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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)     Back to Top Direct Link To This Post Posted: July/09/2015 at 12:54
Rancid Coolaid View Drop Down
Optics Jedi Master
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The singular downside to a "wildcat" or non-standard round is that you, the owner, are the technical support and troubleshooting departments for your round of choice.  Likewise, if you blow your own nose off, you alone are responsible.

That said, the reward is exceedingly personal when you finally strike upon something that works.

I am a fan of the 243Winchester round, very high quality bullets are plentiful, components are relatively easy to find (Lapua makes 243 brass), and the gun performs well on anything in North America smaller than an elk and nicer than a bear.

But, 243 is tough on brass - and it could use a few more FPS, in my opinion (few calibers couldn't.)  Those 2 are both marvelously addressed with the 243AI - or 243 Ackley Improved.  This is nothing more than a 243Winchester with a 40 degree shoulder rather than a 20 degree as in the 243 Winchester.  And fire-forming brass is nothing more than shooting 243Win rounds through your 243AI gun.

So, why the hassle, you ask?  Because the 243AI addresses both of the weaknesses of the 243Win: the brass grows much less, is stressed much less, and lasts much longer for the reloader.  Additionally, the shoulder bump increases case capacity by around 5 grains, or just south of 10%.

Best of all, in a pinch, it fires 243Win ammo with no issues.

The singular downside - other than the whole "non-standard caliber" part, is forming your brass - or so they tell me.  Mine was on the range today and printed what I'd consider some respectable groups.  As it was a fire-forming day, I shot 10-round strings, still paying attention to rifle basics, but the forming was the priority.  All groups were under an inch, edge-to-edge, and a few were one flier from being 0.5" edge-to-edge.  And this is 243Win ammo from a fast-twist barrel.  Faster 243AI stuff is even better.

So, those considering rebarrelling that old 243, consider an AI cahmber, especially if you are a reloader.

By the way, for those thinking this is a cost-prohibitive enterprise: my rifle is a Tikka T3 lite in a chassis.  It is original trigger, only a few minor changes (new metal bolt shroud, new larger bolt knob) and a new stock - and, of course, a new barrel.  I asked the smith that did the work if it needed any truing, and he said Tikkas almost never do, so this is a stock action.

I posted on this previously, but wanted to follow up with the "about 1 year later" follow-up.  The gun is still running strong, and I like it a little more every time I shoot it.
Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)     Back to Top Direct Link To This Post Posted: July/09/2015 at 14:29
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Optics Jedi Knight
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Third place at Wy-Shot went to Glenn Pilgrim with a 243AI . I shot his SP and liked how tame it was at the same time reaching out accurately. I had no problem spotting my own hits thru the scope. I really liked the performance of this round.
Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)     Back to Top Direct Link To This Post Posted: July/09/2015 at 15:23
Rancid Coolaid View Drop Down
Optics Jedi Master
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Put a suppressor on it and recoil is humorously mild.  Mine is not svelte, but it is a hammer.  My "not as fast as it could be" load is just south of 3300FPS with a 105 Berger hybrid.
Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)     Back to Top Direct Link To This Post Posted: July/09/2015 at 17:38
RifleDude View Drop Down
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Originally posted by Rancid Coolaid Rancid Coolaid wrote:

The singular downside - other than the whole "non-standard caliber" part, is forming your brass - or so they tell me. 


...and even that ain't a downside. If you're loading for precision (minimum headspace, not FL sizing every piece of brass when reloading), EVERY round fired in EVERY chamber is a fire-forming shot, because no two chambers are exactly the same and SAAMI spec, FL resized brass is a fairly sloppy fit to a SAAMI spec chamber. And as you've seen, it's not as if the vanilla SAAMI .243 shots are wasted, as you still get good precision without the AI shoulder angle.

Even if you do FL size every piece of brass, once you have AI dies, there's no difference between sizing them and any other brass.

The only disadvantage to going the AI route is reloading dies are a little more expensive (which you eventually recoup with longer brass life), and the minor cost of rechambering if you're reaming out a non-AI chamber rather than rebarreling.

If you are either rebarreling anyway, or building a custom rifle from scratch, it costs no more to ream an AI chamber than it does to ream its non-AI'ed parent case.

Even if you don't hotrod your loads and therefore don't realize much velocity increase over the parent case (and the AI mod doesn't add very much velocity if loaded to the same pressure as the parent case), the AI chamber is still worth doing IMO, just due to improved brass life and more positive headspace.

This sales pitch I just gave sounds a little familiar...
Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)     Back to Top Direct Link To This Post Posted: July/09/2015 at 17:42
Peddler View Drop Down
Optics Jedi Master
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I only wish I was that intelligent.

Ted I salute you brother!
Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)     Back to Top Direct Link To This Post Posted: July/09/2015 at 21:56
Rancid Coolaid View Drop Down
Optics Jedi Master
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He says it better than me.

I shoot.


243AI is a no-brainer for a reloaded. Hell, Lapua brass life makes the rechammering a wash, add to that the other benefits, and I'd have been stupid not to!
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