February 8th, 2012

The $49.99 DIY Range Cart — Courtesy Harbor Freight

Creedmoor Sports Range Cart CRC-1Some High Power shooters on the Forum asked about carts for carrying their gear to the range. You can certainly purchase a factory-made, purpose-built cart that folds up and has all the bells and whistles. The Creedmoor Sports CRC-1 (photo right) is a proven, quality product that works great. You’ll find these used by top shooters at Camp Perry. But the Creedmoor CRC-1 cart costs $499.95.

For a tenth that price ($49.99), plus a few dollars more for do-it-yourself enhancements, you can have a heavy-duty cart that will haul all your gear just fine, though it doesn’t fold up.

Check out the Harbor Freight Welding Cart, item #65939. This cart is ON SALE right now for just $49.99. Overall size is 29-1/2″ L x 20″ W x 49″ H, and width between side rails is 18″. The wheels (with tires) are 20 3/4″ in diameter for smooth rolling. Consider that, if you made your own cart from scratch you could easily pay $30.00 or more just for the large-diameter wheels and axle. Do note — this cart has air-filled tires. Be sure to inflate before you go to the Range!

As sold, the Harbor Freight Welding Cart isn’t quite ready for range use. But it’s easy to add plastic side-panels on the bottom unit, and fit a barrel-holding system on the cross-tube. I also suggest bolting/welding on extra spacers on the most forward underside edge of the bottom so that, at rest, the cart tilts slightly back. This ensures rifles and gear won’t flop forward. (A bit of extra lift also keeps the bottom plate out of the dirt and gravel.)

How to Upgrade Welding Cart for Range Use
Get a block of hard foam rubber. Cut keyhole slots in the rubber to grip the barrel and umbrella/scope stands. Mount the rubber block to the cross piece with self-tapping screws, or drill a horizontal channel in the rubber so the whole block fits over the cross-tube. On the lowest leading edge of the welding cart box (at ground level, front), fit a block of wood 2″ high (you can also fabricate metal extensions). This will make the cart lean back a little more, which helps stabilize the contents on sloping terrain.

You’ll want to enclose the sides of the bottom box area so small items don’t fall out. You can tack-weld aluminum side-plates if you want a fancy appearance. I prefer to just cut sheet plastic from a home improvement store. These plastic panels can be attached with screws or even zip-ties around tubing.

Run the plastic side panels up high enough that stuff like hats and muffs don’t fall out. After transport you can transfer ammo boxes and small items to the upper box (attached to the back side of the cross-tube).

The hardest component to find may be the hard rubber blocks for the barrel keeper, but you can also make a barrel-holding block out of wood, with some carpet to protect the barrels. The nice thing about the rubber is that it can be cut to snap over the barrels so you don’t need straps. Likewise, you can drill a hole transversely through the rubber, then slot it from the bottom and it will slide over the horizontal tubing with no fasteners needed.

Comment: This cart is heavy and it takes up a lot of space. You’ll need a station wagon, SUV or pickup truck to haul it around. But it’s cheap. The money you save on a range cart could pay for a new Krieger or Bartlein barrel, AND some new brass. Those things (new barrel and brass) will likely improve your scores more than having a fancy $500.00 range cart.

Permalink Gear Review, Hot Deals, New Product 15 Comments »
February 8th, 2012

Hornady 6.5 Grendel Brass — Whitley Reports

Robert Whitley of AR-X Enterprises, LLC builds match-grade uppers for AR-platform rifles. Many of Robert’s favorite chamberings are based on the 6.5 Grendel case necked-down to 6mm. Until 2011, Lapua was the only source for 6.5 Grendel brass. As you’d expect, Lapua’s Grendel brass is truly excellent, but it is also pricey, and sometimes hard to find. Now Hornady is producing USA-made 6.5 Grendel brass. Robert Whitley has worked with the Hornady 6.5 Grendel brass for over a year now and he is able to assess its performance compared to the original Lapua version. Writing in our Shooters’ Forum, Robert reveals: “It’s decent brass but hot loads will loosen the primer pockets fast. With moderate loads you will get good case life and service from the brass and it can deliver excellent accuracy as well. Not Lapua but not bad either.”

Robert reports: “I was able to get my hands on some of Hornady’s 6.5 Grendel brass. My big question was how it would measure up, particularly the loaded necks, and whether it would be compatible with our existing 6mmAR and Turbo 40 die sets. As it turns out, this brass looks like a perfect fit for our existing die sets (and obviously 6.5 Grendel die sets too). Accordingly, folks with existing die sets will be able to use the Hornady brass without any issues.” However, as the loaded neck on the Hornady brass is .001″ (one-thousandth) slimmer than Lapua brass, you may want to try a smaller bushing when sizing Hornady Grendel brass.

Hornady 6.5 Grendel brass

The Hornady 6.5 Grendel brass has a LARGE Flash Hole, about .078″ versus .0591″ for Lapua brass. Dimensionally, the biggest difference is the shoulder diameter, with the Hornady brass measuring 0.428″ vs. 0.424″ for the Lapua brass. The Hornady is actually a better fit for 6mmAR chambers which are about 0.432″ at the shoulder. Interestingly, case H20 capacity is virtually identical. Water capacity of new, unfired Hornady 6.5 Grendel brass is 35.1 grains, while new, unfired Lapua Grendel brass holds 35.0 grains of H20. Both brands of Grendel brass increase to about 36.0 grains H20 capacity after firing and full-length sizing.

Here are some of the particulars of the Hornady cases:

Hornady 6.5 Grendel Brass Lapua 6.5 Grendel Brass
Flash hole diameter: ~ .078″
OAL of brass: Average 1.515″
Weight of cases: 111.7 to 113.0 grains
Web diameter, unfired: 0.4375″
Shoulder diameter, unfired: 0.428″
Loaded neck diameter: 0.2895″
6mmAR loaded neck: 0.270″
Flash hole diameter: 1.5mm (0.0591″)
OAL of brass: Average 1.515″
Weight of cases: 111.0 to 112.5 grains
Web diameter, unfired: 0.4385″
Shoulder diameter, unfired: 0.424″
Loaded neck diameter: 0.290″
6mmAR loaded neck: 0.271″
Permalink Bullets, Brass, Ammo, New Product, Reloading 12 Comments »