While straightening up my reloading workshop yesterday, I noticed that I had three things that probably should have been combined a long time ago:
1. Several hundred trimmed and primed .308 Winchester cases.
2. Several hundred .30 bullets
3. Several pounds of WC-846 smokeless powder, military "pull-down" stock.
Well damn. That's just a ton of decent ammo there, some assembly required.
So last night, I sat down and made up some test loads, both to check pressures and velocity now that I have a chronograph, and to make sure that the primers in the cases were still good. And since it was just going to be a simple chrony test, I grabbed a surplus bolt-action L2A1 Enfield that was close to the gun room door and headed off to the range.
I wasn't looking for accuracy here, just consistent velocities. That said, the old India-Pakistan war vet gave me a surprising amount of both. Every round went downrange at a bit over 2,800 fps--a tad hot--but the velocity spread was +/- 50fps with two slow and one fast exception out of forty rounds fired. (It should be about 2,700fps.) And at 50 yards--still the max at this range until this week-end, when the 100 yard range re-opens, the rounds held decent groups on the three targets I was using. Then, on a whim, I decided to fire my last ten rounds at six sporting clays that someone had left on the 50-yard berm, and damned if that old rifle didn't bust all six with a round to spare. I just had to hold about 4" under the discs and the windage was spang on. Sporting clays explode impressively when hit with .30 ball.
And every primer fired. That lot of primed brass is going to work just fine.
So now it's back to the loading bench. I'll back the powder charges down a bit and test again, but it looks like I'll have a lot fewer loose components on my shelves soon and a lot more ready-to-shoot ammo. And as for that L2A1...
And for those curious about using this pull-down powder, obtained from the disassembly of US-surplus military ammo that we mere citizens cannot buy, use load data for Hodgdon BLC(2). Start at the low end of the scale and watch for signs of overpressure, but it's a great value when you can find it...or at least it used to be. I bought this stuff years ago and only just cracked the jug yesterday so I have no idea what it sells for now.