June 17th, 2019

Bargain Finder 195: AccurateShooter’s Deals of the Week

Accurateshooter Bargain Finder Deals of Week

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

1. Midway USA — Norma 6.5 Creedmoor Brass, 250 for $99.99

“norma

The 6.5 Creedmoor is more popular than ever but like any super-trendy cartridge, supplies seem to be either out of stock or too expensive. If you have a 6.5 Creedmoor, check out this killer deal. You can get 250 Norma 6.5 Creedmoor cases for only $99.99. That works out to just forty cents per case — less than half what you’d pay for some other 6.5 Creedmoor brass. We can’t remember the last time we’ve seen such a great deal on quality brass for such a popular cartridge. But you better act soon — we expect this MidwayUSA deal to sell out quickly.

2. Grafs.com — FREE Litz Book with $100 Lapua Bullet Buy

Graf's Graf Lapua Scenar bullet Litz applied ballistics free book
This is just one example. This deal works with ANY Lapua bullets purchased from Grafs.com.

Lapua makes great bullets. Bryan Litz writes great books. And now you can get both with this special promotion from Graf & Sons. Here’s the deal — if you buy at least $100.00 worth of Lapua bullets at Grafs.com, you’ll get a free Applied Ballistics book authored by Bryan Litz. You can mix and match any types of Lapua bullets — as long as the bullet order totals $100.00 or more. The book may be one of various Litz titles, such as Modern Advancements in Long Range Shooting or Ballistic Performance of Rifle Bullets. NOTE: You do NOT get to pick the book title — you get what’s available. You want to move quickly on this deal — books are limited to supply on hand.

3. EuroOptic — FREE Kestrel 3500 with Leupold Mark 5HD Scope

leupold kestral deal

Leupold’s new Mark 5HD scopes are impressive. Make no mistake — Mark 5HDs are fine tactical optics fully capable of winning PRS/NRL matches. Available in 3.6-18x44mm, 5-25x56mm, and 7-35x56mm with a multitude of reticle choices, there’s something for every tactical shooter out there. And right now when you buy any Laupold Mark 5HD scope from EuroOptic.com you get a FREE Kestrel 3500NV, a $269.00 value. That’s a fantastic bonus! The FREE Kestrel will be added to your cart automatically at no extra cost.

4. Natchez — Weaver T-Series XR 36x40mm, $389.99

weaver scope sale

With so many zoom scopes on the market it’s easy to forget some of the best fixed power scopes out there. Weaver T-Series scopes have served benchrest shooters for decades and the new side-parallax Weaver XRs take the T-Series to a new level. You can pick up the Weaver T-Series 36x40mm XR Scope for the crazy low price of $389.99.(This has FCH with 1/16 MOA dot reticle.) You can also grab the 46X version for $569.99 or the Classic T-Series 36X with front objective parallax for just $329.99. All choices are great bargains.

5. Midsouth — Hornady 123gr 6.5mm bullets, 250 for $59.99

hornady 6.5 bullets

We featured 6.5 brass this week and here’s the matching bullet deal. You can grab 250 Hornady 123gr 6.5mm bullets for just $59.99. That’s a mere twenty-four cents per bullet! The 120-130gr class of 6.5mm bullets is an excellent choice for both paper-punching and PRS. These Hornady 123-grainers offer good accuracy with less recoil (and much lower cost) than the 140-145gr class of 6.5mm match bullets.

6. Federal 20% REBATE for Bullets, Brass, and Primers

federal component rebate

Reloading component costs add up quickly which is why we include this great rebate offer from Federal. Just purchase at least $100 worth of Federal reloading components (bullets, brass, and primers) and then fill out this form and you’ll get 20% back up to $100. The bottom line is that if you need any components, this is the time to stock up. NOTE: This Federal Rebate also applies to components purchased from other vendors such as Bruno’s, Midsouth, and Powder Valley.

7. Midsouth — Rock Chucker Supreme Reloading Kit, $269.49

Deals of Week RCBS Rock Chucker Supreme Kit

Everything you see above can be yours for just $269.49. Amazing Deal. Right now, Midsouth is selling the Rock Chucker Supreme Master Reloading Kit for $269.49, 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, that will last a lifetime. NOTE: This is listed at $299.99 on the Midsouth Home Page, but the product page now shows $269.49 and that’s what shows when you add the Kit to your shopping cart.

8. Area 419 — Master Funnel Kit, $90.00

area 419 funnel kit

Precision loading often requires dropping powder one case at a time and without the right gear this can cause issues. Bad powder funnels can cause bridging or stuck kernels leading to light loads in one case and heavy in another. These issues can be solved using the Master Funnel Kit from Area 419. This kit contains 6 caliber specific color coded heads (22 cal, 6mm/243, 6.5mm/264, 7mm/284, 30 cal, 338 cal) plus the funnel and stand. The funnel is specially designed to ensure powder doesn’t bounce out and the heads are securely threaded and designed to fit snugly on the shoulder of the brass. If you’re looking to upgrade your gear to the top of the line this is the one to get.

9. Amazon — Tipton Gun Butler, $23.49

Tipton Gun Butler caddy gun vise cleaning tray sale Amazon

Here’s a handy, portable gun caddy that works well for rifle maintenance chores at home or at the range. Right now the Tipton Gun Butler is marked down to $23.49. The Gun Butler offers a convenient platform for cleaning your gun or doing tasks such as scope mounting. Two removable forks/cradles hold a gun securely in place, while compartments and slots hold solvents, jags, brushes, mops, and tools. The Gun Butler features a convenient carrying handle, and slip-resistant rubber feet. NOTE: The front cradle may not work well with wide benchrest fore-ends.

Permalink Bullets, Brass, Ammo, Hot Deals, Optics, Reloading 1 Comment »
June 16th, 2019

Sunday GunDay — 6-6.5×47 Lapua Varmint Slayer

6mm 6.5x47 Lapua 6-6.5x47 varmint rifle mcmillan BAT action 6mmAI

Soon after Lapua released the 6.5×47 cartridge, wildcatters recognized the potential of a necked-down 6mm version of the case. The 6-6.5×47 has emerged as a great, do-it-all cartridge that performs well in High Power competition, 600- and 1000-yard benchrest, and PRS tactical matches. But the 6-6.5×47 is not just for paper-punching. An efficient cartridge with great inherent accuracy, the 6-6.5×47 can be an excellent, flat-shooting, long-range varmint round. Here we feature Stan Stewart’s BAT-actioned 6-6.5×47 varminter. Fitted with a Krieger 1:10″ barrel, Stan’s rifle excels with a wide variety of varmint bullets. Whether driving 70-grainers at 3700 fps, or pushing the Berger 88gr High-BC FB bullet at 3400 fps, this 6-6.5×47 delivers half-MOA (or better) accuracy, in a well-balanced, easy-handling rifle.

The 6-6.5×47 for Precision Long-Range Varminting

6mm 6.5x47 Lapua 6-6.5x47 varmint rifle mcmillan BAT action 6mmAI
The rifle carries a 12-42x56mm Nightforce NSX in Nightforce rings “hand-lapped for optimal fit/alignment”.

‘Seller’s Remorse’ Spurs 6mm Project
Report by Stan Stewart

After selling my 6mm Remington Ackley Improved a couple of years ago and wishing I hadn’t, I begun to think about a new custom rifle for work on Prairie Dog towns and New York wood chucks at 600+ yards. I have a .223 AR and 22-250 for medium ranges but I missed my 6mm AI for long-range work so I started asking questions.

The 22-250 is a fine chambering, but it is hard on barrels, and I think the 6mms may have an accuracy edge out past 400 yards. Also, shooters today enjoy a vast collection of really great 6mm bullets. Barrel life and bullet options were two main reasons I decided to build a 6mm rather than another .224-caliber gun. But the question remained… what 6mm chambering to choose?

I started doing serious research on the 6-6.5×47. I received a lot of good advice from AccurateShooter.com and other websites on the pros and cons. I also talked to gunsmiths — quite a few recommended the new cartridge as well. Some of the cartridge attributes I liked was the small rifle primer, enough case capacity to efficiently reach 3700 fps with a 70gr bullet and 3400 fps with an 85-grainer without being terribly over-bore. Most important was the 6-6.5×47’s reputation for inherent accuracy without being finicky like my 6mm AI. So, having chosen my cartridge, I started asking for gunsmith recommendations. Again the folks on the AccurateShooter.com Forum were very helpful. After many conversations I settled on Dave Bruno in Dayton, Pennsylvania. He was a good choice.

Putting Together the New Rig with Premium Components
From the get-go, I knew I wanted a BAT action and Krieger barrel. BAT Machine and Krieger Barrels enjoy a great reputation in the shooting industry. BATs are beautifully-machined, smooth, and strong. Krieger cut-rifled barrels are known for dependable accuracy and long barrel life. While many 6-6.5×47 shooters choose an 8-twist barrel to shoot the 100-108gr bullets, I would be using smaller, varmint-weight bullets, so I selected a 1:10″ twist Krieger. This would allow me to shoot bullets from 60 grains up to 90 grains. Dave chambered the barrel with a .269″ neck and fluted the barrel to save weight. I also had Dave install a Vais muzzle brake. Dave fitted the BAT with a 2 oz. Jewell trigger, mounted a +20 MOA scope rail, then pillar-bedded the BAT into a McMillan Hunter-Class-style fiberglass stock.

6mm 6.5x47 Lapua 6-6.5x47 varmint rifle mcmillan BAT action 6mmAI

Load Development for Varminting

I had selected a few powders and bullets recommended by other 6-6.5×47 shooters and started by seating all the bullets .005″ off the lands. The powders I selected were Varget, Vihtavuori N-550, and Reloder 15.

6mm 6.5x47 Lapua 6-6.5x47 varmint rifle mcmillan BAT action 6mmAI

I was very pleased with the 88gr Bergers. In initial testing, they grouped well and I was able to drive them to 3400 fps easily. As I wanted a gun for long-range varmint work, I was hoping the 1:10″-twist barrel would provide enough stability for the heavier weight bullets. It did — the 10-twist worked great! I was able to shoot the lighter weight bullets and the 88s were superb. With a BC of 0.391, leaving the barrel at 3400, these bullets were still traveling at 2600 fps at 600 yards!

6mm 6.5x47 Lapua 6-6.5x47 varmint rifle mcmillan Berger BAT Action

I did a lot of testing, recording group sizes for a variety of different bullets (see below) and powders. With group size/velocity data in a spreadsheet I was able to “crunch the numbers” and choose my preferred loads. The data drew a clear picture of what the rifle shot best. Here is a chart showing comparative group sizes, arranged by bullet type. On the last three lines, powders are listed by average for all bullets.

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6-6.5x47 Lapua Varmint rifleFinal Thoughts on the 6-6.5×47 Lapua
I have owned three rifles chambered in 22-250 and will always own a rifle in this caliber because it is inherently accurate and drives a 50gr bullet at 3800 fps. No question the 22-250 can be deadly out to 500 yards. However, I’ve found that shooting past 400 yards with the light bullets is difficult if there is any wind at all. That’s why I liked my 6mm AI for those longer shots and why I decided on the 6-6.5×47 Lapua. I couldn’t be happier with my choice. The only thing that could make it better is if Lapua would produce the 6-6.5×47 as an “official” factory 6mm cartridge with 6mm necks right out of the box. But overall, I am very happy with the cartridge, and I thank Dave Bruno for producing a superbly accurate varmint rifle.

CLICK HERE for FULL Story with 6-6.5×47 Load DATA »

Permalink - Articles, Hunting/Varminting, Reloading 2 Comments »
June 16th, 2019

Precision Reloading for Handguns — Smart Tips from the USAMU

USAMU Service Pistol Handgun Tip Advice Reloading

The U.S. Army Marksmanship Unit (USAMU) fields pistol teams as well as rifle and shotgun competition squads. Consequently the USAMU’s Reloading Shop loads tens of thousands of pistol rounds every year. In this article, the USAMU’s handgun experts talk about reloading for handguns — with smart tips on how to achieve superior accuracy with 100% reliability. If you load for pistols, take the time to read this article, which offers important insights on COAL, primers, crimps and more.

USAMU Service Pistol Handgun Tip Advice Reloading

Optimize the Taper Crimp
One often-overlooked aspect of handloading highly-accurate pistol ammunition is the amount of crimp and its effect on accuracy. Different amounts of taper crimp are used with various handloads to obtain best accuracy. The amount is based on bullet weight, powder burn rate and charge, plus other factors. It is not unusual for our Shop to vary a load’s crimp in degrees of 0.001″ and re-test for finest accuracy.

USAMU Service Pistol Handgun Tip Advice ReloadingUse Consistent Brass
Brass is also important to pistol accuracy. While accurate ammunition can be loaded using brass of mixed parentage, that is not conducive to finest results, particularly at 50 yards. It is important for the serious competitor/handloader to use brass of the same headstamp and ideally one lot number, to maximize uniformity. Given the volumes of ammunition consumed by active pistol competitors, using inexpensive, mixed surplus brass for practice, particularly at the “short line” (25 yards), is understandable. However, for the “long line” (50 yards), purchasing and segregating a lot of high-quality brass to be used strictly for slow-fire is a wise idea.

Importance of Uniform COAL
Uniformity of the Case Overall Length (COAL) as it comes from the factory is also important to achieving utmost accuracy. More uniform case lengths (best measured after sizing) contribute to greater consistency of crimp, neck tension, ignition/burn of powder charge, and so on. Cartridge case-length consistency varies from lot to lot, as well as by maker. Some manufacturers are more consistent in this dimension than others. [Editor’s note: It is easy to trim pistol brass to uniform length. Doing this will make your taper crimps much more consistent.]

Primers and Powders — Comparison Test for Accuracy
Pay attention to primer brands, powder types and charges. Evaluating accuracy with a Ransom or other machine rest at 50 yards can quickly reveal the effect of changes made to handload recipes.

Bullet Selection — FMJ vs. JHP
Bullets are another vital issue. First, there is the question of FMJ vs. JHP. A friend of this writer spent decades making and accuracy-testing rifle and pistol bullets during QC for a major bullet manufacturer. In his experience, making highly-accurate FMJ bullets is much more difficult than making highly-accurate JHPs, in large part due to the way the jackets are formed. Small die changes could affect accuracy of FMJ lots dramatically.

The CMP now allows “safe, jacketed ammunition” in Excellence-in-Competition (EIC) Service Pistol matches, although wadcutter ammunition is prohibited. Thus, the option to use very accurate JHP designs simplifies the life of CMP Service Pistol shooters in pursuit of the prestigious Distinguished Pistol Shot badge.

Hopefully, these tips will be helpful to any pistol shooters interested in accurate handloads, not just “Bullseye” shooters. Small tweaks to one’s normal routine can pay big dividends in improved accuracy and make practice and competition more rewarding.

Stay safe, and good shooting!

Permalink Bullets, Brass, Ammo, Handguns, Reloading 2 Comments »
June 14th, 2019

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. A while back 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.

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 2 Comments »
June 14th, 2019

Reloading at the Range — Smart Option for Load Development

Glen Zediker Reloading at Range

Glen Zediker Reloading at RangeThe February 2013 edition of Shooting Sports USA magazine has an interesting feature by Glen Zediker. In this Transporting Success, Part I article, Zediker explains the advantages of loading at the range when your are developing new loads or tuning existing loads. Glen, the author of the popular Handloading for Competition book, discusses the gear you’ll need to bring and he explains his load development procedure. In discussing reloading at the range, Glen focuses on throwing powder and seating bullets, because he normally brings enough sized-and-primed brass to the range with him, so he doesn’t need to de-prime, re-size, and then re-prime his cases.

Zediker writes: “Testing at the range provides the opportunity to be thorough and flexible. You also have the opportunity to do more testing under more similar conditions and, therefore, get results that are more telling. Once you are there, you can stay there until you get the results you want. No more waiting until next time.”

Zediker starts with three-shot groups: “I usually load and fire three samples [with] a new combination. I’ll then increase propellant charge… based on the results of those three rounds, and try three more. I know that three rounds is hardly a test, but if it looks bad on that few, it’s not going to get any better.”

Glen reminds readers to record their data: “Probably the most important piece of equipment is your notebook! No kidding. Write it down. Write it all down.

RCBS Partner PressThere’s More to the Story…

Editor’s Note: In Zediker’s discussion of loading at the range, he only talks about throwing powder and seating bullets. In fact, Glen opines that: “there is little or no need for sizing.” Well, maybe. Presumably, for each subsequent load series, Zediker uses fresh brass that he has previously sized and primed. Thus he doesn’t need to de-prime or resize anything.

That’s one way to develop loads, but it may be more efficient to de-prime, re-size, and load the same cases. That way you don’t need to bring 50, 80, or even 100 primed-and-sized cases to the range. If you plan to reload your fired cases, you’ll need a system for de-priming (and re-priming) the brass, and either neck-sizing or full-length sizing (as you prefer). An arbor press can handle neck-sizing. But if you plan to do full-length sizing, you’ll need to bring a press that can handle case-sizing chores. Such a press need not be large or heavy. Many benchresters use the small but sturdy RCBS Partner Press, on sale now at Amazon for $77.99. You may even get by with the more basic Lee Precision Compact Reloading Press, shown in Zediker’s article. This little Lee press, Lee product #90045, retails for under $35.00.

Glen Zediker Reloading at Range

Permalink - Articles, Reloading 2 Comments »
June 13th, 2019

Road Warrior — Reloading Station Inside “Toy-Hauler” RV

Smart Car Toy Hauler
Smart Car Toy Hauler

It’s summer time. That means many of our readers are on the road (attending major shooting matches or enjoying summer vacations). How do you do your reloading chores while living like a gypsy for a few weeks? Here’s a solution from Forum member Dave Gray (U.S. Army Retired).

Dave is a self-declared “full-time RVer” who spends most of his time on the road. Behind his Ram 3500 pickup, Dave tows a huge 41-foot Heartland Cyclone toy hauler featuring a 12X8 foot garage in the rear. In the rear garage area, which holds a Smart Car, Dave has set up a removable reloading bench complete with RCBS Rockchucker single stage press and Dillon progressive press.

Smart Car Toy Hauler

Smart Car Toy HaulerReloading Bench Mounts to RV Wall with Brackets
Dave explains: “I used a 2″X6″X5′ board for the bench. It’s perfect for my needs, and is easy to disassemble. I made it this small so that I can park my Smart Car in the garage during travel to my destinations. The bench, attached to the wall frames, is very solid. The presses’ centers are 3″ and 6.5″ from the brackets. [There are] four bolts on the wall into aluminum wall frame and 3 bolts in the bench. If I ever have to replace the current board, I’ll do so with oak or birch or hickory. When I’m not reloading, I remove the presses and store them in a protected space. I can easily attach other equipment to the bench by using C-Clamps.” Dave’s “rolling reloading room” looks very well thought-out. We commend Dave for his inventiveness.

Smart Car Toy Hauler

Permalink - Articles, Reloading 1 Comment »
June 11th, 2019

Wet-Tumbling Cartridge Brass — Some Smart Solutions

Cartridge brass case tumbler thumblers wet brass stainless media lapua cleaning

Ace tactical shooter and gunsmith Jim See of Elite Accuracy LLC recently tested a Frankford Arsenal rotary brass tumbler. Like the older Thumbler’s Tumblers, this can tumble your cases in a liquid solution. The wet-tumbling process worked very well Jim reports. Posting on Facebook, Jim noted: “I was super impressed with the Frankford Arsenal rotary tumbler and cleaning packs they sent me. I ran 350 pieces of brass for one hour. They now look great.” Jim appreciated not having to deal with dry tumbling media, such as crushed walnut shells. Dry media produces dust and can leave residues or clog flash-holes.

Cartridge brass case tumbler thumblers Frankford Arsenal wet brass stainless media lapua cleaning

Interestingly, Jim recommends you try wet-tumbling WITHOUT using stainless media. At least give it a try. Tumbling without media simplifies the process and you don’t have to worry about pins stuck in flash-holes or case-necks*. Jim reports: “Stainless steel pins come with the Frankford kit, but mine hit the trash right out of the box. There is no need to clean the inside of your cases 100% and that’s all the pins add to the equation. The brass bumping brass with hot water and Frankford’s liquid cleaner works great all by itself.” One wag stated: “That’s great to hear. Stainless steel pins are a PITA.”

Other Facebook posters concurred with Jim’s evaluation of the Frankford Arsenal Rotary Tumbler:

“I’ve had one for a couple years, and it works well. I usually run about 250-300 Dasher cases at once in it. But I use the pins because I’m OCD about clean brass.” — David W.

“I’ve had one for a year and a half and it definitely works with or without pins.” — Luke C.

“I got one about six months ago and have yet to use any SS media. I just use some dawn, distilled water, and Lemi Shine®. Turns nasty 5.56 range brass bright and shiny.” — Brian D.

“I don’t use the pins either and use a combination of Dawn soap and Lemi Shine.” — Jon N.G.

This video shows how to assemble and operate the Frankford rotary tumbler. But note, Jim See does NOT feel that it is necessary to use stainless media.

How to Dry Your Brass — Hair Dryer Vs. Machine

The downside of wet tumbling is that you end up with a pile of wet brass at the end of the cleaning cycle. There are many ways to dry brass, from drying in the sun to using a kitchen oven (be careful not to “overcook” your brass). One Facebook poster asked Jim: “What is your drying method for wet brass, and how long does it take?”

Jim See replied: “To start I just drain off the dirty water, and rinse the brass with clean hot water. Then I roll the brass on a towel for 30 seconds and put the brass in a one-gallon bucket. Next I insert a hair dryer in the bucket (with the brass) and let it run for about 5 minutes. With this procedure, the drying process for me is done in less than 10 minutes.”

Jack Lanhart has another method: “I use a food dehydrator. It takes 30 to 45 minutes.”

Cartridge brass case tumbler thumblers wet brass Frankford Arsenal stainless media lapua cleaning dryer dyhydrator frankford Lyman Cyclone

For those who don’t want to mess with towels and hair dryers, Frankford Arsenal offers a matching Platinum Series Case Dryer that simplifies the process of drying brass. Lyman also makes an excellent Cyclone Case Dryer. Both drying machines cost about $60.00 and both have multiple levels so you can separate different types of cartridge brass. Lyman states that “The forced heated air circulation of the Cyclone will dry your brass inside and out within an hour or two, with no unsightly water spots.” The Lyman dryer can also be used for ultrasonically-cleaned gun parts.

Cyclone Lyman Case cartridge dryer dehydrator


*The Frankford Rotary tumbler does include media separators if you choose to use the provided pins or other media. CLICK HERE for diagram showing how to use media separators.

Permalink Bullets, Brass, Ammo, Gear Review, Reloading No Comments »
June 10th, 2019

Bargain Finder 194: AccurateShooter’s Deals of the Week

Accurateshooter Bargain Finder Deals of Week

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

1. Stocky’s Stocks — LRC Stocks with AccuBlock Now $188.88

stockys stocks LRC long range composite accublock

There’s a great sale going on this week at Stocky’s Stocks. This sale covers many different LRC (Long Range Composite) stock styles, all with the built-in AccuBlock System. Chose a high-comb benchrest style LRC stock, a hunter-style MRC stock, or the new LRC thumbhole stock. All are now just $188.88, even with premium finishes, such as Kryptec Camo. The Stocky’s LRC series with AccuBlock Bedding System is a terrific choice for a varmint rifle, and you won’t find a better value anywhere.

2. Bruno’s — Huge Sale on Barrels, Bullets, Brass, Actions & More

Bruno Bruno's Sale Barrels powder

There’s a big SALE going on right now at Bruno Shooters Supply. Save $20 on Krieger Barrels for starters, then you can also save on bullets, brass, powder, and loaded ammo. In addition, high-end BAT actions and Flavio triggers are on sale. Rimfire shooters will find some excellent ammo deals, and ALL Hornady products are discounted. But you MUST ACT SOON! This SALE ENDS Monday evening, June 10, 2019 at 11:59 PM Arizona Time. Discounts apply to items in-stock ONLY.

3. EuroOptic — Great Sale on Vortex Strike Eagles

Vortex Razor Viper $150 off sale Strike Eagle SFP scope optics illuminated reticle

Need a good basic optic for your hunting or varmint rifle? Have a tight budget but still need good glass and adjustable parallax? Then check out these Vortex Strike Eagles. Save $140-$150 now at EuroOptic.com. Sale price is just $349.99 for the 4-24x50mm and $309.99 for the 3-18x44mm. EuroOptic’s Jason says these scope are a “killer value” with “target turrets, parallax adjustment close enough for rimfire, and good zoom range”. These Strike Eagles are also fairly short and light-weight, so they are good for hunters. Both these Second Focal Plane scopes offer 1/4-MOA clicks and nice EBR-4 illuminated reticles.

4. Midsouth — MTM Shooting Range Box, $39.20

MTM Shooting Range Box case travel Midsouth Amazon sale discount

The MTM Shooting Range Box employs a two-piece design. The removable top storage compartment holds oils, solvents, brushes, patches, and small accessories. Unlatch the top box to reveal a large, deep storage area that will hold tools, earmuffs, ammo boxes, and other larger items. With 18 compartments, MTM Shooting Range Boxes are big enough to hold pretty much everything you need at the range (except shooting rests). Plus there are cradles so you can do gun maintenance at the range. This MTM Range Box is also offered through Amazon.com for $39.20 with free shipping.

5. Graf’s — 10% Off All Forster Products

forster Graf graf's discount 10% sale Reloading dies presses
forster Graf graf's discount 10% sale Reloading dies presses

Forster makes GREAT products. Our staff own and use Forster presses, dies, case trimmers, primer tools, chamber/deburring tools, and more. And Forster has outstanding customer service. And did you know that Forster will custom-hone your full-length dies for a modest fee? Right how you can save 10% on ALL in-stock Forster products at Graf & Sons. But folks, don’t delay — this 10% Off Forster Deal expires June 12, 2019 at 11:59 pm CT.

6. Palmetto State Armory — Smith & Wesson 15-22 Rifle, $299.99

Palmetto Armory Smith Wesson 15-22 AR rimfire .22 LR rifle sale discount

Here’s a fun .22 LR rifle with the style and ergonomics of an AR15. Smith & Wesson’s M&P 15-22 Sport features a 10-inch M-LOK handguard, and nicely-designed Magpul MBUS® front and rear folding sights. The buttstock is a classic AR-style unit that easily adjusts for Length of Pull. The upper boasts an integrated Picatinny-style rail for optics and other accessories. NOTE: S&W 15-22 owners love this little rimfire — it has earned dozens of 5-star reviews from actual buyers.

7. Graf’s — Buy 8-lb keg of select powder, get FREE 1-pounder

hodgdon IMR powder sale

Save on powder — right now at Graf & Sons, if you buy an 8-lb keg of select Hodgdon or IMR powders, you get a FREE one-pound or 14-ounce container of the same powder. This deal works with fourteen (14) popular Hodgdon and IMR powders for rifles, pistols, and shotguns. So if you’re running low and need to stock up on your favorite powders, here’s your chance to cash in on some savings. That free one-pounder can be worth up to $32.00. CLICK HERE for POWDER DEAL.

8. SIG Sauer — Buy P226 Pistol, Get FREE X-5 Air Pistol

Sig Sauer father's day promotion free air pistol

Here’s a cool deal for Father’s Day. Buy any new SIG Sauer P226 pistol now through June 30, 2019 and get a SIG STORE Rewards Coupon for a free X-FIVE Air Pistol. This 2 for 1 Father’s Day Promotion offer runs from 06/01/2019 until 06/30/2019. To claim your free X-FIVE visit Sigsauer.rebateaccess.com, follow the instructions to complete the form, and upload or mail your receipt. Once validated you will receive a promo code that can be redeemed at Sigsauer.com for an X-FIVE Air Pistol.

9. Amazon – Proster Wind Meter, $16.99

Proster Wind Meter

Wish you had a modern impeller-style wind meter but only shoot a couple matches a year and can’t justify spending $150 (or more) on one? This Proster wind meter has a very impressive 4.5 star overall rating (with hundreds of reviews), so buy with confidence. Now on sale for just $16.99, this is a very useful tool for a bargain basement price. Get this affordable Wind Meter to ensure you have reliable wind readings for ballistics calculations. And unlike a costly Kestrel, with this low-priced wind meter, you won’t feel too bad if it gets lost or misplaced some time.

Permalink Optics, Reloading, Tactical No Comments »
June 6th, 2019

Neck-Turning Brass on Milling Machine with Erik Cortina

cartridge brass neck turn neck-turning milling machine Erik Cortina

Here’s the super-speedy way to turn case-necks. Our friend Erik Cortina figured out how to turn his match cartridge case-necks using his milling machine. Erik told us: “While in Raton, Mid Tompkins told me that he turns his brass on milling machine. He said he could do about 500 in two hours, so I decided to try it.”

Erik fitted a Don Nielson “Pumpkin” neck-turner to the mill, and he used a modified 21st Century case holder to secure the brass. As you can see from this video, Erik was very successful with the process. The tool spins at 1500 rpm, turning Lapua 6.5-284 cases that have been necked up to 7mm.

Video Shows Eric Cortina Neck-Turning Cases with Milling Machine:

Cartridge Brass: Lapua 6.5-284 necked up to 7mm
Lubricant: Lithium grease inside and outside of neck
Neck-Turner: Nielson Pumpkin running at 1500 RPM

It’s hard to argue with Erik’s results. Here are his turned Lapua cases, which have neck-wall thickness consistent to two ten-thousandths of an inch. Think you could do better turning manually?

cartridge brass neck turn neck-turning milling machine Erik Cortina

Some of Erik’s Facebook friends had questions about this process:

Q: Who makes the shell-holder?

Erik Cortina: I did! The shell-holder you can get from 21st Century. I Tig-welded a punch as a handle.

Q: I love the idea of working smarter not harder! Any galling issues? What are your mitigation techniques?

Erik Cortina: No issues. I use lithium grease in spray can. Makes a foam that I dip necks into.

Q: Shouldn’t either the case or the cutter be floating to allow most precise neck turning?

Erik Cortina: Up until [I tried this] I believed the same thing. I was going to build a floating case holder but decided to try rigid setup on a few cases before I built it. Results were great. Neck thickness doesn’t vary more than .0002″, which is same as when I was doing it with floating case holder on the lathe.

Q: Any problems with the Pumpkin changing the cut as it heats up?

Erik Cortina: No — there were no issues with that.

NOTE: Erik Cortina is a very skilled machinist who custom-crafted fittings used for this process. This kind of neck-turning with a milling machine may not be for the everyday hand-loader!

cartridge brass neck turn neck-turning milling machine Erik Cortina

Nielson “Pumpkin” Neck-Turner

Don Nielson Pumpkin neck turning toolThe circular orange cutting fixture on Erik’s Milling Machine is a Don Nielson “Pumpkin” neck-turning tool. Don designed this tool to be used by hand or with power. The Pumpkin boasts an eccentric mandrel that allows the cut to be adjusted easily in precise .0001″ increments. Benchresters like this as it allows for very precise control of cut depth and neck-wall thickness.

Jason C., commenting on Erik’s YouTube video stated: “I have a couple of those too. Nothing cuts like a Pumpkin. [Don Nielson] made the best cutter tool ever.” These are still available if you ask around. The photo shows Don with a case-holder mounted to a power assembly. A talented machinist and tool-maker, Don has also been a successful short- and long-range benchrest shooter, who has won NBRSA 600-Yard Championships. CLICK HERE to read about Don’s success with the 6.5×47 Lapua.

cartridge brass neck turn neck-turning milling machine Erik Cortina
Nielson Neck Turner with carbide mandrel. Photo Courtesy Butch’s Reloading.

Permalink - Videos, Bullets, Brass, Ammo, Reloading 2 Comments »
June 6th, 2019

Vietnam Vet Kicked Out of Restaurant Because of Reloading Shirt

Imagine if a man was asked to leave a restaurant for wearing a Gay Pride shirt. Or if a women was refused service because she was wearing a headband with a #MeToo message. The mainstream media would be in a frenzy. The incident would make national news. Liberal politicians would be holding angry press conferences, and CNN talking heads would be loudly demanding new legislation.

But guess what, there is another kind of discrimination in our society, a form of intolerance that the mainstream media actually emboldens — hatred towards gun owners. Intolerance towards those who support the Second Amendment — even those who have served their country in uniform.

Recently in Maui, HI, a restaurant manager demanded that disabled Vietnam veteran Jimmy Barber and his wife leave the establishment solely because Jimmy was wearing a shirt that said “Ultimate Reloader” and included a logo with the outline of a cartridge between the letters U and R.

Jimmy Barber served in Vietnam as a Navy Seabee “in-country” from 1970-71. He now suffers from heart disease because of exposure to agent orange. And the Maui eatery demanded that he (and his wife) leave the premises simply because his shirt said “Ultimate Reloader”. That’s despicable.

Jimmy Barber Maui Ultimate Reloader Shirt discrimination bigot

Isn’t it ironic that this intolerance occurred in Hawaii? Were it not for the sacrifice of American service men and women in the Pacific during WWII there is a good chance that the Hawaiian islands would no longer be part of the United States.

In a letter to Gavin Gear of UltimateReloader.com, Jimmy revealed: “My wife and I are in Maui. We were asked to leave a restaurant because I was wearing one of your t-shirts. I did not make a scene and I was very proud to leave.” Jimmy, by the way, is a dedicated pistol and rifle shooter who reloads a dozen cartridge types.

After learning of this incident, Gavin Gear contacted Starline Brass. Starline has decided to send Jimmy 250 new brass cases — just a way of saying “thanks” to Jimmy for his service to his country.

How to Stand Up for Your Rights

We all need to do our part to preserve our gun rights. Gavin Gear has collaborated with The Gun Collective on YouTube to explain what we can do to preserve our gun rights. Gavin states: “I do appreciate everyone out there in the gun community that is fighting for our rights. We need to stand together! And thanks Jimmy for ‘representing’ Ultimate Reloader!”

Permalink News, Reloading 6 Comments »
June 6th, 2019

Use Pin Vise for Lapua 1.5mm Small Flash Holes

Pin vises Lapua Flash hole

Folks have asked if there is a tool that can remove obstructions from a Lapua small, BR-sized flash hole without opening the hole size. The Lapua PPC/BR flash hole is spec’d at 1.5mm, which works out to 0.059055″. Most of the PPC/BR flash-hole uniforming tools on the market use a 1/16″ bit which is nominally 0.0625″, but these often run oversize — up to 0.066″.

If you want to just clear out any obstructions in the flash hole, without increasing the flash hole diameter, you can use an inexpensive, five-dollar “pin vise” with an appropriate drill bit. For $1.00, eHobbyTools.com sells a 1.5mm pin vise bit, item 79186, that matches the Lapua flash hole exactly. Other vendors offer a #53 pin vise bit that measures .0595″ or .060″ (depending or source). An 0.0595″ bit is close enough. You can find pin vises and bits at hobby stores, and eHobbyTools sells pin vises for $4.99 to $7.99.

Permalink Bullets, Brass, Ammo, Gear Review, Reloading 1 Comment »
June 4th, 2019

Tuning Tips — Pressure, Powder Fouling, and Temperature

Pressure Temperature Fouling Tech Tips Tommy Todd Sierra Bullets

by Tommy Todd, Sierra Bullets Chief Ballistician for Sierra Bullets Blog
I have shot several disciplines of shooting competitions over the years and have learned a few things regarding ammunition and bullet function during this time. Frequently the matches I shoot require 40 to 100 shots before a person gets a chance to clean his rifle. Just as frequently, a good shooting match rifle will still shoot very good scores and groups with that many rounds fired through them. However, those guns do not deliver the same accuracy as when they were clean, but the drop-off in accuracy is not a huge change unless a set of accumulative issues arise.

In one situation, very dirty powder created more serious problems…

Pressure Issues — Extraction Problems Caused by Bad Fouling

Problem: Pressures Increased as Powder Fouled Barrel and Carbon Ring Formed
Solution: Clean Barrel Every Ten Rounds.

I witnessed a set of problems that occurred with a fellow competitor’s rifle at a recent F-Class match. He was using a large case capacity cartridge for the bore diameter and he was shooting a powder that was burning extremely dirty. As the match progressed, the carbon buildup caused most likely a carbon ring in the throat of the rifle and pressures kept increasing to the point that the cases were hard to extract, bolt lift was excessive, and eventually he quit shooting the rifle due to these issues. Accuracy also suffered as could be evidenced by the gun’s performance on target. This load looked fine when he was developing it, none of the excessive pressure signs appeared when he worked the load up, but he was cleaning the gun every ten shots.

When he was shooting multiple, 20-shot strings during the match is when the issues appeared. He was able to give the gun a thorough cleaning and the issues went away, for several rounds and then the pressures started appearing again. These pressure signs were not due to ambient temperatures as it was a cool spring morning and the temperature was in the low 40° range.

Accuracy Issues — Tune Lost with Higher Ambient Temps

Problem: Accuracy Lost When Outside Temp Much Hotter than When Load Developed
Solution: Pull Bullets, Reload Ammo with Lighter Charge

A couple of years ago, I attended a match early in the shooting season and it was unusually hot for that time period. I heard a competitor worrying before the match about his gun “blowing up”. At first I was concerned, but after thinking about what he had said I realized that he meant his “accuracy” blowing up, meaning he knowingly had loaded his ammunition at the top end of an accuracy tune that he established via a ladder test. The next day I asked him how his scores were and he said the gun was not shooting very well initially, but he had found enough equipment from friends that were at the match and had pulled the bullets, reduced the powder charge by a few tenths of a grain and re-seated the bullets and his gun was now shooting normally. The temperature difference between his home range the weekend before when he established his load and the match conditions was about 30 degrees and that was enough to cause an accuracy change at 1000 yards.

Ammo cool storage

Bosch Insulated tool caseTo learn more about how ambient temperature (and primer choice) affect pressures (and hence velocities) you should read the article Pressure Factors: How Temperature, Powder, and Primer Affect Pressure by Denton Bramwell. In that article, the author uses a pressure trace instrument to analyze how temperature affects ammo performance. Bramwell’s tests yielded some fascinating results.

For example, barrel temperature was a key factor: “Both barrel temperature and powder temperature are important variables, and they are not the same variable. If you fail to take barrel temperature into account while doing pressure testing, your test results will be very significantly affected. The effect of barrel temperature is around 204 PSI per F° for the Varget load. If you’re not controlling barrel temperature, you about as well might not bother controlling powder temperature, either. In the cases investigated, barrel temperature is a much stronger variable than powder temperature.”

Permalink Bullets, Brass, Ammo, Reloading No Comments »
June 3rd, 2019

Make Your Own Length-to-Lands Gauge — Quick & Easy

Here’s a tip we feature every year or so, because it is something that costs nothing, yet can be very useful in the reloading process. With a simple, easy modification to a fired case, you can determine the length to lands in your rifle barrel. As long as you set the tension right, the measurements should be repeatable, and you’ve just saved yourself $42 — the price of a commercial OAL gauge and Modified Case.

case OAL gauge home made

To achieve best accuracy with a rifle, you must control bullet seating depth very precisely, so all bullets end up in the same place relative to the entrance of the lands, every time. There may be multiple cartridge OALs which prove accurate. However, with each, you first need to determine a “zero” point — a reliable, and repeatable OAL where the bullet is “just touching” the lands.

There are tools, such as the Hornady (formerly Stoney Point) OAL Gauge, that will help you find a seating OAL just touching the lands. However, the tool requires that you use a special modified case for each cartridge you shoot. And, while we find that the Hornady OAL Gauge is repeatable, it does take some practice to get in right.

Make Your Own Length-to-Lands Gauge with a Dremel
Here’s an inexpensive alternative to the Hornady OAL tool — a slotted case. Forum member Andris Silins explais how to create a slotted case to measure length to the lands in your rifle:

“Here’s what I did to find length to lands for seating my bullets. I made four cuts into the neck of fire-formed brass. Then I pressed the bullet in lightly and chambered the entire gauge. As the cartridge chambers, the bullet slides back into the case to give you length to lands. It took less than five minutes to get it cut and working. A little light oil in the barrel just past the chamber helps ensure the bullet does not get stuck in the lands. It works great and is very accurate.

How to Adjust Tension — Length and Number of Neck Cuts
I made the cuts using a Dremel with a cut-off wheel. You can adjust tension two ways. First, you can make the cuts longer or shorter. Longer cuts = less tension. If you used only three cuts instead of four you would get more tension. The trick is to be gentle when you open and close the bolt. If you ram the bolt closed you may wedge the bullet into the lands. When you open the bolt it helps to keep a finger or two near by to guide the case out straight because the ejector wants to push it sideways.”

Permalink Reloading, Tech Tip 1 Comment »
June 2nd, 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 »
June 1st, 2019

Cheap Tricks: How to Measure Shoulder Bump Using .45 ACP Case

.45 acp pistol case bump gauge headspace tool

Here is a simple, low-cost way to get reliable readings of case headspace when you “bump” the shoulder back on your 6BR, .243 Win, or .308 Win brass. Credit Boyd Allen for this tip. First, you’ll need one .45 acp case, with primer removed. Make sure the .45 acp case is trimmed square and that it is round. We recommend you first run it through an expander, then size it, trim it and chamfer. Next, take the .45 acp case and slip it over the neck of a fired, unsized rifle case with the primer removed. Align the two cases between the jaws of your calipers and note the length from rim to rim (See photo below, with striped case).

OK, now you have the length for a fired rifle case BEFORE sizing. Next, take a full-length sized rifle case (without primer) and do the same thing, placing the .45 acp case over the neck of the FL-sized case (Bottom Photo). The difference between the two numbers is the amount of “bump” or set-back you are applying to the shoulder. Here the difference is .0015″. The amount of bump you need varies with your chamber and your load, but .0015-.002″ is a good initial setting. By using this simple tool, you can avoid bumping the shoulder too much. This will also help you set-up the depth of your full-length die to get the proper amount of bump each time.

Permalink Bullets, Brass, Ammo, Reloading 2 Comments »
May 31st, 2019

Eyeball Your Brass — How to Diagnose Flawed Cases

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

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

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

Sierra Case reloading pressure safety inspection

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

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

Sierra Case reloading pressure safety inspection

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

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

Sierra Case reloading pressure safety inspection

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

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

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

Sierra Case reloading pressure safety inspection

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

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

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

Sierra Bullets Case Diagnostics Blog

Permalink Bullets, Brass, Ammo, Reloading, Tech Tip 1 Comment »
May 30th, 2019

Barrels Can Yield More Velocity After 100-150 Rounds

Barrel Velocity Increase Sierra Bullets Blog Speedy Gonzalez Jim See

Editor: Many new barrels will deliver higher velocities with the same load after 100-150 rounds through the bore. The exact reasons for this speed-up are not 100% certain, and velocity increases (if any) will vary from one barrel to the next. But this “speeding up” phenomenon is common, so be prepared if this happens with your next barrel. If you do experience a significant velocity increase you should probably re-tune your load AFTER the velocity stabilizes at the higher level.

From the Sierra Bullets Blog
Article by Mark Walker, Sierra New Product Development Director
In a previous post, I discussed a couple of methods to tune a load to your barrel to help achieve the best accuracy possible. People most often work on load tuning if they get a new rifle or have a different barrel installed. In both instances, the barrel is new and has not been fired very much. According to most competitive shooters, this is the most accurate your barrel will ever be, so getting it tuned and shooting accurately is a priority.

The Speed Up Phenomenon After 100-150 Rounds
Even though after you work up a load and your new barrel is shooting great, a lot of shooters notice that at around 100 to 150 rounds their rifle may stop shooting as accurately. I had this happen to a rifle and I was confused as to why something that worked so well to begin with would all of a sudden quit shooting. I decided to break out the chronograph to do another load work up to see what was going on. To my surprise, the velocity had increased around 80 fps over the original velocity! After performing another ladder test and adjusting the seating depth, the rifle was once again shooting well.

There are several thoughts on why this may happen, however, you can rest assured that it does happen. One thought is that as the barrel breaks in, the tooling marks in the throat of the chamber smooth out and allow less resistance to the bullet as it exits the bore thereby increasing speed. Another idea is that the throat area starts to get a little rough which in turn causes more resistance which increases pressure and therefore more velocity. I’m sure there are some out there who have a better understanding as to why this happens, but it can definitely affect the accuracy of your rifle. So be aware and never be afraid to rework a load to keep your rifle in tune.

Experts Confirm That Barrel Speed-Up Is Common
Barrel Velocity Increase Sierra Bullets Blog Speedy Gonzalez Jim SeeTwo respected shooters have observed an increase in velocity with new barrels, typically after 100 rounds. Gunsmith and Hall-of-Fame benchrest shooter Thomas “Speedy” Gonzalez has documented barrel speed-up with testing. Moreover, Speedy’s bore-scope barrel inspections revealed a smoothing of the barrel lands. Jim See, a top PRS competitor, has encountered barrel speed-up many times. Accordingly, he re-tunes his load at 150 rounds.

“Alex Lipworth and I documented this phenomenon about four years ago and I have told all my customers about this. My son Mikee would shoot 100 rounds through all new barrels we planned on shooting before we would begin to do load development. We had a shooting snail that caught all the bullets set up in front of an indoor bench. We called it a wear-in process because upon careful examination of the bore when the ‘Speed Up’ takes place the cut-rifled bore resembles that more of a button-rifled barrels with the lands taking on more the softer look of a buttoned bore.” — Speedy Gonzalez

“Seen it [barrel velocity increase] too many times to count. All my match barrels get a ‘generic round’ loaded for them, which has worked well in barrels historically. After I hit 150 rounds I fine-tune the load and never look back, until the tube starts to slow down at it’s life end.” — Jim See

Barrel Velocity Increase Sierra Bullets Blog Speedy Gonzalez Jim See

Permalink Reloading, Tech Tip 2 Comments »
May 28th, 2019

Will Carbon Build-Up Inside Cases Raise Load Pressure?

Carbon fouling case cartridge interior Pressure volume ultrasonic

As a cartridge case is reloaded multiple times, burnt powder residue and carbon builds up on the inside of the case. Unless the case interior is cleaned in some fashion, eventually you’ll see a slight reduction in case capacity. One of our Forum members from Australia wonders about the effects of reduced case capacity: “If the capacity of the case decreases as the crud builds up, then it effectively reduces the size of the cartridge (inside). Wouldn’t that change the pressure produced from that of an equivalent clean case?”

Interesting Test of Case Capacity Changes
Forum member Fred Bohl has actual test results that can help answer the above question. Fred proved that, over a 20-reload cycle, the case capacity of uncleaned cases did decline a small amount. However, surprisingly, this did not seem to affect the actual chronographed velocity of the load. Extreme Spread (ES) did increase, but Fred believes the higher ES was due to changes in case-neck tension, rather than due to the slight reduction in case capacity. Fred reports:

“Back when beginning to use ultrasonic case cleaning, part of the motivation was to get the inside clean based on the assumption that allowing burnt residue to build up inside cases would affect capacity, and, ultimately, performance. An experiment was done to test this hypothesis. The load used, 30.5 grains of RL15 behind 107gr SMKs in a 6mmBR, was selected for best group and lowest ES in prior load development. It turned out to be 92% of initial case capacity and neither “full” or compressed. (I would suspect that different powders, load weight, and total case capacity might produce very different results.)

We took 30 cases of identical initial capacity and tracked three lots of 10 each:

LOT 1: No Internal cleaning
LOT 2: Cleaned with media in tumbler
LOT 3: Cleaned with Ultrasound machine

Each case (in each lot) was shot and reloaded 20 times. The simplified results after 20 reloads of each lot were as follows:

Lot 1 (not cleaned) – 0.3 to 0.4 gr. loss of capacity, 5 to 8 fps greater ES.
Lot 2 (tumble cleaned) – 0.1 to 0.3 gr. loss of capacity, 4 to 6 fps greater ES.
Lot 3 (ultrasonic cleaned) – no loss of capacity, no detectable change in ES.

FINDINGS
There was no detectable correlation of velocity change to the lots. An oddity was that on very hot days Lot 1 velocities were, occasionally, slightly higher. From results of another ongoing test, I believe the above differences in ES are probably due more to variance in bullet grip tension than case capacity. The ultrasound cleaned cases (LOT 3) did maintain the lowest ES, but we are not 100% sure of the reasons why. More consistent bullet seating might be the reason.”

Carbon fouling case cartridge interior Pressure volume ultrasonic

Editor’s NOTE: Fred’s results do suggest that carbon build-up inside the uncleaned cases might cause a slight increase in pressure that shows up on hot days. Fred has posted that: “A local shooter reported doing the 20 reload, no-clean test on a .308 that gave a loss of capacity of 2.0 grains, doubled ES and significant velocity changes. However, I don’t have any details on his load weight or powder.” Obviously a lot of carbon can build up with 20 reloads. Many shooters retire their brass before then.

Ultrasonic Cleaning and Neck Lube
Some time ago, Jason Baney did a lengthy test on ultrasonic cleaning. Jason found that with his ultrasonically-cleaned cases, the inside of the necks got so “squeaky clean” that he needed to use dry lube in the necks. Jason uses the $10.95 dry lube kit from Neconos.com. This applies ultra-fine Moly powder to the neck using small carbon steel balls.

Neconos.com moly neck lube

Permalink Bullets, Brass, Ammo, Reloading, Tech Tip 2 Comments »
May 26th, 2019

Bargain-Finder 192: AccurateShooter’s Deals of the Week

Accurateshooter Bargain Finder Deals of Week

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

SUNDAY Special — We normally we release our Deals of the Week on Monday. However, because there are so many Memorial Day Specials that expire Monday night (or on Tuesday), we wanted to release this Deals Edition a day early. That gives our readers more time to take advantage of these great deals.

1. EuroOptic — 20% Off Nightforce NXS Scopes Through 5/28/19

Nightforce NXS scope sale 20% Off discount Memorial day

Nightforce Optics scopes almost never go on sale. This weekend is one of those rare opportunities to acquire a Nightforce scope at a significant discount — 20% off. From May 23 through May 28, 2019, you can SAVE 20% on all Nightforce NXS scopes. This promotion covers the entire NXS line-up:

2.5-10x42mm | 3.5-15x50mm | 5.5-22x50mm | 5.5-22x56mm | 8-32x56mm

You can purchase Nightforce NXS scopes from major retailers including EuroOptic.com, Brownells, Bruno Shooters Supply, Cabelas.com, and Midway USA.

2. SWFA — 10% OFF Everything Including Optics, Ammo, Rifles

SWFA 10% off sale guns ammo scopes Vortex, Schmidt & Bender, Kahles, Swarovksi, Zeiss, U.S. Optics, Leupold, Leica, Nikon, Burris, IOR Valdada

Wow — EVERYthing on the SWFA website (including big brand optics) is 10% Off now through 11:59 PM on May 28, 2019. Save on scopes, ammo, guns, and shooting accessories. SWFA carries top optics brands including Vortex, Schmidt & Bender, Kahles, Swarovski, Zeiss, U.S. Optics, Leupold, Leica, Nikon, Burris, IOR Valdada and more. If you are considering any of these brands, or a SWFA house-label optic, get over to SWFA.com. Along with a huge range of optics, SWFA also sells firearms including Howa (Legacy), Masterpiece Arms (MPA), Tikka, Ruger, Remington, Savage, and Weatherby rifles. And SWFA sells H&K, SIG Sauer, Smith & Wesson, and Walther handguns (to name a few). SWFA’s 10% Off Sale runs through 5/28/19 at 11:59 pm. NOTE: You even get FREE Shipping for $99.99+ purchases.

3. Precision Reloading — Intellidropper $189.99 with Code

powder scale dispenser chargemaster intellidropper intell-dropper frankford arsenal smart mobile app bluetooth

powder scale dispenser chargemaster intellidropper intell-dropper frankford arsenal smart mobile app bluetoothThe impressive new Frankford Arsenal Intellidropper™ powder scale/dispenser can be controlled by your mobile device. And right now you can get the Intellidropper for just $189.99 at Precision Reloading. It’s sale-priced at $199.99 but you get an additional $10.00 Off with Code MD191 Code (good through 5/18/19).

The Intellidropper features an advanced brain that can “talk” to a Mobile App on your smartphone via BlueTooth. This way you can store powder and load information on your smartphone and then control the scale/dispenser from the App. The App also has bullet, cartridge, and powder databases. The Intelli-dropper can also manually trickle.

4. Graf and Sons — 10% Off All Lyman Products

Lyman Graf's graf case prep reloading press 10% off Memorial day BoreCam Xpress

Last year, Lyman Products rolled out three great new reloading presses — an 8-station turret press, a beefy O-frame press, and a versatile C-Frame compact press. This year, Lyman introduced a cool variable-speed case trimmer along with a high-quality shooting mat. There are many Lyman products we like and use, including Reloading Presses, the Case Prep Center, the Lyman BoreCam, and the new Case Trimmer. Here’s your chance to save on the full line of Lyman Products — Grafs.com is offering 10% Off all Lyman products. For example, the Case Prep Xpress is marked down from $149.99 to $134.99. To sweeten the deal even more, if you buy at least $100 of Lyman products you get a Universal Bore Guide for FREE.

5. Natchez — 10% OFF, OR Free Hazmat, OR Free Shipping

Accurateshooter Bargain Finder Deals of Week

Natchez offers three ways to save with this Memorial Day Promotion. With a $99.99+ purchase you can either: 1) Get 10% off the purchase price; OR 2) Get FREE HazMat for primer/powder purchases; OR 3) Get FREE Shipping for your entire order. You, as the customer, decide which option saves you the most money (there are different discount codes for each offer). That FREE Hazmat is good for at least $20.00 savings, but the 10% off saves you more if you buy an item over $200.00. NOTE: Don’t delay, act soon. This triple-option promo ENDS Monday May 27, 2019 at 11:59 pm EST.

6. Midsouth — Hornady 6.5mm Bullets, $59.99 for 250

Hornady HPBT 123gr 6.5mm Creedmoor bullet sale

If you shoot a 6.5 Creedmoor or 6.5×47 Lapua in PRS or Tactical matches, these Hornady 123gr bullets may perform quite well, while saving you money. Yes the BC is a bit lower than the 140gr class of 6.5mm bullets, but these 123-grainers are accurate, and not “fussy” about seating depths. Plus you can drive them much faster than 140s, even at modest pressures. Get some H4350 or Reloder 16, and you’re good. You may be surprised that you get better accuracy, with less recoil, than the 140s. Right now with this Midsouth deal you get 250 bullets for $59.99. That’s just 24 cents each, or $24 per hundred — half what you might pay for other 6.5mm match bullets.

7. Remington — $75 Cash Back on Rem 700 Varmint Rifles

Remington Rifle Rebate 2017 summer Rem 700 varmint rifle

Right now Remington is offering $75 Cash Back on all Model 700 Varmint rifles purchased from May 1st through the end of July, 2019. Many different configurations are available. For example you can choose either a synthetic stock or a wood laminated stock. NOTE: This Rebate Offer is valid on Rem 700 Varmint rifle purchases made from 5/1/19 through 7/31/19. All requests must be postmarked by 8/31/19. Important — Firearms Consumer Rebates are MAIL-IN ONLY. You MUST include your original cash register receipt AND the barcode from your owners manual (no exceptions). CLICK HERE for REBATE FORM (PDF).

8. Mc3 Stocks — 20% Off All Mc3 Stocks with Code

McMillan Mc3 Memorial day sale 20% Off

Mc3™ Stocks is running a big Memorial Day sale. Now through May 28, 2019 ALL Mc3 stocks are available for 20% OFF with promo code Memorial19. All Mc3 stocks come from the factory with precision inletting and aluminum pillars for a precise, drop-in fit. Mc3 stocks combine field-proven designs with advanced materials to deliver a custom feel in a cost-conscious package. Visit www.MC3STOCKS.com and use promo code MEMORIAL19 at checkout to receive 20% OFF.

9. Palmetto State Armory — Memorial Day Sale on AR Stuff

Palmetto State Armory bargain discount AR15 Black Rifle Sale Memorial Day

Save on AR components, accessories, and ammo with Palmetto State Armory’s big Memorial Day Sale. Get a stripped lower for just $39.99, or a complete lower with MagPul stock for just $149.99. There are dozens of other great deals. Put the money you save into a premium barrel and first-rate optics. In addition, a wide variety of ammunition is on sale. Some of the .223 Rem ammo is so inexpensive, you may think twice about loading your own.

10. Gensec Armament — 17 HMR Rossi RB17 Rifle, $125.60

Rossi RB17 17 HMR sale rifle varmint Hornady Magnum rimfire varminter

If you enjoy hunting small varmints (such as ground squirrels), or plinking out to 200 yards, you really should get a 17 HMR. This little rimfire cartridge is very effective on small varmints and is much flatter shooting than a .22 LR. What 17 HMR to buy? Well if you’re on a tight budget, consider the Rossi RB17. This handy bolt gun boasts a nicely designed stock, a 5-round magazine, 21″ barrel, plus scope bases attached to the action. And you can get one for just $125.60! Right now the RB17 is just $125.60 at Guns Midwest. If that sells out, the RB17 is $135.99 at Gensec Armament. (Compare More Vendors).

11. Amazon — Neiko Digital Calipers, $17.85

Amazon Neiko Digital Caliper

Even if you have a good set of calipers, you may want to get one of these Neiko 01407A Digital Calipers. The #1 best-selling digital caliper on Amazon.com, this Neiko tool features a large LCD Screen and measures up to 6.0 inches. With over 3800 customer reviews, this product has earned an overall rating of 4.4 out of 5 stars. It’s hard to go wrong for $17.85, even if you just use these as a spare set for measuring group sizes and case trim lengths.

Permalink Bullets, Brass, Ammo, Hot Deals, Optics, Reloading No Comments »
May 25th, 2019

Doh! Make Sure Your Ammo Fits Your Chamber!

Ruptured Cartridge Case

If you don’t match your ammo to your chamber, bad things can happen, that’s for sure. A while back, Forum member BigBlack had an experience at the gun range that reminds us of the importance of safety when shooting. He encountered evidence that someone had fired the wrong cartridge in a 7mm WSM rifle. The problem is more common than you may think. This Editor has personally seen novices try to shoot 9mm ammo in 40sw pistols. BigBlack’s story is along those lines, though the results were much more dramatic. It’s too bad a knowledgeable shooter was not nearby to “intervene” before this fellow chambered the wrong ammo.

7mm-08 is Not the Same as a 7mm WSM
BigBlack writes: “I know this has probably been replayed a thousand times but I feel we can never be reminded enough about safety. This weekend at the range I found a ruptured case on the ground. My immediate thoughts were that it was a hot load, but the neck area was begging for me to take a closer look, so I did. I took home the exploded case and rummaged through my old cases until I found a close match. From my investigative work it appears someone shot a 7mm-08 in a 7mm WSM. Take a look. In the above photo I’ve put together a 7mm WSM case (top), the ruptured case (middle), and a 7mm-08 case (bottom).”

The photo reveals what probably happened to the 7mm-08 case. The shoulder moved forward to match the 7mm WSM profile. The sidewalls of the case expanded outward in the much larger 7mm WSM chamber until they lacked the strength to contain the charge, and then the case sides ruptured catastrophically. A blow-out of this kind can be very dangerous, as the expanding gasses may not be completely contained within the action.

Can’t Happen to You? Think Again.
This kind of mistake — chambering the wrong cartridge — can happen to any shooter who is distracted, who places even a single wrong round in an ammo box, or who has two types of ammo on the bench. One of our Forum members was testing two different rifles recently and he picked up the wrong cartridge from the bench. As a result, he fired a .30-06 round in a .300 Win Mag chamber, and the case blew out. Here is his story:

“I took two of my hunting rifles I have not used for over 25 years to the range yesterday to get new scopes on paper, a .30-06 and .300 Win Mag. I had four boxes of old Winchester factory ammo (two of each cartridge), which had near identical appearances. I accidentally chambered a .30-06 round in the Sako .300 Win Mag rifle. It sprayed powder on my face and cracked the stock at the pistol grip. If I had not been wearing safety glasses I might be blind right now.

Safety eyewear glasses
You should always wear protective eyewear, EVERY time you shoot.

“I feel lucky and am very thankful for being OK — other than my face looks funny right now. I am also grateful for learning a valuable lesson. I will never put two different cartridges on the bench at the same time again.”

READ More about this incident in our Shooters’ Forum.

Permalink Reloading, Tech Tip 4 Comments »