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Thread: .311091 one of the old reliable 30cal target bullets, in my .308

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    Dogs Like Him versifier's Avatar
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    Default .311091 one of the old reliable 30cal target bullets, in my .308

    I am liking this target bullet. Years back I got a custom 6-cav 311291 mould in a group buy. I have yet to find a rifle that doesn't shoot it well. I loaded up a bunch of them sized at .310 for my .308 Rem788 with all my odd amounts of old partial cans of stick powders to use it up and clean out my powder locker, maybe 500rds all together, incremental loads when there was enough powder to actually test. I have yet to find a combination that won't let me hit a clay bird in a target stand offhand at 100yds. (The rifle is zeroed at 150yds with a 150gr SGK at 2700 and I haven't readjusted the hunting peep sights, not even bothered screwing in a smaller aperture.) I think with some experimenting I will be able to get .5MOA with this 170gr cast bullet and some 3031 at 100yds and beyond, the rifle is proven capable of that level of accuracy with Sierras. I'm thinking best accuracy ought to be with mv around 21-2300, all the groups regardless of powder seem to be tightening up somewhere in that range. This alloy is 1/2 lino 1/2 pure, too hard for a hunting bullet. If I went to 100% lino I bet I could get 2600 out of it without leading, but that doesn't mean that's where the best accuracy will be.

    With a softer alloy and a hunting bullet of similar weight like the .311041 or the .30RanchDog I'd be very happy to get 2000-2300 and one could be sure of expansion out to 150yards, beyond which in all honesty I really can't see well enough anymore to be sure of a clean hit with no magnification and old fashioned peep sights. But I can crank out a LOT of any of them with 6cav moulds and mostly I'm shooting at targets so I'll cast target bullets for practice.

    It's so much fun shooting my trusty old deer rifle with these cast loads, recoil is substantially reduced, accuracy is all I could ask from the sights and my ageing eyes. I've been shooting 20rds or more offhand every week, letting the barrel cool off after every five rounds. Five rounds with jacketed and the barrel would be too hot to touch, and if you were shooting groups you couldn't take more than two shots at a time and have to stop and let the barrel cool. It's a lightweight hunting rifle and that's to be expected. After five shots of cast it is not too hot to grab and hold, and you can actually shoot a five shot group without taking a break to let the barrel cool, and without out the shots beginning to string as the barrel heats up. Everyone else seems to enjoy shooting the old girl, too. She's not much of a looker with a beat-up birch stock and a big gomming brass post on the front, but she sure is a shooter.

    Rumor has it Picklehead is playing with the same .311291 bullets in his -06 with some 4895, out of the same cast run as the ones I'm shooting now too. Perhaps he'll post about it when he starts shooting them for groups at 200+yds. I love hearing how they perform at ranges beyond what is available to me.

    I also enjoy hearing how the hunting bullets work on deer, pigs, etc. He has taken deer with two of my favorite cast hunting bullets, the 170gr FNGC .311041 and the 120 gr FNGC Soupcan.
    "Stand your ground.
    Do not fire unless fired upon.
    But if they mean to have a war let it begin here."
    - Capt. Parker, Lexington Militia, April 19, 1775

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    Dogs Like Him versifier's Avatar
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    Interesting. Unlike the other odds and ends of powders I've been using up, this rifle just doesn't like IMR4350 with either jacketed or cast. Two more incremental loads to test, but of five so far I cannot get a rested 5shot group @100yds less than 5-6". Shotgun patterns from one of my most accurate rifles. Same with 150gr SGK bullets that shoot sub MOA with 3031 or 4895, too, so I'm thinking it probably isn't the bullet. Birdz left me almost a full can of it, looking at the price on the can ($13.75, early 80's?) it looks like he never had much luck with it either. Folks I know with -06's especially seem to like it so I figured I'd try it in the .308. I should just shoot it up in the Garand I guess. I have definitely not given up on this bullet/rifle combination yet, I'll just have to try some more powders. Next up will be 3031, where I should have started in the first place.
    "Stand your ground.
    Do not fire unless fired upon.
    But if they mean to have a war let it begin here."
    - Capt. Parker, Lexington Militia, April 19, 1775

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    NRA Distinguished Life Kirbydoc's Avatar
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    Thanks for posting that Versifier, I appreciate it.

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    Dogs Like Him versifier's Avatar
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    Well, I found the accuracy node of the 4350/311291 powder/bullet combination in this rifle, such as it is. I got 3-3/8" to 3-1/2" 5shot 100yd groups with a charge just below the 180gr jacketed starting load. Next higher increment they opened back up to 6"+. Recoil is almost beginning to take the fun out of it at the upper end. I didn't bother with the chrono for groups this poor but estimate it around 2000-2100fps MV. Not accurate enough for a target load and not a hunting bullet.

    Next I will load up a 3031 test ladder, then 4895 and then 4759 in these cases, one at a time. One of them should work with these bullets.

    I have 50rds loaded up with a real hunting bullet, the 30 Ranch Dog, a 180gr FNGC, and some 4759 to shoot next week, but that will be in a new thread. I'll post more here when I try some more 311291 loads.
    "Stand your ground.
    Do not fire unless fired upon.
    But if they mean to have a war let it begin here."
    - Capt. Parker, Lexington Militia, April 19, 1775

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    Spam Hammer fryboy's Avatar
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    ummm... "with a charge just below the 180gr jacketed starting load. "

    have you tried going lower ?

    the 308 can have some exceptional accuracy below what is commonly listed , the sillywet shooter have loaded it down for years with good results , granted perhaps the 4350 range of powders is at the threshold of burning speeds i do not prefer to load down too much i'd rather load it down tho than say H414/ww760 ( both ball equivalents of 4350 ) lee's second book actually list reduced loads with both powders down to 23/24 grains respectively with 180 grainers ( 4350/414 )
    speed AND accuracy is nice when they both can be obtained however ( especially ) for plinking loads and for hunting loads accuracy trumps speed
    ( data pulled from page 146 of 2nd edition lee )

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    Dogs Like Him versifier's Avatar
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    Thank you for thoughts and comments. I wanted to get some discussion going on it. Kodiak, Skykid, Picklehead and a few others need to add theirs here too. You know who you are.

    I quite agree about the .308's potential for fantastic low velocity accuracy with target bullets. I am finally getting around to exploring it in mine.

    If there is enough interest I might be able to talk my daughter's boyfriend into casting up some of them for you guys without a 311291 to be able to play with them too. He's a teenager and can always use the pocket money.

    Most of my testing over the years has been with hunting bullets and softer alloys that expand, and I've always liked to get as much speed with these loads as I can, as long as I can still get my required accuracy. For some powder/bullets there is no workable compromise. But the 311291 is a target bullet and with it I can start much lower and test over a much wider velocity range when the sole criterion is accuracy alone and not my usual necessary combination of accuracy and performance for hunting bullets. Sometimes there can two or even three nodes of accuracy if the ladder has a wide enough charge weight range.

    So yes, I started low and worked up in 1gr increments. Load #1 was 7gr lower than the 180gr JSTART. Load #6 was at apparently the sole accuracy node at 3-1/2", within a two grains either way (loads #4,5, & 7) they opened above 6". I didn't go any higher (I would have if the groups had continued to tighten up but they did not) below that (loads #1, 2, & 3) they were all shotgun patterns.

    I start it low with every powder/bullet and work up until I find the accuracy node or nodes in my test ladder. When you go way down you can sometimes find additional accuracy nodes, but my interests have in the past mostly run to hunting bullets, loads over 1700 fps, and finding powders that have their best accuracy with MV's over 2000, maybe even up to 2500 or so for deer, bear, and moose hunting. I'd rather have a 3" 100yd load at 1700 than a 6" load at 2300, but I would not be satisfied with either. This is the first strictly target bullet I have been working with much for many years. We have been trying it in .30-30's, .300Sav's, .308's, and -06's. My buddy's Rem721? -06 keeps them under 3" @100 with 4895 at around 2000-2100. He loves the load. Bro's .300Sav m99 gets that accuracy up around 2300 with the same powder.

    As to using ball powders in reduced loads, I was taught something about that by observation of the untimely demise of a .303SMLE action that was close enough to me I had pieces of it go flying past my head, must be 30 years ago. I had been at it long enough at that point to help him figure out what had happened. The guy was older than me, a very experienced caster and handloader that put up with my incessant questions and taught me a lot. He ran out of IMR's one week for his cast tests and had reduced a Win ball powder START load instead to have something to shoot on his day at the range. When I started looking for more info about it I found that it can reportedly be very dangerous to reduce ball rifle powders below recommended START levels. As I use more extruded powders than anything else anyway, it didn't really limit me that I am aware of. He got himself another SMLE soon after, showed me how to slug it with an 8mm pure lead bullet, bought the right sizer for it and kept right on testing until he found the load he wanted. Then he hunted with it until the day he dies and killed a lot of deer. Ever since then I have used extruded surp, IMR, and Alliant powders for cast loads pretty much, sometimes Alliant flake powders too in smaller cases. The only ball powder I ever use with cast rifle loads is 860surp, but it is so slow (used for 50BMG) it isn't in the same class as normal rifle powders. Some rifles love it with bunny fart plinking loads.
    "Stand your ground.
    Do not fire unless fired upon.
    But if they mean to have a war let it begin here."
    - Capt. Parker, Lexington Militia, April 19, 1775

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