March 31st, 2014

AmmoSeek.com Finds Ammunition and Reloading Components

Here’s a great search service that can help you locate hard-to-find ammunition and reloading components — while saving money in the process. Ammoseek.com monitors more than a dozen online vendors — checking current pricing and available inventory, for pistol, rifle, and shotgun ammunition. Need .45 acp ammo for your 1911? Just select “.45 ACP” from the “Quick Seek” list on the right. Likewise you can find .223 Rem and .308 Win Rifle ammo with one click.

Ammoseek search engine ammuntion reloading supplies

Find .22 LR Ammo Quickly (Cabela’s Has Some Today)
Looking for hard-to-find .22 LR rimfire ammunition. That’s easy — you don’t even have to enter any search words. Simply click on the highlighted links for AmmoSeek’s 22LR Page.

Ammoseek search engine ammuntion reloading supplies

CLICK HERE for AmmoSeek.com .22 LR Ammo Search Results

Use Ammoseek.com to Find Reloading Components Too
Ammoseek.com also lets you search for reloading components, including powder, primers, brass, and bullets. This is a huge time-saver. You can instantly check a dozen or more vendors to see if a particular type of powder is in stock. Likewise, you can quickly check for primer availability. If you have a big match coming up and are short on primers — this could solve the problem.

Ammoseek search engine ammuntion reloading supplies

Story Tip by Boyd Allen. We welcome reader submissions.
Permalink Bullets, Brass, Ammo, Reloading 1 Comment »
March 17th, 2014

Hornady “Get Loaded” Promotion for 2014

Hornady’s annual Get Loaded™ redemption program has become one of the company’s most popular promos. The 2014 Get Loaded™ program offers a lineup of quality reloading tools and accessories that qualify buyers for either 500 or 100 free bullets (from a list of ten bullet types).

Buy Hornady Gear, Get Free Hornady Bullets
Here’s how it works — if you buy Hornady reloading gear, you can get free bullets. Purchase a Hornady Lock-N-Load® Ammo Plant, AP Press, Classic Kit, Classic Deluxe Kit, Precision Reloaders Kit, or Hot Tub Sonic Cleaner from January 1 through December 31, 2014, and you can receive 500 free bullets. Purchase Custom Grade Die Sets, or the Lock-N-Load® Case Prep Trio and receive 100 free bullets. Application is required. CLICK HERE for more details.

LNL Ammo Plant

500 Free Bullets!

with purchase of one of these products

Hot Tub Sonic Cleaner

 

100 Free Bullets!

with purchase of one of these products

Case Prep Trio & Custom Dies

Qualifying Bullets for Get Loaded 2014 Promotion:

2266: 22 CAL .224 55 GR SP W/C
2453: 6MM .243 100 GR BTSP
2730: 270 CAL .277 130 GR SP
2825: 7MM .284 139 GR BTSP
3031: 30 CAL .308 150 GR SP
35540: 9MM .355 115 GR HP/XTP
35700: 38 CAL .357 110 GR HP/XTP
40000: 10MM .400 155 GR HP/XTP
44050: 44 CAL .430 180 GR HP/XTP
45100: 45 CAL .451 185 GR HP/XTP

You are allowed to select only ONE item number per redemption.

Permalink Bullets, Brass, Ammo, Hot Deals No Comments »
March 8th, 2014

Boron Nitride Application Procedures for Bullet-Coating

hexagonal boron nitride bullet coatingIn our article on Bullet Coating we covered the basic principles of applying dry lubricants to “naked” bullets. This article covered the three main coating options: Molybdenum Disulfide (Moly), Tungsten Disulfide (WS2 or “Danzac”), and Hexagonal Boron Nitride (HBN or “White Graphite”). All three compounds can be impact-plated on to bullets with relative ease, using inexpensive equipment. Moly is still the most popular choice, but many more shooters are considering HBN because it is ultra-slippery, it is less messy, and it offers some advantages over Moly or WS2.

After we published our Bullet Coating feature, many readers asked for more info on HBN. Some current moly users had questions about switching over to Boron Nitride. Forum member Larry Medler has published an excellent web article discussing the process of applying 70nm HBN using plastic jars and a Thumler’s rotary tumbler. If you are working with HBN currently, or plan to experiment with Boron Nitride, you should read Medler’s HBN-Coating Article.

CLICK HERE to READ MEDLER HBN ARTICLE

After coating some bullets for his 6XC, Medler seems “sold” on the merits of HBN. Larry writes: “The coating process is much better than Moly — no black mess. My coating process times are the same as for Moly. Three hours of tumbling in the corn cob and three hours of tumbling in the steel balls with 3.0 grains of hBN Powder. The bullets look something like sugar-coated donuts when I dump the jar of steel balls with the freshly coated bullets into my sieve to separate. The coated bullets wipe clean to the touch with a little towel rub down and remain very slippery. So far I am very pleased with my coated bullets’ smoothness and appearance.”

hexagonal boron nitride bullet coating

Field Tests Are Very Promising
Interestingly, Larry’s HBN-coated bullets are shooting flatter, with tighter vertical, than his moly-coated bullets. Since he has also pointed the tips of this batch of bullets, it’s not clear whether the reduced drop is due to the pointing or the HBN coating, but the results are certainly encouraging: “I have shot the HBN-coated bullets a couple of times now at 600 yards and everything seems to be okay or a lot like Moly. Funny thing is the HBN-coated bullets are shooting higher by 7/8 MOA. I have to check the speed and see if it has changed enough for that POI change. Good news is I had a string of 15 shots with less than 1.5 inches of vertical which is the best I have ever seen with my rifles. Is that due to the hBN or bullet pointing?”

Photos courtesy Larry Medler, All Rights Reserved

Permalink Bullets, Brass, Ammo, Reloading 11 Comments »
March 1st, 2014

Good Prices on Hornady Bulk Bullets at Grafs.com

Looking for quality, name-brand projectiles at a bargain price? Then check out the Hornady Bulk Bullets Specials at Grafs.com. Currently, Grafs.com has a variety of popular Hornady rifle and pistol bullets on sale. Get one hundred 75gr .224-caliber BTHP bullets for just $16.99 (Item #HRN2279B). If you favor .30-caliber cartridges, you can get one hundred 110gr FMJ bullets for $18.99 (Item #HRN3017B).

Your Editor just ordered some .45-caliber 185gr SWCs for his S&W 1911. These .451-diameter Hornady-made FMJ bullets are $19.89 per 100 bullets (Item #HRN45137B). Round-nose 230gr .45-caliber FMJ bullets are also offered for $22.39. If you shoot a 9mm pistol, you can order 147gr FMJ bulk bullets for just $15.99 per 100 (Item #HRN35597B). These prices are comparable with the cost of cast lead bullets from other vendors. When you consider that many indoor ranges no longer allow non-jacketed lead bullets, you may want to get some Hornady bulk bullets from Grafs.com while supplies last. NOTE: the stated prices include shipping after one flat handling fee of $7.95 per order.

Grafs.com hornady bulk bullets

Product tip from EdLongrange. We welcome reader submissions.
Permalink Bullets, Brass, Ammo, Hot Deals No Comments »
February 5th, 2014

Hornady Video Shows How Ammunition is Made

Hornady ManufacturingIf you wonder how ammo is made, starting with raw metal, check out this video from Hornady. It shows how bullet jackets are formed from copper, followed by insertion of a lead core. The jacket is then closed up over the core with the bullet taking its final shape in a die (a cannelure is applied on some bullet types). Next the video shows how cartridge brass is formed, starting with small cups of brass. The last part of the video shows how cases are primed and filled with powder, and how bullets are seated into the cases, using an automated process on a giant assembly-line.

At its 100,000+ square foot factory in Grand Island, Nebraska, Hornady produces millions of rounds of ammunition annually. The Grand Island factory is open for tours Monday through Thursday. Hornady Manufacturing, which now boasts over 300 employees, was founded by Joyce Hornady in 1949. The business is currently run by his son Steve Hornady who took over after his father’s death in a plane crash in 1981.

Hornady Manufacturing

Permalink - Videos, Bullets, Brass, Ammo 3 Comments »
November 7th, 2013

Bullets.com — New Shooting Supplies and Accessories Webstore

Reloaders Rejoice! There’s a new source for bullets, brass, powder, and primers, as well as loaded ammunition. The all-new Bullets.com website offers all these products, plus reloading tools and dies, barrels, gun stocks, scopes, rings, shooting rests, range bags and much more. Primers, you need primers you say? Yes, Bullets.com currently has some types of CCI, Federal, and Remington primers in stock, including the hard-to-find CCI 450 small rifle magnum primers.

You definitely want to include Bullets.com among the vendors you visit when you need components and gun hardware. The new Bullets.com webstore will carry 8,000+ shooting-related products from over 50 top brands such as Lapua, Norma, Federal, CCI, Berger, Sierra, Berry’s, Bald Eagle, Bushnell, Hodgdon, Alliant, Nightforce, Kowa, Vortex, Winchester, MTM, Magpul and many more! Check out the website at www.bullets.com or call 1-800-235-0272 to get a free 60-page color catalog.

POWDERS IN STOCK — Among the popular powders in stock at Bullets.com today are:

  • Hodgdon H4895, Hodgdon H4350, Hodgdon H1000, Hodgdon Benchmark (all one-pounders)
  • IMR 4064, IMR 4198, IMR 4895, IMR 4350, IMR 7828 SSC (all one-pounders)
  • Ramshot Hunter, Winchester 748 (all one-pounders)

NOTE: Powders in stock as of 11/7/2013 at noon Pacific time, one-pound containers only. This is not a complete list. CLICK HERE to see entire Bullets.com Powder Inventory.

Bullets.com Grizzly Shiraz Balolia

Bullets.com carries projectiles from the leading bullet-makers including Berger, Lapua, Sierra, Speer, and Berrys. Yes Bullets.com has premium bullets in stock right now, including the hard-to-find Berger 6mm 105gr Hybrid, and 7mm 180gr Hybrid. Grab ‘em while you can boys!

Along with reloading components, factory ammo, and reloading dies, you’ll find the hardware you need to build a complete rifle. Bullets.com caries Bartlein barrels (in a wide range of calibers and contours), laminated gun stocks, and a full line of optics, including Nightforce, Kowa, and Vortex rifle-scopes and spotting scopes.

Bullets.com Grizzly Shiraz Balolia

Who Are Those Guys? About Bullets.Com
Bullets.com Grizzly Shiraz BaloliaBullets.com was launched as a result of the intense passion for shooting by its President, Shiraz Balolia. Shiraz has been shooting pistols, rifles and shotguns for almost 40 years and has been involved in long range rifle shooting at the National and International level for almost 10 years. He served as the Captain of the U.S. F-Class Open Rifle Team for the 2013 World Championship and was a member of the 4-man team that won the 2013 Nat’l 1,000-yard Championship. He has won numerous gold medals in long range shooting and has set several National records.

Bullets.com is a division of Grizzly Industrial that was started by Mr. Balolia in 1983. During those 30 years, Grizzly became a powerhouse in the metalworking and woodworking machinery industry serving over a million regular customers and growing its warehouses with 1.2 million square feet of space in three states (WA, PA, MO).

Permalink Bullets, Brass, Ammo, News, Reloading 4 Comments »
September 23rd, 2013

Need Bullets? Grafs.com Has Major-Brand Seconds on Sale Now

Graf and sons grafs.com factory seconds blem bullets projectiles discountAre you a high-volume shooter who needs large quantities of bullets at a reasonable cost? Well here’s a very good deal on name-brand bullets. Grafs.com has recently acquired a big inventory of factory seconds from a major, top-tier bullet maker. These bullets should shoot fine, but they may have water spots, discoloration, or some other cosmetic defect. We can’t reveal the manufacturer, but you may be able to figure it out from the list of bullets below. Here are some of the current offerings:

.224 Caliber (5.56 mm), 77gr HPBT, $18.99 per hundred (Item #: GRB2277)

.243 Caliber (6mm), 80gr SP Varmint, $15.59 per hundred (Item #: GRB2480)

.243 Caliber (6mm), 100gr SPT, $18.99 per hundred (Item #: GRB24100)

.308 Caliber, 155gr HPBT, $25.99 per hundred (Item #: GRB30155)

.308 Caliber, 168gr HPBT, $25.99 per hundred (Item #: GRB30168)

.308 Caliber, 175gr HPBT, $27.99 per hundred (Item #: GRB30175)

.308 Caliber, 220gr HPBT, $29.99 per hundred (Item #: GRB30220)

Graf and sons grafs.com factory seconds blem bullets projectiles discount

Permalink Bullets, Brass, Ammo, Hot Deals No Comments »
September 19th, 2013

Tips for Loading Straighter Ammo with Less Run-Out

This article originally appeared in Sinclair Intl’s Reloading Press Blog, which has been merged into the Gun Tech Section on Sinclair’s website, www.SinclairIntl.com

Steps to Minimize Bullet Run-Out

Poor bullet run-out can cause poor and inconsistent accuracy, and variations in bullet velocities. The truer the loaded round, the more consistent your results will be on paper and across the chronograph.

Sinclair Concentricity gaugeMeasuring Concentricity
We all know that low run-out is the goal. But how can you tell if your run-out is high or low? Run-out is generally measured in thousandths of an inch with a concentricity gauge. There are many concentricity gauges to choose from that work well. Some work on loaded rounds only, some have a bullet straightening feature, and a few work on both loaded rounds and empty cases for checking case neck concentricity. The tool of choice for the Sinclair Reloading Tech Staff is the Sinclair Concentricity Gauge (Part # 09-175).

This tool is a mainstay on my bench, and it is used about as much as I use my reloading press! The tool uses two sets of bearings that are set on lateral, length-adjustable anodized aluminum blocks to accommodate cartridges from .221 Fireball-sized cases up to .50 BMG. The indicator is set on a height adjustable swiveling base on a stand that can be used for checking bullet or case neck run-out. The adjustable blocks ride aligned in a precision-milled slot. The entire set up is on an anodized base plate that gives excellent support during the process that is crucial to operation and accuracy. Basically the operation consists of placing a loaded round (for checking bullet run-out) or an empty case (for case run-out) on the bearings with the indicator end touching the chosen point to be measured. The case is easily spun with one finger as the indicator measures the amount of run-out. Once this process has been done a few times it is a fast and accurate means of measurement. In terms of indicator type being used, whether dial or digital, I actually prefer a standard dial indicator over the digital type. My reason for this choice is that you can see the needle jump when run-out is present. I believe this to be easier and faster than looking at digital numbers while measuring. In the video below, Sinclair’s Bill Gravatt shows how to use the Sinclair Concentricity Gauge correctly.

YouTube Preview Image

Sizing Steps to Minimize Run-Out
One of the most common steps in the reloading process that contributes to bullet run-out occurs is the sizing operation. If improper techniques are used or there are issues with the sizing die set up, a once perfectly concentric case can become out of whack. By using the proper dies for your application, properly setting up the die/shell holder or floating the de-capping/expander assembly, you can eliminate problems before they happen.

Sinclair Concentricity gaugeMany of us on the technical staff choose the Redding Type-S series of dies. These are full-Length or neck sizing dies that utilize a removable/changeable neck bushing (sold separately) to size the neck according to your application. These dies are machined with true precision and quality in mind. The Type-S dies come with a standard de-capping assembly with a caliber-specific expander ball in place. In addition to this an undersized retainer to hold the de-capping pin is included with the die. In my experience with these dies I use the standard expander ball with new, unfired brass on the initial re-size. I will then use the undersized retainer in place of the expander ball with brass that has been fired. I have found this step crucial in my reloading regiment to minimize bullet run out. The use of the expander ball can cause a few thousandths of run-out when the case is being pulled back out of the sizing die. With the undersized retainer in place the only thing that touches the neck of the case in sizing is the bushing. If you prefer to use an expander ball, Redding offers caliber specific carbide floating expander balls that fit on the de-capping rod. This free floating expander ball will self center on the case neck, and reduce the amount of run-out that can be caused by a standard expander ball.

When setting up a Type-S sizing die, set the neck bushing into the die with the numbers facing down toward the body of the die. Tighten the de-capping assembly until it contacts the bushing and then back it off ¼ of a turn. This allows the bushing to free float in the die. You should be able to hear the bushing rattle if you shake the die. Having the bushing free floating self centers the neck, and again minimizes any run-out that can occur.

If you prefer other brands of sizing dies there are a few tricks that people use to minimize run-out as well. Many reloaders claim that the use of an O-ring at the base of the de-capping assembly lock nut will float the assembly and help self center during sizing. Another trick that has been used is to remove the retaining pin on the shell holder slot on the press ram, and use an O-ring in its place to hold the shell holder in place. This allows the shell holder to self center during sizing as well.

Seating Steps to Minimize Run-Out
Run-out issues can arise during the bullet seating process. To reduce run-out during seating, use a high-quality die with a sliding sleeve. The sliding sleeve perfectly aligns the case with the bullet to be seated. Good examples of these dies are the Redding Competition Micrometer bullet seating dies, Forster Ultra Seaters, or RCBS Competition Seating dies. All of these dies utilize a micrometer top to precisely set seating depth. They are all very high quality dies that have tight tolerances to maximize bullet straightness during seating.

We receive many questions about seating long pointed bullets such as the Berger VLD or Hornady A-Max. One problem that the reloader faces with longer bullets is that they are so long that the standard seating stem is not machined deep enough to contact these bullets properly. The point of the bullet “bottoms out” in the stem and the result is off-center seating and/or rings and dents on the bullet nose. If you plan on using such bullets, you should purchase a “VLD” style seating stem, which is cut to accommodate the longer bullets. The use of this stem results in truer seating of the bullet without leaving a ring or marring the tip of the bullet.

Besides using a traditional press and threaded seating die, another great way to get a true bullet seat is by using an arbor press and Wilson chamber-type seating die. These dies are cut to very tight tolerances and have proven themselves as the main choice for bench rest enthusiasts. The design of the die positively aligns the case with the bullet as they are both captured by the die before the bullet is pushed straight into the case by the stem. These seating dies are available with the standard seating cap and stem or an additional micrometer top can be added for precise adjustment. Wilson also offers a stainless seating die with an integral micrometer seating head.

Finally another trick used by many in the seating process is to turn the case while the bullet is being seated. Some people claim this will keep things straight. What they do is raise the ram in increments while seating and rotate the case in the shellholder in increments of 90 degrees from the original starting while the bullet is being seated. Personally I have tried this and have seen no significant difference at all. However you may be the judge of this one. It makes sense, and maybe I should try this a little more before I rule it out.

After the Rounds Are Loaded — Batch Sorting by Concentricity Levels
No matter how meticulous you are, and no matter how good your components and tools are, run-out will still show up. Reloaders can drive themselves crazy trying to make each and every loaded round a true “0” in run-out. You will still see some minimal amount no matter what you do. Set yourself a standard of maximum allowable run-out for your loads. For instance for my Long Range 600- and 1000-yard F-Class loads I like to see .002” or less. I average .0015” and see a few in the range up to .004”. I spin each loaded round on my Sinclair Concentricity Gauge and sort them by run-out. Those that run over .002” I use for sighters or practice. Though achieving zero run-out (on every round) isn’t possible, minimizing run-out can definitely help your performance. Not only will your loads shoot better but you will have one less thing to worry about when you are lining up the sights on the target.

Permalink - Videos, Reloading, Tech Tip 4 Comments »
August 23rd, 2013

How Cartridge Brass is Made — The Inside Scoop

When we first ran this story a while back, it generated great interest among readers. By popular request, we’re reprinting this story, in case you missed it the first time around. — Editor

Rifle cartridge brass manufacturingPrecision shooters favor premium brass from Lapua, Norma, or RWS. (Lake City also makes quality brass in military calibers.) Premium brass delivers better accuracy, more consistent velocities, and longer life. Shooters understand the importance of good brass, but many of us have no idea how cartridge cases are actually made. Here’s how it’s done.

The process starts with a brass disk stamped from strips of metal. Then, through a series of stages, the brass is extruded or drawn into a cylindrical shape. In the extrusion process the brass is squeezed through a die under tremendous pressure. This is repeated two or three times typically. In the more traditional “draw” process, the case is progressively stretched longer, in 3 to 5 stages, using a series of high-pressure rams forcing the brass into a form die. While extrusion may be more common today, RWS, which makes some of the most uniform brass in the world, still uses the draw process: “It starts with cup drawing after the bands have been punched out. RWS cases are drawn in three ‘stages’ and after each draw they are annealed, pickled, rinsed and subjected to further quality improvement measures. This achieves specific hardening of the brass cases and increases their resistance to extraordinary stresses.” FYI, Lapua also uses a traditional draw process to manufacture most of its cartridge brass (although Lapua employs some proprietary steps that are different from RWS’ methods).

RWS Brass Cartridge Draw process

Deep-Draw Ram Illustration from Demsey Mfg.
deep draw cartridge brass animated gif

After the cases are extruded or drawn to max length, the cases are trimmed and the neck/shoulder are formed. Then the extractor groove (on rimless cases) is formed or machined, and the primer pocket is created in the base. One way to form the primer pocket is to use a hardened steel plug called a “bunter”. In the photos below you see the stages for forming a 20mm cannon case (courtesy OldAmmo.com), along with bunters used for Lake City rifle brass. This illustrates the draw process (as opposed to extrusion). The process of draw-forming rifle brass is that same as for this 20mm shell, just on a smaller scale.

20mm cartridge brass forming

20mm Draw Set Oldammo.com

River Valley Ordnance explains: “When a case is being made, it is drawn to its final draw length, with the diameter being slightly smaller than needed. At this point in its life, the head of the draw is slightly rounded, and there are no provisions for a primer. So the final drawn cases are trimmed to length, then run into the head bunter. A punch, ground to the intended contours for the inside of the case, pushes the draw into a cylindrical die and holds it in place while another punch rams into the case from the other end, mashing the bottom flat. That secondary ram holds the headstamp bunter punch.

Lake City Brass bunter

The headstamp bunter punch has a protrusion on the end to make the primer pocket, and has raised lettering around the face to form the headstamp writing. This is, of course, all a mirror image of the finished case head. Small cases, such as 5.56×45, can be headed with a single strike. Larger cases, like 7.62×51 and 50 BMG, need to be struck once to form a dent for the primer pocket, then a second strike to finish the pocket, flatten the head, and imprint the writing. This second strike works the brass to harden it so it will support the pressure of firing.”

Thanks to Guy Hildebrand, of the Cartridge Collectors’ Exchange, OldAmmo.com, for providing this 20mm Draw Set photo. Bunter photo from River Valley Ordnance.

Permalink Bullets, Brass, Ammo, Tech Tip 2 Comments »
July 9th, 2013

Hornady Lists Bullet and Ammo Types That Remain in Production

We reported yesterday that Hornady, in an effort to increase overall production, will suspend production of 150 bullet types and 150 ammunition types for the balance of 2013. Upon reading this story, many readers grew concerned, perhaps because they did not realize that Hornady is actually stepping up production of its most popular bullets and ammo types. By temporarily suspending production of less-popular products, Hornady can reduce assembly line change-overs and thereby increase production. Hornady explains that this strategy allows it to: “focus our efforts on the most popular and highest-demand products and ship more total product.” In the months ahead, Hornady will continue to produce over 270 different projectiles and over 140 types of loaded ammo. As Steve Hornady says: “There is something in there for everyone….”

Hornady bullets powder update 2013Upon seeing ten-page-long list of suspended products, readers may have become overly concerned because they did not realize that Hornady will continue to churn out hundreds of bullet types and ammo types — and, in fact, the most popular products will now be manufactured in greater-than-ever quantities. Readers asked “So what products will Hornady continue to produce?” On its website, Hornady now lists all the high-demand bullets and ammo types that remain in production for the balance of 2013.

CLICK HERE to View Updated Bullet and Ammunition Production List

CLICK HERE to DOWNLOAD Updated Bullet and Ammunition Production List PDF File

Steve Hornady Talks to Customers
In this video, Hornady President Steve Hornady explains the decision to suspend production of some items in order to increase production of Hornady’s high-demand bullet types and ammunition types.

Steve Hornady Explains New Production Strategies (July 8, 2013):

On its website, Hornady has posted a Product Availability Update, which explains why Hornady is suspending production of some products:

One area that we have identified that will enable us to increase production, is the minimization of machinery downtime. The largest period of downtime our machines experience is during change over and retooling to convert a machine from manufacturing one bullet or cartridge to another. Under normal market conditions, we can keep the supply chain full by making popular items on a regular basis and keeping specialty or less-used products on a seasonal basis. However, with demand at record levels, it has become difficult to justify shutting down a machine to change it over to produce a product of less demand. Therefore, we are temporarily suspending some items in order to focus our efforts on the most popular and highest demand products and ship more total product.

We realize that many of the suspended items are going to disappoint some of our customers. We have painstakingly reviewed our order status and order history and unfortunately had to make some tough decisions. It wasn’t easy, but we know that we will do a better job of servicing the industry as a whole by focusing on the items of highest demand.

We are not alone; this is effectively already happening throughout our industry, but is accomplished through selective manufacture with no notification to the industry. We are simply making every effort to be up-front about our plans to maximize production.

Again, this is only temporary. This is not a permanent suspension. We will continue to push as hard as we can to meet the demand of our industry and will produce our full catalog of items as soon as we can. Please know that nobody wants to produce more and get our product to into your hands more than we do.

Permalink Bullets, Brass, Ammo, News 7 Comments »
May 21st, 2013

Ultrasonic Cleaning, Case-Neck Friction and Bullet Seating

ultrasonic cleaningOur IT guy, Jay (aka JayChris in the Forum), was having some issues with his .260 AI. A load with known accuracy had suddenly and mysteriously stopped shooting well. Jay couldn’t figure out what was going wrong. Then he remembered he had cleaned his brass using a powerful ultrasonic machine.

He inspected his brass carefully and saw that the ultrasonically-cleaned necks were so “squeaky clean” that he was actually scratching the jackets on his bullets when seating them. As well, Jay noticed that it took more force to seat the bullets and the seating force became less uniform case to case. Jay solved the problem by applying NECO Moly dry-lube inside the necks of his brass before seating the bullets.

The Perils of Ultrasonic Brass Cleaning by JayChris
I rotate my brass so that I can keep track of each firing, so I keep a “clean/ready to load” bin and a “fired” bin. I have 400 pieces of .260 AI brass. So, all of it was on its first firing (after doing a Cream of Wheat fire-forming) until I hit the 400-round mark. To my surprise, things went south at the 500-round mark. The first time I noticed it (according to my range log) was at a match last year, when I dropped several points and had some vertical stringing issues. After that match, I had 400 rounds through the barrel and all of my brass had a single firing on it. So, it was time to clean.

ultrasonic cleaningI have used an ultrasonic cleaner for a while now. I recently got a more powerful Ultrasonic cleaner, although I don’t know if that makes a difference. My brass comes out dry and squeaky. Emphasis on the “squeaky”.

I found that my new US machine may have been getting the necks TOO clean. After ultrasonically cleaning my brass, I had noticed that it required a little more force to seat the bullets, but I didn’t really think too much about it. But then, after going over my ordeal with a shooting buddy and going over my process in minutiae, we had an “AH HA” moment when it came to cleaning (he uses good ol’ vibratory cleaning).

So, I used some moly dry-lube to pre-lube the case necks and took some rounds out to test at 200 yards. I used my last known good load and sure enough, the vertical flyers disappeared! I shot two, 10-rounds groups with .335 and .353 MOA vertical dispersion, which is consistent with the results I was originally getting.

Other folks have suggested necks may get “too clean” after ultrasonic cleaning. It was pretty sobering to actually witness, first hand, what can happen when brass is “too clean”. I had read some discussions of issues with neck friction/bullet seating after ultrasonic cleaning, but, frankly, I dismissed the idea. Now I understand. The “too clean” effect doesn’t seem to affect my Dasher at all (perhaps because Dasher necks are very short), but on the bigger .260 AI, it definitely does.

Close-Up Photos of Case-Necks

Here are photos Jay took with a microscope. You can see the difference between tumbled brass and ultrasonically-cleaned brass. Jay says: “Here, in sequence, are the Ultrasound-squeaky-clean case neck, a case neck after treatment with NECO moly dry-lube (you can see the particles that will help coat the neck during seating), and, finally, the neck from a case cleaned with corncob media in a vibratory tumbler. You can clearly see how much smoother the inside of the tumbled neck is. Yes, it’s dirty, but it’s also very, very smooth.

ultrasonic cleaning

ultrasonic cleaning

ultrasonic cleaning

Close-Up of Scratched Bullet

Here is a close-up of a bullet that was seated in an ultrasonically-cleaned (“squeaky clean”) neck, with no lubrication. You can clearly see the damage done to the jacket — in fact, in a couple spots you can see the lead core through the scratches! Jay also observed that quite a bit more seating force was required to seat the bullet in a “squeaky clean” neck.

ultrasonic cleaning

NOTE: The bullet jacket is naked — NOT coated in any way. It looks a little dark because of the shadow from the microscope lens, and the high contrast.
Permalink Bullets, Brass, Ammo, Reloading, Tech Tip 5 Comments »
April 1st, 2013

Berger Bullets Introduces Revolutionary Sonic Ripple Bullet

At the end of this year, Berger Bullets plans to introduce a new projectile that may truly be the most revolutionary bullet design since the advent of jacketed spitzers in the late 19th Century. Berger’s new bullet is unlike anything we have ever seen before. It features concentric curved ridges, or “ripples”, on the bearing surface. Tests show that this new projectile, dubbed the “Sonic Ripple Bullet”, has signficantly less drag than conventional bullets (no matter what their ogive configuration). In addition, the Sonic Ripple design provides increased stability at all velocities (allowing barrels with slower twist rates for a given bullet weight).

Berger Bullets Revolutionary Sonic Ripple Bullet

So, what does all this mean in practical terms? Well, compared to conventional bullets (of similar weight/size), the Sonic Ripple Bullet will shoot a flatter trajectory, buck the wind better, retain energy longer, and remain stable for a much longer distance. That’s big news for competitive shooters, tactical shooters, and long-range hunters.

Berger Bullets Revolutionary Sonic Ripple Bullet

Berger Bullets Revolutionary Sonic Ripple BulletThe Science of the Sonic Ripple Bullet Design
Bryan Litz, Ballistician for Berger Bullets, explains: “This radical leap forward in bullet design was made possible by advanced, new bullet-making technologies. The unusual bullet appearance is only part of the revolutionary ‘Sonic Ripple’ system. The curvilinear waves or ripples in the bullet jacket are designed to create a specific resonance when fired from a specially ‘tuned’ barrel system. The result is an optimization of the sonic wavefront created by the bullet as it travels through its trajectory. This wavefront optimization simultaneously reduces bullet drag while increasing bullet stability.”

In essence, the supersonic shock-wave is smoothed out, dramatically reducing secondary wave fronts. This is all good, as Bryan explains: “If all the internal ballistic requirements are met, the Sonic Ripple bullet exits the muzzle with a harmonically-stabilized launch dynamic. As a further benefit of the ripple design, tests show that the concentric ripples also enhance boundary layer airflow attachment on the bullet. This, in turn, dramatically reduces wake turbulence and attendant drag.”

The reduction of wake turbulence (combined with wavefront optimization) represents a “major breakthrough” which should increase projectile BC by at least 0.14 (on G7 scale), according to Bryan. But, we wondered, might the increased surface area associated with the ripples slow the bullet down in flight? Actually, no. Bryan explained: “Eddies in the boundary layer around the ripples actually lower skin friction drag which more than compensates for increased surface area, resulting in a net friction drag loss at all velocities — both supersonic and transonic.”

Berger Bullets Revolutionary Sonic Ripple Bullet

Sonic Ripple Bullets Available by the End of 2013
When will we see Sonic Ripple Bullets on dealers’ shelves? Maybe this year. Berger’s marketing department told us: “The Sonic Ripple technology is currently under development and is expected to mature enough for commercial application by late fall, 2013.”

Permalink Bullets, Brass, Ammo, New Product 24 Comments »