October 9th, 2019

New High-BC 85.5 grain .224-Caliber Bullet from Berger

Berger hybrid target MRT Meplat reduction technology 85.5 grain .224 22 caliber bullet

This could be big news for F-TR and Palma competition, where cartridge options are limited to .223 Rem and .308 Win. Berger is introducing a NEW, very high-BC, 22-caliber Long Range Hybrid Target Bullet. Stated Ballistic Coefficents (BCs) are: 0.524 G1 and 0.268 G7. That’s near the top among .22-cal bullets and makes this 85.5 grain projectile a very viable long-range option. Want to try some? These should be available very soon. Pre-order now from Creedmoor Sports, MidwayUSA, and other vendors.

» SEE Full Report with Test Targets on Berger Site

Berger hybrid target MRT Meplat reduction technology 85.5 grain .224 22 caliber bullet

This new 85.5gr bullets boast smaller, more uniform meplats, giving them a higher long-range BC. The meplat enhancement is achieved with “Meplat Reduction Technology” (MRT). Berger Engineer Garett Stoddard, who spearheaded the MRT project, explains: “Every bullet nose is formed with optimal swage pressure determined by force instead of length. In addition to reducing a projectile’s drag by shrinking its meplat diameter, this technique takes the inherent meplat inconsistencies that plague OTM style projectiles and brings them closer to the rotational axis. This is a key factor to the consistent balance of the bullet in flight.” The new 85.5s, like all other Berger projectiles, are made with precise Berger/J-4 bullet jackets which boast +/- .0003″ jacket TIR (total indicated runout).

Berger hybrid target MRT Meplat reduction technology 85.5 grain .224 22 caliber bullet

7-Twist Barrels Recommend for new 85.5gr MRT Berger
The 85.5gr Long Range Hybrid Target Bullet’s G7 BC of .268 is achieved with optimal stability from a 1:7″-twist barrel. Berger says “Excellent accuracy may also be attained with 1:8″-twist rifle barrels, resulting in a slightly decreased BC value”.

Initial Test Results Are Very Positive
A third party tester, shooting the new 85.5-grainer in Arizona, reported excellent performance at 1000 yards: “The projectile performed extremely well at 1000 yard in spite of only being driven to ~2800 to 2850 fps. This projectile is clearly competitive at 1000 yards in a Palma rifle as tested. With a slightly longer throat and a faster-twist barrel, I am confident the 85.5 Hybrid would be a viable option for those looking to shoot .223 Rem in Long Range competitions.”

Meplat Reduction Technology Enhances Shot-to-Shot Consistency
Berger says: “Utilizing advanced and proprietary manufacturing processes, Berger’s innovative Meplat Reduction Technology (MRT) System applies controlled pressure along the projectile nose, producing a homogeneous and repeatable bullet profile for the industry’s most consistent Ballistic Coefficients (BC). While a high BC is desirable to competitive shooters, shot-to-shot BC consistency is critical when engaging targets to 1000 yards and beyond.”

Permalink Bullets, Brass, Ammo, Competition, New Product 3 Comments »
October 9th, 2019

How’s Your Headspace? Four Tools to Measure Shoulder Bump

shoulder bump headspace gauge comparator tool whidden manson

The Tactical Rifle Shooters Facebook Group recently showcased tools used to measure case headspace before and after “bumping” the shoulder. After a case is fired, hand-loaders who full-length size their cases will typically bump the shoulders back anywhere from .001″ to .0035″, depending on the rifle and application. With our 6mmBR and Dasher cases we like about .0015″ bump.

You want the amount of case sizing and bump to be the same for all your brass. To ensure uniformity, it makes sense to measure your cases before and after the FL sizing process. When we have time, we check every case. Other folks will simply check the first 3-4 cases coming out of the FL sizing die to ensure the FL die setting is correct and delivering desired headspace/bump.

1. Whidden Gunworks Shoulder Bump Gauge

shoulder bump headspace gauge comparator tool whidden manson

There are a variety of tools that can be used to measure shoulder bump. Our favorite is a special cartridge-specific bushing made by Whidden Gunworks. The Whidden Shoulder Bump Gauge enables you to adjust your sizing die to the desired measurement. The bump gauge is attached to your calipers with a set screw and determines the measurement from the base to the shoulder of the case. The photo below, from Tactical Rifle Shooters, shows the Whidden Bump Gauge for the .375 CheyTac cartridge.

2. Dave Manson Vertical Comparator with Dial Read-Out

shoulder bump headspace gauge comparator tool whidden manson
Background image courtesy Tactical Rifle Shooters; inset photo from Manson Precison Reamers.

Dave Manson states: “This tool was designed to make life easier for the advanced shooter and re-loader by allowing precise measurement of ammunition, case, and chamber headspace. With this information, the re-loader will be able to fine-tune clearances and fits between his ammunition and chamber, with resultant improvements in accuracy and case life.” The functions of the Comparator are:

1. Measure headspace of factory or reloaded ammunition
2. Quantify chamber headspace by measuring headspace of a fired case
3. Ensure minimal shoulder set-back when setting up re-loading dies
4. Compare base-to-ogive length to ensure consistent bullet-to-rifling relationship.

In addition to the Dial Indicator and Stand, the $130.00 Vertical Comparator is supplied with multiple Datum Blocks of precise length and inside diameter (.3300″/.3750″/.4000″/.4375″). MORE INFO HERE.

3. Hornady L-N-L Headspace Comparator System

shoulder bump headspace gauge comparator tool whidden manson

Hornady makes comparator gauges matched to the red comparator holder that mounts on your caliper. These Lock-N-Load Headspace Gauges are inexpensive. You can get a set of five gauges for $31.99. Hornady explains: “The Lock-N-Load® Headspace Comparator… gauge measures variations in brass before and after firing or re-sizing. It allows for headspace comparison between fire-formed brass and re-sized brass.” IMPORTANT: Hornady states: “To determine the proper bushing diameter for your cartridge, simply add the neck diameter and the shoulder diameter and divide that number by two. Use the bushing closest to that number.” Hornady offers five: .330″, .350″, .375″, .400″, and .420″.

One tip — We have found the Hornady gauges may vary a little from unit to unit even with the same nominal size. If you have more than one gauge for the same cartridge, test each on your brass — you may then note a slight difference in your bump measurements.

4. Pistol Brass Case DIY Bump Gauge

Last is a “field expedient” set-up if you do not have any of the comparator tools shown above. A sized .45 ACP case (or other suitable pistol case) can be used to measure shoulder bump. The mouth of the pistol case sits on the shoulder of your rifle cartridge brass.

Make sure the .45 ACP case is trimmed square and that it is round. We recommend you first run it through an expander, then size it, trim it and chamfer. Next, take the .45 ACP case and slip it over the neck of a fired, unsized rifle case with the primer removed. Align the two cases between the jaws of your calipers and note the length from rim to rim (See left photo below).

OK, now you have the length for a fired rifle case BEFORE sizing. Next, take a full-length sized rifle case (without primer) and do the same thing, placing the .45 ACP case over the neck of the FL-sized case (Right Photo). The difference between the two numbers is the amount of “bump” or set-back you are applying to the shoulder. Here the difference is .0015″. The amount of bump you need varies with your chamber and your load, but .0015-.002″ is a good initial setting.

Permalink Gear Review, Reloading, Tech Tip 2 Comments »
October 9th, 2019

New Toy for PRS Boys — MPA Matrix Chassis

MPA masterpiece arms precison PRS stock Matrix

MasterPiece Arms (MPA) has a new chassis system — the “MPA Matrix”. Derived from the MPA BA Chassis, the MPA Matrix Chassis offers a “multitude of configurations in grips, thumb rests, and trigger finger supports”. MPA claims the grip and hand area has over 100 different variations. The MPA Matrix has a fore-end two inches longer than the standard BA or BA Competition Chassis. Overall, the Matrix is fairly heavy, at 6.4 pounds, and pretty expensive, with a $1250-$1450 MSRP (depending on options). By contrast the MPA BA Hybrid Chassis costs $925.00 and weighs 3.5 pounds (without recoil pad).

CLICK Image for large MPA Matrix Photo:
MPA masterpiece arms precison PRS stock Matrix

There are significant design differences between the MPA Matrix and MPA BA Hybrid (below). The Matrix, at 6.4 pounds, is also much heavier than the 3.5-lb BA Hybrid. Given that many PRS/NRL competitors favor heavier rifles for greater stability (and less felt recoil), the Matrix’s extra mass is probably a good thing.

MPA masterpiece arms precison PRS stock Matrix

The MPA Matrix features five different grip options (3 swept and 2 vertical), three different thumb-rest designs and four different trigger finger supports. That’s great for shooters who like to keep their thumb forward on the bolt side of the action. However, looking at the chassis, we’re really not sure we like the way the Matrix encircles the grip area. You’ve got hard metal behind the grip. The Matrix appears set up for resting the thumb of the trigger hand alongside the action. That can work for sure, but we think some shooters will prefer a more conventional vertical grip you can wrap your thumb around. A conventional grip will also have recoil cushioning for the web of the hand. See the BA Hybrid chassis for comparison. This Matrix is really VERY different in the grip area. But if you don’t like the Matrix, there are certainly other stock options available.

MPA masterpiece arms precison PRS stock Matrix

The new Matrix Chassis is designed for Remington Short Actions and Rem clones. The Matrix does offer good adjustability — the buttstock has an adjustable cheek riser and length of pull adjusts from 13.5 to 14.75 inches. Plus, the recoil pad adjusts for height and cant. You can get either an adjustable rear monopod or a bag-rider configuration. As you’d expect, the MPA Matrix has M-LOK slots along the fore-end sides and barricade stop holes along the bottom.

What was the concept behind the Matrix chassis? MPA’s President, Phil Cashin, states: “One of the things that we have seen in precision rifle shooting over the past couple of years is how many different methods a shooter used to engage a stock or chassis. Due to variations in hand size, finger thickness and length, as well as shooter preference on how they want to engage the chassis or stock, we’ve seen a lot of inconsistencies among the shooters in how they engage the rifle and where they position the pad of the trigger finger with the shoe of the trigger. This inspired us to create a system that would provide a more custom fit procedure for our customers by creating a chassis with more customized configurations.”

The MPA Matrix Chassis (MSRP $1250-$1450) is available in eight Cerakote colors: Graphite Black, Flat Dark Earth, Burnt Bronze, Tungsten, Gunmetal, Sniper Green, NRA Blue, and USMC Red. Custom H Series Cerakote colors are an additional $135, while camo patterns are $450 extra.

Permalink Competition, Gear Review, Tactical No Comments »