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Old 08-30-2010, 07:39 PM
Beartooth Regular
Join Date: Jun 2006
Location: Indiana
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Reduced .30-30 hand-load for farm use

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There's something I've wanted to ask here for quite some time.

My step-dad, like most farmers 50 years ago, kept a rifle or two as "barn" guns. We had the requisite .22 rimfire rifle, and a well-worn Winchester M-94 carbine. We did a lot of butchering. For ourselves, and for many of the neighboring farmers. Pop would send my brothers and I to other farms to kill and skin out other folks' cattle and hogs, or the neighbors would truck them to our place for processing. Most of the time, the nondescript .22 rifle was sufficient for the job.

On some really large animals, though, he had us use the .30-30. That might seem like over-kill nowadays, but some of the common beef cattle and hog breeds were larger animals than the smaller, more efficiently bred hybrid feeder critters today. Anyway, the full-powered 150 or 170-grain .30-30 hunting loads were, of course, needlessly powerful for slaughter shots to the head, and the little rimfires sometimes didn't always have enough poop without really perfect placement. So Pop hand-loaded a light load for the Model 94.

Best I remember, he loaded a small all-lead bullet that was adequately accurate at 50 feet or so across the barnyard enabling you to cleanly drop a skittish steer who was trying his best to not let you get too close. It was lightly loaded enough to not do excessive meat damage because folks tried to get everything available from a meat animal. One of Pop's contemporaries recently told me he probably used a buckshot pellet for the hand load, but that just didn't make sense to me. I used his hand-load in the .30-30 on several occasions, and was present when it was used by him, and it certainly was conclusive.

I just wondered if anyone here had occasion to learn to use hand-loads like that from Depression-era folks like my step-father?
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Old 08-31-2010, 05:06 AM
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I've loaded up some cast bullets in my .35 Rem with very light loads of powder for discreet pest control. About 3 grains of bullseye. Don't think the bullet weight or shape will matter much. The load was tested with some 210gr. cast bullets I had handy and would go through an inch of plywood. At short range they'll go through a hog's head, too.

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Old 09-02-2010, 09:41 AM
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Join Date: Jun 2002
Location: Alberta
Posts: 434
I load the Lee 115gr FN cast bullet over 0.5cc of Titewad for grouse and rabbit out of my 30-30. Having slaughtered my share of reluctant farm critters with a .22LR I am certain a load like this will do a much better job without excessive damage.

You can find a useful article on the .30-30 light loads here:

A general article about pistol powders in rifle cartridges can be found here:
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Old 09-02-2010, 10:08 AM
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More recently, Hodgdon suggests Trail Boss for light rifle loads because it fills the case better. Their directions are to start at 70% fill of the case volume available under the bullet, which would be 7 or 8 grains (TB is very bulky) in the .30-30, depending on case brand and bullet length. A flat nose lead slug would be just fine. So would a flat nose jacketed slug at that load level. Just don't increase the load to exceed 100% of available case volume (around 11 grains, depending on the bullet), because Trail Boss can spike to high pressures if the grains are broken up or dusted by compressing.

In order not to overpenetrate, I expect a light bullet might be the best choice. Marshall has a 115 grain FP that would likely be excellent, and that is the simplest solution. IMHO. You could also probably use one of the .30 Cal 100 grain half-jacketed plinkers that Speer and Hornady make. They have a plenty soft nose for expansion and short travel. Not being flat nosed, you may prefer to load them one at a time, though I doubt you'd have enough recoil to set off a tube of rounds with that charge and light bullet weight. You could flatten them a little with a hammer if that worried you, then push them through a Lee sizer. At 50 feet you won't see an accuracy issue over that. Another possibility would be to buy some 95 grain cast .32 wadcutters and just resize them in a Lee .309 die if they are too wide to chamber as they are. They can be loaded almost flush with the case mouth. Flat bullets are good killers. Marshall's bullet is still the least work to get there and is likely to prove most accurate among those possibilities.
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Old 09-02-2010, 11:23 AM
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Check here to get chamber adapters that will chamber .32 S&W and .32 H&R Mag in your .30/30.
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Old 09-02-2010, 09:44 PM
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Location: Indiana
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Thanks so much everybody for your responses. Did any of the factories ever make a reduced load, like, before WW2?
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Old 09-03-2010, 04:53 AM
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Location: S.C.
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The 30 cal Hornady 100 r. SJ is a viable alternative for reduced loads. It can be shot in your jacketed bullet rifles if you don't want to shoot lead over jacket fouling or visa versa. I have found them to be very accurate and even group well out to 100 yds although point of aim is 10 inches higher.
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Old 09-05-2010, 03:23 PM
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Join Date: Jul 2010
Location: South Louisiana
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I used to load a 115 gr RNGC bullet in 30-30's using nothing but Unique. Killed many a Coon with that load. Even got two with the same bullet once. It's pretty much a duplicate load of the old 32-20. The load info can be found in the Lyman cast bullet manual
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Old 09-05-2010, 04:59 PM
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rcbs 150grn cast 10grn 2400 will do the job you need
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Old 09-05-2010, 05:28 PM
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Your choice of cast flat nose bullet and 8-10 gr. of AA-5744 should do the trick, too. Start at 10 and so long as the bullet clears the barrel, you can work your way down slowly. I use 15 gr. in a .307 Win.
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