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March 11th, 2016

Thrown (Volume) Charges vs. Weighed Charges — What is Better?

Lee Auto-Disk Chargemaster weight vs. Volume

When we first ran this story a year ago, it spurred a hot debate, with strong opinions on both sides of the issue. Some guys argued vehemently that volumetric powder dispensing was best — citing the experience of short-range benchresters, most of whom still throw their charges. Others say weighing your charges is best, so long as you have a very precise, and very repeatable scale. We know some of the top 1000-yard shooters weigh their charges to the kernel.

Lee Auto-Disk Chargemaster weight vs. VolumeThe Great Debate: Volume vs. Weight
Most competitive long-range shooters weigh powder charges for their handloads. Some even use ultra-precise magnetic force restoration scales to load to single-kernel tolerances. But is weight-based measuring always the best way to fill a case with powder? Another option is volumetric charging. This method fills a precisely-sized cavity with powder and then dumps the charge into the case. A Harrell’s rotary powder measure works this way, as does the sliding powder filler on a Dillon progressive press.

Lower ES/SD with Precise Weighing
For long-range applications, most people believe that precise weighing of powder charges is the best way to achieve optimal accuracy and low ES/SD. Our testers have definitely seen ES/SD go down when we started weighing charges with a lab-grade force restoration scale. However, those short-range Benchrest guys still do pretty darn well with their thrown charges, at least at 100 and 200 yards.

Our friend Dennis Santiago recently observed something that made him scratch his head and wonder about weighing charges. His AR-15 match rifle shot better with volumetric (cavity-measured) charges than with weighed charges dispensed by an RCBS ChargeMaster. Here’s what he reports:

Cavity vs. Dribble (Dennis Santiago Report)
I had the chance to compare nominally identical ammunition loaded two ways. These were all .223 Remington match loads using 77gr Sierra Match Kings over 23.4 grains of Hodgdon Varget. Same gun. However I loaded some ammo with charges dispensed with a Lee cavity-style powder measure while other rounds were loaded with powder weighed/dispensed by an RCBS Chargemaster. The cavity-drop ammo (with powder dropped from the Lee unit) was consistently better than the weighed-charge ammo. I have no idea why…

So, ladies and gentlemen — what do you think? Why did Mr. Santiago’s volumetrically-charged ammo shoot better than ammo filled with weighed charges? What’s your theory? Gary Eliseo suspects that Dennis’s Chargemaster might have been drifting. What do you think? Post your theories in the comments area below.

Permalink Bullets, Brass, Ammo, Reloading 25 Comments »
March 11th, 2016

Boom Box Collection of Fired Hollowpoint Projectiles

Boom box expanded hollowpoint bullets spped XTP HST

Boom box expanded hollowpoint bullets spped XTP HSTBullets as art? Here’s an interesting product — a collection of fully-expanded hollowpoint bullets. If you’re shopping for self-defense ammo, take a gander at these projectiles in “full bloom”. The $69.95 Boom Box includes five (5) popular hollow-point bullet types in three different calibers: 9mm, .40 S&W, and .45 ACP. That’s a total of fifteen bullets. Bullet types are: Barnes TAC-XPD, Federal HST, Hornady XTP, Sig Sauer V-Crown, and Speer Gold Dot. All 15 bullets have been live fired, cleaned, clear-coated, and labeled.

Does the .45 ACP really more stopping power than 9mm? Which manufacturer makes the best self defense bullet? What bullet design expands most reliably? These are common questions among gun owners. The Boom Box bullet samples can help answer your questions about expansion, terminal ballistics, and lethality. Plus, let’s face it — these fired, fully expanded bullets just look cool.

Boom box expanded hollowpoint bullets spped XTP HST

The Story Behind Boom Box Bullets…
Anthony Zambai, mechanical engineer and owner of, started the business shooting Federal HSTs into a tall bucket of water, then turning the expanded bullets into desktop ornaments, jewelry and magnets. After a year of improving on processes and techniques, Bullet Bouquets gets consistent expansions that closely mimic established terminal ballistic test results. They shoot each round, one by one, and recover them. After some cleanup, they spray a durable clear coat on the exposed lead to keep it from oxidizing and discoloring, as well as helping to keep the lead off of fingers. Finally, the expanded bullets are each labeled with caliber, brand, and bullet weight, then placed in the display box.

Permalink Bullets, Brass, Ammo, New Product No Comments »
March 11th, 2016

Browning Rebates Available Through the End of March, 2016

Browning Rebate Form PDF shotgun rifle pistol

Browning is running an excellent Winter Savings promotion this month. You can save up to $100.00 on select Browning shotguns, rifles and pistols. This rebate offers applies to the consumer retail purchase of any new Browning firearm (A5, Maxus and BPS shotguns, AB3 rifles, Buckmark and 1911-22 pistols) purchased between February 1, 2016 and March 31, 2016.

CLICK HERE for printable Browning Winter Savings Rebate Application Form (PDF).

Fine Print (this is a summary of the most important rules):
Offer valid only on the consumer retail purchase of any new Browning firearm (A5, Maxus and BPS shotguns, AB3 rifles, Buckmark and 1911-22 pistols) purchased between February 1, 2016 and March 31, 2016. This offer is valid for end-users only. Limited to one Winter Savings firearm rebate submission per firearm/serial number. All documents must be postmarked no later than midnight April 15, 2016. Allow 6-8 weeks for processing and delivery of rebate. Offer void where prohibited, taxed, or restricted by law. Offer valid in the United States only. All purchasers must be citizens or legal residents of the United States. Must be 21 years of age to qualify for pistol rebate.

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