September 28th, 2017

How to Improve Case Concentricity with Standard Seating Dies

USAMU Handloading Hump Day Seating Die Adjustment Stem TIR Concentricity Run-out

Each Wednesday, the U.S. Army Marksmanship Unit publishes a reloading “how-to” article on the USAMU Facebook page. This USAMU “Handloading Hump Day” article, the second in a series on improving concentricity, has many useful tips. If you use standard (non-micrometer) seating dies when loading some cartridge types, this article is worth reading. And visit the USAMU Facebook page next Wednesday for the next installment.

Once again, it’s time for USAMU’s “Handloading Hump-Day!” Last week, we addressed achieving very good loaded-cartridge concentricity (AKA “TIR”, or Total Indicator Runout) using standard, “hunting grade” reloading dies.

We explained how to set up the Full-Length Size die to float slightly when correctly adjusted for desired case headspace. We also cited a study in which this method loaded ammunition straighter than a set of [higher grade] match dies from the same maker. [One of the keys to reducing TIR with both sets of dies was using a rubber O-ring below the locking ring to allow the die to float slightly. READ Full-Length Sizing Die TIP HERE.]

Now, we’ll set up a standard seating die to minimize TIR — the other half of the two-die equation. As before, we’ll use a single-stage press since most new handloaders will have one. A high-quality runout gauge is essential for obtaining consistent, accurate results.

Having sized, primed and charged our brass, the next step is bullet seating. Many approaches are possible; one that works well follows. When setting up a standard seating die, insert a sized, trimmed case into the shell-holder and fully raise the press ram. Next, back the seating stem out and screw the die down until the internal crimping shoulder touches the case mouth.

Back the die out one-quarter turn from this setting to prevent cartridge crimping. Next, lower the press ram and remove the case. Place a piece of flat steel on the shellholder and carefully raise the ram. Place tension on the die bottom with the flat steel on the shellholder. This helps center the die in the press threads. Check this by gently moving the die until it is well-centered. Keeping light tension on the die via the press ram, secure the die lock ring.

USAMU Handloading Hump Day Seating Die Adjustment Stem TIR Concentricity Run-out

If one were using a micrometer-type seating die, the next step would be simple: run a charged case with bullet on top into the die and screw the seating stem down to obtain correct cartridge OAL.

However, with standard dies, an additional step can be helpful. When the die has a loosely-threaded seating stem, set the correct seating depth but don’t tighten the stem’s lock nut. Leave a loaded cartridge fully raised into the die to center the seating stem. Then, secure the stem’s lock nut. Next, load sample cartridges and check them to verify good concentricity.

One can also experiment with variations such as letting the seating stem float slightly in the die to self-center, while keeping correct OAL. The runout gauge will show any effects of changes upon concentricity. However, the first method has produced excellent, practical results as evidenced by the experiment cited previously. These results (TIR Study 2) will reproduced below for the reader’s convenience.

TIR Study 2: Standard vs. Match Seating Dies

50 rds of .308 Match Ammo loaded using carefully-adjusted standard dies, vs. 50 using expensive “Match” dies from the same maker.

Standard dies, TIR:
0.000” — 0.001” = 52%;
0.001”– 0.002” = 40%;
0.002”– 0.003” = 8%. None greater than 0.003”.

“Match” dies, TIR:
0.000”– 0.001” = 46%;
0.001” — 0.002” = 30%;
0.002” — 0.003” = 20%;
0.003” — 0.004” = 4%.

AccurateShooter Comment: This shows that, with careful adjustment, the cheaper, standard dies achieved results that were as good (or better) than the more expensive “Match” Dies.

These tips are intended to help shooters obtain the best results from inexpensive, standard loading dies. Especially when using cases previously fired in a concentric chamber, as was done above, top-quality match dies and brass can easily yield ammo with virtually *no* runout, given careful handloading.

Permalink Reloading, Tech Tip 9 Comments »
May 5th, 2017

Bullet Concentricity Basics — What You Need to Know

Sinclair concentricity 101 eccentricity run-out reloading plans

Sinclair International reloading toolsSinclair International has released an interesting article about Case Concentricity* and bullet “run-out”. This instructional article by Bob Kohl explains the reasons brass can exhibit poor concentricity, and why high bullet run-out can be detrimental to accuracy.

Concentricity, Bullet Alignment, and Accuracy by Bob Kohl
The purpose of loading your own ammo is to minimize all the variables that can affect accuracy and can be controlled with proper and conscientious handloading. Concentricity and bullet run-out are important when you’re loading for accuracy. Ideally, it’s important to strive to make each round the same as the one before it and the one after it. It’s a simple issue of uniformity.

The reason shooters work with tools and gauges to measure and control concentricity is simple: to make sure the bullet starts down the bore consistently in line with the bore. If the case isn’t properly concentric and the bullet isn’t properly aligned down the center of the bore, the bullet will enter the rifling inconsistently. While the bore might force the bullet to align itself with the bore (but normally it doesn’t), the bullet may be damaged or overstressed in the process – if it even it corrects itself in transit. These are issues we strive to remedy by handloading, to maintain the best standard possible for accurate ammunition.

The term “concentricity” is derived from “concentric circle”. In simple terms it’s the issue of having the outside of the cartridge in a concentric circle around the center. That goes from case head and center of the flash hole, to the tip of the bullet.

Factors Affecting Concentricity

The point of using this term is to identify a series of issues that affect accurate ammunition. Ideally this would work best with a straight-walled case; but since most rifle cartridge cases are tapered, it equates to the smallest cross section that can be measured point by point to verify the concentric circle around the center. For the examples below, I’m working with .308 Winchester ammo.

Concentricity run-out cartridge case
Figure 1: The cartridge.

Concentricity run-out cartridge case
Figure 2: Centerline axis of the case, extending from flash hole to case mouth.

The case walls have to be in perfect alignment with the center, or axis, of that case, even if it’s measured at a thousandth of an inch per segment (in a tapered case).

Concentricity run-out cartridge case
Figure 3: Case body in alignment with its axis, or centerline, even in a tapered case.

The case neck must also be in alignment with its axis. By not doing so you can have erratic bullet entry into the bore. The case neck wall itself should be as uniform as possible in alignment and in thickness (see the M80 7.62x51mm NATO cartridge in Figure 5) and brass can change its alignment and shape. It’s why we expand the case neck or while some folks ream the inside of the neck and then turn the outside for consistent thickness, which affects the tension on the bullet when seated.

Concentricity run-out cartridge case
Figure 4: Neck in alignment with center of the case axis.

Concentricity run-out cartridge case
Figure 5: Variations in case neck wall thickness, especially on some military brass, can cause an offset of the bullet in its alignment. This is an M80 ball round. Note the distinct difference of the neck walls.

Having a ball micrometer on hand helps, especially with military brass like 7.62x51mm in a semi-auto rifle, where there are limits as to how thin you want the neck walls to be. In the case of 7.62 ball brass you want to keep the wall to .0145″.

Concentricity run-out cartridge case
Figure 6: A ball micrometer like this RCBS tool (#100-010-268) can measure case neck thickness.

Turning the outside of the neck wall is important with .308 military cases regardless of whether you expand or ream the neck walls. There are several outside neck turning tools from Forster, Hornady, Sinclair, and others. I’ve been using classic Forster case trimming (#100-203-301) and neck turning (#749-012-890) tools for 40 years.

Bullet Run-Out
The cartridge, after being loaded, still needs to be in alignment with the center of the case axis. Figure 7 shows a bad example of this, a round of M80 ball. A tilted bullet is measured for what’s known as bullet “run-out”.

Concentricity run-out cartridge case
Figure 7: An M80 round with the bullet tilted and not aligned with the axis. This will be a flyer!

Run-out can be affected by several things: (1) improperly indexing your case while sizing, which includes not using the proper shell holder, especially while using a normal expander ball on the sizing die (it also can stretch the brass). (2) The head of a turret press can flex; and (3) improper or sloppy bullet seating. This is also relevant when it comes to using a progressive press when trying to load accuracy ammo.

Mid Tompkins came up with a simple solution for better bullet seating years ago. Seat your bullet half way into the case, back off the seater die and rotate the case 180 degrees before you finish seating the bullet. It cuts down on run-out problems, especially with military brass. You also want to gently ream the inside of the neck mouth to keep from having any brass mar the surface of the bullet jacket and make proper seating easier. A tilted bullet often means a flyer.

Concentricity run-out cartridge case
Figure 8: Proper alignment from the center of the case head to the tip of the bullet.

CLICK HERE to READ FULL ARTICLE With More Photos and Tips


*Actually some folks would say that if we are talking about things being off-center or out-of-round, we are actually talking about “eccentricity”. But the tools we use are called “Concentricity Gauges” and Concentricity is the term most commonly used when discussing this subject.

Story Tip from EdLongrange. We welcome reader submissions.
Permalink - Articles, Bullets, Brass, Ammo, Reloading 4 Comments »
January 6th, 2017

Try Rotating Cases During Bullet Seating to Reduce Run-Out

Bullet Seating Reloading rotate cartridge Run-out TIR

Here is a simple technique that can potentially help you load straighter ammo, with less run-out (as measured on the bullet). This procedure costs nothing and adds only a few seconds to the time needed to load a cartridge. Next time you’re loading ammo with a threaded (screw-in) seating die, try seating the bullet in two stages. Run the cartridge up in the seating die just enough to seat the bullet half way. Then lower the cartridge and rotate it 180° in the shell-holder. Now raise the cartridge up into the die again and finish seating the bullet.

Steve, aka “Short Range”, one of our Forum members, recently inquired about run-out apparently caused by his bullet-seating process. Steve’s 30BR cases were coming out of his neck-sizer with good concentricity, but the run-out nearly doubled after he seated the bullets. At the suggestion of other Forum members, Steve tried the process of rotating his cartridge while seating his bullet. Steve then measured run-out on his loaded rounds. To his surprise there was a noticeable reduction in run-out on the cases which had been rotated during seating. Steve explains: “For the rounds that I loaded yesterday, I seated the bullet half-way, and turned the round 180 degrees, and finished seating the bullet. That reduced the bullet runout by almost half on most rounds compared to the measurements from the first test.”

run-out bullet

run-out bullet

Steve recorded run-out measurements on his 30BR brass using both the conventional (one-pass) seating procedure, as well as the two-stage (with 180° rotation) method. Steve’s measurements are collected in the two charts above. As you can see, the run-out was less for the rounds which were rotated during seating. Note, the change is pretty small (less than .001″ on average), but every little bit helps in the accuracy game. If you use a threaded (screw-in) seating die, you might try this two-stage bullet-seating method. Rotating your case in the middle of the seating process won’t cost you a penny, and it just might produce straighter ammo (nothing is guaranteed). If you do NOT see any improvement on the target, you can always go back to seating your bullets in one pass. READ Forum Thread..

Permalink Bullets, Brass, Ammo, Reloading 4 Comments »
November 18th, 2016

Advanced Reloading — Checking the Geometry of Neck Bushings

bushing neck die run-out concentricity

Do you use bushings to size your case-necks? Are you assuming that your bushings are actually round on the inside, with a hole that’s centered-up properly? Well you may be in for an unpleasant surprise, based on what our friend Jim de Kort recently discovered. Jim was concerned about the run-out on his brass. His cases went into his bushing-equipped FL die pretty straight, but came out of the die with up to .004″ run-out. “What gives?”, Jim wondered. “Could the problem be the bushings themselves?”

To answer that question, Jim decided to examine his bushings. Using an Accuracy One Wheel-drive concentricity gauge, Jim checked out some of his neck bushings. What he discovered may surprise you…


Neck Bushing Flaws Revealed

Trust no one… — Jim de Kort

Jim writes: “I measured the concentricity of my 6BR rounds today. I noticed they went into the neck-bushing equipped full-length sizing die with less than .001″ deviation but came out with .003-.004″. The culprit, it appears, was the bushing itself. Without it the cases stayed within .0005″ to .001″ deviation, so something was happening with the bushing.

One bushing had .00025″ deviation on the outside, yet almost .003″ on the inside, so it is crooked. But even when using a bushing that is within .001″ I still get .003″ runout after sizing. I repeated the same procedure for my 6×47 and got the same results. When using the bushing, concentricity suffers a lot.”

Before we bash the bushing-makers, we must acknowledge that many different things can contribute to excessive run-out and/or mis-alignment of case-necks. We don’t have all the answers here, and Jim would be the first to say that some mysteries remain. Still, these are interesting results that give all precision hand-loaders something to think about.

Jim Borden of Borden Accuracy also offers this tip: “Check the trueness of the face of the die cap. That has more to do with trueness than the bushing. Also check perpendicularity of hole in bushing to top surface. When I was making dies, the cap was made by threading and facing the threaded tenon in same setup.”


Editor’s Comment: Many people have great results with neck-bushing dies, but Jim isn’t the only fellow who has seen some very odd results. I personally employ honed, non-bushing dies for many of my chamberings. These non-bushing dies (with the necks honed for .002-.003″ neck tension) produce extremely straight ammo, with run-out consistently under .0015″.

Permalink Gear Review, Reloading 7 Comments »
October 22nd, 2016

TECH Tip: How to Reduce Run-Out with Seating Dies

USAMU Hump Day Reloading TIR run-out concentricity seating die stem

Each Wednesday, the U.S. Army Marksmanship Unit publishes a reloading “how-to” article on the USAMU Facebook page. Recently the USAMU’s reloading gurus looked at the subject of cartridge run-out and what can be done to produce straighter ammo. Tasked with producing thousands of rounds of ammo for team members, the USAMU’s reloading staff has developed smart methods for improving concentricity, even with budget=price dies. For other hand-loading tips, visit the USAMU Facebook page next Wednesday for the next installment.

Minimizing Runout with Standard Seating Dies

This USAMU article explains how to set up standard bullet seating dies dies to minimize Total Indicated Run-out (TIR). The loading process is described using a single-stage press since most handloaders have one. A high-quality run-out gauge is essential for obtaining consistent, accurate results.

Having sized, primed, and charged our brass, the next step is bullet seating. Many approaches are possible; one that works well follows. When setting up a standard seating die, insert a sized, trimmed case into the shellholder and fully raise the press ram. Next, back the seating stem out and screw the die down until the internal crimping shoulder touches the case mouth.

Back the die out ¼ turn from this setting to prevent cartridge crimping. Next, lower the press ram and remove the case. Place a piece of flat steel (or window glass, which is quite flat) on the shellholder and carefully raise the ram.

Place tension on the die bottom with the flat steel on the shellholder. This helps center the die in the press threads. Check this by gently moving the die until it is well-centered. Keeping light tension on the die via the press ram, secure the die lock ring. If one were using a match style, micrometer-type seating die, the next step would be simple: run a charged case with bullet on top into the die and screw the seating stem down to obtain correct cartridge OAL.

However, with standard dies, an additional step can be helpful. When the die has a loosely-threaded seating stem, set the correct seating depth but don’t tighten the stem’s lock nut. Leave a loaded cartridge fully raised into the die to center the seating stem in the die. Then, secure the stem’s lock nut. Next, load sample cartridges and check them to verify good concentricity.

USAMU Hump Day Reloading TIR run-out concentricity seating die stem

One can also experiment with variations such as letting the seating stem float slightly in the die to self-center, while keeping correct OAL. The run-out gauge will show any effects of changes upon concentricity. However, this method has produced excellent, practical results as evidenced by the experiment cited previously. These results (TIR Study 2) will reproduced below for the reader’s convenience.

First, however, let’s examine run-out figures of some factory-loaded match ammunition. This should give readers who are new to TIR gauges some perspective about the TIR ranges one might encounter.

TIR Study 1: 50 rounds Lake City M852 Match 7.62mm
(168 gr. Sierra MatchKings)
0.000” – 0.001” = 2%
0.001” – 0.002” = 30%
0.002” – 0.003” = 16%
0.003” – 0.004” = 22%
0.004” – 0.005” = 14%
0.005” – 0.006” = 14%
0.006” – 0.007” = 0%
0.007” – 0.008” = 2%

TIR Study 2: 50 rounds of .308 match ammo loaded using carefully-adjusted standard dies, vs. 50 using expensive “Match” dies from the same maker.

Standard dies, TIR:
0.000” — 0.001” = 52%;
0.001”– 0.002” = 40%;
0.002”– 0.003” = 8%.
None greater than 0.003”.

Lesser-quality “Match” dies, TIR:
0.000”– 0.001” = 46%;
0.001” — 0.002” = 30%;
0.002” — 0.003” = 20%;
0.003” — 0.004” = 4%.

Note: both samples were loaded using the O-Ring method, i.e. with a rubber O-Ring placed under the locking ring of the Full-length sizing die to allow that die to float.

These tips are intended to help shooters obtain the best results from inexpensive, standard loading dies. Especially when using cases previously fired in a concentric chamber, as was done above, top-quality match dies and brass can easily yield ammo with virtually *no* runout, given careful handloading.

Permalink Bullets, Brass, Ammo, Reloading 1 Comment »
May 29th, 2015

Bullet Concentricity and Related Issues

Sinclair concentricity 101 eccentricity run-out reloading plans

Sinclair International reloading toolsSinclair International has released an interesting article about Case Concentricity* and bullet “run-out”. This instructional article by Bob Kohl explains the reasons brass can exhibit poor concentricity, and why high bullet run-out can be detrimental to accuracy.

Concentricity, Bullet Alignment, and Accuracy by Bob Kohl
The purpose of loading your own ammo is to minimize all the variables that can affect accuracy and can be controlled with proper and conscientious handloading. Concentricity and bullet run-out are important when you’re loading for accuracy. Ideally, it’s important to strive to make each round the same as the one before it and the one after it. It’s a simple issue of uniformity.

(more…)

Permalink - Articles, Reloading 5 Comments »
February 15th, 2015

Bill Goad Concentricity Gauge Works by Impact

Over the years, many different concentricity tools have been on the market. Various approaches have been taken to straightening rounds that exhibit poor concentricity. With extreme examples of excessive run-out, the bullet is is visibly crooked in the neck with the bullet tip clearly off-center. That’s never a good thing. Straight ammo shoots better.

Bill  Goad Extreme Precision Concentricity  Gauge Tool Video

Straighten-Up and Fly Right
If you could straighten up crooked rounds, accuracy should be improved. In the past, some tools promised more than they delivered. But now Bill Goad, a record-setting benchrest shooter, has invented a new tool that improves concentricity via an impact or “jarring” method. A vertical rod with a curved face mates with the case-neck. You spin the case to find the “high spot” of max eccentricity. Then just tap the rod a couple of times and the neck comes back onto centerline. You can then confirm the concentricity improvement with the dial indicator. Watch the video to see how this is done. Pay particular attention to times 01:25 to 01:45. The case starts at .004″ run-out (01:32). After correction (01:40) the neck shows less than .001″ (one-thousandth) run-out.

Benchrest ace Bill Goad demonstrates his innovative Fli-Right Concentricity gauge tool. It works differently than other concentricity enhancers on the market.

Bill Goad knows something about accuracy. He shot a 10-target 100/200 benchrest Combined Aggregate of 0.178″ (see video at 00:15-00:35). Bill Goad’s tool offers advantages over systems that clamp a cartridge at both ends and try to bend the case or tilt the bullet without straightening the neck. Goad’s new Fli-Right tool is available now from PremierAccuracy.com.

Goad Fli-
Right Concentricity tool gauge

Permalink Gear Review, Reloading 11 Comments »
December 28th, 2014

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 6 Comments »
September 19th, 2014

Tech Tip: Try Rotating Cartridge During Bullet Seating Process — This Might Reduce Bullet Run-Out

Redding Competition DieHere is a simple technique that can potentially help you load straighter ammo, with less run-out. It costs nothing and adds only a few seconds to the time needed to load a cartridge. Next time you’re loading ammo with a threaded (screw-in) seating die, try seating the bullet in two stages. Run the cartridge up in the seating die just enough to seat the bullet half way. Then lower the cartridge and rotate it 180° in the shell-holder. Now raise the cartridge up into the die again and finish seating the bullet.

Steve, aka “Short Range”, one of our Forum members, recently inquired about run-out apparently caused by his bullet-seating process. Steve’s 30BR cases were coming out of his neck-sizer with good concentricity, but the run-out nearly doubled after he seated the bullets. At the suggestion of other Forum members, Steve tried the process of rotating his cartridge while seating his bullet. Steve then measured run-out on his loaded rounds. To his surprise there was a noticeable reduction in run-out on the cases which had been rotated during seating. Steve explains: “For the rounds that I loaded yesterday, I seated the bullet half-way, and turned the round 180 degrees, and finished seating the bullet. That reduced the bullet runout by almost half on most rounds compared to the measurements from the first test.”

run-out bullet

run-out bullet

Steve recorded run-out measurements on his 30BR brass using both the conventional (one-pass) seating procedure, as well as the two-stage (with 180° rotation) method. Steve’s measurements are collected in the two charts above. As you can see, the run-out was less for the rounds which were rotated during seating. Note, the change is pretty small (less than .001″ on average), but every little bit helps in the accuracy game. If you use a threaded (screw-in) seating die, you might try this two-stage bullet-seating method. Rotating your case in the middle of the seating process won’t cost you a penny, and it just might produce straighter ammo (nothing is guaranteed). If you do NOT see any improvement on the target, you can always go back to seating your bullets in one pass. READ Forum Thread….

Permalink Bullets, Brass, Ammo, Reloading 14 Comments »
July 25th, 2012

New Wheel-Drive Concentricity Gauge from Accuracy One

Talented tool-maker Curt Knitt has designed a better mousetrap — a new Concentricity Gauge that makes it easier than ever to get fast, repeatable results when measuring case and bullet run-out (aka “eccentricity”). The breakthrough design feature is the large-diameter wheel which spins the case. With most other concentricity gauges you must rotate the case with your finger(s). Anyone who has tried this knows that it is difficult to get a full, 360° rotation of the case without disturbing the indicator. Typically you can get two-thirds of a rotation or so, but then you have to reposition your finger to complete the rotation. Moving your finger often causes the case to jiggle or move slightly, and more often than not, the dial indicator jumps a bit, interrupting your measurement. Been there, done that.

Accuracy One Concentricity Gauge

Drive Wheel Smoothly Spins Cases for Fast, Error-Free Readouts
With the new Accuracy One Concentricity Gauge from CTK Precision, the rubber-rimmed drive wheel has a much larger diameter than any cartridge case (7:1 diameter ratio on magnums). So, when you rotate the drive wheel just a half-turn or so (using knurled knob on the wheel axis), you can easily and smoothly turn the cartridge three (or more) full rotations. The drive wheel maintains a constant, even load on the case, so the case doesn’t wobble and the dial indicator gives a continuous, un-interrupted read-out. What’s more, clever cartridge support design geometry pulls the case back against the rim stop as you engage the drive wheel. This holds the case in position laterally during measurement. Morever, this allows very fast one-handed operation. You don’t have to hold the case down with your fingers while maintaining side force against the case rim stop.

Watch Video Showing Concentricity Gauge Used with Small and Large Cartridges

Accuracy One Concentricity GaugeThe Accuracy One Concentricity Gauge works with the full range of cartridges — everything from .22LR to .50 BMG. Adjusting the tool for different-length cases is incredibly easy, because the roller blocks (case supports) are held in place by magnets. You just slide the blocks to the desired position — no tools needed! The indicator stand is also held by magnets so it can slide to any position you want along the case body or bullet. And, the indicator can be moved to the front rail and rotated 90°. This way you can measure on the inside of the case neck.

Does this new design really work? Absolutely — it works brilliantly and it’s FAST. Watch the video and see for yourself. We could do two-rotation (720°) measurements on cases in a third the time it takes to do a one-rotation gauging operation with other tools. And the actual measuring operation can be done one-handed, leaving your free hand to pic up the next case (or bullet) to be measured. And yes, this tool can also measure bullet concentricity — measured from tip, ogive, bearing surface, and/or boatail.

Accuracy One Concentricity Gauge

1. Directional Drive Wheel pushes the cartridge or bullet into the stop for accurate, repeatable readings with equal pressure. The replaceable rubber drive ring will not harm cartridges or bullets.

2. Two-position bullet and cartridge stop.

3. Precision ball bearings provide friction-free movement.

4. Heavy steel base with E-coat finish and bolt-on rubber feet.

5. Indicator stand and roller blocks ride in machined slots and are held in place by N42 Neodymium magnets. This allows rapid, smooth, tool-free adjustments.

6. Indicator stand can be place in front OR rear machined slots. This allows for both internal and external measurements.

7. Fine-Adjustment Horizontal Indicator Stand allows very precise indicator angle/load adjustments.

8. Indicator Stand will accept horizontal indicators that are .350″ wide or narrower, and are 1.75″ to 2.25″ from the indicator contact point to the center of the main body.

9. Adjustable mechanical arm stop holds the arm up for one-handed operation.

10. Precision Drive Wheel has a 13:1 ratio for .22 rimfire, 7:1 for magnums, and 3.7:1 for 50BMG.

11. Concentricity Gauge accepts cartridges from .22LR rimfire to .50 BMG.

The Accuracy One Concentricity Gauge is available from BulletTipping.com. Price for the unit, complete with quality horizontal indicator, is $325.00. Price, without indicator, is $280.00. The initial run of Concentricity Gauges is now in final production. Gauge sets should hit the market in 4 to 6 weeks. To place an advance order, fill out the PDF Order Form, or call (814) 684-5322. To learn more about setting up and using this new tool, read the Concentricity Gauge Instructions, and watch the video above.

Permalink Gear Review, New Product, Reloading 9 Comments »
December 25th, 2011

21st Century’s Impressive New Concentricity Gauge

21st Century Shooting’s all-new Concentricity Gauge looks like a winner. The cartridge case rides on four spinning rollers that allow smooth turning movement with low drag. These rollers are far superior to a set of V-Block supports, or even some ball-type supports.

The amount of eccentricity (run-out) is measured with a high-quality horizontal dial test indicator. In this application, a horizontal indicator works better than the typical vertical dial indicator with spring-loaded shaft used in most other concentricity gauges. We think that, with 21st Century’s new Concentricity Gauge, you can measure cases faster, with less effort, and greater repeatability. In addition, this device can measure the INSIDE of the case neck, not just the OUTSIDE.

Overall, this is a very impressive new tool that is unquestionably superior to many other Concentricity Gauges on the market. Given the capabilities of this device, the price is reasonable: $169.00 including Horizontal Indicator. The Gauge by itself costs $125.00, while the Indicator alone sells for $59.00.

Click Photos below to view larger Images

Why the New 21st Century Concentricity Gauge Works So Well
21st Century explains the advantages of its new design: “At 21st Century Shooting, our goal to modernize an industry that has seen little change over the years. The new concentricity gauge is a perfect example. Most conventional concentricity gauges use what is called a height indicator gauge (Dial Indicator with vertical shaft). Although economical, this type of gauge was not intended for the purpose of measuring rotating diameters. The vertical-style indicator can produce inaccuracies due to indicator rod flex and bounce.

Our new Concentricity Gauge uses a horizontal dial test indicator. This type of gauge was designed specifically for checking rotating diameters and in fact is exactly the type of gauge used in the machining industry for decades to measure run out — the very thing that we as hand loaders are striving to minimize or eliminate.

Additionally, our new gauge uses Stainless Steel turning rollers as opposed to fixed bearings or V-block style case supports. You will especially appreciate the roller supports that glide on linear guide-ways. Plus, with a simple push of a button you can adjust the case support base width. No tools are needed to move the base on the built-in guide-ways.”

Product tip from EdLongrange. We welcome reader submissions.
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March 6th, 2011

Gear Review: Bruno Concentricity-Checking Tool

German Salazar has posted an informative article about concentricity-checking tools on his Rifleman’s Journal Blog. In that article, German provides a detailed review of the impressive new Bruno Concentricity Checker which features a high-grade dial indicator and an innovative system for holding both loaded cartridges and empty brass in place during the measurement process. German gives the Bruno tool high marks and it is now his favored concentricity gauge, replacing on older Sinclair tool (also reviewed in the article).

German writes: “When measuring a seated bullet, the Bruno [tool] is simple and intuitive in use: adjust the length of the tip holder, set up the indicator to bear on the ogive and get to it. I usually slip a Sinclair hex nut comparator over a bullet to make a faint mark right at the ogive to help me in determining where to set the indicator. I then set the indicator tip about 0.010″ behind the mark so that I am definitely on the bearing surface even if some of the bullets have a bit of variance. It’s a handy way to get set up consistently from one session to another.”

German continues: “Reading an empty case requires a little more effort, but not much…. Once the case mouth is smooth, the readings are in line with those of the Sinclair tool, although easier to read to a fine level of precision due to the finer gradations on the indicator and its horizontal mounting. The Bruno tool has become my principal tool for checking the concentricity resulting from different die setups and for comparing the results of one loading process to another. I simply have more confidence in my ability to get an accurate reading from it. After many years of service, I’ve decided to retire the old Sinclair and make the Bruno tool my primary concentricity tool. It is simply a better made, easier-to-use, more accurate tool and those are the qualities I value in any tool.”

Permalink Bullets, Brass, Ammo, Gear Review, Reloading 4 Comments »
January 26th, 2011

SHOT Show Report: Lapua .260 Rem Brass and “L” Series Bullets

You’ve probably heard by now, but this is big news, so it bears repeating. Lapua has started production of .260 Remington cartridge brass. Lapua hopes to deliver the first shipments to the USA by late March, 2011. This is a very positive development for hunters, high power shooters, and tactical shooters. With the latest generation of powders (including Reloder 17), the .260 Remington is a potent cartridge with the 140gr-class bullets, and it hammers with the Lapua Scenar 123s or Berger 130s, and H4350-speed powders. In the video below, Kevin Thomas, Lapua’s USA Marketing Manager, provides more specifics about the .260 brass, and Lapua’s other new-for-2011 products.

Lapua 105 L ScenarOn the bullet front, Lapua is proudly rolling out its new “L” series of projectiles, starting with the 6mm 105gr Scenar and then expanding to the whole Scenar match bullet line. NOTE: These are NOT new bullet designs — Lapua is not changing the bullet shapes, weights, or internal construction. So you’ll be getting the same bullets, only with tighter tolerances, and improved quality control.

Lapua has tightened its production tolerances for the L series of bullets. Lapua claims that the L series of bullets will be more uniform in weight, with improved concentricity. Length from base of bullet to ogive will be held to very tight tolerances. Apart from the notations on the box, the new Lapua L bullets will be marked with an “L” crest stamped on the bullet heel. Lapua claims this tiny stamp will not affect accuracy nor reduce the bullet’s ballistic coefficient.

Lapua explains: “We have set out to tighten all measures and requirements, including our already famous quality control standards.” Scenar L bullets will exhibit: “closer weight tolerances, tighter jacket wall concentricity standards, and greater uniformity in every dimension, starting from the gilding metal cup, lead wire and jacket forming, ending up to core-jacket assembly, boat tail pressing and tipping.”

Lapua 105 L Scenar

Lapua Scenar L 105 6mmTesting the Scenar Ls for Uniformity
Are the new Scenar “L” series bullets actually more uniform than previous Scenars (which were really very, very good)? Based on my quick test of 20 sample bullets pulled at random from a box, I would say the 105gr Scenar Ls are some of the most uniform factory bullets ever. Adam Braverman gave me a box of the new 105gr Scenar “L” bullets. I randomly chose twenty (20) bullets, and measured them base to ogive using a Hornady comparator. With the exception of one bullet, everything was pretty much “dead on”. I listed two at 0.7125″, but they were awfully close to the others. Basically, except for the one bullet measuring 0.711″, they were all the same within the practical resolution of my calipers. Very impressive indeed.

All Bullets within One-Tenth of Grain
Next I checked for weight uniformity. I weighed each of the 20 bullets twice, using a calibrated RCBS ChargeMaster scale. NOTE: This is NOT a lab quality scale. The 0.1 grain total spread among the bullets is within the scale’s range of error. But I did weigh each bullet at least twice, and the ones that were one-tenth of a grain light I weighed four times. Three bullets out of the twenty measured 105.2 grains. All the rest were 105.3 grains. Remarkable.

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June 1st, 2009

New 6BR: Love at First Group

Many Forum members are putting together their first custom or semi-custom precision rifle this season. These folks often ask us, “What kind of accuracy can I expect from my first 6mmBR?” Of course there are no guarantees, but a 6BR with a good custom barrel, good chambering job, and a nice bag-riding stock should be able to shoot well under half-MOA (1/2″ at 100 yards), maybe even approach quarter-MOA. Forum member Eric (aka Exercion) provided this interesting report on his new 6BR:

Love at First Group by Eric
Well, I took my new stick to the range for the first time today. It features a Savage single shot target action in RBLP configuration, 28″ Broughton 5C barrel, Sharp Shooter Supply Dogtracker stock with adjustable buttplate, and Nightforce scope.

Now, I have never owned a 6mmBR before, but from reading here and seeing them in action I decided to build one. Its main purpose in life is mid-range F-Class shooting, mainly at 600 yards, and if the winds are favorable, at 1,000. (I already have a 6.5 for “normal” conditions.) I am most grateful for all the info here, and especially the load data. I picked Reloder 15 under the 107gr SMKs for my first loads, starting at 29.0 grains, and proceeding in half grain increments to 30.0 grains. Jumped the bullets 0.015″. Ran the Lapua brass through the neck-sizer bushing die, and was concerned at the force needed to pull the expander button through the virgin brass necks but figured this was a once per case deal to round them out for initial loading. When I measured the runout on the loaded rounds, I was appalled as they had more wobble than anything I personally loaded before, but I kept reminding myself that this was the fireform/chronograph/scope and gun trial stage.

Three Shots in 0.335″ Edge to Edge
So off to the range this morning. No wind here at the house, so life was good … until I got to the range and the wind started to blow. So I set up everything, leveled the gun in the bags, leveled the scope to the gun, made sure the bore was in the center of the chronograph and bore-sighted. First couple of rounds were off to the right, so I moved the scope over 5 MOA and fired another shot, hit paper with it, so I shot 2 more and stopped because I couldn’t tell what was happening. A walk down to the hundred yard berm revealed a nice hole that measures 0.335″ at its absolute widest edge to edge! That’s the smallest 3-shot group I’ve ever fired with anything. I am so in love!

Savage 6BR

SDs Improve with Heavier Charge and Run-out Disappears
I kept going ’til I worked my way through my first 100 rounds.Given the conditions, I was more interested in the chrony numbers than group, (though 20-shot strings yielded nice quarter-sized holes) and found that as my charges got heavier the SD was coming down (the 30 grain load gave me an SD of 9). I can’t wait to see what will happen with some load tinkering, as well as bullet trials (have Bergers, Hornady A-Maxs, and Lapua Scenars waiting for the next trip). Also, as I had hoped, fire-forming “cured” the run-out problem. I ran the fired but un-sized cases over my concentricity tool and saw less than 0.001 runout on the necks now.

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