December 5th, 2020

Basics of Precision Reloading — 10 Steps Start to Finish

Sinclair Precison Reloading summery tech tips

Sinclair International has created a series of helpful articles on rifle cartridge reloading. Today’s feature lists ten basic steps for precision hand-loading, with links to longer, detailed Sinclair Int’l technical articles providing more complete information. There’s a lot of helpful info here guys, if you click all the links to access the ten “long form” articles.

Tying It All Together: 10 Steps To Precision Handloads

Feature based on article by Roy Hill, Brownells/Sinclair Copywriter

Sinclair Int’l offers a series of detailed articles on hand-loading precision rifle ammunition. The articles are included in Sinclair’s GunTech Articles Archive, but sorting through the index to find each article takes time. To help you access all these articles quickly, here’s a handy summary of ten key topics, with links to longer articles covering each subject in detail.

Part 1: The first step in making high-quality handloads is to carefully choose the best brass for your application. You need to know how to identify the different types of brass and how to choose the best kind for the ammo you want to load. CLICK HERE for Part 1.

Part 2: Even high-quality brass can have burrs around the flash hole that can interfere with the primer flame and cause inconsistent ignition – which can lead to shot groups opening up. Flash hole deburring is a critical step in making sure primers ignite powder consistently. CLICK HERE for Part 2.

Part 3: The next step is to make sure the primer pockets are square and uniform. Like flash hole deburring, primer pocket uniforming may reduce variations in primer ignition by ensuring more consistent primer seating. CLICK HERE for Part 3.

Part 4: Making sure all your cases are precisely the same length is crucial, especially when you use cases that have been fired before. Case trimming is the way to get there. CLICK HERE for Part 4.

Part 5: After trimming, cases still have to be resized. In order for them to work through the resizing die, they have to be lubricated. The case lube method you choose is crucial to making precision handloads. CLICK HERE for Part 5.

Part 6: Now it’s time to choose the dies that will resize your cases. There are several important options to consider in selecting the right sizing dies. CLICK HERE for Part 6.

Part 7: Wait! You’re not quite ready to start sizing yet. There’s yet more to consider before you start cranking cases through the press. Learn more about setting up and adjusting your sizing dies. CLICK HERE for Part 7.

Part 8: Once the cases are completely prepped, it’s time to start putting fresh components back into them. We start off by seating primers. CLICK HERE for Part 8.

Part 9: After the primers are seated, it’s time to drop in the powder. There are several tools that will help you handle powder for precision handloads. CLICK HERE for Part 9.

Sinclair Precison Reloading summery tech tips

Part 10: The final step in the process is carefully seating the bullet to just the right depth. And then… you’re ready to try your loads at the range. CLICK HERE for Part 10.

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December 4th, 2020

Cartridge Headspace 101 — Understanding the Basics

Brownells Headspace Gauge cutaway chamber drawing SAAMI ANSI

Do you know what the inside of a rifle chamber (and throat zone) really looks like? Do you understand the concept of headspace and why it’s important? If not, you should read the Brownells GunTech article Gauging Success – Minimum Headspace and Maximum COL. This article explains the basics of headspace and shows how to measure headspace (and length to lands) in your barrels with precision. The article also explains how to adjust your full-length sizing dies to “bump the shoulder” as needed.

Why is headspace important? The article explains: “Controlling headspace and setting proper C.O.L. also represent improved safety and reduced cost of handloading. Excessive headspace can cause case head separation and gases in excess of 60,000 PSI escaping from a rifle’s chamber. Too little headspace can result in a chamber forced bullet crimp and a bullet that becomes an obstruction more than a properly secured projectile. Excessive C.O.L. can result in a rifling-bound bullet, a condition that could result in spikes of excessive pressure.” [Editor’s NOTE: It is common for competitive benchrest shooters to seat bullets into the rifling. This can be done safely if you reduce your loads accordingly. With some bullets we often see best accuracy .010″ (or more) into the lands. However, this can generate more pressure than the same bullet seated .010″ away from initial lands contact. As with all reloading, start low and work up gradually.]

Brownells Headspace Gauge cutaway chamber drawing SAAMI ANSI

How is headspace specified? Most cartridges used within the United States are defined within ANSI/SAAMI Z299.3-4. Brownells explains: “In the case of the .243 Winchester, as an example, there are pressure specifications, cartridge drawings and, as pictured above, chamber drawings. Armed with a chamber drawing, each manufacturer producing a firearm for the .243 Winchester knows the proper standard dimension to cut chambers and set headspace. Notice there are two headspace reference dimensions for the chamber. The upper is a place in the chamber where the shoulder is .400″ in diameter; the “datum” or “basic” line. The lower is the 1.630″~1.640″ minimum – maximum dimension from the breech face (bolt face) to that point in the chamber that measures .400″.”

The actual headspace of any firearm is the distance from the breech face to the point in the chamber that is intended to prevent forward motion of a cartridge.

Finding Cartridge Length to Lands with OAL Gauge
Using a comparator on a set of calipers, you can quickly determine catridge base-to-ogive length. This is the measurement from the base of the case to the forward-most full diameter section of the bullet, typically called the ogive. Shown here, that ogive is 0.243″ diameter.

The next step is using a modified (threaded) case with a Hornady OAL tool to determine Length-to-Lands (LTL) in your rifle’s chamber. During this measurement process, the modified case, with a bullet in its neck, is inserted in the chamber. Go slow, take your time. Here are 5 tips that will help you get repeatable and reliable LTL measurements:

1. Start with a clean chamber and clean barrel throat.
2. Make sure the modified case is fully screwed down and seated on the OAL Gauge. It can sometimes unscrew a bit during repeated measurements.
3. Insert the modified case slowly and gently, but ensure the shoulder of the modified case is fully seated on the end of the chamber.
4. Push the gray plastic rod GENTLY. It is common for the bullet to be tilted a bit. You want to allow the bullet to self-center in the throat BEFORE you apply much pressure. Then tap a couple times and push until you feel resistance. Do NOT push too hard — that will jam the bullet in the lands.
5. Repeat the measurement at least 3 more times. If you follow our instructions, you should, typically, get a repeatable measurement, within 0.0015″ or so, 3 out of 4 times.

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December 2nd, 2020

2021 New Product Showcase — Guns, Lapua Brass, and More

Shooting Industry Magazine December 2020 new products

There will be no SHOT Show this year. So, to learn about new gun industry products, we must rely on the print media, internet, and a few gun-centric cable TV shows (such as Shooting USA). Thankfully, Shooting Industry magazine remains alive and well. And SI just released its first of three new-for-2021 product features. Part One of the three-part 2021 New Product Showcase is found in Shooting Industry’s just-released December issue. This features new-for-2020 products from 50+ companies. CLICK HERE to see all new featured products.

Here are six standout products from the 2021 New Product Showcase:

Springfield Armory Waypoint Rifles

Springfield Armory Waypoint rifles

Springfield’s new Waypoint rifles feature steel or carbon-wrapped barrels, TriggerTech triggers, and carbon-fiber, hand-painted camo stocks with five QD mounts for versatile carry plus M-Lok slots. The actions are impressive too — with precision machining, enlarged ejection port, and integral recoil lug. These Waypoint rifles rival full-custom hunting rigs, yet are reasonably affordable. Starting price is $1699.00 with stainless barrel, while the deluxe model with carbon-wrapped barrel and adjustable cheekpiece is still under $2,400.00. All Model 2020 Waypoint rifles feature strong, light-weight, carbon-fiber-reinforced stocks with hand-painted camouflage finishes. You could easily pay $700-$800 just for an equivalent camo-painted stock from McMillan or Manners Composite Stocks.

New Lapua Brass: .284 Win, 6.5 PRC, .300 PRC, and .300 WinMag

Shooting Industry Magazine December 2020 new products

Lapua will offer four new types of ultra-premium cartridge brass in 2021. The four new Lapua cases are: 6.5 PRC, .284 Winchester, .300 Winchester Magnum, and .300 PRC. The .284 Win cartridge still dominates the F-Open game, so this is good news for F-Class shooters. Lapua is excited about the PRC offerings: “The new Lapua 6.5 and .300 PRC cartridge cases provide competitive shooters, hunters, and accuracy enthusiasts a premium selection for precision hand loads, an option that’s been missing from the market since the PRC’s inception.” The venerable .300 Winchester Magnum remains a top choice for hunting.

Daniel Defense Delta 5 Pro Chassis Rifle

Shooting Industry Magazine December 2020 new products

PRS/NRL shooters should check out the new DELTA 5 PRO from Daniel Defense. This features a stainless action with 3-lug bolt and hammer-forged barrels. The aluminum chassis stock is fully adjustable and features a thumbrest that works for both left- and right-hand shooters. This Delta 5 Pro comes standard with an Area 419 HELLFIRE muzzlebrake. The rifle is available in .308 (20″ Heavy Palma barrel), 6.5 Creedmoor (24″ Heavy Palma barrel or 26″ varmint barrel) and 6mm Creedmoor (26″ varmint barrel).

J.P. Sauer & Sohn — UltraLight Synchro XTC Hunting Rifle

Shooting Industry Magazine December 2020 new products

For 2021, J.P. Sauer enhances the S404 series with the Synchro XTC, a carbon fiber, bolt-action rifle in camouflage green. Weighing 6.1 pounds, this lightweight S404-series rifle features a hand-laid, carbon-fiber, thumbhole stock with adjustable comb. The hammer-forged barrel is fluted for balance and weight reduction. The adjustable trigger offers four pull weights from 1.2 to 2.7 pounds. Adjusting the pull weight is easy using settings marked above the trigger. Like all J.P. Sauer S404-series rifles, the new Synchro XTC allows easy changing of bolt heads and barrels for quick caliber conversions. If you want something even lighter, the S101 Highland XTC carbon-fiber rifle weighs just 5.5 pounds for short action version. This features a hand-laid, carbon-fiber stock with fluted barrel. The manufacturer guarantees sub-MOA accuracy at 100 yards.

Lee Precision Primer Pocket Swager (Large and Small)

Shooting Industry Magazine December 2020 new products

Lee’s new Ram Swage primer pocket swager will remove primer pocket crimps on both large- and small-primer brass. This new tool features spring-assisted case extraction. The all-steel case guide ensures cases will be positively centered on the push rod. The Lee Swager works on all single-stage presses with 7/8″-14 threads in the press frame that can accept universal shell holders. The unique design, which does not use a conventional shellholder, allows users to swage any small or large primer pocket without swapping to a different size shellholder.

Rite in the Rain All-Weather MRAD Target

Shooting Industry Magazine December 2020 new products

Not that winter is here, there will be some cold, wet days at the range. No worries with Rite in the Rain Target Products with rain-proof cardstock. New for 2021 is an All-Weather 100M Sniper Target. Perfect for PRS shooters with Mil-Rad scopes, this target boasts a 1 cm grid with each box representing 1/10 milliradian at 100 meters. The bullseye and scoring rings represent an MR-1 target presented at 500 meters. Below the target grid are fields for recording load information and Range conditions. The target also has 1, 2, and 3 MOA rings so you quickly judge accuracy at long range.

More Women Become Gun Owners — Important Trend

More women than ever are becoming gun-owners. So far in 2020, women represented over 40% of first-time gun buyers, a notable statistic. To analyze this trends, leaders from The Well Armed Woman, A Girl & A Gun, and Shoot Like A Girl sat down with Shooting Industry Magazine to share their insights. They discussed how 2020’s events compelled new groups of women to not only purchase their first firearm, but to join the broader firearms community. READ Story HERE

Shooting Industry Magazine December 2020 new products

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December 1st, 2020

Custom-Loaded Rifle Ammo from Federal Custom Shop

Federal custom handloading center hand-loaded rifle shotshell ammo ammunition Berger Sierra Nosler

Don’t have time to hand-load your own ammo, or don’t have all the equipment and dies needed? There’s a new option — something that’s actually quite revolutionary in the ammo industry. Federal is now offering custom-loaded ammunition. You choose the cartridge type and bullet type and Federal technicians put the ammo together. Think about it — this could be an interesting option for hunters who only need a few rounds a year, or if you want to try out a bullet/cartridge combo for the first time.

Order Federal Custom Ammunition ONLINE through the Federal Custom Shop.

Federal custom handloading center hand-loaded rifle shotshell ammo ammunition Berger Sierra Nosler

“Each round is painstakingly handloaded to order by our team of expert engineers in our state-of-the-art reloading workshop. Veteran craftsmen combine the best components with extra quality checks at every stage for the most consistent velocity, accuracy, and overall performance. Loads are then hand-checked for final inspection and cleaned before being custom-packed in durable, personalized packaging.”

26 Centerfire Rifle Cartridge Types + Many Bullet Options

Currently, you can choose from 26 rifle cartridge types and a wide selection of quality bullets from Barnes, Berger, Sierra, Nosler, Federal, Hornady, Swift, and more. NOTE: Federal Custom Shop ammo will be sold direct-to-consumer only. Along with rifle ammo, Federal will offer custom TSS Shotshells.

Cartridge Types Offered: .243 WIN, .257 ROBERTS, .257 WEATHERBY MAGNUM, 6.5 CREEDMOOR, .264 WIN, 6.5-284 Norma, 26 Nosler, .270 WIN, .270 WSM, .284 Win, 7mm REM MAG, .308 WIN, .30-06 SPRG, .300 Win Mag, .300 WSM, .338 FEDERAL, .370 SAKO, .375 H&H Mag, .416 REM MAG, .416 RIGBY, .458 LOTT, .458 REM MAG, .470 NITRO, .500 NITRO, 9.3×62, 9.3x74R

Bullet Types Offered: BARNES TIPPED TSX, BERGER HYBRID HUNTER, HORNADY ELD-X, NOSLER ACCUBOND (and Accubond LR), NOSLER PARTITION, SIERRA MATCHKING, SWIFT A-FRAME, WOODLEIGH HYDRO SOLID; and Federal TERMINAL ASCENT, TROPHY BOND BEAR CLAW, TROPHY BONDED SLEDGEHAMMER, TROPHY COPPER.

Please note: Federal Custom Shop ammunition is built to order — not pulled out of inventory in a warehouse. As such, please allow more time for processing and delivery. Typically, your Custom Shop order will take two weeks to build, plus standard delivery time. The Custom Shop handloading center is located at Federal’s main factory in Anoka, Minnesota. For more information, including how to order, what specific load options are available, and shipping details, visit: FederalPremium.com/custom-shop.html.

Federal custom handloading center hand-loaded rifle shotshell ammo ammunition Berger Sierra Nosler

“If it’s not in Federal’s vast catalog as factory-loaded ammo, we may have it listed on our website as a load we will custom hand-load for you,” notes Federal Ammunition President Jason Vanderbrink. “For example, Barnes 120-grain Tipped TSX in 6.5-284 Norma and 28-gauge TSS turkey loads aren’t products we list in our catalog, but you can certainly order them through our Custom Shop.”

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November 30th, 2020

The Most Advanced Neck-Turners — Blake IDOD and AUTODOD

Bryan Blake machine f-class products IDOD AUTOIDOD neck turner turning power machine

Bryan Blake, a very clever machinist and gunsmith, has created an ultra-precise and speedy neck-turning machine. Bryan, who runs Blake Machine, Blake Barrel, and F-Class Products has created a system that uses twin precision cutter tips to turn case necks inside and out quickly and efficiently, with superior precision. This advanced IDOD Neck Turning Machine holds cases securely in a precision-machined spindle attached to an electric motor. Twin blades move precisely during the cutting process, milling the necks inside and out. The turned necks come out perfect every time, with the shoulders trimmed exactly (with doughnut removed) as well. If you turn hundreds of cases during a shooting season, you may want to consider getting an IDOD from F-Class Products. Bryan was able to turn 30 cases in just 6 minutes. And there is an even more advanced version, called the AUTODOD, shown in the last video below.

Our friend Erik Cortina recently visited Bryan Blake in Phoenix. Erik saw the IDOD in action and was impressed. Erik notes: “For a very long time, we have been turning brass the exact same way. Use a mandrel as a pilot and have a cutter with a specified gap go around the perimeter and turn the necks to specified thickness. The IDOD uses a technique called ‘pinch turning’ to turn the ID and the OD (IDOD) at the same time.” You can watch how it works in Erik’s video below (action starts at 7:55 time-mark):

The secret to the efficiency of the Blake IDOD is a vibration-free motor, high-mass case-holder, precision OD/ID-adjustable cutter, along with an advanced tracking system that moves the cutter heads towards the case neck (and back again) with absolute, 100% repeatable precision. Watch the video from 8:30 to 10:10 to see Bryan explain how to adjust the system for a perfect result.

This shows how to set up the IDOD Neck-turning machine for a particular cartridge type:

Bryan Blake machine f-class products IDOD AUTOIDOD neck turner turning power machine

This video shows a close-up of a neck being with perfect neck-wall consistency:

This latest video from Blake Machine shows the new AUTODOD machine with power controls. This speeds up and simplifies neck-turning process.

Bryan Blake machine f-class products IDOD AUTOIDOD neck turner turning power machine

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November 28th, 2020

Changes in Humidity Can Alter Powder Burn Rates — IMPORTANT

Tech Tip Norma Powder gunpowder moisture temperature humidity

Most shooters realize that significant changes in temperature will alter how powders perform. That’s why you want to keep your loaded ammo out of the hot sun, and keep rounds out of a hot chamber until you’re ready to fire. But there are other factors to be considered — HUMIDITY for one. This article explains why and how humidity can affect powder burn rates and performance.

We’ve all heard the old adage: “Keep your powder dry”. Well, tests by Norma have demonstrated that even normal environmental differences in humidity can affect the way powders burn, at least over the long term. In the Norma Reloading Manual, Sven-Eric Johansson, head of ballistics at Nexplo/Bofors, presents a very important discussion of water vapor absorption by powder. Johansson demonstrates that the same powder will burn at different rates depending on water content.

Powders Leave the Factory with 0.5 to 1.0% Water Content
Johansson explains that, as manufactured, most powders contain 0.5 to 1% of water by weight. (The relative humidity is “equilibrated” at 40-50% during the manufacturing process to maintain this 0.5-1% moisture content). Importantly, Johansson notes that powder exposed to moist air for a long time will absorb water, causing it to burn at a slower rate. On the other hand, long-term storage in a very dry environment reduces powder moisture content, so the powder burns at a faster rate. In addition, Johansson found that single-base powders are MORE sensitive to relative humidity than are double-base powders (which contain nitroglycerine).

Tests Show Burn Rates Vary with Water Content
In his review of the Norma Manual, Fred Barker notes: “Johansson gives twelve (eye-opening) plots of the velocities and pressures obtained on firing several popular cartridges with dehydrated, normal and hydrated Norma powders (from #200 to MRP). He also gives results on loaded .30-06 and .38 Special cartridges stored for 663 to 683 days in relative humidities of 20% and 86%. So Johansson’s advice is to keep powders tightly capped in their factory containers, and to minimize their exposure to dry or humid air.”

Confirming Johansson’s findings that storage conditions can alter burn rates, Barker observes: “I have about 10 pounds of WWII 4831 powder that has been stored in dry (about 20% RH) Colorado air for more than 60 years. It now burns about like IMR 3031.”

What does this teach us? First, all powders start out with a small, but chemically important, amount of water content. Second, a powder’s water content can change over time, depending on where and how the powder is stored. Third, the water content of your powder DOES make a difference in how it burns, particularly for single-base powders. For example, over a period of time, a powder used (and then recapped) in the hot, dry Southwest will probably behave differently than the same powder used in the humid Southeast.

Reloaders are advised to keep these things in mind. If you want to maintain your powders’ “as manufactured” burn rate, it is wise to head Johannson’s recommendation to keep your powders tightly capped when you’re not actually dispensing charges and avoid exposing your powder to very dry or very humid conditions. The Norma Reloading Manual is available from Amazon.com.

Real-World Example — “Dry” H4831sc Runs Hotter

Robert Whitley agrees that the burn rate of the powder varies with the humidity it absorbs. Robert writes: “I had an 8-lb. jug of H4831SC I kept in my detached garage (it can be humid there). 43.5-44.0 gr of this was superbly accurate with the 115 Bergers out of my 6mm Super X. I got tired of bringing it in and out of the garage to my house for reloading so I brought and kept the jug in my reloading room (a dehumidified room in my house) and after a few weeks I loaded up 43.5 gr, went to a match and it shot awful. I could not figure out what was going on until I put that load back over the chronograph and figured out it was going a good bit faster than before and the load was out of the “sweet spot” (42.5 – 43.0 gr was the max I could load and keep it accurate when it was stored in less humid air). I put the jug back in the garage for a few weeks and I now am back to loading 43.5 – 44.0 gr and it shoots great again. I have seen this with other powders too.”

If you have two jugs of the same powder, one kept in a room in your house and one somewhere else where it is drier or more humid, don’t expect the two jugs of the same lot of powder to chrono the same with the same charge weights unless and until they are both stored long enough in the same place to equalize again.

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November 27th, 2020

Black Friday Bargains — Great Individual Product Deals

Black Friday bargain deals Cyber Monday

Many major manufacturers and online vendors are offering great bargains today, Black Friday. Over the past two days we’ve spotlighted vendors worth visiting because they offer a wide range of discounts on a large inventory selection — in some cases, everything in stock is discounted 10%, 15%, even 25%. For our previous 2020 Black Friday Vendor Specials, scroll down or CLICK HERE (11/26) and CLICK HERE (11/25).

In this article we are going to focus on specific Black Friday Bargains. Here are 22 truly exceptional deals on recommended products that you can use in your reloading room and at the range.

MidwayUSA — Cyber Week Sale

midwayusa black friday

Here are six great deals offered through MidwayUSA’s Cyber Week Sale (8 Days of Savings). There are also many other bargains on optics, shooting mats, and reloading gear on MidwayUSA’s Cyber Week Sale Page. Deals are good through November 30, 2020 and you get FREE Shipping with Code FSCYBER49 .

black friday bargain gun vise black friday bargain rest bag sig kilo 3000 rangefinder binoculars
black friday bargain case prep kit lyman Walkers bluetooth digital earmuffs case tumbler black friday midwayusa

LongShot Cameras

Longshot Target Cameras is running a special sale with discounts on multiple items. Plus there is a special coupon code for AccurateShooter.com Readers and Forum members. After you add the item to your shopping cart, the sale prices appear. These represent $100 off LR-3, $50 off Marksman, and 50% off the Hawk spotting scope camera. You’ll get free shipping with code SENDIT. IMPORTANT — if you purchase the LR-3, you’ll get an additional $50 off with code ACCURATESHOTS (use that code for the LR-3 instead of SENDIT).

black friday bargain gun vise black friday bargain rest bag longshot hawk spotting scope camera

Natchez Shooters Supplies — Great Reloading Deals

natchez rcbs reloading tools

For Black Friday, Natchez has slashed prices on a large variety of reloading tools and hardware including equipment from Hornady, Lyman, and RCBS. We were most impressed with the savings on RCBS reloading scale/dispensers and press kits. These are the best prices we’ve found on the web, and the RCBS reloading kits have been selling out. Check out these RCBS bargains at Natchez.

natchez rcbs reloading tools

Graf & Sons — 25% Off All Sightron Optics

sightron 25% Off grafs.com graf

We listed this yesterday, but we wanted to spotlight the exceptional Sightron bargains available right now at Grafs.com. All Sightron Optics are 25% off — Scopes, Spotting Scopes, Binoculars, Red Dots and more. If you are looking for a high-magnification competition scope, or a field Target scope, or a nice HD Glass Spotter, check out these deals.

black friday bargain gun vise black friday bargain rest bag longshot hawk spotting scope camera

Palmetto State Armory — Triggers, Optics, Pistols and More

psa palmetto state armory AR10 AR15 triggers black friday cyber monday

Palmetto State Armory is a go-to source for black rifle fans. For Black Friday, Palmetto has discounted a large number of AR parts/accessories including triggers, uppers, and optics. In addition, Palmetto has discounted S&W handguns and many other products. These are all listed on the Black Friday Sale Page.

psa palmetto state armory AR10 AR15 triggers black friday cyber monday

Special Bonus — Free Shipping at Whidden Gunworks

whidden black friday

Today only, Black Friday (11/27/2020), Whidden Gunworks is offering free 48-state product shipping. This is for orders over $250.00. To get FREE Shipping use Code BF2020 at checkout.

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November 24th, 2020

6mm Creedmoor Load Data from Sierra Bullets + BONUS

6mm Creedmoor 6.5 Creedmoor load data Sierra Bullets
NOTE: The 6mm Creedmoor now does have an official SAAMI specification. It is no longer just a wildcat.

CLICK HERE for Sierra Bullets 6mm Creedmoor LOAD DATA PDF »

Sierra Bullets Load Data 6mm Creedmoor reloading tips

Sierra Bullets has published load data for the 6mm Creedmoor cartridge, a necked-down version of the popular 6.5 Creedmoor. Sierra has released very comprehensive 6mm Creedmoor load data, covering fifteen (15) different bullets from 55 to 110 grains. NOTE: Hornady-brand brass was used for Sierra’s 6mm Creedmoor load tests, not the newer, stronger Lapua 6.5 CM brass with small primer pockets. Hand-loaders using Lapua 6.5 Creedmoor brass necked to 6mm may have to adjust their loads.

Sierra writes: “As soon as the 6.5 Creedmoor was released in 2007, a 6mm version was being envisioned. After the 6mm Creedmoor demonstrated its worth at 1000 yards it began to catch the attention of Precision Rifle Series (PRS) competitors. The 6mm Creedmoor is a great fit for those looking for an AR platform-friendly cartridge. It delivers velocities very similar to the .243 Win and yet fits the AR10 magazine length[.] The 30-degree shoulder makes this a very efficient case and helps prolong case life as well. The 6mm Creedmoor works well with powders such as H4350, [RE-16], RE-17, and Ramshot Hunter for heavier long-range bullet weights. Slightly faster powders such as RE-15, Win 760, and Vihtavuori N540 work well with lighter weight bullets.”

Sierra Bullets Tested for 6mm Creedmoor Load Data
55gr BlitzKing (#1502)
60gr HP (#1500)
70gr HPBT (#1505)
70gr BlitzKing (#1507)
75gr HP (#1510)
80gr SBT (#1515)
85gr Spitzer (#1520)
85gr HPBT (#1530)
90gr FMJBT (#1535)
95gr HPBT (#1537)
95gr TMK (#7295)
100gr Spitzer (#1540)
100gr SBT (#1560)
107gr HPBT (#1570)
110gr HPBT (#1575)

In developing its 6mm Creedmoor load data, Sierra tested a very wide selection of propellants, two dozen overall. For the smaller bullets, fast-burning powders such as Benchmark, H4895, and CFE223 were tested. For the heavier 100+ grain bullets, Sierra tested a selection of medium-burn-rate powders including H4350, Reloder 16, Reloder 17, Varget, and Superformance. Sierra did a very thorough job. We know this information will be welcomed by 6mm Creedmoor shooters.

Don’t know what powder to try first? For the 107-110 grain bullets, if you want best accuracy and low ES/SD, our Forum members recommend Alliant Reloder 16 and Hodgdon H4350. If you are seeking max velocity with the 110-grainer, look at Hodgdon Superformance and Reloder 19.

Here are Sierra’s 6mm Creedmoor Load Data Charts for 90-95 grain bullets plus the 107gr MK and 110gr MK. There are five other tables for other bullet types.

6mm Creedmoor 6.5 Creedmoor load data Sierra Bullets

6mm Creedmoor 6.5 Creedmoor load data Sierra Bullets

6mm Creedmoor 6.5 Creedmoor load data Sierra Bullets

6mm Creedmoor 6.5 Creedmoor load data Sierra Bullets


BONUS: PRB 6mm Creedmoor and 6.5 Creedmoor Load Survey

The Precision Rifle Blog compiled Load Data from PRS Competitors, for both 6mm Creedmoor and 6.5 Creedmoor. This is a good place to start. PRB surveyed the match loads for “173 of the top-ranked precision rifle shooters in the country”. One cautionary note: These PRS guys may be loading fairly hot, so work up gradually, 0.3 grains at a time. CLICK HERE.

PRB precision rifle blog pet loads what pros use 6.5 Creedmoor 6mm CM

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November 24th, 2020

10 Shots in 0.289 MOA — Can Your Rifle Beat this XP-100 Pistol?

XP100 target pistol 6x45 6x45mm benchrest

TEN Shots in 0.303″ (0.289 MOA) at 100 Yards
Look at that target showing TEN shots at 100 yards, with eight (8) shots in the main cluster at the top. The ten-shot group measures .303″ (0.289 MOA), as calculated with OnTarget Software. Not bad for a handgun — a very nice bolt-action XP-100 pistol! What do you think, can your best-shooting rifle match the 10-shot accuracy of this XP-100 pistol?

XP100 target pistol 6x45 6x45mm benchrest

Report by Boyd Allen
This story goes back a few seasons… this remarkable XP-100 pistol belongs to Dan Lutke, a Bay Area benchrest shooter who publishes the results for the Visalia matches to the competitors and the NBRSA. He has been an enthusiastic competitor for an number of years, at various ranges, notably Visalia and Sacramento. The action is a Remington XP-100, to which a Kelbly 2 oz. trigger has been fitted. On top is an old Japanese-made Tasco 36X scope (these were actually pretty darn good). The Hart barrel (a cast-off from Dan’s Unlimited rail gun) was shortened and re-chambered for the 6x45mm, a wildcat made by necking-up the .223 Remington parent case. The custom stock/chassis was CNC-machined by Joe Updike from 6061 Billet Aluminum to fit the XP-100 action and mount a target-style AR grip with bottom hand rest. The gun was bedded and assembled by Mel Iwatsubu. In his XP-100 pistol, Dan shoots 65gr custom boat-tails with Benchmark powder.

XP100 target pistol 6x45 6x45mm benchrest

This diagram shows the most common 6x45mm wildcat, which is a necked-up version of the .223 Remington parent cartridge. NOTE: The dimensions for Dan Lutke’s benchrest version of this cartridge may be slightly different.

XP100 target pistol 6x45 6x45mm benchrest
ACAD drawing by Peter Gnanapragasam CC by SA 3.0, via Wikimedia Commons. Title Added.

Story tip from Boyd Allen. We welcome reader submissions.
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November 23rd, 2020

Bargain Finder 270: 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. Academy Sports — Cannon 64-Gun Safe, $599.99 (Save $400)

academy sports Cannon 64-gun Valley Forge Safe Black Friday Sale
BIG gun safe, good interior, amazing 40% OFF Savings

This is a jumbo-sized, 40″-wide fire-rated safe that holds up to 64 long guns. This big Cannon Valley Forge Gunsafe normally sells for $999.99, but this week you can get it for just $599.99 at Academy Sports. Yep, that’s a whopping $400 off normal retail, a 40% savings! If you need a big safe, don’t hesitate — this deal is good from November 22-28, 2020 only.

2. Brownells — Hornady L-N-L Classic Reloading Kit, $299.99

hornady reloading kit
Bargain Price AND get 500 free bullets from Hornady

Need tools to start reloading? Check out the Lock-N-Load Classic Reloading Kit. This Hornady Reloading Kit includes everything you need except brass, powder, and bullets to get started. Don’t forget to use Brownells coupon code VTJ for $20 off, lowering your net price to $299.99. Also, this Lock-N-Load Classic Reloading Kit appears to qualify for 500 FREE bullets through the Hornady Get Loaded Rebate. That Rebate can net you bullets worth 50% of your Kit purchase price, making this a very attractive deal

3. Amazon — Vortex Diamondback HD Spotting Scope, $399.00

vortex diamondback HD spotting scope
Great Spotting Scope Deal — hard to beat at twice the price

Whether hunting or target shooting, spotting scopes get you on target faster and easier than bare eyes or riflescope. If you need a good HD-grade spotter, check out the Vortex Diamondback HD 16-48x65mm angled spotting scope for $399.00. It offers great clarity and rock-solid lifetime guarantee. Relatively compact and weighing 49.8 ounces, this is a good choice for a hunter. There’s also a straight version for $399.00, with same 16-48X power and 65mm objective. If you need more magnification and low-light performance, Vortex offers the 20-60x80mm Diamondback HD spotter for $499.00.

4. Amazon — All-Weather Case with Anti-Rust Interior, $93.99

plano all weather case
Protect your firearm investment with corrosion-fighting rifle case

Transporting your firearms isn’t just about protecting them from damage, it’s also about keeping them clean and RUST FREE. If you keep long guns in hard cases for significant periods of time, condensation can create rust faster than you realize. A great choice to combat this is the Plano All Weather Gun Case with Rustrictor. This waterproof rifle case fights rust with Vapor Corrosion Inhibitor (VCI) chemicals infused into resin and foam emitters. With its built-in rust-fighter, this case resists corrosion 5x longer than competing products (per lab testing). The 42″ model is $93.99, while the smaller 36″ rustrictor case is just $74.99. There is also a large 52″ wheeled case for $171.90.

5. Creedmoor Sports — Deluxe 55″ or 60″ Rifle Case, $124.95

creedmoor rifle case
Truly some of the highest-quality soft rifle cases you can buy

Tired of poorly-made soft cases that wear out after one season? If you want to get a top-quality case that will last for years, check out the Creedmoor Blue Deluxe 55″ or 60″ Rifle Case. These are hand-made cases that provide an incredible level of protection with quality fabrics and padding. Smart design, high-grade zippers, and top-quality sewing make a noticeable difference. And right now you can get either the 55″ or 60″ model for $124.45 — a $25 savings off the regular $149.95 price. You will see many of the nation’s top Palma and F-Class shooters using these cases.

6. Bullet Central — Jewell Benchrest Trigger, $169.50

Jewell BR Trigger
Jewell triggers hold world records in multiple disciplines

Jewell triggers have set records and dominated firing lines across the country for good reason. They’re about half the price of other top triggers, can be easily tuned and adjusted and they just work without question. If you need a new competition trigger consider the Jewell Remington 700 BR Trigger (No Safety) model from Bullet Central. Upgrade your rifle for a reasonable price.

7. Natchez — RCBS ChargeMaster Lite, $229.99

Chargemaster Lite Midsouth Sale
Best Deal on popular, speedy Scale/Dispenser

Do you need an electronic powder scale/dispenser? Most vendors charge $290-$300 for the popular RCBS ChargeMaster Lite. But now you can get it for just $229.99 at Natchez. You save $70.00, about 24%! The ChargeMaster Lite features an easy-to-use LCD touchscreen and claimed precision of plus/minus 0.1 grains. The unit comes with twin check weights and a convenient plastic cover for the powder pan. If Natchez sells out, you can get the ChargeMaster Lite for $239.99 at Sportsman’s Warehouse.

8. Amazon — Frankford Arsenal Hand Deprimer Tool, $44.49

Frankford Arsenal Platinum Series Hand Deprimer Tool
Deprime fired cartridge brass anywhere — no press needed

Decapping brass can be a tedious and messy chore. Not only does the priming cup come out but so does the anvil and other little bits. Keep it clean and easy but grabbing the Frankford Arsenal Platinum Series Hand Deprimer Tool and deprime in style. This self-contained unit allows you to decap anywhere and keep all the mess in the capture container. It’s easy on the hands too. With this handy tool you can deprime your bases while watching TV.

9. Amazon — TWO Sets of NRR 28dB Earmuffs, $21.24

shooting hearing protection
Amazing Deal for TWO pairs of NRR 28 muffs

How about a gift for a friend that’s also a gift for you? Pick up this 2-Pack of Mpow Professional Ear Defenders muffs for just $21.24. You can give one set to a buddy and keep one set for yourself. With a 28dB Noise Reduction Rating (NRR), these muffs have good buyer reviews, with positive comments about comfort and noise reduction. You can’t beat this price for TWO sets of muffs with carry bags included.

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November 22nd, 2020

Click-Adjust FL Die Systems from PMA Tool & Whidden Gunworks

click-adjustable die micro-adjusting lock ring PMA Tool Whidden Gunworks

One of the most important aspects of precision reloading is setting the shoulder bump during the full-length (FL) sizing process. You want the amount of “bump” to be precise and identical for every loaded round. However, when you switch brands of brass you may need to change the die position to get the desired bump and case body sizing. And even with the same brand of brass, you may find that you need to adjust your FL die as the number of brass load cycles increases. Brass that has been fired many times will behave differently than new or near-new brass.

Also, even with the same cartridge type, brass loaded for a semi-auto rifle may need more bump than brass fired in a bolt gun. For example, with .223 Rem ammo, you’ll normally want to push the shoulder back farther if the ammo will be shot in a AR15 as opposed to a bolt-action rig.

So how do you make all these needed adjustments for your full-length dies? You can move a conventional locking ring up and down, but that can be a tedious, trial-and-error process. Some guys use shims in one-thousandth intervals, but that still requires taking your dies in and out of the press. Well there is a better way now…

PMA Tool Micro-Die Adjuster

Wouldn’t it be great if you could precisely adjust your FL die up and down in half-thousandth increments, with a simple indexed click. That is now possible with products offered by PMA Tool and Whidden Gunworks. PMA Tool offers a Micro-Die Adjuster that replaces your existing lock ring and can be used with nearly any 7/8-14 full length sizing die. The engraved marks correspond to approximately .001″ of shoulder bump adjustment. Splitting the engraved marks is therefore approximately equal to .0005″ (half a thousandth). Users love this product, saying it adds precision and saves time.

Whidden Click-Adjustable FL Sizing Die System

Whidden Gunworks offers a complete click-adjustable FL sizer die with a special, indexed ring. With Whidden’s patent-pending Click Adjustable Sizer Die system, the die and lock ring work together to allow rapid, precise bump adjustments. One click changes the bump .001″. It’s simple and fast. Included with the Click Adjustable Sizer Die is a shoulder bump gauge. John Whidden (in video below) explains:

“There has become a need for an easier way to adjust the sizer die properly. Until now there have been few options other than trial and error to get the shoulder setback correct. Anyone who has done this can attest that it’s a slow and imprecise job! Our die and lock ring work together to give the user a clicking feel to the adjustment. Each click moves the shoulder bump .001” so you can easily find the exact shoulder bump that you desire.” — John Whidden

General Tips on Setting Up and Using Sizing Dies

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November 20th, 2020

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 $32.99 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 $32.99); .357 – .50 caliber (#749-008-843WS, $32.99), and a special .50 Cal die body for large-diameter 50 BMG presses (#749-009-163WS, $39.99). 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.

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November 17th, 2020

TECH TIP: Bullet Bearing Surface Length Can Affect Pressure

USAMU Bullet Ogive Comparision Safety Reloading
Photo 1: Three Near-Equal-Weight 7mm Bullets with Different Shapes

TECH TIP: Bullets of the same weight (and caliber) can generate very different pressure levels due to variances in Bearing Surface Length (BSL).

Bullet 1 (L-R), the RN/FB, has a very slight taper and only reaches its full diameter (0.284″) very near the cannelure. This taper is often seen on similar bullets — it helps reduce pressures with good accuracy. The calculated BSL of Bullet 1 was ~0.324″. The BSL of Bullet 2, in the center, was ~0.430”, and Bullet 3’s was ~ 0.463″. Obviously, bullets can be visually deceiving as to BSL!


This article from the USAMU covers an important safety issue — why you should never assume that a “book” load for a particular bullet will be safe with an equal-weight bullet of different shape/design. The shape and bearing surface of the bullet will affect the pressure generated inside the barrel. This is part of the USAMU’s Handloading Hump Day series, published on the USAMU Facebook page.

Beginning Handloading, Part 13:
Extrapolating Beyond Your Data, or … “I Don’t Know, What I Don’t Know!”

We continue our Handloading Safety theme, focusing on not inadvertently exceeding the boundaries of known, safe data. Bullet manufacturers’ loading manuals often display three, four, or more similar-weight bullets grouped together with one set of load recipes. The manufacturer has tested these bullets and developed safe data for that group. However, seeing data in this format can tempt loaders — especially new ones — to think that ALL bullets of a given weight and caliber can interchangeably use the same load data. Actually, not so much.

The researchers ensure their data is safe with the bullet yielding the highest pressure. Thus, all others in that group should produce equal or less pressure, and they are safe using this data.

However, bullet designs include many variables such as different bearing surface lengths, hardness, and even slight variations in diameter. These can occasionally range up to 0.001″ by design. Thus, choosing untested bullets of the same weight and caliber, and using them with data not developed for them can yield excess pressures.

This is only one of the countless reasons not to begin at or very near the highest pressure loads during load development. Always begin at the starting load and look for pressure signs as one increases powder charges.

Bullet bearing surface length (BSL) is often overlooked when considering maximum safe powder charges and pressures. In photo 1 (at top), note the differences in the bullets’ appearance. All three are 7mm, and their maximum weight difference is just five grains. Yet, the traditional round nose, flat base design on the left appears to have much more BSL than the sleeker match bullets. All things being equal, based on appearance, the RN/FB bullet seems likely to reach maximum pressure with significantly less powder than the other two designs.

Bearing Surface Measurement Considerations
Some might be tempted to use a bullet ogive comparator (or two) to measure bullets’ true BSL for comparison’s sake. Unfortunately, comparators don’t typically measure maximum bullet diameter and this approach can be deceiving.

Photo 2: The Perils of Measuring Bearing Surface Length with Comparators
USAMU Bullet Ogive Comparision Safety Reloading

In Photo 2, two 7mm comparators have been installed on a dial caliper in an attempt to measure BSL. Using this approach, the BSLs differed sharply from the original [measurements]. The comparator-measured Bullet 1 BSL was 0.694” vs. 0.324” (original), Bullet 2 was 0.601” (comparator) vs. 0.430” (original), and Bullet 3 (shown in Photo 2) was 0.602” (comparator) vs. 0.463” (original). [Editor’s comment — Note the very large difference for Bullet 1, masking the fact that the true full diameter on this bullet starts very far back.]

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November 12th, 2020

AutoTrickler V3 Tips — Set-up, Optimization, Maintenance

Adam MacDonald Autotrickler v3 autotrhow powder dispenser video F-Class john

Top rifle competitors use the AutoTrickler system because it offers a superior combination of speed and precision in dispensing powder loads. With an AutoTrickler fitted to a compatible lab-grade magnetic force restoration scale, you can achieve single-grain weight consistency with your hand-loads. That kind of load weight uniformity does help deliver low ES/SD that translates to reduced vertical at long range. Adam MacDonald’s AutoTrickler system is so good that it can truly be called a “game-changer” in the precision handloading world.

As good as the AutoTrickler may be, there are some simple ways to keep it functioning better, or to improve your productivity. Here are three videos by F-Class John that provide very helpful tips for AutoTrickler owners. The first video shows general set-up and installation. The second video shows a simple but brilliant trick to speed up the process — use two identical powder measure cups shaved to be the EXACT same weight. In third video, F-Class John shows important maintenance tips to keep your AutoTrickler components running smoothly and quietly.

AutoTrickler V3 — General Set-Up and Operational Advice

In this video, John offers some general advice for setting-up the AutoTrickler system. He explains how you can get the machine optimized. For example he notes that you want to set the initial drop weight (from the powder measure) in an optimal range: “When you set the original drop you need it to be about 1 to 1.5 grains below. Some people set it too close to the final weight they want and it actually doesn’t let the trickler unit work as efficiently, consistently and accurately as it will if you start 1 to 1.5 grains low.”

John also explains how to hook up the cords and how to position the trickler unit. John places his AutoTrickler on a 30-lb piece of granite, with a thin polymer “anti-static” pad on top. John also uses a line conditioner and grounding wire to provide the best electrical flow to the scale and trickler. Interestingly, the granite was an inexpensive “surplus” piece taken from a kitchen top installation.

John also shows how the angle of the trickler unit can be adjusted. Another smart tip involves marking the white trickler tube belt bushing. That makes it is easier to discern slow movement and determine when the trickler is completely stopped.

If you own an AutoTrickler or plan to purchase one, we definitely recommend you watch this entire video.

Are you experience chattering when powder is dispensed? John also explains (3:20 – 5:30 time mark) how to replace a small rubber “wiper” part in the dispenser unit. This can help prevent chattering or kernel-cutting as the powder charge drops into the pan from above.

Use Two Identical-Weight Powder Cups to Load Faster

In this second video, F-Class John shows how you can use TWO identical powder cups to speed up your reloading. This is a VERY clever and relatively inexpensive upgrade. You can use 600-grit wet sandpaper to make the weight of the twin cups absolutely identical. John says: “I just lightly sanded the bottom of these until they both weighed exactly the same on my scale.” He can now use one cup to load a case while the other cup is receiving the next powder charge.

AutoTrickler V3 General Maintenance Tips

If you have been running an AutoTrickler for quite some time, you have probably noticed some noise or vibration. This video shows some very simple maintenance procedures that will have your AutoTrickler running great again. F-Class John reveals some components that can get dirty or worn after considerable use. The video identifies the items that may require a cleaning or adjusting. In the video John shows how to do those tasks quickly and easily.

Adam MacDonald Autotrickler v3 autotrhow powder dispenser video F-Class john

In the last three minutes of the above video John shows an important process involving the trickler unit motor. The motor’s attachment screws tend to loosen slightly over time. After removing the pulley drive wheel, you want to gently tension the four Phillips screws. Then reattach the wheel and drive belt. Doing this simple process should reduce unwanted vibration.

Adam MacDonald Autotrickler v3 autotrhow powder dispenser video F-Class john

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November 12th, 2020

Variances in Load Data — Why Load Manuals Don’t Always Agree

load manual sierra reloading hornady data

Written by Sierra Bullets Ballistic Technician Duane Siercks
One of the first things new reloaders notice is that load data varies between reloading manuals. The Sierra Bullets Technicians frequently get inquiries asking us to explain why the load data appears to be inconsistent. This article explains five key factors that can influence published load data.

Example of load data variances for two 168 grain bullets:

Sierra Reloading Manual Hornady Load Reloading

Here are five reasons why the load data varies:

The Bullet
Basically, the similarities in the .30 caliber 168 grain Match bullets (for example) end with weight and diameter. The bullets likely have dimensional differences such as bearing surface length. Bearing surface has a large effect on pressure and velocity. There are also differences in boat tail, flat base, ogive and over-all lengths, which each help determine the cartridge over-all-length (COAL). With different COAL’s, we can expect changes in pressure and velocity also. In some calibers there are differences in bullet diameter with different bullet manufacturers.

It is also worth noting that bullet manufacturers do not all use the same copper alloy for their jackets. This produces more or less friction that results in load pressures and velocities. The solid copper bullets also vary quite a bit in comparison to a lead core and copper jacketed bullet.

The Gun
Each gun is unique, even if you are using the same make, model, and caliber. Special consideration should be used to consider that not all firearm chambers are the same either, creating more variables that need consideration. There can be drastic differences in the throat length. This controls the amount of “jump” that a bullet experiences when the cartridge is fired.

The Powder
Within normal manufacturing tolerances, you can see some variation in a given powders burn rate between different lots of the same powder. So naturally when two different Manuals are produced, it would be doubtful that the same lots would be tested.

The Cartridge Cases
New cases are almost always near minimum specs in dimension. A load fired in a new case would likely have slightly more pressure that when fired in a re-sized case. This would certainly be true if we were loading into fire-formed cases that have had minimal re-sizing done. Fired cases that are full length resized most of the time be slightly larger than the new unfired cases. This gives you differences in case capacity. The same powder charge placed within a new case and a full length resized case will produce different pressure levels and probably different velocities.

Conditions
Temperature can cause pressure increases or decreases. Hot temperatures tend to cause pressures to increase, while cold temperatures will usually do the opposite. Humidity and altitude can impact pressures and velocities likewise.

Conclusion
As you can see, an amazing number of variables effect any load combination. With the differences in the manuals, you’re just seeing firsthand examples of what took place when the data was collected with that particular set of components and firearm. Think of a reloading manual as a report. In essence, a reloading manual says, “We tried this particular component combination, and these are the results we obtained.”

Remember that you may or may not reach the same maximum load safely. There is no “one load fits all bullets.” The minimum load data offers a safe place to start. The maximum load data listed should always be regarded as a safety guideline and not necessarily a goal! Your gun should shoot accurately without breaching the maximum load data. The best advice is: always start low and work your load up!

If you have questions about variances in load data or other reloading questions, please call our ballistic technicians at 1-800-223-8799 or send us an email at sierra [at] sierrabullets.com.

Sierra Bullets Blog reloading information

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November 9th, 2020

Bargain Finder 268: Accurateshooter’s Deals of the Week

AccurateShooter Deals of the Week Weekly Bargain Finder Sale Discount Savings

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

1. Palmetto — Tactical 12ga Shotgun, Two Stocks + Case, $599.99

12ga gauge tactical shotgun thumbhole stock discount
With 2 stocks and 2 barrels, this is like having two different 12ga shotguns

12ga gauge tactical shotgun thumbhole stock discountTactical shotguns have been hot sellers in 2020, given the social unrest and need to safeguard home and business. Here is a great shotgun deal. The Black Aces Tactical Pro Series X package features 2 barrels, 2 stocks, and multiple choke tubes. You even get a special fitted carry case. This Pro Series shotgun’s components include: 18.5″ and 24″ Barrels (with 3 chokes included); Standard Full Stock; Additional 6-Position, Side-Folding Tactical Stock; 4+1 standard capacity, +2 extension, and +6 extension. The receiver features Hi-Viz sights and Picatinny rail.

2. Natchez — RCBS Rebel Master Reloading Kit, $394.99

rcbs rebel master loading kit
Good value for everything you need, hard to find right now

With the high price of ammo, more people than ever are loading their own ammo. A good basic package is the RCBS Rebel Master Reloading Kit. On sale for $394.99 at Natchez, this RCBS Package features pretty much all you need to load rifle and pistol ammo: Rebel single-stage Press, Uniflow-III Powder Measure, digital scale, hand priming tool, powder funnel, powder trickler, hex key set, accessory handle with case neck brushes, primer pocket brushes, deburring tool, loading block, and case lube. You even get a Speer Reloading Manual. NOTE: You can buy this same Rebel Master Kit for $399.99 at Cabelas.com.

3. Precision Reloading — VihtaVuori Powder In-Stock

vihtavuori powder
These powders deliver winning ammo in many disciplines

Popular powders remain in high demand and hard to find. But Precision Reloading has the excellent Vihtavuori line of powders in stock right now for immediate shipping. You can find nearly every VihtaVuori powder in stock including the harder-to-find N133, N150, and N165 and lots of others. We use clean-burning VV for our pistol loads, and N133 remains the #1 choice of short-range benchrest competitors. Grab some VV powder now while supplies last.

4. Midway USA — Walker Razor Muffs with Walkie-Talkie, $59.99

walker razor headphones
Dual-function electronic muffs — great for range communications

Electronic earmuffs protect your hearing while allowing you to hear range commands. With these special Walker Walkit-Talkie muffs you also get long-range communication capabilities. That’s great as you can talk to folks in the pits or friends on a different section of your shooting club. The Walker Razor Slim Low Profile Electronic Earmuffs (NRR 23dB) with Free Walkie Talkie comes with a walkie talkie function that allows you to communicate with other FRS radios. That lets you give range commands or talk with friends without the need for a second radio. You get two-for-one functionality all for just $59.99. This is a GREAT deal.

5. EuroOptic — Bushnell Tactical Scope Sale, Up To 54% off

bushnell tactical scope sale
Huge Discounts for excellent Tactical scopes for ARs, PRS, Hunting

Picking up a great scope for a steal of a price isn’t always easy but we have one of those deals for you. Check out the Bushnell Tactical Scope Sale over at EuroOptic where there’s a small but mighty selection of scopes at prices up to 54% off. These are great scopes at very attracive prices (up to $750 off) so grab one now before they’re gone.

6. Amazon — Large Digital Display Timer, $12.95

shooting timer
Use in Matches — Count-Down or Count-UP, handy big buttons

If you shoot in a discipline with time limits, or you time your firing strings during practice, having a reliable and easy-to-read timer is critical. One of our favorite timers is this very affordable Digital Display Timer with both count-up and count-down functions. It boasts an easy-to-read display and LARGE buttons making it perfect for F-Class, Palma, and other matches. This timer comes with both a built-in stand AND a strong magnet so you can position the timer conveniently.

7. Amazon — Tactical Shooting Bags, $23.99

shooting bags
Versatile 2-Bag Combo set, ready for your choice of filling

To shoot accurately, you want good front and rear support for your rifle. Sandbags offer an affordable support solution that is also easy to transport. Front sandbags are good for sighting in hunting rifles and they are very handy for tactical matches. Check out this Tactical Shooting Bag Set from East TN. Outfitters. For a bargain $23.99 price, you get BOTH front and rear bags. The front bag features handy bullet loops and Molle Web straps. These bags come ready to fill with anything from sand to plastic BBs.

8. Natchez — Bushnell 2.5-10x44mm SFP Scope + Knife, $189.99

bushnell scope sale
Great Deal PLUS nice hunting knife with 5 blades

The Bushnell Nitro 2.5-10×44 SFP 30mm Rifle Scope is a solid, reliable optic. And right now if you purchase this riflescope for just $189.99 you get a FREE Havalon hunting knife. This Bushnell Nitro optic features good light transmission and EXO Barrier lens coating that repels water, oil, dust, debris and scratches. Buyers have given this scope very good reviews: “This [scope] is way better than I expected for the money. I liked it so well I ordered another one.” Not only do you get the scope at nearly half off but you also get a free set of Havalon knives with FIVE replaceable blades.

9. Amazon — Tipton Carbon Fiber Cleaning Rods, From $23.99

tipton cleaning rods
Buy 2 or 3 at this price — durable and nice handles

Rifle shooters all need good cleaning rods with appropriate dimensions for their barrel length(s). If you need a new cleaning rod, check out the Tipton 1-Piece Deluxe Cleaning Rods. We own and use these rods, which feature a carbon fiber shaft and multiple bearings for smooth operation. Available in multiple lengths and calibers, you’ll certainly find one that fits your long guns. When shopping on Amazon, use the “SELECT” button to choose your preferred length, from 12″ to 50″. We like the 44″ version for barrels up to 30″. NOTE: Some sizes are cheaper at MidwayUSA.com so check both vendors before you order.

Permalink Bullets, Brass, Ammo, Gear Review, Hot Deals, Optics, Reloading No Comments »
November 5th, 2020

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…)

Permalink Gear Review, Reloading 3 Comments »
November 1st, 2020

Sunday GunDay: Glen Zediker 1959 – 2020, In Memoriam

Glen Zediker Obituary memorial book writer author reloading AR15

This Sunday we mark the passing of a prolific writer, High Master marksman, good father, respected colleague, and reloading guru. Glen Zediker, author of many leading treatises on reloading, gun maintenance, and shooting skills, passed away on October 1, 2020, one month ago today. We mourn this loss. Glen helped this website with advice many times and Glen’s classic Handloading for Competition remains one of our favorite reloading resources. Glen was a “leading light” in the shooting sports world for decades. His books and technical articles have helped countless shooters and hand-loaders. His knowledge of the AR15 platform was unrivaled. He will be missed. Rest in Peace Glen.

Glen Zediker Obituary memorial book writer author reloading AR15

In 2015 Glen started a series of articles for the Midsouth Shooters Blog, the Reloaders Corner. Here is a section from his introduction to that series:

Glen Zediker — Author and High Master Marksman
Glen posted this in 2015…

Glen Zediker Obituary memorial book writer author reloading AR15“I’ve been ‘at this’ for over 40 years now, and ‘this’ is shooting, handloading, and writing about it for the past 25. My background is competitive shooting, primarily NRA High Power Rifle. From that followed my exploration of handloading and education therein. As an NRA High Power Rifle competitor, I earned a High Master classification, and I did it competing in Service Rifle division.

The whole reason I started writing about all this came about because I couldn’t find anything to read that put the pieces together — all the pieces that all the better shooters knew. I wanted to learn more, and I spent a lot of time and effort doing so. I continually got answers from winners and those who built rifles for winners. Unfortunately, those answers were not the same as I had been reading, and none of the authors of the other material I had read had won any championships. I thought there must be others who would appreciate some short cuts, and that’s how I started my publications career.

I think I’ve helped a few folks along the way.”

From Glen Zediker’s Reloaders Corner
Here is Glen’s advice about loading from his first “Reloaders Corner” Blog article in 2015:

Glen Zediker Obituary memorial book writer author reloading AR15“So, the advice that accompanies this first installment is to consider or reconsider your standards, and your evaluation of what is a good load. When I’m testing I choose the best group out of whatever it was I was testing. However, when it’s decision time, I choose the best, worst group. Let me explain. I really don’t consider what the very best any combination can show me is, but rather what is the worst the combination has shown me. Exceedingly tight groups are all too often a combination of luck and a little more luck. We got lucky in our judgment to choose the combination and the bullet fairy tipped her tiara. The more rounds anyone shoots, the bigger the groups are going to get. That’s just math. However, if three or four 10-shot groups are showing X-Ring accuracy, I’m going to ignore the group measurement, pay more attention to the chronograph, and pay very close attention to any over-pressure indicators. I don’t want to see anything outside a golf-ball sized circle at 300 yards, and I’m hoping to keep it that way.

Speaking of which — years ago, I was a golf pro… a legendary golf instructor, Percy Boomer (real name) had a line, ‘The difference between the amateur and professional is not in the quality of their best shots, but in their worst.’ That’s it. The difference between a good load and one that’s almost a good load is that also. The good load stays tight, throughout. A ‘flyer’ is grounds for disqualification. That’s a shot that strays from the herd. Don’t ignore it.”

Glen Dwight Zediker Obituary

June 17, 1959 – October 1, 2020

Glen Dwight Zediker, died on October 1, 2020, at home in Oxford, Mississippi, with his sons at his side.

Glen was born on June 17, in Rifle, Colorado, to Lloyd and Marie Zediker (both deceased) of Grand Valley (now Parachute), Colorado. He attended K-12 in Grand Valley, studied at the University of Colorado, Boulder, and graduated from the University of Mississippi with a B.A. in English.

Glen spent most of his professional career combining his expertise in target shooting with his skill at writing. He became an NRA High Master known for pinpoint accuracy. He wrote and published several books on target shooting and reloading which are highly respected in the precision shooting community.

Glen Zediker Obituary memorial book writer author reloading AR15

Glen spent many years in Mississippi and embraced southern culture from the food to Faulkner, but at his core, he remained a Westerner. He loved nothing more than riding over red dirt hills and hiking in the Southwest.

Glen’s two sons, Matthew and Charlie, were the center of his life. In addition to his sons, he is survived by his sister, Diane Zediker-Pastore (Victor) and his former wife, Kris Kunkler Zediker. See more life history and photos on Glen’s Memorial tribute site.

Glen Zediker Obituary memorial book writer author reloading AR15

Read Glen Zediker’s Articles on Reloading and Gun Tech
If you haven’t read any of Glen’s works, you will find a selection of shorter articles on the Midsouth Shooters Blog. This is a good way to sample the scope of Glen’s knowledge of reloading, AR15 technical matters, and service rifle shooting. We’ve enjoyed reading Glen’s articles and we know you will too.

In addition, Glen’s website, Zediker.com, has 20 older articles which you can read in PDF format for free. You can find these at Zediker.com/articles/articles.html. Here are three examples:



By Glen Zediker. Folks who read Handloading For Competition know most of this material, but here it is encapsulated for those who want. It’s the run down on how to load at the range, on the spot, and radically improve your success in working up an ammo recipe.


By Glen Zediker. A lot has changed since the original MKII, but then some things really haven’t. There are new triggers on the market and this article will run down what they are and what I think of them. Drop-ins, pins, and lock-time get their spaces too.
Zediker AR Maintenance

By Glen Zediker. There are three articles on this topic that are separated into barrel cleaning, cleaning and lubrication of the rest of the rifle, and a full component on how to run an AR15 as well as store it unharmed.

Royalties from Glen Zediker’s Books go to his surviving sons/family members. Consider purchasing one now:


NOTE: Most of these books are also available from Midsouth Shooters, some at lower cost.

Permalink Bullets, Brass, Ammo, Competition, News, Reloading, Shooting Skills 3 Comments »
October 28th, 2020

Advanced New Area 419 ZERO 9-Station Turret Press

Area 419 Zero reloading turret 10 station reloading press ultimatereloader review gavin gear

Area 419 has just introduced the all-new ZERO reloading press, a 9-station turret press with some very unique features. This press was designed to be the most precise turret ever created. As tested by Gavin Gear of UltimateReloader.com, the new ZERO turret press delivered very impressive shoulder-bump consistency and ultra-low seated bullet run-out (about +/- 0.0005″). The numbers were as good as you can get from a quality single-stage press, so Area 419 did some impressive engineering. We would expect that, as this is an expensive product — MSRP is $1200.00. SEE FULL REVIEW on UltimateReloader.com.

The ZERO turret press lets you install up to nine (9) different reloading dies in the large top turret, which revolves around a central axis. But unlike most turret presses, the ZERO doesn’t have flex or wobble when you’re loading. This is because Area 419 includes a clever system for locking the turret in position after you’ve selected the die from your array. Area 419 also uses a unique system for securing shell-holders (see video at 12:00). This, likewise, adds to the precision of the press.

In the video above, you can see how the turret is secured with a “wedge clamp”. By loosening the wedge clamp you can index the press easily to any station. Then, when you have selected your die, you tighten the wedge clamp again. You can see this important procedure at 13:20 – 13:35 timemark in the video.

Area 419 Zero reloading turret 10 station reloading press ultimatereloader review gavin gear

ZERO Turret Press Has Very Smooth Operation
Gavin observed that this ZERO turret is both smooth and very precise, thanks to smart engineering and the use of multiple bearings. Area 419 describes the design features:

— Turret (zero-slop) eliminates variability induced when removing and resetting dies
— The turret head holds nine 7/8×14-threaded dies (1-1/4 thread in future)
— Available ram-stroke here is 4.4″, allowing use of very tall cartridge types.
— Adjustable/interchangeable handle setup for maximizing leverage/feel based on operation
— Internally contained primer-catch system, slide-out drawer

Important Features of ZERO Turret Press

Area 419 Zero reloading turret 10 station reloading press ultimatereloader review gavin gear

1. Press frame: 6061 Aluminum, clear anodized
2. Wedge clamp (locks turret into indexed position)
3. Turret (7075 aluminum and steel construction)
4. Adjustable handle with roller knob (set either left- or right-handed operation)
5. Bearings: Ball bearing plus roller thrust bearings for side plates
6. Ram riding in self-lubricated linear bearing
7. Spent primer catcher drawer

Milled from American billet aluminum and stainless steel, this press employs 14 bearings, including a self-lubricating linear sleeve bearing for the precision-ground 1.25″ ram. The linkage system also glides on bearings providing smooth operation with near-ZERO slop. The oversized ram features a 0.75″-diameter steel arm and ZERO-friction knob. The turret system is located with an oversized ball-detent system and secured using an over-sized, custom-made ZERO-point pull-stud. Locking the turret after indexing require only a half-turn of the supplied T-handle (see photo above). When indexing the turret, repeatability variance of the system should be less than .0005″.

The opening in the press will allow for sizing and seating of cases up to.338 Lapua Magnum, and will accept standard 7/8″ dies and standard shellholders. NOTE: Area 419 will be making and selling shellholders specifically fit to the system later in 2020.

SUMMARY — Impressive Press Delivers Precise Results
Gavin Gear was very impressed with Area 419’s new Zero Press, which he said offers the precision of a quality single-stage with the versatility of a turret: “There will always be people that prefer a traditional single-stage. Where the ZERO will be compelling is to those who want the precision of a single-stage without the need to screw dies in and out. Leaving your dies set can have benefits for precision as well — everything comes back to the ‘same place’ when dies are indexed into position. Screwing dies in and out can impose variation, and variation is the enemy of the ‘white lab coat shooter’. I plan on testing the ZERO press with ultra-high-end dies, and custom dies that I ream to my own specifications. I’m thinking that will show the true potential of this press!”

Area 419 ZERO Press Video with Operation Instructions

Permalink - Videos, Bullets, Brass, Ammo, Gear Review, New Product, Reloading 3 Comments »
October 27th, 2020

Pioneers of Precision Shooting — Legendary L.E. “Sam” Wilson

lewilson15001
Sam (L.E.) Wilson actively competed in benchrest matches until he passed. He’s shown here with an Unlimited benchrest rifle of his own design.

If you’ve used hand dies with an arbor press, chances are you’ve seen the L.E. Wilson company name. You may not know that the founder of L.E. Wilson Inc. was an avid benchrest competitor who pioneered many of the precision reloading methods we used today. Known as “Sam” to his friends, L.E. Wilson was one of the great accuracy pioneers who collected many trophies for match victories during his long shooting career. His company continues to innovate — bringing out new products such as the Case Gage Depth Micrometer tool we recently reviewed.

lewilson1503

The photo above shows Sam (foreground) with all of his children at a shoot. Behind Sam are Jim, Jack and Mary, shooting in the Unlimited Class. What do they say — “the family that plays together stays together”? Note the long, externally-adjusted scopes being used. Learn more about Sam (L.E.) Wilson and his company on the L.E. Wilson Inc. Facebook Page.

lewilson1504

Unlimited Class was Sam’s favorite discipline, because in the “good old days” top competitors normally would craft both the rifle and the front/rear rests. This rewarded Sam’s ingenuity and machining/fabrication skills. In the “build-it-yourself” era, one couldn’t just order up an unlimited rail gun on the internet. How times have changed…

Permalink - Articles, Reloading 5 Comments »