The 2017 Berger Southwest Nationals (SWN) are now history. This was a great match, with extremely close competition, and record-setting scores. For the first few days, conditions were very mild. That allowed the “top guns” to shoot “cleans” and even set a few new National records. In individual competition, there were familiar faces among the Top Ten, but also some rising stars. In the F-Open and Sling team events, two new squads topped some of the experienced “all-star” teams. Overall it was a great match — one of the most tightly contested ever. Even with 400 competitors, everything ran smoothly. For those who attended the 2017 Berger SW Nationals, this has been a truly memorable week at Ben Avery. F-Open and F-TR Final Results Posted HERE.
This is our final Berger SW Nationals video for 2017, with interviews with the three class winners: John Whidden (Sling), David Gosnell (F-Open), Donald Erpenbach (F-TR).
Top Five Competitors in Each Class
John Whidden, 1248-84X
Adrian Harris, 1243-74X
Allen Thomas, 1242-65X
Justin Skaret, 1242-59X
Erik Rhode, 1241-59X
David Gosnell, 1247-84X
Jay Christopherson, 1246-74X
Keith Glasscock, 1245-79X
Pat Scully, 1243-71X
Dan Bramley, 1243-70X
Donald Erpenbach, 1230-53X
James Crofts, 1225-43X
Alan Barnhart, 1224-32X
Ian Klemm, 1222-55X
Bryan Litz, 1222-49X
Bryan Litz congratulates Sling winner John Whidden. John is reigning National Long Range Rifle Champion.
Below are SWN F-Open Champion David Gosnell (left) and F-TR Winner Donald Erpenbach (right).
Record-Setting Performances in 2017
This year Ben Avery conditions were very good — calm mornings, and little wind in the afternoons for the first three days. With the very calm Day 1-3 conditions, we witnessed some spectacular individual and team performances. Lester Bruno shot a brilliant 200-23X at 600 Yards, setting a new National record. Ian Klemm set a new 60-shot, 600-yard National record of 599-38X. The Cluster Ducks set a new National F-Open Team Record for 800/900/1000 yards with their 1789-100X Score. And the talented North-by-Southwest F-TR squad set both a National Record and an overall SWN match record.
The North-by-Southwest team won the 2017 SWN F-TR team event in fine fashion, setting new National and range records in the process.
And here is Team Longshots, winner of the F-Open Team Title. Individual F-Open Champ David Gosnell is at far right. The winning Sling Team was Scotland Thistle.
Forum Admin Finishes a Very Close Second in F-Open
Hats off to AccurateShooter.com’s very own Systems Admin, Jay Christopherson. A talented tech expert, Jay runs our web servers and manages our Forum software. His skills and dedication keep the Forum running smoothly, even as we approach 35,000 members. Jay shot a brilliant match at Ben Avery this week, finishing second in F-Open, just one point behind F-Open winner David Gosnell. We’re proud of Jay, and we want to recognize his achievement. It’s interesting to note that Jay shot the entire match with the new SEB Mini rest, and he was using a Vortex 15-60x52mm Golden Eagle scope. Here’s a short video of Jay shooting his .284 Win rifle on Saturday.
The show’s over — it’s time to pack up the gear and head on home. We’re already looking forward to the 2018 Berger SWN. See you next year!
Big News for Berger Bullets
Big news in the Industry is that Berger Bullets is becoming part of the Nammo Group, parent of Lapua, Vihtavuori, SK and other companies. This major acquisition will combine Nammo’s resources and advanced engineering with Berger’s match-winning bullet designs and strong focus on competition. Yes, you can expect to see factory-loaded ammunition with Berger projectiles and premium Lapua brass. To learn more about the big Berger/Nammo deal, watch this interview with Berger President Erik Stecker.
Eric Stecker, Berger’s President, says the exact timing of the move has not yet been set, nor has the location been chosen. Arizona is high on the list of potential sites, but Berger is considering other states as well. Once the new factory location is determined, Eric says he expects the move to be completed “by December 2018 at the latest”.
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Berger Bullets is becoming part of the Nammo Group, joining Lapua, Vihtavuori, and SK Ammo. This is big news, as it combines one of America’s leading bullet-makers with a major global enterprise that produces superior loaded ammunition, powder, bullets, and brass. This is potentially a boon for shooters as Nammo’s resources will help Berger increase production capacity, expand its line of products (including loaded ammunition), develop new bullet types, and invest in new, advanced machinery that should increase output and efficiency. In addition, we do expect to see new lines of loaded ammo combining Lapua brass with Berger match bullets. That combo will be tough to beat. Overall, this is a very positive development for Berger which will be able to call upon Nammo’s engineering expertise and advanced production technologies. It’s also a great thing for shooters, who can expect improved availability of the most popular Berger projectiles.
Berger Will Be Leaving California
As part of the acquisition of Berger Bullets by the Nammo Group, Berger plans to relocate its operations, moving its factory from the current Fullerton, California location. Berger will definitely be leaving California in the future.
Eric Stecker, Berger’s President, says the exact timing of the move has not yet been set, nor has the location been chosen. Arizona is high on the list of potential sites, but Berger is considering other states as well. Once the new factory location is determined, Eric says he expects the move to be completed “by December 2018 at the latest”.
In this exclusive AccurateShooter.com interview, Berger President Eric Stecker talks about Nammo’s acquisition of Berger Bullets and explains how that will bring about important positive changes, including increased production capability.
Notice from Berger Bullets
We take great pride and tremendous pleasure in announcing that Berger Bullets has joined forces with the Nammo Group. This Norwegian/Finnish corporation control many premium brands including Lapua (Brass, Bullets, Ammo), Vihtavuori Powder, and SK Rimfire Ammunition.
The joining of Berger Bullets with these world renowned, premium brands ushers in a new era of quality, performance and product availability for the discerning shooter. Today, under the Nammo Group ownership, we join three other companies that share a strong passion and commitment to precision shooting performance. We are very excited to join forces with these premium quality brands, which are committed to precision and quality.
Nammo Resources Will Help Berger Grow
The Nammo Group brings to Berger Bullets a level of support that is rivaled by few and bested by none. Nammo will support us in many areas including production capability expansion, advanced engineering, innovative product development, and the opportunity to share technology between all of these top quality brands.
Our immediate goal is to significantly improve the availability of Berger products. Throughout our history the demand for Berger Bullets has exceeded our capacity even as we’ve grown our output capabilities numerous multiples over the last few decades. Our first obligation to our customers is to improve the availability while we remain committed to our highest level of quality in the industry. Much of what has made Berger Bullets successful will remain unchanged. Bryan Litz is developing more great bullets for Berger and our technicians will still be answering your emails and calls.
Our website will remain at www.BergerBullets.com and all methods of contacts will remain the same for now. As we run across any changes, we’ll make sure we keep you updated on our website and through emails. So please, keep your information current on your email subscription and we promise to keep you posted.
The Nammo Group, www.Nammo.com, supplies high performance products to the aerospace & defense industry. Its core businesses are military and commercial ammunition; shoulder-fired systems; rocket motors; and demilitarization services. Nammo has 2,100 employees located in 12 countries.
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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 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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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. MidwayUSA — Black Friday Sale Starts Monday, 11/21/2016
Black Friday starts today — at least at MidwayUSA. Starting Monday, November 21st, you’ll find super bargains at MidwayUSA all week. Prices have been slashed on dozens of popular products. Above are six Black Friday bargains that caught our eye — check out the major price cuts on Leupold VX-6 scopes, and save 15% on Sierra bullets. This is just the tip of the iceberg — dozens of other products are on sale. Loaded ammo is deeply discounted and you can even get an NRA Life Membership for just $600.00. You’ll find these and scores of other super-deals on MidwayUSA’s Black Friday Sale Page. These prices are good through 11/28/2016 at 11:59 pm.
2. Natchez — Hodgdon Varget 8-lb Jugs, $186.49
If you’ve been looking for Hodgdon Varget powder in the large eight-pound (8 lb.) jugs, Natchez has this in stock, as of Monday morning, November 21st. If you want this powder, you better jump on this. Supplies are limited. Sorry, no H4350 in the big jugs, but Natchez does have Varget in one-pound containers for $25.99 per pound.
3. Natchez — Special 5 Reloading Press Kit, $199.99
Looking for a great holiday gift for a family member getting started in metallic cartridge reloading? This RCBS Kit has everything a new reloader needs: single-stage press, powder measure, scale, powder trickler, priming tool, cartridge tray, “rocket” chamfer tool, case lube and more. This is an excellent entry-level reloading kit, on sale for just $199.99 at Natchez Shooters Supplies. We like the relatively compact Special 5 press for most reloading duties. Eventually you may want to add an additional, large heavy press, but this will get the job done. For the combined package, with all the tools one needs to hand-load quality ammo — this is a stunningly good deal at $199.99.
4. CDNN Sports — Ruger American .270 Win, $289.99
If you’re looking for a good deer-hunting rifle at a super-affordable price, check out this .270 Winchester Ruger American. It comes with a gray-blue digital camo finish that actually suits gray fall days pretty well. The long action sits in a integral bedding block, and features a three-lug bolt with 70° bolt lift. The 22″ hammer-forged barrel has a 1:10″-twist, so it’s capable of shooting the most popular .270-caliber hunting bullets. Ammo is held in a flush-fit rotary magazine. The Ruger American is a good, solid rifle — and this is a steal at $289.99. If you don’t like the finish, buy a $5.00 can of spray paint.
5. Brownells — GET $10 Off $75.00+ Orders plus Free Shipping
Brownells is the “go-to” source for firearms parts and accessories, and Brownells also offers a full range of reloading and gunsmithing tools. Now, with PROMO CODE L6G, you can save $10 off any order over $75.00, plus get FREE Shipping. That could easily save you twenty bucks or more on your next order. Note, this deal applies to online orders only, and you can only use one promo code per order. To qualify, insert CODE “L6G” during checkout.
6. J&G Sales — Eley Target .22 LR Ammo, $59.90 for 500 Rounds
Yellow Box Eley Target is excellent .22 LR ammunition that is plenty accurate for all but the most demanding rimfire disciplines. This is way more accurate than bulk ammo which might sell for $4.00-$5.00 per box at stores. With this special deal at J&G Sales you can get a 500-round brick (ten 50-rd boxes) for just $59.90. That’s a steal when you consider this ammo sells elsewhere (MidwayUSA) for $7.99 for a 50-rd box. So you can save two bucks a box with this deal. That’s a 25% savings.
7. Amazon — Frankford Quick-N-EZ Case Tumbler, $34.99
Look no further for a great deal on a reliable tumbler. We’ve used this very same machine to tumble both pistol brass and rifle cases. We like the see-through, transparent top and the large capacity — this will hold up to 350 .223 Rem cases. With 1000+ customer reviews on Amazon.com, this Frankford Quick-N-Easy Case Tumbler has earned a 4.5-star rating. If you need a tumbler, you might want to order soon — this is the best price we’ve seen in a while.
8. Midsouth — 17 HMR V-Max Ammo, $10.45 for 50 rounds
Need 17 HMR ammo for your varmint safaris? Then grab this Hornady V-Max ammo while you can at $10.45 for a 50-round box. This is a great price. Other vendors are selling the same Hornady ammo for as much as $15.00 per box. We’ve used this ammo and it was very accurate out of both semi-auto (Savage A17) and bolt-action (CZ 455) 17 HMR rifles.
9. Amazon — Leight MAX NRR33 Earplugs, $7.58 for 50 Pairs.
These Howard Leight NRR33 Max plugs are your Editor’s favorite foam earplugs. Between shooting, motorcycling and mowing lawns, I probably have Max plugs in my ears 2-3 days a week. This is a very good price for a bulk pack of 50 pairs. And if you act soon, you can get free shipping to boot.
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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.
This is a manufacturer’s photo showing an older model.
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.)
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.
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.
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Report by Des Parr
With every new season, standards in the F-Class game are climbing ever higher. Shooter are improving their skills set while equipment and loading techniques are improving (thanks in part to websites such as this). Evidence of the level of improvement in F-Class shooting comes from the UK, where a talented shooter drilled a new GBFCA record score. One of our rising stars on this side of the pond is F-Open shooter Paul Hill. He hails from England’s wide-open flat lands where the wind blows strongly in from the North Sea and where a shooter must soon learn to read the wind.
At the European Championships held in September at the Bisley ranges, Paul set a new record score at 900 yards — a 100-17V! That’s 17 shots placed in a five-inch circle the size of a CD (compact disc) at over half a mile. [NOTE: At Bisley, the maximum score is FIVE points, not ten points. So the maximum score for 20 shots is 100. Also what Americans call an “X” is called a “V” at Bisley.]
Record Set with Slower Pair Firing Method
Bear in mind the style of shooting here in Great Britain is pair-firing. Under this procedure, each of two competitors shoots alternately, taking turns from shot to shot. Each shooter has 45 seconds to get his shot off. Allowing for the target pullers to do their jobs, this means that each shot can take up to one minute. As Paul was pair firing, he had to concentrate for up to 40 minutes to get all 20 shots off! You can imagine how many times the wind changed course in those 40 minutes — pick-ups, let-offs, changes of angle and direction. Paul had to counter each change and still managed to keep 17 shots in that 5-inch circle!
Paul Hill Sets Record with His First-Ever DIY-Chambered Barrel
What makes this new GBFCA record all the more significant is that Paul did it by barreling his own rifle — and for the first time! By simply taking great care and attention he has chambered and fitted a barrel himself to the very highest standards. Paul chambered the Krieger 1:9″-twist barrel for the .284 Winchester cartridge. His action was a Barnard. The stock is by Joe West.
Record Shot with Lapua 180gr Scenars and Russian Primers
We should note that Paul Hill is a very keen fan of Lapua’s 180gr Scenar-L bullet. It has to be said that this bullet doesn’t have the highest BC, yet whatever it lacks in that department it more than makes up for by being remarkably consistent — and consistency counts for a lot. Paul is also a fan of the Russian KVB-7 primers. His achievement is proof that Lapua Scenars and KVB-7 primers are every bit as good as the premium-priced alternatives. The powder was Vihtavuori N160. [Editor: For its 180gr Scenar-L, Lapua lists a 0.661 G1 BC, and a 0.332 G7 BC. Those numbers may not top the charts, but they are still very impressive.]
Records are made to be broken, but we think it will be quite a while before Paul’s 200-17X is surpassed in European competition. If you feel up to that challenge, consider competing in next year’s European Championships in late September 2017.
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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).
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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We first featured this story in 2010, but the results of this rimfire ammo test have been of such widespread interest that we try to bring the test to readers’ attention every year.
In 2010, the staff of AccurateReloading.com Forum completed a massive .22LR Rimfire Ammunition Testing Project. Some 55 different types of ammo were tested, using a highly-accurate Swiss-made Bleiker rifle, with a 2-stage trigger. All ammo varieties were tested at 50 yards, 75 yards, and 100 yards, shooting five, 5-shot groups at each distance. Though these tests were completed some time ago, many readers have requested a “reprint” of the ammo rankings, so we’ve republished this data below.
The results are fascinating to say the least (and perhaps eye-opening). The tester observed: “I got some amazing groups, and some which are, frankly, absurdly bad! This has re-enforced what I had experienced with 22 ammo in the past — that is being consistently inconsistent.”
While we strongly caution that .22LR rimfire ammo may work well in one gun and not another, and ammo performance can be improved through the use of barrel tuners, the AccurateReloading.com research provides invaluable guidance for smallbore shooters. Overall, the testers burned through over 4,000 rounds of ammo, and you can see the actual test targets online. To read all the test reports, and view target photos visit AccurateReloading.com.
0.162 Eley Tenex Ultimate EPS
0.164 Lapua Midas Plus
0.177 Lapua Polar Biathlon
0.187 Eley Match EPS
0.193 Eley Match
0.203 Lapua Midas M
0.215 Lapua Center X
0.216 Western Value Pack
0.229 Lapua Signum
0.241 Lapua Master L
0.243 Eley Pistol Match
0.256 Olin Ball
0.256 Akah X-Zone
0.261 Lapua Midas L
0.261 Lapua Master M
0.263 Eley Tenex Semi Auto
0.270 Lapua Super Club
0.272 Eley Tenex
0.303 Lapua Standard Plus
0.312 CCI Standard Velocity
0.319 RWS R 50
0.319 Eley Standard
0.328 SK High Velocity
0.339 Eley Club Xtra
0.340 Winchester T22
0.356 Federal Champion
0.362 Eley Subsonic HP
0.371 CCI Mini Mag
0.376 Federal American Eagle
0.377 Norinco Target
0.380 Sellier & Bellot Club
0.384 Eley Club
0.387 Eley Sport
0.392 Swartklip Match Trainer
0.398 Federal Gold Medal
0.403 Swartklip HV
0.409 Eley Match Xtra Plus
0.424 Sellier & Bellot Std
0.443 Remington Target
0.461 Lapua Crow HP
0.475 Eley Silhouex
0.498 Eley High Velocity
0.513 Winchester Super X
0.516 Kassnar Concorde
0.539 CCI Blazer
0.560 Winchester Supreme Pistol
0.576 Norinco Pistol Revolver
0.593 SK Standard
0.611 Sellier And Bellot HP
0.626 SK Standard HP
0.686 Logo HV
0.956 Pobjeda Target
0.274 Lapua Center X
0.283 Lapua Standard Plus
0.295 Eley Tenex Ultimate EPS
0.307 Lapua Midas M
0.329 Lapua Master M
0.346 Eley Match
0.373 Lapua Polar Biathlon
0.399 RWS R 50
0.432 Lapua Midas L
0.448 Eley Tenex Semi Auto
0.467 Eley Match EPS
0.474 Lapua master L
0.491 Eley Match Xtra Plus
0.494 CCI Standard
0.496 Eley Subsonic HP
0.507 Eley Sport
0.512 Federal American Eagle
0.513 SK High Velocity
0.514 Eley Standard
0.516 Eley Tenex
0.516 Lapua Crow HP
0.532 Western Value Pack
0.533 Fed. Champion Target
0.535 Lapua Midas Plus
0.564 Akah X Zone
0.566 Olin Ball
0.573 Eley Club Xtra
0.616 Lapua Signum
0.631 Winchester T22
0.639 Swartklip HV HP
0.641 Eley Club
0.642 Eley Silhouex
0.647 CCI Mini Mag
0.679 Eley Pistol Match
0.682 Swartklip Match Trainer
0.690 Federal Gold Medal
0.692 Remington HV
0.703 Lapua Super Club
0.720 Winchester Super X
0.738 Eley High Velocity
0.759 Kassnar Concorde
0.765 Sellier And Bellot Club
0.770 Winch. Supreme Pistol
0.770 Norinco target
0.775 CCI Blazer
0.802 Norinco Pistol Revolver
0.841 LVE Logo HV
0.855 Sellier & Bellot Std
0.923 Sellier & Bellot HP
0.934 SK Standard HP
1.017 Remington Target
1.257 Totem Standard
1.442 SK Standard
1.578 Pobjeda target
0.455 Eley Match
0.510 Lapua Midas Plus
0.549 Lapua Midas M
0.611 Lapua Polar Biathlon
0.611 Eley Tenex Ultimate EPS
0.619 Eley Match EPS
0.622 Eley Club
0.630 Lapua Center X
0.631 RWS R50
0.679 Eley Tenex Semi Auto
0.694 Lapua Midas L
0.729 Eley Tenex
0.739 Lapua Master L
0.753 Lapua Super Club
0.785 Lapua Master M
0.831 Eley Sport
0.851 Eley Match Xtra
0.859 Lapua Standard Plus
0.867 Akah X-Zone
0.877 Eley Pistol Match
0.907 Norinco Target
0.924 Eley Silhouex
0.939 CCI Standard
0.952 Eley Subsonic HP
0.970 Olin Ball
0.978 Kassnar Concorde
0.995 Eley Club Xtra
1.009 Western Value Pack
1.032 Federal Champion
1.087 Norinco Pistol Revolver
1.100 CCI Mini Mag
1.112 Lapua Crow HP
1.143 Winchester T22
1.142 Federal Gold Medal
1.144 federal American Eagle
1.156 Swartklip Hollo Point
1.165 Lapua Signum
1.170 Swartklip Match Trainer
1.175 Fed. Champion Value Pk
1.182 SK high Velocity
1.224 Winchester Super X
1.358 Eley Standard
1.367 Remington High Velocity
1.375 CCI Blazer
1.414 Eley High Velocity
1.450 Remington Target
1.504 LVE Logo
1.813 SK Standard
1.879 S&B Club
1.947 S&B Hollow Point
2.073 SK Standard HP
2.221 S&B Standard
2.266 Pobjeda Target
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The Nammo Group, parent of Lapua and Vihtavuori, has announced the acquisition of Berger Bullets, one of the USA’s leading bullet makers. With Berger Bullets joining the Nammo Group, this teams America’s ultra-premium bullet-maker with what is arguably the world’s most respected cartridge brass and ammunition-maker. This is huge news. For competition shooters this may be a “marriage made in heaven”. Many top shooters, including champions like Bryan Litz and John Whidden, are already shooting Berger bullets in Lapua brass. This merger will make it easier for the two companies (Berger and Lapua) to optimize the performance of factory ammo, as well as to optimize brass for use with Berger match projectiles.
A spokesman for Lapua said that Lapua will continue to make bullets in Europe while Berger will conduct its regular operations in the USA: “Lapua will still make bullets, and it will be ‘business as usual’ for Berger at this time. There are no plans to change production sites to consolidate product lines. Berger will continue to operate as an independent business, just under the Nammo umbrella.” NOTE: This acquisition will be subject to regulatory approvals by U.S. governmental authorities.
On firearm industry analyst believes this merger is a “win-win” for both Berger and Nammo: “This will help Berger export more product to the European market while it will give Nammo a stronger connection to the huge U.S. firearms market, expanding Nammo’s North American customer base”. Nammo president/CEO Morten Brandtzæg concurred, stating: “Having Berger Bullets on board is the perfect match for Nammo. Their products, which are complementary to our other premium brands, will strengthen our group’s strategic position in the U.S. commercial ammunition market.” This acquistion WILL include Berger’s ABM Ammunition and J-4 Jackets product lines.
Here is the press release issued by the Nammo Group, which is headquartered in Norway and has 2,100 employees in 12 countries:
I would like to emphasize a couple of things before you read on. The [acquisition of Berger Bullets by Nammo] CHANGES NOTHING. Production will remain in the same facility, by the same people, to the same quality. Berger Bullets will remain the highest-quality bullets on the market. What this merger does, is it gives these companies [the opportunity] to work together, to provide the highest-quality ammunition.
Lapua is well known for its high-quality brass, VihtaVuori makes high-quality powder, and Berger makes high-quality bullets. When you put the three together, you have the possibility of unmatched, premium … factory ammunition. To be clear, this will not affect the quality or way that Berger bullets are produced.
Q & A about Berger Bullets Joining Nammo Group
Q. What are Nammo’s plans concerning Berger Bullets?
A. Nammo plans on operating Berger Bullets as a stand-alone brand with support from the Nammo Group in a number of areas. First, they would like to help Berger improve the availability of many of their bullets that are in high demand.
Q. Are you going to eliminate any specific bullets? In other words, do they need to stock up!
A. We have no immediate plans to discontinue any of our bullets. We will continue as a part of our normal business practice to discontinue bullets that have been replaced by a superior product or those that do not have a demand sufficient to warrant allocating time in our production schedule. This is just what we have always done as part of our process.
Q. Is Bryan Litz still going to be the ballistician for Berger Bullets?
A. Yes. Bryan is an important part of the Berger Bullet team and our plans definitely include keeping Bryan on as our lead ballistician.
Q. Is Eric Stecker going to remain in charge of Berger Bullets?
A. Eric Stecker will continue as President of Berger Bullets
Q. Are the same dealers going to carry Berger Bullets?
A. Yes, we have no plans to change the way we distribute Berger Bullets to the shooting community.
Q. Does this mean ABM Ammo will have direct access to components like powder and brass?
Doc Beech – Applied Ballistics
www.abmediaresources.com – www.appliedballisticsllc.com
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Vihtavuori’s Rifle Reloading Database is now very comprehensive. Many of the popular modern match cartridges such as the 6.5×47 Lapua and 6.5 Creedmoor are now included, and of course you’ll find the 6mm PPC, 6mmBR, and 6XC. (There is no .284 Win or 7mm RSAUM data unfortunately.) You will find recommended load recipes for all the following cartridges:
.221 Remington Fireball
.240 Weatherby Magnum
6.5 x 47 Lapua
6,5 x 55 Swedish Mauser
6,5 x 55 Swedish Mauser/ SKAN
.270 Weatherby Magnum
7 mm-08 Remington
7 x 57
7 x 64
7 mm Remington Magnum
7 mm WSM
7 mm RUM
7 x 57R
7 mm Weatherby Magnum
7,5 x 55 Swiss GP31
.300 AAC Blackout
7,62 x 39
7,62 x 53R (7,62 Russian)
.300 Lapua Magnum
.300 Remington Ultra Magnum
.300 Winchester Magnum
.300 Weatherby Magnum
.30-.378 Weatherby Magnum
.300 H&H Magnum
8 x 57 IRS
8 x 57 IS (8 mm Mauser)
.338 Winchester Magnum
.338 Lapua Magnum
9,3 x 62
9,3 x 66 Sako
9,3 x 74R
.375 H&H Magnum
.458 Winchester Magnum
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.
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.
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.
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Our friend Kirsten Joy Weiss is a modern-day Annie Oakley. A very successful competitive shooter in the collegiate ranks, Kirsten now produces a popular YouTube Channel focusing on the “Joy of Shooting”. In her videos, Kirsten offers shooting tips and performs a variety of trick shots — such as splitting cards with a .22 LR rimfire. This young lady can shoot, that’s for sure.
In this video, Kirsten shoots at some tiny reactive targets — “Pop-Its”. These pea-sized targets “pop” audibly when hit. They make a very challenging target, even when bunched together. Kirsten secured three (3) Pop-Its with a clothespin, and then placed the clothespin in the ground.
It took a couple tries, but Kirsten did manage to light off a Pop-It or two. Kirsten reports: “Basically a small exploding target, Pop-Its, also known as ‘Bang Snaps’, snaps, snappers, party snaps, etc., are a fun firework trick noisemaker — but will they make a good target? Let’s put it to the test to see if these poppers are gun range-worthy targets. These little Pop-Its make for some challenging shots with reactive targets.” Enjoy the video:
Equipment Report: For this video, Kirsten shot Lapua .22 LR ammo in a Volquartsen Ultra-lite semi-auto .22 LR rimfire rifle, fitted with a C-More Red-Dot sight. She was using Oakley eye protection.
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Chuck’s Pair of Pennsylvania Dashers
There’s been a lot of interest in the 6mm Dasher cartridge lately, so we thought we’d showcase a matched pair of Dasher rifles belonging to a Forum member. The 6mm Dasher began as a wildcat improved version of the 6mmBR Norma cartridge. The 6mm Dasher has been very successful in competition, and now factory Norma-made Dasher cartridge brass is available from Bullets.com.
Forum Member Chuck L. (aka “Ridgeway”) has created a handsome duo of 6mm Dashers for competitive benchrest and varmint matches in Pennsylvania. Both guns are built on Kelbly Panda RBLP actions, with Bartlein 8-twist barrels, and Shehane Laminated Tracker Stocks. However, the two rifles are not exact twins, as you can see. One, which we’ll call the Big Dasher, is built on a Shehane ST1000 Tracker stock. The other gun, the Small Dasher, sports Shehane’s “Baby Tracker” stock — a design used with great success by Richard Schatz. The Big Dasher, optimized for 1000-yard competition, also has a slightly longer freebore — 0.136″ vs. 0.104″ for the Small Dasher.
Specifications for the Dasher Duo:
Small Dasher (13.5-pounder): Chambered for 6mm Dasher with approximately .104 freebore and a .264 NK. (No way of knowing exactly since it freebore was done in a separate operation by Kelbly.) Components are: Shehane Baby Tracker stock, Kelbly Panda RPLB action, Bartlein 1:8″ LV barrel at 26 ¾”, Kelbly Rings, Weaver T36, Jewell trigger. The barrel was chambered by Kelblys and the stock was bedded, glued and balanced by a shooting buddy (Forum Member johara1). I clear-coated the stock with auto urethane. Total weight is 13 lbs., 4 ounces.
Big Dasher (1K Light Gun, 17-pounder): Chambered for 6mm Dasher with a .136 freebore and .264 neck (PTG Reamer). Components are: Shehane ST-1000 stock, Kelbly Panda RPLB action, Bartlein 1:8″ HV 5R barrel at 28″, Shehane +20-MOA rings, Nightforce NXS 12-42x56mm, Jewell trigger. The barrel work, pillar installation, and bedding was done by Dave Bruno. The stock was clear-coated by Chuck with auto urethane. Chuck also made the rear butt plate and balanced the rifle. Total weight: 16 lbs., 13 ounces.
Chuck tells us: “I don’t get out shooting competition as much as I want due to time and family, but when I do compete, I shoot a Groundhog match at Southfork Rifle Club in Beaverdale, PA. Info on Southfork Club events can be found at Southforkrifleclub.com. The Southfork match is basically a 100-, 300- and 500-yard match with one sighter the entire match and 5 shots at each yardage for score. The Small Dasher, with the shorter ‘Baby Tracker’ stock, was set up for the Southfork Rifle Club’s ‘Light Unlimited’ class which has a 13.5-lb max weight.” (Editor: ‘unlimited’ is a misnomer for a weight-limited category.)
Chuck adds: “The Big Dasher with the heavy ST-1000 stock is set up for 1000-yard benchrest matches in Light Gun class. I hope to shoot a couple 1K matches with it at Reade Range in southwest Pennsylvania. I am still in load development for this rifle since it was just finished in January. One ironic thing is, it shoots the same load I’m shooting out of the lighter gun rather well. The only difference between the two chambers is the freebore is roughly thirty thousandths longer on the 1K gun (Large Dasher). I will also shoot this at Southfork in the ‘Heavy Unlimited’ class.”
Dasher Case-Forming: Neck-Turn then Fire-form with Bullets Hard in Lands
To fireform, I turn my cases down to fit the chamber and stop where the false shoulder makes snug contact with the chamber. Fire-forming rounds are loaded up with a 29-grain charge of H4895 or Varget and a 108gr Berger bullet seated hard into the lands about 0.020″ past initial contact with the rifling. It takes about three firings to make a nice clean Dasher case with a sharp shoulder. I anneal about every 3-4 firings. I have many cases that have about 10+ firings on them and they are still shooting well. The primer pockets are a little looser, but still hold a primer.
Both Dashers Group in the Ones at 100 Yards
My main bullet for both rifles is the 107gr Sierra MK, loaded with Reloder 15 powder, Lapua cases and CCI 450 primers. My main load for the Small Dasher is 33.0 grains of Reloder 15. This load shoots in the ones at 100 yards. For the Big Dasher, I’m still working on a load, although the same 33.0 grain load shoots in the ones in the heavier gun as well. I’m still looking for more velocity and my ‘max’ node. So far, I’ve gone well above 33.0 grains of RL 15 without pressure signs, but that load produces vertical at 100 yards, so I’m going to tinker with the load until I see pressure or it starts to shoot.
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Derek Rodgers, the only shooter to win both the F-Open and F-TR National Championships, has done it again. While shooting the Santa Fe Trail LR Regional match in Raton, New Mexico, it looks like Derek set a new 1000-yard record. Derek nailed his 1000-yard target, recording a 200-14X score — that’s twenty (20) shots for record, all tens with 14 in the X-Ring. Derek told us: “Yesterday at Raton New Mexico’s Whittington Center, I shot a 200-14X, which should be a new pending F-TR National Record at 1000 yards.” Derek took special pride in this accomplishment, as he held the F-TR record before: “I’m happy to have the record back. I have had three of the last four records”. Well done Derek!
Derek Rodgers .308 Win F-TR Rifle Equipment List:
McMillan Xit stock, Kelbly Panda LBLP action, Bartlein .308 Win barrel (32″, 1:11.25″ twist), Nightforce NXS 8-32x56mm scope. Note that Derek shoots right-handed, but with a LEFT BOLT. This allows him to stay in position better while cycling the bolt with his LEFT hand.
This impressive performance by Derek shows that the best F-TR rifles can rival the big F-Open rigs for pure accuracy, even though the favored F-Open chamberings, such as .284 Win and .300 WSM, are still ballistically superior to the venerable .308 Winchester used by nearly all F-TR competitors. For his record-breaking load, Derek used Berger 200gr Hybrid Target bullets in Lapua .308 Win (small primer pocket) brass, pushed by Hodgdon Varget powder.
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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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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.
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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.
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.
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!
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
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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.
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.
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.
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