The reloading of massive-size cartridges...


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Matt304
September 23, 2006, 01:33 AM
This may sound a little odd, and don't jump to conclusions as I'm really just curious but...how would one go about the complete reloading process of a round like the 14.5mm russian?

For instance would the die/press set need be completely custom?

What about primers this large?

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BEARMAN
September 23, 2006, 02:54 AM
Just guessing but I think it would be like reloading .50 BMG . One of the large RCBS or LEE CLASSIC presses, custom dies , and probably a hard time finding the proper size primers. If the primers are an odd hard to get size maybe the primer hole in each case could be altered to the .50 BMG primer size. I don't know the problems you would encounter but I am sure it could be done. People reload for things they can't get cases for, so each case is hand made, and once you have made the first few , you would figure out a system to mass produce more .

DaveInFloweryBranchGA
September 23, 2006, 09:18 AM
Matt,


1. First, find a source for brass and primer components. If this can't be done, no use going any further. Having custom made is a possibility, but could get awful expensive quick. But it can be done. If you have brass, I'd suspect the brass would have enough material to machine out and make an adapter for .50BMG primers for sure. Not sure I'd try to reload steel cartridges in this size caliber. Not fun to resize, I'm guessing.

2. Find a press big enough to resize the case. In this case, the Lee Classic Cast and RCBS Rock Chucker are likely big enough to do the job and have the larger size threaded hole to take larger dies. If these two presses are too small, you can use a other types of presses and dies similar to stuff used by bench rest shooters, but on a larger scale size wise.

3. Have custom dies made. I'm sure Lee Precision could handle this job at a pretty reasonable price. If not, there are other folks that do this kind of work.

4. Identify an appropriate powder. I'm guessing off the cuff, but it's likely .50BMG surplus powder should work nicely. That's certainly where I would start.

6. Locate a bullet. This could be tough. You could go custom or you could look into making your own. Again, an expensive option to go custom. That said, there are plenty of folk out there that could have a custom mold for lead bullets made and then add their own jacket. Not sure if you need the jacket, but at that velocity, I'd suspect so.

All in all, unless I had the money and a Rooskie machine gun I badly wanted to shoot, it's not hardly worth it due to costs involved overall. But if I did and could afford it....that's another story.

Matt304
September 23, 2006, 02:53 PM
Thank you very much for the useful input guys.

Truthfully, I've never reloaded a single cartridge before.

I mean I assume there is a few things to learn when attempting a project like this obviously, but also assume after a couple of runs it is as easy as can be. I'm sure perfecting the ammo accuracy-wise is the actual challenge here.

This idea is really impractical for just about everyone, I mean who the hell wants a rifle shooting $12+/shot 14.5mm ammo? I'm sure some people out there would love to try but for the most part it's impractical.

Anyways, why do I ask then? Well again, I'm always curious about how you could go about doing a lot of things for custom projects, and this just so happens to be one of them. Personally, I'm one of the people who would someday like to own a massive cartridge shooter like this just for the heck of it, only it would be need necked to .50cal of coarse. Will it ever happen? Probably not. (Just trying to stay honest in this discussion here.)

So where might a source exist for 14.5mm cases today? I found one source (Bigskysurplus), and fired brass cases are $8 each. Primed for $12 each. Expensive yes, but are these cases all going to be of outdated production? Are there any small manufacturing facilities which could turn out brass cases such as these anymore, if only a small run of quantity was needed (100-200)? Or are you looking at big setup charges for a quantity this small, of a more or less custom case?

Is there a reason for 50cal surplus powder in this scenario? Mainly price wise I assume?

mrkubota
September 23, 2006, 03:24 PM
Most any press that can accept the 1.5" die sets would work.
RCBS Ammomaster, Hornady .50bmg, Hollywood Sr., RockCrusher, Corbin.

The RockChucker won't because it's not tall enough.

Dies are available from CH4D.com or can be custom made.

There's 14.5mm wildcat from SSK based on the .50bmg case that would be easier to load for.
http://www.sskindustries.com/14_5.htm

Even the 20mm Vulcan would be easier to get components for. You just need to put a bushing into the primer pocket to fit std .50bmg primers in place of their electric primers.

Basic reloading for .50bmg:
http://www.hevanet.com/temple/50reloading.html

A few surplus suppliers:
http://www.hi-techammo.com/
http://www.patsreloading.com/
http://www.gibrass.com/

http://www.daplane.com/50bmg/50spotcomp.jpg

brickeyee
September 23, 2006, 03:26 PM
The dies needed to draw the brass will cost a lot of $$$.
They get ammortized over the cost of thousands to millions of shells.
It also takes a lot of expermineting to get the draw process going perfectly.

Matt304
September 23, 2006, 04:03 PM
The dies needed to draw the brass will cost a lot of $$$.
They get ammortized over the cost of thousands to millions of shells.
It also takes a lot of expermineting to get the draw process going perfectly.

Had an idea this might be the case.

Matt304
September 23, 2006, 04:11 PM
There's 14.5mm wildcat from SSK based on the .50bmg case that would be easier to load for.
http://www.sskindustries.com/14_5.htm

Thanks for that info Mrkubota.

The SSK 14.5mm is actually a 50bmg necked up. This idea would consist of the large 14.5mm russian case necked down.

The case is 114mm in height, next I'd like to aquire some loading/ballistic info on the actual round.

When a new round is developed, I assume a computer simulation is used to predict pressures generated? Or is this mostly done through a test bed device? Curious as to some numbers which may be produced from the round, for instance how a machinist would design a proper action/barrel for the cartridge.

mrkubota
September 23, 2006, 08:23 PM
The .50bmg is already considered to be slightly 'overbore' as is. Using the larger russian case will only worsen that issue and likely lead to faster throat erosion in the barrel.

Gale McMillan had a .50/20mm wildcat that measured barrel life in the hundreds of rounds rather than the 3k or so that a normal .50 has....

HankB
September 23, 2006, 09:58 PM
What about the legal issues?

IIRC, there's a Federal law prohibiting cartridges over .50 ". . . unless suitable for sporting purposes . . . " or some such. So .577, .600, .700 Nitro Expresses are OK, even some custom 8-bore stuff . . . but I doubt that the BATmen would let stand a claim that the 14.5mm Russian round was "sporting" . . .

How about the few people that have Lahtis or Solothurn 20mm guns? Those were sold over the counter & by mail up until 1968, are there any ammo reloading issues there, based on caliber? :confused:

Matt304
September 23, 2006, 11:23 PM
The .50bmg is already considered to be slightly 'overbore' as is. Using the larger russian case will only worsen that issue and likely lead to faster throat erosion in the barrel.

Gale McMillan had a .50/20mm wildcat that measured barrel life in the hundreds of rounds rather than the 3k or so that a normal .50 has....

Wow, now that's what I'm taking about. The vulcan case is monstrous, even more so than the 14.5mm if I recall.

Why is it exactly these larger bores wear the barrel quicker? It would seem everything is scaling up (surface area, bullet size) thus you would almost think the friction would be left nearly the same per area. Possibly due to a longer bullet I suppose? (since the is the only factor which actually increases friction rate with scale...)

I never realized that barrel life was that short, but the factor I would account for also in here would be price per shot. I don't think you could really afford to put more than a few rounds through every so often...

Did McMillan's gun simply use a ton of weight to suppress recoil, or some sort of dampening action? One interesting design to note in this scenario of massive energy rounds is the Mechem NTW-20.

Matt304
September 23, 2006, 11:30 PM
What about the legal issues?

IIRC, there's a Federal law prohibiting cartridges over .50 ". . . unless suitable for sporting purposes . . . " or some such. So .577, .600, .700 Nitro Expresses are OK, even some custom 8-bore stuff . . . but I doubt that the BATmen would let stand a claim that the 14.5mm Russian round was "sporting" . . .

How about the few people that have Lahtis or Solothurn 20mm guns? Those were sold over the counter & by mail up until 1968, are there any ammo reloading issues there, based on caliber?

We're talking about .50cal cartridges here (necked down to there at least).

mrkubota
September 23, 2006, 11:47 PM
Here's an article that can explain "over bore" better than I...:)

http://www.gunsandammomag.com/gun_columns/notes/0412/

wdlsguy
September 24, 2006, 12:17 AM
are there any ammo reloading issues there, based on caliber?
As long as we're talking about something like jacketed lead bullets, no.

http://www.anzioironworks.com/20MM-TAKE-DOWN-RIFLE.htm

Matt304
September 24, 2006, 12:59 AM
http://www.anzioironworks.com/20MM-TAKE-DOWN-RIFLE.htm

Holy mackeral.

1600gr @ 3300fps. 39lb rifle. Something tells me that 5th wheel trailer mount is a must.

Looking at the two, the 14.5mm looks very similar in case size to the 20mm, maybe slightly less base diameter, with a slightly longer neck.

Matt304
September 24, 2006, 01:25 AM
I took a photo compairing the 14.5mm and 50cal and a photo compairing the 50cal and 20mm and scaled them fairly close to give a good comparison.

Curious, is the band above the neck on the 20mm located on the projectile itself?

http://img171.imageshack.us/img171/4590/145mm5020mmsb5.jpg

mrkubota
September 24, 2006, 04:03 AM
Yes, that's the "driving band" and is the part of the projo that actually engages the barrels rifling.
As an aside... that's the part of the projo that gets turned down to the proper diameter to reuse the surplus Vulcan projos in older 20mm rifles like the Solothurn and Lahti.

http://www.angelfire.com/mo/brashco/

The 20mm Vulcan was the final result after initial tests with a .60 caliber (14.5mm) didn't work out. The case geometry for both versions is basically the same. (some history: http://tri.army.mil/LC/CS/csa/aagatlin.htm )

Serbu's got a 20mm in the works as well:
http://www.serbu.com/phpBB/viewtopic.php?t=339

pvtschultz
September 26, 2006, 07:43 PM
That's just wrong! What kind of person would put their shoulder up to something like that? Could you imagine hitting a prairie dog with it!!!

highlander 5
September 26, 2006, 07:58 PM
as far as presses redding makes THE BOSS which looks more than big enough,or if you've gold mine Old West Scrounger makes or used to make a giant o press that looked like a rock chucker on steroids made to load 20 mm AA has enough leverage to crush beer cans full steel cans mind you not aluminum but I never saw a price so this might be a case of "If you have to ask you can't afford it"

mrkubota
September 26, 2006, 09:26 PM
20mm Lahti shooter:
http://www.obscure-reference.com/guns/events/20011111/index.html


http://www.obscure-reference.com/guns/events/20011111/20011111-4.jpg

mrkubota
September 26, 2006, 11:44 PM
Russian PTRS 14.5mm shooter:

http://us.a2.yahoofs.com/groups/g_220939/1b11/__sr_/1fcc.jpg?gr4vhGFBB.a5Z5fU

Sunray
September 27, 2006, 12:39 AM
"...We're talking about .50cal cartridges..." Not if you're thinking 14.5mm. That's a Russian roughly .60 calibre heavy MG round. You'd be looking at having custom dies made, using custom bullets and then you'd have to find brass in sufficient quantities to make it worthwhile. Or have the brass turned on a lathe. Other than that, reloading for it would be the same as reloading anything else. Just a lot bigger.
There's nothing wrong with being curious. We'd have a lot less stuff to play with if nobody was curious.

mrkubota
September 27, 2006, 03:20 AM
We're talking about .50cal cartridges here (necked down to there at least).

He's talking about wildcatting the russian 14.5 case down to .50 caliber....
My picture posts were in response to the post as to who would shoulder such a large caliber rifle.....

flutedchamber
October 3, 2006, 12:33 AM
The only two presses that I know of that are large and strong enough are the Rock Crusher, which is a Rock Chucker on steroids, and a press made by Corbin for bullet swaging. Both presses are costly, especially the one from Corbin. Dies, as stated can be bought from Ch. Good luck.

missing_something
October 13, 2006, 03:22 PM
Well... just looked at the post and its very interesting..... I reload and shoot 14.5 Russian from a PTRD and PTRS AT Rifle.

Here are the steps...

Ammomaster press = not strong enough for resizing, I use for priming and bullet seating.

Corbin press = neck and Full Length sizing of cases.

2" reloading dies obtained from CH4D dies. Top notch dies.

Cases.... Well you have to look around... Brass cases preferred (ease of use) Surplus military brass dealers (Big Sky Surplus just to name one). The case needs to be deprimed and then the primer pocket reamed out to take a sleeve. The sleeve is then fitted and glued in. A flash hole also has to be drilled. The case is then ready for .50 BMG primers.

Bullets... well have a machinist make then from solid Brass, or a custom bullet maker, or buy from SSK or locate a dealer for .585" projo's. There are a few out there. 1000 grain is the original bullet weight.

Powder... As stated previously .50 BMG powder is suitable..... loads aren't readily available and I can't discuss in open forum as it is liability issue.

Then voila.. large calibre fun...

http://i21.photobucket.com/albums/b271/missing_something/th_MVI_0070.jpg (http://s21.photobucket.com/albums/b271/missing_something/?action=view&current=MVI_0070.flv)

http://i21.photobucket.com/albums/b271/missing_something/1300gr14.jpg
http://i21.photobucket.com/albums/b271/missing_something/IMG_0065.jpg
http://i21.photobucket.com/albums/b271/missing_something/00e4d7e0.jpg

FIFTYGUY
October 13, 2006, 11:17 PM
Expensive yes, but are these cases all going to be of outdated production? Are there any small manufacturing facilities which could turn out brass cases such as these anymore, if only a small run of quantity was needed (100-200)?

Well, I doubt the various East Bloc states consider 14.5x114 obsolete. There's a bunch of factories that made/make the stuff, in Russia, China, Romania, Egypt, etc. I have rounds in my collection from six different factories from Russia and China alone.

The problem is just getting the ammo or components thereof *into* the US. Write your Congressman and convince them the caliber has legitimate sporting purposes. It's hard enough now that they are trying to call .50 BMG non-sporting...

FIFTYGUY
October 14, 2006, 12:26 AM
1600gr @ 3300fps. 39lb rifle. Something tells me that 5th wheel trailer mount is a must.

Heh. Has anybody fired, or seen the Anzio gun fired, with full-power Vulcan ammo? From the shoulder, and not from a mount?

Looking at the two, the 14.5mm looks very similar in case size to the 20mm, maybe slightly less base diameter, with a slightly longer neck.

That's because the Vulcan is derived from the old US .60 Cal, which was introduced at the same time for the same reason as the 14.5mm Russian. US .60 Cal and 14.5mm Russian are virtually identical.

In fact, it was the similarity between the 14.5mm Russian and 20mm Vulcan casings that led to my 20mm Vulcan rifle project. Kent Lomont suggested that approach to a 20mm Vulcan rifle, and I later ended up buying a PTRD from him and modifying it:

http://members.aol.com/fiftyguy/ptrd20mm.html

However, I can't recommend this approach. PTRD's (in this country) are too rare to butcher, and too expensive now compared to making a better quality gun from scratch. Or (soon) buying one.

WRT reloading: In my experience, full-length sizing is unnecessary. I don't even neck-size with Vulcan, since it's a single-shot gun. I get five reloads per case before I've seen neck splitting start. Cases are still cheap enough (free for me :) ) that it's not worth it to try to anneal or otherwise push the limits of case life.

Primers are no problem, if you have a bunch of 20mm percussion primers. :) Although a bunch of civilian shooters successfully use .50 primers in reloading 20mm's of various flavors.

WRT higher case capacity for .50 projos: it's just not worth the effort. The US did much experimentation along these lines, with at least two large-capacity .50 cases during WWII (the T1 and T2 cases). These two were generally used to provide a higher-velocity .50 bullet for testing armor. Many years later, the .50 Uniroyal (20mm Vulcan necked directly to .50) was developed for much the same reason, to test helicopter canopies when 14.5mm Russian ammo was unavailable even to the US Govt.

The WWII .60/.50 was the .60 Cal case necked to .50 BMG, but was intended to see combat (higher velocities for air fighting to improve hit probabilities). It too suffered from terrible bore erosion problems. And there was another WWII experiment, the .50 Hi-Velocity, made by necking down 20mm Hispano to .50 BMG. Later experiments with the 20mm/15mm showed the .60 Cal case was more efficient at launching .60 cal projos than the 20mm Hispano case was, so one can only assume the .50 Hi-Vel was even less efficient.

The .50 Vickers Hi-Velocity saw use in water-cooled MG's, and used a substantially-larger-than-.50 BMG case. Offhand I don't know if ballistics were much better, but it used bullets of very similar weight.

There were a slew of other .50 and 13mm cartidges, but they were so similar (or no better) than .50 BMG that I only mention them to indicate their existance.

Going the other way, there was a .50/.60, which was a spotting round for the HAW recoilless rifle project. There was also a 15x120mm Spotter, which was somewhat like a .60 Cal spotter projo in a 20mm Madsen case.

There was also the WWII private-venture 16mm Vega, a .50 BMG necked-up for a unique 16mm HE projo. Unique gun design, too.

The WWII Czech/British BESA was in the same category. The Nazis made their own slightly-different version of the cartridge. The post-WWII French Gevelot 15mm HMG was a similar cartidge. If you don't mind a little downsizing, the 15mm Mauser for the MG151 was still not a lightweight, even in the smaller version for the MG215-15.

The king in this category is the 15.2mm Steyr, for their IWS2000 AMR, but it's dedicated to shooting a flechette at extremely high velocity with incredible results.

The Belgians went through all kinds of permutations somewhat recently for their BRG heavy machinegun. They put 15mm projos in necked-up .50 BMG, 20mm Hispano (necked down, and also with lengthening), and finally in the 14.5mm Russian case. Which ended up as a 15.5mm caliber when they put a rotating band on the projo. Why all the bother, instead of adopting 14.5mm Russian, only they know...

Bottom line: Over the past 75 years, there's been hundreds of new cartridges in the categories your considering. Maybe a fifth of those were successful enough for widespread use, and of those, you could consolidate them into the four or five most common designs. As with commercial small arms, people seem compelled to re-invent the wheel or repeat the failures of those who have gone before them.

If you want a super-flat-shooting cartridge, I suggest developing accurate flechettes or other sabot loads for the .50 BMG. Casings, powder, primers, and guns are very readily obtainable. All the work is then in the projo. Steyr could do it in 15.2mm, no reason it couldn't be done in 12.7mm. Make sure you read everything you can find about SPIW before you start, or you'll again be throwing away hundreds of millions of dollars and decades of US Govt research. I've got a .50 DU flechette round, but it was considered unsuccessful due to accuracy problems. I think you'd have fun making your own version of the SLAP ammo.

BTW, I have most of the above-mentioned rounds in my collection, if somebody *really* needs a photo posted.

-Phil LaBudde

FIFTYGUY
October 14, 2006, 12:49 AM
If ya'll will indulge my third straight post, please forgive my coming to the discussion late:

The 20mm Vulcan was the final result after initial tests with a .60 caliber (14.5mm) didn't work out. The case geometry for both versions is basically the same.

The 20mm Vulcan, as I already mentioned, was the latest version of the standard .60 Cal case necked-up to 20mm. The US Navy adopted something identical but with a longer body length as the "Mk100" series of ammo, used in only two types of guns in Naval aircraft no longer in US service.

The .60 Cal was originally developed for a pre-WWII Us anti-tank rifle project. The similarities to 14.5mm Russian are eery. .60 Cal dimensions evolved slightly during WWII, as it was abandoned for rifle use and relegated to aircraft HMG duty. Six million rounds were made, but no cartridges or guns were ever adopted standard nor ever saw combat. The .60 cal was made by increasing each dimension of the .50 BMG by 20%. Chinn's Vol V erroneously claims the .60 Cal was made from the latest .276 Pedersen case (casual examination of any .276 Pedersen ammo will show this to be untrue). *

The .50 BMG, in its final, adopted versions, was made by scaling up the .30-06 cartidge.

The .30-06 cartridge evolved as the final version of a long line of substantial improvements on the old .30-40 Krag cartridge.

The .30-40 Krag's origins are lost in the mists of history. Perhaps it was drawn up from scratch.

So in a weird way, the current cartidge arming America's most modern, most expensive fighter planes (F-22 Raptors) owes its heritage to the ancient .30-40 Krag!

-Phil
*In any event, .276 Pedersen probably came from the 6mm Navy, which came from their .236 Rimless, from the .236 Rimmed, which was developed at first with .30-06 cases, so we end up in the same place anyhow...

Ross
November 8, 2006, 03:02 AM
Just for reference, the 67 pound Rock Crusher press has a stroke of 7" and a standard die station of 2". The ram diameter is 40mm. It is still available from Dangerous Dave in Nevada, not the new OWS at Navy Arms.
The Soviet 23x115 is just one of the die sets he offers.
Cheers from Darkest California,
Ross

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