January 12th, 2019

GREAT Video on Making Brass and Precision Ammo — Watch Now

Norma factory ammo production video

Guys — honestly, if you do anything today on this site, watch this video. You won’t be disappointed. Guaranteed. This is a very informative (and surprisingly entertaining) video. Every serious hand-loader should watch this video to see how cartridge cases and loaded ammo are made. Your Editor has watched the video 5 times now and I still find it fascinating. The camera work and editing are excellent — there are many close-ups revealing key processes such as annealing and head-stamping.

VERY Informative Video Show Cartridge Brass and Ammunition Production:

Norma has released a fascinating video showing how bullet, brass, and ammunition are produced at the Norma Precision AB factory which first opened in 1902. You can see how cartridges are made starting with brass disks, then formed into shape through a series of processes, including “hitting [the cup] with a 30-ton hammer”. After annealing (shown at 0:08″), samples from every batch of brass are analyzed (at multiple points along the case length) to check metal grain structure and hardness. Before packing, each case is visually inspected by a human being (3:27″ time-mark).

The video also shows how bullets are made from jackets and lead cores. Finally, you can watch the loading machines that fill cases with powder, seat the bullets, and then transport the loaded rounds to the packing system. In his enthusiasm, the reporter/narrator does sometimes confuse the term “bullets” and “rounds” (5:00″), but you can figure out what he means. We definitely recommend watching this video. It’s fascinating to see 110-year-old sorting devices on the assembly line right next to state-of-the art, digitally-controlled production machinery.

Video tip by EdLongrange. We welcome reader submissions.
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October 13th, 2018

SAKO Factory Tour — Visiting Production Facility in Finland

Beretta Factory SAKO Tour Finland

Beretta, makers of fine shotguns, rifles, and pistols, also owns Finnish rifle-maker SAKO. In this article, which first appeared in the Beretta Blog, hunting guide Mia Anstine writes about her visit to the Sako factory and her live-fire shooting test to secure her hunting permit. CLICK HERE for full story.

Visiting the SAKO Factory in Finland, by Mia Anstine
What a joy to wake up in Finland and prepare for a tour of Sako. I enjoyed a European breakfast with a view of downtown Helsinki. Shortly I joined the hosts and writer’s group, and we boarded the bus for a ride to Riihimaki, to the manufacturing facility.

Sako built its original manufacturing facility during World War I. To this day they still utilize the original buildings but have also grown over the years to include larger production areas and updated equipment.

Video shows Sako Rifle-Making and Hunting in Finland’s Backcountry (worth watching):

Beretta Holding’s acquisition of the Sako company brought additional opportunity for growth. The company added state-of-the-art machinery which has aided in increased production. However, they’ve still maintained their signature quality-built products by keeping the human element integrated throughout the production line.

After a quick tour of the Sako facility, we headed to the shooting range. We shot a number or Sako and Tikka rifles, but first, we sighted in our hunting rifles in preparation for a brown bear and moose hunt. I would be hunting with a Sako model 85 Hunter chambered in 9.3 mm. (Editor: For fans of this big 0.366 caliber, Sako offers both 9.3x62mm and 9.3x66mm Sako chamberings).

Beretta Factory SAKO Tour Finland

Hunters Must Pass Marksmanship Tests
To hunt bear in Finland, you must first pass a hunting test as well as shooting test. The timed, live-fire event [requires] five rounds in the kill zone of a brown bear at 100 meters. Of course, the ever-courteous Finns had ladies go first, so I felt more than a bit of pressure, and I know I shot a bit faster than necessary. Regardless, I cycled rounds and passed with ease.

Next, we headed to a different bay at the shooting range where we experienced the hunting test from days of old. In this test, we shot from standing position at a moose target. First, we shot three rounds in the kill zone, from 100 meters, and then three at the moose target as it raced by, from right-to-left and left-to-right, at 20 kilometers per hour. While this test is no longer required, it was a pleasure to try our hands at it.

CLICK HERE for full story on BERETTA BLOG

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June 2nd, 2017

Accuracy International — Factory Tour Video from the UK

accuracy international suv AT

accuracy international suv ATWho wouldn’t like a look inside the Accuracy International (AI) factory in England? Thanks to The Telegraph, a British media outlet, you can do just that. The Telegraph got its cameras inside AI’s production facility “at a discreet location on the outskirts of Portsmouth”.

Accuracy International is perhaps the most noted manufacturer of bolt-action sniper rifles in the Western world. AI was founded in the 1980s by Dave Caig, Malcolm Cooper, and Dave Walls, three competitive rifle shooters. The company took its name from Cooper’s shop: Accuracy International Shooting Sports. The first project was a smallbore target rifle for civilians. Then the trio decided to build a 7.62×51 sniper rifle, inspired by a UK Ministry of Defense (MoD) competition to replace the venerable L42A1.

Video Showcases Accuracy International’s Products and Production Facilities

Working in a garage workshop, Walls and his partners combined their knowledge of target shooting with input from active military personnel to create the first AI sniper rifle, the L96A1. This ground-breaking design won the MoD contract and immediately proved successful in the field. In an interview with The Telegraph, Walls explained: “The company’s early success was based on not just the what the founders knew from target shooting but also what they learnt from the users, the military users. They went out and they sought inputs from those users, and based on that they designed their very first sniper rifle, and it was very successful.” Today Accuracy International continues to make rugged, versatile, and ultra-accurate sniper rifles for military, law enforcement, and private use.

This Accuracy International AT (on gimbaled mount) is not your average SUV Accessory.
accuracy international suv AT

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May 9th, 2017

How Bullets Are Made — Videos Reveal Process at Barnes Bullets

Barnes Bullets FactoryMany of our readers have been interested in learning how modern bullets are made. While a “boutique” bullet-maker, supplied with appropriate cores and jackets, can craft bullets using relatively simple hand dies and manual presses, factory production is different. The major bullet-makers, such as Barnes, employ huge, complex machines to craft their projectiles on an assembly line.

Modern hunting bullets are made with a variety of sophisticated (and expensive) machines, such as Computer Numerical Control (CNC) lathes, giant multi-stage presses, and hydraulic extruding machines that draw lead ingots into lead wire. Barnes offers an “inside look” at the bullet production process in a series of videos filmed at its Mona, UT factory. We’ve embedded four videos from the series here. These videos can also be viewed on the Barnes Bullets YouTube Channel.

Milling Slots in TSX All-Copper Bullet
This video shows how the slots (between the drive bands) in the TSX all-copper bullet are cut. The slots reduce the bearing surface that contacts the rifling. This helps reduce friction and heat, extending the life of barrels used with all-metal, drive-band bullets:

Varminator Bullets Produced in Jumbo Transfer Press
Here is the transfer press used in the production of Varminator and MPG Bullets. The process begins with a giant spool of flat copper material. The copper is stamped into jackets and eventually the formed Varminator bullets are ejected one by one into a bucket.

CNC Lathe Turns Bullets Automatically
In the video below, a Bar-Feed CNC crafts mono-bloc bullets from metal bar stock. Barnes uses a small CNC lathe to turn .50-caliber bullets from brass bar stock. We’re not sure which bullet is being made in this video. The material looks to be sintered metal. In the close-ups you can gold-colored shavings from when the machine was previously used for CNC-turned brass bullets.

Accuracy Testing in 100-yard Tunnel
Barnes regularly tests bullet samples for accuracy. In the video below, a Barnes technician loads sample rounds and tests them for accuracy in a 100-yard tunnel. The rounds are shot through a special fixture — basically a barreled action connected to parallel rods on either side. This allows the testing fixture to slide straight back on recoil (see it move back at 1:07-08 minute mark). Note how the tester actuates the trigger, which is oriented upwards, just the opposite of a normal rifle. The technician taps the upward-pointing trigger shoe lightly with a metal rod. Could this upside-down trigger orientation be useful in benchrest shooting — perhaps with railguns? It could make for an interesting experiment.

Story suggestion by EdLongrange. We welcome reader submissions.
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October 2nd, 2016

Norma Factory Tour Video is a “Must-Watch” for Hand-Loaders

Norma factory ammo production video

Guys — honestly, if you do anything today on this site, watch this video. You won’t be disappointed. Guaranteed. This is a very informative (and surprisingly entertaining) video. Every serious hand-loader should watch this video to see how cartridge cases are made. Your Editor has watched the video 5 times now and I still find it fascinating. The camera work and editing are excellent — there are many close-ups revealing key processes such as annealing and head-stamping.

VERY Informative Video Show Cartridge Brass and Ammunition Production:

Norma has released a fascinating video showing how bullet, brass, and ammunition are produced at the Norma Precision AB factory which first opened in 1902. You can see how cartridges are made starting with brass disks, then formed into shape through a series of processes, including “hitting [the cup] with a 30-ton hammer”. After annealing (shown at 0:08″), samples from every batch of brass are analyzed (at multiple points along the case length) to check metal grain structure and hardness. Before packing, each case is visually inspected by a human being (3:27″ time-mark).

The video also shows how bullets are made from jackets and lead cores. Finally, you can watch the loading machines that fill cases with powder, seat the bullets, and then transport the loaded rounds to the packing system. In his enthusiasm, the reporter/narrator does sometimes confuse the term “bullets” and “rounds” (5:00″), but you can figure out what he means. We definitely recommend watching this video. It’s fascinating to see 110-year-old sorting devices on the assembly line right next to state-of-the art, digitally-controlled production machinery.

Video tip by EdLongrange. We welcome reader submissions.
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August 4th, 2016

How Rimfire Ammo is Made — CCI/Speer Factory Tour Video

22 .22 Plinkster Youtube Video CCI Speer Rimfire Ammo Ammunition plant Lewiston Idaho

22Plinkster Tours CCI/Speer Idaho Factory
Trickshot artist and YouTube host 22Plinkster recently got a chance to tour the CCI/Speer production facility in Lewiston, Idaho. This large plant produces both rimfire and centerfire ammunition. While touring the plant, 22Plinkster was allowed to capture video showing the creation of .22 LR rounds from start to finish. This is a fascinating video, well worth watching.

This revealing video shows all phases of .22 LR ammo production including cupping, drawing, annealing, washing, drying, head-stamping, priming, powder charging, bullet seating, crimping, waxing, inspection, and final packaging. If you’ve got ten minutes to spare, we really recommend you watch the video from start to finish. You’ll definitely learn some new things about rimfire ammo.

.22 Plinkster was literally up to his neck in ammo while touring the CCI/Speer Idaho ammo plant. He says: “This was truly a dream come true for me. I can’t thank the people at CCI and Speer enough for allowing me to do this. I couldn’t possibly show everything that went on at the factory. However, hopefully I showed you enough for you to grasp the concept of how rimfire [ammo] is made.”

22 .22 Plinkster Youtube Video CCI Speer Rimfire Ammo Ammunition plant Lewiston Idaho

Speer Brothers Brought Ammo Production to Lewiston
Here is an interesting historical footnote. Today’s large CCI/Speer operation in Idaho can be traced back to the companies founded by the Speer brothers. After settling in Lewiston in 1944, Vernon Speer started Speer Bullets. A few years later, in 1951, Vernon’s brother Dick (with partner Arvid Nelson) started Cascade Cartridges Inc., a producer of small-arms ammunition and primers. Yes, as you may suspect, Cascade Cartridges Inc. is now CCI, a Vista Outdoor company, and one of the largest manufacturers of primers and loaded ammunition. Today, the CCI/Speer Lewiston plant produces both Speer bullets and CCI-branded ammunition and primers. Vista Outdoor’s predecessor, ATK, acquired the plant in 2001. Vernon Speer died in 1979, and Dick Speer died in 1994.

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June 30th, 2016

American Rifleman Television Kicks Off 2016 Season

American Rifleman Television TV

Most gun guys know that the NRA publishes a monthly magazine called American Rifleman. What you may not know is that NRA also offers an American Rifleman television series on the Outdoor Channel. On each episode the hosts of American Rifleman TV review popular firearms (pistols, rifles, and shotguns). Most episodes include an historical segment. For example, in the 2016 Season Premiere, American Rifleman TV looks back at WWII, spotlighting The Men & Guns of the Pacific.

Highlights from other American Rifleman TV Episodes:

Springfield Armory M1A Review:

The Springfield Armory M1A is a civilian, semi-auto rifle based on the U.S. Military’s M14. Your Editor owned an M1A, and it was a fun gun. In High Power and Service Rifle competition, low-recoil 5.56 (.223) AR-platform rifles have displaced the M1A, but there is a hugely popular Springfield M1A Match every year at Camp Perry. The M1A Match at Perry offers over $25,000 in cash and prize awards each year.

Leupold Factory Tour:

Founded in 1907, Leupold & Stevens produces high-quality optics (with a legendary warranty) in Beaverton, Oregon. Leupold scopes are favorites for hunters as well as competitive shooters. In this episode, American Rifleman TV takes a tour of the Leupold & Stevens factory in Oregon.

Ruger American Rimfire Review:

Ruger offers both Standard and Compact models of its American Rimfire in two chamberings: .22 LR and .22 WMR. This rifle features a detachable, rotary magazine, like Ruger’s popular 10/22. The American Rimfire is a very affordable, yet reliable and surprisingly accurate rifle.

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March 22nd, 2014

Video Shows Hornady Ammo and Bullet Production Processes

Ever wondered how Hornady bullets and ammunition are made? You’ll see every stage of production in this interesting video from the Outdoor Channel. Starting with raw materials (lead, copper, and brass), this 9-minute “factory tour” video shows how bullet cores are produced, how jackets are crafted, and how cartridge cases are formed, headstamped, and inspected. If you watch carefully you’ll also see the massive, multi-stage cartridge loading machines. Now one of the most successful manufacturers of ammunition and reloading components in the world, Hornady Manufacturing has come a long way from its early days. In 1949, Founder Joyce Hornady started the company “making bullets… in a garage down on 4th street” in Grand Island, Nebraska.

Lead cylinders are pressed into lead wire used for bullet cores.
Hornady factory bullets ammunition

Spools of flat copper are fed into cupping machines. The punched cups become bullet jackets.
Hornady factory bullets ammunition

All cartridge cases and loaded rounds are hand-inspected.
Hornady factory bullets ammunition

Hornady Manufacturing — The Early Years
During World War II, Joyce Hornady served as a marksmanship instructor at the Cornhusker Army Ammunition Plant. Following the War, Joyce and his family stayed in Grand Island, Nebraska and opened a small sporting goods retail store that sold everything from basketballs to shooting supplies.

After WWII, shooters and hunters used surplus military ammunition. This surplus ammo however, did not offer the accuracy or performance needed for target shooting, big game, or varmint hunting. Recognizing the need for better bullets, Hornady and his original partner Vernon Speer built a machine that converted spent 22 rimfire cases into bullet jackets, and then into bullets. The business relationship between Hornady and Speer later faltered, and Vernon Speer moved to Lewiston, Idaho. Using a surplus bullet assembly press in a rented garage on 4th Street in Grand Island, Nebraska, Joyce Hornady began to produce his own .30-caliber bullet.

The first year of business, Hornady Bullets had total sales of $10,000 – a figure that increased three-fold the next year. Hornady added equipment and workers, confident that more growth lay ahead. During the Korean War, Hornady earned contracts to produce a variety of products not associated with bullets — aluminum hearts for bracelets, and condenser cans for the government. After the war, the can material and the technology developed to produce them was utilized to make ultra-thin copper jackets for varmint bullets.

In 1958, the company moved to its present location on the west edge of Grand Island. The new, larger facility featured an 8,000-square-foot plant. In 1960, Hornady added a 200-yard underground testing facility.

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June 15th, 2013

Sierra Bullets Offers Factory Outlet Sales and Factory Tours

accurateshooter.com Sierra Factory Outlet Bullet SalesWith bullets in short supply and prices rising, here’s an opportunity for you folks located in the middle of the country who can visit Missouri. Sierra offers discounted bullets at its Factory Outlet store in Sedalia, Missouri. Sierra says: “If you happen to be in our neck of the woods, you can purchase available bullet seconds and our full line of products directly from our outlet store”.

View Sierra Bullets Seconds PRICE LIST

Sierra’s Factory Outlet inventory is constantly changing and no guarantees are made as to product availability. Bullet seconds are sold by the pound and are limited to 100 pounds per bullet type and a total of 300 pounds per day per person. There is a limit of 25 pounds of mixed bullets per day. Bullet seconds are for private consumption and not for resale! Factory seconds may include blemished bullets and mixed bullets, so weigh and measure each bullet prior to loading! Factory seconds must be picked up in person and will not be shipped.

accurateshooter.com Sierra Factory Outlet Bullet SalesSierra Production Facility Tours
Along with Factory Outlet sales, Sierra Bullets offers tours of its production plant. If you are in the vicinity, why not head over to Sedalia and see how Sierra bullets are made. Sierra states: “Visitors are welcome in our facility — advance reservations are not required for groups smaller than 10. Tours are available Monday – Friday, 8:30 am to 4:40 pm. Large groups will require one week notice, but for families or individuals, come on in and we’ll make the delay as short as possible. The tour will take approximately 45 minutes. There is no cost for the tour.”

For more information, call Sierra at (888) 223-3006 or send email to: sierra[at]sierrabullets.com .

Story tip by EdLongrange. We welcome reader submissions.
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