January 23rd, 2019

‘Quit Neck Sizing’ — Cortina Explains Full-Length Sizing is Better

Full-Length Sizing Erik Cortina Neck Sizing Video

Our friend Erik Cortina is at Raton, NM this week at the F-Class Nationals. When he’s not shooting (or working) Erik produces YouTube videos. One of his most popular videos explained why you should full-length size cartridge brass. In no uncertain terms Erik says: “Quit Neck Sizing!!!” Watch the Video:

Why It’s Smart to Full-Length Size Your Brass

Commentary by Erik Cortina

Should You Full-Length Size Your Cartridge Brass?

Absolutely. Let Me Explain Why…

I have seen it time and time again, shooters on the line wrestling with their rifle trying to get the bolt closed while the wind is switching. They were too focused trying to get their bolt to close and getting their rifle settled back on the bags that they missed the wind switch. Bang… Eight! The straw that broke the camel’s back for me was at the 2017 Canadian Nationals. I was paired up with a young girl and she would try really hard to close the bolt on her rifle. The majority of the time she would get it to close, but often times she could not even get the round to chamber. She was focused on her rifle the entire time rather than on the conditions. When we completed our strings, she had five rounds that did not chamber our of 15! That is way too many!. I told her she needed to think about Full-length sizing with 0.002″ shoulder bump, or Controlled Full-length Sizing like I call it. I told her not to worry about losing accuracy. I told her that I full-length size all my rounds and asked if she noticed how smooth my bolt was and noticed my score. She said yes, they were both great!

Full-Length Sizing Erik Cortina Neck Sizing Video

Controlled Full-length Sizing Does NOT Harm Accuracy
I have found that Controlled Full-length Sizing does NOT hurt accuracy or shorten brass life. I find that I can focus much more on the conditions when I don’t have to think about chambering a round nor extracting it. It has become second nature. After firing, I keep my head welded to the stock, I open the bolt by placing my thumb on top of stock and rotating hand upwards. I reach in and retrieve spent case, place it back in ammo box, and pick up another loaded round and put in chamber. I verify conditions and when ready, I push the bolt in and close it with my index and middle finger.

With Controlled Full-length Sizing you “bump” the shoulder around .002″ for bolt guns.*
full length sizing
Image courtesy Sinclair International which carries a variety of Full-length dies.

Whidden Gunworks DiesWhidden Full-Length Sizing Dies
by AccurateShooter.com Editor
For proper Full-length sizing, you want a quality die that’s a very good match to your chamber. For our project rifles we usually turn to Whidden Gunworks which offers both bushing and non-bushing FL dies. And if you want the hot new option, check out Whidden’s patent-pending, click-adjustable FL-sizing die. This gives instant, precise control over shoulder bump. It works great.

*With gas guns, such as the AR10, you may want to increase shoulder bump to .003″ or more. With some benchrest cartridges, .0015″ bump may prove optimal. But .002″ is a good starting point.

Permalink - Videos, Bullets, Brass, Ammo, Reloading 2 Comments »
January 22nd, 2019

Make Your Own Threaded Case for Measuring Length to Lands

Hornady Stony Point Tool OAL O.A.L. gauge bullet seating length ogive checker

In this video, Forum member Erik Cortina shows how to create a custom modified case for use with the Hornady Lock-N-Load Overall Length Gauge (formerly the Stoney Point Tool). While Hornady sells modified cases for many standard cartridges, if you shoot a wildcat such as the 6mm Dasher or .284 Shehane, you’ll need to create a custom modified case*. And even if you shoot a standard cartridge such as the .308 Winchester you can get more consistent measurements if you make a custom modified case from a piece of brass fired in your chamber.

The process is straight-forward. Take a piece of brass fired in your chamber and full-length size it (with about .002″ shoulder bump). Then you need to drill out the primer pocket. Erik uses a mini-lathe for the operation, but this general process can be done with a drill press or other tools. Erik shows how to do this with a 0.290″ HSS (High Speed Steel) drill bit on a mini-lathe. After drilling the hole comes the tricky part — you need to tap the case with the precise 5/16″ x 36 threads per inch (tpi) right-hand thread that matches the male thread on the O.A.L. Gauge. This 5/16″ x 36 tpi tap is pretty uncommon, but you can order it from Amazon.com if you can’t source it locally.

Hornady Stony Point Tool OAL O.A.L. gauge bullet seating length ogive checker

If you use a mini-lathe, Erik suggests loosening the tailstock slightly, so it can float while cutting the threads. Erik also says: “Make sure you get the tap on pretty tight — it’s going to want to spin.” Erik turns the case at about 100 rpm when tapping the threads. Once the case and tap are rigged, the actual tapping process (see video at 6:00) takes only a few seconds. While the mini-lathe makes the tapping process go more quickly, the threading can also be done with other systems.

TIP: Don’t just make one modified case, make three. That gives you one for your range kit, one for your home reloading bench, plus a spare (since you WILL eventually lose or misplace one).


Here’s the Stuff You Need

Hornady Stony Point Tool OAL O.A.L. gauge bullet seating length ogive checker

5/16″-36 TPI Threading Tap
The required thread is somewhat uncommon. You need a 5/16″ – 36 tpi Right Hand Thread Tap. If you can’t find it locally, Amazon.com carries the correct tap. Erik notes: “The 5/16-36 tpi tap is not a common size. I think Hornady did this on purpose to make it more difficult for the average guy to make his own modified cases.”

0.290″ Drill Bit
Erik uses an 0.290″ HSS “L” drill bit. (This “L” Letter Gauge code designates a 0.290″ diameter bit). A close metric equivalent would be 7.3 mm (0.286″). Erik says: “A 9/32″ drill will also work but it will be harder to run the tap in since the hole will be .281″ instead of .290″ with the Letter Gauge L bit.”

Tips for Using O.A.L. Gauge with Modified Case
We’ve noticed that many folks have trouble getting reliable, consistent results when they first start using the Hornady O.A.L. Gauge (formerly the Stoney Point Tool). We’ve found this is usually because they don’t seat the modified case properly and because they don’t use a gentle, consistent method of advancing the bullet until it just kisses the lands.

Here is our suggested procedure for use the O.A.L. Gauge. Following this method we can typically make three of four measurements (with the same bullet), all within .001″ to .0015″. (Yes, we always measure multiple times.)

1. Clean your chamber so there is no build-up of carbon, debris, or lube. Pay particular attention to the shoulder area.

2. Screw the modified case on to the O.A.L. Gauge. Make sure it is seated firmly (and doesn’t spin loose). Note, you may have to re-tighten the modified case after insertion in the chamber.

3. Place your selected bullet so that the ogive (max bullet diameter) is behind the case mouth. This prevents the bullet from “snagging” as you insert the tool in the action.

4. Insert the O.A.L. Gauge into your chamber smoothly. Push a little until you feel resistance. IMPORTANT — You need to ensure that the shoulder of the modified case is seated firmly against the front of your chamber. You may have to wiggle and twist the tool slightly. If you do not have the modified case seated all the way in, you will NOT get a valid measurement.

5. Advance the bullet slowly. (NOTE: This is the most important aspect for consistency!). Push the rod of the O.A.L. tool gently towards the chamber. DON’T shove it hard! Easy does it. Stop when you feel resistance.

6. IMPORTANT. After gently pushing on the rod, give the end of the rod a couple forward taps with your finger. If your bullet was slightly skewed, it may have stopped too far back. Adding a couple extra taps will fix that. If the bullet moves after the taps, then again push gently on the rod. NOT too much! You just want to push the bullet until it just “kisses” the lands and then stops. Do NOT jam the bullet into the rifling. If you do that you will never get consistent results from one measurement to the next.

* For a $15.00 fee, Hornady will make a custom modified case for you if you send two fired pieces of brass. Send two fired cases and $15.00 check to: Hornady Manufacturing, Attn: Modified Cases, 108 S. Apollo St., Alda, NE 68810. More Info HERE.

Permalink - Videos, Reloading, Tech Tip 2 Comments »
January 20th, 2019

Reloading Bench — How to Optimize Case Neck Tension

Case Loading Neck Tension Sierra Bullets Paul Box

by Sierra Bullets Ballistic Technician Paul Box
One thing that plays a major role in building an accuracy load is neck tension [one of the factors that controls the “grip” on a bullet]. I think a lot of reloaders pretty much take this for granted and don’t give that enough thought.

So, how much neck tension is enough?

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

First of all, if you’re running a standard sizing die with an expander ball, just pull your decapping rod assembly out of your die and measure the expander ball. What I prefer is to have an expander ball that is .003″ smaller than bullet diameter. So for example in a .224 caliber, run an expander ball of .221″. This allows for .001″ spring back in in your brass after sizing, and still gives you .002″ in neck tension. If you want to take the expander ball down in diameter, just chuck up your decapping rod assembly in a drill and turn it down with some emery cloth. When you have the diameter you need, polish it with three ought or four ought steel wool. This will give it a mirror finish and less drag coming through your case neck after sizing.

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

Case Loading Neck Tension Sierra Bullets Paul Box

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

Case Loading Neck Tension Sierra Bullets Paul Box

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

Permalink Bullets, Brass, Ammo, Reloading, Tech Tip 1 Comment »
January 19th, 2019

Stub Gauges — Cool Tools That Perform Important Functions

Barrel Stub Gauge

Next time you have a barrel fitted, consider having your gunsmith create a “stub gauge” from a left-over piece of barrel steel (ideally taken from your new barrel blank). The outside diameter isn’t important — the key thing is that the stub gauge is created with the same reamer used to chamber your current barrel, and the stub must have the same bore diameter, with the same land/groove configuration, as the barrel on your rifle. When properly made, a stub gauge gives you an accurate three-dimensional model of the upper section of your chamber and throat. This comes in handy when you need to bump your case shoulders. Just slide a fired case (with spent primer removed) in the stub gauge and measure from base of case to the end of the gauge. Then, after bumping, re-measure to confirm how much you’ve moved the shoulder.

Barrel Stub Gauge

In addition, the stub gauge lets you measure the original length to lands and freebore when your barrel was new. This gives you a baseline to accurately assess how far your throat erodes with use. Of course, as the throat wears, to get true length-to-lands dimension, you need take your measurement using your actual barrel. The barrel stub gauge helps you set the initial bullet seating depth. Seating depth is then adjusted accordingly, based on observed throat erosion, or your preferred seating depth.

To learn more about stub gauges, read this AccurateShooter Forum Thread.

Forum member RussT explains: “My gunsmith [makes a stub gauge] for me on every barrel now. I order a barrel an inch longer and that gives him enough material when he cuts off the end to give me a nice case gauge. Though I don’t have him cut that nice-looking window in the side (as shown in photos). That’s a neat option. You can tell how much throat erosion you are getting from when it was new as well. For measuring initial seating depths, this is the most useful item on my loading bench next to calipers. Everyone should have a case gauge made by their smith if you have a new barrel put on.”

Forum member Lawrence H. has stub gauges made with his chamber reamers for each new barrel He has his smith cut a port in the stub steel so Lawrence can actually see how the bullet engages the rifling in a newly-cut chamber. With this “view port”, one can also see how the case-neck fits in the chamber. Lawrence tells us: “My stub gauges are made from my barrels and cut with my chamber reamers. With them I can measure where my bullets are ‘touching the lands’ and shoulder bump dimensions. This is a very simple tool that provides accurate information.” The photos in this article show the stub gauges made for Lawrence by his gunsmith.

Permalink Gear Review, Gunsmithing, Reloading 3 Comments »
January 18th, 2019

Get FREE Reloading Data Sheets and Ammo Box Label Templates

Reloading Data Form Ammo Box Template printing labels chronograph data sheet

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

Download FREE Handloader’s Data Sheet (PDF)

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

Reloading Data Form Ammo Box Template printing labels chronograph data sheet

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

Download Box Label Template (PDF)

Permalink Bullets, Brass, Ammo, Reloading 2 Comments »
January 17th, 2019

.223 Rem for F-TR — Logical Choice for a Junior Shooter

F-TR load development .223 Rem Remington Sierra TMK

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

Journey to Find a .223 Rem F-Class Load

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

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

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

F-TR load development .223 Rem Remington Sierra TMK

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

F-TR load development .223 Rem Remington Sierra TMK

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

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

F-TR load development .223 Rem Remington Sierra TMK

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

This article originally appeared in the Sierra Bullets Blog.

Permalink - Articles, Reloading 2 Comments »
January 16th, 2019

Variances in Load Data — Why Load Manuals Don’t Always Agree

load manual sierra reloading hornady data

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

Example of load data variances for two 168 grain bullets:

Sierra Reloading Manual Hornady Load Reloading

Here are five reasons why the load data varies:

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Sierra Bullets Blog reloading information

Permalink - Articles, Reloading No Comments »
January 16th, 2019

Save 15% NOW on Reloading Components, Tools, and Gear

Precision Reloading 15% Off sale January 2019 fifteen percent savings

Who doesn’t want to save money? If you can get a significant discount, you should really take advantage of that opportunity. Guys, we’ve been tracking prices on shooting sports products at vendors around the country. Sad to say, we’ve seen price increases across the board in 2019. Reloading components, loading tools, stocks, targets, electronic gadgets — you name it, the price trend is moving upwards. Thankfully our friends at Precision Reloading are holding the line. Even better, Precision Reloading is running a really significant promotion right now.

Take Note! For today and tomorrow, January 16 and January 17, you can get 15% OFF All ORDERS over $100.00. That’s right, save 15% on your purchases at Precision Reloading with Code 15OFF. If you buy a $400.00 item that could save you $60.00. Yes, this applies to pretty much everything in stock at Precision Reloading, including all major brands below (and dozens more including Lapua, Berger, Forster, Hodgdon, Nosler, RCBS, Redding, Sierra etc.).

Precision Reloading 15% Off sale January 2019 fifteen percent savings

If you need bullets, brass, powder, dies, presses, powder dispensers, check out this sale. It’s a very good deal. Use Code 15OFF at check-out to save 15% on your orders over $100.00.

Permalink Bullets, Brass, Ammo, Hot Deals, Reloading No Comments »
January 15th, 2019

Case Priming Procedures — Insights from Glen Zediker

Primer Forster Co-ax priming tool
The anvil is the tripod-shaped thin metal piece protruding above the bottom of the primer cup. Getting the primer sitting fully flush on the bottom of the case primer pocket, without crunching it too much, requires some keen feel for the progress of primer seating.

top grade ammo book Glen ZedikerIn two informative Midsouth Blog articles, Glen Zediker offers helpful advice on priming. First he examines what happens to the primer itself as it is seated in the cup. Glen explains why some “crush” is important, and why you never want to leave a high primer. Glen also reviews a variety of priming tools, including his favorite — the Forster Co-Ax Bench Primer Seater. Then he offers some key safety tips. Glen provides some “rock-solid” advice about the priming operation. You’ll find more great reloading tips in Glen’s newest book, Top-Grade Ammo, which we recommend.

Priming Precision vs. Speed
Glen writes: “The better priming tools have less leverage. That is so we can feel the progress of that relatively very small span of depth between start and finish. There is also a balance between precision and speed in tool choices, as there so often is.”

Benchtop Priming Tools — The Forster Co-Ax
Glen thinks that the best choice among priming options, considering both “feel” and productivity, may be the benchtop stand-alone priming stations: “They are faster than hand tools, and can be had with more or less leverage engineered into them. I like the one shown below the best because its feeding is reliable and its feel is more than good enough to do a ‘perfect’ primer seat. It’s the best balance I’ve found between speed and precision.”

Primer Forster Co-ax priming tool

Primer Forster Co-ax priming tool

Load Tuning and Primers
Glen cautions that you should always reduce your load when you switch to a new, not-yet-tested primer type: “The primer is, in my experience, the greatest variable that can change the performance of a load combination, which is mostly to say ‘pressure’. Never (never ever) switch primer brands without backing off the propellant charge and proving to yourself how far to take it back up, or to even back it off more. I back off one full grain of propellant [when I] try a different primer brand.”

Primer Forster Co-ax priming tool

Priming Safety Tips by Zediker

1. Get a good primer “flip” tray for use in filling the feeding magazine tubes associated with some systems. Make double-damn sure each primer is fed right side up (or down, depending on your perspective). A common cause of unintentional detonation is attempting to overfill a stuffed feeding tube magazine, so count and watch your progress.

2. Don’t attempt to seat a high primer more deeply on a finished round. The pressure needed to overcome the inertia to re-initiate movement may be enough to detonate it.

3. Don’t punch out a live primer! That can result in an impressive fright. To kill a primer, squirt or spray a little light oil into its open end. That renders the compound inert.

4. Keep the priming tool cup clean. That’s the little piece that the primer sits down into. Any little shard of brass can become a firing pin! It’s happened!

These Tips on Priming come from Glen’s newest book, Top-Grade Ammo, available at Midsouth Shooters Supply. CLICK HERE to learn more about this and other publications from Zediker Publishing.

Permalink - Articles, Bullets, Brass, Ammo, Reloading, Tech Tip No Comments »
January 13th, 2019

K&M Offers New Variable Speed Case Prep Center

K&M K & M machine case prep center tool machine

When it comes to reloading hardware, some guys have to have the best of the best, regardless of cost. For those guys, K&M Precision has introduced an impressive new variable-speed, multi-station case prep center. This is quite a step up from other variable-speed case prep devices.*

K&M offers two versions, one with a single spindle (tool driver) running 50-200 rpm, and another modular design that can have up to six (6) spindles, running from 50 to 533 rpm. This Ferrari of case prep centers costs $2395.00 with all six spindles, with lesser prices for fewer spindles (e.g. $1795 with three spindles). The basic 50-200 rpm one-spindle machine costs $695.00. That’s still a pretty sizable investment. But for some guys, price is no object.

K&M K & M machine case prep center tool machine

Watch Video to see six-spindle machine in action. Being able to adjust the speed within a broad rpm range really is a big deal. You can go slow when needed, then instantly bump up the rpm when you need to do other tasks at a higher rate. Cutting vs. brushing work best at different speeds.

The K&M Benchtop Case Prep Machine is an industrial-grade unit that features an industrial DC brushless motor for constant torque control over a speed range from 50 to 533 rpm (or 50-200 rpm for basic model). The speed can be quickly changed by simply rotating the dial switch and pressing to enter the speed. Watch the video to see the speed control in action. Models are available from one- to six-spindle configurations. The driven spindles feature a unique collet design that accepts ¼” hex shank tools that are oriented horizontally for natural ergonomics. Collet and idler spindles ride on oil-impregnated bronze bearings for smooth operation. You can use K&M-made tools or drive other types of tools using a ¼” hex tool shank adapter with either 8-32 or 3/8-24 threads. Each model has a spring-loaded spindle lock pin to hold the spindle position while setting tools or loading/unloading cartridges into the power adapter.

K&M K & M machine case prep center tool machine

K&M K & M machine case prep center tool machine

K&M K & M machine case prep center tool machine

All machines come with quality hard case with foam, chip pan, chip brush, 1/4” hex drive adapter for 8-32 and 1/4” hex drive adapter for 3/8-24.

Product tip from EdLongRange. We welcome reader submissions.

* Lyman will soon introduce the Case Trim Xpress a single-head case trimmer with speed control for the trimmer head. RCBS offers a 6-station Case Prep Center, with variable speeds, controlled by a rheostat. Four of the six heads run up to 350 rpm, while the two high-speed heads run up to 550 rpm.

Permalink - Videos, New Product, Reloading, Tech Tip 4 Comments »
January 13th, 2019

6.5 Creedmoor Cartridge Reloading INFO — Load Data from Sierra

Sierra Load Data 6.5 Creedmoor

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

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

Sierra 6.5 Creedmoor Load Data Manual reloading .264

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

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

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

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

Permalink Bullets, Brass, Ammo, Reloading 6 Comments »
January 12th, 2019

GREAT Video on Making Brass and Precision Ammo — Watch Now

Norma factory ammo production video

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

VERY Informative Video Show Cartridge Brass and Ammunition Production:

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

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

Video tip by EdLongrange. We welcome reader submissions.
Permalink - Videos, Bullets, Brass, Ammo, Reloading No Comments »
January 10th, 2019

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

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

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

USAMU

Bullet Sorting by Overall Length

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

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

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

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

Bryan Litz Applied Ballistics Bullet Sorting AccurateShooter.com

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

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

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

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

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

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

Permalink Bullets, Brass, Ammo, Reloading No Comments »
January 7th, 2019

Bargain Basement Brass Tumbling System — Under $60 Invested

Brass Tumbling stainless media cheap Harbor Freight Brass plated cartridge brass

Super Clean Brass Without Breaking The Bank

Posted on June 21, 2017 by Sierra Bullets
Written by Sierra Bullets Ballistic Technician Gary Prisendorf

I recently purchased 1,000 rounds of once-fired 5.56 LC brass that was fully processed and ready to load. The brass had been wet tumbled, using stainless steel pins and looked great inside and out, including the primer pockets.

I had always used a vibrating tumbler with either corn cob or walnut media and I always thought my brass looked pretty good until I saw what the wet tumbling and pin combination did.

Being the budget minded reloader that I am, I started looking for a cheap way to wet tumble my brass using stainless steel pins. Harbor Freight had recently opened a store nearby and I had received coupons in the mail, one of the coupons was 20% off any one item.

So I headed for the Harbor Freight store and after roaming around for 20 minutes or so I found a dual drum rotary rock tumbler for $55.00 and thought it would do just fine for what I was planning. The drums are rather small and only have a 3 pound maximum load limit each, but I figured that was big enough for around 150 .223 cases or maybe 300 9MM cases at a time.

I pulled the wrinkled up coupon out of my pocket, paid, and walked out with my new $47.00 brass cleaning machine. I didn’t have any stainless steel pins and couldn’t find any locally. At our local hardware store I picked up some brass plated ½” finishing brads that I thought might work until I could get some pins ordered.

I bought two small packages of the finishing brads (1.75 oz.), for $1.69 each then headed to my local Walmart to pick up some Dawn dish soap (.99 cents) and a bottle of Lemi Shine ($3.27). I had read online that is what a lot of people use for cleaning their brass.

I bought two small packages of the finishing brads (1.75 oz.), for $1.69 each then headed to my local Walmart to pick up some Dawn dish soap (.99 cents) and a bottle of Lemi Shine ($3.27). I had read online that is what a lot of people use for cleaning their brass.

When I got home, I started depriming .223 brass for my new toy, I mean brass tumbler. I deprimed 100 cases, put 50 in each drum, dropped a package of brads in each one, filled them ¾ of the way with water, gave each drum a small squirt of Dawn dish soap and a tablespoon of Lemi Shine. I sealed up the drums and fired up the tumbler.

After an hour and a half, I just couldn’t stand it any longer and had to see the results. The water was filthy but the cases were super clean, I couldn’t be happier. For a total investment of around $55.00, I can now get my cases looking almost new.

Here are the before and after pictures of my first run of brass:

Brass Tumbling stainless media cheap Harbor Freight Brass plated cartridge brass

I have since ordered two pounds of stainless steel pins, I put one pound in each drum. To be honest the brass really doesn’t look any better, but the pins don’t seem to get stuck inside of the cases near as bad as the brass-plated brads did.

Tip: Make sure to inspect your cases and look inside each case to ensure all of the brads/pins are removed.

Just lay the brass and brads/pins out on a towel and let them dry. Mine were dry after about 12 hours.

If you want your cases to look like new without breaking the bank, give it a try. You can’t clean 1000 at a time like the $200.00 tumbling machines that are made for specifically for brass, but this is a much cheaper alternative and the results speak for themselves. — Gary Prisendorf, Sierra Bullets

EDITOR: Actually you can get a machine for a whole lot less than $200.00! See the next paragraph.

Lyman Cylone Rotary Tumbler with Factory Rebate
Sierra’s Technician got his rotary tumbler and brass media for $55.00. For eighty bucks more that you can get a much better, higher-capacity system from Lyman. The Lyman Cyclone Rotary Tumbler features a large, polymer drum that holds up to 1000 .223 Rem cases. The kit includes media separation trays, plus five pounds of correct STAINLESS media. The Lyman Cyclone system costs $139.39 delivered from Amazon.

Yep you can get a complete Lyman Cyclone system WITH stainless media for under $140.00. To be honest we think that’s money well spent, compared to the “El Cheapo” Harbor Freight unit. The Lyman will run six times as many .223 Rem cases, be easier to operate, AND get the job done faster. We suspect long-term durability will be better with the Lyman tumbler as well.

Brass Tumbling stainless media cheap Harbor Freight Brass plated cartridge brass

Permalink Bullets, Brass, Ammo, Reloading, Tech Tip 1 Comment »
January 4th, 2019

Single-Stage Reloading Presses — Product Video Showcase

RCBS Rock Chucker MEC Marksman Lyman Brass smith ideal Frankford co-ax forster Hornady iron Lee Classic Cast Breech Lock Press

Hand-loaders have never had so many great choices in single-stage presses, with many different configurations and features. There are classic O-Frame presses, Coax-style presses, Open-front presses, Pyramid presses, and compact C-Frame presses. Here is our 2019 Single Stage Press Showcase with products from Forster, Frankford Arsenal, Hornady, Lee, Lyman, MEC, and RCBS. We’ve included short videos showing the features of these reloading presses.

If you are shopping for a new press you should look at the various features of each. You may prefer something classic like a Rock Chucker, or the innovative open-front MEC. If you are looking for a compact press to use at the range, the new Lyman C-Frame is very impressive for the price. And the Forster Co-Ax remains a great addition to any loading room.

MEC Marksman Single-Stage Press

If you are looking for a new, full-size single-stage reloading press, definitely consider the MEC Marksman. Created by the makers of the popular MEC shotshell reloading systems, the MEC Marksman combines a sturdy cast-iron frame with a modern open-front design. With a $189.99 street price the Marksman press cost roughly $20 more than an RCBS Rock Chucker, but the MEC offers some distinct advantages — such as an open front plus a floating shell-holder system.

MEC Marksman Press Gavin Gear single stage open front press die caddy accessories

Our friend Gavin Gear of UltimateReloader.com got his hands on a MEC Marksman press and put it through its paces. He came away impressed with the product, saying it delivers excellent performance, and has many impressive features. Gavin tells us: “Cast iron tools and machines are a lifetime investment. The made-in-USA MEC Marksman features ductile cast-iron construction, an open-front frame design for easy cartridge access, a new floating shell-holder design with a unique retention system, and ambidextrous handle setup.” MEC also offers a wide selection of accessories for the Marksman press, including a press riser/mount, shell-holder caddy, and die trays.

Frankford Arsenal M-Press Coaxial Reloading Press

Frankford Arsenal M-Press co-ax coaxial new reloading press die caddy accessories

Sorry, this new Frankford Arsenal coaxial M-Press has not started shipping yet so we don’t have a video. But MidwayUSA says it should arrive by mid-February 2019. We think this new M-Press should interest Forster Co-Ax fans. While the operation is similar to the Forster Co-Ax, there are some important differences. The new M-Press mounts on a flat surface, with nothing protruding below. That is significantly different than the Forster Co-Ax. The die block is different. It also appears that the shell-holder system is different. But this still self-aligns like a Forster Co-Ax. “A free-floating design allows the die and shellplate to move on two axis, so the case is always perfectly centered in the die, minimizing bullet runout.” The way the arms move is also different. In the Forster Co-Ax, the rods slide within the press frame and the part that holds the shell is fixed to them. In this design the rods are stationary and the part that holds the shell slides on them. However, the overhead handle certainly does copy the distinctive Forster design. NOTE: According to MidwayUSA, this M-Press does NOT have priming capability, unlike the Forster Co-Ax. Credit Boyd Allen for design analysis.

Forster Co-Ax Press

co-ax forster Hornady reloading single-stage  PressIf you are not yet familiar with the many unique features of the Forster Co-Ax, we recommend you watch the video above, a very thorough video review by Rex Roach. This shows how the press operates and highlights the design elements which set the Co-Ax apart from every other reloading press on the market. This 14-minute video shows the key Co-Ax features, explaining how the floating case-holder jaws work (3:30 time-mark), how the dies are held in place (4:40 time-mark), how spent primers are captured (6:10 time-mark), and how to set the primer seating depth (10:00 time-mark). We’ve used a Co-Ax for years and we still learned a few new things by watching this detailed video. If you are considering purchasing a Co-Ax, definitely watch this video start to finish.

In recent years, Forster Co-Ax® presses have been somewhat hard to find, as demand has out-stripped supply. The Co-Ax has many dedicated fans, given its unique features, such as the floating case-holder jaws, and easy, rapid slide-in/slide-out die placement. We’ve also found that Co-Ax presses load very straight ammo and we like the ability to switch between short handle (good for bullet seating) and long handle (ideal for heavy case-sizing tasks). We also think the Forster Co-Ax has one of the best spent primer capture systems on the market — a straight drop into a removable plastic cup. Simple and it works.

Lyman Brass Smith Victory Single-Stage Press

Lyman Brass Smith Victory Single stage press video

Lyman’s New Victory Single-stage Press competes with the RCBS Rock Chucker Press. With beefy cast iron construction, the Victory’s strength and leverage rivals the Rock Chucker. If you like to prime on a press, this Victory has a priming system that’s much easier to use than the Rock Chucker system. The priming tube is right up front. Simply push the shuttle at the button of the tube to advance the primer into place. The entire primer-loading system can also be removed so it doesn’t interfere with case and bullet-handling operations. We generally prefer to prime cases separately using a dedicated hand- or bench-mounted tool, but the Victory press does the job nicely. Overall, the Victory is a great value in a full-size “O-Frame” press. It’s on sale now for $154.99 at Midsouth.

RCBS Rock Chucker Supreme Single-Stage Press

RCBS Rockchucker Rock Chucker Supreme Single Stage reloading press Bruno Shooters Nearly every serious hand-loader has owned or used the RCBS Rock Chucker press. This Editor still uses a Rock Chucker passed down by his brother 20 years ago. And yes, it is still going strong. The latest Rock Chucker Supreme single-stage press features an improved “upside-down Y-path” dual-bin spent primer catcher. Otherwise the Rock Chucker Supreme remains big, strong, versatile and sturdy. It has very strong linkages, with a compound leverage system providing plenty of power — FL-sizing is a breeze even with large, magnum cases. The 1″-diameter ram has 12.5 sq. inches of ram-bearing surface.

Some people may not know that the Rock Chucker offers a secondary 1 1/4″ x 12 thread for shotshell reloading dies and Piggyback 3 upgrade. The Rock Chucker Supreme retails for under $180.00 ($167.50 now at Bruno’s). The RCBS Rock Chucker is definitely a quality product that can last a lifetime. For heavy-duty sizing chores this remains one of the best choices in single-stage presses. We do recommend shopping around. You can sometimes get a pretty big discount on Rock Chuckers and RCBS has regular rebate programs.

Lyman Brass Smith Ideal C-Frame Compact Press

The Lyman Brass Smith Ideal Press is a very affordable, cast iron C-Frame reloading press. We think it is the new “class leader” in compact presses. This works great as a secondary press for your reloading room or a small press you can take to the range. The large front opening allows you to access the shell holder without hitting the support bar on other types of presses. Unlike other compact presses made from aluminum, Lyman’s Ideal press is cast iron so it is rigid and strong. The high-quality steel ram is one inch in diameter. The Brass Smith is a true ambidextrous press that can be accessed from either side and mounted the same. This is a great choice for a second, auxiliary press for depriming and bullet seating.

Lyman Ideal C frame iron press midsouth shooters

Hornady Iron Single Stage (Open-front) Press

In this “Reloading with Rosie” video, the attractive female host loads some ammo using the Hornady Iron Press. With a beefy, pyramid-style cast-iron frame with an open front, this press offers some advantages over a traditional “O-Frame” type press. Access is considerably easier, for one thing. And the top of the press includes slots to hold dies and tools — that’s really a very nice feature that saves time. Also an optional “automatic” priming system shuttles primers from a vertical tube in the back to the shell-holder in the front. That’s clever. Over all the Iron Press is a nice piece of engineering — good job Hornady.

Hornady Iron Press video

Lee Classic Cast (Iron) Breech Lock Press

Lee Classic Cast Breech Lock PressThe Lee Classic Cast Breech Lock Press offers excellent value for the money ($112.00 at Midsouth). Based on the proven design of the Classic Cast press, the updated Breech Lock series adds the quick-change die bushing and an improved primer drop system. This press is strong, with cast iron frame, all-steel linkage, and 12 square inches of ram bearing surface.

Lee says this press has the “largest opening and the longest stroke in the industry” among O-frame type presses. The handle can be mounted on either side. We love the fact that the handle angle can be adjusted, as well as the lever arm length — that allows you to adjust travel and leverage to suit your preference. Smart engineering.

The new spent primer drop features a large-diameter hollow ram with clear hose that drops primers straight to a bin — that’s simple and effective. The press is very rigid and the base is wide enough for good stability. We have one of these Classic Cast Breech Lock Presses in our reloading room and it works well.

Permalink - Articles, - Videos, Gear Review, New Product, Reloading 2 Comments »
January 1st, 2019

Primer Pocket and Flash Hole Uniforming Basics

Reloading Case Prep Flash Hole Primer Pocket

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

Primer Pocket and Flash-Hole Conditioning

This week, we’ll address a question that frequently arises: “Do you uniform primer pockets and deburr flash-holes?”

As we tailor our handloading methods to the specific needs of each instance, the answer, not surprisingly, is “occasionally!” Generally, the USAMU Handloading Shop does not uniform primer pockets (PP) or deburr flash holes (FH) of our rifle brass. That’s not to say we’re against it — rather, it reflects the very high volume of ammunition loaded, the fact that very few cases are ever re-loaded for a second firing, and the types of brass we use. However, as a need is perceived, we DO deburr flash holes (of which, more later.)

As to the type cases we use, many thousands of our long-range 5.56x45mm cases come to us from the arsenal with the primer of our choice pre-installed and staked in per their usual practice. Obviously, we could not uniform either FHs or PPs on this live-primed brass. However, after careful sorting, inspection and preparation, we do obtain match-winning results with it. Regular readers have seen photos of some of the tiny 1000-yard test groups we’ve fired with weight-selected domestic brass which had neither Primer Pockets uniformed nor flash holes deburred.

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

Shooters who reload their brass several times may decide to uniform PPs and deburr FHs, especially on their “300-yard and beyond” brass. Unlike us, they will be using their cases many times, while the operations are only needed once. Also, most handloaders only process a relatively moderate amount of brass compared to our 20-thousand round lots. Having high quality Long Range (LR) brass helps. Many of the better brass manufacturers form their flash holes so that no burrs are created.

Still, it does pay to inspect even THESE manufacturer’s products, as occasional slips are inevitable. Very rarely, some of these makers will have a significant burr in, say, 1 per 1000 or 2000 cases, and it’s worth catching those. Recently, we began processing a large lot of match brass from a premier manufacturer, and were startled to find that every case had a burr in the FH — something we’d never before seen from this maker. We then broke out the FH deburring tool and went to work.

Reloading Case Prep Flash Hole Primer Pocket

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

Does It Really Make a Difference?
It can be difficult to truly verify the contribution to accuracy of these procedures, particularly when firing from the shoulder, in conditions. Members of this staff, as individual rifle competitors, do often perform these operations on their privately-owned LR rifle brass.

One could ascribe this to the old High Power Rifle maxim that “if you think it helps, then it helps”. Another thought is to “leave no stone unturned” in the search for accuracy.

However, an extremely talented World Champion and Olympic Gold/Silver medalist commented on his own handloading (for International competition, which demands VERY fine accuracy). He noted that he did seem to see a decline in accuracy whenever he did not uniform FH’s, deburr FH’s and clean primer pockets before each reloading; however, with the wisdom of decades’ experience, he also remarked that “It could have been that I just wasn’t shooting as well that day.”

Permalink - Articles, Reloading 2 Comments »
December 31st, 2018

Bargain Finder 171: 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. Brownells — Howa 1500 USA Flag Chassis Rifle, $1299.99

Howa 1500 usa flag .308 Win Nikko scope PRS tactical rifle luth AR

With its “battleworn” stars and stripes Cerakote finish, Howa’s USA Flag Chassis Rifle is an eye-catcher. AND this handsome Howa shoots as good as it looks. This .308 Win rifle features a quality 26″ barrel with factory muzzle brake. The Howa 1500 action cycles very smoothly (better than a Remington or Savage), and this rifle comes with Howa’s fine HACT 2-stage trigger. This rifle includes a 4-16x50mm Nikko Sterling scope mounted to an EGW +20 MOA scope rail, Luth AR buttstock, plus a 10-round detachable box magazine. Howa even includes a Buffalo River swivel bipod with 6″-9″ adjustable legs. With this rig, all you need is ammo! Price is $1299.99 with scope and bipod. NOTE: This is also offered in 6.5 Creedmoor, but that is currently out-of-stock. Check with other vendors.

2. Bruno’s — Nightforce Competition 15-55x52mm Sale, $2160.00

Bruno Nightforce Sale

You can’t walk up to any respectable match line and not see a bevy of Nightforce scopes. The Nightforce 15-55x52mm Competition scope is still one of the very best scopes for serious F-Class and long-range competitors. Now Bruno’s is selling the 15-55x52mm NF for $2160.00 — that’s nearly $200 cheaper than other vendors. Bruno Shooters Supply has the Nightforce Competition 15-55x52mm optic as well as countless other Nightforce scopes on sale. Get yours now before prices go back up.

3. Midsouth Shooters Supply — End of Year Clearance Sale

Midsouth Clearance Sale

End of year means CLEARANCE at Midsouth Shooters Supply, with prices up to SEVENTY PERCENT (70%) off normal pricing. We’ve posted just a few of the nearly 800 items we found in their clearance section and with prices that can’t be beat it’s worth your time to scour the pages. Head to the Midsouth clearance sale to what you can’t live without before you hit the range again. Note, this End-of-Year Clearance sale ends today December 31, 2018. Don’t hesitate if you see a bargain you like.

4. Amazon — Leupold 15-45x60mm Spotting Scope, $322.98

Leupold 15-45X compact s-1 spotting scope hunting optic

The Leupold Ventana S-1 15-45x60mm spotting scope offers a good 15-45X range of power along with a 60mm objective. For a competitor using the spotter mostly for watching mirage and shot markers, this may be all you need in a spotter. And this is compact and easy to transport in a range bag. As one Amazon reviewer said, “TERRIFIC scope! 45X is plenty. Most people with 60X scopes rarely use more than 40X power so I decided to go for this smaller, lighter scope. We used it on wolves in Yellowstone this week at distances of 1/2 to 1 mile. This scope is tack sharp. I was able to compare to Swarovski, Vortex, and Nikon and this Leupold seems just as sharp at a fraction of the price. The amount of eye relief is generous, even better than some of the Swarovskis I looked through.”

5. Midsouth — Hornady L-N-L Auto Progressive Press, $378.99

Hornady Lock N Load AP Progressive Press Sale Rebate Discount

If you need large quantities of pistol or rifle ammo, it makes sense to get a progressive press. This auto-indexing, 5-station press will give you one loaded round for every complete cycle of the loading handle. We’ve used this Hornady Lock-N-Load AP Progressive press and can confirm that it works well. We actually prefer the rotary powder measure to the sliding powder system on Dillon progressives. We find it much easier to change load weights with the Hornady system (which uses inserts), and it is more precise with certain types of powder. This press also uses convenient quick-change die bushings. Right now you can save $113.00 with the $378.99 sale. NOTE: Press purchasers can get 500 free bullets through the Hornady Rebate Program but that ends 12/31/2018!

6. EuroOptic — Leica CRF 2000-B, $399.00

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

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

7. Natchez — Hornady L-N-L Auto-Charge Powder Dispenser

Hornady Powder Dispenser

Are you tired of using pan scales and trickling your charges just to spend a day at the range? Now for under $170.00 you can set your charges and watch them automatically drop quickly and efficiently. The Hornady Lock-N-Load auto charge powder dispenser gives you the confidence and speed whether you’re doing load development or just looking to make some rounds for a day at the range. With this $164.99 sale price, this Hornady dispenser over $90 cheaper than an RCBS Chargemaster Lite.

8. Amazon — Champion Redfield Precision Sight-In Target, $18.39

Sight-In Targets

Have you ever been ready to run to the range and blow off a few rounds only to find that you’re out of targets? If you’re like us that’s one of the most frustrating things that can happen when heading to the club and nobody likes using printer paper and a marker to make a target. Pick up this 100 count set of sight-in targets and you won’t have to run to the store last minute or dig through the range trash cans hoping to find a barely-used target. This is a great value — only 18.4 cents per target!

9. Amazon — Caldwell Zeromax Rifle Rest, $28.99

Caldwell Rifle Rest

No this basic, inexpensive rest won’t work for benchrest matches. However, it will suffice to sight-in a hunting or varmint rifle. AND it will do double duty as a cradle for rifle cleaning and maintenance. In fact this Caldwell rest is less expensive than some cleaning cradles than can’t be used for shooting at all. Pick up one of these Caldwell Zeromax Rests for only $28.99 and you’ll have a handy back-up rest you can keep in a vehicle or lend to a friend. Plus, some low-cost modifications can improve the rest’s adjustability. One purchaser noted: “The back foot is just a threaded bolt with a rubber end cap, but it does not turn or move. Changing the elevation with the front two bolts, and keeping everything level can be a challenge, so I added elevation adjustments to the back bolt as well. I did this by taking a bolt spacer from Ace Hardware super glued to a nut, and using that to lift or drop the back. Total cost was about $4.”

Credit Forum Member F-Class John for preparing most of this week’s deals.

Permalink - Videos, Gear Review, Hot Deals, Optics, Reloading, Tactical No Comments »
December 30th, 2018

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”.

Permalink Bullets, Brass, Ammo, Reloading No Comments »
December 29th, 2018

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 $32 — the price of a commercial OAL gauge.

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 »
December 26th, 2018

All-Star Hardware — Favorite Reloading Equipment

Wilson hand die arbor press Sierra Bullets

Sierra Bullets asked a few hand-loaders to reveal their favorite reloading tool or accessory: “What is your favorite ‘don’t know how you ever lived without it’ piece of reloading equipment?” Some of the answers are listed below. We were interested to see some high-tech, micro-processor items mentioned, such as the AMP Annealer, and the Auto-Trickler powder dispenser. Old standbys, such as the rugged RCBS Rockchucker and Dillon 650, also made the favorites list. You can nominate your own favorite reloading hardware in the comments section of the Sierra Bullets Blog.

Sierra Bullets Ballistic Technician Philip Mahin answered: “A comparator gauge to measure from the base of a case to the ogive of the bullet. This bypasses the tip of the bullet, so I can repeat the same seating depth the next time I visit a specific combination.”

Forster Co-ax press

Bill, Editor of Rifleshooter.com, answered: “I have so many favorite reloading tools, it’s hard to pick one. But if I had to, it would be my Forster Co-Ax press. I like the ease [with which] you can change dies and that it doesn’t require traditional shell holders. It’s a great tool to have!”

Forster Co-Ax Press

Sierra Bullets Ballistic Technician Duane Siercks answered: “I don’t know that you would actually call this equipment, but the item that comes to mind would be my reloading room/shoot house. I had always had to squeeze everything into a corner or even an unheated shed. After we bought our current house, I built a garage and placed it so that I had a window looking down a 250-yard range. I built a dedicated room with heat and A/C. It contains my reloading bench and a shooting bench. The shooting bench lets me slide open the window and shoot down the range. It is very handy to not have to load everything up to go to the range. It also makes load development a lot simpler and efficient. I don’t know how I ever got along without it.

I also wonder what I did before I acquired the Lyman 1200 DPS Powder Dispenser. This has made the process so much simpler and much easier. I also have a Lee Precison Universal Decapping Die that I would gladly spend the money on again. This may be a small thing, but it certainly is handy. The Lee would accommodate some very large cases that some of the others were too small for.”

Jon Addis answered: “Putting an A&D FX-120i scale with Auto-Trickler and Auto-Throw on the bench has changed the way I reload. It’s kernel accurate in about 15 seconds. Saves time and reduces a variable. And of course, the system is made better by the Area 419 Billet Adjustable base for the trickler and Billet Powder Cup.”

This video shows the Auto-Trickler V2 and Auto-Throw Combo:

Sierra Bullets Ballistic Technician Carroll Pilant answered: “Dillon 550 and 650 presses.”

Sierra Bullets Ballistic Technician Paul Box answered: “The Lee Precison hand priming tool.”

Sierra Bullets Chief Ballistician Tommy Todd answered: “A brass annealing machine and a RCBS Chargemaster complimented with a Sartorious scale.”

RCBS RockchuckerSierra Bullets Ballistician Gary Prisendorf answered: “RCBS Rock Chucker Press, it’s built like a tank, and it will last me a lifetime.”

Sierra Bullets Production Manager Chris Hatfield also answered: “RCBS Rock Chucker single-stage reloading press.”

Jeremy Kisner answered: “My Giraud trimmer has taken [three operations] and combined them into one easy task. I can now size my brass and then sit down and trim, chamfer, and debur to a 0.001″ tolerance in one motion.”

Dan Blake answered: “My Annealing Made Perfect (AMP) annealer. With consistent neck tension being one of the largest contributions to small Extreme Spread on muzzle velocities, I believe this induction annealer is truly the best on the market.”

This manufacturer-produced video shows how the AMP annealing machine operates:

Trevor Aldinger answered: “Area 419 Master Funnel Kit. In the past I’ve used plastic funnels and even other metal ones. This system fits case necks and flows much better than any others I’ve used, and there is no static since it’s metal. We spend a lot of time and money to get precise charges, I don’t want to lose or miss a kernel because of a cheap funnel.”

Area 419 Master Funnel kit

Tyler Riley answered: “My RCBS bench primer (priming tool). It has a lot more leverage than a hand primer and still has a good feel to how tight primer pockets are. Makes it much easier on my hands to prime large runs, especially new brass with tight pockets.”

Craig Arnzen answered: “My Annealeez [annealing machine] is one of the best tools in my reloading room. Neck tension is SO important, and annealing every firing really helps with that. This is an inexpensive tool that can anneal a lot of cases at once, and help me produce more consistent ammo.”

Josh Temmen answered: “Time is critical for me so my RCBS Chargemasters are indispensable (pun intended.) They cut down on time at my reloading bench while maintaining the weight tolerances required for long range shooting.”

Josh Bartlett answered: “I have my Dillon 650 set up with Whidden floating tool heads to do decapping and sizing on my match ammo. The case feeder and progressive function of the press save me a TON of time when doing lots of several hundred rounds.”

Ryan Brandt answered: “… A quality set of calipers. My reloading room is full of very nice equipment but little does more to satisfy my perfectionism than a good check with the calipers.”

Sierra Bullets

Permalink - Videos, Gear Review, Reloading No Comments »