November 14th, 2019

Video Demonstrates Lock-N-Load Press Conversion Kit

Lock N load Conversion Kit Die bushing twist lock Hornady

Would you like to swap dies in and out of a reloading press in just seconds, with a quick twist of the wrist? Hornady’s Lock ‘N Load twist-lock hardware makes that possible. This time-saving system uses “die bushings” that screw on to your dies. Don’t have Hornady press? No problem — the Lock-N-Load system can be used with non-Hornady presses via the Lock-N-Load Conversion Kit. This includes three die bushings and one press conversion insert. The adapter will work with RCBS RockChuckers and any other reloading press using a 1-1/4-12 thread. The Lock-N-Load Conversion Kit costs just $15.59 at Midsouth Shooters Supply. Watch this video to see how it works.

Product and video tip from EdLongRange. We welcome reader submissions.

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Permalink - Videos, Reloading 1 Comment »
November 13th, 2019

TECH TIP: Turn Case-Necks Better with Optimal Cutter Angle

neck turning lathe cutter tip sinclair pma 21st Century

When neck-turning cases, it’s a good idea to extend the cut slightly below the neck-shoulder junction. This helps keep neck tension more uniform after repeated firings, by preventing a build-up of brass where the neck meets the shoulder. One of our Forum members, Craig from Ireland, a self-declared “neck-turning novice”, was having some problems turning brass for his 20 Tactical cases. He was correctly attempting to continue the cut slightly past the neck-shoulder junction, but he was concerned that brass was being removed too far down the shoulder.

Craig writes: “Everywhere I have read about neck turning, [it says] you need to cut slightly into the neck/shoulder junction to stop doughnutting. I completely understand this but I cant seem to get my neck-turning tool set-up to just touch the neck/shoulder junction. It either just doesn’t touch [the shoulder] or cuts nearly the whole shoulder and that just looks very messy. No matter how I adjust the mandrel to set how far down the neck it cuts, it either doesn’t touch it or it cuts far too much. I think it may relate to the bevel on the cutter in my neck-turning tool…”

Looking at Craig’s pictures, we’d agree that he didn’t need to cut so far down into the shoulder. There is a simple solution for this situation. Craig is using a neck-turning tool with a rather shallow cutter bevel angle. This 20-degree angle is set up as “universal geometry” that will work with any shoulder angle. Unfortunately, as you work the cutter down the neck, a shallow angled-cutter tip such as this will remove brass fairly far down. You only want to extend the cut about 1/32 of an inch past the neck-shoulder junction. This is enough to eliminate brass build-up at the base of the neck that can cause doughnuts to form.

K&M neck-turning tool

The answer here is simply to use a cutter tip with a wider angle — 30 to 40 degrees. The cutter for the K&M neck-turning tool (above) has a shorter bevel that better matches a 30° shoulder. There is also a 40° tip available. PMA Tool and 21st Century Shooting also offer carbide cutters with a variety of bevel angles to exactly match your case shoulder angle*. WalkerTexasRanger reports: “I went to a 40-degree cutter head just to address this same issue, and I have been much happier with the results. The 40-degree heads are available from Sinclair Int’l for $15 or so.” Forum Member CBonner concurs: “I had the same problem with my 7WSM… The 40-degree cutter was the answer.” Below is Sinclair’s 40° Cutter for its NT-series neck-turning tools. Item NT3140, this 40° Cutter sells for $14.99. For the same price, Sinclair also sells the conventional 30° Cutter, item NT3100.

Al Nyhus has another clever solution: “The best way I’ve found to get around this problem is to get an extra shell holder and face it off .020-.025 and then run the cases into the sizing die. This will push the shoulder back .020-.025. Then you neck turn down to the ‘new’ neck/shoulder junction and simply stop there. Fireforming the cases by seating the bullets hard into the lands will blow the shoulder forward and the extra neck length you turned by having the shoulder set back will now be blended perfectly into the shoulder. The results are a case that perfectly fits the chamber and zero donuts.”

* 21st Century sells carbide cutters in: 15, 17, 20, 21.5, 23, 25, 28, 30, 35, 40, and 46 degrees. PMA Tool sells carbide cutters in: 17.5, 20, 21.5, 23, 25, 28, 30, and 40 degrees, plus special short-neck cutters.

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November 11th, 2019

Ultimate Reloader Tests RCBS MatchMaster Powder Dispenser

Gavin Gear Ulimate Reloader MatchMaster RCBS Powder Scale Dispenser

RCBS has come out with a new, twin-tube powder scale/dispenser that promises to deliver 1- or 2-kernel precision in the slower, more precise “Match Mode”. If it really works, this new RCBS MatchMaster unit could compete with an Auto-Trickler V3 mated to a Magnetic Force Restoration scale. However, the new MatchMaster employs a strain-gauge scale, so it will be interesting to see how the unit actually performs.

This is an impressive new machine, but it represents a signficant investment. MSRP for the MatchMaster is $1123.95 with street price around $899.00 (MidwayUSA). At around $900.00, the MatchMaster competes with an AutoTrickler system, which is definitely fast and highly precise.

Ultimate Reloader Tests the New RCBS MatchMaster
Our friend Gavin Gear of UltimateReloader.com got his hands on one of the first production MatchMasters. Gavin put the machine through its paces in a “first look” video using two powders, Bullseye and Varget. In the video, Gavin explains the machine’s design features. Then he tests the new MatchMaster in both Standard Mode (faster) and the slower, more precise “Match Mode”. Gavin also published a full-length MatchMaster Review with detailed test results.

RCBS claims that the MatchMaster can dispense charges to within ± 0.04 (four hundreths) grain in Match Mode. That’s 1-2 kernels of an extruded powder such as H4350. Gavin’s testing, using an A&D FX-120i Magnetic Force Restoration scale as a control, showed that RCBS’s claims are solid.

Ultimate Reloader RCBS MatchMaster Powder Scale/Dispenser Review

“You can actually fine-tune the settings for the large dispensing tube and the small tube. There are quite a few parameters… quite a bit of flexibility.” — Gavin Gear.

RCBS MatchMaster Features

— MatchMaster offers two modes, Standard (Faster) and Match (More Precise)
— MatchMaster has two powder dispensing tubes, a larger diameter for large flow and a second smaller tube for precise trickle.
— MatchMaster Settings can be controlled with RCBS Mobile App that works through BlueTooth.
— Powder is removed from the BOTTOM of the machine. This means you must lift the unit up off the bench, then plug a drain tube into the bottom of the unit. See photo.

Gavin Gear Ulimate Reloader MatchMaster RCBS Powder Scale Dispenser

How Accurate Is the MatchMaster?
Near the end of his video review, Gavin threw an 84.20 grain charge of Varget with the MatchMaster. He then weighed the same charge with his A&D FX-120i Magnetic Force Restoration scale. The charge weights agreed exactly at 84.20 grains. When the same pan was placed a second time, the FX-120i showed 84.16 grains. That’s still a mere 0.04 grain variance, which is RCBS’s stated precision claim for Match Mode.

Gavin Gear Ulimate Reloader MatchMaster RCBS Powder Scale Dispenser
Note: This shows first placement of pan on the A&D FX-120i. A second placement of pan on FX-120i stabilized at 84.16 grains.

How Fast is MatchMaster in Each Dispensing Mode?
Gavin started testing the MatchMaster in Match Mode with Bullseye, a popular flake pistol powder. With a 24.00 grain Bullseye charge, one dispensing took 26 seconds (11:40 time-mark), while another took 40 seconds (12:30 time-mark), an average of 33 seconds. In standard mode, the MatchMaster dispensed 24.0 grains of Bullseye in 18.5 seconds average (15.03 time-mark, 15:32 time mark). So Standard Mode was 44% faster with Bullseye.

Next Gavin filled the machine with Hodgdon Varget powder and dispensed a 25.0 grain charge in Standard (Fast) Mode. The first try took 12 seconds (18:30 time mark) to dispense the charge, while the second run of 25.0 grains took just 11 seconds (18:50 time mark).

“Hodgdon Varget performed VERY well with the MatchMaster powder dispenser. I would call this powder the ‘Speed King’ here — it dispensed way faster than the Alliant Bullseye with the settings I used, and I only had one overage which was corrected when I changed powder settings. Bravo!” — Gavin Gear

Then Gavin switched to Match (Precise) Mode and dispensed two more 50.00 grain charges of Varget. These two precision throws finished in 20 seconds (20:38 time mark) and 17 seconds (21:09 time mark) respectively, for an 18.5 second average. That’s very good for large 50.00 grain charges, although the first charge was actually 50.06 grains, about two kernels high. But Gavin explained that the machine permits fine-tuning of the powder type setting. He changed this to account for larger extruded kernels and got a perfect 50.00 grain throw in 35 seconds (22:01 time mark). The “customized” powder settings can be loaded into the RCBS MatchMaster App for future use (See below):

Gavin Gear Ulimate Reloader MatchMaster RCBS Powder Scale Dispenser

Conclusion — Initial Tests Show Good Performance
Based on Gavin’s testing, the MatchMaster delivers on its promises. With Varget extruded powder, it was quite fast, even in “Match Mode”. The dispensed charges were exact within .04 (four hundredths) of a grain, i.e. a couple of kernels, as confirmed by the A&D FX-120i Force Restoration Scale. Gavin actually liked the system of removing the powder through the bottom of the machine, using the supplied tube. It takes some practice, but it worked fine, as you can see in the video.

The RCBS MatchMaster employs a strain-gauge scale. It remains to be seen if there is a bit of drift, as you will observe with strain-gauge dispensers in the $200-$300 range, such as the original RCBS ChargeMaster. During his MatchMaster test session, Gavin said he did not observe any drift, a good sign. Overall, it looks like this is an impressive machine. But, with a $899.00 price, this is a serious investment. Anyone considering the new MatchMaster will also want to look at the AutoTrickler V3 system with AutoThrow. It costs $520.00, NOT including a lab-grade Magnetic Force Restoration balance ($600 to $1000+).

Matchmaster bluetooth mobile app

Permalink - Articles, - Videos, Bullets, Brass, Ammo, New Product, Reloading 1 Comment »
November 10th, 2019

Go with the “O” — O-Rings May Reduce Run-Out When Sizing

reloading die O-ring
reloading die O-ring

Here’s an inexpensive procedure that can help you load straighter ammo, with slightly better measured concentricity (i.e. less run-out) on the case necks and bullets. Simply use a Rubber O-Ring on the underside of the die locking ring. This allows the die to self-align itself (slightly) to the case that is being sized. Without the O-Ring, if the flat surface on the top of your press is not perfectly square with the thread axis, your die can end up slightly off-angle. This happens when the bottom of the locking ring butts up tight against the top of the press. The O-Ring allows the die to float slightly, and that may, in turn, reduce the amount of run-out induced during case sizing.

Top prone shooter GSArizona has tried this trick and he says it works: “Go to your local hardware store and get a #17 O-Ring (that’s the designation at Ace Hardware, don’t know if its universal). Slip the O-Ring on the die and re-adjust the lock ring so that the O-Ring is slightly compressed when the die is at the correct height. Size and measure a few more cases. You will probably see a slight improvement in neck concentricity as the die can now float a bit as the case enters and leaves it. This isn’t going to be a dramatic improvement, but it’s a positive one.”

We want to stress that adding O-Rings to sizing dies may help some reloaders, but we don’t offer this as a panacea. Try it — if using the O-Ring reduces measured runout that’s great. If it doesn’t, you’ve only spent a few pennies to experiment.

reloading die O-ring

Lee Precision makes die lock rings with built-in O-Rings. Lee’s distinctive lock ring design allows the same kind of self-alignment, which is good. However, Lee lock rings don’t clamp in place on the die threads, so they can move when you insert or remove the dies — and that can throw off your die setting slightly. By using an O-Ring under a conventional die lock ring (that can be locked in place), you get the advantages of the Lee design, without the risk of the lock ring moving.

Permalink Bullets, Brass, Ammo, Reloading No Comments »
November 6th, 2019

Hang Your Cleaning Rods with Fishing Rod Racks

Fishing Rod Rack Cleaning RodsForum member Nodak7mm has discovered an ideal way to store your rifle cleaning rods in your garage or loading room. Using inexpensive Berkley Horizontal Fishing Rod Racks, Nodak7mm has secured a half-dozen Dewey rods on the back of a door. You could also mount the racks along a wall or on the side of a storage cabinet. This installation takes up minimal space and the Berkley Racks cost just $10.99 per set at Walmart or $9.96 at Amazon. If you prefer wood, Amazon also sells a pine 6-rod wall rack for $30.95.

Nodak7mm explains: “I was moving some fishing poles around and ended up with an extra pair of Fishing Rod wall racks. I said to myself, ‘I bet this would hold my Dewey cleaning rods’. I mounted the pair on the inside of a closet door in my man cave and put my cleaning rods in it. It works like a charm and is far cheaper than a specially-made rack that only lets the rods hang. One can even slam the door with the rods mounted and they stay put. This rod rack set… is made by a nationally recognized name and does a great job of holding the cleaning rods securely and safely.” These are inexpensive and are easy to mount to a door or wood cabinet.

Stow Your Cleaning Rods on Your Gun Safe
Another option is to make a rod set with a magnetic backing strip. This can be affixed to the sides of your gun safe or steel storage cabinet. Here is a home-made, magnet-affixed cleaning rod holder made by Forum Member “BobM”. This smart installation works great. CLICK HERE for more information.

magnetic rack gun cleaning rod gun safe

Permalink Gear Review, Reloading 2 Comments »
November 5th, 2019

Vihtavuori Powder Rebate — Save Up to $5.00 Per Pound

Vihtavuori Capstone 2019 Keep Cash Rebate Program powder

We’re approaching winter — the perfect time to stock up on your propellants for next season. And now you can earn up to $5.00 per pound on your favorite Vihtavuori powders. Vihtavuori makes some great powders that have been used to set many records. With Vihtavuori’s Keep Your Cash Rebate, you can get up to $100 cash back on qualifying Vihtavuori powder purchases.

Vihtavuori Capstone 2019 Keep Cash Rebate Program powder

Vihtavuori $100 CONSUMER REBATE
This offer is valid on qualifying purchases made between November 1, 2019 and January 1, 2020. This applies to all sizes, 1-lb, 4-lb, and 8-lb. You can also mix and match powders to maximize your rebate. Pick up a Rebate Form from your favorite Vihtavuori retailer or download the PDF Form linked below. Then submit the form with your proof of purchase no later than January 31, 2020.

GET 2019 Vihtavuori Rebate Form PDF HERE »

The 2019 Vihtavuori Rebate program is currently under way. For a limited time, earn $5.00 back per one-pound bottle, $10.00 per four-pound bottle, and $20.00 back per eight-pound bottle when you purchase Vihtavuori powders (maximum $100 rebate). Offer is valid on qualifying purchases made between November 1, 2019 and January 1, 2020. All rebate coupons must be received by January 31, 2020.

(more…)

Permalink Hot Deals, News, Reloading 1 Comment »
November 1st, 2019

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

Bullet Design Zediker

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

Read Zediker Bullet Design Article | Read Zediker Pressure Signs Article

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

Bullet Design Zediker

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

Bullet Design Zediker

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

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

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

zediker book glen top grade ammo zediker book glen top grade ammo zediker book glen top grade ammo

All these titles are available from Midsouth Shooters Supply. Click each cover above to purchase from Midsouth.

Permalink Bullets, Brass, Ammo, Reloading No Comments »
October 31st, 2019

.223 Rem Barrel Cut-Down Test — Velocity Loss by the Inch

.223 Rem Cut-Down Test barrel UMC m855

Most of us own a .223 Rem rifle. Now, thanks to our friends at Rifleshooter.com we can assess exactly how velocity changes with barrel length for this popular cartridge.

Rifleshooter.com performed an interesting test, cutting the barrel of a .223 Rem rifle from 26″ all the way down to 16.5″. The cuts were made in one-inch intervals with a rotary saw. At each cut length, velocity was measured with a Magnetospeed chronograph. To make the test even more interesting, four different types of .223 Rem/5.56 ammo were chron’d at each barrel length. The Rifleshooter.com team that conducts these tests has a full-service gun shop, 782 Custom Gunworks — visit 782guns.com.

READ RifleShooter.com 5.56/.223 Barrel Cut-Down Test Article.

Test Barrel Lost 25.34 FPS Per Inch (.223 Rem Chambering)
How much velocity do you think was lost, on average, for each 1″ reduction in barrel length? The answer may surprise you. The average speed loss of the four types of .223/5.56 ammo, with a 9.5″ shortening of barrel length, was 240.75 fps total (from start to finish). That works out to an average loss of 25.34 fps per inch.

5.56/.223 Barrel Cut-Down Speed Test 26″ to 16.5″ Start FPS at 26″ End FPS at 16.5″ Total Loss Average Loss Per Inch
UMC .223 55gr 3182* 2968 214 22.5 FPS
Federal M193 55gr 3431 3187 244 25.7 FPS
Win m855 62gr 3280 2992 288 30.3 FPS
Blk Hills .223 68gr 2849 2632 217 22.8 FPS

*There may have been an error. The 25″ velocity was higher at 3221 fps.

See inch-by-inch Barrel Cut-Down Velocity data HERE.

Rifleshooter.com observed: “Cutting the barrel from 26″ to 16.5″ resulted in a velocity reduction of 214 ft/sec with the UMC 223 55-grain cartridge, 244 ft/sec with the Federal M-193 cartridge, 288 ft/sec with the Winchester M855 cartridge and 217 ft/sec with the Back Hills 223 68-grain match cartridge.”

How the Test Was Done
The testers described their procedure as follows: “Ballistic data was gathered using a Magnetospeed barrel-mounted ballistic chronograph. At each barrel length, the rifle was fired from a front rest with rear bags, with five rounds of each type of ammunition. Average velocity and standard deviation were logged for each round. Once data was gathered for each cartridge at a given barrel length, the rifle was cleared and the bolt was removed. The barrel was cut off using a cold saw. The test protocol was repeated for the next length. Temperature was 45.7° F.”

CLICK HERE to Read the Rifleshooter.com Test. This includes detailed charts with inch-by-inch velocity numbers.

See More Barrel Cut-Down Tests on Rifleshooter.com
Rifleshooter.com has performed barrel cut-down tests for many other calibers/chamberings including 6mm Creedmoor, .308 Winchester, and .338 Lapua Magnum. See these test results at Rifleshooter.com.

.308 Win barrel length cut test

Much Different Results with 6mmBR and a Longer Barrel
The results from Rifleshooter.com’s .223/5.56 test are quite different than the results we recorded some years ago with a barrel chambered for the 6mmBR cartridge. When we cut our 6mmBR barrel down from 33″ to 28″ we only lost about 8 FPS per inch. Obviously this is a different cartridge type, but also our 6mmBR barrel end length was longer than Rifleshooter.com’s .223 Rem start length. Velocity loss may be more extreme with shorter barrel lengths. And, of course, different cartridge types and powder/bullet combinations will yield different results.

Permalink Gunsmithing, Reloading 3 Comments »
October 29th, 2019

Safety Tip for Loading With Coated Bullets

Moly Danzac Bullet Coating Anti-friction HBN

Coating bullets with a friction-reducing compound such as Molybdenum Disulfide (Moly) offers potential benefits, including reduced barrel heat, and being able to shoot longer strings of fire between bore cleanings. One of the effects of reduced friction can be the lessening of internal barrel pressures. This, in turn, means that coated bullets may run slower than naked bullets (with charges held equal).

To restore velocities, shooters running coated bullets are inclined to “bump up” the load — but you need to be cautious.

Be Careful When Increasing Loads for Coated Bullets
We caution shooters that when your start out with coated bullets in a “fresh barrel” you should NOT immediately raise the charge weight. It may take a couple dozen coated rounds before the anti-friction coating is distributed through the bore, and you really start to see the reduced pressures. Some guys will automatically add a grain or so to recommended “naked” bullet charge weights when they shoot coated bullets. That’s a risky undertaking.

We recommend that you use “naked” bullet loads for the first dozen coated rounds through a new barrel. Use a chronograph and monitor velocities. It may take up to 30 rounds before you see a reduction in velocity of 30-50 fps that indicates that your anti-friction coating is fully effective.

We have a friend who was recently testing moly-coated 6mm bullets in a 6-6.5×47. Moly had not been used in the barrel before. Our friend had added a grain to his “naked” bullet load, thinking that would compensate for the predicted lower pressures. What he found instead was that his loads were WAY too hot initially. It took 30+ moly-coated rounds through the bore before he saw his velocities drop — a sign that the pressure had lowered due to the moly. For the rounds fired before that point his pressures were too high, and he ended up tossing some expensive Lapua brass into the trash because the primer pockets had expanded excessively.

LESSON: Start low, even with coated bullets. Don’t increase your charge weights (over naked bullet loads) until you have clear evidence of lower pressure and reduced velocity.

danzac moly coated coat bullets

danzac moly coated coat bullets

Procedure After Barrel Cleaning
If you shoot Moly, and clean the barrel aggressively after a match, you may want to shoot a dozen coated “foulers” before starting your record string. Robert Whitley, who has used Moly in some of his rifles, tells us he liked to have 10-15 coated rounds through the bore before commencing record fire. In a “squeaky-clean” bore, you won’t get the full “benefits” of moly immediately.

To learn more about the properties of dry lubricants for bullets, read our Guide to Coating Bullets. This covers the three most popular bullet coatings: Molybdenum Disulfide (Moly), Tungsten Disulfide (WS2 or ‘Danzac’), and Hexagonal Boron Nitride (HBN). The article discusses the pros and cons of the different bullet coatings and offers step-by-step, illustrated instructions on how to coat your bullets using a tumbler.

Permalink Reloading, Tech Tip 5 Comments »
October 28th, 2019

Bargain Finder 214: 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 Sunday afternoon or Monday morning we offer our Best Bargain selections. Here are some of the best deals on firearms, hardware, reloading components, optics, and shooting accessories. Be aware that sale prices are subject to change, and once clearance inventory is sold, it’s gone for good. You snooze you lose.

1. Midsouth — Rock Chucker Supreme Reloading Kit, $299.99

Deals of Week RCBS Rock Chucker Supreme Kit

Everything you see above can be yours for just $299.99. Great Deal. Right now, Midsouth is selling the Rock Chucker Supreme Master Reloading Kit for $299.99, a fine price considering all the hardware you get: Press, Primer Tool, Scale, Powder Measure, Loading Tray, Reloading Manual and more. Heck, the Rock Chucker press alone is worth $165.00+. This is good starter kit for any reloader with sturdy items (such as the Rock Chucker press), that will last a lifetime.

2. Amazon — Bushnell CONX Rangefinder and Kestrel, $499.99

Bushnell Kestrel combo laser rangefinder

With this bundle deal, you get a “smart” Bushnell Elite CONX laser rangefinder (LRF) PLUS a Kestrel Sportsman Ballistics Weather Meter for just $499.99. The LRF, which is rated to 1,760 yards (one mile), communicates via Bluetooth with CONX App on both iOS and Android smartphones. You can load three Custom Ballistic curves and ARC rifle mode provides bullet-drop/holdover in MOA or Mils with multiple sight-in distance options. The LRF body is tripod compatible and waterproof. There is even a diopter adjustment for image sharpness.

3. Palmetto State Armory — 9mm S&W Pistol and PSA Lower, $299.99 with Rebate

Palmetto State Armory S&W Shield 9mm pistol AR15 AR AR-15 complete lower assembly

With this insanely good deal from Palmetto State Armory, you can get a pistol AND half an AR rifle for just $299.99 after S&W $50 Rebate ($349.99 PSA price before rebate). The deal is for a PSA AR-15 complete lower with Magpul MOE stock PLUS a M&P Shield compact 9mm Pistol. This is an incredible deal. The S&W M&P Shield 9mm Handgun sells for over $400 elsewhere online. S&W Rebate Info HERE.

4. Sportsman’s Warehouse — Great Gun Sale (100 guns on sale)

great gun sale

If you’re in the market for a new handgun, rifle, or shotgun, then head over to the Sportsman’s Warehouse Great Gun Sale. There are 100 different firearms on sale — hunting rifles, shotguns, defensive pistols — you name it. There are so many options, we decided to link the full sale page, so you can pick your own favorites from 100 different gun options.

5. CDNN — Bushnell Equinox Z Night Vision Binoculars, $189.98

Bushnell night vision Equinox Z binoculars

Hunters can benefit from a binocular night-vision solution. Right now the impressive Bushnell Equinox 2×40 Night Vision binoculars are just $189.88 at CDNN Sports. This is a great deal, a real bargain. These same Equinox Z Binoculars currently sell for $325.98 on Amazon, nearly twice as much! Equinoz Z features include: optical clarity, powerful infrared illumination to 500 feet, image capture, video recording capability, and day/night viewing. Most competitive night vision are monoculars.

6. Palmetto State Armory — $30 Rebate on Savage Hunting Rifles

Savage Hunting Rifle Rebate

Palmetto State Armory is running a promo on Savage hunting rifles this month. Purchase any AXIS/Trophy/Apex or Engage Hunter and receive a $30 Mail-In-Rebate. If you’re looking for a deer rifle with a nice camo finish — this is a good deal. Rifles start at just $329.99, so with the $30 rebate your net cost is just $299.99. NOTE: This $30 Savage Factory Rebate applies to purchases made from ANY Savage dealer, as long as you purchase from 10/1/2019 through 10/30/2019. For example, the rebate applies to Savage rifles purchased through Cabela’s or MidwayUSA.

7. Amazon — Teslong Digital Borescope, $49.99

teslong digital borescope

The impressive Teslong digital borescope offers capabilities that rival optical systems costing $700 or more. This compact, electro-optical, cable-type borescope outputs sharp, high-resolution images and VIDEO to desktop computers, laptops, as well as Android tablets and smartphones. Check out our Full Teslong Review complete with inside-the-barrel videos. At $49.99 this is a great value. NOTE: This unit does NOT currently work with iPhones and iPads.

8. Midsouth — New .308 Win Lake City Brass, $74.99/250 cases

Lake City .308 Win 7.62x51 cartridge brass M1A

Midsouth Shooters has acquired a large quantity of excellent Lake City 7.62×51 (.308 Win) Primed Brass. NOTE, this is New Brass that has never been fired. However it is described as “pull-down”, meaning the brass had originally been assembled into loaded ammo. The brass comes PRIMED with CCI #34 primers, with crimped primer pockets. The brass is sold in 250-count bags for $74.99. That works out to just $0.30 per case — a great deal for primed, strong Lake City Brass. This is good stuff for M1As and hunting rifles.

9. Amazon — Jialitte Scope Bubble Level, $10.99

Scope Optic bubble level 30mm 1

All serious rifle shooters need a scope level. This nicely designed Jialitte Scope Bubble Level features a 30mm milled inside diameter, plus an inner insert ring so it will also fit 1″-diameter main tubes — that dual-diameter versatility is a nice feature. We also like the way the unit is nicely radiused, and has a low profile in the middle. Price is just $10.99 with free shipping. User reviews have been very positive. You could easily pay $35.00 or more for a 30mm scope level. Purchasers have praised this product — nearly all verified buyers rated this five stars.

10. Amazon — MTM Cleaning Rod Case, $22.89

mtm cleaning rod case discount

Good cleaning rods are expensive and can be easily damaged if you’re not careful. To protect those valuable cleaning rods, we recommend the MTM cleaning rod case which holds four rods as well as cleaning supplies. This case protects your rods both at home and while traveling. With this handy, durable case you can stop worrying about bending or breaking those important cleaning rods.

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October 27th, 2019

New StaBALL 6.5 Powder from Winchester — Temp Stable

Winchester ball spherical propellant powder temperature stable staBALL 6.5

Winchester has just introduced a new ball propellant, StaBALL 6.5, which it claims is very temp-stable. This means velocities and pressures should not vary greatly across a wide range of ambient temperatures. Winchester states: “StaBALL 6.5 is the world’s first temperature-insensitive Ball Powder, stable in extreme-hot or extreme-cold temperatures.” Winchester also claims StaBALL 6.5 can offer 30-200 fps greater velocities than other powders with similar burn rates. This new powder also has additives to reduce copper fouling. StaBALL 6.5’s burn rate and load density is good for popular cartridges such as .223 Rem, 6mm Creedmoor, 6.5×47 Lapua, 6.5 Creedmoor, and .270 Win. If StaBALL 6.5 can really deliver excellent metering, temp stability, more speed, AND less fouling — Winchester could really have a winner.

Winchester ball spherical propellant powder temperature stable staBALL 6.5

Metering Advantages of Ball Propellants
As there are existing very temp-stable extruded powders, such as Reloder 16 and H4350, what’s the big deal here? Well ball powders, with their small spherical granules, flow easily and meter well. This means ball powders can be thrown in manual powder measures with great precision. So StaBALL 6.5 could have advantages for hand-loaders using manual powder measures or progressive presses with mechanically-operated charge dispensers.

Reloading Data is ONLINE Now

Reloading Data is NOW Available on the Winchester website for a wide variety of cartridges including: 22 Nosler, .223 Rem, 224 Valkyrie, 22-250 Rem, 6GT, 6×47 Lapua, 6mm Creedmoor 6.5×47 Lapua, 6.5 Creedmoor, .260 Rem, .270 Win, 7mm-08, .30-06, 300 WSM and more. To get official LOAD DATA, scroll below the product description, select a cartridge type, and then click the RED “Get Reloading Data” tab. Here are two of 13 listed load options (55-115 grain bullets) for the 6mm Creedmoor:

Winchester ball spherical propellant powder temperature stable staBALL 6.5

Winchester’s StaBALL 6.5 Product Description States:

StaBALL 6.5 is the world’s first temperature-insensitive BALL® Powder, stable in extreme-hot or -cold conditions. It provides optimal loading density in cartridges appropriate for the burn speed, which is ideal for 6mm Creedmoor, 6GT, 6.5 Creedmoor, 7MM-08, .270 Winchester, and many more.

Typical of a ball powder, precise metering contributes to improved velocity and pressure standard deviations, ingredients that are paramount to match grade accuracy!

This “environmentally green” propellant has copper fouling reducer additives, meaning longer durations of competition and field shooting without having to clean the bore. Precision accuracy throughout the match!

Velocity levels obtainable, depending on the cartridge, are 30-200 fps greater than other propellants in its class.

StaBALL 6.5 powder is available in 1 lb. and 8 lb. containers.

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October 26th, 2019

Federal Now Offers Custom-Loaded Precision Ammunition

Federal custom handloading center hand-loaded rifle shotshell ammo ammunition Berger Sierra Nosler

Don’t have time to hand-load your own ammo, or don’t have all the equipment and dies needed? There’s a new option — something that’s actually quite revolutionary in the ammo industry. Federal is now offering custom-loaded ammunition. You choose the cartridge type and bullet type and Federal technicians put the ammo together. Think about it — this could be an interesting option for hunters who only need a few rounds a year, or if you want to try out a bullet/cartridge combo for the first time.

Order Federal Custom Ammunition ONLINE through the Federal Custom Shop.

Federal custom handloading center hand-loaded rifle shotshell ammo ammunition Berger Sierra Nosler

“Each round is painstakingly handloaded to order by our team of expert engineers in our state-of-the-art reloading workshop. Veteran craftsmen combine the best components with extra quality checks at every stage for the most consistent velocity, accuracy, and overall performance. Loads are then hand-checked for final inspection and cleaned before being custom-packed in durable, personalized packaging.”

10 Centerfire Cartridge Types and Many Bullet Options
Currently, you can choose from 10+ rifle cartridge types and a wide selection of quality bullets from Berger, Sierra, Nosler, Federal, Barnes, Swift, and more. Along with rifle ammo, Federal will offer custom TSS Shotshells. NOTE: Federal Custom Shop ammo will be sold direct-to-consumer only.

Right now, centerfire rifle shooters can choose more than 10 different cartridges including 6.5 Creedmoor, 6.5-284 Norma, 257 Weatherby, 243 Winchester, 257 Roberts +P, and more. Shotshell customers can custom order a large variety of 10-gauge and 28-gauge loads.

“If it’s not in Federal’s vast catalog as factory-loaded ammo, we may have it listed on our website as a load we will custom hand-load for you,” notes Federal Ammunition President Jason Vanderbrink. “For example, Barnes 120-grain Tipped TSX in 6.5-284 Norma and 28-gauge TSS turkey loads aren’t products we list in our catalog, but you can certainly order them through our Custom Shop.”

The Custom Shop handloading center is located at Federal’s main factory in Anoka, Minnesota. For more information, including how to order, what specific load options are available, and shipping details, visit: FederalPremium.com/custom-shop.html.

Federal custom handloading center hand-loaded rifle shotshell ammo ammunition Berger Sierra Nosler

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October 24th, 2019

SAFETY NOTICE: Hodgdon Recalls ALL IMR 4007 SSC Powder

hodgdon imr 4007 ssc recall safety notice

PRODUCT SAFETY WARNING AND RECALL NOTICE FOR IMR 4007 SSC POWDER
Hodgon and IMR are officially announcing a product safety warning and recall notice for IMR 4007 SSC smokeless powder. All lots of powder are included in the recall. IMR has received reports that this particular powder, sold in 1 pound and 8 pound containers, could become unstable due to possible rapid deterioration. Use of this product may result in combustion, fire damage and/or possible serious injury.

What to do if you have IMR 4007 SSC Powder

1. If you are in possession of IMR 4007 SSC, STOP USING THE PRODUCT IMMEDIATELY! Fill the powder container with water, which will render the product inert and safe for disposal.

2. Mail, email or fax a copy of the powder label with the lot number to the contact information below, and include your name, address, phone and email. Be sure to reference the IMR 4007 SSC recall.

EMAIL: help@imrpowder.com
CALL: 1-800-622-4366 or 913-362-9455
FAX: 913-362-1307
WRITE: Hodgdon Powder Company, Inc., 6430 Vista Drive. Shawnee, KS 66218

3. You may select a replacement IMR smokeless powder product of your choice, which will be shipped to you at no charge.

What to Do With Ammo Already Loaded with IMR 4007 SSC
If you have loaded the powder subject to this recall into ammunition, we recommend that you pull the bullets, remove the powder and wet the powder with water for safe disposal. IMR deeply regrets any inconvenience this may cause, but we believe in safety first.

Need More Recall Information?
You can get more information about this IMR 4007 SSC recall by emailing help@imrpowder.com. You can also call 1-800-622-4366 or 913-362-9455, or send a fax to 913-362-1307.

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October 23rd, 2019

Bullet Pointing 101 — How to Point Match Bullet Tips

Berger Bullet Pointing Applied Ballistics Bryan Litz Whidden Pointing Die pointer

Tech Tip by Doc Beech, Applied Ballistics Support Team
I am going to hit on some key points when it comes to bullet pointing. How much pointing and trimming needed is going to depend on the bullet itself. Specifically how bad the bullets are to begin with. Starting out with better-quality projectiles such as Bergers is going to mean two things. First that you don’t need to do as much correction to the meplat, but also that the improvement is going to be less. NOTE: We recommend you DO NOT POINT hunting bullets. Pointing can affect terminal performance in a bad way.

NOTE the change in the bullet tip shape and hollowpoint size after pointing:
Berger Bullet Pointing Applied Ballistics Bryan Litz Whidden Pointing Die pointer

Don’t Over-Point Your Bullets
What is important here is that you never want to over-point. It is far better to be safe, and under-point, rather than over-point and crush the tips even the slightest bit. To quote Bryan Litz exactly: “Best practice is to leave a tiny air gap in the tip so you’re sure not to compress the metal together which will result in crushing. Most of the gain in pointing is taking the bullet tip down to this point. Going a little further doesn’t show on target”. So in essence you are only bringing the tip down a small amount… and you want to make sure you leave an air gap at the tip.

Salazar Whidden Bullet Pointer system

Also keep in mind, bullet pointing is one of those procedures with variable returns. If you only shoot at 100-200 yards, bullet pointing will likely not benefit you. To see the benefits, which can run from 2 to 10% (possibly more with poorly designed bullets), you need be shooting at long range. Bryan says: “Typically, with pointing, you’ll see 3-4% increase in BC on average. If the nose is long and pointy (VLD shape) with a large meplat, that’s where pointing has the biggest effect; up to 8% or 10%. If the meplat is tight on a short tangent nose, the increase can be as small as 1 or 2%.” For example, If you point a Berger .308-caliber 185gr Juggernaut expect to only get a 2% increase in BC.

Berger Bullet Pointing Applied Ballistics Bryan Litz Whidden Pointing Die pointer

Should You Trim after Pointing?
Sometimes you can see tiny imperfections after pointing, but to say you “need” to trim after pointing is to say that the small imperfections make a difference. Bryan Litz advises: “If your goal is to make bullets that fly uniformly at the highest levels, it may not be necessary to trim them.” In fact Bryan states: “I’ve never trimmed a bullet tip, before or after pointing”. So in the end it is up to you to decide.

Pointing is Easy with the Right Tools
The process of pointing in itself is very simple. It takes about as much effort to point bullets as it does to seat bullets. We are simply making the air gap on the tip of the bullet ever-so smaller. Don’t rush the job — go slow. Use smooth and steady pressure on the press when pointing bullets. You don’t want to trap air in the die and damage the bullet tip. You can use most any press, with a caliber-specific sleeve and correct die insert. The Whidden pointing die has a micrometer top so making adjustments is very easy.

Bryan Litz actually helped design the Whidden Bullet Pointing Die System, so you can order the Pointing Die and Inserts directly from Applied Ballistics. Just make sure that you pick up the correct caliber sleeve(s) and appropriate insert(s). As sold by Applied Ballistics, the Whidden Bullet Pointing Die System comes with the die, one tipping insert, and one caliber-specific sleeve. To see which insert(s) you need for your bullet type(s), click this link:

LINK: Whidden Gunworks Pointing Die Insert Selection Chart

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October 23rd, 2019

Hornady Offers Reloading App — Data $0.99 Per Cartridge Type

Hornady reloading handbook cartridge Mobile App Android IOS

The Hornady Handbook of Cartridge Reloading is now available in Mobile App form. Hornady has released FREE Mobile Apps for Android and iOS (Apple) Mobile Devices. You get a lot of information for free. However, most of the actual load data is surcharged. You can buy all current load data for $19.99, or use the “à la carte” option to purchase load data for 99 cents each per cartridge type.

For example, if you wanted .223 Rem, .284 Win, .308 Win, you’d pay $2.97 (3 x $0.99). Frankly, we’d just use the FREE information available from the Hodgdon and Vihtavuori online Reloading Centers. But we understand some folks will prefer the convenience of an App with a wide variety of powder brands all in one place. Hornady’s full data collection covers hundreds of cartridges — .17 Hornet to 50 BMG (for rifle) and .22 Hornet to .500 S&W (for pistol). Folks say the App is easy to navigate and simple to use. For more information, visit Hornady.com/reloadingapp.


Download Hornady Android App | Download Hornady iOS App

What you get for free — Included with the FREE APP are hundreds of pages of reloading information including rifle and handgun bullet guides, the basics of reloading, tips and techniques plus limited free data on newer cartridge releases such as .224 Valkyrie, 6mm Creedmoor, 6.5 PRC, 300 PRC and more.

Hornady reloading handbook cartridge Mobile App Android IOS

The App features over 200 cartridge types with a variety of loads using Hornady bullets, including A-Tip Match, ELD Match and ELD-X. Velocity and powder charts are included with each cartridge for easy reference. The database includes popular established powders plus new powders such as Power Pro 2000 MR, IMR 4451 and 7977, CFE Pistol, BE-86, Reloder 23, 26, 33 and 50, Accurate LT-30 and 32. Popular powders such as Reloder 17, Superformance, and LeverEvolution® have also been expanded.

Included with the free download are hundreds of pages of reloading information, bullet guides, tips and techniques plus limited free data on recent offerings such as 6mm Creedmoor, 6.5 PRC, and 300 PRC. Beyond that, reloaders must pay for load data on particular cartridges. Reloading data is available for download in three ways: Á la carte ($0.99 per cartridge type), Full Data Purchase for App ($19.99), or Annual Subscription ($19.99/year recurring).

Subscription Option — If you pay $19.99 per year you get full access to Hornady Handbook of Cartridge Reloading 10th Edition data, plus new data developed for the 11th Edition, plus automatic updates. Subscribers will also get a printed edition of the Hornady Handbook of Cartridge Reloading (11th Edition) when it is released in the fall of 2020.

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October 22nd, 2019

21st Century Hydro Press and Arbor Press Review with Videos

21st Century Shooting Hydro Press Hydraulic Arbor Press bullet seating

Hydro Press and Arbor Press from 21st Century Shooting

Gear Review by F-Class John
Inline dies, used with arbor presses, continue to dominate the world of precision reloading. While arbor presses have remained mostly unchanged, 21st Century Shooting offers the Hydro Bullet Seating Press, a radical departure from your average arbor press. If you are looking for improved “feel” and feedback on bullet seating pressure, you should definitely check out the Hydro Press. This design has been around for a while now but has remained unchallenged since its inception. The 21st Century Hydro Press still remains a category leader (and the choice of many top competitors) for good reason.

Arbor presses have traditionally worked by using a gear-driven ram operated with a rotating handle. This allows for a compact design but often lacks the tactile feel and smooth operation that many reloaders want. The 21st Century Hydro Bullet Seater works by using simple mechanical leverage coupled with a hydraulic pressure gauge to seat bullets in a smooth motion all while helping you keep track of seating pressures.

21st Century Shooting Hydro Press Hydraulic Arbor Press bullet seating

Editor: Many top shooters believe they can seat bullets with greater precision using the 21st Century Hydro Press. I personally get more consistent seating, which seems to improve accuracy and even help a bit with lowering ES. The Hydro Press gives you excellent feedback when seating bullets. That has helped me detect a case with too much neck tension, or a case that may have doughnut issues. When the gauge does something odd or spikes, you are alerted to a possible issue.

In this video, John Perkins of 21st Century Shooting Shows how the Hydro Seater functions.

You might be asking why or how simple a simple mechanical lever gives you an advantage over gear driven systems and the answer is simple, leverage. The Hydro Seater is equipped with a long arm that comes straight up and out from the front and uses a set of hinges that connect to the ram. This elongated arm provides lots of leverage allowing easy force modulation. This smoothly applies pressure to the seating die in one fluid motion. This transfer of power helps seat bullets smoothly in even the tightest of necks without any jerky or stuttering movements.

Working at the same time is a hydraulic pressure gauge using internal oil. I found this gauge was incredibly sensitive, accurate, and repeatable compared to spring-driven gauges. The Hydro gauge read-out really gives the user the chance to sort ammo by seating pressure should they choose. In my particular case I only use it to cull out noticeably high or low ones as “blow off” rounds and am perfectly happy if the rest fall within a given pressure range. The nice thing is that the press allows you to be as picky as you want.

21st Century Shooting Hydro Press Hydraulic Arbor Press bullet seatingCompact 21st Century Standard Arbor Press
Not to be outdone by its big brother, 21st Century offers a Standard Arbor Press as well, in both right-hand and left-hand versions. Affordably priced at $108.99, this small arbor press in made to the same exacting standards as the Hydro Seater and has some nice features of its own compared to other small arbors.

The large, knurled adjustment knob is one of my favorite features. It tightens securely, yet it allows for easy raising or lowering of the head unit without the need for hex wrenches. 21st Century’s basic arbor press also has a slightly canted lever arm which allows the user to apply pressure more easily and consistently compared to some other arbor presses. While this press is small enough to fit many range bags, it can be disassembled quickly with a single Allen wrench.

While I own the 21st Century Hydro Press for use at home, the Standard Arbor Press goes with me to out-of-town events, so I can adjust bullet seating depth at the match. I love using it for this purpose since the little press is so easy to transport, and then set up and use on the road. The seating action is smooth, and there is plenty of leverage.

Seating my bullets long before I travel gives me the ability to set them to adjust for any throat erosion that may occur. This also ensures my bullets are seated correctly, by eliminating any potential bullet weld or problems from the bullets accidentally bouncing in your luggage. I like the confidence of knowing that my bullets are properly seated before a big match, especially when it has been days or weeks since I loaded them.

SUMMARY — 21st Century Makes Great Bullet Seating Presses

Whether you need a premium bullet-seating Press such as the Hydro Bullet Seater or a basic, easy-to-transport Arbor Press, 21st Century Shooting has a excellent option for you. The Hydro Press offers outstanding bullet seating “feel” and consistency, with an ultra-smooth operation. The basic Arbor Press is well-made, compact, and also yields excellent results. Both these presses are built for a lifetime of use, using high-quality materials.

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October 21st, 2019

Orange Crush — Tour of Lyman Headquarters in Connecticut

Gavin Gear Ultimate Reloader factory tour lyman products Mark 7 connecticut

Our friend Gavin Gear of UltimateReloader.com recently made a pilgrimage to Connecticut, home base for Lyman Products. He went East to talk with Lyman’s design engineers and learn about the latest products in development by Lyman. Gavin wrote: “During my visit I got to see the factory, meet the team, and even get a behind-the-scenes look at some products to come.”

Gavin noted that Lyman’s management, design team, and production are all under one roof. That definitely streamlines Lyman’s product development process, and helps explain why the Connecticut-based company has been so successful: “At Lyman headquarters you have the CEO, the Engineering team, the Marketing team, machinists, laboratory staff, and warehouse workers all under one roof.”

Gavin Gear Mark 7 Ultimate Reloader factory tour lyman products connecticut

Gavin found the production area very impressive: “When you step into this area… it’s pure action! Lots of parts on racks, material waiting to be machined, CNC machines running, and machinists running machines. Lyman is one of the few companies to use American cast iron, an American manufacturing facility, with American labor start-to-finish. They are able to do this because of how efficient their process has become. Heavy iron comes from nearby and is machined/assembled on-site, and then shipped to distributors and retailers. Outsourcing (like powder coating) is done close-by as to avoid excessive transport cost and to quicken turn-around time.”

Lyman Now Offers Advanced Mark 7 Reloading Systems

Gavin Gear Ultimate Reloader factory tour lyman products connecticut

Big News — Lyman now sells the highly sophisticated Mark 7 Reloading system. Lyman acquired Mark 7 Reloading earlier this year. The Mark 7 machines represent the most advanced, automated progressive reloading systems available to the general public. The computer-controlled Mark 7 machine makes a Dillon look downright primitive.

This Video Shows Mark 7 Reloading Machines in Action:

Now in its sixth year of operation, Mark 7 Reloading produces a full line of reloading presses ranging from hand operation to light commercial operation. Here’s a detailed video showcasing the Mark 7 reloading system. In this video Gavin Gear interviews Lyman engineer Spencer Carroll:

About Lyman Products — Nearly 140 Years Serving Shooters and Reloaders
Lyman Products, founded by avid outdoorsman William Lyman, has been innovating firearms and reloading accessories and gear for almost 140 years. The proud history of Lyman Products began in the late 1800s when William Lyman created the Lyman No. 1 Tang Sight — a major improvement in rifle sighting. Now a century and a half later, Lyman continues to introduce popular and innovative products, such as the Lyman BoreCam, Case Trim Express, Case Prep Express, and Brass Smith Series Reloading Presses.

See Latest Lyman Products at NASGW Expo in Orlando
Lyman Products will be exhibiting at the 2019 National Association of Sporting Goods Wholesalers (NASGW) Expo & Annual Meeting in Orlando, Florida, October 22 – 25, 2019. Along with the new Mark 7 reloading machines, Lyman Products will showcase its other respected brands: Pachmayr, TacStar, A-Zoom, Trius, Butch’s, and Targ-Dots.

Gavin Gear Mark 7 Ultimate Reloader factory tour lyman products connecticut

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October 19th, 2019

IMR Enduron Powders — Accurate, Temp Stable, and Versatile

IMR Enduron Powder 4166 4451 7977

Have you tried IMR Enduron powders yet (IMR 4166, 4451, 4955, and 7977)? We’ve been impressed with what we’ve seen. IMR’s line of Enduron extruded powders offer excellent temp stability, reduced copper fouling, and good load density for many popular cartridges (such as .223 Rem, 6mmBR, .308 Win, .30-06, 300 WSM to name a few). Some of our Forum members have reported excellent results with IMR 4166 in the 6mmBR, Dasher, 6.5×47 Lapua and .308 Win. One member wrote: “in my 6.5×47… 4166 gives speeds and accuracy pretty much exactly the same as Varget.” And other shooters have observed reduced copper fouling with Enduron series powders, so IMR’s Enduron anti-fouling chemistry does seem to work.

IMR Legendary Powders provided this summary of Enduron Properties:

Varmint hunters, big game hunters, match shooters and military snipers all seek powders that are insensitive to temperature changes. These powders all have it. This translates to point of impact and group size remaining the same, no matter what temperature conditions prevail. Another huge benefit is an additive that prevents copper fouling from building during dozens of rounds being fired. Here the advantage is top accuracy for longer periods of time, and less cleaning time.

IMR Enduron Powder 4166 4451 7977

A third major accomplishment with this technology is ideal load density. Experienced reloaders know that a case-filling load often delivers the most uniform velocities and best accuracy. We see this in popular match cartridges such as the 6PPC, 6mmBR, 6BRA, 6.5 Creedmoor and .308 Win. These new Enduron powders offer excellent “full case” load density for the most commonly used cartridges with popular bullets.

CLICK HERE to Learn More about IMR Enduron Powders»

These three powders, IMR 4166, IMR 4451 and IMR 7977, are environmentally friendly by not having any ingredients harmful to the environment. Add to that, the three of them cover the most popular cartridges from .204 Ruger up to the mighty 500 Nitro Express, and the handloader “has it all”.

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October 19th, 2019

Do-It-Yourself Chamber Length Gauge

do it yourself chamber length gauge Sinclair case neck

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

do it yourself chamber length gauge Sinclair case neck

do it yourself chamber length gauge Sinclair case neck

The pictured gauge can be home made (for free) with components you already have on hand. Frank explained: “I used a Dremel cut-off wheel to cut the front half of the case neck off. A jewelers needle file to de-burr both rough-cut edges. The cut-off surface does not need to be perfectly square, because you are using the original straight mouth to make contact at the front of the chamber. Seat any old bullet to the approximate normal seating length. Next apply a tiny drop of oil on the ogive of the bullet, and slide the ‘collar’ over the bullet. Then chamber the dummy round and close the bolt. Extract the round slowly and carefully and take the measurement with calipers (see top photo).”

Frank’s DIY chamber length gauge works well. In a related Forum thread, Frank posted: “I’ve compared length dimensions doing it this way and with the chamber length shown on my chambering reamer drawings, and the Sinclair gauge, and they are all within .001″ or so.”

do it yourself chamber length gauge Sinclair case neckCommercial Chamber Length Gauges May Not Work with Custom Chambers

Frank did use Sinclair chamber-length gauges for some applications. These bullet-shaped gauges slip into a cartridge, but “it’s inconvenient to order that little gauge only… without spending $6 shipping for a $7 item.” Moreover, the Sinclair gauges may not fit a custom chamber with a tighter neck dimension because the diameter of the ring at the end is too large.

As an alternative to commercial gauges, the collar-type, homemade gauge will function properly in a custom chamber. The homemade gauge will work with smaller-than-standard chamber neck dimensions, as long as you use a piece of appropriately-turned fired brass that fits your chamber.

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October 16th, 2019

Save $$ By Using Lake City 5.56x45mm Once-Fired GI Brass

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

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

GI brass has an excellent attribute, worth noting — it is virtually indestructible. Due to its NATO-spec hardness, the primer pockets last much longer than most commercial brass when using loads at appropriate pressures.

Preparing Once-Fired GI 5.56 Brass for Reloading (Part 1 of 3)

Assuming our readers will be getting brass once-fired as received from surplus dealers, the following steps can help process the low-cost raw material into reliably accurate components.

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

cleaning Lake City 5.56 brass

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Accuracy Potential of Mil-Surp 5.56×45 Brass

So, how accurate can previously-fired GI surplus brass be in a good National Match AR-15? Well, here’s a data point from many years ago that might be of interest. A High Power shooter who wrote for the late Precision Shooting magazine took a Bill Wylde-built AR match rifle to a registered Benchrest match. His first 5-round group ever fired in a BR match was officially measured at 0.231″ at 200 hundred yards. This was fired in front of witnesses, while using a moving target backer that confirmed all five rounds were fired.

He recounted that his ammo was loaded progressively with factory 52gr match bullets and a spherical powder using mixed years of LC brass with no special preparation whatsoever. Obviously, this was “exceptional”. However, he had no difficulty obtaining consistent 0.5-0.6 MOA accuracy at 200 yards using LC brass and a generic “practice” load that was not tuned to his rifle.

Saving Money by Using GI Brass

So, with good commercial brass readily available, why would one go to all the extra steps necessary to process fired GI brass? [Editor: It’s about saving money.]

Economically, it makes great sense. When the author was actively practicing and competing with the service rifle, he had ~3,000 rounds of 5.56mm brass, which allowed him to load during winter and spend most time in the summer practicing. If one were wealthy and wanted to shoot nothing but the finest imported brass, the current cost of 3,000 is ~$1920 (plus shipping.)

Dropping down to good, but less-expensive new, U.S. commercial brass brings the price to a much more realistic ~$720. However, at current rates, the same amount of surplus GI once-fired brass costs between $120 — $150, leaving lots of room in the budget for other expenses. [Editor: that’s less than 10% of the cost of the best imported brass.]

Permalink Bullets, Brass, Ammo, Competition, Reloading 2 Comments »