Reloading Podcast 265 - splitenboomin

Hello, and welcome to the Reloading Podcast here on the Firearms Radio Network.  

Tonight the guys are talking about presses and some wildcats.

  1. Hi guys,I have been listening to the podcast for year and a half and learned lots. Travis was talking about PRS in episode 259.. Thought I would say hi and let you know I have competed in PRS/field/hunting style matches in Montana for the last 3 years, still new new at it considering others that I shoot with, but you learn a lot very quickly. I reload all my hunting and match ammo, so consistency of ammo and fundamentals of shooting are keys to making it work. If any of you guys or your listeners want information about precision rifle, long range hunting and or competition reloading I would be more than happy to talk to you about in email, or even on the show.  Thanks for the work you guys put into the show..

  2. I have heard you and co hosts speak of overbore cartridges and I don't understand what you are talking about. Could you please elaborate on this? Thanks for the podcasts and I hope you have had a chance to try out the Lee Auto Drum powder measure.Take care, Rob

  3.  I have been reloading for about 2 years on a lee turret press, and I am wanting to upgrade. I have been looking at progressive so I can load rounds more per session, i mostly load pistol rounds. I have landed on the Dillon and was wondering if you all thought the 650 was worth the extra money over the 550 any input would be helpful . Love your show btw Thanks Jeff

Cartridge corner:  22/30-30 Ackley Improved


Load Development

.22-30-30 Ackley Improved 40 Degree

By Gil Sengel


The .22-30-30 Ackley Improved 40 Degree (.22-30) is of the cartridge type dear to the hearts of serious handloaders who would rather discuss muzzle velocities and trajectories than sports statistics. It exists in that murky responsible to-no-one world of the wildcat cartridge; a house of mirrors where (before the advent of inexpensive chronographs) literally anything one could imagine was possible – and many shooters had very active imaginations!

From a historical perspective, the .22-30 represents a transition. It is the last of the old-time rimmed varmint cartridges. At the same time, it represents the then-evolving modern case shape featuring minimum body taper, large powder capacity and a sharp shoulder angle.

Designer of the .22-30 was a fellow by the name of Parker O. Ackley. Anyone who has studied the rifle has heard of P.O. Ackley. Besides owning his own shop, he was an instructor in the Gunsmith Degree Program of Trinidad State Junior College in Trinidad, ColoCases were filled with cornmeal after a fireforming charge of Bullseye was determined and dumped into the case. May 2015 • LOAD DEVELOPMENT 2

While in Trinidad, Ackley did much of the experimental work that led to his two-volume Handbook for Shooters and Reloaders, a must-read for serious handloaders. The exact date for the first .22-30 is hard to pin down, because wildcats aren’t formally introduced. The late 1940s is pretty certain. Research shows it to have been rather popular for a wildcat. Thus there are rifles not being shot for lack of current data. That is about to change.

Rifles found chambered for this round are quite varied. Heavybarreled, single-shot, .22-caliber varmint rifles had been the rage since the 1930s, so the Winchester Single Shot and Stevens 44½ were rebarreled. Mauser actions were everywhere, and all it took was opening the bolt face .025 inch to accommodate the .30-30 rim. Rounds would even feed from most magazines. This seems odd today, but at the time many riflemen mistakenly believed rimmed cases could handle higher pressures than rimless cases because of the extra metal in the rim. 

Then there are the leverguns. Winchester .30-30s were not candidates, but the Savage 99 had been made in .30 WCF since 1900. Ackley himself recommended rebarreling 99s to his wildcat, because the magazine could use pointed bullets. The rifle used in load development is not built on one of the old actions. It is a strong Ruger No. 3 that left the factory firing .223 Remington rounds. Purchased a few years ago at a gun show, the seller knew nothing of the rifle’s history. Since the No. 3 wasn’t available in .223 until about 1979, it would be interesting to know why it was rechambered to the old wildcat.

The rifle has had the integral front sight band turned flush with the barrel and its crown recut to a flat target style. Barrel length is 22 inches. Factory-tapped holes are provided for attaching optional Ruger-made scope bases. I had several sets at one time but could now only find four rear bases. Weaver bases and rings were then used. The scope is an old 10x Redfield silhouette model. Reloading dies did not come with the rifle. It’s no secret that wildcat dies are becoming hard to get, often requiring months of waiting. Thus it was a surprise to find this Ackley wildcat listed in the current Redding Reloading catalog as a Series D die set. A call to Redding confirmed not only that a two-die set was in stock, but that a chamber cast was not needed. I was told the wildcat was new enough (post-World War II) that chamber dimensions were fairly well standardized. The full-length sizer worked perfectly.

Load Development


Final fireforming resulted in perfectly shaped brass. A Forester neck turning tool was used to achieve proper neck thickness. Also required were case-forming dies. Although available, special dies are not needed, as the only dieforming required is necking down the .30-30 to .22. This can be done using standard, full-length sizing dies from other die sets. Handloaders are natural scroungers, and the things we scrounge most are loading dies and fired brass. Any cartridge we ever hope to own is fair game. The next best thing is a friend who has built up a good supply of both.

Sorting through my die stash yielded .30-30, 7mm-08, 6.5 Japanese, .250 Savage, .243 Winchester and .22-250 Remington. All are about the same length as the .30-30. Obviously, other dies could be substituted. Brass used was from a large bulk purchase of factory-new Winchester cases obtained for other projects.

Cases are first sized in the .30 WCF die to iron out any deformity in the necks. Failure to do this will cause many necks to collapse inward during one of the reduction operations. Cases are then run into the other dies (expander assemblies removed) in turn, reducing neck diameter and making it just slightly longer than the finished .22-30 neck (about .325 inch). The final die is a .22-250 Remington rather than the .22-30, because the latter collapsed cases when reducing the neck from 6mm to .22. Apparently this was due to the sharp shoulder in the wildcat die. Cases should be sized only far enough to allow the action to close.

Now comes the fireforming step. It is simple, cheap and has been used since at least the 1920s. Five grains

of Bullseye pistol powder is placed in a primed case, then it is filled to the mouth with dry cornmeal cereal dumped in through a powder funnel. A ball of toilet tissue pressed into the case mouth keeps the cereal in place. Chamber, point skyward and fire. Eighty cases were formed for the project with no losses. Full-length sizing in the Redding die with the expander in place is the next step. Reduction from .30 to .22 caliber made the neck walls too thick to allow a round to chamber with a bullet seated. Outside neck turning to give .012 inch wall thickness took care of this. Trimming to standard .30-30 trim length of 2.030 inches finished the job. Case annealing must be mentioned, because normally this much re-forming would require neck annealing somewhere in the process. I kept going until a ruined case indicated it was time to anneal, but Gil used a Ruger No. 3 .22-30-30 to work up test loads. May 2015 

• LOAD DEVELOPMENT 4 A chamber cast and a reverse seated bullet how the short throat length encountered in the Ruger No. 3. Gil is not certain if this length is standard. A Redding micrometer seating die saved time when changing bullets. that never happened – not even during fireforming. Twenty cases were annealed after fireforming then used randomly to verify maximum loads and in accuracy testing, but it proved unnecessary. There was simply no difference from unannealed cases. Many of the unannealed cases have now been fired eight times with no failures. I will probably anneal them all now anyway, just because I think it’s the right thing to do.

Appropriate powders listed were either on hand or enough could be begged or borrowed for load development. Charges were increased until measurable case head expansion of .0005 inch was reached. Loads were then reduced until there was no expansion in previously unfired cases. Bullets were seated .030 inch off the lands using a Redding micrometer seating die, which made the operation simple. Note there is no extreme spread or standard deviation in the load table. This is because numbers for my rifle are meaningless for your rifle. Throat length, cartridge length, primer, bullet pull, crimp and other details can greatly alter results. If uniform velocities are needed for extremely long range shooting, they must be measured for the individual rifle and component combination being used. The Hornady 60-grain softpoint produced round, five-shot, 1.45- inch or smaller groups at 100 yards, except for H-414, which didn’t go under 1.6 inches. Clusters using Load Development H-380 and CFE 223 kept getting smaller as velocity went up. Twist of the Ruger barrel is one in 10 inches. Data for the Sierra 55-grain BlitzKing shows 3,600 fps was achieved with two powders. While several five-shot groups under an inch were fired, only CFE 223 would average that for three consecutive tries.

Ruger single shots have their idiosyncrasies, but there was no time to look into them properly. Other 55-grain bullets shot for pressure and accuracy were the Hornady V-MAX, Sierra GameKing spitzer boat-tail, Sierra Varminter spitzer and Nosler Ballistic Tip. Pressure-wise, the first three track with the BlitzKing and can be used depending upon whichever is available. The Nosler reached maximum pressure using roughly .5 grain less powder than the others, yet velocities were equal or very close. Perhaps this is due to the Ballistic Tip’s solid base construction. Results of the Sierra 50-grain BlitzKing show 3,700 fps was easily reached and 3,800 fps obtained with CFE 223. Again the Hornady V-MAX turned in essentially the same pressure and velocity numbers. CFE 223 and Varget stood out in the accuracy department but still wouldn’t allow three groups to average quite one inch. The Hornady 40-grain V-MAX was included to provide a highvelocity option for weaker actions barreled to the .22-30. The magic 4,000 fps velocity was reached with six powders at top pressure. Accuracy was very good. Unfortunately, not enough bullets remained to test all the lighter powder charges. However, I did shoot two groups each with H-335 and IMR-4064. The first was unchanged from the top load, and IMR-4064 shot better. Granted, this was severely limited, but it is encouraging.

Regarding old rifles that will be found chambered for the .22-30, the strongest are the Mausers; Winchester single shots are next. Cutting the top charge a grain or two for the Stevens 44½ and Martini would be advised. Since Ackley recommended rebarreling Savage 99s originally chambered in .30 WCF, a drop of 3.0 to 3.5 grains should put pressure in the 38,000 CUP maximum range of that cartridge. Don’t worry about velocity loss. Classic rifles will have barrels of 24 to 26 inches that will Bullet seating was done with a Huntington Portable Tool. An RCBS AmmoMaster press was used for the last case-forming step. give back much of it compared to my rifle’s 22-inch barrel. Also, using the 40-grain bullet leaves plenty of power and flat trajectory out to the accuracy limits of the levergun. In summation, the .22-30 surprised me; it’s almost a .22-250 Remington. The Ruger No. 3 is not ideal because of the excessive blast from its short barrel. Certainly somewhere, however, there is a neglected Winchester single shot or Mauser with a long tube and 20x Unertl looking for a new home and varmints to conquer.


Publisher’s Note: This Load Development article was taken from our 2015 Varmint Rifles & Cartridges Special Edition. It is currently available on newsstands or through Wolfe Publishing Company. You can purchase it online at: detail.cfm?ProductID=1901.

Link to above article…



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