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  • Ackley improved cartridge info sources?

    Have a current project on the go that requires some research into
    Ackley improved cartridges, in particular the .303 improved. Other than Ackley's own publications, are there other published authorities on the subject?
    Would appreciate some leads as to where can find info, data, loads, etc.
    Does anyone have any personal experience with this cartridge?
    Have heard it can drive 180 grain slugs @ 2900+ fps.
    That's .300 mag territory isn't it?

    JWB

  • #2
    The 303 in any configuration will never drive a 180 grain bullet to 2900 FPS. Never ever use Ackley load data. He was quite good at doing his loadings to be on the very hot side of things. I had a 450 Ackley at one time and Parker Ackleys data called for 100 grains of IMR3031 under a 500 grain bullet. Believe me there is not enough case capacity to get 100 grains of IMR3031.

    The usual practice when loading the AI cartridges is to start with the maximum load of the parent cartridge using the same bullet weight.

    Example: 30-06 with 165 grain bullet. A fairly standard load with the 165 grain bullet in the 30-06 is 58 grains of 4350 powder, so with the 30-06 AI you can start with 58 grain of 4350 and work up from there.


    If you are wanting 2900 FPS from a 303 using a 180 grain bullet, why not just go with a 300 winny? For all practical purposes a 300 Winny will drive a 180 to right about 3100 with the right powder.

    Comment


    • #3
      Allen,

      2900 fps isn't necessarily what I'm after, it's only what I've heard can be done.
      Like I said, I'm researching a project, and need help with sourcing info and experiences. Sounds like you've been to "Ackley land" (no disrespect intended) with other calibers, can you help me out with some info sources for my research????

      JWB

      Comment


      • #4
        Ackley Improved

        I've had and worked up loads for several Ackley Improved cartridges, including the 257 Roberts and during my research into his loads I discovered that, as has been previously said, some of his loads were waaay over the top, even though powders then and now have changed. Many of his improved cartridges didn't really yield that much of an advantage, some, 100 fps or less, like the 30-06 Imp. I don't think he ever really intended to turn the cartridges he redesigned into magnums, but to make them basically more efficient, which he did. He made them easy to case-form, basically by firing the standard cartridges in an improved chamber, and also made many of them easier to feed with his 40 degree shoulder. 2900fps seems unrealistic in the .303 British with a 180 grain bullet.

        Comment


        • #5
          My experience is in line with the others here. Ackley was a fine machinist, but a poor ballistician as far as I can tell. I've got a couple of his originals and can't even come close to his loads before pressure signs go through the roof. His loads are right up there with most political claims.

          Start near max for the original case as a fire-forming load, then work up cautiously from there. I've got reloading manuals going back before most of us were alive, and none of them list the 303 AI. Donnelly's "The Handloader's Manual of Cartridge Conversions" doesn't even list it, though he includes Epps and ICL improved versions. The Epps version lists 46.7gn of IMR4320 and a 175gn spire with no velocity. The ICL version lists 43.0gn of 4320 with a 180gn bullet for 2450 fps, with Ackley Vol.1, pg. 446 as a source.

          I checked, and old P.O. must have really been daydreaming on this one. His top load for a 180gn in the ICL is 52 grains of 4320 yielding 3020fps! He recommends the loads for an Enfield P14 and not SMLE's, but still......... To top it all off, he claims this is similar performance to what can be achieved with improved versions of the 30/40 Krag with its comparable case capacities.

          Waaaayyyyy out there on both counts!
          "Lay in the weeds and wait, and when you get your chance to say something, say something good."
          Merle Haggard

          Comment


          • #6
            Ackley Calibers...

            JWB,

            I have some experience with the various Ackley calibers. I think an even dozen, none to include the 303 British, however. What specifically do you want to know? Do you want load data? Do you want to know more about Mr Ackley? You should get a copy of his two volume set of books, if you don't have them already.

            I will say this if you are not an experienced handloader, these aren't the place to start. Also, if you have found a rifle chambered to an "Ackley improved" I would suggest you pass it by. Most were not made correctly, though the 303, with it's rim wouldn't be so bad with headspace.

            The 303 round was designed to operate at about 45,000 psi. To load that case to 60,000 psi is a mistake. Also, when you straighten the walls of a case in the "improved" calibers it changes the way the case behaves under pressure, changes the signature of the case head and masks the pressure signs we usually have. That 303 case doesn't hold as much powder as the 30-06 and can never give the velocity of it at 30-06 pressures, and 30-06 pressures are 60,000 psi.

            I partcipated in a rather lengthy debate on 24hr about the Ackleys and the other was about 'bolt thrust' with Dr. Oehler. Some of it is informative and some of it is just folks repeating what some one said or wrote.

            Brown bear, I think you comment about him being an excellent machinist and a poor ballistician is right on. He was a bit optimistic in his calculations.

            I almost never open a book which might contain load data, and go to the loads. I read what Ackley had to say and studied the cases and calibers. He did things I would never do, but he didn't have the instrumentation we have today. I view most of those hot loads as mistakes in printing or just slipping a cog here and there. I always considered the load data too old to be of any use today because the powders are obsolete or at the least an old lot which won't have the same characteristics as todays powder. Therefore I don't use data that old. So for me all the Ackleys were brand new territory to explore. I have all this data for 12 different Ackley calibers. Folks ask me for it all the time. I don't mind giving it out but hesitate because of the "cook-bookers", who are looking for a short cut. So many who are detractors of the Ackleys, think the only reason to shoot one is to claim magnum velocities. Not the case for me, each was an experiment. Certainly if it was a quest for more velocity today, and we were making a custom rifle, we could do much better (faster) with any of the new super zapper, ultra boomers.

            They were, for Mr. Ackley, a means of getting additional velocity from a standard case. They did that then and they do that today. We can quibble over how much or how little the gain in velocity is but it is and should be a small increase in velocity without an increase in pressure. For any one who claims that it can't be done at the same pressures, I say he has no experience or knowledge of ballistics or physics. Now it is also true that two rifles of the same caliber, standard calibers can vary in velocity at the same pressures and to a degree greater than one could gain from an Ackley improved. There is no way to predict the velocity gain in any particular caliber (once Ackleyed) and some caibers will certainly show a greater increase in case capacity than others.

            I presently own three different rifles with AI chambers. A 6.5-06AI, a 30-06AI, and 338-06AI. These are not the first I've owned in these calibers but are the best of them. I am going to rebarrel the 6.5 to a standard 6.5-06, and leave the others as they are. The 6.5-06AI has too much case capacity for the 6.5 bore. The 30-06 AI has given some high velocities but it's barrel is perfect. .3080"-.3082" from one end to the other and smooth as a baby's butt. 180's at 2900+ is an easy task. I have owned 5 others that wouldn't do that for various reasons. They are an experiment and something different. They are frowned upon by most handloaders as too much trouble, I don't find that the case.

            Let me know if you want specific notes.
            Is there nothing so sacred on this earth that you aren't willing to kill or die for?


            Comment


            • #7
              I'll just echo what the others have set. Your best way to work up loads is to fireform brass, start at top loads from the parent chambering, and work up, though gon't go too far! I've loaded for several improved chamberings, though the the 35 whelen was the only true ackley. You need to realize that not only were guns not accurately pressure tested in the past, most loads weren't chronographed, so velocity claims are suspect at best.

              I've never knowingly handled an ackley rifle, but from what I've heard from those that have, he wasn't a skilled machinist either.

              I think it is best to keep PO Ackley in historical perspective. He was a very active experimentor and tinkerer. His work influenced many, many people. Also you need to keep a perspective on the times. Very few people could afford multiple guns, and there was a large supply of reasonably priced military surplus rifles. So if you wanted to get more performance from your mil surp 30-06, and use the same brass, the ackley improved chamber made alot of sense, even if in reality you gained a mere 50 fps. No one owned chronos so no one was the wiser.

              In simply terms, if you want 30-06 performance, then get one and don't try and make a 303 match it, if you want 300 mag performance, get one, and don't try and make an -06 match it.
              Those that are successful in Alaska are those who are flexible, and allow the reality of life in Alaska to shape their dreams, vs. trying to force their dreams on the reality of Alaska.

              If you have a tenuous grasp of reality, Alaska is not for you.

              Comment


              • #8
                Originally posted by Paul H View Post

                I've never knowingly handled an ackley rifle, but from what I've heard from those that have, he wasn't a skilled machinist either.

                Paul I've owned a 450 Magnum as it was called, not 450 Ackley that was made by P.O Ackley in 1962 on the P17 action. It had a SS barrel that was blued by him. Had a hell of an expansion chamber that was mill out of the barrel blank as the barrel was being turned to it's contour. I have yet to ever see another expansion chamber like it anywhere.

                Comment


                • #9
                  Allen,

                  I relise I poorly worded that sentence. Perhaps better said, his work wouldn't be rated as top drawyer or best quality. He was a capable machinist and definately had some inovative ideas.
                  Those that are successful in Alaska are those who are flexible, and allow the reality of life in Alaska to shape their dreams, vs. trying to force their dreams on the reality of Alaska.

                  If you have a tenuous grasp of reality, Alaska is not for you.

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    Improved cartridge info

                    Thanks to all for the good advice.

                    My project into the area of improved cartridges is purely research and interest reading at this time.
                    There don't seem to be very many published authorities as to loads,
                    velocities, findings, etc. Would appreciate if anyone can direct me to such.
                    Any info you would care to share from personal loads and testing would also be appreciated.

                    Regards,
                    JWB

                    Comment


                    • #11
                      I haven't dug into the volumes to check, but as I recall Ken Waters wrote about some of the AI's in his Pet Load series. When I have more time I'll double check.

                      My favorite AI is a 257 Roberts he barreled on a Mauser action for a friend of mine, who subsequently willed it to me. It's comparable to a "long throat" (3" OAL) that RCBS made for me on a Remington 700 action in the 70's while keeping the standard OAL. I've got a Featherweight Ruger 77 in 257 too. Kind of interesting to shoot all of them. When loaded to similar pressures you need a chronograph and a tape measure to find any real difference, and game certainly can't tell.

                      Still love that 257 AI, mostly from the sentiment attached to it.
                      "Lay in the weeds and wait, and when you get your chance to say something, say something good."
                      Merle Haggard

                      Comment


                      • #12
                        Published Loads!

                        JWB,

                        Sooooo....If I'm not published you're not interested.

                        Are you looking for a particular caliber? I have 330 different loads for 12 different AI calibers, I don't want to list them all...may take a while. How about a 7x57 AI? A 257 Roberts AI? A 250 Savage AI, a 6.5-06AI, or.....you could wait until it's all published.
                        Is there nothing so sacred on this earth that you aren't willing to kill or die for?


                        Comment


                        • #13
                          Why wait for spring?

                          There don't seem to be very many published authorities as to loads,
                          velocities, findings, etc.
                          Would appreciate if anyone can direct me to such.
                          Any info you would care to share from personal loads and testing would also be appreciated.

                          Regards,
                          JWB[/quote]

                          Murphy,

                          Why wait for spring? If you have info on the 7 x 57AI and the 6.5 X 55AI
                          please feel free to send it on. Those are two calibers I have hunted and handloaded for. The .303 AI perks my interest only because I have
                          some family history with the old .303 and the idea of getting a 2900 fps
                          load out of this caliber intrigues me. I am hoping your info will include a personal assessment and comments, along with the raw data.

                          If you care to share, you will find my email access through the forum open.

                          PS: On the matter of publication, you will recall, I have a standing request for a personally signed copy of your cartridge handloading book when it comes out. When can we expect to see same?

                          Regards, JWB

                          Comment


                          • #14
                            Hey Murphy, I'd be interested in the 6.5-06AI data if it isn't much trouble.
                            Science has a rich history of proving itself wrong.

                            Comment


                            • #15
                              Murphy,

                              I have two Chuck Daly Mauser actions that I bought about a month ago. One of them is getting built into a .338-06 AI.
                              I'd appreciate some load data if at all possible.
                              Now what ?

                              Comment

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