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Saturday, October 09, 2010

Pre-Season Stuff

I'm using this rare break from work to get the rifles ready for hunting season. While digging through the the pile I came across my son's post-64 Model 94 Winchester, the middle gun of the three below-

Frankly I was expecting a little more work getting it sighted in; since it worked out perfect, I had to post a pic of the zeroing target. The captions explain the rest.

The top rifle is my old 1959 Model 94 and it’s a shooter, too. I zeroed it at 200 yards yesterday and 3 shot groups hovered at 3 ½ inches, whenever I did my part. I love these old Winchesters... they invariably shoot far better than anyone gives them credit for.

The reload is 34.0 grains of H4895 with a 150 grain Sierra flat softpoint, WLR primers and any old brass.  Velocity runs between 2270 and 2296 fps depending on which 30-30 they’re used in. Most ballistic calculators say it’s still doing about 1620 fps, at 200 yards, and still hitting harder than a 158 grain .357 magnum does at the muzzle. I don't concern myself with the numbers though, because the basic 150 grain 30-30 load is well-proven in the field. Several years ago I killed a nice whitetail forkhorn, using the basic Winchester 150 grain factory load, at 238 paces. The shot centered the shoulder and knocked a chunk of bone, about as big as a quarter, out on the ground upon exiting the deer- who was down in one stride. The rifle was a garden-variety 94 Winchester.  

The bottom gun the photo is my wife's Rossi-built copy of the 1892 Winchester Trapper. I recently cooked  up a hunting  handload for her Rossi and my Old Ruger Vaquero, both in 45 Long Colt. 

This load is an adaptation of one of John Linebaugh's personal loads using a 250 grain Hornady XTP over 13.0 grains of Hodgdons HS6 powder. This load is too heavy for anything except the big framed Ruger revolvers, so please DO NOT try it from your Grandpa's Colt Single Action. It is however relatively mild in recoil and was just what I was looking for in a light-kicking hunting load for Peggi's carbine.

I had a limited number of test loads so I fired just three from each gun, over the sensors of my old Shooting Chrony Beta Max. From the rifle it averaged about 1205 fps; it did about 1050 from the 5 1/2" Ruger. Recoil is inconsequential from either gun. Penetration in water was 24" from both guns and the bullets turned into leaden toadstools at either velocity. 

I suspected this would shoot to the about  same point of impact, in both guns, as they do with our two bulk .45 Colt loads. The XTP load did precisely that, zeroing at 50 yards in the fixed sight Ruger and requiring no sight adjustments to zero to 100 from the 16" lever action carbine.

Sometimes, things just fall together and this was one of those times. Life is good ;)


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