March 15th, 2020

Accurate Cartridges — The .284 Shehane, an Improved .284 Win

F-Class Reloading .284 Winchester Win Shehane Accuracy

If you look at that 5-round group you might think it was shot with a 6 PPC or maybe a 6mmBR. But no, this was done with heavy 180gr Berger Hybrid bullets and the .284 Shehane, an improved version of the .284 Winchester. In fact, this impressive sub-quarter MOA group was shot while fire-forming with a very well-worn barrel! Gun builder Ryan Pierce of Piercision Rifles explains:

Here’s a 5-shot 0.191″ group at 100 yards with my .284 Shehane fire-forming loads. This barrel has 2200 rounds through it. It had 2000 as a straight .284 Win and then I set it back to .284 Shehane to form brass with. This was the first five rounds through it after I cleaned it after the last match. [The load was] 180 Hybrids with 54.0 grains of H4831 SC.

Ya, I figured why not I had some old barrels laying around so I just chopped 2″ off the back and 1″ off the front and chambered it up as a Shehane. Had 1000 pieces to fireform and didn’t want to do all that on a brand new barrel.

My fireform loads are going 2765 FPS. I have a 29″ barrel also though since it’s a setback. Once you get it formed I would push it faster than that or I wouldn’t even bother with the Shehane. My old straight .284 load at 2890 fps had ES spread in single digits for 10 shots. I figured if I get it up to 2935-2950 fps that will be a point or two saved in a several day match.

.284 Winchester Shehane Reamer Print PT&G

Our friend Erik Cortina notes that the .284 Shehane has a velocity edge over the straight .284 Win because it holds more powder: “The Shehane has more capacity than the .284 Winchester. Ryan is using 54.0 grains simply as a fire-forming load. Typical load for a Shehane is around 57.0 grains of Hodgdon H4831 SC.” By blowing the sidewalls out 0.010″, the .284 Shehane picks up about 3.3 grains of extra case capacity. That enhancement makes a BIG difference. The extra boiler room is enough to drive the 180s at 2900-2950 fps with H4831sc, with long barrels.

Forum member Jim Hardy has shot the .284 with great success. He tells us: “In my humble opinion, the .284 Shehane is the best balanced long-range round there is — bar none. Here is why:

You have to shoot a 30 Cal Magnum with a 240gr bullet to equal the performance of most 7mm chamberings with the 180 Berger VLD. With the .284 Shehane, you have a .308 bolt face, medium action, and Lapua brass. You use less powder than the 7 mags, and have great accuracy and ballistics even while fire-forming. The .284 Shehane shoots inside the 6.5 AND the straight .284, the .300 WSM, and the .300 Win Mag with less recoil. What is not to love about the 284 Shehane? It is a no-brainer for long range — F-Class or Prone or 1000-yard Benchrest.”

Scotland’s Grant Taylor. who used the .284 Shehane to finish third at the 2009 F-Class Worlds in England says the .284 Shehane is “very accurate with superb vertical spreads at 1000 yards. [This] caliber… has awesome accuracy. I’m getting 2930-2950 fps with spreads in the 3-5 fps range. I use Hodgdon H4831sc powder, CCI BR2 primers, and pointed 180gr Bergers.”

Permalink Bullets, Brass, Ammo, Competition, Reloading 1 Comment »
June 7th, 2011

The 6mm BRX — Myth-Busting with Bob Crone

Bob Crone 6mm BRXDispelling Some 6mm BRX Myths, by Robert Whitley
I recently had an interesting and fact-filled conversation with Bob Crone (the inventor of the 6mm BRX) about his BRX. Bob actually called me because he was concerned that there are a lot of myths and about his 6mm BRX and he wanted to “set the record straight” on a few things. Here’s my summary of some topics we discussed:

Myth One: Bob made his 6mm BRX chamber by running a 6mm BR reamer in too deep.

Truth: There is no truth to Myth One. Bob said he specifically designed the BRX reamer and had it made with the head space he specified and a neck length appropriate for his newly designed 6mm BRX wildcat cartridge.

Myth Two: In the course of making up his 6mm BRX, Bob had a version with a .120″ longer head space than a 6mm BR Norma.

Bob Crone 6mm BRXTruth: Bob was clear that his original design for the 6mm BRX always had a .100″ longer head space than a 6mm BR and that he never deviated from that. Right after Bob started working with his 6mm BRX, Bill Shehane came forward with a 6mm BRX version he made up that had a .120″ longer head space, and thus the confusion started. In truth, the original 6mm BRX always was (and still is) a chambering with a head space .100″ longer than a 6mm BR Norma.

Myth Three: The BRX was originally set up for 105-107gr bullets.

Truth: Bob said he set up his original reamer with a zero freebore and he has his gunsmith use a throater to throat whatever chamber was being made to where he wanted a particular bullet to touch the lands. Bob said he originally started with a 1:10″ twist barrel and shot a bunch of the 95gr VLDs and also 87gr bullets. Later he used an 8.5″ twist barrel for the heavier bullets.

Myth Four: The original BRX was set up also for use with Remington BR Brass.

Truth: Bob said he always used Lapua brass. He originally was an avid reader of Precision Shooting magazine and saw that the .262″ neck-turn neck was working real well with the 6 PPC and 6mm BR bench rest shooters and he decided to try to go with something that was already working well for 6mm shooters. He says his original reamer had a .262″ neck, but he also has a .272″ “no-neck-turn” version that he used on some of his rifles. He said the Lapua brass was so good and consistent, that for some rifles he just “didn’t want to mess with it” so he went with the “no-neck-turn” .272″ neck too.

Bob Crone 6mm BRXMyth Five: The “false shoulder” method was used to make brass.

Truth: Bob said he never used the “false shoulder” method to make 6mm BRX brass, he just loaded 6mm BR brass with a bullet well into the lands of the BRX chamber and fire-formed brass that way. He noted that the accuracy with some of the fire-forming rounds was “outrageous” (i.e. outrageously good that is), so much so, they were shot in matches sometimes.

Myth Six: The 6mm BRX has a blown-out or straightened out body.

Truth: Bob said he kept the basic body taper of the 6mm BR cartridge. He wanted the cartridge to be an easy and inexpensive (but high performance) 6mm wildcat, and the original design was (and still is) set up to use readily available 6mm BR dies (up off the shell holder about .100″ from the normal position).

Author’s note: It was a most enjoyable experience to talk to Bob Crone. He is not only still passionate about his 6mm BRX, but he has a commanding knowledge of it as well.

6mm BRX reamer print, Whitley

Reamer Print provided by AR-X Enterprises LLC, www.6mmAR.com.

Permalink Bullets, Brass, Ammo, Reloading 7 Comments »
September 20th, 2009

6BR vs. Dasher vs. 6BRX for 600 Yards

After scanning the equipment list for the recent 600-yard IBS Nationals, one of our readers noted how the 6mm Dasher dominated the Top 10 list in both Light Gun and Heavy Gun Classes. But Sam Hall won the Grand Agg with a straight 6BR, Mike Davis won the Heavy Gun Agg with a 6BRX, and Richard Schatz won the Light Gun Agg with a 6mm Dasher. So which cartridge should you pick? What’s the best for the 600-yard game — 6BR or Dasher or BRX?

Sam Hall, 2008 IBS 600-yard Shooter of the Year and back-to-back 2009/2008 IBS 600-yard National Champion, offers this advice:

“I shot a Dasher most of this year at IBS 600-yard matches and shot a no-turn BRX in a couple of shoots. I even tried a BRDX (40° improved with a longer neck than Dasher) in a practice barrel. By looking at the results on my target, I would never have been able to tell the difference between any of them if I did not already know what cartridge I was shooting. The 6BR or an improved version are just downright inherently accurate. They are all easy to load for and tune. I do believe the 6-6.5×47 Lapua is harder to get tuned than the 6BR. There are always the exceptions though. I have been beaten a few times this year by one exceptionally good shooting 6-6.5×47.

My next step is to try a no-neck-turn 6BR. I have been beaten by some a few times. I am now wondering if neck-turning is worth the time. A lot of the top BRX and Dasher shooters are not turning their necks and doing extremely well.

Samuel Hall 6BR Tracker

In my opinion pick your favoite BR or improved version, learn it well, practice, and don’t deviate. If someone you know shoots a BRX (or Dasher) and has a lot of experience with it — that is a good head start for loads. You can then compare what shoots good and what does not. I sure did not learn everthing on my own. I got some good load info here on this website (AccurateShooter.com) and I used to hound Terry Brady to death for loads to find out what he was winning with. Don’t be afraid to ask questions! I still do! Good luck and have fun.”

– Samuel Hall

Permalink Competition, Reloading No Comments »
March 22nd, 2009

TECH TIP: Form Improved Cases with Hydraulic Forming Die

We know many of our readers shoot the 6 BRX, 6 Dasher, 6mm Rem AI, .243 Ackley and other “improved cartridges” that require case-forming. These wildcat designs move the shoulder forward, or alter the shoulder angle and/or body taper. Traditionally, these cases are fire-formed, i.e. a charge of powder is used to blow the shoulder forward and casewalls out. There are different methods of fire-forming. Some guys use a full load of rifle powder, with bullets seated hard in the lands (setting up a false shoulder helps too). Other shooters successfully fire-form without bullets, using fast pistol powders (and a much-reduced charge). Typically, with this bulletless fire-forming, a filler such as Grits is used, along with some kind of plug or wad to hold the powder in the case.

Fire-forming takes time, and consumes expensive powder, primers, and (typically) bullets. Unless you have a dedicated fire-forming barrel, the fire-forming process can use up a significant amount of your useful barrel life, particularly if you are a varminter needing hundreds of re-formed cases. What if you could form your cases at home, at your reloading bench, without burning powder or wasting barrel life? Well you can…

Hydraulic Case-Forming with Hornady Die
Now, thanks to Hornady, shooters who need to “improve” their cases have a bonafied alternative to fire-forming. Hornady’s custom shop offers a hydraulic case-forming kit that allows you to form cases just using water and a conventional reloading press.

Hornady Hydraulic Forming Die

Because fluids, such as water, are not compressible, you can use hydraulic action to change the shape of your brass in a die. As a ram or piston moves the fluid in the die, hydraulic pressure pushes the shoulder and case walls out to match the “improved” case profile machined into the Hornady die. What you’ll get is a re-formed case with a near-perfect neck-shoulder junction, but with slightly rounded edges where the case body meets the shoulder. However, the edges of the shoulder will normally sharpen up once you shoot the brass for the first time with a full load.

Hornady Hydraulic Forming Die

Tips for Hydraulic Case-Forming
The process works well… as long as you understand that it will take a final fire-forming stage to fully “blow out” the brass. The hydraulic process gets you 95% of the way there. Lonnie Hummel, technician of Hornady’s Custom Shop, uses a hydraulic forming die himself to produce his wildcat varmint cases. Lonnie recommends using regular water as the hydraulic fluid, but other shooters have used isopropyl alcohol, and some guys have used light machine oil. The different fluid choices have pros and cons. With water, you have to be careful to dry out the forming die so it doesn’t rust. With oil you have to make sure you remove ALL the oil from the case before firing. That’s very important for safety and to ensure you don’t “kill” your primers. Alcohol seems to work well, but again you want to make sure residues are removed, so that any residual alcohol does not contaminate primers or powder.

Ordering a Hydraulic Forming Die
Hornady hydraulic forming dies are produced on a custom basis. You need to supply a reamer print or some “finished” cases that have been fully fire-formed in your chamber. Then Hornady can build a die that matches your improved or wildcat chamber. Also, after heat-treating, each die is custom-honed so there is a super-close fit with the shaft of the hydraulic piston.

How much will it cost? Prices vary depending on the size of the parent cartridge: for cases up to 2.6″, the cost is $165.00; for cases over 2.6″ up to 2.9″ the price is $185.00. These prices are for the complete Hornady Hydraulic Forming Kit, which includes Die Body, Lock Ring, Hydraulic Piston, and a special shellholder (without a center hole).

For more information contact Lonnie Hummel at Hornady. Call (308) 382-1390 and ask for the Custom Shop or email: lhummel [at] hornady.com. NOTE: You will NOT see this product listed or illustrated on Hornady’s website. Hydraulic form dies are special order items.

Photos courtesy Forum member SongDogHunter

Permalink New Product, Reloading 3 Comments »