For top-level competitors, hand-loading is truly the “relentless pursuit of perfection”. To build ammo capable of winning major long-range matches, you’ll need the best tools — and an almost obsessive attention to detail. The bullets must be ultra-consistent, powder charge weights must be “dead on”, seating depths (as measured from base of case to ogive) must be precise, and neck-tension must be the same for every round that goes in the chamber.
When you get it all correct, when every phase of the reloading process has been carried out perfectly, then you have rounds that can set records and win world titles. So what does championship-grade ammo look like? Take a look at the photo below. This is the 7mm RSAUM ammunition used by Kenny Adams at the Berger Southwest Nationals (SWN). Kenny is the 2013 F-Class World Champion. And he was also a member of Team Grizzly which won the SWN F-Open Team Grand Aggregate, setting a new National record in the process. Does your ammo look this good?
Kenny’s World-Beating 7mm RSAUM Load
For his 7mm RSAUMs Kenny loads Hodgdon H4350 powder and Federal 215m primers into Nosler or Norma RSAUM brass. In the RSAUM he runs Berger 180gr Hybrid bullets seated “just touching” the lands. Kenny is very precise with his charge weights. Using a Sartorius Magnetic Force Restoration scale, Kenny tries to hold his powder charges to within 1-2 kernels charge-weight consistency.
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On January 13, 2014, Winchester Ammunition will roll out new products during Media Day at the Range (held at the Boulder City Range outside Las Vegas, NV). We’ll have reporters on hand to check out new ammo options and new hardware from other manufacturers. Here’s a sneak preview of some new products that will be unveiled on Monday. In the box below you can scroll though Winchester’s 2014 new products, which include Winchester Match Rifle Ammo (.223 Rem, 6.5 Creedmoor, .308 Win, .338 LM) Win3Gun ammunition, Win1911 cartridges, new VarmintX ammo, and the new Long Beard XR and Defender shotgun ammo.
To learn more about these new items and other products visit Winchester.com. There you’ll find the latest product new, Information on Rebates and Special offers, plust a free online Ballistics Calculator.
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What do you get for the shooter “who has everything”? How about a custom-crafted, laser-engraved ammo display case. Technoframes produces a series of ultra-sleek Ammo display units, and high-tech pistol racks. The CNC-machined display boxes, fitted to your choice of cartridge, look great. There are many varieties to choose from, including wood, metal, and plexiglass. We like the fact that many of the boxes are lockable.
Technoframes’ impressive billet-aluminum pistol racks, with magazine-style gun holders (fitted with Neodymium magnets in their bases) put ordinary plastic or wire-framed racks to shame.
Last but not least, Technoframes also makes a plexiglass-sided gun transport box and a double-tiered, two-pistol/six-magazine gun display box with removable inner tray. These units look like they were produced by “M” for James Bond.
Technoframes is the world’s leading producer of high-end CNC-machined ammo and handgun storage solutions. For more info, visit Technoframes.com, or download the latest Product Catalog (PDF).
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Get an inside look at the how ammunition is made with this step-by-step production guide from Hornady. The video begins by showing the stages in production of a lead-core jacketed bullet with exposed tip, such as the Hornady Interlock. Next, at the 1:38″ time-mark, the video shows how cartridge cases are made, starting with small brass cups (photo right). The brass is lengthened in a series of stages involving annealing, drawing, polishing, and the formation of the case head with primer pocket. Finally, at the 2:40″ time mark, the video shows how bullets and powder are seated into cartridge cases on the Hornady assembly line. In the final production stages, the completed ammunition is tested and packaged.
Watch Ammo Production Video
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Here’s a resource of interest to shooters, hunters, and bullet-makers. Now you can dazzle your friends with your command of arcane ammo acronyms. ArizonaGunlist.com has compiled an excellent Glossary of Ammunition Terminology which explains the myriad “alphabet” shorthand terms used to described bullet and ammo types. If you’ve ever puzzled over the meaning of acronyms such as BEB, FNSP, LSWC, NTF, SST, TAP, and TBS, this glossary will give you straight answers. The glossary explains the actual meaning of over 200 “alphabet soup” ammo terms, both common and not-so-common. This glossary will also help you understand the bullet references commonly used in reloading manuals. A few selections from the Glossary are listed below. (NOTE: these are mere snippets — there are actually 14 entries just for the letter “B” for example.)
Reloaders Rejoice! There’s a new source for bullets, brass, powder, and primers, as well as loaded ammunition. The all-new Bullets.com website offers all these products, plus reloading tools and dies, barrels, gun stocks, scopes, rings, shooting rests, range bags and much more. Primers, you need primers you say? Yes, Bullets.com currently has some types of CCI, Federal, and Remington primers in stock, including the hard-to-find CCI 450 small rifle magnum primers.
You definitely want to include Bullets.com among the vendors you visit when you need components and gun hardware. The new Bullets.com webstore will carry 8,000+ shooting-related products from over 50 top brands such as Lapua, Norma, Federal, CCI, Berger, Sierra, Berry’s, Bald Eagle, Bushnell, Hodgdon, Alliant, Nightforce, Kowa, Vortex, Winchester, MTM, Magpul and many more! Check out the website at www.bullets.com or call 1-800-235-0272 to get a free 60-page color catalog.
POWDERS IN STOCK — Among the popular powders in stock at Bullets.com today are:
Bullets.com carries projectiles from the leading bullet-makers including Berger, Lapua, Sierra, Speer, and Berrys. Yes Bullets.com has premium bullets in stock right now, including the hard-to-find Berger 6mm 105gr Hybrid, and 7mm 180gr Hybrid. Grab ‘em while you can boys!
Along with reloading components, factory ammo, and reloading dies, you’ll find the hardware you need to build a complete rifle. Bullets.com caries Bartlein barrels (in a wide range of calibers and contours), laminated gun stocks, and a full line of optics, including Nightforce, Kowa, and Vortex rifle-scopes and spotting scopes.
Who Are Those Guys? About Bullets.Com
Bullets.com was launched as a result of the intense passion for shooting by its President, Shiraz Balolia. Shiraz has been shooting pistols, rifles and shotguns for almost 40 years and has been involved in long range rifle shooting at the National and International level for almost 10 years. He served as the Captain of the U.S. F-Class Open Rifle Team for the 2013 World Championship and was a member of the 4-man team that won the 2013 Nat’l 1,000-yard Championship. He has won numerous gold medals in long range shooting and has set several National records.
Bullets.com is a division of Grizzly Industrial that was started by Mr. Balolia in 1983. During those 30 years, Grizzly became a powerhouse in the metalworking and woodworking machinery industry serving over a million regular customers and growing its warehouses with 1.2 million square feet of space in three states (WA, PA, MO).
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Need .22 LR rimfire ammo? As of noon on November 4, 2013, Creedmoor Sports has 1100 boxes of SK 40-grain High Velocity HP ammunition (item #SK-HVHP) in stock. This is available in 50-count boxes or 500-count bricks, at a sale price of $8.95 per 50-round box or $83.95 per 500-round case. This is good ammo, suitable for club-level match shooting or general plinking use. If you have been searching high and low for rimfire ammo, you may want to jump on this before it’s all gone.
Caliber: .22 Long Rifle | Bullet Weight: 40 Grains | Bullet: Lead Hollow Point | MV: 1265 FPS
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A common lament among our Forum members is that they can’t find affordable .22LR rimfire ammo for fun shooting and plinking. This stuff flies off the shelf whenever it appears. However, Natchez Shooters Supplies has received substantial shipments of Remington bulk-box rimfire ammo. Note, due to high demand, there is a one-box limit for the 500-count and 525-count boxes per customer per day. Here’s what we found in-stock today at Natchez:
Remington .22 LR 36gr Golden Bullet Plated HP, 525 rounds per box — $39.99 On SALE
(1 box limit per day)
Remington .22 LR 40gr Thunderbolt Hi-Vel, 500 rounds per box — $39.99 on SALE
(1 box limit per day)
Remington .22 LR 33gr Yellow Jacket HP, 100 rounds per box — $15.99
(3 box limit per day)
If you want the good stuff, Natchez also has Lapua .22 LR 40gr Midas+ ammo in stock at $17.99 for 50 rounds. Not cheap, but this is top-flight stuff that has won matches at the Olympics. There is no purchasing limit on this Midas+.
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When you need ammo fast — lots of ammo, it’s hard to beat a progressive reloading press for output. We use progressive presses to load handgun ammo and .223 Rem cartridges for varmint safaris. With good dies, and proper press set-up, today’s progressive presses can produce surprisingly uniform and accurate ammo. No, you won’t see Benchrest Hall-of-Famers loading PPC cartridges on progressives. However, if you need 1000 rounds for your next prairie dog adventure, you should consider getting a progressive. Below you can see a Hornady Lock-N-Load AP configured to load .308 Winchester in bulk.
Proper Brass Prep
Just like a good paint job requires good prep work, great rifle ammo requires good brass prep. In order to make sure your rifle loading goes smoothly, make sure to perform the following brass prep steps:
Clean the brass (tumble, ultrasonic, etc.)
Inspect brass for cracks, deep dents, etc.
For military brass: de-prime, ream/swage primer pockets, size with small-base sizer die (small base usually optional).
Measure brass length — if too long, size and then trim.
Final inspection before loading.
Cleaning primer pockets may be something you’ll consider (I don’t clean primer pockets except for rare cases or match ammo).
Smooth and Steady Pace
Since you’re loading rifle ammunition on a progressive, you’re already saving a load of time, so there’s no need to rush things! Attention to detail is super-important for safety and for good results. Always keep an eye on powder level (goes down FAST) and what’s happening at each station.
The Right Press and Press Setup
Look for a heavy-duty, well-built press that will stand up to rifle loading. You’ll also want to make sure your powder measure will have the proper capacity (~25 grains for .223, ~50 grains for 308). If you are bulk reloading, ensure you have enough stations for sizing, charging, powder check, bullet feed, bullet seating, and (optional) bullet crimp.
More Ultimate Reloader Resources for Users of Progressive Presses:
Here’s a handy invention by Forum member RayJay from Georgia. It’s a simple wire clip that will hold the lid of your plastic ammo box fully open during use. RayJay explains: “Everybody probably uses the cheap plastic cartridge cases. The only problem I have with them is the lid is always in the way and sometimes when trying to open the lid farther the cartridge box tips and you can dump out the cases. I did some cogitating and came up with these .061″ music wire clips. They work great and the unexpected benefit is that the cases are more stable while sitting at the bench.”
RayJay adds: “The round wire is ideal because it still allows a cartridge to fit in the hole where the clip is placed. Now all I need to do is make another 15 or 20 so I can have one in every case I own.”
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We all know that precision factory ammo, and all types of reloading components, are in short supply, with demand often out-stripping supply. Now RUAG Ammotec (RUAG), Europe’s leading producer of ammunition, will be stepping up production with the goal of expanding sales in the USA and worldwide. RUAG produces the elite RWS ammo/components and also markets RWS Sport, Geco, Swiss P, MFS, and Rottweil brand products. See the full product line at Ruag-usa.com.
RUAG is significantly extending its production capacities and investing in new systems. Ruag states “This step has become necessary because of the [high demand] in Germany, Switzerland, Sweden, Hungary and the USA.”
To bring more ammo to market, RUAG Ammotec is hiring new workers and investing over 15 million Euros to enhance production facilities. Increased capacity will be achieved via a “major investment program in the upper double-digit million range” over the coming three years. The production expansion “is the biggest project of its kind in the history of RUAG”, according to Cyril Kubelka, CEO of RUAG Ammotec. “Expanding our production network across all our locations will ideally increase our current capacities. This is the only way for us to be able to meet the high international demand even better in future and reinforce our market position.”
RUAG is a Swiss technology company, with its headquarters in Bern. It has production sites in Switzerland, Germany, Sweden, Hungary and Austria and USA, and sales companies in UK, France, Belgium, Brasil and Malaysia.
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We reported yesterday that Hornady, in an effort to increase overall production, will suspend production of 150 bullet types and 150 ammunition types for the balance of 2013. Upon reading this story, many readers grew concerned, perhaps because they did not realize that Hornady is actually stepping up production of its most popular bullets and ammo types. By temporarily suspending production of less-popular products, Hornady can reduce assembly line change-overs and thereby increase production. Hornady explains that this strategy allows it to: “focus our efforts on the most popular and highest-demand products and ship more total product.” In the months ahead, Hornady will continue to produce over 270 different projectiles and over 140 types of loaded ammo. As Steve Hornady says: “There is something in there for everyone….”
Upon seeing ten-page-long list of suspended products, readers may have become overly concerned because they did not realize that Hornady will continue to churn out hundreds of bullet types and ammo types — and, in fact, the most popular products will now be manufactured in greater-than-ever quantities. Readers asked “So what products will Hornady continue to produce?” On its website, Hornady now lists all the high-demand bullets and ammo types that remain in production for the balance of 2013.
Steve Hornady Talks to Customers
In this video, Hornady President Steve Hornady explains the decision to suspend production of some items in order to increase production of Hornady’s high-demand bullet types and ammunition types.
Steve Hornady Explains New Production Strategies (July 8, 2013):
On its website, Hornady has posted a Product Availability Update, which explains why Hornady is suspending production of some products:
One area that we have identified that will enable us to increase production, is the minimization of machinery downtime. The largest period of downtime our machines experience is during change over and retooling to convert a machine from manufacturing one bullet or cartridge to another. Under normal market conditions, we can keep the supply chain full by making popular items on a regular basis and keeping specialty or less-used products on a seasonal basis. However, with demand at record levels, it has become difficult to justify shutting down a machine to change it over to produce a product of less demand. Therefore, we are temporarily suspending some items in order to focus our efforts on the most popular and highest demand products and ship more total product.
We realize that many of the suspended items are going to disappoint some of our customers. We have painstakingly reviewed our order status and order history and unfortunately had to make some tough decisions. It wasn’t easy, but we know that we will do a better job of servicing the industry as a whole by focusing on the items of highest demand.
We are not alone; this is effectively already happening throughout our industry, but is accomplished through selective manufacture with no notification to the industry. We are simply making every effort to be up-front about our plans to maximize production.
Again, this is only temporary. This is not a permanent suspension. We will continue to push as hard as we can to meet the demand of our industry and will produce our full catalog of items as soon as we can. Please know that nobody wants to produce more and get our product to into your hands more than we do.
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