Category Archives: reloading

Sierra Adds a 150 grain HPBT

150_264matchking

It’s a MatchKing® bullet actually introduced in October 2017 but is certainly being featured at the 2018 SHOT Show.  The popularity of 6.5 cartridges like the Creedmoor, 6.5×47 Lapua and 6.5×284 in all its numerous iterations will insure the sales of a new match bullet for Sierra.  At the time of this writing it appears Sierra is the only major bullet producer that offers a 150 grain bullet for the 6.5 bore.  This bullet will be best suited for cartridges with more case capacity, the 6.5-06 or the 6.5-284 will probably utilize it best.

MatchKing 6.5mm 150 grain HPBT (#1755).  Has a sleek 27 caliber elongated ogive and a final meplat reducing operation (pointing) to provide an increased ballistic coefficient (claiming over .700) for optimal wind resistance and velocity retention.  To ensure precise bullet to bore alignment, a unique bearing surface to ogive junction uses the same 1.5 degree angle commonly found in many match rifle chamber throats.  There is an interesting subject for a test; does matching the shape of the throat and bullet change the accuracy of any given bullet?

MatchKing® and Tipped MatchKing® bullets are not recommended for most hunting applications. Especially when we are talking about game animals of any size.  Match bullets are designed for accuracy and bucking wind over long range, but they are not designed to reliably expand.  Sierra makes GameKing® bullets for Hunters.

According to Sierra this bullet requires a barrel twist rate of 1 turn in 7.5” or faster.

 

 

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20 Nosler

Yes, it’s on the way…    How do we know?  Click here. It’s pretty obvious.   Well that and the fact that SAAMI has published the specifications already.  The same print from SAAMI comments that a 32 grain bullet will go 4100 feet per second (fps).

Like the 22 Nosler the 20 is based on the 6.8 SPC case or 30 Remington depending on how you view it.  They both have rebated rims so as to fit in a standard AR-15 Bolt face.

The 20 Nosler will have about eight (8) percent more case capacity by water weight than  the 204 Ruger.  So is the velocity claim of 4100 fps realistic?  On Nosler’s own pages they show the 204 Ruger doing that velocity with the same bullet, so I would say, sure, it just means you will have short barrel life if you load to that level.

It’s long been know that velocities approaching 4000 fps are hard on barrels, the throat is erodes much more quickly regardless of the bullet diameter.  I foresee the barrels for this caliber being chrome washed or Melonite® teated simply to increase barrel life.

The 20 Nosler might have some loading flexibility that the 204 does not in that if you loading for 3500 to 3800 fps there are probably a few more powders that will get there with the larger case capacity.  One thing I noticed in looking for comparisons, the 20 Nosler falls in its own class in terms of case capacity, the 20 BR has just a couple of grains less capacity, but it’s not designed for the AR platform.  The other popular wildcats in this general class either have a fair amount less capacity, or a lot more.  If for no other reason, this cartridge will have a following just based on the case capacity.

There is certainly no doubt, this will be a flat shooting varmint cartridge that will do the job in the dog town or out taking coyotes.22NoslerVs20Nosler

Nosler™ is a trademark of  Nosler Inc.  Most likely Nosler will release this cartridge at SHOT Show 2018.  Watch for updates here.

 

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Gunsmithing Student Handbook Series; Comes to the Market in Time for SHOT Show 2018

cover

The first book in the new series of Gunsmithing Student manuals is Chambering for Ackley Cartridges.  Fred Zeglin the author says, “I have been teaching gunsmithing for some time and with my experience in wildcat cartridges and dealing with clients it became painfully obvious to me that that material available to reloader, gunsmiths and the like are spread far and wide and do not tell the complete story of the mechanics of headspace in firearms.”

Zeglin went on the talk about the fact that Ackley Improved cartidges seem to receive the most mishandling both in the gunsmith trade and by reloaders who do not understand the simple headpsace method that P.O. Ackley set up very early in his career.

Ackley was no fool, he set up a method that is easy to use and will produce both safe and accurate fire-forming of ammunition.  There have probably been hundreds of articles written that tout the value of the Ackley Improved principle that allows the firing of factory ammunition for the parent case in the chamber of an Ackley Improved rifle.  Unfortunately, many folks refuse to read Ackley’s simple instructions so they end up trying to set headspace without proper understanding of the process.  Both professional and hobby gunsmiths are guilty of this.

Prove it you say…  OK, call any die maker and ask them for dies for an Ackley Improved cartridge.  They will ask you for a chamber or reamer print before they ship the dies.  Quality Cartridge is a maker of custom head stamped brass.  The owner Pete tells me he will not ship brass for Ackley designs unless he has fired cases from the clients gun, this is simply because of poor headspacing by gunsmiths, or the reloader who does not understand how his dies are adjustable.

In this booklet that kicks off the new series of gunsmithing instruction books, Zeglin clearly and without mincing words tells the reader how to correctly headspace any Ackley Cartridge.  It’s not a book about how to ream a chamber but rather about the finesse that should be applied during the process to insure accuracy and longevity of the firearm.

There is a book on how to ream a chamber that will be out in 2018.  That title is the third book in this series and Zeglin invited well known Bench Rest Gunsmith Gordy Gritters to co-author that book with him.    That will be the book you need you want to understand what it takes to make a rifle shoot, you know we all want those tiny little groups!  Watch for a follow up about that book here in the future.

coverThe second title in the series is coming out now as well, it is called, “Understanding Headspace for Firearms”  Where the first title is narrowly focused on Ackley designs this title will help the reloader and/or gunsmithing student to understand headspace no matter what firearm you are looking at.

Zeglin is pretty easy going about his work and tells us he fully expects to hear criticism over anything that was not covered thoroughly enough or heaven forbid, missed all together.  He says he expects to start the second edition for these manuals as questions start to roll in.

These titles are available from www.4drentals.com

There is a review of the first two books on GunsAndGunsmiths.com

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Filed under accuracy, Books, Gunsmithing, How To, reloading, tools, wildcat

Short Term Gunsmithing Program Returns to FVCC!

First class to be offered in the updated program of Short Term Gunsmithing classes will be Taming Wildcats, taught by Fred Zeglin at Flathead Valley Community College (FVCC) in Kalispell, MT.

This class will be offered during the Christmas Break, January 2018.  This is a one week class, non-credit.  Students learn the particulars of designing a wildcat cartridge.  Factors like the gun it will be used in, pressure, headspace, how to form brass are all taught.  Students also make reamer and reloading dies for the cartridges so they can experiment with the information they learn.Wildcat Cartridges by Fred Zeglin

If you are interested you need to know how to run a manual lathe and mill.  Fred has taught this class many times and students always come away surprised at how much they learn in just one week.  This class was the reason Fred wrote his book on Wildcat Cartridges.

This is just the first in a new Short Term Gunsmithing program to be offered in the summer of 2018 by FVCC.  Watch the Continuing Education pages for more classes soon.  This a  fun way for both hobby and professional  gunsmiths to build their skills and enjoy firearms even more.

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Filed under Firearms, Gunsmithing, How To, reloading, Rifles, Shooting, tools, wildcat

Gunsmith Writes About P.O. Ackley

r3744_po-ackley_cvr-750

A new book from Gun Digest Media, P.O. Ackley: America’s Gunsmith by author and gunsmith Fred Zeglin; takes the most comprehensive look ever into the life and work of Parker Ackley, the eminent gunsmith, barrel maker, teacher and cartridge developer. The book is set for release the week of March 6, 2017

Ten years of extensive research highlights not just the history of cartridge and rifle development, but a never-before-seen look at a humble man who influenced nearly everything we know about shooting and ballistics today. Ackley’s ideas on reloading, rifle accuracy, safety, cartridge choice, and wildcats are just as relevant for modern “gun cranks” as they were in Ackley’s heyday.

This hardcover, 256-page study of P.O. Ackley’s work is the first in Gun Digest Media’s Heritage Series celebrating the iconic guns, designers and manufacturers who shaped today’s firearms landscape. The book is illustrated with never-before-seen photos from personal archives of Ackley’s friends, family, and associates. From the dusty, oil rag-covered machine shops of Ackley’s early years, to stunning modern-day firearms chambered in Ackley’s timeless wildcats.  A full-color center section brings the story to life.

From the Foreword of the Book

“It is a difficult task to write a book that is equal parts technical manual and biography, yet Fred Zeglin has done just that. Within the covers of this book you’ll find the history of P.O. Ackley, and a glimpse into the man’s life, as well as a comprehensive understanding of the cartridges that he left behind. And, as a wonderful bonus to those of us who still tinker with copper, lead and brass, there is a wealth of handloading recipes for the Ackley cartridges, using modern powders and projectiles, to allow today’s shooter to connect with the wildcatter of yesteryear.” Phillip Massaro

About the Author

Fred Zeglin has been building custom hunting rifles for over thirty years. Zeglin has taught classes for the NRA Short Term Gunsmithing program at three separate colleges and is the Coordinator/Instructor for the Firearms Technology Program at Flathead Valley Community College. He has published two books; Hawk Cartridges Manual and Wildcat Cartridges, Reloader’s Handbook of Wildcat Cartridge Design he has also contributed to numerous publications.  Fred has worked with American Gunsmithing Institute to produce two instructional DVDs, Taming Wildcats and Reloading A to Z.

Comments on the book from others:

“The book is great, I am very happy with it. I’ve told every one who would be interested in it to get it. Thanks so much for honoring Grandpa with such a great book.” Ron Pearson, P.O. Ackley’s Grandson.

“P.O. Ackley, America’s Gunsmith” is so extensive and so well done, I am at a loss to adequately describe it!”  Dennis “Mike” Bellm, the last guy to buy out P.O. Ackley’s shop.

P.O. Ackley: America’s Gunsmith by Fred Zeglin, Gun Digest Media, ISBN-13: 978-1-4402-4759-0

Buy this book here.

Also available as an Ebook, click here

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280 Ackley Improved Alert

Author’s Note:  Read the post at this link first, it supersedes this discussion.

http://wp.me/perb6-8L

A few years back Nosler decided to bring the 280 Ackley Improved into their list of custom brass and rifles. In order to do this they wanted to take the 280 AI to SAAMI and have it standardized.

Part of the process of standardizing the cartridge was for Nosler to see if other manufacturers had worked with it. They found that Remington had been chambering the 280 in their custom shop. Now here is where the alert comes in. Remington’s Custom Shop chose to shorten the headspace on the venerable design by .014″. When Nosler sent drawings to SAAMI they picked up that number as well.

So by a vote of the members of SAAMI the commercial established specifications for the 280 Ackley were changed from the original design.  The reason reported for this change is that Remington believed it was necessary in order for factory 280 Remington ammunition to be fireformed safely in an Ackley chamber.  Apparently they did not know that Ackley was the single most successful wildcatter of the 20th century.  While he was not the first guy to create and “improved” design, he was the first to standardize the idea and create a safe method of fireforming factory ammo in improved chambers.

Ackley’s method was simple, he simply used a headspace gauge .004″ shorter than the factory case.  This shorter headspace assured that the cartridge would be held tight between the bolt face and the junction of the neck and shoulder of the chamber during fire forming.  Ackley’s method worked fine for more than 50 years before these alterations to his design were made.

Bottom line for anyone who now works with the 280 Ackley Improved you must decide which version of the chamber you will use; the SAAMI or the Ackley; you cannot safely use the Nosler brass in  a traditional Ackley chamber, although it would still be safe to fire form factory ammo in a SAAMI/Nosler chamber.

Compare the length of these two designs.

UPDATE:  See this post for new information

There is a site devoted to P.O. Ackley and his work:

http://ackleyimproved.com

 

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Ackley Bolt Thrust Tests.

I have long wondered about P.O. Ackley’s claims about bolt thrust.  I have started some tests to see if more modern tools can tell us more about bolt thrust than Ackley was able to learn from his test.  On page 139 of volume 1 of Ackley’s “Handbook for Shooters and Reloaders” he discusses pressure, and I quote, “The usual method of measuring pressure is by means of crusher cylinders, so as to measure the pressure at right angles to the axis of the bore about midway along the body of the chamber.  This method gives a fair idea of the actual chamber pressure exerted upon the walls of the chamber in all directions, but bears little relationship to the amount of this pressure actually transmitted to the bolt or breech block in the form of thrust.”

Ackley believe that minimum body taper reduced bolt thrust.  So, I set out to see if it does or not.  First I set up a 30 caliber barrel in a test fire jig.  I started with a 30-30 WCF chamber, firing factory ammo.  Utilizing the Pressure Trace system I installed a transducer on the barrel to collect pressure data.

We also mounted a transducer over the recessed breech in our barrel to see if we might measure longitudinal stretch.  This did produce measurement, but only time will tell if they have any value.  At this point in the test I suspect that the data we are getting is too flawed to decisively answer any questions.

Its important to lay out some facts at this point.

  1. SAAMI maximum pressure in the 30-30 Winchester is 42,000 PSI
  2. Federal Factory ammo was used for the first phase of the test
  3. Our firing mechanism is adjustable for headspace and the firing pin is adjustable for length so that we can fire with excessive headspace.

We learned something right away; while firing the factory ammo in the 30-30 Winchester chamber and collecting pressure/velocity data, I decided to test various degrees of excessive headspace and see the results.  Interestingly, I set the breech with .010″ (10/1000 of an inch) headspace.  The fired cases did not move back at all, the primers did back out the exact .010″ distance.  Ackley did not test this in his series, so right away we learned that the 30-30, which is considered to be a low pressure cartridge will adhere to a dry chamber under pressure, and the brass can contain the factory level pressure without stretching.

All brass was carefully messured, no head expansion or stretching in length occured.  Next we rechambered the barrel to 30-30 Ackely Improved.  The same factory ammo was used to fire-form cases.  The same test was perform with headspace, even during fire-forming the cases did not move back or stretch in length.

We are now at the stage of the test where we are working up loads to see how much velocity we get at the same pressures as our factory ammo.  This is always a hotly debated subject, so it will be interesting to have concrete information to share.

BTW, I am giving you the short version here, the full test and all ballistics will be included in my book on P.O. Ackley.

Updated March 2017, book has been published, “P.O. Ackley, America’s Gunsmith”  The completed  30-30 bolt thrust tests are of course included, along with much more.  You will also find more information about P.O. Ackley at this site: http://www.ackleyimproved.com

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