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Reloading Blank Krag Brass
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December 17, 2020 - 10:19 am
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Has anyone used blank brass to reload into functioning rounds? 

I fell into some Krag M3 blanks that are stamped 30 USA.  I thought it would be neat to have some properly head stamped brass instead of the 30-40 Krag marked brass.  Has anyone done that before? I don’t see a reason not to do it.

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

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December 17, 2020 - 1:54 pm
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I believe there are some differences in modern blank cases but have no experience with the older stuff. I believe the flash hole is bigger and case lengths vary in modern blanks. I feel your pain, I’m loading re-formed .303 British brass.

 

Mike

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December 17, 2020 - 2:58 pm
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There are great differences with modern blanks but these appear to be circa 1930s Remington brass that simply have a carboard / paper- plug/wad, lightly crimped in place.  Guess I’ll shoot and de-prime one to check it out.  Case length is good.

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

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December 17, 2020 - 3:26 pm
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Mike,

Why? Is 30-40 brass not readily available?

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December 18, 2020 - 3:17 am
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Bert H. said
Mike,
Why? Is 30-40 brass not readily available?  

It may be now, wasn’t when I started loading the cartridge a few years ago. Funny thing is I’d given away a few boxes of 303 British ammo and brass (and a rifle) a few years before that. Last time we talked about this I loaded up 20 rounds and shot my old 1895. That was fun! I wonder if I reloaded those rounds. If not I bet I have some bullets left.

 

Mike

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February 20, 2021 - 10:09 pm
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I was able to acquire some 30-40 Krag Brass, but just for fun, I fired off a blank, annealed, and loaded a bullet to make a dummy round and determine max cartridge length for an 1895 magazine and chamber. I then proceeded to load ten 30-40 Krag cases with a starting load, having all intentions to do some shooting this afternoon.  Evidently, this 1895 doesn’t chamber less beveled rim of the Krag brass.  The correct head stamped 30 USA brass chambers no problem.  So, back to the original idea….  more to follow soon, I hope.

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

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February 21, 2021 - 4:20 pm
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I’m confused, did you fire the blanks in your 1895 before reloading the cases? If not fired in your rifle did you full-length resize them? 

 

Mike

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February 21, 2021 - 4:47 pm
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I fired the M3 blank in the rifle.  Then FL sized and trimmed to the same length as the Krag cases; 2.308″.  I even trimmed one of the Krag cases back to 2.3025″ and it doesn’t chamber, so it’s got to be the rim.  

EDIT// (39 minutes later) I ground the 30 Army bevel into the Krag brass and viola!  But that still didn’t make sense, so I re-inserted and did it again.  No go.  So then I went back to the dies and found my error.  You’re suspicion was correct; the Krag brass’ shoulders were not bumped back far enough.  Then I realized why: I used the Forster co-ax press and the Krag dies I bought (used) did not have Hornady locking rings that fit snugly into the slot for the ring on the Forster press.  There was too much slop and some cases chambered, depending on how I indexed them, and others did not.  I switched out the lock ring, turned the die snug to the shell holder and now all is right with the world.  

Thanks for playing along!

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

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February 21, 2021 - 7:19 pm
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Ronald, do you use a micrometer with a case headspace comparator to check the bump?  Usually you want about .002″ of bump from the max length of your chamber.  SAMMI specs are a much greater bump so the cartridge will fit all SAMMI chambers.  Maybe another .002″.

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February 21, 2021 - 10:19 pm
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I don’t have a comparator- it’s just a tool I never really needed.  I just use trial and error but didn’t even consider the shoulder location this time.  I don’t know why.  You can see in the picture below, the issue I tried to describe above.  The case shoulder would make contact with the inside of the die and raise the die as I lifted the case up.  I just didn’t catch the movement.

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

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February 22, 2021 - 5:31 pm
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rwsem said
I don’t have a comparator- it’s just a tool I never really needed.  I just use trial and error but didn’t even consider the shoulder location this time.  I don’t know why.  You can see in the picture below, the issue I tried to describe above.  The case shoulder would make contact with the inside of the die and raise the die as I lifted the case up.  I just didn’t catch the movement.

IMG_5252.JPGImage Enlarger  

First off this press is designed so the lock nut will rise some during normal operation.  Forester makes thicker lock nuts but you really don’t need them.  If you need to move the shoulder back some just adjust the die further into the nut. Here is the set up I use when sizing my brass.  You need the black piece to clamp onto the caliper and the specific silver comparator designed for your case neck/shoulder. The comparator part is supposed to contact the shoulder in about the middle.  I doesn’t have to be that exact it just has to hit the shoulder in the same spot each time.  With this tool I can set my shoulder back/bump .002″ from the max chamber measurement. In your case you need it to be .003″ to .005″ shorter than max.

When you take the die out of the press measure the length of threads showing on the bottom below the nut.  Adjust this amount by screwing the die in some until you can chamber your cases.

One other thing I forgot to mention is that today the latest philosophy is to let the case shell holder, the die and the neck bushing to move a little.  This lets the case self align.  The bullet seating dies use some of the same designs.   It’s not like in my rockchucker where everything is tight and no movement is allowed even if it is crooked.

 

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April 28, 2021 - 8:03 pm
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I load blanks for the 30/40 Krag. In fact I load blanks for all the more common military arms. Reason is I coach and teach neighborhood youth history, what neighbors fought  in what war and shoot a blank load salute as part of memorial day recognition of our veterans. We do a roll call for a given period of time starting with the civil war. At the end of calling out all names who fought in the civil war ( both north and south infact two brothers were on opposite sides) two youth riflemen under the command of a youth Sargent of arms, shoots three blank shots each from period civil war muskets. Move along we enter WW1 era and have the grave of Judge McGolerick who died in battle of the second muse Argonne offensive. During the WW 1 role call, it pauses for the honor guard, also youth, to march over to his grave, fix a bayonet onto a Winchester model 1917, stick it into the ground next to the military marker, place a WW1 helmet and dog tags onto the gun, then March back to the salute team . After all WW1 names are called, two rifle men fire three shots each with one 03 and another model 1917. On this goes up to our last veteran from  the Vietnam era, shooting one AR and one 30carbine.

With out overlooking two others who gave their lives in the Korean War. We also fix bayonet, place a helmet and dog tags on a 17 year old army veteran’s grave who was killed in action, Samuel  Frye and a bomber pilot also killed on a bombing run,  Lucius Walton.

It seems fitting to note this as Winchester  participated in the war effort and we use several Winchesters for our salute and most importantly, Memorial Day is around the corner and our veterans who gave life and limb should be recognized!

But I degessed from the question of loading the 30/40 Krag. First off to get the round to feed out of the side loading magazine of a Springfield 30l40 Krag, you have to make a paper bullet. I roll up a sheet  of paper   that has been smeared with Elmer’s glue. Let it sit over night. Then set the paper tube with glue in the mouth and let that set up. Next day with a grinder ,shape the over all length and nose shape to match ball ammo.

Load is standard old 30/40 Krag brass that I annealed to extend life of old worn brass. I size this brass exactly as if loading live rounds and  bell the mouth as if to load a  cast bullet.  I use any standard primer and I use 18 gr o f red dot powder.

I teach the kids they are shooting live ammo and this combo can kill, as any blank can at some given distance!  

I purchased a 30 cal star crimp die from CH-4 and this works fine for other bolt guns but not the 30/40 Krag Springfield ., 

One must know, I have not ever located loading data for blanks. I tested and carefully worked up loads for a good report out of old military rifles and one WW1 45 ACP. So do not rely on my loading data! It is what I load. Work up loads you are comfortable with and work up carefully.

David Whitmer (in Virginia)

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