Need Some Help With IMR 3031

Matt

Active Member
I’ve been working to get my 6PPC to shoot cast bullets.well I’ve been through several powders and landed on 4198. I was gifted a pound of 4198 by my good friend Shuz when he learned I was loading my last pound of it. I’m saving the 4198 for match shooting.

In an effort to use up other powders I settled on 3031 to experiment with. After some study I settled on a starting load of 15.0 grains of 3031 using a Remington 7 1/2 BR primer and the NOE 85 grain FP bullet. My extrapolation indicated I should have about the same velocity as my 4198 load.

To my surprise the report and recoil were very light, I saw a puff of some thing eject from the muzzle and my point of impact was 4 inches below my point of aim at 100 yards. There was smoke eminating from the vent hole in the action.
The case neck was lightly smoked indicating very low pressure. The primer looked like it was fired in an empty case. I removed the bolt and the bore was black and had un-burnt powder. It looked like I had fired a black powder cartridge. I pushed a dry patch through and the bore was bright and shiny again. The next shot was the same and touched the first shot. I repeated the patching and shooting 5 times. The result was a 5 shot 100 yard group that measures .341” ! I wasn’t brave enough to shoot each round without running a patch through the bore. Below are photos of the appearance of the patch and the group.

Is 3031 unsuitable for reduced loads? Do I need a heavier charge? I last saw something like this many years ago when trying to use 4227 in .44 Magnum. I never tried to solve the problem in .44, and used the powder in .22 Hornet and .218 Bee with complete satisfaction. My powder is 40+ years old but smells and looks good. Any thoughts or experience with 3031 or whatever is going would be appreciated.
 

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Michael

Active Member
Ian will likely chime in, IIRC he likes 3031. It should be interesting to read what he has to say. I have recently picked some as well for both cast and jacketed loads. In looking at QuikLoad it has a very gradual pressure curve which gives the cast bullet a "gentler" start. Rather than trying to state what I think I know based upon no experience with 3031 I am going to shut up now and let those who have been there educate both of us.

Nice shooting by the way.
 
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BudHyett

Active Member
I'd go to a quicker powder, as Michael states the pressure curve is almost flat. IMR 3031 is a good aaccuracy powder, but possibly likes more pressure to burn evenly and more completely. I shoot a 6mm Remington and a 6mm BR with cast bullets, use Reloder #7 with good results. The bullets are the RCBS 243-095-SP and SAECO #243 cast of linotype, sized .244, seated with slight witness marks into the lands.
 
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Bret4207

Northern NY Dangerous extremist...???
Low pressure, incomplete burn. You can increase the charge, add a heavier crimp or a heavier bullet. A different, faster powder would be an easier answer.
 

Dimner

Named Man
I have seen people report using dacron filler with 3031 and reduced loads. That may be where to start, or at least start researching. Not sure if dacron is the right move for such a small case like the 6ppc. As other have said, it sounds like a pressure issue. Also, I agree the patch indicates to me that there is a bunch of unburnt powder.

May want to try faster rifle powders. Build up pressure faster and burn all the powder in the barrel. I'm optimistic you can replicate that amazing group with faster powders.

If you have some on hand, I 2nd trying Rx7(Or 4198 if you have it). If not, and you have the means or the access, I would also suggest trying some Shooters World Buffalo Rifle/Accurate 5744. Buffalo is my goto reduced rifle load powder when I'm looking to stay in the rifle powder burn rates. It's faster than Rx7 and gives a great pressure curve in my experience. I use it in 5.56, 7.7 Arisaka, 308, 30wcf, 303 savage, and 30-06. Highly versatile powder in my experience. It can hit the pressure that seals the chamber, burns fully, and gives good accuracy at reduced loads.

However, note that none of the cartridges that I have worked with are 'overbore' (is that the right term?) like the 6mm benchrest. So I have no idea if that will present its own set of variables.

Maybe try a couple of loads in both Rx7 and Buffalo. Then you have tried both the fast(Buffalo), middle(Rx7) and slow(3031) ends of the spectrum of the powders you are looking at.

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Ian

Notorious member
Outstanding group.

Use more 3031 to clean up the load, or RX7 as was mentioned. RX7 is probably harder to find than either flavor of 4198 right now though.

I had very bad results with 3031/Dacron/.223 cast and very good results with 3031/Dacron/45-90 WCF (shrug).
 

Bret4207

Northern NY Dangerous extremist...???
Outstanding group.

Use more 3031 to clean up the load, or RX7 as was mentioned. RX7 is probably harder to find than either flavor of 4198 right now though.

I had very bad results with 3031/Dacron/.223 cast and very good results with 3031/Dacron/45-90 WCF (shrug).
I'd bet the bottleneck has a big part to do with it.
 

fiver

Well-Known Member
322 is not a good powder to reduce unless you for sure use a case filler.
you'll quickly learn what vertical dispersion is with it, but it'll burn pretty cleanly.

what your seeing is something 3031 does.[it burns dry and fluffy]
i explained it in another thread somewhere around here that has nothing to do with 'dirty' powders, but got swerved in that direction.
 
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Tomme boy

Well-Known Member
I don't mind using dacron. 322 has always been a really versatile powder for me. That ppc case is not too large so it should work fine. If it was a 308 based case I would not be using it in.
 

MW65

Wetside, Oregon
I like 3031 for 30/30... cast or jkt'd. It can be a bit dirty.... but follow the recommendations from everyone above.... rel 7, is an amazing powder!!! Love it... great for all cast rifle loads.
 

Matt

Active Member
A quick update on 3031 with cast in 6PPC. I’ve worked up from the initial 15.0 by .5 increments. I did not clean between shots during this test. I shot 20 rounds (4 five shot groups) before cleaning. I did not see any improvement in the bore fouling and unburnt powder in the bore until I got to 18.0 grains. I never fired a sub 1/2 inch group again. I’m guessing the first one was a fluke. The report went from a “popping” sound to a supersonic “ crack” . The bore stayed bright and clean, accuracy was okay considering the wind today, groups generally having 3 of the shots touching or nearly so with two out of the group. Cleaning patches appeared normal without the heavy black sooty fouling.
Apparently 3031 needs certain level of pressure to burn cleanly. I’m going to shoot the 18.0 grain load in calmer conditions to see how it does.
 

fiver

Well-Known Member
they all do.
try 4831 in your 308 your gonna see the same, thing then poof one step and it's a whole nuther thing.
you can trick the powders and settle them down with a filler a step or two sooner.
so if you end up riding a line where accuracy is and isn't or partially is then 1-2 blow out of the group you can start controlling it by positioning the powder against the primer, and by making the powder think it's in a smaller containment vessel.
 

Ian

Notorious member
...or switch primers, neck tension, seating depth, lube viscosity, alloy stiffness, sized diameter, and so on. Usually I find it easier just to drop back one burn rate of the same type of powder and work it up again.