December 9th, 2019

Bargain Finder 220: AccurateShooter’s Deals of the Week

Accurateshooter Bargain Finder Deals of Week

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. Walmart — 80th Anniversary Red Ryder BB Gun, $24.47

teslong digital borescope

Who can forget the 1983 movie “The Christmas Story” which focused on young Ralphie Parker’s overwhelming desire for a Red Ryder BB gun. The year 2020 marks the 80th year in production for Daisy’s classic Red Ryder BB gun. And now it is available in an 80th Anniversary Special Edition for just $24.47 at Walmart. If you want one of these for a young shooter in the family, act soon — these are selling fast.

2. Amazon — Teslong Borescope $49.99 or NEW $74.99 WiFi Version (iOS Apple, Android, and Windows Capable)

teslong digital borescope

The impressive Teslong digital borescope has been a huge success. This compact, electro-optical, cable-type borescope outputs sharp, high-resolution images and VIDEO to desktop computers, laptops, as well as Android tablets and smartphones. Check out our Full Teslong Review complete with inside-the-barrel videos. NOTE: There is a NEW WiFi Version that works with Apple iPhones and iPads, as well as all other WiFi devices and tablets. Get the Wifi Teslong for $74.99.

3. Midsouth Shooters — Berger Bullets 10% Off Sale

berger bullets 10% off sale

Berger Bullets are proven winners for all forms of centerfire rifle competition and Berger hunting projectiles are also excellent. Now you can save on high-quality Berger bullets through the end of this December. Visit Midsouth Shooters this month to get 10% Off All Berger Bullets in stock. This sale covers both competition and hunting bullets.

4. Gander Outdoors — .308 Win Ruger Precision Rifle, $783.82

ruger precision

The Ruger Precision Rifle (RPR) is hard to beat for the price among entry-level chassis rifles. And here is one of the best prices for an RPR that we’ve ever seen. If you’re in the market for an RPR, grab this .308 Win RPR for a just $783.82. If you’re looking for a 6mm version, check out this Ruger Precision Rifle in 6mm Creedmoor for $995.99.

5. Tractor Supply — Cannon 40-Gun Safe $649.99

Cannon 40-gun security safe gunsafe fire rated

The Cannon TS5934 40-Gun Safe, has a large 19.1-cubic foot capacity with an impressive 45-minute fire rating. This beefy 497-lb safe features 8 locking bolts and TRUlock internal hinges. This safe includes a door organizer kit and attractive interior upholstery, adjustable shelving, and a chrome 5-spoke handle. This is a great value at $649.99. On the outside, the safe is 59″ high and 34″ inches wide.

6. EuroOptic.com — HUGE Nikon Scope Close-Out Sale

Nikon tactical scope close-out sale

EuroOptic.com is running a huge close-out sale on quality Nikon riflescopes. This sale includes the excellent Black FX1000 (FFP), and Black X1000 (SFP) tactical scopes, plus the M-Tactical and P-Tactical series optics. If you are looking for a great tactical or hunting scope at a crazy low price, head over to EuroOptic this week. For example the 4-16x50mm FX1000 MRAD is marked down from $749.95 to just $369.95, a 50% savings! And the 2-7x32mm P-Tactical and M-Tactical series scopes are just $99.95! Nikon scope mounts are also discounted.

7. Amazon — RCBS Explorer Plus Reloading Kit, $373.99

Nikon tactical scope close-out sale

Here’s a great Reloading Kit for someone getting started in reloading, or for folks who need a compact secondary press plus accessories. Right now you can get the RCBS Plus Reloading Kit for just $373.99 on Amazon.

8. Midsouth Shooters — Lyman Case Prep Center, $114.99

Lyman Case Prep Center Sale

Case prep is key to consistent accuracy, so a powered prep center is a good investment. Midsouth Shooters now has the 5-station Lyman Case Prep Center for $114.99 on SALE. With this Case Prep Center you can save time, and reduce repetitive hand fatigue dramatically. This is a real bargain — this unit sells for up to $150.00 elsewhere.

9. Midsouth — Frankford Arsenal Perfect Primer Seater, $56.99

As part of its Christmas Sale, Midsouth has the Frankford Perfect Primer Seater Tool for $56.99 (21% Off). This is a GREAT primer seating tool. It has good feel, plenty of leverage, and the primer feed-from-tray works well. Importantly, it has a click-adjust wheel for precise primer seating depth control. Read our Frankford Primer Seating Tool Product Review by gunsmith Jim See. The tool comes complete with 12 precision shell holders.

10. Midsouth — Tipton 13-Piece Jag Kit, $11.99

Lyman Case Prep Center Sale

The 13-piece Tipton Brass Jag Kit includes jags sized to fit all popular calibers from .17 to .45. Priced at just $11.99 at Midsouth, this handy Jag Kit is a perfect stocking stuffer for shooters in the family.

11. Amazon — Samsung 10.1″ Tablet plus 64GB card, $157.64

samsung android tablet mobile wifi computer Android 64 gb

Need a budget-priced tablet for your TargetCam, Ballistics Apps, and Endoscope? Check out this Samsung 10.1″ Tablet Computer. It’s just $157.64 complete with 80GB of Ram (16GB onboard plus 64GB on MicroSD card). Or, if you don’t need the extra RAM, get the same tablet with 16GB onboard for $147.99. These are 2019 production tablets with modern Android OS.

12. CDNN — Zebra Muffs and Fashion Safety Glasses Set, $4.99

Champion Zebra Muffs tortoise shell sunglasses safety glasses eyewear

Here’s a great “stocking stuffer” gift for your wife or girlfriend who enjoys shooting. For just $4.99 you can get a combo set of “high-fashion” ear muffs and ANSI-rated safety glasses. The comfortable, zebra-print muffs provide 21 dB of noise reduction. The stylish, tortoise-shell pattern Bella Ballistica™ shooting eyewear has passed MIL-PRF-31013 ballistic tests and meets ANSI Z87+ high-velocity requirements with a chic designer appearance. The lady in your life just might appreciate the stylish eyewear and distinctive muffs, earning you “bonus points”. And she’ll never suspect you only spent five bucks!

Permalink Bullets, Brass, Ammo, Handguns, Hot Deals, Optics, Reloading No Comments »
December 6th, 2019

Power to the People — Cortina Reviews Giraud Power Trimmer

Power Trimming Technology Saves Time
Trimming and chamfering brass are tasks hand-loaders grow to hate. Those chores are time-consuming and tiresome. Thankfully there are faster, better alternatives to manual trimming/chamfering. In this article, Forum member Erik Cortina shows how to use the Giraud tool which trims and chamfers in one operation. Erik has his own YouTube Channel dedicated to precision reloading and accurizing. Here we feature Erik’s video about the “mother of all brass trimmers”, the Giraud powered case trimmer. Erik says: “If you do volume reloading… this is the only trimmer to get. It not only trims to length but it also chamfers your case mouth inside and out.” In his video, Erik offers some very clever and useful tips that will help you get the most from your Giraud.

This is a manufacturer’s photo showing an older model.
Erik Cortina Meplat Giraud Case Trimmer YouTube Video Lapua

The Giraud trimmer is very precise. When set up correctly, it can trim brass with amazing consistency. In the video, Erik trims five pieces of brass in 15 seconds (6:32 mark). He then measures all five with precision calipers (7:00-8:08). All lengths are exact within .0005 (half a thousandth). Erik notes that the Giraud trimmer indexes off the case shoulder. As long as you have fire-formed brass with consistent base-to-shoulder dimensions, you should get very consistent trim lengths.

The secret to the system is a 3-way cutting head. This cutter can be swapped in and out in a couple minutes with wrenches provided with the kit. Erik has three different heads; one each for 6.5mm, 7mm, and .30 caliber. The video shows how to adjust the cutting heads to match caliber diameter (and to get the desired amount of inside/outside chamfer).

To trim and chamfer cases, you simply insert them nose-first into the cartridge-specific case-holder. Erik offers a smart tip — He uses a die locking ring to position the cartridge holder (3:15). This can be locked in place. Erik says die locking rings work much better than the hex-nuts provided by Giraud (with the hex-nut, one must re-set cut length each time you change case-holders.)

Erik Cortina Meplat Giraud Case Trimmer YouTube Video Lapua

The Giraud can be used in either horizontal or vertical modes. Erik prefers to have the trimmer aligned vertically, allowing him to push cases down on the trimmer head. But the trimming unit has twin sets of rubber feet, allowing horizontal or vertical orientation.

Erik Cortina Meplat Giraud Case Trimmer YouTube Video Lapua

Improved Case-Holder Made with Chamber Reamer:
For his .284 Shehane, Erik had to create his own case-holder (Giraud does not make one for that wildcat cartridge). Erik used his chamber reamer. To his surprise, Erik found that the brass was easier to trim in the custom case holder (compared to the Giraud-made spring-loaded holders). With a perfect fit, trimming and case extraction went more smoothly and the process was easier on his hands. (See 9:00-10:00). Based on Erik’s experience, you may want to create your own custom case-holder.

Trim Bullet Meplats Also
With a special bullet-holder fitting and meplat cutter head, the Giraud power trimmer can be used to trim bullet meplats. Trimming meplats can help make the Ballistic Coefficents of a batch of bullets more consistent. Uniforming meplats is also often done as a first step in the process of “tipping” bullets to improve BC.

Erik Cortina Meplat Giraud Case Trimmer YouTube Video Lapua

Giraud Power Trimmer

Permalink - Videos, Bullets, Brass, Ammo, Gear Review, Reloading 2 Comments »
December 3rd, 2019

Smarter Reloader — Use Expander Mandrels with Your New Brass

Expander Mandrel reloading case neck tension cartridge brass

Before you load that nice new cartridge brass for the first time, run an expander mandrel down the case necks. This will iron out dents and provide more uniform neck tension. Chose a mandrel diameter that provides appropriate neck tension.

Lapua brass is so good that you’ll be tempted to just load and shoot, if you have a “no-turn” chamber. However, some minimal case prep will ensure more uniform neck tension. Keeping your neck tension very uniform allows more consistent bullet seating. That, in turn, usually yields better accuracy, and lower Extreme Spread and Standard Deviation (ES/SD). Lapua brass, particularly 6mmBR, 6.5×47, 6.5 Creedmoor, and .308 Win comes from the factory with tighter-than-optimal necks. Before you seat bullets, at a minimum, you should inside chamfer the case mouths, after running an expander mandrel down the necks. The expander mandrels from both Sinclair Int’l and K&M will both leave the necks with enough neck tension (more than .001″) so you can then seat bullets without another operation. We suggest putting a bit of lube on the mandrel before running it down the necks — but remove any lube that gets inside the necks before seating bullets.

Sinclair Expander Tool Mandrel

Both Sinclair and K&M Tools make a die body specifically to hold expander mandrels. The Sinclair version, is shown above. This $29.99 unit fits caliber-specific expander mandrels ($9.99) which measure approximately .001″ less than bullet diameter for each caliber. This is an updated “Gen II” design that completely captures the mandrel within the die so the mandrel cannot pull out. It also has an O-ring in the die cap that allows the mandrel to self-center within the case neck. Sinclair now offers three sizes of die bodies for expander mandrels: .17 -.338 Caliber (#749-011-715WS $29.99); .357 – .50 caliber (#749-008-843WS, $29.99), and a special .50 Cal die body for large-diameter 50 BMG presses (#749-009-163WS, $34.99). All Generation II dies are machined from stainless steel and the standard diameter 7/8-14 dies include the Sinclair Stainless Steel Split Lock Ring.

Once you run the Sinclair expander mandrel down the necks of Lapua brass, after you account for brass spring-back, you’ll have about .002″ neck tension*. This will make the process of seating bullets go much more smoothly, and you will also iron out any dents in the case mouths. Once the case mouths are all expanded, and uniformly round, then do your inside neck chamfering/deburring. The same expander mandrels can be used to “neck-up” smaller diameter brass, or prepare brass for neck-turning.

Forum member Mike Crawford adds: “These expanders can also reduce runout from offset seating. Prior to bullet seating, expand the sized necks to force thickness variance outward. With the Sinclair system, the necks will springback fine, and will not be pulled out of center. This leaves plenty of tension, and bullets seated more centered. I do this, even with turned necks, to get improved seating.”

Mandrels vs. Expander Balls on Decapping Rods
If you haven’t acquired an appropriate expander mandrel for your brass, but you DO have a full-length sizing die with an expander ball, this will also function to “iron out” the necks and reduce tension. However, using a die with an expander ball will work the necks more — since you first size them down, then the ball expands them up again. Typically (but not always), run-out is worse when using an expander ball vs. an expander mandrel.


* This .002″ tension is what we have observed with Lapua 6mmBR, 6.5×47, 6.5 Creedmoor, and .308 Win brass. This might vary with much smaller or larger cases, and of course a different brand of brass might yield different results. If you get too little tension with your current mandrel, you can get a smaller-diameter mandrel from 21st Century Shooting. 21st Century even offers low-friction Titanium Nitride-coated mandrels.

Permalink Bullets, Brass, Ammo, Reloading No Comments »
December 1st, 2019

Bargain Finder 219: Deals of the Week Cyber Monday Edition

Accurateshooter Bargain Finder Deals of Week
Accurateshooter Bargain Finder Deals of Week

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. Amazon — ADDTOP Power Bank with Solar Panels, $39.99

Power bank battery USB charger solar panels remote charging

Power — modern shooters need mobile battery power to run a LabRadar, charge a Tablet monitoring a Target Camera, or charge you smartphone running a Ballistics App. Here’s one of the best compact USB-port batteries you can buy. This offers 25000 mAh of energy, PLUS it has four solar panels (one built-in, three external). This ADDTOP Power Bank is on sale now for $39.99 on Amazon, a good deal.

2. Amazon — Samsung 10″ Galaxy Tab (Android OS), $147.00

Samsung Galaxy Tab 10

These days, every serious rifleman can really use a tablet computer. Use it with WiFi target-cam systems. Run Ballistics and Reloading Apps. And plug in a $49.99 Teslong endoscope to monitor your bore. This 10″ Samsung Galaxy Tab boasts a 2019 Android OS, long (13-hr) battery life, and easy MicroSD memory boosting. Right now this Samsung is on sale for $147.00 with Free Shipping, a great deal. Or order for $156.99 with 64GB MicroSD card (the BEST DEAL).

3. Cutting Edge Bullets — 25% Off $150+ Orders

Samsung Galaxy Tab 10

Cutting Edge Bullets crafts some of the best-performing projectiles for extreme long range (ELR) shooting. Cutting Edge Solids have set many records. And now you can get these great bullets for 25% OFF. But act soon. This deal is for TODAY ONLY, December 2, 2019. Use Code CYBER19 to get25% OFF all orders over $150.00, with FREE Shipping.

4. Brownells — Electronic Muffs, $26.99 (36% Off)

Brownells electronic premium muffs discount sale ear protection

Brownells new, Second Generation Premium Electronic Earmuffs incorporate dual microphones that let you hear range commmand while suppressing harmful noises. These affordable muffs fold for easy storage, and you can plug your smartphone into the 3.5mm input jack. Right now these muffs are discounted from $41.99 to $29.99 — a 36% savings!

5. Midsouth — Hornady 6.5 Creedmoor Brass and 140gr Bullets

hornady 6.5 creedmoor brass ELD bullets

Do you shoot a 6.5 Creedmoor? Well here’s the deal of the year on 6.5 Creedmoor brass and bullets. Get 100 pieces of Hornady 6.5mm Creedmoor Brass for just $34.99. Then add Hornady 6.5mm 140gr ELD Bullets at $64.99/250. That’s just $24.99 per 100, an awesome deal.

6. Multiple Vendors — LabRadar Chronograph, $499.95 ($60 OFF)

labradar midsouth brunos creedmoor sale chrongraph

The LabRadar is arguably the most sophisticated consumer chronograph on the market. These units rarely go on sale — but here’s your chance. Right now you can now get a LabRadar for $499.95 — that’s $60 off the normal price. (Sale price good through December 2, 2019). Purchase direct from Mylabradar.com, or order for $499.95 from leading vendors Midsouth Shooters, Bruno’s, and Creedmoor Sports.

7. EuroOptic — 15% OFF Nightforce NXS and SHV Scopes

eurooptic sale

Nightforce Optics makes great scopes for all disciplines. You’ll see Nightforces on the rifles of top benchrest, F-Class, and PRS/NRL competitors. Right now EuroOptic is running a big Nightforce promo. Save 15% on Nightforce NXS or SHV scopes. No rebate forms needed — the 15% savings is processed when you buy.

8. Powder Valley — Free HazMat Through 12/2/2019 — All Brands

Powder Valley Inc. Primers Free Hazmat Haz Mat shipping Cyber Sale Black Friday

Need powder and/or primers? Then head over to Powder Valley. Starting November 29, 2019 (this coming Friday), you can get FREE HazMat for all brands of reloading powders and primers with orders over $179.00. And yes you can combine powder and primers in the same shipment. This FREE HazMat offer runs through December 2, 2019. Go to PowderValleyInc.com and select FREE HazMat during checkout, starting Friday November 29th.

9. SIG Sauer — Huge Optics Sale, up to 60% Off

SIG Sauer electrooptics optics scope sale

Now through midnight December 2, 2019, save up to 60% on SIG Sauer riflescopes, red dot sights, rangefinders, binoculars and spotting scopes while supplies last. Choose from 58 different styles. There are some great deals to be had, with prices slashed up to 60%. But ACT SOON, this is a one-day-only sale!

10. Bushmaster Firearms — 50% Off Entire Site Today Only

area 419 sale

Bushmaster Firearms is running a big sale today with 50% Savings on uppers, lowers, muzzle brakes, mags, cleaning supplies and more. There are some truly impressive deals. But you better jump on it — the Sale ends 12/2/2019 at 11:59 pm EDT.

11. AREA 419 — CZ 457 MTR Fully Loaded, $950

area 419 sale

Tactical-style .22 LR rimfire rifles permit PRS/NRL shooters to cross-train effectively with low-cost ammo. The new CZ 527 MTR is a great platform for a rimfire precision custom. Area 419 has developed a cool 527 MTR-based rig with all the bells and whistles. Area 419’s fully loaded CZ 457 MTR comes complete with an ARCAlock rail, AREA 419 scope base, and Area 419 bolt knob. This is certainly a top choice for a sub-$1000, .22 LR PRS cross-trainer. Buy now and save $170.00.

12. Creedmoor Sports — $10 Off $150+ Orders and Ammo Sale

Cyber monday sale creedmoor sports .223 Rem ammo ammunition discount code

On Cyber Monday, Creedmoor Sports is offering $10 Off all orders over $150.00, with FREE Shipping. In addition, Creedmoor Sports has discounted its excellent 75gr .223 Rem Ammo. Get 50 rounds for just $30.00. That’s a 32.5% discount off the regular $39.75 price.

13. Midsouth Shooters — Aguila 9mm FMJ Ammo, $8.49 50rd Box

9mm luger 9x19mm pistol fmj handgun ammo ammunition

We bet most readers own at least one 9mm handgun. Here’s a killer deal on major-brand 9x19mm FMJ ammo — which is fine for general range use and training. The $8.49 price for 50 rounds works out to just seventeen cents ($0.17) per round. At that rate it’s not worth hand-loading, if you value your time at all. Act soon, this deal may expire on 12/2/2019 at 11:59 pm.

14. Palmetto State Armory — Taurus G2c 9mm Pistol, $179.99

Carry pistol $185 bargain Taurus G2C ccw handgun review discount sales

This is a good little compact carry gun at a great price. Palmetto State Armory has the black-on-black Taurus 9mm G2c for just $179.99. But it gets even better — with Taurus Factory Rebate your net cost is just $154.99! That’s one of the lowest prices we’ve ever seen for a big name, reliable 9mm handgun. Buy soon before the Rebate Offer expires.

15. Amazon — Jialitte Scope Bubble Level, $10.99

Scope Optic bubble level 30mm 1

All serious rifle shooters need a scope level. This nicely designed Jialitte Scope Bubble Level features a 30mm milled inside diameter, plus an inner insert ring so it will also fit 1″-diameter main tubes — that dual-diameter versatility is a nice feature. We also like the way the unit is nicely radiused, and has a low profile in the middle. Price is just $10.99 with free shipping. User reviews have been very positive. You could easily pay $35.00 or more for a 30mm scope level.

Permalink Bullets, Brass, Ammo, Hot Deals, Optics, Reloading, Tactical No Comments »
November 30th, 2019

Ultimate Reloader Achieves 100,000 Video Subscriber Milestone

Ultimate Reloader gavintoob video 100000 subscribers

Many of the best videos on reloading products and methods have been produced by Gavin Gear of UltimateReloader.com. Over the last 12 years, Gavin has released 465 videos showcasing reloading products, gunsmithing techniques, and gun testing. Thanks to Gavin’s movie-making skills and hard work, his GavinToobe YouTube Channel recently achieved the 100,000 subscriber milestone. Over the years Gavin’s videos have received over 17.7 million views. Gavin’s videos have benefited shooting enthusiasts and hand-loaders around the globe, and we congratulate Gavin and UltimateReloader.com!

Access ALL UltimateReloader.com GavinToobe Videos HERE »

Gavin posted: “Twelve years ago I started my YouTube channel. Shortly thereafter I started publishing ammunition, reloading and shooting sports content. In 2017 I quit Microsoft to work on Ultimate Reloader full time, and on 11/26/2019 I surpassed the 100,000 subscriber mark. WOW, it’s been sooooo much work, but sooooo much fun. Special thanks to my family for putting up with all of the times I’ve worked on this project ‘after hours’. I feel totally blessed. Very much appreciate my community, and also Jonathan Patton for helping me to understand online communities better. I also really appreciate Hornady for their help in getting me started (my first partner). Neil Davies — that’s you. Thanks everyone!”

To mark this major milestone, we’re featuring five of Gavin’s popular videos. The first is his 2019 Black Friday video covering bargains from Midsouth, Starline, KMS Squared, and Inline Fabrication.

Black Friday 2019 Special Bargains

Epic Reloading Hardware Test — 14 Single-Stage Presses
In this remarkable video, Gavin review fourteen (14) single-stage reloading presses. This is the most comprehensive reloading press comparison test ever done by anyone:

Most Popular Video — .223 Rem vs. 5.56×45
This is Gavin’s #1 Video of all time. His .223 Rem vs. 5.56×45 video has been viewed over 1.9 million times. It provides key facts about the similarities (and a few differences) between the .223 Remington cartridge and the 5.56x45mm NATO round.

1000 Yards with .224 Valkyrie
With 50,000+ views, this is one of Gavin’s most popular field shooting videos. Shooting on his scenic “home range” in the Washington mountains, Gavin developed a tack-driving load using Berger 80.5 gr bullets. See 100-yard results and Gavin’s remarkable first-round hit on steel at 1000 yards!

Buck Fever — Right in the Back Yard!
In this video, Gavin uses his new 300 PRC rifle to bag an impressive buck just 100 yards from his shop. For those of you who have hiked miles on a hunt, only to return home empty-handed, this will seem amazing. And yes, Gavin’s 300 PRC cartridge dropped the animal like a stone.

Permalink - Videos, Gear Review, Hunting/Varminting, Reloading, Tech Tip No Comments »
November 29th, 2019

What is Your #1 Favorite Reloading Equipment Item?

Wilson hand die arbor press Sierra Bullets

Sierra Bullets asked a few hand-loaders to reveal their favorite reloading tool or accessory: “What is your favorite ‘don’t know how you ever lived without it’ piece of reloading equipment?” Some of the answers are listed below. We were interested to see some high-tech, micro-processor items mentioned, such as the AMP Annealer, and the AutoTrickler powder dispenser. Old standbys, such as the rugged RCBS Rockchucker and Dillon 650, also made the favorites list. You can nominate your own favorite reloading hardware in the comments section of the Sierra Bullets Blog.

Sierra Bullets Ballistic Technician Philip Mahin answered: “A comparator gauge to measure from the base of a case to the ogive of the bullet. This bypasses the tip of the bullet, so I can repeat the same seating depth the next time I visit a specific combination.”

Forster Co-ax press

Bill, Editor of Rifleshooter.com, answered: “I have so many favorite reloading tools, it’s hard to pick one. But if I had to, it would be my Forster Co-Ax press. I like the ease [with which] you can change dies and that it doesn’t require traditional shell holders. It’s a great tool to have!”

Forster Co-Ax Press

Sierra Bullets Ballistic Technician Duane Siercks answered: “I don’t know that you would actually call this equipment, but the item that comes to mind would be my reloading room/shoot house. I had always had to squeeze everything into a corner or even an unheated shed. After we bought our current house, I built a garage and placed it so that I had a window looking down a 250-yard range. I built a dedicated room with heat and A/C. It contains my reloading bench and a shooting bench. The shooting bench lets me slide open the window and shoot down the range. It is very handy to not have to load everything up to go to the range. It also makes load development a lot simpler and efficient. I don’t know how I ever got along without it.

I also wonder what I did before I acquired the Lyman 1200 DPS Powder Dispenser. This has made the process so much simpler and much easier. I also have a Lee Precison Universal Decapping Die that I would gladly spend the money on again. This may be a small thing, but it certainly is handy. The Lee would accommodate some very large cases that some of the others were too small for.”

Jon Addis answered: “Putting an A&D FX-120i scale with AutoTrickler and Auto-Throw on the bench has changed the way I reload. It’s kernel accurate in about 15 seconds. Saves time and reduces a variable. And of course, the system is made better by the Area 419 Billet Adjustable base for the trickler and Billet Powder Cup.”

This video shows the AutoTrickler V2 and Auto-Throw Combo:

Sierra Bullets Ballistic Technician Carroll Pilant answered: “Dillon 550 and 650 presses.”

Sierra Bullets Ballistic Technician Paul Box answered: “The Lee Precison hand priming tool.”

Sierra Bullets Chief Ballistician Tommy Todd answered: “A brass annealing machine and a RCBS Chargemaster complimented with a Sartorious scale.”

RCBS RockchuckerSierra Bullets Ballistician Gary Prisendorf answered: “RCBS Rock Chucker Press, it’s built like a tank, and it will last me a lifetime.”

Sierra Bullets Production Manager Chris Hatfield also answered: “RCBS Rock Chucker single-stage reloading press.”

Jeremy Kisner answered: “My Giraud trimmer has taken [three operations] and combined them into one easy task. I can now size my brass and then sit down and trim, chamfer, and debur to a 0.001″ tolerance in one motion.”

Dan Blake answered: “My Annealing Made Perfect (AMP) annealer. With consistent neck tension being one of the largest contributions to small Extreme Spread on muzzle velocities, I believe this induction annealer is truly the best on the market.”

This manufacturer-produced video shows how the AMP annealing machine operates:

Trevor Aldinger answered: “Area 419 Master Funnel Kit. In the past I’ve used plastic funnels and even other metal ones. This system fits case necks and flows much better than any others I’ve used, and there is no static since it’s metal. We spend a lot of time and money to get precise charges, I don’t want to lose or miss a kernel because of a cheap funnel.”

Area 419 Master Funnel kit

Tyler Riley answered: “My RCBS bench primer (priming tool). It has a lot more leverage than a hand primer and still has a good feel to how tight primer pockets are. Makes it much easier on my hands to prime large runs, especially new brass with tight pockets.”

Craig Arnzen answered: “My Annealeez [annealing machine] is one of the best tools in my reloading room. Neck tension is SO important, and annealing every firing really helps with that. This is an inexpensive tool that can anneal a lot of cases at once, and help me produce more consistent ammo.”

Josh Temmen answered: “Time is critical for me so my RCBS Chargemasters are indispensable (pun intended.) They cut down on time at my reloading bench while maintaining the weight tolerances required for long range shooting.”

Josh Bartlett answered: “I have my Dillon 650 set up with Whidden floating tool heads to do decapping and sizing on my match ammo. The case feeder and progressive function of the press save me a TON of time when doing lots of several hundred rounds.”

Ryan Brandt answered: “… A quality set of calipers. My reloading room is full of very nice equipment but little does more to satisfy my perfectionism than a good check with the calipers.”

Sierra Bullets

Permalink - Videos, Gear Review, Reloading 2 Comments »
November 28th, 2019

Black Friday and Cyber Monday Deals and Promotions

Thanksgiving Black Friday Sale Discount code bargain Cyber Monday

Tomorrow is Black Friday, the biggest SALE DAY of the year. We’ve scoured the internet to find great promotions and discount offers. You’ll find super deals on firearms, reloading tools, optics, shooting accessories, ammo and more. Check out these deals. Many of the offers commenced on Thanksgiving Day. Some of these special offers are for Friday only, November 29, 2019. Other promotions extend all weekend, all the way through Cyber-Monday, December 2, 2019.

Midsouth Shooters — Black Friday Extravaganza

midsouth shooters sale

Midsouth Shooters has discounted some of the most popular products for its big Black Friday Extravaganza. There are big savings on RCBS, Lyman, and Hornady reloading hardware. You’ll also find great deals on scopes, ammo, and even the advanced LabRadar chronograph. These deals commence at 6:00 pm on Thursday November 28 (Thanksgiving) at 6:00 pm ET.

Precision Reloading — 10% Off All Products

Thanksgiving Black Friday Sale Discount code bargain Precision Reloading Cyber Monday

Precision Reloading is running a compelling Black Friday Promo through Sunday 11/31/2019 at 11:59 PM. Here’s the deal — starting today you can save 10% on ALL orders, including sale/clearance items. That means effectively that everything Precision Reloading sells is 10% off. Yes that includes powder, bullets, dies, reloading tools and more. Get your 10% savings by using CODE “BLACK19″ during check-out.

Whidden Gunworks — Week of Deals

whidden gunworks sale

Whidden Gunworks makes outstanding reloading equipment and also does great gunsmithing work. Whidden Gunworks products rarely go on sale, but right now you can save 10% on purchases of $50 or more (CODE WGWBLACK10) or save 15% on $250+ purchases (CODE WGWBLACK15). You can also save $100 on gunsmithing services with the purchase of any Whidden die set — use CODE WGWBLACKRIFLE.

Powder Valley — Free HazMat Starting 11/29/19 — All Brands

Powder Valley Inc. Primers Free Hazmat Haz Mat shipping Cyber Sale Black Friday

Need powder and/or primers? Then head over to Powder Valley. Starting November 29, 2019 (this coming Friday), you can get FREE HazMat for all brands of reloading powders and primers with orders over $179.00. And yes you can combine powder and primers in the same shipment. This great FREE HazMat offer runs through December 2, 2019. Go to PowderValleyInc.com and select FREE HazMat during checkout, starting Friday November 29th.

EuroOptic — 15% OFF Nightforce NXS and SHV Scopes

eurooptic sale

Nightforce Optics makes great scopes for all disciplines. You’ll see Nightforces on the rifles of top benchrest, F-Class, and PRS/NRL competitors. Right now EuroOptic is running a big Nightforce promo. Save 15% on Nightforce NXS or SHV scopes. No rebate forms needed — the 15% savings is processed when you buy.

AMP Annealing– AMP MK II Annealer $200 OFF Plus Free Pilots

amp annealer sale $200 off

AMP Annealing is running its first-ever sale in the USA, and it’s a good one. Save two hundred bucks! Buy now and get the Mark II annealer for $200 off PLUS three FREE pilots. YOu even get FREE SHIPPING. That’s a combined savings of nearly $300 on what is regarded as the best annealer made.

Grafs.com — Extended Black Friday Sale through 12/31/2019

graf sons grafs.com black friday december sale

Grafs.com is running an extended Black Friday sale for an entire month. Starting on Thanksgiving Day (11/27/19), you’ll find dozens of great deals, with the bargains lasting through 12/31/2019. Above are some of the best bargains. CLICK HERE for more great products on sale now through the end of 2019.

21st Century Shooting — 15% OFF Entire Online Order

21st century sale

Whether it’s neck-turning equipment, custom dies, presses, expander mandrels or other reloading gear 21st Century Shooting has top-of-the-line products to offer. Spend at least $50 to enjoy 15% savings on ALL the great 21st Century equipment. Essentially everything in stock is on sale now through Monday 12/2/2019 at 11:59 pm. NOTE: To get the discount enter THANKYOU in the Redeem Coupon Box.

Brownells — Black Friday Sale on Guns, Ammo, Accessories

brownells sale

Brownells is running a HUGE Black Friday Sale with a vast collection of items deeply discounted. You’ll find big savings on AR receivers, AR parts, Federal ammo, Howa barreled actions, gunsights, triggers, magazines and more. There’s really something for everyone. Plus get free ground shipping on Ammo if you sign up for Brownells Edge program.

LongShot Cameras (TargetVision) — CyberSale Save Up to $100

Longshot Camera Targetvision Cyber Sale Black Friday

Longshot (TargetVision) is running a big CyberSale right now. Right now you can save on ALL LongShot Camera products. The superb LongShot LR-3 2-mile UHD (Ultra-High-Definition) is now just $699.00 on sale, while the 300-yard UHD Marksman is on sale for $349.00. The new Hawk Spotting Scope camera is a steal at $249.00, marked down from $299.00. Act soon — these deals expire 12/2/2019.

Palmetto Armory — Major Black Friday Sale on Guns and Ammo

palmetto armory sale

Palmetto State Armory (PSA) has some amazing deals right now on rifles, pistols, gun parts, and ammunition. You’ll find AR uppers, lowers, build kits, parts, ammunition, and more at the lowest prices of the year. Palmetto is one of the leaders in AR builds so if you’ve been holding out to get your hands on a nice AR now is your chance to get one. Right now a PSA complete AR lower is just $129.00!

MidwayUSA — Huge Black Friday Sale and Free Shipping $49+

midway usa sale

If you’re shopping for optics, tools, reloading gear and more, check out MidwayUSA’s Black Friday Sale. Select products from top brands such as Vortex, Leupold, Remington, and Hornady are on sale for up to 50% off. You can also get FREE Shipping on all orders over $49 with CODE GREATDEAL49.

AREA 419 — Black Nitride Friday Sale

area 419 sale

Area 419 makes some of the finest aftermarket accessories on the market. Right now Area 419 is running a Black Nitride Friday Sale with a selection of black nitrided products. These include muzzle brakes, suppressor mounts, thread caps, and Defiance nitrided actions. You can even order a complete custom rifle with Defiance action and other black components. Prices are very attractive.

PMA Tool — 10% Off Orders Over $150

PMA Tool discount sale

PMA Tool carries a wide variety of very high-quality products for precision shooters — Lenzi rear bags, micro click-adjusters for dies, cleaning cradles, neck-turners, action wrenches, just to name a few. Right now, during PMA’s Black Friday Sale, you can save on PMA’s full selection of items. Get Free Shipping with a $100 order, or save 10% with orders over $150.00. These promos apply through 1/2/2020.

Bullet Central — Secret Reward Code Giveaway

bullet central sale

This year, Bullet Central has a secret reward program. If you place an order during this Black Friday/Cyber Monday weekend you have a chance to win one of 250 Secret Reward Codes. Each Reward Code is worth at least 5% off a Bix’n Andy TacSport trigger, and the Code MIGHT be worth much more. There will also be at least Reward Code good for a FREE Bix’n Andy TacSport trigger.

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November 24th, 2019

How to Trim Cases with L.E. Wilson Stainless 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 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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November 23rd, 2019

Eyeball Your Brass — How to Diagnose Flawed Cases

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 this article 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.

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

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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November 22nd, 2019

Reloading Powder Recall: Accurate 2495, 4064, and 4350

Accurate Powder Western 2495 4065 4350 propellant powders recall safety fire hazard

Readers — if you reload with Accurate-brand 2495, 4064, or 4350 powders, check your containers now! Accurate Powder is recalling certain lots of these powders in both 1-lb and 8-lb containers. This is serious. The manufacturer says: “The use or storage of this product may result in combustion, fire damage, and/or possible serious injury or property damage.” The problematic powders being recalled were manufactured for Western Powders Inc. prior to 10/1/2016, but they may have been sold anytime after that.

Check the Lot Number on the back or bottom of the containers. The lot number is the last digit or last two digits (right-most digits). Here are the recalled lots:

Accurate 2495 Lots 2-17 | Accurate 4064 Lots 2-16 | Accurate 4350 Lots 2-22

If you have any of the affected powder you should fill the container immediately with WATER. Then contact Western Powders at 406-234-0422 or customerservice@westernpowders.com .

Accurate Powders Recall Notice for 2495, 4064, 4360 Powders

Accurate Powder Western 2495 4065 4350 propellant powders recall safety fire hazard

Recall tip from EdLongrange. We welcome reader submissions.

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November 19th, 2019

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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November 17th, 2019

Reloder 23 and Reloder 26 — Good for Magnum Cartridges

Alliant Bofors Nitrochemie Reloader Reloading RL Reloder powder 22 23 25 26

Do you shoot a magnum cartridge? Here are two modern-formulation powders you may want to try: Reloder 23 and 26. We have been particularly impressed with Reloder 23. It has worked well in competition for target cartridges such as the 7mm RSAUM. Reloder 23 is like a slower version of Reloder 16 — a very temp-stable powder which has proven a worthy rival to H4350.

Ever heard of Alliant Reloder 23? Or Reloder 26? These two relatively new European-produced Reloder propellants were introduced in 2014. Most folks haven’t tried these Reloder powders because it took quite a while for the first shipments of RL 23 and RL 26 to arrive in the USA. But now these two new propellants are available in the USA, with substantial inventories in stock at some larger vendors. For example, Powder Valley has both RL 23 and RL 26 in stock now at $23.50 per pound. Many other vendors have ample RL 23, but RL 26 is a bit harder to find.

From our Forum members who shoot large magnum cartridge types with heavy bullets, we have heard good things about both RL 23 and RL 26. Reports from the field indicate that both these powders are delivering impressive velocities with low velocity ES/SD.

What are the characteristics of RL 23 and RL 26? That question was answered by Paul Furrier who works for ATK, the parent company of Alliant Powders. Posting in our Shooters’ Forum, Paul writes:

“Let me provide some factual info about these products. Some of the stuff that gets propagated is not correct. Reloder 23 is produced by our Swedish partner Bofors, and Reloder 26 is produced in Switzerland by our extremely capable partner Nitrochemie. I have seen it stated that they are both made by Bofors, so that is incorrect.

I have also noticed people are equating Reloder 23 to Reloder 22, and Reloder 26 to Reloder 25. Both of those statements are definitely incorrect. We do state that the performance of Reloder 23 is similar to Reloder 22, and it is, in general burn speed terms, but they are most certainly not the same. We have worked quite a lot of recipes for Reloder 23, and they are not the same as Reloder 22. Reloder 26 is definitely slower burning than Reloder 25, so there shouldn’t be any confusion there either.”

Alliant Bofors Nitrochemie Reloader Reloading RL Reloder powder 22 23 25 26

Furrier says that RL 23 is NOT sensitive to temperature shifts: “Reloder 23 was developed to bring a truly temp-stable powder to the Reloder 22 burn-speed range using Bofors new process technology. This is the second product developed for us with this TZ® process, the first being AR-Comp™. We see terrific efficiencies, SDs, accuracy and flat temp response from these powders. Please try them, I think you will be impressed.”

(more…)

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November 14th, 2019

Video Demonstrates Lock-N-Load Press Conversion Kit

Lock N load Conversion Kit Die bushing twist lock Hornady

Would you like to swap dies in and out of a reloading press in just seconds, with a quick twist of the wrist? Hornady’s Lock ‘N Load twist-lock hardware makes that possible. This time-saving system uses “die bushings” that screw on to your dies. Don’t have Hornady press? No problem — the Lock-N-Load system can be used with non-Hornady presses via the Lock-N-Load Conversion Kit. This includes three die bushings and one press conversion insert. The adapter will work with RCBS RockChuckers and any other reloading press using a 1-1/4-12 thread. The Lock-N-Load Conversion Kit costs just $15.59 at Midsouth Shooters Supply. Watch this video to see how it works.

Product and video tip from EdLongRange. We welcome reader submissions.

.

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November 13th, 2019

TECH TIP: Turn Case-Necks Better with Optimal Cutter Angle

neck turning lathe cutter tip sinclair pma 21st Century

When neck-turning cases, it’s a good idea to extend the cut slightly below the neck-shoulder junction. This helps keep neck tension more uniform after repeated firings, by preventing a build-up of brass where the neck meets the shoulder. One of our Forum members, Craig from Ireland, a self-declared “neck-turning novice”, was having some problems turning brass for his 20 Tactical cases. He was correctly attempting to continue the cut slightly past the neck-shoulder junction, but he was concerned that brass was being removed too far down the shoulder.

Craig writes: “Everywhere I have read about neck turning, [it says] you need to cut slightly into the neck/shoulder junction to stop doughnutting. I completely understand this but I cant seem to get my neck-turning tool set-up to just touch the neck/shoulder junction. It either just doesn’t touch [the shoulder] or cuts nearly the whole shoulder and that just looks very messy. No matter how I adjust the mandrel to set how far down the neck it cuts, it either doesn’t touch it or it cuts far too much. I think it may relate to the bevel on the cutter in my neck-turning tool…”

Looking at Craig’s pictures, we’d agree that he didn’t need to cut so far down into the shoulder. There is a simple solution for this situation. Craig is using a neck-turning tool with a rather shallow cutter bevel angle. This 20-degree angle is set up as “universal geometry” that will work with any shoulder angle. Unfortunately, as you work the cutter down the neck, a shallow angled-cutter tip such as this will remove brass fairly far down. You only want to extend the cut about 1/32 of an inch past the neck-shoulder junction. This is enough to eliminate brass build-up at the base of the neck that can cause doughnuts to form.

K&M neck-turning tool

The answer here is simply to use a cutter tip with a wider angle — 30 to 40 degrees. The cutter for the K&M neck-turning tool (above) has a shorter bevel that better matches a 30° shoulder. There is also a 40° tip available. PMA Tool and 21st Century Shooting also offer carbide cutters with a variety of bevel angles to exactly match your case shoulder angle*. WalkerTexasRanger reports: “I went to a 40-degree cutter head just to address this same issue, and I have been much happier with the results. The 40-degree heads are available from Sinclair Int’l for $15 or so.” Forum Member CBonner concurs: “I had the same problem with my 7WSM… The 40-degree cutter was the answer.” Below is Sinclair’s 40° Cutter for its NT-series neck-turning tools. Item NT3140, this 40° Cutter sells for $14.99. For the same price, Sinclair also sells the conventional 30° Cutter, item NT3100.

Al Nyhus has another clever solution: “The best way I’ve found to get around this problem is to get an extra shell holder and face it off .020-.025 and then run the cases into the sizing die. This will push the shoulder back .020-.025. Then you neck turn down to the ‘new’ neck/shoulder junction and simply stop there. Fireforming the cases by seating the bullets hard into the lands will blow the shoulder forward and the extra neck length you turned by having the shoulder set back will now be blended perfectly into the shoulder. The results are a case that perfectly fits the chamber and zero donuts.”

* 21st Century sells carbide cutters in: 15, 17, 20, 21.5, 23, 25, 28, 30, 35, 40, and 46 degrees. PMA Tool sells carbide cutters in: 17.5, 20, 21.5, 23, 25, 28, 30, and 40 degrees, plus special short-neck cutters.

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November 11th, 2019

Ultimate Reloader Tests RCBS MatchMaster Powder Dispenser

Gavin Gear Ulimate Reloader MatchMaster RCBS Powder Scale Dispenser

RCBS has come out with a new, twin-tube powder scale/dispenser that promises to deliver 1- or 2-kernel precision in the slower, more precise “Match Mode”. If it really works, this new RCBS MatchMaster unit could compete with an Auto-Trickler V3 mated to a Magnetic Force Restoration scale. However, the new MatchMaster employs a strain-gauge scale, so it will be interesting to see how the unit actually performs.

This is an impressive new machine, but it represents a signficant investment. MSRP for the MatchMaster is $1123.95 with street price around $899.00 (MidwayUSA). At around $900.00, the MatchMaster competes with an AutoTrickler system, which is definitely fast and highly precise.

Ultimate Reloader Tests the New RCBS MatchMaster
Our friend Gavin Gear of UltimateReloader.com got his hands on one of the first production MatchMasters. Gavin put the machine through its paces in a “first look” video using two powders, Bullseye and Varget. In the video, Gavin explains the machine’s design features. Then he tests the new MatchMaster in both Standard Mode (faster) and the slower, more precise “Match Mode”. Gavin also published a full-length MatchMaster Review with detailed test results.

RCBS claims that the MatchMaster can dispense charges to within ± 0.04 (four hundreths) grain in Match Mode. That’s 1-2 kernels of an extruded powder such as H4350. Gavin’s testing, using an A&D FX-120i Magnetic Force Restoration scale as a control, showed that RCBS’s claims are solid.

Ultimate Reloader RCBS MatchMaster Powder Scale/Dispenser Review

“You can actually fine-tune the settings for the large dispensing tube and the small tube. There are quite a few parameters… quite a bit of flexibility.” — Gavin Gear.

RCBS MatchMaster Features

— MatchMaster offers two modes, Standard (Faster) and Match (More Precise)
— MatchMaster has two powder dispensing tubes, a larger diameter for large flow and a second smaller tube for precise trickle.
— MatchMaster Settings can be controlled with RCBS Mobile App that works through BlueTooth.
— Powder is removed from the BOTTOM of the machine. This means you must lift the unit up off the bench, then plug a drain tube into the bottom of the unit. See photo.

Gavin Gear Ulimate Reloader MatchMaster RCBS Powder Scale Dispenser

How Accurate Is the MatchMaster?
Near the end of his video review, Gavin threw an 84.20 grain charge of Varget with the MatchMaster. He then weighed the same charge with his A&D FX-120i Magnetic Force Restoration scale. The charge weights agreed exactly at 84.20 grains. When the same pan was placed a second time, the FX-120i showed 84.16 grains. That’s still a mere 0.04 grain variance, which is RCBS’s stated precision claim for Match Mode.

Gavin Gear Ulimate Reloader MatchMaster RCBS Powder Scale Dispenser
Note: This shows first placement of pan on the A&D FX-120i. A second placement of pan on FX-120i stabilized at 84.16 grains.

How Fast is MatchMaster in Each Dispensing Mode?
Gavin started testing the MatchMaster in Match Mode with Bullseye, a popular flake pistol powder. With a 24.00 grain Bullseye charge, one dispensing took 26 seconds (11:40 time-mark), while another took 40 seconds (12:30 time-mark), an average of 33 seconds. In standard mode, the MatchMaster dispensed 24.0 grains of Bullseye in 18.5 seconds average (15.03 time-mark, 15:32 time mark). So Standard Mode was 44% faster with Bullseye.

Next Gavin filled the machine with Hodgdon Varget powder and dispensed a 25.0 grain charge in Standard (Fast) Mode. The first try took 12 seconds (18:30 time mark) to dispense the charge, while the second run of 25.0 grains took just 11 seconds (18:50 time mark).

“Hodgdon Varget performed VERY well with the MatchMaster powder dispenser. I would call this powder the ‘Speed King’ here — it dispensed way faster than the Alliant Bullseye with the settings I used, and I only had one overage which was corrected when I changed powder settings. Bravo!” — Gavin Gear

Then Gavin switched to Match (Precise) Mode and dispensed two more 50.00 grain charges of Varget. These two precision throws finished in 20 seconds (20:38 time mark) and 17 seconds (21:09 time mark) respectively, for an 18.5 second average. That’s very good for large 50.00 grain charges, although the first charge was actually 50.06 grains, about two kernels high. But Gavin explained that the machine permits fine-tuning of the powder type setting. He changed this to account for larger extruded kernels and got a perfect 50.00 grain throw in 35 seconds (22:01 time mark). The “customized” powder settings can be loaded into the RCBS MatchMaster App for future use (See below):

Gavin Gear Ulimate Reloader MatchMaster RCBS Powder Scale Dispenser

Conclusion — Initial Tests Show Good Performance
Based on Gavin’s testing, the MatchMaster delivers on its promises. With Varget extruded powder, it was quite fast, even in “Match Mode”. The dispensed charges were exact within .04 (four hundredths) of a grain, i.e. a couple of kernels, as confirmed by the A&D FX-120i Force Restoration Scale. Gavin actually liked the system of removing the powder through the bottom of the machine, using the supplied tube. It takes some practice, but it worked fine, as you can see in the video.

The RCBS MatchMaster employs a strain-gauge scale. It remains to be seen if there is a bit of drift, as you will observe with strain-gauge dispensers in the $200-$300 range, such as the original RCBS ChargeMaster. During his MatchMaster test session, Gavin said he did not observe any drift, a good sign. Overall, it looks like this is an impressive machine. But, with a $899.00 price, this is a serious investment. Anyone considering the new MatchMaster will also want to look at the AutoTrickler V3 system with AutoThrow. It costs $520.00, NOT including a lab-grade Magnetic Force Restoration balance ($600 to $1000+).

Matchmaster bluetooth mobile app

Permalink - Articles, - Videos, Bullets, Brass, Ammo, New Product, Reloading 1 Comment »
November 10th, 2019

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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November 6th, 2019

Hang Your Cleaning Rods with Fishing Rod Racks

Fishing Rod Rack Cleaning RodsForum member Nodak7mm has discovered an ideal way to store your rifle cleaning rods in your garage or loading room. Using inexpensive Berkley Horizontal Fishing Rod Racks, Nodak7mm has secured a half-dozen Dewey rods on the back of a door. You could also mount the racks along a wall or on the side of a storage cabinet. This installation takes up minimal space and the Berkley Racks cost just $10.99 per set at Walmart or $9.96 at Amazon. If you prefer wood, Amazon also sells a pine 6-rod wall rack for $30.95.

Nodak7mm explains: “I was moving some fishing poles around and ended up with an extra pair of Fishing Rod wall racks. I said to myself, ‘I bet this would hold my Dewey cleaning rods’. I mounted the pair on the inside of a closet door in my man cave and put my cleaning rods in it. It works like a charm and is far cheaper than a specially-made rack that only lets the rods hang. One can even slam the door with the rods mounted and they stay put. This rod rack set… is made by a nationally recognized name and does a great job of holding the cleaning rods securely and safely.” These are inexpensive and are easy to mount to a door or wood cabinet.

Stow Your Cleaning Rods on Your Gun Safe
Another option is to make a rod set with a magnetic backing strip. This can be affixed to the sides of your gun safe or steel storage cabinet. Here is a home-made, magnet-affixed cleaning rod holder made by Forum Member “BobM”. This smart installation works great. CLICK HERE for more information.

magnetic rack gun cleaning rod gun safe

Permalink Gear Review, Reloading 2 Comments »
November 5th, 2019

Vihtavuori Powder Rebate — Save Up to $5.00 Per Pound

Vihtavuori Capstone 2019 Keep Cash Rebate Program powder

We’re approaching winter — the perfect time to stock up on your propellants for next season. And now you can earn up to $5.00 per pound on your favorite Vihtavuori powders. Vihtavuori makes some great powders that have been used to set many records. With Vihtavuori’s Keep Your Cash Rebate, you can get up to $100 cash back on qualifying Vihtavuori powder purchases.

Vihtavuori Capstone 2019 Keep Cash Rebate Program powder

Vihtavuori $100 CONSUMER REBATE
This offer is valid on qualifying purchases made between November 1, 2019 and January 1, 2020. This applies to all sizes, 1-lb, 4-lb, and 8-lb. You can also mix and match powders to maximize your rebate. Pick up a Rebate Form from your favorite Vihtavuori retailer or download the PDF Form linked below. Then submit the form with your proof of purchase no later than January 31, 2020.

GET 2019 Vihtavuori Rebate Form PDF HERE »

The 2019 Vihtavuori Rebate program is currently under way. For a limited time, earn $5.00 back per one-pound bottle, $10.00 per four-pound bottle, and $20.00 back per eight-pound bottle when you purchase Vihtavuori powders (maximum $100 rebate). Offer is valid on qualifying purchases made between November 1, 2019 and January 1, 2020. All rebate coupons must be received by January 31, 2020.

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Permalink Hot Deals, News, Reloading 1 Comment »
November 1st, 2019

Ogives, Meplats, Boat-Tails and Other Bullet Design Elements

Bullet Design Zediker

Noted gun writer Glen Zediker (author of Top Grade Ammo), regularly contributes tech articles to the Midsouth Shooters Blog. One of Glen’s Midsouth Blog articles covers Bullet Design. We suggest you read the article — even seasoned hand-loaders will learn a few things about projectile properties (and how to choose the right bullet design for your needs). Glen also wrote a recent Blog article on cartridge pressure signs, linked below

Read Zediker Bullet Design Article | Read Zediker Pressure Signs Article

Glen explains: “A ‘match’ bullet’s job is to perforate a piece of paper. A bullet designed for varmint hunting, on the other hand, is designed to produce explosive impact, and one for larger game hunting strives to strike a balance between expansion and penetration. However! No matter how it’s built inside, there are universal elements of any bullet design, and those are found on the outside.”

Bullet Design Zediker

In his article, Glen identifies the key elements of a bullet and explains how they are defined: “Base, that’s the bottom; boat-tail, or not (flat-base); shank, portion of full-caliber diameter; ogive, the sloping ‘nosecone'; tip, either open or closed (open it’s called the ‘meplat’). The shape of the ogive and the first point of ‘major diameter’ are extremely influential elements. The first point of major diameter can vary from barrel brand to barrel brand because it’s the point on the bullet that coincides with land diameter in the barrel — the first point that will actually contact the barrel as the bullet moves forward. When there’s a cartridge sitting in the rifle chamber, the distance or gap between the first point of major diameter and the lands is called ‘jump’, and, usually, the less there is the better.”

Bullet Design Zediker

Ogives Analyzed — Tangent vs. Secant Bullet Designs
Glen notes that bullet designs reflect secant or tangent profiles, or a combination of both: “The two essential profiles a bullet can take are ‘secant’ and ‘tangent’. This refers to the shape of the ogive. A tangent is a more rounded, gradual flow toward the tip, while a secant is a more radical step-in, more like a spike. Secants fly with less resistance (less aerodynamic drag), but tangents are [often] more tolerant of jump [or to put it another way, less sensitive to seating depth variations].”

Glen adds: “Ogives are measured in ‘calibers’. That’s pretty simple: an 8-caliber ogive describes an arc that’s 8 times caliber diameter; a 12-caliber is based on a circle that’s 12 times the caliber. The 8 will be a smaller circle than the 12, so, an 8-caliber ogive is more ‘blunt’ or rounded. Bullets with lower-caliber ogives are more tolerant of jump and (usually) shoot better, easier. Higher-caliber ogives [generally] fly better, farther. This is an important component in the ‘high-BC’ designs.”

Learn More in Zediker Books
Glen has authored a number of excellent books for hand-loaders and competitive shooters. Here are three of his most popular titles, including his latest book, Top Grade Ammo:

zediker book glen top grade ammo zediker book glen top grade ammo zediker book glen top grade ammo

All these titles are available from Midsouth Shooters Supply. Click each cover above to purchase from Midsouth.

Permalink Bullets, Brass, Ammo, Reloading No Comments »
October 31st, 2019

.223 Rem Barrel Cut-Down Test — Velocity Loss by the Inch

.223 Rem Cut-Down Test barrel UMC m855

Most of us own a .223 Rem rifle. Now, thanks to our friends at Rifleshooter.com we can assess exactly how velocity changes with barrel length for this popular cartridge.

Rifleshooter.com performed an interesting test, cutting the barrel of a .223 Rem rifle from 26″ all the way down to 16.5″. The cuts were made in one-inch intervals with a rotary saw. At each cut length, velocity was measured with a Magnetospeed chronograph. To make the test even more interesting, four different types of .223 Rem/5.56 ammo were chron’d at each barrel length. The Rifleshooter.com team that conducts these tests has a full-service gun shop, 782 Custom Gunworks — visit 782guns.com.

READ RifleShooter.com 5.56/.223 Barrel Cut-Down Test Article.

Test Barrel Lost 25.34 FPS Per Inch (.223 Rem Chambering)
How much velocity do you think was lost, on average, for each 1″ reduction in barrel length? The answer may surprise you. The average speed loss of the four types of .223/5.56 ammo, with a 9.5″ shortening of barrel length, was 240.75 fps total (from start to finish). That works out to an average loss of 25.34 fps per inch.

5.56/.223 Barrel Cut-Down Speed Test 26″ to 16.5″ Start FPS at 26″ End FPS at 16.5″ Total Loss Average Loss Per Inch
UMC .223 55gr 3182* 2968 214 22.5 FPS
Federal M193 55gr 3431 3187 244 25.7 FPS
Win m855 62gr 3280 2992 288 30.3 FPS
Blk Hills .223 68gr 2849 2632 217 22.8 FPS

*There may have been an error. The 25″ velocity was higher at 3221 fps.

See inch-by-inch Barrel Cut-Down Velocity data HERE.

Rifleshooter.com observed: “Cutting the barrel from 26″ to 16.5″ resulted in a velocity reduction of 214 ft/sec with the UMC 223 55-grain cartridge, 244 ft/sec with the Federal M-193 cartridge, 288 ft/sec with the Winchester M855 cartridge and 217 ft/sec with the Back Hills 223 68-grain match cartridge.”

How the Test Was Done
The testers described their procedure as follows: “Ballistic data was gathered using a Magnetospeed barrel-mounted ballistic chronograph. At each barrel length, the rifle was fired from a front rest with rear bags, with five rounds of each type of ammunition. Average velocity and standard deviation were logged for each round. Once data was gathered for each cartridge at a given barrel length, the rifle was cleared and the bolt was removed. The barrel was cut off using a cold saw. The test protocol was repeated for the next length. Temperature was 45.7° F.”

CLICK HERE to Read the Rifleshooter.com Test. This includes detailed charts with inch-by-inch velocity numbers.

See More Barrel Cut-Down Tests on Rifleshooter.com
Rifleshooter.com has performed barrel cut-down tests for many other calibers/chamberings including 6mm Creedmoor, .308 Winchester, and .338 Lapua Magnum. See these test results at Rifleshooter.com.

.308 Win barrel length cut test

Much Different Results with 6mmBR and a Longer Barrel
The results from Rifleshooter.com’s .223/5.56 test are quite different than the results we recorded some years ago with a barrel chambered for the 6mmBR cartridge. When we cut our 6mmBR barrel down from 33″ to 28″ we only lost about 8 FPS per inch. Obviously this is a different cartridge type, but also our 6mmBR barrel end length was longer than Rifleshooter.com’s .223 Rem start length. Velocity loss may be more extreme with shorter barrel lengths. And, of course, different cartridge types and powder/bullet combinations will yield different results.

Permalink Gunsmithing, Reloading 3 Comments »