October 28th, 2020

Advanced New Area 419 ZERO 9-Station Turret Press

Area 419 Zero reloading turret 10 station reloading press ultimatereloader review gavin gear

Area 419 has just introduced the all-new ZERO reloading press, a 9-station turret press with some very unique features. This press was designed to be the most precise turret ever created. As tested by Gavin Gear of UltimateReloader.com, the new ZERO turret press delivered very impressive shoulder-bump consistency and ultra-low seated bullet run-out (about +/- 0.0005″). The numbers were as good as you can get from a quality single-stage press, so Area 419 did some impressive engineering. We would expect that, as this is an expensive product — MSRP is $1200.00. SEE FULL REVIEW on UltimateReloader.com.

The ZERO turret press lets you install up to nine (9) different reloading dies in the large top turret, which revolves around a central axis. But unlike most turret presses, the ZERO doesn’t have flex or wobble when you’re loading. This is because Area 419 includes a clever system for locking the turret in position after you’ve selected the die from your array. Area 419 also uses a unique system for securing shell-holders (see video at 12:00). This, likewise, adds to the precision of the press.

In the video above, you can see how the turret is secured with a “wedge clamp”. By loosening the wedge clamp you can index the press easily to any station. Then, when you have selected your die, you tighten the wedge clamp again. You can see this important procedure at 13:20 – 13:35 timemark in the video.

Area 419 Zero reloading turret 10 station reloading press ultimatereloader review gavin gear

ZERO Turret Press Has Very Smooth Operation
Gavin observed that this ZERO turret is both smooth and very precise, thanks to smart engineering and the use of multiple bearings. Area 419 describes the design features:

— Turret (zero-slop) eliminates variability induced when removing and resetting dies
— The turret head holds nine 7/8×14-threaded dies (1-1/4 thread in future)
— Available ram-stroke here is 4.4″, allowing use of very tall cartridge types.
— Adjustable/interchangeable handle setup for maximizing leverage/feel based on operation
— Internally contained primer-catch system, slide-out drawer

Important Features of ZERO Turret Press

Area 419 Zero reloading turret 10 station reloading press ultimatereloader review gavin gear

1. Press frame: 6061 Aluminum, clear anodized
2. Wedge clamp (locks turret into indexed position)
3. Turret (7075 aluminum and steel construction)
4. Adjustable handle with roller knob (set either left- or right-handed operation)
5. Bearings: Ball bearing plus roller thrust bearings for side plates
6. Ram riding in self-lubricated linear bearing
7. Spent primer catcher drawer

Milled from American billet aluminum and stainless steel, this press employs 14 bearings, including a self-lubricating linear sleeve bearing for the precision-ground 1.25″ ram. The linkage system also glides on bearings providing smooth operation with near-ZERO slop. The oversized ram features a 0.75″-diameter steel arm and ZERO-friction knob. The turret system is located with an oversized ball-detent system and secured using an over-sized, custom-made ZERO-point pull-stud. Locking the turret after indexing require only a half-turn of the supplied T-handle (see photo above). When indexing the turret, repeatability variance of the system should be less than .0005″.

The opening in the press will allow for sizing and seating of cases up to.338 Lapua Magnum, and will accept standard 7/8″ dies and standard shellholders. NOTE: Area 419 will be making and selling shellholders specifically fit to the system later in 2020.

SUMMARY — Impressive Press Delivers Precise Results
Gavin Gear was very impressed with Area 419’s new Zero Press, which he said offers the precision of a quality single-stage with the versatility of a turret: “There will always be people that prefer a traditional single-stage. Where the ZERO will be compelling is to those who want the precision of a single-stage without the need to screw dies in and out. Leaving your dies set can have benefits for precision as well — everything comes back to the ‘same place’ when dies are indexed into position. Screwing dies in and out can impose variation, and variation is the enemy of the ‘white lab coat shooter’. I plan on testing the ZERO press with ultra-high-end dies, and custom dies that I ream to my own specifications. I’m thinking that will show the true potential of this press!”

Area 419 ZERO Press Video with Operation Instructions

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October 17th, 2020

Spotlight — Creedmoor Sports Polecat V2 Spotting Scope Stand

Polecat spotting scope stand Creedmoor sports

Every serious competitor needs a good spotting scope support. Spotting scopes are not just for iron sights shooters. Even if you have a powerful riflescope, the spotting scope, typically set at 15-25X magnification, lets you observe wind flags, mirage, and other shooters’ targets. If you are looking for a high-quality, made-in-USA support for your spotter, consider the Polecat V2 system from Creedmoor Sports. Our friend Gavin Gear of UltimateReloader.com recently posted this video review:

Creedmoor Sports has offered excellent products for competitive shooters for decades. The Made-in-USA Polecat V2 system is updated version of Creedmoor’s best-selling spotting scope stand. After collecting feedback from shooters across many disciplines for several years, the designers brought some major advances to this scope stand. First, no pretension are adjustments needed. Horizontal and vertical resistance is controlled by the knurled tightening knob. Second, the Polecat boasts a pre-aligned Delrin clamp so you don’t have to spin the clamp to align with the rods during stand assembly. You can order a Polecat V2 with 3/4″-diameter rod for $296.95 or get the 1″-diameter rod version for $364.95.

Polecat spotting scope stand Creedmoor sports

Either version can be used for both left-handed and right-handed shooters, with about 5″ standoff from the center of the stand to the scope’s centerline. Polecat V2 packages include head, stop collar, one extension rod, and base. Additional aluminum rods are available to extend height.

Polecat V2 Key Features
— Adjustable head (spotting scope mounts to head)
— Bump stop (protects spotting scope from accidental knock if dropped)
— Base with three fold-out legs
— Leveling adjustment for uneven ground (one leg can be adjusted downward, faced in downhill direction)
— Zero play (slop), giving you the ability to quickly and easily make adjustments
— One-handed operation/adjustment
— 1/4″-20 standard spotting scope thread
— The scope may be positioned above or below the scope head

Shop Polecat V2 here (5% Off with Code UR5) | Read Full Story HERE

Polecat spotting scope stand Creedmoor sports

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October 7th, 2020

Powerful Progressive — Dillon RL-1100 with 8 Stations

Dillon R1100 RL 1100 progressive reloading press MR. bulletfeeder Double alpha 9mm ammo

Factory-loaded ammunition has become very hard to find, particularly pistol ammo. Concerns over social unrest, personal security, and the upcoming election have spiked demand for loaded ammo. Everyone is asking “where has all the ammo gone?”

Dillon R1100 RL 1100 progressive reloading press MR. bulletfeeder Double alpha 9mm ammoPistol Ammo Hard to Find
In particular, 9mm pistol ammo flies off the shelves as soon as it arrives, and even major online vendors such as Midsouth Shooters, MidwayUSA, and Natchez have very limited supplies.

Need Ammo? Load Your Own…
One answer to the ammo shortage is to load your own. And if you want to produce a large quantity of ammo in a short amount of time, the progressive press is the answer. There are many progressive press systems, from modest Lee progressives to high-end, automated systems from Mark 7 (Lyman). In this article we feature the “latest and greatest” progressive press from Dillon — the new eight-station RL 1100 Press with Case-Feeder.

Our friend Gavin Gear of UltimateReloader.com got his hands on Dillon’s impressive new RL 1100. In two videos, Gavin shows how to set up the RL 1100 and then he demonstrates how to produce 9mm pistol ammo with this impressive 8-station press.


Gavin says: “My Dillon RL-1100 is cranking out the 9mm, and in this video we bring it up to ‘full tilt’ speed” [with the MR. Bullet Feeder and the Dillon Case-Feeder]. If you watch the video, you’ll see Gavin produce 9mm ammo at a rate of nearly 50 rounds per MINUTE!

Gavin equipped his new RL 1100 with two cool products from Double Alpha Academy (DAA) — the Mr.Bulletfeeder® as well as an advanced, Magnetic Powder Check. When loading ammo you can never be too safe, so we definitely recommend the use of powder-check dies (we use a conventional RCBS powder-check die on our progressives). The DAA bullet feeding system is an important add-on that significantly increases output rates when used in concert with the Dillon Case-Feeder (blue funnel).

RL 1100 Reloading Stations with Powder Check and Bullet Feeder

Dillon R1100 RL 1100 progressive reloading press MR. bulletfeeder Double alpha 9mm ammo

RL 1100 Stations shown above:
1. Case inserter
2. Sizer/De-Primer
3. Swager (with hold-down)
4. Priming (no die)
5. Powder charge and expansion (expansion for pistol cartridges only)
6. Double Alpha Magnetic Powder Check
7. Mr. Bullet Feeder bullet feed die
8. Bullet seating and Crimping

Note: In order to accommodate the magnetic powder check die AND the bullet feed die, bullet seating and crimping were combined at the last station.

The RL 1100 has some very impressive features that allow faster and easier ammo production. An Eccentric Roller Bearing Drive System reduces friction. The RL 1100’s heavier frame provides greater rigidity for more efficient cranking. The RL 1100 also boasts an improved shellplate indexing system. Priming is enhanced through a spring-loaded Priming Station Locator and Upgraded Primer Pocket Swager.

Dillon RL-1100 Set-Up Video:

Loading with the “Turbocharged” Dillon RL-1100
Gavin was very impressed with his RL-1100: “This reloading setup is [great]. Every crank of the lever yields a completed cartridge, and the attainable speeds are AMAZING. The case feeder and bullet feeder had no trouble keeping up with my quick pace using this setup. And it is great to know that every powder charge is being checked.

This press is very reliable and smooth, bridging the gap between lower cost home set-ups and six-figure commercial loading equipment packages. What’s next? I’ll be performing a caliber changeover to .308 Winchester.”

The DAA Magnetic Powder Check can be used on a variety of Progressive Presses.

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September 2nd, 2020

BAT Machine Actions — Video Reveals How They Are Made

Gavin Gear ultimate reloader BAT machine Bruce Thom Idaho Machining CNC Machines

If you have ANY interest in custom rifle actions, you MUST watch this video from UltimateReloader.com. Folks, definitely watch the video — it is VERY informative! To produce this video, Ultimate Reloader’s Gavin Gear visited the BAT Machine facility in Post Falls, Idaho, and interviewed BAT owner Bruce Thom.

In the video Bruce Thom demonstrates how BAT Machine actions are created from start to finish. Bruce shows every stage of the process, employing multiple high-tech machines. It’s impressive — Forum members say that this is a “must-watch” video. Gunsmith Jackie Schmidt noted: “Great Video. Even though I have been in the machine shop business for 50 years, I still marvel at the new innovations in precision machining. Bruce has a very down-to-earth, common sense approach to explaining what to many seems like machining wizardry.” And Mark T. posted: “Watched it last night. Excellent video and excellent machining practices — precision from beginning to end.”

Click Arrow to Watch Video

For further explanation of the action production processes, with step-by-step listing of how receivers and bolt assemblies are created, read Gavin Gear’s full BAT Machine Article on UltimateReloader.com.

READ FULL BAT Machine Story HERE (More Photos) »

Gavin Gear ultimate reloader BAT machine Bruce Thom Idaho Machining CNC Machines

BAT Machine Company Was Started 29 Years Ago
Back in 1991, Bruce Thom started BAT Machine Company, which was incorporated later in 1996. Bruce’s shop stared with manual machines, quickly moving to CNC machines later in the 1990s. BAT Machine quickly achieved a following among benchrest shooters for crafting superb actions that exhibited flawless function and superb machining. Those qualities, benchrest competitors realized, helped produce tiny groups, win matches, and set benchrest records. BAT Machine now makes rifle actions for a wide variety of disciplines: F-Class, PRS, ELR, hunting, and of course short- and long-range benchrest.

Gavin Gear ultimate reloader BAT machine Bruce Thom Idaho Machining CNC Machines

BAT Action Body Machining Stages
As shown in the video, here are the major stages for the fabrication of a BAT Machine receiver body:

1. Start: raw 17-4 stainless round bar (higher toughness than typical barrel/receiver steel)
2. Heat treat
3. Bore central hole (for EDM wire), face ends
4. EDM machining (cut bore and raceways)
5. True OD, cut receiver threads and lug seats
6. Cut tang and related features
7. Finish machining including body OD, integral lug (if equipped)

Gavin Gear ultimate reloader BAT machine Bruce Thom Idaho Machining CNC Machines

Final Production Stages — Polishing and Deburring
After the receiver body and bolt are machined, they go through a deburring and polishing process.

In the image above you can see the stages. At left is a receiver body straight from machining. Some hand work is typically performed to break interior edges that are sharp from machining. In the center, the receiver shows can see the initial polish stage. During this stage, machining marks are removed by coarse polishing. Additionally for receivers that will be nitrided, that will be done next. But for actions that are NOT nitrided, a final polish brings the parts up to a high luster, as show on the right.

After polish (and nitriding if that applies) the bolts and receivers get a finish assembly, and testing for proper smooth functioning. The receivers are then registered with the ATF and shipped to the customer.

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July 26th, 2020

Cool Tools — RCBS Rebel Press, Case Prep Trio, Lee Lock Rings

Lee precison die lock ring spline clamp O-ring

Our friend Gavin Gear of UltimateReloader.com often gets to test the latest and greatest reloading tools before they hit the market. He does a good job showing the features of new products with informative videos. Today we present three interesting products that Gavin has reviewed. First off is the impressive new RCBS Rebel reloading press. Next is the versatile three-head Case Prep Trio machine from Hornady. Third, Gavin reviews new Die Lock Rings and Breech Lock Die Bushings from Lee Precision.

RCBS Rebel Single-Stage Reloading Press

RCBS Rebel Press primer ejection reloading

Most hand-loaders have used an RCBS Rock Chucker press at one time or another. Recently RCBS unveiled its new Rebel single-stage press. Like the Rock Chucker, the Rebel has a Cast Iron frame, but with a bigger base and taller arch (for a larger opening). The most important change is that this new Rebel press ejects primers out the bottom of the ram. This a big deal — just put a bin under the press to collect spent primers. However — take note — the Rebel has no on-press priming. You need to prime your cases separately. That’s not really a major issue, as we know the majority of our readers prime separately using hand or bench priming tools.

In this video Gavin loads ammo on the new the Rebel single-stage press and explains its notable features, including the primer ejection through the ram.

Note, RCBS is currently running a Buy Green Get Green Rebate Program. The Rebel Press qualifies for a $50.00 Rebate. And right now, MidwayUSA has the Rebel Press on sale for $186.99. So your net cost, after RCBS Rebate, is just $136.99. That’s a great deal on an excellent press.

Hornady Lock-N-Load Case Prep Trio

RCBS Rebel Press primer ejection reloading

Hornady’s compact Case Prep Trio machine (item 050160) packs a lot of functionality in a small package. This triple-threat tool has a small footprint, yet it can perform three tasks as well as much more expensive, tower-style case prep units.

Gavin Gear does a nice job explaining the features of the Case Prep trio. Watch this video to see how it can help you perform chamfering, deburring, and pimer pocket uniforming tasks more efficiently.

With three active stations, you can chamfer, deburr and clean primer pockets without having to change tools. The Case Prep Trio ships with inside chamfer, outside chamfer, and deburr tools. You can also use the machine with other optional 8/32 threaded accessories such as primer pocket reamers and case neck brushes. We’ve used this machine and it works well. The only negative is that you will get metal shavings on your bench (unlike some of the larger case prep centers). We’ve seen some guys put a small pan under the power head — then you can just dump the shavings out of the pan.

New Lee Die Lock Rings and Spline Drive Breech Lock Bushings

Lee precison die lock ring spline clamp O-ring
New basic lock ring in left hand. Older non-splined ring in right hand.

Lee precison die lock ring spline clamp O-ringIn this recent video Gavin Gear reviews three types of die accessories from LEE. These work for virtually all standard dies, not just LEE-brand reloading dies. The new LEE basic silver-finish die lock rings now feature splines for enhanced grip and compatibility with LEE’s new die lock ring wrench (photo right). They still boast a rubber 0-Ring that helps “float” the die for improved cartridge concentricity.

LEE’s new Ultimate Die Lock Rings have two major improvements — a colorful anodized finish, and a split-ring design with a tensioning screw, that allows these rings to be clamped securely to your dies. Available as a set, this package includes three ultimate die lock rings, and a plastic die lock ring wrench.

Gavin also reviews Lee’s new Spline Drive Breech Lock Bushings for use with presses fitted with LEE’s Breech Lock system. These new Breech Lock bushings allow rapid change-out of dies without modifying the setting. The colorful new bushings feature splines on top that work with the new Lee Lock ring wrench shown above. In addition, the Breech Lock Bushings have a clamp to preserve die depth setting.

Lee precison die lock ring spline clamp O-ring

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July 13th, 2020

Make Your Own Modified Case to Measure Length-to-Lands

Hornady Stony Point Tool OAL O.A.L. gauge bullet seating length ogive checker

Our friend Gavin Gear has just released an excellent video showing how to make a threaded Modified Case for use with the Hornady Lock-N-Load Overall Length Gauge. You can watch Gavin make a Modified Case start to finish in the video below:

Video Shows How to Drill and Tap Modified Case

Gavin has some clever tricks. First he uses a sizing die to hold the cartridge case during the threading process. Second he uses two drill bits in sequence — a smaller bit to ream out the primer pocket, and then a larger “M” bit to increase the hole diameter before threading the brass. Finally he leaves the threading tap IN the brass, locks the tailstock, and then “gently pulls on the quill” to remove the brass from the die held in his lathe (See 5:46 timemark).

Modified Case Gavin Gear Ultimate Reloader

Get the Correct 5/16″-36 RH Tap
Unfortunately, Hornady has selected an uncommon thread type for OAL Gauges. You probably won’t be able to buy the correct 5/16″ – 36 RH HSS Tap at your local hardware store. However you CAN order this special tap from Amazon for $9.99.

Modified Case Q & A — TECH TIPS

Why do I need a Modified Case?
Every serious reloader should have a Modified Case for each cartridge type they shoot. The reason is that this allows you to get very precise measurements of the length-to-lands in your chamber. When used with the Hornady OAL Gauge, with some practice, you should be able to get repeatable length-to-lands measurements within about 0.015″. We generally do 4-5 measurements with the OAL Gauge and usually 3 or 4 will be “on the money”. NOTE: We recommend a gentle, easy pressure on the plastic pusher rod. Don’t push too hard or you will jam the bullet hard into the lands, which produces inconsistent results.

Can’t I Just Buy a Modified Case?
Hornady makes a variety of Modified Cases sold on Amazon and through retailers such as Midsouth. While Hornady makes modified cases for many standard cartridges, if you shoot a wildcat such as the 6mm Dasher or .284 Shehane, you’ll need to create a custom modified case. And even if you shoot a standard cartridge such as the .308 Win, you can get more consistent measurements with a custom Modified Case.

If you do decide to make your own modified case, you’ll want to start with a case that’s been fired in your rifle. That way you get the best fit to YOUR chamber. Also, you won’t need to expand the neck to provide bullet clearance. Then you need to drill out the primer pocket and tap the base of the case to match the threads on the Hornady OAL Gauge tool. Make at least two modified cases, as you’ll probably misplace one at some point.

Erik Cortina Makes a Modified Case

If you want to learn more about making Modified Cases, top F-Class shooter Erik Cortina has also created a helpful video showing the process he uses to make modified cases. In Erik’s video, he shows how he taps a case to work with the Hornady Lock-N-Load Overall Length Gauge (formerly the Stoney Point Tool). Erik also explains how to get the best results when using the Modified Case to measure length to lands.

MORE INFORMATION: Want to learn more? We published a much longer story in which Erik explains in greater detail how to made the Modified Case. That article illustrates the 5/16″ – 36 RH HSS Tap required and shows how to set up the lathe to drill and tap your case. If you are serious about making your own Modified Cases, you should Read the Full Article.

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May 31st, 2020

Sunday GunDay: Gavin Gear’s .22 LR Bergara B14-R

Bergara Test Gavin Gear ultimate reloader B14-R rimfire

The Bergara B14-R is a high-quality, accurate .22 LR rimfire bolt-action rifle. The rifle’s accuracy and functionality make it a good choice for NRL22 competition. And with stock geometry and ergonomics that duplicate a full-size centerfire rifle, the Bergara B14-R is also an excellent choice for cross-training. By training with a rimfire rifle, you can get essential “trigger time” while saving money. Good centerfire ammo can cost $1.50 per round or more. Decent rimfire ammo can be found for $6.00 per 50rd box. That’s just 12 cents per round.

Bergara Test Gavin Gear ultimate reloader B14-R rimfire
Click above photo to load full-screen high-rez image.

To find out how well the Bergara B14-R can perform, Gavin Gear of UltimateReloader.com recently tested a B14-R (carbon-covered barrel version) at his private range. Using a variety of Lapua and SK Ammo, this rig delivered impressive results. Watch this video to see the B14-R in action.

“The B14-R is a great shooter, and for me it felt very familiar. Just like shooting one of my centerfire match guns, but without all of the recoil!” — Gavin Gear

Gavin reports: “At the 2020 SHOT Show, Bergara announced the B14-R trainer. The concept? Take the B14 HMR series centerfire rifle formula, and adapt it for rimfire. The result is a .22 LR rifle you can shoot all day long without wearing out your arm or your wallet! It looks/feels like a centerfire long-range precision rifle. And that’s what makes this rifle a GREAT training platform for serious long-range shooters.”

The B14-R comes with a 18″-long 1:16″-twist threaded barrel. The single-stack .22 LR magazine is the same size as a short action AICS mag. The Bergara B14-R shares Rem 700 specs, so it is compatible with Rem 700 stocks and aftermarket triggers. Weight with standard barrel is 9.2 pounds without optics, or 8.1 pounds for the carbon version seen here. MSRP for basic version is $1150.00 and street price is $950.00.

Bergara Test Gavin Gear ultimate reloader B14-R rimfire

Gavin told us: “I couldn’t wait to get the B14-R out to my new 50-yard ridgeline range to see how it would perform with premium .22 LR ammunition. Once I shot this rifle suppressed, I didn’t want to take off the can. The 18″ barrel really works well with the SilcencerCo suppressor to help keep the overall length reasonable, and balance is spot-on.” NOTE: This rifle has the optional carbon-covered barrel.

As tested, the rifle was equipped with these components:

Athlon Midas TAC 6-14x50mm FFP Scope with MK Machine lever, Lone Star bubble level
SilencerCo Omega 300 Suppressor with 1/2×28 direct thread mount
Harris S-BRM 6″-9″ Bipod with aftermarket swivel tension lever

Bergara Test Gavin Gear ultimate reloader B14-R rimfire

Outstanding Accuracy with Lapua and SK .22 LR Ammo

Remarkable accuracy for a factory rifle earned this Bergara its Sunday GunDay selection. Shooting with bipod and rear sandbag, Gavin was able to achieve multiple, sub-half-inch groups at 50 yards. The best group shot with SK Match ammo was a remarkable 0.22″ as measured by Ballistic-X software (see below). That’s an impressive 0.42 MOA at 50 yards. If you watch the video above, starting at 14:40 time-mark, you can watch Gavin shoot that 0.22″ group.

Bergara Test Gavin Gear ultimate reloader B14-R rimfire

Here are two more groups, both under 0.5″ at 50 yards. Lapua Center-X on left, SK Match on right. Gavin says that “with good conditions, 0.35″ 5-shot groups at 50 yards are easily attainable.”

Bergara Test Gavin Gear ultimate reloader B14-R rimfire

B14-R Trigger Tested with TriggerScan TS-11

Gavin tested the Bergara’s trigger with the TriggerScan TS-11 from DVORAK Instruments, a very sophisticated, high-tech device. Gavin states: “This trigger works well, and mine was adjustable down to just over 2-lb peak force for pull weight. I ran a 3-scan pass on the B14-R trigger with the pull weight set to minimum [barely over 2 pounds].”

Bergara Test Gavin Gear ultimate reloader B14-R rimfire

Gavin notes: “You can see how consistent this trigger is by how well the scan graph plots overlap! This trigger is great for an out-of-the-box rifle like this, and it’s great to know that I can always swap out triggers and use the same exact Remington 700-compatible trigger that I’m running in my match guns.”

Bergara Test Gavin Gear ultimate reloader B14-R rimfire

Bergara Test Gavin Gear ultimate reloader B14-R rimfire

Gavin Gear’s Closing Thoughts — More to Come
The Bergara B14-R rimfire trainer has been a great rifle to shoot and has exceeded my expectations. The B14-R feels like a full-size PRS rifle, has the same basic features, but is chambered in .22 LR. I have been amazed by the accuracy I’ve achieved with this rifle with Lapua and SK match ammunition — it’s very confidence inspiring.

This rifle feels right and shoots great. I can’t wait to get more steel targets setup, and to go deeper into calculating dope for the ammunition I will shoot with this rifle. Perhaps I’ll think about competing in an NRL22 match at some point. If you are looking for a rimfire trainer, look at the Bergara B14-R for sure. It checks all of my boxes for this type of rifle!

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May 7th, 2020

Progressive Presses — Video Showcase of Six Machines

ultimate reloading progressive press review dillon Mark 7 rcbs lee hornady

COVID-19 stay-at-home orders have created abundant free time at home for millions of Americans. To fill otherwise empty hours, we know many readers have been reloading ammo — LOTS of ammo. And quite a few of you folks are thinking of getting a progressive press to increase output. Because multiple operations take place with a single pull of a lever, a progressive press can produce way more ammo in a given period of time than any single stage press. With a progressive, on the ram up-stroke, the multiple stations can simultaneously remove spent primer, full-length size case, drop powder, seat bullet, and crimp (if desired). Most progressives are also set up to prime cases with the ram in the lower position — though some guys prefer to prime manually.

Progressive presses aren’t just for high-output pistol ammo or bulk rifle ammunition. Good progressives can be adapted to do certain reloading tasks for top-on-the line match ammo. You might use a progressive for decapping, priming, and sizing, then throw powder and/or seat bullets separately. Some Champion shooters do use progressives to load their match ammo! For example 5-Time National Long Range Champion John Whidden and 2020 Berger SWN F-Open Champion Jay Christopherson both use progessive presses for some (but not all) operations.

To help you get started with progressive presses, here are five videos from UltimateReloader.com that cover six popular machines, from the elite Mark 7 Evolution to the inexpensive Lee Pro 1000. With many of these machines you can add separate vertical bullet feeder systems that further increase loading efficiency.

Mark 7 Evolution Press — Distributed by Lyman

Dillon XL-650 vs. Dillon XL-750

RCBS Pro Chucker 7 with Bullet Feeder

Dillon 550C with 6mm Creedmoor and 9x19mm

Lee Pro 1000 Features and Operation

Better Safe Than Sorry — the RCBS Lock-Out Die
RCBS Makes a “Lock-Out Die” that senses the powder charge. This will halt the Progressive press if you have a double charge, or an undercharge. Your Editor has the Lock-Out Die on his RCBS Pro 2000. It has “saved his bacon” a half-dozen times over the years. It can be used on Dillon and Hornady progressives as well as RCBS machines.

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April 10th, 2020

Load Data for .224 Valkyrie — Optimizing the Cartridge

.224 Valkyrie Hodgdon load data

As folks are stuck at home with the Pandemic lock-downs, many guys are thinking about projects involving their AR-15s sitting in their safes. We’ve seen some threads in our Forum asking about the .224 Valkyrie, an AR-centric cartridge that offers significantly better long-range performance than the .223 Remington (5.56×45). If you own a .224 Valkyrie, or are thinking about adding a .224 Valkyrie upper to your MSR (Modern Sporting Rifle) arsensal, here is load information from industry leaders Hodgdon and Sierra.

With the 90gr SMK (or similar High-BC projectiles), the .224 Valkyrie offers ballistics similar to the 6.5 Creedmoor but with significantly less felt recoil.

Hodgdon has reloading data for the .224 Valkyrie, a popular new cartridge optimized for the AR15 platform. “At Hodgdon, we’ve been researching this cartridge since before its introduction and are excited to release load data for the Valkyrie featuring powders like Hodgdon CFE 223, IMR 8208 XBR, and Hodgdon Varget” reports Ron Reiber, Hodgdon product manager/ballistician. Access the .224 Valkyrie Data via Hodgdon’s Reloading Data Center.

While new load data will continue to be updated, there is currently data for 80 different loads with bullet weights ranging from 50 to 90 grains. NOTE: The load data covers Hodgdon, IMR, and Winchester brand powders only. See Sierra Data for other powder brands. Bullet brands included are: Federal, Hornady, Nosler, Sierra and Swift.

About the .224 Valkyrie Cartridge
Basically a 6.8 SPC necked down to .22, the Valkyrie has a shorter case than the .223 Remington (and 5.56×45 NATO). This allows you to load the longest, heaviest .224-caliber bullets and still feed reliably from an AR15-type magazine. Designed to rival the .22 Nosler while still running well in ARs, the .224 Valkyrie offers excellent long-range performance when loaded with modern, high-BC bullets. We expect some bolt-action PRS shooters might adopt the .224 Valkyrie. Why? Reduced recoil. With the 90gr SMK, the .224 Valkyrie offers ballistics similar to the 6.5 Creedmoor but with significantly less felt recoil.

.224 Valkyrie Hodgdon load data

The new .224 Valkyrie has already developed a loyal following: “Shooting heavier bullets in an AR-platform rifle that maintain supersonic speeds beyond 1,300 yards has captured the interest of shooters and handloaders everywhere” — Hodgdon Powders

Our friend Gavin Gear of Ultimate Reloader.com found a superbly accurate load with Berger 80.5gr bullets.

IMPORTANT: Check Out Sierra’s .224 Valkyrie DATA

Sierra Bullets has also published extensive load data for the .224 Valkyrie. This covers over a dozen powder types — many more than the Hodgdon database. Sierra’s .224 Valkyrie load data covers projectiles from 50 grain all the way up to 95 grains. With the 90 to 95 grain bullets, the little Valkyrie can give 6mm match cartridges a real run for their money — offering similar ballistics with less recoil. When selecting a barrel for the long .224-cal bullets, specify a fast enough twist rate: “Sierra recommends a 1:6.5″-twist barrel for the #9290 22 cal 90 gr HPBT bullet. However, for cartridges like the Valkyrie, that can push them over 2650 fps muzzle velocity, a 1:7″-twist barrel will stabilize the bullet correctly.”

» DOWNLOAD Complete Sierra .224 Valkyrie LOAD DATA HERE

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April 6th, 2020

Loading for the AR10 Using a Progressive Press

Lock and Load Gavin Gear Ultimate Reloader AR-10
Gavin Gear tests .308 Win ammo with his DPMS LR-308B, AR10-type rifle.

Our friend Gavin Gear of UltimateReloader.com owns a DPMS LR-308B, an AR10-type semi-auto rifle. Gavin finds that his DPMS has a healthy appetite for ammunition. So, he set up his Hornady Lock-N-Load progressive press to produce .308 Win ammo. This video shows the process of press set-up and operation, complete with Hornady’s automated Case Feeder and Bullet Feeder. Employing elevated rotary hoppers, the case feed and bullet feed systems really speed up production. The automated feeders allow the operator to produce cartridges without ever touching case or bullet with his hands.

If you need large quantities of .308 Win ammo for 3-Gun matches or tactical games, and if you value your time, a progressive press may be a wise investment. The progressive can load a complete round with every cycle of the press handle. With Case Feeder and Bullet Feeder in place, the Hornady L-N-L can easily crank out a new .308 round every 3-4 seconds (watch video at 5:25). Conservatively speaking, that’s 15 rounds per minute sustained production (and some guys can go even faster).

To learn more about the Hornady Lock-N-Load Progressive Press (with case/bullet feed options), and to see a list of the dies and accessories Gavin uses, click the link below:

Hornady Rifle Bullet Feeder Part 5: Loading .308 for the AR-10

Lock and Load Gavin Gear Ultimate Reloader AR-10

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March 27th, 2020

How to Assemble Your Own AR-15 from Components

AR-MPR-Build-2-AR-15-Tools
Here are the main tools you’ll need to assemble an AR-platform rifle

In these challenging times, many Americans are buying an AR-type rifle, or starting an AR project — assembling the rifle from available uppers, lowers, and parts kits.
Planning to put together an AR-platform rifle? Or are you looking to upgrade your AR with a new barrel, stock, or trigger group? Then you should check out the AR-15 Rifle Build DVD from our friends at UltimateReloader.com. This DVD covers all the details of a custom build, using high-resolution video sequences, and helpful supporting graphics.

AR-15 DVD ultimatereloder.com

In this DVD, Gavin Gear guides you through the entire process including selecting components, acquiring and using the necessary tools, assembly steps and details for each component, and even mounting a scope. Building an AR-15 can be overwhelming, but with the right guidance and help it’s not difficult and can be very rewarding. With this DVD you’ll be able to build your AR-15 with confidence.

Upper: Barrel / Gas Block / Gas Tube
AR-MPR-Build-4-Barrel-and-Gas-Tube-2

Upper: Handguard Installation
AR-MPR-Build-5-Handguard

UltimateReloader.com’s AR-15 Build DVD is available just $9.90 (plus $3.80 shipping/handling). This DVD can pay for itself many times over by showing you how to do your own gunsmithing (and get quality AR components at attractive prices).

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March 12th, 2020

Fact vs. Fiction — .223 Rem vs. 5.56x45mm NATO Cartridges

.223 Rem Remington 5.56 SAAMI CIP 5.56x45 5.56x45mm NATO cartridge ammo pressure test luckygunner ultimatereloader Gavin Gear

Probably the most popular centerfire rifle round in the Western Hemisphere is the .223 Remington and its metric match, the 5.56x45mm. Though many folks use “.223 Rem” and “5.56×45″ interchangeably, there are some meaningful differences in specifications for the original .223 Rem and the 5.56x45mm cartridge, as adopted by the U.S. military and NATO armies. The default chamber throats are slightly different and the .223 Rem is rated at 55,000 PSI vs. 62,366 PSI for the 5.56x45mm.*

.223 Rem vs 5.56x45mm — Key Differences
There is a truly outstanding, very thorough article on the subject, published by LuckyGunner.com.** This involved extensive testing, with pressure monitors, of 5.56x45mm ammo in .223 Rem chambers. Those tests revealed the peak pressures. Here is one of the ammo test charts:

.223 Rem Remington 5.56 SAAMI CIP 5.56x45 5.56x45mm NATO cartridge ammo pressure test luckygunner ultimatereloader Gavin Gear

NOTE: “The observed chamber pressure for Federal XM855 5.56mm ammunition in a .223 Rem chamber exceeded .223 maximum pressures, but not by a massive amount. The ninth shot (the red line) was an underpowered cartridge which exhibited significantly lower velocity and pressure than the other rounds, so it was excluded from the average velocity and pressure numbers for this chamber.”

And if you’re curious, LuckyGunner also fired .223 Rem ammo in a 5.56x45mm NATO-chambered AR15 rifle. As you would expect, the peak pressures were significantly lower, but the .223 Rem ammo still cycled the semi-auto AR-platform rifle perfectly well:

.223 Rem Remington 5.56 SAAMI CIP 5.56x45 5.56x45mm NATO cartridge ammo pressure test luckygunner ultimatereloader Gavin Gear

READ FULL LuckyGunner .223 Rem vs. 5.56x45mm ARTICLE »

UltimateReloader.com Explains .223 Rem vs. 5.56x45mm
To explain the key differences between the .223 Rem and 5.56x45mm cartridges our friend Gavin Gear of UltimateReloader.com has created a very thorough 12-minute video. This covers the cartridge specifications and explains key considerations for hand-loaders. Gavin also addresses the oft-asked question “Can I shoot 5.56x45mm ammo in my .223 Rem chamber?” Gavin’s video is definitely worth watching. In fact, this is one of the most popular videos Gavin has ever created — it has been watched over 300,000 times on YouTube.

What Exactly Is the 5.56x45mm NATO Cartridge?
The 5.56×45mm NATO is a rimless bottle-necked intermediate cartridge family standardized by NATO with development work by FN Herstal. It consists of the SS109, SS110, and SS111 cartridges. Under STANAG 4172, it is a standard cartridge for NATO forces as well as many non-NATO countries.

Bullet diameter: 5.70 mm (0.224 in)
Maximum pressure (EPVAT): 430.00 MPa (62,366 psi)
Maximum pressure (SCATP 5.56): 380.00 MPa (55,114 psi)
Case length: 44.70 mm (1.760 in)
Rifling twist: 178 mm or 229 mm (1 in 7 in)
Parent case: .223 Remington (M193)

Ammo-Maker Federal Premium Compares .223 Rem and 5.56x45mm
Here is a video from ammo-maker Federal Premium explaining the difference between .223 Remington and 5.56x45mm NATO. Federal states that you may experience excessive pressures when firing a 5.56x45mm in a standard .223 Remington chamber:

One leading gunwriter has addressed the question of shooting 5.56x45mm ammo in .223 Rem chambers. He advocates caution (for more info, SEE pressure tests by LuckyGunner.com):

“I have received a slew of questions — many from first time AR-type rifle buyers — about the .223 Rem and the 5.56×45 mm NATO cartridges. Can I shoot 5.56×45 mm NATO in my .223 and vice-versa? Are these the same cartridge?

Externally, the two cartridge cases are identical. The main differences are that 5.56×45 mm NATO operates at a higher chamber pressure (about 60,000 PSI versus 55,000 PSI on the .223 Rem.) and the 5.56’s chamber is slightly larger than that of the .223 Rem. Also, the throat or leade is longer in the 5.56×45 mm chamber. What does this mean? You should not shoot 5.56×45 mm NATO out of a rifle that is chambered in .223 Rem. And be aware that some .223 Rem. ammunition will not reliably cycle through some AR-style .223 Rem. rifles, but it usually does. As a matter of fact, I have not encountered any difficulty with current .223 Rem. loads cycling through a 5.56 mm AR-style rifle.”
– Mark Keefe, Editor, American Rifleman


* According to the official NATO proofing guidelines, the 5.56×45mm NATO case can handle up to 430.0 MPa (62,366 psi) piezo service pressure. The U.S. SAAMI lists Maximum Average Pressure (MAP) for the .223 Remington cartridge as 55,000 psi (379.2 MPa) piezo pressure with deviation of up to 58,000 psi (399.9 MPa). The chamber for military 5.56×45mm NATO has a longer throat prior to the bullet contacting the rifling which results in lower pressures when firing 5.56×45mm NATO ammunition. If 5.56×45mm NATO is used in rifles chambered for .223 Remington the bullet will be engraving the rifling when chambered. which can increase pressures past SAAMI Max levels. NOTE: The C.I.P. standards for the C.I.P. civilian .223 Remington chamber are much closer to the military 5.56×45mm NATO chamber.

** The full-length LuckyGunner article is well worth reading. It even provides specifications for a number of .223 Rem reamer types, and compares the original .223 Rem, the 5.56x45mm NATO, and the modern .223 Wylde chamberings.

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February 13th, 2020

Brain Trust — Bryan Litz, Emil Praslick, and the AMP Team

Ultimate Reloader Video interview Bryan Litz Applied Ballistics Berger Bullets Emil Praslick III AMP Annealing

Our friend Gavin Gear of UltimateReloader.com was a busy man at SHOT Show 2020 in Las Vegas. He visited many leading vendors, and he also interviewed some of the most knowledgeable experts in the world of precision shooting. Today we present three important video interviews hosted by Gavin — the SHOT Show Brain Trust series.

First up is Bryan Litz, world-renowned ballistics expert and founder of Applied Ballistics LLC. The software developed by Bryan’s company is used by top competitive shooters and military marksmen. The second member of the Brain Trust is Emil Praslick III. Former Coach of the USAMU rifle team, Emil is considered to be one of the best wind-readers on the planet. Finally, we showcase a father and son team from New Zealand, Alex and Matt Finlay, developers of the Annealing Made Perfect (AMP) electrical induction annealing system.

Bryan Litz of Applied Ballistics LLC.

This interview with Bryan Litz is a “must-watch” for any serious long-range shooter. Bryan, founder of Applied Ballistics LLC., explains many important ballistics concepts. In addition Bryan discusses bullet design qualities that can reduce drag, increase BC, and improve bullet-to-bullet consistency.

Emil Praslick (U.S. Army Ret.) of Capstone Precision Group

Emil Praslick III, former coach of USAMU and USA Long Range teams, has been hailed as a “wind guru” — a master of wind reading. Emil now works for Capstone Precision Group, Parent of Berger Bullets, Lapua, Vihtavuori, and SK. In this wide-ranging interview, Emil talks about wind-reading strategies, modern bullet designs, and ballistics challenges in Long Range shooting.

Alex and Matt Finlay of Annealing Made Perfect (AMP)

Father Alex and son Matt Finlay have brought break-through technology to the world of precision hand-loading. Their innovative AMP annealing machines are true “game-changers” that extend useful case life and improve loading consistency. The computer-controlled AMP MK 2 annealing system is the most advanced and precise annealer available for the general consumer.

Comment from Interviewer Gavin Gear
It’s an absolute privilege to have access to the “best in the business”. I have so much respect for these innovators: Bryan Litz and Applied Ballistics, Emil Praslick: King of 2 Mile winning team member (2017), and the Annealing Made Perfect team (Alex and Matt). In each case, there’s very interesting innovation happening, and I’ve applied much of what I’ve learned from these people into my daily work on UltimateReloader.com.

Credit: In top photo, brain graphic Designed by Yo_Han / Freepik.

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January 10th, 2020

Getting the Most Out of Your Progressive Press — PowerUser Tips

Ultimate Reloader Progressive Press Hornady
Blue, Red, Green — There are many Progressive Press options on the market…

When you need ammo fast — lots of ammo, it’s hard to beat a progressive reloading press for output. We use progressive presses to load handgun ammo and .223 Rem cartridges for varmint safaris. With good dies, and proper press set-up, today’s progressive presses can produce surprisingly uniform and accurate ammo. No, you won’t see Benchrest Hall-of-Famers loading PPC cartridges on progressives. However, if you need 1000 rounds for your next prairie dog adventure, you should consider getting a progressive. Below you can see a Hornady Lock-N-Load AP configured to load .308 Winchester in bulk.

Hornady .308 winchester lock-n-load progressive press

CLICK HERE to Read Full Article

ultimate reloader progressive

UltimateReloader.com has published helpful Tips to Optimize Progressive Rifle Loading. No matter whether you have a Red (Hornady), Green (RCBS), or Blue (Dillon) progressive, this article can help you load more efficiently and produce better results. Here are some highlights:

Proper Brass Prep
Just like a good paint job requires good prep work, great rifle ammo requires good brass prep. In order to make sure your rifle loading goes smoothly, make sure to perform the following brass prep steps:

  • Clean the brass (tumble, ultrasonic, etc.)
  • Inspect brass for cracks, deep dents, etc.
  • For military brass: de-prime, ream/swage primer pockets, size with small-base sizer die (small base usually optional).
  • Measure brass length — if too long, size and then trim.
  • Final inspection before loading.
  • Cleaning primer pockets may be something you’ll consider (I don’t clean primer pockets except for rare cases or match ammo).

Smooth and Steady Pace
Since you’re loading rifle ammunition on a progressive, you’re already saving a load of time, so there’s no need to rush things! Attention to detail is super-important for safety and for good results. Always keep an eye on powder level (goes down FAST) and what’s happening at each station.

The Right Press and Press Setup
Look for a heavy-duty, well-built press that will stand up to rifle loading. You’ll also want to make sure your powder measure will have the proper capacity (~25 grains for .223, ~50 grains for 308). If you are bulk reloading, ensure you have enough stations for sizing, charging, powder check, bullet feed, bullet seating, and (optional) bullet crimp. Compare the powder measuring systems, and give careful consideration to the priming process. You want case priming to be 100% reliable. This video reviews the differences between the Dillon XL-650 and the new XL-750 Progressive presses.

More Ultimate Reloader Resources for Users of Progressive Presses:

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January 1st, 2020

2020 Gun Video Fest — Eight Great Videos for a New Decade

AccurateShooter video 2020 gun youtube Erik Cortina Borden PRS Mike Bryant
Image courtesy Nightforce Optics.

It’s 2020! Welcome the new year and a new decade. We know many of our readers will be spending the winter day indoors. If you need a break from the bowl games on TV, here are eight interesting and informative videos that are worth watching. The subject matter runs the gamut from benchrest gunsmithing to long-range varmint silhouette competition. There are also reviews of some of the best precision rifle options for PRS and NRL22 disciplines. Enjoy our New Year 2020 Video Fest.

1. UltimateReloader — 14 Reloading Presses Compared

Epic Reloading Hardware Test — 14 Single-Stage Presses. In this remarkable video, Gavin Gear of UltimateReloader.com reviews fourteen (14) single-stage reloading presses. This is the most comprehensive reloading press comparison test ever done by anyone, anywhere. The presses range from compact units to large-frame exotics from Europe. If you are in the market for a single-stage press in 2020 this is a MUST-watch video. Brands include Forster, Hornady, Lyman, MEC, RCBS, Redding, Turban (Prazipress).

2. Precision Riflesmith — Profile of Benchrest Smith Mike Bryant

Texas gunsmith Mike Bryant is a talented benchrest shooter and a highly respected builder of competition and hunting rifles. In this wide-ranging interview, Mike talks about benchrest competition, the key factors that contribute to rifle accuracy, and about his career as a gunsmith.

3. Erik Cortina — Mag-Feed Testing Borden Action with 6BR


Click the Speaker Icon (lower right) to HEAR AUDIO

Our friend Erik Cortina has built a new PRS/NRL rifle based on the new Borden Super Short 6 Action. This video show Erik’s first mag-feeding test with ten 6BR loaded rounds. You’ll see there is NO problem speed-feeding the short 6BR case. Erik tells us: “I removed the firing pin from bolt for safety. The magazine has not been modified in any way. I would say there is no need to do anything to it, she’s ready to run!” Impressive indeed.

4. Shooting USA — Texas Varmint Benchrest Match

Varmint Benchrest silhouette TexasThis episode of Shooting USA TV features long-range varmint silhouette competition in Texas. This discipline combine the pure accuracy of benchrest competition with the fun of knocking down critter targets. These are smaller than standard silhouettes, so it’s quite a challenge to hit them at 300 yards and beyond.

In this episode, host John Scoutten competes with his 6.5 Creedmoor PRS rifle. Most shooters use benchrest-grade rifles with premium front rests. NOTE: This video shows some top-flight benchrest rifles, and also covers the origins of benchrest varmint silhouette in Pennsylvania. There are even some AccurateShooter Forum members on screen.

5. Vickers Tactical — .308 Win Bolt Gun Vs. .308 Win Gas Gun

This interesting video from Vickers tactical compares and contrasts two tactical style rifles both chambered for the .308 Winchester. The test team compares functionality, accuracy, ergonomics, and versatility. Each platform has its advantages, as the video reveals.

6. Outdoor Life — The Best New Affordable Precision Rifles

This video showcases three modern tactical-style rifles suitable for the PRS Production (Factory) Class which is limited to $2000 for rifle alone, not counting optics (Rule 2.3.1). Outdoor Life Shooting Editor John Snow puts three capable rifles through their paces: Patriot Valley Arms John Hancock, BadRock Precision SouthFork, and Seekins Precision Havoc Bravo.

7. Aerial View of Deep Creek Shooting Range in Montana

The Deep Creek Range near Missoula, Montana, is one of the best 1000-yard ranges in the country. Many long-range benchrest records have been set in this scenic, tree-lined facility. Now, thanks to Forum member David Gosnell (aka “Zilla”), you can see Deep Creek from the air. David flew a camera drone over the Deep Creek Range, soaring from firing line to the target bay and back again. This video gives you a “birds-eye view” of one of America’s elite ranges.

8. Nat’l Rifle League — Intro to NRL22 Rimfire Tactical Matches

NRL22 is a great way to get into competition shooting with minimal expense. There are Five (5) classes: Open, Base, Ladies, Young Guns (8-16), and Air Rifle. Base Class is for the budget-minded shooter — the combined MSRP of Rifle and Optic may not exceed $1050.00 (so you could spend $550 on a rifle and $500 on a scope for example). That keeps the sport affordable. Open, Youth, and Ladies Classes have no price limits on Rifle and Optic. Visit NRL22.org to find an NRL22 match near you.

NRL22 rimfire tactical steel targets KYL JC Steel hangers

Permalink Competition, Gear Review, Gunsmithing, New Product, Reloading, Tactical 1 Comment »
December 29th, 2019

How to Clean Cartridge Brass with Ultrasonic Cleaning Machines

Ultrasonic Cleaning RCBS Ultrasound .308 Winchester 7.62x51 brass casings

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

READ FULL UltimateReloader.com Article on Ultrasonic Case Cleaning.

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

UltimateReloader.com Case Cleaning Video (7.5 minutes):

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

Ultra Dry Necks After Ultrasonic Cleaning — Some Suggestions

The Ultrasonic cleaning process gets cartridge brass so “squeaky clean” that increased force may be required to seat your bullets, or they may “grab” as they go in the necks. To reduce bullet-seating effort, you may benefit from adding a little dry case lube inside the case-neck before loading (use a nylon brush). Another trick is adding a teaspoon of Ballistol lube to the cleaning solution. That provides a trace lubricant inside the necks, but does not interfere with powder ignition in any way.


The latest Gen2 RCBS ultrasonic cleaning machine has a large 6.3-quart capacity. That’s nearly 100 percent larger than the first generation machine in Gavin’s video. The Gen2 machine, $322.02 on Amazon, features a second ceramic heater and transducer to better clean brass cases and firearm parts. The LED is easily programmable, and the timer can be set for up to 30 minutes of cleaning. The original 3.2 quart capacity RCBS ultrasonic machine, as shown in Gavin’s video, is still available for $166.56 at Midsouth Shooters.

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December 10th, 2019

Ultimate Reloader Reviews Hawkeye Borescope Systems

Gavin Gear Ultimate Reloader Hawkeye borescope video capture slide

Gavin Gear of UltimateReloader.com recently tested Hawkeye Borescopes from Gradient Lens Corp., along with the impressive Hawkeye Video Slide System. Gavin observed: “When it comes to gunsmithing, gun inspection, and gun maintenance, a borescope can tell you things that nothing else can. And that’s why a borescope is an invaluable tool for gunsmiths, competition shooters, and gun enthusiasts.”

UltimateReloader.com MUST WATCH Video — See What Hawkeye Borescope Reveals:

READ Hawkeye Borescope Review on UltimateReloader.com »

A good borescope reveals the reality inside your barrel(s). There’s no more guesswork. All the issues associated with barrel will be revealed — carbon build-up, copper fouling, fire-cracking and more. Within a few seconds you can judge the state of your bore, and diagnose problems such as copper fouling and fire-cracking. Check out these two images. On the left is a brand new hand-lapped barrel. On the right is a barrel with heavy fire-cracking.

Gavin Gear Ultimate Reloader Hawkeye borescope video capture slide

Gavin Gear Ultimate Reloader Hawkeye borescope video capture slideGavin tested both 7″ and 17″ versions of the Hawkeye Borescope. He tested straight versions, and both long and short borescopes with a 90° eyepiece. For most tasks we prefer the 90° eyepiece. In addition to these systems, Gavin tested the the Hawkeye Video Slide and video image acquisition system, shown below.

The features are: 1. Video Slide support system; 2. Pistol barrel being inspected; 3. Borescope with quick-coupler equipped Sony camera; 4. Windows 10 PC Laptop running Hawkeye App with VIDEO Feed; 5. LED illumination for borescope.

Gavin Gear Ultimate Reloader Hawkeye borescope video capture slide

“The Hawkeye Video Slide and video image acquisition system are not intended for consumers. They are primarily used by laboratories, gun OEMs, and other commercial customers,” Gavin notes. He used the Video Slide to provide the “next best thing” to viewing through the Hawkeye itself.



What You Can See with a Hawkeye Borescope

This Gradient Lens video shows how to correctly borescope your barrel:

Hawkeye borescope POV lensA precision optical borescope is a pricey tool, but it performs critical tasks for gun-owners, and a Hawkeye’s rigid optic tube offers some important advantages over a cheap endoscope on a flexible cord. To learn how a Hawkeye borescope can help you diagnose barrel issues, you should read a Rifle Shooter magazine feature story, What the Eye Can See.

In this article, writer Terry Wieland shows how to inspect for defects in new barrels, how to recognize different kinds of fouling (in both barrels and brass), and how to spot throat erosion in its early stages. Terry uses a Gradient Lens HawkEye BoreScope. The current generation of HawkEyes can be attached to a still or video camera to record digital images. The most interesting part of the article is on the second page. There, author Wieland provides photos of various types of internal flaws that can appear in barrels. This will help you spot pitting, excessive land wear, rust damage, and damage from corrosive primers.

Wieland notes that BoreScopes aren’t just for barrels: “The borescope has other uses as well. It can be used to examine the interior of a cartridge case to look for the beginnings of a case separation or to examine the interior of a loading die that is giving you trouble. When you consider the number of tubular objects that play such an important role in rifle shooting, it is a wonder we were ever able to function without such a method of studying bores.”

Hawkeye borescope POV lens

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November 30th, 2019

Ultimate Reloader Achieves 100,000 Video Subscriber Milestone

Ultimate Reloader gavintoob video 100000 subscribers

Many of the best videos on reloading products and methods have been produced by Gavin Gear of UltimateReloader.com. Over the last 12 years, Gavin has released 465 videos showcasing reloading products, gunsmithing techniques, and gun testing. Thanks to Gavin’s movie-making skills and hard work, his GavinToobe YouTube Channel recently achieved the 100,000 subscriber milestone. Over the years Gavin’s videos have received over 17.7 million views. Gavin’s videos have benefited shooting enthusiasts and hand-loaders around the globe, and we congratulate Gavin and UltimateReloader.com!

Access ALL UltimateReloader.com GavinToobe Videos HERE »

Gavin posted: “Twelve years ago I started my YouTube channel. Shortly thereafter I started publishing ammunition, reloading and shooting sports content. In 2017 I quit Microsoft to work on Ultimate Reloader full time, and on 11/26/2019 I surpassed the 100,000 subscriber mark. WOW, it’s been sooooo much work, but sooooo much fun. Special thanks to my family for putting up with all of the times I’ve worked on this project ‘after hours’. I feel totally blessed. Very much appreciate my community, and also Jonathan Patton for helping me to understand online communities better. I also really appreciate Hornady for their help in getting me started (my first partner). Neil Davies — that’s you. Thanks everyone!”

To mark this major milestone, we’re featuring five of Gavin’s popular videos. The first is his 2019 Black Friday video covering bargains from Midsouth, Starline, KMS Squared, and Inline Fabrication.

Black Friday 2019 Special Bargains

Epic Reloading Hardware Test — 14 Single-Stage Presses
In this remarkable video, Gavin review fourteen (14) single-stage reloading presses. This is the most comprehensive reloading press comparison test ever done by anyone:

Most Popular Video — .223 Rem vs. 5.56×45
This is Gavin’s #1 Video of all time. His .223 Rem vs. 5.56×45 video has been viewed over 1.9 million times. It provides key facts about the similarities (and a few differences) between the .223 Remington cartridge and the 5.56x45mm NATO round.

1000 Yards with .224 Valkyrie
With 50,000+ views, this is one of Gavin’s most popular field shooting videos. Shooting on his scenic “home range” in the Washington mountains, Gavin developed a tack-driving load using Berger 80.5 gr bullets. See 100-yard results and Gavin’s remarkable first-round hit on steel at 1000 yards!

Buck Fever — Right in the Back Yard!
In this video, Gavin uses his new 300 PRC rifle to bag an impressive buck just 100 yards from his shop. For those of you who have hiked miles on a hunt, only to return home empty-handed, this will seem amazing. And yes, Gavin’s 300 PRC cartridge dropped the animal like a stone.

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October 20th, 2019

Sunday Gunday: AR-Platform Rifles for PRS Gas Gun Series

AR15 AR-15 Gas Gun Series

ARs in PRS? Yes PRS has a “Gas Gun” division. And frankly, shooting a PRS match is one of the most fun and challenging things you can do with your Black Rifle (Beto O’Rourke notwithstanding). Since the early days of the PRS, Gas Gun shooters have wanted to play. Recognizing the interest among semi-auto shooters, the PRS now offers a Gas Gun Series for semi-auto rifles such as AR15s and AR10s. The Gas Gun Series started in 2017, and has quickly become quite popular.

Sean Murphy Gas Gun
Photo Credit Michael Cage.

Gas Guns to 800 yards — Yes there are targets down there somewhere.
PRS Gas Gun Nightforce Optics CORE Florida AR15 AR Jeff Cramblit Facebook photo

PRS Gas Gun Series Rules

For the new PRS “Gasser” Competition, the PRS developed rules on gun types, scoring, match timing, penalties, safety and other key topics. CLICK HERE for Full PRS Gas Gun Series Rules.

Open Division: Open Division rifles will not exceed a caliber of .30 or a velocity of 3,200fps. A match DQ will result any rounds over the speed limit of 3,200 fps (+/- 32 fps for environmental factors and equipment discrepancies). Match Officials may request at any point during a match that a competitor fire their rifle through chronograph. If the bullet exceeds the 3,200 fps speed limit, the shooter will receive an automatic match DQ. [“For Ammo in Open Class, 6mm and 6.5mm Creedmoor are popular.” — John Parker, SSUSA]

Tactical Division: Tactical Division: Intended to allow competitors the opportunity tocompete using traditional military and law enforcement caliber. This promotesActive Duty military and law enforcement competitors use of their Service and Department issued rifles. Tactical Light Division rifles are restricted to 5.56 NATO/.223 Remington and 7.62 NATO/.308 Winchester calibers only. .223 Bullet weight cannot exceed 77 grains and muzzle velocity cannot exceed 3,000 fps, .308 bullet weight cannot exceed 178 grains and muzzle velocity cannot exceed 2,800 fps. No modified wildcat rounds permitted to shoot in the Tactical Divisions. Tactical Division shooters will shoot the exact same COF as Open Division shooters. [NOTE: This division now replaces the previous Tactical Light and Tactical Heavy divisions.]

Scoring and Penalties
The Gas Gun Series utilizes a time plus penalty based scoring system for all match scoring. This means your score is your total combined time on all stages plus any penalties you may have accrued.

Stage Course of Fire and Targets
No more than 50% of the stages at a match can utilize an unlimited round count. At least 25% of the targets in Gas Gun Series match must be 2 MOA or smaller. Maximum distance is 800 yards.

The preferred rifle color choice at the first PRS “Gasser” Match was definitely black…
PRS Gas Gun

Gas Gun Match Loads — Short Range vs. Long Range
“The .223/5.56 [Tactical Light] guns had some lag time waiting on shot impacts. I believe the long-term solution may be to find a light and fast load for closer stages for near-instant reaction time and use a heavy load for the long shots to see splash and get the target to move a little more.” — Sean Murphy, Nightforce

Gear Options for PRS Gas Guns
There are many buttstock options for ARs. For the PRS game, we like the Magpul PRS stock. This features a quick-adjustable cheek-piece and butt-plate — allowing you to easily adapt head position and LOP for your discipline of the day. (You may want a different LOP for prone shooting vs. bench shooting). The Magpul stock works well in a rear bag.

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We recommend something like the Blackhawk grip which is more comfortable than the typical grips supplied by most black rifle makers. Up front, you’ll want a handguard with adaptability. Shown is a handguard with Picatinny rails on top and on both sides, affording lots of options. We might move one of the rails to the bottom, however, so it could be used for a bipod mount.

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PRS with a Gas Gun — Gavin Gear’s Experience

Thinking of trying out the Precision Rifle Series, starting off with a gas gun? Well Gavin Gear of UltimateReloader.com did just that, competing in his first-ever PRS match up in Washington State. With its timed stages (some just 90 seconds long), Gavin learned that PRS is about speed as well as accuracy. As a PRS newbie, Gavin found the competition fun but challenging. Gavin’s account of his experiences, set forth in two articles with accompanying videos, will help other novice PRS competitors prepare for PRS-type matches and assemble the right equipment.

This video has cool Aerial Drone footage, and in-depth explanation of stages:

READ Full Story of Gavin’s First PRS Match »

Gavin enjoyed his first match: “Overall, the match was more fun and more laid back than I thought it would be. The guys in our squad were all really helpful, and even loaned me gear to try out when they noticed my gear wasn’t right for a particular shooting activity. One such case was when Ken Gustafson (of KYL Gear) offered to loan me one of the bags he had made. Below you can see me shooting off the infamous unstable tippy tank trap with a KYL Gear bag, and I’ll have to say [the bag] was amazing. It helped me lock down my rifle and get on target. What a great feeling!”

Permalink - Articles, Competition, Gear Review, Tactical 1 Comment »
October 7th, 2019

AutoTrickler V3 Updates — Report by UltimateReloader

UltimateReloader Gavin Gear Powder dispenser Autotrickler v3 update report

Gavin Gear of UltimateReloader.com has been testing the AutoTrickler V3, a microprocessor-controlled powder-dispensing system that works with super-precise force restoration scales. Combining an automated powder measure with a motorized trickler, the AutoTrickler can deliver a full powder charge, with single-kernel precision, in a few seconds.

» GO TO AutoTrickler V3 Report on UltimateReloader.com

AutoTrickler inventor Adam MacDonald has developed numerous enhancements to his powder-dispensing system, which will be incorporated into the latest AutoTrickler V3 production version. Gavin Gear reviews all these important new features in a new video released on October 6, 2019. Check it out:

Key Enhancements for AutoTrickler V3 Production Version:

1. Improved, Larger-Capacity Clear Powder Hopper
The new clear plastic powder hopper is much larger than the old Lee red-colored hopper it replaces. That’s good news for folks loading large magnum cartridges.

2. Taller Glass Powder Cup and Improved Diffuser
When the main powder charge comes down from the hopper, it passes through a plastic “diffuser” into a glass cup. Both these products have been enhanced.

3. New Simple V-Shaped Stop for Powder Cup
With the V3, it is easier to center the powder cup on the scale unit. Gavin explains: “Instead of a ramp and ‘landing pad’, the cup stop is now a super-simple angled back stop. If you push the cup back towards the center of the pan, it will guide itself into the centered position every time.”

Here is the original AutoTrickler V3 Video Report from UltimateReloader.com:

Permalink - Videos, Bullets, Brass, Ammo, Reloading No Comments »