As an Amazon Associate, this site earns a commission from Amazon sales.











June 18th, 2022

Saturday at Movies: 12 Progressive Press Comparison Shootout

ultimate reloader gavin gear progressive press shootout comparison test lee dillon hornady rcbs mark7

If you are considering purchasing a progressive reloading press — you’ve struck gold. Today’s Saturday at the Movies article showcases the most comprehensive video ever created about progressive presses. Hosted by Gavin Gear of UltimateReloader.com, this remarkable 79-minute video covers a dozen presses from six leading manufacturers: Dillon, Frankford Arsenal, Hornady, Lee, Mark 7 (Lyman), and RCBS.

Set aside plenty of time, because there is a wealth of information — the “mother lode” of progressive press coverage. Along with the big comparison video, Gavin has prepared a detailed, 17-page online article which covers all of the presses in the shootout. This 17-page article also includes many product-specific videos. We link to five of these videos below.

12 Progressive Presses are compared in this comprehensive video:

Here it is! Ultimate Reloader’s long-awaited Progressive Press Shootout. This online article and accompanying video represent the most exhaustive and most in-depth look at progressive press reloading equipment. The Ultimate Reloader Progressive Shootout covers a dozen different progressives from Dillon, Frankford Arsenal, Hornady, Mark 7 (Lyman), and RCBS. Reviewer Gavin Gear demonstrates how each press works and provides data on costs, output rates, capabilities, and accessories so that potential buyers can make informed purchasing decisions.

MORE INFO — Progressive Press Shootout Online Article

To accompany the remarkable 79-minute Progressive Press Shootout Video, Gavin Gear has posted a ton of information on his UltimateReloader.com website. A lengthy online article provides detailed information on the particular presses, press mounts, and lighting, as well as general details such as cost of ownership. We provide links to particular topics below. This is a GREAT RESOURCE — it’s like getting an entire chapter of a technical book all for FREE!

ultimate reloader gavin gear progressive press shootout comparison test lee dillon hornady rcbs mark7

» READ Full Progressive Press Comparison Article (17 Pages, Multiple Videos)

Below we provide links to each product-specific online page, along with the corresponding time-link to the related segment of the 79-minute Progressive Shootout video.

Progressive Press Comparison — Online Article Highlights

Time-Mark & Topic (with LINKs)

00:00
04:22
13:43
13:43
22:02
31:49
35:39
39:20
43:47
46:42
54:44
1:01:44
1:05:30
1:10:32
1:14:06
1:14:45
1:15:03

Introduction
Hornady Lock-N-Load AP
RCBS Pro Chucker 5
RCBS Pro Chucker 7
Mark 7 APEX 10
Dillon Square Deal B
Dillon RL-550C
Dillon XL-750
Dillon RL 1100
Frankford Arsenal X-10
LEE Pro 1000
LEE Breech Lock Auto Pro (Pro 4000)
LEE Loadmaster
Total Cost of Ownership Recap
Inline Fabrication Mounts
KMS Squared UFO Press Lighting
Conclusion

Individual Progressive Press Videos

Dillon XL-750

RCBS Pro Chucker 7

Mark 7 APEX 10

Hornady Lock-N-Load AP 5-Station

Frankford Arsenal X-10 10-Station

LEE Breech Lock Auto Pro 4000

NOTE: Along with the presses featured in these six videos, the Ultimate Reloader Progressive Press Comparison video covers six other presses (12 total), in a comprehensive 1 hour 19 minute video linked at the top of this article.

Permalink - Videos, Gear Review, New Product, Reloading No Comments »
May 14th, 2022

Saturday at the Movies: Gun Safes — Features and Installation

Gunsafe gun safe saturday movies video showcase vault security modular

Today’s Saturday Showcase covers gun safes. Every firearms owner should have a secure, quality gun safe with ample capacity. There are numerous choices in gun safes — but we have one key bit of advice — buy BIGGER than you think you need, because your gun collection will likely grow over time. Also you should consider the fire rating of your safe. There are other key factors to consider, such as wall thickness, lock type, shelf and storage layout, and humidity control. We recommend that all Bulletin readers read our detailed, Gun Safe Buyers Guide. This in-depth 9400-word article covers ALL these topics:

Anti-Corrosion
Budget Safes
Bolt Layout
Door Seals
Fire Proofing
Handgun Storage
Hinges
Humidity Control
Installation Tips
Interior Layout
Interior Lighting
Locks–Dial vs. Digital
Modular Safes
Rotary Racks
Size and Weight
Temperature Control
Wall Thickness
Water Proofing

Technical Features of Gun Safes — What You Need to Know

This is a very sensible, informative video that examines the technical features of gun safes. You’ll learn about the steel “gauge” or thickness, the different types of hinges, lock controls, and fire-proofing options. We think anyone contemplating purchase of a large home safe should watch this video, prepared by a respected safe retailer in Las Vegas.

Assembly of SnapSafe Titan XXL Double Door Modular Safe

In this video Gavin Gear of UltimateReloader.com shows the unpacking and assembly of a large, twin-door SnapSafe modular safe. This video shows how individual panels are assembled one by one, and how the twin doors are attached. Gavin also shows the process of installing the interior insulation panels which provide basic fire protection. Remarkably, this entire XXL modular safe can be put together with simple tools in less than an hour. SEE Full Article HERE.


Gunsafe gun safe saturday movies video showcase vault security modular

Features of a Quality Safe under $1000

Even if you already have a safe, this video is well worth watching. The host shows a variety of accessories and upgrades that all gun safe owners should consider. The host explains why you should have a dehumidifier or Golden Rod. He also shows how to install handy interior lights that activate automatically when the door is opened.

The Gun Vault — The Next Step Beyond a Jumbo Gun Safe

If you have a very large gun collection and are building a new custom home, you may want to consider a Gun Vault. This is essentially a large, secure room, with a very heavy door and thick walls. In this interesting video, Atlas builds a large walk-in gun vault using the Gallow Tech Shelving System and a Fort Knox Gun Vault door.

After the Fire — What Actually Happens in a Burned Safe

In this video, the hosts open a “fireproof” gun safe that went through an actual house fire. See what happens when a gun safe that is supposed to be fireproof actually is exposed to a major fire. The results are surprising to say the least. This video shows that you need to do your homework before buying a “fireproof” safe. Understand how the fire rating systems work, and learn how the interior materials and construction make a big different in real world fire protection.

Mechanical Locks vs. Electronic Locks — What You Need to Know

One important decision when buying a gun safe is the choice of locking mechanism. Should you go with a mechanical lock or an electronic lock? There are pros and cons to both dial locks and e-locks, and as long as you get a quality lock, neither is a bad choice. To help you make your decision, This video explains the differences between the two, and reasons why you might choose one over the other.

How to Assemble a Modular Safe with Simple Tools

For gun owners who move frequently, or who may live in an upstairs apartment or condo, a modular safe makes sense. Steelhead Outdoors, based in Minnesota, offers three different safes: Nomad 26, 32, and Nomad 38. The video below shows how to assemble a Steelhead Outdoors Nomad series safe. If you have basic skills, these safes can be assembled easily in 60-90 minutes. Steelhead recommends having two people to do the job. The entire safe ships in four (4) boxes. Wrenches are included with the safe.

This time-lapse video shows the entire process of assembling the safe, start to finish.

Guide to Quick Access Handgun Safes

A quick access safe can keep your pistol secure, but also readily accessible. But not all of these devices are created equal. This video explains the features you need in a small pistol safe. The video also examines the pros and cons of seven different handgun safes. We recommend that you do NOT keep your handgun safe in plain view, such as on a bedside table. There are other locations where you still have quick access, without tempting home intruders.

Wireless Hygrometer Reports Temperature and Humidity Inside Safes

The Hornady Security® Wireless Hygrometer monitors temperature and humidity in real-time, all without opening the gun safe. The wireless hygrometer employs a remote sensor inside your safe, which measures temperature and humidity data. This data is then sent to an external base display. Wireless technology eliminates the need to open the safe and check the storage environment, preventing temperature and humidity spikes from the outside air.

The display features a large touchscreen that shows current high/low data from both the base and remote units in Fahrenheit or Celsius. The hygrometer pairs with Hornady Security’s in-safe dehumidifiers to combat oxidation-causing moisture.

Gun Safe Installation Recommendations

Every safe, when possible, should be anchored in place with heavy-duty fasteners. Ideally, use multiple bolts in the bottom of the safe, anchored to concrete or solid foundation. Choose the appropriate lag bolts or anchors for the material below your safe. If you can’t mount to the floor, bolt the safe to wall studs. You can locate the position of the studs with an inexpensive electronic “Stud Sensor” available at home supply stores.

Check the thickness of your safe floor. If the steel on the bottom of your safe is fairly thin, place a steel backing strip between the bolt heads and the safe bottom. (Large washers will work, but a backing strip is better.) Without such reinforcement, the bolt heads may pull right through thin-gauge steel if the safe is rocked, or levered from the bottom with a pry-bar.

Locate your safe in the corner of a room or in a recess that blocks access to one or more sides of the safe. On many gun safes, the steel on the top, sides, and rear is thinner than on the door. Blocking access to the sides makes it much more difficult to use power tools on the sides, where the safe is most vulnerable. It’s also wise to place the safe in a relatively tight space with limited room to maneuver. Anything that makes the safe harder to move helps deter would-be thieves.

Many people place their safe in a garage or basement. That’s not necessarily a bad idea, but people also tend to store their tools in the same locations. Don’t store your power tools next to the safe. One safe-maker told us how a customer’s safe was defeated using the owners’ own cutting torch which was stored right next to the safe!

Inspect the area around the safe. Avoid locations where there are a lot of wood beams, paint cans, or other combustible material nearby. In the event of a serious house-fire, these items will fuel the flames, increasing the likelihood that items inside your safe will be heat-damaged. Chris Luchini, co-author of Rec.Gun’s Guide to Gun Safes, offers some practical advice: “Get an alarm system. If the burglars hear an alarm go off, they are less likely to stick round to finish the job. Alarms on both the house and the safe area are a good idea.”

Permalink - Videos, Gear Review, Handguns, Tech Tip No Comments »
May 4th, 2022

Reloading with Progressive Presses — 10 Tips for Good Results

6.5 Guys Progressive Press video Gavin Gear Ultimate Reloader

Progressive reloading presses offer shooters speed and efficiency in producing custom-tailored rifle and pistol ammunition. However, there is a wide choice of Progressive Presses and a bewildering array of options to consider. In this video, the 6.5 Guys and UltimateReloader.com’s Gavin Gear provide an overview of the leading Progressive Presses on the market along with key considerations for precision rifle shooters. If you are considering getting a Progessive for rifle ammo reloading, you should watch this informative, 25-minute video.

10 Tips for Reloading Rifle Ammo on a Progressive Press:

1. Make sure the brass is very clean. Don’t mix old range pick-up brass with newer brass.

2. Apply a thin, spray lube to all cases before the sizing/loading cycle.

3. Consider priming your brass separately (with a hand or bench tool) before the operation. Then inspect the primers before loading powder and bullets.

4. Always wear eye protection when loading with the Progressive, particularly if you are priming cases.

5. With masking tape, mark the powder measure/dropper with the powder type and cartridge charge weight. Check the charge mass multiple times (see below).

6. Cycle a few cases, sizing and adding powder but NOT seating bullets. Weigh the powder charges to ensure the powder measure is dispensing the correct charge. Sometimes this will change a couple tenths as it “settles down” after the first few charges.

7. Check the brass for shoulder bump and bullet seating depth carefully for the first few rounds, then check again periodically.

8. Try to maintain a steady pace and operate the handle the same way every time.

9. Visually inspect the powder charge in each case (before bullet seating), and use a lock-out die if your Progressive Press has enough stations.

10. Never, ever mix pistol and rifle powders! If you have previously loaded pistol ammo with your Progressive, make sure ALL the powder (every flake and kernel) is removed from all parts of the powder-dropping system before you add rifle powder.

Visit these sites for more Reloading and Precision Shooting Videos:

6.5 Guys
https://www.youtube.com/user/65guys
http://www.65Guys.com

Ultimate Reloader
https://www.youtube.com/ultimatereloader
http://www.UltimateReloader.com

Permalink - Articles, Bullets, Brass, Ammo, Reloading No Comments »
April 9th, 2022

Saturday at the Movies: Seven Progressive Presses in Review

ultimate reloading progressive press review dillon Mark 7 rcbs lee hornady

With the high cost and reduced availability of factory ammo, more shooters are loading their own ammo. When good 9mm pistol ammo was $10/box, it might be hard to justify handloading. Now that 50 rounds of factory 9mm can run $25 or more it certainly makes sense to reload. The same is true with rifle ammo if you shoot large quantities, or if you simply can’t find your preferred ammo for sale these days.

To increase productivity when reloading large quantities of ammunition, many shooters are thinking of getting a progressive press. Because multiple operations take place with a single pull of a lever, a progressive press can produce way more ammo in a given period of time than any single stage press. With a progressive, on the ram up-stroke, the multiple stations can simultaneously remove spent primer, full-length size case, drop powder, seat bullet, and crimp (if desired). Most progressives are also set up to prime cases with the ram in the lower position — though some guys prefer to prime manually.

Progressive presses aren’t just for high-output pistol ammo or bulk rifle ammunition. Good progressives can be adapted to do certain reloading tasks for top-on-the line match ammo. You might use a progressive for decapping, priming, and sizing, then throw powder and/or seat bullets separately. Some Champion shooters do use progressives to load their match ammo! For example 5-Time National Long Range Champion John Whidden and 2020 Berger SWN F-Open Champion Jay Christopherson both use progessive presses for some (but not all) operations.

To help you get started with progressive presses, here are six videos from UltimateReloader.com that cover seven popular machines, from the elite Mark 7 Evolution to the affordable Lee Loadmaster. With many of these machines you can add separate vertical bullet feeder systems that further increase loading efficiency. Machines Covered: Lyman Mark 7, Dillon XL-650, Dillon XL-750, Dillon RL-550c, RCBS Pro Chucker 7, Hornady Lock-N-Load AP, and Lee Load Master.

Mark 7 Evolution Press — Distributed by Lyman

Dillon XL-650 vs. Dillon XL-750

RCBS Pro Chucker 7 with Bullet Feeder

Dillon 550C with 6mm Creedmoor and 9x19mm

Hornady Lock-N-Load AP Progressive

Lee Load-Master Features and Loading 9mm

SAFETY BONUS — Why You Need a Lock-Out Die


The RCBS Lock-Out Die can also be used with some Dillon and Hornady progressive presses.

If you load pistol or rifle ammo with a progressive press, we strongly recommend you get a Lock-Out Die from RCBS. This unique reloading die will prevent your progressive press from advancing if the dispensed powder charge is more or less than about 0.3 grains too high or too low. The Lock-Out Die really works.

The Lock-Out Die works by using a central die detection rod that sets its vertical position based on the height of the powder column in the case. Through an ingenious design, if the powder column height is too low or too high, the rod locks in place as you start to pull the press handle. This halts the press before the ram can lift and the cartridge plate can advance. Unlike a beeping alarm system (which can be ignored or defeated), the Lock-Out Die physically stops the movement of the press ram and prevents a bullet being seated in the “problem” case.

RCBS Lock-out die RCBS Lock-out die

It takes a bit of tweaking to get the Lock-Out Die detection rod setting just right, but once it is correctly positioned, the Lock-Out Die works smoothly in the background. The Lock-Out Die won’t interfere with the loading process unless it detects a high or low charge — and then it positively stops the progressive loading cycle.

While crafted for use in RCBS progressive presses, the RCBS Lock-Out Die can also be used on a Dillon XL Progressive or Hornady Lock-N-Load progressive — though it does take up one station which could otherwise be used for a final crimp die (after the seating die). This Editor has used the RCBS Lock-out die very successfully on an RCBS 2000 progressive press for many years.

Permalink - Videos, Bullets, Brass, Ammo, Gear Review, Reloading No Comments »
April 9th, 2022

Reloading Tip — How to Make Effective Spray-On Case Lube

DIY yourself lanolin case lube lubricant One Shot Ultimate Reloader Gavin Gear 6.5 Guys

Tired of spending $15-$25 for a can of spray lube that doesn’t last that long? For about the same price as a single 10 oz. can you can make your own effective spray lube that should last for multiple seasons and lube thousands of cases quickly and easily.

In the YouTube video embedded below, our friend Gavin Gear of UltimateReloader.com shows how to make your own case lube using simple, inexpensive ingredients. As recommended by the 6.5 Guys, this Liquid Lanolin + Isopropyl Alchohol mix works well and is very cost-effective. You can make a pint of this home-brew Lanolin case lube that will lube thousands of cases — many more than a typical commercial aerosol spray can (that’s mostly compressed air).

Complete Case Lube Instructions on UltimateReloader.com »

Gavin tells us: “Per the 65guys instructions, I ordered the same components and spray bottles, and these worked out great”:

1. Swan Isopropyl Alcohol, 99%, Pint, 16 Ounce (2-pack)
2. Home Health Liquid Lanolin, 4 Ounce
3. Chemical Guys ACC_121.16HD-3PK Chem. Resistant Heavy Duty Bottle/Sprayer (16 oz.)

Gavin describes the exact mixing process on his Ultimate Reloader website. Gavin says this lube mix is a good complement to the Hornady One-Shot (pistol) and Dillon DCL (rifle) lubes he has used for pistol and rifle reloading sessions. CLICK HERE to read more.

Permalink - Videos, Gear Review, Reloading No Comments »
March 31st, 2022

Area 419 ZERO 9-Station Turret Press Ultimate Reloader Review

Area 419 Zero reloading turret 10 station reloading press ultimatereloader review gavin gear

Area 419 has just introduced the all-new ZERO reloading press, a 9-station turret press with some very unique features. This press was designed to be the most precise turret ever created. As tested by Gavin Gear of UltimateReloader.com, the new ZERO turret press delivered very impressive shoulder-bump consistency and ultra-low seated bullet run-out (about +/- 0.0005″). The numbers were as good as you can get from a quality single-stage press, so Area 419 did some impressive engineering. We would expect that, as this is an expensive product — MSRP is $1200.00. SEE FULL REVIEW on UltimateReloader.com.

The ZERO turret press lets you install up to nine (9) different reloading dies in the large top turret, which revolves around a central axis. But unlike most turret presses, the ZERO doesn’t have flex or wobble when you’re loading. This is because Area 419 includes a clever system for locking the turret in position after you’ve selected the die from your array. Area 419 also uses a unique system for securing shell-holders (see video at 12:00). This, likewise, adds to the precision of the press.

In the video above, you can see how the turret is secured with a “wedge clamp”. By loosening the wedge clamp you can index the press easily to any station. Then, when you have selected your die, you tighten the wedge clamp again. You can see this important procedure at 13:20 – 13:35 timemark in the video.

Area 419 Zero reloading turret 10 station reloading press ultimatereloader review gavin gear

ZERO Turret Press Has Very Smooth Operation
Gavin observed that this ZERO turret is both smooth and very precise, thanks to smart engineering and the use of multiple bearings. Area 419 describes the design features:

— Turret (zero-slop) eliminates variability induced when removing and resetting dies
— The turret head holds nine 7/8×14-threaded dies (1-1/4 thread in future)
— Available ram-stroke here is 4.4″, allowing use of very tall cartridge types.
— Adjustable/interchangeable handle setup for maximizing leverage/feel based on operation
— Internally contained primer-catch system, slide-out drawer

Important Features of ZERO Turret Press

Area 419 Zero reloading turret 10 station reloading press ultimatereloader review gavin gear

1. Press frame: 6061 Aluminum, clear anodized
2. Wedge clamp (locks turret into indexed position)
3. Turret (7075 aluminum and steel construction)
4. Adjustable handle with roller knob (set either left- or right-handed operation)
5. Bearings: Ball bearing plus roller thrust bearings for side plates
6. Ram riding in self-lubricated linear bearing
7. Spent primer catcher drawer

Milled from American billet aluminum and stainless steel, this press employs 14 bearings, including a self-lubricating linear sleeve bearing for the precision-ground 1.25″ ram. The linkage system also glides on bearings providing smooth operation with near-ZERO slop. The oversized ram features a 0.75″-diameter steel arm and ZERO-friction knob. The turret system is located with an oversized ball-detent system and secured using an over-sized, custom-made ZERO-point pull-stud. Locking the turret after indexing require only a half-turn of the supplied T-handle (see photo above). When indexing the turret, repeatability variance of the system should be less than .0005″.

The opening in the press will allow for sizing and seating of cases up to.338 Lapua Magnum, and will accept standard 7/8″ dies and standard shellholders. NOTE: Area 419 will be making and selling shellholders specifically fit to the system later in 2020.

SUMMARY — Impressive Press Delivers Precise Results
Gavin Gear was very impressed with Area 419’s new Zero Press, which he said offers the precision of a quality single-stage with the versatility of a turret: “There will always be people that prefer a traditional single-stage. Where the ZERO will be compelling is to those who want the precision of a single-stage without the need to screw dies in and out. Leaving your dies set can have benefits for precision as well — everything comes back to the ‘same place’ when dies are indexed into position. Screwing dies in and out can impose variation, and variation is the enemy of the ‘white lab coat shooter’. I plan on testing the ZERO press with ultra-high-end dies, and custom dies that I ream to my own specifications. I’m thinking that will show the true potential of this press!”

Area 419 ZERO Press Video with Operation Instructions

Permalink - Videos, Gear Review, Reloading No Comments »
March 5th, 2022

Saturday at the Movies: Ultimate Reloader Product & Tech Videos

YouTube Ultimate Reloader Video Showcase BAT action AMP Press reloading T-7

Gavin Gear, founder of the UltimateReloader.com website, has created a very popular YouTube Channel. Over the past 14 years, Gavin has produced hundreds of videos covering nearly every aspect of reloading, rifle assembly, and gunsmithing. When important new reloading products are released, you’ll often find that the very first, in-depth reviews come from Gavin. He seems to get the new stuff before ANYone else.

Gavin’s Ultimate Reloader videos are very professional, with high-quality lighting and audio, multiple camera angles, and careful editing. And unlike many of the YouTube video hosts, Gavin is also a talented shooter and skilled gun-builder. His shop is complete with modern lathes, mills and other tools so he can build his own very accurate rifles from start to finish.

BAT Machine Modular Bolt — Design Features and “How To”

With most rifle actions, if you want to run a variety of cartridges with different case head diameters, you will need multiple bolts. However, there IS an alternative to purchasing multiple pricey bolts. BAT Machine has come up with a great solution for the bolt face issue — the Modular Bolt System. In this video Gavin explains how the Modular Bolt System works. He explains the design, then shows, step-by-step, the entire process for swapping bolt head sizes. With a bit of practice, this can be done easily in a couple minutes. Showing a bolt head swap start to finish (00:50 — 2:15 time mark), Gavin shows how to use the BAT Bolt Disassembly Tool and BAT Sleeve Removal Tool to complete the task quickly and easily.

AMP Inline Press — Effect of Brass Prep and Neck Chamfer

In this video Gavin examines various cartridge brass prep processes, and then used the advanced, computer-controlled AMP press to determine how those processes affect bullet seating forces/consistency. Gavin noted: “Each process is examined and a graph is presented of the bullet seating forces. We anticipated some of what we saw, and were surprised by other things.” The computer-controlled AMP press provides a graph of the exact seating forces, allowing to improve your brass prep to achieve the most consistent seating. Gavin notes: “Lately we’ve been seeing the AMP Press used for tight quality control from precision reloaders around the world.”

In this follow-up video, Gavin employs the advanced AMP press to examine how case neck chamfering affects bullet-seating force and consistency. Gavin tells us: “In this video, we single out one variable: Chamfering Case Mouths.”

Creedmoor Sports TRX-925 Scale Review

This is NOT a magnetic force-restoration scale, but it is one of the best strain-gauge scales you can buy. And, priced at $349.95, the Creedmoor Sports TRX-925 Precision Reloading Scale costs less than half what a good force-restoration scale costs. That’s a big deal for folks on a budget. This TRX-925 scale offers very good performance for the price. We include a second, detailed, 25-minute review by F-Class John who says the TRX-925 offers excellent performance for the price. F-Class John, who has his own popular YouTube Channel, produces very comprehensive, thorough product reviews.

This Second TRX-925 Video is from F-Class John:

Finding Cartridge Length to Lands in your Barrel — Three Methods

In this video, which has over 250,000 views on YouTube, Gavin shows three (3) different methods to determine length to lands (L-to-L). This means you are finding the exact length of a case with bullet when the bullet first contacts the rifling in the barrel. It is important to determine this dimension with repeatable precision, so you can tune your load length for best accuracy. In addition, in some disciplines you’ll want to avoid seating into the lands.

Creedmoor Enhanced Press Head for Redding T-7 Press


Creedmoor sports redding t-7 enhanced turret head press

The new Creedmoor Enhanced Press Head for the Redding T-7 Turret Press is a direct upgrade that offers many advantages for precision, ease of use, and reloading. Made from solid 416 Stainless Steel, this Press Head boasts precision cut threads, integral detent/track system, and seven threaded handle position. Creedmoor states: “A machined stainless steel head, rather than one made from cast steel, allows for tighter tolerances, an improved surface finish, and ultimately makes a better product for our customers.” The Redding T-7, already a good turret press, functions better with this press head, which is precision-machined to ensure flatness of both upper and lower surfaces. The Enhanced Press Head, which can be installed in a matter of minutes, is available now from Creedmoor Sports for $179.95.

.223 Rem vs. 5.56x45mm — 6.3 Million Views

This video explains essential facts and corrects common misconceptions related to both .223/5.56 ammunition, as well as .223/5.56 rifles. Gavin provides insight on chamber specs, pressure levels, barrel twist rates, military 5.56 crimped brass, and other important topics. If you are new to the AR world, this video is definitely worth watching. And that’s why it now has garnered over 6.3 MILLION YouTube views, making it one of the most popular gun-related videos ever made. Gavin adds: “Don’t forget to check out the full write-up on UltimateReloader.com.” CLICK HERE for FULL STORY.

Permalink - Videos, Bullets, Brass, Ammo, Gear Review, Reloading, Tech Tip No Comments »
February 6th, 2022

RCBS Lock-Out Die for Progressive Presses — Be Smart, Be Safe


The RCBS Lock-Out Die can also be used with some Dillon and Hornady progressive presses.

RCBS Lock-out dieIf you load pistol or rifle ammo with a progressive press, we strongly recommend you get a Lock-Out Die from RCBS. This unique reloading die will prevent your progressive press from advancing if the dispensed powder charge is more or less than about 0.3 grains too high or too low. The Lock-Out Die really works. Your Editor uses it on his RCBS 2000 progressive press. I can affirm that a Lock-Out Die has “saved my bacon” a half-dozen times over the years when there was an over-charge (which could cause a Kaboom) or a low charge (which could cause a squib load).

The Lock-Out Die works by using a central die detection rod that sets its vertical position based on the height of the powder column in the case. Through an ingenious design, if the powder column height is too low or too high, the rod locks in place as you start to pull the press handle. This halts the press before the ram can lift and the cartridge plate can advance. Unlike a beeping alarm system (which can be ignored or defeated), the Lock-Out Die physically stops the movement of the press ram and prevents a bullet being seated in the “problem” case.

RCBS Lock-out dieIt takes a bit of tweaking to get the Lock-Out Die detection rod setting just right, but once it is correctly positioned, the Lock-Out Die works smoothly in the background. The Lock-Out Die won’t interfere with the loading process unless it detects a high or low charge — and then it positively stops the progressive loading cycle.

While crafted for use in RCBS progressive presses, the RCBS Lock-Out Die can also be used on a Dillon XL Progressive (see video below) or Hornady Lock-N-Load progressive — though it does take up one station which could otherwise be used for a final crimp die (after the seating die). The RCBS 2000 has one more station than a Dillon 550/650, so it’s an ideal platform for using the Lock-Out Die.

Learn More at UltimateReloader.com
On the UltimateReloader.com website, run by our friend Gavin, you’ll find an excellent two-part series on the function and set-up of the RCBS Lock-Out Die. Part One explains how the Lock-Out Die functions, using cut-away illustrations. Part Two shows how to install and adjust the Lock-Out Die on various progressive presses. The Ultimate Reloader video at the top of this article shows setup of the RCBS Lock-Out Die on the Dillon XL-650 progressive press, while the Reloading Bench video below shows the Lock-Out Die on a Hornady LnL progressive.

Images © 2011 UltimateReloader.com, used by permission.
Permalink - Articles, - Videos, Bullets, Brass, Ammo, Reloading No Comments »
January 2nd, 2022

Sunday GunDay: Rock’N Roll Rifle — Gavin’s Van Halen Tribute

Gavin Gear Ultimate Reloader Eddie Van Halen guitar rifle tribute benchrest 6.5x47 Lapua gun build

Today’s feature story showcases an impressive 6.5×47 Lapua benchrest rifle crafted by Gavin Gear of UltimateReloader.com. A gifted writer, video producer, and gear reviewer, Gavin has also acquired some serious gunsmithing skills over the past few years.

For this project, the multi-talented Mr. Gear did ALL the work himself — barrel chambering, muzzle crowning, stock inletting, action bedding, and yes even the stock painting. That brilliant red design with white and black stripes is an “homage” to the famous “Frankenstrat” guitar played by Rock N’ Roll legend Eddie Van Halen (EVH). That red/white/black guitar was the inspiration for this tribute rifle.

Gavin Gear Ultimate Reloader Eddie Van Halen guitar rifle tribute benchrest 6.5x47 Lapua gun build

Gavin explained: “I decided to build a benchrest rifle as a tribute to Eddie Van Halen as I’ve been inspired by his guitar playing, his energy, and himself as a person. This is my first benchrest rifle build. And when I set out to build this rifle I was looking around at what other people were doing in the benchrest community in terms of stock graphics, and I decided I needed to do something ‘loud and crazy’ and when I thought about that, the first thing that came to mind was Eddie Van Halen’s iconic Frankenstrat guitar.”

Gavin Gear Ultimate Reloader Eddie Van Halen guitar rifle tribute benchrest 6.5x47 Lapua gun build

Here it is! My first all-out benchrest build! This rifle will serve as a test bed for the evaluation of different cartridges and components. In this multi-part series, I’ll walk through the … process of building this rifle including the barrel work, stock inletting, stock bedding, and some paint work that will be “a little different”. — Gavin Gear

Rifle Components — BAT Action, Krieger Barrel, Wheeler Stock, Sightron Scope
Bat Model B Action, .308 Win Bolt Face (modular), octagonal profile, integral recoil lug
Bix’n Andy Remington 700 Competition Trigger (from Bullet Central)
Wheeler Engineering LRB Stock with 4″ fore-end and steerable buttstock rudder
Sightron SV 10-50x60mm ED SFP Scope (FCH Target Dot Reticle) in 34mm BAT Rings

Painting the Eddie Van Halen Tribute Rifle

Gavin told us: “I’ve long been inspired and impressed by Eddie Van Halen (EVH). He changed the game for guitar in the late 1970s, and the world took notice! I’ve been a Van Halen fan for a long time, and that’s where the inspiration for my latest rifle build came from. Benchrest rifles are known for their loud and vivid paint jobs, and that made me think: ‘I need to do an EVH Frankenstrat paint job!’. In this video I share my experiences putting together this automotive-style rifle paint job.”

Gavin painted the stock himself with red/black/white graphics inspired by the rock legend’s famous guitar. Gavin actually has some serious painting skills learned decades ago. When Gavin was 16 he was “hell-bent on learning auto body prep and paint work”. He managed to score a job with a local shop, and did his first complete professional paint job (on a Toyota Supra) when he was just 17 years old.

Gavin Gear Ultimate Reloader Eddie Van Halen guitar rifle tribute benchrest 6.5x47 Lapua gun build

The EVH tribute stock was painted in multiple stages, with masking to create the stripes after the bright red was applied. For the finishing touch, the entire stock was sprayed with Omni clearcoat: “This [clear-coating] is when things really start to look good because you’re covering up all those masked transitions between the striping and the backgrounds.” Gavin says the key to clear-coating is “seeing the reflection of the light on the surface. This gives you visual feedback”. Watch the video above to see the entire painting process. CLICK HERE for Gavin’s full write-up on the stock painting job with many photos.

Barrel Break-In and Load Testing

The rifle showed great accuracy right from the get-go. In fact, the very first three shots through the barrel formed a 0.298″ group at 100 (see video at 05:35)! Then the gun produced a series of good three-shot groups (high 2s and low 3s), demonstrating the quality of the Krieger barrel and Gavin’s chambering work. CLICK HERE for testing target showing multiple groups.

Gavin Gear Ultimate Reloader Eddie Van Halen guitar rifle tribute benchrest 6.5x47 Lapua gun build
Gavin Gear Ultimate Reloader Eddie Van Halen guitar rifle tribute benchrest 6.5x47 Lapua gun build

Gavin selected top components for his loads: Lapua 6.5×47 brass, Berger 140gr Hybrid 6.5mm bullets, and Hodgdon Varget powder (unobtanium these days). To find promising starting loads, Gavin went straight to the best 6.5×47 Lapua resource on the web — AccurateShooter.com’s 6.5×47 Cartridge Guide. Researched by the 6.5 Guys (Ed and Steve), our Cartridge Guide includes recommended accuracy loads for a wide variety of bullets and powders.

6.5x47 Cartridge Guides 6.5 Guys

Stock Work and Bedding

In this Part 2 video, Gavin reveals the extensive work he did to prepare the stock for the barreled action. This video shows multiple operations: barrel channel and receiver inletting; machining of custom pillars; stock bedding, and trigger guard installation. Yes, Gavin did all the final inletting using his own machines, and he even created his own precision pillars. Watch the above video to see the entire inletting job followed by the action bedding process. Gavin’s skills are impressive.

Gavin Gear Ultimate Reloader Eddie Van Halen guitar rifle tribute benchrest 6.5x47 Lapua gun build

Gavin Gear Ultimate Reloader Eddie Van Halen guitar rifle tribute benchrest 6.5x47 Lapua gun build

This Alex Wheeler LRB stock has some very innovative features, such as the adjustable “rudder” (or keel) on the bottomside of the buttstock. This helps ensure great tracking. Alex has noted: “This stock tracks exceptionally well due to the adjustable rudder system and 4″-wide fore-end. Aluminum rails in the front prevent rocking on the front bag as well as form small trenches to aid tracking. The adjustable rudder in the rear allows you to fine tune the bag riding surfaces until exactly parallel. The 4″-wide fore-end is legal in Benchrest and helps control torqueing in the bag.”

Gavin Gear Ultimate Reloader Eddie Van Halen guitar rifle tribute benchrest 6.5x47 Lapua gun build

Chambering the Barrel for 6.5×47 Lapua

Gavin did ALL the gunsmithing for the project, including chambering the Krieger barrel, and headspacing it for the BAT M Action. Gavin also crowned the muzzle. He did this all on his own advanced Precision Matthews PM-1440GT Lathe using Triebel Guntools 6.5x47mm body/neck finisher reamer, 6.5x47mm throater reamer, and Go and No-Go gages.

Gavin Gear Ultimate Reloder Eddie Van Halen guitar rifle tribute benchrest 6.5x47 Lapua gun build

Clearly, this is not your average DIY project — Gavin performed ALL the most critical and demanding gunsmithing tasks. He trained himself to do these tasks working with ace gunsmith Gordy Gritters. You can see all the chambering and barrel-fitting functions in this revealing video:

Muzzle Work — Cutting Threads and Target Crown

Gavin Gear Ultimate Reloader Eddie Van Halen guitar rifle tribute benchrest 6.5x47 Lapua gun build

This photo shows the finishing of the barrel’s muzzle end. Gavin notes: “For the muzzle end, I again used the True Bore Alignment System. Above you can see the SSG Range Rod I used which features two tight-fitting bushings that ride on the barrel lands. This makes for quick barrel dial-in! I then cut an 11-degree target crown, as recommended by Gordy Gritters.”

The next step with this EVH Tribute rifle will be fitting the barrel for an Erik Cortina (EC) tuner, and proceeding with further load tuning. But that will have to wait for spring, when the snow has melted….

Want to learn more? Here are detailed reports on UltimateReloader.com:

1. EVH Tribute 6.5×47 Rifle Barrel Work and Chambering
2. EVH Tribute 6.5×47 Rifle Stock Inletting and Bedding
3. EVH Tribute 6.5×47 Rifle Testing with Sightron 10-50X Scope
4. Eddie Van Halen Tribute 6.5×47 Rifle Custom Paint Job

Permalink - Articles, - Videos, Gear Review, Gunsmithing 1 Comment »
December 11th, 2021

Area 419 ZERO 9-Station Turret Press — Impressive Engineering

Area 419 Zero reloading turret 10 station reloading press ultimatereloader review gavin gear

Area 419’s ZERO reloading press is a brilliantly engineered 9-station turret press with some very unique features. This press was designed to be the most precise turret ever created. As tested by Gavin Gear of UltimateReloader.com, the ZERO turret press delivered very impressive shoulder-bump consistency and ultra-low seated bullet run-out (about +/- 0.0005″). The numbers were as good as you can get from a quality single-stage press, so Area 419 did some impressive engineering. We would expect that, as this is an expensive product — MSRP is $1200.00. SEE FULL REVIEW on UltimateReloader.com.

The ZERO turret press lets you install up to nine (9) different reloading dies in the large top turret, which revolves around a central axis. But unlike most turret presses, the ZERO doesn’t have flex or wobble when you’re loading. This is because Area 419 includes a clever system for locking the turret in position after you’ve selected the die from your array. Area 419 also uses a unique system for securing shell-holders (see video at 12:00). This, likewise, adds to the precision of the press.

In the video above, you can see how the turret is secured with a “wedge clamp”. By loosening the wedge clamp you can index the press easily to any station. Then, when you have selected your die, you tighten the wedge clamp again. You can see this important procedure at 13:20 – 13:35 timemark in the video.

Area 419 Zero reloading turret 10 station reloading press ultimatereloader review gavin gear

ZERO Turret Press Has Very Smooth Operation
Gavin observed that this ZERO turret is both smooth and very precise, thanks to smart engineering and the use of multiple bearings. Area 419 describes the design features:

— Turret (zero-slop) eliminates variability induced when removing and resetting dies
— The turret head holds nine 7/8×14-threaded dies (1-1/4 thread in future)
— Available ram-stroke here is 4.4″, allowing use of very tall cartridge types.
— Adjustable/interchangeable handle setup for maximizing leverage/feel based on operation
— Internally contained primer-catch system, slide-out drawer

Important Features of ZERO Turret Press

Area 419 Zero reloading turret 10 station reloading press ultimatereloader review gavin gear

1. Press frame: 6061 Aluminum, clear anodized
2. Wedge clamp (locks turret into indexed position)
3. Turret (7075 aluminum and steel construction)
4. Adjustable handle with roller knob (set either left- or right-handed operation)
5. Bearings: Ball bearing plus roller thrust bearings for side plates
6. Ram riding in self-lubricated linear bearing
7. Spent primer catcher drawer

Milled from American billet aluminum and stainless steel, this press employs 14 bearings, including a self-lubricating linear sleeve bearing for the precision-ground 1.25″ ram. The linkage system also glides on bearings providing smooth operation with near-ZERO slop. The oversized ram features a 0.75″-diameter steel arm and ZERO-friction knob. The turret system is located with an oversized ball-detent system and secured using an over-sized, custom-made ZERO-point pull-stud. Locking the turret after indexing require only a half-turn of the supplied T-handle (see photo above). When indexing the turret, repeatability variance of the system should be less than .0005″.

The opening in the press will allow for sizing and seating of cases up to.338 Lapua Magnum, and will accept standard 7/8″ dies and standard shellholders. NOTE: Area 419 will be making and selling shellholders specifically fit to the system later in 2020.

SUMMARY — Impressive Press Delivers Precise Results
Gavin Gear was very impressed with Area 419’s new Zero Press, which he said offers the precision of a quality single-stage with the versatility of a turret: “There will always be people that prefer a traditional single-stage. Where the ZERO will be compelling is to those who want the precision of a single-stage without the need to screw dies in and out. Leaving your dies set can have benefits for precision as well — everything comes back to the ‘same place’ when dies are indexed into position. Screwing dies in and out can impose variation, and variation is the enemy of the ‘white lab coat shooter’. I plan on testing the ZERO press with ultra-high-end dies, and custom dies that I ream to my own specifications. I’m thinking that will show the true potential of this press!”

Area 419 ZERO Press Video with Operation Instructions

Permalink - Articles, - Videos, Gear Review, Reloading No Comments »
September 25th, 2021

.223 Rem vs. 5.56x45mm NATO — What You Need to Know

.223 Rem Remington 5.56 SAAMI CIP 5.56x45 5.56x45mm NATO cartridge ammo pressure test luckygunner ultimatereloader Gavin Gear

Probably the most popular centerfire rifle round in the Western Hemisphere is the .223 Remington and its metric match, the 5.56x45mm. Though many folks use “.223 Rem” and “5.56×45″ interchangeably, there are some meaningful differences in specifications for the original .223 Rem and the 5.56x45mm cartridge, as adopted by the U.S. military and NATO armies. The default chamber throats are slightly different and the .223 Rem is rated at 55,000 PSI vs. 62,366 PSI for the 5.56x45mm.*

.223 Rem vs 5.56x45mm — Key Differences
There is a truly outstanding, very thorough article on the subject, published by LuckyGunner.com.** This involved extensive testing, with pressure monitors, of 5.56x45mm ammo in .223 Rem chambers. Those tests revealed the peak pressures. Here is one of the ammo test charts:

.223 Rem Remington 5.56 SAAMI CIP 5.56x45 5.56x45mm NATO cartridge ammo pressure test luckygunner ultimatereloader Gavin Gear

NOTE: “The observed chamber pressure for Federal XM855 5.56mm ammunition in a .223 Rem chamber exceeded .223 maximum pressures, but not by a massive amount. The ninth shot (the red line) was an underpowered cartridge which exhibited significantly lower velocity and pressure than the other rounds, so it was excluded from the average velocity and pressure numbers for this chamber.”

And if you’re curious, LuckyGunner also fired .223 Rem ammo in a 5.56x45mm NATO-chambered AR15 rifle. As you would expect, the peak pressures were significantly lower, but the .223 Rem ammo still cycled the semi-auto AR-platform rifle perfectly well:

.223 Rem Remington 5.56 SAAMI CIP 5.56x45 5.56x45mm NATO cartridge ammo pressure test luckygunner ultimatereloader Gavin Gear

READ FULL LuckyGunner .223 Rem vs. 5.56x45mm ARTICLE »

UltimateReloader.com Explains .223 Rem vs. 5.56x45mm
To explain the key differences between the .223 Rem and 5.56x45mm cartridges our friend Gavin Gear of UltimateReloader.com has created a very thorough 12-minute video. This covers the cartridge specifications and explains key considerations for hand-loaders. Gavin also addresses the oft-asked question “Can I shoot 5.56x45mm ammo in my .223 Rem chamber?” Gavin’s video is definitely worth watching. In fact, this is one of the most popular videos Gavin has ever created — it has been watched nearly 4.5 million times on YouTube.

What Exactly Is the 5.56x45mm NATO Cartridge?
The 5.56×45mm NATO is a rimless bottle-necked intermediate cartridge family standardized by NATO with development work by FN Herstal. It consists of the SS109, SS110, and SS111 cartridges. Under STANAG 4172, it is a standard cartridge for NATO forces as well as many non-NATO countries.

Bullet diameter: 5.70 mm (0.224 in)
Maximum pressure (EPVAT): 430.00 MPa (62,366 psi)
Maximum pressure (SCATP 5.56): 380.00 MPa (55,114 psi)
Case length: 44.70 mm (1.760 in)
Rifling twist: 178 mm or 229 mm (1 in 7 in)
Parent case: .223 Remington (M193)

Ammo-Maker Federal Premium Compares .223 Rem and 5.56x45mm
Here is a video from ammo-maker Federal Premium explaining the difference between .223 Remington and 5.56x45mm NATO. Federal states that you may experience excessive pressures when firing a 5.56x45mm in a standard .223 Remington chamber:

One leading gunwriter has addressed the question of shooting 5.56x45mm ammo in .223 Rem chambers. He advocates caution (for more info, SEE pressure tests by LuckyGunner.com):

“I have received a slew of questions — many from first time AR-type rifle buyers — about the .223 Rem and the 5.56×45 mm NATO cartridges. Can I shoot 5.56×45 mm NATO in my .223 and vice-versa? Are these the same cartridge?

Externally, the two cartridge cases are identical. The main differences are that 5.56×45 mm NATO operates at a higher chamber pressure (about 60,000 PSI versus 55,000 PSI on the .223 Rem.) and the 5.56’s chamber is slightly larger than that of the .223 Rem. Also, the throat or leade is longer in the 5.56×45 mm chamber. What does this mean? You should not shoot 5.56×45 mm NATO out of a rifle that is chambered in .223 Rem [with a standard short throat]. And be aware that some .223 Rem ammunition will not reliably cycle through some AR-style .223 Rem rifles, but it usually does. As a matter of fact, I have not encountered any difficulty with current .223 Rem. loads cycling through a 5.56 mm AR-style rifle.” — Mark Keefe, Editor, American Rifleman


* According to the official NATO proofing guidelines, the 5.56×45mm NATO case can handle up to 430.0 MPa (62,366 psi) piezo service pressure. The U.S. SAAMI lists Maximum Average Pressure (MAP) for the .223 Remington cartridge as 55,000 psi (379.2 MPa) piezo pressure with deviation of up to 58,000 psi (399.9 MPa). The chamber for military 5.56×45mm NATO has a longer throat prior to the bullet contacting the rifling which results in lower pressures when firing 5.56×45mm NATO ammunition. If 5.56×45mm NATO is used in rifles chambered for .223 Remington the bullet will be engraving the rifling when chambered. which can increase pressures past SAAMI Max levels. NOTE: The C.I.P. standards for the C.I.P. civilian .223 Remington chamber are much closer to the military 5.56×45mm NATO chamber.

** The full-length LuckyGunner article is well worth reading. It even provides specifications for a number of .223 Rem reamer types, and compares the original .223 Rem, the 5.56x45mm NATO, and the modern .223 Wylde chamberings.

Permalink Bullets, Brass, Ammo, Reloading, Tactical, Tech Tip No Comments »
August 19th, 2021

Make Your Own Spray-On Case Lube — Save Money

DIY yourself lanolin case lube lubricant One Shot Ultimate Reloader Gavin Gear 6.5 Guys

Tired of spending $15-$25 for a can of spray lube that doesn’t last that long? For about the same price as a single 10 oz. can you can make your own effective spray lube that should last for multiple seasons and lube thousands of cases quickly and easily.

In the YouTube video embedded below, our friend Gavin Gear of UltimateReloader.com shows how to make your own case lube using simple, inexpensive ingredients. As recommended by the 6.5 Guys, this Liquid Lanolin + Isopropyl Alchohol mix works well and is very cost-effective. You can make a pint of this home-brew Lanolin case lube that will lube thousands of cases — many more than a typical commercial aerosol spray can (that’s mostly compressed air).

Complete Case Lube Instructions on UltimateReloader.com »

Gavin tells us: “Per the 65guys instructions, I ordered the same components and spray bottles, and these worked out great”:

1. Swan Isopropyl Alcohol, 99%, Pint, 16 Ounce (2-pack)
2. Home Health Liquid Lanolin, 4 Ounce
3. Chemical Guys ACC_121.16HD-3PK Chem. Resistant Heavy Duty Bottle/Sprayer (16 oz.)

Gavin describes the exact mixing process on his Ultimate Reloader website. Gavin says this lube mix is a good complement to the Hornady One-Shot (pistol) and Dillon DCL (rifle) lubes he has used for pistol and rifle reloading sessions. CLICK HERE to read more.

Permalink - Videos, Gear Review, Reloading No Comments »
August 6th, 2021

Get Reliable Load INFO at Hodgdon Reloading Data Center

Hodgdon Reloading data Center hand loading powder

Hodgdon Reloading data Center hand loading powderLooking for a good load for a new rifle? Or perhaps you want to try a new powder and bullet combo for an existing rig. One of the best places to start for load data is Hodgdon’s online Reloading Data Center for pistol, rifle, and shotgun reloaders. Check out the Reloading Data Center at www.HodgdonReloading.com.

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, H4895, Varget, H4350, and IMR 8208 XBR. And Hodgdon’s Reloading Center is “mobile-friendly” so it works well with smartphones and tables. Navigation is easy, and you can set the search criteria easily choosing your favorite powder or 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.

Hodgdon Reloading data Center hand loading powder
NOTE: This shows results for two bullet weights and two powder choices. With more powders and bullets selected you will get more results. The “BUY NOW” buttons link to the Hodgdon webstore.

Reloading Center is Smartphone-Friendly
Mobile users will notice that the current Hodgdon Reloading Center is “user-friendly” for smart-phone and tablet users. Controls have been optimized for touch-screens, and buttons are large and easy to use.

How to Get Started with Handloading

Getting started in Reloading? Ultimate Reloader offers a helpful introductory video that covers the basics. In addition, a recent Ultimate Reloader article reviews the types of reloading presses, plus the other gear you’ll need, from dies to powder dispensers.

Permalink - Videos, Bullets, Brass, Ammo, Reloading No Comments »
August 3rd, 2021

New RCBS ChargeMaster LINK Powder Scale/Dispenser

RCBS powder scale dispenser electronic bluetooth LINK mobile app batter AC

RCBS has introduced an advanced successor to the ChargeMaster Lite electronic powder scale/dispenser. RCBS calls the new machine the ChargeMaster LINK. This boasts multiple refinements, most notably the ability to control the scale via BlueTooth using an APP on your mobile device. RCBS claims the unit “consistently delivers +/- 0.1-grain accuracy, from 0 to 350 grains[.]” It will be able to run from an external battery, or various voltage AC sources using a CE Approved 4-Country Universal Power Supply.

The ChargeMaster LINK will hold up to 2000 grains of powder, and dispense up to 350 grains per charge. MSRP is $349.95, and we expect “street price” to be around $299.00. RCBS plans to start shipping the end of this month (August 2021).

Our friend Gavin Gear of UltimateReloader.com has done an early “reveal” of the new ChargeMaster LINK. Watch the video below for Gavin’s explanation of this machine’s capabilities and features.

Watch Video to see new RCBS ChargeMaster LINK Features

Gavin plans to do a full-length product review but so far he has been impressed with the ChargeMaster LINK: “This new powder dispenser builds on the RCBS ChargeMaster Lite, adding Bluetooth connectivity, and it works with a free APP that will be available from RCBS.”

ChargeMaster LINK Features

The new RCBS ChargeMaster LINK employs the load cell and electronics of the ChargeMaster Lite. However the newer Link model “advances the powder measuring process with built-in Bluetooth that pairs with updated RCBS APP for a customized, streamlined powder-dispensing.”

Bluetooth Compatible with FREE APP
+/- 0.1 Grain Dispensing Accuracy
2000 Grain Powder Capacity
Quick Warm-Up Period
Ability to run on external battery pack
CE Approved 4-Country Universal Power Supply
16 Segment LCD Touchscreen Display
Overcharge Warning via Flashing screen
Ability to disable audible beeps
User-serviceable infinite lifeshaft seals
Sealed Platen to keep powder out
Optimal dispense tub angle for speed and accuracy

RCBS powder scale dispenser electronic bluetooth LINK mobile app batter AC
RCBS powder scale dispenser electronic bluetooth LINK mobile app batter AC
RCBS powder scale dispenser electronic bluetooth LINK mobile app batter AC

Permalink - Videos, Gear Review, Reloading 2 Comments »
June 17th, 2021

Gavin’s Greatest Hits — Ultimate Reloader Video Showcase

YouTube Ultimate Reloader Video Showcase Single Stage Shootout .223 vs. 5.56

ultimate reloader Gavin Gear T-shirtGavin Gear, founder of the UltimateReloader.com website, has created a very popular YouTube Channel. Over the past 13 years, Gavin has produced hundreds of videos covering nearly every aspect of reloading, rifle assembly, and gunsmithing. When important new reloading products are released, you’ll often find that the very first, in-depth reviews come from Gavin. He seems to get the new stuff before ANYone else.

And Gavin’s multi-product reviews are legendary, such as his remarkable 14-Press Shootout. That video, in which Gavin set up and operated 14 different single-stage presses, has received over 583,000 views, making it Gavin’s third most popular video of all time. The Single-Stage Shootout video, along with Gavin’s five other most popular videos, are linked below.

Consider this a “Greatest Hits” showcase, with a half-dozen Ultimate Reloader videos that have, collectively, been watched nearly 8.5 million times. We present these videos in descending order of total YouTube views, leading with Gavin’s epic .223 Rem vs. 5.56 video, which has been watched over 5 million times.

.223 Rem vs. 5.56x45mm — 6.3 Million Views

Full Story: https://bit.ly/2neNXAS
This video explains essential facts and corrects common misconceptions related to both .223/5.56 ammunition, as well as .223/5.56 rifles. Gavin provides insight on chamber specs, pressure levels, barrel twist rates, military 5.56 crimped brass, and other important topics. If you are new to the AR world, this video is definitely worth watching. And that’s why it now has garnered over 6.3 MILLION YouTube views, making it one of the most popular gun-related videos ever. Gavin adds: “Don’t forget to check out the full write-up on UltimateReloader.com.”

Lee Loadmaster loading .45 ACP — 1.08 Million Views

The .45 ACP is a classic cartridge, and one of the best for a starting reloader. The case diameter is large enough that you can see the case fill level easily. Also you can pick a powder that won’t allow a mistaken double charge (the case will overflow). In this video, from Gavin’s early days on YouTube, Gavin shows how to run a Lee Loadmaster progressive. Lee should be paying Gavin royalties, as this video have been watched over 1 million times.

AR Handguard Upgrade Step-by-Step — 870,000 Views

The AR15 is truly “America’s rifle”. Along with buttstock replacement, one of the most common upgrades done by AR owners is changing out the front handguard. In this video, Gavin shows how to replace your stock handguard with a modern free-floating system. There can be accuracy improvements with this upgrade, and this also allows you to optimize the ergonomics and weight balance of your black rifle.

14 Reloading Presses Single-Stage Shootout — 584,000 Views

Full Story: https://bit.ly/2WS9jE0
This truly may be the “ultimate” reloading press video. Running a full 41 minutes in length, this video shows the features/operation of no less than fourteen (14) modern single-stage presses. No other reloading gear review even come closes to this video in terms of the variety of products covered and the sophistication of the tests. In his full story, Gavin offers comparison charts with sizing force and seating precision comparisons. He also measures ram to press frame fit.

Anyone considering purchasing a single-stage press should watch this video from start to finish. A typical gun magazine review might look at two or three presses, load a few rounds, and then offer some subjective comments. Gavin studied 14 presses, did very thorough testing, and delivered tons of objective data. Listed below are 13 of the presses tested. Click each press name for specific details and test results:

Forster Co-Ax
Frankford Arsenal M-Press
Hornady Lock-N-Load Classic
Hornady Lock-N-Load Iron
LEE Challenger Breech Lock
LEE Classic Cast 50 BMG and LEE Classic Cast Iron
Lyman Brass Smith Ideal

Lyman Brass Smith Victory
MEC Marksman
RCBS Rock Chucker Supreme
RCBS Summit
Redding Big Boss II
Turban CNC Präzipress

Lee Loadmaster Loading .223 Rem/5.56 NATO — 526,000 Views

Here’s another early video from the Ultimate Reloader YouTube Channel. Gavin shows how to produce .223 Rem/5.56x45mm ammo with an affordable Lee Loadmaster progressive. Gavin explains how to set up the Loadmaster and how to best control priming, case sizing, and powder-dropping operations. For anyone thinking about getting a progressive press, this video is worth watching. Gavin has created many other videos reviewing progressive presses from Dillon, Hornady, and RCBS. And just last year he showcased the amazing Mark 7 Apex 10, a ten-station progressive press marketed by Lyman. Gavin’s Mark 7 Apex 10 was equipped with both case-feeder and bullet feeder, allowing very impressive production rates.

How It’s Made: BAT Custom Rifle Actions — 489,000 Views


YouTube Ultimate Reloader Video BAT Machine

Full Story: https://bit.ly/3hD2d11
BAT Machine Co. makes some of the finest custom actions you can buy. Numerous national and world records have been set with BAT actions. To create this 31-minute video, Gavin traveled to Idaho to visit the BAT Machine production center in Post Falls, ID. Gavin talked with BAT’s founder Bruce Thom. The video features extensive footage of advanced CNC machines used to produce the superb BAT actions.

Click Image Below to Visit the Ultimate Reloader YouTube Channel:
YouTube Ultimate Reloader Video Showcase Gavintoobe

Permalink - Videos, Bullets, Brass, Ammo, Gear Review, Gunsmithing, Reloading No Comments »
May 18th, 2021

MEC Marksman Press Product Review with Videos

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

MEC Marksman reloading press single stage Rock Chucker RCBS cast-ironIf you need a heavy-duty, single-stage reloading press, definitely look at the MEC Marksman, a beefy black single-stage unit with many impressive features. MEC, noted for its shotshell reloading machines, now offers the cast-iron MEC Marksman press, offering many features we really like. First, the rugged, cast-iron frame is strong enough for the toughest reloading jobs. Second, the Marksman features an OPEN front — that smart design makes it easier to insert and remove cartridge cases. 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 LNL single-stage press also has an open-front layout. Importantly, the MEC Marksman has an innovative, self-centering shell-holder. This patented design should help hand-loaders reload more efficiently.

MEC Marksman Press USER MANUAL »

We were impressed when we first saw the MEC Marksman press. The Marksman combines a sturdy cast-iron frame with a smart, user-friendly open-front design. With a $255.00 MSRP it is more expensive than an RCBS Rock Chucker ($214.16 MSRP), but the MEC Marksman offers some distinct advantages — such as the open front plus the patented floating shell-holder system.

MEC Marksman Press Review by Ultimate Reloader

Our friend Gavin Gear got his hands on a MEC Marksman press and put it through its paces. He came away impressed with the product, saying it delivers excellent performance, and has many impressive features. Gavin tells us: “Cast iron tools and machines are a lifetime investment. The made-in-USA MEC Marksman features ductile cast-iron construction, an open-front frame design for easy cartridge access, a new floating shell-holder design with a unique retention system, and ambidextrous handle setup.”

CLICK HERE for REVIEW of MEC Marksman Single-Stage Press on UltimateReloader.com.

Gavin liked the Marksman’s system for holding spent primers. A tray sits behind the ram to catch spent primers exiting from a hole near the bottom of the ram. This is more foolproof than the plastic primer cups on some other single-stage presses. Expect less spent primer “spillage”.

MEC Marksman Relodading press

The Marksman is sold as a stand-alone unit. However MEC also offers a very nice steel mount/riser for the Marksman. Gavin tested the Marksman with this riser, and he says it was sturdy and well-built. Gavin liked the riser. He said that elevating the Markman press up above the benchtop made it easier to handle cases and to operate the handle. You also get extra left- and right-side die-holders.

MEC Reloading Press Marksman Gavin Gear UltimateReloader

Manufacturer’s Product description: The MEC Marksman® is made from ductile cast iron for superior quality and durability. Our patented shell holder self-centers each cartridge. The MEC Marksman® is compatible with all 7/8-14 thread dies to change calibers quickly. Reloading .22 Hornet to .416 Rigby can all be done with one convenient machine.

Permalink - Videos, Gear Review, New Product, Reloading No Comments »
March 8th, 2021

Building Your Own AR-15 from Components — How-To DVD

AR-MPR-Build-2-AR-15-Tools
Here are the main tools you’ll need to assemble an AR-platform rifle

With the anti-gun agenda pushed by radical Democrats in Washington, many Americans are anxious to buy an AR-15, or put together an AR-platform rifle while it is still legal to do so. In Canada, the government ordered confiscation of AR-type modern sporting rifles, and both Joe Biden and Kamala Harris applauded that Executive Order. And Joe Biden recently called for a complete ban on semi-auto ARs and full-capacity magazines. With the prospect of radical gun control, we understand why many Americans are looking to buy, and/or build an AR-15. This article explains how.

If you ARE planning to put together an AR-platform rifle or want to upgrade your AR with a new barrel or trigger group, then you should check out the AR-15 Rifle Build DVD from our friends at UltimateReloader.com. This DVD covers all the details of a custom build, using high-resolution video sequences, and helpful supporting graphics.

AR-15 DVD ultimatereloder.com

In this DVD, Gavin Gear guides you through the entire process including selecting components, acquiring and using the necessary tools, assembly steps and details for each component, and even mounting a scope. Building an AR-15 can be overwhelming, but with the right guidance and help it’s not difficult and can be very rewarding. With this DVD you’ll be able to build your AR-15 with confidence.

Upper: Barrel / Gas Block / Gas Tube
AR-MPR-Build-4-Barrel-and-Gas-Tube-2

Upper: Handguard Installation
AR-MPR-Build-5-Handguard

UltimateReloader.com’s AR-15 Build DVD is available just $9.90 (plus $3.80 shipping/handling). This DVD can pay for itself many times over by showing you how to do your own gunsmithing (and get quality AR components at attractive prices).

Permalink - Articles, - Videos, Gunsmithing, Tech Tip No Comments »
February 11th, 2021

Progressive Presses — Six High Output Progressives Reviewed

ultimate reloading progressive press review dillon Mark 7 rcbs lee hornady

With the high cost and reduced availability of factory ammo, more shooters are loading their own ammo. When good 9mm pistol ammo was $10/box, it might be hard to justify handloading. Now that 50 rounds of 9mm can run $40 or more it certainly makes sense to reload. The same is true with rifle ammo if you shoot large quantities, or if you simply can’t find your preferred ammo for sale these days.

To increase productivity when reloading large quantities of ammunition, many shooters are thinking of getting a progressive press. Because multiple operations take place with a single pull of a lever, a progressive press can produce way more ammo in a given period of time than any single stage press. With a progressive, on the ram up-stroke, the multiple stations can simultaneously remove spent primer, full-length size case, drop powder, seat bullet, and crimp (if desired). Most progressives are also set up to prime cases with the ram in the lower position — though some guys prefer to prime manually.

Progressive presses aren’t just for high-output pistol ammo or bulk rifle ammunition. Good progressives can be adapted to do certain reloading tasks for top-on-the line match ammo. You might use a progressive for decapping, priming, and sizing, then throw powder and/or seat bullets separately. Some Champion shooters do use progressives to load their match ammo! For example 5-Time National Long Range Champion John Whidden and 2020 Berger SWN F-Open Champion Jay Christopherson both use progessive presses for some (but not all) operations.

To help you get started with progressive presses, here are five videos from UltimateReloader.com that cover six popular machines, from the elite Mark 7 Evolution to the affordable Lee Loadmaster. With many of these machines you can add separate vertical bullet feeder systems that further increase loading efficiency.

Mark 7 Evolution Press — Distributed by Lyman

Dillon XL-650 vs. Dillon XL-750

RCBS Pro Chucker 7 with Bullet Feeder

Dillon 550C with 6mm Creedmoor and 9x19mm

Hornady Lock-N-Load AP Progressive

Lee Loadmaster Features and Loading 9mm

Permalink - Videos, Bullets, Brass, Ammo, Gear Review, Reloading No Comments »
October 28th, 2020

Advanced New Area 419 ZERO 9-Station Turret Press

Area 419 Zero reloading turret 10 station reloading press ultimatereloader review gavin gear

Area 419 has just introduced the all-new ZERO reloading press, a 9-station turret press with some very unique features. This press was designed to be the most precise turret ever created. As tested by Gavin Gear of UltimateReloader.com, the new ZERO turret press delivered very impressive shoulder-bump consistency and ultra-low seated bullet run-out (about +/- 0.0005″). The numbers were as good as you can get from a quality single-stage press, so Area 419 did some impressive engineering. We would expect that, as this is an expensive product — MSRP is $1200.00. SEE FULL REVIEW on UltimateReloader.com.

The ZERO turret press lets you install up to nine (9) different reloading dies in the large top turret, which revolves around a central axis. But unlike most turret presses, the ZERO doesn’t have flex or wobble when you’re loading. This is because Area 419 includes a clever system for locking the turret in position after you’ve selected the die from your array. Area 419 also uses a unique system for securing shell-holders (see video at 12:00). This, likewise, adds to the precision of the press.

In the video above, you can see how the turret is secured with a “wedge clamp”. By loosening the wedge clamp you can index the press easily to any station. Then, when you have selected your die, you tighten the wedge clamp again. You can see this important procedure at 13:20 – 13:35 timemark in the video.

Area 419 Zero reloading turret 10 station reloading press ultimatereloader review gavin gear

ZERO Turret Press Has Very Smooth Operation
Gavin observed that this ZERO turret is both smooth and very precise, thanks to smart engineering and the use of multiple bearings. Area 419 describes the design features:

— Turret (zero-slop) eliminates variability induced when removing and resetting dies
— The turret head holds nine 7/8×14-threaded dies (1-1/4 thread in future)
— Available ram-stroke here is 4.4″, allowing use of very tall cartridge types.
— Adjustable/interchangeable handle setup for maximizing leverage/feel based on operation
— Internally contained primer-catch system, slide-out drawer

Important Features of ZERO Turret Press

Area 419 Zero reloading turret 10 station reloading press ultimatereloader review gavin gear

1. Press frame: 6061 Aluminum, clear anodized
2. Wedge clamp (locks turret into indexed position)
3. Turret (7075 aluminum and steel construction)
4. Adjustable handle with roller knob (set either left- or right-handed operation)
5. Bearings: Ball bearing plus roller thrust bearings for side plates
6. Ram riding in self-lubricated linear bearing
7. Spent primer catcher drawer

Milled from American billet aluminum and stainless steel, this press employs 14 bearings, including a self-lubricating linear sleeve bearing for the precision-ground 1.25″ ram. The linkage system also glides on bearings providing smooth operation with near-ZERO slop. The oversized ram features a 0.75″-diameter steel arm and ZERO-friction knob. The turret system is located with an oversized ball-detent system and secured using an over-sized, custom-made ZERO-point pull-stud. Locking the turret after indexing require only a half-turn of the supplied T-handle (see photo above). When indexing the turret, repeatability variance of the system should be less than .0005″.

The opening in the press will allow for sizing and seating of cases up to.338 Lapua Magnum, and will accept standard 7/8″ dies and standard shellholders. NOTE: Area 419 will be making and selling shellholders specifically fit to the system later in 2020.

SUMMARY — Impressive Press Delivers Precise Results
Gavin Gear was very impressed with Area 419’s new Zero Press, which he said offers the precision of a quality single-stage with the versatility of a turret: “There will always be people that prefer a traditional single-stage. Where the ZERO will be compelling is to those who want the precision of a single-stage without the need to screw dies in and out. Leaving your dies set can have benefits for precision as well — everything comes back to the ‘same place’ when dies are indexed into position. Screwing dies in and out can impose variation, and variation is the enemy of the ‘white lab coat shooter’. I plan on testing the ZERO press with ultra-high-end dies, and custom dies that I ream to my own specifications. I’m thinking that will show the true potential of this press!”

Area 419 ZERO Press Video with Operation Instructions

Permalink - Videos, Bullets, Brass, Ammo, Gear Review, New Product, Reloading 3 Comments »
October 7th, 2020

Powerful Progressive — Dillon RL-1100 with 8 Stations

Dillon R1100 RL 1100 progressive reloading press MR. bulletfeeder Double alpha 9mm ammo

Factory-loaded ammunition has become very hard to find, particularly pistol ammo. Concerns over social unrest, personal security, and the upcoming election have spiked demand for loaded ammo. Everyone is asking “where has all the ammo gone?”

Dillon R1100 RL 1100 progressive reloading press MR. bulletfeeder Double alpha 9mm ammoPistol Ammo Hard to Find
In particular, 9mm pistol ammo flies off the shelves as soon as it arrives, and even major online vendors such as Midsouth Shooters, MidwayUSA, and Natchez have very limited supplies.

Need Ammo? Load Your Own…
One answer to the ammo shortage is to load your own. And if you want to produce a large quantity of ammo in a short amount of time, the progressive press is the answer. There are many progressive press systems, from modest Lee progressives to high-end, automated systems from Mark 7 (Lyman). In this article we feature the “latest and greatest” progressive press from Dillon — the new eight-station RL 1100 Press with Case-Feeder.

Our friend Gavin Gear of UltimateReloader.com got his hands on Dillon’s impressive new RL 1100. In two videos, Gavin shows how to set up the RL 1100 and then he demonstrates how to produce 9mm pistol ammo with this impressive 8-station press.


Gavin says: “My Dillon RL-1100 is cranking out the 9mm, and in this video we bring it up to ‘full tilt’ speed” [with the MR. Bullet Feeder and the Dillon Case-Feeder]. If you watch the video, you’ll see Gavin produce 9mm ammo at a rate of nearly 50 rounds per MINUTE!

Gavin equipped his new RL 1100 with two cool products from Double Alpha Academy (DAA) — the Mr.Bulletfeeder® as well as an advanced, Magnetic Powder Check. When loading ammo you can never be too safe, so we definitely recommend the use of powder-check dies (we use a conventional RCBS powder-check die on our progressives). The DAA bullet feeding system is an important add-on that significantly increases output rates when used in concert with the Dillon Case-Feeder (blue funnel).

RL 1100 Reloading Stations with Powder Check and Bullet Feeder

Dillon R1100 RL 1100 progressive reloading press MR. bulletfeeder Double alpha 9mm ammo

RL 1100 Stations shown above:
1. Case inserter
2. Sizer/De-Primer
3. Swager (with hold-down)
4. Priming (no die)
5. Powder charge and expansion (expansion for pistol cartridges only)
6. Double Alpha Magnetic Powder Check
7. Mr. Bullet Feeder bullet feed die
8. Bullet seating and Crimping

Note: In order to accommodate the magnetic powder check die AND the bullet feed die, bullet seating and crimping were combined at the last station.

The RL 1100 has some very impressive features that allow faster and easier ammo production. An Eccentric Roller Bearing Drive System reduces friction. The RL 1100’s heavier frame provides greater rigidity for more efficient cranking. The RL 1100 also boasts an improved shellplate indexing system. Priming is enhanced through a spring-loaded Priming Station Locator and Upgraded Primer Pocket Swager.

Dillon RL-1100 Set-Up Video:

Loading with the “Turbocharged” Dillon RL-1100
Gavin was very impressed with his RL-1100: “This reloading setup is [great]. Every crank of the lever yields a completed cartridge, and the attainable speeds are AMAZING. The case feeder and bullet feeder had no trouble keeping up with my quick pace using this setup. And it is great to know that every powder charge is being checked.

This press is very reliable and smooth, bridging the gap between lower cost home set-ups and six-figure commercial loading equipment packages. What’s next? I’ll be performing a caliber changeover to .308 Winchester.”

The DAA Magnetic Powder Check can be used on a variety of Progressive Presses.

Permalink - Videos, Bullets, Brass, Ammo, Gear Review, New Product, Reloading 3 Comments »