December 18th, 2014
Sierra has announced a new line of plastic-tipped MatchKing bullets. “Say What!? — that can’t be right…” you may be thinking. MatchKings have always been jacketed, hollowpoint bullets. Until now, plastic tips have been reserved for other Sierra projectiles, such as BlitzKing varmint bullets. But that is changing with the introduction of Sierra’s line of Tipped MatchKing (TMK) bullets featuring green acetal resin tips.
Plastic Tips Offer Better BC
Sierra says the plastic tips on TMKs enhance the Ballistic Coefficient (BC): “The major advantage of adding a tip to the bullet is the reduction of drag, producing a more favorable ballistic coefficient.” Stated BCs for the new TMK bullets are listed below. These BC numbers look good, and they have been verified with real-world testing: “We shot [all the new TMKs] multiple times (we actually test our BC numbers instead of letting a computer tell us what it is) and those numbers are all proven out!”
There will be six (6) new TMK bullets, two in .224 caliber, and four in .308 caliber. The six new tipped bullet types should be available in “early 2015″. Sorry, Sierra will not be offering 6mm, 6.5mm, or 7mm TMKs for the time being, although Sierra will introduce more TMK varieties in the future. Currently, Sierra is focusing on “the most popular calibers”. Notably, the new 22-Cal 77gr TMK has a 0.420 BC — identical to the BC of Sierra’s 80gr non-tipped HPBT MatchKing. So, you get the BC of a heavier bullet in a lighter projectile that can be pushed faster. That’s big news for .223 Rem and 22-250 shooters.
New Bullet Shapes Along with Plastic Tips
In addition to the bullet tip, some of these new TMK bullets have slightly modified shapes compared to previous-generation, non-tipped MatchKings (SMKs) of like caliber/weight. Sierra’s technicians reported: “The [plastic] point on the tip is smaller than the meplat on a SMK and if you look, you will also see the ogive on most of these [new TMKs] have been changed as well. Most of the big BC gains are from the reshaped ogives from the legacy SMK product.”
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December 18th, 2014
This 50 Cal Days of Christmas video features some fantastic slow-motion footage of a Barrett .50 Caliber M82. This bad boy pumps out some serious muzzle flash. Watch carefully at the 1:05 mark and you can see the .50-caliber projectile exit the muzzle brake and spin through the ball of smoke and flame. For best viewing, you may want to change your video settings to 720p or 1080p High Definition and view full-screen (using the video controls).
The video carries “overkill” to the max, as the shooter uses his big Barrett to blast Christmas ornaments and a snow-globe. To top things off, at the 2:50 mark, the shooter fires the .50 cal at a pyro-equipped gingerbread house. (The gingerbread shot is taken from a standing hold no less!) The results (at 3:22) are impressive — gingerbread house becomes flaming gingerbread pudding.
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December 15th, 2014
We first featured this story in 2010, but the results of this rimfire ammo test have been of such widespread interest that we try to bring the test to readers’ attention every year.
In 2010, the staff of AccurateReloading.com Forum completed a massive .22LR Rimfire Ammunition Testing Project. Some 55 different types of ammo were tested, using a highly-accurate Swiss-made Bleiker rifle, with a 2-stage trigger. All ammo varieties were tested at 50 yards, 75 yards, and 100 yards, shooting five, 5-shot groups at each distance. Though these tests were completed some time ago, many readers have requested a “reprint” of the ammo rankings, so we’ve republished this data below.
The results are fascinating to say the least (and perhaps eye-opening). The tester observed: “I got some amazing groups, and some which are, frankly, absurdly bad! This has re-enforced what I had experienced with 22 ammo in the past — that is being consistently inconsistent.”
While we strongly caution that .22LR rimfire ammo may work well in one gun and not another, and ammo performance can be improved through the use of barrel tuners, the AccurateReloading.com research provides invaluable guidance for smallbore shooters. Overall, the testers burned through over 4,000 rounds of ammo, and you can see the actual test targets online. To read all the test reports, and view target photos visit AccurateReloading.com.
The lists below rank the average accuracy (by brand) of five, 5-shot groups shot at 50, 75, and 100 yards. CLICK HERE for Complete Test Results with target photos.
|0.162 Eley Tenex Ultimate EPS
0.164 Lapua Midas Plus
0.177 Lapua Polar Biathlon
0.187 Eley Match EPS
0.193 Eley Match
0.203 Lapua Midas M
0.215 Lapua Center X
0.216 Western Value Pack
0.229 Lapua Signum
0.241 Lapua Master L
0.243 Eley Pistol Match
0.256 Olin Ball
0.256 Akah X-Zone
0.261 Lapua Midas L
0.261 Lapua Master M
0.263 Eley Tenex Semi Auto
0.270 Lapua Super Club
0.272 Eley Tenex
0.303 Lapua Standard Plus
0.312 CCI Standard Velocity
0.319 RWS R 50
0.319 Eley Standard
0.328 SK High Velocity
0.339 Eley Club Xtra
0.340 Winchester T22
0.356 Federal Champion
0.362 Eley Subsonic HP
0.371 CCI Mini Mag
0.376 Federal American Eagle
0.377 Norinco Target
0.380 Sellier & Bellot Club
0.384 Eley Club
0.387 Eley Sport
0.392 Swartklip Match Trainer
0.398 Federal Gold Medal
0.403 Swartklip HV
0.409 Eley Match Xtra Plus
0.424 Sellier & Bellot Std
0.443 Remington Target
0.461 Lapua Crow HP
0.475 Eley Silhouex
0.498 Eley High Velocity
0.513 Winchester Super X
0.516 Kassnar Concorde
0.539 CCI Blazer
0.560 Winchester Supreme Pistol
0.576 Norinco Pistol Revolver
0.593 SK Standard
0.611 Sellier And Bellot HP
0.626 SK Standard HP
0.686 Logo HV
0.956 Pobjeda Target
|0.274 Lapua Center X
0.283 Lapua Standard Plus
0.295 Eley Tenex Ultimate EPS
0.307 Lapua Midas M
0.329 Lapua Master M
0.346 Eley Match
0.373 Lapua Polar Biathlon
0.399 RWS R 50
0.432 Lapua Midas L
0.448 Eley Tenex Semi Auto
0.467 Eley Match EPS
0.474 Lapua master L
0.491 Eley Match Xtra Plus
0.494 CCI Standard
0.496 Eley Subsonic HP
0.507 Eley Sport
0.512 Federal American Eagle
0.513 SK High Velocity
0.514 Eley Standard
0.516 Eley Tenex
0.516 Lapua Crow HP
0.532 Western Value Pack
0.533 Fed. Champion Target
0.535 Lapua Midas Plus
0.564 Akah X Zone
0.566 Olin Ball
0.573 Eley Club Xtra
0.616 Lapua Signum
0.631 Winchester T22
0.639 Swartklip HV HP
0.641 Eley Club
0.642 Eley Silhouex
0.647 CCI Mini Mag
0.679 Eley Pistol Match
0.682 Swartklip Match Trainer
0.690 Federal Gold Medal
0.692 Remington HV
0.703 Lapua Super Club
0.720 Winchester Super X
0.738 Eley High Velocity
0.759 Kassnar Concorde
0.765 Sellier And Bellot Club
0.770 Winch. Supreme Pistol
0.770 Norinco target
0.775 CCI Blazer
0.802 Norinco Pistol Revolver
0.841 LVE Logo HV
0.855 Sellier & Bellot Std
0.923 Sellier & Bellot HP
0.934 SK Standard HP
1.017 Remington Target
1.257 Totem Standard
1.442 SK Standard
1.578 Pobjeda target
|0.455 Eley Match
0.510 Lapua Midas Plus
0.549 Lapua Midas M
0.611 Lapua Polar Biathlon
0.611 Eley Tenex Ultimate EPS
0.619 Eley Match EPS
0.622 Eley Club
0.630 Lapua Center X
0.631 RWS R50
0.679 Eley Tenex Semi Auto
0.694 Lapua Midas L
0.729 Eley Tenex
0.739 Lapua Master L
0.753 Lapua Super Club
0.785 Lapua Master M
0.831 Eley Sport
0.851 Eley Match Xtra
0.859 Lapua Standard Plus
0.867 Akah X-Zone
0.877 Eley Pistol Match
0.907 Norinco Target
0.924 Eley Silhouex
0.939 CCI Standard
0.952 Eley Subsonic HP
0.970 Olin Ball
0.978 Kassnar Concorde
0.995 Eley Club Xtra
1.009 Western Value Pack
1.032 Federal Champion
1.087 Norinco Pistol Revolver
1.100 CCI Mini Mag
1.112 Lapua Crow HP
1.143 Winchester T22
1.142 Federal Gold Medal
1.144 federal American Eagle
1.156 Swartklip Hollo Point
1.165 Lapua Signum
1.170 Swartklip Match Trainer
1.175 Fed. Champion Value Pk
1.182 SK high Velocity
1.224 Winchester Super X
1.358 Eley Standard
1.367 Remington High Velocity
1.375 CCI Blazer
1.414 Eley High Velocity
1.450 Remington Target
1.504 LVE Logo
1.813 SK Standard
1.879 S&B Club
1.947 S&B Hollow Point
2.073 SK Standard HP
2.221 S&B Standard
2.266 Pobjeda Target
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December 10th, 2014
Powder Valley Inc. (PVI), a leading vendor of ammo and reloading components, warned us to be prepared for price hikes on Lapua-brand cartridge brass, bullets, and loaded ammunition:
“Lapua has announced a 4-8% price increase for 2015. Anyone who would like to order at 2014 prices please do so now. We will accept backorders on all Lapua from now until December 12 and these items will be filled at 2014 prices as soon as the items become available.”
Cutting to the chase, Powder Valley is saying it will honor current Lapua prices for back-orders, so long as you place your order by December 12th, 2014. So, if you need brass (or those ultra-consistent Lapua Scenar-L bullets), order now before the price goes up. Of course, you can also buy in-stock Lapua brass/bullets inventory from PVI and other major vendors including Bullets.com, Bruno Shooters Supply, Grafs.com, and Midsouth Shooters Supply.
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December 6th, 2014
With Christmas less than three weeks away, our readers’ thoughts are turning to holiday decorations, Yuletide gatherings, and “Where the heck can I find some darn .22 LR ammo!” Sad to say, you won’t find large quantities of .22 LR rimfire ammunition on the shelves of Wally World — those days are long gone. Affordable rimfire fodder remains in (relatively) short supply in the USA. However, if you’re willing to harness the power of the internet, you should be able to find the rimfire ammo you need.
We use three specialty search engines to locate bulk .22 LR ammo (and centerfire ammo as well): Ammoseek.com, Gunbot.net, and Slickguns.com. There are others, but these are three of the most effective. Here’s what we found this morning of December 6, 2014, using these three websites.
It’s really easy to find .22 LR ammo using Ammoseek.com. There is a handy “Quick Seek” .22 LR search link that instantly searches 108 different vendors. Shown below is just a partial list of the 481 items we found in seconds using Ammoseek’s .22 LR Quick Link. For future reference, bookmark the following link: http://ammoseek.com/ammo/22lr.
Link Ammoseek.com, Gunbot.net provides single-click search capability for .22 LR rimfire ammo. Simply click on the “22LR” Link on Gunbot’s home page, and within a few seconds you’ll get results from dozens of online ammunition suppliers. And of course you can select other popular types of ammo with a single click as well. For the best deals, select “Sort by Price” with the sort pull-down menu (by default it displays the newest result first.) We’ve highlighted the sort field in the illustration below so you don’t miss it. (You’ll probably want to click “in-stock only” as well.) Bookmark this GunBot .22 LR Quicklink to speed up your next 22LR search: http://gunbot.net/ammo/rimfire/22lr/.
NOTE: Gunbot.net is slower than Ammoseek.com. However Gunbot.net’s page is clean and simple, not plagued by distracting banners.
The Slickguns.com site is a little different than Ammoseek and Gunbot, because it covers a wider range of products, including firearms, knives, shooting accessories and more. With so many options, it’s easy to get lost on the Slickguns.com home page. Here’s a tip for ammo-shoppers — first click the “Ammo” link at the top. Then pick “22 LR” from the list of ammo types. For easy reference, bookmark this link: http://www.slickguns.com/category/ammo?caliber=3.
NOTE: You can pick other ammo types from the list of “Popular Calibers”. Here’s what you’ll see on Slickguns.com’s Ammo Page:
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December 4th, 2014
Every year we anxiously await the new product announcement from Lapua. In 2014, Lapua brought out new bullets and new cartridge brass — .221 Fireball and .50 BMG. For 2015, Lapua once again brings out new brass offerings, this time three new flavors of cartridge brass, all made to Lapua’s exacting standards. First, Lapua will introduce factory 300 AAC Blackout (300 BLK) brass. This promises to take this highly-efficient, AR-friendly .30-caliber cartridge to another accuracy level. Second, Lapua will offer premium brass for the 7mm-08 cartridge, a very popular round among hunters and silhouette shooters. Lastly, in 2015, Lapua will produce 8x57mm JS brass. That’s good news for fans of this classic Mauser cartridge.
300 AAC Blackout Brass
Lapua’s Press release states: “Few cartridges have generated as much immediate interest as the 300 Blackout. Standardized by AAC, this diminutive cartridge is derived from the 223 Remington. Intended specifically for use in suppressed firearms, the versatility of the Blackout has appealed to a much broader range of shooters than just the audience for which it was originally designed. [Originally] intended to drive 220 grain bullets at subsonic velocities, the switch to lightweight bullets such as the 125 grain offerings delivers performance very similar to the venerable 7.62×39 cartridge. This makes the 300 Blackout potent enough for a wide range of shooting tasks, from certain tactical applications to many short range hunting situations involving medium-sized game. The ability for many 5.56mm/223 systems to be switched over to the 300 Blackout, merely by changing barrels, makes this an incredibly versatile combination. Lapua brings over nine decades of case manufacturing knowledge, precision and quality to the new Blackout, assuring the shooter of the very best performance.”
7mm-08 Remington Brass
Lapua notes that it’s new 7mm-08 brass is made to very high standards, benefiting hunters as well as competitors: “The 7mm-08 came to dominate the High Power Silhouette rifle game shortly after its introduction, offering a superb combination of power, light recoil and accuracy. Since then, it has also been used to win National Championships in High Power competition, and become a staple for hunters as well. With ballistic performance exceeding that of the time honored 7x57mm Mauser, but suited to a shorter action, the 7mm-08 is an ideal cartridge for most big game hunting. Lapua brings… state-of-the-art manufacturing methods, combined with old world craftsmanship, to the production of these cases. Primer pockets and flash holes are held to strict tolerances to withstand repeated firings and reloadings. After final necking of the case, they are finished with the proper anneal [for] accuracy and durability.” Lapua also notes that it offers two new 7mm Scenar bullets, which will work very well in the new 7mm-08 cartridge brass.
8x57mm JS Brass
Last but not least, Lapua is producing 8x57mm JS brass. Lapua notes that: “When the 8x57mm JS cartridge was introduced in 1905, its innovative use of a high velocity and relatively light weight pointed bullet design revolutionized infantry combat. An outgrowth on the original 8x57J military round, the 8x57mm JS round served the German military in both world wars, and became a popular sporting cartridge in any area where there was a strong German influence. From African plains game to European stag and boar, the 8mm Mauser has earned an enviable reputation as a big game round in a wide array of conditions. Accurate, versatile and powerful, the 8x57mm JS still serves the sporting community well for a host of hunting applications. In answer to the requests of the many devotees of this fine cartridge, Lapua is pleased to announce our introduction of the new 8x57mmJS case. The new 8x57mmJS will deliver the same accurate, reliable performance for which Lapua cases are world renowned. This means tough, durable cases that will not only withstand repeated loadings, but retain their accuracy shot after shot. [Lapua’s 8x57mm JS brass offers] very tight tolerances in neck wall concentricity and overall uniformity.”
See Lapua’s New Products at SHOT Show 2015
If you plan to attend SHOT Show in Las Vegas, stop by and visit the Lapua Exhibit (booth #11929). With luck, samples of the new 7mm-08, 300 BLK, and 8×57 JS brass will be available to view. Lapua engineers will be on hand to talk about Lapua brass and bullets, and explain the production processes that make Lapua brass so durable and consistent. In recent years, in the world of centerfire competition, Lapua brass has absolutely dominated the winner’s circles as well as the record-books.
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December 1st, 2014
A while back, Forum member BigBlack had an experience at the gun range that reminds us of the importance of safety when shooting. He encountered evidence that someone had fired the wrong cartridge in a 7mm WSM rifle. The problem is more common than you may think. This editor has personally seen novices try to shoot 9mm ammo in 40sw pistols. BigBlack’s story is along those lines, though the results were much more dramatic. It’s too bad a knowledgeable shooter was not nearby to “intervene” before this fellow chambered the wrong ammo.
7mm-08 is Not the Same as a 7mm WSM
BigBlack writes: “I know this has probably been replayed a thousand times but I feel we can never be reminded enough about safety. This weekend at the range I found a ruptured case on the ground. My immediate thoughts were that it was a hot load, but the neck area was begging for me to take a closer look, so I did. I took home the exploded case and rummaged through my old cases until I found a close match. From my investigative work it appears someone shot a 7mm-08 in a 7mm WSM. Take a look. In the photo below I’ve put together a 7mm WSM case (top), the ruptured case (middle), and a 7mm-08 case (bottom).”
You can see from the photo what probably happened to the 7mm-08 case. The shoulder moved forward to match the 7mm WSM profile. The sidewalls of the case expanded outward in the much larger 7mm WSM chamber until they lacked the strength to contain the charge, and then the case sides ruptured catastophically. A blow-out of this kind can be very dangerous, as the expanding gasses may not be completely contained within the action.
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November 26th, 2014
Black Friday is just around the corner. That means big holiday season promotions are about to kick off. Many vendors will be offering significant savings, and/or free shipping on firearms accessories, gun stocks, reloading gear, bullets and more. Here are some of the upcoming Black Friday offerings we’ve found. Warm up your credit cards and get ready for some very cool deals.
Graf & Sons — Free Lapua T-Shirt with Lapua Brass, Bullets, or Centerfire Ammo.
Midsouth Shooters Supply — Big Discounts — Prices Announced 11/27/2014 at 10:00 PM CT.
EuroOptic.com — Big Savings on Nightforce, Leica, Vortex, Steiner and other Major Brands.
NOSLER — FREE Shipping and FREE Nosler Hat at Shop.Nosler.com
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November 25th, 2014
F-Open shooter Kenny Adams has enjoyed a spectacular 2013-14 season. Over the past 12 months “King Kenny” enjoyed a string of successes that established Adams as the man to beat in the ultra-competitive F-Open ranks. After finishing second at the 2013 F-Class Nationals, Kenny won the 2013 World Championship. He then won a series of regional matches heading into the 2014 National Championship. There he finished on the podium with a 3rd Place finish in the individual competition. He then earned gold as a member of the winning 4-man F-Open squad, Team Grizzly. We don’t think any other F-Open pilot has put together a stronger season.
Kenny attributes his success to great team-mates, great equipment, and great ammo. He’s a huge fan of Berger’s 7mm hybrid bullets: “The [Berger] 7mm 180 hybrids have made load testing much easier, and needless to say, raised my scores considerably!” Kenny also gave credit to his gunsmith: “I want to thank my gunsmith, Stick Starks from S&S — he got me going in this thing in the right direction four and a half years ago. Working with Stick has probably shaved a couple of YEARS off my learning curve.” Kenny’s world-championship rifle features a Panda F-Class action, Krieger barrel, and a Robertson F-Class stock. Kenny likes this combo so much he actually owns four complete red rifles with similar configurations. Check them out:
Kenny pushes those 180gr hybrids with the 7mm Remington SAUM (RSAUM) cartridge. A “new-generation” magnum, the RSAUM resembles a 6mm BR Norma on steroids. It has the same short, fat appearance, just scaled up — way up. This gives the 7mm RSAU the capacity to drive the big Berger 180-grainers at optimal velocities. The image below shows the older Berger 180gr VLD. Kenny shoots the newer 180gr Hybrid. They are both very, very accurate.
Banner Year for King Kenny
Pictured above is Kenny Adams holding his 1st Place Plaque from the 2013 F-Class World Championship. To the right, Ken (with fellow Team Grizzly members) is pictured at the 2014 F-Class Nationals accepting the Berger Trophy for the First Place F-Open 4-Man Team.
Below are Kenny Adams’s major shooting accomplishments from the past 12 months:
2013 – F-Class Nationals – 2nd Place F-Open.
2013 – F-Class World Championship – 1st Place F-Open.
2013 – Christmas Match in Florida – 1st Place F-Open.
2014 – Southwest Nationals – 1st Place F-Open 4-Man Team Grizzly (Set National record).
2014 – Orange Blossom Regional – 1st Place F-Open.
2014 – Sinclair East Coast Fullbore Nationals – 1st Place F-Open and set new Fullbore national record.
2014 – Mid West Palma – 1st Place F-Open 1200-yard match and set 1200-yard record.
2014 – F-Class Nationals – 3rd Place F-Open.
2014 – F-Class Nationals – 1st Place F-Open 4-Man Team Grizzly.
Kenny’s World-Beating 7mm RSAUM Load
For his 7mm RSAUMs Kenny loads Hodgdon H4350 powder and Federal 215m primers into Nosler or Norma RSAUM brass. In the RSAUM he runs Berger 180gr Hybrid bullets seated “just touching” the lands. Kenny is very precise with his charge weights. Using a Sartorius Magnetic Force Restoration scale, Kenny tries to hold his powder charges to within 1-2 kernels charge-weight consistency.
When you get it all correct, when every phase of the reloading process has been carried out perfectly, then you have rounds that can set records and win world titles. So what does championship-grade ammo look like? Take a look at the photo above. This is the 7mm RSAUM ammunition used by Kenny Adams at the 2014 Berger Southwest Nationals (SWN). Kenny is the 2013 F-Class World Champion.
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November 23rd, 2014
The .308 Winchester, a shortened version of the .30-06, has almost completely replaced the .30-06 in NRA competition. The .308 is required for Palma shooting, so it is also used by many Palma competitors in other long-range and mid-range prone matches. However, with the exception of M1 Garand matches, you won’t see many .30-06 rifles on the firing lines. Does that mean the .30-06 is obsolete? Is the .308 Win really much more accurate? Or does it just offer the advantages of reduced recoil and reduced powder consumption?
Cartridge photos courtesy Deuce45s.com, a leading source of specialized military cartridges.
In his Sibling Rivalry: .308 vs. .30-06 article on the Rifleman’s Journal website, German Salazar argues that the .30-06 remains a viable competition cartridge, particularly for the long-range game. This isn’t just a subjective opinion. German has data to back up the argument that the .30-06 can still do the job.
German compares the actual scores produced by his .308 Win rifles with the scores from his .30-06 rifles. German analyzes scores, over a two-year period, shot by “matched pair” rifles (one in each caliber) with similar actions, stocks, sights, and barrels. For comparison purposes, German also includes score data from his 6XC, a modern low-recoil chambering.
RESULTS: .308 Has Small Edge at Middle Distance, But .30-06 Is Better at Long Range
Surprisingly, the .30-06 performed nearly as well as the .308 at middle distances. The .30-06 delivered 99.2% of max possible scores vs. 99.5% for the .308 Win. Notably, at 1000 yards, the .30-06 racked up 97.7% of max scores vs. 97.3% for the .308 Win. So, at 1000 yards, the .30-06 actually proved superior to the .308 Win. German explains: “This isn’t too surprising when one considers [the .308’s] limited case capacity for the bullet weights typically used in Long-Range shooting. They just run out of steam and dip perilously close to the transonic range as they approach 1000 yards of flight. The extra 150 fps or so that can be safely obtained from the .30-06 case really pays off at 1000 yards.”
In NRA Mid-Range matches (500 and 600 yards), the average score and percentage of possible score for each cartridge was as follows:
.308 – 597-36X (99.5%), 960 rounds fired
6XC – 596-35X (99.3%),1260 rounds fired
.30-06 – 595-31X (99.2%), 2580 rounds fired
If we look at the score averages, the .308 comes out on top at the Mid-Range distances… by 0.3% of the possible score. By the way, notice that the 6XC, as good as it is, simply straddles the .30 caliber cartridges; it is not the winner.
German rarely shoots the .308 in matches that are only 1000 yards; most of his 1000-yard .308 shooting is done in Palma matches which include 800, 900 and 1000 yards. To make the comparison useful, the Long-Range results are presented only as a percentage of the possible score and the 800- and 900-yard stages of Palma matches were NOT included.
In NRA Long-Range and Palma matches, the average percentage of possible score for each cartridge at 1000 yards was as follows:
6XC – 98.9%, 360 rounds fired
.30-06 – 97.7%, 460 rounds fired
.308 – 97.3%, 490 rounds fired
Editor’s Note: Among the three cartridges German studied, the 6XC actually proved best at 1000 yards, delivering 98.9% of the maximum possible scores. The .30-06 was second-best with 97.7%, slightly better than the .308 Win at 97.3%.
You’ll want to read German’s full Sibling Rivalry article, which includes an interesting history of the .30-06 and .308 in High Power shooting, along with tables showing German’s actual scores with his .30-06, .308 Win, and 6XC rifles. German’s story first ran in 2011.
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November 22nd, 2014
Book by Michael Bussard (edited by S.P. Fjestad)
If you’re a serious shooter, the latest 5th Edition of the Ammo Encyclopedia (released in August, 2014), belongs in your library. This 1008-page book is probably the most comprehensive and up-to-date book in print covering current and obsolete cartridges and shotshells. Bussard’s Ammo Encyclopedia is a massive resource work. The 5th Edition now boasts 105 chapters, covering thousands of handgun, rifle, and shotgun cartridges from the past century and a half.
One of the best features is a 12-page color section depicting actual size drawings of 265 current rimfire/centerfire cartridges and shotshells. You won’t find that many “life-size” cartridge drawings in one place even on the internet. Cartridge profiles and ballistic charts have been expanded to include all new factory cartridges. The authors have even included air rifle pellets and historical images and charts. Softcover, 1008 pages.
|Comments from guys who bought the book:
“This book contains a vast array of information on many modern and even obsolete ammunition. Definately recommend for any modern reloader novice or experienced.” – Duggaboy460
“It’s a great reference book for individuals who reload their own ammunition. There is a lot more info in this Edition. Everyone who likes this information should have it in their library.” – Reloader
“I like the general and technical comments that are available for each and every cartridge. Information that predicts if a cartridge will stay in production for many more years or rapidly become obsolete.” – RSL1
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November 19th, 2014
Many shooters, particular those who shoot vintage military rifle matches, reload once-fired military cartridge brass. This brass may be high-quality and stout, but you may encounter a primer crimp* that interferes with the seating of a new primer. There are a variety of dedicated, military-crimp tools on the market, such as Dillon’s excellent Super Swage 600 tool that “rolls the crimp away”. But the Dillon tool costs $100.95 and takes quite a bit of room on your reloading bench. If you don’t want to drop a C-note and give up valuable bench space — here’s another (much cheaper) solution.
If you already have a Wilson case trimmer set-up, you can ream away those military crimps using an affordable Wilson accessory — the Primer Pocket Reamer (large #PPR-210, small #PPR-175). This $32.99 accessory is used in conjunction with a Wilson case trimmer and case-holder as shown below.
On his Riflemans Journal website, German Salazar shows how to use the Wilson primer pocket reamer to remove military crimps on Lake City .30-06 cartridge brass. German explains: “The case goes into the Wilson case-holder, the same one used for case trimming, and the reamer replaces the trimmer head in the tool base. The threaded rod on the left side, which is normally used to regulate trim length has no use for this operation and it is simply backed out. Hold the case-holder as you turn the reamer into the primer pocket, it cuts easily and quickly. The reamer will stop cutting when the proper depth is reached.”
Do you really need to do this operation with military-crimped brass? Yes. German cautions: “any attempt to prime the case without removing the crimp will simply result in a mangled primer that cannot be expected to fire and certainly won’t fire reliably.”
Read Full Article on Riflemans’ Journal Website (more photos and detailed write-up).
*Why does military brass has a primer crimp? German answers: “The crimp is nothing more than an intentional deformation of the case around the primer pocket, the purpose of which is to retain the primer in the case despite high pressure situations in machine guns and other automatic weapons where a loose primer may cause a malfunction. As reloaders, our task is to get rid of the remnants of the crimp in order to allow re-priming the case.”
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November 17th, 2014
Sierra Bullets has released Version 7 of its respected Infinity Exterior Ballistics software, available now for $39.95 for Windows computers. Renowned Sierra Ballistic Consultants Ted Almgren and Dr. Bill McDonald, who have written all Sierra Software since 1970, also wrote Infinity Version 7. Both are retired scientists from a major aerospace company. Infinity Exterior Ballistics Software version 7 is a sophisticated solver that can output multiple trajectory charts. A built-in database includes bullets and cartridges offered by 15 manufacturers, both U.S. and foreign.
This 13-minute Video Demonstrates the Many Features of Infinity 7 Ballistics Software:
This sophisticated program computes the effects on the bullet trajectory of variations in firing conditions. For example, you can change altitude of the firing point, target angle (uphill/downhill), wind speeds, or even modify the Ballistic Coefficient. In fact, you can change any inputted firing condition or combination of conditions.
One very handy function is the “back-to-zero” calculation. Infinity 7 software will compute where your gun is zeroed if you know that it shoots high by a measured amount at a known range.
Compare Trajectories with Five Different Bullets
One very powerful feature of Infinity 7 is its trajectory comparison capability. With most ballistics programs (such as the JBM online ballistics calculator), you can only view one bullet’s trajectory (and associated drop chart) at a time. Not so with Infinity 7. This software handles up to five different bullets at a time. You can compare downrange velocity, energy, drop, bullet path height, or crosswind drift with results shown in bolt tabular and graphical format. That helps you select the best bullet for your gun and application. The ability to compare downrange ballistics of five different bullets at once is particularly helpful for hunters, who can compare the “hitting power” of different projectiles at various distances.
You can purchase Infinity 7 Ballistics Software as a standalone product for $39.99, or you can buy the Infinity 7 Suite for $59.95, which includes the Sierra Bullets 5th Edition Reloading Manual on CD-ROM. If you prefer a printed loading Manual, a combo pack with Infinity 7 software CD-ROM plus published (hard-back) Reloading Manual is offered for $64.95.
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November 15th, 2014
How much can you save reloading your own ammo? Well that depends on the cost of components and how much you have invested in your reloading gear. UltimateReloader.com has created a handy online Reloading Costs Calculator that lets you quickly compare the cost of reloaded ammo vs. factory ammo. Just enter the costs of powder, primers, bullets, and brass, and the Calculator will tell you the cost per round, per 20-rd box, per 50-rd box, and cost per thousand. Note — when setting the price of the brass you need to divide the initial cost by the number of predicted reloads. For example if you have 500 pieces of brass that cost $40/100 to buy ($200 total), but you get 8 reloads per case, then you put $25.00 in the Calculator ($200 total brass cost divided by 8).
True Reloading Cost Should Include Amortized Tool Expenses
Ah… but there is a catch. To understand the true cost of reloading, you also need to consider the costs of your tools and accessories, amortized over the tools’ loading lifespan. Let’s say you have $1000.00 invested in presses, dies, tumblers, measuring tools and other accessories, with a residual value of $500.00 (upon resale). If you load 5,000 rounds with those tools over their lifespan, you need to add $0.10 per round for tooling costs (your investment minus residual value, divided by the number of rounds loaded). The UltimateReloader.com Calculator does not include amortized tooling costs, but that’s something you can easily figure out on your own.
Excellent Resource for Reloading Videos
After you’ve tried out the Reloading Costs Calculator, check out the other content on UltimateReloader.com. This site features some of the best gun-related “how-to” videos on the internet. With sharp video and clear audio, the production quality is very high. If you use a progressive press (Dillon, Hornady, RCBS), you should definitely watch UltimateReloader.com’s videos — you’ll probably learn a new trick or two. In the sample video below, you can see how Hornady’s new Bullet Feeder works with its Lock-N-Load Progressive press.
[youtube width=”600″ height=”375″]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=74X8SvkpK0Y[/youtube]
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November 14th, 2014
Gear Review by German Salazar
This article originally appeared in German Salazar’s Rifleman’s Journal website.
Many of you have doubtlessly read Bryan Litz’s articles in our Daily Bulletin and on his Applied Ballistics website about various current long-range bullets. Bryan’s work carries a great deal of weight in the world of ballistics, so his comments (and mathematical proofs) regarding the benefits of bullet pointing certainly caught my attention. Bullet pointing, like meplat trimming, is an effort to reduce the ballistic inconsistency created by the somewhat jagged tip of the jacket where the bullet forming dies bring it to a point in the manufacturing process. Of course, we could eliminate this problem altogether by shooting closed-tip, open-base bullets like the Lapua D46, but that merely shifts the jacket problem to the other end of the bullet.
In any event, hollow point bullets rule the accuracy world today, so John Whidden, multi-time National Long Range Champion at Camp Perry and a talented gunsmith and designer to boot, came up with a very handy tool to let us make those hollow points pointier. Let’s have a look at John’s tool and see how it works.
The Whidden Bullet Pointing Die System uses a Forster bullet seating die body as its basic structure and that’s a good choice given the quality machining Forster does on these. The real heart of the tool comes in two parts: the caliber sleeve and the pointing die that fits inside the sleeve. In fact, to point up different caliber bullets, you only need to change the caliber sleeve, everything else remains the same. The last item is the bullet base that slips into a standard .308 shellholder and supports the bullet as it goes into the die body.
It took me less than five minutes to get everything set up, including changing the caliber sleeve from 6mm to .30 caliber. John’s instruction sheets are well illustrated and clearly written; you should have no problem getting up and running.
Pointing the bullets is as easy as sizing a piece of brass. You can see in the top photo the difference between a few pointed bullets and a few un-pointed ones. The innermost pointed bullet in the picture was my first attempt and I adjusted the die a little after that, you can see that the others are closed a little more. John even includes a couple of sample bullets so that you can see one done right and one done wrong. That is a nice addition that can help you achieve the desired results.
I think Bryan’s work supports the validity of this concept and John’s tool puts it into practice in a simple-to-use manner that makes it just about impossible to do any damage to the bullet. I have shot pointed bullets in various calibers at many matches now. Pointing is not a “miracle cure”, but I believe that pointing bullet tips can produce long-range accuracy gains, through reduced vertical dispersion, for many popular types of match bullets. The Whidden Bullet Pointing Die System retails for $220.00 (with one insert). Additional die inserts are $42.00 each. Extra caliber sleeves are also $42.00. You can purchase directly from Whidden Gunworks, or from Sinclair International.
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November 9th, 2014
“22 Plinkster” is an avid shooter who has produced a number of entertaining videos for his YouTube Channel. In the video below, he tackles the question “Why Do Misfires Occur in .22 LR Rimfire Ammunition?” This is the most common question posed to 22 Plinkster by his many viewers. He identifies four main issues that can cause .22 LR misfires or faulty ignition:
1. Damaged Firing Pin — The dry firing process can actually blunt or shorten the firing pin, particularly with older rimfire firearms. Use of snap caps is recommended.
2. Poor Ammunition — Some cheap brands have poor quality control. 22 Plinkster recommends using ammo from a manufacturer with high quality control standards, such as CCI and Federal.
3. Age of Ammunition — Rimfire ammo can function well for a decade or more. However the “shelf life” of rimfire ammunition is not infinite. You ammo’s “lifespan” will be shortened by heat, moisture, and humidity. You should store your rimfire ammo in a cool, dry place.
4. Mishandling of Ammunition — Tossing around ammunition can cause problems. Rough handling can cause the priming compound to be dislodged from the rim. This causes misfires.
Image courtesy Cheaper Than Dirt Shooters Log.
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November 3rd, 2014
Applied Ballistics has just announced Ballistic Performance of Rifle Bullets. This new book is chock full of “mission critical” data on hundreds of popular projectiles. This latest reference book from Bryan Litz contains live fire test data on 400 modern rifle bullets. The data pages contained in this book are similar to the 225 bullet data pages found in Applied Ballistics for Long Range Shooting. The Ballistic Coefficient data is based on live fire testing methods which are repeatable within +/- 1%. If you’re looking for “rock-solid” info on the ballistic performance of today’s most popular rifle projectiles, this work is the definitive print resource. Scroll down to see a sample page from the new book.
CLICK HERE to see the full list of bullets covered in this new resource book.
Visit the Applied Ballistics Online Store to pre-order your copy and save $5. Note: Pre-orders are expected to ship and arrive at USA destinations in time for Christmas. Retail price is $54.95, with a $5.00 pre-order discount.
More about the Book
“Modern rifles have reached an unprecedented level of accuracy. In many cases, the weak link in the chain of hitting targets is the trajectory modeling, which is based on bullet performance,” stated author Bryan Litz. Unfortunately, shooters can’t always rely on advertised Ballistic Coefficients (BCs) being accurate. Slight errors in BC modeling can be the cause of missing your target. Furthermore, a meaningful apples-to-apples comparison of bullet performance is not possible when the BCs are determined differently by various brands.
This book provides highly accurate ballistic performance data for 400 modern long range bullets from .224 to .408 caliber. By employing a common testing method for bullets of all brands, shooters are provided with consistent and accurate performance data which can be used to compare and select bullets, as well as to calculate accurate trajectories which put your shots on target at long range. It is claimed that the BC data is accurate (and repeatable) to +/- 1% for all bullets tested.
Detailed stability data is also included which can be used to determine suitable twist rates for bullets in various environments.
View Sample Page from Ballistic Performance of Rifle Bullets:
NOTE: This is a reference book which contains mostly data pages. There is a single chapter in the beginning which talks about how to use the data. For a more thorough understanding of the science of external ballistics, readers are referred to: Applied Ballistics for Long Range Shooting (2d Edition).
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October 31st, 2014
NEW PRODUCT REPORT by Dennis Santiago
At the recent Western CMP Games and Creedmoor Cup Matches in Phoenix, I received a box of the all-new .30-06 Match-Grade ammunition from Dennis DeMille of Creedmoor Sports. My job was to test the ammo (at the Games) and write about it. This box was part of Creedmoor’s 3-million-round production run for the Civilian Marksmanship Program (CMP). CLICK HERE for Ammo Sales.
Author Dennis Santiago (right) with Dennis Demille of Creedmoor Sports (left).
The new .30-06 “Match-Grade” ammunition from Creedmoor is impressive. This ammo is made from top-quality components: brand new Lapua .30-06 brass and 167gr Lapua Scenar bullets. The ammo, optimized for 200-yard CMP Games tournaments, runs at 2720 fps. DeMille says the Standard Deviation (SD) is very tight with this ammo — comparable with precision hand loads. The low SD reflects great attention to detail in ammo assembly. Creedmoor’s industrial loader is run at half-speed to improve consistency. Charges are thrown precisely — I believe in two (2) half-charges.
When you hold the ammunition up to the light, each round appears a perfect clone of each other round — something that cannot be said for some other factory ammo (even so-called “match ammo”). This is about a close as one is likely to get to a precision hand load. The good news is that Creedmoor plans to produce similar ammunition in other chamberings.
The economics of the ammunition are equally intriguing. This ammo is being sold by the CMP for $1.30 per round. Think about that — new .30-06 Lapua brass sells for around $100.00 per hundred cases. So, you get to fire a precision match round for about 30 cents and have premier once-fired brass for future use. The price per rounds tells me that CMP isn’t making money on this — it is being sold at near cost to promote marksmanship.
Great Ammo at a Great Price
In offering this new .30-06 ammo at an affordable price, the CMP is making it possible for non-reloading competitors to have the same quality of ammunition as those who handload with premium components. This will be a major improvement for shooters of m1903s and M1 Garands. I think this ammo can be real equalizer for those who do not currently hand-load their own .30-06 ammunition. The CMP and Creedmoor Sports are to be commended for collaborating on this game-changing product introduction.
Where to get the Creedmoor Sports CMP .30-06 Ammo
The CMP is now selling the Creedmoor-produced .30-06 ammo on the CMP website, item #4C3006CS167-100 (click the “e-Store” button to launch shopping cart). The retail price is $130.00 per 100-round case (i.e. two boxes). That works out to $1.30 per round.*
.30-06 Ammo Performance
When someone hands you a box of ammo with a challenge how can you not throw all your match plans out the door and play? I was planning to fire the CMP GSM match with my M-1 Garand the next day using 150gr SMK handloads but I said, “What the heck. Let’s go for it.” You get five sighters in a GSM match which is plenty to zero with new ammo.
The ammo is optimized for shooting 200-yd CMP matches with rifles like my as-issued DCM M-1 Garand.
I shoot the M-1 Garand matches with a rebuilt 5-digit receiver gun with a 1950s barrel refurbished at Anniston Armory that I got from the DCM back in the day when the postman delivered them. It shoots true and has garnered its share of Western Games trinkets over the years including a number of golds and one of those coveted M-1 EIC 4 points medals. It’s a good platform for the test. Sighters revealed the Creedmoor ammo shoots about two minutes higher impact versus my pet load. The tale of the tape said 96-2X slow prone, 93-1X rapid prone and 81-1X offhand totaling 270-4X. The DCM machine took home a bronze in 2014.
Accuracy and Consistency
This Creedmoor ammo is indeed amazingly consistent. The slow prone stage was a pure joy to shoot. This ammunition is “brutally honest”. It will reveal every little error you make be it defocusing on your front sight drenching in sweat under the Phoenix sun, not being fast enough to reset your NPA mid-string in your rapid as the big gun moves you around or just being jittery on your feet during the back half of your offhand. With this ammo I felt confident to trust that any error was mine after each shot. There was no wondering about the ammo. I knew its feedback was accurate. That is a huge thing to be that confident in one’s gun and ammunition. I never felt that confident with HXP or even my handloads. If anything, I now know that even my ammo for the M1 Garand and M1903A3 will benefit from the same careful case preparation and assembly as my tactical rifle or long range ammo.
*At the Western CMP Games this Creedmoor .30-06 ammo was sold at a discounted price of $1.15 per round. That’s an example of the great deals one can get by attending CMP competitions.
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