Reamer Directly from P.O. Ackley’s Tool Box

Recently Ron Pearson, P.O. Ackley’s grandson and part time gunsmith sent me a reamer from his grandfathers collection. It is an honor to receive such a nice memento.  There is a caliber marked on the shank with a vibrating pencil, it appears to say “240Q”.  If anyone recognizes that reference let me know.

The solid pilot measures .230″ which is undersized for a barrel, the neck is .271″ in diameter which would work for a 243/6mm bullet. If this is for a chamber it would have been for turned brass as there would be little of no release on the neck.  The shoulder measures .431″.

Before cleaning the reamerThe dimensions did not match up to any published chamber so it may be a roughing reamer or a die reamer.  There are three grooves cut in the shank of the tool which probably indicated to Ackley what type of reamer it is. Likely for a wildcat that a client ordered.  The case capacity would probably be a little less than a 243 Winchester.

It shows the processes that Ackley used in his shop to make tooling.  The blank was turned between centers and then the relief cuts were made on a mill.  Methodology is very similar to how reamers are made in production today.  Primary difference between this tool and ones made in production, this reamer is hand stoned for relief where modern tools are ground. I had been told by Mike Bellm that Ackley did all his throating separately.  This reamer has no throat, matching up with that concept.

I cleaned it up and then I just had to try cutting a chamber…  I knew from making reamers myself that it could easily do the job.  Just wanted to see what the finish looked like.  You can see from the attached picture of the chamber I started that it sill leaves a great finish, better than some new reamers.

Thanks to Ron, I am proud to add this tool to my collection of tools!

Full view of the reamer sent to my by Ron Pearson.

2 thoughts on “Reamer Directly from P.O. Ackley’s Tool Box

  1. A friend of mine from 20ish years ago had a P.O. gun gifted to him by his Grandfather. As I recall it was a 23 caliber with a bullet diameter of .234 and the case was adapted from a 250 savage, I can’t remember the action. The story went something like – the grandfather knew P.O. and wanted a rifle to shoot varmints and deer/antelope in Wyoming. Do you have any knowledge of this cartridge?

    1. Since 23 or .234 are not bullet diameters that are in common sizes I would be inclined to think this was a .228 diameter bullet like the 22 Savage Hi-Power.
      Ackley had a cartridge called the 230 Ackley Short it was based on the 250 Savage case. In my research for the book “P.O. Ackley, Americas Gunsmith” I found that
      Ackley used .228″ bullets for several of his cartridges and called them 230 because Wyoming had a law that for big game the bullet had to be larger than 228 caliber.
      He comment many years later in a letter that: “No game warden carries a micrometer in the field.”

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *