Surplus rifles

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Re: Surplus rifles

Postby SoftShoe » March 14th, 2018, 2:42 pm

Radamus wrote: The biggest and most important thing- focus on nothing but the reloading- don't get interrupted

Very good point!

I have a portable bench in addition to my fixed press that I take with me to the range when working up BR loads. I used to also use it to reload while watching TV right up until I double charged a bunch of 9mm bullets. I just wasnt paying attention because I was watching the "boobtube". I didnt discover the double charge's until I got to the range. Luckily I shot it out of my Uzi & those things are nearly indestructible. It blew out the case head & swelled the magazine enough that it was hard to extract. I was VERY lucky!

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Re: Surplus rifles

Postby gas56 » March 14th, 2018, 2:58 pm

Radamus wrote: Excellent overview - The biggest and most important thing- focus on nothing but the reloading- don't get interrupted and do no deviate from published data on specific components as softshoe said. The only non-carved in stone is a 140gr bullet is a 140gr bullet - Reloading is mostly done for accuracy to find a load and set of components that "your" firearm likes best, this is why you keep a log, do some group tests, record the data and create that profile.

One issue with these old rifles is, barrels might be sloppy, twist rates were generally for a specific weight and headspace can be an issue if they've had a bazillion rounds down the tube. Look for the primer backing out. If it comes out at all you could simply have a smith reset the headspace- or retire it.

Good point,.. another thing is for buyers that aren't familiar with "what is good gun shape" than a thorough examination by a qualified Gunsmith wouldn't hurt,
as with these older guns the cracked bolt was a slim issue, and the older shells caused inside barrel deterioration.
Even though it is a slim chance,,... I wouldn't want the gun in that condition. And as the bolt is only a 1 catch system, never overload out of spec bullets as they
weren't never meant to use higher pressures,... although 180 - 220 gr bullets can be used.
The 30/40 Krag was the shortest lived military rifle for the U.S. Army, even though civilians use them for sporterizing & hunting deer type animals still today.
If you find a good one than you got a winner.
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Re: Surplus rifles

Postby Radamus » March 14th, 2018, 8:19 pm

I bought my Contender from a guy who did his own reloading, it's required for for a couple barrels I got with it because they were Herrett wildcats, you have to make them. He said he gave it up and never reloaded after an experience. I hadn't reloaded centerfires before but thousands of shotshells so I had a little time on the bench.
So he pulls out a Remington 760(semi-auto in 30-06) the whole receiver was puffed and the gun was all deformed. He told me this story, I think to scare me most of all how critical it was to pay attention to what I was doing and not to deviate and that visual is to this day still imprinted on my brain, I can see it like it was yesterday. He wasn't still ready to make the deal with me until he felt comfortable I understood the importance. He gave me a reloading manual specifically for the Contender and his notes on all the loads he'd done with the different barrels. He said that when that gun blew up on him that was it he never wanted to reload again it scared him that bad because he could not figure out where he made a mistake going over it a million times in his brain but it was enough that it spooked him. He was a big mountain of a man, good ole country boy with a heart of gold so I respected him tremendously. I've never forgotten those lessons and I think of it everytime I'm on the bench.

My very first deer rifle was one of these surplus guns, it was a K98 Mauser in 7X57. I think I paid $60-70 for it, I was maybe 18-19 at the time. First time I shot it the primers were half backed out and a guy I was with told me the chamber was shot out and he had a friend who did smithing and told me to have him look at it. So he did and said I can fix it so it's safe and it would be fine because that old German steel was some of the best there was. It faced off the barrel, added threads and reamed it and headspaced it back to like new. Cost me more than the gun at the time but it was done right- I hunted with that gun for another 10 years, shot several deer with it, open sights and all. Really wish I still had it because I regret selling every gun I ever sold and I've only ever sold a couple- but some I really miss like that Mauser- I didn't know at the time just how incredible the controlled feed K98 was at the time- young and stupid- I'd pay a lot just to have that action today just to build something really cool with it- The action alone is worth more than a complete gun really for a BR guy.
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Re: Surplus rifles

Postby Schrider » April 9th, 2018, 2:42 am

paul2012 wrote:Out of curiosity does anyone here have experience with reloading? With more obscure surplus rifle cartridges comes hard to find ammo. For example Remington just ended their most recent run of 30-40 krag of which I was able to snag a couple of boxes, however it may be a while before they make another batch. As such, and to try and get better accuracy, I've decided to try my hand at reloading. So far I picked up a Hornady Lock and Load classic kit, some press die sets, a 50ct empty krag reloading brass bag (which is also hard to come by nowadays) and a box of 50 Nosler ballistic tip 220 grain .308 diameter bullets.

My krag, having an original military sights, I was not sure if they'd have a good zero without the original ammo that the sights where designed for. After testing the Remington 180gr corelokt I found that it was shooting about 2ft high at 50yds. My theory is to try the 220gr bullets as that was the standard in the original 1890s service load.

I am just getting into this hobby and I'd be interested in hearing about peoples experiences. Maybe I can even make this its own thread.

Having shot the 180gr remington core-lokt's out of a few krags, including my own (which was previously one that a fellow smith of mine owned, and he sold it to me cheap because it was the one in the worst condition of all of his - it's bore has opened to ~.310), out of a remington rolling block, and two winchester 1895's and from the word of mouth of my fellow smiths, the 180 gr core-lokt gives terrible accuracy out of krags in general - it's far better out of the sporting arms of the era in 30-40 krag, like the aformentioned rolling block, winchester 1895, winchester 1885 high walls, and the few sharps out there in 30-40, it's also perfectly fine for modern guns in 30-40, military krag barrels just dont like it though.

if you're looking for 30-40 factory ammo, the winchester loaded 30-40 works realy well, but it's so hard to find anymore, i dont even know if winchester produces it anymore - barring that, Ventura Munitions out of Las Vegas, NV, loads it (they have a website and do online sales) - with a 220gr round nose, that works realy well - if your bore still measures between .307-.308 after being slugged.

If your bore has opened up, say past .309 to .312, the only way you are going to get good results is with a cast bullet matched to your slugged barrel, or to step up to using .311 or .312 dia bullets ment for .303's. If your bore has opened up past .312, i'd say it's time to rebarrel that krag, or retire the old girl.

The lower grain weight wont matter too much - Krags have 1 in 10 twist barrels - the same twist rate used on 1903 springfields in 30-03 with a 220gr bullet, and the M1 (173gr) and M2 (150gr) ball loadings of 30-06, 1 in 10 twist for 30 cals will work fine with anything between 150-220gr.

Also, US krags have one locking lug, but three contact surfaces - the bolt handle and the guide rib on the side of the bolt, if the lockup on those two surfaces is tight (cant fit a business card inbetween them and the receiver when closed) you're in better shape, however, on later production krags, after about 1896, it was common for those two surfaces to be opened up to make the action smoother - which caused a large problem with the 2200 fps improved loading adopted after the spanish-american war - it was within the limits of the action as designed by Col. Krag and Erik Jorgensen, as they had designed it, but the later krags between 1896 and 1899 with their altered locking surfaces just couldnt handle it - but even if your krag does have all three of it's contact surfaces in good shape, it's still not going to take a hotrodded round too well.

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