September 4th, 2021

Blast from the Past — Setting Prize-Winning Record in 1955


Barney M. Auston of Tulsa, OK with rifle he built to break NBRSA record and win $250 cash award from Sierra Bullets. (From cover of Precision Shooting magazine. May 1956).

Way back in 1955 Sierra Bullets offered a $1000 prize for anyone setting a new Aggregate benchrest record with a 6mm (or larger) bullet. At the time the .222 Remington ruled the roost, and Sierra wanted to promote the larger caliber. (NOTE: That was serious money in 1955 — the equivalent of $10,187 in current dollars corrected for inflation). Sierra also offered a $250.00 prize for a record-breaking performance with any size caliber (including the .22s). Here is the story of how a Tulsa shooter claimed the $250.00 award with a world-record-setting Aggregate involving 10-shot groups at 100 and 200 yards.

Barney Auston’s record-setting rifle was built on an FN Mauser action with double set trigger, with a Hart stainless steel barrel, 30″ x 1 1/8″, chambered for the .222 Remington cartridge. The stock, made by Auston, has a hydraulic bedder as made by L. F. Landwehr of Jefferson City, MO. The scope is a 24X, 2″ inch Unertl. Mr. Auston shot 50gr bullets, custom made by W. M. Brown of Augusta, Ohio, with .705″ Sierra cups and soft swedged. His powder charge was 21 grains of 4198. The rifle rests, both front and rear, were also made by Auston.

Record-Setting Performance
On August 20, 1955, shooting at night in a registered shoot on the John Zink range near Tulsa, Oklahoma, Barney M. Auston of Tulsa broke the existing National Match Course aggregate record. As the first person to do that in 1955, Auston won the Sierra Bullets $250 cash award. Here is the original Sierra Bullets prize offer from 1955:

10-Shot Groups at 100 and 200
Mr. Auston’s winning Aggregate for the National Match Course (five 10-shot groups at 100 yards and five 10-shot groups at 200 yards) was .4512 MOA. He also broke the 200-yard aggregate with an average of .4624 MOA, beating the .4801 match MOA record set by L.E. Wilson only a month earlier.

Barney Auston was a custom rifle maker in Tulsa who fabricated the rifles used by many of the leading benchrest competitors in the Mid-Continent and Guild Coast Regions. Auston was himself one of the top benchrest shooters in those regions during his shooting career.

Editor’s Note: Both of Mr. Auston’s records were broken before the end of the 1955 shooting season, but Auston was the first to win the Sierra Prize. Interestingly, in setting his record, Austin broke the existing Agg record by L.E. Wilson of Cashmere, Washington — yes, the same L.E. Wilson that now makes dies.

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August 5th, 2021

How to Detect Flaws in Cartridge Brass — Case Diagnostics

Case Diagnostics 101 Sierra Bullets .223 Rem 5.56 brass cartridge safety

Ever wondered what caused a particular bulge or marking on a case? And more importantly, does the issue make the case unsafe for further use? Sierra Bullets Ballistic Technician Duane Siercks offers some insight into various issues and their causes in two Case Diagnostic articles from the Sierra Blog.

Incipient Case-Head Separation
This is a Winchester .308 Win case that has a real issue. This case has a very obvious incipient case head separation in the process of becoming a complete failure.

Sierra Case reloading pressure safety inspection

This is most commonly caused by over-sizing the case causing there to be excess headspace on the case. After a few firings and subsequent re-sizing, this case is just about ready to come completely apart. Proper die adjustment is certainly a requirement here. Of course this case is not safe to reuse.

Excessive Pressure (Load Too Hot)
If you will notice in the picture of the case rim, there are two pressure signs to notice. First, look at the primer. It is basically flattened to about the max of what could be considered safe. If this was the only pressure sign noted, I would probably be fine with this load, but would constantly keep an eye on it especially if I was going to use this load in warmer temperatures. This load could easily cross into the “excess pressure” realm very quickly.

Sierra Case reloading pressure safety inspection

There is another sign of pressure that we cannot ignore. If you’ll notice, there is an ejector mark apparent that is located over the “R” of the R-P headstamp. This absolutely tells us that this load would not have been in the safe pressure range. If there were any of these rounds loaded, they should not be fired and should be dis-assembled. This case should not be reloaded.

Split Case-Neck
Here we have an R-P .22-250 case that has died the death. Everything looks fine with this case except the neck is split. This case must be tossed.

Sierra Case reloading pressure safety inspection

A split neck is a normal occurrence that you must watch for. It is caused by work-hardening of the brass. Brass cases get harder with age and use. Brand new cases that are stored for a period of time can become hard enough that they will split like this case within one to two firings. I have had new factory loads do the same thing. Then as we resize and fire these cases repeatedly, they tend to get harder and harder. Eventually they will split. The life of the case can be extended by careful annealing practices. This is an issue that would need to be addressed in an article by itself. Of course this case is no longer usable.

In the classes that I teach, I try to use examples like this to let the students see what they should be looking for. As always, if we can assist you, whether you are new to reloading or very experienced, contact us here at Sierra Bullets by phone at 1-800-223-8799 or by email at sierra@sierrabullets.com.

Dented Case Body
Here we have a Lake City 7.62×51 (.308 Win.) case with two heavy marks/dents in the case body.

Sierra Case reloading pressure safety inspection

This one may be a bit of a mystery. It appears as if this case may have been caught in the action of a semi-auto rifle when the firearm jammed or the case failed to clear during the cycling process. I probably would not reload this case just to prevent any feeding problems. This also appeared to be a factory loaded round and I don’t really see any pressure issues or damage to the case.

Multiple Problems — Lake City 5.56×45 unknown year.

Sierra Case reloading pressure safety inspection

This case has suffered multiple failures and cannot be re-used. First its has have a very rounded shoulder that is split. Upon first look it was obvious that this round had been a victim of excess pressure. The firearm (perhaps an AR?) was apparently not in full battery, or there was possibly a headspace issue also. While taking a closer look, the primer was very flat and the outside radius of the primer cup had been lost. High pressure! Then I also noticed that there was an ejector mark on the case rim. This is most certainly an incident of excessive pressure. This case is ruined and should be discarded.

CLICK HERE for MORE .223 Rem Case Examples in Sierra Blog

To see more examples, view both Part I and Part II of the Case Diagnostics from Sierra Bullets:

» Reloading 101: Case Diagnostics Part I
» Reloading 101: Case Diagnostics Part II

It is very important to observe and inspect your cases before each reloading. After awhile it becomes second nature to notice the little things. Never get complacent as you become more familiar with the reloading process. If ever in doubt, call Sierra’s Techs at 1-800-223-8799.

Sierra Bullets Case Diagnostics Blog

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August 1st, 2021

How Ammo Temp Can Affect Velocity — Freezing to 130 degrees F

Sierra Bullets Ammunition Ammo temperature temp test hot F-Class Ammo cold
In this .308 Win test, 70° F ammo shot 96 FPS slower than ammo heated to 130.5° F. And the 130.5° ammunition was 145 fps faster than ammo taken right out of the freezer (at 25.5° F). That’s a huge difference…

summer heat ammunition temperature velocityToday is the first day of August. That means most parts of the country will soon be encountering peak summer heat. Some ranges in the Western states have already recorded temperatures well over 100 degrees F during matches. When dealing with extreme summer heat, you should make a serious effort to keep your ammo at reasonable temperatures. When possible, keep ammo in a cooler in the shade.

Never leave boxes of ammo out in the hot sun. Even with powders advertised as “temp stable” you can see significant velocity increases when ambient temps reach 90 degrees and above. This article explains how temperature extremes (both hot and cold) can alter bullet velocities. The velocity differences between very cold ammo and very hot ammo can be very large, as this article explains.

EDITOR’s NOTE: The Sierra tester does not reveal the brand of powder tested here. Some powders are much more temp sensitive than others. Accordingly, you cannot extrapolate test results from one propellant to another. Nonetheless, it is interesting to see the actual recorded velocity shift with ammo temperature variations in a .308 Win.

Written by Sierra Chief Ballistician Tommy Todd
This story originally appeared in the Sierra Bullets Blog
A few weeks ago I was attending the Missouri State F-Class Match. This was a two-day event during the summer and temperatures were hot one day and hotter the next. I shot next to a gentleman who was relatively new to the sport. He was shooting a basically factory rifle and was enjoying himself with the exception that his scores were not as good as he hoped they would be and he was experiencing pressure issues with his ammunition. I noticed that he was having to force the bolt open on a couple of rounds. During a break, I visited with him and offered a couple of suggestions which helped his situation somewhat and he was able to finish the match without major issues.

He was shooting factory ammunition, which is normally loaded to upper levels of allowable pressures. While this ammunition showed no problems during “normal” testing, it was definitely showing issues during a 20-round string of fire in the temperatures we were competing in. My first suggestion was that he keep his ammunition out of the direct sun and shade it as much as possible. My second suggestion was to not close the bolt on a cartridge until he was ready to fire. He had his ammo in the direct sunlight and was chambering a round while waiting on the target to be pulled and scored which can take from a few seconds to almost a minute sometimes.

This time frame allowed the bullet and powder to absorb chamber [heat] and build pressure/velocity above normal conditions. Making my recommended changes lowered the pressures enough for the rifle and cartridge to function normally.

Testing Effects of Ammunition Temperature on Velocity and POI
After thinking about this situation, I decided to perform a test in the Sierra Bullets underground range to see what temperature changes will do to a rifle/cartridge combination. I acquired thirty consecutive .30 caliber 175 grain MatchKing bullets #2275 right off one of our bullet assembly presses and loaded them into .308 Winchester ammunition. I utilized an unnamed powder manufacturer’s product that is appropriate for the .308 Winchester cartridge. This load is not at the maximum for this cartridge, but it gives consistent velocities and accuracy for testing.

I took ten of the cartridges and placed them in a freezer to condition.

Sierra Bullets Ammunition Ammo temperature temp test hot F-Class Ammo cold

Sierra Bullets Ammunition Ammo temperature temp test hot F-Class Ammo cold

I set ten of them on my loading bench, and since it was cool and cloudy the day I performed this test I utilized a floodlight and stand to simulate ammunition being heated in the sun.

Sierra Bullets Ammunition Ammo temperature temp test hot F-Class Ammo cold

I kept track of the temperatures of the three ammunition samples with a non-contact laser thermometer.

The rifle was fired at room temperature (70 degrees) with all three sets of ammunition. I fired this test at 200 yards out of a return-to-battery machine rest. The aiming point was a leveled line drawn on a sheet of paper. I fired one group with the scope aimed at the line and then moved the aiming point across the paper from left to right for the subsequent groups.

NOTE that the velocity increased as the temperature of the ammunition did.

The ammunition from the freezer shot at 2451 fps.

Frozen FPS

The room temperature ammunition shot at 2500 fps.

Room Temperature FPS

The heated ammunition shot at 2596 fps.

Sierra Bullets Ammunition Ammo temperature temp test hot cold

The tune window of the particular rifle is fairly wide as is shown by the accuracy of the three pressure/velocity levels and good accuracy was achieved across the board. However, notice the point of impact shift with the third group? There is enough shift at 200 yards to cause a miss if you were shooting a target or animal at longer ranges. While the pressure and velocities changed this load was far enough from maximum that perceived over pressure issues such as flattened primer, ejector marks on the case head, or sticky extraction did not appear. If you load to maximum and then subject your ammunition to this test your results will probably be magnified in comparison.

Sierra Bullets Ammunition Ammo temperature temp test hot cold

This test showed that pressures, velocities, and point-of-impact can be affected by temperatures of your ammunition at the time of firing. It’s really not a bad idea to test in the conditions that you plan on utilizing the ammo/firearm in if at all possible. It wouldn’t be a bad idea to also test to see what condition changes do to your particular gun and ammunition combination so that you can make allowances as needed. Any personal testing along these lines should be done with caution as some powder and cartridge combination could become unsafe with relatively small changes in conditions.

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July 27th, 2021

Polish Inside of Seating Stems to Avoid Ring Marks on Bullets

Seating Stem Reloading Tip Sierra Bullet .223 Remington compressed loads

Here’s a helpful hint for hand-loaders from Sierra Bullets. While this article focuses on Sierra’s new Tipped Match-King bullets, the recommended solutions apply to other bullet types as well. The article explains how sharp edges on a seating stem can cause a ring to be pressed into the bullet jacket — especially with compressed loads that resist downward bullet movement. Here Sierra technician Rich Machholz diagnoses the problem and provides a solution.

Seating Stem Reloading Tip Sierra Bullet .223 Remington compressed loads

Solutions for Ring Marks Caused by Seating Stems

by Sierra Bullets Ballistic Technician Rich Machholz
Now that the new Tipped MatchKing® (TMK) bullets are being shipped and shooters are putting them to use I have received several calls regarding marking on the bullet ogive from the seating stem.

The cause can be traced to one of several things. In the .223 and especially with the long, 77 grain TMK seated at 2.250” or even 2.260” most loads of Varget® and Reloder® 15 are compressed loads, sometimes heavily compressed. This puts a great deal of pressure on the bullet through the seating stem. The result of all this pressure is a mark of varying depth and appearance on the ogive of the bullet. [Editor: We have seen this issue with a variety of other bullet types/shapes as well, including non-tipped VLDs. The solution is profiling the internal cone of the seating stem to match your bullet shape.]

Some older seating stems might even bear against the tip of the bullet which can make a slight bulge in the jacket just below the junction of the resin tip and the copper jacket in a compressed load. If this is the case there is not a ready fix other than calling the die manufacturer and requesting a new deeper seating stem.

Polish Your Seating Stem to Remove Sharp Internal Edges
If the seating stem is of proper depth the culprit most generally is a thin sharp edge on the inside taper of the seating stem. This is an easy fix that can be accomplished by chucking a spare 77 grain bullet in your drill, coating it with valve grinding compound or even rubbing compound or in a pinch even tooth paste.* Remove the seating stem assembly from the seating die. Turn the drill on and put the seating stem recess over the spinning bullet with the polishing compound to break or smooth the sharp edge that is making the offending mark. This might take more than one application to get the proper polish depending upon what you use, but the more you polish the better the blend of angles which will [ensure the stem matches the bullet contours, not leaving a sharp ring].

If the above is a little more than you care to tackle you might try very fine emery cloth twisted to a point that can be inserted into the mouth to the seating stem and rotated to polish the inside to eliminate any sharp edges that might be present.

Load Advice for 77gr TMKs in the .223 Rem
And last but certainly not least. Actually, even though we don’t say you need additional data for the TMKs, remember you are dealing with heavily-compressed loads in some cases because of the additional bullet length. Due to the additional length of these new bullets and in the interest of gaining some room in the case you might consider trying a slightly faster extruded powder like BenchMark or the 4895s or an even more dense powder like the spherical H335®, CFE223 or TAC. The extra room will allow for trouble free bullet seating also.

Good luck and remember we are no further away than your telephone: 1-800-223-8799.

Sierra Bullets Match-King Reloading Bullet Seating

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June 28th, 2021

Bargain Finder 301: AccurateShooter’s Deals of the Week

AccurateShooter Deals of the Week Weekly Bargain Finder Sale Discount Savings

At the request of our readers, we provide select “Deals of the Week”. Every Sunday afternoon or Monday morning we offer our Best Bargain selections. Here are some of the best deals on firearms, hardware, reloading components, optics, 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 — Sierra MatchKing Bullets in Stock

midsouth sierra matchking bullet sale 7mm .308
Excellent .224, 7mm, and .308 Match Bullets IN STOCK now

High-quality reloading components remain hard to find. But Midsouth has a large supply of Sierra MatchKing Bullets. Whether you’re shooting .224, 7mm, or .308 calibers, you’ll find Sierra MatchKings IN STOCK now at very competitive prices. Here are some examples: .224 69gr MatchKing, $27.48/100; .224 77gr MatchKing, $16.57/50; 7mm 183gr MatchKing, $52.01/100, 7mm 197gr MatchKing, $54.45/100; .308 155gr Tipped MatchKing (for Palma), $47.90/100; .308 168gr MatchKing, $37.49/100.

2. Sportsman’s WHSE — Savage 64 FV-SR with FDE stock, $189.99

savage arms model 64 FV-SR FDE semi-auto rifle NRL22
Reliable with surprising accuracy for such an inexpensive rifle

Would you like to campaign a sub-$200 rifle and beat guys with rimfire rigs costing TEN times as much? That’s actually possible in the NRL22 game with the budget-priced Savage Model 64 SV-SR. This comes with a threaded, 16.5″ button-rifled heavy barrel that offers suprisingly good accuracy. The rifle comes with a one-piece Picatinny scope rail. The muzzle is threaded to accept brakes and suppressors. This can both be a great first rifle for a junior shooter as well as a fun tactical comp rig for an adult. NOTE: Most Savage 64 FV-SRs have black stocks, but these Sportsman’s Warehouse rigs have tan (Flat Dark Earth) stocks.

3. MidwayUSA — Bushnell Forge 4.5-27x50mm Scope, $549.99

bushnell forge scope sale Midwayusa save
Excellent FFP MOA-value Scope for Varminting or PRS/NRL

Are you into PRS/NRL, or just looking for a FFP scope for target shooting and varminting. Then here’s a killer deal. Right now you can save $600.00 (50%) on an excellent first focal plane 4.5-27x50mm Bushnell scope with a great reticle. Price is now just $549.99 with FREE shipping from MidwayUSA. The Bushnell Forge Rifle Scope boasts side parallax, locking zero stop, and high contrast lenses. Click values are 1/4 MOA. We really like the Deploy MOA reticle which has the “Christmas” tree wind-hold marks. Also if you prefer a Second Focal Plane optic, Palmetto State Armory has the Bushnell Forge 3-24x56mm SFP scope on sale for $499.00.

4. MidwayUSA — Texas Star AR500 Steel Target, $239.99

birchwood casey texas star AR500 spinner target 6
Cool Large Spinner Target like those used in Major Steel Tactical Matches

Here’s a great new product for fun, reactive shooting with pistols, rifles and shotguns. Birchwood Casey’s Texas Star Target is a rifle-rated mechanical target. Sturdily built, this target features FIVE 6″-diameter AR500 steel plates. The 4 foot high target will rotate (swing) when the plates are hit. The target moves on 2 industrial greaseable bearings. The target comes powder coated black on all metal components. The target breaks down for easy transport.

5. Midsouth — Fiocchi 9mm 115gr FMJ Ammo 50rds, $27.99

fiocchi 9mm ammo bargain deal pistol
Good 9mm pistol ammo at a decent price (finally!)

Finally we are starting to see popular ammo coming down in price. This quality Fiocchi 115gr 9mm ammo is $27.99 for 50rds at Midsouth. That works out to $0.56 per round. Grab this while you can. If the Fiocchi sells out at Midsouth, Palmetto State Armory has 100-round boxes of Armscor 9mm ammo for $59.99. That’s 60 cents per round — still a lot better than you’ll find at most vendors.

6. Amazon — Stack-On Security Cabinet, $142.00

stack-on security cabinet
Additional Secure Storage to complement heavy Gun Safe

This Stack-on Steel Security Cabinet holds 8 rifles or shotguns up to 52 inch tall. Includes a removable steel shelf. Foam padded bottom and barrel rests, plust removable steel Shelf. NOTE, this arrives in a flat box and must be assembled, but that’s pretty easy. The unit includes pre-drilled mounting holes in the bottom and back to allow attachment to floor or wall. The 3-Point locking system has a a double-bitted, key coded lock. Adjustable shelves are included. NOTE: This is NOT a heavy, thick-walled gun safe. But it can provide security in a work room or RV.

7. Midsouth — Lyman Tac-Mat Shooting Mat, $55.33.

lyman tac-mat padded long range shooting mat
Thick padded mat offers better comfort

Comfort counts when you’re on the ground for hours. We like this Lyman Tac-Mat 71″ x 36″ shooting mat. It has more padding than most mats on the market, providing better comfort. This is a good deal. This same Lyman shooting mat is $87.64 on Amazon.

8. Creedmoor Sports — Radians Ear Muffs on Sale

radians shooting earmuff muffs R3200 R700 electronic sale discount
Comfortable Radians Muffs, choose basic or electronic

Creedmoor Sports has been running a sale on all Radians products, including ear protection. You can get the basic, low profile NRR 21 Lowset Muffs for just $13.45 or upgrade to the NRR 23 R3200 Dual-Mic Electronic Muffs for $32.25. Electronic muffs allow you to hear range commands better. NOTE: If you want something even more advanced, check out the Radians R3700 Quad Mic Muffs with Bluetooth. With these you can receive phone calls or listen to music.

9. Midsouth — Radians Outback Shooting Glasses, $5.88

radians outback shooting safety eyewear glasses
Quality name-brand shooting eyewear — buy multiples at this price

Every shooter needs eye protection EVERY TIME you go to the shooting range. Right now Midsouth has the good Radians clear Lens Outback Shooting Glasses for just $5.88. These ANSI Z87.1 Radians Shooting Glasses provide 99.99.9% UVA/UVB protection with the coated lenses. These offer excellent wrap-around protection and are fairly light and comfortable. A handy neck cord is included. With this low $5.88 price, you can buy 3 or 4 sets and keep spares in your vehicles, so you always have protective eyewear for yourself and your friends.

10. Amazon — SnapSafe In-Wall Safe $209.99

SnapSafe in-wall flush mount wall safe Amazon Security cabinet

Most readers probably have a nice big safe for long guns and other bulky items. But it would be nice to have a hidden secondary safe that fits in a wall. This SnapSafe In-Wall Safe can hold cash, valuables, passports, and a handgun or two. This In-Wall Safe fits between two wall studs. It sits flush, so it can easily be hidden by artwork. There is even a special “false bottom” that provides a secret hiding spot for cash, keys, and credit cards. On sale for $209.99 on Amazon, this in-wall safe is offered to Sportsman’s Guide Buyer’s Club Members for $189.99, a $20 savings.

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June 24th, 2021

How to Evaluate Flyers During Load Development

Sierra Bullets Reloading Flier Flyer load development groups

by Sierra Bullets Ballistic Technician Gary Prisendorf
Occasionally someone will ask, “Why did I get a flyer that didn’t go in with the rest of my group?” If I had an answer that would stop flyers from happening, I would be rich.

There are many reasons why this can happen. Everything from gripping a forearm differently to variations in the brass casing, the list goes on and on. Most of the time the flyer is usually shooter induced and sometimes what you may think is a flyer, is just part of your group. There are a lot of shooters, that go out and test a load and they may shoot a 3/8” group at 100 yards and think that load is good. But I have seen far too many times that you can shoot another group, same load, same rifle and the next time you may get a 1 ¼” group.

Sierra bullets load development flyer group measurement target

The total opposite can also occur. You may shoot a 1 ¼” group and turn around and follow it with a 1/2″ group without changing anything. If you only shot the one group, you might decide that load wasn’t any good and move on to something else without really knowing what that load was capable of.

To really determine how a particular load is performing we need to shoot multiple groups and take an average of the group sizes to really see what that rifle/load combination is really capable of.

I suggest shooting a minimum of three 5-shot groups and averaging the group sizes before deciding if the load is acceptable or not. Obviously the more rounds you shoot for a group and the more groups that you shoot, you will get a much better representation of what that particular combination can do.

Now I’m not saying to go out and shoot 30 groups with 50 rounds in each group to determine how well your load is shooting. That would be a bit pointless, in some cases it would be time to re-barrel your rifle before your load development was finished.

In most cases, I feel that three to five, 5-shot groups will give you a pretty good representation of how a load will perform in that specific firearm.

Sierra Bullets reloading advice tips information

Permalink - Articles, Reloading, Shooting Skills 1 Comment »
June 22nd, 2021

Sectional Density of Bullets — What You Need to Know

Bullet projectile sectional density formula Sierra Bullets

by Sierra Bullets Ballistic Technician Paul Box
All of us who have been in reloading and shooting for any period of time have read how sectional density has been regarded as a bullet’s ability to penetrate. Back before high velocity came along and modern bullet design, the easiest way to get more “power” and penetration was by increasing the diameter and mass. After all, a bowling ball will hurt more than a golf ball, right?

Let’s take a closer look at sectional density.

The formula for calculating sectional density is pretty simple and straight forward. Take the bullet weight and divide by 7000. This number is then divided by the bullet diameter squared. Two bullets of equal weight and the same diameter will have equal sectional sectional density. No regard is given to the bullet construction. This is where the fly hits the soup in considering sectional density as far as penetration is concerned.

Section Density Formula: (Bullet Weight divided by 7000) divided by Bullet Diameter squared.

Bullet construction is the biggest factor in how it is able to penetrate. The best example I can think of here is to look at the Sierra .224 55 Gr. FMJBT GameKing #1355 compared to the 55 Gr. BlitzKing #1455. Both are .224 and weigh 55 grs. Both have a sectional density of .157. But there is a huge difference in their construction. The FMJ has a thick jacket and is designed to penetrate. The BlitzKing is designed for fast and rapid expansion with little concern for how deep they will penetrate.

The next time you’re choosing a bullet, look at the construction and less at the sectional density number. It’s all about the construction anyway. If you have any questions or would like to discuss sectional density or bullet penetration further, please give us a call at 800-223-8799 or shoot us an email at sierra@sierrabullets.com.

Sierra Bullets reloading tips

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June 1st, 2021

Million-Round Turret Press — This Redding T-7 Has Done Its Duty

Redding T-7 Turret reloading press ammo ammunition

Here’s something you don’t see every day — a reloading press that has loaded over 1,000,000 rounds of ammo. At the NRA Convention in Dallas in 2018, Redding showcased an old Redding T-7 Turret Press delivered to Sierra Bullets decades ago. 0ne of the very first T-7s made by Redding, this “old warrior” was used by Sierra Bullets to load over 1,000,000 rounds of ammunition in Sierra’s ballistics lab.


Redding T-7 Turret reloading press ammo ammunitionRedding T-7 Still Within Spec
After all that loading, Redding tested the press and, remarkably, found that it still remained “within spec”. Redding notes: “This press was subjected to real world reloading wear and stress yet remains within ‘new’ spec after this historic test”. When showcased in Dallas, this Redding turret press was fitted with indicators to show “just how good American steel and craftsmanship remains after what, in a normal situation, would represent numerous lifetimes of use.”

The Redding T-7 now has major turret press rivals — the Lyman All-American 8-station press, and the Area 419 9-station ZERO Turret Press. That $1200 ZERO Turret is generally regarded as the most sophisticated turret press ever created.

Redding T-7 Turret reloading press ammo ammunitionAbout Redding Reloading
Redding Reloading Equipment has crafted quality, American-made products for the precision handloading market since 1946. Along with single-stage and turret presses, Redding makes great dies. And Redding’s line of tools/accessories includes concentricity gauges, scales, trimmers, powder measures, powder tricklers, cleaning tools, deburring tools, bushings, and many other quality items.

To learn more about Redding products or to download the 2021 Redding catalog visit Redding-Reloading.com. You can also request a free 2021 printed catalog.

Permalink Bullets, Brass, Ammo, Gear Review, Reloading 1 Comment »
May 14th, 2021

The .220 Swift — History of a Great Varmint Cartridge

Sierra Bullets 220 .220 Swift Cartridge powder loading Hodgdon

A History of the .220 Swift Cartridge

by Sierra Bullets Ballistic Technician Paul Box
Sierra Bullets 220 .220 Swift Cartridge powder loading HodgdonThis cartridge was introduced by Winchester in 1935 in their model 54 rifle. A year later, it was added as a standard cartridge in the model 70. What might not be common knowledge to some reloaders is that the prototype for the Swift was developed in 1934-35 by Grosvenor Wotkyns by necking down the 250 Savage case, but in the end, Winchester chose the 6mm Lee Navy case for the foundation for this cartridge.

This cartridge was far ahead of its time and for that reason it received a lot of bad press. We’ve all read the horror stories through the years. Many of those stories were just simply repeated from previous articles even the wording was just slightly different. So how bad was the Swift? Let’s take a deeper look.

Some of the early Swifts had soft barrel steel and some of the rare ones even had barrels that were .223 in bore size. This stemmed from the fact that the .22 Hornets prior to the end of World War II were .223 in bore size and some of these barrels were chambered in the Swift. It was rumored that the Swift peaked in pressure far too quick. I’ll bet they did with a turkey extra full choke barrel.

Burn rates of powders were limited at that time as well, so the Swift was limited in its true ability due to that. It was almost like building a funny car for drag racing when only kerosene was available.

One of the longest lasting black eyes was that it shot barrels out so fast. If you get the barrel branding iron hot and fail to clean it often this can happen. Common sense will go a long ways here. Keep the barrel as cool as you can and properly clean it every fifteen rounds or less will go a long way to improving accuracy life of a Swift.

Sierra Bullets 220 .220 Swift Cartridge powder loading Hodgdon

So what is the real truth about this cartridge? I’m glad you ask. I’ve been shooting the .220 Swift for over 43 years now. It is one of the best varmint cartridges I’ve ever owned. It is not hard to load for, it doesn’t suddenly peak in pressure and it isn’t the barrel burner that you’ve heard. Hodgdon powders once reported a Remington 40-X with over 3,000 rounds of full power loads averaged .344” for five, 5-shot groups. My findings have been the same. It isn’t as hard on barrels as it has been made out to be.

I’ve also read that down loading it slightly will help in barrel life. This is true, but if you buy a thoroughbred you want him to run. Barrels are threaded on the end for a reason. If you have enough fun to shoot out a Swift barrel, just rebarrel it.

The bottom line is enjoy the .220 Swift for what it was meant to be. The popularity of the Swift has slipped in the last twenty years and few factory rifles are now available in this caliber. There is no reason for this and I know the Swift will always have a strong and loyal following.

Sierra Bullets 220 Swift Cartridge Guide

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May 3rd, 2021

Tunnel Vision — Amazing Accuracy in Sierra’s Test Tunnel

Sierra Bullets indoors testing barrels
NOTE: There are ten (10) shots in the group, but for simplicity we are only displaying five (5) shot circles. Adding more circles won’t change the measurement because the two most distant shots, which determine group size, ARE included.

What kind of 200-yard accuracy can you get in an enclosed, underground test range? Would you believe 0.162 MOA at 200 yards with a .338? Have a look at these test targets from Sierra Bullets. Like most bullet manufacturers, Sierra does live-fire bullet testing to ensure that Sierra projectiles perform as promised, with repeatable accuracy. Sierra tests bullets in its own underground test complex. Sierra’s 300-meter test range is the longest, privately-owned underground bullet test facility in the Western Hemisphere.*

Sierra Bullets indoors testing barrels

Day in and day out, various bullet types are tested using a big collection of barreled actions. These barreled actions are clamped in stout, return-to-battery test fixtures. These big, heavy test fixtures provide near-perfect repeatability (with no human-induced holding or aiming errors).

Sierra Bullets 10-Shot Groups at 200 yards
Check out these 10-shot test groups shot at the Sierra Test Range at 200 yards. Note that the numbers listed on each sample are actual measurements in inches. To convert to MOA, cut those numbers in half (to be more precise, divide by 2.094, which is 1 MOA at 200 yards). For example, the 0.340″ middle group works out to 0.162 MOA at 200 yards.

Sierra Bullets indoors testing barrels

Sierra Bullets indoors testing barrelsScan-Verified 0.162 MOA Accuracy at 200 Yards
To verify the accuracy of Sierra’s measurements, we measured the middle (.338 caliber) 10-shot group with our On-Target Group Measurement software. We registered a group size reading of 0.339″ — within one-thousandth of the Sierra measurement. The calculated group size in MOA (Minute of Angle) is 0.162.

That’s amazingly good for ten rounds of big .338 caliber bullets. A FIVE-shot 0.162 MOA group at 200 would be considered excellent at any benchrest match. But remember this target has TEN shots. The current, one-target IBS world record for ten shots at 200 yards is 0.245″, set by Ed Watson in 1999.

Bevy of Barreled Actions for Bullet Testing
Sierra Bullets uses dozens of barreled actions for testing bullets in its enclosed, 200-yard test range. Each barrel has its own logbook to track the barrel’s usage.

Sierra Bullets indoors testing barrels
Click Photo to Zoom


*Even Longer Test Tunnels Exist in Europe: At Stadeln in Germany, RWS (now part of RUAG) owns a 500 meter tunnel (above ground level) which has existed for decades. In Thun, Switzerland, RUAG has a fully-instrumented 500 meter underground tunnel. Near Ulm, Germany, there is a 5-lane 300 meter underground shooting range that is open to the public.

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March 3rd, 2021

Reloading Can Be Fun … and a Stress-Reliever

Sierra Bullets Blog handloading stress relief

by Sierra Bullets Ballistic Technician Philip Mahin for Sierra Bullets Blog
A lot of calls that come into the Sierra Customer Service Center are made by shooters [of retirement age]. Most of the time the shooter used to reload back when they were [younger] and stopped in order to raise a family, pursue a career, or both. Maybe their father or grandfather taught them back in the day and they are looking for an answer to the new whatchamacallit they found on the internet. The point is they are coming back to it because it was fun.

Reloading Can Provide Stress Relief
As a father of three, a husband, a brother, a son and son-in-law, and a friend and neighbor, I get pulled in a lot of directions. In all honesty, reloading and shooting has become a stress relief for me even though I work in the shooting industry.

Sometimes, the shooting gets put on hold for other more important things but there will always be another project or repair to accomplish. There are a lot out there that have found a way to balance the work life, the family life, and the play life. I would like to applaud you on your efforts because it is a hard thing to accomplish.

Remember to take time and relieve that stress. Do something fun, especially if it is shooting that special hand-load you just made.

AccurateShooter Comment — Hand-Loading and the Creative Process
Reloading your own precise ammo can be rewarding in many ways. First it allows you a temporary escape from work pressures, “Honey-Dos”, filing your taxes — whatever. It’s just you and Mr. Rockchucker spending quality time in the loading room. Second, hand-loading is a creative process that engages the mind. During load development, you are like an inventor, selecting a powder charge, choosing the bushing size, experimenting with seating depths, working to perfect your load.

Lastly, the process of hand-loading is rewarding because you are building something start to finish. You begin with components — bullets, brass, and powder, and end up with a finished product that (hopefully) is better than the best factory ammo you could buy. It is enormously satisfying to start with piles of bullets and brass and end up with beautiful hand-loads that can deliver great accuracy.

This post originally appeared in the Sierra Bullets Blog.

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January 30th, 2021

6.5 Creedmoor Cartridge Load Data from Sierra Bullets

Sierra Load Data 6.5 Creedmoor

Sierra Bullets has released very complete load data for the popular 6.5 Creedmoor cartridge. This medium-sized cartridge has become one of the most popular chamberings for tactical and PRS shooters. The 6.5 Creedmoor combines excellent accuracy, good mag-feeding, good barrel life, moderate recoil, and reasonable component cost. That’s why this cartridge has caught on quickly.

Sierra Load Data 6.5 CreedmoorDeveloped in 2007 by Dennis DeMille and Dave Emary, the 6.5 Creedmoor is a shortened and improved 30 TC cartridge case that was inspired by the .308 Winchester design. This short action design was created to maximize case capacity and a wide range of loading lengths, while still fitting in standard short action magazines. With the correct twist barrel, the versatile 6.5 Creedmoor can take advantage of the wide range of bullet weights available in 6.5 mm (i.e. .264 caliber). Reloaders should keep in mind that the 6.5 Creedmoor works best with medium to medium-slow powders such as H4350, Varget, Win 760, and RE-17. The light recoil and adaptability of the efficient 6.5 Creedmoor cartridge has already proven itself in high power, precision rifle series and benchrest competitions. Couple that with respectable barrel life and its intrinsic accuracy potential and you have a recipe for success which should insure its legacy for decades to come.

Sierra 6.5 Creedmoor Load Data Manual reloading .264

Here are three tables from the Sierra Bullets Reloading Manual (5th Edition). IMPORTANT — This is just a sample!! Sierra has load data for many other 6.5mm bullet types, including FB, Spitzer, SBT, HPBT, and Tipped MK from 85 grains to 142 grains. To view ALL 6.5 Creedmoor DATA, CLICK HERE.

Sierra Bullets 6.5 Creedmoor Load Data MatchKing Tactical
INDICATES MAXIMUM LOAD – USE CAUTION
LOADS LESS THAN MINIMUM CHARGES SHOWN ARE NOT RECOMMENDED.

Sierra Bullets 6.5 Creedmoor Load Data MatchKing Tactical
INDICATES MAXIMUM LOAD – USE CAUTION
LOADS LESS THAN MINIMUM CHARGES SHOWN ARE NOT RECOMMENDED.

Sierra Bullets 6.5 Creedmoor Load Data MatchKing Tactical
INDICATES MAXIMUM LOAD – USE CAUTION
LOADS LESS THAN MINIMUM CHARGES SHOWN ARE NOT RECOMMENDED.

Two More Great 6.5 Creedmoor Reloading Resouces

Want More 6.5 Creedmoor Load Info? View Starline’s 6.5 Creedmoor Guide by Gavin Gear:

Download full 6.5 Creedmoor Guide at StarlineBrass.com.

PRB 6mm Creedmoor and 6.5 Creedmoor Load Survey
The Precision Rifle Blog compiled Load Data from PRS Competitors, for both 6mm Creedmoor and 6.5 Creedmoor. This is a good place to start. PRB surveyed the match loads for “173 of the top-ranked precision rifle shooters in the country”. CLICK HERE.

PRB precision rifle blog pet loads what pros use 6.5 Creedmoor 6mm CM

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January 28th, 2021

Four Vital Ammo Checks You Should Always Do Before Shooting

Sierra Bullets Reloading Blog Matchking Carroll Pilant

Here’a useful article by Sierra Bullets Media Relations Manager Carroll Pilant. This story, which originally appeared in the Sierra Bullets Blog, covers some of the more common ammo problems that afflict hand-loaders. Some of those issues are: excessive OAL, high primers, and improperly-sized cases. Here Mr. Pilant explains how to avoid these common problems that lead to “headaches at the range.

Sierra Bullets Reloading Blog Matchking Carroll Pilant

I had some gentlemen at my house last fall getting rifle zeros for an upcoming elk hunt. One was using one of the .300 short mags and every 3rd or 4th round would not chamber. Examination of the case showed a bulge right at the body/shoulder junction. These were new cases he had loaded for this trip. The seating die had been screwed down until it just touched the shoulder and then backed up just slightly. Some of the cases were apparently slightly longer from the base to the datum line and the shoulder was hitting inside the seating die and putting the bulge on the shoulder. I got to thinking about all the gun malfunctions that I see each week at matches and the biggest percentage stem from improper handloading techniques.

One: Check Your Cases with a Chamber Gage

Since I shoot a lot of 3-gun matches, I see a lot of AR problems which result in the shooter banging the butt stock on the ground or nearest solid object while pulling on the charging handle at the same time. I like my rifles too well to treat them that way (I cringe every time I see someone doing that). When I ask them if they ran the ammo through a chamber gage, I usually get the answer, “No, but I need to get one” or “I didn’t have time to do it” or other excuses. The few minutes it takes to check your ammo can mean the difference between a nightmare and a smooth running firearm.

A Chamber Gauge Quickly Reveals Long or Short Cases
Sierra Bullets Reloading Blog Matchking Carroll Pilant

Size Your Cases Properly
Another problem is caused sizing the case itself. If you will lube the inside of the neck, the expander ball will come out a lot easier. If you hear a squeak as the expander ball comes out of a case neck, that expander ball is trying to pull the case neck/shoulder up (sometimes several thousandths). That is enough that if you don’t put a bulge on the shoulder when seating the bullet … it can still jam into the chamber like a big cork. If the rifle is set up correctly, the gun will not go into battery and won’t fire but the round is jammed into the chamber where it won’t extract and they are back to banging it on the ground again (with a loaded round stuck in the chamber). A chamber gage would have caught this also.

Bad_Primer_WallsOversizing cases also causes problems because the firing pin doesn’t have the length to reach the primer solid enough to ignite it 100% of the time. When you have one that is oversized, you usually have a bunch, since you usually do several cases at a time on that die setting. If the die isn’t readjusted, the problem will continue on the next batch of cases also. They will either not fire at all or you will have a lot of misfires. In a bolt action, a lot of time the extractor will hold the case against the face of the breech enough that it will fire. The case gets driven forward and the thinner part of the brass expands, holding to the chamber wall and the thicker part of the case doesn’t expand as much and stretches back to the bolt face. If it doesn’t separate that time, it will the next time. When it does separate, it leaves the front portion of the case in the chamber and pulls the case head off. Then when it tries to chamber the next round, you have a nasty jam. Quite often range brass is the culprit of this because you never know how many times it has been fired/sized and in what firearm.’Back to beating it on the ground again till you figure out that you have to get the forward part of the case out.

Just a quick tip — To extract the partial case, an oversized brush on a cleaning rod [inserted] and then pulled backward will often remove the case. The bristles when pushed forward and then pulled back act like barbs inside the case. If you have a bunch of oversized case that have been fired, I would dispose of them to keep from having future problems. There are a few tricks you can use to salvage them if they haven’t been fired though. Once again, a case gage would have helped.

Two: Double Check Your Primers

Sierra Bullets Reloading Blog Matchking Carroll Pilant

Another thing I see fairly often is a high primer, backwards primer, or no primer at all. The high primers are bad because you can have either a slam fire or a misfire from the firing pin seating the primer but using up its energy doing so. So, as a precaution to make sure my rifle ammo will work 100% of the time, I check it in a case gage, then put it in an ammo box with the primer up and when the box is full, I run my finger across all the primers to make sure they are all seated to the correct depth and you can visually check to make sure none are in backwards or missing.

Three: Check Your Overall Cartridge Length

Trying to load the ammo as long as possible can cause problems also. Be sure to leave yourself enough clearance between the tip of the bullet and the front of the magazine where the rounds will feed up 100%. Several times over the years, I have heard of hunters getting their rifle ready for a hunt. When they would go to the range to sight in, they loaded each round single shot without putting any ammo in the magazine. On getting to elk or deer camp, they find out the ammo is to long to fit in the magazine. At least they have a single shot, it could be worse. I have had hunters that their buddies loaded the ammo for them and then met them in hunting camp only to find out the ammo wouldn’t chamber from either the bullet seated to long or the case sized improperly, then they just have a club.

Four: Confirm All Cases Contain Powder

No powder in the case doesn’t seem to happen as much in rifle cartridges as in handgun cartridges. This is probably due to more handgun ammo being loaded on progressive presses and usually in larger quantities. There are probably more rifle cartridges that don’t have powder in them than you realize though. Since the pistol case is so much smaller internal capacity, when you try to fire it without powder, it usually dislodges the bullet just enough to stick in the barrel. On a rifle, you have more internal capacity and usually a better grip on the bullet, since it is smaller diameter and longer bearing surface. Like on a .223, often a case without powder won’t dislodge the bullet out of the case and just gets ejected from the rifle, thinking it was a bad primer or some little quirk.

Sierra Bullets Reloading Blog Matchking Carroll Pilant

For rifle cases loaded on a single stage press, I put them in a reloading block and always dump my powder in a certain order. Then I do a visual inspection and any case that the powder doesn’t look the same level as the rest, I pull it and the one I charged before and the one I charged after it. I inspect the one case to see if there is anything visual inside. Then I recharge all 3 cases. That way if a case had powder hang up and dump in the next case, you have corrected the problem.

On progressive presses, I try to use a powder that fills the case up to about the base of the bullet. That way you can usually see the powder as the shell rotates and if you might have dumped a partial or double charge, you will notice as you start to seat the bullet if not before. On a progressive, if I don’t load a cartridge in one smooth stroke (say a bullet tipped over sideways and I raised the ram slightly to reset it) Some presses actually back the charge back adding more powder if it has already dumped some so you have a full charge plus a partial charge. When I don’t complete the procedure with one stroke, I pull the case that just had powder dumped into it and check the powder charge or just dump the powder back into the measure and run the case thru later.

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December 14th, 2020

Bargain Finder 273: AccurateShooter’s Deals of the Week

AccurateShooter Deals of the Week Weekly Bargain Finder Sale Discount Savings

At the request of our readers, we provide select “Deals of the Week”. Every Sunday afternoon or Monday morning we offer our Best Bargain selections. Here are some of the best deals on firearms, hardware, reloading components, optics, 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. Sportsman’s Warehouse — Winchester XPR Camo $449.99

Winchester XPR hunting rifle sale discount
Great price for nice hunting rifle; many calibers, coated action + barrel

In today’s market, getting a quality hunting rig for under $450.00 is a very good deal. Add in a Permacote protective finish on both action and barrel and you have a true bargain. Right now Sportsman’s Warehouse is offering the Winchester XPR rifle in a variety of regular and magnum chamberings for just $449.99. Choose from 6.5 Creedmoor, .270 Win, 7mm Rem Magnum, .308 Win, .30-06 Springfield, .300 Win Magnum. These guns have smooth feeding and good warranties. Notable features include:

Flat Dark Earth (FDE) Permacote Receiver Finish
Free-floating Button-rifled Barrel with FDE Permacote Finish
M.O.A. Trigger System with 2-Position Thumb Safety
Mossy Oak Elements Terra Bayou Camouflage Finish

2. Midsouth — Bullets IN STOCK from All Major Brands

Midsouth Bullet Berger Barnes Sierra Hornady Nosler sale discount
Berger, Sierra, Hornady, Nosler, Barnes, Speer in stock

Reloading components are getting harder to find. Thankfully, Midsouth has a HUGE inventory of rifle bullets IN STOCK, from many makers, in a wide selection of calibers and weights. And many of these bullets are on sale right now. Choose your favorite projectiles from Berger, Sierra, Hornady, Nosler, Speer, and Barnes. You’ll find good prices on rifle match bullets as well as hunting bullets, with both tipped and conventional designs, as well as solids (from Barnes). Hornady A-Tips are on sale. CLICK HERE for Bullets.

3. Precision Reloading — Alpha Munitions Cartridge Brass

Precision Reloading Alpha Munitions cartridge brass Dasher 6mm Creedmoor 6 BRA
Very high quality brass for popular mid-size accuracy cartridges

After Lapua and Peterson, USA-based Alpha Munitions makes some of the best cartridge brass available today. In stock now at Precision Reloading is Alpha brass for these popular cartridges: 6mm Creedmoor, 6.5 Creedmoor, 6XC, and .308 Win. Notably, Alpha also makes 6mm Dasher brass, saving you a fire-forming step, and Alpha also produces the new 6GT case popular with PRS shooters. BIG NEWS: Alpha recently started producing 6mm BRA (6BR Ackley) brass. Alpha 6mm BRA and 6 Dasher brass are available directly from Alpha Munitions, but act soon — this will quickly sell out. Click links below:

6mm BRA Brass Alpha Factory Direct | 6mm Dasher Brass Alpha Factory Direct

4. Amazon — Frankford Intellidropper Scale/Dispenser, $179.95

frankford arsenal intellidropper
Fast, programmable, accurate dispenser at great price

The Frankford Arsenal Intellidropper is a high-quality powder scale dispenser. It’s accurate to +/- one-tenth of a grain, dispenses in seconds, and can be controlled by a handy mobile App that can store various charges weights for different cartridges. This unit has a 7000-grain capacity with both Auto and manual trickle capability. IMPORTANT: This super-low Amazon price won’t last long. Act quickly to secure the Intellidropper for $179.95 on Sale.

5. All Dealers — Zeiss Conquest V4 $100 Instant Rebate

Zeiss conquest V4 rifle scope $100 off sale discount
Instant $100 savings on outstanding Zeiss Conquest V4 Scopes

Calling all holiday shoppers! Looking for that perfect gift for the hunter or shooter on your list? Through December 31, 2020, ZEISS is offering a great deal through participating ZEISS authorized retailers. Customers looking to buy Conquest V4 riflescopes and Terra ED 42 mm objective binoculars will receive $100 off instantly at time of purchase. No Rebate forms to fill out, no waiting periods — you just save $100 instantly. CLICK HERE for ZEISS SALE INFO.

6. MidwayUSA — BOG Death Grip Tripod, $124.99


Versatile — use in all positions (even prone), secure top clamp

BOG Death Grip Tripod PRS hunting support sale discountBOG makes very popular “long reach” shooting sticks/bipods for hunters. And now BOG has developed a clamp-style tripod that is great for hunters and PRS/NRL competitors. The BOG Death Grip Tripod has a rectangular-style padded clamp that will fit a wide variety of rifle fore-end styles (and widths).

Watch the video above to see this tripod’s versatility and why it has earned rave reviews. Non-marring rubber jaw insert protect your rifle’s finish. The 3-position leg angle lock allows for secure shooting in standing, kneeling and prone positions. Tilt adjustment lever controls up to 25 degrees of cant forwards and back and the head pans 360 degrees. Right now the BOG Death Grip Tripod Aluminum version is on sale at MidwayUSA for $124.99, $25.00 off. NOTE: You need to place the product in MidwayUSA’s shopping cart to see this special price.

7. Focus Camera — Fujinon Scope Plus Binoculars, $149.00

Fujinon binoculars 1.75-5x32mm scope bargain deal
Killer combo deal — great gift for someone getting started in hunting

Here is a killer deal on a hunting optics combo. Fujinon does make high quality optics but the company is not well known among American consumers so Fujinon optics have been deeply discounted. Right now you can get a good, light-weight 1.75-5x32mm hunting scope AND 10x32mm binoculars for just $149.00! The original MSRP on this combo was $499.99 so you’re saving over $350! The magnification level is ideal for a deer rifle scope. We think this would be a great gift item for a hunter in your family.

8. Midsouth — Great End-of-Year Target Sale

Midsouth Bullet Berger Barnes Sierra Hornady Nosler sale discount
Midsouth Bullet Berger Barnes Sierra Hornady Nosler sale discountDozens of Hi-Viz and Specialty Targets at Great Prices

Need targets for your range days next year? Midsouth Shooters has a huge selection of shooting targets at attractive prices. Choose from stick-on targets, target dots, splatter targets, grid targets, bullseye targets, and even Zombie fun targets, in various sizes and colors.

Midsouth also has a unique stick-on white benchrest target that comes on a handy roll. The 250 target roll is $12.49. This self-adhesive target is great for practicing for benchrest matches and load development. We use it because it has a nice grid and precise aim point.

9. MidwayUSA — Dual Gong Target System, 50% Off, $44.99

MidwayUSA Viking Solutions twin gong system AR500 sale discount
Great Price for twin AR500 system — just add wood beam and have fun

Who doesn’t like shooting steel? The “clang” of hitting a steel target at long range provides instant gratification. This Viking Solutions Gong Target System features two AR500 Steel Gongs (6″ and 8″) suspended by chains. All the hardware is supplied including chains, leg stands, and nuts and bolts — all you need is a length of 2×4 lumber. Setup time is less than two minutes. The gongs are manufactured from 3/8″-thick AR500 steel for long lasting durability! NOTE: User must supply lumber beam. This unit once sold for $89.99 so you save $45.00!

10. Amazon — Cleaning Kit with 1000 Patches, Swabs, Boresnake

Gun cleaning patches boresnake swab sale discount
Great bargain cleaning kit with swabs, 1000 patches, bottles and boresnake

This handy Gun Cleaning Kit is worth the $15.95 price for the 1000 cotton patches alone. But in addition to that you get a handy boresnake for barrel cleaning, 100 cotton, tipped swabs, two empty solvent bottles (needle-nose), along with a handy kit to carry all this gear. Buyer selects the boresnake size. Chose from: .223, .270/7mm, .308, .40, .45, and 12 gauge.

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November 24th, 2020

6mm Creedmoor Load Data from Sierra Bullets + BONUS

6mm Creedmoor 6.5 Creedmoor load data Sierra Bullets
NOTE: The 6mm Creedmoor now does have an official SAAMI specification. It is no longer just a wildcat.

CLICK HERE for Sierra Bullets 6mm Creedmoor LOAD DATA PDF »

Sierra Bullets Load Data 6mm Creedmoor reloading tips

Sierra Bullets has published load data for the 6mm Creedmoor cartridge, a necked-down version of the popular 6.5 Creedmoor. Sierra has released very comprehensive 6mm Creedmoor load data, covering fifteen (15) different bullets from 55 to 110 grains. NOTE: Hornady-brand brass was used for Sierra’s 6mm Creedmoor load tests, not the newer, stronger Lapua 6.5 CM brass with small primer pockets. Hand-loaders using Lapua 6.5 Creedmoor brass necked to 6mm may have to adjust their loads.

Sierra writes: “As soon as the 6.5 Creedmoor was released in 2007, a 6mm version was being envisioned. After the 6mm Creedmoor demonstrated its worth at 1000 yards it began to catch the attention of Precision Rifle Series (PRS) competitors. The 6mm Creedmoor is a great fit for those looking for an AR platform-friendly cartridge. It delivers velocities very similar to the .243 Win and yet fits the AR10 magazine length[.] The 30-degree shoulder makes this a very efficient case and helps prolong case life as well. The 6mm Creedmoor works well with powders such as H4350, [RE-16], RE-17, and Ramshot Hunter for heavier long-range bullet weights. Slightly faster powders such as RE-15, Win 760, and Vihtavuori N540 work well with lighter weight bullets.”

Sierra Bullets Tested for 6mm Creedmoor Load Data
55gr BlitzKing (#1502)
60gr HP (#1500)
70gr HPBT (#1505)
70gr BlitzKing (#1507)
75gr HP (#1510)
80gr SBT (#1515)
85gr Spitzer (#1520)
85gr HPBT (#1530)
90gr FMJBT (#1535)
95gr HPBT (#1537)
95gr TMK (#7295)
100gr Spitzer (#1540)
100gr SBT (#1560)
107gr HPBT (#1570)
110gr HPBT (#1575)

In developing its 6mm Creedmoor load data, Sierra tested a very wide selection of propellants, two dozen overall. For the smaller bullets, fast-burning powders such as Benchmark, H4895, and CFE223 were tested. For the heavier 100+ grain bullets, Sierra tested a selection of medium-burn-rate powders including H4350, Reloder 16, Reloder 17, Varget, and Superformance. Sierra did a very thorough job. We know this information will be welcomed by 6mm Creedmoor shooters.

Don’t know what powder to try first? For the 107-110 grain bullets, if you want best accuracy and low ES/SD, our Forum members recommend Alliant Reloder 16 and Hodgdon H4350. If you are seeking max velocity with the 110-grainer, look at Hodgdon Superformance and Reloder 19.

Here are Sierra’s 6mm Creedmoor Load Data Charts for 90-95 grain bullets plus the 107gr MK and 110gr MK. There are five other tables for other bullet types.

6mm Creedmoor 6.5 Creedmoor load data Sierra Bullets

6mm Creedmoor 6.5 Creedmoor load data Sierra Bullets

6mm Creedmoor 6.5 Creedmoor load data Sierra Bullets

6mm Creedmoor 6.5 Creedmoor load data Sierra Bullets


BONUS: PRB 6mm Creedmoor and 6.5 Creedmoor Load Survey

The Precision Rifle Blog compiled Load Data from PRS Competitors, for both 6mm Creedmoor and 6.5 Creedmoor. This is a good place to start. PRB surveyed the match loads for “173 of the top-ranked precision rifle shooters in the country”. One cautionary note: These PRS guys may be loading fairly hot, so work up gradually, 0.3 grains at a time. CLICK HERE.

PRB precision rifle blog pet loads what pros use 6.5 Creedmoor 6mm CM

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November 12th, 2020

Variances in Load Data — Why Load Manuals Don’t Always Agree

load manual sierra reloading hornady data

Written by Sierra Bullets Ballistic Technician Duane Siercks
One of the first things new reloaders notice is that load data varies between reloading manuals. The Sierra Bullets Technicians frequently get inquiries asking us to explain why the load data appears to be inconsistent. This article explains five key factors that can influence published load data.

Example of load data variances for two 168 grain bullets:

Sierra Reloading Manual Hornady Load Reloading

Here are five reasons why the load data varies:

The Bullet
Basically, the similarities in the .30 caliber 168 grain Match bullets (for example) end with weight and diameter. The bullets likely have dimensional differences such as bearing surface length. Bearing surface has a large effect on pressure and velocity. There are also differences in boat tail, flat base, ogive and over-all lengths, which each help determine the cartridge over-all-length (COAL). With different COAL’s, we can expect changes in pressure and velocity also. In some calibers there are differences in bullet diameter with different bullet manufacturers.

It is also worth noting that bullet manufacturers do not all use the same copper alloy for their jackets. This produces more or less friction that results in load pressures and velocities. The solid copper bullets also vary quite a bit in comparison to a lead core and copper jacketed bullet.

The Gun
Each gun is unique, even if you are using the same make, model, and caliber. Special consideration should be used to consider that not all firearm chambers are the same either, creating more variables that need consideration. There can be drastic differences in the throat length. This controls the amount of “jump” that a bullet experiences when the cartridge is fired.

The Powder
Within normal manufacturing tolerances, you can see some variation in a given powders burn rate between different lots of the same powder. So naturally when two different Manuals are produced, it would be doubtful that the same lots would be tested.

The Cartridge Cases
New cases are almost always near minimum specs in dimension. A load fired in a new case would likely have slightly more pressure that when fired in a re-sized case. This would certainly be true if we were loading into fire-formed cases that have had minimal re-sizing done. Fired cases that are full length resized most of the time be slightly larger than the new unfired cases. This gives you differences in case capacity. The same powder charge placed within a new case and a full length resized case will produce different pressure levels and probably different velocities.

Conditions
Temperature can cause pressure increases or decreases. Hot temperatures tend to cause pressures to increase, while cold temperatures will usually do the opposite. Humidity and altitude can impact pressures and velocities likewise.

Conclusion
As you can see, an amazing number of variables effect any load combination. With the differences in the manuals, you’re just seeing firsthand examples of what took place when the data was collected with that particular set of components and firearm. Think of a reloading manual as a report. In essence, a reloading manual says, “We tried this particular component combination, and these are the results we obtained.”

Remember that you may or may not reach the same maximum load safely. There is no “one load fits all bullets.” The minimum load data offers a safe place to start. The maximum load data listed should always be regarded as a safety guideline and not necessarily a goal! Your gun should shoot accurately without breaching the maximum load data. The best advice is: always start low and work your load up!

If you have questions about variances in load data or other reloading questions, please call our ballistic technicians at 1-800-223-8799 or send us an email at sierra [at] sierrabullets.com.

Sierra Bullets Blog reloading information

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September 28th, 2020

Remington Assets to Be Divided Among Multiple Companies

Remington Factory Bankruptcy chapter 11

This is a sad story. Remington, America’s oldest continuously-operated gunmaker, has collapsed due to debts and litigation. Through a bankruptcy proceeding, Remington’s product lines and other assets are being acquired by a variety of companies, including Ruger, Vista Outdoor, Sierra, and other large shooting/outdoor industry enterprises. Notably, Ruger will pay $30 million to get the Marlin brand, and Sierra will take over Barnes bullets/ammo business, paying $30.5 million.

The sell-off of Remington assets, specifically product brands, will be going forward through Federal Bankruptcy court, with an order expected Tuesday September 29, 2020. The Shooting Wire reported on 9/28/2020:

Although it won’t be formalized until approved at a hearing scheduled tomorrow (Tuesday, September 29, 2020) in the United States Bankruptcy Court for the Northern District of Alabama, the breakup plan for Remington was filed yesterday. Barring something unforeseen, Remington and its associated companies will be divided among Ruger, Vista Outdoor, Roundhill Group, LLC, Sierra Bullets, Sportsman’s Warehouse, Franklin Armory, and JJE Capital [Palmetto State Armory]. Remington’s Lonoke, Arkansas, ammunition business will go to Vista Outdoor (with SIG Sauer as a backup bid), Sierra Bullets will acquire the Barnes Ammunition interests, Ruger will acquire Marlin, Franklin Armory will assume the Bushmaster brand (and related assets), JJE Capital Holdings will assume DPMS, H&R, Stormlake, AAC, and Parker brands, and Sportsman’s Warehouse will acquire the Tapco brand.

Remington assets will be divided among: Franklin Armory, JJE Capital, Ruger, Roundhill Group, Sierra Bullets, Sportsman’s Warehouse, Vista Outdoor. Roundhill will take over production of Remington firearms which will continue in Ilion, New York.

Remington Factory Bankruptcy chapter 11
Remington-owned brands displayed at Remington booth at SHOT Show. Photo by Remington.

Even with surging firearms sales in 2020, Remington Arms Company (Remington) found itself in financial trouble — with overwhelming obligations to creditors and investors. Accordingly, on July 27, 2020, Remington filed for Chapter 11 Bankruptcy — the second time in recent years.

Remington Factory Bankruptcy chapter 11

Remington, based in Madison, North Carolina, previously filed for Chapter 11 in March 2018. With major loan reorganizations, Remington “emerged nearly two months later, having converted more than $775 million in debt into equity for its lenders.” (Source: Syracuse.com.) However, despite this debt-restructuring, the company struggled with high interest costs and litigation related to the 2012 Sandy Hook school shooting. The perpetrator had a Bushmaster XM15-E2S rifle sold by Remington.

Remington Factory Bankruptcy chapter 11

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September 24th, 2020

Case Diagnostics — How to Find Defects in Cartridge Brass

Case Diagnostics 101 Sierra Bullets .223 Rem 5.56 brass cartridge safety

Ever wondered what caused a particular bulge or marking on a case? And more importantly, does the issue make the case unsafe for further use? Sierra Bullets Ballistic Technician Duane Siercks offers some insight into various issues and their causes in two Case Diagnostic articles from the Sierra Blog.

Incipient Case-Head Separation
This is a Winchester .308 Win case that has a real issue. This case has a very obvious incipient case head separation in the process of becoming a complete failure.

Sierra Case reloading pressure safety inspection

This is most commonly caused by over-sizing the case causing there to be excess headspace on the case. After a few firings and subsequent re-sizing, this case is just about ready to come completely apart. Proper die adjustment is certainly a requirement here. Of course this case is not safe to reuse.

Excessive Pressure (Load Too Hot)
If you will notice in the picture of the case rim, there are two pressure signs to notice. First, look at the primer. It is basically flattened to about the max of what could be considered safe. If this was the only pressure sign noted, I would probably be fine with this load, but would constantly keep an eye on it especially if I was going to use this load in warmer temperatures. This load could easily cross into the “excess pressure” realm very quickly.

Sierra Case reloading pressure safety inspection

There is another sign of pressure that we cannot ignore. If you’ll notice, there is an ejector mark apparent that is located over the “R” of the R-P headstamp. This absolutely tells us that this load would not have been in the safe pressure range. If there were any of these rounds loaded, they should not be fired and should be dis-assembled. This case should not be reloaded.

Split Case-Neck
Here we have an R-P .22-250 case that has died the death. Everything looks fine with this case except the neck is split. This case must be tossed.

Sierra Case reloading pressure safety inspection

A split neck is a normal occurrence that you must watch for. It is caused by work-hardening of the brass. Brass cases get harder with age and use. Brand new cases that are stored for a period of time can become hard enough that they will split like this case within one to two firings. I have had new factory loads do the same thing. Then as we resize and fire these cases repeatedly, they tend to get harder and harder. Eventually they will split. The life of the case can be extended by careful annealing practices. This is an issue that would need to be addressed in an article by itself. Of course this case is no longer usable.

In the classes that I teach, I try to use examples like this to let the students see what they should be looking for. As always, if we can assist you, whether you are new to reloading or very experienced, contact us here at Sierra Bullets by phone at 1-800-223-8799 or by email at sierra@sierrabullets.com.

Dented Case Body
Here we have a Lake City 7.62×51 (.308 Win.) case with two heavy marks/dents in the case body.

Sierra Case reloading pressure safety inspection

This one may be a bit of a mystery. It appears as if this case may have been caught in the action of a semi-auto rifle when the firearm jammed or the case failed to clear during the cycling process. I probably would not reload this case just to prevent any feeding problems. This also appeared to be a factory loaded round and I don’t really see any pressure issues or damage to the case.

Multiple Problems — Lake City 5.56×45 unknown year.

Sierra Case reloading pressure safety inspection

This case has suffered multiple failures and cannot be re-used. First its has have a very rounded shoulder that is split. Upon first look it was obvious that this round had been a victim of excess pressure. The firearm (perhaps an AR?) was apparently not in full battery, or there was possibly a headspace issue also. While taking a closer look, the primer was very flat and the outside radius of the primer cup had been lost. High pressure! Then I also noticed that there was an ejector mark on the case rim. This is most certainly an incident of excessive pressure. This case is ruined and should be discarded.

CLICK HERE for MORE .223 Rem Case Examples in Sierra Blog

To see more examples, view both Part I and Part II of the Case Diagnostics from Sierra Bullets:

» Reloading 101: Case Diagnostics Part I
» Reloading 101: Case Diagnostics Part II

It is very important to observe and inspect your cases before each reloading. After awhile it becomes second nature to notice the little things. Never get complacent as you become more familiar with the reloading process. If ever in doubt, call Sierra’s Techs at 1-800-223-8799.

Sierra Bullets Case Diagnostics Blog

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August 26th, 2020

Father and Son — Memories of Reloading Together

Herters Press Sierra Bullets Reloading Prisendorf Father son

Sierra Bullets Ballistic Technician Gary Prisendorf has written a nice essay about how reloading can become a life-time hobby, a rewarding pastime that can bring together a father and son…

Memories of My Father — Reloading As a Life-Time Hobby

by Gary Prisendorf
For as long as I can remember I have been around reloading. I have tons of childhood memories of my father reloading and shooting. I remember how he would let me help him load his ammunition, by letting me clean primer pockets or wipe the sizing lube off of his cases. I really thought I was doing something. Well, I guess I was, I was spending quality time with my father doing something that would become a great hobby and eventually land me a great job working for Sierra Bullets.

If you are a reloader, teach someone. You may just give them a hobby for the rest of their life and who knows, you could help them find an enjoyable career, doing something that they love. — Gary Prisendorf

Herters Press Sierra Bullets Reloading Prisendorf Father son

I remember watching my father sizing cases on his Herters press, dropping his powder charges with a Belding & Mull powder measure and weighing powder charges with his Texan scales. Heck, I can even remember when he would buy powder at a local pawn shop, and they would weigh it out and put it in a paper sack. He would save his empty powder cans, wrap them with masking tape and write what the powder was on them with a black magic marker.

When I was in Junior High, I got my first shotgun, a 20 gauge Mossberg 500 and within a couple of weeks my father came home with a 20 gauge Lee Load-All and a pound of Blue Dot. He gave me a crash course on how to use it, and got me up and running with a couple of safe loads. I put a lot of shells through that old 20 gauge.

From that day forward I was hooked. If I got a new gun, I was loading ammunition for it. I don’t buy factory ammunition unless I just want to shoot it up so I can get some once fired brass. I reload everything that I shoot, except for rimfire stuff, and if I could figure out how to do that safely, I would probably load that too.

Through the years I have learned to appreciate things — such as once-fired military .30-06 cases that can be converted to obscure cartridge types. And I know the value of a five-gallon bucket of lead wheel weights that will be melted down and cast into bullets.

I remember finding 19 once-fired Norma 7.7×58 Arisaka cases laying on the ground at a public shooting range, and it was like Christmas came early. I must have looked for that 20th case for about thirty minutes, but I never did find it.

I can’t thank my father enough for getting me started in reloading, he gave me a great hobby, many wonderful memories and taught me the skills that gave me a career doing something that I love.

Herters Press Sierra Bullets Reloading Prisendorf Father son

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July 22nd, 2020

Accuracy Requirements for Prairie Dog Hunting Ammunition

Wyoming varmint hunt prairie dog Sierra Bullets Tommy Todd Reloading accuracy powder measure
Photo by Forum member R. Hardy. View Related Thread.

Summer’s here, so many folks will head to the hinterlands on prairie dog safaris. On a good P-Dog adventure, you may shoot hundreds of rounds over a long weekend. So you’ll need plenty of ammo. With these ammo volume requirements, you probably won’t have time to load to benchrest standards, and you may not have the budget for match-grade bullets. To save time you may throw (rather than weigh) your charges, or even load on a progressive press. This all raises the question of ammo accuracy — how good is “good enough”? A Sierra Bullets expert answers that question here — explaining how to efficiently load ammo for varmint work.

Ammunition Accuracy Requirements 101 — Varmint Ammo

Wyoming varmint hunt prairie dog Sierra Bullets Tommy Todd Reloading accuracy powder measure

This story based on article by Sierra Bullets Chief Ballistician Tommy Todd
I load and shoot ammunition for a living. In my duties here at Sierra I constantly test bullet accuracy for our production needs. Because of this, I shoot a variety of different calibers and cartridges on a daily basis and a large demand of this shooting is keeping the guns and loads tuned for optimum accuracy. I have a very narrow window of tolerances to maintain in order to provide our customers (you) with the most accurate bullets on the market.

I have learned many tricks and techniques over the years to tuning a load, prepping brass, and cleaning barrels to keep a gun shooting. I often utilize the things I have learned and take them to extreme levels when competing in a shooting event. I also often ignore most of these things (other than safety) and simplify the process if the shooting I will be doing does not warrant.

Recently I went on a prairie dog shoot in Wyoming with some good friends. The targets cooperated as did the weather with the exception of some challenging winds we experienced. We had a great time and make a lot of hits on those small rodents. When loading for the .223 Remington rifles and the TC Contender, I cut a few corners in the ammunition-loading process due to both time constraints and accuracy needed. When shooting at a prairie dog a miss is simply that, but when shooting at say the X-Ring at 1000-yard competition, a poorly-placed shot [harms your] placing in the match. Because of this, I can afford to miss an occasional shot at a varmint due to ammunition capability without worry but will not allow the same tolerances in my match ammo. For the Wyoming trip I utilized a powder measure and simply dumped the charges into primed cases that had been full-length sized and primed.

Wyoming varmint hunt prairie dog Sierra Bullets Tommy Todd Reloading accuracy powder measure

I had measured enough for length to know that while there was some variance all were under maximum length. I know there is some variation of the measure I utilized but not significant enough to warrant weighing every charge. When seating the bullets a competition seating die was used and I verified OAL on the occasional cartridge to make sure nothing changed.

This varmint ammo, with thrown charges, put TEN shots inside ONE inch at 200 yards. That’s half MOA. Good Enough? Absolutely!
Wyoming varmint hunt prairie dog Sierra Bullets Tommy Todd Reloading accuracy powder measure

The ammo produced shot under one inch at 200 yards in one of the guns I planned on taking on to Wyoming with me. [Editor: That was for TEN Shots — see above.] I knew I had loaded ammunition that was quite suitable for the task at hand which was evidenced by the number of hits I was able to make at fairly long range.

NOTE: The author, Tommy Todd, explains that, when loading ammo for F-Class matches, he uses more exacting methods. He weighs every charge and seats his bullets carefully with an arbor press. Todd adapts his methodology for his particular application. The lesson here is to load to the level of precision demanded by your discipline. READ Full Story HERE.

Varmint Prairie Dog hunting safari reloading powder measure Tommy Todd

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