May 26th, 2009

New .224 Cartridge for AR Match Rifles

Robert Whitley has a new .224 version of the 6.5 Grendel cartridge. The goal was to create a low-recoil but high-BC round to use in AR-platform match rifles. Based on the performance Whitley is getting, we think this wildcat would also be an excellent bolt-gun round.

Whitley tells us: “I have recently been working on another 6.5 Grendel progeny I have made up and call the ‘.224 AR Mag’, which is the 6.5 Grendel case necked down to accept .224″ bullets. I am very impressed by this cartridge and Berger Bullets’ .224″ heavy, high-BC bullet offerings are just beautiful (dimensionally and otherwise) for use with the cartridge. I also have reloading dies for the .224 AR Mag and I am going to make up a page on my website for the sale of AR-15 uppers chambered in the .224 AR Mag.

Whitley 224 AR cartridge

Above you can see the new 224 AR Mag cartridge (right) next to a .223 Rem (left) and a Berger 82 gr BT bullet (right) next to a Sierra 77 gr BTHP bullet (left bullet). The Berger bullet has a good bit higher BC than the Sierra 77 BTHP (.432 BC for the Berger vs. .362 BC for the Sierra). In the 224 AR Mag, the Berger 82 gr BT bullet sits at 2.260″ OAL (.010″ off the lands and a perfect magazine length) with the junction of the boat tail and bearing surface just ahead of the neck and shoulder of the case. You cannot properly load the 82s to mag length in a .223 Rem because the case is so long the bearing surface of the bullet starts to disappear into the mouth of the case, and at magazine length the Sierra 77s sit so far back in the .223 Rem case they hog valuable powder capacity.

Whitley 224 AR cartridge

The .224 AR Mag has a powder capacity of 36 grains of H2O vs. about 29.5 grains of water weight capacity for the .223 Rem. That’s a major difference in powder capacity. In addition you have bullets like the .224 Berger 90gr VLD and 90gr BT bullets that have BCs of .552 and .525 that can be driven very effectively and fast by the .224 AR Mag because of its case capacity. Bear in mind the brass is all Lapua small primer brass as well — what’s not to like?

I have done chrono testing of the cartridge with Varget and RL-15, using the Berger 82 gr BT and the Berger 90 gr BT bullets. This cartridge really can spit them out fast! (See load data below).” NOTE: Whitley could drive both bullets about 100 fps faster using 28.0 grains of Varget or RL15, but those loads approached max practical pressure. Start low and work up.

Berger 82gr BT
27.0 grains Varget w/ Berger 82gr BT, MV = 2865 fps, ES = 29, SD = 14
27.0 grains RL-15 w/ Berger 82gr BT, MV = 2920 fps, ES = 15, SD = 7

Berger 90gr BT
27.0 grains Varget w/ Berger 90gr BT, MV = 2792 fps, ES = 26, SD = 12
27.0 grains RL-15 w/ Berger 90gr BT, MV = 2857 fps, ES = 12, SD = 6

CLICK HERE for Load Specs and Chron Testing Results (.pdf file).

Permalink Bullets, Brass, Ammo, New Product 7 Comments »
January 21st, 2009

SHOT Show Report: Forster, Krieger, and Norma Highlights

Many of the companies at SHOT Show had just a few new products or operational changes to report. Here’s a quick summary of news from Forster, Krieger, and Norma.

Forster Products
The only all-new product design from Forster is a collet bullet puller for the Forster Co-Ax press. Conventional screw-in bullet pullers won’t work with the Co-Ax because of the unique jaw design.

.338 NORMA DIES — The new .338 Norma is big news in the long-range tactical game (see separate report in the Bulletin). Forster will have .338 Norma dies available within a few weeks, pretty much “as soon as the Norma brass is in the country.”

Forster has acquired new, advanced die-making machines. This gives the company increased custom die-making capacity. Forster reps noted that Forster can now use any customer-supplied finish reamer to make a custom bushing bump die.

Forster will also roll out a completely redesigned and updated website in mid-February. Visit ForsterProducts.com next month to check it out.

Krieger Barrels
Krieger Barrels has acquired two (2) additional Pratt and Whitney cut-rifling machines. This will give Krieger additional capacity and help them keep up with the high demand for their cut-rifled barrels.

Krieger barrels

Shown in photo, left to right: Neil Leppla, Mike Hindrichs, John Krieger, Helmut Kiesling

AR10 BARRELS — Krieger also announced it will be producing AR10-type barrels in both Krieger-brand cut-rifled and ‘Criterion’-brand button-rifled versions. Krieger will provide AR10 barrels for Fulton Armory, DPMS, and Armalite.

NORMA
NEW 202 POWDER for 6mmBR Ammo — Norma revealed something interesting about its loaded 6mmBR ammunition. Norma has traditionally used Norma 203B powder for 6BR ammo. However, it has found that 203B has gotten progressively slower over the years, so Norma has switched to Norma 202… but not just any 202. Norma has selected the slower batches of 202 for use in its factory 6mmBR ammo. We don’t know if this applies to ALL bullet weights. Norma will continue to use Berger Bullets in its 6mmBR and 6XC match ammunition.

.338 Norma brass

.338 NORMA BRASS Coming Soon — There’s lots of interest in the new .338 Norma cartridge among the military and tactical community. Initial testing has demonstrated outstanding accuracy with 300gr Sierra MatchKing bullets. Many of the folks working with early versions of the .338 Norma believe that, given the case’s superior efficiency, it can rival the ballistics of the larger .338 Lapua Magnum, though the .338 Norma has less capacity. Both cases are derived from the .416 Jeffreys, but the .338 Norma will fit in a shorter action.

Norma is now producing .338 Norma cartridge brass. It is supposed to be in the USA within two to three weeks. It will be distributed though Black Hills Shooters Supply, BHShooters.com. This stuff is in high demand so get your orders in soon.

Permalink News No Comments »
January 21st, 2009

SHOT Show Report: Brownells Launches AR15 Website

Widespread concern over the possibility that the Obama administration will push for new, restrictive gun laws has spurred sales of all types of firearms, with self-loading, military-style rifles leading the way. The “Obama effect” has created huge demand for ‘black rifles’ of all variety. Recognizing this, Brownells has created a new website, AR15builder.com, to help buyers purchase a AR with components customized to the buyers’ individual needs. Using state-of-the-art “drag and drop” web technology, a black rifle buyer can chose from a wide variety of components (stocks, uppers, barrels, handguards, optics etc.), and see the gun, as assembled, right on the web page. As one selects among AR components, the website even provides running total of the cost of the components.

Mix and Match Components for Your Custom Build
Announced at SHOT 2009, AR15builder.com combines almost 600 images of external AR-15 parts and accessories so you can mix and match parts to see exactly what your own, custom AR can look like with your selected parts installed. The screenshot below, showing a “precision varminter” with adjustable stock and 24″ barrel, was created using parts from Brownell’s inventory.

AR15builder.com Brownells

The website allows you to preview the many options available for the AR platfrom, so you can “mix and match” scores of products in Brownells’ catalog. Color variations are shown as well. So, if you want to see a black receiver with a tan handguard and green buttstock, AR15builder.com will show you. If you want to change any component, just go back to the parts menus and drag the new selection to the center of the page. As you change components, the prices automatically change in real time.

With endless combinations, it’s easy to create the unique look you want, in the price range that suits your budget. You can also select complete uppers and lowers. Purchase items directly from AR15builder.com, Brownells.com, or call 800-741-0015 and mention code PER.

Permalink Gunsmithing, News No Comments »