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August 12th, 2021

How Cartridge Brass in Made — Production Secrets Revealed

deep draw cartridge brass animated gif
Deep-Draw Ram Illustration from Demsey Mfg.

When we first ran this story a while back, it generated great interest among readers. By popular request, we’re reprinting this story, in case you missed it the first time around. — Editor

Rifle cartridge brass manufacturingPrecision Benchrest and F-Class shooters favor premium brass from Lapua, Norma, Peterson, or RWS. (Lake City also makes quality brass in military calibers.) Premium brass delivers better accuracy, more consistent velocities, and longer life. Shooters understand the importance of good brass, but many of us have no idea how cartridge cases are actually made. Here’s how it’s done.

The process starts with a brass disk stamped from strips of metal. Then, through a series of stages, the brass is extruded or drawn into a cylindrical shape. In the extrusion process the brass is squeezed through a die under tremendous pressure. This is repeated two or three times typically. In the more traditional “draw” process, the case is progressively stretched longer, in 3 to 5 stages, using a series of high-pressure rams forcing the brass into a form die. While extrusion may be more common today, RWS, which makes some of the most uniform brass in the world, still uses the draw process: “It starts with cup drawing after the bands have been punched out. RWS cases are drawn in three ‘stages’ and after each draw they are annealed, pickled, rinsed and subjected to further quality improvement measures. This achieves specific hardening of the brass cases and increases their resistance to extraordinary stresses.” FYI, Lapua also uses a traditional draw process to manufacture most of its cartridge brass (although Lapua employs some proprietary steps that are different from RWS’s methods).

RWS Brass Cartridge Draw process

After the cases are extruded or drawn to max length, the cases are trimmed and the neck/shoulder are formed. Then the extractor groove (on rimless cases) is formed or machined, and the primer pocket is created in the base. One way to form the primer pocket is to use a hardened steel plug called a “bunter”. In the photos below you see the stages for forming a 20mm cannon case (courtesy OldAmmo.com), along with bunters used for Lake City rifle brass. This illustrates the draw process (as opposed to extrusion). The process of draw-forming rifle brass is that same as for this 20mm shell, just on a smaller scale.

20mm cartridge brass forming

20mm Draw Set Oldammo.com

River Valley Ordnance explains: “When a case is being made, it is drawn to its final draw length, with the diameter being slightly smaller than needed. At this point in its life, the head of the draw is slightly rounded, and there are no provisions for a primer. So the final drawn cases are trimmed to length, then run into the head bunter. A punch, ground to the intended contours for the inside of the case, pushes the draw into a cylindrical die and holds it in place while another punch rams into the case from the other end, mashing the bottom flat. That secondary ram holds the headstamp bunter punch.

Lake City Brass bunterThe headstamp bunter punch has a protrusion on the end to make the primer pocket, and has raised lettering around the face to form the headstamp writing. This is, of course, all a mirror image of the finished case head. Small cases, such as 5.56×45, can be headed with a single strike. Larger cases, like 7.62×51 and 50 BMG, need to be struck once to form a dent for the primer pocket, then a second strike to finish the pocket, flatten the head, and imprint the writing. This second strike works the brass to harden it so it will support the pressure of firing.”

Thanks to Guy Hildebrand, of the Cartridge Collectors’ Exchange, OldAmmo.com, for providing this 20mm Draw Set photo. Bunter photo from River Valley Ordnance.

Permalink - Articles, Bullets, Brass, Ammo, Reloading, Tech Tip 1 Comment »
August 12th, 2021

Great Guide to Pistol Holsters — 30 Carry Holsters Reviewed

Holster CCW review EDC Every day carry pistol handgun

AccurateShooter.com is more about rifles than pistols. But we know that the majority of our regular readers own handguns, and many also have concealed carry (CCW) permits. And with the prospect of social unrest following the election, we expect more reader than ever will be “packing” a sidearm. Accordingly, we’ve found a great resource for CCW holders that can help you select a holster. On the Shooting Illustrated website you’ll find a detailed review of 30 different holster types. Each holster is illustrated, with pros and cons explained. These are all EDC holsters, meaning those designed for “Every Day Carry”.

SEE Full HolsterPallooza Story with 30 Holster Reviews »

Shooting Illustrated calls this article “HolsterPallooza” and it really does provide a ton of helpful information. Most other holster reviews on the web may feature a half-dozen holsters at the most. In this Holsterpallooza article you can see 30 holsters, with a wide variety of materials, designs, and applications. There are small molded IWB holsters for CCW, conventional on the belt holsters, leather shoulder holster rigs, and even ankle holsters. This is a great place to start if you are in the market for a holster.

Holster CCW review EDC Every day carry pistol handgun
Here’s sample of the many holster options reviewed, an innovative hybrid IWB holster constructed with leather over Kydex. That gives you the “best of both worlds” — the secure fit/retention of a molded Kydex shell, with an attractive leather exterior.

Shooting Illustrated explains: “As the interface between your gun and your body, the holster is a vital component of your carry rig. In many cases, the circumstances of your daily life will determine the method of carry you choose. This, in turn, will determine what type of holster you need, which may end up determining the handgun you carry. Therefore, choosing the method and type of holster may be as, or even more important than, choosing a firearm.”

MORE Reviews — Hickok 45 Reviews 15 CCW Holsters:

If you want to see even MORE holsters for “Every Day Carry” (EDC), check out this video from Hickok 45. This popular YouTube host looks at 15 different IWB holsters from a number of manufacturers. Hickok 45 examines many hybrid holsters that combine Kydex or plastic with leather for increased comfort. He has his favorites… and they might not be what you’d expect. NOTE: As this video has been watched over 900,000 times, you may also want to read the viewer comments. There are many helpful suggestions from CCW holders who carry daily.

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August 12th, 2021

Monitor Temperature and Humidity INSIDE Your Safe

GoldenRod GoldenRod Moisture hygrometer wireless sensor

Golden rod hygrometer wireless sensorHere’s a smart new product that monitors the temperature and humidity inside your gun safe — with a convenient LCD display unit located on the outside of the safe. You don’t need to string wires or cut a small hole in your safe — there are two separate components, one inside and one outside. The sensor unit (on the inside) communicates wirelessly with the display unit (on the outside).

The new GoldenRod Wireless Hygrometer was designed to display the temp/humidity in your safe without the need to open the safe. NOTE: the wireless LCD display can show BOTH in-vault AND in-room humidity and temperature levels. You can attach the display to the vault door with its built-in magnet, or simply place the display unit on top of the safe using the handy flip-out kickstand. The unit costs just $26.98 at Amazon.com.

Golden rod hygrometer wireless sensor
Golden rod hygrometer wireless sensor

GoldenRod Wireless Hygrometer Specifications and Features:

  • Measures In-Vault and In-Room humidity from 20% to 95%.
  • Measures In-Vault temperature range from 14°F to 122°F.
  • Measures In-Room temperature range from -4°F to 158°F.
  • Records Min/Max temperature and humidity history.

Another Important Accessory — GoldenRod for Inside the Safe
The GoldenRod, marketed as a dehumidifier, is a small, low-wattage electric heating element you place in the safe. Running 24/7 at 140° F, the GoldenRod warms the air in your safe. This changes relative humidity and raises the dew point in the safe so water vapor does not condense on your arms and valuable accessories. When combined with Desiccant packs that absorb moisture, the GoldenRod is extremely effective at keeping your guns rust-free during long-term storage. We do recommend wiping down your guns with Boeshield, Eezox, or Corrosion-X before putting them in storage. These are three of the best corrosion-inhibiting metal coatings you can buy.

GoldenRod GoldenRod Moisture hygrometer wireless sensor

You can get the 12″ GoldenRod heating unit for $31.99 on Amazon. There is also an 18″ model for $48.75 and a long 36″ GoldenRod for $39.99 on Amazon, just $8 more than the “foot-long”. The 36″ GoldenRod works well for cold climates and large safes. All GoldenRods come with a detachable plugs for easy installation. The 12″ is rated for 100 cubic foot safes, the 18″ for 200 cubic foot safes, while the 36″ model protects up to 500 cubic feet.

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