April 14th, 2020

CMP Western Games a Success Despite Shortened Schedule

CMP Western Games Arizona ben avery vintage sniper

Here’s some good news about rifle shooters enjoying an early March competition before Executive Orders forced people to stay at home. We can report that the first-ever springtime CMP Western Games were well-attended. Nearly 300 shooters enjoyed the event, though the High Power matches and clinic phase was cancelled due to official social distancing mandates.

By Ashley Brugnone, CMP Writer
With the first run in its new March time slot, the Civilian Marksmanship Program’s (CMP) annual Western CMP Games and HP Rifle Matches event was met with greatly-increased registration and attendance compared to recent years, despite social distance restrictions that led to a premature end to the event.

CMP Western Games Arizona ben avery vintage sniper

Competitors completed the entire schedule of CMP Games rifle events and schools at the Ben Avery Shooting Facility under brilliant Arizona skies and comfortable temperatures. Unfortunately, the 5-day CMP High Power Rifle Matches and clinic, scheduled in the second half of the schedule, were cancelled due to health concerns — “social distancing” mandates for participants and staff.

CMP Western Games Arizona phoenix

The Western CMP Games portion of the event held in Phoenix is one of many travel events conducted by the CMP across the country each year. It includes specially designed vintage and modern rifle matches and clinics affording opportunities for marksmanship enthusiasts of all ages and experience levels.

CMP Western Games Arizona ben avery vintage sniper

A spike in early registration of 283 participants led to an impressive number of 664 scheduled event entries for the early Spring event in Phoenix. Since its first Arizona appearance in 2008, the Western CMP Games events have been conducted in the month of October. Due to recurring inclement weather at the CMP’s annual Oklahoma Games, the decision was made to trade seasons with those in Arizona beginning in 2020.

Here are some photo highlights from the 2020 CMP Western Games. View hundreds more Western Games images on the CMP Zenfolio Photo Archive.

Vintage Sniper Match

CMP Western Games Arizona ben avery vintage sniper

CMP Western Games Arizona ben avery vintage sniper

CMP Western Games Arizona ben avery vintage sniper

Marksmanship 101 Training and M16 Match

CMP Western Games Arizona ben avery marksmanship 101

CMP Western Games Arizona ben avery marksmanship 101

CMP Western Games Arizona ben avery marksmanship 101

Rimfire Sporter Match

CMP Western Games Arizona ben avery marksmanship 101

CMP Western Games Arizona ben avery marksmanship 101

CMP Western Games Arizona ben avery marksmanship 101

Permalink Competition, News, Shooting Skills No Comments »
April 14th, 2020

Tech Tip: Lapping the Inside of Seating Stems

Erik Cortina bullet seating stem polish lap lathe

Here’s a simple task you can do that will give your seater die a more perfect fit to your match bullets. You can lap the inside of the seater stem so that it matches the exact profile of the bullet. This spreads out the seating force over a larger area of the bullet jacket. That allows smoother, more consistent seating, without putting dents, creases, or sharp rings in your bullets.

Erik Cortina bullet seating stem polish lap lathe

This process is demonstrated here by our friend Erik Cortina of Team Lapua-Brux-Borden. Erik, one of the nation’s top F-Class shooters and a skilled machinist, explains: “Here I’m lapping my new seater die stem with lapping compound. I chuck up a bullet in the lathe and lap the inside of the seating stem. I put lapping compound on the bullet and also in the stem. You can do the same with a hand drill and bore paste. You can see in the piture below how much contact area the stem has on the bullet after being lapped. This bullet is a Berger 7mm 180-grain Hybrid. ”

Erik Cortina bullet seating stem polish lap lathe

READ Related Article on Polishing Seating Die Stems »

Q1: Is Lapping Seating Stems really necessary?

It can be helpful but it’s not necessary to make your seating stem an exact match to a bullet, particularly if you’re loading hunting or varmint rounds. But it is helpful to do some mild internal stem polishing. This should eliminate any ring (or dent) that forms on the bullet jacket during seating.

bullet seating stem lapping Erik Cortina
Photo credit Sierra Bullets.

Sharp edges on a seating stem can cause a ring to be pressed into the bullet jacket — especially with compressed loads that resist downward bullet movement.

Q2: Is there any down-side to the process?

Not really. However, if you shoot many different bullet types for a particular cartridge, you may not want to conform the stem aggressively to one particular bullet design. Lightly lap the inside of the stem to remove burrs/sharp edges but leave it at that. A light lap will prevent a ring forming when seating bullets.

bullet seating stem lapping Erik Cortina
Photo credit Sierra Bullets.

Permalink Bullets, Brass, Ammo, Reloading, Tech Tip 1 Comment »
April 14th, 2020

Why Cases Can Stick in Dies — And How to Cure the Problem

This article originally appeared in the Sinclair International Reloading Press.

We have all been there…..you place a piece of tumbled brass in the shell-holder of your press, raise it into the die, and suddenly it is like somebody hit the brakes. The case is stuck in the die. Your first instinct is to reverse it out. You crank on the handle, and BANG! The rim rips off the case head and you are looking at a piece of brass stuck in the die.

A stuck case is one of the boo-boos that all of us reloaders have faced from time to time. If proper lubrication is applied, then it should not be a problem. No matter if you are a seasoned reloader or new to it, this situation can happen. Take your time, use the proper procedures, and you will be back in business in no time! This article explains how to avoid stuck cases (through proper lubrication) and how to use a stuck case removal system.

What Causes Stuck Cases
One of the first common mistakes reloaders face is the stuck case. It can be caused by too much or too little lube. Too much and a vacuum can be formed causing the case to become suctioned into the die. Too little lube and friction is the culprit. So what is the cure? There is no exact cure, but the best lube that we have found so far is just a dab of Imperial Sizing Die Wax on your fingers and applied in a thin coat on the body of the case, not the shoulder or neck. Too much of this wax can cause the vacuum effect, or can eventually load your die up with gobs of residue. If it is applied to the shoulder area, or the leftover wax moves up into the shoulder region of the die, you will see dents or dimples in the shoulder. [AccurateShooter.com Editor’s Note: For normal full-length sizing of small cases such as 220 Russian/PPC, 6mmBR, 6.5 Grendel, or 6.5×47 Lapua we recommend Ballistol (aerosol) lube. It is very slippery, goes on very thin, and does not gum up the die.]

A great way to ensure that your dies are clean is to use a simple chamber mop with a dab of your favorite solvent on it and clean out the die. Be sure all of the solvent is out after cleaning by spraying the die out with Quickscrub III or use a clean chamber mop. If you are storing your dies, you can apply a thin coat of a good oil to protect the steel such as TM oil or Starrett M1 Spray.

Using a Stuck Case Removal Kit
If you do stick a case in your die there are a few good stuck case removal kits available. Each one works in a similar fashion. I have found the Hornady kit very effective and easy to use.

Basically what you do is remove the die from the press. Unscrew the decapping assembly and pull it out as far as you can. You then need to drill/tap threads into the stuck case head (this is why it is suggested to unscrew the decapping assembly as far as you can to get it clear of the drill bits). Once this is done screw the die back into the press. You then install the included shellholder attachment on the shellholder ram, and thread it into the case via a small wrench. With some elbow grease you can reverse the stuck case out of the die with the leverage of the press, and not damage the die.

However if the case is stuck….REALLY stuck, you may pull out the threads on the case and you are still left with a stuck case in the die without any way to pull it out. If the case is really difficult to remove even with the use of a stuck case removal kit, do not try to be Hercules with the press ram. Here is a trick that may work. Take the die with the stuck case and place it in your freezer for a couple of hours. Then repeat the removal with the cold die. The freezing temperatures may cause the brass to contract, and make removal easier. If this does not work it is recommended to send it to the die manufacturer. They will be able to remove the case without damaging the die.

Another fix if you can remove the decapping assembly completely is to use a tap hammer and a punch or small wooden dowel to knock the stuck case out. This isn’t the best way since it is very possible that you will damage the die internally or externally on the threads, or both. Send the die to the manufacturer to have this done properly. You will be happier in the long run.

This article appears courtesy Sinclair International. It first appeared in Sinclair’s Reloading Press Blog.

Permalink - Articles, Reloading, Tech Tip 1 Comment »