Lee 309-230–BTF

Spindrift

Well-Known Member
The Lee TL309-230-5R is an unusual and intriguing bullet design. So intriguing, in fact, that I bought one a few months ago, even though I have no Blackout or similar fast-twist rifle for which it is designed. It looks like a flying pencil; long, slender, pointy- and with a boat tail. You can crimp a gas check there, if you want.
All my .30- cal bores are 1:10 twist. Trying to stabilize this bullet at subsonic velocities from these barrels would probably make Mr. Greenhill- not only turn, but positively twist in his grave.

But what if..... I flip it around, and shoot it back-to-front? Then it would be a heavy-for-caliber, WFN bullet with a looong boat tail, and the center of gravity in the front half of the bullet. Should be more inherently stable (and interesting, from a terminal ballistics perspective).

I have decided to try this in my R700, .30-06. As you can see from the photo, the bullet heavily intrudes into the boiler room of the cartridge, restricting powder space (and theroretically increasing pressure). To start with, I shot a few rounds over the chrono today. My ambitions were only to get a few data points, anf not blow up the rifle. Success!
Viht N32c powder, Norma cases, WLRP. Single (slightly patchy) layer PC. Loaded to light jam fit.
7grs: 840fps
8grs: 912 fps
9grs: 984 fps
9,5 grs: 1017 fps

Next, I am going to shoot some groups, se what this puppy can do. If any of you have this mold, and feel the spark of inspiration, feel free to load, shoot and contribute your experiences!
Spin471B6C1F-49DE-404B-9B34-8922A5FFD91F.jpeg
 

Ian

Notorious member
I have out close to 5,000 of those downrange, but pointy-end first. Here's a witnessed two-shot group at 80 yards (to prove my load has no cold-barrel flyer) using a suppressed .308 Winchester bolt-action with 10" rate of twist. I wouldn't be concerned about stability in your rifle, either.

20180623_084147.jpg

6.4 grains of Hodgdon Titegroup for about 950 fps muzzle velocity. Striker is louder than the report.
 
Last edited:

Spindrift

Well-Known Member
Well, then I shall definately try some load development with the bullet in the more conventional orientation!
 

Ian

Notorious member
I'm not trying to interrupt your interesting experiment, only to share that I know it works the normal way also. I get some yawing at times from my Blackouts, but all three of them group extremely well out to 200 yards even with eccentric bullet holes (extremely well for self-loading rifles, ammo loaded for very loose fit, and not a very high degree of care in bullet sorting.) I also have loaded a 12" R.O.T. .30-30 with the NOE 247-grain plain base bullet/7.0 grains of Unique and blasted cow pies off the 100-yard berm offhand with open sights, so maybe Greenhill is more of a "suggestion" than a rule? 220-grain bullets won't stabilize in my .35 Remington below about 900 fps, though (16" R.O.T.), so everything does have limits, you just have to actually do the work to find out what they really are.
 

MW65

Wetside, Oregon
Thanks for the post! Very interesting! I have this mold as part of a bulk mold purchase I made a couple years ago. Will try it conventionally, and see how it performs in .30-06.
 

Spindrift

Well-Known Member
Thanks for the input, Ian! I will shoot them both ways, to see how they compare.
It is so easy to overthink with load development. I spend as much time as I can on the range (couple of hours a week, maybe). But I spend more time thinking about load development. I agree that the Greenhill formula has limited interest for us. A marginally stable bullet can be accurate. And if it shoots, then Greenhill-Schmeenhill.
 

Spindrift

Well-Known Member
For the purposes of further discussion, I will refer to loads with back-to-front bullets as «BTF», and pointy-end-forward as «PEF». Loaded a few rounds today with n32c, and «guestrapolated» loads with universal, and Vectan Prima V which is probably in the same velocity area, both BTF and PEF- loads. Will hopefully get to shoot them next week.
CC1376AA-F83A-4A60-A94B-6684DFF32B93.jpeg
 

Spindrift

Well-Known Member
Shot the first groups today, with my Rem 700, .30-06. 3 5- shot groups BTF, and 3 5- shot groups PEF. No previous load development other than the little chrono ladder, loads from the WAG- manual. My Remington is not particularily accurate, I rarely get better cast bullet groups than 2 MOA (5 shots/100m/prone position, which was also the conditions for the shooting today). Left my phone at home, so no photos, sorry.

BTF
Viht N32c, 9,5 grs . 1017 fps. 2,6 MOA
Vectan Prima V 8.0 grs. 1017 fps. 5,5 MOA (Yikes)
Hodgdon Universal 7,7 grs. 987 fps. 3 MOA

PEF
N32c 10,5 grs 1007 fps. 4,4 MOA
Prima V 8,5grs. 958 fps. 5 MOA (4 tight, one wild flier)
Universal 8,2 grs. 938 fps. 3,5 MOA (horizontal string)

So, small data set and not the most impressive accuracy, for sure. Not enough to draw any conclusions. So far, the two best groups were in the back-to-front group. Some of the loads in the PEF- group can be spiced up a bit. Now, I have something to build on.
 

Ian

Notorious member
Yes, valuable data there. I was expecting much better groups from PEF due to spin-stabilized projectile. Center of pressure behind center of gravity is typically a smooth-bore technique, such as shotgun slugs. It just goes to show we don't know anything really until we actually test things.
 

fiver

Well-Known Member
BTF will shoot well enough that it was fairly common practice in WW-1 to use them against steel plates the enemy was hiding behind.
 

Sig556r

Active Member
T'was already keyholing right side up loaded sub in my blackout ARs (pistol & carbine), twice PC'd & sized to .0015" oversized...so not optimistic bottoms up...shoots fine in my RAP suppressed though...
 

Spindrift

Well-Known Member
I’m not overly optimistic either. But the idea is, if it is a failure, at least it should be a well described dead end :)
 
  • Like
Reactions: Ian

Ian

Notorious member
It shot best in my 10" ROT .308 and near-throatless Savage 219 30-30, but slightly keyholes in most of my Blackout ARs except for the 8" ROT carbine with the bad burr on the gas port where I drilled it out to .120". Recovered bullets have an extra groove there but it doesn't lead or keyhole. I'm wondering if the '06/Blackout throat taper is less ideal for this bullet than the tighter, more abrupt throats of the usual .308 and .30-30 (excepting most Marlin throats)?? I use the same suppressor on .308 as the Blackouts, plus another suppressor with a different baffle design dedicated to one of the Blackouts for subsonic use only, so any stability issues cannot be traced to the suppressor (in my case, anyway).
 

fiver

Well-Known Member
be tough to hurt those drive bands.... LOL.
so I'd suspect gas cutting/swaging on the base or a slightly crooked start.
I can get crooked holes from my 7-twist barrel but I have to go about slow enough to watch the bullets in flight, and get red-dot/700-x type powders to burn just a titch dirty.
 

Ian

Notorious member
He said "lla" which I figure is liquid Alox coating. The bullets from two different moulds I have run extremely undersized (less than .308") and are unsuitable for shooting without the added thickness of powder-coat. Undersized bullets tend to be unstable, sometimes extremely so, and I think that might have a lot to do with why some people have good results with as much as 10" ROT and others get keyholing with 7" and 8" ROTs. I know if I don't have a certain minimum diameter on the nose and bands, even my 7" will make them slightly keyhole, but my 8" and 10" will shoot the same bullets true. Fatten them a little and they all shoot true.