Can it be done?

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  • Last Post 02 October 2009
Wineman posted this 19 August 2008

I have been bitten by the Military big bore silhouette bug. I am using a M1917 Enfield in the “stock” class. It is the standard ranges of 500, 385, 300 and 200 meters and with iron sights it is very fun and challenging.

Jacketed full power loads shoot well but are getting pricey at around $0.50 each for reloads (components only of course). With cast it could get down to $0.15 per round.

My question is can this be done with cast loads? Research of this forum and others plus various trade journals seems to indicate a ~200 grain, hard cast bullet at 1,800 fps could do the trick. Sight adjustment would be critical and I am not sure if there is enough to get the 500 meter target on the ladder. It sounds similar to original 30-40 Krag loadings and I am sure they could reach the 550 yard target in their day.

While never having attempted it, paper patching might give more velocity and flatten the trajectory but it might not be enough to close with jacketed bullets.

Is this a pursuit worthy of the energy involved or should I just bite the jacketed bullet and stick with what works now.

Thanks in advance.

Wineman  :dude:

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CB posted this 19 August 2008

A Saeco 315 bullet and19 grsof SR4759 shoots well at 200, past that I cant give you any personal experience but I hear it can be done.

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jhalcott posted this 20 August 2008

 I think it can be done, BUT can YOU do it? A 200-215 grain round nose cast .30 caliber bullet should work. The 311290 (208GRAIN) started at 2000 FPS has about 500 to 520 fpe at 500 yards. Sighted at 100 yards it drops about 12 1/2 FEET at 500. UPPing velocity to 2200 fps cuts the time of flight a bit and also reduces drop by over 7 inches. Less TOF also lessens wind drift. The biggest problem is the loading prep that has to be done. Cases and bullets have to be culled to a couple tenths of a grain in weight. The bullets SHOULD be cast hard, like from Linotype. Gas checks MUST be seated very square. A test firing of some loads to make sure the sights will go the distance would answer a lot of questions BEFORE a lot of time is wasted. I believe it would be EASIER with jacketed bullets. I KNOW it would be a lot MORE FUN with your own cast bullets.

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Ed Harris posted this 20 August 2008

I used to shoot an original Winchester M1917 .30-'06 refitted with Parker-Hale 5A rear sight in NRA conventional highpower matches with cast bullets back to 600 yards over the full course and I had lots of fun.  With good cast loads I shot Expert level scores. 

For the 200-yard stages I used the NEI No. 69 which weighs 162-grs. in wheelweights, cast frosty from the mould and water-quenched, lubricated with Lee Liquid Alox, putting on Hornady GCs in a .314 Lee die which leaves the bands unsized, loaded with 15.5 grs. of #2400.   Bullets were seated to the crimp groove and fed through the magazine.  200 yard zero was about 400 yards on the sight.

For 300 yards I used the same NEI No. 69 bullet with a heavier charge of  either 24 grs. of RL-7 or 28 grs. of H322 or 4895 pull-down. Only a minimal sight change was needed from 200 yards.

Cases were full length sized and decapped without pulling an expander button through the case mouth. Instead case mouths were expanded to permit hand starting the bullet to the base band only, using an RCBS .32 ACP expander plug.  Final bullet seating was done using a backed-off Lee 7.62x54R seater in order to have enough clearance for the “fat” bullets.   Bullet assembly into the brass was tight enough that crimping was unnecessary. 

At 600 yards I used the NEI No. 72A similarly quench-cast of wheelweights, at 205 grs., crimping GCs in the same .314 die, lubing with Lee Liquid Alox, applying a light second lube coat, then loading either 48 grs. of H414 or WW760. Bullets were seated to contact the rifling, but not to engrave, so they could be extracted unfired without de-bulleting.   These loads would hold ten ring with a good X-count at 600, In the wind deflection was about like shooting ordinary 150-gr. Ball M2.

I used Winchester WLR primers throughout and TW54 military cases sorted to +/- 1.0 grain for weight, with the case necks turned to 0.012.”  

I would routinely push one wet patch of Ed's Red through the bore after completion of the rapid fire stages to let it soak during the pit change, then I would dry the bore and chamber with two patches prior to firing my first sighter at 600.   Elevation to get on paper at 600 yards was about 800 yards on the sight.

73 de KE4SKY In Home Mix We Trust From the Home of Ed's Red in "Almost Heaven" West Virginia

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Wineman posted this 20 August 2008

Great job with the Baltimore swimmer M. Phelps!

A good point of ability vs reality. my vision is probably a 6/10, practice time is lower at 3/10, there is one match per month and also a 1,000 meet in months with five weekends. The practice range I use is only 200 yards but I can get to a longer one with some effort.

Casting is a new endevor but reloading is well understood.

I do think the fun factor is really the driving issue as the $50 difference in components a month to shoot two matches is a concern but not a deal breaker.

I would love to have one of the PH #5 sights (although the last one I saw on ebay was like $300) but that would put me into the modified class aginst scoped rifles and I would probably go scope too rather than try irons against glass. At the last match a K31 with a scope won the modifed class with a 38/40 and the the stock class was a M96 at 31/40. My score was not nearly as impressive

Good information to mull over but working up some loads and heading to the long practice range is the way to go.

You folks are the best! Having such good starting information is a blessing.

Cheers

Wineman

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Ken Campbell Iowa posted this 20 August 2008

Hi.. just a thought, but perhaps you could use cast bullets for practice and up to 200 or 300 yards, depending on results.  then switch to MJ, and even a seperate rifle and rig.... at the longer range.

This would save a bunch of $$$, still give you the fun of competition with cast bullets, get you into the CBA (g), and .... ta daaaaaa ... get you into shooting CBA Military benchrest ....


Also, you can get a ton of relatively cheap practice by using a crutched-up .22 bolt rifle, at 50 foot or so; to me standing  position is all about 1) Mental state of Zen, Ying and Yang. 2) brain-trigger communication; I like to yank the trigger much as in shooting clays with a shotgun.  3) foot position; put a rock in your shoe, gives you something to bi*ch about other than how tough standing position is ...

just some thoughts, ken campbell, iowa

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Ed Harris posted this 21 August 2008

Ken Campbell, Iowa wrote: Hi.. just a thought, but perhaps you could use cast bullets for practice and up to 200 or 300 yards, depending on results.  then switch to MJ, and even a seperate rifle and rig.... at the longer range...* Also, you can get a ton of relatively cheap practice by using a crutched-up .22 bolt rifle, at 50 foot or so; to me standing  position is all about 1) Mental state of Zen, Ying and Yang. 2) brain-trigger communication; I like to yank the trigger much as in shooting clays with a shotgun.  3) foot position; put a rock in your shoe, gives you something to bich about other than how tough standing position is ...

just some thoughts, ken campbell, iowa Really good practice is to shoot .22 LR at 200 yards.  A bunch of us used to do that using reduced scale military targets and clip-fed .22 match rifles, Winchester 52s, Remington 513s, Winchester 75s etc.   Even did the rapid-fire strings.  Lots of fun.  

 

73 de KE4SKY In Home Mix We Trust From the Home of Ed's Red in "Almost Heaven" West Virginia

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tturner53 posted this 12 August 2009

My turn to resurrect a very old post. I'm going to shoot a Military Silhouette match next month. Got the idea from Wineman and he's given me a lot of information. After looking over my surplus rifle inventory I'm now thinking my Savage SMLE .303 may be just the trick. I bought it recently with the hope of shooting it in CBA military benchrest competition. I've read everything I can find about shooting and tweaking these guns to make 'em shoot, so now I'm ready to take the plunge. It will be great if I can compete in more than one type of match with the same gun. I'm starting from scratch, hardly shot it at all yet. The only mold I have that goes over .312 is my new Saeco 315, which I like a lot. Loads are going to have to be stout enough to knock down a ram at 500 meters(if I hit one), but if a 6.5X55 has the steam a .303 should too, right? From what I've learned from Wineman I'll need to hold 4-5” MOA from prone with a sandbag rest to get any hits.You shoot in teams of two, one spots for the other. Looked over my Mausers, 6.5X55, 7.65 Belgian, 7mm, and 8mm, and a few oddities and a Mosin. The Savage has the best sight, it seems to me, goes way past 500 meters. Any .303 shooters out there? Powder suggestions? Alloy?  Am I dreaming/use jacketed? I haven't seen a 1917 Enfield in a while, but I think the Savage SMLE has a very similar ladder/peep type, marked to 1300.

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CB posted this 12 August 2009

W

For 30 cal cast using Ideal/Lyman molds for say 200-600M shooting several good Lyman bullets come to mind. The Loverin designs in any caliber are first choices of mine. I have 9 molds for 30 cal of which in Loverin design I have 311466 and 311467. Loverin designs have full lengths of bands and grooves except for the short ogives. Lots of lube well distributed along the shank of the bullet. Select your sizing or lube  die so as to not disturb these bands. Thus Ed's good choice of his .314 sizing die. Another Ideal/Lyman mold I cast with is 311291. A great mold that will deliver one minute of hub cap out to 600 and beyond.

The ultimo 30 cal cast in my arsenal is 311284. This rocket will shoot 1 minute of hubcap out to 1200M and beyond, Contnental size cap of coarse. I like them frosty for this one and if you have some lino try some for this one. You will cast a lighter bullet than book but it might be worth it for casting 311284.

To end this. One thing to ponder as far back as the Hittites many thousands of moons ago quenching was a part of their weapon making for some of the same reasons that some use it while casting. Strive for the perfect cast bullet thus the Pope bullet and shoot with confidence that you can shoot with gusto nothing less.

Stephen Perry

Angeles BR:fire

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excess650 posted this 12 August 2009

I had my K31 7.5x55 out on a silhouette range last month.  I only shot the 385m and 500m targets, and it knocked down everything hit.  My load was the Saeco #315 ~180gr 15bhn  LBT Blue over 22gr AA5744 in reformed 284Win cases.  I really don't know how fast they were going, but the bullets weren't terribly hard, and the bullet not terribly heavy, and it got the job done.  The 500m shooting was done with the 900m setting on the sight.  The point is that it will work and can be done without worrying that the bullets aren't going fast enough, not hard enough, etc.

I shot in excess of 40 rounds that day in a couple of strings, and the barrel got pretty hot.  There was no lead in the bore and I didn't clean until I was finished.

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Ed Harris posted this 12 August 2009

On the Savage No. 4 rifle you want to cast the chamber and see how large the throat is. Many run as large as .316 ahead of the chamber. Best is to get a custom mould from CBE in Australia which will foit your rifle.  The 2-groove barrels shoot well and #314299 is the only standard production bullet which has any hope of fitting. Try several .314 dies and pick one which is a bit large, or get one of the Lee .314 push-through dies and hone it to size. About 43-44 grs. of W-W760 or 4350 should do the job with a quenched WW bullet, “double-lubed” with grooves full of Rooster Red or Tamarack, and the entire bullet given a light overcoat of LLA. There is a good article on bedding the No.4 elsewhere on this forum. Jeff from NZ can help you.

73 de KE4SKY In Home Mix We Trust From the Home of Ed's Red in "Almost Heaven" West Virginia

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tturner53 posted this 12 August 2009

Thanks guys. All very good advice. This match has jump started a project that was on the back burner, not quite ready in other words. But I'm going for it. I like the #314299 and the Saeco 315, but only have mold in Saeco. The 314299's I've shot in my 30-06 in postals were commercial made. I'll be looking for that mold on the used market. Casting the chamber is in my plan and I was thinking of a custom mold from LBT, just not in the budget right now. I'll have to “just do it” for this first match and work on load developement along the way. With any luck this rifle will be my CBA military benchrest gun. I doubt it will ever outshoot those Swiss contraptions but I just like doing things a little differently.

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Wineman posted this 12 August 2009

Tturner53,

Good luck on the cast project! I look forward to meeting you at one of the matches. I am going to try a Swiss Contraption this week in open class with a scope. I need to see if it is my eyes or my ability. More practice time would really help.

Wineman

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tturner53 posted this 12 August 2009

I may have bit off more than I can chew! This long range stuff will be an eye opener for sure.If I can I will come out there to SacValley on Sat. just to watch and learn. You Swiss guys, I was just teasing you, hope to have one of my own. C&R license is supposedly on the way.

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excess650 posted this 12 August 2009

tturner53 wrote: I may have bit off more than I can chew! This long range stuff will be an eye opener for sure.If I can I will come out there to SacValley on Sat. just to watch and learn. You Swiss guys, I was just teasing you, hope to have one of my own. C&R license is supposedly on the way. The K31 is a fine rifle, IMO, but the downside is its top ejection.  I'm planning on having mine D&T for a receiver sight.  The Swiss sights are too pricey to suit me.  Should I encounter another decent shooter, I'll probably buy it. 

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tturner53 posted this 12 August 2009

Slugged the barrel on the Savage #4 .303. Pushed a 8mm cast bullet through with a brass rod. It measures .318/.306!! And I'm assuming that's the tight spots, there were a few. Doesn't look good for the Saeco 315 or Lyman 314299, but I'll try 'em and see. Gotta get some Cerosafe to cast the chamber, but I'm guessing it'll be BIG. I'll definitely talk to Veral, for starters I need his fire lapping kit. Also plan to try AA2700, it's the closest thing I have to WW760 and I have a lot of it. I'm reserving my right to give up and fall back on my Swede M96! We'll see. My thinking now is the healthy charge of rifle powder may cause some obturation and make those 315's work. I'll go with ww + tin and the double lube Ed suggested. No point in sizing I can see, gas checks will have to be hand applied.

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72coupe posted this 12 August 2009

I have a new 314299. It drops a bullet that is .303 on the minor diameter but measures .312 on the seams and 314 on the high spots.

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excess650 posted this 12 August 2009

.318"/.306” is going to be larger than typical .303 and smaller than typical 32-40/32Spl.

I wouldn't even try the Saeco 315. With the bullet cast soft enough to upset that much, it will come out the muzzle looking like a wadcutter.

You're in custom mould territory.

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tturner53 posted this 13 August 2009

Update; A few developements, I've caved in and am using jacketed Hornady 150 RN's for the match this Saturday with 42 Grs. of AA2700. I want to shoot this gun and there's no time for cast developement. Please don't disown me. Next is I'm going to try a paper patched bullet in this gun. And last but not least, Jeff in NZ told me these ” two groove barrels can be very forgiving” and also recommended CBE. If they are the .303 experts then I guess I can start shopping LBT's mold sale for another gun. He's selling 2 cavity molds for $75 if I remember right. I won't be happy 'til I have an LBT mold.

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JeffinNZ posted this 14 August 2009

Jim at CBE turns out moulds for all calibres and they are great to use. His has good record for .310 Cadet and .303 Brit especially as that is what is shot a great deal down this way. Today I shot my No4 MkII with the issue flip 300/600 sights at 100m. Load was a CBE 316 175 over 47gr H4350 for 2400fps (Mk VII duplicate load for service rifle shoots). 5 shots at 100m just over 2 inches and 4 of them in no more than 1 1/2 inches. Alloy is oven heat treated WW to 23 BHN. Bullet sized .312 on the front band and .316 for the rest. My SMLE likes a 220gr bullet over 41gr H4350 for 2000fps neat. Mk VI duplicate load. Again, hardened WW.

Cheers from New Zealand

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tturner53 posted this 30 September 2009

Two new developements on the .303 project. First, I got in on a group buy mold, it's supposed to drop 'em at .316/.306. This may be a fit, that's pretty close to a chamber cast I made. Second, dug out some really old Hornady gas checks, they come in a tin can. Somebody wrote .32 Sp on the can, so I always thought they were the same as a 8mm check. Now that I have a 8mm mold I checked out the checks and they're too small, measure .318 outside and about .290 inside, won't work for the 8mm but may be just the ticket for the new modified 314299 coming. I have old checks that I've found over the years, even a box of 'Ideal' checks. If none of this fits the Savage No 4 then I have a Lithgow with a little tighter dimensions that should like 'em. We'll see. Thanks again to all of you who have offered advice.  tt:taz:   EDIT; Been trying to find some 4350 locally, no dice so far. May have to use AA2700 or old 4831 in the mean time.

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