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Thread: Should I go AI?

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    Member Akheloce's Avatar
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    Default Should I go AI?

    I have a Kimber Montana in 30-06 that after a long road, has become a great rifle that I've become attached to. I've also worked up a load that I really like (60.0 RL-22 with 180 gr. TTSX). I'm getting decent velocities-over 2800 fps, but have the case plum full of RL-22. I really like the R-22 as it is low pressure, doesn't seem to kick as much as faster powders, and is giving me very consistent velocities. I would however, like to eek out just a few more grains in there to see the full capabilities of the rifle/ load, and possibly bring me into 300WM range.

    Can the Ackley Improved do what I want? Can anyone give me a recommendation on who in the Kenai Penn/ Anchorage area who to do the work?

    Thanks

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    what kind of accuracy you getting?

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    Quote Originally Posted by Akheloce View Post
    I have a Kimber Montana in 30-06 that after a long road, has become a great rifle that I've become attached to. I've also worked up a load that I really like (60.0 RL-22 with 180 gr. TTSX). I'm getting decent velocities-over 2800 fps, but have the case plum full of RL-22. I really like the R-22 as it is low pressure, doesn't seem to kick as much as faster powders, and is giving me very consistent velocities. I would however, like to eek out just a few more grains in there to see the full capabilities of the rifle/ load, and possibly bring me into 300WM range.

    Can the Ackley Improved do what I want? Can anyone give me a recommendation on who in the Kenai Penn/ Anchorage area who to do the work?

    Thanks
    Having to spend the time making my own 8x60s cases out of .30'06, it is a pain in the butt, and you spend money blowing projectiles down the barrel just to form the cases, then you have to load them anyways.
    Over 2800 fps with Barnes? The barrel length is prolly 22"? Why don't you spend less money (chamber reamer, work, shells, powder, bullets, ect), on some pressure testing equipment so you can have a good idea of where you are in your quest for the highest velocities? Get yourself a PressureTrace so you can see how well you are doing.
    http://www.swproducts.biz/PressureTrace.php
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    Quote Originally Posted by Wildalaska View Post
    what kind of accuracy you getting?
    About 1" with a lead sled- sometimes better, but never worse, except with the occasional flier out to 1.25- measured center to center.


    According to Alliant data, I'm getting roughly 51,000 psi with 60.0 gr Rl-22 behind a 180 gr bullet, compared to 57,000 with 60.0 and Rl-19. I don't think pressure is any issue so far with 22, as it is not showing any pressure signs whatsoever, and with that powder, I think I'd have a hard time getting there. If I could get 2900-3000 FPS without sacrificing worse than "hunting accuracy", I'd be very happy.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Nitroman View Post
    Having to spend the time making my own 8x60s cases out of .30'06, it is a pain in the butt, and you spend money blowing projectiles down the barrel just to form the cases, then you have to load them anyways.
    Over 2800 fps with Barnes? The barrel length is prolly 22"? Why don't you spend less money (chamber reamer, work, shells, powder, bullets, ect), on some pressure testing equipment so you can have a good idea of where you are in your quest for the highest velocities? Get yourself a PressureTrace so you can see how well you are doing.
    http://www.swproducts.biz/PressureTrace.php


    I realize it's more a pain to fireform, but since it's a labor of love, and a hobby, I don't mind. I already fireform with cheap nosler custom comps with new brass in order to neck size.

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    Sorry about the multiple posts guys, but since I waited too long, I can't edit...

    I should be happy with what I have I guess, but I'm always the tinkerer- I can't leave well enough alone

    My major issue right now is that I simply don't have the case capacity to fit any more RL-22 in. I'm very happy with the performance with the RL-22, as it seems to kick less, and it is physically impossible to over pressure it, with the given bullet weight and case capacity. Additionally, it is the most accurate powder I've tried with 180 giving MOA or better at max capacity. (a light load of Win 760 and Hornady A-max 178's make one ragged hole at 2400 fps) Also, I have 4 lbs of RL-22 which would make me feel better if I actually used it The thing I'm concerned with right now is terminal performance of the Barnes TTSX at mild velocities. I really would like the reassurance of 100-200 more FPS.

    I hunt mainly moose and bou' but I'd like the option of a reasonable performing round on a grizz, without carrying a second rifle, should the opportunity present itself.

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    Im sure you've heard all the AI stuff longer lasting cases, less bolt thrust, more capacity, yayaya. The bottom line is that you can buy alot of components for the cost of a chamering job, and you never can tell, even in very skilled hands if it will shoot the same. Besides you only gain around 4% in cases capacity and I dont think that will get you in 300 Win territory. So in short I vote NO.

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    Default I agree with "The Kid"

    Nothing wrong with the AI cartridges. They produce more velocity, sometimes significantly more velocity. In the 30/06 AI you may get 2850 fps, but for the sake of an argument let's say you got 2900 fps. With the 300 WM you are going to get 3100+ with RL22 and 180 grain bullets without much trouble. That's about the difference in the two cartridges, you'll burn nearly 20% more powder to get 7% (+or -) more velocity. The only way to get the 06 into 300 WM ballistics is to seriously overload the 06. If you want 300 WM performance I would choose to shoot the 300 WM rather than an AI.

    Where did you get the pressure information for that much RL-22 in the 06? I would have expected higher pressure than 51,000 p.s.i. with 60.0 grains and 180 grain bullet.

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    The 51,000 comes from my LoadBooks USA Alliant powder data. So I shouldn't expect more than 50 FPS with AI? At 4% more capacity, that would figure to 62.4 gr total case capacity.

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    I have AIed every caliber available and have some of them that are very good accurate rifles that gave a bonified improvement in performance but generally there is no real reason to do it except just to say you did.

    Also to properly AI an existing chamber the barrrel needs to be set back a turn because the real purpose of AI is to use standard ammo, which will fire form, both cartridges will have the same headspace. If you don't set the barrel back and headspace to standard 30-06 there will be a gap and some case stretching will take place.

    Aside from that, I have some doubts about your load, not the pressure because 60 grains of RL-22 and a 180 is a rather mild load, but your velocity of 2800 plus from 22" of barrel is hard to believe. Check the screen spacing on your chrony. I have a 24" Shilen barreled Mauser in 30-06 AI. It is the fourth gun I've owned/made in the same caliber, none of the others gave as good of results. It is extremely accurate and very fast. A load that generated about 2780 in one of the first 30-06 AIs gave me 2910 fps with the same 180 grain and 61.0 of RL-19 (This is an AI) This gun puts shots into one hole. I have two standard 30-06's with 24" barrrels that will hit 2800 fps at about 56k pressure (measured) but it is a rare thing to get that velocity from the '06 but can be done I've just never done it with RL-22 and certainly not at 51kpsi. Both these guns are cold hammer forged barrels and very smooth with even rifling. One is a 1984 vintage Sako the other is 1999 vintage Dakota M97.
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    I have only ever done one 30-06 AI. It was done on a Bruno 98 mauser action. It was for sure a case where I sould have left well enough alone. As a plain Jane 06 it was a very accurate and functionable gun. The accuracy was about the same in the altered AI version but feeding was another story. After talking with a tech at Brownnells and letting him see what it was doing we determined that the feed rails needed to be altered a bit. Something about the case being a little fatter at the shoulder was enough to bind it up just enough to cause greef. Altering the feed rails is not something that should be taken on by a greenhorn unaccomplished gunsmith. Long story short...I screwed it up. That whole deal was just a result of over zealous tinkeritis.

    If it were mine I'd leave it alone! Besides the gain will only be noticed on your chrony! The critters will never know the difference!

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    I've had a few different improved chamberings in different platforms, but only one ackley, the 35 whelen AI.

    If you load a whelen to the same pressure as the parent -06, then you'll gain a whopping 50 fps. That doesn't make your gun shoot flatter, hit harder or kill any different. One thing I've learned, when I have a good rifle or handgun, the last thing I should do is improve it, as it never ends up as good as it was before I started messing with it.

    To get that "improvement" you'll need to find a good smith, not always an easy task. Then to properly do the job they'll need to set the barrel back enough to cut a new neck and throat. There is no reason to get a custom chamber unless you end up with one cut to better dimensions then a factory chamber. And while the barrel is off, you might as well get a new crown cut. I'd expect to pay $150-200 for that work.

    Then you need to get new reloading dies. The -06 ai isn't a complete oddball, so fortunately the dies aren't too bad, but still in the $60-70 range. Then you need to fireform your brass, on top of what you pay for 100 cases that's nearly a pound of powder, box of primers, and even with the cheapest bullets that'll add up to nearly $50.

    So just to "improve" your rifle, get dies and 100 cases, you'll be out ~$300. Then you get to start your loadwork all over. For 50 fps.

    Sure there are fans of the ackleys that will tell you about amazing gains in velocity. They have never pressure tested their loads, so they don't know that they are operating in the 70+ kpsi range. Those that have pressure tested the ackleys have found at the truth about the pressures they opperate at. With a good tightly machined chamber, pressure signs don't start showing up until 72-75 kpsi.

    More downsides, the nearly straight cases don't feed nearly as well as the original cases. Most folks simply ignore how the straighter case doesn't slide so smoothly from magazine to chamber. Others have found their ackleys cause serious feeding issues.

    The only real upside is the sharp shoulder and tighter custom chambers result in a case that doesn't need to be trimmed as frequently. That makes alot of sense in a varmint round like the 223 ackley where you can go through 500 rounds a weekend and its' a huge time saver. But do you really want to go to the expense and trouble for 50fps and to save the occasional hour trimming cases?

    If you want a 300 mag, by all means get one, just don't try and make one out of an -06

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    The older I become the less concerned I am about small gains in velocity. Even if going to the AI resulted in an additional 100 fps, what do you really gain? I doubt any animal would ever know and if your lucky your bullet might drop one inch less at 300 yards.
    If it were me I would leave well enough alone. Be happy you have a Kimber that shoots as well as yours.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Murphy View Post
    I have AIed every caliber available and have some of them that are very good accurate rifles that gave a bonified improvement in performance but generally there is no real reason to do it except just to say you did.

    Also to properly AI an existing chamber the barrrel needs to be set back a turn because the real purpose of AI is to use standard ammo, which will fire form, both cartridges will have the same headspace. If you don't set the barrel back and headspace to standard 30-06 there will be a gap and some case stretching will take place.

    Aside from that, I have some doubts about your load, not the pressure because 60 grains of RL-22 and a 180 is a rather mild load, but your velocity of 2800 plus from 22" of barrel is hard to believe. Check the screen spacing on your chrony. I have a 24" Shilen barreled Mauser in 30-06 AI. It is the fourth gun I've owned/made in the same caliber, none of the others gave as good of results. It is extremely accurate and very fast. A load that generated about 2780 in one of the first 30-06 AIs gave me 2910 fps with the same 180 grain and 61.0 of RL-19 (This is an AI) This gun puts shots into one hole. I have two standard 30-06's with 24" barrrels that will hit 2800 fps at about 56k pressure (measured) but it is a rare thing to get that velocity from the '06 but can be done I've just never done it with RL-22 and certainly not at 51kpsi. Both these guns are cold hammer forged barrels and very smooth with even rifling. One is a 1984 vintage Sako the other is 1999 vintage Dakota M97.

    It is entirely possible that the chrony wasn't accurate, I just don't know... it was borrowed from a guy at the range, as my new one was out at my cabin at the time. I will try it again with my Master F-1 next week.

    I was hoping that the great velocities were because of the Tubb's borelapping that I did a few weeks ago, and I've heard that Barnes bullets can give higher velocities than conventional bullets, but that is just hearsay.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Snowwolfe View Post
    The older I become the less concerned I am about small gains in velocity. Even if going to the AI resulted in an additional 100 fps, what do you really gain? I doubt any animal would ever know and if your lucky your bullet might drop one inch less at 300 yards.
    If it were me I would leave well enough alone. Be happy you have a Kimber that shoots as well as yours.

    Well, it certainly didn't come out of the box that way! lol...

    There was another thread where I described the great pains that I went through to get it to shoot.

    After reading all of your responses, I guess I just have to leave well enough alone. I would certainly not want to have a botched job done where it wouldnt hold a decent group anymore.

    As far as the extra labor and expense- it is a hobby for me, so I have to expect to pay the dues somewhere. I just can't seem to look at a rifle in the rack, and a reloading bench full of supplies, and not want to try something new.


    I guess I need to find another rifle to start messing around with

    Thanks for all the input guys

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    Quote Originally Posted by Akheloce View Post
    I guess I need to find another rifle to start messing around with

    Thanks for all the input guys
    Now your talking
    Tennessee

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    OK, well after a bit of a delay, but a trip to Afghanihole got in my way... I have a 24" bbl on the Kimber and finally got it out to my cabin to scare away some moose before hunting. It actually gets, according to my chrony, 2765, 2758, and 2770 respectively in a three shot string. Not, unfortunately 2800+ (the guy's chrono I borrowed showed in the 2805-2815 range). As I said in my last post, I think I should be happy with what I got, and I won't mess with it- I was more concerned about accurate data, which is why I re-shot it.

    On to my next project, a Ruger No. 1 tropical in 375 HH.... as soon as I find one.


    Thanks again for everyone's input. Maybe I'll learn someday to leave well enough alone

    Quote Originally Posted by Murphy View Post
    I have AIed every caliber available and have some of them that are very good accurate rifles that gave a bonified improvement in performance but generally there is no real reason to do it except just to say you did.

    Also to properly AI an existing chamber the barrrel needs to be set back a turn because the real purpose of AI is to use standard ammo, which will fire form, both cartridges will have the same headspace. If you don't set the barrel back and headspace to standard 30-06 there will be a gap and some case stretching will take place.

    Aside from that, I have some doubts about your load, not the pressure because 60 grains of RL-22 and a 180 is a rather mild load, but your velocity of 2800 plus from 22" of barrel is hard to believe. Check the screen spacing on your chrony. I have a 24" Shilen barreled Mauser in 30-06 AI. It is the fourth gun I've owned/made in the same caliber, none of the others gave as good of results. It is extremely accurate and very fast. A load that generated about 2780 in one of the first 30-06 AIs gave me 2910 fps with the same 180 grain and 61.0 of RL-19 (This is an AI) This gun puts shots into one hole. I have two standard 30-06's with 24" barrrels that will hit 2800 fps at about 56k pressure (measured) but it is a rare thing to get that velocity from the '06 but can be done I've just never done it with RL-22 and certainly not at 51kpsi. Both these guns are cold hammer forged barrels and very smooth with even rifling. One is a 1984 vintage Sako the other is 1999 vintage Dakota M97.

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    Absolutely nothing wrong with those velocities at all. Pointy bullets will let you go out farther, flatter, and nice big round-nosed jobs can take the big stuff close in.
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    Paul H:
    Thet be, a good summary of things I like to know.
    Thanks from here too.
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    Paul H:
    I just read your post again, and I have a question, regarding the 35 Whelen AI.

    Did you note any advantage as to Headspacing, (over the Reg. 35 Whelen,) for the sharper shoulder on the 35 Whelen AI?

    Thanks
    Smitty of the North
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