Loading .308 to .30-30 levels


Dave R
August 25, 2003, 12:40 PM
I had an attack of stupidity and bought some .308 bullets for my .308, and then found they were .30-30 bullets.

So could I use them in my .308, loaded to .30-30 velocity? Maybe a nice light load for the kids...

I can't see any reason why not, unless maybe the case capacity for the .308 might lead to ignition problems. I would use either 4198 or H335 powder.

Any thoughts?

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August 25, 2003, 01:08 PM
Maybe I'm missing something here ... but as long as your .308" diameter bullets are jacketed, they should be able to be loaded to 308Win ballistics. Obviously, if you have round nose bullets, they won't have the ballistic coefficient that a MatchKing or an A-Max will ... but that shouldn't be a huge problem.

If you are thinking about just using a 30-30 recipe in your 308 cases, this isn't a terrific idea as the 30-30 case has about 25% less volume and your pressures will likely be REALLY low in the 308. Maybe it would help to ask "What exactly is the problem as you perceive it?"


Jim Watson
August 25, 2003, 01:14 PM
A ".30-30 bullet" is a .308" bullet with flat point for safety in tube magazines. The jacket is probably thinner for expansion at .30-30 velocity.

They will shoot just fine in your .308. I would just load them up with the handbook starting load of whatever powder you favor and shoot them for practice. Preferably offhand or field positions.

Look in the Lyman manual, they have the lightest start loads of any. If you want even less, the Lee book has a formula for computing reduced loads. The heavier cast bullet loads in Lyman would work ok, just don't use the VERY lightest and risk sticking a jacketed bullet in the barrel. A high-end cast bullet load will be a nice light jacketed load.

Dave R
August 25, 2003, 06:27 PM
The "problem" was "will .30-30 bullets perform well at .308 velocity". Sounds like no worries, except maybe terminal performance in game. No intention to try that.

2nd goal was to find a lighter-recoiling load for the kids to try.

I found a reduced load in the Speer manual that is right at .30-30 velocities (1,900 fps). Looks like that will work.

August 26, 2003, 01:22 PM
You have TWO options, Three actually.
One; Load them as you would normally for the .308wcf. The slight increase in expansion at short range will only matter if your loading at the top of the range for .308 and say, shoot a large deer at under 50yds with a "Texas Heart" shot (between the hams). In this case your loads may fail to penetrate as you'd like, but will still result in a very dead deer. (BTDT)

TWO; Use the formula in Lee's #1 manual for reduced loads. Only caveat is that you don't want to use either real fast burning powders, nor the slower ball powders (ie:Win760, H414,H450). With "H" or "IMR" 4895 or IMR-4064, or Varget, just use a proportional load. ie: 2,300fps is 85% of 2,700fps. So use 85% of max/normal load for these powders. This will also frequently yeild an excellent load, especially with the 4895's.

THREE; Use the SR-4759 data in the IMR powder data "on-line" manual. This will be an excellent load. Speer also has some data in their older manuals for reduced loads.

I have found the Speer 150 FN to perform quite well in the .30/06 at ~2,900-3,000fps. This bullet also has a decent B.C. as well, matching some of the Soft Point Factory load bullets in seemingly more streamline form. They expand well and penetrate adequately for a 150gr bullet. Performance at 300yds will approximate that of .30/30 at 150yds. Certainly adequate for any practical use of a .30 cal in 150gr weight.

I say, shoot and enjoy those bullets, and with the .308, you'll find out if you'd like a .307wcf !!! (Rimmed version of .308 that requires RN or FN loaded "short" to fit lever action.)

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