It's been a while since I had any trigger time and my eldest two sons told me that they needed some recoil therapy, so we sneaked off to the range this morning. Some folks play golf, some folks go to the range.
Speer makes a little bullet for the .30-30. It's a 130 grain flat nosed job with a cannelure. I had a bunch of them and over the winter loaded them in the .30-30. I took them along this morning to try them over the chronograph. I loaded one in the Handi rifle and let it fly. Then another, then another. I looked at the chronograph screen and saw that they were averaging 2420 fps. This little bullet is loaded over 33.5 grains of Reloder 15 powder with a Winchester Large Rifle primer. When I looked through the spotting scope I saw a triangle that later measured 1.5 inches. Not bad for an inexpensive Handi-rifle and the .30-30 cartridge. Recoil is very mild. I think that this is the load I'm going to settle on for this rifle. It might need a little tinkering, but not much.
This past year I hunted with my .30-06, Savage 111. I had worked up a load this past summer that featured the 150 grain Nosler Ballistic Tip bullet and 61.0 grains of Reloder 19 powder. WLR primer. I knew that this load was very accurate, but I had never put it over the chronograph to see how it compared with the factory ballistics. The Nosler guide tells me that I should be getting 2900 fps from the load, so after tinkering with the .30-30, I fired three rounds of this particular .30-06 hunting load. I was amazed to see the first shot hit three inches over the bull, as I have this rifle sighted dead on at 100 yards. Then, I remembered the clean barrel, breathed a sigh of relief and bolted another bullet into the chamber. At the end of the string I had one bullet high and the rest clustered, cutting each other in the bullseye. I looked at the chronograph and saw an average 2907 fps. Real close to the published tables.
In late 2008 I bought a used rifle from a pawn shop. An early Ruger Model 77 in .25-06. I settled on the 117 grain Sierra Gameking bullet and Reloder 22 powder. The rifle's got a really crappy scope on it, and I've always been convinced that it would do better with better glass, but like it's set up now it'll put five into an inch at 100 yards. All I did to this rifle is float the barrel, and shortly after I got the load settled, I gave it to my second son. He's a whole lot better shot than I am, but he can still stack five into an inch at 100 yards. We had never put this load over the chrony, so after I was done playing, we set his rifle on the bags and fired a few for velocity. Average was 2921, which is nothing to sneeze at. I wonder how that rifle would shoot with better glass?
Elder son shot his Marlin 336 in .35 Remington and his Remington 760 in .30-06. The Remington displayed the same tendency it's always displayed. The first two shots cut each other, about 2" above the bull. The rest wandered down the page. There's something about this pump rifle that the shots wander down as the barrel heats. Go figure. Still, it's a hunting rifle, plain and simple. The first two cold-barrel shots will cut each other before accuracy starts to degrade. There's not a thing wrong with that, and having a pump rifle is very very cool. The only one on the line. For the record, that rifle likes the 155 grain Hornady SST, with IMR 4895 powder. It shoots the bullet at 2781 fps, a good medium range load in that caliber.
I had a good time this morning.
Oh! There was one shooter at the range with a silenced .308. Seriously. It sounded like a .22 when it fired, and you could hear the bullet hit the paper downrange. Very strange. I asked him about the cost. He told me that the stamp cost $200.00 and the silencer cost twice as much as the rifle, a Remington 700.
You never know what you're going to run into at the range.