New to AI Reloading...any suggestions

6XCShooter

Member
Joined
Jul 9, 2012
Messages
16
Location
North Central Texas
Well a couple of barrels on my favorite coyote guns are in need of replacing and I have decided to have both re barreled & re chambered in AI versions (.223AI & .243AI).

I will likely toss out all my old brass and start fresh with some new brass for each. I plan on fire forming, then trimming (or squaring off necks).

My primary question is about AI dies. Do you just order them from Sinclair's? Do you have to custom order them? Anything special about reloading or FL resizing the AI cartridge?

I have heard that the Lee Collet dies work well for neck sizing? any truth?
Do you bump the AI shoulder of the fire formed case back .002 ?

Any words of wisdom from you experienced AI reloaders is appreciated.
thanks again
 

MudRunner2005

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Joined
Oct 13, 2008
Messages
14,708
Location
Alabama
I just use Redding AI dies. I order the 3-die set that comes with a Seater die, FL sizer, and Neck sizer die for each of my AI calibers. That way I can FL size after a few firings, and neck-size them the rest of the time.

To my knowledge the only special steps taken are not shooting a full load when fire-forming so you don't split the case necks from the rapid expansion. Also, when fire-forming, seat the bullets where they are press-fit into the lands so you don't have any excess headspacing between the cartridge and the bolt face, since all non-belted cartridges headspace off the shoulder.

Once you've got the brass fire-formed to your chamber, then you can set the bullet runout where you like, but during the fire-forming stage, make sure that brass is seated all the way against the bolt, and the bullet is pressed into the lands so you get properly headspaced AI brass.

And remember, because you're seating the bullet into the lands, that causes pressure spikes, so be sure to run a reduced load. I usually run about a 65-75% load.

For example, with my .25-06 AI and .30-06 AI, I run about 48 grains of Alliant Reloder 19, which is nowhere near max, that way I know I'm not overpressuring the case and causing any issues, since the bullet is pushed up into the lands.
 

Clark

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Joined
Oct 19, 2006
Messages
762
I just ordered my second AI reamer, after 12 years.
I have only killed 4 deer with the 257 Roberts AI, so I am no expert, but I have gone to the range with it a dozen times.
Fire forming can be trouble if the headspace is not .004" tighter than non AI.
In that case I put a few grains of pistol powder in the case and cover it with cream of wheat. I fire it pointed straight up. That makes enough shoulder to stand up against the firing pin.

My new reamer will be a 250 Krag AI.

I build about 20 rifles for every Ackley I build.
I use Forster dies on the .257, and I will be using custom RCBS on the 250.
 

Freebore

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Joined
Oct 23, 2002
Messages
623
Location
York, Pa.
I agree with Clark on the headspace. The AI is actually designed to chamber/fire standard ammo. There should be a very slight bolt pressure closing on the new case.

I too use the blue dot or something very fast and cream of wheat and a piece or two of toilet paper laid over top of case pushed in with pencil eraser end for the 243AI any how. Nice clean cut stopper and no spills.

Don't have to worry about any bore wear although there is a flame during fire forming on the throat. Just don't let the barrel get hot as it can quickly.

Yes there will be 'junk' in the barrel using COW method but cleans out easily.
 

6XCShooter

Member
Joined
Jul 9, 2012
Messages
16
Location
North Central Texas
Thanks Gentlemen
All very good information
I do a fair amount of browsing/reading on this sight but rarely post.
I knew you guys would come threw with some great suggestions.
thanks again
 
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