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July 15th, 2022

For Better Bullet Seating — Try Lapping Inside of Seating Stems

Erik Cortina bullet seating stem polish lap lathe

Here’s a simple task you can do that will give your seater die a more perfect fit to your match bullets. You can lap the inside of the seater stem so that it matches the exact profile of the bullet. This spreads out the seating force over a larger area of the bullet jacket. That allows smoother, more consistent seating, without putting dents, creases, or sharp rings in your bullets.

Erik Cortina bullet seating stem polish lap lathe

This process is demonstrated here by our friend Erik Cortina of Team Lapua-Brux-Borden. Erik, one of the nation’s top F-Class shooters and a skilled machinist, explains: “Here I’m lapping my new seater die stem with lapping compound. I chuck up a bullet in the lathe and lap the inside of the seating stem. I put lapping compound on the bullet and also in the stem. You can do the same with a hand drill and bore paste. You can see in the piture below how much contact area the stem has on the bullet after being lapped. This bullet is a Berger 7mm 180-grain Hybrid. ”

Erik Cortina bullet seating stem polish lap lathe

READ Related Article on Polishing Seating Die Stems »

Q1: Is Lapping Seating Stems really necessary?

It can be helpful but it’s not necessary to make your seating stem an exact match to a bullet, particularly if you’re loading hunting or varmint rounds. But it is helpful to do some mild internal stem polishing. This should eliminate any ring (or dent) that forms on the bullet jacket during seating.

bullet seating stem lapping Erik Cortina
Photo credit Sierra Bullets.

Sharp edges on a seating stem can cause a ring to be pressed into the bullet jacket — especially with compressed loads that resist downward bullet movement.

Q2: Is there any down-side to the process?

Not really. However, if you shoot many different bullet types for a particular cartridge, you may not want to conform the stem aggressively to one particular bullet design. Lightly lap the inside of the stem to remove burrs/sharp edges but leave it at that. A light lap will prevent a ring forming when seating bullets.

bullet seating stem lapping Erik Cortina
Photo credit Sierra Bullets.

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June 26th, 2022

Review of Forster Co-Ax Press — Plus Cool Co-Ax Accessories

Co-ax Forster press
Forster Co-Ax Press

Forum member Erik Cortina has produced a series of YouTube videos about reloading hardware and precision hand-loading. Here we feature Erik’s video review of the Forster Co-Ax® reloading press. The red-framed Co-Ax is unique in both design and operation. It boasts dual guide rods and a central handle. You don’t screw in dies — you slide the die lock ring into a slot. This allows dies to float during operation.

Erik does a good job of demonstrating the Co-Ax’s unique features. At 1:00 he shows how to slide the dies into the press. It’s slick and easy. At the two-minute mark, Erik shows how sliding jaws clasp the case rim (rather than a conventional shell-holder). The jaws close as the ram is raised, then open as it is lowered. This makes it easy to place and remove your cases.

At the 5:20 mark, Erik shows how spent primers run straight down into a capture cup. This smart system helps keep your press and bench area clean of primer debris and residues.

While many Co-Ax users prime their cases by hand, the Co-Ax can prime cases very reliably. The priming station is on top of the press. Erik demonstrates the priming operation starting at 4:20.

Co-ax Forster press

Smart Accessories for the Co-Ax from Inline Fabrications
Forum member Kevin Thomas also owns a Co-Ax press, which he has hot-rodded with accessories from Inline Fabrication. Kevin tells us: “Check out the add-ons available from Inline Fabrication for the Co-Ax. I recently picked up a riser mount and a set of linkages for mine and love the results. The linkages are curved. When you replace the original straight links with these, the work area opens up substantially and the the press becomes much easier to feed.” CLICK HERE for Co-Ax Accessories.

Inline Fabrications Forster Co-Ax Accessories

Forster Co-Ax Curved Side Linkage
(For Better Access)

CLICK HERE

Forster Co-Ax Ultramount
(Riser plus Bin Support)

CLICK HERE

Co-Ax Roller Lever (Short)

CLICK HERE

Dual LED Lighting Kit for Co-Ax

CLICK HERE

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May 22nd, 2022

Sunday GunDay: .284 Shehanes for F-Open Competition

7mm .285 shehane improved f-class f-open caliber cartridge chambering

High-BC 7mm Bullets7mm (.284) remains the caliber to beat in F-Class Open Division (though some shooters have had success with .30-Cal short magnums.) With a standard .284 Winchester, or better yet, a .284 Improved, you can drive the high-BC Berger 180gr and 184gr bullets to competitive velocities.

The straight .284 Win is an excellent cartridge, quite capable of winning F-class matches. However, in most barrels, it can’t push the 180s at 2900-2950 fps velocity levels*. A lot of barrels will top out at about 2850 fps. That’s where the .284 Shehane comes into play.

The .284 Shehane is a slightly modified wildcat that retains the same 35° shoulder as the parent case. However, by blowing the sidewalls out 0.010″, the .284 Shehane picks up about 3.3 grains of extra case capacity. That enhancement makes a BIG difference. The extra boiler room is enough to drive the 180s at 2900-2950 fps with 30-32″ barrels using H4831sc, Vihtavuori N560, or Alliant Reloder 16. (That’s with a reasonably fast barrel. Some barrels are faster than others.)

Norm Harrold Won 2018 F-Class Open Division Nationals with .284 Shehane Rifle
F-Class Open F-Open Norm Norman Harrold Champion Championship 2018 Raton NM New Mexico 284 Shehane Berger Bullets

Norm Harrold (above) won the 2018 USA F-Class Nationals shooting a .284 Shehane. Norm’s F-Open rig features a McMillan Kestros ZR stock and Bartlein barrel chambered for the .284 Shehane, which has a bit more case capacity than a standard .284 Winchester. Norm loaded Berger 184gr 7mm bullets in Lapua brass. Norm revealed his load in an Erik Cortina YouTube Video.

F-Class shooter Erik Cortina notes that the .284 Shehane has a velocity edge over the straight .284 Win because it holds more powder: “The Shehane has more capacity than the .284 Winchester. Ryan is using 54.0 grains simply as a fire-forming load. Typical load for a Shehane is around 57.0 grains of Hodgdon H4831 SC.” By blowing the sidewalls out 0.010″, the .284 Shehane picks up about 3.3 grains of extra case capacity. That enhancement makes a BIG difference. The extra boiler room is enough to drive the 180s at 2900-2950 fps with H4831sc, with long barrels.

Forum member Jim Hardy has shot the .284 with great success. He tells us: “In my humble opinion, the .284 Shehane is the best balanced long-range round there is — bar none. Here is why:

You have to shoot a 30 Cal Magnum with a 240gr bullet to equal the performance of most 7mm chamberings with the 180 Berger VLD. With the .284 Shehane, you have a .308 bolt face, medium action, and Lapua brass. You use less powder than the 7 mags, and have great accuracy and ballistics even while fire-forming. The .284 Shehane shoots inside the 6.5 AND the straight .284, the .300 WSM, and the .300 Win Mag with less recoil. What is not to love about the 284 Shehane? It is a no-brainer for long range — F-Class or Prone or 1000-yard Benchrest.”

Amazing Accuracy When Fire-Forming .284 Shehane

7mm .285 shehane improved f-class f-open caliber cartridge chambering

If you look at that 5-round group you might think it was shot with a 6 PPC or maybe a 6mmBR. But no, this was done with heavy 180gr Berger Hybrid bullets and the .284 Shehane. In fact, this impressive sub-quarter MOA group was shot while fire-forming with a very well-worn barrel! Gun builder Ryan Pierce of Piercision Rifles explains: “Here’s a 5-shot 0.191″ group at 100 yards with my .284 Shehane fireforming loads. This barrel has 2200 rounds through it. It had 2000 as a straight .284 Win and then I set it back to .284 Shehane to form brass with. [The load was] 180 Hybrids with 54.0 grains of H4831 SC.”

Scotland’s Grant Taylor. who used the .284 Shehane to finish third at the 2009 F-Class Worlds in England says the .284 Shehane is “very accurate with superb vertical spreads at 1000 yards. [This] caliber… has awesome accuracy. I’m getting 2930-2950 fps with spreads in the 3-5 fps range. I use Hodgdon H4831sc powder, CCI BR2 primers, and pointed 180gr Bergers.”

.284 Shehane Showcase — Two Special F-Open Rifles

.284 Winchester Shehane F-Open F-Class 7mm Berger Panda F-Class Blake Machine
Jason Cohen’s “We the People” patriotic .284 Shehane F-Class rifle. This rig scored second place in its very first match, a 3×20 at 1000 yards in Wyoming.

Here’s another handsome .284 Shehane F-Open rifle. Owner Jason Cohen explained why he chose the .284 Shehane chambering: “The .284 Shehane has a proven record of accomplishments and that is why I have chosen it. I use Lapua brass (6.5-284 necked-up), CCI BR-2 primers, Hodgdon H4350 powder, and Berger 184gr bullets. All these components have been a successful combination that has worked flawlessly[.]”

The barrel is a Blake Machine 1:8″-twist finished at 32 inches. It was fitted to my action by Dale Woolum of Woolum Accuracy. Dale also threaded the barrel for a Woolum Accuracy tuner. This has proven to be a valuable tool in my load development.

The rifle began its life as a Will McClosky Cerus stock. This was sent that to Bryan Blake at Blake Machine. Jason noticed that Bryan had been adding aluminum rails to the front of Cerus stocks to lower the center of gravity and improve tracking. Jason asked Bryan to fit the stock with forearm rails, shown in the photo below. Bryan did all the stock work and fitted the action, rails, and RAD recoil pad.

.284 Winchester Shehane F-Open F-Class 7mm Berger Panda F-Class Blake Machine
.284 Winchester Shehane F-Open F-Class 7mm Berger Panda F-Class Blake Machine

The .284 Shehane — Accurate and Forgiving Wildcat
Jason explains why he selected the .284 Shehane chambering: “The .284 Shehane is amazing, very forgiving and not temperamental. Straight .284 or Shehane — you cannot go wrong. I run a 184gr Berger at about 2850 FPS and get great brass life in my other rifles. I usually start to consider tossing the brass around 15 firings. Primer pockets start to get a little looser and the brass seems to need more sizing than the newer brass with less firings.”

.284 Shehane Load Development
Load development for me starts with each new barrel. I screw on the new barrel, fire 25 rounds of whatever I have left over and then clean it. I push out to 600 yards and do a ladder test in round-robin format. I start 0.6 grains lower than my last charge that worked. I work up from that reduced charge weight in increments of 0.3 grains. The paper tells the rest of the story. Once I get something that works well at 600 yards I go back in work around that by 0.1 grains. After that I play a little with seating depth and look for a change. I will occasionally mess with the tuner and tighten things up if possible.

.284 Shehane Raffle Prize Rifle for Team USA

Blake machine Team USA Under-25 Katie Blakenship F-Class F-Open prize raffle rifle tickets Borden action

This stunning .284 Shehane rifle was constructed as a raffle prize to benefit Team USA members preparing for the F-Class World Championship. This eye-catching F-Open rifle was crafted by Blake Barrel and Rifle in Arizona. This prize rifle features all top-of-the-line components: Borden BRMXD Action, Cerus multi-laminate stock with forearm extension, R.A.D. recoil reduction system (hydraulic-damped buttpad), Bix ‘N Andy trigger, and Nightforce Competition scope. The stainless Blake barrel is chambered for the .284 Shehane wildcat, and sports an F-Class Products tuner on the end.

Blake machine Team USA Under-25 Katie Blakenship F-Class F-Open prize raffle rifle tickets Borden action

.284 Shehane Also Shines in 1K Benchrest Competition

The .284 Shehane has won in Benchrest as well as F-Class competition. In 2013, Henry Pasquet won the IBS 1000-Yard Nationals shooting a .284 Shehane. Henry’s Championship-winning rig is shown below. Note the 5″-wide fore-end which is not legal for F-Class. Henry also runs a combo tuner/muzzle-brake.

.284 Shehane Henry Pasquet ibs 1000 yard championship

.284 Shehane Henry Pasquet ibs 1000 yard championship

.284 Shehane Henry Pasquet ibs 1000 yard championship


*Some exceptional barrels chambered in straight .284 Win can reach 2900 fps with the 180s. Ryan Pierce has a 32″ Brux barrel that is delivering 2900 fps with the straight .284. However, Ryan acknowledges that his velocities are not typical: “A lot of .284 Win barrels top out at around 2850 fps with the 180s”.

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May 6th, 2022

Berger 6.5 Creedmoor Ammo Performs Great in PRS Rifle

Erik Cortina Berger Factory ammo ammunition OTM tactical PRS rifle MPA chassis Lapua brass

Is factory 6.5 Creedmoor ammunition good enough to win a PRS or NRL competition? The answer is a resounding “YES” if we’re talking about Berger ammunition. Produced with Berger match bullets and premium Lapua brass, this Berger 6.5 ammunition demonstrated excellent accuracy, impressive velocity, and very good ES/SD numbers. When tested at 1000 yards with an MPA-stocked PRS rig with Rem 700 action, this ammo showed just half-MOA of vertical, and produced a group that would have been a 50-1X in F-Class competition. That’s quite impressive for a PRS rig.

Erik Cortina Berger Factory ammo ammunition OTM tactical PRS rifle MPA chassis Lapua brass

This ammo test was performed by our friend Erik Cortina from Texas. Erik is a top F-Class competitor who also shoots tactical matches (for fun and glory). Erik recently built a new 6.5 Creedmoor with a Remington 700 action. Though this rifle sports a top-shelf MPA chassis and premium Kahles scope, Erik calls this his “budget build” because it has a plain Rem 700 factory action rather than the elite Borden actions he normally runs. Erik’s actions of choice are the Borden Mountaineer for PRS and Borden BRM-XD for F-Class.

Erik Cortina Berger Factory ammo ammunition OTM tactical PRS rifle MPA chassis Lapua brass

Erik posted: “Shot my budget 6.5 Creedmoor today with Berger Bullets factory ammo. I shot five rounds over the chrono to get speed. I used BC info from the box and it all lined up properly. I adjusted my ECTuner to tune load and it took just 15 shots to get it shooting well. It’s simple with good components.”

This Berger factory ammo features Berger 130gr Hybrid OTM Tactical bullets. The Lapua 6.5 Creedmoor cases have a large rifle primer. You can see this ammo displays good velocity with Extreme Spread and Standard Deviation rivaling good hand-loads.

Erik Cortina Berger Factory ammo ammunition OTM tactical PRS rifle MPA chassis Lapua brass

Erik Cortina Berger Factory ammo ammunition OTM tactical PRS rifle MPA chassis Lapua brassCortina says the very accurate Brux barrel and razor-sharp 6-24x56mm Kahles scope help achieve this kind of outstanding performance at 1000 yards. Here are the key components for Erik’s latest PRS rig:

Masterpiece Arms BA Competition Chassis
Brux Heavy Varmint 26-inch, 1:8″-twist barrel
Remington 700 Action (custom bolt knob)
ECTuner (by Erik Cortina)
Kahles 6-24x56mm MIL Scope
MPA 1-piece 30mm Scope Mount

Barrel Tuner by Erik Cortina — Fits Behind Muzzle Brake
This rifle features a barrel tuner designed and crafted by Erik Cortina. You can the ECTuner alone, or, as you can see, the ECTuner can be fitted BEHIND a muzzle brake. Erik tells us: “The ECTuner allowed me to tune the barrel to my ammo rather than tuning the ammo for barrel as is done when reloading. With the tuner, there is no need to try different brands of ammo as they can all be tuned to shoot as good as possible in my rifle.”

MPA Chassis Configuration Guide
Erik’s “budget” PRS rifle employs a MasterPiece Arms (MPA) BA Competition Chassis with Rapid Adjustment Technology (RAT). This MPA Arms Video shows how to set up an MPA Chassis to suit the owner:

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May 5th, 2022

How-To Feature: Jewell Trigger Installed in Kelbly Panda Action

Erik Cortina Lapua Jewell Trigger Panda Stolle Action Kelbly Kelbly's

In the video below, Forum member (and F-Class ace) Erik Cortina shows how to install a Jewell Benchrest trigger into a Kelbly F-Class Panda action. You could follow the same simple procedure to install a Jewell in a standard Panda action. Kelbly’s sells both standard and long versions of the F-Class Panda action. Both versions feature integral recoil lugs in the front.

To see more detail in this “how-to” video, you can zoom it to full-screen size. Simply click the full-screen icon (4-cornered frame) just to the right of the YouTube logo in the lower right.

Erik Cortina Lapua Jewell Trigger Panda Stolle Action Kelbly Kelbly's

Erik Cortina Lapua Jewell Trigger Panda Stolle Action Kelbly Kelbly's

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January 27th, 2022

Secrets of Winning Barrels — Brux Barrels Ken Clemens Interview

brux barrels cut-rifle rifling Erik Cortina Krieger Ken Clemens

In this 54-minute video interview, Ken Clemens, co-owner of Brux Barrels, is interviewed by F-Class ace Erik Cortina for the Cortina Precision YouTube Channel. A lot of ground is covered, with many fascinating insights into barrel-making revealed. Watch and learn:

Interview with Ken Clemens, Co-owner of Brux Barrels

brux barrels cut-rifle rifling Erik Cortina Krieger Ken Clemens

If you are involved in competitive shooting, and especially if you compete in F-Class or long-range benchrest, we recommend you take the time to watch this interview, perhaps in a couple of sessions because it runs for a lengthy 54 minutes. Ken Clemens explains the important procedures that go into making match-grade, cut-rifled barrels. Ken also explains some factors to consider when choosing a barrel-maker and specifying length, contour, land/groove configuration, and twist rates.

For more information visit BruxBarrels.com, use the online PRICE ESTIMATOR, or call (608) 592-3324.

brux barrels cut-rifle rifling Erik Cortina Krieger Ken ClemensAbout BRUX Barrel-Making Methods
Brux starts with 4150 chrome-moly or 416R stainless steel double-stress-relieved bar stock — the best available. Barrels are bored with the Barnes gun drill, and reamed with an industry-standard Pratt & Whitney reamer. Brux uses solid carbide cutter hooks and employs special methods to achieve best results.

After the bore-cutting process is complete, each barrel is hand-lapped to high-precision standards. Multi-point inspections and meticulous hand processes (not possible in mass production) ensure extremely high quality. The Brux website says: “If there is the slightest deviation in surface finish or tolerance, the barrel is discarded.”

BRUX Specializes in Cut-Rifled Gun Barrels
Brux produces custom cut-rifled barrels, precision-crafted by professionals with extensive experience in both machine tools and competitive shooting. While Brux earned its reputation building great barrels for F-Class, benchrest, and long range competition, Brux also crafts hunting barrels. Brux states: “Hunters, big game and varmint, can benefit from the accuracy and dependability of a custom barrel made to your specifications.”

brux barrels cut-rifle rifling Erik Cortina Krieger Ken Clemens

BRUX Barrels’ Owners Are Competitive Shooters
Brux owners and machinists are shooters themselves. So they understand how important a truly top-quality barrel can be. Everything else about a rifle can be great, but you need a superb barrel to win at the highest level. Owners Ken Clemens (pictured above) and Norm Brux are both seasoned shooters with years of experience using their own products.

Made in the USA — About the Home of Brux Barrels
The Wisconsin River Valley near Lodi has a storied history of hunting and shooting. The glacier spared many granite escarpments, leaving secluded glens and a topography rich in soil and wildlife habitat, which attracted families with old-world values and skills. Many of their descendants turned raw steel and iron into the tools necessary for farming – and some evolved to precision tooling and making gun barrels.

brux barrels cut-rifle rifling Erik Cortina Krieger Ken Clemens
Wisconsin River Valley near Ferry Bluff State Natural Area.

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May 20th, 2021

Making Modified Cases, SEB Rest Upgrades, ChargeMaster Tuning

Erik Cortina Video SEB Rest NEO Upgrade coaxial Lambang Modified Case Hornady Length gauge RCBS Chargemaster

Erik Cortina is one of the nation’s top F-Class shooters. A member of Team Lapua-Brux-Borden, Erik has been a top performer at National and World F-Class Championships. Erik is also a very smart guy and a skilled toolsmith who has upgraded his shooting equipment in interesting ways. Today we feature three “How-To” videos from Erik. These show how to upgrade a SEB Coaxial Rest, how to improve the performance of an RCBS Chargemaster, and how to create your own Modified Case for measuring length to lands. Watch and learn…

1. How to Make a Modified Case for the Hornady OAL Tool

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

In this video, Forum member Erik Cortina shows how to create a custom modified case for use with the Hornady Lock-N-Load Overall Length Gauge (formerly the Stoney Point Tool). While Hornady sells 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 if you make a custom modified case from a piece of brass fired in your chamber.

MORE INFORMATION: Want to learn more? We published a much longer story in which Erik explains in greater detail how to made the Modified Case. That article illustrates the 5/16″ – 36 RH HSS Tap required and shows how to set up the lathe to drill and tap your case. If you are serious about making your own Modified Cases, you should Read the Full Article.

2. How to Upgrade your SEB Co-Axial Joystick Rest

Erik Cortina Joystick SEB Rest accessory f-class feet holder

Joystick (coaxial) rests are used by top shooters in benchrest and F-Open disciplines. With coaxial rests, you can adjust both vertical and horizontal aim instantly in one fluid movement — there are no mariner wheels to spin or knobs to turn. Just gently stir the joystick to move up, down, or sideways. Erik Cortina explains: “If you want to get into F-Class (Open) and want to win, you should get a SEB rest. SEB makes an excellent product, but the one thing we upgrade automatically … is adding the F-Class feet. These have a bigger footprint and a spike on the bottom [so you can] dig the feet into the ground and make your rest a lot more stable.” In this video Erik installs a set of Blake Machine Co. F-Class feet. These feature a set-screw, so they are easy to attach and then remove for travel (no Loctite!). “Simple yet effective” declares Erik.

In the second half of the video (starting at 5:30), Erik installs a Dan Bramley Joystick Holder. This features two clamp-on cradles that hold the joystick crosswise below the top (see photo). This handy accessory ensures your handle always remains with the rest (and doesn’t get left at home when you travel to a big match). This joystick holder has been popular with competitors. Erik says, “The Bramley Joystick holder is $60.00 — money well spent.” To order, email Dan at dbramley [at] yahoo.com.

3. How to Make the RCBS ChargeMaster 1500 Work Better

Erik Cortina has been fiddling around with his RCBS ChargeMaster and he discovered something interesting. Through a series of tests he determined that the ChargeMaster dispensed slightly more precise charges when he trickled the last few 10ths of a grain on to the RCBS pan. Erik wasn’t expecting this result, but he confirmed there may be a slight benefit to this trickling method (as opposed to allowing the ChargeMaster to dispense the full charge). You can see Erik’s test procedure in this video:

We should note that Erik’s preferred method of weighing powder is to first dispense a slightly lower charge with the RCBS, transfer the pan to a laboratory-class Sartorius magnetic force restoration scale, then trickle up with his Omega (Dandy Products) Powder Trickler. However, if you don’t have a $800+ laboratory-grade scale, you might just try trickling on to the ChargeMaster pan.

MORE INFORMATION: We have published a more lengthy Bulletin Article that covers Erik’s Chargemaster Performance Findings in greater detail. That article has more photos plus a clever, bonus “Beep Defeat Tip”. If you own a Chargemaster, we recommend you READ the Full Article.

Permalink - Articles, - Videos, Reloading, Tech Tip 1 Comment »
May 11th, 2021

Power to the People — Cortina Reviews Giraud Power Trimmer

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

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

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

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

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

Erik Cortina Meplat Giraud Case Trimmer YouTube Video Lapua

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

Erik Cortina Meplat Giraud Case Trimmer YouTube Video Lapua

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

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

Erik Cortina Meplat Giraud Case Trimmer YouTube Video Lapua

Giraud Power Trimmer

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March 28th, 2021

Forster Co-Ax Reloading Press Review by Erik Cortina

Co-ax Forster press
Forster Co-Ax Press

Forum member Erik Cortina has produced a series of YouTube videos about reloading hardware and precision hand-loading. Here we feature Erik’s video review of the Forster Co-Ax® reloading press. The red-framed Co-Ax is unique in both design and operation. It boasts dual guide rods and a central handle. You don’t screw in dies — you slide the die lock ring into a slot. This allows dies to float during operation.

Erik does a good job of demonstrating the Co-Ax’s unique features. At 1:00 he shows how to slide the dies into the press. It’s slick and easy. At the two-minute mark, Erik shows how sliding jaws clasp the case rim (rather than a conventional shell-holder). The jaws close as the ram is raised, then open as it is lowered. This makes it easy to place and remove your cases.

At the 5:20 mark, Erik shows how spent primers run straight down into a capture cup. This smart system helps keep your press and bench area clean of primer debris and residues.

While many Co-Ax users prime their cases by hand, the Co-Ax can prime cases very reliably. The priming station is on top of the press. Erik demonstrates the priming operation starting at 4:20.

Co-ax Forster press

Smart Accessories for the Co-Ax from Inline Fabrications
Forum member Kevin Thomas also owns a Co-Ax press, which he has hot-rodded with accessories from Inline Fabrications. Kevin tells us: “Check out the add-ons available from Inline Fabrications for the Co-Ax. I recently picked up a riser mount and a set of linkages for mine and love the results. The linkages are curved. When you replace the original straight links with these, the work area opens up substantially and the the press becomes much easier to feed.” CLICK HERE for Co-Ax Accessories.

Inline Fabrications Forster Co-Ax Accessories

Forster Co-Ax Curved Side Linkage
(For Better Access)

CLICK HERE

Forster Co-Ax Ultramount
(Riser plus Bin Support)

CLICK HERE

Co-Ax Roller Lever (Short)

CLICK HERE

Dual LED Lighting Kit for Co-Ax

CLICK HERE

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December 25th, 2020

Christmas Video Showcase — 8 Great Videos from F-Class John

Nancy tompkins book f-class john videos
This image is from multi-time Nat’l Long Range Champion Nancy Tompkins, author of Prone and Long Range Rifle Shooting. Nancy loves to photograph the Aurora Borealis.

As a Christmas present for our readers, today we showcase eight very informative videos from AccurateShooter Forum member F-Class John. A talented F-Class competitor with a smart, technically-focused mind, John has created a series of videos about reloading and precision loading tools, along with rifle and shooting accessories. Many of John’s product reviews are the most thorough and detailed you’ll find in video format. You’ll find over 120 informative videos on F-Class John’s popular YouTube Channel.

SEE ALL F-Class John YouTube Videos HERE »

Nancy tompkins book f-class john videos

21st Century Hydro Press and Arbor Press — Product Review

Many of the world’s top benchrest, long-range, and F-Class shooters prefer to seat their bullets using arbor-type presses with inline dies. This allows smooth, repeatable bullet-seating with very low run-out. One of the very best arbor-type seating presses ever created is the 21st Century Hydro Press. This offers plenty of leverage driving a precision ram. The Hydro Press also features a hydraulic line to drive a precision seating force gauge. Along with the Hydro Press, John tests 21st Century’s standard arbor press.

Cartridge Case Separation — Tell-Tale Warning Signs

If you reload and haven’t experienced a case separation yet then you are fortunate. It’s a fact of life in the shooting world. A bad case separation can have very unfortunate consequences. Therefore you need to watch for warning signs on your cartridge brass, so you stay safe. The video above shows what to look for — and how to recognize signs of incipient separation. One important factor leading to case head separation is improper head-spacing causing growth. To learn more about case head separation watch F-Class John’s follow-up video Case Head Separation Causes, identification and prevention.

Accuracy One Concentricity Gauge — Product review

Every person who makes precision hand-loads should have a quality concentricity gauge to measure run-out of case-necks and loaded rounds. Here John tests one of the best such tools on the market, the Accuracy One Concentricity Gauge. This measures the internal and external neck runout of cartridge cases as well as seated bullet runout. It can also measure the runout of the ogive, bearing surface, and boat-tail of individual bullets and can even measure primer pocket runout. John notes: “I think most precision shooters should have one of these to make sure their ammo is within their specs they’re happy with.”

How to Use a Barrel Tuner to Improve Accuracy and Repeatability

Erik cortina e.c. Tunner f-class john videosIn this video, John works with a barrel tuner created by Erik Cortina, a member of Team Lapua/Brux/Borden. A tuner can be useful in modulating barrel vibrations and that can translate to smaller groups on target. Sometimes the positive effects are quite noticeable. Tuners have been popular with short-range benchresters for many years and now they are becoming more common on top F-Class and Long Range rifles.

John says: “I’ve been using Erik’s E.C. Tuner for a while now and I really like what it’s done to help as my final step in load development. Just remember, a tuner is a tool, not a magician. You still need good load development practices, good brass prep, and solid skills but the tuner does help make great loads even better.”

Teslong Rigid 26″ Borescope with 4.5″ Monitor — Product Review

There are a variety of affordable Teslong digital borescopes for inspecting your barrels and diagnosing issues. All Teslongs deliver impressively sharp images/video. Some units plug into a laptop or tablet, while others work via a dongle to communicate wirelessly. Here John tests a 26″ rigid model borescope that comes complete with its own 4.5″ viewing screen. Priced at $129.99 on Amazon, this system is completely self-contained — you don’t need a laptop or smartphone. You don’t have to worry about connections and there are no Apps to install or configure. John says: “Teslong now offers a 26″ rigid rod model with a 4.5″ monitor. This allows you to use the unit without the need for any mobile device or computer.”

Dillon 550 vs. Dillon 750 for Precision Reloading — Pros and Cons

Progressive presses are not just for bulk reloading these days. Many top shooters, including 5-time National Long Range Champion John Whidden, use Dillon progressive presses to complete many cartridge loading operations more efficiently. Even in the F-Class world, Top Guns such as Erik Cortina have found ways to use Dillon progressives for bullet pointing, case prep and other repetitious tasks, even if a precision arbor press is used for final bullet seating. In this video, F-Class John compares two Dillon options: “If you’re deciding between a Dillon 550 or 750/650 reloading press for precision reloading, here are some pros and cons of each. Both are capable of producing high quality ammunition but each has their own quirks so knowing your capabilities and loading style is important when choosing one over the other.

AutoTrickler V3 — General Set-Up and Operational Advice

In this video, John offers some general advice for setting-up the AutoTrickler system. He notes that you want to set the initial drop weight (from the powder measure) in an optimal range: “When you set the original drop you need it to be about 1 to 1.5 grains below. Some people set it too close to the final weight they want and it actually doesn’t let the trickler unit work as efficiently, consistently and accurately as it will if you start 1 to 1.5 grains low.” John also explains how to hook up the cords and how to position the trickler unit. John places his AutoTrickler on a 30-lb piece of granite, with a thin polymer “anti-static” pad on top. John also uses a line conditioner and grounding wire to provide the best electrical flow to the scale and trickler. John also shows how the angle of the trickler unit can be adjusted. If you own an AutoTrickler or plan to purchase one, we definitely recommend you watch this entire video.

ShotMarker Power-User Tip — How to Test Unit without Shooting

The ShotMarker is an advanced system that plots shot location using electronic sensors mounted on a frame. ShotMarker arrays are now used in many competitions because they are reliable, precise, and much more affordable than competing systems. Invented by Canadian Adam MacDonald, the ShotMarker plots bullet entry on target using sensors activated by the bullet’s soundwaves.​ Using 8 high precision MEMS microphones placed in the corners of your frame, ShotMarker precisely measures the point of impact and down-range velocity of each shot, so that you can analyze your groups and shoot for score in competition. In this video, John shows how you can quickly and easily test your ShotMarker before deploying it at the range: “Here’s a quick and simple way to ensure your system is working 100% before taking a shot on it.”

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November 30th, 2020

The Most Advanced Neck-Turners — Blake IDOD and AUTODOD

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Permalink - Videos, Bullets, Brass, Ammo, Gear Review, Reloading, Tech Tip 1 Comment »
September 13th, 2020

Neck-Turning Brass with Milling Machine — High-Speed Solution

cartridge brass neck turn neck-turning milling machine Erik Cortina

Here’s the super-speedy way to turn case-necks. Our friend Erik Cortina figured out how to turn his match cartridge case-necks using his milling machine. Erik told us: “While in Raton [a while back], Mid Tompkins told me that he turns his brass on milling machine. He said he could do about 500 in two hours, so I decided to try it.”

Erik fitted a Don Nielson “Pumpkin” neck-turner to the mill, and he used a modified 21st Century case holder to secure the brass. As you can see from this video, Erik was very successful with the process. The tool spins at 1500 rpm, turning Lapua 6.5-284 cases that have been necked up to 7mm.

Video Shows Eric Cortina Neck-Turning Cases with Milling Machine:

Cartridge Brass: Lapua 6.5-284 necked up to 7mm
Lubricant: Lithium grease inside and outside of neck
Neck-Turner: Nielson Pumpkin running at 1500 RPM

It’s hard to argue with Erik’s results. Here are his turned Lapua cases, which have neck-wall thickness consistent to two ten-thousandths of an inch. Think you could do better turning manually?

cartridge brass neck turn neck-turning milling machine Erik Cortina

Some of Erik’s Facebook friends had questions about this process:

Q: Who makes the shell-holder?

Erik Cortina: I did! The shell-holder you can get from 21st Century. I Tig-welded a punch as a handle.

Q: I love the idea of working smarter not harder! Any galling issues? What are your mitigation techniques?

Erik Cortina: No issues. I use lithium grease in spray can. Makes a foam that I dip necks into.

Q: Shouldn’t either the case or the cutter be floating to allow most precise neck turning?

Erik Cortina: Up until [I tried this] I believed the same thing. I was going to build a floating case holder but decided to try rigid setup on a few cases before I built it. Results were great. Neck thickness doesn’t vary more than .0002″, which is same as when I was doing it with floating case holder on the lathe.

Q: Any problems with the Pumpkin changing the cut as it heats up?

Erik Cortina: No — there were no issues with that.

NOTE: Erik Cortina is a very skilled machinist who custom-crafted fittings used for this process. This kind of neck-turning with a milling machine may not be for the everyday hand-loader!

cartridge brass neck turn neck-turning milling machine Erik Cortina

Nielson “Pumpkin” Neck-Turner

The circular orange cutting fixture on Erik’s Milling Machine is a Don Nielson “Pumpkin” neck-turning tool. Don designed this tool to be used by hand or with power. The Pumpkin boasts an eccentric mandrel that allows the cut to be adjusted easily in precise .0001″ increments. Benchresters like this as it allows for very precise control of cut depth and neck-wall thickness.

cartridge brass neck turn neck-turning milling machine Erik Cortina
Nielson Neck Turner with carbide mandrel. Photo Courtesy Butch’s Reloading.

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June 30th, 2020

Berger 6.5 Creedmoor Ammo Shoots Great in PRS Rifle

Erik Cortina Berger Factory ammo ammunition OTM tactical PRS rifle MPA chassis Lapua brass

Is factory 6.5 Creedmoor ammunition good enough to win a PRS or NRL competition? The answer is a resounding “YES” if we’re talking about Berger ammunition. Produced with Berger match bullets and premium Lapua brass, this Berger 6.5 ammunition demonstrated excellent accuracy, impressive velocity, and very good ES/SD numbers. When tested at 1000 yards with an MPA-stocked PRS rig with Rem 700 action, this ammo showed just half-MOA of vertical, and produced a group that would have been a 50-1X in F-Class competition. That’s quite impressive for a PRS rig.

Erik Cortina Berger Factory ammo ammunition OTM tactical PRS rifle MPA chassis Lapua brass

This ammo test was performed by our friend Erik Cortina from Texas. Erik is a top F-Class competitor who also shoots tactical matches (for fun and glory). Erik recently built a new 6.5 Creedmoor with a Remington 700 action. Though this rifle sports a top-shelf MPA chassis and premium Kahles scope, Erik calls this his “budget build” because it has a plain Rem 700 factory action rather than the elite Borden actions he normally runs. Erik’s actions of choice are the Borden Mountaineer for PRS and Borden BRM-XD for F-Class.

Erik Cortina Berger Factory ammo ammunition OTM tactical PRS rifle MPA chassis Lapua brass

Erik posted: “Shot my budget 6.5 Creedmoor today with Berger Bullets factory ammo. I shot five rounds over the chrono to get speed. I used BC info from the box and it all lined up properly. I adjusted my ECTuner to tune load and it took just 15 shots to get it shooting well. It’s simple with good components.”

This Berger factory ammo features Berger 130gr Hybrid OTM Tactical bullets. The Lapua 6.5 Creedmoor cases have a large rifle primer. You can see this ammo displays good velocity with Extreme Spread and Standard Deviation rivaling good hand-loads.

Erik Cortina Berger Factory ammo ammunition OTM tactical PRS rifle MPA chassis Lapua brass

Erik Cortina Berger Factory ammo ammunition OTM tactical PRS rifle MPA chassis Lapua brassCortina says the very accurate Brux barrel and razor-sharp 6-24x56mm Kahles scope help achieve this kind of outstanding performance at 1000 yards. Here are the key components for Erik’s latest PRS rig:

Masterpiece Arms BA Competition Chassis
Brux Heavy Varmint 26-inch, 1:8″-twist barrel
Remington 700 Action (custom bolt knob)
ECTuner (by Erik Cortina)
Kahles 6-24x56mm MIL Scope
MPA 1-piece 30mm Scope Mount

Barrel Tuner by Erik Cortina — Fits Behind Muzzle Brake
This rifle features a barrel tuner designed and crafted by Erik Cortina. You can the ECTuner alone, or, as you can see, the ECTuner can be fitted BEHIND a muzzle brake. Erik tells us: “The ECTuner allowed me to tune the barrel to my ammo rather than tuning the ammo for barrel as is done when reloading. With the tuner, there is no need to try different brands of ammo as they can all be tuned to shoot as good as possible in my rifle.”

MPA Chassis Configuration Guide
Erik’s “budget” PRS rifle employs a MasterPiece Arms (MPA) BA Competition Chassis with Rapid Adjustment Technology (RAT). This MPA Arms Video shows how to set up an MPA Chassis to suit the owner:

Permalink - Articles, - Videos, Bullets, Brass, Ammo, Gear Review, Tactical 2 Comments »
April 14th, 2020

Tech Tip: Lapping the Inside of Seating Stems

Erik Cortina bullet seating stem polish lap lathe

Here’s a simple task you can do that will give your seater die a more perfect fit to your match bullets. You can lap the inside of the seater stem so that it matches the exact profile of the bullet. This spreads out the seating force over a larger area of the bullet jacket. That allows smoother, more consistent seating, without putting dents, creases, or sharp rings in your bullets.

Erik Cortina bullet seating stem polish lap lathe

This process is demonstrated here by our friend Erik Cortina of Team Lapua-Brux-Borden. Erik, one of the nation’s top F-Class shooters and a skilled machinist, explains: “Here I’m lapping my new seater die stem with lapping compound. I chuck up a bullet in the lathe and lap the inside of the seating stem. I put lapping compound on the bullet and also in the stem. You can do the same with a hand drill and bore paste. You can see in the piture below how much contact area the stem has on the bullet after being lapped. This bullet is a Berger 7mm 180-grain Hybrid. ”

Erik Cortina bullet seating stem polish lap lathe

READ Related Article on Polishing Seating Die Stems »

Q1: Is Lapping Seating Stems really necessary?

It can be helpful but it’s not necessary to make your seating stem an exact match to a bullet, particularly if you’re loading hunting or varmint rounds. But it is helpful to do some mild internal stem polishing. This should eliminate any ring (or dent) that forms on the bullet jacket during seating.

bullet seating stem lapping Erik Cortina
Photo credit Sierra Bullets.

Sharp edges on a seating stem can cause a ring to be pressed into the bullet jacket — especially with compressed loads that resist downward bullet movement.

Q2: Is there any down-side to the process?

Not really. However, if you shoot many different bullet types for a particular cartridge, you may not want to conform the stem aggressively to one particular bullet design. Lightly lap the inside of the stem to remove burrs/sharp edges but leave it at that. A light lap will prevent a ring forming when seating bullets.

bullet seating stem lapping Erik Cortina
Photo credit Sierra Bullets.

Permalink Bullets, Brass, Ammo, Reloading, Tech Tip 1 Comment »
March 15th, 2020

Accurate Cartridges — The .284 Shehane, an Improved .284 Win

F-Class Reloading .284 Winchester Win Shehane Accuracy

If you look at that 5-round group you might think it was shot with a 6 PPC or maybe a 6mmBR. But no, this was done with heavy 180gr Berger Hybrid bullets and the .284 Shehane, an improved version of the .284 Winchester. In fact, this impressive sub-quarter MOA group was shot while fire-forming with a very well-worn barrel! Gun builder Ryan Pierce of Piercision Rifles explains:

Here’s a 5-shot 0.191″ group at 100 yards with my .284 Shehane fire-forming loads. This barrel has 2200 rounds through it. It had 2000 as a straight .284 Win and then I set it back to .284 Shehane to form brass with. This was the first five rounds through it after I cleaned it after the last match. [The load was] 180 Hybrids with 54.0 grains of H4831 SC.

Ya, I figured why not I had some old barrels laying around so I just chopped 2″ off the back and 1″ off the front and chambered it up as a Shehane. Had 1000 pieces to fireform and didn’t want to do all that on a brand new barrel.

My fireform loads are going 2765 FPS. I have a 29″ barrel also though since it’s a setback. Once you get it formed I would push it faster than that or I wouldn’t even bother with the Shehane. My old straight .284 load at 2890 fps had ES spread in single digits for 10 shots. I figured if I get it up to 2935-2950 fps that will be a point or two saved in a several day match.

.284 Winchester Shehane Reamer Print PT&G

Our friend Erik Cortina notes that the .284 Shehane has a velocity edge over the straight .284 Win because it holds more powder: “The Shehane has more capacity than the .284 Winchester. Ryan is using 54.0 grains simply as a fire-forming load. Typical load for a Shehane is around 57.0 grains of Hodgdon H4831 SC.” By blowing the sidewalls out 0.010″, the .284 Shehane picks up about 3.3 grains of extra case capacity. That enhancement makes a BIG difference. The extra boiler room is enough to drive the 180s at 2900-2950 fps with H4831sc, with long barrels.

Forum member Jim Hardy has shot the .284 with great success. He tells us: “In my humble opinion, the .284 Shehane is the best balanced long-range round there is — bar none. Here is why:

You have to shoot a 30 Cal Magnum with a 240gr bullet to equal the performance of most 7mm chamberings with the 180 Berger VLD. With the .284 Shehane, you have a .308 bolt face, medium action, and Lapua brass. You use less powder than the 7 mags, and have great accuracy and ballistics even while fire-forming. The .284 Shehane shoots inside the 6.5 AND the straight .284, the .300 WSM, and the .300 Win Mag with less recoil. What is not to love about the 284 Shehane? It is a no-brainer for long range — F-Class or Prone or 1000-yard Benchrest.”

Scotland’s Grant Taylor. who used the .284 Shehane to finish third at the 2009 F-Class Worlds in England says the .284 Shehane is “very accurate with superb vertical spreads at 1000 yards. [This] caliber… has awesome accuracy. I’m getting 2930-2950 fps with spreads in the 3-5 fps range. I use Hodgdon H4831sc powder, CCI BR2 primers, and pointed 180gr Bergers.”

Permalink Bullets, Brass, Ammo, Competition, Reloading 2 Comments »
February 17th, 2020

Team Lapua-Brux-Borden — Big Winners at Berger SW Nationals

Lapua brux borden Team Berger SW southwest Nationals SWN Jay Christopherson Tod Hendricks

Dominators — that’s what these blue-shirted guys were at the 2020 Berger Southwest Nationals (SWN). For the third straight year, Team Lapua-Brux-Borden won the coveted F-Open Team Grand Aggregate award at the Berger Southwest Nationals, finishing with a score of 2584-160X (out of a possible 2600). And Team Member Jay Christopherson (AccurateShooter’s System Admin) won the F-Open Overall title, while Team Member Tod Hendricks won the 600-yard Mid-Range Event. Mighty impressive…

Lapua brux borden Team Berger SW southwest Nationals SWN Jay Christopherson Tod Hendricks

Team members are Jay Christopherson, David Christian, Tod Hendricks, Pat Scully, and Jeremy Smith (alternate), with Bob Sebold serving as Coach and Erik Cortina as Captain. Remarkably Jay (1247-83X), Pat (1247-72X), and Tod (1245-81X) placed first, second, and third respectively in the F-Open Grand Aggregate individual awards. That’s right, three team-mates secured ALL the podium places. And all three were separated by only two points!

Record-Setting Performances by Team
Notably Team Lapua-Brux-Borden established a new Ben Avery range record along the way to winning the Palma Team Match with a score of 1791-113 (out of a possible 1800). We’re told that the Team’s 793-47X LR score was also a new match record. Jay set a LR Aggregate Record with 799-50X, while Tod set a LR individual relay record of 200-18X.

Berger SW Nationals 2020
Photo by Sherri Jo Gallagher.

Team Lapua-Brux-Borden — Winning “Team First” Philosophy
Commentary by Jay Christopherson
For Team Lapua-Borden-Brux, winning gold is the entire focus. To that end, ego is the only enemy. Sure, we all have egos as individual shooters, but as a team, ego is subsumed into that one overriding goal. If you can’t do that, then you can’t shoot on Lapua-Borden-Brux. No matter how good you think your rifle is or how well you are shooting individually, the coach is the only arbiter — no exceptions. Every job on the team is focused towards that single goal of gold and no job is more or less important than another. Our plotter saves points by spotting high or low trends and calling that out, and ensuring we don’t lose points when a scorer misses a shot. Our back-coach saves points by spotting upcoming condition changes or making observations. Our target-puller strives to provide an example of the best possible target service. And our scorer focuses on providing attentive service to the team next to us. A failure in one job is a failure in all and we either win or lose together as a team. That is only possible when each individual understands that there is only one goal.

The Berger Southwest Nationals, hosted by the Desert Sharpshooters Rifle Club, took place February 5-9, 2020 at the Ben Avery Shooting Facility in Phoenix, AZ with a sold-out roster of 400 competitors. America’s biggest rifle match west of the Mississippi, the Southwest Nationals is a “must-attend” event for long-range shooters competing in F-Open, F-TR, and Sling disciplines. Competitors from at least nine different countries were in attendance. The Grand Aggregate is the total score from firing points of 600, 800, 900, and 1,000 yards.

Lapua brux borden Team Berger SW southwest Nationals SWN Jay Christopherson Tod HendricksPraise from Team Captain
“I am very proud of the team”, stated Team Captain, Erik Cortina: “From setting a new range record to placing first in the F-Open Grand Aggregate, our success is directly attributed to Lapua’s premium components.”

About Lapua — Premium Brass, Bullets, and Ammunition
Lapua produces the highest-quality small caliber cartridges and components for civilian and professional use. Lapua is a part of the Capstone Precision Group, exclusive U.S. distributor for Berger, Lapua, Vihtavuori, and SK-Rimfire products. For more information, visit Lapua.com.

Permalink Competition, News 1 Comment »
January 1st, 2020

2020 Gun Video Fest — Eight Great Videos for a New Decade

AccurateShooter video 2020 gun youtube Erik Cortina Borden PRS Mike Bryant
Image courtesy Nightforce Optics.

It’s 2020! Welcome the new year and a new decade. We know many of our readers will be spending the winter day indoors. If you need a break from the bowl games on TV, here are eight interesting and informative videos that are worth watching. The subject matter runs the gamut from benchrest gunsmithing to long-range varmint silhouette competition. There are also reviews of some of the best precision rifle options for PRS and NRL22 disciplines. Enjoy our New Year 2020 Video Fest.

1. UltimateReloader — 14 Reloading Presses Compared

Epic Reloading Hardware Test — 14 Single-Stage Presses. In this remarkable video, Gavin Gear of UltimateReloader.com reviews fourteen (14) single-stage reloading presses. This is the most comprehensive reloading press comparison test ever done by anyone, anywhere. The presses range from compact units to large-frame exotics from Europe. If you are in the market for a single-stage press in 2020 this is a MUST-watch video. Brands include Forster, Hornady, Lyman, MEC, RCBS, Redding, Turban (Prazipress).

2. Precision Riflesmith — Profile of Benchrest Smith Mike Bryant

Texas gunsmith Mike Bryant is a talented benchrest shooter and a highly respected builder of competition and hunting rifles. In this wide-ranging interview, Mike talks about benchrest competition, the key factors that contribute to rifle accuracy, and about his career as a gunsmith.

3. Erik Cortina — Mag-Feed Testing Borden Action with 6BR


Click the Speaker Icon (lower right) to HEAR AUDIO

Our friend Erik Cortina has built a new PRS/NRL rifle based on the new Borden Super Short 6 Action. This video show Erik’s first mag-feeding test with ten 6BR loaded rounds. You’ll see there is NO problem speed-feeding the short 6BR case. Erik tells us: “I removed the firing pin from bolt for safety. The magazine has not been modified in any way. I would say there is no need to do anything to it, she’s ready to run!” Impressive indeed.

4. Shooting USA — Texas Varmint Benchrest Match

Varmint Benchrest silhouette TexasThis episode of Shooting USA TV features long-range varmint silhouette competition in Texas. This discipline combine the pure accuracy of benchrest competition with the fun of knocking down critter targets. These are smaller than standard silhouettes, so it’s quite a challenge to hit them at 300 yards and beyond.

In this episode, host John Scoutten competes with his 6.5 Creedmoor PRS rifle. Most shooters use benchrest-grade rifles with premium front rests. NOTE: This video shows some top-flight benchrest rifles, and also covers the origins of benchrest varmint silhouette in Pennsylvania. There are even some AccurateShooter Forum members on screen.

5. Vickers Tactical — .308 Win Bolt Gun Vs. .308 Win Gas Gun

This interesting video from Vickers tactical compares and contrasts two tactical style rifles both chambered for the .308 Winchester. The test team compares functionality, accuracy, ergonomics, and versatility. Each platform has its advantages, as the video reveals.

6. Outdoor Life — The Best New Affordable Precision Rifles

This video showcases three modern tactical-style rifles suitable for the PRS Production (Factory) Class which is limited to $2000 for rifle alone, not counting optics (Rule 2.3.1). Outdoor Life Shooting Editor John Snow puts three capable rifles through their paces: Patriot Valley Arms John Hancock, BadRock Precision SouthFork, and Seekins Precision Havoc Bravo.

7. Aerial View of Deep Creek Shooting Range in Montana

The Deep Creek Range near Missoula, Montana, is one of the best 1000-yard ranges in the country. Many long-range benchrest records have been set in this scenic, tree-lined facility. Now, thanks to Forum member David Gosnell (aka “Zilla”), you can see Deep Creek from the air. David flew a camera drone over the Deep Creek Range, soaring from firing line to the target bay and back again. This video gives you a “birds-eye view” of one of America’s elite ranges.

8. Nat’l Rifle League — Intro to NRL22 Rimfire Tactical Matches

NRL22 is a great way to get into competition shooting with minimal expense. There are Five (5) classes: Open, Base, Ladies, Young Guns (8-16), and Air Rifle. Base Class is for the budget-minded shooter — the combined MSRP of Rifle and Optic may not exceed $1050.00 (so you could spend $550 on a rifle and $500 on a scope for example). That keeps the sport affordable. Open, Youth, and Ladies Classes have no price limits on Rifle and Optic. Visit NRL22.org to find an NRL22 match near you.

NRL22 rimfire tactical steel targets KYL JC Steel hangers

Permalink Competition, Gear Review, Gunsmithing, New Product, Reloading, Tactical 1 Comment »
June 6th, 2019

Neck-Turning Brass on Milling Machine with Erik Cortina

cartridge brass neck turn neck-turning milling machine Erik Cortina

Here’s the super-speedy way to turn case-necks. Our friend Erik Cortina figured out how to turn his match cartridge case-necks using his milling machine. Erik told us: “While in Raton, Mid Tompkins told me that he turns his brass on milling machine. He said he could do about 500 in two hours, so I decided to try it.”

Erik fitted a Don Nielson “Pumpkin” neck-turner to the mill, and he used a modified 21st Century case holder to secure the brass. As you can see from this video, Erik was very successful with the process. The tool spins at 1500 rpm, turning Lapua 6.5-284 cases that have been necked up to 7mm.

Video Shows Eric Cortina Neck-Turning Cases with Milling Machine:

Cartridge Brass: Lapua 6.5-284 necked up to 7mm
Lubricant: Lithium grease inside and outside of neck
Neck-Turner: Nielson Pumpkin running at 1500 RPM

It’s hard to argue with Erik’s results. Here are his turned Lapua cases, which have neck-wall thickness consistent to two ten-thousandths of an inch. Think you could do better turning manually?

cartridge brass neck turn neck-turning milling machine Erik Cortina

Some of Erik’s Facebook friends had questions about this process:

Q: Who makes the shell-holder?

Erik Cortina: I did! The shell-holder you can get from 21st Century. I Tig-welded a punch as a handle.

Q: I love the idea of working smarter not harder! Any galling issues? What are your mitigation techniques?

Erik Cortina: No issues. I use lithium grease in spray can. Makes a foam that I dip necks into.

Q: Shouldn’t either the case or the cutter be floating to allow most precise neck turning?

Erik Cortina: Up until [I tried this] I believed the same thing. I was going to build a floating case holder but decided to try rigid setup on a few cases before I built it. Results were great. Neck thickness doesn’t vary more than .0002″, which is same as when I was doing it with floating case holder on the lathe.

Q: Any problems with the Pumpkin changing the cut as it heats up?

Erik Cortina: No — there were no issues with that.

NOTE: Erik Cortina is a very skilled machinist who custom-crafted fittings used for this process. This kind of neck-turning with a milling machine may not be for the everyday hand-loader!

cartridge brass neck turn neck-turning milling machine Erik Cortina

Nielson “Pumpkin” Neck-Turner

Don Nielson Pumpkin neck turning toolThe circular orange cutting fixture on Erik’s Milling Machine is a Don Nielson “Pumpkin” neck-turning tool. Don designed this tool to be used by hand or with power. The Pumpkin boasts an eccentric mandrel that allows the cut to be adjusted easily in precise .0001″ increments. Benchresters like this as it allows for very precise control of cut depth and neck-wall thickness.

Jason C., commenting on Erik’s YouTube video stated: “I have a couple of those too. Nothing cuts like a Pumpkin. [Don Nielson] made the best cutter tool ever.” These are still available if you ask around. The photo shows Don with a case-holder mounted to a power assembly. A talented machinist and tool-maker, Don has also been a successful short- and long-range benchrest shooter, who has won NBRSA 600-Yard Championships. CLICK HERE to read about Don’s success with the 6.5×47 Lapua.

cartridge brass neck turn neck-turning milling machine Erik Cortina
Nielson Neck Turner with carbide mandrel. Photo Courtesy Butch’s Reloading.

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June 2nd, 2019

.284 Shehane — Winning Wildcat for F-Open Competition

7mm .285 shehane improved f-class f-open caliber cartridge chambering

High-BC 7mm Bullets7mm (.284) remains the caliber to beat in F-Class Open Division (though some shooters have had success with .30-Cal short magnums.) With a standard .284 Winchester, or better yet, a .284 Improved, you can drive the high-BC Berger 180gr and 184gr bullets to competitive velocities.

The straight .284 Win is an excellent cartridge, quite capable of winning F-class matches. However, in most barrels, it can’t push the 180s at 2900-2950 fps velocity levels*. A lot of barrels will top out at about 2850 fps. That’s where the .284 Shehane comes into play.

The .284 Shehane is a slightly modified wildcat that retains the same 35° shoulder as the parent case. However, by blowing the sidewalls out 0.010″, the .284 Shehane picks up about 3.3 grains of extra case capacity. That enhancement makes a BIG difference. The extra boiler room is enough to drive the 180s at 2900-2950 fps with H4831sc. With N560 or Reloder 17 you can go even faster.

Norm Harrold Won 2018 F-Class Open Division Nationals with .284 Shehane Rifle
F-Class Open F-Open Norm Norman Harrold Champion Championship 2018 Raton NM New Mexico 284 Shehane Berger Bullets

Norm Harrold (above) won the 2018 USA F-Class Nationals shooting a .284 Shehane. Norm’s F-Open rig features a McMillan Kestros ZR stock and Bartlein barrel chambered for the .284 Shehane, which has a bit more case capacity than a standard .284 Winchester. Norm loaded Berger 184gr 7mm bullets in Lapua brass. Norm revealed his load in an Erik Cortina YouTube Video.

F-Class shooter Erik Cortina notes that the .284 Shehane has a velocity edge over the straight .284 Win because it holds more powder: “The Shehane has more capacity than the .284 Winchester. Ryan is using 54.0 grains simply as a fire-forming load. Typical load for a Shehane is around 57.0 grains of Hodgdon H4831 SC.” By blowing the sidewalls out 0.010″, the .284 Shehane picks up about 3.3 grains of extra case capacity. That enhancement makes a BIG difference. The extra boiler room is enough to drive the 180s at 2900-2950 fps with H4831sc, with long barrels.

Forum member Jim Hardy has shot the .284 with great success. He tells us: “In my humble opinion, the .284 Shehane is the best balanced long-range round there is — bar none. Here is why:

You have to shoot a 30 Cal Magnum with a 240gr bullet to equal the performance of most 7mm chamberings with the 180 Berger VLD. With the .284 Shehane, you have a .308 bolt face, medium action, and Lapua brass. You use less powder than the 7 mags, and have great accuracy and ballistics even while fire-forming. The .284 Shehane shoots inside the 6.5 AND the straight .284, the .300 WSM, and the .300 Win Mag with less recoil. What is not to love about the 284 Shehane? It is a no-brainer for long range — F-Class or Prone or 1000-yard Benchrest.”

Scotland’s Grant Taylor. who used the .284 Shehane to finish third at the 2009 F-Class Worlds in England says the .284 Shehane is “very accurate with superb vertical spreads at 1000 yards. [This] caliber… has awesome accuracy. I’m getting 2930-2950 fps with spreads in the 3-5 fps range. I use Hodgdon H4831sc powder, CCI BR2 primers, and pointed 180gr Bergers.”

.284 Shehane Shines in 1K Benchrest Competition Too
The .284 Shehane has won in Benchrest as well as F-Class competition. In 2013, Henry Pasquet won the IBS 1000-Yard Nationals shooting a .284 Shehane. Henry’s Championship-winning rig is shown below. Note the 5″-wide fore-end which is not legal for F-Class. Henry also runs a combo tuner/muzzle-brake.

.284 Shehane Henry Pasquet ibs 1000 yard championship

.284 Shehane Henry Pasquet ibs 1000 yard championship

Amazing Accuracy When Fire-Forming .284 Shehane

7mm .285 shehane improved f-class f-open caliber cartridge chambering

If you look at that 5-round group you might think it was shot with a 6 PPC or maybe a 6mmBR. But no, this was done with heavy 180gr Berger Hybrid bullets and the .284 Shehane. In fact, this impressive sub-quarter MOA group was shot while fire-forming with a very well-worn barrel! Gun builder Ryan Pierce of Piercision Rifles explains: “Here’s a 5-shot 0.191″ group at 100 yards with my .284 Shehane fireforming loads. This barrel has 2200 rounds through it. It had 2000 as a straight .284 Win and then I set it back to .284 Shehane to form brass with. [The load was] 180 Hybrids with 54.0 grains of H4831 SC.”


*Some exceptional barrels chambered in straight .284 Win can reach 2900 fps with the 180s. Ryan Pierce has a 32″ Brux barrel that is delivering 2900 fps with the straight .284. However, Ryan acknowledges that his velocities are not typical: “A lot of .284 Win barrels top out at around 2850 fps with the 180s”.

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February 21st, 2019

Ireland vs. USA — 2019 Creedmoor Cup Competition

Arizona Ireland USA American Creedmoor Challenge Cup rifle competition

The Creedmoor Cup is an historic challenge match between American and Irish marksmen. The first match was held in in 1874 between American and Irish Teams in Creedmoor, New York. (Read Match History). The Match was revived in 2011 and is now held every four years.

In 2019, the match was held this week at the Ben Avery Range in Arizona, following the Berger Southwest Nationals. It proved to be a great match, with Team USA coming out on top. Erik Cortina stated: “What a great experience this has been. Team USA won the 2019 Creedmoor cup vs Ireland. It had been over 100 years since match was shot in the United States. Glad to see this tradition continue.”

Arizona Ireland USA American Creedmoor Challenge Cup rifle competition

Arizona Ireland USA American Creedmoor Challenge Cup rifle competition

Congrats to the Members of Winning Team USA:

F-TR Riflemen
Alan Barnhart
Ellis Berry
David Conrath
Tracy Hogg
Ian Klemm
Matthew Schwartzkopf
Ed Shelley
Keith Trapp
F-Open Riflemen
Larry Bartholome
Erik Cortina
Ken Dickerman
David Gosnell
Rick Jensen
Jim Murphy
Pat Scully
Keith Weil
Coaches
Kent Reeve (Head Coach)
James Crofts
Scott Fulmer
Bob Seabold
Nancy Tompkins
Team Staff
Captain Phil Kelley
Vice-Captain Dan Bramley
Adjutant Stephen Ireland

Team USA Captain Phil Kelly told us this was a great match: “USA wins the Creedmoor Cup in a great competition with Team Ireland! Two days of cold and windy conditions challenged both 16-shooter teams. Final ceremonies included Native American dancers and great camaraderie among all the competitors. Thank you to all from Team Ireland who made the trip! The best of competitors and friends.” Phil added: “Special thanks to additional Creedmoor Committee members including Michelle Gallagher, Pete Ricci, and Mark Walker. We look forward to the next gathering in four years. Safe travels all.”

Arizona Ireland USA American Creedmoor Challenge Cup rifle competition

Nancy Tompkins looks down-range. With the wind-chill, competitors and coaches dressed warm.
Arizona Ireland USA American Creedmoor Challenge Cup rifle competition

Not Your Typical Warm Arizona Days at Ben Avery
There were variable conditions at the match — first easy, then tough. USA Captain Phil Kelley reported: “On Day 1 of the 2-day match, things started good then got tougher. The morning and 800-yard line saw 34° and light winds leading to high scores.

That changed as the 16-shooter teams made their way to the 900-yard line as sun, moderate wind and building mirage hit the range providing more challenging conditions.

After an excellent lunch both teams were in for a challenge. Winds of 12-16 mph with constant angle changes and surging mirage made communications and coordination among five coaches critical. The wind chill also dropped as teams stayed on the line for the majority of allotted time.”

Arizona Ireland USA American Creedmoor Challenge Cup rifle competition

The First-Ever Creedmoor Challenge Match in 1874
The Irish International Shooting team arrived in New York on the 16th of September and proceeded to “take in the sights”, which was understandable, before some practice at the Creedmoor range. On September 26th they presented themselves for the match with confidence and in high spirits. The crowds that day were reported to be between 5,000 and 10,000 strong, which showed the huge support already growing for the fledgling sport in America.

Arizona Ireland USA American Creedmoor Challenge Cup rifle competition

The course of fire was 15 shots to each man at 800, 900, and 1000 yards. Unfortunately, the details of each mans scores at the individual distances have been lost to time but we do know that the Americans were well ahead after the 800-yard shoot. The Irish then caught up after the 900-yard and finished the 1000-yard shoot ahead by 1 point. The Americans still had one man left to shoot and it came down to his very last shot with which he scored a 4 giving the American team the win over the Irish by 3 points.

Arizona Ireland USA American Creedmoor Challenge Cup rifle competition

Post-Competition Camaraderie and “Craic” at the Pub
“Craic” is an Irish term referring to positive interaction among people through conversation, stories, and music. The Craic was strong after the 2019 Creedmoor Match.

Desert Sharpshooters posted: “The ‘Craic’ is amazing tonight with the Irish rifle team to finish the Creedmoor. Thank you to the USA team members that came out tonight to show the Irish a good time. This is truely what the Creedmoor Cup is about, Friendship and good times.”

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