September 22nd, 2017

The Science of Annealing — Facts Uncovered, Myths Busted

Annealing Made Perfect Testing AMP cartridge Case hardness Lapua Norma Lake City

The science behind annealing during the manufacture of new cases is well-established. What happens after that, when we repeatedly reload and anneal those same cases, has always been somewhat of a “dark art”. To help separate scientific fact from fiction, the creators of the Annealing Made Perfect (AMP) Annealer machine have conducted detailed studies of cartridge brass. The AMP Team’s studies offer some remarkable insights, while disproving a number of myths about annealing. Will annealing tighten your groups? The evidence of these studies shows it could.

The test results are fascinating. The team compared brands of brass, sectioning brass to examine both alloy composition and thickness from case mouth to case-head (bottom). They also examined how carbon build-up affects next tension. And they determined how brass changes over multiple loading cycles. They even did a series of bullet-pull tests to analyze factors affecting neck tension. Here are some of the key subjects in the reports:

Brand by Brand Analysis — How the cartridge brass alloy varies among different manufacturers.
Bullet Release and Neck Tension — Tensile Bullet-Pull tests show factors affecting neck tension.
Neck Tension and Carbon — How carbon build-up inside the neck affects “neck tension”.
SS Tumbling and Hardness – How tumbling with stainless media affects brass hardness.
Case Cleaning (Ultrasound and Tumbling) — How case cleaning affects annealing.
Multiple Loadings — How brass performs when annealed every reload over 10+ cycles.

Annealing Made Perfect Testing AMP cartridge Case hardness Lapua Norma Lake City

You really should read the reports — there are some fascinating revelations. The AMP team made longitudinal sections of various cases to show different case wall thicknesses and head geometry. These examples also show how the hardness of the case varies from the case mouth to the case-head. Both virgin and used, annealed cases were examined.

Bullet-Pull Tests — Using advanced tensile test equipment, AMP experimented with different combinations of dies, reloading sequences, and neck hardness to ascertain the best practice.
Annealing Made Perfect Testing AMP cartridge Case hardness Lapua Norma Lake City

Carbon Inside Your Case-Necks May Be a GOOD Thing
AMP’s testers found carbon in necks can be beneficial: “Even with identical interference fit and neck hardness, as the carbon layer increased (microscopically), the force to draw the bullet decreased. It would appear the carbon acted as a lubricant. Interestingly, the [pull force] standard deviation also improved, i.e. the case to case variation in the force required to draw the bullets decreased.”*

Read the Full Test Reports

The AMP team’s objectives were to clarify some misconceptions on just what annealing does and does not do, and also to establish the best practices for consistent results. They have consulted with three independent certified metallurgy laboratories to produce some definitive information. So far, the Stage 1 and Stage 2 reports have been released. The studies include a report on the general physical properties of cartridge brass, including grain structures, hardness scales, time/temperature annealing information, and what can cause de-zincification.

The FULL REPORTS, including comprehensive appendices, are found here:

Stage One: https://www.ampannealing.com/articles/40/annealing-under-the-microscope/

Stage Two: https://www.ampannealing.com/articles/42/annealing-under-the-microscope/

Annealing Made Perfect Testing AMP cartridge Case hardness Lapua Norma Lake City

Examining Different Brands of Brass — What the Tests Revealed

Is Lapua brass harder than Norma? Is Lake City better than Remington? You’ll find answers to these and other questions in AMP’s annealing studies. One of the key findings in Stage 2 of Amp’s research is that brass from different manufacturers does vary in the distribution of material in the walls of the case.

Annealing Made Perfect Testing AMP cartridge Case hardness Lapua Norma Lake City

Stage Two Conclusions:

— Different brands of the same cartridge cases can require different annealing power settings due to differing case wall thickness in the neck and shoulder region. The greater the mass of brass to be annealed, the greater the power requirement. Lot to lot variation within the same brand can occur for the same reason.

— The bushing die used in this set of tensile bullet pull tests gave significantly more consistent results than the standard neck die with expander ball.

— Cases should be annealed every reload in order to get the best repeatability.

Case Variations: Brand to Brand, and Lot to Lot

Here is a sample from AMP’s test report:

Analyzing Different Brands of Brass
In our Stage One report, we demonstrated that there is insufficient variation in alloy composition between brands to account for the variations we experience when annealing different brands of the same cartridge case. We therefore sought to confirm that it is the mass of brass to be annealed which accounts for the difference. Below are sectioned samples of four different brands of .223 Remington cases.

Both the Lapua and Norma neck walls are 314* microns (0.01236”) at the mouth. The Lapua neck wall thickens to 348 microns at the junction of the neck and shoulder, and the Norma neck thickens to 325 microns. Through the shoulder, however, the walls of both cases thicken to 370 – 380 microns. Once past the shoulder, they both taper back to 314 microns, before starting to thicken again, moving towards the case head.

The Lapua case requires AMP Program 47 to anneal correctly. It is the heaviest of the four cases tested through the shoulder region. The Norma case, which is only slightly lighter through the same region, needs Program 43.

The Remington case is very similar to the Lapua and Norma cases in the neck region, but it actually thins fractionally through the shoulder and front section of the body. The AMP program setting for Remington 223R is P32.

The Lake City case is the thinnest throughout of all four samples. It only requires Program 28.

The above samples clearly demonstrate that the mass of brass to be annealed is critical to the power requirement for correct annealing.

To see how the AMP Induction Annealing Machine works, watch this video:

* However, in Stage Two of AMP testing, the testers experimented with clean, carbon-free necks with dry lube. There was some indication of greater tensile pull consistency with dry-lube, but AMP plans to do more testing.

Permalink - Articles, - Videos, Bullets, Brass, Ammo, Tech Tip 4 Comments »
September 7th, 2017

How to Use Lapua’s Advanced FREE Ballistics App

Lapua Ballistics App 6DOF degrees of Freedom solver doppler radar bullet BC Apple iOS Android OS mobile smartphone iphone

Lapua offers a sophisticated FREE Ballistics App for iOS and Android smartphones and mobile devices. This state-of-the-art App has many great features — much more than you’d expect for a free App. If you do much shooting past 300 yards, or use a wide variety of bullets and/or cartridge types, we recommend you download the App and give it a try. This article, written by a Lapua technician, explains how to use the App. This article is definitely worth reading — there are many important concepts and procedures discussed here that apply to all Ballistics calculators, not just the Lapua App. For more details, read the Lapua Ballistics App User Manual.

The Lapua Ballistics App is available for Android and iOS smart phones and mobile devices free of charge. For more info, visit www.lapua.com/lapuaballisticsapp.

Lapua Ballistics App Basics — How to Get Started

Lapua bullets trajectory 6DOF Ballistics App Hunting G1 G7

Article by Matti Paananen
As smartphones and tablets are constantly developed, ballistic software and Apps are also improving, and with their help our ability to hit targets can improve significantly. This is a short introduction on why and how to use a ballistic calculator, namely the Lapua Ballistics App, and a few pointers that will help you use the App effectively.

CLICK HERE for FREE 28-page Lapua Ballistics App USER GUIDE

Ballistics software and Apps are designed to help shooters and hunters make calculations to hit distant targets or take down game in the field by offering ballistic solutions. Lapua Ballistics is the first App utilizing the 6DOF calculation model.

Toying around with ballistics apps is always fun, but effective use of ballistic software requires general understanding of how they work. The App gets information from the user and by using mathematical formulas it provides the solution that will give the user a solid starting point to hit the target.

However, it is also important to remember that the App can’t think — it only calculates a solution based on your parameters. You will not know the error until you have already fired the shot.

1. SET UP YOUR SCOPE RETICLE AND RIFLE
Scope manufactures use different units per click, so it’s important that you use the correct unit in the App. For example, in your scope, one click can be 0.1 mil, 1/4 MOA, [or 1/8 MOA depending on the model]. You can find this information in your scope manual and also usually from the scope turrets. Setting your scope reticle is very important, partly because if you use the wrong unit in the App, the ballistic solution will not match your scope. To set up your scope reticle in Lapua Ballistics, go to Manage Rifle / Cartridge Data –> Add Rifle Cartridge Data (or choose to edit a Rifle/Cartridge combo you’ve already set up) –> Reticle –>.

Lapua 6DOF Ballistics App Hunting G1 G7

Another thing to setup in Lapua Ballistics is your scope height, i.e. Line of Sight to Bore in the Manage Rifle / Cartridge Data window. This is the distance between the center of the scope and the center of the bore. The default height is 45mm but with tactical rifles, the height can be even 70mm. So check! The height is easy to measure with a ruler. Then there’s also the twist rate of your rifle to set up — look it up in the rifle manual, it can also be stamped on the rifle barrel. The rifle twist rate is needed to calculate spin drift and bullet stability. Spin drift should be taken into account with longer distances, and it can be enabled or disabled in Lapua Ballistics.

2. SET UP YOUR BULLET CHOICE
You can add your bullet of choice from the bullet library, where you find all Lapua bullets. It is also possible to add information manually. In this case, you will need bullet weight, the ballistic coefficient BC and muzzle velocity. The Ballistic coefficient can be given in G1 or G7 values. G7 is designed for low-drag bullets with a boat tail and G1 is used for more traditional flat base bullets. Lapua on the other hand uses Doppler radar-based data to calculate a more accurate ballistic trajectory for Lapua bullets by 6DOF model. Anyway, it is good to remember that the ballistic coefficient changes with velocity, so all changes in a flight path cannot be predicted.

The following thing you will need to set up is the bullet’s actual muzzle velocity. You can reverse engineer the number based on your drop or by using a chronograph. It is good to remember that more rounds you shoot, the better average velocity you will get.

Lapua Bullets 6DOF Ballistics App Hunting G1 G7

Because temperature affects muzzle velocity, it would be good to shoot velocities in different temperatures and write them down. Those notes can be used with Lapua Ballistics as it is possible to set up the powder temperature variation in the App.

3. SET UP WEATHER CONDITIONS
Lapua Ballistics has settings for temperature, air pressure, and humidity. All these affect the ballistic solution and the chance to hit the target. In a nutshell, temperature affects the powder’s burn speed and in that way the bullet velocity. Air pressure and humidity also affect bullet drag.

If you are shooting approximately on sea level, you do not need to change air pressure values, but if you are shooting or hunting in mountain areas or where there is lot of elevation difference, you might want to check the air pressure. On sea level, the atmospheric pressure is 1013 hPa. The higher you go, the less air pressure you will have and thus less bullet drag. Some like to use handheld weather and wind meters that have a function to get actual air pressure and humidity, however the Get Current Weather function in Lapua Ballistics will give you the air pressure reading from your local and most close weather station, provided that your app is allowed to use your location data.

Lapua Bullets 6DOF Ballistics App Hunting G1 G7

Temperature is an important variable. To understand how velocity change in different temperatures, only way is to shoot and keep notes. Some ballistic software and apps have values for muzzle velocity in different temperatures. The user needs to input muzzle velocity in different temperatures in order to software to calculate the effect. More velocities in different temperatures the user adds, the more accurate the calculation will be.

4. SET UP A BALLISTIC SOLUTION
After we have set up our own rifle / cartridge data, there are few things that need to be taken into account when shooting: the distance to the target, the wind and our shooting skills. Distance can be measured for example with a laser rangefinder and then put in. Wind can also be measured with a wind gauge but it is important to remember that the wind in the target area can be very different from that in the shooting position. Lapua Ballistics gives a ballistic solution based on stationary wind, so in the end, the shooter’s task is to estimate how much the wind factor will be.

It’s good to remember that Lapua Ballistics is a starting point and designed to assist the shooter. Software and apps have ways of helping us adjust the sight and predict the ballistic solution but they will not replace the shooter. We still have to pull the trigger and record our range data. By keeping good range notes and with the support of good ballistic software like Lapua Ballistics, we should be able hit in all environments.

Watch Video for Explanation of Lapua Ballistics App Features

Article Find by EdLongrange. We welcome reader submissions
Permalink - Articles, Bullets, Brass, Ammo 2 Comments »
August 1st, 2017

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 $0.99, 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 3 Comments »
July 15th, 2017

Premium Lapua Scenar-L Bullets on Sale — 46% OFF

Graf's graf sons Lapua Scenar Scenar-L bullets sale discount

Lapua Scenar-L bullets are superb. We have found these bullets to be extremely consistent in weight and base to ogive measurement. In fact some of the first 6mm Scenar Ls were probably the most consistent factory bullets we’ve ever measured. Scenar-L bullets also shoot great. We have a couple 6mm barrels that prefer Scenars over any other bullet type, including custom projectiles. We think serious shooters owe it to themselves to try a box of Scenar-Ls for their favorite match rifle. And now .224, 7mm (.284), and .308 caliber shooters have the opportunity to grab some great Scenar-Ls for an amazingly low price. Right now Grafs.com is running a SALE on select Scenar-Ls in .224, .284, and .308 calibers. These are priced 46% Off, saving you up to $26.00 per 100-count box!

You better act soon, quantities are limited. We expect the 180gr 7mm Scenar-Ls will sell out right away, followed by the 220gr .308 Scenar-Ls shortly thereafter. These are both outstanding choices for F-class and long-range competition.


Lapua Scenar-L Bullets on Sale at Grafs.com »

77gr .223 Caliber | 180gr 7mm (.284 Caliber) | 220gr .308 Caliber

Graf's graf sons Lapua Scenar Scenar-L bullets sale discount

In addition to the three bullet types above, Grafs.com has 150gr 7mm Scenar-L bullets on sale.

Permalink Bullets, Brass, Ammo, Hot Deals No Comments »
June 26th, 2017

Living History — Custer’s Ghost and the Trapdoor Springfield

1873 Springfield trapdoor carbing musket

1873 Springfield trapdoor carbing musketA few season back, Kevin Thomas of Lapua USA acquired a bit of living history — a reproduction Model 1873 Trapdoor Springfield. Here is Kevin’s story of his new rifle and the legacy it carries.

Yesterday marked the 141st Anniversary of Lt.Col. George Armstrong Custer’s historic ride into the valley of the Little Big Horn, along with 200+ men of the U.S. Seventh Cavalry. June 25, 1876 did not go well, as Custer and his men became a well-known, sad footnote in U.S. history. [Editor: Well it was sad for Custer fans. Native Americans have a different perspective.]

For years now, I’ve wanted one of the rifles Custer and his men carried that day, a Model 1873 Trapdoor Springfield, chambered for the 45/70 cartridge. I finally acquired one, when I walked into a gunstore a while back and saw a handsome repro Trapdoor sitting peacefully on the shelf. It called to me.

Somewhere in the distance, I could hear the bugle calls, the Sioux and Cheyenne war cries and the thundering of cavalry across the plain. It simply had to go home with me, and so it did. It seemed an especially insistent demand with this being the 138th anniversary and all, so I took it along to our regular Wednesday night practice session. All I can say is, I’m glad we don’t have to do rapid-fire with one of these in our matches today, because they do have a mule-like kick to them!

1873 Springfield trapdoor carbing musket

The Trapdoors were a cost saving measure that the Armory came up with at the end of the Civil War, to convert muzzle-loading Springfield muskets into breech-loading cartridge arms. A quick look will give several dead giveaways that many of the parts on the “new” rifle were actually interchangeable with the old 1861 and 1863 Springfield muskets. The parts that were altered or newly fabricated were relatively minor changes.

1873 Springfield trapdoor carbing musket

Above, you can see where these rifles got their name. Loading was done by flipping a lever which opened up a trap door that provided access to the chamber. Flipping that same lever and opening the trap door then ejected the case after firing.

1873 Springfield trapdoor carbing musket

Here is the opposite side, trapdoor open. The ring and slide on the side of the stock was to facilitate an attachment point for a lanyard that the troopers wore over their shoulders. Remember, they often used these while at a full gallop, not an easy feat!

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June 24th, 2017

New Logistics Center for Capstone Precision Group LLC

Nammo AS Lapua Berger Bullets Vihtavuori SK ammunition brass bullets powder Capstone Precision Group LLC Sedalia Missouri MO logistics center new

Some major players in the shooting world — Lapua and Berger Bullets, have joined forces under the Nammo AS umbrella. And now, along with Vihtavuori and SK, these businesses will be operated together as Capstone Precision Group, LLC. And Capstone will soon have a new facility in Missouri. A new 30,000-square-foot logistics center has been leased in Pettis County, outside Sedalia. From here, products will be sent to dealers and wholesalers throughout the USA. Capstone Precision Group will invest almost $1 million to launch the new facility.

Missouri’s Governor welcomed Capstone: “Capstone Precision Group’s decision to grow its business in Missouri is great news for families in rural Pettis County. This new distribution center means new quality jobs for hard working Missourians,” said Gov. Eric Greitens. “We’re grateful to Capstone Precision Group for recognizing that Missouri is open for business and our people are ready to work.” LINK: Missouri Department of Economic Development.

NEW Logistics Center for Capstone Precision Group
Nammo AS, an international aerospace and defense company headquartered in Norway, announced that the newly-formed Capstone Precision Group LLC will launch its U.S. logistics center in Pettis County, outside Sedalia. This facility will be the U.S. logistics center for Capstone Precision Group’s four commercial ammunition brands — Lapua, Berger, VihtaVuori, and SK. Additionally, ammunition, components, and smokeless powder will be imported from Finland and Germany and distributed in the U.S. and also exported, while projectiles from the company’s Mesa, Arizona, location will be shipped to Missouri for packaging and distribution.

(more…)

Permalink Bullets, Brass, Ammo, News, Reloading No Comments »
April 16th, 2017

Pin Vise with 1.5mm Bit Fits Lapua BR/PPC Flash Holes

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 pin vise bit, item 79186, that matches the Lapua flash hole exactly. Other vendors offer a #53 pin vise bit that measures .0595″ or .060″ (depending or source). An 0.0595″ bit is close enough. You can find pin vises and bits at hobby stores.

Pin vises Lapua Flash hole

Permalink Bullets, Brass, Ammo, Reloading 2 Comments »
March 11th, 2017

Extreme Long Range — .338 Lapua Magnum at 2160 Yards

2160 yards 1.3 miles long range ELR .338 Lapua Magnum Ed Connors Speeded Gonzales
Ed Connors placed three consecutive shots all on target at 2160 yards for a sub-3/8 MOA group. Wow.

Amazing shooting — that’s how we’d describe what Ed Connors accomplished recently with his Speedy-built .338 Lapua Magnum LR rifle. Ed nailed a 3-shot group at 2160 yards that would be great at 1000 yards. Check out the target above. Now consider that the shooter was a full mile PLUS 400 yards away. That is truly remarkable accuracy.

At this distance, 2160 yards, one MOA is 22.61″. This three-consecutive-shot group, measuring about 8 inches, works out to less than 3/8 MOA. Think about that — most guys would be elated to shoot 3/8 MOA at two hundred yards. Ed did that at over two thousand yards!

That takes a great rifle, as well as great ammo. Ed says: “I believe in loading like a benchrest shooter to achieve these ultra long-range shots”.

Ed Connors 2160 yards steel shooting .338 Lapua Magnum

Rifle Specifications:
– .338 LM Rifle built by SG Rifles, LLC
– Surgeon Rifles Action (blueprinted by Speedy)
– Jewell Trigger (blueprinted by Speedy)
– McMillan Fiberglass Stock
– Nightforce 5-25x56mm ATACR Scope
– Bartlein 1:9″-twist 32″ Barrel, Speedy contour
– Amer. Prec. Arms “Fat Bastard” Muzzle Brake

Ammunition Specifications:
– Lapua .338 LM Brass turned with Nielsen “Pumpkin” turner.
– Hodgdon H1000 Powder, 90.8 Grains
– Remington 9 1/2 Magnum Primers
– Berger .338 Cal 300 grain Hybrid OTM Tactical Bullets seated .005″ off lands.
– Velocity: 2875 fps / SD 5.0

Ed Connors 2160 yards steel shooting .338 Lapua Magnum

Gunsmith Thomas “Speedy” Gonzalez writes: “Anytime you build a customer a rifle to work out beyond the 1000-yard mark you must work hand-in-hand with your customer and explain everything you are doing to ensure performance at distances most shooters never even contemplate (except in their dreams).

Ed was involved in all aspects of the projects from the reamer print to what we needed for both single-shot work and mag-fed function in timed competition. This was Ed’s very first work-out with his reborn Surgeon-actioned .338 Lapua Magnum. He did great to say the least!”

Pretty Darn Good at One Mile as Well…
While “tuning up” for his 2160-yard session. Ed also produced some very impressive results at one mile (1760 yards). Once he got “dialed in” he delivered three shots you can cover with the palm of your hand. That’s spectacular consistency at one mile.

2160 yards 1.3 miles long range ELR .338 Lapua Magnum Ed Connors Speeded Gonzales

Permalink Gear Review, Gunsmithing, News 6 Comments »
February 13th, 2017

Berger Southwest Nationals — 2017 Match Wrap-Up

Berger SW Nationals Final Report Match Results

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
SLING
John Whidden, 1248-84X
Adrian Harris, 1243-74X
Allen Thomas, 1242-65X
Justin Skaret, 1242-59X
Erik Rhode, 1241-59X
F-OPEN
David Gosnell, 1247-84X
Jay Christopherson, 1246-74X
Keith Glasscock, 1245-79X
Pat Scully, 1243-71X
Dan Bramley, 1243-70X
F-TR
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.
North by Southwest

Below are SWN F-Open Champion David Gosnell (left) and F-TR Winner Donald Erpenbach (right).
North by Southwest

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.

North by Southwest

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.

North by Southwest

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.

Berger SW Nationals Final Report Match Results

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!

Berger Southwest Nationals Phoenix Ben Avery

Berger Southwest Nationals Phoenix Ben Avery

Big News for Berger Bullets

Berger Southwest Nationals Phoenix Ben Avery

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”.

Permalink - Videos, Competition, News 2 Comments »
January 5th, 2017

Berger Bullets Joins Nammo Group — How This Benefits Shooters

Berger Joins Nammo group Lapua Vihtavuori

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 Joins Nammo group Lapua VihtavuoriBerger 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.

Berger Joins Nammo group Lapua Vihtavuori

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.
Permalink - Videos, Bullets, Brass, Ammo, News 13 Comments »
December 12th, 2016

Powder Valley’s $20,000 Giveaway — 12 Days of Christmas

Powder Valley Inc. Giveaway 12 days of Christmas Ammo Bullets Press Lapua Sierra Berger

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.

Powder Valley Inc. Giveaway 12 days of Christmas Ammo Bullets Press Lapua Sierra Berger

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?

Permalink Bullets, Brass, Ammo, Hot Deals No Comments »
November 23rd, 2016

Lapua Now Offers 6.5 Creedmoor Cartridge Brass

Lapua Creedmoor 6.5 Brass cartridge 1.5mm tactical case

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:

Lapua Creedmoor 6.5 Brass cartridge 1.5mm tactical case

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.

Lapua Creedmoor 6.5 Brass cartridge 1.5mm tactical caseMade 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.

Permalink Bullets, Brass, Ammo, New Product, News 13 Comments »
November 21st, 2016

Bargain Finder 62: AccurateShooter’s Deals of the Week

Accurateshooter Bargain Finder Deals of Week

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

Midway USA Black Friday Leupold Vortex Ammo Hornady NRA Walker Rasor Scope Ammunition

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

Natchez Hodgdon Varget Powder H4350 Extreme Sale Black Friday

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

RCBS Special 5 Reloading Kit

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

RUger American Rifle hunting hunter .270 Win Winchester Long Action .270 Win Winchester

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 Black Friday Bargain Discount Code Special AccurateShooter

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

Brownells Black Friday Bargain Discount Code Special AccurateShooter

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

Amazon Frankford vibratory case cartridge brass tumbler Quick n EZ

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

17 HMR Hornady Midsouth V-Max Vmax Sale

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.

Max NRR 33 db ear plugs

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.

Permalink Bullets, Brass, Ammo, Hot Deals, Reloading 1 Comment »
November 19th, 2016

Cortina’s Corner: Using the Giraud Power Trimmer

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.
Erik Cortina Meplat Giraud Case Trimmer YouTube Video Lapua

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

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November 11th, 2016

English Shooter Sets New Great Britain F-Class Record

UK European F-Class F-Open Championships Bisley Range England

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!

UK European F-Class F-Open Championships Bisley Range England

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.

Permalink News 6 Comments »
November 4th, 2016

Mysteries Revealed — How Cartridge Brass is Made

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

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

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 »
October 31st, 2016

The Mother of All Rimfire Ammo Tests — AccurateReloading.com

rimfire ammunition test

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.

Bleiker .22LR Rifle

The lists below rank the average accuracy (by brand) of five, 5-shot groups shot at 50, 75, and 100 yards. CLICK HERE for Complete Test Results with target photos.

50-Yard Results 75-Yard Results 100-Yard Results
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
0.388 Totem
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
0.479 Magtech
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
0.871 Magtech
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
0.963 Magtech
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
1.201 Totem
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
Permalink - Articles, Bullets, Brass, Ammo 2 Comments »
October 11th, 2016

Berger Bullets Joins Nammo Group

Berger Bullets Nammo Press release Nammo group Lapua brass ammunition

Breaking News: Berger Bullets Joins Nammo Group

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:

Berger Bullets Nammo Press release Nammo group Lapua brass ammunition

(more…)

Permalink Bullets, Brass, Ammo, News 6 Comments »
October 11th, 2016

More Details on Berger Bullets Joining Nammo Group

On the heels of the announcement that Berger Bullets will join the Nammo group, the following information was posted on the Long Range Hunting Forum by Doc Beech of Applied Ballistics:

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?
A. Yes.
__________________
Doc Beech – Applied Ballistics
doc.beech@appliedballisticsllc.com
www.abmediaresources.com – www.appliedballisticsllc.com

Permalink News 4 Comments »
September 16th, 2016

Vihtavuori Powders Loading Information Online

vihtavuori reloading guide
Click image for Online Reloading Data. CLICK HERE for Printable PDF Reloading Guide.

Vihtavuori has updated and enhanced its reloading information, adding VV powder load recipes for many more cartridge types. Data is now online for 64 rifle cartridge types and 26 pistol cartridge types. You’ll find the updated reloading data on the Vihtavuori Website. Bookmark this link: www.vihtavuori.com/en/reloading-data/about-reloading.html.

The updated online information supplements the Vihtavuori Reloading Guide (2016 Edition) available in PDF format. The online Reloading Database has dedicated sections for Rifle Cartridges, Pistol Cartridges, and Cowboy Action. There is also a handy, FREE Reload Mobile App for iOS and Android.


Rifle Reload DATA | Handgun Reload DATA| Mobile Reload App

vihtavuori reloading guide

Rifle Reloading Data

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:

.204 Ruger
.221 Remington Fireball
.222 Remington
.22 Hornet
.22 PPC-USA
.223 Remington
.22-250 Remington
.223 WSSM
.243 Winchester
.243 WSSM
6mm PPC-USA
6mmBR Norma
6 XC
6mm Remington
.240 Weatherby Magnum
6.5 Grendel
6.5 x 47 Lapua
6.5 Creedmoor
6,5 x 55 Swedish Mauser
6,5 x 55 Swedish Mauser/ SKAN
6.5-284 Norma
.25-06 Remington
.260 Remington
.270 Winchester
.270 WSM
.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
.30 Carbine
.30-30 Winchester
.300 AAC Blackout
7,62 x 39
.300 Savage
7,62 x 53R (7,62 Russian)
.308 Winchester
.30-06 Springfield
.300 Lapua Magnum
.300 Remington Ultra Magnum
.300 Winchester Magnum
.300 Weatherby Magnum
.30-.378 Weatherby Magnum
.300 H&H Magnum
.300 WSM
.303 British
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
.416 Rigby
.444 Marlin
.45-70 Government
.458 Winchester Magnum
.50 Browning

Handgun Reloading Data

Likewise, VV’s Handgun Reloading Database is extensive. These pistol cartridges are covered:

.32 S&W Long N.P.
.32 S&W Long Wadcutter
.357 Remington Maximum
.357 Magnum
.357 SIG
.38 Super Lapua
.38 Super Auto
.38 Special
7 mm GJW
7 mm TCU
7 mm BR Remington
7,62 x 25 Tokarev
9 mm Luger

9 x 21
9 x 23 Winchester
.40 S&W
10 mm AUTO
.41 Remington Magnum
.44 S&W Special
.44 Remington Magnum
.45 ACP
.45 Colt
.45 Winchester Magnum
.454 Casull
.500 S&W Magnum
.50 AE

Story Tip by EdLongrange. We welcome reader submissions.
Permalink Bullets, Brass, Ammo, Reloading 1 Comment »