30-40 Krag loads
to the list:
I was up in N. Idaho hunting with my brother this weekend. He has a chrono! So i was able to check up on a few of my favorite Krag loads. I use a powder measure, but weigh each charge on a powder scale. Here are 3 loads.
My elk load for the Krag rifle:
220gr H or S RN behind 41gr H414. using fresh CCI magnum primers, neck sized cases and relatively fresh brass.
This load has given me some great targets and is pretty strong, without ever showing signs of excess pressure. Here's how 4 shots chrono-ed:
WTF!!! I explains why the primer flattening is inconsistent, and why the shots don't always hit where they are supposed to. So Long, H414! The Sierra book has a 4350 load that pushes a 220 RN about 2100 fps and I might try that one.
Speaking of 4350, i ran a few loads through my Lee rifle as well. These were a little stronger than I would put into the Krag - the Lee has 2 locking lugs, a nickel steel bolt head, and double safety lugs.
THIS IS NOT A KRAG LOAD
220 RN, 45.5 4350, mAgnum primers. 4 shots:
THE ABOVE IS NOT A KRAG LOAD
My new deer load. I wanted to use a lighter bullet that would open up in a deer's chest cavity, and would not go end-to-end through the diaphragm and guts (gall bladder!) if I took a shot at a deer facing me.
150 H RN45 gr H380, old primed brass, might have been standard rifle primers. This load is 1 grain more than the max published in the Hodgdon manual. I took 3 shots hrough the chrono.
This load seems OK for accuracy in the field. I have not taken it to a range with bench rests etc. yet. Primers show about the same flattening you see on factory 30-30 ammo. The OAL length is short if you seat the bullet to the crimping groove, and I had a couple rounds hang up instead of feeding.
The black powder gun: an Argy No2 Remington Rolling Block barreled to 45-70, 24" barrel
385 gr cast bullet 1:20 tin:lead, 70 gr Goex FFG and a felt wad. This is a compressed loAD. It is accurate in the field. 4 shots through the chrono.
This is a load which should run 1250-1300 fps. Which tells me the chrono may be reading low, but it is reading consistent. Temp was about 25 degrees.
I think I'll buy a chrono of my own. Paul used his to developa load for his 8x57 hunting rifle that drives a 220 gr spitzer at 2460 fps. And you can open the bolt no sweat in the unlikely event you need a second shot.
Last edited by jon_norstog; 11-15-2011 at 08:28.
Reason: wrong bullet weight!
jon - My WAG on the inconsistency of H414 in your .30-40 load was that mild pressures contribute to inconsistent ignition and burning rate, especially in this ball powder. Save your H414 powder and use it in 6.5x55, .22-250, .243 and similar. It is the most accurate propellant pushing 129-140 gr bullets in my son's 6.5x55 with Shaw barrel.
I used to put that stuff through my Ljungman. It was accurate but I might have been burning soft coal. It was filthy! Anyway, I'll take your advice and use it in my Swede, at least until I use up what I've got.
I liked ball powder back before I learned to weigh my charges. Ball powder would always be in the ball-park as thrown from the measure. But I wised up, so that advantage is lost.
I think you will like 4350 pushing a heavy bullet in the .30-40.
Thanks, guys. 4350 I've got and I'm weighing charges anyway, so WTH? Th ose H414 loads had almost no primer flattening at all, so it may be I could kick them up a grain and get better results. If I do, I'll test them out in the Lee before trying them in the kRAG.
In my last match. I used 220gr Sierra MK's. I loaded my ammo using Sierras most accurate load for that bullet. Firing at a 300yd, 6 line reduced target. It netted a 9 shot string of x' & a few 10's. Nut behind the wheel, I started falling out. Couldn't see the front post after that due to the mirage coming off of the barrel. A clean went out the window then.
After this string I had an uneasy feeling. They were thumping. Knowing there is a potential bolt lug issue with these rifles. I yanked the bolt out for a quick inspection before shooting the second string of 20. The bolt lug had cracked. A minor tear at the root of the lug. What a sick feeling. They don't make these bolts anymore. There are still many to be had, at a price, but!!! Not the original.
I've lapped in a new bolt & decided to back off and shoot a lighter 190's, 200's or go a Lyman 311284 cast lead bullet. Reducing the charge some. Their right the rifle loves big bullets.
Please be carefull and check the bolt lug periodically. Fortunately these bolts, like the early 03 bolts seem relatively soft and not so subject to a catastropic failure.
Some of those bolts were cracked at the lug 80 years ago and no one noticed. It may not be your fault! I keep my loADS on the mild side - judging by primer flattening. I will say that most reloading manuals are very conservative on Krag loads. With the right powder, I think the Krag will shoot a 220 gr bullet at 2100 fps without any risk. With the wrong powder, 2,000 fps is too much.
I hunt with the Krag because I really like the rifle, can hit with it, and it willknock down any game I'm likely to run into. If I want a stronger load, I'll break out my '98 mauser, 8x57.