375 Allen Mag load data ready, with pics...

Discussion in 'Rifles, Bullets, Barrels & Ballistics' started by Fiftydriver, Feb 6, 2008.

  1. Fiftydriver

    Fiftydriver <strong>Official LRH Sponsor</strong>

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    [​IMG]

    Well, I finally took a bit to sit down and share the preliminary load development testing I have been doing on my new 375 Allen Magnum. First a bit of back ground on the new round. As many of you well know, my 338 Allen Magnum has been around for a while now and has been performing extremely well. There have been some hic-ups but that is expected when you take the performance envelope and push it to the max and then some.

    All in all, it has performed extremely well. The main issue has been a quality parent case to use for these wildcats based on the 408 CheyTac round. Jamison International has been working on this and they have finalized their design. I had my shipment of ordered brass show up so I decided it was time to test things on the 375 Allen Magnum. I also had a supply of the new 350 gr SMK for testing.

    Above is a pic showing three 375 Allen Magnum rounds on the left compared to three 338 Allen Magnum rounds on the right. As you can see, the shoulder location is the same for both meaning it has been moved forward roughly 65 thou compared to the parent case. This just lengthens the case body section to increase case capacity while still leaving plenty of case neck for each. By the way, the neck length on the 375 Allen Magnum is roughly 0.305" which should be considered min but works just fine from my prelim test results. These rifles are designed for big single shot rifles, so the commonly used standard of one caliber of neck length is really not needed. Its not needed in most applications for that matter.

    Anyway, you can see the 350 gr SMK seated in the 375 AM cases. Very similiar in design to the 300 gr SMK in 338 but with a shorter baring surface and longer boat tail. My chambering reamer is set up for a heavier bullet. Something in the 380 gr range and heavier, as such, there is not alot of full diameter bullet in that case neck. Plenty but not alot.

    First thing that has to be done when working with a brand new wildcat is to get cases for the rifle for testing. I had the parent case which were bare headed Jamison 408 CT cases. By this I mean I ordered them with no headstamp on them at all so they could be used for any of my wildcats or 408 CTs for that matter.

    [​IMG]

    You can see in this pic the bare head compared to a 338 Allen Magnum round formed off a TTI 408 CT parent case.

    I had my set of 375 Allen Magnum custom dies that Hornady makes for me. With the 338 AM, there are several steps needed to take the 408 CT neck down to 338 cal for fireforming. I was very curious to see how many steps were needed to neck down to 375. Really what I wanted to know is if this could be done with the use of only my 375 AM FL die.

    I took a case, deburred the outside of the neck very well, lubed it well with imperial case forming wax and then dipped it in graphite just for added slickness.....

    To my surpise, the case sized rather easily in one pass. This was a big deal as it makes forming cases Dramatically easier then for the 338 Allen Magnum. Care had to be taken to debur the case mouths well because if there were not even, the neck would size down uneven with a noticable stepped shoulder on one side and hardly any on the other. This can lead to some case squareness issues until high pressure fired one time.

    I necked down 20 cases and then loaded them up with my corn meal fireforming load. For the 338 AM, I use 22.0 gr GreenDot with the rest of the case filled with plain yellow corn meal and topped with a TP plug pressed into the case mouth. Works very well. With the larger neck diameter on the 375-408 CT cases, I decided to up this to 24.0 gr. Worked perfectly when fired in my case forming fixture. Cases come out with a slight radius on the shoulder, I would say 95% formed, just what I want in my formed cases. Ready to be FL sized, trimmed square and to length and loaded with full pressure loads.

    This is where I ran into a hic-up. I had designed the reamer off of the old Jamison cases. These cases have very thick case necks. THe new case design, has a much thinner neck which is good but with custom dies, they are set up for pretty exact neck sizing dimensions. With the thinner case necks, they were not being sized down enough to hold a bullet properly. After 15 minutes I had a bushing made out of 4140 steel to size the necks to a 0.400" diameter which would offer a 2 thou neck tension fit.

    I neck sized all the cases in my Redding Comp 338 AM bushing neck sizing die which worked perfectly.

    [​IMG]
    Here you can see the 408 CT parent case on the left, 375-408 CT case ready to be fireformed in the middle and a formed and loaded 375 Allen Magnum on the right. You can see the shoulder position change on the formed case evident by the stepped shoulder on the case ready to be fireformed.

    So now I had my 20 cases ready to load and start load development but where should I start. This is an issue when your starting load development for a brand new chambering, especially one that is roughly 10% larger in case capacity then even the 375 Chey Tac. I found some references on line that said the 375 CT was being loaded with 139 grains of Retumbo under a 300 gr TSX bullet for 3300 fps.

    I had figured Retumbo would be the best choice for this powder or at least a very good one. Again, just an educated guess. With my larger case capacity, I know that with the same bullet, the same max load should produce less pressure, but I was using a bullet that was 50 grains heavier.

    I decided to start at a very safe point and loaded the first 3 rounds up at 125.0 gr. under the 350 gr SMK and lit with a Fed-215 primer. I was very happy to find that there were no hang fires at all even with the very mild pressures. Velocity averages 2866 fps with an extreme spread of 55 fps. Understandable with the very low pressure. I was also seated well off the lands just for that extra cushion on chamber pressure.

    Below are the results for the initial load development, including powder charge, muzzle velocity, extreme spread and accuracy at 100 yards for three shots. OAL was set at 4.315" measured to the meplat. I was surpised how consistant the 350 gr SMKs were in OAL. Generally not the case with SMKs.

    Load................Velocity............Spread.............Accuracy**
    125.0 gr...........2866 fps............55 fps..............0.788" ctc
    130.0 gr...........2979 fps............41 fps..............0.641"
    135.0 gr...........3086 fps............28 fps..............0.433"
    140.0 gr...........3181 fps............24 fps..............0.489"
    143.0 gr...........3219 fps............17 fps..............0.414"
    146.0 gr...........3301 fps............11 fps..............0.398"

    At 146.0 gr, there was a slight tap needed at the top of the bolt stroke to free the case from the chamber, not much at all. There was also the first signs of a slight ejector ring on the case head and very mild cratering on the firing pin divit on the primer. Really not much at all, had to use your fingernail to really feel it well. Still, I figured 146.0 gr was a max working load with these componants and decided to load the last two formed cases with 144.0 gr which I would call my top working load for the time being until I can test it in warmer summer temps anyway to see if there is a pressure increase.

    Here are the results for those two shots at 144.0 gr
    144.0 gr............3242 fps.............4 fps.............0.110" ctc

    Now these were only three and two shot groups so extreme spread really do not mean alot at this point. Accuracy was good and met my 1/2 moa standards with any load above 135.0 grains. The very tight 144.0 grain load was probably a fluke with the one hole group but I have no doubt it will shoot 1/2 moa out to a very long distance.

    Now onto the case performance. I had told myself I wanted 3200 fps with the 350 gr SMK at least as my 338 AM will push the 350 gr ULD RBBT to 3200 fps in this same 32" length barrel. I knew the Jamison cases would not take the pressure that the TTI cases would but I was hoping to get 3200 fps anyway.

    For all the test loads, the only load that noticably loosened the primer pocket was the very top 146.0 gr load which was good for 3301 fps average. All others showed very quality primer pocket feel after the first high pressure loading. Just to check the top load, I took a single case and loaded it over and over with the 146.0 gr load. I got 4 firings on this case before the primer pocket got looser then I care to deal with. I am sure I could have gotten at least one more firing out of the case before throwing.

    The 144.0 gr load gave me a comfortable 5 firings before the primer pockets became a concern. At 3200 fps levels, 6-7 firings would be easily attainable. SO far, I am happy with this Jamison brass.

    I will soon test it in my 338 AM and get an apples to apples comparision with the TTI cases and its top loads. That will tell us alot but for now, they work fine for the 375 Allen Magnum and I am more then happy with all the inital testing so far. Only issue so far is the FL dies but that will be corrected on the next batch.

    Take care, if you have any questions, feel free to contact me on this new chambering. Personally, once the new bullets get to the market, I believe this will be just as good if not better then its smaller brother, the 338 AM. That is saying ALOT!!!

    Kirby Allen(50)
     
  2. Augustus

    Augustus Well-Known Member

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    Do you know what the BC is going to be on the 375 SMK and when are they going to be available.
     

  3. wildcat

    wildcat Well-Known Member

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    Kirby, WOW! awesome info. What is the BC of the 375 MK? I know you have already made the 2500 yard club, It sounds like the 375 Allen Mag will take you to 3000+.

    What are the other bullets you will be testing and who is making them? Also, what kind of energy are we talking about at the longer ranges such as 3000+ yards?

    Kirby, this is some great info. I really think you need to have a major web site. You are designing some awesome stuff and more people should here about it. You give great info and are very precise.

    Great read.

    W.
     
  4. Fiftydriver

    Fiftydriver <strong>Official LRH Sponsor</strong>

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    Ballistic testing will be coming soon as the weather permits. I will be testing this by zeroing at 100 yards and then dialing up for 1000 and 2000 yard zero. I will then figure BC from actual bullet drop. Certainly not the most scienticially pure way to figure it but it has worked very well in the past to develope accurate drop charts.

    I do not know what the BC will be. If I had to predict, I would say 0.75 to 0.78 over 2000 yards. That said, there are reports of the actual BC being in the low to mid .8 range. I just will have to see this to believe it but it may well be. We will find out soon.

    I do not have any numbers for 3000 yards. If the BC is in the 0.75 range, it will have a bit under 1500 ft/lbs with a bit under 1400 fps.

    If its in the .8 range, it would have a bit over 1600 ft/lbs and roughly 1450 fps of retained velocity.

    As far as 3000 yards, I suspect it will not reach 3000 yards with consistant accuracy. The reasoning for my opinion, the 300 gr 338 SMK driven to 3400 fps will not break 2700 yards with consistant velocity and thats with a BC in the .8 range. The 375 Allen Magnum with the 350 gr SMK will not offer any more maximum reach but it will offer nearly the same energy payload with a larger frontal area bullet that weighs more.

    As such, it will be dramatically more authoritative on big game at long range.

    Reaching 3000 yards with consistant accuracy is a serious challange. In fact the only combo I have witnessed to it is my 338 AM and then only when loaded with the ultra high BC 265 gr AT RBBT loaded to nearly 3500 fps!!!

    There are several bullets coming for long range 375 shooters. Richard Graves will be offering several designes as soon as his dies get here. There is also another bullet maker here in Montana that should be offering long range 375 bullets hopefully by this spring. I have not asked to release his information so at this time I will not do so. I will say however, it will be a bullet in the 370 to 380 gr range and a RBBT design.

    The 350 gr SMK are made only for Chey Tac Industries. They are not and will not be available for any other customers. Chey Tac allowed me to this sample for testing. They have not received their large order of bullets yet but that should be happening soon.

    Kirby Allen(50)
     
  5. wildcat

    wildcat Well-Known Member

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    Thanks for the info. The 265grn RBBT sounds like an awesome bullet. Are you going to be trying for the 3000 yard mark for VHA? Has anybody got to 3000 yards yet? Once again, thanks for the great info.

    W.
     
  6. goodgrouper

    goodgrouper Well-Known Member

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    Very neat Kirby. I thought about doing this cartridge about 3 years ago but a lack of good .375" bullets kept me from doing it. Heck, at the time, there were hardly any good .338" bullets!

    Barnes, Lost river, and someone BIll Shehane had making .375 bullets were still in developmental stages. Now, Barnes has turned .375 bullets last I heard but very expensive and rare. Lost river is apparently gone or not in production right now. And Bill is Bill and haven't heard much from the Carolina front on these beauties. Last I heard, he had gone back to the .338 cal.

    Can't wait for some good weather to test now I'll bet?
     
  7. comfisherman

    comfisherman Well-Known Member

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    Barrel life

    Fifty, what increase in barrel life would you expect over the 338 am.
     
  8. Fiftydriver

    Fiftydriver <strong>Official LRH Sponsor</strong>

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    GG,

    In my opinion, its a much better chambering then the 338 wildcats based on the 408 CT case. The reason for that is mainly in barrel life and a greatly widened selection of very good powders that can be used very effectively.

    As you already correctly mentioned, the limitation was bullets. If there had been a quality long range bullet or a couple of them, the 375 cal would have certainly been the best choice. That is not to say the 338 is not a good round, its by far the most potent long range chambering that can be chambered in a conventional sized rifle.

    Right now, bullets are starting to come on line and by spring, hopefully there will be at least three lead core bullet designs for 375 shooters including the 350 gr SMK and some heavier weight custom bullets.

    Now if the dang wind would stop, I would be able to get out and test at some serious range and see what the 350 gr SMK will actually do at long range, it has been a proven accurate bullet but not at these velocity levels so we will have to see.

    There is also more to come in my 410 Allen Magnum which will be around this spring as well. I have been talking to another bullet maker that is currently making a lead core bullet for the 408 CT in the 400 to 420 gr range. Again, BC is not extreme but its good and will be much more user friendly then any solid, not to mention legal to hunt with in all western states. This has been what I have been waiting for for my 410 Allen Magnum and now its a go.

    Basically, its the same as the 375 AM, shoulder moved forward slightly and fireformed to the AM shoulder and body configuration.

    Formed brass will be available for the 410 AM just as it is available now for the 338 and 375 Allen Magnum so no fireforming headaches will be there.

    Kirby Allen(50)
     
  9. Fiftydriver

    Fiftydriver <strong>Official LRH Sponsor</strong>

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    Comfisherman,

    Not exactly sure, comparing to other 338 vs 375 caliber chambering with same capacity, it would appear that we can expect around 20% more barrel life. That is just an estimate as there have not been alot of comparisions between this class of chamberings in these two calibers.

    That said, have you heard of many 378 Wby rifles that have had their barrels burnt out? How about 375 RUMs?

    I would estimate that barrel life for the 375 AM would be very similiar to that of the 338-378 Wby. In the end, it comes down to how the barrel is cared for and if it is overheated or not.

    Kirby Allen(50)
     
  10. Buffalobob

    Buffalobob Writers Guild

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    You need to quite building rifles for a while and build us a good affordable rangefinder, or else we all need to pool our money and buy one and take turns. The situation is just ridiculous, the rifles are cheaper than the rangefinders.
     
  11. Augustus

    Augustus Well-Known Member

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    I hope somebody comes up with affordable projectiles for the 375 with BC in the 1.2 range. Maybe widcat can build one similar to the 265 338. I have some of the Vikings on the way, cant wait to test them.
     
  12. jimbo300

    jimbo300 Well-Known Member

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    Kirby,

    That 375AM sounds devistating. What would your ideal set-up be as far as the gun goes? action, barrel length and twist, over-all gun weight, etc.

    Thanks for the info.
     
  13. Fiftydriver

    Fiftydriver <strong>Official LRH Sponsor</strong>

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    Augustus,

    I do not think you will see any +1 BC bullets in 375 caliber. THe reason mainly is that we are wanting a lead core bullet. That will limit us to around .9 to .95 in BC which would be more then enough and about what the 265 gr AT RBBT is producing.

    Solids are great but your limited to what barrels will work well with specific bullets and also many areas require an expanding or flat point type of bullet for big game hunting.

    Plus, we do not want to deal with any extremely radical barrel twists. 1-10 is about as fast as I want to work with in this class of chambering, same as with the 338 Allen Magnum. THe reason is because as you get faster in twist rate, the effects of enviornmental conditions show up more dramatically down range. For instance, the velocity shift over 60 degree air temps will be much different in a 1-10 twist barrel then it would be in say a 1-7 twist. Add to that we are dealing with nearly 150 gr powder capacities and the effect of the envir. conditions will make even more of a dramatic difference.

    We need consistancy and with this large of a powder capacity, we really need a comfortable rifling twist to help us out. Sure it would be nice to have a 1.5 BC bullet but in all reality, the consistancy of a .9 BC bullet would be much more usible in the field throughout the year.

    If we can get some high .8 to low .9 BC bullets, I would be happy as could be.

    Kirby Allen(50)
     
  14. Fiftydriver

    Fiftydriver <strong>Official LRH Sponsor</strong>

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    Jimbo300,

    Well, it depends on what you want to do with the rifle. For a heavy bench type rifle, I would go with the following which would come out to around a 30-35 lb rifle depending on how you had the stock weighted:

    BAT model M 8.5x1.55 single shot
    BAT 40 moa rail base
    Jewell trigger 1.5 to 8 oz model set at 6 oz(personal preference)
    30" 1.450" straight cylinder Lilja 1-10 barrel
    Heavy 7/16" flutes(just for looks!!)
    My APS 3 port compact muzzle brake
    Matte or teflon coated finish on all metal surfaces
    McMillan MBR Tooley 1000 yard BR stock
    APS Hybrid pillar bedding w/ stainless steel pillars
    ADL steel trigger guard
    NF NXS 5.5-22x 50mm w/ NP-R1 reticle
    NF 30mm Ultralight rings
    Scopelevel

    If you wanted a mdeium weight big game rifle, roughly in the 20 lb range

    Same receiver
    Same rail base
    30" Allen32 contour from Kreiger or Lilja(0.950" muzzle diameter)
    3/8" flutes
    My APS 5 port Slab brake
    Matte or teflon coated surfaces
    Jewell trigger 1.5 oz to 3 lb model set at 1.5 lbs(personal preference)
    McMillan A-5 tactical stock with adjustable CP
    APS stainless steel pillar bedding
    ADL steel trigger guard.
    NF Ultralight rings
    NF NXS 5.5-22x 50mm NP-R1 reticle
    Scopelevel
    scope mounted ACI
    Harris 9-13" swivel model bipod

    If you wanted a lightweight model, roughly 15 to 16 lbs, this would be my recommendation:

    Same receiver
    Same rail base
    28" Lilja "Ultralight Allen32" contour, 0.800" muzzle diameter
    Heavy 3/8" flutes
    APS 4 port slab brake
    Same trigger as above
    Same stock but using lightest fill possible(not Edge technology however)
    Fixed cheek piece to save on weight
    NF Ultralight rings
    NF NXS 3.5-15x 50mm NP-R1 reticle
    Scopelevel
    Scope mounted ACI
    Same finishes
    ADL Aluminum trigger guard
    Harris 9-13 swivel bipod

    Those would be my choices for the perfect platform for this type of rifle depending on if you wanted a bench type gun, a big game rifle with some portability or a relatively portable big game rifle.

    Kirby Allen(50)