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6.5-06 AI Fireforming

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Old 02-08-2009, 08:04 PM
Junior Member
Join Date: Apr 2007
Location: Montana
Posts: 25
Re: 6.5-06 AI Fireforming

I'm using 270 win brass. I started fireforming yesterday with 51 grains of IMR 4350. The load worked well without pressure but some cases still have round shoulders. On the average the velocity was 3075 with the 140 Amax. Thinking of starting with H1000 for load development shooting the 140 Bergers. Any help would be greatly appreciated. Thanks to all.
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Old 02-10-2009, 03:06 PM
Silver Member
Join Date: Nov 2008
Location: Lincoln, NE
Posts: 185
Re: 6.5-06 AI Fireforming

I found out that with my 6.5-06AI that I had way better luck using a moderate charge of a faster powder, and seating the bullets into the lands. I first tried using a starting load of RL22 in 25-06 brass and got good velocity, but cases weren't forming correctly. I lost quite a few due to splitting (>10%) and wasn't really plesaed. Then I switched to a lighter load of H4895 with bullets in the lands and cut the case losses in half (but still around 5% or a little more). Switching to 270 brass cured that. Now I see around 1-2% losses, and less case shrinkage.

The lack of a sharp shoulder would suggest that you aren't fully forming the case with this load, and velocity of >3K with a fireforming load is probably a little warm. My best luck in this caliber has been with fireforming loads in the 2500-2700 fps range. Case life is better, and way fewer losses. Seating bullets on FF loads resulted in much more consistent case forming for me; you might give it a try. I've actually harvested several head of game at moderate ranges with my FF loads.

I've tried H1000, 4350, 4831, and RL22 with 140s in mine. So far, the RL22 and 140 gr AMAXs have shot the best, with good results on game.

Have fun with yours!

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Old 08-28-2009, 05:58 PM
Platinum Member
Join Date: Feb 2008
Location: Sacramento, CA
Posts: 1,009
Re: 6.5-06 AI Fireforming

Bholtmeyer - how is your 6.5-06 ackley improved? With a 28" tube, what kind of performance are you getting?

i'm thinking of a 6.5-06, improved or not, or maybe a 6.5x55 improved.

Any speculation as to your barrel life??
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Old 08-28-2009, 10:21 PM
Gold Member
Join Date: Dec 2008
Location: Idaho Falls, Idaho
Posts: 538
Re: 6.5-06 AI Fireforming


This is an update from my last post in this thread in February. I've had my 6.5-06 since May and I've learned a little about fireforming my brass that wasn't an issue with my other 2 Ackleys but was with this one.

I decided to use H414 to do my fireforming, due to the fact that it was cheaper and more available as Powder availability became an issue. I searched for 6.5-06 data for h414 and loaded up after having prepped my brass (from .270 Win) and loaded moderate loads to start break in and fireform at the same time.

I learned that the standard data from Hodgdon and was too light. I was experiencing hang fires and delayed ignition. I ended up going 3 grains past book max and using magnum primers to overcome this. Forming has become easy.

I also have a match chamber which makes it necessary to turn necks prior to fireforming and then turn again to clean up the neck/shoulder juncture.

I'm now in the test loading phase, and I'm struggling to find the best powder for this cartridge. I've used H414 and it's very accurate, but this rifle shoots "the faster the better". The trick is getting this done, without the pressure. I'm already at max with H414 with both Bullets I'm working on. Velocity is right at 3000FPS with 140g Sierra Gamekings and 3102FPS with Hornady 129g SSTs.

I'm going to try H4831SC, Hodgdon's Hybrid 100V, Retumbo, and RL-22. I may try IMR7828, H1000, H4350, And US869 (this may be way too slow). I'm shooting 140g bullets though. We'll have to see.

This is an awesome cartridge. I really like it and it has alot of opportunity for longrange application for deer and Antelope.

I'm not sure about Barrel life, but I'm thinking that as much as I'm shooting this, It's last me the rest of my life.

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Old 08-28-2009, 11:55 PM
Platinum Member
Join Date: Feb 2008
Location: Sacramento, CA
Posts: 1,009
Re: 6.5-06 AI Fireforming

Dano, what is your barrel length? It looks like velocity is well above the hodgdon's data for straight 6.5-06 although I don't see a load for H414. I think you'll be better off with slower powders, especially if your barrel is over 24" (typical test barrel length in manuals for 6.5-06).

For a hunting rifle, I like the idea of the 24" barrel even if velocity doesn't out perform book numbers. I've got a couple 26" tubes and those rifles are pretty darn long, and it takes a fair amount of weight in the stock to give a good balance.

My goal with this setup would be an all weather, reasonably light weight setup. Down-turned pistol grip and adjustable or customized cheek piece would be mandatory, with a generous eye relief scope.

With a long action .473 bolt face, I'm looking at 6.5x55 improved, 6.5-06 (&improved), or possibly 6.5x284 norma. Shooters of these calibers, please chime in!
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Old 08-29-2009, 10:47 PM
Gold Member
Join Date: Dec 2008
Location: Idaho Falls, Idaho
Posts: 538
Re: 6.5-06 AI Fireforming

Loaders loft,

You're right there is no load for a 140g bullet for h414, but I guess that I should clarify that I'm fireforming with 120g Speer Hot cor spitzers. Not 140g bullets and there is a load for 120g bullets and h4114.

I have a 26" Stainless Shilen #5 countour bbl, (1-9" Twist). For me it's light, as my other hunting rifles have bull barrels and are all 26", except for my .243 AI.

I know that my velocities are not quite where they need to be. I'm certainly looking at the slower powders. My bullets of choice are 140g Sierra gamekings or 140g Berger VLDs.

I happened to have several pounds of h414, so it seemed logical to give it a try, and using Quick load (my friend has it) I was able to come up with some good loads, but as Quick load had indicated, it had 100% efficency, but was just too fast.

I'm thinking that H4831 or slower would be better.

The rifle is a Remington 700 ADL Deluxe from 1970 that was a Safe Queen. It didn't get out much, so the stock was in good condition for the age. It didn't get carried much. So I had it rebarreled and the action completely blueprinted and trued and the trigger worked. I refinished the nice Walnut stock and did a full action bed. (I just finished the stock work yesterday).

I plan on putting it into a H-S Precision this next year. It's wearing a 6.5-20x50mm Leupold VX-III target scope with target turrets and the Varmit hunters Reticle.

Like I said, It's a heavier than standard, but I love it.

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Old 08-31-2009, 04:30 PM
Gold Member
Join Date: Sep 2005
Location: Central AZ
Posts: 910
Re: 6.5-06 AI Fireforming

I have a 6.5-06 AI that Kirby Allen built for me a couple of years ago. His advice for fireforming brass was to use a light charge of pistol powder: say 10-15 grains of Bullseye or Hurcules, etc., then fill the balance of the case with cornmeal or cream of wheat and top it off with a piece of toiletpaper stuffed in the neck (to keep everything in its place). If the barrel has a brake - remove it, and then pull the trigger and fireform the brass. Sves $$$ and barrel life by not using bullets for the process. I have been using 25-06 brass and necking up. Cases form perfectly. You can use .270 brass, but watch your length as they come a little longer in the neck.

My load is a 130 gr. Accubond over 52.6 grains of H4831SC. Velocity is 3,150 fps out of a 26" Lilja tube w 1-8 twist. Start slow and work up. Good luck.
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