October 25th, 2016

Get Current Hodgdon and IMR Loads at Reloading Data Center

Hodgdon Reloading data Center hand loading powder

Hodgdon Reloading data Center hand loading powder

Hodgdon and IMR powders, including H4198, Varget, H4350, and IMR 4451, are some of the most successful propellants used by competitive shooters. If you want to find solid, reliable load data for these and other Hodgdon and IMR powders, we recommend you go right to the source — visit the Hodgdon/IMR Reloading Data Center, at www.HodgdonReloading.com. There you’ll find the latest, updated load recipes for pistol, rifle, and shotgun reloaders.

In the Data Center, you’ll find thousands of load recipes for pistol, rifle, and shotgun. Rifle shooters will find dozens of loads for their favorite Hodgdon, IMR, and Winchester powders such as H4198, Varget, H4350, and IMR 8208 XBR. And Hodgdon’s Reloading Center is now faster and easier to use. Navigation is simplified and the whole interface is more user-friendly.

Precise Search Results for your Cartridge and Favorite Powders
Hodgdon Reloading data Center hand loading powder

The online Reloading Data Center allows you to get precise search results for any listed cartridge. You can select your preferred powders and bullets. After choosing a cartridge, you can pre-select specific bullet weights and powder types. That quickly delivers just the information you want and need. You won’t have to scroll through scores of entries for bullets or powders you don’t use.

Data Center Works Well with Mobile Devices
Mobile users will notice Reloading Center is very “user-friendly” for smart-phone and tablet users. Controls have been optimized for touch-screens, and buttons are large and easy to use. Likewise the results are displayed in a large, easy-to read format.

Hodgdon tip from EdLongrange. We welcome reader submissions.
Permalink Bullets, Brass, Ammo, Reloading No Comments »
October 22nd, 2016

TECH Tip: How to Reduce Run-Out with Seating Dies

USAMU Hump Day Reloading TIR run-out concentricity seating die stem

Each Wednesday, the U.S. Army Marksmanship Unit publishes a reloading “how-to” article on the USAMU Facebook page. Recently the USAMU’s reloading gurus looked at the subject of cartridge run-out and what can be done to produce straighter ammo. Tasked with producing thousands of rounds of ammo for team members, the USAMU’s reloading staff has developed smart methods for improving concentricity, even with budget=price dies. For other hand-loading tips, visit the USAMU Facebook page next Wednesday for the next installment.

Minimizing Runout with Standard Seating Dies

This USAMU article explains how to set up standard bullet seating dies dies to minimize Total Indicated Run-out (TIR). The loading process is described using a single-stage press since most handloaders have one. A high-quality run-out gauge is essential for obtaining consistent, accurate results.

Having sized, primed, and charged our brass, the next step is bullet seating. Many approaches are possible; one that works well follows. When setting up a standard seating die, insert a sized, trimmed case into the shellholder and fully raise the press ram. Next, back the seating stem out and screw the die down until the internal crimping shoulder touches the case mouth.

Back the die out ¼ turn from this setting to prevent cartridge crimping. Next, lower the press ram and remove the case. Place a piece of flat steel (or window glass, which is quite flat) on the shellholder and carefully raise the ram.

Place tension on the die bottom with the flat steel on the shellholder. This helps center the die in the press threads. Check this by gently moving the die until it is well-centered. Keeping light tension on the die via the press ram, secure the die lock ring. If one were using a match style, micrometer-type seating die, the next step would be simple: run a charged case with bullet on top into the die and screw the seating stem down to obtain correct cartridge OAL.

However, with standard dies, an additional step can be helpful. When the die has a loosely-threaded seating stem, set the correct seating depth but don’t tighten the stem’s lock nut. Leave a loaded cartridge fully raised into the die to center the seating stem in the die. Then, secure the stem’s lock nut. Next, load sample cartridges and check them to verify good concentricity.

USAMU Hump Day Reloading TIR run-out concentricity seating die stem

One can also experiment with variations such as letting the seating stem float slightly in the die to self-center, while keeping correct OAL. The run-out gauge will show any effects of changes upon concentricity. However, this method has produced excellent, practical results as evidenced by the experiment cited previously. These results (TIR Study 2) will reproduced below for the reader’s convenience.

First, however, let’s examine run-out figures of some factory-loaded match ammunition. This should give readers who are new to TIR gauges some perspective about the TIR ranges one might encounter.

TIR Study 1: 50 rounds Lake City M852 Match 7.62mm
(168 gr. Sierra MatchKings)
0.000” – 0.001” = 2%
0.001” – 0.002” = 30%
0.002” – 0.003” = 16%
0.003” – 0.004” = 22%
0.004” – 0.005” = 14%
0.005” – 0.006” = 14%
0.006” – 0.007” = 0%
0.007” – 0.008” = 2%

TIR Study 2: 50 rounds of .308 match ammo loaded using carefully-adjusted standard dies, vs. 50 using expensive “Match” dies from the same maker.

Standard dies, TIR:
0.000” — 0.001” = 52%;
0.001”– 0.002” = 40%;
0.002”– 0.003” = 8%.
None greater than 0.003”.

Lesser-quality “Match” dies, TIR:
0.000”– 0.001” = 46%;
0.001” — 0.002” = 30%;
0.002” — 0.003” = 20%;
0.003” — 0.004” = 4%.

Note: both samples were loaded using the O-Ring method, i.e. with a rubber O-Ring placed under the locking ring of the Full-length sizing die to allow that die to float.

These tips are intended to help shooters obtain the best results from inexpensive, standard loading dies. Especially when using cases previously fired in a concentric chamber, as was done above, top-quality match dies and brass can easily yield ammo with virtually *no* runout, given careful handloading.

Permalink Bullets, Brass, Ammo, Reloading 1 Comment »
October 22nd, 2016

Try Barnes, Berger, and Nosler Bullets with Sample Packs

Bullet Proof Samples

Bullet Proof SamplesBullet Proof Samples offers 12-count packs of big-name bullets. This lets you try out many different bullet types without forking out big bucks for larger 50-ct or 100-ct boxes. Currently, Bullet Proof Samples offers projectiles from Barnes, Berger Bullets, and Nosler. The sample packs range in price from $5.99 (for 22-cal varmint bullets) to $17.49 (for a .30-Cal Barnes LRX). The Berger Bullets sample packs run $6.99 to $10.49, with the larger 7mm and 30-cal bullets at the upper end of the range. On a per-bullet cost basis, it’s still much cheaper to purchase a “normal” 100-ct box, but the sample packs let you “test before you invest.”

Berger’s Michelle Gallagher tells us: “We receive frequent feedback from shooters who are looking for bullets in small pack quantities so that they can test different bullets without the expense of buying full boxes. Bullet Proof Samples… has done an exceptional job of addressing that concern. Bullets are packaged in blister packs, so they can be clearly seen. Each pack contains 12 bullets. They offer Nosler, Barnes and Berger in a variety of weights and calibers. Bullet Proof Samples is not a Berger Bullets LLC company, but we are supportive of their efforts[.]”

Story idea by EdLongrange.
Permalink Bullets, Brass, Ammo, Reloading No Comments »
October 19th, 2016

Zediker Reloading Book — Worth Checking Out

Glen Zediker Competition Reloading bookForum member Danny Reever and this Editor recently discussed how novice reloaders can struggle with the fine points of reloading, making errors in seating depth, bushing choice, or sizing their cases. We agreed that a good resource covering more than “Reloading Basics” is sorely needed. Danny reminded me that Glen Zediker’s excellent Handloading for Competition book has been available since 2002. Danny says this may still be the best guide in print for those getting started in precision reloading, though the book is not without flaws.

Danny observed: “I consider this still the best book out there on the subject. I’ve bought a lot of other books only to be sorely disappointed after spending $30-$40 of my hard-earned cash. This book is not one of those! I’ve read and re-read Zediker’s treatise at least four times and refer to it often for advice while reloading. My number one suggestion for those who buy the book is to sit down with a highlighter and read it cover to cover. It’s well-written with a bit of humor and it is not boring.”

Extremely comprehensive, Zediker’s book covers nearly all of the key factors involved in accurate reloading: case sorting, brass prep, load development, neck-sizing, full-length sizing, bushing selection/use, tool selection, priming, powder measurement, and bullet seating. The book also explains how to test and evaluate your ammo, and how to monitor and interpret pressure signs.

There are many “must-read” sections in Zediker’s book, according to Danny: “The section beginning on page 161 dealing with concentricity (and how to achieve it) is excellent. Likewise the Load Limits section discussing pressures offers very valuable advice and info. You should also read Zediker’s commentaries about load testing, powders (burn characterics etc.), and the effects of temperature.”

Zediker competition reloading book

CLICK HERE to view book contents and sample pages.

Zediker has conveniently provided a detailed summary of his book on the web, complete with table of contents, sample pages (PDF format), and dozens of illustrations. Shown above is just one small section that covers ejectors.

Overall, we recommend Glen Zediker’s Handloading for Competition, though the book definitely could use some updating. Danny says: “Plunk down the [money] and buy this book, you won’t be sorry.” Zediker’s book is available from Amazon.com ($30.25), Sinclair Int’l ($28.99), and Zediker Publishing ($34.95).

Permalink Reloading 10 Comments »
October 17th, 2016

Bargain Finder 57: 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 Bargain selections. Here are some of the best deals on firearms, hardware, reloading components, 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. CDNN Sports — Ruger American .270 Win, $289.99

RUger American Rifle hunting hunter .270 Win Winchester Long Action .270 Win Winchester

If you’re looking for a good deer-hunting rifle at a super-affordable price, check out this .270 Winchester Ruger American. It comes with a gray-blue digital camo finish that actually suits gray fall days pretty well. The long action sits in a integral bedding block, and features a three-lug bolt with 70° bolt lift. The 22″ hammer-forged barrel has a 1:10″-twist, so it’s capable of shooting the most popular .270-caliber hunting bullets. Ammo is held in a flush-fit rotary magazine. The Ruger American is a good, solid rifle — and this is a steal at $289.99. If you don’t like the finish, buy a $5.00 can of spray paint.

2. Grafs.com — SK Standard Plus at $5.99 per Box

Graf and sons grafs.com SK standard plus rimfire .22 LR Ammo

This is very good European-made rimfire ammo at an affordable price. SK Standard Plus is much better than most low-priced rimfire ammo. This is a good choice for cross-training, fun plinking, or rimfire tactical matches. When we don’t need ultra-high-quality Eley or Lapua match .22 LR ammo, we’re happy to shoot SK Standard Plus. The Grafs.com price includes shipping (after one flat $7.95 fee).

3. Midsouth — FREE Hat with Lee Pistol Die Sets

Midsouth Lee Pistol Carbide Dies Shell Holder Free shooting hat

Lee pistol dies are not expensive, but they work perfectly well for most handgun cartridges. We like the fact that Lee’s three-die sets come complete with a shell-holder and dipper. We use Lee dies ourselves for 9mm Luger and .380 ACP reloading. Right now Midsouth has a special offer — buy any pistol die set (starting at $30.56), and you get a FREE Midsouth hat (green or khaki). We recommend the 3-die carbide die sets. These include Carbide Full Length Sizing Die, Bullet Seating Die, Powder-Thru Expanding Die, Universal Shell Holder, and Powder Dipper. All the elements (dies, shell-holder, dipper) fit inside a convenient see-through plastic storage case.

4. Amazon.com — RCBS Rockchucker Supreme Press, $126.99

Amazon.com Amazon RCBS Rock Chucker Supreme Single Stage Reloading Press Sale

The RCBS Rock Chucker remains a classic — a big, strong, versatile press that can handle most reloading chores with ease. And now you can get a genuine Rock Chucker Supreme for $126.99 — a very good deal. The Rock Chucker offers plenty of leverage for case-sizing and the “O” is tall enough for long cartridges. The Rock Chucker has a very strong base and should last a lifetime. We’re not fans of the Rock Chucker’s priming system but most serious reloaders use a separate priming tool.

5. Midsouth — 20-60x60mm Vortex Spotting Scope, $399.99

Vortex Spotting Scope Midsouth bargain

This is a very good spotting scope for the price. Yes it gives up some low-light performance to a spotter with an 80mm objective, but otherwise it is a good performer, and we can’t think of much that will touch this Vortex Diamondback spotting scope for anywhere near the $399.99 sale price. Choose from angled or straight version for the same $399.99 price, which includes the 20-60X zoom eyepiece.

6. Natchez — RCBS ChargeMaster Dispenser, $279.99

RCBS Chargemaster scale dispenser Natchez

Here’s a very good deal on the popular RCBS ChargeMaster combo scale/powder dispenser. This unit sells elsewhere for up to $389.00. You may want to act quickly as sale pricing changes frequently and many other vendors have recently raised their prices. Grafs.com sells this for $369.99 now while the current Amazon.com price is $296.99. You can save a lot through Natchez right now. NOTE: There is an RCBS Rebate Program in effect now — if you spend at least $300.00 on “RCBS tools and accessories” you can get $75.00 back.

7. Home Depot — 72″ Wood Workbench for $75.36

Folding Wood Work Bench Home Deport Reloading

This patented Home Depot workbench assembles in a few minutes. Simply unfold the legs, pop in the shelf, and you are ready to start your project. Made from Premium 2×4 Hemlock fastened with glue and screws, this workbench is a great value. The bench (72″ wide x 35″ high x 22″ deep) can easily be stored when not in use. NOTE: The wood is unfinished (can be painted or stained).

8. Amazon.com — Gerber Folding Bear Grylls Survival Knife

AccurateShooter Deals of week Gerber sheath folding survival knife Bear Grylls  discount  bargain coupon

This is a pretty darn good folding knife, and a killer deal at under $20.00 from Amazon.com. Yes your Editor bought one. The semi-serrated stainless steel blade is sharp and holds its edge surprisingly well. The knife comes with a nylon sheath and a Bear Grylls survival guide. Despite its low cost, Gerber offers a lifetime warranty on this knife.

Here is a verified owner’s review: “Most retailers sell it for 30 bucks. This knife is…very sturdy with no blade play and has a good solid feel. The handle is very grippy… [and] fits VERY nicely in the hand. Love Gerber’s serrations… great for cutting rope, cordage and strapping.” Note — this price has been fluctuating. There was one Amazon seller at $19.85 with Free shipping, Click link at right to see multiple price options.

Permalink Hot Deals, Optics, Reloading 1 Comment »
October 17th, 2016

Case-Trimming 101: Tips from PMA Tool

Wilson Micrometer Case Trimmer

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

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

Forster Case Trimmer

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

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

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

Little Crow WFT

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

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

Story Tip by EdLongrange. User Submissions are welcome.
Permalink Reloading, Tech Tip 3 Comments »
October 16th, 2016

Reloading Gear Review: Lee Classic Cast Breech-Lock Press

Lee Classic Cast Breech Lock Press

The Lee Classic Cast “O”-style press has always been an excellent value — it works as well as some other presses costing twice as much. And now Lee has improved on its Classic Cast Press design by adding a breech-lock fitting in the top. This allows you to swap dies in and out in seconds, once your dies are equipped with breech-lock quick-change bushings. The Lee Classic Cast Breech Lock press is available for under $120.00. That makes it a bargain compared to other heavy-duty single-stage presses. Midsouth Shooters Supply offers this press (item #006-90999) for $114.49, while Natchez Shooters Supplies sells the press (item #LEE90999) for $117.49.

Lee Classic Cast Breech Lock PressBreech-Lock System Allows Fast Die Exchanges
With the Lee Breech-Lock Press system, the die drops straight in from the top. Then, with a quick 1/6th (60°) turn, the die locks firmly in place (like the breech on an artillery canon). The interrupted three-start thread assures dies return and lock into the exact same position each time. Bushings cost $7.43 each at Midsouth. If you prefer, you can leave a bushing in the press, and screw your dies in normally. But consider that it normally takes a dozen or more turns to screw in a normally threaded die. The Breech-lock system is way faster.

The Lee Classic Cast press features a strong, cast-iron frame and all-steel linkage. The large 1 1/8″-diameter ram is guided by over twelve square inches of ram bearing surface. We like the fact that you can mount the handle on either side, and adjust handle angle and length. As Lee explains: “The start and stop position is adjustable with a 48-tooth, ratchet-type handle clamp. In addition, the handle length is completely adjustable. Shorten [it] when you’re loading handgun and short rifle cases.”

Lock-Ring Eliminator Quick-Change Bushings
With Lee’s basic quick-lock bushings, you control vertical die position with the normal locking ring that seats against the top of the bushing. That works fine, but Lee also offers a handy Lock-Ring Eliminator Bushing (Lee SKU 90063). This clever design combines bushing and lock-ring into a single part. The Eliminator is turned from a solid piece of steel and the lock ring is integrated into the design of the part. With the Eliminator you’ll get the most repeatable and precise die positioning because lock ring and bushing are all one piece. Moreover, some guys say the Eliminator Bushings are easier to grab and remove than the standard Lee Breech-Lock Bushings.

Lee Classic Cast Breech Lock Press

Press owners have praised their Lee Classic Cast Breech-Lock units. Here are reports from two MidwayUSA customers:

Five Stars: Perfect single stage press. Loads accurately 6mm BR and 308 Win for competition. Large clearance is also great for my 460 Wby and 30-378 Wby. Pistol rounds in 44 mag and 45 ACP also load easy. The press has a lot of leverage for full-length rifle case sizing. Nice primer disposal system. Lowest price for its class. This unit beats my Lyman press by several miles…. ” — J. Davidson, California

Five Stars: This thing is outstanding and better than my old RCBS partner press. Once you get the sweet setting of the die, lock it in place and next time you load, you need not fumble to find the best setting. Breech lock is the key. I load a lot of .308 Win and .223 Rem for my ARs and this requires full-length sizing. Lee meets the challenge with no flex and excellent ram/die fit and alignment. Another nice feature is that the breech-lock inserts have a lock preventing [them] from unlocking. [T]he spent primer disposal is perfect vs. RCBS where primers can miss the primer catcher. The handle can also be placed left or right as needed and shortened for small cases or pistol to reduce the handle travel.” — E. Stanley, Rockford, IL

Permalink Gear Review, Reloading 1 Comment »
October 15th, 2016

Add 3-Way Case Mouth Cutter to Your Forster Trimmer

three-way three in one cutter

We know many of you guys have a Forster case trimmer (hand lathe) sitting on your reloading bench. This tool does a good job of trimming cases to length. But did you know that an inexpensive accessory will allow your Forster case trimmer to chamfer while it cuts? Here’s the skinny on the 3-way head for the Forster case trimmer.

Tool Cuts Brass to Length, and Chamfers Inside and Outside
Forster’s 3-in-1 Carbide Case Mouth Cutter works with all existing Forster case trimmers. This unit does three jobs at the same time. It trims the case to length, it puts a 14-degree chamfer on the INSIDE of the neck, AND (last but not least), it cuts a 30-degree chamfer on the OUTSIDE of the neck. It does this all quickly and efficiently — in a matter of a few seconds. We tested the new tool ourselves on a few cases. The tool is solid and well made. The carbide cutting tips do perform a very clean cut. Be aware, however, if you have turned your necks already, you may have to reset the blade positions before you start trimming your brass.

Forster’s CFO, Robert Ruch, demonstrates the 3-in-1 case trimming/chamfering tool in the video above. As you can see, the tool turns very smoothly (no chatter). The actual cutting time, per case, is just a few seconds. The tool has an MSRP of $88.00, but it sells for around $65.00 to $70.00 at major vendors. Forster’s 3-in-1 Carbide cutting tool works with all existing Forster case trimmers and other hand lathes with a .490″ shaft diameter. The unit fits over the cutter shaft and secures with one set screw. The 3-in-1 cutter is available for five (5) calibers: .224, .243 (6mm), .264 (6.5mm), .284 (7mm), and .308.

Forster Case neck trimmer chamferer

Permalink - Videos, Reloading 5 Comments »
October 13th, 2016

Updated Load Manual for Accurate and Ramshot Powders

Western Powders Accurate Ramshot reloading guide LT30 LT32

Western Powders Accurate Ramshot reloading guide LT30 LT32Western Powders has released its new, updated Load Manual covering Accurate and Ramshot powders. This FREE Reloading & Load Data Guide (Edition 6.0) contains thousands of recipes for handgun and rifle cartridges (plus shotshell and muzzle-loading info).

You’ll find load data for over 100 important rifle cartridges. The rifle cartridge listings are up to date — you’ll find the popular new mid-sized competition cartridges, such as the 6.5 Creedmoor and 6.5×47 Lapua, along with many popular wildcat varmint cartridges, such as the 20 Vartarg, 20 Tactical, and 20 BR. Benchresters will also find recipes for the new LT 30 and LT 32 powders which have proven very accurate in the 30BR and 6PPC respectively.

Western Powders reloading guide LT30 LT32

>> GET FREE Western Powders Reloading & Load Data Guide 6.0

Here is just a partial listing of the 100+ rifle cartridge types covered in Western’s Load Data Guide 6.0:

Western Powders Accurate Ramshot reloading guide LT30 LT32

Permalink Bullets, Brass, Ammo, Reloading 1 Comment »
October 12th, 2016

Follow These Safety Fundamentals When Hand-Loading Ammo

seven reloading safety tips powder primers brownells manual

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

Summary of the Seven Safety Tips:

1. Store your reloading supplies in a safe and dry location, away from children and away from any possible source of ignition. This includes keeping your powder and primers separate.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Permalink Bullets, Brass, Ammo, Reloading 1 Comment »
October 10th, 2016

Bargain Finder 56: 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 Bargain selections. Here are some of the best deals on firearms, hardware, reloading components, and shooting accessories. Be aware that sale prices are subject to change, and once clearance inventory is sold, it’s gone for good. You snooze you lose.

1. Amazon.com — RCBS Rockchucker Supreme Press, $126.99

Amazon.com Amazon RCBS Rock Chucker Supreme Single Stage Reloading Press Sale

The RCBS Rock Chucker remains a classic — a big, strong, versatile press that can handle most reloading chores with ease. And now you can get a genuine Rock Chucker Supreme for $126.99 — a very good deal. The Rock Chucker offers plenty of leverage for case-sizing and the “O” is tall enough for long cartridges. The Rock Chucker has a very strong base and should last a lifetime. We’re not fans of the Rock Chucker’s priming system but most serious reloaders use a separate priming tool.

2. Midsouth — 17 HMR V-Max Ammo, $10.45 for 50 rds

17 HMR Hornady Midsouth V-Max Vmax Sale

Need 17 HMR ammo for your varmint safaris? Then grab this Hornady V-Max ammo while you can at $10.45 for a 50-round box. This is a great price. Other vendors are selling the same Hornady ammo for as much as $15.00 per box. We’ve used this ammo and it was very accurate out of both semi-auto (Savage A17) and bolt-action (CZ 455) 17 HMR rifles.

3. Aero Precision — Upper and Lower Stripped Receivers, $189.99

AR16 stripped upper lower Aero Precision sale

If you want to build your own AR for varminting, self-defense, or competition, here is a great value for the basics. Right now Aero Precision is offering a combo set of AR15 Stripped Upper Receiver PLUS AR15 Gen 2 Stripped Lower Receiver all for $189.99 with free shipping. The upper and lower are both machined from from 7075-T6 aluminum forgings and have a tough, Cerakote finish. This upper/lower set features 0.250″ takedown pin holes and M4-style feedramps. Both upper and lower take standard AR15 components so you can choose from a wide selection of trigger groups.

4. Grafs.com — Jewell BR Trigger 1.5-3.0 oz. $179.99 ($20 Off)

AR16 stripped upper lower Aero Precision sale

The Jewell trigger is still probably the most commonly-used trigger in benchrest competition. Right now at Grafs.com you can get a Remington 700-compatible Jewell benchrest trigger for $179.99 — that’s $20.00 of the regular price. This single-stage trigger adjusts from 1 ounce to 3 ounces pull-weight, and has a crisp, precise release. This will fit Rem 700 actions as well as Rem-compatible custom actions. This trigger does NOT have a safety and it is NOT recommended for hunting applications. (Sale tip from EdLongrange.)

5. Cabelas — Howa 1500 Mini-Action in .223 Rem, $349.99

Howa Mini Action 1500 Cabela's .223 Rem Varmint rifle

Here’s a good deal on a great little rifle. Right now at Cabela’s you can get the Howa 1500 Mini-Action in .223 Rem for just $349.99. That’s a bargain — other vendors are charging $500.00 or more for this rifle. The Howa 1500 Mini Action is nearly an inch shorter than a Rem 700 short action, making for a nice, compact carry-around varminter. Your Editor checked out the Howa Mini Action Rifle at SHOT Show. The bolt opens and closes VERY smoothly (way better than most mass-produced bolt guns). The two-stage HACT trigger is excellent — it’s plenty light, with a crisp release and no annoying spring-loaded blade in the middle.

6. Amazon — Discovery Scope Level $12-$16 (1″, 30mm, 34mm)

Optical Rifle Scope bubble level Discovery 30mm 1 inch 34mm Amazon

If you shoot long range, you need a scope level. This Discovery scope level is fully CNC-machined to close tolerances for a good fit. It is available with three inner diameters to fit scopes with 1″, 30mm, or 34mm main tubes. The 1″ version is just $11.99 while the 30mm model is $13.95 and the large 34mm version is $15.95. 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.

7. Eabco.com — Pillar-Bedded Laminated Stock for Savage

E Arthur Brown Eabco Savage Thumbhole Stock Laminated

For a Savage-based general purpose rifle, this Laminated Thumbhole Savage Stock is a good choice, and a fine value at just $175.00 including installed pillars. (Most bargain-priced laminated stocks do NOT include pillars). This stock fits Savage actions with detachable magazines. There are four color options: Camo laminate (shown in photo), Brown Laminate, Gray Laminate, and walnut color.

8. RCBS — Buy Green, Get Green Rebate

RCBS Reloading Press Rebate Green

RCBS is running a very attractive Rebate Program currently. If you spend $300.00 on qualifying products you get a $75.00 rebate. Spend $50 and get a $10.00 Rebate. This program is limited to one (1) rebate redemption per calendar year, with a maximum of $75.00. CLICK HERE for more information. NOTE: To qualify, you must supply completed RCBS rebate coupon, original UPC barcodes from package, and original cash register receipt and/or dated, itemized sales invoice.

Permalink Bullets, Brass, Ammo, Hot Deals, Reloading 3 Comments »
October 10th, 2016

Controlling Grip on Bullet — Why Bushing Size is Only One Factor

case neck bushing reloading die tension bullet release

Many novice hand-loaders believe that neck bushing Inside Diameter (ID) size is the only important factor in neck tension. In fact, many different things will influence the grip on your bullet and its ability to release from the case neck. To learn the ins and outs of neck tension, take some time and read this article carefully.

Neck Tension (i.e. Grip on Bullets) Is a Complex Phenomenon
While we certainly have considerable control over neck tension by using tighter or looser bushings (with smaller or bigger Inside Diameters), bushing size is only one factor at work. It’s important to understand the multiple factors that can increase or decrease the resistance to bullet release. Think in terms of overall brass-on-bullet “grip” instead of just bushing size (or the internal neck diameter in non-bushing FL dies).

Bullet grip is affected by many things, such as:

1. Neck-wall thickness.
2. Amount of bullet bearing surface (shank) in the neck.
3. Surface condition inside of neck (residual carbon can act as a lubricant; ultrasonic cleaning makes necks “grabby”).
4. Length of neck (e.g. 6mmBR neck vs. 6mm Dasher).
5. Whether or not the bullets have an anti-friction coating.
6.The springiness of the brass (which is related to degree of work-hardening; number of firings etc.)
7. The bullet jacket material.
8. The outside diameter of the bullet and whether it has a pressure ridge.
9. Time duration between bullet seating and firing (necks can stiffen with time).
10. How often the brass is annealed.
11. Amount (length) of neck sized (e.g. you can size only half the neck).
12. Interior diameter of bushing, or neck section of non-bushing die.

— and there are others…

One needs to understand that bushing size isn’t the beginning and end of neck tension questions, because, even if bushing size is held constant, the amount of bullet “grip” can change dramatically as the condition of your brass changes. Bullet “grip” can also change if you alter your seating depth, and it can even change if you ultrasonically clean your cases.

Redding neck bushingsIn our Shooters’ Forum a reader recently asked: “How much neck tension should I use?” This prompted a Forum discussion in which other Forum members recommended a specific number based on their experience, such as .001″, .002″, or .003″. These numbers, as commonly used, correspond to the difference between case-neck OD after sizing and the neck OD of a loaded round, with bullet in place. In other words, the numbers refer to the nominal amount of interference fit (after sizing).

While these commonly-used “tension numbers” (of .001″, .002″ etc.) can be useful as starting points, neck tension is actually a fairly complex subject. The actual amount of “grip” on the bullet is a function of many factors, of which neck-OD reduction during sizing is just one. Understanding these many factors will help you maintain consistent neck tension as your brass “evolves” over the course of multiple reloadings.

Seating Depth Changes Can Increase or Decrease Grip on Bullet
You can do this simple experiment. Seat a boat-tail bullet in your sized neck with .150″ of bearing surface (shank) in the neck. Now remove the bullet with an impact hammer. Next, take another identical bullet and seat it with .300″ of bearing surface in another sized case (same bushing size/same nominal tension). You’ll find the deeper-seated bullet is gripped much harder.

PPC lapua brassNeck-Wall Thickness is Important Too
I have also found that thinner necks, particularly the very thin necks used by many PPC shooters, require more sizing to give equivalent “grip”. Again, do your own experiment. Seat a bullet in a case turned to .008″ neckwall thickness and sized down .003″. Now compare that to a case with .014″ neckwall thickness and sized down .0015″. You may find that the bullet in the thin necks actually pulls out easier, though it supposedly has more “neck tension”, if one were to consider bushing size alone.

In practical terms, because thick necks are less elastic than very thin necks, when you turn necks you may need to run tighter bushings to maintain the same amount of actual grip on the bullets (as compared to no-turn brass). Consequently, I suspect the guys using .0015″ “tension” on no-turn brass may be a lot closer to the guys using .003″ “tension” on turned necks than either group may realize.

Toward a Better Definition of Neck Tension
As a convenient short-cut, we tend to describe neck tension by bushing size alone. When a guy says, “I run .002 neck tension”, that normally means he is using a die/bushing that sizes the necks .002″ smaller than a loaded round. Well we know something about his post-sizing neck OD, but do we really have a reliable idea about how much force is required to release his bullets? Maybe not… This use of the term “neck tension” when we are really only describing the amount of neck diameter reduction with a die/bushing is really kind of incomplete.

My point here is that it is overly simplistic to ask, “should I load with .001 tension or .003?” In reality, an .001″ reduction (after springback) on a thick neck might provide MORE “grip” on a deep-seated bullet than an .003″ reduction on a very thin-walled neck holding a bullet with minimal bearing surface in the neck. Bushing ID is something we can easily measure and verify. We use bushing size as a descriptor of neck tension because it is convenient and because the other important factors are hard to quantify. But those factors shouldn’t be ignored if you want to maintain consistent neck tension for optimal accuracy.

Consistency and accuracy — that’s really what this all about isn’t it? We want to find the best neck tension for accuracy, and then maintain that amount of grip-on-bullet over time. To do that you need to look not only at your bushing size, but also at how your brass has changed (work-hardened) with time, and whether other variables (such as the amount of carbon in the neck) have changed. Ultimately, optimal neck tension must be ascertained experimentally. You have to go out and test empirically to see what works, in YOUR rifle, with YOUR bullets and YOUR brass. And you may have to change the nominal tension setting (i.e. bushing size) as your brass work-hardens or IF YOU CHANGE SEATING DEPTHS.

Remember that bushing size alone does not tell us all we need to know about the neck’s true “holding power” on a bullet, or the energy required for bullet release. True bullet grip is a more complicated phenomenon, one that is affected by numerous factors, some of which are very hard to quantify.

Permalink Bullets, Brass, Ammo, Reloading 3 Comments »
October 8th, 2016

Full-Length Sizing Die Fit — Diagnosing Stiff Bolt Lift Problems

Resizing Die Alex Wheeler Shoulder Bump Die fitting Full-Length

In this video, gunsmith Alex Wheeler explains how to ensure that your full-length sizing dies fit your brass properly. With many cartridge types, it’s not unusual for factory dies to be slightly large in the bottom section. When the diameter of a FL-sizing die is too large near the base, this can leave the bottom section of fired cases “unsized”, with the result that you can have extraction issues and stiff bolt lift, or what Alex calls “clickers”. At the same time, it’s not unusual for dies to over-size fired cases at the shoulder (i.e. reduce the shoulder diameter by .004″ or more).

We strongly recommend that all hand-loaders watch this video, particularly if you load cases 6+ times with relatively high-pressure loads.

Alex explains that a key dimension is the diameter of a fired case 0.200″ above the case head. If your die does not size your fired cases at this point, you should get a FL die that does. This could be a custom die ground to fit your chamber, or it could be a “small-base” die specifically designed to “hit” the bottom section of the case. Alex also notes that some FL dies have an inside chamfer at the mouth of the die, right at the very bottom. (See video at 3:55). This can leave the section of the case right above the extractor groove unsized, which can also lead to “clickers” and stiff bolt lift.

Paint Your Brass to Find Problem Areas
If you are having stiff bolt lift or extraction issues, Alex explains that you can “paint” your brass with magic marker (or dye-chem), and then place the case in your chamber. On the “hot spots” where the case contacts the chamber wall, the marking will rub off, allowing the brass metal to shine through in the problem area(s). This will illustrate where you need better sizing from your die.

“You can ink up the case with some magic marker or dye-chem. If you are getting clickers, go ahead and mark up the case and chamber it and see where it’s wearing. This will help you diagnose [whether the problem] is coming from the base, is it coming maybe from a score in the chamber… it can even happen at the shoulder although that’s pretty rare. Usually the dies size enough at that point.”

Did you find this video helpful? View more informative Tech Tip Videos on WheelerAccuracy.com.

Video Tip from Boyd Allen. We welcome reader submissions.
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October 3rd, 2016

Bargain Finder 55: 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 Bargain selections. Here are some of the best deals on firearms, hardware, reloading components, 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. EuroOptic.com — Leica CRF1000-R RangeFinder $449.00

Leica CRF CRF1000-R laser Rangefinder Eurooptic.com

The Leica CRF1000-R is an excellent choice for a hunter. The small Leica fits in a shirt pocket, and is easy to hold with one hand. That lets you range a prize buck quickly. This unit can range line-of-sight targets effectively out to 1,000 yards. In addition the CRF1000-R accounts for angle of inclination/declination, to provide Equivalent Horizontal Range (EHR) from as little as 10 yards out to 600 yards. This makes it ideal for many rifle shots taken in steep, mountainous terrain. The waterproof CRF1000-R features a 24mm optical lens with 7X magnification. Field of view at 1000 yards is 347 feet. Europtic’s $449.00 SALE price is the best we’ve found on this unit.

2. Bruno’s — LabRadar Doppler Radar Chronograph, $559.95

Bruno Shooters Bruno's LabRadar Chronograph Doppler Radar Chrono

The LabRadar is the most advanced chronograph on the market. When it was first released, you had to wait months to get one of these Doppler Radar units. Now they are in-stock and ready to ship at Bruno Shooters Supply for $559.95. Once you learn how to position and adjust the LabRadar, you should find the machine reliable and versatile. We do recommend getting a separate battery pack. If you are considering purchasing a LabRadar Chronograph, we strongly suggest you read the very thorough and informative LabRadar Review by Ray Gross, Captain of the USA F-TR team. NOTE: If the LabRadar sells out at Bruno’s, you should be able to get it from MidwayUSA, for the same $559.95 price.

LabRadar Review Ray Gross

3. CDNN Sports — Savage 64 TR-SR, $239.99

Savage .22 LR Rimfire Tactical model 64 TR SR

Th Savage 64 TR-SR is great for Rimfire Tactical matches or general rimfire cross-training. The tactical-style wood stock features a vertical grip and a low-angle rear toe that works well in a rear bag. The Savage TR-SR comes complete with a Picatinny-style rail for mounting optics, and the muzzle is threaded 1/2-28 for suppressors. This .22 LR rifle, now just $239.99 on sale at CDNN, works well shooting prone from bipod or rest. With this low price you can afford lots of .22 LR ammo for training.

4. Midsouth — Nikon ProStaff Scopes Starting at $149.95

Midsouth Shooters Supply Nikon Buckmaster Hunting Scope

If you need a good, basic zoom scope for a hunting rifle or general-purpose rifle, this deal is hard to beat. Right now Midsouth has Nikon ProStaff scopes on sale started at just $149.95 for a 3-9x40mm. And there’s free shipping to boot! The ProStaff scopes on sale feature Nikon’s patented BDC reticle and are backed by Nikon’s no-nonsense, lifetime warranty. CLICK HERE to see this offer at Midsouth Shooters Supply.

5. Natchez — Special 5 Reloading Press Kit, $199.99

RCBS Special 5 Reloading Kit

This is an excellent entry-level reloading kit, which is on sale for $199.99 at Natchez Shooters Supplies. We like the relatively compact Special 5 press for most reloading duties. Eventually you may want to add an additional, large heavy press, but this will get the job done. This kit includes an RCBS Powder Measure, Digital Scale, Powder Trickler, Hand Priming Tool, Load Manual, Loading Tray, and more. It’s hard to beat this combination of tools for under $200.00.

6. Amazon — Plano 42″ All-Weather Hard Case, $59.99 Shipped

Plano Gun Case Midsouth

Here’s a rugged hard case that compares well with a Pelican case, yet is less than half the cost. Plano’s GunGuard All Weather™ 42″ tactical gun case features heavy-duty, dual-stage lockable latches, a user-configurable foam interior, and a watertight/airtight closure with built-in pressure valve. The interior size is 43″ X 13″ X 5″, while the pluckable foam zone is 39.25″ X 10.25″. This is a very tough case that can withstand hard handling. The very attractive $59.99 sale price includes FREE shipping.

7. Grafs.com — MagnetoSpeed Sporter $179.99

Deals of Week RCBS Rock Chucker Supreme Kit

If you have been waiting to get a MagnetoSpeed… wait no longer. Priced at just $179.99 at Grafs.com, the MagnetoSpeed Sporter model costs less than half as much as Magnetospeed’s V3 models. This chronograph attaches directly to your barrel so you don’t have to go downrange to position tripods and set up skyscreens. For most people the Sporter Model contains all the features they need. Using MagnetoSpeed’s XFR adapter (sold separately), data can be transferred easily from the display module to your mobile device. READ Magnetospeed Sporter Review.

8. Amazon — RAVPower 22000 mAh Battery Bank, $31.99

RAVPower Battery Charger 22000 mAh USB chrono LabRadar

This is one of the most powerful, fast-charging USB-type power banks you can buy. Rated at 22000 mAh, it has 50% more “juice” than many units selling for around $35.00. This RAV Power machine charges up quickly and boasts three “intelligent” ports for optimal charging of smartphones, iPads, tablets, and other devices. Your Editor bought this RAVPower 22000 mAh unit to charge his own phone and iPad. It can deliver a total current output of 5.8A (2.4A max per port), allowing it to charge two iPads and one iPhone 6s at optimal charging speeds. This unit can also power a LabRadar Chronograph for a full weekend of shooting (6-7 hours per day). This is a very good deal — the price was just dropped from $39.99 to $31.99 with free shipping on orders over $49.99.

Permalink Hot Deals, Optics, Reloading No Comments »
October 3rd, 2016

Case Diagnostics — How to Spot Problems with Cartridge Brass

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.

Diagnosing Problems with Cartridge Brass

by Duane Siercks, Sierra Bullets
I was handed a small sample of .223 Rem cases the other day and was asked if I could comment on some marks and appearances that had been noticed as they were sorting through the cases. I will share what was observed and give you what would seem to be a cause for them. These were from an unknown source, so I have no way of knowing what type of firearm they were fired in or if they were factory loaded or reloaded ammunition.

Example ONE: Lake City 5.56, Unknown Year
Case #1 was seen to have a very rounded shoulder and split. Upon first look it was obvious that this round had been a victim of excess pressure. The firearm (perhaps an AR?) was apparently not in full battery, or there was possibly a headspace issue also. While taking a closer look, the primer was very flat and the outside radius of the primer cup had been lost. High pressure! Then I also noticed that there was an ejector mark on the case rim. This is most certainly an incident of excessive pressure. This case is ruined and should be discarded. See photo below.

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

Example TWO: Lake City Match 1993
Case #2 appears very normal. There was some question about marks seen on the primer. The primer is not overly flattened and is typical for a safe maximum load. There is a small amount of cratering seen here. This can be caused by a couple of situations.

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

Cratering is often referred to as a sign of excess pressure. With safety in mind, this is probably something that should make one stop and really assess the situation. Being as there are no other signs of pressure seen with this case, I doubt that pressure was unsafe. That leads us to the next possibility. This can also be caused by the firing-pin hole in the bolt-face being a bit larger than the firing-pin, and allowing the primer to flow back into the firing-pin hole causing the crater seen here. This can happen even with less-than-max pressures, in fact it has been noted even at starting loads. Always question whether pressure is involved when you see a crater. In this situation, I lean toward a large firing-pin hole. This case should be safe to reload.

Example THREE: R-P .223 Remington
Case #3 appears normal with one exception. There are two rings seen about one half inch below the base of the shoulder. These rings are around the circumference of the case, one being quite pronounced, and the other being noticeably less.

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

As we do not know the origin of the firearm in which this case was fired, it does seem apparent that the chamber of the firearm possibly had a slight defect. It could have been that the reamer was damaged during the cutting of this chamber. I would suggest that the chamber did have a couple of grooves that imprinted onto the case upon firing. This firearm, while maybe not dangerous should be looked at by a competent gunsmith. In all likelihood, this case is still safe to use.

Example FOUR: R-P .223 Remington
Case #4 has no signs of excess pressure. There is a bulge in the case just ahead of the case head that some might be alarmed by. This bulge is more than likely caused by this case being fired in a firearm that had a chamber on the maximum side of S.A.A.M.I. specifications. There is actually no real issue with the case. Note that the primer would indicate this load was relatively mild on pressure.

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

If this case was reloaded and used in the same firearm numerous times there might be a concern about case head separation. If you were going to use this case to load in an AR, be sure to completely full-length re-size to avoid chambering difficulties. This case would be safe to reload.

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

Permalink Bullets, Brass, Ammo, Reloading 2 Comments »
October 2nd, 2016

6.5 Guys Review of AMP Induction Annealer

Amp Annealing Machine Review 6.5 Guys 65guys.com
Photo by Bill Gravatt. Read Bill’s AMP review HERE.

Our good friends Ed and Steve (aka “The 6.5 Guys”) have just released an in-depth product review of the AMP Annealing system. Produced in New Zealand, the AMP (Annealing Made Perfect) unit is a sophisticated, microprocessor-controlled annealing machine that achieves ultra-consistent results through an electrical INDUCTION process.

AMP Annealing Machine Review by the 6.5 Guys:

Ed was so impressed with the AMP annealer that he purchased his own AMP to replace a carousel-type, dual-torch annealer he previously used. Ed tells us that “once you have the correct setting for your brass the AMP’s results are repeatable every time.” By contrast, Ed explained, “with butane torch systems you have to adjust the system when the ambient temperature changes, or even if your butane fuel is slightly different.” Ed says that, with his AMP system, he can anneal a case every few seconds. Yes it does require manually handling each case but “the actual annealing process is so fast, this really isn’t a big issue.”

Bill Gravatt AMP Annealing Machine
Photo from AMP Annealer Review by Bill Gravatt.

If you want to extend the useful life of your precious cartridge brass, then you should definitely consider annealing. And if you are in the market for an annealer, the new AMP machine deserves serious consideration. Though not inexpensive, it achieves excellent results according to the 6.5 Guys.

6.5 Guys’ AMP Annealer Review Key Points:

1. The AMP machine provides complete peace of mind that you are annealing properly — there is no guesswork. With a propane machine you have to calibrate dwell times which can be error prone. Even if you don’t change out your cartridge, dwell times will vary with temperature changes as this affects the propane pressure.

2. We noticed that the AMP machine produces brass that is more like factory brass from a hardness standpoint. Despite all our efforts and research around calibrating our propane machines, brass never seemed returned to factory condition and shoulder spring-back would increase with each reloading so we had to adjust our sizing dies. When a cartridge comes out of the AMP it is very, very close to new condition.

3. One of the things we dreaded was setting up our propane machine for different cartridges. With Ed’s OCD he would spend a good 30 minutes making sure everything was perfect. With the AMP machine you simply change out the pilot and select the proper program. It’s really straight-forward.

>>> READ AMP Annealer FULL REVIEW on 65guys.com

NOTE: We strongly recommend you read the Full AMP Annealer Review on 65guys.com. It contains a detailed explanation of the machines’ operation and the reviewers explain the pros (and cons) or the machine compared to flame-type annealers.

The current price for the AMP Annealer, with three pilots of your choice, is $995.00 USD. Additional pilots are $20.00 USD. For more info, visit www.AMPAnnealing.com.

Permalink Gear Review, New Product, Reloading No Comments »
October 2nd, 2016

Norma Factory Tour Video is a “Must-Watch” for Hand-Loaders

Norma factory ammo production video

Guys — honestly, if you do anything today on this site, watch this video. You won’t be disappointed. Guaranteed. This is a very informative (and surprisingly entertaining) video. Every serious hand-loader should watch this video to see how cartridge cases are made. Your Editor has watched the video 5 times now and I still find it fascinating. The camera work and editing are excellent — there are many close-ups revealing key processes such as annealing and head-stamping.

VERY Informative Video Show Cartridge Brass and Ammunition Production:

Norma has released a fascinating video showing how bullet, brass, and ammunition are produced at the Norma Precision AB factory which first opened in 1902. You can see how cartridges are made starting with brass disks, then formed into shape through a series of processes, including “hitting [the cup] with a 30-ton hammer”. After annealing (shown at 0:08″), samples from every batch of brass are analyzed (at multiple points along the case length) to check metal grain structure and hardness. Before packing, each case is visually inspected by a human being (3:27″ time-mark).

The video also shows how bullets are made from jackets and lead cores. Finally, you can watch the loading machines that fill cases with powder, seat the bullets, and then transport the loaded rounds to the packing system. In his enthusiasm, the reporter/narrator does sometimes confuse the term “bullets” and “rounds” (5:00″), but you can figure out what he means. We definitely recommend watching this video. It’s fascinating to see 110-year-old sorting devices on the assembly line right next to state-of-the art, digitally-controlled production machinery.

Video tip by EdLongrange. We welcome reader submissions.
Permalink - Videos, Reloading 1 Comment »
October 2nd, 2016

Instructional DVDs Show How to Cast Bullets

bullet casting video Sinclair

We’ve done some bullet casting in the past, both for handgun bullets, and the large, heavy (400gr+) projectiles used with Black Powder Cartridge Rifles. We can say, unequivocally, that newbies should seek out the assistance of a skilled, experienced mentor, who is familiar with the important safety procedures that must be employed. Working with molten lead can be dangerous. And it also takes some skill to get good results (without visible casting flaws), particularly with very large bullets.

That said, there are valuable resources that can help you get started with the casting process. Wolfe Publishing offers two DVDs that cover the bullet casting process from start to finish. Bullet Casting 101 takes you through the basics: showing you how to choose the correct alloy for your application, prep molds, maintain the optimal temperatures, and lube and size bullets. The important steps are laid out clearly. In addition, Bullet Casting 101 helps you select the right equipment and preferred molds for your particular application. (To create uniform rifle bullets that shoot accurately, you really do need high-quality molds.)

Casting Bullets Handgun

Casting Bullets HandgunWolfe Publishing offers a companion DVD, Casting Premium Bullets for Handguns, that covers more advanced techniques for high-volume pistol bullet production. This DVD covers both single-cavity molds and multiple-cavity “gang” molds. (Gang molds can be frustrating at first; it is harder to maintain perfect temp control and mold separation is more complex). The DVD also reveals the sources of most common casting flaws, and explains how to detect cracks, voids and other problems.

You’ll save considerable time and effort if you really understand how to avoid common mistakes before you start pouring lead. And you’ll get the best results if you learn how to “blend” the optimal alloy for the job. Maintaining the right mold temperature is also critical for good results. These topics and more are covered in these two DVDs, priced at $16.99 each from Sinclair International.

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October 1st, 2016

AccurateShooter.com Offers Wealth of Content and Active Forum

AccurateShooter.com Facebook Page

If you enjoy our stories and would like to get daily News Updates and Tech Tips, go to www.facebook.com/accurateshooter and click the “LIKE” button.

We’ve learned that many first-time visitors to AccurateShooter.com may come in via a link to the Daily Bulletin rather than through our home page. As a result, they may not be aware that there is a wealth of other content available to our readers. Our Shooters’ Forum, with nearly 33,000 registered members, is one of the best places on the web to discuss precision shooting and advanced reloading. We also offer FREE Forum Classifieds. On the editorial side, AccurateShooter.com offers hundreds of pages of content, with thousands of photos. Our Cartridge Guides are definitive one-stop resources for popular match calibers, while our Guns of the Week articles spotlight outstanding custom rifles, most with competition pedigrees. In addition, we offer videos, gear reviews, book reviews, gunsmithing tips, and even FREE downloadable targets.

accurateshooter.com Cartridge Guide Content Diagram

If you’re a new visitor to AccurateShooter.com, you should check out all that we have to offer. There are hundreds of informative articles to read … and they’re all FREE.

AccurateShooter.comAccurateShooter.com Features:

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October 1st, 2016

15th Edition of Cartridges of the World Releases This Month

Cartridge of World Guide book

The new 15th Edition of Cartridges of the World is slated for release on October 24th, 2016, but you can pre-order now via Amazon.com. This massive 680-page reference contains illustrations and basic load data for over 1500 cartridges. If you load for a wide variety of cartridges, or are a cartridge collector, this book is a “must-have” resource. The latest edition (release date 10/24/2016) includes 50 new cartridges and boasts 1500+ photos. This important reference guide can be pre-ordered now through Amazon.com for $21.20. Order now and you’ll get the new 15th Edition hot off the press.

Cartridges of the World, the most widely-read cartridge reference book, has been totally updated, with a newly expanded, full-color 64-page color section featuring essays from some of today’s most prominent gun writers. The 15th Edition of Cartridges of the World includes updated cartridge specs, plus essays by leading writers on the topics of SAAMI guidelines, wildcatting, and new cartridge design trends. In scope and level of detail, Cartridges of the World is the most complete cartridge reference guide in print.

Cartridges of World Barnces 13th Edition

Cartridges of the World by author Frank C. Barnes was first published in 1965. The 15th Edition is edited by W. Todd Woodard, Editor of Gun Tests magazine and author of several firearms reference books. Frank Barnes (1918-1992) began collecting information on handgun cartridges at the early age of 12, thanks to his father, a police officer. Frank Barnes was an innovative cartridge designer, who invented the original 308 x 1.5″ Barnes, predecessor of the 30BR case.

Before Frank began a law enforcement career, he was a college professor. Frank was also a pilot, and a race-car driver. Learn more about Cartridges of the World (15th Ed.) at www.gundigest.com.

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