October 11th, 2017

Measure Shoulder Bump Precisely with Harrell’s Bump Collar

Harrell’s Precision sells “semi-custom” full-length bushing dies for the PPC and 6BR chamberings. While the Harrell brothers do not cut the die to spec, they carry a large selection of dies made with slightly different internal dimensions. When you send in your fired brass, the Harrells choose a die from inventory with just the right amount of sizing (diameter reduction) at the top and bottom of the case. Given the quality, and precise fit, Harrell’s full-length dies are a good value at $75.00 plus shipping.

Bump Measuring Collar
The Harrell brothers provide a nice bonus item with each full-length die — a neat, little shoulder bump measuring device as shown in the photo at right. Hornady/Stoney Point sells a stand-alone tool that does the same job, but the Harrell’s bump collar is simpler and faster. To measure your shoulder bump, simply place the Harrell’s bump collar over the front of your deprimed case (before sizing) and measure the OAL with your calipers. Then size the case in your full-length die, replace the collar and repeat the measurement. You want to set your die so the shoulder moves back about .001″ to .0015″ for most applications. (With semi-auto guns you may want more bump.)

Permalink Bullets, Brass, Ammo, Gear Review, Reloading 3 Comments »
October 10th, 2017

Slick Tricks: Techniques and Tools for Big-Batch Case Lubrication

accurateshooter USAMU Handloading hump day case lube lubrication spray can cartridge brass reloading marksmanship

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 case lubrication. Tasked with producing thousands of rounds of ammo for team members, the USAMU’s reloading staff has developed very efficient procedures for lubricating large quantities of cases. This article reveals the USAMU’s clever “big-batch” lube methods. For other helpful hand-loading tips, visit the USAMU Facebook page on upcoming Wednesdays.

Rapid, High-Volume Case Lubrication

Today’s topic covers methods for quickly applying spray lube to cartridge cases prior to sizing. A typical order for this shop may be 25,000 rounds, so [speeding up] the lubrication process can be a real time-saver. While your ammunition lots probably aren’t this large, the efficient methods discussed here may help save a considerable amount of time over your handloading career. Our case lubrication rates range from 1500-1600 cases per hour, to 2400-2500 cases per hour, depending on caliber.

This shop uses virgin brass, whereas most home handloaders use fired brass, which necessitates some small changes at times. These will be discussed as they arise. Begin with fired brass that has been tumbled clean.

Ensure as much tumbling media as possible is removed from the brass, as when it gets into a size die, it can dent cases significantly. This is a good time to round out dents in the case mouths using a tapered tool to prevent damage from the decapping stem.

First, dump the clean cases into a large box or reloading bin. Shake the bin back and forth so that many cases are oriented with the mouths up. Next, pick up as many cases as is convenient with the mouths “up”, from natural clusters of correctly-oriented cases. With 7.62mm-size cases, this is usually 3-4, and with 5.56mm cases, this can be up to 8-10. Place the cases into the rack slots, mouth-up. Doing this in groups rather than singly saves considerable time. Once these clusters have been depleted, it will be time to re-shake the bin to orient more cases “up.”.

This photo shows a case lubrication rack made by a USAMU staffer.
accurateshooter USAMU Handloading hump day case lube lubrication spray can cartridge brass reloading marksmanship

Naturally, adjust the spacing to best fit the calibers you reload. We have found this size … convenient for handling through the various phases of case lubrication/transfer to progressive case feeders for processing. Note that the 1/2-inch angle does not cover much of the critical case area at the base, just forward of the extractor groove, where most re-sizing force will be exerted. As the USAMU uses virgin brass, less lubrication is required for our brass than would be needed for Full Length (FL) sizing of previously-fired brass.

NOTE: The amount applied using our rack is easily enough for our purpose. If using fired brass, be sure to adequately lube this base area to avoid having cases stick in the full-length sizing die.

Using a spray lube, coat the cases adequately, but not excessively, from all sides. Be sure to get some lube into the case mouths/necks, in order to reduce expander ball drag and case stretching/headspace changes. The spray lube this shop uses does not harm primers or powder, and does not require tumbling to remove after lubing.*

accurateshooter USAMU Handloading hump day case lube lubrication spray can cartridge brass reloading marksmanship

Take a close look at the photo above. The USAMU shop uses a common kitchen turntable, which allows the rack to be rotated easily. We place this in a custom-made box which prevents over-spray on to floors and walls.

Angled Box Method for Smaller Cases to be Neck-Sized
A refinement of the above method which especially speeds processing of 5.56x45mm cases is as follows. A small cardboard box which holds about 100 cases is fitted with an angled “floor” secured by tape. With the smaller 5.56mm cases, usually about 8-10 cases per handful can be picked up, already correctly-oriented, and placed into the box together. This prevents having to place them into the rack slots, saving time.

accurateshooter USAMU Handloading hump day case lube lubrication spray can cartridge brass reloading marksmanship

HOWEVER, note that this does not allow nearly as much lube access to the case bodies as does the rack. For our purposes — neck-sizing and setting neck tension on new brass, this works well. If using this procedure with fired brass, take steps to ensure adequate lube to prevent stuck cases.

As always, we hope this will help our fellow handloaders. Good luck, and good shooting!


*A two-part test performed here involved spraying primed cases heavily, while getting more lube into the case mouth/body than even a careless handloader would likely apply. The second part of the test involved literally spraying considerable quantities of the lube directly into the cases, drenching the primers. After a several-day wait to allow the lube to penetrate the primers, they were then fired in a test barrel. All fired normally; no unusual reports were noted. This bolstered confidence that normal amounts of the lube would not adversely affect our ammunition, and we have been pleased with the results over several years.

Permalink Bullets, Brass, Ammo, Reloading, Tech Tip 3 Comments »
October 10th, 2017

Hunting 101 — Checklist for Hunting Safety

Hunting Safety Checklist family safe hunter
Elk Hunt with Horn Fork Guides, Ltd., in Colorado.

Are you a safe hunter? Go through this checklist to find out. The National Shooting Sports Foundation (NSSF) has created a helpful Safety Checklist for hunters. This Hunting Safety Checklist was produced as part of the NSSF’s “Hunt S.A.F.E.” campaign which encourages hunters (and all firearm owners) to secure their firearms when not in use, and to focus on safe firearm handling and storage. The Hunting Safey Checklist helps hunters follow good, safe practices in the field and at home.

colorado elk hunting winter hunter
Elk photo courtesy Colorado Parks and Wildlife.

“Hunting is a time-honored tradition for many Americans, and the hunting season brings a wave of excitement and activity for all enthusiasts,” said NSSF President and CEO Steve Sanetti. “It’s also a good time of year to remind firearm owners about … safe and responsible gun handling and storage.”

Download NSSF Hunting Safety Checklist for Families

Hunting Safety Checklist family safe hunter

Permalink - Articles, Hunting/Varminting Post comment »
October 10th, 2017

The Company President’s Rifle — Fanciest Savage Ever?

Joseph Falcon Savage Model 1899 99 presentation engraved rifle

This unique Savage 99 rifle was created for Joseph V. Falcon, President of Savage Arms in the 1950s.

Joseph Falcon Savage Model 1899 99 presentation engraved riflePresentation Engraved Savage 99 Rifle
When you run the company, you get some pretty nice stuff — in this case you get what may be the most elegant Savage ever made.

This rifle was created for Joseph V. Falcon, who served as President of Savage Arms in 1956. This highly embellished Savage 99 lever-action rifle is chambered for the .300 Savage cartridge. It features deluxe checkering and gold inlays. This presentation-grade rifle boast deep relief engraving with a golden elk on one side of the receiver and a stalking cougar on the other. This rifle was given to Joseph V. Falcon from his friends at Savage in December of 1967. Falcon later donated the rifle to the NRA. This impressive model 99 is currently showcased at the NRA National Firearms Museum in Fairfax, Virginia.

Savage 99 Quick History
Arthur Savage invented the first “hammerless” lever action rifle with the entire mechanism enclosed in a steel receiver. This rifle featured a rotary magazine with a unique counter that displayed the number of rounds remaining. The Model 99, as it became known, was the gun that launched a company. There is an interesting history of the company’s logo which features an Indian chief in feather head-dress. In 1919, Chief Lame Deer approached Arthur Savage to purchase lever-action rifles for his tribe’s reservation and the two men struck a deal. In return for discounted rifles and support, Savage received the tribe’s endorsement. By virtue of that association, Arthur Savage added the Indian head symbol to the company’s commercial trademark and letterhead.

Permalink Gunsmithing, News 2 Comments »
October 9th, 2017

Bargain Finder 107: 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. B&H — Kowa TSN-501 20-40X Angled Spotting Scope, $349.00

B&H Kowa TSN 501 Compact spotting scope bargain 20-40X

You don’t need to spend big bucks for an effective spotting scope to view mirage. You can get the Kowa TSN-501 Angled Spotting Scope for just $349.00 from B&H Photo. This is a super-compact scope with 50mm objective and built-in 20-40X eyepiece. Though relatively new, the small, light-weight TSN-501 can perform basic spotting tasks effectively. This doesn’t have the resolution of the $1500+ spotters but this is fine for viewing mirage and shot markers. Put the money you save into barrels and bullets.

2. Grafs.com — Caldwell Long Range Target Cam System, $329.99

Amazon Caldwell Precision Long Range Target System Cam Camera
Labradar chronograph

Forum members have purchased this Caldwell Target Cam System and they’ve found that it works reliably, providing a clear signal to any WiFi-enabled mobile device (smartphone, iPad, Laptop). One member specifically tested the unit at 1000 yards and it functioned fine. NOTE: This system does NOT have a zoom camera lens, so you need to position the camera within 10 yards or so of the target. But if you place it to the side a bit, this shouldn’t be a problem. This system comes with a nice, fitted carrying case that holds camera, transceivers, antennas, and stands. You get a very capable system for under $330.00. Graf’s offers free shipping after a flat $7.95 handling charge.

3. WikiArms — Savage A17 Target with Wood Stock, $465.99

Savage A17 Target Laminated Thumbhole 17 HMR

The heavy-barrel, wood thumbhole-stock version of Savage’s popular A17 rifle is probably our favorite factory 17 HMR. That means it’s our first choice for 100- to 200-yard varmint busting. Right now you can get this A17 Target model with laminated thumbhole stock for under $470.00. Trip’s Defense sells it for $465.99, while Classic Firearms has the A17 Target for $469.99. NOTE: If these dealers are sold out, find other vendors HERE: WikiArms A17 Thumbhole Sellers.

Savage A17 target thumbhole 17 HMR

These A17 Target models feature 22″ button-rifled heavy barrels and Boyds’ gray wood laminate stocks. As with all A17s, the wood-stocked Target models feature a case-hardened receiver, chromed bolt with large charging handle, 10-round rotary mag, and user-adjustable AccuTrigger. These rifles boast a delayed blowback action for reliable semi-auto cycling with the 17 HMR cartridge.

4. Natchez — Rock Chucker Supreme Reloading Kit, $249.99

Deals of Week RCBS Rock Chucker Supreme Kit

Everything you see above can be yours for just $249.99, a great deal. Right now, Natchez is selling the Rock Chucker Supreme Master Reloading Kit for $249.99. That’s a great deal considering all the hardware you get. Heck, the Rock Chucker press alone is worth $150.00+. Considering all you get, this is a heck of a deal. The Natchez price is $70-$90 cheaper than many other vendors. For example, MidwayUSA’s price is $329.99 for this same kit!

5. Bullets.com — Norma .22LR Ammo (Match 22 & Tac 22)

Norma Match 22 Tac .22 LR Ammo rimfire ammunition bullets.com

Need quality .22 LR rimfire ammo at an affordable price? Consider Norma. Most folks think Norma only produces centerfire ammo and cartridge brass. As a result, people haven’t been looking for Norma rimfire ammo. Their loss is your gain. Accurate, reliable Norma .22 LR ammunition is in-stock right now at leading online vendors. This is good quality ammo, made in Europe. Bullets.com has Norma Tac-22 ammo in stock at $4.75 per 50-rd box (SKU: BL7819). In addition, Bullets.com offers Norma Match-22 ammunition at $6.50 per 50-rd box (SKU: BL11887).

6. Grafs.com — Hornady Auto Charge, $179.99 + Free Range Bag

Grafs.com Graf Hornady L-N-L Scale Dispenser Sale Discount

Here’s an excellent promo from our friends at Grafs.com. Hornady’s versatile Lock-N-Load Auto Charge™ Powder Scale and Dispenser is on sale for $179.99. And now for a limited time you get a FREE deluxe range bag ($43.99 value) with the purchase of the Hornady Scale/Dispenser. This is a good unit with a nice keypad. NOTE: You can also get the FREE Range Bag when you buy the Hornady Case Prep Center at Grafs.com for $419.99. That’s pretty pricey — getting Scale/Dispenser with the Range Bag is the better deal.

7. Amazon — 630 1″-Diameter Target Spots, $9.65 Delivered

Amazon target dots discount free shipping sight-in target

We use 1″-diameter Target Spots for sight-in and practice at 100-300 yards. These bright red/orange self-adhesive dots are easy to see. At 100 yards the high-contrast black diamond centers provide precise aiming points. We found this 10-pack of target spots on Amazon at a rock-bottom price. You get 630 total stick-on dots for just $9.65 with FREE Shipping. You can also get 360 Birchwood Casey 1″ dots from Midsouth for just $3.15, but shipping is extra. If you’re already ordering something from Midsouth, you may want to add the dots to your order.

8. Home Depot — 72″ Wood Workbench for $77.62

Folding Wood Work Bench Home Deport Reloading

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

Permalink Bullets, Brass, Ammo, Handguns, Hot Deals, Optics Post comment »
October 9th, 2017

Mental Marksmanship — Visualize Success for Better Scores


In this video, Anette Wachter (the 30CalGal) offers tips for shooting from bipod.

Anette Wachter Mental Game VisualizationOur friend Anette Wachter, aka “30CalGal”, stars in a smart video from NRAWomen.TV. In this episode of Tips & Tactics, Anette talks about the “mental game” in competition. Specifically she explains how to “visualize success”:

I have found that a lot of my success in competition has come through what I call a ‘mental rehearsal’. I actually visualize every stage of the match and I visualize the success of the match and winning the match.

I actually visualize that round going downrange into the target, and the target coming up with a dead-center ‘X’. I visualize this over and over. If you visualize success you will achieve success.

Visualization is a process of mental preparation that is done before you get to the range. Many of the greatest shooting champions have used this technique to get ready for big matches, and to optimize their performance during record fire. If you want to enhance your “mental game” through pre-match visualization, we strongly recommend Lanny Bassham’s book, With Winning in Mind.

As a competitive smallbore 3P shooter, Bassham developed a mental management system. Using this system, Lanny Bassham won 22 world individual and team titles, set four world records, and captured an Olympic Gold Medal in Montreal in 1976. His techniques have been embraced by professional and Olympic athletes in many sports. With Winning in Mind covers a complete system of “mental management” techniques used by Olympians and elite champions.


About 30CalGal
Life is short. Go Shoot! — Anette Wachter
Along with being a talented competitive shooter, Anette has her own Gun Blog, 30CalGal.com, and she writes for several gun publications including GunUp Magazine, Shooting Sports USA, Sure Shots Magazine, and Wide Open Spaces. She also designs and crafts custom jewelry items, sold through her AW Collections webstore.

Permalink - Videos, Competition, Shooting Skills Post comment »
October 9th, 2017

TECH Tip: Check Your Primer Tools If You Have Primer Problems

Priming Tool APS CCI magnum Primers Lee RCBS Priming

From time to time, we all encounter a primer that doesn’t go off. It’s normal to attribute the problem to a bad primer. But sometimes there are other explanations. George S., one of our Forum members, experienced a couple failures to fire, but he learned that the issue was his priming TOOL, not his primers. Here’s what George told us. There’s a lesson to be learned:

“I had issues with CCI 450s when I had my first 6BR barreled. I had probably three or four out of 20 rounds that failed to fire. the primers were dented but didn’t fire. I called CCI since I had bought a case of them. The tech was decent enough but had the audacity to tell me I was not seating the primers all the way in the pocket. I proceeded to let him know I had been reloading longer than he had been alive and I knew how to seat a primer.

Turns out that I did and I didn’t! I was using the RCBS primer tool I had used for years and the primers felt just fine to me. I finally decided to check the tool and since I had a new one I took the seating pins out and measured them. The seating pin on the tool I had been using for years was shorter by a few thousandths! I then used the pin from the new primer tool and darned if the primers that didn’t seat down to the bottom of the cup.

I switched to a K&M primer tool for seating the CCI primers and have not had a problem since. It was the combination of harder cup and lack of proper seating. I did call the CCI tech back and apologized for being an idiot.”

Another Forum member witnessed a problem cause by misuse of a priming tool: “I did … see a failure to fire on a Rem 9 1/2 primer only a week ago. That was in the new Rem muzzleloader that uses a primed case to ignite the pellets. After watching the muzzleloader’s owner seat his primers, I believe that it was operator error not the primer. He was seating the primer and then squeezing the priming tool so hard that his hands hurt after a few. We got that corrected.”

Permalink Bullets, Brass, Ammo, Reloading 2 Comments »
October 8th, 2017

Stick, Flake, and Ball — Do You Know Your Powder Properties?

Widener's Reloading Smokeless Powder propellant Guide

Widener’s Reloading & Shooting Supply recently published a helpful introduction to reloading powders. Widener’s online Guide to Smokeless Powders shows the various types of powders, and explains how the differences in powder kernel/flake size and shape, and burn rate affect performance. We recommend you visit Widener’s website and read the Powder Guide in full.

Take a close look at these illustrations which show the key differences between the four main powder types: extruded (stick) powder, ball (spherical) powder, flattened ball powder, and flake powder.

Widener's Reloading Smokeless Powder propellant Guide

Widener's Reloading Smokeless Powder propellant Guide

Widener's Reloading Smokeless Powder propellant Guide

Widener's Reloading Smokeless Powder propellant Guide

Burn Rate Basics

Widener’s Guide to Smokeless Powders also has a useful discussion of Burn Rate (a confusing topic for many hand-loaders). Wideners explains: “While a gun powder explosion in the cartridge seems instantaneous, if you slow it down you will actually find that each powder has a different ‘burn rate’, or speed at which it ignites.” This video shows powders with two very different burn rates. Watch closely.

Different burn rates suit different cartridge types notes Widener’s: “In general a fast-burning powder is used for light bullets and low-speed pistols and shotguns. Medium-rate powders are used for magnum pistols, while high-velocity, large bore rifle cartridges will need slow powders[.]

It should be noted that burn rate does not have a standardized unit of measurement. In fact, burn rate is really only discussed in comparison to other powders; there is no universal yardstick. Specifics will change by cartridge and bullet types[.]”

Permalink Bullets, Brass, Ammo, Reloading Post comment »
October 8th, 2017

F-TR Glamour Gun — Canadian Carbon-Wrapped Stunner

Star Shooter F-TR Carbon Stock Rifle Bipod
Click Image for Large-Screen Version

Here is some serious Sunday “gun glamour” from the folks at Star Shooter Precision, a bipod-builder and stock-maker based in Montreal, Canada. This stunning .308 Win F-TR rifle features a carbon-wrapped Star Shooter stock, angle-adjustable tubular bag-rider, star-shaped escutcheons, and a Kelbly Panda action. Up front is Star Shooter’s signature lightweight bipod.

Click Each Image for Large, Full-Screen Version

Star Shooter F-TR Carbon Stock Rifle Bipod

Star Shooter F-TR Carbon Stock Rifle Bipod

Star Shooter F-TR Carbon Stock Rifle Bipod

Star Shooter F-TR Carbon Stock Rifle Bipod


Star Shooter Montreal Canada Quebec BipodAbout the Rifle Builders
Star Shooter Precision is a company located on the south shore of Montreal, Quebec, Canada. Fred Harvey is the designer. Fred says: “Our goal is to perfect the art of competition shooting the best we can with our custom bipods. The Star Shooter bipod is designed for shooters in F-Class competition, varmint hunting, load testing, tactical shooting and sighting in rifles.”

Star Shooter Montreal Canada Quebec Bipod

Permalink Competition, Gunsmithing 1 Comment »
October 8th, 2017

Download Official U.S. Military Specification Standards (MIL-STD)

Looking for authentic U.S. Military Specification Standards (MIL-STD) for gun parts, safety products, or other hardware? Log on to EverySpec.com. This website provides FREE access to the complete archive of U.S. Government spec sheets and technical manuals. You can quickly access and download thousands of public domain U.S. Government documents. For example, we searched for “Picatinny” and came up with MIL-STD-1913 “Dimensioning of Accessory Mounting Rail for Small Arms Weapons”. With one click we downloaded the file as a PDF. Then a search for “M118″ yielded the engineering drawing for 7.62×51 M118 LR Match ammo. Pretty cool.

Using EverySpec.com is fast and easy. And everything you find and save is FREE. Search as often as you like — there are no limits on search requests or downloads. You can either search by keyword, or Federal Supply Class Code (FSC). CLICK HERE for a complete list of FSCs for all products.

Here are FSCs for a few common product types. Keep in mind that there are hundreds of other FSCs — for everything from Office Supplies (FSC 7510) to Nuclear Projectiles (FSC 1110).

1095 — Miscellaneous Weapons (incl. Knives)
1240 — Optical Sighting and Ranging Equipment
1395 — Miscellaneous Ammunition (incl. Small Arms)
3455 — Cutting Tools for Machine Tools
6140 — Batteries, Rechargeable
6230 — Electric Portable Lighting Equipment
7640 — Maps, Atlases, Charts and Globes
8340 — Tents and Tarpaulins
8405 — Outerwear, Mens

Credit Gunsmith Thomas ‘Speedy’ Gonzales for finding this resource. Thanks Speedy!
Permalink Bullets, Brass, Ammo, Tech Tip Post comment »
October 7th, 2017

F-Open Nat’l Champ Talks Wind Reading and Cartridge Choice

Lodi Wisconsin F-Class National Championship Ian Klemm Robert Mead Jay Christopherson F-TR F-Open Borden Brux
“A big congratulations to Bob Mead (1582-68X), who utterly destroyed the competition in tricky wind conditions to take the Gold.” — Jay Christopherson, 2017 F-Open Nationals Second Place.

In this 15-minute video, Team Lapua’s Erik Cortina interviews Robert Mead, the 2017 LR F-Open Champion. Robert (Bob) discusses his wind reading techniques with Erik, and the newly-crowned F-Open Champ explains how to set up a reliable wind zero. Bob also discusses cartridge choices in F-Open. He admits the straight .284 may be the tightest grouping 7mm cartridge, but he has used the 7mm RSAUM for a decade now. He believes the RSAUM may the best cartridge for 1,000 yards in 7mm, all things considered (grouping ability, ballistics): “To me it’s a light magnum, it’s capable of high speed, yet burns less powder than your regular magnums. [But] it’s a finicky cartridge — you’ve got to do a fair amount of load development.”

Every serious F-Class competitor should watch this video start to finish:

Credit Erik Cortina for video and the photo of Robert Mead with trophy above.

Permalink - Videos, Competition, Shooting Skills Post comment »
October 7th, 2017

Reloading Tip: How to Set Optimal Case Neck Tension

USAMU handloading Neck Bushing Die tension springback interchangeable bushings

Each Wednesday, the U.S. Army Marksmanship Unit (USAMU) publishes a reloading “how-to” article on the USAMU Facebook page. A while back, the USAMU’s reloading gurus addressed a question frequently asked by prospective handloaders: “How much neck tension is optimal, and how should I select a neck bushing size?” The USAMU offers a straight-forward answer, suggesting that hand-loaders start with a neck bushing that sizes the neck so that it is .003″ less than the loaded outside diameter with bullet in place. From there, you can experiment with more or less tension, but this is a good starting point for many popular cartridge types.

USAMU Reloading

Determining Optimal Case-Neck Tension

This week, we examine determining the correct case neck tension for optimum accuracy. Our method is simple, but relies on the use of case sizing dies which accept interchangeable neck diameter bushings graduated in 0.001″ increments. (Those readers using fixed-diameter dies with expander balls aren’t forgotten, however. Methods of tailoring these dies for proper neck tension will be found below.)

In our experience across many calibers, sizing case necks 0.003″ under the loaded-case neck diameter usually yields excellent accuracy. In other words, the sized case neck expands 0.003″ when the bullet is seated.

USAMU handloading Neck Bushing Die tension springback interchangeable bushings

USAMU handloading Neck Bushing Die tension springback interchangeable bushingsBushing Choice for Optimal Sizing
Over the years, we have periodically experimented with increasing neck tension to possibly improve accuracy. In testing with machine rests at 300/600 yards, accuracy often deteriorated as neck tension increased; thus, 0.003″ expansion (from sized neck to loaded neck) is where we usually start.

Using the .260 Remington as an example, our loaded cartridge case necks measure 0.292”. Simply subtract 0.003” from that, and use a bushing that sizes necks to 0.289” (after springback). There are exceptions — sometimes, brass may be a bit soft or hard. Some case necks might need, say, 0.001” more tension, but in general, this works well.

This .003″ standard of neck tension works very well for single-loaded, long range cartridges. Depending on your caliber and firearm, it MAY also work very well for magazine-fed cartridges. If this neck tension proves inadequate for your purpose, one can increase neck tension as needed while monitoring for possible accuracy changes.

Special Considerations for Coated Bullets: If you are using moly-coated bullets, this significantly reduces the “grip” of the case neck on the bullet, and you can expect to have to tighten your case necks accordingly — particularly for magazine-fed ammunition. In any event, we do not crimp rifle cartridges, and advise against it for accuracy handloads.

Tips for Using Expander Balls
Many savvy handloaders avoid the use of expander balls in high-accuracy reloading, if possible. These can stretch cases and/or disturb the concentricity of the case neck vs. case body. If using a die with an expander ball, tapering both ends of the ball and polishing it to a mirror finish can significantly reduce these effects. (Special carbide expander ball/decapping stem sets are available for this as well.)

The typical dies used with expander balls are intended to take any cases the user may find, and size them down well below the ideal “spec” to ensure any cases will give good neck tension. The necks are then expanded up to provide heavy to medium neck tension as the expander ball exits the neck. The brass is over-worked, leading to premature work-hardening, and seated-bullet concentricity may suffer. However, the cartridges produced are perfectly adequate for most handloaders. Those who seek finest accuracy generally prefer not to over-work their brass if possible.

Another Option — Custom-Honed FL Dies
There are companies which offer to convert one’s standard dies to accept neck bushings, and that gives excellent flexibility. Another, more “old-school” approach, is to have the neck of one’s FL die honed out to the desired diameter for sizing, based on one’s case neck thickness. The expander ball may then be reduced until it barely touches the case necks after sizing, or it may be eliminated entirely. However, once performed, this modification is permanent and leaves fewer options than the bushing route, if one later changes case neck thickness.

Those shooters who turn their case necks for optimum neck wall thickness uniformity, or for a tight-neck chamber, will want to take the reduced neck wall thickness into consideration. For example, when setting up a 7mm match rifle to use a standard hunting die without an expander ball, the slightly thinner necks resulted in a perfect 0.003″ reduction in the fired-neck diameter. The result was a low-cost die that fit with custom precision and yielded excellent, match accuracy!

Permalink Bullets, Brass, Ammo, Reloading 1 Comment »
October 7th, 2017

Excellent Factory Ammo Offered by Creedmoor Sports

Creedmoor Sports Ammunition Powder Anniston Alabama

You may not know this, but Creedmoor Sports sells very high-quality loaded ammunition crafted with top-quality bullets and premium-grade Lapua brass for .308 Win and .30-06. We have friends who have shot some of this ammo in .223 Rem and .308 Win, and it is very impressive. The 6.5 Creedmoor ammo is capable of winning PRS matches outright. Creedmoor’s rifle cartridge match ammunition includes:

.223 Rem: (55gr FMJ, 68gr HPBT, 69gr TMK, 75gr HPBT, 77gr TMK)
6.5 Creedmoor: (140gr HPBT Hornady, 140gr HPBT Nosler, 142gr Sierra — all Hornady brass)
.308 Win: (155gr, 167gr, 168gr Sierra, 175gr all in Lapua Brass; also precision hunting in other brass)
.30-06 Springfield: (167gr Lapua Scenar HPBT in Lapua Brass)

Use Coupon Code CS929 to receive Free Ground Shipping on orders over $99!

Creedmoor Sports Ammunition Powder Anniston Alabama

Oh, the beauty of it — all that Lapua brass. From Finland with love….

Creedmoor Sports Ammunition Powder Anniston Alabama

What does 13,005 pounds (6.5 tons) of powder look like? That would last most reloaders a few seasons. Hoarders, eat your hearts out….

Creedmoor Sports Ammunition Powder Anniston Alabama

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October 7th, 2017

Family Fun — Free Printable PDF Fun Targets from NSSF

Sometime it’s fun to take a break from competition and just go out plinking with family members. During plinking sessions, you can try out a variety of non-standard targets — these “fun targets” create more interest, especially with youngsters. Here are six FREE fun targets from the NSSF. These (and other examples) can be downloaded as PDF files for easy, scalable printing. Shown are six fun targets: Alien, Goofy Gopher, Orange Clays, Fish in a Barrel, Cans on Fence, or Bacon Xs. To download any of the targets, right click and “Save Link As”. You can also click on the six targets and they should open up in most browsers if you have the PDF reader installed. Have Fun! MORE Targets HERE.

Orange Clays

Fish in a Barrel

Cans on Fence

Bacon Xs

Download FREE Bullseye Targets Too
The NSSF also offers conventional bullseye-style targets on the NSSF Targets page. Here are two, high-contrast printable targets. With five (5) bullseyes per sheet, these are good for load development. They also work well at short range for pistol shooting.

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October 6th, 2017

Mad Minute Marksmanship — The One-Minute Lee-Enfield Drill

Lee Enfield Mad Minute one-minute rifle drill British Army Gary Eliseo Dennis Santiago
British Lee-Enfield Model SHT’22/IV Rifle, courtesy www.iCollector.com.

Our friend Dennis Santiago was a technical advisor for History Channel’s Top SHOT TV show. One of the notable Top Shot episodes involved the “Mad Minute”, a marksmanship drill practiced by the British Army in the decades preceding World War I. Dennis observed that the Top Shot competitors didn’t fare too well in their “Mad Minute” attempts, not scoring many hits in the alloted one-minute time period. That prompted Dennis to give it a try himself — seeing how many hits he could score in one minute with an authentic Lee-Enfield rifle. So, a while back, Dennis ran the drill at a range in California.

Dennis, an active high power rifle competitor and instructor, enjoyed his “Mad Minute” exercise, though he assures us that this takes practice to perfect. Dennis tells us: “Here is a ‘Mad Minute’ drill, done using a period correct Lee-Enfield (SMLE) No.1 Mk III rifle and Mk VII ammo. I got to the Queen’s Regulations (15 hits in one minute) on the second run and put a good group on the target at 200 yards. This is ‘jolly good fun’ to do every once in a while. This is ‘living history’ — experiencing a skill from a time when the sun never set on the British Empire.”

Dennis Does the Mad Minute

Lee Enfield Mad Minute Mark IV
British Lee-Enfield Model SHT’22/IV Rifle, courtesy www.iCollector.com.

Lee Enfield Mad Minute Mark IVLee-Enfield No. 4 Rifle (1943), courtesy Arundel Militaria.

“Mad Minute” was a pre-World War I term used by British Army riflemen during training at the Hythe School of Musketry to describe scoring a minimum of 15 hits onto a 12″ round target at 300 yards within one minute using a bolt-action rifle (usually a Lee-Enfield or Lee-Metford rifle). It was not uncommon during the First World War for riflemen to greatly exceed this score. The record, set in 1914 by Sergeant Instructor Alfred Snoxall, was 38 hits. (From WikiPedia.)

Want to See More “Mad Minute” Action with a Modern Tubegun?
In 2012, Gary Eliseo ran a “Mad Minute” exercise using a modern, .308 Win Eliseo RTM Tubegun of his own making. Gary ended up with 24 hits on a bull target set at 300 yards. (Gary actually had 25 hits in 25 rounds fired, but the last round hit just after the 60-second time period expired.) Note how Gary pulls the trigger with the middle finger of his right hand. This allows him to work the bolt faster, using his thumb and index finger. CLICK HERE for Eliseo Tubegun Mad Minute story.

Watch Gary Elesio Shoot the ‘Mad Minute’ (Starts at 4:47 on Video)

NOTE: In an interesting coincidence, Dennis Santiago was actually in the pits pulling targets for Gary during Eliseo’s 2012 “Mad Minute” exercise.

History of the Mad Minute
Commentary by Laurie Holland
The original military requirement of the “Mad Minute” saw the soldier ready to fire with a round in the chamber, nine in the magazine, safety on. This course of fire is still followed by the GB Historic Breechloading Arms Association and other bodies in their recreated “Mad Minute” competitions.

The first 10 would go quickly, but reloads were critical, this not done by a magazine change as Gary did with the RTM or in a modern tactical or semi-auto rifle, but through slick use of ‘chargers’. It is this aspect which fouls so many of my colleagues up as it is very easy to cause a jam and a large part of 60 seconds can go in sorting it out!

Charger clips were selected for those that just held the rounds firmly enough to stop then falling out, were sand-papered and polished with a stove / fireplace polish called ‘Zebrite’ so that the rimmed rounds would slip through the clips like corn through a goose.

lee enfield 1916 rifle

If you’re unfamiliar with the cock-on-closing Enfield action, it seems clumsy. With intensive practice it is very smooth and can be operated incredibly quickly. The trick is to whip the bolt back onto its stop and initiate a rebound movement that takes it and the cartridge well into the chamber thereby reducing the effort required to close the bolt and chamber the round.

Permalink Competition, Shooting Skills, Tactical 2 Comments »
October 6th, 2017

Reloading Data Sheets — Download for FREE

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)

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October 6th, 2017

The Firing Sequence — What Happens Inside Cartridge & Chamber

Sinclair International Reloading Videos

Sinclair International has produced an eight-part video series on metallic cartridge reloading, hosted by Sinclair’s former President Bill Gravatt. The entire series can be viewed (for free) via Sinclair’s YouTube Channel. While this set of videos starts with the basics, it covers many more advanced aspects of reloading as well. Accordingly, both novice and experienced reloaders can benefit from watching the eight videos. We think everyone should watch Video No. 2. Introduction to Reloading Safety, which provides guidelines for safe reloading practices.

Watch Firing Sequence Video

We also strongly recommend Video No. 4 to readers who are getting started in reloading. This “How Things Work” segment covers the sequence of events inside the chamber (and barrel) when the cartridge is fired. The video includes helpful graphics that show what happens to the primer, powder, cartridge, and bullet when the round is fired. The video also illustrates “headspace” and explains how this can change after firing. We think this video answers many common questions and will help reloaders understand the forces at work on their brass during the firing process.

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October 5th, 2017

Building a Precision Tactical Rifle — Step by Step on Video

masterpiece arms tactical rifle gunsmithing milling CNC CAD

How is a modern, metal-chassis rifle built? This very cool video from Masterpiece Arms answers that question. The nicely-edited video shows the creation of a Masterpiece Arms tactical rifle from start to finish. All aspects of the manufacturing process are illustrated: 3D CAD modeling, CNC milling of the chassis, barrel threading/contouring, chamber-reaming, barrel lapping, laser engraving, and stock coating. If you love to see machines at work, you will enjoy this video…

masterpiece arms tactical rifle gunsmithing milling CNC CADmasterpiece arms tactical rifle gunsmithing milling CNC CAD

masterpiece arms tactical rifle gunsmithing milling CNC CADmasterpiece arms tactical rifle gunsmithing milling CNC CAD

masterpiece arms tactical rifle gunsmithing milling CNC CADmasterpiece arms tactical rifle gunsmithing milling CNC CAD

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October 5th, 2017

Protect Yourself — Know the Gun Laws in Your State

Gun Law Book states Pennsylvania, Texas, Florida, Oklahoma, Colorado U.S. Law Shield

Do you really know (and understand) the gun laws in your home state? Do you know when the use of deadly force is allowed? Do you know if the “Castle Doctrine” applies in your state or whether your state has a “Stand Your Ground” law in effect? If you ever carry a firearm for self-protection, you should know the answer to these and other important questions. Thankfully there are some excellent, up-to-date resources that explain the gun laws in five key states: Colorado, Florida, Oklahoma, Pennsylvania, and Texas. These gun law treatises, published by U.S. Law Shield, provide the text of important gun laws, along with expert commentary from experienced attorneys. The books provide clear explanations of gun laws in easy-to-understand language.

Gun Law Seminar Programs in Eleven States
In addition to its Gun Law books (offered for five states), U.S. Law Shield conducts legal seminars in 16 states across the country: AR, CO, FL, GA, KS, MD, MO, NC, NJ, OH, OK, PA, SC, TN, TX, and VA. At these Gun Law Seminars, you can ask questions and get state-specific answers from Law Shield Independent Program Attorneys in each jurisdiction. CLICK HERE to find a seminar in your state.

Law Shield Gun Law Texas book Amazon

Law Shield Gun Law Florida book Amazon

Colorado Gun Law: Armed and Educated
Paperback: 394 pages
ISBN-10: 069264072X
ISBN-13: 978-0692640722
Colorado Gun Law: Armed and Educated Digital Download

Florida Gun Law: Armed and Educated
Paperback: 329 pages
ISBN-10: 0692680217
ISBN-13: 978-0692680216
Florida Gun Law: Armed and Educated Digital Download

Oklahoma Gun Law: Armed and Educated
Paperback: 415 pages
ISBN-10: 0692758046
ISBN-13: 978-0692758045
Oklahoma Gun Law: Armed and Educated Digital Download

Pennsylvania Gun Law: Armed and Educated
Paperback: 378 pages
ISBN-10: 069268011X
ISBN-13: 978-0692680117
Pennsylvania Gun Law: Armed and Educated Digital Download

Texas Gun Law: Armed and Educated
Paperback: 382 pages
ISBN-10: 0692506500
ISBN-13: 978-0692506509
Texas Gun Law: Armed and Educated Digital Download


Video Reviews Texas Gun Laws Book:

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October 5th, 2017

How to Clean and Maintain AR-Platform Modern Sporting Rifles

AR15 AR-15 Cleaning bolt grease carbon removal black rifle

We call them “black rifles”, but that shouldn’t refer to all the carbon and gunk on the inside. AR-platform rifles can be maintenance-intensive beasts. But some AR owners make the situation worse by not regularly cleaning important small parts, or by using too much oily/greasy lubricants in the wrong places. A properly maintained and lubricated AR15 can shoot hundreds of rounds (between cleanings) without a problem. If you learn where (and where not) to apply lubricant, you’ll find that your AR will run more reliably and the task of cleaning the bolt and bolt carrier will be less of a burden.

Here is a good video that explains AR-15 Cleaning and Maintenance. In this 30-minute NSSF video, Gunsite Academy instructor and gunsmith Cory Trapp discusses the proper way to clean and maintain the AR-15 carbine. Very knowledgeable, Trapp provides rock-solid advice for AR owners. Along with cleaning producedures, this video explains how to inspect key components and how to function-test your AR before each shooting session.

AR15 AR-15 gun cleaning maintenance

AR15 AR-15 gun cleaning maintenance

AR15 AR-15 gun cleaning maintenance

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