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October 15th, 2021

SAAMI Releases Ammunition Equivalency Resources

Saami ammunition ammo equivalency resouce table chambering guide

The Sporting Arms and Ammunition Manufacturers’ Institute (SAAMI), has released two new online reference tables. These resources clarify the interchangeability of certain ammunition in a specified firearm chamber, and identify the names of equivalent and historical cartridges.

SAMMI states: “These documents are important for firearm safety because they … identify what ammunition can be safely shot in firearms, whether it is an alternate cartridge in a specified firearm chamber or a known equivalent historical name for a cartridge.”

“These important documents … provide guidance to both industry professionals and the firearm-owning community. They emphasize important safety and technical information regarding the proper matching of ammunition and firearms, and what precautions must be taken”, stated Joe Bartozzi, SAAMI President/CEO.

Access both documents on the SAAMI.org website under Informational Publications and Advisories.

New Resource Content (Click Charts to view PDF Files)

Generally Accepted Firearms and Ammunition Interchangeability — This document lists generally accepted alternate firearm/ammunition combinations which will generally allow for the safe firing of an alternate cartridge in a specified firearm chamber. There is also information on shotshell interchangeability and commercial vs. military standards.

Saami ammunition ammo equivalency resouce table chambering guide

Generally Accepted Cartridge and Chamber Names — This document lists equivalent/historical names for cartridges that are in common use.

Saami ammunition ammo equivalency resouce table chambering guide

NOTE: Beyond historical cartridge names that are in common use, there are a very few firearm/ammunition combinations which will generally allow for the safe firing of an alternate cartridge in a specified firearm chamber. CLICK HERE for SAAMI’s listing of those cartridges/chambers.

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September 25th, 2021

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


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

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

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September 9th, 2021

Headspace Basics — What You Need to Know

Ultimate Reloader Brownells headspacing go gage gauge barrel gunsmithing
This illustration shows headspace measurement for the popular .308 Winchester cartridge, which headspaces on the shoulder. Image copyright 2015 Ultimate Reloader.

In this Brownells Tech Tip Video, Brownells gun tech Steve Ostrem explains what headspace is and why it’s one of the most critical measurements for nearly all firearms. Even if you’re an experienced rifle shooter, it’s worth watching this video to refresh your understanding of headspace measurements, and the correct use of “GO” and “NO-GO” gauges.

Headspace Definition
In firearms, headspace is the distance measured from the part of the chamber that stops forward motion of the cartridge (the datum reference) to the face of the bolt. Different cartridges have their datum lines in different positions in relation to the cartridge. For example, 5.56x45mm NATO ammunition headspaces off the shoulder of the cartridge, whereas .303 British headspaces off the forward rim of the cartridge. If the headspace is too short, ammunition that is in specification may not chamber correctly. If headspace is too large, the ammunition may not fit as intended or designed and the cartridge case may rupture, possibly damaging the firearm and injuring the shooter. (Source: Wikipedia)

Forster Headspace diagram belted magnum rimfire

Problems Caused by Too Much Headspace
Excessive headspace issues can include: light primer strikes, failure to fire, bulged/blown cases, case separations, split shoulders, or unseated primers after firing. Case ruptures caused by excessive headspace can lead to catastrophic failures causing serious injury. That is why headspace is such an important measurement.

Problems Cause by Too Little Headspace
Insufficent (or excessively tight) headspace can prevent the firearm from going into battery, resulting in failure to fire or deformation of the cartridge case. Various feeding and functioning problems can be caused by cases with too little headspace, even if a round can be chambered (with effort).

Go gauge gage NOGO no-go field gaugesHeadspace Gauges
Headspace is measured with a set of two headspace gauges: a “Go” gauge, and a “No-Go” gauge. Headspace gauges resemble the cartridges for the chambers they are designed to headspace, and are typically made of heat-treated tool steel. Both a “Go” and a “No-Go” gauge are required for a gunsmith to headspace a firearm properly. A third gauge, the “Field” gauge, is used (as the name implies) in the field to indicate the absolute maximum safe headspace. This gauge is used because, over time, the bolt and receiver will wear, the bolt and lugs compress, and the receiver may stretch, all causing the headspace to gradually increase from the “factory specs” measured by the “Go” and “No-Go” gauges. A bolt that closes on “No-Go” but not on “Field” is close to being unsafe to fire, and may malfunction on cartridges that are slightly out of spec. (Source: Wikipedia)

To learn more, read Brownell’s article Headspace Gauges and How to Use Them. Among other things, this explains the relative lengths of “Go”, “No-Go”, and “Field” gauges. The “Field” is actually the longest: “The GO gauge corresponds to the SAAMI minimum chamber length, while the FIELD gauge usually matches the maximum chamber depth, or slightly less. NO-GO gauges are an intermediate length between minimum and maximum, that, technically, is a voluntary dimension. A firearm that closes on a NO-GO gauge and does not close on a FIELD gauge may not give good accuracy and may have very short cartridge case life from the ammunition re-loader’s standpoint.”

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March 30th, 2021

Know Your Terminology — CUP vs. PSI

SAAMI CUP PSI Cartridge Copper Units Pressure PSI
Image by ModernArms, Creative Common License.

by Philip Mahin, Sierra Bullets Ballistic Technician
This article first appeared in the Sierra Bullets Blog

If you asked a group of shooters to explain the difference between CUP and PSI, the majority would probably not be able to give a precise answer. But, for safety reasons, it’s very important that all hand-loaders understand these important terms and how they express cartridge pressures.

The ANSI / SAAMI group, short for “American National Standard Institute” and “Sporting Arms and Ammunition Manufacturers’ Institute”, have made available some time back the voluntary industry performance standards for pressure and velocity of centerfire rifle sporting ammunition for the use of commercial manufacturers. [These standards for] individual cartridges [include] the velocity on the basis of the nominal mean velocity from each, the maximum average pressure (MAP) for each, and cartridge and chamber drawings with dimensions included. The cartridge drawings can be seen by searching the internet and using the phrase ‘308 SAAMI’ will get you the .308 Winchester in PDF form. What I really wanted to discuss today was the differences between the two accepted methods of obtaining pressure listings. The Pounds per Square Inch (PSI) and the older Copper Units of Pressure (CUP) version can both be found in the PDF pamphlet.

SAAMI CUP PSI Cartridge Copper Units Pressure PSICUP Pressure Measurement
The CUP system uses a copper crush cylinder which is compressed by a piston fitted to a piston hole into the chamber of the test barrel. Pressure generated by the burning propellant causes the piston to move and compress the copper cylinder. This will give it a specific measurable size that can be compared to a set standard. At right is a photo of a case that was used in this method and you can see the ring left by the piston hole.

PSI Pressure Measurement
What the book lists as the preferred method is the PSI (pounds per square inch or, more accurately, pound-force per square inch) version using a piezoelectric transducer system with the transducer flush mounted in the chamber of the test barrel. Pressure developed by the burning propellant pushes on the transducer through the case wall causing it to deflect and make a measurable electric charge.

Q: Is there a standardized correlation or mathematical conversion ratio between CUP and PSI values?
Mahin: As far as I can tell (and anyone else can tell me) … there is no [standard conversion ratio or] correlation between them. An example of this is the .223 Remington cartridge that lists a MAP of 52,000 CUP / 55,000 PSI but a .308 Winchester lists a 52,000 CUP / 62,000 PSI and a 30-30 lists a 38,000 CUP / 42,000 PSI. It leaves me scratching my head also but it is what it is. The two different methods will show up in listed powder data[.]

So the question on most of your minds is what does my favorite pet load give for pressure? The truth is the only way to know for sure is to get the specialized equipment and test your own components but this is going to be way out of reach for the average shooter, myself included. The reality is that as long as you are using printed data and working up from a safe start load within it, you should be under the listed MAP and have no reason for concern. Being specific in your components and going to the load data representing the bullet from a specific cartridge will help get you safe accuracy. [With a .308 Winchester] if you are to use the 1% rule and work up [from a starting load] in 0.4 grain increments, you should be able to find an accuracy load that will suit your needs without seeing pressure signs doing it. This is a key to component longevity and is the same thing we advise [via our customer service lines] every day. Till next time, be safe and enjoy your shooting.

SAAMI CUP PSI Cartridge Copper Units Pressure PSI

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November 20th, 2020

New SAAMI Cartridges: 277 SIG FURY, 6.5 WBY RPM, 6.8 Western

.277 SIG Fury saami cartridge specification 80000 psi

The Sporting Arms and Ammunition Manufacturers’ Institute, Inc., (SAAMI), has announced the acceptance of three (3) new cartridges for SAAMI standardization: 1) 277 SIG FURY; 2) 6.5 Weatherby Rebated Precision Magnum (WBY RPM); 3) 6.8 Western. While the 277 SIG FURY was developed originally for the U.S. Military, it should serve well for hunters, as will the new 6.5 Weatherby RPM and 6.8 Western. SAAMI has standardized the dimensions, max pressures, and load specs for all these three new cartridges.

277 SIG FURY from SIG Sauer

Developed by SIG SAUER for the U.S. Military, the 277 SIG FURY boasts a SAAMI maximum average pressure of 80,000 psi, driving a 135-grain bullet to 3,000+ fps. That 80K PSI pressure is WAY higher than almost all other cartridge types. To achieve these high pressures, the 277 FURY uses a hybrid case with a brass body and harder alloy metal case head. This design allows the cartridge to run very high pressures. Dan Horner of SIG Sauer told us: “When the handloaders get hold of this brass, it will be a game-changer for sure”. We envision this cartridge could be necked down to 6.5 mm and it would dramatically out-perform the 6.5 Creedmoor. And yes the official name of the cartridge is all caps “277 SIG FURY”.

LINK: 277 SIG FURY official SAAMI Cartridge and Chamber Diagram (PDF)

.277 SIG Fury saami cartridge specfication 80000 psi

.277 SIG Fury saami cartridge specfication 80000 psi

6.5 Weatherby Rebated Precision Magnum

Developed by Weatherby, the 6.5 Weatherby Rebated Precision Magnum (WBY RPM) was introduced with a maximum average pressure of 65,000 psi, with a 140-grain bullet traveling at a velocity of 3,075 fps. The 6.5 WBY RPM offers signficantly higher velocities that most other 6.5mm cartridges, including the 6.5-284 and .265 Win Mag. SEE 6.5 Cartridge Comparison Table

LINK: 6.5 Weatherby RPM official SAAMI Cartridge and Chamber Diagram (PDF)

6.5 weatherby rebated precision magnum cartridge WBY RPM SAAMI

6.8 Western from Winchester

Developed by Olin Winchester, the 6.8 Western was introduced with a maximum average pressure of 65,000 psi, with a .277-caliber 175-grain bullet traveling at a velocity of 2,840 fps. A shorter variant of the Winchester Short Magnum (WSM) family, the new cartridge appears to be about .090″ shorter than the .270 WSM. It has the same 35-degree shoulder angle as the .270 WSM.

LINK: 6.8 Western official SAAMI Cartridge and Chamber Diagram (PDF)

6.8 western rebated precision magnum cartridge western .270 wsm SAAMI

For additional information on these new cartridge designs and other recently accepted cartridge and chamber designs, visit SAAMI.org.

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August 6th, 2020

Guns and Ammo in Aftermath of Floods — What to Do

NSSF SAAMI flood flooding submersion water Ammunition Ammo damage
NOAA photo of flooding after Hurricane Floyd in 1999. The Colt Python Revolver once belonged to Elvis Presley (Rock Island Auction).

This past week, Tropical Storm Isaias has hammered the East Coast of the USA. The BBC reported: “From North Carolina up to New York, Isaias left more than 3.4 million residents without power. It spawned tornadoes, uprooted trees, damaged homes and caused floods and fires.” This article explains what to do if you have experienced flooding.

Firearms owners who have seen their guns and stored ammunition submerged by flood waters in storm-wracked areas are probably wondering if their firearms and ammunition can be salvaged and safely used. To answer these questions, the NSSF and the Sporting Arms and Ammunition Manufacturers’ Institute (SAAMI®) created two documents outlining the proper response to submersion of guns and ammo. If you’ve got wet guns and/or ammo, download these two PDF files and read them carefully.

SAAMI Guidance 1: What to Do About Firearms That Have Been Submerged in Water

SAAMI Guidance 2: What to Do About Ammunition That Has Been Submerged in Water

Dealing with Firearms That Were Submerged

The SAAMI document “Guidance on Firearms That Have Been Submerged or Exposed to Extensive Amounts of Water” points out two major concerns about firearms that have been exposed to water: parts susceptible to moisture and rust damage such as metal parts, wood stocks and grips, and optics; and, secondly, infiltration of the action, barrel and safety systems by grit, silt and other foreign debris.

#1 Always unload firearms before beginning any treatment process.

It’s important to limit moisture and corrosion damage to the component parts of the firearm. This can be accomplished by disassembling the component parts and using up to two coats of a moisture-displacing lubricant such as Hoppes #9 MDL or WD-40 to clean and stabilize the parts while, importantly, following the product’s directions so as not to damage, for instance, plastic or synthetic parts. Another tip is to allow wood stocks and grips to air-dry and not be force dried by exposure to heat.

The document emphasizes that once the firearm has been thoroughly dried, consideration must be given to having the firearm inspected and serviced by the manufacturer, an authorized service center, or a qualified gunsmith before putting the firearm back in service.

Dealing with Ammunition That Was Submerged

NSSF SAAMI flood flooding submersion water Ammunition Ammo damage

Bottom Line, if your ammo has been submerged — DON’T USE IT. SAAMI explains why…

To help firearms owners determine what to do with ammunition that has been affected by water and moisture, SAAMI offers another helpful document, “Guidance on Ammunition That Has Been Submerged in Water.” This document covers differences in moisture resistance between centerfire, rimfire and shotshell ammunition, and potential hazards associated with “drying out” cartridges, including possible deterioration and damage to cartridges due to drying methods.

Another serious hazard that could result from using compromised ammunition is the potential for a bore obstruction due to partial ignition of either the priming compound or the propellant powder charge, or both. Firing a subsequent round through an obstructed barrel can result in bodily injury, death and property damage.

SAAMI provides the following cautionary conclusion: “It would be impossible to ascertain for certain the extent of the deteriorating affect, if any, the water may have had on each individual cartridge. Therefore, the safe answer is that no attempt be made to salvage or use submerged ammunition. The ammunition should be disposed of in a safe and responsible manner. Contact your local law enforcement agency for disposal instructions in your area.”

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April 16th, 2020

.22 Creedmoor Load Information from Peterson Cartridge

Peterson Cartridge Company 22 .22 Creedmoor wildcat cartridge load data recipe powder

Peterson Cartridge Company (“Peterson”) has released a lengthy, authoritative guide to the 22 Creedmoor cartridge, a popular wildcat based on the 6.5 Creedmoor or 6mm Creedmoor necked down to .224 caliber. We think the 22 Creedmoor would be a great long-range varmint cartridge, similar to the .22-250 Rem, but with a more moder, efficient cartridge design. In addition, some PRS/NRL competitors may turn to the 22 Creedmoor because it has less recoil and is flatter-shooting than the 6mm Creedmoor. In addition, .224-caliber match bullets are typically less expensive than heavier 6mm and 6.5mm projectiles. Less recoil, and less cost — what’s not to like?*

DOWNLOAD Peterson .22 Creedmoor Load Data Article PDF »

Along with load data, this article has specific sections dedicated to: Primers, Rifling Twist Rates, and Reloading Supplies. If you are considering building a .22 Creedmoor, we recommend you download the full Peterson .22 Creedmoor article, which is available in PDF format.

Peterson Cartridge Company 22 .22 Creedmoor wildcat cartridge load data recipe powder

Peterson states, “Since its inception in 2007… the 6.5 Creedmoor has seen some pretty meteoric growth in popularity. That growth continues as of this writing, as the cartridge has now gone mainstream with hunters and shooters alike. As the popularity of the 6.5 Creedmoor has increased, so has the number of wildcat cartridges based off of it. Some of those popular wildcat cartridges are the 6mm Creedmoor, the .25 Creedmoor, and now the .22 Creedmoor. This data sheet will cover the .22 Creedmoor.

To help our customers, and anyone else who shoots .22 Creedmoor, we decided to create this Data Sheet and distribute it. [In this LOAD DATA Document] you will find four (4) common bullets, and four (4) common rifle powders used when handloading the .22 Creedmoor cartridge. We then took the different bullet and powder combinations and loaded them up to the SAAMI Maximum Average Pressure (MAP) for the 6.5 Creedmoor and 6mm Creedmoor cartridges, which is 62,000 PSI. [O]ur goal was to provide a wide spectrum of bullet weights and the powders used with them.

All of the following data was gathered by our ballistician in our indoor ballistics lab located in our factory in Pennsylvania. Although we were able to gather pressure and velocity data in our lab, we have NOT tested these loads for accuracy. Again, these loads are just designed to give shooters information regarding what velocity, a given bullet and powder charge combination, will produce the SAAMI Maximum Average Pressure (MAP) of 62,000 psi.”

Sample 22 Creedmoor LOAD DATA

Peterson Cartridge Company 22 .22 Creedmoor wildcat cartridge load data recipe powder

IMPORTANT — Pressures can vary significantly with different Cartridge Overall Lengths (COAL). In addition, ANY change to ANY load components — primers, bullets, brass, powder — can affect pressure. Always load conservatively. In addition, because of variances in bore dimensions, some barrels may show higher pressures than others. Again, always start with conservative loads, well below MAX pressures.


*Actually there IS a potential downside — reduced barrel life. We expect that a 22 Creedmoor running hot varmint loads would experience shorter useful barrel life compared to a 6.5 Creedmoor. This is based on what we’ve observed with .22-250 and .22-250 Ackley barrels compared to our 6.5 CM barrels.

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January 9th, 2020

GUN INFO 101 — Headspace Defined and Illustrated

Ultimate Reloader Brownells headspacing go gage gauge barrel gunsmithing
This illustration shows headspace measurement for the popular .308 Winchester cartridge, which headspaces on the shoulder. Image copyright 2015 Ultimate Reloader.

In this Brownells Tech Tip, Brownells gun tech Steve Ostrem explains what headspace is and why it’s one of the most critical measurements for nearly all firearms. Even if you’re an experienced rifle shooter, it’s worth watching this video to refresh your understanding of headspace measurements, and the correct use of “GO” and “NO-GO” gauges.

Headspace Definition
In firearms, headspace is the distance measured from the part of the chamber that stops forward motion of the cartridge (the datum reference) to the face of the bolt. Used as a verb, headspace refers to the interference created between this part of the chamber and the feature of the cartridge that achieves the correct positioning. Different cartridges have their datum lines in different positions in relation to the cartridge. For example, 5.56x45mm NATO ammunition headspaces off the shoulder of the cartridge, whereas .303 British headspaces off the forward rim of the cartridge.

If the headspace is too short, ammunition that is in specification may not chamber correctly. If headspace is too large, the ammunition may not fit as intended or designed and the cartridge case may rupture, possibly damaging the firearm and injuring the shooter. (Source: Wikipedia)

Forster Headspace diagram belted magnum rimfire

Go gauge gage NOGO no-go field gaugesHeadspace Gauges
Headspace is measured with a set of two headspace gauges: a “Go” gauge, and a “No-Go” gauge. Headspace gauges resemble the cartridges for the chambers they are designed to headspace, and are typically made of heat-treated tool steel. Both a “Go” and a “No-Go” gauge are required for a gunsmith to headspace a firearm properly. A third gauge, the “Field” gauge, is used (as the name implies) in the field to indicate the absolute maximum safe headspace. This gauge is used because, over time, the bolt and receiver will wear, the bolt and lugs compress, and the receiver may stretch, all causing the headspace to gradually increase from the “factory specs” measured by the “Go” and “No-Go” gauges. A bolt that closes on “No-Go” but not on “Field” is close to being unsafe to fire, and may malfunction on cartridges that are slightly out of spec. (Source: Wikipedia)

To learn more, read Brownell’s longer article Headspace Gauges and How to Use Them. Among other things, this explains the relative lengths of “Go”, “No-Go”, and “Field” gauges. The “Field” is actually the longest: “The GO gauge corresponds to the SAAMI (Sporting Arms & Ammunition Manufacturer’s Institute) minimum chamber length, while the FIELD gauge usually matches the maximum chamber depth, or slightly less. NO-GO gauges are an intermediate length between minimum and maximum, that, technically, is a voluntary dimension. A firearm that closes on a NO-GO gauge and does not close on a FIELD gauge may not give good accuracy and may have very short cartridge case life from the ammunition re-loader’s standpoint.”

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February 18th, 2019

READ THIS — Powder Storage — How to Avoid Problems

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.

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.

(more…)

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May 31st, 2018

Secretary Zinke Creates Hunting and Shooting Sports Council

Zinke Secretary Interior Hunting Shooting Sports Council Department NSSF Boone Crockett
Utah Monument photo by DOI. Inset graphic from Ammoland.com, DOI source.

U.S. Secretary of the Interior Ryan Zinke has announced the newly-appointed members of the Hunting and Shooting Sports Conservation Council (HSSCC). The Council, established on January 9, 2018, is intended to provide the Secretary of the Interior and the Secretary of Agriculture with advice regarding the establishment and implementation of existing and proposed policies and authorities with regard to wildlife and habitat conservation. The Advisory Council will meet at least twice a year.

The Council will also examine ways to benefit wildlife resources; encourage partnership among the public, the sporting conservation organizations, state, tribal, territorial, and federal government; and benefit recreational hunting and recreational shooting sports.

“We have assembled here some of the best conservationists in America,” Secretary Zinke said. “Over a century ago, Teddy Roosevelt established the American conservation ethic — best science, best practices, greatest good, longest term. These sportsmen carry on the American conservation ethic in the modern day. Bringing these experts together will be key to ensuring the American tradition of hunting and shooting, as well as the conservation benefits of these practices, carries on.”

Departement interior DOI Hunting sShooting Conservation Council
Secretary Ryan Zinke (left) believes we can learn important conservation lessons from President Theodore Roosevelt (right), an avid hunter.

“America’s hunters and recreational shooters have a champion in Secretary Ryan Zinke,” said Chris W. Cox, executive director of the NRA’s Institute for Legislative Action. “Zinke is fighting for our sportsmen and women to have greater access to our public lands. I am pleased to work with the Trump Administration’s new Hunting and Shooting Sports Conservation Council to make it easier for Americans to enjoy our public lands.”

“Comprised of national leaders throughout the hunting and recreational shooting communities, the HSSCC is widely regarded as one of the most effective and productive federal advisory committees across the federal government,” said Lawrence Keane, NSSF Senior V.P. and General Counsel.

Departement interior DOI Hunting sShooting Conservation Council
Julie Golob Photo Courtesy Shooting Sports USA.

“What an exciting time for our hunting and shooting sports! This Shooting Sports Council is yet another way Secretary Zinke and staff is making the expansion of our great American heritage a priority,” said Smith & Wesson Pro Shooter Julie Golob.

“President Trump and Sec Zinke continue to make major positive structural changes to America’s land and wildlife conservation systems,” said Sportsmen for Fish and Wildlife Founder Don Peay. “This new Council, made up of the most accomplished hunter/conservationists in North America, will assist in revitalizing conservation of our nation’s natural treasures for generations!”

Zinke Secretary Interior Hunting Shooting Sports Council Department NSSF Boone Crockett

“I am very pleased and honored to be appointed to this Council by Secretary Zinke,” said Rocky Mountain Elk Foundation Chief Conservation Officer Blake Henning. “I look forward to representing the interests of big game and big game hunters as this Council does important work.”

“I am honored to be asked by Secretary Zinke to serve on the federal advisory council,” said Bob Model, Chairman of the Boone and Crockett Club. “Sportsmen and women are vital stakeholders in federal land management.”

Members of the Hunting and Shooting Sports Conservation Council are listed below
MEMBER NAME ORGANIZATION
Mike Budzik Retired Chief of the Ohio Department of Natural Resources
Chris Cox Executive Director of the NRA’s Institute for Legislative Action (NRA-ILA)
Jeff Crane President of Congressional Sportsmen’s Foundation (CSF)
John Devney Vice President of U.S. Policy for Delta Waterfowl
Dan Forester Vice President and Chief Conservation Officer, Archery Trade Association
Ward “Trig” French Chairman of the Hunter’s Leadership Forum
Julie Golob World and National Shooting Champion, Team Smith & Wesson
John Green CEO of Crossroads Strategies and Board Member of the Congressional Sportsmen’s Foundation
Dale Hall CEO of Ducks Unlimited and former Director of the USFWS
Blake Henning Chief Conservation Officer for the Rocky Mountain Elk Foundation
Graham Hill Principal and Founding Partner, Ice Miller Strategies LLC. NRA Board of Directors member
Larry Keane Senior V.P. for Governmental and Public Affairs, Asst. Sec. and General Counsel for National Shooting Sports Foundation (NSSF); General Counsel, Sporting Arms and Ammunition Manufacturers Institutes (SAAMI)
Bob Model Former President of the Boone & Crockett Club; President/CEO of Mule Deer Foundation; previous Deputy Director of Utah’s Div. of Wildlife Resources
Collin O’Mara President and CEO of the National Wildlife Federation
Donald Peay Founder and Former CEO of Sportsmen for Fish and Wildlife (SFW)
Eva Shockey Co-Host of Jim Shockey’s Hunting Adventures on Outdoor Channel
David Spady President of the Liberty and Property Rights Coalition

(more…)

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May 13th, 2018

Cartridge Headspace — Understanding the Basics

Brownells Headspace Gauge cutaway chamber drawing SAAMI ANSI

Do you know what the inside of a rifle chamber (and throat zone) really looks like? Do you understand the concept of headspace and why it’s important? If not, you should read the Brownells GunTech article Gauging Success – Minimum Headspace and Maximum COL. This article explains the basics of headspace and shows how to measure headspace (and length to lands) in your barrels with precision. The article also explains how to adjust your full-length sizing dies to “bump the shoulder” as needed.

Why is headspace important? The article explains: “Controlling headspace and setting proper C.O.L. also represent improved safety and reduced cost of handloading. Excessive headspace can cause case head separation and gases in excess of 60,000 PSI escaping from a rifle’s chamber. Too little headspace can result in a chamber forced bullet crimp and a bullet that becomes an obstruction more than a properly secured projectile. Excessive C.O.L. can result in a rifling-bound bullet, a condition that could result in spikes of excessive pressure.” [Editor’s NOTE: It is common for competitive benchrest shooters to seat bullets into the rifling. This can be done safely if you reduce your loads accordingly. With some bullets we often see best accuracy .010″ (or more) into the lands. However, this can generate more pressure than the same bullet seated .010″ away from initial lands contact. As with all reloading, start low and work up gradually.]

Brownells Headspace Gauge cutaway chamber drawing SAAMI ANSI

How is headspace specified? Most cartridges used within the United States are defined within ANSI/SAAMI Z299.3-4. Brownells explains: “In the case of the .243 Winchester, as an example, there are pressure specifications, cartridge drawings and, as pictured above, chamber drawings. Armed with a chamber drawing, each manufacturer producing a firearm for the .243 Winchester knows the proper standard dimension to cut chambers and set headspace. Notice there are two headspace reference dimensions for the chamber. The upper is a place in the chamber where the shoulder is .400″ in diameter; the “datum” or “basic” line. The lower is the 1.630″~1.640″ minimum – maximum dimension from the breech face (bolt face) to that point in the chamber that measures .400″.”

The actual headspace of any firearm is the distance from the breech face to the point in the chamber that is intended to prevent forward motion of a cartridge.

Permalink Gunsmithing, Tech Tip 4 Comments »
October 8th, 2017

Download Official U.S. Military Specification Standards (MIL-STD)

Looking for authentic U.S. Military Specification Standards (MIL-STD) for gun parts, safety products, or other hardware? Log on to EverySpec.com. This website provides FREE access to the complete archive of U.S. Government spec sheets and technical manuals. You can quickly access and download thousands of public domain U.S. Government documents. For example, we searched for “Picatinny” and came up with MIL-STD-1913 “Dimensioning of Accessory Mounting Rail for Small Arms Weapons”. With one click we downloaded the file as a PDF. Then a search for “M118″ yielded the engineering drawing for 7.62×51 M118 LR Match ammo. Pretty cool.

Using EverySpec.com is fast and easy. And everything you find and save is FREE. Search as often as you like — there are no limits on search requests or downloads. You can either search by keyword, or Federal Supply Class Code (FSC). CLICK HERE for a complete list of FSCs for all products.

Here are FSCs for a few common product types. Keep in mind that there are hundreds of other FSCs — for everything from Office Supplies (FSC 7510) to Nuclear Projectiles (FSC 1110).

1095 — Miscellaneous Weapons (incl. Knives)
1240 — Optical Sighting and Ranging Equipment
1395 — Miscellaneous Ammunition (incl. Small Arms)
3455 — Cutting Tools for Machine Tools
6140 — Batteries, Rechargeable
6230 — Electric Portable Lighting Equipment
7640 — Maps, Atlases, Charts and Globes
8340 — Tents and Tarpaulins
8405 — Outerwear, Mens

Credit Gunsmith Thomas ‘Speedy’ Gonzales for finding this resource. Thanks Speedy!
Permalink Bullets, Brass, Ammo, Tech Tip No Comments »
September 8th, 2017

Guns and Ammo After a Flood — Here’s What to Do…

NSSF SAAMI flood flooding submersion water Ammunition Ammo damage
NOAA photo of flooding after Hurricane Floyd in 1999. The Colt Python Revolver once belonged to Elvis Presley (Rock Island Auction).

Firearms owners who have seen their guns and stored ammunition submerged by flood waters in storm-wracked areas are probably wondering if their firearms and ammunition can be salvaged and safely used. To answer these questions, the NSSF and the Sporting Arms and Ammunition Manufacturers’ Institute (SAAMI®) created two documents outlining the proper response to submersion of guns and ammo. If you’ve got wet guns and/or ammo, download these two PDF files and read them carefully.

SAAMI Guidance 1: What to Do About Firearms That Have Been Submerged in Water

SAAMI Guidance 2: What to Do About Ammunition That Has Been Submerged in Water

Dealing with Firearms That Were Submerged

The SAAMI document “Guidance on Firearms That Have Been Submerged or Exposed to Extensive Amounts of Water” points out two major concerns about firearms that have been exposed to water: parts susceptible to moisture and rust damage such as metal parts, wood stocks and grips, and optics; and, secondly, infiltration of the action, barrel and safety systems by grit, silt and other foreign debris.

#1 Always unload firearms before beginning any treatment process.

It’s important to limit moisture and corrosion damage to the component parts of the firearm. This can be accomplished by disassembling the component parts and using up to two coats of a moisture-displacing lubricant such as Hoppes #9 MDL or WD-40 to clean and stabilize the parts while, importantly, following the product’s directions so as not to damage, for instance, plastic or synthetic parts. Another tip is to allow wood stocks and grips to air-dry and not be force dried by exposure to heat.

The document emphasizes that once the firearm has been thoroughly dried, consideration must be given to having the firearm inspected and serviced by the manufacturer, an authorized service center, or a qualified gunsmith before putting the firearm back in service.

Dealing with Ammunition That Was Submerged

NSSF SAAMI flood flooding submersion water Ammunition Ammo damage

Bottom Line, if your ammo has been submerged — DON’T USE IT. SAAMI explains why…

To help firearms owners determine what to do with ammunition that has been affected by water and moisture, SAAMI offers another helpful document, “Guidance on Ammunition That Has Been Submerged in Water.” This document covers differences in moisture resistance between centerfire, rimfire and shotshell ammunition, and potential hazards associated with “drying out” cartridges, including possible deterioration and damage to cartridges due to drying methods.

Another serious hazard that could result from using compromised ammunition is the potential for a bore obstruction due to partial ignition of either the priming compound or the propellant powder charge, or both. Firing a subsequent round through an obstructed barrel can result in bodily injury, death and property damage.

SAAMI provides the following cautionary conclusion: “It would be impossible to ascertain for certain the extent of the deteriorating affect, if any, the water may have had on each individual cartridge. Therefore, the safe answer is that no attempt be made to salvage or use submerged ammunition. The ammunition should be disposed of in a safe and responsible manner. Contact your local law enforcement agency for disposal instructions in your area.”

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April 18th, 2017

Tough Brass — Peterson .308 Win Brass Strong After 32 Firings

Peterson Cartridge Brass .308 Winchester torture test range accuracy IMR 4064 Sierra 155 Palma bullet
Here are five Peterson .308 Win casings after 32 loading/firing cycles (31 at SAAMI max). The brass remained intact, with no cracks. The circles below the shoulders are markings from pressure testing.

This story comes from the Peterson Cartridge website.

Torture Testing Peterson .308 Win Brass — 32 Load Cycles

Recently Peterson’s ballistician had some extra time in his schedule, and asked what he should work on next. He was told, “Just for the heck of it, see how many times you can fire our .308s before you experience failure.” So that’s what he set out to do.

He took five casings out of inventory and loaded them at SAAMI max pressure, which is the pressure we use for all of our longevity testing. It is a hot load, and he did the firing out of Peterson’s Universal Receiver. This way he could measure pressures and velocities each shot. He shot all five, 20 times. (It takes a long time to do that. Load five casings. Shoot five times. Back into the lab to reload, back into the indoor range to shoot, back into the lab, and so forth.)

After 20 firings with no sign of case deterioration, Peterson’s tester asked if he should keep going. “Sure, let’s see how long these can go”, was the reply. So he shot them five more times. Same result. All casings still in good shape. We told him to keep going. He shot each of them six more times. At this point each of the five casings had been fired 31 times. After several days of this the casings were still in good shape but “ballistician fatigue” was setting in. Finally he said, “Let me take these cases to an outdoor range and see how they do for accuracy.” The Peterson team agreed.

Five Shots at 100 Yards after 32 Load Cycles:

Peterson Cartridge Brass .308 Winchester torture test range accuracy IMR 4064 Sierra 155 Palma bullet

For the 32nd firing, the cases were loaded with a somewhat lighter load, and then tested for accuracy. The test rifle was a Tikka T-3 bolt action, with a 20 inch, 1:11″-twist barrel. After 32 firings the primer pockets had opened about 0.002″ (two-thousandths) but were still tight enough for further use. There were no cracks or signs of head separation. The tester put five shots in three holes at 100 yards. The group was 1.5 inches for the five shots, on a somewhat windy day.

Story Tip by EdLongrange. We welcome reader submissions.
Permalink Bullets, Brass, Ammo, Gear Review 9 Comments »
March 11th, 2017

Get FREE SAAMI Rimfire Cartridge and Chamber Diagrams

SAAMI Cartridge Diagrams

Planning a rimfire build in the future, or want to get the exact specifications for your 17 Mach 2, 17 HMR, 17 WSM, .22 LR, or .22 WMR rifle? Then we’ve got you covered. CLICK HERE to download an official SAAMI document with specs for all popular rimfire ammunition. This FREE 89-page PDF includes complete Cartridge and Chamber drawings and headspace specifications. The document even includes info on pressure terminology, headspace gauges, and test barrels.

DOWNLOAD SAAMI Rimfire Cartridge/Chamber Drawings >>

SAAMI, the Sporting Arms and Ammunition Manufacturers’ Institute, is an association of the nation’s leading manufacturers of firearms, ammunition and components. Founded in 1926, SAAMI promulgates industry standards for firearms ammunition safety, interchangeability, reliability and quality.

SAAMI offers diagrams for ALL popular, modern rimfire cartridges:

SAAMI Cartridge Diagrams

Here’s the Official SAAMI Drawing for the 17 HMR Cartridge:

SAAMI Cartridge Diagrams

SAAMI Website Also Offers Centerfire Cartridge and Shotshell Diagrams
From the SAAMI website you can also access hundreds of FREE official cartridge diagrams and chamber drawings for all centerfire ammo types and Shotshells. Simply click on the Cartridge and Chamber Drawings link and then choose your ammo type: Pistol and Revolver, Rifle, or Shotshell.

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November 6th, 2016

Burn Baby Burn — The Great SAAMI Ammo FIRE TEST

This important video shows what really happens when loaded ammunition burns. You will probably be surprised. Contrary to Hollywood notions, the ammo doesn’t ignite in a massive explosion. Far from it… basically the rounds “cook off” one by one, and the bullets release at relatively low velocity. We’ve featured this SAAMI research project before, but it is worth reprising for those who have not yet seen the burn tests.

A couple years back, SAAMI released an important video concerning ammo and fire. With professional fire-fighters standing by, over 400,000 rounds of ammo were incinerated in a series of eye-opening tests. If you haven’t had the chance to view this video yet, you should take the time to watch it now

The Sporting Arms and Ammunition Manufacturers’ Institute (SAAMI) has produced an amazing 25-minute video that shows what actually happens to sporting ammunition involved in a fire. This video shows the results of serious tests conducted with the assistance of professional fire crews. We strongly recommend you watch this video, all the way through. It dispels many myths, while demonstrating what really happens when ammunition is burned, dropped, or crushed.

Watch SAAMI Ammunition Testing Video

Video Timeline

  • 2:10 Impact Test (ignited outside firearm)
  • 3:40 65-foot Drop Test
  • 5:08 Bullet Impact (.308 Win firing)
  • 7:55 Blasting Cap Attacks
  • 9:55 Bulldozer and Forklift Tests
  • 12:20 Boxed Ammo Bonfire
  • 15:37 Bonfire without Packaging
  • 17:21 Retail Store Simulation Burn
  • 20:55 Truck Trailer Burn

Over 400,000 rounds of ammunition were used in the tests. Some of the footage is quite remarkable. Testers built a bonfire with 28,000 rounds of boxed ammo soaked in diesel fuel. Then the testers loaded five pallets of ammo (250,000 rounds) in the back of a semi-truck, and torched it all using wood and paper fire-starting materials doused with diesel fuel.

The video shows that, when ammo boxes are set on fire, and ammunition does discharge, the bullet normally exits at low speed and low pressure. SAAMI states: “Smokeless powders must be confined to propel a projectile at high velocity. When not in a firearm, projectile velocities are extremely low.” At distances of 10 meters, bullets launched from “cooked-off” ammo would not penetrate the normal “turn-out gear” worn by fire-fighters.

We are not suggesting you disregard the risks of ammo “cooking off” in a fire, but you will learn the realities of the situation by watching the video. There are some amazing demonstrations — including a simulated retail store fire with 115,000 rounds of ammo in boxes. As cartridges cook off, it sounds like a battery of machine-guns, but projectiles did not penetrate the “store” walls, or even two layers of sheet-rock. The fire crew puts out the “store fire” easily in under 20 seconds, just using water.

Additional Testing: Drop Test, Projectile Test, Crush Test, Blasting Cap Test

Drop Test
The video also offers interesting ammo-handling tests. Boxes of ammo were dropped from a height of 65 feet. Only a tiny fraction of the cartridges discharged, and there was no chain-fire. SAAMI concludes: “When dropped from extreme heights (65 feet), sporting ammunition is unlikely to ignite. If a cartridge ignites, it does not propagate.”

Rifle Fire Test
SAAMI’s testers even tried to blow up boxes of ammunition with rifle fire. Boxes of loaded ammo were shot with .308 Win rounds from 65 yards. The video includes fascinating slow-motion footage showing rounds penetrating boxes of rifle cartridges, pistol ammo, and shotgun shells. Individual cartridges that were penetrated were destroyed, but adjacent cartridges suffered little damage, other than some powder leakage. SAAMI observed: “Most of the ammunition did not ignite. When a cartridge did ignite, there was no chain reaction.”

Bulldozer Crush Test
The test team also did an amazing “crush-test” using a Bulldozer. First boxes of loaded ammo, then loose piles of ammo, were crushed under the treads of a Bulldozer. A handful of rounds fired off, but again there was no chain-fire, and no large explosion. SAAMI observed: “Even in the most extreme conditions of compression and friction, sporting ammunition is unlikely to ignite. [If it does ignite when crushed] it does not propagate.”

Blasting Cap Test
Perhaps most amazingly, the testers were not able to get ammunition to chain-fire (detonate all at once), even when using blasting caps affixed directly to live primers. In the SAAMI test, a blasting cap was placed on the primer of a round housed in a large box of ammo. One cartridge ignited but the rest of the boxed ammo was relatively undamaged and there was no propagation.

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October 28th, 2016

New 33 Nosler Rivals .338 Lapua Magnum in Smaller Package

nosler 33 .338 404 Jeffrey Magnum cartridge

Nosler has just introduced a new SAAMI-spec .338-caliber cartridge, the 33 Nosler, which is based on the 404 Jeffrey parent case. This efficient new cartridge rivals the velocity and energy of the proven .338 Lapua Magnum while using significantly less powder. AND, the Nosler 33 fits in a standard, long action receiver. Accordingly the 33 Nosler should be popular with extreme long range (ELR) shooters and big game hunters. The 33 Nosler fires .338-caliber bullets which are tough on big game and typically boast high Ballistic Coefficients and sectional densities. For long-range target work, Nosler will offer 33 Nosler match ammo with a high-BC 300gr bullet.

nosler 33 .338 404 Jeffrey Magnum cartridge

Notably, the 33 Nosler will fit in a standard-length Long Action. That’s a big deal because it means you can now achieve .338 LM performance in a rifle that is lighter and less costly to build. Nosler lists a 3.340″ COAL for the 33 Nosler. Compare that to 3.681″ for the .338 LM. Nosler will offer loaded ammunition as well as 33 Nosler brass.

nosler 33 .338 404 Jeffrey Magnum cartridge

The above chart was created by Nosler. It shows the 33 Nosler can push a 225gr AccuBond at 3025 fps and the 265gr AccuBond at 2775 fps. That’s 275 fps faster (with 20% more energy) than the .338 Winchester Magnum using the same length action. According to the chart, the 33 Nosler is also 25 fps faster than the .338 Lapua Magnum at the muzzle while burning 18% less powder. However, the numbers quoted by Nosler for the .338 LM are conservative.

nosler 33 .338 404 Jeffrey Magnum cartridge

The 33 Nosler® is SAAMI-standardized for consistent industry-wide brass and chamber dimensions. Nosler will be supporting this new cartridge with Nosler Brass, factory ammunition, and Nosler factory rifles. Expect 33 Nosler products to be available in early 2017.

Permalink Bullets, Brass, Ammo, New Product, News 35 Comments »
October 1st, 2016

15th Edition of Cartridges of the World Releases This Month

Cartridge of World Guide book

The new 15th Edition of Cartridges of the World is slated for release on October 24th, 2016, but you can pre-order now via Amazon.com. This massive 680-page reference contains illustrations and basic load data for over 1500 cartridges. If you load for a wide variety of cartridges, or are a cartridge collector, this book is a “must-have” resource. The latest edition (release date 10/24/2016) includes 50 new cartridges and boasts 1500+ photos. This important reference guide can be pre-ordered now through Amazon.com for $21.20. Order now and you’ll get the new 15th Edition hot off the press.

Cartridges of the World, the most widely-read cartridge reference book, has been totally updated, with a newly expanded, full-color 64-page color section featuring essays from some of today’s most prominent gun writers. The 15th Edition of Cartridges of the World includes updated cartridge specs, plus essays by leading writers on the topics of SAAMI guidelines, wildcatting, and new cartridge design trends. In scope and level of detail, Cartridges of the World is the most complete cartridge reference guide in print.

Cartridges of World Barnces 13th Edition

Cartridges of the World by author Frank C. Barnes was first published in 1965. The 15th Edition is edited by W. Todd Woodard, Editor of Gun Tests magazine and author of several firearms reference books. Frank Barnes (1918-1992) began collecting information on handgun cartridges at the early age of 12, thanks to his father, a police officer. Frank Barnes was an innovative cartridge designer, who invented the original 308 x 1.5″ Barnes, predecessor of the 30BR case.

Before Frank began a law enforcement career, he was a college professor. Frank was also a pilot, and a race-car driver. Learn more about Cartridges of the World (15th Ed.) at www.gundigest.com.

Permalink News, Reloading 1 Comment »
January 2nd, 2016

When Ammo Burns — The Results Are Surprising

This important video shows what really happens when loaded ammunition burns. You will probably be surprised. Contrary to Hollywood notions, the ammo doesn’t ignite in a massive explosion. Far from it… basically the rounds “cook off” one by one, and the bullets release at relatively low velocity. We’ve featured this SAAMI research project before, but it is worth reprising for those who have not yet seen the burn tests.

A couple years back, SAAMI released an important video concerning ammo and fire. With professional fire-fighters standing by, over 400,000 rounds of ammo were incinerated in a series of eye-opening tests. If you haven’t had the chance to view this video yet, you should take the time to watch it now

The Sporting Arms and Ammunition Manufacturers’ Institute (SAAMI) has produced an amazing 25-minute video that shows what actually happens to sporting ammunition involved in a fire. This video shows the results of serious tests conducted with the assistance of professional fire crews. We strongly recommend you watch this video, all the way through. It dispels many myths, while demonstrating what really happens when ammunition is burned, dropped, or crushed.

Watch SAAMI Ammunition Testing Video

Video Timeline

  • 2:10 Impact Test (ignited outside firearm)
  • 3:40 65-foot Drop Test
  • 5:08 Bullet Impact (.308 Win firing)
  • 7:55 Blasting Cap Attacks
  • 9:55 Bulldozer and Forklift Tests
  • 12:20 Boxed Ammo Bonfire
  • 15:37 Bonfire without Packaging
  • 17:21 Retail Store Simulation Burn
  • 20:55 Truck Trailer Burn

Over 400,000 rounds of ammunition were used in the tests. Some of the footage is quite remarkable. Testers built a bonfire with 28,000 rounds of boxed ammo soaked in diesel fuel. Then the testers loaded five pallets of ammo (250,000 rounds) in the back of a semi-truck, and torched it all using wood and paper fire-starting materials doused with diesel fuel.

The video shows that, when ammo boxes are set on fire, and ammunition does discharge, the bullet normally exits at low speed and low pressure. SAAMI states: “Smokeless powders must be confined to propel a projectile at high velocity. When not in a firearm, projectile velocities are extremely low.” At distances of 10 meters, bullets launched from “cooked-off” ammo would not penetrate the normal “turn-out gear” worn by fire-fighters.

We are not suggesting you disregard the risks of ammo “cooking off” in a fire, but you will learn the realities of the situation by watching the video. There are some amazing demonstrations — including a simulated retail store fire with 115,000 rounds of ammo in boxes. As cartridges cook off, it sounds like a battery of machine-guns, but projectiles did not penetrate the “store” walls, or even two layers of sheet-rock. The fire crew puts out the “store fire” easily in under 20 seconds, just using water.

Additional Testing: Drop Test, Projectile Test, Crush Test, Blasting Cap Test

Drop Test
The video also offers interesting ammo-handling tests. Boxes of ammo were dropped from a height of 65 feet. Only a tiny fraction of the cartridges discharged, and there was no chain-fire. SAAMI concludes: “When dropped from extreme heights (65 feet), sporting ammunition is unlikely to ignite. If a cartridge ignites, it does not propagate.”

Rifle Fire Test
SAAMI’s testers even tried to blow up boxes of ammunition with rifle fire. Boxes of loaded ammo were shot with .308 Win rounds from 65 yards. The video includes fascinating slow-motion footage showing rounds penetrating boxes of rifle cartridges, pistol ammo, and shotgun shells. Individual cartridges that were penetrated were destroyed, but adjacent cartridges suffered little damage, other than some powder leakage. SAAMI observed: “Most of the ammunition did not ignite. When a cartridge did ignite, there was no chain reaction.”

Bulldozer Crush Test
The test team also did an amazing “crush-test” using a Bulldozer. First boxes of loaded ammo, then loose piles of ammo, were crushed under the treads of a Bulldozer. A handful of rounds fired off, but again there was no chain-fire, and no large explosion. SAAMI observed: “Even in the most extreme conditions of compression and friction, sporting ammunition is unlikely to ignite. [If it does ignite when crushed] it does not propagate.”

Blasting Cap Test
Perhaps most amazingly, the testers were not able to get ammunition to chain-fire (detonate all at once), even when using blasting caps affixed directly to live primers. In the SAAMI test, a blasting cap was placed on the primer of a round housed in a large box of ammo. One cartridge ignited but the rest of the boxed ammo was relatively undamaged and there was no propagation.

Permalink - Videos, Bullets, Brass, Ammo 2 Comments »
June 6th, 2015

Powder Storage Q & A — What Are Signs of Problems?

Western Powders Blog SAAMI Storage

Western Powders (vendors of Accurate, Norma, and Ramshot powders), publishes a Blog that covers all aspects of hand-loading and rifle maintenance. Recently the Western Powders Blog published a 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)

(more…)

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