June 17th, 2016

Lapua Launches Facebook Page for Shooting Enthusiasts

:"Lapua

Social Media fans take note — Lapua is now on Facebook. Lapua recently launched its official Facebook page focusing on Lapua sport shooting components and ammunition. The page will feature shooting news, match results, product info, shooter profiles, videos, tech tips, and other Lapua-related material. You can follow Lapua on Facebook by visiting www.facebook.com/LapuaAmmunition.

Lapua Products and Company History
Lapua (officially Nammo Lapua Oy), is part of the large Nordic Nammo Group. Lapua’s main products include premium cartridge brass, bullets, small caliber cartridges, rimfire cartridges, and reloading components for civilian and professional use. The Lapua cartridge factory was established in 1923. From a modest and practical beginning, Lapua has grown into one of the most respected brands in the industry. The best shooters in the world choose Lapua cartridges and components. In 2014, Nammo acquired the Vihtavuori smokeless powder factory.

Permalink Bullets, Brass, Ammo, News No Comments »
June 9th, 2016

Using a 50-Yard Sighting Target with Vintage Military Rifles

Garand sighting 50 yard target

Take a look at that unusual target below. We bet you’ve never seen one of these before. It’s a 50-Yard Sighting Target for the M1 Garand. It’s designed to allow a rifleman to confirm his zeros for multiple yardages all the way out to 1000 yards. But importantly, he can establish those zeros at a very “short” shooting facility, since the target is positioned at a mere 50 yards.

Garand sighting 50 yard target

Here’s how it works. The target is placed at fifty (50) yards. You start at the bottom, aiming at the black circle. Then check your come-up table and work your way up, clicking step-by-step to the various horizontal lines set for 200, 300, 500, 600 and 1000 yards. This is NOT “spray and pray” — you need to have a pretty good idea of the clicks you need, based on your ammo’s ballistics. This target is calibrated for the U.S. Military M72 Ball Ammo. The targets are available from Champion’s Choice ($0.75 each) or from Creedmoor Sports (12 for $5.95).

Lapua’s Kevin Thomas used this target to get zeroed for the recent D-Day Anniversary Match at the Talladega Marksmanship Park. Kevin used the target for both his M1 Garand as well as his M1903A1 Springfield, both chambered for the .30-06 Springfield cartridge.

Garand sighting 50 yard target

Zeroing at a Short Distance — How to Use the 50-Yard Sighting Target, by Kevin Thomas
As part of my preparation for the Garand Match at the CMP’s Talladega Marksmanship Park, I needed to zero my new M1 Garand, but I was crunched for time. I didn’t have time to get to my normal range and confirm zeros at actual yardages. But a 50-yard zero target came to the rescue. Made for M1s using the M72 National Match ammo, the target allows the shooter to establish fairly good zeros at 200, 300, 500, 600 and 1,000 yards if you’ve got access to a 50-yard range.

I have no idea when these 50-yard Sighting Targets were first developed, but they’ve been around for at least as long as I’ve been involved in this game (longer than I care to admit). It consists of a tall target, with a smallish black bullseye located at the bottom center. The bullseye is an aiming point only. Extending through the top of the target is a vertical line that runs directly up the center, to nearly the top of the paper. Across this, there are intersecting horizontal lines that are marked 200, 300, 500, 600 and 1,000.

The target was designed for the M1 rifle using then-issued M72 National Match ammunition. This ammo launched a 173gr FMJBT bullet at approximately 2,640 fps. It was a good load in its day, supersonic out to the 1,000-yard line. While that ammo is fairly scarce these days, this isn’t a problem for the handloader. My standard match load for the M1 Garand utilizes the 175gr Lapua Scenar HPBT, and delivers remarkably similar ballistic performance. Thus my normal Garand load translates nicely to this 50-yard target. Yes, this is by design. No point in reinventing the wheel when Lake City has already established what works!

Garand sighting 50 yard target

In use, the shooter sets the target up at a measured 50 yards, and (this is critical) checks the vertical line with a plumb bob or a carpenter’s level, to ensure that it is absolutely vertical. Once the target is set, the rifle is fired and the group noted. From there, it is a simple matter of zeroing it normally to bring the groups into alignment with the vertical line, at the elevation needed for a particular range. Once your group is hammering the intersection of the vertical line and the horizontal line marked “200”, you have established your 200-yard zero for that rifle. Record the number of clicks, and you’re good to go. Raise the impacts up to coincide with the line marked “300” and you now have a 300-yard zero as well. And so on, right up the target. Record those settings in your data book, and you’re ready to go to the range at the full distances. If done carefully, you may be in the X-Ring, but at the very least, you’ll be well-centered and ready to get some hard dope recorded for future shoots.

The same target can also be used with an M14/M1A, at least at the shorter distances. The ballistics of the M118 and the current M118LR are similar enough that this will get you on target at the full distances, probably requiring just a half MOA or so change from the 50 yard zero you recorded. Same bullets, moving at a slightly more sedate 2,550 fps, you’ll be in the ballpark at least.

Bryan Litz has recently popularized the short-range zeroing methods once again, reintroducing it to a new generation of shooters that may not have been aware of the old M72 short-range zero target. The same principles apply, and with the advent of the myriad computer ballistics programs and chronographs on the market today, any shooter can rapidly develop his own zero targets to accomplish the same result. But in the meantime, especially with the M1’s resurgent popularity, it’s nice to know that there’s an easy way to do things without a trip to a full-length range. The modestly-priced 50-Yard Sighting Targets can be ordered through Champion’s Choice or Creedmoor Sports.

Oh, and when I arrived in Talladega, yes, my zeros were good! All’s well that ends well. Safe Shooting! — Kevin Thomas

Permalink Competition, Tech Tip 5 Comments »
March 8th, 2016

U.S. F-TR Team Raffle Tonight — $9000.00 Package

USA F-TR Raffle .338 Lapua Kelblys Gemtech Nightforce

Lapua Supports U.S F-TR Rifle Team
Lapua continues its support of the U.S. Rifle Team (F-TR) by donating Lapua factory-loaded .338 Lapua Magnum ammunition as part of a raffle package to raise funds for the Team. The raffle will take place this evening, on March 8, 2016.

The U.S. Rifle Team is raffling off a .338 Lapua Magnum Tactical Rifle donated and built by Kelbly’s Rifles. The raffle package includes a Nightforce Optics ATACR 5-25x56mm scope, 100 rounds of .338 Lapua Magnum 300gr OTM Scenar ammunition, plus a Gemtech Arrow suppressor

The total package value is over $9,000!

All of the proceeds from this raffle will be used to train and equip the U.S. Rifle Team as the team prepares for the 2017 World Championships in Canada.

USA F-TR Raffle .338 Lapua Kelblys Gemtech Nightforce

About the U.S. Rifle Team (F-TR):
The U.S. Rifle Team (F-TR) is the two-time, Farquharson Target Rifle (F-TR) discipline World Championship winning squad. The U.S. Rifle Team competes regularly against other nation’s F-TR squads. At the 2013 World Championships, 17 nations were represented. The next World Championships will be held at Connaught Range near Ottawa, Canada in 2017. All of the rifles used in the F-TR class are chambered in either the .308 Winchester or .223 Remington calibers. This ensures a level playing field for all competitors. Every match winner can rightly say that it was their skill, not their caliber, that won the day. Most of our team events are fired at targets 1000 yards away. The inner-most scoring ring on our target is five inches in diameter. The next ring is ten inches in diameter. These shooters manage to put the vast majority of their shots inside that 10-inch ring at 1000 yards! Learn more about the US Rifle Team at www.USRifleTeam.com.

USA F-TR Raffle .338 Lapua Kelblys Gemtech Nightforce

The U.S. F-TR Team Raffle, report by Ray Gross, Team Captain
Our raffle has been a huge success thanks to a number of sponsors who stepped forward to help out. A special thank you goes to Ian Kelbly, who offered to help out before I even asked. Kelbly’s became the first new sponsor of our team after I became Captain. Nightforce has been a long-time sponsor of our team and has been a huge help this cycle. Bryan Litz is a member of the team and his company, Applied Ballistics, is a sponsor. Bryan contacted Applied Ballistic Munitions and they happily donated ammo to our prize. Adam Braverman of Lapua, also a long-time team sponsor, sought us out, to help with our raffle.

What’s great about all of these companies is that we were already using their products, they didn’t have to sponsor us to get us to use them. We are in the business of winning and we have to use the best products. It speaks very highly of each of them that they are committed to supporting the shooting sports.

Permalink Competition, News No Comments »
January 29th, 2016

Lapua Releases Third-Generation Lead-Free Naturalis Bullets

Lapua Naturalis bullet ammo hunting ammunition lead-free no lead

In some parts of the country, hunters are now required to use lead-free bullets. Expect restrictions on lead-based ammo to become more widespread in the years to come. Recognizing this, Lapua has upgraded its line of Naturalis bullets. Fitted with a distinctive green polymer tip, Naturalis bullets employ lead-free 99% copper construction. A hollow cavity provides reliable, uniform expansion, and the solid copper bullet body offers excellent knock-down power and weight retention.

The latest lead-free Naturalis bullets boast less drag and enhanced expansion. These third-generation Naturalis projectiles have been streamlined for better aerodynamics. In addition, Lapua has lowered the velocity threshold for consistent expansion by roughly 100 fps. This significantly broadens the velocity range in which the bullets will reliably expand.

Naturalis bullets feature extremely high weight retention, as demonstrated in the video above. (Note: the video has graphic sequences showing game flesh). The mushrooming of the bullet starts immediately on impact. The expansion process is started by the green polymer “valve” at the tip of the bullet, leading the bullet to expand symmetrically and without fragmentation. Watch the video for a demonstration of Naturalis bullet performance in ballistic media and game animals.

Lapua Naturalis bullet ammo hunting ammunition lead-free no lead

Naturalis lead-free bullets are available as components for handloaders, or loaded into Lapua factory-made cartridges. The Naturalis bullet line ranges in weight from 90 grains (6mm) up to 250 grains (9.3 mm). Bullets are offered in most popular calibers: 6mm, 6.5mm, 7mm, .308 (7.62mm), 8mm, .338, and 9.3 mm. Naturalis bullets and factory ammo are available from major retailers such as Grafs.com.

Lapua Naturalis bullet ammo hunting ammunition lead-free no lead

Permalink Bullets, Brass, Ammo, Hunting/Varminting 4 Comments »
December 28th, 2015

Flash-Hole Fix — Clearing Flash-Hole Obstructions in Your Brass

Flash-hole reamer

Even with high-quality brass from Lapua, Norma, and RWS, occasionally you may find one or two cases per box which have a small flake or obstruction in the flash-hole. This will appear like a thin crescent on one side of the flash hole (see photo). You should inspect ALL new brass before loading to identify any pieces with a partially-obstructed flash hole. It’s a good idea to remove any flake or thin crescent left as an artifact of the flash-hole forming process. Because the flash-hole itself is normally centered and of the correct diameter, it is not necessary to ream the flash-hole to a larger diameter. All you really need to do is remove the small obstruction(s). This can be done quickly with inexpensive tools.

Use a Small Pin Vise to Remove Flash-Hole Obstructions
Folks have asked if there is a tool that can remove obstructions from a Lapua small, BR-sized flash hole without opening the hole size. The Lapua PPC/BR flash hole is spec’d at 1.5mm, which works out to 0.059055″. Most of the PPC/BR flash-hole uniforming tools on the market use a 1/16″ bit which is nominally 0.0625″, but these often run oversize — up to 0.066″.

If you want to just clear out any obstructions in the flash hole, without increasing the flash hole diameter, you can use an inexpensive “pin vise” with an appropriate drill bit. For $1.00, eHobbyTools.com sells a 1.5mm drill bit, item 79186, that matches the Lapua flash hole exactly. Other vendors offer a #53 pin vise drill bit that measures .0595″ or .060″ (depending or source). An 0.0595″ bit is close enough. You can find pin vises and these small-diameter drill bits at hobby stores.

Pin vises Lapua Flash hole

For quite some time, Sinclair Int’l has sold a similar device for small (PPC and BR-size) flash holes. Like the 07-3081 unit for large flash holes, the 073000 Reamer for small flash holes works from the outside, so it can index off the primer pocket. It reams to .0625″, and also costs $39.99. The standard dimension for Lapua 220 Russian and 6mmBR flash holes is 1.5mm or .0590″. This tool will permit standard-size decapping rods with .0625″ tips to work without binding. However, note that both Forster and Redding normally supply .057″ decapping pins with their PPC and BR dies. So, it is NOT necessary to ream your Lapua BR/PPC flashholes, unless you prefer to do so for uniformity. It IS, however, a good idea to check BR/PPC flash holes for burrs before loading the first time.

AccurateShooter Sinclair Flash Hole Reamer

NOTE: If you purchase either the 073081 or 073000 Sinclair Flash Hole Reamer tools, we recommend you mic the cutter tip before you process a bunch of cases. Sometimes a tip comes through that is oversize. This will ream the flash holes larger than you may intend.

Permalink Reloading, Tech Tip 2 Comments »
December 13th, 2015

Mysteries Revealed — How Cartridge Brass is Made

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

Rifle cartridge brass manufacturingPrecision 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).

RWS Brass Cartridge Draw process

Deep-Draw Ram Illustration from Demsey Mfg.
deep draw cartridge brass animated gif

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.

20mm cartridge brass forming

20mm Draw Set Oldammo.com

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.

Lake City Brass bunter

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.

Permalink Reloading, Tech Tip No Comments »
December 10th, 2015

Cortina’s Corner: Using the Giraud Power Trimmer

Erik Cortina Meplat Giraud Case Trimmer YouTube Video Lapua

Trimming and chamfering brass are tasks hand-loaders grow to hate. Those chores are time-consuming and tiresome. Thankfully there are faster, better alternatives to manual trimming/chamfering. In this article, Forum member Erik Cortina shows how to use the Giraud tool which trims and chamfers in one operation. Erik has his own YouTube Channel dedicated to precision reloading and accurizing. Here we feature Erik’s video about the “mother of all brass trimmers”, the Giraud powered case trimmer. Erik says: “If you do volume reloading… this is the only trimmer to get. It not only trims to length but it also chamfers your case mouth inside and out.” In his video, Erik offers some very clever and useful tips that will help you get the most from your Giraud.

The Giraud trimmer is very precise. When set up correctly, it can trim brass with amazing consistency. In the video, Erik trims five pieces of brass in 15 seconds (6:32 mark). He then measures all five with precision calipers (7:00-8:08). All lengths are exact within .0005 (half a thousandth). Erik notes that the Giraud trimmer indexes off the case shoulder. As long as you have fire-formed brass with consistent base-to-shoulder dimensions, you should get very consistent trim lengths.

The secret to the system is a 3-way cutting head. This cutter can be swapped in and out in a couple minutes with wrenches provided with the kit. Erik has three different heads; one each for 6.5mm, 7mm, and .30 caliber. The video shows how to adjust the cutting heads to match caliber diameter (and to get the desired amount of inside/outside chamfer).

To trim and chamfer cases, you simply insert them nose-first into the cartridge-specific case-holder. Erik offers a smart tip — He uses a die locking ring to position the cartridge holder (3:15). This can be locked in place. Erik says die locking rings work much better than the hex-nuts provided by Giraud (with the hex-nut, one must re-set cut length each time you change case-holders.)

Erik Cortina Meplat Giraud Case Trimmer YouTube Video Lapua

The Giraud can be used in either horizontal or vertical modes. Erik prefers to have the trimmer aligned vertically, allowing him to push cases down on the trimmer head. But the trimming unit has twin sets of rubber feet, allowing horizontal or vertical orientation.

Erik Cortina Meplat Giraud Case Trimmer YouTube Video Lapua

Improved Case-Holder Made with Chamber Reamer:
For his .284 Shehane, Erik had to create his own case-holder (Giraud does not make one for that wildcat cartridge). Erik used his chamber reamer. To his surprise, Erik found that the brass was easier to trim in the custom case holder (compared to the Giraud-made spring-loaded holders). With a perfect fit, trimming and case extraction went more smoothly and the process was easier on his hands. (See 9:00-10:00). Based on Erik’s experience, you may want to create your own custom case-holder.

Trim Bullet Meplats Also
With a special bullet-holder fitting and meplat cutter head, the Giraud power trimmer can be used to trim bullet meplats. Trimming meplats can help make the Ballistic Coefficents of a batch of bullets more consistent. Uniforming meplats is also often done as a first step in the process of “tipping” bullets to improve BC.

Erik Cortina Meplat Giraud Case Trimmer YouTube Video Lapua

Giraud Power Trimmer

Permalink - Videos, Gear Review, Reloading No Comments »
December 3rd, 2015

Get Info for 3900 Bullets in FREE Online Database

ShooterForum Bullet Database

Here’s a valuable web resource our readers should bookmark for easy access in the future. ShootForum.com offers a vast Bullet Database, which includes roughly 3900 bullet designs in all. We counted nearly 200 different 6mm bullets! The bullet info comes from the makers of QuickLOAD Software. Access to the online database is FREE. Most database entries include Caliber, Manufacturer, Stated Bullet Weight, True Bullet Weight, Length, Sectional Density (SD), and Ballistic Coefficient.* In many cases multiple BCs are provided for different velocity ranges.

The coverage of the Bullet Database is amazing. Manufacturers in the database include: A-Square, Barnaul, Barnes, Berger, Brenneke, Calhoon, CDP, CheyTac, ColoradoBonded, CT, DAG, David Tubb, Delsing, DEWC, DKT, DTK, DYN, Federal, Fiocchi, FMJ, FN, Fortek, FP, Freedom, Frontier, GECO, Gian-Marchet, GPA, GS-Custom, H&N, Hawk, HeviShot, Hirtenberger, Hornady, HP, Igman, IMI, IMI-Samson, Impala, JDJ, JLK, Klimovsk, Lapua, LEADEx, LEE, Lehigh, LIMA, LostRiver, LYM, MEN, Mil, Norinco, Norma, NorthFork, Nosler, PMC, PMP, Powell, PrviPartizan, Rainier, RCBS, Reichenberg, Remington, RN, RNFP, RUAG, RWS, Sako, Sellier-Bellot, Shilen, Sierra, Sinterfire, Speer, Stoklossa, SWC, Swift, Swiss, The Gun Haus, TMJ, WestCoast, Winchester, WM-Bullets and Woodleigh.

The database is great if you’re looking for an unusual caliber, or you want a non-standard bullet diameter to fit a barrel that is tighter or looser than spec. You’ll find the popular jacketed bullets from major makers, plus solids, plated bullets, and even cast bullets. For those who don’t already own QuickLOAD software, this is a great resource, providing access to a wealth of bullet information.

Values for Changed Bullet Designs
Some of our readers have noted some variances with BCs and OALs with recently changed bullet designs. In general the database is very useful and accurate. However, as with any data resource this extensive, there will be a few items that need to be updated. Manufacturers can and do modify bullet shapes. Kevin Adams, one of the creators of the database, explains: “Thanks for mentioning this database. It took us a long time to collate this information and have agreement to publish it. Please keep in mind that individual batches of bullets will differ from the manufacturers’ stated standards. This is more a reflection on the manufacturers’ tolerances than the database ‘accuracy’. We will continue to add to the database as more manufacturers’ figures come available.”

Permalink Bullets, Brass, Ammo, Reloading 4 Comments »
November 25th, 2015

Lapua Brass on Sale at Brownells

Lapua Brass Sale

Here’s something you don’t see very often — Lapua cartridge brass on sale. As part of its Back-to-Black promotion, Brownells has deeply discounted its inventories of Lapua Brass. For most cartridges/calibers, the price has been reduced at least $10.00 per 100-count box. Here are the sale prices, good through the end of the week:

.222 Rem – $53.99 (reg. $61.99)
.223 Rem – $53.99 (reg. $61.99)
220 Russian – $89.99 (reg. $99.99)
.22-250 – $89.99 (reg. $99.99)
6mmBR – $81.99 (reg. $91.99)
.243 Winchester – $89.99 (reg. $99.99)
6.5 Grendel – $89.99 (reg. $99.99)
6.5×47 Lapua – $99.99 (reg. $109.99)

260 Remington – $89.99 (reg. $99.99)
6.5×55 Swedish – $71.99 (reg. $81.99)
6.5-284 – $109.99 (reg. $124.99)
7.62×39 – $54.99 (reg. $59.99)
.308 Winchester – $69.99 (reg. $79.99)
.308 Win Palma – $76.99 (reg. $86.99)
.30-06 Springfield – $99.99 (reg. $109.99)
.338 Lapua Magnum – $239.99 (reg. $269.99)

Permalink Bullets, Brass, Ammo, Hot Deals No Comments »
November 18th, 2015

Rebecca Rules — Aussie Lady Dominates Down Under

Rimfire Air rifle benchrest Rebecca Richards Australia

We congratulate Rebecca Richards of Australia for her incredible shooting in the recent RBA Benchrest Grand Prix at the Sydney International Shooting Centre. Consider this, out of the five (5) benchrest classes competing (two air rifle, and three rimfire) Rebecca won four classes outright while placing third in the fifth class. Wow — that represents complete and total domination. Remarkably, Rebecca dropped only 10 points in four days of shooting.

Rebecca’s amazing 4-day performance was near perfection. Overall, she scored 2740 out of a total of 2750 possible points. She shot four of 11 targets with perfect 250/250 scores, and six more with 249/250. Over the course of the event she hit 152 “dots” (center bulls) out of a total possible 275. That’s pretty amazing if you understand how small those center bulls really are. Take a look at the target photo below — the center dot is tiny.

Rimfire Air rifle benchrest Rebecca Richards Australia

All in all, this was a performance for the ages — one of the best combined airgun/rimfire benchrest performances in Southern Hemisphere history. Kudos to Rebecca for her brilliant performance.

Here’s the modern Sydney International Shooting Centre…
Rimfire Air rifle benchrest Rebecca Richards Australia

Now THAT’s a Shooting Range… CLICK HERE for Slide Show.
Rimfire Air rifle benchrest Rebecca Richards Australia

CREDIT: Thanks to March Scopes for providing this story. Rebecca uses many March scopes including a 10-60X, 5-32X, and 40X Benchrest model.

Permalink Competition, News 4 Comments »
September 15th, 2015

St. Louis Club Hosts NBRSA and World Benchrest Championships

NBRSA WBSF Championship St. Louis Walt Berger

The NBRSA short-range Group Benchrest Nationals commenced this week at the St. Louis Benchrest Club Range in Wright City, Missouri. This will be followed, next week, by the World Benchrest Shooting Federation (WBSF) Championships at the same venue. Lapua staffer (and Forum member) Kevin Thomas trekked to Missouri for this combined National/International event. Kevin reports: “The best benchrest shooters [on the planet] will fight it out over the next two weeks to see who can shoot the smallest groups possible. And I’ve got to say, many of these shooters are truly amazing. It doesn’t hurt a bit that virtually all of them are shooting Lapua brass, either.”

The WBSF event has attracted shooters from around the world. Benchrest aces from Australia, Canada, Great Britain, and South Africa are already in St. Louis, with other international competitors set to arrive next week. On Monday, Day One of the NBRSA Nationals, the Unlimited Class rigs showed off their capabilities. As shown below, these heavy rail guns represent the pinnacle of precision in the 100/200-yard benchrest game.

NBRSA WBSF Championship St. Louis Walt Berger

Here’s living legend Walt Berger, founder of Berger Bullets. Now in his late 80s, Walt is still competing at a very high level. Walt is proof that Benchrest shooting is truly a “sport for a lifetime”.

NBRSA WBSF Championship St. Louis Walt Berger

Here’s a beautiful Missouri sunrise captured as Kevin Thomas drove to St. Louis for the 2015 NBRSA Benchrest Championships.

Permalink Competition 2 Comments »
September 14th, 2015

Tests Show Lapua .260 Remington Brass is Very Uniform

If you have a rifle chambered in .260 Remington, you may be wondering if the Lapua .260 Brass is worth the money compared to domestic-made brass. Well, the answer is “yes” if you demand consistent weight and dimensional uniformity (including neckwall thickness).

Mike Harpster of Dead Center Sports took the time to weigh and measure Lapua .260 Rem brass. His test show this brass to be extremely uniform. Weight variance was less than one (1) grain in a 20-case sample. And case neckwall thickness was very consistent.

Report by Mike Harpster: Lapua .260 Rem Brass Test Results (with Comparisons)
I pulled twenty (20) pieces randomly from one Lapua box to do some measurements. I weighed them on my Mettler-Toledo digital lab scale and here are the individual weights of each case. Remarkably, the Lapua brass had less than one grain total weight variance among all 20 cases!

While checking the Lapua brass I remembered I had just received some Winchester brand .308 brass, so I thought it would be interesting to do a comparison between the two brands. I again pulled 20 cases at random from a bag of 50 and repeated the same measurements. The results are shown in the right half of the table below.

Weight Variance Lapua .260 Rem Brass vs. Winchester-Brand .308 Win Brass

LAPUA .260 Rem Brass Winchester .308 Win Brass
Average: 172.20 grains
ES: 0.94 grains
SD: 0.259
Average: 158.49 grains
ES: 2.64 grains
SD: 0.678

Winchester Brass Further Inspection
The flash holes on the majority of the Winchester brass were not round or centered and they had large burrs inside. The neck wall thickness was pretty consistent, varying only .0015″ (.0125″ – .014″). As you can see in the photo (right) many of the Winchester cases were badly dented while the Lapua brass showed very few minor dents. The annealing on the necks of the Lapua brass was clearly evident while the Winchester showed no signs of being annealed. [Editor’s note: Winchester tumble-polishes its brass before shipping — so you would not notice annealing coloration if annealing had been done.]

Lapua Brass Further Inspection
With sample Lapua .260 Rem cases, I also measured the neck wall thickness in four places with calipers, not the most accurate method but I feel confident that the thickness did not vary more than .001″ over the 20 cases (.0145-.0155). The inside diameter of the neck measured .260 which would give .004 of neck tension out of the box. I visually checked the flash holes and I did not find any flakes of brass or burrs inside, the holes were round and centered.

Summary — This Lapua Brass is Impressive
I have never done these measurements on any other brass so I don’t know how they compare, but I am very impressed with the overall quality of the Lapua .260 brass. If they prove to hold up to the repeated firings I get from my Lapua 6BR brass I believe .260 shooters will be very happy.

Mike Harpster — Dead Center Sports
105 Sunrise Drive
Spring Mills, PA 16875
phone: 814-571-4655
www.deadcentersports.com

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August 25th, 2015

Records Broken at 2015 High Power Silhouette Nationals

Lapua Team High Power Silhouette Championship

With so much action going on at Camp Perry, Ohio this August (including the Fullbore Worlds), you might not realize that another NRA rifle championship was taking place simultaneously in Pennsylvania. The NRA High Power Hunter Rifle Silhouette Championship was held 6-8 August at the Ridgway Rifle Club, in Ridgway, Pennsylvania. This event attracted the nation’s top silhouette shooters.

Lapua Team High Power Silhouette ChampionshipAt this year’s Silhouette Championship, Team Lapua shooters Cathy Winstead-Severin and Mark Pharr finished first and second overall. The match went down to the wire, with Cathy edging out Mark in a shoot-off for the overall title. Earlier in the competition, Cathy set a new Woman’s National Record in a 120-shot course with a stunning 97/120, breaking the previous record of 90 by seven points. Another record was broken by the Hunter Rifle Team of Cathy Winstead-Severin, Mark Pharr, and Mallory Nichols. This talented Team Lapua threesome set a new national record of 295, besting the mark set in 2004. Team Lapua also took second place in the Standard Rifle Team Division.

16-Year-Old Girl Finishes Fourth in Hunter Class
Team Lapua’s youngest member, 16-year old Mallory Nichols, was incredibly impressive as she entered the competition as an AA shooter and blasted her way through AAA into Master class in finishing fourth overall in Hunter Rifle. (She was in the running for third place overall, until a shoot-off with Eric Boos of Washington, who finished third). Nichols also set new national records for Long Run for Women and Intermediate-Junior hitting 18 pigs in a row. The previous Intermediate-Junior record was 14 set by Luke Johnson in 2011.

Lapua Team High Power Silhouette Championship

Winning Silhouette Loads
2015 Overall Silhouette Champion Cathy Winstead-Severin was shooting a 6-6.5×47 Lapua with 90-grain and 105-grain OTM Scenar bullets, pushed by Vihtavuori N135 powder. Mark Pharr and young Mallory Nichols were both shooting the regular 6.5×47 Lapua cartridge with 108-grain and 139-grain OTM Scenar bullets and Vihtavouri N140 powder.

6.5x47 silhouettelapua

Permalink Competition, News 2 Comments »
August 23rd, 2015

Product Review: Hornady 6.5 Grendel Brass

Hornady 6.5 Grendel brass

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.”

Hornady 6.5 Grendel brass 6mmAR TurboRobert 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″

Permalink Bullets, Brass, Ammo, Reloading 1 Comment »
June 13th, 2015

Special Offer: Lapua-Branded Cooler from Grafs.com

Lapua brand thermal chest cooler grafs.com

We know you guys will like this, since most of you are using Lapua brass for your precision handloads. Now, for a limited time, Grafs.com is offering a custom thermal chest in Lapua livery with a Lapua logo. Use this cooler for your favorite beverage… or better yet, keep your precious match ammo cool. You will definitely get noticed at the range if you shelter your ammunition in a Lapua cooler. A $24.99 value, this Lapua thermal chest is FREE with the purchase of at least $200.00 in Lapua products from Grafs.com. Order a couple boxes of brass and a box of Scenars and you’ve earned yourself a cooler (limit one per customer).

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February 24th, 2015

For the Man Who Has Everything — Lapua 9mm Brass

Here’s something you don’t see every day — pistol-caliber Lapua brass. We shoot superior Lapua brass in our rifles, and now you can get the “good stuff” for your 9mm pistols too. It’s nice to know that Lapua 9mm brass is available for those guys who accept “nothing but the best”. Grafs.com received a special order of 9mm Luger (aka 9x19mm or 9mm NATO) pistol brass made by Lapua. It is available right now for $19.99 per 100-count bag or $179.99 per 1000-count box. That’s 38% off the regular 1K box price.

Smith Wesson 929 9mm revolver miculek

When It Pays to Shoot Premium Pistol Brass
Is this Lapua 9mm brass worth the price compared to the cheaper alternatives (such as once-fired police range pickups)? We think the answer depends on your application. If you shoot a 9mm pistol in Bullseye competition, yes it makes sense to get the Lapua. Or, if you have a 9mm revolver that carries the shells in a moon clip, the Lapua brass may be worth getting. With a 9mm revolver, your brass is not marred by an extractor claw and then ejected on to the ground. If we had the impressive new 8-shot, Miculek Edition Smith & Wesson model 929 9mm revolver (below), we’d definitely shoot Lapua brass.

Smith Wesson 929 9mm revolver miculek

Permalink Bullets, Brass, Ammo, New Product 1 Comment »
January 18th, 2015

Accurate 6mm Wildcat Made with Lapua .22-250 Brass

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.

Lapua 22-250 .22-250 brassOur 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.

Whitley 6mm-260 22-250

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).

Lapua 22-250 brass6mm-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.

Permalink Bullets, Brass, Ammo, Reloading 5 Comments »
January 13th, 2015

Using the Giraud Power Trimmer — Smart Video from Erik Cortina

Forum member Erik Cortina recently launched his own YouTube Channel dedicated to precision reloading and accurizing. Erik’s videos demonstrate the proper use of specialized reloading tools and provide helpful hints. Erik’s latest video is about the “mother of all brass trimmers”, the Giraud powered case trimmer. Erik says: “It you do volume reloading… this is the only trimmer to get. It not only trims to length but it also chamfers your case mouth inside and out.” In his video, Erik offers some very clever and useful tips that will help you get the most from your Giraud.

The Giraud trimmer is very precise. When set up correctly, it can trim brass with amazing consistency. In the video, Erik trims 5 pieces of brass in 15 seconds (6:32 mark). He then measures all five with precision calipers (7:00-8:08). All lengths are exact within .0005 (half a thousandth). Erik notes that the Giraud trimmer indexes off the case shoulder. As long as you have fire-formed brass with consistent base-to-shoulder dimensions, you should get very consistent trim lengths.

The secret to the system is a 3-way cutting head. This cutter can be swapped in and out in a couple minutes with wrenches provided with the kit. Erik has three different heads; one each for 6.5mm, 7mm, and .30 caliber. The video shows how to adjust the cutting heads to match caliber diameter (and to get the desired amount of inside/outside chamfer).

This is a manufacturer’s photo showing an older model.
Erik Cortina Meplat Giraud Case Trimmer YouTube Video Lapua

To trim and chamfer cases, you simply insert them nose-first into the cartridge-specific case-holder. Erick offers a smart tip — He uses a die locking ring to position the cartridge holder (3:15). This can be locked in place. Erik says die locking rings work much better than the hex-nuts provided by Giraud (with the hex-nut, one must re-set cut length each time you change case-holders.)

Erik Cortina Meplat Giraud Case Trimmer YouTube Video Lapua

The Giraud can be used in either horizontal or vertical modes. Erik prefers to have the trimmer aligned vertically, allowing him to push cases down on the trimmer head. But the trimming unit has twin sets of rubber feet, allowing horizontal or vertical orientation.

Erik Cortina Meplat Giraud Case Trimmer YouTube Video Lapua

Improved Case-Holder Made with Chamber Reamer:
For his .284 Shehane, Erik had to create his own case-holder (Giraud does not make one for that wildcat cartridge). Erik used his chamber reamer. To his surprise, Erik found that the brass was easier to trim in the custom case holder (compared to the Giraud-made spring-loaded holders). With a perfect fit, trimming and case extraction went more smoothly and the process was easier on his hands. (See 9:00-10:00). Based on Erik’s experience, you may want to create your own custom case-holder.

Trim Bullet Meplats Also
With a special bullet-holder fitting and meplat cutter head, the Giraud power trimmer can be used to trim bullet meplats. Trimming meplats can help make the Ballistic Coefficents of a batch of bullets more consistent. Uniforming meplats is also often done as a first step in the process of “tipping” bullets to improve BC.

Erik Cortina Meplat Giraud Case Trimmer YouTube Video Lapua

Giraud Power Trimmer

Permalink - Videos, Reloading, Tech Tip 8 Comments »
December 27th, 2014

Primer Pocket Gauge — Cool Tool Checks for Loose Pockets

Repeated firings at stout pressures can cause primer pockets to grow in diameter. This can create an unsafe condition if your primers are not seating properly. Are your primer pockets “good to go”, or have they been pushed to the point of no return? Do you really know? Many guys try to gauge primer pocket tightness by “feel”, as they seat the primer. But that method isn’t precise. Now there’s a better way…

Primer depth diameter gauge brass cartridgeThe folks at Ballistictools.com have created a handy set of precision-machined gauges that let you quickly and accurately check your primer pockets. These gauges are offered in two sizes — for large and small primer pockets. A two-piece set of both large and small gauges costs just $19.99. These gauges let you quickly measure the depth of a primer pocket, and check if the crimp has been removed properly. Most importantly, the gauge tells you if the primer pocket has opened up too much. One side of the gauge has an enlarged diameter plug. If that “No-Go” side fits in the primer pocket, you should ditch the case — it’s toast.

Primer depth diameter gauge brass cartridge
CLICK HERE to order Primer Pocket Gauge Set from Ballistictools.com.

Precision ground from O-1 tool steel, these primer pocket gauges serve multiple functions. The inventor of these tools explains:

I created the prototype of this tool for my own use in brass processing. I needed a way to quickly and easily measure primer pockets that was reliable and did not require wasting a primer. This tool has been indispensable for me and I would never go back to the old method of uncertainty and guessing.

One side of this gauge is the “go” side which quickly tells you the depth of a primer pocket, whether any crimp is properly removed, and whether the primer pocket is loose. If it feels loose on the “go” side, use the other end of the tool, the “no go” side, to test to see if the primer pocket is too loose to hold a primer. If the no-go slides into the pocket, then you know to junk that brass.

Product tip from Boyd Allen. We welcome reader submissions.
Permalink New Product, Reloading 3 Comments »
December 18th, 2014

SK .22 LR Rimfire Ammunition Available at Powder Valley Now

If you need rimfire ammunition, Powder Valley Inc. (PVI) just received a large shipment of SK .22 LR ammunition from Europe. This is good quality, German-made ammo, much better than the bulk-pack Federal and Winchester fodder. SK is run by the same parent company that owns Lapua. Right now the practice-grade 40gr .22LR SK Standard ammo is $5.50 per box of 50 cartridges, while the rifle Match grade ammo is $8.40 per box. Act quickly ladies and gents. This will probably sell out pretty quickly. To find this on the PVI site, click “Ammo” then “Rifle Ammo” then “Lapua”.

sk rimfire ammo ammunition powder valley

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