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Light 30-30 loads for small game.

Discussion in 'Hunting & Fishing' started by Spongebobby, May 13, 2012.

  1. Spongebobby


    Oct 11, 2010
    Any of you guys ever try using a .32 cal round ball (actually .310 diameter) in a 30-30 case with a low load of powder like 3 grains of bullseye, i've heard of this working for small game and plinking. But i'd like to hear some personal experience before i try it. So if anyone has tryed it, how well did it work? And step by step how did you load the cases?
  2. hung-solo

    hung-solo Banned BANNED

    Jun 11, 2009
    nope. looks like a waste of $$ to me.
  3. willseeyalater


    Jan 7, 2012
    If you have reloading equipment you could sure have fun finding out how it works. If you do then make up ten loads using the same powder measure then ten more using a bit more. You could find details on how much to use from some of the reloader charts or find someone who is big into it and ask them where to begin with powder charges. The point is you will have to do some experimenting to see what shoots accurately for your rifle. Have fun with it but do your homework first. The smaller weight of a .32 roundball versus the .30-.30 bullet means you will use less powder than a standard .30-.30 load. I don't know what that means in terms of empty casing space under the roundball. Not sure that it will matter much. Wouldn't it be easier to get a decent .22 though and save the .30-.30 for bigger critters?


    Mar 31, 2006
    Good advice^^ The old speer reloading manuals had info for squib loads in the .30 cal. section. I remember using oo buck pellets that I ran through a .309 sizeing die and loading in my 30-30 case's was like shooting a 22LR.
    I would highly recomend getting loading info from a reloading manual whare loads have been tested and proven to be safe.
    there was a caution I remember about using some type of filler to hold the small powder charge against the primer or erratic or dangerious pressure spikes were possible.
  5. spike116


    Aug 4, 2008
    The last issue of The Backwoodsman had an article on small loads like that. You might want to find a copy. I just gave mine away so I can't help much.
  6. Spongebobby


    Oct 11, 2010
    I have a .22, but i want one gun that i can carry with multiple types of ammo to hunt all critters.
  7. Bruce Culberson

    Bruce Culberson KnifeMaker / Craftsman / Service Provider Knifemaker / Craftsman / Service Provider

    Feb 6, 2007
    Check the Hodgdon Powder web site. They have loads using TrailBoss powder that works weel for light loads. It is really light & puffy so that even a mild charge still fills the case. Using some of the other shotgun powders they don't fill the case and require cotton batting or some type of filler. I have used the TrailBoss with the 308 and 30-06.
  8. Bigfattyt

    Bigfattyt Gold Member Gold Member

    Jun 23, 2007
    Having light loads is all about fun!

    30-30, if you can create light loads, will be a very versatile "brush" gun for walking and small game hunting.

    If you carry some full power loads, you will be good against most larger animals as well. (Moose, and grizzly would be pushing it, but I would feel confident with heavy 30-30 loads as my "emergency" gun).

    Let us know what you find out.

    If I remember correctly, my dad had some loads for his 30-06 for just such situations. Big punch, and little punch with the same gun is handy.
  9. Bo T

    Bo T

    Feb 12, 2011
    The author used a 32 pistol cartridge insert in a Mosin Nagant surplus rifle.
  10. omniviking


    Feb 9, 2008
    kind of a neat story. I think he use an old 22lr for a powder measure and use some pistol or shotgun powder. one scoop from an empty 22lr case of powder.
  11. JR42


    Feb 1, 2004
    There's an article by Paco Kelly out on the ether somewhere on this very subject, and IIRC he includes some load data. Try looking around on leverguns.com.
  12. black mamba

    black mamba Gold Member Gold Member

    Oct 21, 2009
    Accurate 5744 works well for these loads, and doesn't need any fillers. Try 20 gr under a 150 gr lead bullet for around 1900 fps.
  13. gadgetgeek


    May 19, 2007
    Just throwing out a safety tip from the Lee Reloading manual. (don't have it in front of me so I'm going by memory) the reason that you get super pressure spikes from low loads is that the powder isn't enough to get the bullet started, then as the case expands, because it is too slow, it can lengthen and trap the bullet.(same as how you can get over-pressure from over long cases) basically you get a fire cracker. 30-30s are great, but not the toughest action on the block. it may be a good idea to sand bag and string fire a few and watch what you get for case pressures. start at a minimum safe load for the smallest bullet in you book, and work down, that would be my best bet. worst case that way is you lead up the barrel a bit from blasting the round balls too hard. Your mileage may vary. my expertise is worth every penny you didn't pay for!
  14. brandonc


    Mar 16, 2008
    It might not be necessary to adjust the load for rabbit sized game. There is a good chance that the bullet wouldn't expand very much and just exit cleanly, creating a small wound. Many people hunt small game with SD pistols for practice.
  15. xbxb

    xbxb Basic Member Basic Member

    Jun 23, 2005
  16. stevomiller


    May 4, 2001
    xbxb, thanks for the link. I had that bookmarked on my old computer, but it bit the dust.

    As for the gentleman that thought it was a waste of money, I don't understand that comment? Especially if someone already has reloading equipment and supplies, it is very inexspensive. It is more convenient and cost effective to carry/own one gun (if it works in your gun) than purchasing and carrying a second.

    If the new load shoots way off of point of aim for your big game load, you could think about adding a Marbles tang sight or a multi-blade folding rear sight. You could use one set up for the heavy loads and one for the light.
  17. VelocityMfg

    VelocityMfg Banned BANNED

    Nov 4, 2011

    Not sure how light a load you mean but you hit a rabbit or grouse with a 30 caliber projectile moving any faster than a slingshot can propel it and your not going to have much to eat,, besides on a light 30/30 load would be kind of embarrassing to get a projectile Lodged in the bore by those Lite loads .
  18. JB in SC

    JB in SC Gold Member Gold Member

    May 19, 2001
    I have a Gun Digest from the early 70's that listed several low power .30-30 loads. I'll see if I can find the article. I used SR 4759 for most of my reduced loads but that's been at least 30 years ago and I don't know if it's still being manufactured. I used the old Speer Plinker in my 94 Winchester for small game since it did have a jacket. The pure lead buckshot would lead the bore (yep I tried them too, over Unique with a dacron filler). A light cast bullet would work great. Also, I would try Ace Dube's cartridge adapters in .30-30 using the .32 Long.


    Mar 31, 2006
    I've had good sucess using both cast 00 buck that i ran though a .309 sizeing Die. and cast and jacketed 70 to 90 gr. 312 dia. bullets for the 32 ACP. they make nice close range small game loads or cheep plinking rounds. I would also highly reccomend investing $15 or alittle more for a LEE Universal Case Expanding Die it makes seating cast rounds in the case a breeze.

    P.S. 00Buck started at .330 dia and was sized to .309 came out like a football with rounded ends 32acp were left at .312 all were fairly accurate and i had no problems with leading or pressure
    Last edited: Jun 29, 2012
  20. Mossyhorn

    Mossyhorn Gold Member Gold Member

    Dec 6, 2009
    Remington used to make an accelerator bullet in 30-30 caliber. It used a 22 caliber bullet encased in a sabot using a regular 30-30 shell casing. They mad it in 30-06 as well. Maybe do a search of obsolete ammo online or you could try a gun show. They quit making them because the bullet never engaged the rifling and was impossible to trace.

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