View Full Version : building a wildcat

October 24, 2007, 12:44 PM
if this is the rite place to post, i'll get rite to it ... i have a 700 remington receiver 243/308 boltface an would like to build something in the area of 25/308 AI for target an varmit even 'maybe' deer... where to start ? maybe with a barrel maker or a gun smith..? i have never done this before an could use lots of advice.. as for my first thoughts i'd like it to be a heavy barrel of a sort, maybe a fast twist like 1-8 or 9, to carry a heavy bullet like 117gr. or more... with the 243/308 case being blown out to Ackley, it will probably have a shorter neck, so the throught should not be to long.. is what i have thought about so far .. but where/how to start the project

also i've found a place to get dies for a 25souper.. wondering if these dies can be cut to match the said AI chamber after fire forming the cases?
i guess i would have to cut both fl an the neck sizer ?

so much to think about.. maybe some of you have gone threw the process
any recomendations on smittys or whatever input would be a help

James K
October 24, 2007, 01:14 PM
The idea of having one's very own wildcat cartridge is like the idea of owning a private jet, appealing, but not always realistic. Here is what you need.

First you need to determine the caliber and twist, as well as weight and contour, so you can order a barrel.

Next, you need chambering reamers (rougher and finisher) for the odd size, again not easy to get and usually costly.

You may need headspace gauges; the .25 Souper is just a necked down .308, so .308 gauges would work, but an AI version would require custom gauges, again high dollar items. (For a one-time job, you may not need gauges, since you determine what the correct headspace is as you ream the barrel.)

Then, since you can't buy factory ammo, you have to reload, which means buying custom loading dies, also costly.

Reading the books by Parker Ackley and others, it sounds so simple. And it was to those old timers who were master machinists. They didn't worry about buying a reamer - they just made one. But unless you are that good (I sure am not), you will need a lot of bucks to get that buck with your new rifle.

The very first thing I recommend is getting a Brownells catalog (1-800-741-0015). You can see what is available in the way of barrels, reamers, etc. Then when you have some definite ideas, if what you want is not available from Brownells, write around to the barrel makers, reamer makers, loading tool makers, etc., and see what they can do for you. Don't call or e-mail; they will respond better to a letter with your specific requirements laid out.


October 24, 2007, 01:15 PM
Well, Jim was simulposting with me and beat me to it, but I'll leave the redundancies intact.

Dies are hardened after cutting, then either polished or honed, depending on the manufacturer. Your finishing reamer won't be able to cut the hardened die. Attempting to do so will ruin the edges on the reamer.

You will need a barrel and a finishing reamer for the chambering (you won't need a rougher unless you're going to do a lot of these barrels) and you want a barrel vice and a Remington action wrench. You can get barrels finished to different degrees. You can get just a blank, then you will have to contour it and cut the barrel threads and shoulder on a lathe, then polish and finish it. You can also get several standard countours, also roughed or finished. You can get a short chamber put in, so you only have to use the finishing reamer for final headspace. With a bolt gun and a T-handle, you can finish out a chamber by hand if you are careful. You will need a headspace GO gauge.

You will need to learn about barrel "pull" to know how far to tighten the barrel threads. I recommend you get a good book on gunsmithing to read up on all that. The Kuhnhausen's book on Mausers is good. You just have to increase his pull rotation for the finer threads on the Remington barrel.

If you are going to varmint shoot, you may want to get the action "blueprinted" first. This is basically truing of the action to match the original drawings as closely as possible by removing normal tolerance errors. This requires a lathe and some special tooling.

You will likely want to learn how to pillar bed the action in the stock, and get the necessary tools for that.

Or, you could send it to a gunsmith and tell him what you want?

Harry Bonar
October 24, 2007, 03:17 PM
May I recommend a shooters manual that is an excellent source for everything dealing with the subject you're dealing with. It is the A-Square shooters Manual - Any Shot You Want.
Although it doesn't deal with "wildcats" as such it covers many cartridges which once were wildcats that now have been certified by SAAMI as "commercial" cartridges. It is excellent.
You can also order Ackleys shooters and handloaders manual which DOES cover wildcats exclusively! It is excellent.
Ackleys "improved" line of cartridges are wonderous! There are hundreds of them.
However, the "A-Square manual" is, along with Ackleys book my choice for I love the German and African cartridges - and the many cartridges A-Square has gotten "certification" for.
The German 9.3s, the 416s, and the many others are really interesting.
I wish you happiness in your search but be fore-warned, working up loads for "wildcats" is very carefully done. I use the Mauser actions for alot of my experimentation now that I'm retired.
Harry B.