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December 2005 BLOG
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December 22, 2005 BLOG

CARTRIDGE NEWS--6.5x47 Lapua Reamer Print is Ready: Dave Kiff of Pacific Tool & Gauge recently contacted us to note that a European customer sent him sample factory loaded 6.5x47 Lapua rounds to have a reamer made. So...this would seem to confirm that Lapua does plan to make loaded ammo for the new caliber. That's good news for tactical and Highpower shooters. Dave said the loaded ammo samples held Lapua's 123gr Scenars, seated quite far down in the case, no doubt to enhance feeding from a magazine. Click HERE for PT&G's new 6.5x47 Reamer Print (requires MS Excel or FREE MS Viewer to open). Dave notes he can extend the reamer throat to seat bullets further out.

AUCTION RESULTS: S. Tooke of Louisiana was the high bidder for the Stiller Viper/Cobra Action Auction, which concluded at midnight 12/22. Mr. Tooke bid $900.00. Thank you to all who participated. Net proceeds from the auction will be used to acquire materials for product testing.

LAPUA PRODUCTS--Graf & Sons becomes Lapua Importer: In mid-2006 Grafs.com will become a direct importer for Lapua cartridge brass and bullets. This should help alleviate supply problems we've seen with Lapua's outstanding brass and Scenar bullets. Also, we had heard that Graf's might be taking over distribution of Russian Primers. (PMC recently announced that it would no longer be importing the Russian primers.) Turns out this is not the case, but Graf representatives did confirm that the Russian primers will probably be imported by another large company next year--they just couldn't reveal who. Recent tests by German Salazar and others have shown the Russian primers to deliver very consistent flash and low ES/SD with popular powders.

VIRTUAL VARMINTING--Online Shooting Game: CCI offers a fun interactive "shooting gallery" game that lets you plink at varmints. CLICK HERE to load the game (requires Flash-enabled browser). It starts off easy, but then you need good reflexes (and a fast mouse-finger) to tag all the critters as they pop out of tin cans. Among the various Flash shooting games, this is one of the best. Note: it's not necessary to enter a user-name or password--that's only if you want your score recorded. WARNING--This game can be addictive. Also there's some realistic sound effects so you may want to turn down your speakers if you're at work. Have fun!

GEAR Guide--Harrell's Compact Combo Benchrest Press: Harrell's Precision is now producing a portable press that works with both screw-in and hand dies. Set up to clamp to a bench, the Combo Press allows reloaders to full-length size (or neck-size) with a conventional die, and ALSO to seat (or neck-size) with a hand die. It's a very small package, yet still has plenty of leverage for normal reloading tasks. Boyd Allen recently tested the new press. Click HERE for his full review. Overall, Boyd says it works very well and the compact size is very handy.

INDUSTRY NEWS--Production of Oehler 35/35P Halts Soon: If you've been wanting a premium Chronograph, better order that Oehler model 35 or 35P soon. Oehler will be finishing off the last 100 or so units and supply should be exhausted within a few weeks. The three-screen model 35 costs $225--quite affordable considering the quality. The model 35P, with a built-in printer, is $345. For either model, replacement parts should still be available for quite some time. However, Oehler intends to focus its efforts on the high-end market with its $800 model 43, so the less-expensive 30-series units will be phased out. We think the model 35/35P is still the best chronograph you can buy at anywhere near the price.

BULLETS--Sierra Releases New 30-Caliber 210-grain MatchKing:
Credit Jason Baney, our 1000-yard editor, for this hot tip. Sierra has released initial prototypes of a NEW 210-grain .30-caliber MatchKing. It will be officially announced at Shot Show in February 2006, and should be available for purchase shortly thereafter. The new bullet, according to Jason, looks very similar to the 210-grain Berger. (In the photos, the grid scale is about 0.95mm per box.)

SHOPPING GUIDE: Last-minute shoppers should check out our complete Holiday Buyers' Guide. It features a dozens of cool gifts from $1.99 to $2000+. You'll find photos, nutshell reviews, and recommended vendors with the lowest prices. Here's a sample:

SITE NEWS--Sinclair International Joins Sponsor Ranks:
We are pleased to announce Sinclair International as the most recent vendor to join the ranks of AccurateShooter.com | 6mmBR.com sponsors. Sinclair has long been a leading purveyor of tools, components, and accessories for benchrest, Highpower, and F-Class competitors, along with the general shooting community. An innovative company run by shooters, for shooters, Sinclair's designers have created many outstanding products for precision reloading. Many of Sinclair's tools are "must-have" items for serious reloaders, available from no other source. Click on the image to visit Sinclair's website, where you can order a FREE print catalog. Be sure to check out Sinclair's New Products and Specials.

OPTICS--Leupold Announces New Laser Rangefinders: Leupold recently unveiled its new "RX" line of rangefinders. Priced in the $250-$450 range, these units offer some unique features, including the ability to compensation for up/down angle shots. There are four new RX units. The very compact RX-I (street price $250.00) ranges out to 750 yards. It features a 6x23mm multicoated monocular, "weatherproof" construction, multicoated optics, a thermometer and Long Range Mode. Also rated to 750 yards, the 6x23mm RX-II adds an inclinometer, multicoated optics, and True Ballistic Range (TBR), a function that uses a sophisticated ballistics algorithm to provide the corrected "ballistic distance" for angled shots, which can be significantly different than simple straight-line distance. Leupold's RX-III (street price $375.00) features the inclinometer and TBR, while adding fully waterproof construction, 8x28mm multicoated monocular, and the capability to range to 1200 yards. Leupold's top of the line RX-IV has a multicoated 8x28mm monocular, 1,500 yard range, TBR, waterproof construction, high precision digital flux-gate compass, inclinometer and many other advanced features. Illuminated Quick Set Rotary Menu allows easy visibility in low light on both RX-III and RX-IV models. We haven't got our hands on a test unit yet, but the feature sets of the RX-III and RX-IV look promising. Click HERE to check out Leupold's interactive product demo. For good prices on the RX line of rangefinders, check with MidSouth and Lock, Stock & Barrel.

TOOL TECH--Use Your Comparator as a Rimfire Rim Thickness Gauge: Here is our latest brainstorm. If you have a standard Stoney Point OAL comparator body with a 6mm (.243) insert, you can use it as a "poor man's" rimfire rim-thickness gauge. It works perfectly for 22LR and 17HM2--just drop the rimfire round to be measured in the hole, and then slide the unit against the caliper jaws. For a slightly tighter fit, use the .223 insert and ream VERY slightly. But we think you'll find the standard 6mm insert is just about perfect. We were able to get repeatable readings to about .0005". This is an ideal "Zero-Cost" adaptation of a popular tool.

COMMENTARY--Mike Ross Explains the Appeal of the 6BR: Mike Ross, builder of the advanced Gilkes-Ross actions and Ross convertible stocks, recently explained why he thinks the 6BR is such a satisfying cartridge. Three things--consistency, ease of shooting, and inherent accuracy--really set this cartridge apart from others, Mike believes: "At this point I have fitted at least 18-20 6BR barrels, with three of them that I have personally shot. Of these three, all at 30" of finish length, have shown 2800 minimum using the Clinch River 106s backed by 30.0 gr of Varget (I have never had the need to vary that load no matter what bullet got used in that weight range or what barrel it came out of). Over time… I have concluded that the 6BR cartridge is THE purpose-built choice for 600-yard shooting, and provides hands-down the most fun I have ever had shooting a rifle. It will inherently give you ½-minute group sizes with at least four different weight bullets and any given load of Varget (or equivalent) plus or minus a half grain. Getting it to shoot tighter than that is certainly possible, but can be viewed as something "fun" to do, rather than something you MUST do, in order to get the rifle to shoot better than you do.

Above all, I think it offers the serious shooter (especially those masochists who go for the Palma Game), the chance to "take a break" from the hard stuff, and just relax and enjoy a day's shooting without having to strain at it. That is a generous gift from the shooting gods, and as such should not be examined too closely. If you drop "X's" or points using the 6BR at 600, you may rest assured that YOU did it, not the rifle or the cartridge. Every 6BR round I have ever fired went EXACTLY where I told it to. Tough nookies if I didn't like where that was. — Mike Ross."

BARGAIN BIN--Digital Calipers for $19.99: We have a set of these Frankford Arsenal Calipers from MidwayUSA and, for the price, they are hard to beat. Calipers are among the most-used tools in our reloading room, and these work great as a spare set, or keep them in your range bag. Ask for Product # 604242. The $19.99 sale price is good through December 31, 2005.

BLOG Items Wanted: Can you share a smart reloading tip, or news of a great bargain on gear? Can you give us a report from a major match? Then contribute to the AccurateShooter.com Blog. Just email your news item to Mailbox@6mmBR.com. Please keep photos under 200kb in size.

December 2, 2005 BLOG

SITE NEWS--Stiller Action Auction: Why not help Santa this holiday season and potentially save hundreds on the price of a top-rated custom action for your next precision rifle. Thanks to Stiller's Precision Firearms, we are offering for auction a Stiller Viper or Cobra action (user chooses), with a starting minimum bid of just $550, a full $400 off the regular price. PPC and BR-case shooters can order the action with a Drop-Port. It otherwise can be configured to the high bidder's choosing with RBLP or LBRP, and with/without ejector. This is a great way to save big bucks on a superb action and also support the site. Click here for more information. The auction closes December 22, 2005.

CASE CLEANING--The Ultrasonic Alternative: This week, Jason Baney, our 1000-yard Editor, provides an in-depth, illustrated report on cartridge cleaning using ultrasonic technology. Immersing brass in a slightly acidic cleaning solution, Jason literally buzzed the carbon out of old dirty cases, producing brass that looks like new, inside and out. Check out the photos. You may be amazed. Jason tested a variety of cleaning solutions, coming up with a cheap, effective vinegar-based "cleaning cocktail" that costs less than $2 per gallon. Ultrasonic machines come in various sizes and capacities. Jason picked up his 42 Khz unit for just $75 on eBay. The brass is held in Pyrex beakers containing the cleaning solution. High-frequency soundwaves penetrate the beakers, effortlessly cleaning all surfaces of the brass, even the primer pockets. Since no solution is held in the machine's tank, clean-up is a snap. And one reader suggested "if you fabricate a plexiglass top (with cutouts) to hold the beakers off the bottom of the tank you will find the cleaning action even more efficient." Click Here to read all about Jason's discoveries.

TECH TIP--Base-Sizing Fix for the 6BRX: Bob Crone, who popularized the 6BRX wildcat, recently offered this advice for BRX shooters experiencing case swelling at the base that can't be handled by a standard 6BR die: "Hello Fellow Shooters, I have had some calls and e-mails on sizing dies for my 6mm BRX and have a very simple solution for you. I personally have not had any base expansion problems with the 6mm BRX as I only shoot @ 3033 fps and have no pressure signs at all. But, when load searching I have indeed wandered into the upper reaches of max and above? and while doing so have swelled a few cases myself. (3200 fps+ is there--but NOT SAFELY!) Anyway, I have a very easy fix for those of you that feel the need for speed.

Purchase a body die from Redding ($20-$25) and take it to your favorite machine shop. Have your smith ream out the top two-thirds of the die to a 1/2" inside diameter. Leave the bottom 1/3 alone and you will have a full lenght (read: base die) die to suit your needs. You can even cut off a bit of length from the bottom of the die if you need more base compression for those of you that find you have a tight chamber. This is a piece of cake to make and works perfectly! Remember--you will not need to use this die EVERY time you shoot, only when you feel the tight bolt. I have used this method for years now and figured out how to do it when I made the 6.5mm SUPER. You will find no problems with this easy fix.—Bob Crone."

6XC CASE-FORMING--New Method Gives Great Results: Larry Medler has authored many outstanding technical articles. He's a great innovator, with a real talent for discovering simple, elegant solutions to reloading problems. He recently authored a nice article on how to make mushroom-free 6XC cases from standard 22-250 brass. Larry notes that it "works on any brand of 22-250 brass, even once-fired 22-250 Winchester brass." Basically the secret is to use a modified shell holder to allow a 22-250 to be driven slightly deeper into a .308 full-length sizing die. This "pre-bumping process" moves back the shoulder without causing the mushroom. Then you can use the Tubb 6XC dies to finish the cases for fire-forming. Larry's 6XC Case-Forming Article is a "must-read" for any 6XC shooter.

STOCK DESIGN--Vibration Control:
Speedy Gonzalez of S.G.& Y. sent us some interesting photos of his latest innovation, a Robertson Composites BRX stock modified for better control of harmonic vibrations. Speedy has improved the stock's vibration-damping by milling a special lattice slot pattern in the forearm. Already a superb-handling stock, the "Matrix Forearm" BRX is an even sweeter shooter according to Speedy. In theory, the multi-box grid effectively breaks up long wavelengths, attenuating unwanted harmonic energy. Similar structures are indeed used to control harmonics in race cars. Speedy now uses the "Matrix" in all LV BRX stocks.

MATCH NEWS--F-Class Match Near Vegas: You Easterners may be settling into winter, but out here in the west we have lots of sunshine and year-round shooting conditions. If you're going to be near Las Vegas anytime soon, head out to Boulder City, NV. There the Boulder Rifle and Pistol Club will begin hosting a 600-yard F-class match on the third Sunday of the month starting in January of 2006. Hey, you needed an excuse to plan a trip to Vegas didn't you? The Boulder Rifle and Pistol Club is a nonprofit organization located just outside of Boulder City, NV, roughly 20 miles from Las Vegas. The Boulder City range was built in 1938 by the Corps of Engineers and serves all the popular shooting disciplines. Rifle shooters will enjoy a covered silhouette range flanked by a full-length HighPower range with target banks at 200, 300, 600 and 1000 yards. If tactical shooting is your game, BRPC also offers three-gun matches. For more information contact Martin Clancy at josephthreedogs@aol.com or (702) 286-4452.

PRODUCT NEWS--Predator Action Unveiled: Stiller's new Predator action, designed for hunting and varminting, will be shipping by the end of the month. Jerry Stiller told us: "Here is the first one off the press. It turned out real well and we couldn't be happier. The bolt stop is being refined and the text may be moved a little. We should be delivering all the orders taken to date around Christmas. The Predator is a drop-in replacement for the Remington 700 series of actions. It is either single-shot or magazine fed. Only short actions are available at this time, but .223, .308 and Magnum boltfaces are available. The top is full round and uses two front bases rather then the stepped down one on the rear of a Remington. This allows for better scope alignment. We have also moved the stop to allow for easy bolt removal. The magazine-fed actions use a 0.150" extended cutout to allow for longer cartridges and H-S Precision or Wyatt boxes. The port has been opened a little for the same reasons. The bolt is a little looser than our benchrest actions to avoid problems with grit and particles. It has 0.004" clearance, much less than a Remington, but a little more than the benchrest folks like. All the actions are stainless steel at this time. Long actions will be available early next year. If you are going out to buy a Remington donor rifle, STOP, give us a call and $650 and one of these beauties will be yours." For more info, contact Stiller's Precision Firearms.

RELOADING GEAR--Power Tricklers Tested: Danny Reever recently tested the Frankford Arsenal and VibraShine electric powder tricklers. Here's a sample of Danny's Full Review: "I Tested both models by first throwing a charge with my Harrell's Measure a couple of tenths light and then trickling up to the desired weight of 30.7 grains of Varget on my RCBS 10-10 scale. I timed this process for 100 cases using each model in order to get a better feel of the operation and also to establish how much faster they both were over a manual trickler doing the same operation. Here are the results. Redding manual Trickler: 27 seconds per case. Frankford Arsenal Jiffy Trickler: 22 seconds per case. VibraShine Electric Trickler: 20 seconds per case. Rate of feed is controlled on the Frankford model by the use of the momentary (on/off) switch only, since the tube rotates inside the hopper just like a manual trickler. On the VibraShine model the rate of feed can be controlled in two ways. First, like the Frankford, you have a momentary (on/off) push-button feed control. Additionally, you can control the rate of flow by rotating the Vibrashine's delivery tube. Position the tube's fill hole facing up for fastest feed, or down for slowest.

Which do I like the best? In use both models lived up to my expectations. Having to make a choice for me I’d opt for the VibraShine, it just seemed easier to use and was a bit more controllable with the two fold feed rate adjustment. However, if you plan on loading in the field the battery power of the Frankford Arsenal model is the way to go. The Frankford Arsenal model is sold by retailers such as Lock, Stock & Barrel for $22.50. Order The VibraShine direct from VibraShine.com for $19.95."

BLOG UPDATES: The site's webmaster will be on holiday until December 14, 2005. We will probably be unable to provide the regular update next week. But you'll find plenty of stuff to read in the BLOG ARCHIVE.

BLOG Items Wanted: Can you share a smart reloading tip, or news of a great bargain on gear? Can you give us a report from a major match? Then contribute to the AccurateShooter.com Blog. Just email your news item to Mailbox@6mmBR.com. Please keep photos under 200kb in size.

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