December 5th, 2016

Bargain Finder 64: 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. Kelbly.com — 15% Off Discount on ALL Products (Today ONLY)

Bargain Coupon Code Kelbly Kelbly's Panda Action stock

Looking for a Panda or Atlas action, or a complete match rifle? Here’s a great promotion from our friends at Kelbly’s. Through the end of the day today, December 5, 2016, you can get 15% of ANYthing on the Kelblys.com website. That includes rifles, actions, stocks, barrels, scope rings, muzzle brakes, Berger bullets, accessories and more. To save big, use code 15ALL at checkout. ACT NOW — Don’t delay — this offer expires at 11:59 pm on December 5, 2016!

2. Bullets.com — Bald Eagle Range Bags, $24.95 – $29.95

Bald Eagle Range Bag

High-quality Bald Eagle Range Bags are now on sale at Bullets.com. These versatile bags are very well- made and durable. With thickly-padded slab sides and padded internal dividers, these bags hold their shape and don’t collapse like most range bags. We use the larger 20″ bag to transport our spotting scope and MagnetoSpeed chrono. The smaller 15″ bag will hold ammo, rangefinder, Kestrel, shooting glasses and all your miscellaneous gear. We have used these bags for years and endorse them. The Cordura nylon fabric is tough, and the zippers are high-quality. With these sale prices, $24.95 for the 15″ size and $29.95 for the 20″ size, you won’t be disappointed. A variety of colors are offered: Red, Black, Green, Camo, Navy (15″ only), and Pink (15″ only).

The 20″ Range Bag holds a spotting scope, small tripod, plus MagnetoSpeed in long pocket:
Bald Eagle Range Bag

3. EuroOptic.com — Tikka T3 Liquidation Sale, Huge Discounts

Tikka T3 sale inventory closeout reduction discount truckload

Looking for a great price on an excellent hunting rifle? Here is the Tikka Deal of the Decade. EuroOptic.com has received nearly 3,500 Tikka T3 rifles, which will be sold at deep discounts as part of an inventory clearance program by Beretta, Tikka’s parent company. The Tikka T3 is a good, stout rifle with a smooth action, crisp trigger, and quality barrel. Accuracy is typically well under 1 MOA (for three shots). T3 barreled actions also are a good “core” for a tactical build. The strong T3 action handles detachable magazines, and fits a variety of third-party stocks.

4. CDNN Sports — 1911-Type .22 LR Target Pistol, $239.99

GSG German model 1911 .22LR Rimfire pistol handgun

Everyone should have an accurate .22 LR target pistol. This German-made GSG 1911 22LR pistol shares the look, feel, and ergonomics of J.M. Browning’s classic model 1911 so it’s good for cross-training. We’ve tried this pistol and the trigger is pretty darn good — though don’t expect it be be as nice as a S&W Model 41. But consider that the GSG costs just $239.99. By contrast, MSRP on a new Model 41 is a steep $1369.00. For cross-training and target work the GSG is a very good value.

5. Midsouth — Burris Eliminator LaserScope with $100.00 Rebate

LaserScope Eliminator Burris Hornady Bullets Bargain Finder

The Burris Eliminator III is an impressive piece of electro-optical technology. The built-in laser rangefinder senses the distance to your target and the scope’s “brain” calculates the required hold-over. The calculated aiming point is then displayed with an illuminated red dot on the vertical cross-hair. Just put the bright red dot on the target and make the shot. We’ve used this scope out to 600 yards on small steel targets and it worked flawlessly. Right now you can get a $100 Factory REBATE plus sale pricing from Midsouth. After rebate, the 3-12x44mm Eliminator III costs $1199.00. NOTE: The last day for purchases qualifying for rebate is December 21, 2016.

6. Natchez Shooters Supply — 325 Rounds .22 LR Ammo, $22.99

AccurateShooter Deal Week Sale Bargain .22 LR Federal Bulk Ammo

This Federal .22 LR ammo is just 7 cents per round — the kind of pricing on bulk rimfire ammo we used to see in the “good old days”. Act quickly, this $22.99 Federal .22 LR Ammo deal won’t last long. Each box contains 325 rounds — enough ammo for many sessions at the range. The bullets are 40 grains, solid lead.

7. Sportsman’s Guide — Frankford Arsenal Case Tumbler Kit

AccurateShooter Deals of week bargain discount savings Frankford Arsenal Case Tumbler Kit Media Separator bargain sportmans Guide

For just $69.99, this Frankford Arsenal Kit provides everything you need to clean brass: Vibratory Tumbler, Rotary Media Separator, Bucket, Corn Cob Media (3 lbs.), and Brass Polish. The Case Tumbler holds up to 600 9mm cases or 350 .223 Rem cases. The separator system is generous, with a 3.5-gallon bucket. NOTE: Sportsman’s Guide Buyers Club members can purchase for $62.99.

8. Amazon — Neiko Digital Calipers, $16.45

Amazon Neiko Digital Caliper

Even if you have a good set of calipers, you may want to get one of these Neiko 01407A Digital Calipers. The #1 best-selling digital caliper on Amazon.com, this Neiko tool features a large LCD Screen and measures up to 6.0 inches. With over 2300 customer reviews, this product has earned an overall rating of 4.4 out of 5 stars. It’s hard to go wrong for $17.74, even if you just use these as a spare set for measuring group sizes and case trim lengths.

Permalink Bullets, Brass, Ammo, Gear Review, Hot Deals, Reloading 1 Comment »
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…)

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November 30th, 2016

.30-06 Revisited — The ‘Old Warhorse Ain’t Dead Yet’

.30-06 cartridge IMR 4350

This article first appeared in 2014. We are reprising it at the request of many readers who are fans of the .30-06 cartridge.

The “Old Warhorse” .30-06 Springfield cartridge is not dead. That’s the conclusion of Forum member Rick M., who has compared the 1000-yard performance of his .30-06 rifle with that of a rig chambered for the more modern, mid-sized 6.4×47 Lapua cartridge. In 12-16 mph full-value winds, the “inefficient and antiquated” .30-06 ruled. Rick reports:

“I was shooting my .30-06 this past Sunday afternoon from 1000 yards. The wind was hitting 12-16 mph with a steady 9 O’clock (full value) wind direction. My shooting buddy Jeff was shooting his 6.5×47 Lapua with 123gr Scenar bullets pushed by Varget. Jeff needed 13 MOA left windage to keep his 6.5x47L rounds inside the Palma 10 Ring. By contrast I only needed 11.5 MOA left windage with my .30-06. I was shooting my ’06 using the 185gr Berger VLD target bullet with H4350. I managed the same POI yet the .30-caliber bullet only needed 11.5 MOA windage. That’s significant. From this experience I’ve concluded that the Old Warhorse ain’t quite dead yet!”

.30-06 cartridge IMR 4350

Rick likes his “outdated” .30-06 rifle. He says it can deliver surprisingly good performance at long range:

“To many of the younger generation, the Old Warhorse .30-06 is ‘outdated’ but I can guarantee that the .30-06 Springfield is a VERY ACCURATE cartridge for 1000-yard shooting (and even out further if need be). With some of the advanced powders that we have today, the .30-06 will surprise many shooters with what it’s capable of doing in a good rifle with the right rate of twist. My rifle has a 1:10″ twist rate and I had it short-throated so that, as the throat erodes with time, I could just seat the bullets out further and keep right on shooting. My recent load is Berger 185gr Target VLDs pushed by IMR 4350. This is a very accurate load that moves this bullet along at 2825 fps.”

.30-06 cartridge IMR 4350

Permalink Bullets, Brass, Ammo, Competition 2 Comments »
November 23rd, 2016

TEN Worst Reloading Mistakes — Do You Agree with This List?

Shooting Times Reloading Failures Mistakes Top Ten 10

Last fall, Shooting Times released an article entitled “Ten Most Common Reloading Mistakes”. Listed below are the Top Ten mistakes hand-loaders can make, at least according to Shooting Times. What do you think of this list — does it overlook some important items?

Top Ten Reloading Mistakes According to Shooting Times:

1. Cracked Cases — Reloaders need to inspect brass and cull cases with cracks.

2. Dented Cases — Dents or divets can be caused by excess case lube.

3. Excessive Powder Charge — Overcharges (even with the correct powder) can be very dangerous.

4. Primers Not Seated Deep Enough — “High” primers can cause functioning issues.

5. Crushed Primers — Some priming devices can deform primers when seating.

6. Excess Brass Length — Over time, cases stretch. Cases need to be trimmed and sized.

7. Bullets Seated Too Far Out — If the bullet is seated too long you may not even be able to chamber the round. Also, with hunting rounds, bullets should not engage the rifling.

8. Burrs on Case Mouths — Ragged edges on case mouths can actually shave bullet jackets.

9. Excess Crimp — This is a common problem with pistol rounds loaded on progressives. If case lengths are not uniform some cases will get too much crimp, others too little.

10. Inadequate Crimp — This can be an issue with magnum pistol cartridges in revolvers.

Do you agree with this list? We think some important things are missing, such as not adjusting full-length sizing dies properly. This can cause the shoulder to be pushed back too far (or not far enough). Another common mistake is using brass that is worn out, i.e. stretched in the case-head area from multiple cycles of hot loads. We also think the #1 error a reloader can make is using the wrong powder altogether. That can be a fatal mistake. See what happens when you load pistol powder in a rifle.

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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 16th, 2016

How Changes in Cartridge OAL Can Alter Pressure and Velocity

Berger Bullets COAL length cartridge

Figure 1. When the bullet is seated farther out of the case, there is more volume available for powder. This enables the cartridge to generate higher muzzle velocity with the same pressure.

Berger Bullets COAL length cartridgeEffects Of Cartridge Over All Length (COAL) And Cartridge Base To Ogive (CBTO) – Part 1
by Bryan Litz for Berger Bullets.
Many shooters are not aware of the dramatic effects that bullet seating depth can have on the pressure and velocity generated by a rifle cartridge. Cartridge Overall Length (COAL) is also a variable that can be used to fine-tune accuracy. It’s also an important consideration for rifles that need to feed rounds through a magazine. In this article, we’ll explore the various effects of COAL, and what choices a shooter can make to maximize the effectiveness of their hand loads.

Sporting Arms and Ammunition Manufacturers’ Institute (SAAMI)
Most loading manuals (including the Berger Manual), present loading data according to SAAMI (Sporting Arms and Ammunition Manufacturers’ Institute) standards. SAAMI provides max pressure, COAL and many other specifications for commercial cartridges so that rifle makers, ammo makers, and hand loaders can standardize their products so they all work together. As we’ll see later in this article, these SAAMI standards are in many cases outdated and can dramatically restrict the performance potential of a cartridge.

Bullet seating depth is an important variable in the accuracy equation. In many cases, the SAAMI-specified COAL is shorter than what a hand loader wants to load their rounds to for accuracy purposes. In the case where a hand loader seats the bullets longer than SAAMI specified COAL, there are some internal ballistic effects that take place which are important to understand.

Effects of Seating Depth / COAL on Pressure and Velocity
The primary effect of loading a cartridge long is that it leaves more internal volume inside the cartridge. This extra internal volume has a well known effect; for a given powder charge, there will be less pressure and less velocity produced because of the extra empty space. Another way to look at this is you have to use more powder to achieve the same pressure and velocity when the bullet is seated out long. In fact, the extra powder you can add to a cartridge with the bullet seated long will allow you to achieve greater velocity at the same pressure than a cartridge with a bullet seated short.

When you think about it, it makes good sense. After all, when you seat the bullet out longer and leave more internal case volume for powder, you’re effectively making the cartridge into a bigger cartridge by increasing the size of the combustion chamber. Figure 1 illustrates the extra volume that’s available for powder when the bullet is seated out long.

Before concluding that it’s a good idea to start seating your bullets longer than SAAMI spec length, there are a few things to consider.

Geometry of a Chamber Throat
The chamber in a rifle will have a certain throat length which will dictate how long a bullet can be loaded. The throat is the forward portion of the chamber that has no rifling. The portion of the bullet’s bearing surface that projects out of the case occupies the throat (see Figure 2).

Berger Bullets COAL length cartridge

The length of the throat determines how much of the bullet can stick out of the case. When a cartridge is chambered and the bullet encounters the beginning of the rifling, known as the lands, it’s met with hard resistance. This COAL marks the maximum length that a bullet can be seated. When a bullet is seated out to contact the lands, its initial forward motion during ignition is immediately resisted by an engraving force.

Seating a bullet against the lands causes pressures to be elevated noticeably higher than if the bullet were seated just a few thousandths of an inch off the lands.

A very common practice in precision reloading is to establish the COAL for a bullet that’s seated to touch the lands. This is a reference length that the hand loader works from when searching for the optimal seating depth for precision. Many times, the best seating depth is with the bullet touching or very near the lands. However, in some rifles, the best seating depth might be 0.100″ or more off the lands. This is simply a variable the hand loader uses to tune the precision of a rifle.

CLICK HERE to Read Full Article with More Info

Article sourced by EdLongrange. We welcome tips from readers.
Permalink Bullets, Brass, Ammo, Reloading 1 Comment »
November 13th, 2016

How and Why to Reload at the Range

Glen Zediker Reloading at Range

Glen Zediker Reloading at RangeThe February 2013 edition of Shooting Sports USA magazine has an interesting feature by Glen Zediker. In this Transporting Success, Part I article, Zediker explains the advantages of loading at the range when your are developing new loads or tuning existing loads. Glen, the author of the popular Handloading for Competition book, discusses the gear you’ll need to bring and he explains his load development procedure. In discussing reloading at the range, Glen focuses on throwing powder and seating bullets, because he normally brings enough sized-and-primed brass to the range with him, so he doesn’t need to de-prime, re-size, and then re-prime his cases.

Zediker writes: “Testing at the range provides the opportunity to be thorough and flexible. You also have the opportunity to do more testing under more similar conditions and, therefore, get results that are more telling. Once you are there, you can stay there until you get the results you want. No more waiting until next time.”

Zediker starts with three-shot groups: “I usually load and fire three samples [with] a new combination. I’ll then increase propellant charge… based on the results of those three rounds, and try three more. I know that three rounds is hardly a test, but if it looks bad on that few, it’s not going to get any better.”

Glen reminds readers to record their data: “Probably the most important piece of equipment is your notebook! No kidding. Write it down. Write it all down.

RCBS Partner PressThere’s More to the Story…

Editor’s Note: In Zediker’s discussion of loading at the range, he only talks about throwing powder and seating bullets. In fact, Glen opines that: “there is little or no need for sizing.” Well, maybe. Presumably, for each subsequent load series, Zediker uses fresh brass that he has previously sized and primed. Thus he doesn’t need to de-prime or resize anything.

That’s one way to develop loads, but it may be more efficient to de-prime, re-size, and load the same cases. That way you don’t need to bring 50, 80, or even 100 primed-and-sized cases to the range. If you plan to reload your fired cases, you’ll need a system for de-priming (and re-priming) the brass, and either neck-sizing or full-length sizing (as you prefer). An arbor press can handle neck-sizing. But if you plan to do full-length sizing, you’ll need to bring a press that can handle case-sizing chores. Such a press need not be large or heavy. Many benchresters use the small but sturdy RCBS Partner Press, on sale now at Amazon for $65.99. You may even get by with the more basic Lee Precision Compact Reloading Press, shown in Zediker’s article. This little Lee press, Lee product #90045, retails for under $35.00.

Glen Zediker Reloading at Range

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November 12th, 2016

How to Set Up Full-Length Sizing Dies and Control Shoulder Bump

Sinclair International FL full length sizing die

Sinclair International has a helpful, three-part video series on Full-Length Sizing. The full-length sizing die performs multiple important functions: it resizes the case body, resizes the neck, and adjusts the headspace relative to the chamber (it can also eject the spent primer if that was not done previously).

While neck-sizing-only can work with moderate loads (for a couple firings), after repeated firings the case can stretch, becoming too tight to chamber easily. If you shoot cases with high-pressure, near-max loads, you will probably benefit from full-length sizing your cases each reloading cycle. When full-length sizing, you will want to move the shoulder back (i.e. “bump” the shoulder) to provide proper clearance in the chamber. A case that has grown too much will exhibit stiff bolt lift after firing and be hard to chamber if it is not FL-sized during the reloading process.

Sinclair recommends bumping cases .001-.002″ (one to two thousandths) for cases used in bolt-action target-shooting rifles, or .003-.005″ (three to five thousandths) for hunting rifles or semi-auto rifles. To move the shoulder back you screw the FL-sizing die downwards in the press once you’ve determined “just touching” on the shoulder. You don’t have to screw the die down very far! With a normal 14-pitch die, 1/8th turn (45° rotation) yields approximately 0.009″ of downward movement. So it doesn’t take much to add a few thousandths of bump.

Case Sizing Part One — Why We Full-Length Resize

Case Sizing Part Two — How to Set Up Your Sizing Die

Case Sizing Part Three — How to Use a Bump Gauge

NOTE: These FLASH videos may not display on some mobile devices.

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November 11th, 2016

Build Your Own Portable Reloading Bench with B&D WorkMate

portable reloading benchA while back, we featured a portable reloading bench built on a Black & Decker Workmate. That proved a VERY popular do-it-yourself project so we’re showing it again, in case you missed it the first time.

Texan Robert Lewis made himself a great portable reloading bench from plywood mounted to a Black & Decker Workmate. The bench, roughly 22″ x 19″ on top, folds up to fit easily in your car’s trunk or behind the seats in a pick-up truck cab. Four recessed bolts hold the wood top section to the collapsible B&D Workmate.The sides and back of the unit are attached to the base with small nails. There is a small shelf (also nailed in place) which can be used to clamp a powder measure or hold a scale. Shown in the photo is a Harrell’s Benchrest measure and Harrell’s single-stage “C” press.

Click for Detail of Top.
portable shooting bench

The whole unit can be built for about $65.00 with pine, or $80.00 with oak (as shown). Robert explained: “The Workmate was $40. If someone bought a 2’x4′ sheet of 3/4″ oak plywood, I think it is around $30. Using pine plywood would be about half that. Fasteners were $3. Spar Urethane would be $5.”

Robert told us: “I used a couple ideas I found on the web. The Larry Willis website gave me the idea to use the Black and Decker Workmate as a base. I found the Workmate on sale for $40 and the top is made from oak plywood I had in my shop. I sealed the wood with three coats of Spar Urethane. The whole thing folds into a nice package for transportation to and from the range.”

Editor’s NOTE: In the time that’s transpired since we first ran this story, the price of a Black & Decker workmate has gone up. However you can still pick a WM225 Workmate for under $65.00. Target is currently selling WM225 Workmates for $64.99.

Click HERE for FREE WORKBENCH PLANS.

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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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November 7th, 2016

Bargain Finder 60: 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. Amazon — Howard Leight Electronic Muffs, $26.99

AccurateShooter Deals of the Week Muffs hearing protection Howard Leight earmuffs sale bargain

Act quickly — this is a DEAL of the DAY on Amazon! We’ve never seen a lower price on these popular electronic muffs, which are Amazon’s #1 seller in the category. The price goes back up tomorrow! Every shooter should own a pair of electronic muffs, even if you prefer shooting with earplugs and/or standard muffs. Electronic muffs are great when you are doing spotting duties or are working near the firing line. They allow you to hear ordinary conversations while still providing vital hearing protection. Right now Amazon.com has the Howard Leight Impact Sport Electronic Muffs on sale for just $26.99 (Deal of the Day). See All Price Options. NOTE: For regular, sustained shooting we recommend muffs and/or earplugs with a higher NRR rating.

2. CDNN Sports — Ruger American Ranch Rifle (Tan), $349.99

Ruger American Ranch Rifle 5.56 .223 223 Remington Varmint Bolt Action

Here’s a nice little varmint rifle from Ruger with good features and performance at a killer price: $349.99. You could pay that much just for a barrel. This .223 Rem rifle features a 16.5″ hammer-forged barrel barrel threaded 1/2″-28 at the muzzle for brake or suppressor. The action, which features a 70° three-lug bolt, and Picatinny-style scope rail, sits in an aluminum bedding block. The crisp trigger adjusts down to 3 pounds. With a weight (before optics) of 6.1 pounds, this is a handy carry-around varminter. We like this rifle. For $349.99 it’s a steal.

3. Amazon — Caldwell Long Range Target Cam System, $329.49

Amazon Caldwell Precision Long Range Target System Cam Camera

Forum members have purchased this Caldwell Target Cam System and they’ve found that it works reliably, providing a clear signal to any WiFi-enabled mobile device (smartphone, iPad, Laptop). One member specifically tested the unit at 1000 yards and it functioned fine. NOTE: This system does NOT have a zoom camera lens, so you need to position the camera within 10 yards or so of the target. But if you place it to the side a bit, this shouldn’t be a problem. This system comes with a nice, fitted carrying case that holds camera, transceivers, antennas, and stands. You get a very capable system for under $330.00 (Amazon price includes free shipping for Prime members). You can also get this system from Midsouth for $357.02 (shipping extra).

4. Amazon — Cotton Cleaning Patches, 800 for $8.99 – $17.99

Amazon bulk pack patches 800 cotton flannel

Got patches? Here’s a great deal on 100% cotton flannel patches. There are many sizes available, starting at $8.99 for 800 one-inch “17 Cal” patches. For 6mm rifles, we actually like the 1.25″ round “22/223″ sized patches priced at $11.99 for 800. Choose either round patches or square patches in most sizes. We generally like round patches for use with spire-tip jags, but some shooters prefer to wrap their patches around a jag or brush and square patches work better for wrapping. The large, 2″-square .30 Cal patches cost $17.99 for 800.

5. 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.

6. CDNN Sports — 45 ACP Ruger American Pistol, $399.99

Ruger American Pistol .45 ACP 45 Modular Low Bore Axis Sale

At $399.99, this modern .45 ACP Ruger American Pistol costs hundreds less than premium polymer handguns from Europe. Compared to a Glock 21, it has better sights, a better trigger, and better ergonomics. Compared to an HK USP it has a lower bore axis and is way less expensive. FYI the Ruger’s low bore axis really does reduce felt recoil. The Ruger American pistol has interchangable grip panels so you can adjust the grip to your hand size. Controls are ambidextrous. Bottom line, this is a very good gun that gives up little to Glock, HK, and Walther. Buy American and save hundreds.

7. Amazon.com — RCBS Rockchucker Supreme Press, $126.99

Amazon.com Amazon RCBS Rock Chucker Supreme Single Stage Reloading Press Sale

The RCBS Rock Chucker remains a classic — a big, strong, versatile press that can handle most reloading chores with ease. And now you can get a genuine Rock Chucker Supreme for $126.99 — a very good deal. The Rock Chucker offers plenty of leverage for case-sizing and the “O” is tall enough for long cartridges. The Rock Chucker has a very strong base and should last a lifetime. We’re not fans of the Rock Chucker’s priming system but most serious reloaders use a separate priming tool.

8. RCBS — Buy Green, Get Green Rebate

RCBS Reloading Press Rebate Green

RCBS is running a very attractive Rebate Program currently. If you spend $300.00 on qualifying products you get a $75.00 rebate. Spend $50 and get a $10.00 Rebate. This program is limited to one (1) rebate redemption per calendar year, with a maximum of $75.00. CLICK HERE for more information. NOTE: To qualify, you must supply completed RCBS rebate coupon, original UPC barcodes from package, and original cash register receipt and/or dated, itemized sales invoice.

9. Bullets.com — Norma .22LR Ammo (Match 22 & Tac 22)

Norma Match 22 Tac .22 LR Ammo rimfire ammunition bullets.com

Need quality .22 LR rimfire ammo at an affordable price? Consider Norma. Most folks think Norma only produces centerfire ammo and cartridge brass. As a result, people haven’t been looking for Norma rimfire ammo. Their loss is your gain. Accurate, reliable Norma .22 LR ammunition is in-stock right now at leading online vendors. This is good quality ammo, made in Europe. Bullets.com has Norma Tac-22 ammo in stock at $5.25 per 50-rd box (SKU: BL7819). In addition, Bullets.com offers Norma Match-22 ammunition at $7.50 per 50-rd box (SKU: BL11887).

Permalink Hot Deals, New Product, Reloading No 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 »
November 2nd, 2016

New Cast-Iron, Single-Stage Marksman Press from MEC

MEC Marksman reloading press single stage Rock Chucker RCBS cast-iron

If you’re shopping for a heavy-duty, single-stage reloading press, there’s a new option you should consider. MEC, noted for its shotshell reloading machines, has just introduced an all-new, cast-iron press, the MEC Marksman press. This new single-stage press has features we really like. First, the beefy, cast-iron frame is strong enough for the toughest reloading jobs. Second, the MEC Marksman features an OPEN front — that smart design makes it easier to insert and remove cartridge cases during the reloading process. It also makes it much easier to place your bullets during the seating stage. This open-front design makes good sense — note that Hornady’s new LNL single-stage press also has an open-front layout for important reasons. Lastly the MEC Marksman has an innovative, self-centering shell-holder. This patent-pending design should help hand-loaders reload more efficiently.

MEC Marksman reloading press single stage Rock Chucker RCBS cast-ironMEC MARKSMAN

Manufacturer’s Product Description
The MEC Marksman is made from ductile cast iron for superior quality and durability. Our patent-pending self-centering shell holder provides greater accuracy and consistency to every reload. The MEC Marksman is compatible with all 7/8-14 thread dies to change calibers quickly. Reload .22 Hornet to .416 Rigby all with one convenient machine. The MEC Marksman single-stage metallic reloader and accessory products are made in the USA in Mayville, Wisconsin.

In addition to the MEC Marksman, MEC’s new Metallic line of products will include reloading accessories. Powder measure, powder trickler, scale, and calipers will be offered. An additional base is available for easy installation and is compatible with the MEC Jig Fixture mounting system. Case prep tools and components are also available.

Permalink New Product, Reloading No Comments »
October 30th, 2016

Doh! Make Sure Your Ammo Fits Your Chamber!

Ruptured Cartridge Case

If you don’t match your ammo to your chamber, bad things can happen, that’s for sure. A while back, Forum member BigBlack had an experience at the gun range that reminds us of the importance of safety when shooting. He encountered evidence that someone had fired the wrong cartridge in a 7mm WSM rifle. The problem is more common than you may think. This Editor has personally seen novices try to shoot 9mm ammo in 40sw pistols. BigBlack’s story is along those lines, though the results were much more dramatic. It’s too bad a knowledgeable shooter was not nearby to “intervene” before this fellow chambered the wrong ammo.

7mm-08 is Not the Same as a 7mm WSM
BigBlack writes: “I know this has probably been replayed a thousand times but I feel we can never be reminded enough about safety. This weekend at the range I found a ruptured case on the ground. My immediate thoughts were that it was a hot load, but the neck area was begging for me to take a closer look, so I did. I took home the exploded case and rummaged through my old cases until I found a close match. From my investigative work it appears someone shot a 7mm-08 in a 7mm WSM. Take a look. In the above photo I’ve put together a 7mm WSM case (top), the ruptured case (middle), and a 7mm-08 case (bottom).”

The photo reveals what probably happened to the 7mm-08 case. The shoulder moved forward to match the 7mm WSM profile. The sidewalls of the case expanded outward in the much larger 7mm WSM chamber until they lacked the strength to contain the charge, and then the case sides ruptured catastrophically. A blow-out of this kind can be very dangerous, as the expanding gasses may not be completely contained within the action.

Permalink Reloading, Tech Tip 3 Comments »
October 27th, 2016

What Is Your Favorite Item of Reloading Equipment?

Sierra Bullets Reloading Equipment Bulletsmiths RCBS rock Chucker single stage press
This article originally appeared in the Sierra Bullets Blog.

We asked a few Sierra Bullets bulletsmiths “What is your favorite ‘don’t know how you ever lived without it’ piece of reloading equipment?” Along with the not-so-surprising “reloading press” responses, there are some interesting answers, including a reloading room, an annealing machine, a comparator, and a home-made tool for detecting incipient case head separation. Check out all the answers below. We would love to hear from you too, please share your response in the comments below.

What Is Your Favorite Piece of Reloading Equipment?

Ballistic Technician Carroll Pilant answered: “Dillon 550 and 650 presses.”

Ballistic Technician Rich Machholz answered: “My universal decapping die is as handy as a pocket on a shirt.”

Ballistic Technician Philip Mahin answered: “A comparator gauge to measure from the base of a case to the ogive of the bullet. This bypasses the tip of the bullet, so I can repeat the same seating depth the next time I visit a specific combination.”

Ballistic Technician Duane Siercks answered: “I don’t know that you would actually call this equipment, but the item that comes to mind would be my reloading room. I had always had to squeeze everything into a corner or even an unheated shed. After we bought our current house, I built a garage and placed it so that I had a window looking down a 250-yard range. I built a dedicated room with heat and A/C. It contains my reloading bench and a shooting bench. The shooting bench lets me slide open the window and shoot down the range. It is very handy to not have to load everything up to go to the range. It also makes load development a lot simpler and efficient. I don’t know how I ever got along without it.”

Ballistic Technician Paul Box answered: “The Lee hand priming tool.”

Former Ballistic Technician Robert Treece answered “My homemade dental pick. I use it to check incipient case-head separations. We all see the ‘bright ring’ down close to the case head, that’s natural, but after several firings could be starting to split apart. You could start by just straightening out a paper clip; flattening one end; sharpening and turning it 90 degrees, then bend if about 1/8″ long will even fit all the way down into .204″ cases. On the other end, bend about 3/4″ to 90 degrees also, in the same direction as the pick. That will give you a handle and also ‘points’” in the direction of the pick as you scrape along the side wall from down inside at the bottom upward along the side wall. If the pick hooks into a crevice — DON’T TRY TO SIZE THE CASE. It will pull apart in your die.”

Chief Ballistician Tommy Todd answered: “A brass annealing machine.”

Production Toolsetter Brad Vansell answered: “Redding Ultramag single-stage reloading press for my rifle and my Dillon 650 for my pistol loading.”

Process Engineer David Palm answered: “Homemade case lube.”

RCBS rock Chucker single stage pressPlant Engineer Darren Leskiw answered: “Beyond the normal equipment, I’d say my electronic scale. Using the beam balance for the past 9 years was ok, but nowhere as easy as using an electronic scale.”

There were many votes for the classic RCBS Rock Chucker single-stage press:

Ballistician Gary Prisendorf answered “RCBS Rockchucker Press, it’s built like a tank, and it will last me a lifetime.”

Production Manager Chris Hatfield answered: “RCBS single stage reloading press.”

Maintenance & Machine Shop Lead Craig Westermier answered: “RCBS Rock Chucker.”

Production Resource Manager Dan Mahnken answered “RCBS Rock Chucker! Buy one and it lasts a lifetime.”

Permalink Reloading 6 Comments »
October 25th, 2016

Get Current Hodgdon and IMR Loads at Reloading Data Center

Hodgdon Reloading data Center hand loading powder

Hodgdon Reloading data Center hand loading powder

Hodgdon and IMR powders, including H4198, Varget, H4350, and IMR 4451, are some of the most successful propellants used by competitive shooters. If you want to find solid, reliable load data for these and other Hodgdon and IMR powders, we recommend you go right to the source — visit the Hodgdon/IMR Reloading Data Center, at www.HodgdonReloading.com. There you’ll find the latest, updated load recipes for pistol, rifle, and shotgun reloaders.

In the Data Center, you’ll find thousands of load recipes for pistol, rifle, and shotgun. Rifle shooters will find dozens of loads for their favorite Hodgdon, IMR, and Winchester powders such as H4198, Varget, H4350, and IMR 8208 XBR. And Hodgdon’s Reloading Center is now faster and easier to use. Navigation is simplified and the whole interface is more user-friendly.

Precise Search Results for your Cartridge and Favorite Powders
Hodgdon Reloading data Center hand loading powder

The online Reloading Data Center allows you to get precise search results for any listed cartridge. You can select your preferred powders and bullets. After choosing a cartridge, you can pre-select specific bullet weights and powder types. That quickly delivers just the information you want and need. You won’t have to scroll through scores of entries for bullets or powders you don’t use.

Data Center Works Well with Mobile Devices
Mobile users will notice Reloading Center is very “user-friendly” for smart-phone and tablet users. Controls have been optimized for touch-screens, and buttons are large and easy to use. Likewise the results are displayed in a large, easy-to read format.

Hodgdon tip from EdLongrange. We welcome reader submissions.
Permalink Bullets, Brass, Ammo, Reloading No Comments »
October 24th, 2016

Bargain Finder 58: 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. Midsouth — 500 Rounds .22 LR Ammo with Sightron Scopes

Midsouth Norma .22 LR rimfire ammo sightron scope give-away free ammo deal optics

Here’s a very attractive offer for rimfire shooters who are in the market for new optics. Right now Midsouth Shooters Supply is offering 500 rounds of Norma Tac-22 .22 LR ammo FREE with the purchase of qualifying Sightron scopes, which start at just $299.99. This Norma ammo is good stuff — very reliable in both bolt guns and auto-loaders. Sold separately, the 500 rounds of Norma ammo would cost you $62.58. The qualifying scopes are listed below; note that a variety of reticle options are offered for many of these models.

Qualifying Sightron Optics:
S-TAC 2-10x32mm (30mm)
S-TAC 3-16x42mm (30mm)
S-TAC 2.4-17.5x56mm (30mm)
S-TAC 4-20x50mm (30mm)
SII 36x42mm BRD
SIII 8-32x56mm LR
SIIISS 8-32x56mm LR
SIII 10-50x60mm LR
SIIISS 10-50x60mm LR

2. Amazon — Howard Leight Electronic Muffs, $37.43

AccurateShooter Deals of the Week Muffs hearing protection Howard Leight earmuffs sale bargain

Every shooter should own a pair of Electronic muffs, even if you prefer shooting with earplugs and/or standard muffs. Electronic muffs are great when you are doing spotting duties or are working near the firing line. They allow you to hear ordinary conversations while still providing vital hearing protection. Right now Amazon.com has the Howard Leight Impact Sport Electronic Muffs on sale for just $37.43, with free Prime Shipping. This is good deal — these NRR 22 muffs are currently Amazon’s #1 seller in the category. See All Price Options. NOTE: For regular, sustained shooting we recommend muffs and/or earplugs with a higher NRR rating.

3. Southern Shooters — 17 HMR Ruger American Rimfire

AccurateShooter Deals of week bargain discount savings Ruger American Rifle 17 HMR

With ballistics far superior to a .22 LR, the 17 HMR is ideal for Prairie Dogs and small varmints out to 180 yards or so. We think every shooter should have a rifle in this rimfire chambering. Now you can get a reliable, name brand 17 HMR rifle for a very attractive price. That’s right, Southern Shooters is selling the 17 HMR Ruger American Rimfire, with 22″ barrel, for just $252.63. FFL required. For other vendors with this rifle, CLICK HERE.

4. Natchez — .45 ACP Ammo, 300 Rounds for $69.99 with Rebate

Federal American Eagle Ammo Can .45 ACP Special Rebate

Federal American Eagle Ammo Can .45 ACP Special RebateThe .45 ACP is probably our favorite centerfire pistol cartridge. It is reliable, inherently accurate, and makes big, easy-to-see holes in paper. Here’s a good deal for .45 ACP shooters. Sportsmans Outdoor Superstore is selling 300 rounds of American Eagle .45 ACP 230gr FMJ ammo for $99.99 in a handy plastic ammo can. And with factory rebate, you can knock thirty bucks off that price, so your net cost is just $69.99! Through the end of 2016, Federal Ammunition is offering $30.00 cash back on this ammo. CLICK HERE for Rebate Form.

Fine Print: Maximum of $30.00 rebate. Purchase must be made before December 31, 2016. Coupon must be received by January 31, 2017. Consumer submits coupon with UPCs written and original cash register receipt and/or dated itemized sales invoice (photocopies not accepted). Please allow 6-8 weeks for delivery.

5. Amazon — Motorola Walkie Talkies, $48.98 per Pair

Deals of Week Motorola Walkie Talkie Radio Weather Channel

Walkie-Talkies are “must-have” items for long-range shooting. The 22-CH Motorola MH230R Two-Way Radio is Amazon’s #1 Best Seller in FRS/GMRS Handheld Radios. This under-$50.00 set offers 22 channels with a claimed range up to 23 miles (We’ve used them and they worked at 3 miles line of sight). The kit includes: 2 radios, 2 belt clips, 1 dual drop-in charger, 1 charging adapter, 2 NiMH rechargeable battery packs. Run-time is about 10 hours — plenty for a full day of shooting. There is also a newer version, the Motorola T260 for $58.99.

6. 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.

7. Monmouth Reloading — 500 Lake City 5.56 Cases, $49.99

Monmouth deals of week ar15 5.56 brass .223 Rem once-fired Lake City LC

500 pieces of Lake City brass for under fifty bucks? Yep, that’s good deal for anyone who needs lots of .223/5.56 brass for varmint safaris and tactical comps. Monmouth Reloading is selling genuine, once-fired Lake City 5.56x45mm brass, thick-walled and sourced direct from the U.S. Military. Monmouth reports: “Our current stock of Lake City 5.56 looks to be all newer year Lake City head stamp but may contain a small percentage of other NATO headstamps. Lake City is a popular, reliable brass, normally capable of many reloads.” Monmouth includes 1% overage to account for any damaged brass. NOTE: Brass has crimped primers, so the pockets will need to be reamed or swaged prior to reloading.

8. 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, Optics No Comments »
October 22nd, 2016

TECH Tip: How to Reduce Run-Out with Seating Dies

USAMU Hump Day Reloading TIR run-out concentricity seating die stem

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 cartridge run-out and what can be done to produce straighter ammo. Tasked with producing thousands of rounds of ammo for team members, the USAMU’s reloading staff has developed smart methods for improving concentricity, even with budget=price dies. For other hand-loading tips, visit the USAMU Facebook page next Wednesday for the next installment.

Minimizing Runout with Standard Seating Dies

This USAMU article explains how to set up standard bullet seating dies dies to minimize Total Indicated Run-out (TIR). The loading process is described using a single-stage press since most handloaders have one. A high-quality run-out gauge is essential for obtaining consistent, accurate results.

Having sized, primed, and charged our brass, the next step is bullet seating. Many approaches are possible; one that works well follows. When setting up a standard seating die, insert a sized, trimmed case into the shellholder and fully raise the press ram. Next, back the seating stem out and screw the die down until the internal crimping shoulder touches the case mouth.

Back the die out ¼ turn from this setting to prevent cartridge crimping. Next, lower the press ram and remove the case. Place a piece of flat steel (or window glass, which is quite flat) on the shellholder and carefully raise the ram.

Place tension on the die bottom with the flat steel on the shellholder. This helps center the die in the press threads. Check this by gently moving the die until it is well-centered. Keeping light tension on the die via the press ram, secure the die lock ring. If one were using a match style, micrometer-type seating die, the next step would be simple: run a charged case with bullet on top into the die and screw the seating stem down to obtain correct cartridge OAL.

However, with standard dies, an additional step can be helpful. When the die has a loosely-threaded seating stem, set the correct seating depth but don’t tighten the stem’s lock nut. Leave a loaded cartridge fully raised into the die to center the seating stem in the die. Then, secure the stem’s lock nut. Next, load sample cartridges and check them to verify good concentricity.

USAMU Hump Day Reloading TIR run-out concentricity seating die stem

One can also experiment with variations such as letting the seating stem float slightly in the die to self-center, while keeping correct OAL. The run-out gauge will show any effects of changes upon concentricity. However, this method has produced excellent, practical results as evidenced by the experiment cited previously. These results (TIR Study 2) will reproduced below for the reader’s convenience.

First, however, let’s examine run-out figures of some factory-loaded match ammunition. This should give readers who are new to TIR gauges some perspective about the TIR ranges one might encounter.

TIR Study 1: 50 rounds Lake City M852 Match 7.62mm
(168 gr. Sierra MatchKings)
0.000” – 0.001” = 2%
0.001” – 0.002” = 30%
0.002” – 0.003” = 16%
0.003” – 0.004” = 22%
0.004” – 0.005” = 14%
0.005” – 0.006” = 14%
0.006” – 0.007” = 0%
0.007” – 0.008” = 2%

TIR Study 2: 50 rounds of .308 match ammo loaded using carefully-adjusted standard dies, vs. 50 using expensive “Match” dies from the same maker.

Standard dies, TIR:
0.000” — 0.001” = 52%;
0.001”– 0.002” = 40%;
0.002”– 0.003” = 8%.
None greater than 0.003”.

Lesser-quality “Match” dies, TIR:
0.000”– 0.001” = 46%;
0.001” — 0.002” = 30%;
0.002” — 0.003” = 20%;
0.003” — 0.004” = 4%.

Note: both samples were loaded using the O-Ring method, i.e. with a rubber O-Ring placed under the locking ring of the Full-length sizing die to allow that die to float.

These tips are intended to help shooters obtain the best results from inexpensive, standard loading dies. Especially when using cases previously fired in a concentric chamber, as was done above, top-quality match dies and brass can easily yield ammo with virtually *no* runout, given careful handloading.

Permalink Bullets, Brass, Ammo, Reloading 1 Comment »
October 19th, 2016

Zediker Reloading Book — Worth Checking Out

Glen Zediker Competition Reloading bookForum member Danny Reever and this Editor recently discussed how novice reloaders can struggle with the fine points of reloading, making errors in seating depth, bushing choice, or sizing their cases. We agreed that a good resource covering more than “Reloading Basics” is sorely needed. Danny reminded me that Glen Zediker’s excellent Handloading for Competition book has been available since 2002. Danny says this may still be the best guide in print for those getting started in precision reloading, though the book is not without flaws.

Danny observed: “I consider this still the best book out there on the subject. I’ve bought a lot of other books only to be sorely disappointed after spending $30-$40 of my hard-earned cash. This book is not one of those! I’ve read and re-read Zediker’s treatise at least four times and refer to it often for advice while reloading. My number one suggestion for those who buy the book is to sit down with a highlighter and read it cover to cover. It’s well-written with a bit of humor and it is not boring.”

Extremely comprehensive, Zediker’s book covers nearly all of the key factors involved in accurate reloading: case sorting, brass prep, load development, neck-sizing, full-length sizing, bushing selection/use, tool selection, priming, powder measurement, and bullet seating. The book also explains how to test and evaluate your ammo, and how to monitor and interpret pressure signs.

There are many “must-read” sections in Zediker’s book, according to Danny: “The section beginning on page 161 dealing with concentricity (and how to achieve it) is excellent. Likewise the Load Limits section discussing pressures offers very valuable advice and info. You should also read Zediker’s commentaries about load testing, powders (burn characterics etc.), and the effects of temperature.”

Zediker competition reloading book

CLICK HERE to view book contents and sample pages.

Zediker has conveniently provided a detailed summary of his book on the web, complete with table of contents, sample pages (PDF format), and dozens of illustrations. Shown above is just one small section that covers ejectors.

Overall, we recommend Glen Zediker’s Handloading for Competition, though the book definitely could use some updating. Danny says: “Plunk down the [money] and buy this book, you won’t be sorry.” Zediker’s book is available from Amazon.com ($30.25), Sinclair Int’l ($28.99), and Zediker Publishing ($34.95).

Permalink Reloading 10 Comments »
October 12th, 2016

Follow These Safety Fundamentals When Hand-Loading Ammo

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 Bullets, Brass, Ammo, Reloading 1 Comment »