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Thread: Some basic questions I should know the answers to

  1. #1

    Some basic questions I should know the answers to

    Ok, just a couple to complete some knowledge gaps (there are many!):
    a. why are factory ammo cases always filled almost fully with powder, when in contrast I reload and the powder only fills around 3/4 of the case? any particular reason they fill them so much when surely they could save money on more moderate loads that are equally accurate?

    b. with an Ackley Improved, you gain a small % case capacity, unless you're loading the case to the rim (figure of speech), what is the benefit? say, if you're ultimate load only takes up 3/4 of the case, does the AI shoulder make ANY difference? Also, would a 'full' load not be dangerous in most cases (no pun intended),etc...you catch me drift.
    Last edited by PKL; 02-09-2011 at 10:41.

  2. #2
    the factory loads are loaded with their own special powder, so they can fully fill the case, I was told as a double charge wont go in as a safety measure,

    seems logical.

  3. #3
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    Quote Originally Posted by PKL View Post
    Ok, just a couple to complete some knowledge gaps (there are many!):
    a. why are factory ammo cases always filled almost fully with powder, when in contract I reload and the powder only fills around 3/4 of the case? any particular reason they fill them so much when surely they could save money on more moderate loads that are equally accurate?

    b. with an Ackley Improved, you gain a small % case capacity, unless you're loading the case to the rim (figure of speech), what is the benefit? say, if you're ultimate load only takes up 3/4 of the case, does the AI shoulder make ANY difference? Also, would a 'full' load not be dangerous in most cases (no pun intended),etc...you catch me drift.
    Answers to "A".
    Loading density, very popular concept, borne out by all manner of supporting evidence, fuller cases are likely to equate to more even, optimal, muzzle velocities and/or pressures. This is good for accuracy. More importantly, part filled cases are blamed for all manner of horrible phenomena, eg. hang-fires and, evil of evils, detonations.... not borne out by much evidence. I wouldn't worry about a 3/4 filled case though. Go with what you find works. Plus, you must remember that most case designs are old and were decided upon around powders available way back when. Modern and alternative powders may offer different answers that are equally valid but don't necessarily fill the case up. BTW, Bullet weights and barrel length options may also vary greatly from original designations, hence many, many options.

    Answers to "B". Ole' man Ackley wasn't looking for more velocity as his primary objective, case shape for better case life and better accuracy (and/or functionality) were his first goals, eg, less body taper, sharper shoulders, better neck design etc. The increase in volume was a by product and... for instance, his figures on the .30-06 impoved showed no velocity gain. Going for more V is the reloader's option. However, most moderne reoaders think of +V first and give less thought to the actual intentions of the new shape case.

    All of the above may be total hogwash, but I believe it Go do the reading.
    Last edited by Tamus; 02-09-2011 at 10:57. Reason: added the bit in red

  4. #4
    I always understood that greater fill level in a cartridge case, would give a more uniform/consistant performance than a part filled case. i.e. the amount of propellant in contact with the flash hole, rather than tipped to the bullet & away from the flash hole would always be a much better load.
    If your case has a lot of unused space in it, perhaps it would be worth finding a slower propellant to fill the case more?
    I know of people who filled remaining space in their cases with cotton wool to prevent propellant movement away from the flash hole.
    Of the Ackley, I can't comment...I don't have any knowledge.
    Cheers,
    Blaser K95 Luxus Kipplaufbüchse .25-06Rem. Zeiss 8x56, 110gn Nosler Accubond = Game Over!

  5. #5
    Quote Originally Posted by Tamus View Post
    Answers to "A".
    Loading density, very popular concept, borne out by all manner of supporting evidence, fuller cases are likely to equate to more even, optimal, muzzle velocities and/or pressures. This is good for accuracy. More importantly, part filled cases are blamed for all manner of horrible phenomena, eg. hang-fires and, evil of evils, detonations.... not borne out by much evidence. I wouldn't worry about a 3/4 filled case though. Go with what you find works. Plus, you must remember that most case designs are old and were decided upon around powders available way back when. Modern and alternative powders may offer different answers that are equally valid but don't necessarily fill the case up. BTW, Bullet weights and barrel length options may also vary greatly from original designations, hence many, many options.

    Answers to "B". Ole' man Ackley wasn't looking for more velocity as his primary objective, case shape for better case life and better accuracy (and/or functionality) were his first goals, eg, less body taper, sharper shoulders, better neck design etc. The increase in volume was a by product and... for instance, his figures on the .30-06 impoved showed no velocity gain. Going for more V is the reloader's option. However, most moderne reoaders think of +V first and give less thought to the actual intentions of the new shape case.

    All of the above may be total hogwash, but I believe it Go do the reading.
    Ackley improved the shoulder because he had a theory that a square shoulder burned the powder more efficiently and that with certain carteridges, using war surplus powders, he was able to bring the case capacity up to usable levels while remaining under the SAAMI pressure limits. Ackley cartridges almost never function as well as their parent round, mechanically speaking. Many require magazine and feed-rail modifications to function reliably. With the kind of powders we have today, the variety available, I doubt Ackley would pursue the project.

    Bobt has it right. Cases loaded to safe pressures with full density risk no double charging and with very few exceptions, the powders are proprietary blends from which the home reloader will be able to draw no reference. ~Muir

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