Hornady has a handy new product will helps eliminate shadows when you’re working in your reloading area. Hornady’s Lock-N-Load LED light strip places light right where you need it. This is especially useful when using a progressive press. With progressives, you need to watch multiple cartridges in various stages of loading. Good lighting helps you ensure cases aren’t split, powder levels are correct, and bullets are seated straight.
Designed to be affixed to your press, the light strip mounts six (6) long-lasting LED lights in a line. The low-profile light strip has an adhesive backer for easy attachment. Just “peel and stick” to attach the LED strip directly to your press. Watch the video below to see how it’s done.
While Hornady’s light strip was made to be attached to loading presses, this useful device can be affixed anywhere you need extra light on your loading bench or work areas. The strip plugs into any 110 volt outlet, so you never have to replace batteries. The LED strip retails for about $15.00. CLICK HERE for more details.
Product Tip from Boyd Allen. We welcome reader submissions
Hornady has received an inaugural Gold Predator Xtreme Readers’ Choice Award for its Superformance® Varmint™ 17 Hornet Rifle Ammunition. The 17 Hornet is currently available in 15.5gr NTX® and 20gr V-MAX™ offerings.
Hornady’s 17 Hornet employs Hornady Superformance® propellant technology. Hornady claims that, in the 17 Hornet, its Superformance powders can deliver 100 to 200 fps more velocity than other commercially-available propellants. As a result, Hornady’s Superformance® Varmint™ ammunition shoots flatter, drifts less in the wind, and retains more energy out to a practical range of 300 yards. And many varminters have praised Hornady’s low-recoil 17 Hornet, saying this new cartridge is economical, accurate, and fun to shoot. 17 Hornet ballistics are far superior to the 17 HMR, as you can see:
Hornady’s 17 Hornet was derived from the 22 Hornet parent case. Claimed velocity with 20-grainers is 3650 fps — an impressive number considering the 17 Hornet uses about half the powder of the 17 Remington. The 17 Hornet is based on the rimmed .22 Hornet case. However, the case is not just necked-down from .22 caliber. The case designers reduced body taper, moved the shoulder, and changed the shoulder angle to 25°. This effectively modernizes the old .22 Hornet case, improving efficiency while retaining the max OAL, so that the 17 Hornet can work in any action big enough for the .22 Hornet.
Predator Xtreme Readers’ Choice Award
The Predator Xtreme Readers’ Choice Awards, sponsored by Predator Xtreme magazine, honors the best new products for varminters and predator hunters. A Gold award is the highest honor bestowed in a number of shooting categories. Products are chosen for award recognition based on surveys of magazine readers, so this is truly an “people’s award”.
We often get questions about the 6.5 Creedmoor Cartridge — folks ask where they can find good resources for this cartridge, which is popular with Across-The-Course, High Power, and tactical shooters. We did some searching and found that the August 2011 digital edition of Shooting Sports USA has a good article for all fans of the 6.5 Creemoor.
Development of the 6.5 Creedmoor Cartridge
In the August 2011 Edition of Shooting Sports USA you’ll find a lengthy feature on the 6.5 Creedmoor cartridge. This story covers the origin of the cartridge and its performance both as a match cartridge and as a hunting round. Hornady Chief Ballistician Dave Emary explained: “the original intent of the cartridge was as an across-the-course match cartridge. We envisioned it as an off-the-shelf round that would produced the accuracy and ballistics to compete in all match disciplines right out of the box. At the same time we realized that the same characteristics would make an exceptional hunting cartridge with the right bullets.”
6.5 Creedmoor Brass No Longer Washed After Annealing
Here’s an interesting update on Hornady 6.5 Creedmoor brass and loaded ammo. In a move to improve case quality and neck uniformity, Hornady recently changed the 6.5 Creedmoor production process, eliminating the case-washing step after annealing. So now you will see annealing coloration on 6.5 Creedmoor brass, just like on Lapua brass. Dennis DeMille of Creedmoor Sports wanted to improve the consistency/uniformity of 6.5 Creedmoor case-necks. At Dennis’ suggestion, Hornady conducted tests which showed that the “standard industry practice” of washing brass could potentially alter the necks in undesirable ways. Bottom line, unwashed annealed brass was determined to have an accuracy edge over washed brass. Looking at these results, Hornady decided to forgo the post-anneal washing process. As a result, the latest 6.5 Creedmoor brass now displays the distinctive coloration left by neck/shoulder annealing. Learn something new every day, eh?
If 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.
At its 100,000+ square foot factory in Grand Island, Nebraska, Hornady produces millions of rounds of ammunition annually. The Grand Island factory is open for tours Monday through Thursday. Hornady Manufacturing, which now boasts over 300 employees, was founded by Joyce Hornady in 1949. The business is currently run by his son Steve Hornady who took over after his father’s death in a plane crash in 1981.
We have all been there…..you place a piece of tumbled brass in the shell-holder of your press, raise it into the die, and suddenly it is like somebody hit the brakes. The case is stuck in the die. Your first instinct is to reverse it out. You crank on the handle, and BANG! The rim rips off the case head and you are looking at a piece of brass stuck in the die.
A stuck case is one of the boo-boos that all of us reloaders have faced from time to time. If proper lubrication is applied, then it should not be a problem. No matter if you are a seasoned reloader or new to it, this situation can happen. Take your time, use the proper procedures, and you will be back in business in no time! This article explains how to avoid stuck cases (through proper lubrication) and how to use a stuck case removal system.
What Causes Stuck Cases
One of the first common mistakes reloaders face is the stuck case. It can be caused by too much or too little lube. Too much and a vacuum can be formed causing the case to become suctioned into the die. Too little lube and friction is the culprit. So what is the cure? There is no exact cure, but the best lube that we have found so far is just a dab of Imperial Sizing Die Wax on your fingers and applied in a thin coat on the body of the case, not the shoulder or neck. Too much of this wax can cause the vacuum effect, or can eventually load your die up with gobs of residue. If it is applied to the shoulder area, or the leftover wax moves up into the shoulder region of the die, you will see dents or dimples in the shoulder. [AccurateShooter.com Editor's Note: For normal full-length sizing of small cases such as 220 Russian/PPC, 6mmBR, 6.5 Grendel, or 6.5x47 Lapua we recommend Ballistol (aerosol) lube. It is very slippery, goes on very thin, and does not gum up the die.]
A great way to ensure that your dies are clean is to use a simple chamber mop with a dab of your favorite solvent on it and clean out the die. Be sure all of the solvent is out after cleaning by spraying the die out with Quickscrub III or use a clean chamber mop. If you are storing your dies, you can apply a thin coat of a good oil to protect the steel such as TM oil or Starrett M1 Spray.
Using a Stuck Case Removal Kit
If you do stick a case in your die there are a few good stuck case removal kits available. Each one works in a similar fashion. I have found the Hornady kit very effective and easy to use.
Basically what you do is remove the die from the press. Unscrew the decapping assembly and pull it out as far as you can. You then need to drill/tap threads into the stuck case head (this is why it is suggested to unscrew the decapping assembly as far as you can to get it clear of the drill bits). Once this is done screw the die back into the press. You then install the included shellholder attachment on the shellholder ram, and thread it into the case via a small wrench. With some elbow grease you can reverse the stuck case out of the die with the leverage of the press, and not damage the die.
However if the case is stuck….REALLY stuck, you may pull out the threads on the case and you are still left with a stuck case in the die without any way to pull it out. If the case is really difficult to remove even with the use of a stuck case removal kit, do not try to be Hercules with the press ram. Here is a trick that may work. Take the die with the stuck case and place it in your freezer for a couple of hours. Then repeat the removal with the cold die. The freezing temperatures may cause the brass to contract, and make removal easier. If this does not work it is recommended to send it to the die manufacturer. They will be able to remove the case without damaging the die.
Another fix if you can remove the decapping assembly completely is to use a tap hammer and a punch or small wooden dowel to knock the stuck case out. This isn’t the best way since it is very possible that you will damage the die internally or externally on the threads, or both. Send the die to the manufacturer to have this done properly. You will be happier in the long run.
Dennis DeMille of Creedmoor Sports sent us a reminder that the Eastern CMP Games and Creedmoor Cup is coming up in just three weeks. The event runs May 4-12 at Camp Butner in North Carolina. If you want to join the action you should register soon. This event is limited to 200 shooters. Last year’s Eastern Games and Cup were a great success so a big turn-out is expected this year.
Ammo, Brass, and Bullets Available
In related news, Creedmoor Sports announced that limited quantities of Hornady bullets, brass, and ammo, as well as Sierra bullets, that are currently in stock. If you need ammo or components, this may help you. Here is a partial list of the products in inventory as of yesterday.
H2420 Hornady 6mm .243 75gr HP Bullet –19 Boxes In Stock
H3095 Hornady Match 30 Cal (.308 Diameter) 195gr BTHP Bullet– 15 Boxes in Stock
H8097 Hornady .308 Win 168gr BTHP Match Ammo — 26 Boxes In Stock
H8620 Hornady .243 Win Brass — 13 Boxes In Stock
H81170case Hornady .30-06 Garand Ammo, 168gr Amax, CASE Lot (200 rds)
S1740C Sierra 140 gr. HPBT Match Bullets — 3 Boxes In Stock
S2190 Sierra .30 Cal. 150 gr. HPBT Match Bullets (500 ct) — 15 Boxes In Stock
Fire-forming improved cases can be time-consuming and expensive. Now with just a mallet, a Hornady hydro-forming die kit, and a little H20, you can form Dasher and other improved cartridge cases easily and safely. And you won’t consume costly bullets, powder, and primers, or use up precious barrel life.
Three or Four Whacks Produces a 95%-Formed Case
With a Hornady hydro-forming die, water pressure does the job of blowing out the shoulders of your improved case. The process is relatively simple. Place a spent primer in the bottom of a new piece of brass. Fill the case with water, and then slip it into a special Hornady shell-holder with no hole in the middle. Then you run the case up into the forming die. Now comes the fun part. You gently insert a plunger (hydraulic ram) from the top, and give it three or four stiff whacks with a mallet (or better yet, a dead-blow hammer). Remove the plunger and you have a 95% formed case, ready to load.
Forum member Walter Queen (aka Queen_Stick) acquired a Hornady Hydraulic forming die kit through our Forum Classifieds. He used this to form 6mm Dasher cases. Walter tested to see how many mallet blows would be required to form his dasher cases. Using a regular mallet, four or five blows was the magic number (with a Dead-blow hammer, one can often do the job with three strong whacks). Shown below are test cases with 1, 2, 3, 4, 5 and 10 (X) mallet strikes. Walter explained: “It helps to use a consistent yet aggressive swing with the mallet. I did a little test to show what’s happening to the case with each swing. The numbers on the cases refer to the number of swings with the mallet. The last case, with the ‘X’ on it, I actually hit it 10 times. The extra effort made no difference; anything beyond 5 swings is likely a waste of time!”
What’s the “happy face” case with the split shoulder? Well, as a test, Walter tried one older, work-hardened piece of brass. This split its shoulder on the third strike. Walter concluded: “You MUST have new brass, or freshly annealed brass. The ‘smiley case’ shows a split neck. For that case, on the third swing of the mallet the piston slammed down into the die and bottomed out [and] the water shot out of the split in the neck.”
Read More on RiflemansJournal.com
You can learn more about the hydro-forming process in a detailed article on German Salazar’s Rifleman’s Journal website. There, you’ll find more photos, and Walter provides helpful tips on how to hydro-form cases most efficiently (and with the least spilled H20). One tip is to “fill the cases with a syringe of some sort.”
Hornady supplies a shell holder made specifically for the hydro die; there’s no hole in the bottom of it. Just insert a spent primer into the primer pocket and you’re ready to go. The spent primer combined with the solid shell holder, keeps the water from seeping out of the primer pocket. The primer pushes out a little bit during this process, but it’s impossible for it to come out because of the way the shell holder is designed. The shell holder has a grove which allows the case to slide out of the shell holder even when the primer protrudes a bit.
How to Order Hydro-Forming Die Kits
Hydro-forming die kits, which include forming die, plunger, and special shell-holder can be ordered through the Hornady Custom Shop. Hornady can create a forming die kit for most popular cartridges, if you provide a die print or some full-formed sample cases. To order, contact Ben Syring at Hornady: 800-338-3220 (ext. 261) or bsyring [at] hornady.com. If you have an oddball wildcat, send Ben the specs for your chamber and three (3) pieces of fire-formed brass.
In order to dispel some rumors and misinformation, Hornady has issued a notice concerning Hornady product availability and production priorities. Hornady has been working hard to fill increased demand, and wants to set the facts straight. Here’s what Hornady has to say…
Hornady Product Availability
The current political climate has caused extremely high demand on all shooting industry products, including ours. Empty retail shelves, long back-orders, and exaggerated price increases on online auction sites – all fueled by rumors and conjecture – have amplified concerns about the availability of ammunition and firearms-related items.
If the information you hear doesn’t originate from Hornady Manufacturing, don’t believe it.
Here are some of rumors we’ve heard, and questions we’ve received:
Q: Have you stopped production, or has the government forced you to stop?
Hornady: Not at all.
Q: Did you stop selling bullets so you could only make loaded ammunition?
Hornady: Absolutely not.
Q: Since we can’t find your product you must be selling it all to the government.
Hornady: Nope, less than 5% of our sales are to government entities.
Q: Why can’t you make more? Ramp up production? Turn on all the machines?
Hornady: We’ve been steadily growing our production for a long time, especially the last five years. We’ve added presses, lathes, CNC equipment, people and space. Many popular items are produced 24 hours a day. Several hundred Hornady employees work overtime every week to produce as much as safely possible. If there is any question about that — please take a tour of the factory. You’ll be amazed at what you see.
Bottom Line — We are producing as much as we can; much more than last year, which was a lot more than the year before, etc. No one wants to ship more during this time than we do.
We appreciate everyone’s understanding and patience. We don’t know when the situation will improve, so please bear with us a little longer. And remember, when it comes to Hornady Manufacturing, if you don’t hear it from us, please don’t believe it.
Vintage Military Rifle Matches
Across the country, vintage military rifle matches are growing in popularity. It’s easy to understand why — the matches are fun, the rifles are affordable, and the rules discourage the use of expensive aftermarket sights and fancy triggers. It comes down to good marksmanship… and good ammo.
To help competitors in the Vintage military rifle game, Hornady has devleoped a line of Vintage Match ammunition. Currently available in four cartridge types, Vintage Match ammunition replicates the original military performance specifications of older military rifles. To function safely and reliably in older guns, this Vintage Match ammo is loaded to pressures well below CIP max.
Hornady Vintage Match ammunition was developed for shooters involved in the increasingly popular CMP Vintage Rifle and Vintage Sniper Matches. This “Vintage Match” product offers an off-the-shelf, match-grade alternative to surplus or hand-loaded ammunition. The four varieties of Vintage Match ammo are: 6.5×55 Swede, .303 British (Enfield), 7.62x54R (Moisin Nagant), and 8×57 IS/JS (Mauser)*.
Hornady offers a handy power case prep tool driver (item 050160) with three power stations. Hornady basically took its previous single-drive Power Case Prep Assistant (item 050155) and added gearing to run three different heads. It took some clever engineering to accomplish this while maintaining the small footprint of the original one-head machine. MSRP for the new Case Prep Trio (item 050160) is $129.39. If you can live with a single power take-off, the older one-head Case Prep Assistant is still offered on “close-out” at some vendors. If you look around you may find one for as little as $79.99.
Hornady calls its updated machine, with 3-tool capacity, the Lock-N-Load® Case Prep Trio. 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. Conveniently, the Case Prep Trio has on-board storage for your tool-heads.
Story tip by EdLongrange. We welcome reader submissions.
If you load pistol or rifle ammo with a progressive press, we strongly recommend you get a Lock-Out Die from RCBS. This unique reloading die will prevent your progressive press from advancing if the dispensed powder charge is more or less than about 0.3 grains too high or too low. The Lock-Out Die really works. Your Editor uses it on his RCBS 2000 progressive press. I can affirm that a Lock-Out Die has “saved my bacon” a half-dozen times over the years when there was an over-charge (which could cause a Kaboom) or a low charge (which could cause a squib load).
The Lock-Out Die works by using a central die detection rod that sets its vertical position based on the height of the powder column in the case. Through an ingenious design, if the powder column height is too low or too high, the rod locks in place as you start to pull the press handle. This halts the press before the ram can lift and the cartridge plate can advance. Unlike a beeping alarm system (which can be ignored or defeated), the Lock-Out Die physically stops the movement of the press ram and prevents a bullet being seated in the “problem” case.
It takes a bit of tweaking to get the Lock-Out Die detection rod setting just right, but once it is correctly positioned, the Lock-Out Die works smoothly in the background. The Lock-Out Die won’t interfere with the loading process unless it detects a high or low charge — and then it positively stops the progressive loading cycle.
While crafted for use in RCBS progressive presses, the RCBS Lock-Out Die can also be used on a Dillon XL Progressive (see video below) or Hornady Lock-N-Load progressive — though it does take up one station which could otherwise be used for a final crimp die (after the seating die). The RCBS 2000 has one more station than a Dillon 550/650, so it’s an ideal platform for using the Lock-Out Die.
Learn More at UltimateReloader.com
On the UltimateReloader.com website, run by our friend Gavin, you’ll find an excellent two-part series on the function and set-up of the RCBS Lock-Out Die. Part One explains how the Lock-Out Die functions, using cut-away illustrations. Part Two shows how to install and adjust the Lock-Out Die on various progressive presses. The video below shows setup of the RCBS Lock-Out Die on the Dillon XL-650 progressive press.
While the 6.5 Creedmoor cartridge was devised primarily for High Power and Across the Course shooters, it has also found favor with tactical shooters looking for a highly accurate round that feeds well from a magazine, but offers significantly less recoil than a .308 Winchester. In fact, the 6.5 Creedmoor has become so popular that some vendors we checked were sold out of both brass and loaded ammo. (Don’t worry though — Creedmoor Sports has both 6.5 Creedmoor brass and loaded ammo in stock.)
6.5 Creedmoor vs. 6.5×47 Lapua — Cost Factor
The 6.5×47 Lapua and 6.5 Creedmoor offer very similar ballistics with 120gr and 140gr bullets. However, 6.5 Creedmoor brass AND loaded ammo are cheaper. That’s a big plus in the tactical game. At tactical competitions, there are “move and shoot” stages where you need to shoot quickly and then move to another position. It’s very difficult to recover all your brass. Losing a piece of 6.5×47 brass (at $1 dollar a pop) is painful. The Hornady brass is $34.49 per 50 (69 cents each) at Sinclair Int’l or $34.95 per 50 (70 cents each) at Creedmoor Sports.
Hornady’s 6.5 Creedmoor loaded ammunition is also much less expensive than the loaded 6.5×47 Lapua rounds. For shooters that don’t have the time (or skills) to reload, the 6.5 Creedmoor (at $25.95 per 20-rd box) makes more financial sense. Grafs.com currently sells loaded 123gr 6.5×47 Lapua ammo for $52.79 per 20 rounds.
On the other hand, the Lapua brass is tougher. Forum member Mudcat observes: “[As to] the Hornady brass, while it’s good, it ain’t no Lapua, so don’t try to run hot loads cause all you are going to do is blow out the primer pockets. Keep your loads reasonable and you will get over 20 loads out of em. I have some I have loaded well over 20 times during testing…they grow like a mother though, as they are a lot softer than Win or Lapua, which is why the pockets will go. However the necks haven’t been splitting.”
Barrel Life Looks Promising
Barrel life appears to be pretty good with the 6.5 Creedmoor. Barrels will last significantly longer than with a typical .243 Win or 6.5-284. Forum Member Mudcat reports: “Based on my throat wear at 600 rounds on my 6.5 Creedmoor barrel, I bet we are looking at 2500 rounds EASY of great accuracy and then probably to at least 3000 where you ain’t going to notice it shooting Cross the Course — you might see something at 600, but nothing worse than a few less Xs. At 600 rounds, I have not had to move my VLD seating depth yet.” Forum member Rob1, who shoots tactical comps with Team Blaster, notes that Hornady puts its load and velocity on every box (see photo below), so it’s easy for reloaders to duplicate the factory ammo. That way you can start with a few boxes of factory fodder, and then load your own.