March 8th, 2016

Cost Per Round by Cartridge Type: .223, 6BR, 6XC, .308, 6.5-284

Shooting Cost by Cartridge Caliber type USAMU

Estimating Actual Cost per Round by Caliber
This article comes from the USAMU, which provide shooting and reloading tips on its Facebook Page. This week’s USAMU TECH TIP outlines a ballpark-estimate method of calculating the actual cost per round of different calibers. Some applications, and some shooters, by virtue of their high level of competition, require the very best ballistic performance available — “Darn the cost, full speed ahead!

If you are in serious contention to win a major competition, then losing even a single point to inferior ballistic performance could cost you a national title or record. However, this “horsepower” does come at a cost! Some calibers are barrel-burners, and some offer much longer barrel life. Look at this comparison chart:

Estimated Cost Per Round by Cartridge Type

Below are some estimated total expense per round (practice and competition) based on component costs, type used, expected barrel life and a standard, chambered barrel cost of $520.00 across calibers.

5.56x45mm: $0.46/round (barrel life 6,000 rounds)*

6mmBR: $0.81/round (barrel life 2800 rounds)

6XC: $0.97/round (barrel life 2200 rounds)

.308 Win: $0.80/round (barrel life 4500 rounds)

6.5-284: $1.24/round (barrel life 1100 rounds)

*Note the high round count estimate for 5.56x45mm. This is a bit deceptive, as it assumes a period of “lesser accuracy” use. The USAMU says: “Much of the difference you see here between 5.56 and .308 is due to using the 5.56 barrel for 100-200 yard training with less-expensive, 55gr Varmint bullets after its long-range utility is spent”.

Moreover, while some applications require specialized, high-cost components, others do not. And, if the shooter is still relatively new to the sport and hasn’t refined his skill to within the top few percentile of marksmen, a more economical caliber choice can help stretch a limited budget. Translation: More skill per dollar!

In this post, the prices for all items mentioned here were taken from a major component supplier’s current advertisements, and all brass was of top quality, except in the case of 5.56mm. There, 200 top-quality, imported cases were reserved for 600-yard shooting, and the other brass used was once-fired Lake City surplus.

Cartridge cases were assumed to be loaded 10 times each. [Your mileage may vary…] Bullet prices assumed the use of less-expensive, but good-quality match bullets for the bulk of shooting as appropriate.

The cost of top-tier, highly-expensive match bullets was also calculated for a realistic percentage of the shots fired, based on ones’ application. Barrel life by caliber was taken from likely estimates based on experience and good barrel maintenance.

Brass Costs Based on 10 Loads Per Case
Often, handloaders may calculate ammunition cost per round by adding the individual costs of primers, powder charges and projectiles. Many don’t consider the cost of brass, as it is reloaded several times. Here, we’ll consider the cost of enough top-quality brass to wear out a barrel in our given caliber, at 10 loads per case, except as noted above.

Don’t Forget Amortized Barrel Costs
Few shooters factor in the full, true cost of barrel life. Depending on caliber, that can dramatically increase the cost per round. For example, consider a long-range rifle in 6.5/284 caliber. This cartridge performs amazingly well, but at a cost. Ballpark estimated barrel life [in a top-quality barrel] is 1100 rounds. Some wear out faster, some last longer, but this gives a rough idea of what to expect.

Accurate barrels are a joy to use, but they are an expendable resource!
Shooting Cost by Cartridge Caliber type USAMU

A top-quality barrel plus installation was estimated at about $520.00. At 1100 rounds, barrel life adds $0.47 per round to our total cost. Thus, what had started out as an [components-only estimate, with brass cost] of $0.76/round now totals $1.24 per shot!

Cost Considerations When Choosing a Catridge Type
Some shooters might ask themselves if they could meet their present needs with a more economical caliber. If so, that equates to more practice and matches per available dollar, and more potential skill increase on the available budget.

Each shooter knows his skill level, practice needs, and shooting discipline’s requirements. Some might shoot NRA Service Rifle or Match Rifle using a 5.56mm with a long barrel life. Others might be Match Rifle shooters faced with choosing between, say, a 6mm BR vs. 6XC. A realistic assessment of ones needs, performance-wise, may help guide the shooter toward a caliber that’s most optimized to their needs at the moment.

Admittedly, the factors affecting cost for any individuals circumstances can vary significantly. However, hopefully this will provide one useful method of evaluating one’s training and competition choices, based on their skill, goals and needs.

USAMU reloading Facebook Page army tips tech

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March 8th, 2016

Air Travel with Guns — Expert Advice from Security Professional

Airport security travel bag check-in O'hare TSA

Before he retired, Forum member Ron D. served as a Police Officer assigned to Chicago’s O’Hare airport. Ron offers some excellent advice for shooters traveling with firearms and expensive optics.

gun transport caseFirst, Ron explains that airport thieves can spot bags containing firearms no matter how they are packaged: “Don’t think you’re safe if your guns are placed in cases designed for golf clubs or trade show items. Baggage is X-Rayed now and cases are tagged with a special bar code if they contain firearms. It doesn’t take long for bad guys to figure out the bar coding for firearms.”

Carry-On Your Scopes and Expensive Items
Ron advises travelers to avoid placing very expensive items in checked baggage: “When traveling by air, carry on your rangefinder, spotting scope, rifle scope, medications, camera, etc. You would be surprised at the amount of people that carry-on jeans and shirts, but put expensive items in checked baggage. Better to loose three pairs of jeans than some expensive glass.”

Mark Bags to Avoid Confusion
Ron notes that carry-on bags are often lost because so many carry-on cases look the same. Ron reports: “People do accidentally remove the wrong bag repeatedly. I frequently heard the comment, ‘But it looks just like my bag.’ When de-planing, keep an eye on what comes out of the overhead that your bag is in. It’s easy to get distracted by someone that has been sitting next to you the whole flight. I tie two streamers of red surveyors’ tape on my carry-on bag.” You can also use paint or decals to make your carry-on bag more distinctive.

Choosing a Rifle Transport Case
Ron advises: “Buy the best [rifle case] that you can afford. Don’t cry when your $3,000+ Benchrest rifle has a cracked stock or broken scope. Think about what it would be like to travel across the country (e.g. to Montana or the Cactus Classic) and arrive with a damaged rifle. Remember the Samsonite commercial. (For you younger shooters, it shows a monkey throwing the suitcase around in his cage at the zoo.) Baggage handling is NOT a fine art. There is no guarantee that your rifle case will be on top of all the other baggage. Then there is shifting of baggage in the belly of the plane. Ponder that for a while. Rifle and pistol cases must be locked. It doesn’t take a Rocket Scientist to figure out that a simple pry tool will open most case locks. There is not much that you can do to disguise a rifle case. It is what it is, and opportunists know this. Among thieves, it doesn’t take long for the word to get around about a NEW type of case.”

gun transport case

General Advice for Air Travelers
Ron cautions: “Keep your hands on your items before boarding. One of the most often heard comments from theft victims was, ‘I just put my computer down for a minute while I was on the phone.’ Also, get to the baggage claim area quickly. If your family/friends can meet you there, so can the opportunists. Things do get lost in the claim area. Don’t be a Victim. Forewarned is forearmed.”

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March 8th, 2016

U.S. F-TR Team Raffle Tonight — $9000.00 Package

USA F-TR Raffle .338 Lapua Kelblys Gemtech Nightforce

Lapua Supports U.S F-TR Rifle Team
Lapua continues its support of the U.S. Rifle Team (F-TR) by donating Lapua factory-loaded .338 Lapua Magnum ammunition as part of a raffle package to raise funds for the Team. The raffle will take place this evening, on March 8, 2016.

The U.S. Rifle Team is raffling off a .338 Lapua Magnum Tactical Rifle donated and built by Kelbly’s Rifles. The raffle package includes a Nightforce Optics ATACR 5-25x56mm scope, 100 rounds of .338 Lapua Magnum 300gr OTM Scenar ammunition, plus a Gemtech Arrow suppressor

The total package value is over $9,000!

All of the proceeds from this raffle will be used to train and equip the U.S. Rifle Team as the team prepares for the 2017 World Championships in Canada.

USA F-TR Raffle .338 Lapua Kelblys Gemtech Nightforce

About the U.S. Rifle Team (F-TR):
The U.S. Rifle Team (F-TR) is the two-time, Farquharson Target Rifle (F-TR) discipline World Championship winning squad. The U.S. Rifle Team competes regularly against other nation’s F-TR squads. At the 2013 World Championships, 17 nations were represented. The next World Championships will be held at Connaught Range near Ottawa, Canada in 2017. All of the rifles used in the F-TR class are chambered in either the .308 Winchester or .223 Remington calibers. This ensures a level playing field for all competitors. Every match winner can rightly say that it was their skill, not their caliber, that won the day. Most of our team events are fired at targets 1000 yards away. The inner-most scoring ring on our target is five inches in diameter. The next ring is ten inches in diameter. These shooters manage to put the vast majority of their shots inside that 10-inch ring at 1000 yards! Learn more about the US Rifle Team at www.USRifleTeam.com.

USA F-TR Raffle .338 Lapua Kelblys Gemtech Nightforce

The U.S. F-TR Team Raffle, report by Ray Gross, Team Captain
Our raffle has been a huge success thanks to a number of sponsors who stepped forward to help out. A special thank you goes to Ian Kelbly, who offered to help out before I even asked. Kelbly’s became the first new sponsor of our team after I became Captain. Nightforce has been a long-time sponsor of our team and has been a huge help this cycle. Bryan Litz is a member of the team and his company, Applied Ballistics, is a sponsor. Bryan contacted Applied Ballistic Munitions and they happily donated ammo to our prize. Adam Braverman of Lapua, also a long-time team sponsor, sought us out, to help with our raffle.

What’s great about all of these companies is that we were already using their products, they didn’t have to sponsor us to get us to use them. We are in the business of winning and we have to use the best products. It speaks very highly of each of them that they are committed to supporting the shooting sports.

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