September 27th, 2020

Sunday GunDay: Shelley Davidson’s Amazing “Tinker Toy” 30 BR

Shelly Davidson Tinker Toy 30 BR

Editor’s NOTE: Shelley Davidson passed away in 2008 after a courageous battle with cancer. He was one of the great innovators in benchrest rifle design. This article, written before Shelley died, showcases Shelley’s creative talents at their best. His “Tinker Toy” design will always be a tribute to Shelley’s fabricating skills and imagination.


Shelley Davidson — a brilliant innovator. R.I.P. Shelley — you will not be forgotten.

Shelley Davidson’s peers called his radical rifle the “Tinker Toy” gun. We call it revolutionary. Even now, 14 years after its creation, there’s nothing quite like it. This innovative, skeleton design threw conventional wisdom to the winds. Shelley readily concedes he “broke the rules” of benchrest rifle building. But this was inspired rule-breaking, because Davidson’s rifle shot like a house on fire. The Tinker Toy gun won its first matches, both for Score AND for Group. And this rifle also delivered many “zero groups” in Gene Begg’s Texas Tunnel. Hats off to Shelley for conceiving and building a truly radical rifle that was also wicked accurate and successful in competition.

tinker toy davidson 20 BR benchrest rifle

Tinker Toy 30 BR — Radical As It Gets

Report by Shelley Davidson
Although I’m not big on naming rifles, my shooting buddies have christened the gun “Tinker Toy.” I can live with that as it does kind of look as if it was made with a Tinker Toy set.

Origins of the Project
This project began with some wild ideas I had in the fall of 2006 about using magnets to tune a barrel. My idea was to use one magnet on the barrel and another on the stock so they pushed against each other to counter gravity-induced barrel sag (and possibly) tame barrel vibration in a beneficial manner. The only way to test these ideas was to build the device and mount it on a gun. That meant I had to build a new rifle because there was no place to mount a magnet on the stock of a conventional benchrest rig. I had a Kelbly-stocked heavy varmint stock with a Michael Kavanaugh paint job on it. I didn’t think Kav would ever forgive me if I started drilling holes in one of his works of art. My light varmint was in a carbon fiber Scoville stock that costs about a grand. Drilling into the Scoville for an experiment just smacked of bad judgment. So, the magnet thing was my first motivation for designing a new stock. As long as I was building from scratch I decided to offset the barrel and action 0.75″ to the right to counteract the spin/torque from the bullet.

Although there’s nothing new here, my second motivation was to build a 30BR that could shoot in the 10.5 lb light varmint class in NBRSA. The magnetic tuner will automatically make this gun illegal in the IBS. The IBS has declared all barrel attachments un-safe and have outlawed them. I personally feel that the IBS really outlawed all barrel attachments to prevent experimentation and innovation. But at least we have NBRSA matches.

Designing the New Gun — Thinking “Outside the Box”
Once I’d decided to build a lightweight stock that could support experimental devices out near the muzzle, I started drawing up some rough plans. I also took a trip to Jerry Stiller’s shop in Wylie, Texas for a brainstorming session with Jerry, the maker of Viper and other Benchrest actions. Jerry is a school-trained mechanical engineer and thinks differently than I do. I came away from Stiller’s shop with my design roughed out and sketched on paper. The design violated several covenants of conventional wisdom for building competition BR rifles. For instance, two-piece stocks stress the action. Stress reduction is why most BR rifles are glued into the stock. Another myth is that metal stocks vibrate too much so wood or foam-filled fiberglass or carbon fiber are used.

Tinker Toy Rifle DESIGN FEATURES

Shelly Davidson’s Rifle was so innovative, that almost every feature, except the bare action, is very different than you’ll find on most Benchrest rigs. Accordingly we felt it would be useful to isolate and describe the key design features, from stem to stern. Click thumbnails to view FULL-SIZE PHOTOS.

Front Bracket with Magnetic Tuner
The tuner consists of one rare earth magnet attached to the stock and another attached to a barrel sleeve with the magnets oriented so as to make the magnetic force repel each other. The purpose is to counter “barrel droop” and, hopefully, dampen barrel vibration. The lower magnet is carried on a threaded shaft (with lock ring), allowing the magnet to be raised up and down to adjust the “up push” on the barrel.

Tubular Fore-Arm Supported by Brackets
Three brackets support two tubes, one on either side of the barrel. The rear-most bracket is sandwiched between the barrel and the action. Four inches forward (max distance allowed for barrel blocks) a second bracket grips the barrel. Near the muzzle a third bracket secures the ends of the tubes and holds the magnetic tuner. To allow barrel offset, the left tube is 1″ diameter tube while the right tube is 5/8″ diameter.

Offset Barrel
The rifle rests on a 3″ wide plate attached to the underside of the two fore-end tubes. With the plate centered in the front sandbag, the barreled action is actually offset 0.75″ to the right (looking forward from the breech). The purpose of this offset is to keep more weight on the right side to counter the tendency of the rifle to torque counter-clockwise. Two different diameter tubes allow for the built-in offset.

Floating Action without Sub-Support or Bedding
On the Tinker Toy gun, the action serves as a load-bearing assembly, holding the barrel in the front, and the skeleton buttstock (or “keel”) in the rear. Shelley was told that accuracy would suffer if you stressed a benchrest action in this manner but that proved untrue. It is a very simple solution to building a rifle, and it eliminates the need to bed the action. The forearm attaches to the action via a bracket installed like a recoil lug.

Skeleton Rear “Keel” Affixed Directly to Action
Davidson’s Tinker Toy does not have a conventional rear buttstock. Instead there is low-profile, v-shaped metal “keel”, as Davidson calls it, that rides the rear bag. The keel is supported by a tubular backbone that attaches at the rear of the Diamondback action. At the butt end is an aluminum plate covered with bubble wrap that serves as a butt pad. The skeletonized rear section helps the rifle maintain a very low center of gravity.

Locked Scope with External Windage and Elevation Adjustment
Shelley ran an older Leupold 36X Benchrest Scope with front-adjusting objective. To eliminate slop or loose tolerances in the erector mechanism that could cause changes in point of impact, the internals have been locked up by Jackie Schmidt. To move the cross-hairs relative to the bore axis, Shelley has a special Jewell/Foster rear ring that allows a limited amount of lateral and vertical movement of the entire scope body.

TINKER TOY SPECIFICATIONS

Action: Stiller SS Diamondback Drop-Port (1/2″ short), with .308 Bolt Face.
Barrel: Shilen .308 caliber, 17-twist, HV.
Chambering: 30BR, .330″ neck, Pacific Tool & Gauge Robinett Reamer.
Stock: Davidson Custom Tubular Stock with 0.75″ Offset Barreled Action.
Tube Construction: 6061 Aluminum, 1″ diameter (left), 5/8″ diameter (right).
Load: H4198 powder and 118gr Ronnie Cheek bullets. Loaded to 2980 fps.
Trigger: Jewell, 2 ounce BR.
Tuner: Custom, Adjustable with Opposing Magnets.
Optics: Leupold 36X (locked by J. Schmidt).
Rings: Jewell Foster External Adjusting Rings.

Stiller Diamondback Action and Shilen 17-Twist Barrel
I had wanted to use an aluminum Stiller Cobra drop port with a 6mmBR bolt face but Jerry had none in stock and he estimated it would be a year before one was available. Although I’ve waited for up to a year for an action in the past, I wanted to build this rifle during the fall of 2006 while the weather was pleasant enough to work in my unheated and un-air-conditioned garage shop. Jerry did have a 1/2″ short stainless steel Diamondback in stock so I purchased it even though it would add 3 ounces to the gun compared to the aluminum Cobra. Three ounces is a lot of weight when you’re working with a 10.5-lb limit. I had a heavy varmint contour Shilen 17-twist barrel that would work nicely and I had a Jewell trigger on a rifle that I wasn’t using at the time. I also decided to use my Leupold 36X (locked-up by Jackie Schmidt) with the Jewell/Foster adjustable rings.

Building the Tube Fore-Arm and Brackets
I took a wild guess as to tubing thickness and settled on .035″ for the 1″ left fore-arm tube and .058″ for the 5/8″ right fore-arm tube. All of the flat stock and tubes are 6061 Aluminum. I did the lathe work and the mill work and every evening I’d put the parts together and think about the proper way to proceed.

tube benchrest rifle

When the parts were mostly made, I started thinking that this was a truly ugly rifle. I thought about painting it but that wasn’t a good option as many of the parts are designed to slide over others and glue together. Anodizing was the best answer so while looking on the Internet for local anodizing shops I Googled “Home Anodizing”. Sure enough there were a few sites that told about how to anodize at home. I picked up some battery acid from NAPA Auto Supply, some Rit Clothes Dye from Wal-Mart, and a bunch of distilled water from the grocery store. Using an old battery charger as my dc power supply I started anodizing and dying the eighteen parts that went into the stock. Although I had to strip and re-anodize some of the parts, the work turned out acceptable.

Putting it All Together–Lug-Mounting the Fore-Arm and Lots of Epoxy
The barrel contour had to be modified to work with the stock which attaches by way of a rear plate which mounts like a recoil lug and a plate that ties the barrel and the stock tubes together 4″ forward of the bolt face. The four-inch maximum distance is a NBRSA rule concerning barrel blocks.

Davidson Benchrest 30BR

Davidson 30BR group targetThe recoil lug-style stock mount is probably the only truly innovative thing I did other than the opposing-magnet tuner. Basically, the rear bracket is sandwiched between the receiver face and the barrel shoulder–positioned where a conventional recoil lug would go. I also added a brass ring (visible in photo) between the anodized bracket and the barrel. This was done to distribute loads over a wider surface area. (I was concerned that the bracket material was fairly soft and I didn’t want to crush it as I torqued the barrel in place.) After fitting the barrel and plates I glued the entire gun together using epoxy and various LocTite adhesives. The rest of the parts were assembled but I did not Loctite the scope bases since I thought I’d be disassembling the rifle for re-work after the first trials. That came back to bite me during later testing when the gun started shooting erratically and I went down a couple of blind alleys before finding the loose bases.

Range Testing–Results Are Very Positive
The first range session was a real shocker. Even though the wind was up to 10mph and twitchy, the rifle showed promise from the very first shot. I really didn’t expect that kind of performance without, at least, some rework. After sighting in, I shot five, 5-shot groups that, when averaged together, measured .223″. That’s good enough to win some benchrest group matches. But I wasn’t finished with the gun yet–I still wanted to try out my magnetic tuner concept.

Magnetic Benchrest Tuner Davidson

The Magnetic Tuner
Next, I built the magnetic tuner. The tuner consists of one rare earth magnet attached to the stock and another attached to a barrel sleeve with the magnets oriented so the magnetic forces repel each other. In order to test the magnets and to determine if the rifle really shot as well as it seemed to, I took it to Gene Beggs’s shooting tunnel in Odessa, Texas. I spent two days at the tunnel testing loads and then installed the magnetic tuner. The gun shoots well with the magnets and shoots well without them. I suppose I can’t make any claims as to how much, if any, improvement the magnets make. Gene said that my gun was the most accurate rifle to be tested at his one-year-old shooting facility: “Shelley Davidson brought one of the most unusual rifles I had ever seen; he called it his ‘Tube Gun.’ And boy, did it ever shoot! It still holds the record in the tunnel as the rifle that shot more zeros than any other to date.” I definitely recommend Gene’s facility for testing and refining shooting techniques and loads.

Competition — Tinker Toy Won Both Score and Group Matches

Finally the big day arrived when I’d shoot the first match with my new gun. The North Texas Shooters Association was holding its first club match of the 2007 season. At the Denton, Texas matches we shoot a Score Match in the morning and a Group Match in the afternoon. The March event was at 100 yards and the April match will be at 200 yards and so on alternating throughout the benchrest season.

Davidson tube BR rifle Score MatchMatch One–Tinker Toy Wins Score with a 250 – 17X
Since the gun is chambered in 30BR and that chambering is almost immune to tuning woes, I preloaded 130 rounds with H4198 powder and 118gr Cheek bullets. I used my SEB front rest and rear bag which are made by Sebastian Lambang in Indonesia. Everything came together, and Tinker Toy demonstrated that the accuracy it showed in the tunnel was no fluke. The gun shot great and I won the morning match with a 250, 17X. The day was quite windy and the next best shooter scored a 250, 15X. So I’d chalked up my first win.

Match Two–Tinker Toy Wins Group with a .2282″ Agg
Tinker Toy won the afternoon group match I entered with a five-group Aggregate of .2282″. (The second place score was .2568″.) My groups were .149″, .197″, .243″, .302″ (oops), and .250″. You know how some folks say a 30BR can’t be competitive with a PPC? Well that .2282″ Agg won’t break any records, but it is good enough to win some regional registered BR matches. So this rifle has demonstrated an ability to win in both Score and Group matches. Obviously I have a very good Shilen barrel, great Cheek bullets and the rest of the components are doing their jobs as well. But, the stock is also working well.

Score Shooting vs. Group Shooting–The Rules
In a score match, the shooter shoots one bullet at each of five record targets, which are clustered on one target sheet. The Aggregate score of five of these targets determines the winner. If the shooter touches the 10 ring on all of his 25 targets he can score a “clean” 250 score. Usually there will be more than one shooter who scores a 250 so the winner is determined by the X-count. The 1/2″ 10-point ring has a 1/16″ dot in its center. Touching the X dot adds to the shooters X count. In short-range group matches, the shooter must try to put five bullets through the same hole. At each distance (100 or 200), five, 5-shot matches are scored, the group sizes are added together (MOA equivalent at 200) and the total is divided by five to arrive at an Aggregate score.

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June 9th, 2020

Powder Burn Rate Comparison Table — Download HERE

Hodgdon IMR Winchester Burn Rate Powder speed table relative table chart

Day after day, one of AccurateShooter’s most-visited web pages is a reference guide featuring a comparative burn rate chart, ranking powders from fastest to slowest. Compiled by Hodgdon Powder Co., this Burn Rate Chart displays the relative burn rates of 163 different powders. Here is the latest table, released by Hodgdon in November of 2019.

You’ll want to download this Powder Burn Rate Table. This table shows the latest IMR powders including the Enduron series (IMR 4166, 4451, 4955, 7977), highlighted in green. This 163-entry comparison table provides vital information for hand-loaders. Note — this invaluable chart is not limited to Hodgdon and IMR propellants. This burn rate chart ranks powders from eight major powder-makers: Accurate, Alliant, Hodgdon, IMR, Norma, Ramshot (Western), Vihtavuori, and Winchester.

This chart provides useful information for all hand-loaders. When doing load development, and testing one powder versus another, it’s generally wise to choose propellants that share the same relative burn rate, as least for starters.

NOTE: Hodgdon powders are blue, IMR Enduron powders are green, IMR standard powders are yellow, and Winchester powders are red. DOWNLOAD Chart HERE.


Latest POWDER BURN RATE TABLE from HODGDON/IMR

Hodgdon IMR Winchester Burn Rate Powder speed table relative table chart

CLICK HERE to Download Chart as PDF File

Story find by EdLongrange. We welcome reader submissions.
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April 28th, 2020

Vihtavuori Explains Powder Grain Shapes

Vihtavuori loading propellant reloading powder N133 N150 N140 N550 ball flake stick extruded perforated powders

POWDER GRAIN SHAPES — What You Need to Know

The shape of powder grains has a profound effect on the performance of the powder charge, as it concerns both pressure and velocity. There are multiple powder shapes including flake, ball, and extruded or “stick” (both solid and perforated).

All Vihtavuori reloading powders are of the cylindrical, single-perforated extruded stick type. The differences in burning rate between the powders depend on the size of the grain, the wall thickness of the cylinder, the surface coating and the composition. Cylindrical extruded powders can also have multi-perforated grains. The most common types are the 7- and 19-perforated varieties. A multi-perforated powder grain is naturally of a much larger size than one with a single perforation, and is typically used for large caliber ammunition.

Other types of powder grain shapes include sphere or ball, and flake. The ball grains are typically used in automatic firearms but also in rifles and handguns. The ball grain is less costly to produce, as it is not pressed into shape like cylindrical grains. Flake shaped grains are typically used in shotgun loadings.

Vihtavuori loading propellant reloading powder N133 N150 N140 N550 ball flake stick extruded perforated powders

Web thickness in gunpowder terminology means the minimum distance that the combustion zones can travel within the powder grain without encountering each other. In spherical powders, this distance is the diameter of the “ball”; in flake powder it is the thickness of the flake; and in multi-perforated extruded powders it is the minimum distance (i.e. wall thickness) between the perforations.

The burning rate of powder composed of grains without any perforations or surface treatment is related to the surface area of the grain available for burning at any given pressure level. The change in the surface area that is burning during combustion is described by a so-called form function. If the surface area increases, the form function does likewise and its behavior is termed progressive. If the form function decreases, its behavior is said to be degressive. If the flame area remains constant throughout the combustion process, we describe it as “neutral” behavior.

The cylindrical, perforated powders are progressive; the burning rate increases as the surface area increases, and the pressure builds up slower, increasing until it reaches its peak and then collapses. Flake and ball grains are degressive; the total powder surface area and pressure are at their peak at ignition, decreasing as the combustion progresses.

So how does the shape affect pressure and muzzle velocity? In general, it can be said that powder that burns progressively achieves a desired muzzle velocity at lower maximum pressure than a powder that burns neutrally, not to mention a degressive powder. As grain size increases, the maximum pressure moves towards the muzzle, also increasing muzzle blast. Muzzle velocity and pressure can be adjusted by means of the amount of powder or loading density, i.e. the relationship between the powder mass and the volume available to it. As the loading density increases, maximum pressure grows.

Learn More with FREE Vihtavuori Reloading APP »

Vihtavuori loading propellant reloading powder N133 N150 N140 N550 ball flake stick extruded perforated powders


This article originally appeared on the Vihtavuori Website.

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April 18th, 2020

Comparative Burn-Rate Chart Lists 163 Powders

Hodgdon IMR Winchester Burn Rate Powder speed table relative table chart

Day after day, one of AccurateShooter’s most-visited web pages is a reference guide featuring a comparative burn rate chart, ranking powders from fastest to slowest. Compiled by Hodgdon Powder Co., this Burn Rate Chart displays the relative burn rates of 163 different powders. Here is the latest table, released by Hodgdon in November of 2019.

You’ll want to download this Powder Burn Rate Table. This table shows the latest IMR powders including the Enduron series (IMR 4166, 4451, 4955, 7977), highlighted in green. This 163-entry comparison table provides vital information for hand-loaders. Note — this invaluable chart is not limited to Hodgdon and IMR propellants. This burn rate chart ranks powders from eight major powder-makers: Accurate, Alliant, Hodgdon, IMR, Norma, Ramshot (Western), Vihtavuori, and Winchester.

This chart provides useful information for all hand-loaders. When doing load development, and testing one powder versus another, it’s generally wise to choose propellants that share the same relative burn rate, as least for starters.

NOTE: Hodgdon powders are blue, IMR Enduron powders are green, IMR standard powders are yellow, and Winchester powders are red. DOWNLOAD Chart HERE.


Latest POWDER BURN RATE TABLE from HODGDON/IMR

Hodgdon IMR Winchester Burn Rate Powder speed table relative table chart

CLICK HERE to Download Chart as PDF File

Story find by EdLongrange. We welcome reader submissions.
Permalink - Articles, Bullets, Brass, Ammo, Reloading 2 Comments »
January 23rd, 2019

Access Hodgdon and IMR Load Data in Reload Data Center

Hodgdon Reloading data Center hand loading powder

Hodgdon Reloading data Center hand loading powder

Hodgdon and IMR powders, including H4198, Varget, H4350, and IMR 4451, are some of the most successful propellants used by competitive shooters. If you want to find solid, reliable load data for these and other Hodgdon and IMR powders, we recommend you go right to the source — visit the Hodgdon/IMR Reloading Data Center, at www.HodgdonReloading.com. There you’ll find the latest, updated load recipes for pistol, rifle, and shotgun reloaders.

In the Data Center, you’ll find thousands of load recipes for pistol, rifle, and shotgun. Rifle shooters will find dozens of loads for their favorite Hodgdon, IMR, and Winchester powders such as H4198, Varget, H4350, and IMR 8208 XBR. And Hodgdon’s Reloading Center is now faster and easier to use. Navigation is simplified and the whole interface is more user-friendly.

Precise Search Results for your Cartridge and Favorite Powders
Hodgdon Reloading data Center hand loading powder

The online Reloading Data Center allows you to get precise search results for any listed cartridge. You can select your preferred powders and bullets. After choosing a cartridge, you can pre-select specific bullet weights and powder types. That quickly delivers just the information you want and need. You won’t have to scroll through scores of entries for bullets or powders you don’t use.

Data Center Works Well with Mobile Devices
Mobile users will notice Reloading Center is very “user-friendly” for smart-phone and tablet users. Controls have been optimized for touch-screens, and buttons are large and easy to use. Likewise the results are displayed in a large, easy-to read format.

Hodgdon tip from EdLongrange. We welcome reader submissions.
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December 14th, 2018

Hodgdon 2019 Annual Manual with 5000+ Loads Released

Hodgdon Annual manual relaoding 224 valkyrie .308 win varget h4350

Hodgdon has released its 2019 Reloading Manual, the 16th Annual Edition of this valuable reloading resource. This new manual contains data for Hodgdon, IMR and Winchester Smokeless Propellants in more than 5,000 loads, with updates for 17 rifle and pistol cartridges. Using this resource, handloaders can now find data for the new 224 Valkyrie and 6.5 PRC cartridges. Along with comprehensive load data, the 2019 Hodgdon Annual Manual offers authoritative articles by leading gun and outdoor industry writers, working with the editors of Shooting Times magazine.

“The Annual Manual is our printed yearly update for the ardent handloader,” said Ron Reiber, lead ballistician for Hodgdon. “We believe one of our competitive advantages is providing cutting-edge data on all our propellants. Our customers know they can look to Hodgdon to be first to supply this information on hot, new cartridges and newly-introduced powders.”

CLICK HERE to order the 2019 Hodgdon Annual Manual from the Hodgdon website for $12.99 (shipping included). You can also purchase the Annual Manual wherever popular magazines are sold.

H4350 and Varget In Stock Now at Many Vendors

In 2017 Hodgdon celebrated its 70th Anniversary. At SHOT Show 2017 talked with Chris Hodgdon. Chris was proud to note that his family-owned company is now marked its 70th year in business. The company has been very successful, but sometimes that means supply can’t catch up with demand with some of the most popular powders, such as Hodgdon H4350, which is extremely accurate and also temp-stable. Chris said: “Getting more H4350 to our customers is one of our top priorities. With the booming popularity of the 6.5 Creedmoor and other similar cartridges, there is a lot of demand for that powder.” Supply has definitely increased this year. Yes, H4350, in both 1-lb and 8-lb containers, is in stock right now at Bruno’s, Graf’s, Midsouth, and Powder Valley.

Hodgdon Reloading guide 2017 Midsouth

Hodgdon IMR Varget XBR 8208 SHOT Show Chris Reloading GuideWe also discussed the continued popularity of Varget, which also became more readily available this year. It is still one of the very best choices for a wide variety of cartridges, including the .308 Win (just look at the groups on our X-Max for Xmas story). Chris said that Varget users may also want to try IMR 8208 XBR. Chris observed: “I think IMR 8208 XBR is one of the very best powders we make. It is accurate, temp-stable, and it meters very well because the kernels are very small. The guys who try 8208 have been very happy.”

We concur with Chris — we’ve used 8208 XBR in a .308 Win and it shot exceptionally well. It is definitely “match-ready” powder for cartridges that like a medium burn-rate powder, such as the .308 Winchester, 7mm-08, and 6mmBR Norma.

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August 10th, 2018

Get Latest Powder Burn Rate Chart HERE

Hodgdon IMR Winchester Burn Rate Powder speed table relative table chart

Hey guys, you’ll probably want to download this Powder Burn Rate Table issued by Hodgdon/IMR. This table shows the latest IMR powders including the Enduron series (IMR 4166, 4451, 4955, 7977), high-lighted in green below. This 163-entry comparison table provides useful information for all hand-loaders. When doing load development, and testing one powder versus another, it’s generally wise to choose propellants that share the same relative burn rate, as least for starters. This invaluable burn rate chart ranks powders from eight major powder-makers: Accurate, Alliant, Hodgdon, IMR, Norma, Ramshot (Western), Vihtavuori, Winchester.

NOTE: Hodgdon powders are blue, IMR standard powders are yellow, IMR Enduron powders are green, and Winchester Powders are Red. DOWNLOAD Chart HERE.


Latest POWDER BURN RATE TABLE from HODGDON/IMR

Hodgdon IMR Winchester Burn Rate Powder speed table relative table chart

CLICK HERE to Download Chart as PDF File

Story find by EdLongrange. We welcome reader submissions.
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July 4th, 2018

Popular Powders at Bruno’s, Graf’s, Midsouth, Powder Valley

reloading Powder Sale Midsouth discount

It’s July 4th, that means fireworks displays. What better time to order up some gunpowder? We’re pleased to report that Bruno Shooters Supply, Grafs.com, Midsouth Shooters Supply and Powder Valley have received big shipments from the major powder makers. In stock now at these retailers are many of the most popular accuracy powders, including: Hodgdon Varget, Hodgdon 4198, Hodgdon 4895, Hodgdon 4831, IMR 4166, IMR 8208 XBR, Vithavuori N133, Accurate LT30 and LT32, Norma 203B, Alliant Reloder 15, and many more. And YES, all these vendors have the elusive H4350 and Reloder 16! Shop around for best prices on 1-lb and 8-lb containers. Midsouth has H4350 one-pounders for $26.45, while Bruno’s has Reloder 16 for just $22.70 per pound. NOTE: If you like H4350 you may want to try RL16 — it has a very similar burn rate and is temp stable.

Yes Hodgdon H4350 is Available Now — Both 1-lb and 8-lb:

reloading Powder Sale Midsouth Hodgdon H4350 discount
Along with Midsouth, you can also get H4350 powder at Bruno’s, Graf’s, and Powder Valley.

Plenty of Powder Options for All Disciplines
H4198 and LT30 are great for the 30BR, AR Comp and CFE 223 are excellent for Service Rifle shooters, VV N133 is a top choice for the 6PPC, Norma 203B (nearly identical to Reloder 15) is great in the 6mmBR and Dasher, IMR 8208 XBR is very accurate in the .308 Win, and Hodgdon H4831 is an excellent choice for the .284 Winchester and 7mm WSM.

All these Popular Powders (and many more) Are In Stock NOW:

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January 23rd, 2018

Download Latest Hodgdon IMR Relative Burn Rate Chart

Hodgdon IMR Winchester Burn Rate Powder speed table relative table chart

Hey guys, you’ll probably want to download this new Powder Burn Rate Chart issued by Hodgdon/IMR. This recently-released table includes the latest IMR powders including the Enduron series (IMR 4166, 4451, 4955, 7977), shown in green below. Please note, the chart is not limited to Hodgdon and IMR propellants. It also includes popular powders from Accurate, Alliant, Norma, Ramshot (Western), Vihtavuori, and Winchester.

This chart provides useful information for all hand-loaders. When doing load development, and testing one powder versus another, it’s generally wise to choose propellants that share the same relative burn rate, as least for starters.

NOTE: Hodgdon powders are shown in blue, IMR standard powders are shown in yellow, IMR Enduron powders are shown in green, and Winchester powder are shown in red. DOWNLOAD Chart HERE.


NEW POWDER BURN RATE TABLE from IMRPowder.com

Hodgdon IMR Winchester Burn Rate Powder speed table relative table chart

CLICK HERE to Download Chart as PDF File »

Story find by EdLongrange. We welcome reader submissions.
Permalink Bullets, Brass, Ammo, Reloading, Tech Tip 5 Comments »
December 18th, 2017

Hodgdon Releases New Winchester WinClean 244 Pistol Powder

Winchester Winclean pistol powder Smith Wesson 637 .38 Special .357 hand loading

Hodgdon has just introduced a versatile new Winchester-brand pistol powder with a clean formulation. WinClean 244 is a modern, Winchester-branded propellant “ideally suited to .38 Special, .45 Auto, and 9mm standard loads.” That means WinClean 244 is designed for moderate pressure target loads. That’s good news for hand-loaders who enjoy target shooting with these popular cartridges.

Hodgdon, which markets Winchester powders, says that new WinClean 244 is consistent, and clean burning with a low flash: “The WinClean formulation reduces copper fouling and residue, extending accuracy for longer shooting periods.” It will be interesting to see if this is noticeably cleaner-burning than other popular powders. In pistol barrels we are actually less concerned with copper fouling than with general “sootiness” and carbon.

With its clean-burning qualities, “shooters are really going to like loading handgun cartridges with this powder” said Tim Vaitekunas, vice president of product development at Hodgdon. WinClean 244 powder, in 1-, 4- and 8-pound canisters, should be in stores in January 2018. Load Data is now available right now on the Hodgdon Reloading Data Center.

This Editor used to compete in Action Pistol matches, so I’ve loaded thousands of rounds of pistol ammunition using a wide variety of pistol propellants. I tend to favor Vihtavuori N310/N320 for .45 ACP, and Alliant powders for 9mm Luger, but it will be interesting to see how WinClean 244 works for these chamberings. Many powders work well for .38 Special loads, but new 244’s low flash could be an advantage there too.

Pistol Showcase — Candidates for WinClean 244

Winchester Winclean pistol powder Smith Wesson 637 .38 Special .357 hand loading

The Sig P210 SuperTarget is a modern 9mm Luger pistol with exceptional accuracy and one of the best out-of-the-box triggers you’ll ever try. Winchester WinClean 244 is suitable for a variety of bullet weights in the 9x19mm (9mm Luger) cartridge.

Winchester Winclean pistol powder Smith Wesson 637 .38 Special .357 hand loading

The 8-shot Smith & Wesson Model 627 Pro is an exceptional revolver that balances well and can shoot 1″ groups at 25 yards with tuned handloads. On this particular Model 627, featured on YouTube, the owner added a Hogue Pau Ferro wood grip, Hogue Extended Cylinder Release, and Wilson Combat trigger spring kit. In this kind of wheelgun, you can shoot moderate .38 Special target rounds loaded with new WinClean 244 powder.

Permalink Handguns, New Product, Reloading 2 Comments »
September 19th, 2017

IMR Enduron Powders — Excellent Extruded Propellants

IMR Enduron Powder 4166 4451 7977

Have you tried the IMR Enduron powders yet (IMR 4166, 4451, and 7977)? We’ve been impressed with what we’ve seen. IMR’s new line of Enduron extruded powders offer good temp stability, reduced copper fouling, and good load density for many of the most popular cartridges (such as .223 Rem, .308 Win, .30-06, 300 WSM to name a few). Some of our Forum members have reported excellent results with IMR 4166 in the 6mmBR, Dasher, 6.5×47 Lapua and .308 Win. One member wrote: “in my 6.5×47… 4166 gives speeds and accuracy pretty much exactly the same as Varget.” And other shooters have observed reduced copper fouling with Enduron series powders, so IMR’s Enduron anti-fouling chemistry does seem to work.

IMR Legendary Powders provided this summary of Enduron Properties:

Varmint hunters, big game hunters, match shooters and military snipers all seek powders that are insensitive to temperature changes. These powders all have it. This translates to point of impact and group size remaining the same, no matter what temperature conditions prevail. Another huge benefit is an additive that prevents copper fouling from building during dozens of rounds being fired. Here the advantage is top accuracy for longer periods of time, and less cleaning time.

IMR Enduron Powder 4166 4451 7977

A third major accomplishment with this technology is ideal load density. Experienced reloaders know that a case-filling load often delivers the most uniform velocities and best accuracy. We see this in popular match cartridges such as the 6PPC, 6mmBR, and .308 Win. These new Enduron powders offer excellent “full case” load density for the most commonly used cartridges with popular bullets.

CLICK HERE to Learn More about IMR Enduron Powders

These three powders, IMR 4166, IMR 4451 and IMR 7977, are environmentally friendly by not having any ingredients harmful to the environment. Add to that, the three of them cover the most popular cartridges from .204 Ruger up to the mighty 500 Nitro Express, and the handloader “has it all”.

Permalink Bullets, Brass, Ammo, Reloading 1 Comment »
July 31st, 2017

Bargain Finder 97: AccurateShooter’s Deals of the Week

Accurateshooter Bargain Finder Deals of Week

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

1. Natchez — Rock Chucker Supreme Reloading Kit, $249.99

Deals of Week RCBS Rock Chucker Supreme Kit

Everything you see above can be yours for just $249.99, a great deal. Right now, Natchez is selling the Rock Chucker Supreme Master Reloading Kit for $279.99. That’s a great deal considering all the hardware you get. Heck, the Rock Chucker press alone is worth $150.00+. Considering all you get, this is a heck of a deal. The Natchez price is $70-$90 cheaper than many other vendors. For example, MidwayUSA’s price is $329.99 for this same kit!

2. MidwayUSA — MagnetoSpeed Sporter, $159.99 (Promo Price)

Deals of Week RCBS Rock Chucker Supreme Kit

If you have been waiting to get a MagnetoSpeed… wait no longer. Priced at just $159.99 at MidwayUSA, the MagnetoSpeed Sporter model costs less than half as much as MagnetoSpeed’s V3 models. This is a special promo price — the best we’ve found (you’ll pay $179.99 or more elsewhere). This chronograph attaches directly to your barrel so you don’t have to go downrange to position tripods and set up skyscreens. For most people the Sporter Model contains all the features they need. READ MagnetoSpeed Sporter Review.

IMPORTANT: To get the $159.99 price you must place the item in your shopping cart. Yep, this is real — we placed it in our own shopping cart to confirm, as you can see above.

3. Burris — $100 Rebate on 4-16x50mm Eliminator III LaserScope

Burris 2016 Eliminator III LRF Scope Rebate

The Burris Eliminator III is an impressive piece of electro-optical technology. With a push of a button, a built-in laser rangefinder senses the distance to your target and the Eliminator’s microprocessor instantly calculates the required hold-over. The calculated aiming point is then displayed in the reticle with a red dot on the vertical cross-hair. Just put the bright red dot on the target and make the shot. Burris is now offering a $100 Mail-IN Rebate on 4-16x50mm Eliminator III LaserScopes (#200116) purchased between July 1st and October 31st, 2017.

Burris 2016 Eliminator III LRF Scope Rebate

If you ever wanted to get one of these advanced laserscopes, now is a great time to buy. CLICK HERE for Rebate Form and Full Instructions.

4. CDNN Sports — Ruger 17 HMR American Compact, $249.99

Ruger 17 HMR American Compact

With ballistics far superior to a .22 LR, the 17 HMR is ideal for prairie dogs and small varmints out to 180 yards or so. Now you can get a reliable, name brand 17 HMR rifle for a very attractive price. That’s right, CDNN Sports is selling the 17 HMR Ruger American Rimfire Compact, with 18″ barrel, for just $249.99. That includes two (2) comb units and a FREE padded carry sling. FFL required.

5. Monmouth Reloading — Nosler RDF Bullets, $28-$29 per 100

Monmouth Nosler RDF bullets 6mm 6.5 mm Creedmoor 140 175 105 reduced drag factor

Nosler’s line of RDF (Reduced Drag Factor) bullets have high BCs for their weight. Precision shooters are reporting outstanding accuracy. Given their high performance and consistency, RDF bullets represent a superior value. At Monmouth Reloading you can get Nosler RDFs for under $29 per 100 for popular 6mm, 6.5 mm, and .30-Cal sizes. That’s up to $20 less per box than some premium brands.

6. Amazon — FosPower 10200 mAh Waterproof Charger, $22.99

FosPower USB Battery pack waterproof shockproof LED

When you’re at the range or on a hunt, it’s smart to have a USB-output battery pack for smart phone, target-cam monitor, even a LabRadar. There are many battery packs available, but most are fairly fragile, with exposed ports. This “ruggedized” FosPower 10200 mAh charger is different. It is waterproof, dust-proof, and shock-proof. (IP67 certified: dust and water resistance for up to 3ft/1m for 30 minutes under water.) It can handle all that a PRS competitor or hunter can dish out. It even has a handy LED light. Right now it’s priced at $22.99 with FREE Shipping on combined orders over $25.00.

7. MidwayUSA — $75.00 Gift Card with SIG Optics Purchase

SIG Sauer Optics Deal $75 off certificate

Need a laser rangefinder or medium magnification riflescope? Sig Sauer makes some very high quality products and the latest SIG Kilo rangefinders are class leaders at their price points. Right now you can get a $75.00 Gift Certificate from MidwayUSA with a qualifying SIG Optics purchase. This deal is good through 8/31/2017 (the end of August). To get your $75.00 card, use Code 75GCSIG during checkout. The current qualifying products are shown above.

8. Academy Sports — Federal .22 LR Ammo, $16.99 for 325 Rds

.22 LR Federal AutoMatch Sale rimfire ammo

Here you go — name-brand rimfire ammo for just 5.23 cents per round. Can’t complain about that price. This is USA-made Federal ammo at an insanely low price — the $16.99 for 325 rounds is the equivalent of $2.61 for a 50-rd box. Can’t beat that. This Federal Auto Match .22 LR rimfire ammo features a 40gr Lead RN projectile. It feeds well in semi-auto rifles as well as bolt guns.

9. Grafs.com — 5% Off All Smokeless Reloading Powders

Grafs.com Graf's powder smokeless sale

Here’s a good opportunity to stock up on your favorite reloading powders. Now through August 2, 2017, Grafs.com is discounting ALL smokeless reloading powders. All smokeless propellants in stock are marked down five percent (5%). This applies to Hodgdon, Alliant, Accurate, IMR, Winchester and more. NOTE: This discount expires at 11:59 pm August 2, 2017 and will NOT apply to back-ordered items.

10. Amazon — Two Rolls of 3″ Neon Target Stickers, $12.95

Red Orange Neon 3

We like these bright, Neon 3″ target stickers. They are big enough to see easily at 600 yards, giving you a 1/2 MOA target center at that distance. For $12.95 at Amazon.com, you get 250 3″-diameter self-adhesive centers (125 targets per roll) that stick to almost any surface The high-contrast fluorescent red/orange color provides an excellent HI-VIZ aiming point, along with good contrast for bullet holes that fall within the 3″ circle. To help line up your reticle cross-hairs, the target centers feature black markers at 3, 6, 9, and 12 0’clock. NOTE: These stickers qualify for FREE Shipping with combined orders over $25.00.

Permalink Hot Deals, Optics, Reloading No Comments »
July 4th, 2017

Popular Powders in Stock at Midsouth and Powder Valley

reloading Powder Sale Midsouth discount

It’s July 4th, that means fireworks displays. What better time to order up some gunpowder? We’re pleased to report that Midsouth Shooters Supply and Powder Valley have received some big shipments from the major powder makers. In stock now at Midsouth and Powder Valley are many of the most popular accuracy powders, including: Hodgdon Varget, Hodgdon 4198, Hodgdon 4831, IMR 4166, IMR 8208 XBR, Vithavuori N133, Accurate LT30 and LT32, Norma 203B, Alliant Reloder 15, and many more. Sorry these vendors don’t have H4350 and Reloder 16, but Midsouth has the vast majority of the propellants our benchrest and precision shooters favor.

H4198 and LT30 are great for the 30BR, AR Comp and CFE 223 are excellent for Service Rifle shooters, VV N133 is a top choice for the 6PPC, Norma 203B (nearly identical to Reloder 15) is great in the 6mmBR and Dasher, IMR 8208 XBR is very accurate in the .308 Win, and Hodgdon H4831 is an excellent choice for the .284 Winchester and 7mm WSM.

All these popular Powders (and many more) are in stock:

reloading Powder Sale Midsouth discount reloading Powder Sale Midsouth discount reloading Powder Sale Midsouth discount
reloading Powder Sale Midsouth discount reloading Powder Sale Midsouth discount reloading Powder Sale Midsouth discount
reloading Powder Sale Midsouth discount reloading Powder Sale Midsouth discount reloading Powder Sale Midsouth discount
Permalink Bullets, Brass, Ammo, Reloading 1 Comment »
April 10th, 2017

Long-Term Powder Storage — What You Need to Know

Western Powders Blog SAAMI Storage

Ever wondered about the stability of the propellants in your reloading room? There are some important things you should know about powder storage, to ensure consistent powder performance and safety. On its website, Western Powders (vendors of Accurate, Norma, and Ramshot powders) published an informative Q & A series entitled Dear Labby: Questions for our Ballistics Lab. Here are some excerpts that pertain to powder storage and shelf life. Worried that your powder may be too old? Western’s experts explain how to check your propellants for warning signs.

Proper Powder Storage

Q: I live in southern Arizona where it is very hot. I am told powders will become unstable if stored in an area not air-conditioned. My wife says no powder or primers in the house. Can powder be stored in a refrigerator? What about using a fireproof safe? I would appreciate your ideas. — M.C.

Lab Answer: SAAMI guidelines are pretty clear on issues of storage. They recommend storing smokeless powder in containers that will not allow pressure to build if the powder is ignited — ruling out gun safes and refrigerators.

CLICK HERE to Read SAAMI Guidelines for Powder Storage (PDF)

In their original containers smokeless powder’s lifespan is quite long, even in your hot, arid climate, typically longer than the average handloader would need to store them. Stored safely in a garage or outbuilding, your powder should last years. If you see the powder developing a reddish tint, or giving off a foul odor, it is time to discard it.

Clumps in Powder Container

Q: I ordered some of your Accurate 1680 powder back about in December. I just now opened it … and it is full of clumps. My knowledge tells me that means moisture. Am I wrong? I just now broke the seal and it has been stored in a ammo can with desiccant packs around it and a dehumidifier running 14-16 hours a day. I can’t imagine this being my fault, if this does indicate moisture. I don’t know if the pink part on the label is suppose to be red or not, but it is definitely pink, so if it was red I am wondering if I was shipped an old container? I hope that this isn’t bad and I am stuck with it…

Lab Answer: All powder contains a certain amount of moisture. When the powder is stored or during shipping, it can go through temperature cycles. During the cycling, the moisture can be pulled to the surface and cause clumping. Clumping can also be caused by static electricity if too dry or the powder has limited graphite content. You can break up the clumps before metering and they shouldn’t be a problem. This will not affect the powder performance, so your product is fine. Accurate 1680 labels are designed in Pink. As a side note, specification for testing powder is at 70° F and 60% humidity.

Shelf Life and Packaging Dates

Q: Does powder ever get to old to use and what identifying marks does your company put on the canister for when it is made, You have helped me out a while ago when I asked about keeping my cowboy shooting under 950 fps and it works great less stress on the hand and the recoil is very minimum. — R.B.

Lab Answer: On one pound bottles, the number is on the corner in a silver box. If the powder was poured today, it would read 012815 followed by a lot number. The whole number would look something like 012815749. Eight pound bottles have a sticker on the bottom with an obvious date code. The lot number appears above the date.

Western Powders Blog SAAMI Storage

SUMMARY: Powder can have a very long shelf life. You need to watch for changes in smell and color. A reddish tinge, almost like rust on the powder, is a bad sign, as is a foul odor, not to be confused with a normal chemical smell. Either of these signs indicate it is time to dispose of your powder by means other than shooting.

Permalink - Articles, Reloading 3 Comments »
January 21st, 2017

New Hodgdon Reloading Guide Available

Hodgdon Reloading guide 2017 Midsouth

If you spend money on any gun-related print publication this spring, we recommend you pick up the Hodgdon 2017 Reloading Manual. Available for just $6.99 at Midsouth, the 2017 Reloading Guide contains new load data for Hodgdon’s latest powder offerings, including new CFE BLK rifle propellant. This guide also contains important load updates for 32 rifle and pistol cartridges. Along with over 5000 load recipes, the 2017 Hodgdon Reloading Guide features many informative “how-to” articles that can help you achieve the best results with your hand-loads.

70 Years of Hodgdon Powder

This year Hodgdon celebrates its 70th Anniversary. At SHOT Show 2017 we had a chance to talk with Chris Hodgdon. Chris was proud to note that his family-owned company is now marking its 70th year in business. The company has been very successful, but sometimes that means supply can’t catch up with demand. Our Forum members often ask about the availability of Hodgdon H4350 powder, which is extremely accurate and also temp-stable. Chris said: “Getting more H4350 to our customers is one of our top priorities. With the booming popularity of the 6.5 Creedmoor and other similar cartridges, there is a lot of demand for that powder.”

Hodgdon Reloading guide 2017 Midsouth

Hodgdon IMR Varget XBR 8208 SHOT Show Chris Reloading GuideWe also discussed the continued popularity of Varget, which has become more readily available in recent months. You can find even find the Varget 8-lb jugs now at Midsouth. Chris said that Varget users may also want to try IMR 8208 XBR. Chris observed: “I think IMR 8208 XBR is one of the very best powders we make. It is accurate, temp-stable, and it meters very well because the kernels are very small. The guys who try 8208 have been very happy.”

We concur with Chris — we’ve used 8208 XBR in a .308 Win and it shot exceptionally well. It is definitely “match-ready” powder for cartridges that like a medium burn-rate powder, such as the .308 Winchester, 7mm-08, and 6mmBR Norma.

Permalink Bullets, Brass, Ammo, Reloading 3 Comments »
January 18th, 2017

SHOT Show Day One — New Products

Kelbly Rimfire Anschutz  PRS F-TR trainer

Here are new Rimfire Cross-Trainer Rifles from Kelbly’s. These feature Anschutz .22LR rimfire actions in full-size, competition stocks. This is a great offering for F-TR, prone, and long-range competitors looking to train with less expensive rimfire ammo. Kelbly’s will sell these as complete rifles with rimfire actions bedded in fiberglass stocks.

SHOT Show, held every year in Las Vegas, is the largest gun show in North America. Thousands of exhibitors showcase hosts of new products — rifles, pistols, shotguns, optics, stocks, reloading tools, bullets, brass, powders, hunting accessories and much more. This is the ultimate “candy store” for gun guys, with literally “miles of aisles” and countless products on display. Here are some of the more interesting items we saw during Day One of SHOT Show.

Howa HCR Chassis Rifle
All decked out in a Camo Cerakote finish, the new Howa HCR Chassis rifle was an eye-catcher. Designed for PRS-type competition, the HCR features a modular aluminum stock with a separate buttstock section with adjustable comb and adjustable length of pull. The HCR will be offered in four chamberings: .223 Rem, .243 Win, 6.5 Creedmoor, and .308 Win. There will be standard and heavy barrel options with 20″, 22″, and 24″ lengths. The rear of the stock accepts AR-type furniture (for those guys who need to customize). This new rifle will be sold in Black or Multicam Cerakote finishes. A package will be offered with Nikko Stirling 4-16x50mm scope and EGW 20-MOA, one-piece base and rings.

Howa HCR Tactical PRS Rifle Modular 6.5 Creedmoor

New Viper PST Gen II Scopes from Vortex
The versatile Viper PST series can work for many disciplines — Target Shooting, 3-Gun, Hunting, or Precision Long Range. The new second generation PSTs offer many improvements, with four new models for 2017: 1-6x24mm, 2-10×32mm, 3-15×44mm, and 5-25×50mm: Vortex offers a wide magnification range with its 2017 line-up of Viper PSTs. These new scopes offer tall tactical turrets and side-focus parallax adjustment with integrated illumination. To ensure reliable return-to-zero, all new models feature the patented RZR Zero Stop from the Razor HD 5-20×50 riflescope. Reticles include Vortex’s new EBR-4 and EBR-2C with MOA or MRAD stadia to match your turrets. First Focal Plane reticles are available on select models.

Vortex Viper PST Gen II Optics Scope

Savage AR10-Type MSR in 6.5 Creedmoor and .308 Win
Our friends Ed and Steve (aka the 6.5 Guys) visited the Savage booth to take a look at the new Savage MSR Long-Range model, an AR10-type modular semi-auto rifle with a Magpul PRS Gen3 buttstock. The 6.5 Guys report: “Savage’s new MSR 10 Long Range Rifle is chambered in 6.5 Creedmoor or .308 Win. It appears to be a terrific option for those wanted to compete in the new PRS Gas Gun Series. It is built on a compact frame with a non-reciprocating side-charging handle that is particularly useful for left-handed shooters. The Blackhawk AR Blaze™ two-stage target trigger was light and crisp. It features an upgraded Savage barrel, with 5R rifling and a Melonite QPQ finish. Read more new practical/tactical product reports at www.65guys.com.

Savage MSR Long Range AR10 PRS Gas Gun

New Accurate No. 11FS Low-Flash Pistol Powder
Western Powders showcased a new Accurate powder that delivers 90% less muzzle flash, while still offering good consistency and accuracy. Accurate No. 11FS (for Flash Suppressed) is designed for magnum pistols, and small rifle rounds such as the Hornet. The advanced flash-suppressing formula dramatically reduces muzzle flash in many large pistol cartridges. Notably, this Accurate 11FS was specifically designed to work with the .300 Blackout cartridge.

Accurate No. 11FS Powder Pistol Low Flash Suppressed Magnum

Enhanced Bluetooth Connectivity for Kestrel
At the Kestrel booth, we learned that Kestrel will be offering an enhanced LiNK Bluetooth low-energy enabled protocol that will allow wireless connections with a greater variety of devices. This will allow Kestrels to share data with Bushnell, Wilcox, and Vectronix Laser Rangefinders, Steiner LRF Binoculars and many other devices. This kind of connectivity allows Kestrel windmeters to be more versatile than ever.

Kestrel LiNK Low Energy Bluetooth LRF connectivity wireless

Big Boomer Brass from Peterson Cartridge
For those who shoot the .408 or .375 Cheytac, sourcing top-quality brass has been a challenge in the past. That’s changed with the introduction of premium Cheytac brass from Peterson Cartridge Company. Along with the new Cheytac brass, Peterson produces quality casings for other large rifle cartridges including: .338 Lapua Magnum, .300 Winchester Magnum, and 7mm Rem Magnum. Peterson’s brass offerings for smaller match cartridges include: 6.5 Creedmoor, .260 Remington, .308 Win Palma (Small Primer Pocket), and .308 Win Match.

Peterson Cartridge Brass Cheytac .338 .408 .375 Magnum

Permalink Gear Review, New Product, Optics 2 Comments »
December 1st, 2016

Dream Job — Be the New CEO of Hodgdon Powder Company

Hodgdon CEO Tome Shepherd Bob Chairman Board Chief Executive

Hodgdon Chief Executive Officer to Retire in One Year
How would you like to run one of the most respected firearms industry enterprises in the world? Well there will be a job opening at the top, the very top, in one year. Hodgdon Powder Company today announced the future retirement of Hodgdon Chief Executive Officer (CEO) Tom Shepherd. On December 31, 2017, Shepherd will retire from his current position and transition into his new role as Chairman of the Board of Directors of Hodgdon Powder Company.

“Tom has been our Chief Executive Officer for nearly 15 years, serving in this role since 2002,” said Bob Hodgdon, current Hodgdon Chairman of the Board. “In his tenure, Tom has lead us to record sales growth and positioned Hodgdon for the future. We have been working on this succession plan for some time now, and the entire Hodgdon family, the Hodgdon Board and all Hodgdon employees are excited for Tom as he prepares for the next stage of his career with Hodgdon.” Bob Hogdon and J.B. Hodgdon, sons of company founder Bruce Hodgdon, will continue to serve on the Hodgdon board.

Hodgdon CEO Tome Shepherd Bob Chairman Board Chief Executive

As part of the succession planning process, Hodgdon is now moving forward with a search for a new Chief Executive Officer. This search will include both internal and external candidates and is expected to conclude by mid-year 2017.

About Hodgdon Powder Company
Established in 1947 by Bruce and Amy Hodgdon, today, sons Bob and J.B. have grown Hodgdon Powder Company into the largest US supplier of smokeless, blackpowder and blackpowder substitute propellants. The company distributes gunpowder under the Hodgdon®, IMR®, Winchester®, Goex® and VihtaVuori® brands.

Permalink News, Reloading 1 Comment »
November 16th, 2016

IMR Releases Five New Pistol/Shotshell Powders

IMR New Pistol Shotshell Clean powders Blue, Red, Unequal, Target Propellant smokeless powder

Hodgdon/IMR has released a new family of clean-burning shotshell and pistol propellants utilizing “green” technology. This series of five, fast-burn-rate powders will work with an extremely wide range of shotshell and pistol cartridges. Each powder was designed to match current shotshell bushing charts, so hand-loaders will already have the appropriate bushings available for each load.

IMR notes: “This new technology burns clean [and] all of these powders are REACH compliant*, meaning these propellants are not harmful to the environment.”

IMR TARGET:
The first powder in this new family, IMR Target, is a fast-burning pistol powder. This fine-grained, small-flake propellant meters superbly, providing very precise loads in even the smallest pistol cartridges like the .25 ACP!

IMR RED:
The second powder in this new family was designed to be an efficient, clean-burning, 12-gauge target powder. IMR Red also performs nicely in various lead pistol target loads, such as match competition loads and Cowboy reduced loads.

New IMR Red powder is well-suited for light Cowboy Action loads with lead bullets.
IMR New Pistol Shotshell Clean powders Blue Red Unequal Target Propellant smokeless powder
Photo courtesy Uberti.com.

IMR GREEN:
IMR Green, the third in this new family is slightly slower-burning than IMR Red, making it an ideal Trap Handicap powder and soon a favorite with Sporting Clays enthusiasts.

IMR UNEQUAL:
IMR Unequal combines small-sized flakes for uniform metering in all pistol applications and its burn speed accommodates a wide range of shotshell and pistol cartridges.

For loading pistol cartridges on a progressive press, IMR Unequal is a good choice.
IMR New Pistol Shotshell Clean powders Blue, Red, Unequal, Target Propellant smokeless powder
Photo courtesy Dillon Precision.

IMR BLUE:
Having the slowest burn speed of the five new propellants, IMR BLUE is well-suited for for heavy 12-gauge 2¾-inch, 3-inch and 3-1/2-inch field loads.

These new IMR powders will be available in January 2017 at quality reloading powder dealers everywhere. IMR Target and IMR Blue will be available in one-pound (1 lb.), four-pound (4 lb.) and eight-pound (8 lb.) containers. IMR Red, IMR Green, and IMR Unequal will be offered in 14-ounce (14 oz.), four-pound (4 lb.) and eight-pound (8 lb.) containers.

Complete load data for these versatile and useful propellants is accessible on the Hodgdon Reloading Data Center at HodgdonReloading.com.

* Registration, Evaluation, Authorization and Restriction of Chemicals (REACH) is a European Union regulation adopted in December 2006. REACH addresses the production and use of chemical substances, and their potential impacts on both human health and the environment.

Permalink Handguns, New Product, Reloading 3 Comments »
November 10th, 2016

Widener’s Guide to Smokeless Powders

Widener's Reloading Smokeless Powder propellant Guide

Widener’s Reloading & Shooting Supply recently published a helpful introduction to reloading powders. Widener’s online Guide to Smokeless Powders shows the various types of powders, and explains how the differences in powder kernel/flake size and shape, and burn rate affect performance. We recommend you visit Widener’s website and read the Powder Guide in full.

Take a close look at these illustrations which show the key differences between the four main powder types: extruded (stick) powder, ball (spherical) powder, flattened ball powder, and flake powder.

Widener's Reloading Smokeless Powder propellant Guide

Widener's Reloading Smokeless Powder propellant Guide

Widener's Reloading Smokeless Powder propellant Guide

Widener's Reloading Smokeless Powder propellant Guide

Burn Rate Basics

Widener’s Guide to Smokeless Powders also has a useful discussion of Burn Rate (a confusing topic for many hand-loaders). Wideners explains: “While a gun powder explosion in the cartridge seems instantaneous, if you slow it down you will actually find that each powder has a different ‘burn rate’, or speed at which it ignites.” This video shows powders with two very different burn rates. Watch closely.

Different burn rates suit different cartridge types notes Widener’s: “In general a fast-burning powder is used for light bullets and low-speed pistols and shotguns. Medium-rate powders are used for magnum pistols, while high-velocity, large bore rifle cartridges will need slow powders[.]

It should be noted that burn rate does not have a standardized unit of measurement. In fact, burn rate is really only discussed in comparison to other powders; there is no universal yardstick. Specifics will change by cartridge and bullet types[.]”

Permalink - Videos, Reloading, Tech Tip 2 Comments »
November 5th, 2016

New Hodgdon CFE BLK Powder — Great for Small Cartridges

CFE BLK .223 223 Blackout AAC powder varmint Fireball reduced fouling January 2017
NOTE: Despite the “BLK” in the name, this is a NOT a black powder substitute. This is a modern smokeless powder suitable for a wide variety of popular cartridges.

Hodgdon has announced a new “faster” variant of its popular CFE 223 powder. That’s good news for shooters of small varmint cartridges. Hodgdon’s new CFE BLK (named after the .300 AAC Blackout cartridge) has a faster burn rate than the original CFE 223. That makes CFE BLK ideal for small cartridges such as the .17 Hornet and .221 Fireball. The original CFE 223 propellant was formulated for reduced copper fouling (“CFE” in the name refers to “Copper Fouling Eraser”). New CFE BLK shares this reduced fouling technology which was developed originally for the U.S. military. Many of our Forum members have tried CFE 223 and confirmed that is performs “as advertised” — with less copper fouling that most other propellants. That’s a big benefit for varmint shooters, who may put hundreds of rounds through a barrel in a single day on the varmint fields.

Optimized for the .300 AAC Blackout cartridge, CFE BLK works great for .300 Blackout loads in AR-type rifles throughout the range of bullet weights. Moreover, CFE BLK is perfect for subsonic, reduced loads. In addition, Hodgdon reports that CFE BLK performs superbly in many smaller-capacity cartridges, in particular varmint cartridges such as the .17 Hornet, .17 Ackley Hornet, .218 Bee, .221 Fireball. CFE BLK is also well-suited for the 6.8 Remington SPC and the 7.62X39 Russian cartridge.

CFE BLK Meters Well and Burns Clean
CFE BLK is a spherical (ball) powder. Hodgdon reports the CFE BLK meters well, allowing reloaders to throw very consistent charges every time: “This fine powder meters like a dream and leaves no copper residue, extending accuracy for longer shooting periods, and making clean-up quick and easy.”

CFE BLK Should Be on Dealers’ Shelves in January 2017
Starting in January, 2017, CFE BLK powder will be available in both one-pound (1-lb.) and eight-pound (8-lb.) containers. Check with leading vendors such as Bruno’s, Midsouth, and Powder Valley. By the end of 2016, you should find complete load data for CFE BLK on the Hodgdon Reloading Data Center at www.HodgdonReloading.com.

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