November 1st, 2017

Long Range Load Development for F-Class

7mm F-Class long range load development Mark Walker Sierra Bullets

This article was written in 2014 for the Sierra Bullets Blog. It describes one method of load development that is commonly used. There are other methods that can work also. Some guys first isolate seating depth and then fine-tune velocity with charge weights. Other guys may aim for a known velocity node (speed range) and then optimize accuracy by adjusting seating depth. Still others look for smallest ES and tightest vertical to minimize 1000-yard vertical dispersion. There are many ways to skin a cat. Different rifles (and even different barrels) can demand different styles of load development.

In this instance the writer achieved desired results seating his bullets .007″ back from max “jam” length. For other applications (and other barrels) you may get the best, most consistent results seating off the rifling by .020″ or more. In disciplines with quick-fire such as PRS, it may be wise to develop loads that “jump” the bullet.

F-Class Long Range Load Development Methodology

by Mark Walker, Sierra Bullets Product Development Manager
Since I just put a new barrel on my F-class rifle… I figured it might be a good time to discuss load tuning for long range shooting. Getting the most accuracy out of your rifle is one of the most important aspects of load tuning. For long range shooting in particular, using a load that produces the least amount of vertical variation is vital. There are several steps to the process that I use, so I will go through the basics of each.

When I first get a new barrel installed, I like to determine what the loaded cartridge “jam” length is. I do this by taking an empty case (no powder or primer) that has been neck sized with the proper bushing (I like to shoot for 0.002 smaller than the loaded cartridge neck diameter) and seat a bullet long in it so that the throat of the rifle will move the bullet back into the case when I close the bolt. I close the bolt several times until the bullet stops moving back into the case at which point I use a comparator with my calipers and get a length measurement on the cartridge. This is what I consider to be the “jam length” for this barrel and chamber. I came up with 3.477″ as the “jam length” for this particular barrel. [Editor: In this instance, Mark is using “Jam length” to mean max seating depth he can achieve without bullet set-back.]

Next, I will fire-form some brass using a starting load of powder and bullets seated to “jam” while breaking in the barrel. My barrel break in process is not very technical; it’s mostly just to get the brass formed and the rifle sighted in. I do clean every 5 rounds or so just because I feel like I have to.

Once I have the brass formed, I use them to load for a “ladder test” to see what powder charge the rifle likes. With a ladder test, you take your starting load and load one round each with a slightly increasing amount of powder until you reach your max load for that cartridge. You then fire each round using the same aiming point to see where the bullets start to form a group. For this barrel and cartridge, I started at 53.3 grains of H4831SC powder and increased the load by 0.3 grains until I reached 55.7 grains. I always seat my bullets to “jam” when doing a ladder test. We will determine the final seating depth in another test later. It’s usually best to shoot this test at a minimum of 200 yards because at closer ranges the bullets will impact too close together making it hard to determine which load works best. I shot this test at 300 yards.

7mm F-Class long range load development Mark Walker Sierra Bullets

As you can see from the target, the lightest load #1 had the lowest velocity and impacted lowest on the target. Shots #2 and #3 were a little higher and in the same hole. Shots #4 thru #6 were slightly higher yet and all had the same elevation. Shots #7 and #8 were the highest on the target however pressure signs were starting to show. For some reason shot #9 went back into the group and the chronograph didn’t get a reading so I ignored that shot.

When picking a load, I am looking for the most shots at the same vertical location on the target. As you can see that would be shots #4 through #6 so I would pick a powder charge from those shots which would be 54.2 grains to 54.8 grains. As a side note, shots #2 and #3 are only 0.851 lower so I wouldn’t be afraid of using one of those loads either. I settled on 54.5 grains as the load I wanted to use. It’s right in the middle of the group so if the velocity goes up or down slightly, the bullet should still hit in the same place on the target.

Now that we’ve settled on a powder charge, I want to find the seating depth the rifle likes. I usually start at jam length and [shorten the COAL] in 0.003 increments until I get to 0.015 deeper than jam. [Editor: By this he means he is seating the BULLET deeper in the case, NOT deeper into the lands. He ended up at .007″ shorter than his hard jam length of 3.477″.]

I load 3 rounds at each depth using the 54.5 grain powder charge and shoot a group with each depth at 150 yards. As you can see from the target, the first two groups are not good at all. Next one looks good and is the smallest group on the target. The next three are not quite as small but the vertical location on the target is almost the same which indicates a sweet spot which will help keep the vertical stringing to a minimum on target. I went with 3.470″ which is right in the middle once again and should give some flexibility with the seating depth.

7mm F-Class long range load development Mark Walker Sierra Bullets

So after all of that, my load is 54.5 grains of H4831SC and a cartridge length of 3.470. I plan on loading up enough ammo to shoot five groups of five shots and see exactly how this load works on target as well as what the extreme velocity spreads are over several groups.

I sincerely hope some of this information helps you to get the best accuracy out of your rifle. I do not take credit for coming up with any of this, a whole lot of good shooters use this same method or a variant of it when working up their loads.

For more information about load development, please contact the Sierra Bullets technical support team at 1-800-223-8799 or by email at sierra [at] sierrabullets.com.

Disclaimer: Load data represented here may not be safe in your rifle. Always start low and work up, watching for pressure signs.

Permalink Bullets, Brass, Ammo, Reloading, Tech Tip 4 Comments »
January 16th, 2017

Sierra Offers New Ultra-High-BC 197gr 7mm (.284) MatchKing

Sierra 197gr MatchKing High BC F-Open Closed Meplat

Get ready for a revolution in the F-Open, ELR, and Long-Range Benchrest games. Sierra just introduced a new 7mm bullet with a stunning 0.780 G1 BC. This new 197-grain HPBT MatchKing is one of the highest-BC, jacketed .284-caliber projectiles ever offered to the public. By comparison, Sierra’s own advanced 183-grain 7mm Matchking has a .707 G1 BC. That means the new 197-grainer has a 10% higher BC than the already slippery 183-grainer. That’s an impressive achievement by Sierra.

We expect top F-Open and long-range shooters will be trying the new 197-grainer as soon as they can get their hands on this new projectile. They may need new barrels however, as Sierra states: “This bullet requires a barrel twist rate of 1:7.5″ or faster”. Sierra expects to start shipping these slippery 7mm 197s very soon. You can order directly from Sierra’s website, stock code #1997, $54.20 for 100 bullets.

Sierra 197gr MatchKing

Factory Uniformed Bullet Tips
Sierra has officially announced that the 197gr SMK will come “pointed” from the factory. These impressive new 197s will have a “final meplat reducing operation” (pointing). This creates a higher BC (for less drag) and also makes the BC more uniform (reducing vertical spread at long range). Our tests of other factory-pointed Sierra MKs have demonstrated that Sierra does a very good job with this pointing operation. The “pointed” MatchKings we’ve shot recently had very nice tips, and did hold extremely “tight waterline” at 1000 yards, indicating that the pointing process does seem to enhance BC uniformity. Morever, radar-derived “real-world” BCs have been impressively uniform with the latest generation of pointed Sierra MKs (such as the new 110gr 6mm MatchKing).

Here is the statement from Sierra about the new bullets:

Shooters around the world will appreciate the accuracy and extreme long range performance of our new 7mm 197 grain HPBT (#1997). A sleek 27-caliber elongated ogive and a final meplat reducing operation (pointing) provide an increased ballistic coefficient for optimal wind resistance and velocity retention. To ensure precise bullet to bore alignment, a unique bearing surface to ogive junction uses the same 1.5 degree angle commonly found in many match rifle chamber throats.

While they are recognized around the world for record-setting accuracy, MatchKing® and Tipped MatchKing® bullets are not recommended for most hunting applications. Although MatchKing® and Tipped MatchKing® bullets are commonly used for varmint hunting, their design will not provide the same reliable explosive expansion at equivalent velocities in varmints compared to their lightly jacketed Hornet, Blitz BlitzKing, or Varminter counterparts.

New product tip from EdLongrange. We welcome reader submissions.
Permalink Bullets, Brass, Ammo, New Product 12 Comments »
December 27th, 2016

Reptilian R1 — Santiago’s Snakeskin TubeGun

Santiago Tubegun Eliseo R1 Snakeskin Hydro-dip

Santiago Tubegun Eliseo R1 Snakeskin Hydro-dip

Santiago Tubegun Eliseo R1 Snakeskin Hydro-dipA 7mm Snake for Santiago
Our friend Dennis Santiago has a reptilian rig in his arsenal. It’s actually an Eliseo R1 single-shot tubegun chambered in .284 Winchester. The eye-catching aspect of Santiago’s .284 bolt-gun is the snakeskin dip job on the exterior. This really creates a distinctive look. Dennis tells us: “It was Gary Eliseo’s idea to try a water-transfer printing finish for this rifle. There are many patterns to choose from — this is the WTP-260 Snakeskin Illusion-Fall Copper from WaterTransferPrinting.com. For a single shot LR gun, I figured something on the bright side would be interesting and pick up less heat from the sun in the summer.”

Dennis will use his new rifle in prone matches, where a single shot works fine. He says: “Underneath the hood, it’s a Rem 700 Long Action, chambered in .284 Win. Yes it’s a single shot! I don’t need anything else for a prone gun. Nothing to get in the way of building the perfect position.”

Dennis says: “Length of pull, offset and cast initially set the same as my similar RTS .308. My gun, my body dimensions.”
Santiago Tubegun Eliseo R1 Snakeskin Hydro-dip

A FFP 6-24x50mm Sightron Rides on Top
The optic is a Sightron 6-24x50mm, FFP MOA-2. Dennis reports: “I looked at many scopes (within my determined price range), and this is the one that had the best combination of features for for this gun’s particular application. The sight line sits about 3 inches above bore line on these guns. It’s been leveled, bore-sighted and pre-dialed for a 200-yard estimated zero for the ammo I plan to use. Those are Gen II A.R.M.S. rings. Super easy to tailor to different rail widths. Same rock-steady steel performance.”

Santiago Tubegun Eliseo R1 Snakeskin Hydro-dip

Santiago Tubegun Eliseo R1 Snakeskin Hydro-dip

Permalink Gear Review, Gunsmithing No Comments »
November 11th, 2016

English Shooter Sets New Great Britain F-Class Record

UK European F-Class F-Open Championships Bisley Range England

Report by Des Parr
With every new season, standards in the F-Class game are climbing ever higher. Shooter are improving their skills set while equipment and loading techniques are improving (thanks in part to websites such as this). Evidence of the level of improvement in F-Class shooting comes from the UK, where a talented shooter drilled a new GBFCA record score. One of our rising stars on this side of the pond is F-Open shooter Paul Hill. He hails from England’s wide-open flat lands where the wind blows strongly in from the North Sea and where a shooter must soon learn to read the wind.

At the European Championships held in September at the Bisley ranges, Paul set a new record score at 900 yards — a 100-17V! That’s 17 shots placed in a five-inch circle the size of a CD (compact disc) at over half a mile. [NOTE: At Bisley, the maximum score is FIVE points, not ten points. So the maximum score for 20 shots is 100. Also what Americans call an “X” is called a “V” at Bisley.]

Record Set with Slower Pair Firing Method
Bear in mind the style of shooting here in Great Britain is pair-firing. Under this procedure, each of two competitors shoots alternately, taking turns from shot to shot. Each shooter has 45 seconds to get his shot off. Allowing for the target pullers to do their jobs, this means that each shot can take up to one minute. As Paul was pair firing, he had to concentrate for up to 40 minutes to get all 20 shots off! You can imagine how many times the wind changed course in those 40 minutes — pick-ups, let-offs, changes of angle and direction. Paul had to counter each change and still managed to keep 17 shots in that 5-inch circle!

UK European F-Class F-Open Championships Bisley Range England

Paul Hill Sets Record with His First-Ever DIY-Chambered Barrel
What makes this new GBFCA record all the more significant is that Paul did it by barreling his own rifle — and for the first time! By simply taking great care and attention he has chambered and fitted a barrel himself to the very highest standards. Paul chambered the Krieger 1:9″-twist barrel for the .284 Winchester cartridge. His action was a Barnard. The stock is by Joe West.

Record Shot with Lapua 180gr Scenars and Russian Primers
We should note that Paul Hill is a very keen fan of Lapua’s 180gr Scenar-L bullet. It has to be said that this bullet doesn’t have the highest BC, yet whatever it lacks in that department it more than makes up for by being remarkably consistent — and consistency counts for a lot. Paul is also a fan of the Russian KVB-7 primers. His achievement is proof that Lapua Scenars and KVB-7 primers are every bit as good as the premium-priced alternatives. The powder was Vihtavuori N160. [Editor: For its 180gr Scenar-L, Lapua lists a 0.661 G1 BC, and a 0.332 G7 BC. Those numbers may not top the charts, but they are still very impressive.]

Records are made to be broken, but we think it will be quite a while before Paul’s 200-17X is surpassed in European competition. If you feel up to that challenge, consider competing in next year’s European Championships in late September 2017.

Permalink News 6 Comments »
October 26th, 2016

Great Sale on Sierra Bullets at Precision Reloading

Precision Reloading Sierra Matchking Tipped TMK SMK bullets sale

Right now Precision Reloading is running a BIG SALE on Sierra MatchKing (MK) and Tipped MatchKing (TMK) Bullets. These bullets are being offered at deep discounts, with very low prices (some close to wholesale). Precision Reloading says you can save up to $37.00 on 500-ct boxes. Here are just a few examples of the dozens of types of Sierra Bullets on Sale.

Sierra 30 Cal, 200gr HPBT MK, 100 for $35.57 (marked down from $40.29)
Sierra 7mm, 183gr HPBT MK, 100 for $38.37 (marked down from $43.39) (Great new bullet)
Sierra 6.5mm, 142gr HPBT MK, 500 for $167.74 (marked down from $187.69)
Sierra 6.5 mm, 130gr TMK, 100 for $30.58 (marked down from $34.59)
Sierra 6mm, 95gr TMK, 500 for $138.75 (marked down from $156.89)
Sierra 22 Cal, 80gr HPBT MK, 500 for $117.08 (marked down from $132.39)
Sierra 22 Cal 77gr TMK, 100 for $26.19 (marked down from $29.69)

NOTE: This Sierra Bullets Sale runs through October 31, 2016, so you’ll want to place your order before the end of the month.

Sierra offers the widest selection of .30-Caliber match bullets in the world today, producing bullets suited to nearly every form of long-range competition. Along with classic HPBT and HP MatchKings, Sierra now offers the new Tipped MatchKing (TMK) line, which feature an acetal resin tip. The major advantage of adding a tip to the bullet is the reduction of drag, producing a more favorable ballistic coefficient. Another benefit is improved feeding in magazine-fed firearms.

Permalink Bullets, Brass, Ammo, Hot Deals No Comments »
June 8th, 2016

Bullpup Ballistics: 7mm RSAUM in Desert Tech SRS Rifle

Coldboremiracle SRA Desert Tech LLC Bullpup 7mm .284 SAUM RSAUM Remington short action ultra magnum
Here is the view from 9500 feet ASL. The SRS in 7mm Rem SAUM almost outran the Swarovski laser…

7mm RSAUM in a bolt-action bullpup? Yes it works. A talented shooter, who calls himself “ColdboreMiracle” in social media, has a Desert Tech SRS bullpup rifle chambered for the 7mm SAUM, and it hammers. The 7mm Remington SAUM (Short Action Ultra Magnum) is popular with F-Open competition shooters. It can also work well for long-range hunting and tactical tasks. Learn more about the 7mm Remington SAUM in our 7mm Cartridge Guide.

ColdboreMiracle explains how he selected the 7mm Rem SAUM chambering for his Desert Tech SRS Bullpup: “I just did a comparison between barrel life, velocity, brass, etc. and came to the SAUM. I can tell you this, if you go with one for your SRS, make sure you use long bullets like the 183 or 195, and seat them long. That will aid in smooth cycling.”

Mr. ColdboreMiracle tested the new generation 183gr Sierra MatchKings (item # 1983). These impressive projectiles are “tipped” at the factory. Claimed G1 BC is a lofty 0.707 (at 2300 fps and above). We have heard other reports that these bullets “hold waterline” exceptionally well at 1000 yards. That indicates the bullet-to-bullet BC is very consistent. No doubt the factory uniforming/pointing of the bullet tips helps in that regard.

As you can see, these 183-grainers shoot well in ColdboreMiracle’s SRS rifle. Here are five shots at 100 yards. That’s very impressive for a tactical-style rifle shot from a field-type bipod.

Coldboremiracle SRA Desert Tech LLC Bullpup 7mm .284 SAUM RSAUM Remington short action ultra magnum

ColdboreMiracle says: “This is the only reason I need to shoot Sierra bullets. On the right (above) you can see the results of the 183gr SMK from my 7mm SAUM. Five shots at 100. A huge thanks to Mark at Short Action Customs, LLC for [chambering this barrel] for my Desert Tech SRS.”

ColdboreMiracle says the bullpup design has many advantages: “The Stealth Recon Scout (SRS) rifle from Desert Tech is a bullpup-configured precision rifle with a shorter length than many carbines. The SRS has a multitude of barrel options that can be swapped in under a minute — all of them come with a 1/2-MOA accuracy guarantee and return to zero. The SRS’s bullpup design puts the rifle’s COG closer to the shoulder, making the rifle balance better off-hand. The straight-line geometry of the SRS makes recoil seem lighter, and barrel hop is reduced, allowing the shooter to stay on target better. It takes a little getting used to, when converting from a traditionally-configured bolt gun. But once you do, you won’t go back.” To learn more about this rifle (and other Desert Tech arms), visit ColdboreMiracle’s Facebook Page and YouTube Channel.

Coldboremiracle SRA Desert Tech LLC Bullpup 7mm .284 SAUM RSAUM Remington short action ultra magnum

7mm Remington SAUM — Key Considerations

7mm RSAUM short action ultra magnum mag remingtoIn some respects, the 7mm SAUM cartridge may be better than the 7mm WSM. The 7mm SAUM holds less powder — but that’s a good thing, since the capacity is more than adequate to do the job. You can drive the 180s at 3000 fps with a SAUM using less powder than with a WSM. Additionally, the SAUM case has a slightly longer neck. This gives you greater flexibility in bullet seating. With a long neck you can set the throat so the long 180+ graing bullets are above the neck shoulder junction, yet you can still seat shorter hunting bullets close to the lands. Additionally, long case necks, some believe, cause less throat erosion than shorter necks. That’s not “hard science” but it is certainly a view shared by many experienced shooters. The long neck is one reason many varminters favor the 6mm Remington over the .243 Winchester.

7mm RSAUM Is More Efficient than 7mm WSM
7mm RSAUM shooter Steven Ikeeda tells us: “I decided that some type of 7mm was the ticket for doing well at 1000-yard matches, especially if one could drive the high-BC bullets at 2900+ fps. Looking over various 7mm cartridges that could produce those velocities (and didn’t require case-forming), I was impressed by the 7mm SAUM and the 7mm WSM. According to the load manuals, the 7mm WSM offered a bit more velocity than the 7mm SAUM. However, to achieve its small velocity advantage, the larger 7mm WSM had to burn 7-10% more powder than the 7mm SAUM. (The 7mm WSM has 81.0 grains of capacity vs. 73.6 grains for the 7mm SAUM.) The SAUM is a very efficient case. It looks like a 6.5×47 Lapua on steroids.”

Permalink Bullets, Brass, Ammo, Tactical 1 Comment »
October 29th, 2015

Sierra Releases NEW 183 grain 7mm (.284) MatchKing Bullet

Sierra Bullets MatchKing 7mm .284 High-BC projectile bullet F-Class New

High-BC 7mm bullets are favored by many of the top long-range and F-Class (Open) shooters. Now, thanks to Sierra Bullets, there is a new “heavy-weight contender” in the 7mm match bullet category. Sierra has just introduced an all-new 183 grain 7mm HPBT MatchKing, part # 1983. This impressive new projectile boasts a 0.707 G1 Ballistic Coefficient (at 2300+ fps), plus — get this — it comes “tipped” from the factory. The final meplat tipping operation ensures a higher, more uniform BC. Recommended barrel twist rate is 1:8″ or faster.

Sierra Bullets MatchKing 7mm .284 High-BC projectile bullet F-Class New

Sierra says its new 183gr 7mm MatchKing has a modern, low-drag shape: “A sleek 27-caliber elongated ogive and a final meplat reducing operation (pointing) provide an increased ballistic coefficient for optimal wind resistance and velocity retention. To ensure precise bullet to bore alignment, a unique bearing surface to ogive junction uses the same 1.5 degree angle commonly found in match rifle chamber throats.

The new 7mm 183gr HPBT bullets will be available in boxes of 500 bullets (#1983C) with MSRP of $256.34 per box and boxes of 100 bullet (#1983) with MSRP of $51.80 per box. NOTE: Sierra states that “MatchKing® and Tipped MatchKing® bullets are not recommended for most hunting applications.”

Permalink Bullets, Brass, Ammo, New Product 3 Comments »
August 29th, 2015

Game-Changer: Berger 7mm 195gr Bullet with 0.755 G1 BC

Berger 195 grain 195gr Elite Hunter .755 BC G1 G7 F-class

You’ve heard the rumors of a new ultra-high BC 7mm bullet from Berger. Well the rumors are true. Berger is now shipping test samples of its new 195-grain 7mm Elite Hunter Bullet, part # 28550. This bullet boasts jaw-droping 0.755 G1 and 0.387 G7 Ballistic Coefficients. Those are stunningly high numbers. Compare that to 0.674 G1 and 0.345 G7 BCs for the previous BC king amoung 7mm projectiles, Berger’s own 180 gr Match Hybrid Target.

We’re certain the “orange box” 195gr Elite Hunter will soon see use by F-Open competitors. This ultra-high BC projectile could be a “game-changer” in long-range shooting when used in cartridges such as the 7mm RSAUM, 7mm WSM and even bigger 7mm magnums. Recommended barrel twist rate is 1:8.3″, with a stated “minimum” twist of 1:9″.

We ran some numbers through the JBM Ballistics program*, comparing the new 195-grainer with Berger’s popular 180gr Hybrid. The results were eye-opening. The projected drop is significantly less. Most importantly, this new 195gr bullet moves a LOT less in the wind at 1000 yards. This should translate into higher scores for F-Class shooters — that wide ‘9’ shot may stay in the ’10’ ring. In fact, based on the JBM trajectory calculation, with a 10 mph 90° crosswind, the 195gr bullet will have over SEVEN INCHES less wind drift at 1000 yards than the 180-grainer (46.0″ vs. 53.1″). That’s a big deal, a very big deal…

Comparative Ballistics 195gr vs. 180gr Berger 7mm Bullets (10 mph 90° Crosswind)
Berger 7mm 195gr Elite Hunter 2950 fps Berger 7mm 180gr Hybrid Target 2950 fps
Drop at 800 yards: 135.5″
Windage at 800 yards: 28.0″
Drop at 800 yards: 140.9″
Windage at 800 yards: 32.2″
Drop at 1000 yards: 237.9″
Windage at 1000 yards: 46.0″
Drop at 1000 yards: 250.0″
Windage at 1000 yards: 53.1″
Drop at 1200 yards: 380.1″
Windage at 1200 yards: 69.6″
Drop at 1200 yards: 404.2″
Windage at 1200 yards: 81.2″

* Variables were set to 55.4° F, 1000′ elevation, standard Atmosphere at Altitude, 2950 fps muzzle velocity. You can use JBM Ballistics to compare at different MVs.

Berger 195 grain 195gr Elite Hunter .755 BC G1 G7 F-class

UPDATE from Berger

After we broke this story, Berger Bullets wanted to clarify some points. Berger explained:

“This bullet is in the testing phase and has not been officially launched. We sent this bullet out for some public testing to make sure that we had positive feedback before we moved forward with an official launch.

We want to see how it performs in multiple rifles and different chamberings.

This bullet was made for hunting purposes, we realize there are shooters who would like to take these out for target shooting, like F-Class. However, we are not certain how they will perform. If things are successful we would like to eventually launch a target version.”

The information on the label you have pictured on your article has been updated.

Twist Rates
Minimum: 1:9″
Optimum: 1:8.3″

Ballistic Coefficients
G7 BC: .387
G1 BC: .754

How to Get Berger’s 195gr Elite Hunter Bullets
These bullets are so new you won’t find them on the Berger Bullets website yet. As Berger explained above, these bullets are still in a final testing phase. Most of the early production runs have been sent out for testing purposes. If you have specific questions, you can send an email to Berger via this CONTACT PAGE. Otherwise you can phone Berger, Mon-Fri, at 714-441-7200. Please try the email option first.

The Extreme Store is listing the Berger 195gr 7mm Elite Hunter Bullet at $62.00 per 100 bullets, not including shipping.

Bullet boxes photo courtesy Ryan Pierce, PiercisionRifles.com
Permalink Bullets, Brass, Ammo, New Product 23 Comments »
March 22nd, 2015

Norma .284 Winchester Brass In Production

In January, during SHOT Show, Bullets.com President Shiraz Balolia inked a contract with Norma to produce ultra-high-quality .284 Winchester and 6mm Dasher brass. This was great news for competitive shooters. The .284 Win is the caliber to beat in F-0pen competition and the 6mm Dasher holds most of the records in the 600-yard benchrest game.

We’ve just learned that the new Norma .284 Win brass is in production and should be available in five to six weeks. Shiraz tells us: “Production is in full swing in Sweden and the picture below shows the very first .284 Win case that came off the line. They [.284 Win cases] are in testing and we expect to have them here in USA by the end of April.”

Norma .284 Win Winchester Bullets.com brass casing case

Bullets.com should start taking pre-orders in the near future. Shiraz explained: “As far as pre-orders for the Norma .284 Win brass go, we are waiting for final pricing. When we have that, we will make the .284 Win brass active on our Bullets.com website and will take orders. Those orders will be shipped in the order they were received.”

Norma .284 Win Winchester Bullets.com brass casing case
NOTE: This is just a QuickDESIGN drawing, NOT the Norma brass blueprint. Dimensions may vary slightly, so do not use this to spec reamers or other tools. Wait until you can measure the actual brass.

What about 6mm Dasher Brass from Norma?
Dasher fans will have to wait a little longer. Shiraz Balolia says: “It may be months for the Dasher brass. We will keep on them, but if I were to guess, it will be late summer 2015″.

Permalink Bullets, Brass, Ammo 4 Comments »
May 8th, 2014

Lapua Scenar-Ls are Ultra-Consistent — Free Lapua Hat

Lapua’s Scenar-L bullets are extremely consistent in weight and dimensions. In our tests, the 6mm 105gr Scenar-L proved to be as uniform in weight and base-to-ogive length as any factory bullet we’ve ever measured. Scary consistent. Now there is a full line-up of Scenar-L bullets in .224, 6mm, 6.5 mm, 7mm, and .308 calibers. Yes, that’s right, Lapua now makes a 7mm match bullet. In fact, Lapua makes two: a 150-grainer and a big, high-BC, 180-grainer.

All these Scenar-L bullets are carried by Grafs.com. There are good supplies in most calibers, but the 7mm 180s (item LU4PL7401) are nearly sold out, and the 6mm 105-grainers are sold out. More of these popular 6mm and 7mm projectiles should arrive later this summer.

FREE HAT with Lapua Purchase

For a limited time, if you purchase Lapua bullets, brass, or loaded ammo from Grafs.com, you can get a FREE Lapua cap. NOTE: Quantities are limited, and this offer is restricted to one per customer.

Lapua bullets hat brass grafs

In the above video, Peder Mørch Pedersen demonstrates the accuracy of Scenar-L bullets in a Blaser R8 GRS rifle chambered in 6mmBR Norma. Peder was shooting from bipod at 300 meters on a sunny day in Vingsted, Denmark.

Permalink Bullets, Brass, Ammo, Hot Deals 2 Comments »
February 23rd, 2014

“People Win Matches, Not the Calibers” — Larry Bartholome

Larry Bartholome F-Open Champion SWN

Larry Bartholome (aka “LBart” on our Forum) is the current F-Open USA National Champion. He also won the F-Open division at the recent Berger Southwest Nationals. A “Senior Citizen” now, Larry is still at the top of the F-Class game. If you were to pick the top ten F-Open shooters on the planet, Larry would be on the short list, that’s for sure.

In a recent AccurateShooter Forum thread, there was a discussion of caliber/cartridge choice for F-Open shooting — specifically whether 6mm cartridges can be competitive at long-range (as opposed to mid-range).

Larry, who currently shoots a 7mm-270 WSM, offered some wise words. Here’s some sage advice from Larry, a champion who has triumphed at the highest level, against the toughest competition. F-Class competitors will benefit from reading what Larry has to say, and taking it to heart:

Cartridge Choice for F-Class — What Really Matters
Matches are won with what people decide to shoot. The people win matches, not the calibers. A person makes his decision on what he is going to shoot with and [that person] wins or loses based on the decision.

The smaller cases and bore sizes have advantages in less recoil and more inherent accuracy. They are easier to shoot well. Because they shoot smaller groups on average they make the 10 ring seem bigger. With light winds that helps.

When the wind gets to changing and picking up this advantage is negated by the wind drift advantages of the larger calibers. Once the switches and velocity changes get beyond the mind’s ability to stay up with them, the small caliber advantage is minuscule.

My own thought is I need all the help I can get. I know I can’t read the wind. I play the percentages. [My 7mm offers] good grouping, good wind drift, lower recoil than the 30s. My 7mm/270 WSM was shooting very well in Phoenix, just as the other Bartlein barrels shot well in Raton. The points lost were mine, not the rifle’s or the caliber.

When the wind flags and mirage are telling you to hold left and your bullets are going left, no caliber in the world will help you. You are the one steering those bullets.

Larry Bartholome
Team Berger/Norma

Larry Bartholome F-Open Champion SWN

Permalink Competition, Shooting Skills 1 Comment »
December 14th, 2013

Lapua 2014 News — .221 Fireball and .50 BMG Brass, 7mm Bullets

Lapua just dropped a bombshell — multiple bombshells, in fact. Lapua just announced that it will be producing .221 Fireball brass and .50 BMG brass starting early 2014. This will be the first truly match-grade brass ever offered for the .221 Fireball. That’s great news for varminters, who can use Lapua’s new .221 Fireball brass “as is” or neck it down to .20 Vartarg or 17 Fireball. Tactical shooters can also use the .221 Fireball brass to make the .300 Whisper and 300 Blackout sub-sonic cartridges. At the other end of the spectrum, ultra-long-range shooters now have a new ultra-premium brass source for the mighty .50 BMG. This is potentially a “game-changer” for fifty-cal shooters who have had to “make do” with military surplus brass for the most part. Lapua says the new brass, both .50 BMG and .221 Fireball, should be in the USA by early April, 2014. Sorry, no pricing info is yet available.

Here is the Lapua Product Announcement for .221 Fireball and .50 BMG Brass:

Lapua Nammo .221 Fireball 50BMG fifty caliber .50 cartridge brass cases Finland

New 180-Grain and 150-Grain 7mm Scenar-L Bullets
The other big news from Lapua is the release of two new 7mm (.284 caliber) Scenar-L target bullets. Recognizing the popularity of 7mm cartridges among F-Class Open Division shooters, Lapua will offer a high-BC, 180-grain bullet. As part of the “L” series, this new 180-grainer bullet should exhibit extreme consistency in base-to-ogive measurements and bullet weight. We expect this new 180gr projectile to be extremely accurate in the .284 Winchester, .284 Shehane, 7mm WSM, and 7mm RSAUM — popular chamberings for F-Class and long-range benchrest shooters. No BC information has been released yet, but we expect the BC number to be quite high, giving this bullet great wind-bucking capability. In addition to the new 180gr 7mm Scenar-L, Lapua will offer a new 150gr 7mm bullet. This is optimized for medium range competition in Silhouette and Across-the-Course competition. It should offer great accuracy, but with less felt recoil than its 180-grain bigger brother.

Lapua Nammo 7mm .284 Scenar L 180 VLD .221 Fireball 50BMG fifty caliber .50 cartridge brass cases Finland

Permalink Bullets, Brass, Ammo, New Product, News 13 Comments »
May 20th, 2012

.284 Shehane for Long-Range Competition

7mm has become the caliber to beat in F-Class open division. The dominant performances of UK shooters with 7mm cartridges at the 2009 F-Class World Championship, following the South African team’s success with 7mms at the previous Worlds, has shown the strength of 7mm chamberings for long-range competition. After losing to the Team Britain, the U.S. F-Open Team decided to switch to a 7mm for the next World Championship. While most of Britain’s top F-Class shooters were using WSM-based 7mm cartridges, you don’t need a short magnum to enjoy the wind-bucking abilities of a 7mm.

High-BC 7mm BulletsWith a standard .284 Winchester, or better yet, a .284 Improved, you can drive the high-BC Berger 180gr bullets to competitive velocities. A .284 Improved will shoot well inside a 6.5-284, and you’ll probably get 40-60% longer barrel life (at least 2000 rounds vs. as little as 1200).

The straight .284 Win is a good cartridge, but in most barrels, it can’t push the 180s at 2900-2950 fps velocity levels*. A lot of barrels will top out at about 2850. That’s where the .284 Shehane comes into play. The .284 Shehane is a slightly modified wildcat that retains the same 35° shoulder as the parent case. However, by blowing the sidewalls out 0.010″, the .284 Shehane picks up about 3.3 grains of extra case capacity. That enhancement makes a BIG difference. The extra boiler room is enough to drive the 180s at 2900-2950 fps with H4831sc. With N560 or Reloder 17 you can go even faster.

Scotland’s Grant Taylor used the .284 Shehane to finish 3rd overall in the 2009 individual F-Class World Championships at Bisley, England. Grant reports: “I have a .284 Shehane and it’s very accurate with superb vertical spreads at 1000 yards. I have to thank Jim Hardy for putting me onto the caliber, it has awesome accuracy. I’m getting 2930-2950 fps with spreads in the 3-5 fps range. I use Hodgdon H4831sc powder, CCI BR2 primers, and pointed 180gr Bergers.”

7mm .284 Winchester Shehane

Forum member Jim Hardy has shot the .284 with great success. He tells us: “In my humble opinion, the .284 Shehane is the best balanced long range round there is — bar none. I (perhaps_ have shot more of this chambering than anyone else, and it has proven better than I ever expected. Here is why:

You have to shoot a 30 Cal magnum with a 240gr bullet to equal the performance of most 7mm chamberings with the 180 Berger VLD. With the .284 Shehane, you have a .308 bolt face, medium action, and Lapua brass. You use less powder than the 7 mags, and have great accuracy and ballistics even while fire-forming. The .284 Shehane shoots inside the 6.5 AND the straight 284, the 300 WSM, and the 300 Win Mag with less recoil. The .284 Shehane offers twice the competitive barrel life of the 6.5-284, an easy 2950 fps with H4831 SC, [and it] can run 3000+ with N560 and Reloder 17, which is right there with the 7mm WSM. What is not to love about the 284 Shehane? It is a no-brainer for long range — F-Class or Prone or 1000-yard Benchrest.”

*Some exceptional barrels chambered in straight .284 Win can reach 2900 fps with the 180s. Ryan Pierce, who recently set a 450-24X Pending F-Open record, has a 32″ Brux barrel that is delivering 2900 fps with the straight .284. However, Ryan acknowledges that his velocities are not typical: “A lot of .284 Win barrels top out at around 2850 fps with the 180s.”

Permalink Competition, Reloading 3 Comments »
April 13th, 2012

Sierra Introduces New 6.5 and 7mm “Skived” Hunting Bullets

Sierra Bullets has introduced two new hunting bullets with the proven bullet design of Sierra’s popular .30-cal 165gr GameKing. Sierra’s Carroll Pilant tells us: “Customers have been asking us for years to make a 6.5mm and 7mm version of our very popular .30-caliber 165 grain HPBT GameKing and we are happy to say we have fulfilled that request. Just like their .30-caliber cousin, these bullets will be ideal for mid-sized game with standard and magnum calibers. The thicker jacket promotes deep penetration while the skives (pre-cut longitudinal lines) at the meplat provide reliable expansion.”

Sierra 7mm 6.5mm skived GameKings

Permalink Bullets, Brass, Ammo, New Product No Comments »
May 17th, 2011

Great Deal on Bulk 7mm Bonded Bullets at Midsouth

Midsouth Shooters Supply is offering huge discounts on “Blem” Bullets from a major manufacturer. They’ve almost run out of their .30-caliber blems, and the next batch to go on sale will be the 7mm (.284 bullets). Our “inside man” at Midsouth reports: “We decided to move some of the bigger quantities of the blem bullets we have in stock. They’ve been narrowed down to just about Eight SKUs (lot numbers) and we’re packing them up as 500-ct packs and slashing the price. The .308 150-grainer was the first to be offered and they are just about gone — they sold fast. Our GM this morning decided the next to go on sale is the 154gr 7mm bullet. These will be sold at just $89.99 per 500. They’re good bullets and if I had a 7mm I’d get some. I can’t say who the manufacturer is, but I can say there are bonded bullets similar to Accubond or Interbond.”

With a price of $89.99 for for five hundred 7mm (.284) bullets, that’s a great deal for big-name manufacturers’ bullets, even if there are some cosmetic defects. That bulk price works out to just $18.00 per hundred bullets! Midsouth can’t disclose the bullet manufacturer, but we can assure you it’s a big name company with a reputation for quality. If you need some good 7mm hunting bullets, you may want to jump on this deal before Midsouth sells out. Visit MidsouthShootersSupply.com or CALL 1-800-272-3000 to order.

CLICK HERE for Midsouth’s 7mm Blem Bullet Sale

CLICK HERE for Complete Blem Bullet Sale Selection

Midsouth Blem Bullet Sale

Permalink Bullets, Brass, Ammo, Hot Deals No Comments »
January 25th, 2011

SHOT Show Report: Four New Projectiles from Sierra Bullets

Sierra Bullets introduced four new projectiles at SHOT Show 2011: 180gr 7mm MK; 225gr .338 ProHunter; and two new 25-caliber BlitzKings. The much-awaited 180gr 7mm MatchKing, boasts an impressive 0.660 G1 Ballistic Coefficient. This should be great for
F-Classers. Sierra explains: “In response to requests from top level F-Class shooters, Sierra has designed an all-new MatchKing to provide a higher weight/higher B.C. alternative in our 7mm line. This bullet’s 12-caliber secant ogive and lengthened boat tail make it the perfect choice for the discerning 7mm long range shooter. Sierra recommends at least a 1:8″ twist barrel to stabilize this bullet.”

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This new MatchKing will compete with Berger’s vaunted 180gr 7mm VLD. It will be interesting to see how the two 180s perform head to head. If you are shooting a 7mm at long range, you should definitely try out the new .284-caliber Sierra MK (provided your barrel has a suitable twist rate).

Sierra 180 grain MatchKing 7mm .284

New .338 Hunting Bullet and two New .257-Caliber Varmint Bullets
For the hunting crowd, Sierra has released a new .338-caliber bullet and two new .257-caliber projectiles. The new .338 is a 225gr, soft-point, flat-base Pro-Hunter in .338 caliber. Sierra’s goal with this new bullet was to provide a lower-recoiling .338 projectile that still offers plenty of hitting power.

For varminters, Sierra has introduced two new .25 caliber (.257 diam.) BlitzKing bullets, in 70 grain (Part #1605) and 90 grain (Part # 1616) sizes. The 70-grainer is a flat-base design, while the 90-grainer is a boat-tail. According to Sierra, these were created to provide enhanced long-range performance for 25-caliber varmint hunters. We predict the 90-grainer will also be an excellent target bullet. These bullets will be available in boxes of 100 bullets and 500 bullets as indicated below.

Sierra .257 varmint bullets

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January 7th, 2011

New Sierra 7mm and .338 Bullets for 2011

New from Sierra Bullets for 2011 are two new heavyweight bullets. The first, the much-awaited 180gr 7mm MatchKing, boasts an impressive 0.660 G1 Ballistic Coefficient. This should be great for
F-Classers. Sierra explains: “In response to requests from top level F-Class shooters, Sierra has designed an all-new MatchKing to provide a higher weight/higher B.C. alternative in our 7mm line. This bullet’s 12-caliber secant ogive and lengthened boat tail make it the perfect choice for the discerning 7mm long range shooter. Sierra recommends at least a 1:8″ twist barrel to stabilize this bullet.”

This new MatchKing will compete with Berger’s vaunted 180gr 7mm VLD. It will be interesting to see how the two 180s perform head to head. If you are shooting a 7mm at long range, you should definitely try out the new .284-caliber Sierra MK (provided your barrel has a suitable twist rate).

Sierra 180 grain MatchKing 7mm .284

A New 225-grain, .338 Bullet for Game-Hunting
The second new bullet from Sierra is a 225gr, soft-point, flat-base Pro-Hunter in .338 caliber. Sierra’s goal with this new bullet was to provide a lower-recoiling .338 projectile that still offers plenty of hitting power. Sierra tells us: “The newest member of our Pro-Hunter line is the .338-caliber 225gr SPT Pro-Hunter. The flat-based design and lighter weight of this projectile make it a great choice for medium and large game. This is a perfect choice for those hunters seeking a reduced recoil alternative where a heavier bullet is not required.”

Sierra 225 grain Pro-Hunter .338

Permalink Bullets, Brass, Ammo, New Product 2 Comments »
April 28th, 2010

Berger Bullets Special Sell-OFF — Save Big Buck$

Hey guys, here’s your chance to buy Berger Bullets at super-low prices. Berger has arranged an exclusive “Bullet Sell-Off” promotion for AccurateShooter.com readers. These bullets are not blems or damaged. They are mostly first-quality overruns. After yesterday’s sale, what’s left are primarily 22 caliber. Some are moly-coated but most are not. The prices are insanely low on these sell-off bullets. You can save $10 per 100 (or more) on some types.

Eric Stecker, Berger’s Master Bulletsmith, explains: “Over time we accumulate bullets that are either discontinued, overruns or were part of a test that is completed. These bullets are Match Grade and every bit the same as any Berger. Circumstances specific to each lot available is compelling us to release these bullets for very low prices. Below I’ve listed the quantity, description, lot, price and a brief explanation on why they are available for such a low price.”

Berger will sell these bullets for the next few days. To purchase the Special Sell-Off bullets, call Berger’s main line at (714) 447-5456 to place the order. Doing this will help keep things sorted out as the calls come in — first call, first served. UPDATE: The 17 Cal just sold out.

Permalink Bullets, Brass, Ammo, Hot Deals 8 Comments »
January 7th, 2010

Printing Error in Hodgdon 2010 Manual — Get Free Fix

Hodgdon Powder ManualHodgdon Powder Company announced that an error occurred in printing of the 2010 version of the Hodgdon Annual Manual. Pages 108 and 109 in the manual, which cover 7mm caliber load data, appear in reverse order. But don’t despair — you can get a free correction from Hodgdon. Do not use the 7mm caliber data as it appears in the 2010 Hodgdon Annual Manual until the corrected copy is received.

Contact Hodgdon Powder Company for a free reprint of pages 108-109. You can phone 913-362-9455, fax 913-362-1307, or send email to help@hodgdon.com. You can also send postal mail to: Hodgdon Powder Co., 6231 Robinson, Shawnee Mission, KS 66202

All Hodgdon, IMR®, and Winchester® reload data is also available on-line at hodgdon.com, imrpowder.com, and wwpowder.com in the Reloading Data Center.

Permalink Reloading 4 Comments »
July 31st, 2009

Hail Britannia! UK Shooters Dominate World F-Class Championships. USA F-TR Team Wins.

2009 F-Class Championships Bisley England, Farquharson TrophyThis year’s 2009 World F-Class Championship was held at the historic Bisley Range in England, and UK Shooters served their country proud, winning the prestigious F-Open Team Competition and dominating the individual matches in both F-Open and F-TR classes. Great Britain’s F-Open shooters proved their mastery of the challenging Bisley course, posting a 3436-230V score to top the second-place American Team by 59 points (Team USA score was 3377-234V). The South African Team, defending Champions, finished third with a 3337-188V score.

UK Shooters truely dominated the Individual F-Open Championship, capturing ALL of the top ten places, lead by Gary Costello (1st Place) with 458-44V, followed close behind by fellow Brit Des Parr with 456-36V. That’s nine Brits and a Scot in the Top Ten. In the Individual Competition, F-TR division, Britain finished one/two at the top of the podium, with Russell Simmons (437-23V) winning the Gold, and countryman George Barnard (432-23V) winning Silver. American Stan Pate took third with a 420-25V score.

2009 F-Class Championships

American F-Open Team Vice-Captain Shiraz Balolia, writing in his Bisley Blog, suggested that the windy conditions favored the 7mm caliber used by the home team Brits: “The individual World F-Class Championship is over. We essentially got overpowered by the 7mm guns. Bisley is not a range that you can win using 6.5mm guns, which is what the whole US Team is using. Of the top 10 positions, all but one were Brits with 7mm guns. The odd one was a Scot also with a 7mm gun.”

After the Team Match concluded, Shiraz wrote: “The British team won the World F-Class Open Championship. USA took second and South Africa third. The Brits beat us by 59 points and they were very surprised that we came that close to them. I believe that there were two main factors that worked very well for them. First and foremost was that they had full knowledge of their range and have been practicing on that range fairly regularly as a team for quite some time. Secondly, their 7mm guns were a good wind-bucking caliber that, when combined with good coaches (who have coached at that range for many years), gave them the results they were after. Someone made the comment to me that the Americans were improving by the day. Unfortunately, we ran out of days and it was game over. Our coaches did an outstanding job under very trying conditions. We beat the previous champs, South Africa, by 40 points.”

EDITOR’s NOTE: In the previous F-Open World Championships in South Africa, Team USA was defeated by the home team South Africans who were shooting 7mms. At Bisley in 2009, the same thing happened, with the Brits winning on their home turf, again using 7mms. Do we see the writing on the wall?

2009 F-Class Championships

CLICK HERE for Complete F-Class Championships Results.

CLICK HERE for 2009 F-Class World Championship Photo Archive.

2009 F-Class Championships

Americans Win F-TR Class
In the F-TR class the American Team powered to victory, haulting the British juggernaut. Under the leadership of Captain Darrel Buell, and coach Gary Rassmussen, shooters Brad Sauve, Dale Carpenter, Warren Dean, Monte Milanuk, Paul Phillips, Stan Pate, Jeff Rorer, and John Weil won the F-Class Restricted Teams Match with a 1581-76V score. The USA Rutland Cup Open Team of David Bailey, Mike Downey, David Gosnell, and Larry Taite, coached by Nancy Tompkins, also finished first, besting a strong Great Britain Red squad (second place), and Don Nagel’s third-place Connecticut Yankees.

2009 F-Class Championships

2009 F-Class Championships

All photos © 2009 by 762_AK, used by permission.

Permalink Competition, News 5 Comments »