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  #1  
Old 05-20-2011, 03:59 AM
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Plugging ammo tube on LE rifle?


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Has anyone ever heard of using a wooden dowel, or other such obstruction, to plug the magazine tube on a lever-action rifle, such that you can only fit one cartridge at a time in the tube? If you were to do this, making it impossible to have a pointed bullet pierce the primer of the round in front of it, how much advantage do you think it would provide?

I've always considered the "fast follow-up shot" to be of dubious value, with a third shot being a complete waste of powder about 99% of the time. So, if your lever-action could carry one in the tube and one in the chamber, making it a two-shot gun that could safely shoot pointed bullets, would you be at all interested in using it this way?
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Old 05-20-2011, 04:52 AM
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If your going to the trouble of blocking the mag, why not just simply load a single round instead, load with conventional bullets and load the last round with a pointed bullet, use the Honady tipped bullets, or simply shoot the flat/round nose bullets and keep your shots under 200 yards. Why would you handicap yourself for no reason?
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  #3  
Old 05-20-2011, 05:29 AM
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I agree with the concept and think the number of PHs that use double rifles will attest to the effectiveness of two shots. Having only two shots available is not an issue for me. I don't think I'd go to the bother of the age old old shotgun method for limiting the tube's capacity though. Maybe something as simple as an ammo cuff on the buttstock that only ever carries those two shells would be just as effective. Pretty simple to keep track of them then. If you only carry two "pointys" afield at any given time, reloading with the most similar blunt bullet load, should never be an issue either.
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  #4  
Old 05-20-2011, 05:35 AM
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My thought behind using a magazine tube plug is that it would make it totally impossible to accidentally put two rounds in the magazine, and one in the chamber. In other words, it would make it "idiot-proof", which is a notion I have been known to challenge, on occasion!
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  #5  
Old 05-20-2011, 07:07 AM
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It's not uncommon for levergunners to handload Spitzer shaped rounds and hunt with one in the chamber and one the tube. You don't need a wooden dowel for that.
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  #6  
Old 05-20-2011, 07:21 AM
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Pointed bullets may not gain you as much as you think. Depends on the gun, but in my Marlin .30-30, and with Ballistic Tips, you can't seat them all the way out near the lands and still have the gun cycle. In fact you can't eject a loaded round, or feed one from the tube. That made for some interesting language as I figured out how to get my dummy round out of the action without pulling the bolt or the mag tube...

Seating the unmodified bullets to around 2.550" for my gun, would eat up powder space and raise pressures dangerously. Last, will a pointed bullet still expand at normal .30-30 or .35 Rem hunting ranges? Might, might not. I'm pretty sure a BT will but some spitzers won't reliably expand under 2,000fps impact velocity. That's a pretty well known cut off point and has been tested by many hunting magazines over the years.

Anyway, I wanted to try the BTs for various reasons so about .3" got cut off the nose and we'll see how they shoot. Haven't been to the range yet. .3" may not seem like much but it's a lot of case capacity in the .30-30.

Now I've got some fairly well streamlined boat tailed HPs, but they aren't pointed at all. Truthfully they may have no better trajectory than standard round nose bullets. I just had an itch to see how they would work.

So many pigs, so little time....

Anyway, the lesson is, if a pointed bullet isn't already designed for your particular lever gun (ie. the new Hornady bullets) then it's probably not going to gain much. There is a useful possibility of using light weight HPs for special purposes (varmits) but all the above has to be considered before going down that path.

Not to rain on your parade, but for deer hunting it's probably not worth the hassle. Unless your gun will feed them with no problem. Check with a dummy round first!!!!
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  #7  
Old 05-20-2011, 09:20 AM
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Good points, all, Mike. I have been deliberating on two possible avenues for development that led to my admittedly unorthodox thread...

1) I'd like to buy a 35 Remington, trim the case back to 1.8" (new Indiana legal limit) and load them with 180gr Hornady SSP bullets. This would maybe give me 2400fps from a pointed bullet that is designed to expand well all the way down to around 1800fps. In other words, a solid 250-yard deer rifle, w/o a whole lot of fuss.

2) I have a 30/30 that I'd like to try 125gr BT's in, seeing as how they worked s'darn well, loaded down in the '06. I could drive that little bullet to the same velocity, and since it's pretty short, I might not have to compromise on seating depth, to do so? A snoot full of RL10x might give me 2500fps, which is almost identical to what I'm getting with the same bullet and the '06, using H4895. If it was accurate enough, that might be a perfect rifle for my daughter to hunt everything from ground hogs to your average deer with. I'd want a mag tube that she could NOT goof up with and load more than one shell at a time.

Yeah...I'm a little nutty, but I've got a wife and 14 year-old daughter to put together guns for, PLUS I live in a state where the gun laws for hunting deer with rifles are just plain silly. Maybe it's rubbing off on me...ya think?
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  #8  
Old 05-20-2011, 10:13 AM
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I don't know if the 125s have the same nose profile as the 180gr. BTs. Anyway, giving up a little case capacity shouldn't be a big deal with that bullet weight. It would have been for sure with the 180s (which are now 175gr. or so).

Keep us posted.
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  #9  
Old 05-20-2011, 10:27 AM
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Where was the NRA when all those silly laws were passed?

.

Last edited by JBledsoe; 05-22-2011 at 03:24 PM.
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  #10  
Old 05-22-2011, 05:15 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by broom_jm View Post
My thought behind using a magazine tube plug is that it would make it totally impossible to accidentally put two rounds in the magazine, and one in the chamber. In other words, it would make it "idiot-proof", which is a notion I have been known to challenge, on occasion!
It would be fairly simple to do. Most pump shotguns come with a plug to make them legal for waterfowl.
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  #11  
Old 05-30-2011, 04:51 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by COSteve View Post
It's not uncommon for levergunners to handload Spitzer shaped rounds and hunt with one in the chamber and one the tube. You don't need a wooden dowel for that.
Exactly. I've done it with a 110 gr HP load (Sierra Varminter HP) and done it with 2 rounds in the magazine tube. There's not enough tension (nor recoil) in the mag spring to set off the first round in the tube. I chronoed this load to 3050 fps out of my Canadian Centenial's 26" bbl using 43 grs of H-335
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  #12  
Old 05-31-2011, 05:41 PM
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Rather than jump thru all the hoops wouldn't it be easier to hunt with a 357 or 44 Mag? The 357 is the same caliber as the 35 Rem and already has the short case. I used pointed (lead tip Speer) bullets for years in my 30-30's and a magazine full at that. In twenty years of use one never discharged in the magazine. And what if it did? All it would do is dirty up the magazine tube, it will not blow up the gun or blow off the fore end or any of the other horror stories.
The reason I discontinued the practice is because I finally realized that round nose CoreLokts work better than a pointed bullet. As MikeG said above, the pointed bullet does not always expand properly. The advantage offered by the pointed bullet is more imagined than actual because the difference is not seen until ranges exceeds 250 to 300 yards. In my opinion, there is little or no advantage with the pointed bullets in the lever guns, not even with the Hornady FTX. Although there may be some accuracy gains with the FTX's.

YMMV

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Last edited by JBledsoe; 06-02-2011 at 04:01 AM.
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  #13  
Old 06-07-2011, 05:40 PM
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I've done it without a plug. A two shot with spitzers can be a fun way to varmint hunt. If you are the only shooter a plug isn't needed.
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  #14  
Old 06-08-2011, 07:46 PM
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Will your daughter benefit from the two-round capacity?

Will it bring ANY concern as a safety issue? (If "YES" then why take the chance?!)

If you load the .30-30 that hot for your daughter, will she like the kick? (Or is the kick going to be similar to a 150 grain normally loaded round?)

Why not forget the plug idea and merely buy more guns to augment your arsenal! Ones that don't need a plug and all the worries you are trying to avoid. I'm serious. A flat shooting rifle .222 to .25 or so caliber for your daughter and whatever you've been yearning for for yourself.

If you wish to stick with leverguns, which we all know are stupendous, there are levergun calibers that will fit her and the various uses.
--.25-35 can be loaded with a 75 gr. or 86 gr. bullet for varmints, and 117gr. for deer. Kills sanely chosen critters quite dead. You have talked of shortening cases; I don't know the cautions, if any, in shortening the .25-35 from 2.04 to your state limit of 1.8.
--.25-20 is a great varmint caliber. Could be used on deer, but there are better choices for a young hunter.
--.32-20=fun to shoot!
--.38-40=My sons and I shoot deer with it. Not a noted varmint bullet, but it does kill the close ones.
--.44-40=you know.
--And the modern configurations that I haven't learned about.

If one rifle will not suffice to shoot varmints to deer, maybe just purchase a few more, and another safe! (She will need the safe for her guns anyway when she moves away to college.)
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  #15  
Old 06-09-2011, 04:17 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by FromTheWoods View Post
Will your daughter benefit from the two-round capacity?

Will it bring ANY concern as a safety issue? (If "YES" then why take the chance?!)

If you load the .30-30 that hot for your daughter, will she like the kick? (Or is the kick going to be similar to a 150 grain normally loaded round?)

Why not forget the plug idea and merely buy more guns to augment your arsenal! Ones that don't need a plug and all the worries you are trying to avoid. I'm serious. A flat shooting rifle .222 to .25 or so caliber for your daughter and whatever you've been yearning for for yourself.

If you wish to stick with leverguns, which we all know are stupendous, there are levergun calibers that will fit her and the various uses.
--.25-35 can be loaded with a 75 gr. or 86 gr. bullet for varmints, and 117gr. for deer. Kills sanely chosen critters quite dead. You have talked of shortening cases; I don't know the cautions, if any, in shortening the .25-35 from 2.04 to your state limit of 1.8.
--.25-20 is a great varmint caliber. Could be used on deer, but there are better choices for a young hunter.
--.32-20=fun to shoot!
--.38-40=My sons and I shoot deer with it. Not a noted varmint bullet, but it does kill the close ones.
--.44-40=you know.
--And the modern configurations that I haven't learned about.

If one rifle will not suffice to shoot varmints to deer, maybe just purchase a few more, and another safe! (She will need the safe for her guns anyway when she moves away to college.)
FTW - you ask some very good questions. In turn:

I'm not a huge proponent of the "fast follow-up shot" but it is convenient to have a second round already in the gun, especially when hunting in very cold conditions, as we sometimes see in northern Michigan.

This thread is ABOUT safety. Using a wooden dowel to prevent more than one round in the tube is the whole point, which means I would not be taking any chances. See?

The 125gr BT would not be loaded "hot" per se, just fast enough for the bullet to perform well at ranges of up to 200 yards, or so. It would kick no more than the standard 170gr load, possibly less.

Already have LOTS of guns, but have access to an old 30/30 anytime I want it, so I'm considering my options. Also, as the guys on here can attest, I like to be a little different, from time to time.

Her current gun, and the one she shot her first deer with when she was 13, is a Model '92 in 44-40. As good as it is, the 44-40 is NOT a 200 yard cartridge, but some of the places we hunt might offer shots that long. Most likely, she will not hunt those spots and I doubt she'll see a deer beyond 50 yards, but the time is coming when she'll probably want to shoot longer distances. That's when she'll graduate to her grandfather's model 700 in 243 Winchester.

Thanks for your questions!
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Last edited by broom_jm; 06-09-2011 at 04:21 AM.
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  #16  
Old 06-09-2011, 08:54 AM
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Sounds as if you are ahead of the questions and comments put to you--excellent!

Good luck to you and your daughter. May your hunts, even those without a kill, turn into storied memories.
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  #17  
Old 06-11-2011, 02:27 PM
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Hello broom_jm. I know I'm chiming in a bit late here, but here goes.
1) The idea of of a magazine plug for safety is in my opinion a very, very, good one.
Back when I was a kid and I first started deer hunting I used a 94 winchester in 30/30. For the first few years the rifle didn't fit very well and I found the recoil with factory ammo was a bit too much. My father (being a reloader) proceeded to start workup with lighter bullets. The load we settled on used the 110gr speer rn bullets without a cannelure (originaly intended for the M1 carbine). The bullets could not be roll crimped, and after my first deer season we found out that loading more than one round in the magazine would result in the bullets of one or more of the rounds in the magazine to push back into the casing. So after that I only loaded one round at a time in the magazine. A couple years ( and one deer) later we decided that the 110rn's werent satisfactory and I began using the hornady 130gr sp bullets using the same one in the chamber, and one in the mag loading system. My father (after noticing my level of excitement when I saw game) decided that my rifle needed a plug with these pointed bullets. My magazine plug consisted of an old aluminum arrow cut off to the proper length. It rattled around in the magazine and made too much noise but it served its purpose. The rifle was safe.
2) The wooden dowel should be somewhat quieter than my old aluminum arrow, but if you add a small spring in the end of your dowell to take up the the last little bit of space in the magazine, it should help eliminate the rattle. A knob on the end that the main magazine spring will catch but still let the rest of the dowel go down through the center of the spring would also work real nice I think.
3) The 35 caliber cartridge you mention sounds a bit like a rimless 357 herrett ?
Hope this helps. Ron.

Last edited by OTTER; 06-11-2011 at 07:52 PM.
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  #18  
Old 07-22-2011, 02:32 PM
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wood dowels are cheap.

Well, the theory is right and wood dowels are cheap. Take the magazine spring out and take it with you to the building supply store. You'll want to cut the dowel about half a round shorter than the length of your mag tube minus two rounds. This will give you room to experiment with bullet length.

I made up dowels for all the leverguns the kids shot, not because of the pointy bullets as I never used them, but because an excited kid and a loaded chamber is not the safest thing in the world. After they'd been in the field I used those dowels for kindling. I should have saved them, the grandkids are starting to shoot.
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