March 8th, 2021

Bargain Finder 285: AccurateShooter’s Deals of the Week

AccurateShooter Deals of the Week Weekly Bargain Finder Sale Discount Savings

At the request of our readers, we provide select “Deals of the Week”. Every Sunday afternoon or 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. Midsouth — RCBS Explorer Reloading Kit, $399.99

RCBS reloading press combo kit L-N-L Explorer
RCBS Kit includes all vital tools — good for new hand-loaders

In recent months, there has been very high demand for reloading tools. Many popular presses and combo kits have been sold out. Here’s good news — Midsouth has received Press Kits from RCBS. Great for folks getting started in reloading, this kit includes the single-stage press, powder measure, priming tool, trickler, digital scale, load manual, and various accessories. Get the RCBS Explorer Kit 2 for $399.99. But don’t delay. Midsouth also had a Hornady L-N-L Classic Kit for $373.91 but that sold out in 3 days.

2. Grafs.com — BOG Deathgrip Camo Tripod, $179.95

Bogpod camo deathgrip PRS tripod hunting

Versatile tripod mounts quickly, securely — use for PRS/NRL or hunting

If you are a long-range hunter, or shoot PRS/NRL matches, this is a great tripod. The Clamp-type head quickly secures to your rifle’s forearm for a secure shooting solution. Hunters will favor the BOG Deathgrip Tripod with New-for-2021 RealTree Excape Camo offered by Grafs.com for $179.95. If you are happy with a basic black aluminum version, MidwayUSA has the older black BOG Deathgrip Tripod for $129.99 on sale (ADD to cart to see this price).

3. Palmetto SA — Typhoon AR-style 12 GA Shotgun, $599.99

typhoon defenses 12 ga gauge magazine mag-fed shotgun
Formidable 12ga power with familiar AR15 ergonomics

This mag-fed, semi-automatic X12 shotgun offers familiar AR-15 ergonomics and controls. This Typhoon Defense 12ga scattergun features a 7075 T6 aluminum upper receiver constructed and a lightweight polymer lower receiver. The X12 ships with three (3) 5-round magazines and multiple chokes. Recent purchaser was pleased: “Once [broken in] cycles through weak and hot ammo easily.” The mags, which require some effort to load, hold both 2 3/4″ and 3″ 12ga shells.

4. Amazon — Frankford Universal Bullet Seating Die, $59.99

frankford arsenal universal seating die
Smart new Die System simplifies loading multiple cartridge types

Are you tired of buying another expensive seating die every time you try a new cartridge type? With the unique Frankford Arsenal Universal Bullet Seating Die you can have one die that loads multiple cartridge type. This cleaver bullet seating system includes 3 different stems and 9 sleeves allowing you to seat .224 to .338-caliber bullets with this one die system. Forum members using this system have praised it. NOTE: the universal seating die comes with the .308-caliber sleeve pre-installed. The other 8 sleeves are provided in the box.

5. Bushnell — 20% OFF Hunting Scopes ($150.00 Max Rebate)

Bushnell hunting scope 20% Off rebate sale bargain cash back
Great Rebate program for Bushnell scopes purchased this month

Need a hunting scope? Then check out this 20% OFF Bushnell Rebate. Get 20% Back on any BUSHNELL hunting riflescope priced OVER $179.99. Product must be purchased in the month of March between 3/1/2021 through 3/31/2021. Maximum rebate value is $150 per person or household. NOTE: This Rebate excludes Bushnell tactical riflescopes. DEADLINE for mail in or online submission 4/30/2021. CLICK HERE for REBATE FORM.

6. Amazon — Frankford Arsenal Lite Tumbler, $79.99

Frankford Arsenal wet tumbling tumbler Lite sale $79.99
Great price — save 44% on Wet Tumbler for brass

Wet tumbling works very effectively to get your brass “squeaky clean” inside and out. And right now you can get a good mid-sized tumbling system at huge savings. The Frankford Arsenal Lite Tumbler is just $79.99 at Amazon, a 44% savings off the regular price. This direct-drive unit with 3.3L capacity can hold up to 300 pieces of .223 Rem brass. We recommend adding Frankford’s Rotary Tumbler Straining Cap, sold separately.

7. Natchez — Bushnell Nitro 5-20x44mm $229.49 (Save $270.50)

Bushnell Nitro 5-20x44mm SFP scope varmint
Good scope option for budget varmint rifle

Putting together a varmint rifle for the spring. Here’s a killer deal on a 5-20x44mm Bushnell Nitro. This is a second focal plane scope with a nice, MOA-based reticle. With this deal you can save 54% off the regular $499.99 price. If you are looking for a lower-magnification scope, consider the 2.5-10x44mm Nitro for just $169.49 a $180 savings.

8. Amazon — Caldwell NRR 23 Muffs + Shooting Glasses, $28.69

Caldwell electronic E-Max ear muffs low profile shooting Glasses NRR 23
Sweet deal on Ear and Eye Protection — good spare set for friends

Every shooter needs good eye and ear protection. Get BOTH the E-Max Muffs and Shooting glasses for just $28.69 on Amazon with free shipping. This combo can be an affordable spare set for yourself or to have on hand for your guests. The E-Max earmuffs offer a 23 dB Noise Reduction Rating while allowing you to hear range commands.

9. Midsouth — Caldwell AR500 Steel Targets, starting $14.79

Caldwell AR500 steel yellow target gong
Great deals for AR500 steel targets — watch video above right

On sale now at Midsouth Caldwell’s new bright, easy-to-see targets come in all shapes and sizes for competition, training, and recreational use. Made of AR500 hardened steel, these targets can withstand thousands of rounds. Rated up to a 3000 fps impact velocity and a 3500 ft-lb impact energy, these targets come in seven various sizes with three hanging solutions. These bright yellow AR500 targets are On Sale now at Midsouth, starting at just $14.79 for 5″ Gong Target.

10. Amazon — Motion-Sensor LED Interior Light, $14.99

gun safe light vault cabinet motion sensor light motion sensing LED magnet lamp
Activates when door opens, Rechargeable, 3 LED Light Levels

Here’s a great accessory for your Gun Safe or closet. This rechargeable LED Lamp turns itself on when you open the door, and off when you close the door. Select three brightness levels: 10LED, 20LED, 30LED. With the supplied 3M adhesive magnetic strip you can easily attach the light to the inner walls of your gun safe. And then quickly remove the unit for charging with a standard USB cord (no batteries to replace!). It works, it’s handy, and it’s inexpensive — just $14.99 on Amazon. These motion-sensor LED lamps can also be used in garages or stairwells. NOTE: this is Amazon’s choice for rechargeable LED Motion-Sensor lights.

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March 8th, 2021

Learn Basics of Handloading with 4-Part Video Series

tactical life reloading video series rcbs barnes

With 7 million new gun owners, and ammo hard to find at reasonable cost, hundreds of thousands of Americans are looking to get started with handloading. While we always recommend new reloaders have a living, breathing human teacher/mentor. It is possible to learn important skills through instructional videos. Here’s a good 4-part series that can help reloading novices AND serve as a refresher course for those who need to brush up their skill set).

In Tactical Life’s new Reloading Zone Series, Frank Melloni, of Renaissance Firearms Instruction and the Hodgdon Reloading Roadshow, covers the basic steps of reloading. From equipment selection to reading a manual, Frank explains the process and demonstrates how to produce safe and accurate ammo. In the series, the host loads pistol and rifle ammunition using Hodgdon powder, Barnes Bullets, and Starline brass. RCBS Presses, Powder Measures, Scales, and Dies are used along with the impressive new dual-tube RCBS MatchMaster electronic scale/dispenser.

This 4-part video series first guides the new hand-loader through the gear/hardware selection process. Then the videos cover, step-by-step, all the key processes of reloading from start to finish. If you are new to hand-loading, or just want a reloading refresher course, we recommend you watch this 4-part series from Tactical Life, part of the Athlon Outdoors Network.

WARNING!! We have embedded the Videos below. You can watch ALL four videos, but each will play back at the TOP. NOTE: They are all the same for the first 30 seconds, so you may want to skip forward. These videos may play back better if you go to the Tactical Life Website. Access: CLICK HERE.

The complete book of reloading tactical life video seriesLearn More in Tactical Life’s The Complete Book of Reloading (2020 Edition)

This publication includes over 2000 handgun and rifle loads. In addition, The Complete Book of Reloading (2020) reviews 8 modern Progressive Presses. Take note — there is a special report on the LabRadar Chronograph. Long-range Hunters will enjoy a feature article on the new 6.5 PRC Cartridge. In the “Handloaders’ Stockpile” a variety of new products to make your hours at the bench more productive are reviewed. The issue also has feature stories on Wildcat Cartridges, Subsonic loads, and .44 Magnum loads for both rifle and pistol. There is a Bonus 33-Page Hodgdon and Alliant Load Data Guide.

CLICK HERE for more details.

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March 7th, 2021

RCBS Chargemaster Lite — Three Product Review Videos

RCBS ChargeMaster Lite video reviews

Many thousands of hand-loaders, including this Editor, acquired the original RCBS ChargeMaster 1500 powder scale/dispenser. Mine has worked well for many years. Yes I do have to watch for scale drift, and I use a high-end Force-Restoration scale when loading for major matches, but the original ChargeMaster has served me well, throwing thousands of charges over the years.

RCBS ChargeMaster Lite Reviews

A few years ago, RCBS introduced a new version of the ChargeMaster, the RCBS Chargemaster Lite. This newer unit has some features we really like. The new touch screen is easy to use and the powder tray cover slips off easily — no more hinges to fight. Most importantly the CM Lite has a redesigned, fluted dispensing tube which delivers powder kernels in a smooth flow with no clumps. The RCBS Rep told us “No more McDonald’s straw required”. We tested the unit and it does seem like the newly-designed dispensing tube is better. In fact, this new design will be adapted to the next generation of larger ChargeMasters. The ChargeMaster Lite ships complete with calibration check weights and cleaning brush. MSRP is $299.95 with “street price” around $239.99 at Amazon.

If you’re interested in the RCBS ChargeMaster Lite, here are three recent video product reviews. By watching these videos you can see all the features of the ChargeMaster Lite demonstrated. In the third video, the host also “compares and contrasts” the ChargeMaster Lite with the original ChargeMaster 1500, explaining the differences between the two units. Have at it:

Panhandle Precision ChargeMaster Lite Bench Test and Demo (Good Detailed Review):

Here is the RCBS Press Release: “The new RCBS ChargeMaster Lite packs unparalleled powder-measuring accuracy in a compact package. The one-piece unit features an LCD touchscreen display that ensures accurate data input. The hopper holds nearly a pound of smokeless powder, and can dispense anywhere between 2 to 300 grains with a +/-0.1-grain accuracy.”

UltimateReloader ChargeMaster Lite Unboxing:

Original ChargeMaster 1500 vs. ChargeMaster Lite:

Worth Considering Also — the Frankford Arsenal Platinum Series Intellidropper
Frankford Arsenal also offers an electronic powder scale/dispenser, the Intellidropper. This unit dispenses quickly, loads can be controlled with a Mobile App. Two years ago we did an in-depth Intellidropper Review. If you are in the market for a powder scale/dispenser, you should definitely consider the Intellidropper as well as the RCBS Chargemaster Lite. Watch this video to see how it works:

The Intellidropper is the most high-tech powder scale/dispenser to hit the market. This machine offers a unique powder calibration mode and the first-ever, mobile APP-controlled powder dispensing system. With a retail price under $200, the new Intellidropper is $70 less than the ChargeMaster Lite.

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March 6th, 2021

How to Hydro-Form Cartridge Brass — Save Money and Barrel Life

6mm Dasher hydroforming case die hornady

Can you form a wildcat cartridge such as the 6mm Dasher or 6 BRA (BR Ackley) without expending primer, powders, and bullets? Absolutely. Using the hydro-forming method you can form improved cases in your workshop with no firing whatsoever, so there is no wear on your precious barrel. Watch this video to see how it’s done for the 6 Dasher:

6 Dasher Case Hydro-Forming Demonstration:

Forum member Wes J. (aka P1ZombieKiller) has produced a helpful video showing how to form Dasher cases use the Hornady Hydraulic forming die kit. This includes a two-part die (body and piston), and a special shell holder. To form the case, you insert a primer in your virgin brass, top the case off with with a fluid (water or alcohol), then run the case up into the Hydro-forming die. A few stout whacks with a hammer and your case is 95% formed.

6mm Dasher hydroforming hydraulic 6mmBR hornadyHydro-Forming Procedure Step-by-Step:
1. Insert spent primer in new 6mmBR brass case.
2. Fill with water or alcohol (Wes prefers alcohol).
3. Wipe excess fluid off case.
4. Place case in special Hornady shell-holder (no primer hole).
5. Run case up into Hydraulic forming die.
6. Smack top piston of forming die 3-4 times with rubber mallet or dead-blow hammer.
7. Inspect case, re-fill and repeat if necessary.
8. Drain alcohol (or water) into container.
9. Remove primer (and save for re-use).
10. Blow-dry formed case. Inspect and measure formed case.

Wes achieves very uniform cartridge OALs with this method. He measured ten (10) hydro-formed 6 Dasher cases and got these results: two @ 1.536″; 2 @ 1.537″; and 6 @ 1.538″.

Three or Four Whacks Produces a 95%-Formed Case
With a Hornady hydro-forming die, hydraulic pressure does the job of blowing out the shoulders of your improved case. The process is relatively simple. Place a spent primer in the bottom of a new piece of brass. Fill the case with water, and then slip it into a special Hornady shell-holder with no hole in the middle. Then you run the case up into the forming die. Now comes the fun part. You gently insert a plunger (hydraulic ram) from the top, and give it three or four stiff whacks with a mallet (or better yet, a dead-blow hammer). Remove the plunger and you have a 95% formed case, ready to load.

Walter Queen Hydraulic Hornady DieSpecial Shell-Holder
Hornady supplies a shell holder made specifically for the hydro die; there’s no hole in the bottom of it. Just insert a spent primer into the primer pocket and you’re ready to go. The spent primer, combined with the solid shell holder, keeps the water from seeping out of the primer pocket. The primer pushes out a little bit during this process, but it’s impossible for it to come out because of the way the shell holder is designed. The shell holder has a grove which allows the case to slide out of the shell holder even when the primer protrudes a bit.

Another Option — Hydro-Forming by DJ’s Brass Service
If you want to hydro-form your brass to save barrel life but you don’t want to go through the effort, or purchase the hydro-forming dies, there is a very good option. Darrell Jones of DJ’s Brass Service will do the job for a modest charge. You send Darrel your brass and he does all the hard work, preparing perfectly formed brass. Darrell can also anneal and/or neck-turn your cases — all for a reasonable fee.

DJ's Brass hydroform hydro-formingDJ’s Brass Service offers case hydro-forming to your exact specs. Darrell Jones offers this service for a variety of popular cartridges: 6 PPC, 30 PPC, 30 BR, 6 BRA (BR Ackley), 6mm Grinch, 6 BRDX, 6 BRX, .260 Ackley, .284 Shehane and of course the very popular 6mm Dasher. After hydro-forming your brass, Darrell can also neck-up or neck-down the cases to meet your needs. For example, if you shoot a 22 Dasher, Darrell can hydro-form the cases to a 6 Dasher and then neck them down to .22 caliber. He can also turn the necks to your specs (for an additional charge). Hydro-forming by Darrell costs $0.60 (sixty cents) per case with a minimum order of $60 per hundred. NOTE: After cases are hydro-formed by Darrell, every case is washed, cleaned, and re-annealed. This cleaning and annealing process is included in the $0.60 (sixty cents) per case price.

DJ's Brass hydro-forming neck turning case forming

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March 4th, 2021

Shoulder Bump — Five Cool Tools to Measure Your Bump

shoulder bump headspace gauge comparator tool whidden manson

The Tactical Rifle Shooters Facebook Group recently showcased tools used to measure case headspace before and after “bumping” the shoulder. After a case is fired, hand-loaders who full-length size their cases will typically bump the shoulders back anywhere from .001″ to .0035″, depending on the rifle and application. With our 6mmBR and Dasher cases we like about .0015″ bump.

You want the amount of case sizing and bump to be the same for all your brass. To ensure uniformity, it makes sense to measure your cases before and after the FL sizing process. When we have time, we check every case. Other folks will simply check the first 3-4 cases coming out of the FL sizing die to ensure the FL die setting is correct and delivering desired headspace/bump.

1. Whidden Gunworks Shoulder Bump Gauge

shoulder bump headspace gauge comparator tool whidden manson

There are a variety of tools that can be used to measure shoulder bump. Our favorite is a special cartridge-specific bushing made by Whidden Gunworks. The Whidden Shoulder Bump Gauge enables you to adjust your sizing die to the desired measurement. The bump gauge is attached to your calipers with a set screw and determines the measurement from the base to the shoulder of the case. The photo below, from Tactical Rifle Shooters, shows the Whidden Bump Gauge for the .375 CheyTac cartridge.

2. Dave Manson Vertical Comparator with Dial Read-Out

shoulder bump headspace gauge comparator tool whidden manson
Background image courtesy Tactical Rifle Shooters; inset photo from Manson Precison Reamers.

Dave Manson states: “This tool was designed to make life easier for the advanced shooter and re-loader by allowing precise measurement of ammunition, case, and chamber headspace. With this information, the re-loader will be able to fine-tune clearances and fits between his ammunition and chamber, with resultant improvements in accuracy and case life.” The functions of the Manson Comparator are:

1. Measure headspace of factory or reloaded ammunition
2. Quantify chamber headspace by measuring headspace of a fired case
3. Ensure minimal shoulder set-back when setting up re-loading dies
4. Compare base-to-ogive length to ensure consistent bullet-to-rifling relationship.

In addition to the Dial Indicator and Stand, the $130.00 Vertical Comparator is supplied with multiple Datum Blocks of precise length and inside diameter (.3300″/.3750″/.4000″/.4375″). MORE INFO HERE — Catalog page 20.

3. Hornady L-N-L Headspace Comparator System

shoulder bump headspace gauge comparator tool whidden manson

Hornady’s Lock-N-Load Headspace Comparator system is easy-to-use and handy. You can get a kit with Red bushing-holder body and 5 bushings for $40.12. Hornady explains: “The Lock-N-Load® Headspace Comparator… gauge measures variations in brass before and after firing or re-sizing. It allows for headspace comparison between fire-formed brass and re-sized brass.” IMPORTANT: Hornady states: “To determine the proper bushing diameter for your cartridge, simply add the neck diameter and the shoulder diameter and divide that number by two. Use the bushing closest to that number.” Hornady offers five: .330″, .350″, .375″, .400″, and .420″.

One tip — We have found the Hornady gauges may vary a little from unit to unit even with the same nominal size. If you have more than one gauge for the same cartridge, test each on your brass — you may then note a slight difference in your bump measurements. There is also an Anvil Base Kit that mounts to the opposite blade on the caliper. This provides a more stable surface for the base of your case.

4. L.E. Wilson Case Gage Depth Micrometer

shoulder bump headspace gauge comparator tool whidden manson

If you are looking for precise “bump” measurements without having to mess with calipers and clamp-on gauge blocks, you may want to consider the L.E. Wilson Case Gage Depth Micrometer. This takes very precise, repeatable measurements, but you need to know your starting point. The manufacturer explains: “Every reloader should know exactly how much your Full Length Sizing Die is pushing back the shoulder. With the NEW Case Gage Depth Micrometer you can do just that! It has never been easier to measure you cases headspace before and after sizing. The Depth Mic allows you to slip the micrometer perfectly over the top of the Gage with your case inserted into the Gage and take a measurement. Micrometer has graduations of .001″. The Case Gage Depth Micrometer is set to a zero of .100″ on the scale at our factory. Because of differences in ‘feel’ and temperature, we include a the Gage Block for you to test Zero and to adjust if necessary.”

5. Pistol Brass Case DIY Bump Gauge

Last is a “field expedient” set-up if you do not have any of the comparator tools shown above. A sized .45 ACP case (or other suitable pistol case) can be used to measure shoulder bump. The mouth of the pistol case sits on the shoulder of your rifle cartridge brass.

Make sure the .45 ACP case is trimmed square and that it is round. We recommend you first run it through an expander, then size it, trim it and chamfer. Next, take the .45 ACP case and slip it over the neck of a fired, unsized rifle case with the primer removed. Align the two cases between the jaws of your calipers and note the length from rim to rim (See left photo below).

OK, now you have the length for a fired rifle case BEFORE sizing. Next, take a full-length sized rifle case (without primer) and do the same thing, placing the .45 ACP case over the neck of the FL-sized case (Right Photo). The difference between the two numbers is the amount of “bump” or set-back you are applying to the shoulder. Here the difference is .0015″. The amount of bump you need varies with your chamber and your load, but .0015-.002″ is a good initial setting.

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March 3rd, 2021

Reloading Can Be Fun … and a Stress-Reliever

Sierra Bullets Blog handloading stress relief

by Sierra Bullets Ballistic Technician Philip Mahin for Sierra Bullets Blog
A lot of calls that come into the Sierra Customer Service Center are made by shooters [of retirement age]. Most of the time the shooter used to reload back when they were [younger] and stopped in order to raise a family, pursue a career, or both. Maybe their father or grandfather taught them back in the day and they are looking for an answer to the new whatchamacallit they found on the internet. The point is they are coming back to it because it was fun.

Reloading Can Provide Stress Relief
As a father of three, a husband, a brother, a son and son-in-law, and a friend and neighbor, I get pulled in a lot of directions. In all honesty, reloading and shooting has become a stress relief for me even though I work in the shooting industry.

Sometimes, the shooting gets put on hold for other more important things but there will always be another project or repair to accomplish. There are a lot out there that have found a way to balance the work life, the family life, and the play life. I would like to applaud you on your efforts because it is a hard thing to accomplish.

Remember to take time and relieve that stress. Do something fun, especially if it is shooting that special hand-load you just made.

AccurateShooter Comment — Hand-Loading and the Creative Process
Reloading your own precise ammo can be rewarding in many ways. First it allows you a temporary escape from work pressures, “Honey-Dos”, filing your taxes — whatever. It’s just you and Mr. Rockchucker spending quality time in the loading room. Second, hand-loading is a creative process that engages the mind. During load development, you are like an inventor, selecting a powder charge, choosing the bushing size, experimenting with seating depths, working to perfect your load.

Lastly, the process of hand-loading is rewarding because you are building something start to finish. You begin with components — bullets, brass, and powder, and end up with a finished product that (hopefully) is better than the best factory ammo you could buy. It is enormously satisfying to start with piles of bullets and brass and end up with beautiful hand-loads that can deliver great accuracy.

This post originally appeared in the Sierra Bullets Blog.

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March 3rd, 2021

Forster Co-Ax Press Features Showcased in Video

Forster Co-Ax Coax Reloading Press Grafs Grafs.com Sale Co-Axial rockchucker

In recent months, Forster Co-Ax® presses have been somewhat hard to find, as demand has out-stripped supply. But they are still worth looking for. The Co-Ax Single Stage Press accepts any standard 7/8″ X 14 reloading die, but Forster suggests using Forster Cross Bolt Lock Rings for best results. As the Co-Ax is currently back-ordered at most vendors, but you can try multiple sources.

If you are not yet familiar with the many unique features of the Forster Co-Ax, we recommend you watch the video embedded below. This shows how the press operates and highlights the design elements which set the Co-Ax apart from every other reloading press on the market.

Video Shows Special Features of Forster Co-Ax Reloading Press

Forster Co-Ax Press Video Review
This is a very thorough review of the Forster Co-Ax done by Rex Roach. This 14-minute video shows the key Co-Ax features, explaining how the floating case-holder jaws work (3:30 time-mark), how the dies are held in place (4:40 time-mark), how spent primers are captured (6:10 time-mark), and how to set the primer seating depth (10:00 time-mark). We’ve used a Co-Ax for years and we still learned a few new things by watching this detailed video. If you are considering purchasing a Co-Ax, definitely watch this video start to finish.

Forster Co-Ax Coax Reloading Press Grafs Grafs.com Sale Co-Axial rockchucker

The Co-Ax case-holder features spring-loaded, floating jaws. These jaws have two sets of openings, small and large. This allows the system to adapt to various rim diameters. The jaw plates can simply be reversed to switch from small jaw to large jaw. In the photo above, the Co-Ax is configured with the large jaw openings in the center.

Photos are screen shots from Forster Co-Ax Review by Rex Roach on YouTube.

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February 27th, 2021

Gear Review: Lyman Reloading Press Stand — “It’s a Keeper”

lyman universal press stand review Dillon 550 Forster Co-Ax bench lift reloading

I absolutely love using this press stand. I use it with my Forster Co-Ax as well as my Dillon 550. The stand mounts those presses at the right height to minimize fatigue and maximize torque. Some products I merely review and return but this one is a keeper and won’t be leaving my bench anytime soon. — F-Class John

Lyman Universal Press Stand REVIEW

Product Review by F-Class John
Positioning your press at the optimal height is one of the oldest problems in reloading. Most presses sit low off the edge leading to uncomfortable arm strain or inconsistent pressure being applied while using. Lyman has set out to fix that problem with a reasonably-priced ($54.99 at Midsouth) press riser that works with the vast majority of reloading presses. This unit will raise just about any press up off your bench securely, allowing you to working more comfortably from a standing position. This also frees up vital bench space UNDER the press. Unfortunately this press stand is so popular it is back-ordered at most vendors.

lyman universal press stand review Dillon 550 Forster Co-Ax bench lift reloading

I have used a variety of presses over the years. At times I’ve run into issues mounting a press at a level that doesn’t promote arm or hand strain during normal operations. In the past I’ve used blocks of wood or even tried other brands’ proprietary stands. But I had very limited success with those options. Accordingly, I was very excited to give the Lyman Universal Press Stand a chance.

Lyman’s Universal Press Stand comes complete with side plates, two different top plates, and a large collection of mounting hardware. The two top plates are pre-drilled for numerous popular Single Stage or Progressive presses. Helpful diagrams and instructions show which side of the top plate you need to use. The pre-drilled holes accommodate a variety of presses from RCBS, Dillon, Lyman, Redding, and Hornady. But surprisingly, the plates are not pre-configured for the Forster Co-Ax Press.

CLICK to WATCH VIDEO Showing Lyman Universal Press Stand

Setting up the stand was very simple. The two sides bolt to the lower shelf unit at which point you attach the top plate. All the supplied bolts made this a breeze and once everything was snugged down, I was able to place it on my bench where I wanted it and mark the drill holes to mount it. After securing the stand to my bench it was time to mount my press.

Lyman Universal Press Stand with Dillon 550 Press

lyman universal press stand review Dillon 550 Forster Co-Ax bench lift reloading

Adapting Lyman Universal Press Stand for Forster Co-Ax
At the time of testing I was primarily using a Forster Co-Ax press. With no pre-drilled Co-Ax configuration for either Lyman top plate, I decided to customize the blank side of one of the top plates. I opted to position the mounting holes so that the press could sit 100% on top of the mounting plate and not just off one edge. I found this process simple to execute. Mark your drill holes, then drill the plate. This can easily be done with regular drill bits although using a step-bit worked faster and cleaner to help enlarge the holes just a little when I needed some extra clearance.

lyman universal press stand review Dillon 550 Forster Co-Ax bench lift reloading

Lyman Universal Press Stand Is Stable and Strong
Once set-up, I found the stand to be incredibly stable. The design allows for full force to be applied to the press no matter what the operation. Having used this Lyman Press stand regularly over the past few months with both my Co-Ax and a Dillon 550c, I still find myself loving it. The height is perfect and allows me to load as much as I like without straining my arm or getting fatigued. With an attractive price point (under $55.00 street price) and a simple design, I feel this is a great system for those looking for a secure and raised platform for their reloading presses.

The Universal Press Stand comes with two plates. If you have different presses that fit each plate you could easily swap presses just by changing plates while leaving the presses attached. It’s less functional if you have two presses that share one plate and would require removing one press before installing the next one.

lyman universal press stand review Dillon 550 Forster Co-Ax bench lift reloading

Lyman Press Stand Unboxing and Set-Up (KFW Video Review):

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February 26th, 2021

Hodgdon Powder Update — Why Are There Shortages?

Hodgdon Powder report supply pricing shortage

As any handloader knows, popular reloading powders have become difficult to find. And when you do locate the powder you want, the price might be twice what you paid a year ago (or even more on auction sites). Across the nation, shooters are asking “What gives? Why are powder prices so high? And when are the shortages going to end?”

Hodgdon Powder Company (“Hodgdon”), supplier of Hodgdon, IMR, and Winchester powders*, has attempted to answer these questions with a “Powder Update” posted yesterday. Along with addressing the shortage issues, Hodgdon explains the challenges involved in increasing production in the USA and/or increasing imports from overseas. The ultra-popular H4198, H4895, Varget, H4350, and H4831 family of powders are produced by ADI in Australia**. So Hodgdon can’t ship more Varget or H4350 in the USA unless Hodgdon can get more from Australia.

In the Powder Update reprinted below, Hodgdon answers many key questions, and debunks some misconceptions. For example, Hodgdon is NOT selling its powders on auction sites such as Gunbroker. That is completely false.

POWDER UPDATE from Hodgdon Powder Company

Hodgdon Powder report supply pricing shortageWHY CAN’T HODGDON SHIP MORE POWDER?
The current powder situation is due to a record demand for all reloading components and NOT a reduction in the supply of powder. With long-time handloaders looking to stock up and new gun owners looking for ammunition, there is an unprecedented demand for powder and other reloading components. We shipped a record amount of powder in 2020 and will ship even more in 2021. We are doing everything in our power to get the most powder into consumer hands this year. We are running overtime in our facilities, have hired additional staff and have leveraged relationships with shipping partners to add new shipping options.

WHY CAN’T HODGDON BUILD ANOTHER POWDER PLANT?
The “normal” powder demand for the United States would not support an additional plant. Hodgdon, like most companies, cannot afford to build a new production facility then have it sit idle until demand spikes.

WHY IS HODGDON SELLING POWDER TO THE GOVERNMENT?
Hodgdon does NOT sell powder directly to the government. We sell some powder to manufacturers making ammunition for our military, but that is a small part of our business.

WHY IS HODGDON SELLING POWDER TO AMMUNITION MANUFACTURERS?
The heart of our business is smokeless powder for the handloading enthusiast. Yes, we sell some powder to ammo manufacturers, but that is a small part of our business. Every day, we receive calls from potential OEM customers looking for powder to load in ammunition. We politely decline so we can focus on our long-term, handloading customers.

WHY IS HODGDON SELLING POWDER ON AUCTION SITES?
We don’t. Period. We recently began selling a limited amount of powder on our OWN websites but prioritize our shipments to our traditional sales channels to maximize powder availability at sporting goods and gun shops. [Editor: If you see Hodgdon powder on auction sites, that is listed by third party vendors.]

WHY IS THE PRICE OF POWDER SO HIGH ON THE INTERNET?
We do not set sale prices or MSRPs for the price of our powders at retail, nor do we encourage any of our retailers or dealers to sell on auction sites, but we cannot control what happens AFTER we sell to our traditional sales channels.

Hodgdon Powder report supply pricing shortage


* Hodgdon also sells certain Ramshot, Accurate, and Blackhorn powders along with Goex black powder.
** Here’s a list of ADI to Hodgdon Powder equivalents from the ADI FAQ Page:

ADI / Hodgdon Propellants Equivalents
ADI Powder Hodgdon/IMR Name
Trail Boss
AR2207
AR2219
BM2
Bench Mark 8208
AR2206H
AR2208
AR2209
AR2213H/AR2213SC
AR2217
AR2225
AR2218
Trail Boss
H4198
H322
Benchmark
8208 XBR
H4895
Varget
H4350
H4831 / H4831SC
H1000
Retumbo
H50BMG
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February 26th, 2021

7 SAFE: Seven Vital Safety Tips for Reloaders

seven reloading safety tips powder primers brownells manual

You can never be too safe when hand-loading your own ammunition. This helpful Brownells video outlines the Seven Fundamental Reloading Safety Tips. This is important information for novice hand-loaders and a good refresher for those with reloading experience!

Summary of the Seven Safety Tips:

1. Store your reloading supplies in a safe and dry location, away from children and away from any possible source of ignition. It is also smart to keep your powder and primers separate.

2. Get and use respected reloading manuals, especially for new cartridges. Start low and work up slowly while watching for warning signs of pressure and/or case fatigue.

3. Locate your reloading activity where you will not be distracted. If you get interrupted, stop. (Distractions will eventually lead to mistakes.)

4. Do NOT mix powders. Keep your powders clearly marked and dated. You can use masking tape to write the date on the container.

5. If you load the same cartridge type for different firearms, make sure your ammo headspaces properly in each gun.

6. Check cases frequently. Look for split necks, case head separation or other signs of fatigue and excessive pressure.

7. If reloading military brass, be aware that case capacity is usually reduced, and initial loads should be at least 10-15% lower than published data.


Here are some other tips that will help your avoid making costly mistakes (such as using the wrong powder, or undercharging a case):

  • Powder Type — Always double-check the label on your powder containers. After placing powder in the powder measure, put a piece of tape on the measure with the powder type written on it. Some guys write the powder type on a card and place that right in the hopper.
  • Scale Drift — Electronic balances can drift. If you are using a digital powder scale, calibrate the scale with a test weight every 50 rounds or so.
  • Case Fill — If you throw more than one charge at a time, look INSIDE every case before seating a bullet. Squib charges can be dangerous if you don’t notice them before firing the next round.
  • Progressive Presses — When using a progressive press, consider using an RCBS Lock-Out Die. This will detect a low charge and stop the machine. These dies will work with RCBS, Hornady, and Dillon progressives.

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February 25th, 2021

Watch Reloading Videos from Hodgdon Powder Company

Hodgdon Reloading Center Video

Hodgdon Reloading Center VideoHodgdon Powder Company (Hodgdon) offers a series of professionally-produced, “how-to” instructional videos through its online Reloading Data Center. These 3.5-minute videos present rifle, pistol, and shotshell reloading basics in an easy-to-understand,step-by-step format. These mobile-friendly, informative videos can also be viewed on a smart phone or tablet.

To watch the reloading videos go to the Reloading Data Center at hodgdon.com. Click to the right/left of the displayed video to switch between pistol, rifle, and shotgun videos. Or, for your convenience, we have embedded the Rifle and Pistol videos here. Just click to watch!

Click to Watch Hodgdon Rifle Reloading Video:

Click to Watch Hodgdon Pistol Reloading Video:

In addition to these videos, Hodgdon’s Reloading Data Center (RDC) provides a wealth of information on Hodgdon®, IMR®, and Winchester® propellants. Along with reliable load data, you’ll find explanations of reloading basics, safety procedures, plus answers to frequently asked questions (FAQ).

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February 22nd, 2021

Bargain Finder 283: AccurateShooter’s Deals of the Week

AccurateShooter Deals of the Week Weekly Bargain Finder Sale Discount Savings

At the request of our readers, we provide select “Deals of the Week”. Every Sunday afternoon or 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. KYGUNCO — Anderson AM-15 (AR) Lower Receiver, $89.99

ar15 gun rifle lower discount kygunco
More gun control is coming — get an AR lower while you can

With the developments in Washington, it will likely become more difficult to purchase an AR-platform rifle in the future. You may want to get an AR lower now, while you can, at a reasonable price. KYGUNGO (Kentucky Gun Co.) is selling the Anderson AM-15 AR15 Lower Receiver for just $89.99 (cash price) or $92.69 (credit card). This is a mil-spec 7075 T6 Forged aluminum lower, Type 3 Hard Anodized. Flat-Rate Shipping to your FFL is just $11.99. These will probably sell out quickly.

2. Midsouth — Delton AR-15 Lower Parts Kit with Grip, $52.99

ar15 gun rifle lower discount lower parts kit deltong kygunco
Very complete AR-15 parts kit at low price

Here’s what you need to fill up that AR-15 lower receiver featured above. This Delton Complete Lower Receiver Parts Kit contains all the attachment pins, trigger system parts, and springs you need, along with a classic AR grip. Installation is straight-forward with instructions available online.

3. Amazon — Tipton Best Gun Vise, $84.84

tipton gun vise sale
Versatile, stable, works with all rifles, including ARs

You need a stable platform when cleaning your long guns, but most gun cradles are too light or unstable to do the job properly. If you’re looking upgrade to a better solution, grab the Tipton Best Gun Vise. The vise was designed to accommodate the widest possible array of firearms for cleaning, maintenance, or gunsmithing. This vise is easily configurable to handle bolt-action rifles, break-open shotguns, AR-15s, and handguns. You can also purchase this excellent Gun Vise for $89.99 at Midsouth Shooters.

4. MidwayUSA — Stable Table Portable Shooting Bench, $178.39

caldwell shooting bench stable table midwayusa sale
Hard to beat bench at this price; swivel seat, 60-lb total weight

The Caldwell® Stable Table, a 60-lb tripod-style bench, offers a 34″L x 23″W top surface with a bench seat that adjusts from 16″ to 22″ in height. The polymer top has two integrated carry handles. These handles double as anchors for two gun-holding forks that can be used when cleaning your rifle. Leg adjustments keep the table and seat parallel even on uneven ground. The overall unit breaks down into seven pieces using a quick-release pin system. Maximum weight capacity is 350 pounds. This bench has earned 80% 5-star reviews from actual purchasers.

5. MidwayUSA — MagnetoSpeed Sporter Chronograph, $159.99

Deals of Week Magnetospeed sporter Kit
Great deal on easy-to-use, accurate, barrel-attached Chronograph

Priced at just $159.99 at MidwayUSA, the Magnetospeed Sporter model costs less than half as much as Magnetospeed’s V3 models. This chronograph attaches directly to your barrel so you don’t have to go downrange to set up skyscreens. For most people the Sporter Model contains all the features they need. Using Magnetospeed’s XFR adapter (sold separately), data can be transferred easily to your mobile device. READ Magnetospeed Sporter Review. NOTE: You MUST add the item to cart to see the $159.99 SALE price. This typically sells elsewhere for around $180.00.

6. EuroOptic –$100 Rebate on Leupold SX-4 Spotting Scopes

Leupold SC-4 HD spotting scope $100 Rebate instant
Instant $100 savings on excellent HD Glass spotting scopes

Get Instant Savings of $100 with the purchase of any SX-4 Pro Guide HD Spotting Scope. Offer valid February 1, 2021 through April 4, 2021, while supplies last. Leupold offers SX-4 HD spotters in 65mm objective and 85mm objective models, with both angled and straight versions. If you can’t find your preferred SX-4 in stock at EuroOptic, this Rebate will be available at other authorized Leupold dealers such as Grafs.com.

7. MidwayUSA — Caldwell Rock BR Rest + Bag, $99.99

Caldwell Rock rest and rear bag
Good inexpensive system for varminters or sight-in duties

Here’s a great bargain for someone looking for a basic functional benchrest set-up. This Caldwell Rock BR Rest and Bag Combo could be a gift to a family member or a junior shooter. Or this $99.99 combo would suffice for someone testing a hunting rifle. The front rest adjusts for both windage and elevation.

8. Amazon — Sawback Bowie 3.5″ Tactical Knife, $10.95

Sawback serrated tactical bowie knife $10.95
Owners say it is sharp with good features for price

This Sawback Bowie spring-assisted folding knife, just $10.95 on Amazon, has a 3.5″ blade. There is a curved cutting edge with a serrated section near the handle. Actual purchasers state: “This knife is very well made with a tight feel. No play at all. The assisted open is excellent [and] they come very sharp too”, and “This is a good quality knife. It’s solid and a bit heavy, really good looking and comes pretty sharp. Overall its a great knife.”

9. Grafs.com — Lockdown Safe Accessory Package $12.99

lockdown safe gunsafe accessory organizer light kit
Great accessories for safes — light alone is worth the price

This Lockdown Safe Accessory Package includes one Large Organizer, a Vault Light, and a Large Document Holder. The bright LED Vault light runs on AAA batteries so no wiring is needed. The Document holder easily mounts to your safe’s door or sidewall. And the Large 18″x12″ Organizer will secure valuables, knives, and even small handguns. It comes with hooks for carpeted interiors and magnets for metal interiors. This KIT normally sells for $49.99 so it’s a STEAL at $12.99 — that’s 74% OFF.

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February 19th, 2021

Blast from the Past — Old Prices on Powder and Primers

Powder low price history flashback inflation

Yes we miss the good old days… when reloading components were readily available and very affordable. Today, on Gunbroker, a single 1000-count box of primers may sell for well over $300. And some vendors are asking $90 for a single pound of powder that sold for $30 per pound just last year.

We can’t change prices for you, but we can offer a “sentimental journey” back to the “good old days” via a Flashback Thread in our Shooters’ Forum. There, Forum members have posted some items from their collections, with the original prices.

What is the best deal you can remember? How about $1 per pound forty-six years ago — member STS posted: “It was probably 1975 when I bought 100 pounds of H335 from Bruce Hodgdon for $100. It came in cardboard boxes with black trash bags inside. I shot every flake of it at prairie dogs.”

Reloder Powder from Hercules (Now Alliant) for $3.80 per Pound

Powder low price history flashback inflation

CCI and Winchester Primers, $16.30 and $13.00 per Thousand

Today some CCI primers are selling for over $300 per thousand on Gunbroker. Member JayHHI6818 said: “Found these the other day in a shoe box in our bedroom closet!”. Nice find Jay!

Powder low price history flashback inflation

Hodgdon H4350 for $10.87 per Pound

H4350 remains one of the most popular powders with competitive shooters. It’s ideal for many midsized cartridges, offering great accuracy and temp stability. Today it’s hard to find this powder at ANY price!

Powder low price history flashback inflation

Remington 2 1/2 Primers for $1.50 per Hundred

Remington Arms folded. However Remington primers will be produced by Vista Outdoor after the collapse and bankruptcy of Remington Arms. Vista Outdoor, which owns CCI and Federal, will take over the Remington ammunition production facilities.

Powder low price history flashback inflation

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February 16th, 2021

Save Money with Brownells 2021 Discount Codes

Brownells coupon shopping discount code June 2018

We’ve found Brownells Discount Codes that can still save you up to 10% on your purchases. These Discount Codes will qualify you for significant savings on guns, ammo, parts, and reloading components at Brownells. Use these Codes during check-out and the savings will reduce your net cost. Get $40 off on a $450 purchase, $20 off $250, or $15 off $150 (10% savings). NOTE: Some of these discount codes expire at the end of February 2021, while others may expire at any time, so don’t hesitate. If one Code doesn’t work, try another.

Coupon Code: MZB — $40 off $450
Expiration date: February 28, 2021

Coupon Code: MZA — $20 off $250
Expiration date: February 28, 2021

Coupon Code: TAG — $15 OFF $150
Expiration date: Unknown expiration

Coupon Code: SAE — $15 OFF $150
Expiration date: Unknown expiration

Coupon Code: RTA — $10 OFF $100
Expiration date: Unknown expiration

Coupon Code: PTT — $10 OFF $100
Expiration date: Unknown expiration

NOTE: None of the above codes include FREE or Discounted Shipping.

MEMBERSHIP Shipping Benefits: With $49.95 Annual Membership, Brownells provides FREE Standard Shipping on ALL Orders

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February 15th, 2021

Get Smart — Access AccurateShooter.com’s Tech Articles Archive

AccurateShooter.com technical articles

AccurateShooter.comReaders who have just recently discovered the Daily Bulletin may not realize that AccurateShooter.com has hundreds of reference articles in our archives. These authoritative articles are divided into multiple categories, so you can easily view stories by topic (such as competition, tactical, rimfire, optics, shooting skills etc.). One of the most popular categories is our Technical Articles Collection. On a handy index page (with thumbnails for every story), you’ll find over 120 articles covering technical and gunsmithing topics. These articles can help you with major projects (such as stock painting), and they can also help you build more accurate ammo. Here are six popular selections from our Technical Articles archive.

pillar Bedding

Stress-Free Pillar Bedding. Richard Franklin explains how to do a top-quality bedding job, start to finish.

Gun Safe Technical Buyers Guide

Gun Safe Buyers Guide. Our comprehensive Safe Buyers Guide examines the key features to consider in a safe — Wall Thickness, Volume, Shelving, Fire Rating, Lighting, Weight and more. We also explain the Pros/Cons of Dial vs. Digital (Keypad) locking systems.

Savage Action Tuning Torque Settings

Savage Action Tuning. Top F-TR shooter Stan Pate explains how to enhance the performance of your Savage rifle by optimizing the torque settings of the action screws.

Precision Case Prep for Reloading

Complete Precision Case Prep. Jake Gottfredson covers the complete case prep process, including brass weight sorting, case trimming, primer pocket uniforming, neck-sizing, and, case-neck turning.

rifle stock painting and spraying

Stock Painting Instructions. Step-by-step guide for stock painting by expert Mike Ricklefs. Mike shows both simple coverage and fancy effects.

Ultrasound ultrasonic CAse Cleaning

Ultrasonic Case Cleaning. This article reviews the recommended process for cleaning cartridge brass with ultrasonic cleaning machine. We cover the right liquid solutions, processing times, and case drying options.

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February 14th, 2021

Case Prep 101 — Primer Pockets and Flash Holes

USAMU Handloading hump day flash hole primer pocket uniforming case prep RCBS Lyman
Case Prep Xpress photo courtesy Lyman Products.

Each Wednesday, the U.S. Army Marksmanship Unit publishes a reloading “how-to” article on the USAMU Facebook page. One “Handloading Hump Day” article covered two basic case prep chores — uniforming primer pockets and deburring flash-holes. Visit the USAMU Facebook page for other tips.

USAMU Handloading hump day reloading tips

Primer Pocket & Flash-Hole Conditioning

This week, we’ll address a question that frequently arises: “Do you uniform primer pockets and deburr flash-holes?” As we tailor our handloading methods to the specific needs of each instance, the answer, not surprisingly, is “Sometimes!” However, don’t flip that dial just yet, as what determines our approach may be helpful in deciding how to address one’s own techniques. Moreover, we have a buried “Easter Egg” morsel that may bring a chuckle, as well as useful safety information!

Generally, the USAMU Handloading Shop does not uniform primer pockets (PP) or deburr flash holes (FH) of our rifle brass. We’re certainly not against it… Rather, this reflects the very high volume of ammunition we load, the fact that very few cases are ever re-loaded for a second firing, and the types of brass we use. However, as a need is perceived, we DO deburr flash holes. Of interest, we have fired many very small, 1000-yard test groups and aggregates using weight-selected, domestic brass that had not had PPs uniformed or FHs deburred.

USAMU Handloading hump day flash hole primer pocket uniforming case prep RCBS Lyman

Before and After — On the left is a fired, deprimed 7.62×51 case with primer residue intact. On the right the primer pocket has been uniformed to SAAMI specs. Note the shiny finish at the bottom of the pocket — evidence of the the removal of metal when uniforming the primer pocket.

As to the type cases we use, many thousands of our long-range 5.56mm cases come to us from the arsenal with the primer of our choice pre-installed and staked-in, per usual practice. Obviously, we cannot uniform either FHs or PPs on this live, primed brass. However, after careful sorting, inspection and preparation, we do obtain match-winning results with it.

Shooters who reload their brass several times may decide to uniform PPs and deburr FHs, especially on their “300-yard and beyond” brass. Here, they will use the cases many times, while the uniforming is performed only once. Also, most handloaders only process moderate amounts of brass, compared to our multi-thousand round lots.

Having high quality Long Range (LR) brass helps. Many of the better brass manufacturers [make] their flash holes so that no burrs are created. Still, it does pay to inspect even THESE manufacturer’s products, as occasional slips are inevitable. Very rarely, some of the best makers will have a significant burr in, say, 1 per 1000 or 2000 cases, and it’s worth catching those.

Exceptions can always be found. Recently, we began processing a large lot of match brass from a premier manufacturer. We were startled to find that every case had a significant burr in the FH — something we’d never before seen from this maker. We then broke out the FH deburring tools and went to work.

Some observers have noted that it can be difficult to truly verify the contribution to accuracy of these procedures — particularly when firing from the shoulder, in conditions. Members of this staff, as individual rifle competitors, do often perform these operations on their privately-owned LR rifle brass. One could ascribe this to the old High Power Rifle maxim that “if you think it helps, then it helps.”

However, a World Champion and Olympic Gold/Silver medalist here commented on his own handloading (for International competition, which demands VERY fine accuracy). He noted that he did seem to see a decline in accuracy whenever he did not uniform FHs, deburr FHs and clean primer pockets before each reloading. (One might be tempted to counter that only a truly World Class shooter could reliably detect the difference.) However, with the wisdom of decades experience, our Champion also remarked that “It could have been that I just wasn’t shooting as well that day.”

For those who do opt for these procedures, note that various tool models may have adjustable depth-stops; pay attention to the instructions. Some FH-deburring tools (which enter the case mouth, not the primer pocket) are dependent upon uniform case length for best results.

USAMU Handloading hump day flash hole primer pocket uniforming case prep RCBS Lyman

Above is a flash-hole deburring tool on an RCBS powered case-prep unit. These case prep machines can save a lot of pain and misery, helping one perform various functions quickly and efficiently.

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February 13th, 2021

Fire-Form with Foulers — Save Time, Bullets, and Barrel Life

Fire-forming fouler barrel life fouling shots

PPC Fire-formingFire-Form with Foulers
Here’s a tip for guys who shoot the 6 PPC, 6 Dasher, 6 BRA, .284 Shehane, or other wildcat cartridges that require fire-forming. Use your fouler shots to fire-form new cases. That way your fouler shots do “double-duty” and you get your brass fire-formed without putting extra rounds through your expensive barrel.

This procedure is recommended by Joel Kendrick, the 2004 IBS 600-yard Shooter of the Year. After he cleans his barrel, Joel knows it takes two or three shots to foul in the bore before accuracy returns. (YMMV — some barrels may need five or six foulers.) When shooting his PPC, Joel uses those fouler shots to fire-form his new brass. Joel explains: “I like to have relatively new brass always ready. By fire-forming a couple cases after each barrel-cleaning during a match, by the end of the weekend I’ve got a dozen or more freshly fire-formed cases to put into the rotation. If you do this with your fouler shots you get your fire-forming accomplished without using up any extra barrel life.”

This not only saves barrel wear, but it saves you trips to the range for the purpose of fire-forming. We thank Joel for this smart suggestion. For those who do not have a dedicated barrel for fire-forming, this should help keep your round-count down. Note: With this fouler fire-forming routine, you should ALWAYS do the fire-forming with the SAME POWDER you load for your match ammo. Joel currently works as the Supplier Quality Process Engineer for MMI-TruTec, a company that offers barrel surface coatings that can further extend your barrel life.

Permalink Bullets, Brass, Ammo, Competition, Reloading, Tech Tip 1 Comment »
February 12th, 2021

.223 Rem vs. 5.56x45mm NATO — What You Need to Know

.223 Rem Remington 5.56 SAAMI CIP 5.56x45 5.56x45mm NATO cartridge ammo pressure test luckygunner ultimatereloader Gavin Gear

Probably the most popular centerfire rifle round in the Western Hemisphere is the .223 Remington and its metric match, the 5.56x45mm. Though many folks use “.223 Rem” and “5.56×45″ interchangeably, there are some meaningful differences in specifications for the original .223 Rem and the 5.56x45mm cartridge, as adopted by the U.S. military and NATO armies. The default chamber throats are slightly different and the .223 Rem is rated at 55,000 PSI vs. 62,366 PSI for the 5.56x45mm.*

.223 Rem vs 5.56x45mm — Key Differences
There is a truly outstanding, very thorough article on the subject, published by LuckyGunner.com.** This involved extensive testing, with pressure monitors, of 5.56x45mm ammo in .223 Rem chambers. Those tests revealed the peak pressures. Here is one of the ammo test charts:

.223 Rem Remington 5.56 SAAMI CIP 5.56x45 5.56x45mm NATO cartridge ammo pressure test luckygunner ultimatereloader Gavin Gear

NOTE: “The observed chamber pressure for Federal XM855 5.56mm ammunition in a .223 Rem chamber exceeded .223 maximum pressures, but not by a massive amount. The ninth shot (the red line) was an underpowered cartridge which exhibited significantly lower velocity and pressure than the other rounds, so it was excluded from the average velocity and pressure numbers for this chamber.”

And if you’re curious, LuckyGunner also fired .223 Rem ammo in a 5.56x45mm NATO-chambered AR15 rifle. As you would expect, the peak pressures were significantly lower, but the .223 Rem ammo still cycled the semi-auto AR-platform rifle perfectly well:

.223 Rem Remington 5.56 SAAMI CIP 5.56x45 5.56x45mm NATO cartridge ammo pressure test luckygunner ultimatereloader Gavin Gear

READ FULL LuckyGunner .223 Rem vs. 5.56x45mm ARTICLE »

UltimateReloader.com Explains .223 Rem vs. 5.56x45mm
To explain the key differences between the .223 Rem and 5.56x45mm cartridges our friend Gavin Gear of UltimateReloader.com has created a very thorough 12-minute video. This covers the cartridge specifications and explains key considerations for hand-loaders. Gavin also addresses the oft-asked question “Can I shoot 5.56x45mm ammo in my .223 Rem chamber?” Gavin’s video is definitely worth watching. In fact, this is one of the most popular videos Gavin has ever created — it has been watched nearly 4.5 million times on YouTube.

What Exactly Is the 5.56x45mm NATO Cartridge?
The 5.56×45mm NATO is a rimless bottle-necked intermediate cartridge family standardized by NATO with development work by FN Herstal. It consists of the SS109, SS110, and SS111 cartridges. Under STANAG 4172, it is a standard cartridge for NATO forces as well as many non-NATO countries.

Bullet diameter: 5.70 mm (0.224 in)
Maximum pressure (EPVAT): 430.00 MPa (62,366 psi)
Maximum pressure (SCATP 5.56): 380.00 MPa (55,114 psi)
Case length: 44.70 mm (1.760 in)
Rifling twist: 178 mm or 229 mm (1 in 7 in)
Parent case: .223 Remington (M193)

Ammo-Maker Federal Premium Compares .223 Rem and 5.56x45mm
Here is a video from ammo-maker Federal Premium explaining the difference between .223 Remington and 5.56x45mm NATO. Federal states that you may experience excessive pressures when firing a 5.56x45mm in a standard .223 Remington chamber:

One leading gunwriter has addressed the question of shooting 5.56x45mm ammo in .223 Rem chambers. He advocates caution (for more info, SEE pressure tests by LuckyGunner.com):

“I have received a slew of questions — many from first time AR-type rifle buyers — about the .223 Rem and the 5.56×45 mm NATO cartridges. Can I shoot 5.56×45 mm NATO in my .223 and vice-versa? Are these the same cartridge?

Externally, the two cartridge cases are identical. The main differences are that 5.56×45 mm NATO operates at a higher chamber pressure (about 60,000 PSI versus 55,000 PSI on the .223 Rem.) and the 5.56’s chamber is slightly larger than that of the .223 Rem. Also, the throat or leade is longer in the 5.56×45 mm chamber. What does this mean? You should not shoot 5.56×45 mm NATO out of a rifle that is chambered in .223 Rem [with a standard short throat]. And be aware that some .223 Rem ammunition will not reliably cycle through some AR-style .223 Rem rifles, but it usually does. As a matter of fact, I have not encountered any difficulty with current .223 Rem. loads cycling through a 5.56 mm AR-style rifle.” — Mark Keefe, Editor, American Rifleman


* According to the official NATO proofing guidelines, the 5.56×45mm NATO case can handle up to 430.0 MPa (62,366 psi) piezo service pressure. The U.S. SAAMI lists Maximum Average Pressure (MAP) for the .223 Remington cartridge as 55,000 psi (379.2 MPa) piezo pressure with deviation of up to 58,000 psi (399.9 MPa). The chamber for military 5.56×45mm NATO has a longer throat prior to the bullet contacting the rifling which results in lower pressures when firing 5.56×45mm NATO ammunition. If 5.56×45mm NATO is used in rifles chambered for .223 Remington the bullet will be engraving the rifling when chambered. which can increase pressures past SAAMI Max levels. NOTE: The C.I.P. standards for the C.I.P. civilian .223 Remington chamber are much closer to the military 5.56×45mm NATO chamber.

** The full-length LuckyGunner article is well worth reading. It even provides specifications for a number of .223 Rem reamer types, and compares the original .223 Rem, the 5.56x45mm NATO, and the modern .223 Wylde chamberings.

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February 12th, 2021

Bill Gravatt Named President of Creedmoor Sports Inc.

Bill Gravatt Capstone Precision Group Creedmoor Sports Sinclair Managing Director

Bill Gravatt has been named President of Creedmoor Sports. Bill has worked in the shooting and reloading industry for over 30 years. His experience includes: former owner and President of Sinclair Int’l and President of Capstone Precision Group (Berger, Lapua, Vihtavuori, and SK). Now that Bill has achieved important goals with Capstone (for whom he continues to serve as a board member), he is taking over as President of Creedmoor Sports, after serving as its Managing Director since the spring of 2020.

Greg Kantorovich, Creedmoor Sports CEO states: “We are excited to have Bill assume the role of President. His innovative leadership will continue to enhance our team’s mission of managed growth through strategic planning. Bill’s wealth of industry knowledge and ‘customer first’ mantra is second to none! This philosophy aligns perfectly with Creedmoor’s passion to serve our customers like family”.

As the President of Creedmoor Sports, Bill will direct operational and marketing activities for the company. He will also help with informational programs. Gravatt has previously served Creedmoor Sports as a Managing Director since the spring of 2020, and served as a consultant before that.

Bill Gravatt told us: “I am joining a great team at Creedmoor Sports. They are all driven in pursuit of exemplary customer service, they create well-made products, passionately participate in the shooting sport, and enjoy the daily satisfaction that comes from helping fellow shooters achieve their best.”

Reloading Procedures with Bill Gravatt

Bill Gravatt has decades of knowledge about reloading tools and procedures. Here are three helpful videos Bill Gravatt created for the Creedmoor Sports InfoZone:

How to Seat Bullets with Inline Press

How to Trim Cases with L.E. Wilson Trimmer

How to Clean Cartridge Cases

About Creedmoor Sports, Inc.
Since 1979, Creedmoor Sports has been supplying the precision rifle shooter with quality equipment. Specializing in competitive centerfire, smallbore, and air rifle accessories, as well as reloading components and tools, Creedmoor seeks to provide their customers with the right gear to help them achieve their personal shooting goals.

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February 11th, 2021

Progressive Presses — Six High Output Progressives Reviewed

ultimate reloading progressive press review dillon Mark 7 rcbs lee hornady

With the high cost and reduced availability of factory ammo, more shooters are loading their own ammo. When good 9mm pistol ammo was $10/box, it might be hard to justify handloading. Now that 50 rounds of 9mm can run $40 or more it certainly makes sense to reload. The same is true with rifle ammo if you shoot large quantities, or if you simply can’t find your preferred ammo for sale these days.

To increase productivity when reloading large quantities of ammunition, many shooters are thinking of getting a progressive press. Because multiple operations take place with a single pull of a lever, a progressive press can produce way more ammo in a given period of time than any single stage press. With a progressive, on the ram up-stroke, the multiple stations can simultaneously remove spent primer, full-length size case, drop powder, seat bullet, and crimp (if desired). Most progressives are also set up to prime cases with the ram in the lower position — though some guys prefer to prime manually.

Progressive presses aren’t just for high-output pistol ammo or bulk rifle ammunition. Good progressives can be adapted to do certain reloading tasks for top-on-the line match ammo. You might use a progressive for decapping, priming, and sizing, then throw powder and/or seat bullets separately. Some Champion shooters do use progressives to load their match ammo! For example 5-Time National Long Range Champion John Whidden and 2020 Berger SWN F-Open Champion Jay Christopherson both use progessive presses for some (but not all) operations.

To help you get started with progressive presses, here are five videos from UltimateReloader.com that cover six popular machines, from the elite Mark 7 Evolution to the affordable Lee Loadmaster. With many of these machines you can add separate vertical bullet feeder systems that further increase loading efficiency.

Mark 7 Evolution Press — Distributed by Lyman

Dillon XL-650 vs. Dillon XL-750

RCBS Pro Chucker 7 with Bullet Feeder

Dillon 550C with 6mm Creedmoor and 9x19mm

Hornady Lock-N-Load AP Progressive

Lee Loadmaster Features and Loading 9mm

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