Cast 30-30 Load for 135 Grain Bullet

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DMW1116

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I may have finally sourced all the components I need to start loading cast for my 30-30. One issue I’ve run into is my manual doesn’t have a load for the powder and bullet I have been able to find. Another issue is the manual uses exclusively gas checked bullets but the bullets are powder coated without gas checks.

The bullet is a 135 grain powder coated flat nose bullet from Acme Bullet Company. The powder I’ve found is Alliant 2400. The lightest bullet I have a load for in the Lyman Cast Bullet Handbook is 150 grains at 14 grains of powder.

Can the 135 grain bullet be used without a gas check if its powder coated?

Can the powder charge be started at that minimum and worked up carefully?

These are target loads so energy isn’t an issue. They just need enough to punch paper out to a couple of hundred yards at most. These will be shot from a Marlin 336 with a standard rifled barrel, not the micro groove they commonly used.
 
The only time a gas check is required, assuming the bullet is properly sized for the bore, is when velocities get over 1500fps, although I shoot non-GC cast over 1800fps without problems. Your powder coated bullets should do just fine.

The only data I have for 2400 and a ~130'ish bullet is 16grn-21grn (which is the same they list for a 150grn bullet, too...) from some Lyman data I have.
 
The only time a gas check is required, assuming the bullet is properly sized for the bore, is when velocities get over 1500fps, although I shoot non-GC cast over 1800fps without problems. Your powder coated bullets should do just fine.

The only data I have for 2400 and a ~130'ish bullet is 16grn-21grn (which is the same they list for a 150grn bullet, too...) from some Lyman data I have.
Probably from Lyman's 44th Ed., 1968:
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I use a real light load, 17.5gr. of 2400, which is about mid-point of the listed. But, I also use that in a Savage bolt action .30-30 for hunting and it's not a weak sister - not a bullseye, competition-grade 1MOA load, either. More like 1 MOP (minute of pig). I bought a passel of 134gr. Hi-Tek/GC hard cast bullets a few years back and I'm still working my way through them. I think I might have mentioned this before the hardness of your bullet matters a lot more than a gas-check. This Lyman's 131gr. cast load does NOT specify a GC but it does specify #2 Alloy - BHN ~16. The coating takes the place of wax lube just fine but it doesn't lend any strength to the bullet. Pushing it to fast may cause it to strip the lands and then you will get leading and terrible accuracy. @DMW1116 , do you have access to a range where you can easily recover your bullets and check them for coating loss, stripping, base obturation, stuff like that? It might help some or maybe help a lot, even.
 
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I kinda doubt the one I go to would let me do that. The whole plan with casting was to 1. Learn how and 2. Be able to reduce powder consumption in these lean times for my 30-30.

Lower velocity is fine. I’d even be ok with a subsonic load as long as it’s fast enough to stabilize.

One of my Lee die sets has instructions if you don’t see your exact bullet on there. Something along the lines of use the charge for the next heavier bullet BUT never go the other way. The pressure will be lower and velocity approximately the same. 15 grains of bullet weight seems like an awfully big jump though.
 
I’ll shoot them as far as I can, but realistically this is a 3 MOA gun as far as I can tell. To go past 200 yards I’d need a much bigger target.
 
15 grains of bullet weight seems like an awfully big jump though.

With jacketed bullets, you assume velocity is part of the equation, with cast you can't always assume that, and particularly with light loads using a very fast (for rifle) powder like 2400. 15grn difference in cast bullet weight on a reduced load is nothing. If you are pushing a jacketed bullet with IMR3031 at high velocity... it is.
 
I kinda doubt the one I go to would let me do that. The whole plan with casting was to 1. Learn how and 2. Be able to reduce powder consumption in these lean times for my 30-30.

Lower velocity is fine. I’d even be ok with a subsonic load as long as it’s fast enough to stabilize.

One of my Lee die sets has instructions if you don’t see your exact bullet on there. Something along the lines of use the charge for the next heavier bullet BUT never go the other way. The pressure will be lower and velocity approximately the same. 15 grains of bullet weight seems like an awfully big jump though.
Well, if you've never tried it, now's the time to experiment with working a down-ladder. Most folks concentrate on starting low and working up to an ideal load - whatever "ideal" means to them - but you'll notice from some posts a few us go the other way - start low and go lower until we reach that "ideal" minimalist load that still works well and is reliable. My suggestion is to start with the lowest published load and go down in reasonable steps - 0.2-0.3gr. - until you hit that balance point between your ideal accuracy - say, maybe 3" at 100yds., which is good enough for teaching or having fun plinking - and your ideal powder usage - say, maybe 9.5-11.5gr. Watch for pressure signs along the way and make sure the bullet's exiting the barrel, always. Remember, too small a charge can be just as dangerous as too heavy. You want powder ignition and deflagration, not detonation. Detonation is bad. :what:

Since you're not planning to hunt with this rifle using this load, it doesn't matter if it don't have the punch to take a deer or a pig or a squirrel. Okay, maybe if it bounces off of squirrels you should juice it up just a little...

Anywho, that's my suggestion and worth every penny paid. :D
 
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That's one of the reasons I got away from powders like Unique and 2400 in rifle cartridges, preferring to stick with better case-fillers like IMR4198.
Let's not forget the reason for the topic:
The whole plan with casting was to 1. Learn how and 2. Be able to reduce powder consumption in these lean times for my 30-30.
Making 2400 work and making it a practical, safe choice with minimal target-only loads for an older Marlin 336 is the goal. It has been done so it can be done. :)
 
I’ll shoot them as far as I can, but realistically this is a 3 MOA gun as far as I can tell. To go past 200 yards I’d need a much bigger target.
The whole plan with casting was to 1. Learn how and 2. Be able to reduce powder consumption in these lean times for my 30-30.
Which mold/bullet are you casting?

The Acme is: "Sized to .309 and coated in HI-Tek Coating. 30 caliber 135 Grain RNFP (round nose flat point) hard cast bullets. Made from certified 92-6-2 lead alloy with a Brinell Hardness (BHN) of 16 and coated in Hi-Tek Coating."

The Hi-Tek coating replaces wax lube - a good thing. The 92-6-2 alloy is not #2 Alloy (90% Lead, 5% Tin, 5% Antimony) but it is the same hardness, at BHN ~16. You said you wanted to learn to cast so I guess the obvious question is, are you going to try to cast THIS bullet?
 
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No I don’t want to cast this bullet specifically but I figured before casting my own I’d try some from someone that knows how to cast and coat them. From what I’ve seen there are some peculiarities to just loading cast bullets, like flaring the cases. I thought I’d try to work through them before starting to cast my own.
 
Let's not forget the reason for the topic:

Making 2400 work and making it a practical, safe choice with minimal target-only loads for an older Marlin 336 is the goal. It has been done so it can be done. :)

I'm aware of the OP's reasons, and in these days of using what you have on hand... it is what it is.

I don't agree with your comment about 'it has been done, so it can be done.' I've used pistol powders in most of my cast rifle loads at one time or another, I don't like it. You mentioned detonation... I have personally witnessed a case head blowout in a .45-70 using a reduced load (15grn) of Unique; it could have been faulty brass, it could have been a detonation event, we will never know. Just because it has been done before doesn't mean it's inherently safe... or unsafe, take your pick. Actually, of all the reduced load powders out there, I would pick 2400 if I had to do it again, so there is that. The OP is new to casting, and likely new to reduced loads in rifle cartridges, I would not normally recommend a beginner reduce off a starting load, and particularly with a powder like 2400... I would stick with the published data.
 
I haven’t ordered anything yet. Someone suggested the Acme green 9mm bullets and I thought it would be a good time to try the 30 cal bullets too. It seems like it’s doable so I’ll likely go ahead and order today if they’re still in stock. I just happened to run across some 2400 but wasn’t really looking for it specifically. I just had it in mind as one of the powders frequently listed in the cast rifle section of the Lyman manual.
 
I'm aware of the OP's reasons, and in these days of using what you have on hand... it is what it is.

I don't agree with your comment about 'it has been done, so it can be done.' I've used pistol powders in most of my cast rifle loads at one time or another, I don't like it. You mentioned detonation... I have personally witnessed a case head blowout in a .45-70 using a reduced load (15grn) of Unique; it could have been faulty brass, it could have been a detonation event, we will never know. Just because it has been done before doesn't mean it's inherently safe... or unsafe, take your pick. Actually, of all the reduced load powders out there, I would pick 2400 if I had to do it again, so there is that. The OP is new to casting, and likely new to reduced loads in rifle cartridges, I would not normally recommend a beginner reduce off a starting load, and particularly with a powder like 2400... I would stick with the published data.

If it seems dangerous I can just wait. I’m not in a hurry. 30-30 was expensive before COVID. Now that I have the sights set up how I want, I would like to be able to shoot it a bit more. That certainly requires a cheaper alternative now. At least in my mind the 30-30 is more a utilitarian caliber used for hunting. This bullets are geared toward that and the equivalent of a cheap FMJ range load isn’t available that I’ve seen. Casting seemed the best alternative. Every round requires a case and a primer so there are no savings to be had there. Cast bullets and the associated reduced powder charges seemed the way to go.
 
I just had it in mind as one of the powders frequently listed in the cast rifle section of the Lyman manual.
It is and it works, very well. Before there was such a thing as a "magnum handgun" 2400 was used reliably as a rifle powder. It's forte is the smaller case rifle rounds like .22Hornet but loads for cast bullets, .30-30 and 2400 have been around since the 1930's, when it came out (introduced in 1932 as "Hercules #2400" for small capacity center-fire rifle cartridges). I'm going to guess very reasonably that with the Acme 135gr. bullet the starting charge listed by Lyman's 44th will suit your needs very well.
 
I don't agree with your comment about 'it has been done, so it can be done.'
You don't agree that No. 2400 powder can work as a practical, safe choice with minimal target-only loads for an older Marlin 336? That's a bit of an odd thing to say. Many decades of reloading and shooting data say it has been done. What is it exactly you're disagreeing with? You may want to investigate some of the older and more modern loads listed for 2400 powder in a .30-30WCF. I assure you, they are listed and have been used safely - safely enough that they are still published. The Lyman's 48th Ed., 2002. lists 2400 for .30-30, .30-06 and .308 lead bullet loads. That's not 1930's data, it's 2002 data, but some of those published loads are unchanged from the 1930's data.
 
If it seems dangerous I can just wait. I’m not in a hurry. 30-30 was expensive before COVID. Now that I have the sights set up how I want, I would like to be able to shoot it a bit more. That certainly requires a cheaper alternative now. At least in my mind the 30-30 is more a utilitarian caliber used for hunting. This bullets are geared toward that and the equivalent of a cheap FMJ range load isn’t available that I’ve seen. Casting seemed the best alternative. Every round requires a case and a primer so there are no savings to be had there. Cast bullets and the associated reduced powder charges seemed the way to go.
Out if curiosity. What powder is your 9mm load?
Also gmdr.com/lever/lowveldata.htm has info on cast bullets and pistol powder in rifle cartridges.
I have used it as a supplement to my old rcbs cast bullet manual and my Lyman manual.
I'll try to remember to look at them when I get home.
 
Also gmdr.com/lever/lowveldata.htm has info on cast bullets and pistol powder in rifle cartridges.
That was very instructive. Thanks! I'm pretty sure I've read it before and got better results with Red Dot and 2400 than they did but, that's out of my rifles and I was looking for lighter hunting loads, not CAS loads so, maybe that's why. And, I was looking for loads for a Savage 340 and a 10" T/C, not a newer Marlin.
 
I’ve been using CFE Pistol for 9mm. I just bought some Winchester 231 but haven’t tried it yet. Staying within the published data I can stretch the 231 a little further.
 
Sorry----late to the game again. There are many that make 150 or 170 grain coated flat point lead projectiles. Those two have a lot more data out there and will use less propellant. The lead will cost less than any jacketed bullet. If those you get are poor performers try a larger weight. Also they will be more to point of aim for your rifle. Just sayi'n.
 
Looked for the 150 and 175 gr projectiles but they were out. I found molds for 180 grain. The common weights are kinda rare.
 
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