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To:  J. Marshall Stanton
     (others welcome to reply)

Superb article on the Ackley Improved cartridges that can be used as an excellent reference.  Thanks for sharing your expertise.  One cartridge that was left out of the article was the .348 Winchester.

I have a Browning Model 71 in .348 Win caliber and was wondering about getting it converted to an Ackely Improved cartridge.  However, no one I've talked to (gunsmiths included) seems to have the actual "hands-on" experience in making such a conversion on a .348 Winchester, nor are they knowledgeable on whether this is a reasonable conversion.

Can you please recommend a gunsmith who has successfully done .348 Ackley Improved conversions?  What is your estimate of the resulting powder capacity (3% to 9%) and is this an Ackley Improved conversion that you would deem appropriate and recommend to others?

My idea was to improve case life since I don't know how long .348 Win brass will continue to be manufactured.  Plus I was hoping for at least a 100 ft/sec increase in velocity with a 200 gr bullet so that I could get a flatter trajectory.  Note: I live out West where shots at deer tend to be long in open country.

Also, please advise on what dies could be used for the .348 Win Ackley Improved.  Please walk me through this, as I have no idea on whether or not the .348 AI is a standard Ackley Improved cartridge or if it has the shoulder moved forward like the .30-30 AI.

Thanks in advance for your reply.

Patrick Raymond
[email protected]
Spokane, WA
 
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Marshall:
I own a 7mm AI in a bruno mauser action that was a senior project for a gunsmith friend.  I love the fact, as you mentioned, the brass can be fireformed from std 7mm rounds.  This is a very versitle concept.  I have RCBS dies for this round as well with 40 deg shoulder.  My problem is lack of reloading data available for the AI.  Any suggestions?
 

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.30-30ai

Won't the AI be different in every rifle?
These modifications/conversions are done by different riflesmiths. They are not going to be exactly the same. So, if I were to get some fire formed ammo from another rifle, how would that affect the reloading? The Lee Pacesetter AI die set for the .30-30 is available. I imagine that is the one you recommend for reloading the .30-30AI. This will form the brass one way, unless I adjust every piece of brass from every different rifle......Am I right or wrong? This makes me think I should use only the brass shot from my rifle. Also, should I buy new brass and resize it with the Lee AI Collet die before I shoot it, or after I shoot it, or does it make a difference? Thanks for the info.


Marshall Stanton said:
Comment on the Tech Notes article:

Dies For The Ackley Improved Cartridges

We appreciate your comments on this article.



<!--EDIT|Marshall Stanton|June 04 2002,19:47-->
 

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The Hog Whisperer (Administrator)
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I would buy new brass, fire-form it in that rifle only, and if you end up doing full-length resizing, be careful to not set the shoulder of the case back much at all with the f/l die.
 

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Lee Dies

I guess I just don't understand the Lee AI dies. They did the special run on the .30-30 AI Collet die, but even on their FAQ they say a special die isn't needed for the AI. However, I do not really like reloading that much if it is too time-consuming. If the Lee AI Collet die will save me some time I would appreciate that. I know many of you take great pleaure in reloading, but, for me, it is just something that has to be done. If the Lee AI die saves time, then its low cost is well worth the few bucks, IMHO :) I just don't understand the difference between it and the regular .30-30 Collet sizing die. Can you help me with that?

MikeG said:
I would buy new brass, fire-form it in that rifle only, and if you end up doing full-length resizing, be careful to not set the shoulder of the case back much at all with the f/l die.
 

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The Hog Whisperer (Administrator)
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The collet dies only resize the neck. A 'regular' full-length die sets the shoulder back a bit and makes the body of the case a little smaller (and requires case lube).

Since .30-30 brass is cheap, why don't you start with the collet die, and see how many reloads you get before the cases won't chamber easily? Then you can decide how much you want to shoot in a year and work out the cost/benefit of a full-length sizing die.
 

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Mike
i have been looking around for pictures of the .30-30 and the Improved cartridge case. Someone has them posted on the web. Dz needs to see the pictures side by side to get perspective on the straight case and the shoulder location to see why the collet die for the .30-30 will not work on the improved version. This is one of the few Ackley cartridges that pushes the shoulder forward.
 

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I will definitely start with new brass. I pretty much understand everything except what the advantage is of buying the special-run .30-30AI die. It seems like everyone says it isn't necessary, including Lee, then everyone says hurry up and buy a set before they're all gone :confused:

MikeG said:
The collet dies only resize the neck. A 'regular' full-length die sets the shoulder back a bit and makes the body of the case a little smaller (and requires case lube).

Since .30-30 brass is cheap, why don't you start with the collet die, and see how many reloads you get before the cases won't chamber easily? Then you can decide how much you want to shoot in a year and work out the cost/benefit of a full-length sizing die.
 

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DZ
The reason everyone is saying get the AI dies while they are cheap is that you will eventualy want them and they can take your breath away when you pay full reatail. i gave $117.00 for an RCBs set and my father gave about $80.00 for a set by Redding.
 

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Darn, the Lees only cost $22.95 through Natchez. I will order them right now, but I'm still confused as to why I need them when everyone is loading the AI with regular dies.
Thanks for your patience. I just like to do my homework completely before investing money that may turn out to be unnecessary.


william iorg said:
DZ
The reason everyone is saying get the AI dies while they are cheap is that you will eventualy want them and they can take your breath away when you pay full reatail. i gave $117.00 for an RCBs set and my father gave about $80.00 for a set by Redding.
 

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I think I understand now...........

OK, I will start with brand new brass, and thereafter only use the brass I shoot in my gun. I will use the Lee AI die set that I just ordered at first, then after I've used the brass a few times I need to re-size. I guess I use the normal sizing die for that. I also have a Hornady .30 caliber sizing die that is supposed to be good for all .30 calibers. How am I doing so far? Once I've re-sized I probably have to trim, or do I trim before I re-size? Can you tell I've not done much reloading of rifle calibers? Well, I actually haven't done much reloading of any caliber. I guess I use the Lyman M die before the seater, then seat, then use the Lee FCD. Now all I have to do is figure out how and in what stage I put the powder in. I guess there are a few different ways to do that also. I've watched others do it in several ways, including putting the powder funnel on the toolhead. I've ordered the Redding T-7, so I have 7 stations. Any suggestions? Oh, oh be nice now, ;) I'm not as slow as I seem, just careful. :)

dzrtram said:
Darn, the Lees only cost $22.95 through Natchez. I will order them right now, but I'm still confused as to why I need them when everyone is loading the AI with regular dies.
Thanks for your patience. I just like to do my homework completely before investing money that may turn out to be unnecessary.
 

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Get a standard .30-30 Lee case trimmer. Trim before you size. You will not need to do it often.
With the AI's, I wouln't trim at all until after the fire forming. When the case is fire formed and blown out to chamber demensions, that brass has to come from somewhere. With the case head well supported by the bolt or breach block, that brass comes from a shortened neck.

With my AI's (6mm and 22-250) I've never even needed to trim for length at all even after many reloadings and the case length is still less than SAAMI. Don't get me wrong here, I do check case length each and every time that I reload. It's just that the case is always shorter than even the trim length (trim length being .010" shorter than max case length) as specified in the manuals. Of course with the Lee trimmer, it won't trim unless the case is longer than the trim length.

Rev
 

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Its been awhile since I looked at this thread but I believe I was thinking about the Lee case trimmer requiring trimming before sizing. The 6.5 X 55 AI acts as you describe and seldom, if ever, requires trimming. The .30-30AI and the .25-35AI also shrink after fire forming and the only initial trimming required is to square the case mouths to help the crimping operation. When loaded to high pressure the .30-30AI and .25-35AI cases do stretch. While these cases do not stretch as much as the standard cartridges they do grow and will require light trimming about every third firing when loading for high velocity in the Winchester and Marlin lever action rifles.
 

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257 & 7MM AIs

I fireform cases using 5 grams of bullseye and a casefull of cream of wheat sealed with bar soap. Just push it in to the shoulder and turn it. The shoulder is sharper and much cheaper
 
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