Tag Archives: Ackley

224 Valkyrie introduced by Federal Premium

Federal Premium® has announced introduction in time for the 2018 SHOT Show, a new cartridge designed to capture market in the popular MSR (Modern Sporting Rifle; Don’t you hate all these acronyms…) AR-15 platform.    The cartridge is design to capture the hearts of long-range precision shooters. The 224 Valkyrie produces flat trajectories, and  claims match-grade accuracy and supersonic velocities beyond 1,300 yards downrange.

“It beats the ballistics of all other MSR 15 cartridges, including the 22 Nosler, 223 Rem. and 6.5 Grendel. Plus, it offers comparable performance to larger rounds like the 6.5 Creedmoor, with roughly half the felt recoil—and at a more economical price,” explains Mike Holm, Federal Premium Centerfire Ammunition Global Product Lane.  “The 224 Valkyrie is based on a 30 Rem./6.8 SPC case necked down to .224 caliber,”

Shooters can review the technical specifications for the new round once it is approved by the Sporting Arms and Ammunition Manufacturers’ Institute (SAAMI) which is expected in January at the 2018 SHOT Show in Las Vegas. At that time, information such as chamber specifications and cartridge pressure standards, proof pressure range and barrel length/twist recommendations will be communicated. Cartridge and chamber drawings will also be available soon after SAAMI approves the cartridge for standardization.

Testing conducted by Federal Premium engineers using 24-inch test barrels with a 1:7 twist revealed the 224 Valkyrie offers up to 128 inches less drop and 69 inches less wind drift (with a 10 mph crosswind) at 1,000 yards than other MSR 15 rounds. The new cartridge also offers significant advantages in velocity and energy.

Print

Courtesy of Federal Premium®

The 224 Valkyrie will initially be available in four loads: 90-grain Gold Medal Sierra MatchKing, 60-grain Nosler Ballistic Tip Varmint, 90-grain Fusion MSR and 75-grain American Eagle TMJ. These proven Federal Premium bullet offerings provide options for long-range competitors, target shooters and hunters pursuing game from varmints up to deer-sized animals.

Federal created a new 90-grain .224-caliber Fusion bullet specifically designed for hunting deer sized game. In a test barrel the 90-grain Fusion exits the muzzle at 2,570 fps. This is going to be the thumper that P.O. Ackley pushed for 50 years ago. He stated back then that a “bullet of the CORRECT DESIGN AND CONSTRUCTION” was necessary for such cartridges.  Such bullets have not really been available until recent years.

224ValkyrieVs22_250

224 Valkyrie ammo dimensions estimated from reamer print.

Federal Premium engineers designed the 224 Valkyrie for gas-driven MSR 15 actions, bu it’s also extremely effective from bolt guns. “You can also buy a new upper and use it with your existing lower. A gunsmith or other person trained in building MSRs can also make the necessary modifications. The easiest way for shooters to capitalize on the new cartridge is purchase a firearm from one of the many gun makers jumping on the 224 Valkyrie bandwagon,” says Holm.

Reloading data will be available in spring of 2018, when SAAMI releases it’s specifications.  Reloading die sets will be available from RCBS, and other ammo-building components will also be offered by several popular brands.

There are nearly 20 gun makers who have already started producing guns for the 224 Valkrie.  So if your hoping to try one out, it should not be hard to locate a gun in your local store before long.  4D Reamer Rentals LTD has already bought reamers and gauges for this new cartridge, in stock even before SHOT Show.

Advertisements

Leave a comment

Filed under ammo, Firearms, Rifles

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

1 Comment

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.

Leave a comment

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

8 Comments

Filed under Books, Gunsmithing, reloading, wildcat

P.O. Ackley and the Trinidad Gunsmithing School

In post World War II, veterans were looking for a way to receive training so that they could start new careers.  Untold numbers of vets wrote to P.O. Ackley requesting training.

Tom Elliot_1947

Ackley returned home from a vacation to find a huge pile of mail on a desk in his office, all from men seeking a chance to learn gunsmithing.  P.O. had tried to train a few men in his business but found that it was counterproductive.  He took the mountain of mail to the Junior College in Trinidad and suggested they start a school to deal with the hundreds of G.I.s who had returned home and had veterans benefits to spend for training.

The school agreed to set up a program and in short order the first round or classes began.  P.O. Ackley taught at the school for the first three years of it’s operation.  He also helped choose instructors who could pass along quality training to the vets.

Ackley left Trinidad in 1951 when his business was sold to an out of state concern.  But the school lives on and is still training gunsmiths today.

A new book on P.O. Ackley will be available in 2017, it will cover his entire career.  From 1936 to 1989 Ackley manufactured scope mounts and barrels, he wrote articles and books, and he was “The Gunsmith’s Gunsmith”.  No other gunsmith of the 20th century was as influential in the firearms trade.  Six years of research have produced an amazing amount of new and interesting information.  You may think you know about Ackley, but trust me, when you read this book you will learn so much more…  

Book has recently been published, “P.O. Ackley, America’s Gunsmith”

1 Comment

Filed under Books, Gunsmithing, Uncategorized, wildcat

Can you rechamber my Rossi single shot, NEF Handi-Rifle or TC Encore?

Our friends at 4D Reamer Rental LTD. are now offering rechambering for single shot rifles with break actions. In other words if the barrel comes off, then they will work on it.Encore by TC

The staff at 4D tells me this all grew out of the Savage pre-fit barrels they are selling. They custom chamber these barrels for clients in any caliber that they have tools for, and boy do they have tools, well over 600 chamber reamers on hand. Fred said, “We have no desire to hold an FFL so we will not accept actions in the shop, only barrels. We can rechamber them to any cartridge that is appropriate for the barrel in question. Of course we respect the pressure limits of various actions and will not put a cartridge in a barrel that cannot handle it. Accuracy is normally as good as it was originally and in many cases it’s better because we are careful about proper set-ups and tool alignment.”

Things to consider when thinking about rechambering a single shot barrel.

1. The bore diameter must be the same for the new cartridge as it was with the original, unless you are willing to rebore the barrel as well. (Reboring is cheap).
2. You must pick a chamber that is larger than the original chamber, ideally, larger in diameter and at least a little longer. Sometimes the original neck diameter was on the large size in the factory chamber and when you rechamber it leaves a small groove or mark in the neck area. Normally this is not a problem for function, but it leaves marks on your brass.
3. Ackley Improved cartridges do now work well for single shot rechambers unless your starting from a much smaller case, like a 22 Hornet to a 22-250 AI. This is because of how they are headspaced.
4. If you working with rimmed cases then an Ackley design is fine in a single shot simply because the rim handles headspace.
5. The twist rate of the original barrel should be compatible with the bullet you will likely be shooting in the new chamber.

photo_Handi_Rifle

For ideas on rechambering options see this page at 4D that offers suggestions.

Almost forgot, they can rechamber your Savage barrel too.
Contact them at www.4-dproducts.com or call 406-752-2520
Monday through Friday, 9-5, Mountain time. Of course you can Email anytime.

1 Comment

Filed under accuracy, Firearms, Gunsmithing, Pistol, Rifles, Shooting, wildcat

Wildcat Cartridges, The Reloader’s Handbook of Wildcat Cartridge Design, now on Amazon Kindle

Wildcat Cartridges by Fred ZeglinBack in 2005 this book had it’s first printing.  The hardback edition of the book contains 288 pages of stories, illustrations, anecdotes, instructions, and data. Many of the cartridges covered in the book include a dimensioned drawing. Foreword by Wayne van Zwoll.  The first edition if now sold out, making the book out of print.  The price of the print copies of the book have already begun to rise in price.  No reprint is planned, so recently Fred Zeglin decided to release the book through Amazon as a Kindle book.

Wildcatting has been around almost as long as the metallic cartridge case. Wildcats have an air of mystery about them, no effort is made in these pages to diminish that mystique. Yet, you will find information here that is simply not available anywhere else. P.O. Ackley was the last Gunsmith to address the subject of wildcatting in depth. Over forty years later, Fred Zeglin, Master Rifle Builder and wildcatter has assembled in an easy to read, often humorous manual for anyone who loves guns, reloading, or wildcat cartridges.

History of wildcat cartridges is presented including many well known designers like P.O. Ackley, Jerry Gebby, and Charles Newton. The historical information provides an appropriate frame of reference for wildcatting. Nobody really wants to repeat something that has already been done. More recent wildcats are included along with reloading data and dimensions wherever possible.

Most valuable of all is the how-to information about making reamers and reloading dies. Fred supplies dimensions and instructions on how they are used to produce highly accurate reloading dies and chambers. Delivery times for such custom tools can delay a wildcat project by many months, knowing how to make your own dies can speed delivery of custom projects by many months.

Click here to go to Amazon.com and check it out.

Fred Zeglin wrote another book about, “P.O. Ackley, America’s Gunsmith”. If your interested in wildcats then this book will definitely be a good read for you.

Leave a comment

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

280 Ackley Improved Emperical Headspace Test

Top is SAAMI or Nosler type headspace gauge for 280 AI. Bottom is the “Traditional” headspace gauge for the 280 Ackley Improved, note the difference between the shoulder angles.

These Chamber gauges were made using the headspace gauges as marked. The purpose being that we can visually see the difference and measure any difference when the gauges are swapped, or ammunition is checked.

Here the gauges have been swapped to the incorrect chambers. NOTE: no difference in headspace, both gauges are flush with the base of the chamber gauge.

According to the argument, The case in the “Traditional” chamber should be .014″ too deep in the chamber. As with the gauges headspace is zero.

The discussion of headspace and the 280 Ackley Improved has been going on far too long.  Recently I decided to perform a test that would demonstrate the differences or similarities between the SAAMI (Nosler) gauge and the “Traditional” Ackley gauge.

First you can see that the shoulder angle is not the same.  The SAAMI gauge is 40 degrees like the factory brass and ammunition.  The Traditional gauge is 17 degree 30 minute just like the original 280 Remington gauge and factory 280 Remington ammunition or brass.

The Chamber gauges pictured below were both made with the exact same 280 AI reamer.  The only difference between the SAAMI and the Traditional chambers are the headspace gauges, all other measurements are identical.

Each chamber gauge was stamped with the name of the gauge used to headspace it.  The headspace was set to zero, or flush with the flat base of the gauge.

Once I had both chambers cut I swapped the gauges expecting to see some obvious disparity as the reamer makers have been emphatic that there is a difference.  However, there was no difference between the two chambers.

How could that be?

Well, when you check the drawings from SAAMI and the Traditional drawings for the Ackley Improved you find that indeed there is a numerical difference between the two drawings of .014″.  The problem stems from reamer makers applying a datum line to the Traditional Ackley drawing at the .375″ diameter on the shoulder, this is not where the datum line is on a traditional Ackley.

The drawing calls for a 40 degree shoulder, but the datum measurement is based on the traditional 17 degree gauge.  In other words the systems of measuring are mixed.  Ackley used the junction of the neck and shoulder to headspace his Improved chamber, not the datum line along the shoulder.

Hence we end up with a headspace length of 2.1542″ on the Traditional drawing.  I measured this length on my cutaway chamber and guess what, that is the length to the junction of the neck and shoulder.  Thus headspace matches the drawings correctly.

The 40 degree SAAMI gauges are made to the industry standard, datum line method.  So the drawings are correct, the datum line is at the .375″ diameter along the shoulder.  The length called out for this gauge is 2.140″, which appears to be .014″ shorter than the Traditional design.

What we have is two different methods of measurement.  However they achieve the exact same result.  Seeing is believing.

With all that said, for liability reasons I would still use the gauge the client asks for.  It’s easier than explaining all this over and over again.

The obvious question will come up, “But I am still having trouble with headspace, so the Nosler brass must be wrong?”  The answer is; More than likely a lazy or inexperienced gunsmith did not use a gauge to set headspace, but rather used brass.  The Nosler brass should work in a “Traditioinal” chamber if the headspace was set between a go and no-go as prescribed by P.O. Ackley and every reamer maker that sells these tools.

Here are some additional source of information on this subject:

http://gunsmithingradio.com/2012/08/16/interview-with-andy-huebschmann-episode-12/

Book has recently been published, “P.O. Ackley, America’s Gunsmith”

20 Comments

Filed under accuracy, ammo, brass, Firearms, Gunsmithing, How To, wildcat

New Gunsmithing Courses Available Summer 2012

Gunsmithing Classes

FVCC’s Continuing Education department has announced the addition of gunsmithing courses to their offerings.  During July of 2012 seven new courses will be offered to hobby gunsmiths and professionals alike.  Brandon Miller, Coordinator for the new Gunsmithing courses was the NRA Coordinator for Murray State College as well as a gunsmithing instructor, until his move to the Kalispell area in 2011.

Two armorers courses are being offered and are in the process of accreditation via POST.  The first is an AR-15, AR-10 Armorers Course.   This five day (40 hour) course is to familiarize the student with the AR-15/AR-10 weapons format. Instruction will include function, disassembly,  as well as reassembly, of main and sub groups.  Troubleshooting and function testing tips, tool use and the installation of many aftermarket custom parts. Optional caliber choices in the AR-15 format will be addressed. The AR-10 and various manufacturers will be discussed, with particular attention to compatibility of parts. Students should to bring their own firearms as guns will not be provided.

Second, a five day (40 hour) course will focus on design, function and repair to factory service specifications for shotguns, including the study of feeding, loading, extraction, headspace, gas systems and basic repair and maintenance of all parts. Guns covered will be Benelli M1, Remington 870, Remington 1100, Remington 11-87, Mossberg 500, Mossberg 835, etc.

An exciting opportunity to learn from an American Custom Gunmakers Guild member, Lee Helgeland, the art of gunstock checkering. Tools, layout and patterns will be discussed in depth as you actually checker your own gunstock. The tips and tricks discussed can shave years off the learning curve of this artistic and functional part of stockmaking.  Bring your gunstocks and tools, this is a hands on class.

Fred Zeglin, Master Gunsmith, will be teaching two classes for this program.  The first is his popular Wildcat Cartridge Design class.  This class takes the student from a raw idea to making the tools needed to form brass and chamber a barrel for a custom cartridge design.  Students will make tools in this class and walk away with a full understanding of how to safely design and test a cartridge.

Fred’s second class will be Glass Bedding for rifles.  This five day course will highlight stress-free bedding processes while focusing on pillar bedding. The course will discuss the intricacies of the ultra accurate bolt action field rifle on today’s market. Areas covered will be bedding, scope mounting, headspace and triggers. The student will have the opportunity to bed at least one rifle in the method he/she chooses. Methods for different actions and reasoning behind the different processes will be discussed in detail. Stock pillars will be made in class.  Bring your rifle.

Other classes will be Alterntive Finihses: The purpose of this class is to familiarize the student with various finishes other than hot caustic bluing. There will be an instruction and demonstration in hot water bluing treatments such as Brownells Classic Rust Blue and Dicropan IM, as well as Nitre Blue. Students will also be instructed in the use of Zinc/Manganese Parkerizing as well as the setup and application of various spray-on finishes. Students will have and opportunity to apply Parkerizing or one of the spray-on finishes to at least one firearm and possibly a second one if time allows.  So, bring your projects.

Finally, Color Case Hardening. The differences between color case hardening modern actions as compared to antique actions will be discussed. Participants will receive hands-on training as they color case harden various parts and/or actions. Students will need to bring their own projects.

There are only a few gunsmithing schools around the country, so in order to take these classes students normally have to travel to one of these schools.  By offering these classes FVCC becomes the only school in the Pacific Northwest to provide such quality training.  For more information contact the Continuing Education Offices at FVCC, (406) 756-3822 or better yet, check out their web site:  https://ace.fvcc.edu/ShowSchedule.awp?&Mode=GROUP&Group=GS&Title=Gunsmithing

2 Comments

Filed under accuracy, ammo, brass, Firearms, Gunsmithing, How To, Rifles, Stocks, tools, wildcat

Guest Blog@ Ammoland.com

Recently Fred was a guest blogger for Ammoland.com You can check out his post here:


http://www.ammoland.com/2011/08/24/think-don%E2%80%99t-like-wildcat-cartridges/

4 Comments

Filed under ammo, brass, bullets', Gunsmithing, wildcat