30-30 Ackley


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Well, I bought myself a Christmas gift this morning. A new SSK 30-30 Ackley barrel for my contender. I alway thought a 30-30 AI would be a fun little round but never wanted to build a rifle out of it. A good friend has a reloading shop and is an avid Contender shooter, ordered a few barrels from SSK. The 30-30 AI was one of them. I figure its cheaper than building a bolt rifle in the same cartridge. He ordered me a set of dies also.

Do any of you shoot the 30-30 AI and what tips can you give me??
I shoot one that was re-chambered by SSK. Only tried W-748 and I think RE-15 powders with it but what I have loaded right now is with W-748. I used the Nosler 125 grain BT for deer and the Sierra 125 grain spitzer for plinking. Both shoot plenty accurate enough for deer/coyote sized game. Furthest I've killed a deer was 102yds. I get right at 2450fps but be careful with loading data that you see, some of it is downright stupid.
I cant understand why ssk uses 1:7 twist for the 30-30 AI cartridge. They have those “hunter” grade barrels. They all have fast twist and come at a more reasonable price. 1:10” works for about any normal .308” bullet.

Have had the Factory super 14 in 30-30AI for yrs. Its an awesome contender round.
IMR 4198 is a great powder for the 125 - 130gr bullets. I use it with a 130gr hornady for my load. I know of a few others that have or do use it with great success as well.

I fireform most of my brass at maximum regular 30-30 loads. It has worked for me so far. These loads can be used to hunt with as well. You dont have to shoot just to fireform all your brass at one time unless you just want to. I admit it is a lot of fun and great practice to do so though.
Starting with New brass is always the best option, but a lot of mine was once fired and has worked out for the most part. Some was also from firing factory loads thru the gun. I got Mediocre accuracy from those but finished loads are amazingly accurate. My barrel is the 1:10” twist.

As far as data…..any load data you see whether in a book or a chart is meant as a “guide”. Any experienced loader should know all guns are different and data is not intended as “etched in stone”. You work up from a reduced safe level and find max in YOUR gun. Its all on YOU(or me)if anything stupid is done.
I talked with SSK this morning and they recommended 150 grain bullets. They also said it should shoot some of the lighter bullets to. I had kinda planned on something in the 110- 130 range but I guess it will take some trial and error until I find the sweet spot. Like you, I don't understand the fast twist but that's what it has. I have a 6CM that I intentionally put a fast twist barrel for heavy bullets and it hates them, but it does shoot light bullets really well. Maybe I'll get the same results from this barrel. I have some 100 grain bullets and some heavier FMJ that I will probably use for barrel break in and fire forming brass. After my AI dies get here I'll start working up a good hunting load.
Sounds like fun, I hear those 30-30s get the largest boost in case capacity of all Ackleyed cartridges.

Is anyone using the 30-30AI in lever rifles? I've always felt theres a bit of a lever action shaped hole in my gun collection, I think I would prefer a 30-30 over a 45-70 but I know I would Ackley the 45-70 case if I could.
The 125NBT is like a lightning bolt on deer. My daughter used that bullet on a doe in a downloaded 300 Savage. Never took a step.
Originally Posted By: Rock KnockerSounds like fun, I hear those 30-30s get the largest boost in case capacity of all Ackleyed cartridges.

Is anyone using the 30-30AI in lever rifles? I've always felt theres a bit of a lever action shaped hole in my gun collection, I think I would prefer a 30-30 over a 45-70 but I know I would Ackley the 45-70 case if I could.

When I was searching 30-30AI a lot of the articles were lever guns converted to Ackley.
I have a 13" MGM barrel in .30-30 AI for my Contender. I LOVE this thing. I've used it to very good effect on whitetails, muleys, hogs, and pronghorn. A fellow on another site recommended 125 NBTs and IMR4198. I tried that and some Varget, and 34.4 grains of IMR4198 turned out to be the load for this barrel. It also shoots factory Federal 150 grain flat points very well, so I use those when I carry it for bear and oryx, though I haven't gotten to shoot one yet. Everything else I have shot with the NBTs, and so far I have only recovered one from a hog. All others, at least a dozen, have been clean pass-throughs.
I loaded up some 150 grain FMJ's last night just for fire forming brass. I figure that's about all they are good for IMO. If I had ordered the barrel, it would have had a more standard twist. I kinda figure the 1-7 is for the guys planning on running it suppressed. The 1-7 seems to be SSK's standard twist for their Contender and Encore 30-30AI barrels. I have several different weight bullets in 30 cal so I have options and am pretty sure I can find something that will shoot decent in lighter weight bullets I think with an overall length of 32" it will make a great treestand rifle or out of a blind and just fun to shoot in general.
The 14” contender barrel i shoot has shot amazing groups in the past. It seems to be a really accurate cartridge for some reason. Yes it is fun!
Fmj bullets should be a perfect choice for fireform loads. Its also a good time to try using up excess powders you may have around you are not using. For example i had data and imr 4350 around. Normally too slow in burn rate to get decent velocity etc, but wow were they accurate and fun with 125 gr sierra to form some brass.

Sounds like you will have a nice package! Report back on loads you find. Its very interesting.
The 150 FMJ's have been on my shelf for years. So long I don't even remember where they came from. I figured I could get my scope on paper and form brass as well as get rid of the bullets. CFE 223 was in my dispenser and Hodgdon had a load for it so CFE it is. Now we have ice and snow and single digit temps so I don't know when I may get a chance to shoot it. Hopefully in the next few days. My only Con so far is the barrel twist but I'm sure I can find a load that works even if its a little heavier than what I had hopes to shoot.
Originally Posted By: pyscodogSSK built my barrel. It has a 1-7 twist. Not sure what bullet will be best with that fast of twist.

Most people don't want this cartridge to shoot extremely heavy bullets slow...I don't get why they do this (Unless it was special ordered that way).
Right ernie! 125-150 gr bullets would be the norm id think, and 1:10” twist is plenty.

It will be interesting to see how this barrel does with the 125-130gr bullets if he tries those also.
Heck…..seems like I remember reading barnes 110-120gr bullets did good for someone??? Were they the all copper type maybe?
I bought a box of 130 grain SST's today. I probably won't try them until my Ackley dies get here. I did form some brass with 150 FMJ's. It shot them really well but I was only shooting 50yds to. I don't usually shoot FMJ bullets but figure they will work for forming brass and getting rid of them.
I shot some of the 130's and some 110's today while fire forming cases. Ten rounds of each at 100yds. Both bullets shot pretty good considering I was forming brass and the OAL was just a WAG. Both the 140 and the 110"s groups were just a little over an inch. I'm still waiting on Ackley dies and when they get here I'll get a lot more serious about my loads. I will say the SSK barrel is a breeze to clean and have a feeling its going to shoot pretty good. Its a short little barrel and is LOUD and if you hug it to close the scope will kiss your forehead. LOL. Hasn't got me hard yet but lets you know your to close.
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I've been shooting the 30-30AI a little lately and so far I'm not impressed with accuracy. I know I expect a lot from my rifles but I try to keep remembering this is a 30-30. But I've tried bullets from 110 grains up to an including 150's and to be honest, accuracy is terrible. I tried IMR 3031 powder with 150 Pro Hunters and with35.5 grains the group was 5 inchs at 100. With 36 grains it was better but not by a lot. The Hornady 150 SP with the same load results were better but still well over an inch, probably closer to two inchs. As much as I paid for the barrel I was hoping for a lot better accuracy. Recoil is pretty stout and I get a lot of muzzle jump so I need to work on that and I'm hoping that may help. I'm not giving up but sure has me scratching my head. Any suggestions on a better powder and bullet?
I had good luck out with the 125 and 150 grain ballistic tips. I settled on 125 grainers with W748 powder although I was looking for 125yds deer loads and never looked further.