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April 30th, 2022

Brownells Do-It-Yourself Videos Show How to Upgrade Firearms

Brownells do it yourself videos

Brownells’ Do-It-Yourself (DIY) video series provides logical, step-by-step installation help for triggers, stocks, and springs. Nine separate videos cover Brownells various DIY Kits. Not sure if you’re up to the project? Just watch each video to see what’s involved. The nine DIY kits are:

  • Brownells DIY Remington 870 Stock Upgrade Kit 080-000-850
  • Brownells DIY Power Custom 10/22 Trigger Upgrade Kit 080-000-851
  • Brownells DIY Remington 700 Trigger Replacement w/o Trigger 080-000-852
  • Brownells DIY Remington 700 Trigger Replacement with Timney Trigger 080-000-853
  • Brownells DIY S&W J Frame Revolver Upgrade Kit080-000-862
  • Brownells DIY AR-15 Performance Upgrade Installation080-001-155WB
  • Brownells DIY Magpul MOE AR15 Stock Upgrade Installation084-000-386WB
  • Brownells DIY Glock Pistol Sight Upgrade Kit 080-000-919WB
  • Brownells DIY Ruger MKIII Upgrade Kit 930-000-046WB

This video shows Remington 700 after-market trigger installation:

In the Do-It-Yourself videos, Brownells’ Gun Techs proceed step-by-step, showing you exactly how to install the parts on your gun. Each kit also comes with complete, illustrated instructions you can take to the bench. To learn more, click the links above, or CLICK HERE to visit Brownells’ DIY Kit online page.

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April 3rd, 2022

Sunday GunDay: The Art of Stress-Free Pillar Bedding

richard franklin pillar bedding stress rifle mounting
Richard Franklin’s Step-by-Step Guide to Pillar Bedding

The Art of Stress-Free Stock Bedding

by Richard Franklin
Richard Franklin prepared this article for our readers. Richard tells us: “I’m happy to do pillar-bedding work, but this is a job which many shooters can do themselves, with some practice and the right components. I do suggest you practice first on an old ‘beater stock’. When done right, you end up with a perfect fit of receiver to action, with no twisting, stretching, or compression forces being applied to the receiver through mis-alignment. That’s what I mean by ‘stress-free’.”

This article covers all the steps in the process. If you want to see more, Richard has a 200-minute DVD, Stress-Free Pillar Bedding, that shows the entire job–from start to finish–and contains many tips to help you achieve perfect results. Richard shows how to properly relieve the bedding area, how to make pillars, how to set up the barreled action, and how to test your work to ensure it is truly “stress-free”. In the DVD, Richard does a complete pillar bedding job on both a finished custom stock and a Remington stock. You can order the Pillar Bedding DVD by visiting the Instructional Video page on RichardsCustomRifles.com.

[Editor’s Note: This article was first published a decade ago. So, some of the listed bedding materials may have been enhanced slightly, or the product names may have changed. But the procedures described by Richard are still valid and still achieve great results.]

Before You Begin — Some Comments About Inletting
Richard told us: “You can’t do a great bedding job unless you start with really good inletting. Unfortunately, many ‘inletted stocks’ really require quite a lot of work to get the inletting right. You cannot inlet a stock 100% correctly just using a stock duplicator. That’s one reason I do bedding jobs only on the stocks I make. If the inletting isn’t right, you can have a myriad of problems–such as the holes for the action bolts being in the wrong place, or the stock not having enough clearance for the barrel or the trigger hanger. So, BEFORE you start your bedding job, make sure the inletting is really right. Don’t assume the inletting is really complete (and correct) just because the manufacturer claims that to be the case. This applies to both wood and fiberglass stocks.”

Pillars For Bedding
The BAT action featured in this article has three pillars, with the middle pillar sitting under the front of the trigger guard, and the third pillar at the rear of the guard. More typical installations will use two pillars. For either system, the installation procedures are the same.

In Photo 1, you will see part A, the bottom part of the front pillar which we call the “escutcheon”. Part B, which is a 1/4″ X 28 action bolt that is slightly longer than part C which is the top part of the front pillar. The two parts of the front pillar were machined as one piece and then the escutcheon was cut off just below the shoulder that is inside. This shoulder is for the head of the action bolt to tighten up against. I’ve found that a two-piece pillar has many advantages, particularly for hunting stocks where the underside of the stock is angled (i.e. not parallel with bore axis). I make the pillars I use, machining them from cut-off stainless barrel stubs.

Part D is a 1/4″ X 28 hex-head bolt with the head turned down to 1/4″ which permits the insertion of a hex-head driver to tighten and remove the bolt. This headless bolt will be inserted in the rear tang hole of the action and part E, the rear pillar will be placed on it.

STEP ONE — Getting Started
Photo 2 shows tape on recoil lug, pillars bolted in place and putty in voids. Release agent is polished to a very thin layer. The top half of the front pillar (part C) is placed on the action receiver ring and the bolt (part B) is inserted thru the pillar and tightened against the action. This bolt must have a tapered head on the underside so that, when it is tightened, it will center the top half of the front pillar around the action bolt hole. (This is also true for the middle pillar if the action has a middle bolt.)

PHOTO 2

The headless bolt is inserted into the rear tang hole of the action and the rear pillar is slipped down on it. You will notice in Photo 3, below, that the pillars have the hole drilled oversize so that a 1/4″ bolt has a little space around it. (I like to drill the pillars with a .260″ bit inside.)

The above scenario is the placement of the pillars prior to applying the bedding compound, which I call “Mud”. Devcon 10110 is my bedding compound of choice (and the only product I use) as the mud must set up as hard as concrete and most other epoxies will not do this. Also Devcon shrinks very little if at all. My comments on other bedding compounds are in the sidebar below.

STEP TWO — Relieving the Stock Before Bedding
Relieving the right amount of wood in the area to be bedded–not too much, not too little–is very important to achieving the best results. You need to create some space for the mud to fill around the action, but you don’t want to alter the inletting too much.

PHOTO 3

Photo 3 shows the wood removed from the inside of the stock bedding area. Remove enough wood everywhere except along the top sides of the stock to allow at least 1/8″ to 3/16″ of room for the mud. Remove 1/4″ of wood behind the recoil lug. I like about .012″ clearance on the top inside edges.

NOTE: Leave a small area of original wood just behind the rear tang bolt hole as this wood will determine the elevation of the bedded action in the stock.

Photo 4 shows the tang area of the stock. Note the elevation wood left at tang. Be sure to leave some original wood for the action tang to sit on. This is very important.

STEP THREE — Wrapping Tape on the Barrel
Photo 5 shows the barreled action in the vise. It also shows black electrical tape wrapped around the barrel just behind the front of the stock forearm. Wrap enough tape to hold the front of the barreled action at the proper elevation in the stock.

The idea is that the barreled action does not touch anything except the bit of original “elevation” wood left at the rear tang (behind the pillar) and the forearm resting on the electrical tape. This is very important to obtain 100% stress-free bedding. You want the bore of the barrel to be parallel with the top edge of the stock so wrap just the right amount of tape to ensure this. The tape also centers the barrel in the fore-arm. Done right, the barreled action will be contacting just at two points (tape in front, tang in rear) and the barrel’s bore will be parallel with the top of the fore-arm’s sidewalls.

Comments on Alternative Components and Methods

Bedding Compounds
There are at least a dozen popular products used for rifle bedding. At one time or another, Richard has tried most of them. Devcon 10110 “Plastic Steel® Putty” is the only compound he currently uses and the only product he endorses whole-heartedly. “The Devcon 10110 is expensive, but it is the best bedding product I’ve found. First, it sets up extremely hard. That is very important to the performance and longevity of the bedding job. You want it to get it as hard as concrete. You need it really hard so when you tension the action screws it doesn’t squish down or migrate. Some of the brown stuff other folks use is way too soft. Marine Tex is also too soft. Many products will shrink. Any compound that shrinks is useless in my book. Devcon has absolutely near-zero shrinkage. Acra-Glass I keep in my shop, as it is useful for stock repairs. However I would never bed with Acra-Glass.

Devcon also has just the right consistency — about that of peanut butter. So, it is easy to apply but not runny. It stays in place when I turn the stock upside-down. Devcon is also relatively forgiving to mix–the proportions of the two elements are not super-critical like some other products. I know Marine-Tex can give real problems if you don’t use just the right amount of catalyst. Overall, Devcon does everything you need it to do, and does it exceptionally well. Some other smiths think it’s too expensive–and yes I’ll use $10-$15 worth of Devcon in doing a typical bedding job. But I think the customer deserves the best possible, longest-lasting bedding, and that means Devcon. Among the products I’ve used, Bisonite is my second choice, but I think Devcon will last longer.”

Release Compounds
Richard tells us: “People use all sorts of release compounds and I’ve tried many. I strongly prefer Kiwi shoe polish (neutral color). With the Kiwi, I’ve never had an action stick in the stock. It goes on easy, and you can use a paper towel to polish it very thin and that’s a big benefit. If you have a thin layer of release compound the finished bedding is that much closer to the exact dimensions of the action. I’ve heard of guys using PAM spray. I don’t trust that stuff. The Brownells release compound goes on too thick. Car wax is not a great choice either because it can separate and it gets dusty as it dries. Go with the Kiwi stuff–a little can will last for years. But be sure to use the clear (neutral) kind so you don’t stain your stock or action.”

Clamping and Tension Materials
Read a few articles on pillar bedding and you’ll see many different systems for holding the barreled action to the stock when the bedding compound cures. We’ve seen surgical tubing used, or strips of bicycle inner tube. Some writers have even advocated using mechanical clamps (a bad idea). Richard has tried various tensioning set-ups over the years, and electrical tape is his strong recommendation: “First, let me say it’s crazy to use a C-Clamp or something like that. The clamp will cause a point-load where it attaches and that is just the opposite of what you want.”

Richard has tried many materials: “Surgical tubing I’ve found to be cumbersome to use, and it tends to loosen up during the curing time. Same thing with strips of inner tube. That’s bad news because any loosening or stretching will allow the action to shift. It’s absolutely critical that the action not move one bit while the bedding cures. Once you’ve bedded the action if it dries the wrong way you’ve screwed everything up. Using the electrical tape that isn’t an issue. The tape goes on very tight, doesn’t stretch (if you use enough turns) and I have no fears that the action will shift while curing. Just follow my advice and put a strip of paper towel under the electrical tape so you don’t mar the finish of the barrel or stock.”

Contoured vs. Straight (Flat-top) Pillars
Many factory rifles come with contoured (radiused) pillars, and many gunsmiths prefer to use these. The idea is that the contour provides a better fit with the bottom of round actions. Richard has tried contoured pillars and doesn’t recommend them. He explains: “Most of the contoured pillars don’t really match the contour of the action anyway. And every action is slightly different. Even some of the most favored custom actions aren’t exactly the same from one unit to another. What happens when the contour or curve of the pillar is too narrow is that the action touches just the extended top edges of the pillar (left and right of center). That is not as solid as when the action contacts the center of the pillar where the action screw runs. (And those sharp sides of curved pillars tend to point-load and dig into your action.) Also I feel you get a better match of the Devcon to the action with flat-top pillars. What you want is the bedding compound to cradle the action all the way around. I’ve found this works best with flat-top pillars and a very strong, hard compound like Devcon that doesn’t squish down or shrink.”

STEP FOUR–Applying Release Agent and Plumbers Putty
Failure to apply release agent (and putty) properly is a recipe for disaster. One of the most common mistakes novices make when doing bedding jobs is locking in the action. This happens by not covering enough of the action with release agent, not taping off the lug correctly, and not adding putty to plug any slots or spaces into which the mud can migrate. Remember, you are doing a bedding job, not a glue-in job! When you’ve completed the process, you want to be able to pop the action loose without difficulty.

PHOTO 6 — Showing putty and release agent before polishing, tape on lug.

First, remove the trigger, bolt release and spring, and anything else from the bottom of the action. Then, clean the action and recoil lug area with brake cleaner or parts degreaser. Apply plumbers’ putty to any hole or crevice that you don’t want the mud to get into. Wrap two layers of masking tape on the outside edges of the lug and trim with a razor blade. Do not apply tape to the front or back of the lug. (Apply tape to the front of the lug only if you do not have a way to remove the hardened mud). Let this tape go right around to the top of the action. Wipe the putty smooth with the brake parts cleaner. I highly recommend neutral Kiwi shoe polish as release agent. Apply liberally to the entire action using a Q-tip to get in around the lug (including front and rear of lug), bolt handle slot and loading port edges. Let the shoe polish dry for 10 minutes and then use a paper towel and buff and polish the release agent as thin as possible. You want any release agent to be as thin as possible so as to let the action set as close as possible to your bedding. You also want to apply release agent to the rear (headless) bolt.

STEP FIVE — Installing the Pillars
Now is the time to place the pillars. Screw the top half of the front pillar and middle pillar (if the action has a middle bolt) to the action with the tapered head bolt. Screw in the headless bolt and slip the pillar down around it. Apply release agent to the area of the guard around the rear bolt hole (and to the rear headless bolt). Apply top and bottom and from the inside out. We don’t want the guard stuck to the bedding. (This guard sits on the bolt head that is secures the middle pillar to the action. We need the guard in place to align the action in the stock.)

Install the trigger guard back in place on the stock as the guard is used to align the barreled action in the stock. Now is the time to make a trial run to ensure that everything fits properly. Slip the upside-down stock down over the pillars with the headless bolt coming up through the rear bolt hole in the guard. See Photo 7. Ensure that the stock is resting on two spots only–the tape you’ve wrapped around the barrel, and the little bit of wood you left behind the tang bolt. Ensure there is room everywhere around the action to accept the mud. The barreled action cannot be touching anywhere except the tape and the tang. Not even on the top edges of the stock.

STEP SIX — Applying the Mud
Mix up a generous portion of the Devcon 10110 Mud and apply to the pillars as shown in Photo 8. Do not get mud on top of the bolt head and front pillar(s). Do apply a little mud on top of the rear pillar and if a little gets on the headless bolt that is OK as you should have applied release agent to this bolt. This will properly bed the guard to the rear pillar. The front bolt that holds the front pillar need not have release agent applied to it. Note, as shown in Photo 8, each pillar has a bolt inserted.

PHOTO 8 — Showing mud on the pillars.

You cannot use too much mud as the hydraulic action of pressing the stock down on the barreled action is going to squeeze the mud everywhere it need to go and the excess will be forced out (falling on the floor for you to step in).

PHOTO 9 — Showing mud applied to stock.

Now apply the mud very generously to the stock as shown in Photo 9 above. If I am not bedding any portion of the barrel shank I will only apply a little mud behind the recoil lug area.

STEP SEVEN — Assembly and Compression
Now slip the upside-down stock down over the pillars as you did in the trial run. Ensure the stock is bottomed-out on the tape at the front end. Squeeze slowly, pressing the rear of the stock down and squeeze out the excess mud. After pressing the stock down, the action area should appear as in Photo 10. During the compression stage, stop a few times and use Q-tips to clean off the excess mud that is squeezing out between action and stock.

PHOTO 10 — Rifle right side up, with the mud squeezed out.

Cut a piece of paper towel about two inches wide by the length of the towel. Lay this on the stock 1.5″ in front of the action. Wrap black electrical tape around the stock and barrel, running the tape over the strip of paper towel. (The towel is to protect the stock finish.) Squeeze the stock and action together while taking wraps with the tape. If you have a skinny, pencil-thin barrel don’t apply too much pressure with the tape as the weak barrel can be curved slightly. That can cause the barrel to touch the stock when everything is done (not good). If you have a big, fat barrel don’t worry about deflection. With a heavy contour tube, whatever bend you put in the barrel will spring back when the tape is removed.

STEP EIGHT — Mud Removal and Curing Time
Using Q-tips, clean up very thoroughly around the front pillar and the bolt head. You need to be able to unscrew the bolt to separate the stock from the rifle and you do not want the bedding protruding above the pillar. (The escutcheon still has to have room to fit in there without touching the end of the pillar.) Before turning the rifle right-side-up, reach under with a few Q-tips and clean off the mud hanging there as it may get inside the action.

Turn the rifle right side up in the vise and, using lots of Q-tips, clean all of the mud off of everything. Remove the excess mud every place you can see it. Use a paper towel to wipe the stock as there could be some invisible mud hiding somewhere on the stock or action. After using Q-tips, I sometimes use Butch’s Bore Shine solvent. It does a good job of removing the mud residue (other solvents with ammonia would work well also).

When you’ve cleaned off all the excess mud. It’s time to let the bedding cure. Lie the rifle upside down with the weight on the rear of the action and about where the tape is on the barrel. Let the gun sit for about 8 to 10 hours or overnight. IMPORTANT, you should remove ALL the excess mud around the action before you let the rifle cure for this time period. Photo 11 shows the rifle upside down, but you want to have the excess mud cleaned off before curing.

PHOTO 11 — Position for curing the mud–but excess should be removed first.

IMPORTANT: Avoiding Mechanical Lock During Bedding
One major problem that can arise when novices bed their own stocks is mechanical lock. This occurs when some part of the action or barrel is trapped below the bedding. Effectively, the barreled action becomes anchored in the stock and can be very difficult to remove. Richard says avoiding mechanical lock is not that difficult, but you must be careful: “Locks usually occur because the bedding is applied too far up. Never, and I repeat, never, bed above the centerline of the action (bore axis), or the widest point of the action (whichever is lower). You need to leave the edge of the bedding at least 1/16″ below the centerline of the action and centerline of the bore axis. I normally leave about 1/8th of vertical clearance. If the widest point of the action is BELOW the bore axis, you have to keep the bedding below that. The other thing to watch out for are projections and holes in the sides of the action. All holes must be filled with plumbers’ putty. All projections–anything that sticks out–need to be removed. If some little part or fixture sticks out, even if you tape it over, and it is below the top of the bedding, it can lock the action in.”

STEP NINE — Popping the Barreled Action Loose
After the required curing time, you need to remove the barreled action to check the beading and fit the pillar escutcheons. If you cleaned away all the excess mud and there are no mechanical locks in the bedding, it should not be difficult to pop the stock loose. You can see how this is done in the short Video Clip from my DVD (Right-Click and “Save As” to download). Here is the procedure.

After the mud has set up and hardened, clamp the barrel in a vise with the gun upside down. The vise should camp just ahead of the forearm. Remove the bolt in the front pillar (and middle pillar) and the headless bolt. Remove the trigger guard.

With the left hand, apply upward pressure to the forearm and then with the right hand slap upward on the forearm. You will hear a crack like you might have busted the stock. Not to worry, that is just the bedding popping free. Now wiggle the stock up off the recoil lug as it is the only thing holding the stock down. [Editors Note: Here’s an older video clip that shows Richard “popping” the stock loose from the barreled action. CLICK HERE to download a 6 Meg Windows media file, or click these links for MPEG (2.3 megs), and Real Media (2.3 megs) versions.]

Remove the tape from the barrel and recoil lug and clean up the putty. Wipe the action down with brake parts cleaner. On the stock, remove the squeezed mud that went into the trigger and bolt release area. Relieve the lug area on both sides and the front. Lay the stock back on the barreled action. Be sure to check under the trigger guard to see if any cleanup of mud is required there. Then re-install the guard and insert the rear action bolt just snug (not tight).

STEP TEN — Installing the Pillar Escutcheons
Pillar escutcheons are a nice extra feature I add to my custom rifles. These are stainless, made from barrel stubs. The two-part front pillar is originally machined as one piece. I believe front pillars with the escutcheons (or outer ring) offer advantages over conventional pillars in terms of strength and alignment.

Before you actually install the escutcheons, you need to do some fit testing. Have a trial run at setting the front bolt to the proper length by placing the escutcheon in the hole and screwing in the bolt. Loosen off the back bolt to see if the bolt that is thru the escutcheon is holding the stock firmly in place. Retighten the rear bolt a wee bit.

Apply release agent to the front bolt, being careful to not get it on the escutcheon. Insert an Allen wrench into the head of the bolt so you can hold it easily. Slip the escutcheon over the bolt. Apply mud to the escutcheon and around the bolt. Photo 12 shows how much mud to put on the escutcheon. You want enough so when you tighten the bolt it will force the mud everywhere it needs to go, even though a bit will be squeezed in around the bolt. Photo 13 shows how the escutcheon should look installed, with the bolt tightened. Photo 14 (below right) shows the escutcheon after the mud has been removed–be sure to remove the excess while the Devcon is still soft.

PHOTOS 13 and 14 — Showing escutcheon before (left) and after mud clean-up (right).

Clean up the excess mud with Q-tips and paper towels. You need to do this before the mud hardens. I used Butch’s Bore Shine as a solvent, once I have removed the excess mud with Q-tips and towels. When the escutcheons are cleaned up, you’ve finished working with the mud. Now let the stock lay for another 8 hours or so to allow the escutcheons to become.

After the mud has hardened around the escutcheon clamp the rifle back in the vise. Remove the back tang bolt first then the front bolt that is through the escutcheon. The bolt will be tight in the hole and sometimes may need to be punched out with a punch unless it has threads right to the head in which case it will screw out. Go in the hole with a .260” bit and clean the mud out of the front pillar. Let the bedding harden for a day or two and then torque the bolts with about 35 inch-lbs of torque on the front bolt and maybe 25 on the tang bolt.

The finished result is an even coat of Devcon with no voids, air pockets, fissures, and perfect stress-free support for the action, as shown in Photo 15.

PHOTO 15 — Completed pillar-bedding job

Photos and text Copyright © 2010 Richard Franklin and AccurateShooter.com, All Rights Reserved.
No reproduction without advanced permission in writing.

Topics: Gunstock, stocks, stocking, laminated stock, wood, pillar bedding, piller, pillars, aluminum pillar, Devcon, putty, stockmaking, Richard Franklin, Richards custom rifles, 10110 Devcon, Acra glass, Brownells, glass bedding, fiberglass, stock bedding, bed, escutcheon, Butch’s Bore Shine.

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April 3rd, 2022

Brownells Do-It-Yourself Videos Show How to Upgrade Your Guns

Brownells do it yourself videos

Brownells’ Do-It-Yourself (DIY) video series provides logical, step-by-step installation help for triggers, stocks, and springs. Nine separate videos cover Brownells various DIY Kits. Not sure if you’re up to the project? Just watch each video to see what’s involved. The nine DIY kits are:

  • Brownells DIY Remington 870 Stock Upgrade Kit 080-000-850
  • Brownells DIY Power Custom 10/22 Trigger Upgrade Kit 080-000-851
  • Brownells DIY Remington 700 Trigger Replacement w/o Trigger 080-000-852
  • Brownells DIY Remington 700 Trigger Replacement with Timney Trigger 080-000-853
  • Brownells DIY S&W J Frame Revolver Upgrade Kit 080-000-862
  • Brownells DIY AR-15 Performance Upgrade Installation 080-001-155WB
  • Brownells DIY Magpul MOE AR15 Stock Upgrade Installation 084-000-386WB
  • Brownells DIY Glock Pistol Sight Upgrade Kit 080-000-919WB
  • Brownells DIY Ruger MKIII Upgrade Kit 930-000-046WB

This video shows Remington 700 after-market trigger installation:

In the Do-It-Yourself videos, Brownells’ Gun Techs proceed step-by-step, showing you exactly how to install the parts on your gun. Each kit also comes with complete, illustrated instructions you can take to the bench. To learn more, click the links above, or CLICK HERE to visit Brownells’ DIY Kit online page.

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March 22nd, 2022

Precision Reloading Tips from Sinclair Int’l Experts

Froggy Reloading Bench

cartridge reloadingA while back, Sinclair International’s Reloading Press Blog featured a “round-table” discussion of reloading techniques. Sinclair’s team of tech staffers were asked: “What do you feel is the one-most crucial step in precision reloading?”

Here are their responses (along with comments from our Editors):

Phil Hoham: “I feel that when working up a load do not go too high or too low in your powder charge. Stay away from “suggested loads” you hear at the range, or on the internet. Always be sure to use a published reloading manual that presents not only minimums and maximums, but also pressure, velocity, and a proper range of powders used. Do not get distracted in the reloading process, and remain focused at all times during each step involved.”

AccurateShooter.com: Some loads presented on the Internet are OK as a starting point, but it is absolutely critical to understand that pressure maximums will vary considerably from one rifle to another (of the same chambering). For example, one 6mmBR rifle shooting 105gr bullets can max out with 30.0 grains of Varget powder, while another rifle, with the same chamber dimensions, but a different barrel, could tolerate (and perform better) with half a grain more powder. You need to adjust recommended loads to your particular rifle and barrel.

Pete Petros: “This could be a very broad topic, but if I were to pick one, it would be making sure to pay close attention, and weigh each and every powder charge to ensure that each load is exact and consistent. This is important not only for accuracy, but also for safety reasons.”

AccurateShooter.com: If you’re shooting beyond 200 yards, it is critical to weigh your loads with an accurate scale or automated system such as the AutoTrickler V3/V4. Loads that are uniform (within a few kernels) will exhibit lower Extreme Spread and Standard Deviation. And remember, even if you stick with the same powder, when you get a new powder lot, you may have to adjust your load quite a bit. For example, .308 Palma shooters have learned they may need to adjust Varget loads by up to a full grain from one lot of Varget to the next.

Ron Dague: “I feel that the most important step(s) in reloading for accuracy are in the initial case prep. Uniforming the primer pocket to the same depth to ensure consistency in primer seating is a crucial step. Additionally de-burring the flash holes, each in the same way to clean up and chamfer the inside is important. It ensures that the ignition from the primer is uniform and flows out in the same consistent pattern. Doing so will create uniform powder ignition and tighten up your velocity Extreme Spread.”

AccurateShooter.com: With some brands of brass, primer pocket uniforming and flash-hole deburring is useful. However, with the best Lapua, Norma, and RWS brass it may be unnecessary, or worse, counter-productive. So long as your Lapua brass flash-holes are not obstructed or smaller than spec, it may be best to leave them alone. This is particularly true with the small flash holes in 220 Russian, 6BR, and 6.5×47 cases. MOST of the flash-hole reaming tools on the market have cutting bits that vary in size because of manufacturing tolerances. We’ve found tools with an advertised diameter of .0625″ (1/16″) that actually cut an 0.068″ hole. In addition, we are wary of flash-hole deburring tools that cut an aggressive inside chamfer on the flash-holes. The reason is that it is very difficult to control the amount of chamfer precisely, even with tools that have a depth stop.

Rod Green: “I feel that bullet seating is the most important step. If you had focused on making sure all prior steps (case prep, powder charge, etc.) of the process have been carefully taken to ensure uniformity, bullet seating is the last step, and can mean all the difference in the world in terms of consistency. Making sure that the bullet is seated to the same depth each time, and time is taken to ensure that true aligned seating can make the load.”

Bullet seating arbor press

Bob Blaine: “I agree with Rod. I strongly feel that consistent bullet seating depth is the most important step in creating the most accurate hand loads. I have seen the results in both my bench and long range rifles. Taking the time to ensure exactness in the seating process is by far, the number one most important step in my book.”

AccurateShooter.com: Agreed. When loading match ammo, after bullet seating, we check every loaded round for base of case to ogive length. If it varies by more than 3 thousandths, that round is segregated or we attempt to re-seat the bullet. We measure base of case to bullet ogive with a comparator mounted on one jaw of our calipers. You may have to pre-sort your bullets to hold the case-base to ogive measurement (of loaded rounds) within .003″.

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March 19th, 2022

Saturday at The Movies: AR Platform Set-Up & Maintenance

Brownells tech tip video AR15 ar platform rifle gunsmithing

Do you own or shoot an AR-platform “black rifle”? Then you know these rifles run dirty, and have some unusual maintenance requirements. On the other hand, the AR “Modern Sporting Rifle” is fun and versatile with a vast range of options among buttstocks, barrels, handguards, and grips. You can assemble a simple 16″ barrel .223 Rem rig for home defense, or build a long-barreled 6mm ARC rifle with bag-rider buttstock and high-magnification optic for long range target work. The choice is up to you.

To help with your black rifle journey, here are eight helpful videos from Brownells. These will help ensure your AR rifle cycles reliably and runs longer, with reduced wear. Brownells also explains how to choose the optimal barrel twist rate. CLICK HERE to order AR parts, accessories, and ammo from Brownells.

AR Bolt/Bolt Carrier Lubrication — Smarter Methods

This video shows the proper way to lubricate an AR-15 bolt-carrier assembly. The video identifies the key metal-on-metal friction points where you actually need lubrication: the rails on the underside of the carrier, shiny wear points on top, and just a dab on the cam pin. How much oil/lubricant should you use? The AR-15 is pretty forgiving on that point. Some spots work best with grease, others work best with a lighter oil. Just keep it out of the combustion areas. Those little holes in the carrier are gas vent holes, NOT oil holes!

AR Maintenance — General Cleaning Procedures

Let’s face it, ARs with the original gas system tend to run dirty. You’ll need to regularly clean the bolt carrier and bolt. In addition you should regularly clean the chamber area and the inside of the upper. Also make sure to clean the lower (see video 3:15) and ensure the trigger assembly is properly maintained. This video covers general cleaning and maintenance of AR-platform rifles. We highly recommend that all new AR owners watch this video. NOTE: When cleaning the bolt, don’t forget the extractor recess and ejector recess. The majority of ARs we’ve seen that did not function properly had gunk (lube, carbon, brass shavings) clogging these areas.

AR Barrel Twist Rates — What You Need to Know

AR barrels can be ordered with a variety of twist rates from 1:12″ to 1:7″. Basically, the longer/heavier the bullet you plan to shoot, the faster the twist rate you need. For example, Sierra recommends a 1:7″ twist rate for the 90gr SMK. A 1:12″ could work with the small lightweight bullets up to 55 grains. The 1:9″ barrel will stabilize the light and mid-weight bullets up to about 77 grains. We recommend a 1:8″ or 1:7″ twist rate for the best versatility. You’ll find a detailed discussion of AR twist rates on PewPewTactical.com.

How to Install an AR15 Trigger Assembly

One of the most common AR upgrades done by black rifle owners is swapping out the trigger for a better unit (perhaps a two-stage). Trigger replacements on ARs can be done fairly easily with basic tools. But there are some recommended procedures to ensure the trigger group swap goes easily. You’ll want to have a proper mount to secure the lower, and tools that fit the pin diameters on your lower.

Must-Have Spare Parts for AR-Platform Rifle

With 350,000 views, this is one of the most-watched AR videos on the Brownells YouTube Channel. Brownells Gun Techs Steve and Caleb list key spare parts AR owners should have. Top of the list are bolt gas rings, which wear out through normal use. Also you’ll want a spare extractor spring and pin, because these both can fail. The cotter pin and cam pin can break, but more often they get lost when the Bolt Carrier Group is disassembled for cleaning. Additionally, the large buffer springs wear out with time, so have a spare. Downstairs on the lower receiver, keep spare springs and detents for the pivot and takedown pins. Finally, if you’ve upgraded your trigger, keep the original one as a backup spare.

Checking Headspace on ARs

In this Tech Tip, Brownells gun tech Steve Ostrem walks users step-by-step through the process of checking headspace on their AR-15 rifles, both new and used. It is very important to have proper headspace to ensure proper feeding and extraction, and to ensure good brass longevity (with less risk of dangerous case separation). Starting at 2:10, this video explains how to check headspace with go/no-go gauges and maximum headspace gauge. Ostrem notes: “If you have an AR that closes on a no-go gauge, we recommend taking it to a gunsmith before heading to the range.”

brownells AR AR15 headspace video go gauge
Excessive headspace in AR platform rifles can lead to dangerous case separation.

Setting Up Gas Tube Systems

This Tech Tip examines AR-platform gas systems, and shows how to select the proper length gas tube, and how to configure multiple tube systems if you change your barrel to different lengths. This is worth watching for anyone re-barreling an AR.

Barrel Gas Block Alignment — Key to Reliable Cycling

In this video, Brownells gun tech Steve Ostrem explains surefire methods to align your gas block. The most common problem with AR builds is poor cycling, commonly caused by misalignment between the gas block and the barrel’s gas port.

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February 21st, 2022

Bargain Finder 335: AccurateShooter’s Deals of the Week

AccurateShooter Deals of the Week Weekly Bargain Finder Sale Discount Savings

At the request of our readers, we provide select “Deals of the Week”. Every Sunday afternoon or Monday morning we offer our Best Bargain selections. Here are some of the best deals on firearms, hardware, reloading components, optics, and shooting accessories. Be aware that sale prices are subject to change, and once clearance inventory is sold, it’s gone for good. You snooze you lose.

1. Midsouth — Multiple Popular Powders in Stock

midsouth reloading powder propellant in stock sale
Good powders — Accurate, Hodgdon, Ramshot, IMR, & Vihtavuori in stock

Good news for handloaders — Midsouth has received significant quantities of popular reloading powders, including LT30, LT32, H322, H390, H50BMG, Ramshot TAC, VV N133, VV N320, and more. CLICK HERE to all propellants in stock. N133 is a top powder for the 6 PPC, LT30 and LT32 are top choices for short-range score cartridges, VV N320 is our favorite powder for .45 ACP, and Ramshot TAC is a great choice for .223 Rem and varmint loads. Head over to Midsouth today to see if there’s something you need.

2. Sportsman’s WHSE — Bergara B-14 HMR Rifle, $799.99

bergara b-14 hmr presidents day sale
Nice versatile rifle for hunting, target shooting, and tactical matches

Sportsman’s Warehouse is running a President’s Day Sale with significant savings on guns, optics, and ammo. Among the best gun deals are Bergara B-14 HMR rifles. Get a Bergara B-14 HMR in 6.5 Creedmoor, .308 Win, or .300 Win Mag for $799.99. That’s $150.00 off the regular price. Other Bergara Models are on sale as well, including the B-14 HMR Wilderness HMR in .300 PRC (26″ bbl) for $949.99. Act soon, this sale ends at 11:59 pm on 2/21/2022.

3. CDNN Sports — Walther P22 Nickel Ported, $439.99

kreiger barrel sale
Cool ported pistol for rimfire games — accurate with great ergonomics

For .22 LR gun games, such as Rimfire Challenge matches, this Walther P22 is a good choice. The ported P22 combines low recoil/minimal muzzle flip with best-in-class ergonomics. This P22 pistol offers interchangeable backstraps, plus ambidextrous magazine release and slide safety. With its compensated (ported) barrel this gun delivers fast follow-up shots. A rare feature for a rimfire, the P22 is covered by the Walther Lifetime Limited Warranty. The P22 has a 5″ barrel and weighs 16 ounces with empty magazine. NOTE: Supply is limited.

4. Palmetto SA — Vortex 1-8x24mm Scope + Mount, $299.99

vortex scope AR15 AR10 cantilever rail mount rings
Smart cantilever set-up for AR rifles, save $200.00 with Code “STRIKE”

If you are looking for an affordable turn-key scope solution for your AR-platform rifle, check out this Vortex 1-8x24mm Strike Eagle GEN2 Scope + Mount Combo System. This combo includes a riflescope PLUS a Vortex cantilevered scope mount that positions the optic in the right position on a AR15 or AR10 rifle. You can see how the system works on an AR15 above. AR owners have been very happy with this combination. The Strike Eagle offers a true 8X zoom ratio with an illuminated AR-BDC3 Reticle optimized for ARs. Listed retail price is $499.99 but you save $200.00 with CODE “STRIKE”. That lowers your net cost to $299.99 for scope and mount.

5. MidwayUSA — Hoppes Gun Vise and Cleaning Kit, $24.86

Hoppes gun vise free cleaning kit
Good basic gun vise at great price with bonus cleaning kit

The Hoppe’s Gun Vise is a good basic support for working on your firearms. And right now its offered for a crazy-low $25.86 sale price. Clamping brackets in the front and rear hold your rifle or shotgun securely without scratching. The vise is made out of a durable, chemical resistant polymer and has multiple compartments for cleaning chemicals, tools, and accessories. Included with this vise is a 12-piece Cleaning Kit for rifles, pistols, and shotguns. This gun vise has multiple compartments for tools and adjustable feet.

6. Amazon — BOG Deathgrip Aluminum Tripod, $139.99

Bogpod black aluminum deathgrip PRS tripod hunting
Versatile tripod mounts quickly, securely — use for PRS/NRL or hunting.

This is a great tripod for long-range hunters and PRS/NRL competitors. The clamp-type head quickly secures to your rifle’s forearm for a secure shooting solution. The BOG Deathgrip Aluminum Tripod is on sale now on Amazon for $139.99. If weight is critical, there is also a lighter BOG carbon fiber tripod for $223.96 at Grafs.com and $240.27 on Amazon. For the extra $84 (Graf’s price) you save a pound in total weight (7.5 lbs for carbon vs. 8.5 lbs for aluminum).

7. Natchez — CCI Blazer 9mm Ammo, $16.99/50 or $17.49/50

CCI Blazer 9mm ammunition pistol ammo
Quality 9mm pistol ammo at ultra-attractive prices

Do you carry a 9mm or use one for IDPA matches? Then check out this deal. Right now Natchez has CCI Blazer 9mm Luger (9x19mm) ammo on sale — both brass-cased and aluminum-cased. If you reload, pay a few bucks more for the brass-cased Blazer 9mm ammo ($17.49/50). If you don’t reload for 9mm, then shoot the aluminum-cased Blazer variety at just $14.99 for 50 rounds. Both Blazer types work fine — we’ve shot hundreds of rounds of the stuff in Glocks, SIGS, Rugers, and HKs with no issues whatsoever. Grab this bargain — the same ammo was selling for $28+ a few months ago.

8. Amazon — Frankford DS-750 Reloading Scale, $30.60

frankford arsenal ds-750 digital reloading scale
Reliable, affordable, compact scale for reloaders

Right now this Frankford Arsenal DS-750 digital scale is 36% off at Amazon. This is a handy, precise little scale that is good for loading at the range, or for weight-sorting components. The DS-750 offer +/- 0.1 grain accuracy and weighs up to 750 grains. One nice feature is auto-shutoff after 60 seconds of inactivity. That saves on battery life. This won’t replace a premium scale, but it can serve many duties for reloaders. The scale measures in grains, grams, carats, and ounces and runs on 2 AAA batteries.

9. Harbor Freight — 8-Drawer Wood Tool Chest, $84.99

AccurateShooter Deals of week bargain discount savings Wood Tool Chest Harbor Freight
Handsome wood chest is great for holding small tools

This Wood Tool Chest makes a great addition to your reloading room. The eight (8) drawers can hold the many small tools and accessories used for hand-loading, such as bushings, shims, uniforming tools, mandrels, neck-turners and more. A deeper top compartment (under the lid) holds wrenches and other larger tools. The price is just $84.99 at Harbor Freight. A lockable sliding wood panel fits in place to cover the drawers when not in use. This locking panel also secures the drawers during transport.

10. Amazon — Jialitte Scope Bubble Level, $10.99

Scope Optic bubble level 30mm 1
Great price for handy product every rifle shooter can use

All serious rifle shooters need a scope level. This nicely designed Jialitte Scope Bubble Level features a 30mm milled inside diameter, plus an inner insert ring so it will also fit 1″-diameter main tubes — that dual-diameter versatility is a nice feature. We also like the way the unit is nicely radiused, and has a low profile in the middle. Price is just $10.99 with free shipping. User reviews have been very positive. You could easily pay $35.00 or more for a 30mm scope level.

BONUS — RCBS Reloading Sweepstakes

rcbs reloading sweepstakes contest matchmaster Press midwayusa

Now through February 28, 2022 (2/28/22), you’ll have a chance to RCBS Reloading gear prizes worth $1918.97 (combined total). The various RCBS prizes include: RCBS MatchMaster Digital Powder Scale & Dispenser, RCBS Rebel Master Single Stage Press Kit, RCBS Case Prep Kit, RCBS Rotary Case Tumbler. CLICK HERE for entry info. No purchase necessary to enter contest.

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February 16th, 2022

Celebrate Second Amendment Day — February 22, 2022

Brownells second amendment day 2/22/2022 February 22 2022

Under the current administration in Washington, Second Amendment rights are under attack. President Biden wants to restrict handguns and ban modern semi-automatic rifles such as the AR-15. And the ATF continues to digitize millions of sales records, effectively creating a national Firearms Registry, in direct violation of Federal law.

To help fight these trends, Brownells encourages all gun owners to take collective action to help defend the Second Amendment. For this purpose Brownells has declared the first-ever Second Amendment Day (2A Day) on February 2, 2022 — 2-22-2022.

FREE Range Sessions, FREE Ammo, and FREE Food

On 2A Day you can shoot for free — on Brownells’ nickel — at affiliated gun ranges. On 2-22-2022, Brownells has partnered with a few gun ranges to host 2nd Amendment Day range sessions. The range sessions will include free range time, limited free ammo, and free food for those who attend.

Brownells second amendment day 2/22/2022 February 22 2022

To find a participating range, visit the National 2nd Amendment Day website. Then contact the range to reserve a place.

Post your Second Amendment Day Range Sessions
Brownells encourages Second Amendment supporters unable to attend a participating range to shoot at a nearby, local range and post photos of their 2A Day activities on social media with hashtag #2ADay.

Join a Second Amendment Organization

Brownells recommends that gun owners join a national and/or state-level gun rights organization. Brownells will promote the Firearms Policy Coalition (FPC), Second Amendment Foundation (SAF), and American Suppressor Association (ASA) on its website. Brownells will also feature a clickable USA map which visitors can use to find a state organization to join.

Brownells states: “The most important thing you can do is join with us to help preserve, protect and expand your 2nd Amendment rights. Join a state level organization promoting gun rights where you live. Join a national organization to help protect freedom for the whole country. In the spirit of joining, Brownells will purchase FPC memberships for its employees, and donate $22,222 each to FPC, SAF, the ASA, and the Iowa Firearms Coalition.”

Advocate for Your Rights — Contact Your Legislators

Brownells encourages all gun owners to advocate for the 2nd Amendment by contacting their state and federal lawmakers and communicating citizen support for gun rights. The National 2nd Amendment Day webpage includes tips on how to how to effectively communicate with politicians.

Brownells second amendment day 2/22/2022 February 22 2022

“The spirit of this event is to designate a day that we, as a nation, recognize, celebrate and do our part to secure one of the most important rights guaranteed by our Constitution – the right to keep and bear arms,” said Pete Brownell, Chairman of the Board. “This event, which we hope continues to grow in size, scale and scope, is aimed at bringing all freedom-loving Americans together on one day – 2/22 – this year and every year going forward to show support for our beloved 2nd Amendment.”

To help promote 2A Day, Brownells has created a free, downloadable target:

Brownells second amendment day 2/22/2022 February 22 2022

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January 31st, 2022

Save Money with Brownells 2022 Discount Codes

Brownells coupon shopping discount code June 2018

With inflation and rising prices, it’s more important than ever to take advantage of discounts and promotions. We’ve located the latest Discount Codes for Brownells Purchases that can save you 10% (or more) on your purchases. These Brownells Discount Codes qualify you for significant savings on guns, ammo, parts, and reloading components at Brownells. Use these Codes during check-out and the savings will reduce your net cost. For example, save $60 on a $600+ purchase, $40 off $400, or $25 off $250 — getting 10% savings. NOTE: Some of these discount codes expire today, while others may expire at any time, so don’t hesitate. If one Code doesn’t work, try another.

Coupon Code: MC4 — $60 off $600
Expiration date: Unknown expiration

Coupon Code: MC3 or RTAMC3 — $35 off $350
Expiration date: Unknown expiration

Coupon Code: MC2 — $25 off $250
Expiration date: Expires 1/31/2022

Coupon Code: WC2 or VJS — $20 off $200
Expiration date: Unknown expiration

Coupon Code: SAE — $15 OFF $150
Expiration date: Unknown expiration

Coupon Code: RTA or PTT — $10 OFF $100
Expiration date: Unknown expiration

Coupon Code: Q63 — FREE Shipping (threshhold unknown)
Expiration date: Unknown expiration

In addition, Brownells is offering FREE 2-Day Shipping on most orders with $49.95 Annual Membership

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January 14th, 2022

Ultrasonic Case Cleaning — What Is the Best Dwell Time?

cartridge brass case ultrasonic liquid cleaning dwell time brownells

If you read our lengthy article on Ultrasonic Cleaning by Jason Baney, you’ve seen the remarkable results that can be achieved with this method, as shown by the photo above. Ultrasonic cleaning has many advantages over traditional tumbling methods of case cleaning. There is no dust or media residue to remove from the brass, and when done right, the cases come out clean and shiny, inside and out, even the primer pockets.

In its Benchtalk Archives, Brownell’s has an excellent article discussing Ultrasonic Case Cleaning. Brownell’s staff compares results, with measured dwell times from 5 to 75 minutes, using both Mpro-7 and HCS 200 cleaning solutions. Tests are performed with once-fired and 5X-fired Tactical 20 (Tac20) cases, as well as once-fired .260 Rem Cases. The article also compares the results from ultrasonic cleaning vs. tumbling in walnut media. Below are Brownell’s results for Tac20 cases with the HCS 200 (non-acidic solution). Go to Brownell’s article for MPro7 results and Rem 260 results.

HCS 200 Cleaning Solution Test

Procedure — Solution was de-gassed for 15 minutes, then 63 Tac20 cases were placed in a single layer, in stainless steel mesh basket. The temperature of the starting solution was 102° F. When the cases were removed the temperature was 110° F.

Once-Fired Tactical Twenty Cases (HCS 200) — Observations
5 minutes: The exterior of the cases are not significantly brighter/cleaner. The primer pockets and case interiors are still dirty.
10 minutes: Exterior of the cases are brighter. 70% of the cases show some degree of cleaning of the primer pockets. Little difference seen inside the case, but case mouths are cleaner.
15 minutes: Case brightness is about the same. Still only 70% of the primer pockets are clean, but a larger portion of each is cleaner. A Q-tip swabbed inside the cases shows that carbon/powder residues are loosening up.
20 minutes: Case exteriors are brightening up. 80-85% of the primer pockets are about 90% clean. The insides of the cases and case mouths are cleaner.
25 minutes: Cases are brighter/cleaner than even new brass. 80-85% of the cases have almost completely clean primer pockets. The inside of the cases are 80-90% clean.
30 minutes: The insides of the cases and case mouths appear to be completely clean. 87% of the primer pockets are virtually 100% clean. 13% of the cases had stubborn primer pocket residue that could not be completely removed.
60 minutes: Eight cases (13%) were placed in the tank for another 30 minutes to try to remove the remaining residue in their primer pockets. Six out of the eight cases were completely clean.

Five-Times Fired Tac20 Cases — Observations
30 minutes: Based on the above observations, I didn’t begin to observe these 5-time fired cases until after 30 minutes: The exterior cases are bright/clean. Brighter than new cases. The primer pockets on 75% of the cases are 75% clean. The remaining cases had primer pockets that were only 25% clean. The inside of the cases appear to be clean.
65 minutes: 25% of the primer pockets were 95% clean, 25% of the primer pockets were 90% clean, 25% of the primer pockets were 85% clean; and 25% were 80% clean.
75 minutes: 75% of the primer pockets were 90% clean.

How Does Ultrasonic Cleaning Work?
The Brownell’s article explains: “Ultrasonic cleaning uses high-frequency sound waves (generally between 20-80 kHz) to remove a variety of contaminants from objects immersed in a liquid. The result of these high-frequency sound waves is a process called cavitation. These high frequency bursts of ultrasonic energy produce a three-dimensional wave of alternating positive and negative pressure areas as the sound wave passes through the solution. During negative pressure, microscopic cavitation bubbles form and will continue to grown until they reach resonant size. As the positive sound wave passes, the pressure rises rapidly and implodes these tiny bubbles. Before these minuscule bubbles implode they store a tremendous amount of energy. These bubbles can be as hot as 10,000 degrees and have as much as 50,000 lbs per square inch of pressure. This sounds alarming, but you have to remember that these bubbles are microscopic in nature and pose no harm to anything, unless you are a carbon /powder residue deposit on a cartridge case!

When this cavitation bubble implodes near your brass case, it transforms the bubble into a jet about 1/10th of its size. This jet of energy can travel as fast as 400 km/hour. At 43 kHz, as is the frequency for our L & R HCS 200 ultrasonic cleaner, this is happening 43,000 times per second. This micro-burst of extreme energy is responsible for removing contaminants from the surface of your cartridge brass. Ultrasonic cleaning can reach into crevices and inaccessible areas and remove surface debris that can’t be cleaned by any other process.”

Photos and quotes © Brownells®, Inc. All Rights Reserved, Used with Permission.

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December 24th, 2021

Strategies for Finding Primers in Time of Shortages

primer sources supplies finding CCI Federal
Photo courtesy Laurie Holland, TargetShooter UK Magazine.

Reloading components are in short supply these days, particularly powder and primers. But primers may be the biggest challenge these days — finding them may seem like a Quest for the Holy Grail. That’s a big problem for handloaders. You may be able to find substitutes for your favorite powder and bullets, but if you don’t have primers, you can’t even get started.

To locate primers these days, you must consider ALL possible sources: local gunshops, local private sales, sale tables at shooting club meetings, gun/hunting forum classifieds, large outdoor stores, and mail-order vendors. Then yes, worst case scenario, look at the auction sites such as GunBroker.

You need to be looking at multiple places — local vendors, gun clubs, big retailers such as Cabela’s and Sportsman’s Warehouse. And get creative — talk to shooting buddies, check for estate sales.

primer sources supplies finding CCI Federal

Consider all Possible Sources — Not Just Online Vendors

The guys who are scoring primers these days are resorting to old-fashioned methods — visiting small, mom-and-pop gunstores, checking local estate sales, and “networking” with local shooting club members. First, if you are not a member of a local shooting club, you should join for a multitude of reasons. We recently acquired some powder at a local shooting club meeting, exchanging some H4198 for Hodgdon Varget straight across. A Forum member recently scored both powders and primers at the estate sale of a shooting club member.

For the best chance of success, regularly check 6-10 brick-and-mortar locations in your region. One good way to do this is by combining forces with shooting buddies. Get together with 3 or 4 guys and collectively scout ALL the local gunshops and outdoor stores with shooting supplies. You CAN get lucky. For example, we regularly check a small gunstore in a nearby mall. Just last week we were able to find CCI pistol primers! Yes, deliveries are happening, you just need to check. And check often.

How to Find Primers — SEVEN STRATEGIES

1. Make a list of ALL local gunshops and outdoor supply stores within a 70-mile radius. Call them on a regular basis.
2. Join a local shooting club. Attend meetings where you can sell/exchange products. (We recently exchanged pistol primers for rifle primers we needed).
3. Join local/regional gun forums. You may find listings for “face-to-face” transactions where you can buy/exchange primers. Our AccurateShooter Forum also has a thread on Where to Find Primers.
4. Bookmark multiple vendor websites and check daily (we provide a list below).
5. Combine resources with some shooting buddies. Get together with 3 or 4 guys and collectively scout ALL the local gunshops and outdoor stores with shooting supplies. Assign each guy a different “territory” (perhaps close to his work locations).
6. Search your garage and storage areas. This Editor recently found 5000 Winchester Small Pistol Primers in an unopened box. These were left over from his IDPA and 3-gun days, years ago.
7. Consider APS Primers. CCI sells APS primers pre-loaded in plastic strips. These can still be found gathering dust in some shops. You can remove the primers from the strips, or simply buy an APS priming tool and use them as intended.

primer sources supplies finding CCI Federal

Online Vendors for Primers

Here are leading online retailers that sell primers (along with other reloading components). NOTE: Most of these vendors’ primer inventories sell out quickly. So you need to check regularly. Persistence will pay off, eventually. Primer shipments DO arrive, they just sell out fast.

Brownells
Graf & Sons
Midsouth Shooters Supply
Powder Valley Inc.
Precision Reloading
Bruno Shooters Supply
MidwayUSA
Natchez Shooters Supplies
Sportsman’s Warehouse (check online AND in stores)
Academy Sports
Cabela’s

Best Strategy for Online Primer Purchasing (Not Auctions)
With these (and other) online vendors, you need to check “early and often”. Primers may arrive and sell out in a matter of minutes. You should bookmark multiple sources and check them multiple times each week.

The primer shortage has been worsened by dramatically reduced imports of Russian primers.
Russian Wolf Primers shortage

WARNING — SCAM Websites Want to Steal Your Money
BEWARE of websites that list unlimited quantities of hard-to-find primers. In recent weeks we have seen five criminal scam websites selling reloading products including powder and primers. Here a quick tip — if the website does not take regular credit cards (MC/Visa/Amex/Discover) it is likely a scam site. And if you can order 200 8-lb jugs of Varget it is definitely a scam site! Bottom Line — beware of ANY seller without an established history, and be very wary of sites that only take Zelle, Venmo, and Bitcoin.

Last Word — About Online Auctions for Primers
We are seeing persons selling primers at crazy high prices ($200/1000!) via online auctions at Gunbroker and elsewhere. Be careful… very careful. Primers are a HAZMAT product. They may ONLY be shipped legally by Hazmat-certified businesses. Some of the Auction sellers are not HAZMAT-certified. If your primer shipment is seized or not delivered because the seller was not properly certified, don’t expect to get your money back.

Permalink Bullets, Brass, Ammo, Reloading, Tech Tip 1 Comment »
December 20th, 2021

Weaver Rail vs. Picatinny Rail — What Are the Differences?

Picatinny Rail specifications 1913 Mil-std

Readers often ask “What’s the difference between a Weaver scope rail and a Picatinny Rail?” The answer is not as simple as it seems. The dimensions of a Picatinny Rail should be consistent (from one rail-maker to another), since there IS a government spec. Conversely, there is some variance in “Weaver-style” rails. The width of the groove is the most important difference between Picatinny Rails and Weaver-type rails. “Mil-spec” Picatinny rails will have a grove width of 0.206″ while Weaver rails typically have a narrower, 0.180″ groove width.

Weaver Rail BAT action
Does your rifle have a Weaver Rail or Picatinny Rail? Check the dimensions to be sure.

Brownell’s has a helpful GunTech™ Article that discusses the Picatinny Rail vs. Weaver Rail. That article explains:

What are the differences between the ‘Picatinny’ and the ‘Weaver’ systems? The profile of the two systems is virtually identical. Depending on the quality of the machining done by the manufacturer, the two systems should be indistinguishable from the profile. The key difference lies in the placement of the recoil grooves and with width of the grooves. MIL-STD-1913 (Picatinny) grooves are .206″ wide and have a center-to-center width of .394”. The placement of these grooves has to be consistent in order for it to be a true Picatinny MIL-STD system. Weaver systems have a .180” width of recoil groove and are not necessarily consistent in a center-to-center measurement from one groove to the next.

In many instances, a Weaver system has a specific application that it is machined for, so interchangeability is not necessarily an issue. A MIL-STD-1913 system must adhere to the specifications listed above in order for it to be considered MIL-STD, since the military desires uniformity in the recoil grooves to allow for different systems to be mounted on the weapon with no concern for compatibility.

Now, what does this mean? Boiled down, it means that accessories designed for a Weaver system will, in most cases, fit on a Picatinny system. The reverse, however, is probably not the case. Due to the larger recoil groove, Picatinny accessories will not fit a Weaver system. There are, of course, exceptions to every rule, but for a good rule-of-thumb, [full-width] Picatinny won’t fit Weaver, but Weaver accessories WILL fit Picatinny.

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November 27th, 2021

Brownells Black Rifle Specials and Site-Wide Discount Codes

Brownells folding AR stock adapter

Brownells is continuing its popular Black Rifle Friday promotion through this entire weekend. Now through midnight on Sunday 11/28/21, enjoy big savings on uppers, lowers, barrels, buttstocks, rimfire conversion kits, AR optics, magazines and much more. Along with the attractive sale prices, you can save on nearly all Brownells products with special Black Friday weekend Discount Codes. NOTE: These codes are NOT limited to AR stuff — you can save on most products in stock.* But don’t delay, the codes expire soon.

Code RFA: 11% Off $200 | Code RFB: 12% Off $300 | Code RFC: 13% Off $700

Brownells folding AR stock adapter

Most Sale Prices Good Through 11/28/2021 at 11:59 pm CST. The special Discount Codes expire on 11/29/2021 at 11:59 pm CST.

Brownells folding AR stock adapter


*Promo Code Exceptions
Promo Codes are NOT valid on these brands: B&T, Bighorn Arms (Zermatt Arms), Crimson Trace, FN USA, Franklin Armory, Galco Int’l, Glock, Holosun, Kahles, LabRadar, Leica, Leupold, Nightforce, Raven Concealment, Ruger, SIG Sauer, Swarovski, Trijicon, and Zenith Firearms. Also Promo Codes are NOT valid on these product types (and more): barrel blanks, barrels (chambered), barreled receivers, bullets, case tumblers, cleaning rods, progressive presses, reloading kits, rifle stocks, shot, shotshell presses, ultrasonic case cleaners. See ALL Exceptions.

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November 20th, 2021

Brownells Has Many Powders in Stock at Good Prices

Brownells in stock reloading powders sale discount code

Popular Powders In Stock at Brownells at Reasonable Prices

We all know that reloading powders have been hard to find. And when you do find an appropriate powder, some vendors are asking crazy high prices. Well we’re pleased to report that Brownells has a number of popular powders IN STOCK today (11/20/2021), and the prices are quite fair, starting at $24.99 per pound for Ramshot Competition. Grab some excellent Hodgdon H380 for $33.99 per pound, or IMR 4198 for $38.99 per pound. CLICK HERE to see all available in-stock powders at Brownells today.

Save Money with Brownells Discount Codes

While you’re shopping at Brownells, don’t forget to use one of the current Discount Codes to save money. There are many current codes that can save you up to 10% on your purchase. And with special Pre-Black Friday Code RTC you get $30 off $300 PLUS FREE Shipping and handling through November 23rd at midnight. Fill in the applicable Code during checkout.

Current Brownells Discount Codes:

Code FR6: $85 off $875
Expiration date November 30, 2021

Code FR5: $55 off $575
Expiration date November 30, 2021

Code RTC: $30 off $300 and FREE Shipping/Handling
Expiration Date November 23, 2021 at 11:59pm

Code FR4: $25 off $275
Expiration Date November 30, 2021

Code TAG: $15 off $150
Expiration Date Unknown

Code SAE: $15 off $150
Expiration Date Unknown

Code PTT: $10 off $100
Expiration Date Unknown

Code Q63: Free Shipping/Handling over $99
Expiration Date Unknown

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November 10th, 2021

Help Wounded Warriors — Brownells Sales Generate Funding

sale week Veterans Day SOWW Brownells special operations wounded warriors

Brownells will donate a percentage of sales during Veterans Day week to Special Operations Wounded Warriors (SOWW), a 501(c)3 charity dedicated to helping Purple Heart recipients of the Special Operations community. Donations to the SOWW organization will be generated by virtually all purchases this week from Brownells, including Current Sale Items.

Starting Monday, November 8, and lasting through Sunday, November 14 (11:59 pm CST), Brownells will track purchases made at www.Brownells.com and give 4% of those sales to the veterans’ charity, up to a total donation amount of $175,000.

How SOWW Benefits Wounded Veterans and Active Duty Personnel
SOWW’s main mission is to provide therapeutic outdoor experiences to wounded veterans from the various Special Operations forces of the United States military. SOWW also offers other services and counseling to both Special Operations veterans and their families. SOWW is a not-for-profit group that provides outdoor experiences and therapeutic retreats, as well as assistance with medical, physical, and mental therapies for both veterans and active-duty members of the U.S. Special Operations Forces who have been wounded in action. SOWW is funded by donations and is run and operated by unpaid volunteers. Its low operating costs mean over 93% of all donations directly support the veterans and active duty personnel SOWW serves.

sale week Veterans Day SOWW Brownells special operations wounded warriors

“SOWW does great work to help people who have put everything on the line for us and our country,” said Vice President of Marketing Ryan Repp. “Brownells has supported SOWW for a long time, and we are proud to keep finding ways to help them help our Special Operations veterans.”

To learn more, and see short video interviews with veterans who have benefited from SOWW’s efforts, visit the Brownells SOWW page.

sale week Veterans Day SOWW Brownells special operations wounded warriors

About Special Operations Wounded Warriors (SOWW)

SOWW (Special Operations Wounded Warriors), a 501(c)(3) charity, was formed in August of 2012 for the distinct purpose of providing outdoor experiences to a select group of both active duty and veteran U.S. Military Special Operations Forces, that have received wounds in battle, and have received our country’s prestigious Purple Heart Medal. To donate or to get more information, visit www.sowwcharity.org.

SOWW President Jud Kuhn Talks about His Organization:

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November 5th, 2021

New Brownells AR Build Resource Site with How-To Videos

Brownells AR15 AR builder online how to build guide videos upper lower trigger

In the face of growing online censorship across many popular social media sites (such as YouTube), Brownells has launched a new online resource to help customers build their own AR-15 rifles at home. Hosted at Brownells.com/HowToBuild, the new web page features step-by-step, interactive videos. Featuring Brownells Gun Tech Caleb Savant, the videos show the AR-15 build process with easy-to-follow directions and expert advice. There are currently four AR Build videos: Introduction, How to Build Your Lower, How to Build Your Upper, and Troubleshooting Guide. See all videos at: Brownells.com/HowToBuild.

Access New Brownells AR Builder Video Resource Page »

Each of the videos have an easy search button on the upper left-hand corner, allowing viewers to navigate to specific parts of the video. This will help viewers access key parts of each video and find the information they need. For example, the Lower Video has specific sections on trigger and buttstock installation. There is also a video on how to properly test fire and troubleshoot an AR-15 once it’s built.

Brownells AR15 AR builder online how to build guide videos upper lower trigger

In addition to the instructional videos, Brownells’ AR Builder Site also provides links to all the parts, tools, and accessories required to build an AR-15 rifle. There are specific links to uppers, lowers, triggers, grips, buttstocks, bolt carrier groups, handguards, barrels, gas blocks, muzzle brakes and more.

Brownells AR15 AR builder online how to build guide videos upper lower trigger
Brownells AR15 AR builder online how to build guide videos upper lower trigger

“Several social media platforms have banned videos and other content showing how to build firearms,” said Brownells V.P. of Marketing Ryan Repp. “Because of Brownells’ long-time support of the Second Amendment and individual freedom, it made sense for us to create a professionally-produced video and resource center to assist rifle builders of all skill levels make the rifle of their dreams in the comfort of their own home or workshop.”

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October 13th, 2021

7 SAFE: Seven Vital Safety Tips for Reloaders

seven reloading safety tips powder primers brownells manual

You can never be too safe when hand-loading your own ammunition. This helpful Brownells video outlines the Seven Fundamental Reloading Safety Tips. This is important information for novice hand-loaders and a good refresher for those with reloading experience!

Summary of the Seven Safety Tips:

1. Store your reloading supplies in a safe and dry location, away from children and away from any possible source of ignition. It is also smart to keep your powder and primers separate.

2. Get and use respected reloading manuals, especially for new cartridges. Start low and work up slowly while watching for warning signs of pressure and/or case fatigue.

3. Locate your reloading activity where you will not be distracted. If you get interrupted, stop. (Distractions will eventually lead to mistakes.)

4. Do NOT mix powders. Keep your powders clearly marked and dated. You can use masking tape to write the date on the container.

5. If you load the same cartridge type for different firearms, make sure your ammo headspaces properly in each gun.

6. Check cases frequently. Look for split necks, case head separation or other signs of fatigue and excessive pressure.

7. If reloading military brass, be aware that case capacity is usually reduced, and initial loads should be at least 10-15% lower than published data.


Here are some other tips that will help your avoid making costly mistakes (such as using the wrong powder, or undercharging a case):

  • Powder Type — Always double-check the label on your powder containers. After placing powder in the powder measure, put a piece of tape on the measure with the powder type written on it. Some guys write the powder type on a card and place that right in the hopper.
  • Scale Drift — Electronic balances can drift. If you are using a digital powder scale, calibrate the scale with a test weight every 50 rounds or so.
  • Case Fill — If you throw more than one charge at a time, look INSIDE every case before seating a bullet. Squib charges can be dangerous if you don’t notice them before firing the next round.
  • Progressive Presses — When using a progressive press, consider using an RCBS Lock-Out Die. This will detect a low charge and stop the machine. These dies will work with RCBS, Hornady, and Dillon progressives.

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September 9th, 2021

Headspace Basics — What You Need to Know

Ultimate Reloader Brownells headspacing go gage gauge barrel gunsmithing
This illustration shows headspace measurement for the popular .308 Winchester cartridge, which headspaces on the shoulder. Image copyright 2015 Ultimate Reloader.

In this Brownells Tech Tip Video, Brownells gun tech Steve Ostrem explains what headspace is and why it’s one of the most critical measurements for nearly all firearms. Even if you’re an experienced rifle shooter, it’s worth watching this video to refresh your understanding of headspace measurements, and the correct use of “GO” and “NO-GO” gauges.

Headspace Definition
In firearms, headspace is the distance measured from the part of the chamber that stops forward motion of the cartridge (the datum reference) to the face of the bolt. Different cartridges have their datum lines in different positions in relation to the cartridge. For example, 5.56x45mm NATO ammunition headspaces off the shoulder of the cartridge, whereas .303 British headspaces off the forward rim of the cartridge. If the headspace is too short, ammunition that is in specification may not chamber correctly. If headspace is too large, the ammunition may not fit as intended or designed and the cartridge case may rupture, possibly damaging the firearm and injuring the shooter. (Source: Wikipedia)

Forster Headspace diagram belted magnum rimfire

Problems Caused by Too Much Headspace
Excessive headspace issues can include: light primer strikes, failure to fire, bulged/blown cases, case separations, split shoulders, or unseated primers after firing. Case ruptures caused by excessive headspace can lead to catastrophic failures causing serious injury. That is why headspace is such an important measurement.

Problems Cause by Too Little Headspace
Insufficent (or excessively tight) headspace can prevent the firearm from going into battery, resulting in failure to fire or deformation of the cartridge case. Various feeding and functioning problems can be caused by cases with too little headspace, even if a round can be chambered (with effort).

Go gauge gage NOGO no-go field gaugesHeadspace Gauges
Headspace is measured with a set of two headspace gauges: a “Go” gauge, and a “No-Go” gauge. Headspace gauges resemble the cartridges for the chambers they are designed to headspace, and are typically made of heat-treated tool steel. Both a “Go” and a “No-Go” gauge are required for a gunsmith to headspace a firearm properly. A third gauge, the “Field” gauge, is used (as the name implies) in the field to indicate the absolute maximum safe headspace. This gauge is used because, over time, the bolt and receiver will wear, the bolt and lugs compress, and the receiver may stretch, all causing the headspace to gradually increase from the “factory specs” measured by the “Go” and “No-Go” gauges. A bolt that closes on “No-Go” but not on “Field” is close to being unsafe to fire, and may malfunction on cartridges that are slightly out of spec. (Source: Wikipedia)

To learn more, read Brownell’s article Headspace Gauges and How to Use Them. Among other things, this explains the relative lengths of “Go”, “No-Go”, and “Field” gauges. The “Field” is actually the longest: “The GO gauge corresponds to the SAAMI minimum chamber length, while the FIELD gauge usually matches the maximum chamber depth, or slightly less. NO-GO gauges are an intermediate length between minimum and maximum, that, technically, is a voluntary dimension. A firearm that closes on a NO-GO gauge and does not close on a FIELD gauge may not give good accuracy and may have very short cartridge case life from the ammunition re-loader’s standpoint.”

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September 8th, 2021

How to Upgrade and Accessorize Model 1911 Pistols

Colt m1911 1911 upgrade pistol

While AccurateShooter.com focuses on rifles, we know that a large percentage of our readers own handguns, with 1911-style pistols being particular favorites. For you 1911 owners, here are six short videos from Brownells showing how to customize a 1911-style pistol with after-market upgrades.

How to Accessorize Your 1911
This six-part series by Brownells provides step-by-step instruction on how to accessorize your 1911. The videos cover changing out the mainspring housing, magazine release, slide release, hammer, guide rod, and installing a group gripper. If you want to upgrade your 1911, these videos are worth watching.

Hammer

Hammer


 

Slide Stop

Slide Stop

Full Length Guide Rod

Full Length Guide Rod

Wilson Group Gripper

Wilson Group Gripper

Model 1911 Components and Cycling — Cut-Away Animation Video
If you’re not familiar with M1911 type single-action pistols, this video animation provides an inside look at the M1911’s components and shows how the M1911 cycles:

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July 25th, 2021

Save Money This Summer with Brownells Discount Codes

Brownells discount code savings bargain

If you’ve been thinking about a big purchase at Brownells, here are some money-saving codes. Brownells is currently offering $40 Off a $450+ purchase, $20 Off a $250+ purchase, $15 Off a $150+ purchase, and $10 Off a $100+ purchase. It’s simple to get these discounts — there are no buyers’ clubs to join, no forms to fill out. Just use the appropriate Discount Code during online check-out.

Listed below are the Codes to use. Simply use the appropriate Code for your purchase at Brownells.com. As these Codes may be deactivated without notice, if one Code doesn’t work, try a different Code and you can still save some buck$. Also if the highest value code no longer works, try a lesser value CODE.

Brownells discount code savings bargain

Coupon Code: VST — $40 Off $450 or more
Expiration date: Unknown

Coupon Code: VSJ — $20 Off $250 or more
Expiration date: Unknown

Coupon Code: SAE — $15 off $150 or more
Expiration date: Unknown

Coupon Code: TAG — $15 off $150 or more
Expiration date: Unknown

Coupon Code: PTT — $10 Off $100 or more
Expiration date: Unknown

Coupon Code: RSA — $10 Off $100 or more
Expiration date: Unknown

Coupon Code: RTA — $10 Off $100 or more
Expiration date: Unknown

NOTE: All these codes have no listed expiration date, so Brownells could terminate them at any time. Accordingly, we recommend you do your shopping soon.

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June 22nd, 2021

AR Platform Video Series from Brownells — Watch and Learn

Brownelss tech tip video AR15 ar platform rifle gunsmithing

Do you own or shoot an AR-platform “black rifle”? Then you know these rifles run dirty, and have some unusual maintenance requirements. On the other hand, the AR “Modern Sporting Rifle” is fun and versatile with a vast range of options among buttstocks, barrels, handguards, and grips. You can assemble a simple 16″ barrel .223 Rem rig for home defense, or build a long-barreled 6mm ARC rifle with bag-rider buttstock and high-magnification optic for long range target work. The choice is up to you.

To help with your black rifle journey, here are four helpful videos from Brownells. These will help ensure your AR rifle cycles reliably and runs longer, with reduced wear. Brownells also explains how to choose the optimal barrel twist rate. CLICK HERE to order AR parts, accessories, and ammo from Brownells.

AR Bolt/Bolt Carrier Lubrication — Smarter Methods

This video shows the proper way to lubricate an AR-15 bolt-carrier assembly. The video identifies the key metal-on-metal friction points where you actually need lubrication: the rails on the underside of the carrier, shiny wear points on top, and just a dab on the cam pin. How much oil/lubricant should you use? The AR-15 is pretty forgiving on that point. Some spots work best with grease, others work best with a lighter oil. Just keep it out of the combustion areas. Those little holes in the carrier are gas vent holes, NOT oil holes!

AR Barrel Twist Rates — What You Need to Know

AR barrels can be ordered with a variety of twist rates from 1:12″ to 1:7″. Basically, the longer/heavier the bullet you plan to shoot, the faster the twist rate you need. For example, Sierra recommends a 1:7″ twist rate for the 90gr SMK. A 1:12″ could work with the small lightweight bullets up to 55 grains. The 1:9″ barrel will stabilize the light and mid-weight bullets up to about 77 grains. We recommend a 1:8″ or 1:7″ twist rate for the best versatility. You’ll find a detailed discussion of AR twist rates on PewPewTactical.com.

Barrel Gas Block Alignment — Key to Reliable Cycling

In this Tech Tip, Brownells gun tech Steve Ostrem explains surefire methods to align your gas block. The most common problem with AR builds is poor cycling, commonly caused by misalignment between the gas block and the barrel’s gas port.

Setting Up Gas Tube Systems

This Tech Tip examines AR-platform gas systems, and shows how to select the proper length gas tube, and how to configure multiple tube systems if you change your barrel to different lengths. This is worth watching for anyone re-barreling an AR.

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