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April 3rd, 2013

Whack Dasher Cases into Shape with Hornady Hydro-Form Die

Fire-forming improved cases can be time-consuming and expensive. Now with just a mallet, a Hornady hydro-forming die kit, and a little H20, you can form Dasher and other improved cartridge cases easily and safely. And you won’t consume costly bullets, powder, and primers, or use up precious barrel life.

Three or Four Whacks Produces a 95%-Formed Case
With a Hornady hydro-forming die, water pressure does the job of blowing out the shoulders of your improved case. The process is relatively simple. Place a spent primer in the bottom of a new piece of brass. Fill the case with water, and then slip it into a special Hornady shell-holder with no hole in the middle. Then you run the case up into the forming die. Now comes the fun part. You gently insert a plunger (hydraulic ram) from the top, and give it three or four stiff whacks with a mallet (or better yet, a dead-blow hammer). Remove the plunger and you have a 95% formed case, ready to load.

Walter Queen Hydraulic Hornady Die

Forum member Walter Queen (aka Queen_Stick) acquired a Hornady Hydraulic forming die kit through our Forum Classifieds. He used this to form 6mm Dasher cases. Walter tested to see how many mallet blows would be required to form his dasher cases. Using a regular mallet, four or five blows was the magic number (with a Dead-blow hammer, one can often do the job with three strong whacks). Shown below are test cases with 1, 2, 3, 4, 5 and 10 (X) mallet strikes. Walter explained: “It helps to use a consistent yet aggressive swing with the mallet. I did a little test to show what’s happening to the case with each swing. The numbers on the cases refer to the number of swings with the mallet. The last case, with the ‘X’ on it, I actually hit it 10 times. The extra effort made no difference; anything beyond 5 swings is likely a waste of time!”

Walter Queen Hydraulic Hornady Die

What’s the “happy face” case with the split shoulder? Well, as a test, Walter tried one older, work-hardened piece of brass. This split its shoulder on the third strike. Walter concluded: “You MUST have new brass, or freshly annealed brass. The ‘smiley case’ shows a split neck. For that case, on the third swing of the mallet the piston slammed down into the die and bottomed out [and] the water shot out of the split in the neck.”

You can learn more about the hydro-forming process in a detailed article on German Salazar’s Rifleman’s Journal website. There, you’ll find more photos, and Walter provides helpful tips on how to hydro-form cases most efficiently (and with the least spilled H20). One tip is to “fill the cases with a syringe of some sort.”

Walter Queen Hydraulic Hornady Die

Hornady supplies a shell holder made specifically for the hydro die; there’s no hole in the bottom of it. Just insert a spent primer into the primer pocket and you’re ready to go. The spent primer combined with the solid shell holder, keeps the water from seeping out of the primer pocket. The primer pushes out a little bit during this process, but it’s impossible for it to come out because of the way the shell holder is designed. The shell holder has a grove which allows the case to slide out of the shell holder even when the primer protrudes a bit.

How to Order Hydro-Forming Die Kits
Hydro-forming die kits, which include forming die, plunger, and special shell-holder can be ordered through the Hornady Custom Shop. Hornady can create a forming die kit for most popular cartridges, if you provide a die print or some full-formed sample cases. To order, contact Ben Syring at Hornady: 800-338-3220 (ext. 261) or bsyring [at] If you have an oddball wildcat, send Ben the specs for your chamber and three (3) pieces of fire-formed brass.

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April 3rd, 2013

Scores of New Products at NRA Annual Meetings & Exhibits

Next month, the Lone Star State hosts the 2013 NRA Annual Meetings & Exhibits. From May 2-5, an estimated 550 companies will display their latest products across 445,000 square feet of space in Houston’s George R. Brown Convention Center. There will be scores of new guns and firearms accessories on display.

The editors of American Hunter magazine have prepared a handy “round-up” of the new-for-2013 products that will be exhibited next month in Houston, Texas.
CLICK HERE to read American Hunter’s 2013 New Product Guide.

NRA 2013 Meeting Products

Here are some of the New Products that will be on display at the NRA Meetings in Houston:

BARRETT: MRAD multi-caliber rifle (.338 LM, .300 WM, .308 Win).
BENELLI USA: New M2 Field shotgun variants.
BERETTA: New competition over/under shotguns, the 692 Sporting and XT, and DT11.
BERGARA USA: New line of “semi-custom” hunting and tactical rifles.
BROWNING: New AB3 A-Bolt with new bolt, action, trigger.
BUSHMASTER: 308 Hunter, Predator, Varminter rifles now have Magpul stocks.
CROSMAN: New AR-style air rifle (MSR77 NP), and MK-177 tactical pump pellet rifle.
CZ: New 455 rimfire bolt-actions –Tacticool, SST Varmint, and Varmint Thumbhole.
FNH USA: New FN SC 1 over/under target shotgun with 30″ barrel.
GAMO: New “Bull Whispers”, bull-barrel air rifles with NS-52 dampener to lower noise.
MOSSBERG: New pump-action shotguns wiht Harmonic Damper Technology to reduce perceived recoil.
NOSLER CUSTOM: New Model 48 Outfitter Rifle with custom action and hand-lapped ss barrel.
REMINGTON: New Model 783, low-priced bolt-action rifle with adjustable ‘Crossfire’ trigger.
RUGER: New 6-lb, compact American Rifle models in .243 and 7mm-08.
SAVAGE: New B-Mag 17 WSM rifle, chambered for the new .17 Win Super Mag rimfire cartridge.
SMITH & WESSON: New M&P 10 flat-top .308 Win AR-platform rifle with factory camo finish.
STEYR: Mannlicher Pro African rifle with new soft-finish composite stock that is quiet in bush.
THOMPSON/CENTER: New Venture Compact, with shorter barrel and composite stock with LOP spacers.
WEATHERBY: Upgraded Back Country Vanguard S2 rifle with Cerakote Tactical Grey metalwork.
WINCHESTER: “Ultimate Shadow” m70 bolt-action hunting rifles in stocks with rubberized surfaces.

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April 3rd, 2013

SHOT Show Expands Day at the Range to Include Dealers

Industry Media Day at RangeFor gun-writers, the highlight of SHOT Show each year is Media Day, when we can shoot and evaluate new firearms (and ammo) on a live shooting range. Now this annual event has been expanded to include distributors, dealers, and retailers. SHOT Show Media Day at the Range is expanding to include the first SHOT Show Buyer Day at the Range in 2014. The event will give buyers in the hunting and shooting industry a chance to test and learn about new products. This combined Media/Buyer event will now be referred to as SHOT Show® Industry Day at the Range™.

The first SHOT Show Buyer Day at the Range will take place on Tuesday, January 14, 2014 from 8:00 am to 12:00 pm. The event will be open to 700 invited distributors, dealers, and retailers. “Increasing interest from retail and wholesale buyers to try out new products makes SHOT Show Buyer Day at the Range a natural fit,” said Chris Dolnack, Senior VP and Chief Marketing Officer. “Providing key buyers with a hands-on experience while attending the SHOT Show gives retailers an opportunity to sell new products through first-hand personal experience.”

Industry Media Day at Range

Regular Media Day Will Precede Buyer Day at the Range
The 9th Annual SHOT Show Media Day at the Range will take place on Monday, January 13, 2014. Media Day will continue to be split into two sessions. The first session will be open to 700 invited media members, while the afternoon session will be open to 700 at-large registered media. With over 140 exhibiting manufactures, Media Day continues to be the largest hands-on media event in the hunting and shooting industry.

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