The Freechec Tool was the product of two inventive
minds, Ed Wosika and Paco Kelly. Back in the dark ages of the 1970's
these two conspired and labored over many a now-forgotten loading
tool. A lot of their ideas were 'out of the box'. Many of the
Tools they designed did those little handy things that you often need when
reloading, such as the Nexpander .. a multi-stage hand-held neck expander
for opening up those odd cartridges that just did not get expanded quite
enough to start a bullet. You know, the ones you run into right in the
middle of loading a string of 850 rounds? And here is this one cartridge you
can't get a bullet started in. So you grab the Nexpander and PLONK!
it's open and ready to load and you roll on.
The Freechec Tool was designed as a way to make
gaschecks from aluminum cans. Now there are economic reasons that can
be used for reasons why to make gaschecks from aluminum cans, but one of the
main reasons was .... YOU CAN DO MORE THAN THE ORDINARY GAS
CHECK!! For instance, you can make the gascheck 1 layer, 2
layers or 3 layers thick. Thus you have another way to experiment with
a variable in the accuracy wars. By varying the thickness of the
gascheck you sometimes can tweak a bit more accuracy from a given bullet.
Another reason is .. gaschecks for those hard-to-find-gaschecks-for
calibers. Need a gascheck for your Raston-Gasser? Make a
Freechec Tool for it!
And to me the coolest thing - GASCHECKS FOR PLAIN-BASE
(non gascheck) BULLETS!! Yep. You heard me
correctly. With the proper Freechec Tool you could make gaschecks that
go onto plain-base non gascheck bullets. Why would you want
to? There are a number of reasons, among which are: 1) the
ability to drive the plain-base bullet at higher pressures than normal
without leading 2) increased accuracy with some loads 3)
decreased leading with bullets that have marginal lube
Addressing #3 - marginal lube capacity. Some
years ago a manufacturer contacted me about testing a new bullet for the .44
Magnum. It was a 320 gr. plain-based cast bullet, flat-nosed, with
several small round lube grooves. We ran them in several Redhawks and
found they leaded like crazy once the velocity got over 1100 fps.
I used Freechec's on the bullets and ran them to 1500
fps with no leading problems. I shared this with the manufacturer and
they redesigned the bullet with a single large flat lube groove. That
solved the leading problem, and we no longer used the Freechec on
them. But the Freechec allowed a marginally lubed bullet to run at
much higher velocity and pressure than normal. And do it well.
I have a 270 gr. bullet that is very accurate in my
Freedom Arms 454 ... BUT .. it has one very small lube groove and leads
easily when I get the velocity up over 1200 fps. By putting a
plain-base Freechec on it I can easily run it to 1600 fps if I so desire and
the bore stays clean.
Below is a test that I ran some years ago to determine
the effectiveness of the plain-base Freechec:
Plain-Base Freechec Test
For this test I used two different molds, the Lyman
454424 Keith SWC .45 and the SSK 270-451 truncated-cone 45 bullet. I cast
them from a soft alloy of 1 to 40 tin and lead. All the bullets were
sized to .452" and lubed with Apache Blue. Apache Blue has proven
it's ability to stand more heat and pressure than standard Alox lubes.
I took twenty-five of each of the bullets and put a
Plain-Base Freechec on them during the sizing/lubing operation.
Twenty-five of each of the other bullets were used in their normal manner as
All were loaded over 20 gr. of 2400 in 454 Casull
cases and fired in the 7 1/2" Freedom Arms 454.
Using the plain-base #454424 loads I fired 5, plinking
tin cans and rocks. Then I fired 5 at a bullseye at 25 yards. I
then fired another 5 at plinking targets. Then the next 5 rounds were fired
at a bullseye at 25 yards. By the last 5 shots the bore was heavily
leaded. Groups were: #1 Group - 2 5/8" #2 Group =
After cleaning the bore of all lead I fired the
#454424 Freechec loads in the same manner as above. I fired 5 at tin
cans, 5 on a bullesye, 5 more plinking, then the last 5 at a bullseye... all
at 25 yards. The bore looked "smoky" but was not leaded.
Groups were: #1 Group = 1 3/4" #2 Group = 2"
One pass with a brass brush and the bore was clean.
I then ran the same test with the SSK bullet. It
has a much smaller lube groove than the Keith SWC and tends to lead more
easily. By the end of 20 rounds of the plain-base loads the bore was
Group #1 = 2 1/4" Group #2 = 4 1/16"
The Freechec SSK bullets were fired once the bore was
cleaned (What a mess!) and after 20 shots I checked the barrel to find it ..
CLEAN! Smoky like with the Keith bullets, but no leading.
Group #1 = 1 7/8" Group #2 = 1 7/8"
I proved to my own satisfaction that the
plain-base Freechec will reduce leading and help keep accuracy, even with
marginal bullet alloys.
Now all we have to do is convince Paco (or someone)
to start producing the
Freechec Tool again.