April 18th, 2018

TECH Tip: TOP TEN Ways to Dry Wet Cartridge Brass

Wet Tumbling Brass Drier

Many shooters these days clean their cartridge brass ultrasonically, or wet-tumble their cases with stainless media (above). Both methods get brass clean and shiny, inside and out. However, when those wet-cleaning processes are completed, you’re left with a pile of soaking wet brass. How do you dry your brass quickly and efficiently, without unsightly water spots? Read on for some great answers…

In our Shooters’ Forum, Forum Gold Member Terry asked: “How do you dry your brass after Ultrasonic cleaning?” In an interesting Reloading Forum Thread, many smart suggestions were posted. A dozen fellow members outlined a variety of effective case-drying procedures, which work equally well for both wet-tumbled brass and ultrasonically-cleaned cases. Here are the Top 10 brass-drying suggestions from our Forum members.

TOP TEN Ways to Dry Cartridge Brass After Wet Cleaning

1. Food Dehydrator — Shake the brass in towel to get the bulk of water off. Next leave in the food dehydrator for 45 minutes or until there are no signs of moisture inside the cases. — Lawrence97

2. Lyman 5-Level Case Drier — Rinse off cleaning solution(s), then load brass by type into racks in Lyman Cyclone Case Drier. This is easier to load/unload than food dehydrators and holds more cases.

Lyman Cyclone Case Drier

3. Hot Water + Compressed Air — Rinse all your cases as a batch using scalding hot water from the kitchen sink. Hot water evaporates off of brass very very quickly. Then hit them with compressed air. Takes 10 minutes. Simple. — SG4247

4. Oven Dry in Pre-Heated Oven — After pre-heating to 200° or so, turn off oven and put brass inside on a tray. Most important! Tell your wife what you are doing so she doesn’t crank it up to 425 to heat pizza! — MClark

NOTE: Many other members suggested oven drying at 150-200°. We recommend turning OFF the oven so you don’t cook your brass if you forget to remove the cases.

Dry Cartridge Brass heat gun5. Towel Dry then Warm with Heat Gun — Roll brass in a towel until no more water shakes out. Lay out on cardboard box top and blow off with Harbor Freight heat gun. $9.99 on coupon. Two minutes of heated air and about half hour of wait and they are good to go. This is with primers removed. — Shaggy357

6. Compressed Air, then Sun Dry Outside – I rinse the brass, then blow them out with compressed air. Then, dependent on the time of year, lay them on a towel in the sun. — HogPatrol

7. Dishwasher on Dry Cycle – In the winter, I drop my wet brass cases neck-down on the rack pegs in the dishwasher, then turn on the dry cycle. In the summer…well, I’m in Texas. They go to the porch for a bit. — Toolbreaker

8. Alcohol Rinse then Air or Oven Dry — Rinse in 90% Isopropyl alcohol and either let air dry or stick in 175° oven for half an hour. Alternatively, use a dehydrator. — Zipollini

9. Slow Air-Dry in Loading Blocks — I have a reloading block with holes drilled in it. I simply load the block up and let it air-dry in the cupboard for a couple of days. — JCS

10. Wipe with Towel Then Anneal Normally — This thread is stirring my OCD side. Seems complicated for just drying — my brass dries just fine when I anneal it. This entire process can’t take an hour per batch. When finished, the brass is cleaned, annealed, and ready to size. — CHLuke

  • Deprime, then tumble brass with stainless media, water, Lemishine, and dish detergent.
  • Shake them easily in a strainer to knock out most media then grab 4-5 pieces, shake them over the bucket for the last of the media then inside a towel.
  • Finally blow out the primer pockets and wipe with a towel, load in the Annealeez.

Wet Tumbling Brass Drier

Permalink Bullets, Brass, Ammo, Reloading, Tech Tip 5 Comments »
April 18th, 2018

.223 Rem for F-TR — Logical Choice for a Junior Shooter

F-TR load development .223 Rem Remington Sierra TMK

Jeremy Rowland decided to put together an F-TR rifle for his eldest daughter, who enjoys competitive shooting. For his daughter, Rowland chose the .223 Rem option because it has less recoil and components are less costly than the .308 Win. Here is Rowland’s account of how he developed a .223 Rem load. For more details (with data charts), read Jeremy’s FULL STORY on Sierra Bullets Blog.

Journey to Find a .223 Rem F-Class Load

by Jeremy Rowland, Reloading Podcast
My oldest daughter has been to several matches with me, and has even competed in several, using her .243. I decided this coming season (2016), she would compete with a .223 Rem in FT/R. Looking for a good starter rifle, I settled on the Savage Axis Heavy Barrel since it has a 1:9″ twist. This would be a great little rifle for her to learn on. The rifle was shot unmodified, as it came from the factory. A Sinclair F-Class Bipod w/micro elevation adjustment was fitted to the front.

Next came finding the components I wanted to use for her match loads. After spending hours and hours running numbers on JBM stability calculator as well as in my iPhone Ballistic AE app, the 69 gr Sierra Tipped MatchKing® (TMK®) looked really good. So that’s what I decided to go with. I jumped in head first and ordered a bulk pack of the Sierra 69 gr TMKs. I had settled on Hodgdon CFE 223 since it shows good velocity. I decided to go with once-fired Lake City brass with CCI BR4 primers.

Next came the testing. I decided to run a ladder test (one shot per charge from min to max looking for the accuracy node). The ladder test ranged from 23.5 grains to 25.6 grains, in 0.3 grain increments.

F-TR load development .223 Rem Remington Sierra TMK

Ladder Test Conditions: Temp: 59.4° | Humidity: 63% | Elevation: 486 | Wind: 5-12 mph

F-TR load development .223 Rem Remington Sierra TMK

Bullet: 69 gr Sierra Tipped MatchKing®
Case: Lake City (mixed years, sorted by case capacity)
Primer: CCI BR4
Powder: Hodgdon CFE 223 (one round each from 23.5 to 25.6 grains)
Cartridge OAL: 2.378″
Base to Ogive: 1.933″ (.020″ off lands)

After his ladder test, Rowland settled on a load of 25.2 grains of Hodgdon CFE 223. He then fine-tuned his load with different seating depths: “I loaded up 5 rounds each at .020″ off lands, .015″ off lands, .010″ off lands, and .005″ off the lands. Here are the results from the best group for OAL/Ogive fine tuning. As you can see, I think I’ve found a winner in these 69 gr Sierra Tipped MatchKings.”

F-TR load development .223 Rem Remington Sierra TMK

Seating Depth Test Conditions: Temp: 36.3° | Humidity: 73.8% | Elevation: 486 | Wind: 5-7 mph

This article originally appeared in the Sierra Bullets Blog.

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April 16th, 2018

Bargain Finder 134: 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.

Bullets.com going out of business sale liquidation

This week will be a little different. Our First Five Products all come from Bullets.com. The reason is simple — Bullets.com is closing up shop, selling off its inventory. The items we list are all insanely good deals — many below cost. When was the last time you saw a premium Hodgdon powder for under $15 per pound? Or complete Redding die sets for under $50? Some of the product lines will still be carried by Grizzly.com, but bullets, brass, powder, and ammo inventories are being liquidated along with many reloading products and gunsmithing tools. You’ll find huge discounts on many top-tier products.

Here’s your chance to save big bucks on quality tools, shooting gear, and reloading components. Guys — take note: this is a unique opportunity to pick up some great products at truly rock-bottom prices. But remember this is an inventory close-out sale, limited to stock on hand. When it’s gone, it’s gone. Don’t say we didn’t warn you!

1. Bullets.com — Hodgdon, Alliant, VV Powder — Up to 50% Off

Bullets.com liquidation going out of business sale powder hodgdon alliant Vihtavuori

Right now, Bullets.com has the best prices we’ve seen in a decade on some Hodgdon and Alliant powders. Vihtavuori fans will be happy too. NOTE: Over 28 powder types on are liquidation sale now — we just picked three to feature here. But you can see all sale powders on the Bullets.com Powder Page.

2. Bullets.com — Premium Bullets — Up to 50% Off

Bullets.com liquidation going out of business sale bullets sierra berger nosler lapua

There are some great deals to be had here. Sierra’s latest High-BC 7mm Matchkings are available at huge discounts. And the superb Lapua Scenar-L bullets are offered too. These are some of the most consistent bullets we have ever tested. NOTE: Hundreds of bullet types from Berry, Lapua, Nosler, Sierra, and Speer on are liquidation sale now — we just picked three to feature here. But you can see all sale bullets on the Bullets.com Bullet Page.

3. Bullets.com — Redding Die Sets — Up to 65% Off

Bullets.com liquidation going out of business sale reloading die sizing Redding micrometer

Need high-quality dies for rifle or pistol reloading? Look no further. Bullet.com’s prices on Redding die sets can’t be beat. NOTE: Over 500 die sets or individual die types are on sale at killer prices — get a $40 sizing die for under 15 bucks. See all the die offerings on the Bullets.com Reloading Die Page.

4. Bullets.com — Norma Hunting Ammunition — Up to 65% Off

Bullets.com liquidation going out of business sale reloading die Ammunition Ammo Winchester Lapua Norma CCI Federal factory

Bullets.com is liquidating a wide selection of loaded ammunition. You’ll find pistol, rifle, and shotgun ammo from CCI, Federal, Hornady, Lapua, Norma, Nosler, Sellier & Bellot, and Winchester (plus other brands). The Lapua ammo is some of the very best you can buy at any price. Rimfire fans will love the SK and Norma Rimfire ammo on sale. Here we feature three examples of Norma’s superb hunting ammo. You will find 120+ other ammo types on the Bullets.com Ammo Sale Page

5. Bullets.com — Shooting Rests — Up to 62% Off

Bullets.com liquidation going out of business sale reloading bald eagle front rest shooting tripod pistol rifle

Along with Ammo, Powder, Bullets, and dies, Bullets.com has many shooting accessories on sale. We’ve always liked the Bald Eagle Slingshot rest (with adjustable windage), and now you can get this for a fraction of the original cost. Equipped with a good front bag (sold separately), this rest is good enough for competition, and it is an excellent front support for load testing. Check out other shooting rest products on the Bullets.com Shooting Rest Page.


6. Whittaker Guns — Howa Mini Action .204 Ruger — $349.99

Howa 1500 varmint rifle mini action sale discount .204 Ruger

Oh heck — this is hard for a Varmint hunter to resist. You can get a complete Howa .204 Ruger rifle for $349.99 — about the price of a replacement barrel blank for a Remington. This little gem has a very smooth, short-throw Mini Action with Howa’s excellent two-stage trigger. The .204 Ruger chambering shoots fast and flat, and is a fine choice for prairie dog work. Yes we’d prefer a heavier barrel for extended shooting sessions, but this is still a great price on a fine little rifle.

7. Amazon — Jiallite Scope Bubble Level, $11.99

Scope Optic bubble level 30mm 1

If you shoot long range, you need a scope level. This nicely designed Jiallite Scope Bubble Level is fully CNC-machined to close tolerances for a good fit. It features a 30mm milled inside diameter, plus an inner insert ring so it will also fit 1″-diameter main tubes — that dual-diameter versatility is a nice feature. We also like the way the unit is nicely radiused, and has a low profile in the middle. User reviews have been very positive. You could easily pay $35.00 or more for a 30mm scope level. Purchasers have praised this product — almost all verified buyers have rated this five stars.

8. GrabAGun — 6mm Creedmoor Ruger Precision Rifle, $879.00

Ruger Precision Rifle 6.5 Creedmoor PRS production class

Get a Ruger Precision Rifle in 6mm Creedmoor for $879.00. That price is about $100-$120 less than other vendors, so this is a good deal. If you’ve been thinking of purchasing a Ruger Precision Rifle (RPR) chambered for the 6mm Creedmoor cartridge don’t hesitate. GrabAGun is offering this popular tactical rig for $879.00. The 6mm Creedmoor chambering shoots faster and flatter than the 6.5 Creedmoor — so many PRS guys have switched to it. This Ruger is a good choice for the PRS production class. This is the Gen 2 RPR with upgraded handguards. NOTE: GrabAGun’s price has changed four times in the last 48 hours, ranging from $843.15 to $879.00. It may be lower than $879.00 when you read this.

9. Midsouth — Hornady BTHP Varmint Bullets, $52.29 for 500

Bulk .22 Cal varmint hornady bullets BTHP Midsouth Shooters Supply Free Shipping .223 Rem .224 Bulk Bullets varmint soft point Hornady

Need a boatload of bullets for varmint safaris, or high-volume .223 Rem training sessions? Then check out this deal from Midsouth Shooters Supply. Right now you can get 500 .22-Cal 62gr BTHP bullets for $52.29. That works out to just $10.46 per 100 bullets. You can also get 250 for $28.29. If you have high-volume applications for .224-diameter projectiles, this deal is hard to beat. You could easily pay two times as much (per hundred) for similar bullets elsewhere. Buying in bulk saves big bucks.

10. Amazon — 630 1″-Diameter Target Spots, $9.65 Delivered

Amazon target dots discount free shipping sight-in target

We use 1″-diameter Target Spots for sight-in and practice at 100-300 yards. These bright red/orange self-adhesive dots are easy to see. At 100 yards the high-contrast black diamond centers provide precise aiming points. We found this 10-pack of target spots on Amazon at a rock-bottom price. You get 630 total stick-on dots for just $9.65 with FREE Shipping. You can also get 360 Birchwood Casey 1″ dots from Midsouth for just $3.15, but shipping is extra. If you’re already ordering something from Midsouth, you may want to add the dots to your order.

Permalink Bullets, Brass, Ammo, Hot Deals, Reloading 1 Comment »
April 14th, 2018

QuickLOAD Software — Get the Latest Update NOW

QuickLOAD QuickTARGET Reloading Software Update Windows CD CD-ROM v3.9 version 3.9

If you have an older version of QuickLOAD, such as V3.1 shown above, then you should definitely upgrade. This will give you more complete and up-to-date cartridge, powder, and bullet data files.

QuickLoad SoftwareGot QuickLOAD software? Then it’s time to upgrade your data files — new data became available in January 2018. The makers of QuickLOAD offer inexpensive CDs with updated data files (for propellants and projectiles). These data update CDs will add the latest available powder, cartridge, and bullet files to your current version of QuickLOAD/QuickTARGET.

There are two update CDs now offered with data current through January 2018. One handles the older installations, QuickLOAD/QuickTARGET 3.0, 3.1, 3.2, 3.3, 3.4, and 3.5. A second update CD works for QuickLOAD/QuickTARGET 3.6, 3.8, and early 3.9. This second disk is primarily a data update.

V3.9 Update CD for V3.0 – V3.5
V3.9 Update CD for V3.6 – early V3.9

Price for either update disk is $15.95. In North America, order from Neconos.com, or call 800-451-3550 (9 am to 5 pm Pacific Time). In the United Kingdom, you can get the update disk from JMS Arms, Merrivale, London Road, Handcross, West Sussex, RH17 6BA, England, Phone: 01444 400126. In Europe you can order direct from QuickLOAD’s creator: Ing. Hartmut Broemel, Neubrecker Weg 15, D-64832 Babenhausen, Germany, fax/phone (+49) 0 6073 688481

QuickLOAD is a pretty amazing program. Using information for over 1200 cartridges, 250 powders, and 2500 bullet types, QuickLOAD allows you to predict velocities and pressures for your hand-loaded ammo. You can check predicted pressures with different powder choices and seating depths before loading an actual round. If you do not yet own QuickLOAD, you can now order the latest Version 3.9 of this unique software. Priced at $152.95, the latest version 3.9 contains all the updates through January, 2018 and is compatible with WINDOWS 2000, XP, VISTA, Windows 7, Winows 8 and Windows 10. QuickLOAD/QuickTARGET 3.9 can be purchased for $152.95 from Neconos.com. For a full explanation of the features and benefits of QuickLOAD software, click the link below.

» » READ Full QuickLOAD Software Review

EDITOR’S Comment: We believe every serious rifle hand-loader should own and use QuickLOAD. We have used this program for over a decade. It is invaluable in load development, particularly when testing a variety of bullets and when changing seating depths. This software is NOT a substitute for standard, conservative reloading practices. However QuickLOAD can very surprisingly effective in comparing cartridge performance and predicting the effects of changes in charge weight.

Product tip from EdLongrange. We welcome reader submissions.
Permalink New Product, News, Reloading 13 Comments »
April 8th, 2018

UltimateReloader Video Demonstrates Pistol Case Gauges

Pistol Cartridge Gage Gauge ulimatereloader.com

If you load pistol ammo you should have a case gauge (aka “gage”) for each cartridge type you reload. Caliber-specific, precision-machined cylindrical gauges perform many important functions. They will instantly reveal if your rounds are too long or have excessive headspace. They will also show if your case is bulged or otherwise too fat to chamber easily. You can use the gauge with sized brass as well as loaded rounds.

Case gauges are a “must-have” for anyone loading handgun ammunition, particularly if you crank out large quantities of pistol ammo with a progressive press. An oversize round can cause a misfeed, jam, or other problem. That can ruin your day if you are in the middle of a shooting match. If you are relying on your handgun for self-defense, the last thing you want is a malfunction of any kind. This Editor personally runs every pistol round through a gauge before it goes into the ammo box.

UltimateReloader.com Video Shows How to Use Pistol Case Gauges:

Our friend Gavin Gear of UltimateReloader.com has prepared an excellent video that explains the benefits of pistol case gauges and shows how to use them. Gavin uses the quality gages produced by L.E. Wilson. These are available for the most popular handgun cartridges, both autoloader cartridges, and rimmed revolver cartridges. Gavin demonstrates gage use with .40 SW and .44 magnum cases.

READ Pistol Case Gage ‘How-To’ Guide on UltimateReloader.com

Gavin states: “Using a case gage is very simple, and I would recommend that you add one of these gages to your reloader’s tool chest for each of the pistol cartridge types you reload. It may just save you a lot of time and hassle. Peace of mind is hard to put a price on!”

Ulimate Reloader.com also covers the use of case gauges for rifle cartridges. Rifle cartridge gauges are especially useful in detecting headspace problems. Case gauges can avert many problems, particularly if you reload milsurp rifle brass. CLICK HERE for Rifle Case Gauge “How To” and Video.

Permalink - Videos, Handguns, Reloading No Comments »
April 7th, 2018

Hodgdon H4350 Now Available at Leading Vendors

Precision Reloading H4350 powder

There has been a long wait, but Hodgdon H4350 powder is now showing up at vendors across the nations. Some of our favorite online retailers have H4350 in stock now, in both 1-pound and 8-pound containers.

Precision Reloading has H4350 one-pounders for $26.99 and 8-lb jugs for $216.99. You should probably act quickly, because this may sell out soon. Precision Reloading also has good inventories of other popular powders.

Precision Reloading H4350 powder

Bruno Shooters Supply has the large, 8-lb jugs for $222.95, with H4350 1-lb containers for $34.95. Bruno’s also has most of the other popular Hodgdon powders in stock now.

Bruno Shooters H4350 powder

Midsouth Shooters Supply has Hodgdon H4350 one-pound containers in stock for $26.95. However the 8-lb jugs are currently out of stock. They were priced at $191.99, a very good value (which explains why it sold out quickly).

Permalink Bullets, Brass, Ammo, Reloading No Comments »
April 6th, 2018

Know Your Terminology — CUP vs. PSI

SAAMI CUP PSI Cartridge Copper Units Pressure PSI
Image by ModernArms, Creative Common License.

by Philip Mahin, Sierra Bullets Ballistic Technician
This article first appeared in the Sierra Bullets Blog

If you asked a group of shooters to explain the difference between CUP and PSI, the majority would probably not be able to give a precise answer. But, for safety reasons, it’s very important that all hand-loaders understand these important terms and how they express cartridge pressures.

The ANSI / SAAMI group, short for “American National Standard Institute” and “Sporting Arms and Ammunition Manufacturers’ Institute”, have made available some time back the voluntary industry performance standards for pressure and velocity of centerfire rifle sporting ammunition for the use of commercial manufacturers. [These standards for] individual cartridges [include] the velocity on the basis of the nominal mean velocity from each, the maximum average pressure (MAP) for each, and cartridge and chamber drawings with dimensions included. The cartridge drawings can be seen by searching the internet and using the phrase ‘308 SAAMI’ will get you the .308 Winchester in PDF form. What I really wanted to discuss today was the differences between the two accepted methods of obtaining pressure listings. The Pounds per Square Inch (PSI) and the older Copper Units of Pressure (CUP) version can both be found in the PDF pamphlet.

SAAMI CUP PSI Cartridge Copper Units Pressure PSICUP Pressure Measurement
The CUP system uses a copper crush cylinder which is compressed by a piston fitted to a piston hole into the chamber of the test barrel. Pressure generated by the burning propellant causes the piston to move and compress the copper cylinder. This will give it a specific measurable size that can be compared to a set standard. At right is a photo of a case that was used in this method and you can see the ring left by the piston hole.

PSI Pressure Measurement
What the book lists as the preferred method is the PSI (pounds per square inch or, more accurately, pound-force per square inch) version using a piezoelectric transducer system with the transducer flush mounted in the chamber of the test barrel. Pressure developed by the burning propellant pushes on the transducer through the case wall causing it to deflect and make a measurable electric charge.

Q: Is there a standardized correlation or mathematical conversion ratio between CUP and PSI values?
Mahin: As far as I can tell (and anyone else can tell me) … there is no [standard conversion ratio or] correlation between them. An example of this is the .223 Remington cartridge that lists a MAP of 52,000 CUP / 55,000 PSI but a .308 Winchester lists a 52,000 CUP / 62,000 PSI and a 30-30 lists a 38,000 CUP / 42,000 PSI. It leaves me scratching my head also but it is what it is. The two different methods will show up in listed powder data[.]

So the question on most of your minds is what does my favorite pet load give for pressure? The truth is the only way to know for sure is to get the specialized equipment and test your own components but this is going to be way out of reach for the average shooter, myself included. The reality is that as long as you are using printed data and working up from a safe start load within it, you should be under the listed MAP and have no reason for concern. Being specific in your components and going to the load data representing the bullet from a specific cartridge will help get you safe accuracy. [With a .308 Winchester] if you are to use the 1% rule and work up [from a starting load] in 0.4 grain increments, you should be able to find an accuracy load that will suit your needs without seeing pressure signs doing it. This is a key to component longevity and is the same thing we advise [via our customer service lines] every day. Till next time, be safe and enjoy your shooting.

SAAMI CUP PSI Cartridge Copper Units Pressure PSI

Permalink Reloading, Tech Tip 2 Comments »
April 2nd, 2018

Bargain Finder 132: 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. Amazon — Sig Kilo 1250 Rangefinder, $179.99

sig kilo 1250 laser rangefinder $199 Amazon

Hunting season is coming soon. That means going through your gear check-list before you head to deer country. If you don’t have a quality, compact Laser Rangefinder, here’s a great deal. The 6x20mm SIG Kilo 1250 Camo Rangefinder is now on sale for under $180.00. This is a very accurate LRF, that ranges deer-sized targets at long distances quickly. The scan mode is very fast (4X per second) and this offers both line of sight (LOS) or angle modified range (AMR). The unit is compact and light — a bonus for hunters. There are more expensive Laser Rangefinder that can range farther, but this $179.99 Kilo 1250 will definitely do the job on a hunting trip for one-third the price. NOTE: Check multiple Amazon vendors for current free shipping offers.

2. MidwayUSA — Norma Match-22 Ammo, 1500 Rounds, $99.99

MidwayUSA Norma Match-22 22 LR Ammo rimfire ammunition

This Norma Match-22 ammunition is good stuff. In many rifles it shoots as well as $8/box products from other makers. But now you can get Match-22 for the equivalent of $3.33 per 50-round box when you buy 30 boxes. MidwayUSA is selling 1500 rounds of Match-22 (three 500-round cases) plus an ammo can for just $99.99. That works out to just 6.7 cents per round. If you don’t need that much .22 LR ammo, you can also buy 500 rounds for $39.99. We think you’ll be happy with this Norma Match-22 ammo. It is a good choice for tactical cross-training, rimfire silhouette, and fun shooting. This Editor just ordered a 1500-round can.

3. Bruno Shooters Supply Sale — Save on Optics, Bullets, Brass Etc.

Bruno Shooters Supply Spring Sale

Bruno Shooters Supply is running a major Spring Sale. Lapua brass, powder, Berger bullets, Sierra bullets, rimfire ammo, optics, chronographs — all this and more is on sale at Bruno’s right now. But you have to act quickly. This storewide sale ends April 2, 2018 at 11:59 pm. You snooze, you loose. NOTE: You don’t need a special discount code — the sale prices are already shown online. No Back-orders with special sale pricing. As part of the Spring Sale, Bruno’s is also offering free shipping on Krieger barrels, Jewell triggers, and LabRadar chronographs.

4. Brownells — Howa 1500 Barreled Actions, Starting at $259.99

Howa Barreled Action Mini Cerakote Tan HACT trigger 1500 Brownells

Howa makes excellent, smooth-running actions, and the Howa HACT 2-stage trigger is WAY better than most domestic factory triggers. Right now you can save big bucks on Howa 1500 barreled actions, complete with HACT trigger and trigger-guard, starting at $259.99. Both regular actions and Mini Actions are offered. Available chamberings include 6.5 Grendel, 6.5 Creedmoor (back-ordered), 7.62×39, .308 Winchester, and .300 Win Mag. Some of these barreled actions come with a rugged Cerakote finish, while others have a blued finish. You can also get FREE Shipping with Code MDV during checkout. But note, this item requires delivery to an FFL-holder.

5. CDNN Sports– Walther Creed 9mm Pistol, $269.99

Five Budget 9mm sale bargain full-size 9x19mm pistol Canik RP9 Kahr S&W M&P Walther Creed CT9

The Walther Creed offers excellent ergonomics, good accuracy, and well-designed controls at a killer price — $269.99 at CDNN Sports. This gun, designed to be a value-leader, emulates Walther’s more expensive PPQ model (MSRP $649.00) at a much lower price. The Creed’s frame size and shape is the same as the PPQ, but the Creed lacks interchangeable backstraps. Slide and trigger are very similar. The Creed features a snag-free bobbed hammer. Testers have praised the new Creed, saying that, despite the bargain price, it “sacrifices little to nothing in… ergonomics, accuracy, and reliability.”

6. FosPower 10200 mAh Waterproof Charger, $25.99

FosPower USB Battery pack waterproof shockproof LED

When you’re at the range or on a hunt, it’s smart to have a USB-output battery pack for smart phone, target-cam monitor, even a LabRadar. There are many battery packs available, but most are fairly fragile, with exposed ports. This “ruggedized” FosPower 10200 mAh charger is different. It is waterproof, dust-proof, and shock-proof. (IP67 certified: dust and water resistance for up to 3ft/1m for 30 minutes under water.) It can handle all that a PRS competitor or hunter can dish out. It even has a handy LED light. Right now it’s priced at $25.99 with FREE Shipping (on orders over $25.00).

7. Grafs.com — Lyman Pro-Touch Digital Scale, $44.99 (42% Off)

Grafs lyman digital 1500 scale sale clearance discount

We like this little Lyman Pro-Touch scale for the price — $44.99. No this compact digital scale won’t compete with a $700 Force Restoration balance that can measure a half-kernel. But this little Lyman is good enough for range loading, and for other tasks, such as sorting bullets and brass by weight. Graf’s $44.99 price is a genuine bargain. Lyman says the scale has “accuracy to 1/10th grain with anti-drift technology”. It can run with supplied AC adapter or three AAA batteries. This very same scale sells for $79.59 right now on Amazon. You can save over 40% by buying from Grafs.com this week.

8. Amazon — Jialitte Scope Bubble Level, $12.49

Scope Optic bubble level 30mm 1

All serious rifle shooters need a scope level. This nicely designed Jialitte Scope Bubble Level features a 30mm milled inside diameter, plus an inner insert ring so it will also fit 1″-diameter main tubes — that dual-diameter versatility is a nice feature. We also like the way the unit is nicely radiused, and has a low profile in the middle. Price is just $12.59 with free shipping. User reviews have been very positive. You could easily pay $35.00 or more for a 30mm scope level. Purchasers have praised this product — nearly all verified buyers rated this five stars.

9. Amazon — Sixty Glow Shot 6″ Splatter Targets for $14.99

Deals of Week 6

These Six-inch “splatter” targets display a bright yellow ring around each bullet hole. We like these adhesive Glow Shot targets for practice at 300-600 yards. The neon yellow on black provides high contrast so you can easily see 6mm bullet impacts at 600 yards. The 6″-diameter is one-MOA at 600 yards — a good aiming center size. Priced at just $14.99 for a sixty-count package, these are a good value compared to the larger Birchwood Casey Splatter Targets. Note: This Glow Shot target is also available in a Red Circle version, and Tri-Color version (red, yellow, and green).

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April 2nd, 2018

Vihtavuori Reloading Data Updates for 2018

VV Vihtavuori finland powder propellant reloading recipe data information mobile app pistol rifle .260 Rem .45 Acp .223 Rem .338 Lapua Magnum 2018 update

Vihtavuori markets a full line of quality, European-made powders for rifles and pistols. Finland-based Vihtavuori is operated by the same parent company, Nammo, that owns Lapua and Berger Bullets. If you haven’t tried Vihtavuori powders yet, you may be pleasantly surprised. For loading .45 ACP, our favorite powder is VV N320 — it burns clean and is very accurate. Likewise, VV makes excellent powders for rifle applications — from small varmint cartridges to large magnums.

New Reloading Data Released
VV Vihtavuori finland powder propellant reloading recipe data information mobile appVihtavuori offers free reloading data on its website, and through a free Mobile App. And now those resources are even more complete…


Rifle DATA | Pistol DATA | Mobile APP

Last week, Vihtavuori added new reloading data for ten different cartridge types, including some of the most popular pistol and rifle cartridges. You’ll find new pistol data for 9mm Luger and .45 ACP, and extensive new load data for .223 Rem, .260 Rem, .308 Win, and .30-06 Springfield (among others). Overall the 2018 data update features over 20 new bullets, with more than 140 new lines! All new data is also available in FREE Vihtavuori Reload App for iOS and Android. The updated online information supplements Vihtavuori’s Reloading Databases, which have dedicated sections for Rifle Cartridges, Pistol Cartridges, and Cowboy Action.

New Reloading Data is available for these TEN cartridge types:

VV Vihtavuori finland powder propellant reloading recipe data information mobile app pistol rifle .260 Rem .45 Acp .223 Rem .338 Lapua Magnum 2018 update

Story tip from EdLongrange. We welcome reader submissions.
Permalink Bullets, Brass, Ammo, News, Reloading 1 Comment »
March 26th, 2018

Ogives, Meplats, Boat-Tails and Other Bullet Design Elements

Bullet Design Zediker

Noted gun writer Glen Zediker (author of Top Grade Ammo), regularly contributes tech articles to the Midsouth Shooters Blog. Glen’s most recent Midsouth Blog article covers Bullet Design. We suggest you read the article — even seasoned hand-loaders will learn a few things about projectile properties (and how to choose the right bullet design for your needs). Glen also wrote a recent Blog article on cartridge pressure signs, linked below

Read Zediker Bullet Design Article | Read Zediker Pressure Signs Article

Glen explains: “A ‘match’ bullet’s job is to perforate a piece of paper. A bullet designed for varmint hunting, on the other hand, is designed to produce explosive impact, and one for larger game hunting strives to strike a balance between expansion and penetration. However! No matter how it’s built inside, there are universal elements of any bullet design, and those are found on the outside.”

Bullet Design Zediker

In his article, Glen identifies the key elements of a bullet and explains how they are defined: “Base, that’s the bottom; boat-tail, or not (flat-base); shank, portion of full-caliber diameter; ogive, the sloping ‘nosecone'; tip, either open or closed (open it’s called the ‘meplat’). The shape of the ogive and the first point of ‘major diameter’ are extremely influential elements. The first point of major diameter can vary from barrel brand to barrel brand because it’s the point on the bullet that coincides with land diameter in the barrel — the first point that will actually contact the barrel as the bullet moves forward. When there’s a cartridge sitting in the rifle chamber, the distance or gap between the first point of major diameter and the lands is called ‘jump’, and, usually, the less there is the better.”

Bullet Design Zediker

Ogives Analyzed — Tangent vs. Secant Bullet Designs
Glen notes that bullet designs reflect secant or tangent profiles, or a combination of both: “The two essential profiles a bullet can take are ‘secant’ and ‘tangent’. This refers to the shape of the ogive. A tangent is a more rounded, gradual flow toward the tip, while a secant is a more radical step-in, more like a spike. Secants fly with less resistance (less aerodynamic drag), but tangents are [often] more tolerant of jump [or to put it another way, less sensitive to seating depth variations].”

Glen adds: “Ogives are measured in ‘calibers’. That’s pretty simple: an 8-caliber ogive describes an arc that’s 8 times caliber diameter; a 12-caliber is based on a circle that’s 12 times the caliber. The 8 will be a smaller circle than the 12, so, an 8-caliber ogive is more ‘blunt’ or rounded. Bullets with lower-caliber ogives are more tolerant of jump and (usually) shoot better, easier. Higher-caliber ogives [generally] fly better, farther. This is an important component in the ‘high-BC’ designs.”

Learn More in Zediker Books
Glen has authored a number of excellent books for hand-loaders and competitive shooters. Here are three of his most popular titles, including his latest book, Top Grade Ammo:

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March 26th, 2018

Optimize Neck Tension with Bushings, Expanders, and Annealing

Case Loading Neck Tension Sierra Bullets Paul Box

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

So, how much neck tension is enough?

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

First of all, if you’re running a standard sizing die with an expander ball, just pull your decapping rod assembly out of your die and measure the expander ball. What I prefer is to have an expander ball that is .003″ smaller than bullet diameter. So for example in a .224 caliber, run an expander ball of .221″. This allows for .001″ spring back in in your brass after sizing, and still gives you .002″ in neck tension. If you want to take the expander ball down in diameter, just chuck up your decapping rod assembly in a drill and turn it down with some emery cloth. When you have the diameter you need, polish it with three ought or four ought steel wool. This will give it a mirror finish and less drag coming through your case neck after sizing.

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

Case Loading Neck Tension Sierra Bullets Paul Box

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

Case Loading Neck Tension Sierra Bullets Paul Box

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

Permalink Bullets, Brass, Ammo, Reloading 8 Comments »
March 24th, 2018

Humidity and Powder Burn Rates — What You Need to Know

Tech Tip Norma Powder gunpowder moisture temperature humidity

Most shooters realize that significant changes in temperature will alter how powders perform. That’s why you want to keep your loaded ammo out of the hot sun, and keep rounds out of a hot chamber until you’re ready to fire. But there are other factors to be considered — HUMIDITY for one. This article explains why and how humidity can affect powder burn rates and performance.

We’ve all heard the old adage: “Keep your powder dry”. Well, tests by Norma have demonstrated that even normal environmental differences in humidity can affect the way powders burn, at least over the long term. In the Norma Reloading Manual, Sven-Eric Johansson, head of ballistics at Nexplo/Bofors, presents a very important discussion of water vapor absorption by powder. Johansson demonstrates that the same powder will burn at different rates depending on water content.

Powders Leave the Factory with 0.5 to 1.0% Water Content
Johansson explains that, as manufactured, most powders contain 0.5 to 1% of water by weight. (The relative humidity is “equilibrated” at 40-50% during the manufacturing process to maintain this 0.5-1% moisture content). Importantly, Johansson notes that powder exposed to moist air for a long time will absorb water, causing it to burn at a slower rate. On the other hand, long-term storage in a very dry environment reduces powder moisture content, so the powder burns at a faster rate. In addition, Johansson found that single-base powders are MORE sensitive to relative humidity than are double-base powders (which contain nitroglycerine).

Tests Show Burn Rates Vary with Water Content
In his review of the Norma Manual, Fred Barker notes: “Johansson gives twelve (eye-opening) plots of the velocities and pressures obtained on firing several popular cartridges with dehydrated, normal and hydrated Norma powders (from #200 to MRP). He also gives results on loaded .30-06 and .38 Special cartridges stored for 663 to 683 days in relative humidities of 20% and 86%. So Johansson’s advice is to keep powders tightly capped in their factory containers, and to minimize their exposure to dry or humid air.”

Confirming Johansson’s findings that storage conditions can alter burn rates, Barker observes: “I have about 10 pounds of WWII 4831 powder that has been stored in dry (about 20% RH) Colorado air for more than 60 years. It now burns about like IMR 3031.”

What does this teach us? First, all powders start out with a small, but chemically important, amount of water content. Second, a powder’s water content can change over time, depending on where and how the powder is stored. Third, the water content of your powder DOES make a difference in how it burns, particularly for single-base powders. For example, over a period of time, a powder used (and then recapped) in the hot, dry Southwest will probably behave differently than the same powder used in the humid Southeast.

Reloaders are advised to keep these things in mind. If you want to maintain your powders’ “as manufactured” burn rate, it is wise to head Johannson’s recommendation to keep your powders tightly capped when you’re not actually dispensing charges and avoid exposing your powder to very dry or very humid conditions. The Norma Reloading Manual is available from Amazon.com.

Real-World Example — “Dry” H4831sc Runs Hotter

Robert Whitley agrees that the burn rate of the powder varies with the humidity it absorbs. Robert writes: “I had an 8-lb. jug of H4831SC I kept in my detached garage (it can be humid there). 43.5-44.0 gr of this was superbly accurate with the 115 Bergers out of my 6mm Super X. I got tired of bringing it in and out of the garage to my house for reloading so I brought and kept the jug in my reloading room (a dehumidified room in my house) and after a few weeks I loaded up 43.5 gr, went to a match and it shot awful. I could not figure out what was going on until I put that load back over the chronograph and figured out it was going a good bit faster than before and the load was out of the “sweet spot” (42.5 – 43.0 gr was the max I could load and keep it accurate when it was stored in less humid air). I put the jug back in the garage for a few weeks and I now am back to loading 43.5 – 44.0 gr and it shoots great again. I have seen this with other powders too.”

If you have two jugs of the same powder, one kept in a room in your house and one somewhere else where it is drier or more humid, don’t expect the two jugs of the same lot of powder to chrono the same with the same charge weights unless and until they are both stored long enough in the same place to equalize again.

Permalink - Articles, Reloading 10 Comments »
March 24th, 2018

How to Prep Mil-Surp Once-Fired Brass

USAMU Brass reloading tip

The U.S. Army Marksmanship Unit publishes reloading “how-to” articles on the USAMU Facebook page. One Wednesday “Handloading Hump Day” post covered preparation of once-fired 5.56x45mm brass. This article, the first in a 3-part series, has many useful tips. If you shoot a rifle chambered in .223 Rem or 5.56x45mm, this article is worth reading. And visit the USAMU Facebook page for other hand-loading tips.

This week, Handloading Hump-Day will answer a special request from several competitive shooters in Alaska. They asked about procedures for morphing once-fired GI 5.56mm brass into accurate match brass for NRA High Power Rifle use. The USAMU has used virgin Lake City (LC) 5.56 brass to win National Championships and set National Records for many years. In this 3-part series, we’ll share techniques proven to wring match-winning accuracy from combat-grade brass.

Preparing Once-Fired GI 5.56 Brass for Reloading (Part 1 of 3)
Assuming our readers will be getting brass once-fired as received from surplus dealers, the following steps can help process the low-cost raw material into reliably accurate components.

1. Clean the Brass
First, clean the brass of any dirt/mud/debris, if applicable. Depending on the brass’s condition, washing it in a soap solution followed by a thorough rinsing may help. [This step also extends the life of the tumbling media.] Approaches range from low-tech, using gallon jugs 1/2 full of water/dish soap plus brass and shaking vigorously, to more high-tech, expensive and time-consuming methods.

2. Wet-Tumbling Options (Be Sure to Dry the Brass)
When applying the final cleaning/polish, some use tumblers with liquid cleaning media and stainless steel pins for a brilliant shine inside and out, while others take the traditional vibratory tumbler/ground media approach. Degree of case shine is purely personal preference, but the key issue is simple cleanliness to avoid scratching ones’ dies.

Shown below are Lake City cases after cleaning with Stainless Media (STM). Note: STM Case cleaning was done by a third party, not the USAMU, which does not endorse any particular cleaning method.

If a liquid cleaner is used, be SURE to dry the cases thoroughly to preclude corrosion inside. One method is to dump the wet brass into an old pillow case, then tilt it left/right so the cases re-orient themselves while shifting from corner to corner. Several repetitions, pausing at each corner until water stops draining, will remove most water. They can then be left to air-dry on a towel, or can be dried in a warm (150° F-200° F max) oven for a few minutes to speed evaporation.

3. Inspect Every Case
Once dry, inspect each case for significant deformation (i.e., someone stepped on it), damaged mouths/necks and case head/rim damage. Some rifles’ ejectors actually dig small chunks of brass out of the case head — obviously, not ideal for precision shooting. Similarly, some extractors can bend the case rims so badly that distortion is visible when spinning them in one’s fingers. These can be used for plinking, but our match brass should have straight, undamaged rims.

Dented case mouths are common, and these can easily be rounded using a conical, tapered tool, [such as a .223 expander mandrel. A dummy 7.62 or .30-06 cartridge with a FMJ spitzer can also work.] If most of your brass is of one headstamp, this is a good time to cull out any odd cases.

4. Check the Primers Before Decapping
Your clean, dry and inspected brass is now ready for full-length sizing, decapping and re-priming. Historically, primer crimps on GI brass have caused some head-scratching (and vile language) among handloaders. Our next installment will detail efficient, easy and practical methods to remove primer crimp, plus other useful handloading tips. Until next week, Good Shooting!

NOTE: The USAMU Handloading (HL) Shop does not RE-load fired 5.56 brass. We use virgin LC brass with our chosen primer already staked in place. However, our staff has extensive personal experience reloading GI brass for competition, which will supplement the Shop’s customary steps. In handloading, as in life, there are many ways to accomplish any given task. Our suggestions are note presented as the “only way,” by any means. Time for loading/practicing is always at a premium. Readers who have more efficient, alternative methods that maintain top accuracy are invited to share them here.

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March 22nd, 2018

Power User Tips for Ultrasonic Cleaning Machines

Ultrasonic Cleaning RCBS Ultrasound .308 Winchester 7.62x51 brass casings

Tumblers and walnut/corncob media are old school. These days many shooters prefer processing brass rapidly with an ultrasonic cleaning machine. When used with the proper solution, a good ultrasonic cleaning machine can quickly remove remove dust, carbon, oil, and powder residue from your cartridge brass. The ultrasonic process will clean the inside of the cases, and even the primer pockets. Tumbling works well too, but for really dirty brass, ultrasonic cleaning may be a wise choice.

READ FULL UltimateReloader.com Article on Ultrasonic Case Cleaning.

Our friend Gavin Gear recently put an RCBS Ultrasonic cleaning machine through its paces using RCBS Ultrasonic Case Cleaning Solution (RCBS #87058). To provide a real challenge, Gavin used some very dull and greasy milsurp brass: “I bought a huge lot of military once-fired 7.52x51mm brass (fired in a machine gun) that I’ve been slowly prepping for my DPMS LR-308B AR-10 style rifle. Some of this brass was fully prepped (sized/de-primed, trimmed, case mouths chamfered, primer pockets reamed) but it was gunked up with lube and looking dingy.”

UltimateReloader.com Case Cleaning Video (7.5 minutes):

Gavin describes the cleaning exercise step-by-step on UltimateReloader.com. Read Gavin’s Cartridge Cleaning Article to learn how he mixed the solution, activated the heater, and cycled the machine for 30 minutes. As you can see in the video above, the results were impressive. If you have never cleaned brass with ultrasound before, you should definitely watch Gavin’s 7.5-minute video — it provides many useful tips and shows the cleaning operation in progress from start to finish.


The RCBS ultrasonic cleaning machine features a large 3-liter capacity, 60 watt transducer, and 100 watt ceramic heater. The RCBS ultrasonic machine can be found under $145.00, and this unit qualifies for RCBS Rebates ($10 off $49.99+ purchase or $100 off combined $299.99+ purchase). RCBS also sells 32 oz. bottles of cleaning concentrate that will make up to 10 gallons of Ultrasonic Solution.

Permalink - Videos, Bullets, Brass, Ammo, Reloading 2 Comments »
March 19th, 2018

Bargain Finder 130: 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. Natchez — Bushnell Scopes, Deep Discounts Plus 30% Rebate

natchez bushnell 30% rebate discount scope optics

Natchez Shooters Supply is running a big sale on Bushnell riflescopes right now. You can save $60 to $110 off the normal prices. Plus, through the end of March, Bushnell will rebate an additional 30% of the item’s purchase price (in the form of a prepaid credit card). Shown above are four great Bushnell scope deals, but there are many more. Plus the 30% rebate also applies to Bushnell binoculars and Laser Rangefinders, in addition to riflescopes.

2. Brownells — Howa 1500 Barreled Actions, Starting at $279.99

Howa Barreled Action Mini Cerakote Tan HACT trigger 1500 Brownells

Howa makes excellent, smooth-running actions, and the Howa HACT 2-stage trigger is WAY better than most domestic factory triggers. Right now you can save big bucks on Howa 1500 barreled actions, complete with HACT trigger and trigger-guard, starting at $279.99. Both regular actions and Mini Actions are offered. Available chamberings include 6.5 Grendel, 6.5 Creedmoor (back-ordered), 7.62×39, .308 Winchester, and .300 Win Mag. Some of these barreled actions come with a rugged Cerakote finish, while others have a blued finish. You can also get FREE Shipping with Code MDV during checkout. But note, this item requires delivery to an FFL-holder.

3. Grafs.com — Rock Chucker Supreme Reloading Kit, $226.99

Deals of Week RCBS Rock Chucker Supreme Kit
Deals of Week RCBS Rock Chucker Supreme Kit

Everything you see above can be yours for just $226.99, after RCBS $100.00 Rebate. Hell of a Deal. Right now, Grafs.com is selling the Rock Chucker Supreme Master Reloading Kit for $326.99. But check it out — this Master Reloading Kit now qualifies for a $100.00 RCBS Rebate (“Buy Green, Get Green”). That lowers your net cost to just $226.99. That an amazing deal considering all the hardware you get: Press, Primer Tool, Scale, Powder Measure, Loading Tray, Reloading Manual and more. Heck, the Rock Chucker press alone is worth $160.00+. NOTE: To qualify for the $100 Rebate you must purchase on or before March 31, 2018. The $100 Rebate is for products costing $299.99 to $499.98.

4. Amazon — NRR 31 Muffs and Eyewear Kit with Case, $29.99

NRR 33 ear muffs eyewear shooting case ear plugs

Here is a great combo package that offers complete eye and ear protection for shooters at the range. The Ear Muffs feature a 6-piece noise filtration system that effectively blocks low, mid, & high range frequencies, giving them an impressive NRR 31 noise reduction rating. The muffs ship with a nice zippered case that also holds the supplied safety eyewear. This kit also comes with ten (10) NRR 33 foam earplugs. You can order the kit with either clear eyewear or smoke-tinted lenses.

5. MidwayUSA — Norma Match-22, 1500 Rds, $124.99 Shipped

MidwayUSA Norma Match-22 22 LR Ammo rimfire ammunition

This Norma Match-22 ammunition is good stuff. In many rifles it shoots as well as $8/box products from other makers. But now you can get Match-22 for the equivalent of $4.00 per 50-round box. MidwayUSA is selling 1500 rounds (three 500-round cases) plus an ammo can for just $124.99 with FREE Shipping. That works out to just 8.3 cents per round. If you can’t use that much you can also get 500 rounds for $39.99 (i.e. $4/box), also with FREE shipping. We think you’ll be happy with this ammo. It is a good choice for tactical cross-training, rimfire silhouette, and fun shooting.

6. Grafs.com — Lapua 6.5 Creedmoor SR Primer Brass, $99.99/100

Lapua Grafs 6.5 Creedmoor small rifle primer brass small flashhole

Here’s an excellent value from our friends at Grafs.com. Lapua 6.5 Creedmoor cartridge brass with Small Rifle Primer and Small Flash-hole is on sale for $99.99 per 100 cases. This is quite simply the best 6.5 Creedmoor brass in the world. It will hold higher pressures, deliver more velocity, and hold up to more reloading cycles. Chances are you will also see more accuracy with this Lapua brass than with other brands. If you shoot a 6.5 Creedmoor, you may want to grab some now. Other vendors are charging a lot more. For example, this very same Lapua brass is $124.99 at MidwayUSA right now.

7. Amazon — Jialitte Scope Bubble Level, $12.49

Scope Optic bubble level 30mm 1
CHANGE ART NUMBER

All serious rifle shooters need a scope level. This nicely designed Jialitte Scope Bubble Level features a 30mm milled inside diameter, plus an inner insert ring so it will also fit 1″-diameter main tubes — that dual-diameter versatility is a nice feature. We also like the way the unit is nicely radiused, and has a low profile in the middle. Price is just $12.59 with free shipping. User reviews have been very positive. You could easily pay $35.00 or more for a 30mm scope level. Purchasers have praised this product — nearly all verified buyers rated this five stars.

8. Amazon — Neiko Digital Calipers, $17.85

Amazon Neiko Digital Caliper

Even if you have a good set of calipers, you may want to get one of these Neiko 01407A Digital Calipers. The #1 best-selling digital caliper on Amazon.com, this Neiko tool features a large LCD Screen and measures up to 6.0 inches. With over 3000 customer reviews, this product has earned an overall rating of 4.4 out of 5 stars. It’s hard to go wrong for $17.85, even if you just use these as a spare set for measuring group sizes and case trim lengths.

9. Amazon — Two Rolls of 3″ Neon Target Stickers, $14.95

Red Orange Neon 3

We like these bright, Neon 3″ target stickers. They are big enough to see easily at 600 yards, giving you a 1/2 MOA target center at that distance. For $14.95 at Amazon.com, you get 250 3″-diameter self-adhesive centers (125 targets per roll) that stick to almost any surface The high-contrast fluorescent red/orange color provides an excellent HI-VIZ aiming point, along with good contrast for bullet holes that fall within the 3″ circle. To help line up your reticle cross-hairs, the target centers feature black markers at 3, 6, 9, and 12 0’Clock. NOTE: These stickers may qualify for FREE Shipping with combined orders over $25.00.

Permalink Bullets, Brass, Ammo, Hot Deals, Optics, Reloading No Comments »
March 17th, 2018

.224 Valkyrie Load Data for 52gr to 95gr Bullets from Sierra

224 .224 Valkyrie Sierra Bullets load data reloading .223 Remington F-TR High Power cartridge Federal

If you own an AR, you’ve probably heard of the hot, new .224 Valkyrie cartridge. Basically a 6.8 SPC necked down to .22, the Valkyrie has a shorter case than the .223 Remington (and 5.56×45 NATO). This allows you to load the longest, heaviest .224-caliber bullets and still feed reliably from an AR15-type magazine. With Sierra’s remarkable new 95-grain MatchKing, this gives the little Valkyrie long-range performance that can rival some much larger cartridge types. Sierra Bullets states: “The [Valkyrie] case length is shorter than the 223 Remington affording the use of heavier match-grade bullets with very long ogives and high ballistic coefficients. This offers … super-sonic velocities at ranges greater than the .223 Remington and the 6.5 Grendel can achieve at magazine length”.

If you’re considering a .224 Valkyrie, you’re in luck — Sierra Bullets has just released comprehensive LOAD DATA for this new cartridge. Sierra has published loads for a broad range of bullet weights from 52 grains all the way up to 95 grains. Loads for 20 bullet types and 22 powders* are listed.

DOWNLOAD Complete Sierra .224 Valkyrie LOAD DATA PDF »

Shown below is Sierra’s load data for bullet weights from 77 grains to 90 grains. Values in green indicate MAXIMUM loads — use CAUTION. NOTE: This is only a partial sample, less than a third of the data Sierra has published. Download Sierra’s Full 4-page PDF to view all the data, including load information for Sierra’s new 95gr .224-caliber MatchKing with claimed 0.600 G1 BC.


Sierra Bullets Load Data for .224 Valkyrie (Partial Sample)

224 .224 Valkyrie Sierra Bullets load data reloading .223 Remington F-TR High Power cartridge Federal

224 .224 Valkyrie Sierra Bullets load data reloading .223 Remington F-TR High Power cartridge Federal

224 .224 Valkyrie barrel cut-down test velocity 90gr Sierra MatchKing Fusion SP TMK

The new .224 Valkyrie was introduced late last year as a Hot Rod cartridge that will work in AR15s. Designed to rival the .22 Nosler while still running well in ARs, the new .224 Valkyrie offers excellent long-range performance when loaded with modern, high-BC bullets. We expect some bolt-action PRS shooters might adopt the .224 Valkyrie. Why? Reduced recoil. With the 90gr SMK, the .224 Valkyrie offers ballistics similar to the 6.5 Creedmoor but with significantly less felt recoil. Check out this chart from Federal showing comparative recoil levels:

.224 Valkyrie Federal Rifleshooter.com cut-down barrel

* All the following powders were tested, but not all for each bullet weight: Accurate 2520, Accurate XMR 2495, Accurate 4064, Hodgdon AR Comp, Hodgdon Benchmark, Hodgdon CFE 223, Hodgdon H335, Hodgdon H380, Hodgdon H4895, Hodgdon Varget, IMR 4064, IMR 4166, IMR 8208 XBR, Power Pro 2000 MR, Power Pro Varmint, Ramshot Big Game, Ramshot TAC, Reloder 10X, Reloder 15, Reloder 17, Vihtavuori N540, Winchester 760.

Permalink Bullets, Brass, Ammo, New Product, Reloading 5 Comments »
March 16th, 2018

Reloading Gear Review: Lyman Case Prep Xpress

Lyman Case Prep Xpress gear review

For a few years now, Lyman has offered the Case Prep Xpress, an all-in-one case prep center that chamfers necks (inside and out), cleans and uniforms primer pockets, brushes the inside of case-necks, and uniforms flash holes. The unit can also ream out the crimps on military brass. However, the Lyman Case Prep Xpress does NOT trim cases.

The Lyman Case Prep Xpress comes with all the necessary tools (listed above), so you don’t have to purchase extra accessories. The five (5) gear-driven heads on the unit are powered by a high torque, low-speed motor ideal for case prep operations. Lyman’s Case Prep Xpress features handy storage areas for accessories, a removable brass shavings dump pan, and a handy clean-up brush.

Sinclair Int’l video clearly illustrates all case prep functions. Worth watching.

In the 5 years that this product has been on the market it has been a strong seller. If you’re prepping hundreds of cases, this unit will save considerable time and reduce hand/finger fatigue. While the Case Prep Xpress is not as sturdy as the metal-bodied Hornady prep center, the Lyman unit offers a lot of functionality for the money ($115-$125 normal price, and sometimes around $100 on sale).

Lyman Case Prep Xpress gear review

Lyman Case Prep Xpress Pros and Cons

GOOD Features
Quite Affordable (under $120)
Compatible with RCBS and Redding Tool-heads
Removable Bin for Shavings
Four Brush Sizes: .25, .30, .38, .45
Compact Footprint

Not-So-Good Features
Tool-heads Not Particularly Sharp
No Case Trim Function
No Flash-hole Uniformer
No Top Dust-Cover
Only 1-Year Warranty

Reviews by Verified Purchasers

“Case prep is the most tedious and boring aspect for hand loading in my opinion. The process center makes all the steps in prepping the case very quick and with consistent results. It has reduced the time required to do these steps with separate tools by easily 50% if not more. Highly recommended.” — Brandon G.

“Quiet and capable. Worth every penny. I adapted a Lee Cutter and Lock Stud, to cut case lengths, and I can fly through my brass. I can do so much more brass without getting the sore, cramped-up hands.” — Dean Ellis

“This unit has plenty of torque, and my unit is very quiet. This unit will also work with tools made by RCBS and Hornady, or anything else with 8-32 threads. My Redding tools (specifically, my primer pocket uniformers) do in fact fit on this machine. This unit is certainly worth the money, and will revolutionize the way you reload by saving you massive amounts of time and wear on your hands/fingers.” — Mule

“A simple machine to perform complex solutions. I was up and running in about 10 minutes flat. This thing has made my life of reloading so much easier. I do wish there was a trimmer included, but I have a manual one from L.E. Wilson.” — Richard Niles

Lyman Case Prep XpressYou can find Lyman’s Case Prep Xpress for under $100.00 at Amazon and under $120.00 at Brownells, making it much less expensive than the larger Hornady Case Prep Center, which runs over $450.00. The Hornady unit is beefier, and will trim cases. However, we think the compact Lyman unit makes sense for guys who already have a good case trimmer, such as a Forster or Wilson. The Lyman Case Prep Xpress is hundreds of dollars less than the Hornady prep center. The money you save will buy lots of bullets and brass.

Case Prep Xpress $99.99 at Amazon
The Lyman Case Prep Xpress is sold by most of the big vendors. The best current price we found was at Amazon, which sells the Lyman unit for $99.99, with free shipping.

Gear Review Tip from Edlongrange. We welcome reader submissions.
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March 11th, 2018

How to Craft Your Own Chamber Length Gauge

do it yourself chamber length gauge Sinclair case neck

We are sad to report that long-time Forum member Frank S. (aka fdShuster) passed away in 2015. Frank was a very knowledgeable shooter who was always willing to help others. Here is one of Frank’s smart inventions. He devised a way to measure the length of a rifle’s chamber using a fired cartridge case. Frank’s system works by cutting a “collar” from part of the case neck. This then slips over a bullet seated in a case loaded without powder or primer. As you chamber the dummy round, the collar will move back to indicate the full length of the chamber. (Make sure the bullet is seated well off the lands so the dummy round can chamber fully.)

do it yourself chamber length gauge Sinclair case neck

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Permalink Bullets, Brass, Ammo, Reloading 8 Comments »
March 8th, 2018

eBook Edition of Zeglin’s ‘Wildcat Cartridges’ Now Available

Zegline Wildcat Cartridges ManualFred Zeglin has released a Kindle eBook edition of his popular book Wildcat Cartridges — Reloader’s Handbook of Wildcat Cartridge Design. Gunsmith/author Zeglin explains: “The print edition of Wildcat Cartridges has gone out of print. We have plans to produce a second edition, but that is currently on the back burner. Demand of this book has remained strong so the decision to offer the first edition in a e-book format was made.” The Kindle eBook edition retails for $9.99 on Amazon.com. You can preview a FREE SAMPLE of the book to “try before you buy”.

CLICK HERE to Read FREE eBook Sample from Zeglin’s Wildcat Cartridges

This is more than just a history of cartridges. Dimensional drawings and loading data accompany many of the cartridge descriptions. More recent and popular designs are included as well as the “classic” older wildcats. There are chapters about important cartridge designers like P.O. Ackley, Jerry Gebby, Rocky Gibbs, and Charles Newton. (The hardback edition of the book contains 288 pages of stories, illustrations, instructions, and data.)

Gunwriter Wayne Van Zwoll says Zeglin’s book is a valuable resource: “Fred has illustrated his book well, with neat line drawings and photos you probably won’t find anywhere else. It’s a rare technical treatise that draws you in with illustration, or that keeps you with an easy flow of chat that, were it lifted from print, might pop up at any gun counter or handloading bench. Fred Zeglin has done well with this book, giving wildcatters – indeed, all rifle enthusiasts – an overview of a culture often mentioned but little explored on the page.”

Writing about the 2005 Print Edition of Wildcat Cartridges, Big Bore Journal declared: “This is a fantastic book on American wildcats, US loads and much more. A must have for wildcatters and gunsmiths.”

About the Author
An award-winning writer, Fred Zeglin operates Z-Hat Custom, and Hawk Cartridges. Fred has taught classes for the NRA Gunsmithing Schools in Colorado and Oklahoma. He served as production manager for McGowen Precision Barrels for a time, and was a tech advisor for 4D Reamer Rentals. To learn more about Z-Hat and Fred’s Wildcat Cartridges eBook, contact:

Z-Hat Custom Inc.
Fred Zeglin
432 E. Idaho St., Suite C420
Kalispell, MT 59901

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March 7th, 2018

Try Ballistol Lube for Case Sizing, STP for Neck Turning

If you’re using a body die or a full-length sizing die, try using Ballistol (in the aerosol can) as a lube. It works GREAT without the tacky or gooey residue left by most case lubes. It will also clean off carbon residues on the neck as you lube the case. Just spray a little on a cotton patch (or your fingertips) and wipe each case before you run it up into the die. If you are using a steel neck bushing, be sure to wipe the neck as well. You can usually do a half-dozen BR-sized cases before you need to re-apply Ballistol on the patch. Ballistol is non-toxic, bio-degradeable, and will not harm your skin. It is very slippery, but can easily be removed with a rag or paper towel. Try it–you may retire your One-Shot. Ballistol can also be used to protect wood stocks.

Note, for heavy case-forming or necking up case necks, we still recommend a thicker lubricant, such as Imperial Die Wax. But for normal case sizing, after your neck has been expanded, Ballistol will do the job, and you won’t need to tumble the brass afterwards. All you need is a very thin layer of Ballistol, and this easily wipes off with a paper towel.

For Neck-Turning, Try STP Blend or Assembly Lube
For lubing the neck-turning tool mandrel while turning case necks, many folks use a blend of STP® Oil Treatment and Mobil 1 lube. Chuckw2 reports: “Try STP and Mobile 1 Synthetic oil in a 50/50 mixture. Very slick, you will need to tumble your cases after turning.” STP is a very thick lubricant, that flows and clings almost like honey. Jason reports the STP blend comes off easily in an ultra-sound bath, using a bit of detergent. STP is also now available in a convenient 7-ounce tube, so you don’t have to buy a large bottle.

Assembly LubeAnother even cheaper option is assembly lubricant. For turning his case necks, RStreich uses assembly lube from an auto parts store. He notes: “The brand I have is reddish in color and kind of sticky like honey. It’s far better than the Imperial die wax I was using before.” There are a variety of types, both with and without moly additive, and you can select the viscosity you prefer if you sample a few brands. Be sure to clean out any lube residue from the inside of your necks when you have completed your neck-turning.

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