September 25th, 2020

Reloading Can Be Fun … and a Stress-Reliever

Sierra Bullets Blog handloading stress relief

by Sierra Bullets Ballistic Technician Philip Mahin for Sierra Bullets Blog
A lot of calls that come into the Sierra Customer Service Center are made by shooters [of retirement age]. Most of the time the shooter used to reload back when they were [younger] and stopped in order to raise a family, pursue a career, or both. Maybe their father or grandfather taught them back in the day and they are looking for an answer to the new whatchamacallit they found on the internet. The point is they are coming back to it because it was fun.

Reloading Can Provide Stress Relief
As a father of three, a husband, a brother, a son and son-in-law, and a friend and neighbor, I get pulled in a lot of directions. In all honesty, reloading and shooting has become a stress relief for me even though I work in the shooting industry.

Sometimes, the shooting gets put on hold for other more important things but there will always be another project or repair to accomplish. There are a lot out there that have found a way to balance the work life, the family life, and the play life. I would like to applaud you on your efforts because it is a hard thing to accomplish.

Remember to take time and relieve that stress. Do something fun, especially if it is shooting that special hand-load you just made.

AccurateShooter Comment — Hand-Loading and the Creative Process
Reloading your own precise ammo can be rewarding in many ways. First it allows you a temporary escape from work pressures, “Honey-Dos”, filing your taxes — whatever. It’s just you and Mr. Rockchucker spending quality time in the loading room. Second, hand-loading is a creative process that engages the mind. During load development, you are like an inventor, selecting a powder charge, choosing the bushing size, experimenting with seating depths, working to perfect your load.

Lastly, the process of hand-loading is rewarding because you are building something start to finish. You begin with components — bullets, brass, and powder, and end up with a finished product that (hopefully) is better than the best factory ammo you could buy. It is enormously satisfying to start with piles of bullets and brass and end up with beautiful hand-loads that can deliver great accuracy.

This post originally appeared in the Sierra Bullets Blog.

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September 24th, 2020

Case Diagnostics — How to Find Defects in Cartridge Brass

Case Diagnostics 101 Sierra Bullets .223 Rem 5.56 brass cartridge safety

Ever wondered what caused a particular bulge or marking on a case? And more importantly, does the issue make the case unsafe for further use? Sierra Bullets Ballistic Technician Duane Siercks offers some insight into various issues and their causes in two Case Diagnostic articles from the Sierra Blog.

Incipient Case-Head Separation
This is a Winchester .308 Win case that has a real issue. This case has a very obvious incipient case head separation in the process of becoming a complete failure.

Sierra Case reloading pressure safety inspection

This is most commonly caused by over-sizing the case causing there to be excess headspace on the case. After a few firings and subsequent re-sizing, this case is just about ready to come completely apart. Proper die adjustment is certainly a requirement here. Of course this case is not safe to reuse.

Excessive Pressure (Load Too Hot)
If you will notice in the picture of the case rim, there are two pressure signs to notice. First, look at the primer. It is basically flattened to about the max of what could be considered safe. If this was the only pressure sign noted, I would probably be fine with this load, but would constantly keep an eye on it especially if I was going to use this load in warmer temperatures. This load could easily cross into the “excess pressure” realm very quickly.

Sierra Case reloading pressure safety inspection

There is another sign of pressure that we cannot ignore. If you’ll notice, there is an ejector mark apparent that is located over the “R” of the R-P headstamp. This absolutely tells us that this load would not have been in the safe pressure range. If there were any of these rounds loaded, they should not be fired and should be dis-assembled. This case should not be reloaded.

Split Case-Neck
Here we have an R-P .22-250 case that has died the death. Everything looks fine with this case except the neck is split. This case must be tossed.

Sierra Case reloading pressure safety inspection

A split neck is a normal occurrence that you must watch for. It is caused by work-hardening of the brass. Brass cases get harder with age and use. Brand new cases that are stored for a period of time can become hard enough that they will split like this case within one to two firings. I have had new factory loads do the same thing. Then as we resize and fire these cases repeatedly, they tend to get harder and harder. Eventually they will split. The life of the case can be extended by careful annealing practices. This is an issue that would need to be addressed in an article by itself. Of course this case is no longer usable.

In the classes that I teach, I try to use examples like this to let the students see what they should be looking for. As always, if we can assist you, whether you are new to reloading or very experienced, contact us here at Sierra Bullets by phone at 1-800-223-8799 or by email at sierra@sierrabullets.com.

Dented Case Body
Here we have a Lake City 7.62×51 (.308 Win.) case with two heavy marks/dents in the case body.

Sierra Case reloading pressure safety inspection

This one may be a bit of a mystery. It appears as if this case may have been caught in the action of a semi-auto rifle when the firearm jammed or the case failed to clear during the cycling process. I probably would not reload this case just to prevent any feeding problems. This also appeared to be a factory loaded round and I don’t really see any pressure issues or damage to the case.

Multiple Problems — Lake City 5.56×45 unknown year.

Sierra Case reloading pressure safety inspection

This case has suffered multiple failures and cannot be re-used. First its has have a very rounded shoulder that is split. Upon first look it was obvious that this round had been a victim of excess pressure. The firearm (perhaps an AR?) was apparently not in full battery, or there was possibly a headspace issue also. While taking a closer look, the primer was very flat and the outside radius of the primer cup had been lost. High pressure! Then I also noticed that there was an ejector mark on the case rim. This is most certainly an incident of excessive pressure. This case is ruined and should be discarded.

CLICK HERE for MORE .223 Rem Case Examples in Sierra Blog

To see more examples, view both Part I and Part II of the Case Diagnostics from Sierra Bullets:

» Reloading 101: Case Diagnostics Part I
» Reloading 101: Case Diagnostics Part II

It is very important to observe and inspect your cases before each reloading. After awhile it becomes second nature to notice the little things. Never get complacent as you become more familiar with the reloading process. If ever in doubt, call Sierra’s Techs at 1-800-223-8799.

Sierra Bullets Case Diagnostics Blog

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September 23rd, 2020

Get Hodgdon and IMR Loads from Reloading Data Center

Hodgdon Reloading data Center hand loading powder

Hodgdon Reloading data Center hand loading powderLooking for a good load for a new rifle? Or perhaps you want to try a new powder and bullet combo for an existing rig. One of the best places to start for load data is Hodgdon’s online Reloading Data Center for pistol, rifle, and shotgun reloaders. Check out the Reloading Data Center at www.HodgdonReloading.com.

In the Data Center, you’ll find thousands of load recipes for pistol, rifle, and shotgun. Rifle shooters will find dozens of loads for their favorite Hodgdon, IMR, and Winchester powders such as H4198, H4895, Varget, H4350, and IMR 8208 XBR. And Hodgdon’s Reloading Center is “mobile-friendly” so it works well with smartphones and tables. Navigation is easy, and you can set the search criteria easily choosing your favorite powder or bullets. After choosing a cartridge, you can pre-select specific bullet weights and powder types. That quickly delivers just the information you want and need. You won’t have to scroll through scores of entries for bullets or powders you don’t use.

Hodgdon Reloading data Center hand loading powder

Mobile users will notice that the current Hodgdon Reloading Center is much more “user-friendly” for smart-phone and tablet users. Controls have been optimized for touch-screens, and buttons are large and easy to use. Likewise the results are displayed in a large, easy-to read format.

How to Get Started with Handloading

Getting started in Reloading? Ultimate Reloader offers a helpful introductory video that covers the basics. In addition, a recent Ultimate Reloader article reviews the types of reloading presses, plus the other gear you’ll need, from dies to powder dispensers.

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September 21st, 2020

For Smoother Bullet Seating — The Dry Lube Option

Forster original caseneck case neck brass dry mica lube lubricator system

If you want smoother bullet seating, inside neck lube can help. Forum member Ackleyman II likes to add a little Mica powder inside his case necks before seating bullets. This is easily done with the Forster three-brush neck lube kit. Ackleyman tells us: “Many loads that I have will not shoot well with a dry neck compared to a neck that is cleaned and lubed with this [Forster Dry Lubricator] — the best $15 you have ever spent.”

The Forster Case Neck Lubricator features three brushes attached to a tough, impact-resistant case with holes for bench mounting. The brushes accommodate all calibers from 22 to 35 caliber. The kit includes enough “motor mica” to process 2000 to 3000 cases and has a cover to keep dust and grit from contaminating the mica. By moving the case neck up and down on the correct mica-covered brush, the neck can be cleaned and lubricated at the same time.

Function: Lubricate case necks for easier resizing
Contents: Kit with base, lid, and three nylon brushes
Lubricant: Includes 1/10 oz. of Motor Mica, enough to process 2000-3000 cases

Neck Lubrication After Ultrasonic Cleaning
If you wet-tumble your cases with stainless media and solvents or ultrasonically clean your brass, you may find that the inside of the case necks get too “squeaky clean”. The inside surface of the neck looses lubricity. In this situation, applying a dry lube can definitely be beneficial. CLICK HERE to see story about ultrasonic cleaning.

Ultrasonic Brass Cleaning

ultrasonic brass cleaning neck lubricant moly dry lube

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September 20th, 2020

Forster Co-Ax Press Features Showcased in Video

Forster Co-Ax Coax Reloading Press Grafs Grafs.com Sale Co-Axial rockchucker

In recent years, Forster Co-Ax® presses have been somewhat hard to find, as demand has out-stripped supply. However, right now Midsouth Shooters has Co-Ax presses in stock for $349.99. This price includes a set of jaws. The Co-Ax Single Stage Press accepts any standard 7/8″ X 14 reloading die, but Forster suggests using Forster Cross Bolt Lock Rings for best results. As the Co-Ax is back-ordered at most vendors, you may want to order soon.

If you are not yet familiar with the many unique features of the Forster Co-Ax, we recommend you watch the video embedded below. This shows how the press operates and highlights the design elements which set the Co-Ax apart from every other reloading press on the market.

Video Shows Special Features of Forster Co-Ax Reloading Press

Forster Co-Ax Press Video Review
This is a very thorough review of the Forster Co-Ax done by Rex Roach. This 14-minute video shows the key Co-Ax features, explaining how the floating case-holder jaws work (3:30 time-mark), how the dies are held in place (4:40 time-mark), how spent primers are captured (6:10 time-mark), and how to set the primer seating depth (10:00 time-mark). We’ve used a Co-Ax for years and we still learned a few new things by watching this detailed video. If you are considering purchasing a Co-Ax, definitely watch this video start to finish.

Forster Co-Ax Coax Reloading Press Grafs Grafs.com Sale Co-Axial rockchucker

The Co-Ax case-holder features spring-loaded, floating jaws. These jaws have two sets of openings, small and large. This allows the system to adapt to various rim diameters. The jaw plates can simply be reversed to switch from small jaw to large jaw. In the photo above, the Co-Ax is configured with the large jaw openings in the center.

Photos are screen shots from Forster Co-Ax Review by Rex Roach on YouTube.

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September 16th, 2020

Lyman Offers Updated Reloading Manual for AR-Platform Rifles

AR ar15 ar10 reload reloading data handbook book volume second 2d 2nd edition amazon lyman

Lyman has just released an expanded, updated Second Edition of its AR Reloading Handbook. The original handbook was the first reloading manual dedicated exclusively to the most popular semi-auto rifle in the USA. The Second Edition of this comprehensive Lyman AR Reloading Handbook has been updated to include more cartridge types and significantly more load data. This provides AR shooters with reloading info for the vast majority of popular chamberings used in AR-platform firearms. GET BOOK HERE.

Reloaders will appreciate the extensive pressure-tested data covering a very wide selection of bullet types and powder types. The Second Edition provided data for newer cartridges such as the .224 Valkyrie, .22 Nosler, .24 Nosler, 350 Legend, as well as sub-sonic data. In addition, articles by well-known authorities are included, covering topics such as “Building An AR” and “AR15 Gas System Lengths”. This book is available right now direct from Lyman and will soon be avialable through Amazon.

Features of Lyman AR Reloading Handbook (Second Edition)
— Reloading data for popular AR-platform cartridge types, including the .223 Rem, .224 Valkyrie, 6.8 Rem, .300 AAC, 7.62×39, 350 Legend, 450 Bushmaster, .50 Beowulf and more.
— Many informative articles on specialty topics such as Reloading for Suppressors and Building ARs.
— Load Data covers all major brands of bullets and powders.
— Load Data for cast bullet data and sub-sonic loads.

AR ar15 ar10 reload reloading data handbook book volume second 2d 2nd edition amazon lyman

AR-Platform Insights — Operation and Maintenance Tips
Here are two helpful videos for AR owners. The first uses 3D computer animation to show how AR-platform rifles work — from the inside. The Cutaway views show the operation of the gas system and bolt while cycling. The second video, by legendary competitive shooter Jerry Miculek, provide helpful guidance on AR disassembly and maintenance.

Book publishing tip from EdLongRange. We welcome reader submissions.
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September 14th, 2020

Bargain Finder 260: 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. MidwayUSA — Vortex Viper Scope Scale, under $300

vortex riflescope scope optics Viper sale 30% off
Huge discounts on Vortex Vipers with lifetime warranty

Need a scope for that hunting rifle or varmint rig? Here are two great deals on quality Vortex Viper scopes. For a deer rifle choose the 2.5-10x44mm Viper HS scope priced at just $249.99 — a 39% savings. This scope weighs just 16.5 ounces — that’s important on a hunting rig you’ll carry all day long. For varminting duties, where you need more magnification, there’s a 6.5-20x44mm Vortex Viper on sale for just $299.99, that’s 30% off. Either way you get a good scope with superb Vortex lifetime warranty for under $300.00.

2. Bullet Central — Berger Bullets in Stock

Berger bullets
Good prices on high-demand target bullets from Berger

With concerns over social disorder, reloading components have been harder to find. For you match shooters looking for quality bullets, head over to BulletCentral.com. There you’ll find a large selection of Berger target bullets in stock. Not only does Bullet Central has a large supply of Berger bullets, but the prices are about as low as you can find now. That’s a win-win.

3. Sportsman’s Warehouse — Winchester SXP Shotgun, $354.99

winchester sxp shotgun sale
Exceptional value in game shotgun 12ga or 20ga

Who doesn’t love a good waterfowl hunt? It’s a great outdoor escape that can put food on the table. Right now Sportsman’s Warehouse is offering a quality waterfowl shotgun at a great price. The Winchester SXP Waterfowl Hybrid Hunter in 12ga or 20ga is on sale now for just $354.99. These well-made, 3-1/2″-shell-capable shotguns feature an ultra-tough Mossy Oak and Permacote protective finish.

4. Midsouth Shooters — Lyman WiFi Borecam PRO, $247.69

lyman borecam pro
Wireless photos and videos, good controls, USB Charging

In the quest for better borescope performance, manufacturers are improving their electro-optics offerings. At the forefront is Lyman, the company that pioneered the affordable, digital borecam. Lyman has released its new Borecam PRO 24″ wireless borescope. This boasts wireless WiFi operation, 720P resolution for sharp images, and adjustable light intensity. The BoreCam Pro has a 24″ long rod that will fit all .20 caliber and larger-diameter barrels. The Borecam PRO takes photos and video with the push of a button and has easy to use Apps for iOS and Android mobile devices.

5. Amazon — WIREGEAR Gunsmith Punch Set, $39.99

wiregear gunsmith punch block sale
Versatile punch set performs multiple gun tasks

When working on firearms and removing or assembling component, you definitely need a good set of precision punches to keep from damaging anything. We found this great WIREGEAR Gunsmith Punch Set that even comes with a punch block too. With this punch set you can feel confident that you can remove any pin without harming your finish or damaging holes.

6. Palmetto State Armory — Taurus G2c 9mm Pistol, $299.99

Carry pistol $185 bargain Taurus G2C ccw handgun review discount sales
Good CCW 9mm carry pistol for under $300.00

Right now compact 9mm carry guns are in very high demand. Many gun vendors have limited inventory and have raised prices. Here’s a good little compact carry gun at an attractive price — half what you might pay for a 9mm Glock 19 these days. Palmetto State Armory has the black-on-black Taurus 9mm G2c for just $184.99. This affordable 9mm handgun is a true compact, 6.25″ OAL, and weighing just 21.2 oz. unloaded. Despite its small size, the G2c has a 12-round magazine. We like the fact it has a left-side manual safety (unlike the Glock).

7. Graf & Sons — MTM Promotion FREE Patch Catcher

mtm sale promotion
Buy $40 of handy MTM containers, get FREE Patch-Catcher

Right now, if you buy at least $40 of MTM products at Grafs.com you can get a FREE MTM Patch Catcher or Hat. The patch catcher is great and allows you to keep all your soiled patches off your bench or table and easily throw them away. Trust us, you’ll find it easy to get your money’s worth for the $40 purchase — MTM makes high quality ammo carriers, range boxes (with cleaning cradles), pistol storage boxes, ammo crates, cleaning rod carriers, bore guides, and compact rests. We use and recommend MTM range boxes and MTM ammo carriers.

8. Amazon — Benchmaster Weapon Block Gun Rest, $19.59

weapon block
weapon block
Inexpensive, ultra-lightweight gun support — good for sight-in or ARs

If you’re tired of carrying heavy sandbags to rest your guns, consider a new alternative. The BenchMaster Weapon Rack XBlock Gun Rest costs less than $20 and weighs just 7.1 ounces! Sized 8″ x 6″ x 4″, it can be used in multiple ways to support your firearms. Made from lightweight, high-density foam, this rest is impervious to moisture and mildew. This XBlock is a good inexpensive option for sighting in a deer rifle before your annual hunt. Or keep an XBlock behind your truck seat as an “anytime” rest. BenchMaster also makes an adjustable 3-section Bench Block Gun Rest ($27.99) that works well with ARs.

9. Amazon — Hornady One Shot, $9.99

hornady one shot
Dry-Film Lube — not sticky, easy to apply, used by top shooters

If you’re looking for a mess-free way to lube cases before sizing give Hornady One Shot a try. Get 7 oz. can for $9.99, or 14 oz. can for $13.99. It’s easy to apply and leaves a grease-free, friction-reducing film that works great for full-length case sizing. Here’s a good video that shows application methods with tips to ensure great results with your brass.

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September 13th, 2020

Sunday GunDay: Home-Built 7.62×25 Tokarev Custom Rifle

rifle tokarev 7.62x25 pistol cartridge varmint rifle custom

rifle tokarev 7.62x25 pistol cartridge varmint rifle customHere’s something you’ve never seen before — a full-size rifle chambered for the tiny 7.62×25 Tokarev round. This rifle was a fun project by Les E., aka “scasa” in our AccurateShooter Forum. This is a true “home-built” rifle. Les machined the action himself (receiver AND bolt), chambered the barrel, and crafted the stock from a blank. You’ll find complete build details (with machining photos) in this Forum Thread.

Why did Les build this unique rifle? He tells us: “I just thought it would make a nice little rifle cartridge with light bullets and subsonic with heavier ones. D.J. Jones had something similar as the ‘Mini Whisper’.”

Les designed and built the action and bolt to fit the tiny 7.62×25 Tokarev cartridge. He told us: “Once upon a time I got this idea to make a bolt action with front locking lugs, full diameter bolt, Remington trigger. It took me years to get it all figured out and make all the tooling, then it took about six months to build the gun”. The rifle features a 1:10″-twist Adams & Bennett barrel that Les chambered himself.

rifle tokarev 7.62x25 pistol cartridge varmint rifle custom

Les designed and crafted the receiver and bolt assembly himself. The bolt features an extractor but not an ejector — the empty case stays on the end of the bolt. The extractor slot cuts through one lug, but Les says it still has 10 times the required strength.

rifle tokarev 7.62x25 pistol cartridge varmint rifle custom

Details of Action Design and Machining
Les explained: “The action started as a piece of 4160 bar stock. I drilled and reamed all the holes in my 12×36 Craftsman lathe. Cutting the slot inside for the locking lugs to pass through was the most difficult part. There were no blueprints for this and just a couple of sketches to get the slots right for the bolt handle slot and extraction cams. Everything is design on the fly. I used a grade 8 bolt for the bolt which did not require any hardening, they’re pretty hard already. Although I did make several receivers before I got it figured out, I only made one bolt.”

Surprisingly, Les is not a machinist by trade. He is just a very smart guy who learned by doing: “I’ve never had any machinist training. I mostly learned by trying different things until I found what works.”

NOTE: Under Federal law, it is legal to build an action or complete rifle for personal use (not for resale). Refer to ATF Regulations.

rifle tokarev 7.62x25 pistol cartridge varmint rifle custom

As you might expect, this cartridge is naturally pretty quiet. Les says it “makes less noise than a .17 HMR”. Recoil is also minimal. In a 9-lb rifle (with scope), shooting free recoil, the rifle moves only about three inches. Considering this is a tiny pistol cartridge, the accuracy is pretty good, as you can see:

rifle tokarev 7.62x25 pistol cartridge varmint rifle custom

Loading for the 7.62×25 Tokarev in a Rifle

rifle tokarev 7.62x25 pistol cartridge varmint rifle customThe cartridge brass comes from Sellier & Bellot pistol ammo. Les currently loads with AA #7 and AA #9 powders, but he may try some others. His favorite load so far has Hornady 168gr A-Max bullets pushed by AA #9 powder and CCI 400 primers. This produced a 0.437″ group at 50 yards.

How does Les like the cartridge? He says: “I wish the 7.62×25 had a longer neck. At 0.140″ it’s pretty short. I think a longer neck would help getting things lined up better.” He notes that boat-tail bullets seem to load easier than flat-base projectiles.

Ammo is loaded with inexpensive Lee dies: “I’m using Lee dies and they seem to work OK. I’d like a better seater die and I may modify this one.”

rifle tokarev 7.62x25 pistol cartridge varmint rifle custom

Les reports: “The 168gr Berger moly LTB didn’t do as well as the 168gr A-Max so I started working with the A-Max. I’m loaded really long and the Tokarev evidently has a pretty long freebore but I managed to get it into the lands. The target photo above is the best this gun has ever shot. I’ve gotten mostly two-inch groups at 50 yards (my max home range distance). Recently I made some progress. My best group was a little less than 1/2 inch at 50 yards.”

Special Features of the Stock

rifle tokarev 7.62x25 pistol cartridge varmint rifle custom

Les built the stock himself from a laminated blank. For this project, Les added some interesting features to the stock. He created his own adjustable cheekpiece using all home-crafted hardware.

rifle tokarev 7.62x25 pistol cartridge varmint rifle custom

Les also fitted a barrel tension adjustment system in the stock to help tune the barrel harmonics. There is a hex-head machine screw in the bottom of the stock for adjusting the upward tension on the barrel.

rifle tokarev 7.62x25 pistol cartridge varmint rifle custom

Les crafted this stock with a thumbhole pattern with finger grooves. He has used this design on other stocks he has built as he likes the look and “feel”.

rifle tokarev 7.62x25 pistol cartridge varmint rifle custom

Permalink Bullets, Brass, Ammo, Gunsmithing, Reloading 1 Comment »
September 13th, 2020

Neck-Turning Brass with Milling Machine — High-Speed Solution

cartridge brass neck turn neck-turning milling machine Erik Cortina

Here’s the super-speedy way to turn case-necks. Our friend Erik Cortina figured out how to turn his match cartridge case-necks using his milling machine. Erik told us: “While in Raton [a while back], Mid Tompkins told me that he turns his brass on milling machine. He said he could do about 500 in two hours, so I decided to try it.”

Erik fitted a Don Nielson “Pumpkin” neck-turner to the mill, and he used a modified 21st Century case holder to secure the brass. As you can see from this video, Erik was very successful with the process. The tool spins at 1500 rpm, turning Lapua 6.5-284 cases that have been necked up to 7mm.

Video Shows Eric Cortina Neck-Turning Cases with Milling Machine:

Cartridge Brass: Lapua 6.5-284 necked up to 7mm
Lubricant: Lithium grease inside and outside of neck
Neck-Turner: Nielson Pumpkin running at 1500 RPM

It’s hard to argue with Erik’s results. Here are his turned Lapua cases, which have neck-wall thickness consistent to two ten-thousandths of an inch. Think you could do better turning manually?

cartridge brass neck turn neck-turning milling machine Erik Cortina

Some of Erik’s Facebook friends had questions about this process:

Q: Who makes the shell-holder?

Erik Cortina: I did! The shell-holder you can get from 21st Century. I Tig-welded a punch as a handle.

Q: I love the idea of working smarter not harder! Any galling issues? What are your mitigation techniques?

Erik Cortina: No issues. I use lithium grease in spray can. Makes a foam that I dip necks into.

Q: Shouldn’t either the case or the cutter be floating to allow most precise neck turning?

Erik Cortina: Up until [I tried this] I believed the same thing. I was going to build a floating case holder but decided to try rigid setup on a few cases before I built it. Results were great. Neck thickness doesn’t vary more than .0002″, which is same as when I was doing it with floating case holder on the lathe.

Q: Any problems with the Pumpkin changing the cut as it heats up?

Erik Cortina: No — there were no issues with that.

NOTE: Erik Cortina is a very skilled machinist who custom-crafted fittings used for this process. This kind of neck-turning with a milling machine may not be for the everyday hand-loader!

cartridge brass neck turn neck-turning milling machine Erik Cortina

Nielson “Pumpkin” Neck-Turner

The circular orange cutting fixture on Erik’s Milling Machine is a Don Nielson “Pumpkin” neck-turning tool. Don designed this tool to be used by hand or with power. The Pumpkin boasts an eccentric mandrel that allows the cut to be adjusted easily in precise .0001″ increments. Benchresters like this as it allows for very precise control of cut depth and neck-wall thickness.

cartridge brass neck turn neck-turning milling machine Erik Cortina
Nielson Neck Turner with carbide mandrel. Photo Courtesy Butch’s Reloading.

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September 11th, 2020

Lyman Bleacher Blocks — Tiered Design Has Many Advantages

Lyman Bleacher Block stepped cartridge holder

Here’s an inexpensive product that can make your case prep and loading tasks easier. We use and recommend the cleverly-designed Lyman Bleacher Blocks. These multi-level (stepped) cartridge holders save space on your bench AND make it easier to select a particular case/cartridge from a full block. Each row is a different height for convenience. With Bleacher Blocks it’s also easier to check for powder levels, or place bullets before the seating process.

Lyman’s Bleacher Block cartridge holders have many advantages over conventional, single-level blocks. Use the different levels for sorting brass. Or, migrate the brass from top to bottom as you proceed through case prep stages. If you are assembling loads with different bullets for load testing, you could arrange the loaded rounds on different levels for easy recognition. For example put V-Max loaded rounds on the top tier, and Berger Hybrid loaded rounds on the bottom tier. Or, if you are experimenting with neck tension, you can use different rows for cases processed with different bushings.

Made of durable orange polymer, Lyman Bleacher Blocks are molded in three sizes. The smallest size (with 0.388″-diam holes) fits .223 Rem-size case heads. The middle size (with 0.485″-diam holes) fits .308 Win-size case heads. That works for 6mmBR/Dasher sized cases perfectly. The biggest Bleacher Block has 0.565″-diameter recesses for magnum-size cases. All three cartridge block sizes hold fifty (50) rounds. Purchase any size for just $6.14 per Block at Midsouth.

Lyman Bleacher Block stepped cartridge holder

Here’s what Lyman says about its innovative cartridge block design: “Our [stepped] loading blocks allow for easier handling of cases in and out of the loading block. Our stepped design allows you to easily grip a single case without jamming your fingers down into a group of cases like in traditional loading blocks, and allows for a smaller ‘footprint’ on your bench.”

Lyman Bleacher Blocks are among the Reloading Tools reviewed in this helpful video:

Permalink Bullets, Brass, Ammo, Gear Review, Reloading 1 Comment »
September 6th, 2020

Adjust Your Decapping Dies to Avoid Primer Pocket Problems

universal Decapping die sinclair lee redding

One of our Forum members complained that he wasn’t able to set his primers flush to the rim. He tried a variety of primer tools, yet no matter what he used, the primers still didn’t seat deep enough. He measured his primers, and they were the right thickness, but it seemed like his primer pockets just weren’t deep enough. He was mystified as to the cause of the problem.

Well, our friend Boyd Allen diagnosed the problem. It was the decapping rod. If the rod is adjusted too low (screwed in too far), the base of the full-diameter rod shaft (just above the pin) will contact the inside of the case. That shaft is steel whereas your case is brass, a softer, weaker metal. So, when you run the case up into the die, the shaft can actually stretch the base of the primer pocket outward. Most presses have enough leverage to do this. If you bell the base of the primer pocket outwards, you’ve essentially ruined your case, and there is no way a primer can seat correctly.

The fix is simple. Just make sure to adjust the decapping rod so that the base of the rod shaft does NOT bottom out on the inside of the case. The pin only needs to extend through the flash hole far enough to knock the primer out. The photo shows a Lyman Universal decapping die. But the same thing can happen with any die that has a decapping rod, such as bushing neck-sizing dies, and full-length sizing dies.

Universal decapping die

Whenever you use a die with a decapping pin for the first time, OR when you move the die to a different press, make sure to check the decapping rod length. And it’s a good idea, with full-length sizing dies, to always re-check the height setting when changing presses.

There are a variety of decapping dies currently on the market, with models available from Lee, Lyman, Hornady, RCBS, Redding, and Sinclair Int’l.

Lee Universal Decapping Die on SALE for $10.96
Speaking of decapping tools, Midsouth Shooters Supply sells the Lee Universal Decapping Die for just $10.96 (item 006-90292), a very good deal. There are many situations when you may want to remove primers from fired brass as a separate operation (prior to case sizing). For example, if your rifle brass is dirty, you may want to de-cap before sizing. Or, if you load on a progressive press, things will run much more smoothly if you decap you brass first, in a separate operation.

Lee universal decapping die

Decapping Dies for Cases with Smaller Flashholes

TAKE NOTE: Some Euro Small Flash Holes are spec’d at 1.5mm or 0.059″, and max out at about .062″, so these need a smaller die pin.

The low-cost Lee Universal Decapping Die will work with cartridges from 17 Fireball all the way up to big Magnums. However, NOTE that the decapping pin supplied with this Lee die is TOO LARGE for LAPUA 220 Russian, 6mmBR, 6.5×47, 6.5 Creedmoor, .308 Win (Palma) and Norma 6 PPC flash holes. Because the pin diameter is too large for these brass types, you must either turn down the pin, or decap with a different tool for cases with .059-.062″ flash-holes.

Sinclair Int’l offers a Stainless Decapping Die that comes with both .080 and .060 Pins. The $34.99 die ships with three decap pins for standard .080″ flash holes, and two pins for .060″ flash holes

Redding makes a Universal Decapping Die with an optional smaller-diameter decapping rod for the smaller .059-.062″ flash holes found on the BR and PPC cases. The use of this die is explained in the video below:

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September 5th, 2020

Tool Time: Sinclair Cartridge Case Neck Sorting Tool

Case Neck thickness sorting gauge Sinclair accurateshooter.com

He who dies with the most toys wins — right? Well Sinclair has another interesting gadget you can add to your reloading bench. The Sinclair Case Neck Sorting Tool lets you quickly sort brass by neck-wall thickness. For those who shoot “no-turn” brass, this can improve neck-tension consistency. Large variances in neck-wall thickness can cause inconsistent neck “grip” on the bullet. Generally, we’ve found that more consistent neck tension will lower ES and (usually) improve accuracy. We know some guys who shoot no-turn 6mmBR brass in competition with considerable success — but their secret is pre-sorting their brass by neck-wall thickness. Cases that are out-of-spec are set aside for sighters (or are later skim-turned).

Watch Case Neck Sorting Tool Operation in Video

Case Neck thickness sorting gauge Sinclair accurateshooterHow the Case Neck Sorting Tool Works
Here’s how the Sinclair tool works. Cases are rotated under an indicator tip while they are supported on a case-neck pilot and a support pin through the flash hole. The unit has a nice, wide base and low profile so it is stable in use. The tool works for .22 through .45 caliber cases and can be used on .17- and .20-caliber cases with the optional carbide alignment rod. The MIC-4 pin fits both .060 (PPC size) and .080 (standard size) flash holes. Sinclair’s Case Neck Sorting Tool can be ordered with or without a dial indicator. The basic unit without dial indicator (item 749-006-612WB) is $59.99. The tool complete with dial indicator (item 749-007-129WB) for $89.99. IMPORTANT: This tool requires caliber-specific Sinclair Case Neck Pilots which must be ordered separately.

Editor’s Comment: The purpose of this Sinclair tool is rapid, high-quantity sorting of cartridge brass to ascertain significant case-neck-wall thickness variations. Consider this a rapid culling/sorting tool. If you are turning your necks, you will still need a quality ball micrometer tool to measure neck-wall thickness (to .0005) before and after neck-turning operations.

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September 3rd, 2020

Go Big or Go Home — Big Presses Needed for Big ELR Cartridges

Ko2m king two miles ELR .416 Barrett cheytac .50 BMG Extreme long range press

In the ELR game, particularly the King of 2 Miles (KO2M), it’s “go big or go home”. The top shooters run large-capacity cartridges that push large-caliber, ultra-high BC bullets at very high velocities. Bullets launched by cartridges such as the .416 Barrett can sustain supersonic velocities at Extreme Long Ranges — and that’s what it takes to win. The .416 Barrett can launch a 550-grain solid bullet at 3000+ FPS.

.416 Barrett cartridge ELR .50 BMG RCBS press
Photo from ELR Competitor Corbin Shell.

2018 and 2019 Kings of 2 Miles Loaded on RCBS Presses
So how do you load jumbo cartridges such as the .416 Barrett? It takes a big, heavy, super-strong reloading press. We’ve learned that the last two Kings of 2 Miles, Paul Phillips (2019) and Robert Brantley (2019) both loaded their KO2M ammo on RCBS AmmoMaster .50 BMG presses. Phillips loaded .416 Barrett ammo, while Brantley loaded custom .416 MCS rounds.

In 2018, Robert Brantley topped the field using his custom .416 MCS loads perfected on the AmmoMaster .50 BMG Press. This year, Brantley took a close second to 2019 KO2M winner Paul Phillips. Both Phillips and Brantley use the AmmoMaster .50 BMG single stage press kit and RCBS .416 Barrett dies to hand-load for extreme long-range. “My ammo has been much more consistent after switching to the RCBS press and dies,” remarked Phillips, who runs the Global Precision Group. Brantley said he uses RCBS products for most of his reloading needs — from the dies and AmmoMaster, to the ChargeMaster and Brass Boss. His custom .416 MCS loads launch a 550-grain bullet more than 3,100 fps.

Ko2m king two miles ELR .416 Barrett cheytac .50 BMG Extreme long range press

Loading with RCBS AmmoMaster .50 BMG Press
This video shows reloading with the RCBS AmmoMaster .50 BMG press. While this video shows .50 BMG cases being loaded, the principles are the same for loading the .416 Barrett used by both Brantley and Phillips. Big cases need big presses!

Derek Rodgers Shooting the .375 CheyTac at K02M in 2017
Another ELR ace, 2017 King of 2 Miles champion Derek Rodgers, favored the .375 CheyTac cartridge. For his successful K02M quest, Derek ran Cutting Edge Bullets in Peterson brass with Hodgdon H50BMG powder. The video below shows Derek in action at the 2017 KO2M event.

The KO2M competition is a two-day extreme long-range (ELR) match held at the NRA Whittington Center outside Raton, New Mexico. Teams consist of one shooter and up to two wind coaches/spotters, who fire on steel targets ranging from about 1,500 to 3,500 yards.

KO2M .375 CheyTac AmmoMaster Derek Rodgers

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September 1st, 2020

Can’t Find Varget for Sale? Then Try IMR 4166 Powder…

IMR 4166 Enduron Varget powder Hodgdon

Can’t find Hodgdon Varget on dealer’s shelves? then consider IMR 4166. This Enduron series powder is temp-stable and accurate. It also offers good load density and meters reasonably well. Importantly, it seems to be a good substitute for “unobtanium” Varget powder. On the official Hodgdon/IMR burn rate chart, IMR 4166 is between H4895 and Varget. Some of our Forum members have reported excellent results with IMR 4166 in cartridges that work with Varget, such as the 6mmBR, 6 Dasher, 6.5×47 Lapua, and .308 Win. One member wrote: “in my 6.5×47 … IMR 4166 gives speeds and accuracy pretty much exactly the same as Varget.” And other shooters have observed reduced copper fouling with Enduron series powders, so IMR’s Enduron anti-fouling chemistry does seem to work.

IMR 4166 Enduron Varget powder Hodgdon

IMR Enduron powder 4166 Varget RL15Where to Find IMR 4166 Powder
Powder Valley Inc. (PVI) and Midsouth Shooters both have plenty of IMR 4166 in stock right now. IMR 4166 performs well in the .308 Win (for bullets up to 175 grains) and in 6mm cartridges running the heavier (95-107gr) projectiles. IMR’s press release states: “IMR 4166 [has] a perfect burn speed for cartridges like the 308 Win/7.62mm NATO, 22-250 Remington… and dozens more.”

IMR 4166 is one of IMR’s Enduron family of propellants. Enduron powders are formulated to reduce fouling and to be stable across a wide temperature range. If you commonly use Varget, Alliant Reloder 15, Norma 203B, IMR 8208 XBR, or Vihtavuori N140, you might want to try IMR 4166. It is available right now at Midsouth Shooters and Powder Valley in both one-pound and 8-pound containers:

Midsouth IMR 4166
IMR 4166 – 1 LB. — $29.01
IMR 4166 – 8 LBS. — $208.34
Powder Valley IMR 4166
IMR 4166 – 1 LB. — $28.50
IMR 4166 – 8 LBS. — $206.00

For more information and LOAD DATA visit IMRpowder.com and navigate to the Hodgdon Reloading Center. You’ll also find official load data in the Hodgdon 2020 Annual Manual.

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September 1st, 2020

Gear Focus: L.E. Wilson Stainless Case Trimmer

Wilson stainless case trimmer clamp micrometer video Bill Gravatt Creedmoor sports

How do you trim your cases? We use a variety of tools, including power case trimmers. But our go-to trimmer for Benchrest-type cartridges is the L.E. Wilson Trimmer unit, now available in a handsome and durable stainless assembly. This thing is slick. It trims very precisely with the use of Wilson case holders combined with a micrometer-type stop for length control. As sold complete with micrometer, quick clamp, and metal stand, this Wilson Stainless Trimmer is $154.95 at Creedmoor Sports. We think that’s a fair price for a unit that can last a lifetime, trimming many thousands of cases.

In this video, Bill Gravatt of Creedmoor Sports demonstrates the Stainless Wilson trimmer with micrometer length control. Gravatt offers helpful operational tips to improve trimming efficiency, so this video is worth watching even if you’ve used a Wilson trimmer before:

Tips for Trimming with Wilson SS Micrometer Trimmer:

1. After inserting brass in the case holder, tap the case lightly to ensure it seats fully.

2. When starting your case-trimming session, do one or two test cases to check cut length. Adjust length with micrometer, then test length again. If “good to go”, set length stop. NOTE: Release the Stop Screw to make major adjustments. Use the Micrometer to make fine adjustments, in .001″ increments.

3. After trimming operations, be sure to chamfer case mouth after cutting to remove burrs. NOTE: After you have made the chamfer, we recommend gently spinning the chamfer tool backwards a couple times in the case neck. This will burnish/smooth the newly-cut champing, which helps with bullet seating.

Features of Deluxe Wilson Stainless Case Trimmer with Micrometer

    — Long lasting Stainless finish with Micrometer adjustment.
    — New 304 Stainless Steel Handle included with Micrometer Trimmer.
    — Rotary-style clamp swings to secure case-holder — quick and easy.
    — Larger stop screw adjustment from 3/8″ (old) to 1/2″ (new) with increased width on stop nut. Coated with black oxide for a long lasting durable finish.
    — Made in the USA with American Steel.
    — Power Adaptor compatible.

Wilson stainless case trimmer clamp micrometer video Bill Gravatt Creedmoor sports

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August 31st, 2020

Shoulder Bump — Five Cool Tools to Measure Your Bump

shoulder bump headspace gauge comparator tool whidden manson

The Tactical Rifle Shooters Facebook Group recently showcased tools used to measure case headspace before and after “bumping” the shoulder. After a case is fired, hand-loaders who full-length size their cases will typically bump the shoulders back anywhere from .001″ to .0035″, depending on the rifle and application. With our 6mmBR and Dasher cases we like about .0015″ bump.

You want the amount of case sizing and bump to be the same for all your brass. To ensure uniformity, it makes sense to measure your cases before and after the FL sizing process. When we have time, we check every case. Other folks will simply check the first 3-4 cases coming out of the FL sizing die to ensure the FL die setting is correct and delivering desired headspace/bump.

1. Whidden Gunworks Shoulder Bump Gauge

shoulder bump headspace gauge comparator tool whidden manson

There are a variety of tools that can be used to measure shoulder bump. Our favorite is a special cartridge-specific bushing made by Whidden Gunworks. The Whidden Shoulder Bump Gauge enables you to adjust your sizing die to the desired measurement. The bump gauge is attached to your calipers with a set screw and determines the measurement from the base to the shoulder of the case. The photo below, from Tactical Rifle Shooters, shows the Whidden Bump Gauge for the .375 CheyTac cartridge.

2. Dave Manson Vertical Comparator with Dial Read-Out

shoulder bump headspace gauge comparator tool whidden manson
Background image courtesy Tactical Rifle Shooters; inset photo from Manson Precison Reamers.

Dave Manson states: “This tool was designed to make life easier for the advanced shooter and re-loader by allowing precise measurement of ammunition, case, and chamber headspace. With this information, the re-loader will be able to fine-tune clearances and fits between his ammunition and chamber, with resultant improvements in accuracy and case life.” The functions of the Manson Comparator are:

1. Measure headspace of factory or reloaded ammunition
2. Quantify chamber headspace by measuring headspace of a fired case
3. Ensure minimal shoulder set-back when setting up re-loading dies
4. Compare base-to-ogive length to ensure consistent bullet-to-rifling relationship.

In addition to the Dial Indicator and Stand, the $130.00 Vertical Comparator is supplied with multiple Datum Blocks of precise length and inside diameter (.3300″/.3750″/.4000″/.4375″). MORE INFO HERE — Catalog page 20.

3. Hornady L-N-L Headspace Comparator System

shoulder bump headspace gauge comparator tool whidden manson

Hornady makes comparator gauges matched to the red comparator holder that mounts on your caliper. These Lock-N-Load Headspace Gauges are inexpensive. You can get a set of five gauges for $31.99. Hornady explains: “The Lock-N-Load® Headspace Comparator… gauge measures variations in brass before and after firing or re-sizing. It allows for headspace comparison between fire-formed brass and re-sized brass.” IMPORTANT: Hornady states: “To determine the proper bushing diameter for your cartridge, simply add the neck diameter and the shoulder diameter and divide that number by two. Use the bushing closest to that number.” Hornady offers five: .330″, .350″, .375″, .400″, and .420″.

One tip — We have found the Hornady gauges may vary a little from unit to unit even with the same nominal size. If you have more than one gauge for the same cartridge, test each on your brass — you may then note a slight difference in your bump measurements.

4. L.E. Wilson Case Gage Depth Micrometer

shoulder bump headspace gauge comparator tool whidden manson

If you are looking for precise “bump” measurements without having to mess with calipers and clamp-on gauge blocks, you may want to consider the L.E. Wilson Case Gage Depth Micrometer. This takes very precise, repeatable measurements, but you need to know your starting point. The manufacturer explains: “Every reloader should know exactly how much your Full Length Sizing Die is pushing back the shoulder. With the NEW Case Gage Depth Micrometer you can do just that! It has never been easier to measure you cases headspace before and after sizing. The Depth Mic allows you to slip the micrometer perfectly over the top of the Gage with your case inserted into the Gage and take a measurement. Micrometer has graduations of .001″. The Case Gage Depth Micrometer is set to a zero of .100″ on the scale at our factory. Because of differences in ‘feel’ and temperature, we include a the Gage Block for you to test Zero and to adjust if necessary.”

5. Pistol Brass Case DIY Bump Gauge

Last is a “field expedient” set-up if you do not have any of the comparator tools shown above. A sized .45 ACP case (or other suitable pistol case) can be used to measure shoulder bump. The mouth of the pistol case sits on the shoulder of your rifle cartridge brass.

Make sure the .45 ACP case is trimmed square and that it is round. We recommend you first run it through an expander, then size it, trim it and chamfer. Next, take the .45 ACP case and slip it over the neck of a fired, unsized rifle case with the primer removed. Align the two cases between the jaws of your calipers and note the length from rim to rim (See left photo below).

OK, now you have the length for a fired rifle case BEFORE sizing. Next, take a full-length sized rifle case (without primer) and do the same thing, placing the .45 ACP case over the neck of the FL-sized case (Right Photo). The difference between the two numbers is the amount of “bump” or set-back you are applying to the shoulder. Here the difference is .0015″. The amount of bump you need varies with your chamber and your load, but .0015-.002″ is a good initial setting.

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August 29th, 2020

Smart Reloader — Die Shims For Full-Length Sizing Dies

Sinclair Die Shims

When your cases become hard to extract, or you feel a stiff bolt lift when removing a cartridge, it’s probably time to full-length size your cases, and “bump” the shoulder back. Short-range benchrest shooters, running high pressures, typically full-length size every load cycle, bumping the shoulder .001-.002″. The vast majority of mid-range and long-range F-Class shooters also full-length size every time. High Power shooters with gas guns should definitely full-length size every time, and may need to bump the shoulders .003″ or more to ensure reliable feeding and extraction.

Use Shims for Precise Control of Shoulder Bump
Some shooters like to set the “default” position for their full-length die to have an “ample” .003″ or .004″ shoulder bump. When they need less bump, a simple way to reduce the amount of shoulder movement is to use precision shims in .001″ (one-thousandth) increments. Sinclair Int’l offers a set of seven (7) shims for your standard 7/8-14 FL sizing dies for $14.99.

Sinclair explains: “Each shim is notched for easy size identification. Just set your die using one of the middle thickness shims. Adjustments can be made easily by changing shims to increase or decrease die depth without changing the stem setting. This is a great upgrade for non-micrometer adjustable dies.”

Here are reports from Forum members who use the shims:

“Great product. I have my die lock ring(s) adjusted for the shortest headspace length on my multiple chambers 6BRs and 6PPCs. When needing a longer headspace, I just refer to my notes and add the appropriate shim under the lock ring. Keep it simple.” — F.D. Shuster

Mats Johansson writes: “I’ve been using [shims] since Skip Otto (of BR fame) came out with them. I set up my dies with the .006″ shim, giving me the option of bumping the shoulder a bit more when the brass gets old and hardens while still having room to adjust up for zero headspace, should I have missed the original setup by a thou or two. Hunting rounds can easily be bumped an extra .002-.003″ for positive, no-crush feeding. Being a safety-oriented cheapskate, I couldn’t live without them — they let me reload my cases a gazillion times without dangerous web-stretching. Shims are a must-have, as simple as that.” — Mats Johansson

Sinclair Die ShimsBrownells offers the seven-piece set of Sizing Die Shims that let you adjust the height of your die (and thereby the amount of bump and sizing) in precise .001″ increments. Sinclair explains: “Some handloaders will set their die up to achieve maximum sizing and then progressively use Sinclair Die Shims between the lock ring and the press head to move the die away from the shellholder. Doing this allows you to leave the lock ring in the same position. These shims are usually available in increments of .001″ and work very well.”

Seven Shims from .003″ to .010″
For use with 7/8-14 threaded dies, Sinclair’s $14.99 Die Shim Kit (Sinclair item 22400 or Brownells Code 749-001-325WB) includes seven shims in thicknesses of .003, .004, .005, .006, .007, .008, and .010. For ease of use, shim thickness is indicated by the number of notches cut in the outer edge of each shim. Even without looking you can “count” the notches by feel.

NOTE: These shim sets can also be use to adjust bullet seating depth for dies that lack micrometer adjustment. Use the same 7/8-14 shims with your non-micrometer seating dies.

Sinclair Die ShimsShims for Arbor Dies

Do you seat with an Arbor Press? No problem…

Brownells offers a $14.99 10-shim Arbor Die set for use with L.E. Wilson seating dies employed with arbor presses. Frankly we prefer micrometer-top Wilson dies, but if you have the standard Arbor dies, these shims come in handy. Order either Brownells Code 749-001-370WB (.22 to .243 caliber) or Brownells Code 749-001-326WB (.25 to .30 caliber).

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August 28th, 2020

High Demand Powders — Where You Can Find Them

Reloading powder hodgdon H4350 Varget reloder 16 reloader H1000

Thanks to our Forum members, we’ve found sources for some of the most popular reloading powders for rifle accuracy cartridges. Handloaders know that powders such as Varget, H4350, H4895, H4831SC, H1000, Reloder 16, Reloder 23, and N150 are often in short supply. And it seems like Varget has been near impossible to find in recent months. As of Friday, August 28, 2020, here are some sources for many of these hard-to-find powders.

Hodgdon Varget 1-pound
Source: Powder Valley
NOTE:
Varget 1-lb in stock; 8-pounders still out of stock

UPDATE 8/29/20: SOLD OUT — Our Members got the last of it.

Hodgdon H4350, 1-pound and 8-pound
Source: Powder Valley
Source: Midsouth Shooters
NOTE:
Powder Valley has BOTH the 1-lb and 8-lb H4350 containers in stock. Midsouth has the 1-lb H4350 only.

Alliant Reloder 16 1-pound
Source: Powder Valley
NOTE:
Reloder 16 1-lb in stock; RL16 8-pounders still out of stock

Hodgdon H4831SC, 1-pound and 8-pound
Source: Powder Valley
NOTE:
Powder Valley has BOTH the 1-lb and 8-lb H4831SC containers in stock.

Hodgdon H1000 1-pound
Source: Powder Valley
NOTE:
H1000 1-lb in stock; H1000 8-pounders still out of stock

Vihtavuori N150 1-pound and 8-pound
Source: Powder Valley
Source: Midsouth Shooters
NOTE:
Powder Valley has N150 1-lb and 8-lb in stock. Midsouth has the 1-lb N150 only.

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August 27th, 2020

Lapua and RCBS Rebate Programs Expiring Soon

RCBS buy green promotion lapua brass bullets sizzling summer rebate program

Folks — August is almost, and that means you need to act soon. Two great rebate programs are drawing to a close, so you may want to start shopping. You can save 10% on outstanding Lapua cartridge brass and bullets. Or get huge rebates on RCBS presses, powder dispensers, tools, and accessories (e.g. spend $400 and get $100 back — details below).

Lapua Sizzling Summer Savings Rebate Program

lapua brass bullets sizzling summer rebate program

Need brass or bullets? Then take advantage of Lapua’s Sizzling Summer Savings Rebate Program. For purchases from July 15 through August 31, 2020 you get 10% Cash Back on qualifying Lapua Scenar bullets and cartridge cases. With this Summer Rebate you can get up to $200 back on your Lapua bullet and brass purchases. Note, to qualify, you must purchase at least TWO boxes of Lapua Scenar bullets or TWO boxes of Lapua rifle cartridge cases (brass). All sizes and configurations are eligible for 10% rebate.

» CLICK HERE for LAPUA REBATE information

Lapua brass is used by top shooters in all disciplines, and Lapua Scenar bullets show outstanding accuracy and consistency. We’ve had superb results with Scenar bullets in multiple rifles. Scenars are a popular tangent ogive, HPBT design that is extremely accurate with excellent base-to-ogive and weight uniformity.

Lapua products must be purchased from July 15 through August 31, 2020

You MUST include proof of purchase – original online order receipt or retailer cash register receipt showing retailer name and date of purchase.

For purchases made from July 15 through August 31, rebate request must be submitted by September 30, 2020.

RCBS Buy Green, Get Green Promotion

Bergara B-14 HMR

RCBS Buy Green Get Green promo is simple — buy ANY RCBS products worth $100.00 or more and you qualify. There’s no restricted list of “qualifying” products. Yes this applies to reloading presses, electronic powder dispensers, ultrasonic machines, beam scales, dies — everything RCBS makes. Buy from Midsouth or other retailer. The more you spend, the more you get back — up to $100.00 total.

» CLICK HERE for RCBS REBATE information

Buy at least $400 worth of RCBS Products and get a big $100.00 rebate. Spend $250-$399 to get a $75.00 rebate. Purchase $100-$249 and get $50 back. If you are considering purchasing a single-stage press, electronic powder dispenser, progressive press, or a reloading kit, save big with this promo. It’s good for purchases now through August 31, 2020. Submit RCBS Rebate Forms HERE.

Product must be purchased between 7/9/2020 through 8/31/2020.

DEADLINE for mail-in or online submission is 10/31/2020

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August 26th, 2020

Father and Son — Memories of Reloading Together

Herters Press Sierra Bullets Reloading Prisendorf Father son

Sierra Bullets Ballistic Technician Gary Prisendorf has written a nice essay about how reloading can become a life-time hobby, a rewarding pastime that can bring together a father and son…

Memories of My Father — Reloading As a Life-Time Hobby

by Gary Prisendorf
For as long as I can remember I have been around reloading. I have tons of childhood memories of my father reloading and shooting. I remember how he would let me help him load his ammunition, by letting me clean primer pockets or wipe the sizing lube off of his cases. I really thought I was doing something. Well, I guess I was, I was spending quality time with my father doing something that would become a great hobby and eventually land me a great job working for Sierra Bullets.

If you are a reloader, teach someone. You may just give them a hobby for the rest of their life and who knows, you could help them find an enjoyable career, doing something that they love. — Gary Prisendorf

Herters Press Sierra Bullets Reloading Prisendorf Father son

I remember watching my father sizing cases on his Herters press, dropping his powder charges with a Belding & Mull powder measure and weighing powder charges with his Texan scales. Heck, I can even remember when he would buy powder at a local pawn shop, and they would weigh it out and put it in a paper sack. He would save his empty powder cans, wrap them with masking tape and write what the powder was on them with a black magic marker.

When I was in Junior High, I got my first shotgun, a 20 gauge Mossberg 500 and within a couple of weeks my father came home with a 20 gauge Lee Load-All and a pound of Blue Dot. He gave me a crash course on how to use it, and got me up and running with a couple of safe loads. I put a lot of shells through that old 20 gauge.

From that day forward I was hooked. If I got a new gun, I was loading ammunition for it. I don’t buy factory ammunition unless I just want to shoot it up so I can get some once fired brass. I reload everything that I shoot, except for rimfire stuff, and if I could figure out how to do that safely, I would probably load that too.

Through the years I have learned to appreciate things — such as once-fired military .30-06 cases that can be converted to obscure cartridge types. And I know the value of a five-gallon bucket of lead wheel weights that will be melted down and cast into bullets.

I remember finding 19 once-fired Norma 7.7×58 Arisaka cases laying on the ground at a public shooting range, and it was like Christmas came early. I must have looked for that 20th case for about thirty minutes, but I never did find it.

I can’t thank my father enough for getting me started in reloading, he gave me a great hobby, many wonderful memories and taught me the skills that gave me a career doing something that I love.

Herters Press Sierra Bullets Reloading Prisendorf Father son

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