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A while back I bought a perfectly good 30-30-specific loading block from Sinclair International (#PB06 = $7.75). It holds 50 rounds and although it works great for loading, it's not so great for shooting a couple of 5 shot groups from my cluttered shooting bench. So I decided to build a smaller one.|
I whacked off a 7" section of a scrap 2 x 4, picking 7" because it looked like I'd have room for 4 rows of 5 rounds + 1 extra + 1 fouling round. I should have cut it 8" as I only had room for 5 rounds + 1 extra.
The horizontal holes are 3/4" apart, and the vertical holes are 1" apart. They're about 1" deep. I drilled them with the 1/2" bit you see on the right. As a 30-30 rim is .506" in diameter, the bit was slightly too small. Being a Frugal Outdoorsman, no way would I spend $15 for a bigger bit. So I figured a little reaming with the 1/2" rotary rasp you see would enlarge the holes. It did, but the cases wouldn't easily drop in the holes. Time for the thinking cap.
Truthfully, while I pondered over the $15 bit I wouldn't buy and rasped some more with the rotary rasp, I discovered I couldn't blow all the rasped-out wood dust from the holes. So I decided to wash it out. Well, the block then soaked, the wood then swelled, and I could then get the cases in the holes only by force. So I rasped out the wet and swelled holes. Lo and behold, when the block dried the cases dropped easily into the holes. Genius, huh?
As I had no room in the block to drill full size holes for fouling rounds, I centered the area between the rows and drilled three holes just slightly smaller than case neck O.D. Then I stuck the fouling shot cases in the block nose down. It works great because the fouling shot cases stay in the slightly-too-small holes even if I turn the block upside down. As my fouling shot cases are old R P cases and my for-group cases are new WW cases, there's very little chance they'll get mixed.
The beaded thingy at the top right of the block is a muzzleloader nipple pick. It's for cleaning dust particles from a peep sight target aperture.
The 30-30 block worked so well I decided to make one for 222 Rem. Since a 222 Rem case is shorter than a 30-30 case, I decided to use a 1 x 4. To simplify the job and to make perfectly flat spots for the case heads to rest upon, I decided to drill the holes all the way through the 1 x 4 and to glue a backing board to the 1 x 4.
So I whacked off an 8" section of a scrap 1 x 4, marked my hole locations, and started drilling. The horizontal holes are 5/8" apart, and the vertical holes are 3/4" apart. You can't tell from the photo, but the holes go all the way through. I used a 25/64" bit. A 222 Rem case drops in easily.
I marked off the area at the top for removal in order to make a little tray for ear plugs, etc. The hole you see is for entry of a coping saw blade.
Drilling and cutting finished on the 1 x 4 part of the block, I cut a piece of scrap 1/8" plywood for a slightly large fit as a backing. With a 222 Rem case for scale, here you see both pieces ready for glue. Notice that I hid the scribed side of the 1 x 4.
IMPORTANT: Use glue sparingly, especially near the holes. If a little oozes into a hole, it will make a lump, and the case will sit whopsided.
I included this photo so you could see the fit of the 1 x 4 to the 1/8" plywood.
The 222 Rem block also fits 223 Rem, including 223-based rounds such as 7mm TCU.
The proof is in the use, they say. Or is it form follows function? Whatever the case, the blocks function just fine on my Frugal Outdoorsman-style shooting bench. Here in a photo by Dennis Dezendorf you see the 30-30 block in action. It's on the other side of Ol' Bill in a line with Bill's saddle ring. It works great.
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