Talk to me about Wildcats

Alibiiv

Well-Known Member
LRH Team Member
Joined
Jun 17, 2013
Messages
1,433
Location
Rhode Island
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 appreciate
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?

I've noticed that you have mentioned Winchester brass a few times in your replies. I am not a fan of Winchester brass as I get only 3-4 reloads out of it before I have to start over again. There are not any signs of pressure at all, however the primer pockets seem to loosen up on the brass. I just got some Norma brass and hoping to get some longevity out of that brass. I'd like to find some .280 Remington Peterson brass, however at the present shortages that isn't going to happen any too soon. I built a couple of .270 Ackley Improved rifles a couple of years ago. And that was "because" I wanted to try reloading for a "wildcat". It is a great cartridge with some incredible ballistics, however.............I start out with load data from the .270 WSM and have found that the performance is close to that of the .270 WSM. With that said, if I had it to do over again I would probably build a couple of .270WSM rifles instead of the .270 AI. If you have the time and money to dedicate to fire forming/hydro forming, annealing, neck turning and all that goes into a wildcat cartridge, then by all means go at it. I was seriously looking at the .280 Ackley Improve (SAAMI), however didn't go the build because I felt that Nosler was going to hold everyone at their mercy with component prices, and.......they have. Right now .280AI brass costs more than the 28 Nosler brass and is a little more difficult to find. I know that I am talking about a different sized cartridge than what you are planning to build, however the work that one has to put in to making the brass is the same. Also in my particular situation and what is going on with the heavier .270 bullets I would have selected a 1-8 barrel instead of the standard 1-10. So.........as a suggestion on a wildcat build I would also take a strong look at barrel twist and the availability of bullets as well as the availability of the brass to make your wildcat casings.
 

Gstew1930

Well-Known Member
Joined
Jun 3, 2020
Messages
183
Location
Mont Belvieu
Honestly I’m starting second guess doing this lol. PTG makes a reamer for it but it doesn’t seem like anyone makes the dies or headspace gauges. Redding makes 243 wssm ackley dies so I was going to just buy the correct bushings and seating stem. After doing some more research it looks like there are some small variations between the 243 and 25 wssm. I rather not pay $400 and wait 16 weeks for whidden to make me some. Any other ideas? Maybe a 243-25 wssm ackley lol
 

FEENIX

Well-Known Member
LRH Team Member
Joined
Dec 20, 2008
Messages
16,716
Location
Great Falls, MT
Honestly I’m starting second guess doing this lol. PTG makes a reamer for it but it doesn’t seem like anyone makes the dies or headspace gauges. Redding makes 243 wssm ackley dies so I was going to just buy the correct bushings and seating stem. After doing some more research it looks like there are some small variations between the 243 and 25 wssm. I rather not pay $400 and wait 16 weeks for whidden to make me some. Any other ideas? Maybe a 243-25 wssm ackley lol
Please don't say I never warned you ...
 

koonazz

Well-Known Member
Joined
Jan 7, 2011
Messages
267
Parent case brass availability/quality should be looked at when deciding on a wildcat.

Peterson makes 280ai brass. Very good quality and much less expensive than Nosler.
When you can get it. Talked to Peterson a couple of weeks ago. They're not planning to run 280 ai brass again until August. I can't work up loads with their brass if I can't get it. It is great brass but I have to go with something I can actually get my hands on.
 

camodave7

Well-Known Member
Joined
May 12, 2021
Messages
117
Location
Canada
When the 6PPC was developed in 1975 it too was a wildcat. I still have 100 rounds of .220Russian that is the parent case. First I had to neckturn them so they would fit my tightthroat chamber. Then expand them to .243 using an upside down .243 boattail. The final step was fireforming making sure the bullet is seated into the lands to establish correct headspace. We got about 20 firings out of that brass and the PPC usually shoots best at very high pressures. I will attach a picture when I sort out how to do it. I may be a retired teacher but my brothers are the computer whizes, at age 62 and 65. I will be 70 in December
 

Attachments

  • IMG_20201014_163742.jpg
    IMG_20201014_163742.jpg
    40.8 KB · Views: 29

johnnyk

Well-Known Member
Joined
Dec 24, 2001
Messages
2,328
Location
Potters Hill, NC
doesn’t seem like anyone makes the dies or headspace gauges

Get your smith to make a set with the reamer used on chambering the barrel. Can this be done?

Personally, I love AI's, wildcats and the whole high performance concept. Yeah, they are a little difficult (at times) and more expensive but man they "put out"!
I have a .270 Allen Magnum and IMO it is the epitome of performance, as are all of Kirby's wildcats. I've shot deer at 600+ yds and it seems like their back legs smack their stomach before the rifle goes off. It is "Faster, Flatter and Farther then ever before."
 

L.Sherm

Well-Known Member
LRH Team Member
Joined
Jul 26, 2017
Messages
4,137
Get your smith to make a set with the reamer used on chambering the barrel. Can this be done?
You cannot make a FL sizing reamer from your chamber reamer, but you can a seating die i do that all the time with wilson seating blanks for inline dies.
Newlon makes blanks for 7/8 threaded presses.
 
Last edited:

camodave7

Well-Known Member
Joined
May 12, 2021
Messages
117
Location
Canada
Your smith just needs to have a sizing die reamer which is just a bit tighter than the chamber reamer. And of course the chamber reamer is best for seating die. If you are having trouble finding a good smith check out Bob Galloway here in Alberta.
 
Top