Winter is a time for reflection and contemplation. I favor contemplation because I have rounded up a few new loads to try in my thirty-thirties. My definition of a new load is one that I have not tried before. In fact, the ones I am listing have been around a little while. In the picture left to right are the following loads.
Winchester Power Max Bonded 150-gr PHP. This is a hollow-point bullet with the lead core bonded to the jacket, which is claimed to improve expansion, penetration, and weight retention in a game animal. Win claims a muzzle velocity of 2390 fps, which is standard for 150-grainers in the .30-30.
Federal Fusion 150-grain Flat Point. Fusion is Federal’s term for a bonded core bullet, so this round could have the same advantages as the Winchester. The claimed velocity is 2390 fps, but the bullet has a slight boat tail, so Federal notes an advantage in velocity and energy downrange, amounting to about 120 ft-lbs of kinetic energy at 200 yards.
PRVI Partizan 170-grain Flat Soft Point. This economical ammo is made in Serbia and is now being widely marketed in the U. S. I do not have advertised velocity figures, but I expect it to be standard for a 170-grainer, about 2200 fps.
Wolf 150-grain Flat Soft Point.The Wolf brand is foreign ammo marketed by an American company. It is also made in Serbia and the brass appears to be identical to the PRVI cited above. Therefore I think these rounds are also made by PRVI Partizan, but 150 grains instead if 170. A lot of Wolf ammo has used steel cases but these .30-30s are brass.
Hornady 140-grain Monoflex. This is another load in the LEVERevolution series which uses the Flex Tip technology to make the cartridges safe in tubular magazines. No lead here, the 140-grain bullet of this load is made entirely of gilding metal and enjoys an initial velocity of 2465 fps.
Poor bullet performance on game is sometimes due to the jacket separating from the lead core. The core then expands too rapidly and loses weight through fragmentation, which limits penetration. The bonded core idea, in which the lead core and the jacket are permanently bonded, is meant to prevent jacket separation and thus promote controlled expansion and better penetration. This could be a definite advantage for 150-grain bullets, which are at the lighter end of the .30-30 hunting spectrum.
A somewhat more exotic idea is the bullet that has no lead content at all. The gilding metal which Hornady uses for the 140-grain Monoflex is actually a type of brass that has a rather low zinc content. The bullet is a boat tail design, similar to Hornady’s FTX, and has a ballistic coefficient of .277, which is fairly high for a light bullet. A box of 20 will set you back about $28.00
Hornady is not alone in this kind of market activity. Barnes Bullets was one of the pioneers of lead-free rifle bullets and today has a full line of various types for all popular calibers. They sell loaded .30-30 ammo known as Vor-TX with a 150-grain copper bullet that is flat nosed. Initially velocity is 2335 fps, but with a ballistic coefficient of .184, down range performance suffers. Barnes quotes a velocity of 1532 fps at 200 yards. A box of 20 Barnes Vor-TX will cost you about $35.00. Remington is also among the lead-free bullet mongers and their version, with a 150-grain, solid copper, boat tail will require an outlay of $41.50 per box. Depending on where you buy your ammo, you may well pay more than the prices I have quoted. Fine as they probably are, there won’t be any tests of Barnes or Remington lead-free ammo reported here.
Since it is going to be 72 deg. tomorrow, sunny, with a 3-5 mph wind out of the south, I will be taking these shells and some of my favorite rifles to the range for shooting evaluation. Oops! I guess that won’t be tomorrow. In fact, I’m afraid it will probably be at least three months from tomorrow. More reflection and contemplation. Anyway, when I get there I will check velocities and accuracy for all rounds, and you will hear about it.