June 15th, 2021

.375 Enabler — Extreme Ammo for Extreme Long Range (ELR)

Berger 379 grain 379gr solid bullet .375 caliber enabler

The .375 EnABELR Cartridge — Big and Fast

The .375 EnABELR cartridge is slightly shorter than a .375 CheyTac so it allows the round to mag-feed. Applied Ballistics is currently using brass made by Peterson. The .375 EnABELR has achieved impressive velocities — 2990 FPS — with prototype Berger 379-grain solid bullets fired from a 1:7″-twist 30″ barrel. Applied Ballistics may also test 1:8″-twist and 1:9″-twist barrels. READ Bullet Testing Report.

The .375 EnABELR cartridge was designed to offer .375 CheyTac performance in a slightly shorter package: “The problem with the .375 CheyTac is that, when loaded with the highest performance .375 caliber bullets (379-407 gr Berger Solids, and the 400-425 grain Cutting Edge Lazers) the round is not magazine feed-able in any action that’s sized for CheyTac cartridges.

Berger 379 grain 379gr solid bullet .375 caliber enabler

“Knowing the .375 CheyTac produced substantial performance, and that it was just too long for magazine feeding, made it easy to converge on a design for the .375 EnABELR. We just had to make the case short enough to achieve magazine length with the desired bullets, while adding a little more diameter to keep the case capacity similar to the .375 CheyTac. The resulting basic shape is quite similar in proportions to the successful .338 Norma Magnum Cartridge which, interestingly, was selected as the cartridge for General Dynamics Lightweight Medium Machine Gun (LWMMG).”

.375 cheytac .408 cheytac EnABLER Applied Ballistics Bryan Litz Cadex defense
Here is Mitchell Fitzpatrick, shooting the 375 EnABELR in an ELR Competition.

.375 cheytac .408 cheytac EnABLER Applied Ballistics Bryan Litz Cadex defense

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June 13th, 2021

How to Use a Collet-Type Bullet Puller

Hornady cam-lock bullet puller ammunition UlimateReloader

When you make a reloading mistake, you may need to “pull down” assembled ammo. The embedded UltimateReloader.com video demonstrates how to use the Hornady Cam-Lock bullet pulling system.

When Reloading Goes Bad — The Danger of Over-Charging
Our friend Gavin Gear of UltimateReloader.com was recently reloading some 9mm pistol ammo with his Hornady progressive press. As part of his reloading procedure, he visually checks the cases — and he noticed that the charges seemed high. Sure enough, his most recently-produced rounds were about two grains over spec. He diagnosed the issue: “I was using a powder measure without a baffle. What happened was, over the course of the loading session, things settled in, and the charge level increased.”

Not knowing just when his powder measure started delivering too much powder, Gavin decided, for safety’s sake, to pull down all the ammo he had just reloaded. Yes that’s time-consuming, but it’s better than the alternative — having a dangerous Kaboom while shooting. With fast-burning pistol powders, a two-grain over-charge could cause a blown case, damaged firearm, and/or serious injury.

Watch Cam-Lock Bullet Puller Used to Remove Bullets from Loaded Ammo:

Use of Bullet Puller starts 4:00 minutes into video.

Gavin says it is vitally important to perform safety checks during the reloading process: “You’ve got to do it — check every single round to make sure there IS powder, and that there’s not too MUCH powder. Double, Triple, Quadruple check your components… and your powder charges. You can’t be too careful.”

To pull down a loaded round, first place the cartridge in the shellholder on your press ram. Then raise the round up into the bullet puller device installed where a die would go. The Hornady Cam-lock bullet puller works by clamping the bullet in a collet when you flip down the red-coated lever. Then, with the case held by the rim in the shell-holder, the bullet exits the cartridge as the press ram is lowered. It takes time, but it’s pretty fool-proof once you get the hang of it. This entire process is illustrated in Gavin’s video, starting near the four-minute mark.

Hornady Cam-Lock Bullet puller Gavin Gear Ultimate Reloder.com

The Hornady Cam Lock Bullet Puller has four (4) key components: 1. Cam-Lock die body; 2. Cam-Lock lever; 3. Stem; and 4. Collet (Caliber-specific).

NOTE: In order to use this tool, you’ll need the appropriate collet for each diameter range of bullets you intend to pull. For example use collet #3 for 6mm, collect #6 for 7mm, and collet #7 for .308 Caliber.

Hornady cam-lock bullet puller ammunition UlimateReloader

RCBS Lockout Lock Out die Dillon HornadyRCBS Lock-Out Die
A good safety option for users with progressive presses is the RCBS Lock-Out Die. This has a charge detection rod that dips into each case after powder has dropped. You adjust the die to the proper charge height for your desired load. If the actual dispensed charge is too high or too low, the Lock-Out Die senses the problem and stops the press from advancing to the next case (it does this by preventing the ram/shellplate from fully elevating). We’ve used the Lock-out die with success for both pistol and rifle cartridges. It’s sensitive to about one-half grain with pistol powders.

This Lock-Out Die works with Hornady and Dillon progressives as well as with RCBS progressives. It does take up one die station on the press.

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June 12th, 2021

How to Prep Mil-Surp 5.56 Lake City Brass — Save Money

The U.S. Army Marksmanship Unit regularly publishes a reloading “how-to” article on the USAMU Facebook page. One excellent “Handloading Hump Day” post covered preparation of once-fired 5.56x45mm brass. This article, the first in a 3-part series, has many useful tips. If you shoot a rifle chambered in .223 Rem or 5.56x45mm, this article is worth reading.

This week, Handloading Hump-Day will answer a special request from several competitive shooters who asked about procedures for morphing once-fired GI 5.56mm brass into accurate match brass for NRA High Power Rifle use. The USAMU has used virgin Lake City (LC) 5.56 brass to win National Championships and set National Records for many years. In this 3-part series, we’ll share techniques proven to wring match-winning accuracy from combat-grade brass.

GI brass has an excellent attribute, worth noting — it is virtually indestructible. Due to its NATO-spec hardness, the primer pockets last much longer than most commercial brass when using loads at appropriate pressures.

Preparing Once-Fired GI 5.56 Brass for Reloading (Part 1 of 3)

Assuming our readers will be getting brass once-fired as received from surplus dealers, the following steps can help process the low-cost raw material into reliably accurate components.

1. Clean the Brass
First, clean the brass of any dirt/mud/debris, if applicable. Depending on the brass’s condition, washing it in a soap solution followed by a thorough rinsing may help. [This step also extends the life of the tumbling media.] Approaches range from low-tech, using gallon jugs 1/2 full of water/dish soap plus brass and shaking vigorously, to more high-tech, expensive and time-consuming methods.

cleaning Lake City 5.56 brass

2. Wet-Tumbling Options (Be Sure to Dry the Brass)
When applying the final cleaning/polish, some use tumblers with liquid cleaning media and stainless steel pins for a brilliant shine inside and out, while others take the traditional vibratory tumbler/ground media approach. Degree of case shine is purely personal preference, but the key issue is simple cleanliness to avoid scratching ones’ dies.

If a liquid cleaner is used, be SURE to dry the cases thoroughly to preclude corrosion inside. One method is to dump the wet brass into an old pillow case, then tilt it left/right so the cases re-orient themselves while shifting from corner to corner. Several repetitions, pausing at each corner until water stops draining, will remove most water. They can then be left to air-dry on a towel, or can be dried in a warm (150° F-200° F max) oven for a few minutes to speed evaporation.

Shown below are Lake City cases after cleaning with Stainless Media (STM). Note: STM Case cleaning was done by a third party, not the USAMU, which does not endorse any particular cleaning method.

3. Inspect Every Case
Once dry, inspect each case for significant deformation (i.e., someone stepped on it), damaged mouths/necks and case head/rim damage. Some rifles’ ejectors actually dig small chunks of brass out of the case head — obviously, not ideal for precision shooting. Similarly, some extractors can bend the case rims so badly that distortion is visible when spinning them in one’s fingers. These can be used for plinking, but our match brass should have straight, undamaged rims.

Dented case mouths are common, and these can easily be rounded using a conical, tapered tool, [such as a .223 expander mandrel. A dummy 7.62 or .30-06 cartridge with a FMJ spitzer can also work.] If most of your brass is of one headstamp, this is a good time to cull out any odd cases.

4. Check the Primers Before Decapping
Your clean, dry and inspected brass is now ready for full-length sizing, decapping and re-priming. Historically, primer crimps on GI brass have caused some head-scratching (and vile language) among handloaders. Our next installment will detail efficient, easy and practical methods to remove primer crimp, plus other useful handloading tips. Until next week, Good Shooting!

NOTE: The USAMU Handloading (HL) Shop does not RE-load fired 5.56 brass. We use virgin LC brass with our chosen primer already staked in place. However, our staff has extensive personal experience reloading GI brass for competition, which will supplement the Shop’s customary steps. In handloading, as in life, there are many ways to accomplish any given task. Our suggestions are note presented as the “only way,” by any means. Time for loading/practicing is always at a premium. Readers who have more efficient, alternative methods that maintain top accuracy are invited to share them here.

Accuracy Potential of Mil-Surp 5.56×45 Brass

So, how accurate can previously-fired GI surplus brass be in a good National Match AR-15? Well, here’s a data point from many years ago that might be of interest. A High Power shooter who wrote for the late Precision Shooting magazine took a Bill Wylde-built AR match rifle to a registered Benchrest match. His first 5-round group ever fired in a BR match was officially measured at 0.231″ at 200 hundred yards. This was fired in front of witnesses, while using a moving target backer that confirmed all five rounds were fired.

He recounted that his ammo was loaded progressively with factory 52gr match bullets and a spherical powder using mixed years of LC brass with no special preparation whatsoever. Obviously, this was “exceptional”. However, he had no difficulty obtaining consistent 0.5-0.6 MOA accuracy at 200 yards using LC brass and a generic “practice” load that was not tuned to his rifle.

Saving Money by Using GI Brass

So, with good commercial brass readily available, why would one go to all the extra steps necessary to process fired GI brass? [Editor: It’s about saving money.]

Economically, it makes great sense. When the author was actively practicing and competing with the service rifle, he had ~3,000 rounds of 5.56mm brass, which allowed him to load during winter and spend most time in the summer practicing. If one were wealthy and wanted to shoot nothing but the finest imported brass, the current cost of 3,000 is ~$1920 (plus shipping.)

Dropping down to good, but less-expensive new, U.S. commercial brass brings the price to a much more realistic ~$720. However, at current rates, the same amount of surplus GI once-fired brass costs between $120 — $150, leaving lots of room in the budget for other expenses. [Editor: that’s less than 10% of the cost of the best imported brass.]

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June 11th, 2021

Luke Johnson Wins Lapua Silhouette Super Shoot in Ridgway PA

Lapua Super Shoot rimfire .22 LR Center-X STandard Hunter class silhouette match

Congratulations to Lapua’s Rimfire Performance Center Manager, Luke Johnson, on winning the Lapua Silhouette Super Shoot. Johnson won the Standard Rifle class with a score of 176 out of a possible 200 and a shot a perfect 40 out of 40 in the Hunter Rifle to win the class with an aggregate score of 185.

With Johnson’s perfect score in Hunter Rifle, he joins the elite 4-member club of registered masters who have shot a perfect score in both Standard and Hunter Rifle silhouette disciplines. Johnson obtained his perfect score in Standard Rifle at the 2017 National Silhouette Championship.

The Lapua Super Shoot took place May 29-30, 2021 at the “Silhouette Capital” of the USA, Ridgway Rifle Club in Ridgway, PA. It consisted of 3 x 120 round relays, all fired from the standing position. For each relay, shooters engage ten chickens at 40 meters, ten pigs at 60 meters, ten turkeys at 77 meters and ten rams at 100 meters.

“This was my 3rd perfect 40/40 of my silhouette career, all have been shot with tested Lapua Center-X,” stated Johnson, “There have only been 10 different competitors to ever fire a perfect score in registered competition. This was a special 40/40 with it being my first in Hunter Rifle class.”

Lapua Super Shoot rimfire .22 LR Center-X STandard Hunter class silhouette match

Choosing the Perfect Ammo for His Rifle
Johnson’s Lapua Center-X .22 LR ammunition is matched to his firearms at Lapua’s Rimfire Performance Center indoor facility. Unique lots of ammunition are tested at 50 and 100 meters simultaneously, identifying the best performing ammunition for purchase. This service is available to all shooters who wish to gain a competitive advantage. Readers take note — you can do this type of ammo testing for your own rimfire rifles. CLICK HERE to schedule ammo testing at either of Lapua’s Rimfire Performance Centers located in Mesa, AZ or Marengo, OH.

About Luke Johnson — Past National Silhouette Champion and All-American
Johnson, a native of Marysville, PA, brings a long background of competitive shooting and hunting to Capstone. Johnson is a graduate of the University of Alaska-Fairbanks. While pursuing his Bachelor of Science degree, Luke was a 4-year letterman for the University’s D1 Rifle Team. In addition to his 3P/Prone shooting pedigree, Luke is a High Master rifle silhouette competitor. Highlights of his competitive background include: NRA Smallbore Rifle Silhouette Champion, NCAA & CRCA All-American, USA Junior National Champion (50 meter rifle).

Lapua Super Shoot rimfire .22 LR Center-X STandard Hunter class silhouette match

About Lapua Bullets, Brass, and Ammunition
Lapua produces the highest-quality, small-caliber cartridges and components for civilian and professional use. Lapua is a part of the Capstone Precision Group, exclusive U.S. distributor for Berger, Lapua, Vihtavuori and SK-Rimfire products. For more information, visit Lapua.com.

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June 7th, 2021

BargainFinder 298: AccurateShooter’s Deals of the Week

AccurateShooter Deals of the Week Weekly Bargain Finder Sale Discount Savings

At the request of our readers, we provide select “Deals of the Week”. Every Sunday afternoon or Monday morning we offer our Best Bargain selections. Here are some of the best deals on firearms, hardware, reloading components, optics, and shooting accessories. Be aware that sale prices are subject to change, and once clearance inventory is sold, it’s gone for good. You snooze you lose.

1. Palmetto State Armory — Savage A22 .22 LR, $249.99

Savage A22 .22 LR 22LR rifle sale discount

Great Price on versatile self-Loader for plinking or NRL22

Looking for an affordable, versatile .22 LR rifle for NRL22 rimfire matches, varminting, and fun shooting? The Savage A22, now just $249.99 on sale, is a great value. The A22 features a strong steel receiver, chromed bolt, 10-round rotary magazine, and adjustable Savage AccuTrigger. The A22’s rotary magazine offers fast cycling, while the delayed blowback action is safe and reliable. For gun games where speed counts, we like semi-autos — follow-up shots are way faster than a bolt-action.

2. Midsouth — Frontier .223 Rem 55gr HP Ammo, $12.99/20

.223 ammo sale
Yes, finally — .223 Rem ammo IN STOCK at a reasonable price!

Looking for good .223 Rem ammunition without breaking the bank? Midsouth has Frontier .223 Remington 55 Grain Hollow Point ammo in stock at just $12.99 per box of 20 rounds. Quality .223 Rem ammo at $0.65 per round is about the best deal you’ll find these days. So grab some now before it’s all gone. Verified buyers say this ammo is dependable.

3.Graf & Sons — Magnetospeed Sporter Chronograph, $170.99

magnetospeed chronograph
Great Deal on efficient, reliable, easy-to-use Chronograph

Priced at just $170.99, the Magnetospeed Sporter Chronograph model costs less than half as much as Magnetospeed’s V3 models. This chronograph attaches directly to your barrel so you don’t have to go downrange to set up sky-screens or tripods. For most people the Sporter Model contains all the features they need. Using Magnetospeed’s XFR adapter (sold separately), data can be transferred easily to your mobile device. Check out this Magnetospeed Sporter Review to learn more.

4. EuroOptic — Athlon Argos BTR 6-24X50mm FFP, $249.99

athlon argos scope sale
No FFP scope can rival this 6-24X Athlon anywhere near this price

Looking to get into PRS or need an affordable FFP scope? Check out this Athlon Argos BTR 6-24X50mm riflescope. Now deeply discounted, this versatile optic features a wide 6-24X magnification range — just about perfect for PRS (or varmint hunting). Controls are precise and glass is surprisingly good. The Argos BTR’s advanced ATMR reticle features a 2 MOA center cross and 2 MOA hashmarks to compensate for bullet drop and wind drift. This scope has a First Focal Plane (FFP) reticle, meaning the reticle hashmarks stay constant relative to the viewed target as you zoom in or out.

5. Creedmoor Sports — Radians Safety Product Sale

radians sale
radians sale
All Radians products now discounted 10-15%

Protecting your vision and hearing is vital. Every shooter needs good eye and ear protection. If you’re looking to upgrade your current safety gear, check out the Radians Safety Equipment Sale over at Creedmoor Sports. You can find everything from earmuffs to custom fit earplugs to ANSI Z87.1-certified safety glasses, all on sale. Head over to Creedmoor Sports this week for 10-15% savings on quality eye and ear protection.

6. Amazon — Lyman Brass Smith Xpress, $119.99

lyman brass smith
Efficient, well-designed power trimmer that indexes off shoulder

Trimming brass is critical to precision reloading. However, with most case trimmers it’s a pain to adjust trim length, plus the hand-cranking becomes tiresome. A better, more efficient case trimming solution is offered by the Lyman Brass Smith Case Trim Xpress. We like this case trimmer for good reason. The smart design allows for .001″ trim length adjustments with the click of a dial. The tool ships with 10 bushings that cover the most popular neck sizes on the market. To see a video of the Case Trim Xpress in action, check out our Lyman Case Trim Xpress Review.

7. EuroOptic — SIG Sauer Kilo1000 Laser Range Finder, $129.99

sig kilo rangefinder
Insanely low price on good Laser Rangefinder for hunters

Get a quality Laser Rangefinder at an insanely low price. Right now the SIG Sauer Kilo1000 Laser Range Finder is just $129.99 on sale at EuroOptic. This unit is probably all a hunter needs for most ranging chores. SIG says it is good to 1200 yards on reflective targets, 800 yards on trees and 600 yard on animals such as deer. The handy Kilo1000 LRG is compact and easy to carry. Note: EuroOptic also has BDX model SIG Sauer LRFs on sale. These BDX units communicate via bluetooth with your Ballistics App. The SIG Kilo 1000 with BDX is $199.99. If you want more performance, EuroOptic also has longer-range-rated SIG Laser Rangefinders for a bit more money. For example the 2200-yard-rated Sig2200 BDX is $319.99 on sale, a $180.00 savings.

8. Amazon — Brifit Digital Mini Scale, $16.99

powder bullet scale
Good, very compact scale for component sorting, many positive reviews

Handloaders can benefit from having a speedy, compact digital scale for basic tasks. Use this as a supplement to your ChargeMaster or premium, full-size scale. The very affordable Brifit Digital Mini Scale is great for sorting duties — weighing bullets, brass, primers and other items. This handy Brifit pocket scale measures up to 200 grams, with stated precision of 0.01 grams. With the push of a button, you can switch between grams, ounces, or grains instantly. This $16.99 Brifit scale ships with a 50 gram calibration weight. The unit boasts a nice LCD Backlit Display and “Auto Off” feature that saves battery life.

9. Amazon — Meralian Range Bag and Pistol Tote, $26.99

range bag sale
Great Value for Range Bag that holds multiple pistols, muffs, and mags

Here’s a well-designed, functional range bag at a good price — just $26.99. The Meralian tactical pistol range bag is great for hauling handguns. With a 13″ x 7″ x 9″ main compartment, there’s plenty of room for your pistols, ammo, and safety gear such as muffs and eye protection. Under an outer zip panel are six dedicated pouches for magazines. This range bag is currently available in four colors. You may want to select a bright color so your bag stands out at the range.

10. Amazon — Feyachi AR Brass Shell Catcher, $11.99

ar brass catcher
Many great features — holds its shape, easy to empty

ar brass catcher .223 Rem ejection netShooting AR-platform rifles can be fun but they can eject spent cases a considerable distance. Nobody likes to chase down the fired brass tossed out by these semi-auto rifles.

An easy fix for brass-chasing chores is the Feyachi Brass Shell Catcher. This attaches to the side of your AR and capture all your ejected cases. This new version features a strong 45-deg upper wire frame so the entire unit sticks out further and holds its shape better. There is also an updated Velcro attachment plus reinforced mesh that retains large amounts of brass. With these design enhancements, this is a smart choice AR brass-catcher. This unit also boasts a zipper at the bottom for quick and easy brass removal.

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June 6th, 2021

Sunday Gunday: AR Service Rifle — Focus on Ammo & Reloading

High Power service rifle AR15 reloading 600 yard Danny Arnold powder kernels
The 600-yard target has an X-Ring 6 inches (1 MOA) across, while the 10-Ring spans 12 inches (2 MOA).

The following article is about reloading for NRA/CMP Highpower Rifle competition and is geared toward competitors shooting the AR15 Service Rifle. In Highpower Rifle competition, shooters fire in four stages: Standing slow-fire at 200 yards, Sitting rapid-fire at 200 yards, Prone rapid-fire at 300 yards, and Prone slow-fire at 600 yards. Competitors use a sling for support in all positions but standing. A typical AR15 Service Rifle sports a 20″ free-floated barrel and a 4.5-pound trigger. Service Rifle scopes are limited to maximum power of 4.5X.

Thoughts on Loading for Service Rifles, Particularly for 600 Yards

by Danny Arnold, Team CMP
Article originally published in CMP Shooting News

Before we get started, I want to stress that all of the information that follows is geared toward the .223/5.56 Service Rifle. That doesn’t mean that there’s nothing here for anyone else, but the .223/5.56 Service Rifle platform is where I’ve spent the majority of my time, so here we go.

There is only one “Perfect” 600–yard load for my rifle, True or False? This example is more anecdotal than scientific, but it provides some food for thought….

Team CMP spent the early part of March competing in the Orange Blossom Regional. As soon as we got on the range, Sara Rozanski (Team CMP member) started having problems with her 600-yard ammunition. Nearly 1/3 of her cases were exiting the chamber minus the primers. I offered to swap my ammunition for hers, suspecting that my Wylde chamber would be more forgiving than her CLE chamber — a solution that seemed to solve the problem. At least neither of us was blowing primers!

High Power service rifle AR15 reloading 600 yard Danny Arnold powder kernels

Sara’s ammunition was a factory load using a well-known 80+ grain bullet with an unknown primer and powder, using brass from a respected manufacturer. My load was a different brand of 80-grain bullet, with my choice of powder and primer, all in brass made by someone else. Given the color of the primers, the only thing that our ammunition could possibly have had in common was the brand of powder… maybe. So, how did we shoot?

Sara and I shot the two-person team together and the entire 2,400 Aggregate, although on different relays. Sara’s combined 600-yard score was 780-28X (97.5%). Mine was a 783-24X (97.87%). Our scores were never more than two points apart on any of the four days. Keep in mind that we were using each other’s ammunition the entire time.

So, we had different barrels, chambers and ammunition, but similar results. That goes back to the idea that a good load will perform similarly if fired in a good barrel.

Are We Too Focused on Ballistic Coefficients (BCs)?
The revailing wisdom has always trended toward loading the highest-BC bullet we could find and pushing it as fast as possible. Back in the early ’90s when I got started with the AR15, the 80-grain Sierra was state of the art. Actually, I picked up all of my Leg points with it, although today it looks a bit dated — kinda like me.

So, the question I’ll pose is this: Would you rather shoot a high-BC bullet that groups 3/4-MOA (minute of angle) or a lower-BC bullet that groups into one-half-MOA traveling 50 feet-per-second faster? The reason that I posed this question is a situation I found myself in a decade ago. Our coach decided that he wanted us to pair-fire some 600-yard for practice. Unfortunately, I hadn’t gotten the memo and all that I had available was my normal short-line ammunition, loaded with a 77-grain bullet. The shooter I was paired with was using a higher-BC bullet than I was, but in the end, we both shot 198s.

Admittedly, using 77-grainers meant that coach had to work a little harder to keep us together on target, but it was a teaching moment for me. I knew that my upper shot 77s better than the available bullets in the 80-grain range, so I cranked out a windage table for the 77-grain bullet at 600 yards and shot those for the rest of the season. After all, the wind blows ALL bullets around. It’s just a matter of knowing what YOUR bullet is doing.

With the shortages that we’re experiencing right now, a lighter bullet may be all that you have available for the 2021 season. That doesn’t mean that you’re disadvantaged though.

High Power service rifle AR15 reloading 600 yard Danny Arnold powder kernels
Danny Arnold teaching Highpower Clinic at 2021 CMP Eastern Games

Loading High-BC Bullets
In the past decade, several bullets have appeared that weigh 80-grains or more. One thing that many of them have in common is a very sharp nose profile, whether metal or polymer. The question is: Are you using the right seating stem?

The jacket material in the bullet’s nose is very thin. If you section a bullet, you’ll find that there is a surprising amount of air space in the nose. If you’re using older seating dies, your seating stem may be contacting the bullet nose too close to the tip, where the jacket is the both thinnest and is unsupported by the lead core. This can manifest itself either as a deformation at the very tip of the bullet or as a circular dent around the bullet nose that you can see and feel with your thumbnail. I think we can all agree that denting a bullet is usually considered a bad thing.

High Power service rifle AR15 reloading 600 yard Danny Arnold powder kernels

One company goes so far as to recommend their proprietary seating stem for use with their high-BC bullets. Other companies leave it up to you to find a seating stem that will allow the bullet nose to go deeper into the seating stem, moving the contact point further down the bullet where the jacket is thicker and supported by the core material.

Seating Depth and Bullet Preferences
Some bullets don’t mind some “jump” into the lands, but some really do. Unfortunately, manufacturers don’t tell you much about that. Your chamber configuration (Wylde, CLE, or some hybrid of the two) and the bullet that you choose will determine your optimal seating depth. Long and short of it, a quality measuring tool to determine seating depth is a necessity these days. Keep in mind that if you’re doing this with a brand new barrel, the throat is likely going to change slightly in the first 200 rounds and may need to be re-measured. Actually, since all of your short range ammunition has to be loaded to magazine length, you’re probably better off developing your short range loads before starting on long range load development. That gives the throat a chance to wear in a bit on a new barrel.

Brass Prep — Why It Is Important
When match-grade AR15s first arrived on the scene, it was amazing how little it took to get them to shoot well. Other than making sure that I had brass from the same lot and running it through a set of match-grade dies, I did nothing. Of course, we were also using a post front sight. Was the occasional bad shot me, the rifle, the load or just an archaic sighting system?

Transitioning to optics has caused me to reconsider how and what I do in my reloading process: That, and having some extra time on my hands to experiment.

A little (or a lot) of time spent with a neck turning tool, a primer-pocket uniformer and a flash-hole reamer will quickly show you how consistent brass is by manufacturer and even by individual lot. That exercise also makes the prices charged for high-quality brass seem ridiculously cheap. That doesn’t mean that I advocate neck-turning or other uniforming practices, nor do I advocate spending scandalous amounts of money on long-range brass. However, our sport is about consistency. The consistency of your brass is a matter of choice, whether you choose to simply segregate cases by weight (cheap option), neck turn (labor intensive) or open your wallet a little wider for premium brass.

High Power service rifle AR15 reloading 600 yard Danny Arnold powder kernels

Weighing Charges vs. Throwing with Powder Measure
To measure or weigh? For a long time, I used a powder measure to throw all of my 600-yard loads. The powder I was using metered well, and the results downrange didn’t justify the extra time spent with a scale. That was in the day of iron sights though. Nowadays, I’m throwing my charges and trickling up to the desired weight as measured on a scale that weighs to a 100th of a grain.

To quantify the difference between individually weighing each charge versus throwing charges with a powder measure, I weighed six kernels of powder that I trickled into the pan and then dumped them into the hopper. Going through that process 10 times, I came up with an average weight of .08 grains for six kernels. Next, I threw 50 charges for weighing using my powder measure. If I felt the measure hanging up as it cut kernels, I put the charge back into the hopper without weighing it.

High Power service rifle AR15 reloading 600 yard Danny Arnold powder kernels
That’s six kernels of powder sitting in the pan — average weight .08 grains.

Those 50 smoothly-thrown charges varied .26 grains from lowest to highest, with the majority varying no more than .16 grains from highest to lowest. If the desired weight was exactly in the middle, at worst you’d be .13 grains (9-10 kernels) low or high, with the majority being off no more than .08 grains (6 kernels) above or below the desired charge weight. Is that enough to send a shot outside the 2-MOA 10-Ring? Probably not.

Has more consistent brass and weighing charges to one-hundredth (0.01) of a grain added up to higher scores? Honestly, this question is hard to answer. Looking at the results on paper at 200 yards, using a powder that meters well combined with a consistent touch on the loading lever doesn’t appear measurably different than meticulously weighing each and every powder charge. Looking back over my 600-yard plots however, I can see a trend toward a group that is closer to X-Ring height.

Since the bullseye is widest at the center, shooting groups that are the height of the X-ring gives you more room for error when the wind is blowing. That can translate into higher 600-yard scores.

How You Load Your Ammunition vs. How You Load Your Rifle
The loading/chambering cycle of the AR-15 is, in a word, violent. You have a relatively heavy bolt and carrier assembly under power of a stout buffer spring slamming forward to chamber each round of ammunition. By design, those rounds were supposed to be held securely by the magazine feed lips until the bolt stripped them off the follower. Obviously, due to their overall length, 600-yard loads can’t be chambered that way. Although the barrel extension is funnel-shaped, it’s also got a lot of “teeth” ringing the inside of it (see below).

High Power service rifle AR15 reloading 600 yard Danny Arnold powder kernels

Whether you’re using a standard magazine or a single-round loading device (SLED), dropping a round in the loading port and releasing the bolt is an act of faith in that you’re trusting the bullet to arrive in the chamber undamaged.

Ask yourself, how many times have you seen someone drop a round on the follower, press the bolt release and watch as the bolt jammed on a cockeyed round? If that happens once every 100 tries, how many times did the bolt close on a scratched, dented, or misaligned bullet? Could that be the cause of the occasional errant shot?

My technique is to drop each round on top of the SLED and then push it slightly forward with my finger, partially chambering it before releasing the bolt. Admittedly, some people may be unable to do this due to body configuration or left-handedness, but why go to all the trouble of loading “perfect” ammunition and then damage it on the way into the chamber?

Now that we’ve covered bullets, brass, and assorted errata we can move on to discussing loads for 600 Yards…

High Power service rifle AR15 reloading 600 yard Danny Arnold powder kernels highpower target
The NRA Highpower 600-yard target has a 6-inch (1 MOA) X-Ring, and a 12-inch (2 MOA) 10-Ring.

Load Development for 600 Yards

Finding a load for 600 yards is a lot like finding a load for short range. Once I decide on a bullet, powder, primer, velocity range and a measured guesstimate of seating depth, I load 10 rounds of each test load, increasing in 0.2 (2/10) grain increments. I test them from the prone position at 200 yards. Ideally, I want to see two loads that are 0.2 (2/10) of a grain apart that shoot almost identical groups. The load that I choose will fall in between the two best shooting loads that I tested. If the first load is XX.2 grains and the second is XX.4 grains, my chosen load will be XX.3 grains.

Why develop loads in 0.2-grain (tenths) increments if I have a scale that measures in 0.01-grain (hundredths) increments? Or, why not test in 0.1-grain increments?

For me, working in 0.2-grain increments gets me to the results quicker. Also, there is a difference between accuracy and consistency in this scenario. Developing loads in 0.2-grain increments gets me to an accurate load. Producing that load using a scale that accurately measures to .01-grain insures a consistent load, assuming that I do my part.

Once I’ve settled on a load, it’s time to play with seating depth, if I choose to. If I’m lucky and the groups are acceptable as-is, I won’t do anything. If I think there’s room for improvement, I’ll experiment a little. Depending on the bullet, changing the seating depth by a couple of thousandths one way or the other may change the group size. During this phase of testing, it’s a good idea to chamber a round and see if the entire round will then extract. If you leave a bullet stuck in the throat, your rounds are too long. Finding that out at a match can ruin an otherwise good day.

High Power service rifle AR15 reloading 600 yard Danny Arnold powder kernels
Danny Arnold shooting his AR15 Service Rifle, standing position at 2021 CMP Eastern Games.

Another thing to keep in mind is that your barrel is not static. Every round fired has an effect on the throat, vaporizing and scouring away metal until the distance the bullet travels before meeting the rifling measurably increases. If you have chosen a bullet that shoots best when close to the lands, you’ll need to periodically re-measure and possibly change your bullet seating depth to maintain that optimal relationship.

The Elephant in the Room — User Skill Level

There’s really not a delicate way to put this, so I won’t try. There’s little point in spending time and effort developing a load that shoots into half-MOA off the bench if you’re only capable of shooting 2 MOA using a sling right now.

That doesn’t mean that there’s no hope. On the contrary, it just means that your time and effort is better spent practicing with some good short-range ammunition on reduced targets at a 100 or 200-yard range. At that distance, wind is not a factor and your technique can be improved more quickly so you’re in a position to benefit from that ½ MOA ammunition.

About Team CMP
CMP has created a Highpower Team with top competitors. Team CMP competes at several events throughout the year and most importantly, helps to teach Highpower Clinics at CMP Competition Events. Learn from Team CMP at Camp Perry during the Advanced Highpower Clinic, scheduled this year for July 30 through August 1, 2021. Visit the Highpower Clinic Web Page for more information.

The Civilian Marksmanship Program is a federally-chartered 501(c)(3) non-profit corporation. It is dedicated to firearm safety and marksmanship training and to the promotion of marksmanship competition for citizens of the United States. For more information about the CMP and its programs, visit www.TheCMP.org.

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June 5th, 2021

Impact Shooting Videos — Reloading Methods + Product Reviews

Pieter Piet Malan PRS NRL Impact Shooting video channel Youtube

Pieter “Piet” Malan is a South African precision rifle shooter and hunter who has created an impressive YouTube Channel with over 300 videos. While Pieter’s Impact Shooting Channel focuses primarily on tactical PRS/NRL type disciplines, his channel also includes dozens of videos of interest to hunters and anyone who handloads rifle cartridges. We particularly like Pieter’s tech review videos which explain important reloading methods and showcase new products.

Here are four Peiter Malan tech videos. Topics include annealing, hydro-forming, case priming, and how to record video with spotting scopes. As a bonus for you hunters out there, we added Pieter’s latest hunting video, Kudu Hunting Paradise Part 2. After watching that, you’ll probably want to book an African Safari.

Hydro-forming Dasher Brass Using Hammer Method

Fire-forming 6mm Dasher brass can be fairly costly if you factor in barrel life along with the cost of components. If you figure a new 6mm custom barrel, chambered and fitted by a top smith, could cost $650.00 and may only be good for 1300 rounds (in competition), barrel cost per shot is $0.50 (fifty cents). Add the price of a bullet, powder, and primer, and you are approaching $1.00 per round. Given those numbers, it makes sense to hydro-form your 6mm Dasher brass. In the USA, DJ’s Brass will hydro-form and then anneal your cases for $0.60 per case. That’s not much more than the barrel cost per shot alone for fire-forming.

In this video, Pieter Malan explains the hydro-forming process for Dasher brass and shows how he does the job using the mallet method with hydro-forming dies. He shows that it takes some technique (and multiple hammer blows) to get a good result, with a case that will fit in the chamber.

Annealing Cartridge Brass with AMP Annealer

With premium cartridge brass for popular match cartridges now approaching $1.20 (or more) per case, you want that new brass to last. But after multiple firings, even the best cartridge brass will start degrading. That’s where annealing comes in. Proper, precision annealing can restore case-neck consistency, reducing ES/SD and improving accuracy. Some top shooters anneal after every firing to keep their brass in top condition. Others will anneal after every 4-6 firings.

Today with the advanced AMP microprocessor-controlled annealing machine, brass cartridge annealing is easier yet more precise than ever. The AMP Annealer provides advanced electrical induction annealing with ultra-precise temperature control set perfectly for your cartridge type and brand of brass. In this video, Pieter shows how to use the AMP Annealer to anneal 6mm Dasher cases and other cartridge types.

Primal Rights CPS — World’s Most Expensive Priming Tool

Seating primers can be a “dark art”. Many top shooters prefer to seat “by feel” using a hand tool. Others prefer lever-equipped, bench-mounted tools that offer higher work-flow rates and less strain on the hands.

There are many bench-mounted priming options — Forster has a tool, as does RCBS, and Lee. At the top of the heap is the $600 Primal Rights Competition Primer Seater (CPS). This may be the most precise bench priming tool ever created. It is certainly the most expensive at $600.00. But the CPS delivers something special — superb, repeatable depth control, along with the ability to prime up to 1000 cases per hour. For some reloaders, that precision + productivity will justify the high price. In this video Pieter reviews his Primal Rights Competition Primer Seater.

How to Record Video Through Your Spotting Scope

There are many things viewed through a spotting scope that you might want to record for posterity — a successful hunting shot on a game animal, or steel targets being hit in a PRS match. In addition, after a match, it can be useful to study the wind conditions and mirage that occurred during a match. This can help improve your wind reading skills as you watch what unfolded.

In this video, Pieter shows how to mount a smartphone to the eyepiece of a spotting scope with a plastic adapter. This allows you to record, for posterity, what the scope is “seeing”. In addition, this allows the viewer to see the scope’s magnified image conveniently without having to strain into the eyepiece and focus on a very small exit pupil.

BONUS: Kudu Hunting Paradise Part 2 (2021)

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June 4th, 2021

How Cartridge Overall Length (COAL) Affects Pressure & Velocity

Berger Bullets COAL length cartridge

Figure 1. When the bullet is seated farther out of the case, there is more volume available for powder. This enables the cartridge to generate higher muzzle velocity with the same pressure.

Berger Bullets COAL length cartridgeEffects Of Cartridge Over All Length (COAL) And Cartridge Base To Ogive (CBTO) – Part 1
by Bryan Litz for Berger Bullets.
Many shooters are not aware of the dramatic effects that bullet seating depth can have on the pressure and velocity generated by a rifle cartridge. Cartridge Overall Length (COAL) is also a variable that can be used to fine-tune accuracy. It’s also an important consideration for rifles that need to feed rounds through a magazine. In this article, we’ll explore the various effects of COAL, and what choices a shooter can make to maximize the effectiveness of their hand loads.

Sporting Arms and Ammunition Manufacturers’ Institute (SAAMI)
Most loading manuals (including the Berger Manual), present loading data according to SAAMI (Sporting Arms and Ammunition Manufacturers’ Institute) standards. SAAMI provides max pressure, COAL and many other specifications for commercial cartridges so that rifle makers, ammo makers, and hand loaders can standardize their products so they all work together. As we’ll see later in this article, these SAAMI standards are in many cases outdated and can dramatically restrict the performance potential of a cartridge.

Bullet seating depth is an important variable in the accuracy equation. In many cases, the SAAMI-specified COAL is shorter than what a hand loader wants to load their rounds to for accuracy purposes. In the case where a hand loader seats the bullets longer than SAAMI specified COAL, there are some internal ballistic effects that take place which are important to understand.

Effects of Seating Depth / COAL on Pressure and Velocity
The primary effect of loading a cartridge long is that it leaves more internal volume inside the cartridge. This extra internal volume has a well known effect; for a given powder charge, there will be less pressure and less velocity produced because of the extra empty space. Another way to look at this is you have to use more powder to achieve the same pressure and velocity when the bullet is seated out long. In fact, the extra powder you can add to a cartridge with the bullet seated long will allow you to achieve greater velocity at the same pressure than a cartridge with a bullet seated short.

When you think about it, it makes good sense. After all, when you seat the bullet out longer and leave more internal case volume for powder, you’re effectively making the cartridge into a bigger cartridge by increasing the size of the combustion chamber. Figure 1 illustrates the extra volume that’s available for powder when the bullet is seated out long.

Before concluding that it’s a good idea to start seating your bullets longer than SAAMI spec length, there are a few things to consider.

Geometry of a Chamber Throat
The chamber in a rifle will have a certain throat length which will dictate how long a bullet can be loaded. The throat is the forward portion of the chamber that has no rifling. The portion of the bullet’s bearing surface that projects out of the case occupies the throat (see Figure 2).

Berger Bullets COAL length cartridge

The length of the throat determines how much of the bullet can stick out of the case. When a cartridge is chambered and the bullet encounters the beginning of the rifling, known as the lands, it’s met with hard resistance. This COAL marks the maximum length that a bullet can be seated. When a bullet is seated out to contact the lands, its initial forward motion during ignition is immediately resisted by an engraving force.

Seating a bullet against the lands causes pressures to be elevated noticeably higher than if the bullet were seated just a few thousandths of an inch off the lands.

A very common practice in precision reloading is to establish the COAL for a bullet that’s seated to touch the lands. This is a reference length that the hand loader works from when searching for the optimal seating depth for precision. Many times, the best seating depth is with the bullet touching or very near the lands. However, in some rifles, the best seating depth might be 0.100″ or more off the lands. This is simply a variable the hand loader uses to tune the precision of a rifle.

CLICK HERE to Read Full Article with More Info

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June 2nd, 2021

Get FREE Lapua 6DOF Ballistics App for Android and iOS

Lapua ballistics app android apple free

Download the FREE Lapua Ballistics App

Lapua now offers a FREE Ballistics App. This was the first mobile ballistics App utilizing the 6DOF calculation model, making it one of most accurate ballistics Apps on the market. With this free mobile App you can calculate trajectories, range, bullet drop, turret adjustments and more.

Lapua Ballistics App 6DOF degrees of Freedom solver doppler radar bullet BC Apple iOS Android OS mobile smartphone iphone

Lapua’s sophisticated FREE Ballistics App has many great features — much more than you’d expect for a free App. If you do much shooting past 300 yards, or use a wide variety of bullets and/or cartridge types, definitely download the App and give it a try. For more details, read the Lapua Ballistics App User Manual. This handy PDF file explains how to set up the App and utilize all its powerful features.

CLICK HERE for FREE 29-page Lapua Ballistics App USER GUIDE

The Lapua Ballistics App is available for Android and iOS smart phones and mobile devices free of charge. For more info, visit www.lapua.com/resources/lapua-ballistics-app.

Features in the Lapua Ballistics Calculator

  • Utilizes 6DOF, the most accurate calculation method
  • Always available with latest Lapua cartridge / bullet information
  • Quick and easy to change inputs like distance, wind speed and angle
  • Several result outputs available, with numerical, reticle, table and graph views
  • Create and clone your own firearm / reticle combinations
  • Choose between metric and imperial values
  • Set Point Blank-range to different sight-in distances and impact windows
  • Set Aiming point to moving target
  • Add custom bullets (calculations based on BC G1 or G7 and Siacci method)
  • Features include Sight-in-POI, Coriolis, Max Range and Cant Angle calculation
  • Compare up to 3 Lapua cartridge/bullet performances to each other
  • Custom trajectory tables

Lapua ballistics app android apple free

After downloading the FREE Lapua Ballistics App for Android device or Apple iPhone/iPad, you’ll want to access the Lapua Ballistics App Guide which shows how to use all the features and options. In addition, Lapua offers a handy FAQ Page with User Tips and Answers to frequently Asked Questions.

Watch Video for Explanation of Lapua Ballistics App Features

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June 1st, 2021

Million-Round Turret Press — This Redding T-7 Has Done Its Duty

Redding T-7 Turret reloading press ammo ammunition

Here’s something you don’t see every day — a reloading press that has loaded over 1,000,000 rounds of ammo. At the NRA Convention in Dallas in 2018, Redding showcased an old Redding T-7 Turret Press delivered to Sierra Bullets decades ago. 0ne of the very first T-7s made by Redding, this “old warrior” was used by Sierra Bullets to load over 1,000,000 rounds of ammunition in Sierra’s ballistics lab.


Redding T-7 Turret reloading press ammo ammunitionRedding T-7 Still Within Spec
After all that loading, Redding tested the press and, remarkably, found that it still remained “within spec”. Redding notes: “This press was subjected to real world reloading wear and stress yet remains within ‘new’ spec after this historic test”. When showcased in Dallas, this Redding turret press was fitted with indicators to show “just how good American steel and craftsmanship remains after what, in a normal situation, would represent numerous lifetimes of use.”

The Redding T-7 now has major turret press rivals — the Lyman All-American 8-station press, and the Area 419 9-station ZERO Turret Press. That $1200 ZERO Turret is generally regarded as the most sophisticated turret press ever created.

Redding T-7 Turret reloading press ammo ammunitionAbout Redding Reloading
Redding Reloading Equipment has crafted quality, American-made products for the precision handloading market since 1946. Along with single-stage and turret presses, Redding makes great dies. And Redding’s line of tools/accessories includes concentricity gauges, scales, trimmers, powder measures, powder tricklers, cleaning tools, deburring tools, bushings, and many other quality items.

To learn more about Redding products or to download the 2021 Redding catalog visit Redding-Reloading.com. You can also request a free 2021 printed catalog.

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June 1st, 2021

Go with the “O” — O-Rings May Reduce Run-Out When Sizing

reloading die O-ring
reloading die O-ring

Here’s an inexpensive procedure that can help you load straighter ammo, with slightly better measured concentricity (i.e. less run-out) on the case necks and bullets. Simply use a Rubber O-Ring on the underside of the die locking ring. This allows the die to self-align itself (slightly) to the case that is being sized. Without the O-Ring, if the flat surface on the top of your press is not perfectly square with the thread axis, your die can end up slightly off-angle. This happens when the bottom of the locking ring butts up tight against the top of the press. The O-Ring allows the die to float slightly, and that may, in turn, reduce the amount of run-out induced during case sizing.

Top prone shooter GSArizona has tried this trick and he says it works: “Go to your local hardware store and get a #17 O-Ring (that’s the designation at Ace Hardware, don’t know if its universal). Slip the O-Ring on the die and re-adjust the lock ring so that the O-Ring is slightly compressed when the die is at the correct height. Size and measure a few more cases. You will probably see a slight improvement in neck concentricity as the die can now float a bit as the case enters and leaves it. This isn’t going to be a dramatic improvement, but it’s a positive one.”

We want to stress that adding O-Rings to sizing dies may help some reloaders, but we don’t offer this as a panacea. Try it — if using the O-Ring reduces measured runout that’s great. If it doesn’t, you’ve only spent a few pennies to experiment.

reloading die O-ring

Lee Precision makes die lock rings with built-in O-Rings. Lee’s distinctive lock ring design allows the same kind of self-alignment, which is good. However, Lee lock rings don’t clamp in place on the die threads, so they can move when you insert or remove the dies — and that can throw off your die setting slightly. By using an O-Ring under a conventional die lock ring (that can be locked in place), you get the advantages of the Lee design, without the risk of the lock ring moving.

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May 29th, 2021

Frankford Deprimer Tool — Deprime Cases without a Press

Frankford Arsenal deprimer depriming hand tool decapping primer removal

Many shooters prefer to deprime their brass before resizing. That way they can tumble cases or keep primer debris off their main press. To deprime cases before sizing or cleaning you can use a Depriming Die (aka “decapping die”). This pushes out the spent primer without changing the neck or body of a case. Such decapping dies work fine, but they do require the use of a press. Here is a handy alternative — a cool tool that allows you to deprime brass anywhere — no press needed.

Handheld Primer Removal Tool From Frankford Arsenal
This cleverly-designed Hand Deprimer Tool allows you to deprime cartridge cases without a press. This hand-tool from Frankford Arsenal will deprime brass and capture primers conveniently. You can deprime your cases while watching TV or relaxing in your favorite chair.

Frankford Arsenal deprimer depriming hand tool decapping primer removal

This device lets you remove spent primers anywhere — no press needed and all the mess (cups/anvils/residue) stays in the capture chamber. This tool comes works with nearly all common case types up to .338 Lapua Magnum. With good leverage, this tool does the job quicklyi and efficiently. Forum members have praised this handy tool, but recommend wearing a thick glove if doing more than 100 cases in a sesssion.

Frankford Arsenal deprimer depriming hand tool decapping primer removal

This handy depriming tool is very versatile. With a universal, cylinder-style cartridge-holder, the tool can deprime a wide variety of cartridge types from .20 caliber up to .338 caliber. Three different plastic collets are provided to handle for different diameter cases. Spent primers are captured in a removable spent primer catch tube. Simply twist off the clear catch tube to dump the spent primers. With die-cast metal construction, this tool should last through many thousands of depriming cycles. MSRP is $54.99. Right now it is $44.99 on Amazon with 82% 5-star ratings.

User Modifications — Grip Padding and High-Volume Capture

Many users recommended putting some kind of padding on the grip and front lever to reduce pressure on the fingers. This can be done with a wrap or a rubber covering. In addition, users have adapted the unit with an attached hose and large primer capture jug. If you depriming hundreds of cases at a time, this hose conversion may make sense.

Frankford Arsenal deprimer depriming hand tool decapping primer removal

Frankford Arsenal deprimer depriming hand tool decapping primer removal

Review from actual owner: “I have owned one of these for about eight years and deprimed over 10,000 cases with this tool. I have never had to replace a single part on it. You will have to adjust the return spring every so often, but that is a very easy task. If you are depriming a LOT of brass, the handle can tear up your hand a bit. Solution: Wear a Mechanics Glove. Easy Peasy! You will NOT regret this purchase.”

How to Adapt Tool for Small Flash Hole Brass
The Frankford Arsenal Deprimer Tool was designed for LARGE flash-hole brass. To deprime brass with small (1.5mm/0.59″) small flash-holes, as found on Lapua .220 Russian and 6mmBR cases, you will need to reduce the pin diameter. A smaller pin is “in development” according to the manufacturer. Frankford Arsenal currently recommends purchasing a replacement pin and “sanding it down” to the smaller diameter. NOTE: This is NOT difficult — simply spin the stock pin in some sandpaper.

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May 29th, 2021

Six Tips for Success at Local Fun Matches

Varmint silhouette fun match

Summer’s almost here! Every summer weekend, there are hundreds of local club “fun matches” conducted around the country. One of the good things about club shoots is that you don’t have to spend a fortune on equipment to have fun. But we’ve seen that many club shooters handicap themselves with a few common equipment oversights or lack of attention to detail while reloading. Here are SIX TIPS that can help you avoid these common mistakes, and build more accurate ammo for your club matches.

Benchrest rear bag1. Align Front Rest and Rear Bag
We see many shooters whose rear bag is angled left or right relative to the bore axis. This can happen when you rush your set-up. But even if you set the gun up carefully, the rear bag can twist due to recoil or the way your arm contacts the bag. After every shot, make sure your rear bag is aligned properly (this is especially important for bag squeezers who may actually pull the bag out of alignment as they squeeze).

Forum member ArtB adds: “To align my front rest and rear bag with the target, I use an old golf club shaft. I run it from my front rest stop through a line that crosses over my speed screw and into the slot between the two ears. I stand behind that set-up and make sure I see a straight line pointing at the target. I also have a piece of tape that I’ve placed on the golf shaft that indicates how far the back end of the rear bag should be placed from the front rest stop.”

2. Avoid Contact Interference
We see three common kinds of contact or mechanical interference that can really hurt accuracy. First, if your stock has front and/or rear sling swivels make sure these do NOT contact the front or rear bags at any point of the gun’s travel. When a sling swivel digs into the front bag that can cause a shot to pop high or low. To avoid this, reposition the rifle so the swivels don’t contact the bags or simply remove the swivels before your match. Second, watch out for the rear of the stock grip area. Make sure this is not resting on the bag as you fire and that it can’t come back to contact the bag during recoil. That lip or edge at the bottom of the grip can cause problems when it contacts the rear bag. Third, watch out for the stud or arm on the front rest that limits forward stock travel. With some rests this is high enough that it can actually contact the barrel. We encountered one shooter recently who was complaining about “vertical flyers” during his match. It turns out his barrel was actually hitting the front stop! With most front rests you can either lower the stop or twist the arm to the left or right so it won’t contact the barrel.

varmint fun match groundhog

3. Weigh Your Charges — Every One
This may sound obvious, but many folks still rely on a powder measure. Yes we know that most short-range BR shooters throw their charges without weighing, but if you’re going to pre-load for a club match there is no reason NOT to weigh your charges. You may be surprised at how inconsistent your powder measure actually is. One of our testers was recently throwing H4198 charges from a mechanical measure for his 30BR. Each charge was then weighed twice with a Denver Instrument lab scale. Our tester found that thrown charges varied by up to 0.7 grains! And that’s with a premium measure.

4. Measure Your Loaded Ammo — After Bullet Seating
Even if you’ve checked your brass and bullets prior to assembling your ammo, we recommend that you weigh your loaded rounds and measure them from base of case to bullet ogive using a comparator. If you find a round that is “way off” in weight or more than .005″ off your intended base to ogive length, set it aside and use that round for a fouler. (Note: if the weight is off by more than 6 or 7 grains you may want to disassemble the round and check your powder charge.) With premium, pre-sorted bullets, we’ve found that we can keep 95% of loaded rounds within a range of .002″, measuring from base (of case) to ogive. Now, with some lots of bullets, you just can’t keep things within .002″, but you should still measure each loaded match round to ensure you don’t have some cases that are way too short or way too long.

Scope Ring5. Check Your Fasteners
Before a match you need to double-check your scope rings or iron sight mounts to ensure everything is tight. Likewise, you should check the tension on the screws/bolts that hold the action in place. Even with a low-recoiling rimfire rifle, action screws or scope rings can come loose during normal shooting.

6. Make a Checklist and Pack the Night Before
Ever drive 50 miles to a match then discover you have the wrong ammo or that you forgot your bolt? Well, mistakes like that happen to the best of us. You can avoid these oversights (and reduce stress at matches) by making a checklist of all the stuff you need. Organize your firearms, range kit, ammo box, and shooting accessories the night before the match. And, like a good Boy Scout, “be prepared”. Bring a jacket and hat if it might be cold. If you have windflags, bring them (even if you’re not sure the rules allow them). Bring spare batteries, and it’s wise to bring a spare rifle and ammo for it. If you have just one gun, a simple mechanical breakdown (such as a broken firing pin) can ruin your whole weekend.

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May 27th, 2021

RCBS Summit Reloading Press — Unique Design That Works

RCBS Summit Press trailer hitch Mark Lafevers accurateshooter.com

Gear Review by Mark LaFevers
RCBS Summit Press accurateshooter.comWith its innovative “moving die/static cartridge” design, the RCBS Summit Press definitely demonstrates “out of the box” thinking. Unlike other presses, the case does not move. Rather, the reloading die comes down to the case. We are happy to report that this unique “upside-down” reloading press works great.

We have tested the RCBS Summit Press in the workshop and in the field. We’ve now loaded hundreds of rounds with the press. It is smooth, solid, and easy to use. The spent primer ejection/capture system works great (our testers preferred the Summit’s simple, foolproof primer capture to the Rockchucker’s capture system). Most importantly, the Summit produces very straight ammo that gave excellent results on the target in actual matches.

We compared ammo loaded with the Summit with ammo loaded on an RCBS Rockchucker press. The Summit gave up nothing to the bigger press. Cartridge base-to-ogive measurements of Summit-loaded ammo were just as tight as with ammo loaded on the Rockchucker. Run-out, measured with a concentricity gauge, was the same or better (about .002 or less on bullet nose). Most importantly, the Summit loads accurate ammo. In fact, at one match, scores shot with Summit-loaded .284 Win ammo were actually better than scores shot (in the same gun) with ammo loaded on a Rockchucker:

Rockchucker .284 Win Loads (Day 1): 188-2X
Summit .284 Win Loads (Day 2): 192-5X

Despite its small footprint, the Summit is very stable — it doesn’t tip, wobble, or rock. The two front mounting bolts hold it firmly in place — the Summit doesn’t need a rear anchor. This, combined with the fact that the Summit has no overhang, makes this press ideal for a mobile application. For field use (at the range), our tester Mark LaFevers mounted the Summit press on a small platform secured to his trailer hitch (on top of a steel post). This set-up worked great, as you can see in the video below:

Watch Reloading (Sizing/Decapping, Expanding, Bullet Seating) with Summit Press

Photo shows Redding Micrometer Seating Die and .284 Win Cartridge
RCBS Summit Press trailer hitch Mark Lafevers accurateshooter.com

Mark tells us: “I think the Summit press worked out sweet mounted on the hitch pedestal. The receiver hitch pedestal I made will switch tools between a heavy barrel vise I made and the Summit press. Instead of securing the pedestal with a standard 5/8″ hitch pin, I drilled and tapped for 1/2″-13 bolt to draw the insert up tight against the receiver, eliminating wobble. For charging rounds, I bought 150 plastic test tubes with caps and racks so I can avoid weighing powder charges in the field, unless I want to make changes on the fly.”

The RCBS Summit Press features a rugged cast-iron frame with all-steel linkages. The press is very strong with minimal flex and slop. This allows you to “bump” your case shoulders and seat bullets with great precision and repeatability. The handle can be switched from right to left side (good for southpaws), and the open-front design provides good access, facilitating quick die changes*. The 4.5-inch opening allows you to work with tall cases. Beneath the shell-holder is a spent primer catcher (not shown in photos). The Summit press has a beefy 2-inch diameter ram, with compound linkages for plenty of leverage. A Zerk fitting is included for easy lubrication. The press will accept larger bushings for oversize 1-inch dies.

Summit Press Retails for $219.99
The RCBS Summit Press (RCBS item #09290) lists for $269.95. However, Midsouth currently has the Summit Press on SALE for $219.99. Yes it is IN STOCK and available. An optional short handle from RCBS costs $17.99 at MidwayUSA. ($19.95 MSRP).

RCBS Summit Press trailer hitch Mark Lafevers accurateshooter.com

This useful video explains the special features of the Summit press — ambidextrous handle, primer catcher, Zerk lube fitting — and shows the press operation.


*To permit his dies to be swapped from Rockchucker to Summit (and back again), with no locking ring adjustments, Mark LaFevers fabricated a new shell-holder base which positions the shell-holder .088″ higher relative to the Summit’s die port. This keeps Summit-mounted dies in the same position relative to the shell-holder as dies mounted in a Rockchucker. So, Mark can swap dies from his Rockchucker to his Summit and maintain exact COAL (when seating) and correct shoulder bump (when sizing). While Mark’s custom shell-holder base lets him swap dies quickly from one press to another, this is NOT a necessary modification. Most folks will simply re-set the locking rings.
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May 26th, 2021

Moly Bullet Coating — Wet Moly Application Method

urban rifleman online store, bag riders, Revolution stocks, Remington prefit barrels

Tech Report by B. Walker, owner of The Urban Rifleman LLC
I have been moly coating since I started shooting rifles nearly 26 years ago. I have always moly-coated my bullets. I figured if it was good enough for Walt Berger, it was good enough for me (Walt still moly coats his bullets to this day, if recent match pictures are any indication). I had always used the typical dry method (without the wax) and I had the same jar of moly (molybdenum disulfide) for many years.

I had tried all kinds of methods over the years. But then AccurateShooter Forum member “Bowfisher” sent me a message about moly-coating bullets using water. After his suggestion, I did several batches using the moly-in-the-water method. I was stunned with the great results. This Wet Moly method is the cleanest, easiest, and best coating method I have ever tried. I strongly believe Wet Moly should be the recommended method.

Traditional Dry Moly Coating Process is Dusty and Messy
Before I started the Wet Moly process, I always coated my bullets in small containers in my big Dillon tumbler. I would put the bullets in old EMPTY 1-lb powder containers and add the moly. I would place the powder containers in my big Dillon tumbler and tumble for at least three hours. I would then throw rice in with the bullets to soak up any excess moly dust and shine the bullets. Then I would shake out the rice using a lid with holes drilled in it. My coated stuff came out beautiful if I do say so myself even dry. However, there was always dust and moly mess (there was always some on my fingers when I would handle the bullets after). I only liked to doing coating in big batches to get it over with because it was a chore (by all means don’t get moly on the bottom of your shoes and track the carpet)!

Wet Moly Method — Tumbling in Bottles with Moly and Water

The new wet method entails adding water to the bullets during the tumble in the bottle, and it is way easier and cleaner. The final product is totally dust free and will not come off on your fingers as there is no dust or residue. I think they shoot better too, and the moly works as it is supposed to. I won’t get into the debates over the merits of moly. Some folks believe it works for them. This article is intended for those guys — it is not intended to convert handloaders who are happy with shooting uncoated bullets.

Editor: None other than John Whidden, Multi-Time National Long Range Champion, moly-coats his bullets. Whidden also uses a Wet Moly application method. He agrees that applying moly in a water solution delivers the best results, and doesn’t leave dusty residues.

Here is the basic outline of the Wet Moly application method. In addition to this outline, I created an instructional video that shows my entire process. [Editor: Definitely WATCH the video. It is important to see the post-tumbling rinsing and buffing processses.]

1. Use old 1-lb powder containers. Work over a sink. Add the bullets in reasonable batches to the containers (lets say 2-3 inches of bullets). I try to use use only enough water to cover the bullets and I use a little more moly than I used to with a dry application. I suggest using half a teaspoon of moly per two inches depth of bullets.

2. Tumble for four hours (at least). I tape the container lids shut before placing them in the tumbler. Then, simply place the powder container in your vibratory tumbler.

3. After the elapsed time, take the bottle to the sink and, dump contents into a plastic strainer. I use an old spaghetti strainer that I save just for moly. IMPORTANT: BE SURE you have a strainer that won’t let the bullets fall out! Stream water (from faucet) gently over the bullets to thoroughly clean excess residues off the bullets. Shake strainer to get all the water out. See video time 6:00-10:00.

urban rifleman online store, bag riders, Revolution stocks, Remington prefit barrels

4. Sift out the bullets onto a paper towel inside an old baking pan and shake to buff. Repeat until the bullets are completely dry and buffed to a high shine. The bullets are clean, dust-free and the moly is gorgeous! Leave for several days before storing or put them in your oven at about 130 degrees for 30 minutes to remove the last bit of any moisture. (WARNING: DO NOT use excessive oven heat or cook too long — set a timer!).

If you follow these instructions, the result should be the best moly coating you have ever seen!

urban rifleman online store, bag riders, Revolution stocks, Remington prefit barrels
Before and AFTER Wet Moly. Note how uniform the moly coating is on the bullets. The Wet Moly process also leaves a perfect glossy finish after rinsing and drying. And the bullets are totally dust-free! These are Sierra #1380 .224 69gr HPBT MatchKings.

urban rifleman online store, bag riders, Revolution stocks, Remington prefit barrelsBe sure to visit our online store at TheUrbanriflemanstore.com. We have a full compliment of front and rear bag riders for various rifles that we designed and produce in-house. We also stock Revolution laminated benchrest stocks, and we sell stainless steel Remington prefit barrels (which are getting rave reviews from customers). Also available are Wilson dies, Timney and Triggertech triggers, Berger and Sierra bullets, Magpul and Accuracy International chassis, and lots more.

urban rifleman online store, bag riders, Revolution stocks, Remington prefit barrels

urban rifleman online store, bag riders, Revolution stocks, Remington prefit barrels

Permalink Bullets, Brass, Ammo, News, Reloading, Tech Tip 2 Comments »
May 26th, 2021

Save Time and Bullets — Fire-Form with your Fouler Shots

Fire-forming fouler barrel life fouling shots

PPC Fire-formingFire-Form with Foulers
Here’s a tip for guys who shoot the 6 PPC, 6 Dasher, 6 BRA, .284 Shehane, or other wildcat cartridges that require fire-forming. Use your fouler shots to fire-form new cases. That way your fouler shots do “double-duty” and you get your brass fire-formed without putting extra rounds through your expensive barrel.

This procedure is recommended by Joel Kendrick, the 2004 IBS 600-yard Shooter of the Year. After he cleans his barrel, Joel knows it takes two or three shots to foul in the bore before accuracy returns. When shooting his PPC, Joel uses those fouler shots to fire-form his new brass. Joel explains: “I like to have relatively new brass always ready. By fire-forming a couple cases after each barrel-cleaning during a match, by the end of the weekend I’ve got a dozen or more freshly fire-formed cases to put into the rotation. If you do this with your fouler shots you get your fire-forming accomplished without using up any extra barrel life.”

This not only saves barrel wear, but it saves you trips to the range for the purpose of fire-forming. We thank Joel for this smart suggestion. For those who do not have a dedicated barrel for fire-forming, this should help keep your round-count down. Note: With this fouler fire-forming routine, you should ALWAYS do the fire-forming with the SAME POWDER you load for your match ammo. Joel currently works as the Supplier Quality Process Engineer for MMI-TruTec, a company that offers barrel surface coatings that can further extend your barrel life.

Permalink Bullets, Brass, Ammo, Reloading, Shooting Skills 2 Comments »
May 25th, 2021

Stick, Flake, and Ball — Do You Know Your Powder Properties?

Widener's Reloading Smokeless Powder propellant Guide

Widener’s Reloading & Shooting Supply recently published a helpful introduction to reloading powders. Widener’s online Guide to Smokeless Powders shows the various types of powders, and explains how the differences in powder kernel/flake size and shape, and burn rate affect performance. We recommend you visit Widener’s website and read the Powder Guide in full.

Take a close look at these illustrations which show the key differences between the four main powder types: extruded (stick) powder, ball (spherical) powder, flattened ball powder, and flake powder.

Widener's Reloading Smokeless Powder propellant Guide

Widener's Reloading Smokeless Powder propellant Guide

Widener's Reloading Smokeless Powder propellant Guide

Widener's Reloading Smokeless Powder propellant Guide

Burn Rate Basics

Widener’s Guide to Smokeless Powders also has a useful discussion of Burn Rate (a confusing topic for many hand-loaders). Wideners explains: “While a gun powder explosion in the cartridge seems instantaneous, if you slow it down you will actually find that each powder has a different ‘burn rate’, or speed at which it ignites.” This video shows powders with two very different burn rates. Watch closely.

Different burn rates suit different cartridge types notes Widener’s: “In general a fast-burning powder is used for light bullets and low-speed pistols and shotguns. Medium-rate powders are used for magnum pistols, while high-velocity, large bore rifle cartridges will need slow powders[.]

It should be noted that burn rate does not have a standardized unit of measurement. In fact, burn rate is really only discussed in comparison to other powders; there is no universal yardstick. Specifics will change by cartridge and bullet types[.]”

Permalink Bullets, Brass, Ammo, Reloading 1 Comment »
May 24th, 2021

Bargain Finder 296: AccurateShooter’s Deals of the Week

AccurateShooter Deals of the Week Weekly Bargain Finder Sale Discount Savings

At the request of our readers, we provide select “Deals of the Week”. Every Sunday afternoon or Monday morning we offer our Best Bargain selections. Here are some of the best deals on firearms, hardware, reloading components, optics, and shooting accessories. Be aware that sale prices are subject to change, and once clearance inventory is sold, it’s gone for good. You snooze you lose.

1. CDNN Sports — CANIK TP9SF 9MM Pistol + Holster, $449.99

CANIK TP9SF 9MM
Very good 9mm defensive pistol complete with holster and mag loader

Finding a 9mm handgun that’s well-made and cost-effective can be tough these days. If you’re in the market, check out the CANIK TP9SF 9MM kit. Owners have praised this pistol, saying it is accurate, reliable, and offers good balance/ergonomics. This $449.99 kit includes the pistol in hard case, PLUS carry holster, cleaning kit, and magazine loader. You’d spend $200 more for a Glock by itself with no holster.

2. Sportsman’s — Firman 4550/3650 Watt Generator, $349.99

generator sale
Recent powder outages show need to have a reliable home generator

If recent events have taught us anything, it’s that you need to be prepared for power outages. For an affordable, basic system, consider the FIRMAN 4550/3650 Watt Recoil Start Gas Generator. This provides 4550 startup watts and 3650 running watts. That should be more than enough to run the necessities until power is restored. This unit also features a patriotic Stars and Stripes color scheme.

3. MidwayUSA — Pelican Vault V800 Case, $134.65 Black

“pelican
Very good deal on excellent, large wheeled hard case

This is one of the best large, hardshell rifle cases on the market. The Pelican Vault V800 offers 53″ x 16″ internal capacity — big enough for long match rifles. The V800 compares well to other large, wheeled hard cases costing up to $320.00 but right now, the black V800 is just $134.65 at MidwayUSA, a truly great price NOTE: You must add to MidwayUSA Shopping Cart to see this super-low clearance price. For the tan version V800, the best deal we found was $164.75 on Amazon, still a bargain. This case will hold two large match rifles securely. It features five layers of customizable foam, along with six push-button latches.

4. MidwayUSA — Pro Series Gen 2 Comp Shooting Mat, $69.99

MidwayUSA Pro Series Gen 2 Competition Shooting Mat
Large, comfortable, padded shooting mat — save 30%

Shooting well requires good body position and reasonable comfort. You can’t shoot well prone if you don’t have a good mat. One of our favorite mats is the MidwayUSA Pro Series Gen 2 Competition Shooting Mat. This mat boasts welcome extra padding for your knees and elbows and it is oversized to make sure you’re protected from rocks, gravel and ground debris. This mat rolls up nicely for convenient carry.

5. Natchez — Spring Optics Sale Simmons Tasco up to 52% off

optics sale
Some excellent deals on hunting optics and binoculars

If you’re in the market for a new scope for recent rifle build or if you need a spotting scope to help at the range, check out the Spring Optics Sale at Natchez. You’ll find a wide selection of Tasco and Simmons scopes, sights, binoculars and spotters all at amazingly low prices up to 52% off.

6. Midsouth — LEE Deluxe APP Press, $84.99

lee app press
Unique new Lee App vertical feed press good for repetitive processes

Ever found yourself wanting a dedicated press for repetitive processes such as decapping (spent primer removal) or primer pocket swaging, but you don’t want to buy a costly, conventional cast-iron press. Then consider the innovative Deluxe APP (Automatic Processing Press) Reloading Press. With the ability to mount your dies either on the top or bottom, this press offers unique versatility. The LEE Deluxe APP also offers a vertical feed function for cases or bullets.

7. Midsouth — RCBS Automatic Priming Tool, $110.18

rcbs priming tool
Strong priming tool saves hand fatigue and mounts to bench

There are some great hand-held priming tools on the market but some people have aching hands and need a bench-mounted priming tool. If you want to upgrade to a bench unit, check out the RCBS Auto Priming Tool which features both large and small primer tubes.

As you can see in the video, this unit employs a unique single lever design that allows for good feel and plus positive seating. The vertical tubes feed one primer at a time via a tilting tube-holder.

8. Amazon — Kestrel 1000 Windmeter, $74.00

kestrel 1000 windmeter
Basic Kestrel unit under $74.00 — reliable and accurate

Reading wind is critical for successful shooting and the Kestrel 1000 windmeter is probably the best way to do it for under $100. At only $74.00, this Kestrel 1000 features a 3-button control system and large LCD display. The unit measures current, average, and peak wind speed values quickly and accurately in mph, km/h, feet/min, m/s, or knots.

9. Amazon — Giottos Large Rocket Blaster Air Duster, $16.99

air blaster
Clean scope lenses without risking damage, kit has air blower + scope brush

We recently witnessed the shattering of the front lens of an expensive scope when that warm lens was sprayed with cold, compressed air from an aerosol cleaning can. Instant lens fracture. A great alternative to compressed air is the Giottos Large Rocket Blaster Air Duster. Coming from the camera industry, this manually-operated air duster creates a strong blast of ambient-temp air with a single squeeze. This air unit is safe for all optics. The best part is there’s nothing to run out — just squeeze and go. There is also an $18.99 kit with a RED version of the Air Duster. That may be easier to spot in your range bag or tool box.

Permalink Bullets, Brass, Ammo, Handguns, Hot Deals, Optics, Reloading No Comments »
May 23rd, 2021

SunDay Gunday: CMP 4-Gun Aggregate Champion Brian Williams

Brian Williams M1 Garand M1903 springfield .30-06 M1 Carbine CMP Modern Military 4-Gun 3-Gun

Brian Williams is one of the top CMP match shooters in the nation. At the recent 2021 CMP Eastern Games, Brian won both the 3-Gun and 4-Gun Aggregates. He also won the 4-Gun at the CMP National Matches in Camp Perry three years in a row — the inaugural 2017 4-Gun Agg, plus 2018 and 2019. Due to COVID, there were no CMP Camp Perry National Matches in 2020. Brian noted: “We will never know what may have happened in 2020, but I will be there in Ohio in 2021 to defend the 4-Gun title.”

Brian Williams M1 Garand M1903 springfield .30-06 M1 Carbine CMP Modern Military 4-Gun 3-Gun

Given his remarkable, consecutive “three-peat” in the CMP 4-Gun Aggregate at Camp Perry, it cannot be questioned that Brian is the leading CMP 4-Gunner in the nation. In this article, Brian provides perspectives on the “Wood Gun” game, with suggestions on how to improve your performance with the M1 Garand, M1903 Springfield, M1917 Enfield, M1 Carbine, and other 20th Century military rifles. While Brian also shoots his AR15 for the 4-Gun, today’s article focuses on his favorite firearms — his classic “Wood Rifles”.

VIDEO Showcase — Brian Williams Shoots M1903A3 Prone in May 2021

The Classic Wood Guns of CMP 4-Gun Competition

Perspectives on M1 Garand, M1903A3, M1917, and M1 Carbine
Q: What should one look for when acquiring older rifles for CMP 4-Gun Games — M1 Garand, M1903/1903A3, M1917, M1 Carbine? What are realistic budgets for these firearms? What kind of accuracy can one expect? What upgrades are important?

Brian: All of these military surplus rifles are out there, but they are getting harder to get your hands on. And, just like everything else, the prices continue to rise. Not that long ago you could get your hands on a M1 Garand for four or five hundred dollars. In today’s market they are usually about double that price. But understand that these rifles are all unique and all have a story to tell. No two are alike, or have the same story. Just like the guns themselves, there are fewer and fewer dedicated gunsmiths for these vintage rifles. But I promise if you look for a good smith, they are out there and they are some of the most interesting people you will ever meet.

M1 Garand — Of the four (4) centerfire guns I shoot in the CMP games, my favorite has to be the M1 Garand. There were over 6 million of them produced in a very short time period, and every single one has its own unique story, and that is just cool. M1 Garands are capable of good accuracy. I believe that a well-maintained M1 with at least a replacement barrel is capable of shooting between 1 and 1.5 MOA.

Brian Williams M1 Carbine CMP Modern Military 4-Gun 3-Gun

M1903A3 Springfield — I find that the sights on a M1903A3 are a little easier to see than the sights of the M1903, but both are very accurate rifles. Like most military rifles in the current climate the prices have risen dramatically, but there are some gems out there that can be had for far less than $1000. The nice thing about the Springfield rifle is that almost all of the accuracy than you would want can come from just replacing a worn out 80-year-old barrel. In terms of accuracy, I think a good M1903A3 can shoot 1 MOA most of the time.

Brian Williams M1 Carbine CMP Modern Military 4-Gun 3-Gun

M1917 Enfield — This rifle is the newest of my collection and it shoots very well, with just a new Criterion barrel — again about 1 MOA with iron sights. These rifles are very close in price to the M1903 Springfield. But if you do your homework and keep your eyes open, there are always great deals to be found. I actually prefer shooting the M1917 to my M1903A3, due primarily to the M1917’s cock-on-close bolt which allows smoother cycling.

M1 Carbine — By 1945 there had been more M1 Carbines built than Garands. Today the Carbine can be harder to find, and due to the scarcity the price has shot up and most military M1 Carbines are going for more than $1000 at this point. The great thing about the M1 Carbine is that as long as you have a good ammo supply this rifle can shoot. Honest. I have had countless numbers of people that tell me that there is not an M1 carbine that will shoot. I can tell you from experience that they will, but you are going to have to put in some time with one to learn how to get it to shoot where you want it.

Brian Williams M1 Carbine CMP Modern Military 4-Gun 3-Gun
The M1 Carbine shoots the .30 Carbine round, with 110gr bullet going about 1990 FPS. In comparison, the .30-06 Springfield round used in the M1 Garand is almost three times more powerful than the .30 Carbine.

Reloading for .30-06 Springfield Rifles

Brian Williams M1 Carbine CMP Modern Military 4-Gun 3-Gun

Tech Report by Brian Williams
Reloading for a military surplus gun as different than loading for a modern precision rifle in my opinion. There are a few tasks that care over from one to the other, but the main goal is slightly different. The Target that is being shot in the CMP games matches has a rather generous 10 ring, and with a little larger target you focus needs to change from a round with ultra accuracy to a round that is safe and functions well in your particular rifle.

Brian Williams M1 Carbine CMP Modern Military 4-Gun 3-GunBullet Selection — With the .30-06 for my Garands and Springfields I stick mostly with 168gr bullets plus some 155-grainers. These bullet weights have just worked for me in the past.

Cartridge Brass (Milsurp vs. Commercial) — I use both military and commercial brass, having success with each. I do prefer commercial brass as it is easier to prep for the first reload. Military brass usually has a primer crimp of some kind that needs to be removed, and I have found that trimming these cases can sometimes leave you scratching your head as the OAL on military cases varies considerably.

Brian Williams M1 Carbine CMP Modern Military 4-Gun 3-GunPower Charge and Dispensing — I have always had good success with Hodgdon H4895 powder. My load has always been right around 47.0 grains, with both the 168gr and 155gr bullets. I also use the Auto-Trickler to drop all of my powder charges. This is a fantastic piece of equipment that not only gives super-consistent powder charges quickly, but it also makes one less thing that you have to worry about while on the firing line. With the Auto-Trickler, there is never a question about the powder charge in your ammo. As for primers, I have been shooting CCI 200 Large Rifle primers for many years and have never had an issue.

Case Care and Trimming — With most of the .30-06 brass that I use, I will only reload them 5 times maximum. I don’t push the brass too much, because the Garand’s semi-auto cycling can be tough on the cases. I also trim my cases for OAL each reload cycle. I use a Giraud power trimmer, so trimming is relatively quick and easy.

The chambers in some of the older rifles are not perfectly-machined like a modern high-end rifle. This can cause the brass to grow a little inconsistently, so I find trimming every load cycle helps to make sure that everything stays in a nice safe spec.

Case Annealing — A few years ago I started to anneal my .223 Rem service rifle brass. Now I have added that process for all my match ammunition. I anneal after every firing. It is a rather easy step as I can have my auto-feeding Annealeez machine running while doing something else, so annealing does not add a great deal of time or effort to the reloading process.

.30-06 Springfield .308 Winchester
The .30-06 case was the father of the .308 Winchester, which was adopted as the 7.62×51 NATO cartridge. Brian has another Garand chambered in .308 Win which he shoots in Service Rifle Class in the President’s Match and NTI Match at Camp Perry.

Perspective on CMP 4-Gun (and 3-Gun) Aggregate Competition

Since the CMP’s introduction of the 4-Gun Aggregate in 2017, combining three classic wood rifles with the modern AR15-platform guns, Brian has lead the field, winning the 4-Gun at every National Match cycle held so far by the CMP at Camp Perry. Brian has also dominated in the 3-Gun Aggregate which includes the three older wood rifles.

Q. What’s the most fun/satisfying thing about shooting CMP 4-Gun Aggs?

Brian: The 4-Gun Agg takes place over several days, and is usually decided by a very thin margin of victory. Making sure that you are prepared for all four rifles and keeping focus through several days of competition is very difficult. There is a great sense of accomplishment when you are able to perform well for the entire aggregate.

Q. Do you like shooting the wood rifles more or the AR in Modern Military?

Brian: No question that the wood rifles are my favorite. A steel rifle, with a beautiful wood stock (see above), firing the .30-06 Springfield, is “where it is all at” in my opinion.

Q. What is the best approach to shooting these older Wood Guns?

Brian: One of the things that I struggled with shooting the “wood guns” is that it is so easy to tell yourself that its the rifle and not your bad habits or poor position. “The rifle is far older than I am it must just not be a shooter”. In order to be successful with these rifles you have to be honest with yourself. Only then will you improve.

Brian Williams M1 Carbine CMP Modern Military 4-Gun 3-Gun

Q. If you could change any CMP 4-Gun course of fire, or revise aspects of the CMP 4-Gun discipline, what would you modify/alter?

Brian: There is always conversation around changing the course of fire, target dimensions, or putting certain rifles into different classes. I like the fact that I have to adapt myself to fit the current discipline. I would surely not want to make it any easier. I feel like that would decrease some of the satisfaction that I get from competing well.

Q: What are your key gear items and shooting accessories?

Brian: A good shooting coat has been very important for me. I currently use a Creedmoor Hardback Cordura Leather Coat. I also think that a good rifle sling is very important. For the last couple of years I have been using a Eric Hollis National Match leather sling and love it. I own a ShotMarker e-Target system and I think it’s one of the best training tools that I own. It just makes it so easy to shoot, capture information, and then be able to recall that information later and use it to improve.

The Mental Game — How to Become a Better Marksman

Q. What is your pre-match routine (mental/physical match prep)?

Brian: I try not to do anything different on match day that I would do any other day. I am a coffee drinker and drink just as much on match day as I do on any work day. This game is very mental, and I find that treating match day just like any other day helps me to control stress and anxiety.

Q. If you could do it all over from the beginning, how would you change your training/practicing processes?

Brian Williams M1 Carbine CMP Modern Military 4-Gun 3-GunBrian: I have learned that practice makes me better, but just sending rounds down range is not that beneficial to me. Some of the biggest improvements I have made have come from practice sessions where I did not fire very many rounds. Working through the shot process, being honest with myself, and evaluating what needs to happen to get the desired outcome.

Q. Most guys will never achieve what you’ve done in Marksmanship, i.e. win multiple multi-gun titles. What are the other positive things people can get from the sport, beyond trophies and glory?

Brian: This is an easy one — this sport is full of the most genuine, thoughtful, and helpful people out there. I have friendships with people that I only see a couple times per year… yet when we see each other it’s like we had just gotten together last week. This does not just apply to fellow competitors, but also to the folks who run matches, to those who supply gear, even to spouses of competitors who’ve fed me more times than I can remember.

Brian Williams M1 Garand M1903 springfield .30-06 M1 Carbine CMP Modern Military 4-Gun 3-Gun

Brian “Carbine” Williams, King of Wood Guns
Commentary by Dennis Santiago
When it comes to CMP Games competition, Brian Williams presently dominates the multi-gun field. I first met Brian at the so-called Michigan Embassy at Camp Perry, a makeshift compound of tables, pop ups and lawn chairs where competitors gather at the end of the shooting day to exchange stories. It’s a “who’s who” gathering of High Power personalities exchanging tall tales. In this prestigious crowd, Brian Williams is “King of Wood Guns”, his mastery of the GSMM (Garand, Springfield, Modern Military) Four-Gun Aggregate renown to all. Yet he is as humble a champion you can ever hope to spend time with.

I discovered that Brian and I share a mutual love of the U.S. .30 Caliber M1 Carbine, a rifle many other shooters don’t give a second thought. But we believe in the potential of the little gun. We know that when driven right, the joy of collecting gold achievement pins with it. I’ve enjoyed trading notes with Brian about how to make it shoot better to turn in scores in the high 360s to mid-370s out of a possible 400. In this regard, I assure you Brian is again the guy who will shoot the 400 possible on any given day. He truly deserves the moniker “Carbine” Williams.

Marksmanship Journey — from Novice to CMP 4-Gun Champion

I started shooting High Power rifle in 2007 with an iron sights AR15 A2. Most of the local shooting clubs are reduced course, so for the first couple of years I only shot reduced course of fire at 100 and 200 yards. In 2010 I shot my first match at the full distance of 200, 300, 600 yards, and was introduced to the Distinguished rifleman program. At that point I decided set a goal to “go distinguished”. In 2011, I made the trip to Camp Perry and was able to shoot in the M16 EIC match and thereby earn my first four introductory leg points. The day of the match went very well for me. Not only did I earn the points, but I won the match, and set a new National Record with the win. Over the rest of that season and the beginning of 2012 I was able to collect enough points to make my goal of going Distinguished.

Over the following years I continued to shoot a service rifle, first with iron sights and then with a scope when the rules changed. I enjoyed every bit of shooting the AR15. In 2014 I started to get into the CMP Games guns, with the M1 Garand and M1 Carbine. I enjoyed these two rifles so much that I decided that I should get a M1903 Springfield and I should also get a rifle to shoot in the vintage military rifle matches. For that I ordered a K-31 Swiss rifle.

In 2017 the CMP introduced a 4-Gun Aggregate award at the National Matches. This Aggregate would include the Garand, Springfield, Vintage rifle, and the new Modern Military rifle (non-scoped service rifle). For the first year of the 4-Gun Agg, I spent a good deal of time preparing for these matches in the months leading up to Nationals. Well that time was well spent as I did win the 4-Gun Aggregate. At this point in my shooting career I had gone Distinguished, made the President’s 100, and had achieved a classification of High Master, but the 4-gun Agg was the thing I was most proud of. I enjoy shooting these older rifles because they had such an impact on the world in which we live today. The M1 Garand played a key role in WW II, and the M1903 Springfield has been carrying out its job for over 100 years.

Brian Williams M1 Carbine CMP Modern Military 4-Gun 3-Gun

Mix that in with the fact that all of the competitors in the CMP Games matches are some of the finest people that I have ever surrounded myself with. Great guns and great people, who could ask for more?

In 2018 I campaigned a .308 Win-chambered Garand across the course in the President’s Match and the National Trophy Match at Camp Perry. Again I spend a good deal of time shooting the Garand for the months leading up to Nationals, and was able to be the high shooter with the Garand in both matches for 2018 and 2019. But I never took my eye off the 4-Gun, and was able to win it in 2018, and 2019, as well as the inaugural year of 2017.

Rimfire Sporter — Brian’s Fifth Gun
Along with his centerfire rifles, Brian Williams likes to shoot in CMP Rimfire Sporter matches. In fact, he won the Rimfire Sporter Match “O” Class (Iron Sights) at the 2021 CMP Eastern Games. Shown below is his Czech-made .22 LR CZ 452 Ultra Lux bolt-action rifle.

Brian Williams M1 Carbine CMP Modern Military 4-Gun 3-Gun

Q: How do you like Rimfire Sporter? Do you have to adjust your technique for rimfire vs. centerfire?

Brian: Most of the fundamentals will transfer from centerfire guns to the rim fire guns, the biggest difference is in the course of fire for the match. The Rimfire course of fire includes a slow-fire seated stage, and a rapid-fire standing stage, both of these stages are unique to the Rimfire Sporter game. I enjoy this discipline, but due to the scheduling of the Rimfire Sporter match at Nationals I have not yet shot this event at Camp Perry. I did do well in this event at both the Eastern CMP Games and New England CMP Games.

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May 21st, 2021

The Shooter’s Bible — Biggest-Selling Gun Book Ever

Shooters Bible Book 112th edition October 2020 2021 most popular

Q: What is the most popular gun book in the history of the planet?

A: That distinction goes to the Shooter’s Bible, which has sold over 7 MILLION copies since it was first published over 80 years ago.

Released in October 2020, the 112th Edition of this respected resource is bigger and better than ever. This latest Shooter’s Bible boasts 608 pages with 275 color photos and more than 1000 black-and-white photos. The new 112th Edition features many new firearms as well as new optics.

Published annually for more than eighty years, the Shooter’s Bible is one of the most comprehensive firearms reference guides in print. The publishers claim that “nearly every firearms manufacturer in the world” is included. The 112th Edition also contains new and/or enhanced sections on ammunition, optics, and accessories, along with updated handgun and rifle ballistic tables. There are also extensive charts of currently available hunting and match bullets for hand-loaders.

While many shooters are now using the internet to get reloading data and equipment specifications, the Shooter’s Bible remains a valuable resource with a great legacy. As one recent Shooter’s Bible purchaser explains: “While it’s true that much of the information contained in the Shooter’s Bible can be found on the Internet, there are many of us who would first rather relax in our easy chair and page through the book at our leisure. If you find an item that catches your fancy, you can then follow up by going to their Web site.”

Another buyer observed: “This latest edition is proof that, even with all the attacks on our 2nd Amendment right over the years, the industry has persevered and grown. I hope the day never comes when there will no longer be a reason to publish the Shooter’s Bible.”

Sample Page from Shooter’s Bible, 112th Edition
Here is a sample product description page from the Shooter’s Bible. Hundreds of firearms are listed with specifications and photos. Products from nearly all commercial gun makers on the planet are included.

Shooters Bible Book 110th edition October 2018 most popular

More Great Gun Books From Shooter’s Bible Publishers

Here are three other books from the publishers of the Shooter’s Bible that you may want to add to your library: Guide to Cartridges; Gun Trader’s Guide; and Guide to Firearms Assembly, Disassembly & Cleaning. These are all available in softback print and Kindle (digital) editions:

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