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.30 WCF Superspeed...well sort of
December 17, 2012
11:42 am
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This load might be old news to some of you and new to others. I’ve been fooling with it for awhile, trying to get some versatility out of the old .30-30. Originally I wanted to try the 110 gr. bullet load but I read some good reviews about the Sierra HP/FN 2020 125gr. designed for .30-30 and decided to try that. One major bonus was the ability to crimp it. I used data from the Lyman 49th Ed. Handbook to approach velocities in the 2500 fps. range. The finished cartridge measures to a 2.42 OAL, but cycles through excellent in my 1907 Sporting Rifle with the 26" Nickel Steel Octagon Barrel. I crimped everything, crimp not quite as visible in this picture:
[Image Can Not Be Found]

I originally started with IMR 4198 up to the max load and found I was about 8" high or so at 50yds. with the standard front sight, tang sight stem near bottom. I found a vintage Lyman No.28 Semi-Jack front with some height (letter code is for a Winchester bolt action I think) and got the end of the barrel down. I expected I’d end up doing that because there were specific front sights used for this application. When I run across a nice older Marble No.5 I’ll pick it up to match the W1. I also wanted to clear the Three Leaf Express barrel sight and get it out of the sight picture without removing it.
[Image Can Not Be Found]
[Image Can Not Be Found]

I had also flirted with IMR 4895 a little and wanted to try out IMR 3031 for this as well. I loaded up cartridges using the three powders, IMR 4198 and IMR 3031 a little below the max load. IMR 4895 was at the max load in the Lyman book. IMR 3031 and IMR 4895 can just about fill the case. All should have been giving me velocities around 2300-2400fps. Five shot groups from left:
34.0 IMR 4895, 1 1/16" (1st hole inside the yellow 1 ring was my 1st of the day/barrel cleaner/jitter remover)
32.8 IMR 3031, 1 7/16"
27.5 IMR 4198, 1 15/16"
[Image Can Not Be Found]
Looks like I was getting a little extra velocity out of my IMR 3031 load. I shot a few out to 100yds. with nothing very respectable or worth measuring, 3-4". I think a little of that was poor eye focus on my end today. Best was still IMR 4895. One thing that’s nice about these colored targets is I can still see the shot placement at 50 yds. after a shot or two without having a spotting scope.

Here is my set up. About as steady as I can do without trying a vise. I guess I adopted the philosophy of a few of my ex-girlfriends by trying to take "me" out of the equation as much as possible Laugh.
[Image Can Not Be Found]

The accuracy load in the Lyman book uses Reloader 15 to get 2441 fps. out of their 24" test barrel. There are also a few other loads that get up to 2500-2600fps. within safe pressures. I’m thinking about trying Reloader 15 or maybe Winchester 748. Both offer high velocity with safe pressure according to the load data. Reloader 15 looks like it will fill the case. Anybody ever use these powders or know much about them?

Brad

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Brad Dunbar

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January 2, 2013
12:33 pm
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Did some new loading with Reloader 15 along with my usual IMR 4895 for the 125 gr. Sierra HP/FN 2020. I made some sight adjustments also as I had been generally trending to the left side of the bull.
I tried some max loads and near max loads with Reloader 15 on an earlier date with poor accuracy results. I decided to get back down to the 2300-2350 fps. range (according to the Lyman manual data).
I didn’t load up very many rounds this time as I didn’t want to waste a lot of bullets and powder. I think I’m really close to having the load I want after today.
[Image Can Not Be Found]
Here are my first groups at 50 yds. From left:
3 shots 33.8 grains IMR 4895, brass: WIN, covered
5 shots 33.9 grains IMR 4895, brass: WIN, 1 1/8"
5 shots 34.5 grains RX 15, brass: WIN, 1 3/4"
[Image Can Not Be Found]
Here are 100 yd. groups from left:
7 shots 34.8 grains RX 15, brass: REM, 3"
Two 2 shot groups from the 2 loaded shells I had left.
Top: 34.5 grains RX 15
Bottom: 33.9 IMR 4895

After trying some faster burning powders like IMR 4198 and I guess 3031, I’m having better luck with those labeled as medium burn rate like Reloader 15 and IMR 4895. Both powders can just about fill the case. I’ve been very happy with IMR 4895 so far. On both sessions I’ve put holes just about on top of each other with 33.9-34.0 grains. With some more practice on my part I think it’ll be an interesting shooter.
I don’t have a digital scale yet, but I think I’m pretty consistent with what I have. I did just get a nice powder trickler that I haven’t used yet. I think it will be very helpful.
In general I’m very happy with this rifle. Whoever had it before me did a nice job keeping the bore clean. I’ll also be replicating the factory 170 grain bullet load this winter. I have a feeling I’ll be happy with the results.

Brad

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Brad Dunbar

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January 14, 2013
9:07 pm
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Hedley,
Thank you for the report. Interesting. ๐Ÿ˜€

Historically speaking, Peters introduced a 125 gr. h.p. 30-30 cartridge back in 1927. It lasted until the late 1940’s. Federal reintroduced the cartridge in 1977 and it is still in production.

I purchased a box of the 125 Sierras awhile back but I must confess that I have not had the chance to work with them yet. Too many irons in the fire I quess……

In the Hodgdon Data Manual #26, they show the following recipes generating over 2,600+ f.p.s. with 125-130 gr bullets in a 24" barrel….
BLC2 – 38.0 / 2,606 / 34,800
H4895 – 37.0 / 2,618 / 36,000
H335 – 38.0 / 2,643 / 35,400
H322 – 37.0 / 2,663 / 37,600

Going back probably close to 15 years ago I purchased a box of the Federal 125gr 30-30 factory cartridges. At the time the cataloged velocity was 2,650 f.p.s. as I recall but today, it is listed at 2,570 f.p.s. A dissected cartridge contained 37.5 grs of a ball powder.
http://www.midwayusa.com/product/927609/federal-power-shok-ammunition-30-30-winchester-125-grain-jacketed-hollow-point-box-of-20

It has a 5 star rating from some of its users. Here’s an example..
The Federal 125-grain .30-30 load is far and away the most accurate load I’ve ever fired in any of my rifles, turning in groups right at an inch or barely more at 100 yards. It’s given me one shot kills on several whitetails and is flat-shooting enough to use when eradicating feral dogs. If I had to pick an all-around .30-30 load for everything, including home defense, this one would be it.

Your post has inspired me to give the 125 gr. variation a try.

Thank you,
w30wcf

January 15, 2013
5:58 am
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w30wcf

My original goal was to get up in the higher velocities with this, I just started losing accuracy. At some point I’d like to try and get there again and see if this old gun and a 2500-2600 fps. load can be accurate for me.

The Lyman manual I have sounds like it has max loads a little tamer than your manual.
BLC2 38.0 / 2543 / 34,000
(no H4895 load)
IMR 4895 34.0 / 2331 / 32,800
H335 37.5 / 2626 / 37,600
748 39.0c / 2531 / 30,900
Rx 15 36.0c / 2441 / 35,000 = accuracy load

Interestingly, like you noted with Federal, the highest velocities were with ball/spherical type powder. I’m not familiar enough with hand loading to know why they stopped at 34.0 grains of IMR 4895 as it is not a compressed load and looks to be lower pressure than several of the other loads.

I also wonder if the 2.42 OAL is the best possible dimension because of the "jump" distance to the rifling?

I tried a box of Remington 150 gr. Core Lokts yesterday through a 1910 DOM rifle, which I had also shot some of my 125 gr. Sierra loads through, and I’m positive they were loaded hotter and traveling faster than anything I’ve loaded so far myself, including the 125 grain Sierra loads.

I’m glad you are interested in trying this out as it would be good to compare results and I can learn some stuff.

Thanks much,
Brad

Regards

Brad Dunbar

http://1895book.com/

January 15, 2013
6:21 am
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Brad, in general, the slower burning powder will tend to have a lower but wider pressure ‘spike’. This permits faster velocities for the same pressure, or similar velocities for less peak pressure, since the load can be adjusted to give you a peak pressure that is safe, but stays longer at that safe peak pressure. Some powders are so slow that even though your load is safe, not all the powder will be burned, so check your bore after a shot or two just to see how complete your powder burn.

Overall, there are advantages to medium speed powders and advantages to slower powders. Somewhere in there is load that gives the best performance. There are a number of factors that all interplay on this.

I highly recommend verifying the velocity over a chronograph if you are using loads that are upper end on the published load tables ….. just to confirm that your velocity is similar to theirs. It isn’t always the case.

It is good if your OAL permits the bullet to just touch the lands, provided it will still feed from the tube, through the action and into the chamber. One way of doing this is to take an empty case and adjust the neck so that it can grip a bullet snugly but not too snug, start a bullet into the neck and then chamber the cartridge, close the lever, and let the chamber seat the bullet for you. Then carefully remove the case with the seated bullet and make a measurement of the perfect OAL.

January 15, 2013
7:20 am
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Kirk

Thanks for the good ideas there and the information on powder.

I like that idea of getting an OAL with your method. I’ll give that a try. It sounds much better than repeatedly trying different OALs in .001" increments until I hit the sweet spot. In my reloading data their listed test barrels are 24" with 1-12" rifling. Would you have any idea if a 26" barrel is going to change pressure or velocity much?

I’ll have to keep my eyes open for a chronograph. You’re probably right on that one too. It would be nice to know where I’m at for sure.

Thanks much,
Brad

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Brad Dunbar

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January 16, 2013
7:08 pm
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Brad,

The highest pressure takes place close to the chamber so the length of the barrel would not have an affect on that. The difference in velocity between my 24" and 26" barreled 30-30’s is about 40 f.p.s.

I have 1 Peters 125 gr. 30-30 cartridge in my collection. It contains 30 grs. of either IMR 25 1/2 or 4198 which replaced 25 1/2 in about 1935.

The bullet type used in the historic Peter cartridge is a Metal Cased Hollow Point. There is no lead exposed to be deformed in the magazine.

[Image Can Not Be Found]

I have used both 4198 and H335 under the Sierra 110 gr. hollow point.
Both powders gave very good groups (sub 2 MOA) from my 1894-1994 Centennial rifle. Velocity with H335 was almost 100 f.p.s. higher than the faster burning 4198 (2,857 vs 2,761 fps).

I will likely try both of those powders 1st with the 125 Sierra along with REL 7.

w30wcf

January 18, 2013
8:36 am
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Guys

I’ve been curious about IMR 4198 in the .30-30 case. In the loads we’re talking about, IMR 4198 doesn’t fill the case at safe pressures. I tried it a bit for this particular application. I’ve had it recommended to me a few times to develop a load using a powder that fills the case. How important is filling the case?

Thanks,
Brad

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Brad Dunbar

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January 18, 2013
1:42 pm
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Brad,
While it is true sometimes that cpacity loads work better (accuracy) that is not always the case.

The faster burning powders will have more airspace, but my experience with H4198 has been very good in the 30-30 with lighter bullets….same for RL7 which is a bit slower.

For heavier bullets in the .30-30 ..150+ I have liked the slower powders better..3031, 4895, 4064 although these days I work more with ball powders in the .30-30 … H335, 748, H414….

w30wcf

February 13, 2013
3:36 pm
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w30wcf

I thought I’d give an update related to my .30 WCF loading. I’ve been saving my 125 grain Sierra 2020s for now. However, while checking through the mostly bare shelves in the reloading dept. the other day I was surprised to find a box of Hornady .308 diameter, 150 grain RN #3035 all alone there. I decided to try ball powder and also picked up some BL-C(2).

My Lyman manual lists their max load (and accuracy load) for the 150 grain # 3035 as 36.4 grains BL-C(2)/ 2292 fps/ 36,000 C.U.P.

I quickly went to a 36 grain load with that bullet crimped in once fired REM .30-30 brass. It was extremely accurate with my 1907 OB rifle pictured above. After moving my tang sight stem down just a hair it was dead nuts on at 100 yds. I went into two targets side by side with a 5 shot group of 2" followed up by another group of 1 1/8" right in the 1 ring. Since the bullets are on the scarce side right now I stopped there.

Thanks for the ball powder suggestion. I think I stumbled on to a very effective load for my rifle. I’m looking forward to pursuing it more in the future.

Brad

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Brad Dunbar

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February 24, 2013
7:10 am
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Brad,
Thank you for the update. Glad to see that you have found that a ball powder has worked well with your 125 gr "Superspeed" loading.

Winchester first started using ball powders in their factory 30-30 cartridges back in the late 1940’s, Remington from about 1970.

The latest ball powder "LVR" by Hodgdon is used in the Hornady Leverevolution cartridges.

I still have a small amount of Hodgdon H335 that I bought back in the 1970’s. I found that I could get a bit over 2,800 f.p.s. from a 110 gr bullet in my 26" 30-30 and 2,700 f.p.s. from a 20" barrel.

One neat thing with that recipe is that there was a nice muzzle flash which was an attention getter. Folks were really surprised that I was shooting a 30-30! ๐Ÿ˜€

Today’s H335 does not give the same fireworks since, years ago, the powder was modified to eliminate that characteristic. It still gives the same ballistic performance though.

Fun, fun, fun…………….
w30wcf

February 25, 2013
11:41 am
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One of our std loads here for 30-30 uses the Sierra 125gr FP HP my son loads 35.1gr of IMR 4895 and in the Marlin 336C he gets excelent results.

I have not tried it yet in my model 94 (Buffalo Bill 26" rifle) but expect it to do as well.

I also use this bullet in 30M1 carbine loads for both my Inland Carbine and my Ruger Blackhawk in 30 carbine. In the Handgun it is very accurate.

February 25, 2013
6:10 pm
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Mark

I like the IMR 4895 a lot too.

I haven’t tried BL-C(2) with the 125 gr FP HP yet, just the 150 gr RN, but maybe my rifle will like it more. Right now for some reason when I get much stiffer than 34.0-34.5 grains IMR 4895 with the 125 gr. it doesn’t seem to be as tight a shooter for me.

I thought one of my manuals says the Marlin 336 was their test rifle.

Someday I’ll get back to it. Hoping to hear how w30wcf comes out with the 125 gr. bullets too.

I’m really glad I got into hand loading. Whole new level of enjoyment with these old guns for me. Haven’t crossed into cast bullets yet, but I suppose that’s coming too…

Brad

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Brad Dunbar

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February 26, 2013
8:01 am
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Hi Brad

Im glad you got into reloading too, as you are scientific in your approach, provide great details and good pics. Win38-55 also provides great range reports. As do many others here
Reloading used to be a slow process of trial and error and at times frustrating.Some of us older shooters are just discovering how beneficial the internet can be for information sharing
I am learning all the time, lately realizing that lighter bullets are working better than I expected, especially with slower twists.and at longer ranges with the added benefit of less recoil. I am now curios about 125 gr in 30-30.especially at 200M and 300M I havent bothered ,because I thought 150 was minimal for accuracy ,and have sent many 170"s downrange that were doing fine at 100yd or less, but becoming unstable (especially in one gun)at 200M
I am getting more interested in cast bullets and having mixed results, finding that Dia is more critical and loads are more finicky (challenging) but am having some pleasant surprises especially with gas checks that seem more forgiving and improve accuracy with less load development involved than with plain base or beveled cast bullets

Phil

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February 26, 2013
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Phil

One other nice thing about learning about reloading on the internet is getting some feedback from guys like you. There are things that aren’t in the reloading manuals that are nice to hear guys suggest. I’m learning here and there, but I’m always eager to read about the experience of others.

Brad

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Brad Dunbar

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March 26, 2014
5:38 pm
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Well…….here it is, over a year later and I still haven’t tested the Sierra 125 gr. bullet in my 1894-1994 Centennial rifle. But….it has now moved close to the top of the list…..finally ๐Ÿ˜€

Hope to have a range report by the end of April – mid May….that is if it ever warms up!

I will say that I did try some of the .30-30 125 gr. Remington Managed Recoil ammunition (2,175 f.p.s.) just to see how accurate it was. It was very accurate with 2 five shot groups around 1" @ 100 with 4 of the 5 rounds inside of 3/4". ๐Ÿ˜€ That was with a scoped .30-30 though (336A w/ 10X scope).

http://www.midwayusa.com/product/330519/remington-managed-recoil-ammunition-30-30-winchester-125-grain-core-lokt-soft-point-box-of-20?cm_vc=ProductFinding

Dissected cartridges contained what appeared to be 4198 (24 grs). Interestingly, the online Hodgdon Data shows similar velocity with a similar charge of 4198.

That aside, I will be testing the "Superspeed" version (2,500 f.p.s.+)

w30wcf

March 27, 2014
1:26 pm
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Good to hear you haven’t given up on the 125 loading. I picked up another box of them sometime in the last year. I plan on loading some up, but will be using different powders. Could be interesting to compare results here.

Brad

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April 17, 2014
4:04 pm
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Iโ€™ve recently continued working on this 125 grain Sierra HP/FN #2020 load for my 1894 Rifle; manufactured 1907 in caliber 30 WCF. Iโ€™ve had a can of 748 for some time and decided to try it with this bullet using load data from my Lyman and (older) Sierra manual. I also loaded some 30-30 with 150 grain Winchester Silvertips and BL-C(2) to shoot side by side as that bullet and powder had shown good accuracy in this rifle in the past.

Notes:
I used once fired (in this rifle) Federal brass trimmed to 2.030โ€. I crimp because my hunting load would be crimped. Primer was WLR. I tried three different charges total. First two were 35 and 36 grains of 748. My C.O.L. measured 2.425โ€ on average. My Lyman manual gives a C.O.L. of 2.420โ€ for this bullet. My Sierra manual gives no measurement. Fired brass looked good to me. I โ€œpartialโ€ resize and following that operation on this twice fired brass and my case lengths had increased by .0015โ€ on average.
I followed those loads with 35 grains and 37 grains. Powder about fills the case to the neck at 37. Fired brass looked good to me. Primers were noticeably flatter at 37 grains compared to 35. Recoil increased somewhat.

For the 150 grain Winchester Silvertip load I used once fired (in this rifle) Remington Brass again trimmed to 2.03โ€ with WLR primers. Charges were 30.0 grains and 31.0 grains of BL-C(2). C.O.L. was 2.55โ€ and the neck was crimped.

Point of aim was 8" bull on top of the front bead.

My sight in was a few weeks ago at 25 yards. I had changed tang sights on this rifle a few times and I wanted to see where I was on the paper. The results were good to start. Lucky on elevation with the 6 o’clock hold. Windage looked off a little. Load was 35 grains of 748, Sierra 125 grain #2020.
http://s1226.photobucket.com/user/hurint/media/1894%20sight%20reference/DSCN5787_zps30b56999.jpg.html

[Image Can Not Be Found]

I went out to 100 yards with 36 grains of 748. I had a called flier down low that probably opened up the group to 4"+. I also felt the target seemed blurry to me in the sun. I changed up some things for today’s shooting.
http://s1226.photobucket.com/user/hurint/media/1894%20sight%20reference/DSCN5790_zps830dad3e.jpg.html

[Image Can Not Be Found]

Today with no wind and a black bull on white freezer paper I felt good. I had made a windage adjustment by shimming my tang sight. I fired off a round (35 grains 748) at 50 yards to make sure I was on the cardboard after the sight adjustment and it looked like it hit pretty much where I aimed on the box. However, my results were not as good at 100 yards as I had hoped with the 748 powder loads. My first group with 37 grains of 748 was 2 3/4". I shot off my four remaining 35 grain loads and the result was 4 1/2". Not really stellar. Velocity must be pretty decent.
http://s1226.photobucket.com/user/hurint/media/1894%20sight%20reference/DSCN5890_zps3d2e3817.jpg.html

[Image Can Not Be Found]

http://s1226.photobucket.com/user/hurint/media/1894%20sight%20reference/DSCN5893_zps2d152d3e.jpg.html

[Image Can Not Be Found]

I had found some bulk .30 caliber flat point bullets that weighed 150 grains about a year ago. Seller said they were discontinued Winchester Silvertips. I bought 100 and they shot pretty good in this rifle and in my 1899 Savage. I wished I had bought all of them. Well I saw some again and bought all of them. No idea on what they’d do for a game bullet, but they seem to be accurate.
I knew enough to raise my tang sight up a click before I fired a shot. This first group was my starting load of 30 grains BL-C(2) at 100 yards. It measured 2 1/2". A little better. I guess the vertical stringing could be caused by a few different things, but in general an improved group. My second group at 100 yards was with 31 grains BL-C(2) and measured 1 5/8". I consider that to be excellent for me.
http://s1226.photobucket.com/user/hurint/media/1894%20sight%20reference/DSCN5896_zpsf6b87f9a.jpg.html

[Image Can Not Be Found]

http://s1226.photobucket.com/user/hurint/media/1894%20sight%20reference/DSCN5899_zps6bae5c3a.jpg.html

[Image Can Not Be Found]

125 grain Sierra bullet and Federal brass at left and 150 grain Silvertip bullet with Remington brass on right.
http://s1226.photobucket.com/user/hurint/media/1894%20sight%20reference/DSCN5905_zpsac823ca5.jpg.html

[Image Can Not Be Found]

Looking back at my earlier posts on this thread I believe that this particular rifle prefers 150 grain bullets to the 125, especially after 50 yards. I’ll have to try again with the 125 grain Sierra, maybe after 30wcf posts some more info. Until then I have some 150 grain Hornady and Winchester(?) bullets to fool around with. If I can get into consistent 1-2" groups at 100 yards I will be very happy.

Brad

http://s1226.photobucket.com/user/hurint/media/1894%20sight%20reference/DSCN5923_zpsdd325837.jpg.html

DSCN5923_zpsdd325837.jpgImage Enlarger

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Brad Dunbar

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April 17, 2014
5:16 pm
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Very interesting and enjoyable. Thanks for posting your testing and results.

April 18, 2014
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I’m glad you enjoyed the report Kirk. I would add that it’s not entirely complete. I shot the 125 grain Sierra bullet a few times in between Dec. of 2012 and yesterday without taking down data or pictures of the results. I did leave with a mental note that accuracy at 100 yards wasn’t what I wanted yet.

I read a lot. Most of it is from books and articles by the older gun writers. I read through Pet Loads quite a bit and always seem to find something new and interesting. I also have been collecting a lot of old Jack O’Connor books by accident. Two things I’ve come to believe so far from reading those books, others and my own experience are:
1) Bullet design/construction is more important regarding accuracy than changes in other components within the safe load specifications of a particular cartridge.
2) Accuracy expectations for rifles like a 1907 made Winchester 1894 were not held especially high by many of the older writers in comparison to modern scoped rifles.

I want to say that I appreciate your shooting posts quite a bit Kirk. I think you strive to get above average accuracy out of everything and it’s good motivation. I also like that you show more than only one picture of your best three shot group! I’ve learned a lot from them so I hope you continue writing them in the near future.

I will get a chronograph and the Williamson book someday.

Thanks,
Brad

Regards

Brad Dunbar

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