May 14th, 2019

Precision Expander Mandrels from 21st Century Shooting

21st Century Shooting expander mandrels die body precision

You can benefit from these precision mandrels, trust us…

Controlling cartridge neck tension is a critical aspect of accurate reloading. A very small change in the amount of grip on the bullet can actually have a noticeable effect on accuracy (and group size). You can tune neck tension with different size bushings used with FL-sizing or neck-sizing dies. You can also adjust neck “grip” by annealing your brass, or turning your necks for reduced neck-wall thickness.

But perhaps the most precise way to tune neck grip on the bullet is to use Precision Expander Mandrels. Many top shooters size their case necks down pretty far with a full-length sizing die then use a precision neck mandrel as a final step. This expands the neck back to the precisely-desired neck diameter. Because you are working from the “inside out”, variances in neck-wall thickness become less important. This also ensures you have a perfectly-round internal neck geometry for seating your bullet. (Yes, unfortunately some neck bushings are not perfectly round inside.)

For guys who want ultra-precise control over neck tension (and “grip” on the bullet), 21st Century Shooting now offers Precision Expander Mandrels in .0005 (one-half thousandth) increments. These will be available for most popular match calibers including: .224, 6mm, .25, 6.5mm, .270, 7mm, .308, and .338 calibers. These mandrels cost $17.99 each, or you can get a complete set of nine mandrels in .0005 increments (for one caliber) for $144.99. Listed below are the nine 6mm mandrels:

21st Century Shooting expander mandrels die body precision

John Perkins, owner of 21st Century tells us: “Finally! We have our expander mandrels up and ready to order on our website here: http://www.xxicsi.com/expander-mandrels.html.” This is a big deal. James Crofts, past National F-TR Champion, says “WooHoo — great news!”

To get best results with these precision mandrels, John recommends using the 21st Century Expander Die Body, part #904. Watch video for set-up tips:

John adds: “We are still in the midst of turning all of these so some calibers will ship when they are completed. Should have them all done by end of next week or so! Thanks for your patience while we got these set up and in process!”

Permalink Bullets, Brass, Ammo, Gear Review, New Product, Reloading 1 Comment »
April 20th, 2019

Doug Koenig Makes His Mark in PRS Production Division

Doug Koenig PRS practical rifle competition Ruger Precision Rifle RPR production division class

“Koenig” (or König) means “king” in German. That is indeed appropriate for Doug Koenig, 18-Time Bianchi Cup winner, who is now starting to conquer the rifle world as well. Koenig, considered by many to be the best action pistol shooter on the planet, proved he’s an ace with rifles too, as he recently won two PRS matches in Production Division. Koenig, Captain of Team Ruger, was shooting a Ruger Precision Rifle (RPR), chambered in 6mm Creedmoor. Notably, Production Division limits rifles to $2000.00 for the gun ($4000.00 overall with scope). You can buy an RPR for around $1100.00 typically ($795.00 at GrabAGun), so Koenig was shooting against competitors with rifles that cost nearly twice as much. That’s impressive.

Koenig Wins Production Class at two Spring PRS Matches
Koenig took home a pair of Production Division titles at this year’s WAR Rifles Shootout and MAP Spring Shootout Precision Rifle Series (PRS) matches.

With a final score of 128.00 and a time of 58.51, team captain Doug Koenig took first place in Production Division at the WAR Rifle Shootout PRS match in Mount Victoria, MD. The WAR Rifle Shootout has a challenging 22-stage course of fire. Along with winning Production Division, Koenig also finished twelfth overall. “The tough course of fire and 15-25 mph winds at the War Rifle match were brutal, but my Precision Rifle, equipped with a Leupold VX-3i LRP and loaded with Hornady ammunition, continued to perform,” said Koenig.

Koenig then secured another Production Division win at the MPA Spring Shootout held at the Arena Training Facility in Blakely, GA with a final score of 173.00 and a time of 58.89. “The MPA match had some long shots out to 800-1356 yards, but my factory rifle got the job done and helped me win my third production class title in a row. That proves you don’t need to spend a fortune to get started in PRS competition.”

Doug Koenig PRS practical rifle competition Ruger Precision Rifle RPR production division class

According to PRS standards, Production Division rifles are not permitted to be altered or improved in any way from the original factory configuration, and the retail price may not exceed $2,000.

Krieger Barrels Ruger Precision Rifles Pre-Fit Drop-In Chambered barrel RPR

Pre-Fit Barrel Options for the Ruger Precision Rifle
While PRS Production Division competitors like Koenig must stick with factory barrels, there’s no law that says you can’t upgrade your own RPR that’s not used in PRS matches. A barrel swap is probably the single best hardware upgrade you can make. A new custom barrel will improve inherent accuracy and shot-to-shot consistency. Krieger Barrels offers Pre-Fit barrels for the RPR in many popular chamberings including 6XC, 6mm Creedmoor, .243 Win, 6.5 Creedmoor, 6.5 PRC, and .308 Win. These “Drop-In Ready” barrels come finish-chambered and threaded to fit the Ruger action, with factory-spec muzzle threads. The Ruger barrel attachment system allows correct headspace with a pre-chambered barrel. Krieger explains: “Thanks to Ruger’s proprietary barrel nut design, a competent gunsmith will be able to swap out your barrel using an AR15 barrel wrench and proper headspace gauges.”

Permalink Competition, Gear Review 4 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 4 Comments »
April 6th, 2019

Primer Comparison Testing with 6 BRA at 500 Yards

primer 500 yard testing node vertical H4895 BRA

Here is a very interesting test for the 6 BRA (6mmBR Ackley) cartridge. Forum member James Phillips, a talented long-range benchrest shooter, tested SIX different primer types from three different manufacturers. To help determine vertical dispersion, James set his target out at 500 yards. He then proceeded to shoot 4-shot groups, in order, with each primer type. Velocities were recorded with a chrono. The photo above shows the results. James says: “I’ll retest the best two for accuracy and consistency with 10 shots each”. CLICK HERE for full-screen target photo.

Wheeler 6BR 6mmBR Ackley Improved James Phillips

As you can see, ALL the groups are pretty impressive. The smallest groups, 1.253″, was shot with CCI 400 primers. Next best (and very close) was CCI BR4, at 1.275″ for four shots. The “flat line” winner was the Remington 7.5, at upper left. There was almost no vertical. If you are intrigued by this interesting primer test, you can ask join the discussion in this Primer Test FORUM THREAD.

Primer Brand Group Size Velocity Extreme Spread Std Deviation
Remington 7.5 1.985″ 4 shot 2955 FPS 8 FPS 4.0 FPS
Federal 205M 2.200″ 4 shot 2951 FPS 11 FPS 4.8 FPS
Sellier Bellot SR 1.673″ 4 shot 2950 FPS 14 FPS 5.9 FPS
CCI 450M 2.341″ 4 shot 2947 FPS 14 FPS 6.6 FPS
CCI 400 1.253″ 4 shot 2950 FPS 3 FPS 1.3 FPS
CCI BR4 1.275″ 4 shot 2949 FPS 15 FPS 6.9 FPS

CARTRIDGE: 6mmBR Ackley, aka 6 BRA. Parent case is 6mmBR Norma. The 6 BRA is fire-formed to create a 40-degree shoulder and less body taper. Capacity is increased, but the neck is longer than a 6mm Dasher. The capacity is enough to get to the 2950+ FPS accuracy node. Some shooters say the 6 BRA is more forgiving than the 6mm Dasher. The 6 BRA is certainly easier to fire-form.

LOAD SPEC: 6 BRA (40° 6 BR Improved), 31.1 grains Hodgdon H4895, Bart’s 105gr “Hammer” bullets.

TEST REPORT — Conditions, Shooting Method, Loading Method

Tester James Phillips posted this report in our Shooters’ Forum:
Conditions: The testing was done in the morning over flags. The flags never moved or even twitched. I had as perfect conditions as I could have asked for. It was overcast so no mirage and no wind. There were no other shooters, just me.

Test Procedure: Each shot was precisely shot at my pace and centered the best possible using my Nightforce 15-55X scope. I did not use the round-robin method. Each four-shot group with the same was shot at one time. Then I moved onto the next primer. Everything felt right for each and every shot fired today. Of course I could repeat the test tomorrow and it could be exact opposite of today’s test. We can chase this forever. But [soon] I’m going to test the BR4 and 400 primer… for best accuracy and consistency for 10 shots each.

How Rounds Were Loaded: Each load was weighed to one (1) kernel of powder. So I know that’s as good as I can weigh them. Each bullet seating force was within 1# on my 21st Century hydraulic arbor press.

Previous Initial Load Testing: All groups were shot with 31.1 grains of H4895. During initial load testing I settled in on the Sellier & Bellot primer to finalize everything as it showed more promise over the CCI 450 Magnum I also tried. I was actually surprised to have seen the higher ES and SD from that primer today along with the vertical shown. [Editor: Look carefully — one shot from the CCI 450 is right in the center black diamond, stretching the vertical. By contrast the Rem 7.5 had almost no vertical.]

primer 500 yard testing node vertical H4895 BRA

Velocity and NODE Considerations: I was about 5-6 FPS above what appeared to been my optimum velocity of 2943-2945 FPS, so I’ll test 5 shots of 31.0 and 5 of 31.1 and see what happens from there. I can only assume my velocities where higher due to the higher humidity and of course temps were 5 degrees warmer this morning as well. It wasn’t far off but I noticed it.

Permalink - Articles, Bullets, Brass, Ammo, Reloading, Tech Tip 4 Comments »
January 29th, 2019

Dasher Fever — Match-Winning 6mm Dasher Rig on a Budget

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

With the 6mm Dasher wildcat cartridge now becoming popular with PRS 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.

Permalink Bullets, Brass, Ammo, Competition, Tech Tip 1 Comment »
December 11th, 2018

Tech Tip: Shoot BR Cases with Rebated Rims in PPC Actions

PPC 6mm BR .308 bolt face Cutting Head for Rebating Rims

Butch Lambert of ShadeTree Engineering provided this tip. Butch notes that many 6 PPC benchrest group shooters also enjoy shooting in score matches. But to be really competitive in the BR for score game, that means shooting a 30 BR, which has a wider, .308-class rim (0.4728″ diameter). Likewise, if you want to compete in 600-yard registered BR events or in varmint matches, you probably want to run a bigger case, such as the 6BR, 6BRA, 6mm Dasher, or 6-6.5×47. Those cartridges also have the larger 0.4728″ rims.

PPC 6mm BR .308 bolt face Cutting Head for Rebating Rims

To convert a PPC-boltface action to shoot the bigger cases you can spend a ton of money and buy a new bolt. That can cost hundreds of dollars. The simpler solution is to turn down the diameter of the larger cases on a lathe. This is a relatively simple procedure with the right cutting tool.

Butch explains: “We’ve seen plenty of interest in rebating case rims. This lets you shoot a 30 BR in score matches using your PPC action. All you need is a new barrel. This saves buying another bolt, receiver, or rifle if you have a PPC boltface. Anyone who has access to a lathe can do this job pretty easily. Yesterday I turned 150 case in about an hour.” At right is the lathe form tool Butch uses to rebate the case rims.

Permalink Gunsmithing, Tech Tip 1 Comment »
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 No Comments »
August 27th, 2018

How to Expand Cartridge Brass in Stages with Progressive Press

Darrell Jones DJ's Brass Service expanding brass 6mmBR 6BR BRX 30BR Hornady press
Photos from DJ’s Brass Service.

Have you ever expanded a .22 or 6mm cartridge all the way up to .30-caliber? If so, you know this can be a difficult procedure that stresses the case necks and neck-shoulder junction. A significant neck-size expansion done in one big jump can increase run-out, cause doughnuts, or worse yet, even split the brass. Therefore you want to proceed in increments, increasing the neck diameter in stages. One smart way to do that is to use a Progressive Press. This article explains how…

The most successful short-range brenchrest-for-score cartridge is the 30 BR. That cartridge, as well as 30 BR variants such as the 30 BRX, all start with the 6mmBR Norma parent cartridge, typically with Lapua 6mmBR brass. To get a nice 30 BR case you want to expand in stages, increasing the inside neck diameter incrementally from .243 to .308.

Darrell Jones of DJ’s Brass Service creates thousands of 30 BR cases each year. He has found a clever way to speed up the process — Darrell uses a Progressive Press. He runs his 6BR brass through four (4) separate Hornady neck-sizing dies with expander mandrels. First there is a .257 die, followed by .264 (6.5mm), .284 (7mm), and then .308. Then a fifth and final K&M die provides one last, slight expansion so the newly-fashioned 30 BR cases perfectly fit the arbor of Darrell’s neck-turning tool.

So to repeat, the case starts as .243 (6mm), then moves in up stages .257, .264, .284, and .308, with a final “finishing” step prior to neck-turning. You can see the expansion in this video, which starts with 6mmBR brass that was first hydro-formed to 6 BRX:

Watch 6mm Cases Expanded to 30-Caliber (6BRX to 30 BRX)

For this demo video, Darrell expands just one case at a time. However, he can also put multiple cases in the progressive — one per station. This takes a little more effort, Darrell says, but the results are still excellent. Darrell tells us: “I do put multiple cases in the progressive to save time. The results are the same — I just wanted to show a single-step process and how it reduces run-out by not stressing the shoulder with one big expansion from 6mm straight to 30 caliber. Doing the operation in multiple stages avoids binds and helps keep the shoulders concentric.”

This same multi-stage procedure can be use to expand other cartridge types. For example you could take .221 Fireball brass in stages up to .308 to create 300 Blackout brass.

Darrell Jones DJ's Brass Service expanding brass 6mmBR 6BR BRX 30BR Hornady press

Darrell uses caliber-specific, Hornady neck-sizing-only dies with elliptical expanders. Darrell tells us: “The Hornady elliptical expander has a reduced bearing surface that puts less strain on the brass when expanding the necks to the next size.” The fitting at the bottom of the die is the Lock-N-Load die bushing that allows fast die changes.

These particular cases used in the video were first hydro-formed to 6BRX then expanded to 30 BRX before neck turning. DJ’s Brass offers hydro-forming for many popular wildcat cartridges such as 6 PPC, 6mm Dasher, and .284 Shehane.

Darrell Jones DJ's Brass Service expanding brass 6mmBR 6BR BRX 30BR Hornady press

Permalink - Articles, - Videos, Bullets, Brass, Ammo, Reloading 1 Comment »
August 14th, 2018

Blast from the Past — Hitting a Quarter at 800 Yards

t-dome birdog 6 BRDX diamondback Tennessee Junebug

This story first ran two years ago, but we’re bringing it back to give you guys a smile this summer. Anyone interested in long range accuracy should enjoy this tale of an amazing 800-yard shot by a talented fellow nick-named “Junebug”…

If you were challenged to hit a quarter (i.e. a 25-cent piece) at 800 yards, how would you respond? Well here’s the story of a man who did take that challenge, and proceeded to put a bullet right through the quarter. Forum member Randy D., aka “Birdog”, provides this entertaining account of how his friend Junebug drilled a quarter at 800 yards one Tennessee evening….

t-dome birdog 6 BRDX diamondback Tennessee JunebugHitting a Quarter at 800 Yards

Story and photos by Birdog
A friend from Indy visited the DOME last summer and returned home telling stories of eggs at 800 yards. He called me back and said his friends did not believe it and wanted to know if I could hit a quarter out at 800 and mail it to him.

Well, I had finally got the time for that challenge last Sunday. My friend Junebug came over and I told him about a new challenge. Junebug is sort of like Voldoc and does not like to be told it can’t be done and set his sights on the quarter. George Clay had his sleeved 700 6XC with 115gr DTACs and Bug had his Diamondback 6 BRDX and 103gr Vapor Trail bullets.

Junebug and Shayne. The quarter was at back fence row on left of photo, 80 yards short of a half-mile
t-dome birdog 6 BRDX diamondback Tennessee Junebug

Early to mid-afternoon is not the time for precision 800-yard shooting as the mirage was terrible and the wind was gusting in the high humidity and 95 temps. We took a few shots and got close but no HIT.

I told Junebug to go home and load some shells and come back at 7:00 and I believed we could make it happen. After 7:00 pm is the best time to shoot as the mirage disappears and the wind goes to zero. We met again at 7:00 and had Shayne Halliburton as witness. I took a few shots then Junebug took a few zeroing shots on metal. He was not satisfied with the grouping so he switched brass.

He had some new Hydro-formed brass that had never been fired. He took three sighters on the metal plate and the first two made two little black spots that were touching. Followed with a third shot that almost touched the first two. Darkness was setting in and I told Bug he better try the quarter now. Through my March scope I could barely see the bright quarter and my 1/16th dot completely covered the quarter.

Junebug moved the Diamondback to the quarter and touched her off. A half second later the bright spot on the black paper was gone. I jumped up and did a dance and war hoop and the Bug jumped up for a high five. Now we hoped we could find the quarter. Luckily it jumped out in front of the backer less than five feet and Bug found it immediately.

t-dome birdog 6 BRDX diamondback Tennessee Junebug

Junebug’s Rifle Specifications
Stock: Zebra-painted stock (Shehane ST1000 we believe)
Action: Stiller Diamondback
Scope: March 10-60x52mm with 1/8 MOA clicks
Cartridge: 6mm BRDX (6mmBR Norma 40° Improved similar to Dasher)
Bullet: 103-grain Vapor Trail
Gunsmith: Barrel smithed by Tim Claunch, Memphis, Tennessee

For more information (including history of the Zebra rifle), view this Shooters’ Forum Thread. Credit Boyd Allen for finding this story in our 6mmBR and 6BR Improved Sub-Forum. T-DOME photo by Forum member George.

Permalink Hunting/Varminting, Shooting Skills 1 Comment »
July 23rd, 2018

0.1 MOA at 1K — Amazing 1.068″ 50-5X Group at 1000 Yards

Mike Wilson IBS Hawks Ridge 1000-yard benchrest 1000 record 1.086 inches

Story based on report by Sam Hall
Look at that target by Mike Wilson. This is one of the most remarkable displays of accuracy (and precision) in the history of long range shooting. This past weekend, Mike (aka “GA. Dawg” in our Forum) drilled a truly spectacular 1.068-inch, 5-shot group at 1000 yards, all centered up in the X-Ring. Yes, you read that right, a group barely over an inch at 1000, shot in competition at an official IBS benchrest match on July 21, 2018.

How small is that in angular measurement? Well 1 MOA at 1000 yards is 10.47 inches, so Mike’s 50-5X masterpiece is 0.102 MOA! Yes that will be pending IBS group size (and score) World Records. This best-ever 1K group* was shot at an IBS registered 1000-yard match at Hawks Ridge Gun Club in North Carolina. Other records have been shot at Hawks Ridge in the past, but this is the most jaw-dropping.

Sam Hall, past IBS National Champion and IBS 600-Yard Shooter of the Year, was stunned by Wilson’s accomplishment: “This is a truely awesome marksmanship feat — one of the best in history. I think I would trade all 14 of my 600-yard records for that one!”. Mike’s amazing target will be submitted for approval as new Group Size and Score IBS World Records. Official approval is pretty much a certainty. The previous 5-shot, 1000-yard IBS record is 1.397″ (50 score) by Tom Sarver in 2007. (The NBRSA 1000-Yard 5-shot LG record is 1.473″ by Bill Schrader in 2002.)

Mike Wilson IBS Hawks Ridge 1000-yard benchrest 1000 record 1.086 inches

Mike Wilson IBS Hawks Ridge 1000-yard benchrest 1000 record 1.086 inches

Posting on our Shooters’ Forum, Mike wrote: “Thanks everyone for the kind words. As humbling as this game is, when it comes together makes it all worthwhile! A very special THANK YOU to my traveling buddy, my son, Blake, and my wife Debra for allowing me to enjoy this crazy game.” Mike also wanted to thank his smiths and component suppliers.

Mike Wilson IBS 1000-Yard Light Gun Specifications

Action: BAT ‘B’ 1.550 Melonited Action with Jewell Trigger
Barrel: Brux HV 28″ Finished Length, 1:8″ Twist Rate
Chambering: 6BRAW (6mmBR Ackley Improved Wilson), Chambered by Darrell Jones
Chamber Specs: 0.272″ No-turn Neck with 0.135″ Freebore
Stock: Shehane ST 1000 Fiberglass Stock (with stock work by Larry “Bullet” Archer)
Optics: Nightforce 12-42x56mm Benchrest NP-2 DD

Mike Wilson IBS Hawks Ridge 1000-yard benchrest 1000 record 1.086 inches
Leonard Baity front rest with Protektor Bag. Italian Lenzi bag in rear.

World Record-Setting Cartridge and Load
Mike was shooting a 40-degree Improved version of the 6mmBR Norma cartridge. Long popular with Benchrest and 300M shooters, the 6mmBR was the original inspiration for this website. Yep, we started as www.6mmBR.com. The Improved version has extra capacity, allowing about 100 FPS more velocity when chambered with a long throat. For his record group, Mike shot Vapor Trail 103-grain bullets in Lapua brass. He loaded Hodgdon H4895 powder with CCI 450 (small rifle magnum) primers.

Praise from Fellow Competitors
Here are some reactions to Mike’s amazing group by our Forum members:

“Amazing target Mike Wilson! Your group might last forever as ‘the goal’ of 1000-yard Benchrest! Heck that’s a great target even at 600 yards.” — Mike J.

“Unbelievable!! Doing that under chosen prime conditions is an amazing feat but to do that in competition and to have everything to come together is just unbelievable. Amazing how far skill, precision, knowledge, and the products of this sport have come. Never thought we would see a group this small and well placed especially in the hills of North Carolina where the wind always blows. Congratulations. A true lifetime achievement.” — Yote Hunter

“I think that one will stand for a while. Hard work does pay off, but it don’t hurt to be one of the givers in the sport. Mike, you are ‘The Man’!” — Bill Shehane

“Awesome, awesome, awesome. Now the goal is to shoot UNDER an inch!” — Alex Wheeler

For more comments, read this AccurateShooter Forum Thread.

The 6mmBR Ackley Improved
Mike Wilson shot his spectacular group with a 40° Improved version of the 6mmBR cartridge with less body taper than a standard 6BR — the design is 0.463 at the body/shoulder junction (vs. 0.460 for standard 6BR). Mike calls his version of the 6BR Ackley a 6BRAW (“W” for Wilson). Sam Hall explained: “The 6BRAW is pretty much the same as a 6BRA or 6BR-AI (Ackley Improved). I sold the reamer to Mike last year. This has a 0.272 ‘No-Turn’ chamber with a 0.135 Freebore”.

6mmBR Ackley Improved 6BRA 6BRAI 6BRAW Mike wilson Tom Mousel

This photo shows a 40° 6mmBR Ackley Improved (6BRA), as used by Tom Mousel in Deep Creek, Montana. Mike Wilson’s 6BRAW may be very slightly different. For Mousel’s 6BRA with 28″ Krieger barrel, the accuracy node is about 2980-2990 fps, so this gives up only 30-50 fps compared to typical Dasher velocities. Mike Wilson’s load runs about 2980 fps also.

In the past couple of years, the 6BR Ackley-type cartridges have been hugely successful in 600-yard and 1000-yard Benchrest. Sam Hall notes: “This year the little 6BR-AI has shot the smallest groups ever fired in 600-yard and 1000-yard competition. Back in April 2018, Bart Sauter, using a 6BRA, shot a 0.282″ 5-Shot group at 600 yards.” Bart’s stunning 0.04 MOA group is a pending 600-yard IBS World Record. (Read Sauter Story). Now Mike Wilson has a pending 1000-yard World Record with his 6BRAW.

Mike Wilson IBS Hawks Ridge 1000-yard benchrest 1000 record 1.086 inches
Mike used an Italian Lenzi rear bag. Mike says the super-slick nylon on the ears of this high quality rear bag make for better tracking. The ears provide support but don’t “grab” the stock, reports Mike.


* There are two North American sanctioning bodies for 1000-Yard Benchrest, the IBS and the NBRSA. The previous 5-shot, 1000-yard IBS record is 1.397″ (50 score) by Tom Sarver in 2007. The existing NBRSA 1000-Yard 5-shot Light Gun record is 1.473″, shot by Bill Schrader in 2002.

Permalink Bullets, Brass, Ammo, Competition, News, Shooting Skills 12 Comments »
May 7th, 2018

Recoil Comparison — .223 Rem vs. 6mmBR vs. .308 Win

6mmBR NormaMany visitors to the site ask us, “I’ve got a .223 and .308. What will a 6mmBR Norma (6BR) give me that I’m not getting already?” Well first you may well average somewhat smaller groups than your current .223 or .308 rifle (assuming the 6BR has a quality barrel and trigger). A good .308 Winchester can be superbly accurate, no question about that, but the lesser recoil of the 6BR works in the shooter’s favor over a long string of fire. Even with a Rem 700 or Savage action factory action, a 6BR with a benchrest stock, premium barrel, and a high-quality chambering job should deliver 5-shot groups in the high twos to mid-threes, provided you do your job. We have one 6BR rifle that shoots Lapua factory-loaded 6BR ammunition in the low twos and high ones. That’s exceptional, we admit, but it still shows how the 6BR is an inherently accurate cartridge, even with factory loads.

Compared to a .223, the 6BR offers a better selection of high-BC projectiles and small-maker match projectiles (such as Bart Sauter’s “Hammer” and the Vapor Trail line). The 6BR will also deliver considerably more power on the target. Compared to the .308 shooting 168gr MatchKings, a 6BR shooting 105-107gr bullets offers better ballistics all the way out to 1000 yards. (The story changes with .308s with very long barrels pushing the 180-210 grain projectiles). Plus, for most people, the 6BR is just easier to shoot than a .308. Recoil is less than half of the .308 Win cartridge. Both the .308 and 6BR chamberings offer good barrel life, but the 6BR uses 15-18 grains less powder, saving you money. Here’s how the 6BR stacks up vs. a number of popular calibers:

Permalink Bullets, Brass, Ammo, Tech Tip 1 Comment »
March 18th, 2018

PacNor Barrels Can Shoot — 1.240″ Group at 500 Yards Is Proof

6BR 6mmBR Preacher PacNor

You don’t hear much about PacNor barrels in long-range competition, but FORUM member Wes J (aka P1ZombieKiller), proved that they can shoot “lights-out” in a rig assembled by a talented gunsmith. A few seasons back, Wes decided to upgrade a 6mmBR for mid-range benchrest and varmint matches. Wes tells us: “Since I restocked my 6BR … I have not had a chance to shoot it much since I have been playing the 100-200 game. I decided to take it out and do some playing at 500 yards. I have to give some serious props to my buddy (and fellow FORUM member) ‘PREACHER’ who did the chambering and barrel work for me. He can certainly make a gun shoot good. The barrel is a PacNor 1:8″ twist. My load was 105gr Berger VLDs pushed by 29.6 grains of Varget.” The five-round, 500-yard group shot by Wes J with his 6BR, measured just 1.240″, as measured by OnTarget software. Now that’s one accurate rig!

Five by Five — 5-Shot Group at 500 Yards, 1.240″, 0.237 MOA
6BR 6mmBR Preacher PacNor

This Editor knows something about the potential of a PacNor barrel. I have a 3-groove stainless PacNor SuperMatch on a Savage-actioned 6BR. This barrel shoots honest quarter-MOA in calm conditions, and it cleans up super-easy. The interior finish is so good, I’ve never had to brush the bore or use abrasives, and after 750 rounds it shoots as well as ever. I attribute the easy cleaning to the fact the lands in a PacNor 3-groove are wide and flat, so they are gentle on bullet jackets. I think accuracy is helped by the fact that my PacNor runs on the tight side (0.236 land dimension) with a good amount of choke. That works well with the 105gr Lapua Scenars and 103gr Spencers I like to shoot. You can read more about my rifle, nick-named the “Poor Man’s Hammer”, in this Feature Article from our archives. On one particularly calm day, in the hands of my friend (and ace trigger-puller) Joe Friedrich, the Poor Mans’ Hammer put 3 shots in under 0.200″ (measured center to center) at TWO Hundred yards. If you get a good one, PacNor three-grooves can definitely shoot.

OnTarget SoftwareTarget Measurement with OnTarget Software
We used OnTarget software to measure the 5-shot group in the target above. This easy-to-use software is very repeatable, once you get a feel for plotting the shots. The latest On Target v2.25 Precision Calculator is FREE for a 15-day evaluation period. If you like it (and you will, trust us) there’s a modest $11.99 registration fee to activate the program. In addition to group size (in inches), OnTarget plots distance to aiming point, and the software automatically calculates the group’s vertical height, horizontal dispersion, average to center (ATC), and group size in MOA.

You can run a measurement on a scanned target or a photo of a target. You’ll need some known reference to set the scale correctly. The target above had a one-inch grid so it was easy to set the scale. Once you’ve set the scale and selected bullet diameter and target distance, you simply position the small circles over each bullet hole and the OnTarget software calculates everything automatically, displaying the data in a data box superimposed over the target image. To learn more about OnTarget Software, read AccurateShooter.com’s OnTarget Product Review. This article covers all the basics as well as some advanced “power user” tips. NOTE: Since the review was written, On Target has updated the software, and the free version now has a time limit.

Permalink - Articles, Gear Review 1 Comment »
November 26th, 2017

Half-MOA Handgun — 6mm BR Savage Striker Pistol

Savage Striker pistol 6mmBR 6BR

Here’s something you’ve probably never seen before — a single-shot, bolt-action pistol chambered for the 6mm BR Norma cartridge. Featured as one of our Guns of the Week a while back, this Green Machine is a Savage Striker upgraded by Chuck G. from Arizona, a self-described “Savage Maniac”.

Chuck transformed this Savage Striker single-shot from a ho-hum .308 into a reliable half-MOA precision 6BR that can run with accurized rifles all the way out to impressively long ranges. Here we provide highlights from our original article. Click the link below to read our full Savage Striker article, which is three times longer than this story, and has more photos, plus videos and a detailed load development section.

READ Full Savage Striker 6mm BR Gun of the Week Story »

The Striker Project — Pursuit of Precision, by Chuck G.
I didn’t even know Savage Strikers existed until I saw one for sale on Gunbroker.com. I snagged it with a $400 bid. My idea was to build an accurate, long-range pistol on a pauper’s budget. As purchased, the Striker had a .308 barrel with an unknown round count, the standard center-grip, black synthetic stock, an odd two-piece custom brake, and an old Burris 4X pistol scope in a Conetrol 2-piece ring set. The trigger was very heavy, 6-8 lbs I’d estimate, with a lot of take-up and over-travel.

Initial Disappointments — Too Much Recoil, Poor Accuracy
My initial attempts to get the Striker to shoot well at even 100 yards were disappointing. I was never able to get better than a 3″, 5-shot group at 100. Not what I was looking for. Being used to benchrest triggers, the pull on this one was hard for me to manage. The gun would roll around on any type of front rest I had, and from a cement bench on a bipod it would jump about 18 inches up and sideways with every round. Not being used to this type of gun, I found the recoil and muzzle blast to be unsettling. It was hard not to flinch. I started off using my 1K .308 rifle load, 175 SMKs over 44 grains of Varget. That probably would have knocked the hell out of a deer, but it wasn’t much fun to shoot from the bench.

Savage Striker Pistol 6mm BR 6BR

New Caliber, New Barrel — Way Better Accuracy!
I decided to rebuild the Striker in a caliber that would be more fun to shoot. 6mmBR was an obvious choice for all the usual reasons–good brass, wide choice of match bullets, easy to load, low recoil, very accurate, and relatively cheap to shoot. As part of a SavageShooters.com group buy, I ordered a 15″, SS match grade, 3-groove, heavy varmint contour, 10-twist barrel from Pac-Nor. To set the freebore, I provided Pac-Nor with a dummy case with an 88gr LD Berger bullet seated to use as a guide. Total delivered price was $340 chambered and threaded for a muzzle brake from JP Rifles.

Savage Striker 6mmBR 6BR PacNor

When I bought it, the Striker, with factory .308 barrel, shot 3″ groups at 100. Now, with a Pac-Nor 6BR Match barrel, 3″ fore-arm plate, upgraded trigger, 24X scope, and match bullets, the gun consistently groups 1/2″ or better at 100 yards. What a transformation!”

Striker Project — Mission Accomplished
With further load development and bench practice, the gun is showing even more accuracy potential. Using a 24X target scope, the Striker has delivered 5-shot groups in the 3s and 4s during recent range visits. All in all, I’m very satisfied with the project. I ended up with an accurate, fun-to-shoot gun for under $1,000 including scope, paint, and bedding materials.

Savage Striker 6BR 6mm BR Norma

Stock Modifications
While waiting for the barrel I started working on the stock. As virtually no aftermarket stocks were readily available for the center-grip Striker, I decided to rebuild the standard black synthetic stock. The grip fit my hand poorly so I worked it over with a Dremel tool and sandpaper, built up the grip with Bondo, filled in some holes and bedded the action using Devcon Plastic Steel. This was my very first attempt at these tasks so progress was slow. Once I had re-shaped the stock, I sprayed five coats of “John Deere” green topped by several coats of auto clear. It came out surprisingly well considering I had never painted a stock before. I had originally planned to build up the fore-end to 3″ wide using Bondo but later decided to just use a Sinclair Benchrest Adapter that I had on hand.

Savage Striker 6BR 6mmBR

Chuck notes: “I’m really pleased with the C & J one-piece Rest. It’s solid, heavy, and well-designed. There is no real need for a windage top; small adjustments are easily made by slightly shifting the pistol butt. Elevation adjustments are positive and once the pistol is set up on this rest NOTHING moves.”

READ Full Savage Striker Gun of the Week Story »

Permalink - Articles, Handguns 3 Comments »
September 19th, 2017

Eight-Year-Old English Schoolgirl Shines at 1000-Yard Benchrest

Emily Benchrest 1000 yards England UK schoolgirl Kales Scope Light Gun Record
Emily has won many awards — including a screamer at 1000 yards — and her accomplishments have not gone unrecognized. At a recent UK Shooting Show, Emily was presented with a Kahles 10-50x56mm scope by UK Importers RUAG which will come in very useful for the UK winter 600-yard benchrest series. She also received a one-off Hausken suppressor in her favorite color — pink!

English Emily and Her Record-Breaking 6mmBR Stolle

Report by Vince Bottomley
Turning back the clock a decade or so to 2006 and Accurateshooter’s Gun of the Week #71 you will see my smiling face and my 7mm WSM BAT which had just set a new UK Light Gun record for 1000-yard benchrest with a 5-shot group measuring 2.67 inches. That record has now been broken — sadly not by me but by Emily’s Grandfather with a gun I built for this talented schoolgirl. Here’s the story of the precocious Emily and her record-setting rifle…

In 2006, when I set the record, young Emily Lenton wasn’t even born but, a couple years later she arrived – into the shooting-mad Lenton family. Both father Bruce Lenton and Granddad Tony have represented their Country at European and World Benchrest Championships and it was no surprise to see Emily, at just eight years old, shooting in her first 1000-yard benchrest competition.

Eight-year-old Emily shoots 6mm BR Heavy Gun at 1000 yards.
Emily Benchrest 1000 yards England UK schoolgirl Light Gun Record

Recoil is always going to be a problem for an 8-year-old, so Emily’s first bench-gun was Granddad’s 1000-yard Heavy Gun chambered for the 6mmBR cartridge. It hardly moves when Emily pulls the trigger and she soon became a serious contender.

Under her father Bruce Lenton’s careful supervision, Emily loads all her own ammunition.
Emily Benchrest 1000 yards England UK schoolgirl 6mmBR 6BR vince bottomley Light Gun Record

Of course, she wanted her own gun and who better to ask to build it than the current record holder — me of course! Emily chose a Stolle action RBLP as this was to be a 17-lb Light Gun, bedded into a UK-made Joe West laminate stock. The barrel was a heavy-profile 1:8″-twist Krieger chambered in 6mm BR Norma (6BR) with a ‘no-turn’ neck (reamer from Pacific Tool & Gauge) and fitted with a UK Tier One muzzle-brake.

Emily’s Light Gun begins to take shape…
Emily Benchrest 1000 yards England UK schoolgirl 6mmBR 6BR vince Bottomley Light Gun Record

Emily buckles down to some winter load-development (note the fleece coat and wool gloves).
Emily Benchrest 1000 yards England UK schoolgirl 6mmBR 6BR vince bottomley Light Gun Record

It was down to Granddad to help Emily with load-development and of course, he could also shoot it in competition — after all Emily had just about shot-out Granddad’s Heavy Gun with a full season of rapid-fire 10-shot groups!

Granddad Tony gets ready to shoot Emily’s gun.
Emily Benchrest 1000 yards England UK schoolgirl vince bottomly 6mmBR 6BR Light Gun Record

Then something happened – Granddad went and broke my ten-year old record with Emily’s gun! Well, I suppose there was some consolation — at least I’d built the record-breaking gun. The new UK Light Gun 1000-yard five-shot record now stands at 2.462 inches. For those who like load details, Emily uses Lapua brass, Vihtavuori N150 powder, CCI 450 primers, and Berger 105 grain VLD bullets loaded with Wilson hand-dies.

Tony Lenton with Emily’s gun just after he broke my 1000-yard record. I’m doing my best to smile!
Emily Benchrest 1000 yards England UK schoolgirl 6BR 6mmBR Vince Bottomley Light Gun Record

Next Stop… New Zealand! 2017 World Benchrest Championships Down Under
Emily has now got her own 6PPC gun for short-range benchrest and she will be travelling to New Zealand this fall with her family. She’ll be helping her father and Granddad who are part of the United Kingdom squad competing at the 2017 World Benchrest Shooting Championships to be held at the Packers Creek Range in Nelson, NZ. How long will it be before Emily makes her own ‘World’ debut?

Permalink - Videos, Competition, Gunsmithing, News 6 Comments »
August 1st, 2017

Flash-Hole Fix — Clearing Flash-Hole Obstructions in Your Brass

Flash-hole reamer

Even with high-quality brass from Lapua, Norma, and RWS, occasionally you may find one or two cases per box which have a small flake or obstruction in the flash-hole. This will appear like a thin crescent on one side of the flash hole (see photo). You should inspect ALL new brass before loading to identify any pieces with a partially-obstructed flash hole. It’s a good idea to remove any flake or thin crescent left as an artifact of the flash-hole forming process. Because the flash-hole itself is normally centered and of the correct diameter, it is not necessary to ream the flash-hole to a larger diameter. All you really need to do is remove the small obstruction(s). This can be done quickly with inexpensive tools.

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

If you want to just clear out any obstructions in the flash hole, without increasing the flash hole diameter, you can use an inexpensive “pin vise” with an appropriate drill bit. For $0.99, eHobbyTools.com sells a 1.5mm drill bit, item 79186, that matches the Lapua flash hole exactly. Other vendors offer a #53 pin vise drill bit that measures .0595″ or .060″ (depending or source). An 0.0595″ bit is close enough. You can find pin vises and these small-diameter drill bits at hobby stores.

Pin vises Lapua Flash hole

For quite some time, Sinclair Int’l has sold a similar device for small (PPC and BR-size) flash holes. Like the 07-3081 unit for large flash holes, the 073000 Reamer for small flash holes works from the outside, so it can index off the primer pocket. It reams to .0625″, and also costs $39.99. The standard dimension for Lapua 220 Russian and 6mmBR flash holes is 1.5mm or .0590″. This tool will permit standard-size decapping rods with .0625″ tips to work without binding. However, note that both Forster and Redding normally supply .057″ decapping pins with their PPC and BR dies. So, it is NOT necessary to ream your Lapua BR/PPC flashholes, unless you prefer to do so for uniformity. It IS, however, a good idea to check BR/PPC flash holes for burrs before loading the first time.

AccurateShooter Sinclair Flash Hole Reamer

NOTE: If you purchase either the 073081 or 073000 Sinclair Flash Hole Reamer tools, we recommend you mic the cutter tip before you process a bunch of cases. Sometimes a tip comes through that is oversize. This will ream the flash holes larger than you may intend.

Permalink Reloading, Tech Tip 3 Comments »
June 15th, 2017

Sako Extractor Upgrade for Rem 700 Works Great

Sako Extractor Remington bolt

Jonathan Ocab, a High Power shooter from California, had gunsmith Doan Trevor install a Sako-style extractor in the Rem 700 bolt in Ocab’s 6mmBR Eliseo R5 tubegun. Jonathan produced an excellent video showing how the Sako extractor improves the ejection of the short, fat 6mmBR cartridges in his rifle. Jonathan’s video demonstrates 6mmBR case ejection with an unmodified Rem 700 factory bolt versus a factory bolt fitted with a Sako-style extractor.

Johnathan explains: “Note how even when slowly operating the bolt, the bolt with the Sako extractor easily ‘kicks’ out the brass on ejection with minimal chance of operator error resulting in a failure to extract. While the unmodified bolt has issues ejecting brass on slow operation, it will eject if the operator pulls the bolt back quickly (fast and with some force).

While a Sako-style extractor isn’t an absolute necessity, this video shows the definite improvement this modification provides. For short cartridges like the 6mmBR, this is very useful. This modification is highly recommended for competition shooters, especially High Power competitors who seek improved function in rapid-fire stages. This modification is fairly inexpensive and any competent gunsmith should be able to perform the work (usually under $100 with parts and labor).”

EDITOR’s NOTE: In his video, Jonathan deliberately worked the unmodified Remington bolt slowly to show how the standard Rem extractor can struggle with short fat cases like the 6mmBR. In fact, when you work a standard, unmodified bolt more quickly, the extraction can be much more positive. Cycling the bolt with more “snap” provides more energy to eject the cases. We have run an R5 Tubegun chambered in 6mmBR with an unmodified Rem 700 bolt (no SAKO extractor), and the extraction was reliable, provided the bolt was worked quickly.

Permalink Gunsmithing, Tech Tip 3 Comments »
April 28th, 2017

Shot Costs Calculated for .223 Rem, 6BR, 6XC, .308 Win, 6.5×284

Shooting Cost by Cartridge Caliber type USAMU

Estimating Actual Cost per Round by Caliber
This article comes from the USAMU, which provide shooting and reloading tips on its Facebook Page. This week’s USAMU TECH TIP outlines a ballpark-estimate method of calculating the actual cost per round of different calibers. Some applications, and some shooters, by virtue of their high level of competition, require the very best ballistic performance available — “Darn the cost, full speed ahead!

If you are in serious contention to win a major competition, then losing even a single point to inferior ballistic performance could cost you a national title or record. However, this “horsepower” does come at a cost! Some calibers are barrel-burners, and some offer much longer barrel life. Look at this comparison chart:

Estimated Cost Per Round by Cartridge Type

Below are some estimated total expense per round (practice and competition) based on component costs, type used, expected barrel life and a standard, chambered barrel cost of $520.00 across calibers.

5.56x45mm: $0.46/round (barrel life 6,000 rounds)*

6mmBR: $0.81/round (barrel life 2800 rounds)

6XC: $0.97/round (barrel life 2200 rounds)

.308 Win: $0.80/round (barrel life 4500 rounds)

6.5-284: $1.24/round (barrel life 1100 rounds)

*Note the high round count estimate for 5.56x45mm. This is a bit deceptive, as it assumes a period of “lesser accuracy” use. The USAMU says: “Much of the difference you see here between 5.56 and .308 is due to using the 5.56 barrel for 100-200 yard training with less-expensive, 55gr Varmint bullets after its long-range utility is spent”.

Moreover, while some applications require specialized, high-cost components, others do not. And, if the shooter is still relatively new to the sport and hasn’t refined his skill to within the top few percentile of marksmen, a more economical caliber choice can help stretch a limited budget. Translation: More skill per dollar!

In this post, the prices for all items mentioned here were taken from a major component supplier’s current advertisements, and all brass was of top quality, except in the case of 5.56mm. There, 200 top-quality, imported cases were reserved for 600-yard shooting, and the other brass used was once-fired Lake City surplus.

Cartridge cases were assumed to be loaded 10 times each. [Your mileage may vary…] Bullet prices assumed the use of less-expensive, but good-quality match bullets for the bulk of shooting as appropriate.

The cost of top-tier, highly-expensive match bullets was also calculated for a realistic percentage of the shots fired, based on ones’ application. Barrel life by caliber was taken from likely estimates based on experience and good barrel maintenance.

Brass Costs Based on 10 Loads Per Case
Often, handloaders may calculate ammunition cost per round by adding the individual costs of primers, powder charges and projectiles. Many don’t consider the cost of brass, as it is reloaded several times. Here, we’ll consider the cost of enough top-quality brass to wear out a barrel in our given caliber, at 10 loads per case, except as noted above.

Don’t Forget Amortized Barrel Costs
Few shooters factor in the full, true cost of barrel life. Depending on caliber, that can dramatically increase the cost per round. For example, consider a long-range rifle in 6.5/284 caliber. This cartridge performs amazingly well, but at a cost. Ballpark estimated barrel life [in a top-quality barrel] is 1100 rounds. Some wear out faster, some last longer, but this gives a rough idea of what to expect.

Accurate barrels are a joy to use, but they are an expendable resource!
Shooting Cost by Cartridge Caliber type USAMU

A top-quality barrel plus installation was estimated at about $520.00. At 1100 rounds, barrel life adds $0.47 per round to our total cost. Thus, what had started out as an [components-only estimate, with brass cost] of $0.76/round now totals $1.24 per shot!

Cost Considerations When Choosing a Catridge Type
Some shooters might ask themselves if they could meet their present needs with a more economical caliber. If so, that equates to more practice and matches per available dollar, and more potential skill increase on the available budget.

Each shooter knows his skill level, practice needs, and shooting discipline’s requirements. Some might shoot NRA Service Rifle or Match Rifle using a 5.56mm with a long barrel life. Others might be Match Rifle shooters faced with choosing between, say, a 6mm BR vs. 6XC. A realistic assessment of ones needs, performance-wise, may help guide the shooter toward a caliber that’s most optimized to their needs at the moment.

Admittedly, the factors affecting cost for any individuals circumstances can vary significantly. However, hopefully this will provide one useful method of evaluating one’s training and competition choices, based on their skill, goals and needs.

USAMU reloading Facebook Page army tips tech

Permalink Bullets, Brass, Ammo, Reloading, Tech Tip 7 Comments »
February 4th, 2017

How to Fire-Form Brass without Bullets

Fire-Form Brass Cream of Wheat Dasher BRDX

Many of our Forum members shoot an “improved” 6mmBR cartridge. This might be a 30°-shoulder 6mm BRX, or a 40°-shoulder 6mm Dasher, or the 6mm BRDX, which is very similar to the Dasher, but with a slightly longer neck. This Editor shoots a 6mm BRDX and has found it very accurate, and maybe a bit easier to fire-form than a standard Dasher. Speaking of fire-forming, in our Shooters’ Forum, we often see questions about fire-forming BRX/Dasher brass. For those who need a large number of BRX or Dasher cases, one option to consider is using pistol powder in a dedicated fire-forming barrel. Here’s an explanation of how this process can work.

Forum member Skeeter has a 6mm Dasher falling block varmint rifle. The Dasher case is based on the 6mmBR Norma cartridge with the shoulder blown forward about 0.100″ and out to 40°. This gives the Dasher roughly 3.5 grains added capacity compared to the standard 6BR.

A few seasons back, Skeeter needed to form 300 cases for varmint holiday. Skeeter decided to fire-form his brass without bullets. This method avoids barrel wear and saves on components. There are various ways to do this, but Skeeter chose a method using pistol/shotgun powder, some tissue to hold the powder in place, Cream of Wheat filled to within an 1/8″ of top of the neck, and a “plug” of tissue paper to hold it all in place. Shown below are cases filled with a pistol/shotgun powder charge topped with Cream of Wheat and then a tissue paper plug.

To ensure the case headspaced firmly in his Dasher chamber, Skeeter created a “false shoulder” where the new neck-shoulder junction would be after fire-forming. After chamfering his case mouths, Skeeter necked up all his cases with a 0.257″ mandrel (one caliber oversized). Then he used a bushing neck-sizing die to bring the top half of the neck back down to 0.267″ to fit his 0.269″ chamber. The photo below shows how the false shoulder is created.

After creating the false shoulder, Skeeter chambered the cases in his rifle to ensure he could close the bolt and that he had a good “crush fit” on the false shoulder, ensuring proper headspace. All went well.

The next step was determining the optimal load of pistol powder. Among a variety of powders available, Skeeter chose Hodgdon Titewad as it is relatively inexpensive and burns clean. The goal was to find just the right amount of Titewad that would blow the shoulder forward sufficiently. Skeeter wanted to minimize the amount of powder used and work at a pressure that was safe for his falling block action.

Working incrementally, Skeeter started at 5.0 grains of Titewad, working up in 0.5 grain increments. As you can see, the 5.0 grain charge blew the shoulder forward, but left it a hemispherical shape. At about 7.0 grains of Titewad, the edge of the shoulder and case body was shaping up. Skeeter decided that 8.5 grains of Titewad was the “sweet spot”. He tried higher charges, but the shoulder didn’t really form up any better. It will take another firing or two, with a normal match load of rifle powder and a bullet seated, to really sharpen up the shoulders. Be sure to click on the “View Larger Image” link to get a good view of the cases.


The process proved to be a success. Skeeter now has hundreds of fire-formed Dasher cases and he hasn’t had to put one bullet through his nice, new match-grade barrel. The “bulletless” Cream of Wheat method allowed him to fire-form in a tight-necked barrel without neck-turning the brass first. The only step now remaining is to turn the newly Dasher-length necks down about .0025″ to fit his 0.269″ chamber. (To have no-turn necks he would need an 0.271″ or 0.272″ chamber).

Skeeter didn’t lose a single case: “As for the fire-forming loads, I had zero split cases and no signs of pressure in 325 cases fire-formed. Nor did I have any misfires or any that disbursed COW into the action of the firearm. So the COW method really worked out great for me and saved me a lot of money in powder and bullets.”

Skeeter did have a fire-forming barrel, but it was reamed with a .269 chamber like his 10-twist Krieger “good” barrel. If he fire-formed with bullets, he would have to turn all 300 necks to .267″ BEFORE fire-forming so that loaded rounds would fit in the chamber. Judging just how far to turn is problematic. There’s no need to turn the lower part of the neck that will eventually become shoulder–but how far down the neck to turn is the issue. By fire-forming without bullets now he only has to turn about half the original neck length, and he knows exactly how far to go.

Permalink Bullets, Brass, Ammo, Reloading, Tech Tip 4 Comments »
January 17th, 2017

Bodacious Black Bleikers — $20K Worth of Swiss Perfection

Bleiker 300m rifle smallbore championship
You are looking at $20,100 of Competition Rifles here. (Click Image for full-screen version.)

Don’t inquire about the price of a Bleiker competition rifle. As the expression goes, “If you have to ask, you can’t afford it”. At the Pardini USA booth at SHOT Show we saw a pair of bodacious black beauties — two “full-race” Bleikers, one a smallbore match rifle (.22 LR) and the other a 300m position rifle chambered in 6mmBR Norma. The combined price for the two rifles was a jaw-dropping $20,100.00. Yep, over $20K for the two. The 6mmBR rig was $10,200 while the smallbore rifle was $9,900.00.

Bleikers command such high prices because they win. At recent ISSF 300m and Smallbore Championships, Bleikers have been used by many of the medal winners. A gun is worth $10K if it can really put you on the podium or, better yet, deliver a world championship.

Bleiker 300m rifle smallbore championship
Take a look at this slick feature on the 300m gun. The adjustable cheek-pad automatically tilts up (for clearance) when you retract the bolt. That’s clever Swiss Engineering.

Bleiker 300m rifle smallbore championship

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December 13th, 2016

TECH TIP: Rebate Larger Case Rims to Shoot with PPC Actions

30BR 6 PPC rim rebated Butch Lambert

Many short-range Benchresters have thought about converting their 6 PPC to shoot a 30BR for score matches, or a Dasher for mid-range (or even 1000-yard) games. That way you have a rifle that does double duty, giving you the most bang for your buck. Though an action with a PPC bolt won’t normally work with 30BR/6BR/Dasher cases with their larger .308-class rim (0.4728″ diameter), there is a pretty easy solution that allows you to cycle these bigger cartridges with a 6PPC-style bolt (designed to fit .220 Russian rims).

“Rebating case rims … lets you shoot a 30BR in score matches using your PPC action. All you need is a new barrel. This saves buying another bolt, receiver, or rifle.” — Butch Lambert

Butch Lambert of ShadeTree Engineering provided this tip. Butch notes that many 6 PPC benchrest group shooters also enjoy shooting in score matches. But to be really competitive in the BR for score game, that means shooting a 30BR, which has a wider, .308-class rim (0.4728″ diameter). Likewise, if you want to compete in 600-yard registered BR events or in varmint matches, you probably want to run a bigger case, such as the 6BR, 6mm Dasher, or 6-6.5×47. Those cartridges also have the larger 0.4728″ rims.

30Br Butch Lambers 6 PPC

To convert a PPC-boltface action to shoot the bigger cases you can spend a ton of money and buy a new bolt. That can cost hundreds of dollars. The simpler solution is to turn down the diameter of the larger cases on a lathe. Butch explains: “We’ve seen plenty of interest in rebating case rims. This lets you shoot a 30BR in score matches using your PPC action. All you need is a new barrel. This saves buying another bolt, receiver, or rifle if you have a PPC boltface. Anyone who has access to a lathe can do this job pretty easily. Yesterday I turned 150 case in about an hour.” Below is the lathe form tool Butch uses to rebate the case rims.


Cutting Head for Rebating Rims

Permalink Bullets, Brass, Ammo, Gunsmithing, Tech Tip 2 Comments »