still does!†

Rocky Raab

Copyright 2004"
 

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Oh, forgot to mention, I use them with cast bullets as well. I do cast my own and they are pretty hard cast.

Alan
 

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I'll add my load. But with SNS coated 158 grain 30/30. 9 grains of red dot. No leading and accurate. I have run them with 9 grains of green dot too. I'll give unique a try too.
 
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Last Stand on Earth
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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
Thank you much @Alan R McDaniel Jr

I posted this to the Creedmoor thread too. Adding it here for a reference of what powders I have on hand.


Rifle Powders
H4831SC
H1000
H335
Accurate 2700
IMR 3031

Pistol Powders
Unique
TiteGroup
Bullseye
Trail Boss
R Silhouette
H110
Alliant 300-MP
IMR Red

Shotgun Powders
Blue Dot
 

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I load lots of cast rifle bullets in the .30 cal range from 30-30, 30-06, 7,62x54,7.7jap, 30-40 krag, 7.5x55 swiss, now 7.62x39. Also 8mm mauser but obviously it's a little bigger. Two of my favorite powders i have used so far are 2400 and IMR4227. I think i have a "universal" type load using 2400 if i remember right that will cover almost any round in that range with large bullet weight variation using the same load. Pretty sure someone here gave it to me. I have honestly never thought to cross reference the different calibers to see if the 4227 load is similar across all the different loads i use. I just look in my book for each load but it's possible they could all be similar too.
 

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Last Stand on Earth
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Discussion Starter · #8 ·
So I tested some of the 30-30 loads using unique. Unfortunately, I didn’t document the charge. Clocked one at 1585, stepped to the side and shot the target just to check accuracy, the fired another at the same 1585 velocity. Seems like a good load. If only I remembered what I loaded them to... :unsure:
 

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So I tested some of the 30-30 loads using unique. Unfortunately, I didn’t document the charge. Clocked one at 1585, stepped to the side and shot the target just to check accuracy, the fired another at the same 1585 velocity. Seems like a good load. If only I remembered what I loaded them to... :unsure:
Pull one apart and weigh it.
 

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Unique is very forgiving until you get too much. It's more of a plinker type powder for rifles, especially with cast bullets. I have a low number 03 Springfield that I very confidently shoot 10 gr Unique and 150 gr cast bullets from. I have no idea what the pressure is but it's not much. There is no recoil and the noise is about like a 22lr.

I picked it up at a gun show years ago. Bubba had gotten hold of it and done his thing with a hacksaw. He was evidently an accomplished riflesmith as there were hardly any hacksaw marks on the barrel where the stock was cut off. I put a new barrel on it but there's not much I can do to the drill/tapped Lyman sight mount. I thought about doing the restoration thing but I kinda like it like it is.

Anyway, that 10 gr load is good for plinkers in all 30 cal (except 30 carbine), 8x57 and probably a few others...


Alan
 
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Last Stand on Earth
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Discussion Starter · #12 ·
I recently got my grubs on 200x 150gr RN Hornady Interlocks (JSPs). I just tested 3rds with the IMR3031. Clocked at 2061, 1990, 2052 FPS. I cannot say with confidence that my scale was not the culprit in the deviation. The first round I weighed and the adjustment to the powder didn’t adjust as I expected so I re-tared the scale and it should have come up 111.1gr for the tray but it came up 111.0. I tared it again on the second round and it tared at 111.2 and I loaded the 3rd round from that too. So what I’m saying is, I think the one slow bullet was -0.2gr from the other 2.

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123218
 

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Did you try a fresh battery and how close are any florescent lights? I've never had a problem with mine and the lighting but i see many people online talking about. At some point i put in LED's but mainly just to make it brighter.
Strange how they filtered that picture....
 

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Last Stand on Earth
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Discussion Starter · #16 ·
Did you try a fresh battery and how close are any florescent lights? I've never had a problem with mine and the lighting but i see many people online talking about. At some point i put in LED's but mainly just to make it brighter.
Strange how they filtered that picture....
Yeah, it’s got new batteries. It’s been under those lights since I started loading. Never effected it before. It’s just getting more and more unstable. It’s up to about +/-0.2 variation. That’s about how far off it can be if I just pick up the tray and set it back down. Powder, no powder, does make a difference. Tomorrow sometime, I got a big rant on the Frankfort Arsenal Intelidropper powder trickler... it’s nuts...
 

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Discussion Starter · #17 · (Edited)
The thumb screw that holds the priming arm on my Rock Chucker Supreme is toast. Finally wore it out too. I managed to keep it limping along long enough to finish priming these 30/30 cases. Btw, Winchester makes some pretty crappy brass, just throwing that out there...

The results of the initial 3 shots of the JSP rounds were ~2” group at 50 yards. Maybe a little less.

These 3 in the front of the box were the first 3 shots. (The one that skimmed the top there was from yesterday). These were 50 yards with buckhorn sights on my Henry.

123237


This last one was after adjusting the elevation down 2 notches on the rear sight.

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I still need to drift the front sight just a tad but I’ll save that for another day. 3 of the 4 shots were a bit left. For now it’s only about an inch or so left at 50 yards. I really need to be closer to do that, might just be the shooter...

(I neglected to mention the IMR3031 load in the JSPs is 29.5gr)
 

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Discussion Starter · #18 ·
I must have bought 400 Hornady JSPs because I dumped them into new containers, must have been boxes of 100 instead of 50. Ive loaded 144 and not even finished the first half of them.

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Oh yeah, those plastic Berry’s bullet boxes will hold 80rds of 30/30 nicely.
 
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