October 17th, 2008

Sierra Offers New 155gr .308 MatchKing with Pointed Meplats

Sierra Bullets 155 PalmaSierra has a new 155gr Palma bullet, and it’s a winner. The new 155gr MatchKing bullet, featuring a longer ogive and factory-pointed meplats, was used by Team USA at the recent Spirit of America match. According to many team shooters and coach Emil Praslick III, the new bullet helped the American team achieve an impressive victory over arch-rival England and other national squads.

Matt Reams of Sierra Bullets confirmed that the new bullet, Sierra part # 2156, will shortly enter full-scale production. Sierra is planning a late-December 2008 release date, but Matt says “first week of 2009 should be a safe bet.” The bullets will be priced “roughly 5% higher than current Sierra 155gr MatchKings”, according to Matt.

Sierra worked closely with Team USA on the design of the new bullet. Dennis Flaharty, USA Palma Captain, tells us: “We worked very closely with the people at Sierra and they really came up with a winner. We tested several prototypes before we settled on this one. Each one better than the next. This bullet has a lot going for it. I honestly believe that we managed many 10s that would have been 9s. This bullet gave the consistent and high degree of accuracy you have come to expect from Sierra. As compared to other bullets Sierra has a reputation for being ‘forgiving’. By this I mean you can shoot them in the lands or off. We tested this bullet from +0.010 into the lands to -0.100 off.”

Sierra meplat pointing bulletBullet Design Features and Factory Meplat Pointing
The new bullet is a conventional tangent ogive design, not a secant ogive VLD-style. However, the new bullet has a longer ogive (curved section) than Sierra’s current 155gr MatchKing. It also has a somewhat shorter bearing surface. Most importantly, the meplats on the new 155s will be pointed up on a special extra die used for the final stage of bullet manufacturing. Currently, many reloaders are using the Whidden Pointing Die System to point up their bullets. (Photo at left shows a 107gr MatchKing pointed with the Whidden Die.) Many tests, including our own research done by Jason Baney, prove that bullet-pointing has real benefits. First, pointing the meplats reduces bullet-to-bullet BC variation. This can help tighten vertical spread at long range. Second, bullet-pointing can also reduce drag, effectively increasing average bullet BC. The result is a bullet with less drop at long range, and less wind drift (all other factors being constant). In Jason’s tests, pointed Clinch River 106gr bullets impacted 18″ higher at 1000 yards than non-pointed bullets from the same lot. That’s dramatic evidence that meplat-pointing enhances BC.

Higher BC Predicted by Actual Match Results
Sierra has not yet completed field-testing to determine the ballistics of the new 155gr MatchKing, so no official BC has been released. Matt Reams noted: “We will not release a BC until comprehensive field tests are complete. At Sierra we don’t ‘guesstimate’. Our BC numbers are based on real-world testing.” Nonetheless, Sierra’s bullet testers and USA Palma team members are telling us that the new bullet definitely impacts higher than the old Sierra Palma bullet when driven at the same velocity. This was observed during the Spirit of America match, and is a sure sign that the new bullet has less drag and a higher effective BC. Team members also believe that the new bullet exhibits less wind drift than the previous 155gr MatchKing:

“As one of the line coaches on the American teams at SOA, I witnessed first-hand the difference between the old and new green box 155s. On practice/warm-up day before the team matches we tested the new bullet against the old bullet at 1K to get elevation zeroes on the new bullet. What we saw was the new 155 printed two (2) MOA higher at 1000 yards than the old bullet with the only difference being the bullet…. In my opinion, the new bullet was at least a minute inside of the old bullet at 1K.” — Steve Hardin

Palma Shooters Praise New ‘Top-Secret’ 155gr MatchKing
In the wake of Team USA’s big win at Spirit of America, many members of the USA Palma Team have commented on the impressive performance of the new bullet. You can read their testimonials in THIS THREAD on the Long-Range.com Forum (registration required to access Forum). Team Coach Emil Praslick III had this to say:

“Sierra was very responsive to the US Team’s request that [Sierra] come up with a new design for a 155 grain projectile. After testing a few prototypes designed by the smart guys at Sierra (mainly Pat Daly) we settled on one that seemed to be a good compromise between an efficient design, and a bullet that would shoot well out of a variety of barrels and chambers. Through testing and practice, we have found that the bullet shoots well into the lands, as well as off. One rifle tested jumped them .050″ with good results!

The bullet QC is excellent, and it definitely does shoot. During the team matches at SOA, I felt that the bullet was well inside the other bullets being shot on the line, but as a coach, I am much more concerned with accuracy over chasing a BC ‘magic number’…. The inherent accuracy of the new bullet is what has sold me on it.

The ogive is well back on this bullet, and will probably jump quite a bit at max length in longer than a ‘standard’ Palma 95/WTC 95 chamber. Some, notably Warner Tool and Wayne Forshee, are working on reamer designs. For now, an existing, ‘short throat’, Palma 95 chamber that seats the old Sierra at approx. 2.780″ to touch the lands should work fine.”

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October 17th, 2008

Free NRA Membership with Magazine Subscriptions

guns magazineHere’s generous promotion designed to boost membership in the National Rifle Association. Readers who subscribe to either American Handgunner ($17.76/year) or GUNS Magazine ($19.55/year) through special online offers will receive a free one-year NRA membership. The offers are available at AmericanHandgunner.com and GunsMagazine.com. Click the graphic at left to go directly to the Guns Magazine NRA Offer Page.

Gun enthusiasts who order American Handgunner will get a one-year subscription plus a one-year NRA membership for $17.76. A GUNS Magazine order includes 12 monthly issues plus the NRA membership for only $19.55. Current NRA members are given a new NRA membership gift certificate for a family member or friend when they complete the subscription order.

“This will help to build the NRA membership during this critical time period,” said Roy Huntington, publisher of American Handgunner and GUNS magazines. “Now’s the time to sign up a spouse, son, daughter, scout or even a good friend and help us build NRA membership — to help all of us keep our right to own firearms alive.”

FMG Publications, headquartered in San Diego, publishes American Handgunner and GUNS magazines, plus American COP and the trade publication, Shooting Industry.

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