A New .17 Caliber, 30 gr. Offering

It’s no secret that aficionados of large capacity .17’s for coyote hunting are always seemingly semi-starved for good 30 gr. bullets. With Berger out of the market and no longer providing the required J4 jackets to the custom makers, finding 30’s on J4’s is mostly a game of buying up old stock that guys decide to turn loose of. Some of the prices I have seen being asked for them though, seem just ludicrously high to me.

Texas Gold 30 gr. Flat Base

So, when I heard from Montana Mize recently that he had worked up a new 30 gr. flat base design, I was definitely interested! I got him on the phone and ordered a couple hundred of them to play with.

Tale Of The Scale, Micrometer and Caliper

Before loading some up to try I took 10 bullets out of the bag for some quick measurements. Ogives of all ten were well within .001 of each other – nice! Weights of 9 of the 10 were within .1 gr. of each other, with one bullet .3 gr. heavier – nice! I also measured a reasonable and desirable .0004 pressure ring on the heel.

These are some very consistent, very nice looking bullets.

Testing In The .17 Predator

I would of course be testing them in my old .17 Predator. It’s an accurized Model Seven with a 9 twist Lilja, 24″ long. This rifle was a bona fide sub 1/2 MOA shooter when new. But, alas, it isn’t anymore… With right at 1,000 rounds on it and over .060 of throat erosion on it now, groups have, “grown”… When new it shot in the 4’s, then eventually started shooting in the 5’s, then pretty soon after that in the 6’s, and now it’s honestly just barely a 3/4 MOA rifle using the same 30 gr. boat tails it used to shoot consistent 4’s with when new.

Authors .17 Predator in its natural environment

I will add, that due to the throat erosion, the 30 gr. boat tails can no longer be seated to within .010 of the lands. I’ve chased them as far as I can with the boat tails and still have enough bullet shank left in the neck.

Sometimes It’s Time To Change The Ogive

No such issue with these new Texas Gold 30 gr. flat base bullets though. It’s no secret that when accuracy starts to fade on a barrel due to erosion, you can often get some of that accuracy back by switching to a bullet with a chunkier ogive that can still reach the lands.

Texas Gold 30 gr. boat tails on left, Texas Gold 30 gr. flat base on right, chunkier ogive of flat base is noticeable

With the ogive on these new 30’s, in my old .17 Predator, when seated so that the lands are leaving “square marks” on the bullet (firm contact), the base is about even with the neck. As far as “reaching the lands” goes, this bullet fits like the boat tails did when the barrel was new.

How Do They Shoot?

So… I was both curious and hopeful about how these would shoot in my old campaigner. I suspected they would probably shoot better than the boat tails do anymore. But, only one way to find out for sure…

First load tried, I just used the same powder charge as my working load with the boat tails, with the bullets seated for firm contact with the lands. I think I chose to start with firm contact as much for the novelty of being able to as anything. This rifle has always shot better with a little bit of jump though, actually.

So, first group…

First 100 yard group with Texas Gold 30 gr. flat base

All vertical. But, if that vertical can be tuned out, showing some real promise. I stopped after just that one group. Just looking at the first group, I knew I had some tuning to do and no sense spending precious barrel life shooting more with this load.

A maxim in handloading, that some go by, is that strong neck tension, combined with firm contact with the lands, is a recipe for vertical. I have experienced it before and tend to believe it. When seating them, I did notice the pressure ring made for a bit more neck tension than when using the boat tails (boat tails have no pressure ring). You can actually see where the seater was slightly marking the noses of the bullets due to heavy neck tension.

The pressure ring of the flat base makes for stronger neck tension – see the “seater dimples”?

So… back home again. My first thoughts for dealing with the vertical, was to seat them deeper, off the lands. So I simply seated all of the remaining loaded rounds .005 deeper. When I went back to shoot again, I took my small portable Harrell’s press and the seating die so I could keep adjusting seating depth at the range.

First group is #1 in the picture below.

#1 seated .005 deeper, #2 and #4 seated .010 deeper, #3 seated .015 deeper

After that first group, I went back to my little portable press on the tailgate of my truck and seated five rounds another .005 deeper and took them back to the bench and fired group #2. This is what I was hoping to see!

So, back to the truck again and seated another 5 another .005 deeper – now .015 deeper than the very first all vertical group. Maybe things would just keep getting better. But, no, group #3 opened back up a bit.

So, one more time, seated five more to the same depth as group #2 and fired group #4. Calling it good right there!

I’d like to say, that I don’t generally believe in making decisions based on only one or two groups. I’m a big believer in seeing what happens with four or five consecutive, five shot groups, to really see what a barrel is going to do.

But, my .17 Predator is a hot rod coyote killing machine with only a finite amount of barrel life. Most of which is undoubtedly used up already. For this rifle, two five shot groups in a row with a load, measuring a .450 and a .510, I’m just going to be satisfied with that and not using up anymore barrel life to see what groups three, four and five do.

Bottom line? These little pills can shoot! I hope I can thump a few coyotes with them soon…

Contact Montana Mize at 254-784-9533 to see if he has any left <grin>.

A New .17 caliber, 30 gr. Offering
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A New .17 caliber, 30 gr. Offering
Test and review of Texas Gold .17 caliber, 30 gr. bullets
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14 thoughts on “A New .17 Caliber, 30 gr. Offering”

  1. Montana is a good friend that loves to make these billets with great precision and quality control. I’m shooting them also and they are prefect Varmint medicine. Aim small and shoot small (.17).

  2. Hypothetical situation –
    You are walking an adorable fluffy bichon rescue – she is on leash – and oh no…there is a big fat snarly looking coyote across the street and you are new to meeting the animal – first one ever that close. Ever! And it appears to be crossing to get even closer. NOT GOOD. LEGS ARE RUBBER. I AM CRYING AND PRAYING FOR I HAVE SEEN PICTURES OF WHAT THEY ARE CAPABLE OF. not yelling at you…just nervous

    Now what? Every retired police officer I know replied: shoot it. There are houses and cars and maybe a kid…or someone walking THEIR dog. It is totally residential here – and the yotes hit the trails from Illinois country club that has hundreds of acres that join our trails behind where I live. I have a feeling they sleep in the yards of these unsuspecting people. in the dark quiet corners of there yards, close to food that is to be let out soon.
    I took the suggestion – did all the paperwork – got a license, was suggested a ruger .22 double shot I believe it is called -would be best. I can carry in my pocket.

    I do alright at range – learning. But the target is a bit high!! How close do I let the snarling killer get to me? when do I draw? will I be able to keep a level aim **grip has green laser trace, while aiming at it? do I empty the chamber into it? Will the ammo that I was suggested to buy for it enough to stop a rabid coyote? I bought the Hyper-velocity 22 LR Quick-Shot? All while hanging onto the leash? Jesus this is really really frightening for me. I don’t like it at all. They do circle. They DO come up behind and attack legs. help. please.

    Where can I go for coyote elimination classes? I feel no sympathy for these things. They are in the process of making MORE killers to be out during summer vacation for kids! To then hunt, kill, and mate, Hunt, Kill, Mate.

    Trying to read if an air horn will scare it? Really bright light? It isn’t looking good here. A bottle of acid to dump on it? Buy heavy steel toed boots and learn to kick with speed and power? Carry a stick with a long knife on it? I don’t want to pees it off. I want it stopped!!!

    Moving away from this area and those overgrown Monon RR Trails they frequent as soon as I can. we are doomed here in munster indiana. for there have been SO many sightings, during day and evening and many have more than two running loose.

    thank you for this info. learning as much as I can and most is they are smarter than me right me. For I don’t know what THEY know, and I don’t know what to expect or how to be the killer instead of them.

    1. Barb, I replied to your other comment in more detail. But, my advice, continue with your plan to learn how to shoot, become licensed etc. But, get a big can of bear spray. Maybe two so you can use one to practice deploying it. I think it would work well to deter a coyote.

      Hope everything works out.

  3. A large big bore caliber air rifle with a Donny FL sound moderator is not a firearm but is plenty capable of dispatching a coyote and can be made back yard friendly as far as sound is concerned.

  4. Howdy Dave, I stumbled upon your Coyote Stuff website during a bout of insomnia and enjoyed it immensely. Happy to see you revive your 17 Predator with the Texas Gold 30’s. I’m still shooting a tempermental Bryant-built 17 Mach IV, lately using a 15.5 grain NTX bullet clocking 4500fps just for kicks. I felt the need for speed and can still seat near the lands with the lightweight bullet. Intermittent blown case heads have taught me to clean the barrel thoroughly & often. Amazing that minute of prairie dog accuracy holds up at that speed & spotting hits is a big part of the fun.
    Also enjoyed your exploration stories of cliff dwellings & petroglyphs. I have found some myself and been surprised that nobody seems to know about them.
    Keep up the good work!

    1. Well I’ll be… Look who’s here! Dang Theo, good to hear from ya man! Sure hope all is well with you and yours!

  5. This article was posted in Jan 2020. I was hoping by now the Texas Gold bullet maker would have his website setup and open for business. These rounds look promising to say the least. Does anyone know if a website has been setup? Google isn’t showing me much right now. 🙁

  6. I have a stock .17 Remington, still shoots well but it has several hundred rounds down the tube.
    Who made your .17 Predator reamer? Are they still available?
    In my .17 Remington I have been shooting another’s 30gr. bullet but supplies of those are limited so I may try Texas Golds.

    1. Tim, Greg Tannel owns that reamer. It was made by Dave Kiff. I’m sure Dave still has the print on file.

      I’m afraid, as far as I know at this time, the 30 Golds are not available anymore. It has been probably a year since I talked to Montana, but at that time, he was having some trouble finding someone to make some new punches for his dies. There never were very many guys that could or would make those, and most of them are not doing it anymore. Like I say, it’s been awhile since I talked to him, hopefully I’m just not up on current status and he is back to making them – but as far as I know, he isn’t.

  7. I just spoke with Montana and he is not making bullets anymore as I was told. Also spoke to Chan today and he is out of bullets for now as well.

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