June 26th, 2019

Midsouth Shooters Supply 50th Anniversary Contest and Sale

Midsouth Shooters Supply 50th year anniversary contest giveaway discount sale

Midsouth Shooters Supply celebrates its 50th Anniversary in business. The company was founded in 1969 by David “Dirt” King and wife Connie. To mark this milestone, throughout July, customers will have the chance to win prizes, and get great deals on popular products, and have a chance to win prizes.

Midsouth Shooters Supply 50th year anniversary contest giveaway discount saleMidsouth has put together several giveaways with partners Lyman, Hornady, Nosler, Sierra Bullets, Del-Ton and more. CLICK HERE for complete descriptions of giveaway prizes. You can enter daily and increase your chances winning a Barrel of Hornady Frontier Ammo, a Nosler Liberty Rifle, a Del-Ton ECHO AR Rifle, or other great prizes.

Midsouth will start drawing winners on July 22, 2019 and continue every day until the Grand Finale on July 26th.

Check the Midsouth Home Page daily for deals, giveaways, coupons, and more details. Below are some of the Giveaway Prizes:

Midsouth Shooters Supply 50th year anniversary contest giveaway discount sale

Midsouth Giveaway Runs 6/26/19 through 7/24/19
The giveaway starts 6/26/19 and will last through 7/24/19. Midsouth will pick several giveaway winners during the birthday week in July. To learn how to enter (and for more giveaway details) CLICK HERE.


Midsouth 50th Birthday Giveaway Details HERE »

About Midsouth Shooters Supply:
What started as a modest, catalog-driven reloading supply company in remote New Market, TN, has grown into a technology driven, customer-focused powerhouse in Clarksville, TN. “It’s our 50th anniversary, and we’re growing faster than ever before,” said Michael Ryan, Midsouth’s VP of Marketing. “We’re focused on keeping up with the customer, and not necessarily the competition. We buy in bulk, break down the inventory ourselves to avoid packaging fees, and pass the savings along to the customer.”

What makes this 50th anniversary even more special? This June also marks the 50th anniversary of their owners, David and Connie King. The Mayor of Clarksville, TN, Joe Pitts, had a proclamation designating June 22, 2019 as David and Connie Day! Together, they’ve forged 50 years of commitment to each other, and Midsouth’s customers. Without their guidance and steadfast values, Midsouth wouldn’t be the premier online reloading and shooting supplier it is today.

Permalink Bullets, Brass, Ammo, Hot Deals, News No Comments »
June 24th, 2019

BargainFinder 196: AccurateShooter’s Deals of the Week

Accurateshooter Bargain Finder Deals of Week

At the request of our readers, we provide select “Deals of the Week”. Every Monday morning we offer our Best Bargain selections. Here are some of the best deals on firearms, hardware, reloading components, optics, and shooting accessories. Be aware that sale prices are subject to change, and once clearance inventory is sold, it’s gone for good. You snooze you lose.

1. March Optics — Retirement Sale, 30% Off All Scopes in Stock

Accurateshooter Bargain Finder March Optics 30% Off discount sale

March Optics delivers some of the most advanced (and unique) optics technology on the planet. But those top-of-the-line March scopes were always a big investment. But now, you can get superb, ultra-premium March scopes for 30% Off. Shiraz Balolia, President of March Optics USA, has decided to stop retailing optics. As a result, March scopes are now being discounted 30% — that’s a huge savings. This sale pricing applies to ALL March scopes, limited to stock in hand. Here are some of the deals:

1. Genesis Extreme Long Range Scope, $4865.00 (marked down from $6950.00)
2. 10-60x56mm High Master Tactical Turrets MTR-1, $2765.00 (marked down from $3950.00)
3. 8-80x56mm Tactical Turrets MTR-4, $2572.50 (marked down from $3675.00)
4. 5-40x56mm FFP Tactical Turrets FMA-2, $2572.50 (marked down from $3675.00)
5. 3-24x52mm FFP Tactical Turrets Illuminated FML-T1, $2572.50 (marked down from $3675.00)
6. 2.5-25x52mm Tactical Turrets Illuminated MTR-3, $2572.50 (marked down from $3675.00)

2. EuroOptic — Mauser M18 Rifles 30% Off (Great Deal)

mauser m18 hunting rifle sale germany

A huge shipment of Mauser M18 rifles is en-route to EuroOptic from Germany. In preparation for this rifle influx, EuroOptic has slashed prices on all M18s. Expect to save $200 to $250 per rifle. For example, the 6.5 Creedmoor M18 is marked down from $699 to $499 (save $200) while the .243 Win M18 is discounted from $699 to $459 ($240 savings). Eight chamberings will be available including the new 6.5 PRC as well as hunting classics like the .270 Win, .308 Win, .30-06 Springfield, and 7mm Remington Magnum. The Mauser M18 is a fine European-crafted rifle with a 3-lug bolt, smooth 60° bolt lift, and quality hammer-forged barrel. NOTE: Pending arrival, EuroOptic is taking back-orders which are effectively “pre-orders”.

3. Midway USA — Norma 6.5 Creedmoor Brass, 250 for $99.99

norma 6.5 Creedmoor brass PRS long range

The 6.5 Creedmoor is more popular than ever but like any super-trendy cartridge, supplies seem to be either out of stock or too expensive. If you have a 6.5 Creedmoor, check out this killer deal. You can get 250 Norma 6.5 Creedmoor cases for only $99.99. That works out to just forty cents per case — less than half what you’d pay for some other 6.5 Creedmoor brass. We can’t remember the last time we’ve seen such a great deal on quality brass for such a popular cartridge. But you better act soon — we expect this MidwayUSA deal to sell out quickly.

4. Natchez — Blazer Brass .45 ACP Ammo, Free Hazmat $150+

Blazer CCI .45 ACP Brass bargain free HazMat

We love our .45 ACP pistols, and we regularly shoot CCI Blazer Brass .45 ACP ammo. It has proved accurate and super reliable. Right now Natchez is offering a great deal — 500 230gr FMJ rounds for just $144.99, a $35.00 savings. Add a box or two of rimfire ammo to put your order over $150.00, then use CODE FH190621 during checkout and and you’ll qualify for FREE HazMat!

5. Midsouth — Rock Chucker Reloading Kit and Free Die, $269.49

Deals of Week RCBS Rock Chucker Supreme Kit

Everything you see above can be yours for just $269.49. Amazing Deal. Right now, Midsouth is selling the Rock Chucker Supreme Master Reloading Kit for $269.49, a fine price considering all the hardware you get: Press, Primer Tool, Scale, Powder Measure, Loading Tray, Reloading Manual and more. Heck, the Rock Chucker press alone is worth $165.00+. This is good starter kit for any reloader with sturdy items, such as the Rock Chucker, that will last a lifetime. And now through 7/7/2019 you’ll get a free RCBS FL die set as a bonus. NOTE: This FREE DIE set is offered through RCBS and will ship separately after you submit a form.

6. Amazon — Plano 52″ Double Rifle Case with Wheels, $99.99

Plano double scoped rifle case with wheels

This Plano Double Scoped Rifle Case is an Amazon #1 Best Seller for good reason. It offers the functionality and durability of an SKB-type hard case for HALF the money. This is just $99.99 with FREE Shipping, while the equivalent SKB is around $240.00, so you can buy two Planos for the price of one SKB. The 51.5″ interior will fit most scoped competition rifles up to about 29″ barrels (measure your own rifle to make sure). If you separate the barreled action from the stock you can transport even ultra-long ELR rifles. The handles are convenient and beefy and the wheels make this case easy to move. This is a very tough, roomy case for the money — plus there’s Free Shipping! There is also a smaller 42″ version for $64.99.

Exterior Dimensions: 53.5″ x 17″ x 7″
Interior Dimensions: 51.5″ x 14″ x 5.5″
Pluckable Interior Dimensions: 46″ x 10″
Features: Wheels, Secure Latches, O-Ring Seal, Pressure Relief Valve, Customizable Foam

7. Taurus G2c 9mm — $179.99 with Factory Rebate

Carry pistol $180 bargain Taurus G2C ccw handgun review discount sales

This is a good little gun at a great price. Taurus has a factory Rebate through 7/7/19. Palmetto State Armory is selling the sub-compact Taurus 9mm with black frame and stainless steel slide for just $209.99 with FREE Shipping. But the Taurus $30 Factory Rebate lowers your price to just $179.99 for this G2c. Or, if you like the milspec look, you can also get an OD-Green G2c G2c for $184.99 after rebate, just $5.00 more. Despite its small size, the G2c has a 12-round magazine. We like the fact it has a left-side manual safety (unlike the Glock).

8. Graf’s — Platinum Case Prep & Trim + EZ Tumbler, $179.99

case prep and trim sale

If you want to step up your brass preparation game, here’s a great deal. Graf’s is offering the Frankford Arsenal Case Prep & Trim PLUS the EZ Tumbler for only $179.99. That’s an amazing deal considering you could pay $199.99 or more for the Prep & Trim unit by itself, and the EZ Tumbler is regularly $50 or more. This Grafs.com combo deal represents a savings of nearly $70.00.

9. Powder Valley — Alliant and CCI Factory Rebates

Vista Outdoor Alliant Powder CCI Primers bullets Speer Federal brass components reloading

Powder Valley notified us about some great Rebate offers from Alliant and CCI. If you need powder or primers, now is a great time to buy — this offer ends June 30, 2019! NOTE: These rebates are separate programs. To qualify for these rebates you need to buy at least 4 pounds of Alliant powder OR spend at least $100 on CCI components. You can’t mix and match to qualify — each program has its own minimums.

ALLIANT Powder — More Bang for your Buck$ Rebate
If you buy at least four (4) pounds of powder you get $2.00 back per pound, with a rebate limit of $20 (for ten pounds). Minimum purchase four (4) pounds required.

CCI — Primed for Action Rebate
Spend at least $100 on CCI® reloading primers to get 20% of the purchase price back. Rebate amount calculated on purchase price only, does not include taxes and/or shipping/handling fees. Maximum rebate $100 per person or household. Minimum spend $100 required.

10. Amazon — NcStar Vism Shooting Mat, $24.99

Shooting Mat

Looking for a good mat at a great price? For $24.99 now you can grab this NcStar Vism shooting mat. This has decent padding, and reinforced areas for elbows and knees. Full dimensions are: 69″ Long x 35″ Wide. This mat has straps for pre-loading your bipod. When you’re done simply fold in the edges, roll it up into a compact 19.50″ W x 8.50″ H package — about the same size as a sleeping bag. You can pay twice as much for a shooting mat and not get much more quality. Purchaser reviews have been very positive. This mat has earned 80% Five-Star buyer ratings on Amazon.

Permalink Bullets, Brass, Ammo, Handguns, Hot Deals, Optics, Reloading, Tactical 1 Comment »
June 22nd, 2019

The Most Incredible Accuracy in History — But It’s Not a Record

Gary Ocock Rail Gun Unlimited Target Visalia CA 6 PPC IBS NBRSA
Want to see the details? CLICK HERE to view full-screen photo.

Five targets, each with FIVE shots in essentially one hole. The events of this story happened two years ago. We are reprising our report because this five-target Aggregate arguably represents the most impressive feat of 100-yard accuracy in the history of marksmanship on this planet.

Check out those five targets. The Aggregate (average) of all five targets is a tiny 0.0840 inches! These were shot by Gary Ocock at 100 yards in a California benchrest match on August 6, 2017. Though Gary’s 0.0840 Agg beats existing records, this was not a “sanctioned” match, so Gary’s killer Agg will NOT be submitted for IBS or NBRSA records. So, sadly, the Agg won’t appear in the record books, but this remains a spectacular, verified feat of rifle accuracy, accomplished in competition.

The argument can be made that this is the Most Accurate Gun Ever Built. As far as we can determine, no one has ever shot a smaller 5-target Agg anywhere, at any time.

The Unlimited Benchrest Record That Will Never Be (Official)

Report by Boyd Allen
Gary Ocock’s stunning unlimited Aggregate is beyond amazing. That’s an average of five, 5-shot groups of .0840. Shot under sanctioned match rules, but at an unsanctioned 100-yard fun match, this Aggregate is well under the current 100-yard official records of the IBS (.1386), and the NBRSA (.1242). The fourth of the five groups measured a minuscule .018, less than half the size of the existing NBRSA Unlimited record of .049 (also shot by Gary). Check it out:

Gary Ocock Rail Gun Unlimited Target Visalia CA 6 PPC IBS NBRSA

Gary Ocock Rail Gun Unlimited Target Visalia CA 6 PPC IBS NBRSA
When the top 15 shooters all post teen Aggs, conditions must be pretty favorable. However there were some light switchy winds — Gary said that he shot better in the left to right condition.

GUN SPECIFICATIONS
Ocock’s red Jay Young Unlimited Railgun features one major difference from Young’s typical Railgun designs. The bottom of the barrel block is integral with the top (moving part), of the gun. The barrel is Ocock’s usual 1:13.5″-twist Krieger chambered for the 6 PPC. The BAT Neuvo action* is unusual in that its lugs are horizontal at lock-up instead of the usual vertical. With horizontal lugs, both lugs maintain contact with their abutments when the action is cocked. In the more normal configuration when cocked the top lug is forced off of its seat by a combination of the angle of the trigger cocking piece interface, the pressure of the striker spring, and bolt clearance at the rear of the action.

LOAD SPECIFICATIONS
Gary shot this remarkable Agg with well-used brass, Vihtavuori N133 powder, and self-made 66gr BT bullets** seated at “jam”. This amazing Agg was shot on the second day of a 2-day Unlimited Benchrest match. On Day 1 Gary had experimented with various loads using both surplus IMR 8208 and Vihtavuori N133, but was not satisfied with the results. For his first group on Day 2, Gary tried a light load of N133. After seeing the result, however, he decided to go to the other extreme — a super stout N133 load — with the same powder. As you can see, Gary’s willingness to experiment paid off.

Gary Ocock Rail Gun Unlimited Target Visalia CA 6 PPC IBS NBRSA

Notably, Gary used light neck tension. Ocock found that for these bullets and this barrel, light neck tension worked best (contrary to “normal” N133 benchrest practice). Ocock used a bushing that only produces .001″ difference between the diameters of sized and loaded case necks.

Comment on Ocock’s Achievement
Congratulations to Gary Ocock for superb shooting (and smart loading). Even though the match was not sanctioned (so the Agg will never be a record), Ocock has raised the bar very high, and given us a new standard of ultimate accuracy.

Though this 0.0840 Aggregate and 0.018 group will never go into the record group, they are still noteworthy. There’s virtually no doubt that they would have survived inspection by any record committee. Except for the lack of fixed backers, an IBS requirement (for detecting cross-fires), all other conditions were met for an officially-sanctioned match.

*The new BAT Neuvo actions are the result of a collaboration between Dwight Scott, and Bruce Thom, featuring Dwight’s ideas and BAT’s proven manufacturing expertise.

** Ocock shot his own, boat-tail match bullets, made with George Ulrich-crafted dies using Hood cores. Although he said that it had been a while since he had weighed any, his best guess was that they weigh something around 66.5 grains.

Permalink - Articles, Bullets, Brass, Ammo, Competition, Shooting Skills 7 Comments »
June 22nd, 2019

Reloading Basics: Neck Tension, Expander Balls, and Bushings

Case Loading Neck Tension Sierra Bullets Paul Box

by Sierra Bullets Ballistic Technician Paul Box
One thing that plays a major role in building an accuracy load is neck tension. I think a lot of reloaders pretty much take this for granted and don’t give that enough thought.

So, how much neck tension is enough?

Thru the years and shooting both a wide variety of calibers and burn rates of powder, I’ve had the best accuracy overall with .002″ of neck tension. Naturally you will run into a rifle now and then that will do its best with something different like .001″ or even .003″, but .002″ has worked very well for me. So how do we control the neck tension? Let’s take a look at that.

First of all, if you’re running a standard sizing die with an expander ball, just pull your decapping rod assembly out of your die and measure the expander ball. What I prefer is to have an expander ball that [can give] you .002″ in neck tension [meaning the inside neck diameter is about .002″ smaller than the bullet diameter after passing the expander through]. If you want to take the expander ball down in diameter, just chuck up your decapping rod assembly in a drill and turn it down with some emery cloth. When you have the diameter you need, polish it with three ought or four ought steel wool. This will give it a mirror finish and less drag coming through your case neck after sizing.

Tips for Dies With Interchangeable Neck Bushings
If you’re using a bushing die, I measure across the neck of eight or ten loaded rounds, then take an average on these and go .003″ under that measurement. There are other methods to determine bushing size, but this system has worked well for me.

Case Loading Neck Tension Sierra Bullets Paul Box

Proper Annealing Can Deliver More Uniform Neck Tension
Another thing I want to mention is annealing. When brass is the correct softness, it will take a “set” coming out of the sizing die far better than brass that has become to hard. When brass has been work hardened to a point, it will be more springy when it comes out of a sizing die and neck tension will vary. Have you ever noticed how some bullets seated harder than others? That is why.

Case Loading Neck Tension Sierra Bullets Paul Box

Paying closer attention to neck tension will give you both better accuracy and more consistent groups.

Permalink Bullets, Brass, Ammo, Reloading, Tech Tip 7 Comments »
June 21st, 2019

Wildcatter’s Road Map — Cartridge Conversion Book

handloaders guide cartridge conversion wildcat obsolete cartridges

Are you a confirmed wildcatter? Do you like to experiment with custom cartridge types? Or do you just like the extra performance you can get from a specialty cartridge such as a 20 Vartarg or 22-250 AI? Well, if you love wildcat cartridges, you’ll probably enjoy this book. Now available for the first time since 2003, The Handloader’s Manual of Cartridge Conversions explains the processes and tools needed to convert standardized brass into hundreds of different rifle and pistol cartridge types. A vast variety of case designs are covered — from vintage cartridge types to modern, cutting-edge wildcats.

handloaders guide cartridge conversion wildcat obsolete cartridges

This classic reference guide has been revised with an easy-to-search format, complete with a full index of hundreds of cartridges. This book belongs on the shelf of any hand-loader who enjoys making and shooting wildcat cartridges. However do note that much of the text is unchanged from earlier editions. For some cartridge types, the author recommends “parent” brass brands that are no longer available. In other situations, there may be more convenient conversions now offered. Nonetheless this is an important resource. As one verified purchaser explains: “Great reference for making the cartridges that are hard to get or no longer in production. Offers an alternative to the the time, expense and effort of having to re-chamber a classic. Saves ‘Grandpa’s shooters’ from becoming safe queens.”

wildcat cartridge case forming Killer Bee Hydraulic
Permalink Bullets, Brass, Ammo, Reloading 1 Comment »
June 17th, 2019

Bargain Finder 195: AccurateShooter’s Deals of the Week

Accurateshooter Bargain Finder Deals of Week

At the request of our readers, we provide select “Deals of the Week”. Every Monday morning we offer our Best Bargain selections. Here are some of the best deals on firearms, hardware, reloading components, optics, and shooting accessories. Be aware that sale prices are subject to change, and once clearance inventory is sold, it’s gone for good. You snooze you lose.

1. Midway USA — Norma 6.5 Creedmoor Brass, 250 for $99.99

“norma

The 6.5 Creedmoor is more popular than ever but like any super-trendy cartridge, supplies seem to be either out of stock or too expensive. If you have a 6.5 Creedmoor, check out this killer deal. You can get 250 Norma 6.5 Creedmoor cases for only $99.99. That works out to just forty cents per case — less than half what you’d pay for some other 6.5 Creedmoor brass. We can’t remember the last time we’ve seen such a great deal on quality brass for such a popular cartridge. But you better act soon — we expect this MidwayUSA deal to sell out quickly.

2. Grafs.com — FREE Litz Book with $100 Lapua Bullet Buy

Graf's Graf Lapua Scenar bullet Litz applied ballistics free book
This is just one example. This deal works with ANY Lapua bullets purchased from Grafs.com.

Lapua makes great bullets. Bryan Litz writes great books. And now you can get both with this special promotion from Graf & Sons. Here’s the deal — if you buy at least $100.00 worth of Lapua bullets at Grafs.com, you’ll get a free Applied Ballistics book authored by Bryan Litz. You can mix and match any types of Lapua bullets — as long as the bullet order totals $100.00 or more. The book may be one of various Litz titles, such as Modern Advancements in Long Range Shooting or Ballistic Performance of Rifle Bullets. NOTE: You do NOT get to pick the book title — you get what’s available. You want to move quickly on this deal — books are limited to supply on hand.

3. EuroOptic — FREE Kestrel 3500 with Leupold Mark 5HD Scope

leupold kestral deal

Leupold’s new Mark 5HD scopes are impressive. Make no mistake — Mark 5HDs are fine tactical optics fully capable of winning PRS/NRL matches. Available in 3.6-18x44mm, 5-25x56mm, and 7-35x56mm with a multitude of reticle choices, there’s something for every tactical shooter out there. And right now when you buy any Laupold Mark 5HD scope from EuroOptic.com you get a FREE Kestrel 3500NV, a $269.00 value. That’s a fantastic bonus! The FREE Kestrel will be added to your cart automatically at no extra cost.

4. Natchez — Weaver T-Series XR 36x40mm, $389.99

weaver scope sale

With so many zoom scopes on the market it’s easy to forget some of the best fixed power scopes out there. Weaver T-Series scopes have served benchrest shooters for decades and the new side-parallax Weaver XRs take the T-Series to a new level. You can pick up the Weaver T-Series 36x40mm XR Scope for the crazy low price of $389.99.(This has FCH with 1/16 MOA dot reticle.) You can also grab the 46X version for $569.99 or the Classic T-Series 36X with front objective parallax for just $329.99. All choices are great bargains.

5. Midsouth — Hornady 123gr 6.5mm bullets, 250 for $59.99

hornady 6.5 bullets

We featured 6.5 brass this week and here’s the matching bullet deal. You can grab 250 Hornady 123gr 6.5mm bullets for just $59.99. That’s a mere twenty-four cents per bullet! The 120-130gr class of 6.5mm bullets is an excellent choice for both paper-punching and PRS. These Hornady 123-grainers offer good accuracy with less recoil (and much lower cost) than the 140-145gr class of 6.5mm match bullets.

6. Federal 20% REBATE for Bullets, Brass, and Primers

federal component rebate

Reloading component costs add up quickly which is why we include this great rebate offer from Federal. Just purchase at least $100 worth of Federal reloading components (bullets, brass, and primers) and then fill out this form and you’ll get 20% back up to $100. The bottom line is that if you need any components, this is the time to stock up. NOTE: This Federal Rebate also applies to components purchased from other vendors such as Bruno’s, Midsouth, and Powder Valley.

7. Midsouth — Rock Chucker Supreme Reloading Kit, $269.49

Deals of Week RCBS Rock Chucker Supreme Kit

Everything you see above can be yours for just $269.49. Amazing Deal. Right now, Midsouth is selling the Rock Chucker Supreme Master Reloading Kit for $269.49, a fine price considering all the hardware you get: Press, Primer Tool, Scale, Powder Measure, Loading Tray, Reloading Manual and more. Heck, the Rock Chucker press alone is worth $165.00+. This is good starter kit for any reloader with sturdy items,such as the Rock Chucker, that will last a lifetime. NOTE: This is listed at $299.99 on the Midsouth Home Page, but the product page now shows $269.49 and that’s what shows when you add the Kit to your shopping cart.

8. Area 419 — Master Funnel Kit, $90.00

area 419 funnel kit

Precision loading often requires dropping powder one case at a time and without the right gear this can cause issues. Bad powder funnels can cause bridging or stuck kernels leading to light loads in one case and heavy in another. These issues can be solved using the Master Funnel Kit from Area 419. This kit contains 6 caliber specific color coded heads (22 cal, 6mm/243, 6.5mm/264, 7mm/284, 30 cal, 338 cal) plus the funnel and stand. The funnel is specially designed to ensure powder doesn’t bounce out and the heads are securely threaded and designed to fit snugly on the shoulder of the brass. If you’re looking to upgrade your gear to the top of the line this is the one to get.

9. Amazon — Tipton Gun Butler, $23.49

Tipton Gun Butler caddy gun vise cleaning tray sale Amazon

Here’s a handy, portable gun caddy that works well for rifle maintenance chores at home or at the range. Right now the Tipton Gun Butler is marked down to $23.49. The Gun Butler offers a convenient platform for cleaning your gun or doing tasks such as scope mounting. Two removable forks/cradles hold a gun securely in place, while compartments and slots hold solvents, jags, brushes, mops, and tools. The Gun Butler features a convenient carrying handle, and slip-resistant rubber feet. NOTE: The front cradle may not work well with wide benchrest fore-ends.

Permalink Bullets, Brass, Ammo, Hot Deals, Optics, Reloading 2 Comments »
June 16th, 2019

Precision Reloading for Handguns — Smart Tips from the USAMU

USAMU Service Pistol Handgun Tip Advice Reloading

The U.S. Army Marksmanship Unit (USAMU) fields pistol teams as well as rifle and shotgun competition squads. Consequently the USAMU’s Reloading Shop loads tens of thousands of pistol rounds every year. In this article, the USAMU’s handgun experts talk about reloading for handguns — with smart tips on how to achieve superior accuracy with 100% reliability. If you load for pistols, take the time to read this article, which offers important insights on COAL, primers, crimps and more.

USAMU Service Pistol Handgun Tip Advice Reloading

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.

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, Handguns, Reloading 2 Comments »
June 15th, 2019

Get FREE Bryan Litz Book with $100 Bullets Order at Graf’s

Graf's Graf Lapua Scenar bullet Litz applied ballistics free book
This is just one example. This deal works with ANY Lapua bullets purchased from Grafs.com. You can mix and match, as long as you buy at least $100 worth of Lapua bullets.

Lapua makes great bullets. Bryan Litz writes great books. And now you can get both with this special promotion from Graf & Sons. Here’s the deal — if you buy at least $100.00 worth of Lapua bullets at Grafs.com, you’ll get a free Applied Ballistics book authored by Bryan Litz.

You can mix and match any types of Lapua bullets — as long as the bullet order totals $100.00 or more. The book may be one of various Litz titles, such as Modern Advancements in Long Range Shooting or Ballistic Performance of Rifle Bullets. NOTE: You do NOT get to pick the book title — you get what’s available. You want to move quickly on this deal — books are limited to supply on hand.

If you order now, you can get the bullets to shoot, and give the book to Dad for a late Father’s Day gift.

Lapua Bullets — Accuracy & Consistency
Graf's Graf Lapua Scenar bullet Litz applied ballistics free bookIf you haven’t tried Lapua bullets yet you should. The Scenar-L bullets we have tested have proven extremely consistent in weight and base-to-ogive measurement.

And they shoot. We have a couple rifles that prefer Scenars over all other match bullets we have tried. We have won club matches with the 6mm Scenar-L 105s in a 6mmBR, while the 6.5mm 123gr Scenar and 136gr Scenar-L work superbly in our 6.5 Creedmoors.

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June 14th, 2019

TECH Tip: How to Reduce Run-Out with Seating Dies

USAMU Hump Day Reloading TIR run-out concentricity seating die stem

Each Wednesday, the U.S. Army Marksmanship Unit publishes a reloading “how-to” article on the USAMU Facebook page. A while back the USAMU’s reloading gurus looked at the subject of cartridge run-out and what can be done to produce straighter ammo. Tasked with producing thousands of rounds of ammo for team members, the USAMU’s reloading staff has developed smart methods for improving concentricity, even with budget=price dies. For other hand-loading tips, visit the USAMU Facebook page.

Minimizing Runout with Standard Seating Dies

This USAMU article explains how to set up standard bullet seating dies dies to minimize Total Indicated Run-out (TIR). The loading process is described using a single-stage press since most handloaders have one. A high-quality run-out gauge is essential for obtaining consistent, accurate results.

Having sized, primed, and charged our brass, the next step is bullet seating. Many approaches are possible; one that works well follows. When setting up a standard seating die, insert a sized, trimmed case into the shellholder and fully raise the press ram. Next, back the seating stem out and screw the die down until the internal crimping shoulder touches the case mouth.

Back the die out ¼ turn from this setting to prevent cartridge crimping. Next, lower the press ram and remove the case. Place a piece of flat steel (or window glass, which is quite flat) on the shellholder and carefully raise the ram.

Place tension on the die bottom with the flat steel on the shellholder. This helps center the die in the press threads. Check this by gently moving the die until it is well-centered. Keeping light tension on the die via the press ram, secure the die lock ring. If one were using a match style, micrometer-type seating die, the next step would be simple: run a charged case with bullet on top into the die and screw the seating stem down to obtain correct cartridge OAL.

However, with standard dies, an additional step can be helpful. When the die has a loosely-threaded seating stem, set the correct seating depth but don’t tighten the stem’s lock nut. Leave a loaded cartridge fully raised into the die to center the seating stem in the die. Then, secure the stem’s lock nut. Next, load sample cartridges and check them to verify good concentricity.

USAMU Hump Day Reloading TIR run-out concentricity seating die stem

One can also experiment with variations such as letting the seating stem float slightly in the die to self-center, while keeping correct OAL. The run-out gauge will show any effects of changes upon concentricity. However, this method has produced excellent, practical results as evidenced by the experiment cited previously. These results (TIR Study 2) will reproduced below for the reader’s convenience.

First, however, let’s examine run-out figures of some factory-loaded match ammunition. This should give readers who are new to TIR gauges some perspective about the TIR ranges one might encounter.

TIR Study 1: 50 rounds Lake City M852 Match 7.62mm
(168 gr. Sierra MatchKings)
0.000” – 0.001” = 2%
0.001” – 0.002” = 30%
0.002” – 0.003” = 16%
0.003” – 0.004” = 22%
0.004” – 0.005” = 14%
0.005” – 0.006” = 14%
0.006” – 0.007” = 0%
0.007” – 0.008” = 2%

TIR Study 2: 50 rounds of .308 match ammo loaded using carefully-adjusted standard dies, vs. 50 using expensive “Match” dies from the same maker.

Standard dies, TIR:
0.000” — 0.001” = 52%;
0.001”– 0.002” = 40%;
0.002”– 0.003” = 8%.
None greater than 0.003”.

Lesser-quality “Match” dies, TIR:
0.000”– 0.001” = 46%;
0.001” — 0.002” = 30%;
0.002” — 0.003” = 20%;
0.003” — 0.004” = 4%.

Note: both samples were loaded using the O-Ring method, i.e. with a rubber O-Ring placed under the locking ring of the Full-length sizing die to allow that die to float.

These tips are intended to help shooters obtain the best results from inexpensive, standard loading dies. Especially when using cases previously fired in a concentric chamber, as was done above, top-quality match dies and brass can easily yield ammo with virtually *no* runout, given careful handloading.

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June 11th, 2019

Wet-Tumbling Cartridge Brass — Some Smart Solutions

Cartridge brass case tumbler thumblers wet brass stainless media lapua cleaning

Ace tactical shooter and gunsmith Jim See of Elite Accuracy LLC recently tested a Frankford Arsenal rotary brass tumbler. Like the older Thumbler’s Tumblers, this can tumble your cases in a liquid solution. The wet-tumbling process worked very well Jim reports. Posting on Facebook, Jim noted: “I was super impressed with the Frankford Arsenal rotary tumbler and cleaning packs they sent me. I ran 350 pieces of brass for one hour. They now look great.” Jim appreciated not having to deal with dry tumbling media, such as crushed walnut shells. Dry media produces dust and can leave residues or clog flash-holes.

Cartridge brass case tumbler thumblers Frankford Arsenal wet brass stainless media lapua cleaning

Interestingly, Jim recommends you try wet-tumbling WITHOUT using stainless media. At least give it a try. Tumbling without media simplifies the process and you don’t have to worry about pins stuck in flash-holes or case-necks*. Jim reports: “Stainless steel pins come with the Frankford kit, but mine hit the trash right out of the box. There is no need to clean the inside of your cases 100% and that’s all the pins add to the equation. The brass bumping brass with hot water and Frankford’s liquid cleaner works great all by itself.” One wag stated: “That’s great to hear. Stainless steel pins are a PITA.”

Other Facebook posters concurred with Jim’s evaluation of the Frankford Arsenal Rotary Tumbler:

“I’ve had one for a couple years, and it works well. I usually run about 250-300 Dasher cases at once in it. But I use the pins because I’m OCD about clean brass.” — David W.

“I’ve had one for a year and a half and it definitely works with or without pins.” — Luke C.

“I got one about six months ago and have yet to use any SS media. I just use some dawn, distilled water, and Lemi Shine®. Turns nasty 5.56 range brass bright and shiny.” — Brian D.

“I don’t use the pins either and use a combination of Dawn soap and Lemi Shine.” — Jon N.G.

This video shows how to assemble and operate the Frankford rotary tumbler. But note, Jim See does NOT feel that it is necessary to use stainless media.

How to Dry Your Brass — Hair Dryer Vs. Machine

The downside of wet tumbling is that you end up with a pile of wet brass at the end of the cleaning cycle. There are many ways to dry brass, from drying in the sun to using a kitchen oven (be careful not to “overcook” your brass). One Facebook poster asked Jim: “What is your drying method for wet brass, and how long does it take?”

Jim See replied: “To start I just drain off the dirty water, and rinse the brass with clean hot water. Then I roll the brass on a towel for 30 seconds and put the brass in a one-gallon bucket. Next I insert a hair dryer in the bucket (with the brass) and let it run for about 5 minutes. With this procedure, the drying process for me is done in less than 10 minutes.”

Jack Lanhart has another method: “I use a food dehydrator. It takes 30 to 45 minutes.”

Cartridge brass case tumbler thumblers wet brass Frankford Arsenal stainless media lapua cleaning dryer dyhydrator frankford Lyman Cyclone

For those who don’t want to mess with towels and hair dryers, Frankford Arsenal offers a matching Platinum Series Case Dryer that simplifies the process of drying brass. Lyman also makes an excellent Cyclone Case Dryer. Both drying machines cost about $60.00 and both have multiple levels so you can separate different types of cartridge brass. Lyman states that “The forced heated air circulation of the Cyclone will dry your brass inside and out within an hour or two, with no unsightly water spots.” The Lyman dryer can also be used for ultrasonically-cleaned gun parts.

Cyclone Lyman Case cartridge dryer dehydrator


*The Frankford Rotary tumbler does include media separators if you choose to use the provided pins or other media. CLICK HERE for diagram showing how to use media separators.

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June 10th, 2019

Rimfire Shooting at 1000 Yards — 9-Year-Old Hits Target!

Paul Phillips Addison 9 year old girl ELR 1000 yards rimfire .22 LR Center-X Lapua Vudoo Lake City MI

Here’s a feel-good story. ELR ace Paul Phillips took his 9-year-old daughter Addison to the range this past weekend, to try shooting at 1000 yards. Guess what, Addison got hits at 1000! That’s impressive enough, but get this, Addison made those shots with a .22 LR rimfire rifle! Yes a .22 LR will fly that far — but it took a whopping 342 MOA of elevation and five seconds of flight time.

Paul Phillips Addison 9 year old girl ELR 1000 yards rimfire .22 LR Center-X Lapua Vudoo Lake City MI

Paul says: “So proud of my 9-year-old making impact at 1000 yards with her .22 rimfire. My 82-year-old dad also got hits at 1000. Amazing!” Paul adds: “My daughter is very excited to get into shooting sports. The .22 ELR game is very fun for her especially shooting suppressed subsonic. It helps her to learn the fundamentals without flinching.” After her success at 1000 yards, the little lady then made multiple hits on a silhouette at 322 yards (see below).

Paul Phillips Addison 9 year old girl ELR 1000 yards rimfire .22 LR Center-X Lapua Vudoo Lake City MI

After Addison checked the ELR box at 1000 yards, she tried a 322-yard steel silhouette target. No problem — after many hits in the center, she put three into the top without any misses. This little girl can shoot!

Paul Phillips Addison 9 year old girl ELR 1000 yards rimfire .22 LR Center-X Lapua Vudoo Lake City MI

The rifle features a Vudoo Gun Works rimfire action bedded in McMillan A6 stock by Alex Sitman. The barrel is a 20″ Bartlein, fitted with a GSL Technologies suppressor (see second photo above). On top is a Nightforce ATACR 7-35x56mm F2 scope fitted with a TACOM Charlie TARAC prism system that provides +800 MOA beyond the scope’s internal elevation. The rifle rested on a Phoenix Precision bipod. The ammo was Lapua Center-X subsonic, running 1090 FPS at the muzzle. Paul notes: “The 22 GSL silencer had no noticeable point of impact shift. It actually shot better groups with it on.”

Paul Phillips Addison 9 year old girl ELR 1000 yards rimfire .22 LR Center-X Lapua Vudoo Lake City MI

Addison’s impressive shooting was done at the Marksmanship Training Center in Lake City, Michigan. This veteran-owned shooting facility is a very scenic venue as you can see:

Paul Phillips Addison 9 year old girl ELR 1000 yards rimfire .22 LR Center-X Lapua Vudoo Lake City MI

Ballistics Prediction Was Nearly Perfect
The Applied Ballistics solution was within one MOA at 1000 yards. 1000 yards required 342 MOA up from the 100-yard zero. Flight time was over 5 seconds! MV was 1090 FPS. The target was a 6′ x 6′ F-Class frame, covered with white paper. That’s roughly 7 MOA, equivalent to about 3.5″ at 50 yards.

Comments from Facebook Fans (and Bryan Litz)

It’s in her genes — Brian R.

Like father like daughter! — Daryll B.

Dang! And I thought my son hitting at 400 was good! — George W.

Most people I know including myself did not believe that the .22 LR genuinely flew that far (despite the warning labels). — Robert S.

Applied Ballistics was within 1 MOA on a 342 MOA solution. We’ll have to tighten that up. — Bryan Litz

All in the Family — Three Generations
Along with Addison, father Paul Phillips and grandfather Rusty Phillips (right) all took shots at 1000 yards, and all three generations of Phillips got hits. The threesome took a total of 145 shots at 1000 yards and impacted 13 times. Paul observed: “We hit almost 1 in 10 shots [with] lots of close misses. Believe it or not, most were due to elevation not wind. There were 3-5 mph winds from 3-9 o’clock. To help see hits, John Droelle was spotting for us in the 1000-yard pits.”

Paul Phillips Addison 9 year old girl ELR 1000 yards rimfire .22 LR Center-X Lapua Vudoo Lake City MI

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June 9th, 2019

Ammo Reference Book Covers 200+ Cartridge Types

Ammunition Ammo Factory commerical hunting load data ballistics hunt Bob Forker

Do you use factory ammo in your hunting rifles? Perhaps you buy bulk centerfire ammo for your AR15 or varmint rifle. Then this book is for you.

If you ever shoot factory ammo, you should consider getting Ammo & Ballistics 6. This resource book lists over 2,600 different loads for 200+ cartridge types from 17 Mach 2 up to .700 Nitro Express, including the most popular centerfire and rimfire cartridges (both rifle and handgun). In this updated-for-2017 Sixth Edition, there are over 3,000 tables covering virtually every caliber and every load for all commercially-loaded hunting ammunition sold in the USA. Tables include velocity, energy, wind drift, bullet drop, and ballistic coefficients up to 1,000 yards.

Ammunition Ammo Factory commerical hunting load data ballistics hunt Bob Forker

Ammo & Ballistics 6 helps you select ammo for a hunt — quickly compare the velocity and knock-down power of various commercial ammo. This book can help you choose a caliber/chambering for your next hunting rig.

Verified Book Purchaser Reviews
“Outstanding reference guide for shooters and ballistic enthusiasts alike. Has data on velocity, energy delivered, Taylor KO index, windage and elevation on numerous loadings for hundreds of [cartridge types]. Each cartridge has all dimensions labeled (i.e rim, case length, neck, etc.), and has an informative description of the cartridges history/relevance.” — S. Step, 2017

“Great heaps of data! This volume has pages and pages of new data for .22LR like the hot Velocitor, and also on the .22 WMR from 30 grains up into the 50s. Most importantly there is lots of range data, drop, windage, kinetic energy, etc. — Terrific reference guide….” — E. Svanoe

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June 6th, 2019

Neck-Turning Brass on Milling Machine with Erik Cortina

cartridge brass neck turn neck-turning milling machine Erik Cortina

Here’s the super-speedy way to turn case-necks. Our friend Erik Cortina figured out how to turn his match cartridge case-necks using his milling machine. Erik told us: “While in Raton, Mid Tompkins told me that he turns his brass on milling machine. He said he could do about 500 in two hours, so I decided to try it.”

Erik fitted a Don Nielson “Pumpkin” neck-turner to the mill, and he used a modified 21st Century case holder to secure the brass. As you can see from this video, Erik was very successful with the process. The tool spins at 1500 rpm, turning Lapua 6.5-284 cases that have been necked up to 7mm.

Video Shows Eric Cortina Neck-Turning Cases with Milling Machine:

Cartridge Brass: Lapua 6.5-284 necked up to 7mm
Lubricant: Lithium grease inside and outside of neck
Neck-Turner: Nielson Pumpkin running at 1500 RPM

It’s hard to argue with Erik’s results. Here are his turned Lapua cases, which have neck-wall thickness consistent to two ten-thousandths of an inch. Think you could do better turning manually?

cartridge brass neck turn neck-turning milling machine Erik Cortina

Some of Erik’s Facebook friends had questions about this process:

Q: Who makes the shell-holder?

Erik Cortina: I did! The shell-holder you can get from 21st Century. I Tig-welded a punch as a handle.

Q: I love the idea of working smarter not harder! Any galling issues? What are your mitigation techniques?

Erik Cortina: No issues. I use lithium grease in spray can. Makes a foam that I dip necks into.

Q: Shouldn’t either the case or the cutter be floating to allow most precise neck turning?

Erik Cortina: Up until [I tried this] I believed the same thing. I was going to build a floating case holder but decided to try rigid setup on a few cases before I built it. Results were great. Neck thickness doesn’t vary more than .0002″, which is same as when I was doing it with floating case holder on the lathe.

Q: Any problems with the Pumpkin changing the cut as it heats up?

Erik Cortina: No — there were no issues with that.

NOTE: Erik Cortina is a very skilled machinist who custom-crafted fittings used for this process. This kind of neck-turning with a milling machine may not be for the everyday hand-loader!

cartridge brass neck turn neck-turning milling machine Erik Cortina

Nielson “Pumpkin” Neck-Turner

Don Nielson Pumpkin neck turning toolThe circular orange cutting fixture on Erik’s Milling Machine is a Don Nielson “Pumpkin” neck-turning tool. Don designed this tool to be used by hand or with power. The Pumpkin boasts an eccentric mandrel that allows the cut to be adjusted easily in precise .0001″ increments. Benchresters like this as it allows for very precise control of cut depth and neck-wall thickness.

Jason C., commenting on Erik’s YouTube video stated: “I have a couple of those too. Nothing cuts like a Pumpkin. [Don Nielson] made the best cutter tool ever.” These are still available if you ask around. The photo shows Don with a case-holder mounted to a power assembly. A talented machinist and tool-maker, Don has also been a successful short- and long-range benchrest shooter, who has won NBRSA 600-Yard Championships. CLICK HERE to read about Don’s success with the 6.5×47 Lapua.

cartridge brass neck turn neck-turning milling machine Erik Cortina
Nielson Neck Turner with carbide mandrel. Photo Courtesy Butch’s Reloading.

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June 6th, 2019

Use Pin Vise for Lapua 1.5mm Small Flash Holes

Pin vises Lapua Flash hole

Folks have asked if there is a tool that can remove obstructions from a Lapua small, BR-sized flash hole without opening the hole size. The Lapua PPC/BR flash hole is spec’d at 1.5mm, which works out to 0.059055″. Most of the PPC/BR flash-hole uniforming tools on the market use a 1/16″ bit which is nominally 0.0625″, but these often run oversize — up to 0.066″.

If you want to just clear out any obstructions in the flash hole, without increasing the flash hole diameter, you can use an inexpensive, five-dollar “pin vise” with an appropriate drill bit. For $1.00, eHobbyTools.com sells a 1.5mm pin vise bit, item 79186, that matches the Lapua flash hole exactly. Other vendors offer a #53 pin vise bit that measures .0595″ or .060″ (depending or source). An 0.0595″ bit is close enough. You can find pin vises and bits at hobby stores, and eHobbyTools sells pin vises for $4.99 to $7.99.

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June 4th, 2019

Tuning Tips — Pressure, Powder Fouling, and Temperature

Pressure Temperature Fouling Tech Tips Tommy Todd Sierra Bullets

by Tommy Todd, Sierra Bullets Chief Ballistician for Sierra Bullets Blog
I have shot several disciplines of shooting competitions over the years and have learned a few things regarding ammunition and bullet function during this time. Frequently the matches I shoot require 40 to 100 shots before a person gets a chance to clean his rifle. Just as frequently, a good shooting match rifle will still shoot very good scores and groups with that many rounds fired through them. However, those guns do not deliver the same accuracy as when they were clean, but the drop-off in accuracy is not a huge change unless a set of accumulative issues arise.

In one situation, very dirty powder created more serious problems…

Pressure Issues — Extraction Problems Caused by Bad Fouling

Problem: Pressures Increased as Powder Fouled Barrel and Carbon Ring Formed
Solution: Clean Barrel Every Ten Rounds.

I witnessed a set of problems that occurred with a fellow competitor’s rifle at a recent F-Class match. He was using a large case capacity cartridge for the bore diameter and he was shooting a powder that was burning extremely dirty. As the match progressed, the carbon buildup caused most likely a carbon ring in the throat of the rifle and pressures kept increasing to the point that the cases were hard to extract, bolt lift was excessive, and eventually he quit shooting the rifle due to these issues. Accuracy also suffered as could be evidenced by the gun’s performance on target. This load looked fine when he was developing it, none of the excessive pressure signs appeared when he worked the load up, but he was cleaning the gun every ten shots.

When he was shooting multiple, 20-shot strings during the match is when the issues appeared. He was able to give the gun a thorough cleaning and the issues went away, for several rounds and then the pressures started appearing again. These pressure signs were not due to ambient temperatures as it was a cool spring morning and the temperature was in the low 40° range.

Accuracy Issues — Tune Lost with Higher Ambient Temps

Problem: Accuracy Lost When Outside Temp Much Hotter than When Load Developed
Solution: Pull Bullets, Reload Ammo with Lighter Charge

A couple of years ago, I attended a match early in the shooting season and it was unusually hot for that time period. I heard a competitor worrying before the match about his gun “blowing up”. At first I was concerned, but after thinking about what he had said I realized that he meant his “accuracy” blowing up, meaning he knowingly had loaded his ammunition at the top end of an accuracy tune that he established via a ladder test. The next day I asked him how his scores were and he said the gun was not shooting very well initially, but he had found enough equipment from friends that were at the match and had pulled the bullets, reduced the powder charge by a few tenths of a grain and re-seated the bullets and his gun was now shooting normally. The temperature difference between his home range the weekend before when he established his load and the match conditions was about 30 degrees and that was enough to cause an accuracy change at 1000 yards.

Ammo cool storage

Bosch Insulated tool caseTo learn more about how ambient temperature (and primer choice) affect pressures (and hence velocities) you should read the article Pressure Factors: How Temperature, Powder, and Primer Affect Pressure by Denton Bramwell. In that article, the author uses a pressure trace instrument to analyze how temperature affects ammo performance. Bramwell’s tests yielded some fascinating results.

For example, barrel temperature was a key factor: “Both barrel temperature and powder temperature are important variables, and they are not the same variable. If you fail to take barrel temperature into account while doing pressure testing, your test results will be very significantly affected. The effect of barrel temperature is around 204 PSI per F° for the Varget load. If you’re not controlling barrel temperature, you about as well might not bother controlling powder temperature, either. In the cases investigated, barrel temperature is a much stronger variable than powder temperature.”

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June 3rd, 2019

Powder Dispensing Perfected — The Amazing AutoTrickler V3

powder dispenser scale automatic autotrickler V3 version 3 ultimate reloader Adam McDonald
The NEW AutoTrickler V3 features an all-new motorized powder dispenser, an updated AutoTrickler base, and mobile APP control via Bluetooth.

If you want to throw powder with single-kernel precision, the AutoTrickler is perhaps the most advanced and efficient system you can buy. And now Adam MacDonald’s AutoTrickler is better than ever, with the release of the third generation AutoTrickler V3. This new AutoTrickler V3 has many major hardware enhancements, plus integrated software that lets you control all operations with your mobile device.

How fast does it work? CLICK HERE to visit the AutoTrickler website and watch the embedded video. You can see a 47.50 grain charge thrown and weighed in under 16 seconds.

powder dispenser scale automatic autotrickler V3 version 3 ultimate reloader Adam McDonald

Once you place the empty cup on the scale, the AutoThrow will automatically cycle to drop the bulk charge, and then the AutoTrickler ramps down to finish precisely within +/- 0.02 grains (about one kernel) of your target weight. The device’s inventor says: “With a little practice and fine tuning, you can expect to charge 50 cases to the kernel in less than 15 minutes.”

New Powder Thrower Increases Speed and Uniformity
The big hardware upgrade with the AutoTrickler V3 is the motorized powder dispenser. The V3 AutoThrow has been completely re-engineered with motorized operation in mind. Instead of modifying an off-the-shelf powder measure, the AutoTrickler V3 employs an original CNC-machined motorized thrower that cycles smoothly with a wider variety of powders.

powder dispenser scale automatic autotrickler V3 version 3 ultimate reloader Adam McDonald

Ball bearings hold the rotating aluminum drum against a nylon and rubber seal which ensures that fine powders like CFE223 will not leak internally and no manual adjustments are needed. The V3 AutoThrow will reliably providing a bulk starting charge within 0.1 grains for the AutoTrickler to finish to the kernel.

Software Functionality — APP Control via BlueTooth
With any smartphone or tablet supporting Bluetooth 4.0, you can set your target charge weight, increment the target on the fly, or manually operate the motors for easier setup and cleaning. The FREE AutoTrickler V3 APPS for iOS and Android will soon be available on the Apple App store and Google Play store.

powder dispenser scale automatic autotrickler V3 version 3 ultimate reloader Adam McDonald
Photo courtesy UltimateReloader.com.

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June 3rd, 2019

Bargain-Finder 193: AccurateShooter’s Deals of the Week

Accurateshooter Bargain Finder Deals of Week

At the request of our readers, we provide select “Deals of the Week”. Every Monday morning we offer our Best Bargain selections. Here are some of the best deals on firearms, hardware, reloading components, optics, and shooting accessories. Be aware that sale prices are subject to change, and once clearance inventory is sold, it’s gone for good. You snooze you lose.

1. CDNN — Winchester XPR Rifle, $50 Off Plus Free Scope

winchester xpr rifle sale

Simple and reliable rifles can be found in just about any safe and if you’re like us you can never have too many of them. If you’re looking to grab something for hunting season or maybe a teen’s first gun, CDNN has a great deal going on. You can pick up your choice of Winchester XPR rifles in a variety of calibers, all with a $50 Factory REBATE. Plus you also get a Weaver 3-9x40mm scope and rings for FREE. Each XPR is now just $319.99 after rebate, complete with scope and rings.

2. Grafs — Berger Bullets 10% Off + Free Hat

berger graf sons hybrid match bullet sale

We’re entering the competition season which means you can never have enough bullets. With that in mind we found a killer deal on Berger Bullets at Grafs.com. This sale applies to all Berger bullets in stock, including the most popular calibers. When you buy at least three (3) boxes you even get a FREE Berger Hat. With this 10% OFF discount and free ballcap, we think it’s smart to stock up on Bergers this week.

3. Amazon — MTM Cleaning Rod Case, $22.89

mtm cleaning rod case discount

Good cleaning rods are expensive and can be easily damaged if you’re not careful. To protect those valuable cleaning rods, we recommend the MTM cleaning rod case which holds four rods as well as cleaning supplies. This case protects your rods both at home and while traveling. With this handy, durable case you can stop worrying about bending or breaking those important cleaning rods.

4. Midsouth Shooters — Speer 20% Cash Back Rebate

20% speer bullet sale rebate cash back

Speer bullets have a good reputation for quality and consistency so when we saw this sale we had to share it. For a limited time Midsouth is offering 20% cash back on purchases of $100 or more with a maximum rebate of $100. To get your 20% Cash Back after ordering Speer bullets, you must fill out Speer’s REBATE FORM or submit INFO ONLINE. This offer is for bullet purchases made from 4/1/2019 through 6/30/2019.

5. Grafs — Peterson Brass, 10% Off Promotion

Cartridge brass Lapua Peterson Creedmoor case large rifle

Over the past few years, Peterson Brass products have become very popular for many shooting disciplines, including ELR competitions. Peterson brass is strong and durable, and Peterson offers many hard-to-find cartridge types, such as .375 CheyTac. Head over to Grafs.com this week to save 10% on ALL Peterson brass. This is your chance to grab some great brass in calibers such as 6mm Creedmoor, .284 Win, or .375 CheyTac at very attractive prices.

6. Powder Valley — Winchester Primers, 25% Off

winchester primers sale

Winchester primers work great in pistol, rifle, and shotgun handloads. Because they are both affordable and very reliable, Winchester primers are our favorite for most pistol reloading. And now you can save 25% off the price. Buy Winchester primers from Powder Valley and then complete the REBATE FORM and get 25% back by mail. There’s never been a better time to stock up on WW primers. Stock up now and save.

7. EuroOptic — Leica Geovid LRF Binoculars, $1999.99

Leica binoculars laser rangefinder LRF Sale discount

Leica Geovids rank among the very best rangefinding binoculars you can buy, no matter what the cost. EuroOptic.com is making that purchase a lot easier by offering the Leica Geovid 10×42 HD-B Edition 2200 Rangefinding Binoculars for $1999.99. That’s $1000.00 less than the original list price. These premium rangefinding binoculars may not suit everyone’s budget but this is still a great deal. These Geovids combine superb glass with outstanding ranging performance.

8. Amazon — Range Station for Pistol Shooters, $29.99

Pistol Case rolling matt ammo holder handgun range kit

The Range Station combines an ammo compartment with a roll-out mat. Some gun ranges only have concrete benches, or shooting stations with horizontal surfaces covered with dirt, powder residues, and other debris. You don’t want to put your $2000 blued Colt Python on that mess. The 12″x24″ Padded Gun Mat stays put on the counter-top and holds guns and gear. The case snaps to either the right or left side of the mat. Interior trays are sized for standard ammo boxes and magazines. Separate compartments hold smaller range gear such as rulers, pens, target markers, and more. When finished, the mat can be rolled and stored neatly and compactly in the case. Buy now for $29.99 at Amazon.

9. Amazon — Caldwell Front and Rear Bag Set (Unfilled), $14.39

Caldwell deadshot front rear bag sandbag sale varminter

Insanely cheap! We noticed this sandbag set when it cost around $25.00. Now this handy bag duo, an Amazon best seller, costs just $14.39! Varminters can keep these bags in a vehicle for deployment any time. Act quick — this is a special sale price at Amazon.com. This unfilled bag combo sells for up to $33.00 elsewhere. This inexpensive system works surprisingly well, particularly with “standard” rifles with narrow fore-ends. Rather than sand, you can fill with rice or media to make the bags lighter. This system features a heavy-duty clip and D-Ring for linking the two bags. Bag dimensions (filled) are: FRONT 11″ x 8.5″ X 6″; REAR 5″ x 5″ x 4.5″.

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June 2nd, 2019

.284 Shehane — Winning Wildcat for F-Open Competition

7mm .285 shehane improved f-class f-open caliber cartridge chambering

High-BC 7mm Bullets7mm (.284) remains the caliber to beat in F-Class Open Division (though some shooters have had success with .30-Cal short magnums.) With a standard .284 Winchester, or better yet, a .284 Improved, you can drive the high-BC Berger 180gr and 184gr bullets to competitive velocities.

The straight .284 Win is an excellent cartridge, quite capable of winning F-class matches. However, in most barrels, it can’t push the 180s at 2900-2950 fps velocity levels*. A lot of barrels will top out at about 2850 fps. That’s where the .284 Shehane comes into play.

The .284 Shehane is a slightly modified wildcat that retains the same 35° shoulder as the parent case. However, by blowing the sidewalls out 0.010″, the .284 Shehane picks up about 3.3 grains of extra case capacity. That enhancement makes a BIG difference. The extra boiler room is enough to drive the 180s at 2900-2950 fps with H4831sc. With N560 or Reloder 17 you can go even faster.

Norm Harrold Won 2018 F-Class Open Division Nationals with .284 Shehane Rifle
F-Class Open F-Open Norm Norman Harrold Champion Championship 2018 Raton NM New Mexico 284 Shehane Berger Bullets

Norm Harrold (above) won the 2018 USA F-Class Nationals shooting a .284 Shehane. Norm’s F-Open rig features a McMillan Kestros ZR stock and Bartlein barrel chambered for the .284 Shehane, which has a bit more case capacity than a standard .284 Winchester. Norm loaded Berger 184gr 7mm bullets in Lapua brass. Norm revealed his load in an Erik Cortina YouTube Video.

F-Class shooter Erik Cortina notes that the .284 Shehane has a velocity edge over the straight .284 Win because it holds more powder: “The Shehane has more capacity than the .284 Winchester. Ryan is using 54.0 grains simply as a fire-forming load. Typical load for a Shehane is around 57.0 grains of Hodgdon H4831 SC.” By blowing the sidewalls out 0.010″, the .284 Shehane picks up about 3.3 grains of extra case capacity. That enhancement makes a BIG difference. The extra boiler room is enough to drive the 180s at 2900-2950 fps with H4831sc, with long barrels.

Forum member Jim Hardy has shot the .284 with great success. He tells us: “In my humble opinion, the .284 Shehane is the best balanced long-range round there is — bar none. Here is why:

You have to shoot a 30 Cal Magnum with a 240gr bullet to equal the performance of most 7mm chamberings with the 180 Berger VLD. With the .284 Shehane, you have a .308 bolt face, medium action, and Lapua brass. You use less powder than the 7 mags, and have great accuracy and ballistics even while fire-forming. The .284 Shehane shoots inside the 6.5 AND the straight .284, the .300 WSM, and the .300 Win Mag with less recoil. What is not to love about the 284 Shehane? It is a no-brainer for long range — F-Class or Prone or 1000-yard Benchrest.”

Scotland’s Grant Taylor. who used the .284 Shehane to finish third at the 2009 F-Class Worlds in England says the .284 Shehane is “very accurate with superb vertical spreads at 1000 yards. [This] caliber… has awesome accuracy. I’m getting 2930-2950 fps with spreads in the 3-5 fps range. I use Hodgdon H4831sc powder, CCI BR2 primers, and pointed 180gr Bergers.”

.284 Shehane Shines in 1K Benchrest Competition Too
The .284 Shehane has won in Benchrest as well as F-Class competition. In 2013, Henry Pasquet won the IBS 1000-Yard Nationals shooting a .284 Shehane. Henry’s Championship-winning rig is shown below. Note the 5″-wide fore-end which is not legal for F-Class. Henry also runs a combo tuner/muzzle-brake.

.284 Shehane Henry Pasquet ibs 1000 yard championship

.284 Shehane Henry Pasquet ibs 1000 yard championship

Amazing Accuracy When Fire-Forming .284 Shehane

7mm .285 shehane improved f-class f-open caliber cartridge chambering

If you look at that 5-round group you might think it was shot with a 6 PPC or maybe a 6mmBR. But no, this was done with heavy 180gr Berger Hybrid bullets and the .284 Shehane. In fact, this impressive sub-quarter MOA group was shot while fire-forming with a very well-worn barrel! Gun builder Ryan Pierce of Piercision Rifles explains: “Here’s a 5-shot 0.191″ group at 100 yards with my .284 Shehane fireforming loads. This barrel has 2200 rounds through it. It had 2000 as a straight .284 Win and then I set it back to .284 Shehane to form brass with. [The load was] 180 Hybrids with 54.0 grains of H4831 SC.”


*Some exceptional barrels chambered in straight .284 Win can reach 2900 fps with the 180s. Ryan Pierce has a 32″ Brux barrel that is delivering 2900 fps with the straight .284. However, Ryan acknowledges that his velocities are not typical: “A lot of .284 Win barrels top out at around 2850 fps with the 180s”.

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June 2nd, 2019

Go with the “O” — O-Rings May Reduce Run-Out When Sizing

reloading die O-ring
reloading die O-ring

Here’s an inexpensive procedure that can help you load straighter ammo, with slightly better measured concentricity (i.e. less run-out) on the case necks and bullets. Simply use a Rubber O-Ring on the underside of the die locking ring. This allows the die to self-align itself (slightly) to the case that is being sized. Without the O-Ring, if the flat surface on the top of your press is not perfectly square with the thread axis, your die can end up slightly off-angle. This happens when the bottom of the locking ring butts up tight against the top of the press. The O-Ring allows the die to float slightly, and that may, in turn, reduce the amount of run-out induced during case sizing.

Top prone shooter GSArizona has tried this trick and he says it works: “Go to your local hardware store and get a #17 O-Ring (that’s the designation at Ace Hardware, don’t know if its universal). Slip the O-Ring on the die and re-adjust the lock ring so that the O-Ring is slightly compressed when the die is at the correct height. Size and measure a few more cases. You will probably see a slight improvement in neck concentricity as the die can now float a bit as the case enters and leaves it. This isn’t going to be a dramatic improvement, but it’s a positive one.”

We want to stress that adding O-Rings to sizing dies may help some reloaders, but we don’t offer this as a panacea. Try it — if using the O-Ring reduces measured runout that’s great. If it doesn’t, you’ve only spent a few pennies to experiment.

reloading die O-ring

Lee Precision makes die lock rings with built-in O-Rings. Lee’s distinctive lock ring design allows the same kind of self-alignment, which is good. However, Lee lock rings don’t clamp in place on the die threads, so they can move when you insert or remove the dies — and that can throw off your die setting slightly. By using an O-Ring under a conventional die lock ring (that can be locked in place), you get the advantages of the Lee design, without the risk of the lock ring moving.

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June 1st, 2019

Cheap Tricks: How to Measure Shoulder Bump Using .45 ACP Case

.45 acp pistol case bump gauge headspace tool

Here is a simple, low-cost way to get reliable readings of case headspace when you “bump” the shoulder back on your 6BR, .243 Win, or .308 Win brass. Credit Boyd Allen for this tip. First, you’ll need one .45 acp case, with primer removed. 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 photo below, with striped case).

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 (Bottom 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. By using this simple tool, you can avoid bumping the shoulder too much. This will also help you set-up the depth of your full-length die to get the proper amount of bump each time.

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