October 21st, 2017

New Hornady 6.5 PRC — Precision Rifle Cartridge

Hornady 6.5 PRC Precision Rifle Cartridge

Hornady has introduced a new Short Magnum cartridge, the 6.5 PRC (Precision Rifle Cartridge). This will be offered as factory ammo in both a “Match” version (with 147gr ELD) and a “Precision Hunter” version (with 143gr ELD-X bullet). Presumably, in the future, Hornady will offer 6.5 PRC brass separately for hand-loaders, but Hornady has no time-line for brass availability. However, you can get 6.5 PRC brass right now from GA Precision at $86.00 per 100 cases. GA Precision’s George Gardner, who helped develop this cartridge, has posted: “It’s a non-rebated short mag based on a short RCM [Ruger Compact Magnum] case. It has 3-4 grains less capacity than the 6.5 SAUM which nets about 30-50 fps deficit to the SAUM.”

The 6.5 PRC Match seems to be aimed at the PRS crowd and long-range tactical shooters. The product launch photo shows a tactical rifle and steel plate. Hornady says the 6.5 PRC was “designed to achieve the highest levels of accuracy, flat trajectory, and extended range performance in a sensibly-designed compact package. Utilizing moderate powder charges that result in repeatable accuracy, low recoil, and reasonable barrel life, the 6.5 PRC produces high velocities for target shooting with performance well beyond 1000 yards.”

“High Velocities”? Wait a minute — here’s the ballistics chart from Hornady’s 6.5 PRC page. It shows a muzzle velocity of 2910 FPS. That’s not much better than a 6.5 Creedmoor (which can push 140s over 2800 fps), so we wonder about this. You have to ask — what is the point? Is there anything this 6.5 PRC can do that the venerable 6.5-284 can’t do just as well or better — with a standard bolt face?

Hornady 6.5 PRC Precision Rifle Cartridge Hunter ELD-X

New 6.5 PRC Is a Short Magnum Requiring Magnum Bolt Face
Dubbed the “big brother” to the 6.5 Creedmoor, the 6.5 PRC fits in short or medium actions with a standard magnum bolt face (.532”). The case geometry features a long cartridge case neck and 30-degree case shoulder. It sort of looks like a 6.5 Creedmoor on steroids. For its loaded 6.5 PRC Match Ammo, Hornady is showing a 2910 fps Muzzle Velocity with the 147gr ELD Match bullet. That’s not very impressive. Why go to the trouble?

Comment — Does This New 6.5 PRC Cartridge Fill a Need?
Honestly, we don’t get this. If you need more speed than a 6.5 Creedmoor and want to stick with a .264-diameter bullet, then shoot a .260 Rem or 6.5-284 using a standard bolt. This requires a magnum bolt face. The 6.5-284 is a barrel burner; the 6.5 PRC promises to be likewise. On the other hand it may work better than a 6.5-284 in a short-action magazine — that may be what Hornady is thinking…

The 6.5 PRC clearly seems to be targeted at the PRS crowd. But we see many top PRS competitors moving DOWN in cartridge size, rather than up. Many PRS guys have stepped down from the 6.5 Creedmoor to the 6mm Creedmoor, or even a 6mm Dasher. The benefit is less recoil, and cheaper bullets. Are there really many PRS shooters clamoring for a short magnum? We don’t think so.

We’ll see if this new 6.5 PRC cartridge catches on — maybe some PRS guys will want this for long-range side matches. Rifle makers currently chambering the 6.5 PRC include GA Precision, Gunwerks, PROOF Research, Stuteville Precision and Seekins Precision.

6.5 PRC Ammunition for Hunters — Also New for 2018
Hornady will also sell a version of 6.5 PRC ammo design for hunters. The Precision Hunter version, shown below, is loaded with the 143-grain ELD-X Bullet. Again, however, we really don’t know why any hunter would want to shoot this cartridge, when you already have so many good choices, such as the 6.5x55mm Swede, and the original .284 Winchester, both of which can use a standard bolt face.

Hornady 6.5 PRC Precision Rifle Cartridge

If you have a hunting rifle with a magnum-size bolt, why not shoot the 7mm RSAUM or 7mm WSM? Barrel life is not really an issue for hunters, so the smaller case capacity of the 6.5 PRC is not really an advantage. Perhaps the veteran hunters among our readers can enlighten us, using the comments section. Would you build a hunting rifle chambered for the 6.5 PRC?

Permalink Bullets, Brass, Ammo, Hunting/Varminting, New Product, Tactical 70 Comments »
September 18th, 2017

Bargain Finder 104: AccurateShooter’s Deals of the Week

Accurateshooter Bargain Finder Deals of Week

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

1. Monmouth Reloading — Massive Inventory Liquidation Sale

Monmouth Reloading Bullet AR15 AR10 parts sale inventory liquidation

Honestly, this is one of the best buying opportunities we’ve seen all year. Monmouth Reloading is having a huge inventory reduction sale. Prices have been slashed on brass, bullets, AR parts, barrels, and dozens of popular accessories. Aero Precision uppers are $50-$70 off. Nosler bullets are typically marked down 28-37%, with some example going for a fraction of the original cost. Prices on the popular Hornady ELD-X bullets have also been slashed. If you need bullets for a tactical/PRS rifle, or want to put together an AR-based gas gun, check out this sale and take advantage of the huge savings.

2. Amazon — Multi-Gun Backpack Case with Shooting Mat, $59.93

3-Gun Multigun Case Tactical gun carrier shoulder straps mag pouches sale amazon

Here’s a cool item for you tactical and 3-Gun guys. This unique gun case will haul shotgun, rifle, and pistol, plus magazines. A large, removable padded section serves as a shooting mat. This multi-gun rifle case even comes with built-in shoulder straps. What would you expect to pay for all this functionality — $150 or more? Think again. Right now this 3-Gun Carry Case with Shooting Mat costs just $59.93 at Amazon. User reviews have generally been quite positive, saying the case is well-made and very functional: “The shoulder straps make carrying the bag easier when fully loaded”; “The bag securely holds my two scoped rifles. Exterior pouches are excellent, pull-out pad is short, but sufficient. VERY good quality for the price.”

3. CDNN Sports — Ruger 17 HMR American Compact, $249.99

Ruger 17 HMR American Compact

This is a good little rifle in our favorite varmint chambering. With ballistics far superior to a .22 LR, the 17 HMR is ideal for prairie dogs and small varmints out to 180 yards or so. Now you can get a reliable, name brand 17 HMR rifle for a very attractive price. CDNN Sports is selling the 17 HMR Ruger American Rimfire Compact, with 18″ barrel, for just $249.99. That includes two (2) comb units and a FREE padded carry sling. FFL required.

4. Natchez — Rock Chucker Supreme Reloading Kit, $249.99

Deals of Week RCBS Rock Chucker Supreme Kit

Everything you see above can be yours for just $249.99, a great deal. Right now, Natchez is selling the Rock Chucker Supreme Master Reloading Kit for $249.99. That’s a great deal considering all the hardware you get. Heck, the Rock Chucker press alone is worth $150.00+. Considering all you get, this is a heck of a deal. The Natchez price is $70-$90 cheaper than many other vendors. For example, MidwayUSA’s price is $329.99 for this same kit!

5. Cabela’s — Savage 12 FV Rifle, $319.99

Savage 12 FV FCV hunting rifle .223 Rem 6.5 Creedmoor rebate Visa Card

Here’s a good deal on a Savage hunting rifle. Purchase a Model 12 FV for $319.99 from Cabela’s. This is a sweet deal if you’re looking for a basic, no-frills hunting or varminting rifle. Cabela’s offers five chamberings at this price: .204 Ruger, .223 Remington, 22-250, 6.5 Creedmoor, and .308 Winchester. NOTE: The Cabela’s website includes a link to a $100 Savage rebate. That is for the 12 FCV, a different model. This basic 12 FV is not rebate eligible. But it’s still a good deal at $319.99.

6. Amazon — FosPower 10200 mAh Waterproof Charger, $24.99

FosPower USB Battery pack waterproof shockproof LED

When you’re at the range or on a hunt, it’s smart to have a USB-output battery pack for smart phone, target-cam monitor, even a LabRadar. There are many battery packs available, but most are fairly fragile, with exposed ports. This “ruggedized” FosPower 10200 mAh charger is different. It is waterproof, dust-proof, and shock-proof. (IP67 certified: dust and water resistance for up to 3ft/1m for 30 minutes under water.) It can handle all that a PRS competitor or hunter can dish out. It even has a handy LED light. Right now it’s priced at $24.99 with FREE Shipping on combined orders over $25.00.

7. Bullets.com — Handgun Safe, $44.95

AccurateShooter Deals of week bargain discount savings Ruger American Rifle 17 HMR

This pistol safe keeps your handguns secure while still permitting instant “push-button” access. The three-button lock can be personalized with 3- to 8-digit codes, and there is a key override. This safe will hold two (2) full-sized pistols and can also store passports, cash, or other valuables. The spring-loaded door gives you near-instant response. The all-steel case also includes mounting holes for fixing the safe to floor or shelf.

8. MidwayUSA — 25-50% Off Hunting Clothing

MidwayUSA hunting clothing sale hunter fall camo camouflage

Hunting Season is almost here. Time to get fully outfitted for this fall’s hunting adventures. Good Camo clothing can help make your hunt a success. Right now MidwayUSA has a large selection of camouflage outerwear on sale at up to 50% Off. Pants, shirts, vests, parkas, coats, rain jackets, bibs, hats, neck gaiters, and pull-overs are all marked down. CLICK HERE to see the MidwayUSA Hunting Clothing Deals

9. Mystery Deal — Versatile Digital Item, 32% under 2016 Pricing

AccurateShooter.com Mystery Deal of the Week Lenovo

Today’s Mystery Deal of the Week is something you’ll use at home as well as at the shooting range. This handy product will help you plot your trajectories, keep track of load data, get weather reports, and even see your bullet holes better (when coupled with a target cam). When introduced, this handy, high-tech gadget cost $285.00 (3rd party price). Now you can get one for under $120.00. Considering all that this product can do, it’s a bargain. We wouldn’t be surprised if purchasers might use this gadget ten or more hours per week.

Permalink Bullets, Brass, Ammo, Hot Deals, Hunting/Varminting, Optics No Comments »
June 20th, 2017

Tactical Twins: Micarta-Stocked PRS Rigs for SFC Brandon Green

SFC Brandon Green PRS Rifle Micarta Foundation Stocks

What does a two-time High Power National Champion choose for PRS comps? A set of twins. Twin rifles that is. SFC Brandon Green of the USAMU is one of America’s best marksmen. He’s excelled in Service Rifle and High Power disciplines, and now he’s getting very serious about the Precision Rifle Series (PRS). Brandon recently took delivery of “Twins” — two impressive rifles optimized for PRS competition. Green told us: “The Twins are ready for business! The silver one is a 6XC and the black one is a 6.5×47 Lapua”. Both rifles feature Impact Precision actions (with AICS-type mags), 24″ Proof stainless barrels, and Fat Bastard muzzle brakes. Rifle work was done by Stuteville Precision (Wade Stuteville) and Exodus Rifles (Joe Walls).

SFC Brandon Green PRS Rifle Micarta Foundation Stocks
In the 6XC, Brandon runs Berger 105gr VLDs in Norma 6XC brass. For the 6.5×47 Lapua he shoots 140gr Berger Hybrids or 143gr Hornady ELD-Xs in Lapua brass. Both rifles have stainless steel Proof barrels, but the 6.5x47L has a matte black Cerakote finish.

Brandon loves his new Twins. He said he likes the “feel” of the guns with the Foundation stocks: “These rifles weigh around 17 pounds with optics. They feel very solid under recoil — without the ‘tuning fork’ vibration you can get with a metal-chassis gun. They feel like a good wood-stocked gun, but the material is stronger and more rigid than wood. I’ve heard that guys are having success with these Foundation stocks with the actions installed without pillars or conventional bedding.” Currently Brandon is running both guns without action-screw pillars. He did have one skim-bedded, but he doesn’t think that was really needed. “Both rifles hammer now”, Brandon tells us.

Green Runs Vortex Razor HD Gen II 4.5-27x56mm FFP scopes on both rifles:
SFC Brandon Green PRS Rifle Micarta Foundation Stocks

High-Tech Micarta Stock Material
At first glance, those stocks may look like wood, but they are actually a special “Micarta” material that is strong, durable, and stable. Micarta, often used for knife handles, is a “a brand name for composites of fiberglass, carbon fiber, or other fabric in a thermosetting plastic.” The stock-maker, Foundation Stocks, says Micarta offers some distinct advantages over laminated wood or conventional fiberglass: “The solid block of material gives us a dense, homogenous material that is absent of any voids or air pockets commonly found in composite stocks. The high compression strength of the material allows us to build an action/DBM specific stock that requires no bedding or pillars. The material is very durable and stable in extreme environments. We use advanced CAD software to design and model our stocks, working in conjunction with action manufacturers and rifle builders to provide exact fitment.”

Here is a close-up of a Foundation Stock showing the distinctive Micarta texture:
SFC Brandon Green PRS Rifle Micarta Foundation Stocks

Tactical Competition vs. NRA High Power Competition
Brandon says PRS competition is tough: “PRS can be pretty humbling, but it’s been a lot of fun and a great challenge. For a shooter (like me) with a Service Rifle/High Power background, the variations in stages combined with the time limits can be very challenging. And the unusual shooting positions put a new spin on things. PRS is definitely a different ball game, but I really enjoy it. After the National Championships this summer I hope to shoot three or four PRS matches in September and October.”

SFC Brandon Green 2015 High Power National Championship
SFC Brandon Green honored as the 2015 High Power National Champion.

Life before the Twins… Here is Brandon, with his previous PRS rig, at the MasterPiece Arms Precision Rifle Shootout, a PRS event at the CORE Shooting Solutions Range in Florida:

SFC Brandon Green PRS Rifle Micarta Foundation Stocks

Permalink Gear Review, Gunsmithing, Tactical 13 Comments »
April 1st, 2016

First-Ever 50: New 750gr Titanium-Tipped Monster from Berger

Berger Solid Bullet Titanium TI removable threaded tip bullet .50 Caliber BMG Bryan Litz

The biggest Berger bullet ever is on its way. In early summer, Berger Bullets will unveil its first-ever .50-Caliber projectile and its first-ever solid. This new 750gr bullet, called the TItan (for Titanium), features heat-resistant CNC-machined Titanium bullet tips with threaded shafts. TItan bullet bodies are precisely tapped (with a fine pitch) to accept the threaded tips. This allows for ultra-precise tip alignment and perfect concentricity. Another benefit of this threaded attachment system is that hand-loaders can change out tips, selecting a particular tip profile for different applications. Initially three tip types will be offered: Hunting (for increased expansion), Match (for maximum BC), and Tactical (for military/LEO applications). The Match Tip gives the new TItan a spectacular 1.25 G1 BC.

The field-tested G7 BC is still “top-secret” but Bryan Litz reports: “The number we’ve seen with the prototype TItans is a game-changer… nothing will touch it.” How impressive is the new TItan? Bryan told us: “Look, I don’t want to let the cat out of the bag, but I’m building a new .50 just to shoot this thing, and we’re looking to go sub-MOA at 2500 yards.”

Berger Solid Bullet Titanium TI removable threaded tip bullet .50 Caliber BMG Bryan Litz

The Titanium bullet tips set the new Berger TItan apart from all other projectiles on the market. Berger Ballistician Bryan Litz noted: “We wanted the ability to adapt bullet performance to particular applications. With interchangeable bullet tips you can increase BC or increase terminal performance. In addition, with the Titanium material, we have the most heat-resistant bullet tips in the business. Compare the heat resistance of Titanium with any thing else — red, green, or otherwise.” Recently, Hornady rolled out a line of ELD™ match bullets with heat-resistant red plastic tips. Berger’s Titanium tips can withstand much higher temperatures than ANY polymer tips. “Our Titanium tips are essentially heat-proof. The amount of heat required to compromise the tips would melt your barrel first”, said a Berger production engineer.

Berger Bullets President Eric Stecker said the company considered other monikers for its super-sized .50 Caliber projectile before finalizing on the name “TItan”: “For the new .50 we needed something to top the ‘Juggernaut’ name we use for our big 30s. We thought about ‘Super-Solid’ and even considered calling the big .50 the ‘Berger King Whopper’, but that didn’t work for obvious reasons. We finally settled on ‘TItan’ because it means ‘big’ and has the Titanium connection, and we can trademark that. But Bryan and some of the production guys in the shop still call this big .50 the ‘Whopper'”.

Permalink News 28 Comments »
October 28th, 2015

New Hornady ELD Bullets with Heat-Resistant Tips

Hornady ELD Low Drag Heat Resistant Bullet Tip Match Bullets Hunting

In 2016, Hornady will introduce new hunting and match bullets with high-tech, heat resistant tips. Hornady developed the new “Heat Shield” bullet tips after Doppler Radar testing showed that the Ballistic Coefficients (BCs) of old-style tipped bullets were degrading in flight in an unexplained manner. Hornady’s engineers theorized that the old-style plastic bullet tips were deforming in flight due to heat and pressure. Hornady claims this problem occurred with high-BC (0.5+ G1) tipped bullets from a variety of manufacturers. Hornady’s testers believed that, after 150 yards or so, the tips on high-BC bullets were actually melting at the front. That enlarged the meplat, resulting in increased drag.*

Consequently, Hornady developed a new type of bullet tip made from a heat-resistant polymer. Further long-range Doppler Radar testing seemingly confirmed that bullets equipped with the new tips did not suffer from the BC loss previously found. This allowed the bullets to maintain a higher, more consistent BC during the entire trajectory. The end result is a bullet with reduced vertical dispersion at long range (or so Hornady claims).

New Hornady ELD-X Hunting Bullets
For 2016, Hornady will bring out two lines of projectiles using the new tips. The first line of bullets, designed for hunting, will be called ELD-X, standing for “Extreme Low Drag eXpanding”. These feature dark red, translucent, heat-resistant tips. With interlock-style internal construction, these hunting projectiles are designed to yield deep penetration and excellent weight retention. Hornady will offer seven different ELD-X bullet types, ranging in weight from 143 grains (6.5mm) to 220 grains (.30 Cal):

6.5mm, 143 grain (G1 .620 / G7 .310)
7mm, 162 grain (G1 .613 / G7 .308)
7mm, 175 grain (G1 .660 / G7 .330)

.308, 178 grain (G1 .535 / G7 .271)*
.308, 200 grain (G1 .626 / G7 .315)
.308, 212 grain (G1 .673 / G7 .336)
.308, 220 grain (G1 .650 / G7 .325)

NOTE: We don’t know if the stated BC values are based on drag models or actual range testing. These new ELD-X hunting bullets will be loaded into a new line of Precision Hunter Ammo for a variety of popular hunting cartridges.

Hornady ELD Low Drag Heat Resistant Bullet Tip Match Bullets Hunting

New Hornady ELD Match Bullets
Along with its new hunting bullets, Hornady is coming out with a line of ELD Match bullets as well. Hornady’s engineers say the new molded “Heat Shield Tip” should be a boon to competitive shooters: “You can’t point up that copper [tip] as consistently as you can mold a plastic tip. With the ELD Match line, and the Heat Shield Tip technology… we now have a perfected meplat. These bullets allow you to shoot groups with less vertical deviation, or less vertical stringing, because the bullets are exact in their drag [factor].” There are currently four bullets in the ELD Match line:

.264 Caliber (6.5mm), 140 grain (G1 .610 / G7 .305)
.284 Caliber (7mm), 162 grain (G1 .627 / G7 .313)
.308 Caliber (7.62mm), 208 grain (G1 .670 / G7 .335)
.338 Caliber (8.6 mm), 285 grain (G1 .789)

Hornady will offer factory ammunition loaded with ELD Match bullets, starting with 6.5 Creedmoor ammo loaded with the 140gr ELD, and .338 Lapua Magnum ammo loaded with the 285gr ELD.

Better Tips Make a Difference — But other Factors Are Important
Hornady claims that its new Heat Shield Tips are more uniform than the meplats on conventional jacketed, hollow-point bullets. This, Hornady says, should provide greater bullet-to-bullet BC consistency than is possible with conventional, non-tipped bullets.

We have heard such claims before. Plastic tips are good, so long as they are inserted perfectly in the bullet. But sometimes they are crooked (off-axis) — we’ve seen that with various brands of tipped projectiles. Other factors will affect bullet performance as well, such as bullet weight, bullet diameter, and bullet bearing surface length. Even with perfectly uniform bullet tips, if bullet weights or diameters are inconsistent across a sample, you can still have accuracy issues (and pressure-related velocity variances). Likewise, if the bearing surface lengths vary considerably from one bullet to the next, this can increase velocity spread and otherwise have a deleterious effect on accuracy.

So, overall, we think Hornady has probably engineered a better bullet tip, which is a good thing. On the other hand there are many other factors (beyond tip uniformity) involved in long-range bullet performance. It will be interesting to test the new ELD Match bullets to see how they compare with the best hollow point jacketed bullets from other manufacturers.

MORE TECHNICAL DETAILS

* Hornady’s Chief Ballistician Dave Emary authored a technical report based on the Doppler Radar testing of a variety of tipped Bullets. CLICK HERE for Emary Report. Here are some of the report’s key observations and conclusions:

After early testing of prototype bullets it was observed that all currently manufactured tipped projectiles’ drag curves were convex, not concave and that abnormally low ballistic coefficients were being observed over long ranges. The drag was rapidly increasing at high velocities.

At this point extensive testing was done with all types of commercially-available tipped projectiles. They all exhibited this behavior to a greater or lesser extent depending on their ballistic coefficient and launch velocity. Most projectiles exhibited BCs relatively close to published values for 150 to 200 yards of flight. Beyond these distances they all showed BCs substantially below published values.

It was obvious that something was changing in the tipped projectiles to cause a rapid increase in drag at higher velocities. The drag increases were most noticeable from 100 to about 500 yards. Drag increases stopped at velocities below approximately 2,100 fps. This behavior was not observed with hollow point or exposed lead (spitzer) style designs. The problem magnified as the velocity was increased. The problem was worse for heavier, higher-BC projectiles that maintained higher velocities longer. After some consideration the answer was obvious and one that several people had wondered about for some time but had no way to prove their thoughts.

The tip of a bullet at 3,000 fps will see temperatures as high as 850 degrees F and decreasing as
the bullet slows down. These temperatures on the tip were a known fact. What wasn’t known was how long it would take at these peak and decreasing temperatures for the polymer tips to begin showing effects, if at all. As it turns out it is within the first 100 yards of flight. Currently-used polymers in projectile tips begin to have properties like rubber at approximately -65 to 50 degrees F and will melt at 300 to 350 degrees F, depending on the exact polymer.

All current polymer-tipped projectiles have tips that are at best softening and deforming in flight and under many circumstances melting and badly deforming. To cut through a lot of technical discussion the problem becomes worse at higher ambient air temperatures (summer) and higher launch velocities. Projectiles that have a high BC and retain velocity well see higher stagnation temperatures for longer lengths of time and have greater degradation of the tip. Simply put it is a heat capacity problem –temperature times time. This makes BCs for current tipped projectiles a rough average over some distance, dependent on atmospheric conditions and muzzle velocity, and does not allow the accurate prediction of downrange ballistics much beyond 400 yards.

Permalink Bullets, Brass, Ammo, New Product 10 Comments »