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Thread: flustered and frustrated!!

  1. #1

    Talking flustered and frustrated!!

    I can't recall anything that I've experienced in this life so complicated, frustrating and finicky as the fireforming my 348 AI cases. Regular loads didn't work (split cases), loading down did the same. I tried the advice of a dozen or so folks (people who should know) and nothing worked without blowing cases. One guy recommended 36gr of Unique...said it worked great (blew my cases). So I kept going down and down til I got to 8gr. I thought I finally found the sweet spot, but then things started getting weird. If I shot in am, it was great. Shoot in pm and blew cases with same load. I figured it must be the temperture, since that was the only variable. Talk about finicky. Load a few in a cool room, go right outside and shoot and blow cases. Go figure. Then this am, I decided to put the loads in my freezer for a few minutes...waa laa...not a single blown case in 50 rnds. These loads were also persnickity with cream of wheat (which is what I settled on) and corn meal blew the cases.They were also sensitive to tissue wad pressure. If I pushed the wad into the case, I had to use the slightest pressure...anymore would just blow cases. I'm glad I finally have it figured out (after I'm finished of course) and I do have 150 nice fireformed cases to work with as soon as my AI dies arrive. Would I do this again...well, I'll let you know later after the medication wears off. There was no way this little bugger was gonna win.
    If you like getting kicked by a mule...then you'll "love" shooting my .458.

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Jan 2005


    Hold on there a little!

    To AI the 348 should be, always has been for me, a rather simple task. But, if your cases split at the shoulder, they may just be brittle, I don't think it is a pressure thing, except to say 36 grains of Unique would probably disassemble your rifle! Don't do that again, regardless of who told you.

    When I run into case forming, meaning blowing out the shoulder, problems, I use a load with no bullet. Also the cream of wheat thing must be done with pistol powder and only a charge of 10% of the case capacity. I guess you have got that to work. I find it to be a pain in the neck. My powder only loads use slow burning extruded powder filled to the shoulder, with no bullet. Use 4831 or RL-22. You can do it with a wax ball on top or nothing and point the rifle up. This is quicker but use powder and the powder, mostly unburned, will fall on you if you shoot straight up.

    Or, anneal the cases down to just below the shoulder. You should start with only new, unfired cases as even one firing can make them too brittle to form.

    An AI case does not move the shoulder forward, only out. Some other wildcat versions do move the shoulder forward, these cause more case splits as the shoulder is unsupported as it is moved forward during fireforming. I would only use the extruded powder method for that. I know powder is expensive today and hard to find so the breakfast cereal methed may be better.

    That is done by finding how much bullseye or Unique it takes to fill the case, then take ten percent of that figure (19%) and load with the cream of wheat on top. It may take slightly more than 10% for Unique, but not 36 grains with a bullet of any weight.

    I realize you're about done with it and possibly done for, but these are my experiences with the 348 AI. Actually I've think I've ever had a case split when loading a moderate load of standard 348 with a 200 grain bullet and firinging an AI chamber.
    Is there nothing so sacred on this earth that you aren't willing to kill or die for?

  3. #3


    Hi Murphy: Actually the 348 AI does move the shoulder forward. The shoulder ends up where the original neck/shoulder juncture was or approx 3/16" forward. Probably why there was problems. I know that a lot of AI do not move the shoulder forward so there isn't as much brass movement or stress. The cereal and Unique works when that sweet spot is found, but talk about temperture sensitive. Does age tend to make a powder more sensitive? I've had this powder for over 20 years and it was in an estate when I got it, so no telling how old it is. I never tried just the straight powder, but if I do it again, I'll give that a try. Anyway, it was quite a learning lesson for sure. Thanks.
    If you like getting kicked by a mule...then you'll "love" shooting my .458.


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