June 15th, 2018

What You Need to Know About Primers — Explained by an Expert

Primer Priming Tool Magnum primers foil anvil primer construction reloading powder CCI
Winchester Pistol Primers on bench. Photo courtesy UltimateReloader.com.

There is an excellent article about primers on the Shooting Times website. We strongly recommend you read Mysteries And Misconceptions Of The All-Important Primer, written by Allan Jones. Mr. Jones is a bona fide expert — he served as the manager of technical publications for CCI Ammunition and Speer Bullets and Jones authored three editions of the Speer Reloading Manual.

» READ Full Primer “Mysteries and Misconceptions” Article

This authoritative Shooting Times article explains the fine points of primer design and construction. Jones also reveals some little-known facts about primers and he corrects common misconceptions. Here are some highlights from the article:

Primer Priming Tool Magnum primers foil anvil primer construction reloading powder CCISize Matters
Useful Trivia — even though Small Rifle and Small Pistol primer pockets share the same depth specification, Large Rifle and Large Pistol primers do not. The standard pocket for a Large Pistol primer is somewhat shallower than its Large Rifle counterpart, specifically, 0.008 to 0.009 inch less.

Magnum Primers
There are two ways to make a Magnum primer — either use more of the standard chemical mix to provide a longer-burning flame or change the mix to one with more aggressive burn characteristics. Prior to 1989, CCI used the first option in Magnum Rifle primers. After that, we switched to a mix optimized for spherical propellants that produced a 24% increase in flame temperature and a 16% boost in gas volume.

Foiled Again
Most component primers have a little disk of paper between the anvil and the priming mix. It is called “foil paper” not because it’s made of foil but because it replaces the true metal foil used to seal early percussion caps. The reason this little disk exists is strictly a manufacturing convenience. Wet primer pellets are smaller than the inside diameter of the cup when inserted and must be compacted to achieve their proper diameter and height. Without the foil paper, the wet mix would stick to the compaction pins and jam up the assembly process.

Read Full Primer Story on ShootingTimes.com:
http://www.shootingtimes.com/ammo/ammunition_st_mamotaip_200909

VIDEOS about PRIMERS
Here are two videos that offer some good, basic information on primers:

Permalink - Videos, Bullets, Brass, Ammo, Reloading 2 Comments »
June 12th, 2018

Hodgdon H4350 Powder Available Now, Both 1-LB and 8-LB

Precision Reloading H4350 powder

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

hodgdon H4350 powder available brunos midsouth powder valley

Midsouth Shooters Supply has Hodgdon H4350 8-lb jugs for $191.99 and H4350 one-pound containers in stock for $26.75. If you want an 8-pounder, we suggest you act quickly. These are in high demand and Midsouth’s price is excellent.

Bruno Shooters Supply has the large, 8-lb jugs for $199.95 and H4350 1-lb containers for $31.95. Bruno’s also has most of the other popular Hodgdon powders in stock now.

hodgdon H4350 powder available brunos midsouth powder valley

Powder Valley has one-pound containers of H4350 in-stock now for $26.55. That’s an excellent price.

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

Precision Reloading H4350 powder

Permalink Hot Deals, Reloading No Comments »
June 11th, 2018

BargainFinder 142: AccurateShooter’s Deals of the Week

Accurateshooter Bargain Finder Deals of Week

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

1. Natchez — Bushnell 6-18x50mm Trophy, $79.99 after Rebate

Bushnell bargain trophy 6-18x50mm riflescope optic scope

Looking for a decent medium-power zoom optic for a varmint rifle or rimfire rig? Here’s a great deal on a name-brand scope with side-focus parallax and good warranty. This 6-18x50mm Bushnell Trophy certainly won’t compete with an elite scope, but at $129.99 it’s hard to go wrong. A verified buyer reports: “Likely a best buy/solid value purchase. Glass is good, probably best in this price range. Used for targets — [it was] clear, and focuses down to about 10 yards.” The reticle is Bushnell’s Multi-X — the lines are fairly thick, but it will work for general varmint and target duties. NOTE: This Trophy Scope also qualifies for a Bushnell $50 Trophy Bucks Rebate (good through June 30, 2018). That $50 Rebate lowers your net cost to just $79.99!

2. CDNN — Colt Competition AR15 Kit, $599.99

Colt AR AR15 match rifle upper lower kit discount CDNN
The Colt Kit does NOT include barrel, bolt carrier group, charging handle, or magazine.

This affordable Colt AR15 Kit includes upper, complete lower, handguard, and Magpul stock. To this, add your choice of barrel and optic. We like this option because the barrel is so important to accuracy and overall performance. This Colt package costs $599.99. Add a match-grade, finish-chambered barrel from Criterion or Krieger, plus bolt carrier group, and you’re in business. The Magpul PRS stock features a quick-adjustable cheek-piece and butt-plate — allowing you to easily adapt head position and LOP for your discipline of the day. The straight-toe PRS stock works great in a rear bag. This is a good platform for a PRS Gas Gun Division rifle.

3. Amazon — RCBS ChargeMaster Lite, $186.99

RCBS Chargemaster lite powder scale dispenser sale Amazon

Need a good, modern electronic scale/dispenser? The modern ChargeMaster Lite offers good performance for the price — now $186.99 at Amazon and $187.49 Brownells. But at Brownells, with Code NCS you can get $15 off and free shipping — lowering your net cost to $172.49! That’s a killer deal — other retailers are charging up to $260.00 for this machine. Once calibrated, we found the ChargeMaster Lite’s dispensing to be very accurate. RCBS claims +/-0.1 grain. This newer machine is a bit easier to program than the original ChargeMaster. Verified purchasers have been happy, but with one complaint: “You cannot turn off the beeping. The [original ChargeMaster] has a way to mute the beeping. This one does not.” Take note.

4. LabRadar Chronograph — $50 Off, Sale Ends June 24

LabRadar Radar Doppler chronograph summer sale $50 off chrono lab-radar Bruno shooters Creedmoor

If you’ve been wanting to get a LabRadar Chronograph, now’s a good time. You can now save $50 on this very advanced piece of technology — probably the most sophisticated chronograph system ever offered to the general public. That’s notable because you almost never see this discounted below the $559.95 MAP price. You can save $50.00 on this unit now through June 24, 2018. This is a factory-authorized, once-a-year Summer Sale. The sale extends through 6/24/2018. You can get the LabRadar from top vendors including Creedmoor Sports, Bruno Shooters Supply, and Midsouth Shooters Supply.

5. CDNN — 6mm Creedmoor Ruger Precision Rifle, $899.99

Ruger Precision Rifle 6.5 Creedmoor PRS production class

Get a Ruger Precision Rifle in 6mm Creedmoor for $899.99 complete. That price, which includes rings, is great for a Gen 2 model. If you’ve been thinking of purchasing a Ruger Precision Rifle (RPR) chambered for the 6mm Creedmoor cartridge, this is a killer deal. Right now CDNN Sports is offering this popular tactical rig for under $900.00, in the 6mm Creedmoor chambering. This shoots faster and flatter than the 6.5 Creedmoor — so many PRS guys have switched to it. 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. Heck of a bargain boys — you can pay $1200 or more elsewhere for the same rifle.

6. EuroOptics — Leica CRF 2000, $399.00

Leica 2000-B Rangemaster Laser LRF Rangefinder Sale Eurooptics.com

This may be the best deal we’ve seen on the vaunted Leica 2000-B Laser Rangefinder (LRF) with 7-power optic. This unit is rated out to 2000 yards on reflective objects (in real-world use it will laze a deer well past 800 if you can hold steady). The Leica 2000-B features air pressure and temperature sensors, plus on-board inclinometer. Angle correction works out to 1200 horizontal yards equivalent, with the true hold-over displayed in both MILs and MOA. The compact Leica CRF 2000-B weighs just 6.5 ounces and measures 4.5″ L x 2.25″ H x 1.25″ W. It has a waterproof outer shell.

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

Champion's Choice extra long palma rifle case 58

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

8. Amazon — MTM AC4C Ammo Crate with 4 Ammo Boxes, $24.99

MTM Ammo Carrier Crate Box

Here’s a very cool product from MTM at a great price. The versatile MTM AC4C Ammo Carrier features four, lockable polymer ammo cans in a fitted, four-slot 23.5” x 11.3” x 7.5” carry crate. This makes it easy to haul four full ammo cans. Actual purchasers have raved: “Moments after I received this storage box set I ordered another. Very well built and great design. Awesome and a steal at the price.” Right now this is on sale at Amazon for just $24.99 with free prime shipping. The system includes four lockable, O-Ring 11.3″ x 7.2″ x 5″ ammo cans (AC30T) for multi-caliber ammo storage. The crate even includes tie-down points for transport in a cart or ATV. NOTE: Earlier this summer this MTM AC4C system sold for $39.99. The current $29.99 price represents a 25% savings!

9. Amazon — Howard Leight MAX NRR33 Earplugs, $8.22/50 Pairs

accurateshooter.com review Max-1 Howard Leight ear plugs

20 Pairs
50 Pairs

These Howard Leight NRR33 Max plugs are your Editor’s favorite foam earplugs. Between shooting, motorcycling and mowing lawns, I probably have Max plugs in my ears 2-3 days a week. This is a very good price for a bulk pack of 50 pairs. And if you act soon, you can get free shipping to boot.

Permalink Bullets, Brass, Ammo, Hot Deals, Reloading No Comments »
June 9th, 2018

Varmint Ammo — How Good is “Good Enough”?

Wyoming varmint hunt prairie dog Sierra Bullets Tommy Todd Reloading accuracy powder measure
Photo by Forum member R. Hardy. View Related Thread.

Summer’s here, so many folks will head to the hinterlands on prairie dog safaris. On a good P-Dog adventure, you may shoot hundreds of rounds over a long weekend. So you’ll need plenty of ammo. With these ammo volume requirements, you probably won’t have time to load to benchrest standards, and you may not have the budget for match-grade bullets. To save time you may throw (rather than weigh) your charges, or even load on a progressive press. This all raises the question of ammo accuracy — how good is “good enough”? A Sierra Bullets expert answers that question here — explaining how to efficiently load ammo for varmint work.

Ammunition Accuracy Requirements 101 — Varmint Ammo

Wyoming varmint hunt prairie dog Sierra Bullets Tommy Todd Reloading accuracy powder measure

This story based on article by Sierra Bullets Chief Ballistician Tommy Todd
I load and shoot ammunition for a living. In my duties here at Sierra I constantly test bullet accuracy for our production needs. Because of this, I shoot a variety of different calibers and cartridges on a daily basis and a large demand of this shooting is keeping the guns and loads tuned for optimum accuracy. I have a very narrow window of tolerances to maintain in order to provide our customers (you) with the most accurate bullets on the market.

I have learned many tricks and techniques over the years to tuning a load, prepping brass, and cleaning barrels to keep a gun shooting. I often utilize the things I have learned and take them to extreme levels when competing in a shooting event. I also often ignore most of these things (other than safety) and simplify the process if the shooting I will be doing does not warrant.

Recently I went on a prairie dog shoot in Wyoming with some good friends. The targets cooperated as did the weather with the exception of some challenging winds we experienced. We had a great time and make a lot of hits on those small rodents. When loading for the 223 Remington rifles and the TC Contender, I cut a few corners in the ammunition-loading process due to both time constraints and accuracy needed. When shooting at a prairie dog a miss is simply that, but when shooting at say the X-ring at 1000-yard competition, a poorly-placed shot [harms your] placing in the match. Because of this, I can afford to miss an occasional shot at a varmint due to ammunition capability without worry but will not allow the same tolerances in my match ammo. For the Wyoming trip I utilized a powder measure and simply dumped the charges into primed cases that had been full-length sized and primed.

Wyoming varmint hunt prarie dog Sierra Bullets Tommy Todd Reloading accuracy powder measure

I had measured enough for length to know that while there was some variance all were under maximum length. I know there is some variation of the measure I utilized but not significant enough to warrant weighing every charge. When seating the bullets a competition seating die was used and I verified OAL on the occasional cartridge to make sure nothing changed.

The ammo produced shot under one inch at 200 yards in one of the guns I planned on taking on to Wyoming with me. [Editor: That was for TEN Shots — see below.] I knew I had loaded ammunition that was quite suitable for the task at hand which was evidenced by the number of hits I was able to make at fairly long range.

Wyoming varmint hunt prairie dog Sierra Bullets Tommy Todd Reloading accuracy powder measure

NOTE: The author, Tommy Todd, explains that, when loading ammo for F-Class matches, he uses more exacting methods. He weighs every charge and seats his bullets carefully with an arbor press. Todd adapts his methodology for his particular application. The lesson here is to load to the level of precision demanded by your discipline. READ Full Story HERE.

Varmint Prairie Dog hunting safari reloading powder measure Tommy Todd

Permalink Bullets, Brass, Ammo, Hunting/Varminting, Reloading 1 Comment »
June 9th, 2018

Don’t Ruin Your Pockets — Adjust Your Decapping Rod Properly

One of our Forum members complained that he wasn’t able to set his primers flush to the rim. He tried a variety of primer tools, yet no matter what he used, the primers still didn’t seat deep enough. He measured his primers, and they were the right thickness, but it seemed like his primer pockets just weren’t deep enough. He was mystified as to the cause of the problem.

Well, our friend Boyd Allen diagnosed the problem. It was the decapping rod. If the rod is adjusted too low (screwed in too far), the base of the full-diameter rod shaft (just above the pin) will contact the inside of the case. That shaft is steel whereas your case is brass, a softer, weaker metal. So, when you run the case up into the die, the shaft can actually stretch the base of the primer pocket outward. Most presses have enough leverage to do this. If you bell the base of the primer pocket outwards, you’ve essentially ruined your case, and there is no way a primer can seat correctly.

The fix is simple. Just make sure to adjust the decapping rod so that the base of the rod shaft does NOT bottom out on the inside of the case. The pin only needs to extend through the flash hole far enough to knock the primer out. The photo shows a Lyman Universal decapping die. But the same thing can happen with any die that has a decapping rod, such as bushing neck-sizing dies, and full-length sizing dies.

Universal decapping die

Whenever you use a die with a decapping pin for the first time, OR when you move the die to a different press, make sure to check the decapping rod length. And it’s a good idea, with full-length sizing dies, to always re-check the height setting when changing presses.

Lee Universal Decapping Die on SALE for $10.96
Speaking of decapping tools, Midsouth Shooters Supply sells the Lee Universal Decapping Die for just $10.96 (item 006-90292), a very good deal. There are many situations when you may want to remove primers from fired brass as a separate operation (prior to case sizing). For example, if your rifle brass is dirty, you may want to de-cap before sizing. Or, if you load on a progressive press, things will run much more smoothly if you decap you brass first, in a separate operation.

Lee universal decapping die

NOTE: Some Euro Small Flash Holes are 1.5mm or 0.059″.

The low-cost Lee Universal Decapping Die will work with cartridges from 17 Fireball all the way up to big Magnums. However, NOTE that the decapping pin supplied with this Lee die is TOO LARGE for LAPUA 220 Russian, 6mmBR, 6.5×47, 6.5 Creedmoor, .308 Win (Palma) and Norma 6 PPC flash holes. Because the pin diameter is too large for these brass types, you must either turn down the pin, or decap with a different tool for cases with .059″ flash-holes. Otherwise, the Lee Decapping Die works well and it’s a bargain.

Permalink Bullets, Brass, Ammo, Reloading, Tech Tip No Comments »
June 7th, 2018

Beefy New 8-Station Turret Press from Lyman

Lyman Brass Smith Turret Press All American 8 eight turrets reloading

For 2018, Lyman has introduced a new 8-station turret press, the All American 8. There are two other new Brass Smith presses from Lyman — a compact C-Frame Ideal Press and a sturdy O-Frame Victory single-stage press that competes with the RCBS Rock Chucker. With its eight-station capacity, strong cast iron construction, we think the All American 8 will become popular. With a $195 street price, the 8-station Lyman is $100 cheaper than the 7-station Redding T-7. No question, that’s a significant price advantage, and we believe Lyman will take sales from Redding.

Our friend Gavin Gear of UltimateReloader.com got his hands on one of the new All American 8 presses, and he’s created an informative video showing press set-up and loading function. Gavin was excited to work with this beefy new turret press: “Why has this Lyman press been anticipated so highly since its announcement? A few reasons are: the 8-station capacity, cast iron construction, on-press priming system, ambidextrous design, and turret rear support for repeatable sizing and bullet seating. Plus, it’s made right here in the USA!” To learn more about the All American 8 turret press, watch Gavin’s video:

More Stations = More Reloading Options
Gavin said the press works well — he liked having 8 stations, because this offers more flexibility. With eight stations, you can have four two-die sets, or three two-die sets plus a dedicated decapping die and a powder measure. Gavin notes: “I’ve owned many reloading presses, including 3-station, 4-station, 5-station, and 7-station variants, but I’ve never owned an 8-station press until the Brass Smith All-American 8 came to the shop. I’ll have to say… you can’t get too many stations, especially on a manually-indexed turret. I love the idea that you can leave dies on the press, and load multiple calibers/chamberings using the same turret setup.”

Primer Function Works Well
Gaving also seated small and large primers using the on-press priming system. The Lyman All-American 8 turret press comes complete with all of the parts needed to seat both large primers and small primers. Gavin observed: “The All-American 8 loads quite well! Once I cleaned out the primer tube (always do that on a new press) the priming system worked perfectly, and I had no issues getting up to ‘full turret speed’ after getting into the groove.”

Why Use a Turret Press
This Editor has used a six-station RCBS Turret press for many years. I keep a dedicated decapping die on that press, as well as sizing and seating dies for pistol cartridges. My high-volume 9mm and .38 SPL reloading is done on a progressive press, but the RCBS turret allows me to have dies for two larger pistol chamberings — .44 Magnum and .45 ACP — at the ready. While we recommend single-stage presses for precision rifle reloading, the turret press offers great flexibility for handgun hand-loaders who shoot numerous cartridge types. And if having six die stations is good — having eight is even better. Advantage Lyman.

Permalink Gear Review, New Product, Reloading 2 Comments »
June 6th, 2018

Wildcatter’s Road Map — Cartridge Conversion Book

handloaders guide cartridge conversion wildcat obsolete cartridges

Are you a confirmed wildcatter? Do you like to experiment with custom cartridge types? Or do you just like the extra performance you can get from a specialty cartridge such as a 20 Vartarg or 22-250 AI? Well, if you love wildcat cartridges, you’ll probably enjoy this book. Now available for the first time since 2003, The Handloader’s Manual of Cartridge Conversions explains the processes and tools needed to convert standardized brass into hundreds of different rifle and pistol cartridge types. A vast variety of case designs are covered — from vintage cartridge types to modern, cutting-edge wildcats.

handloaders guide cartridge conversion wildcat obsolete cartridges

This classic reference guide has been revised with an easy-to-search format, complete with a full index of hundreds of cartridges. This book belongs on the shelf of any hand-loader who enjoys making and shooting wildcat cartridges. However do note that much of the text is unchanged from earlier editions. For some cartridge types, the author recommends “parent” brass brands that are no longer available. In other situations, there may be more convenient conversions now offered. Nonetheless this is an important resource. As one verified purchaser explains: “Great reference for making the cartridges that are hard to get or no longer in production. Offers an alternative to the the time, expense and effort of having to re-chamber a classic. Saves ‘Grandpa’s shooters’ from becoming safe queens.”

wildcat cartridge case forming Killer Bee Hydraulic
Permalink Bullets, Brass, Ammo, Reloading 1 Comment »
June 4th, 2018

Precision Hand-Loading — Ten Steps Explained by Sinclair Int’l

Sinclair Precison Reloading summery tech tips

Sinclair International has created a series of helpful articles on rifle cartridge reloading. Today’s feature lists ten basic steps for precision hand-loading, with links to longer, detailed Sinclair Int’l technical articles providing more complete information. There’s a lot of helpful info here guys, if you click all the links to access the ten “long form” articles.

Tying It All Together: 10 Steps To Precision Handloads

Feature based on article by Roy Hill, Brownells/Sinclair Copywriter

Sinclair International offers a series of detailed articles on hand-loading precision rifle ammunition. The articles are included in Sinclair’s GunTech Articles Archive, but sorting through the index to find each article takes time. To help you access all these articles quickly, here’s a handy summary of ten key topics, with links to longer articles covering each subject in detail.

Part 1: The first step in making high-quality handloads is to carefully choose the best brass for your application. You need to know how to identify the different types of brass and how to choose the best kind for the ammo you want to load. CLICK HERE for Part 1.
Part 2: Even high-quality brass can have burrs around the flash hole that can interfere with the primer flame and cause inconsistent ignition – which can lead to shot groups opening up. Flash hole deburring is a critical step in making sure primers ignite powder consistently. CLICK HERE for Part 2.
Part 3: The next step is to make sure the primer pockets are square and uniform. Like flash hole deburring, primer pocket uniforming may reduce variations in primer ignition by ensuring more consistent primer seating. CLICK HERE for Part 3.
Part 4: Making sure all your cases are precisely the same length is crucial, especially when you use cases that have been fired before. Case trimming is the way to get there. CLICK HERE for Part 4.
Part 5: After trimming, cases still have to be resized. In order for them to work through the resizing die, they have to be lubricated. The case lube method you choose is crucial to making precision handloads. CLICK HERE for Part 5.
Part 6: Now it’s time to choose the dies that will resize your cases. There are several important options to consider in selecting the right sizing dies. CLICK HERE for Part 6.
Part 7: Wait! You’re not quite ready to start sizing yet. There’s yet more to consider before you start cranking cases through the press. Learn more about setting up and adjusting your sizing dies. CLICK HERE for Part 7.
Part 8: Once the cases are completely prepped, it’s time to start putting fresh components back into them. We start off by seating primers. CLICK HERE for Part 8.
Part 9: After the primers are seated, it’s time to drop in the powder. There are several tools that will help you handle powder for precision handloads. CLICK HERE for Part 9.
Sinclair Precison Reloading summery tech tips Part 10: The final step in the process is carefully seating the bullet to just the right depth. And then… you’re ready to try your loads at the range. CLICK HERE for Part 10.
Permalink - Articles, Bullets, Brass, Ammo, Reloading 2 Comments »
June 3rd, 2018

Reloading Basics: Neck Tension, Expander Balls, and Bushings

Case Loading Neck Tension Sierra Bullets Paul Box

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

So, how much neck tension is enough?

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

First of all, if you’re running a standard sizing die with an expander ball, just pull your decapping rod assembly out of your die and measure the expander ball. What I prefer is to have an expander ball that [can give] you .002″ in neck tension [meaning the inside neck diameter is about .002″ smaller than the bullet diameter after passing the expander through]. If you want to take the expander ball down in diameter, just chuck up your decapping rod assembly in a drill and turn it down with some emery cloth. When you have the diameter you need, polish it with three ought or four ought steel wool. This will give it a mirror finish and less drag coming through your case neck after sizing.

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

Case Loading Neck Tension Sierra Bullets Paul Box

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

Case Loading Neck Tension Sierra Bullets Paul Box

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

Permalink Bullets, Brass, Ammo, Reloading 5 Comments »
June 3rd, 2018

Build Your Own Portable Reloading Bench with B&D WorkMate

portable reloading benchA while back, we featured a portable reloading bench built on a Black & Decker Workmate. That proved a VERY popular do-it-yourself project so we’re showing it again, in case you missed it the first time.

Texan Robert Lewis made himself a great portable reloading bench from plywood mounted to a Black & Decker Workmate. The bench, roughly 22″ x 19″ on top, folds up to fit easily in your car’s trunk or behind the seats in a pick-up truck cab. Four recessed bolts hold the wood top section to the collapsible B&D Workmate.The sides and back of the unit are attached to the base with small nails. There is a small shelf (also nailed in place) which can be used to clamp a powder measure or hold a scale. Shown in the photo is a Harrell’s Benchrest measure and Harrell’s single-stage “C” press.

Click for Detail of Top.
portable shooting bench

The whole unit can be built for about $65.00 with pine, or $80.00 with oak (as shown). Robert explained: “The Workmate was $40. If someone bought a 2’x4′ sheet of 3/4″ oak plywood, I think it is around $30. Using pine plywood would be about half that. Fasteners were $3. Spar Urethane would be $5.”

Robert told us: “I used a couple ideas I found on the web. The Larry Willis website gave me the idea to use the Black and Decker Workmate as a base. I found the Workmate on sale for $40 and the top is made from oak plywood I had in my shop. I sealed the wood with three coats of Spar Urethane. The whole thing folds into a nice package for transportation to and from the range.”

Editor’s NOTE: In the time that’s transpired since we first ran this story, the price of a Black & Decker workmate has gone up. However you can still pick a WM225 Workmate for under $65.00. Target is currently selling WM225 Workmates for $64.99.

Click HERE for FREE WORKBENCH PLANS.

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June 1st, 2018

Bullet Concentricity Basics — What You Need to Know

Sinclair concentricity 101 eccentricity run-out reloading plans

Sinclair International reloading toolsSinclair International has released an interesting article about Case Concentricity* and bullet “run-out”. This instructional article by Bob Kohl explains the reasons brass can exhibit poor concentricity, and why high bullet run-out can be detrimental to accuracy.

Concentricity, Bullet Alignment, and Accuracy by Bob Kohl
The purpose of loading your own ammo is to minimize all the variables that can affect accuracy and can be controlled with proper and conscientious handloading. Concentricity and bullet run-out are important when you’re loading for accuracy. Ideally, it’s important to strive to make each round the same as the one before it and the one after it. It’s a simple issue of uniformity.

The reason shooters work with tools and gauges to measure and control concentricity is simple: to make sure the bullet starts down the bore consistently in line with the bore. If the case isn’t properly concentric and the bullet isn’t properly aligned down the center of the bore, the bullet will enter the rifling inconsistently. While the bore might force the bullet to align itself with the bore (but normally it doesn’t), the bullet may be damaged or overstressed in the process – if it even it corrects itself in transit. These are issues we strive to remedy by handloading, to maintain the best standard possible for accurate ammunition.

The term “concentricity” is derived from “concentric circle”. In simple terms it’s the issue of having the outside of the cartridge in a concentric circle around the center. That goes from case head and center of the flash hole, to the tip of the bullet.

Factors Affecting Concentricity

The point of using this term is to identify a series of issues that affect accurate ammunition. Ideally this would work best with a straight-walled case; but since most rifle cartridge cases are tapered, it equates to the smallest cross section that can be measured point by point to verify the concentric circle around the center. For the examples below, I’m working with .308 Winchester ammo.

Concentricity run-out cartridge case
Figure 1: The cartridge.

Concentricity run-out cartridge case
Figure 2: Centerline axis of the case, extending from flash hole to case mouth.

The case walls have to be in perfect alignment with the center, or axis, of that case, even if it’s measured at a thousandth of an inch per segment (in a tapered case).

Concentricity run-out cartridge case
Figure 3: Case body in alignment with its axis, or centerline, even in a tapered case.

The case neck must also be in alignment with its axis. By not doing so you can have erratic bullet entry into the bore. The case neck wall itself should be as uniform as possible in alignment and in thickness (see the M80 7.62x51mm NATO cartridge in Figure 5) and brass can change its alignment and shape. It’s why we expand the case neck or while some folks ream the inside of the neck and then turn the outside for consistent thickness, which affects the tension on the bullet when seated.

Concentricity run-out cartridge case
Figure 4: Neck in alignment with center of the case axis.

Concentricity run-out cartridge case
Figure 5: Variations in case neck wall thickness, especially on some military brass, can cause an offset of the bullet in its alignment. This is an M80 ball round. Note the distinct difference of the neck walls.

Having a ball micrometer on hand helps, especially with military brass like 7.62x51mm in a semi-auto rifle, where there are limits as to how thin you want the neck walls to be. In the case of 7.62 ball brass you want to keep the wall to .0145″.

Concentricity run-out cartridge case
Figure 6: A ball micrometer like this RCBS tool (#100-010-268) can measure case neck thickness.

Turning the outside of the neck wall is important with .308 military cases regardless of whether you expand or ream the neck walls. There are several outside neck turning tools from Forster, Hornady, Sinclair, and others. I’ve been using classic Forster case trimming (#100-203-301) and neck turning (#749-012-890) tools for 40 years.

Bullet Run-Out
The cartridge, after being loaded, still needs to be in alignment with the center of the case axis. Figure 7 shows a bad example of this, a round of M80 ball. A tilted bullet is measured for what’s known as bullet “run-out”.

Concentricity run-out cartridge case
Figure 7: An M80 round with the bullet tilted and not aligned with the axis. This will be a flyer!

Run-out can be affected by several things: (1) improperly indexing your case while sizing, which includes not using the proper shell holder, especially while using a normal expander ball on the sizing die (it also can stretch the brass). (2) The head of a turret press can flex; and (3) improper or sloppy bullet seating. This is also relevant when it comes to using a progressive press when trying to load accuracy ammo.

Mid Tompkins came up with a simple solution for better bullet seating years ago. Seat your bullet half way into the case, back off the seater die and rotate the case 180 degrees before you finish seating the bullet. It cuts down on run-out problems, especially with military brass. You also want to gently ream the inside of the neck mouth to keep from having any brass mar the surface of the bullet jacket and make proper seating easier. A tilted bullet often means a flyer.

Concentricity run-out cartridge case
Figure 8: Proper alignment from the center of the case head to the tip of the bullet.

CLICK HERE to READ FULL ARTICLE With More Photos and Tips


*Actually some folks would say that if we are talking about things being off-center or out-of-round, we are actually talking about “eccentricity”. But the tools we use are called “Concentricity Gauges” and Concentricity is the term most commonly used when discussing this subject.

Story Tip from EdLongrange. We welcome reader submissions.
Permalink - Articles, Bullets, Brass, Ammo, Reloading 5 Comments »
May 30th, 2018

New Accuracy One Precision Primer Gauge

Accuracy One Precision Primer Gauge prime seating depth crush thickness measuring primer pocket

For centerfire rounds, consistent ignition (and low ES/SD) all begins with the primer in the base of the cartridge. When the firing pin strikes the primer, it sets off a small flame/spark which lights the powder in the case. Energy from that burning powder pushes the bullet out of the cartridge, down the barrel, and out to the target. It’s fair to say, then, that accurate shooting all begins with the primer.

When seating primers, consistency counts. You want to make sure the primer is fully seated in the primer pocket in the base of the case. You want to ensure a slight bit of crush (flattening) for proper seating, and it doesn’t hurt to have very consistent primer seating depths. That’s why guys use tools to uniform their primer pockets.

Here’s a new tool that lets you measure the consistency of primer seating depths. We haven’t used this device yet, but Forum members have reported it works well — measurements are quick and repeatable. Will this tool lower your ES/SD or improve accuracy? That’s hard to say. However, it will definitely help you detect when a primer in a loaded round is seated too high or too low — that’s important. In addition, it can give you precise measurements for comparison testing with different types of primers.

Accuracy One Precision Primer Gauge

The Accuracy One Precision Primer Gauge will precisely measure primer pocket depth and the depth of seated primers in relationship to the face of the case head. The Precision Primer Gauge can also be used to measure the thickness of an unseated primer, allowing you to calculate the optimum seating depth for the particular primers and cases you are loading.

Accuracy One Precision Primer Gauge prime seating depth crush thickness measuring primer pocketPrecision Primer Gauge Features:

Digital Indicator with 0.01mm/0.0005″ resolution
Gauge Body is machined from 303 stainless steel
Small Primer Stem and Large Primer Stem
Both .223 Rem and .308 Win zeroing block
Magnum and .338 Lapua zeroing block

Case Compatibility: The Precision Primer Gauge works with 300 Win. Mag case head diameter (.532”) cartridges, .308 Win. case head diameter (.473”) cartridges, and .223 Rem case head diameter (.378”) cartridges using either large or small primers.

Precision Primer Gauge Pricing:

PPG Without Indicator: $100.00
PPG With Indicator: $150.00
PPG Main Body Only: $40.00
Phone Orders: Call (814) 684-5322

How to Order the Precision Primer Gauge:
The Precision Primer Gauge can be ordered via phone, or by sending in the PDF ORDER FORM form via mail or email.

Assembly Tips: Nylon screw is provided for securing the gauge body to the indicator. The contact point of the indicator must be removed to provide proper function. Also, please note that the standard gauge body is not compatible with cartridges that share the .338 Lapua case head diameter unless the diameter of the magnum step is machined to .595” to accept the larger diameter case head. This modification of the gauge body is available upon request.

Product Tip from EdLongRange. We welcome reader submissions.
Permalink Bullets, Brass, Ammo, New Product, Reloading 2 Comments »
May 28th, 2018

BargainFinder 140: 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.

Today, 28 May, 2018 is Memorial Day — the important day when we honor those military personnel who have died serving their nation. We urge all of our readers to respect this solemn occasion and remember those who “sacrificed all” to safeguard your freedom.

To mark this holiday, many vendors are running Memorial Day Sales. We spotlight some of these end-of-May promotions. Be aware that Memorial Day Sales are typically short-lived — quite a few of these sales conclude at 11:59 pm on Monday May 28th, or a day later — Tuesday May 29th. A few sales end Tuesday at noon. If you want these deals — act now.

1. Natchez — 10% Off Everything Memorial Day Sale

Memorial Day Sale Natchez Monday deals sale

Natchez Shooters Supplies typically offers some of the best prices on reloading tools and optics. Now those deals are even better as Natchez has knocked 10% off the price of virtually every item in stock. Use Code PO180526 to get these savings. But hurry — sale ends 5/28/2018 at 11:59 pm CT.

2. Bruno’s Shooters– Major Memorial Day Sale

Memorial Day Sale Natchez Monday deals sale

Bruno Shooters Supply runs a big sale each year during Memorial Day weekend. Lots of premium items are discounted: BAT Actions, Krieger Barrels, Berger Bullets, Lapua components, Nosler Bullets, Redding Dies and more. There are also discounts on primers and powders. CLICK HERE to see all the Sale Items. You’ll want to act quickly, as Bruno’s Sale ends Tuesday, 5/29/2018 at 12:00 noon Mountain Time. That’s a mid-day cut-off on the 29th!

3. Brownells — Upgrade Summer Sale — Discounts & Free Shipping

Memorial Day Sale Brownells Monday deals sale

As part of its Upgrade Summer Sale, Brownells is offering Free Ground Shipping ($49+) and Free Second-Day Shipping ($99+). Scores of popular items are on sale now through 11:59 PM on May 28, 2018: Leupold Scopes, Aero Precision Uppers and Lowers, Lake City Ammo, Federal Ammo, Remington Shotguns, Smith & Wesson pistols, MagPul magazines, and much more.

4. MidwayUSA — Save $10, $20, or $30 with Codes

Memorial Day Sale MidwayUSA Monday deals sale

Large retailer MidwayUSA offered free shipping for Memorial Day Weekend. Now MidwayUSA is running a money off promotion through 5/31/2018. While some exclusions apply, this applies to most regularly-priced, in-stock items (not sale or clearance items). Here’s how it works, use code 10MAY18 during check-out to save $10 off $100+, use code 20MAY18 to save $20 off 200+, or use code 30MAY18 to save $30 off $300 or more. Note, this special ends 5/31/2018 at 11:59 pm CT.

5. Precision Reloading — Money Off Memorial Day Savings

Memorial Day Sale Precision Reloading Monday deals sale

Precision Reloading has a pretty straight-forward promo for Memorial Day. You can get $10 off any order of $100 or more with Code 10M18, OR get $30 off any order of $300 or more with Code 30M18. That’s 10% saved right off the top. But act soon — this offer expires May 28 at 11:59 pm CST.

6. Optics Planet — 10% Off Orders $50 or More

Memorial Day Sale Optics Planet Monday deals sale

Right now you can save 10% off scores of products at Optics Planets. Of course this includes Riflescopes, Rangefinders, and Spotting Scopes, but Optics Planets carries many other products of interest to shooters and hunters. Use Code MEMWK to save 10% off all qualifying Sale Items. NOTE: This offer expires May 28 at 11:59 pm CST.

Optics Planet Sale Tip courtesy EdLongRange.

7. Brownells — Howa Barreled Actions on Sale, Starting at $259.99

Memorial Day Sale Brownells Monday deals sale

Right now, Brownells is running a big sale on Howa Barreled Actions, in a wide variety of chamberings. You may want to pick up one of these barreled actions, which start at $259.99. We like Howa actions — they are smooth, and they feature an excellent two-stage trigger. Howa also offers a unique Mini Action, which is great for a small-caliber varmint rig. Here are some of the Howa Barreled Actions currently in stock at Brownells. NOTE: This is just a partial sample — there are many other varieties:

.223 Rem, 20″ Heavy Barrel, $399.99
6.5 Grendel, Mini Heavy Barrel, $389.99
6.5 Creedmoor, 24″ Heavy Barrel, $399.99
6.5 Creedmoor, 26″ Heavy Barrel, $429.99
7mm-08, Std Cerakote, $579.99
7.62×39, Mini Light Barrel, $259.99
.308 Win, 20″ Heavy Barrel, $289.99
.308 Win, 24″ Heavy Barrel, $299.99
.30-06 Sprg, 22″ Sporter Barrel, Cerakote, $349.99
.300 Win Mag, 24″ Heavy Barrel, $279.99

8. Creedmoor Sports — Free Shipping on $49 Plus Sale Items

Memorial Day Sale Creedmoor Monday deals sale

Creedmoor Sports is running an attractive promotion for Memorial Day. First you can get Free Ground Shipping on orders $49.00 or more. In addition many items are 10% off. For example Lapua and SK rimfire ammo is 10% off now. NOTE: This is a limited time offer. Some exclusions apply. Drop-shipped items exempt.

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

Stocky's Stocks Composite V-block stock

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

Permalink Bullets, Brass, Ammo, Gunsmithing, Hot Deals, Reloading No Comments »
May 28th, 2018

Cure Cratering Issues with a GreTan Firing Pin Hole Bushing Job

Crater moon primers greg tannel bushing firing pinCraters may look interesting on the moon, but you don’t want to see them on your primers. Certain mechanical issues that cause primer craters can also cause primer piercing — a serious safety problem that needs to be addressed. If you have a gun that is cratering primers (even at moderate pressure levels), there is a solution that works with many rifles — send your bolt to Greg Tannel to have the firing pin hole bushed.

Shooters who convert factory actions to run 6BRs, 6PPCs or other high-pressure cartridges should consider having the firing pin bushed. These modern cartridges like to run at high pressures. When running stout loads, you can get cratering caused by primer flow around the firing pin hole in the bolt face. The reason is a little complicated, but basically the larger the hole, the less hydraulic pressure is required to crater the primer. A limited amount of cratering is normally not a big issue, but you can reduce the problem significantly by having a smith fit a bushing in the firing pin hole. In addition to reduced cratering, bushing the firing pin often produces more consistent ignition.

CLICK HERE for Gre-Tan Firing Pin Bushing Service INFO

This is a highly recommended procedure that our editors have had done to their own rifles. Greg Tannel (Gre-Tan Rifles) is an expert at this procedure, and he does excellent work on a wide variety of bolts. Current price for a bushing job, which includes turning the firing pin to .062″, is $80.00, or $88.00 with USPS Priority Mail return shipping.

If you have a factory rifle, a bushed firing pin is the way to go if you are shooting the high-pressure cartridges such as 6PPC, 6BR, 6-6.5×47 and 6.5×47. This is one of the most cost-effective and beneficial upgrades you can do to your factory rifle. For more info on the Firing Pin Bushing process, visit GreTanRifles.com, or email greg [at] gretanrifles.com. (After clicking the link for GreTanRifles.com, Click on “Services” > “Shop Services” > “Bolt Work”, and you’ll see a listing for “Bush Firing Pin Hole & Turn Pin”. Select “View Details”.)

Gre-Tan Rifles firing pin bushingFiring Pin Hole Bushing by Greg Tannel

Work Done: Bush firing pin hole and turn pin.
Functions: Fixes your cratering and piercing problems.
Price: $80.00 + $8.00 return shipping
Total Price: $88.00

Actions for which Bushing is Offered: Remington, Winchester, Savage multi-piece pin, Sako, Kimber, Nesika, Stiller, BAT Machine, Kelbly, Lawton, Surgeon, Borden, Wichita, Hall, Ruger, Howa, Weatherby, Dakota, Pacific Tool, Phoenix, and Defiant bolt action rifle or pistol.

Actions for which Bushing is NOT Available: Case hardened receivers, ARs, Accuracy International (AI), Barnard, Big Horn, Cooper, Desert Tactical Arms, Kimber, Rosenthal, New Savage single piece pin, Rimfires, Falling block, Break-open, Lever, Pump rifles, 1903-A3, CZ, Mauser.

How to send your bolt in to be bushed:
You can send your bolt snail mail, priority mail, or UPS (Please do not use FEDEX as it sometimes has delivery delays). Pack your bolt carefully and ship to: Gre’-Tan Rifles, 24005 Hwy. 13, Rifle CO 81650. Please include your name, phone number, and return shipping address.

Due to the high volume of work, turn around is 5 to 8 weeks on bushing a bolt. Three or more bolts will be sent back to you UPS and we will have to calculate shipping. We can overnight them at your expense. You can pay by check, money order, or credit card. For more information visit GretanRifles.com.

Permalink Gunsmithing, Reloading 2 Comments »
May 26th, 2018

Bullet Bell Curve — Sorting by OAL vs. Base-to-Ogive vs. Weight

Bullet, Sort, Jacket, Sierra, USAMU, Sort, Bell Curve, Distribution, OAL

The USAMU has published a “how-to” article about bullet sorting. While many of us may sort bullets by base-to-ogive length (and/or weight), the USAMU story explores the “how and why” of sorting bullets by Overall Length (OAL). Read the article highlights below, and make your own decision as to whether OAL sorting is worth the time and effort. Bryan Litz of Applied Ballistics says that sorting by OAL is not a bad idea, but base-to-ogive bullet sorting probably represents a better investment of your time.

USAMU

Bullet Sorting by Overall Length

We’d like to share a specialized handloading technique which we’ve long found beneficial to our long-range (600 yards and beyond) accuracy. Sorting of bullets for extreme long range (LR) accuracy is not difficult to do, but some background in theory is needed.

Here at USAMU’s Handloading Shop, we only sort individual bullets for the most demanding Long-Range applications and important competitions. Only the most accurate rifles and shooters can fully exploit the benefits of this technique. The basic sorting process involves measuring the Overall Length (OAL) of the bullets, and grouping them in 0.001″ increments. It’s not unusual to find lots of match bullets that vary as much as 0.015″-0.020″ in length throughout the lot, although lots with much less variation are seen as well. Even in bullet lots with 0.015″ OAL variation, the bullet base-to-ogive length will show much less variation. Hence, our basic sort is by bullet OAL. One obvious benefit of sorting is easily seen in the attached photo. The few bullets that are VERY different from the average are culled out, reducing probable fliers.

How does one know what OAL increments to use when sorting? The answer is simple. As each lot of bullets is unique in its OAL distribution, it’s best to sample your bullet lot and see how they are distributed. In the attached photo, you will see a set of loading trays with a strip of masking tape running along the bottom. Each vertical row of holes is numbered in 0.001″ increments corresponding to the bullets’ OAL. A digital caliper makes this task much easier. As each bullet is measured, it is placed in the line of holes for its’ OAL, and gradually, a roughly bell-shaped curve begins to form.

Note that near the center, bullets are much more plentiful than near the edges. At the extreme edges, there are a few that differ markedly from the average, and these make great chronograph or sighting-in fodder. We recommend using a sample of 200 bullets from your lot, and 300 is even better. Some bullet lots are very consistent, with a tall, narrow band of highly-uniform bullets clustered together over just a few thousandths spread. Other lots will show a long, relatively flat curve (less uniform), and you may also see curves with 2 or more “spikes” separated by several 0.001″ OAL increments.

Bryan Litz Applied Ballistics Bullet Sorting AccurateShooter.com

Bullet Sorting (OAL vs. Base-to-Ogive vs. Weight) — Litz Talks

I’m often asked what is a the best measure to sort bullets by, and the answer (to this and many other questions in ballistics) is: it depends.

Choosing to sort by overall length (OAL), base to ogive (BTO), bearing surface, weight, etc. can get overwhelming. Shooters typically look for something they can measure, which shows a variation and sort by that. It’s common for dimensional variations to correlate. For example, bullets which are longer in OAL are typically also shorter in BTO, and have longer noses. All these are symptoms of a bullet that was pushed a little further into the pointing die, or possibly had more than average lube while being swaged. So in essence, if you sort by BTO, you’re measuring one symptom which can indicate a pattern in the bullets shape.

So, the question still stands — what should you measure? You’ll always see more variation in OAL than BTO, so it’s easier to sort by OAL. But sometimes the bullet tips can be jagged and have small burrs which can be misleading. Measuring BTO will result in a lower spread, but is a more direct measure of bullet uniformity.

Then there’s the question of; how much variation is too much, or, how many bins should you sort into? Shooters who see 0.025” variation in BTO may choose to sort into 5 bins of 0.005”. But if you have only 0.005” variation in the box, you’ll still sort into 5 bins of 0.001”. What’s correct? You have to shoot to know. Live fire testing will answer more questions, and answer them more decisively than any amount of discussion on the subject. The test I recommend is to identify bullets on the extreme short end of the spectrum, and some on the extreme long end. Load at least 10 rounds of each, and take turns shooting 5-shot groups with them. If there is a difference, it will be evident. The results of the testing will answer your question of: should I sort based on X, Y, or Z?”

You can read more discussion on this and other similar subjects in the new Ballistics & Bullets board in the Accurateshooter.com forum. Here’s a link to the thread which is discussing bullet sorting: Bullet Sorting Thread

Permalink Bullets, Brass, Ammo, Reloading No Comments »
May 24th, 2018

SIG Sauer Now Offers Component Rifle and Pistol Brass

Sig Sauer premium elite performance brass reloading components cartridge cases

Sig Sauer premium elite performance brass reloading components cartridge casesHere is interesting news, particularly for pistol shooters and PRS competitors. You can now get premium, induction-annealed cartridge brass from SIG Sauer, the noted maker of Swiss-designed pistols and rifles. SIG Sauer is now manufacturing pistol and rifle brass at its state-of-the-art ammunition facility in Jacksonville, Arkansas. Notably, all Elite Performance rifle shell cases are induction annealed for consistent neck tension and case longevity. SIG states this brass is “engineered to exacting tolerances” and “the geometric consistency … ensures each primer is held tightly in its pocket. Flash holes are precise with no burrs and the superior metallurgical properties of the SIG Sauer cases enable repeated reloading.”

Rifle Brass Pricing is Attractive
We haven’t tried SIG Sauer rifle brass yet, but we are tempted as pricing is competitive. For example, a 50-count bag of 6.5 Creedmoor brass costs $33.95 on SIG’s online store. Varminters take note — 50 22-250 brass cases cost $25.95, while a 100-ct bag of .223 Rem brass is $35.95 (just 36 cents each).

SIG rifle cases are available for these cartridge types: .223 Rem, 22-250 Rem, .243 Win, 6.5 Creedmoor, .300 BLK, .308 Win, .and 300 Win Mag. Coming soon are .270 Win and .30-06 Springfield brass. Cases for most rifle cartridge types are sold 50 to a bag (100 for .223 Rem).

SIG Pistol Brass Sold Both Primed and Unprimed
SIG’s pistol brass is offered either primed or unprimed, at affordable prices. For example, 100 .45 ACP cases cost $33.95 primed, or $27.95 unprimed. 9mm Luger is even cheaper — just $25.95 for primed cases, or $20.95 for 9mm unprimed. To save time, we’d be tempted to buy the primed cases.

SIG pistol cases are available, primed or unprimed, in 100-ct bags for the following cartridge types: .380 Auto, 9mm Luger (9x19mm), .357 SIG, .38 Special, .357 Magnum, 40 S&W, 10mm Auto, .45 ACP.

Sig Sauer premium elite performance brass reloading components cartridge cases

COMMENT: Honestly, we don’t see many Benchrest and F-Class competitors moving away from Lapua brass which is superb, and holds the vast majority of records in those disciplines. However, for other disciplines, such as 3-Gun and Tactical matches, where you may not be able to recover your brass, it makes sense to consider cheaper alternatives. Likewise, varminters, who may shoot hundreds of rounds in an outing, may favor less costly cartridge brass.

“Each brass case undergoes rigorous in-line and post production quality assurance testing to ensure a flawless casing”, said Brad Criner, SIG Sauer’s Senior Director of Brand Management and Business Development. “The result is unparalleled durability and dependability.” All SIG Sauer Elite Performance ammunition and components are manufactured at SIG’s new ammo plant in Jacksonville, Arkansas. For more information on SIG cartridge brass visit the SIG Sauer Brass Webpage.

Permalink Bullets, Brass, Ammo, New Product, Reloading 1 Comment »
May 22nd, 2018

Father Develops .223 Rem F-TR Load for His Daughter

F-TR load development .223 Rem Remington Sierra TMK

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

Journey to Find a .223 Rem F-Class Load

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

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

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

F-TR load development .223 Rem Remington Sierra TMK

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

F-TR load development .223 Rem Remington Sierra TMK

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

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

F-TR load development .223 Rem Remington Sierra TMK

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

This article originally appeared in the Sierra Bullets Blog.

Permalink Bullets, Brass, Ammo, Reloading 5 Comments »
May 19th, 2018

New Affordable Cast-Iron C-Frame Press from Lyman

Lyman Brass smith reloading press ideal Gavin Gear UltimateReloader.com

Everyone needs a serious, full-size single-stage press such as the RCBS Rock Chucker for heavy-duty reloading tasks. But’s it’s also wise to have a smaller, more compact press for lighter duties such as decapping (primer removal), neck-sizing, and bullet seating. The new Lyman Brass Smith Ideal press fits that role perfectly, at an affordable price — about $80.00 retail.

With an $80 street price, Lyman’s new C-Frame press is an exceptional value. With beefy cast-iron construction, it is much stiffer than other presses in this compact category. The compound linkage is smooth. The base is big enough to provide good stability. For someone looking for a second press, or a smaller press to take to the range, the new Lyman Ideal may be the smart solution.

READ Full Lyman Ideal Press Review on UltimateReloader.com »

The Lyman Ideal press just started shipping. Our fiend Gavin Gear of UltimateReloader.com got one of the very first. Gavin has created a helpful video showcasing the features of this compact press. Gavin was impressed, finding the Ideal press operated smoothly with plenty of power for most tasks. (We would still use a bigger press with more leverage for heavy case-forming duties). Here is Gavin’s video. The first 7 minutes cover unboxing and assembly. Starting at the 8-minute mark, Gavin uses the Ideal press to load 6.5 Creedmoor cases:

Lyman Ideal Press

The Lyman Brass Smith Ideal Press is a budget-friendly, cast iron single-stage reloading press built right here in the USA. Here’s the official info and specs:

The large opening and C frame design allows you to access the shell holder without hitting the support bar on other types of presses. Changing shell holders is a breeze and the press holds standard 7/8″x14 TPI dies from any manufacturer. The high quality steel ram is one inch in diameter and the 3 7/8″ opening allows you to reload cartridges up to 3.7 inches tall. The Brass Smith is a true ambidextrous press that can be accessed from either side and mounted the same.

Lyman Brass Smith Ideal Press — Specifications and Features:
Rugged Cast Iron Frame
Ambidextrous Design
Handles Cartridges Up To 3.7″ Long
Durable Powder Coat Finish
Compound Linkage and 1″ Diameter Ram
Accepts Standard 7/8″X14 Dies and Standard Shell Holders
Weight: 12.6 Lbs.

Stay Tuned — Lyman will be sending an Ideal Press to AccurateShooter.com. In the weeks ahead we will test this affordable C-Frame press both in the workshop and at the range…

Permalink - Videos, New Product, Reloading 1 Comment »
May 17th, 2018

Powder Temp Stability — IMR Enduron vs. H4350 and Varget

powder gunpowder temperature sensivity temp stability Hodgdon Extreme Varget H4350 IMR Enduron 4451 4166

A couple seasons back, PrecisionRifleBlog.com (PRB) published a significant field test of powder temperature stability. The test was designed to quantify the temperature stability of Hodgdon H4350 and Varget powders compared to IMR’s Enduron line of powders, specifically IMR 4166 and 4451. The results were very interesting, to say the least…

Hodgdon Extreme Series powders have attracted quite a fan base, with over 90% of the top shooters in the Precision Rifle Series choosing to run one of those powders. IMR offers a modern line of powders “with Enduron Technology” — which is also marketed to have “extreme temperature stability”. Sounds familiar! These new powders should compete directly with the Hodgdon Extreme Series, which gives shooters more temp-stable powder options to consider.

CLICK HERE to Read Full Powder Temperature Stability Test on Precision RifleBlog.com.

The top shooters in the PRS and veteran long-range shooters in other disciplines have learned to value a temperature-stable powder. That’s because a change in temperature can affect the trajectory or “flight path” of the bullet in two well-known ways:

1. Assuming all other environmental conditions remain the same, an increase in air temperature will cause a flatter trajectory due to a lower air density (easier for the bullet to cut through the air).

2. The same increase in temperature also causes the nitrocellulose-based powder inside the cartridge to burn at a higher rate, producing approximately four times the Point of Impact (POI) shift than just air temperature alone. (SEE: Temperature Effects On Zero on KestrelMeters.com.)

“The initial heat condition of your powder will affect the burn rate,” Bryan Litz explained at a recent Applied Ballistics Seminar. That means swings in ambient outside temperature can affect your internal ballistics, which will directly affect your muzzle velocity, which will change your bullet’s trajectory. Some powders are more affected by changes in temperature than others. So if your goal is first-shot hits and you may shoot in a variety of conditions — you should care about temperature stable powders.

The folks at PrecisionRifleBlog.com meticulously loaded 6.5×47 Lapua ammo with each powder using some of the best equipment available. This included the top-of-the-line Prometheus Gen II Powder Scale, which is capable of loading to the nearest kernel of powder. This ensured the powder charges were identical for each round of ammo. PRB’s testers explain the full set of equipment and steps in their loading process in the Full Test Report.

Magnetospeeed LabRadar chronograph chrono powder gunpowder temperature sensivity temp stability Hodgdon Extreme Varget H4350 IMR Enduron 4451 4166

Once they had a couple dozen rounds loaded with each powder, they went and shot them with each powder at 25° F, 65° F, and 140° F. The muzzle velocity of each shot was recorded using BOTH a LabRadar Doppler Radar and a MagnetoSpeed Chronograph. That provided two sets of velocity numbers. When placed and configured optimally, the LabRadar can measure muzzle velocity with +/- 0.1% accuracy, according to the manufacturer.

Here are the results from the PRB Powder Temp Stability Tests:

Magnetospeeed LabRadar chronograph chrono powder gunpowder temperature sensivity temp stability Hodgdon Extreme Varget H4350 IMR Enduron 4451 4166

You can see Hodgdon H4350 had the least variance in muzzle velocity, with just 25 fps over the 115° swing in temperature! That is very, very low. Hodgdon Varget was the second least temperature sensitive powder in this test, with 46 fps of variance in muzzle velocity between temperatures of 25° F and 140° F. IMR 4166 performed very similar to Varget, and proved to be fairly insensitive to large swings in temperature. IMR 4451 had the largest swing in muzzle velocity of the powders tested, but keep in mind just 68 fps over 115° F swing is still a good performance.

Most powders aren’t specially formulated to be temperature stable. So they would likely show much larger swings than what these four top-performing powders showed. However, Alliant’s relatively new Reloder 16 is an extremely temp-stable powder, with a burn rate that is a close match to H4350. Many F-Open competitors are now using Reloder 16 with considerable success.

PRB’s test team also noticed other interesting trends in the data. For example, variation in velocity does NOT appear to be linear across the full range of temperatures. By that, they mean the change per degree from 20° to 65° might be smaller or larger than the change per degree from 65° to 140°.

PRB’s testers talk about those things, provide a few other insightful views of the data, and discuss tools that can help you manage temp/muzzle velocity in the field in their full post. You can find that here: http://precisionrifleblog.com/2016/06/19/powder-temp-stability-hodgdon-extreme-vs-imr-enduron/

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May 16th, 2018

The Honed-Neck FL Sizing Die Option — Alternative to Bushings

Custom honed FL dies non-bushing die Forster

Tired of messing around with neck bushings? Is there a simpler (and potentially better) solution for controlling case neck tension? Yes there is — the precision honed non-bushing die.

You can purchase a Forster non-bushing Full-length sizing die for many popular cartridge types for under $50.00. Then you can send that die to Forster, and Forster will custom-hone the neck for a nominal $12 fee plus return shipping*. When done right, the honed FL die can load ultra-straight ammo with the precise next tension you prefer for your brass and bullet choice.

Alternative to Bushings — Honed Full-Length dies
Conventional, non-bushing full-length sizing dies can create ultra-accurate ammo with very low run-out. For some applications, we prefer a non-bushing FL die over a bushing die — so long as the neck tension is correct. But many FL dies have an undersized neck diameter so you end up with excess neck tension, and you work the brass excessively. Forster offers a simple, inexpensive solution — honing the neck diameter to whatever size you want*.

If you purchase a Forster non-bushing, full-length sizing die, Forster will hone the neck dimension to your specs for $12.00 extra (plus shipping). This way you can have a FL die that provides the right amount of tension for your particular load. (The max amount of diameter change Forster can do is about .008″) Forster dies are relatively inexpensive so you can afford to have a couple of FL dies with necks honed to different diameters — such as 0.266″ and 0.267″ for a no-turn 6mmBR. The die itself is fairly inexpensive — currently Precision Reloading charges $41.49 for a Forster 6mmBR FL sizing die (Forster Part #018121).


Forster FL dies, necks honed to .265″, .266″, and .267″.

Steve Rasmussen of IowaHighPower.com gave this a try. In fact, he had three dies made — each with a different neck dimension. Here’s his report: “My original Forster 6BR FL die sized the necks down a lot [to about 0.260″]. I sent my die in and asked if they could supply two more FL dies (for three total) to have the necks honed to 0.265″, 0.266″, and 0.267″.” In addition to the purchase cost of two more FL-sizing dies, Steve paid $36 ($12 per die) for the three dies to be honed.

Steve’s honed dies produced very straight loaded ammo:
“Brass springback after sizing is running 1 to 1.3 thousandths. My loaded rounds are running 0.2697-0.2699 using [older Gold Box Lapua brass]. So far the dies are working well. I sized 80 cases with the 0.266″ necked die. The shoulder is running 0.4582″ and 0.300″ up from the base is 0.4684". I spun 20 of ‘em and 16 had a runout of one thousandth (0.001) and the other 4 at 1.5 thousandths (0.0015).”

*Here is Forster’s description of its Die Honing Service:

We custom hone the inside neck diameter by using a diamond stoning process. We enlarge the inside diameter to your specification to prevent over-sizing of the case neck due to thick neck walls. You may require this service for multiple reasons: 1) If you use some brands of brass cases which have thicker neck walls. 2) If you do not intend to outside neck turn case necks that have thickened after repeated firings. Please specify desired inside neck diameter. Note: 1) No more than .008″ stock removal from your existing die neck diameter is possible. 2) Honing is done in increments of one half thousandth of an inch (.0005″), meaning that your specified inside diameter must be either.XXX0″ or .XXX5″. FEES: $12.00 plus actual return shipping cost & insurance Please allow 1-3 weeks.

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