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A Bolt Action 30 Remington AR
A solid deer rifle that weighs only 5 £s... in the U.K.
By Joe D'Alessandro Editor | RealGuns.Com
 

Not long ago, we constructed a project where the subject rifle was a Mini Mauser with quick change barrel capability. One barrel was chambered for the .30 Remington AR, a cartridge Remington developed for their R-15 series rifles, another barrel was chambered for the 7mm-30RG, a RealGuns' designed wildcat that is a .30 Remington AR derivative.
 
The rifle, pictured left, easily met the project's objectives. The little Mauser weighs under six pounds with a lightweight Weaver scope. The .30 Remington AR responds exceptionally well to bolt action afforded pressure levels. The rifle is fast handling and it even shoots straight. After substantial shooting, reloading and tweaking time logged, it seemed that a progress update was in order. Bullets were selected that best covered the weight range.
  
 
65,000 PSI - Experimental - For Use In Bolt Action Rifles Only
Bullet Type Bullet
Weight
C.O.L. Powder
Type
Charge Muzzle
Velocity
Muzzle
Energy
Remington PSP 125 2.070 Re7 35.5 2872 2290
Remington PSP 125 2.070 Re10 37.5 2870 2287
Hornady GR SP 130 2.170 Re7 35.0 2800 2264
Hornady GR SP 130 2.170 Re10 36.8 2861 2363
Sierra MK 135 2.200 Re10 36.5 2755 2276
Sierra MK 135 2.200 RS-TAC 41.5 2834 2408
Hornady SP* 150 2.220 Re10 34.0 2525 2124
Hornady SP 150 2.220 Re10 34.6 2572 2204
Hornady SP 150 2.220 RS-TAC 39.0 2667 2370
Sierra SPBT 165 2.260 Re10 33.0 2479 2252
Sierra SPBT 165 2.260 RS-TAC 37.7 2560 2402
Berger VLD 30512 175 2.275 Re10 31.5 2312 2078
Berger VLD 30512 175 2.275 Benchmark 33.8 2407 2252
Most Accurate | CCI 450 Primers | Max COL 2.260"

Tools slightly better than pointed sticks...

The seater plug that came with the Redding die set worked fine with bullets 150 grains and greater. Below that weight range, the bullets I selected had long tapering ogives. Consequently, they were deep into the  plug before contact was made. As a result, the plug had an insufficient range of adjustment before the bullet was seated to the desired depth. I am sure this is an anomaly related to the ultra stubby 30 Remington AR cartridge and the specific bullet selection.

My tool fabricating skills are very rudimentary... some say almost chimp-like. If they work, I'm good, as long as I don't get splinters using them and they don't damage anything. I typically spend little time on finesse issues. I've found I can make custom bullet plugs from thirty cent 1/2"x20 hex head bolts, so I no longer find myself abandoning a project while I am waiting for UPS to deliver a replacement part from an outside source.

The plug made in our shop would have been better if it had more length in the thread so the seater plug would support a lock ring. The nose could have been turned a larger diameter for enhanced internal die support. More attention could have been paid the calculation that related to knurling and stock diameter. On the plus side, the piece worked, it was cheap to make... and it worked. Next time it will be better... maybe.

And then some other stuff...

30 Remington AR brass is relatively thin, 0.010" - 0.011". Any future reamer sets will be made with that in mind. Reducing the diameter of the neck will result in brass being worked less and improved support of the bullet as it leaves the case neck.
 
Fully formed brass has a measured capacity of 44.6 grains; very similar to the .30-30 WCF. The performance difference between the two cartridges is the .30 Remington AR being pushed to 65,000 PSI, well above the .30-30 WCF's 46,000 PSI maximum pressure or even Remington's 55,000 PSI ceiling for the .30 Remington AR.
 
Again, there is NO suggestion of pushing an AR type firearm chambered for this cartridge over the SAAMI 55,000 PSI maximum. This would have an adverse effect on the gas operating system, it could beat mechanical parts unmercifully and eventually result in catastrophic firearm failure. Within the confines of this project, a firearm was selected that routinely operates at these pressure levels and degree of bolt thrust. This is an experiment, not a recommendation.
 
Solid copper alloy bullets were tried, however, their low density made for longish bullets that robbed critical capacity. As an example, these are 130 grain bullets, pictured right, however the blue tipped Barnes bullet is solid copper alloy. Lead core bullets weighing 175 grains are viable for use with the small .30- Remington AR case. In fact, a gun with 21" barrel puts .30 Remington AR's performance is very close to the .308 Winchester, with comparable bullet weights and barrel length.

Powder selection was.. sensitive. Re7 and Re10 worked great. A batch of 20 rounds of Re10 shot over the chronograph did not deviate in velocity more than 18 fps. Slower ball powder, BL-C2 as an example, held potential, but the loads were so dense they couldn't be compressed to seat a heavier bullet. Ram Shot TAC provided a good balance of speed and volume. The charges were case filling, but not overly compressed except as noted and the powder performance was consistently. I guess the best all around powder for this application is Reloder 10x although IMR4227 would have probably been more optimal or perhaps Alliant Powder Pro 2000?

Field accuracy

The best accuracy  0.7", right, came with a modestly loaded 150 grain Hornady, as previously noted on load table. The least accurate, if 1.2" at 100 yards could be termed "least accurate", were the Berger 175 grain loads. Everything else landed between these two, regardless weight or powder type. To put this in perspective, half way through the range time, I switched over the  7mm-30RG barrel, shot quite a few rounds, then switched back to the 0.308" barrel again. There was no loss of accuracy or even a shift in point of impact.
 
Mr. Personality...
 
The little Mauser is kind of a scrappy gun. It's got a decent bark, recoil is actually a little stiff for such a stubby round. Might be the effects of light gun and straight cut stock. The Bell & Carlson's Carbelite Stock has a good recoil pad so there is nothing even a young shooter couldn't handle.
 
The .30 Remington AR chamber is a good one. Factory ammunition. more than enough thump for deer and similar size game and handloading is easy and cost saving. The 7mm-30RG is also a good round that requires passing 30 Remington AR brass through a 7mm-30RG sizer die and fire forming to set the shoulders right. Good performer - I'll have an update on that round in a couple of weeks.
 
If anything will change it will be the action that was selected. The mini-Mauser works fine, but it is too sloppy for my taste. I may work on the action a bit to see if I can bring it around to something more precise, or I will start looking for another donor gun with a slightly larger bolt face. All I have to do for now is to see which gun is going to make the trip to Texas for a hog hunt. The mini-Mauser is close. Just not sure if it is THE gun of this type I was working toward. 
 
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