May 10th, 2014
Here’s good news for varmint hunters. Hornady just announced that it is ramping up production of the 17 Hornet: “For those of you who love the 17 Hornet, we are manufacturing ammunition right now and you should see it back in stores soon!” The 17 Hornet is a fun, fast cartridge that is ideal for ground squirrels and other small varmints. It has light recoil similar to a 22 WMR, but with the ability to reach out to 300 yards and beyond. Since the 17 Hornet is a centerfire cartridge with reloadable brass, it can actually be more economical to shoot than the 17 HMR, provided you “roll your own”.
Speed Kills — 3650 FPS
17 Hornet — Trajectory Comparison
Based on the 22 Hornet cartridge case, the 17 Hornet can drive a 20-grain V-MAX bullet at 3,650 fps. At this velocity, the 17 Hornet can match the trajectory of a 55-grain .223 Remington load, but with much less noise and recoil. Take a look at the chart below. You can see that the 17 Hornet’s trajectory (blue line) is almost an identical match for the larger .223 Rem (red line) all the way out to 400 yards or so. The 17 Hornet is an economical, fun .17 caliber centerfire cartridge with way more “reach” than a 17 HRM or 22 WMR.
- 3,650 fps muzzle velocity with a 20 grain V-MAX bullet.
- Same C.O.L. as the 22 Hornet – uses the existing action.
- Trajectory comparable to a 55 grain 223 Rem, but the felt recoil of a 22 WMR.
- Lower cost and comparable quality to the 17 Fireball and .223 Remington.
Video Explains 17 Hornet Features and Performance
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May 9th, 2014
Lake City vs. Lapua — which brass is harder? And how about Remington vs. Winchester? Is the widely-held belief that Win brass is harder than Rem brass really true? To help settle these burning questions (raised in a Forum thread), Forum member Catshooter recently sampled the base hardness of four brands of .223/5.56 brass. He employed a very impressive tool for the task — a $2,500 Ames Hardness Gauge. Catshooter explained that his Ames Guage “is FAA certified and approved for testing aircraft engine parts — it does NOT get any better than that!”
Catshooter measured four cases picked at random from batches of Lake City (LC) 2008 (5.56x45mm), Lapua .223 Rem Match, Winchester .223 Rem, and Remington R-P .223 Rem.
Photo Shows Ames Gauge Base Hardness Measurement on Lake City Brass
Photo Show Ames Gauge Base Hardness Measurement on Winchester Brass
Using Rockwell hardness standards (.062″x100kg, Rockwell “B”), the brass measured as follows:
LC 2008 = 96
Lapua 223 Match = 86
Winchester 223 = 69
Remington “R-P” = 49
Summary of Test Results
Catshooter writes: “For all you guys that have believed that Winchester cases were tougher than Remington — you are vindicated, they are a lot tougher! However, Lake City and Lapua are ‘the pick of the litter’”. Catshooter notes that both Lake City and Lapua are significantly harder than either Winchester and Remington .223 brass. That’s something that we’ve observed empirically (Lapua and LC stand up better to stout loads), but now we have some hard numbers to back that up. Hats off to Catshooter for settling the hardness debate with his Ames Hardness Gauge.
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May 8th, 2014
Lapua’s Scenar-L bullets are extremely consistent in weight and dimensions. In our tests, the 6mm 105gr Scenar-L proved to be as uniform in weight and base-to-ogive length as any factory bullet we’ve ever measured. Scary consistent. Now there is a full line-up of Scenar-L bullets in .224, 6mm, 6.5 mm, 7mm, and .308 calibers. Yes, that’s right, Lapua now makes a 7mm match bullet. In fact, Lapua makes two: a 150-grainer and a big, high-BC, 180-grainer.
All these Scenar-L bullets are carried by Grafs.com. There are good supplies in most calibers, but the 7mm 180s (item LU4PL7401) are nearly sold out, and the 6mm 105-grainers are sold out. More of these popular 6mm and 7mm projectiles should arrive later this summer.
FREE HAT with Lapua Purchase
For a limited time, if you purchase Lapua bullets, brass, or loaded ammo from Grafs.com, you can get a FREE Lapua cap. NOTE: Quantities are limited, and this offer is restricted to one per customer.
In the above video, Peder Mørch Pedersen demonstrates the accuracy of Scenar-L bullets in a Blaser R8 GRS rifle chambered in 6mmBR Norma. Peder was shooting from bipod at 300 meters on a sunny day in Vingsted, Denmark.
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May 7th, 2014
Need .223 Rem ammo for your early summer varmint safari? Grafs.com has you covered. Over the past few months, Graf & Sons has acquired a large supply of .223 Rem ammo from a variety of manufacturers. Now Grafs.com has a great selection of .223 Rem ammo, with many items marked down on sale. You’ll find name-brand ammo for as little as $9.99 per 20-ct box (American Eagle 50gr JHP). If you prefer heavier bullets for longer-range shooting, check out the PRVI Partizan ammo loaded with 75gr HPBT match bullets — this is just $10.99 per per 20-ct box.
Here is just a sample of the .223 Rem ammo available at Grafs.com right now:
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May 3rd, 2014
Here’s a killer deal from Midsouth Shooters Supply. Get 1000 .224 bullets for $109.99. That’s just eleven bucks per hundred. This is a great buy for varmint shooters who go through thousands of rounds during a prairie dog outing. These 50gr bullets have black polymer tips for accuracy and good explosiveness on critters. As “overrun” production bullets these 50-grainers are priced way below regular retail. These will work great in a .223 Rem, 22-250, or even a little .221 Fireball. Run them in your bolt gun or AR-15. Grab these bullets now at this attractively low price. Quantities are limited.
Poly-Tip Bullets, 1000 count, $109.99. Midsouth SKU Item: 004-2255TIP1.
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May 1st, 2014
Need bullets? Check out the Blem Bullets Sale at Midsouth Shooters Supply. Quality bullets from a “big-name” manufacturer are now on sale at big savings. These bullets are priced 35% to 40% below normal retail levels. The “blem” bullets shoot fine but may have some cosmetic imperfections such as water spots or discoloration. Other bullets are marked down because there were production over-runs or packing errors.
Midsouth explains: “OEM Blem Bullets Are Back! These are overruns, cosmetically blemished and incorrectly packaged bullets from a major bullet manufacturer. Small blemishes mean big savings. As part of our agreement to sell these, we can not disclose the bullet manufacturer.”
Video Explains Blem Bullets Sale and Shows the Bullets:
If you want to take advantage of this special Midsouth sale, act quickly. Quantities are limited. Midsouth states: “Once these are gone, they are gone!”. Here are a few examples of the sale items — there are dozens of other bullets types on sale. CLICK HERE for List of Sale Bullets.
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April 30th, 2014
Alliant Techsystems (ATK or Alliant) is merging its aerospace/defense operations with Virginia-based Orbital Sciences. At the same time, ATK plans to spin off its sporting arms, ammo, and outdoor gear operations into a separate, stand-alone business. ATK sells sporting products under numerous brands including Alliant Powder, Blackhawk, Bushnell, CCI, Champion, Federal Premium, RCBS, Savage Arms, Speer, and Weaver Optics. The new Alliant sporting business will operate from Utah, while the merged Orbital-ATK aerospace business will be managed from Virginia.
According to the Washington Post: “The separation of ATK’s core segments gives it the opportunity to focus on its sporting goods sector, which has grown to a $2.2 billion business through several mergers and acquisitions over the past decade. The company manufactures commercial sporting equipment for hunters, shooters and law enforcement agencies.”
The announced merger of Alliant and Orbital, and the spin-off of the sporting business, should benefit Alliant shareholders. Alliant shares rose 8% yesterday. Alliant shareholders will own 53.8% of the new Orbital-ATK aerospace company, and Alliant shareholders will retain full ownership of the new spin-off sporting enterprise. Alliant’s current CEO and president, Mark DeYoung, will take over as chairman and CEO of the new sporting business.
Will the new Alliant Sporting operation continue to grow? Analysts believe that it will. Management has shown interest in building the company via more sporting industry acquisitions. Analysts believe the Alliant sporting division is poised for continued expansion. While Alliant’s aerospace operations have suffered in recent years from cuts in defense spending, the sporting division has seen impressive revenue growth.
According to StarTribune.com: “The sporting unit’s rocket-like growth has captured the attention of Wall Street analysts. Barclays Capital analyst Carter Copeland recently boosted his forecast on Alliant, noting that “over time … the sporting group has made a more significant portion of the total company’s sales and earnings. … The last seven quarters the business has posted average organic growth on a year-over-year basis of 23 percent.”
For those in the shooting community, the spin-off of ATK’s sporting operations is probably a good thing. The new company can focus on guns, ammo, and outdoor accessories, rather than aerospace programs with long development cycles. Likewise the new company should be more responsive to consumers, as it can adjust production to current market demands, rather than fixed government defense contracts. ATK officials stated that “the company’s Sporting and Aerospace/Defense businesses operate in two fundamentally different markets with very different operating dynamics, compliance requirements, customer sets and growth opportunities. As standalone companies, they will be more focused businesses, with clear and distinct strategic visions and objectives, additional operational flexibility and the financial strength to make the most of their unique opportunities in their respective industries.”
Under the terms of the transaction agreement, ATK will distribute ownership of Sporting to ATK shareholders in a spin-off transaction, following which, ATK shareholders will own 100 percent of Sporting. The spin-off will be immediately followed by a merger of Orbital with a subsidiary of ATK, with Orbital surviving the merger and becoming a wholly owned subsidiary of ATK. In connection with the merger, Orbital shareholders will receive 0.449 shares of ATK common stock for each share of Orbital common stock that they hold. Upon the closing of the merger, ATK shareholders will own approximately 53.8 percent of the combined company on a fully diluted basis and Orbital shareholders will own the remaining approximately 46.2 percent of the combined company on a fully diluted basis.
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April 23rd, 2014
Have you been struggling to find powder, primers, and .22 LR rimfire ammo? Well, now there’s a free web-based search service that can help you find what you need. The service costs nothing and you don’t have to sign up to run searches. We ran a quick search for .22 LR Ammo and found dozens of sources. We clicked the “in-stock only” option and ranked the results by price-per-round, low to high. Here’s what we found this morning — there were plenty of sources at $0.13-0.15 per round ($6.50-$7.50 per box), and Gander Mountain even had some Remington .22LR at $2.49 per box!
Click Box to ZOOM Image So You Can Read Results More Easily:
GunBot.net employs “search bots” to scour the internet for available inventories of ammo, powder, primers, brass and magazines. GunBot.net checks the inventories of over sixty retailers, including leading vendors AmmoMan, Bass Pro, Brownells, Cabelas, Cheaper Than Dirt, Grizzly, JG Sales, Dan Killough, Midsouth Shooters Supply, Midway USA, Powder Valley, Rainier Arms, Sinclair Int’l, Sportsman’s Guide,, Wholesale Hunter, and Wideners.
Results can be sorted by price or time (most recent results first). You can even get email alerts notifying you when the product you need is available. (To get alerts, you must first log-in and create an account with GunBot.net. There is no charge for this service.) GunBot.net’s search spiders work constantly, so results are normally very current. Pages auto-refresh when new “matching items” are found.
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April 19th, 2014
AccurateShooter Forum member Allan, aka “1066″, has improved the performance of his RCBS balance-beam scale with some simple hardware modifications. In addition, Allan has cleverly fitted an inexpensive video camera to one end of his scale. This camera outputs a signal to Allan’s laptop computer, giving Allan a magnified, “big-screen” view of the pointer tip of his scale. That lets Allan observe ultra-small movements of the beam. With the hardware upgrades and video display, Allan has crafted a system with usable sensitivity to a single grain of Varget powder.
Hardware “Mods” Enhance Scale Reliability and Sensitivity
To upgrade his scale, Allan first fabricated a new U-shaped pan suspension hanger on the end of the scale. This allowed the pan to center more reliably and consistently. Next Allan extended the pointer arm at the opposite end, and attached a very fine graduated vertical scale to provide a more precise visual read-out. This scale has marks corresponding to 0.1 grains (one-tenth of a grain).
To improve the function of the beam itself, Allan “cleaned-up” the knife edges on which the beam moves, and Allan also fabricated a simple “approach to weight” fixture (with foam cushion) that gives the beam a smoother transition as it nears max travel.
Inexpensive Video Camera Displays on Laptop Screen
Allan’s real genius was in fitting an inexpensive video camera to display a magnified image of the pointer at the end of the beam. Seeing the “big picture” really helps get the best precision from the scale. Allan acquired a cheap web-cam and attached it via a simple bracket to the RCBS scale. A USB cable delivers the video output to Allan’s laptop. Allan says the web-cam cost less than $20.00 on eBay and required no special software. It was a “plug and go” installation. With the video camera running, the onscreen image is “super-sized” so Allan can track the smallest movements of the pointer tip. You can see how the whole system works in the video below. To dispense powder, Allan uses a slick automated trickler, explained next.
TargetMaster Automatic trickler Uses “Electric-Eye” for Automatic Shut-off
The final element in Allan’s high-tech balance beam scale system is a Targetmaster automatic trickler. This unique UK-made trickler is very advanced. It has two components — a dispenser, and a remote sensor that “watches” the movement of the balance beam. Allan pushes a button to start the powder flowing. As the load in the pan approaches the correct weight, an electric eye senses the position of the balance beam. Once the beam “hits the mark” for a correct load, the remote sensor shuts off the trickler. It sounds complicated but it works perfectly.
TargetMaster Trickler Components and Operation
The TargetMaster automated Trickler is a pretty impressive piece of kit that can be adapted to a wide variety of balance beam scales. The components and functions of the TargetMaster automated trickler are shown in the video below, provided by the manufacturer in the UK. To learn more about this reloading accessory, visit TargetMasterUK.com.
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April 18th, 2014
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.”
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April 16th, 2014
Here’s a great video from German ammo-maker GECO (part of the Swiss RUAG group of companies). Employing advanced 3D rendering and computer graphics, this animation unveils the inside of a pistol cartridge, showing jacket, lead core, case, powder and primer. Next the video shows an X-ray view of ammo being loaded in a handgun, feeding from a magazine.
Then it really gets interesting. At 1:32 – 1:50 you’ll see the firing pin strike the primer cup, the primer’s hot jet streaming through the flash-hole, and the powder igniting. Finally you can see the bullet as it moves down the barrel and spins its way to a target. This is a very nicely-produced video. If you’ve ever wondered what happens inside a cartridge when you pull the trigger, this video shows all. They say “a picture’s worth a thousand words”… well a 3D video is even better.
For Best Viewing, Click Gear Symbol and Select HD Playback Mode
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April 14th, 2014
Here’s a new product from SIG SAUER — the company’s first-ever line of centerfire pistol ammo. If this stuff matches the quality of SIG’s firearms, then shooters should be very happy. Designed for personal defense, SIG SAUER Elite Performance Ammunition features a proprietary V-Crown™ stacked hollow point bullet for reliable expansion. The five introductory calibers and bullet weights are: 90gr .380 ACP, 124gr 9mm Luger, 125gr .357 SIG, 165gr .40 S&W, and 200gr .45 ACP. Instructors at the SIG SAUER Academy have fired tens of thousands of rounds in the development of this new ammo. And here’s more good news — SIG plans to bring out rifle ammunition in the near future.
“Every product SIG SAUER produces will have the same attributes for which our firearms are known around the world – reliability, accuracy, and unparalleled performance,” said Jeff Creamer, SIG SAUER director of product management. “We are excited to enter the ammunition market and will be adding additional bullet weights for pistols as well as rifle ammunition in the months ahead.”
Video Explains SIG SAUER Ammo Features
The proprietary SIG V-Crown stacked hollow point bullet features an additional smaller hollow point cavity behind the main cavity. This design, along with the V-shaped jacket skives, guarantees controlled, uniform expansion. Brass cases are Techni-crom® coated for enhanced lubricity, superior corrosion resistance, and reliable feeding and extraction. Elite Performance Ammunition is made in the USA. For more information, visit www.sigsauer.com/ammunition.
About SIG SAUER
SIG SAUER, Inc. is the largest member of a worldwide business group of firearms manufacturers that includes SIG SAUER GmbH & Co. KG in Germany and Swiss Arms AG in Switzerland. SIG SAUER is an ISO 9001: 2008 certified company with more than 1,000 employees. For more information on SIG SAUER and its products, visit www.sigsauer.com.
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