If you ever shoot factory ammo, you should consider getting Ammo & Ballistics 5. This resource book lists over 2,600 different loads for 190 cartridge types from 17 Mach 2 up to .700 Nitro Express, including the most popular centerfire and rimfire cartridges (both rifle and handgun). There are over 1,400 tables with ballistics data for nearly all commercially-loaded hunting ammunition sold in the United States (as of 2013, the publication date). Tables include velocity, energy, wind drift, bullet drop, and ballistic coefficient.
This book can be helpful when choosing ammo for a hunt. You can quickly compare the velocity and knock-down power of various types of commercial ammo. In addition, this book can help you choose a caliber/chambering for your next hunting rig, as you can compare factory load options.
Book Purchaser Reviews
“The data contained in this book is invaluable. If you don’t understand momentum vs. energy, MER and MEPBR, this book will help you gain an understanding. If you don’t know what the Taylor Knock Out (KO) Index is, this book will enlighten and inform.” — Daryl ID
“Great heaps of data! This volume has pages and pages of new data for .22LR like the hot Velocitor, and also on the .22 WMR from 30 grains up into the 50s. Most importantly there is lots of range data, drop, windage, kinetic energy, etc. — Terrific reference guide….” — E. Svanoe
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In this .308 Win test, 70° F ammo shot 96 FPS slower than ammo heated to 130.5° F. And the 130.5° ammo was 145 fps faster than ammo right out of the freezer (at 25.5° F). That’s a huge difference…
EDITOR’s NOTE: The Sierra tester does not reveal the brand of powder tested here. Some powders are much more temp sensitive than others. Accordingly, you cannot extrapolate test results from one propellant to another. Nonetheless, it is interesting to see the actual recorded velocity shift with ammo temperature variations in a .308 Win.
Written by Sierra Chief Ballistician Tommy Todd This story originally appeared in theSierra Bullets Blog
A few weeks ago I was attending the Missouri State F-Class Match. This was a two-day event during the summer and temperatures were hot one day and hotter the next. I shot next to a gentleman who was relatively new to the sport. He was shooting a basically factory rifle and was enjoying himself with the exception that his scores were not as good as he hoped they would be and he was experiencing pressure issues with his ammunition. I noticed that he was having to force the bolt open on a couple of rounds. During a break, I visited with him and offered a couple of suggestions which helped his situation somewhat and he was able to finish the match without major issues.
He was shooting factory ammunition, which is normally loaded to upper levels of allowable pressures. While this ammunition showed no problems during “normal” testing, it was definitely showing issues during a 20-round string of fire in the temperatures we were competing in. My first suggestion was that he keep his ammunition out of the direct sun and shade it as much as possible. My second suggestion was to not close the bolt on a cartridge until he was ready to fire. He had his ammo in the direct sunlight and was chambering a round while waiting on the target to be pulled and scored which can take from a few seconds to almost a minute sometimes.
This time frame allowed the bullet and powder to absorb chamber [heat] and build pressure/velocity above normal conditions. Making my recommended changes lowered the pressures enough for the rifle and cartridge to function normally.
Testing Effects of Ammunition Temperature on Velocity and POI
After thinking about this situation, I decided to perform a test in the Sierra Bullets underground range to see what temperature changes will do to a rifle/cartridge combination. I acquired thirty consecutive .30 caliber 175 grain MatchKing bullets #2275 right off one of our bullet assembly presses and loaded them into .308 Winchester ammunition. I utilized an unnamed powder manufacturer’s product that is appropriate for the .308 Winchester cartridge. This load is not at the maximum for this cartridge, but it gives consistent velocities and accuracy for testing.
I took ten of the cartridges and placed them in a freezer to condition.
I set ten of them on my loading bench, and since it was cool and cloudy the day I performed this test I utilized a floodlight and stand to simulate ammunition being heated in the sun.
I kept track of the temperatures of the three ammunition samples with a non-contact laser thermometer.
The rifle was fired at room temperature (70 degrees) with all three sets of ammunition. I fired this test at 200 yards out of a return-to-battery machine rest. The aiming point was a leveled line drawn on a sheet of paper. I fired one group with the scope aimed at the line and then moved the aiming point across the paper from left to right for the subsequent groups.
NOTE that the velocity increased as the temperature of the ammunition did.
The ammunition from the freezer shot at 2451 fps.
The room temperature ammunition shot at 2500 fps.
The heated ammunition shot at 2596 fps.
The tune window of the particular rifle is fairly wide as is shown by the accuracy of the three pressure/velocity levels and good accuracy was achieved across the board. However, notice the point of impact shift with the third group? There is enough shift at 200 yards to cause a miss if you were shooting a target or animal at longer ranges. While the pressure and velocities changed this load was far enough from maximum that perceived over pressure issues such as flattened primer, ejector marks on the case head, or sticky extraction did not appear. If you load to maximum and then subject your ammunition to this test your results will probably be magnified in comparison.
This test showed that pressures, velocities, and point-of-impact can be affected by temperatures of your ammunition at the time of firing. It’s really not a bad idea to test in the conditions that you plan on utilizing the ammo/firearm in if at all possible. It wouldn’t be a bad idea to also test to see what condition changes do to your particular gun and ammunition combination so that you can make allowances as needed. Any personal testing along these lines should be done with caution as some powder and cartridge combination could become unsafe with relatively small changes in conditions.
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At the request of our readers, we provide select “Deals of the Week”. Every Monday morning we offer our Bargain selections. Here are some of the best deals on firearms, hardware, reloading components, and shooting accessories. Be aware that sale prices are subject to change, and once clearance inventory is sold, it’s gone for good. You snooze you lose.
1. Precision Reloading — 10% and 15% Off Berger Bullets
Berger projectiles have won countless matches and set scores of World Records. Now you can save big bucks on match and hunting bullets from Berger Bullets in a wide variety of calibers and weights. Right now Precision Reloading is offering 10% off orders of $100 or more (Code BG8161), and 15% off orders of $500.00 or more (Code BG8165). Precision Reloading has many of the most popular Berger match projectiles in stock, including 6mm 105gr Hybrids, and 7mm 180gr Hybrids. NOTE: This special only runs for a few more days, so don’t delay!
2. Midsouth — Lyman BoreCam Digital Borescope, $222.46
Here’s a great deal on an excellent product in high demand. The Lyman BoreCam is an electro-optical borescope with a digital display. You can record “stills” on a SD card. This is one of the hottest products on the market right now. But we found some in stock at a great price. Midsouth Shooters Supply now has the BoreCam for $222.46. Grab it while you can at that price. Other online vendors are charging a LOT more. For example, the MidwayUSA price is $259.99.
3. RCBS — Buy Green, Get Green Rebate
RCBS is running a very attractive Rebate Program currently. If you spend $300.00 on qualifying products you get a $75.00 rebate. Spend $50 and get a $10.00 Rebate. This program is limited to one (1) rebate redemption per calendar year, with a maximum of $75.00. CLICK HERE for more information. NOTE: To qualify, you must supply completed RCBS rebate coupon, original UPC barcodes from package, and original cash register receipt and/or dated, itemized sales invoice.
Get RCBS Chargemaster for $225.00 After Rebate
Using this rebate, you can get an RCBS Chargemaster from Amazon.com for a “final price” of $225.00. Amazon sells the Chargemaster for exactly $300.00 which qualifies for the $75.00 rebate.
4. Natchez Shooters Supply — 325 Rounds .22 LR Ammo, $22.99
This Federal .22 LR ammo is just 7 cents per round — the kind of pricing on bulk rimfire ammo we used to see in the “good old days”. Act quickly, this $22.99 Federal .22 LR Ammo deal won’t last long. Each box contains 325 rounds — enough ammo for many sessions at the range. The bullets are 40 grains, solid lead.
5. Grafs.com — Magnetospeed Sporter $179.99
If you have been waiting to get a Magnetospeed… wait no longer. Priced at just $179.99 at Grafs.com, the Magnetospeed Sporter model costs less than half as much as Magnetospeed’s V3 models. This chronograph attaches directly to your barrel so you don’t have to go downrange to position tripods and set up skyscreens. For most people the Sporter Model contains all the features they need. Using Magnetospeed’s XFR adapter (sold separately), data can be transferred easily from the display module to your mobile device. READ Magnetospeed Sporter Review.
This is a very good spotting scope for the price. Yes it gives up some low-light performance to a spotter with an 80mm objective, but otherwise it is a good performer, and we can’t think of much that will touch this Vortex Diamondback spotting scope for anywhere near the $399.99 sale price. Choose from angled or straight version for the same $399.99 price, which includes the 20-60X zoom eyepiece.
7. Amazon — Howard Leight Electronic Earmuffs $40.97
Every shooter should own a pair of Electronic muffs, even if you prefer shooting with earplugs and/or standard muffs. Electronic muffs are great when you are doing spotting duties or are working near the firing line. They allow you to hear ordinary conversations while still providing vital hearing protection. Right now Amazon.com has the Howard Leight Impact Sport Electronic Muffs on sale for just $40.97. This is good deal — these NRR 22 muffs are currently Amazon’s #1 seller in the category. NOTE: For regular, sustained shooting we recommend muffs and/or earplugs with a higher NRR rating.
8. Amazon — Leight MAX NRR33 Earplugs, $7.58 for 50 Pairs.
These Howard Leight NRR33 Max plugs are your Editor’s favorite foam earplugs. Between shooting, motorcycling and mowing lawns, I probably have Max plugs in my ears 2-3 days a week. This is a very good price for a bulk pack of 50 pairs. And if you act soon, you can get free shipping to boot.
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22Plinkster Tours CCI/Speer Idaho Factory
Trickshot artist and YouTube host 22Plinkster recently got a chance to tour the CCI/Speer production facility in Lewiston, Idaho. This large plant produces both rimfire and centerfire ammunition. While touring the plant, 22Plinkster was allowed to capture video showing the creation of .22 LR rounds from start to finish. This is a fascinating video, well worth watching.
This revealing video shows all phases of .22 LR ammo production including cupping, drawing, annealing, washing, drying, head-stamping, priming, powder charging, bullet seating, crimping, waxing, inspection, and final packaging. If you’ve got ten minutes to spare, we really recommend you watch the video from start to finish. You’ll definitely learn some new things about rimfire ammo.
.22 Plinkster was literally up to his neck in ammo while touring the CCI/Speer Idaho ammo plant. He says: “This was truly a dream come true for me. I can’t thank the people at CCI and Speer enough for allowing me to do this. I couldn’t possibly show everything that went on at the factory. However, hopefully I showed you enough for you to grasp the concept of how rimfire [ammo] is made.”
Speer Brothers Brought Ammo Production to Lewiston
Here is an interesting historical footnote. Today’s large CCI/Speer operation in Idaho can be traced back to the companies founded by the Speer brothers. After settling in Lewiston in 1944, Vernon Speer started Speer Bullets. A few years later, in 1951, Vernon’s brother Dick (with partner Arvid Nelson) started Cascade Cartridges Inc., a producer of small-arms ammunition and primers. Yes, as you may suspect, Cascade Cartridges Inc. is now CCI, a Vista Outdoor company, and one of the largest manufacturers of primers and loaded ammunition. Today, the CCI/Speer Lewiston plant produces both Speer bullets and CCI-branded ammunition and primers. Vista Outdoor’s predecessor, ATK, acquired the plant in 2001. Vernon Speer died in 1979, and Dick Speer died in 1994.
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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 .22 LR, 9mm, 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.
WikiArms also tracks prices on reloading components — bullets, brass, primers, and powders. From the WikiArms Home page, look at the left column under the “Reloading” header. From there you can select the type of components you want.
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Are we seeing an end to the “desperate days” for .22 LR rimfire ammo? Are supplies finally starting to catch up to demand? At least one industry analyst thinks so. Gun journalist Dean Weingarten has been watching trends. Makers of .22 LR ammo have increased production by 20%. That’s a good thing. We are starting to see the effects, Dean observes, with increased supplies and falling prices for rimfire ammo. Here is Dean’s report from Arizona.
I chanced to be at the local WalMart in Yuma, Arizona today (July 8, 2016). This is the store on the frontage road off of old Highway 8, East of town. Until Friday, June 24, 2016, I had not seen any .22 Long Rifle in the store for three years.
On that date, there were 2,300 rounds of CCI Mini-Mags and 1,000 rounds of CCI Standard Velocity. The Mini-Mags were in plastic 100-round boxes at $7.47 a box. The Standard Velocity were in paper, 50-round boxes at $3.47 a box.
Just 10 days later, on the 3rd of July, I was in the same store, and there were 1900 rounds of CCI Stinger, in 50-round boxes. It is premium .22 Long Rifle ammunition, and has always been pricey. The price was $6.47 for a box of 50, or a little under 13 cents a round. They also had CCI .22 Maxi-Mag, .22 magnum rimfire cartridges, for $13.47 a box of 50, or nearly 27 cents a cartridge. It has been scarce, but not as bad as the .22 Long Rifle.
Two sightings in 10 days after three years was remarkable.
.22 LR Ammo for 5.36 Cents Per Round
Today, the 8th of July, there were two cases of bulk pack Federal .22 Auto Match. That is 6,500 .22 Long Rifle cartridges.This is only five days after the previous sighting. The boxes contained 325 cartridges. [The clerk] was just opening the cases to stock the shelves when I showed up. She said there had been a couple of bricks of .22, but they had been purchased immediately.
At $17.42 for 325 rounds of Auto Match .22, that is 5.36 cents per round. A little over two years ago, I wrote that the .22 ammunition bubble would be over when you saw .22 LR ammunition on sale below 4 cents a round:
“You will know that the bubble is close to the bottom when you see .22 LR on sale for below 4 cents per round. At the lowest, we might see .22 LR cartridges below $10 for 500.”Read Article from 6/7/2014.
Many dismissed my prediction. They said that we would never see .22 cartridges below 4 cents a round again. People said that I was crazy when gasoline was at $4 a gallon, and I wrote that we would see it below $2 in the future. It went below $2 a few months ago.
The .22 ammunition bubble is hanging on. The push for more Second Amendment infringements by the Obama administration keeps it inflated. But with only six months to go to the end of that administration, the bubble has become fragile. The .22 ammunition manufacturers have increased production by 20%. That puts a lot of strain on the bubble.
Social Media fans take note — Lapua is now on Facebook. Lapua recently launched its official Facebook page focusing on Lapua sport shooting components and ammunition. The page will feature shooting news, match results, product info, shooter profiles, videos, tech tips, and other Lapua-related material. You can follow Lapua on Facebook by visiting www.facebook.com/LapuaAmmunition.
Lapua Products and Company History
Lapua (officially Nammo Lapua Oy), is part of the large Nordic Nammo Group. Lapua’s main products include premium cartridge brass, bullets, small caliber cartridges, rimfire cartridges, and reloading components for civilian and professional use. The Lapua cartridge factory was established in 1923. From a modest and practical beginning, Lapua has grown into one of the most respected brands in the industry. The best shooters in the world choose Lapua cartridges and components. In 2014, Nammo acquired the Vihtavuori smokeless powder factory.
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Each Wednesday, the U.S. Army Marksmanship Unit publishes a reloading “how-to” article on the USAMU Facebook page. Recently the USAMU’s reloading gurus looked at the subject of case lubrication. Tasked with producing thousands of rounds of ammo for team members, the USAMU’s reloading staff has developed very efficient procedures for lubricating large quantities of cases. This article reveals the USAMU’s clever “big-batch” lube methods. For other hand-loading tips, visit the USAMU Facebook page next Wednesday for the next installment.
Rapid, High-Volume Case Lubrication
Today’s topic covers methods for quickly applying spray lube to cartridge cases prior to sizing. A typical order for this shop may be 25,000 rounds, so [speeding up] the lubrication process can be a real time-saver. While your ammunition lots probably aren’t this large, the efficient methods discussed here may help save a considerable amount of time over your handloading career. Our case lubrication rates range from 1500-1600 cases per hour, to 2400-2500 cases per hour, depending on caliber.
This shop uses virgin brass, whereas most home handloaders use fired brass, which necessitates some small changes at times. These will be discussed as they arise. Begin with fired brass that has been tumbled clean.
Ensure as much tumbling media as possible is removed from the brass, as when it gets into a size die, it can dent cases significantly. This is a good time to round out dents in the case mouths using a tapered tool to prevent damage from the decapping stem.
First, dump the clean cases into a large box or reloading bin. Shake the bin back and forth so that many cases are oriented with the mouths up. Next, pick up as many cases as is convenient with the mouths “up”, from natural clusters of correctly-oriented cases. With 7.62mm-size cases, this is usually 3-4, and with 5.56mm cases, this can be up to 8-10. Place the cases into the rack slots, mouth-up. Doing this in groups rather than singly saves considerable time. Once these clusters have been depleted, it will be time to re-shake the bin to orient more cases “up.”.
This photo shows a case lubrication rack made by a USAMU staffer.
Naturally, adjust the spacing to best fit the calibers you reload. We have found this size … convenient for handling through the various phases of case lubrication/transfer to progressive case feeders for processing. Note that the 1/2-inch angle does not cover much of the critical case area at the base, just forward of the extractor groove, where most re-sizing force will be exerted. As the USAMU uses virgin brass, less lubrication is required for our brass than would be needed for Full Length (FL) sizing of previously-fired brass.
NOTE: The amount applied using our rack is easily enough for our purpose. If using fired brass, be sure to adequately lube this base area to avoid having cases stick in the full-length sizing die.
Using a spray lube, coat the cases adequately, but not excessively, from all sides. Be sure to get some lube into the case mouths/necks, in order to reduce expander ball drag and case stretching/headspace changes. The spray lube this shop uses does not harm primers or powder, and does not require tumbling to remove after lubing.*
Take a close look at the photo above. The USAMU shop uses a common kitchen turntable, which allows the rack to be rotated easily. We place this in a custom-made box which prevents over-spray on to floors and walls.
Angled Box Method for Smaller Cases to be Neck-Sized
A refinement of the above method which especially speeds processing of 5.56x45mm cases is as follows. A small cardboard box which holds about 100 cases is fitted with an angled “floor” secured by tape. With the smaller 5.56mm cases, usually about 8-10 cases per handful can be picked up, already correctly-oriented, and placed into the box together. This prevents having to place them into the rack slots, saving time.
HOWEVER, note that this does not allow nearly as much lube access to the case bodies as does the rack. For our purposes — neck-sizing and setting neck tension on new brass, this works well. If using this procedure with fired brass, take steps to ensure adequate lube to prevent stuck cases.
As always, we hope this will help our fellow handloaders. Good luck, and good shooting!
*A two-part test performed here involved spraying primed cases heavily, while getting more lube into the case mouth/body than even a careless handloader would likely apply. The second part of the test involved literally spraying considerable quantities of the lube directly into the cases, drenching the primers. After a several-day wait to allow the lube to penetrate the primers, they were then fired in a test barrel. All fired normally; no unusual reports were noted. This bolstered confidence that normal amounts of the lube would not adversely affect our ammunition, and we have been pleased with the results over several years.
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If you wonder how ammo is made, starting with raw metal, check out this video from Hornady. It shows how bullet jackets are formed from copper, followed by insertion of a lead core. The jacket is then closed up over the core with the bullet taking its final shape in a die (a cannelure is applied on some bullet types). Next the video shows how cartridge brass is formed, starting with small cups of brass. The last part of the video shows how cases are primed and filled with powder, and how bullets are seated into the cases, using an automated process on a giant assembly-line. CLICK Link below to watch video:
At its 100,000+ square foot factory in Grand Island, Nebraska, Hornady produces millions of rounds of ammunition annually. The Grand Island factory is open for tours Monday through Thursday. Hornady Manufacturing, which now boasts over 300 employees, was founded by Joyce Hornady in 1949. The business is currently run by his son Steve Hornady who took over after his father’s death in a plane crash in 1981.
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Each Wednesday the USAMU offers tips for handloaders on the USAMU Facebook page. This article from the “Handloading Hump-Day” archives should interest pistol competitors, an any shooter who enjoys getting the best possible accuracy from their fine pistols. In this article, the USAMU’s experts share key tips that can help optimize your pistol ammo. Follow this tips to produce more consistent ammo, that can shoot higher scores.
Optimize the Taper Crimp
One often-overlooked aspect of handloading highly-accurate pistol ammunition is the amount of crimp and its effect on accuracy. Different amounts of taper crimp are used with various handloads to obtain best accuracy. The amount is based on bullet weight, powder burn rate and charge, plus other factors. It is not unusual for our Shop to vary a load’s crimp in degrees of 0.001″ and re-test for finest accuracy.
Use Consistent Brass
Brass is also important to pistol accuracy. While accurate ammunition can be loaded using brass of mixed parentage, that is not conducive to finest results, particularly at 50 yards. It is important for the serious competitor/handloader to use brass of the same headstamp and ideally one lot number, to maximize uniformity. Given the volumes of ammunition consumed by active pistol competitors, using inexpensive, mixed surplus brass for practice, particularly at the “short line” (25 yards), is understandable. However, for the “long line” (50 yards), purchasing and segregating a lot of high-quality brass to be used strictly for slow-fire is a wise idea.
Importance of Uniform COAL
Uniformity of the Case Overall Length (COAL) as it comes from the factory is also important to achieving utmost accuracy. More uniform case lengths (best measured after sizing) contribute to greater consistency of crimp, neck tension, ignition/burn of powder charge, and so on. Cartridge case-length consistency varies from lot to lot, as well as by maker. Some manufacturers are more consistent in this dimension than others. [Editor’s note: It is easy to trim pistol brass to uniform length. Doing this will make your taper crimps much more consistent.]
Primers and Powders — Comparison Test for Accuracy
Pay attention to primer brands, powder types and charges. Evaluating accuracy with a Ransom or other machine rest at 50 yards can quickly reveal the effect of changes made to handload recipes.
Bullet Selection — FMJ vs. JHP
Bullets are another vital issue. First, there is the question of FMJ vs. JHP. A friend of this writer spent decades making and accuracy-testing rifle and pistol bullets during QC for a major bullet manufacturer. In his experience, making highly-accurate FMJ bullets is much more difficult than making highly-accurate JHPs, in large part due to the way the jackets are formed. Small die changes could affect accuracy of FMJ lots dramatically.
The CMP now allows “safe, jacketed ammunition” in Excellence-in-Competition (EIC) Service Pistol matches, although wadcutter ammunition is prohibited. Thus, the option to use very accurate JHP designs simplifies the life of CMP Service Pistol shooters in pursuit of the prestigious Distinguished Pistol Shot badge.
Hopefully, these tips will be helpful to any pistol shooters interested in accurate handloads, not just “Bullseye” shooters. Small tweaks to one’s normal routine can pay big dividends in improved accuracy and make practice and competition more rewarding.
Stay safe, and good shooting!
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Federal Ammunition is releasing a new line of range ammunition with polymer-encased projectiles. American Eagle Syntech is the first range-specific factory-loaded ammunition designed to reduce fouling and extend barrel life with a high-tech polymer bullet coating plus specially-formulated clean-burning powders. The potential for reduced wear and fouling is real — when tested against conventional FMJ ammunition, Federal claims Syntech produced an average of 12% less barrel friction and 14% less heat. Also, since Syntech bullets lack a metal jacket, there is less chance of ricochets on steel targets. Initially, three (3) types of Syntech ammo will be offered: 9mm Luger (115 grain); 40 S&W (165 grain); and .45 ACP (230 grain).
For years this Editor has loaded his .45 ACP and .44 Mag handguns with polymer/moly matrix-coated bullets from Precision Bullets in Texas. Those poly/moly-encased lead bullets shot VERY accurately and I found that my barrels fouled much less than with conventional lead bullets. Likewise, there was much less cylinder fouling on my revolvers. If the American Syntech bullets work as well as those Precision bullets, I think the Syntech line will be a winner. Syntech bullets should benefit any shooter who frequents a range where lead ammo is not allowed.
Features & Benefits
• Polymer-encapsulated Syntech bullet prevents metal-on-metal contact in the bore, eliminating copper and lead fouling, while extending barrel life.
• Exclusive primer formulation provides reliable, consistent ignition.
• Clean-burning propellants minimize residue and fouling.
• Significantly reduces the required frequency of cleaning.
• Absence of a copper jacket minimizes splash-back on steel targets.
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Got Ammo? If you need bulk .223 Rem ammo for 3-Gun practice or a varmint safari, or if you want to stock up on pistol ammo, now’s a great time to shop. Cabelas.com is running a promotion this week with great prices on a wide variety of ammo. There are nearly 60 ammo varieties on sale. Some of the best deals are shown below. The 9mm Luger prices are low enough that it’s hard to justify hand-loading if you value your time at all.
Along with the savings on ammo prices, you can save on shipping costs. Through 4/1/2016, you can get $5.00 Shipping on orders of $99.00 or more. Use code 36SPRING during checkout. This $5.00 shipping offer will cover ammunition.
Federal American Eagle .223 Rem Rifle Ammo (55gr FMJ) with Cabela’s Dry-Storage Box, 300 Rounds $124.99.
CCI Blazer Brass 9mm Luger FMJ Ammo, $10.99 for 50 Rounds.
Winchester .45 ACP FMJ Ammo, 200 Rounds in Wood Box, $89.99.
CCI Herters .40 SW TNJ Ammo (Nylon-coated Lead) $13.99 for 50 Rounds.
This TNJ (total nylon jacket) ammo features aluminum cases and lead bullets that are fully sheathed with a blue polymer (nylon) coating
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At the request of our readers, we have launched a “Deals of the Week” feature. Every Monday morning we offer our Bargain selections. Here are some of the best deals on hardware, reloading components, and shooting accessories. Be aware that sale prices are subject to change, and once clearance inventory is sold, it’s gone for good. You snooze you lose.
1. Midsouth — Nosler .308 Match Monster Bullets, $119.99 for 500
Looking for high-quality, name-brand .308-caliber bullets? You won’t beat the price on these Nosler bullets from Midsouth Shooters Supply. Five options are offered: 155 grain, 168 grain, 168 grain (with cannelure), 170 grain, and 190 grain. The 155s and 168s are just $119.99 for FIVE HUNDRED bullets. The 170s cost $131.28/500 while the big 190s cost $137.74/500. Those are insanely good prices, any way you cut it. The price on the 168s works out to just $23.99 per hundred. You could easily pay $40.00 per hundred for bullets of this quality. These are not seconds or blems — the are quality Nosler-made bullets produced for Midsouth’s Match Monster bulk sales program.
This 10-50X Sightron isn’t as good as a Nightforce 15-55X Competition scope, but it is definitely good enough to win long-range benchrest and F-Class matches. At $968.05, the Sightron is nearly $1400 cheaper than the 15-55X Nightforce. It is even $450 cheaper than the old 12-42x56mm NF Benchrest scope. On a value-for-money basis, then, the Sightron 10-50x60mm makes sense for competitors on a budget. The money you save (compared to a 15-55X NF) will pay for a BAT or Kelbly action, with money left over.
3. Southern Shooters — 17 HMR Ruger American Rimfire
With ballistics far superior to a .22 LR, the 17 HMR is ideal for Prairie Dogs and small varmints out to 180 yards or so. Now you can get a reliable, name brand 17 HMR rifle for a very attractive price. That’s right, Southern Shooters is selling the 17 HMR Ruger American Rimfire, with 22″ barrel, for just $252.63. FFL required. For other vendors with this rifle, CLICK HERE.
Like the RCBS ChargeMaster, this Lyman Gen6 Powder System will automatically dispense and weigh powder charges. This unit features a touch screen, rapid warm-up, anti-static/anti-drift technology, and electronic shielding to resist interference from other electronic devices. It’s a good deal at $205.99.
5. Grafs.com — Hornady 17 HMR Ammo $10.99 for 50 Rounds
This is one of the best prices we’ve seen in recent years on 17 HMR ammo. We really like the V-Max bullets in 17 HMR ammunition — you get excellent accuracy plus the tipped design is very effective on small varmints. Grafs.com is having a big ammo sale right now, so you can get this quality Hornady 17 HMR ammo for just $10.99 per 50-round box. You could easily pay $16.00/box at a local gunstore. This is a GREAT deal — stock up while you can.
6. CDNN — Walther PPX M1 9mm for $299.99
It may be ugly, but this Walther PPX M1 is a very good 9mm pistol. This Editor has shot the PPX and, IMHO, it has a better trigger than the Glock, better ergonomics, and better accuracy. Right now you can get this German-made Walther 9mm pistol for under $300.00 — about half the price of a new Glock. Interested? Then read this Walther PPX Review. It confirms what we’ve said — this is a good pistol.
7. Amazon — AR500 10″ Steel Gong and Rack, $69.99
We love reactive targets for shooting at 300 yards and beyond. You’ll find that, even with a premium spotting scope, it can be hard to spot small bullet holes in paper much past 350 yards (unless viewing conditions are perfect). With a reactive steel target, however, you get instant confirmation of a hit. This Viking 10″ AR500 Steel Gong is a good size for shooting at 400-500 yards. At 500 yards, the 10″ diameter of the gong works out to 2 MOA. For guys looking for a budget-priced hard steel target, this is a good deal — the gong system comes with everything you need: AR500 (armored) round steel plate, chain, fasteners, and support rack.
8. Cabelas.com — Lyman Power Case-Prep Tool
This handy, cordless power tool handles most case-prep chores. The high-torque rechargeable driver runs at the correct speed for deburring and chamfering. The accessories have hex shafts that snap in and out of the driver (much like with a cordless screwdriver). The kit includes the power unit and seven (7) accessories: two case neck brushes, two double-ended primer pocket tools (large and small), an outside 45° neck-chamfer tool, an inside 30° neck-chamfer tool, and a combo standard/phillips screw-driver bit. Regularly $39.99, this tool is on sale for just $24.88 at Cabelas.com.
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Here’s a great search service that can help you locate hard-to-find ammunition and reloading components — while saving money in the process. Ammoseek.com monitors more than a dozen online vendors — checking current pricing and available inventory, for pistol, rifle, and shotgun ammunition. Need .45 acp ammo for your 1911? Just select “.45 ACP” from the “Quick Seek” list on the right. Likewise you can find .223 Rem and .308 Win Rifle ammo with one click.
Find .22 LR Ammo Quickly
Looking for hard-to-find .22 LR rimfire ammunition? Well AmmoSeek makes it easy — you don’t even have to enter any search words. Simply click on the highlighted links for AmmoSeek’s 22LR Page.
Use Ammoseek.com to Find Reloading Components Too
Ammoseek.com also lets you search for reloading components, including powder, primers, brass, and bullets. This is a huge time-saver. You can instantly check a dozen or more vendors to see if a particular type of powder is in stock. Likewise, you can quickly check for primer availability. If you have a big match coming up and are short on primers — this could solve the problem.
Story Tip by Boyd Allen. We welcome reader submissions.
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Take a good look at this unusual ammunition. We think you are looking at the future of handgun ammo — at least for range and practice work. This patent-pending ammunition features a 100% lead-free bullet blended from polymer (plastic) and copper powder. The polymer-copper matrix (PCM) composition offers three major benefits: 1. the bullets do not ricochet; 2. the bullets are lighter and therefore faster than conventional projectiles; and 3. the bullets are environmentally friendly. We think this is a big deal — we predict matrix pistol bullets will become extremely popular in the years to come.
At the 2016 SHOT Show Media Day, we shot ammo with PCM bullets in a half-dozen handguns. The ammo performed flawlessly, without a hitch. In .40 SW and .45 ACP pistols, the felt recoil was considerably less than with conventional lead-core ammo (the difference was less noticeable with .380 ACP and 9mm Luger).
Ruger is now offering Ruger-branded ARX ammo with polymer-copper matrix bullets. This ammo will be produced under a licensing agreement with PolyCase Ammunition, the Georgia-based business that originally developed this bullet technology.
While Ruger is touting this ammo as a self-defense solution, we think the most common use of this new ammo will be for indoor practice, plinking, gun games such as IDPA, and use on steel and reactive targets. If you like to shoot steel, matrix bullets make sense. The polymer-copper matrix bullet basically disintegrates into very small fragments when it hits metal.
This video includes extensive tests of Ruger 9mm ARX ammo:
Ruger ARX Ammo with Injection-Molded Matrix Bullets
The fluted projectiles are injection-molded from a polymer-copper matrix. This offers many advantages. First, being completely lead-free, these bullets can be used at indoor facilities that prohibit lead-based ammo. Second, because the composite bullets weigh 30% less than comparable lead-based projectiles, shooters experience less recoil (even though velocities are higher). Third, the composite matrix bullet has low-ricochet properties. When these bullets strike metal, they are designed to disintegrate, rather than ricochet. This makes them well-suited for indoor use, or use with metal plates.
Ruger’s new ARX line of lead-free ammo features injection-molded bullets that are much lighter than conventional projectiles, caliber by caliber: 56 grains for .380 ACP, 74 grains for 9x19mm, 107 grains for .40 SW, and 114 grains for .45 ACP. The lighter bullets fly faster, but ARX ammo still offers reduced perceived recoil.
Shooting Wire Editor Jim Shepherd reports that ARX ammo delivers on its low-recoil promise: “Having spent time testing the PolyCase ammunition (largely in Ruger firearms), I know the reduction in felt recoil isn’t just hype. While firing PolyCase ARX ammunition in calibers ranging from .380 in small concealed carry pistols (including a Ruger’s LCP) up to .458 SOCOM in modern sporting rifles, the lessened felt recoil was noticeable.”
Polymer-Copper Matrix Bullets Show Good Penetration
Despite their lighter-than-average weight, ARX bullets show good penetration in ballistics gelatin, thanks to their unique, fluted-tip design. This video shows penetration tests:
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We are often asked, “Can you recommend a good reloading book that picks up where the typical reloading manual leaves off — something that goes into more detail about the processes involved.” There is such a book, and it’s fairly recent: Metallic Cartridge Handloading: Pursuit of the Perfect Cartridge, by M.L. (“Mic”) McPherson. Released in 2013, this 425-page book goes into greater depth than McPherson’s popular intro reloading guide, Metallic Cartridge Reloading. McPherson’s latest reloading treatise 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 started 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.
Reviews by actual book buyers: A great resource for handloaders although a little technical for beginners. I have been reloading for 40+ years and picked up some good ideas. — Loren R.
This is a book intended for people who have been reloading for a while. The book contains very detailed information about reloading. — Kaj H.
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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Here’s an item of interest to hunters (and maybe a few F-Open shooters). Nosler has just introduced a new magnum-type cartridge, the 30 Nosler. Sharing the same parent case as the 26 and 28 Nosler® cartridges, the 30 Nosler® has the case capacity to launch big 30-caliber bullets at impressive velocities (3000 FPS for a 210-grainer). Nosler says the 30 Nosler combines the best qualities of other 30-cal magnums: “The 30 Nosler® easily meets the velocity of the 300 Weatherby, headspaces on the shoulder like a 300 RUM, has an efficient powder column like the 300 WSM and fits in the same standard length action of a 300 Winchester Magnum.”
30 Nosler Will Function in a Standard Length Action
The 30 Nosler has a C.O.A.L. of 3.340″ allowing this cartridge to be operated in a standard length action for lighter weight and shorter bolt throw when compared to magnum-length actions.
The 30 Nosler is a SAAMI-standardized cartridge so there will be standardized dimensions for brass, dies, and chamber reamers. Nosler will support this new cartridge with Nosler Brass, Trophy Grade™ Ammunition and a series of M48 hunting rifles. The initial offerings in Nosler’s Trophy Grade™ Ammunition will be:
Nosler® Trophy Grade™ Ammunition: 180gr AccuBond® 3200 fps
Nosler® Trophy Grade™ LR Ammunition: 210gr AccuBond® LR 3000 fps
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At the request of our readers, we have launched a “Deals of the Week” feature. Every Monday morning we offer our Bargain Selections. Here are some of the best deals on hardware, reloading components, and shooting accessories. Be aware that sale prices are subject to change, and once clearance inventory is sold, it’s gone for good. You snooze you lose.
1. 6mmAR.com — Easy-Change Front Bag-Rider for ARs
Here’s a great product from our friend Robert Whitley at 6mmAR.com. This new device is a 3″-wide, flat-bottomed, front bag-rider that mounts to your AR in seconds, without tools. The bag-rider (aka “sled”) really works — stabilizing your AR when shooting from a front pedestal rest. We recommend using the front sled during load development and whenever shooting from the bench. The bag-rider attaches to your AR’s handguard with a Velcro strap, indexing on the bipod stud. Right now the Easy-Change Bag-Rider has an introductory price of $55.00. If you own an AR, you should get one.
2. Target Sports — Federal .22 LR Ammo, 325 Rounds for $24.90
Need good quality rimfire ammo at a low price? This TargetSportsUSA.com deal — 325 rounds for $24.90 — is a very good value. We’re pleased to see rimfire ammo prices become affordable again. Purchases are limited to five (5) 325-round boxes per customer. This is better than most “bulk-box” rimfire ammo. Another good deal right now is the Federal AutoMatch Bulk Pack, 325 rounds for $20.99 at Natchez Shooters Supply (but you are limited to two boxes).
3. Precision Reloading — Forster 2-Die Sets with Ultra Seater
Precision Reloading has Forster two-die reloading sets on clearance now. For $75-$80 per set you can get a precision full-length sizing die plus an Ultra micrometer-top seater. These are good dies — your Editor uses these very same dies for my .223 Rem reloading. Die sets for numerous popular chamberings are on sale now including: 220 Swift, 222 Rem, 22 PPC, 6mmx45, 6mm PPC, 6mm Rem, 243 WSSM, 257 Roberts, 25 WSSM, 7mm BR Rem, 280 Rem, 7mm WSM, 7×57 Mauser, 7mm RUM, 303 British, 30-378 Wby and more.
4. Home Depot — 72″ Wood Workbench for $70.25
This patented Home Depot workbench assembles in a few minutes. Simply unfold the legs, pop in the shelf, and you are ready to start your project. Made from Premium 2×4 Hemlock fastened with glue and screws, this workbench is a great value. The bench (72″ wide x 35″ high x 22″ deep) can easily be stored when not in use. NOTE: The wood is unfinished (can be painted or stained).
5. CDNN Sports — 1911-Type .22 LR Target Pistol
Everyone should have an accurate .22 LR target pistol. This German-made GSG 1911 22LR pistol shares the look, feel, and ergonomics of J.M. Browning’s classic model 1911 so it’s good for cross-training. We’ve tried this pistol and the trigger is pretty darn good — though don’t expect it be be as nice as a S&W Model 41. But consider that the GSG costs just $249.99. By contrast, MSRP on a new Model 41 is a steep $1369.00. For cross-training and target work the GSG is a very good value.
6. Stocky’s Stocks — Composite Stock with Bedding Block
Here’s a killer deal on a versatile Stocky’s Long Range Stock with aluminum V-block bedding system. For just $199.99, order this for Rem/Rem Clone long actions or short actions, with either narrow or wide (varmint/tactical) barrel channel. This would be a good choice for a varmint rifle. This is also offered with a matte black, tan, or olive baked-on textured finish for $229.97.
7. Natchez — Nikon Hunting Scopes on Close-out
Natchez Shooters Supplies is running a big sale on Nikon optics with Camo finishes. Prices have been reduced as much as 43%. If you’re looking for an inexpensive, name-brand optic for your hunting or varmint rifle, check out these Nikon bargains. This scopes all carry full Nikon factory warranty.
8. Amazon – Frankford Arsenal Master Tumbler Kit
This Master Tumbler Kit contains everything you need to tumble rifle or pistol brass. Now on sale for $64.40 with free shipping, this Kit contains: Vibratory Tumbler, Rotary Media Separator, Plastic Bucket, 3 lbs. Cleaning Media, and 4 oz. Brass Polish.
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This important video shows what really happens when loaded ammunition burns. You will probably be surprised. Contrary to Hollywood notions, the ammo doesn’t ignite in a massive explosion. Far from it… basically the rounds “cook off” one by one, and the bullets release at relatively low velocity. We’ve featured this SAAMI research project before, but it is worth reprising for those who have not yet seen the burn tests.
A couple years back, SAAMI released an important video concerning ammo and fire. With professional fire-fighters standing by, over 400,000 rounds of ammo were incinerated in a series of eye-opening tests. If you haven’t had the chance to view this video yet, you should take the time to watch it now
The Sporting Arms and Ammunition Manufacturers’ Institute (SAAMI) has produced an amazing 25-minute video that shows what actually happens to sporting ammunition involved in a fire. This video shows the results of serious tests conducted with the assistance of professional fire crews. We strongly recommend you watch this video, all the way through. It dispels many myths, while demonstrating what really happens when ammunition is burned, dropped, or crushed.
Watch SAAMI Ammunition Testing Video
2:10 Impact Test (ignited outside firearm)
3:40 65-foot Drop Test
5:08 Bullet Impact (.308 Win firing)
7:55 Blasting Cap Attacks
9:55 Bulldozer and Forklift Tests
12:20 Boxed Ammo Bonfire
15:37 Bonfire without Packaging
17:21 Retail Store Simulation Burn
20:55 Truck Trailer Burn
Over 400,000 rounds of ammunition were used in the tests. Some of the footage is quite remarkable. Testers built a bonfire with 28,000 rounds of boxed ammo soaked in diesel fuel. Then the testers loaded five pallets of ammo (250,000 rounds) in the back of a semi-truck, and torched it all using wood and paper fire-starting materials doused with diesel fuel.
The video shows that, when ammo boxes are set on fire, and ammunition does discharge, the bullet normally exits at low speed and low pressure. SAAMI states: “Smokeless powders must be confined to propel a projectile at high velocity. When not in a firearm, projectile velocities are extremely low.” At distances of 10 meters, bullets launched from “cooked-off” ammo would not penetrate the normal “turn-out gear” worn by fire-fighters.
We are not suggesting you disregard the risks of ammo “cooking off” in a fire, but you will learn the realities of the situation by watching the video. There are some amazing demonstrations — including a simulated retail store fire with 115,000 rounds of ammo in boxes. As cartridges cook off, it sounds like a battery of machine-guns, but projectiles did not penetrate the “store” walls, or even two layers of sheet-rock. The fire crew puts out the “store fire” easily in under 20 seconds, just using water.
Additional Testing: Drop Test, Projectile Test, Crush Test, Blasting Cap Test
The video also offers interesting ammo-handling tests. Boxes of ammo were dropped from a height of 65 feet. Only a tiny fraction of the cartridges discharged, and there was no chain-fire. SAAMI concludes: “When dropped from extreme heights (65 feet), sporting ammunition is unlikely to ignite. If a cartridge ignites, it does not propagate.”
Rifle Fire Test
SAAMI’s testers even tried to blow up boxes of ammunition with rifle fire. Boxes of loaded ammo were shot with .308 Win rounds from 65 yards. The video includes fascinating slow-motion footage showing rounds penetrating boxes of rifle cartridges, pistol ammo, and shotgun shells. Individual cartridges that were penetrated were destroyed, but adjacent cartridges suffered little damage, other than some powder leakage. SAAMI observed: “Most of the ammunition did not ignite. When a cartridge did ignite, there was no chain reaction.”
Bulldozer Crush Test
The test team also did an amazing “crush-test” using a Bulldozer. First boxes of loaded ammo, then loose piles of ammo, were crushed under the treads of a Bulldozer. A handful of rounds fired off, but again there was no chain-fire, and no large explosion. SAAMI observed: “Even in the most extreme conditions of compression and friction, sporting ammunition is unlikely to ignite. [If it does ignite when crushed] it does not propagate.”
Blasting Cap Test
Perhaps most amazingly, the testers were not able to get ammunition to chain-fire (detonate all at once), even when using blasting caps affixed directly to live primers. In the SAAMI test, a blasting cap was placed on the primer of a round housed in a large box of ammo. One cartridge ignited but the rest of the boxed ammo was relatively undamaged and there was no propagation.
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Who wouldn’t like to find a nice, wooden crate of rimfire ammo under the Christmas tree? Here’s a Limited Edition Winchester Ammo Special offered by Cabelas.com for the holidays. The crate contains 500 rounds of Winchester Super-X Hi-Vel .22 LR ammo, loaded with 36gr copper-plated, hollow-point bullets. This ammo is rated at 1,280 fps velocity, making it good for small varmints as well as plinking. The Winchester ammo comes packaged in a premium, limited-edition wooden box. We think this would make a great end-of-year gift for a 4H Club Team, or Boy Scouts youth shooting program.
With 500 rounds at $39.99, that works out to just 8 cents a rounds — the equivalent of four bucks for a 50-round box. Thats a very good deal when you consider what rimfire ammo cost just a year ago. Also if you add another item to raise your total order to at least $49.00, you can get FREE Shipping with Code 5JOLLY. The Winchester Ammo Special is limited to one crate per customer per day, but you can add a second, different product to qualify for free shipping.
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