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.30-06 lead bullet loading for BAMM/GAMM?

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OK, I'm new to handloading, don't have a lot of experience and don't have a lot of materials in stock yet.   


I'm looking for a .30-06 load or maybe two.  One will be for BAMM/Doughboy with a 1903A3.  The other will be for the Garand.


Right now I have plenty of .30-06 Winchester brass, plenty of Montana Bullets 150gr Spire Point coated bullets.  A limited supply of overly expensive CCI LR primers.  Powders I currently have are Clays and Unique.  Am willing to shop for another powder so long as I am not paying $100 a pound for it on Gunbroker. 


The goal is to reliably clang 30 inch steel targets out to 175-200 yards, with the loaded rounds feeding properly in both rifles and the gas system functioning in the Garand.


BTW, our club does not allow jacketed bullets.  We have had them damage the targets and inspect at the loading table to make sure none slip through.


I think I can gen up an adequate load with the Unique, pushing the 150 gr bullets to about 14-1500 FPS.  175-200 yards might just be within the envelope.


1500 fps probably wont do it for the Garand.  I understand that it takes about 1850 fps for the gas system to function.  I'm guessing I need a different powder and a heavier bullet (assuming either can be found.) But it still needs to feed properly in the Garand, and I really don't want to exceed the recent CMP  guidance limiting Garand bullet weights to under 175gr.  The few cast bullets I see out there that are in stock and between 165-175 gr are pretty blunt -- making me wonder if they will feed.


I have only shot factory 150gr FMJ and 168gr BTHP in the Garand up to now.  So a this is all new to me.


Any suggestions, sources, or other advice.?


Doc sends.

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The 03 load is easy with unique . Let me check what HooDoo is running with his unique load grain wise. The bullets you have are they gas checked? If not they might not shoot very well out of the garand and maybe the bolt gun too. The garand needs a dose of 4895 around 1850 or so they will run very well. Norm Purcella of quality cast bullets in Roswell New Mexico make hitek coated gas check bullets that are more pointed and work really well out of both guns.
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HooDoo uses 16 gr. Unique for his 03 load

For the garand start at 35 gr. Imr  4895 with a 173 gr. Norm Purcella bullet.


Norm doesn't list 173 gr on his website.  He list 170 gr, but is out of stock (no surprise.)  I will search out some IMR 4895 and keep searching fpr bullets.


Will also look for gas checks for the Montana 150 gr.





Doc Sends 

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That silhouette bullet he calls the 170 gcsil is the bullet want. Works great in bolt guns and garands.  I think you can order and he makes them and ships. Looks like he is behind as every one else. Where is your home club?


Texican Rangers (Comfort, Texas).  We shoot on a Texas Hill Country ranch about 10 miles from my home.


Now to find powder.  4895 seems to be non existent except on Gunbroker for 60 to 120 per pound.

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For lighter loads



For 100 to 200 yard target work in the 30-06 bolt actions, from a little harder to find C E Harris note in the Cast Boolits forum several years ago:


The Workhorse Load - Mattern's "200 yard Target"


My favorite load is the most accurate. Mattern's so-called "200 yard target load." I expect 10 shot groups at 200 yards, firing prone

rapid with sling to average 4-5".  Because it is a mild load, soft scrap alloys usually give better accuracy than

harder ones, such as linotype. Local military collector-shooters have standardized on 16 grains of #2400 as the "universal"

prescription. It gives around 1500 f.p.s. with a 150-180 grain cast bullet in almost any military caliber. We use 16 grains of #2400

as our reference standard, just as high power competitors use 168 Sierra Match Kings and 4895.


The only common military rifle cartridge in which 16 grains of #2400 provides a maximum load, and which must not be exceeded, is in

the tiny 7.63x39mm case. Most SKS rifles will function reliably with charges of #2400 as light as 14 grains with the Lee 312-155-2R at

around 1500 f.p.s. I designed this bullet especially for the 7.62x39, but it works very well as a light bullet in any .30 or .303

caliber rifle.


Sixteen Grains of #2400 is the "Universal Load"


The same 16 grain charge of #2400 is universal for all calibers as a starting load. It is mild and accurate in any larger military

case from a 30-40 Krag or .303 British up through a 30-06 or 7.9x57, with standard weight bullets of suitable diameter for the

caliber. This is my recommendation for anybody trying cast bullets loads for the first time in a military rifle without prior load

development. I say this because #2400 is not "position sensitive", requires no fiber fillers to ensure uniform ignition, and actually

groups better when you stripper-clip load the rifle and bang them off, rather than tipping the muzzle up to position the powder charge.


Similar ballistics can be obtained with other powders in any case from 7.62x39 to 30-06 size. If you don't have Hercules #2400, you

can freely substitute 17 grains of IMR4227 or H4227, 18 grains of 4198, 21 grains of Reloder 7, 24 grains of IMR 3031, or 25.5 grains of

4895 for comparable results.


However, these other powders may give some vertical stringing in cases larger than the 7.62x39 unless the charge is positioned against

the primer by tipping the muzzle up before firing. Hercules #2400 does not require this precaution. Don't ask me why. Hercules #2400

usually gives tight clusters only within a narrow range of charge weights within a grain or so, and the "universal" 16 grain load is

almost always the best. Believe me, we have spent a lot of time trying to improve on this, and you can take our word for it.


The beauty of the "200 yard target load" at about 1500 f.p.s. is that it can be assembled from bullets cast from the cheapest,

inexpensive scrap alloy, and fired all day without having to clean the bore. It always works. Leading is never a problem. Once a

uniform bore condition is established, the rifle behaves like a .22 match rifle, perhaps needing a warming shot or two if it has

cooled, but otherwise being remarkably consistent.


The only thing I do after a day's shooting with this load is to swab the bore with a couple of wet patches of GI bore cleaner or

Hoppe's, and let it soak until the next match. I then follow with three dry patches prior to firing. It takes only about three foulers

to get the 03A3 to settle into tight little clusters again.





For Garand cast bullet shooting, from a recent article in the newsletter from Cast Bullet Association:

(also written by C. E. Harris)


The lightest load which cycles my M1 Garand with the 160 grain Accurate mold 31-160H is 36 grs. of IMR4064, ReLoder 15 or Varget, for about 1900 fps, using a 1 grain tuft of loose Dacron fill tucked in the neck and a pea-sized dab of white lithium grease applied with a cake decorator before inserting the bullet. This load is more accurate than run-of the mill M2 Ball. In new CMP rebuilds with stiff springs, you may need as much as 40 grains of powder (for 2200 fps) to get reliable function until the rifle has been run in a bit.





I find his recommendations to be good starting points.  As with almost all cast bullet rifle work, each .30-06 rifle usually prefers it's own sweet-spot load.  Any other recommendation of a pet load has to be proven in your own rifle.


And, if you don't yet have a copy, the Lyman Cast Bullet Handbook 4th Edition is a necessary reference.  Both for loads and techniques.

One source of this manual is: https://www.amazon.com/Lyman-Cast-Bullet-Handbook-4Th/dp/B07PSNM3KV


It also reminds us that calls for low maximum velocity limits for GAMM rifle loads will be unsuccessful.  BAMM can be shot at 1400 FPS velocities, but GAMM can not.


good luck, GJ




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GJ, castboolits has a lot of great resources. However on that garand load the tuft of Dacron and dab of lithium grease ? I guess that’s to protect the base of the bullet,I’m assuming non g.c......what your thoughts on this? Do you think adding grease in the case could cause excessive fouling to the gas operation system and would have to be cleaned a lot more?
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You'd have to ask CE Harris, as that was HIS recommendation.  I'm pretty sure he's running gas checks on loads for a Garand.  A little lithium grease won't protect a bullet base from gas cutting at 1800 FPS or so.    He's in West Virginia.  He might be a cowboy shooter, but I would have no idea of his alias.


I try to follow the latest recommendations from most powder companies, and not add any sort of filler or extra lube to rifle cast bullet loads.  I use a high quality 2500 FPS rated bullet lube (XLOX 2500 from White Label Lube).  I can run 20 Brinell hardness bullets with a gas check at 2000 FPS easy if the bullet is just over bore diameter.


As I said, his load data makes for a good starting point.  If you want to know where my ending point is, I've got pet loads for my Springfields, and 6.5 mm and 8 mm Mausers that hold 1.5 MOA with iron sights out to at least 200 yards.  And just about that with a Krag.  I plan to start working on better cast bullet Garand loads as soon as my local range plows in a 200 yard bay.  And those will NOT be with dacron or loose lube. His 4064 powder level looks like a good start for me, as I usually get a little better results with 4064 than with 4895.

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Yep, that's the early 1900s Krag I mentioned in 2019 - good memory!  I've been generally happy with the results.  Took CMP about twice their

estimated time to rebuild, in 2019 before virus, but it was worth the wait.  Haven't had much range time with it.  That may be why

I haven't wrung out tight groups with it yet. Been practicing loading it quickly.  Have plans for the brass-sheet charger that a

Norwegian(? "parashooter") made up.  Perhaps I'll get around to building a few.


Here's a couple of pics. CMP reblued it as well as installing barrel, but without any heavy polishing.  I put a more correct

and useful 1902 rear sight and hand guard on it.


I won't be having CMP do another gun for me, though.  The price was a little steep.  I'll find a good Garand smith if I need any M1's rebarreled.


good luck, GJ



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That silhouette bullet he calls the 170 gcsil is the bullet want. Works great in bolt guns and garands.  I think you can order and he makes them and ships. Looks like he is behind as every one else.


Yep, He just did a run of the .30/170gr.  Should ship  to me in the next day or so.


Now to find the powder.



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Doc, do you have Red Dot?  C.E. Harris published a note (The Load is 13 gr Red Dot) about using 13 gr Red Dot in the 30-06 with a bullet weight typical for that caliber.  I've used Red Dot behind a 170 gr Sil GC cast by Norm Purcella.  You might need a slight adjustment in powder weight for tightest group in your rifle.


From Harris:


1. The case must be LARGER than the .300 Savage or .35 Remington.


2. The rifle must be of MODERN (post 1898) design, suitable for smokeless

powder, with a bore size of .30 cal. or larger.


3. The bullet weight must be within the NORMAL range for the given cartridge.


4. Inert fillers such as Dacron, kapok or are NOT RECOMMENDED! (Nor are they



"The velocities obtained with 13 grs. of Red Dot appear mild, but "The Load" is no pipsqueak! In a case like the .308 or .30-'06, you get (from a 24" sporter barrel) about 1450 f.p.s. with a 200- gr. cast bullet, 1500 with a 170-gr., or 1600 with a 150-gr. cast load."


This is a BAMM Load.

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For your BAMM rifle, I use a 170 Gr bullet with 14.0 Gr of Trailboss and couldn't be happier.


For the Garand, I have heard some having leading issues, especially around the gas port. I have been using a 170 Gr from Oregon Trail Bullets. It is a much harder alloy and I have not had leading issues. I really like the QualityCast/Norm Purcella bullets, I just have not tried them in the garand so your mileage may vary.


My BAMM bullet has been both Oregon Trail and Quality Cast. I think the Quality Cast is cheaper if memory serves.

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Doc, do you have IMR 4064?  32.5 gr with a 170 gr Sil GC will work too, although hotter than with Red Dot at about 1800 fps.


Right now I have Clays, Unique and IMR 4895.  I use the Clays for .45ACP and the Unique for .38-40.  Still haven't decided what to use for .45 Colt (once I find .45 Colt dies.) I have .30 cal 150gr Montana Bullet Spire Point Powder coated and 170gr Quality Cast gas checked coated bullets.  I have a feeling the 150gr will go to waste since I can't seem to find a sub 1400 fps load for them.  I am willing to buy another powder but not excited about paying $10 per ounce for it. (Not to mention some sellers adding $60 for shipping and handling. Yes I know that there are hazmat fees, but that is ridiculous.)


And once I get the .30-06 loads figured out, then I will start working on .30-40 (have a hunch it wont be the same load.)


And some folks find this part to be fun?


Doc sends.




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