1. Do you have any trouble shooting your bolt action as a repeater with the AI, like feeding issues, or VLD rounds too long for mag?
2. This may the dumb question - If I wanted to load Lapua brass, and not form from factory ammo, would I have to have standard 243 dies to load first rounds for forming, and then reload with the AI dies?
3. What are your recomendations for 243 AI dies - (brand, 2 die or 3 die set, comp or not)?
I do reload, but I've mainly done just the basics, haven't tried turning necks yet. I may build a standard .243 just for the simplicity, but I'm intrigued by the AI, and the loaded rounds are just too cool.
Thanks for any input.
As long as the rifle is built correctly, there will be no feeding issue's at all. The 243AI seems to have a bad name out there for feeding smoothly......not the case at all. I have built a ton of them, and run one in tactical comps, and can assure you that it feeds just as smoothly as the standard round. Make sure your smith has the reamer setup to feed from a mag box or detachable magazine and you will be fine with any of the VLD's.
Really a guy should load the FF loads with standard 243 dies...at the very least, use the 243 FL sizer to round the necks, then you can seat them with the AI die backed off a little so the shoulder doesn't contact....but you are best served to use the 243 dies to start, then use the AI dies once the cases are formed.
I use the standard Redding 243AI FL sizer die (non bushing), then a comp seater. Works like a champ and most of my clients use the same setup.
The 243AI will do wonders with the 105-115gr bullets..
Because the Ackley design was to have a "crush" fit with a factory case, I have seen some guys actually push the shoulder area back on virgin cases when running them in a FL 243AI sizing die. This gave them some issues during fireforming. Not a big deal if you pay attention and just run them in far enough to make the necks round and not touch the shoulder angle. I just use the standard 243 die for my FF loads. When I supply dies to my customers, I make up a 3 die set that has a 243 FL sizer, 243AI FL sizer and a 243AI comp seater. This way they can make FF loads and AI loads both.
Travis, now I see where you're coming from. Like you said, that's an "operator" issue and not a cartridge issue. I read your post and just read more into it that what you meant. I just resize most of the neck with my AI dies. Thanks, Brad.
Do not size virgin Lapua brass before fire forming. The chances are 90 to 10 that the Lapua brass will have better concentricity than RCBS, Redding, Hornady or any other standard 7/8 dies. Wilson in-line dies are an exception. We have seen excellent virgin brass that had a concentricity issue introduced by a full length sizing die that would never recover after fire forming. Can't explain what happens in the metallurgy of the brass but clearly it was something that prevented the concentricity from being corrected by future firing & sizings. Simply chamber an unloaded virgin case to insure that your chamber & the brass dimensions are correct. Fire form your brass. After every 4th or 5th firing you may need to body size and bump the shoulder. You mentioned neck turning. If you are using Lapua brass and you do not have a tight neck chamber neck turning will be detrimental in at least a couple of ways. Hope this helps.