Fire-forming 280 Ackley Improved from Lapua 30-06?

Discussion in 'Reloading' started by jeffwhip, Oct 23, 2010.

  1. jeffwhip

    jeffwhip Well-Known Member

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    Ok, this is my very first time doing any of this so I have some questions for those of you who are experienced at this. Since Nosler is out of 280 AI brass, I decided to buy some Lapua 30-06 brass and plan on fire-forming it to 280 AI. Do I go about it in the following order:

    1. Turn the necks
    2. Resize the cases
    3. Debur the flashhole
    4. Fire form using the malt o meal method.
    5. Trim the cases to all the same length.
    6. Debur the neck.
    7. Throw cases in the tumbler.

    Or should I resize the case before I turn the necks. I know I'll have to do this before I fire-form because my gun will have a tight neck. Any and all advice would be welcome.

    Jeff
     
  2. Trickymissfit

    Trickymissfit Well-Known Member

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    sounds like a lot of extra work to me! You are aware that you can take generic factory .280 remington rounds and simply fire them in a .280 Ackley chamber? That's the easiest way, and also the way P.O. Ackley recommended. But being as your going the 30-06 case route here's my method (yes I know many here will dissagree with my methodology).

    ** First thing you run into is that the .280 case is actually going to be longer than the 30-06 case length, and this may never quite come out right unless you can accept a shorter neck length (I would not). I would buy .270 cases, and simply neck them up to 7mm, or better yet buy generic .280 Remington brass and go from there. But you might beg a dozen cases from somebody that's got a bunch of extras (30-06). Resize the necks down to 7mm, and seat the bullets for about .010" jam into the rifeling. Fire form the cases with a good stiff load. After you fire the first five or six cases check them to see if the have done the banana shape in the body (I expect they will). I simply don't think you'll get a good .280 case after fire forming with this method, and even then the overall length is going to be a little short. Now should the body of the fire formed cases come out nice and strait; then you at least have a case you can use as a master for your chamber (gauge line deminsions). If you chose .270 Winchester cases, all you need to do is to neck them up to .284 and fire form the brass. The basis deminsions otherwise are very similar. The trick with fire frorming the brass is to have it very secure in the chamber. You won't have that with the 30 caliber case, but will if you use the .270 or .280 case!

    Not being familure with the Lapua case catalog I can't say wether or not they sell a .270 or .280 case, but Winchester and Remington do.
    gary
     

  3. gbp

    gbp Well-Known Member

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    if you do fireform lapua 30-06 into 280 AI or just plain 280 you must jam the bullet into the lands in order to hold the cartridge into the chamber. bad juju will befall you if you don't

    [​IMG]

    could have been worse
     
  4. Trickymissfit

    Trickymissfit Well-Known Member

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    I just would not go that route, and it's a lot easier to use remington factory loads to fire form the cases without all the added work. There is another way to do it using the 30 caliber cases, but you best know exactly where your going from the start or it maybe a trip to the trauma ward. 270 cases are cheap, and .280 cases can be had in bulk. Creating a false shoulder is not for 98% of the people reloading
    gary
     
  5. shortgrass

    shortgrass Well-Known Member

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    Use .280 brass. A quick look at Sierras' loading manuel will show why. The body length is around .140 longer on the .280AI than on a .30/06. That brass length and 'blowing out' to AI comes from somewhere.
     
    Last edited: Oct 25, 2010
  6. jeffwhip

    jeffwhip Well-Known Member

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    Thanks for the feedback. Since Nosler is out of 280 AI brass, I figured if I had to go through all the effort of turning necks & fire forming, I may as well get the best brass on the market. Explain to me why I don't want a false neck?
     
  7. shortgrass

    shortgrass Well-Known Member

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    If you have to create a 'false shoulder', on the neck ,to support the case during fire forming the chamber is either too long (headspace) or the brass is too short. In either case you're asking the brass to stretch too far. I've used P.O. Ackleys' method for more than 25 yrs. That Ackley chamber is shorter than a minimum chamber of its parent cartridge (by just a few .001"). The case to be fire formed should be supported securely between the bolt face and at the junction of the neck & shoulder angle. When the bolt is closed on the round to be FF a slight resistance should be felt thru the bolt handle. That tells me the case is supported properly on both ends and that I'm not asking the brass to stetch so far that it will end up too thin or just plain part trying to fill that chamber. By setting the chamber up in this manner I've never had to 'jam a bullet into the rifling' when fire forming and factory loaded ammo has always formed just fine. Case loss from FF is very, very low,,, near zero! Use .280 brass and have zero problems (if the chamber/headspace is correct) or use .270 or .30/06 brass and have the possiblity of many problems. Powder Valley has Nosler .280 brass in stock. I'm curious, why the tight neck chamber?
     
    Last edited: Oct 24, 2010
  8. jeffwhip

    jeffwhip Well-Known Member

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    This is my very first custom built rifle. As such, I am taking the advice of people and going with it. There is a guy here locally in Phoenix who has a 280 AI and he had his built as a tight neck. It has INCREDIBLE accuracy so I was trying to get mine built the same as his.

    With all of that being said, my rifle will be a tight neck with a neck diameter of .311. I have a couple of more questions for your guys:

    1. Because my gun is a tight neck, my gunsmith told me that I would not be able to fire-form factory 280 ammo. Does this mean I won't be able to fire form 30-06 ammo also?
    2. Is there another kind of Lapua brass I can use so that I don't create a false shoulder? How about the Lapua 6.5 X 284?
    3. Will a false shoulder effect my accuracy?

    Thanks in advance!
     
    Last edited: Oct 24, 2010
  9. Troutslayer2

    Troutslayer2 Well-Known Member

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    Nosler is supposed to have .280AI brass in stock any day now. I am holding out for that because fire-forming hasn't been all that kind to me.
    [​IMG]
     
  10. jeffwhip

    jeffwhip Well-Known Member

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    What kind of casing were you trying to fire form from? Is that a 30-06 case?
     
  11. phorwath

    phorwath Well-Known Member

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    That's what happens when the case head isn't held firmly against the bolt face. Case head separation.
     
  12. Trickymissfit

    Trickymissfit Well-Known Member

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    I would not recommend attempting the use of a false shoulder in your case. I also would not attempt to try to make .280 cases out of 30-06 brass. If you have to use another case, then use the .270 Winchester case. To take this further, I'd simply recommend you start out with a strait .280 Remington chamber.
    gary
     
  13. phorwath

    phorwath Well-Known Member

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    I fire-formed 100 Lapua 30-06 brass to the 280 RCBS Improved - 30 degree shoulder. About the same thing as the 280 AI, but with slightly less angle on the shoulder. It can be done. It does take a bit of time and fussing. I believe I annealed the case neck shoulder junction prior to fire-forming. The shoulders blew out just fine on mine. As I stated in my PM to you, the bullet must be jammed into the lands, and tightly enough so that the case head cannot leave the bolt face when the firing pin strikes the primer. I believe I used 175 grain Hornady round nose bullets for purposes of fire-forming.

    Once the initial fire-forming is completed, 100 Lapua brass will last close to the life of the barrel, unless you run them near top pressures.
     
  14. eddybo

    eddybo Well-Known Member

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    If you turn your necks to thickness first you should not have a problem leaving a false shoulder. I would use .280 dies with an appropriate sized bushing to create the shoulder. The only reason I suggest neck turning first is so that you do not have to neck them down, then turn them, then size them up, then partially size them down. The brass may thicken slightly when you size it down so use a ball mic to make sure that your desired thickness is obtained. To create your false shoulder I would set my die to fully size the brass. Then I would use a spacer under the die to hold the die short. I have a bunch of different thickness 7/8 washers that I use for this. It has been a loong time since I did this but am thinking that I had to use 4 .015 washers to give me a crush fit on the 06 cases, but my chamber may differ from yours. It can be done but I would not solely rely on using the bullet to keep the case against the bolt face, IMO a false shoulder is the best way. If you just have to have the lapua brass as I did it is a bunch more work and may not be worth the gains. If I had it to do over I would probably just use the nosler brass even though it is softer than the lapua.