Well, can not offer alot of information right now but wanted to give you guys the inside scoup on a project I have been working on, right in the beginning stages right now of R&D but plan to be using a couple test Raptors this fall to prove the design so I am hoping by this summer to be releasing them to the public.
The idea is to produce a wildcat that will take full advantage of the new Raptor receiver. The Raptor is designed to be long and strong but still fit into a Rem 700 class stock with minor internal inletting changes.
As such, the Raptor will swallow up the likes of a 416 Rigby or 378 Wby with no problem at all. My 7mm Allen Magnum, 300 Allen Xpress and 338 Allen Xpress are already available in the Raptor as are the 300 RUM, 338 Edge and my 338 Ultra Maxx.
Because of the seating length available using the Seekins 3.990" mag box system(actually around 3.920" allowable ammo length), There was alot of potential left to be had.
I have always wanted the Raptor to be the baddest bird in its class so I decided to develope to new wildcats. I have always been impressed with the 338 Excaliber from A-Square. This case was even tested when I was designing my Allen Magnum and Allen Xpress chamberings in 7mm, 30, 338 and 375 cal but the cost of the A-Square brass was far to much, averaging around $6-$8 each depending on where you found it and even if you could find it.
I also found that some lots of brass were quite weak and first shots were opening primer pockets with relatively comfortable load. In fact velocities were slightly higher then my wildcats based on the Lapua parent case but not by enough to justify the added cost. As such, the Excaliber case design was mothballed.
Recently Jamison International started making the 338 Excaliber cases. While not cheap at $3.95 each, they are much more acceptably priced compared to the A-Square brass and I was getting reports of much better strength in the Jamison cases.
I ordered some in and tested them in my original test barrel and found out that indeed the brass was stronger but I then ran into another problem, sticky extraction. The original Excaliber design has VERY little body taper and it was designed to be loaded to around 60,000 to 62,000 psi. The problem is when you run pressures to the +65,000 psi range, extraction got quite sticky and after a few firings, far to sticky to be acceptable.
As such, I set down and redesigned my reamer prints. I actually reduced the shoulder diameter of the original Excaliber slightly, only by two thou but increased the base diameter slightly. This increased case body taper from just over 6 thou per inch for the parent case to around 9.5 thou per inch body taper which is standard for my APS wildcat case designs.
The problem with this is that it would do very little to increase case capacity over the parent case. Not a huge deal. Case capacity wise its still quite large. To measure case capacity of my 338 AX, 338 Excaliber and 338 Allen Magnum, I used Hodgdon BL-C(2) powder, filled the cases full to the case mouth and find the case capacity for each.
The 338 Allen Xpress holds on average 131.3 gr of this fine ball powder filled to the case mouth. The 338 Allen Magnum holds 182.2 gr also filled to the case mouth.
The parent 338 Excaliber case holds 145.3 grains filled to the case mouth. The original wildcat cases formed off this brass held 148.1 grains. Sizable increase over the 338 Allen Xpress but I wanted more to justify the new wildcat over the parent case.
As such, I shortened the neck on the 338 Excaliber to the same length as the 300 Allen Xpress neck length which is roughly 0.300" in length. Plenty for modern chamberings and has proven great in the 300 AX even with heavy bullets.
This change would lengthen the case body length significantly with the sharper shoulder angle of the APS wildcat designs. I am predicting that when the new brass is formed, we will be dealing with a case capacity in the 153 to 155 gr range. Just by chance, that happens to be exactly 1/2 way between the 338 Allen Xpress and 338 Allen Magnum in usible case capacity.
Looking at actual powder charges for say a 300 gr SMK, the 338 AX will average around 98 to 100 grains under this bullet depending on throat length and powder used.
The 338 Allen Magnum will use a powder charge in the 142-145 gr range, again depending on throat length and bore specs.
I am expecting the new wildcat to use roughly 120 to 123 grains of Retumbo under the 300 gr SMK.
Velocity expectations....... It would be nice to expect to split the difference between the 338 AX and 338 AM. That would result in a 300 gr SMK loaded to 3200 fps in a 30" barrel length. Experience tells me this will not happen, mainly because the 338 Lapua case is so over built it handles much more chamber pressure then any of the Jamison brass.
That said, I have been quite impressed with the Jamison 338 Lapua brass as well as my 338 Allen Magnum brass made by Jamison. Not nearly as strong as Lapua brand brass but its plenty strong enough to handle any reasonable top end pressure loads.
Because of this, my velocity goals for the new wildcat are set in the 3125 to 3150 fps range with 300 gr SMK in a 30" barrel length and do so with respectable case life. You hear stories of this level of performance in the likes of the 338-378, 338 Kahn and 338-416 Rigby but in every case I have push hard on I have found out brass life is limited to 1 or 2 max firings per case. That is not acceptable. I am looking to add 10 grains capacity to the big Wby or Rigby case and match this velocity with very usible brass life in the 5-6 firings per case minimum requirement.
There will also be a second wildcat based off this case right away. It will be a 30 cal version. In the early days of my APS wildcats, when I designed my 338 Allen Magnum, I had a 300 Allen Magnum reamer print made up at the same time based on the exact same 408 CT case just necked down to 30 cal. This proved just to large in case capacity for the 30 cal bore size, even with custom 290 gr ULD RBBT bullets. Lighter bullets could handle the velocity but just could not offer enough resistance for consistant powder burns and velocities.
As such, the 300 Allen Xpress is the largest 30 caliber magnum in my APS wildcat line. That will soon change. I will be using this same case design not only at 338 caliber but also necked down to 30 cal. My 300 Allen Xpress will get you easily into the 3400 fps range with a 200 gr Accubond with a conventional barrel length. With a 30" pipe on my Raptor LRSS rifles, you can get very close to or right at 3500 fps with the 300 Allen Xpress shooting the 200 gr Accubond.
Not only am I hoping for the ability to drive the 200 gr Accubond to +3600 fps, I am also hoping to drive the 240 gr SMK to a legit +3300 fps velocity range.
Again, in the 300 Allen Xpress, its easy to top 3200 fps with the 240 gr SMK in my Raptor LRSS rifles. On game performance with this relatively blunt nose bullet has largely been determined by the velocity it was driven to. In my experience, driven to conventional velocities out of conventional magnums such as the 300 RUM at around 3000 fps, it really looses its terminal performance much over 800 yards at that launch velocity.
A bit of increase in velocity really seems to turn this bullet into a different critter. I personally believe this is because of the relatively blunt ogive design of the bullet as it impacts game. Soft tissue is forced outward much more aggressively the faster this bullet is driven. I have witnessed pronghorns being disembouled(sp?) with a solid, broadside impact to the chest cavity at nearly 800 yards with this bullet out of my 300 Allen Xpress loaded to 3220 fps. The tissue displacement was so extreme that the belly of the pronghorn buck simply split completely open even though the impact landed just hehind the bucks shoulder.
Now pronghorns are quite thin skinned but it does go to show you the hydrostatic shock performance of this bullet. Some will say this happens because the bullet explodes, my experience has shown me exactly the opposite and the 240 gr SMK has fully penetrated every big game animal I put one into no matter if its at 75 yards or 1000 yards. Expansion has not been huge but it does expand plenty well enough.
Compared to the 300 RUM which I have seen some very poor results with this bullet at long range, the extra +200 fps really seem to put this bullet into a different performance class. With the new wildcat, I am hoping to see +150 fps added to even what the 300 Allen Xpress will produce.
If you run the numbers of a 240 gr SMK(.720 bc) loaded to 3350 fps and compare that to a 300 gr SMK loaded to 3000 fps (.820 bc), it become clear what the old, unsexy 240 gr SMK can do. Here are some numbers with the 300 gr SMK loaded to 3000 fps and the 240 gr SMK loaded to 3350 fps. Please realize that there are only a few 338 caliber magnums that will produce an honest 3000 fps with the 300 gr SMK, the conventional 338 Lapua and 338 Edge will get you to that 2865 to 2885 fps range most of the time in a 30" barrel length so we are talking about the current best of the best 338s compared to the expected performance numbers of the new APS 30 caliber magnum. Here are the numbers, both with 100 yard zeros and using same environmental conditions.
300 gr SMK loaded to 3000 fps with .820 bc
800.......15 .....................2.75.....................2232 ................3319
Max Supersonic velocity range.......2525 yards
240 gr SMK loaded to 3350 fps with .720 bc
Max Supersonic velocity range.......2475 yards
Personally, my standard for the SMK for use on big game hunting is to retain a minimum of 1700 fps of retained velocity to insure proper adequate bullet expansion on game. This is not set in stone, just a number I use personally to limit my max range for big game hunting with this bullet design with 30 and 338 caliber SMK bullets.
With this standard, the 338, 300 gr SMK has a range limit for big game of roughly 1450 yards at my elevation when used out of my Raptor LRSS chambered in 338 Allen Xpress and loaded to a 3000 fps muzzle velocity.
The new 30 cal wildcat with the 240 gr SMK loaded to 3350 fps will push this velocity to 1570 yards.
So comparing the two head to head, they are extremely similiar, the 300 will shoot flatter, the 338 will still hit slightly harder for sure but how many of us hunt elk all the time. Most of our target game will be pronghorns and deer with the occasional elk thrown in there. One major benefit is recoil reduction. It will be significantly less then the 300 gr SMK loaded to 3000 fps. Now many will say, how can this be with the added velocity it should be about the same. That is true on paper but when you factor in the higher muzzle pressure and the increased effectiveness of the muzzle brakes performance with the smaller 30 cal version, it will offer much less felt recoil and still give hunters a big boost in performance over conventional magnums without the need to go to the really big receivers and use the 408 CT class chamberings.
So what to make these new wildcats........ If these two work out there will also be a 375 cal version designed on the same case specs, just necked up. I thought over many possible names and decided that since these were designed to be housed in my Raptor LRSS and Raptor Stalker rifles, the name was pretty clear, 300 Raptor and 338 Raptor. These are the first Allen Precision Wildcats not to wear my last name but they do wear the designation of the Raptor receiver which when combined with these chamberings, I believe will be a very special thing.
Time will tell, as I mentioned, waiting for test componants to arrive anytime and my goal is to take a Raptor LRSS in 338 Raptor and a Raptor Stalker in 300 Raptor with me to Oklahoma as well a as a mule deer/whitetail deer hunt I just booked in Sout Dakota for field testing, if I get drawn for the mule deer tag.
Full performance reports will be out hopefully by early to mid summer and as always, you will get the good the bad and the ugly. If these new wildcats stand up to my expectations, I will release them to the public at that time and you on LRH.com will be the first to know.
These new chamberings will hopefully give those that would like to get up close to the 408 CT based wildcats performance but do not want to deal with a large, heavy rifle. Remember the Raptor Stalker can be built into a 10 lb class rifle ready to hunt!!! Thats pretty extreme performance out of that class of rifle, especially when you consider the option for a repeating detachable magazine box system!!!
Much more to come. I should also be getting some test results out soon about the 458 Allen Magnum and 510 Allen Maximum. These two are really large boomers based on the 50 BMG parent case so that is always fun to work with!!!
Stay tuned. If your interested, shoot me an e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org
and I will keep you updated. No orders please. Will not accept any orders until these wildcats prove themselves up to my standards but I see no reason why they will not do what I expect them to. very excited!!