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  #1  
Old 03-08-2010, 01:35 PM
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RD's 30-30AI Q#1 - Fireforming Cases


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Anybody shooting round balls out of their 30-30AI to fire form cases?
I'm casting up some of the Lee .311" RBs to see how they work. I actually got QuickLoad to spit out a load for Unique at 1250 FPS (3.8-grains) and 2275 PSI.

Any idea, when forming a case on a press what kind of pressure it takes?
Throw a number out there!

Anyone know of a 30-30 Win to 30-30 AI case forming die set?
As far as I know, there isn't a 30-30 Win to 30-30 AI case forming die or at least I haven't been able to find one
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Old 03-08-2010, 02:41 PM
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RD,
If you mean a hydraulic form set, I’ll bet it would not take much pressure to form them.

I looked at brass quite a bit and formed 30-30AI cases from everything I could find. When forming cases from the 375 Winchester I necked them initially in one of several different form dies just to see which method was best. The 219 Zipper No. 1 form dies worked best for me.
I also formed cases from 38-55 and 32 Winchester Special cases and these cases formed quite easily in the 30-30AI size die. I ran the 38-55’s into the seater die first and then used the size die.

I also necked up the 30-30 using three different Lyman M dies and then sized them in the 30-30AI die. I found no improvement in case life and was never able to form a case which did not require at least some limited fire forming. My best formed cases still had rounded shoulders. For me the best fire form loads used new 30-30 brass with a maximum standard 30-30 load. Cases formed in this manner last a very long time when loaded to high pressure in the Improved chamber.

I know you are trying to save primers but I have found no completely satisfactory way of avoiding a fire form load.

EDIT I intended to mention I do not fire form any cartridge case using ball powder. I have experienced some interesting high velocities when fire forming improved cartridges using ball powders.
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Last edited by William Iorg; 03-08-2010 at 02:46 PM.
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  #3  
Old 03-08-2010, 02:55 PM
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Thanks for the report William. I could always use the 219 Zipper dies as I have one of those also. Good advice. My worry with case forming dies is what you mentioned, any attempt on my part to form them has left a little to be desired so I've ended up fire forming them anyway.

My desire to use round lead balls instead of bullets is to save lead. 46-grains of lead for the ball vs anything else for a bullet should be an improvement. 4.8-grains of Unique is a .5cc dipper, making it easy, with 1500 FPS and about 3500 PSI. May be that will form it with good definition. Weather is foul here, too much rain to shoot.
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Old 03-08-2010, 03:07 PM
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RD,
You could always use a fire form load of 6.0 to 8.0 grains of Alliant Bullseye and the case filled up with corn meal and topped with a dab of Alox or candle wax. I have formed a few with this method but I prefer to use a bullet.
The odd thing is it seems to require more Bullseye to form a case when using corn meal than with a bullet – a resistance “thang.”
Interesting thing is one of my most accurate cast bullet loads in the 30-30 AI is: 4.5 grains of Alliant Bullseye behind the Lyman 311291. This load will shoot a ragged hole at 50 yards from the bench. This load will not form a good case.

Its muddy here but no rain for a day or so - we hope.
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  #5  
Old 03-10-2010, 06:47 PM
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For the record, I tried fireforming Ackleys with 93 grain lead bullets, and I think Universal powder. I had no luck at all getting shoulders to kick out, but I did get to spend some quality time scrubbing lead out of the basket case!!
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  #6  
Old 03-10-2010, 07:46 PM
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I think you need a little more horsepower to get the case to form... I have shot other rounds with the light charges of Unique and Trailboss and the case didn't expand enough for the sizing die to do any work to it.
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  #7  
Old 04-14-2010, 04:09 AM
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30-30AI case forming continued...

My 30-30AI case forming project finally cycled back to my bench. To pick up where I left off, I was going to try using light loads of Unique behind a .311" round ball to form the cases. I acquired the appropriate Lee mold (#90406) and it took only only short time to cast a lifetime supply of the BB's with plumbers lead. I took a few from my casting bench at midstream to make sure the continued effort was worth while and I like the results!



Using previously shot 30-30 Win cases, I knocked the primer out with the decapping tool from a Lee Loader. I did not want to resize the case. After installing a primer, I dropped a .5cc dipper of Unique (4.1-grains) in the case and pushed a 30 caliber patch done on the powder to hold it in place. I pushed a round ball down on the case to the "lubber line" (half exposed) and crimped it into place with the Lee FCD. This light load did not do the trick so I moved on to the next dipper, .7cc (5.7-grains). I was excited when I saw the results but wanted more definition in the case. 1.0cc (8.2-grains) really started to look great but I think I will end up using the 1.3cc (10.7-grains) dipper to do the work.



This method of fire-forming should meet my needs of something fast without wasting a bunch of my lead bullets. What is amazing is that the 1.0cc load was quite accurate and with a little KY windage, I was whacking turtles out on the pond from my house!

I have a couple of rifles needing more immediate attention and a lot of farm work to do but I will be back on my 30-30AI project soon. I want to get it ironed out for hunting season as I think I will make it a 30 caliber year. I picked up two more 30-30s since I last posted; a 30TK and a 336BL and need to include them with the loadwork. These three along with my Glenfield 30 and 308MX would fill my freezer!
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  #8  
Old 04-14-2010, 04:32 AM
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RD,

Those are some very encouraging results and if I didn't have a lifetime supply of 30 Herrett cases already formed, I would give your process a try! I used a bunch of bulk Remington bullets, loaded long, with a middling load of powder to fire-form, which worked well, but was obviously more expensive than what you've accomplished. I hope you are as successful with that gun in the field this fall, as you were at the reloading bench!

Jason
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  #9  
Old 04-15-2010, 07:00 PM
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Shooting these little BBs is actually fun! They cycle very smoothly through the action and the 1.3cc load of Unique is doing a great job on the cases. I set up the bullet seating die in the Lee Loader Kit to handle bullet seating so everything is consistent but I do run them through the FCD.

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  #10  
Old 04-16-2010, 04:28 AM
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That's pretty neat Mike!
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  #11  
Old 05-02-2010, 05:45 AM
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I spent a little time continuing my experiments with fire-forming brass for the AI with the .311" round ball. To recap, I'm trying to keep this as simple and as pain free as possible. I'm using the Lee dippers to drop the powder, I don't want to measure anything, and using the Lee Loader for most of the work. It does make it simple and quick.


I am impressed with the forming but think I will refine my technique a bit. The first thing I learned was that I need to swab the chamber between each case formed.



I initially was seeing these dents in the case. I looked into the chamber and could see the little toasted kernels of Unique that where left behind so I started running a swap into the chamber on a flexible cleaning rod between shots. That took care of the problem.

The next item I noticed was a black ring forming around the forward portion of the case!



I polished a case and then died it with a marking pen and then polished it again so that just the indented area or crack would be highlighted. Here is what it looks like.



I went on to look inside the case with a fiber optic light but can see nothing but a real nice looking form job from the inside. Initially I thought it might be a crack forming but could it just be the point that back-flowing gases are stopped as the case forms to the chamber? Remember that I was getting burnt kernels of Unique left in the chamber causing the dents.



Could it be the size of the patch that I'm using to hold the Unique at the primer? Is is slamming forward and creating an area of stress as the case is formed? I've tried two sizes, may go to a poly-foam material so it burns quicker? Not using the patch resulted in inconsistent case forming. I might drop back down to the 1.0cc dipper with a poly-foam patch and see what that looks like.

The good news is that the .311" round ball is amazingly inaccurate! That is good so that I will not feel bad about walking up and shooting a hundred rounds of them into the target backstop. In that they feed through the magazine very well and once I have my forming technique down, I can load up and shoot the whole lot very quickly. The only time constraint will be that of filling the magazine and then running the swab in and out between the shot. May be three a minute or thirty minutes for a 100.

Oh, the velocity sat at 2395 FPS! QuickLOAD guessed 2550 FPS and 12.3K PSI. When correcting the calculation for range temperature and using a trick that Unclenick taught me, changing case capacity until the FPS expectation meets actual, the pressure looks like it would be only 9.3K PSI. I don't know if this is valid for such a reduced capacity plus adding the patch. Either way, there is not a lot of pressure being generated.
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Last edited by Ranch Dog; 05-02-2010 at 05:54 AM. Reason: Velocity info added
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Old 05-02-2010, 09:48 AM
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Instead of a patch, have you tried polyester pillow stuffing (a.k.a. Dacron)? It won't be as quick as a patch to stuff in the case, though.
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Old 05-02-2010, 12:30 PM
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That is what I meant by the poly-foam I mention above. It is hard to stuff in and you have to cut the strips.
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Old 05-02-2010, 07:50 PM
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OK you have different stuff than I do. Mine is just a big bag of loose stuffing. Don't have to cut it but it is slow to poke in the cases. Grab a handful, yank "some" off, stuff in case with a nail or other handy tool (anything smaller than the case mouth).

Works, but not quick. Oh well.
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Old 05-03-2010, 01:43 PM
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Sounds like I need to go to Wal-Mart and check out their selection of "reloading" supplies!
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  #16  
Old 05-11-2010, 04:24 AM
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I agree with Slim as stated in his excellent post above. I have tried a number of methods of case forming and the full charge standard bullet works best for me. I get a better case that last longer. Other than losing a couple hundred feet per second velocity I see no disadvantage in using full loads. You are going to be practice shooting anyway (I should hope), so do your practice with fire forming as a bonus. I shoot ground squirrels, rocks, cans, and other targets of opportunity with fire forming loads.
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Old 05-12-2010, 05:21 AM
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Fireforming is just a task, like case sizing for me. It is something that needs to be done in a timely manner. I cut the bottom out of a feed tub and buried it at a 45° and filled it with sand. It is like what we used to clear our weapons in the Army with except in that example the weapon wasn't really supposed to discharge (or there would be heck to pay). I'm now working on a screen in "the pit" so that I can recover the RBs and recycle them.
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Old 05-12-2010, 08:33 AM
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Originally Posted by JBledsoe View Post
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I agree with Slim as stated in his excellent post above. I have tried a number of methods of case forming and the full charge standard bullet works best for me. I get a better case that last longer. Other than losing a couple hundred feet per second velocity I see no disadvantage in using full loads. You are going to be practice shooting anyway (I should hope), so do your practice with fire forming as a bonus. I shoot ground squirrels, rocks, cans, and other targets of opportunity with fire forming loads.
I have read your comment a couple of times and I'm trying to understand what you mean: You have seen your cases last longer when the fire-forming load you used was a full charge, instead of the more commonly used 5-10% reduction, with a heavy-for-caliber bullet? In reading Cartridges of the World, and at the instruction of JD Jones (arguably the most prolific creator of wildcat cartridges in the last 30 years) I have always fire-formed with a medium to low charge and a heavy bullet, loaded long. This is particularly important with rimless designs, as seating the bullet near (or in) the lands helps ensure the shoulder is moved forward and formed properly.

How have your cases lasted longer, when fire-forming them with full-throttle loads? Isn't the brass worked exactly the same amount, regardless of how much powder was used in the process?
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