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October 9th, 2022

Quit Neck-Sizing — Why It’s Better to Full-Length Size Your Cases

Full-Length Sizing Erik Cortina Neck Sizing Video

Why It’s Smart to Full-Length Size Your Brass

Commentary by Erik Cortina

Should You Full-Length Size Your Cartridge Brass?

Absolutely. Let Me Explain Why…

I have seen it time and time again, shooters on the line wrestling with their rifle trying to get the bolt closed while the wind is switching. They were too focused trying to get their bolt to close and getting their rifle settled back on the bags that they missed the wind switch. Bang… Eight! The straw that broke the camel’s back for me was at the 2017 Canadian Nationals. I was paired up with a young girl and she would try really hard to close the bolt on her rifle. The majority of the time she would get it to close, but often times she could not even get the round to chamber. She was focused on her rifle the entire time rather than on the conditions. When we completed our strings, she had five rounds that did not chamber our of 15! That is way too many!. I told her she needed to think about Full-length sizing with 0.002″ shoulder bump, or Controlled Full-length Sizing like I call it. I told her not to worry about losing accuracy. I told her that I full-length size all my rounds and asked if she noticed how smooth my bolt was and noticed my score. She said yes, they were both great!

Controlled Full-length Sizing Does NOT Harm Accuracy
I have found that Controlled Full-length Sizing does NOT hurt accuracy or shorten brass life. I find that I can focus much more on the conditions when I don’t have to think about chambering a round nor extracting it. It has become second nature. After firing, I keep my head welded to the stock, I open the bolt by placing my thumb on top of stock and rotating hand upwards. I reach in and retrieve spent case, place it back in ammo box, and pick up another loaded round and put in chamber. I verify conditions and when ready, I push the bolt in and close it with my index and middle finger.

With Controlled Full-length Sizing you “bump” the shoulder around .002″ for bolt guns.*
full length sizing
Image courtesy Sinclair International which carries a variety of Full-length dies.

Full-Length Sizing Erik Cortina Neck Sizing Video

Whidden Gunworks DiesWhidden Full-Length Sizing Dies
by AccurateShooter.com Editor
For proper Full-length sizing, you want a quality die that’s a very good match to your chamber. For our project rifles we usually turn to Whidden Gunworks which offers both bushing and non-bushing FL dies. And if you want the hot new option, check out Whidden’s patent-pending, click-adjustable FL-sizing die. This gives instant, precise control over shoulder bump. It works great.

*With gas guns, such as the AR10, you may want to increase shoulder bump to .003″ or more. With some benchrest cartridges, .0015″ bump may prove optimal. But .002″ is a good starting point.

Permalink Bullets, Brass, Ammo, Competition, Reloading, Tech Tip No Comments »
September 17th, 2022

Bullet Pointing 101 — How to Point Match Bullet Tips

Berger Bullet Pointing Applied Ballistics Bryan Litz Whidden Pointing Die pointer

Tech Tip by Doc Beech, Applied Ballistics Support Team
I am going to hit on some key points when it comes to bullet pointing. How much pointing and trimming needed is going to depend on the bullet itself. Specifically how bad the bullets are to begin with. Starting out with better-quality projectiles such as Bergers is going to mean two things. First that you don’t need to do as much correction to the meplat, but also that the improvement is going to be less. NOTE: We recommend you DO NOT POINT hunting bullets. Pointing can affect terminal performance in a bad way.

NOTE the change in the bullet tip shape and hollowpoint size after pointing:
Berger Bullet Pointing Applied Ballistics Bryan Litz Whidden Pointing Die pointer

Don’t Over-Point Your Bullets
What is important here is that you never want to over-point. It is far better to be safe, and under-point, rather than over-point and crush the tips even the slightest bit. To quote Bryan Litz exactly: “Best practice is to leave a tiny air gap in the tip so you’re sure not to compress the metal together which will result in crushing. Most of the gain in pointing is taking the bullet tip down to this point. Going a little further doesn’t show on target”. So in essence you are only bringing the tip down a small amount… and you want to make sure you leave an air gap at the tip.

Salazar Whidden Bullet Pointer system

Also keep in mind, bullet pointing is one of those procedures with variable returns. If you only shoot at 100-200 yards, bullet pointing will likely not benefit you. To see the benefits, which can run from 2 to 10% (possibly more with poorly designed bullets), you need be shooting at long range. Bryan says: “Typically, with pointing, you’ll see 3-4% increase in BC on average. If the nose is long and pointy (VLD shape) with a large meplat, that’s where pointing has the biggest effect; up to 8% or 10%. If the meplat is tight on a short tangent nose, the increase can be as small as 1 or 2%.” For example, If you point a Berger .308-caliber 185gr Juggernaut expect to only get a 2% increase in BC.

Berger Bullet Pointing Applied Ballistics Bryan Litz Whidden Pointing Die pointer

Should You Trim after Pointing?
Sometimes you can see tiny imperfections after pointing, but to say you “need” to trim after pointing is to say that the small imperfections make a difference. Bryan Litz advises: “If your goal is to make bullets that fly uniformly at the highest levels, it may not be necessary to trim them.” In fact Bryan states: “I’ve never trimmed a bullet tip, before or after pointing”. So in the end it is up to you to decide.

Pointing is Easy with the Right Tools
The process of pointing in itself is very simple. It takes about as much effort to point bullets as it does to seat bullets. We are simply making the air gap on the tip of the bullet ever-so smaller. Don’t rush the job — go slow. Use smooth and steady pressure on the press when pointing bullets. You don’t want to trap air in the die and damage the bullet tip. You can use most any press, with a caliber-specific sleeve and correct die insert. The Whidden pointing die has a micrometer top so making adjustments is very easy.

Bryan Litz actually helped design the Whidden Bullet Pointing Die System, so you can order the Pointing Die and Inserts directly from Applied Ballistics. Just make sure that you pick up the correct caliber sleeve(s) and appropriate insert(s). As sold by Applied Ballistics, the Whidden Bullet Pointing Die System comes with the die, one tipping insert, and one caliber-specific sleeve. To see which insert(s) you need for your bullet type(s), click this link:

LINK: Whidden Gunworks Pointing Die Insert Selection Chart

Permalink Bullets, Brass, Ammo, Reloading 6 Comments »
August 28th, 2022

Measure That Bump — Five Cool Tools to Measure Shoulder Bump

shoulder bump headspace gauge comparator tool whidden manson

The Tactical Rifle Shooters Facebook Group recently showcased tools used to measure case headspace before and after “bumping” the shoulder. After a case is fired, hand-loaders who full-length size their cases will typically bump the shoulders back anywhere from .001″ to .0035″, depending on the rifle and application. With our 6mmBR and Dasher cases we like about .0015″ bump.

You want the amount of case sizing and bump to be the same for all your brass. To ensure uniformity, it makes sense to measure your cases before and after the FL sizing process. When we have time, we check every case. Other folks will simply check the first 3-4 cases coming out of the FL sizing die to ensure the FL die setting is correct and delivering desired headspace/bump.

1. Whidden Gunworks Shoulder Bump Gauge

shoulder bump headspace gauge comparator tool whidden manson

There are a variety of tools that can be used to measure shoulder bump. Our favorite is a special cartridge-specific bushing made by Whidden Gunworks. The Whidden Shoulder Bump Gauge enables you to adjust your sizing die to the desired measurement. The bump gauge is attached to your calipers with a set screw and determines the measurement from the base to the shoulder of the case. The photo below, from Tactical Rifle Shooters, shows the Whidden Bump Gauge for the .375 CheyTac cartridge.

2. Dave Manson Vertical Comparator with Dial Read-Out

shoulder bump headspace gauge comparator tool whidden manson
Background image courtesy Tactical Rifle Shooters; inset photo from Manson Precision Reamers.

Dave Manson states: “This tool was designed to make life easier for the advanced shooter and re-loader by allowing precise measurement of ammunition, case, and chamber headspace. With this information, the re-loader will be able to fine-tune clearances and fits between his ammunition and chamber, with resultant improvements in accuracy and case life.” The functions of the Manson Comparator are:

1. Measure headspace of factory or reloaded ammunition
2. Quantify chamber headspace by measuring headspace of a fired case
3. Ensure minimal shoulder set-back when setting up re-loading dies
4. Compare base-to-ogive length to ensure consistent bullet-to-rifling relationship.

In addition to the Dial Indicator and Stand, the $130.00 Vertical Comparator is supplied with multiple Datum Blocks of precise length and inside diameter (.3300″/.3750″/.4000″/.4375″). MORE INFO HERE — Catalog page 20.

3. Hornady L-N-L Headspace Comparator System

shoulder bump headspace gauge comparator tool whidden manson

Hornady’s Lock-N-Load Headspace Comparator system is easy-to-use and handy. You can get a kit with Red bushing-holder body and 5 bushings for $43.43 at Midsouth. Hornady explains: “The Lock-N-Load® Headspace Comparator… gauge measures variations in brass before and after firing or re-sizing. It allows for headspace comparison between fire-formed brass and re-sized brass.” IMPORTANT: Hornady states: “To determine the proper bushing diameter for your cartridge, simply add the neck diameter and the shoulder diameter and divide that number by two. Use the bushing closest to that number.” Hornady offers five: .330″, .350″, .375″, .400″, and .420″.

One tip — We have found the Hornady gauges may vary a little from unit to unit even with the same nominal size. If you have more than one gauge for the same cartridge, test each on your brass — you may then note a slight difference in your bump measurements. There is also an Anvil Base Kit that mounts to the opposite blade on the caliper. This provides a more stable surface for the base of your case.

4. L.E. Wilson Case Gage Depth Micrometer

shoulder bump headspace gauge comparator tool whidden manson

If you are looking for precise “bump” measurements without having to mess with calipers and clamp-on gauge blocks, you may want to consider the L.E. Wilson Case Gage Depth Micrometer. This takes very precise, repeatable measurements, but you need to know your starting point. The manufacturer explains: “Every reloader should know exactly how much your Full Length Sizing Die is pushing back the shoulder. With the NEW Case Gage Depth Micrometer you can do just that! It has never been easier to measure you cases headspace before and after sizing. The Depth Mic allows you to slip the micrometer perfectly over the top of the Gage with your case inserted into the Gage and take a measurement. Micrometer has graduations of .001″. The Case Gage Depth Micrometer is set to a zero of .100″ on the scale at our factory. Because of differences in ‘feel’ and temperature, we include a the Gage Block for you to test Zero and to adjust if necessary.”

5. Pistol Brass Case DIY Bump Gauge

Last is a “field expedient” set-up if you do not have any of the comparator tools shown above. A sized .45 ACP case (or other suitable pistol case) can be used to measure shoulder bump. The mouth of the pistol case sits on the shoulder of your rifle cartridge brass.

Make sure the .45 ACP case is trimmed square and that it is round. We recommend you first run it through an expander, then size it, trim it and chamfer. Next, take the .45 ACP case and slip it over the neck of a fired, unsized rifle case with the primer removed. Align the two cases between the jaws of your calipers and note the length from rim to rim (See left photo below).

OK, now you have the length for a fired rifle case BEFORE sizing. Next, take a full-length sized rifle case (without primer) and do the same thing, placing the .45 ACP case over the neck of the FL-sized case (Right Photo). The difference between the two numbers is the amount of “bump” or set-back you are applying to the shoulder. Here the difference is .0015″. The amount of bump you need varies with your chamber and your load, but .0015-.002″ is a good initial setting.

Permalink Bullets, Brass, Ammo, Gear Review, Reloading 2 Comments »
August 16th, 2022

John Whidden Wins Smallbore Championship at Camp Perry

John Whidden CMP National prone championships Camp Perry Ohio

Team Berger shooter John Whidden of Whidden Gunworks topped the field to win this year’s Civilian Marksmanship Program (CMP) Smallbore Prone National Championship at Camp Perry. Whidden, who hails from Nashville, Georgia, was named the Prone 6400 Aggregate Champion after firing a score of 6379-449X. During his route to the Aggregate win, Whidden also earned third overall in the Iron (Metallic) Sight Championship and second in the Any Sight match.

The National Prone Championships featured two days of both Iron Sight and Any Sight events (four days overall) for adults and juniors. Each day included four stages of fire at 50 yards, 50 meters, and 100 yards.

John Whidden CMP National prone championships Camp Perry Ohio

The 2022 CMP National Smallbore Matches were held at prestigious Camp Perry National Guard training facility on the shores of Lake Erie near Port Clinton, Ohio. The matches started July 19th with a Small Arms Firing School for new competitors, and concluded after eight days of competition from July 20-27. These Smallbore disciplines were fired over the eight days of competition:

July 20 – Three Position Iron Sight Championship
July 21 – Three Position Any Sight Championship
July 22 – Junior Team Match, Three Position Team Championship
July 23 – Prone Metallic Sight Championship Day 1
July 24 – Prone Metallic Sight Championship Day 2
July 25 – Prone Elimination Final & Prone Team Championship
July 26 – Prone Any Sight Championship Day 1
July 27 – Prone Any Sight Championship Day 2

The Smallbore Prone National Championship is decided over four days of firing 160 rounds per day for a possible 6,400 score. Whidden finished first with a 6,379-449X, followed by Antonio Gross in 2nd scoring a 6,371-412X, and Larry Parker medaling 3rd with 6,362-413X.

John Whidden CMP National prone championships Camp Perry Ohio

Whidden stated, “The CMP ran a great match as they always do. The wind and the elements were enough to keep us on our toes. I was really pleased with the performance of the Lapua Midas+ rimfire ammunition throughout the match!”

John Whidden CMP National prone championships Camp Perry Ohio
John Whidden CMP National prone championships Camp Perry Ohio

CLICK HERE for complete results of the 2022 CMP National Smallbore Matches. Hundreds of photos of the CMP 20222 Smallbore events can be viewed on the CMP Zenfolio website.

John Whidden CMP National prone championships Camp Perry Ohio

About Lapua Ammunition and Berger Bullets
Lapua manufactures high-quality rimfire ammunition and Berger manufactures precision projectiles and match-grade ammunition for Target, Hunting and Tactical applications. Berger is part of the Capstone Precision Group, the exclusive U.S. distributor for Berger, Lapua, Vihtavuori and SK-Rimfire products. For more information, visit Bergerbullets.com.

Permalink Bullets, Brass, Ammo, Competition, News, Shooting Skills 1 Comment »
July 9th, 2022

Saturday at the Movies — Product Review Videos by F-Class John

 F-Class john tool youtube video reviews lyman primer hydro press

Forum member F-Class John is an avid F-Class competitor and expert handloader. John reviews reloading hardware and shooting-related products for his popular F-Class John YouTube Channel, which now boasts 300+ videos. John also does important product testing for AccurateShooter.com. Through his YouTube channel, John has reviewed many of the latest and greatest reloading tools and accessories. For today’s Video Showcase, we selected eight F-Class John tool and reloading product reviews.

If you like these informative videos, consider joining F-Class John’s Patreon Channel for live video meetings, more in-depth videos, and detailed explanations.

AndiScan Micro A2 Doppler Radar Chronograph


F-Class john tool youtube video reviews andiscan A2 micro doppler radar chronograph

This is break-through technology folks. Imagine a device that replaces a big, bulky chronograph and is a small fraction of the size and weight. The revolutionary AndiScan Micro A2 chronograph records bullet velocity with great precision. Yet it can fit in your pocket, and be easily mounted on your rifle or front rest. This recent video follows up on F-Class John’s initial AndiScan Test Video. And yes folks, this product is now, finally, in production according to the maker: “(6/July/2022) Model A2 will be available on e-shop in several supply batches. Batches of first small production series will be available during July and August.”

The AndiScan Micro A2 is an advanced 24 GHz Doppler radar for measuring velocity of projectiles. This extremely small form-factor device can be directly mounted on your rifle. This makes set-up fast and easy. Plus the AndiScan Micro A2 can be used in dynamic situations, such as multiple distance matches, multi-position stages, or PRS/NRL courses. SEE: AndiScan Micro A2 Product Information.

21st Century Hydro Press and Standard Arbor Press

John notes: “You can’t really talk about precision reloading without taking about inline dies and arbor presses. For my money there’s nothing better than the lineup from 21st Century Shooting. They offer the Hydro Seater which is hands-down the best manual seater out there as well as their standard arbor press which is great for taking on the road to push back bullets as needed.”

Zero Turret Press with Whidden Sizing Die

The new Zero Press from Area 419 is arguably the best turret press ever crafted. It offers unrivaled precision, along with the highest-capacity turret head with NINE die/tool stations. Milled from billet aluminum and stainless steel, this press moves with the help of 14 bearings. In this video, F-Class John shows how to use a Whidden Gunworks full-length sizing die on the Zero Press. And John has two other video reviews of the $1200 Zero Press: 1. Zero Press First Thoughts Video; 2. Loading on a Zero Press.

Dillon 750 Tips and Tricks

The Dillon XL 750 is a favorite of high-volume reloaders. With the optional case feeder, the XL 750 offers high output with great reliability. And Dillon offers one of the best warranties in the business. In this video, F-Class John features upgrades including the Armanov tool-head holders from Europe. These are drilled and tapped for all FIVE stations allowing the user to put threaded dies in any station.

Concentricity Checking with Accuracy One Gauge

Every serious hand-loader needs a quality concentricity gauge. The Accuracy One Concentricity Gauge boasts a smart design that delivers precise, repeatable results. We like the unit’s easy adjustability and its ability to work in a variety of configurations. The Accuracy One Gauge measures internal and external neck runout of cartridge cases as well as seated bullet runout. It can also measure the runout of the ogive, bearing surface, and boat-tail of individual bullets. And it can even measure your primer pocket runout.

Teslong Rigid (Shaft) Borescope with Monitor

Seeing inside your barrel can provide clues to how well you’re cleaning and the bore’s overall health. One of the best tools on the market is the Teslong Rigid Borescope. This features a solid rod for easy use in barrels. Plus it comes with a self-contained high-definition viewing monitor so no smartphones or WiFi tablets are needed. If you’re looking for something more portable and a bit more versatile, try the Teslong Flexible Borescope, $99.99 including monitor. John was impressed with the new rigid Teslong he tested, and he likes having a dedicated monitor (no WiFi required).

Lyman Powered Case Trimmer Review

The Lyman Case Trim Xpress is an efficient, precise unit that allows easy adjustment of trim length with a click-adjustable collar. The trimmer comes with a set of cartridge-specific bushings that index off the case shoulder. One nice feature is a variable speed control. For the price, $154.99 on Amazon, this trimmer delivers excellent performance. F-Class John has another video review of the Lyman Case Trim Xpress which shows set-up and operation.

Primal Rights Competition Priming Seater (CPS) Review

If there is a Ferrari of priming tools, it has to be the Primal Rights Competition Primer Seater (CPS). This impressive bench-mounted tool allows very precise control over primer seating depth. A vertical tube holds primers ready for insertion. The action is smooth and precise. John believes that this is definitely the best priming tool on the market, though it may not be for everyone given its premium $600.00 price.

Gunsmithing Torque Wrench Comparisons

When you are working on custom rifles that might cost $5000+, and mounting scopes that can run $3000 (or more), you need to use very high-quality tools. Precise torque settings are essential, both to avoid damage to valuable parts, and to have the rifle and optic perform optimally. In this video, F-Class John looks at a variety of torque wrenches suitable for gunsmithing duties.

Permalink - Videos, Gear Review, Gunsmithing, New Product, News No Comments »
July 1st, 2022

Choosing the Optimal Neck Bushing Size — Tips from Whidden

John Whidden Dies Neck Bushing diameter reloading

Whidden Gunworks makes great sizing and seating dies. The Whidden full-length sizing die with neck bushing is very popular because it allows you to “tune” the neck tension by using different bushings, with larger or smaller inside diameters. In this video, John Whidden explains how to choose a the right bushing size for use with your neck-sizing and full-length sizing bushing dies.

For most applications, John suggest starting with the caliper-measured outside diameter of a loaded cartridge (with your choice of bullet), and then SUBTRACT about three thousandths. For example, if your loaded round mics at .333, then you would want to start with a 0.330 neck bushing. John notes, however, that you may want to experiment with bushings, going down a thousandth and up a thousandth. With thin In addition, as your brass ages and the necks harden, you may want to change your bushing size.

John Whidden Dies Neck Bushing diameter reloadingQuick Tip: Try Flipping Your Bushings
You may also want to experiment with “flipping” your neck bushings to alternate the side that first contacts the neck of the case. (One side of the bushing is usually marked with the size, while the other side is unmarked.) So try “number side up” as well as “number side down”.

Some folks believe that one side of the bushing may allow a smoother entry, and that this can enhance concentricity. Other people think they can get very slightly more or less neck tension depending on how the bushing is oriented. This is a subtle effect, but it costs nothing to experiment.

If one bushing orientation proves better you can mark the “up” side with nail polish so that you can always orient the bushing optimally. NOTE: We have confirmed that some bushings are actually made with a slight taper. In addition, bushings may get distorted slightly when the brand name and size is stamped. Therefore there IS a reason to try both orientations.

Permalink Bullets, Brass, Ammo, Reloading, Tech Tip 1 Comment »
November 27th, 2021

Beyond Bushings — Benefits of Honed Full-Length Dies

Honed FL Forster Whidden Full-length dies
For some applications, we prefer a non-bushing FL die over a bushing die. Shown here are three Forster full-length sizing dies, with necks honed to three different dimensions: 0.265″, 0.266″, and 0.267″.

The Honed Full-Length Sizing Die Option

There are many good options in full-length (FL) sizing dies. Most precision hand-loaders prefer FL dies with neck bushings. These let you adjust the “grip” on your bullet by using larger or smaller bushings. FL bushing dies are available from Whidden Gunworks, Forster, Redding and other makers.

Conventional, non-bushing full-length sizing dies can create ultra-accurate ammo with very low run-out. But many conventional non-bushing FL dies have an undersized neck diameter so you end up with excess neck tension, and you work the brass excessively.

There is another effective option, one that promises extremely low run-out. The honed FL die is a full-length sizing die that has the necked honed to provide a precise fit to the case-neck. When done right, honed FL dies produce extremely straight ammo — as there are no issues with bushing alignment (or bushings that are not perfectly concentric). This Editor owns honed dies from Forster, Redding, and Whidden Gunworks. They all perform extremely well, delivering match ammunition with extremely low run-out measured with a 21st Century Concentricity Gauge.

In one of the most popular articles we’ve ever published, Bugholes from Bipod, California shooter “Froggy” explained why he prefers honed dies for his tactical ammo.

Q: Do you FL size every time? Do you use custom dies?

Absolutely, I full length resize all of my brass every time I reload. And guess what? I’ve never had a feeding problem.

I do use a modified sizing die, without bushings. My FL resizing die has been custom-honed in the neck area to give .0015″ press fit on the bullet. I also put a slightly larger radius at the neck shoulder junction. I feel that this helps to seal the chamber. With this die, I get consistent neck tension every time–without bushings. Bushings are useful when you’re fishing around for a good load. But once you find the right amount of sizing for ideal neck tension, you can do this better with a customized FL die.

6.5 Guys Review Forster Honed Full-length Dies
The 6.5 Guys have reviewed honed FL sizing dies from Forster, explaining the pros and cons of this type of reloading die. They explained that, if you load a wide variety of bullets from different manufacturers, you many want to stick with a Bushing FL die. However, if you have settled on a particular bullet and found the “ideal” neck tension, then a honed die may make sense.

In this Gear Update, the 6.5 Guys discuss a service offered by Forster Products to custom hone the neck diameter of its full-length sizing dies to the customer’s specifications (to the thousandth). Whidden Gunworks also offers custom-honed FL dies.

Permalink - Articles, - Videos, Bullets, Brass, Ammo, Reloading No Comments »
November 1st, 2021

Click-Adjust Die Options from PMA Tool and Whidden Gunworks

click-adjustable die micro-adjusting lock ring PMA Tool Whidden Gunworks

One of the most important aspects of precision reloading is setting the shoulder bump during the full-length (FL) sizing process. You want the amount of “bump” to be precise and identical for every loaded round. However, when you switch brands of brass you may need to change the die position to get the desired bump and case body sizing. And even with the same brand of brass, you may find that you need to adjust your FL die as the number of brass load cycles increases. Brass that has been fired many times will behave differently than new or near-new brass.

Also, even with the same cartridge type, brass loaded for a semi-auto rifle may need more bump than brass fired in a bolt gun. For example, with .223 Rem ammo, you’ll normally want to push the shoulder back farther if the ammo will be shot in a AR15 as opposed to a bolt-action rig.

So how do you make all these needed adjustments for your full-length dies? You can move a conventional locking ring up and down, but that can be a tedious, trial-and-error process. Some guys use shims in one-thousandth intervals, but that still requires taking your dies in and out of the press. Well there is a better way now…

PMA Tool Micro-Die Adjuster

Wouldn’t it be great if you could precisely adjust your FL die up and down in half-thousandth increments, with a simple indexed click. That is now possible with products offered by PMA Tool and Whidden Gunworks. PMA Tool offers a Micro-Die Adjuster that replaces your existing lock ring and can be used with nearly any 7/8-14 full length sizing die. The engraved marks correspond to approximately .001″ of shoulder bump adjustment. Splitting the engraved marks is therefore approximately equal to .0005″ (half a thousandth). Users love this product, saying it adds precision and saves time.

Whidden Click-Adjustable FL Sizing Die System

Whidden Gunworks offers a complete click-adjustable FL sizer die with a special, indexed ring. With Whidden’s patented Click Adjustable Sizer Die system, the die and lock ring work together to allow rapid, precise bump adjustments. One click changes the bump .001″. It’s simple and fast. Included with the Click Adjustable Sizer Die is a shoulder bump gauge. John Whidden explains:

“There has become a need for an easier way to adjust the sizer die properly. Until now there have been few options other than trial and error to get the shoulder setback correct. Anyone who has done this can attest that it’s a slow and imprecise job! Our die and lock ring work together to give the user a clicking feel to the adjustment. Each click moves the shoulder bump .001” so you can easily find the exact shoulder bump that you desire.” — John Whidden

New Universal Click Adjustable Lock Ring for Standard Sizing Dies

Whidden Gunworks also now offers a Universal Click Adjustable Lock Ring for all brands of standard sizing dies. If you don’t need a complete die, this special Lock Ring provides the functionality of the Whidden click-adjustable sizing dies for the standard 7/8-14 dies you already own. Lock Ring Instructions PDF.

whidden click adjustable die lock ring

John Whidden explains: “With our Universal Click Adjustable Lock Ring (Patent No: 10,393,488) you can instantly turn your sizer die into a Click Adjustable Die. Our ring works with any 7/8 OD sizer of any brand with adjustable shoulder bump. The inner and outer ring can rotate independently of each other. Each click is metered in true 1 thousandths adjustment and has .100″ total available travel. Those loading for two rifles with different headspace can easily optimize the shoulder bump for each rifle.”

General Tips on Setting Up and Using Sizing Dies

Permalink - Videos, Gear Review, Reloading No Comments »
October 29th, 2021

2021 Precision Rifle EXPO in Georgia This Weekend

Precision Rifle Expo Arena Blakely GA Georgia PRS NRL

The Precision Rifle EXPO is back this year, running October 30-31, 2021 at the Arena Training Facility in Blakely, Georgia. In past years, over 800 attendees came to the two-day event. This year, manufacturers will be showing off actions, optics, ammo, reloading equipment, stocks, chassis, electronics, supporting equipment (bags and tripods), rifles, triggers, suppressors, and much more. There will be training sessions on precision handloading, wind reading, marksmanship, ballistic devices, and introduction to competition.

The event lets precision rifle enthusiasts connect with top manufacturers, rifle instructors, and leading tactical competitors. Register Online today for $35, or pay $50 at the door this weekend. Registration includes access to the exhibition tent and the range locations, plus instructional classes for both days.

Precision Rifle Expo Arena Blakely GA Georgia PRS NRL

Praslick Wind Reading Class at 2021 Precision Expo
This year wind wizard Emil Praslick will lead a class on wind reading. Praslick is one of the foremost authorities on wind reading in the world. The former USAMU Head Coach has represented the USA in international long-range shooting for over 20 years and has developed training strategies for both tactical and competitive shooting. Praslick’s wind reading class will help shooters gain insight into understanding the mechanism of wind drift and its influence on bullet trajectory, techniques for recognizing and determining wind speed and direction, and strategies of wind management and target engagement. The daily classes will be held at 10 am and 2 pm on Saturday, and 10:30 am and 1 pm on Sunday.

WIND WISDOM: Determining the Direction of the Wind

Praslick noted: “The Precision Rifle Expo is a fantastic opportunity for both industry folks and the public to meet and learn about what’s new in the precision shooting world. It’s also unique in that the organizers present instructional content for the attendees. I’m really looking forward to teaching and talking to people about the techniques, strategy, and some tips to shooting in the wind. We’re once again partnering with Vortex, who is providing optics for the students[.]”

Video Showcases 2018 Precision Rifle EXPO:

Precision Rifle Expo Series National Rifle League Arena Training Facility Blakely Georgia September meeting

Precision Rifle Expo Arena Blakely GA Georgia PRS NRL

All Types of Products Will Be on Display
The Precision Rifle EXPO offers a unique opportunity to check out the latest products from dozens of top companies all in one place. Over 30 companies will be at the EXPO, displaying complete rifles, actions, triggers, stocks, optics, reloading gear, ammo, electronics, rangefinders, chronographs, ear protection, support bags, bipods, tripods, and all manner of accessories.

Precision Rifle Expo Arena Blakely GA Georgia PRS NRL
Nick Gadarzi in Utah NRL match with Leupold Mark 5HD™ 5-25×56mm, TMR reticle

Precision Rifle EXPO 2021 Exhibitor List

NOTE: There may be some final changes, but there should still be 30+ Exhibitors.

Accu-Tac
Athlon Optics
Barrett
Beretta
Berger
Bore-Tech
Curtis Custom
Daniel Defense
Helix Precision
Hoplite Arms
Kauger Arms
Kenzies Optics
KGM Tech
KMW
Knights Armament
Lapua
Leupold
MacDonald Innovations
Manners Composite Stocks
MDT Chassis
Masterpice Arms (MPA)
Sako
SK Ammunition
Tikka
Timney
Trigger Tech
U.S. Optics
Ulfhednar
Vihtavuori
Vortex
Vudoo Rifles
Zeiss
ZR Delta

At the 2018 EXPO, Long-Range Clinics were held on the 1000-yard Range:
arena training facility Georgia Precision Rifle expo

Arena Training Facility — 2300 Acres
The 2300-acre Arena Training Facility is a premier shooting facility with multiple shooting ranges from 50m to 2100m. Arena’s 1000-yard covered Known Distance range offers multiple benches, steel and paper targets out to 1000 yards. On Arena’s UKD (unknown distance) range shooters can engage steel out to 2300 yards. This 2100m UKD range boasts a 3-Story Shooting Tower, Air-Conditioned Shoot House, and multiple Positional Challenge stations.

arena training facility Georgia

The Arena Training Facility is located approximately two hours from the Hartsfield Airport in Atlanta, Georgia and is centrally located in the Southeastern USA.

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September 12th, 2021

Sunday GunDay: John Whidden’s New .223 Rem Palma Rifle

Whidden Gunworks .223 Remington Barnard Action Palma fullbore
Whidden Gunworks .223 Remington Barnard Action Palma fullbore

.223 Rem for Long Range Palma, by John Whidden (5-Time Nat’l LR Champion)
We’ve seen quite an amount of interest in recent years in .223s for Long Range Palma shooting. Yes, the .223 Remington is a pretty light cartridge for long range use, but the specific rules of Palma shooting make it a choice worth considering.

Back in 2019, the Int’l Confederation of Fullbore Rifle Associations (ICFRA), the international governing body for Palma shooting, made a rule change allowing .223 Rem rifles to use bullets of less than 91 grains. Previously the rule allowed the use of bullets less than 81 grains in the .223 Rem, and we have long had the popular option of .308s shooting bullets less than 156 grains. These heavier bullets such as the 85.5gr Berger LR Hybrid and 90gr Berger VLD make the .223s quite competitive in the wind with the old standby .308 Winchester. The .223 does hold the obvious advantage of much lower recoil than the .308. [Editor: The reduced recoil is quite noticeable in the video below where John is shooting his .223 Rem rifle.]

John Whidden Shoots .223 Rem Palma Rifle with 90gr Berger VLDs

Watch video at 00:25 and you’ll see the recoil of Whidden’s .223 Rem Palma rifle is significantly less than a .308 Win Palma rig. John joked: “With the .223 Rem there is just a pop and a wiggle after the shot.”

.223 Rem Palma Rifle — Barnard Action, Tec-Hro Stock

The Barnard P action imported by Whidden Gunworks is the foundation for many winning Palma rifles. As soon as our USA shooters returned from the New Zealand Palma match in 2019 they were immediately requesting bolts to convert their actions to .223 Remington.

Whidden Gunworks .223 Remington Barnard Action Palma fullbore

Given all of this interest in the .223 Rem, I decided to build one myself and see if all of these theories about wind performance held water. Starting with my Barnard P action, I worked with Tec-Hro in Germany to use one of their Fanatic stocks for the project. The Fanatic is a modern aluminum stock suitable for prone or Three Position use. The stock uses adapter blocks to work with a wide variety of rimfire actions such as Anschutz, Walther, and Feinwerkbau. As far as I know we were the first to test it out for centerfire use. After shooting the stock with my .308 Win barreled action installed to refine a few details and ensure the stock would stand up to recoil, I then mounted my .223 Rem barreled action and went to the range.

Whidden Gunworks .223 Remington Barnard Action Palma fullbore

Prior to my range visit a decision was made concerning bullets and twist rate. After discussion with Mark Buettgen at Bartlein Barrels I ordered two barrels — a 1:7″-twist and also a 1:6.25″-twist. Mark was looking for some data using the Sierra 90gr MatchKing bullet and we expected that the faster twist rate might give the best success with that MatchKing bullet. When the barrels arrived they were chambered and installed on the rifle.

Whidden Gunworks .223 Remington Barnard Action Palma fullbore
John uses a Warner rear adjustable sight with a Centra front sight.

Fast Twist-Rate Barrels for Long .223-Caliber Bullet
First up the 1:6.25″-twist barrel was installed and testing commenced. The barrel shot extremely well right out of the gate. All loads used Lapua brass and Vihtavuori N140 powder. I tested the Berger 85.5gr and 90gr bullets as well as Sierra 90gr and 95gr bullets. Testing with the 6.25-twist barrel went well with both of the Berger bullets looking especially good. Later the 1:7″-twist barrel was mounted and tested.

While both barrels were very accurate we decided that the 1:6.25″-twist barrel outshined the 1:7″-twist tube. Now we all know that some barrels are just a little more accurate than others. With such a small sample of data here (just two barrels) I’m not saying that a 1:6.25″-twist is decidedly better. In fact we have a number of customers shooting 7-twist barrels who are shooting them very well. With this particular rifle however, the 6.25-twist seems to be the more accurate of the two.

Whidden Gunworks .223 Remington Barnard Action Palma fullbore

.223 Rem Load Development for Palma Competition

The load I settled on is Lapua brass, Vihtavuori N140 powder, and Berger 90 grain VLDs which I moly-coat. I soft-seat the bullets into the lands with only .001″ neck tension or a little less.

Why the Berger 90gr VLD? The secret sauce is that the 90gr VLD is much superior in the wind after we point it up with the Whidden Pointing Die. The 85.5gr Hybrid bullet comes from Berger with this treatment already done while the 90gr VLD does not. When the 90-grainer is pointed up, the wind drift is a few percent better than the 85.5, given the velocities that I feel comfortable achieving with the rifle.

I settled on 2840 fps for the 90gr VLD and 2880 fps for the 85.5gr Hybrid from a 32″ barrel. When pointed up, the 90-grainer shoots flatter to 1000 yards by 1 MOA which indicates a G7 BC of .289 in my combination. Wind Drift in a 10 mph direct crosswind at 1000 yards is 70.8″ with this 90gr combination compared to 76.8″ for the 85.5gr load.

Whidden Gunworks .223 Remington Barnard Action Palma fullbore

Whidden Gunworks .223 Remington Barnard Action Palma fullboreTesting in Competition — at Camp Perry
This past August 2021 at the CMP Long Range National Championships at Camp Perry I finally had the chance to shoot the rifle on a big stage. Winds that day were from almost directly 12:00 to about 1:30 switching headwinds. Velocity was around 8-10 mph meaning not the easiest or the hardest of conditions. I managed a third place finish in the Palma match. That proves the .223 Rem is definitely competitive in elite Palma events.

.223 Rem Performance in the Wind
My sense of the .223 Rem’s wind performance was that it was in line with the performance I’d expect from my .308 Win Palma gun. Of course the lack of recoil made the .223 Rem much easier to shoot well.

How to Order a Rifle Like This
Whidden Gunworks can build a rifle like this for Palma competitors who want to move to .223 Rem. John tells us: “We’ve built a number of these combinations of the Barnard P action, Tec-Hro Fanatic stock, and Bartlein barrel. They all shoot incredibly well and the ergonomics are top notch. One of the good points is that the current price of $3875.00 (without sights) makes it a bargain for a top-tier Palma rifle.”

Whidden Gunworks .223 Remington Barnard Action Palma fullboreAbout John Whidden
5-Time National Long Range Champion

John Whidden is founder and owner of Whidden Gunworks and a lifelong competitive shooter. Major shooting accomplishments include being a 5-Time U.S. National Long Range Champion, winner of the Australia National Queen’s Prize, and member of three USA Palma Teams. John is currently active in Long Range Highpower, 300 Meter Prone, and Smallbore prone events. John tells us that one secret of his success is having top equipment: “The mental component of Long Range competitive shooting is always challenging but having tremendous confidence in the accuracy of your equipment is a huge benefit. There’s nothing to start your Palma match off well like knowing that you are shooting the most accurate Palma rifle you’ve ever owned.”

Whidden Gunworks .223 Remington Barnard Action Palma fullbore

Whidden Gunworks stands ready to help with your shooting and reloading needs. Whidden Gunworks specializes in custom bolt action rifles, reloading dies, other reloading tools, and reloading components. Well known for match-grade custom rifles and high-quality reloading dies, Whidden Gunworks’ growing lineup includes components from Berger, Lapua, Vihtavuori, and SK rimfire ammunition. Learn more by visiting www.WhiddenGunworks.com.

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August 31st, 2021

Hydro-Form 6mm Dasher Brass — Save Money & Barrel Life

6mm Dasher hydroforming case die hornady

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

6 Dasher Case Hydro-Forming Demonstration:

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Permalink - Articles, Bullets, Brass, Ammo, Reloading, Tech Tip 3 Comments »
July 16th, 2021

Tool Time with F-Class John — Eight Great Video Reviews

 F-Class john tool youtube video reviews lyman primer hydro press

Forum member F-Class John is an avid F-Class competitor and expert handloader. John reviews reloading hardware and shooting-related products for his popular F-Class John YouTube Channel, which now boasts 220+ videos. John also does important product testing for AccurateShooter.com. Through his YouTube channel, John has reviewed many of the latest and greatest reloading tools and accessories. For today’s Video Showcase, we selected eight F-Class John tool and reloading product reviews.

If you like these selected videos, consider joining F-Class John’s Patreon Channel for live video meetings, more in-depth videos, and detailed explanations.

21st Century Hydro Press and Standard Arbor Press

John notes: “You can’t really talk about precision reloading without taking about inline dies and arbor presses. For my money there’s nothing better than the lineup from 21st Century Shooting. They offer the Hydro Seater which is hands-down the best manual seater out there as well as their standard arbor press which is great for taking on the road to push back bullets as needed.”

Primal Rights Competition Priming Seater (CPS) Review

If there is a Ferrari of priming tools, it has to be the Primal Rights Competition Primer Seater (CPS). This impressive bench-mounted tool allows very precise control over primer seating depth. A vertical tube holds primers ready for insertion. The action is smooth and precise. John believes that this is definitely the best priming tool on the market, though it may not be for everyone given its premium $600.00 price.

Lyman Powered Case Trimmer Review

The Lyman Case Trim Xpress is an efficient, precise unit that allows easy adjustment of trim length with a click-adjustable collar. The trimmer comes with a set of cartridge-specific bushings that index off the case shoulder. One nice feature is a variable speed control. For the price, $154.99 on Amazon, this trimmer delivers excellent performance. F-Class John has another video review of the Lyman Case Trim Xpress which shows set-up and operation.

Dillon 750 Tips and Tricks

The Dillon XL 750 is a favorite of high-volume reloaders. With the optional case feeder, the XL 750 offers high output with great reliability. And Dillon offers one of the best warranties in the business. In this video, F-Class John features upgrades including the Armanov tool-head holders from Europe. These are drilled and tapped for all FIVE stations allowing the user to put threaded dies in any station.

Gunsmithing Torque Wrench Comparisons

When you are working on custom rifles that might cost $5000+, and mounting scopes that can run $3000 (or more), you need to use very high-quality tools. Precise torque settings are essential, both to avoid damage to valuable parts, and to have the rifle and optic perform optimally. In this video, F-Class John looks at a variety of torque wrenches suitable for gunsmithing duties.

Concentricity Checking with Accuracy One Gauge

Every serious hand-loader needs a quality concentricity gauge. The Accuracy One Concentricity Gauge boasts a smart design that delivers precise, repeatable results. We like the unit’s easy adjustability and its ability to work in a variety of configurations. The Accuracy One Gauge measures internal and external neck runout of cartridge cases as well as seated bullet runout. It can also measure the runout of the ogive, bearing surface, and boat-tail of individual bullets. And it can even measure your primer pocket runout.

Teslong Rigid (Shaft) Borescope with Monitor

Seeing inside your barrel can provide clues to how well you’re cleaning and the bore’s overall health. One of the best tools on the market is the Teslong Rigid Borescope. This features a solid rod for easy use in barrels. Plus it comes with a self-contained high-definition viewing monitor so no smartphones or WiFi tablets are needed. If you’re looking for something more portable and a bit more versatile, try the Teslong Flexible Borescope, $99.99 including monitor. John was impressed with the new rigid Teslong he tested, and he likes having a dedicated monitor (no WiFi required).

Zero Turret Press with Whidden Sizing Die

The new Zero Press from Area 419 is arguably the best turret press ever crafted. It offers unrivaled precision, along with the highest-capacity turret head with NINE die/tool stations. Milled from billet aluminum and stainless steel, this press moves with the help of 14 bearings. In this video, F-Class John shows how to use a Whidden Gunworks full-length sizing die on the Zero Press. And John has two other video reviews of the $1200 Zero Press: 1. Zero Press First Thoughts Video; 2. Loading on a Zero Press.

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May 15th, 2021

Choosing the Best Neck Bushing Size — Tips from John Whidden

John Whidden Dies Neck Bushing diameter reloading

Whidden Gunworks makes great sizing and seating dies. The Whidden full-length sizing die with neck bushing is very popular because it allows you to “tune” the neck tension by using different bushings, with larger or smaller inside diameters. In this video, John Whidden explains how to choose a the right bushing size for use with your neck-sizing and full-length sizing bushing dies.

For most applications, John suggest starting with the caliper-measured outside diameter of a loaded cartridge (with your choice of bullet), and then SUBTRACT about three thousandths. For example, if your loaded round mics at .333, then you would want to start with a 0.330 neck bushing. John notes, however, that you may want to experiment with bushings, going down a thousandth and up a thousandth. With thin In addition, as your brass ages and the necks harden, you may want to change your bushing size.

John Whidden Dies Neck Bushing diameter reloadingQuick Tip: Try Flipping Your Bushings
You may also want to experiment with “flipping” your neck bushings to alternate the side that first contacts the neck of the case. (One side of the bushing is usually marked with the size, while the other side is unmarked.) So try “number side up” as well as “number side down”.

Some folks believe that one side of the bushing may allow a smoother entry, and that this can enhance concentricity. Other people think they can get very slightly more or less neck tension depending on how the bushing is oriented. This is a subtle effect, but it costs nothing to experiment.

If one bushing orientation proves better you can mark the “up” side with nail polish so that you can always orient the bushing optimally. NOTE: We have confirmed that some bushings are actually made with a slight taper. In addition, bushings may get distorted slightly when the brand name and size is stamped. Therefore there IS a reason to try both orientations.

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March 15th, 2021

BargainFinder 286: AccurateShooter’s Deals of the Week

AccurateShooter Deals of the Week Weekly Bargain Finder Sale Discount Savings

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

1. Whidden Gunworks — Barnard Model SMS Action, $1150

barnard sms action
Outstanding, smooth-running action, takes Rem 700 triggers (like Jewell)

Building a new gun these days can be challenging at best, especially because action manufacturers now have lead times up to one year. If you want a great custom action with no long wait, check out the Barnard Model SMS Action in stock and ready to ship from Whidden Gunworks. With a Remingon 700 footprint it fits a huge variety of inletted stocks. You can order it with either a .223 Rem or .308 Win bolt face. The Barnard SMS action compatible with Remington 700 Triggers, AICS & HS Precision magazine systems and is Picatinny rail compatible. This is a great way to get started on that next precision build.

3. Stocky’s — Rem 700 Stock with Alum. Bedding Block, $249.99

remington stock
Great value — nice stock with built-in Aluminum bedding block

We helped find you an action, now it’s time for a quality stock. Stocky’s Stocks carries a wide assortment of great looking stocks that work great. You can pick up this Remington 700 BDL Laminated With Aluminum Bedding Block for under $300.00! Choose among seven different color combinations. Stocky’s EuroStocks feature OEM-quality fit and finish, stippled laser-engraved checkering, and a nice, 1″ thick, vented recoil pad. Stocky’s ships these stocks complete with mil-spec takedown screws, washers, and Allen wrenches.

3. EuroOptic — SIG Sauer P320 M18 Carry 9mm, $699.99

sig p320 9mm sale
Civilian version of U.S. Military 9mm pistol — accurate, high capacity

SIG Sauer continues to be one of the most respected pistol makers for good reason. SIG pistols are reliable, accurate, and trusted by law enforcement/military around the world. Here’s the civilian version of the U.S. Military’s M18 sidearm: SIG Sauer P320 M18 Carry 9mm. The P320’s modular design allows the shooter to easily change the size and fit of the handgun making for a great experience no matter the owner. Order now for $699.99 and you can get a free bonus extra magazine, for three mags total.

4. Creedmoor Sports — DLX 55″ or 60″ Rifle Case Blue, $149.95

creedmoor sports rifle case
Truly one of the highest-quality soft rifle cases you can buy

Tired of poorly-made soft cases that wear out after one season? If you want to get a top-quality case that will last for years, check out the Creedmoor Blue Deluxe 55″ or 60″ Rifle Case. These hand-made cases provide superior protection with quality fabrics and padding. Smart design, high-grade zippers, and top-quality sewing make a noticeable difference. You will see many of the nation’s top Palma and F-Class shooters using these cases.

5. Brownells — Vortex Strike Eagle 1-8x24mm Combo, $429.99

vortex strike eagle
Remarkable 8 times magnification range — great for hunting and tactical use

Vortex offers excellent optics with one of the best warranties in the business. Here’s a good choice for an AR or hunting rig. The 1-8X power range offers a wide field of vision plus plenty of magnification when you’re on target. Right now the Vortex Optics Strike Eagle 1-8X24mm is on sale for $429.99 at Brownells. This includes a cantilever mount that works great with AR-platform rifles and many tactical-style actions.

6. MidwayUSA — Frankford Case Tumbler Master Kit, $72.99

frankford arsenal tumbler
We’ve used this Combo Kit for many seasons — very good value right now

Keeping your brass clean is one of the best ways to keep your dies (and reloading presses) clean as well. If you’re looking for a new, affordable setup to clean cartridge brass, consider the Frankford Arsenal Quick-N-EZ Case Tumbler Master Kit. You get everything needed to dry-tumble your brass and remove the media. This is all available now for a very low $72.99. You could pay that much for a good vibratory tumbler alone.

7. Amazon — 36″ Carbon Fiber Cleaning Rod, $29.99

cleaning rod sale
Good cleaning rod with ball-bearing handle and coated rod

Cleaning rods break and bend or just plain wear out, but they can be expensive to replace. We found this 36″ Carbon Fiber Cleaning Rod that features a ball bearing handle and a threaded tip to add any jag or brush of your choice. The shaft is nylon coated so it is easy to clean. User Reviews have been very positive.

8. Amazon — Tactical Double Handgun Firearm Case, $25.99

pistol case sale
Well-designed case for two pistols, mags, protective gear

Storing and transporting pistols can be a challenge since some cases are too small and while others are too big and heavy. If you need to transport a pair of pistols to the range, this Tactical Double Scoped Handgun Case is a good option. It has twin zippered pistol compartments plus straps for 6 magazines. This soft case perfectly fits two scoped pistols and has extra space for other gear such as glasses and earplugs.

9. MidwayUSA — Competition Shooting Mat $24.99

MidwayUSA $24.99 Shooting competition mat
Good versatile mat that does the job for just $24.99

Here’s a good deal from MidwayUSA: $24.99 Competition Shooting Mat. Regularly priced at $33.99, these mats are now 9 bucks off — that’s a 26% savings. We’ve used this mat many times. It’s obviously not the most deluxe mat you can buy, but it does the job and should last a long time. This mat rolls up into a nice package with carry handle. Most purchasers give this 4 or 5 stars. One verified buyer posted: “Very nice basic mat for the money. Well-made and quality materials. I use it at the range on concrete pad. Very comfortable without a lot of bulk. Highly recommend this mat.”

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March 4th, 2021

Shoulder Bump — Five Cool Tools to Measure Your Bump

shoulder bump headspace gauge comparator tool whidden manson

The Tactical Rifle Shooters Facebook Group recently showcased tools used to measure case headspace before and after “bumping” the shoulder. After a case is fired, hand-loaders who full-length size their cases will typically bump the shoulders back anywhere from .001″ to .0035″, depending on the rifle and application. With our 6mmBR and Dasher cases we like about .0015″ bump.

You want the amount of case sizing and bump to be the same for all your brass. To ensure uniformity, it makes sense to measure your cases before and after the FL sizing process. When we have time, we check every case. Other folks will simply check the first 3-4 cases coming out of the FL sizing die to ensure the FL die setting is correct and delivering desired headspace/bump.

1. Whidden Gunworks Shoulder Bump Gauge

shoulder bump headspace gauge comparator tool whidden manson

There are a variety of tools that can be used to measure shoulder bump. Our favorite is a special cartridge-specific bushing made by Whidden Gunworks. The Whidden Shoulder Bump Gauge enables you to adjust your sizing die to the desired measurement. The bump gauge is attached to your calipers with a set screw and determines the measurement from the base to the shoulder of the case. The photo below, from Tactical Rifle Shooters, shows the Whidden Bump Gauge for the .375 CheyTac cartridge.

2. Dave Manson Vertical Comparator with Dial Read-Out

shoulder bump headspace gauge comparator tool whidden manson
Background image courtesy Tactical Rifle Shooters; inset photo from Manson Precison Reamers.

Dave Manson states: “This tool was designed to make life easier for the advanced shooter and re-loader by allowing precise measurement of ammunition, case, and chamber headspace. With this information, the re-loader will be able to fine-tune clearances and fits between his ammunition and chamber, with resultant improvements in accuracy and case life.” The functions of the Manson Comparator are:

1. Measure headspace of factory or reloaded ammunition
2. Quantify chamber headspace by measuring headspace of a fired case
3. Ensure minimal shoulder set-back when setting up re-loading dies
4. Compare base-to-ogive length to ensure consistent bullet-to-rifling relationship.

In addition to the Dial Indicator and Stand, the $130.00 Vertical Comparator is supplied with multiple Datum Blocks of precise length and inside diameter (.3300″/.3750″/.4000″/.4375″). MORE INFO HERE — Catalog page 20.

3. Hornady L-N-L Headspace Comparator System

shoulder bump headspace gauge comparator tool whidden manson

Hornady’s Lock-N-Load Headspace Comparator system is easy-to-use and handy. You can get a kit with Red bushing-holder body and 5 bushings for $40.12. Hornady explains: “The Lock-N-Load® Headspace Comparator… gauge measures variations in brass before and after firing or re-sizing. It allows for headspace comparison between fire-formed brass and re-sized brass.” IMPORTANT: Hornady states: “To determine the proper bushing diameter for your cartridge, simply add the neck diameter and the shoulder diameter and divide that number by two. Use the bushing closest to that number.” Hornady offers five: .330″, .350″, .375″, .400″, and .420″.

One tip — We have found the Hornady gauges may vary a little from unit to unit even with the same nominal size. If you have more than one gauge for the same cartridge, test each on your brass — you may then note a slight difference in your bump measurements. There is also an Anvil Base Kit that mounts to the opposite blade on the caliper. This provides a more stable surface for the base of your case.

4. L.E. Wilson Case Gage Depth Micrometer

shoulder bump headspace gauge comparator tool whidden manson

If you are looking for precise “bump” measurements without having to mess with calipers and clamp-on gauge blocks, you may want to consider the L.E. Wilson Case Gage Depth Micrometer. This takes very precise, repeatable measurements, but you need to know your starting point. The manufacturer explains: “Every reloader should know exactly how much your Full Length Sizing Die is pushing back the shoulder. With the NEW Case Gage Depth Micrometer you can do just that! It has never been easier to measure you cases headspace before and after sizing. The Depth Mic allows you to slip the micrometer perfectly over the top of the Gage with your case inserted into the Gage and take a measurement. Micrometer has graduations of .001″. The Case Gage Depth Micrometer is set to a zero of .100″ on the scale at our factory. Because of differences in ‘feel’ and temperature, we include a the Gage Block for you to test Zero and to adjust if necessary.”

5. Pistol Brass Case DIY Bump Gauge

Last is a “field expedient” set-up if you do not have any of the comparator tools shown above. A sized .45 ACP case (or other suitable pistol case) can be used to measure shoulder bump. The mouth of the pistol case sits on the shoulder of your rifle cartridge brass.

Make sure the .45 ACP case is trimmed square and that it is round. We recommend you first run it through an expander, then size it, trim it and chamfer. Next, take the .45 ACP case and slip it over the neck of a fired, unsized rifle case with the primer removed. Align the two cases between the jaws of your calipers and note the length from rim to rim (See left photo below).

OK, now you have the length for a fired rifle case BEFORE sizing. Next, take a full-length sized rifle case (without primer) and do the same thing, placing the .45 ACP case over the neck of the FL-sized case (Right Photo). The difference between the two numbers is the amount of “bump” or set-back you are applying to the shoulder. Here the difference is .0015″. The amount of bump you need varies with your chamber and your load, but .0015-.002″ is a good initial setting.

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