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Discussion Starter #1
JBelk, you mentioned trying to break a press at school, and that got me wondering: those of you who seem to know so much above the average Joe Reloader, how did you learn all of this? It can't be a simple reloading class.
It might be something to spend some money on to stimulate the mind after retirement.

Thank you.
 

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The Shadow
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and that got me wondering: those of you who seem to know so much above the average Joe Reloader, how did you learn all of this? It can't be a simple reloading class.
It sounds a little like you're asking how a watch works.
The answer is intellectual curiosity, or an unquiet mind. You find something interesting, like reloading, and you want to know everything about it.
So, say you read an ad talking about their cases using C260. You don't know what that is and you start researching the alloy. Some manual for you they used a safety factor of 3 when they built their press, and the others don't say. So you find one and test it.

Cheers
 

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Darkker got it right. I was hand-loading ammo (Lyman 310 Tool, the nut cracker) and testing surplus rifles to DESTRUCTION at 15 years old. I read everything I could and if it didn't make sense I tried it. (And learned to NEVER trust the popular press that's supported by advertising) Technical articles were few and far between and I was out of the Army before I met another center-fire rifle shooter in my hometown. No clubs, no mentors and no classes. Just read, read, calculate and then just do it.

Fred Hunnington gave more great information in 8 hours than I'd ever heard anywhere before. Dean Wentworth, a CST instructor taught B&H in the late '60s and was extremely sharp. (His reloading book, nearly complete, was ruined by the gift of a chronograph. That was a great lesson, too!) Dean challenged students to learn by asking us good questions and challenging us to find out.

Owning a winning Bench Rest rifle with all the accessories taught me more about accurate reloading and shooting than any book, article or manual I ever read.
The 4-H way--Learn by doing.

Visualize what "Perfect" is and then find out what doesn't fit that template and fix it.

" Straight, Solid and Square equals Accuracy" That is the essence of guns, ammo and shooting.
Curiosity is the driving force for learning anything. I'm working on geology now.
 

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For the past 50 plus years I have read every book , magazine article and NRA publication I could get my hands on . I have a book case filled with books , Handloaders Digest , dozens of reloading manuals , new and old . One of my latest manuals "Sixgun Cartridges & Loads" by Elmer Keith 1936... and I learned a few new things from it .
Back in the days BC (Before Computers) you learned from reading ... anything in print was fair game ... Hatcher's Notebook , Lyman Publications . And after reading you learned by doing...casting bullets , loading and shooting ...you honed your skills and got good then got better ... I guess it's called experience .
The Lyman Cast Bullet Handbook #2 and #3 along with some NRA Cast Bullet Guides were my main learning guides and got me going ...just recently bought the new Lyman Cast Bullet Handbook #4 and Lymans 50th edition anniversary Reloading Handbook ... I can't believe 50 years has passed by so quickly ... it's been a lot of fun and the computer has opened up more information and the ability to "talk" with other caster's ... I enjoy this a lot, thanks guys !
Gary
 

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Discussion Starter #5
It looks like it all is mostly 'self-taught', your inquisitiveness leading you to where you are now. Very glad to have people like you who are willing to share your knowledge. I'm always fascinated by the physics/chemistry parts of it the most, leading me to think that some may have some science background to be able to understand and explain some of this. Anyway, I'd like to thank you all for your help.
 

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I had a subscription to Precision Shooting for almost 20 years, the highlight was a multi issue article called "Secrets of the Houston Warehouse", I still consider it the definitive source for accuracy minded shooters. I didn't start reading the magazine without a little knowledge however, as a teenager I read both volumes of PO Ackley's "Handbook for shooters and reloaders volume 1 and 2"
I know Jack is not a fan of Ackley's and I'm not saying the guy was totally honest about everything but he certainly was knowledgeable about many things and his writing style is appealing to many.
 

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I read pretty much all I could get my hands on and had picked my Dad's brain of much of what my then pre 14 YO mind could understand. He died in 1973 so all I had to get from him after that was his loading journals. I soon learned that he had velocity sickness and pushed the limits as I am sure many did back then. Granted, some of the issues I ran into back then was due to almost all the brass I had being formed from surplus 06 brass. Everything was annealed and turned, but many times I got very short life from it. I was lucky enough in a few years to get a Mentor that was retired Army Artillery. He was a Mechanical Engineer that had done an extensive stint at Aberdeen Proving Grounds after Korea. He had a good and curious mind and taught me more about reloading and ballistics. When I was working at a local shooting range, I had pretty much an unlimited supply of brass and the FFL holder sold me all components at cost, so I was able to play with just about any load combination I wanted. I was one of the lucky ones.

Places like this are invaluable to anyone willing to take the time to ferret through the information that is here for the taking.

Good luck and all the best.
 

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Reading is the key to learning. I started with a (used) 1945 Stoeger's Shooter's Bible when I was 8 years old and gave a report in the fourth grade on the ballistics of the 50 BMG bullets and cases I'd found at the beach. A neighbor had just come back from National Guard service and gave me a big field manual on all the small arms, so by the time I'd located the de-mils at the junk yard at 15, I could assemble the M-3 Grease gun parts I'd found there. I've pretty much been in trouble ever since. I was reading Hatcher in American Rifleman before his book was published.
I LOVE ACKLEY because he took the time and trouble to write down what he found! Otherwise, we'd all be trying to re-invent the wheel. Ackley proved that capacity equals velocity and it makes no difference what shape the case is, think up something and name it and claim whatever you like. If it holds 50 grains of powder, it acts like it.
 
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The Shadow
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Ackley proved that capacity equals velocity and it makes no difference what shape the case is, think up something and name it and claim whatever you like.
That's actually the problem with Ackley, he claimed things he wished was true despite evidence; specifically as it relates to pressure.

A 50gr case running 30,000 psi simply doesn't have the performance of a 38gr case running 60,000 psi. A 50gr case running 60k just isn't at anything other than a technical disadvantage to a 54gr case, at the same pressure.
He very clearly did believe that shape mattered, and also quite clearly didn't care what actual pressure data showed.


Cheers
 
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Elk Whisperer (Super Moderator)
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Which was demonstrated by the amount of guns he blew up. Kind of Elmer-esk if you ask me, which no one did 😉

RJ
 

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Shape does matter, just not so much to velocity. It matters to bolt thrust and brass life to some extent. He wrote about that as well. All that he wrote was not correct, but I leaned a lot from his books.
 

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Me too. I blew up a lot of guns too, but not trying to get velocity. He came to the conclusions he later wrote about by actually DOING it instead of taking somebody's word for it.
I'll admit it's been 45 years at least since I READ P.O Ackley, but I refer to his books nearly daily because he published other shooter's notes which are many times pure BS, but Ackley gave them a platform....just like John Amber did DIY gunsmiths, but with less fact checking. Handloaders of the day had no pressure equipment or chronographs or publications that listed chronographed loads. Ackley was a pioneer and loved guns and wrote about them. That makes him a great guy, in my world. Elmer, too.
 
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I have been amazed numerous time by his keen insight into problems and I am convinced he has informants on the inside of everything. Example: 2018 I had a Rossi 38 Revolver recalled with thousands over a claim someone dropped one and it discharged. After my gun was gone 6 months ,speculation about the nature of the problem raged about the cause .It was J Belk who suggested it was a metallurgic issue with the metal pin holding the hammer nose. Local gunsmith who fixed mine confirmed after repairing numbers of them. Dr. Belk was right.
 

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Jack, my apologies, for some reason I thought you had wrote disparagingly about PO Ackley years ago, must have you mixed up with another SF poster.
When I looked up his books on Amazon I was shocked at the prices, wow! Over 80.00 per book!
 

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No problem! This discussion prompted an assessment of my library. I only have one gun book that is useless, the other hundred or so all have nuggets among some sand and gravel. The 'panning' is the gun part.
I have the RL Wilson Colt and Winchester Engraving books that are well over [email protected] last time I looked. My problem is condition. My books get used and beat up pretty quick. PO #1 is about to shed its cover if it falls off my lap one more time.
 

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The Shadow
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Shape does matter, just not so much to velocity. It matters to bolt thrust and brass life to some extent.
It doesn't as claimed by Ackley. We know this from actual pressure testing. Joe blow casual reloader has known it since at least the Dec. 1959 issue of T.A.R. (IIRC). Ackley was publicly humiliated in print, after they published the actual data from HP White Labs.

Handloaders of the day had no pressure equipment or chronographs or publications that listed chronographed loads.
Handloaders en masses today rarely use a chrono with much frequency. Those of us who do use a Pressure Trace, get bombarded by those who don't, on how we're "wrong".🙄

By the late 1930's early 1940's, we(royal usage) were using copper crushers, and they were used following Lead Crushers. Chronos appeared for the reloader in the 1950's, as did transducers and pressure measurement, becoming somewhat inexpensive (relatively) in the 1960's.
By the late 1950's enough people knew about real velocities and pressures, to save and pay for real pressure work to publicly print and debunk Ackley's claims. So it wasn't a secret at that point, if someone wanted to actually know.
Ackley didn't begin publishing his books until about the early-mid 1960's. Meaning by the time he began publishing, he knew.

I have no issue with someone celebrating Ackley for pushing the limits, or being a master gunsmith, or being a fun writer to read, or even being a master chef.



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If I look at a lot of the latest, newest wiz bang cartridges of today, they look a lot more like like an Ackley improved than they do a 30-06, 30-30, 22 Hornet or 300 H&H. At this point, I am not sure what benefit there is beating down a man who passed away quite some time ago because a lot of what he wrote and thought was not correct. I have no idea if he was publicly humiliated.
 

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Ackley (and others) experimented enough to find the minimum body taper on a cartridge case. Their lesson was forgotten and the WSSM calibers gave tremendous trouble with hard extraction with the least amount of chamber roughness. Every time I had repair one I'd think of PO shaking his head.
 

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The Shadow
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1) If I look at a lot of the latest, newest wiz bang cartridges of today, they look a lot more like like an Ackley improved than they do a 30-06, 30-30, 22 Hornet or 300 H&H.
2) At this point, I am not sure what benefit there is beating down a man who passed away quite some time ago because a lot of what he wrote and thought was not correct.
1) Indeed, many do have the "look".
2) it isn't about "beating down" anyone, it's about separating truth and myth; so as not to repeat mistakes.
All of his claims dealing with pressures were completely unsubstantiated, and for the most part, all proven wrong.
He didn't make claims about pressure he was mistaken about, he made claims about pressure he knew were wrong; but they were exciting and sold copies.
Enjoying one aspect of the man or his work, doesn't mean you should accept anything he claimed. If somethings he claimed are bogus, don't be afraid to point that out.

Cheers
 
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