Want opinions from 7mm AM, 300 AX and 338 AX owners...

Discussion in 'Rifles, Bullets, Barrels & Ballistics' started by Fiftydriver, Apr 5, 2010.

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  1. Fiftydriver

    Fiftydriver Official LRH Sponsor

    Jun 12, 2004
    To those that own one of these rifles made by me and for those that maybe interested in one of them, I have a question I would like more information to.

    Over the past several months I have had several customers or owners of my rifles ask why I do not have correct headstamped brass for my 7mm Allen Magnum, 300 Allen Xpress or 338 Allen Xpress. I did look into this a couple years back contacting Lapua to see if they would make a custom run of brass for me with my headstamps on them. They said no problem but required a 1/4 million count order for each and at a cost of $2.25 each..... Well, you get the point.

    As such, I let that idea drop.

    I then started working with Jamison International to make my 338 and 375 Allen Magnum for me to my specs with correct head stamp and have been pretty happy with the finished product.

    Recently, Jamison sent me some test cases from their new 338 Lapua brass to see how they performed. This weekend I was able to do a bit of testing. I fireformed all of them for my 338 Allen Xpress wildcat and then did some load development. First on case specs.

    I weighed the Jamison 338 Lapua cases and found that they had a max weight variation of 3.4 grains for 25 cases. In comparision, 25 338 Lapua has 3.1 grains max variation so pretty ---- close. The Lapua brand of brass did seem a bit more consistant from case to case weight but over all, they had very similiar case weight variances.

    The Jamison brass did need the flash holes deburred but this takes very little time and is a one time job when processing virgin brass. Not an issue with the Lapua brand brass but again, you pay alot more also.

    The Jamison brass had an average empty weight of 317.4 grains compared to the much heavier Lapua brand at 334.9 grains. I figured this would translate into much larger case capacity for the Jamison case but was wrong. Case capacity measured with H-380 fine ball powder filled to the case mouth was 124.9 gr for the Jamison brass and 124.0 gr for the Lapua brand. More for the Jamison but not by much. Obviously, just a lighter alloy is used in the Jamison brass which did concern me.

    It was not time to see if the Jamisons would hold up to my standard 338 AX load pressure. I seated some Fed-215 primers in 10 of the Jamison loaded cases and found the primer pocket fit was not nearly as tight as the Lapua virgin cases. This concerned me a bit.

    My standard load for my current Raptor LRSS 338 AX is the 300 gr SMK loaded over 3.670" with 100.0 gr Retumbo and a Fed-215 primer. Average velocity is 2973 fps for a 10 shot string with an extreme spread that generally runs in the low to mid teens, plenty consistant for long range shooting.

    I loaded this exact load in the freshly formed Jamison 338 AX brass. Average velocity for the same string was 2947 fps. Primer pockets were unchanged from virgin tightness, very nice suprise.

    I upped the powder charge to 101.0 gr and shot another 5 round over the chrono. Average velocity was 2974 fps with 14 fps extreme spread and again, no difference in primer pocket tightness when seating a primer after firing. Simply took an extra grain of powder to match the velocity of the Lapua brand 338 AX brass.

    Accuracy was identical as well but will admit it was a bit limited in number of rounds down range. More testing will come.

    So, after that testing, I am pretty impressed with the Jamison 338 Lapua brass when used in my 338 Allen Xpress wildcat chambering.

    Here is my question, I need to find out what the interest in having correct headstamped brass for the 7mm AM, 300 AX and 338 AX? I know that taking rifles on the airlines often requires having ammo with the exact headstamp as the chambering marking on the rifle. This would eliminate that problem traveling with my rifles chambered in my wildcats.

    Because of cost, I would have to ease into this process doing one at a time so I would like to learn which would have the most demand of the three.

    Is the Jamison brass as strong as the Lapua brand brass, I do not know, if I had to guess I would say no but its plenty strong for any reasonable top end load using pressures that should be used.

    So, tell me this, how many would be interested in correct headstamped, fully formed 7mm Allen Magnum, 300 Allen Xpress or 338 Allen Xpress brass.

    Looking on the Jamison web site, they list their Lapua brass for around $203 per 100 plus shipping. This compares to Lapua brass which will run from $245 to $285 per 100 + shipping depending on who is selling it. My fully formed brass with correct headstamp brass would cost about the same as top end Lapua brand brass as we charge $85 per 100 brass to fully form brass for customers which covers componants and labor cost.

    So, let me know what all of you think and those that do not own one of my wildcats, please let me know if having access to quality, fully formed, correct headstamped brass would make my wildcats more appealing to you for possible future orders.

    ROBSTER Well-Known Member

    Sep 24, 2009
    Proper marked brass would intrest me I tend to get a little worried when I get out the 444 marlin and the 375 jdj at the same time.
  3. dirtball

    dirtball Well-Known Member

    Jan 18, 2007
    More than half of the rifles I shoot are Wildcats of one type or another, so I have be come accustom to not having what is stamped on the case head mean anything. Besides what would I do with all of the 338 Lapua brass I have?
  4. LR3

    LR3 Well-Known Member

    Feb 1, 2009

    not sure if you got my email from last week about my 375 casings showing head of casing pressure wear. Would appreciate buying some more fireformed (200) of your labelled 375 Jamison cases. The last time on a flight the cases were checked and for Africa they check all of them so your point about having labelled cases is very important. In addition, as you imply, its easy to mix up different cases for different rifles / calibers based on the 408 CT I have found.

  5. OneLunG

    OneLunG Active Member

    Apr 6, 2009
    I would most certainly purchase the 7AM cases...
  6. Buffalobob

    Buffalobob Well-Known Member

    Jun 12, 2001
    I am not in the market for any brass.

    Making available fireformed brass was a good idea, and I suspect that helps people a lot.
  7. 300R

    300R Well-Known Member

    Jul 15, 2009
    Have you used bertram brass before,they are making 338 lapua and the 375,408 cheytac cases now.I have never used the brass before and don't know what the quality is like but it sure would make for some great value when our Aussie dollar drops.
  8. sambo3006

    sambo3006 Well-Known Member

    Jul 30, 2004
    Correcly headstamped and fireformed brass for the 7mm AM at the same price as nonfireformed Lapua brand brass along with the reintroduction of the 200 gr ULD RBBT by Wildcat Bullets should certainly make the 7mm AM very attractive. I know it would to me.
    Last edited: Apr 7, 2010
  9. Long Time Long Ranger

    Long Time Long Ranger Well-Known Member

    Mar 12, 2002
    Kirby, I guess your asking for replies in general from guys that may not use your rifles so here is mine. If I had one of your guns it would make no difference to me if it had a correct headstamp. I mean I would not pay extra for it. All of my ammo boxes are full of cases that are not the correct headstamp but were the best value for reloading. You may need to make available limited special order correct headstamps for international travel maybe but I do not think it would be good economics to spend a lot of money to make it readily and widely available. Do they check it all that close going through customs. In other words if all cases said 338 Lapua in a box would they know it was actually your wildcat lapua. Do they get that critical with rifle barrel stamps and cases? Maybe for international travel guys it would be cheaper to stamp the barrel 338 lapua imp. and then the 338 lapua brass would probably work.

    It would be rare to find a correct headstamp in any of my ammo boxes because I go for value as many reloaders do. My sons 257 wby ammo box are all 7mm wby brass because I got a deal on them. All my 338-378 wby brass is 378 wby because I got a deal. All my 264 win mag brass is 7mm rem mag. My 340 wby is 300 H&H and 300 wby in remington brass because it is way cheaper than wby. I use any standard magnum for any standard magnum depending on what I got a deal on. All my 308 or 30-06 case chamberings may be anything based off that parent case. Between the 308, 30-06, short standard mag case and long standard mag case I can make virtually anything so I use what I get a deal on.

    I don't know what your clientel is but most reloaders want performance and value. Your cartridges meet the performance label and many guys may not care what the stamp says as long as it is the best price. I think you would have very limited sales of expensive correct headstamped brass.
  10. joshua99ta

    joshua99ta Well-Known Member

    Oct 28, 2009
    I personally would like proper headstamped brass. Especially if it offers an issue w/ customs. I havent made the dip into the 338AX yet but I am working on it! This will be my first custom wildcat rifle and I would really like properly stamped brass. Even though there isnt very many 338Ls in this area I wouldnt want to get it mixed in if I go to a range with a guy sitting next to me w/ a 338L.

    Especially if the brass quality is better!
  11. Boman

    Boman Well-Known Member

    Sep 25, 2002
    As a future customer of yours I know I would love to have correctly head stamped brass. I'm having you build a 7AM for me. Just waiting on a barrel now.

    My only concern would be the quality of Brass would need to be up there. I'm sure before you jump into this you will do more extensive testing so I'm not worried about it.
  12. TH

    TH Well-Known Member

    Jan 22, 2003

    I like the idea. Its a great option, I dont know how many rifles you build every year in these calibers. From a business stand point you need to look at cash flow and how long your money is going to be tied up sitting on the shelf.

    You are the only one that knows this. I would use your 338 Allen mag as a starting point. Look at how many people that you have built 338 Allen mags for? How many of those people buy brass from you?

    I know I hate fire forming and preping brass I appreciate being able to buy brass from you. Out of the 3 choices look at you past build data and do the math. What chambering are you building the most rifles in? Start small and build up when funds are available to expand your Allen Mag line than do so.

    Another thought, I dont know how your customers feel about this but, just make it manditory that every rifle you build for someone the customer must buy the first 100 pieces of brass from you. Better yet include it in your build price and tell them that you are giving them their first 100 pieces of brass free.

    I would focus on what you do best Kirby and that is building rifles. Do you really have the time to mess with this brass? Are you making any money off of it? Are you happy with your margins?

    Just my thoughts hope it helps. I wish you all the success in the world and I really enjoy my 338 Allen Mag. Thanks for all your hard work and dedication to the shooting sports.
  13. ss7mm

    ss7mm Well-Known Member

    Jun 11, 2005

    I like the idea of the right headstamp but would be a little hesitant about starting with too many since it's being compared to the best brass out there. If you go with the "little" 7mm, put me down for a hundred, fireformed, to start with and if they hold up I'd be interested in more.
  14. ss7mm

    ss7mm Well-Known Member

    Jun 11, 2005
    For those of you that wonder why Kirby would go to all of the trouble of doing this and if it's a good decision on his part, then you need to research the boy a little bit more.:)

    Kirby is they kind of guy that never settles for status quo and is never happy building A, B and C if he know that he can build D, E and F that will do even better. He's also the kind of guy that would do something like this for his customers if he could even just break even.

    I, for one, am happy that there's still somebody out there that keeps stretching the envelope so that we can sit home and wait for him to come up with something new that we can spend our money on.

    I sometimes think the days in Montana must be 25 or 26 hours long for him to get done all that he does. Now quit talking about it and get those new cases coming. :)