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Fire forming ?

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Old 03-15-2013, 04:01 PM
Bronze Member
Join Date: Apr 2012
Posts: 53
Fire forming ?

I am putting a 6.5 WSM barrel on a savage action and will neck down .270WSM brass. This round is known to have very short barrel life so my question is would it be better to start from round #1 with fresh brass and the components ( bullets, powder, etc) that I plan to use in the rifle or down load cheap bullets to break in the tube and form brass. I'm worried that if I choose to run some run some light loads down the tube without getting any data I will be wasting barrel life. If anyone has a procedure that you use to get a hot round like this in formed brass and a good long range load I would love to hear it. I plan on doing a ladder test,but will that give me good data if brass is not formed?
Thanks Grif
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Old 03-15-2013, 04:09 PM
Platinum Member
Join Date: Jan 2013
Location: Meridian, Idaho
Posts: 1,294
Re: Fire forming ?

Sorry to not answer your question, wondering where you got the barrel and which action you are using?
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Old 03-15-2013, 04:15 PM
Bronze Member
Join Date: Apr 2012
Posts: 53
Re: Fire forming ?

using a model 11 action that has a .270 WSM barrel on it at the moment. Don't have a 6.5 barrel yet.
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Old 03-15-2013, 10:15 PM
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Join Date: Jan 2004
Location: Blackfoot, Idaho
Posts: 8,090
Re: Fire forming ?

I have suffered long and hard from barrel burn out. The remorse lingers longer than one would think.

In as much as barrel life decreases with the number of bullets down the bore the idea would be to minimize the number of shots not shot at game, if its a hunting rig. If its a competition rig you do what's. necessary to win with little or no regard for barrel life.

I have to form each case used in the rig. Cases last maybe 6 firings. I avoid down loading a 270 Allen Mag to 270 WSM performance. Why have a Lamborghini with a Briggs & Stratton engine?

The best option, though most expensive, would be to have some one, or even yourself in another dummy barreled action chambered with the same reamed used on your chamber.

The more practical approach would be to do initial fire forming without passing bullets down the bore. Using a fast powder such as Unique and cream of wheat or corn meal on top of the filler, to the base of the neck. A single square, or less, of TP (unused of course) to plug the neck.

Be careful with the powder and charge! Very high pressures are achievable!

Note also that the barrel can become too heated. Pacing forming shots is prudent.e

This method will result in a "nearly" fully fire formed case. The shoulder may not be 'perfectly' formed but is ready for a full tilt load for sight-in, load development and drop chart development and hunting.

I have found, as have others, that when the smith does his job properly, there is very little or no difference (acceptable for me and i'm particular) in performance between the first post fire form load and subsequent shots.
I may be the slowest guy on the mountain . . . . but . . . . I'm on the mountain!
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Old 03-15-2013, 11:50 PM
Bronze Member
Join Date: Apr 2012
Posts: 53
Re: Fire forming ?

Thanks Roy,
I think the cream of wheat method will fit the bill this time. Is there a rule of thumb on charge weight for this method?
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Old 03-16-2013, 08:22 AM
Gold Member
Join Date: Sep 2005
Location: Central AZ
Posts: 911
Re: Fire forming ?

About 5-8 grains of Unique (or any other fast pistol or shotgun powder) will do the trick. One word of caution: If your barrel has a muzzlebrake, be sure to remove it when using TP or cotton to plug the neck of the brass you are fireforming.
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