Hello to all out there,
First of all my reason for this article is to learn how to safely fireform cases. About 22 years ago I started playing around with .17 rifles. My first project was a .17 Mashburn, which is a necked down and blown out with a 40 Degree shoulder with a .171 long neck, just the same length as the bullet diameter .218 Bee case. I have made these from. .218 Bee 25-20 32-20. Right now I will stick with the Bee cases. During my first attempts I would form the case and then anneal. I had been told that you could load bullets after annealing and fire and eject a perfect case. It don't work folks .My next approach was to stick about 3 grains of a fast burning powder in and then I had poured melted bullet lube in a little pan to a depth of about 3/16 inch. After the lube solidified I would take it in my left hand, turn it upside down and take the powder charged case and stick the neck up in the lube and twist and remove. This made a lube bullet blank. Having heard stories of reduced loads causing explosions, I put the rifle in a secure fixture and pulled the trigger with a string. RESULT-a perfect case. tHAT WAS THE ONLY TIME i EVER TIED IT UP. The 25-20 and 32-20 cases that I converted required more annealing or the would split. Of course that Cartridge require a lot more form die work that the Bee requires. I had no enlarged primer pockets or any thing. I have shot these cases many a time and am still shooting them.
Now here is the problem I encountered. I built a Ackley Improved .223 rifle and being a perfectionist I wanted to fireform them before I loaded so I had real .223 AI cases. I was going to follow the same procedures as for the little .17. I can't remember what powder I used on the Bee, I'm positive it was a fast burning pistol powder. When I started the .223 fire forming I was out of that particular powder so I started looking through my powders and thought WW 231 will work (not sure but almost positive it was ww231) I think I used 8 or 9 grs. I fired a lot of these through a strong 700 Remington Varminter and I mean a lot. Here is the surprise-when I went to load these cases about half or maybe more of them had loosened primer pockets, I mean so loose that the primers would fall out. i HAVE FIRE FORMED WIILD CAT CASES WITH REAL BULLETS AND HAD GOOD LUCK NEVER LOST A CASE, i JUST USED FAIRLY MODEST CHARGES OF THE POWDER i INTENDED TO LOAD WITH. WHAT HAPPENED?I need to form some cases for my new toy a /17 Ackley Bee and am afraid to try it the old way. SOMEONE PLEASE HELP ME OUT.
I HAVE RECEIVED A LOT OF HELPFUL INFORMATION FROM OTHER MEMBERS. IN A DAY OR SO I'M GOING TO COMPILE ALL OF THIS INFORMATION AND POST A REPLY WITH MORE QUESTIONS. THANKS AND MY APPRECIATION TO ALL WHO HAVE RESPONDED.
David a. Cogburn