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  1. #1
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    Question 30-40 Krag reloading info?

    Greetings,

    Does anyone have some tested data they would like to share?
    I want to develop a load that shoots pretty close to the sights, as I will be using the old girl in various vintage rifle competitions. Some of the bullseyes are pretty small, on the order of a golf ball.

    I'm leaning toward cast bullets to reduce wear & tear, but the published loads I have found seem too light, probably due to fast burning pistol powders.
    I would expect that I will need to use long, heavy round nosed bullets, to be in tune with the (typical) long throat and that lighter bullets will not do as well.

    TIA

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Dec 1969
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    213

    Default

    First bit of advice is to slug your bore, U.S. Krags come in a wide range of sizes. My '98 has a generous .3104 groove diameter at the muzzle, probably a bit more in the worn throat. Pick a larger 30 cast bullet to fit if your bore is similar.
    My own target load is a Lapua D-166 FMJ over 48.0 grains of IMR 4831, this produces sub 2" groups at 100 yards for me and my tired eyes. The D-166 is the Finn bullet for the M39 rifle in 7.62X54R, 200 grains measuring about .3094. I crimp lightly at the cannelure and feed singly, for magazine feed they must be seated deeper. Since I have no chronograph I can't comment on velocity, but they sure are accurate!
    With the Krag's long throat the next best choices would be round nosed bullets of 180 grains or better; the 220s group well for me but the Lapuas edge them out slightly. Of course, your milage may vary since I have seen Krags with bores as tight as .306. Good luck!

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Dec 1969
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    Siskiyou County, California
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    Default

    In reference to cast bullet velocities.. You didn't mention what velocities would be acceptable to you. I've been shooting cast bullets almost exclusively in my rifles for the past 5 years. The best bullets I've found are Lyman 311299 @ 200 grs RN .311" and 311284 @ 210grs RN .309". I buy my cast bullets either from Wayne Doudna or lately from Gardner's Cache in Illinois. I've gotten some excellenet accuracy with 311299 in the Finn m/91 B-barrel and 1891 Argentine rifle to the tune of 4 of 5 shots in one hole @ 50 yds. Gardner's also sells a 190gr RN .311" that's given me nearly as good accuracy in my M1917 & M1903 .30-06 rifles. The M1917 recently out shot my M1903 by putting 4 of 5 190gr RN into 1/2" @ 50 yds. This was with 20.5grs 2400.

    I use a lot of Unique because it produces some great accuracy in the 1,500 fps range and I really don't need more. I also use 2400 which pushes speeds up into 1,750 fps.

    Three other powders that are perfect for this application are XMP5744, Reloader 7 and SR4759. These are all very similar to each other in characteristics and application. I've used Re7 and SR4795 more than 5744 and Re7 more than SR5759. You can duplicate U.S. military ballistics with cast bullets using the right powder. I feel no need to go beyound 1,800 fps in a rifle with cast bullets so its easy for me to be happy .

    IMR4198 is another powder for this type of load, a higher end cast bullet load. I've got 2 lbs of it at the loading bench but haven't used it yet. Its hard for me to get past Unique as it gives me what I want.

    I'd agree to slug your bore. Any .308" groove bore can use .311" cast bullets with great success. I do it all the time. No fillers whatsoever with any powder are needed. Let the PhD's lecture you about position sensitive BS because if Unique can give the kind of results I've gotten its not something you need to worry about. Twelve grains (12 grs) of Unique with a 200gr RN cast bullet at about 1,500 fps is a dang good load out of a rifle and very accurate. I don't worry about powder position and I sleep real good at night.

    Lyman 314299 is the oversize version of 311299. Its primarily for .303 British but can be used for any 30 caliber rifle that's a bit large in the groove diameter. Wayne Doudna casts this one, too. Use a Lyman M die as a last case prep step to provide easy seating. I use a Lee factory crimp die with everything anymore. Midway sells them under $9 on occassion.

    311299 has a .304" nose diameter. Lyman 311284 has a .299/.300" nose diameter. The Lyman 190gr RN has a .300" nose diameter. I mention this because I tried loading 311299 in the 7.5x55 Swiss 1896/11 and K31. It chambered ok in the 1896/11 but wouldn't chamber in the K31. So I use a 180gr RN .309" with a .300" nose diameter in the K31 and it works very well. The K31 has a shorter throat (much).

    Another thing I've been experimenting with is throwing all charges with Lee dippers. If somebody tries telling you that you can't get good accuracy with dippers you find somebody else to listen to. I've chronographed loads with a very low standard deviation using Lee dippers. I have only 3 loads for all my cast bullet loads in rifles. I shoot 12 grs of Unqiue, 13.2 grs Unique or 20.5 grs 2400 in all the bottleneck rifle calibers. I've not found a need to branch out from these loads yet.

    I don't load .30-40 Krag. I do load 8x58RD and 6.5x55... and a bunch of others.

    Dutchman - handloader for 40 years

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Sep 2007
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    Aledo, Texas
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    360

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    Merle:

    Good advice above. Two excellent online references that you should check out before purchasing any casting equipment:

    http://castboolits.gunloads.com/
    http://www.castbulletassoc.org/

    The guys on those forums are very knowledgeable and helpful -- they really helped me get started.

    Definitely slug the bore and the throat before trying any cast bullet. Choose a bullet size 0.001 over bore size as a start. Also, Krag's like long bullets, so go with a 180-220gr class bullet.

    I personally use SR-4759 because that's what I had on hand when loading cast for my .45-70. While I've never tried Unique or 2400, I know lots of folks that swear by those powders with cast.

    The load I use in my "over-size" Krag (24" bbl) is:

    Lee C312-185-1R sized to .313
    Rem Brass
    CCI200 Primer
    19.0 gr SR-4759
    OAL = 3.080"

    MV = 1700 fps; SD = 6
    Group = 1.8" @ 100yds (10 shots; peep sights)

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Dec 1969
    Location
    North Carolina, CSA
    Posts
    2,994

    Default

    I recently moved into a new house and have "misplaced" several of my reloading manuals and records. When I find them (I hope?) I'll post my loads here.

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Dec 1969
    Location
    Amarillo, TX
    Posts
    94

    Talking

    [QUOTE=kragluver;46539]Merle:

    Good advice above. Two excellent online references that you should check out before purchasing any casting equipment:

    http://castboolits.gunloads.com/
    http://www.castbulletassoc.org/

    The guys on those forums are very knowledgeable and helpful -- they really helped me get started.

    Definitely slug the bore and the throat before trying any cast bullet. Choose a bullet size 0.001 over bore size as a start. Also, Krag's like long bullets, so go with a 180-220gr class bullet.

    I personally use SR-4759 because that's what I had on hand when loading cast for my .45-70. While I've never tried Unique or 2400, I know lots of folks that swear by those powders with cast.

    The load I use in my "over-size" Krag (24" bbl) is:

    Lee C312-185-1R sized to .313
    Rem Brass
    CCI200 Primer
    19.0 gr SR-4759
    OAL = 3.080"

    MV = 1700 fps; SD = 6
    Group = 1.8" @ 100yds (10 shots; peep sights)[/QUOTE
    Good advise on the cast "boolits" they are a lot more fun than any jacketed bullet as you make them. Expiermenting is more than half the fun in shooting, different powders, different boolit designs, different powders, and easer on my "old" sholder and 22 cal do not excite me in the least. I might add the chalange of finding "free" lead is getting more difficult but fun anyhow.
    Last edited by Freightman; 10-15-2007 at 09:55 AM.

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Sep 2007
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    Aledo, Texas
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    Default

    Casting and shooting your own bullets is surprisingly addictive. I started casting round ball for my .54 cal muzzle loader just because I wanted to do it "the old way". I said to myself -- "I'll never have a need to cast anything else". Then a friend found out I shoot .45-70 and he gave me a bucket full of wheel weights, and hey -- I've got to use 'em, right? So, I find myself casting for .45-70. I say to myself -- I'll never have a need for a gas check design... Then, I started shooting the Krag and the Enfield more, and to save cost and barrel wear, I start casting for them. Its an insidious thing. Soon, you'll start buying bullet moulds for calibers you don't yet own:eek:

    Let me also say, that I've found excellent accuracy in both the .45-70 and Krag using cast and I've never looked back. I'm having some troubles with my Enfield, but that's a product of an undersized bullet coupled with an over-sized bore. I have an "oversize" mould for .303 British on order from Cast Bullet Engineering in Australia that will hopefully solve those problems.
    Last edited by kragluver; 10-15-2007 at 10:21 AM. Reason: Add info

  8. #8
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    Thumbs up

    Quote Originally Posted by jp View Post
    First bit of advice is to slug your bore, U.S. Krags come in a wide range of sizes. My '98 has a generous .3104 groove diameter at the muzzle, probably a bit more in the worn throat. Pick a larger 30 cast bullet to fit if your bore is similar.
    My own target load is a Lapua D-166 FMJ over 48.0 grains of IMR 4831, this produces sub 2" groups at 100 yards for me and my tired eyes. The D-166 is the Finn bullet for the M39 rifle in 7.62X54R, 200 grains measuring about .3094. I crimp lightly at the cannelure and feed singly, for magazine feed they must be seated deeper. Since I have no chronograph I can't comment on velocity, but they sure are accurate!
    With the Krag's long throat the next best choices would be round nosed bullets of 180 grains or better; the 220s group well for me but the Lapuas edge them out slightly. Of course, your milage may vary since I have seen Krags with bores as tight as .306. Good luck!

    Thank you

  9. #9
    Join Date
    Feb 2010
    Location
    Mercer County, PA
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    Thumbs up

    Quote Originally Posted by Dutchman View Post
    In reference to cast bullet velocities.. You didn't mention what velocities would be acceptable to you. I've been shooting cast bullets almost exclusively in my rifles for the past 5 years. The best bullets I've found are Lyman 311299 @ 200 grs RN .311" and 311284 @ 210grs RN .309". I buy my cast bullets either from Wayne Doudna or lately from Gardner's Cache in Illinois. I've gotten some excellenet accuracy with 311299 in the Finn m/91 B-barrel and 1891 Argentine rifle to the tune of 4 of 5 shots in one hole @ 50 yds. Gardner's also sells a 190gr RN .311" that's given me nearly as good accuracy in my M1917 & M1903 .30-06 rifles. The M1917 recently out shot my M1903 by putting 4 of 5 190gr RN into 1/2" @ 50 yds. This was with 20.5grs 2400.

    I use a lot of Unique because it produces some great accuracy in the 1,500 fps range and I really don't need more. I also use 2400 which pushes speeds up into 1,750 fps.

    Three other powders that are perfect for this application are XMP5744, Reloader 7 and SR4759. These are all very similar to each other in characteristics and application. I've used Re7 and SR4795 more than 5744 and Re7 more than SR5759. You can duplicate U.S. military ballistics with cast bullets using the right powder. I feel no need to go beyound 1,800 fps in a rifle with cast bullets so its easy for me to be happy .

    IMR4198 is another powder for this type of load, a higher end cast bullet load. I've got 2 lbs of it at the loading bench but haven't used it yet. Its hard for me to get past Unique as it gives me what I want.

    I'd agree to slug your bore. Any .308" groove bore can use .311" cast bullets with great success. I do it all the time. No fillers whatsoever with any powder are needed. Let the PhD's lecture you about position sensitive BS because if Unique can give the kind of results I've gotten its not something you need to worry about. Twelve grains (12 grs) of Unique with a 200gr RN cast bullet at about 1,500 fps is a dang good load out of a rifle and very accurate. I don't worry about powder position and I sleep real good at night.

    Lyman 314299 is the oversize version of 311299. Its primarily for .303 British but can be used for any 30 caliber rifle that's a bit large in the groove diameter. Wayne Doudna casts this one, too. Use a Lyman M die as a last case prep step to provide easy seating. I use a Lee factory crimp die with everything anymore. Midway sells them under $9 on occassion.

    311299 has a .304" nose diameter. Lyman 311284 has a .299/.300" nose diameter. The Lyman 190gr RN has a .300" nose diameter. I mention this because I tried loading 311299 in the 7.5x55 Swiss 1896/11 and K31. It chambered ok in the 1896/11 but wouldn't chamber in the K31. So I use a 180gr RN .309" with a .300" nose diameter in the K31 and it works very well. The K31 has a shorter throat (much).

    Another thing I've been experimenting with is throwing all charges with Lee dippers. If somebody tries telling you that you can't get good accuracy with dippers you find somebody else to listen to. I've chronographed loads with a very low standard deviation using Lee dippers. I have only 3 loads for all my cast bullet loads in rifles. I shoot 12 grs of Unqiue, 13.2 grs Unique or 20.5 grs 2400 in all the bottleneck rifle calibers. I've not found a need to branch out from these loads yet.

    I don't load .30-40 Krag. I do load 8x58RD and 6.5x55... and a bunch of others.

    Dutchman - handloader for 40 years



    I didn't mention the velocity because I'm more concerned with getting a load that shoots to the sights. As I mentioned a golf ball sized targets @ 100 yds doesn't work well when a lot of Kentucky is required.

    I don't have any real preferences for powder or bullets, but know full well that some bullets work better than others. I have not yet loaded any cast bullets for the Krag, but have in other calibers.

    Thanks for the info.

  10. #10
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    Thumbs up

    Quote Originally Posted by kragluver View Post
    Merle:

    Good advice above. Two excellent online references that you should check out before purchasing any casting equipment:

    http://castboolits.gunloads.com/
    http://www.castbulletassoc.org/

    The guys on those forums are very knowledgeable and helpful -- they really helped me get started.

    Definitely slug the bore and the throat before trying any cast bullet. Choose a bullet size 0.001 over bore size as a start. Also, Krag's like long bullets, so go with a 180-220gr class bullet.

    I personally use SR-4759 because that's what I had on hand when loading cast for my .45-70. While I've never tried Unique or 2400, I know lots of folks that swear by those powders with cast.

    The load I use in my "over-size" Krag (24" bbl) is:

    Lee C312-185-1R sized to .313
    Rem Brass
    CCI200 Primer
    19.0 gr SR-4759
    OAL = 3.080"

    MV = 1700 fps; SD = 6
    Group = 1.8" @ 100yds (10 shots; peep sights)



    Thank you

  11. #11
    Join Date
    Feb 2010
    Location
    Mercer County, PA
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    Quote Originally Posted by Krag View Post
    I recently moved into a new house and have "misplaced" several of my reloading manuals and records. When I find them (I hope?) I'll post my loads here.

    Good luck!
    I'm a contractor & move frequently, so I know how it feels to dig!

  12. #12
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    Feb 2010
    Location
    Mercer County, PA
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    Thumbs up

    [QUOTE=Freightman;46606]
    Quote Originally Posted by kragluver View Post
    Merle:

    Good advice above. Two excellent online references that you should check out before purchasing any casting equipment:

    http://castboolits.gunloads.com/
    http://www.castbulletassoc.org/

    The guys on those forums are very knowledgeable and helpful -- they really helped me get started.

    Definitely slug the bore and the throat before trying any cast bullet. Choose a bullet size 0.001 over bore size as a start. Also, Krag's like long bullets, so go with a 180-220gr class bullet.

    I personally use SR-4759 because that's what I had on hand when loading cast for my .45-70. While I've never tried Unique or 2400, I know lots of folks that swear by those powders with cast.

    The load I use in my "over-size" Krag (24" bbl) is:

    Lee C312-185-1R sized to .313
    Rem Brass
    CCI200 Primer
    19.0 gr SR-4759
    OAL = 3.080"

    MV = 1700 fps; SD = 6
    Group = 1.8" @ 100yds (10 shots; peep sights)[/QUOTE


    Good advise on the cast "boolits" they are a lot more fun than any jacketed bullet as you make them. Expiermenting is more than half the fun in shooting, different powders, different boolit designs, different powders, and easer on my "old" sholder and 22 cal do not excite me in the least. I might add the chalange of finding "free" lead is getting more difficult but fun anyhow.

    I've been casting for over 30 years, but mostly for leverguns & revolvers.
    I have learned the hard way (probably more accurately put "the expensive way") that not all moulds are created equal. I'm hoping for some tips on good moulds, so I won't add to my collection of "ho hum" moulds that I don't use any more. I've got some good info here!

  13. #13
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    Feb 2010
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    Thumbs up

    Quote Originally Posted by kragluver View Post
    Casting and shooting your own bullets is surprisingly addictive. I started casting round ball for my .54 cal muzzle loader just because I wanted to do it "the old way". I said to myself -- "I'll never have a need to cast anything else". Then a friend found out I shoot .45-70 and he gave me a bucket full of wheel weights, and hey -- I've got to use 'em, right? So, I find myself casting for .45-70. I say to myself -- I'll never have a need for a gas check design... Then, I started shooting the Krag and the Enfield more, and to save cost and barrel wear, I start casting for them. Its an insidious thing. Soon, you'll start buying bullet moulds for calibers you don't yet own:eek:

    Let me also say, that I've found excellent accuracy in both the .45-70 and Krag using cast and I've never looked back. I'm having some troubles with my Enfield, but that's a product of an undersized bullet coupled with an over-sized bore. I have an "oversize" mould for .303 British on order from Cast Bullet Engineering in Australia that will hopefully solve those problems.

    The 45-70 is also what got me started in casting.
    I bought a Marlin in 1972 (?) and quickly learned that factory ammo was hard to find and VERY expensive. Jacketed bullets were equally scarce, and had to be special ordered with a 6 week plus wait, if you were lucky. A $9.98 Lee mould and an endless supply of bullets was on hand!!!

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