Got Ammo? If you need bulk .223 Rem ammo for 3-Gun practice or a varmint safari, or if you want to stock up on pistol ammo, now’s a great time to shop. Cabelas.com is running a promotion this week with great prices on a wide variety of ammo. There are nearly 60 ammo varieties on sale. Some of the best deals are shown below. The 9mm Luger prices are low enough that it’s hard to justify hand-loading if you value your time at all.
Along with the savings on ammo prices, you can save on shipping costs. Through 4/1/2016, you can get $5.00 Shipping on orders of $99.00 or more. Use code 36SPRING during checkout. This $5.00 shipping offer will cover ammunition.
Federal American Eagle .223 Rem Rifle Ammo (55gr FMJ) with Cabela’s Dry-Storage Box, 300 Rounds $124.99.
CCI Blazer Brass 9mm Luger FMJ Ammo, $10.99 for 50 Rounds.
Winchester .45 ACP FMJ Ammo, 200 Rounds in Wood Box, $89.99.
CCI Herters .40 SW TNJ Ammo (Nylon-coated Lead) $13.99 for 50 Rounds.
This TNJ (total nylon jacket) ammo features aluminum cases and lead bullets that are fully sheathed with a blue polymer (nylon) coating
Share the post "Ammo Sale at Cabelas.com With $5.00 Shipping Code"
At the request of our readers, we provide select “Deals of the Week”. Every Monday morning we offer our Bargain selections. Here are some of the best deals on firearms, hardware, reloading components, 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. Midsouth — Major Brand Blem Bullets (.204 to .50 Cal)
Right now Midsouth Shooters Supply is running a big sale on Major Brand Blem Bullets. You can save 50% or more on a wide variety of bullet types and calibers. Whatever your preference — Poly Tips, BT Hollowpoints, Soft-Points — you’ll find something on sale. In all 42 types of bullets, from .22 to .50 caliber, are deeply discounted. Here are just a few of the great deals we found:
.204 (20 Cal) 45gr SP, $17.06 per 100
.224 (5.56 mm) 55gr SP, $9.53 per 100
.243 (6 mm) 87gr BTHP, $15.08 per 100
.264 (6.5 mm) 120gr Poly Tip, $18.54 per 100
.308 (7.62 mm) 195gr BTHP, $22.96 per 100
.338 (8.58mm) 225gr Poly Tip, $27.22 per 100
2. Grafs.com — Magnetospeed Sporter $179.99
If you have been waiting to get a Magnetospeed… wait no longer. Priced at just $179.99 at Grafs.com, the Magnetospeed Sporter model costs less than half as much as Magnetospeed’s V3 models. This chronograph attaches directly to your barrel so you don’t have to go downrange to position tripods and set up skyscreens. For most people the Sporter Model contains all the features they need. Using Magnetspeed’s XFR adapter (sold separately), data can be transferred easily from the display module to your mobile device. READ Magnetospeed Sporter Review.
3. Bruno’s — Once-Used Nightforce Scopes, Save Hundreds
Bruno Shooters Supply currently offers six (6) Nightforce targets scopes that were used one-time-only at the Cactus Benchrest match. These were “previewed” for evaluation on a rifle but are virtually brand new. And yes they come with full factory warranty. Choose either the 15-55x52mm Comp model or the NEW fixed-power 42x44mm scope, with either Fine Cross Hair (FCH) or Target Dot Reticle. You can save some hundreds on these scopes. For example, the 15-55X scope is offered at $2125.00, compared to the $2352.00 normal price at other vendors. That’s a $227.00 savings.
4. CDNN Sports — Ruger American Ranch Rifle (Tan), $389.99
Here’s a nice little varmint rifle from Ruger with some nice features at a very attractive price, $389.99. This .223 Rem rifle features a 16.5″ hammer-forged barrel barrel threaded 1/2″-28 at the muzzle for brake or suppressor. The action, which features a 70° three-lug bolt, and Picatinny-style scope rail, sits in an aluminum bedding block. The crisp trigger adjusts down to 3 pounds. With a weight (before optics) of 6.1 pounds, this is a handy carry-around varminter.
5. Natchez — 300 Rounds .45 ACP in Can, $69.99 After Rebate
The classic .45 ACP is probably our favorite handgun cartridge for target work. Inherently accurate, the .45 ACP delivers big, easy-to-see holes on the target. Right now you can get 300 rounds of quality American Eagle 230gr .45 ACP FMJ ammunition for just $69.99 after the Federal Premium MFG Rebate. This Natchez .45 ACP Ammo Deal includes a rugged, lockable Federal Premium plastic Ammo Can.
6. Cabelas.com — Lyman Power Case-Prep Tool, $20.89
This Lyman cordless power tool is now just $20.89, marked down from $39.99. That’s a steal for a tool that handles most case-prep chores. The high-torque rechargeable driver runs at the correct speed for deburring and chamfering. The accessories have hex shafts that snap in and out of the driver (much like with a cordless screwdriver). The kit includes the power unit and seven (7) accessories: two case neck brushes, two double-ended primer pocket tools (large and small), an outside 45° neck-chamfer tool, an inside 30° neck-chamfer tool, and a combo standard/phillips screw-driver bit. Grab one for $20.89 at Cabelas.com.
7. MidwayUSA — Padded Scoped Rifle Case, $24.99
This 48″-long, thickly-padded gun case will hold most tactical-style rifles and hunting rifles. At a fraction of the cost of a big, cumbersome drag bag, this case may be all you need. The heavy duty padding is over 1″ thick on both sides to protect your rifle and optics investment from rough handling. A large pocket will hold a couple boxes of ammo and other accessories. We like this bag much better than the typical gun-store soft cases. It offers much better padding and more room for large scopes. It is on sale this week at MidwayUSA for just $24.99 in four colors: black, tan, OD green, and gray. In addition to the 48″ case shown, 40″ and 44″ versions are available.
8. Amazon — Two Rolls of 3″ Neon Target Stickers, $14.95
We like these bright Neon 3″ target stickers. They are big enough to see easily at 600 yards, giving you a 1/2 MOA target center at that distance. For $14.95 at Amazon.com, you get 250 3″-diameter self-adhesive centers (125 targets per roll) that stick to almost any surface The high-contrast fluorescent red/orange color provides an excellent HI-VIZ aiming point, along with good contrast for bullet holes that fall within the 3″ circle. To help line up your reticle cross-hairs, the target centers feature black markers at 3, 6, 9, and 12 0’clock.
Share the post "Bargain Finder 28: AccurateShooter’s Deals of the Week"
What is “Overbore”? That’s a question rifle shooters can debate to no end. This article from our archives proposes one way to identify “overbore cartridges”. We think the approach outlined here is quite useful, but we know that there are other ways to define cartridges with “overbore” properties. Whenever we run this article, it stimulates a healthy debate among our readers — and that is probably a good thing.
Forum Member John L. has been intrigued by the question of “overbore” cartridges. People generally agree that overbore designs can be “barrel burners”, but is there a way to predict barrel life based on how radically a case is “overbore”? John notes that there is no generally accepted definition of “overbore”. Based on analyses of a wide variety of cartridges, John hoped to create a comparative index to determine whether a cartridge is more or less “overbore”. This, in turn, might help us predict barrel life and maybe even predict the cartridge’s accuracy potential.
John tells us: “I have read countless discussions about overbore cartridges for years. There seemed to be some widely accepted, general rules of thumb as to what makes a case ‘overbore’. In the simplest terms, a very big case pushing a relatively small diameter bullet is acknowledged as the classic overbore design. But it’s not just large powder capacity that creates an overbore situation — it is the relationship between powder capacity and barrel bore diameter. Looking at those two factors, we can express the ‘Overbore Index’ as a mathematical formula — the case capacity in grains of water divided by the area (in square inches) of the bore cross-section. This gives us an Index which lets us compare various cartridge designs.”
OVERBORE INDEX Chart
So what do these numbers mean? John says: “My own conclusion from much reading and analysis is that cartridges with case volume to bore area ratio less than 900 are most likely easy on barrels and those greater than 1000 are hard on barrels.” John acknowledges, however, that these numbers are just for comparison purposes. One can’t simply use the Index number, by itself, to predict barrel life. For example, one cannot conclude that a 600 Index number cartridge will necessarily give twice the barrel life of a 1200 Index cartridge. However, John says, a lower index number “seems to be a good predictor of barrel life”.
John’s system, while not perfect, does give us a benchmark to compare various cartridge designs. If, for example, you’re trying to decide between a 6.5-284 and a 260 Remington, it makes sense to compare the “Overbore Index” number for both cartridges. Then, of course, you have to consider other factors such as powder type, pressure, velocity, bullet weight, and barrel hardness.
Overbore Cases and Accuracy
Barrel life may not be the only thing predicted by the ratio of powder capacity to bore cross-section area. John thinks that if we look at our most accurate cartridges, such as the 6 PPC, and 30 BR, there’s some indication that lower Index numbers are associated with greater inherent accuracy. This is only a theory. John notes: “While I do not have the facilities to validate the hypothesis that the case capacity to bore area ratio is a good predictor of accuracy — along with other well-known factors — it seems to be one important factor.”
Share the post "Defining “Overbore” Cartridges — The Great Debate"
Editor’s Comment: This is not the only way to clean a rimfire barrel. There are other procedures. This is the method recommended by ELEY based on decades of experience with the top smallbore shooters in the world, including many Olympic Gold Medalists. Some shooters have been very successful cleaning less frequently, or using different types of solvents. The ELEY method is a good starting point.
Rimfire Barrel Cleaning
1. Clean the extension tube with a 12 gauge brush and felt or tissue moistened with solvent.
2. Smoothly insert a cleaning rod guide into the receiver.
3. Apply a dry felt to the cleaning rod adapter and push it through the barrel to the muzzle in one slow steady movement. As the felt is dry it may feel stiff.
4. Remove the soiled felt and pull back the cleaning rod.
Here’s a tip we feature every year or so, because it is something that costs nothing, yet can be very useful in the reloading process. With a simple, easy modification to a fired case, you can determine the length to lands in your rifle barrel. As long as you set the tension right, the measurements should be repeatable, and you’ve just saved yourself $31 — the price of a commercial OAL gauge.
To achieve best accuracy with a rifle, you must control bullet seating depth very precisely, so all bullets end up in the same place relative to the entrance of the lands, every time. There may be multiple cartridge OALs which prove accurate. However, with each, you first need to determine a “zero” point — a reliable, and repeatable OAL where the bullet is “just touching” the lands.
There are tools, such as the Hornady (formerly Stoney Point) OAL Gauge, that will help you find a seating OAL just touching the lands. However, the tool requires that you use a special modified case for each cartridge you shoot. And, while we find that the Hornady OAL Gauge is repeatable, it does take some practice to get in right.
Make Your Own Length-to-Lands Gauge with a Dremel
Here’s an inexpensive alternative to the Hornady OAL tool — a slotted case. Forum member Andris Silins explais how to create a slotted case to measure length to the lands in your rifle:
“Here’s what I did to find length to lands for seating my bullets. I made four cuts into the neck of fire-formed brass. Then I pressed the bullet in lightly and chambered the entire gauge. As the cartridge chambers, the bullet slides back into the case to give you length to lands. It took less than five minutes to get it cut and working. A little light oil in the barrel just past the chamber helps ensure the bullet does not get stuck in the lands. It works great and is very accurate.
I made the cuts using a Dremel with a cut-off wheel. You can adjust tension two ways. First, you can make the cuts longer or shorter. Longer cuts = less tension. If you used only three cuts insted of four you would get more tension. The trick is to be gentle when you open and close the bolt. If you ram the bolt closed you may wedge the bullet into the lands. When you open the bolt it helps to keep a finger or two near by to guide the case out straight because the ejector wants to push it sideways.”
Share the post "Smart Tool Tip: Make Your Own Length-to-Lands Gauge"
Inspect your cases — every time you reload. A tiny flaw could lead to a split neck, case-head separation or worse. The Sierra Blog has a good article this week on case inspection, with many eye-catching examples. Sierra Bullets Ballistic Technician Duane Siercks shows a variety of problem cases and explains the issues he found. Duane states: “Careful case examination is one of the most important safety aspects of the reloading process.”
We recommend that you read the full article. Here are three examples…
Incipient Case-Head Separation
This is a Winchester .308 Win case that has a real issue. This case has a very obvious incipient case head separation in the process of becoming a complete failure.
This is most commonly caused by over-sizing the case causing there to be excess headspace on the case. After a few firings and subsequent re-sizing, this case is just about ready to come completely apart. Proper die adjustment is certainly a requirement here. Of course this case is not safe to reuse.
Excessive Pressure (Load Too Hot)
If you will notice in the picture of the case rim, there are two pressure signs to notice. First, look at the primer. It is basically flattened to about the max of what could be considered safe. If this was the only pressure sign noted, I would probably be fine with this load, but would constantly keep an eye on it especially if I was going to use this load in warmer temperatures. This load could easily cross into the “excess pressure” realm very quickly.
There is another sign of pressure that we cannot ignore. If you’ll notice, there is an ejector mark apparent that is located over the “R” of the R-P headstamp. This absolutely tells us that this load would not have been in the safe pressure range. If there were any of these rounds loaded, they should not be fired and should be dis-assembled. This case should not be reloaded.
Here we have an R-P .22-250 case that has died the death. Everything looks fine with this case except the neck is split. This case must be tossed.
A split neck is a normal occurrence that you must watch for. It is caused by work-hardening of the brass. Brass cases get harder with age and use. Brand new cases that are stored for a period of time can become hard enough that they will split like this case within one to two firings. I have had new factory loads do the same thing. Then as we resize and fire these cases repeatedly, they tend to get harder and harder. Eventually they will split. The life of the case can be extended by careful annealing practices. This is an issue that would need to be addressed in an article by itself. Of course this case is no longer usable.
In the classes that I teach, I try to use examples like this to let the students see what they should be looking for. As always, if we can assist you, whether you are new to reloading or very experienced, contact us here at Sierra Bullets by phone at 1-800-223-8799 or by email at sierra [at] sierrabullets.com.
Share the post "Case Diagnostics — Find the Flaws in Your Cases"
Here’s a great search service that can help you locate hard-to-find ammunition and reloading components — while saving money in the process. Ammoseek.com monitors more than a dozen online vendors — checking current pricing and available inventory, for pistol, rifle, and shotgun ammunition. Need .45 acp ammo for your 1911? Just select “.45 ACP” from the “Quick Seek” list on the right. Likewise you can find .223 Rem and .308 Win Rifle ammo with one click.
Find .22 LR Ammo Quickly
Looking for hard-to-find .22 LR rimfire ammunition? Well AmmoSeek makes it easy — you don’t even have to enter any search words. Simply click on the highlighted links for AmmoSeek’s 22LR Page.
Use Ammoseek.com to Find Reloading Components Too
Ammoseek.com also lets you search for reloading components, including powder, primers, brass, and bullets. This is a huge time-saver. You can instantly check a dozen or more vendors to see if a particular type of powder is in stock. Likewise, you can quickly check for primer availability. If you have a big match coming up and are short on primers — this could solve the problem.
Story Tip by Boyd Allen. We welcome reader submissions.
Share the post "AmmoSeek.com Finds Ammunition and Reloading Components"
Take a good look at this unusual ammunition. We think you are looking at the future of handgun ammo — at least for range and practice work. This patent-pending ammunition features a 100% lead-free bullet blended from polymer (plastic) and copper powder. The polymer-copper matrix (PCM) composition offers three major benefits: 1. the bullets do not ricochet; 2. the bullets are lighter and therefore faster than conventional projectiles; and 3. the bullets are environmentally friendly. We think this is a big deal — we predict matrix pistol bullets will become extremely popular in the years to come.
At the 2016 SHOT Show Media Day, we shot ammo with PCM bullets in a half-dozen handguns. The ammo performed flawlessly, without a hitch. In .40 SW and .45 ACP pistols, the felt recoil was considerably less than with conventional lead-core ammo (the difference was less noticeable with .380 ACP and 9mm Luger).
Ruger is now offering Ruger-branded ARX ammo with polymer-copper matrix bullets. This ammo will be produced under a licensing agreement with PolyCase Ammunition, the Georgia-based business that originally developed this bullet technology.
While Ruger is touting this ammo as a self-defense solution, we think the most common use of this new ammo will be for indoor practice, plinking, gun games such as IDPA, and use on steel and reactive targets. If you like to shoot steel, matrix bullets make sense. The polymer-copper matrix bullet basically disintegrates into very small fragments when it hits metal.
This video includes extensive tests of Ruger 9mm ARX ammo:
Ruger ARX Ammo with Injection-Molded Matrix Bullets
The fluted projectiles are injection-molded from a polymer-copper matrix. This offers many advantages. First, being completely lead-free, these bullets can be used at indoor facilities that prohibit lead-based ammo. Second, because the composite bullets weigh 30% less than comparable lead-based projectiles, shooters experience less recoil (even though velocities are higher). Third, the composite matrix bullet has low-ricochet properties. When these bullets strike metal, they are designed to disintegrate, rather than ricochet. This makes them well-suited for indoor use, or use with metal plates.
Ruger’s new ARX line of lead-free ammo features injection-molded bullets that are much lighter than conventional projectiles, caliber by caliber: 56 grains for .380 ACP, 74 grains for 9x19mm, 107 grains for .40 SW, and 114 grains for .45 ACP. The lighter bullets fly faster, but ARX ammo still offers reduced perceived recoil.
Shooting Wire Editor Jim Shepherd reports that ARX ammo delivers on its low-recoil promise: “Having spent time testing the PolyCase ammunition (largely in Ruger firearms), I know the reduction in felt recoil isn’t just hype. While firing PolyCase ARX ammunition in calibers ranging from .380 in small concealed carry pistols (including a Ruger’s LCP) up to .458 SOCOM in modern sporting rifles, the lessened felt recoil was noticeable.”
Polymer-Copper Matrix Bullets Show Good Penetration
Despite their lighter-than-average weight, ARX bullets show good penetration in ballistics gelatin, thanks to their unique, fluted-tip design. This video shows penetration tests:
Share the post "Are Polymer-Copper Matrix Bullets the Future for Pistol Ammo?"
When we first ran this story a year ago, it spurred a hot debate, with strong opinions on both sides of the issue. Some guys argued vehemently that volumetric powder dispensing was best — citing the experience of short-range benchresters, most of whom still throw their charges. Others say weighing your charges is best, so long as you have a very precise, and very repeatable scale. We know some of the top 1000-yard shooters weigh their charges to the kernel.
The Great Debate: Volume vs. Weight
Most competitive long-range shooters weigh powder charges for their handloads. Some even use ultra-precise magnetic force restoration scales to load to single-kernel tolerances. But is weight-based measuring always the best way to fill a case with powder? Another option is volumetric charging. This method fills a precisely-sized cavity with powder and then dumps the charge into the case. A Harrell’s rotary powder measure works this way, as does the sliding powder filler on a Dillon progressive press.
Lower ES/SD with Precise Weighing
For long-range applications, most people believe that precise weighing of powder charges is the best way to achieve optimal accuracy and low ES/SD. Our testers have definitely seen ES/SD go down when we started weighing charges with a lab-grade force restoration scale. However, those short-range Benchrest guys still do pretty darn well with their thrown charges, at least at 100 and 200 yards.
Our friend Dennis Santiago recently observed something that made him scratch his head and wonder about weighing charges. His AR-15 match rifle shot better with volumetric (cavity-measured) charges than with weighed charges dispensed by an RCBS ChargeMaster. Here’s what he reports:
Cavity vs. Dribble (Dennis Santiago Report) I had the chance to compare nominally identical ammunition loaded two ways. These were all .223 Remington match loads using 77gr Sierra Match Kings over 23.4 grains of Hodgdon Varget. Same gun. However I loaded some ammo with charges dispensed with a Lee cavity-style powder measure while other rounds were loaded with powder weighed/dispensed by an RCBS Chargemaster. The cavity-drop ammo (with powder dropped from the Lee unit) was consistently better than the weighed-charge ammo. I have no idea why…
So, ladies and gentlemen — what do you think? Why did Mr. Santiago’s volumetrically-charged ammo shoot better than ammo filled with weighed charges? What’s your theory? Gary Eliseo suspects that Dennis’s Chargemaster might have been drifting. What do you think? Post your theories in the comments area below.
Share the post "Thrown (Volume) Charges vs. Weighed Charges — What is Better?"
Bullets as art? Here’s an interesting product — a collection of fully-expanded hollowpoint bullets. If you’re shopping for self-defense ammo, take a gander at these projectiles in “full bloom”. The $69.95 Boom Box includes five (5) popular hollow-point bullet types in three different calibers: 9mm, .40 S&W, and .45 ACP. That’s a total of fifteen bullets. Bullet types are: Barnes TAC-XPD, Federal HST, Hornady XTP, Sig Sauer V-Crown, and Speer Gold Dot. All 15 bullets have been live fired, cleaned, clear-coated, and labeled.
Does the .45 ACP really more stopping power than 9mm? Which manufacturer makes the best self defense bullet? What bullet design expands most reliably? These are common questions among gun owners. The Boom Box bullet samples can help answer your questions about expansion, terminal ballistics, and lethality. Plus, let’s face it — these fired, fully expanded bullets just look cool.
The Story Behind Boom Box Bullets…
Anthony Zambai, mechanical engineer and owner of BulletsBouquets.com, started the business shooting Federal HSTs into a tall bucket of water, then turning the expanded bullets into desktop ornaments, jewelry and magnets. After a year of improving on processes and techniques, Bullet Bouquets gets consistent expansions that closely mimic established terminal ballistic test results. They shoot each round, one by one, and recover them. After some cleanup, they spray a durable clear coat on the exposed lead to keep it from oxidizing and discoloring, as well as helping to keep the lead off of fingers. Finally, the expanded bullets are each labeled with caliber, brand, and bullet weight, then placed in the display box.
Share the post "Boom Box Collection of Fired Hollowpoint Projectiles"
We often get questions about the 6.5 Creedmoor Cartridge — folks ask where they can find good resources for this cartridge, which is popular with Across-The-Course, High Power, and tactical shooters. We did some searching and found that the August 2011 digital edition of Shooting Sports USA has a good article for all fans of the 6.5 Creedmoor.
Development of the 6.5 Creedmoor Cartridge
In the August 2011 Edition of Shooting Sports USA you’ll find a lengthy feature on the 6.5 Creedmoor cartridge. This story covers the origin of the cartridge and its performance both as a match cartridge and as a hunting round. Hornady Chief Ballistician Dave Emary explained: “the original intent of the cartridge was as an across-the-course match cartridge. We envisioned it as an off-the-shelf round that would produced the accuracy and ballistics to compete in all match disciplines right out of the box. At the same time we realized that the same characteristics would make an exceptional hunting cartridge with the right bullets.”
6.5 Creedmoor Brass No Longer Washed After Annealing
Here’s an interesting update on Hornady 6.5 Creedmoor brass and loaded ammo. In a move to improve case quality and neck uniformity, Hornady recently changed the 6.5 Creedmoor production process, eliminating the case-washing step after annealing. So now you will see annealing coloration on 6.5 Creedmoor brass, just like on Lapua brass. Dennis DeMille of Creedmoor Sports wanted to improve the consistency/uniformity of 6.5 Creedmoor case-necks. At Dennis’ suggestion, Hornady conducted tests which showed that the “standard industry practice” of washing brass could potentially alter the necks in undesirable ways. Bottom line, unwashed annealed brass was determined to have an accuracy edge over washed brass. Looking at these results, Hornady decided to forgo the post-anneal washing process. As a result, the latest 6.5 Creedmoor brass now displays the distinctive coloration left by neck/shoulder annealing. Learn something new every day, eh?
Share the post "The 6.5 Creedmoor — Profile of Popular Mid-Sized Cartridge"
Some of our readers have questioned how to set up their body dies or full-length sizing dies. Specifically, AFTER sizing, they wonder how much resistance they should feel when closing their bolt.
Forum member Preacher explains:
“A little resistance is a good, when it’s time for a big hammer it’s bad…. Keep your full-length die set up to just bump the shoulder back when they get a little too tight going into the chamber, and you’ll be good to go.”
To quantify what Preacher says, for starters, we suggest setting your body die, or full-length sizing die, to have .0015″ of “bump”. NOTE: This assumes that your die is a good match to your chamber. If your sizing or body die is too big at the base you could push the shoulder back .003″ and still have “sticky case” syndrome. Also, the .0015″ spec is for bolt guns. For AR15s you need to bump the shoulder of your cases .003″ – .005″, for enhanced reliability. For those who have never worked with a body die, bump die, or Full-length sizing die, to increase bump, you loosen lock-ring and screw the die in further (move die down relative to shell-holder). A small amount (just a few degrees) of die rotation can make a difference. To reduce bump you screw the die out (move die up). Re-set lock-ring to match changes in die up/down position.
That .0015″ is a good starting point, but some shooters prefer to refine this by feel. Forum member Chuckhunter notes: “To get a better feel, remove the firing pin from your bolt. This will give you the actual feel of the case without the resistance of the firing pin spring. I always do this when setting up my FL dies by feel. I lock the die in when there is just the very slightest resistance on the bolt and I mean very slight.” Chino69 concurs: “Remove the firing pin to get the proper feel. With no brass in the chamber, the bolt handle should drop down into its recess from the full-open position. Now insert a piece of fire-formed brass with the primer removed. The bolt handle should go to the mid-closed position, requiring an assist to cam home. Do this several times to familiarize yourself with the feel. This is how you want your dies to size your brass, to achieve minimal headspace and a nearly glove-like fit in your chamber.”
We caution that, no matter how well you have developed a “feel” for bolt-closing resistance, once you’ve worked out your die setting, you should always measure the actual amount of shoulder bump to ensure that you are not pushing the shoulder too far back. This is an important safety check. You can measure this using a comparator that attaches to your caliper jaws, or alternatively, use a sized pistol case with the primer removed. See Poor Man’s Headspace Gauge.
Share the post "TECH Tip: Adjusting FL Dies for Optimal Shoulder Bump"
Sooner or later, every hand-loader will get a cartridge case stuck in a die. Perhaps you forgot to lube a case, or maybe you even ran the wrong cartridge into the die. Thankfully, there are affordable solutions to the problem. Lyman has introduced a new-for-2016 Stuck Case Remover Kit. This handy Kit ($22.50 MSRP) contains ALL the tools you’ll need to remove most stuck rifle cases and pistol cases. (No separate tap holder is required.) Basically you drill and tap the stuck case, insert a cap screw, then use the wrench to remove the case from the die through a camming action. The Lyman kit, part #7680350, includes a unique, dual-purpose threaded cap that screws over the end of the die. This cap acts as both a drill guide and a guide for the pulling screw. An extra-long hex wrench is included which provides plenty of leverage when removing stuck cases and also doubles as a handle for the tap wrench.
How Stuck Case Removers Work — Video Shows Process
The new Lyman Kit isn’t the first stuck case remover device on the market. RCBS also offers a Stuck Case Remover Kit that costs just $15.99 on Amazon.com. The RCBS unit works fine, but you will need a separate tool handle to hold the tap. This video shows how to remove stuck cases with the RCBS tool. The operation is similar with the new Lyman tool.
Product Tip from EdLongrange. We welcome reader submissions.
Share the post "Stuck Case Remover Kit — You’ll Need One Sooner or Later"
Looking for a great job in the Shooting Sports industry? Well Vista Outdoor, America’s largest firearms/ammo/optics/sporting accessories maker, has some key job offerings. Vista Outdoor (formerly the sporting unit of ATK) is a corporate giant operating dozens of major brands including: Alliant Powder, Bushnell, CCI, Federal Premium, RCBS, Savage Arms, Simmons, Speer, and Weaver.
Key Vista Outdoor Jobs Available Now…
1. Product Manager — Ammunitions/Pistols
Position is responsible for managing all aspects of product development, from concept development to commercialization, for firearms product categories. He or she will aggressively grow the business by thoroughly understanding the marketplace, competition and by developing products that address global consumer and retailer needs.
2. Senior Marketing Manager — Firearms
The Senior Marketing Manager for Firearms at Vista Outdoor will have full responsibility for all marketing within the Firearms Global Product Lane. This position will report to the V.P. of Marketing and New Product Development for Shooting Sports. This position will manage all aspects of consumer marketing for all firearms brands.
3. Senior Product Manager — Optics
Vista’s Overland Park, KS location is seeking a Senior Product Manager — Optics to add to our team. The Senior Product Manager is responsible for managing all aspects of product development from concept development to commercialization for our line of Sports Optics.
4. Product Manager — Tactical Products
The Product Manager will achieve annual top and bottom line metrics through new product development in support of the global tactical strategy. This position will be responsible for leading all aspects of R&D, concept and product development, commercialization, and launch.
5. New Product Development Engineer — Federal Ammunition
This role will work alongside Product Development Engineers, Product Marketing and Insights Staff, members of the Product Innovation Team and will map out and pursue future new products for Vista Outdoor Shooting Sports Ammunition Company.
In addition to the positions presented above, Vista Outdoor currently lists over 70 more job opportunities on its corporate Careers webpage. Vista Outdoor is headquartered in Utah and employs approximately 5,800 workers. Current Vista Outdoor opportunities include: Project Manager III, Legal Business Manager, Purchasing Manager, Export/Import Specialist, Senior Tax Analyst, Pistol & Rifle Product Line Specialist, Senior Database Developer, Manufacturing Engineers (I, II, III), Financial Analyst, Environmental Lead, Community Relations Specialist, and many more.
Share the post "Vista Outdoor is Hiring — Many Good Jobs Offered"
Here’s a great Do-It-Yourself (DIY) project from Martin Tardif. Build your own height-adjustable ammo caddy for under ten bucks. This is a great project for F-Open competitors as well as anyone who shoots with a pedestal front rest, either on the ground or from a bench. The ammo caddy attaches, via a flexible arm, to your front rest. The flexy arm allows you to position your ammunition close to your rifle’s feeding port. That makes it easy to grab cartridges and load them into the chamber without shifting your shooting position. Nice job Martin! The total cost of the whole project, according to Martin, was just $8.00!
Martin Explains How to Build the Ammo Caddy
Here are some pics of my DIY P.L.A.B. (Port Level Ammo Block). I cannibalized the goose neck from a Craftsman bendy-style utility light and bought a 3.5″x 1″ Acetal disk on eBay. I then drilled out the disk to accept twenty .284 Winchester rounds and screwed the disk to the bendy arm. The arm, by itself, wasn’t sturdy enough to support my fully loaded ammo block, so I inserted a 1/8″-diameter steel rod cut to length into the arm before I screwed it to the disk. On this Bald Eagle rest, I wasn’t using the windage adjustment cable. That allowed me to secure the bottom end of the arm to the unused 5/16″ x 18 bolt hole for the cable. [Editor’s Note: For other pedestal rest types/brands you may need to drill a hole for the base of the flexy arm.]
Share the post "Caddy-Hack: Build Your Own Ammo-Holder for under $10.00"
At the request of our readers, we have launched a “Deals of the Week” feature. Every Monday morning we offer our Bargain selections. Here are some of the best deals on hardware, reloading components, 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. Bud’s Gun Shop — Howa Mini Action .223 Rem
This is a great little rifle. I checked out the Howa Mini Actions at SHOT Show, and was so impressed I ordered one. The bolt opens and closes VERY smoothly (way better than most mass-produced bolt guns). The two-stage HACT trigger is excellent — it’s plenty light with a crisp release and no annoying spring-loaded blade in the middle. The Mini Action is nearly an inch shorter than a Rem 700 short action, making for a nice, compact carry-around varminter (OAL length is just 39.5″). The standard Howa Mini Action rifle weighs 6 pounds without scope. This particular model comes with a quality Hogue synthetic stock and 10-round detachable box magazine. The Howa Mini on sale is a .223 Remington, but other chamberings are available at a higher price. BudsGunShop.com has this rifle in OD Green for $380.07 or Matte Black for $384.19. That’s a very good deal — other online retailers are selling this same Howa Mini Action rifle for $510.00 or more.
2. Sportsmans Guide — Anderson AR Stripped Lower, $45.99
Have an AR project in the works? Maybe you’re building a new XTC rifle or an AR-based varmint slayer. Here’s a great deal on an Anderson Mfg. stripped lower — Just $45.99 at Sportsmans’ Guide. Just add your favorite aftermarket trigger and other drop-in parts. Anderson lowers are well-made, with good dimensional standards.
3. Midsouth — 195gr Berger EOL 7mm Bullets
Midsouth has the impressive new 195-grain 7mm (.284) Berger EOL Elite Hunter bullet. While not designed for match purposes, we know some guys are using this new 195-grainer on paper with good results. The bullet has an ultra-high BC: “The 195gr EOL bullet has the highest ballistic performance of any 7mm bullet currently in existence, and is truly the first of its kind for a number of reasons. Typically, 180 grains is the heaviest weight available in 7mm. This bullet adds 15 grains to that. The additional weight is split between the bearing surface and longer nose. Compared to the 7mm 180 grain Target Hybrid, the bearing surface is 0.096″ longer, and the nose is 0.022” longer. With a sectional density of 0.345 lb/in², the performance of this bullet on game is impressive. By comparison, the Berger .30 caliber 210 grain Hunting VLD has a sectional density of 0.316 lb/in².”
4. Grafs.com — Hornady 17 HMR Ammo $10.99 for 50 Rounds
This is one of the best prices we’ve seen in recent years on 17 HMR ammo. We really like the V-Max bullets in 17 HMR ammunition — you get excellent accuracy plus the tipped design is very effective on small varmints. Grafs.com is having a big ammo sale right now, so you can get this quality Hornady 17 HMR ammo for just $10.99 per 50-round box. You could easily pay $16.00/box at a local gunstore. This is a GREAT deal — stock up while you can.
5. Cheaper Than Dirt — BX-Trigger for Ruger 10/22, $55.13
Ruger 10/22 owners should definitely consider a trigger upgrade. And now there is a superior, factory-made, drop-in trigger for the 10/22 that has earned rave reviews. Ruger’s new BX-Trigger has a pull weight of 2.5-3.5 pounds with a smooth, crisp break. Installation is easy. Many online vendors offer the Ruger BX-Trigger for around $70.00. The best price we found was $55.13 at CheaperThanDirt.com.
6. Bullets.com — NEW March Scope Rings $169.95 on Sale
March rings are made 7075-T6 Aluminum so they are HALF the weight of steel. They are precisioned machined in matched pairs to ensure perfect alignment. Each scope ring has a special groove cut on the inside that basically creates two “mini” rings in one. This provide four contact points to hold the scope securely. Often, lapping is eliminated due to the extremely precise matched machining. Right now these superb rings are being offered at an introductory SALE price of $169.95 per pair. They are available in a variety of heights, with either 30mm or 34mm interior diameter.
7. Buck Knives — Model 110 Folding Hunter
Read the nearly 1000 customer reviews on Amazon.com, and you’ll understand why the Model 110 Folding Hunter is one of the most popular knives ever produced by Buck Knives. The USA-made, lifetime-warrantied Model 110 features a 3.75″ blade, Dymondwood handle, polished brass bolsters, and leather carrying sheath. It’s a bargain at $27.99.
8. Amazon — $4.95 Handgun Hangers 4-Pack
Save shelf space with these handy Handgun Hangers. These hangers provide the most efficient way to store a large handgun collection. Pistols hang below the shelf, opening up all the space above the shelf for other items. A four-pack of hangers costs just $4.95. WARNING: Before putting pistols on hangers, make sure your handguns are UNLOADED, with no round in the chamber.
Share the post "Bargain Finder 23: Accurateshooter’s Deals of the Week"
Have a good look at the photos below — this may be one of the most noteworthy target strings we’ve ever published. What you can see is the effect of barrel tuner position on point of impact (POI). You can clearly see that the tuner position alters the up/down POI location in a predictable fashion.
This remarkable 15-shot sequence was shot by French benchrester Pascal Fischbach using his 6 PPC fitted with a CG (Carlito Gonzales) action and a Bukys barrel tuner.
Pascal reports: “After [bullet] seating and load validation, I put the Bukys tuner on, screwing it out 10 turns. According to Carlito, the CG’s super stiff action-to-barrel fit gives a faster vibration modulus that is detrimental below 10 turns [position of the tuner].” Pascal’s procedure was to screw out the tuner 1/4 turn progressively from one shot to the next. He shot one bullet at each tuner position, with a total of 15 shots.
Left Half of Target Strip (shots with 1/4 rotation change of tuner in sequence)
Right Half of Target Strip (shots with 1/4 rotation change of tuner in sequence)
Pascal observed: “Note the point of impact displacement [from shot to shot] tracks clearly along a sinusoide (sine wave curve).” This is indeed notable and significant! This shows how the tuner’s ability to change barrel harmonics can alter the position of the muzzle as each bullet exits, resulting in a higher or lower POI. Pascal sent his results to Carlito Gonzales in Argentina for analysis.
Pascal poses this question to readers: “Guess which three positions Carlito recommends to try?”
Editor’s Note: While this target sequence clearly shows how tuner position can alter bullet point of impact, this, by itself, does not tell us which tuner position(s) are best for accuracy. That will require further multi-shot group testing, involving careful experimentation with tuner position (and powder charge weights). But for those folks who doubt that a tuner can make a difference on a short, fat barrel, just take another look at the photos. The up/down changes are undeniable, and noteworthy in the wave pattern they follow.
Shooting Set-up and Test Conditions:
Pascal did this test at an outdoor range under very good conditions: “This was shot at my home range, outdoors, with four Smiley flag. The range is a narrow cut in high woods. Wind was consistent with readable flags. I started testing the tuner from 10 turns out and on to 15. I recently… found a sweet spot very close to the rearmost position of the tuner, so the rigidity provided by this super long tenon (just short of 70mm) was not a reason to overlook the recommended Bukys tuning procedure.”
Share the post "Riding the Wave — How Tuner Settings Alter Point of Impact"
Western Powders (which sells Accurate, Ramshot, and Norma powders) has published an article on case inspection and preparation. There are many tips in this article that can be useful to precision hand-loaders. For example, every time you open a new box of cartridge brass (particularly from domestic makers), you should inspect each case for flaws.
TIP ONE: Visual Inspection — Finding Flaws
Cases are mass-produced items and malformed ones are relatively common. Inspect each case carefully looking for obvious defects. A bench-mounted magnifying glass with light is a real help for the over-40 crowd. The main defects will be cracks in the neck or case body, crushed shoulders or deep creases in the neck. Next check the primer pocket. It is also fairly common to find flash holes that are damaged or, more rarely, not concentric to the primer pocket.
Imperfections like small dings in the case body, or necks that are not completely symmetrical do not have to be eliminated at this step. Damage of this sort is usually from loose packaging and usually has not seriously damaged the brass. [Running an expander mandrel in the neck] and fire-forming will iron out these largely cosmetic issues.
Chart created with Ammoguide’s Visual Comparison Tool. Visit Ammoguide.com to learn more.
One of our forum members was looking for a very accurate, mid-sized 6.5mm cartridge for target working and coyote hunting. There are many great options including the 6.5 Grendel, 6.5×47 Lapua, 6.5 Creedmoor, and Remington .260 (a 6.5-08). If you are considering the 6.5×47 you should read our 6.5×57 Cartridge Guide authored by the 6.5 Guys. This and other 6.5mm cartridges are covered in this introduction to 6.5 mm cartridges prepared by Eben Brown, President of Eabco.com.
Guide to 6.5mm Cartridges
by Eben Brown, EABCO.com, (E. Arthur Brown Co. Inc.)
The current popularity of 6.5mm cartridges in the USA has been a long time in coming. I won’t go into my opinions on why it took so long to catch on. The important thing is that it finally HAS caught on and we’re now so fortunate to have a wide selection of 6.5mm cartridges to choose from!
6.5mm Grendel – Developed by Alexander Arms for the AR15 and military M4 family of rifles. The Grendel fits the dimensional and functional requirements of these rifles while delivering better lethality and downrange performance. There are now similar cartridges from other rifle companies. We chamber for the Les Baer “264 LBC-AR”. Designed for velocities of 2400-2500 fps with 123gr bullets, it shoots the 140-grainers at about 2000 fps (for comparison purposes).
6.5mm BRM – Developed by E. Arthur Brown Company to give “Big Game Performance to Small Framed Rifles” — namely our Model 97D Rifle, TC Contender, and TC Encore. Velocities of 2400-2500 fps with 140gr bullets puts it just under the original 6.5×55 Swede performance.
6.5mm x 47 Lapua – Developed by Lapua specifically for international 300m shooting competitions (with some interest in long-range benchrest as well). Case capacity, body taper, shoulder angle, and small rifle primer are all features requested by top international shooters. You can expect velocities of 2500-2600+ with 140 gr bullets.
6.5mm Creedmoor – Developed by Hornady and Creedmoor Sports, the 6.5mm Creedmoor is designed for efficiency and function. Its shape reaches high velocities while maintaining standard .308 Winchester pressures and its overall length fits well with .308 Win length magazines. You can expect velocities of 2600-2700+ fps with 140gr bullets.
.260 Remington – Developed by Remington to compete with the 6.5mmx55 Swedish Mauser that was (finally) gaining popularity in 1996. By necking down the 7mm-08 Remington to 6.5mm (.264 cal), the .260 Remington was created. It fit the same short-action [receivers] that fit .308 Win, .243 Win, 7mm-08 Rem, etc. You can expect velocities of 2600-2700 fps with 140gr bullets in the 260 .Remington.
[Editor’s Note: In the .260 Rem, try the Lapua 120gr Scenar-Ls and/or Berger 130gr VLDs for great accuracy and impressive speeds well over 2900 fps.]
6.5mm x 55 Swedish Mauser – This was the cartridge that started the 6.5mm craze in the USA. It is famous for having mild recoil, deadly lethality on even the biggest game animals, and superb accuracy potential. Original ballistics were in the 2500 fps range with 140gr bullets. Nowadays handloaders get 2600-2700+ fps.
[Editor’s Note: Tor from Scandinavia offers this bit of 6.5x55mm history: “Contrary to common belief, the 6.5×55 was not developed by Mauser, but was constructed by a joint Norwegian and Swedish military commission in 1891 and introduced as the standard military cartridge in both countries in 1894. Sweden chose to use the cartridge in a Mauser-based rifle, while Norway used the cartridge in the Krag rifles. This led to two different cartridges the 6.5×55 Krag and 6.5×55 Mauser — the only real difference being safe operating pressure.”]
6.5-284 Norma — This comes from necking the .284 Winchester down to .264 caliber. Norma standardized it for commercial ammo sales. The 6.5mm-284 was very popular for F-Class competition and High Power at 1,000 yards. However, many F-Class competitors have switched to the straight .284 Win for improved barrel life. 6.5-284 velocities run 3000-3100+ fps with 140gr bullets.
.264 Winchester Magnum – Developed by Winchester back in 1959, the .264 Win Mag never really caught on and may have delayed the ultimate acceptance of 6.5mm cartridges by US shooters (in my opinion). It missed the whole point and original advantage of 6.5 mm cartridges.
The Original 6.5mm Advantage
The special needs of long-range competition have skewed things a little. However the original advantages of 6.5mm cartridges — how deadly the 6.5mms are on game animals, how little recoil they produce, and how easy they are to shoot well — still hold true today.
Share the post "6.5mm Cartridges — Eight Options to Consider"
In some parts of the country, hunters are now required to use lead-free bullets. Expect restrictions on lead-based ammo to become more widespread in the years to come. Recognizing this, Lapua has upgraded its line of Naturalis bullets. Fitted with a distinctive green polymer tip, Naturalis bullets employ lead-free 99% copper construction. A hollow cavity provides reliable, uniform expansion, and the solid copper bullet body offers excellent knock-down power and weight retention.
The latest lead-free Naturalis bullets boast less drag and enhanced expansion. These third-generation Naturalis projectiles have been streamlined for better aerodynamics. In addition, Lapua has lowered the velocity threshold for consistent expansion by roughly 100 fps. This significantly broadens the velocity range in which the bullets will reliably expand.
Naturalis bullets feature extremely high weight retention, as demonstrated in the video above. (Note: the video has graphic sequences showing game flesh). The mushrooming of the bullet starts immediately on impact. The expansion process is started by the green polymer “valve” at the tip of the bullet, leading the bullet to expand symmetrically and without fragmentation. Watch the video for a demonstration of Naturalis bullet performance in ballistic media and game animals.
Naturalis lead-free bullets are available as components for handloaders, or loaded into Lapua factory-made cartridges. The Naturalis bullet line ranges in weight from 90 grains (6mm) up to 250 grains (9.3 mm). Bullets are offered in most popular calibers: 6mm, 6.5mm, 7mm, .308 (7.62mm), 8mm, .338, and 9.3 mm. Naturalis bullets and factory ammo are available from major retailers such as Grafs.com.
Share the post "Lapua Releases Third-Generation Lead-Free Naturalis Bullets"