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Old June 24, 2002, 12:52 PM   #1
Snake Jenkins
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fireforming question

Guy's I'm knew to the world of wildcats but not to handloading. The question I have is what is the easiest (and safest) way to fire form .280 Rem. cases to the .280 Ackley improved case?

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Old June 24, 2002, 01:33 PM   #2
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When I fire form 6PPC cases from .220 Russian, I've found that I get the best results if I jam the bullet HARD into the lands and spank the load pretty hard - I get sharp shoulders on the first firing.

You jam it hard to keep the head back against the bolt.
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Old June 24, 2002, 03:31 PM   #3
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I have been told that you don’t want to load to max for this task. I shoot about 12 different wildcats and this works for me. Another tip that I have learned was to lube the brass before you shoot it also. It will prevent it from splitting. Both have worked for me for the last 7 years of wildcating. You do need to load reasonably hot though.
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Old June 24, 2002, 07:30 PM   #4
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When I fireform I use a primed case, a small amount of pistol powder goes in first. Then fill the case to the neck with dry Cream of Wheat, dry grits or non salted cornmeal. You can seal the neck with tissue paper or drip a little candle wax down the neck.

WARNING: When you fire these fireforming loads the Cream of Wheat/grits/cornmeal leaves the barrel with enough force to take the hide off or put out an eye.

I usually lock the rifle in a Midway rifle vise and fireform around 100 rounds at a time. Be sure to check the barrel for heating. Clean up is easy, just a few solvent dampened swabs.

I have a gunsmith friend that consructed a fireforming device from an old Rock Chucker press, sets of custom dies and a firing mechanism.
RCBS will cut you custom forming dies from your chamber if you send them a few fired cases. Load the cartridge as outlined above, push down the ram until the case is all the way into the forming die and lock the handle down. (You leave out the depriming rod for this.) When the primer is struck by the firing device the filler and hot gases rush out of the hole at the top and the case is fireformed. Viola, no mess to clean up in your rifle and as many formed cases as you care to make.

Eye protection and a shield to deflect the filler and gases is a must. Plus the press lays across a table rather than sitting vertical.
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Old June 24, 2002, 11:31 PM   #5
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Only wildcat fireforming experience I have is taking .444 Marlin cases "down" to .309 JDJ - straight-wall ~.45 case to a .30 cal bottleneck - pretty substantial reworking of the brass.

A tight fit of bullet against the lands (case head against the bolt face) & a 10% reduced of the powder that you'll use = blows the sides/neck out & nice sharp angles.
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Old June 25, 2002, 02:07 PM   #6
Unkel Gilbey
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My fireforming experience has been limited so far to just 30-30 Ackley Improved, but I've found that what's been mentioned already about seating the bullet out so that it contacts the rifling is good procedure.

As far as the load goes, it's usually recommended that you go with a 10% decrease of the normal load. What this means to me is that you load a 'normal' (i.e.: NOT improved load) load into the cases. For instance, for a 30-06 Imp, you'd seat the bullet out, and then throw the amount of powder you'd normally load to a standard 30-06 for that bullet weight.

When you think about it, when you have an Improved cartridge, you should be able to fire standard rounds in that chamber without a hitch. This was (in fact) how I got my first batch of 30-30 AI cases - by firing factory rounds through the rifle.

I'd be a bit more careful about fireforming cases in a rimless round - such as your 280 Improved. Not having that rim makes things a bit trickier. If you were to seat that bullet out a bit too far, you could cause the case to wrinkle if you used a heavy crimp, and this will give you problems. Just take your time, and get the seating depth just right, and you shouldn't have any problems with that round. Welcome to the world of Improved Cartridges!

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Old June 26, 2002, 10:32 AM   #7
Snake Jenkins
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Thanks for the info guys! I'll be picking my Ruger #1 up from the 'smith this Friday and will try to get some cases fireformed this Sat. (weather permitting of course).

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