February 13th, 2020

Brain Trust — Bryan Litz, Emil Praslick, and the AMP Team

Ultimate Reloader Video interview Bryan Litz Applied Ballistics Berger Bullets Emil Praslick III AMP Annealing

Our friend Gavin Gear of UltimateReloader.com was a busy man at SHOT Show 2020 in Las Vegas. He visited many leading vendors, and he also interviewed some of the most knowledgeable experts in the world of precision shooting. Today we present three important video interviews hosted by Gavin — the SHOT Show Brain Trust series.

First up is Bryan Litz, world-renowned ballistics expert and founder of Applied Ballistics LLC. The software developed by Bryan’s company is used by top competitive shooters and military marksmen. The second member of the Brain Trust is Emil Praslick III. Former Coach of the USAMU rifle team, Emil is considered to be one of the best wind-readers on the planet. Finally, we showcase a father and son team from New Zealand, Alex and Matt Finlay, developers of the Annealing Made Perfect (AMP) electrical induction annealing system.

Bryan Litz of Applied Ballistics LLC.

This interview with Bryan Litz is a “must-watch” for any serious long-range shooter. Bryan, founder of Applied Ballistics LLC., explains many important ballistics concepts. In addition Bryan discusses bullet design qualities that can reduce drag, increase BC, and improve bullet-to-bullet consistency.

Emil Praslick (U.S. Army Ret.) of Capstone Precision Group

Emil Praslick III, former coach of USAMU and USA Long Range teams, has been hailed as a “wind guru” — a master of wind reading. Emil now works for Capstone Precision Group, Parent of Berger Bullets, Lapua, Vihtavuori, and SK. In this wide-ranging interview, Emil talks about wind-reading strategies, modern bullet designs, and ballistics challenges in Long Range shooting.

Alex and Matt Finlay of Annealing Made Perfect (AMP)

Father Alex and son Matt Finlay have brought break-through technology to the world of precision hand-loading. Their innovative AMP annealing machines are true “game-changers” that extend useful case life and improve loading consistency. The computer-controlled AMP MK 2 annealing system is the most advanced and precise annealer available for the general consumer.

Comment from Interviewer Gavin Gear
It’s an absolute privilege to have access to the “best in the business”. I have so much respect for these innovators: Bryan Litz and Applied Ballistics, Emil Praslick: King of 2 Mile winning team member (2017), and the Annealing Made Perfect team (Alex and Matt). In each case, there’s very interesting innovation happening, and I’ve applied much of what I’ve learned from these people into my daily work on UltimateReloader.com.

Credit: In top photo, brain graphic Designed by Yo_Han / Freepik.

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February 13th, 2020

Primers and Pressure Tolerances — How Primers Vary

Primer Pressure signs

by James Calhoon
(First Printed in Varmint Hunter Magazine, October, 1995)

Primers and Pressures

In the course of talking to many shooters, it has become clear to me that the manufacturers of primers have done a less than adequate job of educating reloaders on the application of their primers. Everybody seems to realize that some primers are “hotter” than others and some seem to shoot better for them than others, but few reloaders know that primers have different pressure tolerances.

Primer Pressure Tolerance
When loading a .223 to the maximum, I was getting primer piercing before I reached case overloading. I don’t know what prompted me to try CCI 450s instead of the 400s which I had been using, but I did. Presto! No more piercing! Interesting!? A primer that has a hotter ignition and yet withstands more pressure! Thats when I decided that it was time to do a dissection of all primers concerned. The chart below shows my results.

Primers and Pressures
NOTE: These primer dimensions were measured many years ago. There may be some differences in current production specifications.

By studying the numbers (Cup “A” thickness), one can see which primers in the small rifle sections should be more resistant to primer cratering and/or piercing. Primer cup diameters are all similar and appear to follow a specification, but check out the cup thickness in the small rifle primers (Dimension “A”). Some cups are quite a bit thicker than others: .025″ for CCI 450 vs. .0019″ for Fed 200. Large rifle primers all appear to have the same cup thickness, no matter what the type. (As a note of interest, small pistol primers are .017″ thick and large pistol primers are .020″ thick.)

If you are shooting a 22 Cooper, Hornet, or a Bee, the .020″ cup will perform admirably. But try using the .020″ cup in a 17 Remington and you will pierce primers, even with moderate loads.

Considering that cup thickness varies in the small rifle primers, it is obvious that primer “flatness” cannot solely be used as a pressure indicator.

Another factor which determines the strength of a primer cup is the work-hardened state of the metal used to make the primer cup. Most primers are made with cartridge brass (70% copper, 30% zinc), which can vary from 46,000 psi, soft, to 76,000 psi tensile strength when fully hardened. Note that manufacturers specify the hardness of metal desired, so some cups are definitely “harder” that others.

What does all this mean to the reloader?
- Cases that utilize small rifle primers and operate at moderate pressures (40,000 psi) can use CCI 400, Federal 200, Rem 6 1/2, or Win SR. Such cases include 22 CCM, 22 Hornet and the 218 Bee. Other cases that use the small rifle primer can use the above primers only if moderate loads are used. Keep to the lower end of reloading recommendations.

– Cases that utilize small rifle primers and operate at higher pressures (55,000 psi) should use CCI 450, CCI BR4, Fed 205 and Rem 7 1/2.

– All the large rifle primers measured have the same thickness. Therefore choose based on other factors, such as accuracy, low ES/SD, cost, cup hardness, and uniformity.

Hope this clears up some primer confusion. If you want more information about primers, priming compounds, or even how to make primers, the NRA sells an excellent book called “Ammunition Making” by George Frost. This book tells it like it is in the ammo making industry.

Jim Calhoon Products

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February 13th, 2020

CMP Western Games Return to Arizona in March

CMP rimfire sporter match western Games

The annual Western Civilian Marksmanship Program (CMP) Travel Games (Western Games) will return in 2020 for another round of marksmanship events at the Ben Avery Shooting Facility in Phoenix, Arizona. The week-long series of recreational vintage and modern rifle competitions will be held March 13-22, 2020 and is open to competitors of all ages and experience levels. NOTE: This is a major scheduling change — in recent years, the CMP Western Games were conducted in October. The new Spring schedule should allow cooler temperatures.

CMP rimfire sporter match western Games

Notably, Western Games matches on the High Power range will be fired on CMP electronic targets. That means less time in the pits, and faster cycling of relays.

Western CMP Games Program | Western Games Entry Form | Online Registration

Vintage Sniper Matches have become very popular
CMP rimfire sporter match western Games

The Western Games lineup is comprised of CMP Games matches such as the Garand, Springfield, Vintage Military, Modern Military, Rimfire Sporter, M1 Carbine, and Vintage Sniper matches as well as a series of CMP High Power (HP) Rifle Matches, which include three days of 80-Shot Aggregate competitions, a 4-Man Team event, and a Service Rifle EIC Match.

M1 Carbine Match at Western CMP Games
CMP M-1 Rimfire Carbine Citadel

There Is Always a Big Turn-out for Rimfire Sporter Matches
CMP rimfire sporter match western Games

Rifle Marksmanship 101 Training Class
For beginners and enthusiasts wanting to sharpen their marksmanship skills, a Rifle Marksmanship 101 class will also give participants insight into the fundamentals of safety and competition shooting. Participants work one-on-one with experienced CMP Rifle Master Instructors for classroom and hands-on training. Rifles and ammunition will be provided for the class. At the conclusion of training, students in the school will fire in a true M16 EIC Match, observed by instructors on the line.

CMP Western Games March Ben Avery Arizona

A CMP HP Clinic, conducted by experienced instructors, will be held for those wanting a closer, more detailed look at the sport. The clinic will include training that utilizes live-fire education on the firing line. Additionally, the scheduled M1 Maintenance Clinic is the perfect place to learn more about the inner workings of the classic rifle and ways to ensure its preservation.

electronic TargetsElectronic Targets for High Power Matches
High Power competitors at Ben Avery will have the opportunity to fire on the CMP’s modern traveling electronic target system. This Kongsberg system features special targets programmed with precision software that register the shot locations and score. In addition, beside each competitor on the firing line is a remote monitor that instantly displays shot scores.

The CMP electronic target system eliminates the need for doing pit duty — that saves time and aggravation for the shooters. The more efficient schedules allowed by the electronic targets give Western Games shooters more opportunities to fire additional disciplines because relays run much more quickly.

The CMP adds: “Trained CMP staff members will be present at all times to ensure safety and a great experience for all who attend the event. Join us for a week of competition, new experiences and fun!”

More information about the Western CMP Games and registration forms can be found by on the CMP website. The match is just one month away. If you’re interested you should Download the Entry Form and/or REGISTER ONLINE soon.

Schedule for Major CMP Events in 2020:

(Mark Your Calendars)

Western CMP Games & CMP HP Rifle Matches
March 13-22, 2020, Ben Avery Shooting Facility, Phoenix, AZ

Eastern CMP Games & CMP HP Rifle Matches
April 24 – May 3, 2020, Camp Butner, Butner, NC

CMP National Matches at Camp Perry
July 6 – August 8, 2020, Camp Perry, Port Clinton, OH

New England CMP HP Rifle & CMP Games Matches
September 14-20, 2020, Camp Ethan Allen, Jericho, VT

Oklahoma CMP HP Rifle & CMP Games Matches
October 12-18, 2020, Oklahoma City, OK

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