November 4th, 2018

Hornady Video Shows How Ammunition is Made

Hornady Manufacturing

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

Ammo to Be Produced in New Hornady Factory
Hornady recently opened a new, state-of-the-art 150,000-sq-ft Hornady West Facility, featured in the video below. This will handle ammunition production and product distribution — Hornady produces millions of rounds annually. Hornady cartridge brass and bullets will continue to be produced at Hornady’s 100,000+ square foot factory in Grand Island, Nebraska, The Grand Island factory is open for tours Monday through Thursday. Hornady Manufacturing was founded by Joyce Hornady in 1949, so next year (2019) marks the company’s 70th anniversary. The business is currently run by his son Steve Hornady who took over after his father’s death in a plane crash in 1981.

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October 18th, 2016

How Plastic Shotshells Are Made

federal premium shotshell
Ever wonder how shotshells are manufactured? Here’s a step-by-step trip through the shotshell production process, courtesy Federal Premium. Hulls are created from plastic pellets, of various colors, depending on shotshell type and gauge. Starting with pellets, here’s how shotshells are made:

Step 1: Plastic pellets are melted down into a plastic tube.

federal shot shell

Step 2: In the extruding process the tube is heated, stretched, and cooled to form the hull. The machine that does this is called the “Riefenhauser” after the German engineer who built the first model.

federal shot shell shotgun

Step 3: Hulls are cut to length as they come off the Riefenhauser. They then move along to the next stage in the process.

federal shot shell shotgun

Step 4: The case head is stamped out of sheets of metal (brass or steel depending on shell type). A series of strikes of the stamp produces a fully-formed case head with flash-hole.

federal shot shell shotgun

Step 5: The hulls move to the primer insert and heading machine to get primers and case heads.

federal shot shell shotgun

Step 6: Still untouched by human hands, the shell moves on to the loader where it gets its powder charge, shot wad, and pellets.

federal shot shell shotgun

Step 7: The hulls are then crimped, labeled, and readied for inspection and packing.

federal shot shell shotgun

Story tip from EdLongrange. We welcome reader submissions.
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May 7th, 2016

A Look Inside Sierra’s 300m Underground Test Tunnel

Sierra Bullets Test Tunnel Barrels

Ever wonder how (and where) Sierra tests its bullets? The answer is underground, in a 300-meter test tunnel located under Sierra’s factory in Sedalia, Missouri. The photo above shows the construction of the tunnel back in May, 1990. Like most bullet manufacturers, Sierra does live-fire bullet testing to ensure that Sierra projectiles perform as promised, with repeatable accuracy. Sierra’s 300-meter test range is the longest, privately-owned underground bullet test facility in the world. Sierra offers free tours of the test tunnel as part of Sierra’s Factory Tour Program.

Sierra Bullets indoors testing barrels

Sierra Bullets tests every new bullet design and each lot of bullets. Sierra tells us: “When [we] change to a new bullet they are continually shooting them until they get the bullet properly set up and running and the range releases them to run (meaning the bullets shoot to spec). [Testers] are required to shoot at any lot change and periodically throughout the lot … even if it is just a press operator change. Lot sizes can vary from 5,000 to over 100,000 thousand. If anything changes — it is a new lot. When a new operator comes on — it is a new lot.”

Bevy of Barreled Actions for Bullet Testing
Sierra Bullets uses dozens of barreled actions for testing bullets. These barreled actions are clamped in stout, return-to-battery test fixtures. These heavy test fixtures provide near-perfect repeatability (with no human-induced holding or aiming errors). Each barrel has its own logbook to track the barrel’s usage. Interestingly, Sierra does not have a specific round count for barrel life. When a barrel starts “opening up”, i.e. showing a decline in accuracy, then the barrel is replaced, whether it has 800 rounds through it or 5,000.

Sierra Bullets indoors testing barrels
Click Photo to Zoom

Sierra Bullets 10-Shot Groups at 200 yards
What kind of 200-yard accuracy can you get in an enclosed, underground test range? Would you believe 0.162 MOA at 200 yards with a .338? Check out these 10-shot test groups shot at the Sierra Test Range at 200 yards. Note that the numbers listed on each sample are actual measurements in inches. To convert to MOA, cut those numbers in half (to be more precise, divide by 2.094, which is 1 MOA at 200 yards). For example, the 0.340″ middle group works out to 0.162 MOA at 200 yards.

Sierra Bullets indoors testing barrels

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October 9th, 2015

Norma Video Shows Production of Bullets, Brass, and Ammo

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 7th, 2015

Timney Triggers Made with State-of-the-Art Automated Machinery

Timney Triggers Factory Tom McHale Scottsdale Arizona CNC

For years, Timney triggers have been popular drop-in upgrades for hunting rifles, rimfire rifles, and AR platform rifles. To meet the demand for its many trigger products, Timney Triggers has expanded its operation, adding state-of-the-art CNC machines and other high-end, automated equipment. A far cry from the dank gun factories of the 1950s and 1960s, Timney’s Arizona production center now resembles the squeaky-clean, ultra-modern facilities where electronics are assembled.

Today’s Timney factory is all about computerized automation. Timney Triggers’ owner John Vehr states that it would take 60 or more trained machinists and metal-workers to produce as many triggers as can Timney’s modern machines. Timney does employ two dozen workers, but they are assigned tasks that the computerized machines can’t do as well or better.

If you want to see how Timney triggers are made this days, check out Tom McHale’s recent account of his visit to the Timney Factory in Scottsdale, Arizona. McHale explains how the triggers are designed and fabricated, and 20 high-rez photos illustrate the production process and machinery.

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May 4th, 2015

Video Shows Berger Bullets Being Made

Berger Bullets Factory Jacket Video Assembly

Ever wondered how a modern, jacketed bullet is made? Thanks to Berger Bullets, here’s a short video clip that shows how bullets are crafted. In this short sequence filmed at Berger’s factory, you can see machinery that forms the jacket, inserts the core, and then forms the final shape.

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June 16th, 2014

How Barnes Bullets Are Made — Views from Inside the Factory

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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July 9th, 2013

Ruger Will Open New Production Facility in North Carolina

Ruger logo factory plant Mayodan North Carolina accurateshooter.com

Sturm, Ruger & Co., Inc. (Ruger) announced on July 8, 2013, that it plans to open its third manufacturing plant, a 220,000-square-foot facility in Mayodan, North Carolina. This will be the company’s first major expansion in over 25 years and it is expected to be finalized in August. Ruger currently employs over 2,000 people in its two plants in Newport, New Hampshire and Prescott, Arizona.

At a time when we see unprecedented demand for firearms, ammunition, and reloading components, it is good to see a major company step up and invest in a big new factory. This should allow Ruger to boost production to meet increased consumer demand for Ruger pistols and rifles, including the top-selling Ruger 10/22, one of the most popular rimfire rifles ever made.

Ruger logo factory plant Mayodan North Carolina accurateshooter.com


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May 25th, 2013

Lapua’s Champion Shooters Visit Lapua Factory in Finland

To celebrate its 90th anniversary, Lapua invited six of its shooting team members to visit the firm’s ammunition factory in Lapua, Finland. The team members hailed from six countries around the world: Kevin Nevius (USA), Eva Friedel (Germany), Josselin Henry (France), Charlotte Jakobsen (Denmark), Kim-Andre Lund (Norway), and Peter Sidi (Hungary). Watch the video to follow these six shooters as they tour the Lapua ammo factory, and then compete in a 100m/600m fun match at Lapua’s test range.

See Lapua Ammunition Factory from the Inside

After being greated by Nammo Lapua CEO Raimo Helasmäki, the six lucky shooters got to tour production facilities, visit the old cartridge factory museum, and share ideas with Lapua R&D engineer Tommi Tuuri. The engineer observed: “No matter how much you calculate, there are always some surprises — things you can only know from the test runs.”

Lapua Factory Visit

Lapua Factory VisitCompetition at 100m and 600m
The trip finished with a friendly “bragging rights” match at Lapua’s own Ampumarata Shooting Range. These six champions had to quickly master two very different rifles, a Panda-actioned 6PPC benchrest rig for 100m and a SAKO TRG-42 in .338 Lapua Magnum for long range (600m). Kim-Andre Lund from Norway won the benchrest match with a 0.157″ (3.98mm) group. Not bad for a position shooter not familiar with this kind of gun, or this rest configuration. Kim observed: “I think maybe I’m in the wrong discipline, maybe benchrest is the thing for me”. Check out his target at right.

The USA’s own Kevin Nevius posted the top score with the big .338 LM. Kevin had a great time: “I’m a bonafied gun nut… so to come to a factory that manufactures ammunition is a dream come true.”

Lapua Factory Visit

Lapua Factory Visit

This video features a factory walk-through showing bullet-making, cartridge forming, and bullet packaging. Near the end (at 5:40 time-mark) is a fascinating sequence showing the high-speed robotic arms that pick loaded ammunition from the assembly line.

Lapua Factory Visit

Lapua Factory Visit

Beautiful Lapua 6.5-284 brass awaits packaging and shipping.
Lapua Factory Visit

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March 24th, 2012

Demand for Ruger Firearms Outstrips Production Capacity

Ruger LogoSturm, Ruger & Co. Inc. (Ruger) must be doing something right. Ruger’s manufacturing plants are running at full capacity, yet it still can’t keep up with demand for its pistols and rifles. Ruger recently announced that, for the first quarter 2012, the Company has received orders for more than one million units.. That will outstrip Ruger’s production capacity. Therefore, the Company has temporarily suspended the acceptance of new orders.

Chief Executive Officer Michael O. Fifer made the following comments:

• The Company’s Retailer Programs that were offered from January 1, 2012 through February 29, 2012 were very successful and generated significant orders from retailers to independent wholesale distributors for Ruger firearms.

• Year-to-date, the independent wholesale distributors placed orders with the Company for more than one million Ruger firearms.

• Despite the Company’s continuing successful efforts to increase production rates, the incoming order rate exceeds our capacity to rapidly fulfill these orders. Consequently, the Company has temporarily suspended the acceptance of new orders.

• The Company expects to resume the normal acceptance of orders by the end of May 2012.

New Guns Have Been Well-Received
Ruger has seen its fortunes rise in the past few years with the successful introduction of small, compact self-loading pistols. These are very popular with Americans looking for a “carry” pistol for self defense. In addition, demand for rifles has increased with Ruger’s recent introduction of its value-priced Ruger American Rifle (RAR), a bolt gun with many modern features such as a barrel nut (like Savage) and side bolt release (like Tikka). With a street price of just $379.60, the basic, synthetic-stocked RAR is a value-leader in the market, just like the Ruger 10/22, which continues to sell in great numbers.

Ruger American Rifle

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