With all due respect and credit to Paco Kelly:
Part two of this article deals with some real favorite rifle calibers and loads…part one
was extensive on handgun and older rifle cartridges……
Before we really get started let me answer a recurring question I get about silent rifle loads. In this time of calls to police about shots fired even when it really is a car backfiring….we must have the ability to eliminate vermin that comes onto suburban property without legal problems…now if you want to call animal control in your city…wonderful. But not me in mine…let me give you an example. A good friend called animal control because a skunk got into the tennis courts of her apartment complex and couldn’t get out…..animal control told her to keep the gate open it would eventually wonder out the way it came in….and hung up.
An hour later and a little boy getting squirted, she called again. They told her they only had one control officer on duty and it might be 5 or 6 hours before they could respond! And it was now an emergency…finally in desperation she called the fire department…a county volunteer department. They told her they would be glad to take care of it…and they did very quickly. And telling my friend animal control would rarely respond to any animal call, they couldn’t fine someone for…so they could get paid for the expenses of the call and response!
Yet this fire department will even get rid of poisonous snakes…The county tried at one point to absorb this fire department into county government…the protest was so loud they backed off…we knew that would spoil the department, like the animal control department is spoiled……by the way it took six weeks for the youngster who got squirted by the skunk, to get his full eyesight back. And he now has a terrible fear of any animals….So the old saw is true…you are responsible for you and your family’s safety, not the government…..
It is your responsibility how you use this information….I know how and when I would use it… SILENT LOADS………………without a mechanical device handguns can not really be silenced. But long barreled rifles can be and it is legal….all silent loads must be loaded below the sound barrier..or the bullet will give off a sonic crack, defeating the original purpose. Without mechanical help even rifle loads need very special loading, though it is fairly simple……
In a 32-40 Stevens 44 ½ Rifle with a 28 inch barrel…with less than 2 grains of Bullseye powder, under a 220 grain very soft cast round nose .322 caliber bullet….I got almost 600 fps and one ragged hole for ten shots at 25 yards….and it was totally silent. The only sound was the hammer dropping! That might sound like a bit of a wimp load but it is equal to a 38 special SuperPolice from a six inch revolver. I have a 70 lb. steel bullet trap…I had it up on a three legged stool, the stool wasn’t all that sturdy but there was still a 70 lb. trap on it…My first shot into the trap with this load, hit the top of the trap and toppled it, stool and all. MY-my! Heavy bullets have momentum….
The small amount of powder gets the heavy bullet going down the barrel…but the expansion ratio of the square inches of bore space eat up the pressure before the bullet leaves the barrel, and there is no pop..or as we call it ‘report’. The shorter the barrel then of course you get an increasing report….I tried this same load in a 32 Special Winchester with a 16 inch barrel..(leveraction carbine) and the report was about the sound of a kids loud cap pistol.
One coyote of a number that visited my area one year got one of these 220/32-40 load in the seat of his pants. He swung around and dropped at the hind legs biting at his rear…he then quickly started away with his back legs not working real good…all the other boys with him left the area too. But they weren’t startled because there had been no noise. I never saw that ’yote again, but I sure did work over his friends for a few weeks till they got smart. Nice thing about these loads…is they kill slowly enough that the evidence will leave before dying in someone’s front yard.
So that’s the simple answer…a very soft and lubed cast bullet, heavy as possible for the caliber to give better momentum and also to eat up the pressure…in as long a barrel as possible with the lightest load of very fast powder that will get the bullet out of the barrel…..
WARNING>>>never use jacketed bullets, they will stick in the barrel with low loads of fast powder….cast or swaged soft only…It’s the only way to hunt turtles and get more than one at a shooting.
A friend has a long barreled High Wall single shot Winchester with a 26 inch barrel chambered for 45-90. He had to work at it but got a 475 grain bullet leaving the barrel at a little less velocity then it’s weight…but it will roll a coyote at over 20 some yards. Seen him do it from his garage one day….sure was funny. The ‘yote went down, got back up slowly, shook itself all over, was totally confused as to why, how, and by who, it suddenly was punched in the ribs…then weaved away never to return.
Round balls swaged or cast soft work well but they make some noise because they are light for the caliber. But at short range they can be accurate and deadly….I have a 22 Hornet that I load a 24 caliber shot load ball over ½ grain of Bullseye…don’t mind shooting up into trees because I know a round ball will fall off long before even a 22 short RF will. I once put a whole box of them into one ragged hole at 25 yards…just to be able to say I did it…#4 shot is 24 caliber and 20 grains…in magnum shot form it is coated with a good dry lube and has 6% antimony so it won’t foul very much…but if I’m going to shoot a number of them…I smear a little lube over them…or roll them in a lube that dries….you can push a 22 caliber pellet into a Hornet case that has been drilled out to take a shotgun primer…it is deadly to vermin to 50 feet or so…and little noise. And easy to reload…just push the shotgun primer out with a nail and finger push a new one in and push a new pellet in the case mouth and you are ready to go again. No need to resize ever.
He was huge…well over 600 lbs…and he terrorized the area of the northwest he lived in for over 20 years. He was the epitome of Grizzly. Killing farm animals and even attacking and killing hunters that went after him. From the 1870s until well into the late 1890s….this brute roamed at will. He was shot several dozen times with all kinds of black powder rifles…but as was found later all bullets stopped in his heavy fat and muscle.
And then a young man with a new controversial high velocity cartridge and a new rifle to shoot it in, loaded with the new smokeless powder of the day killed the old bear with two shots….the rifle was the Winchester model 1894 and the cartridge was the 30-30. When the 30-30 was introduced it was considered an ultra high velocity round. With 165 to 170 grain bullets at 2000 fps it was 400 to 500 fps faster than the calibers of the times loaded with black powder.
The old timers took one look at that skinny little hole in the barrel and the tiny bullet in comparison to the big 40 to 50 calibers of the 1800s, and couldn’t believe the 30-30 was anything but a fad…..and for small game at best.
But what the 30-30 really was….was the transition caliber and cartridge, into the twentieth century…and a new world of rifle power. The 30-30 though a transition round, didn’t go away because better or more powerful rounds came about. Even with early 20th century outdoor magazines replete with articles pronouncing the 30-30 obsolete by the teens of this century…because of the bolt action rifle and high pressure rounds emerging from the First World War….the pronouncements of doom….died away along with most of those magazines, not the cartridge or the leveraction rifle.
With all of the available cartridges we have today…the lowly 30-30 is still extremely popular. When Winchester brought out the .307 on a modified 94 action in 1984…which was a rimmed .308, the pundits said this was it…the 30-30 has finally seen it’s end. But it was the 307 that failed, the 30- 30 is still being chambered. People trust the round, it’s a caliber of the people. I am sure there are more 30-30 chambered leveractions out there then any other caliber…in all the leveractions combined.
And cast bullets have always been synonymous with the 30-30. Though it was one of the first caliber/chamberings that used jacket bullets. In fact Winchester pulled the chambering in 1894 before it got to the market in any numbers, because the jacketed bullets were too tough on the soft steel of the first 1894 leveractions…so the first round to hit the open market wasn’t the 30-30 as advertised but the 32-40…with a 1 in 16 inch twist so black powder could be used. It was 1895 when the 30-30 was available and with what Winchester called ‘Nickel Steel’ barrels. ‘Nickel Steel’ without the Big Red W realizing it, was the first stainless steel used in guns in American history.
The twist in the 30-30s is usually 1 in 10 or 1 in 12…it’s all according to when the rifle was manufactured. Of course Marlin and several others jumped on the 30-30 band wagon, it was a top seller all thru the 20s, 30s, 40s, 50s, and 60s…..and still in the top ranks thru the 70s into a whole new century to come next year. Gads not many calibers can claim that popularity.
As I said in part one, a heavy for the caliber cast bullet can be driven to approximately the same velocities as some jacketed bullets….certainly the 30-30 fits this.
Two powders not usually associated with rifle cartridges that work exceptional well with cast and swaged bullets is A2400 and Red Dot. As I said for the 38-55 with a 260 grain bullet…22/2400 gives 1800 fps. With great accuracy, and good killing power with over 2000 lbs. of muzzle punch. There are better powders..but I have found that 2400 will give middle to high velocities with heavy cast bullets in almost every caliber. I keep a list of these loads and calibers so when I want to test a new cast or swaged bullet…I don’t have to play with various powders…I always have at least one good load with 2400. And the 3030 is no exception.
RCBS makes two gang molds for the 30 calibers. Especially good for the 30-30. 30-180- FN is a fine flatnose cast bullet that kills deer very well. Over 20 grains 2400 it will brake 2000 fps…and 1600 lbs. of muzzle energy…the other RCBS is also a 180 grain cast bullet…it is numbered 30-180-SP it is much more aerodynamic and it’s drop figures over long range are exceptional. But it is a target bullet…be great for Cowboy Action Shooting. 30 grains of 3031…which by the way was an original loading in the 1930s…under the 180 grain cast gives around 2100 to 2200 fps from a twenty inch barrel. And Red Dot gives a wonderful handgun level load with 9 grains under the 180 and 1300 fps. ReLoader #7 can push the 180s at 2300 fps…in some chambers it can get even higher than that…I start with 30 grains and work up…I’ve gone as high as 33 grains.
I like IMR4198 under the lighter 150 grain cast bullets. With 24 grains under the RCBS 30- 150-FN is a good starting load giving 2100 fps…but you can go to close to 2400 fps…..
The fun bullets in cast with the 30-30 is the 100 to 125 grainers….Lyman’s 311008 is the flatnose that was originally numbered 3118. A 115 grain 10/Red Dot will give 1700 fps and 12 grains of Unique will go 1900 fps…but if the powder slows down some…like 20 grains of 2400 will go 2200 fps. But if you cast them hard…like the RCBS 30-115-SP with a gas check and a lube like Apache-Blu you can push the bullet to 2800 fps, with 32 grains of ReL#7 or a flat nosed bullet gas checked like Lyman’s 100 grainer over 34 grains of ReL#7 for near 3000 fps….and that flat nose will blow the feathers or fur off varmints. If you have an accurate 30-30, you can get accurate cast loads with it. And they can be real fun as well as practical.
The 307 Winchester was supposed to replace the 30-30. They upgraded the model 94 to the Big Bore with the 375 BB…so they put the 307 and the 356 on that new action which is rated at 50,000 psi. The two cartridges were simply designed they are the 308 and 358 Winchester rounds, but with a rim and the shoulders changed so you couldn’t chamber the non rimmed rounds in the leveraction. I used to fire military loaded 308 rounds in the 356 chamber…they would fireform perfectly to the 356 configuration…I lengthened the extractor on my BB, and it extracted the rimless case perfectly. I didn’t need 356 cases….and the heavy military brass was excellent.
In the 307 I always used the rimmed brass by Winchester. For 30 caliber lovers this round and rifle is more than Winchester advertised…it is truly a 308 on a leveraction rifle format. Many gun writers panned the new rounds back in the 80s, because they didn’t get the velocities they thought the rimless rounds did, in bolt action rifles… But lets face it, the leverguns have twenty inch barrels. You cut a 308 or 358 Winchester chambered bolt action rifle back to 20 inches and you would get about the same ballistics. And those ballistics are certainly not bad. My 356 with the larger expansion ratio than the 307, lost less velocity then the 308 in the 20 inch barrel, and was and is one of the finest 35 caliber rifle rounds I ever owned. And I have owned and worked with nearly all of them on the target range and in the game fields of several continents.
Using the 180 grain bullets in the 307 over 35 grains of IMR 4064 gives the bullet 2400 fps…which is close to what commercial jacketed ammo gets in the 308 bolt guns. The 356 with Lyman’s 220 grain flatnose cast bullet over the same load will also give near 2400 fps…I want to know what animal in the U.S. could survive either of these loads thru the ribs….with a three inch high at 100 yards these two loads are down less then 14 inches at 300 yards…short range???? All I can say is the writers that panned both these rounds and the new leveraction by Winchester must not have liked leveraction rifles in the first place…they should never have reviewed them without disclosing that fact first. Short and handy rifles, with powerful and good long range abilities, and at excellent prices, in comparison to bolt guns…who could ask for more.
How about accuracy….the Winchester 94 Big Bores have always had a great reputation for outstanding accuracy. I shoot a 220 grain 358 jacket soft nose bullet over a full case of WW760 powder for 2400 fps and 1 inch three shot groups at 100 yards. What more could we as shooters want in a levergun? Because of the length of the Lyman 3589 290 grain bullet…it has to be loaded deep in the 356 case…but it is still a fine bullet for the caliber. Over 25 grains of 2400 this bullet gives us the magic 2000 fps from the 20 inch barrel and 3/4ths of a ton of muzzle energy….long range accuracy out to 350 yards that is astounding, with more power out there than the 30-30 at 100 yards.
The centerfire twentytwos can be special with cast bullets. But the loads have to be balanced…since you don’t have the jacketed varmint bullet blowup capabilities built in…reloading is critical. With soft for the caliber bullets loaded to 1000 to 1100 fps you have excellent 22 rimfire level loads……but with heavier bullets, and there is a plethora of good cast designs out there. I like the 55 grain to over 60 grainers…..and with today’s prices for excellent RF 22 ammo…you can reload your centerfires cheaper. Have you ever wished to have a full sized rifle, with the strong lock up of the large bolt actions, chambered in 22 RF? Well if you have a centerfire 22 caliber varmint rifle…your wish is answered.
As a kid I used a spent 22 RF case soldered to a nail as a powder scoop. The little RF case held about 4.5 grains of Bullseye. I used that load in a small hand ejector S&W 32-20 handgun. But it is also an excellent load in the 222/223 class of centerfire cartridge cases under a soft cast bullet. I have a BRNO .223 (that belongs to a dear friend unfortunately) that gets just under 1300 fps with this load and a 62 grain cast bullet. It is quiet, no recoil…I can watch the small game animal’s reaction when hit. The Winchester 225 centerfire likes this load also…this is a rimmed 22- 3030 like case….that gives outstanding accuracy from a model 70 Winchester with this load.
Lyman makes a 49 grain mold…225450R…it’s a pointed bullet with 3.6 grains of 4756 in a 22 Hornet case…with this bullet, I get around 3/4 of an inch at 100 yards from my Ruger Hornet bolt action rifle. With 2.7 grains of Bullseye I get 1300+ fps and ONE RAGGED HOLE at 100 yards! Lyman’s 225462 runs anywhere from 58 grains to 62 grains depending on the mix….any of the above loads is fine for small game and target use.
But cast it very hard and use a lithium base lube like ApacheBlu and load it is over 12.5 grains of 2400 in the hornet case, and you get over 3000 fps….it’s a flat nose, flat flying coyote killer.
In the 225/22-250 class cartridge sized case..22/WW760 will give around 2400 fps with excellent accuracy and long stings of fire without swabbing the barrel out…normally I run a dry patch thru about every 20 shots……to regain gilt edge accuracy. 38.6 grains of A3100 goes around 2800 to 2900 in the 22-250 size cases…..and of course 12 grains of 2400 will brake 2000 fps…better than any 22 magnumRF round.
RCBS makes a 24 caliber 100 grain flat nosed design bullet mold for the 24 calibers…like the 243 and 6mmRem…17 grains 2400 in either case will push this bullet at close to 2000 fps….if your rifle needs a slower powder for accuracy then go to ReL#7/ 22 grains will give 2100 fps and minute of squirrel head accuracy out to and past 100 yards. So will 20 grains of IMR4227 and 24 grains of 4895…..43 grains of ReL#22 will give 2800 fps….remember with the higher velocities the cast bullets must be hard and heat treated.
I heat treat bullets by dropping them from a hot mold into a bucket of water….if they sizzle then they are getting hard. I go opposite to the conventional wisdom with high velocity cast bullets..I run the pot up to top heat put a heavy tinfoil cover over it to keep the heat in (stir and flux often) make sure the mold is hot…then just drop the bullets right into water…no ovens and special heat treating methods…just a bucket and the pot and mold….
My lead is always magnum chilled shot and 95% tin wipe. For very high velocity bullets I use 16 pounds of mag/shot…(it has 6% antimony, that’s critical) and one pound of 95% tin…..for the lower velocity loads 19 to 20 lbs. of mag/shot and one lb. of tin…..for plinking just wheel weights…all of these are heat treated using my methods….a soft bullet heat treated will still expand at modest velocities of the 22 RF. Hard bullets at high velocity will come apart at impact very nicely….
The 6MMs and the 6.5 mms and the 257s all can use the same loading levels in their cartridge cases which are usually around the 308 or 7mm case size. Reloader #7 for medium loads, 2400 for quick accurate moderate loads…Rel#22 for high velocity loads….also some of the fine ball powders like 760 and some the A powders like 3100….slower burners upset the bullet base less on high velocity ignition and give higher velocities at better accuracy. The old IMR stand bys 4198 and 4895 are still good for around 2500 fps with heavy bullets…..but tempering and the lube used are the key to accuracy. RCBS makes a 257-120-SP bullet that was made for A2400 loads in 308 to 57 mm cases….yet 45 grains of 4064 and 2800 fps puts it in the long range flat shooting category.
I have had coyotes want to go on strike because of the unfairness of that long range load to them…
There are two loads I like in the 6.5s and Remington’s new 260 is certainly in this listing…using Lyman’s 266455 (129 grain bullet) over 18 to 19 grains of 2400 gives the magic 2000 fps….I have three deer to my credit with that load in a 6.5 mm*57mm. And Lyman’s 226469 (140 grain bullet) same A2400 load of course….but with 40 grains of A3100 with either bullet we are pushing 2400 fps and the pressure is down around 34,000 psi….even the 6.5 1891s and 94 Mausers and the Italian rifles can take this load…yet it is a killer of large game…..
I use about the same loads in my 270 Ruger #1 under the RCBS 270-130- Flatnose that I use in the 6.5s…For long range the RCBS 270-150-SP can’t be beat…..my rifle likes WW760 powder and 55 grains gives it that ‘long reach out there velocity and pick off the target load.’ Lyman’s older but real good 117 grain bullet is 280468…all these are gas checked by the way….and the same load gives 1 and ½ groups at 100 yards.
Again A (Herc)2400 in the 7 mm Mauser is tops…20 grains under the 287308/168 grain bullet for 2000 fps….I don’t know why Lyman used the numbers 308 in a 287 caliber bullet…but still it’s a dandy….46 grains of 4350 pushes this bullet at around 2500 fps….that’s the same as a jacketed commercial load….without a lot of pressure…..it’s safe in my 1908 7mm Mauser. I just like this cartridge….it tries to be accurate with everything I shove thru it….when it’s not accurate for some reason, it’s like it wants to apologize….and then try harder with the next load. It’s just has balanced powder room for the bore and bullet weight….and in a modern rifle you can load way beyond the new Rem260. And get a good deal more performance….Lyman’s 287346 is a 139 grain..(136 in my hard lead) bullet, designed to compare to the original bullet loaded commercially in Europe for this round…and it has all the good points of a hundred years of development built into it.
If any case size is balanced better than the others for cast and jacketed bullets it is the 57 mm. The 06 case is too large and the 308 case is too small…like the three bears…the 57mm is JUST RIGHT. 12 grains of Red Dot by the way under any cast bullet in this case is an excellent magnum handgun level load at 1500/1600 fps. The 7mm has another case that has been a sleeper…it’s only 31mm long…and with any good cast bullet from 100 grains to 140 grains it’s very accurate out of a leveraction rifle….it’s the 7 Waters….or 7mm/30-30. It is so much more flat shooting then the 30-30, it is extremely accurate….out of my custom scout rifle made from a 24 inch Winchester 94 it is quick, without recoil and deadly….it’s my brush rifle supreme…..and the same load of A2400…17 grains pushes the 140/145 grain cast bullet at around the 1900/2000 fps mark. RCBS makes a 145 grain long nose bullet called the 7mm-145-Sil…gads is that bullet accurate out of everything 7 mm…if the rifle itself is accurate. My Waters eats it up for target practice….even killed an antelope buck at a paced 280 yards once…went thru both shoulders and kept on going….but he didn’t. The load was 34 grains of ReL#15 for 2500 fps…flat shooting for a little cartridge like the 7 Waters….but that’s all that’s little about it…..it’s size case.
In part three, the last section of this…we go from the 30 calibers thru the 50s……..any questions let me know…..paco
This information was previously posted freely on the net.