Talk to me about Wildcats

Gstew1930

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Jun 3, 2020
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Mont Belvieu
I’m looking to start working on my first wildcat. I’ve been reloading for about 10 years now so I have quite a bit of experience there. I’ve just never done a wildcat. Any advice on what I should look out for and potential dangers that differ from loading a standard SAAMI spec case? My game plan is to make a 25 wssm ackley with 40* shoulders shooting the 133 Berger’s. I’ve heard the Winchester brass is pretty thick, I know I’ll have to turn the necks. I’ve gotten pretty good at reading pressure signs so I’m not to worried about working up a load when my brass is fully preped. I’ve also never had to fireform anything. Any advice would be greatly appreciated
 

FEENIX

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Dec 20, 2008
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Great Falls, MT
I’m looking to start working on my first wildcat. I’ve been reloading for about 10 years now so I have quite a bit of experience there. I’ve just never done a wildcat. Any advice on what I should look out for and potential dangers that differ from loading a standard SAAMI spec case? My game plan is to make a 25 wssm ackley with 40* shoulders shooting the 133 Berger’s. I’ve heard the Winchester brass is pretty thick, I know I’ll have to turn the necks. I’ve gotten pretty good at reading pressure signs so I’m not to worried about working up a load when my brass is fully preped. I’ve also never had to fireform anything. Any advice would be greatly appreciated
Don't do it! It's addicting...
 

Ross1147

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Aug 31, 2018
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San Diego
I don’t think you necessarily will have to neck turn unless you get a reamer with a tight throat. You could even buy 243 or 22 WSSM brass and neck it up, causing the neck to be thinner.

My only concern with a 25 WSSM AI would be feeding issues. The short fat case can be finicky and then giving it a 40* shoulder will make it a little more finicky. A good Smith can get it to feed right I’m sure. A true short action would be my go to for action, like something on a Rem model 7 footprint.
 

Gstew1930

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Jun 3, 2020
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151
Location
Mont Belvieu
I don’t think you necessarily will have to neck turn unless you get a reamer with a tight throat. You could even buy 243 or 22 WSSM brass and neck it up, causing the neck to be thinner.

My only concern with a 25 WSSM AI would be feeding issues. The short fat case can be finicky and then giving it a 40* shoulder will make it a little more finicky. A good Smith can get it to feed right I’m sure. A true short action would be my go to for action, like something on a Rem model 7 footprint.
Well I already have the action. It’s a terminus Zeus so I’m just buying the barrel. I like your idea of necking up 243 brass. I would imagine I might run into some feeding problems. That rifle is currently set up with terminus aics magazine. I’m hoping with loading the long Berger bullets that will help feed a little smoother. I’m thinking the COAL will be around 2.850, that’s just a guess though
 

Mikecr

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Aug 10, 2003
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There are a few things to consider earlier in planning IMO.
The action really needs to be a magnum diameter/large tenon version for this magnum diameter cartridge. Otherwise you'll pressure out earlier than potential from the capacity. That is, you'll hit difficult/popping extraction.
Helps also to go tight in chamber clearances and use a coned bolt action.
You WILL have to turn necks for better results, regardless of what cal you start out in. Turn em down to no larger than 12 or 13thou.
The WSSM case is so thick because it's a cut down WSM case, and the smaller the cal (factory formed) the thicker the new necks. So necking up 22 or 24 cal won't alleviate what you have at 25cal(it's already thinner than 22/24cal).
Plan on using Win Reloading brass (in the bags). It's better than factory loaded ammo brass.
Plan on DIP ANNEALING, deep body, before fireforming. Otherwise, with brass so thick, it would take a bunch of firing to reach stable shoulders/reduced body taper.

Adjust for these things, you'll have a killer 25cal. Especially as Ackley Improved.
The cases can last forever.
 

Gstew1930

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Joined
Jun 3, 2020
Messages
151
Location
Mont Belvieu
There are a few things to consider earlier in planning IMO.
The action really needs to be a magnum diameter/large tenon version for this magnum diameter cartridge. Otherwise you'll pressure out earlier than potential from the capacity. That is, you'll hit difficult/popping extraction.
Helps also to go tight in chamber clearances and use a coned bolt action.
You WILL have to turn necks for better results, regardless of what cal you start out in. Turn em down to no larger than 12 or 13thou.
The WSSM case is so thick because it's a cut down WSM case, and the smaller the cal (factory formed) the thicker the new necks. So necking up 22 or 24 cal won't alleviate what you have at 25cal(it's already thinner than 22/24cal).
Plan on using Win Reloading brass (in the bags). It's better than factory loaded ammo brass.
Plan on DIP ANNEALING, deep body, before fireforming. Otherwise, with brass so thick, it would take a bunch of firing to reach stable shoulders/reduced body taper.

Adjust for these things, you'll have a killer 25cal. Especially as Ackley Improved.
The cases can last forever.
Thanks very much Mike! This helps a lot!!. I already have my action so I’m kind of stuck with what I have. It’s a Terminus Zeus. I’m been worried about using Winchester brass. I’m guessing if I weight sort the and do all the prep work they should work fine huh?
 

L.Sherm

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Don't let fireforming worry you; use some pretty good neck tension jam them into the lands about .010 and shoot away you will probably be surprised how accurate the rounds will be.
 

Mikecr

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Aug 10, 2003
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5,597
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NC, oceanfront
I had no problem picking out excellent brass from Win reloading.
Forget weight sorting. Measure neck thickness and neck thickness variance. Pick those that exactly match, and then turn & prep em.
You won't need a lot of brass, but if I were you I'd buy extra while you still can.

If you can't find enough, let me know.
 

L.Sherm

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One thing about necking up is to watch for donuts, you essentially turn part of the shoulder into the neck so alot of times you end up with donuts.
Don't let anything scare you off from wildcatting I enjoy it.
 
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