May 30th, 2017

Chain Detonation — What Happens When A Primer Stack Blows

RCBS Primer Progressive strip APS dillon detonation

What can happen when the bottom-most primer in a primer feed tube goes off? A big bang, that’s what. Some or all of the primers in the vertical feeding tube can go off in a chain detonation. That’s exactly what happened to Dustin Ellermann, Top Shot Season 3 Champion. Scary experience, but thankfully Dustin was not injured. He writes: “Super thankful that I was wearing my Wiley X eye protection this weekend when I was reloading some .223 rounds. My press detonated nearly 100 small rifle primers. Shown here is the magazine feed tube. Not fun but it could have been much worse. Stay safe!”

When working with progressive reloading presses, you should definitely wear eye protection. Dustin’s chain detonation experience proves that — without a doubt. Remember you only have one set of eyes!

RCBS APS Strips — Alternative to Primer Tubes
RCBS Primer Progressive strip APS dillon detonationWhen you stack a column of primers in a single metal tube, you’re asking for trouble. As Dustin Ellermann learned, when one primer fires, the entire column can follow suit in a chain detonation. Thankfully, you do have options when it comes to primer feeding on a progressive press. RCBS developed an innovative primer system for its Pro-2000 progressive press. Instead of being stored in a vertical tube, primers are placed in flat, plastic “APS” strips, with a ring of plastic separating each primer. Moving horizontally, primers are never stacked, so the chance of a chain detonation is reduced dramatically. The re-usable APS strips are color-coded for different primer types. You can buy CCI “pre-loaded” primer strips, or you can insert any brand of primers into strips using an RCBS strip-loader tool.

RCBS Pro-2000 with APS Strip Priming System

AccurateShooter.com Editor Uses Strip Primers
This Editor owns an RCBS Pro-2000 progressive press. The RCBS strip-priming system was one key reason I selected the RCBS Pro-2000 over similar-priced progressives from Dillon and Hornady. I believe the strip primer system is safer, more positive, and easier to use. Before I purchased my RCBS progressive, I “road-tested” the competition. I loaded hundreds of rounds on each of four different progressives: Dillon 550B, Dillon 650, Hornady Lock-N-Load, and RCBS 2000. I was concerned about the primer feed tubes on the Dillons, and I found the RCBS rotary powder measure was much more precise (and easier to adjust) than the sliding bar system on the Dillon machines. The RCBS priming system was definitely more fool-proof than the system on the Hornady press (a first-generation L-N-L that had issues with primer feeding). After “test-driving” blue, red, and green brand progressives extensively, I settled on the RCBS Pro-2000. A decade later, I still think I made the right choice. I like the APS strips for big jobs, and I can also use them in the RCBS hand-priming tool (shown below). With the strips, it’s easy to prime 20 or 40 cases at a time, and then switch to another type of primer for comparison testing.

RCBS Primer Progressive strip APS dillon detonation

APS Tool press mounted RCBSThe APS priming system also works with press-mounted priming tool, bench-mounted tool, and APS hand-tool. EdLongRange uses the press-mounted tool: “I also like the APS approach but use the press-mounted unit (saves your hands/wrists — and I haven’t had a need for a progressive press in over 20 years). Loading the primers in the strips is a bit of a PITA but very manageable. As with all tools there is a learning curve.” CLICK HERE for video showing strip-loading tool and press-mounted APS tool. The press-mounted tool is no longer in production, but you can still BUY IT HERE.

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May 30th, 2017

Varminter.com Field Tests New Lead Free 17 WSM Ammo

Varminter.com winchester 17 WSM lead free no lead rifle test
Photo Courtesy Varminter.com.

The team at Varminter.com just completed an extensive test of Winchester’s new LEAD FREE 17 WSM ammunition. During multiple sessions, Varminter.com shot the ammo using no less than nine different rifles. Four, 5-shot groups were shot with each rifle from the bench at 100 yards. Results were impressive. Average group size for a 1:9″-twist heavy barrel Savage B-Mag was a remarkable 0.5005 inches. Group size averages for seven of the eight other 17-cal rifles* ranged from 0.755 to 1.03 inches at 100 yards — pretty impressive for factory rimfire rigs. A LOT of time was invested in this test, and we recommend you read the full report on Varminter.com.

» READ FULL 17 WSM Lead-Free AMMO Review on Varminter.com

Fastest Rimfire Cartridge Ever
If you’re not familiar with this cartridge, the 17 WSM is the fastest, flattest-shooting rimfire round you can buy. It stomps the .22 LR, and even offers significantly better ballistics than the popular 17 HMR. This lead- free version is impressively flat-shooting. With a 100-yard zero, it drops only 4.3 inches at 200 yards. Compare that with a .22 LR which can drop 18 inches or more from 100 to 200 yards (based on 1150 fps MV).

Varminter.com winchester 17 WSM lead free no lead rifle test

Zinc Replaces Lead in Winchester’s Eco-Friendly 17 WSM
For folks who live in areas where lead ammo is restricted, such as California, the arrival of this Lead Free 17 WSM is good news. Winchester’s new 17 WSM ammunition features a Zinc-cored, polymer-tipped 15-grain bullet with 0.118 G1 BC. The ammo is rated at a speedy 3300 FPS velocity. Winchester says that the zinc core and “thin alloy jacket with engineered sidewall profile” deliver “explosive fragmentation.”

Varminter.com winchester 17 WSM lead free no lead rifle test

*The ninth rifle, a Savage BMAG with original thin-contour barrel, was the “odd man out”. Accuracy was mediocre, averaging 1.763 inches.

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May 30th, 2017

Cartridges of the World — Great 680-Page Resource

Cartridges of World Barnes 15th Edition

Cartridges of the World (15th Edition), belongs in every serious gun guy’s library. This massive 680-page reference contains illustrations and basic load data for over 1500 cartridges. If you load for a wide variety of cartridges, or are a cartridge collector, this book is a “must-have” resource. The latest edition (release date 10/24/2016) includes 50 new cartridges and boasts 1500+ photos. This printed reference guide is $27.89 at Amazon.com, while a Kindle eBook version costs $19.99.

The 15th Edition of Cartridges of the World includes cartridge specs, plus tech articles on Cartridge identification, SAAMI guidelines, wildcatting, and new cartridge design trends. In scope and level of detail, Cartridges of the World is the most complete cartridge reference guide in print. Cartridges of the World now includes a 64-page full-color section with feature articles, including an interesting feature on the .300 Win Mag.

Cartridges of World Barnes 15th Edition

Cartridges of World Barnes 15th Edition

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