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August 31st, 2021

Hydro-Form 6mm Dasher Brass — Save Money & Barrel Life

6mm Dasher hydroforming case die hornady

Can you form a wildcat cartridge such as the 6 Dasher without expending primer, powders, and bullets? Absolutely. Using the hydro-forming method you can form improved cases in your workshop with no firing whatsoever, so there is no wear on your precious barrel. Watch this video to see how it’s done:

6 Dasher Case Hydro-Forming Demonstration:

Forum member Wes J. (aka P1ZombieKiller) has produced a helpful video showing how to form Dasher cases use the Hornady Hydraulic forming die kit. This includes a two-part die (body and piston), and a special shell holder. To form the case, you insert a primer in your virgin brass, top the case off with with a fluid (water or alcohol), then run the case up into the Hydro-forming die. A few stout whacks with a hammer and your case is 95% formed.

Whidden gunworks 6 6mm dasher hydro-forming hydraulic form die

This same procedure can be accomplished with a Whidden Gunworks 6mm Dasher hydraulic form die. We like the Whidden hydro-forming die for its production quality and consistent results. This Whidden system works great according to our Forum members.

6mm Dasher hydroforming hydraulic 6mmBR hornadyHydro-Forming Procedure Step-by-Step:
1. Insert spent primer in new 6mmBR brass case.
2. Fill with water or alcohol (Wes prefers alcohol).
3. Wipe excess fluid off case.
4. Place case in special Hornady shell-holder (no primer hole).
5. Run case up into Hydraulic forming die.
6. Smack top piston of forming die 3-4 times with rubber mallet or dead-blow hammer.
7. Inspect case, re-fill and repeat if necessary.
8. Drain alcohol (or water) into container.
9. Remove primer (and save for re-use).
10. Blow-dry formed case. Inspect and measure formed case.

Wes achieves very uniform cartridge OALs with this method. He measured ten (10) hydro-formed 6 Dasher cases and got these results: two @ 1.536″; 2 @ 1.537″; and 6 @ 1.538″.

Three or Four Whacks Produces a 95%-Formed Case
With a Whidden or Hornady hydro-forming die, hydraulic pressure does the job of blowing out the shoulders of your improved case. The process is relatively simple. Place a spent primer in the bottom of a new piece of brass. Fill the case with water, and then slip it into a special Hornady shell-holder with no hole in the middle. Then you run the case up into the forming die. Now comes the fun part. You gently insert a plunger (hydraulic ram) from the top, and give it three or four stiff whacks with a mallet (or better yet, a dead-blow hammer). Remove the plunger and you have a 95% formed case, ready to load.

Walter Queen Hydraulic Hornady DieSpecial Shell-Holder
Hornady supplies a shell holder made specifically for the hydro die; there’s no hole in the bottom of it. Just insert a spent primer into the primer pocket and you’re ready to go. The spent primer, combined with the solid shell holder, keeps the water from seeping out of the primer pocket. The primer pushes out a little bit during this process, but it’s impossible for it to come out because of the way the shell holder is designed. The shell holder has a grove which allows the case to slide out of the shell holder even when the primer protrudes a bit.

Permalink - Articles, Bullets, Brass, Ammo, Reloading, Tech Tip 3 Comments »
July 18th, 2021

Sanoski Wins Precision Rifle Challenge Shooting 6 Dasher

6mmBR 6 Dasher Ken Sanoski MDT magazine PRS NRL

Berger-sponsored shooter Ken Sanoski claimed the top spot at the 2021 Hornady Precision Rifle Challenge (PRC) Match, winning the Open Division with the highest overall score. The 2021 Hornady PRC event was held July 9-10 outside of Evanston, WY on Hornady’s private ranch. Sanoski competed with an Exodus rifle chambered in 6mm Dasher with Berger 109gr Long Range Hybrid Target (LRHT) projectiles loaded in Lapua brass (fire-formed to 6mm Dasher).

“The Hornady PRC precision rifle series was exactly what you expect from a national-level 2-day match. Strong winds, small targets, and a stacked field of shooters”, commented Sanoski. “My Exodus Rifles in 6mm Dasher using Lapua fire-formed brass and Berger 109gr LRHTs were the winning combination to put me at the top of the leaderboard.”

Berger’s Long Range Hybrid Target projectiles feature an optimized hybrid-ogive design which easily tunes to your rifle, offers superior exterior ballistics, and high Ballistic Coefficients (BCs). Berger BCs are Doppler-verified with less than 1% BC variation. That verified BC helps make ballistic calculations ultra-precise for a high hit percentage.

6mm Dasher — A Winning Wildcat

6mmBR 6 Dasher Ken Sanoski MDT magazine PRS NRLThe 6mm Dasher has long been a winning wildcat in the 600-yard and 1000-yard benchrest game. This efficient 6mmBR Improved cartridge, with a 40-degree shoulder, has also been adopted by many top PRS/NRL shooters.

The Dasher, quite simply, offers a winning combination of accuracy, low ES/SD, and moderate recoil. You can run a 105-109gr 6mm bullet at a very accurate 2950 fps node (or even higher in some barrels). And with its 40-degree shoulder, the brass is very stable. The cartridge that wins in benchrest now also wins in PRS.

The only downside to shooting a 6mmBR or 6 Dasher in PRS/NRL were issues with magazine-feeding due to the relatively short Cartridge OAL, compared to a 6mm Creedmoor or 6XC. Thankfully, that feeding issue has been solved via dedicated shorter-length actions and redesigned magazines.

As the practical/tactical game has evolved, with low recoil and high accuracy becoming ever more important, many top competitors have moved to smaller cartridges such as the 6mm Dasher and its parent, the 6mmBR Norma. These cartridges deliver outstanding accuracy plus good barrel life. However, the “short, fat” 6BR/Dasher design doesn’t feed optimally in magazines designed for the .308 Win family of cases. But now there is a turn-key solution from MDT (Modular Driven Technologies) — a magazine perfect for 6BRs and Dashers.

MDT Magazine for 6 Dasher, 6mmBR and Short Cartridges
PRS NRL magazine mag 6BR 6mmBr Norma 6 BRA Dasher BRX tactical short cartridge MDT

MDT’s 6mm Dasher/BR magazine fits the parent 6mmBR cartridge and all the popular variants including the 6 BRA, 6 Dasher, and 6 BRX. MDT says this new 12-round magazine is a “one-step solution [delivering] smooth, reliable feeding for the most popular rifle cartridges in precision rifle competitions.”

MDT built this AICS-pattern mag for PRS/NRL competitors and anyone wanting to run 6mmBR-family cartridges in mag-fed actions: “The limiting factor for competitors running 6mm BR variants has been feeding. Until now, the only option has been to purchase an AICS-pattern magazine plus an additional kit to make the magazines work with the shorter cartridges. This solution costs upwards of $100 or more and can require additional tuning to work in most rifles.”

Primal rights PRS NRL magazine mag 6BR 6mmBr Norma 6 BRA Dasher BRX tactical short cartridge MDT

If you can’t afford MDT’s complete $89.99 6mm/Dasher AICS magazine, you can get a mag conversion kit from Primal Rights for half the price — $45.00. This is offered in 4+1 round or 10-round versions. Primal Rights states: “The 6BR AICS Magazine Conversion [delivers] reliable feeding of short standard bolt face cartridges such as the 6BR, 6.5 Grendel, 6 Dasher, and 6BRX. If you have ever tried to run a 6BR [or Dasher] out of a standard un-modified AICS magazine, you were probably met with the same disappointment the rest of us were… unreliable feeding.”

The Primal Rights 6BR AICS Mag Conversion Kit has been tested extensively with 6BR, 6.5 Grendel, 6 Dasher, and 6BRX. For these short cartridges, Primal Rights has logged “thousands of rounds of trouble-free operation” with the Mag mod kit.

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June 27th, 2021

Sunday GunDay: Tennessee Triple — Voldoc’s Varmint Rifles

Varmint rifles 20 BR Stiller Diamondback 6mm Dasher

Shooting Prairie Dogs at extreme long range takes some highly specialized equipment. Forum Member VolDoc and his friends have taken long-range varminting to a whole new level. With his Savage-based, Hart-barreled 20 BR, VolDoc managed a verified 1,032-yard Prairie Dog kill, possibly the longest recorded with a .20-Caliber rifle. But that’s just part of VolDoc’s impressive precision varminting arsenal. Here we showcase three of VolDoc’s accurate rigs: his stunning English Walnut Diamondback 6BR/Dasher, his Nesika-actioned “Orange Crush” Dasher, and the 1K Prairie Dog-slaying 20 BR Savage.

Diamondback Switch-Barrel Rifle Specifications
The action is a Stiller Diamondback, drop-port. The custom stock is similar to a Shehane ST-1000, but crafted from 40-year-old English Walnut. [Editor’s note: the wood on this gun is gorgeous!] There are three barrels for the gun with three different chamberings: 6BR Brux 1:8″-twist HV; 6BRX Krieger 1:8″-twist HV, and 6mm Dasher Krieger 1:8.5″ twist fluted straight contour (no taper). The scope is a Nightforce 12-42x56mm, with 2DD reticle.

Stiller Diamondback 6mm Dasher English Walnut

Comments: This rifle is a good study in comparison of the three different chamberings. On the same rifle platform (same stock and action), each of these barrels had killed prairie dogs over 1,000 yards. So if someone asks which is best, a 6BR, or 6BRX, or 6 Dasher, VolDoc says they are all effective. The improved cartridges will deliver higher velocities, which can be an advantage. On the other hand it is simpler to load 6mmBR brass right out of the box, and it’s easy to find an accurate load for the 6mmBR (see photo).

Stiller Diamondback 6mm Dasher English Walnut

Nesika 6mmBR/Dasher Rifle Specifications
VolDoc’s “Big Orange Crush” rifle has a stainless Nesika ‘J’ action, with 2 oz. Jewell trigger, in a painted fiberglass Shehane ST-1000 stock. Originally a 6BR, the gun is now chambered as a 6mm Dasher with a .271 no-turn neck. The barrel is a 1:12″-twist Krieger fited with Vais muzzle brake. On top is a NightForce NXS 12-42x56mm scope with double-dot reticle. The double-dot gives precise aiming and lower dot can be used as an aming point, when you need a few more MOA of elevation in the field.

Nesika 6BR 6mm Dasher

Comments: Big Orange Crush shoots 87gr V-Maxs into bugholes at 3,400 fps. VolDoc’s load with the 87s is very stout, more than 32 grains of Vihtavuori N-135 with Wolf SRM primers. Cases are full-length sized, with an 0.266″ bushing for the necks.

Nesicka 6BR 6mm Dasher
This 3400 fps load with the 87gr V-Maxs has accounted for hundreds of Prairie Dogs killed from 97 yards to 1,050 yards. The 87gr V-Max at this speed literally picks Prairie Dogs up and throws them 10 feet vertically and laterally. VolDoc reports: “The barrel now has more than 3,000 rounds down the tube and exhibits little throat fire-cracking and no loss of accuracy. I can’t explain why, it just hasn’t deteriorated yet. This rifle is my best-ever ‘go-to’ Prairie Dog rifle.”

Savage 20 BR Rifle Specifications
The action is a Savage Dual Port, with an aftermarket Sharp Shooter Supply (SSS) 4 oz. Evolution trigger. The stock is a modified Savage factory unit that has been pillar-bedded. The factory barrel was replaced with a 28″ Hart stainless, 1:9″ twist barrel fitted with a Rayhill muzzle brake. The gun is chambered in 20 BR with a 0.235″ no-turn neck. Kevin Rayhill did the smithing. To provide enough elevation to shoot at 1,000 yards plus, Ray fitted a +20 MOA Bench Source scope base. This +20 rail is very well-crafted, and made especially for the Savage Model 12.

Savage 20BR

Comments: VolDoc reports: “When I got the Savage back from Kevin Rayhill, it still had my 6 BR factory barrel on it, as I use it to compete in Factory-class regional matches. I put on the new 20 BR Hart barrel Kevin had chambered and quickly put in a full day of load development using the 55gr Bergers (0.381 G1 BC) and the 40gr V-Maxs. Both proved very easy to tune and I soon had my loads. My 55gr Berger load with runs about 3590 fps. Varget was very accurate with the 55s (see load dev. targets below).

Savage 20BR load development targets

The mild recoil of the 20 BR, along with a very good muzzle break (Rayhill’s design) enables me to spot every hit or miss myself. Kevin also re-contoured the underside of the Savage stock so it tracks straight back on recoil, also making seeing hits easier.”

The 20 Caliber 1000-Yard Prairie Dog Quest

Savage 20BRMaking the 1032-Yard Shot with a 20 BR
by Dr. John S. (aka “VolDoc”)
This article covers my recent successful quest for a 20-caliber varmint kill past 1,000 yards. This may be a first — I couldn’t find anyone else with a confirmed 20-Cal Prairie Dog kill at 1000+. I started a thread on the Varmint section of the AccurateShooter.com Forum about building a 20 BR capable of 1,000-yard Minute of Prairie Dog accuracy and many said 20 Cal bullets just could not do it. Some came to my defense and said those that doubted had never studied the ballistics of the 20BR with the new Berger 55gr bullets now available. Well, folks, I can tell you, hitting a Prairie Dog at 1000 yards isn’t easy — but it IS possible. Here’s how it was done….

Gale-Force Winds and High Temps
After arriving at our Prairie Dog Ranch in Colorado, I soon realized my quest was going to be especially difficult because we had continual 40+ mph winds and 100° heat every day. We had a special place where Birdog and I had made many 1,000-yard+ kills in years past, so I knew the ideal location but needed a small window of opportunity either early morning or late afternoon. Based on past experience, I knew I needed about 21 MOA from my 100-yard zero to get to 1,000 yards. On the first day of the Safari, I shot the 20 BR in the 45 mph brutal winds and heat of 97°. But after about 20 shots, I connected on a dog and lifted him about three feet high. Well, that’s a start.

Savage 20BR

Winds Subside — Here’s Our Chance …
On the second day of our shoot, I had listened to the early weather forecast, so I knew that there was to be a brief period of light winds early in the morning. We were out on the Colorado prairie at daylight and the conditions were perfect. The sunrise was at my back and we had about a 10 mph tailwind. I looked through my Leica Geovid Rangefinder Binos and the Prairie Dogs were out for breakfast. I quickly ranged the targets and found a group at about 1,050 yards. The technique is to find the dogs, range them, click-up according to your ballistic chart and shoot.

Savage 20BR

My first shot was very, very close. I added about four clicks up and a couple of clicks left for windage and let another go. That shot threw dirt all over, but the dog didn’t even flinch. This is another good point to remember about long-range Prairie Dog hunting. To be successful, the dogs can’t be too skittish, because if they have been shot at even a few times, they will go down and stay down. So, you should have an agreement with those in your party as to where each member is going to be shooting and respect this boundary. Drive-by shooting style is OK if that’s your thing, it’s just not mine.

Savage 20BRHitting the Mark — Dead Dog at 1032 Yards
On the fourth shot, I saw the dog go belly up and kick its final throws. My quest for the 20-Caliber 1,000-yard Prairie Dog had become a reality. We confirmed the distance with our lasers at 1,032 yards. Our technique for retrieving a dead dog at that range is worth mentioning. When I killed that dog, I left it in the crosshairs of my Nightforce scope. My shooting buddy kept looking through the scope (of my gun) and guided me to the deceased dog using Motorola walkie-talkies. When I got to the dog I was jubilant. I marked it with my tripod and orange jacket, and we took some pictures. (See view through scope photo below). The 55gr Bergers require a center mass hit as they will not expand, especially at that range. I centered this dog in the head — his BAD LUCK, my GOOD.

After making the 1,032-yard kill, I shot many many other Prairie Dogs with the Savage 20 BR using the 40gr V-Maxs. The dog flights were spectacular — red mist and helicopters, counter-clockwise or clockwise on demand. I killed at least five at over 500 yards. I will not use the 55 Bergers on Prairie Dogs again since the quest is over. I will use the 40gr V-Maxs and 39gr Sierra BlitzKings for next trip’s 20 BR fodder.

Savage 20BR

CLICK HERE for More Info on Voldoc’s 20 BR Savage Varmint rifle »

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June 12th, 2021

TEN Shots (100-6X) in 4.554″ at 1000 — Watch This on Video!

Scott Nix Dasher Record

6mm DasherHow well can the little 6mm Dasher perform at 1000 yards when the conditions are good, and the shooter is riding a hot streak? Well here’s a shot-by-shot record of Scott Nix’s 4.554″ ten-shot group shot at the Deep Creek Range outside Missoula, Montana at the Northwest 1000-yard Championship a few years back. All 10 shots were centered for a 100-6X score. That’s about as good as it gets. If Scott had stopped after 5 shots, his group would have been under three inches.

Video Demonstrates Amazing 1000-Yard Accuracy
Watch the video. You can see the group form up, shot by shot. It’s pretty amazing. Scott’s first shot (at the 45-second mark of the video) was right in the X-Ring, and four of Scott’s first five shots were Xs. That’s drilling them! This video was recorded from the pits at the 1000-yard line, during record fire.

Deep Creek Range
The Deep Creek Range in Missoula, MT is one of the nicest places to shoot in the Intermountain West region. The range is located in the mountains within a few minutes drive of Missoula, and there is camping on-site. When conditions are good at Deep Creek, records get broken. To learn more about shooting at Deep Creek, contact Jamey Williams at jameydan[at]gmail.com.

Here is an aerial view of the Deep Creek Range (Drone video by David Gosnell):

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June 5th, 2021

Impact Shooting Videos — Reloading Methods + Product Reviews

Pieter Piet Malan PRS NRL Impact Shooting video channel Youtube

Pieter “Piet” Malan is a South African precision rifle shooter and hunter who has created an impressive YouTube Channel with over 300 videos. While Pieter’s Impact Shooting Channel focuses primarily on tactical PRS/NRL type disciplines, his channel also includes dozens of videos of interest to hunters and anyone who handloads rifle cartridges. We particularly like Pieter’s tech review videos which explain important reloading methods and showcase new products.

Here are four Peiter Malan tech videos. Topics include annealing, hydro-forming, case priming, and how to record video with spotting scopes. As a bonus for you hunters out there, we added Pieter’s latest hunting video, Kudu Hunting Paradise Part 2. After watching that, you’ll probably want to book an African Safari.

Hydro-forming Dasher Brass Using Hammer Method

Fire-forming 6mm Dasher brass can be fairly costly if you factor in barrel life along with the cost of components. If you figure a new 6mm custom barrel, chambered and fitted by a top smith, could cost $650.00 and may only be good for 1300 rounds (in competition), barrel cost per shot is $0.50 (fifty cents). Add the price of a bullet, powder, and primer, and you are approaching $1.00 per round. Given those numbers, it makes sense to hydro-form your 6mm Dasher brass. In the USA, DJ’s Brass will hydro-form and then anneal your cases for $0.60 per case. That’s not much more than the barrel cost per shot alone for fire-forming.

In this video, Pieter Malan explains the hydro-forming process for Dasher brass and shows how he does the job using the mallet method with hydro-forming dies. He shows that it takes some technique (and multiple hammer blows) to get a good result, with a case that will fit in the chamber.

Annealing Cartridge Brass with AMP Annealer

With premium cartridge brass for popular match cartridges now approaching $1.20 (or more) per case, you want that new brass to last. But after multiple firings, even the best cartridge brass will start degrading. That’s where annealing comes in. Proper, precision annealing can restore case-neck consistency, reducing ES/SD and improving accuracy. Some top shooters anneal after every firing to keep their brass in top condition. Others will anneal after every 4-6 firings.

Today with the advanced AMP microprocessor-controlled annealing machine, brass cartridge annealing is easier yet more precise than ever. The AMP Annealer provides advanced electrical induction annealing with ultra-precise temperature control set perfectly for your cartridge type and brand of brass. In this video, Pieter shows how to use the AMP Annealer to anneal 6mm Dasher cases and other cartridge types.

Primal Rights CPS — World’s Most Expensive Priming Tool

Seating primers can be a “dark art”. Many top shooters prefer to seat “by feel” using a hand tool. Others prefer lever-equipped, bench-mounted tools that offer higher work-flow rates and less strain on the hands.

There are many bench-mounted priming options — Forster has a tool, as does RCBS, and Lee. At the top of the heap is the $600 Primal Rights Competition Primer Seater (CPS). This may be the most precise bench priming tool ever created. It is certainly the most expensive at $600.00. But the CPS delivers something special — superb, repeatable depth control, along with the ability to prime up to 1000 cases per hour. For some reloaders, that precision + productivity will justify the high price. In this video Pieter reviews his Primal Rights Competition Primer Seater.

How to Record Video Through Your Spotting Scope

There are many things viewed through a spotting scope that you might want to record for posterity — a successful hunting shot on a game animal, or steel targets being hit in a PRS match. In addition, after a match, it can be useful to study the wind conditions and mirage that occurred during a match. This can help improve your wind reading skills as you watch what unfolded.

In this video, Pieter shows how to mount a smartphone to the eyepiece of a spotting scope with a plastic adapter. This allows you to record, for posterity, what the scope is “seeing”. In addition, this allows the viewer to see the scope’s magnified image conveniently without having to strain into the eyepiece and focus on a very small exit pupil.

BONUS: Kudu Hunting Paradise Part 2 (2021)

Permalink - Articles, - Videos, Bullets, Brass, Ammo, Gear Review 1 Comment »
May 16th, 2021

Sunday GunDay: Dasher Duo for Benchrest and Varmint Matches

6mm Dasher Shehane duo

Chuck’s Pair of Pennsylvania Dashers

The 6mm Dasher wildcat cartridge is very popular among competitive benchrest shooters, varminters, and even PRS competitors. So this Sunday we thought we’d showcase a matched Duo of Dasher rifles belonging to a Forum member Chuck L. (aka “Ridgeway”). The 6mm Dasher began as a wildcat improved version of the 6mmBR Norma cartridge. The Dasher has been very successful in competition, and now factory Peterson 6mm Dasher brass is sold by Grafs.com. (But out of stock currently.)

Chuck has a prize pair of 6mm Dashers for competitive benchrest and varmint matches in Pennsylvania. Both guns feature Kelbly Panda RBLP actions, Bartlein 8-twist barrels, and Shehane Laminated Tracker Stocks. However, the two rifles are not exact twins, as you can see. One, which we’ll call the Big Dasher, is built on a Shehane ST1000 Tracker stock. The other gun, the Small Dasher, sports Shehane’s “Baby Tracker” stock — a design used with great success by Richard Schatz. The Big Dasher, optimized for 1000-yard competition, has a slightly longer freebore — 0.136″ vs. 0.104″ for the Small Dasher.

6mm Dasher Shehane duo

Specifications for the Dasher Duo:

Small Dasher (13.5-pounder): Chambered for 6mm Dasher with approximately .104 freebore and a .264 NK. (No way of knowing exactly since its freebore was set in a separate operation by Kelbly.) Components are: Shehane Baby Tracker laminated stock, Kelbly Panda RPLB action, Bartlein 1:8″ LV barrel at 26 ¾”, Kelbly Rings, Weaver T36, Jewell trigger. The barrel was chambered by Kelblys and the stock was bedded, glued and balanced by a shooting buddy (Forum Member johara1). Chuck clear-coated the stock with auto urethane. Total weight is 13 lbs., 4 ounces.

Big Dasher (1K Light Gun, 17-pounder): Chambered for 6mm Dasher with a .136 freebore and .264 neck (PTG Reamer). Components are: Shehane ST-1000 laminated stock, Kelbly Panda RPLB action, Bartlein 1:8″ HV 5R barrel at 28″, Shehane +20-MOA rings, Nightforce NXS 12-42x56mm, Jewell trigger. The barrel work, pillar installation, and bedding was done by Dave Bruno. The stock was clear-coated by Chuck with auto urethane. Chuck also made the rear butt plate and balanced the rifle. Total weight: 16 lbs., 13 ounces.

Chuck tells us: “I don’t get out shooting competition as much as I want due to time and family, but when I do compete, I shoot a Groundhog match at Southfork Rifle Club in Beaverdale, PA. Info on Southfork Club events can be found at Southforkrifleclub.com. The Southfork match is basically a 100-, 300- and 500-yard match with one sighter the entire match and 5 shots at each yardage for score. The Small Dasher, with the shorter ‘Baby Tracker’ stock, was set up for the Southfork Rifle Club’s ‘Light Unlimited’ class which has a 13.5-lb max weight.” (Editor: ‘unlimited’ is a misnomer for a weight-limited category.)

Chuck adds: “The Big Dasher with the heavy ST-1000 stock is set up for 1000-yard benchrest matches in Light Gun class. I shoot 1K matches with it at Reade Range in southwest Pennsylvania. One ironic thing is, it shoots the same load I’m shooting out of the lighter gun rather well. The only difference between the two chambers is the freebore is roughly thirty thousandths longer on the 1K gun (Large Dasher). I will also shoot this at Southfork in the ‘Heavy Unlimited’ class.”

6mm Dasher Shehane duo

Both Dashers Group in the Ones at 100 Yards
Chuck favors 107gr Sierra MK bullets in both Dashers. Other components are: Reloder 15 powder, Lapua cases, and CCI 450 primers. His main load for the Small Dasher is 33.0 grains of Reloder 15. This load shoots in the ones at 100 yards. For the Big Dasher Chuck reported: “I’m still working on a load, although the same 33.0 grain load shoots in the ones in the heavier gun as well. I’m still looking for more velocity and my ‘max’ node.”

Dasher Brass — Three Options

1. Buy Peterson 6mm Dasher Brass
In years past, you had to create your own Dasher brass, by fire-forming (with or without projectiles), or by hydro-forming. However, Peterson Cartridge recently introduced factory-made 6mm Dasher brass.

6mm Dasher Shehane duo

If you do not want to waste time with fire-forming or hydro-forming, you can look for Peterson 6mm Dasher brass. This is excellent quality brass that has earned stellar reviews from purchasers. The price — $56.99 for 50 cases at Graf’s (i.e. $1.14 per case) — is nearly the same as what you’d pay for Lapua 6mmBR brass, which is $116.99 for 100 cases or $1.17 per case. The advantage is that you save time, barrel life, and you won’t lose any cases to split necks. Peterson brass can be ordered from Grafs.com. Graf’s is currently out of stock, but they should have more in a few weeks.

2. Fire-Form Dasher Brass with Bullets Hard in Lands
Chuck fireforms his Dasher brass for both rifles. Because he has a tighter-neck chamber, he neck-turns the brass first: “To fireform, I turn my cases down to fit the chamber and stop where the false shoulder makes snug contact with the chamber. Fire-forming rounds are loaded up with a 29-grain charge of H4895 or Varget and a 108gr Berger bullet seated hard into the lands about 0.020″ past initial contact with the rifling. It takes about three firings to make a nice clean Dasher case with a sharp shoulder.”

6mm Dasher case fire-forming fireform

Chuck anneals his Dasher brass regularly to help maintain consistency: “I anneal about every 3-4 firings. I have many cases that have about 10+ firings on them and they are still shooting well. The primer pockets are a little looser, but still hold a primer.”

3. Have Darrell Jones Hydro-Form Your 6BR Brass to 6mm Dasher

Darrell Jones DJ's Brass hydraulic hydro-forming cartridge brass 6 Dasher 6mmBR 6BR BRX BRDX
DJ’s Brass can hydro-form a wide variety of cases for a modest fee

6mm Dasher Shehane duoFire-forming all your own 6mm Dasher brass takes time, costs money (in bullets and powder), and consumes precious barrel life. Well there IS a better solution — you can have your new brass hydro-formed by DJ’s Brass to your exact specifications for a $60.00 per hundred, which includes annealing.

DJ’s Brass Service now offers custom case hydro-forming to your exact specs. Darrell Jones offers this service for a variety of popular cartridges: 6 PPC, 30 PPC, 30 BR, 6 BRA (BR Ackley), 6mm Grinch, 6 BRDX, 6 BRX, .260 Ackley, .284 Shehane and of course the very popular 6mm Dasher. After hydro-forming your brass, Darrell can also neck-up or neck-down the cases to meet your needs. He can also turn the necks to your specs for an additional $0.60 per case.

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April 5th, 2021

New Alliant Reloder TS 15.5 Powder — Outstanding Test Results

Alliant powder Reloder Reloader 15.5 TS TS15.5 Temp Stable extruded new Varget replacement

Outstanding New Powder from Alliant — Reloder TS 15.5
New Product Review by DasherDude
Alliant has devloped a new temperature-stable powder for long range applications. According to Alliant, this is a “slower burning version of the popular RL 15 with TZ technology” and brings some significant advantages over RL 15 and powders in the similar burn rate range (like Varget). The powder is named “Reloder TS 15.5″ (RL TS 15.5) and is created using the same TZ technology used in Reloder 16 (RL 16) and Reloder 23 (RL 23) whereby it manipulates the response of the propellant and resists the natural tendency to generate more pressure at higher temperatures and less pressure at lower temperatures. That makes RL TS 15.5 extremely stable across the full temperature range a shooter may encounter.

When Can You Get This New Alliant RL TS 15.5 Powder?
Alliant tells us that new RL TS 15.5 should start arriving on dealer’s shelves by the end of the month. Officially: “We will be putting it into distribution probably in April 2021 sometime”. Remember you heard about this powder here first.

The burn rate of RL TS 15.5 lies between RL 15 and RL 16 making it ideal for loading heavier bullets in .308 Win, 6.5 Creedmoor, 6mm Creedmoor, .223 Rem, and 6mm wildcats such as the 6mm Dasher or 6 BRA (BR Ackley). Being a bit slower than RL 15, new TS 15.5 offers higher velocities for the same charge weight as well as ability to load heavier charges for additional velocity without generating excessive pressure.

Alliant powder Reloder Reloader 15.5 TS TS15.5 Temp Stable extruded new Varget replacement

Testing Reloder TS 15.5 in 6 Dasher and .308 Winchester

I got a chance to test a pre-production powder sample of RL TS15.5 from Alliant. In my own tests with my 6mm Dasher and .308 Win, I extensively compared it with Varget that I normally use in these cartridges. In both cases, the results were nothing short of spectacular.

Powder Characteristics and Metering
This is an extruded powder and looks and feels similar to RL 16. The kernels are about 0.03 – 0.04 grains each (with the resolution of A&D FX 120i scale). RL TS 15.5 meters very well, although I had to slightly adjust the AutoTrickler to get it to meter perfectly.

Alliant powder Reloder Reloader 15.5 TS TS15.5 Temp Stable extruded new Varget replacement

As I found, later in the testing, that the powder compresses before it can generate excessive pressure in the Dasher, a drop tube helps to fill the case more efficiently if higher charges and velocities are desired.

6mm Dasher Test Rifle and Load
For testing I used my 6mm Dasher benchrest match rifle. This has a BAT 3L action, 28″ Krieger barrel, and McMillan stock. I use Lapua brass with CCI 450 primers to propel Berger 105gr Hybrids and this combination shoots quite well.

Test Firearm: 6mm Dasher, Bat 3L, 28″ 6mm HV Krieger Barrel, McMillan Stock.
Components: Lapua fire-formed brass, CCI 450 primers, Berger 105 grain Hybrid
Powder: Alliant Reloder TS 15.5

Alliant powder Reloder Reloader 15.5 TS TS15.5 Temp Stable extruded new Varget replacement

Load Testing and Velocities

Test in 6mm Dasher — Excellent Velocity, Low ES/SD
The testing comprised of shooting groups at 100 yards with increasing powder charges (OCW method) and then selecting a node. That node was found at 33.4 grains. The accuracy was excellent with remarkably low Extreme Spread and Standard Deviation (ES/SD)

My usual load is 32.9 grains of Hodgdon Varget which runs 2925 fps with an ES of around 12 fps and SD around 5 fps. For comparison, 32.9 grains of RL TS 15.5 delivered a velocity of 3022 fps. That is 97 fps greater than Varget for the same load weight (of RL TS15.5).

When used in the 6 Dasher, RL TS 15.5 had ES of 13 for 28 Shots — Remarkable!
Alliant powder Reloder Reloader 15.5 TS TS15.5 Temp Stable extruded new Varget replacement

More Velocity Plus Consistent ES/SD
Alliant powder Reloder Reloader 15.5 TS TS15.5 Temp Stable extruded new Varget replacementWith the Dasher since the new node (the sweet spot) was found at 33.4 grains, that resulted in a velocity of 3050 fps (a 125 fps velocity increase) from the same rifle setup. Not only did the velocity increase, but the SD was lowered to 3.6 with an ES of 13 (calculated over 28 shots). You read that right… 13 fps ES over 28 shots!

At 34 grains without any drop tube, the load was compressed. However, there were no pressure signs. That indicates that the 6 Dasher cartridge can be loaded with a higher charge, if a drop tube was used.

.308 Winchester Velocity Results
Similar results (velocity gains) were obtained from my .308 Win with Berger 200.20X bullets. For the same charge of 44.2 grains, I recorded about 100 fps higher velocity with RL TS 15.5, compared to Varget.

Accuracy Results at 100 and 300 Yards — Very Impressive

How does RL TS 15.5 shoot on paper? Very well indeed.

6mm Dasher Load Testing with Various RL TS 15.5 Charge Weights
The groups on paper told similar stories. For the OCW method, I shot groups of increasing charges at 100 yards and then selected 33.4 grains as the optimum charge (incidentally, it was one ragged hole).

Alliant powder Reloder Reloader 15.5 TS TS15.5 Temp Stable extruded new Varget replacement

While testing at 300 yards, the conditions were very windy but since I was testing for vertical, the point of aim was kept the same for every shot. No attempt was made to correct for wind, so the groups spread horizontally (15 mph, 3 o’clock wind) but the vertical spread of all the groups was under 0.3 MOA. That gives me great hopes for the long-range capabilities of the powder.

Alliant powder Reloder Reloader 15.5 TS TS15.5 Temp Stable extruded new Varget replacement

Thoughts and Conclusions

For the past year, Alliant powders have been a welcome surprise for this tester and they have found a home in my reloading room. I struggled to find a load for my .284 Win with H4831sc and H4350 before trying out Reloder 16 and voila, it was perfect.

I have used Hodgdon Varget powder for a long time in both my 6mm Dasher and my .308 Winchester. With the .308 Win I’ve used various bullets from 168 to 200 grains. Varget has served me well. I do always need to keep the powder charge in check and so the velocities are held back a bit. Now RL TS 15.5 looks like a very impressive competitor to Varget.

With Reloder TS 15.5, Alliant seems to have delivered a harmonious mix of great accuracy, higher velocities, and lower SDs without creating excessive pressure. All of this is delivered with a very temperature-stable package. The higher velocities may allow some shooters to hit a new, better-performing node. These qualities are highly sought after by long range shooters. Accordingly, I have no qualms in saying that Alliant has created a winner here.

Alliant Official Load Data for Reloder TS 15.5

Along with the cartridge types shown below, Alliant has also released load data for .30-06 Springfield, 7x57mm Mauser, .270 Win, .260 Rem, 6.5 Grendel, .257 Roberts, 22-250 Rem, and 224 Valkyrie. CLICK for all data (larger format).

CLICK HERE for PDF with ALL Reloder TS 15.5 Load Data »

Alliant powder Reloder Reloader 15.5 TS TS15.5 Temp Stable extruded new Varget replacement
Alliant powder Reloder Reloader 15.5 TS TS15.5 Temp Stable extruded new Varget replacement

Permalink Bullets, Brass, Ammo, New Product, News, Reloading 5 Comments »
February 21st, 2021

Sunday GunDay: Eight Great Forum Favorite Varmint Rifles

favorite Varmint rifle Sunday Gunday 6BRA 6mmBR Dasher 22-250 20 Vartarg rifle

Spring is coming soon, and that means it’s time to get ready for early varmint season. Here are eight great rifles from our Shooters’ Forum Favorite Varmint Rifles Thread. You’ll see a variety of action types and stock designs, both custom and factory. And we’ve featured a wide range of chamberings, from 17 Fireball up to a .243 Super Rock Chucker (aka 6mm-06). The common factor is serious accuracy. All these rigs are great shooters that have brought smiles to their owners while bringing doom to varmints.

1. Rem 700 in 20-222 — with Birthday Gift Barrel from Dad

favorite Varmint rifle Sunday Gunday Pacnor .222 Remington 20-222 Plain Jane varmint Rem 700 remington rifle

This is proof that you don’t have to spend a fortune to have a great varmint rig. Forum member JDS Holler posted: “Here’s my baby, ‘Plain Jane’. I took a $500 birthday check that my Dad gave me, and ordered a great barrel from PacNor, chambered in 20-222. I got busted up in a fall, and had four months down time to accumulate the components to add to my old .222 Rem 700 donor action. I couldn’t be happier with the outcome. That old Bushnell has been replaced by a Vortex Viper, and this rifle just flat shoots.”

2. 6 BRA with Krieger Barrel from Alex Wheeler

favorite Varmint rifle Sunday Gunday 6BRA 6mmBR Dasher 22-250 20 Vartarg rifle

Alex Wheeler of Wheeler Accuracy knows a thing or two about accurate rifles, having built many match-winning benchrest rifles. For varmint work he likes the 6 BRA (BR Ackley) wildcat cartridge: “My favorite varmint setup is this 6mm rifle with BAT SV action in a Nesika bay varmint stock with a 1:8″-twist Krieger HV contour barrel chambered for 6 BRA. I like the 6mmBR and variants (Dasher, BRX, 6BRA) with zero freebores.” He gets great results with 55-60 grain Sierras and Noslers with H322 powder: “I shot 55 Sierra Blitzking, 55 Nosler Ballistic Tip, and 60gr Sierra Varminter HP. H322 was the best powder. Jam ‘em 10 thou in the rifling — and of them — and man they were like magic.” Alex also feels the 6mm rifles are easier to tune than 22-caliber varmint rigs and the 6mm barrel throats last longer. He often puts an older 6mm match barrel on a varmint gun and it still holds quarter-MOA.

Alex recommends sticking with a 1:8″-twist even when shooting light 6mm bullets. The extra RPM makes the bullets MUCH more explosive on critters: “I’ve done one 1:13.5″-twist and I’ll never do that again. I’m not kidding, with the 8-twist it’s twice as energetic. It can lift those ground squirrels 20 feet in the air. With the 13.5-twist it’s not half that.”

About the Suppressor — The rifle is wearing a “can” in the photo. However, Alex tells us that he now avoids suppressors for most varmint work: “I didn’t like the suppressor — it put off so much heat that the mirage was terrible. With the heat mirage, after 5-10 shots you couldn’t see. I learned my lesson. I pulled that sucker off after the first time I shot it.”

3. 6mm Dasher in Convertible Laminated Stock

favorite Varmint rifle Sunday Gunday 6BRA 6mm Dasher BAT richard franklin laminated stock benchrest Brux hunting rifle

The 6mm Dasher has won many benchest matches, and it’s also an ultra-accurate varminting cartridge. This Dasher belong to Forum member MTLager who posted: “Here’s my baby — 6 Dasher with BAT SV action. First one built. Serial number PT1.” This impressive rig features a tack-driving, 1:8″-twist Brux Heavy Varmint contour barrel. This rig is “Smokin the 75gr V-Maxs” reports MTLager. The stock is very interesting. MTLager explains: “This is a Richard Franklin laminated blank made into a stock by J.T. Barber. It has a 3″-wide fore-end for varmint shooting. But I can change the front to 4″-width and a rear section can be removed.” The angled rear “toe” of the buttstock can be taken off, allowing a flat, straight bottom for benchrest competition.

4. Slick 17 Fireball with BAT Action and Stunning Stock

favorite Varmint rifle Sunday Gunday 6BRA 17 Fireball exhibition-grade walnut V-Max hunting rifle

This rifle is almost too pretty to carry out into the varmint fields. Look at that wood! This handsome small-caliber varminter belongs to Forum member “20 TAC”. Chambered for the 17 Fireball wildcat (.221 Fireball necked down), this rig features a BAT Action, Jewell Trigger, and a custom exhibition-grade walnut stock sporting a true ebony fore-end cap. The checkering is exceptional. Owner 20 Tac report this rig “shoots 20 grain V-Max bullets with H4198 very well.” That’s a Nightforce scope on top.

5. 6mmBR in McMillan Stock with Krieger Barrel

favorite Varmint rifle Sunday Gunday 6BRA 6mmBR Dasher 22-250 20 Vartarg rifle

This website stated 17 years ago as 6mmBR.com, so we had to include a classic 6mmBR Norma in today’s varmint rifle line-up. Forum member Powderbrake posted: “Here is my favorite varmint rifle — [a 6BR with] Stiller Predator V RBLP action, bedded in a McMillan stock.” This accurate varminter features a 1:8″-twist 6mm Krieger barrel and Jewell trigger. Up top is a Nightforce NXS 8-32x56mm scope. Below are the owner’s key gear items: Leica Laser-Rangefinding Binoculars, Smartphone with Applied Ballistics software, and Kestrel Weather Meter. Powderbrake told us he recently upgraded to a Model 5700 Kestrel with ballistics software and LiNK. (Editor: The $399.00 Kestrel 5700 has ballistics software, but if you want the full Applied Ballistics suite, order the $699.00 Kestrel 5700 Elite).

6. Efficient 20 Vartarg for Prairie Dog Adventures

favorite Varmint rifle Sunday Gunday 6BRA .243 Win Urban Rifleman hunting rifle south dakota

The .20 Vartarg is based on the .221 Fireball case, necked down to .204 and slightly modified for extra capacity. This very efficient cartridge offers low recoil and great accuracy. It’s one of our first choices for ground squirrels and P-dogs out to 300 yards. 20 Vartarg here belongs to Forum Member DogBuster, an avid varminter based in Utah. He posted: “If I recall, I had a hot spot in this location — probably kilt 150+ prairie dogs that morning. The hay wagon helped too, offering added elevation.”

7. Long-barrel SAKO Action Varminter in .243 Super Rock Chucker

favorite Varmint rifle Sunday Gunday 6BRA .243 .25-06 super rock chucker sierra bullets Prairie dog hunting rifle south dakota

Here is another .243 wildcat, chambered for the .243 “Super Rock Chucker”. This long-barreled rig belongs to Forum member MikeGaiz. The rifle features a SAKO action fitted with a 30″ Kreiger barrel chambered for the .243 Super Rock Chucker. From what we have read, the .243 Super Rock Chucker is a .25-06 cartridge necked down to .243 (6mm). Yes this is a barrel burner, but it can definitely “reach out and touch” varmints at VERY long range. Owner Mike reports hits at 1275 yards on prairie dogs in South Dakota. This cartridge drives Sierra 6mm 85gr HPBTs at 3440 FPS. That’s serious speed for an 85-grainer.

8. AR-10 Custom in .243 Winchester

favorite Varmint rifle Sunday Gunday 6BRA .243 Win Urban Rifleman hunting rifle south dakota

Forum Member Urban Rifleman calls this .243 AR10-platform rifle the “Goblin Killer”. This Gen 2 DPMS rifle features a Craddock Precision Bartlein 1:8″-twist 5R barrel chambered in .243 Winchester with a Tubb assymmetrical muzzle brake. Up front is the unique Tubb Bipod which reduces hop. The buttstock is a Magpul PRS Gen 2. The scope is a Leupold VX-3i LRP 6.5-20x50mm FFP TMR. We’re told this rig “will easily shoot 1/2 MOA, sometimes much smaller”.

favorite Varmint rifle Sunday Gunday 6BRA .243 Win Urban Rifleman hunting rifle south dakota

Urban Rifleman produces a variety of great gun accessories sold through TheUrbanRiflemanStore.com. That green grip is his Urban Rifleman/Tubb ergonomic grip.

Parting Shot from Groundhog Country, SW Pennsylvania

favorite Varmint rifle Sunday Gunday 22-250 Remington 40 XB tripod varmint rifles
This nice tripod with rifle mount (and Rem 40XB 22-250 on top) belongs to Forum Member Snert.

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June 21st, 2020

Sunday GunDay: Father & Son Compete at 1000 Yards Together

Trystan Shawn Williams Deep Creek Montana 1000 yards
Young Trystan Williams with father Shawn Williams competing at recent 1000-yard Match at Deep Creek Range near Missoula, Montana.

For Father’s Day 2020, we feature a father and son duo who showed their skills at 1000 yards at the Deep Creek Range outside Missoula, Montana. Representing the younger generation, Trystan Williams drilled a 3.205″, 46 score 5-shot group on his first-ever target shot in his first-ever match. That represents 0.305 MOA at 1000 yards! Trystan’s 6mm Dasher IBS Light Gun was built by his father, Shawn Williams of North Ridge Rifles. Both father and son were competing at an IBS match held June 13-14, 2020.

Trystan Shawn Williams Deep Creek Montana 1000 yards

Deep Creek 1000-Yard IBS Match — June 13-14, 2020
Report by Alex Wheeler
We are back to shooting after the draconian measures taking by our state have been lifted for the most part. Our regular match 7 and 8 where held as scheduled as well as a make-up match for match #2 which was canceled in March. Conditions for the weekend where variable, ranging from very good, low winds and mirage, to extreme wind and thunderstorm warnings. Surprisingly, as conditions worsened on Sunday and scores went down, some still managed very respectable groups.

One of the main highlights of the weekend was the shooting by 11-year-old Trystan Williams. This was Trystan’s very first time shooting in a match. His first 1000-yard Light Gun target ever was a 3.205″ 46 score. Trystan backed that up with a couple more excellent targets, a 3.143″ 46, and a 3.819″ 47. Trystan shot his own tuning targets Friday before the match and helped his Father Shawn Williams load the ammunition for the match. Shooting talent runs in the family, with father Shawn shooting back to back 4″, 10-shot groups in Heavy Fun class and Uncle Jim shooting three, 50-point scores in a row in LG class. An interesting note, Trystan shot some of the new Alpha Dasher brass on some targets, using his 6mm Dasher. Internal volumes are different than Lapua, requiring different powder charges, but accuracy seems to be on par.

Trystan Shawn Williams Deep Creek Montana 1000 yards

Ultra-Accurate 6mm Dasher Built by Dad
Trystan’s rifle features a 1.550″ BAT B dual-port action and Krieger 1:8″-twist HV barrel chambered in 6mm Dasher. The action is pillar-bedded in a wood laminate Deep Creek Tracker stock. Trystan shot off of a SEB NEO coaxial rest. Father Shawn Williams, a talented gunsmith, built Trystan’s rifle. Shawn is the owner of North Ridge Rifles in Helena, Montana.

Looking back at the firing line from behind the 1000-Yard Targets at Deep Creek.
Deep Creek Montana

Top-Performing Bullet Options for the 1000-Yard Game
V-Tac 103gr bullets from Vapor Trail have been performing very well this year. Trystan was shooting them, as well as Jim Williams and James Bradley. James shot the smallest group of the weekend, a 2.551″ 50 score with sorted V-Tacs in his 3-lug BAT action. James says they sort like a good lot of Bergers and they can’t be beat for the price. Even with the excellent custom bullets we have, you can still compete with a good lot of Bergers. Chris Bosse shot a 3.986″ 100 score in HG with his 6.5×47 Lapua on a Borden action and custom stock. He was jumping 140gr Berger Hybrids. Eight of those ten shots on the target went into a mid-two-inch cluster. That’s impressive.

Trystan Shawn Williams Deep Creek Montana 1000 yards Tom Mousel

Tom Mousel (shown above) had a very good weekend, winning group in each class he entered. Sweeping all three Lignt Guns matches. Tom was part of the development process of Roy Hunter’s impressive 103A bullet and Tom used them in all three of his rifles this weekend. Tom reports that tuning is key. Tom does full load development with every barrel, even if they are chambered the same. This weekend all three of Tom’s barrels were running a different powder charge, seating depth, and primer. Lesson here — every barrel is unique, so each needs its own load development process.

Trystan Shawn Williams Deep Creek Montana 1000 yards

It was great to see some good groups and scores, as well as see some new shooters and out of state shooters travel to the match. We’re all Looking forward to the next match at Deep Creek. CLICK HERE for Match Results (ZIP file).

Deep Creek Montana 1000 yard range
Deep Creek 1000-yard line: 46°55’35.03” N 114°14’45.40” W, elevation 3355′.

New Long Range Benchrest Trend — Loading at the Range
Loading at the range has become common practice at Deep Creek. While that load method is the norm for short-range Benchrest, it’s still uncommon in long range disciplines. Montana has very drastic weather changes on a daily basis and it’s unrealistic to expect a rifle to stay in tune though those changes. It’s tough to come pre-loaded and beat the guys loading at the range. You are relying on luck that the tune will not change. It does take a little more effort to bring all your gear. But in my opinion, the pay-off is worth the effort. Like many things in life, you get out what you put in. Loading at the range does provide a step forward in accuracy and that’s what Benchrest competition is all about. — Alex Wheeler

Trystan Shawn Williams Deep Creek Montana 1000 yards

Here is a birds-eye view video of the Deep Creek Range, taken with an aerial drone.

Trystan Shawn Williams Deep Creek Montana 1000 yards

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June 20th, 2020

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 2 Comments »
May 23rd, 2020

How to Hydro-Form Cartridge Brass — Dasher Video

6mm Dasher hydroforming case die hornady

Can you form a wildcat cartridge such as the 6 Dasher without expending primer, powders, and bullets? Absolutely. Using the hydro-forming method you can form improved cases in your workshop with no firing whatsoever, so there is no wear on your precious barrel. Watch this video to see how it’s done:

6 Dasher Case Hydro-Forming Demonstration:

Forum member Wes J. (aka P1ZombieKiller) has produced a helpful video showing how to form Dasher cases use the Hornady Hydraulic forming die kit. This includes a two-part die (body and piston), and a special shell holder. To form the case, you insert a primer in your virgin brass, top the case off with with a fluid (water or alcohol), then run the case up into the Hydro-forming die. A few stout whacks with a hammer and your case is 95% formed.

6mm Dasher hydroforming hydraulic 6mmBR hornadyHydro-Forming Procedure Step-by-Step:
1. Insert spent primer in new 6mmBR brass case.
2. Fill with water or alcohol (Wes prefers alcohol).
3. Wipe excess fluid off case.
4. Place case in special Hornady shell-holder (no primer hole).
5. Run case up into Hydraulic forming die.
6. Smack top piston of forming die 3-4 times with rubber mallet or dead-blow hammer.
7. Inspect case, re-fill and repeat if necessary.
8. Drain alcohol (or water) into container.
9. Remove primer (and save for re-use).
10. Blow-dry formed case. Inspect and measure formed case.

Wes achieves very uniform cartridge OALs with this method. He measured ten (10) hydro-formed 6 Dasher cases and got these results: two @ 1.536″; 2 @ 1.537″; and 6 @ 1.538″.

Three or Four Whacks Produces a 95%-Formed Case
With a Hornady hydro-forming die, hydraulic pressure does the job of blowing out the shoulders of your improved case. The process is relatively simple. Place a spent primer in the bottom of a new piece of brass. Fill the case with water, and then slip it into a special Hornady shell-holder with no hole in the middle. Then you run the case up into the forming die. Now comes the fun part. You gently insert a plunger (hydraulic ram) from the top, and give it three or four stiff whacks with a mallet (or better yet, a dead-blow hammer). Remove the plunger and you have a 95% formed case, ready to load.

Walter Queen Hydraulic Hornady DieSpecial Shell-Holder
Hornady supplies a shell holder made specifically for the hydro die; there’s no hole in the bottom of it. Just insert a spent primer into the primer pocket and you’re ready to go. The spent primer, combined with the solid shell holder, keeps the water from seeping out of the primer pocket. The primer pushes out a little bit during this process, but it’s impossible for it to come out because of the way the shell holder is designed. The shell holder has a grove which allows the case to slide out of the shell holder even when the primer protrudes a bit.

Story tip from Body Allen. We welcome reader submissions.

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May 19th, 2020

DIY Brilliance — Forum Member Builds His Own Front Rest

AKShooter front rest F-Class Dasher 6mm Alaska
AKShooter front rest F-Class Dasher 6mm Alaska

AKShooter front rest F-Class Dasher 6mm AlaskaYou have to admire someone with serious do-it-yourself skills. Not just hammer and nail skills, but formidable design and fabrication skills. Well Forum Member Dave D. (aka “AKShooter”) has a DIY skill set that might put some trained machinists to shame. You see, “DIY Dave” crafted his own pedestal front rest from scratch, using his own design and about $100.00 in materials (not counting the Edgewood front bag). Dave estimates he put 20 hours of labor into the project, but the end result was worth it: “This Do-It-Yourself rest drives like a dream. I’ve played with the Caldwell and a Sinclair, they have nothing on this one.”

Dave tells us: “Here is my Do-It-Yourself front rest. I wanted to show other folks who are handy that a solid front rest is doable with a bit of time — and you don’t need to spend $1000.00. (You could say this is a design for shooters with more time than money.) This is for F-Class. I was originally overwhelmed by the equipment needed, so I decided to make my own rest. I didn’t have the money for a SEB or Farley Coaxial. This is what I’ll run this season (my second as an F-Class competitor).”

We asked Dave what equipment was used to make the rest. He explained: “My brother has a CNC cutter. But most water-jet outfits would do the work for $100 or less. All the plates are tapped and screwed. I found small machine screws on eBay.” Dave says there are other ways to build a front rest: “You could do the same with a welder and plate stock for base. It’s easier to do the top out of aluminum though, with all the tapping.”

Dave enjoys fabricating his own gear, but he admits the process can be time-consuming: “I’m a DIY guy. Sometimes I wrap up a project and wonder why the heck I just spent X amount of time on it.” Dave has other projects in the works: “Another option we are making for a friend is taking a cheap front rest and bolting to a 3/4″ thick, wide MDF base and adding additional adjustment screws. The hardware store is your friend!”

On the competition front, Dave is tuning up a 6mm Dasher: “My rifle last year was a .260 Rem Savage repeater. I was about middle of the pack in my group of shooters. Just went with unsorted Bergers and Lapua brass, and had a ton of fun. Now I’m in — hook, line, and sinker. I have an unfired 6 Dasher barreled action from the folks at Kelbly’s to break in. I’m cheap, so I ended up with a Do-It-Yourself stock for the Dasher.” Hopefully Dave will send us a photo of his DIY-stocked Dasher when the gun is dialed-in and “ready to rumble”.

Permalink Gear Review, Tech Tip 2 Comments »
December 13th, 2019

Save Time and Barrel Life with Professional Case Hydro-Forming

Darrell Jones DJ's Brass hydraulic hydro-forming cartridge brass 6 Dasher 6mmBR 6BR BRX BRDX
Along with these popular cartridge types, DJ’s Brass can hydro-form 6 PPC, 30 PPC, 6 BRA, 30 BR, .260 AI, .284 Shehane and other wildcats.

Do you shoot a popular wildcat (such as the 6 BRA), but hate the hassle of fire-forming all your own cartridge brass? That takes time, costs money (in bullets and powder), and consumes precious barrel life. Well there IS a better solution — you can have your new brass hydro-formed to your exact specifications for a reasonable cost.

DJ’s Brass Service now offers custom case hydro-forming to your exact specs. Darrell Jones offers this service for a variety of popular cartridges: 6 PPC, 30 PPC, 30 BR, 6 BRA (BR Ackley), 6mm Grinch, 6 BRDX, 6 BRX, .260 Ackley, .284 Shehane and of course the very popular 6mm Dasher. After hydro-forming your brass, Darrell can also neck-up or neck-down the cases to meet your needs. For example, if you shoot a 22 Dasher, Darrell can hydro-form the cases to a 6 Dasher and then neck them down to .22 caliber. He can also turn the necks to your specs (for an additional charge).

» CLICK HERE for MORE INFO on Hydro-Forming Cartridge Brass

Darrell Jones DJ's Brass hydraultic hydro-forming cartridge brass 6 PPC 6PPC 6 Dasher 6mmBR 6BR BRX BRDXDarrell is a hydro-forming wizard who has perfected the process over the last couple of years. He has learned a few special techniques along the way to ensure uniform case-forming.

Without revealing any trade secrets, we can say the Darrell has very special dies and Darrell doesn’t use a mallet or hammer — he has a system that is much more consistent. Darrell tells us: “Many of my customers take this brass and load it ‘as is’ and go straight to a match and shoot some very nice groups.”

With Darrell’s hydro-forming service you don’t have to buy any special dies or other equipment. Darrell says: “Simply send me the brass you need or have it dropped-shipped to me along with a fired case that has not been sized. If you need formed brass for a new build (gun not yet fired), let me know and I will size the brass to fit within .001 of a PT&G GO gauge.”

Hydro-forming by Darrell costs $0.60 (sixty cents) per case with a minimum order of $60. Neck-turning is an additional $0.60 (sixty cents) per case (or $0.75 for magnums) plus actual return shipping. The turnaround is usually less than five days.

NOTE: After cases are hydro-formed by Darrell, every case is washed, cleaned and re-annealed. This cleaning and annealing process is included in the $0.60 (sixty cents) per case price — that’s all part of the Hydro-forming service.

For more information, visit DJsBrass.com, or call Darrell at (205) 461-4680. IMPORTANT: Contact Darrell for shipping instructions BEFORE sending brass for processing. In a hurry, don’t have time? Just call Darrell and he’ll make something work for you.

DJs Brass hydro-forming

Hydro-Forming Customer Reports

Here are testimonials from recent customers.

“Recently had Darrell Jones of DJ’s Brass Service hydro-form 6 BRX brass for me. The turn around time was very fast and the brass was to the exact specification I ask for. I actually shot the hydro-formed brass in a match [without further fire-forming]. It shot a 3.597″ — pretty amazing. Let DJ do the work for you!” — Mike Wilson (3 Time IBS Record Holder; 2013 and 2014 1000-yard IBS Shooter of the Year.)

“Darrell Jones of DJ’s Brass Service went far beyond the call of duty, to assist me [with my first] IBS match. I have had an interest in 1000-yard competition for many years and finally got the opportunity to try it. After researching the winning competitors, rifles, and rounds I ordered a Panda action with Krieger barrel in 6mm Dasher from Kelby’s. It was one week before the match and I had a rifle and no rounds. I contacted Darrell to hydraulically form 6mm Dasher from Lapua 6mm BR brass. He formed the brass and had it in the mail the next day[.] Since I have only reloaded for hunting or magazine fed rifles I was not familiar with proper seating to allow land engagement of the bullets for 1000-yard accuracy. Darrell took the time to advised me every step of the way to allow me to shoot a 3.158″ (5) shot group to win my first round of my first competitive match ever.” — Mike Youngblood

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October 6th, 2019

Sunday GunDay: Chris Nichols’s 600-Yard Light and Heavy Guns

IBS Benchrest Chris Nichols Heavy Gun Record HG aggregate north carolina
Chris Nichols with potential world record (1.297″ 4-Target Agg) Heavy Gun Targets!

Report by Bart Sauter, Bart’s Custom Bullets
Chris Nichols is one of the best 600-yard shooters in the game. This 2019 season he compiled one of the most impressive mid-range benchrest seasons ever. Check out the stats — Chris’s nine-match, Two-Gun Group Aggregate (Agg) for the year is 1.983″! That’s under two inches average at 600 for 72 record targets fired in competition. Many 600-yard shooters aspire to shoot a single, 4-target Agg that measures 1.983″, but doing that for 72 targets is amazing!

And of the nine matches Chris shot, he took SIX Overall Two-Gun wins — a 67% win ratio. And in the process Chris also shot what is possibly the smallest 4-target Heavy Gun Agg ever recorded — 1.297 inches. Hey readers — that Agg works out to 0.206 MOA average group size — well under quarter-MOA for four, 5-shot groups at 0.34 MILES (600 yards)!

IBS Benchrest Chris Nichols Heavy Gun Record HG aggregate north carolina
Chris with 0.665″ group at 600 yards. This is the smallest HG group fired in the IBS in 2019.

The Equipment: 6mm Dasher Light Gun and Heavy Gun
Chris likes to run 1.550 stainless steel Bat “B” actions, Jewell triggers, Brux or Bartlein barrels. He prefers wooden stocks as he feels they produce a better resonance for Long Range rifles. Chris has his own stock design crafted by Johnny Byers. Imagine a Wheeler LRB stock front half mated with an McMillan ST 1000 rear section and you have Chris’ stock! It features a Wheeler-type, 4″-wide fore-end with an ST 1000 low-comb profile in the back. Both Light Gun and Heavy Gun sport Vortex 15-60x52mm Golden Eagle scopes mounted with Harrell’s double screw tall rings. Chris does NOT use either muzzle brake or tuner.

IBS Benchrest Chris Nichols Heavy Gun Record HG aggregate north carolina
Here is Chris at his home range with his Light Gun (17 lbs. max).

Chris Nichols’s Heavy Gun is a true heavy coming in at around 42 pounds. It was responsible for the HG Agg of 1.297″ (potential new world record). His season-long aggregate with his Heavy Gun was 1.861″ for 36 targets! This rifle has similar components as his Light Gun, except the barreled action rides in a barrel block in a McMillan HBR 50 BMG stock.

IBS Benchrest Chris Nichols Heavy Gun Record HG aggregate north carolina

Both rifles ride a top of a Sinclair competition rest with a Protector DR Flat Top rear bag. When Chris goes to HG gun he simply switches tops (made by Daniel Greenlaw) on his front rest to accommodate the larger forend. As Chris says ,” This keeps things simple and exactly the same. ” Just the way he likes it.

Reloading for the 6mm Dasher
Chris’s load choice for both LG and HG is Hodgdon Varget pushing 105gr Berger VLDs. He uses CCI 450 primers, seated with an old Lee hand primer. When it comes to reloading, Chris likes to keep things as simple as possible. “If people saw me reloading they’d probably laugh!” Chris revealed that he doesn’t anneal or clean his cases. He just sprays them down with Hornady One Shot Case Lube, resizes, then runs a brush down the necks, and cleans the primer pockets. The only cleaning his cases get is when he wipes the lube off of them. Chris WILL trim and chamfer as needed.

Chris says seating consistency is critical — he uses a K&M Arbor press with force dial indicator. I asked if there were certain numbers he looks for when seating. Chris replied, “I’m only concerned with consistency and not a certain number, 5 pounds or 60 pounds. It doesn’t matter as long as they are the same. I take what the brass gives me.”

Tuning the 6mm Dasher for Record-Setting Accuracy
I asked Chris what was special about his Dasher and how he kept it tuned and so competitive? His reply is something all shooters should pay careful attention to: “[Success] starts with having a good reamer, bullets and barrels. But more than that, it’s KNOWING your Cartridge, KNOWING your bullets, and KNOWING your barrels! I’ve shot it so much I just know what to do. I’m comfortable with it. I know how to get it to shoot and when it’s not, I have a pretty good idea how to get it back in tune. Once you know your equipment, then you can learn how to get the most out of it.”

IBS Benchrest Chris Nichols Heavy Gun Record HG aggregate north carolina

Chris has a range at his house and he tunes at 300 yards. He looks for consistent, 300-yard 5-shot groups of 0.600″ or less! He wants to see nice round groups! Not groups with four in and one out or vertical strings. Chris starts by finding “touch” (to the lands) then he moves the bullets .002″ off the lands and begins tuning. Chris has found that usually somewhere around .008-.012″ off the lands is where his Berger 105gr VLDs shot best. I asked Chris what’s the biggest factor contributing to his success? He said, one big thing was that he can do his own work. That’s a huge advantage.

Look for Accuracy First, Velocity Second
Early on Chris had it in his mind that for a 6mm Dasher to shoot best he needed to achieve a certain velocity range — 2990 to 3030 FPS. The problem was he wasn’t paying attention to what the target was telling him. He’d get to the speed he was looking for but the accuracy wasn’t there. Once he started slowing the speeds down and giving the barrel what it wanted, then the accuracy came! Also with the slower speeds came better consistency.

Chris Nichols’s Tuning Tips for 6mm Dasher:

• Take consistency over speed.
• Only change one thing at a time and run it to the ground.
• Every barrel is a little different, so give it what it wants.
• Pay attention to what your target is telling you.
• Don’t be afraid to REDUCE your powder load.

Chris Nichols’s Advice for New Shooters
Chris says the best thing a new shooter can do is align themselves with knowledgeable people, and if they will talk, listen! Next, be ready to buy the best equipment or be ready to buy it twice. Chris also says: “Don’t cheap-out on sighters. Sighters need to be just as good as your record rounds.”

In the Beginning — Learning the 600-yard Benchrest Game
Chris’s shooting career began in 2012. His first win came in 2014. He was shooting beside guys like Sam Hall, Larry Isenhour, Mike Hanes, Jeff Godfrey James Coffey, and Chad Jenkins, who are very tough competition indeed. He said when he won he was ecstatic and he’ll never forget it! That first trophy had him feeling like he’d just won the Nationals! Chris shot a 6BR for the first two years of his career, before switching to the 6 Dasher. I asked him why he switched? He said, “guys were starting to shoot the Dasher and winning with it!”

I asked Chris if he had a mentor and he said, “not really”. He learned by watching the guys who consistently finished Top 5 at matches and occasionally asked them a question. Not two questions, just one! Chris didn’t want to push his luck by asking too much. Then Chris would take that information and test it and apply it to his own shooting. Chris says, “he learned mainly by the ‘school of hard-knocks’. The good thing about learning that way is it sticks with you!”

Chris Nichols 2019 600-Yard Win List and Statistics

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September 8th, 2019

Sunday GunDay: 6mm Dasher Winner From Forum Classifieds

Bob A. 6mm Dasher Sacramento F-Class March Madness

With the 6mm Dasher cartridge becoming popular with PRS/NRL competitors as well as the benchrest crowd, we thought it was time to re-visit a special rifle chambered for the 6mm Dasher wildcat. This gun has a great story behind it. Forum member Bob A. (aka “Killshot”) used his “Forum Classifieds Special” to beat all comers in the F-Class Division in the American-Canadian Match and the Long Range Regional Match in 2013 in Sacramento, CA.

Bob’s 6mm Dasher sports a blue-printed Rem 700 action. Who says you need a high-dollar custom action to run with the big dogs? In fact, this same gun, built with components sourced from AccurateShooter Forum Classified Ads, set a Sacramento F-Class range record of 200-17X a few years back. In this story, Bob talks about the build, and he explains his methods for loading ultra-accurate Dasher ammo.

Bob A. 6mm Dasher Sacramento F-Class March Madness

Bob’s Budget-Build Dasher F-Classer
I wanted to build a proper rifle for F-Open but needed to keep it simple and, well, cheap. I found a solid “base” to build on in the form of a Dave Bruno-built, “pre-owned” 6-6.5×47 Lapua that I located in the AccurateShooter Forum classifieds in late 2011. The base action was a trued and blue-printed Remington 700 receiver circa 1971 with a spiral-fluted bolt. It was in a Shehane ST1000 stock painted sky blue and had a Jewell 1.5-oz BR trigger. I sent the bolt to Greg Tannel (Gretanrifles.com) to have the firing pin hole bushed and sleeved, the ejector removed and the hole filled and the face trued. I upgraded to Tannel’s Light Steel firing pin assembly while it was out.

Having the working bits completed, I needed a barrel. So I went to the AccurateShooter classifieds again and found a 1:8″-twist, 30″ x 1.25″ (diam.) Bartlein with a 0.236″-land bore. I called Dave Kiff and explained my pursuit and he recommended his PT&G “world record” 6 Dasher reamer (.2704″ no-turn neck and .104″ freebore). A month or so later the reamer and gauges arrived.

I had the barrel chambered by Marc Soulie of Spartan Precision Rifles (510-755-5293, Concord, CA). Marc is a great builder and I’m pleased to call him a friend.

Bob A. 6mm Dasher Sacramento F-Class March Madness

The rifle got its good looks from a Pennsylvania artist named Kenny Prahl. His Prahl Designs shop (724-478-2538) added the white ghost-flames over the existing sky blue metallic paint.

Looks Great, Shoots Better
Fire-forming showed great promise — ten-shot groups of half an inch at 200 yards were typical. I lost only one case to a split neck and the “blow lengths” are good and consistent. This was followed up with load development which saw 100-yard, five-shot groups in the .1s and .2s as the rifle showed its preference for Reloder 15 over Varget powder, and for CCI 450s over all other primers. The bullet of choice was the ever-popular Berger 105gr Hybrid Target.

Bob A. 6mm Dasher Sacramento F-Class March Madness

In February 2012 I began shooting the Dasher in monthly club matches at the Sacramento Valley Shooting Center, the home range of a number of excellent F-Class, Benchrest and High Power shooters. Using a Farley Coaxial rest up front (also picked up from a WTB ad on AccurateShooter’s Forum) and an Edgewood bag in the back, I gradually improved my gun-handling to the point where I could shoot a respectable score. This was very different from the bipod shooting I’d done in the past in F/TR.

Bob A. 6mm Dasher Sacramento F-Class March Madness


Bob A. 6mm Dasher Sacramento F-Class March MadnessDasher Loading Tips
My chamber is set up for blue box Lapua 6mmBR brass. My case preparation is straight-forward. I fire-form with virgin cases right out of the box. I don’t size them but I will give the primer holes a good look and clean up the flash hole with a .058″ bit in a pin vise. To fire-form, I seat a Berger 108gr BT .030″ into the lands over a standard 6mmBR load of Varget.

For match loads, I use Alliant Reloder 15. While Varget is less sensitive to temp changes, RL15 has given me lower extreme spreads and better long range control. [Bob acknowledges that every barrel is unique, so a different powder, such as H4895 might work better for you.]

I clean my fired cases with stainless steel media in a Thumler’s rotary tumbler after every firing. I anneal after every other firing using a Bench-Source machine which is very well made and easy to operate. I use a Whidden full length bushing die with Redding bushings for sizing.

After sizing, I chamfer the inside of the neck with the K&M tool which has a pilot rod centered in the flash hole. Then I’ll give the neck and mouth a “once over” with some 0000 steel wool. I finish loading off with a Redding Competition Seating Die with the micrometer top.

Bob A. 6mm Dasher Sacramento F-Class March MadnessI use a carbide ball on the expander rod of the full length sizing die. I use a .266″ TiN-coated bushing and the ball just kisses the inside walls of the sized neck. I get very consistent neck tension this way and have had no issue with split necks.

Seating Depth Considerations
With fire-formed brass, the junction of the bullet’s bearing surface and boat-tail is above the neck/shoulder junction of the case, so I have no issues with donuts. You can see how a loaded round looks in the photo at left. For occasional trimming, I use a very nice little Possum Hollow trimmer that indexes on the case shoulder.

Permalink Bullets, Brass, Ammo, Competition, Tech Tip 1 Comment »
September 1st, 2019

Sunday GunDay: New 6GT Cartridge Tested in 3 Tactical Rifles

6GT Cartridge Alpha Munitions GA Precision PRS NRL brass 6.5x47 Lapua fire-formed neck-turn project

The New 6GT Cartridge for Precision Rifle Competition

Report by Vu Pham
Earlier this year I was ready to build a 6 Dasher when I saw a lot of buzz on the interwebs about a new caliber George Gardner (Owner of GA Precision) and Tom Jacobs (Owner of Vapor Trail Bullets) designed, the 6GT. After some research and talking to George, I ditched the 6mm Dasher build and had GA Precision build me a 6GT on a GAP Templar action I already had in the safe. The reasons to try the 6GT in a new PRS-style rig were as follows:

1. Push a 110-115 grain class bullet at 2880-2930 FPS safely in the Sacramento heat.

2. Achieve a load that is reliable and predictable. The caliber must be easy-to-tune and predictable from barrel to barrel. I don’t want to spend weeks developing a new load each time I spin on a fresh barrel.

3. Be able to run the same mag in all my guns without having to tweak or use mag kits. The round must feed from AICS and AW magazines without major tweaking or hiccups.

4. Get good barrel life. The barrel needs to go 2200-2500 rounds with match-grade reliability and accuracy.

5. Have a competitive cartridge with the least possible recoil without sacrificing too much performance down range, compared to bigger options like the 6mm Creedmoor.

6GT Cartridge Alpha Munitions GA Precision PRS NRL brass 6.5x47 Lapua fire-formed neck-turn project
6GT feeding from un-modified magazines has been flawless in all the rifles we tested. The 6GT feeds so well, I sometimes have to do a press check to ensure there is a round in the chamber.

On paper the 6GT seemed like the perfect cartridge for PRS- and NRL-style competition. It has the low recoil of a 6 Dasher, with good feeding and mag compatibility. With the 6GT, a competitor can push 105gr bullets at 3000+ FPS or run heavier bullets at 2800-2900+ FPS.

6GT Cartridge PRS NRL brass 6.5x47 Lapua 6GT 6mm Dasher cartridge fire-formed neck-turn project

Knowing that I would initially have to make my own 6GT brass and do quite a bit of load development, I enlisted the help of Dan Bertocchini with CS Tactical. Dan has a lot more experience with wildcats and is the man when it comes to this type of data gathering. He has been running a 6 Dasher for a few years so I was curious how he would compare the 6GT to his 6 Dasher.

Quick Summary: “I am really digging the 6GT and the capabilities it offers. It can launch 103gr Vapor Trails at 3000+ FPS or lob heavy 115gr DTACs in the low-to-mid 2900s comfortably. I think we will see this cartridge go mainstream in PRS/NRL-style competition in 2020.” — Vu Pham

The new 6GT Cartridge Was Tested in Three (3) Tactical Rifles:

Rifle 1: Vu’s 6GT 1.0
Builder: GA Precision
Action: Left Hand GAP Templar (large firing pin)
Barrel: Bartlein 7.7 Twist finished at 26″ with a 419 Hellfire Brake
Stock: KMW Sentinel
Optic: Vortex Razor Gen II 4.5-27x56mm EBR-7C MRAD
Bi-Pod: Harris
Trigger: Timney Calvin Elite
Magazines: AICS and AW
Support Bag: Wiebad Fortune Cookie

Rifle 2: Vu’s 6GT 2.0
Builder: Rubicon Precision
Action: Impact Precision 737
Barrel: Bartlein 7.0 Twist finished at 27″ with a 419 Hellfire Brake
Stock: XLR Industries Envy Chassis
Optic: Vortex Razor Gen II 4.5-27x56mm EBR-7C MRAD
Bi-Pod: Harris with Henderson Arca adapter
Trigger: Trigger Tech Diamond
Magazines: AICS and AW
Support Bag: Wiebad Fortune Cookie

Rifle 3: Dan’s 6GT
Builder: CS Tactical
Chambered by: Rubicon Precision
Action: Lone Peak Arms Fusion
Barrel: Proof 7.0 Twist finished at 28″ with a Muzzle Brake and More Brake
Stock: XLR Industries Envy Chassis
Optic: Minox ZP5 5-25x56mm MR4
Bi-Pod: Arca Cyke Pod (PRS)
Trigger: Trigger Tech Diamond
Magazines: MDT
Support Bag: Armageddon Gear OG Game Changer, Waxed Canvas

6GT Cartridge Alpha Munitions GA Precision LabRadar PRS NRL brass 6.5x47 Lapua fire-formed neck-turn project

Alpha Munitions Pre-Production 6GT Brass
6gt brass cartridge Alpha Munitions PRS 6mm DasherGeorge Gardner was kind enough to send us 50 pieces of Pre-Production Alpha 6GT brass for preliminary testing. Like the cases I formed from 6.5×47 Lapua brass, the Alpha 6GT brass will use a small rifle primer. Price from Alpha Munitions should be $1.15 per case, which is on par with Alphan’s other product line.

The first 7000 pieces of Alpha 6GT brass sold before I could even get my hands on any! The bigger batch of production brass is due later this year. To pre-order the brass, CLICK HERE.

The major difference between 6.5×47 Lapua-formed brass and Alpha 6GT brass is the case capacity. Alpha 6GT brass has 1.5 to 1.7 grains more case capacity. When a piece of 6.5×47 Lapua brass is formed into a 6GT, the walls of the case now become the shoulder and part of the neck. In a normal piece of brass, the shoulder and neck are typically thinner because of the thickness of the brass tapering from the body to neck.

While the cartridge design was optimized for Hodgdon Varget, the extra case capacity of the Alpha 6GT brass opens the door to Hodgdon H4350 (my favorite powder) and Alliant Reloder 16.

Test Results with Alpha Munitions 6GT Brass
Initial test results were as expected from a premium brass-maker. Dan and I both got excellent Standard Deviations and Extreme Spreads over my MagnetoSpeed V3 and his LabRadar. This string below was with 112gr Barnes Match Burners and 33.8 grains of Varget. Can’t complain about a 3 FPS Extreme Spread!

6GT Cartridge 600 yard target PRS NRL brass 6.5x47 Lapua fire-formed neck-turn project

Yes, H4350 Works with the Alpha Munitions Brass
Personally, I prefer running Alpha 6GT brass with H4350 rather than Varget pushing a heavier bullet. H4350 burns slower and cleaner which should equate to better barrel life. The Lapua-formed 6GT cases just do not have the capacity to reach the cartridge’s full capability with the slower burning powders.

Is the 6GT cartridge accurate? Definitely. Here is a 5-shot group at 600 yards shot by Dan. This was Alpha 6GT brass, with Hodgdon H4350 pushing Barnes 112gr Match Burner bullets.

6GT Cartridge 600 yard target PRS NRL brass 6.5x47 Lapua fire-formed neck-turn project

And here is a 4-shot, 600-yard group with reformed 6.5×47 Lapua brass, using Varget powder under a Barnes 112gr Match Burner.

6GT Cartridge 600 yard target PRS NRL brass 6.5x47 Lapua fire-formed neck-turn project

6GT Stress Test — Don’t Try this at Home!
Dan and I also did a “destruction test” to see how the Alpha 6GT brass would hold up when competitors push the cartridge to its limits. Please note that this is PRE-PRODUCTION brass and Dan and I probably exceeded max load for the majority of the duration of this test. Using Varget powder, we pushed 115gr DTACs at 2950+ FPS on a pretty hot day. We ran the charge weight up until the bolt was hard to lift.

6GT Cartridge PRS NRL brass 6.5x47 Lapua fire-formed neck-turn project

Using this very hot charge, we were able to get 14 firings before the primer pocket failed. That is pretty solid considering that this brass was a pre-production sample that Alpha said did not meet its primer pocket design requirements. With these results, I think a shooter pushing 110-115 grain class bullets in the low 2900s will get 16 to 20 firings from a piece of brass.

6GT Cartridge PRS NRL brass 6.5x47 Lapua fire-formed neck-turn project

Is the GT here to stay?
All signs are pointing to “Yes”. Dies are readily available from Hornady, RCBS, and Redding. Chamber reamers are being produced by PT&G and JGS that can be purchased through GA Precision.

Alpha Munitions is hard at work getting quality brass to the shooters. Quite a few people have already chambered up 6GT barrels before they even have brass in hand. I think we will see this cartridge go mainstream in PRS/NRL-style competition in 2020. With Alpha Munitions production brass almost ready to hit the shelves, I think we will see a lot more data come in from the field by the end of this year.

The Verdict — The 6GT Is Looking Great So Far
I am really digging the 6GT and the capabilities it offers. It can launch 103gr Vapor Trails at 3000+ FPS or lob heavy 115gr DTACs in the low to mid 2900s comfortably. George Gardner has texted me some pictures of very impressive groups pushing an 115gr DTAC at 3000 FPS with Alliant Reloder 16 (a very temp-stable powder with a burn rate close to H4350). That being said, if a guy wanted to push that type of speed and bullet weight, the 6mm Creedmoor is a better solution in my opinion. So far my “go to” 6GT load is a 112gr Barnes Match Burner at 2900 FPS. My other favorite load is a Hornady 108gr ELDM at 2970 FPS.

I think the down-range performance of the 6GT over a 6mmBR and the 6BR variants will be valuable on those days where shooting conditions are not as perfect. Recoil is about the same as the 6BR variants (6BRA, 6 Dasher etc.), but noticeably less than a 6mm Creedmoor. The extra energy down range will make a spotter’s job a bit easier when targets extend beyond 800 yards.

Forming GT Brass from Lapua 6.5×47
Before the new Alpha Munitions brass was available, I tested the cartridge using 6GT made from parent Lapua 6.5×47 Lapua brass necked-down and reformed. George Gardner walked me through the process of forming 6GT brass out of Lapua 6.5x47L. The process is time-consuming and is a huge PITA even with the correct tools. More detailed instructions can be found on my 6GT thread on the AccurateShooter Forum. READ Forum Thread HERE.

Here is a photo of what the brass looks like going through the forming/trimming process.
Left to right: 6.5×47 Lapua brass, sized with the 6GT bushing die with a .266 bushing, chopped/trimmed and turned, and fired-formed.

6GT Cartridge PRS NRL brass 6.5x47 Lapua fire-formed neck-turn project

The formed-from-Lapua 6GT brass performed well and is a good option if one has the time and desire, but I’ll be moving over to factory Alpha Munitions brass once it is readily available.

6GT Tested at 1000 Yards
After seeing what Tom Jacobs is doing with his benchrest gun running Alpha Munitions brass, there is no doubt the 6GT is plenty capable out to 1000 yards and beyond. I have a feeling the Benchrest and F-Open guys are going to dig this new 6mm cartridge as well, at least for 600 yards. Note, in this photo it appears Shot #5 is under a paster, but that might just be a Ballistic-X software input error, meaning that this is actually a 4-shot group. Either way it is still impressive.

6GT Cartridge PRS NRL brass 6.5x47 Lapua fire-formed neck-turn project

Permalink - Articles, Bullets, Brass, Ammo, New Product, Tactical 17 Comments »
April 12th, 2019

New Magazine for 6mmBR and 6 BR Improved Precision Rifles

PRS NRL magazine mag 6BR 6mmBr Norma 6 BRA Dasher BRX tactical short cartridge MDT

As the practical/tactical game has evolved, with low recoil and high accuracy becoming ever more important, many top competitors have moved to smaller cartridges such as the 6mm Dasher and its parent, the 6mmBR Norma. These cartridges deliver outstanding accuracy plus good barrel life. However, the “short, fat” 6BR/Dasher design doesn’t feed optimally in magazines designed for the .308 Win family of cases. Yes you can modify your own magazines (Mag Mod HERE), or buy a pricey conversion kit, but now there is a turn-key solution from MDT (Modular Driven Technologies).

MDT’s 6mm BR magazine fits the parent 6mmBR cartridge and all the popular varients including the 6 BRA, 6 Dasher, and 6 BRX. MDT says this new 12-round magazine is a “one-step solution [delivering] smooth, reliable feeding for the most popular rifle cartridges in precision rifle competitions.”

PRS NRL magazine mag 6BR 6mmBr Norma 6 BRA Dasher BRX tactical short cartridge MDT

MDT built this AICS-pattern mag for PRS/NRL competitors and anyone wanting to run 6mmBR-family cartridges in mag-fed actions: “The limiting factor for competitors running 6mm BR variants has been feeding. Until now, the only option has been to purchase an AICS-pattern magazine plus an additional kit to make the magazines work with the shorter cartridges. This solution costs upwards of $100 or more and can require additional tuning to work in most rifles.”

The MDT 6mm BR mag has a maximum internal length of 2.580″, which accommodates pretty much any 6mm bullet you’d want to use. These MDT magazines are crafted from quality steel, nitride-treated, then black Cerakote finished inside and out. To reduce friction between cartridge and magazine body, MDT added two internal ribs which provide a smooth transition from double stack to single-feed.

Magazine Conversion — Use .308 Win Mags with Modified Followers
A decade ago we showed our readers how to modify .308 Win magazines to feed the 6mmBR cartridge efficiently. This procedure, explained by Texas gunsmith, Mike Bryant, is easy to do with simple tools. You can modify most standard magazines, both internal-style and detachable style. CLICK HERE for full, step-by-step magazine conversion article.

The basic procedure involves trimming the rear of the magazine, and creating a rear stop with a block from a Remington .223 magazine. Next the .308 Win magazine follower is shortened and beveled. Some guys tweak the feed lips a bit, but this may not be needed. Many of our readers have performed this simple magazine modification and report their rifles feed quite reliably. One reader, who converted a 7mm-08 hunting rig into a 22 Dasher varmint rifle, tells us his modified mag feeds flawlessly.

PRS NRL magazine mag 6BR 6mmBr Norma 6 BRA Dasher BRX tactical short cartridge MDT

Permalink - Articles, Competition, New Product, Tactical 5 Comments »
January 20th, 2019

Amazing 1K Video: 10 Shots in 4.554″ at 1000 Yards (100-6X)

Scott Nix Dasher Record

6mm DasherHow well can the little 6mm Dasher perform at 1000 yards when the conditions are good, and the shooter is riding a hot streak? Well here’s a shot-by-shot record of Scott Nix’s 4.554″ ten-shot group shot at Missoula, Montana at the Northwest 1000-yard Championship a few years back. All 10 shots were centered for a 100-6X score. That’s about as good as it gets. If Scott had stopped after 5 shots, his group would have been under three inches.

Video Demonstrates Amazing 1000-Yard Accuracy
Watch the video. You can see the group form up, shot by shot. It’s pretty amazing. Scott’s first shot (at the 45-second mark of the video) was right in the X-Ring, and four of Scott’s first five shots were Xs. That’s drilling them! This video was recorded from the pits at the 1000-yard line, during record fire.

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December 31st, 2018

New Mag-Fed Action Optimized for 6 Dasher and 6BR Family

Borden super short 6 action 6mmBR Dasher BR Ackley BRA 6

The 6BR Improved cases have become very popular in tactical competitions. In fact the Precision Rifle Blog reports that the majority of Top 10 PRS and NRL shooters are now running some version of the 6mmBR Norma case — such as the 6mm Dasher, 6BRX, or 6BR Ackley. In fact “40% of those ranked in the top 10 in either league were running a 6mm Dasher”. This short, fat 6BR improved case can push the 100-107gr bullets to 2950+ fps, a well-known accuracy node. Yes the 6mm Creedmoor and 6XC can push heavy 6mm projectiles faster to be sure, but there is a trade-off in barrel life. The 6BR Improved cases represent a “sweet spot” for the tactical game, offering outstanding accuracy, with less recoil than bigger cartridges, including the 6.5 Creedmoor.

The only real downside to the short/fat 6BR-based cartridges is that they can be finicky when feeding from a magazine, at least without some modifications to the follower and feed lips. There are kits that can help with this, but now there is an even better solution — a premium custom action designed specifically to feed the 6mm Dasher (and similar cartridges) from a magazine. This action, the Borden Super Short 6, was recently, unveiled on Facebook by PRS competitor John Hargett. This action, available in both right- and left-hand versions, features a dedicated new Super Short 6 (SS6) magazine optimized for Dasher-sized cartridges. The bolt has a shorter throw than a standard Rem short action. We think this new action could become VERY popular with tactical shooters, and varmint hunters.

John Hargett says: “Installing spacer kits or possibly having a nose dive in full-size .308 mag is in the past! This will fit all 700 stocks and chassis and AICS bottom metal. So no need to change what you are already using. Borden creates a masterful action at an extremely affordable price.”

Borden super short 6 action 6mmBR Dasher BR Ackley BRA 6mm

Key Facts about the Borden Super Short 6 Action and SS6 Magazine:

1. Rem 700 Footprint
— The Borden Super Short 6 action is internally tailored to the 6mmBR cartridge and its wildcats, but externally maintains Rem 700 action dimensions. This means the action IS compatible with the stock and chassis you currently own. And, the Borden Super Short 6 comes in both right-hand and left-hand versions, with PVD coating available (on action and/or bolt).

2. Rem Trigger Compatibility — The Borden Super Short 6 action works with Rem-compatible triggers, and the actions are specifically timed to work with trigger of your choice.

3. Dasher-friendly New Mag Design — The patent-pending Super Short 6 magazine is sized right for the 6mm Dasher and all the 6BR family. The follower and feed lips are configured to allow smooth, reliable feeding with no “magazine nose dives”. Even with the optimal design, the SS 6 magazine will work with all chassis profiles and bottom metal made for AICS-type magazines.

Borden super short 6 action 6mmBR Dasher BR Ackley BRA 6mm

Here is the description from Borden Rifles website:

“The new action from Borden Accuracy (Borden Super Short 6) features a Rem 700 short action-compatible footprint with a shortened magazine well and shortened port set up specifically to reliably feed 6 BR, 6 Dasher, 6 BRA, 22 BR cartridges. The bolt has modified Borden bumps to aid in cycling in the dirty environment. The pictured action shows our standard bolt handle and tear drop knob. Production models will feature a handle that is threaded on the end so individuals can use their preferred knobs. I have been one of the individuals that developed the bolt timing and neutral handoff with the trigger for competition shooting to minimize rifle upset in the bags when closing the bolt. These actions will be available with either the neutral timed handoff or with about .03 to .035 inch cock on close. The cock on close option has much easier bolt lift that seems to be favored by PRS competitors. For now the bolts will have spiral flutes but future versions will have diamond flutes as an option. Development work will be done to also handle the .223 Rem and the PPC family.”

Precision Rifle Blog 6mmBR Dasher BR Ackley BRA 6mm

6mm Dasher and 6BR Wildcats Favored by Top PRS/NRL Shooters

According to the Precision Rifle Blog:

1. The vast majority of PRS Shooters surveyed are now shooting a 6mm cartridge of some kind.

2. While the 6mm Creedmoor is still very popular, the 6mm Dasher is now the #1 cartridge among leading PRS and NRL competitors surveyed. (SEE Chart HERE)

3. If you include the 6BRX, 6BRA, and original 6mmBR cartridge along with the 6mm Dasher, this full family of short, fat cartridges is now used by twice as many top PRS/NRL competitors as the 6mm Creedmoor. And the 6.5 Creedmoor has really fallen from favor.


Credit Boyd Allen for Borden Action product find. Credit PRB for data on PRS/NRL cartridge use.

Permalink Gear Review, Gunsmithing, New Product, Tactical 9 Comments »
December 2nd, 2018

Pynch Podcast — Jon Pynch, NRL National Champ and PRS Ace

Jon Pynch Tactical PRS NRL National Rifle League

What does it take to win in the tactical game? Ask Oregon’s Jon Pynch. He won the 2018 National Rifle League (NRL) 2018 Championship event along with three out of six of the bolt-action PRS matches in which he competed this year. And with 300 points overall this season, Jon has been a #1-rated shooter within the Precision Rifle Series (PRS). In most sports you’d call that an MVP performance.

Jon Pynch Tactical PRS NRL National Rifle League

PRS Competitor Jon Pynch had a superlative run in 2018, scoring victories in many big matches, capped off by winning top honors at the 2018 NRL Championship. And as you read this, this very day (December 2nd) Jon is shooting at the PRS Season Finale at the Triple C Range in Cresson, Texas. Here is Jon Pynch’s 2018 competition record:

2018 National Rifle League Champion
2018 National Rifle League Finale Winner
2018 Rock Lake NRL Match – Jon Pynch – 1st Place
2018 JC Steel High Mountain PRS Match – Jon Pynch – 1st Place
2018 Meaford PRS Match – Jon Pynch – 1st Place
2018 NCPPRC NRL Match – Jon Pynch – 1st Place
2018 Gunwerks PRS Match – Jon Pynch — 1st Place

NRL Champ Jon Pynch was interviewed for the NRL’s Precision Rifle Channel. Click the Red Arrow above to hear a wide-ranging 45-minute audio interview with Jon, with highlights listed below, so you can skip to key sections.

JON PYNCH PODCAST HIGHLIGHTS:

0:00 to 8:45 — 2018 NRL Championship
9:00 – The mental aspect of shooting
16:30 – Jon’s mindset going into a match
20:30 – What gear Jon ran this season
28:20 – Jon’s hunting background
30:55 – The next up-and-comers in the sport
41:20 – Plans and goals for 2019
43:55 – Three (3) under-rated items Jon can’t shoot without

Jon Pynch Tactical PRS NRL National Rifle League

Pynch won 3 out of 6 PRS bolt-action matches he shot in 2018. Pynch runs a landscaping business in Oregon. When time permits, he travels around the country to tactical matches. He grew up around guns, starting with his trusty BB gun, and the passion grew. About 14 years ago, Pynch started to dabble in long-range shooting from the hunting side. In the past few years, he has focused more on competition, observing how the sport has changed: “Over the past couple of years, I’ve noticed it feels like the level of competition and the level of quality products are growing at an incredible rate.”

CLICK HERE for full size image showing gun details.
Jon Pynch Tactical PRS NRL National Rifle League

The MPA BA Competition Chassis has many notable features: RAT System and multi-function Arca Swiss Rail provide a variety of bipod locations. There is a special rotating barricade stop, plus a spigot mount on the front of the fore-end which can extend the “wheelbase” between front and rear support. A clever Weight Tuning System allows competitors to adjust gun balance and reduce felt recoil.

State of the Art PRS/NRL Tactical Rifle:
Jon Pynch Tactical PRS NRL National Rifle League

Above is Jon’s Match Rifle shown from summer 2018 with older barrel chambered for 6mm Dasher. These shots were taken during a fire-forming session. John says: “On right (below) is unfired Lapua 6mmBR round. Shoot it and it turns in the case on the left. 6mm Dasher. 25 formed… 975 to go! Alamo Precision Rifles did a great job on this chamber/barrel. It’s won a few matches and placed well in a few others, but after 1800 rounds I think I’ll use the rest of its life as a practice/fireforming barrel.”

Making Brass — 6mmBR loaded round is fire-formed into 6mm Dasher 40° improved case:
Jon Pynch Tactical PRS NRL National Rifle League

Jon Pynch’s Favored Hardware — Curtis Vector Action, Kahles Scope, MPA Comp Chassis
Like many PRS/NRL competitors, Jon uses the MPA Competition Chassis, the most-utilized chassis in the 2016 and 2017 PRS series. The match rifle above sports a Curtis Custom Vector Action with Proof Research barrel. For optics Jon has recently used a Kahles scope in the rock-solid, MPA BA Mount, the #1 Mount used in the PRS in 2017.

Jon Pynch Tactical PRS NRL National Rifle League

Jon Pynch Tactical PRS NRL National Rifle League

Permalink - Videos, Competition, Gear Review, Tactical 1 Comment »