April 3rd, 2017

Lapua 6.5 Creedmoor Brass Performs Great in Tough Field Test

6.5 Guys 6.5 creedmoor Lapua brass cartridge casing filed test 20 reload cycles

The verdict is in — Lapua’s new 6.5 Creedmoor brass is ultra-tough and very consistent. So sayeth the 6.5 Guys, who recently field-tested the brass, loading it to very stout levels. Even after 20 reloadings, the Lapua 6.5 CM brass held up extremely well. This brass, with its small primer pocket and small flash hole, really does out-perform other 6.5 Creedmoor brass offerings. Yes the Lapua brass is pricey, but it outlasts the alternatives, and, if the 6.5 Guys test is any indication, you can run higher velocities with this brass compared to other brands. Watch the 6.5 Guys Lapua brass test in this video:

If you have a 6.5 Creedmoor rifle, or are considering getting a gun chambered for this cartridge, we strongly recommend you watch the full 6.5 Guys Video. Ed and Steve spent a lot of time conducting this test, and the video includes helpful summaries of their findings.

The Evolution of the 6.5 Creedmoor
Over the last few years the 6.5 Creedmoor cartridge has become increasingly popular among precision rifle enthusiasts. However, availability of brass cases was limited to only a few manufacturers. In early 2017 Lapua introduced to the market its own 6.5 Creedmoor case with a unique twist — the case has a small rifle primer pocket and small flash hole — like the 6mmBR Norma and 6.5×47 Lapua.

6.5 Guys 6.5 creedmoor Lapua brass cartridge casing filed test 20 reload cycles

Lapua 6.5 Creedmoor Brass — Test Protocol
The 6.5 Guys tested a box of Lapua 6.5 Creedmoor cartridge brass supplied by Graf & Sons. The project involved two phases. First the 6.5 Guys weighed and measured the cases to assess weight uniformity and dimensional consistency (which was impressive). Then came phase II — the “torture test”. The 6.5 Guys loaded the brass with a very stout charge of H4350 pushing 140gr Hornady ELD bullets*. The brass was loaded and shot over 20 times. This durability test was conducted to see how many repeated firings and resizing/reloading cycles the brass could handle. Remarkably, after 20+ loadings, the brass was still holding up — no “blown-out” primer pockets. This stuff is tough. The 6.5 Guys note: “You can go at least 20 reloadings without a split neck…but brass spring-back may be another issue.”

After 20 Load Cycles — Going to the Extreme
Once the Lapua cases had been shot 20+ times, the 6.5 Guys tried something more extreme. They stuffed the brass with a very hot load — a powder charge weight well beyond a sensible maximum. Even with this “beyond max” load, the Lapua brass held up but there was some evidence of pressure on the primers: “You do see some cratering on the primer with a Remington 700 that you don’t see with a Defiance action, but nothing to indicate a potential pierced primer.”

6.5 Guys 6.5 creedmoor Lapua brass cartridge casing filed test 20 reload cycles
WARNING: The 6.5 Guys deliberately used a very stout load for testing. Do not attempt to duplicate. This load was shot in a faster-than-average barrel with a chamber set up for long 140gr bullets. You may not be able to achieve similar velocities — maybe not even close. As with all hand-loading, always start low and work up charges in small increments.

6.5 Creedmoor vs. 6.5×47 Lapua — Battle of the Middle-Weights
With this new brass, does the 6.5 Creedmoor enjoy an edge over the 6.5×47 Lapua? The 6.5 Guys answer: “That’s hard to say. From a market share standpoint, the 6.5 CM is more popular in the USA. From a technical perspective, 6.5×47 Lapua offers near identical performance with better barrel life. But from our tests, you can drive a 140-grain bullet much faster with 6.5 Creedmoor than you ever can (safely) with a 6.5×47 Lapua. That’s our non-answer answer….”

The 6.5 Guys concluded that the 6.5 Creedmoor will enjoy a velocity advantage: “We’ve had a number of discussions with RBros and other folks about this. It appears that 6.5×47 still has the edge as far as barrel life. But it also looks like you can push a 140gr bullet pretty fast with the 6.5 CM — speeds that are not obtainable with the 6.5×47 Lapua.”

* Why were the Hornady 140gr ELDs chosen for testing? The 6.5 Guys wanted a bullet in the 140gr weight range. Beyond that, the choice was fortuitous. Ed explained: “Our bullet selection was quite scientific — we sat down at my reloading bench and looked around. Saw the Hornady 140 ELD Match and decided to roll with that.”

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April 3rd, 2017

Bargain Finder 81: AccurateShooter’s Deals of the Week

Accurateshooter Bargain Finder Deals of Week

At the request of our readers, we provide select “Deals of the Week”. Every Monday morning we offer our Best Bargain selections. Here are some of the best deals on firearms, hardware, reloading components, and shooting accessories. Be aware that sale prices are subject to change, and once clearance inventory is sold, it’s gone for good. You snooze you lose.

1. Cabela’s — Winged 1/2″-Padded Shooting Mat, $44.99

Shooting Mat Cabelas custom wings large flaps

This is a very good, thickly-padded mat, with unique features — twin side wings for gear. Sale priced at $44.99 at Cabela’s, this offers great value for the money. With 1/2″-thick padding, this mat is comfortable, and the large side wings keep your gear off damp, mucky, or dusty ground. The left wing has a zippered compartment while the right wing has a large pouch that can hold ammo box, rangefinder, or other gear. Up front is a handy bipod stop. Deployed, the mat is an ample 73-1/2″ long x 35-1/2″ wide. The mat rolls up into a convenient package complete with adjustable shoulder strap. With a Lifetime Guarantee, this mat has earned very positive user reviews — 4.8 out of 5 stars. One owner declared: “This is a great shooting mat … rivals many other mats in a much higher price range. The added wing area has plenty of room for ammo, elbows and miscellaneous gear. It has two sewn-in bipod stops and the padding is just right. It is very well built, love it!” — LHeffy.

2. CDNN Sports –$1.50 Safety Eyewear and $10.00 Muffs

Earmuffs Eyewear CDNN Cheap Sale Clearance

CDNN is selling off all its remaining inventory of Safety Eyewear and Hearing Protection. Accordingly, you can purchase ANSI-Z87.1-Rated Eyewear for $1.50, and a set of NRR25 Muffs for just $10.00. At these prices, you can outfit the whole family, or donate a few sets to your local youth program. We’ve learned it’s always good to have spare eye and ear protection — keep extra sets in your range bags and vehicle glove boxes.

3. Aero Precision — Upper & Lower Kit, FDE Cerakote, $193.49

AR AR16 Upper and Lower Aero Precision Kit

Thinking of putting together an accurate AR for the new PRS Gas Gun series (or 3-Gun matches)? Here’s a good place to start. Aero Precision now offers a $193.49 kit with stripped Upper and Lower Receivers — both with a durable Flat Dark Earth (Magpul FDE) Cerakote finish. Just add barrel, buttstock, trigger group, controls, and your bolt carrier group. Note: This Kit will work with the .223 Rem and similar-length, larger-caliber cartridges such as the 6mmAR and 6.5 Grendel. If you want to shoot a 6.5 Creedmoor, you’ll need an AR10 platform rifle.

4. Midsouth — GECO .22 LR Bolt Action Ammo, $42 for 500 Rds

Shooting Mat Cabelas custom wings large flaps

This a very good deal on quality, European-made GECO .22 LR rimfire ammunition. This is optimized for use in bolt-action rifles. Test lots have proven reliable with much better than average ED and SD and solid accuracy. GECO is a good brand, part of the Swiss RUAG family of companies. The price, $42.00 for a 500-round Brick (10 boxes), is just 8.4 cents per round. Though still very affordable, this GECO .22 LR ammo is way better than typical domestic “bulk pack” rimfire ammo.

5. Grafs.com — Sightron SIIB Scope Clearance Sale, 46-47% Off

Sightron Graf's Grafs.com Scope Sale SIIB

As part of its Spring Inventory Clearance Sale, Grafs.com is offering Sightron SIIB scopes at rock-bottom prices. If you are looking for a reliable medium-power zoom optic for a varmint rig or hunting rifle, check out these bargains: Sightron 3-12x42mm Plex and Sightron 4-15x42mm Target AO Plex.

We like the 4-16x42mm Sightron SIIB with adjustable front objective for just $329.99. That’s 47% off the regular price. The 15X is enough power for most prairie dog shooting and there’s absolutely nothing wrong with an adjustable front objective — these systems are very positive and “dead nuts” reliable.

6. CDNN Sports — Ruger 17 HMR American Compact $279.99

Ruger 17 HMR American Compact

With ballistics far superior to a .22 LR, the 17 HMR is ideal for Prairie Dogs and small varmints out to 180 yards or so. Now you can get a reliable, name brand 17 HMR rifle for a very attractive price. That’s right, CDNN Sports is selling the 17 HMR Ruger American Rimfire Compact, with 18″ barrel, for just $279.99. That includes two (2) comb units and a FREE padded carry sling. FFL required.

7. Amazon — Plano Double Rifle Case with Wheels, $113.99

Plano double scoped rifle case with wheels

This Plano Double Scoped Rifle Case is an Amazon Best Seller for good reason. It offers the functionality and durability of an SKB-type hard case for HALF the money. This is under $115.00, while the equivalent SKB is around $240.00, so you can buy two Planos for the price of one SKB. The 51.5″ interior will fit most scoped competition rifles up to about 29″ barrels (measure your own rifle to make sure). The handles are convenient and beefy and the wheels make this case easy to move through airports and parking lots. This is a very tough, roomy case for the money (plus there’s Free Shipping for Prime Members).

8. Amazon — 630 1″-Diameter Target Spots, $9.65 Delivered

Amazon target dots discount free shipping sight-in target

We use 1″-diameter Target Spots for sight-in and practice at 100-300 yards. These bright red/orange self-adhesive dots are easy to see. At 100 yards the high-contrast black diamond centers provide precise aiming points. We found this 10-pack of target spots on Amazon at a rock-bottom price. You get 630 total stick-on dots for just $9.65 with FREE Shipping. You can also get 360 Birchwood Casey 1″ dots from Midsouth for just $3.15, but shipping is extra. If you’re already ordering something from Midsouth, you may want to add the dots to your order.

9. Amazon — Cotton Cleaning Patches, 800 for $9.99 – $17.99

Amazon bulk pack patches 800 cotton flannel

Got patches? Here’s a great deal on 100% cotton flannel patches. There are many sizes available, starting at $9.99 for 800 one-inch “17 Cal” patches. For 6mm rifles, we actually like the 1.25″ round “22/223″ sized patches priced at $11.99 for 800. Choose either round patches or square patches in most sizes. We generally like round patches for use with spire-tip jags, but some shooters prefer to wrap their patches around a jag or brush and square patches work better for wrapping. The large, 2″-square .30 Cal patches cost $17.99 for 800. These prices include FREE Shipping for Prime Members.

10. Amazon — Leight MAX NRR33 Earplugs, $7.45 for 50 Pairs.

Max NRR 33 db ear plugs

These Howard Leight NRR33 Max plugs are your Editor’s favorite foam earplugs. They seal out noise better than any others I’ve tried. Between shooting, motorcycling and mowing lawns, I probably have Max plugs in my ears 2-3 days a week. This is a very good price for a bulk pack of 50 pairs (100 plugs). And if you act soon, you can get free shipping to boot.

Permalink Bullets, Brass, Ammo, Hot Deals, Optics, Reloading No Comments »
April 3rd, 2017

Reloading Bling — MK Machining’s Aluminum Reloading Trays

MK Machining Reloading Tray Block Anodized shell Red Blue black

Forty-five bucks for a 25-round reloading tray? No this is not a late April Fool’s Day story. The CNC wizards at MK Machining in Missouri have created what may be the world’s most high-tech tray. Milled from billet aluminum, these trays will last a lifetime, and they offer one big advantage — any powder over-spill simply fills the open gap between the top and bottom plates. That way you don’t have stray powder kernels collecting in the bottom of the cartridge holes.

The MK Reloading Trays come in four colors: Red Anodized ($44.99), Blue Anodized ($44.99), Black Anodized ($39.99), and Silver (Clear) Anodized ($34.99). The holes are sized for .308 Win-diameter cases, so they’ll work for 6mmBR, 6.5×47 Lapua, 6.5 Creedmoor, .243 Win, 7mm-08, and the entire .308 Win family. As shown below you can buy a Red and Blue pair and simply re-assemble them in a Red/Blue Sandwich style. We think that looks pretty cool.

MK Machining Reloading Tray Block Anodized shell Red Blue black

For more information, or to order MK Reloading Trays, visit MKMachining.com.

Reloading Block Tray Sinclair white polymer BrownellsTo be honest, the $6.99 Sinclair Polymer Loading Blocks are good enough for most reloading applications — and the larger, 50-round Blocks ($10.99 at right) can hold twice as many rounds as the MK trays.

However, the MK Machining Loading Tray definitely has more “bling appeal” and there are some advantages to the sandwich design. The aluminum is certainly more heat resistant than polymer. For guys who want a “Cadillac” tray on their bench, the MK Machining Trays may be worth the investment. We also think these might make nice prizes for a shooting match.

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