There has been a heated debate about Richard Franklins 300 Varminter(WSM) rifles. Because of the way the debate was heading or being taken by some, I wanted to contact Richard and explain to him exactly what was going on and my thoughts and concerns about his rifles.
I stated that I felt in his rifles, built specifically to handle these high pressure loads, I saw nothing wrong with what he was doing in any way. I did however mention that the possibility for these loads to find their way into a factory 300 WSM
concerned me greatly.
Richard was very kind to reply to me quickly and every time I e-mailed him and offered alot of information. He said that his loads are very hot loads and special chambering must be used such as very min spec but more importantly a minus zero headspaced chamber. He explained that the cases must actually have a slight crush fit in the chamber and that the very stout receiver prevents any real case stretching.
I asked him about case life and he said it was very short at these max pressures in his rifles.
In a Rem 700 rifle, if your getting 3800 fps, your pushing things WAY to hard.
He even offered to send me a once fired case so I could inspect it first hand. I said that would be great.
Yesterday the fired case arrived and I checked it over. There was NO sign of any case head seperation risk of any kind, a real testiment of the strength and rigidity of the custom receivers used for these rifles.
I popped the primer out and inspected the primer pocket. There was gas smoke on the inside walls of the primer pocket which stopped roughly 20 thou from the mouth of the primer pocket. The primer was flattened noticably with a very slight amount of cratering around the firing pin tip, not bad at all. The flattened primer is most certainly the reason there was no gas leakage.
I then seated another primer and it was noticably loose. In a Rem 700 rifle I would have said the primer pocket was spoiled but in these very strong rifles that will limit case stretching, I can see how he is getting another firing on the case. I have used some cases with primer pockets this loose with no gas leakage but this generally occured after 3-4 firings, not on the first firing.
Still, Richard stated that the third firing is the end for these cases and loads. Personally, I would be a bit nervous on the third firing but I take Richard at his word that there is no noticable gas leakage.
Again, in Richards rifles I find nothing wrong with what he is doing. He is loading the 300 WSM to VERY high pressures and he will flat out admit that freely and also comment that it would be VERY dangerous to use these loads in anything other then a rifle SPECIFICALLY designed to shoot these loads.
So to recap the discussion, yes, accuracy is very good, yes terminal performance is impressive out to 1/2 mile or so. But in no way are these anything but extremely high pressure loads. There is no long case life, none at all. Its simply a sacrifice for high performance.
I would like to thank Richard for the information and taking the time to talk with me about his 300 Varminter projects. He was more then honest about its performance and challanges.
He also CLEARLY stated that he does not feel this is a project for anyone but only the most expeirenced handloaders who have the ability to detect and read pressure signs accurately and not in any way for the novice shooter or handloader.
All this right from the man, no opinion, just the information he offered me from his own mouth and information I got from the once fired case he already sent me. I did not post this to start a pissin match in any way. In fact, if Len wants to lock this post right after I post it thats 100% fine with me. I just wanted to offer the information that one rifle builder got from another rifle builder in a very respectful and appreciative manner.
Richard knows what he is doing, he knows how to build a rifle to safely handle these loads for a limited amount of firings. He also knows and explains the extreme limitations of the 300 WSM and how extreme care and experience must be used and had to get the most out of his rifles safely. And also know when its time to dump the cases and not try to get just one more firing out of the cases.
Again. There has been alot of "OPINION" posted about this interesting rifle platform. Just wanted to contact the man directly and have a conversation about his project and get the information directly from him. Not a second or third or forth hand source that is overly excited and possibly a bit overzelous about an upcoming rifle to see clearly enough to explain the limits of such a project.
Richard was nothing but kind and professional and I in no way want to disrespect him and again will state that in his rifles, the ammo is totally safe if you use it as its designed to be used, with limited firings per case.
So if Len wants to lock this, so be it, it was not intended with any disrespect to anyone on or off this board, just information obtained from Richard about the 300 Varminter.