Thursday, April 12, 2007

About those Carbine handloads

Thought I'd put up some more on them. The bullets were the Lyman 115-grain gas-check, cast of mongrel lead, sized to .309", lubed with Rooster Red and with a Hornady gas check on the base. I generally don't mess with a very specific alloy, as I cast for practice bullets and have always gotten the results I needed. If you're wanting to get the best possible accuracy from cast bullets you really ought to be fairly precise in the alloy you mix, especially if it's not in a gas-check design.

These were shot at 30 yards at an indoor range off a not-overly-steady rest, soon as weather and time allow I'll try the best at 50 & 100 yards. And use the chronograph to help get an estimate of the pressures.

I used 2400 powder for these. I like it because it works well in a number of handgun loads, it makes good light practice loads in .30-06, .30-30 and .308(I've used it for 7.5 Swiss, too), and it flows very smoothly through a powder measure(some, like Bullseye, can be something of a pain in the ass at times). All this means I can use it for a number of things, and I like a powder this versatile.*

DISCLAIMER: these loads worked for me, in my rifle, with these bullets/cases/primers: that doesn't mean they'll work as well for you. Start at the bottom and work your way up on powder charge, and don't yell at me if something doesn't work right.

I started at 11.0 grains

Not exactly breathtaking. Next load was a touch better at 11.2 grains, but I lost the damn target; so the next picture is 11.4:

Much better. Next up was 11.6:

Just about identical results. So the last was 11.8. Remember I mentioned that a very slight change can make a big difference?

Opened up quite a bit.

I stopped there because the manual showed 12.0 grains as the max. Since these are intended as practice ammo I'm not worried about maximum possible velocity, just good accuracy and reliable function. These loads all cycled the action without fail, and two gave very promising accuracy, so I've got something good to work from.

What I'll do next is load up more of the 11.4 and 11.6 to try out from a solid rest at longer range. I've also got a box of Speer 110-grain hollowpoints to work with. I'd like to have some accurate soft/hollowpoint loads for this, and since Remington and Winchester run about $25-35/box of 50, and Federal about $15-18/box of 20...

As to the cast bullets: yeah, there's still a lot of milsurp 110-grain ball available for good prices, and I've got some. And commercial, too. I just like being able to make my own.

*I wish some of the manufacturers would make powders available, at least some of them, in 4 oz. bottles, so you could try a new one without having to buy a full pound. Or more: VihtaVuori starts in 2lb. bottles.

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