July 11th, 2009

Rifle-Mounted Ammo Carriers — Low-Cost or Tacti-Cool

One of our writers is shooting in the SoCal Precision Rifle Competition (SCPRC) match this weekend. When assembling his gear for this tactical match we realized there was a problem. He needed to carry 10 rounds “at the ready”, but his rifle lacked detachable magazines. He didn’t want to depend on ammo stored in a backpack or carried in a belt caddy. To quickly access the ammo on his belt or in his pack he would have to get up out of firing position. Our challenge was to figure out the most efficient way to stow 10 rounds on the gun itself.

Elastic Ammo Sleeves
To secure the needed 10 rounds on the gun, we looked at a variety of options. First we tried some slide-on elastic sleeves. These were cheap ($4-$6), but the elastic sleeve tended to slide forward on the buttstock, and as it moved forward it could also rotate. Plus these elastic sleeves held only 9 rounds max. One too few. Shown in the photos are the $4.99 Cabela’s 8-round “Bullet Band” and the Allen 9-round ammo carrier ($3.49 on sale at MidwayUSA). Yes our writer could carry an extra round in his pocket, but we figured there was a better solution.

8-Round Eagle Ammo Carrier
Next we looked at the Eagle Industries Gunstock Ammo Carrier. With THREE velcro-secured straps, including one around the back, this holder was secure. It didn’t slide forward or rotate on the butt-stock. However it cost $28.00 locally, and it only held 8 rounds. Too much money for too little capacity….

Plastic Ammo Caddy Solution — 10 Rounds, Zero Dollars
We then came up with a very simple solution. Federal ammunition comes in sturdy, TEN-round plastic ammo caddies that protect the bullet tips. The caddies have plastic loops at either end so that you can carry the unit on a belt (or other strap). These cartridge-holders cost nothing — people toss them into the trash at ranges.

Using strapping tape — one strand through the loops on the backside, and another layer over the top — we had our “field expedient” 10-round ammo carrier for an all-up cost of $0.00. Zip. Nada. (Duct-tape works as well, but the strapping tape is a cleaner install. See photo right.)

Ugly? Yes — but hey, it works.

Another option with the plastic caddy is body-mounting. Using the belt loops, you can sew the cartridge-holder to an elastic (fabric) arm brace and just slip it on your forearm. That gives you a 10-round, easy-access ammo carrier for under $5.00.

Gunstock Ammunition Carrier (Plus Plastic Caddy in Pocket)
OK, even if it IS a cheap, functional solution, some of you guys will NEVER duct-tape a plastic cartridge holder to your $4500.00 tactical wondergun. It’s just not… how shall we say… “Tacti-Cool”. We know that some Tac shooters are acutely image-conscious. For them it would be a major fashion faux pas to duct-tape an ammo caddy to an Accuracy Int’l or GAP Crusader.

Eagle Industries Stock Pack

If you don’t mind dropping $40.00 or so, there is a solution that gives you a proper tactical set-up, PLUS 15 rounds on the rifle. This, ultimately, is what our writer chose. He purchased an Eagle Industries Stock Pack ($39.09). This features a padded, suede cheekpad, and secure elastic straps at the rear and bottom. Our writer now can mount five (5) rounds on the outside of the pack. In addition, he carries ten (10) more rounds on his Federal plastic cartridge holder, stowed in the Stock Pack’s zippered pocket.

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July 11th, 2009

Premium Powder Funnels for Precision Reloading

Having a quality funnel can help you get a carefully-measured powder charge in your cases, with no spillage, every time. If you’ve messed around with cheap plastic funnels you know that they can rock on the case mouth. Also, if the fit isn’t good, some kernels can end up on your bench, instead of inside the case.

Thankfully, precision, caliber-specific metal funnels are available to reloaders for about $10-11. Satern Custom Machining funnels feature an aluminum top with a caliber-specific, machined brass base/neck. Dick Saunders makes a simliar, turned-aluminum funnel sized for particular calibers. Both these metal funnels make reloading easier (and they are ideal for blackpowder loading because they do not give off static electricity). As Forum member Wes notes, with a fitted metal funnel: “the possibility of the funnel sliding to the side, and spilling powder all over the place is drastically reduced.”

Satern Aluminum/Brass Funnels
Steve Satern crafts rugged aluminum funnels with brass ends. The caliber-specific sizes offer a snug fit that keeps the funnel tight on the case neck while the powder is flowing. Forum member Danny Reever reports: “If you are tired of the generic ‘fits all’ funnels falling over and powder spraying every where, try one of the Satern funnels. Sinclair Int’l sells them and they are top notch.” SMike308 adds: “I have retired my plastic funnels after buying my first Satern funnel. I now have one for each different caliber that I load for. I especially like that the Satern has the brass weight at the bottom, which adds stability to the funnel.”

Aluminum powder funnel Satern

Satern funnels are sold by MidwayUSA (6mm $11.29), Satern Machining (6mm $10.49), and Sinclair International (Item 11-9XX, 6mm $11.95). Satern Machining also offers two types of universal funnels, 22-30 caliber and 30-50 caliber.

Saunders Aluminum Funnels
Some of our Forum members prefer the turned aluminum funnels made by Dick Saunders.
These are sold by Russ Haydon’s Shooters Supply for $9.95 each. Specify .17, .20, .22, 6mm, 6.5mm, .30 caliber or “all-purpose”. If you have questions, you can contact contact Saunders directly:

Dick Saunders
145 Delphi Rd.
Manchester, IA 52057
563-927-4026

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