January 24th, 2018

Eyeball Your Brass — How to Diagnose Flawed Cases

Case Diagnostics 101 Sierra Bullets .223 Rem 5.56 brass cartridge safety

Ever wondered what caused a particular bulge or marking on a case? And more importantly, does the issue make the case unsafe for further use? Sierra Bullets Ballistic Technician Duane Siercks offers some insight into various issues and their causes in this article from the Sierra Blog.

Incipient Case-Head Separation
This is a Winchester .308 Win case that has a real issue. This case has a very obvious incipient case head separation in the process of becoming a complete failure.

Sierra Case reloading pressure safety inspection

This is most commonly caused by over-sizing the case causing there to be excess headspace on the case. After a few firings and subsequent re-sizing, this case is just about ready to come completely apart. Proper die adjustment is certainly a requirement here. Of course this case is not safe to reuse.

Excessive Pressure (Load Too Hot)
If you will notice in the picture of the case rim, there are two pressure signs to notice. First, look at the primer. It is basically flattened to about the max of what could be considered safe. If this was the only pressure sign noted, I would probably be fine with this load, but would constantly keep an eye on it especially if I was going to use this load in warmer temperatures. This load could easily cross into the “excess pressure” realm very quickly.

Sierra Case reloading pressure safety inspection

There is another sign of pressure that we cannot ignore. If you’ll notice, there is an ejector mark apparent that is located over the “R” of the R-P headstamp. This absolutely tells us that this load would not have been in the safe pressure range. If there were any of these rounds loaded, they should not be fired and should be dis-assembled. This case should not be reloaded.

Split Case-Neck
Here we have an R-P .22-250 case that has died the death. Everything looks fine with this case except the neck is split. This case must be tossed.

Sierra Case reloading pressure safety inspection

A split neck is a normal occurrence that you must watch for. It is caused by work-hardening of the brass. Brass cases get harder with age and use. Brand new cases that are stored for a period of time can become hard enough that they will split like this case within one to two firings. I have had new factory loads do the same thing. Then as we resize and fire these cases repeatedly, they tend to get harder and harder. Eventually they will split. The life of the case can be extended by careful annealing practices. This is an issue that would need to be addressed in an article by itself. Of course this case is no longer usable.

In the classes that I teach, I try to use examples like this to let the students see what they should be looking for. As always, if we can assist you, whether you are new to reloading or very experienced, contact us here at Sierra Bullets by phone at 1-800-223-8799 or by email at sierra@sierrabullets.com.

Dented Case Body
Here we have a Lake City 7.62×51 (.308 Win.) case with two heavy marks/dents in the case body.

Sierra Case reloading pressure safety inspection

This one may be a bit of a mystery. It appears as if this case may have been caught in the action of a semi-auto rifle when the firearm jammed or the case failed to clear during the cycling process. I probably would not reload this case just to prevent any feeding problems. This also appeared to be a factory loaded round and I don’t really see any pressure issues or damage to the case.

CLICK HERE for MORE .223 Rem Case Examples in Sierra Blog

It is very important to observe and inspect your cases before each reloading. After awhile it becomes second nature to notice the little things. Never get complacent as you become more familiar with the reloading process. If ever in doubt, call Sierra’s Techs at 1-800-223-8799.

Sierra Bullets Case Diagnostics Blog

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January 24th, 2018

Tool Time: Sinclair Cartridge Case Neck Sorting Tool

Case Neck thickness sorting gauge Sinclair accurateshooter.com

He who dies with the most toys wins — right? Well Sinclair has another interesting gadget you can add to your reloading bench. The Sinclair Case Neck Sorting Tool lets you quickly sort brass by neck-wall thickness. For those who shoot “no-turn” brass, this can improve neck-tension consistency. Large variances in neck-wall thickness can cause inconsistent neck “grip” on the bullet. Generally, we’ve found that more consistent neck tension will lower ES and (usually) improve accuracy. We know some guys who shoot no-turn 6mmBR brass in competition with considerable success — but their secret is pre-sorting their brass by neck-wall thickness. Cases that are out-of-spec are set aside for sighters (or are later skim-turned).

Watch Case Neck Sorting Tool Operation in Video

Case Neck thickness sorting gauge Sinclair accurateshooterHow the Case Neck Sorting Tool Works
Here’s how the Sinclair tool works. Cases are rotated under an indicator tip while they are supported on a case-neck pilot and a support pin through the flash hole. The unit has a nice, wide base and low profile so it is stable in use. The tool works for .22 through .45 caliber cases and can be used on .17- and .20-caliber cases with the optional carbide alignment rod. The MIC-4 pin fits both .060 (PPC size) and .080 (standard size) flash holes. Sinclair’s Case Neck Sorting Tool can be ordered with or without a dial indicator. The basic unit without dial indicator (item 749-006-612WB) is $59.99. The tool complete with dial indicator (item 749-007-129WB) for $89.99. IMPORTANT: This tool requires caliber-specific Sinclair Case Neck Pilots which must be ordered separately.

Editor’s Comment: The purpose of this Sinclair tool is rapid, high-quantity sorting of cartridge brass to ascertain significant case-neck-wall thickness variations. Consider this a rapid culling/sorting tool. If you are turning your necks, you will still need a quality ball micrometer tool to measure neck-wall thickness (to .0005) before and after neck-turning operations.

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January 23rd, 2018

Download Latest Hodgdon IMR Relative Burn Rate Chart

Hodgdon IMR Winchester Burn Rate Powder speed table relative table chart

Hey guys, you’ll probably want to download this new Powder Burn Rate Chart issued by Hodgdon/IMR. This recently-released table includes the latest IMR powders including the Enduron series (IMR 4166, 4451, 4955, 7977), shown in green below. Please note, the chart is not limited to Hodgdon and IMR propellants. It also includes popular powders from Accurate, Alliant, Norma, Ramshot (Western), Vihtavuori, and Winchester.

This chart provides useful information for all hand-loaders. When doing load development, and testing one powder versus another, it’s generally wise to choose propellants that share the same relative burn rate, as least for starters. NOTE: Hodgdon powders are shown in blue, while IMR standard powders are shown in yellow, and Winchester powder are shown in red. DOWNLOAD Chart HERE.


NEW POWDER BURN RATE TABLE from IMRPowder.com

Hodgdon IMR Winchester Burn Rate Powder speed table relative table chart

CLICK HERE to Download Chart as PDF File »

Story find by EdLongrange. We welcome reader submissions.
Permalink Bullets, Brass, Ammo, Reloading, Tech Tip 1 Comment »
January 23rd, 2018

Lyman Releases Long Range Precision Rifle Reloading Handbook

Lyman Precision Reloading Manual 6.5 Creemoor PRS Long Range

Lyman Products is offering a new reloading resource, the Lyman “Long Range Precision Rifle Reloading Handbook”. With the growing interest in Precision Rifle Series (PRS) events and Extended Long Range matches, Lyman saw the need for an up-to-date, reliable print resource for precision long range competitors. Lyman says this is “The first-ever reloading manual specifically written for the growing sport of precision long range shooting.”

Lyman’s new book covers the most popular cartridge types, and the premium components used by top shooters. The book covers the vast majority of popular cartridge types used in long range precision shooting. You’ll find .223 Rem, 6mm Dasher, 6×47 Lapua, 6XC, 6mm Creedmoor, .243 Win, 6.5×47 Lapua, 6.5 Creedmoor, .260 Rem., 6.5-284 Norma, .308 Win, .300 Win Mag, .300 Norma Mag, .338 Lapua Mag and more. The data section includes Berger and Lapua target bullets, as well as Sierra MatchKings and Hornady ELDs. A wide range of propellants from Accurate, Alliant, Hodgdon, IMR, Norma, VihtaVuori, Ramshot, and Winchester are reviewed.

Lyman Handbook Includes Articles by Leading Experts and Top PRS Shooters
The new handbook also includes articles by top PRS shooters and industry experts. Articles such as “PRS How-To” and “Rifle Systems for PRS” by Matt Gervais provide expert info and tips and techniques to start competing. An authoritative article by Hornady’s Dave Emary, “The History and Design of the 6.5 and 6mm Creedmoor” explains why these cartridges have become so popular for PRS and other applications. Emary’s “Reloading Considerations for Long Range Ammunition” is also highly recommended for both novice and experienced hand-loaders.

“As the leader in reloading data, we saw a need for an accurate and reliable source of reloading data for these precision, long-range loads,” said Trevor Mullen, Lyman’s Global Marketing VP. “Our process of compiling a new reloading handbook … is to work with the best in their field — reloaders, the manufacturers of ammunition and rifles, participants in the PRS sport, and our own staff of highly-skilled, highly knowledgeable test shooters. This new handbook [will help] those looking for that edge in PRS competitions.”

The “Long Range Precision Rifle Reloading Handbook”, priced at $16.98, will be available soon from online retailers. Within a short time you can also purchase the book from the Lyman web store. (It is not yet in stock).

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January 22nd, 2018

Bargain Finder 122: SHOT Show Edition New Products

Accurateshooter Bargain Finder Deals of Week

SHOT SHOW Edition: For this week, we are doing something a bit different. Rather than showcasing discounted Deals of the Week, for this Monday, we’re featuring new-for-2018 products that will be on display at SHOT Show in Las Vegas. We have selected new products that, we believe, offer excellent inherent value even without special discounts. You may not be able to purchase all these items right away, but expect them at major vendors by early spring.

1. Lapua .300 Norma Magnum and .338 Norma Magnum Brass

Lapua Norma 300 338 Magnum cartridge brass

A recent development based on the .338 Norma Magnum necked down to .30 caliber, the .300 Norma Magnum was adopted as the U.S. Military’s Advanced Sniper Cartridge “for extra long ranges beyond 1500 meters”. In addition to its military duties, the 300 Norma is sure to find favor with Long Range competitive shooters and hunters. We are excited to see this impressive new offering added to Lapua’s line of outstanding cartridge brass. Along with the .300 Norma, Lapua will also produce the .338 Norma Magnum parent cartridge. That .338 NM was developed by J. Sloan and D. Kiff as a long-range sporting cartridge, based on the .416 Rigby case. Norma adopted and standardized the .338 Norma Magnum through CIP certification in 2010.

2. New T1x Rimfire Rifle from Tikka

Tikka T1X .22 LR rimfire 17 HMR

Tikka is introducing a new Rimfire rifle, the Tikka T1x. It features a medium-contour 20″ barrel with threaded muzzle, 10-round detachable magazine, and a smooth bolt throw. This will be offered in Both .22 LR and .17 HMR. The rifle boasts the feel and balance of Tikka’s centerfire line, so this can serve as a nice small-bore option for fans of Tikka hunting rifles. MSRP for the T1X is $499.00. There has been considerable shooter interest in this new Tikka which should provide competition to the CZ line of European rimfire rifles. The pricing is more than a Ruger or Savage, but much less than an Anschutz.

3. New Savage 110 Models with Adjustable Stocks

Savage AccuStock AccuFit Adjustable stock internal Chassis

For 2018, Savage’s model 110 line-up boasts higher-quality, user-adjustable stocks. The all-new AccuFit system allows shooters to customize length of pull and comb height. The new AccuStock features a rigid chassis embedded in the stock. Savage has a full line of revamped 110s with these enhanced stocks. For example, the Savage 110 Long Range Hunter shown here features a 26″ barrel with brake, and is offered in six calibers: 6.5 Creedmoor, .260 Rem, .308 Win, 300 WSM, and .338 Federal.

4. Starline 6mm and 6.5mm Creedmoor Rifle Brass, $50/100

Starline Grendel Creedmoor 6mm 6.5 mm brass

Starline Brass has recently added the 6.5/6mm family of cartridges to the company’s growing line of rifle cases. Starline is now producing 6.5 Creedmoor in both Large Primer pocket and Small Primer pocket versions. It also offers 6mm Creedmoor, and 6.5 Grendel. This brass will be pretty affordable, starting out at $125 for 250 cases (that works out to just $50 per hundred). Starline already sells other popular rifle brass, including .223 Rem, .243 Win, .260 Rem, and .308 Win. While this Starline brass won’t rival Lapua Brass, it may be suitable for tactical competitors who must run stages where it is impractical to recover your brass.

5. Lyman All-American 8-Stage Turret Press, $199.99

Lyman 8-stage Turret Press

Lyman is releasing a beefy All-American Turret Press with eight (8) stations. That’s one more than the Redding T-7 Turret Press, and two more stations than the six-station RCBS Turret Press. With the Lyman’s EIGHT stations you can hold sizing AND seating dies for four different rifle cartridges. With eight stations available — there are countless options. Rigidity is very important with a turret press — if you have too much “give” of flex with the turret head you may get inconsistent results when bumping shoulders using full-length dies. With a heavy cast-iron frame and turret head, Lyman says its new Turret Press is “the most rugged” on the market. We like the front-mount priming system which can easily be operated with your free hand, whether you mount the press arm on the left or the right. You can purchase this press for $199.99 from MidwayUSA.

6. Ruger — Ruger Precision Rimfire, $399.99

The Ruger Precision Rimfire .22 LR rifle is so new that few vendors have them yet. But you CAN pre-order one now for $399.99 from Sportsmans Outdoor Superstore (MSRP: $529.00). For PRS shooters and Ruger Precision Rifle owners, this may be an ideal rimfire cross-trainer, with ergonomics and balance like their centerfire rig. This PRS-style .22 LR rig has some very interesting features, including adjustable bolt throw that lets shooters change from a rimfire 1.5″ bolt throw to a short-action centerfire 3″ bolt throw, reducing the chance of short-stroking your bolt in competition. The Ruger Marksman trigger adjusts from 2.25 to 5.0 pounds.

7. Vortex — New Affordable Viper HD Spotting Scopes

High-end performance at a mid-range price — the new-for-2018 Vortex Viper® HD Spotting Scopes offer impressive clarity, resolution, and color fidelity at an affordable price. The new 20-60x85mm model has a $1099.99 MSRP. That’s half the price of some other top-quality spotting scopes. The 15-45x65mm models have an $849.99 MSRP. These spotters feature HD lenses and helical-style focus. For conventience, the attachment collar allows the entire spotter to rotate. Designed for durability, the Viper HD spotter is has rubber armor, and exterior lenses are protected by ArmorTek — an ultra-hard, scratch-resistant compound that repels oil, dirt, and fingerprints. Both sizes are offered in straight and angled versions. And like all Vortex products, the Viper HD Spotting Scopes are covered by a lifetime, unconditional, no-fault, transferable, VIP Warranty.

8. MTM Cleaning Rod Case, $25.00 Street Price

MTM Cleaning Rod Case

Here’s a cool new product that will make it easier to stow and/or transport your precious cleaning rods. Sure you can tuck a single rod in a gun case, but what if you want to carry a variety of rods to the range? This case holds up to four (4) rods securely, and keeps solvent residues off your fine firearms. MTM’s new Gun Cleaning Rod Case is capable of storing four rifle or shotgun cleaning rods up to 47″ long. Each rod is held in an individual slot and there are foam inserts on either end, making transportation secure and rattle-free. You don’t have to worry about the rods banging into each other. We like the fact that MTM has cleverly included multi-sized “corrals” to hold patches from large to small. Plus there is plenty of room to hold jags and brushes.

9. Mossberg MVP Precision in 6.5 Creedmoor and .308 Win

Mossberg MVP Precision

The Mossberg MVP Precision looks good. It has all-new chassis with a longer fore-end up front and a fully-adjustable LUTH-AR MBA-3 stock in the back. Every rifle comes with an LBA trigger, and 20″ or 24″ threaded and free-floated medium bull barrels are standard. The action features an oversize bolt handle with a Picatinny rail on top. Available chamberings include the 6.5 Creedmoor (no surprise) and 7.62×51 (.308 Win). Mossberg will also offer combo packages fitted with Vortex Viper HS-T riflescope. Mossberg has not announced an MSRP for the new MVP Precision. However, we expect this new rifle to have a street price around $1300.00, competitive with the Ruger Precision Rifle.

10. ScopeSlicker WeatherProof Scope Cover, $24.99 MSRP

ScopeSlicker NX scope protector

ScopeSlicker NX is a weather-resistant scope cover that includes two built-in lens cloths. This smartly-designed socpe protector features two retaining bands that keep it on the scope, while providing quick access by flipping each end up to view through the scope. ScopeSlicker NX is made from premium neoprene for abrasion and impact protection. The slim-fitting neoprene cover is available in a variety of hi-resolution patterns, and fits a wide range of common scope sizes.

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January 22nd, 2018

Get FREE Reloading Data Sheets and Ammo Box Label Templates

Reloading Data Form Ammo Box Template printing labels chronograph data sheet

Redding Reloading offers handy Handloader’s Data Sheets in printable PDF format. This FREE form allows hand-loaders to document their tool settings, bushing size, powder charge, load specs (COAL etc.), and case prep status. In addition, the form allows you to enter your load testing information, complete with chronograph data, group size, zero range, and wind/temp conditions. With this single, handy form you can document all the vital information for your particular cartridges and loads. We suggest you print these out, 3-hole-punch ‘em, and then keep them in a three-ring binder.

Download FREE Handloader’s Data Sheet (PDF)

We’ve seen various reloading log templates, but this Redding form (shown below) is better than most because it combines both reloading data AND range-test data in one place. You can see all key details of the reloading process (tool settings etc.) plus the end results — how the load actually performed over the chronograph and on paper. This form allows the user to capture a large amount of information for later use, while accurately track load development. Go to Download Page.

Reloading Data Form Ammo Box Template printing labels chronograph data sheet

FREE Ammunition Box Label Template
Reloading Data Form Ammo Box Template printing labels chronograph data sheetRedding Reloading has also developed a printable template for your ammo boxes (see photo at top of article). This lets you put all vital load info on your ammo boxes. There are fields for: Date, Cartridge, Powder, Grains, Bullet, Weight, Primer, Case type. Designed for Avery 5260 (or similar) label sheets, this template allows you to print 30 labels at one time. You can purchase the Avery 5260 peel-off printable label sheets at any office supply store.

Download Box Label Template (PDF)

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January 21st, 2018

Pulling Bullets Safely and Efficiently with a Collet Puller

Hornady cam-lock bullet puller ammunition UlimateReloader

When you make a reloading mistake, you may need to “pull down” assembled ammo. The embedded UltimateReloader.com video demonstrates how to use the Hornady Cam-Lock bullet pulling system.

When Reloading Goes Bad — The Danger of Over-Charging
Our friend Gavin Gear of UltimateReloader.com was recently reloading some 9mm pistol ammo with his Hornady progressive press. As part of his reloading procedure, he visually checks the cases — and he noticed that the charges seemed high. Sure enough, his most recently-produced rounds were about two grains over spec. He diagnosed the issue: “I was using a powder measure without a baffle. What happened was, over the course of the loading session, things settled in, and the charge level increased.”

Not knowing just when his powder measure started delivering too much powder, Gavin decided, for safety’s sake, to pull down all the ammo he had just reloaded. Yes that’s time-consuming, but it’s better than the alternative — having a dangerous Kaboom while shooting. With fast-burning pistol powders, a two-grain over-charge could cause a blown case, damaged firearm, and/or serious injury.

Watch Cam-Lock Bullet Puller Used to Remove Bullets from Loaded Ammo:

Use of Bullet Puller starts 4:00 minutes into video.

Gavin says it is vitally important to perform safety checks during the reloading process: “You’ve got to do it — check every single round to make sure there IS powder, and that there’s not too MUCH powder. Double, Triple, Quadruple check your components… and your powder charges. You can’t be too careful.”

To pull down a loaded round, first place the cartridge in the shellholder on your press ram. Then raise the round up into the bullet puller device installed where a die would go. The Hornady Cam-lock bullet puller works by clamping the bullet in a collet when you flip down the red-coated lever. Then, with the case held by the rim in the shell-holder, the bullet exits the cartridge as the press ram is lowered. It takes time, but it’s pretty fool-proof once you get the hang of it. This entire process is illustrated in Gavin’s video, starting near the four-minute mark.

Hornady Cam-Lock Bullet puller Gavin Gear Ultimate Reloder.com

The Hornady Cam Lock Bullet Puller has four (4) key components: 1. Cam-Lock die body; 2. Cam-Lock lever; 3. Stem; and 4. Collet (Caliber-specific).

NOTE: In order to use this tool, you’ll need the appropriate collet for each diameter range of bullets you intend to pull. For example use collet #3 for 6mm, collect #6 for 7mm, and collet #7 for .308 Caliber.

Hornady cam-lock bullet puller ammunition UlimateReloader

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January 20th, 2018

Choosing and Using a Progressive Press — 6.5 Guys Video

6.5 Guys Progressive Press video Gavin Gear Ultimate Reloader

Progressive reloading presses offer shooters speed and efficiency in producing custom-tailored rifle and pistol ammunition. However, there is a wide choice of Progressive Presses and a bewildering array of options to consider. In this video, the 6.5 Guys and UltimateReloader.com’s Gavin Gear provide an overview of the leading Progressive Presses on the market along with key considerations for precision rifle shooters. If you are considering getting a Progessive for rifle ammo reloading, you should watch this informative, 25-minute video.

10 Tips for Reloading Precision Rifle Ammo on a Progressive Press:

1. Make sure the brass is very clean. Don’t mix old range pick-up brass with newer brass.

2. Apply a thin, spray lube to all cases before the sizing/loading cycle.

3. Consider priming your brass separately (with a hand or bench tool) before the operation. Then inspect the primers before loading powder and bullets.

4. Always wear eye protection when loading with the Progressive, particularly if you are priming cases.

5. With tape, mark the powder measure/dropper with the powder type and charge weight.

6. Cycle a few cases, sizing and adding powder but NOT seating bullets. Weigh the powder charges to ensure the powder measure is dispensing the correct charge. Sometimes this will change a couple tenths as it “settles down” after the first few charges.

7. Check the brass for shoulder bump and bullet seating depth carefully for the first few rounds, then check again periodically.

8. Try to maintain a steady pace and operate the handle the same way every time.

9. Visually inspect the powder charge in each case (before bullet seating), and use a lock-out die if your Progressive Press has enough stations.

10. Never, ever mix pistol and rifle powders! If you have previously loaded pistol ammo with your Progressive, make sure ALL the powder (every flake and kernel) is removed from all components of the powder-dropping system before you add rifle powder.

Loading Pistol Ammo on a Dillon

The .45 ACP is probably our favorite centerfire pistol cartridge. In this video, Gavin Gear shows how to load this popular round on a Dillon 550B Progressive Press:

Visit these sites for more Reloading and Precision Shooting Videos:

6.5 Guys
https://www.youtube.com/user/65guys
http://www.65Guys.com

Ultimate Reloader
https://www.youtube.com/ultimatereloader
http://www.UltimateReloader.com

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January 20th, 2018

RCBS Lock-Out Die Helps Prevent Faulty Charges on Progressives

RCBS Lock-out dieIf you load pistol or rifle ammo with a progressive press, we strongly recommend you get a Lock-Out Die from RCBS. This unique reloading die will prevent your progressive press from advancing if the dispensed powder charge is more or less than about 0.3 grains too high or too low. The Lock-Out Die really works. Your Editor uses it on his RCBS 2000 progressive press. I can affirm that a Lock-Out Die has “saved my bacon” a half-dozen times over the years when there was an over-charge (which could cause a Kaboom) or a low charge (which could cause a squib load).

The Lock-Out Die works by using a central die detection rod that sets its vertical position based on the height of the powder column in the case. Through an ingenious design, if the powder column height is too low or too high, the rod locks in place as you start to pull the press handle. This halts the press before the ram can lift and the cartridge plate can advance. Unlike a beeping alarm system (which can be ignored or defeated), the Lock-Out Die physically stops the movement of the press ram and prevents a bullet being seated in the “problem” case.

RCBS Lock-out dieIt takes a bit of tweaking to get the Lock-Out Die detection rod setting just right, but once it is correctly positioned, the Lock-Out Die works smoothly in the background. The Lock-Out Die won’t interfere with the loading process unless it detects a high or low charge — and then it positively stops the progressive loading cycle.

While crafted for use in RCBS progressive presses, the RCBS Lock-Out Die can also be used on a Dillon XL Progressive (see video below) or Hornady Lock-N-Load progressive — though it does take up one station which could otherwise be used for a final crimp die (after the seating die). The RCBS 2000 has one more station than a Dillon 550/650, so it’s an ideal platform for using the Lock-Out Die.

Learn More at UltimateReloader.com
On the UltimateReloader.com website, run by our friend Gavin, you’ll find an excellent two-part series on the function and set-up of the RCBS Lock-Out Die. Part One explains how the Lock-Out Die functions, using cut-away illustrations. Part Two shows how to install and adjust the Lock-Out Die on various progressive presses. The video below shows setup of the RCBS Lock-Out Die on the Dillon XL-650 progressive press.

Images © 2011 UltimateReloader.com, used by permission.
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January 17th, 2018

Cartridge “Efficiency” — Factors to Consider from the USAMU

USAMU Handloading Guide Facebook cartridge efficiency

Efficient cartridges make excellent use of their available powder and case/bore capacity. They yield good ballistic performance with relatively little recoil and throat erosion.

USAMU Handloading Guide Facebook cartridge efficiency

Cartridge Efficiency: A Primer (pun intended!) by USAMU Staff

Each week, the U.S. Army Marksmanship Unit (USAMU) publishes a reloading article on its Facebook Page. In this week’s article, the USAMU discusses cartridge case efficiency and its benefits. While this is oriented primarily toward NRA High Power Rifle and Long Range (1000-yard) competition, these factors also apply to medium/big game hunters. Assuming one’s rifle and ammunition are accurate, key considerations include ballistic performance (i.e., resistance to wind effects, plus trajectory), recoil, and throat erosion/barrel life.

Efficient cartridges make excellent use of their available powder and case/bore capacity. They yield good ballistic performance with relatively little recoil and throat erosion. A classic example in the author’s experience involved a featherweight 7x57mm hunting/silhouette rifle. When loaded to modern-rifle pressures, just 43-44 grains of powder pushed a 139gr bullet at 2900 fps from its 22” barrel. Recoil in this light rifle was mild; it was very easy to shoot well, and its performance was superb.

An acquaintance chose a “do everything” 7mm Remington Magnum for use on medium game at short ranges. A larger, heavier rifle, it used ~65 grains of powder to achieve ~3200 fps with similar bullets — from its 26″ barrel. Recoil was higher, and he was sensitive to it, which hampered his shooting ability.

Similarly efficient calibers include the 6mm BR [Norma], and others. Today’s highly-efficient calibers, such as 6mm BR and a host of newer developments might use 28-30 grains of powder to launch a 105-107gr match bullet at speeds approaching the .243 Winchester. The .243 Win needs 40-45 grain charges at the same velocity.

Champion-level Long Range shooters need every ballistic edge feasible. They compete at a level where 1″ more or less drift in a wind change could make the difference between winning and losing. Shooters recognized this early on — the then-new .300 H&H Magnum quickly supplanted the .30-06 at the Wimbledon winner’s circle in the early days.

The .300 Winchester Magnum became popular, but its 190-220gr bullets had their work cut out for them once the 6.5-284 and its streamlined 140-142gr bullets arrived on the scene. The 6.5-284 gives superb accuracy and wind performance with about half the recoil of the big .30 magnums – albeit it is a known barrel-burner.

Currently, the 7mm Remington Short Action Ultra-Magnum (aka 7mm RSAUM), is giving stellar accuracy with cutting-edge, ~180 grain bullets, powder charges in the mid-50 grain range and velocities about 2800+ fps in long barrels. Beyond pure efficiency, the RSAUM’s modern, “short and fat” design helps ensure fine accuracy relative to older, longer cartridge designs of similar performance.

Recent design advances are yielding bullets with here-to-fore unheard-of ballistic efficiency; depending on the cartridge, they can make or break ones decision. Ballistic coefficients (“BC” — a numerical expression of a bullet’s ballistic efficiency) are soaring to new heights, and there are many exciting new avenues to explore.

The ideal choice [involves a careful] balancing act between bullet BCs, case capacity, velocity, barrel life, and recoil. But, as with new-car decisions, choosing can be half the fun!

Factors to Consider When Evaluating Cartridges
For competitive shooters… pristine accuracy and ballistic performance in the wind are critical. Flat trajectory benefits the hunter who may shoot at long, unknown distances (nowadays, range-finders help). However, this is of much less importance to competitors firing at known distances.

Recoil is an issue, particularly when one fires long strings during competition, and/or multiple strings in a day. Its effects are cumulative; cartridges with medium/heavy recoil can lead to shooter fatigue, disturbance of the shooting position and lower scores.

For hunters, who may only fire a few shots a year, recoil that does not induce flinching during sight-in, practice and hunting is a deciding factor. Depending on their game and ranges, etc., they may accept more recoil than the high-volume High Power or Long Range competitor.

Likewise, throat erosion/barrel life is important to competitive shooters, who fire thousands of rounds in practice and matches, vs. the medium/big game hunter. A cartridge that performs well ballistically with great accuracy, has long barrel life and low recoil is the competitive shooter’s ideal. For the hunter, other factors may weigh more heavily.

Cartridge Efficiency and Energy — Another Perspective
Lapua staffer Kevin Thomas explains that efficiency can be evaluated in terms of energy:

“Cartridge efficiency is pretty straight forward — energy in vs. energy out. Most modern single-based propellants run around 178-215 ft/lbs of energy per grain. These figures give the energy potential that you’re loading into the rifle. The resulting kinetic energy transferred to the bullet will give you the efficiency of the round. Most cases operate at around 20-25% efficiency. This is just another way to evaluate the potential of a given cartridge. There’s a big difference between this and simply looking at max velocities produced by various cartridges.”

Permalink Bullets, Brass, Ammo, Reloading 2 Comments »
January 17th, 2018

For Smoother Bullet Seating — Try Dry Lube Inside Case Necks

Forster original caseneck case neck brass dry mica lube lubricator system

If you want smoother bullet seating, inside neck lube can help. Forum member Ackleyman II likes to add a little Mica powder inside his case necks before seating bullets. This is easily done with the Forster three-brush neck lube kit. Ackleyman tells us: “Many loads that I have will not shoot well with a dry neck compared to a neck that is cleaned and lubed with this [Forster Dry Lubricator] — the best $15 you have ever spent.”

The Forster Case Neck Lubricator features three brushes attached to a tough, impact-resistant case with holes for bench mounting. The brushes accommodate all calibers from 22 to 35 caliber. The kit includes enough “motor mica” to process 2000 to 3000 cases and has a cover to keep dust and grit from contaminating the mica. By moving the case neck up and down on the correct mica-covered brush, the neck can be cleaned and lubricated at the same time.

Function: Lubricate case necks for easier resizing
Contents: Kit with base, lid, and three nylon brushes
Lubricant: Includes 1/10 oz. of Motor Mica, enough to process 2000-3000 cases

Permalink Bullets, Brass, Ammo, Reloading 4 Comments »
January 15th, 2018

Primer Pocket and Flash Hole Uniforming Basics

Reloading Case Prep Flash Hole Primer Pocket

The U.S. Army Marksmanship Unit (USAMU) has published a series of reloading “how-to” articles on its Facebook Page. This post explains how to uniform primer pockets and remove burrs in flash holes. These brass prep operations can help ensure greater consistency, shot after shot. Visit the USAMU Facebook Page each Wednesday for other, helpful “Handloading Hump-Day” tips.

Primer Pocket and 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 “occasionally!” Generally, the USAMU Handloading Shop does not uniform primer pockets (PP) or deburr flash holes (FH) of our rifle brass. That’s not to say we’re against it — rather, it reflects the very high volume of ammunition loaded, 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 which, more later.)

As to the type cases we use, many thousands of our long-range 5.56x45mm cases come to us from the arsenal with the primer of our choice pre-installed and staked in per their usual practice. Obviously, we could not 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. Regular readers have seen photos of some of the tiny 1000-yard test groups we’ve fired with weight-selected domestic brass which had neither Primer Pockets uniformed nor flash holes deburred.

Reloading Case Prep Flash Hole Primer Pocket
Figure 1 shows a fired, deprimed 7.62×51 case with primer residue intact. In Figure 2, the primer pocket has been uniformed to SAAMI specs. Note the shiny finish — evidence of the metal removed to uniform and square the primer pocket.

Shooters who reload their brass several times may decide to uniform PPs and deburr FHs, especially on their “300-yard and beyond” brass. Unlike us, they will be using their cases many times, while the operations are only needed once. Also, most handloaders only process a relatively moderate amount of brass compared to our 20-thousand round lots. Having high quality Long Range (LR) brass helps. Many of the better brass manufacturers form 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 these makers will have a significant burr in, say, 1 per 1000 or 2000 cases, and it’s worth catching those. Recently, we began processing a large lot of match brass from a premier manufacturer, and were startled to find that every case had a burr in the FH — something we’d never before seen from this maker. We then broke out the FH deburring tool and went to work.

Reloading Case Prep Flash Hole Primer Pocket

For those who do opt for these procedures, note that various tool models may have adjustable depth-stops. Pay attention to the instructions. Some flash hole deburring tools which enter the case mouth, not the primer pocket, depend on uniform case length for best results.

Does It Really Make a Difference?
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”. Another thought is to “leave no stone unturned” in the search for accuracy.

However, an extremely talented World Champion and Olympic Gold/Silver medalist 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 FH’s, deburr FH’s and clean primer pockets before each reloading; however, with the wisdom of decades’ experience, he also remarked that “It could have been that I just wasn’t shooting as well that day.”

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January 14th, 2018

Cheap Tricks — Ten Handy Budget Items For Hand-Loaders

Budget reloading items

Useful reloading gear does not have to be costly. Here are ten handy (and very inexpensive) items that belong on your loading bench or in your range kit.

magnifying glassMagnifying Glass – We use a flat, 2″x2″ pocket 4x-8x magnifier. This folds up on itself. Very handy, we use it to inspect bullets and brass. Use this to check your flash holes for burrs, and check the meplats of your bullets before loading.

Clear 35mm Film Cannister – Use this to transfer the thrown powder charge to the little measuring cup that sits on your scale. That way you don’t get any kernel splash. Also if the charge weight is obviously off, it’s easy to dump back in the measure. A film canister works pretty well as a trickler too.

Compressed Air in a Can -- Get these at office supply stores. Use the can (with tube attached) to blow crud out of cases after cleaning the neck with a brush, and blast loose debris out of primer pockets.

Pin Vise – A simple $7.00 pin vise with a #53 bit is perfect for deburring Lapua PPC and BR flash holes without reaming the flash-holes any larger. The Lapua PPC/BR flash-hole diameter is 1.5 mm, or 0.059″. eHobbyTools.com sells a 1.5mm pin vise bit. Other vendors offer a #53 pin vise bit that measures .0595″ or .060″ (depending or source). You can find pin vises and bits at hobby stores.

Bounce Dryer Sheets – The common dryer sheets eliminate “static cling” on your plastic reloading parts such as powder measure cylinders, powder funnels, and reloading press plastic bins. Thanks to Doc76251 for this tip.

BallistolBallistol Aerosol – Try using this versatile lubricant/solvent for full-length sizing. Spray some on a patch and you can wipe the carbon of your case necks. Then, continue to apply a very small amount of Ballistol on the case bodies — just thin sheen is all you need. Ballistol is super slippery, and easy to remove. For general full-length sizing (on small cases) it works great and doesn’t leave a gooey, waxy, or chalky residue. For heavier case-forming jobs, we recommend Imperial Die Wax.

Shotgun Mop – Stick this in the chamber when using Wipe-Out foaming bore cleaner. This will seal off the chamber so the foam doesn’t flow into your action. For long chambers screw on one section of cleaning rod to aid extraction.

Colored Sharpie Marking Pens – Mark your bullets ahead of the bearing surface, and the color transfers to the target. This way you can shoot multiple loads at the same point of aim and discern which load shoots the tightest. (Recommended for 300 yards and beyond). With colored bullet tips you can test multiple loads “round robin” to equalize wind effects. When testing seating depths for example, you can mark the longer-seated set of bullets red and the shorter-seated set green and shoot them during the same sequence. Just look at the colored marks on the target to see which grouped better.

Sharpies Pens

Thin Latex Gloves – You should keep a box of inexpensive, disposable latex gloves (the kind doctors use) in your loading room. These will prevent contamination of primers or powder kernels that you handle directly. Also, use the gloves when handling fine blued tools or firearms to prevent transfering body oils and salts that promote rust.

Plastic Washers for Neck Mic – If you use a Sinclair Neck-wall Micrometer Gauge with integral stand, you can use thin plastic washers to adjust the height of the case on the mandrel. This makes it much easier to measure the same point on the case neck every time. Thanks to MikeCR for this tip (and photo).

Permalink Reloading, Tech Tip No Comments »
January 13th, 2018

FIX-IT: How to Remove a Cartridge Case Stuck in a Die

stuck72

Western powders, ramshot, norma, accurate

To err is human… Sooner or later you’ll probably get a case stuck in a die. This “fix-it” article, which originally appeared in the Western Powders Blog, explains the procedure for removing a firmly stuck cartridge case using an RCBS kit. This isn’t rocket science, but you do want to follow the directions carefully, step-by-step. Visit the Western Powders Blog for other helpful Tech Tips.

Curing the Stuck Case Blues

decapstem72Sticking a case in the sizer die is a rite of passage for the beginning handloader. If you haven’t done it yet, that’s great, but it probably will eventually happen. When it does, fixing the problem requires a bit of ingenuity or a nice little kit like the one we got from RCBS.

The first step is to clear the de-capping pin from the flash hole. Just unscrew the de-capping assembly to move it as far as possible from the primer pocket and flash hole (photo at right). Don’t try to pull it all the way out. It won’t come. Just unscrew it and open as much space as possible inside the case.

Place the die upside down in the padded jaws of a vise and clamp it firmly into place. Using the supplied #7 bit, drill through the primer pocket. Be careful not to go too deeply inside the cartridge once the hole has opened up. It is important to be aware that the de-capping pin and expander ball are still in there and can be damaged by the bit.

Drill and Tap the Stuck Case
taping72drilling72

Once the cartridge head has been drilled, a ¼ – 20 is tap is used to cut threads into the pocket. Brass is relatively soft compared to a hardened tap, so no lube is needed for the tapping process. RCBS says that a drill can be used for this step, but it seems like a bit of overkill in a project of this nature. A wrench (photo above right) makes short work of the project.

RCBS supplies a part they call the “Stuck Case Remover Body” for the next step. If you are a do-it-yourselfer and have the bit and tap, this piece is easily replicated by a length of electrical conduit of the proper diameter and some washers. In either case, this tool provides a standoff for the screw that will do the actual pulling.

pulling72fingers72

With an Allen Wrench, Finish the Job
Run the screw through the standoff and into the tapped case head. With a wrench, tighten the screw which hopefully pulls the case free. Once the case is free, clamp the case in a vice and pull it free of the de-capping pin. There is tension here because the sizing ball is oversized to the neck dimension as part of the sizing process. It doesn’t take much force, but be aware there is still this last little hurdle to clear before you get back to loading. Don’t feel bad, everyone does this. Just use more lube next time!

wholekit72unstuck72

Article find by EdLongrange. We welcome reader submissions.
Permalink - Articles, Reloading, Tech Tip 6 Comments »
January 12th, 2018

AR, Garand, M1A — Six Rules for Gas Gun Reloading

Reloading for Service Rifles
SFC Lance Dement as featured in CMP’s First Shot Online.

The U.S. Army Marksmanship Unit (USAMU) has published a great series of reloading “how-to” articles on its Facebook Page. This post covers key factors to consider when loading ammunition for Match Rifles and Service Rifles, with a particular focus on self-loading “gas guns”. Visit the USAMU Facebook Page each Wednesday for other, helpful “Handloading Hump-Day” tips.

We offer some “cardinal rules” to help new gas-gun handloaders with safety and efficiency. These address both Match Rifle and Service Rifle versions of the AR15, M1 Garand, M1A, and M110. However, they can also improve safe reloading for many other auto-loaders such as M1 Carbines, FALs, SIGs, etc. The author distilled these principles many years ago to help focus on the essential aspects of these rifles.

RULE ONE: Service Rifles Are Not Benchrest Rifles
Gas-guns require a relatively loose fit between ammunition and chamber (vs. bolt actions) for safe, smooth operation. Many techniques, such as neck sizing and keeping cartridge headspace quite tight, are popular in the extreme bolt gun accuracy realm. However, they are of little value with Service Rifles, and some could even be hazardous. Before adopting a specialized technique, seriously consider whether it is appropriate and beneficial in a gas-gun.

RULE TWO: Never Compromise Safety to Obtain Accuracy
Example: If choosing a brand of great, but ultra-sensitive match primers offers possibly better accuracy at the risk of slam-fires in your design of rifle, don’t do it! You are issued exactly two eyes and ten fingers (best-case scenario). Risking them trying to squeeze 0.25 MOA better accuracy out of an M1A, etc. simply isn’t worth it.

Reloading for Service Rifles

RULE THREE: Tailor the Precision to Your Individual Skill and Your Rifle’s Potential
This has been addressed here before, but bears repeating for newcomers. If you are struggling to break out of the Marksman Class, or using a CMP M1 “As-Issued,” then laboriously turning the necks of your 600-yard brass is a waste of time. Your scores will improve much faster by practicing or dry-firing. On the other hand, if the reigning champions anxiously check your scores each time you fire an event, a little neck-turning might not be so far-fetched.

Verifying Load Improvements — Accuracy hand-loading involves a wide variety of techniques, ranging from basic to rather precise. Carefully select those which offer a good return on investment for your time and labor. In doubt? Do a classic pilot study. Prepare ammo for at least three or four ten-shot groups with your new technique, vs. the same with your standard ammo. Then, pick a calm day and test the ammo as carefully as possible at its full distance (e.g. 200, 300, or 600 yards) to verify a significant improvement. A little testing can save much labor!

RULE FOUR: Be Your Own Efficiency Expert
Serious Service Rifle shooters generally think of ammunition in terms of thousands of rounds, not “boxes”, or even “hundreds”. Analyze, and WRITE DOWN each step in your reloading process. Count the number of times each case is handled. Then, see if any operations can be dropped or changed without reducing safety or accuracy. Eliminating just two operations saves 2000 steps per 1000 rounds loaded. Conversely, carefully consider any measurable benefits before adding a step to your routine.

RULE FIVE: In Searching for Greater Accuracy with Efficiency, Look for System Changes
For example, instead of marking your 300-yard rounds individually to differentiate them from your 200-yard ammo, would a simple change in primers work? If accuracy is maintained, using brass-colored primers for 200 and silver for 300 provides an indelible indicator and eliminates a step! Similarly, rather than spending hours selecting GI surplus brass for weight and neck uniformity, consider splurging on some known, high-quality imported match brass for your 600-yard loads. Results should be excellent, time is saved, and given limited shooting at 600 yards, brass life should be long.

RULE SIX: Check All Your Primers Before Packaging Your Loaded Ammo
This seems simple and even intuitive. However, many slam-fires (which were much more common when M1s and M1As were the standard) are due, at least in part, to “high” primers. Primers should be seated below flush with the case head. The USAMU has addressed this at length in a previous column, but each round should be checked for properly-seated primers before they are packaged for use.

Reloading for Service Rifles

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January 11th, 2018

Heavy Metal — New Cast-Iron Presses from Lyman for 2018

Lyman Cast Iron 0-Ring Victory Press single-stage All-American Turret 8-stage

Lyman is introducing three new Brass Smith series reloading presses for 2018. Here we focus on the two full-size Brass Smith presses, the O-Frame Victory Single Stage and the new 8-Station All-American Turret Press. Both these sturdy presses feature an innovative “straight line” priming system with shielded primer tube.

New Cast-Iron Victory O-Frame Single-Stage Press

Lyman’s new Victory™ Press is built on a heavy duty cast iron “O” frame with 1-inch diameter ram and compound linkage. It looks strong and Lyman claims the “Victory Press is one of the most rugged and rigid available on the market.” The Victory Press features a simple, reliable straight-line primer feed. It’s easy to prime a case — simply push the priming arm forward to position a primer beneath the shell holder. As an added safety feature, the primer feed comes with a heavy steel shield surrounding the primer tube. The large 5-inch frame opening can take long magnum cases. MSRP is $199.45. We expect initial “street price” to be around $160.00, less expensive than an RCBS RockChucker, but more pricey than a Lee Classic Cast Press.

Lyman Cast Iron 0-Ring Victory Press single-stage All-American Turret 8-stage

“It has been a while since Lyman Products introduced new presses, for the very simple reason that our presses are built to be so durable that they actually end up being handed down in families”, explained Trevor Mullen, Lyman’s VP of Marketing and Business Development. “But for 2018, we decided we needed to add certain features that make these new presses even better than their former models.”

New Cast-Iron 8-Station All-American Turret Press

Along with its new Victory Single-Stage Press, Lyman is releasing a beefy All-American Turret Press with eight (8) stations. That’s one more than the Redding T-7 Turret Press, and two more stations than the six-station RCBS Turret Press. With the Lyman’s EIGHT stations you can hold sizing AND seating dies for four different rifle cartridges. Or, if you seat bullets with an arbor press, you could have sizers for six cartridges, plus a dedicated decapping die and a factory crimp die. With eight stations available — there are countless options.

Lyman Cast Iron 0-Ring Victory Press single-stage All-American Turret 8-stage

Rigidity is very important with a turret press — if you have too much “give” of flex with the turret head you may get inconsistent results when bumping shoulders using full-length dies. With a heavy cast-iron frame and turret head, Lyman says its new Turret Press is “the most rugged” on the market. We like the front-mount priming system which can easily be operated with your free hand, whether you mount the press arm on the left or the right. MSRP is $249.95. We expect “street price” to be around $220.00, quite a bit less than the six-station RCBS Turret Press.

Permalink New Product, Reloading 5 Comments »
January 11th, 2018

Why Does Load Data Vary Between Reloading Manuals?

load manual sierra reloading hornady data

Written by Sierra Bullets Ballistic Technician Duane Siercks
One of the first things new reloaders notice is that load data varies between reloading manuals. The Sierra Bullets Technicians frequently get inquiries asking us to explain why the load data appears to be inconsistent. This article explains five key factors that can influence published load data.

Example of load data variances for two 168 grain bullets:

Sierra Reloading Manual Hornady Load Reloading

Here are five reasons why the load data varies:

The Bullet
Basically, the similarities in the .30 caliber 168 grain Match bullets (for example) end with weight and diameter. The bullets likely have dimensional differences such as bearing surface length. Bearing surface has a large effect on pressure and velocity. There are also differences in boat tail, flat base, ogive and over-all lengths, which each help determine the cartridge over-all-length (COAL). With different COAL’s, we can expect changes in pressure and velocity also. In some calibers there are differences in bullet diameter with different bullet manufacturers.

It is also worth noting that bullet manufacturers do not all use the same copper alloy for their jackets. This produces more or less friction that results in load pressures and velocities. The solid copper bullets also vary quite a bit in comparison to a lead core and copper jacketed bullet.

The Gun
Each gun is unique, even if you are using the same make, model, and caliber. Special consideration should be used to consider that not all firearm chambers are the same either, creating more variables that need consideration. There can be drastic differences in the throat length. This controls the amount of “jump” that a bullet experiences when the cartridge is fired.

The Powder
Within normal manufacturing tolerances, you can see some variation in a given powders burn rate between different lots of the same powder. So naturally when two different Manuals are produced, it would be doubtful that the same lots would be tested.

The Cartridge Cases
New cases are almost always near minimum specs in dimension. A load fired in a new case would likely have slightly more pressure that when fired in a re-sized case. This would certainly be true if we were loading into fire-formed cases that have had minimal re-sizing done. Fired cases that are full length resized most of the time be slightly larger than the new unfired cases. This gives you differences in case capacity. The same powder charge placed within a new case and a full length resized case will produce different pressure levels and probably different velocities.

Conditions
Temperature can cause pressure increases or decreases. Hot temperatures tend to cause pressures to increase, while cold temperatures will usually do the opposite. Humidity and altitude can impact pressures and velocities likewise.

Conclusion
As you can see, an amazing number of variables effect any load combination. With the differences in the manuals, you’re just seeing firsthand examples of what took place when the data was collected with that particular set of components and firearm. Think of a reloading manual as a report. In essence, a reloading manual says, “We tried this particular component combination, and these are the results we obtained.”

Remember that you may or may not reach the same maximum load safely. There is no “one load fits all bullets.” The minimum load data offers a safe place to start. The maximum load data listed should always be regarded as a safety guideline and not necessarily a goal! Your gun should shoot accurately without breaching the maximum load data. The best advice is: always start low and work your load up!

If you have questions about variances in load data or other reloading questions, please call our ballistic technicians at 1-800-223-8799 or send us an email at sierra [at] sierrabullets.com.

Sierra Bullets Blog reloading information

Permalink Bullets, Brass, Ammo, Reloading, Tech Tip 5 Comments »
January 10th, 2018

Load Data for the Popular 6.5 Creedmoor from Sierra Bullets

Sierra Load Data 6.5 Creedmoor

In the past few years, the 6.5 Creedmoor cartridge has become the leading cartridge for tactical/practical gun games. It offers excellent ballistics, moderate recoil, and good accuracy with a variety of powder and bullet combos. Along with the 6.5×47 Lapua, the 6.5 Creedmoor has demonstrated that a .264-Caliber mid-sized caliber is truly a jack of all trades — it can be accurate on paper, win PRS matches, and also harvest game during hunting season. If you own a 6.5 Creedmoor (or plan to get one) and hand-load your ammo, this post should provide a good start. Sierra Bullets now offers 6.5 Creedmoor Load Data for bullets from 120 to 142 grains — the most popular weight range for this chambering.

Sierra Bullets has released very complete load data for the popular 6.5 Creedmoor cartridge. This medium-sized cartridge has become one of the most popular chamberings for tactical and PRS shooters. The 6.5 Creedmoor combines excellent accuracy, good mag-feeding, good barrel life, moderate recoil, and reasonable component cost. That’s why this cartridge has caught on quickly.

The Springfield M1A is now available in 6.5 Creedmoor. For Gas Guns like this, be sure to full-length-size your brass after every firing, with adequate shoulder bump.
M1A 6.5 Creedmoor Sierra Load Data

Sierra Load Data 6.5 CreedmoorDeveloped in 2007 by Dennis DeMille and Dave Emary, the 6.5 Creedmoor is a shortened and improved 30 TC cartridge case that was inspired by the .308 Winchester design. This short action design was created to maximize case capacity and a wide range of loading lengths, while still fitting in standard short action magazines. With the correct twist barrel, the versatile 6.5 Creedmoor can take advantage of the wide range of bullet weights available in 6.5 mm (i.e. .264 caliber). Reloaders should keep in mind that the 6.5 Creedmoor works best with medium to medium-slow powders such as H4350, Varget, Win 760, and RE-17. The light recoil and adaptability of the efficient 6.5 Creedmoor cartridge has already proven itself in high power, precision rifle series and benchrest competitions. Couple that with respectable barrel life and its intrinsic accuracy potential and you have a recipe for success which should insure its legacy for decades to come.

Sierra 6.5 Creedmoor Load Data Manual reloading .264

Here are three tables from the Sierra Bullets Reloading Manual (5th Edition). IMPORTANT — This is just a sample!! Sierra has load data for many other 6.5mm bullet types, including FB, Spitzer, SBT, HPBT, and Tipped MK from 85 grains to 142 grains. To view ALL 6.5 Creedmoor DATA, CLICK HERE.

Sierra Bullets 6.5 Creedmoor Load Data MatchKing Tactical
INDICATES MAXIMUM LOAD – USE CAUTION
LOADS LESS THAN MINIMUM CHARGES SHOWN ARE NOT RECOMMENDED.

Sierra Bullets 6.5 Creedmoor Load Data MatchKing Tactical
INDICATES MAXIMUM LOAD – USE CAUTION
LOADS LESS THAN MINIMUM CHARGES SHOWN ARE NOT RECOMMENDED.

Sierra Bullets 6.5 Creedmoor Load Data MatchKing Tactical
INDICATES MAXIMUM LOAD – USE CAUTION
LOADS LESS THAN MINIMUM CHARGES SHOWN ARE NOT RECOMMENDED.

Permalink News, Reloading, Tactical 1 Comment »
January 9th, 2018

Inside Chamfer Tools — Sorting Through the Options

Neck case chamfer tools Redding Forster Rocket model 15-p
Shown is the Redding Model 15-P Competition Piloted Inside Chamfering Tool with pilot rod that centers in the case flash hole. Also shown is a Forster 45° Rocket Tool.

There are a wide variety of reloading tools designed to cut a slight chamfer in case necks and deburr the edge of the case mouth. You don’t need to spend a lot of money for an effective tool. A basic “rocket-style” 45° chamfering tool, such as the Forster, actually does a pretty good job taking the sharp edge off case mouths, particularly if you use a little scotch-pad (or steel wool) to smooth the edge of the cut. The Forster chamfer tool, shown below, is a nicely-made product, with sharper cutting blades than you’ll find on most other 45° chamferers. It costs $17.99 at Brownells.com.

forster rocket 45 degree neck chamferer chamfer tool

Redding sells a handy piloted chamfering tool with a 15° inside cutting angle and removable accessory handle. This Redding Model 15-P chamferer works really well, so long as you have consistent case OALs. The pilot rod (which indexes in the flash hole) is adjustable for different cartridge types (from very short to very long). This ensures the concentricity of the inside neck chamfer to the case mouth. This quality tool works with cases from .22 to .45 Caliber.

Neck case chamfer tools Redding Forster Rocket model 15-p

Sinclair International offers a 28° carbide chamferer with many handy features (and sharp blades). The $29.99 Sinclair Carbide VLD Case Mouth Chamfering Tool will chamfer cases from .14 through .45 caliber. This tool features a removable 28° carbide cutter mounted in the green plastic Sinclair handle. NOTE: A hex-shaft cutter head power adapter can be purchased separately for $14.99 (Sinclair item 749-002-488WS). This can be chucked in a power screwdriver or used with the Sinclair Case Prep Power Center when doing large volumes of cases.

Neck inside chamfer chamferer case neck tool

Many folks feel they can get smoother bullet seating by using a tool that cuts at a steeper angle. We like the 22° cutter sold by Lyman. It has a comfortable handle, and costs just $10.75 at MidsouthShooterssupply.com. The Lyman tool is an excellent value, though we’ve seen examples that needed sharpening even when new. Blade-sharpening is easily done, however.

K&M makes a depth-adjustable, inside-neck chamferer (“Controlled Depth Tapered Reaper”) with ultra-sharp cutting flutes. The latest version, which costs $47.00 at KMShooting.com, features a central pin that indexes via the flash hole to keep the cutter centered. In addition, the tool has a newly-designed handle, improved depth-stop fingers, plus a new set-screw adjustment for precise cutter depth control. We caution, even with all the depth-control features, if you are not careful, it is easy to over-cut, slicing away too much brass and basically ruining your neck. We think that most reloaders will get better results using a more conventional chamfer tool, such as the Forster or Redding 15-P.

K & M K&M neck chamferer reamer controlled depth

One last thing to note — tools like the K&M and the Sinclair chamferer are often described as VLD chamferers. That is really a misnomer, as bullets with long boat-tails actually seat easily with very minimal chamfering. In reality, these high-angle chamferers may be most valuable when preparing brass for flat-base bullets and bullets with pressure rings. Using a 22° or 28° chamferer can reduce the risk of cutting a jacket when using VLD bullets though — so long as you make a smooth cut.

Permalink Gear Review, Reloading 7 Comments »
January 8th, 2018

Bargain Finder 120: 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. Sportsmans Outdoor — T/C Rifle with Vortex Scope, $324.99

thompson center arms compass hunting rifle vortex scope package bargain Aim to Save rebate

Here is a truly great package deal. Right now get a Thompson/Center Arms (T/C) Compass rifle with Vortex 4-12x40mm Diamondback scope for $399.99. But there’s more — this package qualifies for a $75 T/C factory rebate. That lowers your net cost to just $324.99, so you’re effectively getting the rifle for under $200.00! Available chamberings are: 22-250, 6.5 Creedmoor, 7mm-08, .308 Winchester, .30-06 Springfield, .300 Win Mag. If you don’t need a scope, you can also get the Thompson Center Compass for just $224.99 (after Rebate) in a variety of calibers. The Thompson/Center Arms Aim To Save Rebate program is valid from 1/1/2018 until 4/30/2018. REBATE TERMS HERE.

2. GunPrime — 6.5 Creedmoor Ruger Precision Rifle, $998.00.

Ruger Precision Rifle 6.5 Creedmoor PRS production class

Ruger Precision Rifle, 6.5 Creedmoor, $998.00 complete — what’s not to like? If you’ve been thinking of purchasing a Ruger Precision Rifle (RPR) chambered for the 6.5 Creedmoor cartridge, here’s the best deal we’ve found in recent months. Right now Gunprime.com is offering this poular tactical rig for under $1000.00, in the high-demand 6.5 Creedmoor chambering. Heck of a bargain boys — you can pay $1300 or more elsewhere for the same rifle. This is a good choice for the PRS production class, or you can take in to another level of performance with a Pre-Fit 26″ cut-rifled barrel from Krieger. This is the lastest RPR Gen 2 version with the upgraded handguards. NOTE: GunPrime also has the RPR in 6mm Creedmoor for $1018.45.

3. Amazon — Plano Tactical Rifle Case, $67.99

Plano tactical Rifle case 43

This Plano All-Weather Tactical Rifle Case is an Amazon Best Seller for good reason. It offers the functionality and durability of an SKB-type hard case for HALF the money. This is under $70.00, while the equivalent SKB is around $220.00, so you can buy three Planos for the price of one SKB. The 43″-long interior will fit most ARs and many hunting/varmint rifles (measure your own rifle to make sure). The handles are convenient and beefy and the wheels make this case easy to move through airports and parking lots. This is a very tough, roomy case for the money. Dimensions: 43″ X 13″ X 5″ (Interior); 46″ x 16″ x 5.5″ (Exterior).

4. Natchez — Bushnell Elite 4500 8-32x40mm Scope, $419.99

Bushnell Elite Demo Scope 6-24x40mm Sale

Bushnell’s highly-regarded Elite 4500 Series scopes offer good performance and reliability for the price. Here’s a great deal on a Demo Bushnell 8-32x40mm Elite 4500 with Multi-X Reticle and 1″-diameter main tube. This would be a good choice for an F-Class or long-range varmint rifle. We’ve used this scope in a 600-yard Benchrest match and it worked well, though we would prefer a reticle with MOA-based hold-off marks. We do like the 1/8-MOA clicks for precision target work. NOTE: Natchez also has 6-24x40mm Bushnell 4500 Elite zoom scopes on sale now for just $329.99 (with Multi-X Reticle). That’s a crazy low price for an optic this good.

5. MidwayUSA — Pro Series Padded Shooting Mat, $29.99

MidwayUSA Midwas OD Green padded shooting mat sale discount

Here’s a heck of a deal on a good shooting mat. MidwayUSA has slashed the price on its Pro Series Shooting Mat (in Olive Drab). Get this 73.5″ x 35.5″ padded mat for just $29.99. This Mat has nice features, such as a Bipod Pre-load Web, 0.35″ thick padding, multiple pockets, and 6 grommets for staking. It’s easy to transport, rolling up to about nine inches in diameter and fitted with a nice carry strap. Midway normally sells this Pro Series Mat for $59.99, so the current $29.99 price is a great deal. If you need a good basic shooting mat, check out this deal.

MidwayUSA Midwas OD Green padded shooting mat sale discount

6. Midsouth — Nosler Factory Seconds, Save up to 30%

Nosler Bullet bargain factory seconds Accubond Tip

Nosler Factory Seconds are now available at Midsouth Shooters Supply. These bullets are completely functional (with correct weights and dimensions), with only minor cosmetic blemishes. You’ll find slight tip discolorations, water spots, and little else. The Accubond and Ballistic Tip bullets will work great for hunting — your prey won’t care about the water spots. Available bullets include popular calibers: 55gr 6mm Varmageddon, 140gr 6.5mm 140 tipped Accubond, 168gr and 175gr 7mm tipped Accubond, and 180 gr .308 caliber Spitzer Accubond. NOTE quantities are limited and these factory seconds blems always go fast. Once they are gone, they’re GONE!

7. Stocky’s Stocks — M50 Hunting Stock with AccuBlock, $219.00

Stockys Stocks M50 accublock aluminum chassis hunting stock adjustable comb

Here’s a very new product from Stocky’s Stocks, at a very good price. This new M50 Monte Carlo-style hunting stock for Rem 700-type actions offers great features you won’t find on some other stock costing three times as much. The action is supported by a built-in Aluminum Accublock chassis. The comb is adjustable for height, and the stock comes with a nice “Softkick buttpad”. A variety of premium finishes are available. If you are thinking of re-stocking your Rem 700 rifle or building a new hunting rig with a Rem 700 clone, this is an excellent choice — an outstanding value.

8. Amazon — Jiallite Scope Bubble Level, $11.29

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: 89% of verified buyers rated this five stars.

9. Brownells — Save Money Codes plus Free Shipping

Brownells discount codes

Planning to do some shopping on Brownells.com? You can save up to $60.00 on your purchase with these discount codes. Plus you get free shipping — can’t complain about that. For orders $200+ use code M2H to save $20. For orders 400+ use code M2J to get $40 off, and for orders $600+ use Code M2K to save $60. NOTE: Don’t dawdle if you want to take advantage of these savings. The discount codes expire 1/8/2018 at 11:59 pm CST.

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