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New cartridge designs, belted vs. non-belted

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    Posted: December/09/2007 at 08:12
This post has reference to the recent post on the RCM cartridges and the 270 Wby. vs 270 wsm. and really more on the advantages of the belted cartridges.  I really would like to see cartridge designers do something really novel, in this century and design some new cartridges around belted cartridges.  The main advantage of the belted cartridges is head spacing, which is the distance from the bolt face to the forward face of the belt which is very small.  While counterintuitive, even small changes, which rarely occur, will still fall withing SAAMI specs and in addition for amateur gunsmiths like myself, it makes adding a new threaded non-chambered barrel much easier, because head spacing does not depend on the chamber.  Sure some adjustments may need to be made, but not as drastic and alto can be handled with bullet seating.  Newer designs could have their diameter widened like the short mags for ultra performance.  The longer action does not bother me, if it bothers you, shorten the barrel, 18 or 20 inches and still exceed the performances of other cartridges. The issue of stiffness of an action based on the length is a mute point for hunting.  In the war for pushing the limit for performance, the belted cartridges for the most part still remain supreme.  Lazzeroni has very suspicious specs at an altitude of 3000 fps with 27 inch barrels and I have heard rumor of 28 inch.  With newer slower burning powders, the longer "new" belted cartridges could really fly.
 
Now, while I really believe that there could be some good non-magnum belted cartridges made and some magnums, I really do not think it is necessary.  It would be fun, given the explosion of cartridges that while interesting, really do not give us anything we do not offer us any ballistic advantages, only advantages in the rifles we shoot.  So, why not with the belted cartridges with some of their advantages.
 
But, the real truth of the post, is that the belted cartridge is still a great cartridge, has been and always will be and should never be forgotten or excluded as a choice of a caliber when buying a rifle, just because it is belted (as previously noted it does have its advantages.)  The only reason I bring this up, is that it seems to many people shy away from one at the sheer mention of the fact that is belted, with the exception of the 300 win. mag. as the average shooter does not know that it is belted.  This applies to the 300 H&H, Wbys. and all other belted cartridges.
 
Posted below are diagrams of head spacing for belted and non-belted cartridges of the 30-06 variety for those who are unfamiliar with the concept.
 
 
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote tahqua Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: December/09/2007 at 08:56
Good post, D
I am all for new cartridge design but I see nothing recently, nor anything coming, to get excited about. I thought electronic ignition offered something, off topic, though.
I find myself quite happy with the old, belted, guard. I'll stick with the standard 7mm, .300, .338 and .375.
I use a Wilson adjustable case length gage to size my belted magnums. The once fired casing is used for setting maximum length and allows me to resize as close as possible to head spacing off the shoulder. I've been getting seven reloads out of 7 mag cases for years.
 
Doug
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote pyro6999 Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: December/09/2007 at 10:44
i dont know if we really need anything new, i mean look at all the good ideas that came out 40-50yrs ago that are basically extinct now, 222 rem mag 219 zipper .284 winSad the list gets bigger every year, i would rather see some of the stuff that gone right now brought back instead of trying to make new stuff myself.
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote RONK Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: December/09/2007 at 12:24
I'm With Pyro on this one. There is NOTHING in the hunting fields that can't be done with about 20 percent of the cartridges currently in production. The only thing "new" cartridges do is add expense, inventory problems for dealers and distributers and more headaches for gunsmiths and consumers. Nobody really benefitsin the long run. New bullet designs? Go for it! New propellent chemistry? Absolutely!  But changing cartridge dimensions for the sake of making something "new" is silly. It also seems to be an ego trip for it's "designer".
 Notice how they always name the cartridge after themselves?  I think I'll obtain everlasting fame by necking down a 300 Weatherby to .17 and calling it the .17 RONK Super Magnum....Roll%20Eyes
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote pyro6999 Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: December/09/2007 at 12:50
i like mine a 50bmg necked down to 6.5 mm
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote pyro6999 Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: December/09/2007 at 15:03
where we need some help i think is in the 244 and 257 dept's really the 25wssm and the 243wssm are the newest additions, but i think they should have done them in a long action
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote sinsir Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: December/09/2007 at 17:21

no ideas about those wildcats, as i don't reload, but here's a name for ya - the superduper critter-git-er...

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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Dolphin Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: December/09/2007 at 18:11
I see you all got my real point as noted in my last couple paragraphs.  The belted cartridges are great cartridges as are the non-belted and my point was to get people to admit that with the cartridges we have in both categories, we have pretty much everything we need.  But, at the same time, if the cartridge designers are going to make multiple variations of non-belted cartridges, I would just as soon see the same thing done with belted cartridges.  Personally I have designed, only on paper, internal systems, for the lack of a better term, forcing cones or directions baffles, to make long caliber cartridges, belted or non-belted, more efficient.  These are the other areas of design that I would like to see done.  Of course with these cartridges, neck sizing for re loaders would only be done and shooting them in only one rifle, of course, would be necessary.  Just some thoughts.  Cartridge design for years has been stuck with the shape and volume.  The internal dimensions need to be addressed as the guys who developed the 5mm/35 SMc cartridge.

Edited by Dolphin - December/09/2007 at 18:12
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote timber Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: December/10/2007 at 22:12

I've read the WSM's have rebated rims - slightly smaller than the case diameter.  Maybe that accounts for the reported higher incidence of extraction/ejection problems.  My 270 WSM Tikka seemed pretty slick working though. 

New calibers are interesting and seem to keep the manufacturers on their toes.  But I too prefer the old tried belted mags best.
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote RifleDude Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: December/11/2007 at 18:04
Originally posted by timber timber wrote:

...Maybe that accounts for the reported higher incidence of extraction/ejection problems. 
 
There are no problems whatsoever with extracting WSM cases.  There can be problems with ejecting WSM cases, just due to the fact they are fat for their length, but not usually.  The main problem sometimes cited for the WSM cases is feeding from the magazine.  The combination of the fat case and short length means the round must travel up the feed ramp in a rather steep angle when chambering, so accommodations have to be made for widening the front portion of the feed rails to allow the rear portion of the case to pop out of the magazine earlier in the forward bolt travel and the feed ramp also must be modified from the normal profile used with standard short action rounds based on the .308 case.
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ive never had a problem with mine either in that aspect
They call me "Boots"
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote RifleDude Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: December/11/2007 at 19:12
Originally posted by Dolphin Dolphin wrote:

This post has reference to the recent post on the RCM cartridges and the 270 Wby. vs 270 wsm. and really more on the advantages of the belted cartridges.  I really would like to see cartridge designers do something really novel, in this century and design some new cartridges around belted cartridges.  The main advantage of the belted cartridges is head spacing, which is the distance from the bolt face to the forward face of the belt which is very small.  While counterintuitive, even small changes, which rarely occur, will still fall withing SAAMI specs and in addition for amateur gunsmiths like myself, it makes adding a new threaded non-chambered barrel much easier, because head spacing does not depend on the chamber.  Sure some adjustments may need to be made, but not as drastic and alto can be handled with bullet seating.  Newer designs could have their diameter widened like the short mags for ultra performance.  The longer action does not bother me, if it bothers you, shorten the barrel, 18 or 20 inches and still exceed the performances of other cartridges. The issue of stiffness of an action based on the length is a mute point for hunting.  In the war for pushing the limit for performance, the belted cartridges for the most part still remain supreme.  Lazzeroni has very suspicious specs at an altitude of 3000 fps with 27 inch barrels and I have heard rumor of 28 inch.  With newer slower burning powders, the longer "new" belted cartridges could really fly.
 
Now, while I really believe that there could be some good non-magnum belted cartridges made and some magnums, I really do not think it is necessary.  It would be fun, given the explosion of cartridges that while interesting, really do not give us anything we do not offer us any ballistic advantages, only advantages in the rifles we shoot.  So, why not with the belted cartridges with some of their advantages.
 
But, the real truth of the post, is that the belted cartridge is still a great cartridge, has been and always will be and should never be forgotten or excluded as a choice of a caliber when buying a rifle, just because it is belted (as previously noted it does have its advantages.)  The only reason I bring this up, is that it seems to many people shy away from one at the sheer mention of the fact that is belted, with the exception of the 300 win. mag. as the average shooter does not know that it is belted.  This applies to the 300 H&H, Wbys. and all other belted cartridges.
 
Posted below are diagrams of head spacing for belted and non-belted cartridges of the 30-06 variety for those who are unfamiliar with the concept.
 
 
 
Dolphin,
While I think I understand and agree with what you're trying to say from the standpoint that we already have plenty of great cartridges available to cover every possible shooting application, pertaining to the supposed "advantages" of the belt, I couldn't disagree more.
 
The fact is, there are no "advantages" whatsoever to the belt, and instead, only disadvantages.  More on that in a moment.
 
The reason our current family of belted magnums have the belt is very simple -- the .375 H&H had it from the beginning, and all our belted magnums are originally derived from the .375 H&H parent case -- all of them.  The reason the .375 H&H case was designed with the belt is due to 2 main historical events in firearms history -- the transition from black powder to smokeless and the emerging popularity of the bolt action.  During the first decade of the 1900's, the English arms industry had developed Cordite (now obsolete), which was the first smokeless powder.  Cordite was long and cylindrical in form, and therefore demanded straight walled cases for ease of loading.  So, this is why the .375 H&H was designed with a gradual body and shoulder taper, which was formed after the powder charge was already loaded in the case, at the same time crimping the bullet in place.  This gradual body taper meant that there wasn't much of a shoulder to headspace on, which meant that the case needed some sort of rim to establish headspace.  However, at the same time, the bolt action was becoming popular, so the cartridge had to feed smoothly from a magazine, which a rim wouldn't permit.  So the now-familiar belt was the compromise solution to give the cartridge something to headspace on, yet still feed from a magazine at the same time.  Since all our belted magnums were either derived directly from the .375 H&H parent case or from some other case that was in turn derived from it, the belt was retained, even though all the modern belted magnums have a straight wall and sufficiently sharp shoulder to headspace on the shoulder.
 
Now, the disadvantages of the belt...
- Since the belted mag case headspaces on the front of the belt, instead of the shoulder, there's a lot of unsupported case dangling out into the chamber, and since there has to be clearance between the case and chamber for reliable feeding, the belted case has sloppier initial bullet to bore alignment, which doesn't help accuracy.  This doesn't at all mean that a belted magnum can't be accurate, but the short headspace is inferior to headspacing closer to the bullet o.d. in terms of ensuring concentric initial bullet entry into the lands.
-  If there is excess clearance between the remainder of the case forward of the belt and the chamber, the case stretches excessively when fireforming to the chamber, causing short brass life, and in worse case scenarios, case head separation.
-  A belted case, all else being equal, can at best be made to feed almost as smoothly as an unbelted case of the same length and diameter, but theoretically can never feed quite as smoothly as an uninterrupted, straight case wall design.  Again, this assumes a case of the same length and diameter being compared, the unbelted short fat cases are a notable exception.
 
-  A belted case robs potential case capacity, because a case design at the same diameter as the belt, gradually tapering forward could instead be used with the same action/bolt face with no size penalty whatsoever.
 
As for the short headspacing being an advantage, again, it is a decided disadvantage to both potential accuracy and case life.  In fact, quite often savvy reloaders of belted mags will set their sizing dies so that it doesn't set the shoulder back, which then causes the case to headspace on the shoulder anyway. 
 
Pertaining to the short headspace on the belt somehow making chambering easier, this is false as well, because to cut a proper chamber, you will still need headspacing gages to do the job properly -- that is, if you expect to have an accurate (and safe) rifle -- regardless of where the case headspaces.
 
As for the statement "headspacing does not depend on the chamber," while this is basically true, it also overlooks a very important factor -- the rest of the chamber and specifically the distance between the front of the belt and the shoulder is still vitally important for safety.  Remember, besides holding the bullet, powder, and primer together in a single unit until the rifle is fire
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote pyro6999 Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: December/11/2007 at 20:16
jesus ted all that just gave me a head ache anybody got some aleve!
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote RifleDude Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: December/11/2007 at 20:24
Originally posted by pyro6999 pyro6999 wrote:

jesus ted all that just gave me a head ache anybody got some aleve!
 
D posted a thoughtful topic, and I felt that even though I disagree with his premise, he in turn deserved a thoughtful response, rather than just saying "nope, t'ain't so."


Edited by RifleDude - December/11/2007 at 20:31
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote pyro6999 Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: December/11/2007 at 20:32
no it was a great post just a lot to think about and i got plenty going on in my head right now plus my kids dont wanna go to bed
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Dolphin Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: December/12/2007 at 08:36
Ted, your historically references for which the belted case was originally designed is correct.  But, as the diagrams shown, the primary, or the first and foremost headspacing is done from the bolt face to the forward face to the belt.  Therefore, changes that occur in the chamber of all rifles are less likely to affect head spacing and create a situation where you have excessive head space and a bolt close on a no go gouger, creating a really dangerous situation.  Yes, the shell does act as a gasket, but fortunately, as you well know, the modern bolt actions of today are forgiving as demonstrated by all of the reloaders today practicing various techniques with respect to resizing the neck or the entire case using the reloads in various rifles.  Obviously, the cartridge will not create an entire seal through out the length of the cartridge.  The longer the cartridge, the more likely you will have a greater % area of seal, regardless of whether it is a belted or non-belted cartridge.  Another point that is partially correct, is that all cartridges that have shoulders, will provide prevention of the cartridge moving in the direction of the projectile and thus serves as a point of headspacing.  But, the vast majority of energy is direct onto the forward face of that belt.  Another point is that brass of any given caliber for a rifle of that caliber, does not create a complete seal, hence the term fire forming and not resizing the complete cartridge when reloading, if you are going to use it in the same rifle, for two reasons, one to extend the life of the brass and to better fit the rifle chamber and hopefully improve accuracy.
 
Truthfully, I would have to see hard data showing there is a sloppier fit with belted cartridges in the chamber of fresh ammo.  I really believe it is dependant on the caliber and the shape.
 
So, in essence, I disagree with the disadvantages you offer and agree with the fact that feeding is often flawless.  Yes the belt robs case capacity, but with newer powders, the belted magnums still stand and the front of the pack for velocity and energy and for hunting accuracy are comparable to any.  And, as I stated, with experimentation, expansion of the case size, shortening the barrel and using what I believe are the advantages, you could have a block buster.
 
But, as I said, really, this was a post to bring up some thought, as we have so many cartridges and the response I got was what I expected, that what we have will do anything we need.
 
One other thing.  In my post, I stated, with headspacing on the belt, it would be easier to mount a barrel, but I believe you failed to notice that I did say with some adjustments will need to be made, but not as drastic.
 
One more thing.  I do not own any short mags.  But, I still hear from friends about problems cycling rounds, read about the problem and hear about it at the local gun shop.  On the site hear, nobody has any problems.  I think the problem is with the user. 
 
With reference to the previous paragraph and the problem with the user.  That is why I like to come to this site.  All the guys that I know that hunt, are good hunters, but when I have asked them simple questions like, how did they come up with the gauge system or what is headspacing or simple optics questions, they look at me like I have 3 eye.  These are same people that have problems with their short mags.
 
One more thing Ted.  Your opinions are held in high regard by me and all of your points made are well taken and to some point true, with the caveats made in my rebuttal.  My point was to see what responses I would get about the need for new cartridge design.  So, to simply things.  Lets just agree to disagree on the above noted points to avoid a long series of rebuttals.  Like I said, I regard you as probably one of the most knowledgeable persons on the site and despite some of my disagreements with your post, I still learned some things, as usual.
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im going to say this, if i ever feel the need to stoke up my ego i just grab a belted magnum and head into the woods, i cannot think of anything you can load up into a rifle that gives you that feeling like yeah ive got some power in my hands here.
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22LR, 223,22-250, 243, 260, 270, 280, 30-30, 30-06, 300 Win Mag, 338 Win Mag, 375 H&H.  Anything else you really need to do anything with a rifle?  Yeah, all the other stuff is fun, but we don't need any more cartridges.  Of the above list, the only ones I own are 22LR, 243, and 30-30.
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Hey, where's the 7 mag
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Focus Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: December/12/2007 at 14:44
I'm in agreement with Ted concerning the belts. I also believe that it would get a little boring with just a handful of "necessary" chamberings. No we don't need more cartridge designs to do anything that can't already be done with whats already out there. But........as long as there are shooters and reloaders and experimenters out there.......somebody will always be necking something down or blowing something out to make a new loudenboomer. Only reason I see for two different families of cartridges are that some don't like long actions and some don't like short. That said the list above needs a 7mm-08 and 308 added.....

Just as a side note, I've shot a couple of the 450wsm's and man are they a short action woods hammer......366DGW is kinda cool too. Notice gun manufactures are the ones bringing out most of the newer cartridges......sells more guns and creates a need that don't really exist......but don't look for it to stop....

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ive got everything on the list except .223 260 270 338 and 375
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WHAT You don't have a 270? Yikes! I can't believe what I'm seeing.......how can you possibly expect to earn the Jack O award this year.....:>)

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i wont win the jack o award but i will win the jackass award!
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote pyro6999 Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: December/12/2007 at 15:33
you know i should dig that article out of one of my magazines that i have and show what one of the gun writters thought about all the chamberings that are offered today and really piss some people off by re-printing that article and tell the ones he'd keep and the ones he'd get rid of, some i agree with some of it i was like wtf is he thinking there.
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote mwyates Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: December/12/2007 at 17:21
OK, OK, add the 7 Mag to my list
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