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  1. #1
    Member Biddle1990's Avatar
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    Reloading for a m1917.

    Hello all.

    Just got myself a beautiful m1917 rifle at a gun show. She shoots rather well!

    I've got a shed load of 150grn fmj bullets that I bought a while back.

    Currently Im using just Varget. I have 2 .303's and a mosin and it works well in those. So trying to stick with that powder prefably.

    I've looked in my loading manuals and other information on hodgens website. The starting load seems to be around 46-48 grns varget. Was going to load a few up with that, but wandering weather any of you fine people have any more experience with varget?

    Thanks in advance!

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    Senior Member P246's Avatar
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    I shoot a rather accurate M1917 in local matches and have owned several others. Mine seem to like 47 grains of Varget over a Sierra 150 grain FB FMJ. Brass is Greek HXP. Iíve used mostly CCI or Winchester large rifle primers. No pressure signs and the rifle groups very well. I always work my load up from 46.5 grains. Good luck the M1917 is one of my favorite mil surp to shoot.

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    Member Biddle1990's Avatar
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    Thread Starter
    Quote Originally Posted by P246 View Post
    I shoot a rather accurate M1917 in local matches and have owned several others. Mine seem to like 47 grains of Varget over a Sierra 150 grain FB FMJ. Brass is Greek HXP. Iíve used mostly CCI or Winchester large rifle primers. No pressure signs and the rifle groups very well. I always work my load up from 46.5 grains. Good luck the M1917 is one of my favorite mil surp to shoot.
    Fantastic! Thanks for the advice! I'll load some up once I get the dies.

    I'll post up the results from my rifle, hopefully it will like it!

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    Member fdingen's Avatar
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    Hornady A-max 168gn works perfectly for me for years, also in my 1903a3 btw. Using Vithavuori N140 with a 43,5 gn loadout. Brass is mostly used S&B.

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    Senior Member oldfoneguy's Avatar
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    My M1917 loves a 150gr head traveling out at 2800fps. My usual load is 48gr of IMR 4895 with either a CCI 200 or Federal 210 primer. For 165-168gr heads I slow it back down to 2700fps with 48.1gr of IMR 4064. Brass is R-P, Win or Hornady.

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    Really Senior Member Sunray's Avatar
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    Reloading for an M1917 is the same as any other .30-06. Same data. Same powders. You do get the neck size only with a bolt action, but you'll have to FL resize sooner or later.
    There is no "around 46-48 grns" though. The start load for a 150 grain jacketed bullet using Varget is 47.0. Max is 51.0.
    Only ever used IMR4064 with a 168 grain Hornady Match bullet out of a 1903A4, myself.
    Spelling and Grammar count!

  9. #7
    Advisory Panel Patrick Chadwick's Avatar
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    Fast way to best results with an M1917

    The following repeats of some of my old posts (why reinvent the wheel?) should help you to get the best out of your M1917 in a short time, without endless unnecessary experimentation:

    My suggestion for a PDG first approximation:

    Powder charge to "accuracy load" for your powder in the Sierra manual, if you plan to shoot at 600 yds or more.
    For shooting up to 300 yds, reduce the Sierra "accuracy load" figure by precisely 2 grains. Not 1 grain, as this will put the rifle in a "bad vibrations" area - groups were 2-3x larger for my M1917!

    Use 168gn HPBT Sierra Matchking or Lapua Scenar. Seat 0.020" off the lands. I have read of people claiming that they seat down to 0.003" off the lands. Poppycock! When the striker hits the primer, the cartridge is pushed right forwards, by the amount of the head clearance (forget gauge headspace - this is firing real ammo, not gauges!). So when the primer ignites and it all goes bang, the bullet may or may not be hard against the lands. This maybe contact means erratic pressure variation and less than optimum groups.

    After first firing, check the head clearance again, with a case that was fired in your rifle. It will probably be very small indeed. From now on only neck-size those cases, and they will last and last and last... and be amazingly accurate. Now you can also try setting the bullets a gnat's whisker closer to the lands, but don't forget that everything has tolerances, including bullet profiles, and you should avoid those maybe contacts.

    Expect 2-3 MOA at 100 yards on first firing. Off a sand sack. Well centered horizontally.
    If you get below 2MOA, you are approaching the aiming limits with iron sights and your PWF. 1 MOA is testing you and your eyesight. The rifle may be even better, but you need to fit a scope to test it. Mine brings sub-MOA only with a scope off a sand sack. I just can't aim or shoot any better!

    Now go out and fulfil these expectations, and post the results!

    Good shooting!

    M1917 load - find the worst to pick the best
    I started off with the load from "visier" quoted above by mk23 (I shoot in the BDMP with the guy who provided those loads).

    I had to shorten the OAL because the 83.8 mm put the bullet right up on the lands in my Eddy. I set the depth to be about 20 thou off the lands and tested various charges of N140. No crimp. Look up Optimum Charge Weight and Optimum Barrel Time for an understanding of what is going on, and why and how to test various charge weights.

    Bullet: Lapua Scenar Silver Jacket (i.e. the moly-coated version) 167 gn.
    Case: GECO 30-06, once-fired in this rifle. Selected by weight to a spread of +/- 1 gn about the 181 gn average value of the batch I had. The average may vary a little from one factory batch to another, but the spread within a batch seems to be very low indeed.
    Primer: CCI 200 large rifle
    Powder: charges from 46 to 51 gns (max permitted load in Vihtavuori reloader manual is 51.1 gn).

    The grouping results were plotted on graph paper. Two curves: one with the group size of all 8 shots per group. Then, allowing for 1 flyer per group, a curve of the 7 shots left after eliminating the worst shot in each group. Result: two double-humped curves - a valley between two peaks.

    It is not easy to find the best, but easy to see the worst!

    At 46 and 49 gn the 8-groups were twice as large as the groups at 47(good)-48 gn (better). For the best-7-shot groups (i.e. without the worst shot) 45 and 49 gn were MORE than twice as large as the groups with 48 gn. 50 gn was even a touch better, but noticeably harder on the shoulder.

    Conclusions: for this rifle, with the load parameters described above, the best load lies around 47.5 gn N140, but is non-critical in this range. Below 47 or above 48 slight variations will produce increasingly larger spreads, and 46 or 49 gn regions are to be avoided.

    Of course, this could be repeated with varying seating depths etc. But life is too short and I have other things to do - like shooting other rifles! So, under the motto "No pain no gain" I took the 50gn** load (which must be measured very carefully,as it is very close to the limit) and came 3rd in the BDMP Hessen Championship at 100 meters - 40 places up on the year before! For everyday use, the 47.5 gn is an excellent non-critical first approximation, but first check on the apppropriate seating depth for YOUR rifle!

    Patrick

    ** 50 gn because I wanted to shoot at long range with the same powder charge. Post shoulder-op it has to be the 48gn - which is what a friend uses who is a better shooter than I am.

    ------------------------------
    An optimized M1917 at 50 yards should give nearly one ragged hole for a group. Say 1".
    The battle sight aperture is a CWOA* for target shooting.
    Much too large, and set for something like 300 yards (the real figure is probably in Ferris' book somewhere).
    And using junk milsurp ammo is a CWOM**.

    Assuming that the rifle is mechanically OK ....
    Use only the flip-up sight.
    The backsight aperture can be improved by gluing on a small washer with a hole about 1.4-1.6 mm diameter (1/16") over the existing hole.
    Then slice off about 1/8" of black rubber tubing (or a rubber washer) with an outside diameter no more than 3/8" (otherwise it will foul the battle sight when you set it for 100 yards/meters). Glue that on as well. The idea is to produce a smaller backsight aperture with a bit of shading.
    The tricky bit is getting it all centered over the original hole.

    Use Pattex/Thixofix or whatever that rubbery impact adhesive is called in your country, as it can all be peeled off later without any damage to the bluing, if you want to restore the rifle to its original state.
    Paint the washer-ring combination dead black ("blackboard black") to minimize reflection.
    Rest the rifle on a sandbag, on the area behind the lower band where you would have your front hand in a normal shooting position. Resting too far forwards encourages the bad vibrations.
    Use the 6 'clock hold. Make sure you can see the foresight blade sharply. Seeing the target sharply is second priority. Sharp foresight and fuzzy target is better than the other way around. If necessary get glasses properly adjusted for shooting requirements. Reading glasses are usually set too short, glasses for car-driving are set too long. Not getting this right is a CWOTMAA***.
    Do all this and you should see an immediate and considerable improvement.
    Please try it out, and let us know how you get on.

    And if you really want to know how you and your rifle GROUP after this, you do not want a spotter scope. In fact, you do not need to see the impact holes at all. Simply set the target at 100 yards and fire a 5 to 10-shot string as evenly as you can, allowing 1 minute between shots, closing your eyes to rest them, WITHOUT LOOKING AT THE TARGET IN BETWEEN. Because if you do look, you can hardly avoid making unconscious corrections ("That last shot was a bit off, better aim a touch higher/lower/left/right"), with the result that the next shot may actually be worse. (Thank you RSM Kilpatrick for teaching me that!). And do not worry about making fine corrections to the sights until you are convinced that you have achieved the best possible group. Group first, position afterwards!


    Patrick

    PS:
    *CWOA = complete waste of ammo
    **CWOM = complete waste of that stuff which is no longer backed up by gold
    ***CWOTMAA = complete waste of time, money and ammo
    Last edited by Patrick Chadwick; 09-20-2018 at 06:50 PM.

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    Really Senior Member TDH's Avatar
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    Senior Member Wineman's Avatar
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    I like the Flat Based bullets. The Hornaday 0.3105" bullet also works well with my 5-Groove Eddystone. It is a BT but is slightly fatter. Just be sure to start low and work up the powder charge.

    Dave

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    Really Senior Member Bruce_in_Oz's Avatar
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    And don't forget to check the overall length of your brass AFTER sizing, especially full-length sizing. All proper manuals list MAXIMUM case length for a very good reason.

    One excessively long case can ruin your day, and possibly your century-old rifle.

    Cheers and good shooting!


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