Site hosted by Build your free website today!

"Cream of Wheat" Fireforming
When I first started shooting the 6mm Ackley Improved, I formed brass using 100 grain bullets purchased in bulk (cheap) at a gun show. After the forming & break in process, and going through about 400 rounds trying to develop some accurate loads, I decided to start over with some fresh brass. Barrel life expectancy became a concern, so an alternate method of forming brass sounded appealing. The "Cream of Wheat" method is basically using a light charge of a pistol powder, a pistol primer, a small wad of toilet paper, Cream of Wheat or other similar inert filler, and a wax plug, but NO bullet. To determine how much powder to use (I used W231, others would also work), fill a new, unfired case completely full of your pistol powder. I did this step with a FIRED primer in the case. Dump the case full of powder onto your powder scale, and determine the weight. 10 percent of this full case weight of pistol powder is the charge you want to start forming with. Load a new, unfired case with a standard pistol primer, & the 10 percent charge of pistol powder. Drop in a small wad of toilet paper (about 1/4 of one sheet)into the case and tap it down. Next, fill the case to the neck & shoulder junction with your inert filler. Finally, plug the case with paraffin wax. Take the prepared case in one hand and hold the wax over it, forcing the case neck into the wax. The case is now ready to fire.

You will probably have to increase your charge several times before you hit on the correct charge weight. Just don't increase by more than grain or so at one time. It took several trys before I had the correct charge. The cases come out of the chamber near perfect.

I form my cases in the garage, with the door down. The first time I tried this, I had my wife stand out in the yard to determine if the noise would disturb the neighbors. I used an old work boot to catch the mess, but it only lasted for about 10 cases (the heal was blown off). The filler and plug come out with enough force to be dangerous near the muzzle, however, when I fired one directly at the garage wall 12-15' way, there were no marks of any kind. No, I am not recommending you shoot at your walls, I am just relating my experiences.

With the exception of length trimming, I do the other case preparation steps first. Forming an Ackley case in any manner tends to shorten the case slightly, so save any length trimming until last.

Several shooters have warned me about a possible residue build-up when forming with this procedure. To combat this build-up, I clean the barrel with a few strokes of JB after every 5 cases. I have not noticed any build-up, but I don't have a bore scope, either.

If your gun is accurate fireforming with bullets, you should probably just form while varmint hunting. Mine isn't accurate forming with bullets, so this is the only way I form.

There is a much more in-depth article about fireforming in The Varmint Hunter Magazine by Ken Howell (October 98 Issue #28). I would recommend that you read his article before forming any cases in this manner.

Please be careful, and understand that reloading and fireforming can be dangerous. The owner of this page cannot be held liable if you blow yourself up.

  • Mike J's Front Page