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March 31st, 2007

Tipton Gun Vise on Sale–$34.99

MidwayUSA has the Tipton Gun Vise (item 607786) on sale for $34.99 now through April 30, 2007. This is built from gray molded plastic, with rubberized pads front, center, and rear. The base features a molded tray for tools and circular cut-outs for solvent bottles. This editor has owned and used one of these Tipton gun vises for over four years. It has performed admirably and has been impervious to every brand of solvent I’ve tried. The front bracket is wide enough for 3″ fore-arms, and the rear bracket clamps securely with a quick-release cam. Weighing about 8 lbs., the unit is light enough to pick up one-handed. This makes it easy to move around your loading room. This is a solid product that will give you years of service. More user reviews.

Tipton Gun Vise MidwayUSA

Permalink Gear Review, Hot Deals 1 Comment »
March 31st, 2007

New Zeiss Rapid-Z Holdover Reticles

Zeiss has introduced a new series of holdover reticles for its Conquest and Victory scopes. Because Rapid-Z reticles are in the second focal plane, they remain the same size at all magnifications. By selecting a particular zoom power, the holdover can be precisely tailored to your load. In addition to holdover reference points, the reticles have horizontal hold points for windage (5mph and 10mph). Five different Rapid-Z reticles are offered: 600, 800, 1000, 1200, and Varmint. We think the Rapid-Z Varmint, in the 6.5-20 Conquest scope, is a great choice for varminters. All Rapid-Z reticles can also estimate range through the use of a simple ranging bracket feature. (The shooter will need to know the size of the target in relation to the brackets.) On’s Optics Talk Forum, you can see (and read about) all five Rapid-Z reticles. Click HERE for an interactive Flash demonstration showing how the Rapid-Z reticles function.

Permalink News, Optics No Comments »
March 30th, 2007

Ultrasonic Case Cleaning–Tech Tips

There has been much interest in Ultrasonic case cleaning. Here are two tips to achieve the best results:

De-gas the Solvent Before Adding Brass
One of our readers, Eddy M. in Glasgow, Scotland writes: “I have read a couple of articles recently about ultrasonic cleaning of cases and not one has mentioned de-gassing the cleaning liquid before starting to clean items. As an engineer who travelled around for ten years servicing ultrasonic tanks I would like to point out that the cleaning liquid when first put into the tank has invisible disolved air bubbles in it which will absorb ultrasonic energy until the liquid de-gasses. (10 minutes in a powerful industrial tank–longer in a small hobby tank). You must let the tank run on its own for 20 minutes on the first use of the liquid to allow this to happen. Only after the new liquid or re-introduced liquid has been de-gassed will the tank give good results.”

Apply Dry-Lube Inside Case Necks
Jason Baney has found that Ultrasonic cleaning leaves the inside of the case-necks so “squeaky clean” that there is excess friction when seating bullets. On a fired case that has been cleaned conventionally (no ultra-sound), a thin layer of carbon remains to lubricate the bullet entry and exit. To restore that lubricity in cases cleaned with ultrasound, Jason applies a dry lube to the inside of his case necks. Jason prefers the $10.95 moly dry lube kit from With this kit, small carbon steel balls transfer moly to the neck when you place your brass nose-down in the container.

neconos dry lube moly kit

Permalink Reloading, Tech Tip No Comments »
March 30th, 2007

BR/PPC Flash-Hole Deburring Tips

There have been some questions on our Forum regarding the recommended procedure for flash-hole uniforming on Lapua 220 Russian (PPC parent), PPC and 6BR cases. The factory spec on these cases is 1.5 mm (.059″) for the flash hole. In the past, we found it was normally not necessary to touch the flash holes on Lapua PPC/BR cases. However, with recent lots, a few cases per box will have a little sliver of brass that may obstruct part of the flash hole. It is advisable to remove this–but you don’t want to enlarge the rest of the flash hole in the process. There are a lot of tools on the market to do this job, but we’ve found that some will actually enlarge the flash hole to as much as .067″ which is not good.

The problem with the Lapua brass is a little “quarter-moon” of brass that forms on one side of the flash hole. The objective is to knock that out without increasing the diameter of the flash hole. A simple way to do this is to simply punch out the hole using a #53 or 19/32 pin drill bit in a Pin-Vise (below, about $5). The #53 bit measures .0595″ while a 19/32 is .059375″. You can find pin vises and bits at hobby stores or

Sinclair Int’l has two flash-hole tools, one that works from the outside (DB 07-3000) and one that works from the inside (DB-2000). The DB-2000 is spec’d to ream a .060″ hole. Depth of cut is set with a conical collar that indexes on the case mouth. Note, this tool can also cut a chamfer or funnel on the top edge of the flash hole. We recommend you set the depth stop so you only clean up the flash hole and do NOT cut a funnel. We also recommend you actually measure the cutter tip to ensure it is the correct diameter–some examples have been oversized–the same problem we found with other brands.

sinclair db 2000 flash hole reamer

Both Forster and Redding supply dies with a .057.-058″ decapping pin for use with BR and PPC cases. However, the “normal” small decapping pin on some other dies is .0625 (1/16″). Sinclair makes a second tool, DB 07-3000, that cuts to this diameter (.0625″), going in from the bottom side.

sinclair PPC flash hole tool

Sinclair explains: “This tool was designed specifically to ream small flash holes (.060″) to exactly .0625″. It enlarges the holes just enough for the die maker’s decapping pins to go through without getting stuck… This 3-piece tool has a stainless steel guide that centers the reamer in the primer pocket from the outside.”

Which tool should you use? We prefer to keep the flash-hole as close to factory spec as possible. However, plenty of BR matches have been won with cases reamed to .0625″. The important thing is to remove whatever obstruction may exist in the brass, and make sure all the cases are uniform, whatever hole size you prefer.

Permalink Reloading, Tech Tip 5 Comments »
March 29th, 2007

Butch Lambert's Co-Axial Rest Top

Butch Lambert has been developing his ShadeTree Engineering Co-Axial rest top over the past couple of years. He’s made a variety of enhancements, making the unit smoother in its motion. Joystick “feel” can be adjusted according to personal choice and weight of rifle. He also now offers a longer joy-stick option for prone and F-Class shooters. The current unit fits most popular quality front rest bases including those from Bald Eagle, Hart, and Sinclair (all 3/4″ center post). Butch can also adapt the rest to a MidwayUSA Caldwell BR base with a 1″ diameter center post. Butch sent us these photos recently, showing his top fitted to a Bald Eagle slingshot base. The ShadeTree Coaxial Rest top costs $375.00 (sandbag extra). Call Butch at (972) 524-2247 for current costs to adapt his top for use with the green Caldwell 1000-yard bases, which are available separately from MidwayUSA for $70.99 (item 532194).

Permalink Gear Review, Hot Deals 1 Comment »
March 29th, 2007

Bartlein Barrels in Review

Precision Shooting Bartlein BarrelsPrecision Shooting magazine’s February ’07 issue featured an excellent write-up about Bartlein Barrels, an up and coming barrel-maker that is producing outstanding match barrels. Click HERE to read the story, by Robert Whitley. We were sufficiently impressed with reports about Bartlein barrels from top smiths such as Alan Warner and Richard Franklin, that we chose Bartlein to produce two barrels for’s 6×47/6.5×47 Lapua test gun now in the works.

The two founders of Bartlein are Tracy Bartlein and Frank Green. Both men worked at Krieger Barrels for many years. Bartlein employs advanced CNC machining techniques to produce barrels that are super-straight and dimensionally uniform. Alan Warner says the Bartlein barrel he installed on his wife’s 6.5-284 F-Classer shoots close to 1/4 MOA at 600 yards and cleans up easily. Richard Franklin told us the Bartleins he’s received have been outstanding. Robert Whitley has ordered eight Bartlein barrels, and he reports they are “great on the outside [and] when bore scoped, looked perfect on the inside as well”.

Permalink Gear Review, Gunsmithing 1 Comment »
March 28th, 2007

Friedrich Sets New Rimfire Records

Southern Californian Joe Friedrich achieved the “Holy Grail” of ARA 50 rimfire shooting, a perfect 2500 score, and set a pending new 4-target Aggregate Record this past weekend. By most accounts, only a half-dozen or so perfect 2500s have been shot in ARA competition, but Joe’s Agg (2450, 2500, 2450, 2450, total 9850, average 2462.5) may be even more impressive. Top rimfire shooters agree this “will be the benchmark to beat for quite some time”. Joe, who is also the 2006 ARA Aggregate Champion, was shooting a custom rifle smithed by Bill Myers of Winchester, Virginia.

American Rimfire Assn. TargetARA 50 targets have 25 bulls with a center 100-Ring. “Worst edge” scoring is used, meaning a “100” must fall completely within the center ring plus the line separating it from the 50-Ring. See ARA Rules. You can’t just clip the 100-Ring from one side. Click HERE for official ARA target. The Aggregate is the total combined points of the day’s four targets divided by four.

Permalink Competition, News No Comments »
March 28th, 2007

New Big and Small Chamfering Tools from K&M

Many reloaders like the K&M neck-chamfering tool, because it cuts a very gentle entry angle compared to the typical 45° inside chamferer. The K&M tool is well-made and the cutting flutes are very sharp. However, previous versions tended to rock a little if you weren’t careful, and the cutter was a bit big for the small cases (17s and 20s). K&M has now introduced two new neck chamferers, a small 3-flute tool for 17 Cal to 6mm, and a large 6-flute unit for 6mm to .338 Cal. Both chamferers now feature a center shaft that goes through the flash hole to keep the case in alignment and eliminate cutter wobble. That’s a smart improvement–an example of a toolmaker taking a good product and making it even better. With either tool, the three “fingers” serve as an index stop on the case mouth. You can move the cutter shaft inwards and outwards to adjust the amount of reaming, and then lock the cutter in place with the black knob. This tool is available from Russ Haydon’s Shooters Supply and for about $24.00. Note: you may have to turn down the tip of the centering shaft to fit unreamed BR and PPC flash-holes.

Permalink News, Reloading No Comments »
March 27th, 2007

Eye Candy from IWA Euro Shot Show

On the Russian site, there are dozens of photos from the recent (March 9-12) IWA Shot Show in Germany. (Click HERE to download IWA official Daily Reports.) Reader Remus has pictures of new F-Classers and cool new rifles from Anschutz, Grünig & Elmiger, Keppler, Oberland, Prechtl, and Sauer. In this forum thread click the inline photos to see bigger versions. The text is in Russian, but you shouldn’t have any trouble navigating. Here are direct links to photos:

Prechtl Euro F-Classer: Photo 1 | Photo 2
Prechtl Web Site

Oberland 6.5×47 AR-style: Photo 1 | Photo 2

Keppeler 300m Free Rifle: Photo 1 | Photo 2
Metal Stock, 4 oz. trigger, Calibers: .222 Rem, 6PPC, 6mmBR Norma, 6XC, 6.5×47 Lapua, 7-08, .308 Win

Grünig & Elmiger 300m Rifle: Photo 1 | Photo 2
(Check out the magazine)

Sauer Engraved Showcase Rifles: Photo 1 | Photo 2
Sauer 2007 IWA News

Permalink Gunsmithing, News No Comments »
March 27th, 2007

Redding to Produce 17 FireBall Dies

We spoke to Redding Reloading, and Kurt Nelson confirmed that Redding will be producing sizing and seating dies for Remington’s new 17 FireBall cartridge. Kurt advised that these dies will not be backward-compatible with the 17 Mach 4: “The headspace and the shoulder/neck geometry are different–plus there are variations of the 17 Mach 4 out there.” Redding hopes to have 17 FireBall dies to market in six weeks.
Click HERE for more info on 17 FireBall factory ammo.

17 Remington Fireball

Permalink News, Reloading No Comments »
March 26th, 2007

First Report on Savage 'Target' Action

Forum member Flatlander recently received a RB/RP Savage Target Action with a .473″ boltface. He reports: “I like what I see, and that new Target AccuTrigger is pretty sweet for a factory trigger. I didn’t check it with a scale, but I estimate pull was set for well under a pound. I set it up in my truing fixture, checked the receiver face with a B&S Bestest .0001″ test indicator, and got just a hair over .002″ wobble. A single .0025″ pass cleaned it up completely, as did a very light pass with a boring bar on the lug seats. The action and bolt alone weigh 2.25 pounds. Add the AccuTrigger, recoil lug, trigger guard, and bbl. nut, and that goes up to just a hair over 2.5 pounds.

Savage Target Action

The recoil lug is double ground. I could not measure any deviation in thickness with my old Lufkin 1″ mic. It also has an indexing stud threaded into the backside, instead of depending on a punch-displaced lump as on Savage’s standard actions. This saved me the $22+shipping a SharpShooter lug would have cost. One note on this action’s screw hole spacing – the front hole is .125″ farther forward than that of a M12.

I’m favorably impressed with the action, but am also impressed with Savage’s initiative in supplying something like this to those of us who want a good basis for an accurate rifle. For those of you who haven’t seen a photo of this action, there’s an article on Savage’s new F/TR rifle in the April ’07 issue of Shooting Times, accompanied by several good shots of the rifle. The guy who wrote the article showed a photo of a 3-shot group fired at 500 yards. that measured .875″, which is kinda impressive for an out-of-the-box stock factory rifle.”

Permalink Gunsmithing, News 17 Comments »
March 25th, 2007

Better Locking Rings for Your Dies

Hornady Sure-Loc Die RingMany die manufacturers use locking rings that require a set-screw to be tightened down on the die threads. That can, eventually, deform the threads. There are some work-arounds, such as placing a piece of plastic between set screw and threads, but there is a better solution. We recommend upgrading your dies with Hornady’s cross-bolt style Sure-Loc Rings. These are made of steel with flats machined in the sides. Here are Sure Loc user reports from MidwayUSA: “Split ring design works better than rings with a set screw that tightens against the die threads. Wrench flats are a big plus–get these rings… and never struggle with your dies again.”-M. Masuda. “All die lock rings should be of the cross bolt design… this ring won’t damage the threads on the die body like factory RCBS and Redding lock rings do.” T. Little. The Hornady Sure-Loc Die Locking ring (mfg. #044000) is available from most major vendors for under $4.00 ($2.99 at

Permalink Reloading, Tech Tip No Comments »