Factory ammo is readily available for all kinds of shooting, but there are times when only a custom cartridge will meet your needs.|
Sometimes you want to use an existing caliber but need a special load – either the bullet you want isn't available from the factory, or you want different performance. Bill's Accuracy will do custom reloading to your specifications, either to exacting benchrest standards, or to slightly more forgiving (but still very accurate) hunting standards. Hunting cartridges are expected to spend some time in the field, loose in a cartridge box or pocket, and have to chamber freely even if they have a little lint or dust on them. Benchrest-standard cartridges are expected to match the chamber as closely as possible, and must be quite clean or they won't fit the chamber.
CUSTOM CARTRIDGE FORMING
You don't have to use commercial cartridges exactly the way they come from the factory. Rifle and pistol brass can be reformed into a wide variety of shapes to meet different needs. These are called "wildcat" rounds, and many current factory cartridges like the .243 and 25-06 got their start this way.
At Bill's Accuracy, we can load custom wildcat rounds to your specifications, or help you develop a wildcat to meet your needs.
The latest wildcat we've developed is the .30-BAS (for "Bill's Accuracy Shop"). Here are some particulars:
The cartridge is loaded with 36 grains of Vihtavuori 130 powder, for 100% loading density (meaning there's no airspace at all inside the case). This design is strikingly efficient, providing excellent velocity for the powder burned. In benchrest shooting, the .30-BAS has won some state championships and many single matches. For instance, in a 600-yard match, it shot a group of 1.110 inches using 118-grain BIB .308-caliber bullets, and it's also performed very well in 1000-yard matches with 125- and 150-grain bullets.
Bill's favorite wildcat round, the .30-BAS (right) next to its parent, the 6mm BR (left). With its short neck and extra case capacity, the .30-BAS is suitable for super-short actions. With 125- or 150-grain bullets it provides velocities near .308 and superb accuracy.
The .30-BAS is the result of a project to get the maximum out of the 6mm BR cartridge. This base cartridge is well known for its accuracy, and several makers sell it in high-quality, low-variance brass. Bill had used this brass on a number of wildcats for clients and thought that it had unexplored potential "on the upsize".|
In the .30-BAS, the .243-inch neck diameter of the basic round is expanded to .30 inch, and the shoulder is moved forward to provide the maximum room for powder. (See the drawing below for exact dimensions.) This has the desirable side effect of shortening the neck so there's only a slight amount of contact between it and the bullet, which improves round-to-round consistency. (A stronger crimp of the bullet can be used for hunting rounds; benchrest shooters generally use a very light taper crimp.)
What about hunting?
Besides its great performance in benchrest shooting, the .30-BAS should be a boon for hunters. Bill is currently building an ultra-lightweight hunting rifle in this caliber to be used for deer, elk, and antelope hunting in the American mountain west and desert southwest.
Hunters there face special problems that make finding the right rifle a challenge. First, they have to walk a lot, hiking up and down hills and through valleys. Toting a heavy rifle through a long day of hiking is far from pleasant, and many a shot has been missed because carrying a heavy rifle left the hunter too tired for good shooting.
Second, in many of these areas there's not a lot of cover for hunters, so shots often have to be long – sometimes from one side of a valley to the other.
Third, western mule deer and elk are bigger than eastern whitetails, and many hunting experts recommend a minimum size of .30-caliber bullets to take them. But at the same time, it takes an accurate rifle to make the well-placed shots that will consistently hit small, fast game like antelope.
Since the .30-BAS round will fit a super-short action like a .222 or .223 bolt action, Bill thinks the finished rifle can be under six pounds – with a scope! When the best shot you get might be at 300 yards, a very accurate .30 caliber rifle that doesn't feel like a bar of lead after carrying it all day should be very welcome.
If you think you might be interested in a gun like this, Bill will be happy to discuss it with you.
Reamer template for the .30-BAS cartridge: