September 18th, 2018

Cool Tools for the Reloading Room — Look What UPS Brought

21st Century Tools Concentricity Checker lathe neck turner turning scale UPS

Posting on Facebook, Michael W. said: “Maybe it’s just me but I LOVE coming home to packages from the UPS driver sitting on my deck! Now I can get serious about creating some Match Grade ammunition!” Michael showed off some very impressive reloading hardware, including a 21st Century Shooting “Mini-Lathe” Neck-Turning system, 21st Century Concentricity Gauge, Shars Tube Micrometer, and the A&D FZ-120i Precision Balance. Cool Tools indeed!

21st Century Neck-Turning Lathe — A Gem
The 21st Century Neck-Turning Lathe works great — this is what we use to turn necks. It floats at both ends, so it runs very smoothly. You can use it manually or with power. It gives you very precise, clean cuts with a minimum of case lube. The cutting tool is hard and sharp so you can do large quantities of brass without having to adjust the cutter position for wear. We’ve used a half-dozen neck turners and this 21st Century Unit is our favorite.

21st Century Tools Concentricity Checker lathe neck turner turning scale UPS

21st Century Concentricity Gauge — Smart, Efficient Design
The beautifully-crafted 21st Century Concentricity Gauge is fast and easy to use yet very precise. The twin, roller-equipped case supports slide back and forth on rails so you can measure any size case, from a 17 Fireball up to a 50 BMG. The horizontal dial indicator also slides on parallel rails so you can easily measure any spot on a case or loaded round — from bullet tip (or case mouth on empty case) down to the mid-body. We like to measure run-out on our sized, empty brass on the necks and then measure again on the bullet ogive with loaded rounds. The large-diameter wheel allows bump-free, “no wobble” case rotation, delivering better results than spinning cases with your fingers.

Concentricity gauge uses stainless turning rollers for less friction and more consistent read-outs.
21st Century Tools Concentricity Checker lathe neck turner turning scale UPS

A&D Precision Balance — Ultra-Precise with No Drift
The A&D FX and FZ-series scales are magnetic force restoration balances with 0.001 gram sensitivity so they are accurate to the kernel. This balance will not drift like less advanced, load cell-based digital scales. The scale’s high sensitivity and extreme stability allow you to weigh charges and sort brass, primers, and bullets with much higher precision.

What Gadget Would YOU Like To Have Delivered?
Here’s a question for our readers… What are YOUR favorite reloading tools on currently on your bench? And if you could have the UPS driver deliver a new tool tomorrow, what would you like him to bring? A 21st Century Hydro Bullet Seater (awesome Arbor Press)? Maybe a Whidden Micro-Adjustable Sizing Die? How about the amazing Auto Trickler and Auto-Throw system from Canada? That combines a A&D FX/FZ scale with a powder thrower and microprocessor-controlled trickler. With the push of a button you get a charge dispensed and weighed to single-kernel accuracy.

Permalink Bullets, Brass, Ammo, Gear Review, Reloading 2 Comments »
October 5th, 2014

New Gun Digest Shooter’s Guide to Reloading

We recommend that all hand-loaders have a couple reliable reloading manuals as reference guides. Berger, Hornady, and Sierra all offer well-respected load manuals. These can provide starting load information for a wide variety of cartridge types and bullet selections. We do like to cross-check any printed load recipes with current online data, to ensure you have the latest info.

Along with a good load manual, those getting started in metallic cartridge reloading can benefit from a good basic reloading treatise. There’s a new intro guide from the publishers of Gun Digest.

Guide to Reloading Book

The New Gun Digest Shooter’s Guide To Reloading, by Phillip Massaro, was created for shooters new to reloading. This is a good starting point for those who want to learn to hand-load safely and efficiently. Hundreds of photos illustrate the text — and we all know a picture can be worth a thousand words.

After discussing the benefits of hand-loading, Massaro’s book covers the basics of metallic cartridge reloading, step by step. Along the way Massaro recommends appropriate presses and tools for reloading both pistol and rifle cartridges. Massaro also explains the variations in bullet and powder types, and how they affect ballistics. In addition, Massaro includes a “Specialty Situations” chapter that reveals common reloading mistakes and issues and offers practical solutions. This section on avoiding common mistakes is one of book’s best features. We wish all reloading guides had a similar section.

Editor’s NOTE: This book will be released next week. Accordingly, we have not seen the final, printed version yet. At $14.79, the Gun Digest Shooter’s Guide to Reloading is relatively inexpensive. The sample chapters we reviewed provided good basic information in a well-organized fashion. Certainly, we would not tell advanced reloaders and/or competition shooters to rush out and buy this book. However, for folks getting started in hand-loading, this resource should be helpful.

Permalink New Product, Reloading 1 Comment »
November 14th, 2009

Sinclair Bullet Sorting Assembly with Dial Caliper

Sinclair bullet ogive sorterSinclair International has a new tool assembly that lets you sort bullets by base to ogive length. The $79.95 Sinclair Bullet Sorting Stand with Dial Comparator (item 59-2000) comes with a heavy black granite base that stays put on your loading bench. The included dial indicator has a quick-release lever allowing easy placement and removal of bullets into the comparator. This lever allow the spring-loaded indicator shaft to pop up out of the way.

The special base comparators used with this tool (see photo), are sold separately for $10.99, and are offered in 22 caliber, 6mm, 6.5mm, 7mm, 30 caliber, and 338 caliber. The sorting stand can also be used with Sinclair multi-caliber hex comparators (item 09-700, $18.25).

Measuring Bullet Bearing Surface with Calipers and Comparators
While we like this Sinclair tool, the same function can be performed with a regular set of calipers, using two comparators with caliber inserts. If you use the Hornady (formerly Stoney Point) OAL system you probably already have a #B2000 comparator body and a caliber-specific insert ($3.99 at Grafs.com).

Buy a second body ($14.39 at Grafs.com) and second insert (of the same caliber) and mount one on each caliper jaw, opposite each other. Tuck the bullet’s boat-tail in one insert and the “pointy end” in the other, and you can quickly measure the bearing surface. It takes a few tries to get the right “feel” of how hard to close the caliper jaws. But if the comparator bodies are set up right, the process should be quite repeatable, and you can probably measure just as fast with calipers as with the Sinclair measuring stand. However, the Sinclair unit should be a bit more precise, if you’re trying to resolve bullet lengths to less than one-thousandth. If you want to measure base to ogive (rather than bearing surface length), just remove one comparator and measure with the heel of the bullet (end of boat-tail) touching one jaw, and the bullet’s “pointy end” in the remaining comparator.

Hornady comparator bodies

Permalink Bullets, Brass, Ammo, New Product 1 Comment »