April 23rd, 2019

Precision Handloading for Pistols — Tips from the USAMU

USAMU Service Pistol Handgun Tip Advice Reloading

Each Wednesday the USAMU offers tips for handloaders on the USAMU Facebook page. This article from the “Handloading Hump-Day” archives should interest pistol competitors, an any shooter who enjoys getting the best possible accuracy from their fine pistols. In this article, the USAMU’s experts share key tips that can help optimize your pistol ammo. Follow this tips to produce more consistent ammo, that can shoot higher scores.

Optimize the Taper Crimp
One often-overlooked aspect of handloading highly-accurate pistol ammunition is the amount of crimp and its effect on accuracy. Different amounts of taper crimp are used with various handloads to obtain best accuracy. The amount is based on bullet weight, powder burn rate and charge, plus other factors. It is not unusual for our Shop to vary a load’s crimp in degrees of 0.001″ and re-test for finest accuracy.

USAMU Service Pistol Handgun Tip Advice ReloadingUse Consistent Brass
Brass is also important to pistol accuracy. While accurate ammunition can be loaded using brass of mixed parentage, that is not conducive to finest results, particularly at 50 yards. It is important for the serious competitor/handloader to use brass of the same headstamp and ideally one lot number, to maximize uniformity. Given the volumes of ammunition consumed by active pistol competitors, using inexpensive, mixed surplus brass for practice, particularly at the “short line” (25 yards), is understandable. However, for the “long line” (50 yards), purchasing and segregating a lot of high-quality brass to be used strictly for slow-fire is a wise idea.

Importance of Uniform COAL
Uniformity of the Case Overall Length (COAL) as it comes from the factory is also important to achieving utmost accuracy. More uniform case lengths (best measured after sizing) contribute to greater consistency of crimp, neck tension, ignition/burn of powder charge, and so on. Cartridge case-length consistency varies from lot to lot, as well as by maker. Some manufacturers are more consistent in this dimension than others. [Editor’s note: It is easy to trim pistol brass to uniform length. Doing this will make your taper crimps much more consistent.]

Primers and Powders — Comparison Test for Accuracy
Pay attention to primer brands, powder types and charges. Evaluating accuracy with a Ransom or other machine rest at 50 yards can quickly reveal the effect of changes made to handload recipes.

USAMU Service Pistol Handgun Tip Advice Reloading

Bullet Selection — FMJ vs. JHP
Bullets are another vital issue. First, there is the question of FMJ vs. JHP. A friend of this writer spent decades making and accuracy-testing rifle and pistol bullets during QC for a major bullet manufacturer. In his experience, making highly-accurate FMJ bullets is much more difficult than making highly-accurate JHPs, in large part due to the way the jackets are formed. Small die changes could affect accuracy of FMJ lots dramatically.

The CMP now allows “safe, jacketed ammunition” in Excellence-in-Competition (EIC) Service Pistol matches, although wadcutter ammunition is prohibited. Thus, the option to use very accurate JHP designs simplifies the life of CMP Service Pistol shooters in pursuit of the prestigious Distinguished Pistol Shot badge.

Hopefully, these tips will be helpful to any pistol shooters interested in accurate handloads, not just “Bullseye” shooters. Small tweaks to one’s normal routine can pay big dividends in improved accuracy and make practice and competition more rewarding.

Stay safe, and good shooting!

Permalink Bullets, Brass, Ammo, Reloading No Comments »
April 23rd, 2019

For Less Run-Out, Try Rotating Your Cases During Bullet Seating

Bullet Seating Reloading rotate cartridge Run-out TIR

Here is a simple technique that can potentially help you load straighter ammo, with less run-out (as measured on the bullet). This procedure costs nothing and adds only a few seconds to the time needed to load a cartridge. Next time you’re loading ammo with a threaded (screw-in) seating die, try seating the bullet in two stages. Run the cartridge up in the seating die just enough to seat the bullet half way. Then lower the cartridge and rotate it 180° in the shell-holder. Now raise the cartridge up into the die again and finish seating the bullet.

Steve, aka “Short Range”, one of our Forum members, recently inquired about run-out apparently caused by his bullet-seating process. Steve’s 30BR cases were coming out of his neck-sizer with good concentricity, but the run-out nearly doubled after he seated the bullets. At the suggestion of other Forum members, Steve tried the process of rotating his cartridge while seating his bullet. Steve then measured run-out on his loaded rounds. To his surprise there was a noticeable reduction in run-out on the cases which had been rotated during seating. Steve explains: “For the rounds that I loaded yesterday, I seated the bullet half-way, and turned the round 180 degrees, and finished seating the bullet. That reduced the bullet runout by almost half on most rounds compared to the measurements from the first test.”

READ Bullet Seating Forum Thread »

run-out bullet

run-out bullet

Steve recorded run-out measurements on his 30 BR brass using both the conventional (one-pass) seating procedure, as well as the two-stage (with 180° rotation) method. Steve’s measurements are collected in the two charts above. As you can see, the run-out was less for the rounds which were rotated during seating. Note, the change is pretty small (less than .001″ on average), but every little bit helps in the accuracy game. If you use a threaded (screw-in) seating die, you might try this two-stage bullet-seating method. Rotating your case in the middle of the seating process won’t cost you a penny, and it just might produce straighter ammo (nothing is guaranteed). If you do NOT see any improvement on the target, you can always go back to seating your bullets in one pass. READ Forum Thread..

Permalink Bullets, Brass, Ammo, Reloading, Tech Tip 3 Comments »
April 23rd, 2019

CMP Eastern Games and Cup Matches April 26 – May 5, 2019

CMP eastern games creedmoor cup electronic targets

CMP eastern games creedmoor cup electronic targetsThe 2019 Eastern CMP Games & CMP Cup Matches are scheduled for April 26 through May 5, 2019. This is one of the biggest shooting matches on the East Coast, held at the Camp Butner Range in North Carolina. The CMP Games include Small Arms Firing School (SAFS), Garand/Springfield/Vintage/Modern Military Matches, Carbine Match, Rimfire Sporter match, and Vintage Sniper Team Match. There are also several pistol matches.

Following the CMP Games Matches will be the CMP Cup Matches: 4-Man Team Match, CMP 800 Aggregate Matches, and EIC Service Rifle Match. There will also be a GSM New Shooter Clinic, M1 Maintenance Clinic, and Team CMP High Power Clinic. The CMP will also sell rifles and ammunition at the event.

CLICK HERE for Match Program | CLICK HERE for Entry Form

CMP eastern games creedmoor cup electronic targets

CMP Electronic Targets for Games and Cup Matches
All matches on the High Power rifle range will be conducted using Kongsberg Electronic Targets (KTS). The KTS system registers each shot and relays the location and score value to a monitor beside each shooter on the firing line.

The CMP Eastern Games have been very popular, thanks in no small part to the mobile electronic target system. Recent Eastern Games have drawn over 350 competitors. The Kongsberg electronic targets allowed the CMP to run relays more efficiently, and the targets eliminate the need for competitors to do pit duty. GSM Matches, which typically run four relays each day, saw days with a total of nine and 10 relays during its scheduled times, while the Vintage Sniper and other matches finished in record time.

CMP eastern games creedmoor cup electronic targets

“The electronic targets are phenomenal,” said brothers Richard and Jonathan Mast, who attended the Eastern Games along with other family members. Jonathan added, “It was the best shooting experience I’ve ever seen as far as immediately finding out where you’re shooting — best I’ve ever had.”

CMP eastern games creedmoor cup electronic targets

Throughout the CMP Games, competitors will use the CMP’s mobile electronic high power target system. The Kongsberg targets contain internal microphones that locate shot position. The scores are instantly calculated by computer and then wirelessly transmitted to portable, tablet monitors on each firing point.

The electronic targets provide immediate feedback. Importantly, the e-Targets eliminate pit duties and permit relays to fun faster and more efficiently. Shooter Caleb Mast noted: “This makes it easier for people who don’t have [a spotting scope]. All you pay is the registration fee, and I just brought what I’m wearing and was still able to score well enough to get my feedback on the monitor.”

CMP eastern games creedmoor cup electronic targets

Permalink Competition, News, Tactical No Comments »