.14 Hornet 12 .17 Hornet 14 .17 Rem 27 .204 Ruger 33 .22 Hornet 14 .22 Hornet Impr 16 .218 Bee 18 .22 Rem Jet 18 .221 Rem 21 .222 Rem 27 .223 Rem 31 .222 Rem Mag 32 5.6x50R 34 .219 Zipper 34 .225 Win 41 .22-250 Rem 43 .220 Swift 48 .223 WSSM 53 .22-06 65 .22-15 Stevens 17 .22 Sav 35 6x47 33 6x52R Bret. 36 6 BR 39 6x70R 39 .243 Win 54 .243 WSSM 54 6 Rem 55 .240 Wea Mag 65 6 USN 51 6x62R 67 .240 Fl. N.E. 58 .25-20 WCF 19 .256 Win 22 .25-21 Stevens 25 .25-25 Stevens 29 .25-36 Marlin 37 .25-35 WCF 37 .25 Rem 42 .250 Sav 46 .257 Roberts 56 .25-06 Rem 66 .257 Wea Mag 84 6.5x70R 39 6.5 Jap. 48 6.5x52 Carcano 49 6.5x53R 49 6.5x54 M-S(.256) 50 .260 Rem 53 6.5x55 57 6.5x57(R) 58 6.5 Rem Mag 68 .264 Win Mag 82 .270 REN 16 .270 Win 68 .270 Wea 83 .28-30 Stevens 37 7-30 Waters 45 7x72R 54 7-08 Rem 56 7x57(R) Mauser 59 .284 Win 66 .280 Rem 67 7x65R 68 7 WSM 81 7 Rem Mag 84 .30 Carbine 21 .300 Whisper 24 .30-357 AeT 25 .30 Rem AR 44 .30-30 45 .30 Rem 46 .303 Sav 48 .300 Sav 52 .307 Win 54 7.62 NATO 54 .308 Win 56 .30 Fl.NE Purdey 58 .30-40 U.S. 58 .30-06 U.S. 69 .300 H&H 86 .30 Newton 88 .300 Win Mag 89 .30 Fl. H&H 90 .300 Wea Mag 99 .30-378 130 7.62x54R 64 .303 Brit 57 .375/303 W-R 62 .32-20 WCF 22 7.65 Mauser 58 8x72R 59 .32-40 Ballard 41 8x50R Lebel 66 8x57(R) Mauser 62 8-06 70 8 Rem Mag 98 .318 W-R 69 .333 Jeffery 86 .33 WCF 63 .338-06 70 .338 Win Mag 86 .340 Wea Mag 98 .338-378 132 .348 Win 75 9x57(R) Mauser 62 .357 Mag 27 .357 Max 34 .357/44 B&D 35 .400/350 Rigby 78 .350 ME Guide 2 49 .35 Rem 51 .356 Win 57 .358 Win 57 .35 WCF 69 .35 Whelen 71 .35 Greevy 72 .350 Rem Mag 73 .358 Norma Mag 88 .358 STA 105 9.3x57 Mauser 64 9.3x54R Finn. 65 9.3x72R 67 9.3x62 77 9.3x74R 82 .360 No.2 NE 111 .375 Win 49 .38-56 Win 62 .375 2½ N.E. 67 .375-06 73 .375 H&H 95 .375 Fl. Mag 97 .375 Ruger 100 .369 N.E. 102 .378 Wea Mag 136 .38-55 Ballard 52 .38-72 Win 74 .38-40 WCF 39 .400 Whelen 75 .405 Win 78 .400 Jeffery 117 .450/400 NE 3¼ 123 .416 Taylor 92 .416 Rem Mag 107 .416 Rigby 130 .416 Wea Mag 134 .423 OKH 77 .404 Jeffery 113 .44-40 WCF 40 .44 Spl 34 .44 Rem Mag 39 .444 Marlin 69 .45 Colt 42 .454 Casull 47 .45-70 U.S. 79 .450 Marlin 74 .450 Alaskan 88 .45-90 2.4" 90 .458 Win Mag 94 .458 Lott 108 .450 3¼ N.E. 129 .460 Wea Mag 140 .465 N.E. 144 .470 N.E. 146 .475 3¼ N.E. 137 .50-110 109 .50 BMG 293
Given are approximate case capacities, in grains of water to fill the case to the mouth. The values are averages of several sources. References include Handloading, by W.C. Davis (NRA, 1981) and the internal ballistics programs QuickLOAD, LoadTech, and Load-from-a-Disk. Measurements from fired cases found at local ranges were used when available. Estimations (see below) based on the capacity of a parent case were also made. The listing is arranged by bullet diameter and then by volume.
My thanks to those who've sent case measurements by e-mail. Special thanks goto Ed Reynolds, the author of LoadTech and AccuLoad, who gave me a copy of the extensive list of case measurements he's made over the years.
When measuring the water capacity (volume) of a case, it's better to use a fired case before it is resized, since this is closer to the size of the case expanded at firing. A little dishwashing soap lets the water lie flat across the case mouth, improving the accuracy of the measurement. I find it simplest to first weigh the dry case, fill it with water, and then dump the water and case into the scale's pan.
Cases can vary greatly in weight among makers. In general, modern cases are slightly thicker and heavier than older ones for the same cartridge. Heavier cases will have less capacity, with every 8.5 gn of brass displacing about 1 gn of water capacity. In small cases such as the .22 Hornet, differences of up to 10% can be found, but variations of 2 gn of water is more typical for cases of the size of the .30 Springfield.
Other values include my estimates based on either the weight of sample brass or on the capacity of the parent brass. I used a technique suggested by Ken Howell in his book Designing and Forming Custom Cartridges. One starts with either the maximum dimensions of the outside of the case or the minimum dimensions of the chamber, as given by the relevant standard, such as SAAMI or CIP. (The maximum dimensions for the case body will better approximate the chamber.) One then computes the weight of water to fill this volume. The weight of the brass is divided by its specific gravity to give the weight of water it displaces, and this is subtracted, leaving the internal case volume.
This approach allows one to estimate case volume if you don't have on hand a fired case to fill with water. For example, if you use the weight of .45-70 brass along with the outer dimensions of the .33 WCF, you will get a good estimate of the latter's case volume. The estimate is improved if you use actual measurements from the rim, which does not expand on firing.
When using this approach, I've found the estimated volume is usually higher than published values by a grain or two. I can think of three reasons. First, the calculations assume a sharp cornered shoulder whereas most cases are slightly rounded. Second, neither grooves in front of the rim nor bevels on the rim are considered. Third, when filling a fired case with water, I suspect little water gets into the primer pocket. The volume of a large rifle primer pocket is about 1.1 gn, and that for the small rifle primer is about 0.7 gn.
Howell recommends using a specific gravity of 8.56, assuming the brass is 70:30 in composition. In the April, 1978 American Rifleman, Davis lists 8.44. I use the average of these, or 8.50.
If you have only the case's capacity and dimensions, you can enter the capacity after the dimensions and receive an estimate of the weight of the brass. You can then neck down or blow out a case of this weight to find the approximate capacity of the custom case you have in mind.
Using this data and calculator along with a Powley Computer, one can estimate the performance of most custom cartridges. This calculator should estimate case capacity to better than 4%, and given that a 4% change in case capacity gives about a 1% change in velocity, that is usually close enough.
I have not tested QuickDESIGN, but it should allow you to make quite accurate estimates of case volume. In addition to setting the outside dimensions of the case, you can enter extractor grooves, radiuses at corners, etc., and it will assist in selecting the thickness of the brass for the walls and the web. Also offered is the excellent internal ballistics simulator QuickLOAD which has a large list of case capacities.
The internal ballistics software Load From a Disk advertises their "cartridge case database includes over 650 standard cases with dimensions and case capacity values." I have not tried the current release of this software. RCBS.LOAD from RCBS has "a database of dimensioned drawings for over 496 cartridges," but I have not tested it either. AEM offers two software reloading tools, and their AccuLoad is advertised as having a case capacity calculator and a database with "over 2000 cartridges." I have not tested the current release, but the case capacities in their original LoadTech software were generally higher than most sources report.
From Germany, the reamer maker Triebel offers cartridge and chamber dimensions in their Pa.u.la software, on CD. While likely in German, getting the numbers you need from it should not be difficult. With over 900 cartridges cataloged, any obscure European (or American) cartridge is likely covered.
Howell's book is the best single reference on the subject. There are hundreds of cartridges, and he included only cartridges for which he had a reliable source for dimensions, such as SAAMI, CIP, RCBS, Triebel, old manufacturer's catalogs (Winchester, Kynoch, etc.), and other original drawings. So far, I've found only a few typos in the drawings. His suggestions for case re-forming operations (annealing, etc.) all seem safer than some of the those I've read elsewhere. While many drawings include recommendations for which case to use to form another, a few of these aren't too promising.
The CIP standards for current cartridges at times can be found on their site.
The Birmingham Proof House in the U.K. offers the CIP standards on CD. They will also search their archives for information on older cartridges and will provide you with photocopies. For the older British cartridges, this is surely the best source for information.
The Home Guide to Cartridge Conversions by George Nonte is decent but a bit dated. Some of the listed conversions seem pretty iffy, but he has some re-forming techniques not mentioned by Howell. If you can buy a used copy for a good price, try it.
The Handloader's Manual of Cartridge Conversions by John Donnelly had too many obvious errors for me to bother keeping it, and I gave my copy away to a friend who was interested in it. If you can borrow a copy, there's a number of good points in it. The new 3rd edition has been revised by another author (Donnelly died a while back), so perhaps my complaints are no longer applicable.
Ackley's two volume Handbook for Shooters and Reloaders has some information on case capacity and forming operations. It is notorious for very hot reloading data.
For the cost of the postage, I gave away the two volume set Wildcat Cartridges from Wolfe. Howell's book has many of the more interesting cartridges from these; indeed, Howell was editor of Handloader magazine when some of those articles were orginally published there. Unlike Howell's book, these old articles have loads and fps figures, but I found those numbers could be as unreliable as Ackley's. Howell's book plus QuickLOAD for loads is a much better bet.
I'd be grateful for measurements of case capacity and case weight for any cartridge, but especially the older, unusual cases. These measurements will be used to improve and expand the listing here. My current e-mail address is kept on this site's home page.