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Thoughts and Experience on Reduced Loads

This is a discussion on Thoughts and Experience on Reduced Loads within the Ammunition forums, part of the M14 M1A Forum category; I've been doing some thinking and reading on the forum, and I'm ready for some thoughts and input. Who all out there has tried reduced ...


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Old February 2nd, 2013, 10:52 PM   #1
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Thoughts and Experience on Reduced Loads

I've been doing some thinking and reading on the forum, and I'm ready for some thoughts and input. Who all out there has tried reduced loads in an M1A, and how do you like them. Apparently they are moderately popular for NM shooting at the closer range.

I'd been wanting to get a Mini 30 for quite a while, but this buying scare has gotten in the way and has me thinking about alternatives. I figured since I already had an M1A Bush Rifle set up the way I want it, I could just as well turn it into a rifle in the same performance class with some creative reloading.

What I'd like to do, is create a load for .308 that gets as close to 7.62x39/.30-30 performance and still work reliably with reduced recoil. As an added benefit, bullets would be cheaper, and I would use less powder. Win-win. I'm looking to do this with no more modifications to the gun than sighting it in. I'd want to be able to switch back to my full power 150 grn loads in a heart beat.

I have a lot of H4895 and IMR4895 around, so that would likely be my powder of choice. I also have a lot of 'HC' stamped 7.62x51 brass. I think the smaller capacity of the military brass would be a benefit in this instance, as it should increase powder burn consistency with the reduced loads by keeping the charge density up.

I was looking at bullets in the 110-125grn range. There are Varmint offerings from both Sierra and Speer that look appealing. I've used the 85grn Varminters a lot in my 6.5x55 (that's actually what got me to thinking on this, I love the lack of recoil with those things). I'd like to try the Sierra 110 grn with minimum book starting load, or perhaps a few grains below that. Who here has actually tried that? Is there any way to make that light of a bullet cycle the operating system reliably?

Also, what are thoughts on feeding reliability with flat-nosed bullets made for .30-30? Those lighter flat nose bullets should be pretty devastating on game at short ranges, and they are a lot easier to find in today's market than spitzer bullets are.

Thoughts? Concerns? Ideas on something I'm leaving out here?

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Old February 2nd, 2013, 11:17 PM   #2
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I cannot say for the M14 but as far as reduced loads for the AR it is the difference between night and day as far as accuracy and consistence

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Old February 2nd, 2013, 11:29 PM   #3
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Hey cal30, for what it's worth I picked up a mini 30 tactical about a year ago and ended up selling it about three months later. After taking a half dozen shots the accuracy opened up to over 4 MOA. It is created with the appearance of having a bull barrel but if you actually look underneath the hand guard it immediately tapers to a standard barrel. My Arsenal AK (also in 7.62x39) put it to shame. Maybe installing a strut could have helped...

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Old February 3rd, 2013, 04:10 AM   #4
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1. Getting a 125gr. bullet to go 2400fps AND cycle an M14 (with a standard spring weight) MIGHT be possible, but it would also NOT (likely) get you anything but POOR accuracy. Accurate loads (usually) have LESS air-space in the round for best case efficiency. I guess you could experiment with VERY-VERY slow powders, but then you would run into both gas system issues and a lot of unburned powder down your bore.

2. Simply SHOOTING 110-130 grain bullet at "normal/modest" velocities with the usual powders recommended GETS you (mostly) what you want, reduced RECOIL albeit without the lower velocity you (seem) to think you want, but reliable functioning.

3. You also seem to be assuming that military brass has significantly lower capacity than commercial brass. 1-2 grains of WATER capacity (filled case) with SOME military brass is NOT significant unless you are shooting heavy/maximum loads at the ragged edge of pressure (which in an unmodified M1A is not smart anyway).

4. Most round-nose and soft point hunting bullets feed 100% fine in either M1 or M1A's. In particular, lots of people like the 110 grain M1 carbine bullets for short range matches and seem to get decent accuracy. In my experience, the old 130 grain Hornaday SSP match bullet is INCREDIBLY accurate.

5. Finally, you can ALSO shoot jacketed bullets at pretty modest velocities around 1500-2000 fps using pistol powders. These loads can be very accurate (I like 14-15 grains of Red Dot with 155-168 grain match bullets), but they convert your M1/M1A into a bolt-action rifle. Recoil is almost non-existent and noise is not much more than a .22LR going off.

If you want to "save" money, you can hit the smaller gunshows and find the "old-geezer" tables where folks are selling their personal bullets, brass etc. Less than 5% of shooters reload, so demand isn't super high. I have been able to (at least before this recent silliness) buy a big variety of .308 (and other) hunting bullets for about 30-40 cents on the dollar in odd lots, etc. ALL of these bullets work fine and ALL of them are at least 2-3X more accurate than pulled GI ball (M80) etc. or the commercial FMJ bullets than some folks seem to want to waste their money on. Also, Hornaday runs internet "blem" sales several times a year on their no-kidding match bullets. Usually this is (was anyway) around 18-20 bucks per box.


Thanks from 4Quangs

Last edited by AKA Hugh Uno; February 3rd, 2013 at 04:21 AM.
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Old February 3rd, 2013, 11:05 AM   #5
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I shot a slow 125gr TNT for a season or two. Chronographed it at 2430fps. I think 40.0gr of SURPLUS IMR4895. It cycled just fine--probably could have come down another 1.5grs.

It shot really well.



I've since kicked it up to I think 42.0grs IMR4895. A little better in a decent breeze at 200yds.

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Old February 3rd, 2013, 01:46 PM   #6
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Cool

Sniper, from your post I'm not sure what you are trying to accomplish here. If you are trying to save money buy reducing the bullet weight and reduced powder charge, I would suggest going to a cast bullet. That will save a lot of money. While I'm not into it, some of the others here are. Maybe others will chime in as to the advantages. I too have a bush rifle and wanted to develop a short range close quarters load that would cycle in my M1A reliably. Primary purpose was to reduce recoil, making much faster follow up shots. My tact was to use the standard 150 gr SST or FMJ, that I use in full power loads, and reduce the powder charge. Using the above bullets w/38 gr. IMR 4895, CCI 34,GGG brass, velocity stayed in the 2350 fps range, and was amazingly accurate at 50 yds. Recoil was like shooting a .223 cal. Loads in that range never caused a cycling function. If reduced recoil is what you want to achieve, Stay with loads in that area. The big plus is that you can use your existing components. dozier

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Old February 3rd, 2013, 03:54 PM   #7
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Dozier,

Reduced recoil for something along the lines of CQB is what I'm looking for. I'd like to duplicate the performance (and recoil) of something in the 7.62x39 class, while still retaining the ability to go back to .308 levels if necessary.

Saving money and/or easier to find components was another plus. I'm really not interested in shooting cast bullets at all, but I also load for .30-30, so those bullets are around too. I just had no idea if they would feed reliably, given they are flat nose hollow points.

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Old February 3rd, 2013, 03:56 PM   #8
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30Caliber,

That looks like the kind of load I was wondering about. I might even try to push it a bit faster than that. I've always had good luck shooting coyotes and stuff with the 85grn bullets in my 6.5x55. I'd like to get the same kind of explosive expansion and light recoil in my M1A and still have it function 100%.

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Old February 3rd, 2013, 04:09 PM   #9
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Even at 2550-2750fps, that 125gr bullet is a mild, mild recoil. It really makes keeping the the sitting position from disintegrating infinitely easier.

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