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Thread: Minimizing .30-06 reloading costs for plinking...

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    Default Minimizing .30-06 reloading costs for plinking...

    Ok, not quite plinking. A buddy and I are going to work through a couple of the NRA Marksmanship Qualification programs together as a way to make practice fun and to get well-rounded practice as well. We just need rounds that shoot consistently ...power is unimportant.

    I'd like to save money on ammo, somewhat obviously. The boxes at SW for $13.99 are very tough to beat price-wise but they are not always available. So, for reloading my own ...what would you guys recommend for a low-cost accurate load for a .30-06? I know that it'll need tuning to my gun, so I'm not asking for that. I'm looking for low-cost bullets that shoot accurately, including a source to buy them from. I'm looking for loads that use reasonably priced powder and lower but consistent loads so each bottle of powder goes a little further. I already have plenty of brass since I've saved all my .30-06 rounds for the last 20+ years of shooting, and I have 99% of the reloading stuff that I need but haven't tried using it yet (!).

    Looking forward to your hints and opinions ...and favorite sources for the materials. (I'm in the Fairbanks area)

    Brian

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    Don't know exactly what your cutoff is for low-cost, but I have had good luck loading a 150 or a 168 grain Sierra MatchKing over Varget, with a Federal 210M (match) primer in a number of '06s. I buy non-hazmat components in bulk through Sinclair International (www.sinclairintl.com). I don't know that Sinclair are any cheaper than the other suppliers, but they'll ship bullets in a prepaid USPS mailer and it's possible to cram LOTS of boxes of bullets in one of those prepaid boxes. You'll save a bit of money buying powder by the 5-lb keg and primers by the thousand, but I usually get those locally to save on the hazmat fees.

    Hope this helps. All the usual caveats about starting low and working up apply, of course.
    Last edited by Tom L; 12-13-2007 at 10:13. Reason: add primer information

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    For punching paper and shooting deer, I've had good luck with Speer Hot-Cor 150 grain bullets. Midway use to sell bulk Remington bullets in 150 and 165 grain; when on sale they were a smoking deal. They worked great for me. My target rifles only see Sierra bullets, but I don't think about the $ when I pull the trigger on them. Cheap Bulk FMJ are out there, but they havent' been very accurate for me.

    You can spend (waste?) huge amounts of time and money trying to find the perfect load or you can work to quickly find a load that will will work well and is within your budget and spend your time on the trigger.

    Bulk up on powder & primers; pick up bullets when you can find them on sale.

    A note on most rounds per pound of powder...I like to have plenty of powder in my cases, rifle or handgun. I don't want to crush the powder, but I don't want a huge air space where the powder can move around.

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    I use cast bullets for plinking and Oregon bullets makes some good ones. I use 21-27 gr of 4198 with any 30 cal bullet between 150 and 190 gr. Get somewhere around 14-1800 fps and darn close to 1" at 100, But it does not shoot flat. I have shot these up to 300 yds and they work well but there is over 20" drop between 100 and 300 yds. Have fun. J.

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    Yas, yew kin save moola on boolits by buying the cheaper bullets. Don't overlook the factory bullets from Remington or Winchester, if they're available and cheap. I'd suggest trying boolits before buying them in large quantity.

    To save money on powder, you can get it in 8 lb. jugs at SW.

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    You did not mention if you are set up for bullet casting or not. If so, I have shot the RCBS 170 gr flat nose gas check (designed for the 30/30) out of my 30-06 at 1700 fps (cant find my powder load at the moment) and recorded very good accuracy with just plain old wheel weight alloy quenced in water strait from the mould. If you are set up to cast, these bullets are for all practical purposes free......... except of course for your time and the minimal cost of gas checks and lube. At that velocity I did not have any leading issues at all and recoil was very mild and the rifle was fun to shoot. Of course if you are NOT set up to cast, then disregard this post as "tooling up" will cost you more up front than you would pay for several cases of surplus 30-06 ammo. But then again, if you have other calibers that are well suited to cast bullets, perhaps now would be a good time to dive into casting............ it makes for a fun and rewarding hobie, if you are into that sort of thing. as far as jacketed bullets go, I most always use the Hornady interlock bullets for everything. No, they arent a "premium" bullet, but they seem to shoot great and kill everything I have hit with them, and I think they run for like $14 per 100.
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  7. #7

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    How far will be shooting?

    short range loads include:
    18 grs of IMR 4759 and a 150 jacketed bullet works good. Cabela has Remington or W/W in bulk, cheap and freight free until tomorrows, which a in't a bad deal. SP seem to shoot better that FMJ;'s for me. Townsend Whelen small game load.

    "The Load" for mild cast bullets is 14 gr of Red dot and a 180 gr cast bullet in most 30/31 cal military cartridges. CE Harris load.

    Otherwise a 180 grain SP and a charge of 3031 for about 2200 FPS will shoot well to 600yds.

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    Default Cheap 06 loads

    I would probably use the Remington Core-Lokt, or Winchester Power-Point's in 150 grain. These you can buy just about anywhere pretty cheap. They have shot very well for me. I would load them over IMR 4064, 52 grains is max and a well known accuracy load. If you are going to throw all your charges I would probably go with H414.

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    Thanks you guys. I sat at the computer and did a bunch of research tonight and found out several things.

    First, when it comes to volumes of powder v. cost v. type of powder, there's not much mileage there. Prices are similar if you don't buy the match grade stuff. I think the cheapest alternative is to buy the big jugs at the local gun stores as someone else pointed out ...avoids shipping and hazmat fees to Alaska that ruin any good deal you found.

    Second, buying brass in bulk online is the only way (but I already have a bunch.) When I need the brass, I'll buy it online. SW is not the place to buy brass. Glad I've been saving mine all along.

    That leaves bullets and primers. Primers are like powder ...buy in bulk at the local gun stores. For bullets, the best deal is online if you buy from someone in bulk that ships USPS Priority Mail in the flat rate boxes.

    I didn't find any magic bullets, so to speak , just good sense ways of buying things in bulk. I did pick up a starter load of goodies at SW tonight though ...case tumbler and media, some standard Speer spitzers in 165 gn, a pound of H4831SC, and a couple of the small boxes of Federal 210M primers. Now I gotta go clean out the garage, I mean 'shop', so I can get to the reloading bench that I built in there last summer...

    Thanks All,

    Brian

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    Default 06 loads

    H4831 could be a little to much on the slow side (burning rate) for the -06. Your loads could end up being compressed, so keep an eye on them so they are seating properly. I have heard of H4831 working well with heavier bullets though. If it doesnt work out, 56-57 grains of 4350 is tough to beat in an -06. I suggested 150 just to keep recoil down, though I doubt there is any felt difference between 150 vs 165's. Sierra bullets have been the easiest to get shooting well in my expeirience.

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    Quote Originally Posted by TomM View Post
    H4831 could be a little to much on the slow side (burning rate) for the -06. Your loads could end up being compressed, so keep an eye on them so they are seating properly. I have heard of H4831 working well with heavier bullets though. If it doesnt work out, 56-57 grains of 4350 is tough to beat in an -06. I suggested 150 just to keep recoil down, though I doubt there is any felt difference between 150 vs 165's. Sierra bullets have been the easiest to get shooting well in my expeirience.
    So, with different powders, do their volumes differ for a particular weight? For example, does 52 grains of IMR-4350 use less volume than 52 grains of H4831SC?

    The Sierra manual says 3000+ ft-lbs for 52.5 grains of IMR-4350 or 55.8 grains H4831SC when loading a 220 gr round nose or MatchKing. If the per-grain volumes are the same, then the 3000# load with H4831SC should fit fine if you are putting 56-57 grains of IMR-4350 in the round... But I'm speaking from total and complete ignorance, so correct me if I'm wrong. I suspect that the volume of powder varies by type for any particular weight in grains. No? Yes?

    In my case, I'm not too worried about volume issues except as an important thing to learn (thx.) I'll buy bullets in bulk online, but the other stuff locally , to do an adequate job at saving money for my practice shooting. I have about 150 once-fired cases from my own shooting ...can't find the big bag (probably 1500 cases) where I've been saving brass. Hope I didn't lose it in a move or something, but I've got enough brass to get going.

    My goal right now is to get back in the groove in my shooting skills and to learn reloading ...learn to optimize accuracy (without getting crazy about it) rather than maximize power for hunting loads. I'll worry about max-accuracy, max-power hunting loads later some day. The H4831SC will be for my modest 165gn spitzer loads for now. Recoil is very manageable with a .30-06 anyway ...so that's not even in the equation for now. I'm rambling ...need to clean up the garage and finish my reloading workbench that I built before I can do anything.

    Thanks!

    Brian

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    Default Powders

    "So, with different powders, do their volumes differ for a particular weight?"

    Yes, sometimes. There are all kinds of different powders in all kinds of different shapes and sizes. Most falling into two different catergories (ball or extruded). Generally speaking ball powders is very tiny partical like flakes. Extruded is tube/cyclinder like granules. Both the powders you mention are extruded. The only physical difference is the granules are longer on H4831 vs. IMR 4350. Hodgdon later came out with H4831SC to shorten the size of the granule to allow you to get more in the case. I have no first hand expierience with H4831SC, so cant compare to IMR 4350 in size.

    What I had mentioned earlier was the relationship of the burn rate. Lets say you are loading the -06 for 220RN. You only have so much space in the cartridge for powder once that long bullet is seated. With a slower burning powder you will generally need more room (more powder) than a faster burning powder. So to get that slug moving at say 2400fps you might need 57 grains with H4831. To get that velocity with IMR 4350 you only need 52 grains, due to its faster burning rate. A great reference for loading densities is the nosler manual. They list the % of case capacity used for a given powder. This is helpfull as usually handloaders try to use a powder that will use around 90% of the case capacity. Some say this helps in the consistency of burn.

    There are things you can do if you want to use a slow powder for a given cartridge but run out of room. Poor your powder into the case using a drop tude. Use once fired-neck sized cases, dont seat the bullet so deep, etc. I would just stick with the 90% rule mentioned above to make things easier.

    If your loads are overly compressed, the bullets will not seat to the desired depth (usually the situation with extruded powder), or they will seat, then later back out. This can be bad with a ball powder, especially if the bullets are crimped.

    With the goals you mentioned, I would just grab an 8lb jug of H4350 and get shooting. It works real well with a wide range of bullets in the 06. Also, try to keep your brass seperated by brands and even lot #'s. I have seen differences of 150 fps in just lot #'s of the same manufacture.

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    Thanks for the info. The Nosler book is the one that I don't have ...I have Sierra, Hornaday, Barnes, and Speer manuals, but no Nosler!

    The H4831 that I have is the short-cut type, H4831SC and I just bought one pound. Between now and when that runs out, I'll pick up a Nosler manual and start reading up on powders a bit more ...and will probably end up with 4350 as you suggest. I notice that it the Sierra manual shows loads using IMR-4350 for everything from 110 gn through 220 gn, and it's listed as the "accuracy load" for the 200 gn bullets. That's pretty darn flexible powder.

    Brian

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    Quote Originally Posted by tananaBrian View Post
    Thanks you guys. I sat at the computer and did a bunch of research tonight and found out several things.

    First, when it comes to volumes of powder v. cost v. type of powder, there's not much mileage there. Prices are similar if you don't buy the match grade stuff. I think the cheapest alternative is to buy the big jugs at the local gun stores as someone else pointed out ...avoids shipping and hazmat fees to Alaska that ruin any good deal you found.

    Second, buying brass in bulk online is the only way (but I already have a bunch.) When I need the brass, I'll buy it online. SW is not the place to buy brass. Glad I've been saving mine all along.

    That leaves bullets and primers. Primers are like powder ...buy in bulk at the local gun stores. For bullets, the best deal is online if you buy from someone in bulk that ships USPS Priority Mail in the flat rate boxes.

    I didn't find any magic bullets, so to speak , just good sense ways of buying things in bulk. I did pick up a starter load of goodies at SW tonight though ...case tumbler and media, some standard Speer spitzers in 165 gn, a pound of H4831SC, and a couple of the small boxes of Federal 210M primers. Now I gotta go clean out the garage, I mean 'shop', so I can get to the reloading bench that I built in there last summer...

    Thanks All,

    Brian
    actually 5 gr of Bulleseye and a "0" buck shot is pretty cheap to shoot..
    over 1200 rds/1 lb of powder vs 110 or so rds/lb H4831

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