Bolt action specific subsonic loads.

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N2130N
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Bolt action specific subsonic loads.

Post by N2130N » Thu Oct 09, 2014 2:19 am

Okie dokie. In almost 2 years of Blackout ownership, I've tinkered around with several combinations of fast pistol powders & a variety of heavy projectiles.

This combination seems to be the least covered area of Blackout reloading as I discovered a couple years ago. I searched the internet high & low for information coming up for the most part, empty handed. At that point I decided to go it alone & start experimenting from basically, scratch.

The usual disclaimer applies, blah blah blah. Use common sense, don't blow yourself up & I did not stay in a Holiday Inn last night.. or however that phrase goes. I am not a professional ballistics guy, just an avid reloader that likes to tinker.

The primary reason for going on this adventure is most factory subsonic rounds gain just enough speed in a bolt action to go sonic, leaving a tell tale crack. That fires up my OCD something fierce!

I learned several other advantages along the way. Things like using nearly half the powder charge compared to your typical powders for use in gas guns. The report silenced or not, is noticably quieter & most of the loads are far cleaner burning than factory loads.

All information I'm going to post is from my AAC Micro seven, YHM Phantom installed. Elevation in my area is around 1500'

I'm going to place an extra disclaimer for my first load. This flies in the face of what we as reloaders are told is safe. All I can say is I've fired plenty of these & see that no harm is being done. I worked it out using cast lead at first & switched to a jacketed projectile once I was convinced it was safe. I have had no signs of trouble in MY rifle. Procede upon your own descretion.

So without further adieu:

Cut LC case, 1.360" +/- .001"
CCI 400 primer
Sierra 220gr SMK
6.0gr Alliant Bullseye
2.260" oal

Average FPS: 1040


Using Bullseye here gave me a ridiculously clean burning load & one which meters through my powder dropper (a Lee perfect) with almost no variance. It's a fantastic practice load that mimics the performance of the Remington yellow & green box subs with less report while assuring no sonic crack. I would imagine one could substitute the SMK for an Amax & be dang close with a little work, however I never did.
Last edited by N2130N on Thu Oct 09, 2014 6:10 am, edited 1 time in total.
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BadKarmaZeroSix
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Re: Bolt action specific subsonic loads.

Post by BadKarmaZeroSix » Thu Oct 09, 2014 3:25 am

What is the percentage of case thats empty with the Bullseye powder? Havent used it, but just got into the light 110-125 gr subs using TrailBoss...stabilized nicely, dont expect any probs through suppressor...any other powders you have good luck with?
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Re: Bolt action specific subsonic loads.

Post by N2130N » Thu Oct 09, 2014 3:36 am

After I had my first pratice load I began wondering about terminal performance. The 220 SMK is a fine bullet for punching paper but everything I saw from my own experiments & reading lead me to believe I needed to find another bullet for hunting or defence. For the record, I know about Lehigh defence & Outlaw state now, however at the time I did not. My reading on the subject lead me to the concept of tumbling, or the lack therof in several articles. One in particular was very thorough having around a dozen pictures of deer with oblong exit wounds. The bullet in question was the 240 SMK. As fortune would have it about that time they became unavailable. I got my grubby paws on a few & built up a load similar to the first one but without a replenishable supply I began looking for another bullet. Finding that stability depends on the length of the bullet I got the longest bullets I could find, the Berger 230gr hybrid target. NOT the tactical bullet, they are shorter. Maybe those will work too but as they say, 'go big or go home'.

At nearly 1.7" long if anything was going to tumble coming out of my rifle, by God these puppies were!

I held another experiment around this same time that I won't drag you through the gritty details of. Jist of it was trying to determine the 'quietest' powder I currently have in stock & we felt that it was Alliant Unique. Even though slower burning than Bullseye it was noticably quieter & "softer sounding" than Bullseye. This was not a scientific test by no means but several people agreed that between the powders tested (Bullseye, Red dot & Unique) Unique was hands down quieter.

So with this information I proceded to come up with thr following:


Cut LC case, 1.360" +/- .001"
CCI 400 primer
Berger 230gr target
6.5gr Alliant Unique
2.350" oal

Average FPS: 1040


This turned out to be a fantastic load. It's actually quieter than the Bullseye practice load. I found not only that it positively tumbles, but every bullet that I recovered was significantly deformed.

The rifle range I typically shoot at is a 100 yard range. I work nights so usually I'm out during the day & completely alone. I've memorized how far I need to be behind the tables for the muzzle of my rifle to be at exactly 100 meters. Don't know why but I prefer meters. Regardless, the target boards are 1/2" thick fiber board. Upon inspecting the berm behind the target boards I noticed oblong holes in the damp soil so I started digging with my bayonet. I recovered about 8 or 9 Bergers, each one significantly deformed. I have a picture somewhere I'll try to dig up & post. The results all point to me believing that if you were to hit a bad guy or hog with one of these they would be having a terrible day at the office!

If somebody happens to have a pile of ballistics gel burning a hole in thier pocket, I would gladly donate you a small bit of this ammo to you for free to see if you find the same results I have.

There is a downside to this load. Unique though being quietest powder I've found to date, doesn't meter through my powder dropper worth a hoot! Discussing this with other reloaders online seem to agree typically the same. I hand weigh every charge. Regardless between the accuracy & performance of this load, I feel it's worth it.
Last edited by N2130N on Thu Oct 09, 2014 6:11 am, edited 1 time in total.
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N2130N
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Re: Bolt action specific subsonic loads.

Post by N2130N » Thu Oct 09, 2014 4:02 am

BadKarmaZeroSix wrote:What is the percentage of case thats empty with the Bullseye powder? Havent used it, but just got into the light 110-125 gr subs using TrailBoss...stabilized nicely, dont expect any probs through suppressor...any other powders you have good luck with?
Bullseye seems to be a rather dense powder, not taking up much space in the case. I'd wager the 6.0gr charge takes around 50% capacity. Of course you jam a big ole bullet on top of that & there went a lot of your capacity.

Being such a fast pistol powder, it ignites so easily I don't believe some empty case room is detrimental.

Your comment came up while I was posting my second load here. To answer your question to which I inadvertantly came around to in doing so anyways, I've played with the Bullseye, Red Dot & Unique so far. Several people agreed completely un-scientifically that Unique is hands down quieter.

I'll be testing IMR 7625 soon but it's out of production so if my results are postive, I'm going to purchase several leftover pounds a local vendor has holding for me. I'm not testing at this point for a quieter load than Unique, as it's giggle-like-a-freakin'-school-girl quiet. I'm trying to find a powder that meters better than Unique with the same mild report.

I've been curious about lighter sub loads & have read accounts of guys successfully using trailboss to make a laughably quiet load. However as quiet as I've gotten my latest loads, I wonder if it'd be worth the trouble in losing the terminal performance of a heavier bullet. If a guy happens to have a bunch of lighter bullets around I can see the point economically, however I do not.

I do have a handful of the Speer 110gr hollow point .30 carbine bullets, part # 1835 & I'm sure they'd be silly quiet. Only recently I've been more focused on building quiet defensive loads 'just incase'
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Re: Bolt action specific subsonic loads.

Post by BadKarmaZeroSix » Thu Oct 09, 2014 4:35 am

I tested Nosler 110 Varmageddon, Nosler 125 BT, and then my economy plinker Speer 125 TNT...all of em shot well with around 5.2-5.3 gr Trailboss in the 2.1 OAL range if i remember correctly (dont have data in front of me)...its just cheaper to grab 500 of the TNTs for about 100$ when the 220 SMKs i cant normally find 300 for that cheap...and my only heavy-sub powder on hand is A1680 which i wanted to save for a reason to thoroughly clean my ARs after two mags of reloads...lol
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The 'mystery' load...

Post by N2130N » Thu Oct 09, 2014 5:15 am

By this time I was hooked on my blackout boltgun worse than heroine. Even though I loaded my own, I bought every variety of subsonic ammunition I could get my peter beaters on for comparison.

Again I found several things, mostly dissapointing.

I won't drag you through the gory details, since this thread is for reloading. What did happen was I bought a bunch, I mean a BUNCH of the UMC white & green box subs. The mistake I found in doing so is that every single one went super in my Micro seven. I was very dissapointed.

Now I know that the boltgun guys make up a small faction of the overall blackout users so I can understand that the load was geared toward the gasgun crowd. That's smart business. But I definitely felt out in the cold after this ammo was advertised as the best thing since canned beer or miniskirts.

So what does an avid reloader do when he has over 1200 rounds of factory ammunition collecting dust? Note: I tried to sell, trade & all but damn near give this stuff away then found out even most of the gasgun guys were dissapointed as the ammo went super on them too..

Answer... you pull it down & work up a load!

There is one thing I like about the UMC sub: the flat base bullet. I really wish someone would make an economical 200+ gr flatbase plinking projectile for the masses. Most everything else I was further dissapointed in once I started tearing down rounds. For instance, what in the world do they crimp these poor bullets with? Around the cannalure I found on average the bullet diameter was clear down to . 293"!! That's one hell of a crimp. Unless they're made that way? It doesn't appear as though they are however.

Anyways it was time to make a load out of all this ammo.

I found that the powder charge varied between 9.9 & 10.8 grains of a dull gray short stick powder. This was over several boxes randomly grabbed from my stash.

Knowing the burn rate had to be somewhere around A1680 to function a gasgun & knowing the factory charge was too much for my rifle I came up with the following:

Factory primed Remington case, hand sorted to +/- .001" & neck resized after pulling the bullet
220gr Remington flatbase
9.5gr Remington mystery powder
2.350" oal

Average FPS: 990


Now I know most guys aren't going to go through the pain of pulling apart factory ammo unless you've got some serious OCD issues, such as myself. I'm simply posting this for information purposes as it was a fun experiment that yeilded me positive results.

Notes:

This turned out to be a nice shooting load. Not as quiet as the previous ones but once I eliminated the sonic crack, still very quiet. Accuracy is acceptable for me, right around 2 moa. I feel that's okay with iron sights. This is my current practice load as I'm almost out of 220 SMKs & still have over 1100 of these.
Last edited by N2130N on Thu Oct 09, 2014 6:13 am, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Bolt action specific subsonic loads.

Post by BadKarmaZeroSix » Thu Oct 09, 2014 5:52 am

Any ideas on what the Remington Mystery Powder might be?
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Re: Bolt action specific subsonic loads.

Post by gds » Thu Oct 09, 2014 5:57 am

if your AR15 loads were for a 16 inch gun, then they should have been really close in velocity. I know mine are in my AAC model 7. I will say that they seemed louder, but they were not breaking the sound barrier.

For lightweight subs in a bolt action single shot I highly recommend trail boss. I had extreme velocity spread with red dot and bullseye with 120gr and lighter subs
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Re: Bolt action specific subsonic loads.

Post by N2130N » Thu Oct 09, 2014 6:04 am

BadKarmaZeroSix wrote:Any ideas on what the Remington Mystery Powder might be?
I have no idea. Nor do I know even if one were to determine the powder if it would be commercially available.

That's good to hear the info regarding trailboss. I have some but I'm saving it for cast lead subs in 30-30, 30-06 & when I get the rifle finished, the wonderful 6.5 Swedish mauser.

Trailboss is about the same burn rate as Green dot, which I have but it's still sealed. I don't open a can until I have to.
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Re: Bolt action specific subsonic loads.

Post by gds » Thu Oct 09, 2014 6:08 am

the great thing about trail boss and lightweight subs is it usually takes less then 5 gr.
Yes, I am a Baptist, and yes I carry a gun. You might think I carry a gun because I don't trust God. Well you would be wrong. I have complete faith in my Lord. It is mankind I have no trust in

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