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.
Current demand for loaded ammunition and reloading components is very high. To meet this demand, ammo imports into the USA have nearly doubled. But supplies are still short. One reason is that domestic ammo manufacturers are already operating at full capacity — and they have been doing so for the past decade or so. The machines just can’t run any faster…
Now an important domestic ammo-maker has committed to a significant increase in production capacity. Remington Arms Company, LLC (“Remington”) recently announced a major expansion of its Lonoke (Arkansas) Ammunition Plant. Remington will spend $32,000,000 to add new structures and machinery.
Work on the expansion, which will include the construction of a new building, is expected to begin second quarter of 2013. The $32 million expansion plan is projected to be in operation by the second quarter of 2014. The Remington’s Lonoke Ammunition Plant, opened in 1969, produces a wide variety of commercial ammunition.
“We continue to invest in all of our manufacturing operations because we are committed to ensuring quality, increasing product availability, and improving on-time delivery. This significant investment in Lonoke is a testament to that commitment. Our customers can count on Remington to invest in its manufacturing operations in order to ensure that its facilities are state-of-the art”, said Kevin Miniard, Chief Operating Officer of Remington. Read about Remington ammunition.
In cooperation with the Youth Shooting Sports Alliance (YSSA), Federal Premium Ammunition and sister company CCI have allocated 20 million rounds of rimfire ammunition to youth shooting sports programs. This will be sold at a discounted price, well below market value. The Boy Scouts of America will receive ten million .22 LR shells, and another ten million will be sent to other organizations. The Federal and CCI rimfire ammo will ship directly to the Boys Scouts of America, 4-H Shooting Sports, Scholastic Steel Challenge, and other qualified youth organizations. The ammo will ship later this month to ensure adequate supplies for summer camps and youth training programs.
Federal Premium and CCI have been supporting youth outreach programs for decades. The latest allocation of 20 Million .22 LR rounds supports the need for affordable and reliable ammunition. “We work very closely with several youth organizations who promote the youth shooting sports,” said Federal Premium Conservation Manager Ryan Bronson. “Their efforts are very important to us, and always have been. Many of them rely on rimfire ammunition to educate and teach tomorrow’s hunters and shooting sports enthusiasts. The current demand has put a strain on their ability to continue to operate. We hope this special allocation will ease some of the pressure, and keep our young people doing what they love — shooting and hunting.”
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.
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.
Forum Member John L. has been intrigued by the question of “overbore” cartridges. People generally agree that overbore designs can be “barrel burners”, but is there a way to predict barrel life based on how radically a case is “overbore”? John notes that there is no generally accepted definition of “overbore”. Based on analyses of a wide variety of cartridges, John hoped to create a comparative index to determine whether a cartridge is more or less “overbore”. This, in turn, might help us predict barrel life and maybe even predict the cartridge’s accuracy potential.
John tells us: “I have read countless discussions about overbore cartridges for years. There seemed to be some widely accepted, general rules of thumb as to what makes a case ‘overbore’. In the simplest terms, a very big case pushing a relatively small diameter bullet is acknowledged as the classic overbore design. But it’s not just large powder capacity that creates an overbore situation — it is the relationship between powder capacity and barrel bore diameter. Looking at those two factors, we can express the ‘Overbore Index’ as a mathematical formula — the case capacity in grains of water divided by the area (in square inches) of the bore cross-section. This gives us an Index which lets us compare various cartridge designs.”
OVERBORE INDEX Chart
So what do these numbers mean? John says: “My own conclusion from much reading and analysis is that cartridges with case volume to bore area ratio less than 900 are most likely easy on barrels and those greater than 1000 are hard on barrels.” John acknowledges, however, that these numbers are just for comparison purposes. One can’t simply use the Index number, by itself, to predict barrel life. For example, one cannot conclude that a 600 Index number cartridge will necessarily give twice the barrel life of a 1200 Index cartridge. However, John says, a lower index number “seems to be a good predictor of barrel life”.
John’s system, while not perfect, does give us a benchmark to compare various cartridge designs. If, for example, you’re trying to decide between a 6.5-284 and a 260 Remington, it makes sense to compare the “Overbore Index” number for both cartridges. Then, of course, you have to consider other factors such as powder type, pressure, velocity, bullet weight, and barrel hardness.
Overbore Cases and Accuracy
Barrel life may not be the only thing predicted by the ratio of powder capacity to bore cross-section area. John thinks that if we look at our most accurate cartridges, such as the 6 PPC, and 30 BR, there’s some indication that lower Index numbers are associated with greater inherent accuracy. This is only a theory. John notes: “While I do not have the facilities to validate the hypothesis that the case capacity to bore area ratio is a good predictor of accuracy — along with other well-known factors — it seems to be one important factor.”
Norma has released a fascinating video showing how bullet, brass, and ammunition are produced at the Norma Precision AB factory which first opened in 1902. You can see how cartridges are made starting with brass disks, then formed into shape through a series of processes, including “hitting [the cup] with a 30-ton hammer”. After annealing (shown at 0:08″), samples from every batch of brass are analyzed (at multiple points along the case length) to check metal grain structure and hardness. Before packing, each case is visually inspected by a human being (3:27″ time-mark).
The video also shows how bullets are made from jackets and lead cores. Finally, you can watch the loading machines that fill cases with powder, seat the bullets, and then transport the loaded rounds to the packing system. In his enthusiasm, the reporter/narrator does sometimes confuse the term “bullets” and “rounds” (5:00″), but you can figure out what he means. We definitely recommend watching this video. It’s fascinating to see 110-year-old sorting devices on the assembly line right next to state-of-the art, digitally-controlled production machinery.
Video tip by EdLongrange. We welcome reader submissions.
Dennis DeMille of Creedmoor Sports sent us a reminder that the Eastern CMP Games and Creedmoor Cup is coming up in just three weeks. The event runs May 4-12 at Camp Butner in North Carolina. If you want to join the action you should register soon. This event is limited to 200 shooters. Last year’s Eastern Games and Cup were a great success so a big turn-out is expected this year.
Ammo, Brass, and Bullets Available
In related news, Creedmoor Sports announced that limited quantities of Hornady bullets, brass, and ammo, as well as Sierra bullets, that are currently in stock. If you need ammo or components, this may help you. Here is a partial list of the products in inventory as of yesterday.
H2420 Hornady 6mm .243 75gr HP Bullet –19 Boxes In Stock
H3095 Hornady Match 30 Cal (.308 Diameter) 195gr BTHP Bullet– 15 Boxes in Stock
H8097 Hornady .308 Win 168gr BTHP Match Ammo — 26 Boxes In Stock
H8620 Hornady .243 Win Brass — 13 Boxes In Stock
H81170case Hornady .30-06 Garand Ammo, 168gr Amax, CASE Lot (200 rds)
S1740C Sierra 140 gr. HPBT Match Bullets — 3 Boxes In Stock
S2190 Sierra .30 Cal. 150 gr. HPBT Match Bullets (500 ct) — 15 Boxes In Stock
What’s the next best thing to a stockpile of gleaming, freshly-loaded ammo? How about a movie showing gleaming, freshly-loaded ammo being made — from start to finish? The five-minute video below shows the ammunition production process at the Lake City Army Ammunition Plant, a division of ATK. Lake City is the largest producer of small arms ammunition for the U.S. military, producing roughly four MILLION small-caliber rounds every day.
This promotional video does go overboard at times (too many smiling employees gushing about quality control). Still, it is fascinating to watch the process of creating cartridges — from the drawing (or extrusion) of raw brass into casings to the placement of projectiles and primers.
Quick History of Lake City Ammunition Plant Lake City Army Ammunition Plant (LCAAP) is a 3,935-acre government-owned, contractor-operated facility in Independence, Missouri that was established by Remington Arms in 1941 to manufacture and test small caliber ammunition for the U.S. Army. The facility has remained in continuous operation except for one 5-year period following World War II. As of July 2007, the plant produced nearly 1.4 billion rounds of ammunition per year. Remington Arms operated the plant from its inception until 1985, when operations were taken over by Olin Corporation. Since April 2001, it has been operated by Alliant Techsystems (ATK).
Most of our readers know that MTM Case-Gard offers a vast selection of ammo boxes for pistol, rifle, and shotgun ammunition. However, with such a wide inventory of box styles and sizes, it can be difficult, at first, to select the right box for your particular cartridge and carrying needs. MTM has now simplified that task by publishing comprehensive Ammo Box Charts on its website. Just log on to the Box Charts Page, and select Rifle, Handgun, or Shotshell boxes. That will open a large chart listing cartridge types, small to large, in the left column. Pick your cartridge and you will see all the storage options. MTM even codes the entries so you can see if a box allows Tip Up AND Tip Down storage, Tip Down only, or Tip Up only. For most popular rifle cartridges, there are 20-round, 50-round, and 100-round cases. Below is the first part of the Rifle Ammo Box Chart. The entire chart is four pages long.
New MTM Ammo Belt Pouch
MTM has also introduced a handy product that should work great for rimfire shooters. The new MTM Ammo Belt Pouch conveniently holds 100 rounds (two boxes) of .22LR rimfire ammo. With a sturdy snap latch and heavy-duty belt clip, all you have to do is pour out the ammo, then clip the pouch on your belt or jeans pocket. The Belt Pouch is also handy for saving fired centerfire brass.
Suggested retail for MTM’s Ammo Belt Pouch is a modest $4.95. However, Grafs.com currently sells the item for $3.59 (Prod. #MTMABP). Designed to hold a 100 rounds of 22 long rifles. Holds: .22 Long rifle, 22 Magnum, 22 Short, 17 Win Super Mag, 17 HMR, 17 Mach 2, Pellets, and BBs.
By Michael Bussard, edited by John B. Allen, David Kosowski, Charles F. Priore, Jr.
If you’re a serious shooter, the latest 4th Edition of the Ammo Encyclopedia (released in August, 2012), belongs in your library. This 972-page book is probably the most comprehensive and up-to-date book in print covering current and obsolete cartridges and shotshells. Bussard’s Ammo Encyclopedia is a massive resource work. The 4th Edition now boasts over 100 chapters.
One of the best features is a 12-page color section depicting actual size drawings of 265 current rimfire/centerfire cartridges and shotshells. You won’t find that many “life-size” cartridge drawings in one place even on the internet. Cartridge profiles and ballistic charts have been expanded to include all new factory cartridges. The authors have even included air rifle pellets and historical images and charts. Softcover, 972 pages.
Comments from guys who bought the book:
“This book contains a vast array of information on many modern and even obsolete ammunition. Definately recommend for any modern reloader novice or experienced.” – Duggaboy460
“It’s a great reference book for individuals who reload their own ammunition. There is a lot more info in this Edition. Everyone who likes this information should have it in their library.” – Reloader
“I like the general and technical comments that are available for each and every cartridge. Information that predicts if a cartridge will stay in production for many more years or rapidly become obsolete.” – RSL1
What do you get for the shooter “who has everything”? How about a custom-crafted, laser-engraved ammo display case. Technoframes produces a series of ultra-sleek Ammo display units, and high-tech pistol racks. The CNC-machined display boxes, fitted to your choice of cartridge, look great. There are many varieties to choose from, including wood, metal, and plexiglass. We like the fact that many of the boxes are lockable.
Technoframes’ new billet-aluminum pistol racks, with magazine-style gun holders (fitted with Neodymium magnets in their bases) put ordinary plastic or wire-framed racks to shame.
Last but not least, Technoframes also makes a plexiglass-sided gun transport box and a double-tiered, two-pistol/six-magazine gun display box with removable inner tray. These units look like they were produced by “M” for James Bond.
Technoframes is the world’s leading producer of high-end CNC-machined ammo and handgun storage solutions. For more info, visit Technoframes.com, or download the latest Catalog/Price List (PDF).
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
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.