Wednesday, January 28, 2015

Range report

I've been trying out the X-Treme plated 123-grain 7.62 bullet in different cartridges as a light load.  Which brings up 'How many might they work in?'

By my caliper they run pretty consistently at .312"(random sample had by grabbing a handful out of a box and measuring them).  Nominal bore for both .303 British and 7.62x54r is .311", for 7.62x39 either .310 or .311"(the bore on my AR is .310), for .308/.30-30/.30-06, .308".  With a cast bullet it's not uncommon to use a bullet as much as three to four thousands above groove diameter(depends on the firearm), usually three is the upper.  That puts these right on/just above the usual line for use in a .308 bore, no problem for a .310 or .311.

And I have a Lee bullet sizing die for .311.  So, to work.

These loads were put together by me for my rifles.  That does NOT guarantee they'll work for you in yours.
Use at your own risk, and don't bitch at me if they don't work out for you.

For 7.62x54r and .303, I used these as-is.  For .30-30(going to try .308 and such later) I ran some through the sizer, and also loaded some with unsized bullets(only way to find out).  And, for .30-30 and 7.62x54r I tried out something else:
That's a cast semi-wadcutter intended for .32 Long, .32-20 and such.  RCBS says supposed to weigh 98 grains, these are very consistently between 101-102 grains.  Those for the .30-30 I sized some, for the rest I used them as-cast, lubed with Lee Liquid Alox.  Gallery loads, basically: looking for something low recoil and low noise for short-range plinking and practice.

I mentioned that EVERYBODY who had/could get some time off hit the range the other day; it was busy enough I didn't try to set up the Chrony, so no velocity readings as yet.  And nothing at 100 yards, as the 50-yard area was busy and the 100-yard area was bloody packed.  For most of this not a problem, as these are primarily intended as shorter-range practice loads.

First, the .30-30, using both plated and SWC bullets.  The plated gave very nice groups at 30 yards with 9.0 grains of Unique, for this I upped it to 10.0 grains*; for the SWC I stuck with 9.0.

Bad thing: at 50 yards there was a LOT of drop.  With full-power cast loads this rifle is about dead-on at 50,  with these light loads point of impact was about 13" blow point of aim.  I was using targets printed on 8.5x11" paper with the top of the lower one overlapping a bit, so shots at the top hit near the bottom of the paper on the lower target.
Good thing: groups like this
.30-30 with 123-grain plated

I shot two groups, one with sized and one with unsized bullets; identical results.  If anything, the unsized may have grouped a touch tighter.

.30-30 with cast SWC
That one off to the left was a called flyer.  Groups about the same, sized and unsized.

Recoil was just about nonexistent, especially with the SWC(little bit lighter and softer bullet).  Adjust the sights, and a kid could whack cans or clay pigeons all day long with these loads.  And it'd be cheap loads; the plated bullets run about $47 for a box of 500,  cast SWC- depending on brand and from where- from about ten bucks less to a few more.  Or you can pick up a mold and make your own.  And 9 grains of Unique per load means more than 700 loads from a pound of powder, 700 if you use ten with the plated.

On 7.62x54r I used the plated 123-grain and 15.0 grains of Alliant 2400.  The Standard Load in such cases with a 150-180 grain bullet is 16.0, this bullet being lighter I dropped a grain.  At 30 yards it'd grouped nicely, at 50 it did this
Ignore the hole with the X, and those low-right; I'll get to those in a minute.
I really want to try these at 100 yards.

Again, recoil out of a Mosin Nagant was pretty much not there, and would be even less with the SWC.

I don't have a target for the plated or SWC in .303.  Best I got was about 4" groups, which is lousy(see 'holes you should ignore' above).  Either I had a bad day with this one, or about 30 yards is the limit for accuracy with this load in this rifle.  I need to find another Enfield I can borrow to try them in.

That's the stuff I tried out with light loads yesterday.  Things to do:
Load some 7.62x54r with Unique and the SWC bullets.  And more of the plated to try at 100.
Load some more .303 and try it again to find out if just not suited for this rifle, or I screwed up.

I did try one other thing, this with a full-power load in 7.62x39 in the AR.  I'd read about some having success with .308 bullets, and I have some 130-grain Hornady softpoints, so loaded up a few over 25.0 grains H4198 to try.  This is only fifty yards, but still promising

And I put some groups of the 123-grain practice load downrange, ten rounds each in a couple of groups

I started pulling some off to the left in the last group, between the unaccustomed heat and general worn-down wearing on my concentration. 

So, add to the 'to do' list, load some more of the .308 bullets to try at 100.

One more note: I had thought of making a brass catcher for the AR.  Then, while son was home on leave, we went to a gun show that- surprisingly for those around here lately- was pretty good, and picked up one of these Caldwell units.  Works well.  I usually leave the bottom zipper open, so the empties drop on the bench or floor next to me.  I could wish the mesh had a bit higher melting point, as if a case gets caught in the bag it can stick a bit, always at the case mouth where the temp is highest.

*8-10 grains, a little digging showed, has been used in everything from .30-30 up in .30-caliber cartridges for loads like this.  Including using cast bullets and single buckshot seated in the case mouth.

**Depending on individual rifle, that means setting the sights to 400-550 yards puts it dead on at 100 yards.

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