Starting materials


Dumb old Yugoslavian M48 Mauser




Buckey got a few of these, and chose them for the long receiver instead of the medium.  Out of the group of them, he chose the pictured one to be the 'good' one.  This one will be restored as-is.  It is in very good shape, even with the guy's name carved into the stock.   Hmph! If I carved my name in my M16-A1 in the USMC, there would have been hell to pay.  But regardless --- this one is a very nice piece, and a good example Yugo 8mm mauser.


Adams & Bennett Barrel Mauser Series 3 22-250 Remington F34 Contour 1 in 14" Twist 24" stainless

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Boyd’s Target Varminter Stock pepper laminate

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I really loved this thing, and you will see how awesome the wood grain is on it.  It started out being shaped very well, but needed some sanding and finishing.  I think I will be re-sanding and re-finishing this baby over the next couple decades.


Bold trigger with side safety






The safety shroud

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The POS scope


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Guess you can see where I saved my money huh?  Actually it works pretty well, but whenever I use my 30-06 with the Leupold, I can surely see the difference.  Just read on – this thing makes the bullet go where I want, so enuf said.



Butler Creek scope covers


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I love them.  Simply flip ‘em up when you’re ready.  The ocular cover has a red “press forward” button which flips that one open, and your front hand is ready to flip up the objective cover, so two quick flips, and you’re looking at your target.  The red button has broken since first install, and I have to struggle with it a bit.  If I were to go on a priority hunt, or have a windfall profit and find $13, I would replace it.  Thirteen bucks!!! Come on!!!


The ammo



I really love my Winchester Model 70 Featherweight in 30-06, but it makes me pay a price every time I shoot it. Those of you in the know will cringe at the title of the gun.  Newton’s 3rd law in practice.  For every action is an equal and opposite reaction.  Translation:  It kicks me into next Tuesday with every shot.  Only after careful development of a lower velocity load with 150 gr bullets could I moderate the recoil. Actually you should try it.  Instead of going to the absolute top of the chart, just go a little bit below that, and it kicks, for sure, but not an awful painful kick that causes an accuracy-impairing cringe.


But the day I shot Buckey’s 22-250 Encore, I fell in love.  No recoil to speak of, yet it could shoot out to many hundreds of meters without a problem.  THAT will be the caliber of my Mauser.  Yup.  I most certainly do not want to build a 375 H&H that will kick me into next Wednesday, and I do not need to build a second gun that is just about identical to the 30-06, like a 7x57 or a 280 Rem.  So why not do something completely different? 


Mr. P.O. Ackley is to thank for many wildcat cartridges that outperform their parent cartridges.  When Buckey started making guns, he did many of the Ackley improved cartridges, and they did very well.  When we chose a caliber for my gun, he said to me, “So you want to go regular 22-250, or Ackley?”   Having seen all of the wonderful guns he made, I certainly chose the Ackley chambering. 


Here is a pic of a factory 22-250, and my 'improved' casing after fire forming:




See how the shoulders are sharper, and the case does not taper so much?   It adds a considerable amount of powder capacity to the case. And probably other things; I am not a ballistics expert; I am merely a computer programmer so I don’t claim to know all these things.


In order to “create” Ackley cartridges, you buy regular factory cartridges, load them accordingly, and shoot them in an Ackley – improved gun. The charge will expand the soft brass up against the chamber, thus “fire formed”.  This is the term for modifying brass to fit modified chambers.


There is a very interesting fireforming article here, where instead of shooting a bullet, you fill the case with corn meal, and use a ‘bullet’ of wax:


….but later I saw it was already in my bible of reloading, Modern Handloading, by Major George Nonte Jr., copyright 1972 by George Nonte, page 258.


Instead of loading regular 22-250 loads in my gun and fire form them while being shot the first time in my gun, I did the corn meal thing instead.   Since leaving the farm, I don’t have 120 acres to shoot at will whenever I want, so having a solution I can do at home without breaking the law or disturbing my neighbors is preferable.


Some of my own observations


  1. Major Nonte used Crisco to plug the neck, and said it made a mess.
  2. Mike J used paraffin to plug the neck, and it worked better.


I noticed if I just fill ‘er up, and plug the neck by pressing it into a block of wax, it was merely acceptable.   Some of the rounds, after rolling around a bit in the tray I tossed them into, would work the wax loose, and the corn meal fell out, and got to be a mess.  It was merely ‘assembled’; but not packed in hard.


If I packed the paper in hard, and then carefully topped off the corn meal, tapped the cartridge on the bench a couple times to settle it in, poked it with a stick to pack it in better, and RE filled the corn meal to the absolute top of the neck, and then pushed the wax into the neck HARD, I got much better results.   It really compressed the whole assembly.


You try it – loosely fill one, and carefully tightly pack another, and you will get sharper shoulders, and better performance. 


Why is it when you light a stack of gunpowder on the bench, it flares up, but if it is packed tightly in a cartridge or a firecracker, it explodes?  Same thing is illustrated here on the fireforming loads.  At least that is my theory.


I also found myself tempted to just leave it at a lower fireforming charge when the case was “almost” right.   If I upped the charge a little more, it would make the shoulders sharper, and do a better job.   However, the first time it is loaded with a full charge and shot with a bullet, the cartridge fills out perfectly. So maybe a “mostly formed” cartridge is sufficient.  Again, another theory of mine, and only lots of experimentation will prove or disprove this theory.


Did just a bit of research on the web to see what others were doing.  Yup you can see the above references.  Want to see them all? The Ackley web pages are not so frequent.  I guess this would be another reason why I made this page to describe what I did and what I learned.  Here are my links that I found to be valuable:  You will see my other links too – check out the cast bullet links and of course all the programming info.


Baby pictures


The FIRST THREE SHOTS from my newly built rifle, at 100 yds:




Not too bad for a $30 scope huh?   AND this was not after doing any tuning of the reloads or anything.  Just made 3 rounds, stuck 'em in the chamber, and pulled the trigger.  Wait till I actually try to do a good job!!!


Merely acceptable pic from the range:




Couple more from in the house: