What caliber to reload...


March 16, 2008, 10:30 PM
I'm going to get into reloading (mainly for accuracy) and was wondering whether I should start with 30-30 or 7.62x39? I understand that the 30-30 is semi difficult to load, and the 7.62x39 will be more of a chore because of .310 caliber bullets and availability of brass. Any insight is welcome.


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March 16, 2008, 10:33 PM
What did you hear about 30-30 being difficult to load? I can tell you, it isn't! It's easy to reload, lots of load data available, and tons of bullet choices.

March 17, 2008, 10:06 AM
Well neither round is designed for accuracy. It mainly depends on what gun your shooting them out of and which one you shoot more. If you have a blasting looser than hell ak high grade ammo wont do much. 30-30 has pretty cheap good factoy ammo. Personally I am a fan of lever actions so I would go with the 30-30. There are more things to do with them, more room to experiment. I mean from light 100 grain varmint loads to 170 grain cast loads. I would keep running cheap wolf in the 7.62x39.
A 30-30 isn't any more difficult to load than anything else.

March 17, 2008, 12:02 PM
Nothing difficlt about thirty thirty reloading..except trying to experiment with the DOZENS of load combos for it. :)

Brass is cheap compared to most others,and if you are NOT loading for a bube magazine,the bullet choices are many.

March 17, 2008, 12:09 PM
+1 on the 30-30.

You will need to invest in a Lee or other case trimmer however.

30-30 brass varies all over the board in length from brand to brand, and even in the same brand by lot.
Moreso then any other caliber I have reloaded for.


BattleChimp Potemkin
March 17, 2008, 12:32 PM
On the other side of the coin (lots of 30-30 folks), 7.62x39 can be a fun load, espcially if used in a CZ527 or similar. Brass cased 7.62 can be had relatively cheaply and is decent quality. I have loaded lots of 7.62x39 so far, for my SKS, AK and CZ. The CZ really gets riled up with hand loading. you can load .308 bullet in 7.62 but you have to get the appropriate expander ball. The .308 "varmiter" or plinking bullet used for .30 M1 or similar is very fun and accurate too. I even had a short lived love affair with .30 accelarator sabots and 64 gr. .224 softpoints (ended quickly due to jhamming issues with AK). Out of the CZ, I was getting about 2 MOA (crappy scope, day and mood).

Keep in mind! You CANNOT load 7.62 up to .30-30! I have a cracked SKS to attest to that (they were a dime a dozen at the time, so meh!:) ). Keeping everything moderate, you have a good small deer round (or a wicked mean human round!).

The Bushmaster
March 17, 2008, 01:21 PM
The.30-30 is a bit more delicate then other bottle neck cases so you will have to be a bit more careful when seating bullets. I would invest in a Lee FCD to do the crimping chore if you are using a lever gun (tubular magazine). This will aid in preventing the collapse of the shoulder. Other then that...Easy...

Make sure you have loading manuals and the several other loading needs (tools) and that you fully understand what it's about. Read sir. Read...

Vern Humphrey
March 17, 2008, 01:25 PM
I recommend a Lee crimp die for the .30-30. I rarely crimp rifle rounds, but the .30-30 magazine can push bullets back into the case if you don't have enough neck tension.

Marlin 45 carbine
March 17, 2008, 02:09 PM
haveing a Mini30 I load for I can say that the ammo can still be had cheaply enough that practice/plinking ammo is cheaper (time factored in) to buy if you are an occasional shooter. fairly good hunting ammo is different story. it can be bought but really good is pricey. I've seen reports that the Russki 154sp's do ok but I've never had any luck with any steel-cased in my M30.
handloading really tightened things up once I understood the physics of the round and available slugs and suitable powders.
I've read that the bolt X39's really come alive w/good handloads. it's a challenge that's worth taking IMO.

BattleChimp Potemkin
March 17, 2008, 02:59 PM
+1 Marlin!
My Sks (I actually lapped the bore and spent time, rather than money and parts into my SKS) shoots roughly3.5-4 MOA (yes 100, not 50 yards) with handloads. Before, 7 maybe 8 with Wolf. The CZ I would only use brass case, so my ammo comparison was WWB versus my handloads. WWB was about 2-2.5 MOA, handloads were about 2 with the crazy sabot, about the same with Hornady V-max (awesome load for 7.62 after I found a source for those bullets in .311).

March 17, 2008, 05:42 PM
Keep in mind! You CANNOT load 7.62 up to .30-30! I have a cracked SKS to attest to that (they were a dime a dozen at the time, so meh! ). Keeping everything moderate, you have a good small deer round (or a wicked mean human round!).

What did you load to crack your SKS?

Snapping Twig
March 18, 2008, 02:32 AM
I don't have a 30-30, but I do have a Mini 30 and I love to load those up.

I'm using 150g .308 bullets over H4198 with excellent results @ 2100fps.

Load both! :)

BattleChimp Potemkin
March 18, 2008, 09:44 AM
If I remembered, it was a clearly stupid load, I dont remember off hand) with a 147 FMJBT. It was about 2-3 grains over what the book listed. Stupid of me and I admit it. That little pop in the reciever changed how I thought of handloading. :D

March 18, 2008, 11:18 AM
the 30-30 is semi difficult to load :confused:

I started with .38 special and .30-30, I'm now set up for 7.62x39 as well.

You don't have as many .308 bullet choices for a tube fed .30-30 as you do for other .30 cals, but enough choices to keep you plenty occupied.

lots of range pick up brass for .30-30, or buy once fired brass off Gunbroker.com, or just save up your own once fired brass, or just post a thread here and you'll get lots of offers.

bullet selections for .310 are also not as great as .308.....but don't hold your breath for range pick up brass, as most AK types seem to shoot steel cased berdan primed Wolf...which of course is not re-loadable

Make sure you crimp adequately, as the tube mag. spring, along with recoil forces could cause bullet set back.

Also, you should use a full length re-sizing die, to ensure proper feeding. And if your rifle will feed it's own fire formed brass, you can just back the full length sizing die out so you don't set the shoulder back.

Win 748 is a good powder for .30-30 (as well as .223), is widely available and meters well.

If their in stock, get the bulk Winchester 150 gr. FN at Widener's, as they are innexpensive and for me, have shot just as accurately as the more expensive Speer bullets I've tried.

have fun and shoot a lot!

March 18, 2008, 11:34 AM
I have the dies/bullets/ect for loading 7.62x39mm...I just don't do it anymore. I haven't shot anything in that caliber for a while now, concentrating on other areas. It is not hard to load for at all, Hornady makes a nice proprietary 123gr soft point bullet.

March 18, 2008, 12:18 PM
30-30 is very easy to load for. I have 2 lee classic loaders as well as regular dies for my press. Its not a hard round to load. Just like anything else you get what you put in to it. if spend a lot of time on case prep and you have match cases. Then you will get match grade ammo. Just depends on you.

March 18, 2008, 03:06 PM
I load for my 30-30.it like winchester brass.I actually found some of the older sierra #2110 bullets (flat nose hp).i load 32.5 grs accuarms 2230.makes a mess of a woodchuck at 200yds.i load same charge an 150 gr softnose for bambi

March 18, 2008, 05:59 PM
i once owned an sks.couldnt hit anything past 20 yds with it cause that was as far as i could throw it.now i load for 30-30 ,303 enfield and 22 hornet.the hornet is set up with bipod and 4x16x42 mildot scope.using 12.5 grs hogdon lilgun an 35 gr Vmax.fun shooter for a handi rifle

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