Friday, January 15, 2010

So that I might keep my head from exploding at some of the other news

out there, for right now I'm going to concentrate on the range. Which I hit yesterday.

Number one: one of my favorite rifles to shoot is still the M39; good sights, wonderful trigger, and fine accuracy. A while back I got hold of this Lee mold for a 160-grain gas-check .311 bullet and a Lee sizer die with good results. If you're not familiar, the sizer screws into a loading press, and a ram fits into the shellholder space on the press ram. Lube the bullet with Liquid Alox and let it dry, then put the gas check on the base, set it on the ram and push it through the die; repeat until out of bullets, it sizes the bullet and seats the check. It's what I've been using for most 7.62x54r and .303 British practice loads; 16.0 grains of 2400 powder, good accuracy, light recoil and no sign of lead fouling in the bore.

The sizer seems to barely touch the bullet itself; I could wish the mold threw it a touch larger in diameter, but it's worked well in everything except the P14; that likes the heavier bullet much better.

Actually, on the 'I wish' line, I wish they made a mold that would throw the 185-grain bullet at about .314; you could still use the .30-caliber gas checks and it would fit a #1MkIII I used to have that had a slightly oversize bore. And while I wish the 160-grain mold threw the bullet a bit larger, I wish they also made a .312" sizer.

Moving on to one of my other most favorite rifles to shoot, the M1 Garand. I'd made up some practice loads using this bullet sized .309 over 35.0 grains of IMR4895 powder. It's not a bullseye-level load in my rifle, but it cycles the action and groups around 3-4" at 100 yards, which is good enough for general practice. Especially for the indoor range where the max distance is only 30 yards. After digging around at Cast Boolits and trying a bunch of combinations I've decided that
My rifle just won't shoot cast that well, or
I haven't found the magic combination for it, and
I'm not going to keep trying different cast bullets and powder combinations trying to find it.
You might be interested to know that I've had no leading problems in the bore or gas system; at most I might find a tiny fleck or two on the piston that wipe off with cleaner and a patch. Every once in a while a round cycles the bolt far enough back to eject the empty, but not quite far enough to pick up the next round; out of about thirty rounds, it did that once.

I also took along the M95 Steyr, loads used this 205-grain bullet; I don't have any factory loads, surplus or new, for it; the only surplus I've seen in a while is Nazi-marked WWII stuff that I'd like to have some for a collection but seems a shame to shoot, and the new stuff is a tad expensive. This rifle has a very slick action, and a pretty good two-stage trigger. The sights suck, like most European military rifles of the time(for me, at least), and hit WAY high. I'd built the front sight up using some epoxy putty(suggestion from a commenter, I've lost track of who; whoever you are, thanks) and now it only hits about six inches high; I'm going to add just a dab on top, then file to dead-on next time I take it out. When I did my part right, it would group into about 2.5-3" with these loads; an occasional flyer quite possibly due to my eyes and those sights. If you're wondering, I got the 8x56r brass from Grafs. Good stuff, but due to the design of the stuff somewhat fragile in the neck; of the first batch I ran through the sizer, I crumpled the neck of two. And you will need the clips; single-loading this thing is a pain.

Over on the handgun side, I mostly shot a Romanian TT33 with- appropriately- Romanian ball ammo. I've probably fired close to a thousand rounds through this pistol in the time I've had it, and it's never bobbled once. I'd like to find a way to add to or modify the grip frame to give it more of a 1911 angle, otherwise it's a fine shooter, a surprisingly good trigger and quite accurate.

A while back I tried loading some ammo with Hornady 90-grain XTP hollowpoints, and had problems with them. The other day tried again, this time both seating the bullet deeper in the case and using a Lee factory crimp die to crimp them; this batch- only loaded a half-dozen to try- cycled through perfectly. I'm going to make up some more and try it again. Since the safety on these is an add-on and just blocks the trigger it's not what I'd prefer for a carry pistol, but if it'll cycle the hollowpoints reliably, for a house gun... a 90-grain HP at about 1400fps would leave a definite mark.

Not much in the way of brass to pick up; between weather the past few weeks keeping most people home and there still being snow piled up in front of the pistol firing line- the way things are laid out it's kept that area shaded- not much to find.

And that was range day.


Arthur said...

"I wish they also made a .312" sizer."

I use the 0.314 sizer for my AK rounds.

Didn't you just get a lathe? The .311 sizer should be easy enough to open up a hair even with a drill press and some sandpaper. With a lathe it should be even simpler.

Arthur said...

Oh, right, I forgot to mention - You might want to check those 90gr XTP's through a water jug or two. Even in a hot 380ACP the "petals" of the hollowpoint start to come apart at a little over 1000fps. At 1400fps the whole bullet might just fragment without penetrating.