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September 27th, 2008

Resources for 50-Caliber Shooters

Among our readers are fans of the ultimate “big boomer” cartridge, the 50 BMG. The fifty is popular with long-range shooters, many of whom compete in matches under the auspices of the Fifty Caliber Shooters Association (FCSA). The FCSA World Championship was held at Raton, NM in July, attracting shooters from around the globe. The Whittington Gun Club is holding a regional 50-caliber match at Raton this very weekend (Sept. 26-28). Other 50-caliber match dates are calendared on the FCSA website, The FCSA site offers general info, match rules, a list of 50-cal friendly shooting ranges, plus a records archive.

Fifty Caliber Shooters Assn

50 BMG Components on Sale
If you’re a 50-Cal shooter, or are thinking about acquiring a Fifty in the near future, it’s not a bad idea to lay in a stock of reloading components. The Big Fifty has been banned in California, and there are efforts in Congress to extend that ban nationwide. Better to be prepared. Here are some good deals on 50 BMG components: has brand new, primed Lake City 50 BMG Brass. This is 2006 production, with “LC 06″ headstamp. The brass is factory boxer primer w/ purple sealant, annealed case necks, and tar sealant* inside the case mouths. This is top tier brass that is fully reloadable. Widener’s is charging $52.50 for 25 cases or $200 for 100, item LC50BMG.

50 caliber bullets

Natchez Shooters Supplies currently has a sale on primed, Winchester-headstamp 50 BMG brass (item WN50CALPB). The price is $34.70, marked down from $39.79. That works out to $173.50 per hundred — a good deal on new, WCC 06 Mil-Spec brass. also has Winchester-headstamp 50 BMG brass. This is NEW manufacture (WCC 06 and WCC 08) with neck sealant and sealed primer. Cases are boxer primed, and fully reloadable. The price is $195.00 for 100 pieces. also offers 2004-2007 once-fired Lake City or PSD head-stamped 50 BMG brass. (PSD is made in South Korea by Poongsan Metal Manufacturing. It is good brass.) This used brass has been tumbled clean, resized, deprimed, primer pocket chamfered (to remove military crimp), then trimmed to length. It is ready to reload. Prices is $100.00 for 100 unprimed cases, or $130.00 for 100 primed cases. carries a wide variety of 50 caliber projectiles including Hornady 750gr A-Max match bullets, and Barnes “Banded Solid” 750gr match bullets. Both the 750gr A-Maxs and 750 Barnes Solids are priced at $37.00 per box of 20 bullets. The A-Maxs are very popular with long-range 50 Caliber match shooters.

50 caliber bullets

*Regarding the Tar mouth Sealant, Widener’s notes: “This brass is ready to be charged and the bullet seated. If you want complete waterproofing, leave the tar seal in the mouth. If you do not want the tar, use a swab with XYLENE solvent and the tar can be easily removed. NOTE: Do not use an expander unless you remove the tar first as the tar will gum up on it.”

Permalink Bullets, Brass, Ammo, News, Reloading 2 Comments »
September 27th, 2008

Tennessee Smith Does Great Work without Long Delays

Forum member Jim (aka FalconPilot) recently provided a strong endorsement of a Tennessee gunsmith. We thought this was worth sharing. Jim notes:

“A lot of times on the internet all we hear are the bad things. I just wanted to pass a little valuable info along to all my fellow shooters. Disclaimer: I am in no way connected to or sponsored by Howard — I pay just like everyone else.

Howard Pitts of Taft, TN is the owner of Pitts Precision Rifles. I met Howard at the Regional F-Class Championship in the spring and he is a hell of a nice guy. At the time, the barrel gave out on my Dowling-built 6.5-284, and someone there referred me to Howard. After watching his daughter Halie shooting all weekend (she kicked a number of well-known butts!!) with a gun that her dad had built, I decided to have Howard rebarrel my gun. This gun was a hummer before, and even more of a hummer when I got it back. Not only does it shoot “lights out”, but the quality of work was top-notch, and turn-around time was impressive.

Move forward a few months…I had a 6BR built and chambered by another very well-known gunsmith. Great guy, fast turn-around, but the gun give me problems from the get-go. The Lapau brass was just too big for the chamber. I tried bumping shoulders, using small body dies, everything I knew of, and finally after about 800 rounds, gave up. (Moral to this story is ALWAYS use your own reamer, one that you know is right.) The gun shot in the high .30s to low .40s… but I expected more.

6mm Dasher

I’d decided that I wanted a Dasher anyways, so a call to Dave Kiff had the reamer on its way. Another call to Tim North and I had another barrel on the way — Tim is a great guy, went way out of his way to help, and makes a damn good barrel.

I next called Howard Pitts, explained my situation, and he told me to get him the equipment. He set my old barrel back, and chambered both barrels for me. Three weeks later, the gun returned with the same top quality work that I had received the first time around. Again, at a price that was more than reasonable (Pitts charges $150.00 for a typical chambering job). I’ve shot the gun over the last two days. While fireforming the brass, the gun is shooting in the .20s. With formed brass, I turned in a 5-shot, 100-yard group of .089″, my best group ever. Here is a group at one thousand (1000) yards:

6mm Dasher 1000 yards

I just wanted to point out a gunsmith that is honest, very accommodating, and who produces incredible work at a very fair price. Anyone looking for a smith, should give Howard a call at 931-993-6122 or 931-425-6895 (secondary), email: htpitts [at] .”

Editor’s NOTE: Jim makes a very good point about reamers — it’s wise, when possible, to acquire your own reamer for an important project. That eliminates a variety of potential problems and it also ensures that you can get a near-identical chamber when it’s time to re-barrel the gun.

Regarding Pitts Precision — we’re pleased to spotlight a smith who does excellent work, at a reasonable price, with good turn-around times. There are many otherwise outstanding smiths who, due to their heavy workload, may take months or even years to complete a rifle. With one of this site’s own project guns, we had to wait 10 months for a barrel job — not a complete rifle — just chambering, fitting, and crowning a barrel. We applaud those smiths who can organize their schedules to provide good work in a timely fashion.

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