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.)
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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In a world where too many companies have down-graded product quality and durability, we’re lucky there are some fanatical Finns who build great stuff for shooters. For serious handloaders, the cartridge brass of choice is made by Lapua in Finland. Lapua brass lasts longer than most other brands of cartridge brass, with industry-leading case-to-case uniformity. How do the Finns manage to make such good brass and loaded ammo? This informative video provides insights into Lapua’s “passion for precision”. This “must watch”, 12-minute video contains a surprising amount of “hard” info on Lapua products, with 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.
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.
Yes, this video is first and foremost a marketing tool, but that doesn’t lessen that fact that it is fascinating to watch. Lapua’s video also does a great job making our sport seem important and exciting — NRA take note! 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.)
Safari Press has just released a new book by M.L. (“Mic”) McPherson, Metallic Cartridge Handloading: Pursuit of the Perfect Cartridge. This 425-page book goes into greater depth than McPherson’s popular intro reloading guide, Metallic Cartridge Reloading. This brand new title covers all aspects of the reloading process: the cartridge case; maintaining, improving and loading the case; the seating and reading of primers; the loading of propellant; bullets and the loading of bullets; accurate load development; internal and external ballistics; bullet making and casting; and reloading presses.
With hundreds of photos and illustrations, this book is a good reference for shooters getting starting in precision reloading for accuracy. Compared to some other books on reloading procedures, McPherson’s new resource is more up-to-date, so it references more modern reloading tools and techniques. NOTE: This is NOT a reloading manual containing specific load data. Rather, it is a how-to book that covers the process of cartridge reloading from start to finish.
About the Author, M.L. (“Mic”) McPherson:
Mic McPherson, Technical Editor of Hand Loader’s Digest, is the author of numerous firearms resource books including Metallic Cartridge Reloading and Accurizing the Factory Rifle. He has written scores of articles for leading gun periodicals including Precision Shooting, The Accurate Rifle, Rifle Shooter, and Varmint Hunter Magazine. Mic also served as an Editor of the 8th and 9th Editions of Cartridges of the World.
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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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This article by Corey Swantz originally appeared in The Reloading Press, the Sinclair Int’l Blog.
Much less precision is required to get good scores in 3-gun competition than in strictly accuracy-oriented disciplines like F-Class or Benchrest. In 3-gun, [the game is] about hitting targets in the shortest amount of time, not how close to the center of the target you can get or how small the group can be. Ammunition that’s accurate to 1-2 MOA is more than sufficient for 3-gun competition, as the targets tend to be 4-6 MOA in size.
For my personal 3-gun load testing, I used three powders: Varget, IMR 8208 XBR, and Accurate 2230. All three powders gave me good results, but the 8208 XBR was the leader of the pack. I settled on a moderate charge that pushes a 73gr Berger BTHP at about 2,500 fps through my 16″-barreled AR15. While I’m sure I could obtain a higher velocity with these bullets, this speed yielded the best accuracy results in my initial testing with fully prepped brass.
With the high volume of ammunition that I need for 3-gun matches and practice, I wanted to eliminate as many case prep steps as possible and still end up with ammunition that was accurate enough for 3-gun. I fully prepped some once-fired brass from primer pocket to case mouth and everything in between. I also took some once-fired cases that had simply been trimmed to length, and loaded them without doing any other prep work. With these loads in hand, I headed out to the range to shoot some groups. Below are the results from my 200 yard group tests:
Prepped Brass Delivered Higher Score on Bullseye Target
As you can see from the photos, the groups yielded results along the lines of what I expected. The fully-prepped brass produced five 10s , whereas the un-prepped brass produced only two 10s, and both of those just touched the outer edge of the 10-ring.
However, the un-prepped brass kept all the shots inside the 8-ring, which is plenty precise for shooting the large targets used in 3-gun matches.
National Defense Match at Camp Perry
I decided to further test my un-prepped brass loads by shooting them in the National Defense Match (NDM) at Camp Perry and the Rockcastle 3-Gun Pro-Am Championship. At the NDM, the target used in the longer-range stages was a standard-size NRA Tombstone target, similar to the targets used in most 3-gun matches. Using the un-prepped brass loads, I was able to keep all my shots on the tombstone targets from 100-300 yards, and had only one miss from the 400-yard line. That one miss was my fault, as I jerked the trigger on the last shot, pulling it off to the left. Un-prepped brass held up quite well under Camp Perry NDM conditions.
Un-Prepped Good Enough for Class Win at Rockcastle 3-Gun Pro-Am Championship
Two weeks after the NDM, I traveled to Kentucky for the Rockcastle 3-Gun Pro-Am Championship. There were seven stages in this match, two of which required long-range rifle shots with my AR15. The longest stage of the match had eight steel targets sized from 4″ to 10″ in diameter, placed from 75 to 265 yards. My ammunition proved accurate enough at these distances to neutralize all the steel targets with single shots, something few other shooters were able to do. I finished over two seconds ahead of the nearest competitor on this stage and ended up winning the event. Clearly un-prepped brass was plenty good for the Rockcastle 3-Gun Pro Am, too!
Because of the results I’ve gotten on the practice range, and two very solid performances in competition last year, I feel confident that my loading process for the upcoming 3-Gun Nation Semi-Pro Series will consist of simply sizing and trimming brass, then loading it with my preferred recipe. While the fully prepped brass was indeed more accurate, the un-prepped brass loads were accurate enough to allow me to hit 3-gun targets . Now, I can take the time I save in the reloading room and spend it out on the practice range.
Corey Schwanz, Sinclair Reloading Technician
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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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Colt’s Manufacturing Company LLC (Colt) is introducing a line of ammunition for Colt tactical and competition rifles. This new Colt-branded “Hunting and Defence Match” ammo will be manufactured by Black Hills Ammunition. The initial offerings are designed for rifles chambered for 5.56×45 NATO and will feature 55gr and 77gr Sierra match bullets. According to the Guns.com Blog: “The 77-grain cartridge may strike a few people as somewhat familiar. It is for most purposes Black Hills MK 262 77-grain ammo… considered by many to be the best factory-loaded 5.56 NATO ammunition on the market.”
Colt Claims Ammo Will Shoot 1-MOA Groups at 500 Yards
Colt says its ammunition will deliver long-range accuracy. During the development process, this line of Colt ammo was ballistically tested in Colt rifles with a requirement of consistent five-shot, one-MOA (5″) groups at 500 yards. Colt calls this the “triple-nickel” standard (5 shots, 5″, 500 yards). Colt claims that the “Triple Nickel” capability of its ammo “assures the experienced shooter incredible performance right out of the box, with no need for load development or experimentation.”
Holding 1-MOA at 100 yards is not that exceptional. But maintaining 1-MOA groups at 500 yards would be impressive indeed. This would require consistent powder charges and tight bullet-seating length tolerances to keep vertical dispersion to a minimum. It will be interesting to test the Colt-branded ammo when it hits the market and see if it works as well as claimed.
“We’re very proud of the ‘Triple Nickel’ requirement of this ammunition,” said said Joyce Rubino, Vice President of Marketing for Colt’s Manufacturing: “Our goal with Black Hills was to bring to market a superior line of ammunition for sport shooters to use in Colt rifles, and we feel we have achieved this through the partnership with Black Hills.”
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Have you been struggling to find brass, powder, and (especially) primers? No luck finding rimfire ammunition or loaded ammo for your pistols or hunting rifles? 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.
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.
Primers Found Efficiently with GunBot.net GunBot.net saves us time by instantly checking inventory at many dozens of online retailers. In May, we were looking high and low for large rifle magnum primers. Then a quick search with GunBot.net revealed that site sponsor Powder Valley, Inc. had some in stock. We placed our order and had the primers in our hands the next week. Here’s a screenshot showing primer inventories on June 17, 2013:
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Products in the 2013 CMP catalog include: M1 Garand Rifles, Smallbore Rifles, Air Rifles, Replacement Barrels (newly manufactured), Garand Stock Sets, m1903 Stock Sets, M1 Carbine Stock Sets, Ammunition (commercial and surplus), Tools/Gauges, Rifle Cases, Shooting Coats, Shooting Gloves, Shooting Mats, and Instructional DVDs. Note: To order a rifle from the CMP, purchasers must provide proof of: 1) U.S. Citizenship (and age); 2) Membership in a CMP-Affiliated Organization; and 3) Participation in a Marksmanship or Other Firearms-Related Activity.
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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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