It is not normal, you have a headspace issue.
This is a discussion on 30-30 Shooters--Is This Normal? within the General Firearm Discussion forums, part of the Related Topics category; Folks I've been a member now for over a year and this is my first post. My carry piece is an old S&W Model 37 ...
I've been a member now for over a year and this is my first post. My carry piece is an old S&W Model 37 Airweight Chiefs Special (RB)with Corbon DPX 110 grain 38+p. With the factory magna wood grips, the total loaded package weighs exactly 16 oz. I carry it strong side front pants pocket in a Mika. I also own two other S&W Model 36s, a RB (1967) and a SB (1971). In cooler weather I can carry either OWB in a Triple K Secret Agent holster under a light jacket. With a decent belt, it really holds it nice and tight along my torso--virtually undetectable. If I want to up the ante, I have a 3" Ruger SP101 357 Magnum that rides nice and tight in a Simply Rugged Silver Dollar pancake. I had heard the Simply Rugged pancake would keep a revolver secure during a circus trapeze act, and after using it awhile, I tend to agree. I reload all my practice ammo for all four guns. 99% of my shooting with the J frames is done from 1 to 7 yards. The Ruger is more a utility gun and I do most of my plinking with it.
Now that you've let me introduce myself, on to my 30-30 question. I recently got a pretty good deal on an old Marlin 336RC from a local pawnshop/gunshop. This particular rifle was made in 1949 and has the old ballard rifling (before Marlin went to the MicroGroove rifling). However, these older Marlins are not tapped on top of the receiver for a scope mount. None of the deer hunters would even LOOK at this gun, so I was able to negotiate a very fair deal on this black walnut, forged steel diamond in the rough. The bore was great and the action pretty smooth. It has the original buckhorn rear sight and the original front sight, which sits in a dovetail right in the barrel, before they started putting ramps under the front sight. I don't intend to hunt with this gun, but just plink with the iron sights at 25-50 yards. AND, this gun will be in my bedroom loaded with hollow points JUST IN CASE I ever need it.
Just to exercise the gun and see what rounds it liked, I bought a half dozen assorted boxes of 150 grain cartridges. They were Federal PowerShok, Remington CoreLokt, Winchester PowerPoint, and some Monarchs I picked up at Academy. After firing, the primers from ALL four brands seem to have backed out of the brass case a little. There is a noticible bump on all of them. I went to look at my fired 38 handgun round and none of them did this. I realize the 30-30 is a higher pressure round, but is this normal? Since all the ammo brands did it, I can't blame them. If this is not normal, I may have a headspace issue. I won't fret until I hear back from you more experienced rifle folk. If you have stuck with me this far (I'm rambling), thanks, and I'd appreciate some replies.
It is not normal, you have a headspace issue.
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Balis, If you were using handloads, I'd say you had min. powder charges. I know that this sounds strange, I've experienced this with rifle loads before. I"M NOT A GUNSMITH, but I think it may be time to get your rifle checked out by one. Good luck, you've got a great rifle. I've got one in 35 cal. myself, it dont need a scope if I do my part.
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Thanks for the feedback. The prudent part of me figured it was the headspace or chamber but it didn't hurt to ask. Unfortunately, with hunting season just around the corner, getting face time with a smithy will be just about impossible (around here, anyway). I will try to locate a Field size headspace gauge just for my own peace of mind until I can have a pro look at it. Although the fired brass looks fine, I will destroy it just in case I have weakened it.
Just a thought--is it a possibility that the chamber walls in this older made rifle are clinging just a little too hard to the brass casing upon the initial explosion and not allowing movement? It seems like that could move the primer slightly as the path of least resistance.
You should post a picture of the case/primers if you still have them. Could be headspacing, doubt its overpressure unless you handloaded some and 30-30 factory ammo is usually loaded to less pressure so that it can be fired in an older rifle. Is there any bulging on one side of the case? Also what grain bullet where you using, possible that if you tried a smaller grain bullet it might reduce pressure if that was a problem. But before you go out and shoot it again get the headspacing checked.
Could be headspace and could be a condition of the rifle since it was brand new. The actions are somewhat springy since the bolt doesn't lock at the front. It wouldn't hurt to have it checked. It could probably be used just as it is until judgment day with no harm. A dab of excessive headspace wouldn't be alarming. It would be nice to see some good detailed photos of the primers.
What a great rifle! The older Marlins are well made, have appealing lines, are easy to shoot off the bench, and are quite accurate. I'd love to have one just like it.
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