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November 28th, 2007

New, Versatile Brass-O-Matic Annealing Machine

Zephyr Dynamics, the clever folks who brought you Pod Paws for bipods, have crafted an impressive new automated annealing machine. Unlike other mechanical annealers on the market, Zephyr’s $399.00 “Brass-O-Matic” is designed to anneal ALL sizes of rifle brass–from .223 Rem all the way up to 50 BMG. Two arms hold high-output torches (bottles and tips not included in price). You can adjust the height of the jets to place the flames right at the “sweet spot” of any length case. With two burners fixed nearly opposite one another (see photo), the case neck and shoulder are completely enveloped by flame for uniform annealing. The rotational motor has a speed control so you can adjust the dwell time for your particular brass.

Brassomatic Annealing Machine

How well does it work? To be honest, we can’t say because we haven’t got our hands on a production version yet. Palma and F-Class ace Jerry Tierney has purchased one of the first run and he’s promised a full report as soon as UPS delivers his Brass-O-Matic. To see the machine in action, check out the video below. You’ll find another video, and more information, on the Zephyr Dynamics website.


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November 28th, 2007

Get Thee to Sears Today or Tomorrow…

Plan a trip to Sears during lunch hour today or tomorrow, or log on to Sears is having a true 50% off sale on selected tools and work gear. Half-off pricing is for 11/28 and 11/29 only! After that, the price goes back up. There are many great items on sale, but there are at least three products that every reader of this site should have. (On Sears’ home page is a link to ALL the 50% Off Tools.)

Rolling Toolbox/Storage Bin, $19.99
This is an ideal unit if you load at the bench. It’s also great for a handgunner or Highpower shooter who needs to haul a lot of gear. Multiple plastic bins will hold reloading tools, bullets, bushings, and dies. The large compartment at the bottom can comfortably hold a Shooting Chrony or a compact Spotting Scope plus muffs, targets, and other range gear. And when you’re not hauling gun gear around, this unit can be used to store and transport your general household or workshop tools. This versatile unit has a fold-down carry handle and the top section can be separated from the bottom. The lower section has two pull-out drawers — one with removeable dividers. Sound good? Well, for the next two days, you can grab one for just $19.99. (Regular price was $39.99).

Magnetic Parts/Tool Tray, $7.49
Sure as shootin’ every home workshop can use one of these magnetized stainless steel parts trays. Two large, rubber-covered permanent magnets on the base hold the tray to metal surfaces. But more importantly, the whole tray is slightly magnetized, so small metal parts, fittings and tools stay put. Fantastic. No more lost Wilson bushings, or tiny scope mounting screws rolling off the bench into oblivion. You can also use this to hold decapping pins, small allen wrenches, firing pin springs, drill bits–anything that can be magnetically attracted will stay in the tray. For the next two days, this handy tray is just $7.49 (Regularly $14.99).

Rechargeable LED Worklight, $19.99
Here’s a rugged, rechargeable utility light with countless uses. Lightweight and slim, you can use it just about anywhere. There is a handy adjustable swivel hanging hook. The 8 ultra-bright LEDs provide ample light, and burn cool for long life. A Craftsman product, the LED lamp has a solid guarantee. Cordless, it makes a perfect worklight for the car, or an emergency light at home. This editor has ordered one himself. Here is what two Sears customer say:

“”Over all this is a good light. It is always cool to the touch and is very light weight. Because it is LED you can leave the light on for hours before it needs to be recharged. The light could be just a little brighter and the bulbs should be off set so as to give a wider area of light. But for the money it is worth getting.”

“This is by far the most versatile trouble light I have ever owned. No more dead batteries, no more tangled cords, no more broken bulbs. I have dropped it, spilled oil on it and generally abused it and it just keeps on going. I have bought a ton of tools in my day but this is by far my favorite and the best bang for the buck. I couldn’t be without it now. If it somehow broke or was lost, I would replace it in a heartbeat.”

Note: Most user reviews are very positive, but there have been some complaints about short battery life (same as with rechargeable screwdrivers). If you have a problem, you can have the battery dates checked, and Sears will replace defective batteries.

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November 28th, 2007

Drive Band Bullets From GS Custom In South Africa

There was much interest in the solid bullets featured here yesterday. In particular, many readers were interested in the drive band design shown on the LM-105 bullet.

GS Custom solid bulletsThe drive band design was created and originally patented by GS Custom Bullets in South Africa. GS Custom originally designed and produced these distinctive drive band bullets in 1997. According to GS Custom, “the first LM 105 bullets were in fact manufactured and tested by us in South Africa in 2003 [and enhanced in 2005]. It is possible that Mr. Moeller developed a similar looking version on his own. We have further developed the bullet early this year to increase accuracy and barrel life over the 2005 design.”

GS Custom solid bullets

GS Custom has been making bullets since 1983. It currently has a range of 226 different bullets for tactical, hunting and sport shooting, of which 172 are drive-band bullets. GSC SP Bullets, such as the orginal LM-105 design, are turned monometallic copper bullets. They are Long Range VLD Match Bullets of advanced design to minimize barrel wear and maximize speeds.

Ordinary (non-drive-band) solid, lathe-turned bullets look beautiful, but in the larger sizes there are some problems associated with solids. Gas sealing can be worse than jacketed bullets, and solids have been known to copper foul barrels more quickly than conventional bullets. The hardness of the bullets is tough on throats as well.

To overcome this issues, GS Custom puts drive bands on its bullets. Designer Gerard Schultz explains how the drive bands work: “Bullet engraving pressure is very light — this gives lower temperatures in the throat area of the barrel and extends barrel life. The transition from case to barrel is much smoother than [conventional] bullets — this reduces vibration and improves accuracy. SP Bullets are manufactured in such a way that the drive bands seal gas sooner and more effectively than conventional or grooved bullets. This reduces gas blow-by, reduces temperature and extends barrel life. Longer and faster shot strings can be made without the damage that would normally occur due to heat build-up. Barrels remain clean longer and are easier to clean — shot strings are extended and wear is reduced.”

Schultz believes that drive band technology allows increased speeds over conventional bullets of comparable weight. The added speed means wind drift is reduced, trajectories are flatter, and time of flight is reduced. The lathe-turning production process also allows the bullet to be optimally pointed for the highest possible BC for a given bullet weight and length.

GS Custom sells its bullets through an international dealer network, including Custom Brass & Bullets in the USA.

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