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Leatherwood Hi-Lux Optics PentaLux scopes

 

Hi-Lux TAC-V 4-20X50 SF IR (3)

 

 

 

Leatherwood Hi-Lux Optics PentaLux scopes

 

With the 2015 Shot Show behind us now I was excited to hear Leatherwood/Hi-Lux is offering a new 5X zoom optics line. The PentaLux TAC-V scopes are based on a “Five Ratio” magnification range offered in 2-10x42mm and 4-20x50mm models.  Build with a second focal plane illuminated reticule, 30mm one-piece tube and designed for the serious long range shooter. With a price close to half of what you would pay for other 5x zoom capable optics this Leatherwood offering is sure to be noticed among the shooting community!  One interesting factor is with the 5x zoom (2-10 & 4-20) these scopes are shorter than other comparable 5x zoom scope.

 

TAC-V models offer MIL adjustment each click with either the windage or elevation turret moves bullet impact .01 mil. @ 100 meters.  TAC-V models will have an all new illuminated etched glass reticle with ranging scales and hold-over aiming marks in both MRAD and MOA.  The side parallax/focus adjustment is moved back and to the left side following suit with other optics manufactures (the 45 degree adjustment knob is unique to Leatherwood/Hi-Lux).

I have noticed point of impact drift while dialing power range with other brand scopes, you won’t find that issue with a Leatherwood! They just plain out hold zero.

 

 

 

 

 

 

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6.5×55 Ackley Improved 1/4 minute Mauser

6.5×55 Ackley Improved     ¼ minute Mauser

 

Selecting an action and chambering for a new varmint build is always rewarding.  You learn more about the cartridge of choice while deciding which one fits the current need. I have been shooting 6.5s for years and figured the Swede 6.5×55 cartridge would need a second look.  The challenge would be to rechamber a standard military action “ a 1903 Swedish Small Ring M96 Mauser “, with a listed breech pressure from 45000 psi to 66000 psi (Bolt Action Rifles 4th edition by Frank de Haas & DR. Wayne van Zwoll). An Ackley Improved case looked like a excellent option.  With all variables kept the same i.e. barrel length, twist rate, and bullet weight, a minimum 6% gain in velocity would qualify for an Ackley project. The blown out Ackley brass is capable of a 13.7% gain in velocity over the standard cartridge, with a listed velocity of 2900 fps using a 140 grain bullet it is a vast improvement over the standard 2550 fps. I chose to chamber the little Swede in 6.5×55 A.I. 40 degree shoulder also known as 6.5×55 BJAI   “Bob Jourdan Ackley Improved“, another factor that favored the  Swede build was that the bolt has gas vents ( a safety factor for a ruptured case or primer )

 

The build began with updating, squaring and sporterizing of the military action: forging bolt handle, tang contouring, polishing feed rails, lapping lugs, receiver squaring  and chasing receiver ring threads, drilling / tapping for scope mounts.  A #4 contour ( 1.125” dia. ) 4140 steel bull barrel was ordered from E.R. Shaw and since this was a nonstock chambering I needed to ship them the necessary tooling to short chamber this hopeful tack driver. My next call would be to Richards Micro-Fit Stocks in California for a Carlo Walnut Straight Line Thumbhole stock, I made good use of my time while waiting for the barrel and stock to arrive by fine tuning the trigger guard.  The trigger bow was reduced in width and tapered to reveal a sleek appearance, it is inspiring to see with each pass of the end mill cutter that the military aspect of the Swede grew more distant and a contrasting sleek look became clearer. The bolt was jeweled and bolt cocking piece laith turned and tapered then fit with a Beuler low safety. All metal parts were bead blasted and blued with the bottom metal floor plate embellished with a hopeful logo “SUB-MOA“. After some searching a low pull weight target trigger was a difficult item to find. A call to Huber Concepts revealed that minor sear modifications to the M96 Swede would allow me to install a Mauser M98 Match Grade Trigger with a 27oz pull weight. The people at Huber Concepts really know their triggers, are very friendly and willing to offer any help with your current needs.

 

Once the barrel arrived I fit and headspaced it to the action. The Richards stock was shaped, bed and given a gloss hand rubbed finish. I use High Score Pro Bed 2000 to bed the action from the rear tang to 1.5” in front of the receiver ring; this gives support to the bull barrel while still allowing it to be free floated. A complete bedding of the trigger guard metal has proven very effective on previous Mauser actions I have built so I stick with this method. Topping off everything were Redfield rings and base with a BSA Platinum 24×44 A/O scope. Redding dies would be needed to reload the 300 rounds of new Speer 6.5×55 brass after fire forming. After reading pages upon pages from reloading manuals and consulting on-line information regarding types of powder and burn rates the 6.5 Ackley likes. I decided to start development with IMR 4895 for fire forming and IMR 4831 for newly formed cases, yes I know 4831 has a slow burn rate and I was told to use a faster one, however I discovered many 1000 yard shooters referring to how the 6.5×55 Ackley always seems to like 4831 very very well. Referring to P.O. Ackleys book “handbook for shooters and reloaders“ and www.imr.com starting loads were developed. Cases were prepped by deburing the flash holes, annealing the neck and shoulders and neck sized.

 

A charge of 42.5 grains of IMR 4895 powder was ignited by CCI Benchrest primers pushing the Sierra 85 grain Varminter H.P. bullet out of the 1-9 twist tube at a velocity of 2900+ fps. I had decided to polish the chamber to a near mirror finish after researching the topic regarding case/chamber grip, the results proved to be quite pleasing with very smooth extraction and no gas bleeding past the cartridge. The newly fire formed brass reviled a crisp shoulder angle and perfect case form with no high pressure indicators. To my surprise after bullet seat depth was adjusted deeper to 2.756” cartridge O.A.L. the 85 grain bullets printed quite well out at 100 yards. This proved to me that “SUB-MOA” was well with in sight as a 3 shot group measured 0.122” center to center! A further adjustment of the bullet seating depth was made; I went .014” deeper to obtain an O.A.L. of 2.742”. Range results proved that occasional bug holes were the norm. so the previous 2.756” would stay. I had good intentions of trying different powders during fire forming but its rare that the first load development works so well. With an accurate load for fire forming brass finished the next step is fine tuning a load for the Ackley cases.

 

The newly formed Improved cases were cleaned and neck sized only. A charge of 46.5 grains of IMR 4831 was found to be an accurate load at 2730fps producing a 0.132” 4 shot group at 100 yards. The Sierra 123 MatchKing bullets settled in at 0.025” from touching the lands in the bore, further powder increases proved that at 48 grains of IMR 4831 and 2800fps another accurate 4 shot group printed at 0.149” at 100 yards. It seems IMR 4831 is the powder of choice for this rifle, again I stumbled across an accurate load with my first powder choice. In conclusion the loads developed for this rifle are safe in THIS RIFLE and should be worked up gradually if used in another rifle, while checking for pressure signs. This was a very enjoyable and rewarding project build and proves that an M96 Swedish Mauser action can be built up to be a very accurate and safe shooter. With less than ¼” groups a common sight it proves that a 6.5×55 Ackley Improved can really drive tacks! As I look out the window and winter melts away I think about egg shoots coming up in Michigan in a few months, I may just show up at a match with Miss Ackley and enjoy a day with this fine shooting ¼ minute Mauser.

 

ackley reamer edit ackley ackley_4_shot_001_edit

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Bore Cleaning

Bore guide

 

 

 

 

Rifle barrel cleaning
Bore guides– If you don’t have one get one! Without a good one the cleaning rod could damage the bore, chamber/throat area.
Solvents – I use Sweets 7.62 for copper, Hoppies #9, JB Paste and Kroil.
——————————————————————————————————————

One Insert bore guide into receiver and chamber.
Two Run one wet patch of Hoppies #9 through the bore and let soak for approximately 30 seconds. Then run a correct bore size brass brush thru the bore (one pass for each round fired) another wet patch of Hoppies then dry patch out the bore.
Three When passing the cleaning rod thru the bore use a folded paper towel and hold it against the muzzle. this way when you feel the jag or brush exit the crown you can guide it out and back in to protect that expensive barrel.
Four Follow the instructions on the bottle fo Sweets 762 solvent and clean until no copper is evident.
Five Use JB Bore paste along with Kroil to remove stubborn deposits and follow-up with JB Bore shine (follow instructions on jar of JB)
Six I follow by applying a patch soaked with LOCK-EEZ This is a graphite powder suspended in a solvent that coats the bore slightly before that first round fired through a dry bore. ( I picked this up at a NAPA auto parts store ). Clean out the chamber with solvent to remove any graphite and lightly coat with kroil if you are not going to shoot until a later date.
I have found this ( Lock-eez ) method to reduce if not eliminate those first round flyers.
Patch colors:
Green = lead
Blue = copper
white = Clean bore

As for cleaning rods I use stainless steel and coated rods. One piece! stay away from the screw together sectioned rods especially aluminum (partials can embed in the rod).

Clean bores and tight groups keep rounds in the X-ring

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Remington 783 range results – part 3

Remington 783 range test:

With the Leatherwood 4-16×50 Uni-Dial scope locked down and torque along with a quick check to the stock bolts for torque. I tested two powders with the 243 Winchester cartridge one being IMR4064 and the other IMR4831, this barrel did not like the IMR4064 and would throw flyers with each group. IMR4831 proved to be the powder for this barrel with a final charge of 46.5 grains under a 70grain flat base H.P. ( these were unknown maker brand bullets I found around the shop and are light for the fast 9.125 twist barrel). I did find this cartridge stretches quite a bit after two firings and needed trimming along with neck/shoulder annealing. Full length resizing dies proved to be better than just neck sizing the cases and bullets seated -.010″ from the lands settled the groups right in there.
* THIS IS A MAXIMUM BOOK LISTED LOAD AND MUST BE REDUCED BEFORE LOADING FOR ANY OTHER RIFLE OF THIS CHAMBERING*
Velocity was measured at 3150fps from this short 20″ carbine barrel and recoil was very minimal. I didn’t test accuracy with factory ammo to verify the claim of sub moa out of the box since a light for twist rate bullet was used, extraction was smooth with one finger to manipulate the bolt along with a very snappy ejection of the spent cartridge.
The importance of this article is to show a $250.00 rifle can shoot sub moa right out of the box with quality optics and good loads. Nothing fancy no jewled bolt, high gloss wood or bluing just good solid accuracy. Five shot groups at 100yards with the cryno set at 10′ from the muzzle, 40 degrees F, cloudy dark day.

 

IMAG0636100_3123100_3141100_3133100_3142

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Remington 783 – part 2

Remington 783

Remington 783

This is a follow up on the Remington 783 after the Leatherwood scope was installed. As mentioned in the first post two handloads were picked with IMR 4064 & IMR 4831, The day was windy with 21F  temps I seasoned the bore with a clean and scrub after a three round group. First off the trigger was amazing for a factory job! adjusted to 2LB, 4oz no creep just that breaking glass feel, consistent two shots touching with a flyer seemed to be the norm for IMR4064 with 40grains as a final load.  Switching to IMR 4831 really tightened things up with my last group at 46grains printing a nice clover leaf 1/2″ group, these loads are with 70grain H.P. varmint pills and a quick look at the  Quick Loads program had me loading up some hotter rounds with 4831. I plan to run loads up to 48.5grains to check for pressure and tighter grouping, remember this is a off the shelf factory 243 Winchester chambering with what I found to be a very short throat limiting even getting close to maximum magazine length with the tiny 70 grainers. Once back in the shop the bore was cleaned with Sweets762 copper solvent and after three treatments the barrel was copper free and ready for more rounds at the bench. First impressions of the Remington 783 are good with promising accuracy right away, light felt recoil even with a synthetic stock and a very smooth feel to the action, as for the Leatherwood scope it holds zero, clicks are positive and the range adjustable flags are a big plus!

Nice to see when a budget rifle lives up to the factory claims with out needing to shoot expensive premium ammo. Although all my brass is checked and preped  with a benchrest focus. More range results to come with hopes of some chewed ragged holes.

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Remington 783

2colbanner783 Remington-Model-783

 

Remington 783 new in 2013 and I am getting around to checking one out. I picked one of these up at a sport shop for $250 with a scope package (budget bushnell 3-9×40 scope that will find a home on a 22 rimfire). I chose the 243 winchester chambering because I wanted a short action and the cylindrical receiver with a minimal ejection port was to much to resist at that price. I’ll post a picture when the Leatherwood Hi-Lux Uni-Dial 4-16×50 scope is mounted in the beefy 30mm rings and tightened down on a EGW 6″ picatinny rail. Remington claims sub-moa performance with quality factory ammo, I have preped some winchester 243 brass along with annealing the neck and shoulder to aid in smooth fire forming. IMR 4064 and 4831 are the first choices to season the bore and hopefully drill some bugholes!

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Overbore Addiction

Overbore Addiction

The Big .224’s

 

 

This is an overview on a subject that has been dubbed barrel burner cartridges. You know the talk “you’ll replace that barrel in 600 rounds, better have a good supply of extra barrels on hand, and the barrel makers will love you”.  As avid varmint shooters (that’s why you are reading this…right?) we all know about the effects of too much heat to a barrel will end up with an eroded throat, the 220 Swift was an example of this however shooters proved that otherwise with proper loading recipes and keeping barrel overheating in mind.

 

While shooting my 22-250 and 22BR I eventually became interested in the Big .224’s, sure I can push my 22-250 to 4000fps with 40grain woodchuck medicine but out to 500 yards bullets are taking the beating effects of wind and drift.  I had a copy of “Wildcat Cartridges Vol 1&2 by wolfe publishing” and became intrigued with the examples of .224’s pushing 80 grain bullets well into the 1000yard range.  These dedicated purpose cartridges are developed for long range shooting where long and heavy .224” bullets are used to buck the wind better and retain there energy out to extreme distances.  How this is done is sort of confusing to the reloader since fast twist barrels will most likely shoot best with fast burning powders and like wise for slow twist barrels and slow powder.  What I have found out is that to obtain the desired results from an Overbore case design is to load up with a slow burning powder, heavy bullets and a fast twist barrel.  The results are the longer the pressures push down those 26+ inch barrels enough velocity is produced to send the heavy .22 caliber bullets down range effectively.  Another factor that becomes apparent is the need to scrub out that bore more frequently (some as frequently as after 10 rounds) the high velocity produced in a small bore capacity tends to copper foul quicker and degrade accuracy.  A word of caution when working up loads is to always look for high pressure signs and stop shooting any load that produces such indicators.

 

There are numerous cartridges that fit this category and I will only just touch on a few.  Some need extensive case preparation and forming while others need only to be necked down, I consulted Quick Load for max case capacities, overflow grains in H2O and will list them from least to greatest:

 

 

 

 

  1. 22-250 A.I.           = 46.90
  2. 22-243                  = 50.00
  3. 22 Cheetah MK1  = 54.00
  4. 22 Cheetah MK II = 56.00
  5. 220 swift A.I.        = 57.00
  6. 22 Clark                = 59.00
  7. 22-284                   = 61.84

 

22-250 A.I.

 

Another P.O.Ackley success with his classic blown out case and 40 degree shoulder, velocities will push to 4000fps and has an effective range out to 500 yards. Reduced bolt thrust and case stretch along with the ability to chamber and shoot factory 22-250 loads make this extremely accurate round a versatile choice.

 

 

 

 

22-243

 

This cartridge was developed by Paul Middlested of San Diego, California it is based on the standard 243 Winchester case necked down to .224”.  The body dimensions remain unchanged only the shoulder angle is increased to 30 degrees giving a longer neck ( .300” vs .241” ), case forming is accomplished by running a 243 case thru a 22-243 full length sizing die. Velocities have been reported to exceed 4000fps while keeping groups well under ½ MOA @ 100yards, this cartridge excels with heaver bullets in the 68 to 75 grain range with rifling twist rates of 1-9 or 1-8. Other versions include the 22-243, 22-243 Middlested and 22-243 A.I.

 

 

 

22 Cheetah

 

The 22 Cheetah was developed by Jim Carmichel, shooting editor of outdoor life magazine and Fred Huntington of RCBS. The case is a full length Remington 308BR case with small primer pocket and necked down to .224”. There are actually two versions of this case one a MKI with a 40 degree shoulder and the MKII with a 28 degree shoulder. This cartridge has proven to be superbly accurate and very effective out to 300 yards.

 

 

 

220 Swift A.I.

 

P.O. Ackley’s Wildcat, blown out with a 40 degree shoulder. The three best known versions are the Ackley, Weatherby Rocket and the Kilburn, they share the mechanical advantage, extract better and cases last longer for the hand loader. Again better ballistics can be obtained over the standard case by the use of slow burning powder and heavy bullets.

 

 

 

 

 

 

224 Clark

 

Timothy Clark of Madera California designed this case for long range use around a flatter trajectory and harder hitting with greater retained bullet energy. The case is a 257 Roberts necked down to .224” with a steeper shoulder angle and expanded body, the 257 Roberts cases were found to be stronger as compared to reforming 6mm Remington brass. The small bore and relatively large case capacity and velocities ranging in 3800+fps to 4100fps can be a combination for short barrel life. Twist rates of 1-9 or 1-8 should be used to stabilize the long heavy bullets.

 

 

 

22-284

 

This variation of the 284 Winchester case is simply necked down to .224 (one way to accomplish this is with a 6mm-284 forming die then a 22-284 FL die) the 35 degree shoulder and body taper remain unchanged. We have arrived at the case capacity of diminishing returns where larger amounts of powder don’t necessarily result in greater percentages of increased velocity.  Accuracy will be best with heaver bullets as several conversations with gunsmiths have resulted in a preference of fast twist barrels and 70+ grain bullets. Reported velocities have been in the 3800fps range.

 

 

 

In closing there are several others not mentioned here such as the .224 Vais, and 22-6mm.  A look thru volumes 1 & 2 of Ackley’s Handbook for shooters and reloaders reveals quite a few and provides good insight on ballistics. Pressures can spike quickly with Overbores so a careful eye should be kept on spent cases along with sticky bolt lift. There is abundant information on these cartridges and with a little research you will be well informed on any specific cartridge. So if this small sampling finds you wanting more as it did for me grab your computer, some books and brew up a pot of coffee! Soon you will be chambering for that Overbore Addiction.

 

 

 

overbore 003

 

 

 

This is a handy chart I found on a cartridge forum posted from an unknown source. Interesting thou.

overbore table

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Mauser 22-250 Varminter Project

guns 001 guns 005

 

Mauser 22-250 Varminter project

I’ve been shooting / reloading and buildings rifles for quite a few years and have realized the desire for small caliber varmint rifles. After a quick inventory of my battery of rifles, I noticed there was a M98 VZ24 Mauser action collecting dust. (Not really- just well oiled and tucked away.) After inspecting the receiver and bolt, the idea for a tack driving bench varmint rig was hot on its way. I decided on the 22-250 Rem. due to its classic accuracy and range. I have a small gunsmithing shop at my home, so the first stop was an order for forging blocks and heat sink to turn down that bolt handle. Following the grinding, filing and buffing, the bolt was ready for jewling. Then the Buehler low safety was installed along with a 26 lb. firing pin spring (Wolf). The bolt was finished and I was very happy with the end result.

Next, the receiver was checked for squareness and warp and the rear tang was tapered to give a sleek smooth approach for the bolt/stock fit. The receiver was then set in a jig, drilled and tapped for bases and the barrel threads chased with a standard 60-degree tap. Then the bolt lugs were lapped for a better fit with the receiver and the receiver rails polished for glass-smooth bolt push. I decided on a matt finish for the receiver so into the blasting cabinet it went. A heavy bead blasting resulted in a very nice finish for bluing and the results were pristine. An order was placed for an Adams and Bennett stainless steel bull barrel, .050 short chambered. Upon arrival, inspection proved to be excellent. Into the barrel vise for fitting to the receiver came next. Then I hand finished, reamed the chamber with a PTG finish piloted reamer, and checked for proper headspace with forster gauges. All the while this project was progressing, I had ordered a laminated stock from Richards Micro-Fit Stocks, marksman style in camo laminate.

It seemed like everyday I was eagerly opening a UPS package with more mauser varminter goodies inside. A Bold Premium trigger was fit to the receiver and I stayed with the factory heavy 2 lb-8 oz pull (just a starting point, you know) and a Leaupold one piece base was installed.

The trigger guard was modified for a sleeker look and finished to match the receiver. When the stock arrived, it was just what I wanted – a semi-inletted laminate with a slightly smaller barrel channel. Out came the rasps, files, bedding tools, and lots of sandpaper in varying grits. When I was happy with the shape and smoothness, pillar bedding was next. Then a steel rod bedded in the stock to help stiffen the recoil lug area. After reading several Gunsmith Kinks articles I decided to also bed the trigger guard along with the action. Pro Bed 2000 was the ticket for this task and it turned out as smooth a bedding job as ever! All the stock prep work was followed with a hand rubbed oil finish until a high gloss was attained. My next task was to make a custom fit steel butt plate that would display what I hoped would be what a varmint rifle should shoot. “MOA” was then placed on the butt plate and removed after sand blasting the piece. The bluing revealed a shinny logo stating “MOA”.
The end results of a VZ24 Mauser rebuild turned out to be one very nice looking bench shooting varmint rifle, weighting in at 10 lbs! A quick trip to my shop revealed a Leaupold VX1 4-12X40 scope on a 30.06 that didn’t see much use. So on the Mauser it went, along with Stony Point target knobs and bore sighting.

 

*ALL LOADS LISTED SHOULD BE REDUCED 10% AND WORKED UP SLOWLY, CHECKING FOR ANY HIGH PRESSURE SIGNS*

 

Factory ammo was purchased for seasoning the bore and much needed left over brass for the Forster Bench Rest dies to roll out some tack driving loads. The first day on the range proved to be a bitter cold February day around 20 degrees, but clear. After a proper settling in of the bore, factory ammo was grouping under one inch at 100yrds. Not bad for bulk Winchester ammo with that weird looking crimped tip on the bullets. No signs of headspace problems were evident so to the loading bench I went. Nosler Ballistic Tip 50 grn bullets were chosen along with the classic H380 powder at 37, 38, 39 grns to check for accuracy. The next trip to the range was warmer. The morning temperature was 40 degrees, clear with no wind. The best results were with the 37 grns of H380, which revealed a group of 0.338” for four shots with the fifth shot just outside of the ragged hole. I was very happy with the accuracy of my Mauser varminter! But accuracy is a thing of constant pursuit, so back to the loading bench to try different primers, however the overall cartridge length of 2.460” would be maintained. That placed the bullet ogive 0.030” from the rifling which proved to be a liking for this 26” 1 in 12 twist air gauged barrel. Case trim length of 1.90” would also be kept for uniformity.
The next trip to the range was windy and 55 degrees. The Winchester magnum primers proved to be a major step backwards with a five shot group opening up to a terrible 1.340”. A quick ammo change back to the large rifle primer loads proved a much better grouping at 0.400” (slightly larger than the previous results of 0.338”).

So after the range work was complete and several hours working up loads, my “MOA” Mauser was shooting SUB-MOA groups and I was pleased…until I pulled out the 55 grn bullets. The quest for accuracy continues! Did I mention that I also found a small ring Swedish Mauser action that I prepped the same way while doing the M98 action? Perhaps a Wildcat chambering would be a good choice. But that’s another story.

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25 wssm coyote, part 2

25WSSM (Winchester super short magnum)

Varmint loads……….velocity velocity with a good bit of accuracy to boot! The target fps I wanted to have was 3600 along with tight accurate grouping. I had some varieties of powder on hand however I will admit while sitting on 8+ pounds of IMR4064 I was driven to make that powder work! Funny how things work out and I did learn some unique traits of this short fat power house of a .257 caliber.

*ALL LOADS REPRESENTED IN THIS ARTICLE ARE SAFE IN THIS RIFLE. DO NOT DUPLICATE ANY LOAD INFORMATION LISTED UNLESS YOU REDUCE THE CHARGE AND WORK UP SLOWLY. SOME OF THESE LOADS ARE NEAR MAXIMUM ACCORDING TO PRINTED RELOADING MANUALS*
I start by prepping my fired cases with a shoulder bump die three thousands less than fire formed length, I used a Sinclair shoulder bump gauge and a caliper. CCI BR2 primers are used thru out all the load development ( I have found them to be good performers in past cartridge/load work and they are my go to primers ). These wssm cases have the thickest necks you will find (.022”) on the average, I turned the necks to .014” thick and will talk more about that later……ughh. Hornady V-max was the bullet of choice at 75 grains and IMR4064, Varget and IMR4320 were the powders.
Starting loads with what I thought was a great powder (since I had so much of it). A quick run thru Quick Load gave me starting charges along with safe estimated chamber pressures. A shoulder bump length of 1.218 measured with gauge and cartridge overall length (C.O.L.) ranging from 2.340” – 2.380”, 45.5 up to 46.3 grains of IMR4064 was sitting under a 75grain v-max, ignited by a CCI BR2 primer. Plenty of test loads and now some range time, I soon found out 4064 was not going to get along with this 25wssm no matter how bad I wanted it to, nothing grouped better that ¾” with erratic flyers, along with this struggling attempt I decided to turn the case necks to .014” and a C.O.L. of 2.360” was picked. With necks turned and 46 grains of IMR4064 loaded in groups were still terrible and now I was splitting necks on cases fired twice. Lesson learned don’t turn the wssm necks on a factory chambered rifle.
Giving up on IMR4064 I moved to Varget and started with a C.O.L. of 2.360” and after various load charges I settled with 47grains and a nice 3600fps. Sounds good except the groups were all 1+” all over the paper! I remembered reading an article on the wssm cartridges, the author mentioned bumping the shoulders just a little more to eliminate what he called the wssm sticky bolt. A new shoulder bump length of 1.212” measured with a gauge, 47grains of Varget, then set a v-max down the neck and back to the range. The fraction extra shoulder bump was the trick to smooth extraction with the wssm case but groups still did not improve with the switch to Varget powder. Not getting groups better than 1” at 100 yards had me putting the Varget back on the shelf now on the IMR 4320.

With a C.O.L. of 2.360, CCI BR2 primers, factory Winchester cases with unturned necks and 75 grain V-max’s I started yet another try at getting this rifle to cooperate. A clean bore and proper bench setup set the stage for these loads: IMR 4320 @ 46.5, 47, 48grains as usual I started with the low charge looking for pressure signs while measuring group size. Three shot strings would be checked for down range results and slow fire timed shots will keep the barrel form heating up to quickly. The day wrapped up with these results 46.5 grains @ 3565fps, dirty case necks and 3/4″ groups. 47 grains @ 3601 resulted in clean necks, better groups but a nasty flyer opening the group to 1.1/4”. Finally 48 grains @ 3681fps produced ½” groups, nice brass but still somewhat larger groups than I wanted. I prepped some brass and loaded a slightly lower charge @ 47.4 grains to try and sweeten up the load. Touching off rounds at the bench give their own type of satisfaction and this range day was no slouch! With three shots measuring a tiny ¼” and clocking in at 3625fps. A nice accurate varmint load was found and boy was I happy, one tight group does not evaluate a load as “the one” so I loaded up twenty proof rounds with 47.4 grains of IMR 4320 for another days shooting.
A nice cool 15 degree Michigan day with little to no wind had me kicking snow away from the 100 yard back stop. The pet load still produced tiny bug hole groups consistently so I went and shot a group with six rounds knowing my odds were good at opening up the group. I posted a picture of the group showing four of the rounds in a ¼” hole with two opening the group to ½”. I would never have thought IMR4320 would be such a good performer in this round and this brought me to remembering the wildcat 22-284 I build previously. Looking at ballistics between the two with one a .22 caliber and the other a .25 caliber, both shooting 75grain V-max’s at close to the same velocity. Bullet drop being very similar at extended ranges I highly doubt a crow would know the difference between the two cartridges as he turns to black dust. Case forming for the 22-284 is required while the 25wssm was a factory round, funny how close these two cartridges preform and it will be a tough choice which one will see more field use in the crow fields with me.

 

25wssm varmint loads

25wssm varmint loads

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Rifles in Michigan shotgun zone during Deer season

This bill passed in June 2014 and is in effect now.

Michigan House Bill 4283
During regular firearm deer season “limited firearm deer zone”

A .35 CALIBER OR LARGER PISTOL CAPABLE OF HOLDING NO MORE
THAN 9 SHELLS AT 1 TIME IN THE BARREL AND MAGAZINE COMBINED AND
LOADED WITH STRAIGHT-WALLED CARTRIDGES.
A MUZZLE-LOADING RIFLE OR BLACK-POWDER PISTOL LOADED WITH
BLACK-POWDER OR A COMMERCIALLY MANUFACTURED BLACK-POWDER
SUBSTITUTE.

A .35 CALIBER OR LARGER RIFLE LOADED WITH STRAIGHT-WALLED
CARTRIDGES WITH A MINIMUM CASE LENGTH OF 1.16 INCHES AND A MAXIMUM
CASE LENGTH OF 1.80 INCHES.

Some suggested cartridges that have been advertised as legal.

Cartridge velocity grain bullet
.357 magnum rifle cartridge, 1500-1700fps, 158
.357 maximum
41 magnum
44 magnum, 1500-1700fps,
460 S&W, 1400-1700fps, 240

Two AR15 uppers that are legal to use as applies to House Bill 4283
The .450 Bushmaster was developed by Hornady for the Bushmaster company and is based on the .284 Winchester case, case length measurements are 1.700” mouth to base and bullet diameter 0.452 inches. Bullet weighing 250 grains. Muzzle velocity is 2,200 fps (670 m/s) from a 20 inch (508 mm) barrel.

The .50 Beowulf cartridge is based on the .50 Action Express, case length is 1.650” mouth to base. The numbers for 300 grain .50 Beowulf are almost 1900 fps at the muzzle and 1400 fps at 100 yards, bringing a load of about 2300 and 1400 lb.-ft., respectively. In other words, the .50 hits hard.

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