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April 2005 Blog

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F-CLASS RESULTS from South Africa--US Team takes the Silver: In a hard-fought competition, the United States F-Class Team finished second to the host South African club in team competition. Team USA was leading after the first day of shooting, but the South Africans stormed back in the second day of team competition. Obviously, local knowledge paid off, but an American, Middleton Thompkins, took the coveted "Magpie" award for finishing first in the individual competition, where Americans grabbed the first eight places. More information is available at USFClass.com. Or CLICK HERE to download Vanessa Warner's report.

TOP GUN--Joel Kendrick Named IBS 600-yard Shooter of the Year: Joel captured the title by racking up 54.5 points (vs. 30 points for runner-up James Phillips). Joel also set a couple new 600-yard world records in the process. Well done Joel! We will soon be doing a major story with Joel, featuring his innovative 6x44 Cartridge, aka the 6mmBR "Long".

TECH TALK--Lapua Flash Holes: People have asked about the diameter of the flash-holes on current 6BR brass. Well, to get a definitive answer, we went right to the source--the Lapua engineering staff in Finland. Here's the straight scoop. When Lapua started making 6mm BR Norma brass ten years ago, Lapua adopted a 1.50mm (0.059") flash hole size. That spec never changed. However, Lapua tells us that production tolerances run up to 1.60mm (.063"). That's just over 1/16", a standard "small" decapping pin diameter. OK, should you ream your flash-holes to fit a 1/16" (.0625") decapping rod? The answer is "maybe". With some powders it may improve ignition, but other people feel a very small hole is important to accuracy. The best suggestion is to ream 10 and test against non-reamed cases.

If you do choose to ream, here's the skinny on tools: if you use the K&M PPC flash hole deburrer to ream the hole it will end up about 0.69". If you use the Sinclair 07-3000 tool it will end up about 0.63". The later is probably OK, but when you start to approach 0.70" it's possible you may be losing some of the claimed accuracy advantage of the small PPC-style flash-hole. If you want to leave your 6BR flash-holes at minimum diameter, turn down your 1/16" decapping pins or decap with a Redding die. The 6BR and 6PPC Redding dies normally ship with a .057" diameter decapping pin. (If yours is larger, ask Redding for the smaller version.) The Redding .057" decapper will work with UN-REAMED 6BR brass. So, to make a long story short, flash holes anywhere from .059"-.063" are "normal" and a Redding die should work. If you order a custom die, just make sure to specify a 0.057" decapping pin. But if you want to use a 1/16" (.0625") decapping pin, you should ream with the Sinclair tool. It will open the flash-hole just enough, without reaming oversize.

PRODUCT SPOTLIGHT: Fudd Universal Top. Windage tops enjoy many advantages. One of the best tops available is made by Scott Hamilton of Mountain Specialties. Scott tells us: "The micro-adjust top was designed to fulfill two needs. First, to provide shooters with a sand filled top with small hard bags and second, provide shooters with a single top for easy adjustment for different width stocks and pressure on the sides. With this top shooters can shoot a sporter stock then change to a 3" wide stock in a matter of seconds while also setting the amount of side tension on the stock. Many shooters have two tops: one set-up for the sporter and one for the heavy gun. This top allows for both and all combinations in between."

BULLET BARGAIN--Hornady 87gr V-Max: Lock, Stock & Barrel, 800-228-7925, has the excellent 87gr V-Max Moly-coated bullet on sale right now. Price is $9.95 per 100. Midway's price is $15/100 and Graf is charging $17/100! The 87gr V-Max (item HRN24403) is a very accurate and hard-hitting projectile for long-range varminting.

MINI-REVIEW: Dewey Crocogator Primer Pocket Cleaner. There are many tools for cleaning the carbon out of primer pockets. We've tried most of them, and Dewey's handy double-ended "Baby Crocogator" is our favorite. Priced at $4-$5 (depending on vendor), it cleans faster than metal brushes, and you won't have to worry about bent or broken bristles. The tool uses diamond shaped teeth to remove the carbon, without shaving brass. Made of hardened steel, it will outlast a half-dozen wire brush tips. The "Croc" has cleaning tips on both ends--one for small primer pockets and the other for large pockets. Order from DeweyRods.com, or Lock Stock & Barrel.

Bloggers Wanted: Do you have a great reloading tip to share, or news of a great special on gear? Have you learned some late-breaking report on a major match? Then contribute to our 6mmBR Blog. Just email your comment or news item to: Mailbox@6mmBR.com

April 21, 2005

NEW DATA SHEETS from Lapua: We've been in direct contact with Lapua in Finland. They've sent us the latest product data sheets for 6mm loaded ammo, 6BR Brass, and 6mm Scenar bullets. You won't find this info anywhere else on the web. CLICK HERE to download a .zip archive
with Lapua data sheets in .pdf format.

Varmint Silhouette--the Most Fun with a Gun Ever?: This week we feature a husband and wife team who compete in long-range varmint silhouette matches at the Pala Range in Southern California. Katy shoots a 6BR with Berger 95 VLDs, while Don shoots a 6mm Dasher with the 105 and 107gr bullets. The goal is simple--knock down undersized metallic silhouettes at distances up to 700 yards. We've tried a bunch of different rifle shooting competitions, and we think this is a fun as it gets. The instant feedback (hit or miss) with the knock-down targets is WAY more fun than staring at paper through a spotting scope (in High-Power matches) or hiking out to the pits to inspect a target. While rules vary from club to club, typically you shoot prone, with front and rear rest and scope--similar to F-Class. At my club you can shoot anything up to a .300 win mag, but various 6mm chamberings dominate. Don prepared a summary of the sport, and Katy even contributed her famous guacamole recipe (bottom of page).

Reloading Tip: If you're using a Body Die or a Full-Length sizing die, try using Ballistol as a lube. It works GREAT without the tacky or gooey residue left by most case lubes. Just spray a little on a cotton patch and wipe each case before you run it up into the die. If you are using a steel neck bushing, be sure to wipe the neck as well. We can do a dozen cases before we need to re-apply Ballistol on the patch. Ballistol is non-toxic, non-petroleum based, and will also clean the case necks. It is very slippery, but can easily be removed with a rag or paper towel. Try it--you may retire your One-Shot. Derived from Pine Oil, Ballistol can also be used to protect wood stocks.

Neck-Turning Tip: If you are going to turn necks, it's essential to have the cases EXACTLY the same length so you can turn slightly up into the shoulder the same amount with each case. Ideally, first fire-form the case in a no-turn neck barrel. If that's not possible, you can neck down the case with an extra-small bushing, then fire-form with pistol powder (use a reduced charge!!) and a wax plug. There are differing opinions on whether you should use a filler. If you use H4198, Hodgdon recommends using no filler. After fire-forming, run an expander or tapered button down the necks to ensure they are round. Then full-length size the case to get a good, sharp neck-shoulder junction (a body-only die won't do this as well). Then trim the cases to the same length, just enough to square the mouths. Now all your cases will index perfectly on the mandrel when you neck-turn.

HOT DEALS: Bruno Marks Down Shilen Barrels. Bruno Shooters Supply is running a great special right now on his Shilen barrels in inventory: "All Shilen 1.250" diameter or smaller barrels, 28" in length or shorter, are $219.95." Note, this applies to what Bruno has in stock, not anything requiring a special order or custom contour. Lester's also offering Free UPS ground shipping on Leupold scopes. Go to BrunoShooters.com or call (800) 455-0350 to order. You'll find it hard to beat Lester's prices on most components, including Lapua brass.

Looking for an Anschutz 22LR?: Nice older Anschutz target rifles are getting harder to find because, with the rising Euro, new Anschutz target models have become incredibly costly. If you're looking for a nice prone or silhouette rifle with iron sights, Thad Scott, a dealer in Indianola, MS, has a couple dozen for sale--all for under $900 and a few for under $700. The stocks would cost more to replace than some of the rilfes. While these don't have the latest, greatest triggers, many have pull weights well under one pound. Scott has both prone and position rifles for sale.

GREAT Price on Dessicant Packs: Tired of paying two or three bucks for a single dessicant (moisture absorbing) packet to use in your safe or range box? ULINE, a packing supply house, offers a 5-gallon pail of 3"x6" Kraft Bag dessicants for $44. Each pail (Item S-1059) contains 150 packets, enough for a dozen average safes (each packet protects 1.67 cubic feet). They also offer Silica Gel and Tyvek packs. Get some friends together and buy in bulk--or order a pail for your shooting club. Good for ammo cans and tool boxes too. Go to ULINE.COM or call 800-958-5463 to order.

April 15, 2005

SUPER DEAL on NEW Rem 700 Actions--$241!
Brownells just announced they are closing out their inventory of Remington 700 receivers. All remaining inventory (both .223 and .308 bolt face) is on sale for $241, while supplies last. Order a .308-size action (Item 767-000-818), have it blue-printed, and you have the heart of a very accurate 6BR rifle. CLICK HERE for more info, or call 800-741-0015. FFL required. UPDATE 4/20: ALL SOLD OUT.

MESSAGE BOARD Etiquette -- Keeping Things in Order
You'll find a wealth of information in the 6mmBR Forum. We invite all visitors to the site to participate actively in our message boards. However, it helps everyone if you "look before you leap". First, there is a search function that will locate ALL previous posts quickly and easily. There's a good chance the question you've asked has already been answered. Second, look through existing threads (including those found beyond Page 1) to determine whether adding to a thread makes more sense than starting a new one. Also, use the site's resources, such as our 6BR FAQ, our Bullet Comparator (lists bullet BCs) and our Gunsmith List (with contact info for many of the nation's best smiths).

Reloading Tip
When annealing, try using a 1/2"electric drill with a keyless chuck. Put most of the case in the chuck so just the neck is exposed. The chuck acts as a heat sink. Spin the case at low RPM. When the neck is heated to the correct temp, just spin the chuck and dump the case in a tub of water (Don't immerse the drill!!). Use a Tempil Stick or Tempil Laquer to get the neck in the 650-degree range. Don't overheat. You may also want to experiment with letting the cases cool naturally. Some folks feel that creates more consistent neck tension. To do this just drop the case on a folded towel.

MINI-Review: Zeiss Conquest
The Zeiss Conquest scope was our top-rated 1" diameter scope on our Optics Page. The scope is very sharp and bright. The controls are very easily to manipulate and clicks are positive. The eyepiece has a +2/-3 diopter, a really nice feature you won't get with a Leupold. If you are looking for a 6-20X scope, we really like the Zeiss. It is now available in Silver finish with a fine-cross hair reticle--ideal for target shooting. Highland Gear has great prices on Zeiss Conquest scopes, such as $640 for the 6-20X50 model with fine plex in black matte. Highland Gear often posts their Zeiss scopes on eBay where you may get an even better deal.

RCBS Products are special sale right now at MidSouth. For example, the price on the top-rated ChargeMaster combo, is the lowest we've found.
Rockchucker Press, Reg $118.21, Now $93.99
Chargemaster Combo, Reg $294.32, Now $259.99
Trim Mate Prep Center, Reg $98.55, Now $80.99
Hand Priming Tool Reg, $26.91, Now $22.49

Other Sites to Check Out
There are some other great firearms sites out there on the web. Here are some of our favorites:
For Varminters: VarmintAl.com and Varmints for Fun
For Micro-Caliber Shooters: Saubier.com.
For Rimfire (22LR, 17HMR, 17HM2) Shooters: RimfireCentral.com.
For High-Power and 300m Shooters: ShootersJournal.com and Steve's High-Power Links.
For Pistoleros: The Pistol WallPaper Page, run by our friend Ken Lunde.

ACKNOWLEDGEMENTS for Major Site Contributors
Thanks to Mike Lucas (who makes those great cleaning-rod guides), Jim DeMeo, and John Adams who made substantial donations to the Site this month. John also provided some Norma 203B powder for testing. And we want thank ALL the other folks who have donated. We appreciate it guys!

April 11, 2005

EDITOR's MESSAGE--Click a Link, Spread the Word and We All Benefit
Many people have emailed me and asked "what can I do to help?" We appreciate that, and here's a quick answer. First, we've added some sponsored links. Most of these are gun-related, but some are general interest--like Tax Preparation (yep, it's that time of year). If you click on just one sponsor's link it will help the site. If every site visitor clicked just one link per day, we'd generate enough in a month to buy three barrels and an Oehler 35 for testing, or a Nightforce for a raffle. Another thing that you can do (that also costs nothing) is to tell your friends about the site. And remember, 6mmBR.com isn't just for 6BR shooters. Our gear reviews, Gunsmith List, and even the Guns of the Week should interest anyone involved in precision shooting.

LIKE PLAYING with FIRE? Annealing Experts Wanted
One of the last remaining "Black Arts" of precision reloading seems to be annealing brass. There seem to be as many suggested methods as there are shooters. We're planning a feature article and we'd like input on the methods and equipment you use. One key thing that everyone should be using (at least until you have successfully annealed a few hundred cases) is a temperature stick. This crayon-like product leaves a coating on the neck that changes color when the correct temperature is reached. Tempil temp-sticks work well and are available in most plumbing supply stores.

We recently talked to Pat Ryan at Redding Reloading and he told us that they have some Dasher Dies in stock. These are ordinarily a custom-order item, but demand has picked up so they've manufactured some extra inventory. Dies available are: Body die, SN 75648 ($63); FL non-bushing die (.265" neck), SN 91648 ($90); Std. Seating die, SN 92648 ($78); Type S FL Bushing die, SN 77648 ($118.50); and Type S Bushing Neck-Sizing die, SN 71648 ($118.50). If you want a Micrometer Seater Die, Pat recommended buying a 6BR Comp Seater die, and having your smith ream the inner sliding sleeve with your chamber reamer. The sleeve is soft enough to make this operation easy to do.

MICRO-CALIBER NEWS -- Big Names Now Making .17-caliber Barrels
Our recent poll indicates many of you are interested in the very small calibers (.17 and .20). Some gunsmiths may not be aware of it, but Pac-Nor and Krieger recently added 17s to their list of calibers. Krieger offers 10,11,12,13 and 14-twist six-groove cut-rifled barrels in .17 and .20 calibers. In 17-caliber Pac-Nor offers 9, and 10 twists in the popular 3-groove design, plus 6,7,8,and 9-twist in 4-groove and 10, and 12-twist 5-groove. Shilen and Lilja also offer 17-caliber barrels. All four companies offer a wide selection of .20-caliber contours and twists.

BARGAIN POWDER for 6BR and 22BR Varminters
Wideners' still has supplies of AA-2230C powder for just $90 per 8-lb keg. That's just $11.25 per pound. This is a high-energy powder originally formulated for the military. It produces great velocities with the 60-75gr 6mm Varmint bullets. We've asked Accurate about it, and they say, since it's a little slower than commercial AA-2230, you should use AA-2460 load data. You can find recommended recipes on our Varmints Load Page, or CLICK HERE to download the Accurate Arms 6mm BR Load Map.

April 8, 2005

NEW POLL -- What Articles Do You Want to See on 6mmBR.com?
Click on the Reader Polls button to see our latest survey. Here we give you guys a chance to vote on what feature stories we should add to the site. Choices include illustrated gunsmithing articles, Hunting stories with wilderness photos, and More Big Boomer Rifles, or more micro-calibers. (We will be doing a story on the 20PPC caliber soon...)

This isn't any ordinary Gun of the Week article this time. We decided to offer "something completely different"--in this case a McBros Camo .308 Winchester that Brad Sauve steered to victory in the 2004 F-Class Nationals, "Target Rifle" class. Over 5000 words, the article contains a bunch of info for .308 shooters, and lots of great tips for you folks who shoot slings and irons.

TAPERED NECK REAMER -- Why Didn't We Think of That?
David Bergen from Belgium has smithed a cool new 6BR built on an Accuracy International chassis. He wanted it to function perfectly with factory ammo, which is a little thicker at the neck-shoulder junction (NSJ), so he chambered it with a .272" neck at NSJ, tapering to .271" at the mouth. Good idea.

If you want to see how well the gun feeds (from a magazine no less!), click this link for streaming video (requires Windows Media Player).

6x47 SWISS MATCH -- Yes It Just Might Be Available.
Our friend Corbin Shell has been working hard to get a bulk shipment of 6x47 Swiss Match Brass into the USA. "Swiss What?" you may be asking. Well, this cartridge is very similar to David Tubb's 6XC cartridge, but the production quality is really high. "Better than Lapua" everyone tells us, and that's saying a lot. The stuff won't be cheap, but with the quantity Corbin hopes to import, the cost should be comparable to Lapua 6.5-284 Brass.

Dateline: Bloemfontein, South Africa, April 7, 2005
THUNDER DOWN-UNDER: US F-Class Team Off to Great Start

The US Team dominated the regional F-Class matches in South Africa. These serve as a prelude to the Championship matches that will be held this weekend. One of the team members posted: "...The South African National Matches last week and this and the Worlds next week.

So far the US Team Red is doing well with wins in the Hamilton Cup, Rhodes Cup, and Dewer Shield, that also gave us the Grand Aggregate that phase finished,
USA Red (Brewer, Dink, Crone, Bair, Tompkins (Coach)
USA White (Ahrens, Murphy, Conway, Cowee, Praslik (coach)
USA Blue (Bock, Stroman, Warner, Warner (Mead (coach)

The 8 man team match went in our favor also
USA 1199 202v | South Africa 1199 185v | Great Britain--Can't remember Sorry
Gotta go, time short...

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