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Old June 22, 1999, 12:11 PM   #1
Futo Inu
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Join Date: February 12, 1999
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I hope someone who has experience with this can help. I want to make a wildcat cartridge, and have already drawn up the exact case dimensions. What I want to know is:

1. What is the best procedure for this? Have a smith make a barrel first, then send barrel to the die maker, or vice versa chronologically?

2. Which die maker, if any at all, will make whatever die I want by sending in plans for it? Dillon? RCBS? Others? I've heard in the past RCBS will make anything you want.

What I've drawn up is a 10mm auto case necked to 6mm/.243, using neck area dimensions similar to the 6mm PPC cartridge. This should push a 55/60 gr bullet to 2,000 fps+ for short-range varmints with pistol, and for defense vs. body-armored BGs (it's happened before!). It will be called the ".245 VAPP - Varmint & Armor-Piercing Pistol" or whatever else I might feel like calling it - doesn't really matter. It is similar to .224 Boz, only .243. Any suggestions on how to proceed, and what cost will be involved would be appreciated. My main concern is that the die maker will say "we can't do it because someone else already 'owns' that cartridge" or some other reason.

[This message has been edited by Futo Inu (edited June 22, 1999).]
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Old June 22, 1999, 09:45 PM   #2
Don Morgan
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I recommend to contact Bullberry Barrels who specializes in this area, his Web Site is: http://www.bullberry.com /

Also as far as I know all my wildcat Dies are from either RCBS or Redding. RCBS can be reached at 1-800-533-5000, call them they will more than likely be able to answer your questions over the phone.
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Old June 25, 1999, 04:27 AM   #3
Unkel Gilbey
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I recommend a book that P.O. Ackley wrote a number of years ago, and is still available from Brownells and other book sellers i.e: Barnes and Noble. It's a two volume set called Handbook for Shooters and Reloaders.
This set has a wealth of information about not only handloading and Wildcats, but also ballistics, metalurgy, wound ballistics, and half a hundred other topics. Some of the loads listed are dated, but as a source of info about Wildcats, it can't be beat. Keep us posted!
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Old June 25, 1999, 09:37 AM   #4
rangerco
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First, depending on how fancy you want to be, you either have the schematic for the reamer drawn by a CAD man (computer aided drafting) or have some firm or individual grind a reamer to your specifications. NOT CHEAP . Taking the 10 mm down, maintiaining angles... on top of the cost of the reamer. If you do the reamer first, then you can measure for the picture later... THEN NAME IT... From there it is all down hill, just expensive. Any decent gunsmith can use the reamer to cut the chamber in a barrel and fit the barrel to some kind of action... BRASS is the "flip side." Die makers like to have a fired case or two to use making the dies... Usually you can only go down about 2 calibers without too much trouble: 40; 38; 36; 32; 30; 28; 26; 24... so you could take a bunch of used dies (often cheap at gun shows) and cut them off so you can force a 10 mm case into the important part... Neck anneal the case, I would guess at least twice. Be prepared to ream the neck 'cause it will thicken... Then spend alot more money for "form dies" ... Nonte had some interesting remarks about this sort of thing in one of his books. Of course, I do not remember the title. He just drilled holes in thick sheet steel using the nearest standard bit, chamfered the holes a bit and worked the case neck in gently... for old, out of production black powder numbers... GOOD LUCK.
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Old July 2, 1999, 11:13 AM   #5
Futo Inu
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Thanks for all the help. Now I'm confused, but we are getting somewhere, slowly.

OK, I've changed the plan. I've decided to scrap the 10mm to .243 idea. Now I've got two wildcats, the second one being 10mm to .224, much like the .224 Boz, only with a shallower neck angle to allow for easier bullet seating/longer case life, but that will have to wait...

First, I'm going to pursue the idea that hit me last night, which is in essence the .224 Boz's BIG brother. This one is going to be a .44 Rem Mag necked to .243. The beauty of this one is that no new reamer has to be made (I don't think), because the wildcat's dimensions in the entire neck area are identical to the .243 Win, so all you have to do is ream a .243 barrel to .44 Mag depth (actually a little less because of the longer rifle bullets used in the wildcat, hence slightly shorter wildcat case length). It just may be a really cool, and possibly quite accurate round. I have several questions to get started on this, as I know very little (so far) about reloading and such. So, if anyone can shed light on any of the following, it will be appreciated:

1. If anyone has the actual case/cartridge specs for the .224 Boz (dimesions, loadings, etc.), that would be helpful for comparison.

2. In auto-pistols that shoot revolver cartridges like .44 Mag, such as Desert Eagle and LAR Grizzly, does the cartridge headspace on the rim or the case mouth? I'm guessing rim. Probably doesn't matter, because the wildcat will headspace on the shoulder.

3. Rangerco, you say that you can only neck down so far without having trouble, so I take it this means via case forming dies? Why aren't ALL dies "case-forming" dies? What is different about them? I take it then that there is no feasible way to make a case-forming die that will take ordinary .44Mag brass and squeeze it into .243 Win dimensions - too much squeeze? If that's correct, then is the only alternative to have special brass made? Seems like if I could take an set of .243 Win dies, make them "case-forming", then cut them down and use in conjuction with a .44 Mag shell holder, then voila, the poor-man's wildcat. Of course I may be way way off, because I don't know any of the details involved in reloading. .243 Win is .454" at the point where the neck begins, whereas the wildcat will be just a smidge over .456", so that dimension could be easily "formed", but I dunno about the other (.454 down to .243+). And you say die makers like to have a fired case or two to make the dies, but that makes no sense to me, because that is why I need the dies - to make the cases (assuming case-forming is possible). So, can't they just make the dies off of the reamer or plain old written specs? If the first machined item made (whether that be the reamer/headspace guages or the dies) is a few thousandths off from what I drew up (in non-critical dimensions), then no big deal, because then I'll just make darn sure the complimentary part matches the first, so they're identical, right? Also, who can one commission to make brass to specs?

I'm thinking I'll start with an LAR Grizzly .44Mag as a platform, and see if LAR will sell me an extra "blank" barrel. Guess I'd better get Ackley's and Nonte's books. Anyone ever heard of someone making this same wildcat? I don't want to re-invent the wheel, and it's such an obvious idea given the similarity of the .243 Win and .44Mag case widths, I thought I may not be the first.
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Old July 2, 1999, 05:03 PM   #6
Daniel Watters
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There was a wildcat based on the .44 Magnum necked down to .224": the .224 Stark. There is a brief mention of the cartridge in P.O. Ackley's Handbook for Shooters & Reloaders, Volume 2 on page 119. The quoted ballistics are around the .223 Remington level, but the barrel length is not mentioned. (Approach historical reloading data sources like this with extreme caution.)

The text mentions that Clymer once made the chamber reamers and RCBS offered custom dies. It is conceivable that both might still have the diamensional specs on hand. The case looks like it has a 40 degree shoulder, no body taper, and a decent amount of neck length. For your wildcat, you would just specify that you wish to use 6mm projectiles instead of .224".

In a box magazine weapon like the LAR Grizzly, I suspect that your bullet selection would be extremely limited by the short OAL needed to fit and feed from the magazine. Personally, I would rechamber a T/C Contender barrel first to see whether the ballistics were worth the trouble before I wasted money converting a repeater, especially an autoloader.

Another thing to consider is how much mass you will need to remove from the slide and/or barrel in order to get your wildcat to function. It may not be convertable back to the original caliber once you have finished. The safest bet if you must have a repeater would be to convert a Ruger 96/44 or 77/44.

For another source on wildcats, Brownells ( www.brownells.com ) is selling Designing & Forming Custom Cartridges. It has dimensional specs and case forming instructions for 900 different cartridges...wildcats, experimental, foreign, military, etc. (#414-100-000 $59.95)

Along similar lines, they also have The Handloader's Manual of Cartridge Conversions (#833-883-136 $34.95) which also details 900 caertridge conversions and the P.O Ackley two volume set mentioned earlier (#707-100-012 $35.90).

[This message has been edited by Daniel Watters (edited July 02, 1999).]
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