December 3rd, 2018

Peterson “Select” Brass Is Weight-Sorted and Length-Sorted

peterson brass casing cartridge select weight-sorted OAL consistent one grain weight

Here’s an interesting offering from one of the USA’s leading brass-makers. We all know that having consistent brass is an important factor in repeatable accuracy. That’s why some hand-loaders weight-sort their brass and why any serious shooter trims his brass to consistent case overall length (OAL).

Well those time-consuming tasks may be a thing of the past for Peterson brass buyers. Peterson is now offering Peterson Select Brass in nine popular cartridge type. According to Peterson:

“Peterson Select casings are weight sorted at the factory. All casings in a 50-count box are guaranteed to be within one grain of each other. They are also sorted by overall length (OAL) and guaranteed to be consistent to within .001 inch.”

Derek Peterson further explained: “If you weighed and measured all of the casings in the box, the highest weight and the lowest weight, and the longest casing and the shortest casing would be no more than one grain and .001″ apart from each other.”

Think about that — brass consistent to ONE GRAIN, right out of the box. And having OAL standardized to .001″ is remarkable. NOTE: After firing, case length may vary. AccurateShooter recommends you re-measure your brass after first firing and trim to length as needed before normal case neck prep (chamfering and deburring).

peterson brass casing cartridge select weight-sorted OAL consistent one grain weight

Peterson Select Brass is offered in FIFTY (50) Count Boxes for These Cartridge Types:

.243 Winchester (+SRP)
6mm Creedmoor (+SRP)
6.5 Creedmoor (+SRP)
.260 Remington (+SRP
7mm-08 Remington
.308 Winchester Match (+SRP)
.338 Lapua Magnum
.375 CheyTac
.408 CheyTac

“+SRP” Indicates Small Rifle Primer Option. Note that this brass is shipped in 50-count boxes, not 100 count boxes. Pricing is still attractive. For example Fifty Peterson Select 6.5 Creedmoor casings cost $49.50, about one dollar each.

Peterson tip from EdLongRange.

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December 1st, 2018

Save Those Lapua Plastic Boxes — They Work as Ammo Carriers!

Lapua brass Ammo box

Since 2010, Lapua has shipped its quality cartridge brass in sturdy blue plastic boxes. Here’s a handy tip for you — don’t toss the plastic boxes when you load up your brass! These are double-duty containers. If you’re not familiar with “Blue Box” Lapua brass, you may not realize that the boxes are designed to serve as 50-round carriers for your loaded ammo and fired cases. (Yes we know some folks who’ve been tossing out their blue boxes without knowing how the boxes work as caddies.)

Snapped in place under the box lid is a rectangular plastic grid that fits in the bottom of the box. Pop the grid loose and slide it into the box with the smooth side facing up. Side supports molded into the lower section hold the grid in place.

Lapua brass Ammo box

Voilà, instant Ammo Box! Each grid contains holes for fifty (50) loaded rounds or empty cases. The convertible plastic container/ammo box is a great idea that Lapua executed very nicely. Now you have even more motivation to purchase your cartridge brass from Lapua.

USER TIPS: When transporting ammo you may want to put some foam over the loaded rounds. That will protect the bullet tips. Also, with shorter cartridges, this will help keep your loaded ammo and fired cases from moving around. You can also tape the FREE Redding Ammo Box Labels on the underside of the lids to list your load information.

Permalink Bullets, Brass, Ammo, Gear Review, Tech Tip 5 Comments »
September 20th, 2018

Power User Tips for Ultrasonic Cleaning Machines

Ultrasonic Cleaning RCBS Ultrasound .308 Winchester 7.62x51 brass casings

Tumblers and walnut/corncob media are old school. These days many shooters prefer processing brass rapidly with an ultrasonic cleaning machine. When used with the proper solution, a good ultrasonic cleaning machine can quickly remove remove dust, carbon, oil, and powder residue from your cartridge brass. The ultrasonic process will clean the inside of the cases, and even the primer pockets. Tumbling works well too, but for really dirty brass, ultrasonic cleaning may be a wise choice.

READ FULL UltimateReloader.com Article on Ultrasonic Case Cleaning.

Our friend Gavin Gear recently put an RCBS Ultrasonic cleaning machine through its paces using RCBS Ultrasonic Case Cleaning Solution (RCBS #87058). To provide a real challenge, Gavin used some very dull and greasy milsurp brass: “I bought a huge lot of military once-fired 7.52x51mm brass (fired in a machine gun) that I’ve been slowly prepping for my DPMS LR-308B AR-10 style rifle. Some of this brass was fully prepped (sized/de-primed, trimmed, case mouths chamfered, primer pockets reamed) but it was gunked up with lube and looking dingy.”

UltimateReloader.com Case Cleaning Video (7.5 minutes):

Gavin describes the cleaning exercise step-by-step on UltimateReloader.com. Read Gavin’s Cartridge Cleaning Article to learn how he mixed the solution, activated the heater, and cycled the machine for 30 minutes. As you can see in the video above, the results were impressive. If you have never cleaned brass with ultrasound before, you should definitely watch Gavin’s 7.5-minute video — it provides many useful tips and shows the cleaning operation in progress from start to finish.


The RCBS ultrasonic cleaning machine features a large 3-liter capacity, 60 watt transducer, and 100 watt ceramic heater. The RCBS ultrasonic machine can be found under $145.00, and this unit qualifies for RCBS Rebates ($10 off $49.99+ purchase or $100 off combined $299.99+ purchase). RCBS also sells 32 oz. bottles of cleaning concentrate that will make up to 10 gallons of Ultrasonic Solution.

Permalink - Videos, Bullets, Brass, Ammo, Reloading 2 Comments »
August 26th, 2018

Cartridge Brass Wisdom for Semi-Auto Shooters by Zediker

Glen Zediker reloaders corner midsouth book AR-16 reloading semi-auto brass safety primer resizing

Here are highlights from an article Glen Zediker wrote for the Midsouth Blog. In this article Glen focuses on cartridge brass for semi-auto rifles, AR-platform guns in particular. Glen notes that semi-autos are tougher on brass than bolt-action rifles, so you need strong, durable brass, that has been full-length sized. And you need to be careful about neck tension, and primers. The article starts with Glen’s recommendations for tough, hard brass, and then includes the points outlined below.

Glen is the author of many excellent books on reloading. This article is adapted from Glen’s books, Handloading For Competition and Top-Grade Ammo, available at Midsouth HERE. For more information about other books by Glen, visit ZedikerPublishing.com.

Handloading for Competition
by Glen Zediker

The Competitive AR-15
by Glen Zediker

Top-Grade Ammo
by Glen Zediker

ONE: Full Length-Size Cases with Adequate Shoulder Set-Back

This is a huge source of debate… amongst my readers, but, since now I’m strictly speaking of semi-auto needs I doubt there will be much dissent: full-length resize all cases! Most cases from most semi-autos will emerge with a pretty well-blown case shoulder [taming down an excessively functioning gas system can reduce this]. Make double-sure you’re sizing the cases down to at least 0.003 clearance. If you don’t there are safety and function problems ahead.

TWO: USE Sufficient Neck Tension

The case neck [must be] reduced an adequate amount to retain the bullet. There should be a minimum net difference of 0.003 inches (three-thousandths) between sized outside case neck diameter and loaded round outside case neck diameter. [Editor — that means at least three thou of “grip”.] Reason: don’t take a chance of inadvertent bullet movement during the recoil and feeding cycles. That movement can be back or forward! It’s easily possible for a bullet to jump ahead when the inertia from the bolt carrier assembly chambers the next round.

Glen Zediker reloaders corner midsouth book AR-16 reloading semi-auto brass safety primer resizing

THREE: Use Tough Primers

Choose a tough primer! There’s a floating firing pin on an AR15 (M1A also) that is supposed to be held in check but that system doesn’t always work! If you load and extract a round and see a little dimple in the primer, that’s from the firing pin tapping off of it (again, created by inertia of bolt closing). A combination of a high primer and a sensitive primer cup assembly can create a “slam-fire”. Brands? CCI has some mil-spec primers that work well, and I’ve had great success with Remington 7-1/2. Some of the well-respected “match” primers are a little thin. The CCI and Remington also hold up well to the (sometimes) greater firing forces working on the primer (again, from the quick unlocking).

Here’s what I use from Midsouth.

FOUR: Be Sure to Seat Primers Below Flush

And, finally, make double-sure that each and every primer is seated to below flush with the case head! That’s true for any firearm (because it also means that the primer is fully seated) but imperative for safety in a semi-auto. This is especially an issue for those who use a progressive-type loading press.

Permalink Bullets, Brass, Ammo, Competition, Reloading 1 Comment »
July 31st, 2018

Eyeball Your Brass — How to Diagnose Flawed Cases

Case Diagnostics 101 Sierra Bullets .223 Rem 5.56 brass cartridge safety

Ever wondered what caused a particular bulge or marking on a case? And more importantly, does the issue make the case unsafe for further use? Sierra Bullets Ballistic Technician Duane Siercks offers some insight into various issues and their causes in this article from the Sierra Blog.

Incipient Case-Head Separation
This is a Winchester .308 Win case that has a real issue. This case has a very obvious incipient case head separation in the process of becoming a complete failure.

Sierra Case reloading pressure safety inspection

This is most commonly caused by over-sizing the case causing there to be excess headspace on the case. After a few firings and subsequent re-sizing, this case is just about ready to come completely apart. Proper die adjustment is certainly a requirement here. Of course this case is not safe to reuse.

Excessive Pressure (Load Too Hot)
If you will notice in the picture of the case rim, there are two pressure signs to notice. First, look at the primer. It is basically flattened to about the max of what could be considered safe. If this was the only pressure sign noted, I would probably be fine with this load, but would constantly keep an eye on it especially if I was going to use this load in warmer temperatures. This load could easily cross into the “excess pressure” realm very quickly.

Sierra Case reloading pressure safety inspection

There is another sign of pressure that we cannot ignore. If you’ll notice, there is an ejector mark apparent that is located over the “R” of the R-P headstamp. This absolutely tells us that this load would not have been in the safe pressure range. If there were any of these rounds loaded, they should not be fired and should be dis-assembled. This case should not be reloaded.

Split Case-Neck
Here we have an R-P .22-250 case that has died the death. Everything looks fine with this case except the neck is split. This case must be tossed.

Sierra Case reloading pressure safety inspection

A split neck is a normal occurrence that you must watch for. It is caused by work-hardening of the brass. Brass cases get harder with age and use. Brand new cases that are stored for a period of time can become hard enough that they will split like this case within one to two firings. I have had new factory loads do the same thing. Then as we resize and fire these cases repeatedly, they tend to get harder and harder. Eventually they will split. The life of the case can be extended by careful annealing practices. This is an issue that would need to be addressed in an article by itself. Of course this case is no longer usable.

In the classes that I teach, I try to use examples like this to let the students see what they should be looking for. As always, if we can assist you, whether you are new to reloading or very experienced, contact us here at Sierra Bullets by phone at 1-800-223-8799 or by email at sierra@sierrabullets.com.

Dented Case Body
Here we have a Lake City 7.62×51 (.308 Win.) case with two heavy marks/dents in the case body.

Sierra Case reloading pressure safety inspection

This one may be a bit of a mystery. It appears as if this case may have been caught in the action of a semi-auto rifle when the firearm jammed or the case failed to clear during the cycling process. I probably would not reload this case just to prevent any feeding problems. This also appeared to be a factory loaded round and I don’t really see any pressure issues or damage to the case.

CLICK HERE for MORE .223 Rem Case Examples in Sierra Blog

It is very important to observe and inspect your cases before each reloading. After awhile it becomes second nature to notice the little things. Never get complacent as you become more familiar with the reloading process. If ever in doubt, call Sierra’s Techs at 1-800-223-8799.

Sierra Bullets Case Diagnostics Blog

Permalink Bullets, Brass, Ammo, Reloading, Tech Tip No Comments »
June 19th, 2018

New 6mm Creedmoor Cartridge Brass from Lapua

Lapua 6mm 6.5mm Creedmore cartridge brass prs tactical varmint annealed

In the PRS game, the 6.5 Creedmoor has ruled the roost. However more and more serious competitors are moving to the 6mm Creedmoor cartridge because it offers lower recoil and a flatter trajectory (with some bullets). If you are a fan of the 6mm Creedmoor — take heart. Lapua has started production of 6mm Creedmoor cartridge brass, which should hit American shores later in the year. Yes this 6mm Creedmoor brass has small primer pocket and small flash hole — allowing it to stand up to repeated loading cycles with stout pressures.

Here is the official announcement…

Lapua 6mm Creedmoor Cartridge Brass

Lapua is pleased to announce the new 6mm Creedmoor case, a necked down version of the extremely popular 6.5mm Creedmoor designed to produce higher velocities, flatter trajectories, and reduced recoil.

Lapua 6mm 6.5mm Creedmore cartridge brass prs tactical varmint annealedCustomer demand for a 6mm version followed almost immediately after the release of the original Creedmoor case. Aside from the neck dimensions, our new 6mm Creedmoor cases shares the same features and characteristics that make Lapua the standard for 6.5 Creedmoor brass. It is a beautifully-drawn case, properly annealed at the neck and shoulder, with head metallurgy specifically chosen for durability, and the same small rifle primer, small flash-hole design that delivers the ultimate accuracy edge. The smaller 6mm bore diameter offers an excellent selection of proven low-drag match bullets that offer outstanding long range performance with even less recoil.

While the original 6.5 Creedmoor was designed with NRA High Power competition in mind, other disciplines, including the Precision Rifle Series (PRS), were quick to see the positive attributes of this cartridge. We know Lapua’s latest offering will find a niche with discerning shooters in demanding competitive disciplines.

We expect Lapua’s new 6mm Creedmoor cartridge brass to be favored by High Power shooters and serious varminters as well as tactical competitors. The Lapua 6mm Creedmoor cases will be available in the USA later in 2018.

The new Lapua 6mm Creedmoor Brass will definitely be a hit with PRS Competitors…
Lapua PRS tactical varmint hunting 6XC 6mm Creedmoor cartrdige brass
Photo from Ramia Whitecotton’s GAP GRIND 2016 photo album.

New product tip from Boyd Allen. We welcome reader submissions.
Permalink Bullets, Brass, Ammo, New Product, News, Tactical 13 Comments »
April 18th, 2018

TECH Tip: TOP TEN Ways to Dry Wet Cartridge Brass

Wet Tumbling Brass Drier

Many shooters these days clean their cartridge brass ultrasonically, or wet-tumble their cases with stainless media (above). Both methods get brass clean and shiny, inside and out. However, when those wet-cleaning processes are completed, you’re left with a pile of soaking wet brass. How do you dry your brass quickly and efficiently, without unsightly water spots? Read on for some great answers…

In our Shooters’ Forum, Forum Gold Member Terry asked: “How do you dry your brass after Ultrasonic cleaning?” In an interesting Reloading Forum Thread, many smart suggestions were posted. A dozen fellow members outlined a variety of effective case-drying procedures, which work equally well for both wet-tumbled brass and ultrasonically-cleaned cases. Here are the Top 10 brass-drying suggestions from our Forum members.

TOP TEN Ways to Dry Cartridge Brass After Wet Cleaning

1. Food Dehydrator — Shake the brass in towel to get the bulk of water off. Next leave in the food dehydrator for 45 minutes or until there are no signs of moisture inside the cases. — Lawrence97

2. Lyman 5-Level Case Dryer — Rinse off cleaning solution(s), then load brass by type into racks in Lyman Cyclone Case Dryer. This is easier to load/unload than food dehydrators and holds more cases.

Lyman Cyclone Case Drier

3. Hot Water + Compressed Air — Rinse all your cases as a batch using scalding hot water from the kitchen sink. Hot water evaporates off of brass very very quickly. Then hit them with compressed air. Takes 10 minutes. Simple. — SG4247

4. Oven Dry in Pre-Heated Oven — After pre-heating to 200° or so, turn off oven and put brass inside on a tray. Most important! Tell your wife what you are doing so she doesn’t crank it up to 425 to heat pizza! — MClark

NOTE: Many other members suggested oven drying at 150-200°. We recommend turning OFF the oven so you don’t cook your brass if you forget to remove the cases.

Dry Cartridge Brass heat gun5. Towel Dry then Warm with Heat Gun — Roll brass in a towel until no more water shakes out. Lay out on cardboard box top and blow off with Harbor Freight heat gun. $9.99 on coupon. Two minutes of heated air and about half hour of wait and they are good to go. This is with primers removed. — Shaggy357

6. Compressed Air, then Sun Dry Outside – I rinse the brass, then blow them out with compressed air. Then, dependent on the time of year, lay them on a towel in the sun. — HogPatrol

7. Dishwasher on Dry Cycle – In the winter, I drop my wet brass cases neck-down on the rack pegs in the dishwasher, then turn on the dry cycle. In the summer…well, I’m in Texas. They go to the porch for a bit. — Toolbreaker

8. Alcohol Rinse then Air or Oven Dry — Rinse in 90% Isopropyl alcohol and either let air dry or stick in 175° oven for half an hour. Alternatively, use a dehydrator. — Zipollini

9. Slow Air-Dry in Loading Blocks — I have a reloading block with holes drilled in it. I simply load the block up and let it air-dry in the cupboard for a couple of days. — JCS

10. Wipe with Towel Then Anneal Normally — This thread is stirring my OCD side. Seems complicated for just drying — my brass dries just fine when I anneal it. This entire process can’t take an hour per batch. When finished, the brass is cleaned, annealed, and ready to size. — CHLuke

  • Deprime, then tumble brass with stainless media, water, Lemishine, and dish detergent.
  • Shake them easily in a strainer to knock out most media then grab 4-5 pieces, shake them over the bucket for the last of the media then inside a towel.
  • Finally blow out the primer pockets and wipe with a towel, load in the Annealeez.

Wet Tumbling Brass Drier

Permalink Bullets, Brass, Ammo, Reloading, Tech Tip 7 Comments »
March 30th, 2018

New Lyman Cyclone Case Dryer — Fast and Affordable

Lyman Cyclone Cartridge Brass drying Case Dryer

Here’s a new product that should please shooters who wet-tumble their brass with stainless media, or use ultrasonic cleaning machines to clean cartridge brass (and gun parts). Employing forced hot air circulation, the new Lyman Cyclone Case Dryer will dry a large quantity of brass in under two hours. Internal racks provide five drying levels. With “street price” under $60.00, the Cyclone Case Dryer is a very affordable and effective addition to an ultrasonic or rotary-tumbler cleaning system.

Lyman Cyclone Cartridge Brass drying Case Dryer

The Lyman Cyclone Case Dryer works fast. No need to wait overnight (or longer) to air-dry your brass. Lyman states that “The forced heated air circulation of the Cyclone will dry your brass inside and out within an hour or two, with no unsightly water spots.” The handy individual trays keep different types of brass separate. The dryer can also be used for gun parts that have been ultrasonically cleaned.

Lyman Cyclone Case Dryer Features:
• Holds up to 1000 .223 Rem cases or 2000 9x19mm Luger cases
• Works with cartridge brass cases or gun parts
• Fast drying time — Typically 1 to 2 hours
• Timer control can be set up to 3 hours
• Durable ABS trays with recessed handles

Watch How Cyclone Case Dryer Functions with both Cartridge Brass and Gun Parts

Cyclone Case Dryer 115V (Part #7631560) MSRP: $69.95
Cyclone Case Dryer 230V (Part #7631561) MSRP: $69.95

Permalink Gear Review, New Product 4 Comments »
January 18th, 2018

RCBS Has New Brass Work Station with Six Powered Toolheads

New RCBS cartridge brass chamfering deburring power tool head station Brass Boss six

RCBS has announced the successor to the venerable RCBS Trim Mate. The New-for-2018 RCBS Brass Boss features six rotating stations that handle all your brass neck-brushing, chamfering, deburring, and pocket uniforming chores. The new Brass Boss includes tools for all six stations: inside VLD chamfering tool, outside deburring tool, primer pocket cleaners (small/large), military crimp removers (small/large), primer pocket uniformers (small/large), case neck brushes (four diameters), and a tub of dry case neck lubricant. MSRP for the Brass Boss, RCBS SKU 90390, is $189.95. We expect “street price” to be around $155.00.

New RCBS cartridge brass chamfering deburring power tool head station Brass Boss sixThis machine has two different rotation speeds for the toolheads. Four stations run at 350 rpm, while the two other stations run 57% faster, at 550 rpm. That give you a choice of spin speeds. You can work fast for tougher chores like military crimp removal, and slow down for inside-neck chamfering, which should be done carefully.

Larger and taller than the older RCBS Trim Mate, the new Brass Boss has one more station (six vs. five), plus a more powerful motor. This should make the Brass Boxx more competitive with the popular Lyman Case Prep Express.

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July 26th, 2017

New Lake City .223 Rem Brass on Sale at Midsouth

Midsouth Lake City .223 Brass sale bulk
Great deal on NEW Lake City .223 Rem Brass at Midsouth Shooters Supply. This is new production, unfired brass in bulk packaging.

Need a large supply of .223 Rem brass for your next varmint safari or 3-Gun match? Midsouth has a great deal right now on bulk-pack, NEW (unfired) Lake City .223 Rem (5.56x45mm) cartridge brass. The 500-count bag works out to a mere 15.6 cents per case, a fourth what some premium .223 brass costs. That’s great value.

Midsouth Lake City .223 Brass sale bulk

.223 Rem Still Shines for Varmint and Target Work
Even with all the “new and improved” cartridges (such as the .204 Ruger and 22 Nosler, the plain jane .223 Remington remains an excellent varmint cartridge, and the mainstay of service rifle competition. Here’s an example of how well the .223 Rem can perform in a good factory gun. The Tikka T3 offers excellent performance in this chambering. Tikka guarantees 1 MOA (or better) at 100 meters.

Permalink Bullets, Brass, Ammo, Hot Deals No Comments »
July 22nd, 2017

Big Brass Sale at Grafs.com — 10% Off Everything

Grafs.com cartridge brass sale

Need cartridge brass for your rifles and pistols? You can save ten percent (10%) on all brass now at Grafs.com. Graf’s most popular brands are on sale, including: Lapua, Norma, Nosler, Hornady, Weatherby and Starline. The brass sale ends on July 26, 2017 at 11:59 pm CT. Grafs.com has cartridge brass for more than 200 caliber/cartridge types. CLICK HERE for all rifle cartridge brass offerings at Grafs.com.

NEW: Starline Rifle Brass
You’re probably familiar with Starline’s excellent pistol cases, but did you know that Starline now produces bottleneck rifle cartridge brass as well? In the past year, Starline Brass has introduced a line of bottleneck rifle brass including .223 Rem, .243 Win, .300 BLK, 6.8 SPC, .308 Win, .338 Federal, and .358 Win. And yes, Starline offers 6.5 Creedmoor brass in both large primer and small primer version. Unfortunately, Grafs.com does not yet stock Starline’s 6.5 CM brass, but Graf’s does have Lapua, Norma, Nosler, and Hornady 6.5 Creedmoor brass.

Grafs.com cartridge brass sale

Permalink Hot Deals, Reloading No Comments »
June 22nd, 2017

Shiney Savings: Wet-Tumbling Cartridge Brass on a Tight Budget

Brass Tumbling stainless media cheap Harbor Freight Brass plated cartridge brass

Super Clean Brass Without Breaking The Bank

Posted on June 21, 2017 by Sierra Bullets
Written by Sierra Bullets Ballistic Technician Gary Prisendorf

I recently purchased 1,000 rounds of once-fired 5.56 LC brass that was fully processed and ready to load. The brass had been wet tumbled, using stainless steel pins and looked great inside and out, including the primer pockets.

I had always used a vibrating tumbler with either corn cob or walnut media and I always thought my brass looked pretty good until I saw what the wet tumbling and pin combination did.

Being the budget minded reloader that I am, I started looking for a cheap way to wet tumble my brass using stainless steel pins. Harbor Freight had recently opened a store nearby and I had received coupons in the mail, one of the coupons was 20% off any one item.

So I headed for the Harbor Freight store and after roaming around for 20 minutes or so I found a dual drum rotary rock tumbler for $55.00 and thought it would do just fine for what I was planning. The drums are rather small and only have a 3 pound maximum load limit each, but I figured that was big enough for around 150 .223 cases or maybe 300 9MM cases at a time.

I pulled the wrinkled up coupon out of my pocket, paid, and walked out with my new $47.00 brass cleaning machine. I didn’t have any stainless steel pins and couldn’t find any locally. At our local hardware store I picked up some brass plated ½” finishing brads that I thought might work until I could get some pins ordered.

I bought two small packages of the finishing brads(1.75 oz.), for $1.69 each then headed to my local Walmart to pick up some Dawn dish soap (.99 cents) and a bottle of Lemi Shine ($3.27). I had read online that is what a lot of people use for cleaning their brass.

I bought two small packages of the finishing brads (1.75 oz.), for $1.69 each then headed to my local Walmart to pick up some Dawn dish soap (.99 cents) and a bottle of Lemi Shine ($3.27). I had read online that is what a lot of people use for cleaning their brass.

When I got home, I started depriming .223 brass for my new toy, I mean brass tumbler. I deprimed 100 cases, put 50 in each drum, dropped a package of brads in each one, filled them ¾ of the way with water, gave each drum a small squirt of Dawn dish soap and a tablespoon of Lemi Shine. I sealed up the drums and fired up the tumbler.

After an hour and a half, I just couldn’t stand it any longer and had to see the results. The water was filthy but the cases were super clean, I couldn’t be happier. For a total investment of around $55.00, I can now get my cases looking almost new.

Here are the before and after pictures of my first run of brass:

Brass Tumbling stainless media cheap Harbor Freight Brass plated cartridge brass

I have since ordered two pounds of stainless steel pins, I put one pound in each drum. To be honest the brass really doesn’t look any better, but the pins don’t seem to get stuck inside of the cases near as bad as the brass-plated brads did.

Tip: Make sure to inspect your cases and look inside each case to ensure all of the brads/pins are removed.

Just lay the brass and brads/pins out on a towel and let them dry. Mine were dry after about 12 hours.

If you want your cases to look like new without breaking the bank, give it a try. You can’t clean 1000 at a time like the $200.00 tumbling machines that are made for specifically for brass, but this is a much cheaper alternative and the results speak for themselves. — Gary Prisendorf, Sierra Bullets

EDITOR: Actually you can get a machine for a whole lot less than $200.00! See the next paragraph.

Lyman Cylone Rotary Tumbler with Factory Rebate
Sierra’s Technician got his rotary tumbler and brass media for $55.00. For about twice that you can get a much better, higher-capacity system from Lyman. The Lyman Cyclone Rotary Tumbler features a large, polymer drum that holds up to 1000 .223 Rem cases. The kit includes media separation trays, plus five pounds of correct STAINLESS media. The Lyman Cyclone system costs $156.54 delivered from Amazon but this product qualifies for a $25 REBATE from Lyman. That puts your net cost at $131.54 for a complete Cyclone system. To be honest we think that’s money well spent, compared to the “El Cheapo” Harbor Freight unit. The Lyman will run six times as many .223 Rem cases, and get the job done faster. We suspect long-term durability will be better with the Lyman tumbler as well.

Brass Tumbling stainless media cheap Harbor Freight Brass plated cartridge brass

Permalink Hot Deals, Reloading 5 Comments »
June 8th, 2017

Advanced Reloading: Sorting Brass by Neck-Wall Thickness

neck sorting tool case-neck Sinclair caliber neck tension

He who dies with the most toys wins — right? Well Sinclair has another interesting gadget you can add to your reloading bench. The Sinclair Case Neck Sorting Tool lets you quickly sort brass by neck-wall thickness. For those who shoot “no-turn” brass, sorting your cases helps achieve more uniform neck tension and, thereby, more consistent bullet seating. Large variances in neck-wall thickness can cause inconsistent neck “grip” on the bullet. Generally, we’ve found that more consistent neck tension will lower ES and (usually) improve accuracy.

Get Better Results with No-Turn Brass
We know some guys who shoot no-turn 6mmBR brass in competition with considerable success — but their secret is pre-sorting their brass by neck-wall thickness. Cases that are out-of-spec are set aside for sighters (or are later skim-turned).

Watch Case Neck Sorting Tool Operation in Video (May not load on mobile devices)

Case Neck thickness sorting gauge Sinclair accurateshooter.comHow the Case Neck Sorting Tool Works
Here’s how the Sinclair tool works. Cases are rotated under an indicator tip while they are supported on a case-neck pilot and a support pin through the flash hole. The unit has a nice, wide base and low profile so it is stable in use. The tool works for .22 through .45 caliber cases and can be used on .17- and .20-caliber cases with an optional carbide alignment rod. The MIC-4 pin fits both .060 (PPC size) and .080 (standard size) flash holes. Sinclair’s Case Neck Sorting Tool can be ordered with or without a dial indicator. The basic unit without indicator (item 749-006-612WB) costs $59.99. Complete with dial indicator (item 749-007-129WB), the tool costs $89.99. IMPORTANT: This tool requires caliber-specific Case Neck Pilots (sold separately).

Editor’s Comment: The purpose of this Sinclair tool is rapid, high-quantity sorting of cartridge brass to ascertain significant case-neck-wall thickness variations. Consider this a rapid culling/sorting tool. If you are turning your necks, you will still need a quality ball micrometer tool to measure neck-wall thickness (to .0005) before and after neck-turning operations.

Permalink Gear Review, Reloading 4 Comments »
May 10th, 2017

Tech Tip: Shoot BR Cases with Rebated Rims in PPC Actions

PPC 6mm BR .308 bolt face Cutting Head for Rebating Rims

Butch Lambert of ShadeTree Engineering provided this tip. Butch notes that many 6 PPC benchrest group shooters also enjoy shooting in score matches. But to be really competitive in the BR for score game, that means shooting a 30 BR, which has a wider, .308-class rim (0.4728″ diameter). Likewise, if you want to compete in 600-yard registered BR events or in varmint matches, you probably want to run a bigger case, such as the 6BR, 6mm Dasher, or 6-6.5×47. Those cartridges also have the larger 0.4728″ rims.
PPC 6mm BR .308 bolt face Cutting Head for Rebating Rims
To convert a PPC-boltface action to shoot the bigger cases you can spend a ton of money and buy a new bolt. That can cost hundreds of dollars. The simpler solution is to turn down the diameter of the larger cases on a lathe.

Butch explains: “We’ve seen plenty of interest in rebating case rims. This lets you shoot a 30 BR in score matches using your PPC action. All you need is a new barrel. This saves buying another bolt, receiver, or rifle if you have a PPC boltface. Anyone who has access to a lathe can do this job pretty easily. Yesterday I turned 150 case in about an hour.” At right is the lathe form tool Butch uses to rebate the case rims.

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March 3rd, 2017

Inspecting Your Brass — What Case Flaws Reveal

Case Diagnostics 101 Sierra Bullets .223 Rem 5.56 brass cartridge safety

Ever wondered what caused a particular bulge or marking on a case? And more importantly, does the issue make the case unsafe for further use? Sierra Bullets Ballistic Technician Duane Siercks offers some insight into various issues and their causes in this article from the Sierra Blog.

Incipient Case-Head Separation
This is a Winchester .308 Win case that has a real issue. This case has a very obvious incipient case head separation in the process of becoming a complete failure.

Sierra Case reloading pressure safety inspection

This is most commonly caused by over-sizing the case causing there to be excess headspace on the case. After a few firings and subsequent re-sizing, this case is just about ready to come completely apart. Proper die adjustment is certainly a requirement here. Of course this case is not safe to reuse.

Excessive Pressure (Load Too Hot)
If you will notice in the picture of the case rim, there are two pressure signs to notice. First, look at the primer. It is basically flattened to about the max of what could be considered safe. If this was the only pressure sign noted, I would probably be fine with this load, but would constantly keep an eye on it especially if I was going to use this load in warmer temperatures. This load could easily cross into the “excess pressure” realm very quickly.

Sierra Case reloading pressure safety inspection

There is another sign of pressure that we cannot ignore. If you’ll notice, there is an ejector mark apparent that is located over the “R” of the R-P headstamp. This absolutely tells us that this load would not have been in the safe pressure range. If there were any of these rounds loaded, they should not be fired and should be dis-assembled. This case should not be reloaded.

Split Case-Neck
Here we have an R-P .22-250 case that has died the death. Everything looks fine with this case except the neck is split. This case must be tossed.

Sierra Case reloading pressure safety inspection

A split neck is a normal occurrence that you must watch for. It is caused by work-hardening of the brass. Brass cases get harder with age and use. Brand new cases that are stored for a period of time can become hard enough that they will split like this case within one to two firings. I have had new factory loads do the same thing. Then as we resize and fire these cases repeatedly, they tend to get harder and harder. Eventually they will split. The life of the case can be extended by careful annealing practices. This is an issue that would need to be addressed in an article by itself. Of course this case is no longer usable.

In the classes that I teach, I try to use examples like this to let the students see what they should be looking for. As always, if we can assist you, whether you are new to reloading or very experienced, contact us here at Sierra Bullets by phone at 1-800-223-8799 or by email at sierra@sierrabullets.com.

Dented Case Body
Here we have a Lake City 7.62×51 (.308 Win.) case with two heavy marks/dents in the case body.

Sierra Case reloading pressure safety inspection

This one may be a bit of a mystery. It appears as if this case may have been caught in the action of a semi-auto rifle when the firearm jammed or the case failed to clear during the cycling process. I probably would not reload this case just to prevent any feeding problems. This also appeared to be a factory loaded round and I don’t really see any pressure issues or damage to the case.

CLICK HERE for MORE .223 Rem Case Examples in Sierra Blog

It is very important to observe and inspect your cases before each reloading. After awhile it becomes second nature to notice the little things. Never get complacent as you become more familiar with the reloading process. If ever in doubt, call Sierra’s Techs at 1-800-223-8799.

Sierra Bullets Case Diagnostics Blog

Permalink Bullets, Brass, Ammo, Reloading 5 Comments »
February 13th, 2017

Lapua 6.5 Creedmoor Brass Has Arrived at Graf & Sons

Lapua 6.5 Creedmoor cartridge brass

The most hotly-anticipated cartridge brass, the new-for-2017 6.5 Creedmoor cases from Lapua, arrived late last week at Graf & Sons. With the strength and uniformity for which Lapua brass is famous, this new brass should definitely “raise the bar” for 6.5 Creedmoor and 6mm Creedmoor shooters. Note — the new Lapua 6.5 Creedmoor brass features a small flash hole and small primer pocket. As of 9:00 am Monday morning this brass is in stock at Grafs.com priced at $119.99 per 100-ct box, with a max order of five (5) boxes.

UPDATE: The 6.5 Creedmoor brass sold out after we posted this story. But there will be more coming. You can ask Graf’s to be notified as soon as the next shipment arrives.

Lapua 6.5 Creedmoor cartridge brass

TECH TIP: For those who have been loading Hornady or other-brand 6.5 Creedmoor brass with large primer pockets and large flash holes, you may need to reconfigure your reloading tools. Check your sizing die — you may need to change to a smaller-diameter decapping rod. In addition you’ll need to use a small primer size “pusher” on your priming tool.

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November 23rd, 2016

Lapua Now Offers 6.5 Creedmoor Cartridge Brass

Lapua Creedmoor 6.5 Brass cartridge 1.5mm tactical case

Here’s great news for mid-size cartridge fans, and especially PRS and tactical shooters. Lapua just announced it will produce 6.5 Creedmoor cartridge brass, which should be available in the first quarter of 2017. This premium-quality brass features a small primer, and 1.5mm flash hole (as found on Lapua’s 6mmBR, 6.5×47 Lapua, and 220 Russian brass). We expect Lapua’s 6.5 Creedmoor brass will set new standards for accuracy and case life for this popular mid-sized cartridge. Of course Lapua’s new 6.5 Creedmoor brass can also be necked down and loaded in 6mm Creedmoor configuration. With the small primer pocket and proven strength of Lapua brass, we think 6.5 Creedmoor shooters will see enhanced cartridge velocities with the ability to maintain tight primer pockets even with very stout loads. And we expect accuracy to be on a par with Lapua’s excellent 6.5×47 Lapua brass. Taken together, this is an exciting product release. Here is Lapua’s official announcement:

Lapua Creedmoor 6.5 Brass cartridge 1.5mm tactical case

We are happy to announce the addition of the 6.5 Creedmoor case to the Lapua line! Despite a relatively short time on the marketplace, the 6.5 Creedmoor has made a tremendous splash in the field, rapidly becoming one of the most requested cases we hear about from shooters. Lapua’s 6.5 Creedmoor is designed to function in a short action, which is also a plus for hunters, vitally concerned with the rifle’s weight and compactness. In fact, many of the same features which make for a successful competition cartridge, translate nicely to the hunting fields as well.

For most species of mid-size game such as deer or boar, the Creedmoor will prove to be a deadly performer. And while the selection of high grade Match bullets in the 6.5 bore size is tremendous, there’s no shortage of exceptionally good hunting bullets either. The 6.5s as a group have always been known as excellent performers on game.

Lapua Creedmoor 6.5 Brass cartridge 1.5mm tactical caseMade with Lapua’s typical dedication to precision, our new 6.5 Creedmoor case has been refined just a bit, to make it an even better performer. We’ve opted for the small rifle primer, which normally produces an optimized ignition and better accuracy than large primers in mid-sized cartridges like the Creedmoor.

We’ve also incorporated our smaller-diameter flash hole (1.5mm, rather than the industry-standard 2.0mm), which has proven to provide enhanced accuracy, and is used in a number of our other accuracy-oriented cases. In this respect, the new 6.5 Creedmoor joins the ranks of our other dedicated accuracy cartridges such as the .220 Russian (6mm PPC), the 6mmBR Norma, the 6.5×47 Lapua, and the .308 Win Palma cases.

And naturally, the new 6.5 Creedmoor will be made with our well-known Passion for Precision. Strictest control over the metallurgy, the forming and drawing processes, precise annealing all performed under the watchful eyes of our production experts. For you, the handloader, that means the durability for which our cases are famous, combined with consistency and long life. Already proven in competition, we predict that the 6.5 Creedmoor will be a force to be reckoned with for many years to come.

Comment on Lapua’s new 6.5mm Creedmoor
Our British friend Laurie Holland was excited about the new 6.5 Creedmoor brass from Lapua: “With this and Peterson Cartridge on the bandwagon, plus another U.S. brass maker… the Creedmoor’s momentum is becoming impressive.” Laurie observes: “A small primer Lapua-cased 6.5mm Creedmoor is in effect a 6.5X47 Lapua ‘Improved’!” That’s a pretty interesting concept indeed. Which makes us wonder if the .260 Remington has finally been fully eclipsed. With Lapua 6.5 Creedmoor brass you can probably get very, very close to .260 Rem performance in a much more efficient case.

Permalink Bullets, Brass, Ammo, New Product, News 13 Comments »
October 11th, 2016

Berger Bullets Joins Nammo Group

Berger Bullets Nammo Press release Nammo group Lapua brass ammunition

Breaking News: Berger Bullets Joins Nammo Group

The Nammo Group, parent of Lapua and Vihtavuori, has announced the acquisition of Berger Bullets, one of the USA’s leading bullet makers. With Berger Bullets joining the Nammo Group, this teams America’s ultra-premium bullet-maker with what is arguably the world’s most respected cartridge brass and ammunition-maker. This is huge news. For competition shooters this may be a “marriage made in heaven”. Many top shooters, including champions like Bryan Litz and John Whidden, are already shooting Berger bullets in Lapua brass. This merger will make it easier for the two companies (Berger and Lapua) to optimize the performance of factory ammo, as well as to optimize brass for use with Berger match projectiles.

A spokesman for Lapua said that Lapua will continue to make bullets in Europe while Berger will conduct its regular operations in the USA: “Lapua will still make bullets, and it will be ‘business as usual’ for Berger at this time. There are no plans to change production sites to consolidate product lines. Berger will continue to operate as an independent business, just under the Nammo umbrella.” NOTE: This acquisition will be subject to regulatory approvals by U.S. governmental authorities.

On firearm industry analyst believes this merger is a “win-win” for both Berger and Nammo: “This will help Berger export more product to the European market while it will give Nammo a stronger connection to the huge U.S. firearms market, expanding Nammo’s North American customer base”. Nammo president/CEO Morten Brandtzæg concurred, stating: “Having Berger Bullets on board is the perfect match for Nammo. Their products, which are complementary to our other premium brands, will strengthen our group’s strategic position in the U.S. commercial ammunition market.” This acquistion WILL include Berger’s ABM Ammunition and J-4 Jackets product lines.

Here is the press release issued by the Nammo Group, which is headquartered in Norway and has 2,100 employees in 12 countries:

Berger Bullets Nammo Press release Nammo group Lapua brass ammunition

(more…)

Permalink Bullets, Brass, Ammo, News 6 Comments »
October 3rd, 2016

Case Diagnostics — How to Spot Problems with Cartridge Brass

Case Diagnostics 101 Sierra Bullets .223 Rem 5.56 brass cartridge safety

Ever wondered what caused a particular bulge or marking on a case? And more importantly, does the issue make the case unsafe for further use? Sierra Bullets Ballistic Technician Duane Siercks offers some insight into various issues and their causes in this article from the Sierra Blog.

Diagnosing Problems with Cartridge Brass

by Duane Siercks, Sierra Bullets
I was handed a small sample of .223 Rem cases the other day and was asked if I could comment on some marks and appearances that had been noticed as they were sorting through the cases. I will share what was observed and give you what would seem to be a cause for them. These were from an unknown source, so I have no way of knowing what type of firearm they were fired in or if they were factory loaded or reloaded ammunition.

Example ONE: Lake City 5.56, Unknown Year
Case #1 was seen to have a very rounded shoulder and split. Upon first look it was obvious that this round had been a victim of excess pressure. The firearm (perhaps an AR?) was apparently not in full battery, or there was possibly a headspace issue also. While taking a closer look, the primer was very flat and the outside radius of the primer cup had been lost. High pressure! Then I also noticed that there was an ejector mark on the case rim. This is most certainly an incident of excessive pressure. This case is ruined and should be discarded. See photo below.

Case Diagnostics 101 Sierra Bullets .223 Rem 5.56 brass cartridge safety

Example TWO: Lake City Match 1993
Case #2 appears very normal. There was some question about marks seen on the primer. The primer is not overly flattened and is typical for a safe maximum load. There is a small amount of cratering seen here. This can be caused by a couple of situations.

Case Diagnostics 101 Sierra Bullets .223 Rem 5.56 brass cartridge safety

Cratering is often referred to as a sign of excess pressure. With safety in mind, this is probably something that should make one stop and really assess the situation. Being as there are no other signs of pressure seen with this case, I doubt that pressure was unsafe. That leads us to the next possibility. This can also be caused by the firing-pin hole in the bolt-face being a bit larger than the firing-pin, and allowing the primer to flow back into the firing-pin hole causing the crater seen here. This can happen even with less-than-max pressures, in fact it has been noted even at starting loads. Always question whether pressure is involved when you see a crater. In this situation, I lean toward a large firing-pin hole. This case should be safe to reload.

Example THREE: R-P .223 Remington
Case #3 appears normal with one exception. There are two rings seen about one half inch below the base of the shoulder. These rings are around the circumference of the case, one being quite pronounced, and the other being noticeably less.

Case Diagnostics 101 Sierra Bullets .223 Rem 5.56 brass cartridge safety

As we do not know the origin of the firearm in which this case was fired, it does seem apparent that the chamber of the firearm possibly had a slight defect. It could have been that the reamer was damaged during the cutting of this chamber. I would suggest that the chamber did have a couple of grooves that imprinted onto the case upon firing. This firearm, while maybe not dangerous should be looked at by a competent gunsmith. In all likelihood, this case is still safe to use.

Example FOUR: R-P .223 Remington
Case #4 has no signs of excess pressure. There is a bulge in the case just ahead of the case head that some might be alarmed by. This bulge is more than likely caused by this case being fired in a firearm that had a chamber on the maximum side of S.A.A.M.I. specifications. There is actually no real issue with the case. Note that the primer would indicate this load was relatively mild on pressure.

Case Diagnostics 101 Sierra Bullets .223 Rem 5.56 brass cartridge safety

If this case was reloaded and used in the same firearm numerous times there might be a concern about case head separation. If you were going to use this case to load in an AR, be sure to completely full-length re-size to avoid chambering difficulties. This case would be safe to reload.

CLICK HERE for MORE .223 Rem Case Examples in Sierra Blog

It is very important to observe and inspect your cases before each reloading. After awhile it becomes second nature to notice the little things. Never get complacent as you become more familiar with the reloading process. If ever in doubt, call Sierra’s Techs at 1-800-223-8799.

Sierra Bullets Case Diagnostics Blog

Permalink Bullets, Brass, Ammo, Reloading 2 Comments »
October 2nd, 2016

6.5 Guys Review of AMP Induction Annealer

Amp Annealing Machine Review 6.5 Guys 65guys.com
Photo by Bill Gravatt. Read Bill’s AMP review HERE.

Our good friends Ed and Steve (aka “The 6.5 Guys”) have just released an in-depth product review of the AMP Annealing system. Produced in New Zealand, the AMP (Annealing Made Perfect) unit is a sophisticated, microprocessor-controlled annealing machine that achieves ultra-consistent results through an electrical INDUCTION process.

AMP Annealing Machine Review by the 6.5 Guys:

Ed was so impressed with the AMP annealer that he purchased his own AMP to replace a carousel-type, dual-torch annealer he previously used. Ed tells us that “once you have the correct setting for your brass the AMP’s results are repeatable every time.” By contrast, Ed explained, “with butane torch systems you have to adjust the system when the ambient temperature changes, or even if your butane fuel is slightly different.” Ed says that, with his AMP system, he can anneal a case every few seconds. Yes it does require manually handling each case but “the actual annealing process is so fast, this really isn’t a big issue.”

Bill Gravatt AMP Annealing Machine
Photo from AMP Annealer Review by Bill Gravatt.

If you want to extend the useful life of your precious cartridge brass, then you should definitely consider annealing. And if you are in the market for an annealer, the new AMP machine deserves serious consideration. Though not inexpensive, it achieves excellent results according to the 6.5 Guys.

6.5 Guys’ AMP Annealer Review Key Points:

1. The AMP machine provides complete peace of mind that you are annealing properly — there is no guesswork. With a propane machine you have to calibrate dwell times which can be error prone. Even if you don’t change out your cartridge, dwell times will vary with temperature changes as this affects the propane pressure.

2. We noticed that the AMP machine produces brass that is more like factory brass from a hardness standpoint. Despite all our efforts and research around calibrating our propane machines, brass never seemed returned to factory condition and shoulder spring-back would increase with each reloading so we had to adjust our sizing dies. When a cartridge comes out of the AMP it is very, very close to new condition.

3. One of the things we dreaded was setting up our propane machine for different cartridges. With Ed’s OCD he would spend a good 30 minutes making sure everything was perfect. With the AMP machine you simply change out the pilot and select the proper program. It’s really straight-forward.

>>> READ AMP Annealer FULL REVIEW on 65guys.com

NOTE: We strongly recommend you read the Full AMP Annealer Review on 65guys.com. It contains a detailed explanation of the machines’ operation and the reviewers explain the pros (and cons) or the machine compared to flame-type annealers.

The current price for the AMP Annealer, with three pilots of your choice, is $995.00 USD. Additional pilots are $20.00 USD. For more info, visit www.AMPAnnealing.com.

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