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I just picked up a .30-30 lever action and want to start casting for it. This won't be a hunting gun or anything; I just bought it to have another gun to play around with. Sometimes I buy guns in calibers I don't own just to start casting and playing around with loads :)

Anyway, I think I'll go with a 150 grain gas checked bullet. I'm currently about 2,000 miles away from my load manuals, so I can't look up the correct diameter. What sizing die should I start with?

I know it can vary by a few thousandths of an inch depending on the actual diameter, but I don't really want to slug the bore on this gun. I just want to start at the "average" starting diameter for .30-30. Is it .308? .309?
 

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The Hog Whisperer (Administrator)
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.310" in my Marlin.
 

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Discussion Starter #5
I would go with .309 since that's the generla rule of thumb to go .001 over bore size.
Yes, I know, but I couldn't remember if the nominal bore size for .30-30 was .308. Since it appears to be, based on your post, I'll start at .309 like you suggested.
 

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You will also need to use another die with an expander ball that can bell the case mouth, so that the bullets will start without damaging the bullets. I think I used one from a 30 carbine set for this. The std 2 die sets don;t perform this function.
 

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30 Carbine Ball.

You will also need to use another die with an expander ball that can bell the case mouth, so that the bullets will start without damaging the bullets. I think I used one from a 30 carbine set for this. The std 2 die sets don;t perform this function.
Isn't the 30 Carbine expander ball in a full length resizer ball a .308" size , the same size expander ball in 30-30 die ? , wouldn't you be better off with using one from say a 7.62 x 39mm which is .310" or a 303 Britsh which is .310-.311.
 

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Isn't the 30 Carbine expander ball in a full length resizer ball a .308" size , the same size expander ball in 30-30 die ? , wouldn't you be better off with using one from say a 7.62 x 39mm which is .310" or a 303 Britsh which is .310-.311.
Yes, but you're forgetting that the 30 carbine is a straight walled pistol type case and must use a separate die to expand the case after resizing. The 30-30 and all other bottleneck cases have the expander ball inside the sizing die that expands the case mouth from bottom to top as you retract the case from the die. Gas check or not, you need to bell the case mouth to be able to start lead bullets into the case without shaving lead off the bullet.
 

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The Hog Whisperer (Administrator)
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You'd be best off of all if you spring for a Lyman "M" die for .30 cal rifles. It will handle the expanding better than anything else for cast bullets.
 

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M Die.

You'd be best off of all if you spring for a Lyman "M" die for .30 cal rifles. It will handle the expanding better than anything else for cast bullets.
Is that the Expanding Plug, an additional part for the Lyman 3 die rifle set ? it's costs about $6.50 (US) on there web site. Or something different again.
 

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The Hog Whisperer (Administrator)
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Good question. I don't know if it is packaged with the Lyman set because I've always bought them separately.

Update: download the catalog from the Lyman site and look at page 9. The complete assembly is about $20 direct from them. I'm sure you can get it through other retailers, too.

There are 4 parts - a die body, a stem that you adjust up and down, the seating plug, and the lock ring. The lock ring of course is generic to any die that fits in the standard press.

If you put "Lyman M die pictures" in your search engine it should pop up enough detail to explain better than I can.
 

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Use a 7.62x54R or 8mm or ,338 loaded round and flare the brass "by hand." You just want to NOT shave lead when seating...

DO NOT use a larger expander ball - you need the neck tension for consistent start-pressures....
 

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The Hog Whisperer (Administrator)
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Right, you can use a tapered punch too. That is basically what the Lee "universal" expander is. The Lee die has the advantage over a punch in that you can consistently put the same amount of flare on each case by using a press. That is, as long as the cases are all the same length. And it's pretty cheap too and works for a lot of calibers.

The advantage to the "M" die is, you get a straight sided recess to put the bullet base in before seating. Much easier to start it out straight that way, my experience / opinion. The "M" die if set up right doesn't have to expand very much of the neck to help. Can be somewhere in the range of 0.020" to 0.050" right at the bullet mouth. The rest of the neck stays at a size that lets it get a grip on the bullet.

One thing's for sure, if you don't flare the case mouth enough, it will shave a bunch of lead off the cast bullet as you seat it.
 

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M Die.

Right, you can use a tapered punch too. That is basically what the Lee "universal" expander is. The Lee die has the advantage over a punch in that you can consistently put the same amount of flare on each case by using a press. That is, as long as the cases are all the same length. And it's pretty cheap too and works for a lot of calibers.

The advantage to the "M" die is, you get a straight sided recess to put the bullet base in before seating. Much easier to start it out straight that way, my experience / opinion. The "M" die if set up right doesn't have to expand very much of the neck to help. Can be somewhere in the range of 0.020" to 0.050" right at the bullet mouth. The rest of the neck stays at a size that lets it get a grip on the bullet.

One thing's for sure, if you don't flare the case mouth enough, it will shave a bunch of lead off the cast bullet as you seat it.
Many Thanks Mike , have found old Lyman Catalog(1994) that has the M die part # , it's called The Two-Step Neck Expanding (M) Die , 30 Short , for 30-30 , 300 Sav, 7.62 x 39 , part#7349003 , just hope I can still get one.
 

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I use the Lee 150 and 170 gr. 309 gas check molds in my Sav. 170 pump 30-30. I shoot the bullets as cast using WW alloy with no gas check and two light coats of my ALox/JPM tumble lube mix,bullets drop right at .310 dia.

I expand the case neck using my RCBS 54r expander ball and flare the necks with the Lee universal expander. My powder of choice is 7.0 grs. of Red Dot which gives me an avg. MV of just over 1200 fps. on the chrony.

Lyman cast bullet manual data.
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5.4pt 0in 5.4pt; mso-para-margin-top:0in; mso-para-margin-right:0in; mso-para-margin-bottom:10.0pt; mso-para-margin-left:0in; line-height:115%; mso-pagination:widow-orphan; font-size:11.0pt; font-family:"Calibri","sans-serif"; mso-ascii-font-family:Calibri; mso-ascii-theme-font:minor-latin; mso-hansi-font-family:Calibri; mso-hansi-theme-font:minor-latin; mso-bidi-font-family:"Times New Roman"; mso-bidi-theme-font:minor-bidi;} </style> <![endif]--><!--[if gte mso 9]><xml> <o:shapedefaults v:ext="edit" spidmax="1026"/> </xml><![endif]--><!--[if gte mso 9]><xml> <o:shapelayout v:ext="edit"> <o:idmap v:ext="edit" data="1"/> </o:shapelayout></xml><![endif]--> Red Dot- Min 6.5 gr./1159 fps/ 24,600 cup
Max. 8.5 gr./ 1348 fps / 34,500 cup


First test group at 50 yds. with above load.

 

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Lee makes a die to do this...it has two different sized expanders that "piggyback" so that anything from .22 to .45 can be expanded.
 

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Go with the Lyman "M" die it is made just for one caliber, not a dooall type of tool. If you have a one size fits all type of tooling any type of consisty goes out the window. You might as well use a sharp stick to bell the case mouths.
 

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I'm old so forgive me if I'm out of specs here but it used to be that the .30-30 bullets were .307. Am I wrong? When did it change? Just curious.
 

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My 30-30 silver tips mike in at .308, BUT the original poster was asking about cast bullets that are generally sized to about .311, they shoot better. The actual size of a cast bullet is generaly tuned(sized) to bore size of the rifle.
 

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Just a thought.
It's far more expensive, but I prefer the Lyman #311041 mold for my 30-30. That caliber just seems to like that weight and bullet shape.
 
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