January 9th, 2019

Loading Accurate Pistol Ammo for Competition — USAMU Tips

Accurate Reloading hand loading handgun pistol progressive 9mm .45 ACP
Photo courtesy UltimateReloader.com.

The U.S. Army Marksmanship Unit (USAMU) regularly publishes a weekly reloading article on its Facebook Page. In this article, the second in a 3-part series, the USAMU covers the process of loading competition pistol ammunition. The authors focus on two key elements — the taper crimp and the quality/uniformity of the original brass. If you shoot pistol competitively, or just want to maximize the accuracy of your handguns, read this article. The taper crimp tips are very important.

Pistol Reloading USAMU taper crimp Brass

Loading Accurate Competition Pistol Ammunition — Part 2 of 3

Today, we resume our series on factors affecting accuracy in pistol handloads. Readers who missed Part One can visit our USAMU Facebook Page. Scroll down to March 28, 2018 to find that first installment which is worth reading.

One often-overlooked aspect of handloading highly-accurate pistol ammunition is the amount of taper crimp used, and its effect on accuracy. (NOTE: this article pertains to loading for semi-autos – revolver crimp techniques involve some quite different issues.) Briefly, different amounts of taper crimp are used with various handloads to obtain best accuracy. The amount is based on bullet weight, powder burn rate and charge, plus other factors such as case neck tension. During machine-rest testing of experimental Service Pistol ammunition, many variables are examined. Among these, our Shop often varies a load’s crimp in degrees of 0.001″ when re-testing for finest accuracy.

How to Measure Taper Crimp on Pistol Cartridges
One question that often arises is, “How do I measure the taper crimp I’m putting on my cartridges?” Using the narrow part of one’s dial caliper jaws, carefully measure the case diameter at the exact edge of the case mouth on a loaded cartridge. It’s important to take several measurements to ensure consistency. Also, be sure to measure at several places around the case mouth, as case wall thickness can vary. After measuring 2-3 cartridges with a given crimp setting, one can be confident of the true dimension and that it can be repeated later, if needed.

Accurate Reloading hand loading handgun pistol progressive 9mm .45 ACP

However, for good results, one must use brass from one maker due to variances in case wall thickness. For example, the same degree of crimp that imparts a measurement of 0.471″ with Brand X brass may result in 0.469″ with Brand Y. Thus, for best accuracy, using brass from the same manufacturer is important — particularly for 50-yard Slow Fire. In a perfect world, it is better still to use brass from one lot number if possible. With the popularity of progressive presses using interchangeable tool heads, keeping separate tool heads adjusted for each load helps maximize uniformity between ammunition lots.

Brass Uniformity and Accuracy
Brass is important to pistol accuracy. While accurate ammunition can be loaded using brass of mixed parentage, that is not conducive to finest results, particularly at 50 yards. It is important for the serious competitor to pay attention to his brass – even if only for the 50-yard “Slow Fire” portions of “Bullseye” matches and practice. By segregating brass as described above, and additionally keeping track of the number of times a given batch of cases has been fired, one can ensure case neck tension and case length are at their most uniform.

Accurate Reloading hand loading handgun pistol progressive 9mm .45 ACP

Given the large volumes of ammunition consumed by active pistol competitors, using inexpensive, mixed surplus brass for practice, particularly at the “short line” (25 yards), is understandable. In NRA Outdoor Pistol (“Bullseye”), the 10-ring is relatively generous — especially for a well-trained shooter with an accurate pistol and load. However, for the “long line” (50 yards), purchasing and segregating a lot of high-quality brass to be used strictly for slow-fire is a wise idea. To keep track of your brass on the line, use a unique headstamp marking with 1 or 2 colors of marking pen ink.

Uniform Cartridge Overall Length is Important
Cartridge case Overall Length (OAL) uniformity as it comes from the factory is important to achieving utmost accuracy. More uniform case lengths (best measured after sizing) contribute to greater consistency of crimp, neck tension, ignition/burn of powder charge, headspace (rimless cartridges), etc. Cartridge case-length consistency varies noticeably by maker and, with lesser manufacturers, also from lot to lot. Some manufacturers are more consistent in their dimensions than others, and also in the hardness/ductility of their brass. Similarly, pay attention to primer brands, powder lot numbers, etc.

This concludes Part 2 of our series – Part 3 will be upcoming soon. Stay safe, and good shooting!

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May 24th, 2018

SIG Sauer Now Offers Component Rifle and Pistol Brass

Sig Sauer premium elite performance brass reloading components cartridge cases

Sig Sauer premium elite performance brass reloading components cartridge casesHere is interesting news, particularly for pistol shooters and PRS competitors. You can now get premium, induction-annealed cartridge brass from SIG Sauer, the noted maker of Swiss-designed pistols and rifles. SIG Sauer is now manufacturing pistol and rifle brass at its state-of-the-art ammunition facility in Jacksonville, Arkansas. Notably, all Elite Performance rifle shell cases are induction annealed for consistent neck tension and case longevity. SIG states this brass is “engineered to exacting tolerances” and “the geometric consistency … ensures each primer is held tightly in its pocket. Flash holes are precise with no burrs and the superior metallurgical properties of the SIG Sauer cases enable repeated reloading.”

Rifle Brass Pricing is Attractive
We haven’t tried SIG Sauer rifle brass yet, but we are tempted as pricing is competitive. For example, a 50-count bag of 6.5 Creedmoor brass costs $33.95 on SIG’s online store. Varminters take note — 50 22-250 brass cases cost $25.95, while a 100-ct bag of .223 Rem brass is $35.95 (just 36 cents each).

SIG rifle cases are available for these cartridge types: .223 Rem, 22-250 Rem, .243 Win, 6.5 Creedmoor, .300 BLK, .308 Win, .and 300 Win Mag. Coming soon are .270 Win and .30-06 Springfield brass. Cases for most rifle cartridge types are sold 50 to a bag (100 for .223 Rem).

SIG Pistol Brass Sold Both Primed and Unprimed
SIG’s pistol brass is offered either primed or unprimed, at affordable prices. For example, 100 .45 ACP cases cost $33.95 primed, or $27.95 unprimed. 9mm Luger is even cheaper — just $25.95 for primed cases, or $20.95 for 9mm unprimed. To save time, we’d be tempted to buy the primed cases.

SIG pistol cases are available, primed or unprimed, in 100-ct bags for the following cartridge types: .380 Auto, 9mm Luger (9x19mm), .357 SIG, .38 Special, .357 Magnum, 40 S&W, 10mm Auto, .45 ACP.

Sig Sauer premium elite performance brass reloading components cartridge cases

COMMENT: Honestly, we don’t see many Benchrest and F-Class competitors moving away from Lapua brass which is superb, and holds the vast majority of records in those disciplines. However, for other disciplines, such as 3-Gun and Tactical matches, where you may not be able to recover your brass, it makes sense to consider cheaper alternatives. Likewise, varminters, who may shoot hundreds of rounds in an outing, may favor less costly cartridge brass.

“Each brass case undergoes rigorous in-line and post production quality assurance testing to ensure a flawless casing”, said Brad Criner, SIG Sauer’s Senior Director of Brand Management and Business Development. “The result is unparalleled durability and dependability.” All SIG Sauer Elite Performance ammunition and components are manufactured at SIG’s new ammo plant in Jacksonville, Arkansas. For more information on SIG cartridge brass visit the SIG Sauer Brass Webpage.

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July 29th, 2017

Brass Bonanza — 6000 9mm Cases for $135.60

Monmouth Reloading 9mm luger 9x19mm cartridge brass sale
The Sig Sauer P226 Elite is one of our favorite 9x19mm pistols. Now you can feed your Sig, Glock, HK, or Ruger on the cheap. Monmouth Reloading is offering 6000 9mm cases for just $135.60.

Here’s just what you need for the Zombie Apocalypse, or, for those less doomsday-minded, here’s enough brass to let you shoot 100 rounds a week for an entire year. Monmouth Reloading is offering 6000 once-fired 9mm cases for just $135.60. That’s just two cents per case! (You can also get 3000 cases for $68.99.) CLICK HERE to order.

Monmouth Reloading 9mm luger 9x19mm cartridge brass sale

Just about everyone has a 9mm pistol. With modest recoil, and inexpensive ammo, the 9mm Luger (aka 9x19mm) is probably the most popular centerfire handgun cartridge. Now you can get six thousand (6,000) once-fired 9mm cartridge cases for just $135.60, with free cleaning (a $15.00 value). Find a friend with a Dillon 650 and you could load up enough to last a decade.

Lesser Quantities of 9mm Brass at Great Prices Also
If you don’t don’t really need 6000 pieces of 9mm brass, you can also get 3000 for $68.99, or 1000 for just $23.50. Whatever quantity you choose, that’s a serious bargain. Like the larger quantities, Monmouth is offering free tumble cleaning in corn/walnut media for a limited time. ORDER HERE.

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