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The .30 Herrett: Steps and Tricks

From left to right: the .30-30 Win., 30-30 after die forming and the final fire-formed case.

From left to right: the .30-30 Win., 30-30 after die forming and the final fire-formed case.

Developed by Steve Herrett and Bob Milek, the .30 Herrett is a reformed and shortened .30-30 Winchester case intended for use in the Thompson/Center Contender.  Milek, a noted gun writer, popularized the cartridge through his stories and helped to create a lasting place for this excellent little wildcat.

The .30 Herrett requires several forming steps and can prove a challenge for beginning handloaders.  A .30-30 Winchester case is first run through a form die and then a hacksaw is used to trim off the excess case neck which is then smoothed with a fine file.  Typically an inside neck reamer is then used to reduce the neck diameter, which can be a laborious task.  Fire-forming then completes the case dimensions.

Even though the .30 Herrett is rimmed, case life will be increased if the handloader headspaces the cartridge off of the shoulder.  Once the case has been trimmed and fire-formed, minimal re-sizing will help increase case life.  Slight resistance when closing the Contender’s action is a sign of a hard shoulder datum and a correctly-set sizing die.

Here are the steps:

Lightly lubing the case neck and body will smooth the process.

Lightly lubing the case neck and body will smooth the process.

Form die and extended shell holder in place. Test the first couple of formed and sized cases to confirm chamber fit.

Form die and extended shell holder in place. Test the first couple of formed and sized cases to confirm chamber fit.

A formed .30-30 case.

A formed .30-30 case.

Excess protrudes through trim die.

Excess protrudes through trim die.

Cut of excess with a hacksaw.

Cut off excess with a hacksaw.

Then file it smooth

Then file it smooth.

The case mouth will be left rough.

The case mouth will be left rough.

The inside-neck reaming die makes quick work of the thick neck created by forming.

An inside-neck reaming die makes quick work of the thick neck created by forming.

Light pressure on the reamer will cut away excess brass and leave a uniform and smooth neck.

Light pressure on the reamer will cut away excess brass and leave a uniform and smooth neck.

Inside chamber.

Inside chamfer.

Outside chamfer.

Outside chamfer.

Fire-formed .30 Herrett on right completes the process.

Fire-formed .30 Herrett on right completes the process.