Z-Hat is the originator of Hawk calibers!Forming Hawk Brass

Probably pretty boring reading unless you own a Hawk or plan to have one.  But if you have a Hawk Custom Rifle, this is cool stuff.

Skip to: 338 thru 375 Hawk Instructions | 411 Hawk Instuctions | Trim length for 240 to 2300 Hawk | Trim length for 338 thru 375 | Trim length for 411 Hawk.

Hawk Calibers, forming instructions.

240 Hawk to 3200 Hawk.

For your safety and convenience we recommend that you use only new unfired brass, all from one manufacturers lot number.  Military 30-06 brass will have substantially less case capacity than commercial brass, so military brass is a poor choice.

We have found that 280 brass works the best for these calibers because they are slightly longer than the parent 30-06 case, and the cartridges were designed to use the 280 case. 06 brass will work but usually runs shorter in overall length, special instructions for 30-06 brass are below.  

Size the neck of your cases to the new diameter. Check the unprimed empty brass to be sure it headspaces properly. At this point you will want to have your rifle handy, check the cases for proper fit in the chamber. The bolt should close on the brass without undue force, but you should feel the bolt drag on the brass as it closes. Once this setting is located lock your size die lock ring to prevent changes. Recheck each piece of sized brass for proper fit.

Minimum trim lengths are as follows;

(Maximum length is .010" longer)

240 Hawk, 2.480" 

257 Hawk, 2.478"

264 Hawk, 2.475"

270 Hawk, 2.480"

284 Hawk, 2.472"

300 Hawk, 2.473" 

3200 Hawk, 2.477"  Max length is .010" longer.

30-06 Brass: For calibers 270 and smaller follow the sizing directions above to create the false shoulder described below. For 284 and up you will need to expand the neck of the brass to a diameter larger than the final caliber, before sizing.  Then size the neck in your Hawk die.

This process will create a "false shoulder," so called because the case will look like it has two shoulders. The original shoulder will still be there and a new shoulder will appear where the size die stops on the neck. The cartridge will then headspace on this new shoulder.

Congratulations, that is all there is to it. Now just, prime, and load as usual, with the components of your choice, and fire form. You will want to trim to length after fire forming as the process will effect the neck length.

NOTE: Hawk calibers are true wildcats. It is not possible to fire any factory cartridge in a Hawk chamber. This will result in severe damage to your firearm and potential personal injury.

ALWAYS WERE SAFETY GLASSES AND HEARING PROTECTION WHEN RELOADING OR SHOOTING.

If you are unfamiliar with the terminology and processes described here we recommend that you read any or all of the following; Nick Harvey’s Practical Reloading Manual, Handbook for Shooters & Reloaders Vol. I & II by P.O. Ackley, Designing & Forming Custom Cartridges by Ken Howell, or just about any brand name reloading manual will contain the information you need to be a safe reloader.

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How to Form Brass for 338, 358, and 375 Hawk Calibers...

For your safety and convenience we recommend that you use only new unfired brass all from one manufacturers lot number.

35 Whelen brass works best to form these cartridges (30-06 brass will work fine.) As a rule necking down two calibers or more works best to create a positive shoulder to head space against (sometimes referred to as a false shoulder), ie. 35 Whelen should be necked up to 411, so that it can then be necked back down to 358 Hawk. The new shoulder will be further forward, leaving a shorter neck, and creating a "false shoulder."

The first step is to use the oversized tapered expander ball to expand the neck of the cases to the larger size. Install the expander ball on the decapping rod of the sizing die. Use plenty of case lube on the inside of the necks to make the process go easier. Expand the neck of the cases to the new oversize diameter. (Be sure not to resize the neck at this point as this will unduly work the brass, as it comes back over the expander ball.)

Now reinstall the correct size expander ball for the caliber you are loading on the decapping rod of the sizing die. Lube the outside of the cases for sizing as in normal reloading procedures..

Run the brass you just expanded through the size die. At this point you will want to have your rifle handy, check the cases for proper fit in the chamber of your rifle. The bolt should close on the brass without undue force, but you should feel the bolt drag slightly on the brass as the bolt closes. Once this setting is located lock your sizing die lock ring, using the set screw, to prevent the die for moving. Check each piece of sized brass for proper fit.

Congratulations, that is all there is to it. Now just, prime, and load as usual, with the components of your choice, and fireform. You will want to trim to length after fireforming as the process will effect the neck length. Once the cases have been fireformed just reload as you would any factory caliber.

Trim length:

338 Hawk minimum length 2.465"

358 Hawk minimum length 2.450"

375 Hawk minimum length 2.440"  Max length is .010" longer.

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411 Hawk forming instructions...

Because the 411 Hawk shoulder area is relatively small it is unusually important that close attention is paid to headspace.  The area of the shoulder is more than sufficient to headspace correctly, the concern is in fully fireforming the cartridge.  The brass must take two sharp turns in a short distance at the shoulder.  Brass is somewhat stiff, and has limited elasticity.  So unless full pressure loads (55,000 PSI) are fired the shoulder will tend to be rounded and may not fully form to Hawk dimensions.

When forming 411 Hawk, you will need to expand the brass to .430".   First use the tapered 411 expander ball to open the brass necks.  Then install the .430" expander ball and expand the necks again.  The results will look funny, the neck and shoulder area will be larger than the body of the case.  Best results will come from expanding the case to .430" for about .750" from the mouth of the case.  (To skip the above procedures use cylinder 06 brass and simply form the neck before fireforming.)

Fitting the brass to the chamber is slightly different with the 411.  Run the brass through the 411 Hawk size die with the 411expander installed.  Size the neck down and set the shoulder height (headspace) so that when you close the bolt it requires some effort. It is necessary to leave the headspace longer than normal.  This will insure the brass is held tightly against the breech face of the firearm, to properly form the brass.

Congratulations, that is all there is to it. Now just, prime, and load as usual, with the components of your choice, and fireform. You will want to trim to length after fireforming as the process will effect the neck length. Once the cases have been fireformed just reload as you would any factory caliber.  Suggested fireforming load, 63gr. H4895, 300gr. Hawk RN.  This also happens to be a great hunting load.  Light bullets and fast powders do not produce a long enough presure curve to fully form the brass (experience is the best teacher).

Trim length for 411 Hawk, 2.420"  Max length is .010" longer.

NOTE: Hawk calibers are true wildcats. It is not possible to fire any factory cartridge in a Hawk chamber. This will result in severe damage to your firearm and potential personal injury.

ALWAYS WERE SAFETY GLASSES AND HEARING PROTECTION WHEN RELOADING OR SHOOTING.

If you are unfamiliar with the terminology and processes described here we recommend that you read any or all of the following; Nick Harvey’s Practical Reloading Manual, Handbook for Shooters & Reloaders Vol. I & II by P.O. Ackley, Designing & Forming Custom Cartridges by Ken Howell, or just about any brand name reloading manual will contain the information you need to be a safe reloader.

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Send us Feedback on these instructions.  Rifle.Builder@z-hat.com

                          

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Born on: October, 1999