.311 or .308 Bullets for Mini Thirty


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moonzapa
November 29, 2008, 09:47 AM
Can anyone tell me what bullets will work best in my Ruger Mini Thirty? I already have a ton of .308 125 Gr. Speer TNT HP bullets. Ruger isn't telling what diameter bullet to use in the Instruction Manual since they don't approve of reloading for this rifle. They say to use the "U. S. industry practice"..., for the 7.62x39 cartridge. I would like to use the .308 Speer TNT HP bullets since I already have them. My rifle is a 581XXXX series newly manufactured rifle that I recently purchased from a local gunshop. I purchased a set of RCBS FL dies (.311) for the 7.62x39 which also included an .extra 308 expander ball. My gunshop "know-it-all" dude tells me that the Ruger Mini Thirty can't be reloaded???

Help - I'm confused!!!!

Thanks!

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NCsmitty
November 29, 2008, 10:42 AM
It's called CYA by the manufacturer and gunshop guy, plus he wants to sell ammo. If it was mine, I would try a few medium power loads in 308 form to see how they shoot.
I've seen SKS rifles that shot 308 bullets quite well, and some that don't. Hopefully others will give their insight too.

NCsmitty

moonzapa
November 29, 2008, 11:07 AM
Thanks Smitty; makes sense about the CYA... I used a load provided by AgentOrange and had the bolt in my mini seize from all of the unburned powder. BL-C2 and magnum primers didn't work at all in my Mini Thirty.

10 Spot Terminator
November 29, 2008, 11:14 AM
You can definitely reload for the mini thirty but as it is an auto loader a couple of must do athings apply here . No neck sizing only if you dont want it to have feeding problems . You must full length size your brass. This being said you also should be sure to trim your brass as cases that are too long or just a couple thosandths under max length can cause you grief. Again as it is an auto loader and you have your brass all trimmed to length and such you should get a Lee crimp die and crimp the bullets to keep the ones in the magazine from shifting due to recoil especially if you tend to use high capacity magazines. On a final note dont even think about running any of those .311 diameter bullets through that gun. It is a 30 calibre not 32 calibre weapon. Guns that use that bullet to name a few are the 7.62x39 which tends to have a bore closer to .310 diameter and the also confusing 7.62X54R as their bores were poorly regulated and can go from .308 to .313 or the true .311 bores such as the .303 Brit or .303 savage . the guns which start off with 7.62 are the ones to be careful of as we gave the Military .308 calibre rifles the designation 7.62 NATO and is the only true .308 bore of a common calibre that I am aware of. There may be more out there I am not familiar with and warrant strict attention to detail. Hope this helps and that you get some good loads going. 10 SPOT

Marlin 45 carbine
November 29, 2008, 11:19 AM
likely a .310 bore, I'm registered on "PerfectUnion' which has a 'Mini' page, good info there. some poster put up a link to Ruger that gives dia. of the M30's. the early ones were .308, then the 189's went to .310 and AFAIK they still are.
my 189 series has responded well to my good handloads.

steve4102
November 29, 2008, 11:32 AM
Your new 581 series Mini-30 is a .310-.311 bore. The older (pre 1994) models were .308 with a tapered throat. This larger throat diameter allowed for the use of .308 and .311 diameter bullets. The only reason the Ruger originally used the .308 bore was to burn up a **** load of POS barrels originally manufactured for their failed XGI.

Sorry, back to your question. Your Mini-30 will shoot the .308 to .311 bullet just fine. Like any rifle, it may like some bullets better than others. The only way to know for sure is to load em up and shoot em. The .308 Speer bullet may shoot well for you then again they may not. If they don't shoot, it could be the bullet diameter or it could be any number of reasons like powder choice, primer choice, OAL, bullet design, etc. It's all about trial and error.

If you give the .308 Speers a good workout with different powders etc. and they still wont shoot, I would suggest some 123gr Hornady V-Max .310. The V-max is known for accuracy and the .310 diameter fits the bill. Here is a link to these bullets, I do believe they are a Graf's exclusive.

http://www.grafs.com/product/188871

There are a lot of powders out there that work well in the mini-30. Believe me I have tried them all. For the lighter bullets up to 125gr I like AA 1680, R-7 and H 4198. For bullets 130gr and up I like N-130 and H 322. Stay away from the really fast powders like 4227, they may not produce enough port pressure to cycle the action properly.

As for your gun-shop "know-it-all" is either covering his ass or is an Idiot. If he sell loading components as well as firearms, he's an Idiot.

beatcop
November 29, 2008, 11:43 AM
Tell us what kind of groups you get...could never get much better than 3-4" @ 100 with decent hunting ammo.

moonzapa
November 29, 2008, 11:45 AM
I want to thank all of you for responding with the excellent information provided me on the Ruger Mini Thirty. Steve...if I decide to go with the Hornady V-max in .310 Dia., which expander ball would you recommend I use, the .308 or the .311...?

Thanks

Marlin 45 carbine
November 29, 2008, 04:54 PM
you should go to 'PerfectUnion' site and register (free) for the Mini page. can't find the info available there anywhere else.
seems more shooters are giveing the M30 lately.

Smithiac
November 29, 2008, 05:13 PM
Check your reloading info here

www.handloads.com

R.W.Dale
November 29, 2008, 05:23 PM
In all my .310 bored 7.62x39's I've found NO accuracy difference in the much more common and cheaper .308 diameter bullets vs .310/.311 . To that end I don't even bother with the larger less common bullets.



I like to use the .308 expander ball for all x39 loads regardless of bullet diameter, a littles more neck tension in an autoloader is never a bad thing.


On a final note dont even think about running any of those .311 diameter bullets through that gun. It is a 30 calibre not 32 calibre weapon.

.311 is most certianlly NOT .32 caliber:rolleyes:. The 32 winchester special shoots .321" diameter bullets. Steve is absolutely correct on his assertion that any mini Made in the past 15years will have a .310 bore

NCsmitty
November 29, 2008, 06:51 PM
I used a load provided by AgentOrange and had the bolt in my mini seize from all of the unburned powder. BL-C2 and magnum primers didn't work at all in my Mini Thirty.

moonzapa, Blc2 is a bit slower burn rate and really likes full pressures to burn clean. I don't know what your load was, but I like Rel-7 for 7.62x39 loads myself. I like a little faster powder in shorter barrels anyway.

Listen to krochus as I believe he has as much experience with the caliber as anyone commenting here.

NCsmitty

MADDOG
November 29, 2008, 08:19 PM
Interesting post. But I have some questions-----My M30# is 189373xxx. Ya'll mentioned any M30 after 189xxxxxxwill has the .310 bore dia., also mentioned any M30 made in the last 15 years has the .310 bore dia. My 189xxxxxx was manufactured in 1990, according to Ruger. 18 years. So is my M30 .310 or not? Is it necessary to slug the bore? Will Ruger know,and or tell me if I call them? Thanks

moonzapa
November 29, 2008, 09:12 PM
I loaded 20 rounds of 7.62x39 this morning utilizing Winchester brass, 24.5 Gr. of Accurate 1680 powder, and Winchester WLR primers, to propel Speer 125 Gr. .308 TNT HP's. All went very well at the 50-yard range today; accuracy wasn't too bad (for me...) considering I was shooting with open sights. I got a 3-1/2" 20-round spread. I don have a chronograph, so I can't say what velocity I'm getting from these loads, although, they did feel pretty zippy!

After I got home this afternoon, I decided to lengthen the cartridges; I set the length of the RCBS seater die to just under the SAAMI maximum 2.200" for COL; and the reloads still fit nicely in the Ruger 5-round stock magazine. (I made some dummy rounds and manually charged them in to the chamber and they seated all the way with no marks on the ogive of the bullets.

I'll make another trip to the range tomorrow and see if the groups improve any. I may install a spare scope on the Mini Thirty and get down to brass tacks and see what groups I can print at 100 yards. From what I have seen so far, I feel confident that 2-3" groups should be attainable at 100 yards, maybe even better. Wish me luck.

Thanks again to all of you for your help.

steve4102
November 30, 2008, 10:34 AM
On a final note dont even think about running any of those .311 diameter bullets through that gun. It is a 30 calibre not 32 calibre weapon. Guns that use that bullet to name a few are the 7.62x39 which tends to have a bore closer to .310 diameter

Ya lost me on this one. The Mini30 is a 7.62x39 with a .310 bore. So a .310 bullet should do fine.


My 189xxxxxx was manufactured in 1990, according to Ruger. 18 years. So is my M30 .310 or not? Is it necessary to slug the bore? Will Ruger know,and or tell me if I call them? Thanks

My guess would be that your 1990 Mini-30 is a .308 bore with a tapered throat. Yes, Ruger will be able to tell you what bore diameter you have. As long as you get someone on the phone that is willing to help. Either way, .310-.308, your Ruger was designed to shoot both.
I'm with krochus on this one, forget about the .310 bullets and concentrate on the .308. Better selection and IMO better bullets.

steve4102
November 30, 2008, 10:50 AM
I set the length of the RCBS seater die to just under the SAAMI maximum 2.200" for COL;

SAAMI COL is only a guideline, you can adjust your COL to what ever you want as long as it is safe in your rifle. Here is what Accurate Powders says about OAL.

"SPECIAL NOTE ON CARTRIDGE OVERALL LENGTH “COL”
It is important to note that the SAAMI “COL” values are for the firearms and ammunition manufacturers industry and must
be seen as a guideline only.
The individual reloader is free to adjust this dimension to suit their particular firearm-component-weapon combination.
This parameter is determined by various dimensions such as 1) magazine length (space), 2) freebore-lead dimensions of
the barrel, 3) ogive or profile of the projectile and 4) position of cannelure or crimp groove."

I made some dummy rounds and manually charged them in to the chamber and they seated all the way with no marks on the ogive of the bullets

Good, better to be safe than sorry. I must say that I doubt you will be able to reach the lands with that bullet at any length. The Ruger Mini has an extremely long throat. If it fits into the mag, it will fit into the chamber. Unless of course you are loading a short fat RN bullet. Then you may be able to reach the lands.

I always start with the longest COAL that will fit into the mag and cycle properly. Then when it's time to adjust COAL I only have but one direction to go, shorter.

Don't tell anyone, but Widener's has 7.62x39 IMI brass for $166/1000.
http://www.wideners.com/itemview.cfm?dir=278|282|286|384

moonzapa
November 30, 2008, 11:47 AM
Steve,

I just ordered 1,000 rounds of 7.62x39 brass from Wideners. Can't beat less than $.17 a round price; I have been paying $.43/round. Don't know much about IMI, however, they sure know how to kick butt in a war, if that is any indication of the quality of their product. (Hope I didn't offend anyone).

Thanks for the heads-up on the brass.

rbernie
November 30, 2008, 12:01 PM
They also have the Hornady 123gr SP on sale. They work well on deer and hog, and buying then now in bulk means never having to ask 'can I use a 308 bullet in my .3105 barrel'... :)

moonzapa
November 30, 2008, 12:58 PM
RBERNIE,

Thanks, but no thanks, on your pearls of wisdom. I checked out Wideners, and there is no sale, there also out of stock. Have a great Texas day!!!

R.W.Dale
November 30, 2008, 01:30 PM
Excluding Sierra I've been overwhelmingly disappointed in the uniformity and concitsncy of 7.62x39/.303/7.7 specific projectiles. It's almost as though they've never bothered to replace their dies since they started making the things.

RBernie one of these days you're gonna have to try some Nosler 125grn Ballistic tips, once you do that you're reply to theses threads are going to be. "WHAT! they make .310 bullets?...why."

steve4102
November 30, 2008, 02:22 PM
one of these days you're gonna have to try some Nosler 125grn Ballistic tips, once you do that you're reply to theses threads are going to be. "WHAT! they make .310 bullets?...why

Hey krochus, Gotta luv them 125BTs. My mini will consistently print 1 1/4 inch groups at 100 at just under 2500fps. Although my Mini will do 1 inch or better with Sierra 125 .308 Pro Hunter. I've found that the Sierra is to hard and doesn't make a good hunting bullet for the 7.62x39, so I don't use them anymore.

Took a little eight pointer this year at 158 yards with the BT. The little guy didn't know what hit him, he ran about 30 feet and piled up.

Well, I'm off. I'm going to try some Norma N-200 in my Mini-30. Never tried it before, hope it shoots, cuz I got lots.

R.W.Dale
November 30, 2008, 02:33 PM
I've found that the Sierra is to hard and doesn't make a good hunting bullet for the 7.62x39, so I don't use them anymore.

That's been my experiance as well. They might be OK on tough critters such as hogs close in, but they don't do nearly the damage they should on deer.

Look for my thread in the hunting forum where I shot and killed a doe at 278yds with the 125BT bullet using my 7.62x39mm AR15

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