This is one particular character I wish I could’ve met during his lifetime - just a listing of the cartridges he developed is fantastic - two others beside the .280 Rem that he “improved” that caught my interest were the .243 Win and the .30-'06 Springfield. Aside from the 52 cartridges he produced, one bizarre experiment to push a .224 bullet to its limits used a necked-down .458 Win Magnum case! Have any of you rifle reloaders dealt with his .243 or .30-'06? When I was researching them, and seriously looking at reloading, only RCBS offered dies for them - I think they’re in the same class as the .38+P. FYI
My dad had and my scum bag brother took and sold an original P.O. Ackley 22-250, it was a wildcat in those days. My dad won it at a trap shoot in Utah many years ago. I loved that piece my brother has no idea what he’s done. A piece of family history and firearm history gone for a few bucks.
My brother sold our family .303 British with the bayonet that was my hunting rifle for years. I went away to college and when I came back to deer hunt it was gone and so was he. That was off topic, but I hear ya. For reloading, I’m not a reloader yet, but I have been slowly accumulating the necessary components for doing so, and seeing posts like this gives me more ambition to hurry things along.
When I was still hunting I reloaded my .243. Incredible accuracy out to 350 yds. Lots of powder options, although I started with the basic “standard” load and never had any reason to change.
The AI (Ackley Improved) cartridges are a lot more than just increased powder volume. On those with a significant shoulder changing the angle changed the entire way the column of powder burned. If you look at the WSM type cartridges you will see P.O. Ackley’s fingerprints on them even though he had been dead long before they were thought of.
He did a lot of development of the recoiless rifle rounds of the day in an effort to make them more efficient but remain recoiless. Ultimately he determined that the angle of the shoulder had a MASSIVE impact on the burn ratio of the powder column. His 40 ish degree shoulder angle reflected the fire column back into the molten powder slug achieving a far superior burn than the 20 ish degree shoulders of conventional rounds.
The reason for most cartridges having a 20 ish degree shoulder was the military. To get a 30-06 round to work in the 1919 Browning machine gun you needed a sloped shoulder for reliable feeding. A bolt gun doesn’t have that issue.
Being a practical man he also recognized that making his cartridges so that they could be chambered in a “conventional” rifle chamber was a bad idea. So he designed his to not fit in a conventional chamber but a conventional round could be chambered in his. This of course made reloaders happy as they could fire form regular ammo to AI.
Col. Ackley was well ahead of his time and if he had access to the powders we have today (if you can find them) I am sure his accomplishments would have been even greater.
Well stated sir. K Hornet won’t win many speed competitions, but the shape sure helps case life.
Here’s a little more history for your reading pleasure.