Tuesday, September 30, 2003

210 gr. XTP over the Hogdon charge of 22.5 gr. Lil'Gun when used in the 16¼" Bullberry barrel :

For 5 shots - 1872, 1845, 1871, 1863, 1837, avg 1858, ad 13, sd 16, for 1609 fpe at 7 yards. This is better than what I get from factory Winchester 200 gr. .35 Remington ammo in my 21" factory barrel. It probably doesn't carry as well as the .35 caliber bullet but it is usable without sight adjustment to 150 yards, shooting into just under 2" at that range from sitting position. My Rynite stocked Contender weighs just 5 lbs, scoped. For our area, this is one handy little deer gun!

BTW, these were taken in 50-55 degrees and correspond very closely (as I remember it) with the velocities taken on a 90 degree day.

I also took the .25-35 out with the load of 8 gr. SR4759 under the Remington 86 gr. JFP intended for the .25-20. Avg velocity/energy was 1191/268. Using the lower vertical leg of the duplex reticule as a post it went into a cloverleaf at 25 yards, on POA. This is exactly the use this load was intended for and I'll be making up more of them.

Friday, September 26, 2003

So, now I've got time to discuss recent events.

First, I thought I'd sit down with the 7mm TCU and form some more brass. Let me digress a bit and say that I like to have lots of ammo on hand. I don't know why, but I do. Anyway, I wanted to form some more brass for the 7mm TCU and after I ran the mil surp brass through the sizing die I needed to fireform it. Looking around on the bullet shelf revealed that I had 140 gr. Nosler BTs, 139 gr. Hornady FPs, 120 gr. Hornady VMAX (the replacement for the discontinued SSP) and a cast 140 gr. FPGC from Beartooth Bullets. Due to the shortness of the 7mm TCU neck, I don't think it is suitable for the cast bullet (I don't want the lubed bullet to extend into the body of the case or for the lube grooves to be exposed).

I decided to load up some of the 139 gr. Hornady FPs over 25 gr. of H4895. These bullets were intended and purchased for loading in my 7-30 Waters (also a Contender carbine) but I was not really excited by them in that cartridge and they were going to sit on the shelf if I didn't use them now. I had my Chrony along with me and these clocked an average of about 2000 fps from the 21" 7mm TCU. Now that's not moving very fast but it was accurate, giving 1-1¼ inch groups at 100 yards. Accuracy out to 150 yards was gratifying. So...

I wanted to see if I could speed it up to forecast velocities (the manual showed 2100+ fps in a 14" barrel!), so I loaded it over H335, a slightly slower powder which might do a bit better. Velocities with the H335 did get 2100+ fps but not plus by much! Mine must be a "slow barrel" as it gets only 2400 fps with 29.4 gr. H4895 and 2450 fps with 30.5 gr. H335 under the 120 gr. Hornady OR 130 gr. Sierra SSP bullet. Getting back to this particular load, the H335 charge didn't change accuracy one iota. I think this is a pretty good bullet, but I don't know in what application I'd use it. It gets a full 400 fps less in the TCU than in the Waters cartridge. I don't even know if it matters as I've run out of those bullets, don't plan on buying more and have moved on...

To the .30 Herrett (again). My base, standard, load is the 130 gr. Hornady SSP over 24 gr. of H4227. This exceeds the manual recommendation (but I've seen it elsewhere and in an older manual) so once again I can't accept any responsibility for your use of this data or application of this information. This load gets about 2200 fps from the 14" barrel with the Choate extension (now discontinued). It will give groups of about 1-1.5" at 100 yards. I understand that this bullet has also been discontinued by Hornady. It is hard for me to understand why. Perhaps somebody can explain this decision to me.

I thought that perhaps I might find a "varmint" load which I could substitute for my all purpose load using the SSP bullet when hunting groundhogs and coyotes. To that end I bought some Hornady 110 gr. VMAX. Looking over the various manuals, I came to the conclusion that 23 gr. H110 under this bullet would provide the best ballistic performance. The first test cases I loaded up to this level were primed with the CCI 200 primer.

I must digress again to say that while it is often recommended that one use Magnum primers with the ball powders, I've found that it is not necessary but also not always the best performer. However, the recommendation is not made lightly and it was true in this case!

Velocities ranged from 2490 to 2190 fps and the SD was 121! Clearly unacceptable, I thought to improve things by switching to the CCI 250 (a "magnum" primer) and adjusting my dies to give a stronger or tighter crimp. This did the trick! Not only did the average velocity come up but the SD dropped to the lower double digits. This had to bode well and it did. A 3 shot group at 100 yards (the target fell during the string) was less than 1" and cluster around the "X". I still don't know if Hornady intends for this bullet to replace the SSP, but at least I have a load for it.

I've also been messing about with the Leadheads PN30-149G .310" bullet. Using 5 gr. of Unique gave an average velocity of 892 fps and 12 gr. SR4759 gave 1320 fps. If I remember correctly, that's 245 and 575 fpe respectively. We're talking .32-20 power, suitable for small game and that is my intent. However, it is a bit more bullet weight than necessary so I was going to order a 115 gr. bullet from Beartooth Bullets but the on-line system would not work for me today. Oh well...

I need to get out and chronograph the .38-55 and .41 Remington Magnum loads. I hope to post the results and my comments on Tuesday.

Wednesday, September 24, 2003

Well, we've had two (2) storms since the last. So much for the every 18 years thing!!!! However, water never backed up despite all that Isabel and the next storm 3 days later... Plus, removing everything from the floor certainly helped.

I've been to the range and shot some to check some loads. I'm hoping I'll find time to do more than hit-and-run and provide some details. However, I've been disappointed with use of H322 in the 7mm TCU and the H110/Hornady .308 110 gr. VMAX combo. All I need is more time.

This year I've got several rifles of similar performance from which I must choose one (or two) to take hunting. We'll see.

Currently, early mourning dove, goose and squirrel seasons are in. No geese taken, 6 dove and I've not been squirrel hunting.

Saturday, September 13, 2003

After many months of distractions, I finally got around to trying higher velocity loads for the 200 gr. Sierra MK in the .30 Herrett. No go. Still tumbled. Not that I really expected differently, but I had to try....

I've also been rereading past posts. I must say that I saw many typos and for that I apologize. I'm often in a hurry to produce my posts, but that is no excuse for poor performance on my part.

I also discovered that 8 gr. of IMR SR4759 is the ticket for the 86 gr. Remington SP (intended for the .25-20 cartridge) in the .25-35 Winchester. Shoots to POA at 50 yards when sighted for the 117 gr. RN load. Excellent. However, rain has prevented chronographing this load for the moment.

I've also gone back and redone my ammo shelf. The Rubbermaid shelf was not rated for and would not handle the weight I was putting on it. Severe sagging made it difficult to store the amount of ammo and brass I needed to put on the shelf. The replacement shelf is made using 2x4s and a product that simplifies assembly/construction from 2 x 4 Basics. I configured mine for 6 shelves, each of which will hold 4 .50 cal ammo cans + 1 .30 cal ammo can or some combination. Interestingly, the .50 cal cans are 7" wide and 2 .30 cal cans are 7¼". A small, USPS Priority Mail cube box is 7" on the side. This made for neat storage of ammo and "ready to ship" brass. Although you can't see it in the picture (which may not be posted yet), there is room on the back side of the shelf for a second can for any particular cartridge. All the cans are labeled on the latch handle and on the top of the can with the cartridge contained therein. Cans are stored with the largest caliber cartridges on the bottom shelf in caliber order (more or less).

One of the reasons I moved so quickly to do this is that recent torrential rains had caused a flash flood in my basement. This is where ALL my shooting stuff is (other than my library and gun safes). Fortunately, this did force my wife to get rid of a large amount of junk she'd been saving for a yard sale. Some of it had been through several yard sales with no takers. Junk, now wet and now gone. One can actually walk through the whole basement, not sidle through narrow passages...

Fortunately, I had prioritized moving my good stuff up vertically and none of it was touched by the water. This seems to happen about every 18 years, we may not be here for the next occurence.

Friday, September 05, 2003

Cat Sneeze Loads

I’ve been told that I should post here more often and in greater detail. I’d like to, but I do have interests other than shooting. Yes, it is a bit sacrilegious, but true. In any case I do have several shooting projects in the works and am constantly playing about and trying new things.

One of those shooting projects is the so-called cat sneeze or silent loads.

Well, what is a “silent load” or “cat sneeze” load

What are these loads good for? Well, for me, the utility of such loads is as a companion to my deer caliber guns that I can use for small game hunting, or pest removal, when a full-power load would be inappropriate.

What are the parameters of such loads? First, of course, seems to be the necessity of silence or as near to that as is possible. This is often the over-riding concern of those interested in such loads. Often, silence or quietness has preference over terminal performance.

Second, bullet weight could be lighter than normal for the cartridge to heavier than normal for the cartridge. Using the .30-30 Winchester (aka .30 Winchester Center Fire or WCF) as an example, 100 grain bullets on the light side and 180 grain bullets on the heavy side. Both extremes are acceptable but serve different purposes. That is the lighter bullets being used for small game and the heaviest possible bullets being used to maximize terminal performance at the low velocities attained in these loads.

That brings us to the third primary characteristic of these “silent loads” (also called cat sneeze loads) and that is small charges of relatively fast powders for velocities in the 500-1000 fps range. I’d like to point out that the smaller the charge, the lower the gas volume resulting in lower sound levels (and velocity) at the shot.

So now, the question no doubt is, “What guns have you developed loads for?” and, “Hobie, what are your loads?”

Let me try to answer that. I am currently primarily interested in such loads for my Contender carbine barrels. It is here that they will have the greatest possible use. Those cartridges include: .25-35 Winchester, 7mm TCU, 7-30 Waters, .30 Herrett, .30-30 Winchester, .357 Maximum, .35 Remington, .41 Remington Magnum, .44 Remington Magnum, and .45-70. These are the cartridges for which I have chambered barrels at this time. Yes, I do carry these deer hunting and yes, I do want to be able to take squirrel, turkey, rabbit, and certain feral animals if the opportunity presents itself.

Thursday, September 04, 2003

As you might have noticed, hunting season of one kind or another has arrived. Doves, geese, and who knows what else (my mom's neighbor is running dogs on coons already during the "practice" season). Life is good. We've got plenty of rain and prospects of a good season all around. Please, be safe, watch where you're pointing that gun and check your backstop.
You might have noticed that sometimes you can get the pics and sometimes you can't. All I can say is that is the way it is. I've no explanation for it and I'm not happy about it. Some pics will sometimes show when others from the same directory/folder won't. Other times none show and usually, all will show. Don't know whats up with what on that.
This year I bought a TC Custom Shop 21" .25-35 Winchester barrel for my Contender. With the factory 117 gr. RN load (2150 fps)or the European version 6.5x52R (S&B, 2000 fps) it is a mild recoiling fun cartridge. Handloading can get "improved" performance if improved performance means higher velocity but I don't see it as necessary. I am loading the Hornady 117 gr. RN to 2250 fps and this load suits me fine.

Remington's 86 gr. ".25-20" bullet comes with 2 cannelures, the one closer to the base being correct for the .25-35 and giving the correct LOA. My goal is upper end .25-20 velocity or a bit more. I've tried 14, 13, 12 and 11 gr. of SR4759 but while accurate at 50 yards it is a bit "smokey". However, as I've said before, maybe that isn't important if I bother to clean the barrel! Today, I took out the loads with Rem. 86 gr. jacketed FP for the .25-20 and 10 gr. of IMR SR4759. Shazzam! Right on at 50 yards with the same sight setting as the 117 gr. for 100. Hooorah. I keep wanting to use this powder because of the high loading density.

Then... I had to try out some more of the 75 gr. VMAX burners. What do you know, I finally found out how to hold the duplex reticule for that load. As best as I can describe, I use the bottom of the top thick leg of the reticule, sort of like an inverted post reticule. Right on at 150, a little high at 100. Heck, these might even be usable!

BIG difference in recoil and muzzle blast between the two loads (not as though there is a lot of recoil in this cartridge).

I've been doing a lot of work with this cartridge. Funny, I never expected to. It is just a fun cartridge to work with and I really like it. Now, I've got a good small game load, a good big game load and a usable coyote load! I'm chuffed.