September 10th, 2017

Precision Reloading for Handguns — Smart Tips from the USAMU

USAMU Service Pistol Handgun Tip Advice Reloading

The U.S. Army Marksmanship Unit (USAMU) fields pistol teams as well as rifle and shotgun competition squads. Consequently the USAMU’s Reloading Shop loads tens of thousands of pistol rounds every year. In this article, the USAMU’s handgun experts talk about reloading for handguns — with smart tips on how to achieve superior accuracy with 100% reliability. If you load for pistols, take the time to read this article, which offers important insights on COAL, primers, crimps and more.

USAMU Service Pistol Handgun Tip Advice Reloading

Optimize the Taper Crimp
One often-overlooked aspect of handloading highly-accurate pistol ammunition is the amount of crimp and its effect on accuracy. 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. It is not unusual for our Shop to vary a load’s crimp in degrees of 0.001″ and re-test for finest accuracy.

USAMU Service Pistol Handgun Tip Advice ReloadingUse Consistent Brass
Brass is also 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/handloader to use brass of the same headstamp and ideally one lot number, to maximize uniformity. Given the volumes of ammunition consumed by active pistol competitors, using inexpensive, mixed surplus brass for practice, particularly at the “short line” (25 yards), is understandable. 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.

Importance of Uniform COAL
Uniformity of the Case Overall Length (COAL) as it comes from the factory is also 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, and so on. Cartridge case-length consistency varies from lot to lot, as well as by maker. Some manufacturers are more consistent in this dimension than others. [Editor’s note: It is easy to trim pistol brass to uniform length. Doing this will make your taper crimps much more consistent.]

Primers and Powders — Comparison Test for Accuracy
Pay attention to primer brands, powder types and charges. Evaluating accuracy with a Ransom or other machine rest at 50 yards can quickly reveal the effect of changes made to handload recipes.

Bullet Selection — FMJ vs. JHP
Bullets are another vital issue. First, there is the question of FMJ vs. JHP. A friend of this writer spent decades making and accuracy-testing rifle and pistol bullets during QC for a major bullet manufacturer. In his experience, making highly-accurate FMJ bullets is much more difficult than making highly-accurate JHPs, in large part due to the way the jackets are formed. Small die changes could affect accuracy of FMJ lots dramatically.

The CMP now allows “safe, jacketed ammunition” in Excellence-in-Competition (EIC) Service Pistol matches, although wadcutter ammunition is prohibited. Thus, the option to use very accurate JHP designs simplifies the life of CMP Service Pistol shooters in pursuit of the prestigious Distinguished Pistol Shot badge.

Hopefully, these tips will be helpful to any pistol shooters interested in accurate handloads, not just “Bullseye” shooters. Small tweaks to one’s normal routine can pay big dividends in improved accuracy and make practice and competition more rewarding.

Stay safe, and good shooting!

Permalink News 1 Comment »
July 20th, 2017

Getting the Most Out of Your Progressive Press — PowerUser Tips

Ultimate Reloader Progressive Press Hornady
Blue, Red, Green — There are many Progressive Press options on the market…

When you need ammo fast — lots of ammo, it’s hard to beat a progressive reloading press for output. We use progressive presses to load handgun ammo and .223 Rem cartridges for varmint safaris. With good dies, and proper press set-up, today’s progressive presses can produce surprisingly uniform and accurate ammo. No, you won’t see Benchrest Hall-of-Famers loading PPC cartridges on progressives. However, if you need 1000 rounds for your next prairie dog adventure, you should consider getting a progressive. Below you can see a Hornady Lock-N-Load AP configured to load .308 Winchester in bulk.

Hornady .308 winchester lock-n-load progressive press

CLICK HERE to Read Full Article

ultimate reloader progressive

UltimateReloader.com has published helpful Tips to Optimize Progressive Rifle Loading. No matter whether you have a Red (Hornady), Green (RCBS), or Blue (Dillon) progressive, this article can help you load more efficiently and produce better results. Here are some highlights:

Proper Brass Prep
Just like a good paint job requires good prep work, great rifle ammo requires good brass prep. In order to make sure your rifle loading goes smoothly, make sure to perform the following brass prep steps:

  • Clean the brass (tumble, ultrasonic, etc.)
  • Inspect brass for cracks, deep dents, etc.
  • For military brass: de-prime, ream/swage primer pockets, size with small-base sizer die (small base usually optional).
  • Measure brass length — if too long, size and then trim.
  • Final inspection before loading.
  • Cleaning primer pockets may be something you’ll consider (I don’t clean primer pockets except for rare cases or match ammo).

Smooth and Steady Pace
Since you’re loading rifle ammunition on a progressive, you’re already saving a load of time, so there’s no need to rush things! Attention to detail is super-important for safety and for good results. Always keep an eye on powder level (goes down FAST) and what’s happening at each station.

The Right Press and Press Setup
Look for a heavy-duty, well-built press that will stand up to rifle loading. You’ll also want to make sure your powder measure will have the proper capacity (~25 grains for .223, ~50 grains for 308). If you are bulk reloading, ensure you have enough stations for sizing, charging, powder check, bullet feed, bullet seating, and (optional) bullet crimp.

More Ultimate Reloader Resources for Users of Progressive Presses:

Permalink Bullets, Brass, Ammo, Gear Review, Reloading No Comments »
March 22nd, 2017

Precision Handloading for Pistols — Tips from the USAMU

USAMU Service Pistol Handgun Tip Advice Reloading

Each Wednesday the USAMU offers tips for handloaders on the USAMU Facebook page. This article from the “Handloading Hump-Day” archives should interest pistol competitors, an any shooter who enjoys getting the best possible accuracy from their fine pistols. In this article, the USAMU’s experts share key tips that can help optimize your pistol ammo. Follow this tips to produce more consistent ammo, that can shoot higher scores.

Optimize the Taper Crimp
One often-overlooked aspect of handloading highly-accurate pistol ammunition is the amount of crimp and its effect on accuracy. 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. It is not unusual for our Shop to vary a load’s crimp in degrees of 0.001″ and re-test for finest accuracy.

USAMU Service Pistol Handgun Tip Advice ReloadingUse Consistent Brass
Brass is also 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/handloader to use brass of the same headstamp and ideally one lot number, to maximize uniformity. Given the volumes of ammunition consumed by active pistol competitors, using inexpensive, mixed surplus brass for practice, particularly at the “short line” (25 yards), is understandable. 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.

Importance of Uniform COAL
Uniformity of the Case Overall Length (COAL) as it comes from the factory is also 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, and so on. Cartridge case-length consistency varies from lot to lot, as well as by maker. Some manufacturers are more consistent in this dimension than others. [Editor’s note: It is easy to trim pistol brass to uniform length. Doing this will make your taper crimps much more consistent.]

Primers and Powders — Comparison Test for Accuracy
Pay attention to primer brands, powder types and charges. Evaluating accuracy with a Ransom or other machine rest at 50 yards can quickly reveal the effect of changes made to handload recipes.

USAMU Service Pistol Handgun Tip Advice Reloading

Bullet Selection — FMJ vs. JHP
Bullets are another vital issue. First, there is the question of FMJ vs. JHP. A friend of this writer spent decades making and accuracy-testing rifle and pistol bullets during QC for a major bullet manufacturer. In his experience, making highly-accurate FMJ bullets is much more difficult than making highly-accurate JHPs, in large part due to the way the jackets are formed. Small die changes could affect accuracy of FMJ lots dramatically.

The CMP now allows “safe, jacketed ammunition” in Excellence-in-Competition (EIC) Service Pistol matches, although wadcutter ammunition is prohibited. Thus, the option to use very accurate JHP designs simplifies the life of CMP Service Pistol shooters in pursuit of the prestigious Distinguished Pistol Shot badge.

Hopefully, these tips will be helpful to any pistol shooters interested in accurate handloads, not just “Bullseye” shooters. Small tweaks to one’s normal routine can pay big dividends in improved accuracy and make practice and competition more rewarding.

Stay safe, and good shooting!

Permalink Bullets, Brass, Ammo, Reloading No Comments »
January 25th, 2017

Hornady Offers Reloading Clinics at Safari Club Int’l Convention

hornady reloading clinic SCI Safari Club

Hornady® Manufacturing is sponsoring free reloading clinics on Thursday, February 2, 2017, during the Safari Club International (SCI) Convention in Las Vegas, NV. The clinics will include introductory and advanced reloading techniques. Hornady reloading specialist, Ben Syring, is the instructor for both classes. The clinics are free-of-charge, but participant space is available on a first-come first-served basis.The clinics will be held at the Mandalay Bay Convention Center, Lagoon Room A:

Hornady Reloading Clinic Schedule/Descriptions
Thursday, February 2, 2017 – Mandalay Bay, Lagoon Room A

Intro to Reloading Clinic, 9:30-11:00 p.m., discusses basic rifle and pistol reloading techniques, with an overview of the Hornady Classic reloading kit.

Advanced Reloading Clinic, 12:00-2:00 p.m., focuses on advanced techniques, with demonstrations of Hornady® precision tools including the headspace gauge, concentricity tool, and more.

SCI Convention Draws 18,000 Visitors
Widely considered as one of the premiere hunting-related events in the country, the Safari Club International Convention takes place February 1-4, 2017 at the Mandalay Bay Convention Center in Vegas, and features “six continents under one roof,” where attendees can book hunts, converse with hunting and shooting celebrities, and shop for the latest in hunting tools and equipment. The convention covers 650,000 square feet of exhibit space, and draws approximately 18,000 visitors from around the world.

For further information regarding Hornady® products visit www.Hornady.com.

Permalink Hunting/Varminting, Reloading No Comments »
December 1st, 2016

USAMU Advice for Progressive Press Users

Accurateshooter.com USAMU progressive press reloading

Each Wednesday, the U.S. Army Marksmanship Unit (USAMU) publishes a reloading “how-to” article on the USAMU Facebook page. In this article, the USAMU’s reloading gurus address a question frequently asked by prospective handloaders: “Should I buy a single-stage press, or a progressive?” The USAMU says the best answer is Solomon-esque in both its wisdom and simplicity: “Get BOTH!” However, there is definitely more to the issue, as the USAMU explains below.

USAMU Reloading

Progressive Press Safety Considerations by USAMU Staff
Many are the beginning handloaders who have asked a friend about their “setting up” a progressive press for them. The idea is that the newbie could then just feed in components and crank out buckets of practice ammo without needing to really learn much about handloading. Tempting though this might be, that’s simply not how it works. Such an approach might be ok if there were never a malfunction with either press or operator, but that’s unrealistic. Our hypothetical newbie would then lack the knowledge to problem-solve most situations.

(more…)

Permalink Reloading 1 Comment »
June 15th, 2016

High-Volume Case Lubrication — Tips from the USAMU

accurateshooter USAMU Handloading hump day case lube lubrication spray can cartridge brass reloading marksmanship

Each Wednesday, the U.S. Army Marksmanship Unit publishes a reloading “how-to” article on the USAMU Facebook page. Recently the USAMU’s reloading gurus looked at the subject of case lubrication. Tasked with producing thousands of rounds of ammo for team members, the USAMU’s reloading staff has developed very efficient procedures for lubricating large quantities of cases. This article reveals the USAMU’s clever “big-batch” lube methods. For other hand-loading tips, visit the USAMU Facebook page next Wednesday for the next installment.

Rapid, High-Volume Case Lubrication

Today’s topic covers methods for quickly applying spray lube to cartridge cases prior to sizing. A typical order for this shop may be 25,000 rounds, so [speeding up] the lubrication process can be a real time-saver. While your ammunition lots probably aren’t this large, the efficient methods discussed here may help save a considerable amount of time over your handloading career. Our case lubrication rates range from 1500-1600 cases per hour, to 2400-2500 cases per hour, depending on caliber.

This shop uses virgin brass, whereas most home handloaders use fired brass, which necessitates some small changes at times. These will be discussed as they arise. Begin with fired brass that has been tumbled clean.

Ensure as much tumbling media as possible is removed from the brass, as when it gets into a size die, it can dent cases significantly. This is a good time to round out dents in the case mouths using a tapered tool to prevent damage from the decapping stem.

First, dump the clean cases into a large box or reloading bin. Shake the bin back and forth so that many cases are oriented with the mouths up. Next, pick up as many cases as is convenient with the mouths “up”, from natural clusters of correctly-oriented cases. With 7.62mm-size cases, this is usually 3-4, and with 5.56mm cases, this can be up to 8-10. Place the cases into the rack slots, mouth-up. Doing this in groups rather than singly saves considerable time. Once these clusters have been depleted, it will be time to re-shake the bin to orient more cases “up.”.

This photo shows a case lubrication rack made by a USAMU staffer.
accurateshooter USAMU Handloading hump day case lube lubrication spray can cartridge brass reloading marksmanship

Naturally, adjust the spacing to best fit the calibers you reload. We have found this size … convenient for handling through the various phases of case lubrication/transfer to progressive case feeders for processing. Note that the 1/2-inch angle does not cover much of the critical case area at the base, just forward of the extractor groove, where most re-sizing force will be exerted. As the USAMU uses virgin brass, less lubrication is required for our brass than would be needed for Full Length (FL) sizing of previously-fired brass.

NOTE: The amount applied using our rack is easily enough for our purpose. If using fired brass, be sure to adequately lube this base area to avoid having cases stick in the full-length sizing die.

Using a spray lube, coat the cases adequately, but not excessively, from all sides. Be sure to get some lube into the case mouths/necks, in order to reduce expander ball drag and case stretching/headspace changes. The spray lube this shop uses does not harm primers or powder, and does not require tumbling to remove after lubing.*

accurateshooter USAMU Handloading hump day case lube lubrication spray can cartridge brass reloading marksmanship

Take a close look at the photo above. The USAMU shop uses a common kitchen turntable, which allows the rack to be rotated easily. We place this in a custom-made box which prevents over-spray on to floors and walls.

Angled Box Method for Smaller Cases to be Neck-Sized
A refinement of the above method which especially speeds processing of 5.56x45mm cases is as follows. A small cardboard box which holds about 100 cases is fitted with an angled “floor” secured by tape. With the smaller 5.56mm cases, usually about 8-10 cases per handful can be picked up, already correctly-oriented, and placed into the box together. This prevents having to place them into the rack slots, saving time.

accurateshooter USAMU Handloading hump day case lube lubrication spray can cartridge brass reloading marksmanship

HOWEVER, note that this does not allow nearly as much lube access to the case bodies as does the rack. For our purposes — neck-sizing and setting neck tension on new brass, this works well. If using this procedure with fired brass, take steps to ensure adequate lube to prevent stuck cases.

As always, we hope this will help our fellow handloaders. Good luck, and good shooting!


*A two-part test performed here involved spraying primed cases heavily, while getting more lube into the case mouth/body than even a careless handloader would likely apply. The second part of the test involved literally spraying considerable quantities of the lube directly into the cases, drenching the primers. After a several-day wait to allow the lube to penetrate the primers, they were then fired in a test barrel. All fired normally; no unusual reports were noted. This bolstered confidence that normal amounts of the lube would not adversely affect our ammunition, and we have been pleased with the results over several years.

Permalink Bullets, Brass, Ammo, Reloading 5 Comments »
February 10th, 2016

Keepin’ It Safe: Seven Tips for Reloading Safety

seven reloading safety tips powder primers brownells manual

You can never be too safe when hand-loading your own ammunition. This helpful Brownells video outlines the Seven Fundamental Reloading Safety Tips. This is important information for novice hand-loaders and a good refresher for those with reloading experience!

Summary of the Seven Safety Tips:

1. Store your reloading supplies in a safe and dry location, away from children and away from any possible source of ignition. This includes keeping your powder and primers separate.

2. Get and use respected reloading manuals, especially for new cartridges. Start low and work up slowly while watching for warning signs of pressure and/or case fatigue.

3. Locate your reloading activity where you will not be distracted. If you get interrupted, stop. (Distractions will eventually lead to mistakes.)

4. Do NOT mix powders. Keep your powders clearly marked and dated. You can use masking tape to write the date on the container.

5. If you load the same cartridge type for different firearms, make sure your ammo headspaces properly in each gun.

6. Check cases frequently. Look for split necks, case head separation or other signs of fatigue and excessive pressure.

7. If reloading military brass, be aware that case capacity is usually reduced, and initial loads should be at least 10-15% lower than published data.


Here are some other tips that will help your avoid making costly mistakes (such as using the wrong powder, or undercharging a case):

  • Powder Type — Always double-check the label on your powder containers. After placing powder in the powder measure, put a piece of tape on the measure with the powder type written on it. Some guys write the powder type on a card and place that right in the hopper.
  • Scale Drift — Electronic balances can drift. If you are using a digital powder scale, calibrate the scale with a test weight every 50 rounds or so.
  • Case Fill — If you throw more than one charge at a time, look INSIDE every case before seating a bullet. Squib charges can be dangerous if you don’t notice them before firing the next round.
  • Progressive Presses — When using a progressive press, consider using an RCBS Lock-Out Die. This will detect a low charge and stop the machine. These dies will work with RCBS, Hornady, and Dillon progressives.
Permalink - Articles, - Videos No Comments »
January 20th, 2016

Primer Seating Depth Uniformity and Accuracy

Each Wednesday, the U.S. Army Marksmanship Unit publishes a reloading “how-to” article on the USAMU Facebook page. Yesterday’s post covered primer seating depth. This article offers many useful tips — including a clever way to measure primer seating depth with ordinary jaw-type calipers. Visit the USAMU Facebook page next Wednesday for the next installment.

USAMU reloading tip

Primer Seating Depth — Why Uniformity is Important
The first concern is for safety: for that reason, primers should be seated below flush with the case head. One primary cause of “slam fires” (which includes catastrophic failures from firing out of battery) is “high,” or protruding primers. These stand above the case head, are readily felt with simple finger-tip inspection, and may fire when slammed by the bolt face and/or a floating firing pin in feeding.

Here at the USAMU, we ensure our rifle primers generally run -0.003″ to -0.005″ below the case head. Maximum primer depth is -0.006″ and minimum is -0.002″. Upon inspection, any cases with high primers will be corrected before loading. Aside from improving ballistic uniformity, ensuring the primers have proper compression upon seating also helps reduce possible misfires. These can be caused by the firing pin’s expending part of its energy either seating the primer or having to deform the primer cup enough to reach the anvil.

SMART TIP: How to Measure Primer Seating Depth with a Set of Calipers
A zeroed, precision set of standard calipers will also measure primer seating depth. (You don’t really need a custom tool.) Merely close the jaws and place the calipers’ narrow end squarely across the center of the case head/primer pocket. Keeping the narrow end in full contact with the case head, gently open the jaws, and the center bar will extend until it reaches the primer face. Voilà! Primer depth is read on the dial. Taking a few measurements to ensure accuracy and repeatability is recommended until one is familiar with this technique.

Brass and Primer Defects Can Cause Seating-Depth Variances
Factors affecting variance of primer seating depth include brass maker and lot number — all primer pockets are not created equal! Another factor is the primer manufacturer and individual primer lot. We’ve encountered occasional primer lots by top-quality makers that included some primers with slight defects affecting seating. While finely accurate, these primers were out-of-round or had small slivers of cup material protruding which affected primer feeding or seating depth.

Has one’s brass been fired previously? If so, how many times and the pressures involved also affect future primer seating. Obviously, this is another factor in favor of segregating one’s high-accuracy brass by maker, lot number, and number of times fired, if possible.

Measuring Primer Seating Depth with Purpose-Built Gauge
The next question, “How do we measure primer depth?” happily can be answered using tools already owned by most handloaders. [See tip above on how to measure depth with calipers.] At the USAMU, we have the luxury of purpose-built gauges made by the talented machinists of the Custom Firearms Shop. One places the primed case into the gauge, and the dial indicator reads the depth quickly and easily. The indicator is calibrated using a squarely-machined plug that simulates a case head with a perfectly flush-seated primer, easily giving meaningful “minus” or “plus” readings. The gauge is usable with a variety of case head sizes.

Primer Seating with Progressive Presses
Methods of primer seating include hand-seating using either hand held or bench-mounted tools, vs. progressive-press seating. Progressive presses may either seat by “feel,” subjective to each operator, or by using a mechanical “stop” that positively locates primers nearly identically every time. Testing here has shown that we get more uniform seating with the latter type progressive press, than we do with a high-quality bench-mounted tool lacking a positive stop.

Primer stop depth adjustments on our main progressive presses involve turning a punch screw in and out. While the screw is not calibrated, fine “tick” marks added to the top of the press help users gauge/repeat settings by “eye” efficiently with practice. Then, once a sample of primed cases is run to confirm the range and accuracy of depths, the identifying lot number and maker is noted on the press for reference. When it’s necessary to switch brass/primer lots, changes are easy to make and settings are easily repeated when it’s time to switch back.

Permalink Reloading, Tech Tip 4 Comments »
November 2nd, 2015

Bargain Finder 7: AccurateShooter’s Deals of the Week

Accurateshooter Bargain Finder Deals of Week

At the request of our readers, we have launched a new “Deals of the Week” feature. If this proves popular, we’ll try to run this every Monday. Here are some of the best deals on 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. Sportsmans Superstore — .30-06 Ruger American Rifle, $299.99

Free Shipping Cabelas deals of week AccurateShooter

Want a quality deer rifle for under three hundred bucks? Look no further. Here’s an awesome deal for the hunting season. This long-action .30-06 Ruger American Rifle costs just $299.99 this week. If you prefer a short action, Sportsmans Outdoors Superstore has the same rifle in .308 Win for $319.41 (camo stock) or $339.88 (black stock).

2. Bruno Shooters Supply — Leupold Competition Scopes $999.99

Free Shipping Leupold Competition Scope 35X 40X Bruno Shooters Supply scope deals of week AccurateShooter

Here’s a good deal for benchrest shooters. Bruno’s is offering Leupold 35X and 40X Competition Series scopes for $999.99. That’s $100.00 less than we’ve seen anywhere else currently. And, for a limited time, Bruno’s is offering free shipping on Leupold scopes. Other Leupold scopes are 5% off regular prices while this sale is in effect.

3. Burris – $100 Off Burris Eliminator III LaserScope

Free Shipping Burris Rebate Eliminator 3 III Laserscope deals of week AccurateShooter
Free Shipping Burris Rebate Eliminator 3 III Laserscope deals of week AccurateShooter

Now through December 31st (2015), you can get $100 back on any Eliminator III with a mail-in rebate. The Burris Eliminator III combines a medium-powder zoom scope with a built-in laser rangefinder. We’ve used an Eliminator and it ranged successfully on steel plates out to 600 yards. We think this is a good product for a varmint hunter — it quickly returns yardages and shows the correct hold-over with an illuminated dot. Just put the dot on the target and “send it”. CLICK HERE for Rebate FORM.

4. Cabelas — FREE Shipping on orders of $99 or more

Free Shipping Cabelas deals of week AccurateShooter

For the next two days, through midnight on 11/3/2015, Cabela’s is offering FREE Shipping on orders of $99.00 or more. Yes this applies to ammo sales as well (though not to firearms or hazmat items). To qualify, use code “115HOT” during checkout. NOTE: Shipping charges may apply to large or heavy items. Act quickly, this offer expires soon.

5. Midsouth Shooters Supply — Hornady Progressive Press on Sale

Free Shipping Hornady Lock N Load Progressive AP Press Midsouth Sale deals of week AccurateShooter

The Hornady Lock-N-Load AP Progessive Press is on sale at Midsouth this week for $389.99. That’s $70.00 off the regular price. To further sweeten this deal, press purchasers can get 500 free bullets through Hornady’s “Get Loaded” promotion. We have used this press. It is strong and reliable. We favor Hornady’s easy-to-adjust, rotary-type powder measure over Dillon’s sliding-bar system.

6. Natchez Shooters Supply — Lyman Gen6 Scale/Dispenser

Free Shipping Lyman Powder Scale Dispenser ChargeMaster Natchez Gen6 deals of week AccurateShooter

Like the RCBS ChargeMaster, this Lyman Gen6 Powder System will automatically dispense and weigh powder charges. This unit features a touch screen, rapid warm-up, anti-static/anti-drift technology, and electronic shielding to resist interference from other electronic devices. It’s a good deal at $202.49.

7. Amazon.com — Lee Universal Shell Holder Set

Free Shipping Lee shellholder Shell Holder Kit Set RCBS reloading Sale deals of week AccurateShooter

Every hand-loader needs one of these Lee Universal Shell Holder Sets. The kit contains 11 shell-holders for most popular rifle and pistol cartridge types. This editor bought one of these kits 25 years ago, and I still use it every week. Even if you prefer more expensive Redding shell-holders, this 11-piece kit serves as a valuable back-up. Right now the Shell Holder Set is on sale at Amazon.com for $26.99, with free shipping on orders over $35.00. Get two kits and they’ll ship for free.

Permalink Hot Deals, Optics No Comments »
February 27th, 2015

Pistol Cartridge Reloading Tips from Starline

Starline Brass offers a series of videos with helpful reloading tips. Focused primarily on pistol cartridges, these short videos can help anyone get started with metallic cartridge reloading. If you load pistol rounds on a progressive, this video series is particularly helpful. The on-camera host is Hunter Pilant, son of Carroll Pilant of Sierra Bullets.

Preventing Double Charges
Tip: Use a bulky powder that fills your case more than half way with a correct charge. This will overfill the case if it is double-charged, making it very difficult to seat a bullet.

Tumble New Brass Before Loading the First Time
Tip: Tumble new pistol cartridge brass in used media for 30 minutes before loading for the first time. This will add enough graphite (carbon residue) to smooth case entry into dies. You can also lube the case mouths with graphite, or use spray lube.

Powder Through Expander — How to Eliminate Hang-ups
Tip: When loading pistol brass with a progressive press, sometime the powder-through expander is hard to remove, especially with short cases. There are two fixes — first, try deburring the inside of the case mouth on your cases. Second, the radius of the powder through expander plug can be modified to smooth entry and exit (see photo). Starline will do this modification for free.

modified powder through expander starline

Permalink - Videos, Handguns 1 Comment »
September 29th, 2014

Power of the Progressive — When You Need the Speed

When you need ammo fast — lots of ammo, it’s hard to beat a progressive reloading press for output. We use progressive presses to load handgun ammo and .223 Rem cartridges for varmint safaris. With good dies, and proper press set-up, today’s progressive presses can produce surprisingly uniform and accurate ammo. No, you won’t see Benchrest Hall-of-Famers loading PPC cartridges on progressives. However, if you need 1000 rounds for your next prairie dog adventure, you should consider getting a progressive. Below you can see a Hornady Lock-N-Load AP configured to load .308 Winchester in bulk.

Hornady .308 winchester lock-n-load progressive press

CLICK HERE to Read Full Article

ultimate reloader progressive

UltimateReloader.com has published helpful Tips to Optimize Progressive Rifle Loading. No matter whether you have a Red (Hornady), Green (RCBS), or Blue (Dillon) progressive, this article can help you load more efficiently and produce better results. Here are some highlights:

Proper Brass Prep
Just like a good paint job requires good prep work, great rifle ammo requires good brass prep. In order to make sure your rifle loading goes smoothly, make sure to perform the following brass prep steps:

  • Clean the brass (tumble, ultrasonic, etc.)
  • Inspect brass for cracks, deep dents, etc.
  • For military brass: de-prime, ream/swage primer pockets, size with small-base sizer die (small base usually optional).
  • Measure brass length — if too long, size and then trim.
  • Final inspection before loading.
  • Cleaning primer pockets may be something you’ll consider (I don’t clean primer pockets except for rare cases or match ammo).

Smooth and Steady Pace
Since you’re loading rifle ammunition on a progressive, you’re already saving a load of time, so there’s no need to rush things! Attention to detail is super-important for safety and for good results. Always keep an eye on powder level (goes down FAST) and what’s happening at each station.

The Right Press and Press Setup
Look for a heavy-duty, well-built press that will stand up to rifle loading. You’ll also want to make sure your powder measure will have the proper capacity (~25 grains for .223, ~50 grains for 308). If you are bulk reloading, ensure you have enough stations for sizing, charging, powder check, bullet feed, bullet seating, and (optional) bullet crimp.

More Ultimate Reloader Resources for Users of Progressive Presses:

Permalink - Videos, Hunting/Varminting, Reloading 1 Comment »
July 6th, 2013

UltimateReloader.com Tests RCBS Progressive with Bullet Feeder

Service Rifle shooters and varminters burn through a lot of ammunition. If you’re shooting more than 250 rounds of ammo a month, you may want to consider getting a progressive press — at least for your practice and varmint ammo. New technologies have made today’s progressives more efficient than ever. RCBS has developed a rifle-bullet feeding system that works with the RCBS Pro 2000 Progressive. The bullet-feeder can also be fitted to some Dillon units with modifications. There are four main components to the RCBS rifle-bullet feeder system: 1) base and two-piece adjustable column; 2) collator (bowl and motor); 3) drop tube and shutoff assembly; and 4) bullet feed die assembly.

RCBS Bullet Feeder Pro 2000Our friend Gavin Gear has tested the RCBS bulet feeder on an RCBS Pro 2000 for his UltimateReloader.com website. You can see his hands-on video review above. I’m pleased Gavin did this review because I have a Pro 2000 myself, and I can confirm that it is a very good machine. It is sturdy, the rotary-style powder measure is very precise, and the strip primer system works great. (I can change from small primer feeding to large primer feeding in a couple of minutes — honest.) I’ve also found the strip primer system virtually foolproof — so long as you insert the strips in the right direction! I haven’t used the Bullet Feeder yet, but you can see the Pro 2000 in action with the feeder in Gavin’s video above.

On UltimateReloader.com, Gavin puts the RCBS Bullet Feeder through its paces. Gavin writes: “As you can see from this picture (at left), the RCBS Rifle Bullet Feeder adds quite a bit of overall height to the progressive reloader.This is the case with all bullet feeders that use a collator (some add more than others). One of the reasons that these units are tall is to allow for a sufficient ‘buffer’ of dropped bullets so that the collator can keep up with fluctuations in loading speed and to allow enough ‘stack weight’ on the column of bullets so that they drop/feed correctly.” As fitted to the Pro 2000, Gavin says the bullet feeder system achieves “very efficient loading with excellent COL consistency and bullet concentricity.”

More Photos and Details on UltimateReloader.com
To learn more about the RCBS Pro 2000 Progressive and the rifle-bullet feeder system, watch the video above, and then log-in to UltimateReloader.com to read Gavin’s Bullet Feeder Overview and Bullet Feeder Overview Part II.

Permalink - Videos, Gear Review, Reloading 5 Comments »
January 30th, 2012

SHOT Show: New RCBS Reloading Products for 2012

RCBS rolled out some handy new products at SHOT Show 2012. The first item will be welcomed by AR and Service Rifle shooters who reload inexpensive military .223 Rem (5.56×45) and .308 Win (7.62×51) brass. RCBS now has a Primer Pocket Swager Bench Tool that removes military primer pocket crimps quickly and easily. Watch the video and you can see how effortlessly it does the job in just seconds. A hardened steel rod supports the case from the inside allowing the case to float for perfect alignment with the swager head. The RCBS Swager comes complete wtih hardened steel small and large swaging heads and rods to accommodate cases 22-caliber and larger.

We think the RCBS Swager certainly rivals Dillon’s Super Swage 600 which performs the same task. The Dillon employs a vertical (up/down) lever, while the new RCBS Swager uses a horizontal lever arm, with a nice cushioned handle. MSRP on the RCBS Swager is $106.00 compared to $100.95 for the Dillon Super Swage. Either tool will pay for itself by allowing you to reload inexpensive milsurp brass.

RCBS Primer Pocket Swager Bench Tool

RCBS Adds Universal Shell-Holder to Trim Pro
RCBS has also updated its popular Trim Pro® case trimmer with the addition of a spring-loaded universal shell holder. This has spring-loaded jaws that can hold anything from a 17 Fireball case up to the large magnums. No more fiddling around with cartridge-specific shell-holders — you just snap your cases (of any size) in and out of the spring-loaded jaws. The system works well and the jaws hold cases securely during the trimming process. Again, watch the video to see the system in action.

Pistol Bullet-Feeder Kit
Last but not least, RCBS has released an inexpensive, gravity-fed bullet feeding system. Much cheaper and simpler than a motor-driven feeder, this system, which combines a tube with a special die, reliably drops pistol bullets, one by one, as you operate your progressive press. Importantly, this manual bullet-feeder works with jacketed, plated, cast or swaged lead bullets. (Some other bullet feeders cannot handle lead bullets). This device should be a major time-saver for those who load a lot of pistol rounds.

This Editor was sufficiently impressed with the gravity-fed bullet feeder that I ordered one for my own RCBS Pro 2000 Progressive. Note, however, the RCBS feeders work on Dillon and Hornady presses also — these Bullet Feeder Kits are designed to be used with ANY 7/8″-14 threaded progressive press. Each clear tube holds 20-25 bullets depending on weight and profile. Two bullet tubes are included with each unit. Extra bullet tubes sold separately. MSRP is just $36.00.

RCBS 2012 Rebate — $10 Off $50.00 Order
RCBS has a “Get Green” Rebate Offer that runs through December 31, 2012. When you purchase $50.00 of any RCBS product, you qualify for a $10.00 mail-in rebate. Then, earn a bonus $5.00 mail-in rebate when you purchase one of the following: 5 sleeves of Federal Premium or CCI primers, 1 pound of Alliant Powder, 1 box of Speer Bullets, 1 bag of Federal Premium brass. There is also a $50.00 Rebate on a purchase of $300.00 worth of RCBS Products.

CLICK HERE for RCBS 2012 Rebate Form

Permalink - Videos, New Product, Reloading 2 Comments »
October 10th, 2010

RCBS Powered Bullet Feeders for Progressive Presses

RCBS Bullet Feeder 30 CaliberRCBS has recently started shipping two new Rifle Bullet Feeder Kits for progressive metallic reloading presses. Availble for 30-caliber and 22-caliber, the Rifle Bullet Feeder Kits are designed to fit on most 7/8″-14 threaded progressive presses. An electrically-powered collator unit orients the bullets to drop directly into the feed mechanism where they are placed precisely in the case-mouths of your cartidges.

Feeder Kit Can Increase Load Rate by 50%
The 30-Cal hopper holds approximately 125 (180gr) 30-caliber bullets while the 22-Cal feeder holds about 250 (55gr) 22-caliber bullets. RCBS claims that both units increase load rates by 50%. We’d say that depends on how fast you operate your machine. On this Editor’s RCBS 2000 Progressive press I can usually pick up a bullet and place it in the case mouth in about 2-3 seconds. But now and then I will fumble with a bullet or place it in slightly tilted, requiring me to do it all over again. That’s where the feeder comes in very handy — the bullets always orient correctly in the case. We just wish RCBS offered .45 caliber and 9mm versions for pistol ammo and a 6mm version for rifles. RCBS says these calibers may be offered in the future.

RCBS Bullet Feeder Features:
• Available for either 22-caliber or 30-caliber
• Large hopper for non-stop reloading and max output
• Bullets are oriented to drop directly into feed mechanism/seat die
• Bullet feeding and seating are accomplished in one station.
• Adjustable collator height
• RCBS® two-year warranty

Feeders Increase Reloading Efficiency
The power-operated collator unit ensures each bullet component is properly oriented for feeding directly into the seat die. “This steady stream of properly-aligned bullets increases the consistency of your reloading process,” explains Kent Sakamoto, product line manager. “Red, green or blue, our new Rifle Bullet Feeders fit all progressive presses and increase the seed and consistency of reloading. That’s what these Bullet Feeders bring to the reloading table.” Here is a video we took at SHOW Show 2010 where the RCBS Bullet Feeder was previewed by Sakamoto:

YouTube Preview Image
Permalink New Product, Reloading No Comments »
January 19th, 2009

SHOT Show Report: New RCBS Bullet Feeder for Progressives

RCBS makes a fine progressive press, the RCBS Pro 2000. This Editor owns one. I can tell you it is very solid, and the strip primer-feeding system has proven virtually fool-proof, something that can’t be said about some competitive progressive presses. I also believe the micrometer-equipped powder measure is superior to the Dillon alternative. Nonetheless, Dillon still dominates the progressive press market. One reason is that Dillon has long offered a reliable case-feeding system, and GSI International and Gaspari USA offer after-market bullet feeders for the Dillon 650 and 1050. Until now, with an RCBS Progressive, you needed to manually insert a bullet into each case. Well, at SHOT 2009, RCBS unveiled a new bullet-feeding system.

RCBS Pro 2000 progressive press RCBS Pro 2000 progressive press

RCBS says its new automatic bullet-feeder will work with Dillon (blue) and Hornady (red) progressives as well as the RCBS 2000. The unit mounts to a sturdy vertical support, with a flexible tube that connects to the bullet-seating station. It looks well-designed, and during a demo by RCBS manager Kent Sakamoto, the bullet-feeding system worked flawlessly. Kent showed us the pistol-bullet feeder, but a second version for rifle bullets will be offered by mid-2009. The rifle-bullet feeder should be just the ticket for varminters who need to load large quantities of .223 Rem, 22-250, or .204 Ruger rounds. Sakamoto explained that the automatic bullet feeder can significantly boost your reloading output whether you have a blue, red, or green progressive press.

YouTube Preview Image
Permalink - Videos, New Product, Reloading No Comments »