February 27th, 2021

Gear Review: Lyman Reloading Press Stand — “It’s a Keeper”

lyman universal press stand review Dillon 550 Forster Co-Ax bench lift reloading

I absolutely love using this press stand. I use it with my Forster Co-Ax as well as my Dillon 550. The stand mounts those presses at the right height to minimize fatigue and maximize torque. Some products I merely review and return but this one is a keeper and won’t be leaving my bench anytime soon. — F-Class John

Lyman Universal Press Stand REVIEW

Product Review by F-Class John
Positioning your press at the optimal height is one of the oldest problems in reloading. Most presses sit low off the edge leading to uncomfortable arm strain or inconsistent pressure being applied while using. Lyman has set out to fix that problem with a reasonably-priced ($54.99 at Midsouth) press riser that works with the vast majority of reloading presses. This unit will raise just about any press up off your bench securely, allowing you to working more comfortably from a standing position. This also frees up vital bench space UNDER the press. Unfortunately this press stand is so popular it is back-ordered at most vendors.

lyman universal press stand review Dillon 550 Forster Co-Ax bench lift reloading

I have used a variety of presses over the years. At times I’ve run into issues mounting a press at a level that doesn’t promote arm or hand strain during normal operations. In the past I’ve used blocks of wood or even tried other brands’ proprietary stands. But I had very limited success with those options. Accordingly, I was very excited to give the Lyman Universal Press Stand a chance.

Lyman’s Universal Press Stand comes complete with side plates, two different top plates, and a large collection of mounting hardware. The two top plates are pre-drilled for numerous popular Single Stage or Progressive presses. Helpful diagrams and instructions show which side of the top plate you need to use. The pre-drilled holes accommodate a variety of presses from RCBS, Dillon, Lyman, Redding, and Hornady. But surprisingly, the plates are not pre-configured for the Forster Co-Ax Press.

CLICK to WATCH VIDEO Showing Lyman Universal Press Stand

Setting up the stand was very simple. The two sides bolt to the lower shelf unit at which point you attach the top plate. All the supplied bolts made this a breeze and once everything was snugged down, I was able to place it on my bench where I wanted it and mark the drill holes to mount it. After securing the stand to my bench it was time to mount my press.

Lyman Universal Press Stand with Dillon 550 Press

lyman universal press stand review Dillon 550 Forster Co-Ax bench lift reloading

Adapting Lyman Universal Press Stand for Forster Co-Ax
At the time of testing I was primarily using a Forster Co-Ax press. With no pre-drilled Co-Ax configuration for either Lyman top plate, I decided to customize the blank side of one of the top plates. I opted to position the mounting holes so that the press could sit 100% on top of the mounting plate and not just off one edge. I found this process simple to execute. Mark your drill holes, then drill the plate. This can easily be done with regular drill bits although using a step-bit worked faster and cleaner to help enlarge the holes just a little when I needed some extra clearance.

lyman universal press stand review Dillon 550 Forster Co-Ax bench lift reloading

Lyman Universal Press Stand Is Stable and Strong
Once set-up, I found the stand to be incredibly stable. The design allows for full force to be applied to the press no matter what the operation. Having used this Lyman Press stand regularly over the past few months with both my Co-Ax and a Dillon 550c, I still find myself loving it. The height is perfect and allows me to load as much as I like without straining my arm or getting fatigued. With an attractive price point (under $55.00 street price) and a simple design, I feel this is a great system for those looking for a secure and raised platform for their reloading presses.

The Universal Press Stand comes with two plates. If you have different presses that fit each plate you could easily swap presses just by changing plates while leaving the presses attached. It’s less functional if you have two presses that share one plate and would require removing one press before installing the next one.

lyman universal press stand review Dillon 550 Forster Co-Ax bench lift reloading

Lyman Press Stand Unboxing and Set-Up (KFW Video Review):

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February 26th, 2021

Hodgdon Powder Update — Why Are There Shortages?

Hodgdon Powder report supply pricing shortage

As any handloader knows, popular reloading powders have become difficult to find. And when you do locate the powder you want, the price might be twice what you paid a year ago (or even more on auction sites). Across the nation, shooters are asking “What gives? Why are powder prices so high? And when are the shortages going to end?”

Hodgdon Powder Company (“Hodgdon”), supplier of Hodgdon, IMR, and Winchester powders*, has attempted to answer these questions with a “Powder Update” posted yesterday. Along with addressing the shortage issues, Hodgdon explains the challenges involved in increasing production in the USA and/or increasing imports from overseas. The ultra-popular H4198, H4895, Varget, H4350, and H4831 family of powders are produced by ADI in Australia**. So Hodgdon can’t ship more Varget or H4350 in the USA unless Hodgdon can get more from Australia.

In the Powder Update reprinted below, Hodgdon answers many key questions, and debunks some misconceptions. For example, Hodgdon is NOT selling its powders on auction sites such as Gunbroker. That is completely false.

POWDER UPDATE from Hodgdon Powder Company

Hodgdon Powder report supply pricing shortageWHY CAN’T HODGDON SHIP MORE POWDER?
The current powder situation is due to a record demand for all reloading components and NOT a reduction in the supply of powder. With long-time handloaders looking to stock up and new gun owners looking for ammunition, there is an unprecedented demand for powder and other reloading components. We shipped a record amount of powder in 2020 and will ship even more in 2021. We are doing everything in our power to get the most powder into consumer hands this year. We are running overtime in our facilities, have hired additional staff and have leveraged relationships with shipping partners to add new shipping options.

WHY CAN’T HODGDON BUILD ANOTHER POWDER PLANT?
The “normal” powder demand for the United States would not support an additional plant. Hodgdon, like most companies, cannot afford to build a new production facility then have it sit idle until demand spikes.

WHY IS HODGDON SELLING POWDER TO THE GOVERNMENT?
Hodgdon does NOT sell powder directly to the government. We sell some powder to manufacturers making ammunition for our military, but that is a small part of our business.

WHY IS HODGDON SELLING POWDER TO AMMUNITION MANUFACTURERS?
The heart of our business is smokeless powder for the handloading enthusiast. Yes, we sell some powder to ammo manufacturers, but that is a small part of our business. Every day, we receive calls from potential OEM customers looking for powder to load in ammunition. We politely decline so we can focus on our long-term, handloading customers.

WHY IS HODGDON SELLING POWDER ON AUCTION SITES?
We don’t. Period. We recently began selling a limited amount of powder on our OWN websites but prioritize our shipments to our traditional sales channels to maximize powder availability at sporting goods and gun shops. [Editor: If you see Hodgdon powder on auction sites, that is listed by third party vendors.]

WHY IS THE PRICE OF POWDER SO HIGH ON THE INTERNET?
We do not set sale prices or MSRPs for the price of our powders at retail, nor do we encourage any of our retailers or dealers to sell on auction sites, but we cannot control what happens AFTER we sell to our traditional sales channels.

Hodgdon Powder report supply pricing shortage


* Hodgdon also sells certain Ramshot, Accurate, and Blackhorn powders along with Goex black powder.
** Here’s a list of ADI to Hodgdon Powder equivalents from the ADI FAQ Page:

ADI / Hodgdon Propellants Equivalents
ADI Powder Hodgdon/IMR Name
Trail Boss
AR2207
AR2219
BM2
Bench Mark 8208
AR2206H
AR2208
AR2209
AR2213H/AR2213SC
AR2217
AR2225
AR2218
Trail Boss
H4198
H322
Benchmark
8208 XBR
H4895
Varget
H4350
H4831 / H4831SC
H1000
Retumbo
H50BMG
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February 26th, 2021

7 SAFE: Seven Vital Safety Tips for Reloaders

seven reloading safety tips powder primers brownells manual

You can never be too safe when hand-loading your own ammunition. This helpful Brownells video outlines the Seven Fundamental Reloading Safety Tips. This is important information for novice hand-loaders and a good refresher for those with reloading experience!

Summary of the Seven Safety Tips:

1. Store your reloading supplies in a safe and dry location, away from children and away from any possible source of ignition. It is also smart to keep your powder and primers separate.

2. Get and use respected reloading manuals, especially for new cartridges. Start low and work up slowly while watching for warning signs of pressure and/or case fatigue.

3. Locate your reloading activity where you will not be distracted. If you get interrupted, stop. (Distractions will eventually lead to mistakes.)

4. Do NOT mix powders. Keep your powders clearly marked and dated. You can use masking tape to write the date on the container.

5. If you load the same cartridge type for different firearms, make sure your ammo headspaces properly in each gun.

6. Check cases frequently. Look for split necks, case head separation or other signs of fatigue and excessive pressure.

7. If reloading military brass, be aware that case capacity is usually reduced, and initial loads should be at least 10-15% lower than published data.


Here are some other tips that will help your avoid making costly mistakes (such as using the wrong powder, or undercharging a case):

  • Powder Type — Always double-check the label on your powder containers. After placing powder in the powder measure, put a piece of tape on the measure with the powder type written on it. Some guys write the powder type on a card and place that right in the hopper.
  • Scale Drift — Electronic balances can drift. If you are using a digital powder scale, calibrate the scale with a test weight every 50 rounds or so.
  • Case Fill — If you throw more than one charge at a time, look INSIDE every case before seating a bullet. Squib charges can be dangerous if you don’t notice them before firing the next round.
  • Progressive Presses — When using a progressive press, consider using an RCBS Lock-Out Die. This will detect a low charge and stop the machine. These dies will work with RCBS, Hornady, and Dillon progressives.

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February 25th, 2021

Watch Reloading Videos from Hodgdon Powder Company

Hodgdon Reloading Center Video

Hodgdon Reloading Center VideoHodgdon Powder Company (Hodgdon) offers a series of professionally-produced, “how-to” instructional videos through its online Reloading Data Center. These 3.5-minute videos present rifle, pistol, and shotshell reloading basics in an easy-to-understand,step-by-step format. These mobile-friendly, informative videos can also be viewed on a smart phone or tablet.

To watch the reloading videos go to the Reloading Data Center at hodgdon.com. Click to the right/left of the displayed video to switch between pistol, rifle, and shotgun videos. Or, for your convenience, we have embedded the Rifle and Pistol videos here. Just click to watch!

Click to Watch Hodgdon Rifle Reloading Video:

Click to Watch Hodgdon Pistol Reloading Video:

In addition to these videos, Hodgdon’s Reloading Data Center (RDC) provides a wealth of information on Hodgdon®, IMR®, and Winchester® propellants. Along with reliable load data, you’ll find explanations of reloading basics, safety procedures, plus answers to frequently asked questions (FAQ).

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February 22nd, 2021

Bargain Finder 283: 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. KYGUNCO — Anderson AM-15 (AR) Lower Receiver, $89.99

ar15 gun rifle lower discount kygunco
More gun control is coming — get an AR lower while you can

With the developments in Washington, it will likely become more difficult to purchase an AR-platform rifle in the future. You may want to get an AR lower now, while you can, at a reasonable price. KYGUNGO (Kentucky Gun Co.) is selling the Anderson AM-15 AR15 Lower Receiver for just $89.99 (cash price) or $92.69 (credit card). This is a mil-spec 7075 T6 Forged aluminum lower, Type 3 Hard Anodized. Flat-Rate Shipping to your FFL is just $11.99. These will probably sell out quickly.

2. Midsouth — Delton AR-15 Lower Parts Kit with Grip, $52.99

ar15 gun rifle lower discount lower parts kit deltong kygunco
Very complete AR-15 parts kit at low price

Here’s what you need to fill up that AR-15 lower receiver featured above. This Delton Complete Lower Receiver Parts Kit contains all the attachment pins, trigger system parts, and springs you need, along with a classic AR grip. Installation is straight-forward with instructions available online.

3. Amazon — Tipton Best Gun Vise, $84.84

tipton gun vise sale
Versatile, stable, works with all rifles, including ARs

You need a stable platform when cleaning your long guns, but most gun cradles are too light or unstable to do the job properly. If you’re looking upgrade to a better solution, grab the Tipton Best Gun Vise. The vise was designed to accommodate the widest possible array of firearms for cleaning, maintenance, or gunsmithing. This vise is easily configurable to handle bolt-action rifles, break-open shotguns, AR-15s, and handguns. You can also purchase this excellent Gun Vise for $89.99 at Midsouth Shooters.

4. MidwayUSA — Stable Table Portable Shooting Bench, $178.39

caldwell shooting bench stable table midwayusa sale
Hard to beat bench at this price; swivel seat, 60-lb total weight

The Caldwell® Stable Table, a 60-lb tripod-style bench, offers a 34″L x 23″W top surface with a bench seat that adjusts from 16″ to 22″ in height. The polymer top has two integrated carry handles. These handles double as anchors for two gun-holding forks that can be used when cleaning your rifle. Leg adjustments keep the table and seat parallel even on uneven ground. The overall unit breaks down into seven pieces using a quick-release pin system. Maximum weight capacity is 350 pounds. This bench has earned 80% 5-star reviews from actual purchasers.

5. MidwayUSA — MagnetoSpeed Sporter Chronograph, $159.99

Deals of Week Magnetospeed sporter Kit
Great deal on easy-to-use, accurate, barrel-attached Chronograph

Priced at just $159.99 at MidwayUSA, the Magnetospeed Sporter model costs less than half as much as Magnetospeed’s V3 models. This chronograph attaches directly to your barrel so you don’t have to go downrange to set up skyscreens. For most people the Sporter Model contains all the features they need. Using Magnetospeed’s XFR adapter (sold separately), data can be transferred easily to your mobile device. READ Magnetospeed Sporter Review. NOTE: You MUST add the item to cart to see the $159.99 SALE price. This typically sells elsewhere for around $180.00.

6. EuroOptic –$100 Rebate on Leupold SX-4 Spotting Scopes

Leupold SC-4 HD spotting scope $100 Rebate instant
Instant $100 savings on excellent HD Glass spotting scopes

Get Instant Savings of $100 with the purchase of any SX-4 Pro Guide HD Spotting Scope. Offer valid February 1, 2021 through April 4, 2021, while supplies last. Leupold offers SX-4 HD spotters in 65mm objective and 85mm objective models, with both angled and straight versions. If you can’t find your preferred SX-4 in stock at EuroOptic, this Rebate will be available at other authorized Leupold dealers such as Grafs.com.

7. MidwayUSA — Caldwell Rock BR Rest + Bag, $99.99

Caldwell Rock rest and rear bag
Good inexpensive system for varminters or sight-in duties

Here’s a great bargain for someone looking for a basic functional benchrest set-up. This Caldwell Rock BR Rest and Bag Combo could be a gift to a family member or a junior shooter. Or this $99.99 combo would suffice for someone testing a hunting rifle. The front rest adjusts for both windage and elevation.

8. Amazon — Sawback Bowie 3.5″ Tactical Knife, $10.95

Sawback serrated tactical bowie knife $10.95
Owners say it is sharp with good features for price

This Sawback Bowie spring-assisted folding knife, just $10.95 on Amazon, has a 3.5″ blade. There is a curved cutting edge with a serrated section near the handle. Actual purchasers state: “This knife is very well made with a tight feel. No play at all. The assisted open is excellent [and] they come very sharp too”, and “This is a good quality knife. It’s solid and a bit heavy, really good looking and comes pretty sharp. Overall its a great knife.”

9. Grafs.com — Lockdown Safe Accessory Package $12.99

lockdown safe gunsafe accessory organizer light kit
Great accessories for safes — light alone is worth the price

This Lockdown Safe Accessory Package includes one Large Organizer, a Vault Light, and a Large Document Holder. The bright LED Vault light runs on AAA batteries so no wiring is needed. The Document holder easily mounts to your safe’s door or sidewall. And the Large 18″x12″ Organizer will secure valuables, knives, and even small handguns. It comes with hooks for carpeted interiors and magnets for metal interiors. This KIT normally sells for $49.99 so it’s a STEAL at $12.99 — that’s 74% OFF.

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February 19th, 2021

Blast from the Past — Old Prices on Powder and Primers

Powder low price history flashback inflation

Yes we miss the good old days… when reloading components were readily available and very affordable. Today, on Gunbroker, a single 1000-count box of primers may sell for well over $300. And some vendors are asking $90 for a single pound of powder that sold for $30 per pound just last year.

We can’t change prices for you, but we can offer a “sentimental journey” back to the “good old days” via a Flashback Thread in our Shooters’ Forum. There, Forum members have posted some items from their collections, with the original prices.

What is the best deal you can remember? How about $1 per pound forty-six years ago — member STS posted: “It was probably 1975 when I bought 100 pounds of H335 from Bruce Hodgdon for $100. It came in cardboard boxes with black trash bags inside. I shot every flake of it at prairie dogs.”

Reloder Powder from Hercules (Now Alliant) for $3.80 per Pound

Powder low price history flashback inflation

CCI and Winchester Primers, $16.30 and $13.00 per Thousand

Today some CCI primers are selling for over $300 per thousand on Gunbroker. Member JayHHI6818 said: “Found these the other day in a shoe box in our bedroom closet!”. Nice find Jay!

Powder low price history flashback inflation

Hodgdon H4350 for $10.87 per Pound

H4350 remains one of the most popular powders with competitive shooters. It’s ideal for many midsized cartridges, offering great accuracy and temp stability. Today it’s hard to find this powder at ANY price!

Powder low price history flashback inflation

Remington 2 1/2 Primers for $1.50 per Hundred

Remington Arms folded. However Remington primers will be produced by Vista Outdoor after the collapse and bankruptcy of Remington Arms. Vista Outdoor, which owns CCI and Federal, will take over the Remington ammunition production facilities.

Powder low price history flashback inflation

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February 16th, 2021

Save Money with Brownells 2021 Discount Codes

Brownells coupon shopping discount code June 2018

We’ve found Brownells Discount Codes that can still save you up to 10% on your purchases. These Discount Codes will qualify you for significant savings on guns, ammo, parts, and reloading components at Brownells. Use these Codes during check-out and the savings will reduce your net cost. Get $40 off on a $450 purchase, $20 off $250, or $15 off $150 (10% savings). NOTE: Some of these discount codes expire at the end of February 2021, while others may expire at any time, so don’t hesitate. If one Code doesn’t work, try another.

Coupon Code: MZB — $40 off $450
Expiration date: February 28, 2021

Coupon Code: MZA — $20 off $250
Expiration date: February 28, 2021

Coupon Code: TAG — $15 OFF $150
Expiration date: Unknown expiration

Coupon Code: SAE — $15 OFF $150
Expiration date: Unknown expiration

Coupon Code: RTA — $10 OFF $100
Expiration date: Unknown expiration

Coupon Code: PTT — $10 OFF $100
Expiration date: Unknown expiration

NOTE: None of the above codes include FREE or Discounted Shipping.

MEMBERSHIP Shipping Benefits: With $49.95 Annual Membership, Brownells provides FREE Standard Shipping on ALL Orders

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February 15th, 2021

Get Smart — Access AccurateShooter.com’s Tech Articles Archive

AccurateShooter.com technical articles

AccurateShooter.comReaders who have just recently discovered the Daily Bulletin may not realize that AccurateShooter.com has hundreds of reference articles in our archives. These authoritative articles are divided into multiple categories, so you can easily view stories by topic (such as competition, tactical, rimfire, optics, shooting skills etc.). One of the most popular categories is our Technical Articles Collection. On a handy index page (with thumbnails for every story), you’ll find over 120 articles covering technical and gunsmithing topics. These articles can help you with major projects (such as stock painting), and they can also help you build more accurate ammo. Here are six popular selections from our Technical Articles archive.

pillar Bedding

Stress-Free Pillar Bedding. Richard Franklin explains how to do a top-quality bedding job, start to finish.

Gun Safe Technical Buyers Guide

Gun Safe Buyers Guide. Our comprehensive Safe Buyers Guide examines the key features to consider in a safe — Wall Thickness, Volume, Shelving, Fire Rating, Lighting, Weight and more. We also explain the Pros/Cons of Dial vs. Digital (Keypad) locking systems.

Savage Action Tuning Torque Settings

Savage Action Tuning. Top F-TR shooter Stan Pate explains how to enhance the performance of your Savage rifle by optimizing the torque settings of the action screws.

Precision Case Prep for Reloading

Complete Precision Case Prep. Jake Gottfredson covers the complete case prep process, including brass weight sorting, case trimming, primer pocket uniforming, neck-sizing, and, case-neck turning.

rifle stock painting and spraying

Stock Painting Instructions. Step-by-step guide for stock painting by expert Mike Ricklefs. Mike shows both simple coverage and fancy effects.

Ultrasound ultrasonic CAse Cleaning

Ultrasonic Case Cleaning. This article reviews the recommended process for cleaning cartridge brass with ultrasonic cleaning machine. We cover the right liquid solutions, processing times, and case drying options.

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February 14th, 2021

Case Prep 101 — Primer Pockets and Flash Holes

USAMU Handloading hump day flash hole primer pocket uniforming case prep RCBS Lyman
Case Prep Xpress photo courtesy Lyman Products.

Each Wednesday, the U.S. Army Marksmanship Unit publishes a reloading “how-to” article on the USAMU Facebook page. One “Handloading Hump Day” article covered two basic case prep chores — uniforming primer pockets and deburring flash-holes. Visit the USAMU Facebook page for other tips.

USAMU Handloading hump day reloading tips

Primer Pocket & Flash-Hole Conditioning

This week, we’ll address a question that frequently arises: “Do you uniform primer pockets and deburr flash-holes?” As we tailor our handloading methods to the specific needs of each instance, the answer, not surprisingly, is “Sometimes!” However, don’t flip that dial just yet, as what determines our approach may be helpful in deciding how to address one’s own techniques. Moreover, we have a buried “Easter Egg” morsel that may bring a chuckle, as well as useful safety information!

Generally, the USAMU Handloading Shop does not uniform primer pockets (PP) or deburr flash holes (FH) of our rifle brass. We’re certainly not against it… Rather, this reflects the very high volume of ammunition we load, the fact that very few cases are ever re-loaded for a second firing, and the types of brass we use. However, as a need is perceived, we DO deburr flash holes. Of interest, we have fired many very small, 1000-yard test groups and aggregates using weight-selected, domestic brass that had not had PPs uniformed or FHs deburred.

USAMU Handloading hump day flash hole primer pocket uniforming case prep RCBS Lyman

Before and After — On the left is a fired, deprimed 7.62×51 case with primer residue intact. On the right the primer pocket has been uniformed to SAAMI specs. Note the shiny finish at the bottom of the pocket — evidence of the the removal of metal when uniforming the primer pocket.

As to the type cases we use, many thousands of our long-range 5.56mm cases come to us from the arsenal with the primer of our choice pre-installed and staked-in, per usual practice. Obviously, we cannot uniform either FHs or PPs on this live, primed brass. However, after careful sorting, inspection and preparation, we do obtain match-winning results with it.

Shooters who reload their brass several times may decide to uniform PPs and deburr FHs, especially on their “300-yard and beyond” brass. Here, they will use the cases many times, while the uniforming is performed only once. Also, most handloaders only process moderate amounts of brass, compared to our multi-thousand round lots.

Having high quality Long Range (LR) brass helps. Many of the better brass manufacturers [make] their flash holes so that no burrs are created. Still, it does pay to inspect even THESE manufacturer’s products, as occasional slips are inevitable. Very rarely, some of the best makers will have a significant burr in, say, 1 per 1000 or 2000 cases, and it’s worth catching those.

Exceptions can always be found. Recently, we began processing a large lot of match brass from a premier manufacturer. We were startled to find that every case had a significant burr in the FH — something we’d never before seen from this maker. We then broke out the FH deburring tools and went to work.

Some observers have noted that it can be difficult to truly verify the contribution to accuracy of these procedures — particularly when firing from the shoulder, in conditions. Members of this staff, as individual rifle competitors, do often perform these operations on their privately-owned LR rifle brass. One could ascribe this to the old High Power Rifle maxim that “if you think it helps, then it helps.”

However, a World Champion and Olympic Gold/Silver medalist here commented on his own handloading (for International competition, which demands VERY fine accuracy). He noted that he did seem to see a decline in accuracy whenever he did not uniform FHs, deburr FHs and clean primer pockets before each reloading. (One might be tempted to counter that only a truly World Class shooter could reliably detect the difference.) However, with the wisdom of decades experience, our Champion also remarked that “It could have been that I just wasn’t shooting as well that day.”

For those who do opt for these procedures, note that various tool models may have adjustable depth-stops; pay attention to the instructions. Some FH-deburring tools (which enter the case mouth, not the primer pocket) are dependent upon uniform case length for best results.

USAMU Handloading hump day flash hole primer pocket uniforming case prep RCBS Lyman

Above is a flash-hole deburring tool on an RCBS powered case-prep unit. These case prep machines can save a lot of pain and misery, helping one perform various functions quickly and efficiently.

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February 13th, 2021

Fire-Form with Foulers — Save Time, Bullets, and Barrel Life

Fire-forming fouler barrel life fouling shots

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

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

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

Permalink Bullets, Brass, Ammo, Competition, Reloading, Tech Tip 1 Comment »
February 12th, 2021

.223 Rem vs. 5.56x45mm NATO — What You Need to Know

.223 Rem Remington 5.56 SAAMI CIP 5.56x45 5.56x45mm NATO cartridge ammo pressure test luckygunner ultimatereloader Gavin Gear

Probably the most popular centerfire rifle round in the Western Hemisphere is the .223 Remington and its metric match, the 5.56x45mm. Though many folks use “.223 Rem” and “5.56×45″ interchangeably, there are some meaningful differences in specifications for the original .223 Rem and the 5.56x45mm cartridge, as adopted by the U.S. military and NATO armies. The default chamber throats are slightly different and the .223 Rem is rated at 55,000 PSI vs. 62,366 PSI for the 5.56x45mm.*

.223 Rem vs 5.56x45mm — Key Differences
There is a truly outstanding, very thorough article on the subject, published by LuckyGunner.com.** This involved extensive testing, with pressure monitors, of 5.56x45mm ammo in .223 Rem chambers. Those tests revealed the peak pressures. Here is one of the ammo test charts:

.223 Rem Remington 5.56 SAAMI CIP 5.56x45 5.56x45mm NATO cartridge ammo pressure test luckygunner ultimatereloader Gavin Gear

NOTE: “The observed chamber pressure for Federal XM855 5.56mm ammunition in a .223 Rem chamber exceeded .223 maximum pressures, but not by a massive amount. The ninth shot (the red line) was an underpowered cartridge which exhibited significantly lower velocity and pressure than the other rounds, so it was excluded from the average velocity and pressure numbers for this chamber.”

And if you’re curious, LuckyGunner also fired .223 Rem ammo in a 5.56x45mm NATO-chambered AR15 rifle. As you would expect, the peak pressures were significantly lower, but the .223 Rem ammo still cycled the semi-auto AR-platform rifle perfectly well:

.223 Rem Remington 5.56 SAAMI CIP 5.56x45 5.56x45mm NATO cartridge ammo pressure test luckygunner ultimatereloader Gavin Gear

READ FULL LuckyGunner .223 Rem vs. 5.56x45mm ARTICLE »

UltimateReloader.com Explains .223 Rem vs. 5.56x45mm
To explain the key differences between the .223 Rem and 5.56x45mm cartridges our friend Gavin Gear of UltimateReloader.com has created a very thorough 12-minute video. This covers the cartridge specifications and explains key considerations for hand-loaders. Gavin also addresses the oft-asked question “Can I shoot 5.56x45mm ammo in my .223 Rem chamber?” Gavin’s video is definitely worth watching. In fact, this is one of the most popular videos Gavin has ever created — it has been watched nearly 4.5 million times on YouTube.

What Exactly Is the 5.56x45mm NATO Cartridge?
The 5.56×45mm NATO is a rimless bottle-necked intermediate cartridge family standardized by NATO with development work by FN Herstal. It consists of the SS109, SS110, and SS111 cartridges. Under STANAG 4172, it is a standard cartridge for NATO forces as well as many non-NATO countries.

Bullet diameter: 5.70 mm (0.224 in)
Maximum pressure (EPVAT): 430.00 MPa (62,366 psi)
Maximum pressure (SCATP 5.56): 380.00 MPa (55,114 psi)
Case length: 44.70 mm (1.760 in)
Rifling twist: 178 mm or 229 mm (1 in 7 in)
Parent case: .223 Remington (M193)

Ammo-Maker Federal Premium Compares .223 Rem and 5.56x45mm
Here is a video from ammo-maker Federal Premium explaining the difference between .223 Remington and 5.56x45mm NATO. Federal states that you may experience excessive pressures when firing a 5.56x45mm in a standard .223 Remington chamber:

One leading gunwriter has addressed the question of shooting 5.56x45mm ammo in .223 Rem chambers. He advocates caution (for more info, SEE pressure tests by LuckyGunner.com):

“I have received a slew of questions — many from first time AR-type rifle buyers — about the .223 Rem and the 5.56×45 mm NATO cartridges. Can I shoot 5.56×45 mm NATO in my .223 and vice-versa? Are these the same cartridge?

Externally, the two cartridge cases are identical. The main differences are that 5.56×45 mm NATO operates at a higher chamber pressure (about 60,000 PSI versus 55,000 PSI on the .223 Rem.) and the 5.56’s chamber is slightly larger than that of the .223 Rem. Also, the throat or leade is longer in the 5.56×45 mm chamber. What does this mean? You should not shoot 5.56×45 mm NATO out of a rifle that is chambered in .223 Rem [with a standard short throat]. And be aware that some .223 Rem ammunition will not reliably cycle through some AR-style .223 Rem rifles, but it usually does. As a matter of fact, I have not encountered any difficulty with current .223 Rem. loads cycling through a 5.56 mm AR-style rifle.” — Mark Keefe, Editor, American Rifleman


* According to the official NATO proofing guidelines, the 5.56×45mm NATO case can handle up to 430.0 MPa (62,366 psi) piezo service pressure. The U.S. SAAMI lists Maximum Average Pressure (MAP) for the .223 Remington cartridge as 55,000 psi (379.2 MPa) piezo pressure with deviation of up to 58,000 psi (399.9 MPa). The chamber for military 5.56×45mm NATO has a longer throat prior to the bullet contacting the rifling which results in lower pressures when firing 5.56×45mm NATO ammunition. If 5.56×45mm NATO is used in rifles chambered for .223 Remington the bullet will be engraving the rifling when chambered. which can increase pressures past SAAMI Max levels. NOTE: The C.I.P. standards for the C.I.P. civilian .223 Remington chamber are much closer to the military 5.56×45mm NATO chamber.

** The full-length LuckyGunner article is well worth reading. It even provides specifications for a number of .223 Rem reamer types, and compares the original .223 Rem, the 5.56x45mm NATO, and the modern .223 Wylde chamberings.

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February 12th, 2021

Bill Gravatt Named President of Creedmoor Sports Inc.

Bill Gravatt Capstone Precision Group Creedmoor Sports Sinclair Managing Director

Bill Gravatt has been named President of Creedmoor Sports. Bill has worked in the shooting and reloading industry for over 30 years. His experience includes: former owner and President of Sinclair Int’l and President of Capstone Precision Group (Berger, Lapua, Vihtavuori, and SK). Now that Bill has achieved important goals with Capstone (for whom he continues to serve as a board member), he is taking over as President of Creedmoor Sports, after serving as its Managing Director since the spring of 2020.

Greg Kantorovich, Creedmoor Sports CEO states: “We are excited to have Bill assume the role of President. His innovative leadership will continue to enhance our team’s mission of managed growth through strategic planning. Bill’s wealth of industry knowledge and ‘customer first’ mantra is second to none! This philosophy aligns perfectly with Creedmoor’s passion to serve our customers like family”.

As the President of Creedmoor Sports, Bill will direct operational and marketing activities for the company. He will also help with informational programs. Gravatt has previously served Creedmoor Sports as a Managing Director since the spring of 2020, and served as a consultant before that.

Bill Gravatt told us: “I am joining a great team at Creedmoor Sports. They are all driven in pursuit of exemplary customer service, they create well-made products, passionately participate in the shooting sport, and enjoy the daily satisfaction that comes from helping fellow shooters achieve their best.”

Reloading Procedures with Bill Gravatt

Bill Gravatt has decades of knowledge about reloading tools and procedures. Here are three helpful videos Bill Gravatt created for the Creedmoor Sports InfoZone:

How to Seat Bullets with Inline Press

How to Trim Cases with L.E. Wilson Trimmer

How to Clean Cartridge Cases

About Creedmoor Sports, Inc.
Since 1979, Creedmoor Sports has been supplying the precision rifle shooter with quality equipment. Specializing in competitive centerfire, smallbore, and air rifle accessories, as well as reloading components and tools, Creedmoor seeks to provide their customers with the right gear to help them achieve their personal shooting goals.

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February 11th, 2021

Progressive Presses — Six High Output Progressives Reviewed

ultimate reloading progressive press review dillon Mark 7 rcbs lee hornady

With the high cost and reduced availability of factory ammo, more shooters are loading their own ammo. When good 9mm pistol ammo was $10/box, it might be hard to justify handloading. Now that 50 rounds of 9mm can run $40 or more it certainly makes sense to reload. The same is true with rifle ammo if you shoot large quantities, or if you simply can’t find your preferred ammo for sale these days.

To increase productivity when reloading large quantities of ammunition, many shooters are thinking of getting a progressive press. Because multiple operations take place with a single pull of a lever, a progressive press can produce way more ammo in a given period of time than any single stage press. With a progressive, on the ram up-stroke, the multiple stations can simultaneously remove spent primer, full-length size case, drop powder, seat bullet, and crimp (if desired). Most progressives are also set up to prime cases with the ram in the lower position — though some guys prefer to prime manually.

Progressive presses aren’t just for high-output pistol ammo or bulk rifle ammunition. Good progressives can be adapted to do certain reloading tasks for top-on-the line match ammo. You might use a progressive for decapping, priming, and sizing, then throw powder and/or seat bullets separately. Some Champion shooters do use progressives to load their match ammo! For example 5-Time National Long Range Champion John Whidden and 2020 Berger SWN F-Open Champion Jay Christopherson both use progessive presses for some (but not all) operations.

To help you get started with progressive presses, here are five videos from UltimateReloader.com that cover six popular machines, from the elite Mark 7 Evolution to the affordable Lee Loadmaster. With many of these machines you can add separate vertical bullet feeder systems that further increase loading efficiency.

Mark 7 Evolution Press — Distributed by Lyman

Dillon XL-650 vs. Dillon XL-750

RCBS Pro Chucker 7 with Bullet Feeder

Dillon 550C with 6mm Creedmoor and 9x19mm

Hornady Lock-N-Load AP Progressive

Lee Loadmaster Features and Loading 9mm

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February 11th, 2021

RCBS Lock-Out Die for Progressive Presses — Be Smart, Be Safe


The RCBS Lock-Out Die can also be used with some Dillon and Hornady progressive presses.

RCBS Lock-out dieIf you load pistol or rifle ammo with a progressive press, we strongly recommend you get a Lock-Out Die from RCBS. This unique reloading die will prevent your progressive press from advancing if the dispensed powder charge is more or less than about 0.3 grains too high or too low. The Lock-Out Die really works. Your Editor uses it on his RCBS 2000 progressive press. I can affirm that a Lock-Out Die has “saved my bacon” a half-dozen times over the years when there was an over-charge (which could cause a Kaboom) or a low charge (which could cause a squib load).

The Lock-Out Die works by using a central die detection rod that sets its vertical position based on the height of the powder column in the case. Through an ingenious design, if the powder column height is too low or too high, the rod locks in place as you start to pull the press handle. This halts the press before the ram can lift and the cartridge plate can advance. Unlike a beeping alarm system (which can be ignored or defeated), the Lock-Out Die physically stops the movement of the press ram and prevents a bullet being seated in the “problem” case.

RCBS Lock-out dieIt takes a bit of tweaking to get the Lock-Out Die detection rod setting just right, but once it is correctly positioned, the Lock-Out Die works smoothly in the background. The Lock-Out Die won’t interfere with the loading process unless it detects a high or low charge — and then it positively stops the progressive loading cycle.

While crafted for use in RCBS progressive presses, the RCBS Lock-Out Die can also be used on a Dillon XL Progressive (see video below) or Hornady Lock-N-Load progressive — though it does take up one station which could otherwise be used for a final crimp die (after the seating die). The RCBS 2000 has one more station than a Dillon 550/650, so it’s an ideal platform for using the Lock-Out Die.

Learn More at UltimateReloader.com
On the UltimateReloader.com website, run by our friend Gavin, you’ll find an excellent two-part series on the function and set-up of the RCBS Lock-Out Die. Part One explains how the Lock-Out Die functions, using cut-away illustrations. Part Two shows how to install and adjust the Lock-Out Die on various progressive presses. The Ultimate Reloader video at the top of this article shows setup of the RCBS Lock-Out Die on the Dillon XL-650 progressive press, while the Reloading Bench video below shows the Lock-Out Die on a Hornady LnL progressive.

Images © 2011 UltimateReloader.com, used by permission.
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February 8th, 2021

Bargain Finder 281: 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. Brownells — Radical Firearms AR-15 with 16″ Barrel, $669.99

radical firearms brownells AR AR-15 AR15 SOCOM .223 Rem 5.56
Good AR value given current market, very trustworthy seller

We know many readers are looking to add a basic .223/5.56 AR to their collection. Many vendors are pretty much sold out of complete rifles, but we found a good deal at Brownells. The Radical Firearms 16″ SOCOM 5.56mm AR-15 rifle uses MIL-STD Upper and lower receivers. The metal free-float handguard offers a 12″ RPR top rail providing plenty of options for optics and accessories. The MFT Grip and MFT Stock provide a comfortable hold on the rifle. Complete price is $669.99. Sights and/or optics sold separately.

2. Grafs.com — Redding Dies in Stock!

sig sauer scope sale
Very large selection of Redding Dies — your search ends here

Graf & Sons just received a large shipment of Redding Reloading Dies — both sizing and seating dies. You’ll find a large selection of types, basic sets as well as micrometer seaters and bushing FL dies. Graf’s has Redding dies in a myriad of sizes from .17 Fireball up to .338 Lapua Magnum. You’ll find dozens of popular type including: .204 Ruger, .22 PPC, .22 BR, .223 Rem, .224 Valkyrie, .22-250 Rem, 6PPC, 6BR, 6XC, .243 Win, .260 Rem, .284 Win, 7mm WSM, .308 Win, .30-06, 300 Win Mag, and countless more. Prices vary considerably based on cartridge choice. The selection is very good (except for 6mm and 6.5 Creedmoor).

3. Natchez Shooters Supplies — Sig Sauer Whiskey 5 Scope Sale

sig sauer scope sale
Best Sale in many months on quality Sig Sauer riflescopes

This week Sig Sauer Whiskey 5 riflescopes are on sale at Natchez. Rugged and reliable, these Whiskey 5 scopes are justifiably popular with tactical shooters and hunters. Right now you can get huge savings — $300, $400, even $500. For example, the 5-25x52mm Whiskey 5 is now $889.99, marked down from $1399.98 — a $509.99 savings! Use the money saved for a spotting scope, Kestrel, or other gear.

4. KyGunCo — Canik TP9SFx Tungsten 9mm Pistol, $499.99

Canik 9mm match pistol
Owners praise this pistol for accuracy, ergos, trigger

Do you shoot IDPA or 3-gun matches? Then take a good look at this 9mm Canik. Shooters report exceptional accuracy. We shot this at Media Range Day in 2020 and can confirm the ergonomics, balance, and trigger are good (much better than a typical stock Glock). Right now the 9mm Canik TP9SFX is just $499.99 at KyGunCo, including TWO 20-rd mags plus a polymer holster. This pistol features a grey cerakote finish and 4 Red Dot interface plates. TP9SFx Owner Reviews: “For the money [it] absolutely can’t be beat. The Canik is on par with $1500 setups!”; “Trigger is extremely light and crisp with hardly any reset.”

5. Midsouth — Caldwell AR500 Steel Targets, starting $14.79

Caldwell AR500 steel yellow target gong
Great deals for AR500 steel targets — watch video above right

On sale now at Midsouth Caldwell’s new bright, easy-to-see targets come in all shapes and sizes for competition, training, and recreational use. Made of AR500 hardened steel, these targets can withstand thousands of rounds. Rated up to a 3000 fps impact velocity and a 3500 ft-lb impact energy, these targets come in seven various sizes with three hanging solutions. These bright yellow AR500 targets are On Sale now at Midsouth, starting at just $14.79 for 5″ Gong Target.

6. Creedmoor Sports — .308 Win Ammo Lapua Brass & Bullets

Caldwell AR500 steel yellow target gong
Match-grade ammo for less than cost of just the Lapua Brass and Bullets

If you shoot a .308 Win, check out this deal on ammo loaded with premium Lapua cartridge brass and true match-grade Lapua Scenar bullets. You could pay $90/100 for Lapua .308 Win brass and $67/100 for the Scenar bullets (if you could find them in stock). That would be $157 per hundred, or $1.57 for just a case and a bullet. Here you are getting a fully loaded round (with primer and powder) for $1.50 — less money! Choose 155gr .308 Win, 167gr .308 Win, or 175gr .308 Win — all top-quality stuff.

7. Frankford Vibratory Tumbler ($48.99) or Wet Tumbler ($99.95)

Frankford Arsenal Vibratory Rotary Wet Tumbler
Wet Tumble or Dry Tumble — you choose and save either way

Do you prefer vibratory tumbling with dry media, or wet tumbling with a rotary system? Either way, Frankford Arsenal has you covered. And right now you can enjoy big savings on either Tumbler system. The Quick-N-EZ Vibratory Case Tumbler is just $48.99 (or $58.94 with media separator). Or choose the excellent Platinum Series Rotary Tumbler Lite for $99.95.

8. Sportsman’s WHSE — 12-gun Steel Security Cabinet, $189.99

tactical safe cabinet
Great Value on versatile security cabinet — good secondary safe

In addition to a heavy, primary gunsafe, many gun-owners can use a smaller security cabinet for another area of the house, for the garage, or even for an RV. If you’re looking for a good basic gun locker, check out the SnapSafe Premium 12-Gun Tactical Cabinet. It has a simple key-lock system and can fit in most closets. Purchasers praised this unit given the low cost: “For a gun case below $200 you can’t get much better than this” and “More of a light-weight gun locker … it is well made and sturdy though, and is much better than I expected for the price.”

9. Amazon — Caldwell NRR 23 Muffs + Shooting Glasses, $32.79

Caldwell electronic E-Max ear muffs low profile shooting Glasses NRR 23
Sweet deal on Ear and Eye Protection — good spare set for friends

Every shooter needs good eye and ear protection. Get BOTH the E-Max Muffs and Shooting glasses for just $32.79 on Amazon with free shipping. This combo can be an affordable spare set for yourself or to have on hand for your guests. The E-Max earmuffs offer a 23 dB Noise Reduction Rating while allowing you to hear range commands.

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February 4th, 2021

Important Reloading Safety Tips from Sierra Bullets

Sierra Bullets Reloading Tips

Here are some really smart tips for hand-loaders compiled by Sierra Bullets. These suggestions were submitted by Sierra’s Facebook fans — and some are very valuable indeed. Some of these tips will help you load more accurate ammo. Other selections will help you stay SAFE — which should always be your #1 priority. For example, we concur with the advice to “Check and Double Check. Everything. Every Time”. Also definitely keep “One powder on the bench at a time” — that could be a life-saver. You may want to print these “words of wisdom” and place them on a wall in your loading room.

Reloading Safety Tips — Sound Advice

ALWAYS START LOW: “Just because a load manual says X grains of X powder with X bullet is max, your rifle could reach max pressure a grain or two before what the book says. Start low and work up.” — Walter Coats

BE SAFE: “Check and double check. Everything. Every time. Only one type of powder on the bench at a time.” — Glen Lundgren

DON’T RUSH: “Be patient, don’t be in a hurry, have fun and find your rhythm. Just tell your family you’re putting yourself in ‘time-out’. They will understand.” — Erik Dyal

POWDER RULE #1: “One powder on the bench at one time, it might save your life.” — James A. Kimery

STAY FOCUSED: “Relaxed but concentrated attention. Have fun enjoying a great hobby and pastime but stay focused.” — Jim Caldwell

POLICE LOADING AREA: “Keep your reloading bench area clean and put items away ASAP.” — Eric J. Ford

BE PATIENT: “Focus, Focus, Focus — be patient — it AIN’T a race.” — William Stanley

RECORD YOUR LOADS: “Write down on a small card what you’re loading – bullet weight, powder weight, type of powder, and primer. And put it in the powder hopper. I am unloading .45 FMJ because I forgot what type powder was in the hopper.” — Michael Conniff

HAVE a PROCEDURE for INTERRUPTIONS: “If, for any reason, you have to leave the bench while in the process of dropping powder charges, turn the next case to be charged upside down in the loading block so you know where you left off.” — Bill Tinsley

LABEL EVERYTHING: “OCD is a good habit to have with your loading bench. CLEARLY label everything!” — Andy Pynckel

HAVE a GOAL: “Never start reloading or developing a load without a specific goal in mind. Second keep meticulous records.” — Peter Eick

RESEARCH THE JOB: “Read all you can about it before you start!” — Keith Shively

KEEP TRACK: “I put all my primed brass upside down (primer up) and as I charge the casing, I (of course) flip it primer down.” — Mark Ewing

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February 1st, 2021

Bargain Finder 280: 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. EuroOptic — Mauser M18 6.5 Creedmoor 22″ Barrel, $449.99

Mauser rifle m18 6.5 Creedmoor Eurooptic sale
European quality hunting rifle, save $249 with this deal

If you are looking for a refined, well-designed hunting rifle, this Mauser M18 fills the bill. And right now this Mauser M18 in 6.5 Creedmoor is just $449.99 at EuroOptic.com. That’s a huge $249.01 savings off the regular $699.00 price. This M18 rifle features a modern 3-lug bolt with 60-degree bolt lift. Action and barrel are black nitride coated for durability. CLICK HERE for more info and photos.

2. Natchez Shooters Supplies — Sig Sauer Whiskey 5 Scope Sale

sig sauer scope sale
Best Sale in many months on quality Sig Sauer riflescopes

This week Sig Sauer Whiskey 5 riflescopes are on sale at Natchez. Rugged and reliable, these Whiskey 5 scopes are justifiably popular with tactical shooters and hunters. Right now you can get huge savings — $300, $400, even $500. For example, the 5-25x52mm Whiskey 5 is now $889.99, marked down from $1399.98 — a $509.99 savings! Use the money saved for a spotting scope, Kestrel, or other gear.

3. Costco — Cannon Landmark 64-Rifle Gunsafe, $949.99

canon safe sale
Cannon Safes offer solid construction and good value

Cannon makes good safes for the money — and this big 38 cubic-foot safe is on sale this week. Save $250 on the Cannon Landmark 38 cu. ft. Safe with Electronic Lock. This safe is big, measuring 59″ Tall x 40″ Wide x 24″ Deep. The safe is rated to hold 64 long guns in the main area plus a dozen pistols on the upper shelf. (NOTE: This capacity figure is based on thin, unscoped rifles, such as lever guns. Nonetheless this is a very capacious safe.) This safe has a 60-minute fire rating. Extra features include a dual AC power outlet, and a door organization system for 8 pistols/1 rifle, plus a hanging pistol rack. NOTE: The $949.99 SALE price includes curbside delivery to your location.

4. Creedmoor Sports — Berger 184gr 7mm Hybrids, $54.95

berger bullet sale
Top bullet choice for F-Open Competitors — Accurate and High BC

These days, popular loading components are hard to find. For those who have been anxiously seeking top-grade .284 (7mm) match bullets, head to Creedmoor Sports which has Berger 184gr Hybrid bullets in stock at good prices. You’ll also find a large selection of Berger bullets at Bullet Central.

5. Costco — Timber Ridge Magnum Range Bench, $199.99

timber ridge magnum range bench
Truly portable shooting bench — great savings now at Costco

Many so-called “portable” shooting benches are very heavy and difficult to move around. This Timber Ridge Range Bench is truly portable. Grab a Timber Ridge Magnum Range Bench and not only will you have a stable and versatile shooting platform that folds up into an easy-to-carry bag.

6. MidwayUSA — Lyman Brass Smith Case Trim Xpress, $119.99

Lyman, Brass Smith Case Trim Xpress Case Trimmer

Trimming brass is critical to precision reloading. However, with most case trimmers it’s a pain to adjust trim length, plus the hand-cranking becomes tiresome. A better, more efficient case trimming solution is offered by the Lyman Brass Smith Case Trim Xpress. This easy-to-use tool comes with 10 interchangeable bushings for the most popular calibers. The smart design allows for .001″ trim length adjustments with the click of a dial. To see a video of the Case Trim Xpress in action, check out our Lyman Case Trim Xpress Review.

7. Amazon — Frankford Powder Measure w/ mounts, $72.59

frankford arsenal powder dispenser
Good value use for pistol loads or initial rifle load before final trickling

Even with modern electronic powder dispensers, every reloader can use a good, manual powder measure. This crank-style dispenser works great for pistol charges. And, with the micrometer-style meter, you can throw rifle powders within a tenth or two — and then you can trickle precisely with a scale. This Frankford Arsenal Powder Dispenser features a “Quick-Disconnect” screw that allows you to take the powder measure off the mounting assembly quickly to pour excess powder back into the powder jug. And this dispenser kit includes TWO different mounting stands with 7/8-14 threads.

8. Amazon — Radians XT1-11 Extremis Safety Glasses, $5.29

shooting glasses
Incredible deal — Impact protection and dust/debris protection.

Good eye protection is essential for all shooting disciplines. You want Z87.1-rated eyewear that is also comfortable. The Radians XT1-11 Extremis Full Black Frame Safety Glasses. IMPORTANT: These Radians feature a foam ring around the inside of each lens. This provides extra protection in dusty environments and protects the wearer from powder blowback when shooting handguns. These safety glasses meet ANSI Z87.1+ standards and provide 99.9% UV protection. Top choice for pistol shooters.

9. Amazon — Allnice Digital Calipers, $21.99

Allnice Digital Caliper 0-6 calipers
Effective digital calipers at bargain price

Every handloader needs a set of calipers for multiple reloading/measurement tasks. In fact we recommend you have at least two sets of calipers, one being an inexpensive unit that you can take to the range. These $21.99 Allnice Digital Calipers fill the bill. These calipers have a stainless steel construction and a large digital readout. User reviews have been quite positive, with 88% four- or five-star ratings.

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February 1st, 2021

New N568 Powder from Vihtavuori for Big Cartridges

VV vihtavuori high energy N568 powder gunpowder propellant magnum cartridge

Vihtavuori is introducing a new double-base powder for magnum and large-size cartridges. This should be good for large hunting cartridges, such as the .300 Winchester Magnum, and bigger cartridges used for ELR competition, such as the .338 Lapua Magnum. VV N568 reloading data will soon be available on both the Vihtavuori website and Vihtavuori Reload App.

VV vihtavuori high energy N568 powder gunpowder propellant magnum cartridgeThe Vihtavuori website states: “We are proud to introduce a new heavy weight champion in our N500 rifle powder series: the N568. The slow burning characteristics and short-cut grains of the new Vihtavuori N568 high-energy gun powder provide extremely consistent metering for long range competitive shooters, accuracy enthusiasts, and hunters alike. Vihtavuori’s N568 excels with heavy-for-caliber projectiles and provides exceptional temperature stability. As with all our reloading powders, new N568 is also insensitive to humidity changes.”

Vihtavuori N568 looks to be a good choice for popular large capacity cartridges, including 6.5 PRC, .300 PRC, .338 Lapua Magnum, and an assortment of classic belted magnums such as 7mm Remington Magnum and .300 Winchester Magnum. Reloading data for various calibers and bullets will be coming soon.

Vihtavuori N568 will be available in Q2 of 2021 from major retailers such as Grafs.com, Bruno Shooters Supply, Midsouth, Powder Valley, and Precision Reloading.

Visit Vihtavuori.com to Learn more about Vihtavuori’s propellants, download Vihtavuori reloading data, or install Vihtavuori’s Reload App. N568 Reloading Data will soon be available on both the Vihtavuori website and Reload App (click below).

VV vihtavuori high energy N568 reloading App Reload powder gunpowder propellant magnum cartridge

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January 30th, 2021

6.5 Creedmoor Cartridge Load Data from Sierra Bullets

Sierra Load Data 6.5 Creedmoor

Sierra Bullets has released very complete load data for the popular 6.5 Creedmoor cartridge. This medium-sized cartridge has become one of the most popular chamberings for tactical and PRS shooters. The 6.5 Creedmoor combines excellent accuracy, good mag-feeding, good barrel life, moderate recoil, and reasonable component cost. That’s why this cartridge has caught on quickly.

Sierra Load Data 6.5 CreedmoorDeveloped in 2007 by Dennis DeMille and Dave Emary, the 6.5 Creedmoor is a shortened and improved 30 TC cartridge case that was inspired by the .308 Winchester design. This short action design was created to maximize case capacity and a wide range of loading lengths, while still fitting in standard short action magazines. With the correct twist barrel, the versatile 6.5 Creedmoor can take advantage of the wide range of bullet weights available in 6.5 mm (i.e. .264 caliber). Reloaders should keep in mind that the 6.5 Creedmoor works best with medium to medium-slow powders such as H4350, Varget, Win 760, and RE-17. The light recoil and adaptability of the efficient 6.5 Creedmoor cartridge has already proven itself in high power, precision rifle series and benchrest competitions. Couple that with respectable barrel life and its intrinsic accuracy potential and you have a recipe for success which should insure its legacy for decades to come.

Sierra 6.5 Creedmoor Load Data Manual reloading .264

Here are three tables from the Sierra Bullets Reloading Manual (5th Edition). IMPORTANT — This is just a sample!! Sierra has load data for many other 6.5mm bullet types, including FB, Spitzer, SBT, HPBT, and Tipped MK from 85 grains to 142 grains. To view ALL 6.5 Creedmoor DATA, CLICK HERE.

Sierra Bullets 6.5 Creedmoor Load Data MatchKing Tactical
INDICATES MAXIMUM LOAD – USE CAUTION
LOADS LESS THAN MINIMUM CHARGES SHOWN ARE NOT RECOMMENDED.

Sierra Bullets 6.5 Creedmoor Load Data MatchKing Tactical
INDICATES MAXIMUM LOAD – USE CAUTION
LOADS LESS THAN MINIMUM CHARGES SHOWN ARE NOT RECOMMENDED.

Sierra Bullets 6.5 Creedmoor Load Data MatchKing Tactical
INDICATES MAXIMUM LOAD – USE CAUTION
LOADS LESS THAN MINIMUM CHARGES SHOWN ARE NOT RECOMMENDED.

Two More Great 6.5 Creedmoor Reloading Resouces

Want More 6.5 Creedmoor Load Info? View Starline’s 6.5 Creedmoor Guide by Gavin Gear:

Download full 6.5 Creedmoor Guide at StarlineBrass.com.

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”. CLICK HERE.

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

Permalink - Videos, Competition, Reloading, Tactical, Tech Tip 1 Comment »
January 30th, 2021

Remove Military Primer Pocket Crimps with Wilson Reamer Tool

Military crimp primer pocket reamer

Many shooters, particular those who shoot vintage military rifle matches, reload once-fired military cartridge brass. This brass may be high-quality and stout, but you may encounter a primer crimp that interferes with the seating of a new primer. There are a variety of dedicated, military-crimp tools on the market, such as Dillon’s excellent Super Swage 600 tool that “rolls the crimp away”. But the Dillon tool costs $119.99 and takes quite a bit of room on your reloading bench. If you don’t want to drop a C-note and give up valuable bench space — here’s another (much cheaper) solution.

If you already have a Wilson case trimmer set-up, you can ream away those military crimps using an affordable Wilson accessory — the Primer Pocket Reamer (large #PPR210, small #PPR175). This $32.65 accessory is used in conjunction with a Wilson case trimmer and case-holder as shown above.

Military crimp primer pocket reamerWilson

In the respected Riflemans Journal website, the Editor, “GS Arizona”, showed how to use the Wilson primer pocket reamer to remove military crimps on Lake City .30-06 cartridge brass. He explains: “The case goes into the Wilson case-holder, the same one used for case trimming, and the reamer replaces the trimmer head in the tool base. The threaded rod on the left side, which is normally used to regulate trim length has no use for this operation and it is simply backed out. Hold the case-holder as you turn the reamer into the primer pocket, it cuts easily and quickly. The reamer will stop cutting when the proper depth is reached.”

Do you really need to do this operation with military-crimped brass? Yes, and here’s why: “Any attempt to prime the case without removing the crimp will simply result in a mangled primer that cannot be expected to fire and certainly won’t fire reliably.”

Vintage Military Rifle shooters often utilize surplus military brass with primer pocket crimps.
Vintage Military Rifle brass

Why does military brass has a primer crimp? GS Arizona answers: “The crimp is nothing more than an intentional deformation of the case around the primer pocket, the purpose of which is to retain the primer in the case despite high pressure situations in machine guns and other automatic weapons where a loose primer may cause a malfunction. As reloaders, our task is to get rid of the remnants of the crimp in order to allow re-priming the case.”

Permalink Bullets, Brass, Ammo, Reloading 1 Comment »