Hi guys. I am sure this has been discussed 1000 times on here but I am wanting more information. I just called Hart again last week and they said it was going to be another 5 months before Paul will be getting around to my rifle. So I have been thinking about changing from 6.5-06 to the 6.5-06AI. I had thought of this originally but I was thinking that the AI with the fire forming was going to be too much for my first custom rig so I moved away from it. however, after reading some of the AI stuff, I feel like I have a better handle on it now and I think I might be ready for it. I bought 200 rounds of Lapua 30-06 brass that I have sized to 6.5-06 and have a bunch of different bullets on hand waiting. I don't have AI dies and I have heard that lead time is long but 6mo may not be that long. I am still confused about the cream of wheat deal and firing a patch instead of a bullet, so Comments on that would be great too. so I guess I figure I have great brass so if I get an AI, I am set for the life of the barrel. fire forming will be practice if I end up using bullets, and the barrel life is going to be much longer. that's good too because this may be the only custom that I ever build. I am hunting with this but have considered doing some competitive shooting at an armature level just for fun. I don't know if I am asking the right questions. what are the other considerations of the AI units and am I forgetting something that is important? what are the drawbacks that I am unaware of?
I run a 6.5-06 AI made by Kirby Allen of Fort Shaw, MT. This rig is my 'practice' rifle which allows me to save the barrels on my other big overbore LR rifles. It was designed as a LR rifle from the start with a semi-beefy barrel contour with a 1 in 8 twist. It does very well shooting the 160 gr. Matrix bullets at 2,950 fps.
Regarding the fire-forming: lots of info on here about that. Use the search feature.
Now that you have necked down your Lapua brass, I would still anneal it before loading it. Working a neck down from .308 to .264 can harden the neck and you want the fire-forming process to be right the first time. Once annealed and primed, dump about 8 to 10 grains of any 'fast' pistol or shotgun powder into the case. Bullseye, Red Dot, Unique all work well. Fill the balance of the case up to the top of the mouth with cornmeal. Place an oversized wad of toilet paper on top and compress down into the neck. That will hold everything in place. Just chamber and fire the 'blank'. You should eject a new AI casing with blown out sides and a shoulder that has been moved forward slightly.
Because paper has fiber in it, you should remove your brake (if you have one) during this firing process. Otherwise, the fibers can hit the baffles with enough force to bend or break them. Experience talking here. I generally clean the barrel every 15 to 20 rounds of fire-forming.
When you say 'oversized wad of toilet paper' don't know exactly what you are talking about? I am just trying to get a mental image and I have several. is this like a ball you roll up and stick in the case neck? how do you press it in?
I guess my description was a little vague. I just tear off a piece about one inch square and then fold it over on itself many times. I then stuff it into the mouth using a piece of 1/4 inch dowel and then press down any corners still sticking up beyond the mouth of the case. A piece of cotton ball works as well. Just something soft to hold everything in place.