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February 6th, 2023

How to Create A Dummy Round to Aid Barrel Chambering

Gre Tannel GreTan, Gre-Tan Rifles dummy round chambering gunsmith reamer chamber

How and Why to Create a Dummy Round
When you have a new custom rifle built, or a new barrel fitted to an existing rifle, it makes sense to create a dummy round. This should have your preferred brass and bullet types, with the bullet positioned at optimal seating depth. A proper dummy round helps the gunsmith set the freebore correctly for your cartridge, and also ensure the proper chamber dimensions.

Respected machinist, tool-maker, and gunsmith Greg Tannel of Gre-Tan Rifles explains: “I use the dummy round as a gauge to finish cut the neck diameter and throat length and diameter so you have [optimal] clearance on the loaded neck and the ogive of the bullet just touches the rifling.” He recommends setting bullet so the full diameter is just forward of the case’s neck-shoulder junction. “From there”, Greg says, “I can build you the chamber you want… with all the proper clearances”.

Greg Tannel has created a very helpful video showing how to create a dummy round. Greg explains how to measure and assemble the dummy and how it will be used during the barrel chambering process. Greg notes — the dummy round should have NO Primer and No powder. We strongly recommend that every rifle shooter watch this video. Even if you won’t need a new barrel any time soon, you can learn important things about freebore, leade, and chamber geometry.

Must Watch Video — This has been viewed over 782,000 times on YouTube:

This has been a very popular video, with 782,000 views! Here are actual YouTube comments:

That is the best explanation I’ve ever seen. Thank you sir. — P. Pablo

Nice video. You do a very good job of making this easy for new reloaders to understand. I sure wish things like this were available when I started reloading and having custom rifles built. Once again, great job, and your work speaks for itself. — Brandon K.

Beautiful job explaining chambering clearances. — D. Giorgi

Another Cool Tool — The Stub Gauge

When you have your gunsmith chamber your barrel, you can also have him create a Stub Gauge, i.e. a cast-off barrel section chambered like your actual barrel. The stub gauge lets you measure the original length to lands and freebore when your barrel was new. This gives you a baseline to accurately assess how far your throat erodes with use. Of course, as the throat wears, to get true length-to-lands dimension, you need take your measurement using your actual barrel. The barrel stub gauge helps you set the initial bullet seating depth. Seating depth is then adjusted accordingly, based on observed throat erosion, or your preferred seating depth.

Stub Gauge Gunsmithing chamber gage model barrel

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February 5th, 2023

G1 vs. G7 Ballistic Coefficients — What You Need to Know

G1 G7 BC drag models

Over the past 12 months, this article was one of the TOP 20 most-read Daily Bulletin features. We’re reprising it today for those who may have missed it the first time. The above diagram comes from a TiborasurasRex YouTube Video comparing G1 and G7 BC models. CLICK HERE to watch the video.

The better, up-to-date ballistics programs let you select either G1 or G7 Ballistic Coefficient (BC) values when calculating a trajectory. The ballistic coefficient (BC) of a body is a measure of its ability to overcome air resistance in flight. You’ve probably seen that G7 values are numerically lower than G1 values for the same bullet (typically). But that doesn’t mean you should select a G1 value simply because it is higher.

Some readers are not quite sure about the difference between G1 and G7 models. One forum member wrote us: “I went on the JBM Ballistics website to use the web-based Trajectory Calculator and when I got to the part that gives you a choice to choose between G1 and G7 BC, I was stumped. What determines how, or which one to use?”

The simple answer is the G1 value normally works better for shorter flat-based bullets, while the G7 value should work better for longer, boat-tailed bullets.

G1 vs. G7 Ballistic Coefficients — Which Is Right for You?
G1 and G7 refer both refer to aerodynamic drag models based on particular “standard projectile” shapes. The G1 shape looks like a flat-based bullet. The G7 shape is quite different, and better approximates the geometry of a modern long-range bullet. So, when choosing your drag model, G1 is preferable for flat-based bullets, while G7 is ordinarily a “better fit” for longer, boat-tailed bullets.

G1 G7 Ballistic coefficients

Drag Models — G7 is better than G1 for Long-Range Bullets
Many ballistics programs still offer only the default G1 drag model. Bryan Litz, author of Applied Ballistics for Long Range Shooting, believes the G7 standard is preferrable for long-range, low-drag bullets: “Part of the reason there is so much ‘slop’ in advertised BCs is because they’re referenced to the G1 standard which is very speed sensitive. The G7 standard is more appropriate for long range bullets. Here’s the results of my testing on two low-drag, long-range boat-tail bullets, so you can see how the G1 and G7 Ballistic coefficients compare:

G1 BCs, averaged between 1500 fps and 3000 fps:
Berger 180 VLD: 0.659 lb/in²
JLK 180: 0.645 lb/in²

The reason the BC for the JLK is less is mostly because the meplat was significantly larger on the particular lot that I tested (0.075″ vs 0.059″; see attached drawings).

For bullets like these, it’s much better to use the G7 standard. The following BCs are referenced to the G7 standard, and are constant for all speeds.

G7 BCs:
Berger 180 VLD: 0.337 lb/in²
JLK 180: 0.330 lb/in²

Many modern ballistics programs, including the free online JBM Ballistics Program, are able to use BCs referenced to G7 standards. When available, these BCs are more appropriate for long range bullets, according to Bryan.

[Editor’s NOTE: BCs are normally reported simply as an 0.XXX number. The lb/in² tag applies to all BCs, but is commonly left off for simplicity.]
This article is copyright 2023 AccurateShooter.com. No 3rd Party republication of this article is allowed without advance approval and payment of licensing fees.

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February 5th, 2023

How To Craft a Modified Case for Measuring Length to Lands

Hornady Stony Point Tool OAL O.A.L. gauge bullet seating length ogive checker

Our friend Gavin Gear has just released an excellent video showing how to make a threaded Modified Case for use with the Hornady Lock-N-Load Overall Length Gauge. You can watch Gavin make a Modified Case start to finish in the video below:

Video Shows How to Drill and Tap Modified Case

Gavin has some clever tricks. First he uses a sizing die to hold the cartridge case during the threading process. Second he uses two drill bits in sequence — a smaller bit to ream out the primer pocket, and then a larger “M” bit to increase the hole diameter before threading the brass. Finally he leaves the threading tap IN the brass, locks the tailstock, and then “gently pulls on the quill” to remove the brass from the die held in his lathe (See 5:46 timemark).

Modified Case Gavin Gear Ultimate Reloader

Get the Correct 5/16″-36 RH Tap
Unfortunately, Hornady has selected an uncommon thread type for OAL Gauges. You probably won’t be able to buy the correct 5/16″ – 36 RH HSS Tap at your local hardware store. However you CAN order this special tap from Amazon for $9.99.

Modified Case Q & A — TECH TIPS

Why do I need a Modified Case?
Every serious reloader should have a Modified Case for each cartridge type they shoot. The reason is that this allows you to get very precise measurements of the length-to-lands in your chamber. When used with the Hornady OAL Gauge, with some practice, you should be able to get repeatable length-to-lands measurements within about 0.015″. We generally do 4-5 measurements with the OAL Gauge and usually 3 or 4 will be “on the money”. NOTE: We recommend a gentle, easy pressure on the plastic pusher rod. Don’t push too hard or you will jam the bullet hard into the lands, which produces inconsistent results.

Can’t I Just Buy a Modified Case?
Hornady makes a variety of Modified Cases sold on Amazon and through retailers such as Midsouth. While Hornady makes modified cases for many standard cartridges, if you shoot a wildcat such as the 6mm Dasher or .284 Shehane, you’ll need to create a custom modified case. And even if you shoot a standard cartridge such as the .308 Win, you can get more consistent measurements with a custom Modified Case.

If you do decide to make your own modified case, you’ll want to start with a case that’s been fired in your rifle. That way you get the best fit to YOUR chamber. Also, you won’t need to expand the neck to provide bullet clearance. Then you need to drill out the primer pocket and tap the base of the case to match the threads on the Hornady OAL Gauge tool. Make at least two modified cases, as you’ll probably misplace one at some point.

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February 4th, 2023

TECH TIP: When and How to Use Bore Snakes

Barrel brush bore-snake boresnake shake barrel cleaner brush

Handloading USAMU Facebook Bore Cleaning

On Wednesdays, the U.S. Army Marksmanship Unit often publishes a reloading “how-to” article on the USAMU Facebook page. One “Handloading Hump Day” post covered bore-cleaning, specifically the use of pull-through style bore-snakes. Visit the USAMU Facebook page each Wednesday for other helpful tips.

Today, we’ll shift from handloading to rifle bore cleaning and maintenance, with information courtesy of the USAMU’s Custom Firearms Shop. We recently had some inquiries about bore cleaning, and this seems a good opportunity to share. After all, even the best handloads won’t yield their full potential in a poorly-cleaned and maintained rifle.

NOTE: Hoppes claims a trademark on the term “BoreSnake” (one word, no hyphen). For this article, the USAMU has used the term in hyphenated form, two words. We believe the USAMU is referring to a Hoppes Brand Boresnake, not a different bore cleaning rope.

BORE-SNAKES: MIRACLE REPLACEMENT FOR THE CLEANING ROD?
The experiences of both our firearms test specialist and this writer have given no evidence that proper use of a clean bore-snake will damage a match barrel. Of course, one does not pull the bore-snake at an angle to the crown when removing it — pull it straight out, parallel to the bore’s direction, to prevent crown wear over time.

USAMU Handloading facebook page bore snake cleaningBore-snakes are very useful for some applications (primarily a hasty, interim wipe-down). In [my] experience they cannot replace a thorough cleaning with a proper rod and brushes. While the experiment cited here involves rimfire, it may help illustrate. Several years ago, the writer used his new, personal Anschutz to investigate the bore-snake issue. It had been fired ~350 rds with match ammo and had had 3 typical rod/brush cleanings.

Next, starting with a clean bore, the writer fired 300 more rounds without cleaning in order to build up a “worst-case” fouling condition. Afterwards, the writer examined the bore with a Hawkeye bore scope. There was a uniform, grey film down the entire barrel, with some small, intermittent lead build-up at and just forward of the throat.

Some bore-cleaning rope products feature separate, detachable bronze brush and bore mop segments. This allows more usage options (e.g. mop only), and makes it easier to clean the brush elements:
Barrel brush bore-snake boresnake shake barrel cleaner brush

A new bore-snake was then wet with solvent and pulled through the bore. The Hawkeye revealed that the grey fouling was gone, and much of the visible fouling at the throat was reduced. However, nine more passes with the bore-snake, checking after each with the Hawkeye, revealed no further improvement in cleaning. The writer then cleaned with two wet patches, observed, then one stroke of a new, wet bronze brush, and one wet patch to clean out residue.

USAMU Handloading facebook page bore snake cleaning

The Hawkeye showed a significant reduction in fouling at the throat; it was virtually gone. A second pass with a wet bronze brush and a wet patch removed the remaining fouling. Scrubbing the bore further, checking to see how much fouling was removed, revealed no significant improvement. The reason for this test was to learn what’s needed to get (and keep) this Anschutz clean with minimal cleaning rod use — and thus, minimal risk of bore damage/wear. Leaving fouling in the bore promotes corrosion over time.

Obviously, this applies to a nice, smooth rimfire match barrel, using good, well lubed ammo. It doesn’t apply directly to the use of copper-jacketed bullets, which leave a stubborn fouling all their own. However, it does suggest that while the bore-snake can be helpful and a useful field-expedient, to truly clean a rifle barrel one will still need a good quality rod, bronze brush and solvents. [Editor: Add a good-fitting cleaning rod bore guide.]

SO, WHAT ABOUT BORE SNAKES FOR BARREL BREAK-IN?
The goal of barrel break-in is to fire each shot through a clean barrel, preventing copper buildup and allowing the bullets their best chance at burnishing sharp edges. Thus, it seems this purpose would be best served by one’s usual rods, brushes and rod guides.

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February 3rd, 2023

Four Vital Ammo Checks You Should Always Do Before Shooting

Sierra Bullets Reloading Blog Matchking Carroll Pilant

Here’a useful article by Sierra Bullets Media Relations Manager Carroll Pilant. This story, which originally appeared in the Sierra Bullets Blog, covers some of the more common ammo problems that afflict hand-loaders. Some of those issues are: excessive OAL, high primers, and improperly-sized cases. Here Mr. Pilant explains how to avoid these common problems that lead to “headaches at the range.

Sierra Bullets Reloading Blog Matchking Carroll Pilant

I had some gentlemen at my house last fall getting rifle zeros for an upcoming elk hunt. One was using one of the .300 short mags and every 3rd or 4th round would not chamber. Examination of the case showed a bulge right at the body/shoulder junction. These were new cases he had loaded for this trip. The seating die had been screwed down until it just touched the shoulder and then backed up just slightly. Some of the cases were apparently slightly longer from the base to the datum line and the shoulder was hitting inside the seating die and putting the bulge on the shoulder. I got to thinking about all the gun malfunctions that I see each week at matches and the biggest percentage stem from improper handloading techniques.

One: Check Your Cases with a Chamber Gage

Since I shoot a lot of 3-gun matches, I see a lot of AR problems which result in the shooter banging the butt stock on the ground or nearest solid object while pulling on the charging handle at the same time. I like my rifles too well to treat them that way (I cringe every time I see someone doing that). When I ask them if they ran the ammo through a chamber gage, I usually get the answer, “No, but I need to get one” or “I didn’t have time to do it” or other excuses. The few minutes it takes to check your ammo can mean the difference between a nightmare and a smooth running firearm.

A Chamber Gauge Quickly Reveals Long or Short Cases
Sierra Bullets Reloading Blog Matchking Carroll Pilant

Size Your Cases Properly
Another problem is caused sizing the case itself. If you will lube the inside of the neck, the expander ball will come out a lot easier. If you hear a squeak as the expander ball comes out of a case neck, that expander ball is trying to pull the case neck/shoulder up (sometimes several thousandths). That is enough that if you don’t put a bulge on the shoulder when seating the bullet … it can still jam into the chamber like a big cork. If the rifle is set up correctly, the gun will not go into battery and won’t fire but the round is jammed into the chamber where it won’t extract and they are back to banging it on the ground again (with a loaded round stuck in the chamber). A chamber gage would have caught this also.

Bad_Primer_WallsOversizing cases also causes problems because the firing pin doesn’t have the length to reach the primer solid enough to ignite it 100% of the time. When you have one that is oversized, you usually have a bunch, since you usually do several cases at a time on that die setting. If the die isn’t readjusted, the problem will continue on the next batch of cases also. They will either not fire at all or you will have a lot of misfires. In a bolt action, a lot of time the extractor will hold the case against the face of the breech enough that it will fire. The case gets driven forward and the thinner part of the brass expands, holding to the chamber wall and the thicker part of the case doesn’t expand as much and stretches back to the bolt face. If it doesn’t separate that time, it will the next time. When it does separate, it leaves the front portion of the case in the chamber and pulls the case head off. Then when it tries to chamber the next round, you have a nasty jam. Quite often range brass is the culprit of this because you never know how many times it has been fired/sized and in what firearm. Back to beating it on the ground again till you figure out that you have to get the forward part of the case out.

Just a quick tip — To extract the partial case, an oversized brush on a cleaning rod [inserted] and then pulled backward will often remove the case. The bristles when pushed forward and then pulled back act like barbs inside the case. If you have a bunch of oversized case that have been fired, I would dispose of them to keep from having future problems. There are a few tricks you can use to salvage them if they haven’t been fired though. Once again, a case gage would have helped.

Two: Double Check Your Primers

Sierra Bullets Reloading Blog Matchking Carroll Pilant

Another thing I see fairly often is a high primer, backwards primer, or no primer at all. The high primers are bad because you can have either a slam fire or a misfire from the firing pin seating the primer but using up its energy doing so. So, as a precaution to make sure my rifle ammo will work 100% of the time, I check it in a case gage, then put it in an ammo box with the primer up and when the box is full, I run my finger across all the primers to make sure they are all seated to the correct depth and you can visually check to make sure none are in backwards or missing.

Three: Check Your Overall Cartridge Length

Trying to load the ammo as long as possible can cause problems also. Be sure to leave yourself enough clearance between the tip of the bullet and the front of the magazine where the rounds will feed up 100%. Several times over the years, I have heard of hunters getting their rifle ready for a hunt. When they would go to the range to sight in, they loaded each round single shot without putting any ammo in the magazine. On getting to elk or deer camp, they find out the ammo is to long to fit in the magazine. At least they have a single shot, it could be worse. I have had hunters that their buddies loaded the ammo for them and then met them in hunting camp only to find out the ammo wouldn’t chamber from either the bullet seated to long or the case sized improperly, then they just have a club.

Four: Confirm All Cases Contain Powder

No powder in the case doesn’t seem to happen as much in rifle cartridges as in handgun cartridges. This is probably due to more handgun ammo being loaded on progressive presses and usually in larger quantities. There are probably more rifle cartridges that don’t have powder in them than you realize though. Since the pistol case is so much smaller internal capacity, when you try to fire it without powder, it usually dislodges the bullet just enough to stick in the barrel. On a rifle, you have more internal capacity and usually a better grip on the bullet, since it is smaller diameter and longer bearing surface. Like on a .223, often a case without powder won’t dislodge the bullet out of the case and just gets ejected from the rifle, thinking it was a bad primer or some little quirk.

Sierra Bullets Reloading Blog Matchking Carroll Pilant

For rifle cases loaded on a single stage press, I put them in a reloading block and always dump my powder in a certain order. Then I do a visual inspection and any case that the powder doesn’t look the same level as the rest, I pull it and the one I charged before and the one I charged after it. I inspect the one case to see if there is anything visual inside. Then I recharge all 3 cases. That way if a case had powder hang up and dump in the next case, you have corrected the problem.

On progressive presses, I try to use a powder that fills the case up to about the base of the bullet. That way you can usually see the powder as the shell rotates and if you might have dumped a partial or double charge, you will notice as you start to seat the bullet if not before. On a progressive, if I don’t load a cartridge in one smooth stroke (say a bullet tipped over sideways and I raised the ram slightly to reset it) Some presses actually back the charge back adding more powder if it has already dumped some so you have a full charge plus a partial charge. When I don’t complete the procedure with one stroke, I pull the case that just had powder dumped into it and check the powder charge or just dump the powder back into the measure and run the case through later.

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February 3rd, 2023

Excellent, Informative Cartridge Diagrams — Download for FREE

Winchester centerfire rimfire pistol shotshell ammo ammunition cartridge diagram illustration

Winchester’s new “Introduction to Ammunition — Ammo 101” is a four-part series including custom illustrations and information for four major ammunition categories: rifle, pistol, rimfire, and shotshell. The Ammo 101 series provides a detailed overview of centerfire rifle, centerfire pistol, rimfire, and shotshell ammunition, showcasing ammunition construction, components, calibers, and common usage. The Ammo 101 resource is free to download from Winchesters.mediaassets.com. Or, simply click one or more diagrams below. Each image will launch a large PDF which you can print or download.

TIP: Click Each Image for Full-Screen Printable PDF

Shown below are the first four ammunition information sheets prepared by Winchester. These show all the key components of cartridges and shotshells, and explain the functions. These diagrams are useful for training, and for persons getting started in reloading.

Ammo 101 Centerfire Rifle Cartridge Diagram (click for PDF)

Winchester centerfire ammo ammunition cartridge diagram illustration

Ammo 101 Rimfire Cartridge Diagram (click for printable PDF)

Winchester centerfire ammo ammunition cartridge diagram illustration

Ammo 101 Pistol Cartridge Diagram (click for printable PDF)

Winchester centerfire ammo ammunition cartridge diagram illustration

Ammo101 Shotshell Diagram (click for printable PDF)

Winchester centerfire ammo ammunition cartridge diagram illustration


CLICK HERE for ALL FOUR Diagrams in SINGLE LARGE PDF »

About the Ammo 101 Series
The FREE Ammo 101 resources can help instructors nationwide who introduce new entrants to the shooting sports and hunting. Instructors can incorporate these resources into their training presentations, use them as handouts, or have them printed locally.

“The basics of ammunition… is what we want to deliver with the Ammo 101 series,” said Matt Campbell, Winchester V.P. of Sales & Marketing. “With millions of people across the United States starting their journey in the shooting sports as new firearm owners, providing easy-to-understand information on ammunition types is one way we can help educate our customers.”

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January 31st, 2023

Shooting on a Spinning Planet — Explaining the Coriolis Effect

Whittington Coriolis Effect
Photo by Dustin Ellermann at Whittington Center Range.

The Coriolis Effect comes into play with extreme long-range shots like this (2100 yards at Raton, New Mexico). The rotation of the earth actually moves the target a small distance (in space) during the long duration of the bullet’s flight.

Coriolis Effect Bryan Litz Applied BallisticsWhen you’re out at the range, the Earth seems very stable. But it is actually a big sphere zooming through space while spinning around its axis, one complete turn every 24 hours. The rotation of the earth can create problems for extreme long-range shooters. During extended bullet flight times, the rotation of the planet causes an apparent deflection of the bullet path over very long distances. This is the ballistics manifestation of the Coriolis Effect.

Bryan Litz of Applied Ballistics discusses explains the Coriolis Effect in his Ballistics Books and Seminars. Bryan notes that Coriolis is “a very subtle effect. People like to make more of it than it is because it seems mysterious.” In most common shooting situations inside 1K, Coriolis is not important. At 1000 yards, the Effect represents less than one click (for most cartridge types). Even well past 1000 yards, in windy conditions, the Coriolis Effect may well be “lost in the noise”. But in very calm conditions, when shooting at extreme ranges, Bryan says you can benefit from adjusting your ballistics solution for Coriolis.

Bryan explains: “The Coriolis Effect… has to do with the spin of the earth. You are basically shooting from one point to another on a rotating sphere, in an inertial reference frame. The consequence of that is that, if the flight time of the bullet gets significantly long, the bullet can have an apparent drift from its intended target. The amount [of apparent drift] is very small — it depends on your latitude and azimuth of fire on the planet.”

Coriolis Effect Bryan Litz Applied Ballistics

Coriolis is a very subtle effect. With typical bullet BCs and velocities, you must get to at least 1000 yards before Coriolis amounts to even one click. Accordingly, Bryan advises: “Coriolis Effect is NOT something to think about on moving targets, it is NOT something to think about in high, uncertain wind environments because there are variables that are dominating your uncertainty picture, and the Coriolis will distract you more than the correction is worth.”

“Where you could think about Coriolis, and have it be a major impact on your hit percentage, is if you are shooting at extended range, at relatively small targets, in low-wind conditions. Where you know your muzzle velocity and BC very well, [and there are] pristine conditions, that’s where you’re going to see Coriolis creep in. You’ll receive more refinement and accuracy in your ballistics solutions if you account for Coriolis on those types of shots. But in most practical long-range shooting situations, Coriolis is NOT important. What IS important is to understand is when you should think about it and when you shouldn’t, i.e. when applying it will matter and when it won’t.”

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January 31st, 2023

Throat Erosion Revealed in Sliced Barrel — 2mm of Lands Wear

So what does a “worn-out” barrel really look like? Tom Myers answered that question when he removed a 6.5-284 barrel and cut it down the middle to reveal throat wear. As you can see, there is a gap of about 5mm before the lands begin and you can see how the lands have thinned at the ends. (Note: even in a new barrel, there would be a section of freebore, so not all the 5mm gap represents wear.) There is actually just about 2mm of lands worn away. Tom notes: “Since I started out, I’ve chased the lands, moving out the seating depth .086″ (2.18 mm). I always seat to touch. My final touch dimension was 2.440″ with a Stoney Point .26 cal collet.”

Except for the 2mm of wear, the rifling otherwise looks decent, suggesting that setting back and rechambering this barrel could extend its useful life. Tom reports: “This was something I just thought I’d share if anyone was interested. I recently had to re-barrel my favorite prone rifle after its scores at 1,000 started to slip. I only ever shot Sierra 142gr MatchKings with VV N165 out of this barrel. It is a Hart and of course is button-rifled. I documented every round through the gun and got 2,300 over four years. Since I have the facilities, I used wire EDM (Electro Discharge Machining) to section the shot-out barrel in half. It was in amazingly good shape upon close inspection.”

Tom could have had this barrel set back, but he observed, “Lately I have had to increase powder charge to maintain 2,950 fps muzzle velocity. So to set it back would have only increased that problem. [And] I had a brand new 30″ Krieger all ready to screw on. I figured it was unlikely I’d get another full season on the old barrel, so I took it off.”

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January 30th, 2023

Get Brass Super-Clean — Wet Tumbling with Stainless Media

Stainless Tumbling Media Brass Cleaning

On our main Accurateshooter.com website, you’ll find a comprehensive review of the STM system for cleaning cartridge brass with stainless media. To clean brass with stainless media, start with five pounds of small stainless pins sold by StainlessTumblingMedia.com. Place these along with a gallon of water, a little liquid cleaner, and two pounds of cartridge brass in a rotary tumbler, and run the machine for one to four hours.

CLICK HERE for Stainless Media Brass Cleaning System Review »

Forum Member Tests STM System
Our reviewer, Forum member Jason Koplin, purchased the STM media and a new Thumler’s Tumbler. He then tested the STM cleaning procedure on his own brass, including some extremely dirty and tarnished “range pick-up” brass. Jason was thoroughly impressed with how well the STM process worked — as you can see from the “before and after” photos below. Brass which looked like it was ready for the scrap heap was restored to “like-new” appearance. Check it out:

stainless tumbling Media

stainless tumbling Media

Works Great on Both Rifle Brass and Pistol Brass
The process works equally well on both rifle brass and pistol brass (see below). Jason observed that one surprise benefit of the STM cleaning procedure is a big reduction in noise in his reloading room. Jason said the water-filled rotary tumbler was much quieter than his vibratory tumblers.

.45 ACP pistol Brass STM Stainless Media

.45 ACP pistol Brass STM Stainless Media

You’ll want to read Jason’s full review which shows more before and after images. The full article features a “how-to” video created by Forum member Cory Dickerson, the young man who pioneered the stainless tumbling process and founded STM. The video shows how to load brass, media, and cleaner solutions into the tumbler, and how to separate media from brass once the tumbling is done.

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January 28th, 2023

Engraving Artistry by Jesse Kaufmann Master Engraver

Jesse Kaufmann Black Hills engraving remington stock checkering
Impressive engraving by Jesse Kaufmann. Note how the scope rings have been engraved to perfectly match the engraving pattern on the Remington 547 action.

Who says fine craftsmanship is dead? There’s a modern day engraving wizard up in South Dakota, Jesse Kaufmann, who produces some of the most handsome engraving we’ve seen. Jesse, who operates Black Hills Gunstocks and Engraving LLC, is a true master at metal engraving and he also does superb stock checkering. Here are some examples of Jesse’s engraving work:

Jesse Kaufmann Black Hills engraving remington stock checkering

Jesse Kaufmann Black Hills engraving remington stock checkering

This 14-minute video showcases dozens of Jesse Kaufmann’s Engraving examples:

CLICK HERE to see many more engraving examples »

Jesse Kaufmann Black Hills engraving remington stock checkering

Jesse Kaufmann Black Hills engraving remington stock checkering

Jesse Kaufmann Black Hills engraving remington stock checkering

Jesse Kaufmann engraving stock checkering black hillsAbout Jesse Kaufmann, Master Engraver
Jesse Kaufmann was a professional stockmaker for Dakota Arms for over a decade. In 2009, he was inducted in the American Custom Gunmakers Guild as a checkering specialist. In January 2017, Jesse was awarded his Master Engraver certification by the Firearms Engravers Guild of America. With his broad skill set, Jesse is able to offer his clients a unique and complete package of stock work, finish, checkering, and engraving for a custom package that is all completed under one roof by his own hands.

Jesse Kaufmann’s work has been featured in American Rifleman, American Hunter, FEGA’s The Engraver, Sports Afield, Waidmannsheil Journal of German Gun Collectors Assn., Gun Digest 71st Edition, Modern Custom Guns Volume 2, Dangerous Game Rifles 2d. Edition. For more info, visit BlackHillsgunstocksandengraving.com, email blackhillsgunstocks [at] gmail.com, or call Jesse at (605) 499-9090 after 5:00 pm. SEE Gallery of Work.

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January 27th, 2023

How to Hydro-Form Cartridge Brass — Save Money and Barrel Life

6mm Dasher hydroforming case die hornady

Can you form a wildcat cartridge such as the 6 Dasher without expending primer, powders, and bullets? Absolutely. Using the hydro-forming method you can form improved cases in your workshop with no firing whatsoever, so there is no wear on your precious barrel. Watch this video to see how it’s done:

6 Dasher Case Hydro-Forming Demonstration:

Forum member Wes J. (aka P1ZombieKiller) has produced a helpful video showing how to form Dasher cases use the Hornady Hydraulic forming die kit. This includes a two-part die (body and piston), and a special shell holder. To form the case, you insert a primer in your virgin brass, top the case off with with a fluid (water or alcohol), then run the case up into the Hydro-forming die. A few stout whacks with a hammer and your case is 95% formed.

Whidden gunworks 6 6mm dasher hydro-forming hydraulic form die

This same procedure can be accomplished with a Whidden Gunworks 6mm Dasher hydraulic form die. We like the Whidden hydro-forming die for its production quality and consistent results. This Whidden system works great according to our Forum members.

6mm Dasher hydroforming hydraulic 6mmBR hornadyHydro-Forming Procedure Step-by-Step:
1. Insert spent primer in new 6mmBR brass case.
2. Fill with water or alcohol (Wes prefers alcohol).
3. Wipe excess fluid off case.
4. Place case in special Hornady shell-holder (no primer hole).
5. Run case up into Hydraulic forming die.
6. Smack top piston of forming die 3-4 times with rubber mallet or dead-blow hammer.
7. Inspect case, re-fill and repeat if necessary.
8. Drain alcohol (or water) into container.
9. Remove primer (and save for re-use).
10. Blow-dry formed case. Inspect and measure formed case.

Wes achieves very uniform cartridge OALs with this method. He measured ten (10) hydro-formed 6 Dasher cases and got these results: two @ 1.536″; 2 @ 1.537″; and 6 @ 1.538″.

Three or Four Whacks Produces a 95%-Formed Case
With a Whidden or Hornady hydro-forming die, hydraulic pressure does the job of blowing out the shoulders of your improved case. The process is relatively simple. Place a spent primer in the bottom of a new piece of brass. Fill the case with water, and then slip it into a special Hornady shell-holder with no hole in the middle. Then you run the case up into the forming die. Now comes the fun part. You gently insert a plunger (hydraulic ram) from the top, and give it three or four stiff whacks with a mallet (or better yet, a dead-blow hammer). Remove the plunger and you have a 95% formed case, ready to load.

Walter Queen Hydraulic Hornady DieSpecial Shell-Holder
Hornady supplies a shell holder made specifically for the hydro die; there’s no hole in the bottom of it. Just insert a spent primer into the primer pocket and you’re ready to go. The spent primer, combined with the solid shell holder, keeps the water from seeping out of the primer pocket. The primer pushes out a little bit during this process, but it’s impossible for it to come out because of the way the shell holder is designed. The shell holder has a grove which allows the case to slide out of the shell holder even when the primer protrudes a bit.

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January 26th, 2023

Warning — Tumbler Catches Fire in Reloading Room

Electrical Fire Tumbler ExtinguisherA fire in the home is always to be feared. And a fire in your reloading room can be disastrous. Near your reloading bench you probably have flammable solvents, and maybe gunpowder. What would happen if an electrical fire started in your reloading room? Would you be alerted? Do you have a proper fire extinguisher at hand?

Here’s a true story from Forum Member Joe O. (aka “Joecob”) that provides a valuable safety lesson. After Joe started up his old tumbler, an internal connector worked loose, causing an arc which started a fire in his basement reloading area. Luckily Joe had a functioning smoke detector, and a fire extinguisher.

Very few of us would worry about fire when we plug in a tumbler or other AC-powered reloading tool. But there is always the possibility of a malfunction and a fire. Quick thinking (and a handy extinguisher) prevented serious damage to Joe’s reloading room and house — but things could have been worse (much worse), had Joe not responded quickly.

Fire in the Reloading RoomReport by Joecob
The day before ‘Sandy’ hit I was cleaning brass the way I always have. I set the vibratory tumbler on the back of my reloading bench in the basement. I loaded the media hopper with 40 fired empty brass cases (and walnut media), plugged the cord in, turned the tumbler on and went back upstairs to watch TV. I could hear the tumbler running in the background.

About half an hour later I heard the basement smoke alarm go off. I ran downstairs. Flames were licking from the melting plastic of the tumbler.

ABC fire extinguisherI grabbed the nearby ABC cannister extinguisher and squirted out the fire and soaked the charred bench areas with water. Good thing I had the extinguisher! And I was glad I religiously store powder and primers properly — away from the bench (and everything else).

What caused the fire? It looks like an internal AC connector finally vibrated loose enough to arc and ignite the plastic. WHEH! I had been using that thing for 25 years the same way without mishap. Guess I should have known to periodically check the guts of a thing that plugs in and vibrates for a living?

Today I went out and bought a new even bigger ‘Pro’ ABC extinguisher, plus a dual-detector smoke alarm, and an ultrasonic cleaner. That experience was scarier than the storm. I hope this true account might help someone else to avoid a bad experience.

In his account, Joe refers to an “ABC” cannister fire extinguisher. The “ABC” refers to the fire classification rating: Class A (trash, wood, and paper), Class B (liquids and gases), and Class C (energized electrical equipment) fires. There are many brands of ABC-rated extinguishers.

The rechargeable Kidde 210 unit (sku 21005779) contains four pounds of a multipurpose monoammonium phosphate dry chemical extinguishing agent. It has a discharge time of 13 to 15 seconds, a discharge range of 10 to 15 feet, and an operating pressure of 100 PSI. The seamless aluminum cylinder measures 4.5 inches in diameter and 15.7 inches tall. The Kidde 210 has a 6-year limited warranty. This is Amazon’s #1 Best Seller among Fire Extinguishers.

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January 25th, 2023

Suppressors More Popular — Probably 3,600,000+ in USA Now

BATFE ATF suppressor silencer form 4 application tax stamp 3600000 2023 dean weingarten ammoland

Based on discussions with ATF representatives at SHOT Show 2023, it appears there are now over 3,600,000 registered suppressors (silencers), in the USA. Gun Journalist Dean Weingarten reports: “The total number of silencer tax stamps in existence in the USA as of 2019 was 2,042,719. The total number of silencer tax stamps existent in the USA as of 2020 was 2,664,774. The increase was 622,055 from 2019 to 2020. The number of legal silencers in the United States has not been updated since 2020. It is now 2023. When this correspondent asked representatives at the briefing if the numbers presented represented about a one million increase in legal silencers from 2020 to the end of 2022, they stated the number was reasonably correct.” That would mean the number of legal silencers/suppressors in the United States now exceeds 3.6 million in year 2023.

Procedure for Obtaining a Suppressor
Suppressors are now legal in 42 U.S. States. There are certain legal requirements for obtaining a suppressor, including paying a $200 Tax Stamp. To own a suppressor you must be legally eligible to purchase a firearm, pass a BATFE background check, pay a one time $200 Transfer Tax, and satisfy age requirements. (SEE ALL Requirements). In most (but not all) of those states you can use a suppressor for hunting. The eight (mostly blue) states which still prohibit civilian suppressor ownership are: California, Delaware, Hawaii, Illinois, Massachusetts, New Jersey, New York, and Rhode Island. READ FULL ARTICLE on GunsAmerica Digest.

Expect Delays on Form 4 Request for Suppressor Permits
An ATF presentation at SHOT Show showed how many NFA applications were processed in the last three fiscal years up to September 30, 2022. The vast majority of these applications were for suppressors, using ATF Form 4.

BATFE ATF suppressor silencer form 4 application tax stamp 3600000 2023 dean weingarten ammoland

This huge increase in NFA Form 4 applications for suppressors means that suppressor applicants can expect very significant delays in processing. An ATF slide show indicated that the ATF’s Form 4 processing now takes an average of 270 days for the eForm, and a full 315 days for paper forms. That’s over 10 months!

Dean Weingarten observed: “The presentation made a good case the NFA division of the ATF is overwhelmed with NFA applications, leading to significant wait times to process those applications. The NFA division is experiencing considerable stress in processing NFA forms expeditiously, especially Form 4s. The ATF does not receive the $200 tax for NFA applications. The money goes directly to the general fund. Therefore, the NFA cannot hire more people to process more forms.”

Read story by Dean Weingarten on Ammoland.com. Read more by Dean Weingarten on his GunWatch website. ©2023 by Dean Weingarten: Permission to share is granted when this notice and link are included.

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January 23rd, 2023

Measure Pull Weight with Lyman Electronic Trigger Pull Gauge

lyman digital electronic adjustable trigger pull weight gauge

We like Lyman’s Electronic Digital Trigger Pull Gauge, which is faster and more precise than the previous model. The latest Lyman Pull Gauge measures trigger pull weights from 1 ounce to 12 pounds with resolution of 0.1 ounces (2.8 grams). It features an adjustable, 4-position rod which retracts into the gauge body. We think that anyone running match triggers below 2.5 pounds pull weight should have a gauge like this. Among the pull gauges on the market, we think the Lyman unit offers great performance for the price. This gauge has a $67.95 MSRP, but it’s now $54.99 at Midsouth and $57.65 on Amazon.

Features: More Precise Strain Gauge | Improved Grip Shape | Adjustable Rod Lengths

Lyman’s Electronic Digital Trigger Pull Gauge is designed to be the fastest and most accurate trigger pull gauge available. State-of-the-art strain gauge technology allows for repeatable accuracy of 1/10 ounce (2.8 grams). The gauge features a large, easy-to-read LCD display and you can switch from ounces to grams with the push of a button. The gauge can also deliver a pull weight average of the last 10 readings. That’s very helpful, particularly when working with factory triggers that may not be very consistent.

The Lyman Trigger Pull Gauge features a solid, collapsible rod with four locking positions. Being able to adjust length makes it easier to use the gauge with a wide variety of firearms — pistols, rifles, and shotguns. The locking feature prevents the rod from flexing when applying pressure to the trigger. When not in use, the rod conveniently collapses into the gauge body, making the whole unit more compact. The new Trigger Pull Gauge comes in an internally-padded plastic case that can be easily stored in a drawer or on your work bench.

lyman digital electronic adjustable trigger pull weight gauge

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January 21st, 2023

Sierra Ballistics Resources — 60+ Authoritative Articles for FREE

Sierra Bullets Ballistics Resources

Need some informative reading material for winter days? Here’s a vast resource available free from Sierra Bullets. Here are links to over 60 articles with information on bullets, ballistic coefficients, wind drift, up/down angles, temperature effects, tailwind effects and much more. Most of these resources come from the respected Sierra Reloading Manuals, 4th and 5th Editions. There are enough articles to read one per week for a year!

Major Ballistics Reference Articles
The Ballistic Coefficient by William T. McDonald & Ted C. Almgren (Adobe .PDF)
Deflections and Drift of a Bullet in a Crosswind by William T. McDonald (Adobe .PDF)
Inclined Fire by William T. McDonald

Table of Exterior Ballistic Coefficients
(5th Edition Reloading Manual)

Rifle
Handgun
.22 Rimfire

Exterior Ballistic Tables
(4th Edition Reloading Manual)

Rifle Tables – Select by Bullet
Handgun Tables – Select by Bullet
Silhouette Tables – Select by Bullet

5th Edition Manual Exterior Ballistics Section
Section 1.0 Introduction
Section 2-2.1 The Ballistic Coefficient Explained
Section 2.2 Bigger Is Not Always Better
Section 2.3 How the Ballistic Coefficient is Measured
Section 2.3.1.1 Measurement Procedure
Section 2.3.1.2 Important Precautions and Points to Consider
Section 2.3.2 Initial Velocity and Time of Flight Method
Section 2.3.3 Doppler Radar Method
Section 2.4 Lessons Learned from Ballistic Coefficient Testing
Section 2.5 Examples of Ballistic Coefficient Measurements
Section 3.0 Exterior Ballistic Effects on Bullet Flight
Section 3.1 Effects of Altitude and Atmospheric Conditions
Section 3.2 Effects of Wind
Section 3.3 Effects of Shooting Uphill or Downhill
Section 3.4-3.4.1 Trajectory Considerations for Sighting in a Gun
Section 3.4.2 Determining Zero Range from Firing Test Results
Section 3.4.3 Sighting in for a Change in Shooting Location
Section 3.5 Point Blank Range
Section 3.6 Maximum Horizontal Range of a Gun
Section 3.7 Maximum Height of Fire of a Gun
Section 4.0 Six Degree of Freedom Effects on Bullet Flight
Section 4.1 Basic Physical Concepts
Section 4.2 Yaw of Repose and Resulting Crossrange Deflection
Section 4.3 Turning of a Bullet to Follow a Crosswind and Resulting Deflections
Section 4.4 Turning of a Bullet to Follow a Vertical Wind and Resulting Deflections
Section 5.0 Trajectory Tables
Section 6.0 Sierra’s Infinity Exterior Ballistics Software

4th Edition Manual Exterior Ballistics Section
Section 2.0 Introduction
Section 3.0 Historical Summary
Section 4.0 The Ballistic Coefficient
Section 4.1 Basic Definitions
Section 4.2 Ballistic Coefficients Effects on Bullet Trajectories
Section 4.3 How the Ballistic Coefficient is Measured by Firing Tests
Section 4.4 Lessons Learned From Ballistic Coefficient Measurements
Section 4.5 Ballistic Coefficient Variations with Muzzle Velocity near the Speed of Sound
Section 4.6 Ballistic Coefficient Dependence on Coning Motion
Section 5.0 Exterior Ballistics Topics
Section 5.1 Effects of Altitude and Atmospheric Conditions
Section 5.2 Effects of Altitude and Uphill/Downhill Shooting
Section 5.3 Wind Effects
Section 5.3.1 Headwinds and Tailwinds
Section 5.3.2 Crosswinds
Section 5.3.3 Winds from Any Direction
Section 5.4 Changing the Zero Range
Section 5.5 Point Blank Range
Section 5.6 Muzzle Velocity Dependence on Cartridge Temperature
Section 6.0 Equations of Bullet Flight
Section 6.1 Differential Equations of Bullet Motion
Section 6.2 Drag Force and the Drag Function
Section 6.3/Section 6.3.1 Siacci’s Method/The Change of Independent Variables
Section 6.3.2 The Assumption
Section 6.4 Mayevski’s Analytical Form of the Drag Model
Section 6.5 Closed-Form Solutions for Trajectory Parameters
Section 6.6 Other Useful Equations
Section 6.6.1 References

Sierra Bullets Ballistics Resources

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