November 20th, 2017

Bargain Finder 113: AccurateShooter’s Deals of the Week

Accurateshooter Bargain Finder Deals of Week

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

1. MidwayUSA — Black Friday SALE Begins Monday 11/20/2017

Accurateshooter Bargain Finder Deals of Week MidwayUSA Black Friday Sale

MidwayUSA is kicking off its Black Friday Sale early. Midway says this is “our biggest sale of the year!”. We can confirm there are dozens of great bargains on quality products. There is also a Sweepstakes with over $1800.00 worth of gear. Hundreds of items are on sale. Here are some of the best MidwayUSA deals we spotted today:

Accurateshooter Bargain Finder Deals of Week MidwayUSA Black Friday Sale

2. EuroOptic.com — Vortex 13% Off & Gift Cards up to $250.00

Accurateshooter Bargain Finder Deals of Week EuroOptic.com Vortex Optics VTX13 Gift Card Black Friday Sale

EuroOptic.com is running a Super Sale on Vortex Optics. Now through December 1st, use promo code VTX13 to receive 13% off ALL Vortex Optics products at EuroOptic.com. Here’s the real incentive — qualifying Razor HD Gen II, Golden Eagle HD, PST, and HST Vortex riflescope purchase will earn you a EuroOptic Gift Card worth up to $250.00. Call today at 570-368-3920, for gift card details. Here are the models qualifying for Gift Card Specials:

Vortex Razor HD Gen II 3-18X and 4.5-27X — $250 Gift Card
Vortex Razor HD Gen II 1-6X and Golden Eagle HD — $100 Gift Card
Vortex Viper PST and Viper HST — $50 Gift Card

3. Whittaker Guns — Howa Lightning 6.5 Creedmoor Rifle, $329.99

With this deal you can get a complete 6.5 Creedmoor Howa 1500 Rifle with HACT 2-Stage Trigger for just $329.99. That’s $88.00 less than the price of a Howa 1500 barreled action by itself! ($418.00 at Brownells). This is a no-frills rifle, but its hard to beat the $329.99 price for a solid, multi-purpose rifle. Use “As-Is” for hunting or drop it into a modular stock for tactical/practical games.

4. Cabela’s — Nikon Laser RangeFinder Binoculars $200 Off

Accurateshooter Bargain Finder Deals of Week cabela's cabelas.com nikon laser rangefinder LRF binoculars

As part of its week-long Black Friday promotion, Cabela’s is offering big discounts on Nikon optics. One truly outstanding deal is the 10x42mm Nikon LaserForce rangefinder binoculars — the price has been slashed $200 from $1199.99 down to $999.99. Yes these highly-rated LRF binocs do sell elsewhere for around $1200. These Nikons offer performance rivaling expensive European rangefinding binoculars (Leica, Swarovski) for hundreds less. Clarity is excellent. Ranging ability is very good. Note: This $999.99 price is good for one week starting Wednesday, 11/22/2017. You have to wait until 11/22 to get the $999.99 price.

READ Field Test of Nikon LaserForce 10×42: “This is a truly remarkable hunting optic, especially when price is taken into consideration ($1199.95 MSRP). With a powerful, full-featured laser rangefinder married to an excellent quality binocular… LaserForce performance is on par with comparable units costing 2-3 times more.” — Tony Martins

5. Dick’s Sporting Goods — Black Friday Gun Safe Sale

Black Friday Gun Safe Deal Dicks sporting goods

Need a Gun Safe? Head down to Dick’s Sporting Goods on Black Friday (11/24/2017). The giant, 64-gun Stack-On Sentinel vault will be marked down from $1499.99 to $699.98, a $800 savings, and a killer deal on a BIG vault! A medium-sized 24-gun safe will sell for just $399.98 — $300 off the regular price. NOTE, if you cannot wait until Black Friday, you can still save with pre-Black Friday sale pricing right now. You’ll pay more than on Black Friday, but there are still some significant savings. For example, right now you can get the Field & Stream Pro 36-gun safe for $699.98, marked down from $899.99. NOTE: The illustrated Sale prices are for BLACK FRIDAY ONLY, 11/24/17.

6. Cabelas.com — Sig Kilo 2200 RangeFinder $349.99

Sig Sauer Kilo 200 Laser Rangefinder LRF Black Friday Cabelas

This Sig Sauer Kilo 2200 is a very good laser rangefinder that performs as well as some other brands costing nearly twice as much. You’ll get performance on par with a Zeiss Victory or Leica CRF for hundreds less. User reports on the Sig Kilo LRF have been very positive. The $349.99 Sale Price is a great deal.

7. Midsouth — Hornady Auto Charge Dispenser, $148.99

Accurateshooter Bargain Finder Deals of Week

As a pre-Black Friday promotion, Midsouth Shooters Supply is discounting the Hornady Auto Charge electronic Scale/Dispenser down to $148.99. The Auto Charge is accurate to 0.1 grains of powder and can hold up to 1000 grains of powder in its hopper. As a bonus, if you purchase this Auto Charge this week, Midsouth will provide FREE Shipping on your entire order — including any other items you might buy (HazMat charges extra).

8. Amazon — MTM AC4C Ammo Crate with 4 Ammo Boxes

MTM Ammo Carrier Crate Box

Here’s a very cool product from MTM at a great price. The versatile MTM AC4C Ammo Carrier features four, lockable polymer ammo cans in a fitted, four-slot 23.5” x 11.3” x 7.5” carry crate. This makes it easy to haul four full ammo cans. Actual purchasers have raved: “Moments after I received this storage box set I ordered another. Very well built and great design. Awesome and a steal at the price.” Right now this is on sale at Amazon for just $29.99 with free prime shipping. The system includes four lockable, O-Ring 11.3″ x 7.2″ x 5″ ammo cans (AC30T) for multi-caliber ammo storage. The crate even includes tie-down points for transport in a cart or ATV. NOTE: Earlier this summer this MTM AC4C system sold for $39.99. The current $29.99 price represents a 25% savings! See price chart below.

9. Brownells — Federal .45 ACP 1000 Rounds $224.50 with Rebate

Accurateshooter Bargain Finder Deals of Week Rebate Federal American Eagle .45 ACP

We love to shoot .45 ACP, but it is expensive to reload compared to smaller calibers. Here’s a great deal for .45 ACP fans. Brownells is selling 1000 rounds of brass-cased Federal American Eagle .45 ACP for $299.80, or just $224.85 after manufacturer’s rebate. NOTE: This Federal 25% Off Rebate applies to other American Eagle brass-cased pistol ammo carried by Brownells including: 25 ACP, 32 ACP, .380 ACP, .38 SPL, .357 Magnum, 9mm Luger, and .40 S&W. American Eagle ammo is reliable and the brass is reloadable. SEE All Rebate-Eligible Ammo.

Permalink Bullets, Brass, Ammo, Hot Deals, Optics, Reloading 3 Comments »
November 20th, 2017

Glen Zediker Offers Smart Advice on Priming

Primer Forster Co-ax priming tool
The anvil is the tripod-shaped thin metal piece protruding above the bottom of the primer cup. Getting the primer sitting fully flush on the bottom of the case primer pocket, without crunching it too much, requires some keen feel for the progress of primer seating.

top grade ammo book Glen ZedikerIn two recent Midsouth Blog articles, Glen Zediker offers helpful advice on priming. First he examines what happens to the primer itself as it is seated in the cup. Glen explains why some “crush” is important, and why you never want to leave a high primer. Glen also reviews a variety of priming tools, including his favorite — the Forster Co-Ax Bench Primer Seater. Then he offers some key safety tips. Glen provides some “rock-solid” advice about the priming operation. You’ll find more great reloading tips in Glen’s newest book, Top-Grade Ammo, which we recommend.

Priming Precision vs. Speed
Glen writes: “The better priming tools have less leverage. That is so we can feel the progress of that relatively very small span of depth between start and finish. There is also a balance between precision and speed in tool choices, as there so often is.”

Benchtop Priming Tools — The Forster Co-Ax
Glen thinks that the best choice among priming options, considering both “feel” and productivity, may be the benchtop stand-alone priming stations: “They are faster than hand tools, and can be had with more or less leverage engineered into them. I like the one shown below the best because its feeding is reliable and its feel is more than good enough to do a ‘perfect’ primer seat. It’s the best balance I’ve found between speed and precision.”

Primer Forster Co-ax priming tool

Primer Forster Co-ax priming tool

Load Tuning and Primers
Glen cautions that you should always reduce your load when you switch to a new, not-yet-tested primer type: “The primer is, in my experience, the greatest variable that can change the performance of a load combination, which is mostly to say ‘pressure’. Never (never ever) switch primer brands without backing off the propellant charge and proving to yourself how far to take it back up, or to even back it off more. I back off one full grain of propellant [when I] try a different primer brand.”

Primer Forster Co-ax priming tool

Priming Safety Tips by Zediker

1. Get a good primer “flip” tray for use in filling the feeding magazine tubes associated with some systems. Make double-damn sure each primer is fed right side up (or down, depending on your perspective). A common cause of unintentional detonation is attempting to overfill a stuffed feeding tube magazine, so count and watch your progress.

2. Don’t attempt to seat a high primer more deeply on a finished round. The pressure needed to overcome the inertia to re-initiate movement may be enough to detonate it.

3. Don’t punch out a live primer! That can result in an impressive fright. To kill a primer, squirt or spray a little light oil into its open end. That renders the compound inert.

4. Keep the priming tool cup clean. That’s the little piece that the primer sits down into. Any little shard of brass can become a firing pin! It’s happened!

These Tips on Priming come from Glen’s newest book, Top-Grade Ammo, available at Midsouth Shooters Supply. CLICK HERE to learn more about this and other publications from Zediker Publishing.

Permalink Bullets, Brass, Ammo, Reloading, Tech Tip 1 Comment »
November 17th, 2017

6.5 Grendel Reloading Data From Sierra Bullets

6.5 Grendel load data Sierra Bullets

CLICK HERE for Sierra Bullets 6.5 Grendel LOAD DATA PDF »

Sierra Bullets has just released load data for the 6.5 Grendel, a popular cartridge that works equally well in bolt guns and AR15-platform gas guns. Sierra published comprehensive 6.5 Grendel load data, covering 19 powders and eight (8) different bullets from 85 to 130 grains. NOTE: Hornady-brand brass (see below) was used for Sierra’s 6.5 Grendel tests, not the stronger Lapua 6.5 Grendel brass. Hand-loaders using Lapua 6.5 Grendel brass may need to adjust their loads. Also Winchester WSR primers were used. We imagine most precision hand-loaders will prefer CCI or Federal primers.

Sierra Bullets Tested for 6.5 Grendel Load Data
85gr HP (#1700)
100gr HP (#1710)
107gr HPBT (#1715)
120gr Spitzer (#1720)
120gr HPBT (#1725)
123gr HPBT (#1727)
130gr HPBT (#1728)
130gr TMK (# 7430)

In developing its 6.5 Grendel load data, Sierra tested a very wide selection of propellants, 19 in all. For the 85gr to 100gr varmint bullets, modern powders such as XMR 2230, Power Pro Varmint, and Ramshot TAC offered the best velocity in the 24″ test barrel. For the heavier 120gr to 130gr match bullets, Sierra tested a selection of powders. Highest velocities came with Power Pro Varmint and TAC. If you’re looking for best accuracy, consider the slower burn-rate powders such as IMR 8208 XBR and Varget — but you’ll sacrifice some speed. Overall, Sierra’s latest 6.5 Grendel load data is an excellent addition to the 6.5 Grendel knowledge base. Thanks Sierra!

Here are Sierra’s 6.5 Grendel Load Data Charts for Sierra’s 123gr HPBT, 130gr HPBT, and 130gr TMK. There are a five other tables for lighter-weight Sierra bullets.

6.5 Grendel load data Sierra Bullets

6.5 Grendel load data Sierra Bullets

6.5 Grendel load data Sierra Bullets

History of the 6.5 Grendel Cartridge
The 6.5 Grendel originated as a 6mm PPC necked up to 6.5 mm. After Alexander Arms relinquished the “6.5 Grendel” Trademark, the 6.5 Grendel was standardized as an official SAAMI cartridge. It has become popular with target shooters and hunters alike because it is accurate, efficient, and offers modest recoil. Good for small to medium game, the 6.5 Grendel is becoming a popular chambering in lightweight hunting rifles, such as the Howa 1500 Youth Model. It is one of the most accurate cartridges you can shoot in the AR-15 platform.

6.5 Grendel Saami Hornady Brass

CLICK HERE for 6.5 Grendel Cartridge History (Wikipedia entry).

Sierra Bullets Load Data 6mm Creedmoor reloading tips

Permalink Bullets, Brass, Ammo, Reloading 4 Comments »
November 16th, 2017

The Custom-Honed Full-Length Die — Why You May Want One

Honed FL Forster Whidden Full-length dies
For some applications, we prefer a non-bushing FL die over a bushing die. Shown here are three Forster full-length sizing dies, with necks honed to three different dimensions: 0.265″, 0.266″, and 0.267″.

The Honed Full-Length Sizing Die Option

There are many good options in full-length (FL) sizing dies. Most precision hand-loaders prefer FL dies with neck bushings. These let you adjust the “grip” on your bullet by using larger or smaller bushings. FL bushing dies are available from Whidden Gunworks, Forster, Redding and other makers.

Conventional, non-bushing full-length sizing dies can create ultra-accurate ammo with very low run-out. But many conventional non-bushing FL dies have an undersized neck diameter so you end up with excess neck tension, and you work the brass excessively.

There is another effective option, one that promises extremely low run-out. The honed FL die is a full-length sizing die that has the necked honed to provide a precise fit to the case-neck. When done right, honed FL dies produce extremely straight ammo — as there are no issues with bushing alignment (or bushings that are not perfectly concentric). This Editor owns honed dies from Forster, Redding, and Whidden. They all perform extremely well, delivering match ammunition with extremely low run-out measured with a 21st Century Concentricity Gauge.

In one of the most popular articles we’ve ever published, Bugholes from Bipod, California shooter “Froggy” explained why he prefers honed dies for his tactical ammo.

Q: Do you FL size every time? Do you use custom dies?

Absolutely, I full length resize all of my brass every time I reload. And guess what? I’ve never had a feeding problem.

I do use a modified sizing die, without bushings. My FL resizing die has been custom-honed in the neck area to give .0015″ press fit on the bullet. I also put a slightly larger radius at the neck shoulder junction. I feel that this helps to seal the chamber. With this die, I get consistent neck tension every time–without bushings. Bushings are useful when you’re fishing around for a good load. But once you find the right amount of sizing for ideal neck tension, you can do this better with a customized FL die.

6.5 Guys Review Forster Honed Full-length Dies
The 6.5 Guys recently reviewed honed FL sizing dies from Forster, explaining the pros and cons of this type of reloading die. They explained that, if you load a wide variety of bullets from different manufacturers, you many want to stick with a Bushing FL die. However, if you have settled on a particular bullet and found the “ideal” neck tension, then a honed die may make sense.

In this Gear Update, the 6.5 Guys discuss a service offered by Forster Products to custom hone the neck diameter of its full-length sizing dies to the customer’s specifications (to the thousandth). Whidden Gunworks also offers custom-honed FL dies.

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November 16th, 2017

Incipient Case-Head Separation — How to Detect the Problem

cartridge case separation

We are re-publishing this article at the request of Forum members who found the information very valuable. If you haven’t read this Safety Tip before, take a moment to learn how you can inspect your fired brass to determine if there may be a potential for case separation. A case separation can be dangerous, potentially causing serious injury.

cartridge case separationOn the respected Riflemans’ Journal blog there was an excellent article about Cartridge Case-Head Separation. In this important article, Journal Editor GS Arizona examined the causes of this serious problem and explained the ways you can inspect your brass to minimize the risk of a case-head separation. As cases get fired multiple times and then resized during reloading, the cases can stretch. Typically, there is a point in the lower section of the case where the case-walls thin out. This is your “danger zone” and you need to watch for tell-tale signs of weakening.

The photo below shows a case sectioned so that you can see where the case wall becomes thinner near the web. You can see a little arrow into the soot inside the case pointing to the thinned area. This case hadn’t split yet, but it most likely would do so after one or two more firings.

cartridge case separation

Paper Clip Hack for Detecting Problems
The article provided a great, easy tip for detecting potential problems. You can use a bent paper clip to detect potential case wall problems. Slide the paper clip inside your case to check for thin spots. GS Arizona explains: “This simple little tool (bent paper clip) will let you check the inside of cases before you reload them. The thin spot will be immediately apparent as you run the clip up the inside of the case. If you’re seeing a shiny line on the outside and the clip is really hitting a thin spot inside, it’s time to retire the case. If you do this every time you reload, on at least 15% of your cases, you’ll develop a good feel for what the thin spot feels like and how it gets worse as the case is reloaded more times. And if you’re loading the night before a match and feel pressured for time — don’t skip this step!”

Permalink Bullets, Brass, Ammo, Reloading 1 Comment »
November 14th, 2017

6mm Creedmoor Reloading Data From Sierra Bullets

6mm Creedmoor 6.5 Creedmoor load data Sierra Bullets

CLICK HERE for Sierra Bullets 6mm Creedmoor LOAD DATA PDF »

Sierra Bullets has recently released load data for the 6mm Creedmoor cartridge, a necked-down version of the 6.5 Creedmoor, a popular PRS, tactical, and hunting cartridge. Sierra has released very comprehensive 6mm Creedmoor load data, covering fifteen (15) different bullets from 55 to 110 grains. NOTE: Hornady-brand brass was used for Sierra’s 6mm Creedmoor load tests, not the newer, stronger Lapua 6.5 CM brass with small primer pockets. Hand-loaders using Lapua 6.5 Creedmoor brass necked to 6mm may have to adjust their loads.

Sierra writes: “As soon as the 6.5 Creedmoor was released in 2007, a 6mm version was being envisioned. After the 6mm Creedmoor demonstrated its worth at 1000 yards it began to catch the attention of Precision Rifle Series (PRS) competitors. The 6mm/6.5 Creedmoor is a great fit for those looking for an AR platform-friendly cartridge. It delivers velocities very similar to the .243 Win and yet fits the AR10 magazine length[.] The 30-degree shoulder makes this a very efficient case and helps prolong case life as well. The 6mm/6.5 Creedmoor works well with powders such as H4350, RE-17, and Ramshot Hunter for heavier long-range bullet weights. Slightly faster powders such as RE-15, Win 760, and Vihtavuori N540 work well with lighter weight bullets.”

Sierra Bullets Tested for 6mm Creedmoor Load Data
55gr BlitzKing (#1502)
60gr HP (#1500)
70gr HPBT (#1505)
70gr BlitzKing (#1507)
75gr HP (#1510)
80gr SBT (#1515)
85gr Spitzer (#1520)
85gr HPBT (#1530)
90gr FMJBT (#1535)
95gr HPBT (#1537)
95gr TMK (#7295)
100gr Spitzer (#1540)
100gr SBT (#1560)
107gr HPBT (#1570)
110gr HPBT (#1575)

In developing its 6mm Creedmoor load data, Sierra tested a very wide selection of propellants, two dozen overall. For the smaller bullets, fast-burning powders such as Benchmark, H4895, and CFE223 were tested. For the heavier 100+ grain bullets, Sierra tested a selection of medium-burn-rate powders including H4350, Reloder 16, Reloder 17, Varget, and Superformance. Sierra did a very thorough job. We know this information will be welcomed by 6mm Creedmoor shooters.

Don’t know what powder to try first? For the 107-110 grain bullets, if you want best accuracy and low ES/SD, our Forum members recommend Alliant Reloder 16 and Hodgdon H4350. If you are seeking max velocity with the 110-grainer, look at Hodgdon Superformance and Reloder 19.

Here are Sierra’s 6mm Creedmoor Load Data Charts for the 107gr MK and 110gr MK. There are a half-dozen other tables for lighter-weight bullets.

6mm Creedmoor 6.5 Creedmoor load data Sierra Bullets

6mm Creedmoor 6.5 Creedmoor load data Sierra Bullets

6mm Creedmoor 6.5 Creedmoor load data Sierra Bullets

Sierra Bullets Load Data 6mm Creedmoor reloading tips

Permalink Bullets, Brass, Ammo, Reloading, Tactical No Comments »
November 12th, 2017

IMR Enduron 8133 — New Slow-Burn-Rate Magnum Powder

IMR Enduron Powders 8133 4955 4451 4166 7977

IMR, a Hodgdon Powder Company brand, will soon release a new, slow-burn-rate magnum powder, IMR Enduron® 8133. This new powder is designed for large, magnum cartridges, such as .300 Win Magnum, .300 Remington Ultra Magnum, and 28 Nosler, among others. With the slowest burn rate among Enduron powders, 8133 has burn properties similar to Hodgdon Retumbo. The new Enduron 8133 powder will be available in 1-lb and 8-lb canisters starting in February 2018. Load Data for this new powder is already listed on the Hodgdon Reloading Data Center.

CLICK HERE for IMR Enduron 8133 Reloading Data »

IMR® Legendary Powders now offers five (5) Enduron powders: IMR 4166, IMR 4451, IMR 4955, IMR 7977, and IMR 8133. “It was always our intent to fill out the Enduron line with a magnum powder and we could not be happier with how 8133 performed in development and testing,” says Ron Reiber, Hodgdon ballistician. “This powder delivers the [slow burn rate] magnum-caliber reloaders require and adds all of the performance characteristics of the Enduron line of powders”. These qualities include temp stability, significantly reduced copper fouling, and optimal load density.

Modern Powder Technology for Enhanced Performance

IMR Enduron Powders 4955 4451 4166 7977

Copper fouling reduction – these powders contain an additive that drastically reduces copper fouling in the gun barrel. Copper fouling should be minimal, allowing shooters to spend more time shooting and less time cleaning a rifle to retain accuracy.

Temperature change stability – the Enduron line is insensitive to temperature changes. Whether a rifle is sighted in during the heat of summer, hunted in a November snowstorm or hunting multiple locations with drastic temperature swings, point of impact with ammunition loaded with Enduron technology will be very consistent.

Optimal load density - Enduron powders provide optimal load density, assisting in maintaining low standard deviations in velocity and pressure, a key feature for top accuracy.

Environmentally friendly - Enduron technology is environmentally friendly, crafted using raw materials that are not harmful to the environment.

The Enduron Line-Up of Five Powders

IMR now offers FIVE Enduron powders that cover a broad range of burn rates. They are suitable for a wide variety of cartridges, from small varmint cartridges all the way up to the .338 Lapua Magnum.

IMR Enduron Powders

IMR 4166 possesses the fastest burn rate in the Enduron lineup. It is the perfect burn speed for cartridges such as .308 Win, 7.62mm NATO, 22-250 Rem and 257 Roberts. A versatile, match-grade propellant, IMR 4166 is comparable to Hodgdon® Varget.

IMR 4451 is a mid-range burn speed powder, ideally suited for cartridges such as .270 Winchester, .30-06 and 300 Winchester Short Magnum. This powder is comparable to Hodgdon H4350.

IMR 4955 is a medium burn speed powder, falling in between IMR 4451 and IMR 7977 in burn speed. It provides top performance in big game cartridges such as 25-06, 280 Remington and 300 Winchester Magnum. This powder is comparable to Hodgdon H4831.

IMR 7977 has the second slowest burn rate among the Enduron Technology powders. It yields great performance in .300 Winchester Magnum, 7MM Remington Magnum, and .338 Lapua Magnum. IMR 7977 is comparable to Hodgdon H1000.

IMR 8133 is designed specifically for magnum calibers, such as .300 Remington Ultra Magnum, 28 Nosler, or the .264 Winchester Magnum, among many others. This new powder has the slowest burn rate among the Enduron powders and compares in burn rate to Hodgdon Retumbo.

Permalink Bullets, Brass, Ammo, Reloading 1 Comment »
November 12th, 2017

Primer Pocket Gauge — Cool Tool Checks for Loose Pockets

Repeated firings at stout pressures can cause primer pockets to grow in diameter. This can create an unsafe condition if your primers are not seating properly. Are your primer pockets “good to go”, or have they been pushed to the point of no return? Do you really know? Many guys try to gauge primer pocket tightness by “feel”, as they seat the primer. But that method isn’t precise. Now there’s a better way…

Primer depth diameter gauge brass cartridgeThe folks at Ballistictools.com have created a handy set of precision-machined gauges that let you quickly and accurately check your primer pockets. These gauges are offered in two sizes — for large and small primer pockets. A two-piece set of both large and small gauges costs just $19.99. These gauges let you quickly measure the depth of a primer pocket, and check if the crimp has been removed properly. Most importantly, the gauge tells you if the primer pocket has opened up too much. One side of the gauge has an enlarged diameter plug. If that “No-Go” side fits in the primer pocket, you should ditch the case — it’s toast.

Primer depth diameter gauge brass cartridge
CLICK HERE to order Primer Pocket Gauge Set from Ballistictools.com.

Precision ground from O-1 tool steel, these primer pocket gauges serve multiple functions. The inventor of these tools explains:

I created the prototype of this tool for my own use in brass processing. I needed a way to quickly and easily measure primer pockets that was reliable and did not require wasting a primer. This tool has been indispensable for me and I would never go back to the old method of uncertainty and guessing.

One side of this gauge is the “go” side which quickly tells you the depth of a primer pocket, whether any crimp is properly removed, and whether the primer pocket is loose. If it feels loose on the “go” side, use the other end of the tool, the “no go” side, to test to see if the primer pocket is too loose to hold a primer. If the no-go slides into the pocket, then you know to junk that brass.

Product tip from Boyd Allen. We welcome reader submissions.
Permalink New Product, Reloading 5 Comments »
November 5th, 2017

Free Plans for Heavy-Duty Reloading Bench

Reloading Bench Plans NRA American Rifleman

A while back, the American Rifleman magazine published an excellent article showing how to construct a rock-solid Reloading Bench. This bench is very well-designed, with many deluxe features, such as an upper drawer with fitted slots for die boxes, and large lower drawers with 100-lb rated slides to store heavy materials or tools. If you have good wood-working skills this would be an excellent project. You can download a detailed set of Bench Blueprints showing all dimensions and listing all needed materials.

CLICK HERE to Download Article with Photos | CLICK HERE for Bench Blueprints

The author, Dave Campbell, offers good advice on building the bench top: “I ripped a sheet of 3/4″ AC plywood into two 24″ wide pieces and cut them to 72″ long. Then I glued them together to form a 72″ long, 1 1/24″ thick top. The trick here is to keep the edges smooth and flat so that the laminate will adhere properly and without voids. I chose a light grey laminate finish for the top because it’s easier to see what I am working on and keep clean. If you have never worked with laminate, remember it’s prudent to glue and rout the edges flush before gluing on the top. The top was attached to the carcass with eight steel L-shaped angle brackets and No. 10×1 1/4″ wood screws.”

Photos Copyright © 2008 The National Rifle Association, used by permission

Permalink Reloading, Tech Tip No Comments »
November 1st, 2017

Long Range Load Development for F-Class

7mm F-Class long range load development Mark Walker Sierra Bullets

This article was written in 2014 for the Sierra Bullets Blog. It describes one method of load development that is commonly used. There are other methods that can work also. Some guys first isolate seating depth and then fine-tune velocity with charge weights. Other guys may aim for a known velocity node (speed range) and then optimize accuracy by adjusting seating depth. Still others look for smallest ES and tightest vertical to minimize 1000-yard vertical dispersion. There are many ways to skin a cat. Different rifles (and even different barrels) can demand different styles of load development.

In this instance the writer achieved desired results seating his bullets .007″ back from max “jam” length. For other applications (and other barrels) you may get the best, most consistent results seating off the rifling by .020″ or more. In disciplines with quick-fire such as PRS, it may be wise to develop loads that “jump” the bullet.

F-Class Long Range Load Development Methodology

by Mark Walker, Sierra Bullets Product Development Manager
Since I just put a new barrel on my F-class rifle… I figured it might be a good time to discuss load tuning for long range shooting. Getting the most accuracy out of your rifle is one of the most important aspects of load tuning. For long range shooting in particular, using a load that produces the least amount of vertical variation is vital. There are several steps to the process that I use, so I will go through the basics of each.

When I first get a new barrel installed, I like to determine what the loaded cartridge “jam” length is. I do this by taking an empty case (no powder or primer) that has been neck sized with the proper bushing (I like to shoot for 0.002 smaller than the loaded cartridge neck diameter) and seat a bullet long in it so that the throat of the rifle will move the bullet back into the case when I close the bolt. I close the bolt several times until the bullet stops moving back into the case at which point I use a comparator with my calipers and get a length measurement on the cartridge. This is what I consider to be the “jam length” for this barrel and chamber. I came up with 3.477″ as the “jam length” for this particular barrel. [Editor: In this instance, Mark is using “Jam length” to mean max seating depth he can achieve without bullet set-back.]

Next, I will fire-form some brass using a starting load of powder and bullets seated to “jam” while breaking in the barrel. My barrel break in process is not very technical; it’s mostly just to get the brass formed and the rifle sighted in. I do clean every 5 rounds or so just because I feel like I have to.

Once I have the brass formed, I use them to load for a “ladder test” to see what powder charge the rifle likes. With a ladder test, you take your starting load and load one round each with a slightly increasing amount of powder until you reach your max load for that cartridge. You then fire each round using the same aiming point to see where the bullets start to form a group. For this barrel and cartridge, I started at 53.3 grains of H4831SC powder and increased the load by 0.3 grains until I reached 55.7 grains. I always seat my bullets to “jam” when doing a ladder test. We will determine the final seating depth in another test later. It’s usually best to shoot this test at a minimum of 200 yards because at closer ranges the bullets will impact too close together making it hard to determine which load works best. I shot this test at 300 yards.

7mm F-Class long range load development Mark Walker Sierra Bullets

As you can see from the target, the lightest load #1 had the lowest velocity and impacted lowest on the target. Shots #2 and #3 were a little higher and in the same hole. Shots #4 thru #6 were slightly higher yet and all had the same elevation. Shots #7 and #8 were the highest on the target however pressure signs were starting to show. For some reason shot #9 went back into the group and the chronograph didn’t get a reading so I ignored that shot.

When picking a load, I am looking for the most shots at the same vertical location on the target. As you can see that would be shots #4 through #6 so I would pick a powder charge from those shots which would be 54.2 grains to 54.8 grains. As a side note, shots #2 and #3 are only 0.851 lower so I wouldn’t be afraid of using one of those loads either. I settled on 54.5 grains as the load I wanted to use. It’s right in the middle of the group so if the velocity goes up or down slightly, the bullet should still hit in the same place on the target.

Now that we’ve settled on a powder charge, I want to find the seating depth the rifle likes. I usually start at jam length and [shorten the COAL] in 0.003 increments until I get to 0.015 deeper than jam. [Editor: By this he means he is seating the BULLET deeper in the case, NOT deeper into the lands. He ended up at .007″ shorter than his hard jam length of 3.477″.]

I load 3 rounds at each depth using the 54.5 grain powder charge and shoot a group with each depth at 150 yards. As you can see from the target, the first two groups are not good at all. Next one looks good and is the smallest group on the target. The next three are not quite as small but the vertical location on the target is almost the same which indicates a sweet spot which will help keep the vertical stringing to a minimum on target. I went with 3.470″ which is right in the middle once again and should give some flexibility with the seating depth.

7mm F-Class long range load development Mark Walker Sierra Bullets

So after all of that, my load is 54.5 grains of H4831SC and a cartridge length of 3.470. I plan on loading up enough ammo to shoot five groups of five shots and see exactly how this load works on target as well as what the extreme velocity spreads are over several groups.

I sincerely hope some of this information helps you to get the best accuracy out of your rifle. I do not take credit for coming up with any of this, a whole lot of good shooters use this same method or a variant of it when working up their loads.

For more information about load development, please contact the Sierra Bullets technical support team at 1-800-223-8799 or by email at sierra [at] sierrabullets.com.

Disclaimer: Load data represented here may not be safe in your rifle. Always start low and work up, watching for pressure signs.

Permalink Bullets, Brass, Ammo, Reloading, Tech Tip 4 Comments »
October 31st, 2017

Case-Trimming 101: Tips from PMA Tool

Wilson Micrometer Case Trimmer

The folks at PMA Tool, makers of arbor presses, neck-turning tools, and other case-prep tools, offered some good advice about case trimming on the PMA Tool Website. Here we reprint a PMA article that explains case trimming basics and helps you choose the right case-trimming tool for your needs.

Case Trimming Basics
Trimming the cartridge case to the proper length is a crucial step in case preparation that should not be overlooked or underestimated. The cartridge case or the rifle can be damaged, or even worse you get badly injured. In most instances cases should be trimmed after firing and sizing. Trimming new brass is necessary for a lot of wildcats and can be beneficial in some instances, but by and large, trimming new brass is not necessary for most situations (unless you are neck-turning). Cases should be trimmed after you have sized the case, because the expander ball on the decapping pin can (and will) stretch the neck. Those of us who neck size should get into the habit of trimming after sizing as well. This is a good rule of thumb to go by, and hopefully it will keep you safe during the reloading and shooting process.

Forster Case Trimmer

There are so many case trimmers out there that work, deciding which one is right for you can be confusing. Even though I have trimmed thousands of cases, using about every method possible, I can’t answer the question of what case trimmer is right for you because of all the variables that may be involved. I can, however shed some light on the subject.

The two most popular designs of trimmers either index (1) off the base or the head of the case, (2) off the shoulder or datum line of the case. There are pros and cons to each and it all depends on what you are willing to live with.

Indexing off the Base (Case Head)
Let’s talk about the first one I have listed, indexing off the base, or the head of the case. The pros to this method are that you can achieve a very accurate over all length and that is after all, what it is all about. The cons to this method are that you can get some variation doing it this way. Let me explain, the base is not always square to the body or can be damaged during firing especially if it is fired through a military style rifle with a very aggressive ejector. These cases should be discarded, but sometimes they can be overlooked. This condition can lead to an over all length that is incorrect. The case head being out of square will be corrected upon firing, however that case will wind up being shorter than the rest of your cases, possibly creating a difference in the neck tension on the bullet. The more you can do to eliminate variables in your reloads the better off you are going to be. This method can also be very slow, and if the user gets careless the result will be a inconsistent over all length.

Little Crow WFT

Indexing off the Shoulder (Datum Line)
The second method I mentioned, trimming off the shoulder or the datum line of the case, has its pros as well. I have found this to be the quickest of the methods and very accurate as well. After the case has been sized through the die the dimensions (particularly the headspace) of the cases are usually very uniform and exact, this allows the case to be trimmed by indexing off the shoulder. This method can be done very quickly, by hand, or by powering either the case, or the trimmer. You also don’t have to worry about the case heads being out of square with the body using this method. Generally the trimming time is cut in half, and this leads to greater focus on the job, without becoming careless. [Editor’s Note: The World’s Finest Trimmer (WFT) is one power device that indexes off the shoulder datum. It works fast and is very precise. The updated WFT 2 Model and WFT Big Boy feature interchangeable trim chambers to work with multiple cartridge types.]

Summary
The choice is yours to make. I hope that this was some help to you, whether you are looking for your first trimmer or looking to replace the trimmer you have. Just remember to always put safety first and accuracy second, and you will start making little bug holes in no time.

Story Tip by EdLongrange. User Submissions are welcome.
Permalink Reloading, Tech Tip 3 Comments »
October 27th, 2017

New Hornady Reloading Products for 2018

hornady reloading tools 2018

With its 2018 product roll-out, Hornady has introduced two new reloading products that look promising. There is a new modular, vibratory powder trickler, plus a new rotary tumbler for wet-tumbling brass.

New Cordless Vibratory Powder Trickler:

hornady reloading tools 2018

Hornady’s new modular Vibratory Trickler, powered by two AAA batteries, features variable settings to trickle all kinds of powders. The clever modular design allow you to separate the actual trickler dispensing unit from the base (a cord connects base to trickler). That lets you position the trickler next to your scale with the separate control unit convenient to your hand. This also makes cleanup more easy.

    Product Features:

  • Trickles all powders
  • Light-up LED screen
  • High, low, and variable trickle settings
  • Use in base or outside of base
  • No-slip base, weighted for stability

New Hornady Rotary Case Tumbler

hornady reloading tools 2018

Hornady’s new, large-capacity rotary tumbler can be used to wet-tumble cartridge brass. This will clean and polish brass inside and out quickly when used with the included steel pin tumbling media. The large, six-liter drum holds five pounds of brass cases. Set tumbler to run for up to eight hours in half-hour increments using the digital timer. This new rotary tumbler is designed to be used with Hornady One Shot Sonic Clean Solution.

Note: we do recommend you test with your brass to ensure the steel pin media does not jam in flash holes. And always inspect each case after the tumbling cycle.

See other new Hornady reloading products at https://www.hornady.com/new-products/reloading.

Permalink New Product, News, Reloading 1 Comment »
October 26th, 2017

Quick Tip: Mirror & Magnifier for Beam Scales

Beam Scale hack Magnify Magnifier Mirror RCBS 10-10 Scale

Here’s a simple modification that makes your classic beam balance more user-friendly. For a few dollars you can enhance your balance scale system to improve work-flow and reduce eye strain. This clever modification makes it easier to see the balance’s zero-mark center-line when weighing charges.

When he chooses to measure his loads or sort bullets by weight, Forum Member Boyd Allen likes his trusty RCBS 10-10 scale. He finds that it works predictably, time after time, and it doesn’t suffer from the drift and calibration issues that plague some of the less-expensive electronic scales on the market.

To make it easier to see the balance point, Boyd has adapted a magnifying glass with a mirror. This makes the end of his balance beam easier to view from his normal position on the bench. Boyd explains: “This set-up uses a cheap magnifier with positioning arms that was probably designed to hold and magnify small objects while soldering them. I think that it came from Harbor Freight many years ago. The mirror lets you look at the scale as if is was at eye level, and of course the magnifier makes the image easier to see.”

Permalink Reloading, Tech Tip 1 Comment »
October 25th, 2017

The 6mm-223 — A Wildcat Worth Considering

6mm 223 sinclair

Intro: Ron Dague wanted a new gun that was similar to his trusty .223 Rem rifle, but which fired 6mm bullets. There is a superb choice of bullets in this caliber, and Ron found that the 95gr Berger VLD could be driven to a healthy 2,604 fps by the small .223 Rem case. This 6mm wildcat based on the common .223 Rem offers excellent accuracy and very low recoil — something very important in the cross-the-course discipline. In addition, Ron’s 95gr load with Reloder 15 delivered an ES of just 4 fps over ten shots. That exceptionally low ES helps achieve minimal vertical dispersion at 600 yards.

6mm 223 Across the course McMilland stock Ron Dague Sinclair InternationalBy Ron Dague, Sinclair Reloading Tech
From Sinclair’s The Reloading Press

I already had a .223 Remington match rifle, and I wanted the 6mm-223 to be as close to the same as I could make it. I installed the barreled action in a wood 40X stock to work up load data and work out any magazine feeding issues. While I was working on that, I looked for a McMillan Baker Special stock and finally found one to finish this project. I bedded the action and stock, then took the rifle to the range to check zeros on the sights and scope. I was surprised that I didn’t have to change anything on the sights. I thought changing the stock would cause sight changes. The thought went through my head, “Maybe the 40X stock isn’t all that bad”.

Here’s line-up of 6mm bullets. The Berger 95gr VLD is in the middle.
berger 6mm bullet hornady sierra line up 6mm 233

I took the new rifle to the first match of the year, a National Match Course match, and my off-hand score was 83, rapid sitting 95, rapid prone 95, and slow fire prone 197 — for total aggregate 470. This may not be my best work, but on match day the wind was blowing about 15 mph and the temp was around 40° F, with rain threatening. This was a reduced course of fire — we shot at 200 and 300 yards on reduced targets.

I used 70gr Berger bullets for this match, loaded in Remington brass with 25 grains of VihtaVuori N540 and Federal 205M primers. When I worked up loads for this rifle, N540 gave the best accuracy with the best extreme spread — 2,950 fps with an extreme spread of 20 fps on a 10-shot string. The load for 600 yards was with a 95gr Berger VLD bullet, with 23.0 grains of Reloder 15, Lapua cases, and the same Federal 205M primers. This load is 2,604 fps, with an extreme spread of 4 fps over a 10-shot string. I’ve shot this load at several 3×600 yard matches, and the accuracy has proven to be very good. At the last 3×600 match, my scores were as follows: 199-10x and 198-11X with scope, and 193-10X with iron sights. Best 600-yard score so far with iron sights was 198-12X.

6mm-223 Rem Rifle Specifications: 700 BDL action and floor plate, Bartlein 6mm 1:8″ twist, McMillan Baker Special stock in Desert Camo, Centra front and rear sights, Ken Farrell bases with stripper clip guide, Sinclair hand stop, and Jewell trigger. Gunsmith Neil Keller helped me with the metal work and instructed me on the action work and re-barreling.

Permalink Bullets, Brass, Ammo, Reloading 2 Comments »
October 23rd, 2017

Bargain Finder 109: AccurateShooter’s Deals of the Week

Accurateshooter Bargain Finder Deals of Week

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

1. Buy Qualifying Nightforce Scope, Get FREE Ruger 10/22

Free Ruger 10/22 Nightforce Optics 25th Anniversary Promotion

Nightforce is running a pretty amazing promotion to mark its 25th Anniversary. Here’s the deal — if you purchase a qualifying Nightforce scope, you’ll get a Special Edition Nightforce Optics Ruger 10/22. Buy scope, get rifle for free. Can’t argue with that. Here is the promo announcement: “To celebrate the 25th anniversary of Nightforce Optics, we are offering a complimentary Special Edition 25th Anniversary Ruger 10/22 at no additional charge with the purchase of select Nightforce riflescopes. This offer is good on qualifying purchases made from October 1, 2017 to December 31, 2017. Bruno Shooters Supply and Eurooptic.com have all the qualifying scopes in stock now. Check out Nightforceoptics.com/1022 for details and rules.

2. Bud’s Gun Shop — Ruger LCP .380 ACP, Just $169.00

Accurateshooter Bargain Finder Deals of Week Ruger LCP .380 ACP Carry Pistol Handgun

If your carry gun is too big and bulky, you probably won’t carry it, which sort of defeats the whole purpose. The Ruger LCP is light (9.6 ounces) and compact (5.16″ OAL), so you’re more likely to carry it regularly. The little LCP is small enough to fit in a pocket. The .380 ACP cartridge is not as powerful as a 9x19mm or 40 S&W to be sure, but when your life is on the line, a small gun is certainly better than no gun. For those looking for a very light-weight, easy-to-conceal handgun, this little Ruger is a solid choice. Owner reviews have been positive and the $169.00 price (with free shipping) is hard to beat. That’s for payment via money orders, checks, or echecks; credit card price is $174.07.

3. Amazon — PRS Practical Shooting Book — $19.99

Marcus Blanchard Practical Shooter's Guide

Thinking of getting started in the Practical/Tactical shooting game? Looking for ways to be more stable when shooting from unconventional positions? Then you may want to read Marcus Blanchard’s Practical Shooter’s Guide (A How-To Approach for Unconventional Firing Positions and Training). Unlike almost every “how to shoot” book on the market, Blanchard’s work focuses on the shooting skills and positions you need to succeed in PRS matches and similar tactical competitions. Blanchard provides clear advice on shooting from barricades, from roof-tops, from steep angles. Blanchard says you need to train for these types of challenges: “I believe the largest factor in the improvement of the average shooter isn’t necessarily the gear; it’s the way the shooter approaches obstacles and how they properly train for them.”

4. Cabela’s — Celestron 25-75x70mm Spotting Scope, $39.99

Bargain Budget spotting scope spotter Celestron Cabela's

Here is an exceptional deal on an entry-level spotting scope. Right now the Celestron Cavalry Spotting Scope, normally $119.99, is just $39.99 on sale at Cabelas.com. That’s right, this spotter is under forty bucks. This optic features a 70mm front objective, 25-75X eyepiece, and rubber armored body. Will it compete with a premium spotting scope costing $1000.00 or more? No, but you may find it can do many basic tasks, such as watching target shot markers, watching wind flags, or spotting prairie dogs. It’s also perfectly fine for spotting pistol and rifle shots at close ranges. With a price this cheap, you can get one to use as a “back-up” spotting scope.

5. Lyman — Fall Rebates on Reloading Hardware and Press Kits

Lyman Reloading Kit Rebate Powder Dispenser Tumbler Turret Press

Lyman has just announced more rebates on some very popular products. You can now get $50.00 off Lyman reloading kits: T-Mag Expert Kit Deluxe, and the Crusher Expert Kit Deluxe. In addition, you can get $25.00 off three of Lyman’s most popular products: Cyclone Rotary Tumbler, T-Mag II Turret Press, and Gen5 Digital Powder System. For pistoleros, Lyman is also offering $10.00 rebates on the Pachmayr G-10 and Renegade Laminate Pistol Grips. With Lyman’s Fall Mail-In Rebate Program you can get $10.00, $25.00, or even $50.00 back on some of Lyman’s best-selling products. The Fall Rebate Program applies to products purchased from any Lyman Dealer from October 15th through December 31, 2017. CLICK HERE for the Rebate Redemption Form.

6. Champions Choice — Deluxe 58″-Long Rifle Case, $68.00

Champion's Choice extra long palma rifle case 58

Many of our readers shoot Palma, F-Class, and ELR rifles with long barrels (up to 35″). It’s difficult to find high-quality, well-padded cases that fit very long rifles. Champion’s Choice offers just such a product, the 58″ Deluxe Soft Rifle Case. With thick 1″ padding on each side, big pockets, and backpack straps, this black/blue/white gun case has earned rave reviews from our Forum members. There’s plenty of room for big scopes, and it even comes with an internal tube to hold your cleaning rod.

7. Midsouth — CCI Std Velocity .22 LR Ammo, $3.75 for 50ct Box

CCI Rimfire Ammo Midsouth .22 LR smallbore

Here’s a great low-price on quality, CCI .22 LR rimfire ammo. The sale price of $3.75 per 50-ct box works out to just 7.5 cents a round for this 40gr CCI 1070 fps rimfire ammo. At that price you can enjoy rimfire plinking without worrying about cost — just like the “good old days”.

8. Stocky’s — LR Stocks with Aluminum Bedding Block, $179.99

Stocky's Stocks Composite V-block stock

Here’s a good deal on a versatile Stocky’s Long Range Stock with aluminum V-block bedding system. For just $179.99, order this for Rem/Rem Clone long actions or short actions, with either narrow or wide (varmint/tactical) barrel channel. This would be a good choice for a varmint rifle. This is also offered with handsome hydrographic or web-pattern baked-on textured finishes for $199.99.

9. Amazon — Kershaw 3″ Knife with Titanium Handle, $15.42

Kershaw fast blade 3

On sale for just $15.42, the Kershaw Intellect 3″ Folder is a quality knife that usually sells for around $28.00. Made from high-grade steel, the 3-inch blade is sharp and holds its edge. The handle is titanium for strength and light weight. This knife features the award-winning, patented SpeedSafe system for easy one-handed opening. Weighing just 3.7 ounces, this knife has a reversable 4-way pocket clip. Is this knife worth fifteen bucks? Heck yes — this Editor just bought a pair. Look at the Price Trend Chart below — you’ll see this is a great value. Recent verified buyer posted: “Excellent well made knife for the money and RAZOR SHARP”. Closed length: 3.75 inches; open length: 6.75 inches.

UPDATE: The price was $15.42 when we released the story at 2:30 am CST. The price has been fluctuating almost by the hour — this knife is in high demand.

Kershaw 3

Permalink Handguns, Hot Deals, Optics, Reloading 1 Comment »
October 22nd, 2017

Pioneers of Precision Shooting — Legendary L.E. “Sam” Wilson

lewilson15001
Sam (L.E.) Wilson actively competed in benchrest matches until he passed. He’s shown here with an Unlimited benchrest rifle of his own design.

If you’ve used hand dies with an arbor press, chances are you’ve seen the L.E. Wilson company name. You may not know that the founder of L.E. Wilson Inc. was an avid benchrest competitor who pioneered many of the precision reloading methods we used today. Known as “Sam” to his friends, L.E. Wilson was one of the great accuracy pioneers who collected many trophies for match victories during his long shooting career.

lewilson1503

The photo above shows Sam (foreground) with all of his children at a shoot. Behind Sam are Jim, Jack and Mary, shooting in the Unlimited Class. What do they say — “the family that plays together stays together”? Note the long, externally-adjusted scopes being used. Learn more about Sam (L.E.) Wilson and his company on the L.E. Wilson Inc. Facebook Page.

lewilson1504

Unlimited Class was Sam’s favorite discipline, because in the “good old days” top competitors normally would craft both the rifle and the front/rear rests. This rewarded Sam’s ingenuity and machining/fabrication skills. In the “build-it-yourself” era, one couldn’t just order up an unlimited rail gun on the internet. How times have changed…

Permalink - Articles, Reloading 2 Comments »
October 20th, 2017

Cool Tools for the Reloading Room — Look What UPS Brought

21st Century Tools Concentricity Checker lathe neck turner turning scale UPS

Posting on Facebook, Michael W. said: “Maybe it’s just me but I LOVE coming home to packages from the UPS driver sitting on my deck! Now I can get serious about creating some Match Grade ammunition!” Michael showed off some very impressive reloading hardware, including a 21st Century Shooting “Mini-Lathe” Neck-Turning system, 21st Century Concentricity Gauge, Shars Tube Micrometer, and the A&D FZ-120i Precision Balance. Cool Tools indeed!

21st Century Neck-Turning Lathe — A Gem
The 21st Century Neck-Turning Lathe works great — this is what we use to turn necks. It floats at both ends, so it runs very smoothly. You can use it manually or with power. It gives you very precise, clean cuts with a minimum of case lube. The cutting tool is hard and sharp so you can do large quantities of brass without having to adjust the cutter position for wear. We’ve used a half-dozen neck turners and this 21st Century Unit is our favorite.

21st Century Tools Concentricity Checker lathe neck turner turning scale UPS

21st Century Concentricity Gauge — Smart, Efficient Design
The beautifully-crafted 21st Century Concentricity Gauge is fast and easy to use yet very precise. The twin, roller-equipped case supports slide back and forth on rails so you can measure any size case, from a 17 Fireball up to a 50 BMG. The horizontal dial indicator also slides on parallel rails so you can easily measure any spot on a case or loaded round — from bullet tip (or case mouth on empty case) down to the mid-body. We like to measure run-out on our sized, empty brass on the necks and then measure again on the bullet ogive with loaded rounds. The large-diameter wheel allows bump-free, “no wobble” case rotation, delivering better results than spinning cases with your fingers.

Concentricity gauge uses stainless turning rollers for less friction and more consistent read-outs.
21st Century Tools Concentricity Checker lathe neck turner turning scale UPS

A&D Precision Balance — Ultra-Precise with No Drift
The A&D FX and FZ-series scales are magnetic force restoration balances with 0.001 gram sensitivity so they are accurate to the kernel. This balance will not drift like less advanced, load cell-based digital scales. The scale’s high sensitivity and extreme stability allow you to weigh charges and sort brass, primers, and bullets with much higher precision.

What Gadget Would YOU Like To Have Delivered?
Here’s a question for our readers… What are YOUR favorite reloading tools on currently on your bench? And if you could have the UPS driver deliver a new tool tomorrow, what would you like him to bring? A 21st Century Hydro Bullet Seater (awesome Arbor Press)? Maybe a Whidden Micro-Adjustable Sizing Die? How about the amazing Auto Trickler and Auto-Throw system from Canada? That combines a A&D FX/FZ scale with a powder thrower and microprocessor-controlled trickler. With the push of a button you get a charge dispensed and weighed to single-kernel accuracy.

Permalink Bullets, Brass, Ammo, Gear Review, Reloading 2 Comments »
October 19th, 2017

Paul Hill Wins European F-Open Championship with 7mm RSAUM

Paul Hill Bisley Europe European F-Class Championship

Shooter Profile by Des Parr, UK
We have a new European F-Open Champion: Paul Hill from the UK. If he looks familiar, it’s because Paul appeared here 12 months ago when he set a new F-Open record score of 100-17X at 900 yards at last year’s European Championships. There are some factors which make Paul’s victory all the more significant. First, he didn’t employ a top gunsmith to do his work — he’s a real working-class here who did it all himself. To keep costs down he taught himself to do all his own machining and bedding. Paul acquired a lathe, learned how to run it, and then carefully did all his own chambering and fitting. He then taught himself how to bed the rifle too. You have to admire a man who teaches himself how to build Championship-winning rifles.

Paul Hill Bisley Europe European F-Class Championship

Another unusual factor is Paul’s choice of components. Paul used the Lapua Scenar 180-grain bullet, the same bullet used to set his 2016 record. The 180gr Scenar is a fairly “old-fashioned” shape, but Paul points them using a “shooting shed” pointing tool. For seating, he uses his own home-made die with a Wilson top. Whatever the Lapuas may lack in BC, they more than compensate for in consistency, and that’s the key to success. As an aside, they compare very favourably in tests on the Juenke ICC machine, indicating that they’re very well made indeed.

7mm RSAUMPaul Hill Equipment List
Paul shot in the F-Open class firing the 7mm RSAUM cartridge, a short magnum. He ran a 30″ Krieger 1:9″-twist barrel mated to a Barnard Model P action bedded in a Joe West laminated stock. His pushed those Lapu8a Scenar with the relatively new Reload Swiss RS70 powder. Paul rates this RS70 propellant very highly. It may be unfamiliar to shooters in the USA, but RS70 is REACH compliant and is likely to become more popular when many other powders are forbidden from the EU next year. Paul is also a big fan of the Russian KVB-7 primer, a very mild and consistent primer — marketed under “Wolf” in the USA.

It is not just about having the right equipment though, it is also all about the application of skills and techniques and Paul was very keen to acknowledge his debt of thanks to Erik Cortina for his reloading techniques and Brian Litz for his writings on range mind set and diet. There is another, until now, secret factor that may have helped Paul. He is an Apiarist (bee-keeper) and he swears by the beneficial effects of his daily honey on toast. Who knows? Perhaps he’s on to something — nothing sells like success, so Paul’s honey sales may take off now just like his shooting career.

Here’s a good video showing F-Class Shooters at Bisley (FieldSports Channel 2015)

2016 Wasn’t So Bad Either
Paul Hill’s 2017 Championship win followed an impressive performance last year. At the 2016 European F-Class Championships at the Bisley Ranges, Paul set a record score at 900 yards: 100-17V! That’s 17 shots placed in a five-inch circle the size of a CD (compact disc) at over half a mile. [NOTE: At Bisley, the maximum score is FIVE points, not ten points. So the maximum score for 20 shots is 100. Also what Americans call an “X” is called a “V” at Bisley.]

Paul Hill Bisley Europe

Record Set with Slower Pair Firing Method
The style of shooting in Great Britain is pair-firing. Under this procedure, each of two competitors shoots alternately, taking turns from shot to shot. Each shooter has 45 seconds to take his shot. Allowing for the target pullers to do their jobs, this means that each shot can take up to one minute. As Paul was pair firing, he had to concentrate for up to 40 minutes to get all 20 shots off! You can imagine how many times the wind changed course in those 40 minutes –pick-ups, let-offs, changes of angle and direction. Paul had to counter each change and still managed to put 17 shots in that 5-inch circle!

Permalink Competition, News, Reloading No Comments »
October 19th, 2017

Save on Reloading Gear — Lyman Fall Rebate Program

Lyman Fall Rebate 2017 T-Mag Press Cyclone Tumbler

Lyman has just announced more rebates on some very popular products. You can now get $50.00 off Lyman reloading kits: T-Mag Expert Kit Deluxe, and the Crusher Expert Kit Deluxe. In addition, you can get $25.00 off three of Lyman’s most popular products: Cyclone Rotary Tumbler, T-Mag II Turret Press, and Gen5 Digital Powder System. For pistoleros, Lyman is also offering $10.00 rebates on the Pachmayr G-10 and Renegade Laminate Pistol Grips. With Lyman’s Fall Mail-In Rebate Program you can get $10.00, $25.00, or even $50.00 back on some of Lyman’s best-selling products. The Fall Rebate Program applies to products purchased from any Lyman Dealer from October 15th through December 31, 2017. CLICK HERE for the Rebate Redemption Form.

Lyman Fall Rebate 2017 T-Mag Press Cyclone Tumbler

To receive the rebate simply mail the Redemption Form along with a copy of the original receipt of the eligible product(s) directly to Lyman Products. The rebate form can be downloaded at www.lymanproducts.com/rebate. Rebate offer is valid only when a qualifying product is purchased from an authorized participating retailer.

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October 18th, 2017

Stop Neck Sizing! Why You Should Full-Length Size Your Brass

Full-Length Sizing Erik Cortina Neck Sizing Video

Why It’s Smart to Full-Length Size Your Brass

Commentary by Erik Cortina

Should You Full-Length Size Your Cartridge Brass?

Absolutely. Let Me Explain Why…

I have seen it time and time again, shooters on the line wrestling with their rifle trying to get the bolt closed while the wind is switching. They were too focused trying to get their bolt to close and getting their rifle settled back on the bags that they missed the wind switch. Bang… Eight! The straw that broke the camel’s back for me was at the 2017 Canadian Nationals. I was paired up with a young girl and she would try really hard to close the bolt on her rifle. The majority of the time she would get it to close, but often times she could not even get the round to chamber. She was focused on her rifle the entire time rather than on the conditions. When we completed our strings, she had five rounds that did not chamber our of 15! That is way too many!. I told her she needed to think about Full-length sizing with 0.002″ shoulder bump, or Controlled Full-length Sizing like I call it. I told her not to worry about losing accuracy. I told her that I full-length size all my rounds and asked if she noticed how smooth my bolt was and noticed my score. She said yes, they were both great!

Controlled Full-length Sizing Does NOT Harm Accuracy
I have found that Controlled Full-length Sizing does NOT hurt accuracy or shorten brass life. I find that I can focus much more on the conditions when I don’t have to think about chambering a round nor extracting it. It has become second nature. After firing, I keep my head welded to the stock, I open the bolt by placing my thumb on top of stock and rotating hand upwards. I reach in and retrieve spent case, place it back in ammo box, and pick up another loaded round and put in chamber. I verify conditions and when ready, I push the bolt in and close it with my index and middle finger.

With Controlled Full-length Sizing you “bump” the shoulder around .002″ for bolt guns.*
full length sizing
Image courtesy Sinclair International which carries a variety of Full-length dies.

Full-Length Sizing Erik Cortina Neck Sizing Video

Whidden Gunworks DiesWhidden Full-Length Sizing Dies
by AccurateShooter.com Editor
For proper Full-length sizing, you want a quality die that’s a very good match to your chamber. For our project rifles we usually turn to Whidden Gunworks which offers both bushing and non-bushing FL dies. And if you want the hot new option, check out Whidden’s patent-pending, click-adjustable FL-sizing die. This gives instant, precise control over shoulder bump. It works great.

*With gas guns, such as the AR10, you may want to increase shoulder bump to .003″ or more. With some benchrest cartridges, .0015″ bump may prove optimal. But .002″ is a good starting point.

Permalink Bullets, Brass, Ammo, Gear Review, Reloading 9 Comments »