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Barrel Break-in, Fireforming and Load Development?

 
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  #1  
Old 03-06-2011, 10:28 AM
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Barrel Break-in, Fireforming and Load Development?

OK, like lots of folks, I have a fulltime job and a family so I dont spend every weekend at the range.

I have a new .243 AI built on a Savage action and Shilen Select Match barrel that I need to break-in, fireform brass and develop loads for.

My questions are:

#1. Should I just break-in and fireform brass on the first range trip and then develop loads on the fireformed brass the second trip to the range? I am not sure it makes sense to develop loads while breaking in a barrel and fireforming brass.

#2. How would you pick a load to fireform brass? I was thinking about picking a powder and bullet combination (107 SMK/H4350) I intend to build loads on and then just load them up 1 or 2 grains under max. I don't want to load up 50 or 100 rounds only to find out I am over pressure. Also, I do not have a portable reloading setup yet so loading at the range is not in the cards right now.

Thanks for the help!
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Old 03-06-2011, 01:15 PM
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Re: Barrel Break-in, Fireforming and Load Development?

1. Break in barrel first and for most. You can fireform brass while you do this obviously.

2. Load development with formed brass. Does no good to develope a load until you have formed brass and barrel broke in. You do not need to put 100 rounds down the barrel. Just a standard barrel break in will work.

3. Upper level load for a standard 243 Winchester works best. Make sure your chamber has a slight crush fit to the virgin brass when chambered as it should if chambered properly. Do not use any "FIREFORMING" loads, just a standard load using a relatively slower burning powder for the 243 Win. There are thousands of them that will work. No need to seat bullets into the lands if the barrel is set up properly, that does not work well anyway.

Just curious why you chose an improved chambering. Seems that you may be a bit new to the wildcat thing. I hope this is for a big game hunting rifle. If its a varmint rifle, you will get really tired of forming brass for a high volume rifle.
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Old 03-06-2011, 04:41 PM
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Re: Barrel Break-in, Fireforming and Load Development?

Mr. Allen, Thank you for your reply. I have many rifles in standard chamberings that I have developed loads for over the years. I thought it was finally time to spread my wings and try a non-standard offering. I thought an improved cartridge might be the best way to get my feet wet versus a true wildcat that meant case forming or something even more complex. As we now have a 1000 yard range close to my house (Best of the west - Central Texas) I figured it might as well be a round that was capable of reaching out that far, but didn't want to spend an arm and a leg on components or beat my shoulder to death. So I chose the .243AI for better or worse. I still have plans on a certain magnum offering in the future.

My varmint gun is a .22-250 and .223.

Here is a link to the .243:
First Long Range Rifle Complete


Quote:
Originally Posted by Fiftydriver View Post
1. Break in barrel first and for most. You can fireform brass while you do this obviously.

2. Load development with formed brass. Does no good to develope a load until you have formed brass and barrel broke in. You do not need to put 100 rounds down the barrel. Just a standard barrel break in will work.

3. Upper level load for a standard 243 Winchester works best. Make sure your chamber has a slight crush fit to the virgin brass when chambered as it should if chambered properly. Do not use any "FIREFORMING" loads, just a standard load using a relatively slower burning powder for the 243 Win. There are thousands of them that will work. No need to seat bullets into the lands if the barrel is set up properly, that does not work well anyway.

Just curious why you chose an improved chambering. Seems that you may be a bit new to the wildcat thing. I hope this is for a big game hunting rifle. If its a varmint rifle, you will get really tired of forming brass for a high volume rifle.
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Old 03-06-2011, 07:49 PM
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Re: Barrel Break-in, Fireforming and Load Development?

I guess I have a little different approach to things. After having heard and read much about the barrel break in thing, I've concluded that for myself, I'll do somewhat of a modified break in. I would start out by making sure the barrel was very clean without oil or detritus from boring in it. I would then clean very well with a good copper remover after each range session of up to 15 to 20 shots until about 100 rounds had gone through it after which I would be a bit less compulsive.

I generally shoot groups of three. Depending on the cartridge, I'll start just a little above the minimum listed load (in a 243 AI that would probably be 0.5 grains above the listed starting load) and make up labeled baggies with 3 cartridges each in them going up in 1 grain increments until approaching the maximum load and then in 0.5 gr. increments.

I WOULD fireform the brass during load workup and barrel break in. It's true there might be a little difference with fireformed brass but you will at least have a better idea of the range of powder charges/bullets that warrant further testing.
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Old 03-07-2011, 11:15 AM
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Re: Barrel Break-in, Fireforming and Load Development?

Quote:
Originally Posted by Grumulkin View Post
I WOULD fireform the brass during load workup and barrel break in. It's true there might be a little difference with fireformed brass but you will at least have a better idea of the range of powder charges/bullets that warrant further testing.
My concern with this process is that I would have cases with varying amounts of capacity after fireforming. Doesnt seem like that would be ideal for developing subsequent loads. I could be wrong. I'd love to hear other opinions.

I'd alo like to know how many cases you would nfireform to begin with. I had thoiught about fireforming a100 so as to have a good number of cases to work with.
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  #6  
Old 03-07-2011, 02:05 PM
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Re: Barrel Break-in, Fireforming and Load Development?

This is a pretty easy answer actually----just fill each case 3/4 with bullseye and top with some cotton to keep the powder in. fire 5 or 6 at a time then cool the tube with water, towels from the ice chest, compressed air can turned upside down then do more. I clean about every 50 rounds or so with just a wet patch and a few trips down the bore with a wet brush then dry patch out.

On competition rifles where I will be doing thousands of rounds I have a spare scrap tube threaded and chambered. Most manufactures have these on hand and it makes it easy for volume forming.
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Old 03-07-2011, 02:22 PM
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Re: Barrel Break-in, Fireforming and Load Development?

Thanks Boss.

I am guessing this is too loud to do in the garage and needs to be done at the range? If I'm going to the range, I am sure gonna send some lead downrange.



Quote:
Originally Posted by Boss Hoss View Post
This is a pretty easy answer actually----just fill each case 3/4 with bullseye and top with some cotton to keep the powder in. fire 5 or 6 at a time then cool the tube with water, towels from the ice chest, compressed air can turned upside down then do more. I clean about every 50 rounds or so with just a wet patch and a few trips down the bore with a wet brush then dry patch out.

On competition rifles where I will be doing thousands of rounds I have a spare scrap tube threaded and chambered. Most manufactures have these on hand and it makes it easy for volume forming.
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