What is a Wildcat?
Wildcat ammo, AKA “wildcats,” are custom-made rounds. People create the rounds rather than ammo companies. People make wildcat cartridges to improve upon existing rounds to get better accuracy, range, performance, velocity, etc. The downside is the lack of precision. Law enforcement and military can’t use the rounds because of the differences.
Creating a new type of ammunition can be fun. Patience, time and skill to make a good round are key. Makers of wildcat rounds want to create something new or to change a load that doesn’t meet their needs. Below are the reasons for creating a wildcat:
- Increased efficiency: Increased efficiency means better accuracy.
- Increased energy: The round increases energy by changing the capacity of the case or changing the caliber.
- Higher velocities: A higher velocity is a result of reducing the caliber or increasing the case capacity .
- Greater consistency: Changing the diameter, weight or velocity will increase consistency and accuracy.
Methods used to make wildcat rounds include:
Fire forming changes bullets in one of two ways. The method changes the parent case by cold forming. Then it is loaded with a light bullet and light powder, and then loaded and fired from the gun of choice.
Cold forming changes the case by using heavy lubrication and then carefully forcing it into the right reloading die.
Both fire forming and cold forming have the same problem: The case is too long for the end product so it has to be trimmed to the correct length. Trimming is a standard reloading method.
Changing the Case Diameter
Changing the case diameter expands the range of bullets that can be used in the case. Shooters refer to it as “necking up” or “necking down,” Changing the diameter can improve the wind resistance, power and/or velocity.
This uses a cold forming method to push the neck back, reducing the case capacity. Cold forming is used on rifle ammunition to make rounds for an autopistol.
Changing the Shoulder Angle
This means changing the casing to resemble a standard cylinder, which allows for a more efficient burn.
Experts avoid making rim modifications by hand. The process is difficult. It is a highly difficult method usually performed by commercial ammo manufacturers.
Increased Case Length
Increased case length allows for added propellant. As a result, the round gains energy. The process is difficult, therefore it is simpler to make a new case than to change a commercial round. It requires special skills and tools.
Blowing out uses a fire-forming technique. It moves the shoulder forward to raise the case capacity.
Should You Make a Wildcat?
We may not need new cartridges, but we still want them. The advantages they offer aren’t great; the gain rarely justifies the expense. If you plan to make wildcat rounds, educate yourself. Makers should have skills for the dangerous process. Manufacturing rounds also needs enough space, special tools and equipment for each process.