Experimental Reloading!!


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moosehunt
March 10, 2008, 02:13 AM
Kabloom!!! "Well, it went off." "Yeah it did! And look here, the gun's still in one piece!" "How'd it feel?" "Good! Look, the case comes out and I don't see any preasure signs!"

I suppose I'd best start at the front. I was out in the yard laboring for my squaw when, luckily, a pick-up pulled up. I was in need of relief. I didn't know the guy, but recognized him as a neighbor that lives down the road who owns hounds and hunts lions--something I've been hankering to try. Well, we introduce ourselves and he comments that he's heard through the grape vine that I have Contender barrel I want to get rid of, and just maybeso he might be the outlet. Now this Contender barrel is a way out wildcat that I ended up with due to some strange circumstance I won't go into here. It's pretty useless to me because I have no Contender frame, and prospects of getting one are slim, by choice. I told him yep, I got a barrel. It's a 6.5x.38-55 Imp. "A what? Uh, how do you get shells? Have you got dies?" Nope, says I. No dies, no idea of a load. It's brand new, never been fired. Want to try it? He says he's got no hint how to come up with shells. I allowed that I had some ideas, and I'd have already tried 'em if I had a frame. He says he's game and he's got a frame. What's the plan? Well, I think we can take a .30-30 case and run it in a 6.5x55 die I have to get the neck down. The .30-30 case is pretty much the same as a .38-55 case, at least at the head. We don't need to worry about headspace because it headspaces on the rim. Well, some trusty Imperial Sizing Wax, and bingo, we have a 6.5 necked case. Now for a load. Well, I've got some 120 gr 6.5 bullets. Looks like 45 gr or so of IMR 4320 is good for that bullet in the 6.5x55, so how about we try about 40 grains? Sounds good! Well, you got the next part of the story up front. I even hit the rock I was shooting at with no sights (it's drilled/tapped, but we weren't in to scoping it just yet). Now, I gotta say, the fire formed case is pretty cool looking. Back to the bench to try some more. The fired case will fit in the chamber if it's exactly lined up how it came out, but we really need to come up with a way to body size it a bit, cause a Contender doesn't have any leverage, like a bolt action. We got the neck part pretty well covered, though there is a little problem with the fire formed case. The shoulder is so steep that the die hits the outside of the shoulder before it sizes the hole neck, but nothing we can't deal with. I did some size table looking and saw where a .40 S&W carbide sizer ought to tune our case up just sooper. Measuring the fired case, I see where it's only got about .003 taper. That's where we are now, checking with buddies to find a .40 S&W to borrow. We loaded up a couple more originals and they work fine. I love it when a plan comes together! If the .40 S&W die works, I reckon I'll give him the barrel, he'll get a 6.5x55 die and a .40 S&W die and go to developing loads and that will be the end of the story for me. I think this thing will sparkle with 100 gr or even 90 gr bullets. Ought to be a fine Pronghorn and deer gun! And also, now I'm friends with a guy with hounds who hunts lions! This has been fun!!!

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Dave R
March 11, 2008, 02:09 AM
What an outstanding piece of yankee engineering! I love a good wildcat story.

Be sure and report when he takes a lion with it...

ants
March 11, 2008, 03:22 AM
Thank you, moose. Be sure to drop another note when the next adventure introduces itself. If it wasn't for unexpected adventures, we would surely die of boredom.

NavyLCDR
March 11, 2008, 12:38 PM
Or just send the fire formed case to LEE Precision and let them make you a die set. But that is way cool! I had a lot of fun with 8 mm Lebel, but at least there are dies for that.

A lot of folks will say don't do it without published data, but hey, where would we be without fine folks like you guys! What a great story!

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