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Reloading Experiment: 30 Army
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July 30, 2023 - 12:37 am
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I purchased an 1895 SRC, caliber marked 30 Army in 2021 and have reloaded and shot CapTech 30-40 Krag brass but when I stumbled on a lot of M3 blanks, my wheels got to turning and I thought it would be neat to have 30 USA head stamped brass to run in the carbine. Fast forward to today and I finally got a roundtuit and some time to experiment. One of the boxes had been opened by a PO and a few rounds were missing, so I decided to fire off the remaining cartridges and start the brass prep. As expected, not all the cartridges fired, so I peeled back the cardboard and dumped the contents.

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Upon inspection of the brass, I noticed one with a crack in the shoulder, so I decided to anneal to hopefully prevent any others from doing the same.

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Since I already had what appeared to be weak or brittle brass, I was very conservative in the load that I selected for the first three rounds. I had just the smallest amount of H380 in the inventory, so I decided to use it; 36 grains under a Speer 180 BTSP.

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I stepped out back and ignited the 3 rounds in succession- each hitting 8″ steel at 75 yards, albeit not with much authority and the recoil was less than shooting the 41 maggie out of the Henry.  I picked up the brass and headed back to the loading room.  Upon inspection, it is clear that I won’t be loading any more 30 USA Remington M3 brass.  Even with this mildest of loads, 2 of the 3 experienced cracks just above the case head.  Oh well, an afternoon well spent.  Off to the next, “one day, I’m gonna…” project.  Stay safe out there!  Ron

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Technically, the glass is always full; half liquid, half air....

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July 30, 2023 - 1:04 am
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Are boxes dated?  Krags remained in the hands of some state militias long after the ’03 Spfd. was adopted.  Find it hard to believe that age alone caused those cracks. Makes me wonder if some inferior grade of brass was used for blanks?  Or mercuric primers?

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July 30, 2023 - 1:19 am
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No date on the boxes, only the lot number.  I suspect blanks were formed from brass that didn’t pass QA/QC?  Who knows…

Technically, the glass is always full; half liquid, half air....

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July 30, 2023 - 3:36 am
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On various reloading sites I have often heard blank brass is not a good choice for loading live ammo for various reasons. Never tried it, just took their word for it. Now and then someone will seemingly debunk this theory but for me blank brass is blank brass. If you can’t find 30US brass 303 British will work, PM me for details if necessary. 
30US is a pretty sweet cartridge to load but for reasons I don’t fully understand the 195 grain bullet is the best choice for the 1895’s I’m familiar with. Lighter bullets SHOULD work but that 195 is worth a try. I even have a semi-custom mould that drops some mighty fine 195GC bullets. Mark sold me an awesome 1895 last year and it has showed promise with this bullet. Thanks for inspiring me to resume this project, Ron. If you need some cast bullets just PM me but be forewarned it’s a bit too hot to fire up a casting furnace in Texas these days.

 

Mike

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July 30, 2023 - 3:56 am
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Lighter bullets will work just fine in the 30/40.  For many years in the early 1970s I hunted deer on the coast of Oregon with an old Model 1892 Springfield Krag rifle (shortened to 22-inch barrel).  My dad reloaded it with 150 grain SP bullets (the same bullet he used to reload his 30-06), and they performed extremely well in that old Krag rifle.  If anyone is interested, I can dig up his old reload card file and provide the specifics for the load we used.

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July 30, 2023 - 4:46 am
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Bert- 

Apparently the few 1895’s I have had the pleasure of loading for had the faster twists conducive to the heavier bullets. I’ve never understood why the faster twists wouldn’t stabilize the lighter bullets but I generally just accept my results and move on. I must admit I’ve lusted after several Springfields in 30US but my experience has been limited to a few 1895’s and all but the latest have had very poor bores. I haven’t fully researched it but given the favorable reviews for lighter bullets for this cartridge I can only conclude there was considerable variation in barrels for this cartridge. I’m following an interesting thread on this subject, it seems Winchester tried a few different barrel configurations for this cartridge. This may explain why lighter bullets work for some rifles. I suppose I should determine the twist rate for my current 1895 but I would very much like to score a Springfield someday. Any idea what the twist rate was for that Springfield?

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July 30, 2023 - 6:08 am
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Mike.

I believe that it is 1:10, and I also believe that the key to getting good to great accuracy with the lighter 150-gr bullets is to keep the velocity around 2,500 fps.

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July 30, 2023 - 6:24 am
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Bert H. said
Mike.

I believe that it is 1:10, and I also believe that the key to getting good to great accuracy with the lighter 150-gr bullets is to keep the velocity around 2,500 fps.

Bert

  

Point taken, I don’t venture that far with lead. OTOH I do recall having a few lighter .30 J-words around here. I still think I need a Springfield to thoroughly test this cartridge.

 

Mike

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July 30, 2023 - 11:17 am
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Well, I’m glad the overnight soak produced the “need” for another rifle, Mike!  I have at least 100 of the CapTech BCC headstamped brass for the 30-40 Krag so, I’m good there.  But I do have some .30 cal moulds, so I should look through them to see if I have anything that casts that heavy. I’ll be in touch if I want to dabble in cast boolits for this rifle.  For now, I’m satisfied with the 180 gr Speers- they shoot MoD (minute of deer) out to 200-250 with my tired eyes…

Technically, the glass is always full; half liquid, half air....

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July 30, 2023 - 1:07 pm
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I’m fooling around with 3 M95’s at the moment. 30-06, .303, and 30-40. I’ve only shot GC’d cast so far in the 170-180gr range. The 30 06 likes them. I’m pumping up the speed on the last batch I loaded, going right at 2,000fps for this batch. Also loaded some with 150 jackets and 165gr jackets. We’ll see what happens.

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July 30, 2023 - 2:05 pm
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I`ve tried many different loads in my Krag, both lead and jacketed.  So far I get the best results by far with a 150 grain jacketed bullet.  Wayne Smile

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July 30, 2023 - 4:21 pm
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Quite a lot of the brass produced at or near the turn of the century will be found with cracked necks.  I would not rely on the old brass.  I have full boxes of factory ammo that has never been fired and are cracked just from age. 

By the way there is a pretty nice 95 in 30 US coming up for auction in October. 

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July 30, 2023 - 5:57 pm
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Chuck said
Quite a lot of the brass produced at or near the turn of the century will be found with cracked necks.  I would not rely on the old brass.  I have full boxes of factory ammo that has never been fired and are cracked just from age. 

That could be caused by improper annealing, or with lead bullets, build up of lead oxide.  But these cases split at the base, where brass is thickest.

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July 30, 2023 - 7:54 pm
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I’ve got a couple full boxes of vintage blanks around here.  Just looked for them.  Couldn’t find them but I know they are here.  I thought about loading them up but never was fully comfortable pulling the trigger on that idea.  I can’t say the input above increases my comfort level.

I wonder about the original manufacture of the brass.  Were they pulled from the regular brass production line or were they made just for the purpose of being loaded as blanks?  Were they, “seconds”?  

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July 30, 2023 - 8:09 pm
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clarence said

Chuck said

Quite a lot of the brass produced at or near the turn of the century will be found with cracked necks.  I would not rely on the old brass.  I have full boxes of factory ammo that has never been fired and are cracked just from age. 

That could be caused by improper annealing, or with lead bullets, build up of lead oxide.  But these cases split at the base, where brass is thickest.

  

I don’t know the cause but I have Winchester and Western brass with jacketed soft points and cracked necks.   Generally case head separation is caused by thinning of the brass during improper fire forming. Maybe the blank brass is formed differently than regular brass?

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July 30, 2023 - 9:47 pm
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wayne spears said
I`ve tried many different loads in my Krag, both lead and jacketed.  So far I get the best results by far with a 150 grain jacketed bullet.  Wayne Smile

  

That has been my experience as well… a 150-gr Sierra flat-base bullet is the cat’s meow in my old Springfield Krag rifle.

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July 30, 2023 - 11:58 pm
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i’ve  had  30-40   ammo , blanks    and  found  more split  necks  before  and after  firing,    than any other  brass.- i do not  reload  it-  originally  has 220 grain cupro-nickle jacket. 

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July 31, 2023 - 9:28 am
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TXGunNut said
30US is a pretty sweet cartridge to load but for reasons I don’t fully understand the 195 grain bullet is the best choice for the 1895’s I’m familiar with. Lighter bullets SHOULD work but that 195 is worth a try. I even have a semi-custom mould that drops some mighty fine 195GC bullets. Mark sold me an awesome 1895 last year and it has showed promise with this bullet. Thanks for inspiring me to resume this project, Ron. If you need some cast bullets just PM me but be forewarned it’s a bit too hot to fire up a casting furnace in Texas these days.

Mike  

I looked through the moulds this morning- I have the old Ideal 311413 GC Squibb at 169 but I know this one doesn’t like to get pushed fast. I also have a NOE 311206 GC, RN w/ FN and HP Pins that drops at 190- however I can’t find any already cast and, like you, Louisiana is a bit too hot to be casting so I’ll wait till fall/ winter to drop a bunch.  Ron

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July 31, 2023 - 1:01 pm
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Ron-

Been looking over my notes, seems I have a Ranch Dog 312299 that drops a 209gr bullet. I thought it was 195. I need to get in there and look around.

 

Mike

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TXGunNut said
Ron-

Been looking over my notes, seems I have a Ranch Dog 312299 that drops a 209gr bullet. I thought it was 195. I need to get in there and look around.

Mike 

With all of that heat you are experiencing down in Texas, I highly recommend buying some 150-gr flat-base .308 bullets, and then loading up a box full with 44 grains of 4895 which should give you 2,550 fps.  It is a very pleasant shooting and an accurate load in my old Springfield, and my Single Shot high-wall rifle doesn’t complain about it either.

Bert

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