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#14033212 - 08/07/19 Ackley improved help  
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Rlhunter0403 Offline
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Rlhunter0403  Offline
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I have inherited an old H&R Handi rifle from my grandfather chambered in 30-30. Since it has some sentimental value I would like to play around with it some (new stock, maybe cerakote, etc.) I have read several times that the 30-30 has some good velocity improvements when it is ackley improved. Does anybody have any recommendations as to who can do a good ackley improvement? Also, does anybody have any experience with a 30-30 ackley improved? I am in NC and I called my local gunsmith and he said he had never heard of ackley improved anything (some gunsmith huh?)

300 BP

#14033320 - 08/07/19 Re: Ackley improved help [Re: Rlhunter0403]  
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LeonHitchcox Offline
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I have a Contender carbine barrel in .30-30 AI that I got new for $160. It is a custom shop barrel and was not re-chambered. I have had good accuracy with 150 grain soft points, but this year I will be using Nosler 125 Ballistic Tips, because they will give me quite a bit more velocity. The barrel is very accurate with light recoil. Case forming is as easy as shooting factory .30-30 loads, but since I had a pile of once fired .30-30 brass I loaded the cases and fired them while sighting in and while hunting. Any good gunsmith can do a rechamber, but if he doesn't have the reamer he will want to charge you for it or for its rental.

#14034494 - 08/07/19 Re: Ackley improved help [Re: Rlhunter0403]  
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Pappy348 Offline
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Pappy348  Offline
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If it were mine, I'd shoot it as-is and put that money towards some better sights, or lay in a bunch of ammo it likes, or buy loading dies (even a Lee Loader if you don't already load). Nothing lacking about a standard .30/30.

When I checked on the price for Cerakoting a few years back, it was way more than I'd pay. It's also, IMO, kind of at odds with my notions about heirlooms,


What fresh Hell is this?
#14035447 - 08/08/19 Re: Ackley improved help [Re: Rlhunter0403]  
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szihn Offline
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szihn  Offline
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Wind River Wyoming
Well, if it were me and a 30-30 was lacking in some way I would not go to the expense of custom dies, and fire-forming brass to make the AI stuff. Far too much work for the gain it gives.

I would re-chamber to 30-40 Krag and be done.

Or have a standard 30 cal pilot installed on a 303 British reamer and use that.
The 303 is excellent and can easily be used on standard Amercian 30 cal barrels with the pilot switched out and the standard 303 dies can have the expander ball switched to a standard 30 cal (.307") ball. Use the SAMMI reamer, not the CIP reamer to make the whole thing easy. The CIP allows for the shoulder to blow forward in the manor of the Military Lee's fielded by the Brits. The SAMMI reamer has the shoulder set to touch

But for me I'd use the 30-40 and be done.

#14035541 - 08/08/19 Re: Ackley improved help [Re: Pappy348]  
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Rlhunter0403 Offline
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I may wind up shooting it as is, it just all depends on what someone is going to charge for the AI. I ordered a synthetic stock/forearm for it yesterday from Midway. As for the cerakote I have a local shop that will do it for less than $100. (he is a good friend and has cerakoted several rifles for me). I am thinking that this gun will be one to just have fun with, or a good rifle to give to my kids whenever they want to get into hunting. I don't know a lot about the 30-40 but wouldn't the velocity be similar once the 30-30 is AI?

Alpha

#14036309 - 08/08/19 Re: Ackley improved help [Re: Rlhunter0403]  
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szihn Offline
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szihn  Offline
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Wind River Wyoming
YesRlhunter0403..... That's my point.
The 30-40 is a shell and a set of dies you can just buy, and it does everything eh 30-30 AI will do and does it a lot cheaper. It's a standard shell and it uses standard die sets that cost very little and none of the brass needs to be fire formed before you have a proper shell. In a strong action the 30-40 fires a 180 grain bullet at about 2400 FPS. From what I read the 30-30 AI shoots a 170 at about 2250 or 2300. So the Krag does a bit better for a lot less fuss. A little heavier bullet and about 100-150 feet per second faster with a set of dies that costs about $40, ammo that is to spec the first time it's loaded.

In an existing lever action like a Marlin or Winchester the AI will give the old 30-30 a boost in speed, and the Krag shell will not fit, but in a single Shot rifle there is no way it can match the 30-40 and the 30-40 is a far less expensive way to get the final product.

#14036540 - 08/08/19 Re: Ackley improved help [Re: Rlhunter0403]  
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FC363 Offline
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FC363  Offline
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Personally I would just leave it. Maybe get some of the Hornady Lever revolution 150 gr loads and try them out. You could also get the Superformance powder they use and a 150gr BTSP bullet and get all the performance you could want from it without having to get custom dies or have any gunsmithing work done.


"Give a lazy man the toughest job, and he will find the easiest way to do it"
#14036785 - 08/08/19 Re: Ackley improved help [Re: Rlhunter0403]  
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keith Offline
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+1

#14037338 - 08/09/19 Re: Ackley improved help [Re: FC363]  
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northcountry Offline
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northcountry  Offline
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End of the Oregon Trail
Originally Posted by FC363
Personally I would just leave it. Maybe get some of the Hornady Lever revolution 150 gr loads and try them out. You could also get the Superformance powder they use and a 150gr BTSP bullet and get all the performance you could want from it without having to get custom dies or have any gunsmithing work done.


Sure seems like the way to go. Cheers NC


don't judge until you have walked a mile in other persons' moccasins'
SUM QUOD SUM........HOMINEM TE ESSE MEMENTO
#14037989 - 08/09/19 Re: Ackley improved help [Re: Rlhunter0403]  
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Tejano Offline
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The 30-30 is a classic and made for woods hunting deer. You can perk it up quite a bit with 125-130 grain spitzers. The Handi rifle usually shoots above it's pay grade.

The re-chamber will cost about 75% of what a new barrel can be bought for. If the 30-30 wasn't enough I would think about a second barrel in 243 or something completely different. A 223 and a 30-30 would be a good starter rifle for young shooters and pretty useful for any shooter.


"When you disarm the people, you commence to offend them and show that you distrust them either through cowardice or lack of confidence, and both of these opinions generate hatred." Niccolo Machiavelli
Bravo

#14038824 - 08/09/19 Re: Ackley improved help [Re: Rlhunter0403]  
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cas6969 Offline
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cas6969  Offline
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Originally Posted by Rlhunter0403
Since it has some sentimental value I would like to play around with it some (new stock, maybe cerakote, etc.)


That sounds really backwards.

#14040611 - 08/10/19 Re: Ackley improved help [Re: Rlhunter0403]  
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JoeMartin Offline
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JoeMartin  Offline
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^^^^^^Plus 1. I was going to say something, till I saw you had already ordered the stock, but I agree with cas6969. Sentimental is feelings if tenderness or nostalgia. The H&R isn't that expensive, if I wanted to customize one, I'd buy another one to customize, and keep that one original. It sounds like you just got a free gun, that means nothing to you, so you are going to build what you want out of it. That's fine, and nothing wrong with it, it just wont have anything sentimental left to it.


I'm not greedy, I just want one of each.

Remember Ira Hayes

JoeMartin
#14041857 - 08/11/19 Re: Ackley improved help [Re: Rlhunter0403]  
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Alaninga Offline
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Alaninga  Offline
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Well..... sometimes ya gotta ‘scratch the itch’. I did what you are thinking about: bought a Handi in 30/30 Win and reamed it to 30/30 Ackley Improved, main reason being — I WANTED TO.
A few notes: I have several gunsmithing friends with about every tool and machinery you might imagine. A 30/30 Ack Imp reamer was easily borrowed from one that had done a few jobs. FIRST you measure the headspace in your rifle with a no go gauge to check it for correct factory setting, as some are rumored to be sloppy. Then you insure you do not create extra headspace when reaming your AI chamber by not cutting the case rim recess ANY deeper than it already is from the factory. This headspace on the rim is important for the first fire forming of standard factory ammo. Subsequent firings will use the AI case’s shoulder, not the rim.
30/30 Ack Imp dies are available from Lee Precision as standard pricing probably because they are the most commonly requested Ackley dies from the public. Midway USA used to offer them for ‘normal’ standard die set prices.
There is one other option: use a 308 Winchester Full length sizing die and of course a 30/30 shell holder. This setup will size part of your 30/30AI case’s NECK, with plenty of bullet hold tension for a single shot rifle. I did this, thinking I would buy an Ackley die set when my cases finally needed full resizing, but,... they never did!
I had extremely good accuracy out of my Handi 30/30 barrel both before and after reaming. I easily killed two deer seconds apart at about 65 yards, taking my time to reload. A single shot should not be a deterrent to successfully harvesting even multiple deer.
I loaded Nosler BTs using IMR 3031 powder and got excellent accuracy.
Let me finish with this: Don’t try to make your 30/30AI a 308 Win. Enjoy it with recommended load data.
Is it ‘worth it’? To most shooters maybe not. 30/30 cases are usually easy to find, so extended case life isn’t a good reason for AI’ing. Others posting here have some good reasons for reaming to other cartridges OR, leaving it a standard 30/30 Win, not a bad thing!
Enjoy scratching the itch.
*********************************
Note: REreading your post you mention the Handi you have is OLD. I would have it carefully inspected by a competent gunsmith as some of the old Toppers were or became a loose fit with lots of use.
Also, Midway USA shows Lee Pacesetter die set for 30/30 Ackley for $36.99.

Last edited by Alaninga; 08/11/19.

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