June 10th, 2020

Case Priming Procedures — Insights from Glen Zediker

Primer Forster Co-ax priming tool
The anvil is the tripod-shaped thin metal piece protruding above the bottom of the primer cup. Getting the primer sitting fully flush on the bottom of the case primer pocket, without crunching it too much, requires some keen feel for the progress of primer seating.

top grade ammo book Glen ZedikerIn two informative Midsouth Blog articles, Glen Zediker offers helpful advice on priming. First he examines what happens to the primer itself as it is seated in the cup. Glen explains why some “crush” is important, and why you never want to leave a high primer. Glen also reviews a variety of priming tools, including his favorite — the Forster Co-Ax Bench Primer Seater. Then he offers some key safety tips. Glen provides some “rock-solid” advice about the priming operation. You’ll find more great reloading tips in Glen’s newest book, Top-Grade Ammo, which we recommend.

Priming Precision vs. Speed
Glen writes: “The better priming tools have less leverage. That is so we can feel the progress of that relatively very small span of depth between start and finish. There is also a balance between precision and speed in tool choices, as there so often is.”

Benchtop Priming Tools — The Forster Co-Ax
Glen thinks that the best choice among priming options, considering both “feel” and productivity, may be the benchtop stand-alone priming stations: “They are faster than hand tools, and can be had with more or less leverage engineered into them. I like the one shown below the best because its feeding is reliable and its feel is more than good enough to do a ‘perfect’ primer seat. It’s the best balance I’ve found between speed and precision.”

Primer Forster Co-ax priming tool

Primer Forster Co-ax priming tool

Load Tuning and Primers
Glen cautions that you should always reduce your load when you switch to a new, not-yet-tested primer type: “The primer is, in my experience, the greatest variable that can change the performance of a load combination, which is mostly to say ‘pressure’. Never (never ever) switch primer brands without backing off the propellant charge and proving to yourself how far to take it back up, or to even back it off more. I back off one full grain of propellant [when I] try a different primer brand.”

Primer Forster Co-ax priming tool

Priming Safety Tips by Zediker

1. Get a good primer “flip” tray for use in filling the feeding magazine tubes associated with some systems. Make double-damn sure each primer is fed right side up (or down, depending on your perspective). A common cause of unintentional detonation is attempting to overfill a stuffed feeding tube magazine, so count and watch your progress.

2. Don’t attempt to seat a high primer more deeply on a finished round. The pressure needed to overcome the inertia to re-initiate movement may be enough to detonate it.

3. Don’t punch out a live primer! That can result in an impressive fright. To kill a primer, squirt or spray a little light oil into its open end. That renders the compound inert.

4. Keep the priming tool cup clean. That’s the little piece that the primer sits down into. Any little shard of brass can become a firing pin! It’s happened!

These Tips on Priming come from Glen’s newest book, Top-Grade Ammo, available at Midsouth Shooters Supply. CLICK HERE to learn more about this and other publications from Zediker Publishing.

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June 10th, 2020

New Howa M1100 Rimfire Rifle (.22 LR, .22 WMR, .17 HMR)

Howa m1100 rimfire .22 LR HMR .17 HMR 17hmr smallbore trainer

Legacy Sports Int’l has just introduced a new bolt-action rimfire rifle — the Howa M1100. This new rifle will be available in three chamberings: .22 LR, .22 WMR, and .17 HMR. The rifle has a smooth action and comes with a “SUB-MOA” accuracy guarantee — something rare for a rimfire.

With a stock that somewhat resembles a SAKO S20 in terms of grip angle and ergonomics, we think the Howa M1100 could be a good PRS trainer or NRL22 competition rifle. The .17 HMR version should be a good carry-around varmint rig for ground squirrels and other small critters. We hope to get our hands on an M1100 for testing this summer.

SAKO S20 Centerfire Rifle for Comparison
Howa m1100 rimfire .22 LR HMR .17 HMR 17hmr smallbore trainer

The product description states: “The HOWA rimfire bolt action comes with an oversized tactical bolt handle, an 18″ threaded and capped barrel, and two detachable mags. All are housed into a tough synthetic Tactical / Varmint style stock with a beavertail fore-end with options of OD or Black finish.” There is also an extra-cost camo option — the whole M1100 rifle (stock and barreled action) is finished in Kratos Camo hydrodip. With the threaded barrel, the M1100 is suppressor-ready.

Howa m1100 rimfire .22 LR HMR .17 HMR 17hmr smallbore trainer

Legacy Sports Int’l will also be offering a Howa M1100 scoped package. This comes completes with rings and a Nikko Stirling 3.5-10×44 Gamepro Scope.

Howa M1100s come with a Lifetime Warranty and a SUB-MOA guarantee. That is 3 shots at 100 yards with “premium factory ammunition”. At least that’s what the guarantee page states. We expect that Howa might want to modify that for its rimfire rifles. But in any case, right now Legacy Sports Int’l says the M1100 rifle is guaranteed to be sub-MOA at 100 yards*. It will be interesting to see if that really can be achieved.

The Howa M1100 MSRP ranges from $478 to $589 depending on the package, with scoped models costing more. We expect “street price” for the basic models to be about $425.00.


* From website: Legacy Sports Int’l guarantees all Howa rifles to deliver SUB MOA Performance of 1 inch or less at 100 yards with Premium Factory Ammunition. Legacy Sports International requires an original receipt, and that the firearm be registered with Legacy Sports International. All Howa rifles purchased in the U.S. on or after January 1, 2017 are covered by this offer.

Permalink Hunting/Varminting, New Product 2 Comments »
June 10th, 2020

Lapua Rimfire Test Center Manager Featured on Podcast

Luke Johnson Rimfire ammunition Lapua SK testing facility ohio

Video Podcast about Rimfire Testing June 10, 2020
Lapua’s Rimfire Performance Center East (Ohio) Manager Luke Johnson talks about rimfire ammunition testing on “The Shooter’s Mindset” Podcast this week. During this hour-long episode, Luke explains how rimfire ammo is tested in Lapua’s test tunnel facilities.

During this June 2020 podcast (see video below), The Shooter’s Mindset (TSM) hosts covered all aspects of rimfire performance testing with Johnson. Johnson explained the testing process, the importance of ammo testing, how to best identify good groups, and the benefit of having multiple lots of ammunition while shooting competitively.

“Many shooters are familiar with Lapua’s Rimfire Performance Centers, but have yet to take advantage of the service. Both of our facilities offer shooters the opportunity to test various styles and lots of Lapua ammunition under tightly controlled conditions”, stated Johnson. “Our goal is to help shooters match the perfect lot of ammunition with their rifle so they may hit the range with confidence knowing their ammunition will perform.”

About Luke Johnson — Smallbore Silhouette Champion
Luke Johnson is the manager of the Lapua Rimfire Performance Center housed at the Cardinal Shooting Range near Columbus, Ohio. Luke, a native of Marysville, PA, has a long background of competitive shooting and hunting.

Luke Johnson Rimfire ammunition Lapua SK testing facility ohio

Johnson was a four year letterman for the Univ. of Alaska-Fairbanks D1 Rifle Team. In addition to his 3P/Prone shooting pedigree, Luke is a High Master rifle silhouette competitor and past National Smallbore Silhouette champion.

NRA Smallbore Rifle Silhouette Champion
USA Junior National Champion (50 meter rifle)
NCAA – CRCA All-American
Patriot Conference – All-Conference

About Lapua
Lapua produces the highest-quality small caliber cartridges and components for civilian and professional use. Lapua is a part of the Capstone Precision Group, exclusive U.S. distributor for Berger, Lapua, Vihtavuori and SK-Rimfire products. For more information, visit Lapua.com.

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June 10th, 2020

Check Your Primer Pockets with Handy Pocket Gauges

Primer depth diameter gauge brass cartridge

One side of this gauge is the “go” side which quickly tells you the depth of a primer pocket, whether any crimp is properly removed, and whether the primer pocket is loose. If it feels loose on the “go” side, use the other end of the tool, the “no go” side, to test to see if the primer pocket is too loose to hold a primer. If the no-go slides into the pocket, then you know to junk that brass.

Primer Pocket Growth and Useful Case Life
Repeated firings at stout pressures can cause primer pockets to grow in diameter. This can create an unsafe condition if your primers are not seating properly. Are your primer pockets “good to go”, or have they been pushed to the point of no return? Do you really know? Many guys try to gauge primer pocket tightness by “feel”, as they seat the primer. But that method isn’t precise. Now there’s a better way…

Primer depth diameter gauge brass cartridgeThe folks at Ballistictools.com have created a handy set of precision-machined gauges that let you quickly and accurately check your primer pockets. These gauges (aka “gages”) are offered in two sizes — for large and small primer pockets. A two-piece set of both large and small gauges costs just $19.99. These gauges let you quickly measure the depth of a primer pocket, and check if the crimp has been removed properly. Most importantly, the gauge tells you if the primer pocket has opened up too much. One side of the gauge has an enlarged diameter plug. If that “No-Go” side fits in the primer pocket, you should ditch the case — it’s toast.

CLICK HERE to order Small and Large Primer Pocket Swage Gage™ Set from Ballistictools.com.

Precision ground from O-1 tool steel, The Ballistic Tools primer pocket gauges serve multiple functions. The inventor of these tools explains: “I created the prototype of this tool for my own use in brass processing. I needed a way to quickly and easily measure primer pockets that was reliable and did not require wasting a primer. This tool has been indispensable for me and I would never go back to the old method of uncertainty and guessing.”

Product tip from Boyd Allen. We welcome reader submissions.
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