October 26th, 2018

Stick, Flake, and Ball — Do You Know Your Powder Properties?

Widener's Reloading Smokeless Powder propellant Guide

Widener’s Reloading & Shooting Supply recently published a helpful introduction to reloading powders. Widener’s online Guide to Smokeless Powders shows the various types of powders, and explains how the differences in powder kernel/flake size and shape, and burn rate affect performance. We recommend you visit Widener’s website and read the Powder Guide in full.

Take a close look at these illustrations which show the key differences between the four main powder types: extruded (stick) powder, ball (spherical) powder, flattened ball powder, and flake powder.

Widener's Reloading Smokeless Powder propellant Guide

Widener's Reloading Smokeless Powder propellant Guide

Widener's Reloading Smokeless Powder propellant Guide

Widener's Reloading Smokeless Powder propellant Guide

Burn Rate Basics

Widener’s Guide to Smokeless Powders also has a useful discussion of Burn Rate (a confusing topic for many hand-loaders). Wideners explains: “While a gun powder explosion in the cartridge seems instantaneous, if you slow it down you will actually find that each powder has a different ‘burn rate’, or speed at which it ignites.” This video shows powders with two very different burn rates. Watch closely.

Different burn rates suit different cartridge types notes Widener’s: “In general a fast-burning powder is used for light bullets and low-speed pistols and shotguns. Medium-rate powders are used for magnum pistols, while high-velocity, large bore rifle cartridges will need slow powders[.]

It should be noted that burn rate does not have a standardized unit of measurement. In fact, burn rate is really only discussed in comparison to other powders; there is no universal yardstick. Specifics will change by cartridge and bullet types[.]”

Permalink Bullets, Brass, Ammo, Reloading 1 Comment »
October 26th, 2018

NEW High-Performance 27-55x80mm Leupold Spotting Scope

Leupold Stevens Santiam SX-5 Spotter spotting scope HD 26-55X 80mm

Leupold recently annouced a new, premium spotting scope with outstanding low-light performance. Leupold’s new Santium SX-5 Spotter features a jumbo 80mm objective with a 27-55X zoom eyepiece. The SX-5 is offered in both straight and angled versions. Suggested retail price (including eyepiece) is $2339.00. Best “street price” should be around $1800.00. That positions Leupold’s SX-5 above Vortex, Burris, and Pentax price-wise, but the SX-5 is over $1000 less than high-end, 80mm-class Swarovski and Leica spotters which approach $3000 with eyepiece.

We’re interested to see how this new Leupold stacks up against the Kowa TSN-880 Prominar spotter ($2450.00 on Amazon) which has been a benchmark in the 80mm class. Leupold worked hard to give the SX-5 “second to none” low-light performance. The goal was to create a truly superior optic for hunters who may spend long periods “glassing” for game at dawn and dusk.

Leupold Stevens Santiam SX-5 Spotter spotting scope HD 26-55X 80mm

The SX-5 features High Definition (HD) glass with proprietary lens coatings to maximize light transmission and color fidelity. Zac Bird, Product Manager for Leupold states: “The human eye is most sensitive to colors outside the middle of the spectrum during dawn and dusk, when game is moving — the Twilight Max HD Light Management System literally helps you see more in less light. The superior glare reduction it offers ensures the maximum amount of usable light gets to your eye. Our proprietary lens coatings and superior optical design help deliver the very best contrast and resolution”

Features of New SX-5 Santiam HD 27-55x80mm Spotting Scope:
– Full-Diameter Focus Ring for smooth and precise focusing
– Oversized Eyepiece for reduced fatigue
– Guard-Ion Rain-Shedding Lens Coating
– Built-in Retractable Lens Shade
– Tough Rubber Armor Coating
– Full Lifetime Warranty

Leupold Stevens Santiam SX-5 Spotter spotting scope HD 26-55X 80mm

Price vs. Performance in the Field
Should a hunter spend a couple grand ($2000) on a spotting scope? It depends on your priorities. Leupold says: “Don’t underestimate the importance of a quality spotting scope. Your spotter can mean difference between tagging out or going home empty-handed…. Ultimately, you can’t shoot what you can’t find.”

Permalink Gear Review, New Product, Optics No Comments »