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Wildcat for beginner?

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Old 08-07-2013, 05:12 PM
Junior Member
Join Date: Jan 2012
Posts: 22
Wildcat for beginner?

I am wanting to have a rifle built something in the 6.5 class in a short action and I don't need but do want something different. I like the 6.5 wssm don't know why it is just cool, I am not set on anything though. My question is for someone who has never reloaded anything and knows nothing about it is a wildcat a bad idea?
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Old 08-07-2013, 05:23 PM
Silver Member
Join Date: Nov 2012
Posts: 148
Re: Wildcat for beginner?

Not a bad idea at all. You will have to learn the loading process anyway. I would start with whatever cartridge tickles your fancy in an Ackley Improved version.
Then you can fireform brass by shooting factory loads. Saves barrel wear and you can hunt game from the first day.
Start out slow and ask a ton of questions. Get a good reloading manual and have some fun.
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Old 08-07-2013, 06:55 PM
Gold Member
Join Date: Jul 2011
Location: Near Napoleon,MI
Posts: 997
Re: Wildcat for beginner?

Its a double edged sword. Yes you will learn, but you might question the point of it. Generally, to know why one would want a wildcat, you need to have experience with a "regular" cartridge first. Many wildcat cartridges will wear out barrels faster than standard cartridges. In the case of a 6.5x284 (and probably a 6.5WSSM) that might only be 800-1500 rounds total. Along the way the throat dimension will be changing and your seating depth will have to decrease to keep up or there will be drastic effects on grouping. YOU will have to be staying on top of all those changing variables with probably little hand holding from outside.

For someone not familiar with fireforming, reloading, working up an optimized load, while sparing barrel life, this can be a very frustrating experience. On the other hand, once you are familiar with the reloading process and have a workflow to "find" optimized loads efficiently and understand that a wildcat is like a dragster (high performance, short life, high maintenance), it is a more rational point to go that route. Many people will take a total hosing on their wildcat project in the cost of the barrel, brass, dies and finally giving it away when it provides no satisfaction.

The ideal situation is that you have both experience, and plan to do challenging shooting (600 yards + on a regular basis) where you could actually see the benefit of the wildcat. If you are just shooting at 100 yards on paper, I think you will tire of the "all work and no reward" very quickly.
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Old 08-07-2013, 07:54 PM
Platinum Member
Join Date: Jan 2011
Location: Spokane, WA
Posts: 2,445
Re: Wildcat for beginner?

How one proceeds depends a bit on whether you're starting with pieces of the puzzle, or from scratch. Have you got an action you want to use? From scratch I look at it from the bullet end. Is there a bullet I want to use? Then the case how hard do you wish to drive that bullet? Trouble with that approach is either the rifle doesn't shoot that bullet, or the market makes it unavailable. I put together a really nice .358 AI magnum, with a twist to shoot 275 grain Barnes Original, they came out with the X-bullet and in an odd caliber with limited bullet selection it never came together in a way that I hoped. Most bullets in .35 were put together for the Whelen.
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Old 08-07-2013, 08:15 PM
Silver Member
Join Date: Jan 2012
Location: Carlsbad, NM
Posts: 155
Re: Wildcat for beginner?

I'm a stark, raving beginner (since spring of this year), and one of the three cartridges I load for is the 6XC. Due to lack of brass from Norma, I've gone with Lapua .22-250 brass, and reformed it. My smith had a competition reamer, too (and it's for an F-Class rifle) so I have to neck turn as well.

It's been an adventure so far, but nothing has been really "difficult." Just a lot to take in at once.

Of course, I'm also an engineer (like lots on here) so fiddling with stuff is something I enjoy.
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Old 08-07-2013, 08:20 PM
Silver Member
Join Date: Mar 2011
Location: Tennessee
Posts: 220
Re: Wildcat for beginner?

Get a 260 and reload for it. Then once you get use to reloading and finding the best load it likes, shoot it for a while then you can have the barrel reamed for 260 Ackley.
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Old 08-08-2013, 04:47 PM
Platinum Member
Join Date: Jan 2008
Posts: 1,069
Re: Wildcat for beginner?

Get you a Savage action rifle with an acc-trigger and most any caliber you want. Then when you shoot the barrel out you can get a new one cheaper already made up and ready to go and you can change it yourself and save plenty of $$$.

I also suggest if you want a wildcat get a Ackley Improved version. The 260 Rem Ackley Improved would be a good 6.5 one. You can shoot factory ammo and it is accurate to fire form your cases and break in the barrel as well as hunt with it from the git go. Then learn how to reload for it.
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