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November 29th, 2023

Reloading Tip — With New Brass, Use Expander Mandrels

Expander Mandrel reloading case neck tension cartridge brass

Before you load that 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 (Brownells) 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 $37.99 unit fits caliber-specific expander mandrels 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, $53.99); .357 – .50 caliber (#749-008-843WS, $37.99), and a special .50 Cal die body for large-diameter 50 BMG presses (#749-009-163WS, $51.99). 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 Innovation, with stainless, Black Nitride, or Titanium nitride versions. The Nitride models have less friction.

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November 29th, 2023

Cheap Tricks — Measure Shoulder Bump with .45 ACP Pistol Case

.45 acp pistol case bump gauge headspace tool

Here is a simple, low-cost way to get reliable readings of case headspace when you “bump” the shoulder back on your 6BR, .243 Win, or .308 Win brass. Credit Boyd Allen for this tip. First, you’ll need one .45 ACP case (.40 SW works too), with primer removed. Make sure the pistol case is trimmed square and that it is round. We recommend you first size it, trim it and chamfer. Next, take the .45 ACP (or .40 SW) case and slip it over the neck of a fired, unsized rifle case with the primer removed. Align the two cases between the jaws of your calipers and note the length from rim to rim (See photo below, with striped case).

OK, now you have the length for a fired rifle case BEFORE sizing. Next, take a full-length sized rifle case (without primer) and do the same thing, placing the pistol case over the neck of the FL-sized case (Bottom Photo). The difference between the two numbers is the amount of “bump” or set-back you are applying to the shoulder. Here the difference is .0015″. The amount of bump you need varies with your chamber and your load, but .0015-.002″ is a good initial setting. By using this simple tool, you can avoid bumping the shoulder too much. This will also help you set-up the depth of your full-length die to get the proper amount of bump each time.

Other Pistol Brass Types Work Too: Some folks have used this method but they prefer to work with 10mm or .40 SW brass rather than a .45 ACP, because slightly smaller-diameter pistol cases may conform to the shoulders of their sized rifle cases a bit better. That works fine — use whatever pistol brass case works best for your rifle brass. We got very repeatable results with .45 ACP brass but the method also works with 10mm or .40 SW brass. Just be sure the pistol brass has been sized, trimmed, chamfered, and de-burred.

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November 28th, 2023

How to Remove Case Stuck in Die — Stuck Case Removal Kits

By Pete Petros, Lead Reloading Technician, Sinclair International

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

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

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

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

This video shows how to use an RCBS Stuck Case Removal Kit:

Using a Stuck Case Removal Kit
If you do stick a case in your die there are a few good stuck case removal kits available. Each one works in a similar fashion. I have found the Hornady kit very effective and easy to use. [Editor: Forster, Lyman, and RCBS also make good kits for removing a case stuck in a die.]

lyman stuck case kit

hornady stuck case kit

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

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

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

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

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November 27th, 2023

BargainFinder 427: 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.

NOTE: All listed products are for sale to persons 18 years of age or older. No products are intended for use by minors.

CYBER MONDAY Special — Hornady L-N-L Classic Press Reloading Kit With FREE Case Prep Duo

hornady lock load classic press reloading kit cyber monday sale.

On sale now at Midsouth for just $299.99 ($100 off), the Lock-N-Load Classic Press Reloading Kit comes with everything you need for case prep and powder measuring. This kit features an electronic scale, powder trickler, funnel, hand-held priming tool, reloading block, and Hornady Reloading Handbook, 11th Edition. This kit also includes a FREE L-N-L Case Prep Duo, which sells for $55 by itself.

1. Natchez — Big Savings on Burris, Leupold, and Trijicon Scopes

shooting optics sale
End of year sale with major brand scopes at huge savings

If you’re in the market for any type of optic from a red dot to a thermal scope (for night hunting) check out the current Natchez Optics Sale. A variety of quality scopes from Burris, Leupold, Trijicon (and more) are offered at very attractive end-of-the-year prices. You can save up to $819 or 69%. In addition, for a limited time, you get FREE Shipping for orders $99.99+ with Code FS231123.

2. Palmetto SA — Taurus G2C 9mm Pistol, $229.99

Taurus pistol sale
With rebate get a good 9mm carry pistol for just $199.99

If you need a good, reliable carry pistol, but have a limited budget, consider the Taurus G2C 9mm pistol, on sale at Palmetto State Armory for just $229.99. The G2C features an accessory rail, adjustable rear sight, textured grip, and smooth edges for comfort. The double-stack magazine holds 12 rounds. NOTE: This G2X pistol qualifies for the $30 Taurus Rebate right now. That lowers your net price to just $199.99 — a steal.

3. Midsouth — Hodgdon and Vihtavuori Powders in Stock

powder valley hodgond varget h4831 h4350 sale in stock
Ultra-popular Hodgdon and VV powders now available at good prices

Many super-popular Hodgdon and Vihtavuori (“VV”) powders are in stock right now at Midsouth. That’s right, you can order Hodgdon Varget, H4350, and H4831SC right now for $50.99/lb (or $43.62/lb for 8-lb H4350, H4831sc). And other Hodgdon powders are available starting at $36.99/lb. Plus many popular Vihtavuori powders are in stock at Midsouth including VV N133, N150, N310, N550, N560 and more.

4. EuroOptic — Meopta Optika Scope Sale

meopta scpe sale
Save up to 37% on Meopta Optika riflescopes

Meopta makes excellent scopes with extremely high-quality glass. The larger Meopta scopes offer impressive 6 times zoom range (e.g. 3-18X and 5-30X). If you want a high-end scope at a moderate price, check out the Meopta Optika Sale at EuroOptic. Right now you can save up to 37% on Meopta scopes, including the FFP Optika6 5-30x56mm ED DichroTech, now discounted a whopping $450.00!

5. Graf’s — Mark 7 Autodrive Sale

dillon autodrive sale
Great advanced power accessory for big Dillon Progressives

Do you own a Dillon progressive press and want to load bulk ammo faster and easier? Check out the Mark 7 Autodrive sale at Designed for Dillon 650/750 or 1050/1100 series presses, these Mark 7 Autodrives power the press cycles. That lets you produce more quality ammo in less time. The efficient Autodrives will reduce hand and muscle fatigue.

6. Amazon — Frankford Arsenal Brass Dryer, $49.99

reloading brass sale
Great solution for drying brass after wet-tumbling

If you wet-tumble brass, you must ensure that the brass is dry inside and out before loading. You should never ever put primers and/or powder in damp brass. An excellent, efficient drying solution is the Frankford Arsenal Brass Dryer, now just $49.99 on Amazon. Vented trays provide excellent airflow and the heavy-duty, 500-watt heating unit can dry a full load of brass in under an hour.

7. Amazon — Lock-N-Load Comparator Kit, $34.00

hornady reloading sale
Good tool works with most popular bullet diameters

For best accuracy and optimal ES/SD, you must seat bullets precisely. With the Hornady Lock-N-Load Comparator Kit you can quickly yet precisely measure seating depth. This kit comes with seven (7) different comparator inserts for bullet diameters: .224, .243, .257, .264, .277, .284 and .308. With the comparator attached to your calipers, this system measures from the bullet ogive to the base of the loaded round with great precision. You can use this tool to confirm various seating depths when doing accuracy testing. For example you can test 0.010″ off the lands and then 0.015″ off the lands.

8. Midsouth — Frankford Arsenal Intellidropper, $159.99

frankford arsenal powder dispenser sale
Great price on modern, fast dispenser with BlueTooth and App

A good electronic powder scale/dispenser lets you load more precisely with greater charge-weight consistency. The Frankford Arsenal Intellidropper delivers 0.10 (one-tenth) of a grain accuracy. This modern, easy-to-use machine also connects via Bluetooth to a very handy App on your phone that stores your loads for various cartridge and bullet types. Priced at just $159.99 at Midsouth, this is a great deal. This same Intellidropper sells for $203.99 elsewhere. The Intellidropper boasts a proprietary powder calibration button and dispenses powder twice as fast as some other powder dispensers.

9. Amazon — Neolube Neck Lube, $22.99

neolube sale neck lube
Very effective liquid lube for inside case-necks

Neolube is a little-known secret of top shooters, who use it to lube the inside of case-necks. That helps smooth bullet seating which, in turn, can help provide a more consistent ES/SD. Easy to apply, Neolube provides a very thin film, so this 2 oz. bottle will last for multiple seasons. Using Neolube during brass prep can help ensure consistent seating.

10. Amazon — Keeper Slip-On Recoil Pads, Two-Pack $28.99

recoil pad sale
Effective, slip-on pads reduce perceived recoil pulse

Heavy recoil can hurt your shoulder and potentially make you miss your shot. Installing a mechanical recoil-reduction system can be expensive but we found these handy KEEPER MG Recoil Pads. Priced at $28.99 for a twin pack, these pads employ a HQ visco-elastic absorption gel that dissipates recoil vibrations and reduces felt recoil. The pads are made from 4-way stretch neoprene to fit snugly.

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November 27th, 2023

Checking the Uniformity of Neck Bushings — Some Surprises

bushing neck die run-out concentricity

Do you use bushings to size your case-necks? Are you assuming that your bushings are actually round on the inside, with a hole that’s centered-up properly? Well you may be in for an unpleasant surprise, based on what our friend Jim de Kort recently discovered. Jim was concerned about the run-out on his brass. His cases went into his bushing-equipped FL die pretty straight, but came out of the die with up to .004″ run-out. “What gives?”, Jim wondered. “Could the problem be the bushings themselves?”

To answer that question, Jim decided to examine his bushings. Using an Accuracy One Wheel-drive concentricity gauge, Jim checked out some of his neck bushings. What he discovered may surprise you…

Neck Bushing Flaws Revealed

Trust no one… — Jim de Kort

Jim writes: “I measured the concentricity of my 6BR rounds today. I noticed they went into the neck-bushing equipped full-length sizing die with less than .001″ deviation but came out with .003-.004″. The culprit, it appears, was the bushing itself. Without it the cases stayed within .0005″ to .001″ deviation, so something was happening with the bushing.

One bushing had .00025″ deviation on the outside, yet almost .003″ on the inside, so it is crooked. But even when using a bushing that is within .001″ I still get .003″ runout after sizing. I repeated the same procedure for my 6×47 and got the same results. When using the bushing, concentricity suffers a lot.”

Before we bash the bushing-makers, we must acknowledge that many different things can contribute to excessive run-out and/or mis-alignment of case-necks. We don’t have all the answers here, and Jim would be the first to say that some mysteries remain. Still, these are interesting results that give all precision hand-loaders something to think about.

Jim Borden of Borden Accuracy also offers this tip: “Check the trueness of the face of the die cap. That has more to do with trueness than the bushing. Also check perpendicularity of hole in bushing to top surface. When I was making dies, the cap was made by threading and facing the threaded tenon in same setup.”

Editor’s Comment: Many people have great results with neck-bushing dies, but Jim isn’t the only fellow who has seen some very odd results. I personally employ honed, non-bushing dies for many of my chamberings. These non-bushing dies (with the necks honed for .002-.003″ neck tension) produce extremely straight ammo, with run-out consistently under .0015″.

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November 24th, 2023

Black Friday 2023 Sales and Discounts — Part Two

Black Friday deal coupon bargain sale promotion discounts

Yesterday we featured ten great Black Friday SALES from leading vendors. With those sale programs you can save hundreds of dollars on firearms, gun safes, optics, reloading hardware and more. Here are ten more Black Friday specials, many of which run through end of day on November 27th, Cyber Monday. PRS/NRL shooters should definitely check out the MDT Sale, while hunters will find many great deals at Cabela’s and Bass Pro.

Bullet Central Black Friday Sale

Black friday sale discount bullet central cyber monday

The Black Friday Sale at Bullet Central runs from Friday 11/24/2023 through Sunday 11/26/2023. This is a great sale — there are significant savings on custom actions, stocks/chassis systems, pre-fit barrels, reloading dies, and optics. Here are the key sale items. We are not sure if the discounts have already been applied automatically to the listed prices. You should check with Bullet Central.

10% Off All Stocks & Chassis
12% Off Kelbly Actions
12% Off Defiance Machine Actions
12% Off Impact Precision Actions
15% Off Micron Precision Dies
15% Off BC Custom Pre-Fit Barrels
20% Off Element Optics

K&M Black Friday/Cyber Monday Sale

Black friday sale discount K&M KM tool arbor press cyber monday

K&M Precision Shooting Products (K&M) makes great arbor presses and precision reloading tools. Now through Monday 11/27/2023 you can save $20-$75 on Arbor Presses and other K&M Gear and accessories. The more you spend the more you save with codes KMBF20, KMBF30, KMBF45, KMBF60, and KMBF75. Pick the code that fits the amount you spend from $100 to $500. For example, save $20 (20%) on a $100 purchase with code KMBF20. NOTE: This promotion excludes Mitutoyo products, Arbor Press Cases, and Gift Certificates. Spend value for coupons excludes shipping fees.

MDT Black Friday Sale — 10% to 40% Off

Black friday sale mdt chassis scope rings factory seconds Blem safe

MDT is a top-tier rifle chassis-maker, favored by PRS/NRL competitors. MDT says that its 2023 Black Friday promo is MDT’s “Only sale of the year”. This year’s Black Friday Specials include chassis systems, buttstocks, bipods, support bags, scope rings, magazines and more. Some of sale items are “blem” and/or “factory second” items. Though offered at huge discounts these products are still fully covered by the MDT lifetime warranty.

Cabela’s and Bass Pro Black Friday Sale

Black friday sale discount cabelas bass pro garmin savage leupold cyber monday

Cabela’s and Bass Pro are running a big sale through 11/26/2023. Notable discounted items include the superb Garmin Inreach SatCom (Save $150), Moultrie Trail Cams (Save $80), Savage Axis XP scoped rifle (Save $60), Bog Tripods (Save $40), Browning Safes (Save $200 with rebate), Leupold VH-5 HD Scope (Save $200), and Leupold HD Binoculars (Save $80).

KYGUNCO Black Friday Sale

Black friday sale discount CZ rifle pistol springfield armory sports afield gunsafe safe

Shooting sports store KYGUNCO has dozens of items deeply discounted for Black Friday. CLICK HERE to see ALL the Black Friday Sale listings. We saw some great CZ pistol and rifle deals, plus huge discounts on Sports Afield gun safes.

Creedmoor Sports Black Friday Extended Sale

Black friday sale creedmoor sports kowa Trx-925 free shipping

Creedmoor Sports has many popular products on sale for Black Friday (through 11/28/23). The TRX-925 Precision Reloading Scale, regularly $374.95, is on sale for $350.00. The Big Shot BST-40 Rotary Wet/Dry Tumbler is on sale for $329.95 ($50 savings). Plus some Creedmoor Rifle Rest Bags are 15% off. In addition to these specials, there are ongoing discounts on a variety of brands, including Peterson Brass, ADG Brass, Hornady Bullets, Kowa Spotting Scopes, AMP Annealers, and much more. But that’s not all! During Black Friday, when you place an order over $200, you’ll receive a FREE, Creedmoor Sports 45th Anniversary T-Shirt. And through Tuesday 11/28/2023 at noon, customers also get FREE SHIPPING with orders over $99.00.

Midsouth Black Friday Specials

Black friday sale discount midsouth Hornady Lyman tumbler cyber monday

A large selection of products are deeply discounted for the Midsouth Black Friday Sale. You’ll find big price reductions on everything from bullets to big progressive presses. Our top picks are:
1. Hornady LNL Loading Combo Kit w/ Free Case Prep Duo ($299.99, Save $100)
3. Lyman Gen 6 Powder Dispenser/Scale ($179.99, Save $80)
2. Hornady 17 HMR Ammo ($134.99/500 rounds, Save $55)
4. Frankford Arsenal Tumbler and Depriming Tool ($99.99, Save $65)

Horus Vision 20% Off Sitewide

Black friday sale discount horus vision HoVR rangefinder spotting scope

Horus Vision produces quality riflescopes, rangefinders, spotting scopes, and electronic weather meters. In addition Horus offers combo kits with multiple products. For example the HoVR™ Complete Shooter Package mates the HoVR 5-20x50mm scope with the HoVR 2000 BT Laser Rangefinder and HoVR weather meter. Right now you can save 20% on virtually all products sold through the Horus Vision online store.

Protector Model Shooting Bags — 15% Off with Code THANKFUL

Black friday sale discount protektor model sandbag bag leather stock sale discount

Protektor model read bag sandbag black friday saleProtektor Model will be discounting its leather shooting bags 15% for Black Friday through 11:59 pm on November 24, 2023. NOTE: You won’t see a “Black Friday Sale” prompt on the website or product descriptions. However, when you put your order in the shopping cart, the 15% OFF savings will be applied via discount code THANKFUL. We just confirmed that on the website at 8:00 pm on 11/23/23.

Winchester Black Friday Special — 20% Off The Entire Store

Black friday sale discount midsouth contest hornady prize package giveaway contest

For Black Friday weekend, the Winchester Gear Store is offering 20% off all merchandise. NOTE: This offer does NOT apply to Winchester brand ammunition, powder, or primers. This is ONLY for clothing and accessories such as hats, sweatshirts, and shotgun shooting vests. To save 20% on all items use code SHOP23 at Checkout.

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November 22nd, 2023

6.5 Grendel Load Data from Sierra Bullets

6.5 Grendel load data Sierra Bullets

CLICK HERE for Sierra Bullets 6.5 Grendel LOAD DATA PDF »

Sierra Bullets has released load data for the 6.5 Grendel, a popular cartridge that works equally well in bolt guns and AR15-platform gas guns. Sierra published comprehensive 6.5 Grendel load data, covering 19 powders and eight (8) different bullets from 85 to 130 grains. NOTE: Hornady-brand brass (see below) was used for Sierra’s 6.5 Grendel tests, not the stronger Lapua 6.5 Grendel brass. Hand-loaders using Lapua 6.5 Grendel brass may need to adjust their loads. Also Winchester WSR primers were used. We imagine most precision hand-loaders will prefer CCI or Federal primers.

Sierra Bullets Tested for 6.5 Grendel Load Data
85gr HP (#1700)
100gr HP (#1710)
107gr HPBT (#1715)
120gr Spitzer (#1720)
120gr HPBT (#1725)
123gr HPBT (#1727)
130gr HPBT (#1728)
130gr TMK (# 7430)

In developing its 6.5 Grendel load data, Sierra tested a very wide selection of propellants, 19 in all. For the 85gr to 100gr varmint bullets, modern powders such as XMR 2230, Power Pro Varmint, and Ramshot TAC offered the best velocity in the 24″ test barrel. For the heavier 120gr to 130gr match bullets, Sierra tested a selection of powders. Highest velocities came with Power Pro Varmint and TAC. If you’re looking for best accuracy, consider the slower burn-rate powders such as IMR 8208 XBR and Varget — but you’ll sacrifice some speed. Overall, Sierra’s latest 6.5 Grendel load data is an excellent addition to the 6.5 Grendel knowledge base. Thanks Sierra!

Here are Sierra’s 6.5 Grendel Load Data Charts for Sierra’s 123gr HPBT, 130gr HPBT, and 130gr TMK. There are a five other tables for lighter-weight Sierra bullets.

6.5 Grendel load data Sierra Bullets

6.5 Grendel load data Sierra Bullets

6.5 Grendel load data Sierra Bullets

History of the 6.5 Grendel Cartridge
The 6.5 Grendel originated as a 6mm PPC necked up to 6.5 mm. After Alexander Arms relinquished the “6.5 Grendel” Trademark, the 6.5 Grendel was standardized as an official SAAMI cartridge. It has become popular with target shooters and hunters alike because it is accurate, efficient, and offers modest recoil. Good for small to medium game, the 6.5 Grendel is available in lightweight hunting rifles, such as the Howa Mini Action Rifle. And the 6.5 Grendel is one of the most accurate cartridges suitable for modern AR-15 platform rifles.

6.5 Grendel Saami Hornady Brass

CLICK HERE for 6.5 Grendel Cartridge History (Wikipedia entry).

Sierra Bullets Load Data 6mm Creedmoor reloading tips

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November 21st, 2023

Print Reloading Manuals — Great Resources for Handloaders

reloading hand-loading reload data manual sierra berger hornady lyman

It’s great to be able to access online load data for your cartridges. You can quickly get load data for a particular powder and bullet weight. However, there are times when we prefer to consult old-fashioned printed/bound load manuals. The primary reason is that manuals produced by bullet- and tool-makers will, for a particular cartridge, include data for powders from multiple manufacturers. Having a single source can save you time and trouble. For example, if you want to find 6.5 Creedmoor loads using H4350 (Hodgdon), Reloder 16 (Alliant), and N150 (Vihtavuori) you would have to visit three different powder-maker websites, one after another. OR you can pick up a modern load manual and find everything in one place.

There are many excellent printed load manuals on the market. We have used the Berger Manual, Sierra Manual, Nosler Manual, Lyman Manual, and Hornady Manual. We like the Berger and Sierra manuals for match rifle cartridges, and the Nosler, Lyman, and Hornady manuals for hunting loads and pistol cartridges.

The Lyman Reloading Manuals have earn praise over the years:
“Every other reloading book I’ve used favors their own bullets over every other manufacturers. With Lyman you get an honest representation of a wide variety of different… manufacturers. [Lyman has] a ton of reloading data on just about any bullet style you can imagine. I’ve tried a wide range of their recipes and everyone I’ve tried has been spot on. The overall breadth of information this book covers is impressive.” Review by

reloading hand-loading reload data manual Nosler 9 guide sierra berger hornady lymanNosler #9 Manual Features New Cartridges
If you are looking for fairly recent cartridge/bullet/powder information, in late 2020 Nosler released the Nosler Reloading Guide #9, the latest in a respected series of Nosler load manuals.

This 800-page guide covers 101 cartridge types. New in this edition you’ll find the popular 6mm Creedmoor, 6mm XC, 6.5 PRC, and 7.62×39, along with 20 Nosler, 22 Nosler, 24 Nosler, 27 Nosler and 33 Nosler. This manual is a good resource for PRS shooters and hunters. The Nosler #9 book draws from thousands of hours in the Nosler Ballistic Lab, along with the experience of many respected experts.

The book is available for $31.99 at Midsouth or $29.95 on Amazon. Keep in mind that much of the book’s latest load data is available for free on the online LOAD DATA Center. But to get ALL the data, PLUS all the technical articles, you’ll need to buy the book.

Along with the Nosler #9 Manual (above), here are four other recommended Reloading Manuals:

Here Are Four General Instructional Books That Cover Reloading Procedures:


Here is the most recent powder burn rate chart from Hodgdon/IMR that we could find. Click links below to access printable PDF. Note, some readers have suggested a couple powder ranking issues in the table. However, this is the latest official version from the Hodgdon website, released in October 2022.


Hodgdon IMR Winchester Burn Rate Powder speed table relative table chart

CLICK HERE to Download Chart as PDF File »

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November 21st, 2023

Inside Neck Chamfering Tools — Many Options, Many Angles

Neck case chamfer tools Redding Forster Rocket model 15-p
Shown is the Redding Model 15-P Competition Piloted Inside Chamfering Tool with pilot rod that centers in the case flash hole. Also shown is a Forster 45° Rocket Tool.

There are a wide variety of reloading tools designed to cut a slight chamfer in case necks and deburr the edge of the case mouth. You don’t need to spend a lot of money for an effective tool. A basic “rocket-style” 45° chamfering tool, such as the Forster, actually does a pretty good job taking the sharp edge off case mouths, particularly if you use a little scotch-pad (or steel wool) to smooth the edge of the cut. The Forster chamfer tool, shown below, is a nicely-made product, with sharper cutting blades than you’ll find on most other 45° chamferers. It costs $24.99 at

forster rocket 45 degree neck chamferer chamfer tool

Redding sells a handy piloted chamfering tool with a 15° inside cutting angle and removable accessory handle. This Redding Model 15-P chamferer works really well, so long as you have consistent case OALs. The pilot rod (which indexes in the flash hole) is adjustable for different cartridge types (from very short to very long). This ensures the concentricity of the inside neck chamfer to the case mouth. This quality tool works with cases from .22 to .45 Caliber, and retails for $36.99.

Neck case chamfer tools Redding Forster Rocket model 15-p

Sinclair International offers a 28° carbide chamferer with many handy features (and sharp blades). The $28.99 Sinclair Carbide VLD Case Mouth Chamfering Tool will chamfer cases from .14 through .45 caliber. This tool features a removable 28° carbide cutter mounted in the green plastic Sinclair handle. NOTE: A hex-shaft cutter head power adapter can be purchased separately for $19.99 (Sinclair item 749002690). This can be chucked in a power screwdriver or used with dedicated power drives when doing large volumes of cases.

Neck inside chamfer chamferer case neck tool

Many folks feel they can get smoother bullet seating by using a tool that cuts at a steeper angle. We like the 22° cutter sold by Lyman. It has a comfortable handle, and costs just $12.99 at The Lyman tool is an excellent value, though we’ve seen examples that needed sharpening even when new. Blade-sharpening is easily done, however.

K&M makes a depth-adjustable, inside-neck chamferer (“Controlled Depth Tapered Reaper”) with ultra-sharp cutting flutes. The latest version, which costs $59.95 at, features a central pin that indexes via the flash hole to keep the cutter centered. In addition, the tool has a newly-designed handle, improved depth-stop fingers, plus a new set-screw adjustment for precise cutter depth control. We caution, even with all the depth-control features, if you are not careful, it is easy to over-cut, slicing away too much brass and basically ruining your neck. We think that most reloaders will get better results using a more conventional chamfer tool, such as the Forster or Redding 15-P.

K & M K&M neck chamferer reamer controlled depth

One last thing to note — tools like the K&M and the Sinclair chamferer are often described as VLD chamferers. That is really a misnomer, as bullets with long boat-tails actually seat easily with very minimal chamfering. In reality, these high-angle chamferers may be most valuable when preparing brass for flat-base bullets and bullets with pressure rings. Using a 22° or 28° chamferer can reduce the risk of cutting a jacket when using VLD bullets though — so long as you make a smooth cut.

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November 18th, 2023

Saturday Movies — Video Reviews of Cool Tools for Reloading

Daily Bulletin Saturday Movies Tool time reloading product video review

For this Saturday-at-the-Movies session we offer a selection of videos featuring interesting tools and products for handloaders. If you spend much time in your reloading room, these tools can save you time and help you load better ammo in less time. Today’s feature products range from sophisticated, premium tools such as 21st Century powered neck-turning lathe, to basic add-ons such as Lee Breech Lock Bushings, which are very handy if you load a variety of cartridge types.

21st Century Powered Neck-Turning Lathe

Power is activated by the red button on the end of the blue, horizontal feed handle:

Do you neck-turn hundreds of cases annually? Then you deserve this outstanding tool. The 21st Century Innovation Powered Neck-Turning Lathe may well be quite simply the best system ever created for quickly and precisely uniforming (and reducing) the neckwall thickness of cartridge brass. We have the original manual 21st Century neck-turning lathe, and can attest that it works great. With this powered system you can turn necks faster and more efficiently, with less effort. This is like going from a stick shift to an automatic transmission. The cases feed very smoothly and the results are beautiful. Note: The videos show the version as first marketed by 21st Century Shooting, which now operates as 21st Century Innovation.

The Powered Neck-Turning lathe is a modular system. Swing the bar from right to left to feed the case. The power head (with case holder) glides on stainless steel rails for smooth movement. This allows very precise feed rate. Power is supplied via a button that is built into the end of the feed handle. Push the red button to make the case spin. It’s as simple as that.

Hornady OAL Tool and Hornady Bullet Comparator

Gun Tech Steve Ostrem explains how to properly use Hornady’s Overall Length Gauge to determine length-to-land precisely. The OAL Gauge uses a “Modified Case” that threads onto the tool and holds a bullet. Push on the back of the gauge until you feel the bullet just touch the rifling. (We do this gently at first, tapping the rod a couple time to ensure the bullet is aligned correctly). Once you’ve got the length, then use the tool with a comparator on your calipers to get the length-to-lands. NOTE: We recommend taking the measurement 3-4 times in a row to get a reliable number. With a little practice your should be able to get repeatable measurements within .0015″.

Henderson Power Case Trimming/Chamfering Machine Test

F-Class John tests some of the finest reloading and shooting equipment you can buy. Recently he added the impressive Henderson Gen 3 Powered Trimmer to his inventory of tools. John is now a Henderson fan. He likes the speed, precision, and repeatability of the $779.00 Henderson machine, which trims-to-length and chamfers the case mouth all in one pass. Unlike some other trimming tools, the Henderson indexes off the overall case length NOT the shoulder. John found this worked just fine for his .284 Winchester brass, which has all been full-length sized prior to trimming.

Watch the video to see the Henderson trimmer in action. The dual, parallel horizontal support shafts provide precise alignment of the case as it moves inward toward the cutter blade. The Taper-Lock cutter provides a 14-degree inside chamfer and 30-degree outside chamfer. The trimming process is very consistent case after case, and the Henderson’s design captures brass shavings effectively.

This related video shows a comparison with the popular Giraud Powder Trimer

As noted in this comparison, John liked the precision of the Henderson trimmer and the overall design of the machine, which offers good ergonomics and very precise alignment of the cases. Cycling is smooth and positive, as you can see from the videos. The Giraud is also an excellent machine for bulk trimming/chamfering but the Henderson has some advantages.

Concentricity Checking with Accuracy One Gauge

Every serious hand-loader needs a quality concentricity gauge. The Accuracy One Concentricity Gauge boasts a smart design that delivers precise, repeatable results. We like the unit’s easy adjustability and its ability to work in a variety of configurations. The Accuracy One Gauge measures internal and external neck runout of cartridge cases as well as seated bullet runout. It can also measure the runout of the ogive, bearing surface, and boat-tail of individual bullets. And it can even measure your primer pocket runout.

Tools Galore — Affordable Tools and Accessories for Reloaders

This detailed 15-minute video from the Bolt Action Reloading YouTube Channels, features a variety of lower-cost products/tool that help with key reloading tasks. The video looks at hand priming tools, case prep tools, Lyman stepped loading blocks, powder tricklers, expander mandrels, powder trickler, long-tube funnels and more! If you are getting started in hand-loading, this is a very helpful video to watch. It covers a lot of ground, illustrating options for tool types.

reloading tools videos
This Lyman case prep tool is one of many products reviewed in this 15-minute video.

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November 18th, 2023

Load Powder More Consistently by Reducing Static Charges

Powder measure weight static charge electricity powder dryer sheet anti-static spray

In the wintertime, it’s common to encounter problems with static electricity when throwing your powder charges. The static can cause powder kernels to cling to the surface of reloading components, and can cause powder clumping. Clumped or sticky powder may make your measure bind or grab in the middle of the cycle, which can throw off your charge weight. Here are a couple simple ways you can minimize the effects of static electricity and improve the consistency of your powder measuring.

Ground Your Powder Measure — If you’re throwing powder charges in the fall or winter and have problems with bridging or sticking powder, use a ground wire. Bullet-smith Victor Johnson (Johnson Precision Bullets) tells us: “I have a 25-foot piece of real small wire with alligator clips on each end. It’s that long so I can run it down the hall to a water pipe. Use the wire tie from a bread bag to hold it in a small roll to put in the range box. When using it at the range use a 6″ nail from the co-op or Lowe’s / Home Depot and just push it into the ground.”

Use Bounce Dryer Sheets — A quick pass with the thin sheets used in dryers will eliminate “static cling” on your plastic reloading parts like powder throwers, powder funnels, and reloading press guides. Thanks to Doc76251 for this tip.

Reduce Electronic Scales’ Drift with Anti-Static Spray

Very sadly, GS Arizona, the creator of the Rifleman’s Journal website, passed away unexpectedly in June of 2022. Here is one of the many great tips he provided to handloaders through that website.

Digital Scale Static Guard Static ElectricityApparently reducing static charges on and around electronic scales can reduce their propensity to drift, lessening the problem of “wandering zero”. Just how and why static charges interfere with scale performance is unclear, but many shooters have noticed that static electricity can cause electronic scales to behave strangely. So how do you reduce static charges around your digital balance? GS Arizona has found a very simple solution — an anti-static aerosol spray — that, by all indications, actually works. When this “spray-can solution” was suggested by a fellow shooter, GS was skeptical. However, he tried the stuff and he says that it really does help the scale maintain zero over time, with much less observed drift.

GS explains that the use of “Static Guard” spray helped mitigate the problem of a drifting zero on his Ohaus electronic scale: “My electronic scale… suffers from drifting zero (as they all seem to). I’ve read dozens of forum posts about drift and how to minimize its occurrence, so I know this problem isn’t limited to my scale or my workshop. Sometime last year, John Lowther mentioned the use of anti-static spray as a solution to the drift problem. John stated that the spray had virtually eliminated drift for him.”

Digital Scale Static Guard Static Electricity

GS found that the Static Guard actually worked: “The spray works great, just as John said it would. I spray all surfaces that I touch with my hands and arms as well as the pan (top and bottom), the metal tray on which the pan rests and the table under the scale. In six months or so of using the spray I’ve re-applied it about two or three times; it certainly isn’t something that you need to do each time you sit down to load. Before using the spray, it was not uncommon for me to re-zero the scale 10 times in the course of loading 72 rounds; now it might need it once during a session.”

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November 17th, 2023

Bullet Sectional Density — What You Need to Know

Bullet projectile sectional density formula Sierra Bullets

by Sierra Bullets Ballistic Technician Paul Box
All of us who have been in reloading and shooting for any period of time have read how sectional density has been regarded as a bullet’s ability to penetrate. Back before high velocity came along and modern bullet design, the easiest way to get more “power” and penetration was by increasing the diameter and mass. After all, a bowling ball will hurt more than a golf ball, right?

Let’s take a closer look at sectional density.

The formula for calculating sectional density is pretty simple and straight forward. Take the bullet weight and divide by 7000. This number is then divided by the bullet diameter squared. Two bullets of equal weight and the same diameter will have equal sectional sectional density. No regard is given to the bullet construction. This is where the fly hits the soup in considering sectional density as far as penetration is concerned.

Section Density Formula: (Bullet Weight divided by 7000) divided by Bullet Diameter squared.

Bullet construction is the biggest factor in how it is able to penetrate. The best example I can think of here is to look at the Sierra .224 55 Gr. FMJBT GameKing #1355 compared to the 55 Gr. BlitzKing #1455. Both are .224 and weigh 55 grs. Both have a sectional density of .157. But there is a huge difference in their construction. The FMJ has a thick jacket and is designed to penetrate. The BlitzKing is designed for fast and rapid expansion with little concern for how deep they will penetrate.

The next time you’re choosing a bullet, look at the construction and less at the sectional density number. It’s all about the construction anyway. If you have any questions or would like to discuss sectional density or bullet penetration further, please give us a call at 800-223-8799 or shoot us an email at

Sierra Bullets reloading tips

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November 16th, 2023

Key Reloading Methods Covered in Sinclair Int’l Video Series

free reloading videos sinclair international

Sinclair International has created a series of instructional videos illustrating the basics of metallic cartridge reloading. The 8-Part series starts with reloading basics and provides step-by-step, how-to instructions that will help new reloaders get started. Detailed, animated illustrations show you what happens inside the chamber when shooting, and inside the dies during each step of reloading. The videos can be viewed on Sinclair International’s YouTube channel. Shown below is the first video in the series:

Each of the Sinclair videos is hosted by then Sinclair Int’l President Bill Gravatt (now with Creedmoor Sports). Bill doesn’t just show you “how”, he tells you “why”. The how-to segments cover case inspection, proper die set up, case sizing, primer installation, powder measuring, bullet seating, crimping, and even goes into the record keeping needed for the handloader. “We wanted to give shooters who haven’t reloaded a look at all the advantages of creating your own ammo and how easy it is to get started,” said Gravatt, “without telling them they had to have any certain brand or type of equipment to do the job.”

The Eight Video Topics Are:

Part 1 — Intro to Video Series
Part 2 — Intro to Reloading Safety
Part 3 — Metallic Cartridge Components
Part 4 — The Firing Sequence
Part 5 — Tools for Reloading
Part 6 — Loading Bottle-Neck Cartridges (2 videos)
Part 7 — Loading Straight Wall Cartridges
Part 8 — Reloading Series Conclusion

CLICK HERE to Watch all Sinclair Reloading Series Videos »

Reloading Tools
Shown below is Part 5 of the video series, covering the tools used for precision reloading.

Sinclair International Reloading Videos

We also strongly recommend the Part 4 Video to readers who are getting started in reloading. This “How Things Work” segment covers the sequence of events inside the chamber (and barrel) when the cartridge is fired. The video includes helpful graphics that show what happens to the primer, powder, cartridge, and bullet when the round is fired. The video also illustrates “headspace” and explains how this can change after firing. We think this video answers many common questions and will help reloaders understand the forces at work on their brass during the firing process.

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November 14th, 2023

FREE Printable Reloading Data Sheets and Box Label Templates

Reloading Data Form Ammo Box Template printing labels chronograph data sheet

Redding Reloading offers handy Handloader’s Data Sheets in printable PDF format. This FREE form allows hand-loaders to document their tool settings, bushing size, powder charge, load specs (COAL etc.), and case prep status. In addition, the form allows you to enter your load testing information, complete with chronograph data, group size, zero range, and wind/temp conditions. With this single, handy form you can document all the vital information for your particular cartridges and loads. We suggest you print these out, 3-hole-punch ‘em, and then keep them in a three-ring binder.

Download FREE Handloader’s Data Sheet (PDF)

We’ve seen various reloading log templates, but this Redding form (shown below) is better than most because it combines both reloading data AND range-test data in one place. You can see all key details of the reloading process (tool settings etc.) plus the end results — how the load actually performed over the chronograph and on paper. This form allows the user to capture a large amount of information for later use, while accurately track load development. CLICK HERE to DOWNLOAD.

Reloading Data Form Ammo Box Template printing labels chronograph data sheet

FREE Ammunition Box Label Template
Reloading Data Form Ammo Box Template printing labels chronograph data sheetRedding also provides a FREE printable template for your ammo boxes (see photo at top of article). This lets you put all vital load info on your ammo boxes. There are fields for: Date, Cartridge, Powder, Grains, Bullet, Weight, Primer, Case type. Designed for Avery 5260 (or similar) label sheets, this template allows you to print 30 labels at one time. You can purchase the Avery 5260 peel-off printable label sheets at any office supply store.

Download Box Label Template (PDF)

Redding Ammo Box Template printing labels chronograph data sheet

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November 14th, 2023

Store Cleaning Rods Conveniently 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 $16.59 at Amazon (select “6 Rod Rack”). There is also a similar Mezoom 6-Rod Rack Pair for just $10.99 at Walmart. If you prefer wood, Amazon also sells a pine 6-rod wall rack for $29.51.

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

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