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I was reading an old thread on Ackley improved cartridges and it made me wonder why people always assume that others do things for the same reason they do. The thread talked about some of the best and and worst improved cartridges and listed the 22-250 as the 4th worst. Now this was the funny part, the reason given for it being such a poor cartridge to improve was that if you use a 55 grain bullet you only gain about 4% in velocity so therefor it would not be worth while. Now that may be true as far as it goes but it is a very narrow view of a 22-250 A.I. First if you are only going to shoot 55 gr bullets then yes maybe why bother. If you put that Ackley chamber in a fast twist barrel and start shooting 75 and 80 grain bullets well that is a totally different gun with gains of over 8% in velocity and the ability to carry a lot of punch well out past the point where a standard 22-250 could even think about. The other point is that having turned my 22-250 into a 22-250 A.I. I found it would have been worth it just for the added brass life.
I also have a 6.5x55 improved and I did not get the imroved version so I could turn it into a hot rod. I did it to see if I could get just a little more speed out of there cartridge by burning more but slower burning powder and keep the pressures down in the hope of longer barrel life. Time will tel if this works or not.
My main point is that I see a lot of posted that praise or trash something because someone is just looking at it from there own very narrow point of view.
I very much like my improved cartridges and enjoy some of the features they bring to the table but I also understand that it could some of the things I like about them that make others hate them .
I would enjoy hearing from others as to why they like or dislike improved or change cartridges. This is not about is the cartridges good or bad but does it work for you.
 

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I have tried the so called improved chambers since the early 60's and I see no real so called improvement. Nor have I seen improved case life. However they are fun for others to make up guns and go shooting.

Nor do I see anything special or better about a fast twist .224" anything. Again just a fun stunt.

You left a letter out of the word 'improved' in the title.
 

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Discussion Starter #3
Thanks for the "improvement" on the title Savage 99.
There is no right or wrong answer to this one just what is working for you.
The fast twist in a 224 works for me because where I hunt I can use it on deer and using an 80 grain vld in the 22-250 lets me take 1000 FLBs out past 450 yards and rivals the hitting power of some factory 270 loads at that range. That would be unthinkable with a 1:14 twist using 55 grain bullets even if you could start them out at 4000 fps.
But then again if a person does not want to shoot out that far with a 224 bullet you are right the fast twist as little or no advantage until after 300 yards. This is my point for some you are very right there is nothing special and for others it is very special.
 

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In firearms, just as with many other things, improvements are often measured by small degrees. Maybe a cartridge that has been AI'd only results in a 5% increase in velocity or 10% increase in case life, but those are measurable improvements. If my 401k account goes up between 5 and 10 percent, I am quite happy. Some people are happy with the status quo, while others want to go one step further, even if it isn't a giant step.

I have 3 cartridges that have a sharp shoulder, minimal taper and short case neck. They pretty much do what other, "standard" cartridges do, with a small improvement in one way or another. They serve a purpose. You might say they are a hammer with a slightly longer handle or a different head...they get the job done.
 

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The so called improvement may be indeed a take back. Consider the theory that a minimal body taper cartridge will suffer expansion web thinning sooner than a cartridge with more taper.

All chambers must have some clearance on headspace to start. The chamber with more taper is apt to let a case move to the breechblock or bolt face and not grip the chamber walls. Thus more case life and less stretching! :D
 

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The Troll Whisperer (Moderator)
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And, it also means more bolt thrust, Savage 99. Actually, there's more case stretch with the unimproved cases than with improved. Don't buy into the theory of more wall thinning with an improved case over the unimproved.

One of the touted benefits of improved cases is the longer case life and less trimming. I have several such chamberings and find this is generally true. In fact, one chambering (6.5x257 Robt's A I) had a 20 round box of reloads that reached 22 reloadings before being ditched due to several with small neck splits.
 

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And, it also means more bolt thrust, Savage 99. Actually, there's more case stretch with the unimproved cases than with improved.

If as you say there is less bolt thrust with a less tapered case then whats holding the case back? Its the walls of the case which will stretch more with a so called improved design.

Don't buy into the theory of more wall thinning with an improved case over the unimproved.

Then test it and you will see. They thin more, other things being equal, as the less tapered case walls grip the chamber. Remember that some so called improved chambers have almost zero headspace tolerance making them less reliable in the field.

One of the touted benefits of improved cases is the longer case life and less trimming. I have several such chamberings and find this is generally true. In fact, one chambering (6.5x257 Robt's A I) had a 20 round box of reloads that reached 22 reloadings before being ditched due to several with small neck splits.
I have several chamberings as well and its not true. I have been doing this for 50 years. Just because a case lasted long from neck splits has nothing at all to do with it being so called improved.
 

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The Troll Whisperer (Moderator)
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To each his own, Savage -

I've been reloading an equal 50 years and what's stated above is my own personal findings, whether you believe them or not, that's up to you. You need to reread P.O. Ackley Vol's I & II.
 

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All in good humor and fun I offer the following by the gun writer John Barsness.

"I ran a NULA .257 Ackley with a #2 stainless barrel for a while and it was VERY accurate. But I never could see any advantage in the field over the standard .257, so eventually it went down the road. The guy I sold it to also got weary of fire-forming and sold it after one hunting season. But whatever...."
 

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I don't mean to pick on you, S99, but gun writers buy and sell guns the way some people go through ball-point pens; they have a constantly rotating stock of them, with maybe a handful that earn a permanent spot in their gun safe. You quote Mr. Barsness as saying, "But I never could see any advantage in the field...". Does that mean he did see an advantage on the chronograph, or at the reloading bench, or on paper targets? If a person were to shoot an elk at 150 yards with a 300RUM, he might not see any "in the field" difference than when he shot an elk at 150 yards with a 308 Winchester. Does this mean that the performance advantages of the 300RUM are of no consequence, and if he happens to then sell the gun, does that confirm it is not a worthwhile cartridge?

Also, how can a guy get "weary of fire-forming" after just one hunting season? How many cases did he fire-form and shoot in such a short time that the process could become so laborious? In the case of the 257 Roberts AI, most folks just shoot factory ammo to get the end product. How time-consuming or wearying can that be? I've got a 30 Herrett that I've shot for more than 15 years and only had to form cases for it twice. Maybe that guy who sold his gun after one year was shooting a heckuvalot more than I do? Or, maybe Mr. Barsness was using an allegory, to persuade readers to his point of view on AI cartridges?

Whether or not the "improvement" is enough to impress you, or make it worthwhile in your eyes, they are improvements, nonetheless. That is the consensus of experienced gunsmiths, reloaders and hunters...and that's good enough for me.
 

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Elk Whisperer (Super Moderator)
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My 1917 Remington Enfield 30-06AI is pushing 65-70 years old (Dad made it in the late 40's early 50's) and I'm still using brass that's at least 50 years old.

Nuff said about brass life.

I plan on making my .243VLS AND my .223SPS into AI's. Imagine a .243 at 240 Weatherby velocities with 10-15% less powder and a .223 at 22-250 velocities with almost 20% less powder.

RJ
 

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AI improved or changed. Good title actually. Reminds me of the 30-06AI thread I started. Perhaps the 30-06 would be improved for real with you heavy bullets.

Savage99, it seems like you would be happiest with an old Savage 99 in a 300 savage chambering. Why all of the negativity towards the AIs? If you do not like them, then simply do not own one, read about them, or have anything to do with them. Why stress yourself out over something that doesn't affect your wallet or shooting shoulder? Really, who cares? I like the 22-250, it it better than the 220 swift? Don't know, don't care. I'd like to have both in all honesty. Not one OR the other. I want a 30-06 AND a 30-06AI.

That aside. When the day comes that my Savage 12FV 22-250 needs a new barrel. It will I'm guessing in 4 years at the shooting rate that I currently use assuming a 5000-6000 round barrel life. It will be a 22-250AI barrel with a fast twist. I use it mostly for punching holes, and it would be natural to me that a fast twist with heavy bullets would be best for the 600-1000 yard windy shooting range (hayfield) that I have access to.
 

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No stress here. I am smiling, not laughing, at the K's and AI's! :)

When I had the .375 AI made up I had it's chamber and dies made up so that I could load it to headspace on its shoulder and not its belt. If there is a cartridge design that I really don't like its those belted rounds that have adequate shoulders that don't headspace on the shoulders.

I looked at the Kimber site and the 84L is listed but not in any 7mm.

I have magnums already. Just looking for an excuse for another rifle. :cool:
 

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Ai

Well the two volumes of Ackleys work that I have were first published around 1964 so almost fifty years ago some of his work is a little dated with the advent of some of todays slower burning powders and some of the cartridges that he once considered not worth perserveering with have really come of age. It would be nice if someone had the time and equipment to repeat Ackley's trials with modern powders and test equipment but when you consider the man spent years at it. There is probably no one that has the time or equipment to commit to such a daunting task let alone get anything out of it to cover the enormous expense.
 

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Ironically, one of the most common chamberings in the Model 99 Savage, the 300 Savage, is, for all intents and purposes, an "Improved" design! Especially when you consider the contemporary cartridges it competed against during its heyday, the 300 Savage has a very short neck, a sharp 30 degree shoulder and minimal body taper in the case. Mr. Ackley would have certainly approved. :)
 

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Well the two volumes of Ackleys work that I have were first published around 1964 so almost fifty years ago some of his work is a little dated with the advent of some of todays slower burning powders and some of the cartridges that he once considered not worth perserveering with have really come of age.


Two of my favorite works to read....

My .25-35 ICL was basically an AI with a long neck for cast bullets (more versatility). 117gr Hornadys went 175fps faster in the improved chamber with no pressure signs out of the 1894's "springy" action. I think that was the main consideration of P.O. Ackley - more velocity with less stress to the firearm. P.O. always considered the action as an integral part of the equation. Case longevity had very little bearing on his thinking - at least that's the impression I got from reading his thoughts. FWIW....
 

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While I agree that there are many reasons both to and not to use the improved versions of a specific caliber case, I like others, have a hard time with why there is so much hub bub about when folks do choose this route.

To me it is no different than when someone decided they want a .300 WSM over a standard .300 WM, or picks a 7-08 over a 308. IT all boils down to what the individual wants plain and simple. This said I DO see a lot of folks who think that just because they put a different shoulder on the parent case, they are automatically going to get 300fps more velocity out of it.

I have three so called AI chambered barrels, two in a Contender barrels and one rifle, and another while not specifically Ackley, the other is an improvement over the parent in the 7x30 Waters also in Contender.

Starting with the smallest, the .223 AI, I picked it simply to utilize some of the slower powders to, yes, boost the velocity a bit in the 14" barrel. To be totally honest however, I have had the thing going on 10 years, and not even worked a load up for it to date. I began shooting both Winchester and Black Hills ammo from it specifically for the cases. The thing shoot either so well out to 300yds, that I simply banked up on the factory stuff and have not messed with it. The same thing can also be said for my 30-30 AI barrel to a point, since I did work up two different loads for it, however I don't waste the time or effort on them as the factory will stay under 1" at 100yds all day long.

The other AI barrel, is a 28" Broughton 5C 1-9 twist. It was put together specifically for shooting heavier bullets to the longest ranges I wanted. I consulted a noted BR shooter who also builds rifles and together we set it up for this purpose with a minimum chamber. In fire forming the standard load it started off running 200fps faster than my previous standard chambered rifle. This is mostly due to the added 4" of barrel. So when working up the loads, I used this as a stop gap area to look for my max loads. I found what I was looking for with a 120gr load running 3350fps, and showing no signs on the case head measurements or flattened edges of the primers. I accomplished it by using powder which is WAY to slow for the standard case to ever attain such an improvement. This is somewhat less than the actual top end I got, but again the added lenght of the barrel has a lot to add as well.

Are the AI versions for everyone, no, and I realize this. At the same time efficient or not, barrel burner or not, I don't, like others, understand why when Ackley Improved come up in a title there is usually a disagreement lying somewhere within. To me it/s like a Ford - vs - Chevy deal while I drive the best anyway in a Dodge. :D
 

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41 Mag,

My 6.5JDJ is an improved case design for which I must neck up 225 Winchester brass before charging and seating the bullets. Accuracy of the fire-forming loads is nothing to sneeze at and they are plenty powerful for both the varmint and deer hunting I use it for, but the added velocity of the fire-formed cases is why I bought the thing. I can't imagine why you haven't reloaded the fire-formed cases for your 223AI and 30-30AI, to see what kind of performance they give, over the factory loads. I'm not questioning your choice, but if you got a V8, you have to put your foot on the floor, once in a while! :D

Maybe I'm missing something, but you don't seem to mention which cartridge your Broughton 5C barrel is chambered in? Based on the 120gr load, I'm guessing something in a 25, 26, or 27 caliber, but you don't really say. Sounds like a good-shooting gun, though.
 
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