September 29th, 2014
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.
CLICK HERE to Read Full Article
UltimateReloader.com has published helpful Tips to Optimize Progressive Rifle Loading. No matter whether you have a Red (Hornady), Green (RCBS), or Blue (Dillon) progressive, this article can help you load more efficiently and produce better results. Here are some highlights:
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:
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September 23rd, 2014
National Hunting and Fishing Day (NHF Day) takes place on Saturday, September 27, 2014. The annual celebration serves as a reminder that conservation succeeds because of leadership and funding from hunters, shooters and anglers. National, regional, state and local organizations will run thousands of “open house” hunting- and fishing-related events around the country. Events will include Fishing Derbys, Hunting Expos, Wing-shooting tournaments, and much more. Over four million Americans will participate. For information on NHF Day, visit www.nhfday.org. To find NHF Day events, click the link below.
National Hunting and Fishing Day Events (Listed by State)
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September 23rd, 2014
If you’re looking for loaded ammunition at affordable prices, WikiArms.com can help you find a good deal. WikiArms constantly searches the listings of ammo vendors across the web. Then WikiArms ranks the offerings by cost per round, low to high. This way you can instantly compare prices from multiple vendors including Ammoland, Brownells, Cabelas, Lucky Gunner, MidwayUSA, Natchez, Sinclair Int’l, Slickguns, Sportsmans Guide, and Wideners. Search bots refresh pricing constantly so listed prices are normally current within five minutes. WikiArms even displays the amount of product currently in stock for each vendor.
Using WikiArms is easy. Just click your choice of caliber (such as 9mm, .22LR, or .308 Win) on the navigation bar, or hit the Good Deals link to see a variety of cartridge types all at one time. WikiArms is fast, and it is FREE to use. Check it out.
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September 2nd, 2014
Hunting season is right around the corner. For many of us, that means liberating a rifle that sits in a safe most of the year, grabbing a box of cartridges, and heading to the wilds. But this “once a year thing” carries with it potential risks.
It is all to easy to grab some rounds that may look right, but which are, in fact, a slightly different chambering. Likewise it is possible some hunting rounds got put in the wrong box after last year’s hunting trip. Be very careful when you get ready for a hunting trip — check the headstamp, cartridge dimensions, and bullet diameter of all your rounds. If you make an ammo selection mistake, the consequences can be disasterous, as this story reveals.
The .223 WSSM and 6mmBR Disaster
Report by Dr. Jim Clary
Under most circumstances, shooters don’t have to worry about chambering the wrong cartridge into the wrong rifle. After all, the cartridges are well marked and we all know which rifle we are shooting on any given day. In many cases, incorrect cartridges cannot be chambered — larger cases will not fit in smaller chambers, for example. No problem! That being said, I can tell you that even an experienced, careful and normally safe shooter can make a mistake.
The following is an account of just such a mistake that could have resulted in death or dismemberment. Fortunately, the shooter was not hurt, but the rifle was completely destroyed.
Last year, a friend purchased a Savage Precision right bolt, left port, single shot bolt action in 6mmBR Norma. It was an incredible prairie dog gun and he spent the summer burning powder and busting dogs. In October, he purchased a stainless steel Browning A-Bolt Varmint in .223 WSSM. The weather in the upper Midwest turned sour by the time he got the brass tuned up and he only got to fire it a few times before he was “socked in” for the winter. Thus, he spent his evenings loading ammo for the spring thaw.
During a break in the weather, he grabbed both rifles and a couple of bags of .223 WSSM and 6mmBR cartridges and headed to the range to check out his new loads. In case you are not familiar, the 6mmBR is smaller in diameter and a mite shorter than the .223 WSSM. Because of this, it will chamber in a .223 WSSM, but the .243 caliber (6mm) bullet is too big for the .22 caliber bore. That is what happened to my friend.
The rest is history — when he squeezed the trigger, all hell broke loose. The entire bottom of the rifle blew out, including the magazine assembly. The explosion actually cut the stock into two pieces. However, the bolt held and amazing as it may seem, the .243 bullet was “swaged” right out of the .223 barrel.
6mmBR (left) and .223 WSSM (right) cartridges above the remains of Browning A-Bolt rifle.
One Small Mistake Is All It Takes
Now, realize that my friend has been shooting all manner of firearms, safely, for over half a century. He is meticulous, thorough and conscientious in his approach to reloading and shooting. However, he made one mistake. He put some lose 6BR cartridges in a baggie as he packed up from a prairie dog hunt last summer, without noticing that the baggie was marked .223 WSSM in black marker. Then, when the break in his winter weather came, he grabbed the bag, believing it to be the WSSM cartridges and didn’t check the head stamp.
Couldn’t happen to you? How many times have we emptied our pockets of cartridges and dropped them into a plastic container on the shooting bench? How many times have we set down to a marathon reloading session, loading several calibers in a row? How many times have we put the wrong bullets, cases or primers into the incorrect container? My point is that even the safest of us can make a mistake. So, look at the picture above and take a bit more time when you reload your ammunition at home or chamber a round in the field. It might save your life.
Story and photo © Dr. Jim Clary, All Rights Reserved.
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May 18th, 2014
Creedmoor Sports will be producing high-quality loaded ammunition very soon. This will be crafted with top-quality bullets, and premium-grade Lapua brass. General Manager Dennis DeMille tells us: “We received four pallets of brass today and we have 13,005 pounds of powder waiting for production.”
Here’s a preview of what will be on the market very soon:
Oh, the beauty of it — all that Lapua brass. From Finland with love….
What does 13,005 pounds (6.5 tons) of powder look like? That would last most reloaders a few seasons. Hoarders, eat your hearts out….
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May 7th, 2014
Need .223 Rem ammo for your early summer varmint safari? Grafs.com has you covered. Over the past few months, Graf & Sons has acquired a large supply of .223 Rem ammo from a variety of manufacturers. Now Grafs.com has a great selection of .223 Rem ammo, with many items marked down on sale. You’ll find name-brand ammo for as little as $9.99 per 20-ct box (American Eagle 50gr JHP). If you prefer heavier bullets for longer-range shooting, check out the PRVI Partizan ammo loaded with 75gr HPBT match bullets — this is just $10.99 per per 20-ct box.
Here is just a sample of the .223 Rem ammo available at Grafs.com right now:
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April 23rd, 2014
Have you been struggling to find powder, primers, and .22 LR rimfire ammo? Well, now there’s a free web-based search service that can help you find what you need. The service costs nothing and you don’t have to sign up to run searches. We ran a quick search for .22 LR Ammo and found dozens of sources. We clicked the “in-stock only” option and ranked the results by price-per-round, low to high. Here’s what we found this morning — there were plenty of sources at $0.13-0.15 per round ($6.50-$7.50 per box), and Gander Mountain even had some Remington .22LR at $2.49 per box!
Click Box to ZOOM Image So You Can Read Results More Easily:
GunBot.net employs “search bots” to scour the internet for available inventories of ammo, powder, primers, brass and magazines. GunBot.net checks the inventories of over sixty retailers, including leading vendors AmmoMan, Bass Pro, Brownells, Cabelas, Cheaper Than Dirt, Grizzly, JG Sales, Dan Killough, Midsouth Shooters Supply, Midway USA, Powder Valley, Rainier Arms, Sinclair Int’l, Sportsman’s Guide,, Wholesale Hunter, and Wideners.
Results can be sorted by price or time (most recent results first). You can even get email alerts notifying you when the product you need is available. (To get alerts, you must first log-in and create an account with GunBot.net. There is no charge for this service.) GunBot.net’s search spiders work constantly, so results are normally very current. Pages auto-refresh when new “matching items” are found.
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April 7th, 2014
Matt Reams, the V.P. of Sales for Sierra Bullets, recently addressed the burning question in the minds of many shooters these days: “Where did all the .22LR rimfire ammo go — why can’t I find any?” Here is Matt’s answer, from the knowledgeable perspective of a firearms industry executive.
Why Can’t I Find .22 LR Ammunition? by Matt Reams
Even though Sierra Bullets does not make .22 LR ammo or projectiles, we are constantly asked “Why can’t I find any .22 LR ammo anywhere?” Even the conspiracy theorists are at a loss on this one as they can’t even blame it on the government. They toss around thoughts of warehouses full of .22 LR rotting away just to keep it out of their hands, but that does not seem very realistic – even to them.
So what is going on here? Why is it that 1.5 years later, the shelves are still empty and bricks of .22 LR can still be seen selling for upwards of $75-$100 at gun shows? I do not believe there is one answer, but rather a few. Here are my opinions on the matter, for what they are worth.
Hoarders – Some people are piling it away in their basements, garages, bunkers, and under their beds due to fear of not being able to find it again. This is not a huge factor in it, but it is still a factor to some degree. When these hoarders can’t find it on shelves, it only panics them more and causes them to buy even more when they do find it.
Gougers – These are the guys who prey on the fear of the hoarders. These are the guys that wait in line at Wal-Mart at 3 a.m. to buy up the daily allotment that Wal-Mart puts out at normal retail prices and then double or triple their price on the weekend gun show circuit. Again, not a huge factor, but keeping the shelves looking empty which keeps the panic level higher for those that are looking.
Demand – Now we are getting to the real meat of the issue. You hear manufactures say they are running 24/7 on their rimfire lines which is putting somewhere around 25-30 million rounds PER DAY (estimate on my part from numbers I have heard from the big rimfire guys) into the market – so how can there be a shortage? I have asked this myself – until we start doing even a little basic math. You hear all kind of numbers about how many firearms owners are in the USA, but you hear 70-80 million quite often. So for the sake of us not arguing that number – let’s cut it to 35 million. Do you know a gun owner that does not own at least one firearm chambered in .22 LR? Do you know any that are not looking for .22 LR ammo or would at least buy some if they saw it for normal prices? How many would they buy when they found it? A lot – right? But again, just to keep the argument on the low end, let’s say they would all be satisfied with just a single 500 pack. 35 million multiplied by 500 .22 LR rounds for them all – is 17.5 BILLION rounds. Let that sink in. Even at 25 million rounds being made PER DAY – that is 1.92 years’ worth of production.
Starts making some sense then doesn’t it? Hoarding and panic emptied the shelves. Gougers try and keep them empty and demand does keep them empty. Then factor in that I probably cut the real number of 22 LR shooters in half and probably underestimated the amount everyone would buy if they found it at normal prices by 300% and you can see how deep the problem really is and why it is not going to go away tomorrow. It also does not take into account the world market – just the USA.
How will it get better? Slowly. The hoarders will get to a point that they feel they have enough or will run out of money. The shelves will start getting enough on them that the gougers cannot buy it all. This will make people stop paying $50-$75 for a brick at gun shows. That will make it less profitable for the gougers to spend their money on and they will stop. The shelves will start to have product again which will ease people’s fears and get them back to buying what they need today instead of what they need for the decade. There is no fast answer.
Are the manufactures hiring people for extra shifts and adding capacity – sure they are. But it is easy to just expect them to ramp up production overnight to take care of our needs, but that is just not realistic. We get the same thing here. The market certainly has not grown 500% so what happens when companies add all that super expensive equipment when things get back to normal? They take a bath on it for sure and waste capital that they could have used to improve their company in a way that makes them stronger. Instead they just added equipment they may never need again and have to mothball while they lay off workers they no longer need. Not a great way to run a business and not a fair way to treat employees.
We all just have to trust that it will get better, do not buy more than we need and wait it out. It will not get better overnight. It will start out with a box here and there and then a few and then slowly the shelves will get back to having all the supply and selection we picky consumers are accustomed to and will certainly appreciate much more than we ever did before… if only for a little while.
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April 1st, 2014
The number one complaint among our readers is: “I can’t find any rimfire ammo … where did it all go?” Well, though .22 LR ammo is in very short supply in the United States, you can find plenty of rimfire ammo in other countries around the globe, including many of the world’s most popular tourism destinations. With the availability of cheap .22 LR ammo overseas, you may want to plan an ammo-buying adventure in an exotic location. Sun, sand, and ammo galore make for a perfect getaway.
Recognizing the unprecedented demand for rimfire ammo, a new specialty travel company, Ammo-Ventures.com, is now offering “ammo buying spree” holidays in exotic destinations worldwide. Participants can jet off to Brazil, Costa Rica, the Philippines, and Thailand. All Ammo-Ventures tour participants will be allowed to purchase up to $3000.00 worth of rimfire ammo while on holiday. Ammo-Ventures will handle all the packing and shipping chores, and will arrange for your ammo to be air-freighted right to your residence in the good old USA. In addition, if you’re itching to go shooting once you return home, you can pack a limited amount of rimfire ammo in your regular luggage. From most locations you can bring back up to ten boxes (i.e. 500 rounds) of rimfire ammo in your checked luggage.
Along with ammo-shopping sprees in exotic locations, Ammo-Ventures offers its customers a wide variety of adventurous diversions and “daily escapes”. In Costa Rica, you can enjoy the famous San Jose nightlife, raft a wilderness river, or go deep-sea fishing in the Gulf of Papagayo. In the Philippines, tour participants can go on a jungle jeep tour or dive idyllic, unspoiled coral reefs in Palawan province. In Thailand, Ammo-Ventures offers remote beach getaways, plus scintillating Pattaya nightlife.
About Ammo-Ventures LLC
Ammo-Ventures LLC was founded in 2013 by Frank “Cisco” Leland and Sam “Stinger” Yee, two seasoned world travelers who are also avid shooting enthusiasts. They personally accompany each Ammo-Venture holiday. For over two decades these rugged adventurers have organized exotic travel holidays including “romantic adventure” tours to Thailand, the Philippines and Costa Rica. Cisco Leland says: “With our interest in shooting and tropical destinations it seemed natural to organize specialty travel trips for shootists who need to stock up on ammo. With the current ammo shortage in the United States, it makes more sense than ever before to visit an ammo-rich, gun-friendly tropical destination. Now you can enjoy the sun and the fun, and come home with with a crate full of ammo. If that sounds like the perfect vacation… well it is!”
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March 29th, 2014
Looking for the best prices on rifle and pistol ammo? Here’s a service that can help you comparison-shop pricing among multiple online ammo vendors. Starting this week, The Firearm Blog will be researching and posting ammo prices from two dozen different websites. Prices are displayed for 500 and 1000-round lots of the most popular pistol and rifle calibers: .380 ACP, 9mm, .40 S&W, .45 ACP, .22LR, .223 Rem, 7.62×39, and .308 Win. This is a useful service. Not only do the charts help you find the best price, but this weekly report helps spotlight sources of hard-to-find ammo, such as .22 LR rimfire ammunition. Among the 24 vendors surveyed, Alamo Ammo, Outdoor Limited, and Smokey Mtn. Munitions, are showing some kind of .22 LR ammunition in stock.
CLICK HERE to View all TFB Ammo Listings for 3/28/2014.
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March 14th, 2014
Lapua has a very cool video — “eye candy” for any precision shooter. Definitely WATCH THIS VIDEO. This 12-minute video contains a surprising amount of “hard” info on Lapua products. As well, there are some amazing segments showing Lapua brass and rimfire ammo being produced. Watch carefully and you’ll see most of the processes used for forming and loading brass. Another short segment shows a Lapua technician inspecting a case for run-out. Neat.
The video spotlights some of the important American and international records set with Lapua ammo. You’ll see top 300m and Olympic rifle shooters in action, and there are also short comments from many champions, including American Benchrest legend Tony Boyer.
NOTE: This is long video — you may need to let it buffer (pre-load) for 10-20 seconds before playback. If that doesn’t work, let the entire video load, then hit the replay button.
Yes, this video is first and foremost a marketing tool, but that doesn’t lessen that fact that it is fascinating to watch. We suspect many of you will want to save the video to your computer for future viewing. That’s easy to do. Just click on the link below. (Note: After downloading, we suggest that PC users play it back through Windows Media Player. You can then drag the Media Player corners to expand the video viewing size.)
CLICK HERE to download 25mb Lapua Video (fast connection recommended).
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February 10th, 2014
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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