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Not technically a reloading question: .30-40 headspace


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I picked up an M1898 Krag a couple of days ago, filling a big hole in my collection.  Have been looking forward to trying it out in the local BAMM match later this month,  but wanted to check the headspace, just to be sure.  Forster Headspace gauges arrived today. 

You guessed it, the bolt closes on the no-go gauge. (Field gauge was out of stock). 

 

I pulled out my 1895 Winchester SRC in .30-40, which I have not fired due to a really worn out barrel.  Sure enough, it closed on the No-Go gauge as well.  Now I know I should not be totally bummed until the field gauge arrives, but I wonder if I am doing something wrong.

 

Doc sends.

 

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Doc, the 30/40 should head space on the rim instead of shoulder. I think I would fire a fairly mild round thru each one and measure and compare to an unaired round. If they do have headspace problems you should see primers proud and backing out etc.  95 in 30/06 would be more common to have head space issues than the 30/40.
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Shoot a few moderate loads, enough to see a group and also to inspect the fired brass for stretching or rupture.

 

Some guns with extra headspace will shoot safely for many more rounds.  But your groups will tell you a lot about the whole barrel and whether you might want to reline or replace.

 

Not surprising either gun has a lot of headspace.  One with worn out barrel, one that is 120+ years old.

 

good luck, GJ

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I’ve found that there is enough difference in the headspace between my 1899 school rifle and my 1898 sporter/scout build that I have to segregate my reloads. I use .30-40 brass in the rifle and .303 British in the scout. Just a few years ago .30-40 brass was impossible to find, that’s when I tried the given to me .303. I neck resize using a .308 sizer, trying not to overwork the brass.
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Following up, I got the 30-40 field gauge today and the bolt closes on it on both the 1899 Krag and the 1895 Winchester ( even extracts and ejects from the 1895.)  The Krag is especially disappointing as it was a recent Gunbroker acquisition that I bought specifically to shoot.
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We had our BAMM today with 10 shooters, 7 boltgunners and 3 cas. Used my Krag school rifle for half and my rebuilt 1903 Springfield the other 3 stages. Had 4 misses, one with the Krag and the others with my New Services. Shotguns [an 1897 and an M12 riot gun] were clean and I even got a bonus clay bird. We all had a good time but nobody was clean all day. When you get guns out of the safe that you shoot maybe 2-3 times a year bad things do occur.

Doc, when you get set up load your .30-40 light to medium with 190-200 gr bullets. Also full length sizing will shorten your case life. Good luck.

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  • 4 months later...

Interesting subject. Being from Canada, the subject comes up fairly often for the 303 British, as the 30-40 is less common.

 

My experience has been with the 303 mkstly, I only owned one 30-40, did use some 303 brass in it, until some 30-40 were found.

 

Unless headspace is abnormally out spec by a large amount, there is a fairly trouble free work around.

 

To prevent incipient head separation it helps to keep the bolt tight againt the case for the initial firing. A bit of thread wrapped around the cartridge bunched against the rim, or the bullet jammed into the rifling, if the bullet can reach it. Or, expand the neck and neck it down again to the point where you can just close the bolt. Fire a normal load, a reduced, mouse fart load will not fire form sufficiently for the next step.

 

For the subsequent loadings, adjust the die as you would for a non rimmed cartridge. IOW, measure shoulder setback, and only size the case so as to have only several thousandths setback. Now headspace is controlled by the shoulder and not the thickness of the rim.

 

I hope that helps, it's let me keep shooting some 303s that had very bad rim headspace. If you're lucky, ammo may fit other rifles. The Hornady L-N-L headspace gauge will be your friend.

 

That's the short version, google 303 headspace, lots of info on it.

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