November 10th, 2016

Widener’s Guide to Smokeless Powders

Widener's Reloading Smokeless Powder propellant Guide

Widener’s Reloading & Shooting Supply recently published a helpful introduction to reloading powders. Widener’s online Guide to Smokeless Powders shows the various types of powders, and explains how the differences in powder kernel/flake size and shape, and burn rate affect performance. We recommend you visit Widener’s website and read the Powder Guide in full.

Take a close look at these illustrations which show the key differences between the four main powder types: extruded (stick) powder, ball (spherical) powder, flattened ball powder, and flake powder.

Widener's Reloading Smokeless Powder propellant Guide

Widener's Reloading Smokeless Powder propellant Guide

Widener's Reloading Smokeless Powder propellant Guide

Widener's Reloading Smokeless Powder propellant Guide

Burn Rate Basics

Widener’s Guide to Smokeless Powders also has a useful discussion of Burn Rate (a confusing topic for many hand-loaders). Wideners explains: “While a gun powder explosion in the cartridge seems instantaneous, if you slow it down you will actually find that each powder has a different ‘burn rate’, or speed at which it ignites.” This video shows powders with two very different burn rates. Watch closely.

Different burn rates suit different cartridge types notes Widener’s: “In general a fast-burning powder is used for light bullets and low-speed pistols and shotguns. Medium-rate powders are used for magnum pistols, while high-velocity, large bore rifle cartridges will need slow powders[.]

It should be noted that burn rate does not have a standardized unit of measurement. In fact, burn rate is really only discussed in comparison to other powders; there is no universal yardstick. Specifics will change by cartridge and bullet types[.]”

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October 28th, 2016

New 33 Nosler Rivals .338 Lapua Magnum in Smaller Package

nosler 33 .338 404 Jeffrey Magnum cartridge

Nosler has just introduced a new SAAMI-spec .338-caliber cartridge, the 33 Nosler, which is based on the 404 Jeffrey parent case. This efficient new cartridge rivals the velocity and energy of the proven .338 Lapua Magnum while using significantly less powder. AND, the Nosler 33 fits in a standard, long action receiver. Accordingly the 33 Nosler should be popular with extreme long range (ELR) shooters and big game hunters. The 33 Nosler fires .338-caliber bullets which are tough on big game and typically boast high Ballistic Coefficients and sectional densities. For long-range target work, Nosler will offer 33 Nosler match ammo with a high-BC 300gr bullet.

nosler 33 .338 404 Jeffrey Magnum cartridge

Notably, the 33 Nosler will fit in a standard-length Long Action. That’s a big deal because it means you can now achieve .338 LM performance in a rifle that is lighter and less costly to build. Nosler lists a 3.340″ COAL for the 33 Nosler. Compare that to 3.681″ for the .338 LM. Nosler will offer loaded ammunition as well as 33 Nosler brass.

nosler 33 .338 404 Jeffrey Magnum cartridge

The above chart was created by Nosler. It shows the 33 Nosler can push a 225gr AccuBond at 3025 fps and the 265gr AccuBond at 2775 fps. That’s 275 fps faster (with 20% more energy) than the .338 Winchester Magnum using the same length action. According to the chart, the 33 Nosler is also 25 fps faster than the .338 Lapua Magnum at the muzzle while burning 18% less powder. However, the numbers quoted by Nosler for the .338 LM are conservative.

nosler 33 .338 404 Jeffrey Magnum cartridge

The 33 Nosler® is SAAMI-standardized for consistent industry-wide brass and chamber dimensions. Nosler will be supporting this new cartridge with Nosler Brass, factory ammunition, and Nosler factory rifles. Expect 33 Nosler products to be available in early 2017.

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January 31st, 2012

New Dimension Switch-Barrel Rifle from Thompson/Center

Thompson Center T/C Dimension rifle
At Media Day right before SHOT Show, Thompson/Center Arms unveiled an innovative hunting rifle that features interchangeable barrels and multiple bolts. This allows a single gun to shoot a wide range of chamberings — from .204 Ruger all the way up to the large, belted magnums. The gun employs some unusual engineering, with an AR-type barrel nut on a barrel extension which contains the bolt-lug recesses. There is no conventional recoil lug. Instead a slot on the underside of the barrel extension mates to a metal bar molded into the stock. With the supplied tools, the entire gun can be assembled or disassembled in under one minute (in the Video, a T/C rep assembles the gun in 55 seconds.)

T/C’s Dimension rifle is definitely innovative; there is nothing like it on the market anywhere near its price range (MSRP is $648.00 with tools). For a walking-around deer hunter who is satisfied with factory barrels, and who doesn’t shoot with a rear bag, the gun will probably have appeal. On the other hand, varminters won’t be impressed — the stock won’t work well with a bipod or rear bag, and T/C will be the only source for barrels. The nature of the design, for practical purposes, precludes the use of affordable 3rd-party barrels. You won’t be able to buy a Shilen or PacNor prefit barrel, as you can for a Savage.

Thompson Center T/C Dimension rifle

Factory Promo Video (Loud Soundtrack — turn down speakers before playback!)

Action Features
Pro: One size fits all — single hard-anodized aluminum action can be used to shoot multiple chamberings from .204 Ruger to .300 Win Mag with bolt, barrel, and magazine swap. For all chamberings, T/C guarantees 3-shot accuracy of one MOA with premium ammo.
Con: You have to replace complete bolt assembly to go from one family of cartridges to another (e.g. from .308 Win to Magnum). This is much more expensive than swapping a bolt head on a Savage.

Barrel Fitting
Pro: Barrels can be quickly exchanged using provided tools.
Con: Bolt recesses are machined into barrel extension section, so barrels must be supplied by T/C. We were told that both bolts and barrels “absolutely have to come from Thompson/Center”.

Stock Features
Pro: Stock is lightweight with rubberized surface texture — good for wet climates.
Con: Stock is ugly. Forearm too flexy to use with bipod. Concave arc on underside of buttstock is terrible for use with rear bag. Stock finish tends to retain dust and grit.

Scope Mounting
Pro: T/C offers a bridge scope base that mounts to the barrel (like on Blasers). This allows an optic to stay with a barrel — so you could have a low-power close-range scope mounted and zeroed on one barrel, with a higher-power variable scope on another barrel.
Con: If you keep optics on the barrels, you need to buy a separate bridge for each barrel. That’s an added expense, plus many hunters can’t afford multiple scopes anyway. Thankfully, conventional Weaver bases can be fitted on top of the action.

Commentary: On viewing and handling the rifle, and watching the assembly process, it was obvious that some intelligent, clever engineering went into the gun. The AR-style barrel engagement system functions very well — the whole gun can be disassembled in under one minute. T/C provides some fairly sophisticated assembly tools with the gun, including wrenches that automatically set correct torque values. That’s cool. The gun is relatively light and balances well. On the other hand, the stock design fails in many ways. The fore-arm is short and too flexy for serious use with bipod. The curving underside of the buttstock is a odd-looking, but what is worse, the curve is just about the worst possible profile for use with a rear sandbag. Most observers thought the gun was ugly.

T/C Dimension Caliber Groups
The T/C Dimension LOC™ System has 7 parts — a universal stock and receiver that accept multiple barrels, magazine groups (magazine and housing), bolts and bridge scope mounts. Dimension hand tools work with all Dimension rifles. Interchangeable parts are stamped with letters: A, B, C or D. Match the letter on the barrel with the one on the bolt and magazine group.

A Family: .204 Ruger, .223 Rem
B Family: 22-250 Rem, .243 Win, 7mm-08 Rem, .308 Win
C Family: .270 Win, .30-06 Sprg
D Family: 7mm Rem Mag, .300 Win Mag

Permalink - Videos, Hunting/Varminting, New Product 25 Comments »
November 19th, 2011

Applied Ballistics Now Offers Match-Grade .300 Win Mag Ammo

litz 300 win magnum wm ammoApplied Ballistics LLC, Bryan Litz’s company, has started producing new .300 Winchester Magnum loaded ammunition, supplementing the ultra-accurate .308 Winchester ammo that Applied Ballistics rolled out in 2010. The new .300 Win Mag ammo is featured on Bryan’s new dedicated webpage for ammo sales.

The new .300 Win Mag ammo is loaded with Berger’s LRBT 185gr “Juggernaut” bullet. This high-BC bullet, combined with an impressive 3155 fps muzzle velocity (from 28″ barrel), gives the new Applied Ballistics ammo superior performance compared to other commercial .300 WM ammo offerings. Take a look at the chart below:

litz 300 win magnum wm ammo

Exclusive AccurateShooter.com Offer — Get $5.00 Off Each Box of .300 WM Ammo
To promote the new .300 Win Mag ammo, Bryan is offering a special discount to AccurateShooter.com members. When shopping on Bryan’s Ammo website, if you order .300 Win Mag ammo, use Coupon Code ASDC on check-out. That Code will save purchasers $5.00 per box on any quantity of .300 Win Mag ammo. The Coupon Code, valid through November 30, 2011, is good for one purchase per customer.

Permalink Bullets, Brass, Ammo, New Product 4 Comments »
January 28th, 2010

SHOT Show Report: NEW Savage 110 BA Tactical Rifle in .338 Lapua Magnum

Savage Arms caused quite a stir at Media Day when it unveiled its new 110 BA big-bore tactical rifle. The 110 BA is initially available in two chamberings: 300 Win Mag, and .338 Lapua Magnum. The .338 version of this rifle is Savage’s first-ever .338 Lapua Magnum, and it is VERY affordable compared to .338 LM tactical rifles from other manufacturers. We predict this gun will be a big hit with shooters who want the long-range capability of the .338 Lapua Magnum cartridge but who don’t want to sell the farm to acquire a capable rifle. Once the initial demand settles down, you should be able to find a 110 BA for around $2000 (not including optics).


NOTE: Jason removed his eye protection for this photo. We recommend that shooters ALWAYS wear ANSI-certified eye protection.

The 110 BA gun comes complete with a detachable box magazine (DBM), target grip with base, a +20 MOA scope rail, and Picatinny accessory rails ahead of the action and on the side of the chassis. The stock has a comfortable cheekpiece that adjusts for height using a handy rotary knob. A similar knob controls the buttpad position, allowing you to “dial in” length of pull. As you’d expect, the 110 BA features a Savage Accutrigger.

CLICK HERE for large photo of Savage 110 BA (shows buttstock details)

On the gun we tested, the AccuTrigger broke clean and crisp under 2.5 pounds, with little overtravel. Fitted with an oversize bolt handle from the factory, the action was smooth in operation and effortlessly fed and extracted the big .338 LM cartridges. The gun demonstrated good accuracy with Hornady .338 Lapua Mag factory ammo, allowing Jason to make a first-round hit at about 800 yards. Jason liked the gun, telling us it “feels solid and well-balanced”. Jason did note that the large muzzle brake creates quite a side-blast. When this Editor was taking video, Jason warned me to get out of the way of the blast. I moved back behind the shooter, but even there, the brake’s blast could be felt.

YouTube Preview Image

Quality Big-Bore Tactical for under Two Grand
The 110 BA establishes a new, affordable price point for a true big-bore tactical rifle. Both the 300 Win Mag and the 338 Lapua Mag versions have an MSRP of just $2267.00. We expect to see the “street price” on these rifles peg below $2000.00. That makes the .338 LM version of the 110 BA one of the most affordable .338 Lapua magnum tactical rifles yet offered to the public.

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January 10th, 2010

30 Cal Magnums Preferred by North American Big Game Hunters

30-caliber magnums are the chamberings of choice for North American big game hunters. Although the venerable .30-06 and .270 remain popular, Boone and Crockett Club records show that the 30-caliber magnums (of one variety or another) take more North American trophies than any other caliber/chambering. (Note: “30-caliber magnum” includes .300 Win Mag, .300 WSM, .300 Wby. Mag, 300 Ultra mag. Records do not distinguish specific 30-cal magnum chamberings.) Boone and Crockett compiled the data from records-book entries from 2007 through 2009. Surprisingly, the second most popular trophy-taker isn’t a firearm—it’s a bow.

300 Weatherby Magnum

Here are the most commonly used calibers across all Boone and Crockett categories over the past three years, along with percentages of trophy entries credited to each:

30-cal Magnum (all types)—18 percent
Bow/crossbow—16 percent
.270—12 percent
.30-06—11 percent
7mm Magnum—11 percent
Muzzleloader/shotgun—10 percent
6mm—3 percent
.338 Magnum—3 percent
.257—2 percent
.30-30—2 percent
.308—2 percent
.375 Magnum—2 percent
Other—8 percent
300 Weatherby Magnum

30-caliber magnum cartridges appear among the top three calibers for 11 of the 15 species recognized in Boone and Crockett trophy records. Species for which records are kept include: Whitetail deer, Coues’ whitetail deer, Blacktail deer, Mule deer, Black bear, Brown Bear/Grizzly, Pronghorn, Elk, Moose, Caribou, Bison, Muskox, Cougar, Rocky Mtn. Goat, Sheep (Bighorn, Dall’s, Desert, Stone’s).

Permalink Hunting/Varminting, News No Comments »
July 15th, 2009

Wolf Primers IN STOCK at Powder Valley and Wideners

On Monday, we reported that Powder Valley, Inc. would be receiving a very large shipment of Wolf Primers today, July 15th. In addition, Wideners.com has already received a big shipment of Wolf Primers on 7/14. You can now place orders online with Wideners, but they caution that there will be shipping delays of up to one week. Wideners has Small Rifle Magnum primers in stock for $29.00/1000 and the Large Rifle (Regular) and Large Rifle Magnum in stock for $29.50/1000. NOTE: for the BR and PPC cases we recommend the Small Rifle Magnum primers. Regular Wolf Small Rifle primers have soft cups.

CLICK HERE to order Wolf Primers from Wideners.com.

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