September 3rd, 2015

Inside Look — Cutaway Weaver Scope Reveals Complex Internals

Based on its external appearance, a modern riflescope may seem simple. It’s just a tube with two or three knobs on the outside right? Well, looks can be deceiving. Modern variable focal-length optics are complex systems with lots of internal parts. Modern scopes, even ‘budget’ optics, use multiple lens elements to allow variable magnification levels and parallax adjustment. We had a chance to look inside a riflescope thanks to a product display from ATK, parent of Alliant Powder, CCI, Federal, RCBS, Speer, Weaver Optics. ATK sliced open a Weaver Super Slam scope so you can see the internal lens elements plus the elevation and windage controls. We thought readers would like to see the “inner workings” of a typical modern rifle scope, so we snapped some pictures. The sectioned Super Slam scope was mounted inside a Plexiglas case, making it a bit hard to get super-sharp images, but you can still see the multiple lenses and the complex windage and elevation controls.

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June 5th, 2015

Lake City Ammuntion — Video Reveals Manufacturing Process

lake city army ammunition plant

Lake City Ammunition PlantWhat’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 a bit overboard at times in a self-congratulatory sense. But the video is definitely worth watching — 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. From April 2001 through the present, it has been operated by Alliant Techsystems (ATK), which in February 2015 split into two separate companies, Orbital ATK and Vista Outdoors.

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April 10th, 2015

Test Your Ballistics Knowledge with Shoot 101 Quiz

Shoot 101 Quiz
Vista Outdoors (formerly ATK Sporting Group) has launched a new multi-platform media campaign called Shoot 101. Combining print, web, and television, Shoot 101 provides “how to” information about shooting, optics, and outdoor gear.

On the Shoot 101 website, you’ll find a Ballistics Quiz. The questions are pretty basic, but it’s still fun to see if you get all the answers correct.

You don’t need a lot of technical knowledge. Roughly a third of the questions are about projectile types and bullet construction. Note, for some reason the layout doesn’t show all the possible answers at first. So, for each question, be sure to scroll down using the blue scroll bar on the right.

CLICK HERE to Go to Ballistics QUIZ Page

Sample Ballistics Question

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March 9th, 2015

Vista Outdoor — Parent of Bushnell, CCI, Federal, Savage & More

You may not have heard of Vista Outdoor (NYSE: VSTO), but you’ll know many of the brands under its corporate umbrella: Alliant Powder, Blackhawk, Bolle, Bushnell, CCI, Federal Premium, Outers, RCBS, Savage Arms, Simmons, Speer, Weaver. To learn more about Vista Outdoor’s operations and products, visit www.vistaoutdoor.com or Vista Outdoor’s Facebook Page.

Vista Outdoor Public traded CCI Alliant Bushnell

CLICK HERE for Vista Outdoor Brands. | CLICK HERE for Vista Outdoor Company History

So what is Vista Outdoor? This corporate giant used to be the sporting division of ATK (Alliant Techsystems*). In February of this year, ATK split into two separate companies. The outdoor sports/hunting/shooting brands (with annual revenues of $2.3 billion) were consolidated into Vista Outdoor. The aerospace/military contract operations of ATK were continued in a second company, Orbital ATK. Vista Outdoor, now head-quartered in Clearfield, Utah, is a standalone, publicly-traded outdoor sports and recreation company with approximately 5,800 employees worldwide.

In a recent interview with GearJunkie.com, Vista Outdoor’s Chairman/CEO Mark DeYoung revealed that Vista Outdoor will release scores of new products in 2015:

Q: Looking ahead for this year, what to-be-released products are you most excited about?

A: Bushnell has a rangefinder for golf that is innovative. We introduced it at the PGA Show. The A17 rifle from Savage is big news — we sold out of a whole year’s capacity at the SHOT Show. Overall, there are about 130 new products coming this year from our brands[.]

Vista Outdoor Public traded CCI Alliant Bushnell

Vista Outdoor Started Trading as VSTO on February 10, 2015
Vista Outdoor “went live” as a separate, publicly-traded company on the New York Stock Exchange on February 10, 2015. Here is the official press release:

Vista Outdoor Inc. (NYSE: VSTO), which previously operated as the Sporting Group of Alliant Techsystems Inc. (“ATK”), announced today the successful completion of its spin-off from ATK (NYSE: ATK) into a standalone, publicly traded outdoor sports and recreation company.

On February 9, 2015, ATK distributed to its stockholders two shares of Vista Outdoor common stock for every share of ATK common stock held as of record on February 2, 2015. Vista Outdoor common stock will begin “regular-way” trading under the symbol “VSTO” on the New York Stock Exchange (“NYSE”) today, February 10, 2015, when markets open.

“Today marks the creation of a new leading commercial and consumer-products company focused on innovative solutions, strategic customer partnerships, execution excellence and creating long-term shareholder value,” said Mark DeYoung, Vista Outdoor Chairman and Chief Executive Officer. “Our consumers depend on our products to deliver quality and performance in a variety of outdoor environments and activities. Our mission is to bring the world outside, and to support and facilitate the success of outdoor enthusiasts as they strive to achieve their own rugged independence.”

About Vista Outdoor Inc.
Vista Outdoor is a leading global designer, manufacturer and marketer in the growing outdoor sports and recreation markets. The company operates in two segments, Outdoor Products and Shooting Sports, and has more than 30 well-recognized brands that provide consumers with a wide range products in the ammunition, firearms and outdoor accessories categories. Vista Outdoor is headquartered in Utah and has manufacturing operations and facilities in 10 U.S. States, Puerto Rico, Mexico and Canada.

*Alliant Techsystems Inc. (ATK) came into being as an independent company in 1990 when Honeywell spun off its defense businesses to shareholders. ATK got into the ammo business in 2001 when it acquired Blount International. ATK grew with later acquisitions of Weaver Optics (2008), Blackhawk (2010), Savage Arms (2013), and Bushnell (2013).

Story tip by EdLongrange. We welcome reader submissions.
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May 18th, 2014

How .22 LR Ammunition is Made

Where did all the .22 LR ammunition go? Why are the prices so high? Why can’t the rimfire ammo-makers step up production? Across the country, firearm owners are asking these questions, and demanding answers.

Part of the explanation comes down to production capacity. America’s rimfire ammo production facilities are already running at full capacity. There is no easy way in increase production. In the video below, the crew from Shooting USA Television visits the ATK production facility in Lewiston, Idaho. This plant can produce 4,000,000 rounds of CCI rimfire ammo in one 24-hour period. This informative video shows the complete process of rimfire ammunition production from start to finish.


YouTube Video Link: http://youtu.be/t5qMsmucXhI.

This is a ‘must-watch’ video that reveals some very interesting things. Did you know that 1200 cases (in one large tray) are filled with powder in a single operation? (See 05:45 mark). Likewise, bullets are also lined up in a matching 1200-count tray (See 6:00 mark). This way 1200 bullets can be seated into 1200 rimfire cases in one efficient procedure.

ATK rimfire .22LR ammunition ammo Lewiston, Idaho

ATK rimfire .22LR ammunition ammo Lewiston, Idaho

When you watch the video, and see the complex, expensive machinery involved, you’ll realize that it’s no easy thing to increase rimfre ammo production. The rimfire plants are already running at full capacity. To produce significantly greater quantities of .22 LR ammunition, manufacturers would have to make huge capital investments.

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April 30th, 2014

ATK Spins Off Sporting Businesses and Merges Aerospace Operations with Orbital Sciences

ATK alliant Orbital mergerAlliant Techsystems (ATK or Alliant) is merging its aerospace/defense operations with Virginia-based Orbital Sciences. At the same time, ATK plans to spin off its sporting arms, ammo, and outdoor gear operations into a separate, stand-alone business. ATK sells sporting products under numerous brands including Alliant Powder, Blackhawk, Bushnell, CCI, Champion, Federal Premium, RCBS, Savage Arms, Speer, and Weaver Optics. The new Alliant sporting business will operate from Utah, while the merged Orbital-ATK aerospace business will be managed from Virginia.

According to the Washington Post: “The separation of ATK’s core segments gives it the opportunity to focus on its sporting goods sector, which has grown to a $2.2 billion business through several mergers and acquisitions over the past decade. The company manufactures commercial sporting equipment for hunters, shooters and law enforcement agencies.”

alliant atk merger orbitalThe announced merger of Alliant and Orbital, and the spin-off of the sporting business, should benefit Alliant shareholders. Alliant shares rose 8% yesterday. Alliant shareholders will own 53.8% of the new Orbital-ATK aerospace company, and Alliant shareholders will retain full ownership of the new spin-off sporting enterprise. Alliant’s current CEO and president, Mark DeYoung, will take over as chairman and CEO of the new sporting business.

Will the new Alliant Sporting operation continue to grow? Analysts believe that it will. Management has shown interest in building the company via more sporting industry acquisitions. Analysts believe the Alliant sporting division is poised for continued expansion. While Alliant’s aerospace operations have suffered in recent years from cuts in defense spending, the sporting division has seen impressive revenue growth.

According to StarTribune.com: “The sporting unit’s rocket-like growth has captured the attention of Wall Street analysts. Barclays Capital analyst Carter Copeland recently boosted his forecast on Alliant, noting that “over time … the sporting group has made a more significant portion of the total company’s sales and earnings. … The last seven quarters the business has posted average organic growth on a year-over-year basis of 23 percent.”

For those in the shooting community, the spin-off of ATK’s sporting operations is probably a good thing. The new company can focus on guns, ammo, and outdoor accessories, rather than aerospace programs with long development cycles. Likewise the new company should be more responsive to consumers, as it can adjust production to current market demands, rather than fixed government defense contracts. ATK officials stated that “the company’s Sporting and Aerospace/Defense businesses operate in two fundamentally different markets with very different operating dynamics, compliance requirements, customer sets and growth opportunities. As standalone companies, they will be more focused businesses, with clear and distinct strategic visions and objectives, additional operational flexibility and the financial strength to make the most of their unique opportunities in their respective industries.”

Under the terms of the transaction agreement, ATK will distribute ownership of Sporting to ATK shareholders in a spin-off transaction, following which, ATK shareholders will own 100 percent of Sporting. The spin-off will be immediately followed by a merger of Orbital with a subsidiary of ATK, with Orbital surviving the merger and becoming a wholly owned subsidiary of ATK. In connection with the merger, Orbital shareholders will receive 0.449 shares of ATK common stock for each share of Orbital common stock that they hold. Upon the closing of the merger, ATK shareholders will own approximately 53.8 percent of the combined company on a fully diluted basis and Orbital shareholders will own the remaining approximately 46.2 percent of the combined company on a fully diluted basis.

Permalink Bullets, Brass, Ammo, News 2 Comments »
November 13th, 2013

Ammo Maker’s Revenues Soar with Increased Product Demand

ATK ammo production profits increaseWhy is ammo in short supply? Quite simply because Americans are buying ammunition (and reloading supplies) like never before, grabbing everything that comes off the production line. Consider this, ATK (NYSE:ATK), which owns Alliant Powder, CCI, Federal, RCBS, Bushnell, Savage and many other gun industry brands, reported a huge increase in revenues, mostly due to increased ammo sales.

ATK reported that second-quarter sales in its Sporting Group — which includes ammunition as well as optics, reloading gear and sport-shooting and tactical accessories — were up 48 percent to $421 million compared to $284 million in the same period last year. The company said the increase in sales was driven by higher volume in ammunition, sales from Savage of $57 million, and a previously announced ammunition price increase. ATK reported that its overall net income for the quarter was up 42 percent. Counting both military and civilian (Sporting Group) production, ATK produces over 6.5 Billion rounds of ammunition every year. Yep, that’s “B” as in Billion. That includes everything from .22 rimfire up to tank ammo.

ATK ammo production profits increase

$387,000,000 of Ammo for the Military
In related news, ATK announced that it has received orders for approximately $387 million for ammunition to be produced at its Lake City Army Ammunition Plant. The orders fall under the plant’s new production contract, which began Oct. 1, 2013, and include a mix of 5.56mm, 7.62mm and .50-caliber high-quality military ammunition.

ATK Ammo production

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September 6th, 2013

ATK Acquires Bushnell Group Holdings for $985 Million

ATK Alliant Techsystems buys Bushnell Bolle Hoppes Weaver RCBS CCIIt’s official — ATK is acquiring Bushnell — for a whopping $985 million. ATK (Alliant Techsystems) has executed a definitive agreement to acquire Bushnell Group Holdings, Inc., a leading maker of branded sports optics, outdoor accessories, and eyewear. In addition to rifle scopes, Bushnell makes rangefinders, binoculars, spotting scopes, GPS units, sunglasses, and more. Bushnell sells a myriad of other products for outdoorsmen through its brands Simmons, Tasco, Millet, Butler Creek, Bollé, Serengeti, Hoppe’s, Night Optics, Primos, Stoney Point, Hoppe’s, and Uncle Mike’s.

Under the terms of the transaction, ATK will pay $985 million in cash, subject to customary post-closing adjustments. Bushnell’s projected sales for calendar 2013 are approximately $600 million. ATK will finance the acquisition through a combination of $900 million of secured financing, borrowings under its existing revolving credit facility, and cash on hand. The transaction is subject to regulatory approvals and customary closing conditions. ATK anticipates closing the transaction in the third or fourth quarter of its Fiscal Year 2014.

Mark DeYoung, ATK President and CEO states: “This [Bushnell] acquisition will broaden our existing capabilities in the commercial shooting sports and expand our portfolio of branded shooting sports products. In addition, this transaction will allow the company to effectively enter new sporting markets in golf, snow skiing and camping.”

Bushnell markets 19 outdoor brands in sports optics, outdoor accessories and performance eyewear, including the Bushnell brand and other notable brands such as Primos, Bollé, Hoppe’s, Uncle Mike’s, Butler Creek, and Serengeti. Founded in 1948, Bushnell is headquartered in Overland Park, Kansas and employs approximately 1,100 workers worldwide.

Bushnell Will Become Part of ATK’s Sporting Group of Companies
ATK will integrate Bushnell into its Sporting Group within its existing accessories business. ATK Sporting Group’s ammunition brands include Federal Premium, CCI, Fusion, Speer, Estate Cartridge and Blazer. ATK’s accessories brands include Alliant Powder, RCBS, Weaver Optics, BLACKHAWK!, Champion, Outers, and Gunslick Pro. In June 2013, ATK acquired Savage Sports Corporation, adding centerfire and rimfire rifles, shotguns and shooting range systems used for hunting, competitive and recreational shooting to its product offering.

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August 6th, 2013

ATK in Negotiations to Acquire Bushnell Outdoor Products

ATK Bushnell acquisitionATK (Alliant Techsystems Inc.), already a giant conglomerate, may soon get even bigger. Reuters reports that ATK “is in advanced talks to buy Bushnell Outdoor Products Inc. in a deal that could value the gun accessory maker at around $1 billion[.]” In addition to scopes, Bushnell makes rangefinders, binoculars, GPS units. Bushnell sells a myriad of other products for outdoorsmen through its brands Butler Creek, Hoppe’s, Millett, Night Optics, Primos, Simmons, Stoney Point, Tasco and Uncle Mike’s.

According to Reuter’s sources, ATK is engaged in high-level negotiations with MidOcean Partners, a holding company that currently controls Bushnell. Reuters cautioned that “a deal has not yet been finalized and negotiations could still fall apart”.

If the Bushnell deal goes through, this will be the second major acquisition for ATK in the past few months. In May 2013, ATK paid $315 million for Caliber Company, the parent company of Savage Sports Corporation which runs Savage Arms and Stevens. Savage is being integrated into ATK’s Sporting Group business which includes Federal Premium, Alliant Powder, CCI, RCBS, Speer, Weaver Optics, Champion Targets, and other outdoor sports brands.

ATK is also a major defense contractor, producing ammunition, weapons systems, aerospace products and much more. Currently valued at $3.1 Billion, ATK has been a top performer on Wall Street recently. ATK shares have more than doubled in the past 12 months, outpacing most stocks, even in a rapidly rising overall market. ATK shares were trading at $97.53 today, compared to $47.24 one year ago.

Bushnell was founded in 1948. The company makes scopes, binoculars, GPS units, laser rangefinders, GameCams, eyewear, and other outdoor gear. Bushnell is the parent of many other outdoor product brands, including: Bollé, Butler Creek, Final Approach, Hoppe’s, Millett, Night Optics, Primos, Serengeti, Simmons, Stoney Point, Tasco, and Uncle Mike’s. Last year the Bushnell group of companies had $100 million in earnings before taxes, interest, and depreciation.

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May 13th, 2013

ATK Acquires Savage Arms (Savage Sports Corporation)

ATK buys SavageATK announced that it will pay $315 million to acquire Caliber Company, the parent company of Savage Sports Corporation which runs Savage Arms, and Stevens. Savage will be integrated into ATK’s Sporting Group business which includes Federal Premium, Alliant Powder, CCI, RCBS, Speer, Champion Targets, and other outdoor sports brands.

The acquisition of Savage by ATK will expand ATK’s portfolio offering by adding a respected producer of long guns to its family of leading brands in the shooting and outdoor sports industries. ATK anticipates closing the transaction in the first quarter of its Fiscal Year 2014, which ends June 30, 2013.

Here is the text of ATK’s 5/13/2013 Press Release announcing the Savage Acquisition:

ATK (NYSE: ATK) announced it has entered into an agreement to acquire Caliber Company, the parent company of Savage Sports Corporation (Savage). Savage is one of the world’s largest manufacturers of hunting rifles and shotguns, delivering innovative products for more than 100 years. The acquisition would expand ATK’s portfolio offering by adding long guns to its leading brands in commercial and security ammunition, shooting sports and security-related accessories. The transaction is subject to regulatory approvals and customary closing conditions. ATK anticipates closing the transaction in the first quarter of its Fiscal Year 2014 (FY14), which ends June 30, 2013.

Under the terms of the transaction, ATK will pay $315 million in cash, subject to a customary working capital adjustment. This represents a trailing twelve months ended March 31, 2013 EBITDA multiple of approximately 5.5 times (unaudited). ATK believes the acquisition will be accretive to FY14 earnings per share. ATK will finance the acquisition with cash on hand and funds available under its existing credit facility.

“The acquisition will complement ATK’s growing portfolio of leading consumer brands,” said Mark DeYoung, ATK President and CEO. “This opportunity will allow us to build upon our offerings with Savage’s prominent, respected brands known for accuracy, quality, innovation, value and craftsmanship. Savage’s sales distribution channels, new product development, and sophistication in manufacturing will significantly increase our presence with a highly relevant product offering to distributors, retailers and consumers.”

Operating under the brand names of Savage Arms, Stevens, and Savage Range Systems, the company designs, manufactures and markets centerfire and rimfire rifles, shotguns and shooting range systems used for hunting as well as competitive and recreational target shooting. The company was organized in 1894 by Arthur Savage and has expanded into market-leading positions. Savage is located in Westfield, Mass. and Lakefield, Ontario, and employs approximately 600 skilled employees.

“Savage offers customers a unique value proposition that is unmatched by any other firearms manufacturer and will be a tremendous complement to ATK’s existing ammunition and shooting accessories portfolio,” said Al Kasper, Savage President and Chief Operating Officer.

ATK will integrate Savage within its Sporting Group business. ATK’s Sporting Group is the established leader in sporting and law enforcement ammunition and shooting accessories. ATK’s ammunition brands include Federal Premium, CCI, Fusion, Speer, Estate Cartridge and Blazer. ATK’s accessories brands include BLACKHAWK!, Alliant Power, RCBS, Champion targets and shooting equipment, Gunslick Pro and Outers gun-care products, and Weaver optics and mounting systems.

Caliber Company has been a portfolio company of Norwest Equity Partners (NEP), a leading middle market equity investment firm, since January 2012. NEP is headquartered in Minneapolis, Minn.

ATK is an aerospace, defense, and commercial products company with approximately 15,000 employees and operations in 21 states, Puerto Rico, and internationally. ATK is headquartered in Arlington, Va. News and information can be found on the Internet at www.atk.com, on Facebook at www.facebook.com/atk, or on Twitter @ATK.

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February 11th, 2013

Rebates on Weaver Optics — $75.00 Off T-Series Target Scopes

Here’s a great promotion if you need an affordable target scope or variable-power hunting scope. Weaver Optics is now offering substantial rebates on Weaver T-Series target scopes and V-Series hunting scopes (16-power and above). With this offer you can get $75.00 back on a 24X or 36X T-Series target scope, or $50.00 off a Classic V-Series varmint scope. In addition, there are $25.00 rebates on Kaspa and 40/44 scopes and Weaver “Classic” Binoculars.

The Weaver T-Series 36x40mm scope remains a popular and reliable benchrest scope that is still found on many top competitors’ rifles. The T-24, 24-power scope is popular with rimfire shooters as well as many “paper punchers” who don’t need 36X magnification. Since both scopes share a 40mm objective, the 24X version has a larger exit pupil, which makes head position less critical. Both 24X and 36X T-Series scopes have front-adjusting objectives for parallax control.

Pre-Qualify Online for Rebates: www.sporting.myonlinerebate.com

Check Status of Rebate Request: www.sporting.mycheckstatus.com

Weaver ATK Rebates

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January 30th, 2012

SHOT Show: New RCBS Reloading Products for 2012

RCBS rolled out some handy new products at SHOT Show 2012. The first item will be welcomed by AR and Service Rifle shooters who reload inexpensive military .223 Rem (5.56×45) and .308 Win (7.62×51) brass. RCBS now has a Primer Pocket Swager Bench Tool that removes military primer pocket crimps quickly and easily. Watch the video and you can see how effortlessly it does the job in just seconds. A hardened steel rod supports the case from the inside allowing the case to float for perfect alignment with the swager head. The RCBS Swager comes complete wtih hardened steel small and large swaging heads and rods to accommodate cases 22-caliber and larger.

We think the RCBS Swager certainly rivals Dillon’s Super Swage 600 which performs the same task. The Dillon employs a vertical (up/down) lever, while the new RCBS Swager uses a horizontal lever arm, with a nice cushioned handle. MSRP on the RCBS Swager is $106.00 compared to $100.95 for the Dillon Super Swage. Either tool will pay for itself by allowing you to reload inexpensive milsurp brass.

RCBS Primer Pocket Swager Bench Tool

RCBS Adds Universal Shell-Holder to Trim Pro
RCBS has also updated its popular Trim Pro® case trimmer with the addition of a spring-loaded universal shell holder. This has spring-loaded jaws that can hold anything from a 17 Fireball case up to the large magnums. No more fiddling around with cartridge-specific shell-holders — you just snap your cases (of any size) in and out of the spring-loaded jaws. The system works well and the jaws hold cases securely during the trimming process. Again, watch the video to see the system in action.

Pistol Bullet-Feeder Kit
Last but not least, RCBS has released an inexpensive, gravity-fed bullet feeding system. Much cheaper and simpler than a motor-driven feeder, this system, which combines a tube with a special die, reliably drops pistol bullets, one by one, as you operate your progressive press. Importantly, this manual bullet-feeder works with jacketed, plated, cast or swaged lead bullets. (Some other bullet feeders cannot handle lead bullets). This device should be a major time-saver for those who load a lot of pistol rounds.

This Editor was sufficiently impressed with the gravity-fed bullet feeder that I ordered one for my own RCBS Pro 2000 Progressive. Note, however, the RCBS feeders work on Dillon and Hornady presses also — these Bullet Feeder Kits are designed to be used with ANY 7/8″-14 threaded progressive press. Each clear tube holds 20-25 bullets depending on weight and profile. Two bullet tubes are included with each unit. Extra bullet tubes sold separately. MSRP is just $36.00.

RCBS 2012 Rebate — $10 Off $50.00 Order
RCBS has a “Get Green” Rebate Offer that runs through December 31, 2012. When you purchase $50.00 of any RCBS product, you qualify for a $10.00 mail-in rebate. Then, earn a bonus $5.00 mail-in rebate when you purchase one of the following: 5 sleeves of Federal Premium or CCI primers, 1 pound of Alliant Powder, 1 box of Speer Bullets, 1 bag of Federal Premium brass. There is also a $50.00 Rebate on a purchase of $300.00 worth of RCBS Products.

CLICK HERE for RCBS 2012 Rebate Form

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January 22nd, 2012

SHOT Show: New Reloder 33 and Power Pro 1000 from Alliant

When Alliant’s Reloder 17 was introduced, it represented a real break-though in propellant technology. In some cartridges, Reloder 17 delivered significantly more velocity than any other propellant on the market. The secret was a new method of impregnating the powder kernels with burn-controlling compounds. This delayed the initial pressure spike, allowing a longer, more constant powder burn. This effectively delivered more energy over the powder’s full burn cycle, and the extra energy produced higher velocities than could be attained with conventional powders. READ Reloder 17 test report.

Alliant Reloder 33New Reloder 33 Delivers More Speed in Big Magnums
Now Alliant is introducing a new powder, Reloder 33, that uses the same kernel-impregnation technology first pioneered in Reloder 17. Alliant Reloder 33 is a new powder created by Rheinmetall Nitrochemie in Switzerland (Nitrochemie also makes Reloder 17). Like Reloder 17, Alliant’s new Reloder 33 powder employs a proprietary process by which the powder kernels are impregnated with burn-rate controlling elements. This delays the peak pressure spike and smooths out the pressure curve. Effectively, this allows the powder to deliver energy at a more constant rate, producing more overall velocity for the bullet — as much as 150 fps more than with any other powder. Reloder 33 was designed for the .338 Lapua Magnum but it is suitable for other large magnums and ultra-magnums.

In this video, Allliant’s Dick Quesenberry explains the properties of Reloder 33, noting that it should “raise the bar” of velocity for the .338 Lapua Magnum and other ultra-magnums. Outstanding velocities have been achieved in initial tests with the .338 LM. This has attracted the interest of the U.S. Military, which has already placed orders for Reloder 33 in bulk. Reloder 33 should hit the consumer market in mid-April to mid-May, the actual release date depending on DOT transport certification. Expect vendors to have the new powder in stock by the end of May, if not sooner.

Power Pro 1000 for High-Volume Reloaders
In addition to Reloder 33, Alliant is introducing Power Pro 1000. This is a new spherical (ball) powder with a burn rate similar to Alliant 10X. Power Pro 1000 is designs for varmint shooters and .223 Rem shooters who load large quantities of ammo on progressive presses. Power Pro 1000 meters exceptionally well through progressive press powder measures, and it should provide good load density in cartridges such as the .223 Remington. Alliant hopes to release Power Pro 1000 in early- to mid-April.

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December 19th, 2011

RCBS Launches GET GREEN Cash-Back Promo on Jan. 1, 2012

Following on the success of its 2011 Rebate Program (which expires at the end of December, 2011), RCBS is launching a new GET GREEN Promotion for 2012. This offers cash rebates to buyers of RCBS reloading products. Additional “bonus bucks” are offered if you buy components from RCBS’s sister companies: Federal, Alliant, CCI, Speer. Here’s how it works. If you buy $50.00 worth of RCBS reloading gear, you get $10.00 cash back. Then you can get an extra $5.00 rebate if you buy one of the following: a pound of Alliant Powder, a box of Speer Bullets, a box of Federal Premium Brass, OR five 100-ct sleeves of Federal or CCI primers. Likewise, if you buy $300.00 worth of RCBS products you can get a $50.00 rebate with an additional $25.00 in bonus bucks if you buy FIVE qualifying items from Alliant, CCI, and/or Federal.

RCBS Get Green Rebate Promotion

The new GET GREEN Promotion starts January 1, 2012. Purchases must be made before December 31, 2012 and rebate coupon (with proof of purchase) must be received by January 31, 2013. To qualify, you must submit a rebate coupon PLUS box UPCs and original cash register receipts. Offer good in U.S. and Canada only. Please allow 6-8 weeks for delivery. Redemption limited to one of each offer per household. For more information, call RCBS at 866-269-5194, or write to: RCBS PROMOTION, Dept. 7634, PO Box 5011, Stacy, MN 55078-5011.

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May 25th, 2011

New AR-Comp Powder Starts Shipping This Week

AR-Comp Alliant PowderAlliant is introducing a new extruded powder, AR-Comp. AR-Comp is an advanced re-formulation of Reloder 15, a double-base Bofors powder. There are changes to internal and external chemistry to provide much better pressure/velocity stability across a wide range of temperatures. The main difference between AR-Comp and Reloder 15, is the AR-Comp has a slightly faster burn rate, and AR-Comp is much LESS Sensitive to temperature changes. AR-Comp is a small-kernel, double-base extruded powder like Reloder 15, so it will continue to meter just like Reloder 15. The load density should be the same as Reloder 15.

AR-Comp should be at Grafs.com in a Couple Weeks
Here’s the good news — Alliant will start shipping AR-Comp to Grafs.com later this week. Dick Quesenberry, Alliant Powder Product Manager, told us: “I just received the AR-Comp packaging labels and we hope to send off the first shipments to Grafs this week.” With transit time, expect the powder to be available from Grafs.com by the second week of June. You can go ahead and place advance orders for 1-lb and 8-lb containers of AR-Comp on the Grafs.com website.

AR-Comp Offers Uniform Velocities over a Wide Temp Range
Tests were done with .223 Rem and .308 Win ammo, loaded with AR-Comp and maintained at temps from -20° F to +160° F in a controlled test center. The ammo itself was heated or cooled to targeted temps before testing. Across that entire range of temperature, -20° F to +160° F, the ammo loaded with AR-Comp showed a variation of only 20 fps in muzzle velocity. The primary bullet type tested was a 77gr .224 bullet and the secondary was a 175gr .308 bullet.

Burn Rate Like Varget
Though this is a reformulation of Reloder 15, the burn rate of AR-Comp is slightly faster than Reloder 15. Alliant told us: “Reloder 15 is slightly slower, in burn rate, than Varget. The new AR-Comp, with the enhancements, ended up slightly faster than Reloder 15, so it is now very close to Varget in burn rate”. This is the result of the “tuning” of the powder to be much less temp-sensitive.

AR-Comp First in Series of New Alliant Temp-Stable Powders
AR-Comp will be the first in a series of “new generation” temp-stable powders from Alliant. Quesenberry noted: “Our goal was to provide a powder that offers stable pressures in all temperatures. Shooters want to be able to stay with the same load in winter and in summer, in cold or in hot conditions.” Quesenberry added: “We’ve been working on this quite a while. AR-Comp is the first example and we hope to extend this to other rifle powders. It’s a tough job. You have to balance the performance carefully. We worked very hard to do just that and we think shooters will be impressed with the results.”

Reloder 15 Will Stay in Production
Fans of Alliant’s Reloder 15 don’t need to worry. Alliant will keep Reloder 15 in production. “We don’t drop powder lines”, said Quesenberry.

Permalink New Product, Reloading 5 Comments »
October 26th, 2010

U.S. Army Places Huge Order for New M855A1 Ammo

ATK has received orders from the U.S. Army for nearly 300 million rounds of the new M855A1 Enhanced Performance Round (EPR). The EPR is an enhanced version of the M855 5.56mm cartridge, used by U.S. troops since the early 1980s. ATK also announced it has received additional orders worth $10 million for nonstandard ammunition (NSA) in support of its current NSA multi-year contract with the U.S. Army Contracting Command in Rock Island, Ill. The three-year contract calls for ATK to acquire and deliver a broad range of NSA, or non-NATO ammunition [such as 7.62×39], to Kabul, Afghanistan, to train and sustain allied security forces.

M855A1 ammunition ammo EPR

The military sought to replace current M855 ammo because M855 has not performed optimally in the Afghan theater. The Army’s Picatinny Arsenal claims that the new M855A1 has improved hard target capability, more consistent performance at all distances, improved accuracy, reduced muzzle flash, and higher velocity. M855A1 ammo is tailored for use in M4 carbines but should also give enhanced performance in M16s and M249s.

M855A1 ammunition ammo EPRNew Steel-Tip Bullet Design
The 62-grain bullet for the new M855A1 ammo is a completely new design. While it may appear to have a plastic “ballistic tip”, that’s deceiving. The new bullet created for M855A1 ammo has a bismuth-tin alloy core with a steel “stacked-cone” penetrating tip. The photo at right shows the version from last year; the final production version may be slightly different (e.g. the final version tip is a different color). Apparently the latest bullet design is a winner. During testing, M855A1 ammo performed better than current 7.62mm ball ammunition against certain types of targets. According to Lt. Col. Jeffrey K. Woods, the program’s product manager, the new M855A1 ammo is “the best general purpose 5.56mm round ever produced. A true general purpose round, the M855A1 exceeds the performance of the current M855 against the many different types of targets likely to be encountered in combat.”

Permalink Bullets, Brass, Ammo, News 4 Comments »
October 13th, 2010

Ammo-Makers Expand Production and Hire Workers in Idaho

ATK Lewiston, IDTwo ammunition manufacturers in Lewiston, Idaho, plan to add “significant numbers of workers” this year and next. Alliant Techsystems (ATK), parent of CCI, Alliant Powder, RCBS and other companies, expects to add about 100 jobs by the end of 2010, and Extreme Bullet plans to expand its facility and add about 100 jobs over the next few years. ATK’s employee ranks will grow to approximately 1,200 workers by the end of this year.

ATK will be re-hiring many workers laid off in a 2009 force reduction. According to the Spokane Journal of Business, “The new hires should give ATK a total of about 1,200 workers by the end of 2010 at its plant on the east side of the Snake River.” The Journal also interviewed ATK Spokesman Jason Nash who explained: “We’ve definitely had a few good years at the plant there. There’s been an increased demand for sporting ammunition, which has allowed us to add to our employment base.”

Speer Brothers Brought Ammo Production to Lewiston
Here is an interesting historical footnote. Today’s large ATK 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, part of ATK’s family of companies, and one of the largest manufacturers of primers and loaded ammunition. Today, ATK’s Lewiston plant produces both Speer bullets and CCI-branded ammunition and primers. ATK acquired the plant in 2001. Vernon Speer died in 1979, and Dick Speer died in 1994.

Permalink Bullets, Brass, Ammo, News 1 Comment »
June 17th, 2010

Videos Show How Loaded Cartridges and Bullets Are Crafted

Hand-loaders know how to assemble bullet, brass, powder and primer into a loaded cartridge. But have you ever wondered how brass cartridge cases are formed, or how bullets are made, starting with raw materials? Federal Ammunition (a division of ATK) has created an interesting video that shows how factory-loaded ammo is created, from start to finish. The video shows how cartridge brass is cupped, drawn, sized, annealed, then finished-formed. In addition, you can see how bullets are formed then inserted in cartridges with automated machinery. This is a fascinating video, worth watching.

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Bullet-Making Process at the Sierra Bullets Plant
A second video, produced for the Discovery Channel’s How Stuff Works TV show, illustrates how bullets are made at the Sierra Bullets plant. Watch 80-lb billets of lead being drawn into wire to be used as bullet cores. Then see how copper jackets are formed, lubed, sized and combined with bullet cores to create the finished product — precision bullets for hunters and match shooters.

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Thanks to German Salazar for finding these two videos.

Permalink - Videos, Bullets, Brass, Ammo No Comments »
April 13th, 2010

ATK Acquires Blackhawk Products Group

ATK buys BlackhawkAlliant Techsystems (NYSE:ATK) has acquired Blackhawk Industries Products Group Unlimited, LLC, a major player in the lucrative tactical products and security accessories market. The acquisition of Blackhawk, combined with the recent purchase of Eagle Industries, strengthens ATK’s position in tactical equipment for domestic and international military, law enforcement, security, and sport enthusiast markets.

“The acquisition of Blackhawk supports our strategy of expanding into adjacent lanes while leveraging ATK’s existing core competencies,” said Mark DeYoung, President and CEO. “Blackhawk provides ATK with a leading tactical systems brand, an expanded portfolio of quality products, and additional design and development expertise[.] This acquisition significantly increases our presence and our potential in the growing domestic and international security markets.”

Blackhawk TacticalBlackhawk was founded in 1993 by former Navy SEAL Mike Noell. It all started with a failed pack in a mine field in Iraq that inspired Noell to create his own line of gear. Headquartered in Norfolk, Virginia, Blackhawk is a leading US manufacturer of tactical gear, body armor, law enforcement duty gear, holsters, hydration systems, protective gloves and gear, apparel and footwear, knives, illumination tools, breaching tools, hunting gear, and recoil reducing stocks. The company operates manufacturing facilities in North Carolina, Montana, and Idaho. Blackhawk is one of the most widely recognized brands for tactical, military, and law enforcement equipment. Blackhawk and ATK’s existing tactical accessories business will become a division of ATK’s Security and Sporting Group.

ATK is a global aerospace and defense company with more than 18,000 employees in 22 states, Puerto Rico and internationally, and revenues in excess of $4.8 billion. ATK operates the Lake City Army Ammunition Plant, while the ATK Security and Sporting Group now includes the following major brands: Alliant Powder, Blackhawk, CCI, Champion, Eagle Industries, Federal, RCBS, Speer, and Weaver Optics.

ATK stock price

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March 25th, 2010

Is Military Fired Brass Being Reduced to Scrap Metal Again?

Gary Marbut, president of the Montana Shooting Sports Association, has revealed that once-fired military brass is being converted into scrap metal rather than being sold in reloadable condition with revenues going to the U.S. Treasury. The destruction or mutilation of once-fired brass runs contrary to the efforts of Congressional leaders to ensure that fired military brass be resold rather than destroyed. Marbut claims that once-fired brass is now being destroyed as the result of “sweetheart side deals with installation commanders that [are] being aggressively promoted by ATK.”

Military Cartridge Brass

According to Marbut, ATK/Alliant Techsystems has encouraged military base commanders to sell their used cartridge brass directly to ATK. The brass is then demilled and rendered down to scrap metal for use in ATK’s future new cartridge production. Marbut states: “ATK even provides portable equipment to demil tons of cartridge cases at the military installations, destroying the brass for reloading purposes. Because the destroyed cartridge case brass is not suitable for reloading, it cannot command a price driven by auction for the highest-value use of reloading. Military installation commanders sell the Alliant-destroyed brass to ATK at a private, non-auction, special price. Commanders are willing to accept the reduced price because the sale proceeds go to the commanders’ discretionary accounts and not back to the U.S. Treasury via Government Liquidations.”

As a result of this reported arrangement between military commanders and ATK, Marbut believes, millions of used military cartridge cases, which otherwise could enter the commercial market for surplus brass, are being destroyed rather than sold at auction for fair value. In a time when there are still acute shortages of reloading components, this reduces the supply of reloadable brass, while depriving the U.S. Treasury of sales proceeds. Marbut calls for Congressional action to stop the “sweetheart deals” and ensure that “expended military brass of civilian-usable calibers generated domestically goes through the public auction process.” Marbut believes that “will benefit the U.S. Treasury, America’s gun owners, and the adequacy of the ammunition marketplace.”

CLICK HERE to read full story: Military Cartridge Brass Destruction 2010 – Round 2

Permalink Bullets, Brass, Ammo, News 9 Comments »