After purchasing a new set of dies from Forster, Hornady, Redding, or Whidden Gunworks, you’ll want to disassemble the dies, inspect then, and then remove the internal grease and/or waxy coatings placed on the dies by the manufacturer. This short video from Hornady shows how to de-grease and clean dies as they come “out of the box” from the manufacturer. A convenient aerosol spray cleaner is used in the video. You an also use a liquid solvent with soft nylon brush, and cotton patches. NOTE: After cleaning you may want to apply a light grease to the external threads of your dies.
Clean Your Sizing Dies and Body Dies Regularly
These same techniques work for cleaning dies after they have been used for reloading. Many otherwise smart hand-loaders forget to clean the inside of their dies, allowing old case lube, gunk, carbon residue, and other contaminants to build up inside the die. You should clean your dies fairly often, particularly if you do not tumble or ultrasound your cases between loadings. It is most important to keep full-length sizing and body dies clean. These dies accumulate lube and carbon residue quickly.
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What do you get when you cut a 6.5 Creedmoor-chambered barrel down to just over 16 inches? A lot more velocity than you might think. Our friends at Rifleshooter.com recently did a barrel cut-down test with 6.5 Creedmoor test rifle, shortening the barrel from 27 to 16.1 inches in one-inch increments. Surprisingly, with a 142gr Sierra MK, the total velocity loss (as measured with a Magnetospeed) was just 158 FPS, an average of 14.4 FPS per inch of barrel length. With the lighter 120gr A-Max bullet, the total velocity loss was 233 FPS, or 21.8 FPS average loss per inch of barrel.
Five (5) rounds of each type of cartridge were fired at each barrel length and the velocity data was recorded with a MagnetoSpeed V3 barrel-mounted chronograph. The rifle was then cleared and the barrel was cut back one inch at a time from 27″ to just over 16″. NOTE: During this winter test, the air temperature was a very chilly 23° F. One would expect higher velocities across the board had the outside temperature been higher.
The photo below shows how the barrel was cut down, inch-by-inch, using a rotary saw. The barrel was pre-scored at inch intervals. As the main purpose of the test was to measure velocity (not accuracy) the testers did not attempt to create perfect crowns.
6.5 Creedmoor vs. Other Mid-Sized 6.5mm Cartridges
The 6.5 Creedmoor is a very popular cartridge with the tactical and PRS crowd. This mid-size cartridge offers good ballistics, with less recoil than a .308 Winchester. There’s an excellent selection of 6.5mm bullets, and many powder choices for this cartridge. When compared to the very accurate 6.5×47 Lapua cartridge, the 6.5 Creedmoor offers similar performance with less expensive brass. For a tactical shooter who must sometimes leave brass on the ground, brass cost is a factor to consider. Here’s a selection of various 6.5 mm mid-sized cartridges. Left to right are: 6.5 Grendel, 6.5×47 Lapua, 6.5 Creedmoor with 120gr A-Max, 6.5 Creedmoor with 142gr Sierra MK, and .260 Remington.
When asked to compare the 6.5 Creedmoor to the 6.5×47 Lapua, Rifleshooter.com’s editor stated: “If you don’t hand load, or are new to precision rifle shooting, get a 6.5 Creedmoor. If you shoot a lot, reload, have more disposable income, and like more esoteric cartridges, get a 6.5×47 Lapua. I am a big fan of the 6.5×47 Lapua. In my personal experience, the 6.5×47 Lapua seems to be slightly more accurate than the 6.5 Creedmoor. I attribute this to the quality of Lapua brass.”
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Are you feelin’ lucky? Well here’s your chance to win. Over the next twelve days (through December 23, 2016), Powder Valley is giving away a total of $20,000 worth of products from big name suppliers. That’s an average of $1,667 worth of product prizes every day. This is top-of-the-line stuff, including Powder from Accurate, IMR, Ramshot, and Vihtavuori, Bullets from Berger, Berry’s, Hornady, Lapua, and Sierra, Brass from Lapua, Hornady and Nosler, Ammo from Hornady, Nosler, Lapua, and Silver State Armory. Each day there will be a new set of prizes. Today’s prize is a Hornady reloading press.
It’s easy to qualify to win one of the Daily Giveaway prize packages. Simply visit Powder Valley’s Facebook Page, and make a comment on the featured Daily Giveaway Post. You don’t have to fill out any forms, but you must have a Facebook account so you can comment. Each day the folks at Powder Valley will select winners from among the visitors who commented. Today (Dec. 12th) there will be one winner of the Hornady Press. In days ahead there can be multiple daily winners — as many as 20 to 30 per day. NOTE: You can enter multiple times by commenting on multiple days, but sorry, if you win, you are no longer eligible.
Powder Valley Daily Giveaway
The Powder Valley 12 Days of Christmas promotion starts today, December 12th, 2016. To enter, you must visit the Powder Valley Facebook Page. Once there, scroll down to find the Giveaway of the Day. Today’s Giveaway is a Hornady Press. Look for the post shown below. You need to comment on that post to be entered. Winners will be selected by lottery from those who comment. Each successive day through December 23rd, there will be another product giveaway post.
To be entered in this Powder Valley Contest, you need to go to the Powder Valley Facebook Page and post a Facebook Comment for the Daily Prize story. The give-away for today, December 12th, is a Hornady Lock-N-Load AP Press. NOTE: You need to post your comment on Powder Valley’s Facebook Site, NOT HERE. And you need to comment each day to be entered in that particular day’s contest. To have repeat chances to win you need to comment on multiple days. Got it?
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Here’s a really good deal on a very handy reloading product, the Case Prep Trio. This versatile device features three powered heads and ships with both Inside Chamferer and Outside Chamferer tools. You can add optional accessories such as large/small primer pocket cleaners, primer pocket reamer, case neck brushes, and other 8-32 threaded tools.
This $79.99 deal at Midsouth is the best price we’ve found (the unit normally sells for $95.00 or more). Plus, if you purchase by the end of 2016, you get 100 FREE Bullets from Hornady. If you figure those 100 bullets are worth thirty dollars or so, that brings your net cost for the Case Prep Trio to around fifty bucks. Hard to argue with that. We have this tool and it’s a very welcome addition to our loading bench that definitively saves time and reduces hand fatigue.
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At the request of our readers, we provide select “Deals of the Week”. Today we have something special — a bunch of exceptional “Cyber Monday” Deals as well as carry-over Black Friday Bargains. Here are some of the best deals on firearms, hardware, reloading components, and shooting accessories we found. You’ll need to act quickly because many of these deals expire at 11:59 PM tonight (11/28/2016) or on Tuesday. Be aware that sale prices are subject to change, and once clearance inventory is sold, it’s gone for good. You snooze you lose.
1. Brownells — Cyber Monday Guns, Optics, Parts, Ammo & More
Brownells has gone “whole hog” for Cyber Monday this year. Visit Brownells’ Cyber Monday Page and you’ll find deep discounts on firearms, optics, mags, reloading tools, ammo, gun parts and accessories. It’s easy to navigate — as there are big topical buttons for all the key product line. To further motivate Cyber Monday shoppers, Brownells is offering FREE Shipping with Code L9L. And, if you spend $200.00 or more, you can get FREE shipping plus 10% OFF your order with Code L9M. To see all Brownells Cyber Monday deals, CLICK HERE.
2. CDNN Sports — Cyber Monday Rifle Deals
CDNN is running a Cyber Monday Sale with deep discounts on numerous rifles and pistols. You’ll find great deals on Colt, Remington, and Ruger rifles. But what really caught our attention were the BROWNING BARGAINS. Check out the prices on these smooth-cycling A-Bolt III rifles (as low at $449.00 net after Browning Rebate). And what’s even better, CDNN includes a 3-9x40mm Thompson Center Scope and rings with each A-Bolt III. NOTE: Sale ends Tuesday November 29, 2016 at Noon CST. If you want one of these rifles — don’t delay!
Our friends at EuroOptic.com have rolled out some exceptional deals for Cyber Monday. Buy a Sightron Scope and get a $50.00 Gift Card. You’ll also find great deals on Leica CRF-1600B and CRF-1000R Laser Rangefinders. Last but not least, prices have been slashed on Leupold’s highly-respected Mark IV scopes. With EuroOptic’s Close-Out Pricing, save $200-$300 on these Mark IVs.
4. Midsouth — Lock ‘N Load Complete Reloading Kit, $249.99
The Hornady Lock-N-Load Classic Reloading Kit comes with everything you need to turn out high-quality handloads. The Kit includes: Hornady Lock-N-Load Classic single-stage press, Hornady Powder Measure, Digital Scale, Two-Volume Hornady Reloading Manual, Three Lock-N-Load Die Bushings, Reloading Block, Chamfer/Debur Tool, Hand Priming Tool, and One Shot™ Case Lube. We’ve used this press and it is excellent. The L-N-L bushings allow fast die changes.
Creedmoor Sports has many items on sale this Cyber Monday. You’ll find discounts on Creedmoor-brand ammo, shooting mats, shooting gloves, and books. But the deal that really caught our attention was the Shooting Coat Special. Today you can save $30.95 on Creedmoor’s famous Canvas Shooting Coat. Regularly $140.95, this coat is now just $110.00 — that’s a 22% markdown.
Plus on Cyber Monday you can get FREE Ground Shipping on ALL in-stock items in the Creedmoor online store. This special expires at 11:59 pm, November 28, 2016.
6. Cabelas.com — Cyber Week Deals on Guns, Ammo, & Gear
Now through December 3, 2016, Cabela’s is offering CyberWeek Deals on a wide range of products. Here are four of the best shooting/hunting bargains we found:
7. Gander Mountain — Money Off Codes Save Up to $100 on Orders
Gander Mountain carries a large selection of outdoor gear, reloading products, and hunting accessories. This national retailer also sells pistols, shotguns, and rifles. If you find an item of interest at GanderMountain.com, save cash with Coupon Code CYBER2016. This saves $20 on $100+ orders, saves $50 on $250+ orders, and saves a whopping $100 on $500+ orders. NOTE: This promotion expires November 28, 2016 at 11:59 pm EST.
8. Sportsman’s Guide — Cyber Monday Specials
For Cyber Monday, Sportsman’s Guide has slashed prices on 140+ items. Hunters will find a wide selection of footwear and camo hunting apparel on sale. In addition, there are bargains on hunting accessories such as game cameras, gloves, and winter wear. Shown above are some very good deals we found on the Cyber Monday Sale Page.
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Here’s great news for mid-size cartridge fans, and especially PRS and tactical shooters. Lapua just announced it will produce 6.5 Creedmoor cartridge brass, which should be available in the first quarter of 2017. This premium-quality brass features a small primer, and 1.5mm flash hole (as found on Lapua’s 6mmBR, 6.5×47 Lapua, and 220 Russian brass). We expect Lapua’s 6.5 Creedmoor brass will set new standards for accuracy and case life for this popular mid-sized cartridge. Of course Lapua’s new 6.5 Creedmoor brass can also be necked down and loaded in 6mm Creedmoor configuration. With the small primer pocket and proven strength of Lapua brass, we think 6.5 Creedmoor shooters will see enhanced cartridge velocities with the ability to maintain tight primer pockets even with very stout loads. And we expect accuracy to be on a par with Lapua’s excellent 6.5×47 Lapua brass. Taken together, this is an exciting product release. Here is Lapua’s official announcement:
We are happy to announce the addition of the 6.5 Creedmoor case to the Lapua line! Despite a relatively short time on the marketplace, the 6.5 Creedmoor has made a tremendous splash in the field, rapidly becoming one of the most requested cases we hear about from shooters. Lapua’s 6.5 Creedmoor is designed to function in a short action, which is also a plus for hunters, vitally concerned with the rifle’s weight and compactness. In fact, many of the same features which make for a successful competition cartridge, translate nicely to the hunting fields as well.
For most species of mid-size game such as deer or boar, the Creedmoor will prove to be a deadly performer. And while the selection of high grade Match bullets in the 6.5 bore size is tremendous, there’s no shortage of exceptionally good hunting bullets either. The 6.5s as a group have always been known as excellent performers on game.
Made with Lapua’s typical dedication to precision, our new 6.5 Creedmoor case has been refined just a bit, to make it an even better performer. We’ve opted for the small rifle primer, which normally produces an optimized ignition and better accuracy than large primers in mid-sized cartridges like the Creedmoor.
We’ve also incorporated our smaller-diameter flash hole (1.5mm, rather than the industry-standard 2.0mm), which has proven to provide enhanced accuracy, and is used in a number of our other accuracy-oriented cases. In this respect, the new 6.5 Creedmoor joins the ranks of our other dedicated accuracy cartridges such as the .220 Russian (6mm PPC), the 6mmBR Norma, the 6.5×47 Lapua, and the .308 Win Palma cases.
And naturally, the new 6.5 Creedmoor will be made with our well-known Passion for Precision. Strictest control over the metallurgy, the forming and drawing processes, precise annealing all performed under the watchful eyes of our production experts. For you, the handloader, that means the durability for which our cases are famous, combined with consistency and long life. Already proven in competition, we predict that the 6.5 Creedmoor will be a force to be reckoned with for many years to come.
Comment on Lapua’s new 6.5mm Creedmoor
Our British friend Laurie Holland was excited about the new 6.5 Creedmoor brass from Lapua: “With this and Peterson Cartridge on the bandwagon, plus another U.S. brass maker… the Creedmoor’s momentum is becoming impressive.” Laurie observes: “A small primer Lapua-cased 6.5mm Creedmoor is in effect a 6.5X47 Lapua ‘Improved’!” That’s a pretty interesting concept indeed. Which makes us wonder if the .260 Remington has finally been fully eclipsed. With Lapua 6.5 Creedmoor brass you can probably get very, very close to .260 Rem performance in a much more efficient case.
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Sierra’s new 110gr 6mm MatchKing is so new you won’t even find it on Sierra’s website. But MidwayUSA has it listed as “coming soon”. This new bullet, optimized for a 1:7″-twist barrel, promises class-leading ballistics. The listed G1 Ballistic Coefficient (BC) is an impressive 0.617 (sorry, no G7 BC has been stated). That’s 12.8% higher than the 0.547 G1 BC Sierra claims for its older 107gr MatchKing. That’s a very significant improvement. We attribute the reduced drag of the new 110-grainer to an improved hybrid-ogive bullet shape along with much smaller meplats. Sierra has not yet confirmed that it is pointing the meplats of the new 6mm 110s at the factory, but we expect that may be the case. In this respect the 110-grainers could be like Sierra’s excellent 183gr 7mm MatchKings, which come with tight, pointed tips right out of the box.
G1 vs. G7 and Listed BCs vs. Tested BCs — What You Need to Know
Manufacturer-listed G1 Ballistic Coefficients of 6mm Match Bullets
If you look at the table above you’ll see that Sierra’s claimed 0.617 G1 BC for the new 110gr MK is higher than the 0.536 Berger lists for its 105gr 6mm Hybrid and higher than the 0.536 Hornady lists for the new 108gr 6mm ELD Bullet. We do think Sierra’s 110-grainer will prove to have the highest BC of the bunch, based on recent comparison tests by Sierra.
Let’s explain… Sierra lists a 0.547 G1 BC for its 107-grain MatchKing. Sierra tells us that the the .547 listed BC is for the current lots of 107-grainers which are pointed by Sierra. Sierra’s Matt Reams states that the new 110-grainers definitely have less drag than the current Sierra 107gr MKs or Berger 105gr Hybrids: “We have shot the pointed 107s side by side (raced) in our 300-meter range next to the [Berger] 105s and our pointed 107s had a higher BC between those two lots. In the comparison we did, our lot of new pointed 107s had a slightly higher BC than the [Berger] 105s. The 110s are significantly higher than both.”
In the real world, Sierra’s new 110gr 6mm MatchKing may not have as big an edge over the competition as it seems from Sierra’s claimed 0.617 G1 BC. (The G7 numbers may be closer.) Nonetheless, we do expect that Sierra’s new 110-grainer will be very competitive, and may actually have best-in-class BC. And if the new 110gr SMKs come “tipped” from the factory that will be a very good thing.
Anybody currently shooting a heavy 6mm bullet in competition should look at the new 110gr MatchKing when it becomes available. It could prove to be a winner. NOTE However — Sierra recommends a true 1:7″-twist barrel to stabilize the new 110-grainers.
New Product Tip from Boyd Allen. We welcome reader submissions.
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Wouldn’t it be great if a power screwdriver could also serve as a two-station case prep machine? Well now that’s possible with Hornady’s new Case Prep Duo. This rechargeable unit has a battery-powered motor that drives a dual spindle head. The back half of the unit rotates and tilts so you can use the tool in pistol grip mode or with a straight (inline) body. NOTE: The photo above shows the SAME tool in both modes — angled grip mode and inline mode.
Hornady says that “this cordless, rechargeable multi-function tool accommodates case neck brushes, primer pocket cleaners, and chamfer/deburr accessories. With the easy-to-swivel body and integrated rubber feet, use it in the straight configuration on your bench top, or rotate it … for an ergonomic, handheld power tool. Use with the 8-32 spindle head for various reloading functions or remove the spindle head and use as a powered screwdriver with standard 1/4-inch hex bits (not included).” The Case Prep Duo comes complete with deburr and chamfer heads, plus plug-in charger. The unit is affordable — MSRP is just $64.59 and we expect “street price” to be around $55.00.
IMPORTANT: The Case Prep Duo has a removable dual-drive (twin spindle) head. You can remove that head and use the Case Prep Duo as a standard, powered screwdriver. WATCH the VIDEO (at 00:20) to see how this works.
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Weatherby has a new modular rifle for PRS comps and other tactical disciplines. Called the Vanguard® Modular Chassis (VMC), this rifle features a Modular Driven Technologies (MDT) aluminum stock, Luth AR MBA-1 buttstock, and 22″ heavy barrel. The Weatherby Vanguard action is fitted with an adjustable 2-stage trigger. Priced at $1519.00 MSRP, this rifle can be campaigned in the PRS “Production Class”, which limits complete rifles to $2000.00 without optics. The rifle is offered in three chamberings: .223 Rem, 6.5 Creedmoor, and .308 Winchester.
Weatherby says its Vanguard Modular Chassis tactical rifle is very accurate. To back that claim, Weatherby offers a SUB-MOA accuracy guarantee — Weatherby guarantees the rifle will shoot .99” or smaller 3-shot groups at 100 yards when used with Weatherby® factory or premium ammunition.
Near Half-MOA Accuracy with Factory Ammo
It turns out Weatherby’s accuracy claims are conservative. This tactical rifle is closer to a half-MOA rig than a 1-MOA gun. American Rifleman recently tested a .308 Win version of this rifle and recorded really stellar accuracy — close to half-MOA. What’s more, this rifle is not fussy — with a 1:10″-twist barrel it proved very accurate with six different types of factory ammo.
In fact, the rifle delivered near-half-inch 5-shot groups with two types of Hornady factory ammo, and the worst group (of six ammo types) was 0.76″, still very impressive for factory fodder. With good hand-loads this gun could go well under half-MOA (for five shots).
Vanguard Modular Chassis FIVE-SHOT Test Groups with Factory Ammo:
0.53 inches | Hornady 168gr Match BTHP (2718 fps)
0.55 inches | Hornady 155gr Steel Match (2612 fps)
0.57 inches | Black Hills 168gr BTHP (2608 fps)
0.66 inches | Federal Premium 168gr MatchKing BTHP (2659 fps)
0.70 inches | Hornady 155gr American Gunner (2697 fps)
0.76 inches | Black Hills 175gr BTHP (2603 fps)
NOTE: Group sizes are for 5-shot groups shot from bench at 100 yards with Caldwell pedestal rest and rear sandbag. Pentax Lightseeker 6-24x50mm scope. Velocities in FPS from PACT Chronograph.
The accuracy testing was done by gunwriter Mike Detty, who notes: “My single best group was fired with Hornady’s Match 168-gr. BTHP ammunition. Five shots measured just slightly more than a half-inch. Hornady’s 155-gr. Steel Match ammo wasn’t far behind with a group of .55″. Also accounting for the small groups is the VMC’s wonderful trigger. It is a two-stage affair and the first stage has about 3/8” take up with about a pound of pressure until it reaches the second stage where another 1 ¾ lbs. was required to break the shot.”
PRS Production Class Cost Limits
Production Division combined rifle and scope MSRP as listed on the company’s website shall not exceed $3,000 USD, the rifle shall not exceed $2,000 USD and the optic not exceed $2,000 USD. [Editor: For example, you could have a $2,000 rifle with a $1000.00 scope or vice-versa. The total system cannot exceed $3000. Rifle alone cannot exceed $2000.00 retail sale price.]
Production Division rifles are not permitted to be altered or improved in any way from the original factory configuration.
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Here’s a significant new addition to our knowledge base for Long-Range shooting. Hornady has released a new Ballistics Calculator that employs bullet profiles derived from Doppler radar testing and 3D projectile modeling. Hornady’s Patent Pending 4DOF™ Ballistic Calculator provides trajectory solutions based on projectile Drag Coefficient (not static G1/G7 ballistic coefficients) along with the exact physical modeling of projectiles and their mass and aerodynamic properties. This new 4DOF (Four Degrees of Freedom) calculator also accounts for spin drift and the subtle VERTICAL effects of crosswinds.
We strongly recommend you watch this video from start to finish. In greater detail than is possible here, this video explains how the 4DOF System works, and why it is more sophisticated than other commercially-offered Ballistics calculators. There’s a LOT going on here…
Aerodynamic Jump from Crosswind Calculated
According to Hornady, the 4DOF Ballistics Calculator “is the first publicly-available program that will correctly calculate the vertical shift a bullet experiences as it encounters a crosswind.” This effect is called aerodynamic jump. The use of radar-derived drag profiles, correct projectile dynamics, aerodynamic jump, and spin drift enable the Hornady® 4DOF™ ballistic calculator to provide very sophisticated solutions. Hornady says its 4DOF solver is “the most accurate commercially available trajectory program … even at extreme ranges.”
“Current ballistic calculators provide three degrees of freedom in their approach — windage, elevation, and range — but treat the projectile as an inanimate lump flying through the air,” said Dave Emary, Hornady Chief Ballistician. “This program incorporates the projectile’s movement in the standard three degrees but also adds its movement about its center of gravity and subsequent angle relative to its line of flight, which is the fourth degree of freedom.”
Using Doppler radar, Hornady engineers have calculated exact drag versus velocity curves for each bullet in the 4DOF™ calculator library. This means the 4DOF™ calculator should provicde more precise long range solutions than calulators that rely on simple BC numbers or drag curves based with limited data collection points. Emary adds: “The Hornady 4DOF also accurately calculates angled shots by accounting for important conditions that [other ballistic] programs overlook.”
“This calculator doesn’t utilize BCs (Ballistic Coefficients) like other calculators,” added Jayden Quinlan, Hornady Ballistics Engineer. “Why compare the flight of your bullet to a standard G1 or G7 projectile when you can use your own projectile as the standard?” That makes sense, but users must remember that Hornady’s 4DOF projectile “library” includes mostly Hornady-made bullets. However, in addition to Hornady bullets, the 4DOF Calculator currently does list seven Berger projectiles, six Sierra projectiles, and one Lapua bullet type. For example, Sierra’s new 183gr 7mm MatchKing is listed, as is Berger’s 105gr 6mm Hybrid.
This Video Explains How to Use Hornady’s New 4DOF Ballistics Calculator
Using the 4DOF™ Ballistic Calculator:
The Hornady 4DOF Ballistic Calculator provides trajectory solutions based on projectile Drag Coefficient (not ballistic coefficients) along with exact physical modeling of the projectile and its mass and aerodynamic properties. Additionally, it calculates the vertical shift a bullet experiences as it encounters a crosswind, i.e. “aerodynamic jump”. The use of drag coefficients, projectile dynamics, aerodynamic jump, and spin drift enable the 4DOF Ballistic Calculator to accurately measure trajectories even at extreme ranges. It is ideal for both long range and moderate distances and is available for the low-drag precision bullets listed in the drop down menu of the calculator. For calculating trajectories of traditional hunting and varmint bullets using BCs (ballistic coefficients), you can use Hornady’s Standard Ballistics Calculator.
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Here’s a tip we feature every year or so, because it is something that costs nothing, yet can be very useful in the reloading process. With a simple, easy modification to a fired case, you can determine the length to lands in your rifle barrel. As long as you set the tension right, the measurements should be repeatable, and you’ve just saved yourself $31 — the price of a commercial OAL gauge.
To achieve best accuracy with a rifle, you must control bullet seating depth very precisely, so all bullets end up in the same place relative to the entrance of the lands, every time. There may be multiple cartridge OALs which prove accurate. However, with each, you first need to determine a “zero” point — a reliable, and repeatable OAL where the bullet is “just touching” the lands.
There are tools, such as the Hornady (formerly Stoney Point) OAL Gauge, that will help you find a seating OAL just touching the lands. However, the tool requires that you use a special modified case for each cartridge you shoot. And, while we find that the Hornady OAL Gauge is repeatable, it does take some practice to get in right.
Make Your Own Length-to-Lands Gauge with a Dremel
Here’s an inexpensive alternative to the Hornady OAL tool — a slotted case. Forum member Andris Silins explais how to create a slotted case to measure length to the lands in your rifle:
“Here’s what I did to find length to lands for seating my bullets. I made four cuts into the neck of fire-formed brass. Then I pressed the bullet in lightly and chambered the entire gauge. As the cartridge chambers, the bullet slides back into the case to give you length to lands. It took less than five minutes to get it cut and working. A little light oil in the barrel just past the chamber helps ensure the bullet does not get stuck in the lands. It works great and is very accurate.
I made the cuts using a Dremel with a cut-off wheel. You can adjust tension two ways. First, you can make the cuts longer or shorter. Longer cuts = less tension. If you used only three cuts insted of four you would get more tension. The trick is to be gentle when you open and close the bolt. If you ram the bolt closed you may wedge the bullet into the lands. When you open the bolt it helps to keep a finger or two near by to guide the case out straight because the ejector wants to push it sideways.”
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The National Shooting Sports Foundation (NSSF) #GUNVOTE program is an important voter registration and education campaign for the November 2016 election. The NSSF’s Gunvote.org website helps visitors register to vote, find a polling place, and determine how candidates stand on gun rights and Second Amendment issues. Quickly find all state and federal candidates in your area with a Zip Code search (or you can search by name). The NSSF’s #GUNVOTE program also provides election news, voter education video resources, and more.
To assist the NSSF’s voter registration and education efforts, Hornady Manufacturing has committed $250,000 in support of #GUNVOTE programs. This is the largest donation the #GUNVOTE campaign has received to date.
“For the first time in our nation’s history, we have a Presidential candidate who is openly running against the lawful commerce in firearms, which is a prerequisite to our ability to exercise our Second Amendment rights,” said Stephen Hornady, President of Hornady Manufacturing. “It is vital that America’s hunters, target shooters and all gun owners become educated on what the candidates are saying and that’s why the #GUNVOTE initiative of our industry is so important. Our company is proud to be a part of this cooperative effort.”
We support the NSSF’s efforts to inform the public and help gun owners register to vote. This is a very important election for firearms owners and supporters of the Second Amendment. As the NSSF explains: “With the balance of the Supreme Court at stake, this election will affect our constitutional rights. It is crucial that all gun owners and Second Amendment supporters register to vote, become informed about candidates’ positions, and on Election Day, #GUNVOTE.”
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At the request of our readers, we provide select “Deals of the Week”. Every Monday morning we offer our Bargain selections. Here are some of the best deals on firearms, hardware, reloading components, and shooting accessories. Be aware that sale prices are subject to change, and once clearance inventory is sold, it’s gone for good. You snooze you lose.
1. Amazon — Caldwell Long Range Target Camera System, $367.70
Forum members have purchased this Caldwell Target Cam System and they’ve found that it works reliably, providing a clear signal to any WiFi-enabled mobile device (smartphone, iPad, Laptop). One member specifically tested the unit at 1000 yards and it functioned fine. NOTE: This system does NOT have a zoom camera lens, so you need to position the camera within 10 yards or so of the target. But if you place it to the side a bit, this shouldn’t be a problem. This system comes with a nice, fitted carrying case that holds camera, transceivers, antennas, and stands. You get a very capable system for under $370.00 (Amazon price includes free shipping for Prime members). You can also get this system from Midsouth for $357.02 (shipping extra).
This video shows system set-up and actual Target Cam output on a WiFi-enabled tablet:
This is a totally new kind of hearing protection. Walker’s Razor-X and Razor-XV operate like electronic muffs — allowing you to hear commands and conversations while still blocking gunshots and other loud noises. The Razor-X combines a collar unit (containing the electronics) with retractable, foam-tipped ear buds. Unlike conventional earmuffs, the Razor-X system doesn’t interfere with your cheek weld. The patent-pending earbuds allow the user to be in loud environments without damaging their hearing, providing an impressive 31dB of noise reduction.
The kit includes two different styles of noise-reducing foam tips (in various sizes) to ensure a good fit for maximum noise reduction. The Razor-X is equipped with an auto-shut off after 4 to 6 hours. An AC wall adapter with USB port and a one-meter micro USB cord is provided.
TECH NOTE: Grafs.com shows a 29dB NRR in the product title. However, the manufacturer (and all other retailers) list a 31dB Noise Reduction Rating for the Razor-X and Razor-XV.
Here’s a super deal on a premium Tactical spotter package. Right now you can get a Leupold MK4 TMR 12-40x60mm spotting scope, PLUS a Delta-Point Pro 2.5 MOA Red-dot (for quick aiming), PLUS a Badger SLICK mount for under $1500.00. The Leupold MK4 12-40 spotter sells for $1399.00 by itself elsewhere. So this is like getting the Delta-Point and SLICK mount for $100.00 (or free — read about $1400 special below). CLICK HERE for Package Deal.
The unique SLICK mount is definitely worth having. This lets you add a laser rangefinder or other accessory and have the LRF aligned (collimated) perfectly with your spotting scope.
Jason tells us: “This is the best value I have seen on gear in a long time. On top of that, we are offering AccurateShooter.com readers a FURTHER discount to $1400 shipped for pre-ordering (pre-payment required)”. NOTE: to get the Special $1400.00 Pre-Order price, call EuroOptic at (570) 368-3920 and ask for Jason Baney.
4. Sportsmans Outdoor — Ruger American Predator, $359.99
Here’s a nice little 6.5 Creedmoor rifle from Ruger with good features at a very attractive price, just $359.99. This Predator model features a heavier-contour 22″, 1:8″-twist barrel threaded 5/8″-24 at the muzzle for brake or suppressor. The action, which features a 70° three-lug bolt, and Picatinny-style scope rail, sits in an aluminum bedding block. The trigger is crisp and adjusts down to 3 pounds. The 6.5 Creedmoor chambering is well-suited for both hunting and tactical/practical games. The rifle weighs 6.5 pounds without optic. For real tactical work you’ll want to replace the stock — but with only $360 into the gun you can easily afford a better stock/chassis.
5. MidwayUSA — Magpul 700 Black Stock, $219.99 on Sale
The new Magpul Remington 700 Hunter Stock offers an aluminum bedding block, plus adjustable length of pull and comb height. Compatible with all Remington 700 Short Actions, this stock requires no bedding and is a true “drop-in” solution. Also available (separately) is Magpul’s Bolt Action Magazine Well, which allows the rifle to be used with detachable box magazines without the need for custom inletting. NOTE: to see the $219.99 Sale price, you must select the black version in your Midway USA Shopping Cart. This price includes stock only; magazine and and bottom metal are NOT included.
Free Floating: Free-floats Remington barrels including aftermarket profiles up to a Medium Palma
Bottom Metal: Compatible with all stock Remington bottom metal
Weight: 2.9 lbs without action and bottom metal
6. Natchez Shooters Supply — 325 Rounds .22 LR Ammo, $22.99
This Federal .22 LR ammo is just 7 cents per round — the kind of pricing on bulk rimfire ammo we used to see in the “good old days”. Act quickly, this Federal .22 LR Ammo deal won’t last long. Also, note that seller Natchez has a 2-piece maximum order per day.” So you may order two boxes per day, which will total 650 rounds. The bullets are 40 grains, solid lead.
If you have brass or small parts to clean an ultrasonic cleaning machine really comes in handy. This Lyman machine was a good deal at $69.99 before. Now it is an awesome deal at $49.99 from Cabela’s. Plus you may even be able to get it for less. One buyer said you can get this item for $44.99 including shipping if you use code “16CAVE” at check-out. Worth a try.
8. Natchez — Hornady 22-Cal Varmint Bullets, $9.99 Per 100
Headed out for a varmint safari soon? Need inexpensive bullets for your .223 Rem or 22-250? Then check out this deal on Hornady 55-grainers from Natchez. Get 100 Soft Point .224-Caliber FB bullets for just $9.99. At that price, it doesn’t hurt so much when you shoot 1000+ rounds over a weekend. With good expansion, these bullets work great on prairie dogs and other small critters. Note: These sale bullets ship in a bag, not the box as shown.
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With the increased interest in the 6.5 Grendel cartridge and Grendel-based wildcats (such as the 6mmAR and 30 Major), today we’ve re-released a review by Robert Whitley.
Robert Whitley of AR-X Enterprises, LLC builds match-grade uppers for AR-platform rifles. Many of Robert’s favorite chamberings are based on the 6.5 Grendel case necked-down to 6mm. Until 2011, Lapua was the only source for 6.5 Grendel brass. As you’d expect, Lapua’s Grendel brass is truly excellent, but it is also pricey, and sometimes hard to find. Now Hornady is producing USA-made 6.5 Grendel brass. Robert Whitley has worked with the Hornady 6.5 Grendel brass for over a year now and he is able to assess its performance compared to the original Lapua version. Writing in our Shooters’ Forum, Robert reveals: “It’s decent brass but hot loads will loosen the primer pockets fast. With moderate loads you will get good case life and service from the brass and it can deliver excellent accuracy as well. Not Lapua but not bad either.”
Robert reports: “I was able to get my hands on some of Hornady’s 6.5 Grendel brass. My big question was how it would measure up, particularly the loaded necks, and whether it would be compatible with our existing 6mmAR and Turbo 40 die sets. As it turns out, this brass looks like a perfect fit for our existing die sets (and obviously 6.5 Grendel die sets too). Accordingly, folks with existing die sets will be able to use the Hornady brass without any issues.” However, as the loaded neck on the Hornady brass is .001″ (one-thousandth) slimmer than Lapua brass, you may want to try a smaller bushing when sizing Hornady Grendel brass.
The Hornady 6.5 Grendel brass has a LARGE Flash Hole, about .078″ versus .0591″ for Lapua brass. Dimensionally, the biggest difference is the shoulder diameter, with the Hornady brass measuring 0.428″ vs. 0.424″ for the Lapua brass. The Hornady is actually a better fit for 6mmAR chambers which are about 0.432″ at the shoulder. Interestingly, case H20 capacity is virtually identical. Water capacity of new, unfired Hornady 6.5 Grendel brass is 35.1 grains, while new, unfired Lapua Grendel brass holds 35.0 grains of H20. Both brands of Grendel brass increase to about 36.0 grains H20 capacity after firing and full-length sizing.
Here are some of the particulars of the Hornady cases:
Hornady 6.5 Grendel Brass
Lapua 6.5 Grendel Brass
Flash hole diameter: ~ .078″
OAL of brass: Average 1.515″
Weight of cases: 111.7 to 113.0 grains
Web diameter, unfired: 0.4375″
Shoulder diameter, unfired: 0.428″
Loaded neck diameter: 0.2895″
6mmAR loaded neck: 0.270″
Flash hole diameter: 1.5mm (0.0591″)
OAL of brass: Average 1.515″
Weight of cases: 111.0 to 112.5 grains
Web diameter, unfired: 0.4385″
Shoulder diameter, unfired: 0.424″
Loaded neck diameter: 0.290″
6mmAR loaded neck: 0.271″
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For a few years now, Lyman has offered the Case Prep Xpress, an all-in-one case prep center that chamfers necks (inside and out), cleans and uniforms primer pockets, brushes the inside of case-necks, and uniforms flash holes. The unit can also ream out the crimps on military brass. However, the Lyman Case Prep Xpress does NOT trim cases.
The Lyman Case Prep Xpress comes with all the necessary tools (listed above), so you don’t have to purchase extra accessories. The five (5) gear-driven heads on the unit are powered by a high torque, low-speed motor ideal for case prep operations. Lyman’s Case Prep Xpress features handy storage areas for accessories, a removable brass shavings dump pan, and a handy clean-up brush.
Sinclair Int’l video clearly illustrates all case prep functions. Worth watching.
In the 3.5 years that this product has been on the market it has been a strong seller. If you’re prepping hundreds of cases, this unit will save considerable time and reduce hand/finger fatigue. While the Case Prep Xpress is not as sturdy as the metal-bodied Hornady prep center, the Lyman unit offers a lot of functionality for the money ($115-$125 normal price, and sometimes around $100 on sale).
Lyman Case Prep Xpress Pros and Cons
Quite Affordable (under $120)
Compatible with RCBS and Redding Tool-heads
Removable Bin for Shavings
Four Brush Sizes: .25, .30, .38, .45
Tool-heads Not Particularly Sharp
No Case Trim Function
No Flash-hole Uniformer
No Top Dust-Cover
Only 1-Year Warranty
Reviews by Verified Purchasers
“Case prep is the most tedious and boring aspect for hand loading in my opinion. The process center makes all the steps in prepping the case very quick and with consistent results. It has reduced the time required to do these steps with separate tools by easily 50% if not more. Highly recommended.” — Brandon G.
“Quiet and capable. Worth every penny. I adapted a Lee Cutter and Lock Stud, to cut case lengths, and I can fly through my brass. I can do so much more brass without getting the sore, cramped-up hands.” — Dean Ellis
“This unit has plenty of torque, and my unit is very quiet. This unit will also work with tools made by RCBS and Hornady, or anything else with 8-32 threads. My Redding tools (specifically, my primer pocket uniformers) do in fact fit on this machine. This unit is certainly worth the money, and will revolutionize the way you reload by saving you massive amounts of time and wear on your hands/fingers.” — Mule
“A simple machine to perform complex solutions. I was up and running in about 10 minutes flat. This thing has made my life of reloading so much easier. I do wish there was a trimmer included, but I have a manual one from L.E. Wilson.” — Richard Niles
You can find Lyman’s Case Prep Xpress for under $120.00 at Brownells and Midsouth, making it much less expensive than the larger Hornady Case Prep Center, which runs about $365.00. The Hornady unit is beefier, and will trim cases. However, we think the compact Lyman unit makes sense for guys who already have a good case trimmer, such as a Forster or Wilson. The Lyman Case Prep Xpress is hundreds of dollars less than the Hornady prep center. The money you save will buy lots of bullets and brass.
Case Prep Xpress $115.45 at Midsouth
The Lyman Case Prep Xpress is sold by most of the big vendors. The best current price we found was at Midsouth Shooters Supply, which sells the Lyman unit for $115.45.
Gear Review Tip from Edlongrange. We welcome reader submissions.
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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. CLICK Link below to watch video:
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.
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If you watch just one episode of Shooting USA TV this year, it probably should be this week’s hour-long SHOT Show Special. Tonight, June 1, 2016, you can see the full coverage of the event. Jim Scoutten’s team of gun journalists work hard every January, bringing you highlights from the gun industry’s largest trade show. Jim, son John Scoutten, and other staffers prowled the 12 miles of aisles in the Sands Convention Center in Las Vegas, visiting many of the 1,600+ exhibitors. This episode provides a “first look” at the new guns, optics, and gear introduced for 2016. Click HERE to learn more about this week’s SHOT Show episode.
Shooting USA’s SHOT Show Special will air for a full hour on Wednesday, June 1, 2016 on the Outdoor Channel. Here are the air times, but you should check your local schedule. Look for Shooting USA TV on the Outdoor Channel.
Shooting USA Hour AIR TIMES BY TIME ZONE:
Wednesday Night Schedule:
Eastern Time – 9:00 PM, 12:30 AM
Central Time – 8:00 PM, 11:30 PM
Mountain Time – 7:00 PM, 10:30 PM
Pacific Time – 6:00 PM, 9:30 PM
Saturday Prime Time Schedule:
Eastern Time – 12:30 AM
Central Time – 11:30 PM
Mountain Time – 10:30 PM
Pacific Time – 9:30 PM
Here are some of the 50+ new products featured on the SHOT Show Special:
Savage A17 XP Rifle
Hornady L-N-L Iron Press
Smith & Wesson M&P 15-22 Sport
Sig P210 Standard/Target 9mm
SnapSafe Titan Modular Safe
Walther PPS M2 9mm
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In this video, Forum member Erik Cortina shows how to create a custom modified case for use with the Hornady Lock-N-Load Overall Length Gauge (formerly the Stoney Point Tool). While Hornady sells 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 Winchester you can get more consistent measurements if you make a custom modified case from a piece of brass fired in your chamber.
The process is straight-forward. Take a piece of brass fired in your chamber and full-length size it (with about .002″ shoulder bump). Then you need to drill out the primer pocket. Erik uses a mini-lathe for the operation, but this general process can be done with a drill press or other tools. Erik shows how to do this with a 0.290″ HSS (High Speed Steel) drill bit on a mini-lathe. After drilling the hole comes the tricky part — you need to tap the case with the precise 5/16″ x 36 threads per inch (tpi) right-hand thread that matches the male thread on the O.A.L. Gauge. This 5/16″ x 36 tpi tap is pretty uncommon, but you can order it from Amazon.com if you can’t source it locally.
If you use a mini-lathe, Erik suggests loosening the tailstock slightly, so it can float while cutting the threads. Erik also says: “Make sure you get the tap on pretty tight — it’s going to want to spin.” Erik turns the case at about 100 rpm when tapping the threads. Once the case and tap are rigged, the actual tapping process (see video at 6:00) takes only a few seconds. While the mini-lathe makes the tapping process go more quickly, the threading can also be done with other systems.
TIP: Don’t just make one modified case, make three. That gives you one for your range kit, one for your home reloading bench, plus a spare (since you WILL eventually lose or misplace one).
Here’s the Stuff You Need
5/16″-36 TPI Threading Tap
The required thread is somewhat uncommon. You need a 5/16″ – 36 tpi Right Hand Thread Tap. If you can’t find it locally, Amazon.com carries the correct tap. Erik notes: “The 5/16-36 tpi tap is not a common size. I think Hornady did this on purpose to make it more difficult for the average guy to make his own modified cases.”
0.290″ Drill Bit
Erik uses an 0.290″ HSS “L” drill bit. (This “L” Letter Gauge code designates a 0.290″ diameter bit). A close metric equivalent would be 7.3 mm (0.286″). Erik says: “A 9/32″ drill will also work but it will be harder to run the tap in since the hole will be .281″ instead of .290″ with the Letter Gauge L bit.”
Tips for Using O.A.L. Gauge with Modified Case
We’ve noticed that many folks have trouble getting reliable, consistent results when they first start using the Hornady O.A.L. Gauge (formerly the Stoney Point Tool). We’ve found this is usually because they don’t seat the modified case properly and because they don’t use a gentle, consistent method of advancing the bullet until it just kisses the lands.
Here is our suggested procedure for use the O.A.L. Gauge. Following this method we can typically make three of four measurements (with the same bullet), all within .001″ to .0015″. (Yes, we always measure multiple times.)
1. Clean your chamber so there is no build-up of carbon, debris, or lube. Pay particular attention to the shoulder area.
2. Screw the modified case on to the O.A.L. Gauge. Make sure it is seated firmly (and doesn’t spin loose). Note, you may have to re-tighten the modified case after insertion in the chamber.
3. Place your selected bullet so that the ogive (max bullet diameter) is behind the case mouth. This prevents the bullet from “snagging” as you insert the tool in the action.
4. Insert the O.A.L. Gauge into your chamber smoothly. Push a little until you feel resistance. IMPORTANT — You need to ensure that the shoulder of the modified case is seated firmly against the front of your chamber. You may have to wiggle and twist the tool slightly. If you do not have the modified case seated all the way in, you will NOT get a valid measurement.
5. Advance the bullet slowly. (NOTE: This is the most important aspect for consistency!). Push the rod of the O.A.L. tool gently towards the chamber. DON’T shove it hard! Easy does it. Stop when you feel resistance.
6. IMPORTANT. After gently pushing on the rod, give the end of the rod a couple forward taps with your finger. If your bullet was slightly skewed, it may have stopped too far back. Adding a couple extra taps will fix that. If the bullet moves after the taps, then again push gently on the rod. NOT too much! You just want to push the bullet until it just “kisses” the lands and then stops. Do NOT jam the bullet into the rifling. If you do that you will never get consistent results from one measurement to the next.
* For a $15.00 fee, Hornady will make a custom modified case for you if you send two fired pieces of brass. Send fired cases and $15.00 check to: Hornady Manufacturing, Attn: Modified Cases, 108 S. Apollo St., Alda, NE 68810. More Info HERE.
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In our Shooters’ Forum, a member recently noted that he needed to pull down (disassemble) some ammunition that was loaded incorrectly by one of his shooting buddies. You can use an impact puller to do this task, but if you have more than a dozen rounds or so, you may prefer to use a collet-style bullet puller. These work very quickly and positively, making quick work of big jobs. The efficiency of the collet-style puller is worth the investment if you frequently disassemble ammo. These devices retail for under $25.00 (collets sold separately). Normally, you’ll need a specific collet for each bullet diameter. But collets are not that costly, so this isn’t a big deal, particularly if you only load a few calibers, such as .223, 6mm, and .308.
Hornady and RCBS use different mechanisms to tighten the collet around the bullet. On Hornady’s Cam-Lock Bullet Puller, a lever-arm on the top of the bullet puller serves to tighten the collet around the bullet. Simply rotate the lever from the vertical to the horizontal position to grab the bullet. Lower the ram to remove the case. The bullet will drop out when you return the lever arm to the vertical position. This is demonstrated in the video below:
Hornady Cam-Lock Bullet Puller Demonstrated
Collet bullet-pullers resemble a loading die with a lever or handle on the top. They screw into a standard reloading press. Hornady and RCBS both make collet-style bullet pullers. They use the same basic principle — the device tightens a collet around the bullet, and then the bullet is separated from the case by lowering the press ram. NOTE: Collet pullers may leave small marks on your bullets, unlike impact (kinetic) pullers.*
Like the Hornady tool, the RCBS Bullet Puller employs a collet to grab the bullet. However, the RCBS tool tightens the collet in a different way. The head of the RCBS tool is threaded internally. By rotating the lever arm clockwise in a horizontal circle you squeeze the collet around the bullet. To remove the bullet, after lowering the press ram, simply spin the lever arm back in the opposite direction. The use of the RCBS tool is demonstrated in this video:
RCBS Collet Bullet Puller Demonstrated:
WARNING: When removing bullets from loaded cartridges, always make sure there are no obsructions or debris in your shell-holder or under the loaded round. NEVER engage a primer seating accessory on your press when working with loaded rounds. You can cause a round to discharge by contacting the primer! Also, we recommend you keep your head and torso away from the bullet puller tool at all times.
*By contrast, impact pullers rarely mark bullets, particularly if you put a little bit of foam or paper wadding in the closed end of your impact puller. When dismantling loaded rounds, powder kernels can get trapped in the wadding, so you should remove and replace the wadding before changing to cartridges loaded with a different powder type (assuming you intend to save the powder).
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Written by Sierra Bullets Ballistic Technician Duane Siercks
One of the first things new reloaders notice is that load data varies between reloading manuals. The Sierra Bullets Technicians frequently get inquiries asking us to explain why the load data appears to be inconsistent. This article explains five key factors that can influence published load data.
Example of load data variances for two 168 grain bullets:
Here are five reasons why the load data varies:
Basically, the similarities in the .30 caliber 168 grain Match bullets (for example) end with weight and diameter. The bullets likely have dimensional differences such as bearing surface length. Bearing surface has a large effect on pressure and velocity. There are also differences in boat tail, flat base, ogive and over-all lengths, which each help determine the cartridge over-all-length (COAL). With different COAL’s, we can expect changes in pressure and velocity also. In some calibers there are differences in bullet diameter with different bullet manufacturers.
It is also worth noting that bullet manufacturers do not all use the same copper alloy for their jackets. This produces more or less friction that results in load pressures and velocities. The solid copper bullets also vary quite a bit in comparison to a lead core and copper jacketed bullet.
Each gun is unique, even if you are using the same make, model, and caliber. Special consideration should be used to consider that not all firearm chambers are the same either, creating more variables that need consideration. There can be drastic differences in the throat length. This controls the amount of “jump” that a bullet experiences when the cartridge is fired.
Within normal manufacturing tolerances, you can see some variation in a given powders burn rate between different lots of the same powder. So naturally when two different Manuals are produced, it would be doubtful that the same lots would be tested.
The Cartridge Cases
New cases are almost always near minimum specs in dimension. A load fired in a new case would likely have slightly more pressure that when fired in a re-sized case. This would certainly be true if we were loading into fire-formed cases that have had minimal re-sizing done. Fired cases that are full length resized most of the time be slightly larger than the new unfired cases. This gives you differences in case capacity. The same powder charge placed within a new case and a full length resized case will produce different pressure levels and probably different velocities.
Temperature can cause pressure increases or decreases. Hot temperatures tend to cause pressures to increase, while cold temperatures will usually do the opposite. Humidity and altitude can impact pressures and velocities likewise.
As you can see, an amazing number of variables effect any load combination. With the differences in the manuals, you’re just seeing firsthand examples of what took place when the data was collected with that particular set of components and firearm. Think of a reloading manual as a report. In essence, a reloading manual says, “We tried this particular component combination, and these are the results we obtained.”
Remember that you may or may not reach the same maximum load safely. There is no “one load fits all bullets.” The minimum load data offers a safe place to start. The maximum load data listed should always be regarded as a safety guideline and not necessarily a goal! Your gun should shoot accurately without breaching the maximum load data. The best advice is: always start low and work your load up!
If you have questions about variances in load data or other reloading questions, please call our ballistic technicians at 1-800-223-8799 or send us an email at sierra [at] sierrabullets.com.
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