February 11th, 2018

Berger SW Nationals 2018 — Hail the Champions

Berger SW Nationals Ben Avery Wind

Today was the final day of the Berger Southwest Nationals (SWN). Two 1000-yard individual matches were scheduled. But the weather gods did not cooperate. Sunday matches were cancelled due to high, gusty winds from the North-Northeast that made it very difficult to handle the large, wood target frames. With concern for the safety of pit workers, match organizers waited until 10:00 am, then canceled the matches. It was a disappointment for some, but all the competitors still enjoyed a great week at Ben Avery.

With the cancellation of Sunday matches, the three individual champions — Sling Division, F-TR, and F-Open have been decided based on the Friday and Saturday results. We congratulate the three new Champions: Bob Sebold (F-Open), Phillip Kelley Jr. (F-TR), and Allen Thomas (Sling).

Top Five Overall – F-Open
Bob Sebold, 843-49X
Keith Glasscock, 843-38X
Jay Christopherson, 841-45X
Stephen Potter, 841-37X
James Crofts, 841-34X
Top Five Overall – F-TR
Phillip Kelley Jr., 838-35X
Ellis Berry, 837-42X
Niklas Montin, 836-35X
Peter Johns, 835-36X
Edward Shelley, 832-33X
Top Five Overall – Sling
Allen Thomas, 844-37X
Oliver Milanovic, 843-45X
Trudie Fay, 842-32X
Nancy Tompkins, 840-43X
Angus McLeod, 840-43X

Team matches concluded yesterday, Saturday. In team competition, Team Lapua/Brux/Borden won the F-Open Division, while Team McMillan finished first in F-TR Division. In the Sling Division, Team USA National Hayes topped the field. Congratulations to the winning teams.

View Complete SWN Match Results on McMillan Facebook Page »

Berger SW Nationals Ben Avery Wind

Berger SW Nationals

Wicked Winds on Saturday Challenged Competitors
Saturday’s weather was not kind to shooters. Along with cloudy skies came wind — lots of it. The wind was veering, and gusty — with significant changes in velocity. It was hard to predict the cycles — if they could be called that. Erratic was more like it. Many shots were out in the 7 and 8 rings. One champion-level shooter told us: “That was ugly — I got my clock cleaned”. Another shooter said “I ran out of paper to hold off”. At one point, Team Lapua/Brux/Borden (LBB) waited over 30 minutes to take a shot, hoping to get into a steady condition. The patience paid off. Team LBB shooter Jay Christopherson’s final shot (after the long wait) was a 10.

Berger SW Nationals Team Lapua Brux Borden

Above is a view from a spotting scope during the 1000-Yard Team Match on Saturday. During the course of the day, there were many 7s and 8s showing on the targets. One competitor said “the wind was so bad, I was holding off the frame”.

Berger SW Nationals Team Lapua Brux Borden

Team Lapua/Brux/Berger shot great in tough conditions on Saturday to win the F-Open Team competition. Second from left is Jay Chistopherson, AccurateShooter.com’s System Administrator. When he’s not shooting, Jay works hard to keep our Shooter’s Forum and content sites running smoothly.

The team announced: “Team Lapua-Brux-Borden pulled off a major win today at Berger SW Natinols. Conditions were very challenging but our wind coach was able to keep up with the conditions. Our rifles shot very flat which allowed us to rack up points and Xs. We have a great team and amazing sponsors: Lapua, Brux Barrels, Borden Actions, Cerus Rifleworks. Team members: Jay Christopherson, Eric Cortina, Steve Harp, Tod Hendricks, Pat Scully, and Bob Sebold. Notably, Bob Sebold also won the 2018 Berger SWN Individual F-Open title, making him a double champion.

Eliseo Tubegun with Nightforce Competition scope. These versatile rifle chassis systems are produced by Competition Machine in Cottonwood, Arizona.
2016 Berger Southwest Nationals Phoenix Arizona AZ

Berger SW Nationals Team Lapua Brux Borden
Photo by Sherri Jo Gallagher.

There couldn’t be a match without the dedication of the folks who work the pits. At the Berger SWN, competitors did pit duty, ferried by trailers, and there were also some volunteers.

Berger SW Nationals Team Lapua Brux Borden
Photo by Sherri Jo Gallagher.

They say behind every successful man is a good woman. Derek Rodgers, current F-TR World Champion, is no exception. His wife Hope Rodgers was on hand throughout the SWN to cheer on her husband.

Berger SW Nationals Team Lapua Brux Borden

For many sling shooters, the Berger SWN is the second most important event of the year, right after the NRA Championships, held at Camp Perry (OH) and (now) Camp Atterbury (IN). Check out those patches.

Berger SW Nationals Team Lapua Brux Borden

Industry Report — Berger, Lapua and Capstone Precision Group

Last year Berger Bullets was acquired by the Nammo Lapua Group. Berger Bullets, along with Lapua Products, SK Ammo, and Vihtavuori Powder, are now distributed in the USA by the Capstone Precision Group. Berger will continue to offer its full line of bullets, plus Berger-branded Ammunition (formerly ABM Ammo). Likewise Lapua will continue to offer its superb caftridge brass, plus Lapua’s full line of bullets and loaded Ammunition. In this video, Capstone’s Director Bill Gravatt explains how Capstone is working to expand the availability of Lapua and Berger products. In addition, Eric Stecker explains how Berger Bullets can increase production significantly, now that Berger is operating in the large Nammo/Lapua facility in Mesa, Arizona.

Today is the last day of the Berger Southwest Nationals. After the cancellation of Sunday’s 1000-yard matches due to high winds, this year’s 2018 SWN concluded with the Award Presentations. We watched as scores of medals — along with heaps of cash and Berger bullets — were handed out. AccurateShooter.com also awarded prestigious Corinthian awards to Nancy Tompkins (Sling) and Rick Jensen (F-Class).

Berger SW Nationals Team Lapua Brux Borden
Photo by Sherri Jo Gallagher.

Team McMillan was the top-performing F-TR squad at the Berger SW Nationals. The team includes many former members of the all-conquering Team Sinclair.

Berger SW Nationals Ben Avery Wind

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October 6th, 2017

The Firing Sequence — What Happens Inside Cartridge & Chamber

Sinclair International Reloading Videos

Sinclair International has produced an eight-part video series on metallic cartridge reloading, hosted by Sinclair’s former President Bill Gravatt. The entire series can be viewed (for free) via Sinclair’s YouTube Channel. While this set of videos starts with the basics, it covers many more advanced aspects of reloading as well. Accordingly, both novice and experienced reloaders can benefit from watching the eight videos. We think everyone should watch Video No. 2. Introduction to Reloading Safety, which provides guidelines for safe reloading practices.

Watch Firing Sequence Video

We also strongly recommend Video No. 4 to readers who are getting started in reloading. This “How Things Work” segment covers the sequence of events inside the chamber (and barrel) when the cartridge is fired. The video includes helpful graphics that show what happens to the primer, powder, cartridge, and bullet when the round is fired. The video also illustrates “headspace” and explains how this can change after firing. We think this video answers many common questions and will help reloaders understand the forces at work on their brass during the firing process.

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September 3rd, 2017

Trimming Cases with the New Stainless L.E. Wilson Trimmer

Wilson stainless case trimmer clamp micrometer video Bill Gravatt Creedmoor sports

How do you trim your cases? We use a variety of tools, including power case trimmers. But our go-to trimmer for Benchrest-type cartridges is the L.E. Wilson Trimmer unit, now available in a handsome and durable stainless assembly. This thing is slick. It trims very precisely with the use of Wilson case holders combined with a micrometer-type stop for length control. As sold complete with micrometer, quick clamp, and metal stand, this new Wilson Stainless Trimmer is $139.95 at Creedmoor Sports. We think that’s a fair price for a unit that can last a lifetime, trimming many thousands of cases.

In this video, Bill Gravatt demonstrates the new Stainless Wilson trimmer. Gravatt offers some smart tips so this video is worth watching even if you’ve used a Wilson trimmer before:

Tips for Trimming with Wilson SS Micrometer Trimmer:

1. After inserting brass in the case holder, tap the case lightly to ensure it seats fully.

2. When starting your case-trimming session, do one or two test cases to check cut length. Adjust length with micrometer, then test length again. If “good to go”, set length stop. NOTE: Release the Stop Screw to make major adjustments. Use the Micrometer to make fine adjustments, in .001″ increments.

3. After trimming operations, be sure to chamfer case mouth after cutting to remove burrs. NOTE: After you have made the chamfer, we recommend gently spinning the chamfer tool backwards a couple times in the case neck. This will burnish/smooth the newly-cut champing, which helps with bullet seating.

Features of Deluxe Wilson Stainless Case Trimmer with Micrometer

    — Long lasting Stainless finish with Micrometer adjustment.
    — New 304 Stainless Steel Handle included with Micrometer Trimmer.
    — Rotary-style clamp swings to secure case-holder — quick and easy.
    — Larger stop screw adjustment from 3/8″ (old) to 1/2″ (new) with increased width on stop nut. Coated with black oxide for a long lasting durable finish.
    — Made in the USA with American Steel.
    — Power Adaptor compatible.

Wilson stainless case trimmer clamp micrometer video Bill Gravatt Creedmoor sports

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July 3rd, 2017

New Creedmoor Sports InfoZone Offers Helpful Tech Tips

Bill Gravatt Creedmoor Sports Sinclair cleaning polishing brass reloading dies

In recent months, Creedmoor Sports has expanded its selection of reloading tools and gear, under the guidance of Bill Gravatt, former President of Sinclair International. And Creedmoor recently launched the Creedmoor InfoZone, an online source for Shooting News, Reloading Tips, Gear Reviews and basic gunsmithing information. Visit CreedmoorInfoZone.com.

Bill Gravatt is an expert on reloading processes and gear. He developed many of the popular tools marketed by Sinclair Int’l, and now he’s lending that expertise to Creedmoor Sports. Bill is hosting a series of “how-to” videos produced for the Creedmoor InfoZone.

Cleaning Cartridge Brass — Multiple Options Explained

Here Creedmoor’s Bill Gravatt demonstrates several methods to clean your cases. Bill tells us: “Powder residue should be removed before you insert your cases into your reloading dies. There are several ways to clean your cases. Many shooters use a combination of various methods…”

1. Manual Cleaning — You can use 0000 Steel wool for the outside of the case and a Case Neck brush for the inside. A paper towel can remove any remaining residue. This is a handy way to clean if you load at the range.

2. Vibratory Tumbling — This traditional method works well, particularly for pistol brass. Experiment with both Corn Cob and Walnut media. You can get a brighter shine by putting a small amount of liquid brass polish in the media.

3. Wet Tumbling with Stainless Media — This process can get your brass clean inside and out. Do check to ensure no pins are stuck in the flash-holes. Watch for peening of case mouths that can occur over time.

4. Ultrasonic Cleaning — Ultrasonic cleaning works great for small parts as well as brass. The ultrasonic process removes all carbon and traces of lube, which can leave the inside of case necks too dry. To smooth bullet seating, try putting a tablespoon of Ballistol in the cleaning solution.

Cleaning Reloading Dies

Cleaning your reloading dies is something that many hand-loaders neglect. In this 60-second Tech Tip, Bill Gravatt provides some smart advice on cleaning your dies. Bill notes: “After heavy use, case lube and carbon can build up in your reloading dies. It’s important to keep them clean. Also, with new dies, give them a good cleaning before first use, because they ship with a corrosion inhibitor.”

1. Step 1 — Prior to cleaning, disassemble the die and spray it with a good degreaser. Do this with brand new dies too.

2. Step 2 – Take a patch and run it in the die to remove old lube and gunk. Don’t forget the decapping assembly and other internal parts.

3. Step 3 — After cleaning the die, but before reassembly, spray the die with a good corrosion inhibitor, such as Corrosion-X or Starrett M1.

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November 12th, 2016

How to Set Up Full-Length Sizing Dies and Control Shoulder Bump

Sinclair International FL full length sizing die

Sinclair International has a helpful, three-part video series on Full-Length Sizing. The full-length sizing die performs multiple important functions: it resizes the case body, resizes the neck, and adjusts the headspace relative to the chamber (it can also eject the spent primer if that was not done previously).

While neck-sizing-only can work with moderate loads (for a couple firings), after repeated firings the case can stretch, becoming too tight to chamber easily. If you shoot cases with high-pressure, near-max loads, you will probably benefit from full-length sizing your cases each reloading cycle. When full-length sizing, you will want to move the shoulder back (i.e. “bump” the shoulder) to provide proper clearance in the chamber. A case that has grown too much will exhibit stiff bolt lift after firing and be hard to chamber if it is not FL-sized during the reloading process.

Sinclair recommends bumping cases .001-.002″ (one to two thousandths) for cases used in bolt-action target-shooting rifles, or .003-.005″ (three to five thousandths) for hunting rifles or semi-auto rifles. To move the shoulder back you screw the FL-sizing die downwards in the press once you’ve determined “just touching” on the shoulder. You don’t have to screw the die down very far! With a normal 14-pitch die, 1/8th turn (45° rotation) yields approximately 0.009″ of downward movement. So it doesn’t take much to add a few thousandths of bump.

Case Sizing Part One — Why We Full-Length Resize

Case Sizing Part Two — How to Set Up Your Sizing Die

Case Sizing Part Three — How to Use a Bump Gauge

NOTE: These FLASH videos may not display on some mobile devices.

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June 27th, 2016

AMP Induction Annealing Machine Review by Bill Gravatt

Annealing Made Perfect New Zealand Anneal Annealer Induction Review Pilot Findlay Bill Gravatt Gear Review Product Test

Annealing Made Perfect (AMP) Annealing Machine Review

Review by Bill Gravatt
Annealing Made Perfect New Zealand Anneal Annealer Induction Review Pilot Findlay Bill Gravatt Gear Review Product TestI had been following the progress of Alex and Matt Findlay with Annealing Made Perfect for almost three years as they pursued making the best annealing product for the private reloading market. The short explanation of why we anneal brass is to return the brass to a softer and consistent hardness after the brass has work-hardened from repetitive firing and sizing. As the President/co-owner of Sinclair International for over 21 years I saw a lot of products come through our doors that annealed brass but these products always seemed like they had very little supportive data and research behind them. Most of them were based on some type of torch system. The New Zealand-based father/son team of Alex and Matt spent these past three years addressing the challenging questions about annealing:

- What is the correct temperature to reach when annealing?
– How long should you take to get to that temp and how long should you remain there?
– How frequently should you anneal?
– Can you ruin your expensive brass?
– How do we make the process repeatable for the handloader?
– How do you accurately measure the case hardness?

They worked closely with the Electrical Engineering Department at the local University of Technology and invested a lot of capital into detailed metallurgical research. Their decision to use induction heating was because of its repeatability and the ability to reach exacting and consistent temperatures. Induction annealing is achieved by placing the cartridge in a magnetic field thereby inducing eddy currents within the brass and heating the brass without contacting the brass physically. To learn more, I suggest you visit the AmpAnnealing.com website. It is very informative.

Why should you anneal? If you are just a casual reloader, than annealing isn’t necessary but if you a serious wildcatter or competitive shooter you may want to consider it. More and more competitive shooters anneal their cases (not necessarily for adding life to the cases) to achieve more consistent pressures and velocities.

My first favorable impression was received by just opening the extremely well-packed shipping box. You could tell these guys take a great deal of pride in their product. The unit comes with three cartridge-specific pilots (you decide on which pilots), a shellholder collet, a power cord, a thorough, well-written, easy to follow instruction manual, and a USB cord for future software updates.

Annealing Made Perfect New Zealand Anneal Annealer Induction Review Pilot Findlay Bill Gravatt Gear Review Product Test

This machine is so easy to use that I was up and running within a few minutes. All I had to supply was the shells, the correct shell-holder and an aluminum pan to drop the hot cases into. I started annealing some unturned .308 Winchester cases (Lapua headstamp) that had four firings. First I screwed the pilot for .308 cases (#11) into the machine, placed my .308 shellholder into the supplied shellholder/collet and turned the power on. The display fired up right away and soon registered the program level that the machine was set to.

Annealing Made Perfect New Zealand Anneal Annealer Induction Review Pilot Findlay Bill Gravatt Gear Review Product Test

Since the machine uses induction heating, you need to set the heating level for the correct setting for the brass you are using. The alloy being used isn’t as important as the thickness or amount of brass in the neck and shoulder region. For example, Lapua and Norma have more brass in that area so the setting would be higher for these brands than Winchester brass. Also, if you have neck-turned brass, the setting would be reduced from the standard setting because there would be less mass in the air gap.

This manufacturer-produced video shows how the AMP annealing machine operates:

The settings are obtained by referring to the “Settings” section on the AMP website and are broken out by cartridge, brand, standard unturned cases, and then neck-turned cases with various amounts of wall thickness removed. A great service that AMP provides to the handloader is that you can send sample cases of your brass to them (U.S. location in Wolcott, Indiana) and they will test the hardness for you and send you the exact setting for your specific lot of brass.

My setting for unturned Lapua .308 Winchester brass was “92”. The buttons on the front of the machine allow you to adjust the setting quickly. After you set the program number, the setting is locked in after the first use until you change it again. I placed the first case in the shellholder, lowered the assembly down through the pilot and into position. I then hit the start button which illuminated immediately and then about 6 to 7 seconds later, the light went off signaling that heating was completed.

Annealing Made Perfect New Zealand Anneal Annealer Induction Review Pilot Findlay Bill Gravatt Gear Review Product Test

Now, be aware, these cases are extremely hot. I lifted the case out using the shellholder/collet and then dropped it into my aluminum pan. I then placed another case into the holder, put it into the machine and then repeated the process. Once I got the coordination down, I did 100 .308 Win cases in about 24 minutes. I did some 6mmBR cases later (Lapua) and annealed 100 cases in about 15 minutes at the “75” setting. I found myself raising my shop stool a little higher than normal so I was at a comfortable height in relationship to the top of the machine. Very easy to do — I actually had a student do a few cases with me and she had no problem at all following the instructions.

Annealing Made Perfect New Zealand Anneal Annealer Induction Review Pilot Findlay Bill Gravatt Gear Review Product Test

Annealing Made Perfect New Zealand Anneal Annealer Induction Review Pilot Findlay Bill Gravatt Gear Review Product Test

There is a thermal cut-off that prevents the machine from overheating. Depending on the setting, this can occur after 20 to 35 minutes of continuous use. When this has occurred, simply leave the machine on and the fans will cool it down so you can resume annealing. This isn’t surprising considering the amount of heat being generated.

All in all, I found this machine extremely easy to setup and operate. Now, does it work? I have test batches of brass that I am going to run over the chronograph in 10-round strings. I plan on running at least 10 strings of annealed brass and 10 strings of unannealed brass out of the same lot, same number of reloadings/firings and out of the same gun. I plan on alternating annealed strings and unannealed strings with a cooling off period every 20 rounds. When I do testing, I have my wife pre-label my batches as Batch A and B so I won’t know what rounds I am shooting until I get back from the range. I’ll make the results available as soon as I can. My expectation is that velocities will be more consistent based on my understanding of the lab results that the Findlays have achieved with their Annealing Made Perfect machine. For more information, visit their website at AmpAnnealing.com.

Permalink Gear Review, New Product 6 Comments »
June 13th, 2015

Sinclair Product Report: Thumler’s Tumbler with Stainless Media

We know that many of our readers are now tumbling their brass in liquid media rather than dry media such as corn-cob or walnut shells. When done with STM stainless tumbling media (small ss pins), this system really does work, producing brass that is clean “inside and out”. The only down-side to wet tumbling is that sometimes the inside of the caseneck gets so “squeaky clean” that bullets take more effort to seat. This can be remedied with the use of a dry lube inside the necks. When cleaning with stainless tumbling media you’ll need a quality tumbler that is water-tight. The wet-tumbler of choice is the Model B Thumler’s Tumbler. Featuring a bright-red, side-loading drum, the Model B Thumler’s Tumbler is reliable and built to last.

A while back, Bill Gravatt, then President of Sinclair Int’l, had a chance to evaluate the Thumler’s Tumbler and the wet-cleaning process for cartridge brass. Bill came away a believer: “I wanted to share with you my experience using the Thumler’s Tumbler and stainless steel pin media to clean brass.

(more…)

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August 4th, 2014

Sinclair Videos Show Cartridge Brass Cleaning Options

Shiny brass — it may not shoot more accurately, but it does make you feel better about your hand-loaded ammo. While it’s not necessary to get brass “bright and shiny” after every firing, it is a good idea to clean powder residue, grime, and grit off your brass before you run cases into sizing dies. There are many ways to clean cartridge cases. A quick wipe with solvent on a patch may suffice for recently-shot cases. Older brass with baked-on carbon may require lengthy tumbling. Ultrasonic cleaning is another popular option that gets your brass clean inside and out.

Sinclair International has a series of helpful videos on brass cleaning. These short “how-to” videos, hosted by Bill Gravatt, Sinclair’s past President, cover the various processes you can use — tumbling, ultrasonic cleaning, chemical cleaning, and cleaning by hand.

Video ONE — Cleaning Brass in Vibratory or Rotary Tumbler

TIP: Brass that has recently been shot will clean more easily than brass that has been sitting many days or weeks. If your tumbling media is fresh the job should be done in an hour or less. It’s your choice whether to tumble with primers removed or with primers still in the cases. If you choose to tumble with primers out, we suggest you deprime with a depriming die, rather that put dirty brass into your sizing die. Some people like to add a teaspoon of liquid polish to the media. This does work, cutting tumble time, and making your brass more shiny. However, if you add liquid polish, do that BEFORE you add the brass and let the tumbler run for a 15 minutes to get the polish completely mixed into the media. Otherwise you can else up with gooey gunk inside your cases — a very bad thing.

Video TWO — Ulstrasonic Case Cleaning

TIP: There are many different types of solutions you can use. Soapy water suffices for some folks, particularly if you add a little Lemi-Shine. The Hornady and Lyman solutions work well, and can be used multiple times, provided you strain the solution to remove dirt and grit after cleaning sessions. Many ultrasonic cleaning machines have timers. Experiment with dwell time to see how long you need to immerse your brass. A very small amount of Ballistol in the solution will help lubricate your necks on the inside. This can make bullet seating go more smoothly, with more consistent neck tension.

Video THREE — Chemical Cleaners (Soaking without Ultrasound)

TIP: After using chemical cleaners, such as the Iosso solution, you need to water-rinse your brass thoroughly. A kitchen strainer helps with this (see video at 0:20). Also, don’t forget your brass in the chemical solution — follow the manufacturers recommendations and don’t exceed the recommended dwell time. Chemical cleaners work surprisingly well to remove grease and grime, and the solution can be re-used multiple times. However, if you want your cases to look bright and shiny (like new brass), you will probably have to tumble.

Video FOUR — Manual Cleaning (By Hand)

TIP: Keep some oversize patches in your range kit. At the end of your shooting sessions, wipe off your fired brass with a patch dampened with a mild, non-corrosive solvent (once again Ballistol works well). Before the carbon sets up on your brass it is very easy to remove. For tougher jobs, you can use 0000 Steel Wool (as Bill recommends in the video). You may find that timely hand-cleaning lets you avoid tumbling altogether — or you may choose to tumble (or ultra-sound) your brass only after a half-dozen or so firings.

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April 6th, 2014

Tech Tip: How to Cast your Chamber using Cerrosafe

by Bill Gravatt
(This article was written when Bill was President of Sinclair International, Inc.
)
Chamber casting is an easy task for the handloader to perform. A chamber casting is valuable if you run across a firearm that you believe has a custom barrel on it and you want to find out the dimensions of the chamber. Some gunsmiths will chamber a barrel and not mark it properly with the neck dimension or the exact cartridge name or specifications. We also get calls from some customers that have military firearms without cartridge stampings on the barrel; this will help these shooters identify their chambering.

cerrosafe

Another reason to make a chamber casting would be for a die manufacturer to manufacture custom dies for you. A chamber casting is often required when fired cases are not available. Some reloaders will make a chamber casting that shows them the exact configuration of the throat and leade so they can determine what bullets to try. Shooters using cast bullets will make a cast so they can choose a mould that better fits their throat taper and grove/lands diameter.

A product called Cerrosafe is the most common, reliable, and the safest material to use for making chamber castings. Cerrosafe is a metal alloy that has some unique properties which make it ideal for chamber casting. First, it has a relatively low melting point of 158 to 190° Fahrenheit. This makes it easy for the handloader to melt the Cerrosafe in his home shop. Second, it shrinks slightly during cooling which allows it to be extracted from the chamber easily. It then re-expands to the chamber’s original size after about one hour at room temperature. After cooling for about 200 hours, the chamber cast will expand to about .0025″ larger than the actual chamber size. Most good reloading die makers are used to working from Cerrosafe chamber casts.

As we said, using Cerrosafe is fairly easy and comes with complete instructions.

Making a Cerrosafe Chamber Cast — Step by Step:

1. First, clean and dry the chamber and barrel thoroughly.

2. Disassemble the firearm as necessary to gain access to the chamber.

3. Insert a tight fitting cleaning patch with a jag into the bore from the muzzle end to form a plug for the Cerrosafe. The patch should be positioned in the bore, just forward of the throat by approximately ½” to 1”.

4. Heat a Cerrosafe ingot in a small ladle. A heavy cast iron bullet caster’s ladle works fine or a plumber’s ladle. Any source of heat will do (a small propane torch will work fine).

5. Pour the Cerrosafe into the chamber until a little mound forms at the rear of the chamber. Too much and it can become more difficult to remove the cast from the chamber. If this happens, simply heat the barrel a little and re-melt the Cerrosafe. Don’t worry, your barrel gets a bit hotter than 190 degrees during firing.

6. The chamber can be difficult to access, so some people find it easier if they make a pouring tube out of steel, brass, or aluminum tubing to funnel the Cerrosafe into the chamber.

7. After the Cerrosafe has hardened, the chamber casting can be pushed out of the chamber coming from the muzzle end using a cleaning rod or a wooden dowel. It is recommended that you push it out within a half-hour of casting the chamber. We usually push our cast out within a few minutes. If the cast does not push out easily, insert a cleaning rod from the muzzle and tap the rod handle with the palm of your hand to start the cast out of the chamber. You can put a paper towel in the action to catch the cast or lay the rifle on the bench with a towel or bench mat underneath it to catch the cast as it falls from the action. This will prevent damage to the cast.

8. Take your measurements shortly after one hour of cast, and then put the casting away until you need it again. A medicine container or something similar makes a great container. If you are going to keep the cast be sure to mark the cast or the storage container so you know which rifle it came from. If you have no need to keep the cast you can re-melt the Cerrosafe and use it again when you need to make another cast.

This article originally appeared in Sinclair International’s The Reloading Press Blog.
Permalink Gunsmithing, Tech Tip 5 Comments »
January 13th, 2013

Video Interview with Walt Berger and Eric Stecker

Berger Bullets boxSinclair Int’l has released a 7-part series of video interviews with Walt Berger (founder of Berger Bullets) and Eric Stecker (Berger’s Exec. VP and Master Bulletsmith). The series is hosted by Sinclair’s President, Bill Gravatt. You can watch Parts 1 and 2 of the interview here, and we’ve provided links to the remaining Parts 3 through 7. All seven interview segments offer interesting material. Part 6 mentions up and coming stuff like the reloading manual. Part 7, over 13 minutes long, contains interesting discussions of bullet testing and the hunting performance of Berger VLDs. NOTE: You can view this entire video series (and many other videos) on Sinclair’s YouTube Channel Page.

Berger Interview PART 1

Berger Interview PART 2

Permalink - Videos, Bullets, Brass, Ammo 1 Comment »
December 1st, 2012

Bill Gravatt Steps Down as President of Sinclair International

Bill Gravatt, President of Sinclair International, has chosen to leave his current position with Sinclair International, where he has served for 22 years. Bill told us “I sold Sinclair International to Brownells, Inc. in 2007 and have completed my five-year contract as part of the transition process. I had the opportunity to remain as President after my contract expired but, after giving the matter a great deal of thought over the past six months, I felt it was time to move in a new direction. I wish everyone at Sinclair International and Brownells all the best in the future.”

In Sinclair’s Reloading Press Blog*, Bill thanks Sinclair customers for their patronage and assures readers that Sinclair will continue to provide same high level of customer service.

Message from Bill Gravatt
Bill Gravatt Sinclair InternationalAs you know, I sold Sinclair International to Brownells a while back. Pete and Frank Brownell and I had known each other for years, and we all agreed that the two companies would be a good fit, both in the way we treat customers as valued friends and the way our respective customer bases are complementary, similar but not identical. We also agreed that I would stay on as President of Sinclair for five years to help manage the transition.

The five years ended last summer, and now under the Brownells stewardship, Sinclair will continue to serve its customers — you — with the same care and consideration my father-in-law Fred Sinclair and I would give you. I consider it a privilege and a pleasure to have been able to serve you over the years.

Now it’s time to move on with the next (actually the third) phase of my adult life (some of you may know the first phase was the nuclear power industry). I’m certainly going to be around… I plan to continue working in the firearms industry, and you’re going to still see me at competitions and events — maybe more than before. I hope to see you at an NRA Show[.]

In the meantime, I plan to spend Christmas the way I hope you do — with friends and family, relaxing and celebrating the blessings of this life. And maybe getting started on that big winter reloading project. Wouldn’t it be great to head into the 2013 shooting season with your ammo loaded up and ready to go? Spring is closer than you think! But first [comes] Christmas — all my best wishes to you and those close to you.

Good Shooting — Bill Gravatt

*Geoff Esterline, a key member of the Sinclair team for over 15 years, has agreed to take over as Contributing Editor of the Reloading Press Blog. Bill has “every confidence” in Geoff’s capabilities.

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