October 31st, 2014
NEW PRODUCT REPORT by Dennis Santiago
At the recent Western CMP Games and Creedmoor Cup Matches in Phoenix, I received a box of the all-new .30-06 Match-Grade ammunition from Dennis DeMille of Creedmoor Sports. My job was to test the ammo (at the Games) and write about it. This box was part of Creedmoor’s 3-million-round production run for the Civilian Marksmanship Program (CMP). CLICK HERE for Ammo Sales.
Author Dennis Santiago (right) with Dennis Demille of Creedmoor Sports (left).
The new .30-06 “Match-Grade” ammunition from Creedmoor is impressive. This ammo is made from top-quality components: brand new Lapua .30-06 brass and 167gr Lapua Scenar bullets. The ammo, optimized for 200-yard CMP Games tournaments, runs at 2720 fps. DeMille says the Standard Deviation (SD) is very tight with this ammo — comparable with precision hand loads. The low SD reflects great attention to detail in ammo assembly. Creedmoor’s industrial loader is run at half-speed to improve consistency. Charges are thrown precisely — I believe in two (2) half-charges.
When you hold the ammunition up to the light, each round appears a perfect clone of each other round — something that cannot be said for some other factory ammo (even so-called “match ammo”). This is about a close as one is likely to get to a precision hand load. The good news is that Creedmoor plans to produce similar ammunition in other chamberings.
The economics of the ammunition are equally intriguing. This ammo is being sold by the CMP for $1.30 per round. Think about that — new .30-06 Lapua brass sells for around $100.00 per hundred cases. So, you get to fire a precision match round for about 30 cents and have premier once-fired brass for future use. The price per rounds tells me that CMP isn’t making money on this — it is being sold at near cost to promote marksmanship.
Great Ammo at a Great Price
In offering this new .30-06 ammo at an affordable price, the CMP is making it possible for non-reloading competitors to have the same quality of ammunition as those who handload with premium components. This will be a major improvement for shooters of m1903s and M1 Garands. I think this ammo can be real equalizer for those who do not currently hand-load their own .30-06 ammunition. The CMP and Creedmoor Sports are to be commended for collaborating on this game-changing product introduction.
Where to get the Creedmoor Sports CMP .30-06 Ammo
The CMP is now selling the Creedmoor-produced .30-06 ammo on the CMP website, item #4C3006CS167-100 (click the “e-Store” button to launch shopping cart). The retail price is $130.00 per 100-round case (i.e. two boxes). That works out to $1.30 per round.*
.30-06 Ammo Performance
When someone hands you a box of ammo with a challenge how can you not throw all your match plans out the door and play? I was planning to fire the CMP GSM match with my M-1 Garand the next day using 150gr SMK handloads but I said, “What the heck. Let’s go for it.” You get five sighters in a GSM match which is plenty to zero with new ammo.
The ammo is optimized for shooting 200-yd CMP matches with rifles like my as-issued DCM M-1 Garand.
I shoot the M-1 Garand matches with a rebuilt 5-digit receiver gun with a 1950s barrel refurbished at Anniston Armory that I got from the DCM back in the day when the postman delivered them. It shoots true and has garnered its share of Western Games trinkets over the years including a number of golds and one of those coveted M-1 EIC 4 points medals. It’s a good platform for the test. Sighters revealed the Creedmoor ammo shoots about two minutes higher impact versus my pet load. The tale of the tape said 96-2X slow prone, 93-1X rapid prone and 81-1X offhand totaling 270-4X. The DCM machine took home a bronze in 2014.
Accuracy and Consistency
This Creedmoor ammo is indeed amazingly consistent. The slow prone stage was a pure joy to shoot. This ammunition is “brutally honest”. It will reveal every little error you make be it defocusing on your front sight drenching in sweat under the Phoenix sun, not being fast enough to reset your NPA mid-string in your rapid as the big gun moves you around or just being jittery on your feet during the back half of your offhand. With this ammo I felt confident to trust that any error was mine after each shot. There was no wondering about the ammo. I knew its feedback was accurate. That is a huge thing to be that confident in one’s gun and ammunition. I never felt that confident with HXP or even my handloads. If anything, I now know that even my ammo for the M1 Garand and M1903A3 will benefit from the same careful case preparation and assembly as my tactical rifle or long range ammo.
*At the Western CMP Games this Creedmoor .30-06 ammo was sold at a discounted price of $1.15 per round. That’s an example of the great deals one can get by attending CMP competitions.
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September 30th, 2014
Do you shoot a .308 Winchester (and who doesn’t)? Well here’s a great deal on Lapua .308 Win brass, the best you can buy. Ultra-consistent, Lapua brass stays strong for many reloading cycles, even with stout loads. Lapua is the choice of most F-TR competitors who shoot the .308 Win in competition.
The .308 Win Palma version brass (item BL11071) features small primer pockets. Some people believe the small primer pockets help the cases deliver a lower Extreme Spread (ES) and (maybe) withstand high pressures for more loading cycles. YMMV, but we do like the small-primer-pocket .308 Win Lapua brass and it’s our first choice for target applications.
Both types of Lapua .308 Winchester brass are now available at very attractive prices from Bullets.com: $61.95 for large primer pocket brass, $69.95 for small pocket brass. This cartridge brass is in stock today and ready to ship. CLICK HERE to order.
10/1/2014 Update: Sale Inventories of the Small Primer Pocket .308 Win Palma brass are sold out. You can still buy this brass, but the regular price is $79.95 per 100 cases.
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July 24th, 2014
Story based on report by Lars Dalseide for NRABlog.com
Kevin Nevius is the 2014 NRA smallbore prone National Champion. It’s not the first time Nevius has won the NRA Smallbore Prone Rifle crown. A phenomenal prone shooter, Nevius has now secured multiple National Titles. That may be surprising notion given Kevin’s relatively late start in the sport of competitive shooting.
“My brother got me into long range varmint hunting and I started building my own guns very early,” Nevius told Dan Holmes in an earlier Pronematch.com interview. “I had a hunting friend who shot indoor smallbore who started me in three position and I was hooked.”
With a practically perfect score of 4799-390X, Nevius beat out second and third place shooters by two points … on the final day of the Conventional Championships. The 2014 NRA National Smallbore Rifle Championships wrap up this weekend with Metric Prone. Will we have another new 2014 smallbore champion or will there finally be a repeat? Stay Tuned.
Kevin Nevius, 2014 Smallbore Prone National Champion
“He showed his steel,” said Assistant Match Director Victoria Croft. “On the last day, the final relay, when it really counted, he didn’t miss a shot.”
Kevin Nevius file photo from Southeastern Michigan Northern Ohio High Masters Shooting Club.
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June 1st, 2014
When we first ran this story a while back, it generated great interest among readers. By popular request, we’re reprinting this story, in case you missed it the first time around. — Editor
Precision shooters favor premium brass from Lapua, Norma, or RWS. (Lake City also makes quality brass in military calibers.) Premium brass delivers better accuracy, more consistent velocities, and longer life. Shooters understand the importance of good brass, but many of us have no idea how cartridge cases are actually made. Here’s how it’s done.
The process starts with a brass disk stamped from strips of metal. Then, through a series of stages, the brass is extruded or drawn into a cylindrical shape. In the extrusion process the brass is squeezed through a die under tremendous pressure. This is repeated two or three times typically. In the more traditional “draw” process, the case is progressively stretched longer, in 3 to 5 stages, using a series of high-pressure rams forcing the brass into a form die. While extrusion may be more common today, RWS, which makes some of the most uniform brass in the world, still uses the draw process: “It starts with cup drawing after the bands have been punched out. RWS cases are drawn in three ‘stages’ and after each draw they are annealed, pickled, rinsed and subjected to further quality improvement measures. This achieves specific hardening of the brass cases and increases their resistance to extraordinary stresses.” FYI, Lapua also uses a traditional draw process to manufacture most of its cartridge brass (although Lapua employs some proprietary steps that are different from RWS’s methods).
Deep-Draw Ram Illustration from Demsey Mfg.
After the cases are extruded or drawn to max length, the cases are trimmed and the neck/shoulder are formed. Then the extractor groove (on rimless cases) is formed or machined, and the primer pocket is created in the base. One way to form the primer pocket is to use a hardened steel plug called a “bunter”. In the photos below you see the stages for forming a 20mm cannon case (courtesy OldAmmo.com), along with bunters used for Lake City rifle brass. This illustrates the draw process (as opposed to extrusion). The process of draw-forming rifle brass is that same as for this 20mm shell, just on a smaller scale.
River Valley Ordnance explains: “When a case is being made, it is drawn to its final draw length, with the diameter being slightly smaller than needed. At this point in its life, the head of the draw is slightly rounded, and there are no provisions for a primer. So the final drawn cases are trimmed to length, then run into the head bunter. A punch, ground to the intended contours for the inside of the case, pushes the draw into a cylindrical die and holds it in place while another punch rams into the case from the other end, mashing the bottom flat. That secondary ram holds the headstamp bunter punch.
The headstamp bunter punch has a protrusion on the end to make the primer pocket, and has raised lettering around the face to form the headstamp writing. This is, of course, all a mirror image of the finished case head. Small cases, such as 5.56×45, can be headed with a single strike. Larger cases, like 7.62×51 and 50 BMG, need to be struck once to form a dent for the primer pocket, then a second strike to finish the pocket, flatten the head, and imprint the writing. This second strike works the brass to harden it so it will support the pressure of firing.”
Thanks to Guy Hildebrand, of the Cartridge Collectors’ Exchange, OldAmmo.com, for providing this 20mm Draw Set photo. Bunter photo from River Valley Ordnance.
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May 22nd, 2014
Richard Schatz, the “Duke of Dashers”, has done it again. Just look at that group! Believe it or not, that is five shots at 600 yards. There are four shots in one ragged hole, with one a bit to the right. The group, initially measured at between 0.402″ and 0.410″, is very close to an IBS World Record. Assuming (on the high side) that that group measures 0.410″, that works out to 0.065 MOA. Wow.
Schatz, a past IBS 600-yard National Champion, shot this group in a Heavy Gun relay on May 18, 2014 at the Columbus Sportsman’s Association range in Columbus, Wisconsin. Richard was using his trusty 6mm Dasher, a 17-lb Light Gun that he has been shooting for years. His ultra-accurate load consisted of 103gr Spencer Bullets pushed by Varget and CCI 450 primers. The Lapua brass had recently been annealed and he batched his record rounds “by feel” based on the force needed to seat the bullets.
Richard said the group involved a good bit of luck, and perfect timing. The conditions were generally “switchy and difficult” at the match. However, in one Heavy Gun relay, Richard said “the wind flags just dropped straight down at the end of the sighter period. It’s like the range went dead.” Richard had windage on his scope so he just held off to correct for the calm. “I didn’t guess the hold-off correctly”, Richard admitted, “that’s why the shots ended up at the edge of the 9 Ring.”
Twenty Seconds of Near-Perfect Shooting
Richard got his five record rounds down range in about 20 seconds. He can shoot faster but, given the exceptional conditions, he took a little more time to aim: “Because the flags dropped and conditions stayed calm, I slowed down a little. I made more of a deliberate attempt to shoot a small group — a conscious effort to aim more precisely. Normally I’ll try to shoot the quickest I can get the dot close to the center of the X. I was trying to be a little more precise this time.”
Whatever Richard did, it sure worked. That’s a spectacular group — one of the smallest ever shot at 600 yards. Richard, a modest guy, credited the group to good conditions, and good luck: “Like I always say ‘the wind can blow ‘em in just as easy as it blows ‘em out’.” Richard says this rifle, with the current Krieger barrel, can typically put five shots in about two inches at 600 yards, in calm, stable conditions.
Very Close to an IBS Heavy Gun Record
The current IBS 600-yard, five-shot Heavy Gun group record is 0.404″, set by John Lewis in 2008. This recent group by Richard Schatz is very, very close to that mark. At Columbus, Wisconsin, four different measurers examined Richard’s group on May 18th. The four measurements were: 0.402″, 0.403″, 0.410″, and 0.409″ (see photo). Whether or not this is a new record will be determined by the IBS official measurement committee to which the target is being submitted. It’s worth mentioning that Richard Schatz currently holds the IBS 600-yard Heavy Gun score record, with a value of 50 points (and 0.634″ tie-breaker).
Krieger 1:8″ twist barrel, 27″ length, 0.236″ bore
Chambered for 6mm Dasher with 0.272″ neck
and 0.104″ Freebore
Shehane “Baby Tracker” stock
Nightforce 8-32x56mm NSX Scope
Clay Spencer 103gr bullets
Lapua 6mmBR brass (formed to Dasher)
Cases skim-turned for .0035 total clearance
Hodgdon Varget powder, 32.2 grains
CCI 450 primers
Muzzle Velocity 2980 FPS
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May 9th, 2014
Lake City vs. Lapua — which brass is harder? And how about Remington vs. Winchester? Is the widely-held belief that Win brass is harder than Rem brass really true? To help settle these burning questions (raised in a Forum thread), Forum member Catshooter recently sampled the base hardness of four brands of .223/5.56 brass. He employed a very impressive tool for the task — a $2,500 Ames Hardness Gauge. Catshooter explained that his Ames Guage “is FAA certified and approved for testing aircraft engine parts — it does NOT get any better than that!”
Catshooter measured four cases picked at random from batches of Lake City (LC) 2008 (5.56x45mm), Lapua .223 Rem Match, Winchester .223 Rem, and Remington R-P .223 Rem.
Photo Shows Ames Gauge Base Hardness Measurement on Lake City Brass
Photo Show Ames Gauge Base Hardness Measurement on Winchester Brass
Using Rockwell hardness standards (.062″x100kg, Rockwell “B”), the brass measured as follows:
LC 2008 = 96
Lapua 223 Match = 86
Winchester 223 = 69
Remington “R-P” = 49
Summary of Test Results
Catshooter writes: “For all you guys that have believed that Winchester cases were tougher than Remington — you are vindicated, they are a lot tougher! However, Lake City and Lapua are ‘the pick of the litter’”. Catshooter notes that both Lake City and Lapua are significantly harder than either Winchester and Remington .223 brass. That’s something that we’ve observed empirically (Lapua and LC stand up better to stout loads), but now we have some hard numbers to back that up. Hats off to Catshooter for settling the hardness debate with his Ames Hardness Gauge.
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May 8th, 2014
Lapua’s Scenar-L bullets are extremely consistent in weight and dimensions. In our tests, the 6mm 105gr Scenar-L proved to be as uniform in weight and base-to-ogive length as any factory bullet we’ve ever measured. Scary consistent. Now there is a full line-up of Scenar-L bullets in .224, 6mm, 6.5 mm, 7mm, and .308 calibers. Yes, that’s right, Lapua now makes a 7mm match bullet. In fact, Lapua makes two: a 150-grainer and a big, high-BC, 180-grainer.
All these Scenar-L bullets are carried by Grafs.com. There are good supplies in most calibers, but the 7mm 180s (item LU4PL7401) are nearly sold out, and the 6mm 105-grainers are sold out. More of these popular 6mm and 7mm projectiles should arrive later this summer.
FREE HAT with Lapua Purchase
For a limited time, if you purchase Lapua bullets, brass, or loaded ammo from Grafs.com, you can get a FREE Lapua cap. NOTE: Quantities are limited, and this offer is restricted to one per customer.
In the above video, Peder Mørch Pedersen demonstrates the accuracy of Scenar-L bullets in a Blaser R8 GRS rifle chambered in 6mmBR Norma. Peder was shooting from bipod at 300 meters on a sunny day in Vingsted, Denmark.
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March 21st, 2014
Mid-sized 6.5mm cartridges proved themselves at the recent Shoot for the Green match in northwest Oklahoma. Four out of the top five shooters ran a rifle chambered for the 6.5×47 Lapua, with the fifth shooting the slightly larger 6.5 Creedmoor cartridge. 53 shooters from as far away as California showed up to test their skills in the stiff March winds in NW Oklahoma. The course of fire was challenging, with improvised field shooting positions and targets set as far as 1300 yards out. And there were “Troop” stages that competitors have come to expect in Oklahoma. Match winner Rick Reeves stated, “I enjoyed the troop stages more than anything else, even though I didn’t shoot them the best.”
Steve Elmenhorst shooting a Troop Stage.
Rich Emmons, who steered his 6.5x47L to fourth place, has written a match report for PrecisionRifleSeries.com. Day One saw temps around 70 degrees with only light, switchy winds. But Day Two was brutal, Emmons reports: “On Sunday… 40-50 mph winds hit NW Oklahoma hard and most competitors were woken up. To say that shooting in the 15-30 mph winds with temps in the high 30s [was really tough] is an understatement. All competitors struggled a bit and scores were understandably lower on Day Two. Conditions were brutal and both the ROs and the competitors deserve a gold star for toughing it out and finishing the match.” CLICK HERE for Complete Match Results
|Top 5 Shooters Equipment List
6.5×47 Lapua, 140 Berger Hybrid, Surgeon Action, McMillan A-5 Stock, Bartlein Barrel, Rem trigger, Vortex Razor scope, Built by DMFJ, Tab Sling & bag, Harris Bipod, AAC Suppressor.
6.5 Creedmoor, Desert Tech Armory (DTA), Benchmark Barrel, 123 Lapua Scenar, H4350 powder, Silencer Tech Suppressor, S&B PMII scope w/ H2CMR reticle.
6.5×47 Lapua, Surgeon/ Parry Custom Gun, Silencer Tech Suppresor, Benchmark Barrel, McMillan Stock, Harris Bipod, Swarovski binoculars.
6.5×47 Lapua, Surgeon Rifle, Bartlein Barrel, Mcmillan Stock, Berger 140 Hybrids, Harris Bipod, S&B PM II MSR, Vortex Binoculars, MGM Switchview, 5.11 gear, JEC brake.
6.5×47 Lapua, Surgeon Rifle, Bartlein Barrel, Mcmillan Stock, Lapua 139, Harris Bipod, S&B PM II MSR, Vortex Binoculars, AAC Suppressor.
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March 15th, 2014
Editor’s Note: We originally ran this story in 2010. Since then we have had many reader inquiries about using .22-250 Lapua brass for a 6mm cartridge. Well our friend Robert Whitley worked hard on that concept a few years back, when Lapua .22-250 brass first became available. He came up with a nice 30°-shoulder wildcat that matches the accuracy of the best mid-sized 6mm cartridges. Read all about Whitley’s 6mm-250 Imp 30 below.
Our friend Robert Whitley of 6mmAR.com has come up with a new, accurate 6mm wildcat based on the new Lapua .22-250 brass that has just started arriving. Robert provides this report:
“I just received a box of the new Lapua .22-250 cases — beautiful brass! My real desire with it was to make it into a 6mm version, preferably something that was ‘no neck-turn’ with a .308 Win-type body taper that would work well in bolt gun and semi-auto magazines and would have a capacity to allow superior velocities. I considered the 6XC, but since you have to bring a whole lot of the shoulder of the brass up into the neck (when you re-form the brass from .22-250 to 6XC) that would necessitate neck-turning it because with Lapua brass the shoulder metal is thicker than neck metal of the brass.
I wanted a simple ‘neck it up and shoot it’ approach so I made up a 6mm-250 Improved 30 cartridge (i.e. 6mm-250 Improved with a 30 degree shoulder) and this thing works great — just neck up the brass, load it and shoot it! The case is like a 6XC with a .030″ longer body and a .030″ shorter neck, which works out fine if you are going to be shooting mainly the 105-108 gr bullets (which it will do very well shooting 2950 – 3000 fps). If you want to hot-rod things, which I do not, I am certain the case can push the 105-108 gr bullets a fair amount faster.
I set it up and throated the reamer for the Sierra 107s and the Berger or JLK 105 VLDs (i.e. a .090″ free bore on the reamer) and it works great with them. If I was going to use it with the Lapua 105s or the Berger 108s I would add about .025″ – .030″ to the freebore of the reamer (i.e. make the freebore around .115″ to .120″).
The great thing is you can use a 6XC die set for it without modification, and all you need to do is keep the dies about .030″ up off the shell holder from their normal position and use them as is. You can make a spacer washer about .030″ thick that you can put on and take off the 6XC dies and use the dies for both cartridges (i.e. 6XC and 6mm-250 Imp 30).
6mm-250 Imp 30 Shows Great Accuracy
Fire-forming loads are real accurate. Here is a 10-shot group I shot prone at 100 yards shooting fire-forming loads with it — the group is the size of a dime. For fire-forming I use a milder, but still very accurate load: 32.0 grains of N140 with a Sierra 107 and a BR2 primer. For fire-formed cases you can jump up to N160 (around 38-40 grains — depending on lot) and it will push the 105-108 gr bullets real accurately in the 2950-3000 fps range, with low ES and SD. This cartridge has a neck length of .268″ which is plenty long for a 6mm shooting bullets with varying bearing surface lengths. The reamer diagram (link below) leaves about a .003″ neck clearance over a loaded round, which seems to work out very well for a ‘no-turn neck’ set-up.
So there you have it … the 6mm-250 Imp 30 is simple, easy to make, accurate as all get out, there are available factory die sets you can use, and it uses great new Lapua brass — what’s not to like!”
CLICK HERE to download Whitley 6mm-250 Imp 30 Reamer Print.
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March 14th, 2014
Lapua has a very cool video — “eye candy” for any precision shooter. Definitely WATCH THIS VIDEO. This 12-minute video contains a surprising amount of “hard” info on Lapua products. As well, there are some amazing segments showing Lapua brass and rimfire ammo being produced. Watch carefully and you’ll see most of the processes used for forming and loading brass. Another short segment shows a Lapua technician inspecting a case for run-out. Neat.
The video spotlights some of the important American and international records set with Lapua ammo. You’ll see top 300m and Olympic rifle shooters in action, and there are also short comments from many champions, including American Benchrest legend Tony Boyer.
NOTE: This is long video — you may need to let it buffer (pre-load) for 10-20 seconds before playback. If that doesn’t work, let the entire video load, then hit the replay button.
Yes, this video is first and foremost a marketing tool, but that doesn’t lessen that fact that it is fascinating to watch. We suspect many of you will want to save the video to your computer for future viewing. That’s easy to do. Just click on the link below. (Note: After downloading, we suggest that PC users play it back through Windows Media Player. You can then drag the Media Player corners to expand the video viewing size.)
CLICK HERE to download 25mb Lapua Video (fast connection recommended).
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January 20th, 2014
It’s official. Representatives of Lapua announced at SHOT Show 2014 that Nammo has purchased Vihtavuori, acquiring the “VV” line of propellants, and, most importantly, taking over Vihtavuori’s powder production facility in Vihtavuori, Finland.
This means that Vihtavuori is now officially under the Nammo umbrella as is Lapua, producer of brass, bullets, and loaded ammunition. Lapua engineer Tommi Tuuri has visited the Vihtavuori plant in person. Tommi says all operations are going well and the plant is running at normal capacity (but Nammo does plan some upgrades in the months ahead). Vihtavuori powders will continue to be imported into the United States as before and the powders will be made available through existing distribution channels.
Learn More about Nammo Purchase of Vihtavuori Powder Factory
The Vihtavuori Powder factory is located in Vihtavuori, Finland. Click marker to zoom.
View Larger Map
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December 28th, 2013
E. Arthur Brown Company, Eabco.com, has been a faithful sponsor of this site for many years. Right now, EABCO is giving back to its customers, with a special 15% Off discount on all inventory in stock — that’s right, all inventory on the shelves (no back-orders). Eabco carries a wide selection of shooting accessories, reloading tools and dies, plus a full line of reloading components, including Lapua brass, and bullets from Barnes, Berger, Hornady, Lapua, Nosler, and Swift. EABCO also offers popular rimfire and centerfire ammunition. This special year-end Inventory Reduction Sale is good through 8:00 am CST on December 30th, 2013. So you have two more days to enjoy the 15% Store-wide Savings. To qualify for the 15% discount, use Promo Code 15EAB at check-out.
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