.30-'06 Gallery Loads

Discussion in 'The Powder Keg' started by ke4sky, Sep 15, 2009.

  1. ke4sky

    ke4sky G&G Newbie

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    Friends gave me several thousand pulled Cal. 30 Ball M2 (152-gr.FMJ) bullets and fired empty cases. These had been accumulated from CMP .30-’06 ammunition from which they had pulled the GI bullets and replaced them with Sierra 155-gr. Palmas over the original powder to use for competition. I was offered half the fired brass and pulled bullets to use my Dillon Auto-Swage 600 to rework the cases and work up a gallery load for Junior training and rapid-fire practice at 100 yards in bolt action military rifles. My intent was to approximate the old M1906 Guard cartridge. An article in Rifle Magazine, March-April 1990, by Jeffrey W. Houck, p49 was a useful resource to assist with this.

    Reduced range guard cartridges were developed for use in the M1903 Springfield on urban installations where full power ammunition posed a risk of collateral damage if fired in anger. The M1906 Guard cartridge used a reduced charge of Bullseye powder with the standard 150-gr. FMJ service bullet. It was identified by 6 dents or flutes on the shoulder of the cartridge case. According to ordnance pamphlets, the M1906 Guard cartridge gave accuracy equal to normal Ball ammunition at ranges up to 200 yards and shot approximately to point of aim at 100 yards using the standing bar of the folded down battle sight on the M1903 Springfield rifle. At a range of 200 yards the Guard cartridge required an elevation of 650 yards on the elevation slide.

    Initial experiments sought a subsonic load with minimum noise, but 100-yard groups with the M2 Ball bullets loaded subsonic weren’t not as good as when they were driven a bit faster. Nor did I find any benefit to using pistol primers, case fillers or enlarged flash holes with Bullseye powder in these .30-’06 gallery loads. Once-fired LC military cases were full length resized; primer pockets swaged, trimmed to length and primed with standard Winchester Large Rifle primers.

    I settled on a charge of 8 grains of Alliant Bullseye as the best compromise with pulled Ball M2 152-grain jacketed bullets. Bullets were crimped using the Lee Factory Crimp die. Velocity from my 22" Mauser sporter with European style, long tapered throat is 1080 f.p.s. and from a Sako A2 silhouette rifle with 24” Douglas Premium barrel with tight-necked target chamber and SAAMI throat 1160 f.p.s. Report and recoil are very mild, like shooting a .32-20.

    The average of five consecutive 5-shot groups fired at 50 yards from the Mauser sporter with 4X scope was 1.2 inches. The point of impact at 50 yards was 3.5" below that of normal Ball M2, which enabled using the heavy duplex reticule as a short-range post, using my normal zero for 180-gr. hunting ammunition. The Sako with 10X scope shot very consistent inch groups at 50 yards. So it was time to go to out to 100 yards and stop “fooling around.”

    The Mauser sporter struck much, much lower at 100 yards, and would require re-zeroing, but accuracy was fairly good, averaging 2.6” for ten consecutive 5-shot groups at 100 yards. This compares to firing full-up Ball M2 ammunition. The Sako with 10X scope averaged 2” for ten consecutive 5-shot groups, also typical of M2 Ball ammunition in that rifle.

    While I was at it, I decided to load and test cast bullets, fired without the GC, to compare their performance against the Ball M2 pulled bullets. The cast bullets were not of match quality, but highly satisfactory as practice, training, small game and utility loads useable in any sound .30-’06 rifle. Cast bullet groups were equal to or better than the M2 pulls, an inch at 50 yards and 2 inches or less at 100 yards. Bullets were cast in gang moulds of wheel weight alloy, sight culled only, tumbled in Lee Liquid Alox or Rooster jacket and loaded as-cast without sizing. Velocities with the lighter cast bullets were around 1400 f.p.s. with 8 grains of Bullseye, so it may be advantageous to reduce the charge by a grain or so if leading impairs accuracy over longer strings of fire.

    The M1919 Gallery Practice cartridge used a 140-grain, plain-based, round-nose lead bullet shaped very much like the Ideal #308241. Prior to WWII it was reclassified as the Cartridge, Guard, M1. This lead bullet reduced load was originally intended for indoor and outdoor short-range practice. It was alternately used as a Guard cartridge around defense plants and military installations in non-combat areas which didn’t require the FMJ bullet of the M1906 Guard cartridge for compliance with the 1905 Hague Convention. Gallery Practice cartridges were loaded with a charge of Sporting Rifle No. 80 powder to attain about 1100 f.p.s. Guard units commonly reloaded indoor practice ammunition. Ideal Reloading manuals prior to WWII and Phil Sharpe's Complete Guide to Handloading (1937). featured data for assembling gallery center-fire rifle loads.

    Cast bullet loads with 7 grains of Bullseye in the .30-'06 approximate the M1919 Gallery Practice cartridge, but do not cycle the action in semi-automatic rifles. They can be fed from clips in the Garand if the action is worked manually. The 7 grain charge of Bullseye can be used safely in the 7.62x54R Russian, 7.62 NATO, and 8mm Mauser. For the .30-40 Krag , 7.65 Argentine, 7.7 Japanese, .303 British or .30-30, reduce charges by one full grain. In the 7.62x39 do not exceed 5 grains with the 123-gr. service bullet.

    When using reduced charges of dense, fast-burning pistol powder it is absolutely necessary to visually inspect 100% every case for correct powder fill using a pen light to positively prevent missing or double charges or spilled powder. Inert case fillers such as Dacron or kapok are neither necessary nor recommended, as they raise pressure.

    Do not reduce charges any further as ignition is erratic.
    Last edited: Sep 15, 2009
  2. jimkim

    jimkim G&G Newbie

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    From what I've been told the bullet in question was an Ideal 308421. I have a friend that has one of the original Amory moulds. I liked it so much I bought an old single cavity Ideal 308241. Don't let the "308" fool you. Bullets drop from the mould with a .314" diameter.

    Try the 30-06 loads from this page. Lever Gun Performance Studies

    According to Ed Harris they are pretty much dead on with his tests of similar loads. I suggest you try the Bullseye, Red Dot, Green Dot, and 700X loads. These can be used with lighter bullets than the ones listed.

    You can also use Ed Harris's data from "The Load". The Load
  3. Tracer

    Tracer G&G Enthusiast

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    great stuff. I wish trail boss would get some documented loads:suspect:
  4. jimb2

    jimb2 G&G Enthusiast

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    Personally, I like 00 buck loads.....
  5. jimkim

    jimkim G&G Newbie

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    That's a good rabbit, feral cat, or squirrel load.
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