300 Raptor, first results....

Discussion in 'Rifles, Bullets, Barrels & Ballistics' started by Fiftydriver, Sep 12, 2011.

  1. Fiftydriver

    Fiftydriver <strong>Official LRH Sponsor</strong>

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    Well, I know many of you have been waiting for some numbers on my new Raptor wildcat family. Its just been a heck of a summer and I have not been able to get the time to get test rifles built and loads developed.

    Well, this weekend I was able to put together my Raptor LRSS in 300 Raptor.

    I had very high expectations for this wildcat. Just to recap, my goals for the 300 and 338 Raptor chamberings was to offer the highest level of performance possible in a conventional sized receiver, namely my Raptor receiver. I was hoping to get 125 to 150 fps more velocity then my 300 Allen Xpress and 338 Allen Xpress wildcats with same barrel lengths and same bullet weights.

    My basis for these goals was that my projections for case capacity for the 338 Raptor wildcat were nearly exactly half way between the 338 AX and 338 AM. My only question was how the Jamsion made 338 Excalibur case would handle chamber pressure. Since the 300 Raptor is also based on this case, I was looking to see 125 to 150 fps over what the 300 AX could produce.

    One reason I decided to start testing with the 300 Raptor over its 338 brother were two fold. 1. This would be the new largest 30 cal magnum in my families of wildcats. 2. I was asked to test a very special new bullet with my new magnum which is always alot of fun. Details of this new bullet will not be included in this report in any detail. That data will come down the road once the company that makes this new bullet decided on a finalized design. All I will say right now is that they are onto a very good bullet design.

    I started the test by simply getting some brass in my hands. With 98.0 gr Retumbo under a 180 gr SP Sierra bullet in 338 Excalibur brass necked down to 30 caliber, 15 cases were formed up for velocity testing. The 300 Raptor is not just a simple improved version of the 300 Pegasus, the shoulder location is relocated significantly farther forward which siginificantly increases case capacity over the parent case.

    The case design is the same as all the other APS wildcats with same shoulder angle, similiar neck lenth of around 0.300" in length and as min body taper as is possible with good extraction with these large surface area case designs.

    Once I had the brass formed I processed them by FL sizing, repriming, chamfering case mouths and we were ready to see what this new round would do.

    I decided to see what Retumbo would do with this new bullet design which has a 230 grain weight. I started at 104.0 gr with an OAL of 4.100". Here are the velocity results:

    104.0 gr.............................3172 fps
    107.0 gr.............................3296 fps
    109.0 gr.............................3313 fps
    111.0 gr.............................3345 fps
    112.0 gr.............................3410 fps Primer pockets loosened noticably

    Even at 112.0 gr, load density was only around 80% so obviously this powder was far to fast burning for the 300 Raptor. Next test.

    I decided that the best powder to test next was H-50BMG. With this powder I started at 115.0 gr and worked up from there with a slightly shorter OAL of 4.085".

    115.0 gr.......................................3155 fps
    116.0 gr.......................................3188 fps
    117.0 gr.......................................3193 fps
    118.0 gr.......................................3328 fps
    119.0 gr.......................................3352 fps
    120.0 gr.......................................3401 fps
    121.0 gr.......................................3501 fps Loosened primer pockets, TO HOT!!

    Looking at case head expansion and mainly primer pocket tightness, I came to the conclusion that anything over 120 grains was just to hot in this 1-9 twist 3 groove Lilja barrel in 80 degree temps. Velocity spreads were also a bit wider then I like to see but there was around a 40 thou jump to the lands so I decided to slide the ogive up to the lands and seated them to 4.115" which was roughly 5-8 thou off the lands.

    Knowing that pressures would jump significantly moving the bullet closer to the lands I decided to retest velocities starting at 117.0 gr but stopped at 119.0 gr.

    117.0 gr........................................3328 fps
    118.0 gr........................................3366 fps
    119.0 gr........................................3391 fps

    Any of these loads would work for a good top end working load in temperatures typical of big game hunting times of the year here in North America. After three firings, the 119.0 gr load did start to loosen primer pockets. By 5 firings per case they were quite loose but would still hold a primer well and no gas leakage of any kind. At 7 firings, primer pockets were even looser but still would hold a primer and again, there was never any gas leakage. Still, I would probably toss the cases after 7 firings with this load in this rifle and in these temps, again 80 degrees. In my opinion, the 117 gr load may well be the best all around load with H-50BMG. Velocity spreads were not amazing running in the high 20 to high 30 fps range but for big game hunting, even at long range, if the rifle likes these bullets, it will work extremely well.

    At first I was a bit unimpressed with these numbers. Not sure why but that all changed when I looked back in my load development notes on the 300 Allen Xpress. In my Raptor LRSS with 30" barrel, the 300 Allen Xpress clocked 3250 fps with max loads but when loaded to similiar pressures as the 117 gr Raptor load, the AX produces right at 3150 fps. Now this is an estimated pressure comparison comparing ejector ring marks and case head expansion. Certainly the Lapua cases will show less pressure signs with higher pressures then the Jamison brass so I am very confident the Raptor is working at lower chamber pressures then the Allen Xpress.

    Also, the Allen Xpress produced its highest performance numbers using Hodgdons US-869. I have not been able to test that powder in the Raptor YET but I suspect it will be a steller performer in this new wildcat as well, perhaps even better then H-50BMG in velocity results but it will not be as stable over wide temp changes so I may still opt for the H-50BMG loads.

    I do not have alot of pictures yet but wanted to post this one to give you all a look at the new wildcat.

    [​IMG]

    Left to Right: 300 Win Mag, 300 Allen Xpress(338 Lapua based), 2 fully formed 300 Raptors and finally a 338 Excalibur case necked down to 30 cal with the secondary shoulder located properly for fireforming. The difference in case length between the Allen Xpress and Raptor are dramatic. In fact the Raptor is very close in case length to the 408 Chey Tac case, just with a similiar diameter as the Lapua based wildcats.

    Looking at the numbers on my 300 AX, My accuracy load with this new 230 gr bullet was 3180 fps. Comparing that to the 117 gr load for the Raptor at 3328 is right at that 150 fps increase in performance.

    One concern with this new bullet design was if it would survive the velocity poential of this new wildcat. Since all of my velocity testing was done right at the shop I decided to load up four rounds at the 119 gr load which was just shy of 3400 fps. I walked out around the corner of the shop and lined up at my 20" gong which was set up at my backstop at 352 yards. I bore sighted the rifle dead on using the gong and the first shot landed on the bottom third of the gong with some impressive authority. I then held op the top third of the gong and sent the next three down range. I was not overly worried about groups, just wanted to make sure these bullets were surviving the launch and they all slapped the steel VERY HARD!!!. Obviously the new bullet design will survive 3400 fps velocity in a 1-9, 3 groove barrel, at least in a new barrel!!!

    So far, very impressed with the new 300 Raptor. I will get some pics of the Raptor LRSS test rifle here in the next couple days. Just wanted to get you guys some numbers to read over.

    Much more to come on this new wildcat and then onto the 338 Raptor development.
     
  2. ICANHITHIMMAN

    ICANHITHIMMAN Well-Known Member

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    Great read Kirby my father in law will be quit pleased when he hears about this. Sounds like a good case for some 290g wildcats. I look forward to hearing more.

    Jon
     

  3. Fiftydriver

    Fiftydriver <strong>Official LRH Sponsor</strong>

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    Is Paul still making the 290 gr Wildcat? I know the original ones did not perform very well, at least not at the velocities I tested them at in a 1-8 twist barrel. In fact I donated a chronograph to the testing !!!:rolleyes:

    If they were built on a new thicker jacket, they would certainly be a good choice for this chambering as it appears to have plenty of HP to drive a bullet of that weight to good velocity numbers, I would think easily into the 3000 fps range.

    I am also going to do some testing with other bullets. The 200 gr TTSX looks very attractive, especially seeing how the 265 gr 338 cal version expanded when shot to 3500 fps in my 338 AM. I should easily be able to top this with the 300 Raptor in velocity with the 200 gr so if someone wanted a bullet for all around big game hunting out to a bit over 1200 yards, I think this would be a great choice.

    Much more to come, stay tuned.
     
  4. Fiftydriver

    Fiftydriver <strong>Official LRH Sponsor</strong>

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    I am also getting ready to make a VERY large announcement from APS here in the next couple weeks. Something that has been nearly a year in the works and just about ready to bring out of the shadows!!! Very excited about this new project as well, stay tuned for that coming very soon.
     
  5. jmden

    jmden Well-Known Member

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    Wow...this will be fun to follow. When do you foresee the 338 version appearing?
     
  6. B23

    B23 Well-Known Member

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    Kirby, do you have any intentions of doing a 7mm version of your Raptor as well????
     
  7. ICANHITHIMMAN

    ICANHITHIMMAN Well-Known Member

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    I was on the site the other day and they still looked like they were for sale maybe not though.

    I have some TTSX on the shelf waitng for my remodeling to be done then I can finaly get to them. I will be very interested to see how they hold up to the speed we are talking about.

    I cant wait for the announcement I think I know what it is:DI have to hurry up and get my submittion in.
     
  8. Fiftydriver

    Fiftydriver <strong>Official LRH Sponsor</strong>

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    Jmden,

    I am thinking it will probably be after this big game season. Just to backed up trying to get rifles out before this season to get another rifle setup for testing but as soon as I get over the big game season rush, I will get the 338 up and running, hopefully fully tested around the first of the year.
     
  9. Fiftydriver

    Fiftydriver <strong>Official LRH Sponsor</strong>

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    B23,

    I have been thinking about a 7mm Raptor while designing the 300 and 338 Raptor receivers. I was kicking around the idea of building a 7mm Raptor at the same time but decided it would be wiser to see how the 300 Raptor turned out.

    After full testing of the 300 Raptor I will make a decision on the 7mm. The worry I have with a 7mm Raptor is simply bullets that would work with such a chambering. The 180 gr Berger has roughly a 3300 fps velocity ceiling, which the 7mm Allen Magnum can EASILY throttle past with no problems. If Berger would design a 180 gr VLD with a thicker jacket or even better yet a 190 gr VLD with a thick jacket, a 7mm Raptor reamer would have already been in the shop.

    The 175 gr SMK will take any velocity I can drive them to, which to date has been 3600 fps at the fastest trying to find the bullets velocity limits, I ran out of case before I could make the bullet fail out of the 7mm Allen Magnum. That said, its a sizable increase in capacity stepping up to what would be a 7mm Raptor. Only the ultra slow ball powders would be usible which perform great but you need to understand their limitations concerning temperature changes but if those are delt with these slow ball powders actually perform extremely well.

    The next issue comes with bullet weight. When you get a case capacity to a certainly size, you NEED a certain amount of resistance from the bullet to produce an effective ignition and efficent powder burn. IF you do not have enough bullet mass, you will start to see large velocity spreads. This is generally why the heaviest bullets you can use will often result in the best velocity uniformity.

    So why not just use the 200 gr Wildcat bullet. Same reason as the 180 gr Berger. It simply can not be driven much faster then 3300 fps. Again, the 7mm AM can achieve this velocity level.

    The 160 gr Accubnond will certainly take any velocity we could throw it at but we fall back onto the problem of powder ignition which may be a real issue with a wildcat with this low of an expansion ratio.

    After all that, I have and still am considering testing a 7mm Raptor.
     
  10. Fiftydriver

    Fiftydriver <strong>Official LRH Sponsor</strong>

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    ICANHITHIMMAN,

    I do not think there will be any problems at all with the TTSX holding together, at least enough to get the job done. WHen testing in my 338 Allen Magnum with the 265 gr TTSX, I found some fired bullets at 600, 1000 and 1520 yards.

    At 600 yards, I found three bullets, one of them lost all the petals but still had a 40 caliber frontal mushroom and over half of its length.

    At 1000 yards, they expanded FULLY and did not loose any petals. At 1520 yards the bullets all expanded fully but were about 2/3 in length.

    The Barnes bullets thrive on velocity, I do not think we will have a problem with them with the Raptor because again, the faster the better, especially concerning long range expansion.
     
  11. Fiftydriver

    Fiftydriver <strong>Official LRH Sponsor</strong>

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    I was able to do a bit more velocity testing for the 300 Raptor today on my lunch break. I never seem to get much lunch when I have a new wildcat to play with!!! :D
    I decided I wanted to see what the slow ball powders would do in this round. The slow burning ball powders had worked extremely well in the 300 Allen Xpress, in fact US869 produced the highest velocity in the 300 AX with bullet weights from 200 to 240 grains. This was compared to Retumbo, Ramshot Magnum and Rl-25.

    Since the 300 Raptor has an even lower expansion ratio it should respond just as well to these ultra slow burning ball powders. I looked around the shop to see what powders I had that could work. My supply of US869 had pretty much been used up. I did have an 8 lb keg of WC872 on the shelf and then I looked over on the powder rack and remembered the 48 lbs of WC860 I had ordered in a couple years ago when the WC872 dried up.

    Some say WC860 is faster burning then WC872, I have never seen this but I will say that it certainly can be depending on the lot of powder you have so always start low and work up to listed loads. I decided I would test WC860 for the 300 Raptor since I had such a large supply of the same lot of WC860.

    I decided to start at 115.0 gr which I believed would be a VERY comfortable starting load but again, I had not tested this lot of powder before so I wanted to start at a very safe starting point.

    Here are the velocity results:

    115.0 gr..............................3076 fps (VERY mild load)
    119.0 gr..............................3213 fps
    121.0 gr..............................3280 fps
    123.0 gr..............................3318 fps
    125.0 gr..............................3387 fps (slight ejector ring on case head)
    126.0 gr..............................3422 fps (slight ejector ring on case head)

    I stopped at 126 fps for a couple reasons, the first was 126.0 gr was roughly a 99 to 100% load density and also I only have a limited number of cases until my next order comes in so I did not want to blow any more primer pockets.

    To that topic, Primer pockets held tight throughout testing even up to and including 126.0 gr load level.

    WC860 offered even higher load densities then H-50BMG and also produces slightly higher velocities as well.

    I decided to load up a batch of test loads for long range accuracy testing at 124.0 gr which should produce around 3350 fps. Now H-50BMG can also get to this level of velocity but you do get some primer pocket loosening with that powder at this level of velocity. At 3350 fps with WC860, there was no primer pocket loosening at all.

    Nothing is for free however, as mentioned before the slow ball powders are not as stable over wide temp changes so its not a powder choice that is recommended for hunting in a wide range of different enviornments. If you hunt in one general location, it can be made to work very well and infact very consistantly.

    I also found something interesting with the earlier H-50BMG loads. I believe I was seeing some mild powder bridging with this powders. I had several shots that had dramatic velocity jumps and pressure signs while other shots with the same load did not show the same results.

    Using WC860 eliminated these velocity spikes which makes me think it was a powder bridging issue with H-50BMG.

    Next test will be to get out and do some long range accuracy testing probably around the end of the week.
     
  12. MT4XFore

    MT4XFore Well-Known Member

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    You rabble rouser you!!! LOL I figured when you posted this, a lot of .30 caliber lovers would jump aboard!
     
  13. Capt Academy

    Capt Academy Well-Known Member

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    Very impressive Kirby!
     
  14. Fiftydriver

    Fiftydriver <strong>Official LRH Sponsor</strong>

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    Need to get out and get some pics of the 300 Raptor rifle for you guys. Hopefully this week I will be able to do that along with some long range accuracy testing. Numbers don't mean much if there is no accuracy to support the numbers.